Give Up Your Guns

Amanda Marcotte has written (“America’s big problem with guns? Our gun industry profits from fear and death,” 11/1/17 TPP) a scathing article of “Gun Control.” If only the “gun nuts” could act on it. She writes about how Congress debates a meaningless, “same old-same old,” whether a particular feature, namely “bump stock” should be regulated one way or another. Such debates are a waste of time. So is it a waste of time for background check, as leading psychologists have concluded that “one day you may find a gun buyer as mentally fit and sane; the next day the same person could resort to gun violence.” It is time we visit the Second Amendment and fine tune it to fit our way of living. We are living in the age of rage and if guns are not handy at all, only then we could stop murders, suicides or accidental killings. It is time to make our nation a “gun-free zone” and do away with the age-old Second Amendment. The “Pro-Life” group must weigh in on this and if they claim that babies in the womb suffer pain when an abortion is performed, it pales in comparison with a grown person who is shot and the pain it causes loved ones.

Additionally the law enforcement group would welcome the concept of a “gun-free nation.” This way they would never have to assume that a perpetrator was reaching for a gun.

G.M. Chandu, Flushing, N.Y.

Robots Cause New Problems

Jim Hightower’s article about robots replacing humans [“Are you ready for corporate America’s robot economy?” 11/15/17 TPP], I’ve written of since the end of World War 2. Switzerland addressed the future with a sort of Social Security for all ages. It failed in its legislature, but needs addressing here and quick or we’re in for one Hell of a mess. Millions unemployed with no money to keep the economy going. A whole new financial system with thousands given to the unemployed for doing nothing year-round. or maybe Trump can cook up a few nuclear wars to thin the population. At 103+ and 100+, my wife and I aren’t worried, but you young fellows better get making plans.

I understand at a meeting of the SEIU? (please correct my spelling) and the hotel maids, janitors and those so represented were given a test run of robots cleaning rooms making beds and everything else now done by humans when they were asking for greater benefits. Good Luck.

Alton Eliason, Northford, Conn. 

‘Billions for Weapons, Searching for Enemies’

That’s the title of a chapter of James McCartney’s book, America’s War Machine, published in 2015 after his death and after much of a lifetime spent researching the implications of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 warning against the military-industrial complex.

Even McCartney would have been stunned by President Donald Trump’s proposal to boost military spending by almost $53 billion in 2018 to supposedly ensure safety for Americans from Islamists and a growing host of other enemies, including those spawned by American policies and actions.

The cost of protection is just one result of America’s insistence on military world supremacy which it already had before Trump came to power. Readiness to tamper with our democracy is another and more perplexing consequence.

In the last few years, a chain of critics has examined America’s obsession with war spending: why and how it developed, its effect on diluting democracy, who profits from it and if it can be controlled.

These analysts of the “national security state” or “emergency state” include Chalmers Johnson, author of a trilogy of the early 21st century; Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War and other books; David C. Unger, The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security At All Costs and McCartney, whose book was updated after his death by his wife, Molly Sinclair. McCartney, a 30-year journalist. Doubtless they will be followed by more scholarly critics, hopefully enough of them to challenge or turn back the national security state. But few of the critics thought that likely because, since Eisenhower’s day, the beneficiaries of American militarism have multiplied into a vast army of their own. Yet they thought we should try. And they did.

Jeanne Riha, Corvallis, Ore.

Not Every Man is a Predator

Jill Richardson {“Me Too. And You. And You,” 11/15/17 TPP) says sexual violence is very mundane. Let’s hope not. A few years ago, psychoanalysts diagnosed countless females with repressed memory, a mental condition that surfaced when the patients suddenly recalled memories of having been raped (often by their own fathers) during their childhood.

However, that repressed memory syndrome was later debunked, again by psychoanalysts, as episodes of auto-suggestion triggered by impressionable minds.

Nevertheless, the damage had already been done: Before that syndrome was declared false, many families suffered irreparable emotional damage.

Sexual violence is a serious crime, of course ... but mundane?

