Pious Wars and Smart Bombs

I do like your newspaper. Haven't noticed a Poetry Corner in The Progressive Populist, but maybe you could start one.

There have been too many wars during my eight decades of life -- all initiated for high moral reasons, all heavily propagandized, all supported by voices of authority.

Thirty-five years ago, the late Ian Boyden wrote a poem protesting the war of the day. He inspired the muse in me.

Patriot's Prayer

Gentle Jesus, bless each bomb
we drop today upon Saddam
and Belgrade too. Our two-front war
makes Boeing Aircraft profits soar.

Prince of Peace, You surely know
diplomacy is much too slow
and Air Force power can with ease
degrade their capabilities

Lord, keep Apache 'copters safe
from natives they fly low to strafe;
our Stealthy pilots flying low
protect from blood of those below.

Keep NATO nations on our side
behind this pretense let us hide;
and grant us power to chastise
all insubordinate allies.

Lord of Life, increase our skill
to build up added overkill
and let no pacifist decry
Depleted Uranium in the sky.

From further dwindling, Lord, preserve
our ever-shrinking oil reserve
and we beseech Thee, come what may,
let Caspian oil investments pay.

Heavenly Father, we entreat
let no one sell Korea wheat;
and help our scientists amass
vast arsenals of nukes and gas.

Holy Spirit, give us grace
to win the guided missile race.
Clergy mumbling prayers assure
our wars are just, our motives pure.

Multinationals need Thy support
for bottom lines, and they care naught
for holocausts or ethnic strife.
Wall Street profits over life.

The world's most upright Christian land,
we ask these blessings at Thy hand;
Thine be the glory, Lord on High
as women weep and children die. Amen

Los Lunas, NM

Fed Controls People

In Mark Weisbrot's fine article, "why Record Trade Deficits Haven't Slowed U.S. Growth" [4/99 PP], he echoes what we are constantly being told by the mainstream media -- that the Federal Reserve (Fed) uses interest rates to control inflation. I disagree. The Fed uses interest rates as a means for people control. Does this sound crazy? Read on.

Against the warnings and wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, the "Fed" was created in 1913. The Federal Reserve System (13 District Banks) is a business of, by and for the banks which is featured on page 578 of Hoover's Handbook of American Business, 1998. Each district bank is owned by its area national, commercial banks because of mandatory stock ownership.

Propaganda and lies constantly remind us that when inflation raises its ugly head, the Fed gallops in on a white horse and raises interest rates to slay it. The theory goes that raising interest rates slows down borrowing and spending, this cooling down the economy. What really happens?

About 13 years ago most consumer debt interest deductions were eliminated on federal income tax returns which represented about a 20% increase in interest. Did this have any effect on consumer borrowing and spending? Hardly. Outstanding consumer debt has been setting yearly records ever since.

In an economy with little or no inflation, interest rates over 4% are excessive and the more excessive, the more difficult to pay off debt which is the cornerstone for creating a permanent debtor society. Remember, like the ignorant, debtors are not really free. They never were and never will be, and they are the least likely to complain, organize or publicly speak out. What's more, inflation wasn't all that bad. It presented citizens an opportunity to cut back on spending and pay off mortgages and other debts with cheaper dollars, something that many of us did in the late '70s and early '80s, thus becoming free persons. However, this opportunity vanished with the creation of variable interest and constantly high interest rates like those "low" 7% mortgages (more brainwashing).

Indeed if the Fed really wanted to control inflation, it would initiate credit controls but that would not be consistent with its ultimate goal -- creating a permanent debtor society under corporate rule.

Finally, if the Fed is really concerned about inflation, what is it doing about the high inflationary stock market wherein overvalued corporate currency (stock) is sucking up comparatively devalued U.S. currency? Nothing. This should please the top 1% households who control more wealth than the bottom 95%.

In conclusion, the ends justify the means. Easy credit and continuously excessive interest rates have caused a rapidly growing number of debtors, including a whole generation, and proposed laws to keep them out of bankruptcy court, which is the only means of control over a free society such as ours. In an era of deception and extreme commercialism, truth is becoming a rarity but nonetheless truth will always remain self-evident. Therefore it is imperative that in order to have and maintain a true democratic and free society, citizens must not lose the ability to think, reason, question and challenge while avoiding the development of mind-sets caused by the big lies, deceptions, illusions and constant propaganda for the Fed and its banks, the corporate state and the mainstream media have learned their lesson well:

"The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed ... The primitive simplicity of [people's] minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one. Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see hell as paradise." -- Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)

Miami Springs, Fla.

Strengthen Social Security

We need a substantial portion, if not all of the surplus to extend the solvency of Social Security and of the nation's Medicare system and also towards the steep out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. The 106th Congress could determine whether our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy retirement benefits they can count on, or whether they will be left to the whims of the private markets. Social Security supporters should point out that the program is an insurance program -- not an investment program.

Medicare beneficiaries' face challenges too. Beneficiaries are paying more and more out-of-pocket for health care themselves. To further strengthen Medicare, we also must stop waste, fraud, and abuse. Lawmakers must quit bickering and work together for a change, to ensure a reasonable guarantee the care will be affordable, and that there would not be a decline in the quality of coverage. If the Medicare Commission persists in its current direction, its version of Medicare Reform will just impose huge burdens on the VERY PEOPLE the program was designed to serve.

