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The Supreme Court's recent campaign finance decision allows anyone to give $2,600 to every member of Congress, and has sealed the deal on changing our form of government to a plutocracy — a government run by the rich.

Now I can give $2,600 to everyone in Congress, if I have the money, which I don't. But consider if all the major banks each gave $2,600 to every member of Congress, Senate and House. That would be $1.28 million per bank — and they do have the money. If the top 10 banks give the limit, they might get all those legislators to vote the way they want them to. Or if the major oil companies gave every senator and representative the limit, they might get them to say "drill baby drill" — all the way to the bank.

Do you think a congress member would turn down a meeting if you were going to hand them a perfectly legal check for $2,600? And how many meetings would you get if you weren't handing over the cash?

It's a rich man's game now. When the Supreme Court declared that money is speech and corporations are persons, the game was lost. — Joseph Suste, Medford

There will be a vigil for the freedom to marry from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, at the Jackson County Courthouse at 10 S. Oakdale. The following day, April 23, there will be a hearing in federal court when a federal judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oregon and by Basic Rights Oregon that would strike down our state's same-sex marriage ban.

Oregon United for Marriage has collected 160,000 signatures for a ballot measure to overturn the ban against the freedom to marry in Oregon's Constitution, and is poised to qualify an initiative for the November ballot. This initiative will not be needed if the federal judge strikes down the ban on gay marriage at the April 23 hearing.

As a member of the Justice and Peace Ministry Team at the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ I urge all persons supportive of the freedom for all loving, committed couples to be united in marriage to attend the vigil on the eve of this historic decision. — The Rev. Dr. Paul Schurman, Central Point

"Damen und Herren, Ladies and Gentlemen: do you feel gut? Nothing to worry about, ja?"

Oh, our Supreme Court — the same court that kindly "selected" our president in 2000 and bestowed "personhood" on corporations via "Citizens United" — has with equal consanguinity put final touches to our blossoming new oligarchy, in McCutcheon v. FEC.

We commoners, as Franklin feared, have just lost our democracy.

"But, who cares? So vat?" Mega-billionaires Koch, Adelson, etc., will now continue purchasing "representatives," officeholders and down-ballot politicians wherever they like with their random pocket change.

They're gleefully smiling with Justice Roberts, after formalizing the buying of our elections, and that troublesome republic old Ben helped craft, cautioning, "if you can keep it, money doesn't talk; it swears!"

"McCutcheon" dilutes the value of your participation, and indivisible vote. "Ha-ha!" to the insignificance of penny stocks!

As down payment, already-owned GOP politicos work their hardest obstructing even that right in every state they've got their paws around.

"Money makes the vorld go round, ja?"

Anecdote: Sheldon, Charles, David, and Shaun approach Justice Roberts for an accounting:

"So John, what have you wrought ...?"

"An oligarchy, gents; ripe for the fleecing!" — Rob Hirschboeck, Ashland

I was not surprised to see the Department of Energy approve U.S. gas exports through Southern Oregon, but I was surprised that Sen. Ron Wyden applauded the action. Wyden has been skeptical of gas exports due to the economic impacts to average Americans and the U.S. manufacturing industry. He has also expressed concern about impacts to Oregon's environment and landowners threatened with eminent domain.

Sadly, once again the rich oil and gas lobby has gotten to members of Congress. Recent calls to expedite U.S. gas exports due to growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine are an example of lobbyists pressuring elected officials to act on their behalf at the expense of the average citizen. It's disappointing to see Wyden join that bandwagon rather than wait for our state to review the impacts of gas exports on Oregonians.

There are real concerns with the safety impacts of this proposal. The recent explosion in Washington state at a natural gas facility is a reminder that fossil fuel infrastructure is dangerous. Completing a thorough analysis of the threats posed by exporting U.S. gas through Oregon is prudent before any applause. I wish Wyden agreed. — Lesley Adams, Phoenix