This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, March 6, 2006


Quoting a Conservative in the Lead

"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed."
-William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review

William F. Buckley is a true conservative. One might say he is the "conservative defined". Mr. Buckley, and most of the people on Planet Earth realize the failures in Iraq. The problem is that the Bushies fail to realize it themselves.

"Denial" (as in "The Nile") is not just a river in Egypt. One has the feeling that, in the minds of a Bushie, it is better to watch the slaughter of American troops and Iraqi civilians than to admit a mistake.

-Noah Greenberg



America Sale

"Not everything in the United States is for sale,"
-Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, on Lou Dobbs Tonight, tonight

Senator Shelby was referring to the sale of our strategic US ports to Dubai World Ports, owned in whole by the UAE nation of Dubai. Just as a reminder, the UAE still refuses to recognize Israel, hid money for Osama bin-Laden and was the third country to recognize the Taliban.

Way to make a stand there, Dick.

So just what, in this nation, does Senator Shelby think is "okay" to sell? Well, it appears that Senator Shelby has no problem selling our children's future. Just this past week our nation's representatives, which include Shelby, voted to allow our debt ceiling to be raised to a staggering $450 billion. This means that as soon as a US child is born, he or she is (figuratively speaking) handed a bill for almost $1,600.

Everybody is on the "No-sale-to-Dubai" bandwagon, including the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party members of the House and Senate, although they appear to be swaying. It was Senate Majority Leader, and GOP Presidential hopeful (I think it's the Democrats who are hopeful for Frist to win the GOP nomination) who at first strongly opposed the sale of the ports to Dubai. It was also his reversal that said maybe the Bush-led "cooling off period" is good enough.

Bit by bit the Bush administration has been selling off America. You would think that, with the Bush fire-sale going on, we would be in the black, financially speaking, but we aren't. Instead, the sale of our nation's security has led to: the unemployment of our citizens; the enrichment of the already ultra-rich; and the sale of our nation's security. Not only do we no longer make most of what we buy, but you can't even find an alternative US made product for most of our goods. In one of the most, if not the most, agriculturally-rich nation's in the world, we are actually importing crops!

I used to say that it wasn't important who owned the means of production, as long as production was kept here in the US. I've changed my mind. It matters who owns it, especially when it comes to the things that we, the American people own as a group; things like our national security.

Why is it that we can't own our own ports? Whose idea was it to sell our strategic ports to the highest, outsourced bidder anyway? Wasn't it come 230 years ago that we fought the British to get them out of our ports (not that I have anything bad to say about the British)? And, it still goes that, if nothing else, selling our nation's ports to a "questionable, at best, ally", like Dubai, is not a good idea.

Remember, it was the US State Department's own human rights' report that questioned the integrity of Dubai and the UAE. That was only one year ago.

Tonight I watched Lou Dobbs who, like most of us agrees that selling our ports to the UAE is a bad idea. I made the mistake of leaving the TV on to see Wolf Blitzer's show which he started by saying what a great ally the UAE has been... recently. That must be CNN's way of apologizing to Dubai for Dobbs. Blitzer gave a US Dubai Business Group representative, Kevin Massengill (a retired US military officer) almost carte blanche on his show to, basically, sell his employers to the American people against a wishy-washy Rep. Peter King (R-NY). King, himself an original opponent to the sale is now is easing up a bit. His new "idea" is to allow the sale to Dubai World Ports as long as they create a US company to be in charge of the security. He said he was just "floating the idea".

How naive is this guy?

And if that were not bad enough, Mohammed Sharaf, the CEO of Dubai World Ports was given the soap box by Blitzer to say whatever he wanted without so much as a whimper.

Amazing.

Our nation's security is not for sale. Cut it out you pinheads.

-Noah Greenberg



Defend Teacher Jay Bennish

Please do this! The issue is important to me, because I went through an episode when an innocent teacher was fired for no good reason, and also worked to help save a teaching career. I attended a Wisconsin high school 2 1/2 years from September 1949 to December 1951 in a heavily Republican county during the early regime of Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin--who by 1950 was beginning to make a malevolent name for himself outside the state. When one of our Civics teachers got suddenly fired in the spring of 1950 we students (cynically) thought it was for flunking the lazy daughter of the School Board president. I'm convinced we were right, because everything that teacher expressed in class was conservative and we all considered him to be a conventional Republican. The firing took everyone by surprise and no one was able to do anything to stop it, perhaps because the teacher was a boring lecturer and not very well-liked.

A real & imminent danger faced the school's most beloved teacher--of General Science and Physics--who was also the football coach and the father of one of my best friends. He was one of those Superteachers who was also an unofficial career counselor, inspirer, and friend--a real leader. I knocked myself out to get straight A's in science class, just to live up to Coach's expectations, and a group of us super-achievers met with him once a week after school to study Classic Greek, since he had the only textbook for miles around.

And Coach's teaching methods weren't what conservatives would call conventional or "safe". A WWII veteran, Coach had been stationed in Japan for a few months after the war, and every year since resuming teaching in 1946 he'd set aside one 9th grade science lesson every year to show huge b&w photographic posters of the Japanese victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The photos were graphic and horrifying, and he included a stern and solemn lecture on the vital necessity of maintaining peace in a nuclear age.

