The Right to Slavery

The argument one hears about the right to work movement sweeping the country would be better entitled the surrender to enslavement. A friend is reading a very interesting book, The Walmart Effect. It is absolutely shocking. If you read this book you will never set foot in another Walmart again. The book describes in detail how Walmart employs 1.5 million people worldwide in a huge gulag, a connected chain of slave labor manufacturing facilities around the world.

The conditions inside these “factories” are hideous. You may have seen some of them in documentaries on 20/20 or 60 Minutes. This is what American job seekers are competing with. We are competing with the lowest paid worker anywhere else in the entire world.

Who ever thought that the huge manufacturing facilities built in Lowell, Mass., would one day be abandoned for cheap labor down South? We have been going south ever since. First, South Carolina, then South America, then south of the border to Mexico. When Mexico developed a middle class, it became too expensive, so consumer manufacturing moved to the Chinese gulags.

All to chase the almighty dollar. It’s the profit incentive. It is greed personified. There is a worldwide slave labor movement sweeping through global markets. Profits go to those companies who go to the poorest countries in the world to exploit cheap labor. The plausible motive behind this greedy corporate behavior is to secure the lowest possible retail price for consumers.

Slave labor is our competition. This is the race to the bottom. It is economic cannibalism. The final link in this chain of enslavement occurs when poor consumers shop at Walmart.

David Tierney
Lowell, Mass.


Political Sports

John Buell’s article (“The Politics of the Broadcast Booth,” 12/1/12 TPP) on the obvious and the hidden and subtle political implications of sports reporting is excellent. Especially insightful is his point that competitive sport tends to encourage us to see the world as a vast league with competing nation states as teams while ignoring the internal political and social injustices of these teams. (Not to mention that these unitary nations states are often the results of brutal population removals or ethnic and religious “cleansings”).

I would like to add that aside from blatant military displays at football games, the game itself is a blatant military display where armored warriors gain territory with acts of planned, strategic violence directed by a field general using an air attack and a ground attack based on a careful division of labor and aided by aerial surveillance and instructions from headquarters. And as we recently learned, incapacitating the enemy by “taking out” its most effective weapons is part of the over all strategy.

It can’t be a coincidence that the United States is the only nation where football is a major sport.

Ed Beller
The Bronx, New York City

Restore Habeas Corpus

It was a day of infamy — Dec. 21, 2012 — when Congress, except for 107 representatives and 14 senators, tried to overthrow the democratic government of the United States, by eliminating Habeas Corpus as the foundation of liberty.

The right to trial before imprisonment has been enshrined in American and English common law for 800 years, back to King John and the Magna Carta. It is the bulwark against tyranny. The National Defense Authorization Act 2013, with its Habeas Corpus amendment, carries us back to the dark ages, in the form of civilian labor camps within military installations. (See Jesse Ventura’s 23 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read.)

We still have recourses. Restore Habeas Corpus can be an unending chant to Congress. It is anguish to view pictures of the Sandy Hook school children, but we are not shown pictures of the equally small children in sovereign countries who are killed in their own homes by the drone bombs of Barack Obama. Another recourse would be to demand the impeachment of Barack Obama for international war crimes.

Jean G. Braun
South Euclid, Ohio

Not OK with GMOs

A recent letter from a “retired biologist” (“OK with GMO” by Dianne Leonard, 1/1-15/13 TPP] stated “there is no difference between GMO crops and traditional ones. The result is no different than one would get from selective breeding that humans have been doing on crops for the last 12,000 years.”

Is this biologist out of touch with biology? Haven’t farmers and others always cross pollinated plants of the same species to encourage the expression of various traits of plants?

DNA may be DNA, as the biologist states, but have farmers taken genes from one species (bacteria or viruses) and forced it into the DNA of other species (soy beans, corn, potatoes)?

Without a biology background to tout, I need to ask why the US Patent Office issues patents on plants as new life forms and categorizes them as bio-pesticides if they are indeed something that nature is willing to grant to a farmer.

Knowing that it is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled, I still ask this retired biologist, and all those who eat, to look at some of the evidence presented on ResponsibleTechnology.org or to watch or read Genetic Roulette by Jeffery Smith.

Elaine Hardman
Wellsville, N.Y.


Think About Cars

Having just read the Lawrence J. Hanley/Bill McKibben piece (“Think About the Transportation Sector,” 1/1-15/12 TPP] with much resonation it made me think of my candidacy for the US Congress, 15th District (Lehigh Valley) in the 1980s. While I was mostly a mouthpiece for a small group of very progressive lefties, one idea was my contribution: phase out the automobile over a ten year period and phase in trolleys, jitneys, trains, buses, etc. I ran twice as a Democrat and a third time as “The Lesser Evil” Republican in an attempt to go head to head against the incumbent, Don Ritter. I recall thinking that if the gurus of capitalism had marketed cars the way trains were advertised, there would be no problem with auto pollution and congestion. You needed a bloodhound to find the train station in Phillipsburg, N.J., hidden behind some ramshackle buildings. Rt. 22 was, is and ever shall be a parking lot during rush hour and when tractor-trailers overturned, negotiating Cemetery Curve on Rt. 22 in Easton, Pa., traffic was a parking lot for hours. In my first effort against two Democratic candidates wired to the Party and the money, they got 10,000 plus-or-minus votes and we got 6,000-plus on a budget of $3000. ... I hold a B.S. in Geological Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh with all the rights, privileges and immunities thereunto appertaining. That and three bucks will get me a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts. But I did come away with the knowledge that since Colonel Drake punched his first well down inside Titusville, Pa., in 1845, we have sucked most of the oil out of the USA. It took millions of years to form in the earth’s crust. It ain’t coming back for millions more. Our “transportation” system, bumper to bumper during rush hours on Rt. 22 is filled with what will have no function but monuments to science. The issue is so simple that even I can understand it. The idea is to get from A to Z and all points in between with alacrity and dispatch. Sitting in a car going zero miles an hour with engine running and fumes polluting transports no one.

