Archive for the 'Government' Category

Worthwhile Letters to the Editor

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

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From yer uncle’s local newspaper:

Rich get richer if GOP triumphs

Since the election of Ronald Reagan, our middle class has been under assault. Mr. Reagan began by dissolving the air traffic controllers’ union. President Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush began to aid American companies in their quest to move their factories offshore. Recently, when the Democrats introduced a bill to give tax breaks to companies that brought jobs back to America, it was defeated by a Republican filibuster.

Greed is the reason behind the Republican political strategy. They want the Bush tax breaks for the top 2 percent earners of our country to be extended. Republicans claim that this tax gift to the rich will create jobs. During the Bush years, while the tax breaks were in effect, the number of jobs created on American soil dropped drastically. While the rich greased their pockets, our debt rose over $700 billion a year. The real goal behind the Republican political strategy is for the middle class to pay the taxes that the rich should pay.

When the Republican majority on the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of unlimited campaign spending, they opened the door to corporations and foreign countries to control our election results. How can a middle-class individual compete with the spending power of corporations? How much would it be worth to China to keep American factories in their country?

On Tuesday, the American people should go to the polls in great numbers and send a message that our democracy is not for sale.

Jim DeVito

Brewster, NY

Obama needs support at polls

President Obama’s inherited task couldn’t have been more of a tangled mess. Yet he’s displayed an unwavering dedication to the job at hand, faced up to hard choices and forced compromises to stop momentum of what promised to be full-scale depression, more joblessness and endless war. He acted for us, and us alone despite record assaults from naysayers, achieving worthwhile and historic beginnings in a number of areas in only a year and nine months.

Yet there are back-seat drivers who claim they could do better. My advice to them is, sit back, fasten your seat belts for rough times ahead, and remember it took the Republicans eight-plus years to create the desecration handed to the Democrats. It will take longer than a year and nine months to recover. Let’s remember why we elected President Obama, and deliver again the support he needs at the polls on Nov. 2.

JoAnn Wendl

Pomona, NY

Prove Ahmadinejad Wrong – How?


Image by mashleymorgan via Flickr

It’s really very simple.  And, it’s something that millions of Americans have been asking for, for a very long time.  Conduct an independent, non-partisan, impartial investigation of the events of 9/11/2001.

They did not treat the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon, or Shanksville PA as they should have – as a CRIME SCENE.  No.  President Bush and Co. decided it was much better to DECLARE WAR on the “systematic use of terror as a policy” in order to forego what is expected in a modern democratic society.

The “investigations” – if you can honestly call them that – that they did do were far from independent.  They ignored many questions, and did not adequately answer many others.  And, even these “investigations” were done under duress.

Instead of relying on the hollow rhetoric of Ahmadinejad’s  remarks being “inexcusable”, “offensive”, and “hateful” –  and walking out on his speech in a gesture of mock outrage – why not prove him wrong?

Maybe . . . because they can’t?  It’s more likely that they just can’t afford for him to be proven correct.


A response to: The Letter Everyone is Talking About

(I’m not about to reprint the letter.  If you’re reading this you’ve probably already read it.  If not, then feel free to Google: The Letter Everyone is Talking About!)

A lot of things bother me about this letter.  I find it to be very disingenuous.  I also see a lot of not so thinly veiled racism in it.

1.  A lifelong Democrat switching her allegiance to the Republican party in the very year that the Democrats run a Black/African-American Presidential candidate??? (I don’t think I buy the notion that she was supporting a “native son”, or that she was a disgruntled Hillary supporter.)

2.  Leading off this diatribe with the complaint about illegal immigration – any time someone feels they have to state: “I’m not a racist” very often means (not always, mind you) that they are.  (Although, I personally DO believe that there has long been a big problem with illegal immigration in the US.)

3.  Jumping all over ACORN.  The things I’ve read about the ACORN “scandal” point more to individual misdeeds than to any systemic issue/problems.  ACORN has become one the right-wing’s favorite whipping boys, for a quite a while now.

Things that make me doubt the veracity of this letter:

Complaining about “buzzwords” when most of her letter is filled with the currently popular right-wing buzzwords (and phrases):  Czar, states rights, redistribution of wealth, speed-reading (or not reading) bills, politically correct, and we have the best health care system in the world.  What does this tell you about the writer?

It’s pretty clear that she does NOT believe in global warming, and that she is AGAINST real health care reform.

Insinuating that TARP and the Stimulus Bill were all Obama’s ideas, when this whole mess started before the 2008 election took place.  Sure, Obama voted for TARP, so did McCain, and almost everybody else in Congress.  (I personally thought it was a huge mistake, back in October of ’08, and I wrote so on my blog, on more than one occasion.)  But, that was only phase one.  We all knew that phase two would come late winter/early spring of ’09.  How was Obama supposed to renege on what had already been decided?

