Poor Suffer, War Goes On

The deficit hawks say that the federal deficit is on an unsustainable road and these birds of prey want to slash Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and programs that help the jobless and homeless but when it comes to military spending that stupid waste is virtuously sacrosanct.

And when it comes to speaking out against the wasteful stupidity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results the members of Congress suffer from mass senility.

Vietnam showed the USA how wasteful and stupid that war was and Iraq showed the USA he same thing and now the USA is doing it over again in Afghanistan.

In South Vietnam in 1966 President Johnson told the troops, “Be sure to come home with the coonskin on the wall.” And now 44 years later President Obama at Bagram Air Base, wearing a bomber jacker with the American Eagle and words “Air Force One,” played the role of Commander in Chief, saying, “ The United States of America does not quit once it starts something, We keep at it, we persevere and we prevail.”

While wars continue to consume our national resources in the name of national defense and the USA was building military camps in Iraq and now building camps in Afghanistan, our president and Congress never understood that real national defense spending should be in the USA, rebuilding everything that’s falling apart and creating real jobs in the USA.

The Mideast wars have now cost over a trillion dollars plus billions more that will be spent on injured soldiers for the rest of their lives.

A nation that wastes more money year after year on military junk than on social needs is a nation that will destroy itself. ...

I was in Korea in 1952 with the 3rd Infantry Division and we lived in bunkers and trenches like World War One, facing the Chinese. The general greeted five of us new soldiers in January 1952 with a handshake and a hot meal. In March 1967 at the 4th Infantry Division base at Pleiku in Vietnam, the general lived in a large trailer house, guarded and protected. After waiting two hours standing in 120-degree heat for the general to wake up from a drunk, he comes to a platform while a band plays “Hail to the Chief,” and he says “Welcome to the 4th Infantry Division; by next week some of you a**holes will be dead, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

And once again in Afghanistan will be like the cookie crumbles.

Al Hamburg
Torrington, Wyo.


Ron’s Law of Everything And Nothing: Everything comes from somewhere, because only nothing comes from nowhere.

Jack Rollwagen’s essay, “The Real Goal of the Beck Rally” (10/1/10 TPP) is the sort of writing that every middle-class American so desperately needs to read. Except, of course, for one glaring mistruth: “Nor would it (increasing the money supply, a.k.a. printing money) create inflationary pressure on the dollar.” Such a belief completely ignores the above stated law.

Actually, this statement has some truth to it. It can therefore be considered a half-truth; the sort of thing that Beck and Soccer Mom are famous for.

I am one of five manufacturers of hot air balloons in the US.

Let’s suppose that my best supplier of rip-stop nylon increases the cost of his product by 30%. Right away, this creates an inflationary pressure point on the dollar, which I can choose to relieve by holding my price. Or, I can pass the cost and corresponding pressure onto the person purchasing one of my balloons by increasing my price. This person can then eat the inflationary pressure of my increase by holding his price or pass it on to those paying for a balloon ride.

The above can be recognized as the typical chain of events which increase inflationary pressures on the dollar from this although miniscule sector of the broad national economy.

There is one event which cuts through all of these examples of inflationary pressure and the possibility that they may be relieved somewhere down the economic chain. This event penetrates all barriers which may allow for this chain to even exist momentarily. It cuts clean through the red tape of the inflationary process and instantaneously devaluates the US dollar with no chance of relief. This event, of course, involves the printing of money, otherwise euphemized as “increasing the money supply.”

Rather than tainting a well-written article with an obvious half-truth which defies the law of everything and nothing, Jack Rollwagen should devote his next essay to explaining why deficit spending has little to no detrimental effect on those Americans who own nothing more than a home on a fixed rate mortgage.

Ron DiGiovanni
Easton, Pa.

White House Leads on Solar Energy

Amen to Amy Goodman’s “A Little Missed Sunshine” article (10/15/10 TPP), about President Jimmy Carter’s solar panels installed on the White House roof in 1971. This is 31-year-old technology that should be updated and reinstalled. Don’t be parochial; if the Germans make a better product, use it. ...

Restoring the White House solar panels, upgraded to best practices in today’s technology, is “chump change.” Yet every White House visitor will be able to see it. Jimmy Carter’s [solar panels] almost provided enough energy for the entire White House. Today’s technology may provide enough to sell to the electrical grid as well.

My congressional representative, the Hon. William Lacy Clay, says that there is enough solar power potential in Nevada to provide power to the entire United States. But there is a congressional election next month and the feasibility of this needs to be investigated. However, the White House project worked 31 years ago and should work now. A post card to our congressional representative, two senators and to the President of the United States by TPP readers, and as many as possible, should do the trick. Show them were we stand on this issue: Gung ho, Si, se puede, and forward with Obama!

[Editor’s Note: The White House announced Oct. 5 that it will install solar panels atop the White House living quarters. The panels will be installed by spring 2011 and will heat water for the First Family and will supply electricity for the White House.]

Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.

Republicans Protect Rich

Sitting alone here in the living room, my wife gone to bed, I turn to my latest issue of TPP. Before I even get to Mr. Al Hamburg’s article in Letters to the Editor, “Simple way to save Social Security,” in the 10/15/10 issue, a candidate comes on the TV by the name of Jesse Kelly, a die-hard Republican running to replace Gabrielle Gifford a good Democrat in Congress, District 8, state of Arizona. Kelly’s now saying he never said he would, if elected, do away in Congress with Social Security and go to privatizing it. He found out just now people are against that, as George W. Bush soon discovered in 2008. Then I came upon Mr. Hamburg’s wonderful article. So next morning, which is today, I go on the phone and called Gabriele Gifford’s office here in Tucson. ... Mr. Hamburg’s article really hit home with me. What has this new generation of Republicans become? “While the jobless and homeless keep growing, so do the millionaires.” Thank You, Mr. Al Hamburg, for that statement, sir!

Read the article to the man who answered the phone, he said he would pass what I read him from TPP article to her. Republicans surely are not for the people, but their love is corporate companies. As Hamburg said, Republicans speak only to bloat and inflate the pockets of the rich, the middle class has all but disappeared now!

Henry W. Pergande
Tucson, Ariz.

Democrats Can’t Afford to Lose

It was Will Rogers, I believe, who said, “I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Never more true than at the present time.

However, in our frustration it is essential that those of us who believe in liberal causes continue to give our support to those who are fighting the good fight, such as Sens. Al Franken and Russ Feingold. President Obama has not achieved what we would like, but he is dealing with the most undemocratic governing body in the western world, in my opinion, namely the Senate, in which the minority calls the shots, and that minority has vowed to kill everything that the Democrats put forward, and have used every means, including wholesale lying, to achieve their ends. The President wrongly believed, as any sane president would, that those elected to lead us would be willing to compromise and work together for what is good for all Americans.

Add to the mix the Supremes’ outlandish decision that corporations are people and thus able to spend untold millions to elect those who support their agenda. It becomes increasingly important for the very survival of our democracy and the survival of the middle class, that we redouble our efforts, however small, to help the President move forward. Much is at stake, health care reform, Social Security, Medicare, end of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, don’t ask, don’t tell, investment in the infrastructure, job creation, etc.

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.

Citizenship Worries

Boy, have I got worries. Diane Sylvain’s article “We’re All Anchor Babies On The Bus” (10/15/10 TPP), sure shook me up. In November 1936 I spent my last $21.50 on a diamond and wedding band, but to get married and not have it announced in Connecticut papers we had to elope to New York, where proof of age 21 was required. So I went to the local town hall and got my birth certificate that said I was only 19. Not deterred, I took the epistle home and laboriously erased the 17 after the 19 and with great trepidation placed it in my typewriter and made the 17 a 15. Now for all purposes I too was 21 and my sweetheart could no longer say she married a younger man.

What worries me is if someone checks the records in Brewster, N.Y., they’ll think I’m 95 when I’m only 93. It’s bad enough being 93, let alone a real old 95 fogey, soon to be married 74 years. Will our marriage be annulled if someone finds out I lied getting my marriage license?

What’s Dave Zirin trying to do, wreck baseball? Imagine if all the fans boycott the 13 states considering passing Arizona’s immigration law. Who will be left to play and fans to see? Just this “bleeding heart liberal” who thinks Arizona’s law is needed to save what democracy we have left.

Alton Eliason
Northford, Conn.

Don’t Blame Lebron

Congratulations to Dave Zirin for an insightful “Edge of Sports” article (“The Summer of Our Sporting Discontent”, 10/15/10 TPP) on the venality, hypocrisy, greed, foolish ostentation, and political huckstering that has invaded and enervated the world of Sport. One aspect, though, of the Lebron James leaving Cleveland story deserves mention.

Spectator sport for the immature fans (of any age) is where they project their fantasies and unfulfilled needs. Obviously, the fans who reacted so negatively, even viciously to Lebron’s departure have an unfulfilled need for community, loyalty, connection, solidarity, unselfish mutual support, etc.-everything that our society and its prevailing ideology of individual striving and withdrawal from communal responsibility denies them. And there is nothing so likely to incur the wrath of a childish mind than to spoil its fantasy.

Ironically, many of them, like the usurious and loudmouth owner, are probably Republicans and admirers of Ayn Rand, William F. Buckley, George Will and all the other apologists for greed and selfishness. (They call it “capitalist individualism.”). Some of them, I’m sure, resent paying taxes so that the least fortunate of their fellow citizens don’t starve to death.

But for Lebron sports is not fantasy. It is the daily business of his life and he wants to win championships. So he did exactly what many of these fans and their small spirited mentors advocate. He took care of number one and the hell with loyalty and community. He hurt their deepest feelings, the ones that don’t fit the reality of their lives and their misguided, narrow ideology.

Ed Beller
The Bronx, New York City


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From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2010


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