Martha Slept Through Our Erosion of Freedoms

The winner of area buffoon of the week is Martha Yoder. MS. Yoder is one of the Warren Tribune’s community columnists. Several community writers are chosen to write for the “Trib” each year. Oddly enough Editor Frank Robinson always picks conservative writers. For 9/11 Martha wrote a column entitled, “Defend our culture of freedom.” If you check out her article here you will see why she was chosen buffoon of the week. You’ll notice Ms. Yoder was able to squeeze in lots of those GOP’s buzzwords Editor Frank so loves. We have exceptionalism, patriotism, erosion of freedom (under President Obama), God, culture of dependence, “shining city on a hill” and of course, I want my country back. She states, “The last three and half years, I’ve seen changes in my country that frightened me more than the terrorists ever did.” Sorry Martha but I don’t consider saving a million auto jobs and passing a healthcare bill to provide affordable health care to all when they are ill to be more frightening than terrorists. Martha ends by calling on people to stand with her and defend the country.

Martha did you miss our erosion of freedom in 2000 when the Supreme Court stopped the counting of votes for president and installed GW Bush as president? I was frightened by such a blow against democracy and I wanted our freedoms back. That is why I went to demonstrate against Resident Bush when he came a few hours away from our area. I joined a few dozen other protestors and stood on a street next to GW’s supporters. Pennsylvania State police rounded all of us up who had signs opposed to the selected not elected president. We were escorted a mile away and forced to stand behind a chain link fence. We called the fence the “First Amendment fence.” A protestor who left our group and walked out of the fence was quickly thrown to the ground by the police, handcuffed and hauled away. GW’s supporters walked past the fence and taunted us. They could have cared less that Bush was not elected or that their country had now deteriorated to the point where free speech was now only allowed behind a fence. I knew most of the people behind that fence and you weren’t there defending our freedoms Martha. Were you one of those who walked by and called us hippies and commies and told us to get a job? Free speech was now dead and I wanted our freedoms back. Currently the GOP is working hard on voter suppression because they have realized that they win more elections when fewer people vote. They could come up with a new platform that would put people before corporations and attract more voters but it is easier to just make it harder for citizens to vote. Martha your fellow ‘Trib” right-wing community columnist Jim Dunlap says he has no problem with the voting process in the U.S. having some inconveniences to discourage some people from voting. I can imagine that Editor Robinson is very proud of Martha and Jim. I want a country where everyone has the freedom to vote.

Ms. Yoder says she was angry on Sept. 11 when we were attacked. We can certainly agree on that. I was also very angry when I learned that Resident Bush had ignored warnings about an attack and that cost almost 3,000 people their lives. Martha wants to mourn their loss but not put any blame on Bush’s negligence and I find that frightening. I want leaders for our country who will go the extra mile to protect her citizens. We lost our freedoms and country when GW led us to war with Iraq over WMD’s that weapons inspectors said didn’t exist. We now have over 33,000 dead US soldiers in Iraq and 100’s of thousands of Iraqi dead all for a lie. My country was being run by lying chickenhawk war mongers so I demonstrated against the war. I was also ashamed that my country lowered itself to torture even if our enemies did because we are above such acts of barbarism. Martha I don’t remember seeing you at any of those anti-war vigils fighting to get your country back. Just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, congress bullied by the Bush Administration passed the “USA/Patriot Act.” The senate version was sent to be voted on with no discussion, debate, or hearings or time for senators to read it. The Bush Administration stated that members who voted against it would be blamed for any further attacks. The bill vastly expanded the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens. It had many parts that violated the First and Fourth Amendments. Martha you don’t have a problem with the Patriot Act but I want a country that respects more than just the Second Amendment. I want a country where preemptive war, oil executives in charge of climate policy and waterboarding are considered unacceptable. I want a country where a Senate majority leader like, Mitch McConnell should know that the American people’s biggest need is jobs. Instead of concentrating on  jobs Mitch said “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Is that the kind of representative of the people you want Martha? It is not the kind of politician who is needed in the country I envision.

