Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Brave New World

In the past, freedom of speech has been interpreted by the press as only the freedom FOR the press. Now, with today's electronic information and communications technologies, everybody can say what they want to say, in the way they want to say it, in their own words. What we've come to accept as all the news -- is what some self-designated person/clique determines is what we should see and know about, and not truly all the views, all the submissions, all the information, and in Hawaii, particularly the best of the alternative views.

A large part of what we've come to accept as published (public) writing is the conflict of opinions rather than a greater insight that integrates the fragments into a greater, more comprehensive understanding. So let us imagine what a truly free marketplace of ideas and information exchange would look like by sharing your thoughts here.


At August 25, 2005 7:12 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Dear Cindy
Clifford D. May (archive)

August 25, 2005 | Print | Recommend to a friend

Dear Cindy Sheehan:

I know you want to talk to President Bush about the conflict in Iraq, the war in which your son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was tragically killed. I also know that while the President met with you previously, he is not eager to see you again – not now that you are affiliated with and supported by David Duke and handled by slick public relations professionals.

So let me suggest an alternative: Come visit with me. Our meeting probably won't get much publicity but I can promise you an interesting discussion. I'll invite to join us some of the many Iraqi freedom fighters with whom I've been working for the past several years – many of them women -- as well as democracy and human rights activists from Syria, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries.

You say you want to know, “What is the noble cause that my son died for?” They would answer: Your son died fighting a war against an extremist movement intent on destroying free societies and replacing them with racist dictatorships.

The Iraqis will want to tell you what life was like under Saddam Hussein – the mass murders of hundreds of thousands, the women and girls who were gang-raped by Saddam's cronies, the creative forms of torture that were ignored by the “international community.”

I know several Baghdadi businessmen whom Saddam suspected of disloyalty. He had their right hands amputated. Want to meet them? The doctors who were forced to perform these amputations are worth chatting with as well.

It's true, as you and others have pointed out, that we did not find Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction. But don't be misled into believing that Saddam never had any. Indeed, he used chemical weapons against the Kurds, slaughtering thousands in villages like Halabja, where mothers laid down in the streets and embraced their children in their final moments. We can show you pictures. We can introduce you to survivors.

Like you, I wish America's intelligence agencies had known more than they did about Saddam's capabilities. But Saddam's intentions were never in doubt.

Cindy, you've been calling for the U.S. to get out of Iraq at a time when our enemies in that country include the most aggressive and lethal branch of al-Qaeda, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Can you not see that if we were to retreat from Iraq now, it would be a historic defeat for the United States?

And it would be a huge victory for al-Qaeda. Zarqawi would view himself – not without justification – as a giant killer. Recruits would flock to him for the many battles that would, inevitably, follow. We could not expect to do better in those battles than we did in Iraq.

We will never be able to make ourselves inoffensive to the racist death cults that have declared war on us. When these barbarians kill brave Americans like Casey Sheehan we can't run and hide. Or rather we can – but that only invites the terrorists to hit us again. For years we didn't understand that. The consequence was Sept. 11, 2001.

Remember: We fled from Somalia in 1993. We left Saddam in power after the first Gulf War in 1991. We did nothing much after the Hezbollah bombing of our Marine barracks in 1983. Our response to the taking of American hostages in Tehran in 1979 was toothless.

In each of these cases – and too many others – we demonstrated to our enemies that there would be no penalty for humiliating and even slaughtering Americans. In each of these cases Osama bin Laden saw evidence that Americans are irresolute and weak; that America's military – for all its sophistication and technology – would prove no match for determined hostage-takers, decapitators and suicide bombers.

One more thing: Your slogan has been “America out of Iraq!” and also “Israel out of Palestine!” I wonder if you understand that you are calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their ancient homeland. I wonder if you understand that more than half of all Israelis fled from places like Tehran, Cairo and Tripoli – and they are not welcome to return. I wonder if you understand that there is no way for Israelis to get “out of Palestine” that does not include genocide.

If you and your supporters are not, in fact, arguing for another Holocaust, would you be so good as to clarify your remarks?

Again, Cindy, I hope we can discuss all of this and more in my office with my friends –fighters for freedom who count on the support of freedom-loving Americans. Will you join us for lunch? Tuna or turkey?

Clifford D. May is the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and a member group.

At August 25, 2005 11:24 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Dear Mrs. Sheehan,
You have asked me to identify the noble cause for which your son died. I have not answered you personally out of respect for the nobility of your son's sacrifice.

Being president forces me into the spotlight, but I would rather stand in the shadows of men like Casey Sheehan.

Directing national attention on my response to your protest creates a distraction from what matters. The focus of our attention, and our admiration, should rest on people like Casey Sheehan, who stand in the breach when evil threatens to break out and consume a helpless people.

The running story on the news networks should be the valiant efforts of our troops -- the merchants of mercy who export freedom and import honor. They trade their own lives for the sake of others.

As a result, we live in a nation where a woman can camp outside of the president's house and verbally attack the president for weeks on end without fear of prison, torture or death. And the number of nations where such protest is possible has multiplied thanks to the work of our military.

You ask for what noble cause your son died?

In a sense he died so that people like you, who passionately oppose government policies, can freely express that opposition. As you camp in Crawford, you should take off your shoes, for you stand on holy ground. This land was bought with the blood of men like your son.

Now, 25 million Iraqis cry out to enjoy the life you take for granted. Most of them will never use their freedom to denigrate the sacrifice of those who paid for it. But once liberty is enshrined in law, they will be free to do so. And when the Iraqis finally escape their incarceration, hope will spread throughout that enslaved region of the world, eventually making us all safer and more free.

