Socialism of the Framers

Regarding Mark Mansperger’s “Are We on the Road to Socialism?” column (4/15/10 TPP), the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8 reads in part: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; To establish Post Offices and Post Roads ...”

Until 1965, the US had a postal savings plan. Over 1,000 banks failed after the 1929 stock market crash. Mark Twain said, “A cat who sat on a hot stove will not sit on another one. It will not sit on a cold one either.” People thought their money was safer in a mattress than in a bank. The Postal Savings system enticed them back.

For a time the largest bank in the world was the Japanese post office. You could open an account for 8 cents. It operated like a credit union to only lend money it had to build roads, bridges and bullet-train railroads.

The framers of the US Constitution also established a federal government-owned National Bank that paid off the debt of the Revolutionary War and then the War of 1812. When President Andrew Jackson took office he refused to put federal funds into it and it folded. The private banks replacing it did not operate with the full faith and credit of the United States. So much so that banks were banned in Wisconsin. It took $50,000 in gold to open one. The bank would print bank notes backed by that gold and sell it for 10 cents on the dollar in Pennsylvania; then take the gold to open another bank and repeat the process. Wisconsin could not control this so it banned it. The greenback dollar eliminated this practice altogether.

Those who know US history may realize that we may wisely be returning to the socialism of the framers of our Constitution.

Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.

Religion and Fascism

Joseph B. Atkins’ article, “Fascism Makes a Comeback,” (5/1/10 TPP) reminds me of fascism’s omniscient cult of patriotism and glorified militarism which has resurrected in recent years as a vital ingredient of Americanism.

In fascism, church and state don’t merely give one another a friendly hug — they embrace passionately, and sleep together.

Both Hitler and Mussolini considered themselves defenders of the Christian faith. Hitler wrote in his Mein Kampf: “... I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator ... I am doing the Lord’s work.” And he again used those very same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938.

With almost every politician promoting themselves as more pious than their adversaries, and pandering to organized religion, America is becoming perilously close to crossing the line from a representative democracy to fascism.

There is no wall between church and state in fascism.

David Quintero
Temple City, Calif.

Keillor’s Blinders

I know that Garrison Keillor is a humorist, and maybe living under the Fourth Reich has extinguished my sense of humor. However, if he is serious about, “We have a good guy in the White House, a smart man of judicious ideals, etc ...” then he is frankly delusional.

With Obama’s war crime record, torture record and extraordinary rendition record, along with his crawfishing on every campaign promise he ever made, his waffling on environmental and health and financial issues, to say that “the Democratic Party ... has brought forth a champion” and calling it all a “sermonette” leaves me thinking that his doctor needs to increase his medicine or change the prescription. He wishes a dead skunk’s species “well” (did he hit it?) but declines to “stop for the memorial service.” As Walt Whitman has told us, animals don’t waste their time dwelling on the dead and our species doesn’t seem to lose much sleep over 42,000 humans dying on the highways each year from traffic accidents.

Obama lately has schmoozed with that charlatan Billy Graham, but “fired” his own pastor for saying “God damn America.” Maybe Keillor should look up Matthew 25:31-46 before his next “sermonette.” Obama’s ex pastor is much closer to the mark than Billy Graham ever was.

Given our “good guy in the White House” I am fairly certain we will see many more dead GIs, raped Iraqi teenagers, riddled Iraqi babies, tortured and murdered Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, not to mention what is coming for Iran. Here’s a quote in closing that Keillor might want to ponder before his next sermonette: “The trouble with “the world,” in the bad sense which the Gospel condemns, is that it is a complete and systematic sham, and he who follows it ends not by living but by pretending he is alive, and justifying his pretense by an appeal to the general conspiracy of all the others to do the same. It is this pretense that must be vomited out in the desert.” Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.

Only the Rich ...

Ralph Nader (Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!) has touched a nerve in the super rich, like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates Sr., and others who are calling for a progressive income tax on those who earn over $250,000. Perhaps they feel guilty in being mega billionaires while millions are surviving on an unemployment check, if lucky, or stave off hunger with food stamps and charity food kitchens. More likely these favored few “wealthy fraternity” members are worried that they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction by the danger of gross inequality and want to stave off the mounting revolutionary spirit behind recent protests of thousands against the profiteers who are not concerned about the “Other 98 Percent” (April 30, New York Marchers protest Wall Street, Big Banks). Social justice demands a more egalitarian society.

