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March 1, 2008     Mountain Messenger
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4A Mar. 1, 2008 Mountain Messenger - The Weekend Paper for the Greenbrrier Valley www.mountainmessenqer.q0m OPINION By David Cottrill Loving Our Enemies Actually, this is not about lov- ingour enemies so much as about our loving to have enemies. Maybe it's something in our collective psyche. We think of ourselves as good--and we are. But, like all hu- mans, we also have an imperfect side. However, we seem to reject that part of our nature and project it onto enemies, real or imagined. Who doesn't remember 'q'he only good Indian is a dead Indian"? So, it was okay to exterminate them, and, of course, to take their land. We didn't have much choice but to take on the Axis powers in World War II. We bad to create an enormous military complex in or- der to prevail. Then, that complex sort of took on a life of its own. Conveniently, there was another enemy-in-waiting, the USSR. Had to keep those rascals In check. And so, we developed the ca- pacity to annihilate them eight or nine times over. Churchill chided the Allies for spending so much on missiles. 'q'hey will only make the rubble bounce," he lectured. When the Soviets tried to out- spend us, it ruined them; it was more than likely the primary rea- son, for their collapse. We wonl We cheered and waited for the peace dividend. It never came. See, Congressman "Smiley Smart's" District had profited mightily from the manufacture of "XOX" missiles. If there were only some new antagonist on the hori- zon, those tax dollars could be made to keep flowing into his Dis- trict. Since communism was no longer a threat, how about--that's itf--rogue states, nations that didn't bend readily to the will of the North American Colossus, countries with leaders who some- times thumbed their noses at us: Ghaddaffi, Noriega, Saddam, Chavez, Ahmadinejad? And Granada; don't forget Granada. We had to invade that two-mile-wide island before they invaded us. Ike had tried to warn us about the costs of an out-of-control mili- tary-industrial behemoth. Those 'who took Ike seriously were drowned out after 9/11. Terrorists were everywhere, and we must have state-of-the-art submarines, car- riers, bombers, tanks, etc. Forget our crumbling infrastructure, schools, health care, and energy independence. Billions more must be appropriated for weapons that are totally irrelevant to any threats against us. You combat terrorism with police work and allied cooperation. The military-industrial profi- teers and the "Smiley Smarts" in Congress exploit our obsession with enemies. They also take ad- vantage of our national amnesia. We've already forgotten how the USSR collapsed doing exactly what we're doing--spending ourselves into military oblivion. We keep building systems of unprecedented sophistication and cost to use against--whom? There's no nation or group of na- tions threatening us. China? China, with a population four times ours, spends less than ten percent of what we do on its mili- tary. Actually, they're pretty smart. They're spending on economic de- velopment. At the current pace, by comparison, we'll soon be an eco- nomic backwater. History is lit- tered with nations and empires that over-extended militarily. We now maintain 800 military bases around the world. Why? "Our vaunted nuclear arsenal," wrote Gene Lyon, "has become the economic equivalent of the Egyp- tian pyramids: fantastically expen- sive but useless." Using the threat of terrorism to milk the taxpayer for $700 billion in defense spending (not even in- cluding the money we're borrow- ing from China for the wars in the Middle East) is madness. Instead of blowing trillions on pointless defense systems, shouldn't the priority have been body armor and armored personnel carriers to pro- tect the troops we sent into a senseless quagmire? Sure, I want an adequate de- fense, but does "adequate" mean spending more than all the other nations in the world put together? Our priorities are so screwed up we may already be headed for history's "dust bin." As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and it is us." Wright to the Point By Jonathan Wright [ Slow drivers--they're every- where. Well, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but it seems that every time I'm in a hurry and running late, I just hap- pen to gel behind a slow driver whose only care in the world is to examine every fencepost, driveway, and parked vehicle along the way. I know that's what he's doing, because I see his head turn to look at stuff every ten seconds or so. And if it just so happens that he's not doing that, he's doing the next-worse thing: carrying on a nonstop conversation with his front-seat passenger, turning his head to the right every few seconds to Catch ev- ~.ery word or to direct his own words to his companion. It never fails--you pass doz- ens of passing lanes with not a slow car in sight. But as sure as you enter an area of crooked roads where there's not a pass- ing lane for 10 or 20 miles--and that describes most of West Vir- ginia, of course--that's where you'll encounter 95 percent of slow drivers. That is, you'll en- counter them almost exclu- sively along stretches of road where you can't pass them. Oh, the agonyl Creeping along behind a slow poke at a seeming snail's pace while the clock is ticking away on an im- portant engagement you're probably going to be late for-- it's just too much. I deal with this nerve-rack- ing situation in two different ways, depending on my frame of mind at the moment. First, without actually tail- gating the offending vehicle-- which is much more danger- ous than it's worth--I at least get close enough to make a statement. That statement is basically "You're going way too slow. Could you speed it up a bit? You're inconveniencing meF Of course, I would never say this to the person first- hand. It's rude and insensitive. But at least by my driving rela- tively closely enough behind the driver to make myself no- ticed, and hopefully under- stood, the driver will hopefully get the message. I don't know why I say "hope- fully"---because it never hap- pens. Well, maybe once in a blue moon, but not enough to get excited about. In 99 cases out of 100, the driver contin- ues his turtle pace, seemingly oblivious to the agonized driver behind him. But at least I'm satisfied that I've done the only thing possible short of honking my horn, which I'm not about to do for fear of being the hap- less victim of a road-rage inci- dent. The other way I deal with this problem is something I do much more frequently, espe- cially when I'm not in as big a hurry. I simply look for a good place to carefully pull off the road, park the car for a minute or two, and then proceed, hav- ing allowed the slow driver time to get far enough ahead of me that I don't have to deal with him anymore. I like tbis second solution much more. Other than the inconvenience of waiting around a couple of minutes, it's simple and easy--and it effec- tively and efficiently removes the source of the stress. Slow drivers have been around since automobiles were made to go more than 20 miles per hour. And they'll be with us way, way into the future, I feel sure. So we might as well learn to deal with them with as little stress as possible. Life's too short to get all messed up from tailgating. Michael Showell, Editor & Publisher David Cottrill, Writer Kathy Hunter, Business Office Tanya Sizemore, Front Office essen Jeanette AIbaugh, Typesetter Debbie McClung, Ad Design Julie Sweet, Ad Design Marti Marshall, Customer Service Mgr. MEMBER The Mountain Messenger is a weekly publication; Periodicals postage paid at Lewisburg, West Virginia. The known office of publication is Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 USPS 013784 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE MOUNTAIN MESSENGER Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 Subscribe to the Mountain Messenger I~ame Address "[l'elephone No. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Carrier Delivery, where available, $15.00 Mailed, Greenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas Counties, $20.00 Mailed, All Other Counties in WV, $25.00 All Other States, $29.00 Telephone (304) 647-5724 ]Total Amount Enclosed WE ACCEPT VISA OR MASTERCARD ,~,ccount No. Expiration Date Signature The Mountain Messenger Box 429, Lewisburg, WV 24901 Visit us at http://www.mountainmessenger.com By Nan Issenberg I've had a love-hate relation- shlip with Wal-Mart for a long tirme; prices are low, so is wcarker's pay. Especially for all thtose Chinese and other folks w[ho make a pittance for a hard dmy's work. I love to pay a dol- lalr less for the infrequent splurge on Ben and Jerry's. Who doesn't? But how do they do that? Did you ever wonder? Tlhis isn't a business lesson; don't worry. It's surprisingly about some positive news I read in The State oK the World, 2008. The World Wfatch Institute puts out a well- researched annual report on topics about different aspects off our world. In the 2008 issue, they describe the greening of Wal-Mart. I wouldn't have be- lieved if I didn't know these people are straight, and