A Sad Ending
October 20, 2012
To the Editor,
Even with the possibility of their lives being turned upside down, the uncertainty of what was to come, the two owners of Ronnie’s Deli on Montauk’s Main Street plowed along all season not knowing whether they would be there at the end of it. That question was answered when they closed their doors on Oct. 15 because their landlord would not renew their lease and would rather have it sit idle than have it be a source of income for both parties.
Not only was Ronnie’s a Montauk institution to the local people, but more important, the owners, Tom McCormick and Kevin Curran, are now left to wonder what to do next and how to fend for their young families heading into what has been predicted to be a long and cold winter. Granted, the landlord can do what he wants with his own building, but common sense prevails when it comes down to it, and when it comes to family it is a no-brainer. The landlord should know that he can’t take it with him and that money is not everything.
On a personal note, I wish nothing but the best to both Tom and Kevin in their next endeavors. I know they will be successful in whatever they decide to do.
Weekend mornings will never be the same now. No longer will the world’s problems be solved over a cup of Barry’s Irish tea or the sight of a father and son ordering a bacon, egg, and cheese before they head out for a morning of fishing. The smell of freshly made donuts by the ever-smiling and friendly Margaret — it makes me even more sad thinking about it now.
With all the changes that have taken place here in Montauk over the past year or so this I think is the hardest to accept and will take time to get over. A sad ending indeed.
October 20, 2012
To the Editor:
Ms. Diana Weir, enthusiast of all things Wilkinson, is fervently promoting our supervisor’s latest fantasy, that of allowing a car wash to be installed in Wainscott.
Ms. Weir has been appointed recently by “Dollar” Bill Wilkinson to serve on our [East Hampton Town] Planning Board, and is faithfully carrying out his mandate to get the project going. There’s got to be a better use for the abandoned Swamp club, a drinking and dancing venue of many years ago, located along the highway in Wainscott. The present plan for the car wash is badly thought out as to entrance and exit from the facility, among other undesirable characteristics.
Such hogwash is the last thing Wainscott, and all of the East End, currently needs. Two such facilities already exist, one in Southampton, the other in Amagansett. So who benefits from this latest boondoggle?
Pray the planning board votes this down.
October 22, 2012
Your editorial in last week’s edition “Wheregoeth Wainscott” points out what I wrote in my previous letter. The gateway to East Hampton allows visitors to marvel at the dysfunction of planning. One only has to look at recent race-track-speed approvals as in Montauk that have affected the quality of life. The roll of the eyes at what was behind it — and what is behind this.
This ramshackle mishmash is the twin of the Country Road 39, you know, the entrance to beautiful Southampton. Friends always mock the “stately beauty of the East End approach.” One would never know that they are not in Brookhaven or the rest of the display of the decay of peace and serenity.
Now we have the wizards here supporting a car wash on a heavily congested roadway hampering traffic flow that already makes us captives.
Entrances on a quiet dead-end residential street that will dump an intolerable amount of cars that have no way to access Montauk Highway except to navigate a neighborhood trying to figure out how to get out. It is so bad to try to turn onto the highway that sometimes it takes five minutes of sitting, contributing to the air-quality decline. Then, once Cowhill Road is discovered, it will be impossible to ever get out.
You point out “unskilled labor.” That issue doesn’t mention the fact of where these workers park their cars. A dozen or more cars parked on East Gate Road? I guess the “No Parking” signs that have been there will vanish, and the resolution passed will suddenly be erased from the code. Watch the anthill scurry at the nearest facility: 20 men outside drying cars, 4 men in the rear, the piercing whine of two vacuums.
Now we have Diana Weir, the planning board vice chairwoman, championing it, with her statement, “I think it is a good use of the site.” What the hell is she thinking? Good use for what? Certainly adding a monster in a residential neighborhood is not a good use. Her rationale of plantings does nothing.
The horrendous noise of the jet blowers, vacuums, blaring on and off up to a few hundred times a day. Required bright commercial night lights turning the area into Stalag 17. So much for the dark skies initiative.
Then Laurie Wiltshire alerting us to the fact that the equipment will be inside. Duh. Not the vacuums.
