Letters to the Editor

Republicans Should Try a Trusted Figure

I support and have contributed to Sen. Sanders and would like to see him elected but believe that his election would continue, if not exacerbate the political divide in D.C. and swell the ranks of ignorant, anti-government flying moneys of the right-wing echo chamber that turn out to elect representatives dedicated to shrinking government down to a size that it can be drowned in a bath tub and doing the bidding of the 1%. If Hilary Clinton is elected the ranks would no doubt swell to the point that they would overwhelm polling places to elect puppets of plutocracy and the present inability of Congress and Senate to function will be looked back upon as the good old days.

What has happened is that the Republican Party is reaping what they have sewn over the last third of a century. They abandoned being the party of Lincoln championing civil rights in favor of being the party of “state’s rights,” the Southern Strategy and Lee Atwater. They stopped being the party of Teddy Roosevelt that initiated the National Park system and preserving our natural lands for future generations and started being the party selling them off to the highest bidder. They stopped being the party of Eisenhower that invested in the interstate highway system that was the foundation on which our modern economy was built and started being the party that cut taxes of those who benefited most from the economy so much that essential services and upkeep of such things as that interstate highway system could not be maintained. Most of all, in the process of winning elections at all costs, and sinking to any depths to do so, as Lee Atwater taught them, they won over more and more angry, ignorant people brought into the fold by lies, false issues, things that were not really governments concerns and in large part people who accepted what had become the mantra of the Republican party, “Government is the problem,” which was itself a lie.

Although it is true that President Reagan said, “ Government is the problem,” it was the last four words of a sentence; cherry picked to become the mantra for the Republican Party and a falsehood as to what Ronald Reagan believed. The first 16 words were, “In this present crisis government is not the solution to our problem, Government is our problem.”

There you have it. A party that has been promoting a lie for over a third of a century now being held hostage by the very people it abandoned its principles and values to recruit. And nothing shows how far the party has sunk from what once was the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Teddy and Ike than the debates in which none of the candidates can afford to stray from name calling, references to private body parts and the like into anything that might border on being significant issues if they want to stand a chance of gaining traction with the ignorant angry activists who will be turn out to vote at primaries and caucuses. Congratulations, Republican Party, you are reaping what you have sewn for a third of a century.

Faced with the prospect of having Donald Trump as your nominee or Ted Cruz, who if nominated even many of his fellow republican senators may not support, your party in now in a panic trying to figure out what to do and there is even talk of running a “real Republican as third-party candidate. Well I have what I think is a better Idea for you that will save your party and the country from at least another 4 years of being held hostage by the angry anti-government flying monkeys. Assuming there is a open convention, nominate Colin Powell.

Colin Powell is perhaps the most trusted person in America and has a 77% approval rating, compared to a 44% for that of Hillary Clinton. There is no one better qualified for national security. He is a fiscal conservative which bodes well for the budget but socially moderate which would win over moderates and Democrats. Being black we would no doubt win over black voters so I believe his election would pretty much be a sure thing …

How about it, Republicans? After a third of a century on the dark side isn’t it time for the GOP to see the light again?

Charles Leach
Lynchburg, Ohio

Editor Notes: Republicans could do worse, and probably will, but trusting Colin Powell lent credence to the US invasion of Iraq on trumped-up charges. And he used private servers for government email.

Lies Aren’t Created Equal

According to Webster’s Dictionary “to lie” also means “to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive.” What is then the difference, if any, between “not telling the truth” and “lying?”

Coming from a strict Catholic family I was told that not telling the truth/lying is a sin, yet I often caught my parents not telling the truth in social contexts in order not to hurt someone feelings or to make someone feel good, which taught me the difference between social not telling the truth and the inadmissible and “post-mortem” punishable lying. In business, lying overlaps with deception which if proven is punishable by law.

Having been involved in intelligence work behind the Iron Curtain and in the “Free World,” I must say that, in the context of the circumstances intelligence work operates, where you may need to violate your opponent’s privacy even by breaking in, or in order to obtain needed information by impersonating someone you are not, you operate outside of the normal life of conventional civility to the point that, in order to remain a self-respecting person, you must draw a line between professionally necessary “not telling the truths” and outright lying. A soldier will stick out his helmet to trick the enemy but he is expected to tell his commanding officer the truth about his findings. Intelligence services should be auxiliaries serving their countries’ best interests. Here may be a problem in dealing with an agency which purpose is to produce evidence supporting action their leaders wish to initiate (the aluminum tubes displayed by Powell in the UN in order to justify aggression against Iraq), which was outright lying but presumably in the interest our country. The agencies providing Powell the aluminum tubes knew very well their origin and their real purpose, and that they were not to be used in non-existent nuclear projects.

Instances mentioned by John Kiriakou [in “The (Redacted) Truth about CIA,” 3/15/16 TPP] with reference to eyewashing cables for the committee’s report on torture are a weakness of our agencies. While intelligence agencies behind the Iron Curtain refrained from using torture since the late ’50s because they produces too many forced false confessions and left suspects indefinitely in jail, operatives in the Middle East want/need to get answers soon, preferably immediately. That is where torture enters into the picture. False admissions are treated as collateral damage, and long range damage done to America is not taken into account.

Paul Saman
Asheville, N.C.

Money in Politics

Joe Conason’s claim [‘What does Sanders believe about Clinton?” 3/15/16 TPP] that ‘the labor movement openly supports the Citizens United decision, which expanded their freedom to offer big donations to politicians’ is just plain nonsense and a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters of debate.

Superficially his statement may appear fair but in reality Conason is being highly economical with the truth in his misguided enthusiasm to make Bernie Sanders appear hypocritical and for Hillary Clinton to look less like the favorite whore of Wall Street.

In reality, corporations and unions face very different rules and requirements for their political spending. Labor unions must publicly disclose their political spending and, in some instances, face restrictions about seeking consent from their stakeholders before using political funds. Corporations do not face the same requirements. After Citizens United, there are many avenues through which corporations can spend money in politics without disclosing their financial support for particular candidates or causes. And corporations are not required to seek approval from their stakeholders—in fact, shareholders don’t even have the right under federal law to know if and how a company is spending money in politics.

Conason has made a career out of following and apologizing for the House of Clinton and is singularly the last person on the planet that TPP should be asking for fair and balanced commentary when it comes to the subject of campaign contributions.

Clinton is secretive about what she says to the banks and giant corporations in exchange for huge fees for a very good reason, and all of us who care about democracy and re-establishing the rule of the 99% know exactly why.

Ted Newcomen
Chestertown, Md.

‘Originalists’ Don’t Make the Best Citizens

Like Donald Kaul’s mother [“The Passion of Antonin Scalia”, 3/15/16 TPP], mine also admonished me to never speak with disrespect about the dead.

But since that lesson doesn’t apply to historical personalities, here is what I have to say about Antonin Scalia: Despite his elevation to the position of Supreme Court Jurist, he lacked knowledge about at least one aspect of the Constitution.

To wit: During a conference on Religion and Public Life, Scalia is quoted as saying, “Our government derives all of its authority from God.”

Yes, those words came from his mouth!

When I took my citizenship test to become a naturalized US citizen, the last question my examiner asked me was, “Where does the United States Government obtain its authority?” I replied, “From the people.” My answer was correct, and I became a US citizen, the happiest and proudest moment of my life.

Fortunately for Scalia, he was born here. If he had not, and wanted to become a citizen, I’m sure the answer he’d have given his examiner would’ve been that same inane, “The government obtains all of its authority from God.”

The poor man would have failed the test, and his application for citizenship denied until he boned up on US government.

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2016


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