Corporations ARE people

To the Editor:

Congratulations on your remarkable WWWeb site. It is an excellent resource.

In case you have not noticed, corporations ARE people. They are made up of people, cooperating toward a common goal. It is ridiculous to set the interests of people in general against the interests of corporations. Such "populism" is, at best, a swindle (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, etc.).


Redmon Barbry
No Street Address Listed

Fresh Air

To The Editor:

Thanks for a wonderful year of a wonderful paper! Good on all of you AND all of us who subscribe. This is the way to support alternative media.

Your coverage of Ralph Nader's nomination to the Green Party, the founding convention of The Alliance for Democracy, columns by Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, Ralph Nader, A. V. Krebs and Peter Montague of Rachel's Weekly are most appreciated. My husband and I also enjoy the columns by regular people and the letters to the editor very much.

The Progressive Populist is a breath of fresh air. It gives voices to those who are not being heard in the mainstream press.

1997 is going to be an interesting year. Clinton's appointments for economic advisors are all from Wall Street - NOT ONE Main Street person in the litter! The Associated Press list of top stories (which I have enclosed) doesn't even touch on the MILLIONS of PEOPLE of the 250,000,000-plus people in the U.S. who ARE NOT included in the current economy. No discussion of the continuing slide downward of the "median" wage (the middle wage); only per capita, average figures are given in the news (the total of all the billionaires, CEOs, middle-class, and poor thrown in together and divided by the total number of earners).

In the news we get the Dow Jones daily and now and then the "leading economic indicators." As Jim Hightower says, "What about the Bob Jones?" I know in the pit of my stomach that all is not well, that the economy no longer "lifts all boats" by a long shot. As Howard Zinn (The People's History of the United States) points out in his lectures, "All one has to do is drive all the way across the town where you live, and you can see with your own eyes that things are not right." Yet none of this shows up in the glossy photos of our towns or "the leading economic indicators." One author did hit the nail on the head in 1996. Michael Moore (of Roger & Me, Canadian Bacon, TV Nation) at the beginning of his book, Downsize This!, showed 2 photos, one on top of each other - a photo titled Oklahoma City, Okla., 1995 (the Murrah federal building that was bombed) and a building in Flint, Mich., in the process of being demolished in the wake of lost jobs. The top of the page says. "WHAT IS TERRORISM?"

Any local paper could take photos in their town or region contrasting the parts of town doing well and those NOT doing well, along with maps showing income data from the U.S. census over a 5 or 10 year period. AND the local papers could tell us how much of our tax dollars went to "corporate welfare" in federal, state, county, and municipal taxes. AND what about comparing the amounts of "corporate welfare" to "people welfare." But that might start a genuine discussion of how and if we want to "promote the general welfare" in America. INSTEAD, what we get is the Dow Jones and "leading economic indicators," which tell us nothing .

Some recent books that have been helpful to me in understanding the current economy are: Take the Rich Off Welfare, Mark Zepezauer and Arthur Naiman, Odonian Press; The New Field Guide to the U.S. Economy, Nancy Folbre and The Center for Popular Economics, The New Press; America: Who Stole the Dream?, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Andrews and McMeel; The Case Against the Global Economy, edited by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith, Sierra Club Books; and I always get a copy of the annually published Censored - The News That Didn't Make the News and Why, put out by Project Censored (707-664-2500, fax 707-664-2108, e-mail ). Maybe some of these authors would give you some quotes for the paper or write a guest column.


Emilie F. Nichols
2449 W. Long Circle
Littleton, CO 80120-4321

Some minor complaints

To the editor

Well, thanks for another great issue of your paper. I still haven't studied every article fully, but suffice to say I can find only some minor points to complain about.

I suspect the "Commercially Correct Talking Heads" article needed more space. I think a flow chart might have been enlightening. Where was the simply salient point I've heard the likes of Noam Chomsky (parroting Roy Rodgers) make about "experts" simply being a device by which simple issues are made to appear complex. I don't watch much TV and I try never to make the mistake of taking what I do watch seriously. I thought PBS' stab at unraveling Rush Limbaugh was pathetic alright; but more striking to my sensibilities was the documentary "Run Jesse Run," or maybe it was just the contrast between the two shows that spoke volumes to me about PBS's co-optation.

