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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.14.10




FARBEN & HITLER

Something to consider as corporations cast their ballots this November and we place democracy in the invisible hand of the marketplace. Those who do not know their history blame Adolf Hitler for single-handedly starting World War II, but in reality the entity most responsible for the rise of the Third Reich was not Hitler, but a massive German petro-chemical corporation called I.G. Farben. I.G. Farben was the fourth largest company in the world during the 1930s, the darling of Wall Street and cozy enough with America’s Standard Oil to get hit with an antitrust suit in 1941. They manufactured the ammunition and explosives for Germany to illegally rebuild its military after World War I; they developed synthetic rubber, diesel and aviation fuel to power the Wehrmacht and even made Zyklon B, the poison gas used in Nazi gas chambers. When Germany annexed Czechoslovakia, Farben picked the chemical plants to be seized, and there was a Farben plant at Auschwitz. Farben’s CEO, Hermann Schmitz, was a fanatic Nazi, as were many other directors. It was stated during the Nuremberg trials, “Farben was Hitler, and Hitler was Farben.” Without them, Adolf Hitler would have remained just another anonymous right-wing nutcase.

I encourage everyone to ask which of today’s corporations are more concerned about the bottom line than they are about human rights. How many boards of directors would discreetly look the other way to keep shareholders happy? For the answer, don’t look to businessmen or politicians; look at history.

Warren Weisman, Eugene



SHE’S THE ROCK

I write to extend an invitation to the citizens of Springfield and Eugene to come to know one of its citizens in a way I had the privilege of doing so when I was in college. Pat Riggs-Henson, your candidate for Lane County commissioner, and I served together in the DPLC in 2002-04. We were strangers at first, but from that moment she bestowed a welcoming attitude that laid the groundwork for a lasting friendship. I watched and learned from her as she tackled issues, resolved conflicts, inspired others and truly led our organization in a very stressful time period that saw more than its share of ups and downs. I simply cannot think of a person more qualified, talented and prepared for the needs of this office. She remains the rock others should hope to break themselves against.

Dan Isaacson, Chicago



MISPLACED BLAME

Sadly, our political campaigns revolve around money. Thankfully, educated voters don’t always give our elections to the highest bidder.

Currently we are faced with our solid Congressman Peter DeFazio, who has been consistent and dedicated to representing Oregonians, being outspent by Art Robinson, an anti-government Social Security recipient who is being funded by a cryptic out-of-state entity. The gubernatorial campaign includes Chris Dudley, a wealth manager who is heavily funded at over $5 million, against former governor Kitzhaber, who is funded by less affluent supporters at only half his opponent’s amount.

It is understandable that the American public is frustrated by the current condition of the job market and economy, but the blame is misplaced on the people who are trying to remediate it rather than those who created it and are now obstructing EVERY attempt at correction. I would love to have withheld my taxes being spent on wars, bailouts for the airlines, savings and loans and Wall Street shysters, but I was not given that choice. It makes no sense that Tea Partiers are so worked up at reforming a health care system in which CEOs get multi-million salaries while they deny care for the sickest people.

Let’s reaffirm that we are the government — our votes should not be auctioned. If we vote more Democrats into office, we just might see the change that we voted for in 2008.

Rita Babauta Kiley, Eugene



DON’T GET CAUGHT

The police officer honored Sept. 30 (full-page ad on page 23) cited me for sidewalk-chalk doodling on the Kesey Square flowerpots. It made months of my life miserable. Moral: Don’t get caught ... by him!

Cooper Otte, Eugene



MONEY LEAKS ABROAD

Chris Dudley wants to slash Oregon’s capital gains tax, supposedly to stimulate economic activity and create jobs. So it’s fair to ask, where would those jobs be?

The Financial Times (9/14) reports a study by Richard Bernstein Advisors showing the capital gains tax cuts of another Republican, G.W. Bush, mostly “leaked right out” of the U.S. They “failed to spur U.S. business investment [or] to improve U.S. economic competitiveness.” In fact, the period immediately following the cuts was the weakest in U.S. postwar history for real non-residential capital investment.

So where did the money go? Washington sets policy as if the U.S. were a closed economic system, not considering the rest of the world. Ditto, apparently, Dudley. The Bush cuts “may have encouraged capital flight from the U.S. because the dollar was weak and capital … tends to flow to stronger currencies.”

So, the Bush cuts failed to spur productive U.S. investment. Instead, “the cuts leaked abroad and boosted return on capital outside the U.S.” 

People with large capital gains don’t have to invest their money here. They can invest it abroad or even spend it on $10,000-a-plate political fund-raisers or islands off Nova Scotia. 

Dudley’s idea would cost the rest of us about $418 million in a two-year budget cycle, twice that over four years.

We need a governor who cares about us and Oregon, and who also knows what he’s doing. And that ain’t so-out-of-his-depth Dudley. 

Do yourself and all of us a favor, and vote for John Kitzhaber.

Robert Roth, Eugene



SCHOOL PLUS BEER

The EW article (9/30) “Ducks + Beer Ads = Riots” is misdirecting its blame of the UO. Phil Knight doesn’t have to tell us that the UO is a shameless whore (uoduckstore.com sells a wreath, nine piece shoeshine kit and two unique Snuggies) and alcoholic beverage companies are just another business waiting in line to profit off the loose wallets of Duck fans. The Weekly seems to argue that the university should stop accepting the money from sponsors and take the noble stance of not mingling school with beer.

What is unsaid in all this is that underage drinkers are going to get wasted whether or not there is a Bud Light sign inside Autzen. As a college student myself, I know that people who want to party are going to find a way. The vast majority of students are drinking, often in binges. Just because beer ads are absent for three hours a week during football season doesn’t change the fact that our world is littered with alcohol-themed promotions on billboards, television and the tight T-shirts of beautiful women. 

A solution should be to try and counteract the culture on campus. Choose an athlete that students can relate with to speak in a public service announcement. Give important facts like: “Alcohol is involved in 40 percent of traffic deaths” (National Institutes of Health) or “Consent cannot be given if alcohol is present” (Oregon law 163.305).

If only someone would pay them to do it.

Zed Allen. Eugene



PURGE THE VERMIN

Regarding your reference to “the Tea Partiers and their corporate backers” (Slant, 10/7): Most of the Tea Partiers are middle class, working Americans who are sick and tired of the way both major parties have sold them and this country down the river. With rare exceptions (Pete DeFazio comes to mind), Washington, D.C. needs to be purged of the vermin (John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi come to mind). I’m hoping that the internet will eventually level the playing field to neutralize special interest money and the crooks it buys.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield