Thanks for telling the truth

I would like to thank Vivian Weinstein for her article, “Private bid threatens Texas social services” (PWW 7/23-29). I work for Texas Health and Human Services as a case manager and Ms. Weinstein’s was the most accurate article I have seen on this. I am one of the 2,500-plus employees who are about to become displaced workers.

I work and live in rural Texas. Our clients don’t have computers, and the ones that do have dial-up — there is no such thing as high-speed Internet in this area and if there was it would not be in their budget to afford it. Most of my clients don’t have telephones or transportation. I feel so sorry for these people because they have no idea what is about to happen to them. They depend on us for so much and they know they can call and if we can help, we will, if not we will refer them in the right direction.

The computer system they are implementing has already cost millions of dollars. It has been used in Austin for about two years now and still does not work. It issues too many benefits or it takes months to issue the correct benefits. The new caseworkers think its great because it is supposed to “do the work for you” but it will never replace training and knowledge of policy that we learn through each case we work.

Welfare is very personal and should be addressed as such. It seems that someone is determined to push this through no matter what the price to be paid.

We have been trying to educate our clients on what is about to change and they are furious, but like us they feel helpless. That is why I want to thank Ms. Weinstein for her article. If more journalists would really check into this, interview clients and staff, and print the truth, someone would have to do something to stop this before it gets out of control.

Mary Smith

Via e-mail

Bring the troops home now!

Forty years ago, thousands of U.S. activists united to demand an immediate end to the war in Vietnam.

They knew the U.S. disengagement would be a protracted, painful process requiring a powerful, militant peace movement to provide the backbone for spineless politicians.

It would be a decade before the war ended, but those activists could take pride in the common effort that aroused millions with that call to stop the shameful U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

The Communist Party USA 28th National Convention unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq. It called on the U.S. government to pay reparations to the Iraqi people out of the obscene profits of war profiteers like Halliburton and Bechtel, and for George W. Bush to be tried for war crimes.

The resolve of U.S. Communists joins the growing sentiment of Americans disgusted with this bleak chapter in U.S. history. A mid-June poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 46 percent of Americans support an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

We should work to ensure that hundreds of thousands gather in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24 for an action called by United for Peace and Justice (with similar actions in San Francisco and Los Angeles) to give voice to the coalition’s two main demands: End the war on Iraq! Bring the troops home now!

The actions that weekend will express the noblest democratic tradition of the American heritage: resistance to autocratic rule.

Once again, we rally to the slogan: Bring the troops home now!

Greg Godwin

Via e-mail

Judicial activism needed

The following are excerpts of a letter I sent to Sen. Arlen Specter:

Dear Senator,

Many judicial nominees claim that the sole source of their opinions is the U.S. Constitution. However, those “strict constructionist” and “constitutionalist” applicants are tacitly admitting to being racist as civil rights are not covered in the constitution but are guaranteed by judicial activism. There are many other rights that would be denied by “constitutionalists.” We rely on “judicial activists” for important rights that enhance our democracy.

If civil rights were guaranteed in the constitution, there would be no slave trade. If women’s rights were covered there would be equal pay for equal work, and reproductive rights would be protected. If labor rights were ensured, there would be no Haymarket executions and trade unions rights would have been the law of the land long before 1935. If the environment were constitutionally guaranteed there would be no global warming and full funding for the Superfund.

Even though the Constitution provides the basis of our democracy, many key sections are ignored by “strict constructionists.” If declaration of war were properly restricted to Congress, the lives of 1,700 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis would have been spared. The Constitution demands that we support our troops and not send them to immoral and illegal wars.

If the separation of church and state were respected, using religions to promote bigotry would be immediately prosecuted.

If the Bill of Rights were respected there would be no “Patriot Act,” an act promoted by those whose patriotism is restricted to the military-industrial complex, the institution that President Eisenhower warned us of. In true acts of patriotism, the Patriot Act is rejected by hundreds of cities and towns, including Philadelphia.

Although we are proud of our Constitution, our nation’s founders were not expected to predict the emergence of trade unions and the need to protect our environment. We would appreciate your opinion.

Louis J. Incognito

Philadelphia PA

Recommended reading

The ad for “Tales of Wo-Chi-Ca” (PWW 7/16-22) brings up fond memories. For readers unfamiliar with this precious bit of history, this was a progressive children’s summer camp in northwestern New Jersey, which operated from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. I was a camper there for several summers. It was a wonderful experience, inspiring as well as enjoyable. In addition to the usual camp activities, Camp W-C-C emphasized teamwork and sharing, supported labor and national liberation, and pioneered affirmative action long before the term came into use. No comparable institution has existed since then. I read the book shortly after its publication a few years ago, and wholeheartedly recommend it to PWW readers.

John Vago

Via e-mail