Act or Repent

In 1933, the German people were faced with the rise of a totalitarian government, although, at the time, most of them did not realize it. What they saw, was a charismatic young leader, and a political party, that promised the German people homeland security and prosperity in the wake of World War I. The war had laid waste to most of the continent, and devastated the economies of the entire world, including, of course, The United States of America.

The financial elite in this country considered chancellor Hitler to be a political and social genius at the time, and many stated so in the periodicals of the day. Hitler it was said, was pulling the German people out of the Great depression by militarizing the country, and centralizing Government power. The Nazi Party did not have color coded terrorist alerts; however, they did rule the people out of a heightened sense of fear, and in secrecy.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Perhaps, it should.

Some people, in this big wide world, wish for peace and some for bombs to destroy peace. Personally, I wish the entire human race would quit repeating the same mistakes over and over again. People, we should all know better. War never solves problems, it only creates them.

Before you write me off as some flaming liberal, some flag-burning, dope-smoking radical, you should know that I am more conservative than many of my peers in the Democratic Party. I believe in States’ Rights and fiscal Government responsibility. I believe in the restriction of the Federal Government to its Constitutional duties, with decisions about abortion, and gay rights left up to the discretion of the individual states and the citizens thereof.

This preemptive war policy, the Bush Doctrine, is much like thinking that since your neighbor might steal your lawn mower, you are justified in clubbing him over the head with a baseball bat before he does. How juvenile, how Neanderthal. I thought the human race had evolved. This so-called war is wrong. Not only is it wrong, it has been declared illegal by the rest of the world, as being unjustified, and in my opinion it is un-American, period.

Granted, it is not that I don’t support our troops in harm’s way; they are serving our country, and I admire that in any citizen, but rather more, that I have a duty to them as well, to protect them from the excesses of a Government out of control. I am no more fearful of doing so than the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, in God I trust, as they did also. It is almost Halloween, and I can’t help but think of all the tax dollars I spent on candy for the troops to throw to the adoring subjugated masses in Iraq; guess that went to waste huh? Our children don’t need ghosts and goblins to feel scared in this world; neither do I, and I understand their fears.

If the premise of the American Dream is to leave behind a better world for our grandchildren, we have failed them horribly, and if I fear at all, I fear for them, since they will be carrying this monstrosity we laid at their feet: our failure, our cowardice, our debt, as citizens of this country. We should ask for their forgiveness now, or act, while we still can.

Troy R. Chindlund
Cherokee, Iowa

Silenced Voice

As a new subscriber, thanks to your policy of placing the e-mail and web site addresses of your authors at the conclusion of their articles, I met Al Krebs just before his sunset. After reading his column in TPP, I sent him a copy of a treatise that I had written called “People’s Manifesto.” He responded and said he’d like to use an idea or so from it in the “21st-Century Populist Declaration of Independence” that he was working on.

After I discovered that he lived only 30 miles away from Seattle in Everett, Wash., my wife and I visited him at his home. We were impressed at the broadness of this man’s intellect, who was also a poet and had once been one of “Nader’s Raiders.” He was now in his mid-seventies. He gave me a copy of his book, The Corporate Reapers: The Book of Agribusiness that had been published in 1992. What a marvelous legacy this man has left us. Though non-fiction I would place this book on par with Upton Sinclair’s Jungle. He covers what has been happening to the family farms that once provided us good safe food and what the giant agribusinesses are doing to our land and environment. The complicity of the big chemical and pesticide companies with the giant agribusiness farms in the destruction to our environment and our very health is shocking. From the damage they are doing, in my opinion, it would be wise for the government to either outlaw such farms or condemn them by Eminent Domain and put the land back into the hands of family farmers either by lease or resale with special small farm tax advantage. There should be stipulations that reserve the land for farming on smaller scale. The mega farms have proven a false economy when damage to the environment and health are taken into consideration.

How and where we grow our food must be protected and strengthened. This is where true lasting wealth of our nation lays, not dollars in the bank. Poisoning of the land and water by these mega farms must be stopped now. Al Krebs’ book, Corporate Reapers, is a must-read for every concerned citizen in America, or the world for that matter. The silenced voice of Al Krebs, who died Oct. 9, 2007, is a great loss to all of us.

J. Glenn Evans
Seattle, Wash.

Torture the Bushies

Reading Jim Hightower’s article on torture [11/15/07 TPP] brought to mind the different types of torturous moments we’ve all had since the year 2000. Seeing and hearing our trained-chimpanzee president speak is definitely torture — as is the performance of various weak-kneed Demos bowing and scraping to said chimp! Watching, hearing and reading the garbage released daily by a very sophisticated right-wing propaganda machine [which continues to methodically destroy what’s left of reason and common sense in this country] is clever torture! Of course there’s the great Bush Jr./Cheney war — sponsored by your local, friendly, low-taxed munitions corporation and the private “dark fluid” mercenary army. That’s immoral torture of the worst kind! If Demos and Independents can stop fighting amongst themselves and concentrate on resolving our country’s most torturous problem — (the whacky, tacky “republic” party) — we’d have a shot at relieving our pain! Send the “anti-Constitutionalists” a firm, massive message on Nov. 4, 2008 (if we can still vote then). VOTE the NUTSIES OUT! That’ll be their torturous moment and we will be a better country for it.

Preston P. Birenbaum
Woodland Hills, Calif.

