Bring Our Democracy Back

Regular readers of this publication may have noticed my recent letter [4/15/07 TPP] asking whether our democracy is dying and suggesting that it is definitely on life support. What follows is a prescription for a therapy that might well rouse our ailing patient to at least a semblance of its former self.

One of the most effective techniques for ameliorating symptoms such as depression, loss of self-respect and a feeling of helplessness is to encourage behavior which gives one an experience of doing something about the situation that is or seems to be a primary cause of his or her distress, whether or not there is any chance of significant success. There is almost always something profoundly therapeutic about simply making the effort.

All of which brings us back to the thorny issue of what can be done about the manifest high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration. Despite the growing national outcry for prosecution and/or impeachment of most if not all of the members of this Administration, the Democratic leadership and a many of their supporters, in and out of government, keep telling us that there is no point in pursuing justice because "there is just not enough time," or "the Supreme Court will ultimately disallow it," or "we have to concentrate on doing whatever is necessary to assure the election of a Democrat in the upcoming Presidential election," or similar dismissals.

Well, I must insist on taking strong exception to this line of reasoning. If there is any chance of revitalizing our moribund democracy, it has to begin with a clear, unequivocal demonstration that desecrating our Constitution by establishing an Imperial Presidency will not be tolerated, no matter the short-term discomfort or disruption. The electorate are demoralized and cynical. They have no evidence whatsoever that there are serious consequences for defying the will of the people, much less for lying to us and to Congress about everything from an illegal war to their frantic subsequent attempts to justify it. For heaven's sake, even the Attorney General is a serial perjurer. Incompetence can be corrected by means of the ballot. Malfeasance must be dealt with more severely.

The people of America desperately need an experience of our system working the way it is supposed to. If time runs out, so be it. At least we will have tried. Continuing to shine it on is a recipe for disaster. Failure to act is nearly as treasonous as the behavior we should be prosecuting.

Shorey Chapman
San Francisco, Calif.


Work for Single-Payer

Thank you for trumpeting the call to pass HR 676 (the US National Health Insurance Act), an improved and expanded Medicare-for-All bill. Just to share with you and your readers where we are on the bill, we now have 77 members of the House who have endorsed the bill along with the support of 294 local unions. In addition HR 676 is now in three committees in the House, no small accomplishment.

Furthermore the movement for the bill is revving up, which was in evidence in June with an ad-hoc hearing in D.C. presided over by the conscience of the House, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) who is the lead sponsor of HR 676. Michael Moore was present and introduced two of the victims who appear in his film and have lost loved ones. This courageous filmmaker had a showing of SiCKO that evening for members of the House and Senate. A week later the film was released nationally and is still packing movie houses from coast to coast. Some 75% of our nation supports a government health plan. This is a bipartisan issue that affects all of us, but only we can make it happen.

Your representatives are at home in their districts and indeed should receive a phone call or visit from each and every one of us to endorse HR 676 if they have not done so; after all, they do work for us and we must hold them accountable to do the correct thing.

As for the auto industry, it is a no-brainer that they should support HR 676. Your 8/15/07 editorial "Carmakers need National Health Care" says it all. Frankly, corporate America should not be in the health care business. Those $190 billion in tax deductions could be better spent on health care for one and all. Just last year GM spent $4.8 billion on retiree and employee health benefits. And for the first time there were more retirees than employees. The current system is unsustainable and should go to single-payer. Come on board, Rick Wagoner (CEO of GM). The UAW supports single-payer.

Pearl Korn
Bronx, N.Y.
Email Citizensforhr676.org


Anthrax Coverup

Ever since I read in the "Dispatches" section in the 8/15/07 TPP about the bioweapons expert, Francis A. Boyle, reporting that, "It was obvious to him that the superweapons-grade anthrax came from a US government lab," I have been able to think about little else. After all, this anthrax scare resulted in the deaths of five people, none of them Sens. Tom Daschle or Patrick Leahy, the people at whom the threat was evidently aimed. This seems to me to be the most convincing evidence yet of criminal activity on the part of the current administration. Is nothing being done to bring the perpetrators to justice, or is our justice system so completely corrupted there is no one left in the Justice Department to seek out criminals in the current administration?

Frances Wilkin
Wilmington, Ohio



Have lost faith and hope. Starting back when I was in my 20s I had no doubts about our democracy. I thought our representatives listened to us. When we first started our plastic company I religiously wrote [Sen. Paul] Simon and [Rep. Tom] Ewing about various issues, particularly against NAFTA & GATT. Gradually it began to dawn on me that no one cared one iota for us or our opinions and all our ravings about the effects NAFTA would have on America were unfortunately proven to be right. I could never understand the ignorance of our politicians until it finally became obvious that their support was only available to the largest donors with no interest at all in their country or fellow citizens. My resentment grows more entrenched every time I hear them refer to themselves as our "leaders" or commentators calling Bush's invasion a "war."

Our money-hungry dictators only want a nation filled with low wage earners and little talent. Look what they've allowed to happen to our schooling. It never seems to have crossed their minds that they created this mess just as Bush created our current, uncalled-for disaster. When we were the low bidder and trying to survive using minimum wage, followed by merit increases, we certainly had no chance of competing with Ford's $20/hour wages covering unskilled workers, trained on line, padded with tons of wonderful benefits and then we wonder why our cars are so costly. Of course, finally they discovered they couldn't compete when facing efficient world competitors.

