Christmas season magic and inspiration

DeeDee Wood | Cave Creek

I witnessed two events this Christmas season here in the Desert Foothills that were so magical and inspiring: The Cave Creek “Christmas Pageant” outside near the end of Spur Cross Road and the innovative production of the “Nutcracker” at Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, with different activities of the show held in three performance areas.

To be part of the audience of both events made me proud to know of all the talent here in our area.

I understand both programs were possible by support of the Foothills Community Foundation. Kudos to all involved: Toby Payne (Christmas Pageant), Maribeth Reeves and Lori Vander Maten (Gecko Teatro), and Nadya Zubkov (Arizona School of Classical Ballet).

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Obvious no pardon

Patricia Davis | Cave Creek

Outgoing President Bush has issued his list of pardons, none of which is for the U.S. Border Agents, Ignacio Ramos or Jose Compean. Why may you ask did he not? Very simple. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Johnny Sutton, the man responsible for placing this heavy-handed sentence on these two gentlemen, was "appointed" by President George W. Bush in 2001 to his current position. Before that, Mr. Sutton "served" under then Governor George W. Bush from 1995-2000 as the Criminal Justice Policy Director, advising the Governor on all criminal justice issues, with specific oversight in the areas of "PRISON CAPACITY AND MANAGEMENT" and "PAROLE OPERATIONS." Mr. Sutton speaks fluent Spanish. Now wouldn't that seem like a man who would understand the plight of the border agents? Apparently not!

I was unable to find an e-mail address for Mr. Sutton, but I do have a phone number: (210) 384-7400. I was able to leave a personal message for Mr. Sutton on this number. I would ask you do the same.

Just as an aside, I learned from Mr. Sutton's bio that he enjoys baseball. I told him in my message that maybe he needs to go after the professional baseball players who have lied under oath about their steroid use instead of wasting his time on two innocent men who sit in solitary confinement while their young families continue to suffer. I would ask that if you feel strongly enough about this lack of pardon for the agents that you let Mr. Sutton know that the citizens of Cave Creek, North Scottsdale, and Carefree just don't buy into it!! Ah, political appointees!!!

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Isn’t it time?

Bob Russell | Scottsdale

Isn't it time to move beyond the Karl Rove style of negative politics?

For a small time tiny newspaper to spend so much ink on silly political negativism, so much of it misguided, seems to me to waste space that could be dedicated to something meaningful and uniting to the community.

As Newt Gingrich said: “I think the country is so tired right now of a style of Republican attack politics that has become a caricature of itself, they instinctively go, “I’m tired of that,” said Newt Gingrich, a Republican and former speaker of the House. “It’s ineffective against Barack Obama right now. The country is faced with serious problems and is about to have a brand new president. You’d have to be irrational not to want the new president to succeed.”

Let's skip the dumb conspiracy junk, birth certificate silliness, knocking Michelle Obama for a supposed grammer (sic) error. Isn't it small thinking and unnecessary in a world which has so many real problems? So boring and trite to see this stuff repeated week after week.

Becky Fenger, writing a small minded column in a small time rag, shouldn't be criticizing the next first lady who is setting an example of a modern American thinking woman. Fenger should look at her own accomplishments, which don't look like much from where I'm standing. She should be the last to point fengers.

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Fengers in yellowcake

Tim Nevins | Cave Creek

Once again, Ms. Fenger is sending messages from the right-wing echo chamber about finding yellowcake uranium in Iraq and it being proof that “Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction.” Her recycling of this red herring only picked up by the most brain-dead of the dead-enders in the right-wing media is disappointing to sensible people and dishonest and misleading on her part.

This non-weapons-grade material has been known, documented and was sealed by the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) in 1992, after the first Gulf War. It was only a secret to those like Ms. Fenger who choose to ignore the long factual record of this stockpile. None of it was acquired by Iraq after 1991, according to the official documentation.

So, the FACTS are; this material was not weapons-grade, this material was not even suitable for “dirt bombs,” Iraq has not had the capability to convert it to weapons-grade since Israel bombed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in 1980, this material was known to all relevant authorities since 1992, and despite knowing about this facility the Bush administration allowed this and other facilities to be looted after the invasion.