So my proposal after a sound planning session with the Pep Boys bobble-heads is to trade with Southampton and their scenic beauty approach on 39, move the dinosaurs, Superman, and Elvis, stack the boats three high, add a palm reader and tattoo parlor, pool room, get one of those air-inflated giant worms that waver in the wind. Then we can have Ms. Weir and Ms. Wiltshire stand there wearing sandwich signs, handing out advertisement circulars, just like in western Suffolk.
It is well past the time that “we” be allowed to form our own destiny and get people who have some vision to safeguard against the invasion of the sprawl that we ran away from. As Tony Soprano would say, “fuggedaboutit.”
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
October 22, 2012
Aircraft noise is a terrible plague and remains a number-one economic and quality of life issue for residents of the entire East End, not only Southampton and East Hampton residents. It is rewarding to see this unprecedented response by elected officials responding to constituent concerns with one voice. (See Joanne Pilgrim’s piece “Copters Along Atlantic,” The East Hampton Star, Oct. 18.) Congressman Bishop, Assemblyman Thiele, and Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst are to be congratulated for galvanizing East End municipal leaders in this unparalleled effort to address aircraft noise at East Hampton Airport.
However, while there may be some justification for sending helicopters over the Atlantic to depart and approach East Hampton Airport, simply spreading the noise around just victimizes greater numbers of homeowners and wildlife. It does not manage the source of the problem. Access limitations, including setting curfew, limiting hours of operation and numbers and concentrations of flights, are the only real solution to reducing aircraft noise.
As reported in Ms. Pilgrim’s article, East Hampton Supervisor Wilkinson is right to be concerned that the implementation of a southern route will direct more traffic over Wainscott and East Hampton Village residents, one of his reasons for not signing on to this letter. He’s right. It will.
A mandated southern helicopter route only compounds the problem for these already seriously affected residents. This is a reality Councilman Stanzione ignored when he implemented his Bastille Day 2012 bombardment of Noyac, North Haven, and Sag Harbor residents by redirecting all helicopter traffic previously traversing the Northwest Creek route exclusively over Jessup’s Neck.
Policy decisions at East Hampton Airport must be informed by real-time conditions, just as flights into and out of that facility must. Councilman Stanzione’s stubborn adherence to an ill-advised position put forward two years ago is yet another demonstration of his inability to properly assess and manage issues of this important town asset. It is encouraging to see Supervisor Wilkinson taking into consideration noise policy impacts to East Hampton residents, something for which Mr. Stanzione has exhibited little concern.
In fact, it is precisely Mr. Stanzione’s approach to airport management, which places helicopter and aviation interests above those of the noise-affected, that has led every other chief elected official on the East End to support stronger aircraft noise mitigation policy at East Hampton Airport.
The message should now be loud and clear.
October 20, 2012
It is good to know that officials at the local, state, and national levels are calling as one for solutions to the helicopter plague on Long Island, and specifically on the East End. Of course, it remains difficult to comprehend why helicopters themselves are not simply banned from our airport. Do even 1 percent of year-round residents want them? Let’s have a vote.
This endless equivocation over helicopter routes calls to mind a scene in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” When a rabid dog came shuffling down Main Street, Atticus Finch, the wisest man and best shot in Maycomb, did not confer endlessly with the sheriff or the citizenry as to which side street they ought to use to reroute the dog out of town. No, Atticus simply shot it.
A genuine airport solution: 1. enforce a curfew of 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. for all aircraft, and 2. ban helicopters, or 3. close the airport.
Empathy and Care
October 20, 2012
I noted that in the letters column last week there were two letters expressing dismay at the suspension of Linda Norris, the supervisor of adult day care for East Hampton. The letters were full of praise for Ms. Norris and the dedication and concern she shows toward those she’s helped for so long. Such praise suggests a person who performs above and beyond the job description, and I’ve not heard anyone say anything disparaging about her. So why was she brought up on charges by her department head and why was she suspended from her job, a very serious punishment indeed? A suspension is only one hearing away from termination. Too bad for Ms. Norris.
