Recession Depression

I challenge the moral injustice of both our failed economy and the dictates of psychiatry. According to the Pittsburgh Office of Behavioral Health, droves of unemployed workers now share psychiatric services with the mentally ill. Due to the ravaging effects of this “recession,” many of the unemployed have developed a common diagnosis of depression.

“Caveat Emptor” to these former workers, new psychiatric patients from this failed economy and psychiatry destroys both groups’ chance at achieving the American Dream which workers have valiantly fought to attain and maintain.

Due to job downsizing I, also unemployed, sat in a friend’s apartment reminiscing over my opulent job history. But I missed the bi-weekly food bank. Humbled and hungry, I asked her for a “gourmet” box of Mac ‘n Cheese from the food bank. At home, I envisioned the Great Depression bread and soup lines that unraveled like a human snake touching the horizon.

I then concluded that our government, unlike that of the Great Depression, deceptively claimed that the severe economic downturn reflected a recession, not a depression.

The proud working man, due to this depression, now joined the impoverished mentally ill at the food banks. Both are jobless and, therefore, purposeless for similar reasons now shared in the effects of this depression. In desperation their basic needs for sustenance were now fulfilled from food banks.

Both have become victimized statistics caught in the ruthless spiral of a failed economy, immortalized daily on CNN.

With a burning sense of injustice I scrambled for cans of Spaghettios at the food bank. The government’s untruthful definition now linked these two groups with two mutual denominators, unemployment and poverty, despite an executive Band-Aid rescue from this “recession.”

Specifically, the worker defeated by this depression is normally free to pick and choose where to work. In a tragic display of erroneous, stigmatized judgement, psychiatry dictates to new patients to become indentured slaves, encouraging them to apply for Social Security benefits.

Discarded humanity, both groups are reduced to the level of Social Security and unemployment compensation benefits, which become their surrogate financial parents. In our society all people need a purpose for living. Employment defines that purpose in our nation. For the chronically-unemployed worker, gone is the white picket fence, comfortable home, two cars and a stable, prosperous job that simply describes our nation’s vision of the American Dream.

In addition to depression former workers may suffer brokeness of their spirit and lose their pride. Both this damning depression and psychiatry’s erroneous judgements cast the former proud worker and his fallen counterpart, the mentally ill, into hell, robbed of the American Dream.

They remain suspended victims of societal exile, stripped naked without the chance to attain an acceptable level of materialism in our materialistic society, due to a failed economy which may be governmentally controlled and politically dominated by partisan wealthy interests.

Catherine Warmuth
McKees Rocks, Pa.

Fight Bribocracy

I agree with every thought, every premise you included in your 3/1/10 issue editorial [“Despair Is Not An Option].

That’s a warning.

Nobody else I know thinks I’m right about “Despair Is Not an Option.” Almost a half dozen of my closest friends have left the US and withdrawn from public life.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said it all in his resignation remarks printed in the Sunday, Feb. 21, New York Times.

For your next piece I suggest you consider eschewing the tags, “Republican” or “Democrat.” With the exception of a very few lawmakers, Bayh, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and a few others, the elected officials are no longer running a democracy. The only name for it is bribocracy.

The case of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) is informative. The apparent contest between the two parties is centered on committee chairmanships. Specter was sort of a liberal, but that got him nowhere as a Republican. To regain his committee chair he switched. But it was certainly not a change of principles. He has joined the Democratic branch of the bribocracy.

Nathaniel Polster
Chicago, Ill.

Read Zinn

The anti-war essays by Dr. Howard Zinn, which I have read, are all extremely good and in my judgment irrefutable. They fit admirably with both the Peoples’ History and the companion volume, Voices. The latter has the words of persons mentioned in Dave Zirin’s essay [“Howard Zinn: Historian Who Made History,” 3/1/10 TPP]. plus Helen Keller as an anti-war (WWI) activist, Gen. Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket” and documents which reveal the hypocrisy of the two atomic bombings of Japan. There was no mention in the corporate media that I have heard of his passing. It was the same week as did reclusive novelist J.D. Salinger, who was mentioned despite only publishing one novel and 13 short stories, to Zinn’s over 20 books. I wonder why Dr. Zinn was ignored. I speculate that in addition to his history, scholarship and activism for racial equality and democratic justice for all peoples of America, he wrote and spoke out against war and militarism, both from personal experience in WWII and with historical authority. (This also seems true for the way Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered, as he also strongly opposed war and income disparity as well as racial inequality).

