The E-Word

Be still my heart! In the last six years of reading the newspapers, numerous periodicals, watching television coverage, I have looked in vain for just one brave soul to be quoted orally or in print using that most incisive four letter word to describe the essence of Dick "Last Throes" Cheney:


So far as I am concerned, if the word did not exist it would have to be invented to express the full connotation of the decadent depth of this man's character.

Andrew Greeley's salient accusation in the 8/1-5/06 issue so thoroughly gratified me that my heart thumped while reading it. It has just simply baffled me to the point of paroxysm that the general public refuses to see the insidious scheming of this awful man and his cohorts (including that sad little fellow who is our national executive) against the very fabric and spirit of this nation.

I have written three letters to my local paper, The Mount Vernon News (if you should ever meet up with John Kerry, ask him about Mount Vernon, Ohio, where his bodyguards had to push him back on the campaign bus because of crowd hostility) and two to the Dispatch in Columbus, decrying this administration's flagrant and arrogant flaunting of scorn for representative government. Not one of them was published (and I do not think they were rejected because of illiteracy).

Kudos to you, Rev. Greeley. Pray to your God that enlightenment soon comes; pray, for the sake of national posterity: There are times I mightily fear the younger set of this nation has not the slightest notion of what it stands to lose (and easily could, as the last two fraudulent elections prove).

I'll add a little thought: This country is not at war with Iraq; The Three Stooges, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are at war with Iraq. They simply are using the country's army to fight it. Having once as a paratrooper been a member of this army for four years (nine months of it in combat), I resent their theft.

Lloyd Reinbeau
Howard, Ohio


Health Care Overdue

Amen to Robin Nadeau's "Fight for Health Care" letter [8/1-15/06 TPP]. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted a single-payer health care system when he instituted Social Security in the 1930s. However, it was opposed by the American Medical Association and private insurance companies.

President Truman, in a 1945 message to Congress, said, "We should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern; that financial barriers in the way of attaining health shall be removed; that the health of all its citizens deserves the help of the nation."

I know of Canadians who live there only because their single-payer system is better than the health-care system of the US. The administrative cost of private medical insurance in Missouri is about 17%; of Medicare, about 3%. Sen. Ted Kennedy and others are sponsoring a bill to provide Medicare for everyone. Progressive populists and like-minded people should contact their congressional representatives and senators and the president to get the bill passed and signed.

Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St Louis, Mo.


Cheney's War

From the very beginning of the illegitimate Bush II regime I have had the nagging impression that there have been two separate faux conservative administrations operating in Washington, D.C. The Bush/Rove faction is the political front that manufactures the propaganda and contradictory spins on events and policies. They are closely in contact with most of the corporate media which is under practical obligation to the hand that attends it so well. Mr. Bush is the corn-dog buffoon that has a hot line to his heavenly father and is tremendously appealing to millions of others just like him who are insecure, non-intellectuals with illusions of biblical grandeurs and dubious futures. Rove gives his soul to the devil in his conquest for the evangelical base -- that may well be shrinking now and wising up to a bit of reality as the war has no end and too many hearts are broken.

The Cheney/Addington faction is the actual administration-in-chief. It operates in complete secrecy. The July 3 issue of The New Yorker magazine has a very provocative article dealing with this situation. "The Hidden Power" by Jane Mayer gives a very graphic depiction of President Cheney's government operation. David Addington is supposedly his chief of staff, but he acts more like a vice president with a great deal more power and influence over his "president" than is normal -- or ethical. This is the real governing force in Washington D.C., which makes all of the national decisions and foreign policies. This hidden government is the sole player on the US military-industrial chessboard of the world, conducting many moves that very few are aware of. Cheney's administration was the sole author and promoter of the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, after the 9/11 tragedy gave them the excuse for an operation that had been planned for 10 years or more. President Cheney sends his daughter, Elizabeth, all over the world as his secretary of state. One wonders if Liz does her "job" in concert with Ms Rice -- or with some other, more sinister agenda? Of course, Mr. Bush is happy to go along with every hawkish and neo-fascist initiative that Cheney and Addington come up with, but he has no capabilities for "deciding" anything so serious and complicated. It is hard to say how many others there are in the hidden regime of Cheney, but a comprehensive and challenging exposure is most certainly in order .... before their power and influence grow to the point of no return.

Ms. Helen McKinney
Sapphire, N.C.


Bad Call

In the 7/15/06 issue, Donald Kaul asserts that he can't "see how you can go into a war and then define success merely as getting out of that war." I was not aware that those in favor of withdrawal defined it as success but rather as getting out of a war we shouldn't have been in in the first place. In any event Kaul doesn't define what he would term success. Militarily the war was a success. The consequences, obviously, are another story. Kaul in effect gives Bush credit for one of them, if not for having created international terrorism, at least for having it centered in Iraq. Here again he is unclear. Like most commentators he insists on calling measures against terrorism a "war" and that the best or only way to deal with it is to remain in Iraq but without telling us how. His position implies that the bloodshed and chaos are primarily the result of groups we call "terrorists" rather than the result of sectarian conflict in which assuredly "terrorists" are involved. Iraq now supposedly has a government, a government whose prime minister, among others, wants American occupation to end. The necessity to remain in Iraq Implies the unstated assumption that Iraq cannot govern without us. With boundless American exceptionalism how could it be otherwise?

