Wildfires, climate change and Iraq

All eyes and ears have been on San Diego, Calif., in recent days as over a half million people have had to be evacuated from their homes due to the most destructive fire in this area’s history. Although there have been a small number of people injured and few deaths, billions of dollars worth of homes have been destroyed.

I believe the way the California wildfires are related to climate change puts into perspective the misplaced priorities of this administration. This neo-conservative-controlled administration is willing to spend up to a trillion dollars on a politically motivated war, but is unwilling to take care of the domestic priorities that our populace needs. This inevitably leads to things like the Katrina disaster, the regular failures of the nation’s infrastructure of roads, bridges, reservoirs, etc., and the wildfires we are currently experiencing.

When we need our National Guard the most they are on the other side of the globe. When the latest in firefighting equipment is needed, C-130s have to be shipped to California from North Carolina. When we need to protect our people against natural disasters, a great deal of our men/women and equipment are preoccupied from their real mission because they have been forced to take part in this senseless occupation/civil war in Iraq.

It behooves us to pressure our governing officials for fundamental change.

John Falchi
San Diego CA

Subprime corruption

Until recently I was an underwriter for a subprime mortgage company that is about to close. It seems that most media outlets and government officials fain ignorance about the real underlying cause of the problem. There is either a tendency to blame the borrower or act as though no one in the industry or outside of it saw this coming. They fail to mention that those who gained the most financially got off scot-free while leaving the mess behind for everyone else to clean up.

In my former company, the sales managers and loan officers “held the keys to the safe” while deciding which guidelines to ignore, sometimes going so far as to bribe fellow underwriters to “look the other way.” Sales managers often overrode an underwriter’s decision they did not agree with. Other times fellow underwriters would be threatened with their job for “impeding company growth and progress” just because they refused to go along with the flagrant disregard of guidelines. I complained to the sales managers about the bribing but all I got was a formal write-up for making “inappropriate comments.”

As a result of the corrupt management of this company, I and several hundred others were laid off. I believe the federal government needs to investigate this company and bring to trial those corrupt individuals who broke the law. This would set an example for the rest of the mortgage industry.

Joe Bialek
Via e-mail

Thanks from Albuquerque

The most important difference between this paper and others is what its staff chooses to cover. Recently, the Albuquerque City Council voted on a resolution to withdraw our troops from Iraq. How many of our New Mexico readers read this important news in the state’s largest newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal? None. Yet I read about it in PWW’s National Clips. What kind of coverage did the Journal have of the U.S. Social Forum held in Atlanta last summer? None. Yet our paper put John Wojcik’s excellent report of it on the front page and centerspread.

When watching TV or reading the “mainstream” media one always gets a depressing picture of police news and people taking it on the chin. This paper is about the tremendous struggles of people across the nation and the world against racism, war and economic exploitation. Its in-depth coverage of the immigration reform struggle is invaluable. It lets us know that some struggles are temporarily lost, but many are also won. It lets us know we are not alone.

However, it costs money to put out this paper — over $1 million. There are no big commercial advertisers. This is an appeal to the 400-plus readers of our paper in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. If you like the paper for the same reasons I do, please help us to keep the paper publishing. Our share in this effort is $2,500. We thank the readers in New Mexico who have already sent in their contributions.

We would appreciate your sending a check for whatever amount you can to: People’s Weekly World, 235 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011.

Rose Shaw
Rio Rancho NM
Rose Shaw heads up the New Mexico PWW Committee.

Nobel Prize in economics

Just heard the news that the Nobel Prize in economics went to yet another group of numerologists from the University of Chicago. This time they’ve come up with some equations that are used to determine whether markets are operating efficiently.

If I want to know whether markets are operating efficiently, all I have to do is watch the SUVs roaring down my street as the global temperature steadily rises; count the foreclosed houses in my neighborhood; contemplate the empty high-rises along the skyline of my city, or consider the 47 million Americans who don’t have health insurance.

Didn’t they also give one of these ignoble prizes to that other U of Chicago charlatan, Milton Friedman?

David Pena
West Palm Beach FL

Dental decay on the rise

The New York Times ran a front page story on Oct. 11 about “Boom Times for U.S. Dentists, But Not for Americans’ Teeth.”

I’ve always said to a large extent you can judge the priorities of a society by looking at one’s teeth. This may sound peculiar but it is true.

I always noticed when tourists smiled, especially those from Western Europe, his or her teeth were not only straight but they seemed to be whiter then any of the people I knew.

What seemed odd at first became very clear to me. It was all about health care.

Dentists’ fees are rising faster than inflation while 100 million people have zero dental insurance, and those that have are woefully inadequate. I recently completed payment on a $2,200 dental bill. Fortunately I’ve been going to the same dentist for 15 years, so he accepted monthly payments, saving me credit card interest.

Many are not so fortunate. Two children died this year from infections caused by decayed teeth. What a terrible thing.

While this out of control administration squanders billions on death and destruction, it denies its most vulnerable an essential foundation to grow into healthy, socially productive citizens … health care!

Gabe Falsetta
Glendale NY