Apply US Foreign Policy at Home

Secretary of State Clinton runs around the world so devoted to her role and delighted to tell other countries how America will help them with economic aid and that she represents the American symbol and beacon of freedom.

But there is no end to dead and wounded soldiers and no end to that flood of US tax dollars, that gushing pipeline of dollars the US spends to win the love and support of countries like Afghanistan.

We hear about newly opened schools, health care centers and building highways, paying the wages of Afghan soldiers and trying to teach them to read and write.

All these wasted tax dollars on stupid wars is fine and good for the military industry, but in America too many people are hurting and the debt problems the US is facing is going to fall hard on America’s poor and helpless.

And the richest can pay less tax because the Republicans claim the rich create jobs, but where are those jobs but in China and Mexico?

Why can’t President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton apply this foreign policy at home?

The American people need to start yelling loud in public at Obama and Clinton and all those millionaires in Congress who have messed up America with their stupid greed and disastrous trade policy that cost millions of jobs as corporations shut down factories and moved them to China and Mexico.

Yell at them for wasting our national wealth on two long, messy, unending wars while failing to invest in our own crumbling infrastructure.

We need to yell at that military industry God that is willing to bleed the life blood out of Social Security and health care and our children’s future so they can have more weapons of war.

Secretary of State Clinton is much like Mrs. Jellyby in the book by Charles Dickens, Bleak House, published in 1853. The fictional Mrs. Jellyby had a foreign policy just like Secretary of State Clinton.

Mrs. Jellyby set herself to save the people of the world, but she neglected her own family.

Her children were injured and sick and dirty and hungry but Mrs. Jellyby never noticed and didn’t care because she was devoted to helping people in Africa.

Al Hamburg
Torrington, Wyo.

Blind Believers

With refreshing humor, Hal Crowther refers to climate change denial as a faith (“Ayn Rand: the Right’s Weirdest Idol of All,” 8/1/11 TPP).

Nevertheless, his description of all those blind believers who dismiss scientific data as a hoax certainly hits the bull’s eye.

According to the respected Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a shocking 13% of high school teachers teach “Creationism!”

Worse yet, 60% of high school biology teachers admit that they avoid the topic of Evolution, which is the backbone of biological science.

It’s not surprising, then, that such irresponsible teaching leads to the “tyranny of the ignoramuses,” which Albert Einstein described so well.

Thus, the rich and powerful find it easy to sell foxes to dimwitted chicken owners to protect their chickens - and wolves to gullible sheep owners to protect their lambs.

Crowther is right: “ ... cynics will say anything, and the morons will believe it.”

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Shock and Awe

This “deal” of the “debt ceiling” crisis is nothing more than another “Shock and Awe” routine to cripple the middle class.

And this is one person who is absolutely outraged by the “deal” in many different ways. (1) How dare Obama even endanger the viability of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare?, (2) How dare he not adhere (a) to fair, proportional taxes on the wealthy and superwealthy, (b) to closing various tax loopholes which unfairly favor the wealthy and superwealthy, (c) to financially penalizing companies that outsource, (d) to initiating massive government programs to repair our infrastructure — for jobs, public safety and national economy. Why weren’t all these items “on the table?”

This person is also outraged by not enough public discussion about the parallels between our times and the pre-Hitler times of the Weimar Republic. To name a few parallels: (1) fractured political parties, (2) crippled Congress, (3) empowering of a radical Right (Tea Party), (4) weakened civil rights, and (5) weakened middle class.

Collectively we are too smart to tolerate these dysfunctions.

Charlotte Klieman
Miami, Fla.

Challenge Obama

The moment has come for the progressives to find a candidate to challenge President Obama in the 2012 primary. He did it again in the debt ceiling talk by hoisting the white flag. He is totally outfoxed, outwitted and out-maneuvered by the cunning old fox Mitch McConnell and the radical tea-party faction. We cannot go through four more years of pain and agony under the non-leadership of Obama.

His caving-in to the GOP has shaken the confidence and trust of many liberals in his ability to do the right things. His only guiding principle is compromise, compromise, and compromise at all cost and under all circumstances. He had compromised again too many Democratic principles and ideals.

His compromise is equivalent to unconditional surrender. He gives the term “compromise” a bad name. Besides, by allowing his opponent to link debt limit with the budgetary matters (spending and revenues) he sets a bad precedent by tying his own hands and future presidents’ hands in dealing with debt limits. By budging to his opponents’ pressure, he rendered himself ineffective as a president. He is a spent bullet, has no more value.

Furthermore, he is a very, very lousy negotiator. In the debt ceiling matter, he should have insisted on a clean bill or invoked the 14th Amendment. By agreeing to negotiate he already lost half the battle. He again and again accepted his opponent’s terms of reference. No doubt many pundits see him more as a moderate Republican than a Democrat. He is more comfortable with many Republican policies and political positions than with the Democratic positions.

Do we need such a Democratic leader in the White House for four more years? Not me.

May I suggest a name for discussion — Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

Boon T. Lee
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Change Parties

I wish to pose for consideration by the readership that the term “progressive” implies remaining formally or informally tied to or at least tacitly accepting what commonly is known as “the two-party system.”

I think there is ample evidence that the Democrat party cannot or will not be reformed in any meaningful way and that the case can be made that it is has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican/Tea Party. Is this where you want to spend the rest of your political life?

