Education is Making Us Stupid

In the 7/1-15/16 TPP cover story “White Working Class Gets No Respect,” the statement that Tea Party backers “are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public” reinforces something that I have long suspected: That our education system is failing us. Judging by when our legislators would have gone to school, it’s been happening for a long time.

For example: The history books I read in school emphasized the compromises that were made in the founding of this country and the writing of our Constitution. Today our lawmakers would shut the government down rather than work out compromises that might benefit everyone. Some compromises were made in the writing of the Affordable Care Act, but they weakened it and made it extremely complicated, and Republicans are still trying to get rid of it.

All through our history, legislation has been aimed toward leveling the playing field for the least of us, but today’s governing bodies seem ignorant of this, and they are getting dumber with every session. I am convinced that conservative politicians who cite the Constitution have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

Because children cannot vote, school budgets are always the first to be slashed, and good, well-rounded educations suffer. We are now reaping that whirlwind.

Gayle Voeller
Carmichael, Calif.

Workers Need Unions

In re: Daniel Denvir’s “White Working Class Gets No Respect” [7/1-15/16 TPP]: A quick read of your cover story has one glaring omission: the lack of unionization among those white working-class. And it’s not as if the unions weren’t trying: it’s the fault, if you will pardon those harsh terms, of the white working class themselves, especially the southern white working class.

When the “white working class” smartens up — and demands unionization — then they will have my sympathies. Until then, attention: You deserve everything y’all get.

Michael E. Peterson
Eugene, Ore.

How Are We Rich?

So often we see the US referred to in news articles as a “wealthy country” or the “richest country in the world.” One wonders what criteria are used to make this determination. Ironically, these phrases usually appear in pieces that deplore the sorry state of our economy, infrastructure, education and healthcare systems, ad infinitum.

So what is it that makes us so rich? Is it because we have so many billionaires? Maybe it’s our abundant food supply that makes us rich, although many of our food producers have traded nutritional values for fast-growing, easy-shipping mutants. And who decided that Mexican-grown tomatoes can be sold as “organic” in American supermarkets? Filling up on this stuff could easily make us “rich” in obesity, vitamin deficiencies and other nutrition-related disorders.

Maybe it’s our love of guns that makes us rich. According to Mother Jones, the 10 major gun manufacturers made a total of 8.5 million units for the US market in 2014 alone, most of them handguns. A number of these weapons were probably bought by police and the Pentagon, but America can still boast the largest prison population of any “rich” country.

I guess we’re rich because lower gas prices mean our cost of living didn’t go up as of January 2016, based on the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index. Thus, seniors and others who receive Social Security benefits were not given an increase for 2016. As gas prices creep upward again, prices at the stores we drive to continue to rise, as do vehicle repair costs due to poor roads.

So please, let’s be real. A country that allows the health and well-being of 99% of its people to remain at the mercy of financial and political manipulators doesn’t deserve to be called the “richest in the world.”

Betty Crowder
Honeydew, Calif.

A Milestone Indeed

What a pleasure to read a column [“Our Milestone Moment” by Connie Schultz, 7/1-15/16 TPP] supporting Hillary in TPP, which has become a Hillary bashing rag.

I am over the moon that Hillary has become the Democratic nominee for president. It is about time.

Over her lifetime Hillary has played hardball on man`s playing field and is not intimidated by confronting men which she has done all her life..

Also it just so happens that Hillary is the best qualified person to run for president in my lifetime. I am 70 years old. I am not voting for Hillary just because she is a woman.

I am mystified when young women say they are not voting for Hillary just because she is a woman because they know one day a woman will be elected president. However Hillary Clinton is the only woman to seriously run for president. Since she was defeated in 2008 no woman has made a credible attempt to run for president. Hillary is the only one.

If Hillary is elected president Americans will never say “Is America Ready to Elect a Woman as President?” It will also open the floodgates for other great women and accomplished women  like Hillary to run for president.

Reba Shimansky
New York, N.Y.

