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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, November 17-19, 2006


Troops on the Ground

Just to get this straight, a year ago, General John Abizaid, the top US commander on the ground in Iraq, said that the presence of US troops in Iraq is fueling the insurgency. Now Abizaid says that its the only thing keeping Iraq from a full-scale civil war.

Last year, Abizaid said that we need to have a gradual troop withdrawal of our troops in Iraq, This year he says we need more troops.

According to military experts, the newest interpretation of the Iraqi conflict is more of a struggle between Sunni's and Shi'ites than it is anything else. Instead of spreading Democracy across the middle east we now have the probability of Sunni-Shi'ite violence spreading instead.

Our troops are now, seemingly, fighting two sides of a war without either side being our ally.

"We want the Iraqis to do more. It is easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future,"
-General Abizaid to a contradictory Senator John McCain (REPUBLICAN-AZ)

Under further questioning in the Senate, however, Abizaid, when pressed, admitted the need for ore troops - Iraqi troops. When asked how many are ready to take on the jobs that American troops now perform, his response was a resounding "none".

When the occupation started just after "Mission Accomplished", there were European nations which offered to train the Iraqi troops away from Iraq. Much in the same way that we train our troops away from their homes, and the distractions that home-life brings, the Iraqi troops would have been better trained away from their much more considerable problems.

We have even more of the kind of anarchy in Iraq which we were afraid of a few years ago. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "You break it, you bought it." We are still paying for it with the lives of our troops, the lives of innocent Iraqis and a whole lot of US taxpayer dollars.

The only ones getting rich off of this war are the war profiteers like Halliburton, who, we should remember, that Vice President Dick Cheney used to run. Anarchy is bad for everyone except those who can make a buck off of it.

We had the opportunity to change the course in Iraq. The president and an all-too-willing-to-refuse-oversight REPUBLICAN congress have helped the insurgency along, wittingly or unwittingly.

It's time to take advantage of our Kurdish friends (and yes, they are friends, in spite of their abandonment by President George H.W. Bush in 1991) and build a military base in their territory. We can overlook the progress of the new Iraqi government and react if and when necessary.

But more than anything, it's time to bring some of our troops home now. In agreement with the 2005 Abizaid, they're not going to help themselves until we stop helping them.

-Noah Greenberg

Define the Bush spin for These Two Sentences:

1) "The median price of a new US home has gone up."

Bush-Speak: The economy is doing so well that your house is worth more. It is a sellers' market! You can borrow against it and go on vacations, make improvements or buy that new car. And if you sell it, you can take that gain and invest it in a booming stock market. And you have the Bush administration and the REPUBLICAN party to thank for it.

The Truth: Slowly or rapidly rising home costs can never help the new, young, working-class new home buyer. Steady, slow price increases that keep up with the real wages keep housing prices stable. Home owners who take advantage of their home's value quickly increasing can find themselves in debt, in effect selling shares of their home's value, sometimes for frivolous reasons. When the housing market retreats, or the "bubble bursts", new home buyers who thought their homes' values would keep rising find themselves owing more than their homes are worth. And since the home prices are rising everywhere, where are you going to go?

1) "The median price of a new US home has gone down."

Bush-Speak: Now it will be easier for your just married children to buy that new house. It is a buyers' market! With this booming economy, they'll be able to take that new job and put a down payment on that new house and start that new family. And you have the Bush administration and the REPUBLICAN party to thank for it.

The Truth: Even today, a new home for a young couple will cause this young couple to work at least two jobs and use a disproportionate percentage of their paychecks on mortgages, insurance and real estate taxes. At the same time, others who saw their homes values rise quickly can get into a panic as their values drop even faster. If they borrowed on their homes' values, they could panic and stop purchasing and contributing to the good of the economy. And if you take the fact that real wages aren't keeping pace with inflation, and the fact that home energy prices have soared over the past few years under President Bush's administration, affordability is more of an illusion than a reality.

Maybe someone should publish a "Bushie-to-Reality" Dictionary.

-Noah Greenberg

What's Up with China?

China forces women to have abortions against their will.
China executes upwards of 10,000 people every year.
China sells the organs of executed prisoners for profit.

Finally we have an issue where both the Right and the Left in our nation can agree! China is no darn good.

The first statement that "China forces women to have abortions against their will," takes the "choice" argument and turns it on its head. You see, choice means allowing women to make up their own minds on whether or not they want to have a child and continue with their pregnancy. China forces women to abort wanted, unborn children. It's an abomination that flows against everything that just about everyone in our nation stands for.

The second statement, "China executes upwards of 10,000 people every year," almost makes former Texas Governor George W. Bush's US execution record look inconsequential. Again, this is something that both the Left and Right in our nation could agree upon. While many of us feel that executions should never take place (I'm not one of them, but that's for another day), I would find it hard to believe that anyone in the US would say that 10,000 executions is just about the right amount.

The last statement, however, is the one that makes me shake my head in disbelief and wonder why we ever deal with the Communist Chinese government at all. "China sells the organs of executed prisoners for profit," makes on wonder if there are any human or civil rights in the nation of over one billion at all. Imagine, if you will, a regular Chinese citizen goes to the doctor for a checkup. It's noted that he has an usual blood type and that piece of information is files away. Soon after, a high ranking government official needs an organ from, and that unsuspecting citizen is just the right type to be a donor for the official's transplant. Next thing you know it's off to jail he goes.

China is a nation that we have the largest trade deficit with, They also are the creditors for much of our national debt. They steal our jobs by using near-slave laborers without offering them even the most basic of human rights. They won't stand up to Iran's want for nuclear weapons for fear that the oil pump will be turned off. North Korea, who lives in their "beat" of the world, makes threats and gestures that they should be taking care of. They aren't.

China is not the most favored trade partner. Partnerships usually are reciprocal and we aren't benefiting. The pennies that we gain in cheap goods (both in cost and in manufacturing quality) are offset by the great loss of jobs and the self-respect that comes with gainful employment right here in the US.

We have to use our influence with China for OUR betterment and to help the people of China that are being abused by their own government.

-Noah Greenberg

Support Striking Janitors in Houston

Hard-working janitors in Houston are on the fifth day of a tough strike. According to charges being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board, workers have been spied on, photographed, interrogated, threatened with suspension or termination, and even fired. On Wednesday, a bus full of strikers came under attack. When a female SEIU organizer tried to protect the workers, she was thrown to the ground and punched by one of the cleaning company's male supervisors.

Houston janitors are paid an average of $5.30 an hour, work part-time, and are offered no health or other benefits. In fact, Houston janitors take home only $20/day. In other cities, janitors who work for the same national cleaning companies-cleaning buildings owned by the same national and multinational real estate trusts-are paid more than $10 an hour, work full-time, and have health insurance.


This is simply disgusting. We must take up the cause of economic justice in this country. The action that the police took against the strikers wreaks of early 20th century union busting where police and assorted goons routinely beat striking workers. We need to stop this behavior now.

-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg