THE NEWSLETTER

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, January 16, 2006

 

 

In honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. I recommend that everyone who has ever heard his "I have a Dream" Speech or "I've been to the Mountaintop" Speech to share it with someone hwo hasn't heard either one. -NG


There will be no Madman on Tuesday, January 17, 2005 due to a late flight arrival. -NG


 

In response to my thoughts on Iran, I received the following note:

 

"Please unsubscribe me from this.  Whoever wrote the article about Iran has no idea about the country, or its people and is just stating rhetoric.
Thanks but no thanks."

-(Unidentified)

 

This is exactly what the Right Wing does. For example. if you disagree with them on abortion, whatever else your beliefs are now irrelevant. There is no debate. The thought process is "It's my way or the highway." Although I asked this person to reconsider removing (his/ her) name from the list, I haven't heard back (at least as of yet).

 

There are others who disagree with me, but realize that one disagreement does not make all of our causes separate.

 

We may agree on a multitude of issues: Stopping world hunger; health care for all here at home; a fair tax cut; but it all makes no difference because the "stiff of thought" cannot get past the first obstacle. In the case of the unsuscriber, it's Iran. In the case of the far right wing, it's a woman's right to choose.

 

-Noah Greenberg


A Media Madman Quote in the Lead
From the Surviving Dean of American News Journalists


"It's my belief that we should get out now,"
-Walter Cronkite

The dean of American newsmen speaks the truth.

"If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."
-President Lyndon. B. Johnson, after a Cronkite documentary where Cronkite editorialized about the situation in that this war is unwinable.

Where are the new deans of American Journalism? They are all bought and paid for by global corporations and the advertising dollar.

-Noah Greenberg



A Former Chairman Resigning Quotes

"I want to assure my colleagues and my constituents that I have done absolutely nothing wrong and I am convinced that I will be vindicated completely at the end of this difficult process. Unfortunately, it has become clear to me in recent days that the false allegations made against me have become a distraction to the important work of the House Republican Conference and the important work that remains ahead for the House Administration Committee."
-Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), on resigning as head of the House Administration Committee

Ney put into the congressional record what amounts to glowing endorsements of Jack Abramoff and his partner Adam Kidan, both recently pleading guilty to a number of charges including fraud regarding the SunCruz purchase. He did so twice.

Abramoff is naming names, and name number one is that of Bob Ney.

"(Kidan has) a renowned reputation for honesty and integrity. ... (He) is most well known for his successful enterprise, Dial-a-Mattress, but he is also well known as a solid individual and a respected member of his community. ... I believe that every individual who visits a gaming vessel in Florida, should know that they are gaming in an establishment that represents the community well, and gives every individual a fair shot. I hope that all casinos owners and operators share in this philosophy. I look forward to the positive changes Mr. Kidan is more than capable of brining to the gaming industry and I hope that others will follow his lead when he brings positive changes to SunCruz."
-Rep. Bob Ney, from the Congressional Record


Bob, you are known by the company you keep, or the company that has been keeping you.

-Noah Greenberg



If You Can't Beat 'em, Kill 'em

The new Medicare Drug "Benefit" Program has been anything but a "benefit". Confusing fromthe start, and not much on savings due to the non-negotiable retail prices and the famous "donut hole" that will eat into the elderly's savings, the program has tossed the elderly around like Dorothy's house a Kansas tornado. The typical problem is this: an elderly person goes into their regular pharmacy and is told that the drug they have been taking, the drug that keeps them alive, is no longer available to them, unless they want to pay out of their own pockets the whole cost.

In California alone, over 200,000 of the states low-income Medicare beneficiaries have had trouble getting their life-saving drugs (out of about 1.1 million). The problem is so bad that the Governator (AH-NOLD), who already has enough troubles of his own, has had to take emergency action in order to make sure that those who need their medications are able to get them.

I just wonder if anyone is having problems getting their Viagra prescription filled.

