Restore Democracy for Poor and Middle Class

Congrats on Art Cullen’s Pulitzer Prize. It’s writing like his that inspired this, at age 58, my first letter to the editor of any publication. I have been lucky enough to have retired early with a small pension from the private sector blue-collar workforce, only to have three-fourths of my wealth wiped out in the 2008 massacre of the poor and middle classes in the government-sanctioned redistribution of wealth in the massive housing bubble ripoff by Wall Street Inc. How foolish to think that me, a thrifty saver all my life, could trust those in the financial products sector to put safety and protection of my life savings ahead of fat commissions and greed. My eyes have been opened, thanks to publications like your own. The system is rigged horribly in favor of those with wealth and political connections to make sure that the poor and middle classes stay as powerless as possible.

Over the last four decades the poor and middle have had to work longer and harder while the rich have had the greatest increase in wealth since the last Great Depression. Now that they have the power and money, thanks to Citizens United and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, all bets are off. They can crush us with sky-high health insurance, tax policies that favor the top 10% and they can shove their version of Christianity down everyone’s throats.

Fortunately, for us their hypocrisy is on full display as the right stands behind a president who is as corrupt and transparent as their supposed fealty to Christ’s admonitions about our obligations to our fellow man.

He who is without sin can throw the first stone. One of my all-time favorites are the non-sinners who try to roll back LGBT rights. Basic human rights, but it’s OK because they are morally superior. Or how about that circus clown Paul Ryan trying to pass off a health care bill that does nothing but put a greater burden on the poor and middle. How dare a public servant whose health care WE PAY FOR ask us to settle for anything else than what the public generously bestows upon him or them.

Only with a policy of complete openness in all court and political processes can our democracy be restored. I am as guilty as anyone for the state of our political destruction. I have taken it for granted and went along with not getting involved.

That time has past and we all need to be involved with a new set of human rights, including health care and democratic institutions that care for all of humanity and the planet, not just those born to or lucky enough to be in a position of power. Those that go against universal health care, a minimum standard of living and protection of the planet’s finite resources should be put on trial for crimes against humanity. And let humanity be the judge and jury, not just their fellow One Percenters.

George Hill
Lake Wales, Fla.

A Great Country Provides Health Care

America is the greatest democratic nation in the history of the World, and also happens to be the wealthiest. Although some Americans support a personal belief exemplified by the statement, “If you can’t afford healthcare, you don’t deserve it,” I believe an overwhelming majority would agree with me that:

• Quality healthcare should be a right for all Americans, as well as both accessible and affordable for all their families — regardless of their financial means.

• In my opinion this goal can best be achieved by carefully, professionally, improving the Affordable Care Act (the ACA) — not repealing and replacing it with something wholly inferior.

• Now the President and current Congressional majority, acting in strict partisan manner to come up quickly with any replacement so they can repeal and replace the ACA and move on to tax-cutting, have thrown on the wall a mish-mash of public/private healthcare proposals. None hold a candle to the comprehensiveness of the ACA.

• In addition to the ACA, they want to unilaterally slash funding for a whole range of additional popular and effective public/private healthcare initiatives.

• All these billions in “savings” will then be available in a separate tax bill later to provide reductions in federal taxes. But the future tax reductions for lower income Americans will be more than offset by a crushing loss in personal healthcare benefits. However, wealthier Americans — including the current President — will profit like gangbusters.

• At this critical time in history, our nation needs a competent, fair, public/private healthcare delivery system that all Americans can be proud of - not a return to pre-ACA days on steroids.

On May 4, the US House of Representatives moved to repeal and replace the ACA with a mish-mash called Trumpcare. The vote was 217 to 213, with all Democrats and 20 Republicans voting “No”. I am proud that District 23 US Rep. Will Hurd was one of the Republicans who voted “No”. It took guts for Hurd not to go along with the herd. He has one more vote ahead on this issue.

Pat V Powers
Utopia, Texas

Wall Street Bull

Perhaps Gene Lyons should take his blinders off [re: “Public Sculpture or Publicity Stunt?” 5/15/17 TPP]. Of course, a real girl couldn’t face down a real bull. The bull is obviously a symbol of Wall Street, as in “bull market.”

