Time for Resistance Against Agribusiness

If I were one of those Democrats running for Governor, I would ask “Why is Iowa having budget problems when Iowa farmers produced over 2 billion bushels of corn and over 1 billion bushels of soybeans?” With that much production or economic prowess, Iowa should be awash with cash.

It is obvious Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and state legislators seem ignorant of Iowa’s agriculture history and how federal and state legislators helped to undermine the diversified independent family farm system in favor of giant agribusiness monopolization and their capture of farm gate profits.

The transfer of economic power from the millions of family farmers in the 1940s and ’50s to big agribusiness conglomerates began in 1953, when the federal government dismantled good government oversight, replacing it with the ravages of dog-eat-dog capitalism. Since then corruption in government has intensified the exploitation of rural America.

What is needed now is revelation! A step-by-step analysis will show how state and federal governments trashed the family farmer and rural America.

First, the federal government dismantled the price support system.

Second, big US banks forced Structural Adjustment Programs onto debtor nations in what is called the Global South. One aspect of the program forced those nations to switch from traditional food production to cash grains for export which resulted in the downward pressure on worldwide grain prices. Also those same nations had food shortages and had to import staple foods.

Third, the federal government failed to enforce anti-trust laws which then allowed packer ownership of livestock and, most recently, seed patenting.

Fourth, Iowa’s state government allowed the interstate commerce clause to override and undermine the state’s local economies. An example is the influx of giant agribusiness’ vertical hog production that undermined the economic relationship between independent family farm livestock producers and their main street agriculture suppliers.

Fifth, neo-liberal free-trade agreements allowed the dumping of cheap grains on the world market, resulting in the whipsaw trading of grains and livestock between nations which has totally upset domestic markets worldwide.

Sixth, the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, has allowed more corporate money to flow towards government officials, further corrupting the economics of farming and democracy itself.

Finally, speaking philosophically, the economic battleground has always been between the Blue Jeans, those voices from the land standing on their historical knowledge and economic experiences, and the Suits, those voices reflecting Milton Friedman’s theories from the elite schools of economic thought.

So far, the Suits are winning the battle, and farmers and workers in rural America are losing. It is time for Resistance! It’s time for a farmer and worker alliance, perhaps even a Farmer-Worker political party. After all commerce cannot turn a wheel until the farmer tills the soil and the worker enters the shop. It’s time the farmer and the worker raised a little hell.

Larry Ginter, Rhodes, Iowa

Let Americans Rebuild Storm Damage

Re: 1/1-15/18 Dispatches, “Worker Shortage Slows Rebuilding in Texas and Florida Hurricanes”: What a disgraceful situation. Thousands of skilled Americans are unemployed. More thousands are kept waiting for repair or replacement of homes they paid good money to insure. Yet somehow a shortage of foreign workers is the problem, as if Americans can’t build houses.

Insurance companies and contractors have apparently gotten used to relying on cheap foreign (undocumented?) labor, thereby increasing profits and CEO salaries.

They could help make America great again by hiring American workers at American wages. Instead, they sit on their billions and wring their hands and make excuses while their clients who keep them in business go homeless.

Betty Crowder, Honeydew, Calif.

Editor Notes: It’s even worse. Most homeowners found that flood damage is not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance, so homeowners who didn’t have federal flood insurance must use their savings and federal grants and loans to rehabilitate their storm-damaged property.

Left Needs to Get Together

I agree with Wayne O’Leary (“Apocalypse by Accident?” 1/1-15/18 TPP) about the need for the Democratic Party to once again become the party of the white working class. However, that was easy before the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, when the Democrats were the party of the southern bloc. LBJ famously said that the Democrats had lost the south when he signed those bills. These days the GOP has managed to equate poor white people with black people, so that the working class feels like they are better than both. Hence Trump. The Democrats have the task of uniting all working people, both black and “white,” with the poor and show how all of us are enslaved through the corporate state.

