THE NEWSLETTER

Note From a Madman

Thursday, September 18, 2005



A Quote in the Lead

"Mr. Rove may be an expert on leaks, but that doesn't qualify him to oversee flood relief,"
-Rep Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), commenting on
Bush's decision to put "Traitorgate Rove" in charge of the Katrina relief effort

Rove is an insult to the American people. But, that's the key to Bush, he is constantly in everyone's face.

-Robert Scardapane



Paying for Katrina
The Average American Will Have to Get Out Their Wallets

 

Beware of the "Norquistas"
Just where in the world does "G"lobal "W"arming Bush plan to get the reconstruction money for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast from anyway? He already told US that rescinding any part of his ill-advised tax give-back to the rich is out of the question. Just who is this giant chunk of cash going to come from?

Americans have already shown their generosity by contributing large sums of money to good charities such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. They have also been swindled by the likes of fake charities with "helpful names" (we aren't going to give those names here).

But when it comes time to open their hearts and pocketbooks, regular Americans do so without hesitation, while corporations see it as a business opportunity. By now we all know about the no-bid contracts given to the likes of Halliburton and Bechtel, but what of other corporations?

Wal-Mart has given goods and supplies, and the Walton family members have contributed money to the Katrina cause. Whereas they've done "something", they could have done a lot more. Let's face it, a $4 million dollar donation to the world's richest group of people would be the equivalent of an average American family pulling out the change from their pants before doing their laundry (I can hear the neocons now asking to look through my pockets). Let's be truthful here, if President Bush would rescind even a miniscule portion of his tax give-back to the rich for the sole purpose of fixing the Gulf Coast, the Walton family portion would be much greater than $4 million

Truth be known, if the inheritance tax (what the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party, or as I like to call them, the "Norquistas", call the "death tax)", which applies only to about 28,000, or less than 0.3 percent (that's three-tenths of one percent) of America's ultra-rich families were eliminated, the Walton family would save so much more than that $4 million, which is a very, very small fraction of their "earnings."

Let's remember the "Norquistas'" logic for removing the inheritance tax is the citing of "double-taxation". But this money has, in fact, not really been taxed much, if at all. Most of this money comes from "capital gains", which we all know is not taxed at the same rate as the money you and I earn from our hourly or weekly wages. And remember, the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople "Puppets of the 'Norquistas'" want to get rid of the almost non-existent capital gains tax as well!

Why, that'll make up for that $4 million, and any and all political contributions the Waltons made, and then some.

Getting back to "Where is GW going to get the money to fix the Gulf Coast," Bush said the following:

"You bet it's going to cost money. But I'm confident we can handle it. It's going to mean that we're going to have to cut unnecessary spending."
-GW, citing no specifics on how he intends to pay for Katrina's $200 billion plus price tag

"If there is a silver lining in this tragedy it is that it is creating an atmosphere to try new approaches to ending long-term poverty. There are a lot of us who think that one of the problems is that anti-poverty programs have been more responsive to the people who run them than the people they are supposed to serve."
-Douglas J. Besharov, a researcher at the Ultra-Conservative American Enterprise Institute

Mr. Besharov had the opportunity to talk to senior members at the White House and that is what he chose to say to them. Who else is lining up to "help" the White House make decisions? Well I bet its more of those "Compassionate Conservatives" like Grover Norquist and the "Norquistas"; The Hoover Institute; Fox News "analysts"; and the Far-Right Wing of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party.

In the final analysis, we all know who is going to foot the bill for fixing the gulf Coast. Is it going to be the generosity of all Americans via legitimate charities and the loss of any and all programs that benefit the whole of the American people or is it going to be the Ultra-Rich? Ask yourself, these questions:
-Do you think the VA suffer?
-Do you think education suffer?
-Do you think Medicare and Medicaid will suffer?
-DO YOU THINK WE WILL SUFFER?


You betcha.

-Noah Greenberg



Bill Clinton on GMA

MATT LAUER: With the price tags we're seeing, Iraq 200 billion dollars; the rebuilding of the gulf states an estimated 200 billion dollars; gas prices so high; a huge deficit If you were president today, what sacrifices would you ask the American people to make to pay those bills?

