Constitution is Cooked

I read your editorial in the 9/1/02 TPP, and take exception to your claim that "The Sarbanes-Oxley Accounting Reform Act" was "a good start" for/toward anything.

I believe that our biggest challenge today is to provoke appropriate and commensurate conversations about what is today's corporate mess, and how we got into it. For my 2 cents, the mess is not really about accounting, or even "fraud." There is always fraud, and petty theft ($10 million here, $200 million there ...) and there are ample laws for dealing with same if prosecutors and elected officials have the slightest interest in putting miscreants behind bars.

But isn't it clear that there is no locus of activists strong enough, organized enough and who have been grappling with the underlying enough to frame debate and therefore to frame remedies?

It's not that a few corporate execs cooked some corporate books -- but that from In The Beginning, a minority class cooked the Constitution and kept cooking the law of the land and the culture too ...

Richard Grossman
Milton Mills, N.H.

[Editor's Note: Grossman is a founder of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (www.poclad.org).]

Greens are in the Game

There is an old political saying "I don't care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right." Well in the [9/1/02] issue of The Progressive Populist three pundits got our name right.

The Greens made the cover story where Bernard Weiner asked us to be sure not to run any candidates for important positions. Dr. Weiner believes we must save the Democrats at all costs. He struck a particular low blow when he claimed [without presenting evidence] that the Greens were being secretly funded by the Republicans. The Greens soundly rejected the only two cases I have heard where the Republicans tried to offer money to run a candidate against a Democrat. Shame on you Dr. Weiner!

The Greens have faced the claim that we are out to hurt the Democrats. Saving the Democratic Party is a sad whine of old liberals. I spent years of my time and many of my dollars working for Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. When he walked away from 7 million votes and decided to spend his life renewing the Democratic Party, many of us were heartsick. That was a big chance to start a third party. Almost 12 years later I leave it to your observation on how well he has succeeded.

Steve Cobble offers the Greens lots of advice, starting with canceling our candidate for Senate in Minnesota. From his exalted position as an ex-Green he has lots of good advice for changing our candidates around and altering our agenda. He suggests we hold off on our progressive agenda because it would only work in Europe. I hope to hear that Ralph Nader fired him from his position as senior strategist.

So now we come to Micah Sifry who finds the Greens "still mired in the margins." We have been handed an unprecedented opportunity by virtue of the collapse of much of big business. Although Mr. Sifry finds that we are running 362 candidates in 39 states including 16 for governor and 70 for Congress, we are still not aggressive enough to suit Mr. Sifry.

There you have it. For some folks the Greens need to back off and not harm the badly wounded Democrats. For some, the Greens are not running the right candidates in the right places and for others we just aren't aggressive enough to take advantage of this golden moment in history.

Ghandi said "first they laugh at you, then they get mad at you, then they fight you, then you win." Where in that scheme do you think the Greens are now?

Jim Mohn
Guttenberg, N.J.

Let Every Child Fight

I anticipate that the fast-approaching first anniversary of America's great tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 will occasion a compelling and emotional initiative from the White House and from an ever-diminishing caucus of leaders and legislators around our nation.

This initiative will have as its goal the creation of public consent for an even better war; a bigger war with deeper meanings and more permanent possible outcomes for the entire world.

We have all been wounded by those savage acts in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. It's now almost a full year and a fully-frisked Afghanistan later and we just don't feel a whole lot better, or that the strategic goal of peaceful coexistence among all nations is any closer.

So now, I expect that the full fury of our national contempt for these horrible acts will eventually be visited upon Iraq and its hated leader, Saddam Hussein.

If such a war would be the will of the American people, and if our national leaders and legislators come to that conclusion as well, we should hope that the opportunity to help carry this fight to Saddam's palace is extended to every American mother's child who can hold a gun, and not just to those for whom volunteer military service is the clearest way out of a rudderless young American life.

Paul Bogosian
Weathersfield Bow, Vt.

War's Good for Business

Concerning George Bush's burning desire to go to war with Iraq, why are we not using a well tested method of dealing with nations who have weapons of mass destruction? For forty years we were head to head with a nation that did have a huge amount of weapons of mass destruction, the Soviet Union. We let them know that if they used those weapons, we would wipe them off the face of the Earth. The weapons were never used, Why can't we do the same with Iraq? Let them know we will retaliate strongly if they use weapons of mass destruction. Especially, let the people of Iraq know that their future depends on them having a government that won't use weapons of mass destruction. But, no argument will change Bush's mind because what he's doing is making money for himself and the rest of the military industrial establishment. It doesn't bother him and his kind one iota that American lives will be lost as long as they make a buck.

Art Hambach
Aurora, Ill.
Email bigart@ameritech.net

Defend Constitution

Never in my 30 years on this planet have I witnessed such blatant anti-freedom, anti-worker, anti-Gaia and anti-democratic activity as I have since the events of Sept. 11.

