Collusion in the Eye of the Beholder

I found Peter Certo’s article (“Trump’s worst collusion isn’t with Russia, it’s with corporations”) in your 8/15/17 issue of TPP quite refreshing amidst all the frenzied narrative about Russia colluding with Trump to help him win the 2016 presidential election. Actually, the far more glaring and documented example of collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign is what took place between the DNC and the Clinton campaign to deny Bernie Sanders the opportunity to face Donald Trump in the general election. We’ll never know what the end result would have been, but the collusion that took place was crystal clear. That’s why Debbie Wasserman Schultz and several other DNC aides resigned a day before the Democratic convention. Oh well, I guess that’s not a big deal any more.

Peter Certo’s article points out that the true collusion the Trump administration is guilty of, hands down, is its complicity with large corporations (and donors) who have no regard for the health and safety regulations that have been enacted after much blood, sweat and tears over all these many years. Seriously, are we going to start dumping mountaintop removal waste back into our mountain streams again? Are coal, oil and gas truly the wave of the future?

To be fair, if Hillary Clinton had won the election, the collusion between government and those powerful corporate interests would have been just as evident. Her well paid speeches to Wall Street gatherings were not released to the public for good reason. Money buys influence, and the Clinton Foundation mastered that art quite well — until the election. Now we get to see the same game take place with the Trump administration. Or maybe not. Maybe this debacle will finally wake us all up to act and let our representatives know that we care and we are watching.

Hope springs eternal. We all want clean air and water and good jobs and decent housing. Let your representatives know which issues matter the most to you. They just might listen.

Gardner Hathaway, Asheville, N.C.

Our Streams Carry Loads

I just wanted to thank you for the piece, “Woe Be to WOTUS If POTUS Has His Way,” by Margot McMillen, in 8/15/17 TPP, alerting the public to a pending EPA rule change that would rescind their policy to use “science and common sense” for any new regulations. I also was not aware that the EPA, in the past, working with state level environmental departments, designated Total Maximum Daily Loads of county waterways, where legal dumping of raw sewage could be done. They must have missed the cautionary rule of “everything is down stream” for waterways.

I have passed on copies of the article to members of the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels, volunteers who are still monitoring the water quality of creeks, streams and rivers in upstate N.Y. I have included a note that the organization should find out, through our NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, which of our water ways have been designated TMDLs. And they will also be alerted to the EPA’s comment period on rule changes, having a 30-day window of opportunity for the public’s “review and revise” process.

I am certain that our volunteers will be thankful to know which water ways they shouldn’t enter “barefooted.”

Douglass Turner, Alfred, N.Y.

Don’t Be a Snob

The 9/1/17 TPP had a column by Connie Shultz (CS) which helped me see how some poorer Appalachians might view DJT. The story involved a rally to support an immigrant family and a bystander. Here is the by-stander part of the story [with bracketed comments by me].

“Halfway through [the rally] a white woman pulled up in a beater car with a useless muffler [but p. 3 of this same TPP advised “use it up” — do you not agree, CS?] and insisted on using the one empty parking space [why should anyone have to “insist” — the space is for parking ... no?].” “I gotta pick up a guy she said” [yes, CS, poor folks do have to share resources in this way].

The process to deny immigration rights to the person that CS would like to be viewed as a victim was triggered by a traffic violation that CS rightly states is trivial compared to the subsequent denial of immigrant status. Well, yes, it is, as CS points out, trivial for most of us but the immigrant-wanna-be family was not “most of us.” They must have known how fragile their status was. It therefore behooved them to be extra-careful.

So for Ms. Shultz the immigrant family are to be seen as victims and the white woman bystander as boorish. That’s one view but another would see Ms. Shultz as a phony, condescending snob. I know that Ohio is only partly in Appalachia, whereas West Virginia is wholly there (here). I expect that next voting cycle there may be some white, beater-driving, parking-space-using voters who will see Sen. Sherrod Brown (she is his lovely wife) in a different light. She may have tenure but pols do not.

