Letters from our readers


On Obama and Food Stamps

Dear Editors,

I want to share how Food Stamp recipients are being addressed in Obama's February stimulus bill.

Unless you are a recipient of Food Stamps, you would not be aware of letters received recently from the Department of Health and Human Services state agencies regarding a benefit increase. One such letter arrived to me here in Maine. It indicated an increase in my food stamp benefit to $138 beginning April 2009. Keep in mind, my benefit was $144 last year until a rise in Social Security benefit of $51 in January reduced it to $114.

The most salient feature of this notice, that explained the increase as "part of the President's economic stimulus plan signed into law on February 17th," was this: "Because of the size of the increase ($24), another increase in the maximum benefits may not come again for several years."

In short, I received $144 in Food Stamp allowance until December 31, 2008. Beginning in April, and "for several years," I will be receiving $138 or $6 less. This is "because of the size of the increase," explains the letter. I am to be grateful, presumably.

Maine, USA
19 March 2009

On "FMLN vows respect for private property and Washington"

Having just returned from El Salvador where I served as a member of a legal delegation of international observers of the presidential election, I would like to add some supporting commentary to Bill van Auken's excellent analysis of the FMLN victory.

All along, the campaign was largely characterized by a marked lack of resistance, on the part of both the US and the interests protected by ARENA, to the notion of an FMLN win. With no program of meaningful change to speak of and with no mechanism in place (or desire) to address the underlying cause of the suffering of the Salvadorans (i.e., US political and financial stranglehold over the country), the FMLN was seen as mostly harmless at worst, and an indispensable socio-political buffer at best. If there was ever any doubt of this, then further evidence in the form of Avila's rapid concession of defeat, the absence of expected post-electoral violence, and Funes's rush to reaffirm US-El Salvador relations should have clinched it.  

The thousands of rebel guerillas that died in the civil war, not to mention Farabundo Marti himself, must be turning over in their graves. ARENA's battle cry, "We will not hand over El Salvador [to the Left]," has been moot for a long time.

Kathleen Z
New Jersey, USA
20 March 2009

On "US Federal Reserve announces massive increase in government debt"

It's worth emphasizing the fact that the Fed and the Treasury had to do this, given Obama's commitment to spending a lot more money. Third parties were not buying enough Treasuries to bankroll the "stimulus" and the various bailouts. The government was faced with an immediate choice: Either abandon the New New Deal/banker's looting of the Treasury, or start printing lots of funny money.

The irony is, this move guarantees that private investors and foreign banks will be buying even less US Treasury debt in the future—which, in turn, guarantees that the Fed will have to buy more Treasury debt again.

Lloyd G
South Dakota, USA
20 March 2009

On "The media defends executive bonuses"

Tom, an excellent job in both a broad and detailed survey article cutting across a wide spectrum of the corporatist Empire's "Vichy" media.

However, having read Sorkin's column in the Times and seen his interview on Lehrer's "News Hour," I would have to say that he is representative of the Times's leading role in calmly and pompously distorting this growing economic disaster, and reprising the role that Judith Miller played in the Iraq war propaganda roll-out.

Alan M
Maine, USA
21 March 2009

On "Six years of Washington's war in Iraq"

The war in Iraq is a disgrace; it makes Hitler and the National Socialists look like schoolboys. It is about time somebody applies the Nuremberg law to Bush and his gang in a big international trial. I am convinced that the American people in the future will pay dearly if Bush and his neo/cons are not called to answer for their crimes.

Best regards, 
Anteo S

20 March 2009

On "Israeli troops detail Gaza atrocities as demand grows for war crimes probe"

Just obeying orders? The same excuse used by the SS at Nuremburg

Frank A
21 March 2009