Left Had Better Unite

In reference to Charles Newlin’s letter to the editor [“There is a Choice,” 7/1-15/10 TPP], I agree that there is a choice in today’s political climate: that choice is right or left. Moderates are being ejected from the right, while our conservo-Dems thrive despite our best efforts to oust them. When MoveOn mounted a challenge to Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, the Democrats fought to keep her in office. Did we who supported her progressive opponent get a bit bitter? Yes. But the strife which is tearing this country apart is not about us. It is about putting the United back into the United States.

As to the Democratic Party, let’s face the fact that if we do not vote Democrat, we allow Republican, and what a lot of crazy Republicans we can look forward to seeing join the nutsy Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn., who has a progressive challenger this time) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who successfully whips the solid block of Republicans into a breachless wall. The left might be more intelligent, but the right is ruthless, conscienceless, brutal, shrewd, well-funded and determined to stay in power. It’s fine to run a third party in a primary, but in the general election, we had better get our differences behind us and work to keep the Republican Party, which gave our government away to big business and war lords, from taking up where they left off. Yes, the Tea Party is making a lot of noise and winning elections; does anyone really think that these noisy ranters will be anything but Jeff Dunham Jalapeños-on-a-stick when the general election comes around? They will not fracture the party, but our left-wing third parties will.

All those people who broke ranks with the Democrats in the two Bush elections fractured the solidarity we needed to defeat him. Please don’t tell me that some of you are thinking of doing the same thing again because this time you will have no excuse. As for being uncompromising about party, the same can be said of those idealists on the left who do not compromise. Compromise is the name of the game in politics. You get what you can, and move on to the next battle, and that is what the Obama administration is doing, probably too quietly and too efficiently.

This administration succeeded in passing health care reform that no previous administration could, despite a solid resistance from the GOP and a lot of money thrown into a downright ruthless hateful push-back. This administration has created a bill to reinstitute regulations on Wall Street and the banking industry, as well as big oil — all despite of 100% resistance from the right, and also despite the stupid grandstanding of the conservo-Dems. Pelosi and Reid have performed miracles, for which they face loss of their seats in the next election. They knew that when they took on these controversial issues, but they get no support from the left. The Democrats have revealed many heroes in the battle to get our country back from big money, but they go unacknowledged.

I am just as disappointed as anyone else that we did not pull out of Afghanistan, but after listening to Rachel Maddow’s interview with Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, I begin to see that Obama’s plan to train the Afghanis and to pull out in an orderly fashion is well thought out and right for this country. I also note that Defense Secretary Gates is moving toward cutting the military budget — the only real progress we can make toward lowering the deficit and getting our country back on its moral footings again. All in all, not bad for a year-and-a-half in office. Give these people the credit they deserve.

As to TPP’s responsibility for supporting the Democrats, well, if you look closely, you will note that the paper is independently owned and not funded by corporate money, and the contributors are generally partisan-free, if you don’t count lefties as partisans. The paper is left but not Democrat; I think the reporting is fair. We should all ride the representatives of the Party for their wrong-doings, but we should also remember that they are not our puppets. If you want to do some good here, join those of us who would replace the conservo-Dems with progressives. That is the way to pull the Party to the left. To unite the country again, we should first unite the left.

P. Ann White
Meridian, Texas

Go After the Employers of Illegal Aliens

Readers Hank Pergande and Kenneth R. Cooper complain [in “Good for Arizona” and “Shut Your Piehole,” respectively, “Letters,” 8/1/10 TPP] that undocumented Mexicans are causing Arizona to go broke supporting benefit programs for them (Pergande) and stealing jobs of Arizona citizens (Cooper).

Conveniently, neither of them mention the role of many employers who knowingly welcome undocumented Mexicans because the Mexicans will work for lower wages and unpaid overtime under the threat of exposure if they don’t go a long.

So I’d like to ask Hank and Kenny this: “Will you rewrite your complaints to focus on Arizona employers, the main reason that undocumented human beings are entering Arizona — as we all might do to survive?” 

Stewart MacMillan
Dexter, N.Y.

War Makes Us Poor

We should all be mad about what’s going on in the USA with too many jobless and homeless.

We need to raise hell but not like those Tea Baggers who try to put on a show that they are anti-government protesters but they are yelling about silly issues like President Barack Obama’s birth place. At this point in time it doesn’t matter if he was found floating on the ocean in a basket when he was a baby because he’s in the White House as the President but at the same time the USA is going to hell in a basket and we will all end up as a basket case unless we start protesting and yelling that too many wars are making us poor.

Bush and Cheney wasted 12 billion tax dollars each month in an unnecessary war in Iraq that is still wasting tax dollars. And now Obama wants to play military leader the same way and he is wasting our tax dollars and paying interest on loans from China to keep feeding the military industry war machine, with the Pentagon paying bribes to the people they are supposed to be fighting against to allow supply trucks to pass through their area they control. What kind of stupid joke is that on the tax payers?

There is one real activist we should be supporting in Congress, Florida Democrat Alan Grayson, who has a bill in the House called “The War Is Making You Poor Act” [HR 5353], to wake people up that America has been flushing tax dollars down a toilet hole because the military industry has been using fear since World War Two to bleed us like victims of vampires of the tax dollars to create a future for our children.

War is a permanent feature of our society and with no draft, war is almost invisible and for many young people with no jobs it’s join the military while the USA spends more on military than the rest of the whole world.

Al Hamburg
Torrington Wyo.


