Wanted: Conversation or Revolution

It seems that few of those on this [Deficit Reduction] Supercommittee understand what their constituents expect from them in this unethical — and perhaps unconstitutional — position in which they’ve been placed.

The principle that binds this disparate group of Americans strongly enough to create “Occupy Wall Street” and copies of it all over US cities is the unequal distribution of wealthy between the 1% at the top and the other 99%.

Our economy collapsed months before Obama took office, under Bush’s belief that markets should be left to regulate themselves. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner in economics, has said, “lax enforcement of anti-trust laws have been a God-send to the top 1% ... lowering the tax rates on capital gains, where the rich receive much of their income, has concentrated wealth ... a worldwide global marketplace that pits the low-wage workers abroad against unskilled workers at home, and the decline of unions have all led to income inequality.”

Stiglitz also said the top 1% of Americans are now taking in a quarter of the nation’s income every year. While the top 1% have seen their incomes rise 18% over the last decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. The top 1% share of the national income is larger now than it was in the Great Depression, and continues to grow.

Americans have lost 30% of the value of their homes, if they haven’t been foreclosed on and are now homeless. People have been out of work so long their unemployment has run out. In the richest country in the world, 42% of our children are at or below the poverty level. Recent, and not so recent, college graduates can’t find jobs and are stuck with anywhere from $15,000 to $70,000 in student loan debt. Our government is spending trillions on a war 70% of Americans don’t want, and is only creating more enemies for us.

The banks and Wall Street committed illegal acts from fraud and colluding to many others that led to stealing people’s 401K’s, their homes, retirement funds, etc. and were never punished. They were bailed out with TARP money. Legally, part of that money was to go to smaller banks, startup money for businesses and loans, but the banks have just been sitting on that money. In a poor, mostly Latino area in New York City, there is a People’s Credit Union, which the poor use. Goldman Sachs gave them $5,000, but when they found out “Occupy Wall Street” was using the credit union for depositing their donations, Sachs took the $5,000 back. The banks are still behaving illegally and immorally.

The Justice Department is criminally negligent when it comes to corporate thieves who looted, lied, scammed people, committed fraud and are continuing to steal billions of dollars as our economic crisis continues.

We have an immoral, cruel economics system in the United States. It is only available to the wealthy. Keep in mind that there are a lot more of us that are not millionaires or billionaires and we will continue to occupy cities until our voices are heard.

We are peaceful people who care about others — especially the sick, poor, children, elderly, soldiers who can’t get help, homeless. We have a constitutional right to protest. Our Bill of Rights gives us free speech and a free press, and the right to peaceably assemble to petition the government with our grievances.

Our Declaration of Independence says the government is here to secure the citizens’ rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If a government is in power and not fulfilling those purposes, citizens have a constitutional right to alter or abolish it and to institute a new government. All we are trying to do is have a conversation with our politicians who don’t seem to have any morals concerning the least of us, but will do whatever all that money from Wall Street and Big Oil and Coal companies want them to do.

Carol Burger
Mount Juliet, Tenn.

Romney’s Smile

Watching Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential debates, the most lasting image of him as he listens to Rick Perry’s harangue is that cold, fixed smile on his face. Mitt’s smile is plastic, phony, and utterly devoid of real human emotion. It is right out of the House of Wax. You have to wonder why his handlers allow it; maybe the intent is to show that their guy is unflappable.

I knew I had seen that smile before — but where? Then I remembered. It was in The Godfather II. The young Vito Corleone, played by Robert DeNiro, sits in a cafe with the neighborhood “Black Hand,” Fanucci; and he has had the effrontery to offer Fanucci a payment that is $400 short of what had been demanded. The camera lingers on Fanucci as he rambles on; then the camera shows Vito listening silently, with a cold, fixed smile on his face that is, well, the image of Mitt Romney.

The instant you see that smile on Vito Corleone’s face, you know that Fanucci is going to get whacked. And about ten minutes later, that’s exactly what happens. So, what does that smile betoken on Mitt Romney’s face? Who can say?

One thing you have to give Mitt Romney is that he always looks good. And he’s no dummy. It’s not surprising that some voters might find him more appealing than some of the more gyroscopically-challenged Republicans, such as Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachman. There is a decent chance that Romney will be the Republican nominee, and if enough angry, frustrated, and unemployed voters go to the polls, there is at least an even chance that Smiling Mitt could win the election. Won’t that be nice? We’ve barely recovered from eight years of the George Bush smirk and the Dick Cheney sneer.

The most important issue on people’s minds today is jobs. And the most important thing people need to remember about Mitt Romney is that he didn’t become rich by creating jobs; he did it by eliminating them.

J.F. Dacey
Lowell, Mass.

Disenchanted Voters Might Not Get Another Chance

The bitter irony of Frank Viviano’s insightful article, “Low Voter Turnout Lets Wall St. Crooks Win” [11/15/11 TPP] is that many of those absent 2010 voters will be denied access to the polls in 2012 because of the Republican-instigated voter suppression efforts in so many states.

Bill Cooke
Lexington, Ky.

Don’t Blame Disenchanted

Thanks to Frank Viviano’s article [“Low Voter Turnout Lets Wall St. Crooks Win, 11/15/11 TPP], blaming all of us disenchanted voters for the present turmoil in the USA. It was just what we all needed to make us feel better. I guess Mr. Viviano has forgotten the Citizens United decision by our illustrious Supreme Court. To paraphrase Joseph Stalin: “The people that vote decide nothing. The people who count the vote decide everything.” God bless America.

Richard A. Van Deusen
Rockwood, Pa.

Why Not Socialism?