Word went out that McCarthy was going after him as a suspected "Commie", so a bunch of others and I helped form an adjunct to the cheerleading squad which we called the Pep Club. (Maybe I suggested it; I must've been one of the leaders, since that year I got voted "the student with the most school spirit", which surprised me since I was a notorious nerd and "swot".) We collected over 50 enthusiastic members and did group cheers with flipped placards from the stands. I heard that some of the Pep Club guys threatened to break the football players' arms if they didn't win every game. That was probably only a rumor, perhaps a deliberately circulated one. In any case the team did exceptionally well that fall, won the District cup and went on to State--the first time our tiny high school of no more than 900 students had ever gone that far. The team didn't win State but ranked high, which seemed amazing considering some of the gigantic schools we were up against.

We kids knew that we had to make Coach sacrosanct--impervious to being fired. I think that the Lucille Ball hearing, where she admitted she'd been a card-carrying Commie in the 1930s, came a year or so later, but there were others that were similar. Somehow we knew that a figure of popular esteem would be forgiven, so we figured, how could the School Board fire a winning football coach? The answer was: they couldn't, any more than "I Love Lucy" could be canceled. Coach, who (unlike Lucy) was never a Communist, nothing more than a thoughtful liberal, kept his job. The Pep Club persisted long after I moved down to Florida, the team kept winning, Joe McCarthy got condemned by Congress, and Coach ended his teaching career in the early 1970s as head of an expanded Science Dept. in a much-enlarged consolidated high school. I hope he kept showing those frightening photos and giving that lecture.

And we must all hope that Mr. Bennish wins, too. The kids deserve a teacher like him. Let's help him.


-Jenny Hanniver



W's falling approval numbers

W's falling approval numbers are a relief and an encouragement to all who believe that government is instituted for any purpose other than throwing money at the wealthy. But what do they mean for the future?

In '04, GW Bush was pulled into office on the coat-tails of his party. Look how many GOP Senators and Representatives outran his numbers.

GW has had along and probably still has the ability to push his numbers back up and to raise big money for his huckstering.

Dems should not get overconfident. The emphasis on '06 should be on electing Governors and state legislators. By electing Governors and State legislators we will be installing the next generation of government as they move up to the federal level in 2008 and 2010.

We must unite to oppose Bush and the GOP and at the Federal level form a shadow government that opposes the GOP rather than trying to govern with them and deflecting the public anger away from them.

GW Bush, the GOP congressional majority and the GOP governors have gotten us into this mess, we need to be patient, take back executive power and save America from the horrendous effects not only of GW Bush's misadministration, but of the past twelve years of GOP pandering to the extreme, out of control, neo-fascist Right.

-Robert Chapman



Warrantless Wiretaps are Illegal: Impeach the Whole Crew

According to the figures I have seen, the secret Federal Internal Security Court has granted approximately 30,000 secret warrants since it was set up. In the same period, it denied somewhere between one and 10 applications (I've seen various numbers in the press).

With a court that cooperative, why does George Bush and his administration insist that they have to bypass the court for national security? There is only one possible reason: The court would deny the wiretapping or search warrants as being illegal.

Why would they be illegal? They would be illegal for the same reason that the court was set up in the first place, back in 1978. President Nixon and his administration were snooping on political enemies. The court was set up so that there would be no excuse for secret, unauthorized snooping. The court was set up so that secret investigations could be specifically authorized for authentic national security purposes, but would be otherwise totally forbidden. The Bush administration is bypassing the court because their investigations have nothing to do with national security. They are being done for partisan political purposes, and are crimes.

Wiretaps are absolutely forbidden by law unless authorized by some court, somewhere. George Bush has confessed to crimes and impeachable offenses. Vice President Cheney and Attorney General Gonzales have confessed to the same crimes. They should all be impeached immediately, and then tried for their criminal acts, because impeachment only removes them from office.

-Stephen J Spiro, in a published letter to the Home News Tribune of Central New Jersey, on Tuesday, February 27

NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice, and certainly without probable cause. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.



REPUBLICAN TACTICS?

My husband, a lifelong Democrat, registered as a Democrat, a Liberal, anti-war activist recently received a fat envelope from the Republican party, with photos of Georgie boy, and a Dear Friend, crossed out, Dear Neil greeting. Why? Why would they send that to him? Maybe because after 40 years in the same field, he is at the top of his career and earning power, and IRS records are being used to target likely contributors to the Republican Party, based on income? He sure hasn't ever voted for any Republicans, or contributed to them. Shouldn't that be illegal to use IRS records to troll for campaign contributions?

-Pat Thompson



In response to Robert Scardapane's submission on healthcare, here is an update by Carol F. Yost:

To get more information, including on HR 676, for single-payer universal, national healthcare, go to this web site: www.healthcare-now.org. Right now there are 69 Congressional co-signatories, and Citizens/Congressional hearings on healthcare have been and are being held all over the country. I participated in one in NYC last May. Many labor unions and other groups have signed on in support of HR 676. Single-payer means NO deductibles, NO premiums, NO copays. You get to choose your own doctor or hospital. It's at least 30% less expensive because there's no paperwork for competing insurance companies and all their restrictions.


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-Noah Greenberg