System in Free Fall

And the beat goes on — shouts of joy in response to Wall Street breaking the 10.000 mark and visions of the return of prosperity, which is just around the corner. Banks and financial institutions showing substantial profits, which caused their collective compensation package to jump by 20% over 2008, even exceeding the banner year of 2007 by $10 billion.

“What a rebound and miraculous transformation, proving the resiliency of our unique free market system.” So crows the cheer leading corporate controlled media, with the rendition of “happy days are here again” just around the corner.

In reality, almost all of our working class and a sizable portion of the middle class have been relegated to the scrap heap of our “unique” system. Unemployment, reported at 9.8%, is actually closer to 17%, with many more thrown out of work every day, home foreclosure continues with no end in sight, all amongst absence of concern by the system for those of us who suffer from such indignities, including citizens dying from neglect and lack of available health care.

Messrs. Summers, Geithner, Rubin, Bernanke et al, the very culprits responsible for the fiasco, have again been placed in charge of the country’s financial affairs, certainly not by accident, therefore an indisputable manifestation of Oligarchs and Plutocrats even more firmly in control, with Wall Street, banks and corporations (not necessarily in that order) functioning as their front organizations, now even more emboldened via recent giant tax funded mergers and consolidation.

This has been accomplished with the complicity of thoroughly corrupt, bribe-and-freebee-addicted representatives of both wings of our Republicrat party, totally beholden to their masters and mere instruments at the feast of evisceration.

What does it take to awaken citizens to the fact, that our Democracy has been successfully hijacked by the Elite, leaving the remains an empty shell, but glossed over with propaganda, jingles, slogans and giant helpings of wishful thinking?

It has to be understood, that unbridled Capitalism on steroids and functional Democracy is mutually exclusive; as the latter deteriorates, Fascism, the convergence of government, corporations and the military gains entry, which is well underway here to an extent most of us are sadly ignorant of.

Once wealth and power has been captured by these forces, it will never be willingly relinquished nor its original ownership restored.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Cal.

Insurance and Age Discrimination

I was shocked to learn (“Health panels weigh age and gender factors,” 10/21/09 Philadelphia Inquirer) that the Senate was allowing the health industry to set limits of age-based premiums to be “six or seven times as high as those charged with the lowest health needs.” The insurance industry tempered the ratio slightly to a 5-1 but that hardly reduces the high cost for older persons. The elderly discussed are the 12.5% in the 55 to 64 age group who cannot get Medicare yet but are often vulnerable financially and in need of care. I suggest that this group of near Medicare age which doesn’t have employer or public insurance be allowed to buy into Medicare instead of going private. Medicare would be less costly — no 5-1 ratios — for this group and would greatly strengthen the viability of Medicare.

Sidney Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Corporations Should Have Free Speech

The argument that corporations are not persons under the 14th Amendment is very strong, and I understand the eagerness that many writers wish to talk about that subject. But that question has nothing to do with Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, the US Supreme Court case involving Hillary: The Movie.

It is obvious that every entity that can speak enjoys free speech rights under the First Amendment. Obviously The Progressive Populist, the New York Times, the Unitarian Church, the AFL-CIO, the ACLU, the Green Party, all have free speech rights, even though none of these entities is a person. The language of the free speech clause makes this obvious. It says, “Congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech.” Freedom of speech extends beyond persons. It’s always a good idea for commentary that talks about the US Constitution to quote the relevant part of the Constitution.

Richard Winger
San Francisco, Calif.

Free Speech

Michael Silverstein’s poem “The Talking Dollar Poem” (10/15/09 TPP) is excellent, but could be condensed to four easy lines ...

“We all should be proud
Free speech is allowed
But the rich should be prouder
’cause their speech is louder”
Pass it around.

Steve Larkin
Big Water, Utah

New Energy

Art Cullen cites Lester Brown as reporting that the Chinese are building six mega wind farms that will eventually produce as much electricity as the entire world generated in 2008 (“Cut carbon, build heartland,” 11/1/09 TPP).

Isn’t it past time that the USA made a quantum leap into what appears to be the ideal fuel cell hydrogen economy?

We will certainly need a major public relations campaign to convince people that hydrogen storage tanks are no more dangerous than propane gas or compressed natural gas tanks.

The Manhattan/Apollo type project would transfer subsidies to the Big Three auto companies and the Big Oil companies at present testing fleets of these cars and trucks on both coasts of the US.

Huge savings are possible utilizing tidal waves, wind, solar and geothermal sources to minimize transportation costs. The auto industry can convert idled plants to produce hydrogen fuel cell-power plants for homes, vehicles, locomotives, etc.

Of course, we would have a panel of independent scientists to monitor for unforeseen consequences.

John A. Morales
California, Mo.

Wake Up Sleeping Dogma

Writer Gary Walker (“Conspiracy Nuts,” Letters, 11/1/09 TPP) belligerently attacks — re: 9/11 —”right wingers” and “dogma” that tell us an imaginative scenario that is “absurd” and “impossible.” He resents being called a “truther.” Well, those who know the truth, especially those who know it so comprehensively, from motivation to consequence, do not make the best advocates for disinterested inquiry. Of course the official/MSM/9/11 Commission version is more than suspect. Paradoxically, the best exoneration that officialdom has is that the towers and Building 7 crashed in perfect demolition form; a planned catastrophe would’ve been made to look as if asymmetrically damaged buildings failed and fell asymmetrically. Not that, for instance, the NYFD suspected any such failure; steel girders do not fail in fire; if they inexplicably did, they would not break simultaneously; they would break (as one photo revealed) at (as in demolition) a clean 45 degree angle.

