The real cost of low-priced goods

Now that corporations are persons, we may determine what type of persons they are.

After large cracks were noted in the structure of a building in Bangladesh, shops and a bank closed the next day to protect their workers. The owners of garment factories in that complex, on the other hand, ordered their employees to continue working there.

The building collapsed in late April, causing untold human suffering. The death toll reportedly is at more than 1,100, and climbing.

Why send people to work in the face of danger? To deliver goods to companies in the United States and Europe, such as Walmart, Gap, JC Penney, and others.

Who's responsible? The director of the Worker Rights Consortium, which investigates working conditions in factories worldwide, said the price pressure buyers put on factories undermines any prospect that factories will make the costly repairs and renovations necessary to make these buildings safe.

Why the pressure? So that corporations can make a profit. Dangerous working conditions, lowest possible wages, and consideration for the workers' well-being are of no concern. This amoral, anti-social, irresponsible behavior is the description of a psychopathic personality.

So, what type of "person" is a corporation? A sociopath.

Iris J. Ridgway

El Sobrante

Disabled parking placards

Imagine my surprise to receive not one, but two blue "disabled parking placards" at my office from the California DMV.

They were addressed to my deceased parents who had been disabled in their final years. My mother died in 2009 and my father in 2011.

After my father died, we used my office as a forwarding address. However, these placards were not forwarded; they were addressed from the DMV to my office.

If Social Security knew they died within days after receiving their death certificates, how could DMV not be informed? The state warns that it is a misdemeanor, with fines of up to $4,200, six months in county jail and impoundment of the vehicle for misuse. I sent the placards back to the state as requested.

How many of these placards are misused by family members or sold to unscrupulous people? Why hasn't someone done something about this injustice? I can't even imagine how much revenue is lost by our cities and counties.

Dan Del Bonta

Pleasant Hill

Time to end fiasco in Afghanistan

I was disappointed to read that Hamid Karzai claims the United States wants nine military bases in Afghanistan after the December 2014 coalition withdrawal.

Washington is mum on this. Karzai's price for these bases is that the United States boost Afghan security, strengthen its armed forces and provide long-term economic development assistance. Karzai said, "It is our condition that they bring security and bring it quickly and strengthen the Afghan economy. When they do this, we are ready to sign" a partnership agreement.

Didn't we learn anything during the last decade in Afghanistan? Two hard lessons: The Afghan police and military are thoroughly infiltrated with jihadists, and we can be confident any economic assistance we provide will be diverted by corrupt government officials. We can neither "bring security" nor "strengthen their economy" without the complete cooperation of the Afghans.

To give money to that government and continue to risk the lives of our service personnel in exchange for these nine bases comes across as completely futile, and makes the U.S. government look weak and easily duped -- and gets our people killed or maimed.

Time to end this fiasco and get completely out.

Bob Benson

Lafayette

IRS scandal not due to overwork

I think it would have been just as accurate for the New York Times article you carried about the IRS scandal to have claimed that the illegal, unconstitutional discrimination and harassment by the IRS against President Obama enemies list was the result of an anti-Islam video rather than overworked IRS field staff!

Come one. Can't you see through this cover-up?

If the Cincinnati office was overworked and understaffed, why did they go out of their way to repeatedly propagate hundreds of improper questions to the Tea Party applicants? Wouldn't overworked staff simply let the applications pile up? And how did the president's brother get his 501(c)(3) foundation approved in weeks from the same office, no questions asked?

The truth is that the IRS, at the highest levels, directed this anti-Tea Party witchhunt, that it was made known to the Treasury secretary a year ago, and that senior political people lied to Congress about it.

It is sad that the Old Grey Lady is doing the White House's dirty work. These IRS talking points, like the Benghazi talking points, are simply fabrications.

Arthur Zeidman

Walnut Creek