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.


Two Sides to Israel-Gaza Story

In the 12/15/12 issue, Dave Zirin opens his article “Killing Hope: Why Israel Targets Sports in Gaza” with the statement Let’s start with a fact.” He then cites the bombing by Israelis of the soccer stadium in Gaza, continues with comments concerning how much the stadium means to Gazans, and follows with a discussion of the ways in which Israel harasses Gazan athletes. Okay so far. What was missing were the rest of the facts.

Absent were any expression of concern over the 1000 or so missiles launched into Israel that prompted the bombing. Were there people in the Gazan stadium? If so, who, or was it empty? The residences, schools and public buildings targeted by the missiles were peopled, most of whom (so far as I can tell from news reports) managed to flee to shelters, away from any destruction. Which itself appears to have been minimal, due to Israel’s missile defense system and its preparations for sparing its people. (Which raises a question: Why were not similar efforts to safeguard its citizens in place in Gaza? Surely, response to their attacks must have been foreseen.)

Exactly what would the writer propose that any country should do in response to attacks from missiles launched upon its lands and people? ...

Both peoples certainly exhibit both positive and negative features, as all groupings of people do. But what is usually served to us by the media are knee-jerk articles about big, bad Israelis and poor picked-on Palestinians. I should like some media somewhere to present thoughtful, honest articles re: both groups. Where can one find this sort of reporting?

Marjorie Morgan
Howard City, Mich.


Deficit Obsessions

The letter from Mr. Ron DiGiovanni (“The Complete Picture,” 12/1/12 TPP) explains partly the reasons for the “deficit obsession” by the super rich — that they are worried that if deficit is not checked it would lead to inflation, thereby reducing the purchasing power of their wealth. A strong reason, no doubt, but what about those who are not that rich yet they still clamor for debt reduction. I wonder if it has something to do with the “resentment” built over the years against the New Deal started by FDR. The unfair expressions such as “welfare queen” (of yesteryears) and the “takers” (currently used) only describes how deep-rooted this feeling is against the disadvantaged. By cutting the deficits they really want to cut the entitlements and President Obama should not fall for this.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.


Right Socialism

The article “More of the Right Kind of Socialism” by Hank Kalet (12/15/2012 TPP) relates to the continual growth of both the corporate support in government and the threat to reduce (or eliminate) social programs. We need to counter these incessant forces with the end of all corporate personhood.

One way to push the ball down this path would be to tax people, not corporations. Government should support the people who get taxed and get represented in a democracy. While corporations get taxed, they can ethically demand a say in government.

The end of their taxation would have many beneficial results. There would be more accountability of expenses to the people. If people alone bore the expenses and their increases for wars, military weaponry, corporate welfare, industry subsidies, bank bailouts, etc. we would feel them more fully. This would lead to more democratic responses to them. Also if we alone paid for public scientific research, medical research, technological research, and pharmaceutical research, we could demand public benefits. Reductions in prices or patent lengths would be the least we could demand. We could even demand benevolent uses of the research results, as the people decide.

Corporate percentage of total taxes has dropped, while corporate political power has risen. We should end all fabricated justifications for corporate, direct influence of government. For example, end corporate taxes and end corporate personhood.

Telemachos Mavrides
Mesa, Ariz.


Reinstate Fairness Doctrine

The Republicans rule rural areas largely due to the fact that they have to travel by car so much, and the only radio stations they can get for political information are extreme right-wing stations. Liberal radio stations don’t reach rural areas, or are few and far between.

The extreme right wing cannot exist if the other side is presented because it is primarily lies, logical inconsistencies and sneering at liberals with no counter argument. Urban areas vote Democratic because they hear both sides, hence make better decisions.

Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and the extreme right wing will go away!

This has been President Obama’s biggest mistake, and our country has unduly suffered for it.

Expect extreme blowback because this is the extreme right’s weakest link.

Glenn Goytil
New York, N.Y.

Fix Congressional Entitlements

Well, the daily newspapers and TV would have it that the Congress will soon begin its work of throwing Grandma and Grandpa overboard. We imagine Obama in the background, muttering, “I really do hate this, but I guess they should have saved their money instead of spending it on frivolous things like food and rent.” What a marvelous opportunity for a Congressional Critter to demonstrate his/her commitment to the principal of shared sacrifice and the idea “we are all in this together,” by stepping up and moving in the direction of doing away with the Congressional retirement and healthcare perks and joining the common herd in SS and Medicare. It would probably make little difference fiscally, but we would know who walks the walk and who talks the talk.

Don Baker
Alvarado, Texas

Cut the Military, Not Domestic Spending

Everyone who writes for a living are flapping their jaws about tax cuts, tax hikes, Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare-Medicaid to try to bring this behemoth under control. No one has said anything about the real problem. We are not an empire. We do not need bases in 128 countries. We do not need to carry out military functions around the world.

By bringing all troops home, the defense budget would shrink by 60 to 65 percent. What money is spent on supplies, housing and wages would be spent here creating much needed work. Also, our defense at home would be awesome!

William E. Shaw Jr.
Jackson, Mich.


Christians Vote for Killers

The majority religion in the United States is Christianity. And, most of these Christians keep voting for politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, who condone the use of drones that are killing innocent adults and children in Pakistan and other countries.

Apparently these “Christian” voters consider the deaths of these innocents as God’s “Collateral Damage”.

Dan Sweeton
Lebanon, Tenn.

From The Progressive Populist, February 1, 2013



Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2013 The Progressive Populist
PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652