Question on Puerto Rico

Why is it that in your states listing Puerto Rico is not shown?

Even though it is not a state, there are many people in the island interested in what your periodical publishes. Furthermore, your editorial line should be concerned with the realities faced by Puerto Ricans. I hope that this message will not fall onto deaf ears.

Carlos AguedaVia e-mail

Editor’s reply: Thanks for your letter. A quick search of our electronic archives shows that we published 97 articles in the past two years that at least mentioned Puerto Rico, in most cases in the context of the island nation itself. See this week’s article on page 7, for example. We would like to give Puerto Rico even more coverage than we presently do, and we welcome articles, especially written by people on the island.

The reason we don’t include Puerto Rico in our list of states is that we do not consider Puerto Rico to be part of the U.S. nation, but instead a U.S. colony. We support the transfer of all sovereignty to the Puerto Rican people.

Far-right controls radio

Just days before the end of the year, management at Chicago’s talk radio station (WLS-AM) terminated Jay Marvin, midday host and the lone liberal voice on a station that has become a shill for the Bush administration. Jay was the only one to voice opposition to the continued occupation of Iraq and policies of this administration, which affect the poor.

I am always amused by conservatives who state the left control the media. Talk radio today, with the exception of the few hosts on Air America, is populated almost entirely by those on the far right. In a city that has a proud history in the struggle of workers and the labor movement, it is sad no one with an opposing viewpoint can be heard on local radio. With the absence of an Air America affiliate here, Jay Marvin will be even more missed.

Tom DownesChicago

Working class solutions

The recent People Before Profits column “Who will pay for the falling dollar?” was an excellent primer on trade imbalances and the declining dollar. It gives current examples and highlights the anti-worker thrust of solutions put forward by ruling-class elements.

The columnist puts forward a number of ideas to begin probing working-class solutions to these problems. Among these is to “cut the trade deficit by reducing … oil expenditures.” This makes sense as these are a substantial part of imports. Of course, monopoly would love to take such a groundswell and turn it into an attack on environmental quality. High on its hit list would be drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Accompanying this would have to be a strong environmental program pushing increased mileage standards for vehicles, support for renewable energy such as solar and wind, and reversing urban sprawl.

Connected to the latter would be support for passive open space, that is, land with no impervious surfaces. In tandem with these, a strong movement for affordable housing for all would be needed. The above quoted column could lead to fruitful discussions in our trade unions, central labor councils and environmental groups.

Nick Bart Via e-mail

Who pays the piper?

Here’s another example of how the mainstream media are completely in the pockets of the rich and super-rich. Writing about business prospects for 2005 recently, AP correspondent Martin Crutsinger writes in part: “Economists think the boom in productivity may be coming to an end as rising demand is forcing companies to hire more employees.”

If this doesn’t tell you the workers exist solely for the benefit of The System, nothing will. What’s more, the mainstream media never report or opine that maybe the system should serve the workers. The mainstream media are just as rigid and/or clueless on this issue as they are on Iraq and so many others, all interrelated, of course. That’s why the PWW is a welcome voice of truth and clarity on matters concerning the global labor force.

Willard B. Shapira Minneapolis MN

Bush spends more for death than life

With up to 400,000 dead in Asia, why keep killing people in Iraq? With the dead of Asia spread out before us like some nightmare “Van Helsing” movie come to life, it seems a bit presumptuous for George Bush to continue to play God and go on killing and killing and killing in Iraq.

Would it finally come into perspective for Americans to know that Bush is spending the same amount of money in aid for the millions of tsunami victims in Asia as he spends in just four hours on killing people in Iraq?

Thousands of Americans were killed and wounded in Thailand. Thousands of Americans were killed and wounded in Iraq. One was a natural disaster. The other is a stupid, senseless waste.

Bush plans to spend more money on his inauguration party than he will spend on aid to the worst natural disaster in history. Bush spends more money in one hour in Iraq than he spends on relief to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. In Zimbabwe alone, 2,000 people a week die of AIDS. They have a 45-minute rule in Zimbabwe — funerals are not allowed to run over 45 minutes. There just isn’t time. Coffins are buried in stacks.

Are we going to continue to let George Bush play God — and go on killing and killing and killing in Iraq?

Jane Stillwater Via e-mail

Phony election

The extreme right can inveigle all of the donkeys all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. They can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The election was a fraud. Kerry probably won by a landslide. What is so ominous now is that the country of Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson no longer exists. The Democrats job now is to parade around as a minority party, never winning control despite the fact that the American people would vote them in to control the House and Senate, to give the illusion that we still live in a freedom-democracy and have a choice. It wasn’t bad enough that the American people had a choice of the completely for capitalism (the Democrats) or the totally for capitalism (the right-wing Republicans). The situation that exists today is that the “totally” have destroyed the “completely.”

John BorowskiVia Email