Congress should protect the Social Security Trust Funds and make sure they are spent only for Social Security benefits, maintain annual cost-of-living adjustments equal to the inflation rate. Congress should make sure they continue the current level of protection for disabled workers and for surviving spouses and children, also retain the eligibility age for retirement benefits as currently written in law. Most importantly, Congress should not require anyone to put "their" Social Security payroll taxes at risk in mandatory private accounts.

Only the government can adjust for inflation, and just because inflation is mild now is no reason to expect it to remain so in the future. Many people who depend substantially on their Social Security are likely to be investment illiterate. Who would advise these people, and at what costs? And if there were access advisors, what would the costs be to the federal government to apprehend racketeers and swindlers. Privatization equals the demise of Social Security. Prefer a guaranteed benefit to the riskiness of an individual account. In the majority of privatization plans, participation would not be optional, but required or mandatory.

This successful system moves with us from job to job, it provides disability and survivors insurance, it is progressive in its treatment of low income workers and women and most important it provides a "guaranteed" benefit from the day you retire to the day you die.

Dublin, Penn.

Shootups No Surprise

Why should anyone be surprised about the school shootups? The U.S.A. has committed violence upon any small country that has not been obedient to U.S. corporations, the World Bank and the IMF. Milosovec would not allow a U.S. base in his country, nor did he cater and submit to the billionaire corporations. Humanitarian-ism? Human rights? Reasons for the bombings. Why did the U.S.A. fund the massacres in East Timor, Guatemala, Nicaragua? The list is endless. The so-called national interest is corporate interests, not the common citizens' interest, who fund these operations around the world,

Our youth are indoctrinated into this ruthless culture by handing small children guns and teaching them to kill innocent animals. There is a connection between all life on this planet. Severing this connection by killing leads to a hardened callused heart, immune to death and killing. The U.S. slaughtered 80 people, including 20 children and babies, at Waco. Where was the outrage about their human rights? And then President Clinton has the gall, while relentlessly bombing another small country, to tell the sheeple that disputes must be settled with words and negotiation, not with violence. He speaks with a forked tongue. And the violence can only escalate and continue, unless all policies change to genuine empathy, compassion and humanitarianism for all life.

In Sadness
Bend, Oregon

Stretching the Second Amendment

The cover story from your June, 1999 issue covered the issue of teen violence more thoroughly and intelligently than anything I've read. It's tragic that our corporate-owned mainstream metro dailies cannot educate with such insight.

[Bruce] Grierson quotes David Grossman as having said the writers of the Second Amendment could never have dreamed "arms" would come to include weapons of mass destruction. I'd like to add that the arms borne at the time of the writing of the Second Amendment consisted virtually 100% of long flintlock rifles hanging over fireplaces presided over by fathers who monitored their use with considerable sternness. Today, a kid with no father can bring a 15-shot 10mm Glock which weighs 27.5 oz. into your kids' classrooms in his lunchbox. The Founding Fathers would have hated NRA gun idiots a lot I think.
Stoneville, N.C.

Military Training Has Its Place

I am replying to an article in your paper, Vol. 5, No. 6, "The Profits of Violence" [6/99 PP].

Something goes awry in this article when Mr. Grierson uses David Grossman's book, On Killing. Without too much introduction and ranting, let me answer what I consider a misuse of the book.

Mr. Grierson uses the killing aspect of Basic Training, but ignores all the rest of it. When I did Basic, in late 1966, we were given all the cliché stuff about killing whatever enemy we might encounter, certainly. We were also trained, in the ways mentioned in the article to (and this is EXTREMELY important) react properly in a crisis situation. I had the leisure time to reflect on this aspect of my training, about which, I would wager, Mr. Grierson knows nothing, during the early hours of the Tet Offensive in January of 1968. As I collected what was left of my wits, alone in a meager firing position, with all hell breaking loose around me, I realized that I had done what I had been trained to do and what I had been instructed to do almost automatically. And, I was still alive.

This is where the article by Mr. Grierson has such a large flaw: he doesn't know that all this crazy (as it certainly seemed at the time) training has as its purpose not only to get mild-mannered people like me to kill on command but to also react automatically when in the midst of a crisis. Believe me, that can serve one well in times of trouble.

Please remember this, because there is a strange attraction to the notion of Killing, especially to people who have never been in a killing situation, and the public needs to know, or at least be reminded, that military training has this other, crucial component as well.
Wilmington, Delaware

We The People's Message

Our message is simple, but strong: It's Our Country, and We Want it Back. Your country needs you now, because our democracy and our government have been stolen from us by the special interests, in return for tax benefits and government contracts. According to Time magazine, $125 billion dollars of benefits for the special interests -- that translates into $1,000 for each US taxpayer. Government corruption hits us hardest where it hurts most -- it raises our taxes. So, its time to stand up and take back our country from the special interests, by enacting campaign finance reform that will take special interests out of politics and put the people back in charge.

I know many of you have given up and do not feel like your voice matters. That is why concerned citizens like yourself have formed We The People. Our motto is "one person, one vote -- let the people decide!" At our web site www.WeThePeople-WTP.org, under "Public Referenda" you can participate by telling us what, in your opinion is the number one problem facing our country today.

We will report back the results over the internet and then ask for your input on suggested solutions. We will take the most popular solution to Congress and say: The People have spoken, this is what they want. Put it into law, and we will support you. Ignore it, and we will send you packing. Together we can make this happen, we can create change, we can all become a part of the process again.

It's your country, its our country and we want it back. So let's go for it!

Sincerely yours,
Co-Founder and Chairman
We The People
PO Box 253
Jackson NH 03846

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