Letters to the Editor

Unions Need To Rise Up

I agree with all Messrs. Dean Baker [“Scott Walker ends freedom of contract”] and Bybee [“More Nixonian than Nixon”] wrote [4/15/15 TPP], but I feel union leaders and the rank-and-file deserve a measure of blame. For one thing, after Walker won the recall election, I read in this paper that 30% of union households voted for Walker. In those famous words of Pogo (circa 1960), “We have met the enemy and he is US!”

Before I continue, let me say I am a strong union member and was president of my local teachers union in two different decades. We worked very hard to make the New York State United Teachers — NYSUT a strong union advocate along with the American Federation of Teachers — AFT.

The national unions as well as the local affiliates need to do much more to educate the workers as well as the general population regarding the benefits of unionism vs non-unions. They need to take the long view to regain the initiative. Those reactionary conservatives began their nefarious work as soon as the New Deal legislation was enacted and continued during the halcyon post-WW-II quarter-century. Now they seem to be in control.

I’m 75 years old and retired. To my brother and sister workers, get up and agitate like we did in the 1960s. We had a great leader in Al Shanker. Also, my parents and their generation did their part in the early part of the 20th Century. They helped organize the International Ladies Garment Workers Union — the ILGWU. And they had to contend with goon squads and police paddy wagons.

So my fellow sister and brother unionists, rise up! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Fraternally Yours,

Joseph F. DiBlanca
Highland, NY

Presidential Possibilities

Would a Sanders v Hillary contest be good for the Democrats? (“Dems Need Prez Race,” Editorial, 4/15/15 TPP] That’s debatable. Would toughening up the inevitable candidate help or hurt her? The Senator would push the ex-First Lady “left,” but does that help her chances? Certainly the country would be better off going left — or even to the middle — but that, it seems, is not what the voters want. Voters, that is, not “Americans”:two different entities. The Republicans, quite aware of this difference have a very successful strategy which could be summed up as “more money, fewer voters.”

As for Gov. Walker’s “ability to beat up on unions,” let me point out that he beat a recall and was subsequently re-elected. Wisconsin is not “blue” because it voted for Obama. In 2014 that state sent five Republicans and three Democrats to Congress. The Rust Belt has, in fact, joined the “neo-Confederacy.” I doubt, given that trend, that any issues can win for Mrs Clinton. If she isn’t “swift-boated” or “Benghazied” too badly  she may prevail with her one strong asset — name recognition.

Jerry Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.

Best Republican in the Democratic Party

Obama policies are so quiet nobody thinks about looking under the façade [“The Quiet Competence of President Barack Obama,” by Lee Papa, 12/1/14 TPP].

It seems that President Obama wants to outdo every previous president’s policies with his indiscriminate killing by drones: providing massive amounts of weapons worldwide (cheered on by the weapon makers); putting more Wall Street executives in his administration despite their complicity in gutting our economy; keeping or incarcerating people without the benefit of charges or trials (signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011); deporting more immigrants but not before incarcerating them in private prisons; roams the world assassinating heads of state with impunity; strengthening the hand of private medical insurers with the Affordable Care Act (originally initiated by the right-wing Heritage Foundation); approving oil drilling in the Artic and pushing for trade agreements that will diminish our sovereignty and control of our labor and environmental laws.

One wonders why the Republican Party is critical of a man who is the best Republican the Democratic Party produced, outdoing the Republicans in their quest to put in place corporate control in our political processes and economy.

Denise D’Anne
San Francisco, Calif.

Libertarianism Debunked

I loved it! I laughed. I cried. I cheered. I spent the whole rest of the day and night in a frenzy and fog of disbelief and relief. I am talking about “My Libertarian Vacation Nightmare: How Ayn Rand, Ron Paul and Their Groupies Were All Debunked,” by Edwin Lyngar [4/1/14 TPP].

This is the first time I have ever seen in print anywhere a truthful exposé of the gigantic monumental ignorant stupidity of Libertarianism. Now I can die happy. The truth is out. I have been trying for the past 50 years to say such things, but no one would print it; not the New York Times, not the New Yorker, not Mother Jones, not The Progressive, The Nation, Newsweek, BBC, NPR, etc., nobody anywhere on Earth would ever acknowledge the obvious fact (obvious, at least, to anyone who knows the least thing about economics) that such “libertarianism” is a sure prescription for a backward, underdeveloped, third-world banana republic. They all turned up their noses and ignored me, as if to say “Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, Ron Paul are Very Important People and you are a Nobody. Therefore they are right and you are wrong, so we won’t print what you say, or ever mention it, or ever think about it.”