Unfortunately, we may never know because of Civil Service and state requirements that protect the rights and privacy of the accused. I think it would be a good idea if Wilk-Quig would at least list those actions that, in their opinion, merit a suspension. Then those who know and respect her may have some understanding if this is deserved.
If you look at the history of the Wilk-Quig administration you can’t fail to see the people and services they’ve done away with through early retirement, defunding in the budget, shuffling of personnel and responsibilities, scapegoating, or just plain out and out intimidation and threats. Perhaps none of that worked in Ms. Norris’s case, so any charge against her will do. There are so many ways to skin the cat. There’s a lot of tragedy to go around here, certainly for Linda Norris, but, more important, for those elderly who need her. Too bad for us.
Not long ago I was confronted in the Town Hall parking lot by a member of the town board. This member was offended that I made a criticism, saying I had no right to opinionate because I wasn’t personally and directly affected. I believe you don’t need to feel the hurt to know right from wrong. You need empathy and care, and it seems Linda Norris has an abundance of that and none from her superiors. Put her back to work.
Feral Cat Poem #43
The buck stops here in my front yard regularly
his shoulders and antlers growing bigger and bigger
by the day
so I’m not surprised when he appears at dusk
tall as an elk on the patch of grass I call my lawn
the size and shape of a modest gravesite
it’s the cat in his rack that takes me aback.
Black as pitch, he has hold of the deer’s bony branches
like a Hell’s Angel gripping a Hog’s handlebars and cackles
maniacally at me in a spine shivering voice: Trick or Treat?
Not waiting for an answer (or a Snicker)
buck and cat as one leap into the air and swoosh off
over housetop and treetop, up and up into the night sky,
until they pass across the orange face of the huge harvest
jack o’lantern moon in indigo silhouette
odd couple that pair.
I mean, for an ordinary black cat it’s enough to cross your path.
But hey, it’s Halloween.
October 21, 2012
It is rarely a pleasure to be interrupted during the weekend to answer the phone or a door-knock from a political canvasser seeking to sway opinion in their direction, especially when they are from the opposing political party. So, imagine my surprise when longtime registered Republicans canvassing for the re-election of Tim Bishop appeared at my doorstep!
My family has its own reasons for supporting Congressman Tim Bishop, a family man of the people who has consistently fought for the rights of hard-working families like ours, fighting for a cleaner environment, health care for all, and being our local economy’s greatest supporter in Congress.
I was curious what reasons these canvassing Republicans for Mr. Bishop had to leave their party and vote the straight Democratic ticket. I was handed the latest East Hampton Star and asked to read the letters in favor of Randy Altschuler. It seems that these local Republican Altschuler supporters, finding nothing of merit in the record to support Randy, have resorted to the worst of their political nature: mudslinging and lies.
Apparently unable to select and support Republican candidates who share the values of hard-working families, they’ve selected conservatives who excel at the con and forgot how to serve.
Long Island’s First Congressional District needs to re-elect a great congressman, Tim Bishop, not the “do anything for a profit” boss-man, Randy Altschuler.
We are electing a congressman and a president here, folks, not a boss. But then again, when the Republican Party lacks candidates with vision and integrity, perhaps they really want a boss to tell them what to do and they will say anything to achieve that end.
Electing Randy Altschuler and Mitt Romney and expecting it to help your family’s economics is like hiring a registered abuser as the family counselor.
Can’t Mr. Bishop?
October 22, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Tim Bishop has to go.
A congressman for 10 years, his tenure is undistinguished. His mediocrity prevailed through nearly every possible combination of political administrations and congresses. He represented the First Congressional District with Republican and Democratic presidents and Republican and Democratic-controlled Congresses and what has he accomplished?
Not a single piece of legislation bears his name. Our fishing and farming industries are in tatters because of crushing federal regulations. Let’s for a moment contrast his performance with that of a fellow Democrat, Jason Altmire, who came to Congress in 2007. In his few short years in the House Mr. Altmire authored 48 bills or amendments, 28 which became law. If he could do that, why can’t Mr. Bishop? Unfortunately, Mr. Altmire was redistricted by “big tent” Democrats this year because he kept his promise to the voters of his district and voted against Obamacare.
