Fight Corporate Tyranny

It seems to me that those who are against the current corporate tyranny need to form a pact. That corporate money has usurped the democratic process is obvious. Our public servants rely on corporate money and work with corporate lobbyists to promote a shared private agenda.

I propose that voters should sign a pact [People Against Corporate Tyranny], pledging to vote for anyone (regardless of party) who refuses to accept money from corporations and who promises not to work with corporate lobbyists. We the people need politics to work for the common good and people instead of private interests and that should be enough to keep any elected official busy.

Politicians need votes to get elected, not money. If enough voters go on record and agree to support those who will truly represent the public interests, how can a public servant claim to need money, when he or she has been assured of votes? If no one will agree, then we know where we stand and deserve what we get.

The corrupting influence of corporate money has stolen the people’s wealthy and the well being of the public domain, in the service of an elite, inhuman entity, that is sucking the life blood of real human beings.

If a politician wants corporate money, he is not serving the people who pay his salary and benefits. He should be voted out of office by a public that supports those who will not accept corporate money and who will work for the public good.

Now, that would be a change!

Dennis Trudeau
Lake Worth, Fla.

Obama Needs to Take Charge

Nowadays, reading your excellent publication is a serious threat to my physical and mental health. The latest (8/15/09) issue is no exception: the cover story accurately describes (only some of) the inevitable consequences of predatory retailing by the box stores; Jim Hightower (our own Will Rogers, though not quite as funny) does his usual thorough job of pillorying the banks, our trade policy and the detritus of privatization; the “Letters” page begs for single-payer healthcare and CORrectly CONdemns the CONDems; then Joyce Marcel leads with Rudyard Kipling to skewer our efforts in Afghanistan; by which time, we only need to read the headlines to know what’s in the columns – “Bipartisanship is for suckers,” “Congress fiddles while the planet burns,” “The Mole (Larry Summers and the rest of the Clinton gang conspire to put us back the way we were, with a few token adjustments), to provide just a sampling.

Sadly, for me, because I do respect your publication and its editorial policies, I must also take exception to the theme of the latest editorial [“Obama’s Surge”]. Obama does not “need our help.” He needs to be introduced to a red-hot poker in a sensitive part of his anatomy and, once we’ve got his attention, he needs to apply it to the so-called Democrats in Congress, and order them to work as one to use this “crisis” to implement meaningful change in our economic models, starting with Single Payer Healthcare. As for their Republican opponents, I would like to hereby nominate James Yeager (“Every Man a King: The Sequel”) for a Pulitzer; his new name for them, which cannot be repeated enough — “The Elderly White Rich Racist Sexist Christ-gunner Homophobic Anti-science Polluter War-monger Torturer Wiretapper Liar Party” — says it all. Never mind “reaching across the aisle;” they must be crushed and marginalized.

Where, oh where is the new Martin Luther King Jr., who will lead us (by means of non-violent civil disobedience) to demand economic justice, as King once did on behalf of racial justice? Lest we forget, there really are more of us than there are of them, and we live in the world’s oldest, continuous democracy.

Shorey H. Chapman
San Francisco, Calif.

Plenty of Blame for Bush

I certainly agree with Dave Zweifel that we should “Put Blame for Deficit Where It Belongs: Bush” [8/15/09 TPP]. Perhaps Ronald Reagan was honest when he “thought he could fix the economy by spending tons on the military and cutting taxes at the same time.” But Bush-Cheney only wanted to “fix” their wealthy friends as a permanent elite and to “fix” (in another sense) the Democrats as the party that is forced to raise taxes in order to save the United States from disaster. We should do everything we can to keep alive the memory of the criminal enterprise that occupied the White House for eight years, not just the economic crimes but also the war crimes and criminal abuse of human rights.

Dale L. Berry
Grants, N.M.

Wages of Illness Management

Anyone who wants to know why health insurance is so expensive need look no further than the insurance company proxy statements. According to the latest statement, United Healthcare paid its CEO, Stephen Hemsley, $3,241,042 in 2008. But don’t shed a tear; he was paid $13,164,529 in 2007.

Aetna’s Ronald Williams did much better. In 2008, he was paid $24,300,112 (in 2007, $23,045,834). Cigna’s Edward Hanway received $12,236,740 in 2008 (2007: $25,846,460). Wellpoint’s Angela Braly got $9,844,212 in 2008 (2007: $9,094,271).

The top five executives of the half dozen of the largest health insurance companies took home $169,837,696 in 2008. And that was a bad year for executives, with the collapsing stock market.

That money would pay for a lot of doctor visits, if we only had a public health care system.

Frank Schneider
Chicago, Ill.

Life Begins at Some Point

I am in agreement with G.M. Chandu, who in the 8/15/09 TPP “Letters,” when asking when “life begins,” quoted, “That is above anybody’s pay grade.” He raises interesting legal questions should a law be passed stating that life begins at conception. In addition to his suggestions, I would add should a pregnant woman be required to have two passports when traveling abroad? Should any heterosexually active woman get 13 income tax deductions each year? Unfortunately, too many people have had a very poor sex education and fall prey to misinformation.

In reality, one can say with certainty that life does not begin with conception. In fact, even a pregnancy does not begin with conception. In heterosexually active females, many fertilized eggs are swept out with the menstrual flow. A pregnancy begins with implantation of the fertilized egg in the wall of the uterus.

