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An Open Letter To All Americans - Comment From Matt Ridgway
4-6-99 My Fellow Americans, It is no longer an option that we, as those who hold the ultimate responsibility for our elected officials, continue to turn a blind eye to the serious events taking place both at home, and especially abroad. I boast no political, nor financial ambition. I am merely a hard-working family man who can no longer sit idly by and watch America become the International travesty it has become without at least attempting to define the problems as I see them. The days of unbridled optimism and national pride are gone forever. We have, as a nation, sufficient evidence and cause to believe that we are no longer the masters of our own fate. We are continually chastised for our apathy, both in community action and more noticably at the election booths, where registration has reached an all-time low. I respectfully submit that this is not due to a lack of interest or even careful thought, but rather the inevitable response of a populace who has slowly become convinced that regardless of any election outcome that Washington will still continue unabated, completely oblivious and uncaring of the needs/concerns of the many. Almost daily we read instances of the federal government and/or local law enforcement not overstepping their bounds, but leaping over them with glad abandon! It would have been unthinkable twenty years ago that an event like Ruby Ridge, or even worse Waco could have occured. It was enough that law enforcement's role in our lives was to protect and serve the public, not serve as revenue generating policy shills that treat every citizen as suspicious or every situation as a potential crime. Last weekend, an article appeared in the Grand Rapids Press concerning a group of young boys who, while fishing, happened to find a box filled with cash. The article went on to state that the boys tried unsuccessfully to flag down police TWICE to report their find, finally managing to get the attention of a third officer, who promptly notified Federal officers who, you guessed it, promptly confiscated the moola. A local officer commented that the boys were 'much richer' for the experience of turning in the money than they supposedly ever WOULD have been had they kept it. Now I beg to differ, on several counts. First, I find it unbelievable that a group of boys would be COMPLETELY IGNORED by two officers in their time of need! What if someone had fallen in the river, or was trapped or hurt? Second, why is it that the police automatically assume that the cash must be illegal somehow? At what point in this country did the use/possession of cash, no matter WHAT the amount or denomination become a criminal offense? Third, it is my understanding that when someone finds something of value and choose to involve the police that common sense policy was, and should be, that the police safe-keep the item(s) for a reasonable length of time and if no one claims it, it reverts to the finder. I tend to think that these boys would have been CONSIDERABLY richer had they KEPT the cash, watched the headlines, and had no one reported a missing box of cash use it for such things as oh, say COLLEGE? The reason I addressed this issue is to demonstrate the ultimate problem with law enforcement in this country. The police no longer regard themselves as public servants, but see themselves as public wardens, regarding every citizen with a suspicious eye toward rooting out whatever criminal activity they are surely involved in and sticking them to the wall over it. Why? Simple. Cash. Law's in this country are shaped and modelled to give ever-broadening powers of search and confiscation to the police who ultimately benefit from such theivery in very real materialistic ways. Anyone remember a few years back when the police switched from the old, Dragnet style Caprice's to the newer, bath tub looking models? Overnight every single police force from coast to coast sported these expensive monstrosities. What, a Ford isn't good enough for you? Now, the Police ride Jet Ski's and Cannondale Mountain Bikes in the summer, and swish around on snow mobiles in the winter! What's next, Tai Bo training for taking down perps? Where are the funds coming from to pay for these trendy toys? I think you know the answer. Worse still are the professional 'politicians' and pac-fund fat cats pretensing to 'serve' the public in elected office. Take Michigan Governor John Engler for example. Last year the gullible citizens of Michigan once again re-elected this unabashed huckster to the governership. We must have mighty short memories. I, for one, am STILL incensed at the shell-game policy Engler pulled on us years ago at the start of his term. Michigan still enjoyed an incredibly low 4% sales tax when Engler got the brilliant idea that if we voted to allow a 2% increase that that would allow the state to remove the burden of public schools from the home owners and spread it more evenly around in the sales tax. Of course today, property taxes are as high as they ever were, except now we have to pay 2% more with every purchase. And STILL we are yearly assaulted with cries for increased millage! Tell me, whatever happened to the State Lottery? The only reason we allowed such a thing in the first place was that the profits were supposed to go directly to schools! Anyone remember that? Sure they do. Just like they remember how Ronald Reagan's administration sold arms to Iraq, conducted arms for drugs deals across the globe, deals which Bildberger George Bush happily proliferated. What ever happened to the checks and balances system in this country? Simple, if you can't beat a path through them, do an end-run around them! How is it that Americans are willing to stand around while American servicemen are sent God knows where to do God knows what without even a rudimentary pass through the House or Congress? Clinton, and those before him have realised some very important aspects of how the American Government works. First, if you want to send American troops to kill people, you don't declare a war. That's just plain stupid. Too many ways it can get sidetracked, not to mention the psychological trauma involved with the very idea. Instead of sending