Perhaps I went about it in the wrong way. I argued from economic theory and statistical analysis. Mr. Lyngar just gave a practical example, which is illustrative. He went there, and saw it. I never went to any of those places. To me, they are disgusting. Bay Ridge Brooklyn is not good, but it is not as bad as Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Westchester County (places where I have been, but I always returned to Brooklyn), or Bolivia, Honduras, Chile, Paraguay, Somalia, Liberia, Chad, Congo, Sudan or any other of the “Libertarian Paradises” of the world.

Harvey Stoneburner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Editor’s Note: We are sure that Brooklyn hath its charms, but if you’re suggesting that Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Westchester County [N.Y.] are examples of libertarian paradises, we must demur. (We know for a fact that rural Minnesotans consider Minneapolis to be a socialist bastion, Baltimore has a free public library and Los Angeles has a subway.) And, to be fair, while most South American republics are only a multinational corporate exec’s complaint away from a coup, Bolivia is currently governed by socialist President Evo Morales, Chile had a 10-year stretch of socialist presidents from 2000 to 2010 before electing a right-wing president in 2010 and Paraguay had four years of a liberal president in Fernando Lugo before he was impeached and removed from office by the conservative legislators on trumped-up charges in 2012 and returned it to its libertarian status.

Insanity Extends to Modernizing Nuclear Arms

The avalanche of right wing hatred directed at President Obama is unrelenting. In recent weeks I have read commentary that suggest President Obama is a socialist,-a Muslim, Anti American and a closet ISIS supporter. Running and raging through this commentary is the hidden theme that screams, “He is not one of us!” And this insanity has found a foothold in American political discussion-which sadly demonstrates the current level of political discourse  in the United States. If one wants to cast some critical thought Obama’s way they may want to look at his aggressive and seldom discussed plan to spend over a trillion dollars “modernizing” our nuclear arsenal. The professed goal of this race-to-Armageddon windfall is to increase the “reliability” of our nuclear stockpile. But a simple review shows one that this obscene arms race is really an effort to make our chances of a successful nuclear attack on Russia that much more “successful.” Theodore Postal from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology writes, “The US modernization program is producing nuclear forces that will severely complicate the chances of backing away from a disaster if a crisis were to occur. Anyone who looks at history knows that such crises will occur.”

So, while we are raving about Obama’s birth certificate and true country of origin, his sinister socialist agenda, his Muslim sounding name and his obvious hatred for America, maybe it would be well and good to inject into the conversation the reality that our US President has signed off and is supporting a trillion dollar nuclear arms modernization plan that may well trigger nuclear Armageddon and an end to human life. While this minor issue may not be as topic worthy as Obama’s other shortcomings, it is something Americans need to be acutely aware of — that is if the future for our children  matters.

Jim Sawyer
West Edmonds, Wash.

Islamic Fight

The Islamic State (ISIS) has been justly condemned by almost all nations, especially by Islamic clerics and heads of Islamic states. Their atrocities are too long to be mentioned here but suffice to say that although they claim that their actions are all in the name of Islam, in reality they are causing a great harm to Islamic heritage. President Obama has been fighting them with air-power and has almost stopped their advances but is reluctant to fight them with “troops on the ground” (thanks to Iraq experience) and has left this decision to Islamic nations to face the ISIS forces. The Arab nations like Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc., with sizable armies have also refused to put their “troops on the ground” and have left the burden on Iranians, Kurds and depleted Iraqi forces (both Sunnis and Shiite Iraqis). Yet the Saudis are very keen on bombing (planning at a later stage to invade) Yemen to fight a sizable percentage of the population known as Houthis. Islam has not been maligned by the Houthis and they are fighting in Yemen not for any religious ideology but for civil rights which have been denied to them. The Houthis, a sub-sect of Shiites, are further blamed for being in the camp of Shiite Iran and the Sunni Arabs (Egypt and Saudi Arabia) would consider this “as a friend of our enemy is our enemy.”

M. Askarian
New York, N.Y.

Good Old Days for Me

In answer to Elizabeth Smith's statement about not voting because both political parties are the same ["Not Voting is a Choice," 3/15/15 TPP] is true in some ways but not in all ways.The Democrats are saving Social Security, Medicare,Medicaid and trying to raise the minimum wage for workers among a lot of other benefits. The Republicans are trying to cut these for the middle class and poor. In other words, they rob the poor and give to the rich! Elizabeth, do you think that's fair?

I read the letter about the "Good Old Days" that David Quintero wrote in the 3/15/15 TPP. The good old days were good for most people, including myself. It was safe to walk the city streets at night, not anymore. Well-paying jobs were available for anyone, not any more. We had good honest government, not anymore. Now we have mass poverty, hunger and unemployment. Technology is putting more people out of work. Industry is outsourcing to low-wage countries. We will never see those days again, not in this USA. Detroit not long ago was the industrial capital of the world! Look at it now. It was destroyed by our own so-called leaders! David, do you call this the good old days?

Jack Karpinen
Superior, Wis.

From The Progressive Populist, May 15, 2015


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