Morning in America

Congratulations everyone! This country has truly changed, and I believe there will be no going back. Hate lost Nov. 6. That is amazing in and of itself. And all the women who were elected! A total rebuke of Neanderthal attitudes.

Now the real work begins. Millions of us — the majority — must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do. Mr. President, do not listen to the pundits who today call for you to “compromise.” No. You already tried that. It didn’t work. You can compromise later if you need to, but please, no more beginning by compromising. And if the Republican House doesn’t want to play ball, do a massive end run around them with one executive order after another — just like they have done and will do if given the chance again.

We have to have Obama’s back. As he is blocked and attacked by the Right, we need to be there with him. We are the majority. Let’s act like it.

And please Mr. President, make the banks and Wall Street pay. You're the boss, not them. Lead the fight to get money out of politics — the spending on this election is shameful and dangerous. Don’t wait ’til 2014 to bring the troops home. Bring ’em home now. Stop the drone strikes on civilians. End the senseless war on drugs. Act like a pit bull when it comes to climate change. Ignore the nuts, and fix this now. Take the profit motive out of things that any civilized country would say, “this is for the common good.” Make higher education affordable for everyone and don't send 22-year-olds out into the world already in massive debt. Order a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions. Enact economic policy that will create good-paying jobs and spend the money that's needed to do that. Make your second term one for the history books.

Finally, thanks must be given to the Occupy movement who, a year ago, set the tone of this election year by getting everyone to talk about the 1% vs. 99%. It inspired Obama and his campaign to realize that there was a huge popular sentiment against what the wealthy have done to the country and there was something wrong if just 400 rich guys owned more than 160 million Americans combined (all those moochers and bums). This led to Romney’s “47%” remarks and THAT was the beginning of the end of his campaign. Thank you Mother Jones for releasing that secret tape, and thank you to the minimum wage worker who placed a camera on the serving buffet next to the candle. This morning's headline in the Washington Post says it all: “At Romney headquarters, the defeat of the 1 percent.” Thank you Sandra Fluke for enduring the insults hurled at you and then becoming an important grassroots leader against the war on women. Thank you Todd Akin for ... well, for just being you. Thank you CEOs of Chrysler and GM for coming out forcefully against the Republican(!) candidate, saying he lived in “some parallel universe” when he lied about Jeep. Thank you Governor Christie for your new bromance with Obama. You know, you really didn’t have to!

And you, Mother Nature, with all your horrific damage, death and destruction you caused last week, you became, ironically, the undoing of a party that didn’t believe in you or your climate changing powers.

Perhaps they’ll believe now.

Once again, thanks to all of you who brought a nonvoter to the polls. In a last minute effort to get Obama an extra million votes he wasn’t counting on, I enjoyed talking and texting with your loved ones and friends yesterday who weren’t going to vote — but then changed their minds after a little nudge and some TLC (“Damn! Michael Moore? I’m getting in to car right now to go vote.”).

To my fellow Americans, I think you'll agree: it was nice to wake up the morning of Nov. 7 in the United States of America.

Michael Moore
Flint, Mich.

GOP Just Says No

Tina Dupuy, in her article, “Congress is morally bankrupt” (11/1/12 TPP), has put all the blame on the 112th Congress. In reality the “rot” started as soon as the Democrats lost the filibuster proof majority in the Senate (with the loss of Senate seat from Mass.). Some of the blame therefore should also go to the Senate Republicans who made it their business to “block” all bills passed by the House, especially those which could have improved the economy. The Republican Leader of the Senate, Mr. Mitch NoConnell (oops, a Freudian slip) made it his business that President Obama will be a one-term President — the swinging of the House in favor of Republicans in 2010 made his job easier. The 112th Congress, unlike the 111th Congress, did not send up any legislation that needed filibustering. He thereby salvaged some of his reputation and will not go down in history as the “man who carried his grudge (against Mr. Obama) at the expense of the economic welfare of America.”

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Celebrate Immigrants

In her 11/1/12 column, “How About Serious Proposals to Boost Employment,” Arianna Huffington writes that almost a quarter of venture-backed startups are launched by immigrants, and that “many of the best and brightest young minds in the world are educated at American universities.”

I’ll wager that not many Americans are aware of that. Yet, I’m sure they instinctively realize that, contrary to the inscription, “give me your tired,” on the Statue of Liberty, those who come are not the tired ones. No! They are energetic — and eager to work and learn!

The tired stay home.

Many Americans’ xenophobia is a tragedy! Why must it take several generations for our society to finally appreciate our ethnic and cultural diversity, and marvel at its success?

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Why No Nuke Shutdown?

They’ve shut the subways. They’ve shut the schools. They’ve shut the parks, tunnels and shortly the bridges. But the nuclear power generators at Indian Point, just 26 miles north of New York City? Those they’re keeping open.

This is insane!

Should the waters of the Hudson flood into the plant, that will be an utter disaster. Should any of the spent fuel rods stored in pools at Indian Point be washed into the Hudson, we can kiss New York City goodbye. (How’s that for an early morning TV show – “Goodbye, New York”?)

There are 16 nuclear power plants in the path of hurricane Sandy, as it whips its way back from the Atlantic (at noon today) and up the coast. And not a damn thing about it on the news.

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Complete Picture

Donald McCarthy is correct in stating that business leaders love austerity (Guess Who Benefits,” 11/1/12 TPP). However, the true reason goes beyond scheming for a tax break or regulatory relief.

What is the opposite of austerity? Profligacy, right! On the national level, this is called deficit spending. And so, what’s wrong with deficit spending?

Forget the brainwashing platitude that “we’re leaving this debt to our children.” Future Americans aren’t going to pay back the trillions in national debt even if they could. Once the debt reaches a point where the government must borrow simply to pay the interest, an inflationary cycle will began that will dilute the value of monetary assets.

And make no mistake, governments love inflation. Once inflation gets going, treasuries are able to pay back old borrowing with devalued fiat funds.

On the other hand, it is this fear of inflation and its inevitable softening of wealth that makes the 1% demand austerity. They are much less concerned with a modest tax increase on the millions that they effortlessly earn with their billions, than the havoc that an inflationary spiral (like the ’70s) will play on their precious mother lodes.

No one understood this better than FDR. Prior to WWII, he burned the candle at both ends by raising income and transfer taxes on the wealthy to staggering heights, while he depreciated their principals through deficit spending on the national projects which evolved the middle class.

Talk about a guy with the complete picture.

Ron DiGiovanni
Easton, Pa.

Woody at 100 Concert — Where Was Organized Labor?

I had the great pleasure to “jam” with Tom Paxton, Tim O’Brien, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mark Schatz at the “Woody Guthrie at 100 Jam Session” Oct. 14 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Had a great time. As a practicing union member, it warmed my heart.

My grandfather and Woody’s father both lived in Okfuskee County, Okla., in 1912, the year Woody was born

I really felt the influence of Woody, and what he gave to the common, working man and woman in America – Hope and Pride.

Woody’s son, Arlo, and daughter Nora are to be commended for carrying on this tradition. It is a wonder that the concert came off, considering the burden that Arlo (understandably absent due to the recent death of his wife), and the extended Guthrie family were laboring under. ...

It has been a long time since I felt a communal friendliness and warmth that permeated the strum and sing-along; and at the main concert as well.

Noel Paul Stookey really made everyone feel at home, along with Tom, Tim, and Mark. This was regenerative to my soul today, in D.C., just as it was for those in worker camps back in the dust bowl days.

I commend the Old Crow Medicine Show for playing a rousing version of “Union Maid/I’m Stickin to the Union” at the big concert. Thanks for standing up for Labor. Somebody from the AFL-CIO should have been there to thank Woody and the Guthries. But they weren’t. It would have been good to see Rich Trumka or a major union leader up on the stage — or at least passing a message of congratulations along.

