Cheers for Connecticut

Kudos to the Democratic majority in Connecticut that opted to replace Joe Lieberman with Ned Lamont. This was a vote for peace and justice.

To those many others who oppose the war in Iraq, but who are apathetic about bringing it to a halt (“You can’t fight City Hall”), this election victory clearly demonstrates that “yes, we can!”

Lamont’s win gives hope to people throughout the world. There have been too many lies, too many deaths. It is now time to bring our troops home!

Yes, we can!

Irving Kessler
Flushing NY

Breaking the travel ban

The recent Cuba Challenge, July 17, at the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, N.Y., organized by Pastors for Peace, the Venceremos Brigade and the U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange, underscored the need for solidarity and human compassion.

The focus of the event was to draw attention to the criminal nature of a 46-year blockade. It was a test for travelers asserting their freedom to travel.

Since 1959, a so-called crisis centered around the Cuban Revolution has been invented as a pretext for imposing greater restrictions on the island, an objective of U.S. foreign policy. Instead, what we observed in Cuba was increased awareness of subtle changes that reflect the intelligence, dignity and a determined spirit among our Cuban brothers and sisters.

The lessons learned during the trip were that justice cannot be served in the midst of lies, propaganda and servility to unjust laws.

Our experience emphasized the importance of neighbor-to-neighbor contact.

Richard Grassl
Via e-mail

Government neglect on Agent Orange

I read with interest Tim Wheeler’s article and the comments made by a Mr. Dan Shea with regard to Vietnam and Agent Orange (PWW 5/13-29).

Many years have passed but my memory is clear on the service people I met with concerning their families and themselves, with all manner of disability and medical conditions. In fact, the name of the group was the Agent Orange Victims of South Jersey (New Jersey). I met them in a house out in the country and their stories were different but the same. They were being denied medical and psychological services, not being believed, and were very angry. I am an advocate for the disabled and someone had given my name to one of the families.

All the men were sick or medically involved one way or another (cancer of varying types, skin rashes and conditions that were horrible, etc.) The children had varying kinds of disorders and disabilities.

It was their belief that the government would cover this up for as long as it could, until most of the guys died, and/or their kids as well. In most cases that came to be true.

Ronee Groff
Via e-mail

Differs on Hezbollah

I disagree with Webb’s and Markowitz’s analysis of Hamas and Hezbollah (PWW 8/5-11, 8/12-18).

It is unfair to blame provocations by Hezbollah for Israel’s invasion. For one thing there is some dispute on whether the kidnapping of Israeli troops took place in Israel or Lebanon. Another thing is that Israel currently holds thousands of Hezbollah and Palestinians are being held illegally by Israel and Hezbollah was trying to get some of them released.

Hezbollah was formed to defend Lebanon against Israel’s invasion in 1982. They are soldiers, not terrorists. Their attacks in Israel have been targeted at military targets for the most part. They are a national liberation organization and a victory by them against Israel is a defeat for imperialism. Are not the Lebanese permitted to defend their country from a foreign invasion?

As for Hamas, in January 2005 it passed a resolution to replace armed struggle with political struggle and agreed to a unilateral cease-fire and stopped terrorist attacks. As for the support of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people, Fatah and the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have joined a Hamas-led national unity government. The only way for peace to come to Israel and Palestine is for Israel to negotiate with Hamas.

Sean Mulligan
Via e-mail

Getting Kansas vote right

I’m an AFSCME activist and got your paper at our international convention. Re: “Great day for Kansas” (PWW 8/12-18), a year ago, after the Kansas Board of Education voted to dilute the science standards, I got involved and found that [board member and creationist supporter] Connie Morris padded her state expense account on a Miami junket by about $3,000. She made immediate reimbursement when confronted with the charge, but the majority protected her from prosecution. The dishonesty is what cost her the election.

The board had voted 6-4, not 6-2, as you reported, to change the science standards to permit “alternate” theories to be presented alongside what they called “the religion of Darwinism.” Because of prior court decisions, they could no longer mandate the teaching of the pseudo-scientific “creationism.” When they rewrote the standards, it was with a three-person committee including Morris that heard from 25 witnesses, many with dubious credentials.

Not only was the fundamentalists’ majority reversed, but they may lose one or two more seats in the November general election.

There were other issues besides evolution involved. The majority, especially Morris, was anti-immigrant, anti-bilingual education, anti-sex education, anti-world history, pro-voucher and pro-charter schools.

Frank Smith
Bluff City KS

Take back Congress?

Your coverage of the November elections follows the slogan, “Take Back Congress.” Since when have we — the people who know the reality behind the liberal-conservative, Democrat-Republican coalition and who read publications like PWW — ever had Congress?

Brian Hokanson
Minneapolis, MN