So can we say that life begins at implantation? Not really. In the world of science there cannot be any exception to a scientific “truth.” In some cases a fertilized egg can become implanted in the wall of the uterus and it will never grow into a “fetus” or a “baby,” no matter how long it remains in place. Instead it grows into an anomalous growth of tissue which science has named a Hydatidiform mole. It looks like a bunch of grapes with perhaps a finger or other appendage protruding. It will never grow into a “human being” and must be aborted to save the health, life and future pregnancies of the woman. Sometimes a fertilized egg will grow into a cancerous version — a Choriocarcinoma — and also must be aborted to save the life of the woman.

The “conceptus” or “embryo” or “fetus” has many bridges to cross before it becomes viable and is ready for birth. Where along this line of development it becomes “a human being” is difficult to determine and the entire society should not be subjected to the religious beliefs of some of its members.

The late, great feminist lawyer Florence Kennedy named those who insist they know that life begins at conception and that, therefore, no woman should be allowed an abortion as “fetus fetishists.” They are not really “right-to-lifers” because they have no concern for the life of the woman involved. In my years of experience dealing with these fetus fetishists, I would add that they are the ultimate misogynists.

Lee Kefauver
Buzzards Bay, Mass.

Palin No Kingfish

At the end of James McCarty Yeager’s most recent article in TPP (“Every Man A King: The Sequel,” 8/15/09) is a statement that “He keeps trying to retire from political writing to work on his novel.” Perhaps he should try harder.

His comparison of Sarah Palin to Huey Long is ludicrous, and his ignorance of Huey Long’s career, right down to the circumstances of Long’s murder, mark him indelibly as an imbecile. Huey Long was undoubtedly corrupt, but no more so than the typical Louisiana politician of his time. He was a womanizer, but that has never been a disqualification for public office in any era or in any section of the United States.

Huey Long took on Standard Oil in Louisiana in the 1920s and fought them until he prevailed, making them pay taxes and thus providing revenue for roads, schools and hospitals. William Howard Taft, the reactionary Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose presidency was so right-wing that it brought Theodore Roosevelt out of retirement, was no admirer of the policies of Huey Long. Nevertheless, Taft freely admitted that of all the attorneys that he had ever heard argue before the Court, Long had the finest legal mind. Huey Long had a national following, and he could and did force FDR to the left.

When the Grand Imperial Wizard of the KKK announced plans to organize chapters in Louisiana, Huey Long called a press conference. Long started by saying “that I want all of you to understand that when I call him (the KKK leader) a son of a bitch, I’m not using profanity, I’m just describing the circumstances of his birth.” Long then stated that if the Imperial Wizard entered the Land of the Kingfish, he would leave with “his toes turned up.” The Wizard canceled his plans.

Long was certainly a demagogue, as were his enemies on the far right. The fact remains that the people of Louisiana benefited from Long’s administration and the people of the United States benefited from his tenure as US senator. Comparing an airhead like Palin to Huey Long is simply asinine.

Since space does not permit a full portrait of Huey Long here, I would strongly recommend that those who are interested read Huey Long by T. Harry Williams. It gives an account of Long’s faults and strengths, and is incomparably superior to caricatures by ignorant fools such as Yeager.

Paul Schwietering
Cincinnati, Ohio

Docs Nix Medicare

In response to Richard Sheridan’s letter to the editor (For Just Once, Let’s Do Like the French) in the 8/15/09 TPP, he must not be living in the California where I live. He states “Ever hear of a doctor or facility that would not honor a Medicare card?” In my area of Riverside County it is very difficult to find PCPs or specialists that will take Medicare patients. I have a friend in El Centro (Imperial County) who also has had the same experience.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for a single-payer system, which I doubt I will see in my lifetime. When that occurs and there is no more private insurance, every doctor and medical facility will have to treat every person.

Shirley Corbin
Sun City, Calif.

Lib Service

After reading the 8/3-10/09 issue of The Nation and the 8/15/09 issue of TPP, I realized that I had just read a compilation of the absolute futility of the “new” administration and Congress. Every article in The Nation from the G-8 to the book reviews listed the continuing commitment of this entire government to Conservative policies. The Progressive Populist editorial listed the same failures while trying to appear optimistic and, finally, Hank Kalet makes the completely false statement, “Liberals control the White House and both houses of Congress.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. Talk about putting “lipstick on a pig”.

The fact is that not one Progressive agenda exists in any schedule of policy enactments to fix the absolute governing failure of the past 30 years. Between CONDems, CONReps, and actual CONPrez, the entire government is infested with traitors to every PROgressive principle held by this nation’s citizenry. Empty rhetoric delivered with sonorous tones cannot mask the fact that all Bush/Cheney policies are in full effect. No PROgressive statesmen occupy leadership positions. All CONgress is controlled by the CONservative loyalists where party name has no relevance. 

The administration is loaded with “new” Robert McNamaras to blindly follow the corporate path to financial and moral bankruptcy. Fundamentalist religious groups and leaders have favored seats at the “table” while Single Payer Universal Health advocates are arrested and denied all access to any “seat.” A few PROgressive columnists attempt to put a hopeful face on this disaster, but the actions of this CONservative government speak louder than any empty rhetorical attempts at justification. This nation needs a reviving of radicalism to stem the tsunami-tide of CONservative rule.

The one glaringly true item in The Nation was the “Ten Things You Need to Know to Live on the Streets.” As this administration descends into CONservative Corporate Oligarchy, we may all need those tips.

Richard L. Morgan
Bellingham, Wash.

From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2009

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