Hold on to your wallets

Hold on to your wallets folks, here comes Chicago’s mayor, hand outstretched asking for a little. A little what? Why money of course! And to whom is his hand outstretched? You can be sure it’s not those who have the ability to pay.

All the “revenue enhancements,” or to use the dreaded word, taxes, are targeting those with the least ability to pay. Whether they are up-front taxes such as property, vehicle or durable goods purchases which cannot be avoided, or taxes on purchases of choice not necessity, the burden will fall on working people.

Was any thought given to other sources of revenue so as to ease the burden on working families? It seems that the answer is no! One source that would not affect working people could be a 0.5 percent tax on stock and bond transactions, but Daley’s financial backers would not be very happy. So there he is posturing on TV, protesting those who dare question his tax increases or rationale for another military academy by expressing his undying love for the people of Chicago.

Did Daley get on the podium in the last four years as our sons and daughters came home in coffins? Did he get on the podium as our federal government squandered billions on an illegal, immoral and unwinnable war? You want money, Mr. Mayor? There’s your money! You could have organized other city mayors and congresspeople from across the state to show the people of Illinois that you really care for them and their problems.

No such thing from you, Mr. Mayor, just a lot of rhetoric. Your decision to close the budget shortfall of approximately $200 million by laying it at the feet of working people shows exactly to whom you are beholden.

Bill Mackovich
Chicago IL

Ruling class split

It seems to me a major struggle is going on within the U.S. ruling class. But I don’t even see left journalists discussing it.

Last week, the bombshell story was the NIE and that Bush knew for months that Iran had no nuclear weapons program. This put Bush, Cheney and the neocons on the defensive.

The CIA and the other spy agencies — and the “realist” sections of the ruling class connected to them — let the NIE come to light to forestall an attack on Iran. Result: the planned attack on Iran could not now be launched. Arch neocon John Bolton referred to the leaked story about the NIE as a “putsch.”

So, to punish the CIA and its allies, three days later Bush, Cheney and the neocons retaliated by leaking the story about the CIA destroying the torture tapes. Now, the CIA is under fire, and the scandal about Bush’s lying about Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons is off the front page.

Anyone else see it this way?

Thomas Kenny
New York NY

More on the Annapolis conference

Gush Shalom’s Uri Avnery described the Annapolis conference on Palestine as “window dressing.” Masses of Palestinians protested the conference. Few on the left doubt the event’s main purpose was to bolster President Bush’s reputation in the region, to create normalization, minus substance, of Arab states with Israel, and to further isolate uninvited Iran in the face of possible military strikes. No representatives from Hamas or the PLO were invited. Not up for discussion: Palestinian refugees’ right of return, the status of Jerusalem, the situation in Gaza, the UN mandated return to pre-1967 war borders. Yet, in a front page PWW article by Sue Webb (PWW 12/1-7), the conference is called “an opportunity for peace.”

Quoting the American Task Force on Palestine’s Hussein Ibish, we are offered this gem: “How would it really look if a peace process would be started? It would look a lot like this.” How can a so-called “peace process” ignore the protests of so many Palestinians? How can it exclude any representatives but those bearing the U.S./Israeli stamp of approval? How can it call for the establishment of a Palestinian state within a year, yet ignore the most crucial issues?

The editors of the PWW and Ms. Webb have indicated that they do not regard “justice” and “fairness” as necessary components to a peace process. If it be true that this conference was nothing more than “window dressing” for the Bush administration, then it is sad to see that the PWW is helping hang that window’s blinds.

James Jordan
Tucson AZ

Susan Webb responds:

Our article was a news story, not an editorial. It reported the thinking of significant American Jewish and Palestinian groups, along with noting concerns and splits in the U.S. ruling class on the issue. You may disagree with these groups’ interpretations, but anyone seriously interested in a just and real peace between Israel and Palestine needs to take them and their views into account. Peace activists ought to note positively these groups’ emphasis on making this an opportunity to organize and struggle. Why would anyone object to that?

Answering racists

How do you answer the racists (Jim Lane, PWW 11/10-16)? I would answer them with a few questions.

What is the difference between transnational individuals crossing borders to improve their financial development, and transnational corporations (legally considered to have the rights of individuals) that are doing the same?

If we support or deny either one, aren’t we ipso facto in support or denial of the other? Or, doesn’t supporting one set a legal precedent that supports the other?

And, I don’t think it’s racism as much as culturism. Nobody likes to change what’s familiar to them, and transnationalism is pushing those edges throughout the species.

I’m not sure if this is an “honest connection” of the transnational dilemma facing human society, but to say it’s caused by the corporations tends to negate the more general reality of the socially inadequate strategies of the capitalist economic system.

Leandro Della Piana
Attleboro MA