“Patriot Act II” sneaking in

There has been a great deal of coverage to generate resistance against the Patriot Act II and protect our privacy against its further encroachment. However, we must refocus our attention.

David Brancaccio reported in a Nov. 14 “Bill Moyers Now” program that “the White House has come up with a new legislative tactic. Patriot Act II has been broken into small bites, which are appearing as attachments to other appropriation bills.”

He continues, “Buried deep inside the 77-page Senate Intelligence Authorization bill, parts of which are classified, comes a one paragraph provision titled … ‘Modification to Definition of Financial Institution in the Right to Financial Privacy Act.’

“Many lawmakers, when they voted to pass the measure this summer, didn’t realize the tiny provision would significantly expand government powers.

“We talked to the American Civil Liberties Union and they told us the legislation allows the FBI to secretly sift through our financial transactions with car dealers, travel agencies, post offices, casinos, pawnbrokers, as well as currency exchanges, all without a judge’s approval.”

So to some extent, activists have been successful in sending a message to the White House that the Patriot Act II is not wanted. Now we have to watch our government even more closely.

Carolyn PlummerNew York NY

Struggles in Georgia

It is my sincere hope that with all the exciting changes and developments occurring both in our nation and internationally the People’s Weekly World doesn’t neglect to write about recent events in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Ex-Soviet Foreign Minister and Gorbachev acolyte Eduard Shevardnadze has been forced to relinquish the presidency in the face of mass actions and charges of electoral fraud. He is leaving behind a collapsed economy and hungry citizenry.

In the important book, “Heroic Struggle, Bitter Defeat: Factors Contributing to the Dismantling of the Socialist State in the USSR,” Marxist author Bahman Azad writes the following: “Less than a decade after the dismantling of the socialist states, it is becoming quite clear who is being discarded by history. … All we need to do is ask: where has history placed the likes of Gorbachev, Yakovlev, Shevardnadze, and Yeltsin? … [A] decade … was all it took for history to pass its judgment on those who betrayed socialism and turned their backs on the future of mankind.”

It would seem that current happening in Georgia stand as a powerful confirmation of Azad’s perspective.

Surely this is a subject worthy of comprehensive and sustained coverage in the pages of PWW.

Adam Minsky

Brookline MA

Unfair to Mother Teresa

It strikes me as ridiculous and offensive to say Mother Teresa should not be made a saint because she lived in celibacy, was friendly with the Duvalier family, and failed to eliminate poverty. (Letters, PWW 11/22-28)

She took some of the ill-gotten gains of the Duvaliers and other rich people to feed the hungry and tend the sick. Should she have spurned the money and let the hungry remain hungry and the sick remain sick?

Whose life is more worthy to emulate, the one devoted to actively alleviating the pain of the sick and needy or the political dogmatist condemning those who do good in the world as politically incorrect?

Personally I prefer the politically incorrect do-gooder to the politically correct caviling do-nothing.

Michael QuirkPortland ME

Mother Teresa had it wrong

I think the dear lady went about it the wrong way in fighting hunger among the poor. In the U.S. the people collect cans of food for the hungry despite the fact this is the richest county in the world.

The American people should take their cans to the polling booth and vote out the Bible-toting right wing that are causing it. If there was a leak in your roof, would you collect cans to catch the rain water or would you fix the roof?

John BorowskiVia email

Holiday wishes

The People’s Weekly World is a source of lots of information and happenings. I also enjoy the culture pages. I wish us all peace and justice – here and in the world. Have a healthy and productive New Year.

Diana WitkusKingston NY