There’s more in the pantry for the generals

While the Bush administration’s sweeping tax program will devastate the federal government’s minimal social programs, it is not going to take any skin off the nose of the military.

In fact, the military budget this year will be increased by at least $5.6 billion, and possibly much more as the administration starts appropriating money for its “missile defense” program.

The fact that “missile defense” is an almost total subsidy to the arms industry, since there is no evidence that any of the systems proposed could actually work, adds insult to injury.

The fears expressed by some talk-show participants that the tax cuts could leave the pantry bare for the military are groundless. No matter how much programs that actually help people are cut, the military is always going to get more money as long as the capitalists run the country.

The right is only “against big government” when it comes to the government redistributing wealth in favor of the poor. When it comes to the profits of the arms industry and the armed defense of their power and privileges, the capitalists want the biggest government possible.

The taxes cuts the Bush administration defends in the name of “letting people keep their money” will mean a million dollars a year to the 400 richest people in the United States. On the other hand, according to the best figures available, 35 million Americans who file income tax returns are not going to get any money back from the government-not a dime.

The Bush administration is simply trying to accelerate the process of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer that has been going on now for many years under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

The only question is whether this truculently right-wing regime may be too openly representing the profiteers and thereby risking provoking an explosion of anger from the despoiled millions. Anyway, it’s about time.

Cincinnati March for Justice

Between one and two thousand people marched in Cincinnati on June 2 to protest the April 7 fatal shooting of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed 19 year old Black youth, by a white police officer. The shooting initially caused a rebellion by the city’s Black community that was the largest in Cincinnati since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Since then, there have been protests in downtown Cincinnati almost every week leading up to the June 2 “March for Justice.” Adding further fuel to people’s anger was the recent announcement that Officer Steven Roach, the officer who shot and killed Thomas, will not be charged with murder, but rather two misdemeanor charges.

Angela Leisure, the mother of Timothy Thomas, addressed the June 2 marchers, along with other community leaders and relatives of police brutality. The demonstrators marched to the site where Thomas was killed, and paused there for a moment of silence.

There were three demands raised by the March for Justice: Stop police killings and the abuse of police power, end the police department’s racist patterns and practices, and build social and economic justice.

Socialist Action wholeheartedly puts its voice behind all three of these, and commends the March for Justice protesters for turning out in the face of police intimidation and bad weather. We must not let the death of Timothy Thomas to have been in vain.

We need to mobilize against police brutality, against racial profiling, and for community control of the police. Together we can and will build a world where police shootings such as this will happen only in the pages of history books!

Milosevic’s dark secret

The door has begun to open on the darkest secret of the overthrown neo-Stalinist regime of Slobodan Milosevic. It is the systematic attempt to conceal the evidence of the indiscriminate slaughter of Kosovar Albanians in those areas where the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was active.

In its June 4 issue, for example, the Belgrade daily Politika reported the finding of a mass grave in Belgrade containing 83 bodies and three heads without bodies. It said that the information came from “anonymous sources high in the police.”

Exhumation of the bodies began only on June 1. But, Politika reported, it seemed already clear that the the victims included a large number of children, women, and old people. Many had been stabbed or slashed to death. Some bodies showed signs of torture, and some were in KLA uniforms. Reportedly, the victims were killed in the region of Pec in Kosovo during the NATO bombing.

The discovery of this mass grave in Belgrade followed the revelation on May 28 that 80 bodies of Albanians had been found in a refrigerated truck in the Danube River near the Serbian city of Kladno. Actually, the truck had been discovered only a couple of weeks after the NATO bombing began in 1999. But it is only now that the police reported it. The police diver who found the submerged truck said that when he opened the door, bodies flooded out, the first ones being of an old man, a half-naked women, and a child about seven years old.

These findings already make clear that the Milosevic regime had a policy of trying to conceal the victims’ remains and that it trucked them to widely removed sites in Serbia. The truth of Milosevic’s crimes against humanity is emerging and it seems that soon even the wretched remnants of Stalinism and their anti-Albanian right-wing allies will no longer be able to minimize them.

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