All progressives should have both books in their personal libraries. I find them invaluable. Additionally, collected volumes of anti war writings Just War and Howard Zinn on War would be great reading for any young person targeted by military recruiters. They might counteract the big-mouthed miscreants screaming “soft on defense” any time there is a proposal to reduce military spending or withdrawal of our military forces.

Arthur House
Franklin, W.V.

Say No to Nukes

Neither Amy Goodman nor Ralph Nader (3/15 issue) quotes from Amory Lovins what I used, many times, in the 1980s: “Heating water with nuclear power is like cutting butter with a chainsaw.” And, “Heating water with nuclear power is like ringing a doorbell with a cannon ball.”

An engineer friend, not anti-nuke when I was active in Clamshell Alliance, said to me, “Something’s wrong with a technology that has so much heat left over that it must release it into the atmosphere (cooling towers).

Sometime during a Mississippi River states drought, nuclear power plants using it for coolant water began drawing in mud – the shoreline of the river had receded so far. This was in the late 1980s, as I remember it. That same hot summer Indian Point nuclear plant in close proximity to New York City had to reduce power – the heated water it released into the Hudson River heated up, too much, the unusually low volume of the river.

Three Mile Island Accident at Unit 2 had to use Unit 1’s controls to monitor the accident; the contamination in Unit 2’s control room was too lethal. What happens when only one unit exists on a site (as at Seabrook in N.H., where Unit 2 was begun but canceled)?

Three Mile Island Accident revealed that the 10-mile radius, recommended evacuation zone proves useless. People at 10.5 miles stay home? No. People at 20 miles stay home? No. People will evacuate, too, as they see the inner ring of evacuees fleeing through. Prof. Donald J. Ziegler, at Old Dominion University, studied this and named it “evacuation shadow phenomenon.”

Nuclear power is prone to all kinds of bad performance, symbol of power companies’ vanities that it is (“my nuclear power plant is bigger than your nuclear power plant”). What the hell is President Obama doing, continuing one more Bush-era poor judgment? (Mr. Nader points out that the first $18 billion President Obama natters about is $18 billion passed under Bush.) I find it hard to believe he’s a parent with two little kids to protect. In a family, they’d get after him for his investing good money in the trickery and iffiness of nuclear power. What drives him to act the stooge for an industry that private money won’t touch?

Lynn Rudmin Chong
Sanbornton, N.H.

Health Care Deform

Our country has the most expensive health care system of all the advanced countries of the world — and the worst according to statistics measuring infant mortality, among other factors. This is because our system is based upon medical entrepreneurship, upon the maximization of profit. Our two-party system, which is funded largely on the patronage of the corporations, reflects of necessity the interests of the moneyocracy. This means that no FDR or LBJ can, under present conditions, gain political power. Therefore, the so-called middle class and the working class are at the mercy of capital.

This present day bipartisan claptrap is one means of deceiving the people. The very idea that diverse interests can be amenable to reasoned discourse is ludicrous. Abraham Lincoln once wrote that the interests of the wolf can never be reconciled to that of the lamb. Capital shall never give, nor has ever given, anything to Labor unless compelled to do so.

The recent presidential conference between two similar parties, anent bipartisanship, was a joke. It is meant to deceive the voters.

The point is that the present health bill monstrosity was written by Big Pharma and the Insurance Industry. It makes insurance compulsory under conditions most unfavorable to working people and turns on its head the very principle of reform. This proposed bill is Republican body and soul and it shall therefore eventually pass. Their opposition to Obama is a game of consummate deception. It is a hoax, for without single payer, or at least a public option, everything else is fraudulent.

