"Dear Mr. President:
"Your tax deal with the Republicans is an abomination.
"It adds to our debt, rewards the bullies and fattens the piggies, who are fatter than they've ever been in American history."
"Who are the piggies?" Buddy asked.
"The rich," Uncle Chet said. "The ones who take too much."
"And the bullies?" Hon asked.
"Republican senators; the errand boys for the billionaires."
"I think Obama blew it," I said. "He was on the right side of the perfect issue -- `Should the rich get richer?"'
"That's what drove me to write," Uncle Chet said as he waved his missive.
"He'll never see it," said Hon, who was at the chop saw, pausing between boards as we listened to this rant.
"I'm sending it the paper," Uncle Chet said as he held up the typed sheet.
"But let me read it once, then you get back to work." I said as I laid down the hammer and leaned against the wall in Buddy's room, where we were installing an ash floor.
"Dear Mr. President," he read again. "Your tax deal with the Republicans is an abomination.
"It adds to our debt, rewards the bullies and fattens the piggies, who are fatter than they've ever been in American history.
"Your deal is short-sighted politically: The rich will use their extra billions to buy the next election and make their tax cuts permanent.
"Your deal is a loser economically. The rich won't spend their extra loot on groceries, appliances and cars. They won't create jobs or increase demand for anything, except a few more butlers.
"But your biggest failure is ethical, as you've surrendered without a fight in a battle that should have been won," Uncle Chet read as he looked over his half-glasses.
"As the middle class disappears, the rich are gobbling up the country, and most people want it to stop, but we need a leader. Someone to stand up to greed, not pretend things will be better because workers will collect unemployment benefits for another half year before retesting the jobless recovery.
"This country needs fundamental change, not window dressing; manufacturing jobs, not unemployment extensions; living wages, not food stamps; and an end to interminable war and obscene military budgets. We need economic democracy, not rule by the corporate elite from Halliburton to Monsanto to BP.
"I know you know all this, Mr. President, or I wouldn't bother to write. Many of us have long been disillusioned by the Democrats' timidity and the Republicans' sense of entitlement. Then you came along, talked of change, and from the enthralled crowds in the arenas you know how people yearn for someone to address the central injustice of our time: the ungodly gap between rich and poor.
"All societal evils descend from this central corruption. Everyone feels it, though it's obfuscated by the propaganda that passes for news. Many are living through it, straining to keep their heads above water. Others sense they're only a misstep from disaster.
"If, instead of 50 states and 300 million citizens, the United States were 20 people in a lifeboat in the South Pacific. If we were far from shore with the sun beating down and one of our citizens had 10 gallons of water, a second had seven gallons, while the remainder had earned a pint apiece and were growing thirsty, pulling on the oars, the greed of the super-rich, and a reasonable course of action, would be obvious.
And with a fairer distribution of assets, that crew would be stronger, healthier and might make it to shore.
"In the real world, the lessons are fuzzier, but this is one where people can see through the bull, Mr. President. No matter what the GOP threatens to do or undo unless the rich get a tax cut, we should not cave in to bribery or blackmail. We are citizens, not mendicants.
"Sincerely yours, …"
Cooperstown bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears every other week. For more of his columns, visit www.thedailystar.com/tomgrace.
"Dear Mr. President:
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
Woodstock continues to provide memories
I went to Woodstock last weekend. No, not the concert site. The village.Continued ...
- Let's put a check on 'check engine' light
- Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks
- 1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories
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- Woodstock continues to provide memories
- Cary Brunswick
Government lost trust by spying on us
Flaws in that little padlock on people's supposedly secure Internet sites have sent users in recent days scrambling to change passwords and question whether they should keep providing sensitive information in their online interactions.Continued ...
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- It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
- Unconventional events changed my outlook
- Government lost trust by spying on us
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
The anti-pipeline crowd won't win
At the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's hearing in Oneonta on April 1, the antis continued their obstruction of anything fossil-fuel related.Continued ...
- Not the 'most perfect village' for the mentally ill
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- Don't opt-in for high-stakes testing
- Constitution will pipe money into local schools
- The anti-pipeline crowd won't win
- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
- Being a parent is a constant learning process
- Healthy doesn't have to mean expensive
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- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
A historian's mailbag reflects, corrects recent columns
It seems like an eternity since I last reached into the historian's "mailbag" to share some correspondence. The "bag" of today can include electronic mail, or just someone stopping to chat with me in the supermarket or places I may be speaking to groups. But I'll reiterate what my fellow columnist Big Chuck said recently, "Keep those cards and letters coming."Continued ...
- Signs of springtime in Oneonta arrived in April 1889
- Student housing stirred unrest in 1970s
- Oneonta reveled in spring 'Dress Up Week' in 1919
- Proposed change to Delaware County Community College rejected in 1959
- A historian's mailbag reflects, corrects recent columns
- Rick Brockway
Gilbert Lake brings back fond memories
A friend posted on Facebook some pictures of him and his daughter fishing at Gilbert Lake.
- Frog legs always a neat treat
- You never know what you're going to see on the slopes
- Chestnuts are making a comeback
- Fishing is all about being in the right place at the right time
- Gilbert Lake brings back fond memories
- Sam Pollak
Mr. Adelson disturbs my 'ghetto mentality'
This Sheldon Adelson guy makes me very nervous.Continued ...
- A minority group that's getting out of hand
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- Mr. Adelson disturbs my 'ghetto mentality'
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner
An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues