Most Meat Comes from Factories

In this era of inequity and violence, there remains one surefire antidote to helplessness over which one retains absolute control: the decision what to feed yourself. Unfortunately, even the integrity of that decision is threatened by such foolhardy notions as that propounded by Andrew Gunther (“End the Factory Farm Nightmare,” 3/1/11 TPP).

Of course no one with a conscience supports the well-documented horrors of factory farms. But to suggest that the answer is to continue to eat animals raised in a “truly sustainable, pasture-based farming system” is worse than a pipe dream; it’s an outright impossibility.

Grazing the nearly one hundred million head of cattle in this country would resurrect the ecological catastrophe that has already befallen the West, with its legacy of top soil erosion, a federally-funded war on predators (anyone every heard of USDA’s “Wildlife Services” Division?), an ugly list of animals on the endangered species list, and loss of biodiversity. Grazing causes depletion of aquifers, and harrowing water and air pollution. These are the inescapable by-products of a civilization which chooses to feast on the flesh of others, though unnecessary for health and clearly bad for the environment.

What’s more, the animals will not thank you for eating them, though they grew on a pasture. FDA regulations require that larger “meat animals” die the same horrific death in the same slaughterhouses as their factory-farmed brethren — facilities well-documented for their cruelty to the workers as well as the animals. Those few remaining small farmers who do raise animals as ethically as possible cannot, by definition, do so on a large scale, so will only fill small niche markets.

The well-informed consumer may make the life-celebrating, environmentally sustaining, decision to abstain from eating animal products, period — refusing to promote the continuation of animal agriculture under false guises.

Veganism is the path to true sustainability. It is when people at large exercise their power as consumers by boycotting cruelty against animals and people while enhancing their own health and that of the environment that planetary destruction can abate.

Chuck Levin
Northfield, Mass.

GMO’d Alfalfa

Margot Ford McMillen’s article, “Consumers Have No Rights to GMO-Free Products” [3/1/11 TPP] exposes Monsanto’s power. Once more we see that corporatism does very well in the Obama White House, which, as I helped elect him, I imagined would be OUR White House. Today I’ve written letters to send to: Yogi Tea in Eugene, Ore.; Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, Colo.; Bigelow (tea) in Fairfield, Conn.; Champlain Valley Apiaries in Middlebury, Vt.; and Franklin Heyburn Apiary in Waterville, Vt. This covers just my honey and tea business.

I’m about to go into my rabbit shed and my chicken shed and get the addresses of my feed companies. I am going to send a copy of this letter to TPP to David Axelrod (turncoat that he is) in the White House, and of course to President Obama and to his wife Michele, who professes to care about the quality of our food supply. How dare Axelrod and Monsanto conspire to modify/endanger our food supply! We who pay attention also know that honey bees are at risk from chemical additives in our environment, and without honey bees our food supply is lost.

Lynn Rudmin Chong
Sanbornton, N.H.

Time for the Big One

The ever-growing marches and demonstrations in support of union members in Wisconsin are wonderful but isn’t it time now to organize The Big One: a peaceful mass gathering in Washington, D.C., of those who are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more? No less a leader than Prof. Noam Chomsky has been calling for this for sometime. Who is going to step forward to organize this admittedly massive undertaking? If it could be held over the Labor Day weekend, so much the better.

In the meantime, I offer to my Wisconsin neighbors a new version of their university’s fight song:

On, Wisconsin/On Wisconsin/Fight for Union Rights!/Stand up to the fascist gov-nor/Fight with all your might Rah! Rah! Rah!/ On, Wisconsin/On, Wisconsin/On to victory/Fight, folks, come on and fight!/Protect democracy!

I have recorded this over the phone for a number of radio stations. Any others interested can email wshapira@comcast their toll-free call-in number. (It’s pronounced Sha-PIE-rah.)

Willard B. Shapira
Roseville, Minn.

2 Wrongs and a Right

Robert Reich on education (“Stealth Attack on Education,” [2/1/11 TPP] is wrong. His advice to “experiment with vouchers” is wrong on two counts: (1) it’s immoral and unethical to experiment with the lives of children; and (2) vouchers will only dismantle public education, not save it. He’s wrong about student amenities being the source of overblown budgets in higher education. Exorbitant salaries of faculty in economics departments and business schools, administrators, and athletic directors and coaches have inflated college costs far more than making WiFi available in dormitories. And he’s wrong about the attack on American education being without intent: both US corporations and international bodies such as the WTO look upon our schools as a largely untapped profit center and their outsourced human resources department.

Reich is right, though, in thinking that the primary, if not sole, purpose of the education of our young people is to make the economy healthy by becoming compliant workers and avid consumers. When he was Secretary of Labor, he continued to implement the SCANS (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, developed under Reagan’s Labor Secretary, Elizabeth Dole, and still in operation today), which espoused this goal. On this issue, Reich may be right factually, but ethically and humanely, he’s dead wrong. And our country is the worse for it.

B.F. Fisher
Bloomington, Ind.

Un-American Ethnic Studies Ban

Amen to Americas/Roberto Rodriguez’ “5 Sentenced But Not Guilty: It is the law that is illegal” [3/1/11 TPP]: My grandparents came to St. Louis, Mo., at the time of its World Fair to enjoy the right of ethnic studies of Polish: suppressed in Poland for 126 years before Nov. 11, 1918. I was thinking in Polish until leaving first grade at St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Roman Catholic Parish’s Elementary School. The parish has a bulletin and a missal that are both in Polish and in English; and provide Polish language classes: ethnic studies.

