Tax Corporate Crooks

What’s going on, and what needs to be done about it, is becoming clear from the torrent of articles and letters pouring into your little, but crucially important, enterprise. Truth will make us free!

Your cover story of 3/15/14 by Thomas Frank brilliantly illuminates the fact the working class has been turned against itself by well-financed lies and propaganda. Their anger and resentment against being cheated, lied to, exploited and stolen from has been deflected from the real guilty parties and turned against the government that is trying to help them.

Dean Baker puts his finger on the source of the corruption — overpaid CEOs. To his tale of cronyism among officers and directors, I would like to add the scam of “corporate consultants.” These seedy, baggy pants derelicts would never have any kind of job if it were not for their careers of advising corporate boards of directors to pay higher salaries to the company’s officers, who then pay them for their recommendation. The horrible fact is that these CEOs are looting their companies with drawing hundreds of millions of dollars (billions for the big ones) that should have gone for investment in the future productivity or just pay for the workers who produced all the wealthy that these clowns are stealing. They are wrecking their companies and wreacking the economy in the process, and they are not a minority. They are a big majority — over 90% of companies.

What needs to be done is also becoming clear, plain and obvious: tax the rich, that is where the money is. Let the greedy, narrow-minded treasonous, dollar-worshipping businessmen make all the money they want — but take it all away from them with higher taxes; and use the money to pay for beneficial public services such as public schools, universal health care, and banks and post offices that serve the people, not the parasites.

Harvey Stoneburner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pray for Middle Class

I’m not much at advertising, but those still in their right mind should read “The Matter with Kansas Now” by Thomas Frank [3/15/14 TPP] with its winning illustration by Dolores Cullen.

This brief article affords encyclopedic knowledge which every Kansan and concerned citizens should be made aware of. Though I’m not able to help with action, Frank’s article is the best inspiration for those feeling the need for action and change from what’s happening to America.

Being a lover of America I am optimistically praying it will return to its middle-class comfort which I was lucky enough to enjoy.

May my letter bring the dynamic action America definitely needs.

Rosa V. Witt
Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Transportation System Beats ‘Snowpocalypse’

Charles Cullen [“Letters from the Eye of the Snowpocalypse,” 3/1/14 TPP] is a writer in Atlanta. I am neither. But I have relatives in Atlanta and they tell me that the effects of snow there isn’t a quantum difference from those in Easton, Pa. While we could put a man on the moon with our technology, and vaporize two Japanese cities and their civilian populations in the last century, a new crisis has arisen in the 21st century: it is called SNOW. It came from  outer space. Those mounds of white that look like Casper the Friendly Ghost, that occupy the curbsides of our streets and prevent plow trucks from clearing the streets, are the lifeblood of what we call a “transportation” system. Our experts in transportation, the auto dealers, can tell you the details, but any “mobile” citizen of the Lehigh Valley can tell you that the phenomenon frequently features a long line of private autos guzzling gas and going nowhere on Route 22 and I-78. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can give you the latest average figures on those who get to their destinat

As we look out at our primary method of transportation plowed in by the cities’ plow trucks, we dream on about the time when we had an actual transportation system. I have heard seniors tell of going from Easton to Jim Thorpe or to Reading and back on the same day, in a trolley car. And my dad, born in 1899, had as his first job working for  The Pressed Steel Car Company. It made parts for trolleys and trains. What happened? To get a good picture readers may recall a scene from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”, where the actor points to a car barn housing mothballed trolley cars, and tells the audience of a deal cut between the Big Three Auto companies and “our” representatives in the US Congress (e.g., Dapper Dan Flood, Fred Rooney, Tad Walter, etc.) whereby The Big Three bought up and phased out mass transit facilities. So my dad went to work for the Peoples’ Natural Gas Co. in Pittsburgh for 42 years, and rode to work every day on the trolley or bus.

