Rich Oppose Recovery

The economic recovery from the current recession will be difficult because of the loss of purchasing power of the majority of American consumers. The loss of jobs outsourced to foreign countries and the upward migration of wealth has caused this loss of purchasing power.

A recent news article by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, noted that in 1976 the richest 1% of Americans took home 9% of total personal income, receiving 9 times as much as the average of the rest of us. By 2006 the richest 1% took 22.9%, more than 29 times as much as the average of the rest. He added that it is not coincidental that the last time the wealthiest took more than 20% was in 1928, just before the crash of 1929 that presaged the great depression. That is why it is so important to correct this unbalance with higher taxes for the very wealthy and more jobs for the majority.

Creating new jobs in clean energy and other new technology will help, but a greater effect would be felt if the outsourced jobs could be returned to this country. Countries that received those jobs in most cases have surpluses of cheap labor, weaker environmental laws, and government subsidies that result in the cheaper manufactured goods that we import. American consumers could force the return of these lost jobs with a Buy American program, letting American retailers know that they should offer and promote merchandise made in the USA. Many commercial spokesmen say that this could result in a trade war that would be harmful, although other countries are adding such provisions to their recovery efforts. Besides that, we have been in that war and losing it for many years. In 2000 our trade deficit was about $380 billion and that increased to more the $700 billion per year in 2005, 2006 and 2007. That is an enormous outflow of wealth from this country.

Another large outflow of wealth is payment of interest on the national debt, 50% of which is in bonds held in other countries. It is estimated that the national debt will be about $11.5 trillion at the end of this fiscal year. Interest has been running about 4%, so the annual interest on $11.5 trillion will be around $460 billion, with $230 billion in the flow of wealth out of this country. Republicans have been attacking the Obama recovery program on the grounds that it will result in too great a debt burden on future generations, ignoring the catastrophic growth in the debt caused by Republicans in previous administrations and Congress. When Reagan was elected in 1980 he inherited a national debt of $998 billion. By the end of the last G.W. Bush FY budget year it will have increased to $11.5 billion as noted above. Examination of the debt history shows that the Republican administrations accounted for 87% of that increase, averaging $1.82 trillion per presidential term compared with $698 billion in each of the Clinton terms. That was the result of the tax cuts for the wealthy and the fiscal irresponsibility of those five Republican administrations. Their current opposition to the recovery program is purely political and borders on plain hypocrisy.

Harold E. Rohlik
Brunswick Hills, Ohio

GOP Starves State

The cartoons in your 2/1/09 issue were right on. So was the article by Joseph B. Atkins, “Southern Oligarchy and the Labor Unions.”

Slavery was and is always about cheap labor. You can’t get much cheaper than that, after all. And the way companies will run all over the globe to get the cheapest labor shows that that is still the Holy Grail of capitalism. “Buy cheap, sell high.” And, under slavery there’s no issue of pensions or health benefits. Ah, the good times!

Apparently, party philosophies only alarm Republicans if it seems left-leaning. Never mind that they seem to now share the Marxist desire to see the state wither away, and they’ll see the state starve to get there.

When they are in power, “Deficits are good.” When they are out of power, “Deficits are bad!” When their policies have run up the greatest deficits in American history, that was just fine. Now that the prescription to fix this is to run a higher deficit, deficits are bad and they are the ones all concerned about “fiscal responsibility.” When Democrats balanced the budget, after years of Republicans complaining about how “unbalanced budgets were the problem,” Republicans then claimed that balanced budgets were bad, that surpluses were bad, “because we’d just spend them ‘irresponsibly.’” When they’re in charge, it’s “Do it my way, or else.” When they’re not in charge, it’s “Be bipartisan and listen to me—and do it my way—or else!” So, when are Republicans not in charge? And yet they are never, according to them, responsible for any outcomes! It’s the perfect setup—for them. “Heads, I win, tails you lose” is the way this game goes-for Republicans. And we see where it has gotten us.

But it’s not their fault—of course.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Declare Your Independence

I began voting at the age of 21 as a registered Democrat. Over the past 50 years of voting, I have also been a registered Republican and an independent, which I am at present. Over my 50 years of studying and being involved in the political process, I have reached the conclusion that the Democratic and Republican parties need to be dismantled. These two powerful parties have consistently shown that the party comes first and the needs of our country come second. If it is not possible to dismantle them, then I believe it is time for the people who care about our country need to send a message to these parties. This can be done by people registering as independents. This would get the attention of these two parties.

The biggest argument I hear against registering as an independent is that, in most states, one would not be able to vote in the primary. If voting in the primary is important to you, then push for an open primary in your state. If my information is correct, 23 states now have open primaries. What’s the matter with the other 27 states? With open primaries, maybe the other 32-plus parties would have an opportunity to present their candidates!

Irene Feist
Punta Gorda, Fla.

Tell the Truth About 9/11

Norman Solomon in the 3/1/09 TPP says, “in the wake of 9/11 overall the main journalistic outlets of the US fed us falsehoods, hysteria ... for waging war on Afghanistan and Iraq. Few journalists ... did much more than go with the flow of the warfare state’s massive propaganda flood.”

Talk about hypocrisy! The elephant in the room is the coverup and the media blackout of the truth about 9/11 itself. The evidence that 9/11 was a false-flag event conducted by elements of the warfare state itself is obvious and overwhelming to anyone willing to examine it. The refusal of journalists on the left to expose the warfare state’s criminality, lies and coverup of the truth about 9/11 is shameful.

