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Letters 3/13 - 3/21 

HAPPY AMERICORPS WEEK CENTRAL OREGON

This AmeriCorps week, from March 9 to March 17, I want to thank the 800,000 AmeriCorps members and alums who have served our country since 1994. AmeriCorps programs, which come in so many shapes and sizes, work to alleviate poverty, provide natural disaster relief, educate and mentor students, improve health care for the vulnerable, and conserve and enhance wild places and the National Park system.

AmeriCorps is a national service movement that trains successful community leaders, teaches essential job skills, and drives social innovation and nonprofit success. Members earn a respectable living stipend and a $5,500 Education Award to attend college or pay back student loans.

I'm a member of AmeriCorps VISTA, the poverty-fighting branch of AmeriCorps. I work with Heart of Oregon Corps—a local nonprofit that will host the second most AmeriCorps positions in the state of Oregon in 2013—to inspire and empower positive change in youth. National service through AmeriCorps is a classic win-win: Members make an intensive commitment to service, and to improve communities. In return they experience meaningful personal and professional development.   

Ben Schmidt

RESPONSE TO BIG MAC ON THE NIKE LETTER

Brilliant! I appreciate your fair, objective and in-depth analysis of my recent letter about the Nike corporate coup of Oregon.

Silly me to have missed the fact that government, corporations and money have a symbiotic power relationship. I must have been absent the day that information was presented in civics class.

If I had known what you know I would never have gone to Seattle in 1999 to protest the WTO. I could have avoided being gassed, shot with rubber bullets, surrounded by cops who destroyed my property and threatened to throw me in jail if I didn't shut up.

I probably would not have protested the IMF/WB in DC where I was gassed, attacked by cops and thrown in jail.

Then there was the protest in Quebec City against the FTAA where my naïve picture of the Canadian Mounties as elegant men in cute outfits riding handsome horses was shattered. The Mounties were just like the US cops in full riot gear wielding "non-lethal" weapons with impunity.

The protest against the FTAA in Miami set a record for police brutality. The cops were exceptionally well trained to treat citizen protestors as criminals with "Gas Me, Stun Me, Shoot Me, Zap Me, Douse Me, Drug Me and Shut Me Up" as their Model of Repression.

I was chased down the street in Pittsburg at the G-20 summit by cops in riot gear announcing , "You must disperse now or non-lethal weapons will be used against you." The kicker was that we were caught in a pincer action between riot cops behind us and others approaching us on a narrow street in a residential area. I escaped by running up a steep hill and hiding behind a garage.

Massive attacks against Occupy were organized by mayors around the country when they decided we had enjoyed enough "free speech and freedom of assembly." I was at Occupy Portland when the riot police attacked knocking over tables of food, destroying tents and personal property as they physically forced us onto the street, then herded us along a sidewalk.

A cop grabbed me as I stood on a step along the sidewalk and started to shove me into line. I was not nice, quite obnoxious in fact. I must have misplaced by love beads and crystals. I felt like I was making a "passing acquaintance" with reality.

Thank you, Big Mac, for your ad hominem comments and your willingness to enlighten me on the power dynamics of corporations, government and money.

Sue Bastian

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Are CRIMINALS

So if a parent commits a crime here in the U.S. and ends up getting sentenced to jail maybe they shouldn't go to prison because it will "break up the family?"

Same as an illegal alien getting deported, this person is breaking the law by sneaking across the border illegally. Some of these people have been living here illegally for many, many years, why haven't they gotten a green card or citizenship?

Now they want a free ride to becoming legal. What if our government decided that everybody that is in prison gets out because their kids are without a parent?

Mike L.

DEAR ANN ROMANO,

I've been loving the blasts in your column! Especially last week. Had me in stiches! I can't agree more how ridiculous Hollyweird truly is. Maybe it's the money. Beiber, Chris Brown, that brain cell Rhianna, Chia Pet Kardashian. They should take a short bus to the petting zoo. My fave though is Rodman. Of all the people, it's Rodman sharing tree bark soup with that Muppet Un...Literally. This is right out of Team America! Keep it up, Ann. Rip those people!!!

Mark Alvarado

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