"I took emergency action to ensure seniors and disabled Californians get lifesaving medications they are in danger of losing because of significant problems with the new federal Medicare prescription drug program,"
-Schwarzenegger

"a seamless transition"
-Dr. Mark. B. McClellan (brother of White House Press secretary and "G"lobal "W"arming Bush apologist/ interpreter Scott McClellan), administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, referring to the switch to the drug company money-making Medicare drug benefit card taking over on January 1, 20056

And I'm sure that somehow, the Bushies will promote the "plans" as a success and in the end, inform US all that it was, in fact "seamless" with just a few bumps in the road.

So far, seventeen Governors, Republican and Democrat have taken emergency action to get over the Bush White House provided hurdles. This translates to higher state taxes or greater state deficits. So when your personal income tax rises or your real estate tax gets a hefty raise, you'll know who to thank. Even with the problems, Dr. McClellan couldn't resist putting the Bush happy face on the disaster:

"all beneficiaries should be able to get their prescriptions filled."
-Dr. McClellan

You gotta love the optimism. Actually, it's just how the Bushies treat everything: Screw the little guy to make sure their buddies gain in the end.

"several hundred thousand beneficiaries who switched plans" may have had difficulty
-Dr. McClellan

If the White House is admitting to a problem affecting "several hundred thousand beneficiaries", you could be sure that number is in the millions.

"It's unacceptable if any beneficiaries are not getting their prescriptions. We are working with states to solve the problem."
-Gary R. Karr, a spokesman for the federal Medicare agency

That's Bush-Speak for "It isn't our fault, it's the state's fault."

This was a plan ill-advised and ill-conceived from inception. It was a rush to profits for the drug companies, helped by the "K" Street Drug Company Lobbyists. This plan didn't care about the low-income person dependent on their medications, only the drug companies and the newly created bureaucracy and GOP campaign contributors, the drug plan administrators.

Even the card providers are left shaking their heads.

"We expected much more of ourselves, and certainly our performance in the first two weeks was a disappointment. For that, I want to personally apologize to each of you."Druggists "have experienced unacceptable wait times for customer service because we were unable to keep up with the extraordinary call volume."
-Charles E. Hallberg, president of MemberHealth in a letter to pharmacists

Another "bump in the road" that has turned into a mountain. How could the Bush administration not have seen any of this coming?

Many people had been "turned away at their pharmacies or told that they must purchase the drugs up front and seek reimbursement later. These are very vulnerable people who do not have the means to pay for their prescriptions and who cannot go without their medications,"
-Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH)

Senator Gregg knows whose butt is on the line here: It's his and the other members of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party who are up for re-election this year.

-Noah Greenberg



Eminent Domain, Chinese Style

"They've blocked all the roads leading to the village and they searched our bodies and motorcycles,'' a man surnamed Yang at Panlong village in Sanjiao township told Reuters by phone.

"We are not allowed to leave after dusk.''

"They turned off all the street lights and car lights before beating whoever they caught. That includes the girl -- she was just 13 and she died.''

The government of Communist China is practicing their own version of "eminent domain". They see the land they want and they just take it. If someone protests, they do so at their own peril.

The Chinese government is taking the land from peasant farmers with "meager" compensation in order to put up a factory for a Hong Kong based manufacturer. I guess the plan is to take the land from these self-sufficient people; build the factory; and keep these people there to work as low-paid laborers... maybe even slaves!

And this is who the United States owes billions of dollars to? This is who the administration of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush wants to be in bed with? This is who American businesses want to do business with?

We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. I'd say boycott goods made in China of everything wasn't made there already.

-Noah Greenberg



In response to Pat's friend and A Personal Gun Control story, Randi Haley writes:

Dear Pat- so sorry for your terrible tragedy. Thank you for sharing the loss with us, as it does sound as if the world has lost a great participant.



In response to Madman's thoughts on Iran, Chris Tennant writes:

Errrrr, Noah, I think you've been drinking the Kool-aid. Shame on you! You've taken the bait! Can't you see what this whole Iranian "crisis" is REALLY all about? It's an identical REPEAT of the Iraq scenario!

