Don’t Blame Boomers

This [8/15/14 TPP] is very good. You have uncovered the sources of many of our current problems, many of which started in the 1960s (or even 1860s): Civil rights to vote, freedom of speech, the draft, poverty became the focus of public attention as people became aware of their existence — and were appalled that they existed here! And yet we claimed to be exporting our “better way of life” to Vietnam by joining in their civil war which involved communism on their northern side. So the whole question of the Cold War was also aggravated, as well as aggravating. It was the “reason” for every “clamp down on dissent,” and what is “terrorism” now was “communism” then — whether it really was or not, just like today. People born during or later than those years would be oblivious to all that. To expect them to remember all this would be pointless.

But those of us who lived through them will never forget. And one of the shocks was how young people were treated by their own government! For exercising their constitutional rights. That was what was shocking. And Ronald Reagan was in the lead of that with Berkeley students. How to get the attention of the people in charge so that they will really hear you was the reason for most of this. Now the government is apparently recording us, but to what are they really listening? By now yet more of our Constitutional Rights are being violated, big time — but “Who cares?” is the question. And the right wing is being watched. And demonstrations are “managed” into silence. It’s ironic to see what the Government has learned from the ‘60s, and it was not to avoid another Vietnam — unfortunately for this generation — or to listen to those who are against such wars.

The “Boomer Generation” has been put down for many things, but they were educated in American schools. Where did they learn their ideals? American schools, writers, preachers, parents, relatives, churches. Has anyone noticed? Were they idealistic? Of course. Were they wrong about their causes? Vietnam? No. Civil rights? No. Women’s rights? No. Education? No. Poverty? No. Who and what has been the Problem(s)? The Same Old Stuff from the Same Old Sources. So don’t blame liberals.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Gun Fire

Mr. Hal Crowther with his article “One Nation Under Fire” [8/15/14 TPP] has put the Gun Lobby “under fire.” There is no way the supporters of the Second Amendment, with their puny armament, can match the gun-power of an invading army nor can they fight our own army if it so happens that they decide to impose martial law. The only way they could fight is to launch a Hit & Run operation and run to the hills and jungles (after all one cannot shoot from the bed-room window) after each operation. Question comes -are we ready to live without indoor plumbing? No shaving, no hot-water bath, etc. The answer is a definite NO.


The NRA argues that if only the good guys have more and bigger guns they could take care of the situation — it is analogous to the argument that owning bigger and heavier cars could save lives in road accidents (a subject used to criticize President Obama’s plan to manufacture smaller cars to save gas) — should everyone then use a gas guzzling humvees? Going back to NRA’s argument — shouldn’t the good guys use heavier machine guns (bazookas maybe?) till the time the bad guys catch up?

Where does it all end?

G. M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Invective No Solution to Gun Violence

The irony of Hal Crowther’s “One Nation Under Fire” [8/15/14 TPP] is that the wild invectives he hurls at law abiding gun owners eliminates any prospect for common ground and a reasoned dialogue around the problems of gun violence in our nation.

Mr. Crowther denounces firearms owners and pathologizes them with his own brand of demeaning pop psychology. He hardens the fears of firearms owners, as to the elimination of a right they value, though he does not.

The responsibilities of gun ownership are awesome, and require profound judgement and self-control of which Mr. Crowther describes himself as incapable. His wife is correct; he shouldn’t own a gun.

Licensed gun owners have lower rates of criminal activity, statistically, than the general public. Moreover, in 2013 the Centers for Disease Control reported annual defensive firearms use to protect life as occurring between 500,000 and 3,000,000 times per year.

Notwithstanding the opinions of the Supreme Court Justices he cites, that the Founding Fathers failed to recognize the necessity of individual ownership of firearms for food and protection in a frontier society, is impossible to believe.

In the end, Mr. Crowther’s screed contributes nothing to the solution of this problem.

Don Pfeifer
Hempstead, N.Y.

Who Watches Big Brother?

Thanks for Norman Solomon’s article in the 8/15/14 issue, “Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?” Solomon provides substantial evidence to answer “yes.” The government of our Land of the Free has become embedded with people who fervently believe the Orwellian principle that “God is Power.”

The fact that it’s Uncle Sam instead of Big Brother who is watching doesn’t reduce the fear these revelations inspire. Just like Winston Smith, we have no idea if we’re being watched at any particular time. But we know we always could be.

Solomon’s conclusion: “Such a goal, formerly reserved for the more fundamentalist versions of God, is now firmly entrenched at the top of the US government — and at the top of corporate America.” Thus we have, in the United States, a situation which neatly fits Mussolini’s definition of fascism.

It looks like we’ve arrived.

Gregg Ward Matson
Elk Grove, Calif.

Why Limit Nukes?

One of Jason Stanford’s credentials is something called Truman National Security Project partner, which sounds to me like the ultimate oxymoron. In his 8/15/14 column [“Take the Win in Iran”], he reruns the time honored dictum that only the good guys should have nuclear weapons and that leaves out Iran. The good guys are as we all know, the US, and other historically non-violent nations such as Russia, China, Great Britain, France etc.. 

In my work history I logged in 6 years at a community mental health center where I was a psychiatric patient coordinator. This was a free-floating job where I helped other nurses in dealing with patients at the local hospital and accompanying the shrinks as they made their rounds. One of the shrinks told me in a conversation about politics that no one could get to the White House who wasn’t a sociopath. He was only half kidding. I think of Harry Truman, who Dan Berrigan reminded us “with eyes cold as death, announced the wipeout of two Japanese cities and said he didn’t lose a minutes sleep over it.” (quote close if not 100% accurate). And I think of an essay by Thomas Merton (“A Devout Meditation on The Sanity of Adolph Eichmann”) in which he reminds readers that the Nuremberg tribunal found Eichmann to be “perfectly sane.” Merton concluded that the next nuclear war would be conducted by perfectly sane people following the perfectly sane chain of command. It would be no mistake. The “sane ones” would keep the crazies far from the button. 

Methinks Jason Stanford would do better to read or reread the above authors on the subject  of developing nuclear weapons. Then let him and all our presidents past and present go into a third grade elementary school class and convince the students that only the “good guys” should have nuclear weapons. I would bet that the kids would laugh them all the way back to the Oval Office.

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.

Another New Pledge

I heard recently yet another strident declaration from a patriotic citizen on the huge importance of every living soul on the continent having the skill needed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance flawlessly and with passion. And those unwilling should be faced with public loathing and possible criminal prosecution. However, we need to as a society and a nation disengage-step back-and review the madness of this position for one very simple reason-the Pledge of allegiance is an outright fraud. Consider these words-“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands …” Stop the presses folks. We are NOT a republic — we abandoned the notion of a republic decades ago and have become a global empire — and the most feared nation on earth. And many leaders are happy, if not giddy, to profess their love of our empire status and will even ridicule the concepts and restraints inherent in a republic.

So, if we are going to passionately demand that all sentient creatures have the ability to recite the Pledge the least we can do is make it an HONEST pledge — something like this: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the empire for which it has become — one nation committed to global hegemony and dominance, with liberty and justice for a chosen privileged few — but drone assassinations and endless war for all.”

Now this revised and infinitely more accurate pledge may take a while to adopt and memorize, but it is a transition we should make as it is truthful, timely, relevant, and a reminder of the perilous and ultimately destructive path that we the people have chosen for both our great nation and the world.

Jim Sawyer
Edmonds, Wash.

CORRECTION: The 9/1/14 editorial, “Still Cleaning Up After W,” misstated the Russian military budget. It was $87.8 billion in 2013, not $878 billion.

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2014


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