Lost Respect for Connie Schultz

I used to have respect for Connie Schultz. With her support for Hillary Clinton based on nothing more than HRC becoming the first female president, Ms. Schultz’s depth as a discerning citizen is highly questionable. I have read Ms. Schultz’s columns over the years now and whenever she mentions HRC, it’s usually in the context of Hillary becoming the first female president. I’ve been waiting for quite some time for Ms. Schultz to add substance to her support for Hillary, such as, “I support Hillary’s hawkish, militaristic position because Bernie is too much of a dove.” Or, “I want my Democratic presidential candidate to support trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Patnership and Bernie is just too damned liberal on that.” If Ms. Schultz took these stances, as much as I would disagree with them as a progressive, she would at least show that she’s actually THOUGHT about why she will vote for Hillary. But no, Ms. Schultz’s only rationale to vote for Hillary is: Because Female. Because Not Misogynist. Because Not Old White Guy.

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Your other columnists provide real value their columns and that’s why I subscribe to your publication. What does Ms. Schultz bring to the table other than her shallow brand of identity politics? That is not a rhetorical question. I’d appreciate it if you could please ask Ms. Schultz what position she likes of HRC that she supports over those of Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, and other progressives?

Bob Smet
Springfield, Ill.

Open Letter to Hillary

You may have won the Democratic nomination but you have not won the hearts of the 17-to 30-year-old voters who by a margin of 70-80% chose Bernie Sanders.

Undoubtedly you will receive the nomination and ultimately win the presidency. How progressive will your term be?

Many solidly liberal Democrats fear that you would be a president committed to the status quo in America’s political and economic life, at a time when the Sanders faction of Democrats (who gave 40 states to him) demand the Party must move farther to the left.

That means narrowing the income gaps, instituting government programs to firm up the economy, infrastructure spending, and if you will, a new New Deal.

In short, the Democratic Party must return to its former roots, championing the poor, providing single payer health care, priming the economic pump, increasing taxes on the higher income groups, lifting the ceiling on Social Security contributions, moving toward new energy policies, providing meaningful after-school activities, all of which demand more government revenue.

There should be a place for unions, a living wage, a college education unencumbered by debt, and a workable program for all the unemployed and underemployed.

These are the issues that will define the Democratic Party for the future. At a time when the Republican Party has moved so far to the reactionary right, the Democratic Party can and should find its identity as a party of the center left.

Will the Sanders Democrats finally vote for you? Yes, if you adopt a progressive agenda, convince Americans that you believe in it and act to implement it.

They fear that your loyalties are undefined,that you act expediently and choose safety over principle by trying to be all things to all people, instead of embracing programs that identified FDR, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson.

We wish you every success in the coming election and hope you heed the rumbling of the rank and file who seek a party that works for ordinary people in their quest for a decent life.

Zita and Leonard Kass
Woodland Hills, Calif.

Thank Donald

I notice that all your paid scribes have pretty much exhausted the English language to vilify Donald Trump. I write in praise of that crazy maniac.

Seems to me we owe The Donald a huge debt of gratitude for putting the GOP Establishment in total denial, despair and disarray. Their tactics of obstruction, voter suppression, abusing social issues, thumping the Bible, arming everyone and stomping on the downtrodden has lost its audience. Their usually reliable base of “I’ve got mine, good luck getting yours” has seen enough. Time to fish or cut bait.

Also Donald destroyed the idea that you need tons of PAC money to win the nomination. Never was the phrase “here is my two cents worth” been more apt. Can you think of a more worthy goal than to get money out of politics?

Big Media has gotten its comeuppance. They dismissed Donald and Bernie as hopeless from the beginning but curiously then promoted one to the top and kicked sand in the face of the other.

Certain of Trump’s policies appeal to me. For example, Donald has questioned and no one I have ever asked knows why we pay for thousands upon thousands of troops in Japan, South Korea and Europe. For fifty some years. Those countries all have decent economies and surely should pay for their own defense.

Bernie and Donnie seem to agree our trade policies have not been in the best interest of middle class workers. He has said we should end the “carried interest” tax loophole. Donald seems to agree with Ike that we have listened to the generals a few times too often.

OK, granted, he has been verbally offensive, to many groups. You have a thin skin? He is the bully in the GOP schoolyard. Tell me, what has “political correctness” done for us lately? Aren’t you glad he has sidelined 16 pretenders who only parrot what Big Money tells them?

One Big Money puppet left.

Ron Platt
Overland Park, Kansas

From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2016


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