BILL CLINTON: I would repeal the tax cuts for upper income people. I, myself, have gotten four tax cuts while young Americans have gone off to risk their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan; while we've had this massive natural disaster; we're run up this huge deficit; and we turn around -- How are we covering this money? We are borrowing the money from China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia to pay for the suffering of our people in the gulf area; to pay for the Iraq war; and to cover my tax cut; and we're expecting our children to pay the bills. We've made a decision to lower the living standards of our children and grandchildren and to soak other people around the world, who don't have the money we do, by and large, to cover our self-indulgence and I think it's crazy. And so the first think I'd do is say we cannot afford to keep giving the people in the very high-end income groups these massive tax cuts when we've got men and women in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we've got a massive rebuilding effort largely concentrated on lower-income people in the gulf coast area.

Bill Clinton got it right! Repeal the 2003 & 2004 tax cuts and end the Iraq war. Also, do not repeal the estate tax, alter the tax code (unless it is to eliminate loopholes) and do not privatize Social Security.

Now, will Bush alter his agenda? Not likely. Bush already said he sees no reason to repeal his tax cuts. Does he understand red ink at all? From Bush's background, I would say no - Daddy bailed him out of each business failure.

If the Republicans elect to continue Bush's agenda despite the massive costs of Katrina and Iraq, Democrats must use that against them in 2006 & 2008. The Republicans would be criminally negligent for creating a deficit that may even lead to the collapse of the global economy.

-Robert Scardapane



Airlines, Cruise Ships and Katrina

When it came time to fly people out of the Gulf areas after Katrina hit, it was owners of small aircraft that donated their time, panes and gasoline money to get people out of there. In some cases they did it to re-unite families that were separated after evacuation. Do you know what the airlines of America did? They asked US all to "donate" our frequent flyer miles to help Katrina's victims.

Carnival Cruise Lines is housing government employees and some evacuees on three of their cruise ships that normally dock in the areas affected by Katrina. But Carnival is not "donating the use of their "Fin Ships". Instead, they are charging the government a fee for their ships' usage. They claim to be just breaking even. In case you were wondering, they are "leasing" the cruise ships to FEMA at a cost of $192 million for six months

 

Let's do some math, shall we? If the average passenger pays about $750 (internet or travel agent price) for passage on a 7-day cruise, and the three "fun ships" hold about 2000 passengers each, that means each cruise NETS about $1.6 million Multiply those numbers by 3 (the number of ships) and then by 26 (the number of weeks) you will come up with the magic number of about $124 million. THIS IS A NET NUMBER, INCLUDING PROFIT. Bear in mind that Carnival has a skeleton crew (enough to clean the rooms one day per week) and doesn't have to pay port charges because.... well.... THERE ARE NO PORTS!

 

You can estimate Carnival's profit at a minimum of $68 million.

Just where is that whole "eminent domain" thing when it comes to Corporations? The airlines feigned help and the cruise lines saw the Katrina Disaster as no worse than a break-even" proposition.

The Bush administration has no problem forcing US, the average American to sacrifice. Again, the whole thing comes down on OUR backs.

-Noah Greenberg



STARE DECISIS
Lat. "to stand by that which is decided"
The principal that the precedent decisions are to be followed by the courts.

"Stare Decisis" is the battle cry of the week for John Roberts. Using past decisions for guidance, "Stare Decisis", doesn't reveal anything about what hasn't been decided. The law and it's application to real events is not cast in concrete. Indeed, that is why we have judges.

John Roberts record is that of a right leaning extremist. He has litigated on cases that are hostile to civil rights, privacy, labor and the environment. His profile is that of a corporate advocate. Yet, he wants the American people to believe those cases don't represent his views. I wonder why he hasn't been forthcoming in answering questions on these areas? Why won't the White House supply all requested documents?

For these reasons, I believe John Roberts should not be approved until all requested documents and answers other than "Stare Decisis" are provided.

-Robert Scardapane



In response to, "This is yet another case of the president closing the barn door after the horses ran off," Casey Sweet writes:

Correction to Thursday Madman:

This is yet another case of the president closing the barn door after the ARABIAN horses ran off.

-Casey Sweet

I stand corrected. -NG



The Good Ol' BOY Network of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush
We're not saying there's a connection here, but we're not saying there isn't, either.

Remember how George W. Bush selected as his FEMA director a man whose last job involved judging horse shows for the International Arabian Horse Association? Well, the president's Food and Drug Administration commissioner has appointed an acting director for the Office of Women's Health, and he's a man -- a man! -- who has spent much of his career working in the field of veterinary medicine.

The FDA had an opening to fill in the Office of Women's Health because its last director, Susan Wood, quit in protest over the agency's dithering and delays on the morning-after pill. Wood's acting replacement is Norris Alderson. Alderson has a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry from the University of Tennessee and graduate degrees from the University of Kentucky. He has worked at the FDA for more than 30 years, more than 20 of which he spent in the agency's Bureau of Veterinary Medicine.