Kaul also ignores the impact of state terrorism and the role of intelligence and international agencies' cooperative efforts as a way to counter "terrorism." With our departure he sees encouragement of our enemies. Who are they? And how would they need any more encouragement than our policies have already engendered? Or act against us when we are no longer there to act against?

Certainly, once we have left it will not mean the end of "terrorist" acts but they will have to be dealt with by other means. But when all is said and done it is more than doubtful that "terrorism" is the raison d'etre of Bush's policies. The geopolitical overrides his mendaciously stated reasons.

So uncharacteristic of Kaul his reasoning seems rather muddled. If by his own account he is right more than he is wrong this is one time he has gone off the track.

Lewis Diana
Richmond, Va.


Not Allowed

Several weeks ago I sent a letter to my telephone provider, Qwest, asking whether or not the company kept tabs on my phone calls and, if so, if it made such information available to the government.

I've attached their reply to this letter. The answer -- "we cannot comment on matters of National Security" -- seems to be a somewhat bashful way of saying yes but we're not allowed to tell you. Like Zero Mostel in the old Joe McCarthy era, who, when asked if he were a communist, replied in a very loud stage whisper, "We're not allowed to tell."

Joanna Russ
Tucson, Ariz.



America's greatest challenge: Where can we gain the greatest good with our billions of dollars now being spent on war, preparation for war and execution of it?

Here's a thought. Imagine for a moment how much love, respect and international peace we could create if, instead of our dedication of this money to death and destruction, we spent it on the most fundamental human needs that cry out for help in desperation: food, health care and shelter among the peoples of the world.

As human beings, we should be doing this; as Christians we should be doing this. Jesus told us that we would be judged by how we care for the most needy or be damned for the lack of it.

Choose wisely; it may determine our future as a free nation.

Naaah! Our military-industrial complex would suffer from this. Boeing, et al, would have no more war machines to build.

Percy Pascoe
Cuba, Mo.


Stand with People

A bright spot in my day today was reading that the Chicago City Council took a stand for fair wages for employees in large stores with huge profits, such as Wal-Mart. I had only to read a few lines of the article, published in the New York Times July 27, however, when my sky went steely with anger: according to a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, the city council's decision put "politics ahead of working men and women" and meant "Chicago is closed to business."

People who use this subtly bullying, public relations double-talk, whether they are corporate representatives or elected officials, have to be called on their misrepresentation of the facts. Which politics, exactly, are put before working men and women when businesses are obliged to pay workers a fair living wage? And it is hardly business Chicago has declared itself closed to, but the business of profiteering on the backs of people barely making a living. 

Even darker on the horizon is that Mayor Daley may veto the ordinance because it could "impede growth and tax revenues." Perhaps Mr. Daley should consider the fact that the average properly-paid worker is a taxpayer, does not need public assistance, and may even have a decent health plan. Perhaps he should further consider that a company that does not want to give citizens of Chicago a decent living wage will probably not be a very good taxpayer, either. Whom does the mayor want to grow? The people of Chicago, or the profits of stores like Wal-Mart?

There will be some light on the horizon again if the mayor supports the council's decision, and will not naively expect certain businesses, whose primary interest is in how much profit they can extract out of a location and write off their taxes, to help him give Chicago a better standard of living.

C.C. Halitsky
South Orange, N.J.

Editor Notes: The 35-14 vote to enact the ordinance requiring "big-box" retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target to pay employees a "living wage" of at least $10 an hour and $3 in benefits by 2010 is veto proof, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.


Wary of Vaccines

I have been a reader of TPP from its beginning and always read Joan Retsinas' columns with interest. In her recent "Sex, Disease, and Zealots" article about the new HPV vaccine [7/15/06 TPP], Joan overlooked not just one, but two elephants in the room.

One elephant is the issue of safety and efficacy of this new HPV vaccine. I cannot go into detail here but refer readers to statements by Texas Board-Certified Obstetrician Gynecologist, Clayton Young, M.D., the National Vaccine Information Center (nvic.org) and Dr. Joseph Mercola (mercola.com).

The other elephant in the room is green -- covered with money. By the universal use of this very expensive vaccine, pharmaceutical giant Merck will make billions, paid for by American taxpayers. The money elephant also reveals the numerous conflict-of-interests existing among the committee members that decided to make this vaccine mandatory.

I dislike religious zealots as much as Joan Retsinas but have also discovered other kinds of zealotry such as the misplaced, unscientific enthusiasm of the health establishment for new vaccines. As Dr. Clayton Young points out, the long-range effects of the new HPV vaccine have not been studied.

Gerhard Bedding
Keene, N.H.


A Monkey's Uncle

Something strange and peculiar happened to me while taking a stroll downtown, where I noticed two distinguished-looking gentlemen, attired early-20th-century style.

Upon introduction, I fancied having met William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, who were on their way to the Dayton Courthouse, intent upon "once and for all" clarifying the origin of man -- whether evolved or created.

As in all twilight episodes, analogies need be drawn.

Poor John Scopes has really never been given his dues for having had the courage to stand up to the status quo.

Bless him!

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2006

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