Demand Real Change

After what seemed like an eternity of campaigning on a platform of change and rejecting partisanship for the sake of a better America, it’s come to this.

I truly believe that Obama meant what he said about bringing together red states and blue states for the greater good of the United States, but those who hopped on the hope-and-change bandwagon seem to have done so for their own selfish interests and it shows. It seems that in times of crisis the true colors of politicians start to show, and while Obama makes the media rounds touting the idea that no party has a monopoly on good ideas, it turns out that neither party has a monopoly on foolishness.

Republicans subscribe with almost unshakable faith to the gospel of Reagan and have come out of the electoral gates crying “Tax cuts! Corporate tax cuts! Capital gains tax cuts! Only tax cuts can get us out of a recession because everyone knows the New Deal failed.” As most people who live in the real world know, [Franklin D. Roosevelt’s] New Deal put people to work on projects that needed doing and the tax cuts that Republicans are proposing as a solution to today’s crisis are the same trickle-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place. The Republican party has twisted Obama’s message of bipartisanship and in a very partisan way claimed that a bill is only bipartisan if Democrats vote for trickle down tax cuts, but refuse to consider the possibility that putting money into the economy and investing in programs that will grow some of America’s more modern industries and give us a sustainable energy plan is good for getting us out of the recession and keeping us out of similar situations in the future.

Democrats in Congress have the perfect opportunity to do the right thing and pass a bill that will help America now and in the future. All they have to do is show up and vote yes, but that isn’t enough for these “glorious agents of change,” not by a long shot. Democrats hopped on the hope-and-change train for votes and only votes, their ideas aren’t bad and their bill, while not perfect, is the best combination of tax cuts and spending for sustainable stimulus anyone can hope for in a case where passing a bill as quickly as possible is a priority, but not one of them really understands what bipartisanship really means. Both Republicans and Democrats publicly claim that they are working in the spirit of cooperation and in the next sentence blame the other party for holding up the show.

America is overdue for a change; the people voted for a change; the politicians claim they are making the change but they are making a mistake. It is not bipartisan to pat yourself on the back with one hand while you push your opponent into the mud with the other. It is not bipartisan to always be on the opposite side of the other party on every issue. When was the last time that Democrats and Republicans came together and passed a bill on its merits instead of opposing it because it was brought up on the wrong side of the aisle?

It is time to stand up to these people. It is time to send a message that we will no longer tolerate any party using any issue, be it terrorism or socialism or an economic crisis, to divide the people. It is time to tell our politicians that if they don’t get past their ideology and consider the possibility that they could be wrong, we as a people will show them they are wrong. It is time to tell them that if they don’t do their job, we will fire them. It is time for someone to do the right thing and if no one in Congress will step up to the plate and reject the temptation to play only to their constituents and govern by strict ideology then it is time to vote for someone new.

Brian Josephson
Ames, Iowa

Be Reasonable Over Stimulus

The keep-safe, pass-the-Patriot-Act rush has made me suspicious about the free-up-the-economy, pass-the-stimulus-package rush. Let’s reason.

The problem is said to be that banks will not give credit, mortgages cannot be rolled over, etc. The stimulus packages are to be paid with printed money. Printed money is the cause of inflation. No reasonable lender will loan money that will be repaid years later in depreciated dollars.

Will stimulus packages free up or further freeze credit? While we reason, politicians get to spend our money and exercise life and death selection over business.

George Ross McCombe
Jersey City, N.J.

Banks and Megabanks

The spectacle of megabanks getting billions and not lending more than they were is truly disgusting. On the other hand, why are people dealing with megabanks when there are better options out there? There are Community Development Financial Institutions, both banks and credit unions, there are other credit unions, there are mutual savings banks which, while not CDFIs, focus on mortgage and small business lending. Many of these are conservatively run (do a little research), if you’re lucky enough to have something to save they often pay better interest than megabanks, and many of them are ready and willing to lend right now, but are handicapped by the popular perception that “nobody’s lending.”

If people did more business with banks that abide by traditional banking principles, they would be better off. And just think how much fun it would be to tell the megabanks to go hang!

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Baltimore, Md.

Who’s the Predator?

Year after year Wyoming lawmakers use the wolf as a scapegoat so they can avoid real issues as the reason that the wolf is a predator that needs to be shot anywhere in the state. But, lucky for the wolf, the federal court has perceived otherwise.

Those who have been brainwashed from childhood reading, “Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf,” and think the wolf is a predator needs to look up the word “predator” in the dictionary, which says a predator lives by plunder and robbing.

In Wyoming, the coal industry is plundering the people’s minerals and the state lawmakers are robbing the little people by not passing laws for more severance tax on coal, so who are the real predators?

Wolf couples with pups are very family-oriented. They care for and protect their young, something a lot of humans fail at.

In nature’s struggle for existence the wolf eats the sheep just like big fish in the ocean eat little fish. All creatures, including people, are trying to provide the necessities of life by hunting other creatures they intend to eat, except those who think shooting a wolf is a trophy prize, and shooting every little bird and little animal for target practice fun. For them, I think that is a mental sickness.

A case in point is Dick Cheney, who has been known to enjoy shooting birds, in one case over a hundred in one day at game farms where raised-in-pens tame birds are released for customers to shoot. Dick Cheney had five military draft postponements to avoid Vietnam.

In the movie The Deer Hunter, the main actor and his friends like to go deer hunting. But he alone goes to Vietnam and, after all the killing and blood of Vietnam, he returns home and he and his friends go deer hunting. Alone in the woods he spots his deer but he cannot shoot the deer.

