Paul Robeson stamp

After a long struggle, the U.S. Postal Service finally issued the Paul Robeson stamp in 2004. Today it is no longer available for purchase. At the postal store you can get the first-day cover and by telephone you can get an anonymous collection of stamps, both of which include it. Both of these cost more than the usual price for ordinary stamps to be used for postage. Why should this new stamp suddenly become unavailable for the ordinary use it was designed for? Is there dirty work at the crossroads? Any info would be appreciated.

Ros Spitzer, Via e-mail

Peace doves fly to Crawford

Hundreds of peace activists are flocking to the closest town to President Bush’s ranch. Yes, the tiny Crawford Peace House is filled offering limited floor sleeping space, phone information, water, juice and fresh produce.

Cindy Sheehan has spawned a revolution. She wants to know for what noble cause her son was killed at 24 years. Ms. Sheehan wants a visit with the president. She wants answers. Why have nearly 2,000 American deaths occurred? How did “our oil” get under their soil?

Other parents and families of soldiers lost in this Iraq invasion are with Cindy. Also, Gold Star mothers, Military Families Against the War, Veterans For Peace and Iraq war veterans.

Cindy’s revolution is a complete change from government-as-usual. Congress has not stopped the carnage in Iraq. Congress appropriated the funds for the invasion of Iraq. Neither presidential candidate stood for an immediate troop withdrawal. Maybe government is too important to be left to the politicians.

Cindy’s grieving witness in Texas to stop war may be the spark seen and heard around the world. Peace pilgrims are en route from everywhere to support her. All roads lead to Crawford. Contributions from all over the country, particularly Texas, are feeding the growing city.

A peaceful revolution can only go forward or backward. A complete change cannot mark time. Let’s march forward toward Crawford. Only passionate dissent can stop war policy and killing.

Walking Mary, Bisbee AZ

Editor’s note: Mary, a Grandma for Peace, wrote this on a Greyhound bus traveling from Arizona to El Paso, Texas, en route to the Crawford Peace House.

Housing bubble (out)burst

I am amazed at how politically motivated minds tend to blame any national problem on those with whom they disagree, in this case President Bush. There is even a silly and irrelevant claim that one of Bush’s brothers somehow benefited from the S&L bailout years ago. (“The housing bubble,” PWW 7/16-22).

The bad guys in this scenario will turn out to be individual investors and mortgage lenders who provide too easy terms to the lowly — the very same lowly citizen that the writer has howled needed more help from the banking industry.

The hens have certainly come home to roost, which the writer fails to see. The feds are supposed to regulate and monitor the mortgage market, and these folks, in case the writer isn’t aware, are our wonderful civil service folks, none of whom is related to a Bush.

Kent Beuchert, Via e-mail

Art Perlo replies:

The primary point of my article is that the overheated housing bubble will bring distress to millions of families who are stuck with unpayable mortgages, and that the puncturing of the housing bubble could well trigger a recession which will hurt the entire working class. I addressed the likely consequences of the housing bubble, not the causes. Therefore, I did not blame the problem on Bush (or anyone else).

But the president’s response to the 2001 recession was to oppose any meaningful relief for its primary victims, while using it as an excuse for huge tax cuts and other handouts for the wealthy and the biggest monopolies. My article suggests that Bush’s response to a crisis resulting from the housing bubble will be similar. Neil Bush’s escapade with the $1.3 billion bankruptcy of Silverado Savings and Loan in 1988 is an indication of the kind of crony capitalism we can expect in a future financial crisis: those responsible walk free, while the rest of us are stuck with the bills.

The writer correctly states, “The feds are supposed to regulate and monitor the mortgage market.” They are also supposed to regulate the banking industry and Wall Street. While regulatory oversight has been undermined by legislation and by policy decisions of successive administrations for at least 25 years, the Bush administration has set new records for turning regulatory agencies over to the industries they are supposed to regulate. Civil servants are frequently frustrated because administration policies prevent them from doing their jobs.

I agree with the writer that mortgage lenders bear significant responsibility. But I never said anything about “lowly citizens” needing help from the banking industry. Ordinary workers do need the help of a rational federal housing program, which addresses the needs of renters and homeowners, as well as considering local government finances and environmental concerns — but that is another article.

Cuban artist in Moscow

You ran a fine tribute for Cuban artist Ibrahim Ferrer (PWW 8/20-8/26). It was a good roundup of Ferrer’s life, music and legacy. There is just one “factoid” that was overlooked, and perhaps not very well known. The tribute mentions Ferrer “had been a star in Cuba for decades, but it wasn’t until” 1997 that the U.S. heard of him. More than 30 years earlier, in 1962, Ferrer performed in Moscow, USSR and even had lunch with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. I think that is significant.

Steve Cooper, Los Angeles CA

Taking issue

Reading your letters column in the August 13-19 newspaper, the letter called “Cloning blooper” caught my eye since I have willed stem cell research, cloning and transplants in my advance directive.

However, I disagree with the statement [humorously describing Bush’s views] that “the Bible actually does state that Social Security should be privatized and the New Deal was not ordained by God and should be abolished.” Some people will twist around verses (although none was offered) for their own “justification.” Social Security may not have existed in the old Roman Empire, but Jesus did extol the virtues of helping the poor and needy!

I believe the international poor and working people to be the true morality anyway.

Profit is theft and the only way the rich have what they do is from legally stealing it from the toilers.

Rev. Gary W. McIntire, St. Paris OH