Norman Solomon did well to expose the lies of Judith Miller of the New York Times in the lead-up to the attack on Iraq but disgraceful in his silence on her role as the major conduit for the Bush administration’s obvious lies about 9/11. These lies have bells and whistles on them, they violate the laws of physics not to mention common sense. Check out Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth at ae911truth.org and see for yourself what we are not being told. ...

Mike Therriault
Minneapolis, Minn.

No Love for Israel

At first I assumed Donald Kaul’s fawning comments about Israel (2/15/09 TPP) were irony; then, reading further, I realized the man was serious. Make Israel the 51st state? Over my dead body. That brutal aggressor has stolen or illegally seized most of Palestine’s 1947 UN allotment of land, reducing it to 22% or its mandated homeIand. What’s left is split into the West Bank and Gaza, both of which are controlled by Israel.

Gaza, as we’ve just seen, is an open-air prison which Israel can assault with US weapons whenever it chooses. The colonized West Bank is punctuated with encroaching Israeli settlements, both illegal and hostile; split by highways only Israelis can use; and subject to belligerent guards at hundreds of checkpoints.

Along with lost land have gone lost water to fill Israeli settlers’ swimming pools; lost orchards of heritage olive trees that Israeli settlers and road builders have butchered; lost agriculture, livelihood and freedom.

I agree with your writer Ed Hodges that America’s Congress is outrageously blind and deaf to the Israeli-American atrocities being committed against the Palestinian people and to the rote subservience to Israel. (Many Congress members get thousands of dollars from pro-Israel PACs going under innocuous names.) When Gaza can be literally flattened and hundreds of civilians killed without either Congressional or public outrage, then we can safely say America has lost its soul.

Jeanne Riha
Corvallis, Ore.

Stop the Persecution

Joe Conason writes an excellent essay [“Michael Phelps, Dope Fiend!” 3/1/09 TPP] concerning marijuana, using Michael Phelps as the case in point. I would change one word. Instead of prosecute, use persecute. Because persecute is what this was. The persecution includes the press who published the photo and raised such a stink about smoking pot, along with the small-town-minded sheriff who was only looking to raise his own political prospects.

The sheriff one can almost understand. It is his job to arrest miscreants, but the press? But note, the press is more complicit in this misguided drug on wars than many realize. If a politician proposes legalizing drugs, the press castigates him/her as being soft on crime. The press did a yeoman’s job working to get Obama elected. They could do the same on getting marijuana legalized. But even though many of them partake, they won’t. Better to scoop the story which helps ruin someone’s life than to work to make life better for all.

Lewis Guignard, Jr.
Crouse, N.C.

Squatters Beware

Re: Amy Goodman’s article, “Foreclosure? Don’t Leave,” in the 3/1/09 TPP.

The mortgage holder does not hold the original mortgage note. The note, along with the deed and the mortgage documents, are filed at the local county courthouse in the Register of Deeds Office. These are public records, and all that one needs to get a copy of the mortgage note is the address of the property under consideration. If someone is facing foreclosure proceedings, the bank obviously has a copy of the mortgage note because a foreclosure cannot be initiated without the note. The bank to which one makes payments and which is foreclosing may have already bundled the mortgage, but that bank doesn’t pass on all the mortgage information. They are merely a collection agent who takes their cut of the monthly payments and passes the balance on down the line. Squatting is not an option. Anyone having difficulty making their mortgage payments and possibly facing foreclosure should seek legal counsel.

Thomas Schutte
Mukwonago, Wis.

Editor Notes: Foreclosure laws vary by state, but it is reasonable to demand that a bank produce documentation that it actually holds the mortgage. However, a homebuyer in financial trouble should consult an attorney and/or non-profit credit counseling service before foreclosure becomes a threat.

Marijuana Re-Legalization

When you write to legalize marijuana, whether for medicinal or “recreational” uses, remember that the “Marihuana Stamp (tax) Act of 1937” outlawed reefer that had been legal. Therefore, the correct wordage is RE-legalization.

A few years back, a London forensic scientist examined Shakespeare’s pipe for its contents. She found traces of tobacco, mystritic acid and marijuana. Recently, a literary critic complained that passages of Shakespeare showed signs of “wandering.” So what’s a little wander amidst genius-level of literature?!

John Spofforth
Athens, Ohio

Stimulus Needs Oversight

Local skilled labor is priceless in it’s own intrinsic American way. From what I’ve read about what has happened in the construction business in Colorado, here in Idaho and in New Orleans, without oversight these new jobs created by the stimulus package could go the same way — the way of cheap labor.

I hate to say illegal, or Mexican, etc—three of my nieces have married hard-working Mexican men, but they have not undercut my job either. I cannot understand why these new rich decide to hire contractors who hire unskilled labor to build their mansions. Or should I say McMansions where aristocrat wannabes’ homes look like three-star hotels. A marble counter top and rough-set slate floors make up for orange-peel sprayed walls? Ha Ha! They pay the contractors good money and the contractor is not even scrutinized? I bet the contractors vote Republican, watch Fox News and keep their little nasty hiring secrets from the rest of their GOP buddies, hollering I’m a true American, I’m a patriot! This while counting their ill-gotten gains, just before they buy stock in companies that outsourced US jobs, and send the rest overseas to an offshore bank.

Please tell me Halliburton is not going to help rebuild America’s infrastructure with imported cheap labor like they did in New Orleans and Iraq. The Stimulus Package really needs oversight.

Jeanna Gollihur
Nezperce, Idaho


Future historians can take the measure of the greatness of G.W. Bush’s achievements since they will stand out like footprints on the ocean.

Robert B. Loren
Silver City, N.M.

From The Progressive Populist, April 1, 2009

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