Hope It’s a Real Change

Obama may be a transcendent candidate and a bad economy always brings out more voters but I think citizens were saying “We won’t get fooled again.”

Clearly the only way to overcome the dirty tricks (like computer hacking, turning away voters, intimidating citizens, etc.) was to come out in great numbers. That’s what happened! The under-30 voters really deserve credit for their energy, passion and sticking to it through all the ups and downs!

Even in my family, my daughter in college in Athens called me and asked, “Aren’t I old enough to vote?” I hadn’t noticed but she sure is old enough to vote. She got on the computer and downloaded the forms she needed to register and to send in her absentee ballot.

I especially am impressed by the 30 and under crowd in Iowa. They got the ball rolling in the primaries. I’m thinking of the generations of Republican wins in Iowa. Young citizens in Iowa decided they needed to go in a different direction regardless of how they’ve seen their parents and grandparents vote.

Now it’s time to clean up the electoral system, with a goal to reflect the desires of the citizens and make it easy to vote. Keeping in mind: This goal is the same as a voting system that results in a true and honest vote count.

Vicki Nikolaidis
Chania, Greece

Thin Margin for Mandate

Robert Borosage sees a “Sea-Change Election” [“Progressive Mandate in Sea-Change Election,” 12/1/08 TPP], and one would hope that progressive reform is on the horizon. The Democrat ticket won convincingly, but considering that (1) it was running against a totally failed administration; (2) it was running against an inept campaigner that, just prior to the economic disaster was actually polling ahead; and (3) a rather ill-informed and poorly vetted “populist” VP candidate could spark, with her invective, credible hope into the Republican run, it would seem that anything less than a Reagan-like sweep would indicate that the body politic has not become exactly “progressive.”

Consider that Obama, while personally impressive, also ran an exemplary, efficient and restrained campaign. Outspending (and out-organizing) McCain four-to-one didn’t hurt; evenly matched money would’ve, I’m quite sure, made the race an even-money bet. That surmise—do I hear otherwise?—doesn’t indicate a country yearning for progressive reform.

It also seems that many voters projected their values on the ascendant prince. Without reviewing his very middle-of-the-road platform (e.g., his more troops for Afghanistan), it is evident that he is no visionary. Obama is a cool, confident and calculating pol and—this is progress, but hardly “progressive”—he may become the best Republican president since Clinton.

Jerome Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.

False Gods of the Market

The free market is our salvation. Government is the problem, not the solution. We need to deregulate everything and rely totally on market forces to bring the best outcome to everybody. WRONG!

In March 1989, Harvey Cox, Professor of Divinity at Harvard, published an article in The Atlantic Monthly warning about “False Worship.” He commented, “Current thinking assigns to The Market wisdom that in the past only gods have known.” He told us that we worshiped a false god, but we ignored him.

NAFTA was created using free-market principles, permitting agribusiness to sell corn in Mexico below their cost of production, depriving Mexican farmers of their means of livelihood. Now we are building a wall to prevent starving farmers from coming here to earn substandard pay. Ask the US worker whose job went to Mexico, and ask the Mexican worker who is doing that job for a fraction of the pay. I believe that NAFTA has done more damage to North America than the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

More recently we have the collapse of financial institutions that operated according to free-market principles. The $700 billion bailout will cost over $2,300 for every man, woman, and child in America. Now the auto industry needs tax money to survive.

Our president tells us that we need to solve this crisis without violating “free market principles.” I believe that “free market principles” are what got us into this mess in the first place.

Joe Hohlfeld
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Moron Minority

The news media and various brands of political persuasion are now engaging in a critical autopsy of the McCain/Palin campaign corpse. The thing that is rarely discussed is the fact that the whole GOP platform was geared and designed to attract and exploit an assumed “moron majority.” (There was an article in The Progressive Populist shortly after the 2004 election that suggested a “moron majority” was one of the elements of the Bush/Cheney victory) The rhetoric was dumbed down to the bare marrow of misguided, inflammatory reactions to modem social progress.

That sort of cheap, shallow marketing worked splendidly in the pre-Reagan “scared witless” cold war era and the Machiavellian Bush/Cheney/Rove campaigns. However, many grinding hard lessons have been learned since then and there is no longer a moron majority that can keep hundreds of evangelical entrepreneurs grossly wealthy and disastrously politically influential.

There is no majority of lazy, indifferent minds that choose not to be involved in voting or social maturation. There is no overwhelming number of bigots who thrive on racial hatred to maintain their counterfeit self esteem. However, there are still malcontents, anti-intellectuals, religious zealots and mentally challenged, frustrated people who are exceptionally vulnerable to negative trash journalism. The vast legion of professional provocateurs like Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Coulter are now cocked and primed to aim their (profitable) vile invectives at the newly elected progressive administration. The Democratic legislature that may soon gain the filibuster-proof number it has lacked for so long will be tagged with insufferable denouncements, extremes of radical socialism or worse. The exploiting pundit jackals will continue to rag on and on about President Obama’s connection to Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright, which is simply a substitute code allowing for combative racial discrimination, satisfying only the white supremacists and mentally disturbed misfits.

For the most part, that crude crop of nonsense will be ignored for what it is in this 21st century of social and realistic spiritual enlightenment. The recent election has proven that and, like it or not, humanity will continue on its positive psychological evolution and away from despair and the idiotic “end times” prognosis that the fearful, confused Christians look forward to so avidly. They will just have to slug it out with the rest of us until they can learn better. It’s a slow process—evolution takes time—lots of it!

