Peak Oil Unsolved

Even though the growing threat of global warming requires “deep reductions” in consumption, it does not follow that such will necessarily happen. And it certainly would be a “climate catastrophe” if oil men relied on tar sands and liquid coal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would do that. Joseph Romm [in “Peak Oil: Consider It Solved,” 5/1/08 TPP] starts his thesis with dubious premises.

We have, J.R. tells us, “two feasible solutions.” However, obvious as these are, they are insufficient. With huge increases in the number of cars on the road world-wide (and the US), foreseeable fuel economies will be better than nothing, but cause little decrease in warming factors. Alternative fuels are also an improvement, but just where are we going to get “abundant, low-carbon and affordable fuels”? Well, quite obviously, from the sun, the wind and the waves: someday, that is. Well, “someday” in the US, sooner than that in Europe, but I don’t think anybody would make a guess about China.

But, to be optimistic and we and the world are running “green” and greenhouse pollution is decreasing (the warming, however, will go on), why are we fretting away our time and fraying our nerves driving so-called “auto” mobiles? Our cars become less mobile the more numerous (and “colonizing”) they become; that is the long-term problem. Joseph Romm may (or not) have “solved” some parts, but not the sum of the parts of the “humans-getting-around” process/problem.

Jerome Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.

Harrop Should Shape Up

I was disappointed to see Froma Harrop repeat right-wing lies so uncritically “Divides Obama Doesn’t Bridge,” 4/15/08 TPP]. Even apart from the fact that faculty members from the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Lutheran School of Theology have made public statements attempting to provide context for Wright’s sermons, there is information about Fox News Channel’s deliberate distortion of some of his remarks, which was available and might have been considered. It would be interesting to know why she didn’t bother.

Harrop sounds like an ignorant little snip when she says Obama should have gotten up and left the church years ago. She knows nothing of that church, and it is a willful ignorance. If I were to judge her by the same standards she employs, I would call her a right-wing twit and urge you to drop her column. She needs to learn better judgment, and a little humility.

See Youtube.com for video showing what Fox lied about. See also the Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (fair.org) advisory of 3/14/08 titled “Media Hold McCain, Obama to Different Standards.” It would be good if TPP avoided becoming an example of what FAIR condemns.

Katharine Rylaarsdam
Baltimore, Md.

Obama No Populist

Populist moment? Landmark speech? It’s sad to know how little it takes to impress the folks at TPP—folks who’ve been around long enough to know better.

Obama’s “race speech” was PR spin, expertly crafted by his handlers to distance him from a grandstanding preacher ... One speech can’t erase the fact that Obama is long on “I feel your pain” rhetoric and short on specific plans to address job creation, housing crisis, infrastructure needs, and other populist issues facing voters of all races. Even when he does give lip service to such issues (see: healthcare proposal, subprime mess), his solutions favor Wall Street far more favorably than Main Street—just like Siamese Twin Sis Hillary and cranky Grandpa McCain.

Regardless of which candidate you support, none of them should be able to get away with feel-good, Kumbaya speeches while our nation turns into a plutocratic fiefdom. TPP pundits and their media brethren need to turn up the heat on these candidates. Ask tough questions and demand straight answers about what these wannabe presidents propose to do to solve or lessen real problems facing the country. Obama loves to crow about how wrong the Iraq war is but he continues to vote for funding it—3 times in 2007. He’s said little about his plans for the permanent bases we’ve built in Iraq, and, wants to add several thousand troops to the military. Where are the media, including TPP, in challenging him on such an important matter? ...

The more candidates are forced to provide specific ideas instead of lip service and feel goodisms, the better chance we have to of seeing real changes that benefit all voters, regardless of income bracket or racial category. More important, if these candidates, be they at local, state, or national level, fail to act in our best interests, we must have the good sense and fortitude to vote their asses out come reelection time.

Beverly Rice
Charlotte, N.C.

Obama Put a Spell on Me

I must confess that attending Obama’s rally in Missoula, Mont., was a powerful experience. He comes across as a real person, someone who is genuinely humbled by the crowd, who seems to rise above ego and touch that which is common in all of us. His lofty yet simple words are not at all the empty rhetoric his detractors say, but a direct call to action for the rest of us, to face head-on the substantive issues we share as a people.

He is a common person with an uncommon presence. In Obama, we could have a real president.

Ryan Lawlor
Kalispell, Mont.

Who’s Best Qualified?

Re 4/15/08 TPP letter by Don Pilcher [“Blame Nader”]: for the zillionth time, Gore lost the election because he couldn’t say anything or wouldn’t say anything to rock the boat in a race between him and a stumblebum, as Nader noted during the campaign. The election was handed to the Ogre by a Supreme Court the majority of which got their law degrees from a Cheerios box. I don’t know what the policy of TPP on letters is. It is quite apparent that some get their letters printed every issue and some not at all. But maybe you could just print one sentence: “The ‘progressive’ vote should go to the one best qualified to be president, not to the Democan or Republicrat who gets the most AIPAC money.”

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.

Editor Replies: Our letter guidelines are generally:

• The shorter, the better. Under 300 words is best.

• The letter should deal with a subject we have been covering (or should be covering). If it is responding to an article or a letter in TPP, please cite the headline, the author and the date of publication. We generally aren’t interested in replies to articles that appeared in other publications. And stay away from personal attacks.

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We get more letters than we can publish. We try to select them to reflect the topics that are coming in ... as long as they fit on page 4.

