Monetary Reform Now

I hope this latest and largest Wall Street crisis will finally lead to lasting monetary reform. Since 1913 our government has been borrowing money into circulation from a private consortium of banks (the not so Federal Reserve System) rather than printing and spending our own money into circulation via the US Treasury. Why pay interest to private bankers to borrow our own money? And why grant them the power to direct our economy and future without any significant democratic influence?

Such a debt-fueled economic system creates inflation inherently, and by its nature, is unsustainable. Since inflation benefits those who have extra money to invest and save, it acts as a de facto tax on the poor and working class leading to an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Eventually, as this gap grows beyond the point of tolerance, some sort of revolution is likely to ensue. Let’s correct this structural injustice before it reaches the point of violence.

Dennis Kucinich is preparing to introduce a bill called the American Monetary Act. This bill is the result of the efforts of many great economic minds working under the auspices of the American Monetary Institute. One can review the plan by visiting www.monetary.org. Once the bill is introduced it will take many calls from every congressional district to get the bill through Congress, so readers of The Progressive Populist, please investigate this plan.

Matthew R. Olive
Corning, Iowa

Stop Bailing Out Military

For the last few days the news has been about the bailout and its seemingly impossible cost of $700 billion to be covered by House and Senate negotiations. The issue has been stirring up much strong populist opposition as well as conservative resistance to a government takeover on who will pay for it. But at the same time that the $700 billion is being fought over as a potentially catastrophic financial issue, I was astonished to discover a small item in the Wall Street Journal (9/29/08) that Defense Secretary Gates was not concerned about funding the military. In his lecture to the National Defense University he noted that President Bush had submitted a defense budget of more than $500 billion for the fiscal year that began in October on top of which was included $160 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The sum total was $660 billion for next year!

Over and above the transient bailout issue of $700 billion may very well be the long-run questionable viability of our country’s survival. If we continue to allocate so much of our money and resources yearly for guns rather than butter aren’t we risking not only sacrificing our way of life but far worse—facing the possible bankruptcy of our country?

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Socialism for the Rich

Recent events have made the truth of the words spoken years ago—by Teddy Roosevelt perhaps—abundantly clear: “Unfettered capitalism can destroy itself.” And to now see Republicans embracing unadulterated socialism to get the outfits that brought us this mess off the hook is truly amazing. Or is it? Socialism is fine for the Wall Street and investment banker types, but for those programs that benefit the middle class and poor such, as universal medical coverage, perish the thought.

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.

Support Obama

John Buell asks “2004 All Over Again?” [9/1/08 TPP] and defines what he thinks Barack Obama must do to defeat John McCain. Buell got the question right but fails to define a big part of Obama’s problem. G. Bush won in 2000 and 2004 by convincing that dreaded monster, “liberal media” (sarcasm intended), to parrot his every utterance and lie and slam his competition over and over.

Now that “dreaded monster” is doing it for McCain by running his sleazy, slimy, lying ads free of charge on the pretense that the ads are news, running misleading headlines, segment introductions, slanted reporting and other tricks, pandering to the clueless masses who apparently think the election is just another “reality” show like—oh, you know—Survivor or American Idol, on behalf of corporate fascism and evangelical nuts.

On the other hand, alternative media, certain “progressive” and “liberal” publications have suddenly gone lukewarm if not totally silent on the election. Take The Progressive Populist, for instance. For months I have been searching your pages in vain for a stance on Obama and McCain. Pretty much what I find is fence sitting, except for the occasional dispatch. My conclusion is that you don’t like Obama and don’t care if the country suffers another eight years of Republican misrule.

The bottom line is that there is no such thing as “liberal media bias”! If Obama wins, it won’t be because of the media, which is despite claims otherwise, almost entirely right-wing biased.

Barbara J. Lee
Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Editor’s Note: We endorsed Obama in the 3/15/08 TPP, “The Good Fight,” after Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards left the race. Some of our columnists have been critical of Obama since then, and we wish he took more populist positions at times, but we have supported him and we believe that, with all due respect to our friend, Ralph Nader, the better candidate who actually has a chance to get elected is Barack Obama and it is absolutely vital to democracy that Republicans are ousted from the White House and Obama restore the rule of law.

Illegal Immigrants are a Problem

The column by Robert Rodriguez [“Psychological War Against Migrants”] in the 9/1/08 TPP is certainly deceptive. He denounces psychological war and then practices the same.

He recounts the US history of racism, genocide, etc. accurately. Rodriguez then uses this history as the primary motive of the opponents of illegal immigration. He does not differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants and uses emotionally charged terms such as racial profiling and ethnic cleansing.

He offers no solutions to the problem of illegal immigration and pretends it is only an excuse to persecute people of brown skin. Thousands of people in the world struggle to meet the requirements for legal entry into this country and wait months and even years. Meanwhile millions of others sneak across the border. Is this fair?

Many illegals love their country of origin but cannot survive there. Why doesn’t Rodriguez rail against the corrupt and brutal governments in those countries? Why doesn’t he castigate American corporations who exploit workers everywhere? Lastly, why does he not mention those who came here not to work but to form criminal gangs, deal drugs, and brutalize others? Perhaps it is easier to blame US Citizens.

