Blue Birds Not Chirping

When President Obama was elected, a lot of people believed the blue birds of happiness would be chirping every morning outside the window.

But listen, the blue birds have been silent while Obama keeps chirping that we are in the third year of his glorious economic recovery from the Great Recession.

Obama is raising big money donations for the next election while the Republicans once again have some real dumb candidates wanting to run against Obama. And what choice do we have except to figure out the lesser of two evils?

Obama pulled a bait and switch on us. And now he is asking people he duped to support him again.

The politicians he brought to the White House continue the promotion of destructive economics.

In this Obama recovery those at the top of the corporate America are still practicing tinkle down economics and refusing to hire the unemployed in America.

The latest example of the imbalance in our society is the lobbying of giant US corporations to win a huge tax break on overseas profits.

Apple has $12 billion outside the USA, Google $17 billion, Microsoft $29 billion and others have more. These are profits earned overseas by sending US jobs overseas.

They don’t want to bring the profits to the USA unless the government gives them a repatriation holiday taxing the foreign profits at only 5%.

Even if this 5% tax money comes home these corporations will not use it to create USA jobs because they are building new plants overseas.

President Obama runs around the country visiting small business that has hired a few more workers and brags that jobs are being created but nothing is done for maybe 20 million jobless in the USA.

If this keeps up and a blue bird did show up outside a hungry homeless, jobless person’s hobo tent there would be a fight with stray cats for who gets to eat that blue bird for dinner.

Al Hamburg
Torrington, Wyo.

No Pity For Sky Cops

Michael Moore’s (9/15/11 TPP) choice of the ’81 air traffic controllers (ATC) strike was just about the worst possible example for making an excellent point concerning union disunity.

It wasn’t the AFL-CIO leadership that turned its back on ATC, it was the rank and file. As a commercial pilot since 1975, I witnessed firsthand why PATCO struck out with the rest of the industry.

For starters, like all federal employees, ATC workers sign on with the contract clause that they will never go on strike. I’ve always considered this a form of federally sanctioned slavery, but for those who don’t: OK, foul ball, strike one.

In 1980, the bulk of the AFL-CIO unions endorsed Carter, although Jimmy was certainly no hero to them. However, as Moore points out, PATCO endorsed Reagan. The reason: ATC was convinced that as federal employees Ronny would give THEM ALONE what they wanted. Sucking up? Breaking ball, strike two.

But now here’s something that few outside of aviation really understood at the time. All pilots make mistakes.

They cross runways and enter airspace without clearances. They get altitude assignments wrong or bust approach minimums, or they simply forget to close a flight plan. It’s never intentional. We’re just humans. 

But whenever human error occurs in this industry, there is only one cop watching to see the error, write the report and show up at the NTSB suspension hearing as the star witness for the FAA plaintiff. And that’s our sky cop called ATC. For this reason alone, there has never been any love lost between pilots and ATC. Swing and a miss, strike three.

Now, right or wrong, we all know that we need cops. But when the sky cops tried to cut a separate deal with the supreme anti-union hypocrite, for THEIR OWN reasons, they hung THEIR OWN butts out to dry.

Scott Walker cut a separate deal with his own cops so that they would have no problem pushing demonstrators off government property.

But if Wisconsin cops ever had a wage or benefit gripe, don’t believe for a minute that the rank and file would treat them any differently than PATCO.

Ron DiGiovanni
Easton, Pa.

Lower Retirement Age

Hello and good afternoon, in your great article on the jobless who are older, say 55 and over, and the job discrimination they face [“Unemployed Face Discrimination in Great Recession” by Arthur Delaney, 10/1/11 TPP] why not have the federal government lower the Social Security age from 62 to 55?

In doing so older Americans can remove if they wish themselves from the labor market. This would open up jobs to younger Americans and also give older Americans a chance to retire, and with these pensions start buying things and also put taxes as revenues back into the treasury? Thank you.

Amado Rodriguez
Brawley, Calif.

Let's Get Together

In his column, "Corporate Supreme Court," (Aug. 15 TPP), Ralph Nader urges the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy.

I wholeheartedly agree! Those men have abandoned their duty to protect the rights of common citizens - and are instead bending the rule of law to favor moneyed interests.

Marge Baker, in the TPP issue of Sept. 1, also writes that "In recent years, the high court has constantly twisted the law and Constitution to put giant corporations' profits over the rights of individual Americans."

And Jim Hightower, in his Lowdown of August 2011, tells us that six years into Roberts' tenure, the Supreme Court has become "another political front group to advance corporate rule, instead of standing up to wealthy wrongdoers."

I call upon Nader, Baker, Hightower and other influential and concerned citizens, to organize a mass movement to impeach those five men before they destroy our democracy and replace it, as Jefferson feared, with "the aristocracy of moneyed corporations."

I am confident that hundreds of thousands, (including myself) will march anywhere, anytime, and clamor loudly to remove those transgressors disguised as judges.

So ... Mr. Nader, Mr. Hightower and Ms. Baker... just tell us when and where to start marching and raising hell!

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

I Don’t Believe in Signs

In April of this year Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for prayers for rain to end the drought but instead of rain a high pressure system capped the state and we baked all summer.

I wondered, could this be a sign? But I don’t believe in signs. The governor then decided to run for President and Texas burst into flames! I then thought if these really are signs then Gov. Perry’s only course of action would have to be to withdraw from the presidential race, resign as governor and quit politics for good but he does not need to do any of these since I don’t believe in signs. I have to admit that I find it curious that a good bit of the western half of the US is now in flames while much of the eastern half is covered by floods but, as I have said before, I don’t believe in signs!