Martin Luther King Jr. was trying to do this when he was killed; was that the core reason for that assassination? His call for unity has been taken up by Rev. William Barber of the Moral Monday movement and Rev. Liz Theoharis, who are planning actions in state capitals this spring under the call for a renewed Poor People’s Campaign. The Democratic Party must join this effort.

Adam Smith, the founder of capitalism, was a professor of moral philosophy. Capitalism under the GOP (and all too many Dems, as well) is completely ignoring the morality at the heart of Smith’s ideas. The 99% movement tried to bring this back, but ignored the necessary political work to be effective. Let’s get it right this time, with the left on the same page.

Bonnie Preston, Blue Hill, Maine

Debasing the Legislative Process

Before Congress crams into law another dumpster-style spending bill and slashes the social safety net to pay for the lavish giveaways for the High Income in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, (TCJA), Congress should repeal the TCJA. The Senate’s two-vote margin of win in its midnight oil 51-49 vote makes this doable.

Former Rep. Ron Paul’s slim book, End the Fed, shows how the Federal Reserve’s money lenders make billions of dollars in fractional reserve lending and the meteoric rise of the stock market bears out this proliferation of dollars.

The High Income, including Donald Trump, stands poised to acquire vast tracts of land by dirt-cheap purchases of homes and properties which have been decimated by the  procession of “natural disasters” in 2017,

The TCJA numbers more than 5,000 sections, which made impossible informed debate at vote time. Voters need not only to demand repeal of the TCJA but to demand impeachment of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan for misfeasance in debasing the legislative process.

Jean G. Braun, Cleveland, Ohio

Where Does Rall Expect Us to Go?

I usually like Ted Rall’s writings, but his column on whether Trump will last another year [1/1-15/18 TPP] got off on the wrong foot. He starts by slamming the mainstream Democratic Party without offering any real alternative. Can he point to any other political parties mounting any significant resistance? Even the most prominent left wing alternative, the Green Party, struggles to elect low level local officials. Most of the other third parties are various Marxist factions unlikely to gain any sway with the American public.

He further undermines his credibility when he dismisses Trump’s increasingly obvious collusion with the Russian government. Does he think Trump campaign officials were meeting with Russian intelligence assets just to discuss borscht recipes, or that Flynn lied to the FBI for his own amusement?

M. P. Gallen, Philadelphia, Pa.

Is Marijuana Bad or Good For You?

Surprisingly, our government says “yes” to both. On the “it’s bad for you” front, marijuana, for the past 80 years, has been declared a Schedule 1 controlled substance.“Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.”

With this classification, police departments and federal officers have had a field day arresting our citizens and impounding product. The damage to our citizenry has been immense.

However, on the “it’s good for you” front, the National Institute of Health conducted a study in 2003 that drastically differed from the Schedule 1 declaration and then filed for the following patent:

“Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” US 6630507 B1. Abstract:

“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids […]”

As I understand it, by the government filing this patent, the pharmaceutical companies can create synthetic versions of cannabinoids and make money while the natural byproducts of marijuana are still illegal.

Are we being gamed for the pharmaceutical companies’ benefit? Or is it that the police benefit so greatly from these prosecutions that no one is willing to overturn Schedule 1 classification?

Lee Knohl, Evanston Ill.

‘Entitlements’ Will Pay for Tax Cuts

The tax-cuts of 2017 may or may not increase the budget deficit but in the event it does (some economists are talking about more than a trillion dollars) the speaker of the House is quite prepared for this to happen. He has been preparing for this a long time — ever since he joined Miff Romney’s ticket he has been doing his homework and if we ever come to this event do not expect Mr. Trump to increase the taxes nor should we depend on the IRS to obtain more revenue. (Their budget has been curtailed. thanks to GOP.)

Watch Paul Ryan sharpen his knife, and start cutting social entitlements — he has always been in the camp of those who hate “takers.” Is he really a Christian?

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

From The Progressive Populist, Febuary 15, 2018


Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

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

Copyright © 2018 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652