Sounding the Alarm on

Having lived through one of the worst political periods of American history, I'm of the opinion that we have entered into what I call a period of Neo McCarthyism. While we are yet to have a single McCarthy (although Tom DeLay is fast putting himself forward to fill this role), some of the other elements of McCARTHYISM are rearing their ugly heads. These elements are reckless, unfounded, unproved charges, abuse of the power of the office, intended to intimidate private citizens and suppress their First Amendment free speech and free press rights. Specifically, these are my Articles of Neo-McCarthyism:

1. When Linda Tripp's tapes were disclosed, Robert Wiener, an employee of the White House Drug Policy, a Maryland resident, questioned the legality of her non-consensual taping of Monica. Ken Starr hastened to subpoena him before his Grand Jury. After appearing with his costly attorney, Wiener courageously protested Starr's abuse of the IC's power and referred to it as McCarthyism.

2. Julie Hiatt Steele (Kathleen Willey's ex-friend) who recanted her corroborating story for Willey to Newsweek before publication as Willey's request for Julie to lie. Ever since, Starr has had her before his Grand Jury and has harassed and intimidated her to provide the testimony he wants for his case against the President. NEO-McCARTHYISM. [Editor's Note: She has since been indicted.]

3. When Salon magazine carried the Henry Hyde story Sept. 16, Hyde rushed a press release ... pre-dated to Sept. 15. The release included the (what I perceived) threat of Federal prosecution of "interfering with and intimidating members of the Judiciary Impeachment Committee" with a penalty of five years Federal imprisonment. Abuse of Congressional Office and power to intimidate private citizens like me. NEO-McCarthyism. [Editor's Note: the letter writer provided Salon magazine with the lead on Hyde's adulterous affair.]

4. On Sept. 18, Tom DeLay called a press conference to announce that the Republican leadership was sending a letter to FBI Director Louis Freeh, asking him to initiate an investigation of "who is spreading 'rumors' regarding Henry Hyde." The irony--I never made a secret of my giving Salon magazine the Hyde story and they mentioned me several times in their breaking story. Tom (the Exterminator) DeLay knew full well that Louis Freeh would reject the request, but his motive was to threaten and to intimidate private citizens like me their first Amendment Free-Speech rights. NEO-McCARTHYISM.

5. During a House Judiciary Impeachment Committee hearing, Bob Barr stated that "real Americans" were in favor of impeachment, inferring that those of us who are opposed are un-American. NEO- McCARTHYISM.

6. Blaming Sidney Blumenthal and the White House for all the stories (Dan Burton, Helen Chenoweth, Henry Hyde, and now Bob Livingston) regarding their HYPOCRITICAL private sexual behavior. No facts, no evidence. NEO-McCARTHYISM.

7. Tom DeLay's letter to 100 Senators for them to go to the locked evidence room in the House and review secret allegations against the President that the House Judiciary Impeachment Committee never considered and was not included in the Articles of Impeachment. He suggested that they use this raw, untested material in their determination on convicting our President. NEO-McCARTHYISM.

8. Ken Starr's relentless and inhuman persecution of Susan McDougal, NEO-McCARTHYISM.

My motivation in providing Salon magazine the lead on the Henry Hyde revelations of adulterous lying and savings & loan improprieties (of which I was aware for six years), was to expose the immoral hypocrisy that is so blatant and rampant in Washington. Tom Brokaw in his new book, The Greatest Generation writes that the rap my generation must bear is being late and lacking in reacting and protesting McCarthyism and the Viet Nam war. He is right and just as I was opposed at the time to both of these disasters, so I am Sounding the Alarm on what I perceive as the re-occurrence of McCARTHYISM.

Aventura, Florida

Mud Creeks All Over

I was especially interested in Jesse Jackson's article [in the January Progressive Populist] on Mud Creek, as the best way to get from Atlanta to my house in the Banks County, Georgia, woods is to turn off the four-lane onto Mud Creek Road. I don't live in Appalachia, but do live in a rural county in North Georgia where there's a big gap between the haves and have-nots.

I was also interested in the Corporate Welfare article referring to the excellent series on the subject published in Time magazine during November. I've tried twice to get my Neanderthal Republican congressman, John Linder, to discuss corporate welfare on his annual visits to Banks County. Both times he has brushed me off, maintaining that there wouldn't be any problem if we'd just quit taxing corporations and rely on a national sales tax.

My thanks to The Progressive Populist for telling it like it is.


Alto, Georgia

Don't Forget Black Farmers

How many column inches have you devoted to the recent [USDA] settlement with Black farmers? How much space do you devote covering Black farmers (or Latino or Asian ones) at all? I've looked through my back issues, I don't see anything.

Shame on you for not reporting on these issues. I won't bother drawing what conclusions your minority readership might draw from this inaction; I'll leave that to your imagination. Your lack of reporting on minority farmers is neither "progressive" nor "populist."

(Then again, honest discussion about race has never been Jim Hightower's forte either, has it?)

