"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
Baseball cards: Different spokes for different folks
Baseball cards as an investment? Fugetaboutit!Continued ...
- It's just a short drive down my memory lane
- Sept. 11 Museum is sobering, inspiring
- Remembering the singing cowboy
- The plain plane truth ruins CNN
- Baseball cards: Different spokes for different folks
- Cary Brunswick
'Insurgent' or 'patriot' can be hard to define
A common perception may have been that writing human history is a mere description and explanation of events. We know better now, however, that even the driest facts are colored by the language and ideology of those doing the writing.Continued ...
- Gaskin and The Farm filled a void
- We shouldn't be surprised by Iraq's turmoil
- Brunswick column on hiatus
- Two-tiered Internet is a bad idea
- 'Insurgent' or 'patriot' can be hard to define
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
Like it or not, the curriculum needed reform
When we first examined the new Common Core Regents exams this June, we felt a sense of relief, not the distress or feeling of doom that has been played up in the media. "Exciting" is the word that comes to mind to describe how we felt about an exam that attempts to more accurately measure the real-world skills our students practice in class.Continued ...
- Police must crack down on motorcycle noise
- SAFE Act won't help get the lead out
- Sessions' betrayal should live in infamy
- Drilling's future is at stake in state's high court
- Like it or not, the curriculum needed reform
- 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
- A family era ends with close of Potter series
- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
Successes, train derailment were newsmakers in July 1984
The names and accomplishments of New, Drago, Ferraro and Ono, and a train derailment in Emmons were all making news in our area during July 1984.Continued ...
- Oneonta street boomed to prosperity in 1893
- Local landmarks, new conveniences made news in summer 1954
- Locals headed to the lakesides in July 1924
- Local closures, communism, bike parade highlighted July 1949
- Successes, train derailment were newsmakers in July 1984
- Rick Brockway
Good old days revolved around a good old swimming hole
As I've told you many times, I grew up on the family farm outside of Laurens. During the summer, we spent many hours each day putting hay in the barn for the cows. It was hot and sweaty work, stacking the bales in the mow when temperatures were in the 90s and the humidity was about as high. But at the end of the day, we headed up the creek to a favorite spot â€" the old swimming hole.
- Sometimes hungry animals just come with the territory
- There's plenty to do at the Ellenville Fault Ice Caves
- Fireflies never cease to amaze as nature's night-lights
- Waterfalls are worth the trip
- Good old days revolved around a good old swimming hole
- Sam Pollak
Macho, crazy America sticks to its guns
"I shoot first, and ask questions later."Continued ...
- My father is in my mirror, my dreams
- Being president doesn't look like much fun
- Some changes are just style over substance
- Mr. Adelson disturbs my 'ghetto mentality'
- Macho, crazy America sticks to its guns
- 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