Banquet Table of Life

Pope Paul VI, back in the 1960s, lamented the threat of birth control limiting the babies brought to the “banquet table of life.”  Despite the population exploding exponentially since the beginning of humankind, and Malthus’ observation that the food production would increase only arithmetically, the looming gap between the numbers of beings to be fed and the ability of the Earth to feed them didn’t appear to bother the Pope. After all, there were always wars, famine, plague and self control to maintain the balance.

Artificial birth control was held to be a serious mortal sin for Catholics, as it was wasting the precious seed of life. Two factors to note are that “self-control” and WW1, WW2, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Holocaust, Korea, Vietnam, etc., have not worked. The population continues to rise on the crust of the Earth, which is the only source of life-sustaining food and water. I can imagine that since no geological phenomenon has arisen since the “Big Blast” that would indicate that the crust of the Earth is growing in size, the future of plants and animals and humans is not bright, barring intervention by an Outside Source (i.e., God, Allah, Buddha or other author of our being.).

What is to be done? Send more explorers to outer space to search for other life-sustaining planets? Or the William Colby solution (former CIA head, Roman Catholic, daily Communicant) whose solution was to have thousands of “suspected” Viet Cong shoved out of helicopters, with the blessing of Holy Mother Church, or at least Cardinal Spellman, or maybe the “transportation” solution, which kills by the thousands, with a little help from the beer, wine and liquor industry, not to mention the drug industry. It pays to advertise!

I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know what hasn’t been tried since the Henry Ford era, namely mass transit. If we have nothing better to do while going from point A to point Z, and all points in between, except sit with hands on a steering wheel staring ahead at white lines (like, read a book, newspaper, write a letter, go to the club car and have a drink), then we don’t have much imagination. What little we have has come up with is driverless cars. Zowie! Had your car in the garage lately for repairs?

One thing that hasn’t been tried is advertising (of trains, trolleys, jitneys, taxis) which, had they been advertised as much as cars, might have saved a few billion lives. But to some, saving lives is not the major issue, but saving the precious seed of life is. May the babies brought to the banquet table enjoy the last drop of rain and the last crumb, as they climb on top of one another.

Bernard J. Berg
Easton, Pa.

Immigration is All American

My grandfather, Albert Joseph Bialek, came to the United States from Poland (Galicia) in 1910. Per the Ellis Island website he boarded the ship Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse in Bremen, Germany {formerly Prussia}. He had just completed his service in the Austrian Army. Poland at that time was divided into three spheres of influence by Austria, Prussia and Russia. Upon being discharged he returned to his father’s farm. Officers from the Austrian Army made an attempt to reenlist him but tradition dictated that he could remain at home so long as he was sorely needed on the farm.  Immediately after the officers departed Albert’s father gave him his brother’s travel documents and instructed him to immigrate to the United States. His father knew that war was coming and he didn’t want to lose his son to it. It took me longer to locate my grandfather on the passenger list because I had forgotten he was traveling under the name Jan and not Albert. Given the fact that Albert entered the United States under the name Jan Bialek and later burned his immigration papers, it is evident he was by definition an “illegal immigrant.” He went on to become a very hard-working brick mason and law-abiding citizen raising 12 children with the help of his Polish wife Mary {nee Mazan} and the rest {as they say} is history.

Just as Cleveland, Ohio, is a city of neighborhoods, so is the United States a country of immigrants. In fact, all the major cities of America {at one time} served as incubators for immigrants to not only become accustomed to the ways of this country but also to intermingle with each other {often prohibited in their native homeland}. It’s a shame that the inner cities were handed over to the absentee landlords following World War ll. Just imagine how much stronger and united our country might have been had this unofficial tradition continued. Gentrification is not the answer. Preventing immigration is not the solution. Intense vetting is acceptable during these challenging times, but to unfairly deny one person access to the United States makes us all orphans again. As a popular song goes: “let me in immigration man.”

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio

Need Impartial Investigation on Russian Interference

It is obvious to me that the Russians have something on President Trump. He wouldn’t even have had to ask them to help him get elected. They could have interfered completely on their own initiative, because they knew once he was in power, they could blackmail him into making concessions to them.

