Read Your Own Contributors

The editorial, “The Battle is Joined,” (02/15/12 TPP) seemed to encourage Obama skeptics to take heart from the President’s newly discovered populism. Given the alternatives among the Republican crazies, the editor implies that it’s better to side with a guy who has made a lot of promises, but failed to deliver on most of them, than risk devastating damage by voting back in a Republican regime in D.C. in 2012.

Directly opposite this editorial, was Jim Hightower’s column, reminding us that Hightower can be as critical of chronically disappointing Democrats’ and Obama’s failures, as he is of the whacko Republicans’ theories about how to get us out of the mess they helped get us into.

But most telling of all is Jonathan Turley’s piece, “10 Reasons US is No Longer Land of Free,” and the major reason why I’m afraid to vote for Obama again. Obama favors indefinite detention, warrantless searches, extraordinary renditions, assassination of US citizens, electronic monitoring of citizens, indefinite detentions, ad nauseam. He favors unfettered capitalism over environmental protections. He favors charter schools over public schools. He favors Wall Street over Main Street because he won’t regulate banks and corporations, and won’t push for those infrastructure jobs he promised us years ago.

An FDR he’s not. He is Bush on steroids, a thug at heart sporting a smug grin and a good suit.

I appreciate the range of views in TPP, but I do wish the editor would be more morally and ethically outraged over the duplicity of Democrats and the complicity of Obama with the Wall Street nutters that tanked our economy, but are coming back for more, like those unkillable monsters relentlessly lurching towards vulnerable humans, that scared us in those 1950s drive-in movies.

As political parties, both Democrats and Republicans offer shabby service to citizens. As a president, Obama is a shill for Corporate America, hiding behind floridly star spangled rhetoric designed to convince us once again that he can save us from the bad guys. What if he is one of the bad guys? What do we do now?

Gordon Johnston
Portland, Ore

Editor Replies: We don’t necessarily agree with our contributors but we think their points of view are worth sharing. Our editorials might not tell you what you want to hear, but we try to tell you what you need to hear. We don’t follow a party line, but we try to provide realistic advice. If you believe Obama is “Bush on steroids” and Democrats are sellouts, you are welcome to find someone else to vote for — but don’t think that enabling Republicans to take power will do any favors for workers, small businesses and family farmers and ranchers. Republicans who have seized control at the state level have demonstrated how radical their priorities are and we believe you’re mistaken if you think Dems are anywhere near as bad.

The Choice is D or R

I read two thoughtful pieces in the 2/15/12 edition from progressives, disappointed with the Obama presidency, and with the Democratic Party. I agree with much of what was said, but respectfully suggest that the reality is that there will be either a centrist Democrat (Obama) or a radical right-wing, extremist Republican president taking office in January 2013. That fact alone should prevent any progressive voter, and I am one of them, from either staying home or participating in any third party efforts — which cannot, and will not, be successful.

Fact: Democrats stayed home in droves in November 2010; the result was the most reactionary collection of extremist Republicans in over a century, and a totally obstructionist Congress, committed only to the destruction of another Democratic president. These Republicans are not just misinformed politicians — these are dangerous, autocratic demagogues willing to tell any lie to advance a “1%” agenda utterly destructive to the poor, the middle class, and democracy itself.

Look at Republican actions in any number of states after the 2010 election — attacks on collective bargaining, right-to-work (as a serf) legislation, destructive social program and educational program cuts combined with more corporate welfare, sale of public assets to crony capitalist buddies, immediate attempts to disenfranchise millions of low income voters who tend to vote progressively. I could go on.

Many well-meaning progressives in the 2000 election bought into the false narrative that there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, ignoring their respective histories. The results were catastrophic Supreme Court appointments, two unnecessary wars, a huge transfer of wealth to the plutocrats who already own most of the nation’s assets and income, and attempts to destroy every element of the social compact existing since the 1930’s. Along with the worst economic collapse in 70 years, with the most dire effects on the most vulnerable citizens. None of that would have happened with a Democratic president.

