Ike Called It

On Aug. 10 the House of Representatives approved a $26 billion spending bill on jobs. The bill preserved jobs for teachers, firefighters and police officers. Republicans are screaming bloody murder over this legislation; apparently preserving these jobs that look out for the benefit of our future — children, the preservation of the protectors of our property and communities, firemen and police forces are of little concern to them.

Secretary Gates also announced today a 1% shift in military spending. This will eliminate approximately 5,000 jobs in the military-industrial complex. Of course the Republicans find the lost of these jobs to be an atrocity.

I would like to share with you the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) from Jan. 7, 1961. This quote pertains to the military-industrial complex.

“We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implication. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of society.”

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only and alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Overcrowded schoolrooms, streets left under and/or not patrolled and fire departments understaffed or closed up; these will not be beneficial for the liberty of our citizenry. Readers, please consider the fallout of supporting Republican ideals before you rush to support them in elections this fall.

Anthony J. Gerst
Wapello, Iowa

Quo Vadis?

The Republican Party has always been the party of Big Business. The Democratic Party had been the party of small business. Under FDR, who saved America from fascism, reforms were passed securing the allegiance of labor that provided the substance of the New Deal. These progressive reforms energized American capitalism and made our country immensely strong and prosperous.

After the war the “Red Menace”, with accompanying hysteria, poisoned the labor

movement. The Communists, dupes all because of their blind subservience to the Soviet Union (Red Fascism) had had a vital part in organizing the trade union movement. They were shortly expelled. The labor movement thereby lost its militancy and became one of the cheerleaders of capital after the war. Labor leaders became good friends with their counterparts in business. And thus, with the decline of militancy, Labor stagnated and then gradually lost its strength and became puny.

In 1983 the Democratic Party became respectable, New Democrats, thus morphing into a clone of the Republican Party. Bill Clinton was the best President the Republicans ever had. He passed NAFTA, after having campaigned against it, and fulfilled seven of the 10 Gingrich Contract On America proposals. The function of the present Democratic Party is to enact those laws that the Republicans cannot pass. The evisceration of Social Security was Bill’s next task but the Monica scandal postponed it. Obama shall complete this task after the November elections. For those who still believe in Mr. “change we can believe in”, the awakening is at hand. Our economic system has become so sophisticated, centralized, and concentrated that true reform appears impossible. Long ago Goebbels proved that persistent, clever, pervasive, mass propaganda can convince people of anything. Obama is no FDR. The cataclysm awaits us.

Walter Tegnazian
Orlando, Fla.

Can Obama Lose?

Frank Rich says Obama can lose in 2012 (“How to lose an election without really trying,” Aug. 7 New York Times) He cites figures like 16.5% of our workers are now either unemployed and trying to find work, working part time (often, I may add, without health benefits, many needing food stamps to supplement their minimum wage) or stopped looking. Many of the latter are the “99ers,” who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.

The Times picked out the experience of Alexandria Jerrin, a 49-year-old college graduate and highly skilled corporate worker who lost her job, almost two years ago, has a $92,000 debt and is now facing homelessness as an example of the hardship of surviving joblessness.

Magnify her vulnerability by millions of other skilled and unskilled workers, many of whom have families with children living on margin who nevertheless still hope and trust that President Obama will come through for jobs they desperately need.

If he fails to show significant efforts to reducing joblessness — the cancer in the

American heart — I fear that President Obama may indeed face a failed presidency in the next election.

The first step for Obama might be to show that he is really on the side of the average guy on the street and wants to improve their lot. That could be accomplished by removing the Bush tax breaks to the rich. In fact he could reinstitute the progressive tax base so that needed revenues be available for human needs. He would not exempt the defense industry and the Pentagon from concern over their massive destructive demands for more weapons and endless war. 53% of our budget goes to them as sacrosanct. He could really pull out soon from Afghanistan and Iraq and from the hundred or more countries where we have our troops to guard against the enemy. He could make sure that earlier tight regulations of the banking industry be restored. He could value the public option and seriously consider the advantages of single-payer idea in true health reform instead of caving in to corporate health controls. He could immediately do what Roosevelt did — put everyone to work on repairing our decaying infrastructure, subsidizing alternate energies, making immigration a promise of enrichment to America instead of a dehumanizing fear of the stranger from Mexico. And so on in my hopes for Obama a president who I do not wish to fail. He is too big.

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Political Target

Now that the Supreme Court has given corporate CEOs the right to use company profits to support the candidates of their choice, they are well on their way to buying elections.

The CEO of Target, Gregg Steinhofel, recently gave $150,000 of Target’s profits to Tom Emmer, the right-wing candidate running for Governor of Minnesota. This, of course, was done, without conferring with the stockholders.

In response to a possible store boycott, Target’s stock fell $1.3 billion in one day’s time. This can be followed on the computer at MoveOn.Org political action.

Mary H. Rowley
Hettinger, N.D.

Stolen Lands

I should like to reply to the letter entitled “Shut Piehole” in the 8/1/10 TPP. The writer shows deep concern regarding the “illegal” immigrants coming from Mexico. I don’t consider any immigrants illegal, especially those coming to areas which were taken (stolen is perhaps more correct) from Mexico in an unprovoked war instigated by the imperialist ambitions of President James Polk in 1846. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, forced on Mexico through military might, the Mexicans lost about half of their country. This might be a bitter pill to swallow for many Americans today since it’s a bit of the US past which is glossed over or ignored in the history taught in schools. The writer of the letter to which I refer has ignored this history. He remarks that “United States workers didn’t steal their land ...” True. It was done by the US government of the day.

