Support ‘Marriage Equality’

Bush’s support of “Marriage Protection Week” is a public relations ploy developed by a right-wing coalition bent on denying same-sex couples equal legal protection under the law. These groups claim they merely wish to protect “family values,” but there are millions of American families with gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender members. The support of any effort to hurt the legal and emotional well-being of these families through this so-called marriage protection effort is a direct assault on the very family values these extremist groups pretend to uphold.

Instead, “Marriage Equality Week,” being held simultaneously from Oct. 12-18, supports the right of all families to enjoy the legal rights and privileges that marriage offers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These rights, now denied to countless families throughout our country, cover more than 1,000 legal protections and responsibilities the federal government extends to married couples, including the right to take leave from work to care for a spouse, the right for the widowed to collect Social Security benefits, and the right to fight for child custody. All people should have the same standing and constitutional right to equality under the law.

Barbara RussumChicago IL

Where’s the proof?

His justifications for going to war having been laughably discredited by David Kay’s virtually empty Iraq weapons report, George Bush nonetheless continues to willfully assert that he vanquished “a clear and imminent threat” to America’s security. As proof, the president seizes on one little vial of botulism bug that was discovered in an Iraqi scientist’s kitchen refrigerator, the most tangible evidence yet to be produced by Kay’s $300 million fishing expedition. Now, we skeptics can be gratefully assured that, thanks to our commander-in-chief’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, a nasty case of food poisoning has been averted somewhere. All hail to the Chief!

Cord MacGuireBoulder CO

Perils of the ‘socialist market economy’

Erwin Marquit’s article (PWW, 7/12) on attempts by China and Vietnam to survive in today’s capitalist world by permitting capitalist economic institutions to “co-exist” with socialist ones in their countries is useful and helpful, but we should remember that the main problems faced by countries born of socialist revolutions was that they were poor in capital and technology and forced to “socialize poverty,” using often coercive forms of public planning to develop rapidly in a world where they were directly threatened by hostile capitalist economic and military powers.

While all those who support socialism wish the Chinese and Vietnamese well, socialist “mixed economies” increased economic and social divisions over time in Yugoslavia, where Tito adopted such a program in the late 1940s, and served as the rationale for Mikhail Gorbachev’s disastrous Perestroika policies in the Soviet Union, which stimulated the rise of a private sector based on a sinister alliance of black marketeers and state bureaucrats, who siphoned resources from the public sector and eventually overthrew the Soviet state and dismembered the Soviet Union in order to try to establish full-fledged capitalism.

Using market mechanisms to develop socialist societies may be advisable or even necessary, but this is a far cry from supporting private corporations and large-scale private ownership of the productive forces in more advanced economies in the name of some abstract “socialist market economy.”

Norman MarkowitzNew Brunswick NJ

Constructive criticisms

I have been a reader of People’s Weekly World for many years, since it was the Daily World, in fact. However, I must strongly object to a couple of items I read in the Sept. 27-Oct. 3 issue. In the front-page article, “Soldier’s dad to Bush: Stop playing with lives,” it says that the antiwar coalition Win Without War held a news conference demanding the firing of “Rumsfeld and transfer of authority in Iraq to the United Nations.” It says “Congress should reject the $87 billion requested by Bush unless these two conditions are met.” Well, excuse me, but that’s not good enough. Congress should reject Bush’s request for the $87 billion no matter what. Why waste more money on this illegal, immoral war under any circumstances?

The other item is about the praise for Neil Young’s new CD “Greendale” in the music review. After Neil Young supported Reagan in 1980 and, to my knowledge, still tries to justify it, I could never bring myself to patronize his music even if I liked it.

Mike BergMorrisville PA