Watchdogs in Government Needed

As the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico continues to worsen, the hypocrisy and stupidity of many on the political right does also. Since the days of President Reagan and his philosophy that “government is the problem,” the agencies charged with protecting the public good have been crippled and staffed by cronies and lap-dogs. All but gone are the nonpartisan dedicated watchdogs of the public commons.

This present catastrophe had its seeds sown during previous decades. To place so much of the blame on the Obama administration is totally unwarranted and inappropriate! For it takes years to undo decades of neglect and deliberate mismanagement. Why are so many so blind to this? Perhaps because of their role in it? However, President Obama is guilty of his naive trust in the many false promises/reassurances of British Petroleum.

If now is not the appropriate time to publicly release who attended and what was decided during Vice President Cheney’s “Energy Task Force” meetings, when is? Contrary to “free market” ideologues, we must understand and accept that government, in other words, “We the People,” have a regulatory role in how business operates. Furthermore, the word “regulate” appears numerous times in the Constitution. I challenge these “free marketeers” to show me where the words “capitalism,” “free market,” etc. appear. After all, this is the document they profess to live their lives by, and beat the rest of us about the head with.

For it was Thomas Jefferson who stated, “Were men angels, there would be no role for government.”

Wayne C. Taylor
Bethlehem, Pa.

Questions for Rall

In your 5/15/10 edition there is a column by Ted Rall under the heading “Why the Right Doesn’t Get It.”

While I am totally in agreement with his thrust and examples, I am sorry to note several errors and unfounded assertions. I am sorry he joins those who deflate the meaning of the word “Nazi,” as when he asks if any African American would vote Republican (did any Jews vote for the Nazis)?

He tells us that the Department of Homeland Security “has become a laughingstock due to its incompetence.” There is no consensus on this point, but if he thinks it true, he should offer and example or two.

He states categorically that the Tea Party is motivated by racism, and labels them “stupid.” I have read that the Tea Party includes racists, but that is among the lesser of their motivations. Where did he get his idea?

As for the “stupid” label, he contradicts himself when he writes that “Progressives find much to like in the Tea Parties’ call for a return to core values embodied by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But only in theory.” Does that mean the Progressives are also stupid?

Even though I have been slow in sending this message, I hope you will give Mr. Rall an opportunity to respond.

Maxwell D. Epstein
Santa Monica, Calif.

Ted Rall replies: Thank you, Mr. Epstein, for taking the time to read and respond to my column.

1. I disagree that any analogy to Nazism automatically “deflates” the horrors of Nazism. I think it’s clear that Republicans aren’t as bad as Nazis. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an analogy to be made.

2. The Department of Homeland Security became a national laughingstock thanks to its insipid color-coded alerts, harassment of air travelers, and failure to secure US ports. That’s all I could think of on deadline, but I hardly think this assertion requires a detailed rebuttal.

3. Many Tea Parties rely upon racially-coded calls to “take America back.” From whom? From the black guy who became president for some reason. That said, it is also true that many progressives would like to see the Constitution taken more seriously. Life is complicated. Sometimes it is contradictory.

Good for Arizona!

Re: “Welcome To Apartheid” by Roberto Rodriguez [6/15/10 TPP], I live in Tucson, Ariz., and I am tired of Mexicans probably most bad-mouthing Arizona. My state only enforces the law when the federal government does nothing. I want to quote Rodriguez: “First they have come for our bodies (to deport those of us they can); now they come for our souls.” What gall, what arrogance! Even the President of Mexico comes here and bad mouths Arizona and our Gov. Jan Brewer, a good governor! You ought to live here and see what is happening, no wonder we are broke supporting illegals in our schools, in our hospitals, in our lunch programs, in our Section 8 Housing, in our food banks. They never assimilate to our Country except for benefits.The Mexican Flag is flown more than Stars and Strips. Some are here for over 20 years and never learn English. We even have a US Congressman by the name of Raul Grijalva (District 7) who has asked the people of this country to boycott my state Arizona. I am a Democrat, and I’d like to see the Republicans demand that he resign as Congressman, before the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. These illegal immigrants honestly do believe they have every right to enter the USA, before anyone doing it from other countries legally. One nice thing, though, that we do have, not in my county, but Maricopa County, a great Sheriff! ... This Sheriff I speak of only enforces our laws, he doesn’t make them. Not even SB 1070. He has been in over 3,500 newspapers worldwide. His name I am proud to be able to say is: Sheriff Joe Arpaio!

Hank Pergande
Tucson Ariz.

Editor Notes: Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for most federal assistance programs, including Section 8 vouchers. However, they are required to pay the same taxes as citizens. If employers do not withhold income tax as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes, it probably is because the employer is trying to evade its share.

Shut Piehole

After reading Dr. Rodriguez’s column on apartheid in Arizona, I have three words for him, “SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE!” There is nothing progressive or populist about people stealing jobs from United States citizens and documented residents. The indigenous illegal aliens from Mexico, and Central America, are the bosses’ answer to jobs that cannot be relocated offshore. Blue-collar workers’ wages and real buying power has decreased in the past twenty years as the direct result of indigenous illegal aliens stealing their construction, food service, production, and hospitality jobs.

The illegal aliens crossing into the United States are not Mexico’s best and brightest. They are the uneducated indigenous workers that the Mexican/Spanish ruling class and government have been exploiting for the past 518 years. United States workers didn’t steal their land, deny them an education, and steal their jobs. The blame rests with the Europeans who colonized Mexico and who now dominate the upper/bosses class. If indigenous Mexican nationals want economic opportunity they should change the way Mexico treats them. Coming to the United States to steal jobs from United States citizens is not the way. The Mexican government treats harshly the Central American indigenous aliens trying to steal jobs from Mexican workers. Why should we be different?

Dr. Rodriguez sits in his comfortable office in Tucson confident that indigenous illegal aliens won’t be stealing his job because most are poorly educated and don’t have Ph.D.’s. Would he be so vocal in defending these thieves if his position was the one they were stealing. Dr. Rodriguez would probably squeal like a stuck pig if this happened.

Apartheid is not the reason the Arizona law-enforcement agencies are focusing on short, brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking males with indigenous facial features. The focus is on these people because they are the ones crossing the border illegally and stealing the jobs.

Kenneth R. Cooper
Hendersonville, N.C.
(formerly from Arizona)

Got Oil?

If anything ever seemed like divine retribution for our ham-handed excursion into Iraq, it is [the BP blowout in the Gulf], as if the Heavenly Father were saying, “You wanted oil? Enjoy!”

In another part of the dense, right-wing forest, we hear the motormouth radio people casting blame in President Obama’s direction (Talk about chutzpah!). If anything ever had REPUBLICAN written all over it, it is this deregulation-driven oil spill.

Don C. Boogle
White Plains, N.Y.

Restore First Amendment, Elections

I just received in the mail a letter with a People’s Petition, which calls on Congress to pass an act for a Constitutional Amendment to be sent to the states for ratification to restore the First Amendment and Fair Elections to the people. This will help fix the damage done by the Citizens United v. the FEC case [which allows corporations to get involved in federal elections]. I urge all readers (voters) to go to www.dontgetrolled.org to read the petition and sign it as well and to get involved to get this taken care of. As my bumper stickers say: “Be human. Fight corporate ‘personhood.’” Please also act now. Thanks.

David Thompson
Sarasota, Fla.

Editor Notes: To get a Progressive Populist bumper sticker with “Be human, fight corporate ‘personhood,’” send $1 to: Progressive Populist Bumper Sticker, PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652.

Clean Up the Language

In his short article, “Music Snobs Suck” [6/15/10 TPP], Rob Patterson uses the words “suck,” “sucked,” and “sucking” 13 times!

Although those words don’t qualify as profanity, they become jarring to the listener — and tiresome to the reader. So, how did “suck,” “sucked,” and “sucking” become so commonly used?

I believe they first became popular among teenagers. And, to curry favor with the young, adults often make the mistake of imitating the speech of youngsters instead of influencing them by good example.