Sid Moss
Elkins Park, Pa.

Freedom of Choice or Movement Against Democracy

Rumbling beneath the surface in the United States, if you listen for it, you’ll hear people complaining that what is important is the freedom of choice. It is the attempted framing of the debate for health care, but will be attempted in other areas. “We don’t want the government making my decisions for me,” for example.

This argument is baseless. We don’t complain that libraries don’t have the availability of the books we want. Schools teach the needed courses. Police do their work appropriately.

On the other hand, private enterprise leads to limited choices, GM, Ford or Chrysler, Coke or Pepsi, McDonnell’s or Burger King, the cable or the dish television, Bank of America or Chase, etc. as they consolidate. Then, the choices they offer us are what is most profitable to, not us, but them.

The argument for who makes the choices is a code word for privatization. The people pursuing this movement want everything privatized. “We” need to make the choices. However, the government making choices is elected by the people and is accountable to us, not an oligarchy of rich investors. In the long run we should pursue social democratic control of products leading to what the people want.

Furthermore, they say they don’t want to be forced into paying for anything, regardless for what it is. At the base of society is compassion or consideration. As long as our society leads to suffering at the bottom we need people to help, even if it is lead by the government. Any and all sources are needed, like it or not.

Tim Mavrides
Mesa, Ariz.

No Credit for China

Thomas Friedman (The World Is Flat) and other dishonest intellectuals have been lying for so long that we need to set their record straight. India and China do not affect the world in the same way. India has a long history of relatively democratic institutions, while China has none. India runs a trade deficit, while China accumulates huge reserves of US dollars. China crushes unions in order to export more than it imports, and millions of poor-but-honest workers in Africa, Mexico (and, yes, the US, too) lose their jobs.

Christy Lanzl
Brighton, Mass.

Insensitive to Military Waste

Why is there so much insensitive conformity in America to the wasteful stupid insane policy of allowing the military industry to turn America into this permanent warfare state.

Like all past presidents the role of Commander in Chief has gone to President Obama’s head, He thinks he’s a war leader. Obama may not show it like President G.W. Bush did with his “Mission Accomplished” landing on that aircraft carrier dressed like he was in battle. But with Obama, it’s his words, saying “America never gives up, no matter how long it takes.” Obama. needs to read the history of the Vietnam War.

The very few anti-war voices in Congress sound like people whispering “fire.” In that context their conformity of mild dissent is mistaken for outspoken moral vision.

Instead of yelling out loud against the war machine their conscience hems and haws to fit in, to go along to get along with those who support the military industry.

The escalating disaster of war in Afghanistan keeps costing more tax dollars. The Iraq war cost $12 billion tax dollars each month plus the human consequences.

How many billions more will be wasted in Afghanistan while people are out of jobs and out of homes. Lets count up the unemployed and homeless, They should come first in line ahead of building more war weapons.

Those in Congress who say they support war keep voting to fund the war machine and keep their voices muffled like the military industry is holding a club over their heads.

We the people must reject the present war fashions. We have been forced to wear that coat too long so cast it off. Our president’s war whoop is spinning us to death in debt with lies and distortion in an unnecessary war.

Al Hamburg
Torrington, Wyo.

Back of The Bus

Election 2010 fast approaches

And The Great Recession grinds on.

Opportunities everyday are lost

And more jobs are forever gone.

But great news from Wall Street for our ear

The Media Puppets make sure we hear.

Rich men are getting richer

And for this we should all loudly cheer.

Americans don’t begrudge, Obama says

Those who attain great wealth

Well, GODDAMN IT we do

When it’s stolen from us with deceit and stealth.

So what is this Change he promised us?

It’s this.

Every American now knows

Everyone now sits in the back of the bus.

Paul Ames
Eureka, Utah

From The Progressive Populist, June 1, 2010


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