I've griped about Joan Zwagerman Curbow once previously (Tightwadery) and the January issue's Observation turned my stomach AGAIN. "I Can Dream Can't I?" Apparently not without permission from the Glass Teat. I caught myself having a lot of those thoughts she details ad nauseum after viewing the commercial for Levi's. But then I caught myself and said hey that's the whole goal of a commercial - to make an impression on the viewer. It doesn't really mean anything. What the point of the message is doesn't relate to any agenda.

On the Get Real theme, I was especially taken with the juxtaposition of Denise O'Brien's and Cali Brooks' fine reporting with Joan Retsinas' banal rant. I guess a point at which my perceptions and Joan's diverge most diametrically is her suggestion that there's something remotely democratic about the supermarket - and delightful even! Not for me. I despise the supermarket. To my sensibilities it's fascism incarnate. I used to visit their dumpsters but now they're like bank vaults. I'm always amazed when I am forced to venture into one for some staple or other. How little real food there is for all the color/glitz of infrastructure.

If the link between poverty and food is so tenuous in America today why are poor people eating out of dumpsters and what are Food Not Bombs and food pantries and soup kitchens doing? (Growing exponentially.) The sad fact is that poor people often do manage to pay rent and utilities and doctor bills by going to bed hungry.

I don't believe obese people are eating too much as much as they are eating poorly, making poorly informed decisions about their diet and having unhealthy lifestyles foisted upon them by harsh economic realities.

Finally I'm wondering if Farai Chideya has checked out Al Franken's Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, Michael Moore's Downsize This! or Michael Parenti's Dirty Truths. I haven't read them myself yet, I must admit, but I plan to ASAP and what I've learned of them so far belies the notion that liberals stink at selling - it's the marketplace that's tilted and reeks obscenely, again, to my delicate sensibilities.

Thanks for a superior publication.

Steve Chamay
RD 1, Box 3835
Bennington, VT 05201

Editor's Reply: You don't have to agree with everything we publish, but we're glad you're reading us. And if you keep reading Joan Zwagerman Curbow, Joan Retsinas and Farai Chideya, you might find some points of agreement with them. If not, write again!

Who "owns" public lands?

[RE: The Great Land Grab of 1995 by Charles Levendosky, Progressive Populist 11/95] I reside in Florida and have been using federally owned BLM lands for hunting, fishing, camping during my vacations out west for more than 20 years. Since the mid 1980s, I have found it increasingly more difficult to gain access to these lands in states such as Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. I have been threatened with jail, physical assalt and being shot after having a gun pointed at me, all for merely trying to gain access to what is supposed to be public lands.

I would like to know why private individuals are being allowed to lock off public access to these lands and charge extravagant fees for their recreational use. What agencies are supposed to be protecting the public right to access and use these BLM lands and why they are allowing this to go on?

Also to whom besides my Senators and Congressional Representatives should I be complaining to as I feel that the situation has gotten completely out of hand?

Any answers to these questions and assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated, I understand that there is a lot of current controversy over state vs. federal control of BLM lands, but I can't understand why the agencies responsible for the management of these lands are allowing this to happen..


David B. Combs
Rt 2 Box 1768
Glen St. Mary FL 32040

Editor's Note: There is a BLM web site at . Check the proposed regulation of law enforcement at .

Give us addresses

To The Editor:

Good paper. But one thing infuriates me: In most cases, you give only an e-mail address or phone number. It seems not to have dawned on you that many of us ordinary mortals do NOT have computers, nor can we afford to make long distance calls. Please include addresses.


Joanne Forman
7115 Hwy 518
Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557

Editor's Reply: We try to give readers a way to contact writers and/or the subjects of articles; the phone or email are the easiest ways, and we include addresses. when they are available. If not, address letters to contributing writers in care of The Progressive Populist, P.O. Box 150517, Austin, TX 78715 and we usually are able to forward them.

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