I don’t think a day goes by without my hearing that garbage spoken by people whom no one would consider vulgar. People of all ages often say, “It sucks,” to describe something they don’t like. Or, if they don’t approve of a politician or a celebrity, they don’t hesitate to say, “He sucks!”

How can we rescue our language from such mistreatment?

My suggestion is this: Whenever parents, teachers, coaches, and others in authority hear the young use the words “suck” or “sucked” or “sucking,” they should ask them to rephrase what they just said without using those words.

Before we know it, they will learn to speak (and write) better. And, as a bonus, they might even be grateful.

I believe it’s worth the effort. After all, English is a beautiful language, and it deserves respect.

David Quintero
Temple City, Calif.

Media Provocateers

As most of us realize, this is yet another very critical time in our bumpy journey toward the “perfect” state. The American experience has been singularly unique in its formation and performance simply because the population is made up of so many different cultures from all over the world. There is no specific American breed; The so called “native” Americans originally crossed the Siberian bridge when there was one. This continent was a completely clean slate for human habitation when some of the other lands already had many colonies of early tribes.

“Melting Pot” doesn’t quite describe our history, since so many sects, communities and individuals simply did not want to mingle and melt with that huge tide of immigration. There has always been the bickering, the slandering and the bigotry that put fuel to the fires of proud self-identity — not the pride born of compassion and brotherhood, but of counterfeit illusions of superiority. Of course, this sector of the American population is not anywhere near a majority; most people are reasonably content with their lives and manage to treat others with respect no matter what their religion, race or politics. They are the real backbone of the nation. The ever constant social weakness that has created the present crisis comes from the ignorance, insecurity and bigotry that has infected so many people since the earliest times, especially after the last election.

And as in the past, there is a legion of entrepreneurs of garbage journalism that have swiftly seized the chance to make fortunes for themselves by exploding that fever of ignorance, insecurity and bigotry. When you hear a neo-conservative politician, preacher or “journalist” eager beaver speak utter nonsense. It is not directed toward reasonable folks, but to the poor dolts that don’t know any better; they eat it up because it makes their inner child feel better. It gives them a power where there was none. The election of a mixed-race, highly intelligent, educated, confident young man to lead this highly complicated nation has been a four-barreled threat and insult to multitudes of suffering, angry, counterfeit self-esteem seekers. If all of the scumbags who live so high off of this social sickness keep on with their volatile provocateering it could lead to some tragic consequences. They may be a bigger threat than Middle East terrorism.

Helen McKinney
Sapphire, N.C.

Kill the Messenger

The Swan Song of Paul Craig Roberts, “Truth Has Fallen ...” [5/15/10 TPP], is a sad, acerbic diatribe from a prominent journalist whose writings have offended society’s insane suicide. His life and career of patriotic statesmanship has been ended by the thought-police, and this last eruption of Roberts’ dispatch is a searing indictment of our economy, government, and military/industrial complex. His final protestation speaks volumes. RIP.

Richard Wassall
Youngstown, Fla

Bills Come Due

Under George W. Bush our national debt grew the highest it has ever been. We are going to be dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan for decades. New Orleans — for lack of hte funds to fix the dikes — and now for faulty oil drilling equipment — is a disaster. For want of good schools and affordable medical care, jails are used for our “problem children” — and costing a fortune. And yet we know how to treat mental health isuses and we know how to educate children.

We know that gambling causes problems for society and individuals. We know that government can (and has!) dealt with — and relieved — many of our greatest problems.

So why are there still those who refuse to use one of our greatest means for helping people when the track record is clearly there?

“Government” is “We, the People.” Private corporations are just people, too. And they’re clearly not any better because they’re a “corporation,” not a “government.”

So governments tax? It’s what governments do. Corporations charge. (Enron, anyone? Wasn’t that wonderful?)

Grow up, Republicans, before we lose the whole thing and nobody gets anything. You think no one else has seen what you have, or felt as you have? Yet they don’t like or choose your “solutions”? Did you ever think about, maybe, why not?

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2010


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