THE NEWSLETTER

Weekend Madman

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 

 

Un-Safe

 

Closing an active military base that is technologically integral to the "War on Terror", from any standpoint, is just plain stupid. So it should come as no surprise that the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party leaders have chosen to close Fort Monmouth in New Jersey.

This is the price you pay when you color your state "Blue", and this is the reason why the 2006 mid-term elections are so important.

-Noah Greenberg



Vets? What Vets?

I read today that the VA hospital in Waco, TX, next to Crawford, is closing. Texas has the third largest veteran population in the country. This year alone over 250,000 veterans entered the VA fiscal system - 40% are from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are 17 VA hospitals that are planned to be closed across the country. The Veterans Administration has repeatedly asked for more funding - there is a 2 billion dollars shortfall.

Sending our people into war while closing VA hospitals is immoral! Congress funded 10 billion dollars in subsidies to oil & gas companies yet failed to fund the VA hospitals. This is simply wrong.

-Robert Scardapane



Darfur War and Oil

I've been claiming for a long while that Sudanese oil is one of the primary causes of the Darfur suffering. I believe it's the PRIMARY reason why this oil-soaked U.S. administration, after announcing the war in Darfur as a genocide, does nothing worthwhile to succor its people. Many have said that there's no oil there, thus no proof. Please read this! Then we need to ask ourselves: Do most Americans really want to know the hideous results of our dependence on oil--or would they rather hide from the truth? Would they rather drive unneeded SUVs than save the lives of little children?

I'd also like to get a dialogue going on SUVs. The almost insane number of oversize passenger vehicles forms a part of our dependence on oil problem. The price of oil doesn't seem to deter the SUV buyers -- or not yet.

Personally, I've never driven anything but small cars, am an enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer, and used to camp out a lot, toting everything needed for a cross-US and back-across-Canada camping jaunt, including a large tent, on the back seat and/or roof of our tiny VW Bug. I've never found it a problem carrying anything in (or on) the two mini-car hatchbacks I've owned, or the family's former Toyota hatchback station wagon, for home projects. For smaller amounts of lumber, it's easy to open the hatch, fold down the back seats, tie it down securely inside, and tie a red flag on the end. I've carried bed frames, mattresses (tied on the roof), office chairs, shopping bags and up to four people. For a minimal fee lumber yards deliver large batches of lumber, and most of them rent light trucks so we can drive our own mulch, topsoil, gallons of paint, tar drums or bags of concrete to the house for other kinds of projects.

Even so, I don't doubt that some people do need pickup trucks, step-vans or RV/SUV type vehicles for occupational or other reasons--as business carry-alls, to carry heavy occupational gear needed at work, for farm utility, to fit a wheelchair ramp into a fold-back door. These are legitimate needs, and a friend (grandmother of four small kids) recently pointed out that the laws requiring backseat child seats now demand a larger vehicle than a 4-door sedan for parents or grandparents who have more than 2 children. That makes sense, too.

But nowadays you see SUVs EVERYWHERE, despite the known safety hazards to their own passengers and other traffic (including headlight glare), the terrible battering they give to the nation's infrastructure of roads and bridges--and of course their notorious gas guzzling. Many ARE unneeded, used only for recreation and suburban shopping. The "S" in SUV even stands for "Suburban," I think--yuch. For recreation--RENT one if you're going camping! I wouldn't ban them, but I would tax RVs/SUVs as trucks, which would make people think twice about buying something that expensive. Since their inception they've been taxed as cars, but they are really trucks, a passenger version of step-vans. Pickups are less gas guzzling and used to be popular until RVs/SUVs came along and competed unfairly because of lower taxes. Comments?

-Jenny Hanniver



Marching Across the Middle East
(We'll need more troops - is there suddenly a DRAFT in here?)


"A report by a panel of scientists from the United States, Russia, France, Japan and Britain, convened by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, will be shared with IAEA board members early next month, the Washington Post reported.

"The Post said on Tuesday the report would support Iran's claim that the traces of highly enriched uranium came from contaminated centrifuges imported from Pakistan.

"The Bush administration had pointed to the material as evidence that Iran was making bomb-grade ingredients, the paper said."
-Reported in Reuters

***

As I said earlier, we need to remain vigilant about Iran BUT please be equally vigilant with the Bush administration. The neocon war hawks are itching to spread the Iraq war to Iran. They already had special forces inside of Iran - probably planning air strikes.

To my knowledge, the nuclear nonproliferation treaty does allow nations to build nuclear power plants. Let's not allow Bush to pressure us into another war as he did with Iraq.

-Robert Scardapane
 

Personally, the thought of Iran with nukes... any kind of nukes scares me to no end. -NG



Women in the "New Iraq"

The role of religion is settled—Islam will be the official religion of Iraq and it will be "a main source" of legislation rather than "the main source" of legislation, as many religious Shiites wanted. However, another article states that no laws passed may contradict Islam, which many fear will be used to establish a religious high court to vet legislation for Islamic consistency. This could be used to reduce the rights of Iraqi women, who enjoyed relatively liberal rights under Saddam's regime. Women's rights are an issue that U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has previously emphasized as vital to U.S. interests. There is also a clause that states no law may contradict democratic values, setting up a clash within the proposed constitution from the start. What will take precedence? Democratic values that say all citizens are equal before the law or Islamic tenets that state that women are not equal to men in such matters as court testimony, divorce, marriage and inheritance? Of course, such contradictions aren't unique to Iraq; in the years following the ratification of the U.S. constitution there were whole classes of Americans (women, slaves) who were not given equal treatment, and the Iraqis may in time find a balance between Islamic law and democracy.
"The U.S. is giving ground on the Islamic governance, like they did in Afghanistan," Othman said. "But here it is different. After the Taliban, anything would be a step forward, but here, it's a step backward."

