Letters to the Editor

Obama Blunders

After living through eight dreadful years of screwups from the Bush/Cheney administration I was eager for a positive, open and honest change in government. Through speeches, candidate Barack Obama appeared to be the person to fill the position as our new president. However, after nine months in office Obama is beginning to look and act like George W. Bush. As a Progressive, this disturbs me greatly. Obama has reneged on reinstituting habeas corpus. By doing this he can place Afghan captives in Bagram prison in Afghanistan, denying them human rights and keeping them in prison indefinitely. This act of denial was done at the same time Obama said he was going to close Guantanamo.

The scurrilous organization called Blackwater, now known as Xe Services LLC, was involved in killing Iraq civilians and other heinous crimes. It has numerous contracts with the State Department. The men serving Xe in Afghanistan surpass in number our own military serving there. We need to rid ourselves of these felons who give the United States a had name.

Other blunders by Obama are the continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just who are we fighting? The Sunnis and Shi’ites in Iraq never did anything to us. The Afghan Taliban, as despicable as they are, never were involved in 9/11. It was Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda followers. Why can’t the heavily financed CIA track down bin Laden? That’s the real enemy.

So far Obama’s Latin American policies appear to be a rehash of the Reagan failed policies in the Americas. The Obama administration failed to speak out against the Peruvian police who in June massacred more than 50 Indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon. The Amerindians were protesting the incursion of international petroleum corporations into their region. Aside from Peru, Obama has alienated Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. Embargoes and the normalization of relations with Cuba have not changed as promised by this administration.

On the domestic side Obama hasn’t done anything to change the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that would allow gays to serve in the military. He has dragged his feet about prosecuting the higher echelons in the Bush administration over torture that is in violation of international treaties that the US has signed — obviously the word of United States means nothing today.

President Obama needs to wake up and stop emulating the past four presidents. The Progressives and Democrats need to pressure him to start representing the people who put him in office.

L.M. Eastman
Lecanto, Fla.

Cadaver Dogs

It’s time to send the cadaver dogs out to search for the Republicans’ sanity. It will probably be found in the mass grave where they, long ago, buried their honesty, honor and humanity, and their imaginary compassion, competence and Christianity.

Their latest eruption of false outrage is aimed at too many government czars, despite the fact that the government doesn’t have a single person in a job with the official title of Czar. Have they forgotten their love of czars under the Georges? That memory must have expired with their last sane brain cell.

So what can we expect for their next hissy-fit? Perhaps that Obama, according to Fox and Felons, is a heathen because he is naming the days of the week and months of the year after pagan gods. Then Barack will be shown, by Fox and Frauds, to be a Muslim since he has put Arabic numerals on our money.

Before the tea-baggers get their jock straps twisted into a bunch, they should stand by their supposed principles. First, refuse to accept your paychecks if they contain any Arabic numerals. Next boycott Thursdays and Fridays and the whole month of January by not showing up for your jobs. Then burn your Social Security cards and drivers’ licenses and toss your cars’ license plates in the trash. Don your ski masks and go to your bank. Demand all your money and throw it off the roof of the tallest building you can find.

So take a stand! Show that the neon signs in front of Republican brains brightly flash “vacancy” and “sanity need not apply.” Relax, Republicans are now a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallucinations Incorporated.

Robert Loren
Silver City, N.M.

Health Care Stain

Nicholas Kristof, in “Let Congress go without insurance” (New York Times, 10/08/09), suggested that Congress should take the heat if health reform failed for the 15% uninsured this year. By that, Kristof means members of Congress should surrender their fine health plan in the same proportion of the uninsured population. Maybe then they will realize how difficult and unfortunate it is to be without insurance. But facts are not enough to draw concern. The fact that “nearly 45,000 uninsured people die annually as a consequence of not having insurance ... one death every 12 minutes” has not been met with serious full consideration of its moral significance. He suggests that this battle for health reform is in line with other fundamentally moral issues like slavery and civil rights. Failure to achieve health reform now — insurance for all — would put a deep moral stain on our nation.

Sidney Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Who Is That Guy?

I sometimes really dislike this cynical side of me. This quality that causes me to wonder if, perhaps, Obama was the stealth candidate. Someone presented to the voters by those who really run things in this country, espousing change, reform, a better deal for the unwashed. It is not unusual for a candidate to say one thing while campaigning, but delivering something else when elected. But this guy just can’t seem to wait to cave in when he should be barking back at the hounds.

Don H. Baker
Alvarado, Texas

Can’t We Get Together?

If there were any doubts, the health care imbroglio and financial crunch have shown that both parties are beholden to the corporations. The Progressive Populist does not disagree, but it warns its readers that they have no way out because if they leave the Democrats to form a third party, those evil Republicans would return to power in Congress and the White House. If we choose to accept that argument, where does it leave us? Here’s an idea. What if a delegation of Progressives and Liberals set up a conference with Libertarian Republicans? The Libertarians are as sick of the GOP as we are with the Democrats. If both sides agree to engage in third-party politics the playing field would remain even and presidents like Obama would be forced to listen to Liberals and Progressives if they wanted any legislation to be enacted. Will TPP take the lead in such an endeavor? And if not, why not?

Shelly Wallman
New York, N.Y.

Admit, Change, Recover

Afghanistan is Earth’s basket case — a Lost Cause! America’s nation-building intentions there are futile, even counter-productive. Its eternal warfare, pervasive ignorance and corruption, arms concentrations, and total dependence of the economy on one product: opium poppies, all disqualify it from society membership or aid in the world’s community of “civilized” nations. ...

