LETTERS December 20, 2008

Good luck, Mr. President-elect

Imagine coming upon a scene of rape, pillage and desecration. What to do?

That’s what the new president-elect faces as he prepares to assume the presidency after George W. Bush’s “reign of terror” — from the invasion of privacy of countless Americans on the slightest pretext to the vetoing the expansion of health insurance for children and the destruction and carnage wrought upon the people of Iraq with an invasion predicated on the false premise of “weapons of mass destruction.”

Plus he approved a radical change in how bank mergers are taxed which will deprive our treasury of $140 billion in tax revenues; squelched government scientific research concerning global warming; promoted uncontrolled oil and gas production, thereby turning critical wildlife habitat into devastating industrial zones.

He refused to sign a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs which have killed or maimed thousands of people, notwithstanding the fact that almost 100 nations did sign.

And he OK’d the torture of combatants, violating common decency, not to say criminal provisions of the Geneva Conventions on war.

And the list continues as you read this because our inane system allows “King George” to continue mucking things up, as it takes two-and-a-half months (Nov. 4, 2008 – Jan. 20, 2009) for a newly-elected president to assume office.

Hit the ground running, Mr. President-elect, and good luck.





Lawrence H. Geller

Via e-mail





Obama’s Cabinet picks

I am not aware if you have any editorials criticizing the ultra-left who are having a field day saying that Obama will disappoint everybody. What I tell them is to get the Red Army together, take over D.C. and then we can all live in Paradise forever.

Obviously Obama is not the Messiah, reports to the contrary, but he is certainly the most progressive president possible under capitalist circumstances. I would like to see the PWW deal with this question, repeatedly. Just reporting the news from a left perspective is not enough. We are on the threshold of profound changes, and it is hard to see any leadership that grasps this. Obama knows the score, but his hands are tied if he doesn’t — as he has consistently said —get any backup from the general population.

We need an ideological struggle on the front pages, badly.





Antonio Bernal

Los Angeles CA





Editor’s note: Here are a few articles for more analysis on this topic:

“Time to build a new mass movement for a peace economy” by John Bachtell, www.pww.org/article/view/14104

Editorial: “Focus on policy,” www.pww.org/article/articleview/14098/

“Obama projects massive recovery plan” by Susan Webb, www.pww.org/article/articleview/14065/





There are growing comments that President-elect Obama is surrounding himself with many of the old guard, despite his promise of change. Recall that FDR constructed the New Deal with some of the staunchest D.C. regulars, like Jim Farley, Cordell Hull and Bob Morgenthau. But he also added Henry Wallace, Harold Ickes and the great Frances Perkins and reminded us that he chose certain people for their special administrative skills. The political changes, he said, came from the top. We must hope that Obama is of that mind and he deserves that chance. Stand by.

Don Sloan

New York NY





I read with great interest the article on the Mumbai terrorist attack (“Making sense of the senseless, Mumbai and its implications,” online, pww.org).

I am very keen to know your side of the story on the nomination by Barack Obama of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates etc. Their hands are all tainted with blood of Yugoslavians and Iraqis.

It appears Obama is already going back on his words although he promised to be different than the past Washington power brokers.





Gautam Sarkar

Bangalore, India





Teresa Albano responds: I am not bothered by who Obama has proposed for Cabinet positions. There is a necessity to have experienced people. The American people just leveled a huge blow against the most right-wing section of our ruling class which has ruled for 30 years. Now the victory has to be consolidated. Plus the most important thing is, it’s not about the individuals — it’s about policy. Obama has already signaled significant policy changes from those of Bush. Obama will lead these individuals and set policy. The American people voted for peace, to end the Iraq war and Bush’s belligerent foreign policy. Obama is quite in tune with these aspirations. But the grassroots, the people, still have to work and struggle to make this happen. Because as America’s great hero Frederick Douglass once observed: Power cedes nothing without struggle.





Topsy-turvy world

Life is valued at how we treat the lowliest of us all.

We live in a topsy-turvy world. We tell people, through deed and words, they are but cannon fodder to make a profit with. Then we expect them magically to see the good in others? How can we pay people less than what it humanly costs to live, then tell them others are to be respected, while employers do not respect them?

Do landlords reduce rents by hundreds of dollars for the disabled, the welfare families? No. Does a loaf of bread cost $1.50 instead of $4 for someone not making $70,000 a year, but minimum wage?

Yes the world is upside-down when we treat the weakest among us as fodder and expect them to respect the value of other life. We are only as strong as our weakest link. So by paying our clerks and hamburger flippers less then the cost to live, we condemn all life to be worth less than minimum wage. By failing to see the higher being or god in all humans, we act toward the lowest point of humanity. Let us instead carry out the thought, “I will not do unto others which I find hurtful if it were done to me.”





Jan Lightfoot Lane

Hinckley ME





Cheers

Here’s a huge cheer for James Parks from AFL-CIO Now blog (reprinted PWW 12/6-12) for his vital story about three unions who have joined forces to campaign for disabled performers. I really had not thought of the three, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Actors Equity as “unions.” They surely are and they have shown us the power of organization and joint efforts in behalf of workers once again.

What powerful sentences: “If you aren’t seen and heard, you are invisible” and “People with disabilities are largely invisible within the arts and media landscape.”

And as actor Robert David Hall reports, the issue is not just the invisibility of actors. Like all other workers, being cut out of a job means being cut out of income. It also means discrimination of many types and harassment as well. Same old, same old story.

We should be delighted that these representatives of the entertainment industry have spoken up — and promised to correct this grievous inequity.

But I would not have known this without Parks’ article and his invitation to follow up the story at www.iampwd.org

So cheers to him and to PWW for reprinting it.





Jean Anderson

Portland OR

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