Alderson's appointment "speaks volumes about the priority the Bush administration places on women's health and safety."

-Karen Pearl, the interim president of Planned Parenthood

It does, all right, and not just in the language that Doctor Doolittle understands.

-Victoria Brownworth



Downing Street and Traitorgate Detoured and Derailed by The House Republicans

"House Republicans derailed Democratic attempts on Wednesday to force the Bush administration to surrender documents on prewar intelligence and the disclosure of the identity of a CIA operative."


"Democrats have introduced several 'resolutions of inquiry' to compel President Bush and members of his Cabinet to release all information relating to communications with British officials before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the Valerie Plame case."

"Under House rules, the committees had to act on the resolutions within 14 legislative days of the resolutions' introduction. If not, sponsors could have forced the measures before the full House for a vote."

"Republican leaders want to avoid the spectacle of either issue being debated on the House floor amid some fear that the measures could succeed if enough Republicans side with minority Democrats."
-Liz Sidoti, The Associated Press


The (G)reed (O)ver (P)eople party is white washing the White House on all counts - Katrina, Traitoirgate and Downing Street Memos. The Congressional Republican stick together to cover up for Bush. Their accountability moments will be in the 2006 & 2008 elections.

-Robert Scardapane

There must be some good Republican legislators out there else why wouldn't the House committee let the vote go to the floor of the House? The problem isn't that all Republicans are bad, the problem is that all but the worst Republicans are silent, and as a result of their silence, they are left politically impotent. -NG



A Traitor for the Big Easy

Bush put Karl "Traitor-Gate" Rove in charge of the Katrina reconstruction effort. Swell! So, who is in charge of Mr. Traitor-Gate? The White House already doled out $100 million in no-bid contracts over the past two weeks to pay-to-play corporate cronies Kellogg Brown & Root, Flour, Dewberry, Betchel and C2HM Hill.

Aren't these the same companies that are involved in the Iraqi reconstruction that never got done? Where is the missing $6 billion dollars earmarked for that effort? I would bet that money "trickled down" into their pockets.

-Robert Scardapane



Bush - The Deadbeat Dad

Here's some advice for other impoverished regions of the nation: if you want the attention of the Republicans, throw yourself a disaster. Otherwise, you'll be ignored, shunned, and disenfranchised in lieu of special interests, big oil, wealthy cronies, and overriding political goals which have more to do with global domination and domestic fasco-corporate rule.

Make no mistake; this is NOT the president suddenly feeling compassion for the poor. This is no more than an evil deadbeat Dad who skips out on his wife and kids, then shows up years later in the driveway with a handsome pony wrapped in a big red, white, and blue bow.

But in this case, the pony will be provided courtesy of Uncle Bechtel and Uncle KBR and Uncle Halliburton.

By the way, did you notice... No mention of exemptions from the Bankruptcy Bill. No mention of suspending the tax cuts. No mention of an independent commission. No mention of a new environmental policy to help prevent larger disasters as the result of global warming. Who will truly benefit from the Army of Compassion? The Army of Big Business and the Army of No Bid Contracts, to name a few.
-Bob Cesca, Observations in The Huffington Post


***

I noticed! In fact, word has it that Bush still wants to privatize Social Security, make the tax cuts for the upper brackets permanent and eliminate the estate tax. Bush also failed to mention that he suspended the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 while placing on limits on corporate profits. This will be a bonanza for the corporations while the workers are paid below the prevailing wage for the region. Bush does not fool me for a second.

-Robert Scardapane



Lame

Just days after the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, the members of the 9/11 Commission released a new report highlighting the Bush Administration's failure to implement the Commission's recommendations on securing our nation.

The most catastrophic natural disaster in our nation's history has opened the American public's eyes to the full impact of President Bush's failed leadership.
The number one responsibility of the federal government is to keep the American people safe. But four years after the September 11 attacks, the Bush Administration has failed to prepare the federal government to respond to a national crisis. Worse yet, as the members of the 9/11 Commission pointed out, President Bush has profoundly failed to improve homeland security.

President Bush addressed the United Nations this week as well. After five years of damaging the international alliances that strengthen our national security, more empty rhetoric just doesn't cut it. President Bush must rally the international community around our common interest in defeating global terrorism, and be truthful about what he plans to do to win the peace in Iraq. Failing to do this will secure his status as a lame duck President at home and abroad.
-The DNC


***

Lame is a word that fits GWB.