***

Bush frequently talks about Democracy and women's rights. Women's rights have taken a giant step backward in Iraq. Therefore, this war has NOT brought Democracy to Iraq and actually made the lives of Iraqi women less secure! I believe no more American soldiers should die for Iraq. Let them do what they want to do. It's time to bring our troops home now!

-Time magazine, forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane



REPUBLICANS AND RELIGION OPEN-MINDED?

On Larry King tonight (8/23/05) Sen. Sam Brownback (Rep – Kansas) said we should have a “robust” national debate on Intelligent Design and teachers should be free to talk about it and teach it.

Can you believe it? These Republicans have the gall to suggest they believe in openness and national debates. SINCE WHEN? Ever since Bush’s regime was unelected and rolled in power in 2001 they have done nothing curtail open debates on issues of greatest importance to us and critical to our future. We cannot have a debate on the war or realistic health care or ethical issues by members of congress or the Downing Street Memo or electoral fraud, etc. etc. etc. BUT, we want to spend our public debate time on something so unimportant in the scheme of things.

Let me speculated what is really going on under the surface of this. The fundamentalists are creating as much upset as possible in the religious wrong population and setting up a wedge issue to somehow overlay onto the 2006 mid-term elections to bring out all the non-thinkers who only react when they have been manipulated into a religious fervor. This is a strategy leading somewhere in the future and not an end in itself today. Never underestimate the 40 years of thinking the right (that is so wrong) has been doing since the 60s. This is just another move in the chess game they call life.

As a footnote, I do congratulate Rep. Chris Shay (Rep – CT) who did not agree with the narrow-minded comments of Rev. of Brownback, Dr. Jay Richards (Discovery Institute – forefront of pushing intelligent design), and a Reverend-type person. Chris chastised them for being intolerant and for attacking his belief in
God because he did not support teaching in schools. They tried to say the discussion was about intelligence and a Science teacher that was one of the guests said “no, it is not. It is about God just as we are discussing here.”

Deepak Chopra was brilliant in addressing the issues, but he was too intelligent and reasoning for the limited fundamental thinking. How ironic, when intelligence was interjected into the discussion they could not engage intelligently. Perhaps they should go off and have more “intelligent” discussions with themselves before they subject the rest of us to their fantasies and undermine our sciences.

MSNBC CORNERING THE MARKET ON SENSATIONALISM OR AT LEAST GIVING CNN A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY

ON MSNBC -- Can SCARBOROUGH say anything new about Natalee Halloway or these other sensationalist shows he obsessively covers? And what about that tan he has – that does not look like a color found in nature. Could it be fake – no there wouldn’t be anything fake about Scarborough, would there!

And now we have Rita Cosby (another version of Monica Crowley?) who already seems to be the newest reality, gossip show host. Whatever happened to America’s Most Wanted? At least that seemed professional in its intent to help and find the criminals. These shows are only interested in exposing gory details of private behavior.

And why do they all seem to Caucasian and tending towards blonde? Is it my imagination?

-Casey Sweet



More on the Rev. Pat Robertson

Robertson's call for the assassination of Venezuela President Hugo Chávez was not the first time Robertson captured attention with an eyebrow-raising comment. Among them:
 

-Robertson suggested that the Sept. 11 attacks occurred because "we have insulted God at the highest level of our government."
-Robertson once warned Orlando, Fla., that God might send hurricanes its way if Disney World continued to recognize gay-pride events.
-Robertson has said feminism encourages women to kill their children and become lesbians.
-Robertson once called for blowing up the State Department with a nuclear device.
-Robertson said he considered liberal judges a more serious threat to America than "a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."

***

Now, some people might think "who cares about Pat Robertson" but consider that he is an influence on Bush. This makes for a toxic mixture - greed, power and religious extremism.

-The Seattle Times, forwarded and comments by Robert Scardapane

"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."
-Rev. Pat Robertson, regarding the impending invasion of Iraq, after a meeting with "G"lobal "W"arming Bush where he "warned" GW about the US sustaining casualties

So either Pat Robertson, that bastion of conservative, religious thinking is lying, or GW just doesn't have a clue. It could be both. -NG


 

Joe Wilson Speaks

The Bush White House and its right wing allies are responding to Cindy Sheehan and the military families’ vigil in Central Texas in the same way that they always respond to bad news –by unleashing personal attacks and smears against her.

This White House never wants an open public discussion, and it certainly never wants to be told that it is wrong. It always tries to change the message by attacking the messenger.

They did it with former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill when he wrote a book that suggested that the
White House used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq.

They did it when Richard Clarke revealed that
the White House ignored warnings about Bin Laden.

They did it in a most despicable way, as everybody now knows, when they revealed my wife’s identity as a CIA employee because they were unhappy when I spoke the truth and told the American people that
President Bush’s claim was false concerning Niger’s giving uranium to Iraq, part of the trumped up rationale for our invasion.

So no one should be surprised that when these mothers and families who have lost loved ones in Iraq step up to
question the President, the White House responds not with the respect due them, but with hateful attacks and smears. But enough is enough. Ours is a government of the people, by the people and for the people; and the people in the name of Cindy Sheehan are right in demanding accountability for the tragedy foisted upon our great nation by this administration. To smear her rather than hear her is un-American and undemocratic.

-Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, in a statement released on August 22nd, 2005, forwarded by Robert Scardapane

Now, Joe Wilson is one smart guy. Remember when we used to have "smart guys" in the White House? -NG


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-Noah Greenberg