In my opinion, HB 2281 [the Arizona bill that bans ethnic studies] is “an illegal, immoral and unconstitutional law,” as Rodriguez states, and also un-American and malum in se [bad in itself], as well. I am not Kiowa but learned a Kiowa love song as a teenager. It would be malum in se and un-American to try to suppress Kiowa, Mayan, Navajo or any other native American language. (“Missouri” is Algonquin.) In a global economy we must learn Arabic, Chinese, Hindu and Japanese and Vietnamese as well. HB 2281 should be struck down pronto, ASAP, stat.

Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.

Disappointed But …

My ardent support for candidate Obama has turned to disillusionment. Sadly, he has seemed to become simply another politician more interested in his reelection than in the welfare of the middle class. He appears to be as malleable as clay in the hands of those with whom he has surrounded himself.

As a 91-year-old, who came of age during the Depression, served in WWII, and received all my higher education through government programs, I recognize that the middle class was created after WWII as a result of four factors: 1) a strong industrial base, the envy of the world; 2) strong labor unions, which secured a decent wage for workers; 3) the GI Bill, which gave every veteran the chance for an education that would allow him/her to enter the middle class; 4) an excellent public school system. All these have virtually disappeared, through “outsourcing”, “off-shoring,” insane trade deals such as NAFTA, etc.. Private-sector unions have virtually disappeared, and now the attacks on public-service unions are at full strength, the destruction of which has been a major goal of the Republicans since Reagan. (They dismiss Eisenhower’s support of worker’s rights to have unions as misguided, or they ignore it.) Public education is severely under-funded and teacher’s rights to collective bargaining are under attack. Higher education is becoming beyond the reach of many.

At the moment, with unions fighting for their lives in state after state, the President —at least up to this moment — has been completely silent. And the middle class is disappearing before our eyes.

What are liberals to do? Certainly not become apathetic and drop out. Our very future depends on keeping up the fight for a change in course.

A must read for all progressives (liberals): Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, By Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.

Too Much Plutocracy

Today, the United States is controlled by a financial plutocracy. The extremely wealthy own all means of communications, all means of income and every member of Congress. They own almost all our Congress critters, body, soul and hind-end hole. The wealthy, ably assisted by our Congress critters are stealing from the middle class and the poor. Once they have bankrupted this country, they shall simply move to a new country and continue their wicked ways.

Dick Cheney’s parent company sucked all the cash they could from our Bush-led government, then moved out of the country as Bush left office. Now, the lead thieves cannot be arrested nor held accountable by authorities in the USA.

And Dick Cheney admitted at the same time that he had moved all his money into euros. Concurrently, we discover George W. Bush bought a 7,000-acre ranch in southern Paraguay. Apparently, the dictator was prepared to flee south of the border if the roof caved in.

The current modus operandi for the thieving class is creating fear amongst the citizens of unknown enemies, fear of unknown weapons, creation of a super surveillance state and wars against innocent nations. The fear enables Congress critters to enact war without a constitutionally require declaration and spend the country into deep debt.

President Obama has not turned out to be something new, but rather a continuation of the same old donkey dung with new robes. He has appointed people from past failed administrations. What could we expect since he came out of the corrupt Democratic regime in Chicago.

This writer lived through the Great Depression. Now, we are slipping into a newer version of that Depression. The moneyed people keep shouting we are in a recovery. They know we are not, but they wish to continue to steal until the country is financially exhausted.

If the citizens of the great USA wish to resist globalism, dictatorship and empire building, they must build a nationalistic spirit very quickly.

The Congress critters keep shouting that we need free trade. They and lesser politicians are the reason we do not have free trade. Try to open any business and you must have licenses, permits, and many other restraints to business. Try to open a hospital. You shall need a certificate of need. This restrains competition.

The greatest debacle this world has ever seen is the medical industry in the USA. Doctors try to suck all the money they can from their customers. They still call their customers patients. A customer would never permit any contractor to treat them the way doctors treat their customers.

Francis X. Curry
North Fort Myers, Fla.

Perks We Take For Granted ...

You have week-ends off from your job? Thank the unions and the Democratic party. You have paid sick days? Thank the unions and the Democratic party.

Your work day pretty much limited to 8 hours, 5 days a week? Thank the unions and the Democratic party.

You have any paid vacation time? Thank the unions and Democratic party.

You have health insurance of any kind? Thank the unions and the Democratic party.

You take advantage of the GI Bill? Thank the Democratic party. You eligible for, or do you receive benefits from Social Security, Medicare,or Medicaid? Thank the Democratic party and the unions. How about disability insurance? Thank the unions and the Democratic party.

Bill Gibson
San Clemente, Calif.

Tancredo Not an Indy

Your 3/1/11 TPP “Dispatches” says that Tom Tancredo ran for Governor of Colorado in 2010 as an independent candidate. Actually, he ran as the nominee of the Constitution Party, one of the three nationally-organized minor parties in the US that places its presidential nominee on the ballot in enough states to theoretically win the presidential election. The other two such minor parties are the Green Party and the Libertarian Party.

Although the Constitution Party is socially conservative, it is opposed to US military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has elected one state legislator, in Montana, and in the 2010 election it won four partisan races for county office in Nevada.

Richard Winger
San Francisco, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, April 1, 2011


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