Mr. Bishop, on the other hand, broke his promise to the voters of the First Congressional District, voting for the massive Obamacare bill that I suspect he never read. Unlike Mr. Altmire, Mr. Bishop voted for Mr. Bishop, not his constituents. We need a congressman who is more concerned with his constituents’ interests than his own.
Randy Altschuler is that man. As the son of a single mom, he worked his way through college with a distinguished academic career at Princeton and Harvard Business School and as a Fulbright scholar. Starting two successful global companies, he is responsible for creating nearly 1,000 jobs in the U.S.
It is time for a change. I hope voters will elect Randy Altschuler on Election Day, Nov. 6. Randy is running on the Independence, Republican, and Conservative Party lines.
October 19, 2012
Dear East Hampton Star:
An Oct. 15 letter to The Star complained that Congressman Tim Bishop touts his pro-choice position. Why indeed should he not? The stated goal of the Republican platform is to criminalize all abortion, defund Planned Parenthood, and outlaw any contraception that might disrupt a fertilized egg (i.e., the pill), thereby effecting government control upon over half the United States population.
Incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop has consistently supported pro-senior, pro-veteran, pro-women, and pro-worker legislation, and has regularly opposed countless Republican bills against such efforts. The very worst thing that could happen for our district, our citizens, and our country would be to let Randy Altschuler join the Congressional obstructionism that has characterized the Tea Party-led Republican Party since the 2008 elections.
Not One Piece
October 16, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I am writing to express my great disappointment in our current congressman, Tim Bishop. This man has been in office now for just about 10 years and has yet to distinguish himself in any way. If you go to his own Web site, there is not one piece of passed legislation that he can brag about as having his name on it. He has produced not one law that helps the East End of Long Island. Other members of Congress, with far fewer years of experience, have their own bills, but Mr. Bishop has none.
In addition, Mr. Bishop has joined with far-left-wing Democrats (led by the former speaker, Nancy Pelosi) and their agenda over 97 percent of the time.
Then I find out that Mr. Bishop was recently named 1 of 12 “most corrupt” members of Congress by the independent watchdog group Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW. This is because he is deeply involved in a disgraceful, pay-to-play scheme where he improperly got involved in local permits. He obtained one for a constituent and then had his campaign demand a $10,000 contribution in return for the permit. This type of behavior is what is wrong with Washington.
Six terms are just too much for anyone. We, sadly, do not have term limits, but we can vote people out, and I urge your readers to make the change this Nov. 6. Send Mr. Bishop his own pink slip for not doing his job.
Vote for Randy Altschuler on the Independence, Republican, or the Conservative party line.
Thank you for your attention.
October 12, 20012
To the Editor,
Why District 1 residents should vote for Randy Altschuler:
With continued Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives a likely outcome in November, the ability of Democrats to exert influence over major issues will remain weak. This is true regardless of who wins the White House.
In the minority, Democrats cannot lead in critical areas. This is not opinion; it is how Washington works. When a party is in the minority, even senior minority members of Congress are unable to bring home the bacon for their constituents. Their ability to shape policy and secure funding for their districts is greatly diminished.
If Mr. Altschuler goes to Washington, as a majority member, he will be able to lead on the committees that affect Long Island. He will be in the best position to respond to constituents and to represent our views.
Long Island is suffering economically, just as are other districts across America. We need someone energetic and dynamic to represent this district. We need someone smart and responsive who can get legislation passed, not only on local matters, but those of national security and international trade. Taxes are too high and the national debt is out of control. Unemployment and foreclosures remain significant.
Randy Altschuler will be well positioned to help this district. The incumbent currently is not. Nor will he be if Republicans retain control of the House. Our vote should not be wasted on nice, but ineffective, representation so long as there is a strong and viable alternative. This is not a popularity contest. Too much is at stake.
October 21, 2012
To the Editor:
I believe you and your readers should be made aware of some of the facts about our current congressman, Mr. Tim Bishop. Did you know that:
The unemployment rate for Suffolk County is up 154 percent over what it was when Tim first started in Congress, back 10 years ago. It is up from 5.4 percent in January 2003 to 8.3 percent as of July 2012.
