Letters to the Editor

I’ll Stick to My Guns

Issue after issue, the loss of our human, civil and constitutional rights are chronicled in The Progressive Populist.

It is jarring to read that others, namely the Second Amendment, are being volunteered out of existence. More accurately, “government” is requested/demanded that, arguably, the linchpin of all constitutional guarantees be denied us [see “Madness: a nation of pistols and Prozac” by Hal Crowther, 5/15/08 TPP].

To his credit, the author mentions the chaos in our society and the failure of our educational system (a government program) that has culminated in most of the crime the average citizen is concerned by. The author fails to explain exactly what gun-owners’ share of that failure is, or exactly how the police-state he champions will improve the quality of life one can aspire to, now that the issues of bears and hostile native Americans have long been resolved.

Two facts are invariably omitted from anti-gun tirades: Firearms are not a factor in all homicides and suicides, and for every violent crime committed, two or more are discouraged or interrupted by armed would-be “victims.”

One need not stroll very far to find a long inventory of lethal “weapons,” not including firearms. The average citizens only defense against violent criminals is instant access to a gun, but it has never been explained to me know gun owners can be held responsible for the presence of criminal activity and intent.

As outdated and useless as the US Constitution is, human nature is exactly the same as it was when history was first recorded. However attractive it may be, a world population that sings “Kumbaya” in perfect four-part harmony is no closer than it has ever been, as a reality that one can bet his life against.

No thanks, Hal Crowther, I can’t trust the government with my personal security—and neither should you.

M.W. Curtess
Austwell, Texas

Who’s Intolerant?

After reading Gene Lyons’ “Obama’s Elitist Gift to McCain [5/15/08 TPP], I was amazed that you would ever print such bigoted swill. Rev. Wright at least has a reason for his backlash bigoted statements. He was part of a generation that was treated like half-human because of their skin color. What did Gene Lyons ever suffer? Then he goes into his “translations!?” Let me do the same to some of his words. 1) Did he (Obama) buy Wright’s theology? = They all look, think and talk alike. 2) Inexperienced faculty lounge lizard = Uppity n*****.

One last thing: 92% of black Americans (N.C.) were willing to embrace a man who’s half white (Obama). Only 28% of whites (W.V.) were willing to embrace a man who’s half black. You tell me which race is the most intolerant.

Randy Wardlow
(bitter white man)
Harrison, Mich.

Arianna Sings My Song

Thank goodness for Arianna Huffington [“Clinton Does McCains’s job,” 5/1/08 TPP]. I am particularly grateful to her in that she is singing the same tune that I have sung for months, i.e., that in Hillary’s efforts to destroy Obama, she is writing the scripts for the McCain ads if Obama gets the nomination, and in the process doing incredible harm to the Democratic chances in November. Also just today former Dem chairman, super-delegate, and long-time Clinton supporter Joe Andrews joined the chorus writing “A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue a long, destructive Democratic campaign.” He urged voters to “reject the old negative politics” and to unify behind Obama. “A vote to continue this process is a vote that assists John McCain,” he wrote.

Finally, I think that Hillary’s suggestion that the super-delegates should make the decision because they are better informed than the voters was, to say the least, inadvisable.

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.

Radio Needs Diversity

Re: “US Justice Department does right radio thing,” by Rob Patterson, [5/15/08 TPP], I live in the New York area that has many, many radio stations. I generally agree with his finding that terrestrial radio stations are dull and dumb; I add identical—but a few programs still are very good.

I disagree with his view that additional stations would sizzle with variety, personality and creativity. I think that they would further lower quality by reducing already low revenues per station.

Let us only ban ownership of overlapping stations and boost revenue by donating his $13.86 to Public Radio. A few better-financed stations will then have money for original programming.

George Ross McCombe
Jersey City, N.J.

