Blundering Along

After the eight dreadful years of the wasteful stupid insane Bush-Cheney White House I hoped to see a real change in government and I had hoped Dick Cheney most of all would have been prosecuted for promoting Iraq war with his lies about weapons of mass destruction to gain military contracts for Halliburton/KBR.

Barack Obama appeared to many to be the one to fill the position as our new president. But after almost a year in office Obama is looking and acting like the same old system that feeds the greedy hogs while those at the bottom lick crumbs off the floor.

The Iraq war wasted $12 billion tax dollars each month while our Post Office is billions of dollars in the hole. And more than 10% are registered as unemployed but the number is much higher and many unemployed and underemployed can not receive an unemployment check.

That scurrilous company formerly called Blackwater that sucked up billions of US tax dollars in Iraq that was involved in crimes and killing Iraq civilians is now called Xe Services and still has many contracts with the State Dept. They have as many people in Afghanistan as they had in Iraq.

Who are we fighting in these stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Those people never did anything to us. And the Afghan Taliban is a bunch of stupid religious nuts that harm their own female members of their family that want to go to school. As despicable as that is they were not involved in 9/11. It was Osama bin Laden and he was from Saudi Arabia and 9/11 was funded from Saudi Arabia.

The older George H.W. Bush was having a dinner meeting in the US with Osama bin Laden’s family talking about oil when the 9/11 attackers, most all from Saudi Arabia, used those commercial jets as bombs. And when all air traffic was grounded the bin Laden family was allowed to fly home.

After more than eight years the heavily financed CIA has never tracked down Osama bin Laden; that’s the real enemy.

President Obama needs to wake up and stop emulating the past presidents.

Al Hamburg
Torrington, Wyo.

No More Presidential Wars

The last time a joint session of Congress declared war was Dec. 8, 1941, a time when our national security really was in jeopardy. Germany and Italy had occupied all of Western Europe, and were bombing England into submission. Their ally, Japan, had occupied most of Southeast Asia and had destroyed every battleship in our Pacific fleet. Their goal was to rule the world and they were well on their way. Our allied forces ended that threat to our national security by 1945.

Our military actions since then have been illegal, immoral and unconstitutional. If Congress wants to cede its power to declare war to the president it would require an amendment to make it legal. None was even suggested.

It began with the Truman “police action” in Korea. (They didn’t call it a “war” back then.) He merely ignored the Constitution. Every president since has also ignored the Constitutional requirement. Ignoring the Constitution has become so common as to be deemed allowable.

Now we are involved in the most ludicrous and dangerous of these “wars” — the “war on terror” — a war against an invisible enemy with no possible ending. Bush has made it worse by getting the legal mechanisms into place whereby the president would become a dictator upon another “incident” with the power to abolish all of our constitutional protections overnight — in the interests of our “national security,” of course.

All of this is justified by the “official” version of the events of 9/11. Bush had opposed an investigation for over two years — until he was assured that it would be a whitewash, which it was.

Scientific evidence refuting the “official” version from structural engineers and scientists has been totally ignored by the media — the watchdogs of our society. You, the media, should be crying out for an honest review of the events of 9/11 before we slip into this bottomless hole.

Do it for the children who will inherit this country. Give them the same Constitutional America you grew up in.

J.A. Nomonuse
New York, N.Y.

War Profits

As we blunder on through our tragically stupid war in Afghanistan, here’s a question nobody seems to be asking: Who stands to profit? Certainly not the taxpayers who foot the bill.

Surely it must be a different story for our weapons industry, the munitions manufacturers and arms dealers. Or consider the giant corporations with government contracts, like KBR and Halliburton. Recall the smiling face, the comfortable voice in Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11: “War can be very profitable for a lot of people.”

More than half a century ago, the undeclared war in Korea gave us a nudge. Then Vietnam plunged us into the endless state of war that George Orwell wrote about in 1984. We just got there a little early.

War profits help corporate interests to buy out numerous members of Congress. There is no stronger argument for public campaign financing and term limits.

Kyle Noble
Independence, Va.

Unions Must Stand Up to Business

Recently an American union (the United Steelworkers) fused with an English union (Unite) and signed an agreement with a Spanish co-op (Mondragon Internacional) to establish cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United States and Canada [See “Steelworkers work with world’s largest co-op,” by Harry Kelber, 12/1/09 TPP]. Now on the surface we right now do not know what, if any, consequences all of these activities will have. But this I do know, that this action and other labor moves will send a message to the corporate world and to the multi-national planet that there is a potential growing force to counter them and to show people that there is more hope that another entity was growing, one that would stand against the business entity. ...

So comrades: Keep your eyes to the ground and mend your fences. The revolution goes on.

S. Einhorn
Tampa, Fla.

Won’t Do Metal

As a card-carrying, bleeding-heart progressive, I have marched in triple-digit heat for noble causes.

And, in food and drink, I have proletariat tastes — so during those sojourns to save the world, I’ve shared stale bread and “el cheapo” wine with the best of them.

However, Rev. Don Rollins [“Tailgatin’ for Jesus,” 12/1/09 TPP] is asking too much of me when he suggests that I should join those liberals who mix metal music with the contemplative.

Even for us progressive martyrs, there are limits to our sacrifice. Having to listen to metal music is beyond any sacrifice I’m willing to make, no matter how noble the cause.

David Quintero
Temple City, Calif.