Helen McKinney
Sapphire, N.C.

Send Wall Street to the Mortician

The nauseating extremes to which the capitalist will go to maintain the appearance of “capitalism” is sickness. These trillions could have been used for infrastructure, unemployment, health care, small business investment, education, Iraq withdrawal—all the things capitalists never quite have money for: “It will break the bank!” So now this modern capitalism being phony, stumbling from scandal to scandal—Enron, S&L, Iraq contracts, subprime mortgages, bailed-out derivative firms, CEO piracy, oil subsidies, tax relief for rich—is pushed to extremes to maintain appearance of life, as need be with any advanced decayed corpse. Hence, Paulson et al are morticians of Wall Street, laboring in pits of hell.

John Strachey wrote over 70 years ago that capitalism’s biggest decision is always whether to run the country from inside the government or outside. It would probably surprise the hell out of him to learn that one day they’d surrender all facades of social responsibility, economic democracy, Adam Smith entrepreneurism and free-market nonsense and run it from both inside and out. Let’s face it. Paul Krugman’s Nobel is a sop to buyout a formidable intellect from the men who made their fortune selling gunpowder. Krugman’s journalism is killing them. War against the masses—that’s what’s truly gone global. Marx exhorted workers to lose their chains; the capitalists got the message & discarded their cloaks. These inversions of human behavior—just as Bush has gone on to become more fascist with more mass graves to his credit than Saddam—are ungraspable mysteries of man.

Only today Bush had the weird temerity to announce on TV: “We’re working as hard as we can to restore the free market.”

E. Goldman
Wellfleet, Mass.

Tough Go Shopping

As an avowed bleeding-heart progressive, I was surprised to find that I feel no pity for those unfortunates who, because they lack challenging and rewarding jobs, find “in personal consumption some chance for satisfaction and self-respect,” as John Buell claims in his article of the 11/15/08 TPP, “Whither the Reagan Democrats?”

I wonder why, instead of practicing self-restraint, do those people spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like?

“Workers and their families were encouraged to go into debt through a deluge of credit card ads ...” Mr. Buell writes.

So if we become alcoholics or addicted to gambling, we should blame the deluge of liquor and casino advertisers? I’m sure most reasonable people would not agree.

A popular proverb says, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But to many people, I guess that means “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.”

David Quintero
Temple City, Calif.

Help the Little Folks

There is little doubt we are in a depression. I lived through the “Great Depression” of the 1930’s. Franklin Delano Roosevelt led the Nation out of it but in an entirely different way than is being used now. He set up procedures to help the little man, to feed the masses, created jobs so the recipients of money did not feel like beggars and paupers. Our approach now is to give money to the upper class, to the big industries that can pay enormous salaries to CEOs. WPA helped us stay alive honorably. I know quite a large number of people out of work, but willing to work if given an opportunity. Let’s start at the bottom as well as the top. Give help to Industry but until Industry gears up, which will take years, help the little man.

Everett L. Williams
Ingram, Texas

Civil Rights

One thing I heard little or nothing about, in the groundbreaking 2008 elections, was the disastrous erosion of civil rights in this country. Nor have I heard any subsequent discussion of George W. Bush’s assault on the Constitution, which he called a “(deleted) piece of paper.”

Barack Obama is moving into an Imperial Presidency that would have warmed Richard Nixon’s heart. Let’s hope he uses those powers to mend a generation of damage done—and then restores our system of checks and balances. Think he’ll do it?

Kyle Noble
Independence, Va.

What about Justice?

Now that the election is done there are other issues to be resolved. And one of them is justice: Yes, justice for Valerie Wilson and the nine US Attorneys that were fired and for Eloise Cobell and her clients (all American Indians) and for the people of New Orleans and for the whistleblowers who stood up to the lies of the Iraq War and for those who were beaten and arrested in Denver and Minneapolis for asking questions and for not being in lockstep with a lie.

Do we have justice for all or not? What say you, my fellow citizens? What say you?

S. Einhorn
North Babylon, N.Y.

Big Lies Aren’t Productive

Does it really matter where our so-called enemies are from? It is all based on lies anyway Why should we believe anything we are told about enemies being from the Middle East or anywhere else when we are told nothing but lies to justify war anywhere so far? The basic problem seems to me to be war itself and the propaganda that goes with it. War has always been a means to bolster failing economies worldwide.

What we actually have is a failed economy being bailed out by propaganda claiming it is all the fault of our “enemies.” Flash back to the example of the Roman Empire: constant war to get the public’s mind off the economic woes of the times and to blame it all on the enemies of the empire. War has always been a case of bailing out a sinking economy and to sustain incompetent government at home. Let’s face it, we have an incompetent government who will stop at nothing, even war, to sustain itself, just as always has been the case with our illustrious leadership.

An alternative was presented to us during the reign of JFK with the space program when the entire economy was bolstered by the effort to land a man on the moon and to widen our horizons accordingly. During that period, there were, for example, over 200 corporations in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area alone that were directly or indirectly involved in that effort. Doesn’t that provide a better stimulus to the economies than war after war for worldwide domination?


Jim Reine
International Falls, Minn.


Sarah Palin was the canary in the dummy mine. If you think her singing sounded good, you had hit a pocket of bad air and your brain no longer had enough oxygen to function properly.

Robert B. Loren
Silver City, N.M.

From The Progressive Populist, December 15, 2008

Home Page

Subscribe to The Progressive Populist

Copyright © 2008 The Progressive Populist.