Out Of Our Minds

While Les Leopold (“Race against race,” 6/1/08 TPP) got it right on race as a social construct, he got it wrong on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright’s references to right brain/left brain differences were to a cultural style of teaching and not to a genetic “racial” difference in brain structures or functions. If you go to the text of his Detroit NAACP speech (www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/28/wright.transcript/) you’ll see “pedagogical methodologies,” “learning style,” “right-brained creative oral culture.” As an example of the latter, he cited not only African specialists who can recite two or three days worth of oral history but also ancient Hebrews who passed down the first five books of the Bible through their oral traditions long before they were written down. It appears that the Rev. Wright knows full well that it’s a question of different cultures, not different genes or different brain structures. He sees it as a cultural preference for learning that’s mediated by other people rather than by objects like books. To what extent he’s right or wrong about that is an ethnographic question, not a biological one. (Of course, the whole right brain/left brain model is absurdly over-simplified, but it’s part of pop culture now.)

What’s interesting about this is how just about everyone, left, right, center or outer-space, heard him as saying that Blacks are right-brained, Whites left-brained. That could be taken as a bit of ethnographic evidence about how poorly those enculturated into “white culture” process the spoken word. They all heard him saying something he didn’t say, presumably because it touched on emotionally charged things. Only by looking at the transcript does it become clear to those of us who are book- or object-oriented that he was being culturally relativistic rather than genetically deterministic.

Bill Peltz
Albany N.Y.

Thanks for Daly

Thanks for the great article from one of the most ahead-of-his-time economists alive today, Herman Daly [“From ‘know how’ to ‘do now,’” 6/1/08 TPP]. I read his book For The Common Good 15 years ago and have always felt his, and his mentor Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s, recasting of 20th-century economics into one that considers the role of ecology, was a tectonic paradigm shift in the field. Whether or not he wins a Nobel Prize in Economics, Herman Daly will without a doubt be a prominent name mentioned in 21st- and 22nd-century economics textbooks. Aside from that being my hope, even more, I hope policymakers of today and tomorrow incorporate the role of the biosphere into the field of economics.

Bob Smet
Springfield, Ill.

Too Many People

Yes, the article about “Enough Already” [by Robin Mittenthal, 5/1/08 TPP] hits a very important issue. But like so many such articles it avoids the one most important issue, which is ENOUGH PEOPLE! There are so many articles relating to the points Robin Mittenthal makes in his article, but they fail to emphasize that if we do not stop human population growth, and bring about a reduction in the human population, ultimately none of the wonderful solutions suggested will succeed. Can it only be achieved by war, mass murder, environmental poisoning and pestilence, or can we institute something more benign, like providing 100% birth control for any who want it, with enough rewards to nullify the selective evolutionary factor of reproduction by the non-conforming?

Susanne Barrymore
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Put Bush in the Docket

Begin preparations now for prosecution of war crimes An international tribunal should begin now to tabulate the war crimes of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, in preparation for indictments, to be served one day after these two men are out of office.

Percy Pascoe
Cuba, Mo.

Bad Uses for Good Book

It is said that one can use Scripture to justify anything one might want to do: slavery, war, punishment cruel and unusual. I watched a video once of moose in a field of cabbage. For two hours all those moose did was eat cabbage and mill around, a video taken over many days. It was so remarkable the video was sent to the local TV station where it appeared on the evening news one night. And what part of it did they show? The last five seconds where the moose happened to run from the field! That was their version of the phenomenon of weeks of moose herding up (which is unusual for them), eating cabbage (also not usual).

My point is, when life is reported on in broken fragments, its truth is distorted. Everyone knows this. But for years we have been hearing how much “conservatives” (who seems to have a permanent home in the Republican Party) read, know and love God and the Bible.

OK, then. If this is true, why wouldn’t their actions as well as words by now clearly reflect what they have read, learned and believed in said Bible? Wouldn’t these scriptures, at the very least, be living and real at this point?: Proverbs 29, Proverbs 28, Isaiah 58, Isaiah 59, James 5, I John 4, I Timothy 6, Matthew 5, Matthew 6—and I could go on and on, Genesis to Revelation.

