Democrat 'Leaders' MIA

Once again, the craven "centrists" in control of the Democratic Party are poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of certain political victory this November.

The Democratic Party's national "leadership" has imposed the equally thoughtless and spineless congressional campaign strategy of silencing talk of impeachment until after the November general election. Registered Independents and Democratic voters overwhelmingly favor the eagerly anticipated Bush/Cheney Impeachment. The only group of Americans who are opposed to impeachment are -- not surprisingly -- Republicans.

Victory in congressional campaigns (in off-year elections, especially) has always depended upon which political party is most effective at mobilizing their core constituencies, not attracting defectors from the other side! This ineffective DLC closet-Republican strategy of focusing the Democratic Party's congressional campaign message at so-called "swing voters" at the fatal expense of neglecting to motivate and turn out the Democratic base has continually proven to be not only an electoral catastrophe, but cowardly as well. (In this June's primary election in California, the statewide voter turnout was only 28%!)

The illegitimate, un-American Bush/Cheney regime has produced such notable Republican Party triumphs as: stealing our elections, facilitating the Enron heist, 9/11, the failed "hunt" for Bush Crime Family business partner Osama bin Laden, the unnecessary quagmire in Iraq on behalf of the oil companies and continuing lies about nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction," attempted Social Security privatization/embezzlement, the disastrous federal government "response" to Hurricane Katrina and unconstitutional domestic surveillance of tens of millions of innocent American citizens -- without probable cause -- as required by the Fourth Amendment.

After all that, you would think that Democratic Party "leaders" would be able to locate their backbones, but we the people are still waiting.

Jake Pickering
Arcata, Calif.


'House of War'

This is first to suggest that anyone wishing to understand a major path by which we got to where we are today should read the most gripping, chilling and lucid books that I have ever read, entitled House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power, by James Carroll. As Lawrence Korb, former undersecretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, states on the cover: "One cannot understand the impact of the Pentagon on US foreign policy over the past 60 years without reading House of War."

It is secondly to suggest that one of the policies that should be basic to the Democratic platform should be the restoration of antitrust laws with teeth in them, which would harness the Wal-Marts of this country. The Barry C. Lynn article in the July issue of Harper's, entitled "Breaking the Chain," is essential reading for anyone interested in the economic future of the country. Lynn says, in part, "We should act (to restore antitrust law to its central role in protecting the economic rights ... of the American citizen), knowing that to falter is to guarantee political and perhaps economic disaster."

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.


Self-Serving on Immigration

The May issue of Oregon Peaceworker reports that Catholics in great numbers have contacted [Sen. Ron Wyden's] office campaigning for a favorable immigration legislation and were warmly supported by [Wyden's] office.

I'm not opposed to reasonable immigration legislation but point out that Catholics have a strong self-interest in promoting immigration of more Catholic Hispanics to Oregon since they will strengthen the church here, including its conservative and reactionary policies.

Oregon Hispanics have large birthrates, as Oregon newspapers frequently point out, in contrast to lower birthrates of native Americans. Not only does this aggravate school financing and health-care problems, but it also intensifies environmental problems, making it harder for Oregon to remain one of the more healthful and attractive states.

Specifically, larger numbers of residents mean more building, more destruction of forest and wetlands, expanding of the urban growth boundaries, more traffic, more litter, more plunder of natural resources, more pollution and of course more crime, as we already see. When immigrants have not been accustomed, or educated, to protect the environment, the problems are intensified.

Immigration legislation should take these factors into consideration -- environmental, political and economic -- before opening the gates to an influx of new inhabitants.

Jeanne Riha
Corvallis, Ore.

Editor Notes: It may be true that Hispanics tend to be a natural constituency for the Catholic Church, but it is also true that Jesus, in the Gospels, did instruct Christians to welcome foreigners, as well as feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick and imprisoned (see Matthew 25: 31-46), among other things that the Catholic Church supports.


Sink the Centrists

Applause for Arianna Huffington's piece on Hillary Clinton in your 6/15/06 TPP! Her shrewd penetration of Hillary's presidential ambitions, really subversive of the traditional values of a staggering Democratic Party, rings a valuable alarm bell for the unwary.

In her maneuvering to attract the hypocritical "center" of American politics, Clinton seems to ape the dodges and deceptions of Bush and the GOP. All power to those who work to sink the campaign ships of both Clinton and McCain!

Robert W. Weidner
Charleston, Ill.


Tighten Fed Belts

Wake up, America! It is time to get our house in order. And it's time for the US government to take a 5% pay cut. The federal government's overall performance warrants it. Bill Clinton left a $235 billion surplus; the current debt under the present administration is $8.1 trillion dollars. What did our grandchildren do to deserve this mammoth debt? The country is in a mess with our wild spending and pork-barrel spending.

Our country is going through some very tough times. The auto industry is forced to take pay cuts and give in to health concessions. Northwest pilots just took a 24% pay cut. Who is next, flight attendants, mechanics, etc.?

Wayne County [Detroit area] Executive Robert Ficano wants a 5% across-the-board cut -- the only way he can balance the budget. It is time for the federal government to start making some sacrifices and they can start by taking a 5% pay cut across the board. The government is the largest employer in America. They have more paid holidays than any other employer. Cut a few of those paid holidays and watch the deficit shrink.