I urge the readership to take their good brains and good hearts to a higher level: democratic socialism as practiced by several organizations including one I am working with: The Workers International League, headquartered in Minneapolis and which may be reached via email at laborpartyjp@gmail.com.

I urge you to contact our founder-leader, John Peterson, for more information. I believe you will find we offer you the opportunity reach your full political maturity and that democratic socialism with a strong emphasis on labor’s values for the commonwealth could well be your political apotheosis.

Welcome, future comrades!

Willard B. Shapira
Roseville, Minn.

Counting Votes

I always look forward to Donald Kaul’s columns, and I wish to offer a comment on his Loose American Screws in the 8/1/11 issue. Referring to former President George W. Bush, Mr. Kaul wrote: “At which point the American people, in their wisdom, elected an ignoramus from Texas to lead them.”

The real truth, of course, is that that unfortunate achievement cannot be credited to the American people. The 2000 election came down to one state, Florida, whose governor was Bush’s brother and whose secretary of state was his campaign manager. There were recounts, butterfly ballots, hanging chads, evidence of irregularities, and a convoluted mess that grew bigger by the day.

By all accounts, a statewide recount would have awarded Florida, and with it the presidency, to Al Gore. But the US Supreme Court rode in on a white horse, stopped the recount, and declared Florida, and the presidency, to George W. Bush. Lucky us!

The 2004 election came down to one state, Ohio; and that came down to one county, Cuyahoga. What’s the biggest thing in Cuyahoga County? The city of Cleveland. Who lives in Cleveland? Primarily people of color, people of low income, people not inclined to vote Republican. How do they vote in Cleveland? With electronic voting machines. Who supplies those? The Diebold Corporation. Who is the top guy at Diebold? A wealthy and influential right-wing Republican. And how did the votes tally up? Gosh, this is so amazing! But it seems that Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County, and the state of Ohio, voted for Bush, and Junior had four more years!

Thank you, sir, may we have another?

In 25 words or less, W’s first term was given to him, and his second term was stolen for him. God bless America! But I think it is fair to say that the responsibility for the Idiot Prince and those eight long years of malfeasance, mendacity, incompetence, and corruption cannot be laid at the feet of the American people. The old adage says that, if you don’t vote, you have no business complaining. The late George Carlin, however, maintained that it’s the people who do vote who shouldn’t complain, because they are the ones who actually put the scoundrels in office.

J.F. Dacey
Lowell, Mass.


The privatization process is gaining momentum, and about to reach binge proportions, as we witness the Commons, which rightfully belong to the people, systematically turned over to the for-profit sector, including portions of NASA, which was originally created and maintained by our tax dollars.

One cannot escape the conclusion that future space probes will be launched by these new corporate owners in their insatiable quest for profit, solely focusing on the effort to discover a new planet in the Universe, wich is inhabited by hapless beings willing to labor for the princely sum of 10 cents an hour, and even voluntarily eschewing their right to benefits. What a glorious dream scenario for the flag waving Elite, Wall Street, Corporations and Plutocrats, albeit far fetched, but nevertheless a fitting analogy of the damage they have already been allowed to inflict on homo sapiens here on earth under the faux banner of Freedom and Democracy.

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

Facts or Fiction?

Prior to August 1, 2011, the following countries had a triple A credit rating for their outstanding bonds: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, England and the USA.

Not on this list are China, Cuba and North Korea, communist countries not worthy of the highest credit rating.

Japan is not either, because most Japanese buy their own bonds.

All the countries on the preferred list can be considered socialist states with a constitutional right to pensions and medical care from birth to death, except the United States, so the conclusion can only be that Social Security for some and Medicare for all has not bankrupted any “socialist” country yet.

This makes the Republican claim of blaming the entitlements for our debts very weak and actually untrue, because social security is funded for many years.

The glaring differences are the tax structures and the wars in which each country is involved. Virtually the entire burdens of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are borne by America and only part of NATO is involved in Libya.

No other country has as many soldiers stationed outside of their borders as we.

As far as I know all the countries on the list charge higher earners a higher tax rate and don’t think that is “class warfare”. They don’t attack labor unions either.

As far as liberty is concerned, we are no more free than other democracies.

John A. van Huizum
Acton, Calif.

Sports Capitalism

In your 8/1/11 issue Dave Zirin does his usual fine job of presenting and analyzing the major social-economic issues surrounding sport, this time the NBA lock-out. (Edge of Sports, “NBA Hopes the Players Can Save Owners From Themselves”) But I would like to add one point he does not discuss.

All the owners are capitalists who amassed (or inherited) their wealth in other ventures. In these ventures when they lay-off workers, deprive them of decent pensions and health care, ignore safety and environmental regulations, refuse to collectively bargain and move jobs to low wage, non-union, no regulations of any kind to speak of venues, etc., they invoke the blessed and benevolent free market. They can do this because they are usually dealing with unorganized, expendable, replaceable, inarticulate, isolated workers. They can do it, in short, because they can get away with it.

Now, when they own sports teams and are confronted with highly organized, articulate, irreplaceable, non-expendable, far from isolated but rather publicly adulated workers, they totally forget the blessed and benevolent free market. Now that they can’t get away with it they want “guaranteed profits,” “hard salary caps,” and contracts they don’t need to keep.

Now they want a highly controlled and regulated space with a guaranteed return on investment. In short, they want what they always want, a welfare state for themselves and competitive, heartless, free market capitalism for the rest of us.

Ed Beller
The Bronx, N.Y.

From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2011


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