Since Tim took office, 45,000 taxpayers are no longer working in his district. Tim has done nothing substantive to help.
Tim never had a private sector job nor did he ever create one. He did, however, hire 10 (yes, 10) of his relatives at Southampton College while he was in charge.
Tim voted for Obamacare after specifically telling constituents in a form letter that he would do no such thing.
Over his 10 years in Congress, Tim voted for Nancy Pelosi’s far-left agenda 97 percent of the time.
Not one piece of passed legislation bears Tim’s own name as the sponsor. The few bills Tim did try to introduce were so bad they never made it out of his own committee.
The one bill that East End fishermen asked Tim for help on concerning fishing restrictions, Tim did introduce — and then he promptly decided to withdraw it as a favor to his higher-ups.
Tim intervened in a local permit process and obtained permission for a private fireworks display at a party for a friend’s colleague. Then Tim’s daughter (his fund-raising manager) asked the constituent for a $10,000 campaign contribution and Tim got at least $5,000 — which he was forced to donate to charity out of embarrassment.
This permit fiasco led the nonpartisan Crew (Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) to name Tim Bishop to its most-wanted list called “One of 12 Most Corrupt Members of Congress.”
Congressional representatives from other coastal districts around this country get more federal money for dredging, more loosening of fishing restrictions, and even more capital funds than Tim. Why is that?
Members of Congress from farming districts also get more help for their local growers than Tim has for us. Again, why?
As a fishing family, I know how Tim Bishop’s failure to act has hurt the locals. Kindly remember all these points on Election Day, Nov. 6. It is time for Tim Bishop to go, as he is now clearly part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Please vote for Randy Altschuler for Congress on any of the three party lines that have endorsed him: Independence, Republican, or Conservative.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS
Calls for Tim
October 21, 2012
I’m hoping anyone still on the fence in the congressional race between Tim Bishop and Randy Altschuler will consider two issues raised in last week’s Letters to the Editor.
First, to the woman who says this election is not about abortion. Perhaps she is young enough not to remember what life was like before Roe v. Wade. This election is critical in preventing a return to the desperation and danger of that time. Tim Bishop supports a woman’s rights, not only to choose an abortion, should she deem that sad event necessary, but also to have access to her choice of contraception. Your employer’s personal religious convictions will not influence your reproductive life if Tim Bishop can help it. Check the Republican platform, which Randy Altschuler supports, if you want control of your own body.
I was also struck by the letter from a man who gave out literature and met not one constituent who thought Tim Bishop has done anything for this district. Really? I’ve been making calls for Tim over the past few months. I’ve been struck by how many Tim Bishop supporters I’ve found among registered Republicans as well as Democrats and independents, precisely because of his actions on a wide range of issues affecting them.
One Republican supporter and I shared the experience of being personally helped with government-related issues by Tim Bishop’s excellent staff. Her problem involved Medicaid and Tim called her himself to ensure that everything had been resolved. For me, discovering what it meant to have a strong representative in Washington when we needed one, is what made me want to make calls on his behalf.
We’re lucky on the East End to have an experienced representative in Washington who has proven that he is responsive to his constituents’ needs — and not for any gain. A Republican dealing with Medicaid, and my husband and I were not good bets for big contributions. Tim Bishop has secured significant government funding and support for many issues critical to Long Islanders. Take a few minutes to surf his Web site if you want the details: bishopforcongress.com.
The most important thing is to vote — for women’s rights, for Long Island, for Tim Bishop!
October 16, 2012
Last night I attended the debate held in Bridgehampton between Congressman Timothy Bishop and Mr. Randy Altschuler. One of the subjects referred to was “Obamacare.” Pros and cons were tossed about, however the mandate regarding our freedom not to be forced to pay for various forms of contraception did not arise. Mr. Altschuler did state he was pro-life, while Mr. Bishop said he was pro-choice. Let us not forget that the only ones having this choice are the living!
As a Roman Catholic, I cannot vote for a man who is supposed to be representing me, who chooses to support the culture of death found in this bill. I am proud of Mr. Altschuler for supporting the culture of life.
Say no to the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate, which forces employers — including religious charities — to provide free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health plan.
