Forever Blowing Bubbles

Hooray! The stock market (DJIA) went up 111 points today (July 14), while the rest of the economy went down 9,999 points. The great John Maynard Keynes said it: “The market can remain irrational longer than the speculator can remain solvent.”

The housing bubble burst in 2008 and caused a financial crisis. Could there be another bubble some day? I will tell you there is a bubble (two, in fact) in the stock market and the bond market. How viable for the great indefinite future are zero percent interest rates? Zero for banks, 3% for corporations, 14% to 29% for mere human citizens of the “greatest democracy on Earth” (otherwise known as the fascist oligarchy of North America), champions of the “American Dream,” a nightmare for the millions of citizens with $25,000 student debt, $7.25/hour jobs, $5,000 per month mortgage payments, $750 aper month Social Security, etc.

The stock market should be a bubble. A balloon pumped up by $4 trillion blown into the banks in the past three years by the Q.E. program of the Federal Reserve. Who else can create $4 trillion of their own private money supply? (The Fed is not a government agency — it is owned by the banks!) What did they do with the money? Apparently, it cleaned their balance sheets of all the bad debt from the housing boom and bust; and now they use it to speculate on derivatives ...

Not to worry. We can all go to retire to the Great Sam Brownback Mid-Continent Retirement Area (formerly known as Kansas, soon to be a great desert of blowing dust as far as the eye can see). What there are thunderstorms? How dare they!

Harvey Stoneburner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Life Not Death Penalty

This letter is in response to Hank Kalet’s column in the 6/1/14 issue of TPP, titled “Botched Execution Calls Death Penalty to Account.” I am looking to add some factors to his piece. I guess we all agree that these executions are a form of vengeance. Personally I oppose capitol punishment in any form for the following reasons.

First it is against my religion. The Old Testament quotes God as saying, “Vengeance is Mine”. We should not be usurping God. The New Testament cites Jesus as saying, “we should never return evil for evil” There is nothing more evil than taking another’s life. I do feel that the more severe penalty is jail with no parole. Lock up the prisoner and throw away the key. I offer the following to support this.

A few years ago when Mario Cuomo was New York State Governor a man was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. About the same time this man was convicted of murder in Arkansas and was sentenced to be executed. Gov. Cuomo objected and told Arkansas that the prisoner should pay his penalty to New York first. The murderer chose to be executed rather that spend 20 years in the New York lockup. That action convinced me that life without parole was a more severe penalty. As a side note, if the person was found later to be innocent so much the better. This is one of the reasons that New York no longer executes prisoners. If you are a cheapskate like me, especially in New York State, it was cheaper to house the prisoners at about $35,000 per year as opposed to spending millions on the court proceedings necessary before he/she can be executed. It would take a considerable amount of time to gather all the particulars in the above case so I felt it more timely to cite the history from memory.

Norris R. Ellinwood
Whitesboro, N.Y.

Editor Replies: When there are considerably more Democrats than Republicans, as demonstrated when Obama was re-elected and Democrats outpolled Republicans in congressional races in 2012, but right wingers still host more than 90% of political talk shows on commercial radio, and popular liberal talkers actually lost stations in Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco in the past year, we think it has more to do with the megamillionaires that control Clear Channel and other radio chains and don’t want progressive points of view to be aired.

Koch Headline Incredible

When I looked at the headline of your article in the 6/15/14 TPP [“Koch Brothers Demand More Government Intervention and Taxes”], I wondered what the article was going to say. I thought, “What has gotten into the Koch Brothers demanding these things?” Of course the article was not about what the headline implied, but it demanded that I write to the author and advise him to be more careful about what is published under his name. Whether to blame the proofreader if there is one for that publication, the typesetter or its equivalent in this modem day, or the managing editor, someone must always check to see that there is no ambiguity.

Actually this one was the third editorial mistake in a publication that I observed in three days. The first was in a weekly paper in this region with a headline in bold print with the word Recieved. What’s going on in our schools? Are they no longer teaching spelling? Or have the teachers themselves never learned the “I before E” rule and its exceptions? The next day the local daily paper had an article substituting “service” for “surface.” Obviously the reporter dictated his article and the transcriber, human or machine, typed what it heard. Again, where was the proofreader? We are rapidly becoming a nation of linguistic idiots.

Fortunately I have not yet encountered any errors in Hightower Lowdown. Keep up the good work.

Richard F. Schwartz
Peru, N.Y.

The editor replies: We plead “not guilty” on the charge of publishing a misleading headline, though we plead “no contest” on the charge of publishing a snarky headline. As Hightower notes in the column, the Koch brothers, despite their reputation for seeking less government regulation and lower taxes for the rich, are leading an effort to get state regulators to punish families who install solar panels on their roofs to generate electricity without fossil fuels. The Kochs, through the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council, got the Oklahoma legislature to order a “fee” — also known as a tax — on Oklahomans who generate their own electricity, denying fossil-fuel-burning utilities their profits. We cannot take responsibility for the proofreading lapses of your regional weekly and daily newspapers.

Stop Creating Inequality in Central America

Will immigration reform stop the illegal crossings? Will immigration reform make the émigrés’ countries less impoverished or more democratic? The solution lies not in immigration reform but with the United States. It has to change its policies of fomenting wars and using other countries resources and laborers to enhance the bottom line of the military-industrial complex.

Denise D’Anne
San Francisco, Calif.

Downtrodden Fight Back

Big business monopolies, collusion, environmental degradation and labor oppression comprised the economic scenario in 19th-century America. Government actions supposedly curtailed these activities, but now they just exist, and are growing, more subtly. Big-banks, big-media/communications and big-agriculture keep consolidating and controlling much of these enterprise realms worldwide. Big-oil and big-finance corrupt our political process for their own selfish ends to the detriment of common citizens, and flora and fauna.

The Supreme Court bestowed corporations with personhood rights. Now corporations have been given religious rights. Currently, there are secret global-trade meetings involving powerful entities designed to elevate corporations to sovereign nation status. Right-wing regressives bemoan big government. In actuality, big-money private interests are hijacking our economies, democracies and societies for selfish advancement.

Unfortunately, most common citizens can’t afford the time and funds to solicit attorneys, lobbyists, finance manipulators and political schemers to counter regressivism  back to the 19th century. The downtroddens’ only course of action may be to impact the finances of big business via purchasing and employment boycotts. Current nasty political division of the US will spread to commerce divisiveness. People only engaging with those businesses whose attributes/policies they agree with will create even more social separation everywhere. This is an especially ominous future for the “United” States.

Joel Prudhomme
Grand Junction, Colo.

Convince Yourself

This is a version of something I heard a lot about when I was young, that was called “Who’s Who”. I never hear about it now, but it seems to me that something like it might be helpful in figuring out the political persuasions of people we meet when we meet them.

For instance, if someone seems to feel that the rich should be rewarded because they earned it, and the poor are punished just because they did not work hard enough, he or she is probably a Republican.

On the other hand, if he or she believes we should take from the greedy and give to the needy, that’s definitely a Democrat.

But what about the inbetweens, who don’t seem to have made up their minds about what or who they should believe? And they don’t seem to care if they have to share, and they call themselves Independents. (Independent of what I don’t know, because they pay the price just like the rest of us do when we make mistakes.)

So as we can see, there is a rhyme and a reason for everything in this world, if we spell it out, and it’s not a mystery. It’s all a matter of what we believe, and much of it has never been proven. So believe on, fellow citizens and hope for the best for you and your brothers and sisters. And if you can, convince yourself you were right all along,

Marge Johnson
Eckert, Colo.

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2014


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