That record should serve as a terrible warning — you will not recognize the Ayn Rand nightmare vision of America that these people are capable of creating, until it is too late to do anything about it. Don’t believe it? Look at their campaigns, then go look at their actual record. Then go read the lunacy called the “Ryan Plan,” [developed by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and] signed off on by virtually the whole Republican Party.

Respectfully, please reconsider while there is still a country, and an imperfect democracy, left to save. Support more progressive Democrats in your communities? Absolutely. But in the presidential election, there must be no illusions as to the disaster lying ahead with another Republican presidency and Congress. “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

Ron Zaudke
Prescott, Wis.

Proud to be a Liberal

I’ve heard (from the Care2 Action site) that Tennessee Tea Party lawmakers are attempting to clean up our founding fathers’ image by eliminating from history books any mention of their connection with slavery. “Conservative” is defined as “holding to traditional attitudes and values, being cautious about change or innovation, particularly in politics or religion; sober and conventional; and averse to change.”

The tradition these Tea Partiers wish to drag us back to appears to be a fantasy of their making: our founders’ record cleansed of any tarnish. If they manage to do this, they will change no history, as it cannot be changed, but they will themselves go down in infamy as unprincipled reprobates who tried to erase uncomfortable truths about slavery.

For all the evil reputation liberals enjoy these days, if it weren’t for them we’d still be stuck with slavery today.

My dictionary describes them as “open to new behavior or opinions; favoring or respecting individual rights and freedoms; favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform; deeming many traditional theological beliefs as invalidated by modern thought and liable to change; preferring broadening general knowledge and experience; and (my favorite) generous.”

The clash between liberals wanting to move forward (hence their other name, “progressives”) and conservatives wanting to stay put or return to the past has produced some epic historical battles, such as the Revolutionary War that freed our country (but not the slaves), and the Civil War (which finally freed the slaves).

In fact we have liberals to thank for all historical progress: the Renaissance, emancipation of slaves, voting rights, child labor prohibitions, worker and civil rights, financial safety nets for seniors and the poor, and much more. While liberals have embraced and even forced change, in the name of progress, conservatives appear to fear it obsessively, as if tolerating change will make their heads explode.

Today they seem determined to take this country back to a sort of neo-feudalistic regime in which society is ordered around a wealthy corporate nobility from which the people must beg for crumbs. It seems the only thing standing in the way of this fantasy nirvana dream of theirs—never mind blithely scrubbing history of uncomfortable truths—are us liberals.

If the past is prologue, history is on our side. From the feudalism of the Middle Ages, to the Renaissance, to our own Revolution, to freeing the slaves, liberals can be credited with righting the horrendous wrongs of history.

I’m proud to be one of them.

Nancy Churchill
Oregon, Ill.

Progressive Challenger

In case you missed it, from one of the reddest states comes a real progressive challenge to Obama’s tepid if not totally faux version of the same. From Utah comes former Salt Lake Mayor Ross (Rocky) Anderson who announced his candidacy for President under his party, The Justice Party. Prior to this he had founded and was head of The High Road for Human Rights.

Rocky is he real deal and is committed to economic, legal and social justice that have been tossed aside in favor of pursuit of power, influence and the New Imperium Americana.

As proof of his commitment, he has earned the scorn and insults of corporate pack mules such as Orrin Hatch. On a day when George W. Bush was in Salt Lake City whoring himself for contributions and support from Utah’s conservative glitterati, including the LDS church hierarchy, Rocky was in Pioneer Park calling for the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. Orrin Hatch, also in SLC to stand at the side of “Commander Guy,” was reported to have said “What a bunch of nut cakes!” as he was chauffeured past this gathering in the park. That alone is the best endorsement any progressive could ask for. He has been a guest on Democracy Now! a few times, most recently late last year talking about why he is taking this leap into national politics. TPP readers should seek out these interviews and another on Op-EdNews in September for refreshing and candid analysis on the state of nation’s political cesspool and how to disinfect it.

