History Lesson

The 2/1/14 TPP editorial [“Learn From History”] was a great rendition of 20th Century political history. Republicans are well aware of all the events that were disappointing — and ones that left scars in our hearts. The GOP talking points that refer to those events are specially designed to suit the conservative fantasies they need to express. They are not really stupid, they just sound that way when fishing for stupid voters.

Most Republicans are authoritarian free marketeers who have a distinct end game which does not contain the creativity of a sound progressive democracy (which would include correcting bad habits).

The prime goal of that corporate/political complex has been, for years, the complete destruction of successful liberal-progressive governments everywhere — not just the US.

Now that the GOP brand may not ever put them in federal executive power again, state governments are now becoming the tools of corporate exploitation and conflict of interest. The rogue industries have infiltrated many of our sovereign states, making obvious use of tea party shallowness and bigotry. The arrogant trickery with “creative” redistricting should have long ago been deemed illegal.

Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand are dead now, but their manifestos of greed and sophistry are alive and contagious, still firing up inexperienced libertarians and young conservatives, driving them into fantasies of power and glory.

The rogue corporate gang are cheering them on and buying them seats in legislatures everywhere. How long this abuse of constitutional law will last and what the consequences will be is anyone’s guess.

Helen McKinney
Sapphire, N.C.

Muslim Charity Risk

I was very annoyed by the simple, tribalist hatred by many Americans of Muslims everywhere. So I donated $25 by check and later $30 electronically to the Muslim organization Helping Hand for Relief and Development in Detroit. (They have a big website.)

It was feel-good, for it would not go far toward vocational training (but not education) for a woman or toward buying a goat for an Iraqi family to sacrifice, eat, and share with the poor at the end of Ramadan. ($330 for a goat in Iraq — the most expensive in the Muslim world.) For all that I knew, some of it might have gone toward buying rifle cartridges or into a Swiss bank account. But I was very annoyed. After that, I decided to donate money to another charity.

Two years later my wife and I tried to bundle our TV/phone/Internet services with CenturyLink. The fellow on the phone at CenturyLink said that our record with them had “Risk Assessment” on it. Neither sales person with whom I talked had ever seen that label before. After an inquiry, they found that that label allowed CenturyLink to continue service but prevented them from upgrading our Internet connection. I Googled the term and found that it was associated with money-laundering. So I deduced that the NSA suspected Helping Hand of money-laundering and suspected that their donors knew about it. (Meanwhile, Helping Hand is doing well today, so I suppose that the NSA has not, or will not, move against them.)

In the meantime, I explained to a CenturyLink sales associate that I had learned that money-laundering is associated with “Risk Assessment” — but I did not mention the Muslim charity bit. I assured him that I had nothing to do with any money-laundering anywhere, and he then got a higher-up to remove the label from my record.

Richard Sibley
Gilbert, Ariz.

Shock ’Em Where It Hurts

After reading Margot McMillen’s “Time for Resolutions” article [2/1/14 TPP}, I became inspired to look into what my retirement account was invested in. The name of the company which made the decisions on where my money was invested sounded innocuous enough. But then I looked into which corporations my money was actually being invested in. The names read like a “most wanted “ list for harming the planet and the people. I immediately withdrew my money from these investments.

How many people, like myself, conveniently ignore where there money gets invested? I think most people would be horrified if they knew the evil being done with their money! My time for political activism has unfortunately been limited of late but this is one way that I can help to “get them where it hurts” without much effort on my part.

John Schock
Kingston, N.Y.

Lyons’ Prejudice

Prejudice has an easy definition: judging before the facts. Not sure what’s the definition of Gene Lyons’ judgement “in spite of facts” [“Snowden Demonstrates Doublethink on Importance of Leaks,” 2/1/14 TPP]. Right now, in Congress and around the world, a huge back and forth debate rages about the implications of unchecked spying by our government, on everyone. Mr Lyons says: whatever the man’s motives. Edward Snowden stated his motive: expose the crime by our government and spur debate. Just now Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) in Congress demanded the NSA stop the bulk spying on our communication or lose the key section 215 part of the Patriot act. The enormous reaction to Mr Snowden’s action makes Mr Lyons’s absurd reduction to “traitor” laughable, and prejudiced.

Alex Race
Palm Desert, Calif.

Lyons a Sly Fox

Nice that we needn’t tune in Fox News to know what the enemy is up to — we have Gene Lyons. After his anti-Snowden diatribe, I eagerly await his take on Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, MLK, Mandela, Pope Francis and, dare we hope, St. Francis too.

Patricia Sitkin
Linden, Calif.

Funny Road to Peace Prize

Robert Scheer headline screams [1/1-15/14 TPP], ”Obama Finally Earned That Peace Prize.” Really! In 2009 Obama authorized a surge in Afghanistan at a cost 1,323 US troops killed and millions of tax dollars. The lives of Afghanistan citizens killed and maimed go uncounted. After all they are the enemy. Then there are drone strikes under Obama estimated to have killed over 2,000. Same scenario: Enemy, Subhuman, why bother keeping count. Serial killers usually get jail time and sometimes executions.  Presidents get peace prizes.

Denise D’Anne
San Francisco, Calif.

Kaul’s Encomium

I look forward to reading Donald Kaul’s columns — and his latest, “She Knew I Would Make It” [2/1/14 TPP], is no exception. In his inimitable style, he has enriched the proverb that man does not live by bread alone — but that the fortunate man who has a loving wife can find sustenance beyond his fondest dreams in her unfailing trust and devotion. Just as a composer who writes a piece of music as a gift to his wife, or a poet who writes love poems to his lady, I’m certain that Mrs. Donald Kaul treasures her husband’s “She Knew I Would Make It,” as a priceless gift to her.

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Fed Up

The 2/1/14 TPP printed several informative articles related to money and debt which affect the USA and most “First World Nations.” From the outrageous business conduct of Wall Street banks to Detroit’s bankruptcy, money borrowed at interest and can’t be repaid is the problem. From where did all this borrowed money come? Ellen Brown tells us: “100 Years is Enough.” Since 1913 the US money supply has been managed by the Fed for the benefit of Wall Street’s biggest banks, not citizens working on Main Street!

The US government never needed to borrow money from banks which the Fed underwrites with US Treasury legal tender. Congress delegated much of its Constitutional power over our money to the Fed in 1913. The Fed must be absorbed into Treasury and all federal government expenses paid directly from Treasury with debt-free legal tender. No more federal income tax! Making the Federal Reserve a public utility would be a big step toward this goal. The money supply of the USA must not be loaned to the public by private banks!

Ellen Brown’s campaign for California State Treasurer can bring national attention to monetary reform and the benefits of state banks like North Dakota’s. Austerity for the working masses and prosperity for the ruling classes should not be  the Central Bank policy of any sovereign nation.

Robert W. Zimmerer
Beaverton, Ore.

Bend Over, Oil Execs

Those energy corporation executives keep telling us that no harm will be done to anyone or anything by their fracking process, in which they pulverize subterranean rock with chemicals and pressure to release natural gas.

To make themselves more credible, perhaps they should submit themselves to the same treatment they’re giving Mother Earth. Surely those gents wouldn’t object to a “harmless” daily enema of those same chemicals, administered with comparable pressure. If it’s as harmless as they say, the worst effect they’ll suffer is flatulence — the release of natural gas.

Line up, gents. And bend over.

James Alexander Thom
Bloomington, Ind.

From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2014


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