Remember LaDuke

I have just received my current [October] issue of The Progressive Populist and am sorely disappointed and very dismayed that in all the space devoted to Ralph Nader nor in the rest of the paper there is not one word of his running mate, Winona LaDuke. I have been a citizen activist since the anti-Vietnam days and have been continually dismayed by how "progressive" men nearly always fail to recognize women's contributions.

A woman warrior, LaDuke inspires me to continue fighting the battle of the corporate takeover of our world. In Beijing, China in a plenary address, LaDuke asked the question, "What gives corporations like Conoco, Shell, Exxon, Diashawa, ITT, Rio Tinto Zinc and the World Bank a right which supercedes or is superior to my human right to live on my land, or that of my family, my community, my nation, our nations, and us as women? What law gives that right to them?" She goes on to state that "the right of all peoples to self-determination cannot be realized while women continue to be marginalized and prevented from becoming full participants in their respective societies."

As a woman disillusioned with our "democratic" process, I have placed my vote with the Nader/LaDuke team. I respect Mr. Nader for his tireless work, but I am most impressed by Ms. LaDuke and her willingness to speak to the issues of the environmental degradation and the genocide of the Indigenous peoples of the earth.

As a woman disillusioned with "progressive" men, I cherish the day when women will indeed be equal.
Denise O'Brien
RR#2 Box 79
Atlantic, Iowa 50022

Tax Fairly

The Republicans and other fiscal conservatives claim that the reduction of taxes is one of the most important goals we should be pursuing on both the local and national scenes. They argue that an across-the-board tax reduction would be a great benefit for middle and lower income families -- those who make up the majority of the voting population.

Since the time of Ronald Reagan, I have been amazed at how successful the Republicans have been in their efforts to con the voting public with this claim. It is so obvious that an increase in taxes for the wealthy -- a graduated income tax -- is what is needed, while a decrease in taxes should be aimed only at those in the lower to middle income groups. Social services for our communities are paid, in large part, by taxes. Those are not only the services of social security, medicare, education and the like, but highways, air traffic control, maintenance of public areas and protection of our environment. In a fair economic system those who profit most in the economy should pay more to protect the structure that allowed them to accumulate such profit.

The simple, or simplistic, argument made by those with the wealth is that what they were able to accumulate was achieved by their own energies, wit and courage. They should not, they claim, be punished for being so successful. Which is all nonsense on the one hand and duplicity on the other. These people are as indebted to the political system and the laws of the structure as any of us. Under the philosophy of "free-enterprise," in fact, they are more indebted. Every move they make is supported and guaranteed by a government that prints their money, runs their stock exchange, ensures their ownership and provides them with a police force and a military to protect whatever they have.

It is a pity they do not have enough sense of social responsibility to help provide for the care of those in the society who are less fortunate than themselves.
Norman L. Thomas
1209 North C Street
Indianola, IA 50125

The Populists Are Coming!

On Saturday, Oct. 19 the Progressive Populist Alliance of Central Indiana held a rally/march. We (I was a participant) met at the Federal Building, exchanged ideas, and marched to the Statehouse. Bob Pederson, organizer of the rally, explained its purpose:

Insist that the FBI pursue an investigation into allegationfs of corruption/racketeering by the Goldsmith Administration.

Call attention to the increasing influrence of special interest money in city politics.

Raise the public consciousness as to the need for comprehensive campaign finance reform.

The group contained very diverse individuals with plenty of spunk and emotion. The optimism felt by all was due to this diversity. There were students, salespeople, federal workers, office workers, a college professor, a wastewater treatment worker, environmentalists (Hoosier Environmental Council). These people took a lovely Saturday autumn afternoon off to express the concern of many Hoosiers: We are fed up with this "business as usual" political process.

Pat McGeever is a professor of political science at IUPUI. He is also a populist. "Our organization, the Progressive Populist Alliance, was created about a year ago. Our main concern, presently, is to raise the public's consciousness regarding this important and timely issue. In order to have trustworthy government we really must have public campaign financing. Such a system, with stiff criminal penalties for any deviations, would help restore the public trust."

He explained how state law does not presently allow for a public referendum on this issue.

If the state legislators wanted to, they could create a law to allow referenda, similar to California and other states. Prof. McGeever hoped that this allience could grow into a massive movement, thus pressuring the elected state officials into changing this clearly undemocratic law.

George Tomanovich is well known in Indianapolis. He was the whistleblower who won a settlement with the city. George is also a man of integrity, one who cares about corruption and greed. "If we had true campaign finance reform, my situation might never have happened. Many times, when the city puts contracts out on the street for bidding, there are two lists. One is all the companies that can bid, and the other is a list of who has given. Bottom line is that to get the actual bid, if you're not on that second list, you get little or no work. My biggest beef has been that a lot of the reputable companies who refuse to give just don't get the jobs. And these are people who I know do quality work. Obivously, if you reform this system, you open the door to more quality and better pricing. This can only save the taxpayers money in the long run."

I asked him if he has been threatened during this time, especially with the information he has brought forth. "I've been given some strong advice that I shouldn't be so vocal, especially since I went to the FBI. I've gotten phone calls at home. I've had attorneys and politicians telling me to 'cool it' and be happy with my settlement. I voted Republican most of my life, so this is not some partisan thing. It's about fairness and decency in local government, in all government for that matter!"

Brad Lorton and William Wagner, union officials from the American Federation of Gov't Employees, were active at the rally. Brad felt that since money represents power in America, a system that allows the wealthy to sponsor candidates is feudalistic. "The politicians, the Steve Goldsmiths of the system, they are just the flunkies doing the bidding for the wealthy special interests! Until you get the money totally out of politics, to where you can actually speak about human and social ideas, you will never get close to having a true democracy. Instead of a democracy of people we now have a democracy of dollars!"

The rally was really just a first step in a long-awaited reaction to the selling out of American democracy. When 37 million Americans have no health insurance, and the elected officials who represent these same people have the best health care that our money can buy, something is wrong. When the stock market sets all-time highs, consistently year after year, and salary values keep getting lower, something is wrong. When we have a government, regardless of party, that bails out the corrupt S&L's at taxpayer expense, that increases non-essential defense spending year after year, allows companies to relocate offshore for cheap labor and tax breaks, something is terribly wrong. And where are our elected officials, to protect us, the regular John and Joan Q. Public, from the rich corporate and prive special interests? Just read Animal Farm to see who brings home the bacon, to see who IS the bacon!
6916 Ralph Ct.
Indianapolis, Ind. 46220-1181

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