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Watson Appreciated

To the Editor:

I hate to see Johnnie "Guitar" Watson step down from the top spot at the Memphis Board of Education (City Reporter, January 9th issue). I appreciated his calm demeanor. I just wish that he had tightened up the reins on the board members. They always seem to be grandstanding whenever a TV spotlight is cast upon them. All fluff and no substance.

I have an idea! Let's have King Willie Herenton (former MCS superintendent), with his tremendous brainpower and arrogance, take over this spot again. Recently, he appears to be bored with just being the mayor of Memphis.

Mark McKee

Germantown

Bush Banter

To the Editor:

Let's not beat around the Bush: Our president-select stinks.

What do we have to show for the first two years of the Bush administration? A failed economic "strategery" that was really just a tax-cut handout to Bush's wealthy supporters, a failed "war on terrorism" whose only tangible result is a slew of new laws attacking our civil liberties, and "regulatory streamlining" that has made it easier for polluters to harm the health of our communities.

Internationally, Bush's policies have made us the laughingstock of civil society. At best, his pursuit of war in Iraq is an attempt to divert attention from his domestic failures. At worst, it's a thinly disguised attempt to grab control of the Middle East's oil for the multinational energy companies that paid to put him and Cheney in office.

When will the media start covering the real forces behind Bush's war? Where was the story about Unocal finally getting its long-sought pipeline through Afghanistan after we secured the country for them? Where was the story about Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton Oil, getting the lucrative contracts to provide support services for Bush's military adventures? For that matter, where are the stories about Halliburton's dealings with Iraq before the Gulf War and its prospects for profit after Saddam's ouster?

The 250,000 young Americans that Bush wants to deploy in the Middle East will come disproportionately from lower-income communities where young people have joined the military to pursue opportunities for a better future. Will this future feature Gulf War syndrome, a lifetime of psychological pain, or death from biological weapons sold to Iraq by U.S. corporations? Our Constitution allows the use of military force for purposes of defense only, not corporate profiteering.

Congressman Rangel is right to make the draft an issue, since war in Iraq amounts to trading blood for oil -- something most Americans wouldn't volunteer for if given an informed choice. If we are to send America's young to their death for oil-company profits, let's draft the sons and daughters of those who will benefit -- oil-company executives and shareholders.

On the domestic front, Bush's latest "economic stimulus" proposal amounts to nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul. The proposed tax exemption on corporate dividends will only benefit the wealthiest Americans -- 50 percent of the break goes to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers. The average taxpayer will only be hurt as state governments see their tax revenues decline along with federal revenues. At the same time, local governments will suffer as tax-exempt bonds lose their attraction to investors.

Unfortunately, the commercial media -- FOX, MSNBC, CNN, etc. -- have chosen to put a positive spin on this president. Common folk are left in the dark about his unprecedented assault on the poor, the working class, and all Americans' civil liberties.

God save us should the other half of our country fail to vote in the next election.

Scott Banbury

Memphis

To the Editor:

In response to one reader's letter of confusion over why Iraq and North Korea are being handled differently, it has to be pointed out that, like Iraq, the North Korean regime is hostile and oppressive; like Iraq, North Korea possesses weapons of mass destruction. Unlike Iraq, North Korea's weapons are nuclear.

Many of the problems the current administration is dealing with began during the previous administration. When North Korea threatened to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1993, the Clinton administration, with assistance from Jimmy Carter, agreed to deliver nuclear technology to North Korea if North Korea would cease its nuclear program.

President Clinton signed an agreement with a nation that does not honor agreements -- an agreement that annually provided two light-water nuclear reactors and 500,000 metric tons of fuel oil to a dictator who has used mass starvation to control his people. The timing of when to play the nuclear extortion card was left up to North Korea. It's easier to accuse President Bush of having a "double standard" relative to the "Axis of Evil" than it is for some to rethink their own failed "appeasement" strategy.

Chris Leek

Memphis

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at letters@memphisflyer.com. All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

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