No Cons

I recommend your various columnists ... cease referring to the likes of Reagan, Cheney and your current titular Commander-in-Chief as “conservatives.” There was never anything remotely conservative about these repellent creatures. Can’t you journalists grasp that fact? Try reactionary as both noun and adjective. You’ll find it fits. In fact the only actually conservative US’ers — few though they be — are to be located in Democratic, independent or Green ranks. Misuse of English, as Orwell might well have warned you, is evidence of confusion and failure to see —- and smell — what’s right under your noses.

Rob MacLeod
Porthill, Idaho

Press Misses Miss. Swindle

Is it not an indictment of the news profession that this has not been communicated to all those who have poured so much into relief of the Gulf Coast after Katrina, only to be pocketed by “insider traders”?

Emily Hughes
Pascagoula, Miss.

[Attached was a letter to the Mississippi Press in Pascagoula on 10/10/07 complaining that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour took $600 million in aid meant for homeless hurricane victims and gave it instead to businesses entities at the Port of Gulfport. The letter also stated that the governor’s housing relief program made sure that banks and mortgage companies got paid for their mortgages while homeowners who did not have mortgages got nothing.]

Illegal Immigrants

Lots of folks are all bent out of shape about “illegal immigrants.” They mean Mexicans. Say they are taking jobs from “’muricans.” Say they are getting a free ride on the welfare system. I ask: When was the last time you saw a bunch of white guys pouring concrete, roofing a house, busing tables in your favorite eatery? You can probably have one of those jobs, if you really want it. I suppose some have fake SS numbers, paying into the system, no way they can ever take any out when they retire. We benefit. Bankers and money managers invest capital wherever the best return is available without regard to national borders. Corporations close factories in the USA, ship the machinery to where they reopen off-shore, because they like the low-wage workers and get tax breaks to do so. What’s wrong with labor going to where the jobs are? No one thinks the entry gate should be unguarded. Have background investigations, try to weed out the criminals and bad guys. Some would get through. Big job. Not as big as it is now with INS trying to catch everybody.

Don Baker
Alvarado, Texas

Shore Up Social Security

The alarm bells are ringing again and the Social Security shortfall is front and center while the hand wringing continues. Seemingly, there is no alternative but to seriously reduce future benefits, especially with the onslaught on the system by baby boomers who are knocking on the door.

I see a very plausible remedial solution to the problem, which would result in an abundance of available funds for many generations to come.

At present we are all required to contribute our share through payroll withholding up to a maximum income of $90,000. There are millions among us who are fortunate to be remunerated at a rate far exceeding that. For instance, the average CEO’s compensation is $12 million in wages, bonuses and stock options, who get a free ride on the remaining $11.91 million.

So, if all of us were required to contribute our fair share from $0 to infinity, which is representative of a functioning democratic system, the problem would be solved with funds to spare.

Easy to suggest, yet nigh impossible to accomplish. I wonder why?

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

[Editor Replies: The Social Security scare is overblown by right wingers, who have spent millions — and largely succeeded — in convincing the American public that the retirement system faces a crisis. Congress in 1983 adopted recommendations of a commission chaired by Alan Greenspan to cover retirement costs of the Baby Boomers, but the fix created a huge surplus in Social Security funds that was irresistible to subsequent Congresses and George W. Bush, who used the Trust Fund to finance tax breaks for the rich. The main challenge now is to get Congress to pay back the money it has “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Fund and other Treasury notes. but if it takes doing away with the cap on Social Security taxes to get the Heritage Institute and others of its ilk to shut up, we’re for it.]

Anybody But Hillary

Can it be possible that the Democratic Party is on the verge of making a notorious political blunder which may cost that party the 2008 election? Sitting around after dinner on Thanksgiving with my large family of liberals and leftists, all of whom vote, confirmed something I have long suspected. If you gathered up all the Democrats who actually want Hilary Clinton and her moderate Republican policies to become president, you would have a hard time filling a smallish VFW hall in Iowa. She is being crammed down our throats, a symptom of the contempt party leaders have for loyal voters because, as we are frequently told, we have nowhere else to go.

We all agreed that we can get past her non-personality and her off-putting sense of entitlement. However, her positions on Iraq and Iran, her saber-rattling over the use of nuclear weapons, her support of global trade, her health plan which puts everyone in a position of involuntary servitude to the very health insurance industry which has created our health care crisis, and her close ties with Wall Street boardrooms all seem to preclude having an actual Democrat running for president next year. No one felt certain they could vote for her and this is a room full of yellow dog Democrats.

There are other less critical questions as well, one of them being the whole issue of what I think of as the woman as regent phenomena, manifest in Pakistan, Argentina, and here as well wherein the only women to reach power are connected to powerful men by DNA or the marriage bed. And I’m insulted by the idea that I would vote for someone, otherwise objectionable, because that candidate is a woman. Certainly none of the women in our family discussion even mentioned the gender issue.

It was not at all clear where voters like us will go with our votes should Clinton get the nod, certainly not to the Republican party. But it may be that we will leave that top spot blank in sufficient numbers to ensure four more years of Republican chaos. The serfs are starting to get restless and someone should take note before it is too late.

Emily Gherity
Minneapolis, Minn.

Don’t Blame Me

I suspect the people who keep asking me to contact my US representative and US senators don’t know who “represents” me. If they did, they’d be asking me to just recall the whole sorry bunch.

Oklahoma’s US delegation is really embarrassing to me. I swear I voted against them all every chance I got.

Al Engel
Oklahoma City, Okla.

From The Progressive Populist, December 15, 2007

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