Nader Zealots

This may come as a shock to Nader zealots, but the United States, unlike many other nations, is a winner-take-all system. One does not obtain seats in an election based upon how many votes one gets. Thus, the only reason to vote for Nader is to take votes away from someone who could win, and as a protest vote. Clearly, anyone who votes this way may care deeply about causes, but they sure as Hell don’t care about people. One of the jobs of the president of the United States is to pick federal judges (anyone ever hear of the Supreme Court?) who make thousands of judgments on cases year after year. Compare the judgments of a Republican-appointed judge with a Democratic-appointed judge and ask yourself whom you would rather stand before if you had to go to court? But the Nader zealots don’t think about things like that. They just don’t care. ...

David Raisman
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Reform Dems

I think we all need to remember that being rebels, which I have been lifelong, does not entitle us to insist that everyone rebel about the same things as we do.

I do not agree with Don Pilcher [4/15/08 Letters] that Nader handed the 2000 to Bush.

We Democrats, and those who like to claim to be for a day, have been only second to the Republicans in trying to crown the king too soon.

Let the voters speak as they have been doing for many weeks and let it to go on to the Convention on Aug. 25. We are not going to learn more than we need.

Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi is now trying to dictate how the Super Delegates must vote. She forgot that grassroots Democrats pushed her and the other powers that be aside two years ago and installed Howard Dean, one of the really hopeful signs in recent years.

I recognize that many in power have done much to help those who need it in America. But I don’t have to agree with any of them at any time and I am perfectly capable of sifting the wheat from the chaff.

... Democrats need to be as severe with our own candidates are we are with the Republicans—or Nader.

Rufus Foshee
Camden, Maine

Demand Single-Payer

Sam Uretsky [“No Compromise on Health Reform,” 4/15/08 TPP] recommends a single-payer plan that would “cost far less, cover more people and produce better results (measured by lifespan, healthy lifespan and infant mortality) than what we have now. He cites HR 676 proposed by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., languishing in subcommittee since 2003. This plan, featured in Michael Moore’s film Sicko, has enormous advantages in universality, cost, efficiency and access. Considering that almost every day we hear about people suffering the crippling costs of chronic care due to greatly increasing copayments for very expensive drugs to treat cancer, M.S., rheumatoid arthritis, etc., and problematic access due to past conditions, the basic question arises, why aren’t we pushing for the single-payer plan? It’s not socialism—government-run Medicare is one of our most popular programs. It’s less expensive because there is no subsidy of 12 % to the private insurance private insurance industry; its efficiency in providing excellent care has been proven over the years. Sure, there are those in the private insurance system who oppose the plan but why aren’t the Democratic candidates fighting for it? Where is the press? Even more vital in a democracy, why aren’t the people, especially those suffering the most, demanding the best plan from their legislators?

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Social Security Shortfall Con

Statements made recently in the media and by political commentators and politicians of all stripes say: “Social Security is still gobbling up much of the budget.”

This is blatantly untrue. The budget covers annual appropriations to run executive departments, requiring Congress to take specific action. Self-financed programs such as Social Security are not part of the annual budget process. However, in order to include Social Security in the budget process, the government irresponsibly started calling it the Unified Budget. Now, it’s just the Budget.

It is claimed that taxpayers are facing a deluge of debt from Social Security obligations. Social Security income will continue to exceed outgo for another decade and currently is not a problem. It will only become a problem in the future because reserves needed to maintain the program, in the trillions of dollars, continue to be misused and spent to finance other government programs.

Instead of proposing ways to replace misused trust funds, we hear it will be necessary to reduce benefits and/or raise taxes to continue to sustain the program.

Such distortion of the facts creates fear among the baby-boom generation when they consider their retirement future. In fact, all government programs dependent on trust funds are in serious jeopardy.

Gregory M. Bennett
Richland, Wash.

Save Social Security

I’m just writing to say thanks for a great paper and keep up the great work ... I’ve got the (4/1/08 TPP) in front of me. It has the cartoon, “This Modern World,” in it, which I love. I totally agree with the point in this cartoon—thanks Tom Tomorrow. There is one thing, though. It says we could have funded Social Security for the next 50 years [with the $3 trillion it is estimated the US will spend on the war in Iraq]. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) introduced a bill [HR 5779] that would protect Social Security forever [by lifting the $102,000 ceiling on income subject to the payroll tax]. But it did not go anywhere. Readers, please write your senators and reps to get this bill passed. I’m sure Obama and Clinton would sign it. Don’t the Dems already have control in the House and Senate? ...

David Thompson
Sarasota, Fla.

Get Politics Out of Courts

The 4/1/08 TPP’s excellent article describing the political trial and conviction of former Alabama Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman for an alleged Karl Rove-contrived bribery and corruption case revealed the KGB-type tactics by the Bush Department of Justice and the Republican US District Court Judge Mark E. Fuller.

Although Siegelman was acquitted on most counts, Judge Fuller had him handcuffed and manacled and immediately sent to prison for seven years. This blatant travesty of justice was exposed by 60 Minutes on Feb. 24. After Siegelman spent nine months in prison ... the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ordered him released on March 28, overturning Judge Fuller’s immediate incarceration decision.

Purely political prosecutions should never again be permitted in this country. Congress should initiate impeachment proceedings against Judge Fuller for obstructing justice and obstruction of justice and other appropriate criminal charges should be brought against Karl Rove and all responsible Department of Justice officials. Such actions should be a deterrent to all similarly-inclined high level federal officials, Department of Justice employees, and judges.

Edward L. Koven
Highland Park, Ill.

From The Progressive Populist, May 15, 2008

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