Letters - June 21, 2008

Stimulating!

I finally got my stimulus check, which is G.W. Bush’s answer to the recession that he denies that we are in.

I will be doing something with my stimulus check that Bush does not approve of. I will be using part of my stimulus check to help stimulate the PWW.

Now the credit card company has already laid claim to a big part of my check but I can send in $50 for the PWW fund drive. I would like to suggest that readers use a part of their stimulus checks to stimulate the newspaper that is working to stimulate people for the upcoming elections.

Kenneth J. BeSaw Bronx NY



Start with regulating Big Oil

You’re angry and you’re frustrated at the gas pump. Meanwhile, it’s all smiles at Exxon (and the other petroleum kingdoms) as it looks around at record profits — $40 billion and a return of 32 percent! The profits for the five largest oil companies have been $585 billion since 2001, as the price at the pump has soared.

Oh yes, Congress calls them in to testify about their “excessive profits” and wags its finger at them. But in the end, nothing happens.

And, therein lies the crux of the problem: greedy corporations and a free market government whose interests lie more with corporations than with the American people.

Surprise?

I wonder how many shares of oil company stock Sen. Arlen Specter and friends have in their stock portfolios.

What to do? For a start, their profits should be regulated by law similar to gas, electric, water and phone companies because their products are essential to our lives.

If the companies were limited to a 10 percent profit vs. the 30 percent-plus they suck out of our pockets now, we could have seen lower prices at the pumps. And the oil companies would have taken a hit on their multi-million-dollar salaries, bonuses and stock options.

Of course, for every action there is a reaction. The oil “plantation” executives would bemoan “big government” and even worse, “creeping socialism.” They would inundate the air waves with messages like “the free market works,” “hands off oil” and “keep America free.” And they would probably cut back on their token contributions to concerts and nature shows on public television.

Truckers all over the world are taking to the streets. Isn’t it time something started happening here?

Lawrence H. Geller Via e-mail



Don’t let capitalism off the hook

Except for three years of military service in World War II, I have regularly read the PWW and its predecessor, the Daily Worker, since 1932 for its indispensable socialist perspective.

Therefore, it was something of a disappointment to read the June 14-20 editorial, which stated that the current financial disaster “is the result, not of ‘cyclical’ or ‘random’ events but of Bush administration policy beholden to corporations and lobbyists.”

There is no doubt that fiscal policy based on greed and militarism made matters worse, but the basic problem is that capitalism is a dog-eat-dog system whose only purpose is to produce wealth for the few without any concern for the many.

Even now in the midst of a “financial disaster,” the real victims are the working majority while the privileged few are still eating regularly. Bush’s policies definitely made things worse but he is not responsible for NAFTA or for corporations replacing workers with machines, exporting good-paying union jobs and downsizing the rest. Bush didn’t cause the 1929 depression, and Clinton, not Bush, is responsible for NAFTA.

Defeating Bush and his militaristic policies is an important goal but it doesn’t require letting capitalism off the hook.

Bill Hagel Queens NY



Can we abolish war?

We should try harder! Whereas disastrous floods, tornadoes and earthquakes cannot be prevented, the war system can and must be prevented and abolished. Abolishing war, said Gen. Douglas MacArthur, isn’t just a dream but a necessity.

Every normal person wants to live without danger to self and loved ones. It is a few insane, monstrous, crank, homicidal maniacs and bad leaders who mislead all the rest and drive counties to resort to war.

Let’s all pursue a more reasonable path for the country. We can do it! Continue the fight for good!

George Gaylord Anaheim CA



Thoughts about art and class

Culture has the power to shape not only our view of the past but also the way we see ourselves today. Art exhibitions result from a process of selection and the selection leads to the assembling of a collection necessarily based upon beliefs about art and the world it reflects.

Classism was clear when patrons preferred genre paintings based upon a self-serving lie. The lie was that the world, which had made a few wealthy, is happy and free from conflict.

Women appear as wives, debutantes or idealized visions. Myths were perpetuated by repeated appeals to emotion: flags, American eagles, 4th of July, Yankee Doodle, etc. The patriotic myth survives because it serves to affirm and justify the present social system as it is.

John Singleton Copley’s portraits were filled with nostalgia for the presumed gentility of colonial society, wearing expensive clothing and having beautiful furniture.

Thomas Eakins was the teacher of Thomas Anshutz. They both painted with scientific objectivity, depicting experiences without subjective emotion. Anshutz’s “The Ironworkers’ Noontime” shows workers as individuals rather than a laboring class in cooperation with each other.

Today, with art under control of corporate money, how can it explain the lives of working people? Does this explain why it has no message? Art is displayed in isolated, enclosed, expensive, structured buildings.

June Krebs Philadelphia PA