US is a Racket

Vern Turner’s lofty sentiments [“What are we defending,” 4/1/14 TPP] are disconnected from the reality of history. Britain was the brutal, racist oppressor throughout its vast colonial empire, not the people’s protector. America’s brutally oppressive history is well documented; from Indian genocide, African slavery, the theft of half of Mexico and other wars of conquest, etc. Turner’s assumption that we were once “a shining light for humanity” and a “peace promoting nation” is pure fiction.

Contrary to the belief that we’re the world’s policeman promoting order in a chaotic world, we’re actually the world’s bully. People around the world don’t hate us for our “freedoms” or “democratic values”; they hate us because we have our boot on their neck. It’s important to understand why.

Brigadier Gen. Smedley D. Butler reveals the cause in his monumental, yet hugely overlooked book, War is a Racket, published in 1935. As an exposé from a top insider, it describes his epiphany after leading the US Marine Corps and as America’s most decorated soldier: “I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

Today, we oppress and dominate the world in less overt and obvious ways than when Gen. Butler’s marines stormed the beaches all over the globe. Now we partner with indigenous, despotic elites to achieve our financial and geopolitical goals and even conspire with them to overthrow legitimately elected governments that don’t toe our line (Mossadegh in Iran, Allende in Chile, Chavez in Venezuela — all hailed in the media for “protecting our interests.”)

Recently, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (wife of neo-con Robert Kagan) was caught on tape with our ambassador to Ukraine conspiring to install our protegé to lead their country; all while fascist-led (Svoboda and right sector) riots that we supported were raging to depose the legitimately elected Yanukovych govenment. It’s no coincidence that our choice, Arseniy Yatesnyuk (a right-wing banker!) is now prime minister.

Our “national interests” are really Wall Street’s interests and it’s important to understand the connection between war and the racket that is global finance. As Gen. Butler said 80 years ago, “A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

Robert McAllister
Lantana, Fla.

Math and Science Isn’t Everything

I enjoy your paper very much, but, personally, I am getting very worn out/frustrated with this current liberal/conservative back and forth. No matter what one reads or watches or listens to, it seems to be the way everything is framed. Worst of all, the “right” has cast the “left” as “liberal,” used as the new “communist” (since they can’t scare everyone with that anymore, since it has failed), the Boogeyman of today. How ridiculous! All they succeed in doing is making people afraid of even considering any alternative to what is clearly not working. The “Christian theology” they cling to was popular in the centuries before America was discovered — for the most part. They may disagree, but judging purely by their attitudes and pronouncements, that is one’s observation. Only in studying writings and history of the last 600 years can one really learn this to be so. It would help them — and the rest of us — if they would do this. And it’s not like anyone is hiding these things — in the US anyway.

We are constantly — still! — being confronted with controversies and wars, even that involve religion, even for all of our technology and science. And yet the Humanities (everything but math and science) are ignored as “irrelevant”! If math and science were all we needed in order to have better lives we’d surely be there right now, and we aren’t.

Books, people. Libraries. Liberal ideas. Think about it.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Move to the Light

Robert Borosage in highlighting President Obama’s 2015 Budget [“Obama’s 2015 budget: Waging populist fights,” 4/1/14 TPP] has given us hope that if only the majority from the “group of 99%” could read this article maybe they will be motivated to turn out for the 2014 Elections. If only the US clerics can take it upon themselves to preach as to how this budget levels the playing field and helps the Society to come to a logical and a just way to assist the economically disadvantaged. If only the ‘group of 99% realize that this administration needs the House and the Senate support for the budget to be effective and this is the last and final chance. But alas, come November the lethargy will creep in — very few from the “group” will bother to vote. They will accept House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s statement that this budget is nothing but “an election brochure.” It is almost on the tip of my tongue to mutter “if they cannot take a few steps to reach a polling station then they deserve what is dished out.” I will refrain from saying this and keep on hoping that somehow they will see the light.


G.M. Chandu
Flushing. N.Y.

Where is the Outrage?

Bob Burnett closes his informative column, “The War on Democracy: Art Pope and the Rich Bullies” [4/1/14 TPP], about the assault against our democracy by the oligarchs, with the question: “Where is the outrage? When are Americans going to wake up to the capitalist bullies’ war on democracy?”

