Deliver mail, not fighter jets

It’s a shameful indictment of our national priorities that the postmaster general has to squirm before Congress to report that the Post Office is still losing money and may have to cut mail delivery to five days a week. Years ago, the feds partially privatized our constitutionally mandated national postal service, which has been struggling ever since to fulfill its charter of universal service.

This freshly elected Demo-cratic-Party-run Congress could easily cut a couple billion bucks from the bloated Pentagon war budget and give it instead to the U.S. Postal Service, where it would do the people more good.

The armed forces already have an excess of expensive Lockheed fighter jets, enough, for instance, to unload plenty of them on Pakistan and other U.S. client states. If the Senate Armed Services Committee, which now includes my state’s Mark Udall, were to procure four or five fewer of them, nobody except Lockheed’s executives would even notice. The resultant savings could then simply be directed towards the still vital services of the Post Office and the many decent-paying jobs it provides.

Cord MacGuire

Boulder CO

William Pomeroy

Thank you so much for Tim Wheeler’s heartfelt and inspiring article, “Remembering William Pomeroy” (PWW 2/14-20). I always looked forward to reading anything Pomeroy wrote: his stories were always human, enlightening, and at times riveting. If there is such a thing as a “classic Communist life” Wheeler gave us the picture of one in his excellent article. I shall miss Mr. Pomeroy so, so much.

I urge everyone who hasn’t read it to please do and please: let us all give more contributions to the PWW so we can continue to read more wonderful stories like this one.

Jackie Lavalle

Via e-mail

On diplomacy

“Give diplomacy a chance in Afghanistan,” by Marilyn Bechtel (PWW 2/7-13) implies that President Obama will emphasize diplomatic, political and economic tools rather than “military actions.” Specifically it cites the appointment of Richard Holbrooke as special envoy as pointing to a diplomacy shift.

However, this is consistent with a modern, full-spectrum counterinsurgency approach in which diplomacy is embedded within the overall politico-military strategy. This strategy includes diplomatic, political, economic and military components supplementing each other in an integrated and coordinated way. It does not indicate a diplomacy vs. military shift.

The real alternative, as stated in the article, is “troop withdrawal, a broad regional diplomatic approach and civilian economic and humanitarian aid.” Anything less will demonstrate that President Obama is adhering to a counterinsurgency strategy.

Al Sargis

Via e-mail

‘Cadillac Records’ review

I’m glad that the review of “Cadillac Records” (PWW 1/31-2/6) addressed the issue of theft of African American blues musicians’ songs by Anglo musicians. That was an injurious practice to the individual songwriter and to Black people, because it revealed the disregard the thieves had for both.

When people play and gradually modify traditional folk music as it’s passed around their region or ethnic group that is a normal evolution of music. However, for an outsider to take without even asking and change it radically is disrespectful. What makes it particularly insulting is the fact that the thefts were being carried out against an oppressed group.

Roberto Botello

Via e-mail

Fair treatment on immigration

This letter was printed in the Star Beacon, a local newspaper in Ashtabula County, Ohio, in response to a recent story.

Are immigrants treated unfairly? By asking this question over a front page headline picturing people of Puerto Rican descent caught in an illegal drug raid, the Star Beacon seems to be asking whether or not Hispanic members of our community are being unfairly treated.

Immigrants and immigration are words being carelessly thrown around by some very irresponsible people, not for the purpose of explaining problems and seeking harmonious and peaceful relations in our neighborhoods, but rather for the purpose of spreading falsehoods and creating fear and division among our neighbors.

Why is this being done? Who gains by it?

First, let’s realize that by “immigrant,” they are referring to our 20 million working people of Hispanic descent, workers who are sustaining such sectors of our economy as service, retail, health care and agriculture.

Of this 20 million, 7 to 8 million are “undocumented,” with large numbers coming into the U.S. labor force over the last decade.

How did this come about? Remember President Bush and other national leaders saying we need to expand the “guest worker” programs? For most of the years over the last half century, 600,000 immigrants per year have been brought into the country under “guest worker” programs.

Employers have turned tens of thousands of good paying jobs for U.S. workers into temporary jobs through these “guest worker” programs. These jobs are staffed by temporary agencies, the foreign workers having no control over conditions of their employment.

Also companies have been given a free hand to send their own recruiters south of the border, bringing back truckloads of impoverished workers seeking a means to work and support their families.

These millions of workers are denied elementary human rights, often live under threats by their employers that they face deportation unless they work in the conditions imposed upon them. Sometimes groups have been deported without being paid to instill fear into the rest.

There have been instances where immigrant workers in the meat processing industries have banded together, formed unions, and tried through negotiations to improve their wages and working conditions, wherein employers have called in the federal immigration authorities, resulting in raids, arrests and deportations.

The broken immigration system has allowed employers to create an underclass of workers with no rights, completely controlled by the corporations they work for, a system which is destroying wages, safety and working conditions for all workers. For example, the poultry industry, which employs a large number of immigrant workers, was found to be 100 percent out of compliance with wage and hour laws.

Is it not obvious who gains by making one section of our working population a scapegoat to be blamed for all the ills which have beset our society? Who desperately wants to divert our attention away from the corrupt, criminal activities of the Wall Street, finance and corporate buccaneers?

Let’s get real! Working folks need to join together and bring about the changes that will benefit all our people.

F. Wallace Kaufman

Geneva OH

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