Now, don't go telling me "but....but...but...THIS threat is REAL!" because it ain't! Trust me! I know whereof I speak. As a seasoned individual in the international field who lived and worked in the Middle East for ten years, I can assure you that IRAN does NOT pose a nuclear threat to either the US or Israel ... UNLESS Bush and company forge ahead with their plans to launch a preemptive strike on Iran, which they are MOST DEFINITELY planning to do. In fact, the plans have ALREADY been drawn up and virtually finalized. Basically, they are only waiting for the go-ahead from at least some Western allies and from the UN which, of course, they will get from that creep Bolton who has, to all practical purposes, taken over the organization and is in the process of dismantling it!

What really frightens the hell out of me is that if you and others like you who are usually able to smell a rat immediately and to sort out the wheat from the chaff, the agitprop from the facts, are buying into the present scenario, then we may as well write off everyone else as well!

Sorry to come down so hard on you, Noah, but what I say is true, believe me! And more important is what the consequences will be if we DO have the audacity to attack Iran. I can assure you that the outcome will not be the same as for Iraq. Quite the contrary! The Iranians are ready and waiting, even baiting the US to just try it. It is pure rhetoric but one which will most certainly turn to action if we attack THEM. They will not attack FIRST, but they will damn sure retaliate and will cement their relationship with the Iraqi resistance movement in doing so.

Iran is not Iraq! Moreover, they have NEVER forgiven us for what we did to Mossadegh and our the putting into power of our puppet the Shah of Iran. They are not about to let that happen again!

And, besides, if you ask me, as much as I dislike Iran, I feel that they nevertheless have the right to develop their nuclear power, weapons or no weapons, since Israel possesses some 200 nuclear warheads and the US has now overstepped the limits of legality when it comes to launching wars of aggression against other countries for whatever reason, even reserving for THEMSELVES the right to deploy WMDs if it so chooses!!!



And Robert Chapman writes:

Noah, thanks for the article on Iran's possible future nuclear arms program. This situation is much more serious than your article indicates. Even if this threat is avoided, the American military encirclement of Iran, our Doctrine of Pre-Emptive War and Iran's ambition to develop nuclear electrical generation capability to sustain its oil exports while diversifying its industrial base make this situation extremely tense and complicated.

Bush has pushed us back into the Dr. Strangelove world of Mutually Assured Destruction. A regional approach, rather than concentrating strictly on developments in Iran is necessary to cope with these problems.

Beyond Iran, there is the threat of a South Asian War between India and Pakistan going nuclear. It is not inconceivable that the two staunch American allies, Pakistan and India, could deploy nuclear weapons against their respective enemies in an intramural war confined to those countries. It is ironic that both India and Pakistan, the two nations in the world most likely to actually use nuclear weapons are receiving massive direct aid from the US in all the theoretical, technical and operational phases of their Nuclear Arms Programs.

The US assistance to India in developing its atomic program, including the military applications is a direct violation of the Nuclear Arms Non-Proliferation Treaty. Our aid to Pakistan came after 9/11 when we reversed the Clinton sanctions designed to punish Pakistan for developing its nuclear arms capacity in violation of international agreements.

The sad fact is that the ongoing US military operations in countries neighboring Iran on the east and west, i.e., Afghanistan and Iraq, the strengthening of US bases in the countries to North of Iran, (the former Soviet Central Asian republics) and the continuing presence of the Persian Gulf Naval Task force South of Iran give the Iranian leadership an uneasy sense of encirclement by an overwhelmingly powerful, hostile power. The Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war, cannot help but increase the perception of a potent and serious American military threat directed at Iran.

If American defense officials faced a similar situation, they would go on a CRASH PROGRAM to develop a nuclear arms capability. They would conduct their program in absolute secrecy, conduct the testing in a remote undetectable location and impress the enemy with our capabilities by repeated nuclear attacks.

How can I be sure in stating this as the American response? Simple, we have already done it. The WWII Manhattan Program was carried out in absolute secrecy, developed and tested an atom bomb and the US then destroyed TWO UNDEFENDED, MILITARILY INSIGNIFICANT Japanese cities, killing hundreds of thousands of defenseless civilians, to demonstrate our willingness to deploy this destructiveness. The US ferocity in its use of Nuclear weapons remains a key factor in military thinking to this day.

