Black farmers do not need Obama campaign histrionics

Why should farmers of any color or creed get special attention over others? (Article, “Obama, Harkin write to Bush about USDA stance on black farmers,” Oct. 5.) One thing that must happen in this country is that we treat all people the same. By constantly advocating for the “inability” of minorities to conform to ideals, deadlines and achievement levels we as a nation have doomed minorities to a life of dependency and entitlement. In my family it was drilled into us that to succeed it is necessary to learn the ways of the greater society and then employ those methods and processes with greater zeal and accuracy …

As I went to a couple of properties yesterday to prepare them for an open house and showing for rental in Columbus, Ohio, I saw four black-owned landscaping company trucks with at least three workers each. It gave me a sense that somewhere in our city there is an entrepreneurial spirit spreading and teaching black young men that their futures are not determined by white men or evil corporations or liberal politicians but by the effort they put into their own vision. …

The farmers Sen. Obama is trying to help can do their own lobbying and submit their own class-action lawsuit if need be. They don’t need election-minded histrionics to convince any party of injustice. If Congress needs to, it will write a comprehensive bill based on the facts, not pork-barrel entitlements for votes. …

Ashville, Ohio



Chamber outspending everyone on lobbying
From Jon Haber, CEO, American Association for Justice

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa Rickard complained bitterly about lobbying on Capitol Hill. The objects of Ms. Rickard’s ire were attorneys who had dared to meet their congressional representatives (letter to the editor, “Trial lawyers storm Capitol,” Oct. 3).

The irony is, of course, that no one invests more in lobbying than Ms. Rickard’s group. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, over the last decade the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its fake “think tank,” the Institute for Legal Reform, have plowed more than $338 million into lobbying Congress. Its largesse has been double that of any corporation, association or trade group in the country.

In fact, this lobbying is a moneymaker for Ms. Rickard. The chamber has made a fortune shilling for corporations in return for massive contributions and board seats for President Tom Donohue. In 2001, The Wall Street Journal noted that Mr. Donohue’s most effective coffer-filling innovation had been “to offer individual companies and industries the chance to use the chamber as a means of anonymously pursuing their own political ends.”

Whether it was pharmaceutical manufacturers paying $1 million each to undermine the Medicare prescription drug bill, or auto manufacturers trying to avoid liability for defective products, Ms. Rickard and Mr. Donohue have offered a front for everyone and anyone with a suitcase of money. It doesn’t even have to be an American company, as Boeing found out when the chamber went to work for Airbus. If your money’s good, it’s good enough for the chamber.

Washington