"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
1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories
Well, the 86th Academy Awards are over. And for the record, I did a pretty good job in my Daily Star Oscar picks. I got them all right except one. Cate Blanchett was the spoiler in my clean sweep. Not bad, if I do say so myself.Continued ...
- There was just no telling about snow days
- And the music goes round and round
- When did pranks turn into vandalism?
- Happy and sad memories of Jan. 7, 1966
- 1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories
- Cary Brunswick
It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
It has been 55 years since Fidel Castro and his bands of nationalist fighters and supporters took over the government of Cuba. The United States immediately took issue with that regime change, and ever since has had serious problems with the tiny nation just south of the Florida Keys.Continued ...
- Unconventional events changed my outlook
- Keystone XL pipeline is still a terrible idea
- We shouldn't trade privacy for security
- I'm pleasantly surprised by Pope Francis
- It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
State's budget gimmick is hindering schools
Recently, the Margaretville and Roxbury boards of education joined their colleagues across the region and throughout the state in adopting a resolution calling on the state legislature to end the so-called "gap elimination adjustment."Continued ...
- The state Board of Regents deserves a shakeup
- It's no wonder businesses avoid us
- How to bridge a widening wealth gap
- Nimbys, shills and celebs: A morality play for our times
- State's budget gimmick is hindering schools
- 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
Local pipeline construction stirred controversy in 1964
Unlike the proposed Constitution Pipeline project, planned to bring natural gas from northeast Pennsylvania through our region to a terminal in Schoharie County, another pipeline project built from Watkins Glen to Selkirk generated considerably less local controversy 50 years ago.Continued ...
- Natural gas drilling efforts of the 1880s found little locally
- Beauty, grooming took center stage in Oneonta in March 1964
- Local news, opinion often mixed in 1889 newspapers
- Gasoline, demons and baseball were 'trending' locally in 1974
- Local pipeline construction stirred controversy in 1964
- Rick Brockway
It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
This has been a tough winter. In fact, it has been one of the coldest winters on record. Now don't get me wrong, I love winter and I always have. I've always believed that people who don't like winter don't have anything to do when the snow flies and temperatures drop below freezing. But I've never had that problem.
- Animals' behavior a sign of wild winter
- Opossum is unique in many ways
- It can be too cold sometimes
- It's tough to say what you really did see
- It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
- Sam Pollak
Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
Discuss politics or religion in any establishment that specializes in dispensing alcohol, and -- proprietors warn -- the discussion is highly likely to result in you waking up on the tavern floor and spitting out teeth, probably your own.Continued ...
- The world must think we're nuts
- Mistakes easy to take ... if they're not yours
- Celebrate 2013 with the annual 'Sammy Awards'
- The feds still aren't coming for your guns
- Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
- 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