Nation needs to look at information sources

In 1998 a group of conservative Republicans wrote a document titled “The Project for a New American Century.” The authors advocated a radical change in Middle East policy, including an aggressive stance against Iraq. At the same time a group of Iraq exiles funded by the American government began to infiltrate theses Republican Neocons and fed them with fairytales of a corrupt government in Iraq that would collapse at the first sign of American strength.

In 2001 these Neocons populated the national security apparatus of the new Bush administration. With the support of the American Enterprise Institute, Fox News and the Heritage Foundation, Vice President Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc., used the information from the Iraq exiles to establish the foundation for the invasion and war in Iraq.

Essentially, the foreign policy of the United States was placed in the hands of a handful of individuals who did not examine the information they were receiving from these exiles, and rejected real intelligence from professionals in the CIA and the State Department. Any opinion or fact that conflicted with their world view was rejected.

In the months after the terrorist attack, the military and the CIA conducted a successful initial attack on Afghanistan, but the Neocons pressed for the invasion against Iraq. In their view 300,000 to 400,000 thousand Iraqis’ would loudly cheer the American soldiers and Marines as they paraded through the streets of Baghdad.

They were wrong. Instead of a big parade, we have had four years of civil strife. The war in Afghanistan is unresolved. The leaders of the terrorists attack on 9/11 mock our inability to reach their primitive caves in Pakistan/Afghanistan.

They were wrong on the cost of the war in Iraq. The latest estimate is $2.4 trillion.

They were wrong on the effects of the war on energy cost. The cost of a barrel of oil was $35 in 2001, it is now about to exceed $100.

Now the same miss informed Neocons are giving us the same bad strategy about Iran. They were wrong in 1998, they were wrong in 2001, and they are wrong in 2007. All of the leading Republican candidates for president have hired the same Neocons as foreign policy advisors.

Let’s examine where these conservative Republicans have taken our foreign policy in the last seven years. Iraq is a failed state, and there is no future for resolving 1,400 years of religious differences.

Afghanistan is destined to become a welfare state of the U.S. government; we have little control over a nation that is the world’s primary source of heroin. Turkey is on the verge of invading the Kurdish portion of Iraq. Pakistan’s president has recently suspended all democratic institutions. Meanwhile, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia collect billions of dollars every day from our excessive consumption of their oil.

Stupidity is not a curable disease. Do not support candidates who will keep these Neocons at the center of our national security deliberations.

Dennis Cleary
Bethany Beach

Congressional benefits not as rumored

It is annoying to receive e-mail after e-mail with false statements about the retirement benefits of the members of Congress. It is downright disgusting to read it in our newspapers.

The truth can be found the CSRS Report for Congress, RL30631. There, one will find that members of Congress have the same retirement benefits as all other federal employees. Their retirement benefits, like other federal employees, depend upon when their service began and how long they serve.

Since 1984, they, like other federal employees, have been paying into Social Security, as well as the new Federal Employee Retirement plan (FERS). Prior to 1984, they participated in the Civil Service Retirement System plan (CSRS), as did all other federal employees.

This report states: “As of Oct. 1, 2006, 413 retired members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service. Of this number, 290 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $60,972. A total of 123 members had retired with service under both CSRS and FERS or with service under FERS only. Their average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006.”

I would like to think that this report would deter future letters and e-mails spouting rumors, but I know it will not because there are people who refuse to believe anything that comes from the government.

Walt Berwick

Hocker thankful for public input

I would like to take this time to thank all of my constituents who have participated in my “Coffee’s On Me,” including the latest one held on Nov. 13. In spite of some dreary weather, many came out to discuss issues such as the fishing and hunting fees, the Route 26 sewer project, the Bethany Beach ambulance service, the Route 26 widening project, updates on the Assawoman Canal dredging, and of course, the I.R. Bridge replacement.

These issues, as well as some personal requests and questions, were discussed or brought to my attention during this public event. I even received a few thank you’s for issues that have been handled due to prior “Coffees.”

I hope everyone feels welcome to attend and plans to come out and join us during our next “Coffee.” I will plan the next event after I return to session in January, so I may update my constituents on “Taking the 38th District to Dover.”

Rep. Gerald W. Hocker
38th District

MBS Walkathon and Harvest event a success

The Students, Faculty and Parents of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School would like to thank everyone who sponsored a child for the Walkathon, and who showed up to support the Fall Festival.

This fall fundraiser supports many of the ongoing projects that help MBS to continue to be a state-of-the-art facility for this area’s pre-K through eighth-grade children.

We would like to give a special thanks (in no particular order) to the following sponsors that pledged above and beyond in time and money: Brendan and Renee Welch and the Welch family, KEKA Corporation and the Camarco family, Tommy and Lynn Welch, C&C Drywall, Devon International, Mike Capuano, Great Scott Broadcasting, Sussex Medical Aesthetics, Country Wicker, Barlow & Son Builders, Cathy Ward & Rick Civetti, Miken Builders, Pat & Dayna Welch, Jack Hogan, Honorable Frank Kelly, Millville Pet Shop, Justin Jennings Foundation, M & H Construction, Mike Lewis Custom Carpentry, Russell Banks, DNR Construction Group, Ocean Minded Construction, Lee Slaughter Fine Cars, Joe Trigila Jr., Bayside Jet Drive, Bryan and Angela Keith, Morgan Stanley, Kilian/Kangas Group, Anthony’s Beer and Wine, Clarion Resort, Trader Lee’s Village Store, Francis Scott Key Motel, Ayres Jenkins Gordy & Almand, P.A., Erik and Colleen Windrow, Mama’s Tax Service, The Globe Theatre, Damiana’s Gourmet Catering, Nelly Foundation, Sunset Grille, Endeavor Farms, Black Diamond Builders Inc., Ocean City Parrothead Club, The Rodimaks, Impressions Inc., Sens Mechanical Inc., Pop Pop Baker, Shore Power Electric Inc., Alterations by Pamela, Scott and Shuman LLC, Atlantic Community Title, Services LLC, All About Plumbing Inc., Harris Teeter, Momma Trudi Clubb, Dr. William Allen, Waterman’s Seafood Company, Oasis Bar & Grill, Anderson Exxon, Lisa Edmunds, Andrea Baker, Michele Hundley, Kate Baker, Kim Allison, Damiana Clubb, Karen March, Larnet St. Amant, Kate Griffith and Cathy Pasquariello.

Thank you for your continued support.
India Bandorick, Walkathon/Fall Festival Chair
Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School

Mitchell shares thoughts on Ocean View

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Ocean View Long Range Financial Committee presentation. I thought it was important to do so, since it is my intention to file as a candidate for the Town Council in 2008.

One important assumption underlying these estimates is that the transfer fees from Canal Landing need to come in as planned. This report also explores the down side risks of transfer fees not materializing.

How risky is the proposition that the transfer fees will not materialize? This is the $64 question. Further complicating transfer fee revenue risk is that the housing industry nationally finds itself in a market where home values have dropped and real estate sales have decreased. Whether this will continue is anyone’s guess.

Further complicating the town’s fiscal situation is that gasoline prices are on the rise, which will dampen development and also tighten budget constraints.

I serve on the Town Planning and Zoning Commission, and we have not had meetings during three of the last five months, from lack of applications. Thus, the downturn in development has been quite real in Ocean View.

My position as a candidate will be to avoid a tax increase except the nominal 3 percent tax rate already proposed, if at all possible. To avoid a tax rate increase, I will explore the following:

• Finding savings in the budget which provides a service at lower cost than it was originally budgeted.

• Finding new sources of revenue if available, but not from taxes. For example, grants may provide a source.

• Reinventing ways of providing services such as outsourcing to obtain savings.

• Freezes on job hiring.

I am optimistic about the future, and hope that the transfer fees will come in as we planned.

Finally, I applaud the town manager and his staff for their effort of making this proposed budget available so that budget choices can be clarified for the Town Council and ultimately for the voters.

I always appreciate your opinion. Please contact me at pmitchell@mchsi.com to send your ideas.

Perry J. Mitchell
Ocean View

Reader thankful for local support group

I am compelled to write to you to applaud your article titled “Brain injury victims get support in Millville,” written by a staff writer for the Coastal Point Ryan Saxton.

Mr. Saxton’s awareness of the importance of details and the empathy evidenced by his choice of wording reflects a heartfelt desire for an accurate public awareness of this yet-undiscovered epidemic facing our society. His effort is one seldom seen in a writer of his age. He is what I would call a “keeper.”

On behalf of the BIAD (Brain Injury Association of Delaware), the BIAUSA and residents of lower Sussex, I offer sincere thanks.

The Bells correctly perceived the need for an additional support group in the area. When they proposed the idea to the Board of Directors of the BIAD, they received unanimous support. The segment of our TBI (traumatic brain injury) society which cannot drive at night or do not drive at all will find this meeting more accommodating than the evening meetings elsewhere in this county and state or in neighboring Maryland.

Mrs. Bell (Beverly) brings to the BIAD board and to the TBI community much-needed and welcomed consumer perspectives in support of traumatic brain injury education and awareness. Thank you, Beverly.

Mr. Saxton is accurate in his reporting of the alarming statistics on head injury both here in Delaware and nationwide. It is important to note that these figures represent the reported cases of TBI. Many cases are never reported. The long-term effects of a TBI may not surface for days, weeks, months or even years post-injury. The long-term results of minor repetitive head traumas from sports injuries, for example, may not be identified or diagnosed for years, if at all.

There was one statement made in the article which I find extremely relevant and poignant. It bears repeating, “People don’t realize that I am single-minded, not simple-minded. There is a difference.”

Acceptance and internalization of this statement by the world around us could make decades of awareness campaigns unnecessary and save many hours of labor, not to mention a boatload of cash.

Robin Reifsnyder