Well ... the embarrassing answer, in my opinion, is this: There is no outrage, since far too many Americans are under the drug-like stupor of spectator sports and don’t feel the brutal kicks of capitalism.

Only when they give up that numbing soporific, and replace it with the political activism of grassroots movements, will our country return to the hands of those to whom it belongs — to We the People.

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Restore Democracy and Punish the 1%

When President Clinton got the Slave Bill, NAFTA, passed, he said it could be repealed if it didn’t work out! No one talks about repealing it as it has marvelously worked out for the 1%, who are billionaires today piling up never-ending wealth at expense of everyone else! Next is the Trans-Pacific Pact Slave bill!

Several years ago one of the expensively suited mouthpieces for the super rich 1% said on a national news program that “We no longer need American workers.”

Of course not — thousands of companies outsourced their good jobs — their 25 cents an hour with no benefits-jobs — to their thousands of slavery factories around the world, while destroying democracy here.

The 99% should now say, “We no longer need the 1%.” Impose a 99% tax on these planetary plunderers of its resources and never-ending slavery and never-ending piling up the wealth for themselves. Impose 90% taxes as Eisenhower did to prevent great wealth from being passed down. President Eisenhower also lived in a modest Gettysburg farm — no glassed-in palace for him!

This new tax should be imposed on their holdings and obscene incomes! They must be charged with crimes against the environment and humanity! With a restored democracy, that they destroyed, a democratic choice of one of three options could be chosen by them, for their deserved punishments.

1. Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps American solution for punishment: Must be put to work at 25-cents-an-hour jobs with no benefits in one of their former slave factories, until retirement at the age of 70.

2. The English solution: Walk the plank on one of their former warships.

3. The French solution: “Off with their heads!”

Alice Keiser
Bend, Ore.

The Dark Side of the Green Revolution

In light of the centenary celebration of Norman Borlaug’s birth, we should remember there is a sense in which his Green Revolution can be viewed as one of the most serious and sustained human-caused pollution events in history.

Similar to US, Midwest, and Iowa farmers, other countries farmers’ use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides as part of the Green Revolution has resulted in dead zones, algae blooms and polluted surface and ground waters. Locally, Iowa’s impaired surface waters list is now well over 600. We find agricultural chemicals in the majority of our private wells. And, we have seen recent stories about poison algae blooms and Iowa’s contribution to the continuing dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Again, like many agricultural areas in the US and around the world, because of drenching soils with chemicals for 50 plus years, the soils in some areas of the Punjab, India’s breadbasket, are now so polluted and bereft of beneficial biological organisms that crops can no longer be grown without the use of chemicals. And similar to what has happened to the Ogallala Aquifer, because of the Green Revolutions’ need for water, the Punjab’s and other water tables have been significantly lowered.

Although it has been claimed that the Green Revolution has saved millions from starvation, we know that millions of subsistence farmers have been put off the land through not having the capital resources for the machinery, chemicals and hybrid seeds required by the Green Revolution. Millions of people have moved into urban areas contributing to urban problems that come with over-population. Similar to the US’s illegal immigration problem, millions have been forced to migrate to other countries looking for work.

We have a tendency to pat each other on the back and give each other awards and accolades. Meanwhile, unintended, but very real, consequences are conveniently brushed aside and ignored.

Borlaug’s admonition that no food revolution will help unless we deal with the problem of over-population is seldom remarked upon. It should be. But, his Green Revolution is not the right agricultural model for the earth or for its people.

Bob Watson
Decorah, Iowa

Pot Growers Should Grow Their Own Credit Union

Good article by David Dayen in the 3/15/14 TPP: “Now the Banks are Ruining Pot! Their Latest Blackmail Ploy” (about banks refusing to do business with legal marijuana dealers).

The follow-up article should be: How to form the Marijuana Dealers Federal Credit Union. They can all put their money into that and get loans to expand their businesses. It could be a really big operation. Customers could also use it as a cooperative savings and loan. It could routinely follow the regulations for reporting as outlined in the article. The banks will be sorry they missed this opportunity, but it will be too late. We need more of these cooperative, non-profit institutions, and the dealers have the funds to start one.

They could surely find a lawyer to help them form the credit union, and a retired credit union manager to help them learn how to administer it. If they follow all the rules strictly, they will succeed. No one knows better than the dealers which operations are legit.

Pearl Munak
Paso Robles, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, May 1, 2014


Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 The Progressive Populist
PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652