Bob Burnett’s column [“Bad Accounting Killed the US Economy,” 11/15/11 TPP] ends with “Fixing the US economy doesn’t mean replacing capitalism with socialism — that would bring another set of equally dire problems. [He doesn’t specify.] The solution first requires taking parasitic accountants out of the corporate driver seat and replacing them with entrepreneurs — like the late Steve Jobs.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it 13-year-old workers in Chinese concentration camps (work places) that made Steve Jobs’ fortune? I’ll settle for the “dire” problems that socialism might bring. As Hugo Chavez might put it, “Patria socialista o muerte.” [Socialist Motherland or Death].”

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.

Pols Sell Out

There seems to be quite a bit of hypocrisy amongst the mob now lounging on soft leather seats in the Sacred Halls of Congress. First, they refuse to extend the un-employment benefits, on the grounds that it would make the working man lazy. They forget that taxes from the working man help provide a nice salary for Members of Congress, along with other benefits, such as a platinum health plan, and the opportunity to take unlimited first class flights, on fact-finding missions, to all the world famous tourist traps, carrying their families. Many times free shopping funds are provided.

Yet, these same career politicians, recently passed three trade treaties, with Panama, South Korea, and Columbia, that will send thousands of American jobs to foreign shores. Exactly what they did some years back, when they gave us NAFTA, which destroyed the American textile industry, while sending MILLIONS of badly needed jobs to Asiatic slave-labor countries. I believe that EVERY member of our States Congressional Delegation voted in favor of these latest trade treaties.

Can it be that most career politicians are now working on the same agenda as the GOP? Like, redistributing the Nation’s wealth upwards, from the many, to the few. As mentioned before, they are taking from the ones seeking crumbs under the table, and giving to the ones already gorged at the feast. Trillions to bail-out the corrupt gamblers of Wall-Street, but not one cent toward creating jobs on Main Street.

Billions in tax-cuts for the wealthy—Bye-Bye for the working man.

Lamar Wray
Eupora, Ms.

Where are Democrats?

The USA is drowning in bad news, the waters are rising and it is the Republicans versus Obama. Another election looms in 2012: Republicans versus Obama? 

Notice something missing here? Democrats are missing! And where are they in the future – Continuity? Who is going to pick up the legislative ball and keep it moving – if we are lucky/unlucky enough to get Obama reelected? And we need to get him reelected.

The Republican Party’s idea of leading – to the rear march – back to Mayberry RFD — simply won’t work. We lost Kennedy and Byrd – and no one is standing up to take their place; the president could do it but let’s be honest – the guy is kinda busy.

Looking at what is ahead for my kids and grandkids is scary. The Republicans offer lots of possibilities – all of them ideologues who simply do not learn (how can they, they already know everything). Then there is Obama who learns, but very slowly. 

And then what? Biden – I don’t think so. Joe has done a decent job as VP but he is not the future of the Democratic Party. It is vital that we put a new face into this donnybrook – so voters can see a way forward after Obama. 

What about Sherrod Brown, Patty Murray, Howard Dean, Rachel Maddow?

Any one of them could breathe some life into an otherwise dreary campaign — and let voters know there is a Democratic future. That is not obvious at the moment.

Any other suggestions?

Rod Smith
York, Pa.

No Glory for Pelosi

How long will it be before TPP contributors finally have the gumption to tell the truth of why we are in the mess we are in. 90% of the problems would have been prevented if not for Nancy Pelosi’s despicable consorting with Bush and Cheney, in which she was used as bait to assure Bush could never be impeached, because she was made aware of all their unconstitutional activities including torture and the multitude of misdemeanors they were engaging in.

Have you forgotten how, after at least 75% of the Democratic voters voted for the Democrats in 2006, thinking finally Bush’s disregard of all the constitutional restraints placed on the office of the presidency by our forefathers to assure it never become a power unto itself would be stopped in its tracks, only to have Nancy, her face showing the fright she was suffering lest her double-cross of her associates and the country were to be exposed, the morning after the election screamed, “Impeachment is off the table, impeachment is off the table.” The voters who had supported the Democrats for that very reason stared in disbelief. How could she do this to us?

Then the truth came out when Bush and Cheney said Nancy had been kept aware of all their unconstitutional and illegal activities and was as guilty as they since she made no effort to expose or stop them as they were engaging in them. I’m sure most Democrats in Congress were themselves stunned by the revelations, but felt powerless since their leader was as guilty as Bush and Cheney.

Obama’s promise to correct the nefarious schemes of Bush and Cheney were just so much campaign rhetoric promises he never intended to address, as proven by his refusal to close the Bagram Air Base prison where some of the most cruel forms of torture are still being enacted. And how about Guantanamo? And how about his and Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempting to sneak thru legislation exonerating the bankers for their mortgage manipulations, that would not only let these shysters go scot free, but bar the home owners from bringing legal action against them. I repeat this only as an example of what Pelosi’s betrayal has perpetuated.

It sickens me when I hear her glorified and even addressed as probably the greatest Speaker of the House ever. Are they all as treacherous as she?

Alton Eliason
Northford, Conn.

The Real Social Security Scam

Republicans are knocking Social Security. Some have called it a Ponzi scheme. The real scheme has been perpetrated by Congress. In 1983, Congress moved Social Security money from the Social Security Trust to the general fund. This allowed Congress to spend this money. Congress paid the Trust in Treasury bonds, currently $2 TRILLION worth. George W. Bush called these bonds, “Scraps of paper.” The Republicans never intended to pay this money back. Today, Republicans are attacking Social Security with a passion. They fear the government may actually be forced to make good on the bonds. The newly formed Supercommittee must provide for a method of pay back. No new national budget should be approved that does not include a provision to place Social Security funds back into the trust and provide for funds to be paid back yearly.

Francis X. Curry
Fort Myers, Fla.

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2011


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