Webster’s Dictionary, New World Edition, 1962, has, as its first entries under “competition”: “ rivalry, contest, or match”. It states: “Rivalry implies keen competition between opponents more or less evenly matched…”

What do you call a kid on a schoolyard that is older and bigger than some little kid from whom he takes a lunch, some change, or whom he beats up for the fun of it?

How is that different in kind from a corporation that is, say 200 times the economic size of some smaller “competitor” that the bigger corporation drives out of business by undercutting prices on core products sold by the little guy? The large company has, effectively, taken the lunch from the little guy! He has beaten him up!

Is this what we define, now, in America as competition? Do we now officially condone the actions of the schoolyard bully on a national scale?

It may be legal, but it is clearly wrong, in my book. Remember, everything Hitler did was legal. But, was it right? Was it moral?

The rivalries between Ford and Chevrolet, relative equals, produced wealth, innovation and success for both companies. But, neither had the economic size to destroy the other.

This is not the case with modern monopoly builders that want to take all the business by wiping out the small business “competitors” … who cannot “compete” with big corporation economic strength and drive for dominance.

So, should we resist such corporate domination, or should we just roll over when faced with power? Should we pay the bully’s demand? What do you think?

John Gray
Greenland, Ark.

Manners & Morals

I took exception to Rob Patterson’s use of “suck,” but unlike Mr. Quintero [“Clean Up the Language,” Letters, 8/1/10 TPP], I didn’t even drop an “e” to that writer. While the use of obscenities is a matter more of manners than morals, it seems that “suck” (as a put-down) is simply vulgar in any context. Compare, for instance, the now casual use of f**k. That word has several connotations. E.g., “f**k you” has a much different meaning than, say, “what the f**k?” When something/someone “sucks,” there is only the imputation of inferiority, indeed, base inferiority. The origin of that usage seems obvious. E.g., A tennis player (no, not him), loud and clear on TV, once told an umpire to “suck me off.” Usage, of course, trumps etymology; obscenities and vulgarisms are mellowed by time and familiarity. Such — whether we give a damn or not — is the nature of language. But, to be optimistic, the evolution of English probably does a passive banishment to more faddish words and phrases than it awards tenure to.

Jerry Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.

Restore Glass-Steagall

Our country needs the Glass-Steagall Act put back in place. Glass-Steagall was the FDR-era law that created a wall of separation between the commercial banks and investment banks and insurance companies. All this legislation our congressmen are writing isn’t going to fix this mess. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) should be held liable for the financial problems we are having. He was the big supporter to strip this bill in 1999. [Editor’s Note: Frank voted against the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Act of 1999 that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act.] We need to throw all these cronies out of office. It about the American people, not Wall Street. Wake up Washington and reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.

Dorene Schutz
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Bills Come Due

Under George W. Bush our national debt grew the highest it has ever been. We are going to be dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan for decades. New Orleans — for lack of the funds to fix the dikes — and now for faulty oil drilling equipment — is a disaster. For want of good schools and affordable medical care, jails are used for our “problem children” — and costing a fortune. And yet we know how to treat mental health issues and we know how to educate children.

We know that gambling causes problems for society and individuals. We know that government can (and has!) dealt with — and relieved — many of our greatest problems.

So why are there still those who refuse to use one of our greatest means for helping people when the track record is clearly there?

“Government” is “We, the People.” Private corporations are just people, too. And they’re clearly not any better because they’re a “corporation,” not a “government.”

So governments tax? It’s what governments do. Corporations charge. (Enron, anyone? Wasn’t that wonderful?)

Grow up, Republicans, before we lose the whole thing and nobody gets anything. You think no one else has seen what you have, or felt as you have? Yet they don’t like or choose your “solutions”? Did you ever think about, maybe, why not?

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Don’t Forget the Socialists

If readers of the The Progressive Populist are fed up with being members of either branch of the War Party, Democrat or Republican, they have the option of joining a party that really believes in and works for peace and social justice for all: Socialist Party USA (socialistparty-usa.org).

We’re mostly young but we welcome new members of all ages and backgrounds. We will put your good hearts and good minds to work and will welcome your ideas.

At the very least, you have nothing to lose by examining our principles and learning what we stand for. At most, you may gain a new political life and moral rebirth.

For further information, please contact our national secretary, Greg Pason, at (212) 982-4586 or email natsec@socialistparty-usa.org.

Wecome, comrades!

Willard B. Shapira
Roseville, Minn.


A Little Help?

As we finish our 15th year, The Progressive Populist is in pretty good shape, with more than 9,000 subscribers around the country who like our brand of plutocrat plucking, but we do face some challenges in spreading the good word.

We absorbed a postage rate increase of nearly 4% in May 2009. In July, the Postmaster General announced he would seek approval from the Postal Rate Commission to increase periodical rates another 8%, along with a 2-cent increase on first-class stamps, to 46 cents, as the Postal Service tries to narrow a deficit projected at $7 billion this year.

In addition to higher postage and printing bills, we have tried to subsidize subscriptions for some of our readers who have had to cut back on their household budgets. We still believe that nobody should have to stop reading The Progressive Populist because they can’t afford it, but somebody has to pick up the difference.

If you have a few extra bucks, please consider a donation to The Progressive Populist to help us cover the postage increase as well as subscription subsidies. Donations are not tax deductible, but we will send donors a spiffy Progressive Populist bumper sticker. If you can’t afford a donation or a gift subscription, you can help by suggesting someone who might enjoy a sample copy of The Progressive Populist.

Send the donation and/or names of potential subscribers to: Progressive Populist, PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652. Or phone 512-828-7245 or email populist@usa.net.

Thanks for your support, even if it’s just renewing your own subscription.
Jim Cullen, Editor

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2010


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