LETTERS: November 22

Tues., Nov. 4, 2008 On the night of a beautiful crescent moon Barack Hussein Obama thrust by the unstoppable force of the power of the people to choke the cold nightmare of the last eight years so simply, to let justice be done.

Obama-nable means everything is possible Abomi-nable was W

Curley Cohen Chicago IL



Nationalize the banks

Private owners of banks and insurance giants are in a panic everywhere in the G-8, especially the United States. Dramatic tax cuts for the super-rich, massive borrowing, their actions and inactions in lending have brought the economy to the verge of freezing. The World Bank and the 185-nation International Monetary Fund are in the rigors of a malaise. The blame is shifted to borrowers, middle- and working-class families, to cause confusion.

The only solution that will work is outright nationalization of the select, towering giants of the banking industry. It may be done without or with a reasonable compensation to the “owners,” who are responsible for the failures and predatory loans. The post-Nov. 4 Congress could negotiate the formula for a golden handshake. Fiddling with part ownership of equity, with “no voting rights,” is a gimmick. Thirteen bank failures in 14 months should open eyes. Treasury plans to begin injecting money in measured doses. Will it really revive anything satisfactorily? It’s doubted even by the prescribers.

The economy would jumpstart from a single power stroke of bank nationalization. This happened in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Today they stand relatively safe from the crises. Survival of the system depends upon its financial institutions. UK’s Gordon Brown is investing $80 billion to buy into eight of that country’s major banks. Iceland seized control of its three largest banks. Japan is reviving a law to buy into financial companies. The Italian government said it is looking for a rescue plan for its banks. Spain is spending $50 billion Euros to buy its bank assets. Nationalization of the financial institutions will stabilize capitalism for some time. Let us not miss the opportunity to help the nation turn the tide in moving forward out of the fear of the economic freeze.

R. Sharma Via e-mail



What Ohio labor leaders say

Ohio unions are conducting a “Why We Won” series, interviewing leaders from the state’s Area Labor Federations (ALFs). These ALFs were instrumental in the election results this year because of their ability to bring union members together. Here are some excerpts:

Pat Gallagher, president of the North Coast ALF: Bringing the issues and information directly to the membership and the grass roots made the difference. Once our membership is informed they will always make the right decision and that was the reason for the overwhelming support that President-elect Obama received from union voters. This is substantiation of the strength of a united labor movement.

Bill Sams, president of the Southeast ALF: If it were not for the labor movement I don’t think that Obama would have carried Ohio or Pennsylvania. Our people were right at the front lines, educating members and the public as to what John McCain really stood for. People were fearful for their future, concerned about the foreclosure crisis and the exportation of American jobs, and they were looking for some one who could help.

Wes Wells, president of the Southwest ALF: This election was a matter of survival. In Ohio alone we lost over 180,000 jobs in the last eight years, and with DHL and closure of the GM plant, the southwest region of Ohio alone will have lost 60,000. I think we have hope now, which is something we didn’t have before. People saw through John McCain and Sarah Palin, and they saw beyond the color of Barack Obama’s skin.

Debbie Bindas, president of the Northeast ALF: The Northeast ALF was committed from day one to working to elect Barack Obama and allies in the Congress and the Ohio State House. Union members worked their hearts out on this election, doing worksite leaflets, phone banks, walks and mailings, and we are proud to have been a part of it. We need to keep up the pressure on our newly-elected leaders, there’s a lot of work still to be done, but I am confident that we can make real changes by working together. We can improve education, reform the health care system, pass the Employee Free Choice Act and create jobs in America. Now is the time to take action to build the world we’ve been waiting for.

George Tucker, president of the Northwest ALF: I think it’s a new day for the labor movement; we’re maybe going to get a level playing field now. We’ve got somebody in the presidency now who’s on working families’ side when it comes to health care, organizing and everything else. We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next four years — it’s not going to happen overnight. For example, we have to get over this hump with the auto industry or there’s going to be a bigger crisis than there is now.



Congo’s historic urgency

The conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo are dire for millions of its people despite the fact that Congo has more mineral wealth than any other part of the African continent. Over a quarter of a million people are displaced because of the civil war currently raging in the eastern part of the country. Women and children have been primary targets of both sides in the conflict with rape used as a weapon by both sides.

In the midst of this scenario there are mining encampments extracting cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, silver and zinc as well as uranium and timber. None of the massive wealth has been allowed to reach the majority of the Congolese population that live in abject poverty.

The outside acquisition of Congolese resources, many would say theft of, began in the Belgium colonial period of the Congo from 1885-1960. In 1961, Congo, upon holding its first free election, chose Patrice Lumumba. Lumumba wanted to use the country’s resources to improve the lives of the Congolese people and develop relations with other poor people around the world. Shortly after his election as prime minister Lumumba said, “We are not alone. Africa, Asia, and free and liberated people from every corner of the world will always be found at the side of the Congolese.” Within a year, Patrice Lumumba was assassinated and replaced by Mobutu Sese Seko, who acquiesced to U.S. mining and hegemonic interests.

While Mobutu is no longer there, the mining interests are and the humanitarian needs that cry out are not being addressed sufficiently.

Brian McAfee Muskegon Heights MI