The Great Equivocators

Why do some of the most wealthy American citizens, millionaire talk show commenters, billionaire owners of TV networks and their moderators and magazine publishers continually rail against National Health Care (NHC)? Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue netted her $9 million and she vacuums up $100,000 per speaking engagement. Despite her wealth she continues to speak out against NHC — her favorite audience of Tea-Party-goers scream NHC is socialism.

All Republican Congress persons, many of them millionaires, are fighting hard-to-repeal Obamacare. [Minority Leader] John Boehner (R-Ohio) says “this health care bill is the greatest threat on our freedom in the 19 years I’ve been in Washington.” Oh really, congressman — providing some homeless kid who is going to bed hungry a modicum of health care assaults your freedom?

It is readily understandable why our Republican Congress is against NHC. Millions of dollars of political largess from the medical community, health care insurers, drug manufacturers, hospital affiliates, etc. are flowing into DC. This tsunami of green almost drowned Obamacare and now threatens to repeal it.

The most formidable opponents of NHC are the equivocators. An army of journalists (professional and amateur) hemorrhaging volumes of words on the subject of NHC; however, when you cut through their fog of ambiguity the bottom line says “no” to paid health care to the masses. The horse this group rides is “it costs too much and we can’t afford it.”

Government-sponsored health care for our citizens is a class struggle and war of political ideology. On one side is the Republican aristocracy comprised of some of the richest powerful organizations and vocal people in America; on the other side are millions of people without health care and those going broke paying obscene insurance premiums.

The Democrats want government-paid health care; the Republicans don’t. Something you might want to think about when you go to the polls this November.

Ed Hodges
Appleton, Wis.

Social Security Extremists

If President Obama had deliberately set out to destroy the Democratic Party, he couldn’t have settled on a better strategy than to appoint Alan Simpson, Pete Peterson and others on the extreme right to determine the fate of Social Security. Yet, that is precisely what Obama has done. The membership of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is so weighed with extreme conservatives who have a vitriolic hatred for Social Security, the most successful government program in our nation’s history, as to make their final recommendations a fait accompli. This commission will do everything in its power to destroy Social Security under the umbrella of protection offered by a Democratic president.

TPP’s 9/15/10 editorial, “Expand Social Security,” is absolutely correct when it states, “The problem with Social Security is that its $2.8 trillion surplus was borrowed to pay for Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the rich in the past decade, and the rich don’t want to pay the money back.” When America’s working class realizes that a Democratic president has been an accomplice to this obvious subterfuge, it will create a backlash of tsunami proportions.

FDR’s decision to create the Social Security system to provide some small degree of security for America’s workers in their retirement years created the foundation for the Democratic Party to dominate our nation’s elections for the next 40 years. If today’s Democratic Party does not stand firm in opposition to this obvious betrayal of working class Americans, they will have driven the last nail into their own coffin.

Dennis M. Clausen
Escondido, Calif.

We’re All in the Militia

In the midst of the Right Wing attack on the US Constitution, I am always amazed at the convolutions that Leftists use to justify their attacks on the Founding document. Take the letter to the editor in the 9/1/10 issue titled “Bearing arms through the years.” Paragraph after paragraph using what passes for logic to explain why the Founders never intended citizens to have the right to possess arms. One would think that the Founders were mute on the subject, and we need Mr. Massaro to explain what they really thought. Well, I can post paragraph after paragraph quoting them, but I don’t need to.

Here is the original definition of Militia dating back to 1790. Only a few words have been changed since then to add women to the mix.

TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 311

§ 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are —

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Quite clearly, we are all a part of the “unorganized militia,” and all the paragraphs to tell us what the founders actually meant is simply the same type of reasoning used by Rightists when they want to take away our Fourth Amendment rights. Now I happen to support the Second Amendment. But that is beside the point.

I can also give a long argument about why I favor it, but that’s also not the point. Either you support the Constitution or you don’t.

If people want to change the Constitution, the Constitution provides legal ways of doing so. To throw up our hands in horror at the political right, while copying them over aspects that we might not agree with is just plain and simple hypocrisy.

David Barkin
New York, N.Y.

South Won the War

The Civil War never ended. “Wars,” Margot Ford McMillen tells us, “are never over.” (“Expect Voters to Think,” 9/1/10 TPP) The “rebel” mythos has become more of an establishment reality. Nixon’s “southern strategy,” Reagan’s “states’ rights” speech in Philadelphia, Miss., and the two Bush wins (with an electoral breakdown that is similar [omitting the western yet-to-be states] to the 1860 election) indicate that the South has more than risen. What decades of terrorism and oppression couldn’t do, the enfranchisement of many of their citizens (1965) and the election of a black president (2008) has accomplished. Not that to be anti-black is the sole motivating force of that movement; an odd conformist “individualism” that includes a general contrariness and a dose of theocracy is so attractive that it has outposts far afield of the (once again) “Solid South.” Without the TVA, the New Deal and Rural Electrification — projects that (if consistent) they would eschew today — much of the South would still be living “Tobacco Road.” Most of the secessionist states (plus Alaska et al.) are still sucking at the Treasury’s teat; they are net beneficiaries of those oppressive Federal taxes.

I (white, who’s lived in the Fillmore and East Oakland and, congenially, several Southern cities) am not an apologist for African Americans, or, for that matter, much of a sympathizer. I voted for and support (and sympathize for) our President, but I am not an (title of a book) “Obama Zombie.” I think I describe, with disinterested clarity, a phenomenon that others recognize but do not articulate: a war of attrition that proceeds by means other than arms.