Martha you talked about our religious privileges. Those privileges were to respect other people’s religions in the USA even if Christianity had the most followers. That does not mean it is OK to burn Korans, burn mosques and shoot Sikhs. When you actually make a movie thrashing another faiths prophet you actually show how weekly you believe in your own faith. I want a country where you are free to worship or to not worship without the fear of death. Ms. Yoder in your America people defend someone’s right to shoot and kill young black men because their sweatshirt’s hood was up. You stated, “I believe that our country can still be that ”shining city on a hill.” The quote about that “shining city on a hill” (stolen from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount)  was from a Ronald Reagan speech. I figured you for a worshipper of Reagan. Are you old enough to remember the real legacy of Reagan? He kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi in front of a crowd of 10,000 white fair goers where dozens of Confederate flags waved about the fairgrounds. In Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1964 three Civil Rights Workers [one white, two black] were killed, which further ignited the Civil Rights movement. Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and his appearance was a nod and a wink to racism. He knew that and the local white voters knew that when he told the crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.” Reagan had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and as president he tried to weaken it. He also opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also vetoed sanctions on the apartheid regime in South Africa. Luckily  congress overrode that racist veto. The  Reagan revolution was about rolling the clock back to the old days when blacks and women knew their place. Those days might seem like the foundation for a shining city to you Martha but they were dark days for America and I had hoped we’d never see them again in our country.

They were also dark and deadly days for up to 300,000 Latin Americans who died at the hands of various Latin American dictator’s death squads. The dead included nuns, priests, a bishop, artists, poets, musicians, union organizers, human rights activists, environmentalists, freedom fighters and women and children. I label Reagan a mass murderer because he trained, financed and armed these death squads. The Reagan era USA that did these horrific things is not the country I want back. Yet, conservatives are looking for the next Reagan without an once of shame. During Reagan’s first four years he cut federal expenditures on education and training, social services, public works, infrastructure, civilian research and development by forty percent. He succeeded in eroding public enthusiasm for social spending and that is what conservatives want to do again. We have people who’ve lost their jobs and are getting unemployment and seniors on Social Security and Medicare that they paid into. Conservatives from Rep. Paul Ryan to lowly community columnist Martha Yoder are labeling these people as having a culture of dependency. Conservatives with money like the Koch Brothers have succeeded in getting the Supreme Court to classify corporations as people. Corporations are now considered people but don’t expect one to be in a foxhole with you in a battle zone. Though they will be the one profiting from you being in that foxhole. I don’t want a country where our newest citizens are corporations granted personhood by the Supreme Court.

Martha you use the current GOP buzzword dependency but like the GOP you won’t talk about the truly greedy crowd that demands dependency at the taxpayers’ expense. That would be corporations like Walmart for example that gets $1 billion a year in the form of corporate welfare taxpayer dollars. This despite the fact they make billions every year. Then we have two-thirds of US companies that pay no taxes. These companies get corporate welfare that socialized their costs while they privatized their profits. Conservatives will say you are causing class warfare if you mention that our present day capitalism is on the dole.  I want an America with a heart and soul that wants to help the needy not the greedy. Martha says she wants to continue to have a culture of freedom where everyone can prosper. The fact is only the top 1% are prospering. They are doing it by demanding all manner of tax cuts, tax rebates, tax exemptions and subsidies. The Cato Institute estimates the U.S. federal government (taxpayers) will spend almost $100 billion on corporate welfare during fiscal year 2012. It has been estimated that state and local governments (taxpayers) provide $40–50 billion annually in corporate welfare. Sorry Martha but that isn’t old fashion capitalism, that is a culture of dependency for corporations.

I say “Enough is enough!” Martha our freedoms have been disappearing for decades now because people like you voted for politicians whose actions eroded our country’s freedoms away layer by layer. Martha I encourage you to learn a little recent history and then you will be shocked at the country you want back. I ask all of you to think about the kind of country you want for your children and work towards delivering it to them.

Update. A letter writer to the Warren Tribune realized the Community Columnists are just one more way to get even more right-wing BS on the editorial page see here.

Terry Cullier: Fix the Blame

turn this mutha

“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” ~ Sinclair Lewis

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