And if you can believe that the sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, meant the bull to symbolize five succinct qualities, perhaps these were taken out of context. Let me recontextualize them: 1. “freedom” (from government regulations); 2. “peace” (of mind with a million-dollar nest egg); 3. “strength” (of the almighty dollar); 4. “power” (of legalized bribery of congressmen); 5. “love” (of money).

In the context of today’s tainted Wall Street image, the statue of the girl might be symbolizing the facing down of the “good-ol-boy” financial network.

Stafford Meeker
West Concord, Mass.

Southern Wall Undignified

The wall being built on the US southern border has become an American tragedy. nnThere is not any indication of a wall being built on the US northern border. Canada is our neighbor to the north. Canadians and other nationalities living there can cross into the US almost without facing strict restrictions. Our US government seems to pay little attention to this existing indifference.

In my humble opinion, this scenario of indifference shown to the Latino countries and Canada has a disgusting sign of discrimination. Favorable recognition seems to be the norm given to Canada. This is not equal treatment given to our southern Latino neighbors to the south.

President Trump claims the southern wall will keep out drug dealers, rapist, smugglers, and other bad human elements coming from the Latin countries to the south. What a hypocrite he is in using his claim as an excuse to keep Latinos out of the US. He has turned a blind eye to the bad human element that is American born.

Our countries to the north and south have always lived in harmony. Our three nations have always experienced the bad human element. The three nations have learned to live with this disgraceful epidemic for the longest time. There is no wall that will prevent the spread of this type of epidemic. President Trump’s idea is just an idea and it’s very expensive. He is talking billions to build the wall. US citizens will never support such an expensive undertaking.

There are three borders that divide our countries: The southern border divides all Latino countries from the US. There is the northern border dividing Canada from the US. Then there is the Bering Straits dividing Alaska from Russia.

It is imperative that we look at these three borders for what they are. They separate and identify the dignity of the countries.

Raynaldo Yrlas Sr.
Corpus Christi, Texas

Profiteering Republicans

So the Republicans are sending more of our kids over to Afghanistan, eh? Why? I know why. For openers, I would suggest that one read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine,” The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007). Henry Holt & Company. In which work Ms. Klein describes how a person or agency can successfully use crises of one type or another (manufactured in this day and age by said Republicans?) to cause fear, anxiety, acceptance and compliance by the taxpayers. The generation of the Iraq atrocity by Dick Cheney is a good example. (I still believe that Cheney and Bush were complicit in the generation of 9/11 and the Iraq tragedy!) and the resulting eternal war and the developing egregious military theft of public money — expenses which the wealthy do not share — in fact they PROFITEER from them.

Secondly, one should read the article on page 16 in the 5/1/17 TPP by Wayne O’Leary entitled “Republicans Just Don’t Care.” I thought I was the only taxpayer in our suffering nation who realized that FACT! (in my humble belief). I have found, by listening (secretly} to Republican conversations taking place in a coffee shop which I frequent, that they freely (among themselves) confess their feelings toward the “stupid” taxpayers is similar to that of Adolf Eichmann’s feelings toward Jews. Also, their kleptocratic pro-corporate machinations in Congress give evidence of their opinions. Mitch McConnell perfectly illustrates their course. They have little (none) respect toward “working stiffs” except as someone to work for them for little remuneration, and to pay taxes. Taxes which, I am convinced, they pay little or none. Only 56 corporations are listed on the internet, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And, of course, there is their aggrandizement of the military and its use as an employment agency in lieu of manufacturing, and other, well-paying jobs which they have shipped to Mexico, Saipan, and who knows where else in order to increase their profiteering. And their continuing war. And it all began with poor demented Ronnie. (Actually before that. The Repubs surreptitiously started to dismantle America right after WWII)

I am thinking that maybe we should stop referring to America as the United States, and start calling it Sparta West, which it is beginning to resemble. Remember the Spartan mothers telling their sons, “come back with your shield or on it.” The US is also beginning to resemble 1789 France?

G.T. Hovis
Saginaw, Mich.

From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2017


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