Bin Laden’s Mission Accomplished

Although I wholeheartedly appreciate the elimination of a murderous monster the likes of which we haven’t seen since Hitler, I can’t help but notice that Osama bin Laden’s main objective wasn’t just the murder of 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11th. As he wrote in his notes and communications, his main aim was to bankrupt the US of A by inducing such fear and panic into our country that we would overreact to the point of two wars, dramatic increases in our military budget, mindless elimination of civil and personal rights and frankly, spending our way to financial oblivion.

In all these objectives, bin Laden has been successful. If we are to push back the legacy of bin Laden, we need to get a handle on the massive amounts of military spending, bring our troops home from wars and unnecessary deployments in other countries we have no business to be in, especially, when we are not protecting our own vital interests there.

Although we still need to be vigilant to the diminished threat of terrorist attacks, we can not afford to react in terror, but must continue to carry on in keeping with our truly American principles. These include the funding of the social programs we have all come to want as well as building infrastructure, high-speed rail, alternative energy, tax increases on the wealthy and big corporations who don’t pay their fair share, medical care as a right for every American and the jobs this will all bring. We cannot let Osama bin Laden win, even in death, and we must assume a more sane approach to our nation’s health and well-being.

Gary Nadler
Cottonwood, Ariz.

Keep the Change Coming

Like most Americans I favored doing whatever it took to get bin Laden, including invading Afghanistan. Looking back I wonder if it would have been necessary to invade if Barack Obama was president instead of a megalomaniac.

I’m pretty sure that Obama would have pursued the offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended bombing in Afghanistan. President George W. Bush rejected as “non-negotiable” an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan.

Returning to the White House after a weekend at Camp David, the then-president said the bombing would not stop, unless the ruling Taliban “turn [bin Laden] over, turn his cohorts over, turn any hostages they hold over.”

If Obama had been president would we have invaded Afghanistan? Would intelligence have been tweaked and created to justify invading Iraq? Would the trillion dollars plus cost of these two wars so far and the estimated $3 trillion total cost of these two wars be passed on to future generations? Would over 5,000 American soldiers and contractors have died in Afghanistan and Iraq? Would my son and other sons and daughters be deployed in these wars for the third, fourth or fifth times? Perhaps most important of all, had Obama been President, would specific intelligence warning of an attack involving hijacking planes have been ignored or would it have been taken seriously, thus preventing the 9-11 attacks and all the subsequent havoc?

President Obama’s low-keyed announcement of the death of bin Laden was quite a contrast to President Bush’s premature declaration of victory in Iraq. When President Bush declared victory, wearing warrior garb in front of a giant “Mission Accomplished” banner and assembled sailors on the USS Abraham Lincoln there had been 139 Americans military killed and 542 wounded in Iraq. The death toll has now exceeded 4,450 and over 33,000 have been wounded and the end is still not in sight. President Obama appeared alone, walked to a simple podium without the strut often used by his predecessor and made his announcement of an actual mission accomplished without a giant banner, an aircraft carrier as a stage, a warrior costume or a cheering crowd.

There is a bumper sticker popular with Obamaphobes that’s last line is, “You Can Keep The Change.” I for one will gladly do so.

Charles Leach
Lynchburg, Ohio

Dreaming a Little Dream

As serious as the consequences of economic policy are, it should be understood that, unlike the immutable laws of physics, the rules of economics are like a common board game, entirely made up. Even the value of money itself is nothing but an illusion held in common, having power only by virtue of society’s shared agreement.

And what power it is too! For this illusion, individuals and entire nations will kill, steal, pillage, deceive and exploit friends, allies, certainly “enemies” and themselves for the sake of its accumulation. A mere series of numbers on a ledger or computer screen is the ultimate goal and the only measure of personal worth and “happiness.” These number strings are more important than human dignity and even life itself. Because of the imagined laws of economics anything no matter how beneficial to society at large will not materialize unless it can be rigged to create a profit for an individual or group of investors. If it can’t be so rigged, it will not happen.

So in reality, this “debate” about economic policy is a debate over nothing more than the rules of a board game. It is a debate over something entirely imaginary working in accordance with these imaginary rules and can just as easily work in any other way imaginable according to other imagined rules. Can you imagine that?

I know I am only dreaming but is it not time to move past the idea of money, capital and credit? Is it not past time to abandon a system that creates such vast privileges for so few and misery for so many? Just imagine a world without the gibberish of Alan Greenspan or the manipulations of the Federal Reserve and central banks. Imagine a world where your true self is not subjugated to the need for mere survival and at the whims of disinterested overlords you will never meet who see you as nothing more than human livestock to be milked dry. This is the system we have imagined for ourselves and by agreeing to abide by its imagined rules we have agreed collectively to not imagine any other possibilities. What can be imagined can be as easily unimagined.

Clee Paul Ames
Eureka, Utah

Need Third Party

Wayne O’Leary’s chronicle of the progressive failure of President Barack Obama [“George W. Bush Jr.,” 5/15/11 TPP] should be the clarion call for a drive to replace “G.W. Bush Jr.” The Democratic Party, led by this traitor, has joined with the Republican Corporate Party to orchestrate the overthrow of the Constitutional Republic and all human rights and democracy therein. A Supreme Court packed with Corporate agents; a Congress dominated by Republicans and lip-service Democrats who aid all Corporate policies through inaction and simpering claims of powerlessness before the Republican juggernaut. All of it designed to ensure reelection through massive Corporate financing and ignoring all calls for progressive actions to fix this nation’s domestic problems.