And he has done so, or strongly attempted to do so, over the opposition of his Secretary of State and recently, his National Security Adviser, who have tried to curb or mitigate his pro-Russian bias. The members of his administration who have lied about their contacts with the Russian ambassador, or denied them, have probably done so because they knew he wanted them to.

I hope there will be an impartial investigation which can prove this.

Patricia P. Bray
Savannah, Ga.

Beware of Russians Bearing Gifts and Emoluments

This is a cautionary tale for US diplomats and businessmen traveling in modern Russia: It is almost impossible these days to stay in any upscale hotel in Moscow or elsewhere without one’s room being bugged and recorded on tape – in sound and even in visual media format. (I speak with some personal experience of this.)

Furthermore, if you occupy one of the better suites, it is highly probable that you will be awakened every half hour or so by a knock at the door and then the apparition at your door of a gorgeous Russian blonde, followed by a red-head, then a brunette, and so on. These ladies, apparently a familiar form of hotel room service, are provided by (and work for) the Kremlin government, who are concerned for your every comfort and satisfaction during your stay.

Suppose you are a visiting businessman wishing, say, to build in Moscow a hotel tower or monument to yourself, and you are innocently unaware of the implications of accepting this kind of Russian hospitality. Suddenly you find yourself somewhat beholden to the Kremlin leadership and you begin to adjust your outlook and language concerning relations with your friendly Russian hosts. You may find yourself in trouble at home or with the IRS, who require reporting of all amounts and circumstances of income or gifts in kind received, especially from a foreign source.

If you are currently in political office, or planning to run for such office, you may have a problem with the US Constitution: Article I provides that “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any Present or Emolument of any kind whatever from any foreign State.” Now, given the time zone difference between Moscow and Washington, D.C., it is difficult to get prior Congressional consent in a timely manner, but it is certainly something you should keep in mind.

Finally, as travel authority Rick Steves likes to conclude, “Keep on traveling,” but do so with care and caution.

Anthony Piel
Stuart, Fla.

Why Not Economic Boycotts?

I have been a reader for some time and a lifelong progressive. However, I fail to understand why there is little to no mention of the biggest changer of various stances considered extreme right, economics.

I have taken a personal stand to not do business with any company from a state which has undertaken onerous burdens on its population for the sole purpose of restricting voters from exercising their most important duty, voting. Somewhere around 1.2 million citizens were denied the RIGHT to vote by various states employing questionable tactics to limit those who don’t think like them from voting. Florida, Texas, et al., that have deprived citizens from voting should not receive the economic support of those opposed to such tactics; boycott their states and their amusement parks and products. Yes, it harms “innocent” purveyors of goods and services but, over the years, I have observed that once boycotts are entered into there is often a mindset change of titanic proportions.

Why are Republicans afraid of voters to such an extent that they will do whatever is in their power to deny them this right? It is because they are well aware of the difficulty of selling their ideas on their own merits so it is much easier to just prevent those  who don’t agree from voting at all. People making less than $500,000 a year cannot seriously believe the Republican Party has any interest in their well-being. Just look at what has been offered as alternatives to the Affordable Care Act.

Joseph M. Sylvia
McKinleyville, Calif.

Editor Notes: We live in Texas, which, like a lot of states, has a lot of good people, but state elected officials just aren’t right in the head. We think if you engage in economic boycotts, you should target companies that are aligned with the groups that are doing wrong, not the companies and groups that are trying to do right.

Alternative Facts (Truth in the Year 2017)

Fake News / repeated over and over / again and again / becomes reality / so that lies / are no longer lies./ Lies cease to exist. / Vanish into air. / Truth is no longer / a true test of reality.

Reality is that / which is repeated / over and over again / until believed as Truth / even by the liar./ Lies are simply / ‘Alternative Facts,” / so that / more than one reality / is true.

Many realities are Truth / because the true Truth / ceases to exist. / “Mis-spoken” is another new word / for Truth. The word cherished / by the Media / who believe lies / do not exist.

Are you, / the Reader, / now convinced / that lies / do not exist?

Dr. Doris M. Carter
Worcester, Mass.

From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2017


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