When is a Leak ‘Treason’?

Valerie Plame Wilson in “Why Is the US Government Bullying an American Hero?” (10/15/12 TPP) and Maureen Dowd in the New York Times hail as hero the Navy Seal No Easy Day author for revealing the truth about the Bin Laden combat mission which apparently contradicts government press releases. (In Ohio, Republicans polled claimed Mitt Romney was most responsible for the killing of Bin Laden.)

During final years of the Cold War the Navy required elaborate, detailed contracts from members of its fast-attack nuclear submarine crews, silencing them from sharing experiences with family. When I queried my son re his Navy adventures, the answer was: “I can tell you, Mom, but then I’d have to shoot you because I signed a confidentiality agreement. Talking is treason.”

My question: are such agreements with stealth branches demanded by today’s Navy? If so, the “anonymous” author (who has since then been identified as Matt Bissonnette) is in contract violation and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is correct that such behavior is unacceptable or what Plame Wilson terms “bullying an American hero.”

Our nation’s national security can be threatened by armed service members tattling for profit when they disagree with decisions or interpretations made by their commanders, be they generals or presidents. Or was the intent to ridicule a president more unpopular with conservatives because he did what Bush II couldn’t?

Yes, a military officer in Afghanistan, in disagreement with his superiors, publicly stated this summer the US is not winning the war there despite what generals tell the media. However after 11 years and a surge of murders of American trainers by Afghan trainees, is anyone surprised?

Meanwhile, Bradley Manning sits in solitary another year for his Wikileaks releases embarrassing Washington.

Sandra Maginley-Seymour
Menomonee Falls, Wis.


The More Appealing Lie

I’m surprised by how glad President Obama’s re-election made me. Hope & Change weren’t riding on the outcome this time. Obama is a hopeless, small-change Clintonite; a corporatist; a war shopper; a free-trader; traitor to labor, the New Deal and our rights; and a sincere convert to prosperity through cotton candy capitalism.

Nor did the president win a victory over propaganda, big money and general bulls**t. Those forces remain in control. The president is more adept. Republicans are too contemptuous of the bleating masses to keep it hidden. This undercuts the premise of messaging pioneered on Madison Avenue: the suckers know you’re lying, but will reward an appealing lie.

Barack Obama is the more appealing lie. This has been a fascist nation since FDR’s third term. The genius of our fascism is to give the people two choices of the same damn thing. The signature achievements of Obama’s first term — Romneycare; prosecuting the Orwellian wars in East Asia; “stimulus” upper bracket tax cuts; bankrupting GM to capital’s specifics — differ from Republican initiatives ... how?

But I prefer Obama to Romney. (Not enough to have voted for him!) I couldn’t face the prospect of another overprivileged, under-accomplished (amassing a fortune through business failures is a patrician vocation that does not translate to the general workforce), self-important schmuck in the Oval Office convinced he’d been anointed by God.

Obama still gives a good speech. And he is a resilient, ruthless politician. He will need all of his skills to slip his Republican agenda past a reactionary Congress and propaganda mill still bent on sabotage and subterfuge. I’m aboard this administration for the pure melodrama.

Social Security has no greater ally than Tea Party kneejerks balking Obama’s grand bargain. And the war with Iran that Obama would undertake willingly and capably, might be denied him. The most rabid fan base of our war team is conflicted by factional disloyalty.

Here we arrive at the ugly climax of the Obama experiment. If he cannot deliver austerity and bush wars, the Permanent Order might have to replace the president prematurely. The odd shuffle going on at the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom indicate a bloodless coup preliminary to the real deal. There is no shortage of patsies, Klan nuts, dittoheads and armed morons, lurking in the dillweeds.

I like Obama. He has stood up to a hidebound Establishment he desperately wants to serve. His dogged, sincere constancy are his only defenses against orchestrated calumny. Obama’s quest is heroic/quixotic — and likely tragic. Cervantes conceived Don Quixote a boob, but Americans are more sentimental. I was seven years old the last time the shadow government asserted itself. I am prepared to be as devastated this time.

M. Warner,
Minneapolis Minn


Mitt the Nitwit

It was not only Mitt who blew his chances to become president by his incompetence. It was his conservative base as well. Conservative means do not change. It is an idea that has never been based in reality. Conservatives are dreamers of the past, believing in the fantasy, if we just believe hard enough we can make it so and bring back the good old days. The fantasy being those days were not that good except for those with rose colored blinders. Conservatives believe “Government is not the solution it’s the problem” but in fact Conservatives are the problem. They believe they can hold back the rising tide by making fun of it. They can deny climate change when the 100-year drought and the100-year flood and the 100-year storm are coming every 2 or 5 or 10 years, when the north pole is melted in the summer.