I applaud the letter of David Quintero (“Clean up the Language,” 8/1/10 TPP) in which he describes the abuse of the English language through the use of terms such as “sucks” and “sucking” as adjectives and verbs. With a little effort words more appropriate and pleasing to the ear could by found, I’m sure. All this brings to mind the words of Professor Higgins in the musical My Fair Lady ... “They should all be taken out and hung, for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.” I know that “hanged” is the proper word, but unfortunately it doesn’t rhyme with “tongue.” No doubt Professor Higgins meant this metaphorically — or perhaps with “tongue in cheek.”

William Watkins
Stevens Point, Wis.

Protect US Manufacturing

Amen to “Obama’s Embrace of Free Trade Subverts Democracy” article by Roger Bybee (8/15/10 TPP]. This is due to a flaw in our federal civil service system. When a political party leaves office, its political appointees reclassify themselves as civil service employees. The data they provide as the “Straight Skinny” is really the propaganda of the party that has lost power. Thus the reason William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton should not have signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) can be explained on a postcard: NAFTA would result in at least 800,000 undocumented immigrants (actually 12 million). It took a four-page letter back to try to justify it. Our Congress is supposed to work for us. We should be able to “petition it for redress of grievances” (US Constitution, Amendment I) if it is not responding to our requests. And all members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the senators are up for re-election in November.

In 1492, Missouri was still in the stone age, although it had the iron ore that build the iron-clad gunboats that won the Civil War and the Eads and other bridges across the Mississippi River that made the St. Louis Union Station a terminal for 40 railroads. It is vital that the United States protect its manufacturing capability or we will be reduced to selling foreign-made products we do not know how to fix.

Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.


I just finished reading the 8/1/10 TPP, and I must say, there was almost no good news to be had. “Big business” now has the Supreme Court’s blessing to buy our government outright, racism is back in all its redneck glory, our infrastructure is crumbling right before our eyes, and politicians with no military background want to keep sending the same troops off to fight two wars (at least), over and over until they come home physically and mentally wiped out, if they get to come home at all, because no one wants to be the first to call for a draft or better still, to call for an end to all this insanity.

I saw an episode recently of the TV program, The West Wing, where the White House chief of staff was speaking to the President about a failed mission to rescue hostages being held by drug warlords in a South American jungle. The President speculated about sending troops in secretly to try to wipe out the bad guys because he was angry about being so helpless. The chief of staff then said the following, which I feel is true, about our current situation in the Middle East:

“I fought in a jungle war. I’m not doing it again. If I could put myself anywhere in time, it would be the Cabinet room on Aug. 4, 1964, when our ships were attacked by North Vietnam in the Tonkin Gulf. I’d say ‘Mr. President, don’t do it. You’re considering authorizing a massive commitment to troops and throwing in our lot with torturers and panderers, leaders without principle and soldiers without conviction, with no clear mission and no end in sight ...’ ”

... I have a small plaque on my wall that reads, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in a large group.” It’s not difficult to see who they are, because they are making the most noise. We are fast becoming just another so-called Third World nation, who will soon be looking to China for foreign aid to help rebuild our crumbling homeland, while we send our troops and treasure off on missions that have no clear purpose. Almost 60,000 troops died in Vietnam, and what was the end result? It is still a communist country and the children and grandchildren of those troops go there as tourists. Does that sound like “Mission Accomplished”?

Thanks for letting me vent my frustration on you.

Joe Patti
Mahopac, N.Y.

Just In Time

Just when I was becoming totally disgusted and disillusioned with all “liberal/progressive” type publications, including yours, along comes a “Letter to the Editor” (“Left had better unite,” by P. Ann White, 8/15/10 TPP) that made more sense to me than any of your learned columnists and (I presume) “paid contributors.” She presented a practical view of what we can do, “the science of the possible,” instead of the constant moaning and whining and Obama bashing that prevails ad nauseum in liberal circles these days and which was getting to be more than this 82-years-of-age voting Democrat could endure. Sure, there have been some flawed and even rotten Donkeys along the way, but take it from one who’s voted every election since I was old enough (starting with FDR), as a whole they’ve been a heckuva better lot than their opponents and delivered more for the common good. Sure they have disappointed us in some ways, and some in big ways. But I’d weigh their overall performance against the opposition and come out ahead any day.

And since I’m on the soapbox, I’d like to say how greatly I miss the fun and joy and “light touch” of a Molly Ivins in your pages! Of course she is irreplaceable, but still mourned by us loyal readers. A bit of her humor still lingers in the words of Garrison Keillor, Donald Kaul, and of course her old friend, Jim Hightower. But most of you folks are a bunch of sourpusses ...

Oh well, I feel better now that I’ve had

my say. At 82, I’m entitled to be a little cranky.

And I might even renew my subscription after all.

Millie Kolander
Foresthill, Calif.


The definition of a US Citizen has undergone considerable change over the years by reducing it to the status of profit provider via production and consumption. Anyone unable to fulfill that assigned task is automatically excluded and categorically discarded as a liability and useless unproductive entity.

A nation of, by and for the corporation and far removed from the highly propagandized mirage of a functional democracy.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2010


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