Letters | Sustainable wine


Sustainable wine

(Re: “A homegrown blend for sustainable wine,” Boulderganic.) Local wine does make sense (local mead and cider, too). Part of the acceptance is overcoming wine snobbery. Miller’s point about “shipping … crates of wine all over the world” is right to the point. But there’s another challenge: Why are we shipping empty bottles all over the world to package the wine? A local wine can end up in a bottle shipped from Eastern Europe (by a circuitous route) with a cork from Portugal. Fixing this absurdity will require (first) changes in the attitudes of wine consumers (cork snobs), second some changes in laws, and finally changes in winery practice. Bag-inbox is good for wines consumed over a short period (more than 95 percent plus of wines), and a 3-liter package uses a few ounces of mostly recyclable material instead of four pounds of costly-to-recycle glass. Breweries use customer-owned glass bottles (growlers) returned for refilling. Why couldn’t wineries do the same? There are several possibilities for major improvement in the “footprint” of wine packaging.

Part of the “paradigm change” involves letting go of the snobbery and realizing that high-end wine is a teacup in the ocean: Almost all wine is consumed relatively young. Also, bag-in-box keeps wine fresher than any way of saving part of a bottle. The United States lags way behind in accepting this type of packaging, compared to say Europe or Australia/New Zealand.

Dick Dunn/Longmont

Corporate personhood

Since the Boulder City Council may be deciding at their July 19 meeting on a fall ballot resolution about the issue of corporate personhood, I thought the community would be interested to learn more about the origins of this legal fiction and its bearing on current politics.

Corporate personhood is the claim by corporations that they have constitutional rights equal to Americans. This legal fiction was established only by court precedent, in the post-Civil War era. “Corporation” is not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, nor has “corporate personhood” been voted on by any legislative body, anytime, anywhere.

So how did it start? After the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 to grant citizenship to all persons born in the United States, lawyers for the railroads (the biggest corporations then) crafted a brilliant scheme. Could they claim rights as “corporate persons” under this law and thereby escape laws seeking to restrain them? The result:

Between 1886 and 1910, there were 307 Supreme Court cases involving this amendment. Of these, 19 involved black men seeking to protect their rights; the other 288 were corporations seeking to expand their “rights” as “legal persons” (from Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann, Page 105).

This began 125 years of steady expansion of the rights of “corporate persons” — solely through court precesee dent — culminating in the disastrous 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, saying money is equivalent to speech and allowing corporations to spend unlimited money in politics. This is a clear and present danger to our democracy. It must be reversed. I hope the City Council will put a resolution on the fall ballot to allow Boulder citizens to vote on it.

Rick Casey/via Internet

Justice for all?

When reading the crime and punishment section of my local newspaper (the business pages), I’m continually reminded of the gross inequities inherent in our criminal justice system. Virtually every day there are reports of CEOs and directors of major corporations who are charged with fraud and tax evasion — on a grand scale. More often than not, those charged with such offenses end up making a settlement or plea agreement. Usually, those agreements result in fines and/or monetary settlement of lawsuits that don’t even begin to compensate victims of the crimes. Moreover, having agreed to huge multi-million-dollar settlements, there is usually a denial that there was any wrongdoing. To add further insult to injury, few are ever incarcerated.

If you hold up a convenience store, and you’re caught, you’ll have the cuffs snapped on your wrists, get thrown into the slammer and almost surely will do time. If you are one of those “pillars of society” who unlawfully drains hundreds of millions from their companies and stockholders, cause job losses in the thousands and financially ruins many lives, you’re more apt to first die from natural causes than you are to spend any time in prison.

There seems to be a dual standard of justice in this country when it comes to theft: one for the landed gentry, one for the “common criminal.”

Punishment should be meted out according to the gravity of the crime.

Paul G. Jaehnert/via Internet

Skip the fish

Authorities recently found high levels of radiation — five to six times the legal limit — in fish caught near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan. Samples of water taken from around the Fukushima facility have tested as high as 7.5 million times more radioactive than the legal limit.

While Americans may not have cause to be concerned about radioactive fish, there are other reasons to leave fish off your plate. During a seven-year study, U.S. Geological Survey scientists found mercury in every single fish they tested. More than a quarter of the fish tested had mercury levels that exceeded the EPA’s safety limits for the average fisheater.

Other studies have found that fish in rivers across the U.S. are tainted with medications and common household chemicals.

None of us would dream of drinking water tainted by sewage, pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants. So why would anyone risk their health by eating the fish that are pulled from this toxic brew? To find out more, please visit www.PETA.org.

Paula Moore,%u2028The PETA Foundation/ via Internet

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