Progressives Or Democrats?

As an avid supporter of The Progressive Populist, I was dismayed, disturbed, and disappointed by the 4/1/02 editorial, "United We Stand." Consider: (1) A progressive Democrat is an oxymoron. The few who want to be progressives will be stopped by the Democratic leadership (refer to Hightower's If the Gods ... pp 80-82 regarding Steve Sovern, Iowa, who was told by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, "don't let zeal for reform influence you." (2) Before Sept. 11, the Dems made minuscule effort to stop Bush's appointments, tax cuts, standardized tests, and most else. (3) The Dems are beholden to the corporations, just as the Republicans are; and, neither want to support public-funded elections which would threaten their positions.

Clinton's last-minute environmental regulations were to set up a political trap for Bush. Had Gore won, Clinton would have not issued them, and Gore would have continued a dismal environmental record. Clinton agreed with the sanctions on Iraq resulting in the deaths of a million civilians, at least half children. Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota is considered a "progressive." Yet, Wellstone voted for the Anti-Terrorism Bill (USA/PATRIOT Act) and he supports the SIX BILLION $ A YEAR the US taxpayers give Israel, which Sharon and others before him use to humiliate and murder Palestinians. Progressive Dems? I think not.

After the elections, JMC made no apologies for endorsing Ralph Nader. In his interview with Nader (3/1/02 TPP), Nader accurately stated after 9/11 Gore would have been more belligerent than Bush and Gore wanted a bigger military budget. Nader supporters did not elect Bush. Had Gore not been so egotistical, he would have withdrawn, and Nader could easily have beaten Bush.

This change of heart of TPP makes me wonder if there just happens to be more Dems who subscribe to TPP than do progressives. Whatever the reason, I was literally ill after reading the 4/1/02 editorial. Could this be how Nader felt when those he supported for 40 years let fear suck away their conscience?

Joan Malerich
St. Paul, Minn.

Nader's Hubris Cost the Nation

The facts that Ralph Nader did not, and even now cannot seem to grasp are that:

1. Having chosen not to enter the primaries of the major parties, he should have learned the necessary approaches of small parties. A tiny minority party must use a different strategy from the majors, but Nader wanted the Democrats to act like the Greens;

2. The US populace as a whole has rejected progressive populism to which obviously less than 10% of them subscribe --deal with that fact;

3. That while it is true that Democrats and Republicans are close shades of gray in the corporate-subservience scale, only a Nader is optically challenged enough not to be able to distinguish donkeys from elephants;

4. That democratic government encompasses more than domestic economic issues (however large they loom) --for example, international affairs, appointments to the judiciary, etc. Perhaps Nader will allege that he can see no difference on those matters either, between Bush and Gore. Which does little to enhance one's opinion of Nader's perspicacity.

Many of his friends, in the closing weeks, asked Nader to trade in his votes in the toss-up states to Gore, and to keep his percentage up, to accept votes in the "Democratically-sure" states. He did not. That hubris has and will cost the nation (and world) dearly. Hope he can live with that.

Rustum Roy
University Park, Pa.
Email: rroy@psu.edu

Cowardly Democrats

While we continue to revisit the 2000 election --I just remembered another reason I voted for Nader and not Gore. Gore's running mate was Joe Lieberman, the most Republican of Democrats. It was a choice the Democrats and Gore made.

I continue to receive mailings from the Democrats in Washington, always with a check list for me to rate my concerns. Always with some dotted lines for me to send money. I send these back with "cowards!" written on the checklist and the envelope. They never question foreign policy!

It's always domestic policy, domestic policy. I care about our foreign policy while we wreck the circumstances of so many lives with our taking of natural resources and our connection to multinational corporations who exploit cheap labor and take advantage of unprotected environment.

Lynn Rudmin Chong
Sanbornton, NH
Email chonglyn@metrocast.net

Nader All the Way

Puleeze if we get Ralph Nader to run again --will you not dilute your enthusiasm this time!

You and your ilk and Molly killed his chances with that "vote Green local but use your head for the national."

