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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Supreme Court

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC was a strong defense of free-speech rights.

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RULING NOT 'DISASTER' BUT AN AFFIRMATION

Jim Loomis (Letters, Jan. 28) got it completely wrong when he said the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC is a "disaster for our democracy" and has "pretty much turned our country over to the Almighty Corporation."
Actually, the court affirmed the unambiguous language of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, which declares, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech."
Note that there are no modifying provisions in this straightforward language if Congress passes any law whatsoever abridging freedom of speech for anyone, the members are violating their oath of office to uphold the Constitution.
In its decision, the court struck down the most odious provisions of the recently enacted McCain-Feingold law, which muzzled some citizens working together via a corporation or union from speaking their minds about political candidates, while allowing other, more favored corporations corporations such as the one owning the paper you are reading now to freely editorialize and endorse candidates.
This is unfair, wrong, and the antithesis of the free and unfettered criticism of politicians promised us in the Bill of Rights.

JIM HENSHAW | Kailua

CLEAN ENERGY

IT IS SENATE'S TURN TO ACT ON A BILL

I read with interest the Jan. 24 op-ed by Rep. Cynthia Thielen, Rep. Hermina Morita, and Sen. Clarence Nishihara urging Congress to pass legislation that provides comprehensive national clean energy solutions to address our dependence on foreign oil. Not only do I agree with these state legislators, but so does the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House tackled this issue early on this congressional session. Last June, we passed a landmark bill (H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act) that would do what the writers of the op-ed urged — invest in clean energy technology, promote research and development of renewable energy, support energy efficiency, and make us more energy self-sufficient. New jobs would be created, consumers would save money, and pollution would be greatly reduced over time.

The House passed the bill last year; it is in the Senate, which must act, so Hawaii and the rest of the country can take a giant step toward energy self-sufficiency.

U.S. Rep. MAZIE K. HIRONO | Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

CIVIL UNIONS

HOUSE DISAPPOINTS BY AVOIDING VOTE

House Speaker Calvin Say and his colleagues who decided in an election year to avoid a record vote on the civil unions bill — a matter of great concern to a large portion of the voting public — have shown themselves to be unfit for office.

The job of representatives is to take responsibility for matters before them and to vote the will of the people. Principled men and women have the courage to stand up and be counted. They do not hide behind procedural rules and excuses to protect their own interests at the expense of their constituents, nor do they keep their positions on important matters a secret from the voting public.

Hawaii citizens deserve to be represented by persons committed to service over self-interest, open government over back-room deals, and ethics over self-preservation. Election concerns should never come before public duties.

I am sadly disappointed by Speaker Say's behavior as well as that of the other members of the House.

GREG GARNEAU | Kula, Maui

HOMELESS

CATHOLIC CHURCH CAN OFFER HOUSING

There is a win-win solution to locating the housing for the homeless, as reported by Gordon Pang, "Chinatown plan supported" (The Advertiser, Jan. 28). In a written message Bishop Larry Silva says, "Many parishes and parishioners are caring for people through food pantries, hot meal programs, clothing distribution and provision of other resources. What is also as important is to ensure that the homeless are provided housing."

Given that the Catholic Church owns vacant property on Vineyard Boulevard (several blocks from River Street), the bishop can offer that land, instead of trying to force the project down the throats of the Downtown/Chinatown community, which does not want the project located in a rich cultural area surrounded by Foster Gardens, schools, temples, senior housing and businesses.

SANDRA POHL | Honolulu

RAIL PROJECT

GOVERNOR PLAYING TOO MUCH POLITICS

I voted for both George W. Bush and Linda Lingle but their actions have made me switch my allegiance from the GOP. Both of them started out strong and then made disastrous mistakes, which have hurt or will hurt our nation or state.

Bush started the Afghanistan war and did not finish it before attacking Iraq under misinformation. Gov. Lingle got the Superferry up and running but did not follow procedures, which caused it to shut down and cost more than 200 people their jobs. President Obama has said that we need to have nationwide rapid transit projects to provide jobs. Lingle now wants to delay the rail project, which would provide these jobs.

She is doing it to make the mayor look bad and to push Duke Aiona on us as governor. Anything that is suggested by a Democrat from president to mayor is wrong. If these politicians were Republicans, she would be supporting the cause. It is so political that the rotten smell is worse than the vog.

BARBARA F. BONNARDEL | Kailua