troops we now send 'peacekeepers'. Instead of a national mandate we now make public threats of military intervention (ala George Bush in Desert Storm) then FORCE Congress to support its Presidents policy for fear of looking bad internationally! SUPPORT THE TROOPS they say, conjuring up the national disgrace associated with Viet Nam Vets (God Bless You All!). OF COURSE we support the TROOPS, that goes without saying! The true motivations become lost in a sea of slogans, sentimentality and spin. When was the last time you saw an actual unadulterated report from a major world hot zone? We no longer get even a token attempt to report truth, but instead are fed government propaganda as fact by news organisations who are owned lock, stock and barrel by the people whose interests these wars protect! Meanwhile, an admitted liar and very probably out-and-out RAPIST has since brought the wrath of the entire world down upon us because his solution to wanton killing is ...well..more killing. And for what?!? So Bill won't be remembered for his 'foibles' but as what, the new Thomas Jefferson? Let me tell you, Jefferson NEVER got in bed with the Chinese and aided and abetted probably the worst breach of national security in the history of this country for a little campaign cash! Jefferson never falicitated the sale of tainted blood from Arkansas prisons to hospitals in Canada as some have accused! And finally, Jefferson never would have directed the US to bomb another nation in a pathetic attempt to draw attention away from his rapidly-crumbling presidency! We no longer enjoy the luxury of a clear conscience in International matters, if we ever did. With Osama Bin Laden, Clinton lit the fuse on the anti-American powder-keg worldwide. Our benevolent Democratic credo has been ripped away to display a nation as petty, criminal and self involved as any in earth's history! While we clench our teeth and nurse our sick stomachs over what is occurring in this country, our leaders are busy selling our technology, bartering our security, extorting our future and making enemies that will take tens of years to placate, if at all!And who will ultimately pay the price of these follies? You know the answer to that too. There was once a time when the American flag was viewed with awe and respect. Despite revisionist history, brave Americans have always answered the call to action when freedom and democracy were threatened. Now, our flag is burned and soiled, covered with filth and treated like a floormat, and THIS from people with government art grants! I declare that enough is enough. Our system is corrupt, our leaders money-grubbing, self-involved opportunists, our own President a national/international DISGRACE, our 'sheeple' treated like guinea pigs and cattle, our children betrayed by poison vaccinations and bad hot dog meat, our security threatened on all sides by mismanagement, intolerance and outright stupidity! And not one voice being raised in the street. Matthew Ridgway
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 07, 1999
There will be a march on Washington May 1st, 2pm to 4pm, on the south lawn of the white house. There are already demonstrations there daily, we just aren't gonna see them on the news. This is a big one. It's not party affiliated, it's your fellow citizens who are fed up. Remember Filegate,Waco,Ron Brown, Vince Foster,Bloodgate, Juanita B. Chinagate, just to name a few?
-- KoFE (your@town.USA), April 07, 1999.
The issues you raise are why Y2K concerns me. What will the great American Herd do if:
- Many computers crash?
- The stock-market crashes?
- Utilities can't supply their homes?
- Rationing is put into place?
- War comes to the continental US?
- (Insert disaster here)
A strong, intelligent and independant people can deal with adversity. Sadly, all 3 of these strengths have been eroded over time.
Personally, I blame people for succumbing to mass-media "selling" the idea of first national, and now World Socialism. The US Federal Government grew to the monster it is today due to public acceptance of an illegal income-tax (doubters do some research). In a great wealth-redistribution scheme, a large dependant population has been created which would not otherwise exist.
Currently, the UN is funded indirectly from your tax-dollars. Just wait until they tax directly!
-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@Anonymous99.xxx), April 07, 1999.
-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@Anonymous99.xxx), April 07, 1999.
I'm afraid we all know what the "great American heard will do" , although I frequently try to convince myself otherwise.
The polls all say "we":
Support the war - Don't believe Y2K will have any significant impact - Love Bill Clinton - Think the economy will continue to prosper - More, and More, and more good times.
As someone indicted, "the heard" will not tolerate even one of these beliefs being challenged. I just cannot see how we can "get out of this" without major social upheaval - its the only thing that will wake people up.
-- Jon Johnson (email@example.com), April 07, 1999.
Well, first off, the change from "Dragnet style" cars to caprice Classic's is simply due to:
1) Model change over and replacement (old Caprices looked like Dragnet cars and new ones looklike the ones we have).
2) There are a limitted number of rear wheel drive cars left, and a limitted number of cars left that are large enough to do the job.
3) the next thing you will see will be the convresion to Fords, Crown Vics and Mercury Grand Marquis's because GM no longer makes a true full sized, rear wheeled drive car. This is a concern in my line of work also, as I now drive Roadmasters, and we have NO idea what we will drive as these wear out, trying to give our clients enough room to ride and work comfortably.
Chuck, a night driver
-- Chuck, a night driver (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 07, 1999.
This became (past tense) a police state when "peace officers" became "police officers". Think about it.
-- A (A@AisA.com), April 07, 1999.
"Democracies usually collapse not too long after the plebes discover that they can vote themselves both bread and circuses... for a while."
--Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe
-- Mac (email@example.com), April 07, 1999.