Corporate Slavery in the 21st Century

Slavery is a part of man’s history. Before machines, there were slaves. Slaves did the drudge work, were paid nothing except bare minimum food, clothes, shelter.

They were usually the ones defeated in battle. It was the price of defeat. A slave was property with no — or minimum — rights as a citizen or human being. Some slaves were more valuable than others. Slaves created wealth and/or comfort for the masters.

Machines do more now. Electricity, gas, oil, coal power machines. The less the worker requires to work, the more wealth for the owner/master. Getting rid of unions is getting rid of the opinions of the workers regarding their work. Basically, that’s a slave’s position.

That’s not a citizen’s position. If workers have no say about their work, they are slaves. If governments deny their citizens free speech, they are denying citizenship rights to their citizens.

Why should freedom of speech end when one is employed, especially when one is employed by the government? But even if it is a private corporation — they can disenfranchise a citizen by employing him? Does this make sense? The Freedom to Assemble is also a right of citizenship. So, working for a company or a person automatically takes this right away from a person? No unions for workers, but Chambers of Commerce for bosses?

What are the limits to citizenship when one is born (or made) a legitimate citizen of the United States — or any country? If only the bosses, masters, owners, corporations, and businesses have rights and can take away those same citizenship rights to those work for them, how can we say that slavery is gone? Has it not simply morphed into something more insidious?

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Reich On

Robert Reich remains one of my true heroes and lives up to the title once again with his succinct history of our modern US economy and how we got to the mess in which we are now mired [“The Truth About the American Economy,” 7/1-15/11 TPP].

Unanswered (though implied) is an examination of where we go next. I propose we examine a basic question: What is the purpose of an economic system? Is it primarily to reward individual achievement or is it to encourage a societal setting in which life is the most enjoyable for the greatest number?

Do we focus our economic decision making on providing achievement opportunities for the strongest, most talented, most advantaged (most manipulative?) or on encouraging an environment in which living rises to a basic level of enjoyment, even for the least among us?

I hope we begin to understand that the vicarious satisfaction gained by watching (and aspiring to?) the lifestyles of the rich, famous and greedy do not make up for the (often subconscious) moral degradation engendered by learning to step over and ignore the most vulnerable among us.

Dwight L. Olson
Niland, Calif.

Reich Awful

A short time ago, I got a 6-month subscription to TPP. For the most part it has been good; however the 7/1-15/11 edition was awful. Robert Reich had a front page story about the US economy. What crap. He is still spouting “free trade is good” line. He was with Clinton when he pushed through NAFTA and GATT. As a result, 50,000-plus factories were moved overseas, or to Mexico. There are now 800,000 cars imported from Mexico. Can he name a Mexican auto brand? Why can’t we build those cars in this country?

Thomas Regan
Dover, N.H.

No to Obama

Re: your editorial plea [“Keep Palaver Palatable,” 6/15/11 TPP], to support Barack Obama again in 2012: No! The lesser of two evils is still evil. He pulled a bait and switch on us.

He dumped his grassroots organizers after he got elected. He has brought Chicago politics and politicians to the White House and he continues the promotion of the destructive theories of the Chicago School of Economics.

I am particularly horrified by his choices for Treasury Secretary, Education Secretary and Attorney General, whose respective performances in office have exposed their questionable credentials for such important positions in the public sector. The longer we wait to pull the film away from our eyes, the more jobs will be lost and the more homes will be foreclosed, which I believe poses a very serious threat to the social and economic fabric of our country. Our constitutional law professor president has given the okay to assassinate an American citizen he doesn’t like.

He has signed into law the extension of the “Patriot” Act. He has not restored habeas corpus or posse comitatus. And then, there’s Bradley Manning.

The Revolution began in Madison. We the People need to seize the moment, up the ante and hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire. A nation of Obamabots is not democracy.

Caroline Gardner
Freeland, Wash.

No Compromise

The editorial “Keep Palaver Palatable” is an insult to sensitive TPP readers who deplore [what they and I see as] President Obama’s betrayals.

The use of the word “palaver” implies that expressions of anguish over these issues (one meaning of the word is “idle talk” or “chatter”) are trivial; the use of the word “palatable” implies that such talk is not in good taste. So “keep your idle chatter in good taste” — I don’t think so!

When the Iraq war began, I demonstrated against it with a group called “Patriots for Peace.” Nowadays when I occasionally chat with those with whom I stood, we agree: there has, overall, been no change. Yes, Iraq calmed down somewhat, but Af/Pak heated up. Worst of all, Mr. Obama has begun his own “optional” war in Libya!

If one were to look at the development of these three wars, without any previous knowledge of who was president, one would have no clue that there had even been a change of regimes in Washington! This statement may seem extreme to Mr. James Cullen (the editorial writer), but to me and many my “Patriots” colleagues, it does not. And I venture to say, it will not seem extreme to many TPP readers. There are three decisions for progressive voters next year, and, in my view, two not difficult to make. 

First, should one donate to the Democratic Party — answer: no — there are many deserving progressive non-profit organizations that deserve support more. Second, how to vote next year — answer: wait. One need not decide until the last minute and the election is more than a year away. Right now, I expect to vote for the W.V. Mountain Party presidential candidate, but that could change. Finally there is, for some, the question of helping with GOTV — there I can find no easy or obvious answer. So, in a way I do agree with JMC: to say “I can never support Obama or the Democrats again” does go too far. But JMC implicitly argues that we take the other extreme, that we must support Democrats as long as they seem to be in some way better than the Republicans.