The increase in the number of countries with nuclear weapons capability increases the potential for nuclear war astronomically. The insecurity and poverty of some of these lesser states combined with their ideological extremism are a potent mix for a diplomatic or military error that could result in an uncontrollable nuclear conflagration with unknown, but certainly far-reaching ramifications.

We cannot accept the Iranians development of a nuclear weapon with equanimity, but the sad fact is that the only real incentive Iran, North Korea or any hostile country has for not deploying a nuclear weapon is the assurance that the US will incinerate them if they detonate a nuclear bomb in combat. This certain knowledge will restrain them, whatever domestic political pressures push them towards the development of a Nuclear arsenal.

The Iranians have stated a clear goal to maintain their status as a petroleum exporting country. They have also stated their clear and continuing goal toward industrialization and diversification of their economy. They will rely upon nuclear generation of electricity to power these developments.

These civilian applications provide Iran the basic infrastructure, the technical personnel and the revenue streams needed to develop their nuclear weapons capabilities. The successful civilian program and the formidable military threat posed to the Iranians by their encirclement by American forces may cause Teheran to miscalculate and embark on such an arms program.

The Bush Administration's contention that the Iranian's have no conceivable peaceful purposes for developing a nuclear industry is entirely deceitful and bellicose propaganda intended to incite American public opinion. What the Bush Administration's goals are in this incitement of domestic rancor is speculative at this time.

However, it is clear that the Bush Administration's intransigent continuation of its military and naval policies in the Gulf region, its on-going diplomatic offensive against Teheran and its incitement of American domestic opinion is goading the Iranians toward the development of a nuclear option. Our attempts to isolate Teheran diplomatically in response to their threatened nuclear weapons program could easily be misconstrued by the Iranians as merely another dimension of our hostile policies towards them.

Besides encirclement, the Iranians are afraid of an American invasion. Militarily, the development of small, light low yield nuclear bombs that could be mounted in the Silkworm type vehicles they currently possess is a good option. These weapons would enable the Iranians to strike US ships and bases with devastating power. The destruction of these ships and bases is critical to any successful defense of Iranian territory from invasion by US and/or Coalition forces.

Of course, when the first nuclear tipped Silkworm hits the first squadron of US ships in the Persian Gulf, SAC will deliver the knockout punch and DESTROY THE PERSIANS.

The Invasion of Iraq and Bush's so-called War on Terror have returned us to the perilous razor's edge on which we teetered during the worst of Mutually Assured Destruction era of the Cold War.

The Bush Administration must not be allowed to use the hypothetical scenario of Iran attacking our bases and ships with nuclear tipped Silkworms as a pretext for a pre-Emptive War on Iran. No one could seriously argue that Iran would launch such an attack until and unless it was in the process of repelling a US/Coalition invasion. We must not allow ourselves to enter another war based on our misunderstanding of and unwillingness to understand the perceptions and capabilities of our adversaries.

A much more constructive and probably more effective approach would be for the US to unilaterally lower tensions 1), by withdrawing its forces from former Soviet Central Asia, 2), continuing its disengagement from Afghanistan, 3), committing itself to a phased withdrawal from Iraq and 4), the demilitarization of the Persian Gulf itself.

The US should embark on the diplomatic and economic measures needed to bring peace and stability to this region. A multi-lateral treaty organization providing regional military stability and diplomatic contact is probably in order. A leading American role in such constructive efforts would probably do far more to enhance security and prevent a war than our present course of threats and sanctions.

We still retain the ability to act effectively to lower tensions and to prevent another war in the Persian Gulf region. A benign, far-sighted constructive approach would embrace the entire region and work affirmatively to lower the potential for nuclear conflict in South Asia. This contrasts to the Bush Administration's myopic and obsessive blundering.

The Iranians must be seen in Washington as major regional players. It may be possible for America to constructively engage them with Pakistan and India in ways that would synergize a lowering of conflict and an increase in the economic dynamism of a region that is home to nearly one third of the human race.


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-Noah Greenberg