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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, April 14-16, 2006


A Happy Easter and a Zisen Pesach to All


South American Rodents Found in Seattle
SEATTLE - A water-loving rodent native to South America that has destroyed thousands of acres of wetlands in the southeast has been spotted near Lake Washington.
-The Associated Press

Upon finding the rodent, President Bush immediately offered it amnesty. The animal now works as a pool boy in Newport Beach, CA.

-Noah Greenberg


A Decorated Gang of Six

Anyone who has ever met a high ranking military officer, especially those with real combat experience, knows there disdain for speaking out against their civilian leadership. In this time of, what appears to be a never-ending war in Iraq, some courageous generals have done just that. Retired Army Major Gen. John Riggs, Retired Gen. Charles retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold and retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton have all called for the "retirement" of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. (Perhaps we should start calling it the Secretary of War again?)

"I don't know how many generals there are. There are a couple thousand at least, and they're going to have opinions. It's not surprising, we're in a war."
-Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff

That' not really true, Mr. Ruff. During a time of war it is less likely that retired members of the armed forces would speak out against the ineffective and inept leadership at the Pentagon. In fact, they would most likely want to circle the wagons instead.

"This is a very significant vote of no confidence and I think the president has to take this into account. The military is saying it does not trust its civilian leadership,"
-Retired Air Force colonel P.J. Crowley, a former Pentagon spokesman for both Republican and Democrat administrations

I have heard statements from the Right similar to the one by Mr. Ruff above. They say things like, "There are thousands of generals who have not said what these six say, therefore they think things are going well in Iraq." I don't believe that their silence is the silence of support. There are no harder proofs to prove than a negative. It would be like having six unsolicited retired generals come out in support of Rumsfeld and then claiming that the other few thousand are against him.

"He does his homework. He works weekends, he works nights. People can question my judgment or his judgment, but they should never question the dedication, the patriotism and the work ethic of Secretary Rumsfeld,"
-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace

Let's see, "he does his homework" and "he works weekends" and "he works nights". Sounds like the life of a high school senior than that of the Secretary of Defense, doesn't it? Not only can people question his judgment, they have to because "Rummy's" "judgment" is always "questionable". Saying someone has a good "work ethic" is like saying your blind date has a "great personality".

"We had then and have now every opportunity to speak our minds; and if we do not, shame on us, because the opportunity is there. It is elicited from us. And we're expected to."

I guess it's acceptable to speak your mind, in the Bush administration, as long as your mid agrees with the minds of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush, Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney and Donald "We Don't Know What We Don't Know" Rumsfeld. I guess General Pace doesn't remembers what happened to his predecessor, Retired former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Eric Shinseki. Remember, it was Shinseki who said that we needed "hundreds of thousands" of troops to make the Iraqi campaign a success. He then "mysteriously" retired.

Maybe Pace does remember after all.

an "atmosphere of arrogance,"
-Retired Army Major Gen. John Riggs

"We need a new secretary of defense,"
-Retired Gen. Charles Swannack

"I believe the civilian leadership in the Pentagon ignored the advice. This advice was not just coming from me, these warnings, but other former commanders at U.S. Central Command."
-Former Commander, U.S. Central Command, General Anthony Zinni

But I think the words of retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste in an interview with Jim Lehrer said it best (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june06/iraq_4-13.html):

We need a "fresh start at the Pentagon,"
"We always asked for more troops,"
"I suspect, going way back five years to the beginning of this whole war, there were ample times when people said to him, as General Shinseki did, 'We need more.' In the case of General Shinseki, he was retired early. And as I recall, the secretary didn't even go to his retirement ceremony; I have never forgotten that. "
"There comes a point in time where you speak out. In my case, it was after I chose to leave the Army."
"we have some issues of accountability here that need to be addressed."
Referring to Rumsfeld: "I think an honorable man would take account, be responsible for what he did, and step down."
"the strategic underpinnings of this war can be traced back in policy to the secretary of defense. He built it the way he wanted it."