their work is respected throughout the world. The reason I'm excited about Wal-Mart going green is they are the biggest company in the world with tremendous buying power, and a great deal of in- fluence on how a lot of other companies do business. If Wal= Mart says the toys can't be cov- ered in lead paint, and can't contain plastic chemicals that effect children's endocrine sys- Items, then all the companies tthat work for them will have to (change their production meth- (ods. If Wal-Mart buys energy ~efficient lighting systems for all iits stores, it brings down the ]price of production for the light- iing company. Then the rest of ,Call to men Dear Editor: Enough is enough. It is time for Gov. Manchin to step up and take a firm and public stand against domestic vio- lence. West Virginia holds the distinction of having one of the highest domestic violence mur- der rates in the country. In fact, it is time for every compassion- ate, loving father, husband, brother, uncle, partner, signifi- cant other, domestic partner to step up and say enough is enough, Last weekend four people died from domestic vio- lence incidents in West Vir- ginia. One case involved a man killing his wife at their home (even though she was escorted by law enforcement to collect her personal belongings. Law enforcement left thinking her The Right Perspective By Tom Holbrook Mention the name Castro in most social circles and one automatically thinks of Fidel and the Republic of Cuba. From this point forward, however, the name spoken in the same breath as Cuba will not be Castro, but Raul. Raul is also a Castro, but he is not his brother and there will always be only one (Fidel) Castro. We should look a little closer at the change that has taken place in Cuba's administration. Questions are arising about potential changes to the Cu- ban government's now that Fi- del Castro has in essence re- signed his position as Supreme l~ader of the country. Conjec- ture is being thrown out that Raul will begin reaching out to the United States in hopes of repairing the rift that has ex- isted since Raul and Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista Government In 1959. Prior to the taking of the country, Fidel had flirted with and visited the Communist Soviet bloc of nations leaming their ways and yearning to ap- ply the same ideology to his country, given the opportunity. Several times he and Raul were thrown into prison only to be released by President Batista. His apparent compassion to- ward the brothers and other would-be "saviors of the people" would ultimately lead to his downfall in 1959. Although Fidel was the ap- parent mastermind behind the infamous Revolution, it was younger brother Raul who put I II the teeth in Fidel's bite for con- trol over the people. It was Raul who first met one of Fidel's most famous comrade in arms, Che' Guevara, and was responsible us can better afford these en- ergy saving lights. Wal-Mart has about 60,000 suppliers. They are starting to teach their suppliers to pro- duce "affordable, sustainable': products and become green businesses at the same time. In one candy plant in Brazil, Wal-Mart "enabled the factory to install a waste management program, which in turn let the supplier ,generate $6,500 a year in new profits." Why do they want to do this? Other than the world needs it now, Wal-Mart expects to save bil- lions of dollars by reducing packaging alone. If Wal-Mart cuts packaging so much that millions of bar- rels of oil are saved, fewer trees are chopped down, less plastic goes into American landfills, and the number of container ships sailing from China are cut, then Wa1-Mart could actu- ally take us to a much needed tipping point. What tipping point? The point where all of us start liv- ing like we only have one planet, when we remember we need the trees to clean the air, and where we know there is no "away" to throw things tol The point where our government stands up and says we will start cleaning up our country's planet killing pollution today. America still leads the world in causing climate change, it looks like Uncle Sam needs to take a lesson from Wal-Mart. All I can say is Go Greenll husband was gone; he was hid- ing, waiting to kill her after the police left). He then killed him- self. The following day an al- most identical incident oc- curred, A husband, estranged from his wife, shot her in their home, killed the family pet and then turned the gun on him- self. The suicide attempt failed leaving him in serious condi- tion at CAMC. During the month of October 2006 there were 12 domestic- related murders in West Vir- ginia. Where is the outrage? During a three week period in November 2007, two people were murdered in Monroe County resulting from domes- tic-related violence. 