Nathan Bedford Forrest is No Hero

In the 8/1/15 issue, Gene Lyons in his column, “Why the GOP Has the First Amendment Upside Down,” tells us that David Frum is a Canadian Jew who became a US citizen in 2007.

What relevance does David Frum being a Jew have to do with the subject being written about?

In the same issue, Joe Conason writes about the intensifying debate over the Confederate flag in his column, “The Confederate Flag’s Real Meaning.”

Joe Conason, an excellent journalist, gets taken in by former Sen. James Webb when he writes, “there are sincere patriots like former Sen. James Webb, D-Va., who insist that it is only a remembrance of the valor of their ancestors.”

Webb’s sincerity is questionable. In his book, Born Fighting — How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, Webb writes about Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest as “The unparalleled Nathan Bedford Forrest, a semiliterate who proved to be a master of maneuver and improvisation, and who defeated every West Point general he faced.” What Webb fails to relate is that Forrest became the Ku Klux Klan’s first Imperial Wizard and in 1867 and 1868 he was its chief missionary traveling over hte South establishing new chapters and advising its new members. Why would Webb fail to tell his readers about Forrest and the KKK? Might it tarnish his hero’s image?

Although a substantial amount of the book deals with life in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, there is only one mention of the KKK and no reference to it in the index. Nothing short of a condemnation of the KKK should be expected. Instead what we get from Webb is “the hooded cross-burning rallies of the Ku Klux Klan, many of whose members were motivated not by illusions of white supremacy so much by bitterness at being dominated, came to symbolize the mores of an entire region.”

While it may not be accurate to call Webb an apologist for the KKK in the South after the Civil War, his statement does seem to justify its existence.

Highland, N.Y.

Sanders is Not a Democrat

The editorial of TPP says that Sanders should drop the socialist label and run as a Democrat. However this is what Sanders has said about Democrats up until recently:

“I am not a Democrat,” he told The Progressive, “because the Democratic Party does not represent, and has not for many years, the interests of my constituency, which is primarily working families, middle-class people and low-income people.”

Sanders should not be running the primaries of a party he has always hated. His contempt for the Democratic party is the reason Democratic politicians loathe him. He has no friends and allies in Congress. Joe Moakley, Representative from Massachusetts, said this about Sanders: “he screams and hollers but he is all alone.”

Barney Frank said, “Bernie alienates his natural allies with a holier-than-thou attitude which undercuts his effectiveness.”

The fact is some liberals view Sanders through rose-colored glasses. But the fact is he is unelectable and would drag down the rest of the Democrats with him. Americans are not going to vote for someone who is 74, looks like a mad scientist, who is Jewish and a socialist. Sanders is toxic and Democrats should have nothing to do with him.

New York, N.Y.

Hillary’s Values & Judgment

Hillary was great at sounding confident in [the Oct. 13] debate, but many of her responses were, in fact, kind of wishy washy (especially regarding whether or not she will support Obama’s rigged “trade agreements” like the Trans-Pacific Partnership). Bernie, on the other hand, make it perfectly clear where he stands on most of the issues (though a bit wobbly on gun control legislation), and his political history is more solid on such issues than Hillary’s political history.

Also, Hillary was Secretary of State when US operatives staged a coup d’etat to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Honduras, and that created a deadly anarchy in Honduras which led to a massive refugee migration to the United States. Hilary was also Secretary of State when US operatives attempted to create a similar coup d’etat to achieve a “regime change” in Syria. They not only failed to achieve that desired “regime change,” they created a massively violent multi-sided anarchy in Syria, which served as a “breeding ground” for the development of ISIS and also created millions of Syrian refugees (hundreds of thousands of whom have been attempting to flee to Europe). Such US coup d’etat attempts could not have occurred without Hillary’s participation/approval, so we must ask ourselves, “Is this the kind of values and quality of judgment we want our next President of the United States to have?”

Pascoag, R.I.

The New Stupid Party

Well yes, Mr. O’Leary, there is some silliness about excising Jackson, Jefferson and other 18th-century slaveholders from the public record. But nowhere in your 10/15/15 article (“The New Stupid Party”) will the reader learn that the “Black Lives Matter” movement arose because it is nearly always unarmed non-Caucasians who are killed in confrontations with police, that non-Caucasians are harassed, arrested and tried out of proportion to their numbers, receive poorer defense counsel and harsher sentences for comparable violations — nor that Ferguson’s police/judicial system was revealed as largely an extortion racket preying on the vulnerable to bolster local revenues. Nor that variations of it, though not universal, are common.

Frankly, I think your article is a disgrace.

San Rafael, Calif.

We Need to Re-Evaluate Our Values

In the book Cannery Row, John Steinbeck wrote: “It has always seemed strange to me, the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

Though written in the 1940s, this still has a ring of truth. Consider the current front-runner in the Republican presidential primary race. Most would agree he has been successful, if the accumulation of great wealth is the measure of success in our society. And he clearly embodies the qualities of greed, meanness, egotism and self-interest. So, why is he so popular?

Republicans claim to represent the majority of Christians, especially evangelicals.  Apparently Republicans have now openly adopted these qualities, but when did Christians embrace greed, meanness, egotism and self-interest as core values? 

Columbia Falls, Mont.

What Do We Eat and What Do We Put Up With?

Jim Goodman — it is extremely disconcerting to read about the use of Round Up just days before harvest of small grain crops [“Truth In Labeling—Our Right to Know What’s In Our Food,” 10/15/15 TPP]. Is there no one who can independently test the harvest in various locations and publish the toxicity that is entering the market for our consumption? Is Round Up approved for human consumption?

Gene Nichol — thank you for pointing out that the vast inequalities in our legal system in which only those with sufficient money can get good representation [“Our Greatest Constitutional Shortcoming: Legal Access,” 10/15/15 TPP].

If indeed “equal justice under law” is a constitutional right, why has there not been a huge class-action suit aimed at correcting this injustice?

Pittsboro, N.C.

Climate Horror

Stephen King and H.P Lovecraft working together in earnest could never scribe a horror story that even approaches the recent Exxon revelations about the corporate giant’s deliberate and successful attempts for decades to shield the public and the world about the dire findings from their own internal scientific teams. The Exxon scientists reported as early as 1977 that their industry was causing, without question, an increase in the planet’s temperatures.

Exxon had confirmed and undeniable scientific evidence produced by their own team that global warming was the end result of uncontrolled carbon emissions.

So what did this corporate goliath do? Did Exxon take the moral and reasoned position and advise the planets citizenry of the impending impact of global warming and what needed to be done to avert catastrophe of unimagined proportions? No, Exxon buried their research, muzzled their scientists and began an epic propaganda campaign that global warming was nothing but a misguided theory conjured up by liberal tree huggers with an affinity for pseudo science. And towards this effort Exxon has spent millions of dollars manufacturing consent by propagating a lie that may well challenge the survival of human civilization. The full impact of these revelations are impossible to quantify. The scope of this evil is impossible to undo or remedy. Unimaginable damage has already been done. Exxon has with full intent and premeditation compromised all future generations and our living planets eco system. Which is why this corporate juggernaut’s efforts make the works of Lovecraft and King at their best seem anemic in comparison.

Edmonds, Wash.

From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2015


Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

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

Copyright © 2015 The Progressive Populist
PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652