-Noah Greenberg with Jenny Hanniver

Playing the "Flag" Card

I keep hearing about the Mexican flag. I get a bunch of emails, almost daily since immigration has become the hot-button issue, with attachments of peaceful Mexican immigrants carrying the Mexican flag in these marches. Of course, when one views the march in its entirety, not "edited for content", one also sees a number of American flags as well. The only American flag pic that I was sent had old glory being displayed upside down. Just a reminder to those of you who think that's a sign of disrespect: An upside down flag signifies distress, and, in the case of immigration, isn't that what this country is in, distress?

I might remind everybody that these protests have been as peaceful as any protest that I have ever marched in. With hundreds of thousands (maybe even a million, at some of the marches) there have been little or no arrests whatsoever. Many of us are proud of our ancestral heritage, and many like me, an American-born Jew, have marched for various reasons (my first march was Solidarity Sunday, May, 1972, a march to convince the Soviets to release Jews in the former USSR so that they could practice their religion freely). In the Solidarity Sunday march, my friends and I held up a banner while two other friends held up an American flag and an Israeli flag. Were we traitors? Were we disrespectful? (Those were rhetorical questions.)

I live in the New York City area. I get to see the Columbus Day parade and the St.. Patrick's day parade where there are Italian and Irish flags, respectively, flying high to display how proud these people are of their ancestral heritages. Are these Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans traitors or disrespectful, too? How about any of the other <Hyphen>- American groups? Are they all traitors as well?

Go into any diner in the New York City area. Many of them are owned and operated by Greek-Americans who are proud of their heritage and look forward to the time they get to spend in their native country. Many of them end up retiring in Greece and opt to have their Social Security checks sent to them there. Is that Un-American?

Displaying ancestral pride and keeping multi-cultures at the heart of American society is a part of the American "Society of Life" that I speak of often here in Madman. Removing the people who "don't look like us", just because "they don't look like us" is a bad precedent to set. Before you know it, you'll end up with a "Fourth Reich".

Does something need to be done about illegal immigration? Of course it does. Only an idiot would say otherwise. But, it is my belief that it starts with hardening our borders (I still like the impassible waterway idea) and punishing those employers who would hire the undocumented, with stiff penalties and jail time for repeat offenders. If you make a rich guy poor or spend a few nights in jail, he'll think twice about breaking that law again.

There are things that can be done to make illegal immigration, as we know it, a thing of the past. It starts at the border.

-Noah Greenberg

Immigration Laws

Not seeing deportment as practical is kinda like saying that since you can't catch everyone who commits a robbery (and we would both agree that you can't), robbery laws should not be enforced. The only reason the problem ever became as large as 11 million is that the government turned a blind eye toward the law breaking. It's easier that way right? You just sorta let it roll along without any political consequences. What I think has changed is the populace anger over paying the bill for illegals that use social services. That led to Senseless-Brenner making it more of a crime ... which accomplished what?
Nothing! Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony doesn't make any difference if there is no enforcement. Of course, Senseless-Brenner's knee-jerk bill led to the outpouring we see now of support for illegal immigration. It's all nuts and doesn't address the fundamental problems.

It's impossible to enforce any law 100%. Enforcing the law is not only right but would send the right message. Reagan tried amnesty and the end result was 11 million more illegals. This problem didn't happen overnight and to think that the solution would happen overnight is unrealistic.

The pro-illegal immigration crowd were back on the streets today. The more I see of them the less I favor giving them any amnesty at all! Originally, I was in favor of a strict amnesty but now I am thinking that all we are doing is rewarding dangerous lawlessness. We should crack down on the employers of illegals. But, there is no political will to even do that. Nope, I fear that one way or another our nation will continue to be flooded by illegals. Meanwhile, more high quality jobs will be outsourced? So, what will be left?