For nine years Sen. Kennedy led the fight to raise the minimum wage; each time it was defeated. The lowest-paid workers in America could not get a penny raise in nine years. But Congress took a pay raise each year; they called it the cost-of-living adjustment.

Today I am crying out and planting a seed, hoping others will pick up on it and start spreading the word. Maybe we can get the attention of our elected officials in Washington. This is a real effort and worth a try; it's for our grandchildren. They don't deserve the largest debt in the history of our country and maybe the world.

I know some of you are having a good laugh at this idea, but does the government have a better plan? It's a challenge, but if everyone starts talking about it, it could become a reality. What's wrong with the government making some wage concessions for the good of our country? If enough pressure is put on them, it could happen. This is the beginning of a movement. Will you help move it along?

John Girolamo
South Lyon, Mich.

Editor Notes: We think it makes more sense to reverse the tax breaks for the rich, which cost the federal government $1 trillion since 2001, rather than impose arbitrary spending reductions that likely would have the greatest impact on the working poor and middle class.


Small Town, Big Heart

It gave me a warm nostalgic feeling to read about Wamsutter, Wyo. ["Wamsutter: This Wyoming town never seems to die," by Sharon Salisbury O'Toole, 6/15/06 TPP]. Back in 1988, my wife and I were in our new 1988 Plymouth Voyager when we got trapped in a whiteout on Highway 80 in Wyoming. Luckily we were spotted by a convoy of truckers who led us down off the mountain and onto the exit for Wamsutter.

There we spent the night on the gymnasium floor of the Desert School. It wasn't long before our obviously experienced hosts had the coffee pot going, and luckily my wife had packed a pound of trail mix for the trip; that was our dinner that night. There was only one other couple when we reached the gym that night, but when we woke up, the floor was literally covered. We had fallen asleep on one end of a large exercise mat, but it, too, had accumulated other couples by the time we woke.

At 4:30 a.m. the hallway was full of truck drivers having a smoke, and they laughed when my wife said she was going out to start the car at 10 below zero. But the car was new and it started right up. We got back on 80 a few minutes before they closed it, and we made it all the way across Wyoming that day.

We've always been grateful to our hosts at the Desert School and to those heroic truck drivers who led us off the mountain.

Paul Garon
Chicago, Ill.


Deja Vu

You know, I can't escape the deja vu of having grown up in Germany (1933) and witnessing the "gyrations" here. In the Hitler youth, etc., [I] totally signed on to the b.s. as a child at the time, later categorically rejecting all it stood for, only to find myself in the country of my choice and experiencing the same dilemma in the (by now) "enlightened age," so much more insidious and shrewd that it seems to elude the prying eyes of the rest of the world -- as well as its own citizens, because it comes wrapped in movies, music, fashion, lifestyle, public relations, pipe dreams and (totally unrealized) hope -- yet even more deadly than the goose-stepping Germans everybody righfully was leery of and mustered up opposition to. ...

Wouldn't it be nice if publications like yours were to set the standard for the so-called "liberal" media? That undoubtedly would cause the contrived compass to rise into the direction it was intended ... a wake-up call to the public and likely readjustment in attitude.

Just keep up the good work.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.


In the Service of Oil

The ACLU challenged the government in court (see Adam Liptak, 6/13/06 New York Times) about its illegal domestic spying program and was quickly short-circuited by the government lawyer from a full exploration because of their defense of necessary governmental secrecy surounding evidence of its legality. The government maintained that opening up the process of evidence for its lawfulness would harm national security. Besides, the government stressed that the president has powers in wartime that allow him freedom to go beyond the given statutes.

As Anthony Romero, the director of the ACLU, concluded, "The [National Security Agency] program was off-limits to judicial review."

The question now is how to get around this apparently foolproof government defense of the president's inherent authority to rule without constraints of legality during wartime.

One suggestion is to question whether we really are at "war" with Iraq or are simply meeting expectable strong resistance for an invasion and occupation of a country that had no intention of attacking us on 9/11. That attack, we all know, was by al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of Saddam Hussein. Iraq did not declare war on us; they had no WMDs -- but even without clear irrefutable evidence that they had the nuclear weapons to attack us with, Bush decided to invade and since then we have been suffering daily loss of lives and limbs from an expectable resistance to us as an unwanted occupying force. This is not a war between countries -- it's a rogue move by a military power to easily take over and occupy a country with a key resource like oil and to maintain indefinitely a dominant geopolitical role in the the Middle East to ensure control of cheap oil.

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.


Draft or Withdraw

Want to bring the American troops home from Iraq? Now? Here's how!

Introduce a bill to initiate the military draft. Include all American citizens, both female and male between the ages of 17 and 25. No exemptions! Even the children or grandchildren of members of Congress and the two daughters of President George W. Bush.

President Bush recently told the American people after returning from a surprise visit to Baghdad, Iraq, that we must continue to sacrifice in this war. But the only ones sacrificing on this war are the young men and women dying there and their devastated families.

If this bill became law, it would insure equality in sacrifice for all Americans. If it failed, either by defeat on the floor or by Bush's veto, he and his party would be recognized for their hypocrisy.

But don't fret about your children being put at risk of death, as this would end the Iraqi war within a few weeks, if not months, as none of the politicians in Washington would tolerate their children being put in harm's way.

Write your Congressmen and demand they share the sacrifice in their war of choice.

Percy Pascoe
Cuba, Mo.


From The Progressive Populist, July 15, 2006

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