My point is, next time anyone claims anything about their great faith and believing in God, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that it be backed up by some Biblical evidence. Anyone can claim anything—and they do! The proof of one’s faith is in the results. That’s not being a “Fundamentalist,” that’s being truthful.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Stop NAFTA Superhighways

The recent articles by Ruth Caplan and Nancy Price in the 4/1/08 and 5/1/08 TPP should be copied and sent to mayors in all cities affected by the proposed NAFTA Superhighways. I urge every TPP reader to copy and send them out ASAP. This topic has been on the pages of publications such as American Free Press for some time but was poo-poo’d as the rantings of Conspiracy Nuts, so no one paid attention. Texans were recently protesting this in Austin. If it is not real then what are they protesting?

Now that this issue is printed in both conservative and liberal media, it will be harder to dismiss. The goal seems to be not only the integration of commerce of US, Mexico and Canada, but the dissolution of all three nations into something quite different. I don’t know what to call it, but New World Order seems as good as any.

There is also come encouraging news at OpEdNews. The Congresses of Mexico and US and Canadian Parliament are getting involved to halt SPP. I guess they don’t like the name Amexada anymore than I do.

Paul Ames
Eureka, Utah

Leave God Alone

Greg Palast’s article, “God Damn America, Especially Pennsylvania” [5/1/089 TPP] pokes fun at America’s obsession with religion. It is time the nation realizes that we have used the “God Card” excessively and have ended up trivializing the concept of Religion and the role it should have in our lives. It is quite discouraging to see the sign “In GOD We Trust” in some of our court rooms where one would rather see signs like “In Reason or In The Constitution and Laws We Trust.” Same declaration of our “trust in God” appears in all our currency knowing very well that such currencies are often used to buy guns, drugs, sex, etc. Can we not discontinue this meaningless and irrelevant references of God—it matters not if George Bush says “God bless America” or Pastor Wright says “God damn America”—in either case He could not get involved in such a small and less than 500-year-old nation like America when He has to deal with an ETERNAL and INFINITE Universe.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Single-Payer Next Year

Although I agree with writer Sid Moss [5/15/08 TPP] that we should have single-payer universal health coverage, I don’t think we are advancing the cause by urging Congress to pass HR 676 [“Medicare for All”] this year.

First of all, George Bush is still president and no real reform will occur until after he is out of the White House. Second, the single-payer concept is, for many on the right and center, a code word for “socialized medicine.” That phrase will bring out all the doctors, health management companies, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to oppose the concept, and put all of their money into a candidate who will promise no socialized medicine. Elections are about adding friends, not opponents.

I think it is enough for progressives to understand and say that John McCain is against reform (his health insurance tax-credit for the wealthy is an example), and that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in favor of reform. There will be enough time after the election to point out to Hillary or Barack that the idea of private universal coverage is simply unworkable, given the market power and greed of health insurance, health management and pharmaceutical companies.

The next President should be urged to cut the Gordian knot and institute a universal, tax-funded single-payer program which will cover all Americans for all their health needs.

The existence of a sizable Democratic majority in Congress will be of major importance to that task. Progressives should support candidates who will put the people’s interest first and pass real reform legislation. The election is for president, but it is also for Congress and for a change in health policy.

Frank Schneider
Chicago, Ill.

Let’s All Drive 55

Now that Americans are paying about $4 a gallon for gasoline, it appears that we may be forced to make sacrifices to help solve our nation’s serious multi-faceted energy problems. A small but easy sacrifice would be to reinstate the national 55 miles per hour speed limit imposed by the Nixon administration [in 1974] during the oil crisis which was in effect until 1995.

It has been estimated that reinstatement of the 55 miles per hour speed limit would reduce fuel consumption by over 15%. In addition to substantial energy savings, traveling at reduced speeds will result in fewer accidents and the saving of many lives.

Edward L. Koven
Highland Park, Ill.

From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2008

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