Aug. 1 started the timer. The Catholic Church, as well as all other religions, have less than one year to decide how they will violate their consciences as America bows to the Health and Human Services mandate giving up its First Amendment rights.
October 22, 2012
This year’s election in the First Congressional District is a historic and important race, and it’s not just a race between Tim Bishop and Randy Altschuler, it’s also the first election since the Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited amounts of outside money to be spent to try to buy an election, fundamentally tilting the process to favor the 1 percent and their hired hacks. So our local congressional race has also become a contest between Karl Rove and the truth.
Congressman Bishop has been our representative in Congress for the past 10 years and he has done a great job. He is a brilliant public servant with roots in our area that go back centuries. Congressman Bishop, as our representative to the House of Representatives, has been very successful, serving on important committees and ensuring that the unique needs of our area are taken care of. He has established in his office a world-class staff, knowledgeable and caring and dedicated to constituents’ service.
Tim represents us and our interests to the federal government and he does a wonderful job. The irreplaceable instuitional knowledge and seniority he has acquired in office ensure that our channels are dredged, our environment protected, and that we get our fair share of federal funding. The first-rate caring and effective service rendered to our veterans by Congressman Bishop is reason enough to re-elect Tim.
What is so maddening and scary about the trashy and reprehensible Karl Rove tactic of telling baseless falsehoods and fabrications over and over again, the big-lie theory, is that if it works we will never see the end of it.
Tim Bishop is a well-known, local person of sterling reputation with a 10-year record of accomplishment and he is doing a great job. Vote for Tim Bishop, not for Randy Rove.
Veterans for Bishop
October 15, 2012
I am very concerned about the war that is being waged on the First Amendment by this administration. There is a profound reason why the freedom of religion is stated first in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. If the government can control our most sacred right of conscience, what is next? Our written and spoken word? Our right to assemble? Our right to petition the government?
I urge all of you who care about our exceptional country, the United States of America, and the uniqueness of the freedoms we enjoy to support only those who share these beliefs.
Congressman Tim Bishop wrote a little over two years ago that he would not support the Affordable Care Act. The next week after sending those words to me, and I am sure many others, he changed his mind and voted “yes,” and our lives have not been the same. He should be ashamed of that Saturday vote and his betrayal to his constituency.
With the latest Health and Human Services contraception mandate, Congressman Bishop should be even more chagrined at his actions. He no longer serves those he swore to represent. Ten years is long enough.
October 21, 2012
To the Editor,
According to an Oct. 10, 2012, article in The Washington Post: “Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants, and tax breaks, part of President Obama’s historic push to seed a United States renewable-energy industry with public money.”
Now there’s a howdy do. As co-chair of the Democratic House budget group, how does our congressman, Nepotism Tim, explain that kind of funding to a Democratic insider?
The Washington Post article also says: “Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a leading critic of clean tech funding, said Gore’s portfolio is reflective of a disturbing pattern that those closest to the president have been rewarded with billions of taxpayer dollars . . . and benefited from the administration’s green bonanza in the rush to spend stimulus funds.”
East End voters would expect Nepotism Tim as co-chair of the Democratic House budget group to work overtime to prevent our tax dollars from funding the business of a former Democratic presidential candidate.
East End taxpayers should ask if Nepotism Tim was aware that, according to The Washington Post article, Carol Browner, a former Gore political, became Obama’s climate change czar and Ron Klain, Gore’s former chief of staff, was given the task of overseeing the stimulus funding for Vice President Biden.
East End voters expect their congressman, Nepotism Tim, to prevent our tax dollars from being used as a slush fund to turn former Democratic senators into multimillionaires.
The same article points out that when Gore left public office he had assets of $2 million and now his assets are estimated at nearly $100 million.
Why were you asleep at the switch, Nepotism Tim, when our taxpayer dollars made Gore a multimillionaire?
In 2008, Gore’s investment firm, Generation Investment Management, increased its holdings in the Spanish firm Iberdrola Renovables to 4.2 million shares according to The Washington Post. The article notes that Iberdrola received $1.5 billion from our government for building 40 wind farms in the United States.
