October 22, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Potential influence gained by large campaign contributions
After striking down campaign-donation limits on corporations in the Citizen United case, the U.S. Supreme Court has before it a case that seeks to strike down an overall cap on how much individuals can give to campaigns in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission.
Sound judgment and discernment suggest without some reasonable limits we run a greater risk of compromising the integrity of our elected officials.
In fact, why not put limits on how much each candidate may spend on elections, with specific limits for each office?
To help reduce campaign costs, let’s shorten significantly the length of the campaigns for the president and Congress. Three, or even two months is long enough for campaigns for the Senate and House of Representatives. Six, or even four months, is long enough for presidential campaigns.
Public television can provide a no cost vehicle for televised debates in these elections.
Finally, let’s address the right of Congress to set campaign limits on corporations and individuals, with a constitutional amendment.
Let’s address these enormous campaign costs and the potential for influence gained by large campaign contributions with wise and sound legislation.
Milton C. Smith, Seattle
October 7, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Congress should take the hit
Members of Congress who have caused the partial shutdown of the government should take the hit too. I would like to see their pay withheld until they agree on a budget. [“Obama, GOP meet; no one budges,” page one, Oct. 3].
Of course this would be symbolic, as many of them are wealthy, but still it should be done. Less symbolic would be the furloughing of their employees-all of them. Also, I would stop funding for their “pork barrel” projects. This would cause them some real pain, which they deserve, as they are causing pain to so many people.
Ted Coskey, Seattle
October 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Congress to blame
So it is not terrorists who shut down our government, it is our own members of Congress. [“Government shutdown,” page one, Oct. 2.] Because they don’t like Obamacare, they don’t want people to have access to health care?
Representatives in the House make $174,000 (that is the lowest pay) for 120 days of sitting making ridiculous decisions like this — if they do anything at all. And they have their own health-care plan.
Well I don’t think I like that. I think I would like to stop paying them now. I think it is more important to feed my family than support this freak show called Congress.
Teresa Lamb, Seattle
August 6, 2013 at 6:28 AM
Farm bill was a mega-bill
The House of Representatives and House Republican leadership recently took a bold step to separate the farm bill into farm policy and feeding programs (food stamps). [“Budget plans imploding, Congress is heading home,” News, Aug. 2.]
When asked for a reaction to the split, the most common answer in my farm community is “it’s about time.”
We have allowed Congress to fall into a pattern of mega-bills too large for anyone but full-time lobbyists to read and understand. Focusing on issues separately allows for more transparency, better debate and less opportunity for brokered back-scratching.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a relatively recent addition to the farm bill, and has nothing to do with providing a market for U.S. farmers. It has everything to do with forcing urban congressional attention to farm policy, the ultimate national-security issue. Bluntly, it buys urban votes.
The House Republican leadership understands voter frustration with thousand-page bills that have to be passed before anyone knows what’s in them. Mega-bills are written by special interests and will always be inherently flawed.
Passing a farm bill that focuses on farming is the start of a great trend.
Sue Lani Madsen, Edwall
April 1, 2013 at 6:04 AM
Civil-rights issues should be resolved on federal level
Bruce Ramsey is wrong [“Supreme Court should let each state decide same-sex marriage,” Opinion, March 27]. Marriage equality is very much a civil-rights issue, and one that needs to be resolved at the federal level.
And it is perfectly reasonable to compare its history with that of slavery or voting rights. Limiting one’s rights due to their sexuality, race, gender or anything that can be attributed to a genetic lotto — each reason is equally wrong.
And to deny marriage rights to gay and lesbians who happen to live in slower-evolving states is not acceptable. We will get this done, nationwide, and every state will be forced to accept the new reality. Bigots will be sued, rightfully, and will learn to hide in the very shadows that the LGBT community has occupied all these cold, dark years.
–Andrew Cleary, Seattle
March 30, 2013 at 6:31 AM
Marriage more sacred when not founded on discrimination
Would you buy gas at a gas station with a sign saying “No Gays Allowed!”
Well, if you had no choice, you would. But if you had the choice between two gas stations, one with the sign and one without, you’d go to the one that doesn’t discriminate. You know you would; you might not be comfortable around gays but you’re not a jerk.
So why is marriage different [“Same-sex marriage cases go to high court,” page one, March 24]?
Why would you want to be part of an institution that says, “No Gays Allowed!”
In the past, my (straight) marriage had to be based on inequality. Our great institution was tainted with that sign. But now we have the choice. Aren’t our (straight) marriages more sacred because they are no longer founded on discrimination?
