Don’t yield an inch

The following is from an action letter from Working Families e-Activist Network.

President George W. Bush, his Republican allies in Congress and corporate chiefs are on an ideological trophy hunt to destroy Social Security — the most important family security effort in America’s history. Their privatization plans to replace guaranteed benefits with risky private accounts would fatally undermine Social Security, cut benefits drastically, most likely raise workers’ retirement age — and saddle our children with $2 trillion in debt.

Now is the time to fight back.

There is no way we’re going to yield an inch on Social Security. That is why the AFL-CIO is launching a petition to secure Social Security — one part of a multifaceted campaign to protect Social Security.

Our goal is to get 100,000 signers between now and Jan. 20 — President Bush’s Inauguration Day. Sign the petition and urge others to sign. Go to

Working Families e-ActivistVia e-mail

Youth and Social Security

On Social Security we need to mention the college support, which was once a part of the program before Reagan. And the actual cost of supporting a set of children after the death of the primary worker. Young people will find the level of survivors’ benefits useful, especially with the high cost of life insurance and the deaths due to this dirty war.

The Right is presently moving the idea among African Americans that Black males are not reaching the age to obtain Social Security benefits — apparently the average life span has dropped for African American males within the last decade to 60 years.

Ken HeardVia e-mail

Social Security reform

I am on dialysis but I support the AFL-CIO even though I was not in any union. Since Bush wants to “reform” Social Security we should do so with the federal pensions as a pilot program. The kinks could be worked out in a smaller pension and Congress could see more clearly what “reform” does to the innocent. Best wishes.

Eugene LoschVia e-mail

Bush’s torture order

What can we do to get rid of this president? He has disregarded all the rules of human dignity. He is a disgrace to this country and an insult to the American people. Those who make the excuse that our enemies would torture, so why shouldn’t we, in essence is condoning what Hitler did during World War II. Appalling!

Lynn ParkerVia e-mail

Ghastly failure

Last month, President Bush imperiously declared that, “It’s time for the Iraqi people to vote,” referring to upcoming elections planned for the end of this month. But, compelled by a growing catastrophe, Iraqi leaders are concluding otherwise. They can’t afford to be as pig-headed as the president on this matter of lurching to the polls just yet.

The situation in Iraq is now so dismal that even Republican war supporters in Congress are beginning to suggest that it’s time to consider pulling the troops out sooner, rather than later. Emerging sentiment in Congress seems to prefer declaring victory after the elections and then packing up for home.

Confirming observers’ worst fears, reports have now surfaced regarding an administration proposal to establish El Salvador-style death squads in Iraq, a desperate reaction to a bourgeoning insurgency, now estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands. Confident democrats do not hatch dark schemes like these. Rather, they’re the inevitable spawn of a ghastly policy failure, one that risks consuming the Iraqi people even as it destroys what’s left of Bush’s credibility.

Cord MacGuire Boulder CO

Proud to be from Boston

Regarding Jason Rabinowitz’s article “Taking on the ‘cultural divide’” (PWW 1/8-14) I live in rural North Carolina, though I am a Boston (Cambridge) Massachusetts proud liberal. Thank you for speaking about making Massachusetts a swear word. I am very proud to be a Boston Irish girl born across the street from Tip O’Neill. Also we are thoughtful liberals, not shallow Republican pawns.

Rita McNamara MooseVia e-mail

Venezuela’s changes

I enjoyed Bea Lumpkin’s article (PWW 12/11-17) on she and her husband’s visit to Venezuela. That is the best general article I have read that deals with the social dimension of the changes there under President Chavez.

Many articles deal with the international dimension, which does have crucial importance. But while it’s great for a Third World nation to stand up to imperialism, it is important that there is social change going on too. Your article really gave a good outline of that. I just wish it had been longer.

Only one thing that struck me as “missing” from your article — after the defeat of the coup in 2002 and the nationalization of the various industries — what happened to all the oligarchs and corrupt officials who have been ousted and who, I suppose, supported the coup? With Bush & Co. behind them, one can bet they haven’t thrown in the towel and decided to join the workers. With the people so solidly behind the government, there’s not much they can do, I suppose, but I suspect they’re actively trying.

For example, do they control some of the media? They could run a constant propaganda barrage against Chavez. And are there efforts to employ or organize those 7 million “self-employed” folks?

Eric MuellerDallas TX

Author’s reply: You are absolutely right. The coup-ists control all of the media except for one government TV channel that does not even cover the whole country. The media openly organized the coup. Chavez government is just beginning to call to make anti-government violence illegal. Of course, the U.S. State Department is hollering “freedom of press.” The street vendors do have an organization but I did not get the details. Thanks much for your encouragement.

Freon math

Another great article written by Mr. Halabi — “When does 2+2 not equal 4” (PWW 12/11-17) — interesting! It reminded me of when we used to play with freon in the lab. The stuff evaporated so fast we had to work under a hood. Pour one beaker full into another one of the same size and the receiving beaker was only two-thirds full. The rest is probably up there in the upper atmosphere gobbling up ozone now.

Dave ZinkVia e-mail