This is the genuine challenge to the status quo GOP lite the Democrats have trapped themselves in since Slick Willie took the helm of the party.

Clee Paul Ames

Eureka, Utah

Editor’s Note: The Justice Party has qualified for the ballot in Mississippi, according to Ballot Access News.

Flush the Bowl System

Dave Zirin’s 2/1/12 article entitled “2011: The Year I Learned to Hate College Football” is right on target. In the 1950s there were only seven bowl games, generally featuring the best teams in the country.

Now there are approximately 35 bowl games with several teams having lost half their regular season games. Many Division I schools pay football coaches far more than university presidents. Education, not athletics, should be the primary goal of higher education institutions.

In keeping with the trend of rewarding athletic mediocrity instead of education, a new bowl game featuring the two worst college teams — the Toilet Bowl to be played in Flushing, N.Y. — should be initiated publicizing the depth to which college football has plunged, a level below that of most politicians and used car salesmen.

Edward L. Koven
Highland Park, Ill.

States Need Banks

The state Bank of North Dakota, the sole reason for that state’s singular fiscal solvency among all the 50 states, is definitely an idea whose time has come. Here in my state of Washington, such an idea has been proposed in the Legislature.

I foresee well-financed opponents of such bills in state legislatures, trying to get these bills buried (forever!) in some committee, or subjected to (endless) “studies” of some kind.

This idea of a state bank has already proved its worth beyond dispute. Now is the time to flood your state legislators with every form of communication, repeatedly if necessary, to get this show on the road.

Barbara Tomlinson
Seattle, Wash.

Editor’s Note: The state-owned Bank of North Dakota contributes to the state’s fiscal solvency, but an oil and gas drilling boom also deserves credit.

Belief Doesn’t Make It True

Just as Martin Luther did in 1517, when he nailed his list of grievances to the door of his church, Connie Schultz’s list of injustices against women should be nailed to the door of every legislator in the country! [“Women are Still Targets of Abuse Both in the USA and Abroad,” 2/1/12 TPP].

On several occasions, I’ve observed bumper stickers on passing cars that read: “Aren’t you glad your mother chose life?” “Life is a gift from God!” “Abortion is murder!” In the ongoing pro-life vs. pro-choice controversy, those who are against abortion invariably repeat the mantra that if their mother hadn’t given them birth, they would never have experienced the joy of life. Well, if some cells never become people and are never born, they obviously have no consciousness of what life is.

So how can anybody who never came into existence reproach anyone for their non-existence?

How absurd. If people believe that abortion is murder, that’s exactly how they should say it: “I believe abortion is murder.” Such a statement is perfectly understandable, since so many cling to beliefs that aren’t true.

But people who utter the authoritative statement, “Abortion is murder!” represent, in my opinion, the pinnacle of arrogance. Their adjudication of abortion as murder is based on a belief which has no foundation or truth. Their hubris is unsurpassed.

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Corporations Aren’t People

Corporations Need First Amendment Rights” [Letters to the Editor, 1/1/12 TPP] asks where can we find “corporate personhood.”

The Supreme Court ruled that to spend money we exercise free speech. Also, that corporations have the same, unlimited right as people to this; hence the scandal of corporate personhood. Government and elections should be about people; the people should rule. While people seek people-oriented policies that favor less war, jobs, good wages, education, health care, clean environments, safe workplaces, safe products, etc, corporations seek only their own profits. Corporations don’t have the right to vote.

Corporations, which Noam Chomsky calls in a sense “private tyrannies,” have no right to directly influence elections and government. A good society governs itself by democracy. To allow corporations more political power we move backwards.

Telemachos Mavrides
Mesa, Ariz.

From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2012


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