Need Big Government Healthcare

To the generally obtuse segment of the American public who believe in national fairy tales, other fanciful notions, and specifically, fear a big government takeover of healthcare, I have sad news to report: The much-feared healthcare takeover has already occurred — and long ago. Contrary to the propaganda, this corporate courtesy came by way of Wall Street, the private health-care sector and the “legislators” and government they purchase. What part of 17% of the GDP, or $2.2 trillion in annual healthcare spending a year do they want to give up? Zero, nada, nothing. These numbers alone provide an ample and rational case for reform. Critically, success in the long run will require conjoining fiscally responsible and morally founded systemic reform in both the financing and delivery of healthcare.

For the moment, we are stuck with a myopic dysfunctional government. Perhaps when healthcare costs consume 40% of the average American’s shrinking budget will the addiction to ideology give way to economic reality and the public demand change. Until then, lobby for reform, hope for the best and remember — yours or a loved ones’ healthcare denial or demise is of little or no concern to the long ago taken over ‘big government political/industry/healthcare cabal’.

Lee Guelff
Atascadero, Calif.

Writing Their Own Rules

Dave Zweifel writes about the banks’ familiar practice of writing credit card agreements to suit themselves and telling you kindly that if you don’t like it you’re free to close your account [“Credit card firms put squeeze on consumers,” 12/1/09 TPP]. But did you know they’re starting to do it on deposit accounts?

A bank I’d done business with for at least eight years, with a succession of small CDs, sent me the paperwork for a new one. Attached behind the signature “card” was a three-page binding arbitration agreement, ending up with a lot of guff about how I knowingly and intelligently (sic) waived my right to a jury trial and related rights. Of course I rejected it. They said they could not open the account without it, so I told them to send my money back. At this stage, it’s no great problem as I can look elsewhere, but suppose they all did it. I have filed a formal complaint and am waiting to see how the Federal Reserve will handle it, but what is really needed is strong congressional action.

It isn’t only banks but other big businesses that are increasingly trying this game (e.g. Google and the class action settlement that tries to rewrite copyright law). Congress has the right and responsibility to regulate banking and commerce, to provide some semblance of justice for all with laws that balance various parties’ interests. But more and more, we see banks and other big businesses trying to circumvent those laws with coercive “agreements” that tilt the balance in their favor. Congress needs to ban that practice unequivocally, making it clear that laws are there for a reason and businesses may not force customers to cede legal rights as a condition of doing business.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Baltimore, Md.

Fetter Capitalism

As a strong supporter of Obama, I am growing increasingly frustrated with the path we find ourselves on, and the failure of Democrats to find a unified voice to push what I consider to be “our” agenda. And I fear that it will take more than one president and such strong advocates as Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) to stop the slide.

Among the societally corrosive elements facing us are (in my opinion): a health-care system which nearly everyone agrees is broken, and the majority Democrats cannot find a united voice that would put in place a liberal, humane, workable plan; an anti-labor bias that started under Reagan and continues; the failure to enforce anti-trust laws; the removal of nearly all restrictions on banking; the fact that the US is now a consuming rather than a producing nation; the insanity of importing highly skilled workers while we outsource jobs (SRP, our local power company, recently announced the outsourcing of some jobs in the middle of a recession); the seemingly endless wars we engage in; the economic plight of the states as a result of an unwillingness to levy reasonable taxes; the erosion of support for our public schools; and added to that is the rapidly escalating cost of higher education; the hatred that infects our body politic; the greed of those in high places — in banking particularly; the high level of unemployment — and last but not least our rapidly growing federal deficit.

We should remember that a functioning democracy demands a middle class, a class that by all accounts is being rapidly eroded; that the vibrant middle class created after WWII was largely the result of an equally vibrant labor movement, the GI Bill, and the availability of high quality public education at all levels, and of course a highly productive society.

We should also recall that no less a voice than that of Theodore Roosevelt warned against “unfettered capitalism.”

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.

Food Security

A number of experts in the Philadelphia Inquirer (“In America, hunger is still a severe problem,” editorial page, 11/29/09) reported that a record number of Americans, including 17 million children, are at risk for hunger. They cite food stamps as the major safety net to reduce the risk of serious prolonged hunger. New York Times reporters (De Parle and Gebelloff, 11/29/09) reveal that there are 36 million people who use stamps — one in eight Americans and nearly one in four children. And its use has accelerated nearly a third since 2007! Also, many cities now, like Philadelphia, have at least a quarter of the population using food stamps (Rachel Meeks, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/28/09). A food stamp analyst with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger reveals that 26% of the population, or 370,000, receive food stamps. But she also cites that there are another 150,000 who are eligible but don’t get them, perhaps due to stigma, or failure of access. These people who need the stamps are not only the chronically poor but the working poor, jobless couples with children, the homeless due to foreclosures, the aged and the disabled.

In view of the accelerating need for food security, we need to go beyond food stamps as the key way to help the hungry. I suggest that a high governmental office be created that would take responsibility for developing different policies that would work together to prevent food insecurity and hunger. I understand, for example, that developing nations are extremely concerned about the effects of global warming on agricultural production and are finding ways to ensure food security. Why shouldn’t we be taking broad national responsibility in planning for our future food needs?

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Fiscal Concerns

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has once again said that he will not support the recently passed “health reform” bill by the House. He claims that it is much too costly and his conscience (substitute health insurance companies here) will not allow it. Is this the same person who did not mind the cost of the Iraq war? A war that is now considered by experts as a “failed” venture was so important to him that he joined forces with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who had campaigned for continuation of this war. It seems that Lieberman was consumed with the idea that we would win in Iraq and install a government that would safeguard the interest of our allies (substitute Israel here). Not once did he talk of the cost factor — cost of human lives — spending trillions of tax dollars — the cost of rage and blow-back from the Islamic world — all of this did not matter to him but now all of a sudden he is talking about cost? Unbelievable “chutzpah.”

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

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From The Progressive Populist, January 1-15, 2010


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