Raymond Goggan
Hemphill, Texas

No Longer Made in America?

Many of us remember when our nation’s Northeast hummed with industrial activity, primarily in the manufacture of all manners of clothing. My own home town, Little Falls, N.Y., was a good example of this as knitting mills employed nearly everyone of working age.

Today very few, if any, of these factories are left, victims of corporate moves in the search for lower wages and the fattening of corporate profits. These changes are often so gradual that the realization of their full impact can be a surprise.

To cite an example, I was perusing the latest L.L. Bean, ‘the pride of Maine’, catalog, and was struck by the number of products which were made elsewhere.

In disbelief, I actually counted them and, allowing for a few errors by the counter’s fatigue, here are the results: imported, 253; USA, 19; Canada, 1; China, 2; not specified, 17.

That’s a scary 87%. This is obviously not good for the US and is cause for alarm. It’s time to learn more about what’s happening in all our industries in this regard or our arrival into the third world will not only be a reality but will be sooner than we think.”

W. F. Potter
Seattle, Wash.

Death Panel Machine

The world’s most powerful computer was given a friendly name, “Watson,” Sherlock Holmes’ assistant, Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant. It’s a helpful name. 

Watson was introduced to the public as a friendly entertainment. It beat the best human player in Jeopardy, a friendlier game than chess. Friendly. Helpful. Entertaining. Now, the Watson computer is being used by the WellPoint health insurance company to determine how much health care to grant to each of its customers. This machine will determine who gets medical coverage, how much, and who doesn’t. Who lives and who dies. 

So how does this machine work? It is programmed to consider a host of factors to diagnose patients’ disease, then it can determine which patients will be covered. Factors like cost and probability of recovery will be calculated, and balanced against the imperative that WellPoint makes a profit. The owners of the company can have the computer reduce the amount of coverage and thereby guarantee increased profit for themselves.

If the reduction is done gradually, no one will know, no one will object.

A few more people will die a bit younger than before.

The average age for life expectancy drops a little. Some people live longer, so its not a hard-line execution. But gradually, this machine will enable a few to become very, very rich by reducing the health and life of everyone else.

It’s one more weapon in the billionaires’ class warfare. 

We’ve heard Sarah Palin and other Republican hyenas scream against imaginary “death panels” to discredit President Obama’s health insurance reform. Now a private company has a machine that is programmed to run a death panel. Where are the screamers now? Bought off by the company?

Will selected beneficiaries get health coverage no matter what happens?

Watson is a death panel machine, being used by a profit making company to harvest the health of its customers. Soon, every health insurance company will be using a Watson. We need health insurance regulation now, more than ever.

Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Calif.

Congress Full of Religion

Joel Brinkley’s article, “Congress has Empathy Deficit” [9/1/11 TPP], would normally imply that religion does not play a major role in their life yet they play the religion card quite frequently. Sen. Jim De Mint (R-S.C.) believes that “as government increases in size it diminishes the size of God”: His logic — before God is offended we best decrease the size of our government. Gov. Rick Perry wants Washington to be irrelevant in our lives and would rather have The Church play a bigger role. Most members from the Republican side of the aisle sincerely believe that it is sinful to assist the disadvantaged with financial and medical help as it only makes them slothful and lazy (from Ayn Rand’s church). They know that without assistance survival would be difficult but they have convinced themselves that ‘to win wars a few soldiers have to be sacrificed’.

“So be it” because they know that God would not mind such sacrifices if it is for the greater good of the Nation. Let me assure Mr. Brinkley that Congress is full of it -l mean full of religion.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Identifying the Slackers

Recently US Sen Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) addressed three Oshkosh Rotary Clubs. His theme — ”I believe we have developed in this nation a culture of entitlements and dependency.” If so, who are these slackers?

They are the 1.4 million Native Americans whose land our government stole and relegated to reservations, many living on malnutritious diets. They’re the 15.5% unemployed black people who are descendents of slaves brought to America to build our country. (48% of black people ages 16 to 24 years old are unemployed). They are the 12 million illegal aliens who crept into America, while our government purposely looked the other way, to toil on farms, gut chickens at poultry factories and clean toilets at hotels for a fraction of what they should be paid.

Our government enlists the aid of citizens of the nations we invade to fight for us. They cannot stay in their countries after we abandon a cause that lines the pockets of American war profiteers.

The number of Korean, Vietnam and other Asian refugees brought to America has grown to 13.3 million people, thousands of whom are unemployed due to language difficulties and lack of formal education, who will never be assimilated into our working society.

6,000 Iraqi refugees were brought to America after the Gulf War. Bush #2 agreed to bring 25,000 more Iraqi war refugees before leaving office. This group is assembled and is waiting for the green light to enter our country. Who feeds them, Senator? Another dimension to Johnson’s “culture of entitlement” is 9.2% (actual estimated 19%) unemployed Americans who have been abandoned by the major industrialists of America. These companies are manufacturing their products for coolie wages in foreign countries as they amass billions of dollars of tax-free profits.

Sen. Johnson had $8 million dollars in pocket change to spend on his campaign and as part of the Republican aristocracy, I find him sadly wanting to address the needs of the impoverished of America. One can also ponder what percent of his Rotarian audience were unemployed or needed food stamps to survive.

Ed Hodges
Appleton, Wis.

From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2011


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