Life After Fossil Fuels

Hooray Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for pushing our state legislature to incentivize our power purchases away from coal. Jay wrote the book Apollo’s Fire: Igniting A Clean Energy Economy and we happily elected him to create a clean energy forward path. No surprise to us, or to Montana, that after 3 years of trying mightily, he succeeded in leading us to one of our habitable planet goals. Next, we’re going to stop Montana’s coal from being transported on open rail cars through our state to our ports; thus, Montana had better prepare for that squeeze from the coast.

I feel sorrow for the coal miners and their communities, as described in Wendy Beye’s “The End of Coal Is Bringing A Wrenching Transition” [6/1/16 TPP]. As in Kentucky, they “have been fierce in their efforts to protect coal-fired electricity.” They have had years to work out a long-range plan but have chosen to put their energy and hopes in coal mine permits, in courts allowing them to release their toxic wastewater and in delaying planning and executing a clean energy economy future plan.

Wendy and her community should have put their fierce efforts toward their Republican statehouses, congresspersons and senators, getting state and federal funding for retraining and seeking other career/job opportunities, getting the coal miners’ pensions protected and getting the money set aside for the toxic clean up that will have to occur. Then, she could have success redirecting her community and state away from that which will tip our planet over climate’s edge.

Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “I’m the only candidate who has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country ...” Perhaps Wendy can get ideas on how to get her community moving forward by reading and enacting Hillary’s policy and Jay’s book. Of course, the only part of Hillary’s statement the media played was when she continued, “because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Hillary was, of course, reamed for telling the truth.

In the 1970s, in the wake of a downturn of Boeing, our largest employer, someone put up a billboard in Seattle that read, “Will the last person to leave Seattle, please turn out the lights?” Seattle reinvented itself after the downturn and today, through economic diversity and innovation, Seattle thrives. I hope the same will be true for Montana and Kentucky but they will have to invest their fierceness and resources in businesses other than coal.

Fran Friend Alexander
Seattle, Wash.

Trump is Dangerous

Several articles in your 6/15/16 issue regarding the presidential election have omitted one important item — a reference to “World War III Trump.”

Donald Trump has inappropriately renamed his Democratic opponent “Crooked Hillary.”

Based on his nuclear weapon and Middle East foreign policy positions leading to a possible World War III against China and Russia, the Republican presidential candidate would appear to be more appropriately named “World War III Trump” to remind Americans of the increased nuclear war risk if he should become President. The likelihood of nuclear weapons falling on the United States during the next four years appears far greater with “World War III Trump” than with a “Crooked Hillary” (e-mails) presidency possibly making 2016 the last presidential election year in US history.

Both candidates may be crooks. However, one appears to be pursuing policies which could result in the destruction of our country and all civilizations on earth.

Edward L. Koven
Highland Park, Ill.

Trump Bombing Policy Already In Place

During one of his political side shows, Donald Trump was asked how he would handle our perceived enemies in the Middle East. His reply, “I would bomb the s*** out of them.” His diplomatic speak naturally brought screams of approval from the Republican lemmings surrounding him.

America’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya have caused over 890,000 civilian casualties and displaced millions of people, along with destroying trillions of dollars of infrastructure in countries that do not meet our brand of imperialism.

To speed up the killing of the innocent and defenseless, the Pentagon announced it has delegated more authority to Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of the wars in Syria and Iraq, to approve targets even when there is a risk that civilians will be killed. Previously authority for missions with the potential to kill civilians had to be made at Headquarters of the US Central Command. Passing this authority down to the lower echelons of command produced instant results; we are now killing the same amount of civilians in three months that used to take 12 months.

The Pentagon is not revealing what the new killing ratio is, i.e., is the taking out of one ISIS fighter worth the lives of a family of four? Is killing one ISIS commander worth the lives of 13 kids in a nearby school? Whatever, as Uncle Sam’s military plays some kind of divine decider as to who lives and who dies.

Lest we forget, several thousand civilian casualties of Gaza and Lebanon were killed by munitions that were gifted to Israel — your tax dollar at work.

As to the GOP’s presumptive presidential candidate’s vulgar comment, in the past 18 months our military has dropped 40,000 bombs — with more on the way — on Syria and Northern Iraq, killing 680 civilians. Assuredly, this qualifies as bombing the s*** out of them.

Ed Hodges
Appleton, Wis.

US on Russia’s Border

Both US and global attention is now focused on both the spectacle and horror of a sustained Donald Trump presidential run in which he may actually obtain the Oval Office. Only a fool or an ostrich wearing blinders will think he has no chance. However, there is an issue that dwarfs even the apocalyptic prospect of a Trump presidency — an issue that inexplicably has received virtually no mainstream media attention.