As confirmed by several prior debacles, (Vietnam, Gulf’ War/Iraq) “Victory” is not even achievable there by any means. “Patriotism” is rigid stupidity and blind conformity in the face of human costs and suffering, to say nothing of fiscal exhaustion and economic slavery here to the Elite.

Let us be honest and admit our error. Total withdrawal NOW is not surrender; it is wise recognition of misguided policies extracting the very vitality of American life: our Now!

Richard D. Wassail
Youngstown, Fla.

Don’t Get Stuck in Afghan

There was a sense of urgency and in hindsight you could even call it desperation for us to avenge 9/11. We had to launch an attack on Afghanistan to prove our “machismo” — we did not want to spend time in deliberation and planning for fear that the world would look down upon us as “wusses” (a favorite word of the right-wing hawks). Saddest part was when we gave only one chance to the then-president of Afghanistan Mullah Omar, after he first refused to hand over Osama bin Laden. We could have patiently negotiated with him — bribed him — got other Islamic nations involved — used the carrot-and-stick approach, but no — we were too haughty to do all that. We missed the bus and now have to deal with hundreds of “Mullah Omars” all over the country. The present president, Mr. Karzai, (a.k.a. the mayor of Kabul) does not have any control and is of no help. The question for President Obama to be concerned about is whether Afghanistan poses a direct threat to our national security? Or is it only a mass paranoia fueled by the “industrial-military” group? Remember when the “hawks” did not want to leave Iraq without finishing the job (whatever that meant) and frightened us that if we leave Iraq the terrorists will follow our troops and attack our shopping malls in the US or some such nonsense. Are we going through the same thing all over again in the case of Afghanistan? Now that would be a big SHAME.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

People Need Lobbyists

I am being overwhelmed by streets and now I have learned about two more streets. They are K Street and C Street. It reminds me of when I was young and there were territories for the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Latins. All were camped out in their territories. And the people from K and C streets are camped out on the Hill and on the floors of the Senate and the House and on the floor of the White House. And at every committee hearing and agency in Washington. And at every governor’s office and legislative buildings in the USA and also every mayor’s office and city council. There they are, the lobbyists of America. Add in the wingnuts on radio and television and the magazines and newspaper and politicians have no way to escape the flood of lobbyists. But yet when the public tries to protest in some form or other, they are arrested or dismissed as crackpotish or misled. Well, say hello to a misled crackpot. By the time the lobbyists are gotten rid of, Judge Crater, Amelia Earhart and the Hydes will be found and I will be standing on a corner begging for a quarter (inflation, you know).

S. Einhorn
Tampa, Fla.

Last Copter Out

The Obama Treasury is cheerleading “recovery.” The US economy is as dependent on confidence as any swindle.

Socialist remedies rejected out of hand, the objective of successive administrations since Ford’s has been to delay the reckoning to blow up on the other party’s president.

Democrat and Republican are equally, but not identically, tools of capitalism. Surveying the economic turmoil beneath them, presidents come to regard themselves a pilot of the last helicopter out of Saigon. Democrats circle back to the embassy roof to pluck a few last refugees clinging to the runners. Republicans buzz the roof to sweep them over the side. Observe that, though from opposite motives, the maneuver is exactly the same!

M. Warner
Minneapolis, Minn.

Capitalism and Populism

Too many people mix up capitalism with other nasty attributes of the human race. Thievery, for example, is not part of capitalism. When our elected representatives write laws to assist an industry in making ill-gotten gains, this is not capitalism. Capitalism is only a term used to describe a particular type of economic system. When used properly, capitalism is the friend of populists, as it makes for a rising tide for all. Unfortunately, the greed of individuals is what gets in the way of the “for all” part. Huge bonuses for financial shenanigans and laws written to protect and enhance particular companies’ positions are but two of the problems populists face in trying to help all the people. The issue is not capitalism, it is morality. The immorality of people is why we have government and the immorality of people is why government doesn’t accomplish the things we hope for. In a basic sense the reverse of this immorality is the basis of populism. Populism is a type of morality.

Populists believe in “We, the people.” This is not a belief of the immoral. Their belief is in their personal gain at other’s expense. This is the fight, not government, not capitalism, but morality. Elect moral representatives and you may get laws which are moral in aspect. Do not, and we continue to get what we have: an immoral system which rapes the poor to benefit the rich in which government is complicit, because they too are recipients of the pillage.

Lewis Guignard Jr.
Crouse, N.C.

Pols I’d Like

In coming elections we need candidates for Congress and the Presidency who will:

• Get us out of Afghanistan and use the money to rebuild our own sagging state;

• Determine how America can be protected from al Qaeda by means other than chasing dissidents around the wildlands of Pakistan while slaughtering guiltless civilians in the process;

• Sharply reduce the absurdly bloated military budget and rebuild a civilian-oriented society;

• Bring justice and fair prices to family farmers;

• Encourage the restoration of manufacturing while penalizing offshore operations;

• Take the billions regularly squandered on problem states like Israel and Egypt and put them into light rail, medical and bankruptcy programs, and preparation for global warming and for post-peak oil crises; and, importantly,

• Aggressively fight corporate control of government, politics and society.

Jeanne Riha
Corvallis, Ore.

From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2009


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