My guess, since demolition apparatus had to be in place pre-attack, is that the terrorist attack provided an opportunistic solution to a sordid real estate problem and an opportunistic propaganda coupe for the Bush/Cheney administration.

I suspect that, say different than Watergate or JFK, we have a (non)communication dynamic where it is in most everybody’s interest (including leftist publications) to let sleeping dogma lie, and lie, and...

Jerry Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.

Break the Addiction

Roberto Rodriguez was half correct when he said, “The truth is, more than oil, the nation’s leaders are spiritually addicted to war,” (“Health, War-Peace, Hypocrisy and Taxes,” 11/1/09 TPP) but the whole truth is that the American people are addicted to war. Until we abandon this obscene infatuation with the military mentality, we are doomed to repeat Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other disasters. When America spends more on war than the rest of the planet combined, the delusion of justification follows easily.

Brad Chinn
Spokane, Wash.

Hold Pritzkers Accountable

Jim Hightower’s comments on Hyatt Hotels and 3 Boston hotels (“Hyatt blindsides housekeepers,” 11/1/09 TPP) misses the forest for the trees.

The Pritzker family in Chicago essentially owns Hyatt. The “matriarch” by marriage is one Penny Pritzker. She was the one in charge of Obama’s fund raiser for his campaign for president.

By associating with the family, he has dirtied himself with their anti-labor tactics.

Kenneth S. Sachs
Minnetonka, Minn.

Just Say No to Pols

This is what we need to tell our alleged representatives that have so completely whored themselves to the ruling corporate establishment whenever they are up for election- employee evaluation. Isn’t it obvious? Both parties are as different as plain vanilla and vanilla with nuts ice cream. This sham of a debate called health care reform should convince all but the most brain dead of this. “Obama’s “Change we can believe in” is actually “Change we can’t even hope for”.

Forced mandates and fines for being too poor to participate? Handing billions of public dollars over to billionaires? Means testing that will disqualify many in need? A 10-year phase-in that still will not cover everyone? Arresting those who support the only meaningful reforms when they speak their mind to that bordello otherwise known as ‘The House of Representatives? These things are outrageous and dictatorial! And health care reform is only one issue!

It is way past the time we fired them all, with few exceptions and evaluate our own thinking processes as well. For myself, I will never again even consider voting for a Democrat or Republican. I will never support either party and have requested my $10 donation to the DNC be returned; a useless symbolic gesture, but symbolic nonetheless. Words escape me to describe the disgust I have for this current process and those executing it.

If we are to have real change that benefits the greater masses then we can no longer support the system that keeps offering hope and delivering despair. This government and the corporations that keep it in power are tumors feeding on the public and likewise must be removed. I see no other way. It is time for a real revival of alternative parties but this will never occur so long as we continue to believe the empty populist promises of vote-seeking Democrats.

It is time to follow Nancy Reagan’s advice and “Just say no” to anyone running within the confines of the established parties and strongly support those rejected by established media and corporate financing. Run yourself if you can. Become the change you want to see because it won’t come from the established hierarchy. When something is broken and can’t be fixed, it must be replaced.

Paul Ames
Eureka, Utah

Slow Down the Food

Last night on the TV news there was a bit on “pigweed” and how it’s “taking over our fields and farms” and no herbicide seems able to stop it! “First the swine flu and now pigweed! It seems a pig can’t get any respect,” mused the “anchor.”

Today I looked up pigweed in a book at our local library, Unusual Vegetables, by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming, published 1978. It was very interesting! I have looked through a book on herbs I have, recently, and learned the values and uses of other plants called “weeds” we moan about when they appear in our gardens or laws. What surprises!

Then I thought about how we pollute our land and water to get rid of these “weeds” and how forests are destroyed so “cash crops” can be raised instead.

We talk about “technology” saving us! We talk about “education” saving us. Meanwhile, we are ignoring and destroying the very things that really will save us — if we only knew.

Think about this: China and France (among others) have great cuisine and they’ve gotten it because of crop failures and having to learn how to prepare and eat whatever they could find. Is it not time for the American diet to change? Rather than our meat and potatoes “fast food” — as loveable as they are. Why not? And, in the meantime, we can save ourselves and the planet.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Free Market Option

A good solution for health care would be single-payer for generics and free market for all else. The single-payer side of the coin should be because of convenience, like that of the interstate highway system. Tolls are really just spinning wheels. Full employment is an economic fiction not corresponding to the real lives of actual people. There will always be those between jobs and without insurance. Also, single-payer will yield the greatest worker (and thus economic) mobility and undercut the last excuse for too often conspiracy-in-restraint-of-trade, parochial and extortionistic unionism. We’ll start with the biggest health-care users first and curing them, learn as we go how to prevent these conditions. All anyone would need is proof of identity and the location of the nearest (primary care!) clinic. The Free Market side should be because of the great innovation that provides & as a message to the world to not do away or interfere with the right of individuals to make agreements with each other.

“Zoe” Norman Zidbeck
Albany, N.Y.

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2009


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