The only “proof” that arises from this story is the intellectual bankruptcy of Ms. Fenger and others of her ilk.

Editors Note: We stand by our editorial, however, we don’t read the New York Times or Prevada.

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Crow’s not worth it

Debra White | Tempe

ASU President Michael Crow makes more than the entire Arizona senate. He makes more than the governor, Phoenix mayor and both senators in Washington. He is not worth it.

Mr. Crow carried a grudge with him against minority women from Columbia where he was vice provost. Last year, according to ASU, they spent around $3 million in outside litigation defending the university against serious discrimination cases. In one instance, the EEOC said ASU discriminated against a professor. Crow would not settle and the case is being ought in the courts. The case against the Havasupai tribe was so serious Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is the lead attorney. There are other cases but time doesn’t permit me to discuss them in a letter to the editor.

Moreover, ASU will neither confirm nor deny that no African Americans were tenured since Crow was hired. At least three African American professors have been fired, however. There could be more. ASU has below average graduation rates says the Education Trust Fund from Washington D.C. The Fall ’08 issues of Black Employment and Entrepreneur Magazine did not list any public Arizona universities on their top 100 list. They did list the University of Phoenix.

Governor Janet Napolitano has taken a hands off approach to Michael Crow’s misdeeds and out of control spending. I hope the next governor and legislature will take more responsibility for what’s happening at ASU. It’s clear the Board of Regents will not. They only serve as Michael Crow’s cheerleaders.

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The Federal Reserve Bank

Ed Konecnik | Flushing, New York

Most Americans think it is Congress that creates money and regulates monetary policy. In fact, it is the Federal Reserve Bank and its bankers that create and play “monopoly” with our money, set interest rates, grant loans and bailouts to other bankers. Our economic circumstances are the result of the machinations and decisions imposed by a privately owned and operated Federal Reserve Bank. The government ceded its Constitutional responsibility “to coin money and regulate the value thereof” by an act of Congress establishing the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. It is exempt from all taxation, independent from audits and congressional supervision and most significantly, independent of the American voter. Yet it has the greatest power of any institution in the country – the power to create and control the nation’s money supply.

President John F. Kennedy knew Federal Reserve Notes issued by the Federal Reserve Bank were not backed by anything of intrinsic value. Few Americans are aware that in June 1963, he issued and signed an Executive Order 11110 which ordered the U.S. Treasury to issue United States Notes against any silver bullion and silver dollars held by the Treasury. After his assassination, his United States Notes “Silver Certificates” were immediately taken out of circulation even though they were backed by silver and more valuable than the Federal Reserve Notes. (Type in “JFK Federal Reserve” for an Internet search.)

Thomas Jefferson counseled “I sincerely believe that banking institutions, having the issuing power of money, are more dangerous to liberties than standing armies. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people where it properly belongs.”

A few years after signing the Federal Reserve Act into law, Woodrow Wilson wrote “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.”

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Free from Foreign Interference?

William Hutchins | Chandler

I recently read an article in the Republic about a homosexual English man who has come to Arizona to help get signatures and contributions to place a proposition on the ballet to repeal the definition of Marriage Amendment. Does this bother anyone else?

Admittedly this is one of the most difficult issues of our day some see it as black and white and some don’t. But what we must all see is that it is up to us; U.S. Citizens and more specifically Arizona Citizens to decide this issue for ourselves. I’m curious if anyone else realizes that this individual’s behavior can be construed as a violation of Federal Elections Law. Specifically section 110.20 of 2 U.S.C. 441e, 36 U.S.C. 510.

Does it matter to any of our Federal enforcement officials that this applies also at the State level? Why is this allowed to go on without deporting him? A Foreign National has admitted in a public forum his support for a specific political agenda and is openly supporting the repeal of an Arizona Election to modify the State Constitution. Is anyone awake in the U.S. Government?