The key is in the lock of the prison door. Bold men risk everything to turn it.

Mrs. Sheehan, everyone dies. But few experience the bittersweet glory of death with a purpose -- death that sets people free and produces ripples of liberty hundreds of years into the future.

Casey Sheehan died that freedom might triumph over bondage, hope over despair, prosperity over misery. He died restoring justice and mercy. He lived and died to help to destroy the last stubborn vestiges of the Dark Ages.

To paraphrase President Lincoln, the world will little note nor long remember what you and I say here. But it can never forget what Casey Sheehan did during his brief turn on earth. If we are wise, we will take increased devotion to that cause for which he gave the last full measure of devotion.

Our brave warriors have blazed a trail. They have entrusted the completion of the task to those of us they left behind. Let's, you and I, resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

Let's finish the work that they have thus far so nobly advanced.

George W. Bush

At August 28, 2005 6:16 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Some disaffected Republicans are claiming the high profile Republican the Democrats want to run for governor in 2006 is Linda Lingle.

Lingle vs. Lingle in 2006?

She did promise to be a governor for ALL the people.

At August 30, 2005 4:08 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The Perfect Storm.

Think about gas cap next time you vote

I'm a registered Democrat. However, the Democratic passing of the gas cap law really has me scratching my head. Is it arrogance or ignorance? Or is it both? I know our Democratic leaders are smart people. They were smart enough to get elected, right? To say they are looking out for the consumer's best interest, but at the same time ignoring time-proven market forces and basic economics, would lead me to believe it's simply arrogance on their part.

It's simple to inform the uninformed, but it's dangerous when arrogance leads. Let's think about this next time we vote.

Ernesto Jose

At August 30, 2005 4:27 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

More Perfect Storm.

Rise in isle
gas prices seen
after Gulf storm
By B.J. Reyes

Hurricane Katrina is expected to drive up gas prices nationwide, but some analysts warn that Hawaii could see a more dramatic spike because the state's price cap law ties isle prices to the Gulf Coast market.

Starting Thursday, maximum wholesale gas prices will be set each week in Hawaii based on an average of spot prices in the Gulf Coast, New York and Los Angeles.
Katrina already has affected prices in two of those regions. Wholesale gasoline prices in the New York and the Gulf Coast soared by 25 to 35 cents a gallon yesterday, following reports that more than 8 percent of U.S. refining capacity had been shut down as a precaution ahead of the storm.

Although some refiners said damage at their plants appeared to be minimal, prices could go higher if things are revealed to be worse, analysts said.

"It'll be a bit before we know exactly what the extent of the damage was and, therefore, have a shot at understanding what the supply shortfall and the lost production was," said David Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates, an oil and gas industry consulting firm.

"It's hard to kind of know at this point, but clearly it's going to push gasoline prices nationwide up, especially in the Gulf Coast," he added.

Senate Consumer Protection Chairman Ron Menor, one of the key authors of the gas price cap, said he believes it is too early to forecast what will happen to prices in Hawaii.
"If the federal government and private industries intervene to stabilize prices on the mainland in the aftermath of the hurricane, then there shouldn't be any impact in Hawaii's gasoline prices," said Menor (D, Mililani).

One analyst said pump prices nationwide would likely average more than $2.75 a gallon by week's end -- up from $2.61 a gallon last week, according to Energy Department data.
Gov. Linda Lingle said she feared a similar spike in Hawaii prices.

"What happened is, because of the hurricane, oil production is going to be down in the Gulf, which means prices are going to be higher, which means the gas cap is going to be set higher," Lingle said yesterday in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. "It highlights the problem of tying prices here with somewhere else."

Lingle said her administration was setting up hot lines for consumers, gas stations or industry officials to report any potential problems once the caps are in place.
Wholesale price caps for Thursday through Sunday have been set already, so any increases are likely to be reflected in the price cap calculations being posted tomorrow and effective for the week of Sept. 5.

The current baseline price for wholesale gasoline is $1.87 a gallon, based on conditions in the three target markets from Aug. 17-23. Including taxes and assuming a 12-cent-a-gallon markup traditionally charged by dealers, the cost of regular unleaded on Oahu would be about $2.87 a gallon if oil companies charge the maximum allowed under the price-cap law.

That price is above the record $2.82 per gallon average in Honolulu reported yesterday by AAA's Fuel Gauge report. The statewide average for regular unleaded also was at a record $2.90 a gallon, according to the auto club.

John Tantlinger, a program manager in the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said Hawaii's gasoline prices probably would have been affected by the hurricane, but not as directly as it will be under the gas cap formula.
"It transfers the volatility of prices of those markets directly to our prices," he said.
Hackett said Hawaii prices might not have been affected by the hurricane at all.
"Gas prices in Hawaii have nothing to do, at the end of the day, with California refinery performance or Gulf Coast hurricanes," he said. "Hawaii gas prices pretty much did what they do, which is come up slowly and come down slowly."

Stillwater was commissioned by the state to study Hawaii's gasoline market in 2002, after the administration of then-Gov. Ben Cayetano settled its $2 billion price-fixing lawsuit against oil companies for $20 million. The firm said it did not think price caps would work.

House Majority Leader Marcus Oshiro said the Public Utilities Commission should use this opportunity to determine whether the baseline markets are appropriate for calculating the price caps.

Under the law, the PUC has authority to adjust the price cap formula to more accurately affect the market.

"The PUC will be tested by how it reacts to the affects of the hurricane on these markets," said Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Poamoho). "They're monitoring the situation hour by hour, day by day. They're in the best position to make the most informed decision."

Star-Bulletin reporter Richard Borreca and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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