Learn from History

Disappointed Bernie Sanders backers who are talking about voting for the Green Party candidate for president instead of Hillary Clinton should remember what happened in 2000 when enough disgruntled left-wingers picked Ralph Nader on the Green line in Florida instead of the center-left “lesser of two evils” Democrat Al Gore to make the race close enough for the Republicans to steal the election for George W. Bush.

It’s ironic that the Greens have not embraced their singular accomplishment as a political party — enabling Bush and Dick Cheney to take power and do incalculable damage to the American economy and environment, while they invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, authorized torture as a tool in the expanded “war on terror” and appointed John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, which gave the high court a right-wing majority that emasculated the Voting Rights Act, campaign finance laws, labor law and regulations that corporations found inconvenient, at least until Antonin Scalia died in February.

Now, with the majority of the Supreme Court at stake again, we’re hearing again that left wingers are not going to be scared into voting for Hillary Clinton this year. Well, if you vote for Jill Stein, the Green standardbearer, in a battleground state that helps Donald Trump win the election, please take credit this time for the damage you help wreak on the poor people in this country and overseas who would rather risk a moderate liberal like Clinton in the White House instead of the narcissistic sociopathic con man that is Donald Trump.

Nolan O’Brian
Dallas, Texas

Remember Bush/Cheney

Does anyone out there remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were in office a mere eight years ago. Does anyone remember the utter mess that they left us to deal with. The Republicans have spent the last eight years obstructing any attempt to fix what they screwed up. How many of them hate Obama simply because he’s black? Blatant racism. How many of them hate Hillary? I find it very disturbing not to have any mention of our former president or VP during all of the Republican convention. Why do they choose to ignore them? Why are so many Republicans boycotting the convention? Do they see some disturbing similarities? I believe so.

Gary R. Baumdraher
Maple City, Mich.

Know Them By Their Donors

Joe Conasan’s column (“What Does Sanders Really Believe About Clinton?” 3/15/16 TPP) conflates Hillary Clinton donations to Bernie Sanders donations. The difference: Clinton takes from the 1%, which represents Wall Street. Sanders takes from the unions, which represent workers, or the 99%.

Denise D’Anne
San Francisco, Calif.

Fewer Foreign Adventures, Please

Jesse Jackson is spot-on in his analysis of America’s infrastructural decline [“America Must Renew Its Infrastructure Or Face Decline,” 6/15/16 TPP]. I take exception, however, to his flippant reference to our numerous ongoing wars as “foreign adventures” or that Afghanistan (or “fill in the blank” country) holds no strategic interest for us. That could have been said at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century as well.

Brigadier Gen. Smedley Butler of the US Marine Corps at the time understood the true nature of our “adventures.” He was in the forefront of most of them. In his book, War is a Racket [New York Roundtable Press, 1935], he described his “adventures” invading numerous countries on three continents and the Wall Street firms that were benefitted in the frankest terms: “I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

Equally revealing was Thomas Friedman’s March 28, 1999, New York Times column defending the brutal 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia: “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist — McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

Quite an adventure, indeed.

Robert McAlllister
Lantana, Fla.

What’s In a Name?

There are some of us who sincerely believe that if only President Obama could use the term Islamic terrorism, somehow such attacks occurring in the US and in Europe would magically stop. They also claim that “you must identify the enemies by name in order to defeat them.” It is a very simplistic solution and will not work — they have been completely “brainwashed” and could not care less even if the President of USA calls them Islamist terrorists or otherwise. Maybe the President fully realizes that such terrorists make up a very insignificant percentage of the Islamic World and would not think of ever denigrating more than billions of Muslims some of whom reside in countries with Islamic names such as The Islamic Republic of Pakistan or the Islamic Republic of Iran, etc.

M. Askarian
NewYork, N.Y.

Pied Piper Trump

At the post-Twitter press conference that re-announced the selection of Mike Pence as his running mate, the Shifty Huckster said, “Ted Cruz is a good guy,” twice. This, after months and months of the wannabe Bully-in-Chief calling Cruz a liar and denigrating Cruz’ father. This is yet another example of a small, insecure con artist saying whatever he wants the audience to hear at any given moment, irrespective of previous statements or any actual reality attached to his words. His words are literally, and actually, unbelievable.

It leaves me to wonder why the lemmings who follow this Pied Piper believe that in spite of all the self-contradicting lies, this bankrupting pretend billionaire would actually fulfill their dreams of making this great country “great again.”

Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Calif.

Whose Chickens?

The recent Dallas shoot/bomb-out “triggers” this comment: It conjures up in my memory the immediate verbal reaction of Malcolm X to the shootout in Dallas in November, 1963, namely, “The chickens have come home to roost.” Malcolm took a lot of flak for his very cogent, right on remark. The violence that had been exported by the US all over the world since 1945, literally millions of poor people of all colors who had done nothing to harm the US were its targets via the CIA and installed stooge governments south of the border and across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The “crimes” committed by these people were their supporting by their votes of attempts at government that refused to kiss Uncle Sam’s butt. Time and time again the UN voted  for these poor nations’ attempts by margins of 170 to 2 (the “2”  being the US and its 51st state, Israel), only to have the US block the vote. Read William Blum’s book, America’s Deadliest Export, and feel the guilt. And if you don’t feel guilty you should see a reputable shrink.

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.

Loss of Reality

Three days after the latest and greatest mass killing, page 2 of my local newspaper featured an article headlined “Smith & Wesson stock rises after massacre.” A few days later, a letter was printed from a local here in “liberal” Massachusetts to remind us that gun ownership should not be restricted.  Forty-nine people were slaughtered, yet our major concerns are profit and the rights of insecure people to be able to “defend” themselves. 

When was the last time someone needed to defend himself/herself here in the US of NRA with an assault rifle? Guns are not for defense. Rather, they provide a means for anyone with a loose screw, anyone who is angry or holds a grudge or wants to make a name for himself, to senselessly mow down people as if in a video game. We have truly lost our sense of reality.

What must people in civilized parts of the world think of a country where a mass killing results in politicians and believers in God/Allah making asinine statements (Stuff happens. The deity hates gays [and apparently also children, movie-goers, African Americans]), legislators passing laws to make it easier to own military-grade weapons, citizens thinking a prayer vigil and more people with guns is the way to honor those slain, and progressives continuing to make excuses (Many people enjoy target shooting)?

Daniel Hopkins
Springfield, Mass.

More Cold, Dead Hands

The latest mass shooting (Dallas, 7/7/16, since overtaken by Baton Rouge) was complicated by the victims’ persuasion as police-Americans. The root issue is gun control;  instead we’ll argue the complications. The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, used a military weapon to spectacularize his grievance. Mass shooters have various motives (religion, politics, workplace friction, alienation) but a consistent message: Can you hear me now?

Johnson was angry that police homicides are never punished by way of departmental cover-up, union stonewalling, and perfunctory prosecution. The rare officer fired skips off to the next police force along the Aryan Underground Railroad.

Given that 95% of cops are decent human beings, there is a less than even chance any of the Dallas dead had it coming. There is a counter-karmic tendency to random violence. But there are no innocent cops. Decent cops are complicit in departmental racism for closing ranks around predator cops including outright racists with a license to kill from enrollment in the Blue Klux Klan! Can you hear me now?

The Dallas shooter may have hoped to ignite a race war. None will ensue. Negligibly few people possess the desperate courage of a loser who commits suicide by cop. Johnson’s outburst will prove an isolated incident. Meanwhile the systematic depredations of killer cops will proceed represented isolated incidents. Dozens and dozens of isolated incidents.

Johnson’s motives vindicate the Second Amendment in a way no NRA wingnut would approve. His weapon gave him redress (not self-defense; it got him killed by a police grenade[?][!]) against tyrannical authority. If enough likeminded patriots followed his example there would be a reckoning — trial by literal combat — “spilled blood water[ing] the tree of liberty” per Jefferson’s vision.

So long as the Second Amendment remains we have no authority to forestall the carnage, whether that of a fed-up loner or a spontaneous insurrection. But there is a segment of society instantaneously subject to gun control. Police could be disarmed tomorrow as a term of their contracted authority. That would resolve a multitude of societal ills. Disarmed cops would walk a humbler, more approachable path through the community. Bullies attracted to the force by strap-on courage would resign in disgust and seek other outlets. (Not the military. Military bases have strict gun control. Maybe slaughtering meat?)

In the long term, repeal the Second Amendment. In the short, disarm cops. In the immediate, change the motto on squad car doors from “Protect & Serve” to “Hits! — No backs!”

M. Warner
Minneapolis, Minn.

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2016


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