Needed: Second Party

The 6/1/09 TPP editorial listing the “dirty dozen” is the tip of the legislative iceberg. I offer another term which, I believe, is a more appropriate appellation for both Houses, “CONDems” (CONservative Democrats). CONservatism is the greatest continuing threat to this nation through control of Congress by the CONDems. The mythology touted in so many media proclamations, conveniently, downplays the true ideological makeup of “majority” of current legislators. The current Congress and especially the Senate contains most of the same group that rewarded the Bush/Cheney Dictatorship with the legal means to carry out the fascist takeover of the nation. The “majorities” listing the numerical superiority of one party or another deliberately clouds the true nature of the seat occupants.

The Republicans vote almost unanimously as a bloc. No Republican is elected without solid conservative credentials. One real myth is the existence of “moderate” Republicans. Any moderates are so miniscule in number and their moderation is in so few issues as to have no progressive effect at all. The other real myth is the dominance of “liberal” policy from the Democratic legislators. The current “Democrat Majority” Congress continues to promote and ensure CONservative policies. Every major issue extolled as the reason to vote Democratic in November is now controlled by the CONDems as listed in the editorial. Max Baucus, who has voted Republican for his entire career, controls and dictates all healthcare reform. Liberal progressivism or any common sense is not allowed at the healthcare industry table. Baucus is the poster child for CONDems. The rest are from states controlled by agriculture monopolies welded to Bush/Cheney policies. 

The most recent travesty voted out of the CONDem-controlled Congress and touted as “reform” is the watered-down credit card “changes.” Of course, attached to this “reform” is the favorite agenda of the NRA pro-gun lobby and one of the last gasps of the Bush administration to allow loaded gun carrying in the National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. A “bi-partisan compromise” to pass the credit card “reform.” This is a perfect example of the CONDem legislation to ensure no real “change” ever occurs during the next four years. Once the President signs it amongst much fanfare, one more brick in the CONservative wall against progressive “change” will be cemented in place.

The CONDems’ purpose is to erect a permanent block to all significant progressive “change” to financial, military, regulatory, or budgetary policies implemented and continuing from the Bush/Cheney CONservative Dictatorship. CONDems exist to stop the implantation of any seeds of true progress into the eggs of the Constitutional Republic so easily aborted by the CONservative forces ruling this nation and the world. The two-party political system is, for all progressive purposes, dead. All that remains is the CONservative party masked in appellation, but still operating as thieves in the maintenance and transfer of all wealth into the same campaign contributor depositories since WWII.

Richard L. Morgan
Bellingham, Wash.


Call me a quibbler about words, but Bob Burnett, in his astute piece on the need to change the US lifestyle [Is the Recession a Teachable Moment?,” 5/15/09 TPP], quotes the diabolic Mr. Cheney (how fitting that he named himself Vice President for eight years) to the effect that “Conservation ... is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy”—thus zeroing in on the essentially non-conservative nature of Republican administration in recent decades, not just the displaced “Bush” one. Burnett is right on target in warning that all citizens must be prepared for radical reform and to stop grasping, and this includes sold-out Democrat politicians as much as fat-cat corporate execs. Applied to most people and policies, the label “conservative” is no less phony than the long-considered-dirty word “liberal”; I recommend the term regressive to describe the average reactionary. Your publication in particular is well positioned (& named!.) to introduce that word into regular US usage

Rob MacLeod
Porthill, Idaho

Push for Single Payer

Regarding Sid Moss’ “Debate Singe-Payer Health Plan” letter [5/15/09 TPP], progressive populists should urge their congressional representatives to become co-sponsors of Rep. Conyers’ HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. It would save $400 billion on administrative cost. “It also would provide an economic stimulus and much-needed bailout for families who are losing their insurance in a sinking economy. Single payer is the fiscally responsible solution ... HR 676 is politically attainable and the right thing to do,” says Mimi Signor’s “Single Payer is the Best Option” letter in the 11/23/08 St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Michael Moore’s Sicko documentary shows how single payer health care outperforms US fee-for-service in Canada, Cuba, England and France vs. “suture” self.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s father ran an interior decorating store next to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. As a self-employed entrepreneur, he could not afford health insurance. His final illness wiped out his estate. This inspired the Clintons to work for health care reform.

At the end of the Cold War, Congress established a Base Relocation and Closing (BRAC) Commission to reassess our defense resources. It should establish the same for superfluous private health insurance firms. Their sales people make wonderful schoolteachers. Where we really have a need.

Single-payer health care was proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Harry Truman said, “Health is a national concern” in a 1945 message to Congress. The British proved it worked in 1948.

