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Oregon's worst evils include fascism's ALEC, created to make corporations stronger. Italy's Mussolini invented fascism in the 1920s, merging corporations into his government. Italians rewarded Mussolini in 1943; they hanged him upside down, shot and kicked him to death. President Franklin D. Roosevelt defined fascism as government owned by corporate powers. ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, began as corporate government hiding inside our elected government, paying off selected lawmakers. ALEC's list of members is long, but some yowled like cats and fled like rabbits when outed recently. Examples include Coke, GM, Kraft, GE, Walmart and others.

They are right to fear exposure. ALEC specializes in secret lobbying, generating bills to fatten corporations. ALEC's main enemy is collective bargaining. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is beholden to ALEC, but Rep. Mark Pocan is too, and Pocan is a Democrat. Attending ALEC's New Orleans convention, Pocan noted massive illegal lobbying including free booze, cigars, wining and dining. He found that ALEC poses as a charity to the IRS.

So Pocan blew the whistle. Learn all you can about ALEC. See why Republicans work hard to hide it. Commentator Bill Moyers is blowing whistles too. Look him up.

You'll find ALEC = fascism. — Dean Ing, Ashland

On Thursday, Oct. 18, credit unions in our community and worldwide came together to celebrate International Credit Union Day and the role that financial cooperatives play in improving the communities they serve.

Credit unions are unique because they are not-for-profit, democratically controlled, member-owned cooperatives that pool their members' assets to provide low-cost financial services in the best interest of the members. Credit unions help people improve their lives through access to affordable financial services and making the world a better place to live.

The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, an event that's being celebrated worldwide. Several local cooperatives have joined together to form Rogue Co-ops in order to demonstrate the value of cooperative partnerships in Southern Oregon. Stellar service and democratic control are just some of the benefits of being a credit union or cooperative member.

Cooperatives and credit unions are founded on community service, a principle that has distinguished them for more than 150 years. After this International Credit Union Day, we hope everyone will join us in celebrating the credit union difference, our proud cooperative heritage and the wonderful opportunities credit unions and cooperatives offer members in Southern Oregon every day. — Gene Pelham, Medford