Let’s hope the widespread exposure of that subject in the media doesn’t become a fashionable incentive (like the repressed memory syndrome of the past) for many women to include themselves among the abused.

How many of them, I wonder, will want to join the chorus of victims and add their distressed wailing to this unfolding drama?

Yes, there are sexual predators out there — but before this topic degenerates into mass hysteria, let’s recognize that most men are gentlemen who respect women.

David Quintero, Monrovia, Calif.

On the Edge of Nuclear Holocaust

The United States, with the rest of the World, has, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, succeeded, through treaties and other means, in reducing nuclear weapon stockpiles, and banning the use of nuclear weapons.

That is until the current president. Before, American leaders had never even left open the possibility of using nuclear weapons for a first strike. Such weapons had remained, most importantly, a last, defensive only, resort.

In North Korea, we now have a genuine “tinhorn dictator.” Both Trump and the dictator have ramped up the rhetoric of nuclear war to the point that an accidental or intentional misinterpretation on the part of either is a real possibility.

So, who is to blame here? Who cares! The answer is irrelevant, unless we assign “mankind” as the culprit. We are all to blame, no other species than homo sapiens. Why? Over the ages we have ignored the rest of the natural world and laws of nature.

As the final arbiter of reality, the natural world and laws of nature determine the ultimate success or failure of human decision-making.

Time is running out for mankind to get real. Nuclear holocaust is the last step in a centuries long downward spiral of destructive potential. If and when that day comes, mankind will have exhausted its chances to choose (we still have choice now) — or even to survive.

What’s left of nature will then have to clean up the mess — with or without what’s left of mankind-through natural processes over ages of re-evolution. The new evolution may produce a better result, but don’t count on it. (Planet of the Apes is mandatory viewing.)

Yes, “fake news” or a “game” this isn’t. Trump’s decision to ignore reality is beyond scary. Pray then act, for our planet.

Pat V. Powers, Utopia, Texas

End Gerrymandering

I found out almost by accident that Barack Obama and Eric Holder are involved in an effort to wipe out he evils of gerrymandering. News was coincidental to Trump 24/7. To my knowledge, none of the cable outlets have given their effort the time of day.

I would like to suggest that one of the best ways to make redistricting fair, would be to mandate that registered voter information provided for redistricting purposes not include party affiliation, an approach that would make political maneuvering impossible.

I remember the “one man, one vote” hype back in the ’70s. There were restrictions on how districts were to be formed that have long since been ignored. Of course the Senate blew that concept out or the water from the get-go.

In Arizona, the electorate created an independent redistricting commission, which injected an element of fairness into the process. Our right-wing legislature has been devoted to undermining the concept ever since.

Obama and Holder have a real challenge on their hands. I hope their efforts will at some point merit serious media attention.

Rudy Dalpra, Safford, Ariz.

Our Carbon Age

In my life time, I have witnessed several strategic choices poorly made resulting in great national loss and misery. Most Americans would now agree that our blood and treasure was poorly spent in Viet Nam and Iraq and we were ill-advised in granting Wall Street the deregulation that they lobbied for. My point is not to belabor these issues, but to stress the profound and lasting misery and costs of getting big things wrong.

The largest issue now contending for consensus is whether we continue to embrace and promote a carbon fuel based technology or speedily retool to a more elegant system based on solar, wind and all other renewable non-polluting possibilities. Just considering the risk/rewards of this choice you would think sustainable, safe and secure would be easily recognized as better than diminishing, polluting and contested.

A great advertising and propaganda effort is being employed by the oil and coal interests to protect the balance sheet value of their proven reserves. A colossal loss of wealth by very powerful people is inherent if the carbon has to be left in the ground. It would be like being caught with a hoard of rocks at the end of the stone age. To fight this, data is issued intended to embolden climate change scepticism and to dismiss the concerns of most scientific opinion. Sophisticated multi-dimensional ad campaigns coupled with limitless campaign donations further the effort to keep us in the carbon age.

Paul Benson, Hawarden, Iowa

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2017


Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2017 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652