Murder of nun highlights Brazil at crossroads

An American nun, Dorothy Stang, who had lived in Brazil for 30 years and was a naturalized Brazilian citizen, was gunned down in the Amazon jungle region where she lived and worked for 23 years.

Four have been charged in her assassination, including Vitalmiro Moura, a rancher, who is charged with ordering Stang’s killing.

Brazil’s state of Para is a rugged region where loggers and ranchers are in an ongoing battle with the poor and environmentalists who seek a livelihood and to sustain the rain forests. The Amazon, the world’s largest rain forest, has been reduced by 20 percent and the trend continues.

The assassination of Stang may have backfired on its perpetrators as Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has proclaimed the 22,239-acre area that Stang was trying to protect as a preserve. Ironically, the attempt to silence Stang has made her a national hero.

Lula, many fear, is moving to the right, making concessions to moneyed interests. If he continues, many feel it will be a betrayal to those who put him in power and to the memory of Dorothy Stang.

Brian McAfeeMuskegon Heights MI


I was wondering if you could tell me who wrote the small piece you have up about the Minuteman Project (“Vigilantes threaten undocumented workers,” PWW 2/26-3/4). It is just chock full of pure fiction. I don’t see any author cited.

Don SilvaVia e-mail

Editor’s note: That was part of our National Clips column, which is compiled each week from numerous news sources by an editorial board member clearly identified at the end of each week’s column. We received a lot of anti-immigrant, hate-laced e-mail after that piece ran. Yours was the least offensive. Shall we say just say, “Thou doth protest too much.”

Silence is not golden

Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote, “Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.”

George Bush and the Senate are preparing to strip away more of our liberties and, as Rousseau suggested, the losses could be permanent. Where is the public outcry? The Senate previously rejected 12 unfit judicial nominees, and Bush has thrown them back “into America’s face” by re-nominating them. Adding insult to injury, Bush and Bill Frist, the Republican leader in the Senate, want to eliminate a 200-year-old Senate rule, the filibuster. When a filibuster is employed, a judicial nominee needs 60 out of 100 Senate votes to win approval — not an unreasonable threshold for a lifetime appointment. Bush and Frist want to lower the requirement to 51 votes, a simple majority.

The Senate can conduct other business while a filibuster is taking place, so it’s not a “waste of time” and does not halt activity in the Senate.

The Constitution charges the Senate with the responsibility of advice and consent on presidential appointees. They are not there to act as a “rubber stamp.”

Bush has already had 204 out of 214 of his choices confirmed.

Each of Bush’s 12 “re-nominations” holds viewpoints that are hostile to minorities, to women, to the environment, to worker’s rights, and/or the disabled. Are Americans prepared to allow Bush and his allies to fill the judiciary with people who will trample our rights and virtually crush the system of checks and balances? It is my sincere belief that most Americans favor keeping both intact. However, I am deeply concerned that this majority has remained mute. Silence is not always golden.

Jason MillerOverland Park KS


As much as Black people and the whole hip-hop community have been “hated on,” you would think the people at that radio station knew better. (“Hot 97 struggle sparks social justice campaign,” PWW 3/5-11.)

It seems like a lot of people in hip-hop have forgotten what it’s all about. It’s about spreading love and telling our story. Hip-hop is not just “Black” anymore, it’s worldwide. Now how does that make us look? Like we forgot where we came from.

April DavisVia e-mail

Imperialism’s ugly vision

A profound transformation of the U.S. military-industrial-corporate-information-intelligence complex is underway that will radically redesign it into an ultra-imperialist force for global domination.

Billions of dollars are being milked from U.S. taxpayers and funneled into projects to build weapons in space.

Labeled, “full spectrum dominance” in the U.S. Space Command’s ‘Vision for 2020’ mission statement, their plan is to create a space-based war fighting force for the Earth’s global corporate and military elite. It is to be employed to defend themselves from the rising destitute masses of the world who are demanding access to dwindling and finite natural resources on Earth.

In the year 2000, almost 140 nations voted for a resolution entitled the “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.” It recognized “the common interest of all mankind in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes,” and “shall be for peaceful purposes and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries.”

Only two nations declined to support this bill — the United States and Israel. Both abstained.

Steve Jones Boulder CO

Time to talk back

What does it mean to be ‘responsible’ when it comes to the media? I think the word has been dropped from main stream media’s vocabulary. Case in point. On Feb. 17, Brian Lehrer of National Public Radio (NPR) had a guest taking part in a series on Social Security.

In reply to a question as to the role of socialists in the movement to pass SS legislation his guest said, “Communists were against Social Security, they wanted a complete state welfare system”. His guest then replied to a follow-up question, “It wasn’t the socialists that were the threat, it was the extreme left wing, the Communists.” I expected Lehrer to challenge his guest but to my great disappointment and disbelief he said nothing.

Those of us who do know better must not let these incidents pass without protest. When we are witness to these misrepresentations call or write the respective media and set the record straight.

I called the station but was told the segment had ended, so I emailed my protest…haven’t heard from NPR yet.

Gabe FalsettaGlendale NY