What is a maverick?

According to Webster a maverick is “a person who acts independently of any political party, faction, etc.” John McCain and Sarah Palin call themselves “mavericks.”

However, when one examines their political record one finds their independence to be quite limited. They act more like watch dogs with long chains fastened to their collars, roaming around someone’s front yard. As long as they don’t stretch their chains to the limit they can be as independent as they please. However, the moment their Republican masters yank on the chain, they fall obediently in line and follow the party line when it comes to critical votes in Congress.

The so-called independence of McCain and Palin is nothing but a cover-up for their organization, which is full of powerful lobbyists. They want people to believe that if they return to power that things will be different than they were under Bush. Yet illegal wars, contempt of the constitution, abuse of power, anti-union legislation, privatization of Social Security, higher Medicare premiums, further curtailment of good public education curtailment of civil liberties and above all else the destruction of a woman’s right to choose are guaranteed to continue.

Their slogan is “change” but what kind of change? They cry “less taxes” when in fact they are really opposed to fair tax policy. The fact that they call themselves “mavericks” could mean real danger to our country.

Mavericks belong in old cowboy movies but not in modern politics.

Emil Shaw

Rio Rancho NM

Cuba solidarity now

Attention all Americans who believe in democracy and fair play: The blockade which has been placed on Cuba by our government for almost 50 years must be lifted now. Cuba has been hit by two severe hurricanes causing billions in damage to their country. Over 100,000 homes have been destroyed, millions of dollars of crops have been wiped out and much of their infrastructure has been badly damaged. Not one person was killed during hurricane Gustav (four were killed during hurricane Ike) but the Cuban people are ready and able to begin massive repairing to their country. The supplies needed to rebuild can be purchased in the United States if the blockade is lifted.

Please take a few minutes to write or call your congressperson demanding that the Bush administration lift all restrictions on trade and commerce and also to permit Cuban Americans to travel freely to Cuba to visit their loved ones and send money to them without restrictions.

John Gilman

Milwaukee WI

John Gilman is chairman of the Wisconsin Committee for Peace and Justice.

Prepare to protect vote

Just in case we thought we’ve already seen it all with ugly, sleazy election campaigns – from Nixon to Bush, all indications are the Republican right is driving to make this election the ugliest, lowest ever. If you want to remind yourself just what we’re up against, I recommend an evening watching “Recount,” the terrific HBO true-life drama shown earlier this year, starring Kevin Spacey and a bunch of other great actors. Relive the 2000 theft of the elections in all its horror, including some revelations not known at the time. Watching it was so tense, I felt like I couldn’t stand it, but the stunning reality of it pulled me back. Get it at Netflix or your video store, and get ready to protect the votes this November.

Renee Weisman

Chicago IL

Palin and wolves

Defibrillator usage increased last week after John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate who will be only a heartbeat from the presidency if he is elected. But, shortly after most Republicans were shocked back to life, they circled the wagons to declare she was the perfect choice. Apparently, the cure also included a dose of psychotropic drugs as well.

The pundits and commentators rallied beside Palin, even lying about how great her ghost-written acceptance speech was, apparently in the mistaken belief that they are being fair and balanced. Since Palin is the topic of everyone’s greatest love or deepest enmity, I won’t be writing about her life and most of her positions.

What I will write about are wolves. Alaska is the only state that allows hunters to use helicopters not only to kill wolves but also to chase them down and then execute them while they lay exhausted from the chase. No hunter would ever consider this to be fair.

Palin has even offered a $150 bounty for every wolf killed in Alaska. Kill every one of the 9,000 or so wolves in Alaska, and the shooters will reap a harvest of about $1.3 million. And, don’t worry about wolves being extinct in Alaska. There’s still another 5,000 or so in the lower 48, most of which are protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Wolves are highly intelligent social animals, loyal to their mates, care for their children and protective of all in their pack.

But just this past May, Palin had no problem with her own Department of Fish and Game killing 14 orphaned wolf pups in their own dens, in violation of her state’s own law.

Wolves provide absolutely no meat value, and wolf coats are just not the fashion item for this season. Except when deliberately provoked, wolves don’t attack humans. Even then, wolves try to avoid human contact.

No, I won’t write about Sarah Palin’s political philosophies. Her disregard for life is enough.

Walter Brasch

Bloomsburg PA

Dr. Walter Brasch is professor of mass communications at Bloomsburg University and is the author of “Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush.”

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