The Berkeley Daily Planet
The Berkeley Daily Planet Current Issu
July 06, 2010
Arts & Entertainment
Letters to the Editor
Tuesday July 06, 2010
Tearing Down Libraries is Waste, Not Green; Bates and Council Thumb Their Noses at the Public; Anger Management; Fire Wall?; Intimidation; Guns; Palin’s Opinion; Afghanistan — the U.S. between a rock and a hard place Tearing Down Libraries is Waste, Not Green
*** Fire Wall?
In the Great Depression in 1933, the act that was passed—the Glass-Steagall Act and the bank act that was a part of the connector to that—transformed the landscape. It disallowed banks to take risks and hold our customer deposits. And it gave an incentive to banks that held deposits that they would be supported by the government, that the FDIC was created to back our money. But then they would also not be allowed to speculate and trade and create esoteric, complex instruments that are difficult to understand and don’t have a market and can collapse an entire economy. That was a big bill.
1956, there was a Bank Holding Act. That said, banks can’t merge across state lines, they can’t buy insurance companies, they can’t by investment banks. They wanna do plain banking, they do plain banking. That was as a solidification of the Glass-Steagall Act. That was strengthening the act. This does none of that. This allows all of that complexity, it allows banks to hold insurance companies and investment back and trade and speculate and have government backing for deposits.
Two major things were not addressed in the new bill, the most important things: first of all, it does nothing to put the fire wall back up between regular banking commercial activity and those investment firms on Wall Street. That distinction was critical to protect all of us from this kind of collapse. This bill does not fix it. The second thing is it does not do anything serious about these institutions, these investment companies and others that are too big to fail. And too big to be safe for America. It does not handle that. So the two biggest issues are not resolved—pretend this is somehow the kind of reform we needed to avoid the financial collapse is really not being honest with the American people.
Ted Rudow III,MA
Afghanistan—the U.S. between a rock and a hardplace
Afghanistan now produces 90 percent of the world’s opium, which ends up on the streets of the world as heroin. According to one U.S. report, the area devoted to poppy production has nearly tripled in the last two years, and the country is on the verge of becoming a narcotics state. You can see why—drugs are about the only thing that poor country has that anyone else wants tobuy!
The funny thing is, the U.S. is acting as the chief drug lord there, in a way, because it made it possible for all the smaller drug lords to come to power. Now the U.S. is between a rock and a hard place. So the U.S. hasn’t exactly been a virtuous liberator, because while it proclaims how it’s installed a new, more democratic government in Afghanistan, what it’s actually done is set the drug lords and warlords free to operate again, who control most of the country outside Kabul, thecapital.
The U.S. has also taken advantage of Afghanistan’s lawlessness to convert its bases there into what one human rights advocate called “an enormous U.S. jail.” You see, since 9/11, one of the strategies of the U.S. in its “war on terror” has been to lock up anyone considered a suspect on any sort of grounds whatsoever, and where better to do it than Afghanistan, where there’s no legal system to challenge them and very few lawyers or human rights advocates to harass them and complain. Especially in the U.S., where most Americans stopped caring about Afghanistan a long timeago!
Ted Rudow III,MA