-Robert Scardapane



Homework That Makes Sense

My daughter, Bonnie, a college freshman is taking her first Business course. She has a standing assignment to read, and comment on one New York Times article from the Business section every week. This is her first assignment:

The article I read in the New York Times is a perfect example of a notoriously profitable company practicing unethical-like behavior in the work environment. It is common knowledge that Wal-Mart is not exactly a paradigm of fair labor practices; in fact, many newspapers and magazines have called out the way they treat their employees multiple times in the past. Well, this specific grievance simply takes the cake.

The article is titled “Suit Says Wal-Mart is Lax On Labor Abuses Overseas.” Basically, the article covers a horror story of how Wal-Mart’s overseas workers are being treated by their contractors. Workers are being desensitized and are forced to work in heinous conditions. Two men in Shenzhen, China, claimed to be underpaid the minimum wage and forced to work overtime. Taking off for holidays was simply out of the question. Their bosses even withheld their first three months’ of pay, refusing to pay them even that if they quit.

Compensation issues are not the only unfair labor practices Wal-Mart contractors are using. One woman, an apparel worker in Bangladesh, was locked into the factory day and night an did not receive any days off for the first six months of work. She put in long hours when sick, and was told that if she refused to work the “required” overtime, she’d be let go. A comrade of the woman even claimed intentional physical abuse, saying that her supervisor “slapped [her] face so hard that her nose began bleeding simply because she was unable to meet [her] ‘high quota.’”

All in all, there are sixteen plaintiffs listed on the complaint, but their names have been withheld from the record so as to protect their anonymity. Forming a labor union was out of the question; many were fired or suspended from their jobs for backing them. Underpaid and undoubtedly overtired, workers in Indonesia and Swaziland put in long hours, from 7 AM to 10 PM on Monday-Friday, then from 7:30 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays.

Clearly, this is unethical behavior in the workplace. While it is true that part of ethics is catering to the consumers’ needs, it is also making sure that your employees are comfortable in the workplace. This includes living up to payment expectations (if you say you’re going to pay a person minimum wage, pay them minimum wage, not below) and making the working atmosphere a relatively tolerable one. Locking a worker in a factory for six months without any days off is not acceptable. Certainly beating your employees is despicable.

Of course, Wal-Mart is essentially denying these charges. Beth Keck, a Wal-Mart spokesperson, claims, “It’s really too early for us to go into any kind of detail about this complaint. It involves a number of countries, suppliers, and factories. We will be looking into this and taking it very seriously.” Sure, Beth. But how long will it take for you to “look into it and take it very seriously”? Employees have rights, and an implied right is to feel safe in the workplace, and to get paid for every hour an employee puts in. One should not fear going to work in the morning. This is truly disgusting, and I, for one, am certainly appalled.

-Bonnie Greenberg



In response to, "Bill Mathews, Executive Vice President of Blackwater, from a statement on Blackwater's website," Pat Thompson writes:

Perhaps "mercenary" soldiers aren't a new thing -- they were present during our Revolutionary War. However, this whole thing sounds too sinister and mercenary to me. And yes, "executive protection" will be a very necessary service, as the wide gap in income between the HAVE MORES (GWB'S BASE) and the HAVE NOTS creates a situation in America that will require gated communities -- maybe even moats around the castles of the rich, while the poor grow in numbers and in misery. And as the middle class shrinks and disappears.



Phony Quote of the Day

"When communities are rebuilt, they must be even better and stronger than before the storm. Within the Gulf region are some of the most beautiful and historic places in America. As all of us saw on television, there's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action."
-"G"lobal "W"arming Bush, from Thursday's "Fix New Orleans" Speech

This is the most phony speech I ever heard in my life. Mr. Bush:
. Did you care at all about poverty over the past five years?
. Have any of your policies been geared toward helping people at bottom?
. Didn't your administration consistently cut funding for affordable housing, job training, Pell grants, etc...?

Mr. Bush, your speech is political double-talk. Your administration has been revealed as greedy self-centered robber barons. Sadly, it took a hurricane to wash away the smoke screen. I wonder why you turn to the Heritage Foundation for guidance on rebuilding the Gulf Coast - a think tank that specializes in the interests of the wealthy and powerful. I wonder why you gave no-bid contracts to the same corporate cronies as in Iraq. I wonder why you are already using this crisis as a reason to cut funding for more valuable programs yet you will not repeal the tax cuts. I wonder why you continue to pursue more tax cuts for the wealthy.

Mr. Bush, you have no credibility at all!

-Robert Scardapane


Send your comments to: NationalView@aol.com or comments@nationalview.org

-Noah Greenberg