-Robert Scardapane

I have been going over some old Madmans, many containing ideas and thoughts that I feel is worth repeating now. here is today's Madman Archive:


More Like An Election Receipt Idea
(From Madman, January 12, 2005)

How about this:
Everyone goes to the poll. A paper ticket comes out with a unique identifier on it. After the voting machines are read, you go home, log onto the Internet"s", go to a new, magical website and punch in that number. You put in the random security pass-code that also appears on the ticket (that is so no one other than the ticket holder can look at the result for that ticket) and it not only tells you that your vote was counted, but also tells you HOW you voted.

If there are any discrepancies, you call up a "magical phone number" or file a complaint right on line.

If we can print lottery tickets and find out if we won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes on line, we can do this.

In response to "I don't think Robert Scardapane is being so original here. His first three points (advocating border enforcement, convicting employers of illegals, and enforcing the law against illegals, including deportation for some, including criminals) are not at all just to immigrants, I feel, except of course for punishing actual drug dealers, etc.", Robert Scardapane writes:

Once again, I just can't refrain from responding. So, we should be "just" to people who are breaking the law? That is an odd concept. Okay, if our immigration laws are on trial, let's have an honest debate on open borders and it's economic impact. Also, let's debate increasing the amount of legal immigration - i.e., green cards. Confusing legal immigration with illegal immigration is not at helpful.

Free trade has destroyed South America. The American free enterprisers created the conditions that made people desperate enough to break the immigration laws. Nevertheless, they are breaking our laws. One wrong does not justify another wrong.

In response to "The death penalty", Billie M. Spaight writes:

I guess this is where I leave some of my more progressive friends behind. I feel that, for serial killers and egregious crimes that can be proven beyond a doubt, the death penalty can be appropriate. It's hard to object to stringing up such horrors as Mason and Mengele. Even Israel broke its tradition to hang Eichmann because his complicity with the Nazi regime was so egregious.

If there is any doubt whatsoever, I'll cast my lot in with the folks who are against the death penalty but being on one side or another of the issue is not a vote breaker for me. I am not categorically against the death penalty or categorically for it. Sometimes, I break ranks too.

In response to Zacarias Moussaoui's remark "No regret, no remorse," and Madman's "Do you still believe that there is no need for a death penalty?" Anonymous 2 writes:

Whether there is a need or not is irrelevant. The argument can be made at much greater length but, in summary it is this: God (whether called Yahweh, God or Allah) gave each person the gift of life. No one, including God, gave me the power to take God's gift away from that person and return it to God. If God wants a person's life, God knows how to get it. I certainly do not want to appear before God one day and offer a lame excuse: I thought I saw my brother doing bad things with the gift that you gave him, so I killed him for you.

Capital punishment arises out of a confusion about who is God, and who is not. I am not God, and neither is any member of the Moussaoui jury - or any other jury or judge for that matter. Pope John Paul II spoke eloquently on the subject of capital punishment. Moussaoui can be held in jail until his natural death, he will never hijack another airplane or cause loss to any person ever again - assuming that the federal penal system manages to do the job that the taxpayers have assigned it and keep him imprisoned.

Death is not a necessity, there is no need for death to protect the United States or any person. Cold-blooded killing of Moussaoui does not bring back any of the people he may have helped to kill, and it doesn't end the grief of those who mourn. In short, there is neither need nor reason for the government to kill in cold blood. And, God did not give anyone the power to remove God's gift of life from any person.

And Rhian adds:

Death penalty considerations aside, I wonder if this Moussaoui is the only living missing link with testimony to the effect that Bush/Cheney/PNAC, did hire the Bin Laden gang to pull off the 9/11 crime.

Why else would Bush have had him pidgeon holed in military brig for three years without legal recourse, or contact with the outside world.

PSYOPS could easily have put his head where it is, in that length of time.

Just wondering

And Dorothy Schwartz adds:

Of course (I disagree with the need for a death penalty). He wants to be a martyr. What good will executing him do anyway? It certainly won't act as a deterrent. And it fits in quite nicely with what he wants. Better to let him stay in prison for life.

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-Noah Greenberg