So here we are, nowhere, with a government that obviously doesn't care one iota for us. The only time I ever hear from a politician is right about now when they want money. I have never heard any of them apologize or regret NAFTA, have you? You write, I write, no one listens. We simply don't matter -- don't fit in with their greed-locked desires. They 'll keep the surge of poor, illiterate Mexicans stampeding in to swamp us so they can accommodate their goals for cheap labor while the rest of us go down in the dumper with increased taxes to cover the "free" everything we're providing illegals. Every nation goes through its rise and fall and it looks like we've had ours. You'd think our egregiously paid politicians and corporate leaders would have a rough time sleeping, wouldn't you?

Letty Peterson
Kankakee, Ill.


Rove's Paycheck

Writing on the day I heard that Karl Rove plans to resign his White House post, I cannot but think of a question that has dogged me since he entered the White House: Why should the president's political adviser be on the US government payroll? Should taxpayers be paying the salary of one whose sole function is to give the president political advice? Is this a question no one else has asked or has it been answered while I've been asleep? And if there is justification for our paying the salary of the president's political adviser, is Rove the first to have that post or just the most odious?

And, finally, why hasn't there been an outcry from the public about this all the years Rove's been taking our money?

Seems to me this is one straw that should have broken the camel's back long ago.

Loretta Van Coppenolle
San Antonio, Texas


Change Congress

We can implement changes to correct all the politically inspired problems. We can do this by changing the makeup of Congress. How? You're pretty bright folks. So, you probably know that the president is not elected by the "people." Enter Electoral College. Solution ... Change the makeup of electors over the next three years. Many Congresspersons will come up for reelection in the next few years. All we have to do is pick the incumbents that support our views, based on past performance, and put our considerable American citizen power behind them. If the incumbent is not worthy, then we must promote a electable candidate who is. By changing Congress one face at a time, we move the mountain.

Now is the time to start. We need to out Karl Rove. Let's do it now, while Rove is on the ropes over Plame and Bush's popularity is at an all-time low. ...

Find out who is up for re-election in each state, where they stand, and lets move 'em in or out.

Jim Smalley
Hillsboro, Texas


Stop War Money for Israel

Iraq was never a threat to US but Bush's pro-Israel war advisers had dual citizenship with Israel. They said Iraq might weaken Israel's dominance of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Bush invaded Iraq for Israel, using American blood and money. What a terrible mistake.

Israel receives $15 million per day, seven days a week to pay for illegal occupation of land that Israel stole from its neighbors 40 years ago. This increased size of Israel by 300%, and twice US gave Israel gifts of $10 billion to build illegal settlements on stolen land for Jews only.

Now Israel has the gall to demand $30 billion more which is 43% more than previous gifts of money. If we remain silent this is a done deal.

Of our nation's 590,750 bridges 27% could be dangerous to drive over, says the American Society of Civil Engineers. Therefore, with unity we must STOP funding war money and use said money for bridge construction or repair. And we must STOP giving any money to Israel and use that money for new bridge construction.

Recently US bought 313 million rounds of bullets from Israel Military Industries and US paid Israel about $10 million more than it would have cost in the US. This is a new way to get more American money for Israel,

Read: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (wrmea.com), July, "Pro-Israel PAC Contributions," 2,052 candidates received $44,284,654 from 1978 through 2006.

Return this money, so Israel will no longer be your boss. Show loyalty to the American people by ending your captivity with AIPAC.

Carl Greeley
Barefoot Bay, Fla.


MBA Presidents

Wayne O'Leary's article in the 8/1/07 TPP, "Adrift in the Political Doldrums," hits a tender spot in a lot of us. It's amazing how many people who have nothing to offer think they're qualified to be president of the United States of America.

Most of these folks seem to be corporate products, launched into the marketplace after much thought concerning their possible success, given a marketable image by professional image-makers, and backed by large advertising budgets.

It's hard to imagine that these people love their country or respect the Constitution and their fellow citizens, not to mention have respect for the other countries of the world. Our whole foreign policy seems to be based on what business wants (backed by military threat).

My take on this is that our system has become juvenile and irrelevant to the realities of the world today. We need wisdom in high places, and instead we have kids who never learned to care about anything but themselves. They need to be spanked and sent to bed without supper. Impeachment would be a good version of spanking for a few of them.

We need a people-based politics instead of a money-based politics, and we need actual adults who have earned some wisdom in their lives in our high offices. What we ve got in there now is not worthy of us. It's time to claim the right to demand a lot better of our candidates.

Patricia Black
Nevada City, Calif.


Military Spending

G. Ross Stephens mentions in passing (8/1/07 TPP) that "Our military spending is more than the rest of the world combined." This is obscene, and ought to be the focus of national debate. We are about 4% of the world's population, and there is no earthly justification for us to account for 50% of the whole planet's military spending. The world's leading exporters of weapons of war, we are also what used to be known as "merchants of death." To top it all off we have the most bellicose administration in memory, which asserts the right to strike preemptively any nation it imagines might some day, somehow, pose a threat to the United States. All this naturally scares the rest of the world. It ought to scare us, too.

Hugh Nash
Weed, Calif.



From the book Interventions by Noam Chomsky (Page 60): The Bush administration has openly declared its intention to dismantle much of what remained of the system of world order and to rule the world by force with Iraq as a demonstration project.

(Mr.) Clare J. Crowley
Milwaukee, Wis.

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2007

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