Nepotism Tim claims to be outraged by the outsourcing of contracts to foreign companies and yet he remains silent when our tax money is outsourced to foreign companies when Democrats are major stockholders.
The Washington Post article makes it clear the Obama administration, with the tacit approval of our congressman, Nepotism Tim, has used our taxpayer dollars as giveaways to favored Democrats and their investments, as well as their outsourcing to foreign companies.
October 22, 2012
The foreign policy debate is a necessary one. Foreign aid is a small fraction of our budget often well spent, but another spendthrift item according to this country’s radical right. We should look at our foreign policy since the new millennium and see who did what right.
The recent campaign stop by former everything, except soldier, Dick Cheney is illustrative of the last 12 years. Now Cheney says that secular, antireligious Saddam Hussein was secretly allied with the right-wing religious fanatics in Al-Qaeda. Sure, Dick! Soon he’ll say weapons of mass destruction were really improvised explosive devices and the tens of thousands of G.I.s coming home with scrambled brains are all evidence of the W.M.D.s (all in the 47 percent, by the way). We should all remember Dick’s draft board gave him six deferments. Oh the fortunate son with more transplant than heart.
In September 2001, the United States and New York City had horrible carnage and the sympathy of the world. However, the jingoists in D.C., led by the brash, incompetent, divisive, and ignorant former President George W. Bush, decided they wanted to fight not one but two wars — crusades, they called ’em — and do it on the cheap. They decided to “occupy” nations of substantially different cultures and impose democracy on peoples entirely not ready for the task. Operation Iraqi Civil War continues after our involvement.
Christian religious fanatics in America taunt Islam, and the religious fanatics of Islam commit suicide, against their own religious value, to fight the crusaders.
Americans see Islam as a monolith, when it is far from same. You have Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Turks, all the —stans, Africans, you have Sunni, Shiite, Sufis, Salafis, and Wahabis. The incredibly foolish policies of the former p4resident came as close as one can to uniting Islam against the crusaders. It is relevant to look at the Third Crusade, when Islam rallied behind a Kurdish leader, Saladin, to fight the “invaders.” More often, the Arabs, Turks, and Persians are killing the Kurds. George W. Bush wanted to be remembered like Richard the Lionheart. In truth, when it was his time to fight, he was a drunk hiding in the Reserves, imagining “Mission Accomplished” speeches.
Make no mistake, those who would put our troops anywhere in the Middle East should start taking smart pills. American forces, the most civilized killing machine in the world, are not occupiers.
The Romney neocons espousing more aggressive U.S. action have sad, almost concussed, short-term memories. I don’t want Bebe Netanyahu as Secretary of State, I don’t want American troops at enhanced risk by trying to fight wars on the cheap. I am in favor of last century’s Powell Doctrine. Let’s face it, Congress has the power to declare war. With over 100,000 G.I.s killed since 1945, we have never been at war. Congress owes us an honest assessment. If it is to be war and jingoism, declare war and don’t hide behind “police actions.”
Please, when you vote, know that this country does not need another trumped-up war. Let’s give our fighting men and women a moment’s rest and the chance for peace.
Very truly yours,
WILLIAM J. FLEMING
Lack of Respect
October 19, 2012
I am absolutely livid at Mitt Romney and what I saw in the debate. He shoved himself in the president’s face and wouldn’t let go. He did it several times. “Well, tell me how many times you’ve turned down oil leases — come on, tell me!” Romney aggressively challenged the president on whether or not he had called the U.S. Embassy attack a terror act or not — “Did I get that right? You used the words terror attack — Right!” And when the president welcomed his challenge Romney was nailed by the moderator who had the transcription in front of her. His team (Fox) later accused the moderator of bias. I’m surprised he didn’t ask the president if he had stopped beating his wife.
Those of us who have been in the military will recall there were occasions when we had a superior officer who we didn’t like for a host of reasons, but we also understood that we saluted that person and we showed him or her respect. It was made clear that we were showing respect to the position, not necessarily the person. So, we saluted and said, Yes sir! Or, no sir. But Romney doesn’t think that way.