The general timing of her letter is very questionable.  And why to Glenn Beck?  Of the FOX News network???  They just happened to be the only network to air this?  Just about everything she cites screams of conservatism, and not of someone who was (supposedly) a lifelong Democrat.  Saying that she no longer feels the Republican Party represents her views is just a ruse, in my opinion.  I think the entire letter was carefully crafted to paint the Obama administration, and the so-called Democratic congress * (it’s a very simple majority really), in a very negative light.  These tea-baggers, and health care reform opponents, and congressional bashers (what-have-you) are the furthest thing from being grassroots movements.  They are well funded, and managed, by conservative republican interests.  These highly organized obstructionist tactics are only delaying our economic recovery, and fostering increased divisiveness.  I don’t see how this kind of negativity can be viewed as constructive.

If this letter arrives in your e-mail I suggest deleting it, as opposed to forwarding it.  It’s neither productive, nor healthy.


* (There IS a Democratic majority, but what I should have said was:  Less so a majority, when you discount the Blue Dogs, sellouts and turncoats.)   Sorry.  My head was still with the 110th U.S. Congress!  (Edited 11/23/09)

(Libertarian) Cryptoquote Spoiler – 09/12/09

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.”   — P.J. O’Rourke

This Year’s War, Sponsored by . . .

By:   JoAnn Wendl

Remember the song, “Where have all the flowers gone … long time

passing”… Indeed! Why are we dragged into war after war. Can

President Obama tell us why we’re repeatedly asked to back up

Corporations who trade our jobs for cheap labor in another country,

our lives behind a gun in pursuit of conquest in some foreign land ?

Can he tell us why we’ve participated alternately in past coups, or

supported villains, in South America, Haiti, Viet Nam, Iran, Iraq,

Afghanistan and more ? Was it really about protecting “us”, feeding

the Military Industrial Complex, or protecting corporate interests

that robbed us of our sons and daughters, compromised our values,

always lying that it was necessary, claiming motives unworthy of our


Why are we taught by some who call themselves republicans to demonize

socialized programs, shun and punish our socialist neighbors, when we

can see by our own example that only a blend of democracy and

socialism can sustain a balanced government “ For the People and By

the People.”

It’s time to awaken from the onslaught of gun toting corporate paid

assailants who shout down attempts to explain the current proposed

health care program, upstaging the needs of concerned citizens,

democrats, independents and republicans, to participate in

constructive dialogue.

There are no victors in war , only perpetual bigotry and hatred. There

are no “wins” for those who cheat and lie. We’re becoming very good at

noticing when the “ Emperor Has No Clothes.”

These tactics are not deserving of our respect and attention.

JoAnn Wendl

Pomona, New York

Ted Kennedy is Gone – by JoAnn Wendl

August 26, 2009

2:00 AM

CNN’s announcement filtered through my sleeping consciousness until my heart began to quake at the significance of the news, and scenes from past tragedies played and replayed as in a dream. The focus of my sleeping mind drew clearer and I could see, feel and hear, reluctantly, that it was not a dream.  Ted Kennedy had died.

I am experiencing a shock that surprises me in its intensity.  We all knew how ill he was, and so his passing was expected.  But I hadn’t fully realized the enormity of his influence in my life and the sense of well being I felt at simply knowing he was still around in this chaotic world.

And so I grieve . . .  I grieve for all the losses of the sixties, the many tragedies we’ve all suffered over these last almost fifty years, and I remember how I watched Ted Kennedy take one crushing personal blow after another as he learned to persevere and keep the faith.  He became the keeper of that flame that never dies, becoming the father figure in his family, and a father figure for us all.  He triumphed despite tremendous losses and taught us how to endure.  After the assassinations of our liberal leaders in the sixties, he took us by the hand, shared his grief with a grieving nation and became the most outspoken liberal voice in the senate, as a champion of human and civil rights.

He will be missed.


Man Of The Hour!

Pennsylvania Senator, Arlen Specter, announced today that he is switching to the Democratic Party!  Always one of the more pragmatic (and less dogmatic) Republicans, Senator Specter broke from his party of 29 years after concluding that the Republican party had just moved too far to the right.  He saw the handwriting on the wall, after watching 200,000 Pennsylvanian Republicans cross over to the Democratic Party.

The good senator stated:  “I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

If the Al Franken debacle is ever rightfully resolved in Minnesota, this would give the Democrats 60 votes in the Senate, and would provide the Democrats with the means to break any Republican filibuster.

