Letters to the Editor for April 18, 2011
Another gold rush is possible
To the editor:
I would like to commend Jayson Jacoby for the balanced article on a 21st century gold rush. Indeed this part of Oregon was brought to prominence by the gold rush in the late 1800s and finding gold and silver was paramount to our early growth and settling of Baker County. There is probably more gold left in the ground than was ever taken out, and at $1,400 an ounce, interest in mining has picked up dramatically.
But this time it’s not only for that elusive gold, but for rare earths, platinum and other rare metals, most of which we now buy from China.
Jayson is right about re-mining the old tailings. Miners in and around Baker County hold national reclamation awards for their reclaiming of old mined areas. They also work under an agreement with the Forest Service with a memorandum of understanding that guarantees any reclamation that needs to be done for a mining operation disturbance.
Probably the biggest hurdle miners face today is the ton of permits and cash bonds they have to put up before they can mine. The DEQ, Department of State Lands, Department of Geology and Mineral Industries — and that is just the state of Oregon for starters. Then there is federal compliance to deal with, and that could potentially take years to get permission to mine.
Baker County has been blessed with abundant minerals, not only gold and silver but lead, zinc, antimony, copper, platinum metals and the possibility of rare earth metals that could start the next boom in the county. Some of these have the potential to equal or surpass Ash Grove Cement in economic importance!
A recipe for fooling the public
To the editor:
When eating out, it is a good idea to look beyond the glitzy menu and into the kitchen. Daily we hear ever more draconian recipes to cure deficit doom. But let’s take a closer look — not only at how this nightmare bread is made, but who goes home with the profits.
RECIPE FOR NIGHTMARE BREAD
1. Empty the oven.
(Begin with tax cuts for the rich.)
2. Turn up the heat.
(Destroy good jobs, benefits and pensions. Decimate nest eggs and safety nets. Hike prices for necessities.)
3. Gather the ingredients.
(Use the flours of spin from the Heritage Foundation and Fox Fables. Use a shrill voice to scream “We’re broke! We’re broke!” which will echo through the chamber and create a stampede).
4. Mix the dough.
(Confuse the voters with he said/she said. Avoid facts or a reasoned debate. Add distractions. Sprinkle in a few seductive high minded ideals you don’t practice yourself like “shared sacrifice.” Throw a bit of the dough up to the wealthy backers of your campaign.)
5. Add the sweetener.
(Add visions of milk and honey trickling down if only we get rid of those undeserving government workers or other handy scapegoats.)
6. Omit the bitter pill.
(Leave out unsightly consequences of budget slashing: hungry kids, uninspected meats, dirty air, crumbling bridges, untreated addicts, backroom abortions, and destitute elderly.)
7. Leaven the loaf.
(With the hot air of inexperienced legislators on a mission who preach austerity while enjoying the perks of office.)
8. Bake until burned to a crisp and inedible.
(Then say innocently, “Oops, we were wrong.” Or better yet, blame someone else.)
I keep asking: Where did all the money go? Finally I have the answer: UP, Baby, UP. Between 1979 and 2007, the incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans increased by over 120 percent, while the incomes of the bottom 80 percent actually decreased.
Remember, it pays to watch which cooks you put in the kitchen. Forget the menu (words) but keep an eye on what goes into the bread and who gets the profits. Find out who’s really eating your lunch.