My sincere sympathy to Arlo concerning his wife, Jackie’s, passing. I like to think that Judy Collins and the other great artists that performed, sang her to heaven.

God Bless you, Woody, and Arlo and Nora.

Greg Guthrie
Washington, D.C./Tulsa, Okla.

Wealth Distribution

Recently, the issue of our skewed wealth distribution led to a friendly discussion, with particular focus on some familiar names among the so called 1/10 of 1%. such as: Warren Buffet (62), Bill Gates (61), George Soros (35) Koch Brothers (55) and the Walmart family (91), who have managed to amass these billions within the span of a mere generation or two.

When questioning the fairness of such an arrangement, during this time of unemployment, homelessness, poverty and sub-standard wages, the unanimous response was to defend and shield these folks from criticism, by hailing one of Bill Gates’ recent contribution of $100 million to charity, as an example of their outstanding generosity and philanthropy.

Well, barring the use of personal money printing presses, their wealth must have been extracted from our collective pocket, directly or indirectly, fairly or unfairly, overtly or covertly, legally or illegally, ceding them, and the other 9/10 of the notorious 1%, influence and power to hold sway over our very lives and future.

Conversely, while so many of us are engaged in viewing each other with suspicion, lest someone get away with undeservedly collecting welfare or food stamps, the plutocrats and their enterprises, subsidized by untold billions in government handouts, tax breaks and wealth in offshore accounts, are coddled, given free rein to operate in a vacuum, and spared such pesky encumbrance as oversight and scrutiny, which should be undertaken on behalf of We the People, by holding our corrupt and paid off representatives in Washington accountable and position their pedicured feet closer to the fire.

Whether willing to acknowledge it or not, we find ourselves in the throes of having our commonwealth sold, confiscated, redistributed and thus inexorably headed for a scenario reminiscent of a past shameful era, when Robber Barons had control of our economy and ruled with an iron fist.

In light of such obscene wealth concentration, it is hard from the perspective of us humble working (or retired) stiffs to extrapolate, the aforementioned highly touted $100 million is actually the equivalent of a man who owns $61,000 and opts to donate a $100 bill.

Oh, the miracle that obfuscation, public relations, spin and misinformation has wrought, by successfully managing to pull the wool over our collective eyes, yet further enhanced by our ongoing denial and resistance to wake up and shed it.

Welcome to the ingenious novel American concept of welfare for the rich and free enterprise for the poor!

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

Follow the Money

Most are familiar with Einstein’s definition of insanity, that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Democrats are saying just that about Romney’s tax cuts for the wealthy, that since they have failed to stimulate the economy and stem the tide of unemployment (unemployment increased by 45% under Bush), one must be insane to continue to use them.

Democrats failed to take into account another of Einstein’s observations: relativity. You see, relative to Romney’s bank accounts (both foreign and domestic), tax cuts have been a phenomenal success, as his reluctantly released tax records prove. From the perspective of those footing the bill for subsidization of the wealthy, they have been an abysmal failure. But they don’t count, and Romney essentially told us as much.

So, Romney is not insane for advocating more of the tax cut same, since he is counting on achieving the same results. Everything Romney is advocating results in self-enrichment, from privatization schemes for Medicare and Social Security to the dismantlement of costly democracy by deregulation and empowerment of corporations. If you believe that is sheer coincidence then I have some prime lunar real estate to sell you …

Mike Richardson
Albuquerque, N.M.

Militarism Unchanged

More than a century ago, a major American political party defined “militarism” as follows:

“It means conquest abroad and intimidation and oppression at home. It means the strong arm that has ever been fatal to free institutions. It is what millions of our citizens fled from in Europe.”

So read the Democratic National Platform for the year 1900.

Enough said.

William Dauenhauer
Willowick, Ohio

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2012



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