–Randy Winn, Seattle
March 29, 2013 at 4:05 PM
Remember the act of sacrifice
Today is a Good Friday for many reasons. One is the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam War across the country and in our Capitol in Olympia [“After 40 years, Vietnam memories are still strong,” seattletimes.com, March 29]. Today is a good day to remember the act of sacrifice.
Long ago, America went to help a people they didn’t know, in a country few had learned in school, in a place far away. We went to help them in their fight for democracy.
We remember today, and for the next 10 years, with gratitude the soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam and the United States and all of our allies who fought and died for freedom and democracy in Vietnam. It is a value we held together that created a bond worthy of self-sacrifice. We shared duty with honor for our countries, and for the right of freedom for all mankind.
We remember today with the honor that we keep our promise and never forgot our brothers and sisters who shared the experience of the Vietnam War, and we will never forget.
–Skip Dreps, government relation consultant, Northwest Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America, Burien
March 29, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Spousal rights would not be recognized out of state
Bruce Ramsey advocates that each state should decide whether a gay couple is married or not [“Supreme Court should let each state decide same-sex marriage,” Opinion, March 27]. Thus, a legally married couple from Massachusetts visits Hartford, Conn., where one is hospitalized, and the spouse cannot visit or be involved [in medical decisions]. Very critical spousal rights are taken away.
Inheritance, taxes, health care, visitation rights, etc., are seriously affected by the marital status of a couple. Clearly, this issue should not be left to a hodgepodge of local decisions by state legislators anymore than states should decide their own international borders.
–Charles S. Hoff, Redmond
Marriage equality is urgent
As a 61 year-old kid, I am surprised by the euphoria I feel about the upcoming wedding to my partner of 14 years. As our service begins, we will have a moment of silence to remember our parents who did not live long enough to see their daughters get married.
So please, do not suggest there is no urgency to grant marriage equality to all citizens of all 50 States.
–Gayle Brenchley, Mount Vernon
We shouldn’t just let it ‘play out’
While Bruce Ramsey is content to let same-sex marriage “play out,” 37,000 kids in California can’t have their parents get married.
Hundreds of thousands of American citizens across the country aren’t free to marry the person they love, because we should “let it play out.”
In 1967, should the Supreme Court have let interracial marriage “play out?” Where would our society be if they had decided that “expanding marriage [was] up to the states?” Alabama only removed its interracial ban in 2000. Is that really the right way to handle the fundamental rights of human beings?
Who are we to decide whom gets to marry whom? Since when did it become a legitimate right of the states to say who could have fundamental rights and who couldn’t? Are we to abandon same-sex couples in states such as Mississippi, where a same-sex ballot initiative isn’t projected to pass for decades?
These are the questions I have for Mr. Ramsey, who, as far as I know, didn’t have to ask voters for approval of his marriage. I wish he would consider that before declaring that fate for couples with love as real as his.
–Ben Lennon, Seattle
March 29, 2013 at 6:02 AM
Long history of denial, disruption and devastation
The recent article “Duwamish get new shot at recognition,” [NWTuesday, March 26] failed to cover the intense political shenanigans that led to their denial of recognition in the first place. The Department of Interior official who approved their recognition, after years of analysis, has disputed the allegation that was reported as fact in this article, that he signed the petition “three days after he left office.” The official testified under oath to signing before he left office and added he believed the incoming Bush administration was guilty of committing “bureaucratic injustice.”
It’s important to remember the fight for justice for the Duwamish began long before the “lucrative” casinos and “fishing rights” issues that were unfairly referenced. The push began with a famous speech by Chief Seattle in which he pleaded for land for his people just a year before his death and after treaty promises for land had been made — the Suquamish already had their land so he was speaking directly for the Duwamish.
It’s no secret that the incoming Bush administration had a high disdain for the Clinton administration and tossed out most of Clinton’s final decisions, not based on fact, but political whim. The recent court decision by Judge John Coughenour calling the denial “unfair” is a ray of hope in this otherwise sorry history of denial, disruption and devastation.
–Sandy Osawa, director of the film “Princess Angeline,” Seattle
March 27, 2013 at 7:12 AM
Groups should be more creative
So John Clark, chairman of biological structure department at the University of Washington School of Medicine, fears sequestration may force him to lay off just one researcher from his lab [“ ‘Hutch,’ UW descend on D.C. to lobby on sequestration cuts,” NWMonday, March 25]?
I have two suggestions: Humbly submit a request to the UW endowment of $2.1 billion, or just do it the way the Dawgs are building the new stadium — from private donation.
Be creative Dr. Clark. Think outside the box, both biologically and fiscally.
–Mark Wilson, Seattle
Trending with readers