I am 86 years old and I would like to know that we were back on the right track before I leave for good.

Thank you,

Margaret Stewart
Ojai, Calif.

Democrats Must Reform

There is a lot that needs to be said in this [editorial, "United We Stand (4/1/02 TPP)]. It brings up some crucial points. One point is that the Dems have strayed far from their roots and original purpose. I actually voted Republican this last presidential election for the first time because I see too many things in the Dems that I don't like, including changing the ethnic makeup of the country --against the popular will --due to self-serving political calculations and/or lack of backbone on immigration policy, support for degraded cultural values, and the attempt to concentrate power and money in Washington. Nor as I grow older do I think everything about the Republicans and conservatives is bad --it is a healthy realization. But when it comes down to brass tacks the latter party will stand for big business and big money more than the former. Either the Democrats have to reform and get rid of spurious causes that betray the American people and good virtues, or a new party/movement with better ideals and a new program will have to arise. Perhaps you are more optimistic than me about the former, but it could happen.

Brian Hammer
Vernon, Conn.

That's Sen. DURBIN

I enjoy your publication very much and recommend it to friends but I would like to suggest that you do some careful checking of names, particularly of sitting senators in the articles. In the 4/15/02 issue in the article on page 6 headlined "Voice of Capital Denounces Farm Supports," an amendment is mentioned credited to Sen. Dick DURKIN of Illinois. Our Democratic Senator is Dick DURBIN. This error would not be so bad if it were not for the fact that Sen. DURBIN is opposed in the fall by the Republican winner of the March 19 primary whose name is Tom Durkin. It is going to be tough enough for the voters to keep this straight without a publication such as yours mixing them.

In one other article in the issue, Sen. DURBIN was correctly identified. I would welcome a prominent clarification in a subsequent issue.

Sincerely Yours,
Katherine D. Taft
Chicago, Ill.

Businesses Need Insurance Help

I can't understand why business people don't jump on the push for universal health care after the way they are really getting beat up on health insurance rates.

There is no logic whatever in tying a person's access to health care to his place of employment. Lose your insurance and you are one germ or one accident away from bankruptcy. We can provide coverage for all for much less than is spent now.

Canada is often held up as an example. We spend twice as much, per capita, than they do for similar service. The World Health Organization ranks us 37th mainly due to the lack of care for the 44 million uninsured. We may have the best care in the world IF you have the money, live in the right place and are medically sophisticated. Otherwise it's tough cookies. We spend, per person, per year, $600 more than Canadians just for the cost of administration and billing in hospitals and doctors's offices. That is a lot of money for unnecessary paperwork.

Back when non-profit Blue Cross was generally the only game in town, they paid out 94% of the premiums in benefits for group and individual plans combined. The big insurance companies pay out, at most, 85% for groups and only 60% for individuals.

Must-read book on the subject: Bleeding the Patient, the consequences of corporate medicine" by Himmelstein and Woolhandler, both Harvard Medical School profs. Common Courage Press, $17 paperback.

Frederick C Sage
(retired health care administrator)
Boulder, Colo.
Email fsagebldr@cs.com

Chickens Come Home

The situation in the Middle East has brought the story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice to life. The premise that the Lord bestowed the land there upon the Israelis is weak indeed and would not stand up in a court of law. The American Indians have irrefutable proof of ownership and you know what happened to them!

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

Fear and its Uses

Fear is being used successfully and has been used for centuries as an emotional tool by emperors, monarchs, dictators and presidents to control the people they govern at home and those they would like to control abroad. This apparatus of the management needs to be investigated and reported to an electorate currently to be found with its collective head in the sand.

Don Zook-Slagel
Waldoboro, Maine
Email bluenun@prexar.com

Watch Taiwangate

Please begin watching Taiwan-gate closely as this one poses great danger. As you know, three high-level Bush appointees have taken oodles of cash from a slush fund operated by the former president of Taiwan. What taiwan wants most is arms. Yesterday (4/11) the Washington Times had article quoting [Assistant Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz saying the Bush administration will do "... whatever it takes ..." to defend Taiwan from China.

