Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The North Coast times-eagle. (Wheeler, Oregon) 1971-2007 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 2007)
NORTH COAST TIMES EAGLE, JA B R U A R Y & M AR PRIL 2007
WE A RE THE DECIDERS
BY MOLLY IVINS
GROSS ABUSE OF CHARITIES
Molly Ivins wrote this column in early
\Ne live in a great nation. The police blotter of the
Mill Valley Herald in California informs us that the constabulary
there had to be called out on account of a citizen “dressed like
a penguin" who was “standing on a street corner playing a
ukulele." Makes me proud to be an American.
What does not make me proud to be an American is
a specific twist in the Jack Abramoff/Tom DeLay scandal —
in fact, this makes me want to urp up despite the fact I have
a strong stomach when it comes to political corruption.
Both Abramoff and DeLay and many of their web of
colleagues have consistently used non profit organizations
ostensibly formed for charitable purposes to launder money,
to move peculiar proceeds and to pay for high-flying perks.
Come on, guys, give us a break — if you’re going
to make a mockery of democracy and show your mastery
at flipping money, wiring the system and fixing the odds —
please don’t use charitable organizations designed to help
crippled children to do it.
That's bad taste.
According to the Associated Press, Tom DeLay
“visited" cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed
by PGA champions and four-star restaurants, all courtesy
of donors who bankrolled his political empire.
“Public documents reviewed by The Associated Press
tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs, and resorts with
lush fairways, 100 flights aboard company planes, 200 stays
at hotels, many world class, and 500 meals at restaurants,
some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.
“Instead of his personal expense, the meals and trips
for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected
by the campaign committees, political action committees and
children's charity the Texas Republican created during his rise
to the top of Congress.”
How cynical does this make you? When I hear Speaker
(of the House) Dennis Hastert is returning his campaign contri
butions from Jack Abramoff or “donating it to charity," I wonder
which little charmer of a Republican campaign fund masquerad
ing as a charity he’s sending it to.
The DeLay Foundation for Kids was set up 18 years ago
and works on behalf of foster children. But it is also a way for
companies to give unregulated and undisclosed funds: It's a way
for companies to get into DeLay’s good graces or, as Fred Lewis
from Campaign for People says, “another way for donors to get
their hooks into politicians.”
Meanwhile, Abramoff was even more cavalier
about “charity." He created the Capital Athletic Foundation
to help inner-city children through organized sports. There
ORGANIC PIANO SERVICE
TH E TUNER ALONE PRESERVES THE TONE'
TUNING «»REGULATION «»REPAIR
177 NW ADAMS AVE., HILLSBORO, OREGON
K/RTLEYW. BURGGRAF, PIANO TUNER/TECHNICIAN
is no evidence any of the money ever went to that purpose,
but The Washington Post reports it went to a sniper school
for Israelis on the West Bank, a golf trip to Scotland for Rep.
Bob Ney (R-Ohio), and a Jewish religious academy in
Abramoffs hapless tribal clients were generous
contributors: I wonder if he thought it was funny that Native
Americans would more likely identify with Palestinians than
Believe it or not, there are nonprofit organizations
in this country where the CEO barely makes more than the
janitor, where nickels and pennies are saved so the clients
or cause can get a little more.
While Jack Abramoff padded his bills and falsified
expenses to tribal clients, there are people who work for
minimum wages on tribal reservations to help some of the
poorest people in America get a minimally decent chance
Abramoff and DeLay and their crummy hangers-on
haven't just cheated and lied. They have dishonored the work
of many people who are devoted to helping others without
even expecting a decent salary for it.
BY JACK DENNON
“Succeeding in Iraq," said President Bush on January
10, “requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the
regime in the face of the extremist challenge.
"This begins with addressing Iran and Syria These
two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their
territory to move in and out of Iraq Iran is providing material
support for attacks on American troops We will disrupt the
attacks on our forces We will interrupt the flow of support from
Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the network
providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in
That statement by President Bush touches upon a
question fundamental to America's presence in Iraq: yet a
question that the President managed to totally evade. The
fundamental question is: Why do we have enemies in Iraq?
Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the September
11, 2001 attacks on America. Iraq had no weapons of mass
destruction. Iraq was not a threat to America. Iraq is not now,
and never has been a threat to America. America had no
enemies in Iraq until President Bush created them by invading
The “Downing Street memos” revealed to the world that
the invasion was sold to Congress and the American people with
statements that the Bush administration knew to be false. They
Even now the Bush administration, in similar fashion,
is attempting to set into motion an attack on Iran; an attack, as
reported by Geof Parrish at www.workingforchange.com, that
would be “pure unadulterated madness. A broad regional war,
even if it doesn't lead to World War 3, and Armageddon, will
kill millions, almost certainly see the first use of nuclear weapons
in 60 years, will make Americans (and Israelis) far less safe,
will destroy America's and the world’s economies, will bankrupt
our country, destroy our military, and will permanently isolate
America as a globally despised moral leper Oh, and we ll lose
Unless Congress and the American people muster
courage to demand impeachment of George Bush, and impeach
ment of Dick Cheney — a Vice President who has held sway
over his boss like no other Vice President in our history — then
Congress and the American people will share complicity in the
crime and the catastrophe that must otherwise await us
The purpose of this old-fashioned newspaper crusade to
stop the war is not to make George W Bush look like the dumb
est President ever. People have done dumber things What were
they thinking when they bought into the Bay of Pigs fiasco? How
dumb was the Egypt-Suez War? How massively stupid was the
entire war in Vietnam? Even at that, the challenge with this
misbegotten adventure is that WE simply cannot let it continue
It is not a matter of whether we will lose or we are losing.
We have lost. General John P. Abizaid, until recently the senior
commander in the Middle East, insists that the answer to our
problems there are not military. “You have to internationalize the
problem. You have to attack it diplomatically, geo-strategically,”
His assessment is supported by General George W.
Casey Jr., the senior American commander in Iraq, and the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, who only recommend releasing forces with a
clear definition of the goals for the additional troops
Bush’s call for a “surge" or “escalation” also goes against
the Iraq Study Group. Talk is that the White House has planned
to do anything but what the group suggested after months of
investigation and proposals based on much broader strategic
About the only politician out there besides Bush actively
calling for a surge is Senator John McCain. In a recent opinion
piece, he wrote: “The presence of additional coalition forces
would allow the Iraqi government to do what it cannot accomp
lish today on its own — impose its rule throughout the country...
By surging troops and bringing security to Baghdad and other
areas, we will give Iraqis the best possible chance to succeed."
But with all due respect to the senator from Arizona, that ship
has long sailed.
A surge is not acceptable to the people in this country
— we have voted overwhelmingly against this war in polls
(about 80% of the public is against escalation, and a recent
Military Times poll shows only 38% of active military want more
troops sent) and at the polls. We know this is wrong. The people
understand, the people have the right to make this decision, and
the people have the obligation to make sure our will is implemen
Congress must work for the people in the resolution of
this fiasco. Ted Kennedy's proposal to control the money and
tighten oversight is a welcome first step. And if Republicans want
to continue to rubber-stamp this administration’s idiotic “plans"
and go against the will of the people, they should be thrown out
as soon as possible, to join their recent colleagues.
Anyone who wants to talk knowledgably about our Iraq
misadventure should pick up Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial
Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone. It's like read
ing a horror novel. You just want to put your face down and
moan: How could we let this happen? How could we have been
As The Washington Post's review notes, Chandrase-
karan's book “methodically documents the baffling ineptitude
that dominated U S. attempts to influence Iraq’s fiendish politics,
rebuild the electrical grid, privatize the economy, run the oil
Industry, recruit expert staff or instill a modicum of normalcy
to the lives of Iraqis.”
We are the people who run this country. We are the
deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to
step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise
hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.
Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out
of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush’s proposed surge If you
can, go to the peace march in Washington on January 27. We
need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demand
ing, “Stop it now!”
Molly Ivins died of breast cancer on January 31.
This was her last column, published nationally through Creators
Syndicate on January 11 Margaret Tanguay Webb, in a recent
letter to The Daily Astorian, has expressed the loss her death
signifies: “Well, bless Molly Ivins...She was a great lady and a
terrific writer. Bitterly funny, unflinchingly truthful, she was often
the only political pundit who has made me smile during the Bush
regime. I wish Molly was still with us and that she lived in Astoria
She would send the liquefied natural gas corporations packing,
and Lord knows what she would do with the port (of Astoria)
AMERICA’S JERICHO VOICE
Up to the walls of Jericho
She marched with a spear in her hand
Go blow them ram horns she cried
For the battle is in my hand
The walls have not come down,
but they have been given a serious shaking
That Jericho voice is stilled now.
Molly Ivins has been quieted
I am shouting,
With two voices,
Walls come down!
Walls come down!
Walls come down!
-M AYA ANGELOU
Jack Dennon lives in Warrenton