Such is the overwhelming power of the vast liberal conspiracy. They are people who will refuse to believe in evolution even when they are becoming extinct because of it. The problem for conservatives is when you show them they are headed for the cliff, they will still run over it.

Get out of their way.

Hal J. Ridley, Jr.
Bridge City, Texas


Respect Conscience

Wayne O’Leary, whose work I value, writes (“Agenda 2013”, 11/15/12 TPP), “There is no real alternative [to voting for Barack Obama this fall] for responsible ... progressives who care about the country. ... [T]he ideologically pure indulgence of staying home or going third party is just not an option.” I beg to differ.

As a life-long leftist who has voted for the lesser evil in ten presidential elections, (and for George McGovern in 1972), am I now an irresponsible, self-indulgent ideological purist who doesn’t care about my country because I can’t do the same again this time? Am I now to be so easily discounted by my fellow progressives whose deepest values I share and try to live by, because I diverge from the majority this time?

I freely admit that Romney would be worse than Obama. But are we really obligated to choose between a despicable empty suit and base opportunist who will drive the country over a cliff, and a president who has perpetrated drone strikes on foreign civilians and “extra-judicial” assassination on his own citizens?

Must we be complicit in war crimes and assassination in order to prevent something worse? I’m sorry, but there’s a point below which I cannot go, not even to avert a greater evil. And after all these years, I find I’ve reached my personal limit.

I feel deep anguish for my country, that through our collective political folly we have gotten to the point where these are the decisions we have to make. But if enough progressives were as irresponsible and self-indulgent as I am, wouldn’t the Democrats have to move leftward (or at least back toward the center) if they wanted to win elections? As long as we continue to vote for them unconditionally, out of fear of the Republicans, they will have no reason to do that. They can — and will — continue to move further to the right with impunity. How much more of this can we stand? Is there any point below which we will not go to keep the Republicans out of office?

I understand that there are other viewpoints on this, and I respect other decisions made by my thinking, caring compatriots on the left, especially when those decisions come out of intense personal struggles with an intractable dilemma.

But I would like to think I can receive the same respect from my fellow progressives. Is my conscience really less worthy because I feel I have to choose differently? Is my conscience “just not an option”?

Joe Demboski
Seattle, Wash.

Greens Failed to Help Romney

The best thing the Green Party could do for the causes it mouths off about is to go out of business. Look, we are lucky enough voters were not stupid enough to vote for Jill Stein, thus helping Romney to win the way Ralph Nader did when Bush vs. Gore [handed the White House to Bush in 2000]. And the Greens still think that running a third party candidate is a good idea. What fools they are. ...

David Raisman
Brooklyn, N.Y.


Support Mexican-American Studies for Freedom

The suppression of Mexican-American Studies in Arizona (“Supporting Mexican-American Studies: This Time, It’s Personal,” by Roberto Rodriguez, 11/15/12 TPP) is reminiscent of the US Government’s aggressive quest in the 19th century to destroy all traces of indigenous culture and history.

The Indians were forbidden to speak their language or to bear Indian names. Why? Because the authorities considered such practices a threat to the progress of western civilization.

Now, two centuries later, the Tucson Unified School District is preventing its students from learning about Mexican-American history, or reading books written by Latino writers.

What’s next?

Forbid the teaching of Spanish in its curriculum? Compel students with Spanish names to change them?

I only hope that all Americans who value freedom will raise their voices against this outrage.

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.


Let’s Get to Work

The election is over. Let us now work together. Gov. Romney gave the most gracious concession speech I have ever heard. He emphasized working together. President Obama, in his acceptance speech, offered his hand to Gov. Romney in working together along with his hand to both sides of the aisle. Congress, grasp those hands in compromise.

Let there be no more obstructionism, in the way of filibusters, to stop legislative bills good for the well being of our nation, in hopes of making either party look bad. Let both sides of the aisle go back 30 plus years to where they worked together and compromised for the good of the nation. Congress, it is not just your nation alone, but the people’s nation.

God Bless the United States of America,

Col. Colin J. N. Chauret, USAF Retired 
Universal City, Texas

From The Progressive Populist, December 15, 2012



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