<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Letters 11/15/14


Public Works Investment Needed

“Markets hit by global growth fears,” says the Financial Times this weekend. Well might they be. What else did you expect? All the countries of he world, without exception, have adopted the worst wrong deflationary policies you could think of. Cut spending. Cut taxes on the rich. Increase taxes on the poor. Pander to the rich, privileged class parasites; and take money from the public to pay for it. Boost inequality. Increase poverty. Cut health care. Make people sick, weak and poor. What do you expect as a result? A soaring stock market? A soaring bond market? Everything they do is the opposite of what they should do, which are facts well known for 80 years (since Keynes) to anyone who knows anything about economics.

It is pathetic. It is a well-known fact that monetary policy is not adequate to reverse a depression. Yet the Fed tried three years of quantitative easing, at the cost of $4 trillion; and now the European Union wants to copy them, in spite of the fact that it had no effect but to create bubbles in the bond and stock markets.

The only hope to stave off the Greatest Depression of All Time, which began in December 2007, and is still developing (we are only in its early stages), the only hope, which they refuse to accept, refuse to think about, is an aggressive fiscal policy of investment in productive public works, paid for by very large progressive taxes on the income, wealth and property of the rich. They have taken all the money out of the economies of the world, by their process of paying workers less than half what they are worth, in order to pay themselves 300 times what they are worth. Justice must be restored, or nothing will ever work right.

Harvey Stoneburner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Illegitimate Elections Have No ‘Spoilers’

Contrary to Reba Shimansky, [Letters, 10/1/14 TPP], Ralph Nader, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren cannot “spoil” a political system that rotted a generation ago. Democratic campaigns wishing to advance progressive values keep playing by the mainstream rules while expecting different results, rules that are owned by right-wing opponents dominating campaign contributions, a costly, corrupt and broken political system.

A child could research US Census figures reporting a region’s population of eligible voters compared to actual voter turnout, revealing a figure unchanged since Jimmy Carter’s somber “Energy Independence Speech” of 1979, warning, “The greatest threat to democracy is the 70% of eligible voters that never vote.” (Carter continued by predicting “wars for oil”). Since then, every subsequent media election report has suppressed this overwhelming context, in effect; self-censoring the uncomfortable reality that US voter turnout is last among post-industrial nations.

While commercial and public media continue trumpeting the legitimacy of US elections, generating acres of newsprint and billions of dollars in revenue, they feed a vicious cycle of both rural and national “progressive” candidates, (like Hillary Clinton), compelled to spend fortunes desperately appealing to the 16% of eligible voters needed to “win” by mimicking their opponent’s corrupt, “trickle-down”, over-consuming, imperial war-mongering “Christian” values, thus, guaranteeing the continued discouragement of most potential voters.

With media, government, academia and industry self-censoring the language of progressive change, it’s imperative for progressive campaigns to take responsibility acknowledging the existence of the majority by canvassing the homes of non-voters in their communities, (especially university campuses where 90% abstain). The under-reported successes of 152 municipalities raising wages provide an example of what’s possible.

A fraction of the billion dollar election ad campaigns could fund and organize Americans to spend 2 hours each weekend to canvass, educate, motivate and register their neglected, uninformed, non-voting neighbors to secure progressive change. If you take the kids, they will have an opportunity for a real education.

George Clark
Eureka, Calif.

Time for a Change

According to a recent poll conducted by the Gallup Institute, a tad less than 90% of Americans stated they had no confidence in our federal government. The 10% that does are the aristocrats, which includes our congressionals, who are living off mainstream citizens, and laughing all the way to their banks. Past congress approval ratings have been as low as 9% and presently stand at 13.1%.

Despite these low ratings, since 1964 the re-election rate for House members has been above 90% and as high as 98%. Since 2000 the re-election rate for senators has been above 80% and hit 100% in 2004. At that time it was painfully obvious that America invaded Iraq without reason, killed thousands of Iraqi civilians and our troops; yet American voters re-elected the Bushl/Cheney perpetrators for a second term. Those we elect are not crooks in the sense of the word — they’re politically savvy individuals who function within the perimeters of the legislation they have enacted with ample assistance from the Supreme Court. This cozy arrangement has opened the door to wealthy individuals, corporations and foreign nations, such as Israel, to purchase direct access to our treasury via our venal legislators.

America’s infrastructure is crumbling and 9.3 million are unemployed. More millions have given up looking for work and are laboring for wages below their skill level. Also, the minimum wage needs to be raised. Lack of jobs has increased poverty, homeless citizens and hunger all over America.

