Costs of the war

An Associated Press web story reported that the U.S. expects to spend $170,000,000,000 (that’s $170 billion!) on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming year.
I began to try to comprehend that figure. Try these for understanding and comparing:
$170,000,000,000 annually
$14,166,666,667 monthly
$3,269,230,769 weekly
$465,753,425 daily
$19,406,393 hourly
$323,440 per minute
$5,391 per second
$565 per living U.S. person
$1,563 per U.S. household (estimated 2005).
What could this pay for?
45.8 million Americans are without health insurance. It would cost $131.675 billion to cover them. That could be accomplished by stopping the war for 40 weeks, 2 days and 17 hours.
The St. Louis Art Museum has an annual operating budget of $25.3 million. Stopping the war for 1 hour and 18 minutes would pay for its year’s expenses.
New York City’s annual public health budget is $1.5 billion. Stopping the war for 3 days, 5 hours and 17 minutes would double its budget.
Detroit’s troubled school system has an annual operating budget of $927,732,055. Stopping the war for 1 day, 23 hours and 49 minutes would put that system back into shape, and just imagine how many art and music classes could be added to its curriculum! Talk about “No child left behind.”
The strapped Detroit Public Library has an annual budget of $43.66 million — 2 days and 15 minutes of war. Just a few million dollars would allow this great public library to open its doors way beyond its limited hours of service.
Add your own cultural institution or public service to this list. Do the math. Send it to your congressperson and senators. Send one to the president (comments@whitehouse.gov) and the vice president (vice_president@whitehouse.gov).
Pass it along to your friends.

Bill Meyer
Detroit MI

Missing from ‘La Huelga’

I read the article “Texas farm workers, La Huelga’s 40th anniversary” (Online eXtra), and I did not read anything about Domingo Arredondo who had been the president of United Farm Workers in Starr County or when Sen. Kennedy got him out of jail.

Adrian Arredondo Sr.
Via e-mail

Changes sweep Latin America

The party’s over for U.S. hegemony in Latin America as the “Bells Are Ringing” for real social change there, as new leaders take steps to put the needs of their people above the “interests of the U.S.” (read American corporations) and the wealthy of that long-exploited continent.
Chile — the new president, Michelle Bachelet, former prisoner of the now dead dictator, Pinochet, moves forward to erase his legacy with new policies.
Uruguay — the former dictator Bordaberry and his foreign minister have been arrested by President Vasquez, who has promised to make human rights a priority.
Ecuador — Rafael Correa, recently elected president with peasant and labor support, has said he might want a base in Miami if the U.S. wishes to keep its base in Ecuador.
Bolivia — “It’s a new deal in Bolivia,” says President Evo Morales, as he just signed a land-reform bill which will allow his government to redistribute 77,000 square miles of land. He is the first full-blooded Indian president since the Spanish conquest 500 years ago.
Brazil — Lula da Silva was recently re-elected president with the overwhelming support of the poor to continue his progressive policies.
Venezuela — Hugo Chavez again re-elected to continue policies to lift the poor out of poverty, notwithstanding what Bush and Kissinger say. And last but not least, Nicaraguan voters put Sandinista Daniel Ortega back in the president’s seat.
And in the U.S., specifically Miami, there is a projected shortage of big homes and condos to accommodate the wealthy of Latin America preparing to leave the southern continent.
For them the party is truly over.

Bernadette M. Geller
Via e-mail

Re: Shameful anti-Semitism

Is a statement false because a bad person makes it? We all agree David Duke is a nasty piece of work. But even the dogs in the street know that his statement, as reported in your editorial “Shameful Anti-Semitism” (PWW 12/16-22), “The Zionists have used the Holocaust as a weapon to deny the rights of the Palestinians and cover up the crimes of Israel,” is perfectly true. As for Iran’s leaders, whom you call “reactionary,” they cannot be all that reactionary, because the Bush administration hates them with a passion for pursuing an independent foreign and energy policy, even to the point of public speculation by senior administration figures about the desirability of bombing Iran.
Thank you for fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, but your well-intentioned editorial went over the top.

Janet Kaplan
Brooklyn NY

I love your newspaper

Hello, I just want to let you all know that I recently discovered your newspaper a few months ago. I am now a regular reader of it and absolutely love it! I just want to tell you all this. I love the stories you all write about and the fact that you all cover the news that is not in regular news media that brainwashes America now.
Discovering your newspaper this year is one of the best things I did this year. Please keep up the good work.

Shawntaye Scott
Via e-mail

Cap those profits

In regard to raising the minimum wage, there ought to be a maximum wage too. The economic pie is only so big in the short run as everyone strives for a piece of “apple pie.” A maximum wage would restrict profiteering and high prices charged by those in control of the system. Those people working for low wages could afford to purchase goods and services at lower prices. Persons who earn more money than persons who make less want to keep their possessions, money, prosperity and toys for themselves and do not wish to share with others. It is the selfish nature of the system.

Raymond Daugerdas
Pittsburgh PA