Whose oil?

The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve contains one of the last major oil deposits in the U.S. Estimates are it has 10.6 billion barrels of oil. Projections are it will take 8 to 10 years to develop the production of 200,000 bpd (barrels per day). This represents about 0.01 percent of our daily consumption. At $60 per barrel it would be worth $4,380,000,000 per year minus development and operation costs. Considering the needs of our “energy crisis”, and the growing demand for relief from high fuel prices, the ANWR will be used. But by whom is the question? All mineral rights on public land are held in “trust” by the government. Since the people are the government it collectively belongs to all of us. Natural resources such as oil, coal, timber and other minerals should be developed by the government and sold to private industry at market prices. These revenues could be used for social programs like education, Medicare and Medicaid, prescription drugs, etc. Our elected officials must stop giving away our heritage and our country. They obviously need to hear from us.

Ken Appelhans

Gary IN

Fight the Bush tax plan

I enjoy reading your paper. I’m writing to let people know, if they haven’t heard, about Mr. Bush selecting a panel to eliminate federal deductions and credits for mortgage interest rates, and local taxes and education among others.

This greedy person gives “Big Business” all the breaks and makes all others pay for mistakes.

I have called Obama and Durbin, our senators from Illinois. We can’t sit on our hands anymore. Too many deaths and taking everything from the working class!

Virginia Ohren

Granite City IL

Virginia Ohren is a “Woman of Steel” and member of United Steelworkers Local 1899.

All we need is love

There’s no such show as “Everybody Loves Earl” (PWW 11/5-11, “Tales from a couch”). It’s “My Name is Earl.” Everyone loves Raymond, and they hate Chris.

Brandon Slattery

Philadelphia PA

Carolyn Rummel responds:

Did I really say “Everybody Loves Earl”? I know I originally wrote “Everybody Loves Chris” but I caught that. I must have had that on the brain. That damn Raymond! Now my credibility is shot. No wonder I never leave my couch. Blame it on too many trans-fats. Editor’s note – We’ll have to get rid of our carton of Oreos, too.

Put the people in control of Peoples Gas

Recent coverage of struggles against heating cost increases by Curly Cohen and Pepe Lozano are inspiring. The gas and oil sector of monopoly capital is crucial for the most reactionary political forces, including especially the Bush administration. A defeat for that sector in the form of a freezing or even rollback of heating fuel prices would be an important working class victory. However, the people who run that industry will use every stratagem they can to deflect public anger, including playing their adversaries off against each other: Heating fuel customers versus their own oil and gas company workers, and low versus middle income working class customers.

A winning strategy will seek to unite all of these sectors. Last time around, public pressure on the fuel companies was somewhat dissipated when Peoples Gas in Chicago announced a program of cost breaks for the very poorest residents, which was seen as a major victory by some, as a lost opportunity by others. The problem was not that the company gave help to some of the poorest, which was fine, but that the struggle against the company then wound down considerably. Many people who did not qualify for the program found themselves with the dilemma of paying for food or medical care versus paying the heating bill. A better strategy would be to build a labor-led coalition that would mobilize the political support, not only of the lowest income people, but of middle income workers and even small to medium sized businesses. Such a coalition could even raise basic issues about private versus public ownership of such entities as Chicago’s grotesquely misnamed “Peoples Gas.”

Emile Schepers

Via e-mail

Leak story is just the beginning

Now that a direct indictment has come to the Bush administration, I hope that the public will not be led to believe that the scandal ends there. The press needs to dig deeper still because the big picture is still missing. Why would senior administration officials lie to such a degree and divulge treasonous information unless there was something very important at stake? This story and its players are still coming out but at this juncture I am afraid the Bush spin machine will come out with such fervor and nerve, as it has before, that the public will again be fooled. Here’s hoping that won’t happen. The press needs to stay focused.

Pete Bragansa

New York NY

Why not impeach?

Just read Terrie Albano’s commentary “The Republicans’ arrogance of power” (PWW 10/8-14). It begins, “You need a scorecard” and then goes on to enumerate all the lying and sleaze of this administration. Why he hasn’t yet been impeached is a big question. I wish you would send a copy of this to every member of Congress, especially the Democrats and independents. It’s right on the money. (Pun intended.)

Linda Livingston

Via e-mail

Rebuilding nightmare

Three or four years down the road Katrina’s victims will feel the aftershock. The no-bid contracts to Halliburton, Bechtel, Fluor, and Bush’s sweeping aside the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage law for the area is only the tip of the iceberg. In the rebuilding of New Orleans, the developers, as usual, will seek to maximize their profits. Sections of the city will be declared urban blight and under eminent domain will be seized, with little or no compensation, especially for those who never return. For others who do return, they will challenge eminent domain in terms of just compensation. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision, those who challenge eminent domain’s legality will have a tough row to hoe. New Orleans will become the litigation city of the South. This tragic city is headed for gentrification, a gold mine for developers and Bush’s other crony corporations. This is the aftershock that awaits Katrina’s victims. Will this happen? I am not sure, but can we expect anything less from capitalism?

David Reid

Daytona Beach FL