Back in the 1980s I was shoved into the Democratic primary for the 15th Congressional  District seat (Pa.) by a local (Lehigh Valley) group of lefties. My singular contribution was to call for phasing out private transportation. During the campaign I was told of this exchange overheard at an Allentown filling station, where two attendants were pumping gas: “Hey Joe, who ya gonna vote for in the primary?” “Aw, I haven’t made up my mind. Either Orloski or that guy that’s agai

ion not at all, or severely injured. Not to mention the flattened critters whose numbers give hunters wet dreams.nst the cars.”

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.

War on Poverty Successes

I read with more than casual interest Hank Kalet’s article in the 2/1/14 TPP, “Redeclaring the War on Poverty,” since I spent 14 years in the SW Region working with the US Office of Economic Opportunity, renamed the Community Services Administration in 1975.

I would like to suggest some further research, however, before declaring Johnson’s War on Poverty a failure. Take a look at “The Quiet Revolution” and “A Nation Aroused — 1st Annual Report of the Office of Economic Opportunity,” published in 1965. Most of the programs listed, which were initiated by OEO, such as Head Start, Legal Services, Older Persons Programs, VISTA, Adult Basic Education, Upward Bound and Job Corps, to name a few, are still going and doing good things for people. While many of these programs were started up initially delegated to other agencies, and some spun off later to agencies such as Department of Labor and Health and Human Services, they are for the most part, still operating.

Some of the more important results of the War on Poverty had to do with providing an entrée to the political process by a lot of low income and minority board and staff members. I think the book is still to be written on this aspect. The program also helped helped pave the way for employment by minority residents in local businesses and the removal of the “Colored Only” signs over the drinking fountains and office entrances in parts of our region. Also, paving streets and spraying mosquitos on the other side of the tracks was brought into the realm of normalcy in local service provision. Health exams in the Head Start Program, not to mention the educational benefits, along with health care provided in family planning clinics are considered routine and not mentioned much in the papers.

True, the Green Amendment in 1969, which gave local elected officials the power to take over the administration of the program and the transfer in 1981 of programs from the Community Services Administration to the HHS Office of Community Services, with the change to state block grants, did not help the community organization aspect. But, having said that, would strongly urge you to look under the hood a little further before declaring the War on Poverty a failure. As noted, the programs, for the most part are still going strong. And, the genie of “community organization,” once out of the bottle, is very difficult to put back in the bottle. Also, take a look at the Community Action Partnership (communityactionpartnership.com) on the continuing work of the Community Action Agencies. Maybe not being on the front page of the paper everyday, as it was 40-50 years ago, is not such a bad thing.

Rex Carey
Midlothian, Texas

End Gunboat Diplomacy

The Gold Stars of WW2 were still in our windows when America invaded Korea; a handful of years later we invaded Vietnam followed by Lebanon, Somalia and Iraq. These countries posedo fight for their government — we’ve got tens of thousands of graves, along with thousands of disabled veterans to attest to their bravery.

Invading Afghanistan was just, but did it require a seemingly endless occupation? As soon as we leave that country it will be immersed in violence and civil war the same as we’re experiencing in Iraq.

The tragedy of it all is while our troops are dying and bleeding on foreign soil, America’s war profiteers and politicals are living large and amassing fortunes. As always, the elite of our country prosper while we bury our honored dead, neglect the impoverished and see our infrastructure rust out.

Despite Sen John McCain (R-Ariz.) repeatedly accusing President Obama of “cut and run,” Obama concluded the Iraq war and by his decree our troops are scheduled to exit Afghanistan by 2014. With the usual political sleaze, McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the GOP et al., are reproaching Obama for “being weak, indecisive, feckless and showing no leadersh” for not going to war in Syria and the Ukraine. In concert with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Graham is proclaiming “bomb Iran

no threat to America and the wars were failures strategically, militarily and politically, certainly not for lack of our military t now.”

For the past sixty years America’s gunboat diplomacy has been a major deterrent to world peace. Our misguided quest for world dominance has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people, trashed several nations and created millions of refugees.

To what ends and for what gain?

Ed Hodges
Appleton, Wis.

From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2014


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