Romney’s lack of respect for the office of the president is not entirely surprising. If you recall his actions while in prep school, he led a gang of bullies who decided they didn’t like another young man’s long hair so they held him down while Romney cut off his hair to a Romney-approved length. That’s Mitt Romney to a T.
Imagine a scenario where the roles were reversed. Senator Obama acting like that in front of President Romney. We would be ballistic, crazed, that a senator, let alone a black person, would talk that way to the president. Well, folks, change the colors and think about it. The bottom line is that Mitt Romney is an arrogant, rude, nasty bully.
Two final points. First, I still don’t understand why Romney won’t reveal his tax returns. He demanded it of Paul Ryan. Is he so special? I guess he thinks so, if we let him get away with it.
Second, if Romney and Ryan are elected, I am truly concerned for my granddaughter, her children, and the rest of the women in this country. You heard what Romney said: If you put a bill on my desk that outlaws abortion I’ll sign it. I believe him.
October 22, 2012
To the Editor,
The most recent statistic on the inequality of income showed that 93 percent of the nation’s income growth went to 1 percent of the population, not difficult to understand. In its simplest form whatever growth the country experienced touched virtually no one.
Bananas, as in banana republics, the marketable term for Central American countries, is the analogy and we have slipped to that concept of economic development, a concept that is not unfamiliar but never imaginable in the U.S.
In a banana republic the people worked in the fields and harvested crops, which were exported to the U.S. The plantations were owned by Americans; the export companies were Americans, and the consumers were Americans. Entire countries lived to produce products for our consumption. They were paid by the U.S. companies, and they bought their own food and supplies in company stores owned by Americans. Ninety-nine percent of the profits and almost all the wealth in these countries belonged to American companies.
The central component of the banana model is that domestic consumption is not essential to growth. Whatever produces the bananas — robots, workers, or gorillas — is okay as long as the bananas are ready for export. Gross domestic product grows; profits are made, and the population is essentially irrelevant.
We supported dictators and armies to keep the populations under control and to guarantee the supply of produce. We used to call this indentured servitude, or putative slavery. But, since our arrangements were with the countries’ leaders, we were never called to task for our undemocratic behavior or the suppression of their liberties until they revolted, and then for 70 years we helped beat back the revolutions.
Today, as the middle class slips into obscurity and the stock market hovers close to 14,000 (its all-time highest), Mitt Romney comes to the rescue with a tax plan that would put Trujillo and Somoza to shame — a 20-percent (banana) tax reduction for everyone that would be paid for by closing loopholes. Except that if every loophole were closed it would barely cover 4 percent. So the other 16 percent will be covered by reductions in everything else, except certain military expenditures (the Afghan and Iraq war debts, estimated at $2.7 trillion, our soldiers would have to go), education, social services, infrastructure, national security (see Benghazi). Is Romney bananas or what?
But President Bush already enacted a huge tax cut that created a bigger deficit and no jobs.
Mr. Romney seems not to grasp the problem. He can’t break away from the banana republic model where the government works for corporate America and we receive the crumbs that trickle down from corporate’s munificent largesse.
He is a pig who will happily indenture us and then provide us with counseling and cookies. He wouldn’t waste the bananas on us because they are too valuable.
October 19, 2012
Isn’t it remarkable that the right-wing cohorts of Mitt Romney conveniently forget that it was a prematurely triumphant Mr. Romney who looked at the president and challenged the president’s statement that he had used the descriptive term “act of terror” the very next day after the Benghazi attack. Oh, Mr. Romney raised his eyebrows, smirked his superior “I gotcha” smirk, and turned to the moderator to demand that the president’s claim that he had used the terminology “act of terror” was, in fact, a lie, and should be “put on the record.”
Mr. Romney told Candy Crowley, the moderator, to put that “fact” on the record. So the moderator, before doing so, checked the record and, lo and behold, Mr. Romney was wrong, and the president was right, and she said so.
The moderator was only doing what Mr. Romney had asked: putting the facts on the record. Too bad for Mr. Romney that he was, as he has been on several occasions, premature in his judgment, assessment, and criticism (see the Olympics in London, the Libyan attack, the selection of a running mate, etc.)
Fox News commentator? Yes!