Jerry Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.


Whatever happened to the compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush? The Republicans seem to have adopted a mean-spirited mind-set of “just say no” and march in lockstep, saying no to everything proposed in Congress. No to extending unemployment benefits in a time of severe shortage of jobs, no to expanding health care to 31 million uninsured and eliminating some of the worst health insurance company abuses, no to financial reform of Wall Street and the big banks after they crashed our economy, no to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, no, no, no.

Republican representatives and senators in our Congress repeat the same words and phrases when just saying no to any legislative proposal by Democrats or the president. Lockstep. Who’s pulling their strings? What does this remind you of? Nazism? Scary.

Patricia Bentrup
Westmoreland, N.H.

Let’s Help TPP

I’m sure most subscribers can afford the very small increase to yearly subscription rates to keep up with costs. (Re: “A Little Help,” Letter from the Editor, 8/15/10 TPP.) I’m also sure some can afford gifts to help keep the paper spreading. I was sad to see we only have 9,000 subscribers to a very good paper. It should be more like 9 million or more! I happily give a gift with each year’s subscription and have been giving gift subs to a few who have similar politics. I request all who could, help spread the word.

One criticism is all the support for almost all Dems, which in the real world, it seems, most Dems and Repubs are on the same team, that is, big business. I hate to say it, but we need a strong third or fourth party, maybe a Green or Progressive or a Populist Green party.

David A. Swanson
Crown Point, Ind.

Muslims Should Condemn Terrorism

As the debate grows and intensifies regarding the construction of a Mosque near Ground Zero, some of the important things to consider are more far-reaching than just this project. Most Americans recognize that all Muslims are not terrorists, or even potential terrorists, but why has there been such silence from Muslim leaders, or even the “average” Muslim, [not] condemning violent acts where innocent civilians are killed or wounded? The Koran encourages peaceful practices for Muslims, however it also clearly states that you may fight back in self defense. Many Muslim leaders have expressed to their followers that the West and, in particular, the US has and is attacking them, therefore Muslims are permitted to “fight back.” Under the banner of self defense, violence can be rationalized. The Ku Klux Klan claimed to be Christian but committed acts of violence. It wasn’t until the “average” Christian started to strongly condemn this organization, that progress was made to marginalize it. Would it not be a positive step if Muslims throughout this country would speak out condemning violence and acknowledging that terrorism is NOT right? It’s understandable that, in the absence of such condemnation, many Americans wonder if the “average” non violent Muslim tolerates it under the label of self defense.

Wallace Wolff
Souderton, Pa.

Editor Replies: After 9/11, Muslim leaders in the US and around the world denounced the attacks and one of the imams involved in the planning of the community center has spoken out for understanding of other religions and has made tours of the Middle East on behalf of the State Department under the Bush and Obama administrations. In fact, he had to cut short his latest trip to come home to address the attacks on the center. Moderate Muslims also see al Qaeda as a threat, but now some of them have reason to wonder if Christians also are a threat.

Misuse of Ground Zero

The proposal to build an Islamic Community Center, which would include a prayer room, near Ground Zero has caused consternation not only amongst New Yorkers but has spread all over the nation. One of the excuses used by the opponents of this project is “what about the sentiment of the 9/11 family?” The answer is that most members are not guided by their sentiments — devoid of all rational thinking. This family has shown otherwise — after hearing Osama bin Laden’s excuses for the attack, one of which was “the unabashed support which America has given to Israel.” The family members did not react against Israel and took to their proverbial pitchfork to march against Israeli interest in this Country by Osama’s rhetoric. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and they thwarted Osama’s hope that Americans would indirectly blame Israel for the attack. Where is the same reasoning when it comes to this “Ground Zero” project and why are they not saying “do not go against the project in our name — that we are mature and respect the constitutional rights of all Americans.” Maybe they did, but it seems the cacophony generated by the Right Wingers has drowned their voices.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Why Not Free Internet?

Would you do an article about providing every US citizen with MHz of bandwidth for free to use as they see fit? That is enough bandwidth to access the Internet. This needs to be a constitutional right. You could use part of the ham radio bandwidth, with the added benefit that the USA has ham radio bandwidth repeaters all over the USA that the government owns and maintains. Check FCC.gov to see the USA bandwidth use.

Kemp Horton
Florence, Ariz.

Editor Notes: It’s an excellent idea and it could be done, but telephone companies, cable TV providers and other telecom corporations would scream bloody murder. Not that their opposition is a good reason not to try. For example, New Orleans tried to provide free wireless Internet service when the city was rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, but was forced to give up the project in October 2006 after BellSouth complained that the service violated a state law that bans municipalities from giving away broadband services.

Free Lynne Stewart

I just read your article in TPP about Lynne Stewart’s raw deal [“Lynne Stewart’s Ordeal” by Martin Murie, 9/1/1O TPP]. I guess I heard about it before but it just quit being news. It occurred to me that we ought to start a petition campaign to ask Obama to pardon her. The campaign will get the case some publicity and just after the November election the president would have nothing to loose. The right wing already hates him and the last two years have proven that you can bend over backwards to appease them and it’ll do no good.

Carroll Johnson
Douglassville, Texas

From The Progressive Populist, October 1, 2010


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