Letters - October 18, 2008

Crash of 2008

The news has been comparing this economic crisis to the Great Depression of 1929.

Many neighbors and friends have been talking about the upcoming holidays and how we weren’t going to be able to give store-bought gifts this year. We agreed to have our traditional family dinner but we would exchange baked goods and things we canned recently. We’ve already canceled our family trip to Florida, citing the gas shortages in the very states that we’d be driving through. Plus, the cost of vehicle rental versus the car tune up, as well as the cost of the accommodations. In the end we decided to forgo the family holiday.

One friend was deeply concerned because his plant is scheduling a weeklong closing and then going down to a four-day work week. A local manufacturing plant closed for two weeks and later management announced that it was not going to reopen the plant. Already, we’ve lost our major hotel and conference center which closed in June. People here are wondering what will come next. More importantly what will happen to them and their loved ones. I had a sense that I was watching history unfold. Will this be later called the Great Depression of 2008?





Michael Adam Reale

Owensboro KY





When will we be leaving Iraq?

On Sept. 20 CNN aired an interesting panel consisting of Colin Powell, Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger that was titled “A World of Challenges.” Covering many subjects, one issue was barely touched upon — their opinions on when we would leave Iraq. Passed over, perhaps for good reason, because none of them seemed to know, or wanted to tell.

For years now, we have learned that all the reasons given to justify invading that innocent country were based upon lies. So what are we doing there, having caused the killing of well over 1 million suffering Iraqis and over 4,000 of our own loved ones? We are building 14 large permanent (we call them enduring) military bases around the country. Is this preparing to leave, or to stay?

For decades, American and other First World oil companies have been conducting 30-or-more-year ( the average life of an oil field ) production sharing agreements (PSAs) in poor, oil-rich Third World countries where the companies totally control the oil production, though not the ownership of the oil. They locate, drill, pump and sell the oil and after recovering all of their expenses up to that point, they then share the profit with the country, usually 60 percent to the country, and 40 percent to the company.

Now, how much have you heard about the Iraq oil agreement? For years, we have quietly been trying to hammer out a typical U.S.-written PSA agreement. Unsuccessful so far. It is clear that as long as the Iraq government is still in control, they are not about to give up their massive dozens of known and undeveloped oil fields to the U.S., or any other greedy nation’s oil barons.

So, when will we be leaving Iraq?





Bud Deraps

St. Louis MO





Free speech and elections

We Americans are so quick to herald the free speech and free elections in our society as outstanding examples of the democratic way of life. And compared to many countries around the world, I guess so.

But compared to a higher standard of democracy we should be practicing, we should be ashamed.

Free speech and free elections go hand in hand. And it’s never more apparent than during the electoral period we are now going through. How free is our speech and how fair are our elections when minority, but responsible groups like Ralph Nader of the Independent Party and Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party are denied access to the “public” airwaves to present their platforms to the American people? Denied because they and others do not have access to the corporate dollars donated to their corporate representatives, the Democrats and Republicans.

So, ad nauseam, we hear their corporate-framed solutions to the multiplicity of social problems besetting our people, while other alternative outside the corporate-box- solutions, are kept from the airwaves.

Free speech, indeed, unless one picks up a minority party flier from a volunteer on a street corner. That’s where our free speech comes in.





Lawrence Geller

Via e-mail





Keeping hope alive

I cannot tell you how much we look forward to reading PWW/Nuestro Mundo each week. I am a community activist and organize around issues of concern to women and lesbians. My mailbox is flooded with reading material of a wide variety. I want you to know that the only thing my partner will read is PWW.

As an Appalachian woman, I have a rather unique perspective on the world. Sometimes I express my viewpoint in song, accompanied by my mountain dulcimer. Recently I wrote new lyrics to the anthem for the 1931 coal strike in Harlan County, Ky. — “Which Side Are You On?” Although I am a born and bred East Tennessean, my partner’s family hails from Knox County, Ky. Knox County shares a border with Harlan County. My now-deceased father-in-law equivalent, Albert Bennett, was active in the UMW local there. He mined for more than 40 years.





Which Side Are You On? — 2008

An Appalachian womon’s (sic) lament

The oil man’s in the White House;

Wall Street just bit the dust.

Foreclosure on your Mama’s house

Is anything but just

(CHORUS)

Which side are you on?

Which side are you on?

Workin’ folks are desperate

To set food on the table.

It takes three checks to pay the bills,

And we just lost our cable.

CHORUS

Wimmin folks a-strugglin’ to try

And do it all.

Knowin’ there just ain’t no way

They’ll ever break their fall.

CHORUS

Iraq War is draining

Our coffers and our souls.

Troops come home so damaged

They go right on the dole.

CHORUS

Public schools are goin’ down.

Children just can’t learn.

GOP’s almighty buck

Is harder now to earn.

CHORUS

Black bears are a-starvin’,

Get shot when they come down.

Tourists leave pollution

All over White Oak Town.

CHORUS

Queers ain’t seen as human,

Hispanics same as dogs.

All the while, the man reaps profits

Like a big ‘ol hog.

CHORUS

The winds of change are blowin’

All across this land.

The People reckon now’s the time

We’ve got to take a stand.

CHORUS





Thank you for helping us keep hope alive.

Beth Maples-Bays

Via e-mail





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