An altered Albert Einstein quote reads: electing the same politicians over and over and expecting different results is insanity.

Reps. Reid Ribble and Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson are up for re-election in Wisconsin. They are politicians who have shown no inclination in the past to fix these and the other major problems facing our nation.

Ed Hodges
Appleton, Wis.

Where Does California Produce Go?

Jill Richardson’s article in the 9/1/14 TPP about California water wasters [“A Prickly Question”] brought to mind a previous drought in the late 1970s when I lived in the Los Angeles area.

Mayor Bradley went on TV and radio imploring the citizens to conserve. Commercial spots offered helpful hints to save water. So we did it. We swept our sidewalks, watered only the veggie patch and houseplants, put bricks in our toilets and ran only full loads of dishes and laundry. One of my neighbors even installed a timer on his shower. Cars stayed dirty.

And it worked! Within a short time, Angelenos were using so much less water that the Department of Water and Power asked for a rate increase to cover lost revenue. Nowadays it’s necessary to impose fines.

As for incentives, how about more rainwater collectors? Homeowners in Texas can purchase components for these systems with no sales tax. An incredible amount of water runs off a roof. It can be used for laundry and bathrooms at the very least.

And about the food prices — while we might produce all these crops, most supermarkets in my area carry Mexican avocados (which rot but don’t ripen), Canadian tomatoes (which ripen only on the outside) and Peruvian grapes (which feel like wet marbles). Very seldom do we find California or USA-grown produce.

Where our California food crops do end up — and why — is yet another “prickly question.”

Betty Crowder
Honeydew, Calif.

Rediscover Lincoln, Too

Thinking of how valuable Ken Burns’ series on so many American historical people and topics have been [re: “Rediscover Roosevelts,” Editorial, 10/15/14 TPP]. it is also good to know how valuable original writings are by important personages.

As Ken Burns shows us, writings tell us. Often we learn we didn’t really know as much as we thought we did.

Reading the Library of America’s volume of President Abraham Lincoln’s writings and speeches, 1859-65, illuminated things about Lincoln and our Civil War that need our knowing. To make a list here would be too long. But, for one thing, one can see the glaring difference between Republican Lincoln and Republicans now. There are too many false ideas about Lincoln. His vision for this country and its people should be required reading by every American, right now; especially, if one thinks they know him — which would include everyone. The proof of this is what he said and did and where we are now, starting with Republicans, but not ending with them.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Textual Interpretations

“There are men who will kill and maim without remorse — all under the influence of the words and thoughts which wrongly assures them that this is the only and certain way to perfection. They are convinced that this is a solution to almost all human problems and a path to an ideal society. To achieve it one must do what is necessary — to reach out to the skeptics amongst us and explain to them the advantages. If they fail to understand then laws must be passed to make them obey-and if it does not work then coercion and violence must be used.”

The above is not the manifesto of the ISIS (Islamic State) but Lenin’s reaction after reading Karl Marx’s Das Kapital.

This is not to say that the self-styled “Khalifa” (Abubaker Baghdadi) of Islamic State will not get the same reaction — all depends on which perverted and erroneous Hadith (Prophet Mohammed’s instructions) he is following. All Hadiths are not similar and over the years a whole lot of inauthentic interpretations have been added — maybe the “Khalifa” has got hold of a very militant and intolerant Hadith.

It is sincerely hoped that leaders of Islamic countries get together and influence this “Khalifa.”

G.M. Chandu
Flushing. N.Y.

War for Revenge

Re: “Obama Gets Punk’d by ISIS” [9/15/14 TPP]. It’s probably safe to say that most of us endured merciless torment by a bully during our growing up years — until we foolishly decided to fight back, only to get badly bruised.

Too bad that so many people who should know better (including our president), have forgotten that the only way to defeat bullies is to ignore them.

Now we see Obama, along with other armchair warriors, eagerly planning to punish the barbarians who beheaded western journalists.

Sure, they’ll punish those evil men … by killing scores of civilians, many of them children.

Career soldiers, police officers and firefighters all enter into their chosen fields with full knowledge that serious injury or death is a risk they must accept in their professional capacity.

Shouldn’t the same apply to journalists who venture into war zones that are infested with vicious religious fanatics?

Yes, we surely grieve their deaths. But must we go to war, and sacrifice more innocent lives, to avenge their murder?

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Buzz Huckabee

The model for Mike Huckabee is Buzz Windrip, the main character in Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 political novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” still in print.

Read it and weep.

Virgil Jose
Apple Valley, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2014


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