On taxpayers

Your March 28 headline in English refers to “the taxpayers’ dole.” The Spanish headline is more accurate, referring to “the workers’ funds.” The difference is important. Once taxes are collected they belong to the whole people equally, not by how much you paid in as if government were a joint stock company. To speak in terms of taxpayers’ money encourages an individualist, mean-spirited attitude of why my money should go to “Them,” and is used for the various tax caps that are killing our cities. “Them” is usually the poor, unemployed, immigrant and homeless. Even though in this case it refers to corporations, please don’t fall into the language trap of the ruling class.

Richard Levins

Cambridge MA

Special Olympics

Just a note to thank Lawrence Albright for the commentary on Obama and the Special Olympics gaffe, on pww.org. My son is in Special Olympics bowling (he averages 130, and occasionally scores over 200, but that’s Canadian 5-pin scoring!) as well as soccer and floor hockey. I don’t know how it works in the United States, but up here the Special Olympic participants are all adults, with a wide range of intellectual and/or physical challenges. Some are excellent athletes — my son, for example, is a terrific soccer player.

None of them are “precious” as the appalling Sarah Palin calls them. They are simply ordinary human beings who enjoy doing sports with their friends in a supportive atmosphere.

Kimball Cariou

Vancouver, Canada

Kimball Cariou is editor of People’s Voice, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada.

Fed up and looking for change!

Coming from Newark Airport on my way to New York City, I was sitting in the bus traveling down the expressway when, lo and behold, what do I see: a sign on top of a building with the letters “LAZ.” It immediately reminded me of the letters on the newly privatized Chicago parking meters — now leased for 75 years by LAZ and now costing lots more for drivers.

I thought about all the frustrated drivers, including myself, looking for dozens of quarters during the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.

Columnist Carol Marin hit the nail on the head when she wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, March 25, “In 1979 lousy snow removal sparked a voter rebellion and booted out a mayor. Could the parking meters be the new snow?”

I totally agree with her statement, thinking about our mayor, Richard Daley, and I would add, “King Richard II is about to be dethroned. The dynasty is over!”

Lance Cohn

Chicago IL

Hope rising

Greetings friends, from a warm and sunny Venezuela! I hope that springtime is also coming your way!

As I write this note, I look out the window of my mud home to take in the view from the south. In that direction lies a majestic mountain called La Fumarola. If I squint I can see the waterfall which runs down the mountain face, many miles away. In recent months, the neighbors of my small rural community hiked to the top, bringing cement and shovels and pipes on their mules and donkeys, to bring fresh water to our town. This spring much of the water will be used to water fields of potatoes, and cabbage and tomatoes on land that has been fallow for decades.

This activity may seem like “small potatoes” in a world that is hurting in a mega scale, but I think it’s colossal. Scenes like this are being repeated by the thousands, throughout Venezuela and other points south. Communities are coming together, looking at common problems, and are being empowered to create alternatives. Such as growing food for local consumption instead of export crops. Such as using the resources of a nation to feed and heal and house and educate its citizens.

Profound social change is sweeping throughout Latin America via the ballot box instead of the bullets of past decades. New constitutions, new leaders and new economic models are all bringing new life to the continent and new hope to the world.

SOA Watch will be sponsoring three delegations to Latin America in 2009 together with the Marin Task Force on the Americas. SOA Watch will also be offering a retreat in Venezuela this summer. E-mail me for more information: lisavenezuela@gmail.com.

Join me and come and see for yourself! Please help to spread the word.


Lisa Sullivan


Lisa Sullivan is Latin American coordinator for the School of the Americas Watch..

I need your help

I am going to take on the challenge of trying to build a Chicago and maybe even national campaign against Clear Channel for their removal of the Tom Joyner Morning Show from the V103, 102.7 FM, radio lineup here in Chicago. Tom Joyner has been extremely helpful over the years in promoting democratic causes including voter registration, support for civil rights, and mobilizations against social injustice. He has also raised millions of dollars for Black students and historically Black colleges and universities. He was truly phenomenal in promoting active support for Obama through his radio show every morning, and he promotes active support for President Obama’s agenda now.

I need help in figuring out how to reach far and wide to mount such a campaign. I have already called and emailed Clear Channel, but I think an avenue for the mass expression of outrage and to convey the mass demand that the Joyner show be reinstated is what is needed.

I am going to begin to research Clear Channel. Anything you can do to help in any capacity would be greatly appreciated.

Clear Channel’s e-mail address is chicagolandcommunity

@clearchannel.com. Let’s storm the barricades!

Dee Miles

Chicago IL

Good month for life

March was a good month for people, like myself, who oppose the death penalty. The government of New Mexico did the right thing and repealed the death penalty in their state. The New Hampshire state House did the right thing and voted to abolish executions in their state. Hopefully the state Senate will follow their lead. And Gov. Timothy Kaine vetoed a bill that would have expanded the death penalty in Virginia.

The death penalty hasn’t deterred crime, war, spying or murder. Innocent people have been put on death row, and I believe that innocent people have been executed over the years. Plus the death penalty appeals process costs more money than sentencing defendants to life in prison.

No government should have the legal right to strap people down and take their lives.

Chuck Mann

Greensboro NC

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