They have already allowed Taiwan to buy new missiles, aircraft and helicopters. They ended Clinton-era restrictions allowing Taiwan to buy arms only once a year. Next month a delegation of US defense officials will visit the island to discuss building submarines for them. The usual boys, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, etc. Wolfie's remarks reveal a clear departure from the Clinton approach which favored closer ties with the mainland. The paper got this info through Freedom of Information Act (which Bush is trying to shut down, of course). And let's remember China is already very upset at recent disclosure of Bush plans revealing his Pentagon is prepared to use nukes in a conflict over Taiwan. If that happens, we can all kiss our butts goodbye --every one of us.

The question is: are these people insane?

Steve Warren
San Marcos TX
Email steve@gomusic1.com

Corporate Interest

Bully for the Internet! From it we learn that the only thing about Federal Government finances to diminish between 1970 and 1999 was the percent of revenues coming from corporate income taxes!

The United States Government Office of Management and Budget lists on the Internet the major sources of income for the government. These are individual income taxes, Social Security taxes, and corporate income taxes. Comparing receipts of 1970 with 1999, we learn that the only thing to diminish was the percent of government receipts coming from corporate income taxes. Corporate income taxes for 1999 supplied 10% of the Federal budget. In 1970, they had supplied 17% of the Federal budget. Astute lobbying by corporate interests had created the legislation that diminished the portion of the budget coming from corporate income taxes by more than 40%!

Remember 1970? That was before the Dow Jones Average reached 1000! In 1999, it soared through 11,000; an 11-times expansion of the indicator of an economic entity that was in the process of welching on its federal support commitment! Don't worry. Social Security taxes, that had supplied 23% of the total receipts of 1970, supplied 34% of the total receipts for 1999! While total federal receipts of 1999 grew to 9.4 times those of 1970, corporate income taxes slacked off to 5.6 times their input of 1970 and Social Security taxes filled the breach by the expansion of their contribution to 13.7 times the amount provided in 1970. This contribution, as a portion of the 1999 Federal receipts, was 48% higher than that made in 1970.

In time our legislators will be reminded that while corporate interests may supply much of the money for an election campaign, it is the people who supply the votes.


William J. Kaliff
York, Neb.

Vigilance is Needed

The past few days I watched "The Men Who Killed Kennedy," the 25-year-after-the-fact documentary, on the History Channel. Today the White House spokesman, Hairless Ari, said something about "The Grassy Knoll Society" as a put-down to remarks from a Georgia Congresswoman [Cynthia McKinney] on the possibility of some in the administration making money off the War on Terrorism. Some similarities circa 1963 and c. 2000 are striking, to me at least. To wit:

1) The "Political Assassination" of Al Gore and the country in shock and grieving from 9/11.

2) A Macho Texan in the White House with BIG Domestic Problems and fighting a simultaneous War on Foreign Soil(s).

3) Going from a "Peace" to "War" Administration.

4) The CIA and FBI with unfettered power and unlimited budgets.

5) Military buildup.

6) No clear picture to where we are going or when it will end.

7) Trumped up Defense claims (i.e. Gulf of Tonkin/Star Wars Success and need for).

The "tools" used, and NOT used, circa 1988 seem familiar to:

1) The use of talk radio and its format to get message out.

2) Big Media disinterested in REAL stories/leads/facts etc.

To further complicate things, this could be a another "Long Hot Summer" pitting American against American on issues ranging from the war(s), civil liberties, race, elections, fashions...

I was in the 7th grade, in Study Hall, when our principal came in with the news about President Kennedy's assassination. I could not appreciate the consequences at the time. Certainly not of the administration's change in mission and the country's change in direction.

Had Kennedy not died I probably would not have had the chance of flying the "Friendly Skies" of South East Asia, but I would gladly give up those experiences and "fond" memories to bring back all of ours and theirs who died so needlessly.

How many will die needlessly this time if we are not vigilant and forget our recent past.

I'd rather be from the "Grassy Knoll Society" than the "Glassy Eyed"!

Chris Lane Gray
Monticello, Ark.

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