Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift move over…

Alberta’s new oil reserves are huge. Does this mean Bush will invade Canada next?

When I opened up the San Francisco Chronicle, this was the headline: “Canadian oil sands — vast reserves second only to Saudi Arabia.” Then there was a graph. Apparently, Saudi Arabia has 259 billion barrels of oil in reserve, Canada has 180 billion barrels and Iraq only has 113 billion barrels. Shhhhh! Don’t tell Dubya! He’ll be invading Canada within the week and we all know what this means: Shock and Awe will be coming to Ottawa.

British Columbia will soon have its own Abu Ghraib.

Halliburton will get another $200 billion in contracts, we will all learn to live in terror of infidel “maple-leaf-heads” and Americans will have to go without cheap prescription drugs.

All too soon, resistence cells will be forming in Quebec while suicide bombers attack the U.S. green zone in Toronto. And Laura will soon be flying in to teach Nova Scotians how to read.

Jane Stillwater

Via e-mail

Media half-truths on Social Security

It is amazing how often the capitalist media get away with half-truths — such as the canard that the younger generation now working will have to pay in such a burden of money to finance Social Security.

But if there were even 1 million more decent jobs, the Social Security contribution from these workers would add about $l.5 billion per year to the Social Security funds. Not to mention 2 million jobs, all of which are needed by the unemployed and part-time workers.

So an important part of the fight for Social Security is the fight for decent jobs. But did you ever see that in the capitalist press?

Betty Smith

Astoria NY

‘Downfall’ disappointment

With regard to your review of the film “Downfall” (PWW 5/5-13): There were no “innocents” in that hell-hole-bunker as dishonestly depicted in the movie. There were no beatific angels fighting heroically and then escaping the Russian “invader” unscathed on bicycles into the tranquil countryside with gentle smiles of relief on their wide-eyed faces. With no context against which to comprehend what we are seeing, we are left with a dangerously empty and deceptive work: great acting and special effects, but to what purpose?

The Nazis hijacked the word “socialism” in an era when almost the entire German working class was revolutionary. Now, with contemporary audiences rendered by the media ignorant of the real history of that period, what is the effect of the fascist false use of the word “socialist” — guilt by association, suspicion and hostility, perhaps? Fascist pathology and egoism in the actual world was a tool behind which were the corporate cartel directors and paymasters.

In this seductive film, we see the Nazis’ (and the director’s) infatuation with style and the Hollywoodization of the character of Hitler’s secretary.

The SS were the specially trained instruments of the most merciless oppression. To show that there were a few humane and decent individuals among them is misleading and dishonest.

Sympathetic and confused reviews of works such as this film have no place in the People’s Weekly World.

A reader

Brooklyn NY

Reviewer Jim Lane replies: I think the writer and I would agree on the horrors of fascism and the responsibility of the Nazis. We would probably also agree that we should do everything we can to understand what happened so that we can do our very best to prevent its recurrence, which now seems much more likely than it did a few years ago. We seem to disagree on whether or not this film contributes to the understanding needed. I think it does.

Remember FDR, protect Social Security

This letter, by a PWW reader, appeared in the Riverdale Press, a local Bronx newspaper.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt died 60 years ago on April 12, 1945. Since the Bush administration is going all-out in its privatizing plans to kill Social Security as we know it, remembering FDR in this anniversary year of his death is most appropriate.

FDR, the creator of Social Security, had the foresight at its inception in 1935 to protect it with these fighting words: “Those taxes were never a matter of economics. They are politics all the way through. We put those payroll contributions in there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral and political right to collect their pensions…With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap the Social Security System.”


Edna Farkas

Bronx NY

Parallels between ‘war on terror,’ Iraq and Vietnam

Both the Johnson and Nixon administrations used the lie that if Vietnam fell to the communists, it would trigger the ‘domino theory’ where all of Southeast Asia would fall like dominoes to communism. That was their first big lie to rationalize the war.

The Bush administration used the big lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The top circles of American imperialism had Bush and his criminal cohorts seek to conquer Iraq for its oil and U.S. domination of the Middle East.

Unfortunately, the majority of the American commercial press echoes the wishes of the top rulers in American society.

Seymour Hirsch exposed the torture by the American military in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and at Guantanamo, Cuba. White House counsel, now Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales twisted the meaning of torture as outlined in the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales said that even if one interpreted the maltreatment as torture it was legal since these men were not prisoners of war but detainees and therefore the Geneva Conventions did not apply.

But nowhere did the punishment go higher than the soldiers who committed these reprehensible acts.

Then there are more lies like the story about American G.I. Pat Tillman, a former football player, stationed in Afghanistan. As the Pentagon’s story went, he fought against the enemy and was killed by Taliban forces but saved his company from capture.

This story was a huge lie. Tillman was shot and killed by his own soldiers — “friendly fire.”

The Pentagon also lied in the case of Private Jessica Lynch.

There are many other instances of lying by the military and the entire Bush administration. It’s their policy.

Until the American people learn the truth, we will be held captive to such administrations.

John Gilman

Milwaukee WI