John Palmer, Charleston, W.V.

Nuclear Weapons Threat

It is the ultimate temper tantrum that says, “If I can’t have what I want I will destroy everything, including myself.” No one escapes it. It is the end of all life, even in a limited exchange. Extreme narcissism and greed drive the whole of the nuclear legacy; uranium mining, reactors, manufacture, testing, use and threatening use of nuclear weapons. The widespread fiction that nuclear weapons are useable is promoted by the nuclear industry and the military who also minimize and deny the substantial broad spectrum illness, morbidity and genetic mutations inflicted on the world by 80 years of the nuclear age.

While the obsession with Iran and North Korea goes on, the US has embarked on a trillion-dollar expansion of nuclear weapons and delivery systems rather than join the 122 member states of the UN General Assembly in their just concluded Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The US has historically threatened first-strike use, including against non-nuclear countries, keeps nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert and for decades allowed one man the option of starting a nuclear war. No one should feel safe in America with its nuclear posture and threat as well as the ever-expanding volume of lethal nuclear material impacting the environment of all living things. American nuclear weapons, just like every other nuclear armed country, provide terror; not security and safety. We are the road block to a nuclear free world.

Vic Macks, member, Peace Action MiCH., St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Big Religion

How deplorable that Dr. Eugene Peterson ignored Matthew 6:24 (“You cannot serve God and mammon”) so that he can continue to earn royalties from the sale of his books, and bask in the esteem of the Southern Baptist Convention leaders. [See “Coming to Terms with Big Religion” by Don Rollins, 8/15/17 TPP.]

Yes, Dr. Peterson cravenly submitted to their discipline and their threat to discontinue the sale of his books for speaking well of gays.

And yet he professes to be a follower of Jesus, who ministered to the despised and the displaced. Well, he’s in the same company as the POTUS, who convinced the Religious Right to vote for him by pretending to be one of them.

How many others, I wonder, have sold their soul for profit or political advantage? And I can’t help but wonder also if they are aware that Christianity’s founder had no patience with hypocrites.

David Quintero, Monrovia, Calif.

Let Science Fiction Writers Rule

Even a cursory review of the national news casts a foreboding and ominous shadow over our collective future. Scarcely a day passes when we are not treated with stories about US war games right on North Korea’s borders. And if North Korea is not front and center we see the re-emergence of a new cold war and Anti-Russian hysteria that would have made Joe McCarthy proud. Coupled with this panic is the sobering reality that the US and NATO are taking it upon themselves to engage in war games right along Russia’s borders-a contingency that Russia historian Stephen Cohen advises us is even more dangerous than the Cuban missile crisis. If that is not enough, we are treated almost weekly with a new series of saber rattling directed at Iran-where “nothing” is left off the table should Iran draw our ire. And now China is beginning to react with military preparation to the countless military bases and such that we have ringing their country. And folks this is only a week worth of news.

As we step ever further into this militarized global swamp that we have helped create and nurture, it’s worthwhile to engage in some science fiction and “what if” speculation. Can anyone imagine the kind of world we could build and create if we instead of spending a trillion dollars on a lethal and insane 30 year “Nuclear modernization plan” we instead earmarked and spent a trillion dollars on a 30 year “Humanitarian world peace plan”?

With that funding and planning and vision we could address and reverse the impending disaster and catastrophic consequences of global warming. We could possibly stop and reverse the “sixth extinction,” which is occurring at alarming rates. We could end global hunger and find cures for those diseases that plague mankind. We could enjoy a renaissance in global education that would offset the growing racism, intolerance and fascism that we see returning with a vengeance. And we could end an insane arms race that has pushed mankind ever more closer to the precipice.

The science fiction writer would present to us that monies spent wisely on the betterment and benefit of humankind could provide a world with hope for our children and future generations. Based on recent events, science fiction is looking more attractive and viable by the minute.

Jim Sawyer, Edmonds, Wash.

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2017


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