The “Big Three” American auto companies are being bailed out by the federal government. Their rivals in Japan and Korea enjoy single-payer health care that lets them provide better quality for the price of their vehicles.

The United States used to pay about 20% of its expenses as tribute to the Barbary states of North Africa until Stephen Decatur and the US Navy suppressed them after the War of 1812. Sometimes federal administration makes more sense.

Joseph Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.

Climate Change Goes Both Ways

In Donald Kaul’s column “Can’t Believe Anything Anymore” he mentions a statistic that the global warming deniers have been using, which says that “2008 was the coolest year of the past decade.” This is a good example of the way statistics can be manipulated to “prove” something that is not true. Here is a quote I found on NASA’s website (data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/):

“Calendar year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis ... of surface air temperature measurements. In our analysis, 2008 is the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements, which extends back to 1880 ... The ten warmest years all occur within the 12-year period 1997-2008.”

The fact that 2008 is the ninth warmest of the past 128 years (since measurements have been taken) indicates that the world really is warming, as does the fact that the 10 warmest years of the past 128 are all since 1997. Take a look at the charts and other information on that page if you want to know what is really happening, from an objective, scientific point of view.

The fact that the global warming deniers have to cherry pick their statistics the way the Bush administration cherry picked intelligence shows that they, like the Bush administration, have an agenda and are not really concerned with reality. Taking this propaganda seriously or helping to spread it will have the same result, but on a much larger scale. This time it will not be just one country that is devastated and just hundreds of thousands of innocent people who will lose their lives and not just millions who will suffer.

I don’t blame Donald Kaul. The subject really is very complicated and full of uncertainty, and it is very easy to be misled, especially if you are not a scientist. But that should make people more worried and more determined to avert the threat, not more complacent. Remember, uncertainty always goes both ways. Although things might not get nearly as bad as the scientists predict, it is just as likely that things will be much worse. We really don’t want to go there.

Brian Fikes
Pacifica, Calif.

Waiting for Enlightenment

Re: Hal Crowther’s article, “High Noon,” [5/15/09 TPP]: A few years ago, I read about a pro-life couple whose activism against abortion became their mission in life. Then their only daughter, a 17-year-old child, died at the hands of a back-alley abortionist.

They are still diligent and energetic activists—but they now advocate pro-choice.

Perhaps someday, one of the powerful and influential persons in the NRA will experience a personal tragedy associated with gun violence that will turn his heart in the right direction. Unfortunately, that’s what it takes for some people to become enlightened.

David Quintero
Temple City, Calif.

Baucus Crowd Control

Boy, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) sure know how to handle the citizens who have a different view of reality than he does. Just drag them out of the chamber and have them put in chains and arrested.

But then I noticed that his e-mail subject list didn’t have a category for Civil Rights, Human Rights or Ethics.

But that is perfectly explainable by the senator’s method of excluding people who don’t believe that we should continue paying an extra 30% for health care. Just so the poor insurance company CEO and the representatives and senators that live in their pockets can have their Royal “Life Style.”

Charles Christian
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Vote Out the Bankers

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says that the banks own and control the Congress. Now if public funds were and are still being given to save the financial sector, then the way I view it, we, the public, own the banks and we can vote out all who do not act in the best interest of all the people. Someone should remind them in Washington that people may not be literate but they are not blind. So heed the word and do the right thing.

S. Einhorn
North Babylon, N.Y.

The More Things Change ...

Further observations from that most maligned and misrepresented of economists, Adam Smith, in Book IV, Chapter 8 of The Wealth of Nations.

“It is the industry which is carried on for the benefit of the rich and the powerful that is principally encouraged by our mercantile system. That which is carried on for the benefit of the poor and the indigent is too often either neglected or oppressed.

“Consumption is the sole end purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer. The maxim is so perfectly self-evident that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it. But in the mercantile system the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer; and it seems to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce.”

The more things change....

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Baltimore, Md.

Slow Learners

Thank you again for including David Sirota's columns. He is indeed a Populist's populist!

His latest, “Piggish Capitalism” [6/1/09 TPP], reminds me of a line penned by the late, great San Francisco columnist Herb Caen after the savings and loan debacle which presaged the present catastrophe—“Reagan built the trough, and the pigs came to feed.”

A recent book review in the New York Times provided a longer historical perspective, quoting from The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, by Victor Pelevin: “The whole of human history for the last 10,00 years is nothing but a constant revision of the results of privatization.”

Will we ever learn?

Shorey Chapman
San Francisco, Calif.

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From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2009

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