The people need one true opposition party — a Labor party. Healthcare must be separated from the profiteers. Only government can do this and if this be socialism, then so be it.

Walter Tegnazian
Orlando, Fla.

Give Dems a Break

Good grief. Why is everyone so panicky? A few Republicans squeak into office and now the sky is falling! “Obama is a one-term president!” “Tea Parties defeat Beer Parties!” “The electorate is seeing red!”

Even in Maine, not much attention is paid to Massachusetts politics. In New York, New England barely exists — except when a scandal or weird crime grabs headlines.

Who says we have to rant and rave all the time to prove our sincerity, power or good faith? Some of us out here — old though we may be — remember worse times, and worse candidates. Obama is trying to work with the hand he’s been dealt.

If the Democrats would make the Republicans carry out their filibuster threats, then the Party of No would be exposed for what they are. They always threaten catastrophe if their wishes aren’t met.

Well, we’ve had years of that, and see where accommodating them has gotten us.

If no one has learned that in at least the last 10 years, they’ve been asleep — or really enjoy suffering.

Can’t Democrats — at the very least — help people remember the Republican “Good Old Days”? And it’s the Same Old Party playing their same old tunes.

Give us a break! They can’t beat proven incompetence?

It’s not just how much you have or have not, it’s what you do with it.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Fight the Slime

In the letters to my local newspaper I’ve noticed that recently the people who implanted the idea in the heads of noncontemplative people that “liberal” was an awful label are working the same magic on the word “progressive.”

We need to fight this by reminding people what progressives have progressed FROM. We have abandoned human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, cannibalism, slavery, monarchy, and the lynching of black boys for whistling at white women.

We cannot allow the word progressive to become demonized, because we have a lot more progress to make. Now the important decisions on how our tax dollars are spent, and which countries we will attack, are made by our most wicked citizens. This form of governance is called kakistocracy, and conservative, conformist leaders will never help us to evolve upward from this mess.

Larry Surber
Stoneville, N.C.

Humane Treatment Ridiculed

On page 21 of his book, The Savage Nation, the ultra- conservative radio personality, Dr. Michael Savage, ridicules those who advocate the humane treatment of farm animals with these words:

“.. they hijack the entire conscience of America with absurd non-issues, and then make you feel guilty for eatinq McChicken.”

I’m amazed that Michael Savage has a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, in epidemiology and nutrition sciences! I wish he would take the time to read Margot Ford McMillen’s, “Hens Bring It Home,” (3/1/10 TPP) so he could learn how dangerous factory farming is to our health.

Who needs a doctorate in “Physicomothemocology,” anyway? All we need to know about good nutrition and good animal husbandry can be found in Ms. McMillen’s excellent work.

David Quintero
Temple City, Calif.

National Debt Perspective

Let’s place the national debt in its proper perspective. In a book that I read recently written by a PhD in physics, he stated one trillion pages would result in a pile 60,000 miles high (263 pages = 1 inch).

Our national debt is approximately $14 trillion, or a pile of $1 bills of 840,000 miles. In other words, a pile of one dollar bills to circle the Earth 34 times, or 140 round trips from Los Angeles to New York City.

The Bush administration added nearly $5 trillion to our national debt [from $5.7 trillion the day George W. Bush took office to $10.6 trillion the day he left], or a pile of $1 bills to circle the Earth 12 times, or 50 round trips from Los Angeles to New York City.

When President Reagan took the oath in January 1981, our national debt was $700 billion. As Sen. Everett Dirksen once said, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Patrick Richardson
Ava, Mo.

Thanks for Molly Tribute

What a wonderful tribute Hal Crowther wrote to Molly Ivins [“The Red Rose of Texas,” 3/1/10 TPP]. I thought she would have loved it. Her articles covered serious, even tragic, events. It was the only way I could read about George “Shrub” Bush. She always left me smiling, no matter how grim the news.

Hal Crowther caught her essence. I wish he would write her biography. He could do her justice.

Thanks, Hal, for bringing Molly back. The picture was super.

Jill Gaither Hansen
Indianapolis, Ind.

From The Progressive Populist, April 1, 2010


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