Shirley M. Neiman
Clinton, Iowa

Don’t Trust Social Security

Monique Morrissey (“Social Security Healthy for Decades to Come,” 9/15/08 TPP) makes the mistake of considering the Social Security program as an island. The fact of the matter is that the “trust fund” is a bunch of IOUs, now totaling over $2.5 trillion (and still growing), from the rest of the federal government to the S.S. program. This money will have to come from additional taxes, diversion from other programs, or “printing” new money (the latter approach causing all of us, including the beneficiaries, to pay for it via inflation,).

This may not be the biggest “debt bomb” facing our country or our government, and we may not trust the Peterson Foundation’s motives, but there is truth in what they assert.

To me, the real tragedy is that, under the guise of shoring up S.S., we have increased the most regressive tax that we have, the payroll tax, and used it to fund government spending in general. Essentially, this tax increase on the working class was used to (partially) pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. It seems that the rich get instant gratification when they want tax “relief,” whereas the working class gets soaked to pay for it, to be compensated in the future by IOUs that are likely to be financed by cuts in the very programs they depend on.

When is the left going to admit that the S.S. “trust fund” was a bad idea?

Jim Shaw
Grand Blanc, Mich.

Editor’s Note: According to the Social Security Administration, most of the Social Security Trust Fund is invested in US government securities, which can be considered as “IOUs,” but they are backed by the “full faith and credit of the US government.” The federal government is obligated to repay those bonds with interest, just as it is obligated to pay other Treasury bonds. If Congress has to increase taxes to pay off those bonds, that’s not Social Security’s fault.

Let’s Get Beyond Race

I am perpetually stymied by “racial” designations based on color and other misnomers. Unlikely Obama would be labeled African-American were his father of Dutch origin.

Mr. Obama’s mother is white—more correctly, Caucasian—and he was born American, pink, purple or orange. What I see in black and white is the best hope this country has for recovery on many fronts.

Terry Fitzgerald
Karnes City, Texas

No Free Market

Often over the past weeks as the consequences of applying misguided economic theory have undermined our economic stability I have heard economy professionals refer to our economy as a free market. These professionals would like us to believe this is so, that it always has been so, and that it should continue to be so. It is time, I believe, that we, as a country, recognize this for the falsehood it is. While significant portions of the laws created over the past 200 years or so to regulate our economic activities and keep them fair and transparent have been eroded over the past 30 years or so, we still live in a regulated economy that protects worker’s rights, provides for social security and healthcare for the destitute and elderly, and insures us against bank failure, to name just a few examples. Any attempt to recast the ways we have created and agreed upon to produce a living for ourselves as a “free market”—an imaginary force of nature that is allowed to decide who will prosper and who will starve—should be exposed for the socially predatory action it is.

Since when in the course of history have forces of nature been left to control our social and economic development? Civilization has been the result of working with nature where it is helpful and defending ourselves against it where it is destructive. If there is indeed a natural force out there one may call “the market” that is selecting in its own way for what it considers the strong over the weak, much as a hurricane might said to be favoring people who live in houses inland over people who live in houses close to the shore, why as a civilization should we just let it determine the course of our lives?

Very few of us raise our own food, make our own clothes, and build our own houses. We have an economy based on cash that is exchanged for goods and services rendered by specialized labor. On the basis of our human needs, whether practical or emotional, we are the market for goods and services, we create the goods and services, and we determine which rules and practices will meet our needs fairly and adequately. It is for us to determine the substance and laws of the market that will sustain us, not for “the market” to determine how we live and make our livings. Our economy is our creation, and we can let it be a social Darwinian jungle in which the greedy and aggressive are allowed to enrich themselves at the expense of others, or an equitable cooperation to ensure our mutual survival and well being. The choice really is ours.

C.C. Halitsky
South Orange, N.J.

Grow Up, Dems

You know, given the outrageous display of greed, corruption, and incompetence from the Republican Party, one would think that they wouldn’t even bother to run again, but no, here we go again, neck-to-neck with a perfectly good Democrat Candidate. Why? Probably because the Republicans think with Hive minds (ask your Trekkie friends) while Democrats think like individuals, but that individuality is kicking our butts.

Instead of celebrating the opportunity to finally get a chance to see issues for which we have fought for the last 20 years come to fruition, we are stuck with a bunch of immature Democrats who put on pouty faces and decide not to vote at all, or decide to vote for Nader because he is more black than Obama (would someone please drive a stake through Nader’s heart already), or will vote for McCain because he is running with a woman—no matter that she is a creepy redneck bimbo whose grin closely resembles that of Charles Manson—because their personal pick for candidacy did not make the cut, or because their specific narrow issue is not foremost on everyone else’s main agenda, or because (let’s face it) they are racists. 

Grow up and quit shooting us in the foot, Democrats.

Ann White
Meridian, Texas

Back to Paper Ballots

The only way we the people are going to prevent vote count manipulation and the possible recount of our votes is by hand counting of our votes at the polling places, via we the people doing it ourselves—like in Oregon with mail-in voting.

Let’s face it, our present system of voting is obsolete due to lack of integrity of the votes by machines whose counting methods are “proprietary information” not accessible to public scrutiny. We can change all of that via mail in voting.

It is merely a question of being able to trust ourselves to do the job of relying on the integrity of our votes rather than on some faceless corporation machines.

Jim Reine
International Falls, Minn.


Is this the definition of maverick that McCain so proudly claims to be? “To obtain by dishonest or questionable means” (from Websters New Third International Dictionary.)

Melvin Wisdahl
Alamo, N.D.

From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2008

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