The Democratic Party has been a failure since the impeachment of Richard Nixon and the rise to power of the “solid south” corporate agents led by Jimmy Carter. The two-party system is a failure now that both components carry out the same agenda to legalize all political and economic power under a Corporate Oligarchy. An Oligarchy led by the Oil Monopolies in collusion with the Wall Street Barons.

The recent Canadian elections revealed a means to change this status quo destroying this nation for too long. Canadians have had two major parties, Conservative/Tory and Liberal, for almost as long as the US. The Liberals held power until they became a clone of the Tories. Like the US Democrats, they portrayed themselves as different from the Tories, but, actually, carried on the same Corporate policies. The Canadian system also supports a host of other parties. Although in the minority, they do have enough power to place some control over the two-party dictatorship. The recent election reflected that power at the ballot box.

Interestingly, the change was led by a CBC comedian, Rick Mercer, similar to Jon Stewart. On his weekly CBC program, he challenged the students of the nation to participate in the election. Recent tuition increases had stirred the student population.

The final results for the election gave the Conservatives a majority, but the New Democratic Party (a truly progressive party) replaced the Liberals as No. 2 as the host of new progressive student voters rejected the Liberals. The Conservatives are now confronted with a truly progressive opposition impeding the Conservative agenda to destroy all socialist/progressive elements within the Canadian system beginning with the National Healthcare System.

The US citizens need to begin this same process to shed the Two Party Dictatorship starting with the jettisoning of this failure as President in the Primaries. If they refuse and continue to be the Republican-lite party, the citizenry, led by the student population, should relegate the Democratic Party to 3rd place behind a new progressive party. The current status quo has driven this nation into bankruptcy and destroyed its democracy. The voting for the “lesser of two evils” needs to end.

The lesser of two evils just guarantees more evil.

Richard L. Morgan
Bellingham, Wash.

Godly Nation

Much of the Old Testament is about laws, kings and government. The name Israel means “ruling with God.” It seems to logically follow that God is concerned with the good of His Creation, which includes people. Clearly, He is also concerned with Justice. Jesus Christ is called The Prince of Peace, among other titles. Therefore, anyone calling themselves a believer and follower of Jesus Christ ipso facto must be concerned to do and want the things God and Jesus Christ in God’s Word says to do and want. That is the sign of a believer, as opposed to just a pretender.

If this is a “Christian Nation,” shouldn’t this nation be a whole lot different than it is by now? Isn’t that a reasonable thing to expect, at least? See the order? Wisdom first, then the rest follows. When wishes/wants are out of order, results will be bad.

Surgery is no good if the patient dies as a result. Cutting programs and services willy-nilly is a sure way to fid out why they were needed in the first place. But by then it may be too late. The Golden Goose is dead and any future eggs with it. Republicans are putting us in jeopardy with their policies and actions.

Anyone seeing what kind of tax breaks wealthy people get can see why the wealthy pay less taxes than working people. If working people could deduct what the rich do, they’d have more to get wealthier with! If more people got wealthier, we’d have fewer poor people! How complicated is that?

OK, believer people: Want the Wisdom of Solomon? Read Proverbs, for starters. Liberal/Conservative/Tea Bagger/Moslem/Jewish/Christian/Curious. It can’t hurt. Then tell me about “What this country needs.”

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Yes, We Can Expand Medicare

Amen to John A. van Huizum’s “Why Not Keep Things Simple” letter [5/15/11 TPP], KISS: Keep It Simple Smarty won World War II along with a gung ho, pull together attitude. We had Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, HR 676, (John Conyers, D-Mich., and Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio) in the last session of Congress. Medicare has a 4% overhead cost; private group plan, 12%; individual ones, 28%. Should the existing “Romneycare” fail constitutional muster for forcing people to buy private health insurance; just like auto liability insurance, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All may do the trick. I had to sign up for Selective Service as a young man. Medicare is not different. I think third parties split the progressive populist base. It is better to hold our yellow-dog Democrats’ feet to the fire until they deliver. We drove the Plutocratic Party, what Clark Clifford called the “Gluttons of Privilege” (GOP) from office before. We can do it again. Sí, se puede.

Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.

Tax the Rich to Curb Wealth

In your 5/15/11 editorial, “Sic Seniors on GOP,” you praise “The People’s Budget,” proposed by House “Progressives.” While this budget has good features, it almost eliminates the estate tax. Prior to 2001, estates over $1 million were taxed, far lower than the $500 million threshold in the People’s Budget.

More importantly, why not raise the top marginal federal income tax rate from the current 35% back to 70%, where it was in 1980? That would really curb the growing concentration of wealth in this country.

David Harrowe
University Place, Wash.

Editor’s Note: The People’s Budget exempts the first $3.5 million of estates, then 45% of the taxable portion of estates up to $50 million, 55% on estates up to $500 million and 65% on estates over $500 million.

The top marginal tax rate would be 49% for incomes over $1 billion.

Glutton for Punishment

Being in the Democratic Party is like being in an abusive relationship — one that is hard to break off. While Obama falls in the right-wing spectrum, we keep on making excuses for him and rally for his 2012 presidential bid. Note his giving away trillions to the super rich, escalating the war on Afghanistan and its neighbor Pakistan, calling for more nuclear power plants, more oil drilling in sensitive areas, possible backing of gutting Medicare and Social Security, etc. Either we fight like hell to get him on the right track or we wise up and build a viable third party, something on the order of a Labor Party. Or we vote Republican to rally the left-wingers to fight against a recognizable enemy.

Denise D’Anne
San Francisco, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2011


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