War can have a healing effect sometimes on people who like to shoot animals for sport. And some people learn to respect animals and they believe that the wolf has a right to be on this earth.

Al Hamburg
Torrington, Wyo.

No Worries for War Criminals

The letters by Pascoe (“Prosecute War Crimes”), Tyler (“No Justice for Elites”) and Hamilton (“Bush on Minimum Wage”) in the 2/1/09 TPP are so true, but nothing will happen to the people who got us into the president mess we are in. With few exceptions, just where was Congress when this mess as starting? Oh, I forgot, they were more worried about staying in office than doing anything to correct the problem. Also, the one person who should be doing some hard time in jail is the former SEC chairman who appears the main thing he did was sit on his butt, and draw his paycheck. But, again, nothing will happen to him or Bush, Cheney and the rest of that crew.

Dennis H. Kuykendall
Kunz, Idaho

Wasteful Priorities

In “The People’s Choice” in the 2/1/09 TPP, Hal Crowther derogates Glenn Beck and other right wing radio and television personalities in his unique literate style. One of the points included was that Beck was a best selling “author.” Other right-wing personalities also have books in print. I am wondering who buys all of these books and if they actually read them?

Many Americans are anti-intellectual ... and neither buy nor read books. There is an increase in functional illiteracy. These citizens are most likely to receive their information from television and radio and many tune to Beck and his cohorts for their opinions where they are easily led by right wing propaganda. Their votes, if they choose to cast them, are uninformed and will probably oppose those of progressives.

What are the chances that Beck and others of his ilk will attempt to promote high-speed rail transit as mentioned in Dispatches, in preference to a new aircraft carrier such as the newly commissioned, very costly behemoth named in honor of George Herbert Walker Bush? Does another costly war machine serve the nation better than infrastructure improvements such as high-speed rail transport? I think it does not even come close.

We need to combat these wasteful priorities (war machines over public transport) based on irrational fear over projects which benefit the public rather than the war profiteers.

Arthur House
Franklin, W.V.

Limbaugh vs. Obama

According to a recent “Progress Report” [pr.thinkprogress.org, 1/27], Obama’s plans for economic recovery are meeting strong opposition from Russ Limbaugh, whose influential voice to many Republicans has persuaded them to join him in fighting Obama’s plan. Russ has been outspoken about his view—“I hope he (Obama) fails.” In addition, he has added clear racial bias mixed with suggestive sexual overtones to bolster his flagrant views: “We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president.” Obama, facing this kind of partisan derisive opposition, both political and personal, cannot expect much bipartisan cooperation or respect. Perhaps emboldened by the challenging words of Thomas Paine—“These are times that try men’s souls”—Obama can fight with whatever strength of will and courage he has to create out of crisis and divisiveness a lasting vision of an America united for the common good. That is the genuine audacity of hope.

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

No Mr. Mambo

I’ll just put Garrison Keillor’s snide rant against the millions of us who watch TV as incarcerated felons, Alzheimer’s patients and confirmed barflies, the bedridden, the delusional and criminal [“The Cheerful Idiot,” 2/1/09 TPP] as childish sour grapes because we don’t listen to his radio show.

However, I take extreme exception to his racially tinged epithet for our 44th president as “Mr. Mambo,” reminiscent of racial slurs common in the ’40s and ’50s that included a racially demeaning children’s book entitled Little Black Sambo, and children’s chants such as “Eenie, meenie, minie moe, catch a n****r by the toe” and “Ring around the rosie ... last one down is a pickaninny” and not unlike [former Sen. George Allen]’s use of the term “Macaca.” The grown-ups among us have learned to disagree without resorting to such childishly divisive slander.

Barbara J. Lee
Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Replace Auto Industry Jobs

Since the problems of United States automakers have been in the news, I have been again wondering if the end of the automobile age will mean less jobs. Along with the jobs for auto workers, cars create jobs at filling stations, car washes, insurance companies, etc.

Fighting global warming will mean more people will be driving buses, repairing bicycles, making renewable energy equipment, etc. But I suspect that society as a whole will experience a net loss of jobs. Governments will need to adopt measures to help provide food and housing for the unemployed during the transition to a sustainable society.

Organic farming would be one place for people to obtain a livelihood. Farmers might make less money than auto workers, but they have a chance to be their own boss. They can also grow a lot of their own food. But potential farmers might not have access to land.

Governments should try to provide land for organic farmers; the richer countries also need land reform.

Milton Takei
Eugene, Ore.

Propaganda by Omission

The AP news releases in the Salt Lake Tribune about Gaza were amazing! Three articles and it’s as if the Palestinian people do not even exist! This isn’t reporting, its propaganda.

Entirely missing are images and stories of those on the receiving ends of US-made 1,000-pound explosives. Neither these explosives nor the 10-day death toll of 500-plus is mentioned. We are told that five Israelis were killed in two years by 6,000 20-pound homemade rockets though.

We see images of Israeli children dancing in shelters but none of dead Palestinian infants stacked like cord wood in a shattered hospital (they are online). Nothing is said of the results of Israel’s blockade of food, fuel and medical supplies.

We learn much of nervous Israeli children wetting beds but nothing of a 10-year-old Palestinian torso asking a doctor when he will get his arms and legs back. This is what $7 million a day in US aid to Israel buys.

There is no better proof than this that American mainstream media’s job is to indoctrinate rather than inform. How else can this be explained?

Paul Ames
Eureka, Utah.

From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2009

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