Republican Disarray

What words are adequate to describe the disarray we see in the Republican Party these days? From Sarah Palin's wholly inarticulate speech last month through statements questioning President Obama's patriotism, the GOP's “leaders” are scary as policy makers and presidential hopefuls. I would use the word “chaotic” except for the fact that the word is too associated with chaos theory for a party that denies human-caused global warming and other accepted science.

The GOP's political, economic, and social views are based on so many untruths that it's no wonder that it can't show any unity — or even competence, in some cases. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can hardly give a speech without saying that “this [fill in the blank] is what the American people want,” and the phrase is repeated ad infinitum by those whose funding comes from the same polluted well. And by Fox So-Called News too, of course. No matter the untruth of it, if it's repeated often enough some undiscerning citizens will believe it to be the case and vote accordingly.

I would submit that, as voters, we are obligated to view our nation and the political parties with critical eyes. Indeed, this is the patriotic thing to do if we are to move toward our highest potential as a nation. In every sphere of interest and activity we must understand the underlying causes of our government's dysfunction and attempt to remedy them.

The Tea-Party backed Republican Party is a house built on sand. Until they recognize the truth of what works (i.e. budget austerity does NOT work) and what the American people REALLY want (i.e. they DO want Citizens United overturned ), their house will remain in confused irrelevance.

Right now they would be an amusing sideshow if the consequences of their dishonesty and ignorance were not so serious for the rest of us.

Barbara J. Richardson
Northampton, Pa.

Giuliani’s Shame

Nowadays, it must be a great embarrassment to all respectable American citizens who heard or read about the awful verbal attack Rudy Giuliani gave the other day to politically smear President Barack Obama. Giuliani claimed that President Obama does not love America the way he does or we do. How far from the truth he is. President Obama has done much for the American people and the country.

Rudy Giuliani being of high intellect proved his fallibility by spewing his hate smearing remarks, which were in concert with the never-ending hate campaign the Republicans have against our black President. How untruthful and disgraceful were Giuliani’s remarks about President Obama, but worst off was how television news and other news media gave credence to Giuliani’s verbal attack on the President. According to the Washington Post’s Fact Check, all the accusations by Giuliani were found to be false.

The Republican Party has become a “Corral of Hate mongering Jack Asses.”

Raynaldo Yrlas
Corpus Christi, Texas

Kochs and Keystone Pipeline

Thank you for another wonderful issue published on 2/15/15 TPP. I have a few comments: (1) There is a news item in your Dispatches column regarding the Koch brothers and their political allies planning to spend close to $900 million to influence 2016 elections. An important sidebar should have been added. A column in the December issue of The Hightower Lowdown newsletter, published by Jim Hightower, points out that the Koch brothers have leased more than a million acres in Alberta, Canada, where the tar sands are located. If  the Keystone XL Pipeline is built, it will allow the Koch brothers to send tar sands to an oil refinery in a Texas seaport. The oil shipped to China and other countries will “earn” an estimated $100 million for the Koch brothers. (2) Webster’s Dictionary defines conservative as “someone who is opposed to change.” I believe a more accurate description of  contemporary politicians who describe themselves as conservative is elected officials who are for sale to the highest bidder. How else can you explain why Congress allows corporations and some of our richest citizens to avoid paying fair taxes by hiding assets in the Cayman Islands, etc.?

Bob Fisher
Encinitas, Calif.

Who Does Austerity Work For?

I thank Wayne O’Leary for his excellent column describing the negative effects of government austerity measures. [“The Deliberate Stupidity of Austerity” 2/1/15 TPP]. I would like to add that the 1% (I prefer the wordier but more accurate “upper echelons of the capitalist class”) only hate government and government spending selectively. They hate “wasting” resources on education, health, housing, nutrition, decent jobs, the environment, public transportation, parks, child care, etc. (you get the idea) for the rest of us. They don’t hate collecting interest on tax-free bonds. (They’re not really into paying taxes.) They don’t hate getting bailed out when they F everything up. They don’t hate infrastructure projects that benefit their corporations. They don’t hate government funded research which they grab, patent, and exploit. They don’t hate the military that protects their interests globally.

“Austerity” is their word for keeping government solvent enough to take care of their needs. They see any expenditures to promote a decent life for those of us who are not them as an infringement that might limit government’s ability to service them. (And since such expenditures involve a society collectively pitching in to help its members vaguely suggest a word they would gladly expunge from all known dictionaries-socialism, they are adamant against them.) So I am not sure that from their point of view austerity is stupid. It certainly is deliberate.

Ed Beller
Bronx, New York City

Stop Shooting to Kill

Until the training of police is separated from military training, we will continue to see people killed for no reason. All shooting galleries use the top half of a human figure for the target, with bull’s-eyes at the head and heart. There is no attempt to do other than “shoot to kill.” Many of the problems encountered could be dealt with by other means and, if shooting is necessary, police could shoot to disarm or impair, i.e. shoot at arms or legs. The other problem is that when one armed policeman shoots, others on site all join in. There is no reason for this. I think the media focus on violence in films, TV, videos, and news, has a great influence on how our police departments see themselves behaving. As a culture and nation we are responsible for creating this situation. The question is how do we now change it?

Patsy Kelley
McCall, Idaho

Torture Discredited Two Centuries Ago

Regarding the issue of torture, allow me this short quote: “The infamous practice of flogging men to make them disclose secrets must come to an end. The only result of torturing is that the poor wretches say whatever they think will please their captors. I forbid the use of means that are equally repugnant to humanity and reason.” The speaker: Napoleon Bonaparte, 1806.

Michael Lane
Atascadero, Calif.

Editor Notes: Napoleon was perceptive, but 31 years earlier, on Sept. 14, 1775, George Washington set the precedent for the humane treatment of prisoners, in his charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force that invaded Quebec, as he instructed Benedict Arnold, “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Canadian or Indian, in his Person or Property I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary Punishment as the enormity of the Crime may require. Should it extend to Death itself, it will not be disproportional to its Guilt at such a Time and in such a Cause.”

Why We’re at War Against ISIS

Mr. Rall’s questioning why we are at war with ISIS [3/1/15 TPP], the latest episode in our economy’s perpetual need for war, is a legitimate question, but the answer to his question is obvious. President Eisenhower had at least half the answer … the military industrial complex. The other half is capitalism’s need for perpetual spending. The military (itself employing millions), plus our corporate arms dealers, are both so entrenched in our government and economy that dictate that we must have perpetual war (or at least the threat of it) for us to economically survive. We can scale down our war efforts without millions out of work by rebuilding our infrastructure, but this would require too much rocking the defense industry’s boat … and right now our arms dealers are doing extraordinarily well while they line the pockets of our politicians.

Bob Bognero
Aspen, Colo.

From The Progressive Populist, April 1, 2015


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