No, a thousand times no. If one sees little difference between mainstream parties, and agrees that both are fatally compromised, then one cannot and one should not vote for either. So, wait to decide and tell your friends and political representatives that you are waiting.

John D. Palmer
Charleston W.V.

Dab the Dems

A comment regarding the editorial in TPP 6/15/11 [“Keep Palaver Palatable”]. In my simple opinion it was the best analysis of Obama’s term that I have read.

Personally, I needed it as I have been disappointed in what has not been; your editorial altered that thinking.

Oh, I could never dab the slot Republican, you have just made it much more comfortable to dab Democratic.


Harry P. Vischer Jr.
Leonidas, Mich.

Debt Limit Alternatives

The Debt Limit is a law enacted by Congress. There is no debt limit in the US Constitution. Article 1 assigns authority for spending money to the House of Representatives, not to the US President. The House can order Treasury to stop borrowing and directly pay all US Government authorized expenditures with legal tender.

The Fed is the US Central Bank created by Congress in 1913, half public - half private. It is managed by private bankers, using government power to create money. In 2008 The Fed loaned private banks trillions of new legal tender without an act of Congress. The Fed can and does lend the US Treasury legal tender. Interest the loan earns, less fees, is deposited into the same US Treasury Fed account where the loan was deposited! This would effectively be debt free new money to pay government expenditures.

Robert W. Zimmerer
Beaverton, Ore.

Next Election

Republicans can’t reclaim the White House by trashing the Obama economy. The subtext remains, “Bring back President Hoover!”

What Democrats won’t tell you is, this is the Hoover administration. Herbert Hoover dithered with stingy alms and targeted works.

At that, his half-hearted stimulus was blocked at every turn by a hostile (Democratic) Congress.

Hoover lost re-election to a fire-breathing populist promising ... Austerity! Tighten the belt. Wasteful government spending is sapping the private sector! President Obama is poised to run that FDR campaign against himself. Of course, re-election won’t commend him to history unless he pirouettes from that winning platform to deliver massive stimulus. We’re talking World War spending — which should tip you to the Master Plan.

M. Warner
Minneapolis Minn.

Editor Notes: Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress during Hoover’s term from 1929-33.

Rail Dollars Elsewhere

I read with interest your article pertaining to putting the rail dollars elsewhere. I read on to see if mention would be given to the other “Scott” in conjunction with Walker turning down the government rail funds in Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, no mention was given to Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, since he as well turned down the funds to develop a high speed railway between major cities in Florida. This would have by all estimates created around 60,000 jobs to construct the rails. Instead, I read in Time magazine (5/23/11) that the refused money was divided up amongst 15 other states who I’m sure are grateful for the windfall and will hopefully create jobs to promote the economy. In place of the surety of that money to create jobs, the governor announced that he was lowering corporate taxes to possibly entice industry to build in Florida.

Unlike the definite creation of much needed jobs and employees paying taxes, now there will be less tax money from the exemption of businesses. This being the gamble on possibly creating a small amount of jobs in the distant future. One should not overlook also the positive affect of not using gas in the commuters vehicles and less air pollution in the state between those major cities. Makes one wonder what the “Scotts” are thinking!

Tim Maruschak
Lady Lake, Fla.’’

China’s Growing Power

The comment “... China is poised to surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2016” (“Will China Overtake US as World Power? Not Yet,” 7/1/11 TPP), matches what a futurist on CNN predicted in 2000: “The United States will be a third-world nation by 2015.” Looks like we’re right on track, thanks to White House fascists George (W. Bush) and his Dick (Cheney) taking us into an unnecessary war in 2002, and deregulating Wall Street and Big Bank millionaire scums that now have ruined our economy.

Additionally, the more China junk we purchase, the greater loss to US workers and the greater debt we owe China.

So what good are our billion-dollar nuclear-tipped WMDs if we don’t use them to win the world for Amerika?! I fear for our children and generations to come. Since our government is also useless, the only solution to our national condition is to make creativity top priority in our schools, so our kids can create their own jobs and a healthier body politic. (If, if only, Ralph Nader had been elected president in 2000!)

John Spofforth
Athens, Ohio

Draft Bernie Sanders

Want to know what we can do with about the right-wing coup going on now? We can draft Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to run against Obama in the primaries as the Independent candidate who joins the Democratic caucus, which he is. No one else has been such a staunch defender of the Middle Class and the poor of this nation. No one else has had the strength of character and fire to defend this nation against the jackals bent on bringing us to our knees. ...

Anne White
Meridian, Texas

Editor Notes: Sanders recently was asked on Thom Hartmann’s radio show if he would run against Obama for president. Sanders noted that he actually is running for re-election to the Senate in Vermont, but he said it would be a “good idea” to challenge Obama. See bernie.org or write Friends of Bernie Sanders, PO Box 391, Burlington, VT 05402.

Obama and the Banks

Did Obama know about Geithner and his Goldman Sachs deal (“Geithner and Goldman, Thick as Thieves,” by Robert Scheer, 7/1-15/11 TPP)? Did the people Obama listened to when he appointed Geithner know? I wonder if Geithner was a choice or an order. I’m waiting for a sign that Obama is anything but a handmaiden for our finance establishment.

Dr. Yadviga D. Halsey
Seattle, Wash.

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2011


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