The move has left the Senate Republicans in a state of shock.   Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, called an emergency meeting of party leaders to try to sort things out, and to attempt to put the best possible face on the matter.

President Obama was informed of the momentous news and reportedly called Senator Specter to say:  “You have my full support,” and we are “thrilled to have you.”

For the full story please visit:

Your Uncle Rave

SNL – Paterson Skit

I think that all the offended parties need to take a step back from the political correctness all-you-can-whine buffet, and just chill out. I thought Fred Armisen’s impression of David Paterson was spot on, and the whole thing was hilarious! Especially, when the “Governor” inadvertently interrupted Amy Poehler’s heartfelt farewell address! Priceless! (So, sue me!)

Of course, I knew in an instant that it was going to generate complaints, but I really didn’t expect them to come from David Paterson himself. He has such a reputation for being witty and having a great sense of humor – which is one of the reasons why I like him – that I thought he’d take it more in stride. And, I think that reputation was exactly why SNL decided to go with it. They wouldn’t have made fun of just any blind politician. They thought he’d be cool with it.

Maybe he was under pressure by groups like the American Foundation for the Blind to denounce it. I don’t know. Maybe he just wanted to make sure that it didn’t become a recurring bit, because Armisen’s impression of him was right up their with his Barack Obama, and Darryl Hammond’s Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney. Far better than Bill Hader’s Eliot Spitzer. (Sorry, Bill.)

We all know that David Paterson is a highly intelligent and a gifted politician, who has overcome his disability through courage and determination. His being the first visually impaired, and first African-American governor of New York, who was thrust into the position as a result of sex scandal, has made him a bit of a media novelty. The media covers him far more than they did Spitzer . . . pre-scandal, at least. Considering all of New York’s problems his work ahead of him is a very daunting task. He’s going to have to call upon that sense of humor on a fairly regular basis. A Saturday Night Live skit, at his expense (not at all bind/disabled people’s), should be the least of worries.

Governor Paterson needs to remember these two quotations:

“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery” — Charles Caleb Colton (1780 – 1832)

“There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” — Bredan Behan (1923 – 1964)

Everyone else should remember that life is too short to bitch and moan about every perceived slight. A totally “PC” world would be a very sad world, indeed.


Pardon Us! (Well, Why the Heck Not?!?!)

I’m sure that guys like Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Doug Feith, David Addington, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Armitage, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Alberto Gonzalez, etc., etc., are at least thinking this sentiment. And, some are probably counting on it , too! A veritable rogue’s gallery of Bush conspirators and constitution shredders could conceivably get away with torture and other war crimes, because the buzz is that President Bush might issue a “blanket pardon” for just about all involved . . . even before any charges are levied. Heck, the Scooter might even make history, as the only man to be convicted in a government scandal, who then had his sentence commuted, by George W. Bush , and then also be pardoned for his part in the government sanctioning of torture and other war crimes, by (who else?) George W. Bush! Wow. What a distinction. I bet his family will be SO proud of him!

I think that most people would agree that pardons should be used very judiciously. Blanket pardons are highly suspicious and generally not ethical. (Unless they cover folks who violated some kind of unjust “law”.) But, guess who else this blanket might cover up? Duh-bya, hisself! For President Bush to pardon himself would make a total farce of the Office of the President, and would be his final abuse of power, and slap to the face of the American people. But, then again, we’ve gotten pretty good about turning the other cheek. Haven’t we???

I wonder. Is the United Nations obligated to honor the pardons issued by the President of the United States? Does anybody know? Despite the fact that they were initially set up as a puppet for the U.S. and U.K., they have been acting – in the last couple of decades – more as the independent international organization that they were always purported to be. Which is probably why the right-wingers can’t stand the U.N.! (Hey, they’re no longer playing the game!) But, we’re not talking about minor infractions here. We’re talking about torture! We’re talking about war crimes, being perpetrated by . . . the “good guys”! WE are are supposed to be above such things. WE are supposed to know better. Oy! No wonder we’ve lost the trust and respect of much of the free world. Obama certainly has his work cut out for him.

As much as the mere idea of a blanket pardon might be a travesty of justice, to people of good conscience, here’s what I think. Bush WON’T issue one. Why, you might ask? Why should he, might be the more relevant question. This is the United States of America. A traditionally most forgiving nation. And, one that seems to have a combination of: attention deficit disorder, and a VERY short memory. Anything that didn’t happen within the past month or two is ancient history. Right? Plus, despite popular support, most sitting politicians, and pending ones (Barack Obama, for one) are generally unwilling to put the country through the kind of intense drama that a Watergate, or Iran-Contra type hearing would present, especially considering the numerous hardships this country is currently facing. Here’s another reason for you. The utter arrogance of the George W. Bush administration. We didn’t do anything wrong! Executive privilege, yo! Little people have to obey the laws . . . not us. This has been the prevailing attitude for the past 7+ years. Why mess with a good thing?