Austin, Texas

Editor's Reply: This is the first issue of The Progressive Populist since the settlement with black farmers was announced on January 4. We have published numerous articles on the problems faced by small farmers, who we believe are all in the same sinking boat, but we try to focus on the problems facing different groups and what they are doing to overcome them. In fact, one of those articles in the September 1997 issue, "Facing Extinction, Southern Black Farmers Unite to Compete," by Abigail Wright, reported on the lawsuit by black farmers who claimed discrimination by the USDA and county officials. "Dispatches" elsewhere in this issue has a short report on the settlement.

A Simple Social Security Solution

I really liked the frequent mention of the Social Security "problem" in the January Progressive Populist. I think it's all happening now under the cover of "impeachment news".

A solution that has not been considered in print is one based on the demographics. The baby boom was an 18-year period between 1946 and 1964. The 20-year period between 2013 and 2033 is the time of anxiety when the reserve funds will be dipped into. What would it cost the Government to subsidize Social Security out of the general fund during this period? In 2033 the first of the baby boomers is reaching the age of 89, if they live that long. And who knows, maybe it's a temporary problem.

Eugene, Oregon

Where Did Social Security Money Go?

On page 13 of the November Cover Story, in the section about Social Security, Jonathan Tasini says: "The money left over after all current costs are paid goes in a "trust fund." That means that some person in the Social Security Administration calls up a person at the Treasury Department and says, "Okay, Mac, lets put $10 billion more in those government securities." And so that money sits and waits--collecting interest--ready to be paid out down the road when new people enter the Social Security system. What he should have said is: "The money left over after all current costs are paid should go into the 'trust fund.' " etc. This fall Pres. Clinton left this money in the general budget to "balance the budget". Now he and the Republicans both have plans to illegally spend this money.

Yours in peace
Seattle, Washington

Impeachment Solution

As I watched the impeachment farce in the House of Representatives I devised a solution to the impeachment crisis that might make all parties happy:

First, Clinton resigns. This will make the GOP happy because they will have been able to embarrass him and he will have quit, plus there will be no trial in the Senate and therefore no conviction or bar to future office. [Editor's Note: This letter came too late to avoid the trial.]

This would cause Gore to become Vice-President. (As an added bonus, he could pardon Clinton but he wouldn't have to.) Then, Gore could name Clinton Vice-President. Then, Gore could resign. This would cause Clinton to become President again and he would be able to serve out his term, barring any future scandal the Republicans could cook up. Then, Clinton could name Gore Vice-President, which he would remain until 2000. In 2000, Gore would still have 8 years of presidential eligibility and he could run for President. (He could name Clinton has his Vice-Presidential running-mate.)

The magic is that all of this could be done without violating any existing presidential term limit or qualification rule and we would have at least another ten years of quality leadership in the White House.

Madison, Wisconsin.

Broken Trust All Around

The word "trust" has been repeatedly invoked by Republican congressmen throughout the impeachment proceedings. They accurately state that President Clinton damaged the trust of his family. They correctly claim that he broke trust with the nation through evasive actions and deceit.

It is ironic that these same Republican legislators are violating the trust of the people. Every poll indicates that a majority of the American people are against impeachment. Some Republicans say that polls are irrelevant, but they rely on polls to gauge public opinion, and they appeal to poll statistics in their political interest. America does not have kings, they say, and nobody is above the law, yet they seem more concerned with the letter than the spirit.

Are the people of this country not to be trusted? The public majority opinion is the most moderate and reasonable. It recognizes that Clinton has committed transgressions for which he should be formally censured, a viable alternative to the grave extremes of impeachment.

Can the people trust legislators who believe in political power over democratic principle? Republican House members have displayed appalling, hypocritical self-righteousness. They speak of cigars and dresses, but they are unwilling to scrutinize their own stained beds. What would Henry Hyde have said if prosecutors asked him if he felt his mistress' breasts, if she performed oral sex on him, how many times did he have an orgasm, and did he insert anything in her? I would have said it was none of their business, because it was irrelevant to the crime they were investigating. If Republicans believe in "getting government off our backs", they should take it out of our bedrooms as well.

Clinton's affair with Lewinski was a private issue until Kenneth Starr and Republican Judiciary Committee members decided to dissect it. The result is a divided House, a lowered bar for impeachment, and an increase in public disgust and cynicism. The Democratic November upset had historical import, and it sent a clear message to Congress. Some are choosing to ignore it, and they have destroyed the trust of the American people. The millennial elections are imminent, and I believe the people need to speak loudly.


Denton, Texas
Email cjl0007@unt.edu

Clinton's No Superman

With Articles of Impeachment having been voted against President Clinton by the House Judiciary Committee, there have been more calls by Democrats for a vote of censure as a substitute for the impeachment process.

Before leaving for his trip to the Middle East, President Clinton again attempted to play Henry IV to a group of "moderate" Republicans whom he apparently has elected to assume are his Hildebrand.

These abject and sniveling apologies to the American people are insults to our collective intelligence. They will not and should not gain him "absolution."

