Spend on troops, not war

I am worried about the new Congress backing off of getting our troops out of Iraq — as mandated by the voters. The vote to cut off war expenditures is spun by the right wing as being against the troops. But those committed to ending the war should take the offensive.

Instead of sending the money for more death and destruction the money should be used to increase funding for the Veterans Administration to take care of the soldiers and their families. Soldiers are coming home terribly wounded and we are not doing an adequate job taking care of them. Putting money into the VA is really supporting the troops. Antiwar voices have to be proactive and say we are not sending money to this war but we are spending it on the troops when they come home.

Judy Botwin
Cleveland Heights OH

U.S. — land of prisons

Reuters news service tells us something few of us knew. It is that due to our tough laws the U.S., with about 300 million people, has more prisoners per capita than any other nation in the world. On Nov. 30, a U.S. Justice Dept. report showed that a record 7 million people, or 1 in every 32 American adults, were behind bars, on probation, or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison.

To put this in perspective, the Center for Prison Studies in London reported that China with 1.3 billion people ranked second to the U.S. with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000. Our rate of incarceration is the highest at 737 per 100,000 people, followed by Russia with 611. Communist China had 115!

Here we are with 5 percent of the people in the world and 25 percent of the prisoners in the world.

Ninety-seven percent of the 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of nonviolent crime and 16 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness. All in all, China and Russia have much to learn from us, the shining example to the world, of how capitalism, freedom and democracy are supposed to work.

Bud Deraps
St. Louis MO

Give up war job?

How can I ask the workers at the Raytheon war plant for the nearly ultimate sacrifice — their jobs? I figure it’s better to give up a job in the cause for peace than to build weapons for war profiteers and give up our freedom for the warmongering elite. The unemployed in this case would be true heroes.

Gretchen Nielsen
Tucson AZ

Alleg interview

Thank you for reviewing Henri Alleg’s classic “The Question” (PWW 12/16-22).

Your readers may be interested in a Dec. 4 radio interview of Alleg on WBAI’s Law and Disorder Show hosted by Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. It can be heard at .

Walter Tillow
Louisville KY

Happy holidays

Hope all is well. I just want to say hello and thank you guys and PWW for all your support in getting the word out on issues that affect the homeless, low income people and people with disabilities. Without your help (and editing) we could not make the progress we have made in giving our argument as to what the problems are and what we believe are solutions to the issues.

Thanks so much. Peace,

Maurice Martin
Santa Fe NM
Maurice Martin is resource center manager at St. Elizabeth Shelter.

News not fit for NYT

When I was in Venezuela with a delegation of nine Hispanic elected public officials to monitor the election, there was a lot of interest in who we were. I did radio and newspaper interviews in Venezuela. In Massachusetts, I have done three radio shows so far since my return. Here the Spanish-language newspapers are interested in covering what we did. Some English-language papers are interested too. But one important paper ignored us: The New York Times.

In Venezuela, the person from the Venezuelan Information Office introduced me to the reporter from The New York Times. She introduced me as an elected public official. The reporter said he only wanted to interview “official” and not “extra-official” Hispanic elected people from the United States.

Later, when I saw the paper, they only interviewed a lawyer who was with us. I think that for The New York Times a Latina public official from United States who said the Venezuela election was fair is not news and not fit to print.

Martina Cruz
Lawrence, MA
Matrina Cruz is an elected member of the Lawrence School Committee.

Thank you volunteers!

The editorial board and staff of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo would like to thank all the volunteer writers, photographers, artists, distributors and fundraisers for all the tremendous work that you do. We’d like to thank all the subscribers and donors for your support and trust. Together you are the heartbeat of this newspaper.

Let’s pledge to build on the victories of 2006 to help bring more victories for the working class and people in 2007. Together we can do it. Sí se puede. We shall overcome.

Terrie Albano
Chicago IL