As a final note, here is something for all of you to consider. The municipality of Dubai is NOT a member of the ICC (International Criminal Court). Nor does the United States have an extradition treaty with Dubai. It’s the ultimate, safe haven, neutral-zone for the highest flying crooks. Duh-bya, Dickie, Donnie and company, along with all their corporate crony/crook friends, who have raped and pillaged this once wealthy nation, have a very comfy sanctuary to retire to.

If you listen closely, you can almost here ol’ George saying . . . one more time: Bring ’em on!


Neat Little Packages Are A Rarity

united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web

united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web (Photo credit: kevindean)

Your uncle has been around long enough to have seen . . . an awful lot.  (No one’s old enough to have seen it all.)  I vividly remember the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the attack on the USS Cole, the African embassy bombings, even: the Beirut barracks bombing, the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, and more tragedies than I care to remember.  The one thing that stands out about all of these “terrorist” acts is that it took weeks, months, and even years before we determined who was responsible for these heinous acts.  So, how is it that, on the very morning of 9/11/2001, there were a slew of “experts”, on just about every television network, all talking about the (then) little known Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda terrorist group?  Now, that was not my first question of the day, but it does stand out as one of the most relevant.  This video brings up some burning questions.  It’s grainy, and it repeats itself, but it makes valid points.  Points that I don’t feel were adequately addressed in any of the official so-called 9/11 investigations.

MY first big question that day was: With the FTA and Air Traffic Control regulations, and NORAD protocols, how was it possible for 4 commercial airliners to, virtually simultaneously, deviate from their designated flight paths, without the scrambling of US military fighter planes?  I’ve heard some very weak arguments about the hijackers turning off the transponders, and much of the air-military was on some sort of maneuvers that morning.  So the world’s most pre-eminent military didn’t have the ability to hold maneuvers and protect our airspace, at the same time?   Hmmm.

As the video points out, there was an anonymous man-on-the-street expert(?) explaining how the impact of the crash, combined with the heat of the jet fuel, caused the towers to collapse, “mostly due to structural failure”.  He even beat out the television “experts”. 

I watched the towers collapse, from the vantage point of being on the Jersey City side of the Hudson River, at the Harborside complex, directly across from the World Trade Center complex.  Everyone at work was absolutely stunned that the towers collapsed – for whatever reason – as quickly as they did.  And, that they fell straight down on themselves.  For all us laymen architects . . . it just seemed bizarre that the buildings would fall in this fashion, especially considering the relatively short amount of time and how high up the damage/fires were.

The fact that it happened on a Tuesday morning, following a Monday Night Football game, involving our New York Giants was a bit . . . fortuitous. (for lack of a better word)  A lot of tired New York football fans dragged their butts in a little late that morning.  Myself included.  This had the positive effect of there not being more people in the towers when they were hit, and consequently came down.  This, partially, accounts for the initial estimates of fatalities being much higher than what they eventually/actually would end up being.  If someone other than foreign terrorists were involved in this . . . it was a way of taking down the towers, with minimizing the number (and types) of people that would be casualties.  There was a high percentage of immigrant and non-American WTC worker fatalities that morning.  Wouldn’t al Qaeda – who “Hates us for our freedoms” – want to take out as many “real Americans” as possible?

The selection of targets that morning seemed more symbolic, than strategic, for a group that so hates us.  Why the Pentagon?  A relatively low lying building made of granite???  How many military personnel did they think they’d take out flying into that?  And, the World Trade Center may have represented the U.S. economy, success, greed – what have you, but why not crash into the Indian Point nuclear plant?  At least two of the hijacked airliners had four opportunities to do just that.  I know there is some debate of whether nuclear plants can hold up to airliner crashes, but the potential devastation would have made that a much more logical target for any group that harbors as much hatred of the U.S. as al Qaeda reputedly does.  It was a suicide mission.  What did they have to lose?

There are so many compelling questions that have never been addressed.  We were fed an “official” story on the morning of day 1, and the federal government and the (corporate) media have done a very good job of getting most of us to accept it.  It was SUCH a tidy little package that they presented to us!  We deserve better.  We deserve comprehensive explanations of how, and why, 9/11 actually came to be.  We deserve the truth.  We need to hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire on this.  We need a thorough and independent investigation, not a rubber stamp of what the television pundits told us that fateful morning.  Considering that virtually every national decision since 9/11 has been predicated on the events of 9/11 we desperately need to get to the truth.

For further information visit:

Then contact your Congress persons.  Petition them to press for a full investigation.

Your Uncle Rave

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