The capitalism-run-amok imperialism of the Bush administration should be mobilizing thousands, if not millions of Americans to demand that Bush, Ashcroft and Congress ensure that the US Constitution is respected. Ne'er-do-wells around the globe are probably giddy with glee as they see that precious document shredded by our own leaders.

Andrew Griffin
Lafayette, La.

When Were War Powers Repealed?

The administration seems determined that the United States must go to war against Iraq.

The president, even though apparently AWOL for over a year during his own tour of duty, wants to send troops into grave danger.

The vice president, even though he got deferments himself, wants to send troops into grave danger.

Both of these men are taking the position that the president has the authority to declare war at his pleasure.

The Constitution says:

Article I, Section 8 -- Powers of Congress

Congress shall have power ...

Paragraph 11: To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning capture on land and water.

Paragraph 12: To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.

Many of us are against entering upon a war without consensus both within and without our nation.

War is a very serious undertaking, not to be treated lightly.

If anyone has doubts as to the consequences of experiencing war, visit our V.A. Hospital at Martinsburg, W.Va. Once you see the devastating effects on some of our veterans, you may well think more deeply before declaring war on any nation. Defense of our country is one thing, but aggression toward another nation calls for a different approach.

James M. Beatty
St. Thomas, Pa.

Beware the Puritans

The only legitimate function of any government is to protect the person and property of its citizens. Every thing that the government does should be put to this test.

In high school we were taught that the Pilgrims came from England to America to escape religious persecution. Most of the Pilgrims were Puritans and they were such stinkers that the folks in the neighborhood got together a collection and agreed to pay their fare to America with their promise that they would never come back to England again. Sad day for America. The Puritans slip turds into the punch bowl. They have caused more human suffering and misery than anyone else. Today a lot of our laws are based on the Puritan ethic of no fun for no one.

Recently England announced that they were going to quit busting pot smokers. Now you can go to virtually any country in Europe and smoke your joint without fear of the law. In America you are free to consume a large quantity of alcohol every night and get your self rip-roaring drunk if you so choose. You may have a large hangover the next morning but it is your choice to make. In case you have discovered that you can get just as much high on pot without the hangover then beware because for selecting this better way they may put you in prison which makes you a felon and ruins your life. The DEA is protecting us.

Robert Parnell
Waco, Texas
P.S. Every year 400,000 die from tobacco, 10,000 or so die from alcohol, and zero die from pot. So we decide to subsidize tobacco. ...

Backbones Needed

The burning question now remaining is how much farther up their rectums this Bush regime can get their heads. Last week it was "cut down the trees to prevent forest fires." Today, buried inside the Austin paper is a new gem.

At the global summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, our mis-representative is leading the fight to water down proposals to rapidly expand the use of clean renewable energy technologies around the globe.

I just can't freakin' believe it. The climate of the world is changing. We know it, we know why and we have the knowledge and technology to do something about it. Why don't we do it? Well, because oil men have control of our government, of course. Who else on earth would be against green energy but an oil company executive and the illegitimate administration they have purchased.

The administration said it wants no timetable or specific targets for any renewable energy plan. Instead it wants "voluntary partnerships with business and other groups." As governor of my state Junior Bush pushed through "voluntary" compliance of pollution laws. As a result Houston sprinted to the front as the most polluted city in America and Treasury Secretary O'Neal, as CEO of Alcoa, personally made more millions by leading a cheat on one of the few remaining pollution control laws that remained. Alcoa is being sued for this now, not by the state, but by a collection of citizens groups and parents whose children are diseased as a result of Mr. O'Neal's crime. But the suing ain't easy because Junior also pushed tort reform with the sole purpose of making it harder to sue corporations over crap like this.

Back to to Johannesburg ... Junior's representative said said he is against setting any goals for development of green energy because ... and this is the direct quote: "I don't know of a goal that has protected a child from a water-borne disease or provided energy to a village. Goals do not by themselves bring about change." The stupidity of that statement takes my breath away.

How much more are we going to accept from these idiots, loonies and Strangelovians who are in control of the White House? I realize, sadly, that the Democrats are victims of self-castration, but can't a half dozen or so of them at least find their spines? Eunuchs don't have to be cowards. Don't they love America? Don't they love God's green earth? Don't they care about their children?

Steve Warren
San Marcos, Texas
email steve@gomusic1.com

Pharma Welfare

Upjohn at one time was a company basically making vitamins. Then they developed into research, joining a few years ago with Monsanto to become Pharmacea.

Today Pfizer has bought them out.

So now it is Upjohn-Monsanto-Pfizer.

Pfizer is eligible for $95 million in tax breaks.

That is a lot of money for a mega corporation!

Meanwhile the working class and the poor are scraping by. Many have no health care or access to it. Many have no job security. Many have no hope for a future for their children. Many businesses are selling out to China and other foreign investors. Jobs are moving out of the country.

Will the CEOs bail out with a lot of cash in their pockets while the people who have stocks go down -- like what happened at Enron? Why does a successful corporation get money so desperately needed by the American people?

What is wrong with this picture? What is happening here?

Kathy Barnes
Sherwood, Mich.

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