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Jay Thompson | Cave Creek

I had to laugh when I saw Joe Arapio standing next to Andrew Thomas as he reported charges against Don Stapley of 118 felony counts for, it appears, failing to fill out paperwork properly. Stapley listed his real estate investment company on financial disclosure forms with the county. But, for fourteen years, he failed to list the company's holdings.

There is no suggestion in the indictment that Stapley used his position to enhance the value of the property. Nor does it appear that he actively sought to hide his assets. Stapley is charged with four felony counts for failing to disclose his membership in a company in 1997. But Stapley wasn't attempting to hide the company's existence, if he was he wasn't very good at it since he discussed his plans to rehab the Scottsdale Galleria, in the Phoenix Business Journal.

If he wanted a really shady character to indict all he had to do was turn in "Honest Joe’s" direction. Want to know how much he paid for a pair of strip malls, or who loaned him the money to buy them? Good luck. Or, where Joe got the $440,000 in cash he plunked down for a piece of property in Fountain Hills? He doesn't want to say.

Never once has the Maricopa County supervisors called for a full audit of the sheriff's office. Even though every limited audit of Arpaio's operations has found serious problems.

That Sonoran News did an almost legendary one week journalistic about face in support of "America's stupidest sheriff" simply because he has made a few election season shows (shows being a literal word here) is a travesty. Never mind people die in his jails, he destroys evidence of those deaths and has cost county taxpayers almost a half a billion dollars in settlements and judgments.

Not to mention being the master of the "political smear" and a vile, self absorbed, publicity whore of a politician (not a law enforcement professional, a politician) who never saw a camera he didn't trip over to get in front of. As long as he's busting those wetback ice cream peddlers and passes out those pink boxers, he's our man. Thing is, Joe will do anything for a vote, anything. He does nothing without an eye on the publicity angle or winning an election or a popularity point. Who else calls out the press BEFORE a law enforcement operation commences?

Stapley’s indictments will probably turn out to be just another "enemy list" hit orchestrated by our twin keystone cops Arapio and Andrews.

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What if they returned to the Gold Standard?

Jason Hommel |

They can't, but we can

What if the Government went back on a Gold Standard? To do that, they would need to use their gold to pay off all their debt. That would give a price of gold if the U.S. Government backed the dollar with gold. We only need to know two numbers, and do a simple problem of division.

First number: The national debt. The government tells us this is: $10,656,119,227,403.

That's 10.6 trillion dollars.

Second number: The U.S. Gold stock. The government tells us this is: 261,498,899 ounces of gold. That's 261 million ounces of gold.

So $10,656,119,227,403 divided by 261,498,899 = $40,750/oz. of gold.

In theory, if the U.S. government had the restraint to stop issuing any kind of new debt, and if there was a runaway hyperinflation, the government could credibly stop any sort of runaway gold price by offering gold at a price of $40,750/oz.

That's the price that could cap the gold market if the U.S. government sold all their gold to all their bond holders. At that point, all new taxes would have to be levied in gold, not dollars.

It's important to realize that any effort by the government to sell gold below that price will ultimately fail, and will eventually cause the gold price to go even higher than that price, as that would only deplete their limited stock of gold at inappropriate price levels.

The main point is that T-Bills, which are perceived as the safest haven around, are not safe. They are only backed up by gold at a rate of $40,750 per oz. With gold trading today at around $800/oz., the U.S. gold backs less than 2 percent of the value of the issued bonds, or stated another way, $800 is 2 percent of the price of $40,750. Gold, at today's prices, is clearly a far superior safe haven.

And silver, which is in short supply, due to relentless industrial demand that has consumed nearly all world silver supplies, is even safer.

Clearly, the government cannot offer gold at $40,750 per oz. today. There would be no buyers. But, over time, the gold price may rise to such levels, and beyond, as a generation of people slowly wake up to the monetary fraud of the last 29 to 95 years, depending on whether you count from 1980 or 1913.

I am not an advocate of a return to a gold standard, where gold backs up paper money. I'm in favor of a return to using silver and gold coins and bars as money, as measured by weight, and traded at their intrinsic value according to price in an open and free market place.

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