The truth is that these frequent and dubious trips to Canossa are no substitute for the rule of law.

Nor can any meaningless vote of "censure" by Congress condemning the President for his perjury, deceit and despicable conduct serve to remove the stain of dishonor with which the presidential office is tainted.

No one in this country should be considered above the law. Democrats in Congress and President Clinton himself may believe that certain personages of historical stature have reached such a level of "greatness" that they enjoy exemption from the ordinary rules of moral and legal conduct that "lesser mortals" must obey.

President Clinton should make the "beau geste." He should resign the presidency. That act would tell us that he does NOT believe that he is a Nietschean "Superman"--beyond good and evil, beyond the law and the Constitution.

Menasha, Wisconsin

Utility Service Deteriorating

"Give $3 to Ma Bell... or Else!' (Hightower, December 1998) noted the increasing trend among large utilities to begin charging minimum service fees to, in Jim's words, "shoo-off us regular customers in favor of upscale elites."

This trend will expand very rapidly, and is already being openly planned as a contingency for utilities dealing with their Year 2000 computer problems.

The Y2K computer problem will have the net effect of substantially raising the marginal costs of most large service utilities. As costs rise, their current planning is to look at the 80/20 rule, whereby 80% of their profit comes from the upper 20% of their customers.

Faced with technology problems that reduce the scale of the service network that can be maintained, they are currently planning to use pricing as the determinant to "off-load" their lower value customers in order to save the rest of the grid.

The old "universal service" safety net for rural electric and phone services may be the first casualty of Year 2000 with PUCs unable to force deregulated utilities to provide services to us regular customers.


Kennebunk, Maine

Glickman Shuffle

Is Sec. Glickman doing the "Glickman Shuffle"--Again? Four years ago contract poultry growers began sending letters asking the USDA for assistance in obtaining fair treatment by integrators and the ability to participate in the drafting of contracts that would be fair to all concerned. We have pleaded with Mr. Glickman to come up with a viable plan to relieve our disastrous farm economy.

Integrators have now devised a plan of "target weight". It will not work because of the quality of feed and birds that they are providing to the producers and payment to growers is by the ranking system. With the ranking system still in force, a producer on top does extremely well while a producer on the bottom cannot meet expenses. I do not think that producers with new houses should be ranked with producers with old houses. The playing field is too uneven. It seems that producers with new houses are going to be on top of the list regardless of how well they have performed.

Producers with new houses are being offered incentives; higher rates of pay and seem to receive better quality feed and chicks than growers with older houses. The preferential treatment is consequently forcing producers with older houses out of business because they are unable to meet their financial obligations. Older farms and growers have made their companies the huge conglomerates that they are today!

With the introduction of Marcy Kaptur's sponsorship of Bill HR 2738--the Family Farmer Cooperative Market Amendment Act--we poultry farmers were elated! The enactment of this bill would enable farmers in their cooperative associations to negotiate for a fair contract.

Hog and cattle farmers are now in the same situation as the poultry farmers. We certainly wish them good luck. Mr. Glickman and the current administration have not demonstrated any competence in aiding the contract farmers in America. Their refusal to enforce federal law on monopolies has allowed the big corporations to destroy the family-farm sector of the livestock industry. What happened to Mr. Glickman's plan of NO MONOPOLIES?

Grower for ConAgra,
El Dorado Complex
El Dorado, Arkansas

Explain Money Supply

Please enlighten me with more information concerning Joel D. Joseph's article "How to end global economic crisis: made in the USA.

In international trade when a country buys our goods, what if they keep the US dollars instead of eventually buying goods back from us? Doesn't this put some of our M1 (money supply) out of circulation? What if other countries used our dollars to trade among themselves, and we didn't get all of it back? This would make our home money supply depleted--then do we print more M1 for ourselves causing inflation?

Could we rebuild Russia with dollars and keep our currency stable? our currency floats like all the others, and is inherently unstable. It seems to me Russia must have a currency based on its own worth, like ours is supposed to be based on our worth or we will be forever unstable.

Thanks for listening.

Fryeburg, Maine

Joseph replies:
The Russian economy, for example, is only about 2 percent of ours. They have been taking dollars out of our economy for a long time and it has not had a significant impact.

This has affected our money supply or M1 to a slight degree. If necessary the Federal Reserve Board can modestly increase our money supply to compensate for sending more dollars to Russia.

U.S. dollars have been the world's currency since World War II. It has been the world's most stable currency. All oil purchases are based on dollars because of this stability.

Privatizing Money

In 1816 Jefferson warned the people if they ever allowed the private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up (around the banks) will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

The Federal Reserve is federal in name only and there are no reserves in it. Before 1913, the issue of our money was part government and part private. In 1913 it was privatized.

Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution: Congress shall have power to coin money and regulate the value thereof. For those who want to privatize [Social Security Insurance] should read this little booklet, "Billions for the Bankers and Debts for the People," a study by Pastor Sheldon Emry [America's Promise Ministries, PO Box 157, Sandpoint ID 83864].

Pulaski, Iowa

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