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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Mail Tribune's recent article, "State of intolerance" got a lot right on Oregon's racial history. However, I offer a few historical critiques.

First, I'm sure Dr. Millner must have qualified that "many" or "most" of the working class (I assume this includes farmers) opposed slavery for reasons of self-interest. Yet, the article was worded in a way to suggest none held principled positions against slavery.

In 1860, Stephen Douglas ran on the Freeport Platform. In short, this was the self-interested opposition to slavery. Yet, Abraham Lincoln, who won a plurality of votes in Oregon, ran on a platform that was morally opposed to slavery.

Second, the article links the anti-black tradition of the 1850s to a lack of minority migration to the state. If that were true, Illinois, a state with the exact same historical anti-black laws as Oregon, would have never seen the great migration of black Americans.

The fact that Oregon, in 1927 during the heyday of the KKK, removed its obsolete anti-black immigration language from the books, is actually a greater sign of early progress (the article suggests this as evidence to the contrary).

Even today, legislatures are still finding and removing embarrassing (yet obsolete) language. — John Wickre, Medford

For over 70 years Wall Street, also known as the New York Stock Exchange, has been regulated and deregulated by both the Republican and Democratic parties. Every few years there are the financial scandals in which many investors' life savings and pensions are stolen by the crooks on Wall Street. At the same time the CEOs get their platinum parachutes which includes exorbitant severance pay sometimes into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Security and Exchange regulators have been obstructed in their investigation of corruption and theft by senators and representatives. These congressmen have protected those stock brokerage companies and wealthy financiers who contributed millions of dollars to their political campaigns.

I am reminded of a quote by the late economist John Maynard Keynes:

"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the wickedest of men will do the wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." For the average Joe in this country there is little trust or faith in our financial institutions or economic system. May the wealthy enjoy their bailout of pay raises and extravagant parties! For the middle class a bailout means foreclosure, bankruptcy, food stamps and unemployment checks. — Mike E. Miles, Medford

A big thank you to everyone who helped make the Toy Run such a great success.

Because of the hard work and wonderful donations we were able to give lots of toys to the following places: Jackson County Foster Parents Association, Josephine County Foster Parents Association, Toys for Tots, Kids Unlimited, OnTrack, Dunn House, Children's Advocacy Center, CASA, Fire District 3, Central Point Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Medford Salvation Army, Rogue Valley Medical Center, Providence Birth Place and Sabroso.

We were proud to be hosts for the great event. — B. Brackin, Medford, for Eagles Lodge No. 2093

Has anyone besides me noticed the incredible hypocrisy and cynicism in the justification given for the salary and perks of the big bank executives?

In Monday's Mail Tribune, Goldman-Sachs' pay plans were stated as essential to retain and motivate executives "whose efforts and judgment are vital to our continued success "¦ " It amazes me that a banker commanding an annual compensation package totaling many tens of millions of dollars requires as a perk a financial planner to manage their grotesque overcompensation!

These bands of greed-heads, moral dwarfs and outright crooks, joined by rating agencies and accounting firms that totally failed in their fiduciary responsibilities, have brought near total collapse to the world's financial system and incredible hardship to enormous numbers of law-abiding citizens. One wonders where their corporate boards of directors were throughout this debacle.

Banking deregulation, starting in the Reagan years, when government became "the problem, not the solution," and reaching its full fruition during Bush II, has shown us Republican management of our economy.

I sincerely hope that Mr. Obama can bring the much needed corrections to our financial markets quickly. Even with that, those responsible for this mess will very likely walk away unpunished. — Charles Sinclair, Medford