US citizens and the media need with urgency to focus their full attention on the US brazen, high-risk, and confrontational military build-up on Russia’s borders. What is not reported is that in the last 18 months the greatest military build-up since WW2 has been amassed along Russia’s Western frontier. [Editor’s Note: the US troops are part of NATO “war games” in Poland, which joined NATO in 1999.] Not since Hitler’s invasion have the Russians experienced a threat and build-up of this magnitude. The enormity of the risk here can’t be quantified. At stake here is not just the obvious threat to world peace but the undeniable reality that this unwarranted military build-up could easily lead to nuclear confrontation. Stephen Cohen observed that all political candidates and their parties are “professionally and morally obligated” to bring these “dire developments to the fore.” Cohen is right, and I would add that a reasoned and informed citizenry shares these same obligations.

Jim Sawyer
Edmonds, Wash.

Write-Ins Didn’t Alter 1968 Vote

Your 6/1/16 issue has a good letter from a reader who argues that TPP readers should vote for whomever the Democratic presidential nominee will be [“We need a united left in election” by James P. Freda Jr.]. That is a clear and reasonable expression of opinion, and I have no criticism of that.

Unfortunately, his letter asserts something about the1968 presidential election that is factually incorrect. His letter says in November 1968, the popular vote in California was so close between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon that if all the Californians who voted for Eugene McCarthy or Eldridge Cleaver had instead voted for Humphrey, Humphrey would have carried California.

Actually, the November 1968 California vote was: Nixon 3,467,664; Humphrey 3,244,318. So Nixon beat Humphrey in California by 223,346. The California write-in vote in November 1968 for Eugene McCarthy was 20,721. The vote for Eldridge Cleaver (which was not write-in; Cleaver’s presidential elector candidates were on the ballot) was 27,707. There were also 3,230 votes for Dick Gregory. If all the people who voted for McCarthy, Cleaver and Gregory had voted for Humphrey, Nixon still would have prevailed in California.

The only presidential elections in US history in which voters who voted for minor party or independent presidential candidates tilted the identity of the winner were: 1844, 1848, 1884, 1912, 1916, arguably 1992, and 2000.

Richard Winger
San Francisco Calif.

Don’t Confuse Fleetwood Mac Members

Please ask your contributors to do a little more fact checking. nnEric Blumberg is incredibly lazy in describing Fleetwood Mac and the song Al and Tipper Gore and Bill and Hillary Clinton danced to in 1992 [“Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” 6/1/16 TPP].

Not only did Stevie Nicks not sing nor write the song in question, “Don’t Stop,” but it was Christine McVey who wrote and sang the song.

Her voice is the one in everyone’s head, help us all.

Otherwise excellent work, keep on.

Billy Prendergast
Oakland, Calif.

Sick Drug Industry

The title of Froma Harrop’s column, “Our Sick Drug Business” (6/1/16 TPP) doesn’t fully describe its content, which largely concerns legal overpricing by a single drug company, Valeant.  According to a March 2016 report from Public Citizen, from 1991 through 2015, there have been 373 settlements between state/local governments and 92 drug companies for illegal activities, e.g. marketing drugs for unproven uses and hiding drug safety data from the FDA. Total fines were $36 billion, but the top 11 companies alone had $711 billion in profits from 2003 to 2012. Clearly, fines alone aren’t deterring these companies. If Ms. Harrop had discussed this Public Citizen report, then her title really would have made sense.

David Harrowe
University Place, Wash.

Tone Down Misandry

I’ve noticed an uptick in the sexism of some of your featured columnists of the female persuasion (including honorary female columnist Gene Lyons). They’re so eager to have a woman for president, they can’t seem to think straight.

The corrupt nature of Hillary Clinton is overwhelming, as is the degree of underreporting of the success and support of Bernie Sanders. Of course, Froma Harrop and Connie Schultz (and, again, Gene Lyons) will trumpet sexism and misogyny over substance. It’s a cowardly position (and tactic) to engage in: simply dismiss anybody who is concerned with Clinton’s poor choices and behaviors and major ties with Wall Street, the origin of this country’s woes with a claim of misogyny and other smart-aleck remarks in a column, then wallow in your self-righteousness.

Now, this attitude ignores the large number of female supporters of Sanders as well as the huge number of men and women who would more than love to vote for President Elizabeth Warren. (Note to Lyons, Harrop and especially Schultz: Where’s the misogyny there?) Hillary Clinton could be a worse president than the twice unelected George W. Bush and these three would be unable to be unbiased enough to admit it. Which means I now have a tendency to pass over their columns due to my aversion to frivolity.

Really, Froma, Gene and Connie, tone down your misandry.

Nicky D’Andrea
Port Townsend, Wash.

From The Progressive Populist, July 1-15, 2016


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