'Gov. Manchin is a genuine leader, compassionate, nation- for bringing him into the inner circle of the revolutionary fight- ' ers. Raul was also, as the news media called him, an "ardent executioner," meaning he seemed to take pleasure in meting out the 'Justice" of Fi- del on those whom Fidel deemed traitors. It was Raul who personally oversaw the execution of hun- dreds of members of the mili- tary and police units after the victory over Batista. During the pre-victory days while fighting in the mountainous regions of Cuba, Raul gained a reputa- tion as a short-tempered, quick to shoot and ask questions later commandante of revolu- tionaries that fought on a sec- ond front in the Sierra Cristal Mountains of Northern Cuba. He was especially violent to- ward anyone suspected of be- ing friendly with the Batista forces or showing themselves to be pro-American. He sup- posedly hated America and what it stood for at the time. According to a Time Magazine article Raul's justice against suspected collaborators with Batista security forces was "swift and severe" using firing squads to quickly remove them from this earth. 1960 vintage newsreels out of Cuba in the '60s show Cu- ban civilians and military lined up in front of deep trenches or walls and being done away by a shot to the head. The bodies were then buried in mass graves. As I watched I was mentally transported back to Germany and Poland of the 1930s and '40s and the mil- lions of Jewish lives that were taken using the same vicious techniques. After power was consoli-' dated, Fidel began the purging,' via the bullet, of anticommu- nist revolutionaries and Raul was the man that carried out the purge. Fidel appointed Raul to the head of the Armed Forces of the country and he reorga- nized the Army after the pat- tern of the Soviet military. That which had been the "Rebel Army" became the FAR or "Revolutionary Armed Forces." It was in this position that he came up with the FAR's motto and insisted that all his sol- diers adhere to it--"At your or- ders, commander-in-chief, for no matter what, no matter where, and under all circum- stances." Raul's past would indicate he will continue to run the country as his brother has in the past. However, there are many who think age, 77 years old in June, has mellowed Raul, which he somewhat evi- denced with recent comments about the amount of money the average Cuban worker makes each month--S15. Raul has stated in written and spoken;. words that this is a "paltry" sum and complained publicly that Cuba's production of food staples needs to increase by over two-thirds. These are not iron-clad guarantees that he is "mellowing" but it is a good in- kling that he might just want to start a dialogue with the United States. He has alluded to the possi- bility that once the "exile friendly" administration cur- rently in the White House has been replaced, he might sup- port a "coming together on trade and tourist issues be- tween the two countries." Who knows, maybe we'll someday be able to travel to and fro from old Havana as many of our pre- decessors did in the '40s and '50s. I wouldn't be running out and buying your tickets yet, however. ally respected and effective when taking up a cause. I am asking you, Governor, to take a hard look at the statistics and make a call to all men in this great state to say, "No more, enough is enough. Men, do not abuse your partners and chil- dren. It is no longer acceptable." We all recall the generation that saw nothing wrong with getting drunk then jumping behind the wheel. Thanks to a determined group of mothers who lost children to drunk driv- ers, driving drunk is no longer acceptable. It is time that bat- tering and abusing your part- ner is no longer acceptable. The laws are intact. Our com- munity is blessed with sup- p0rtive and conscientious law enforcement and a very gener- ous citizenry that supports the Family Refuge Center's efforts to end family violence. It is time for the Governor and Legislature to support pre-- ventlon and back it up with a meaningful and consistent budget commitment to ensure domestic violence programs around the state can imple- ment what we do best: advo- cacy, safety planning, shelter, crisis assistance, counseling, prevention, etc. Ellen Allen, Director The Family Refuge Center Send letters and comments to Mountain Messenger, P.O. Box 429 Lewisburg, WV 24901 304-647-5724 * FAX: 304-647-5767 I Or visit us at ' I www.mounta,nmessenger.corn . ,)