Food For Thought
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Looking Back on 2003
January 1, 2004
by columnist
David Lawrence Dewey
"Reading provides knowledge...
knowledge leads to answers."
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When a year passes by as quickly as this one has, many times we forget those events that impacted us in one way or another and especially those people no longer with us who contributed in many ways to humanity.

In this column, I would like to re-visit some of those things of 2003 as we say goodbye to it.

The lights didn't go out in Georgia, but they certainly went out in New York City in August. It was the nation's biggest blackout affecting some 50 million people in eight eastern seaboard states. They still do know who or what caused the blackout.

SARS frightened the world with its' emergence. The respiratory illness begun in China actually in November, 2002, however the Chinese government held back for nearly three months before announcing the disease. It was traced to a pig farm. The first case outside of China showed up in Viet Nam where it quickly spread to Singapore, then Asia, then to Canada and finally to the U.S. Before it was finally contained, it killed 774 worldwide. By April 30, 2003, there were 6,234 cases worldwide, with 237 of them in the United States, resulting in 54 deaths due to SARS in the U.S.

Medicaid costs that were only $770 million in 1966 as part of President Johnson's, the "Great Society" push, has grown to over $67.3 billion dollars in 2003. It has put such a burden on the financial affairs of individual states, California for example is on the verge of bankruptcy because of it. Hard changes must be made, otherwise the whole system will collapse.

On March 1, 2003, Boyd E. Graves, filed suit against the United States Government, claiming he has proof that the government created the HIV virus during the goverments development of biological weapons using the Rous Sarcoma Virus which bears strikingly similiar homology to the HIV/AIDS virus. The Rous Sarcoma Virus also known as the Nazi sheep visna virus did not exist before 1932. The Nazis' developed the first strains and the U. S. Government Biologiocal Weapons program continued on with this deadly virus. It is a recombinant virus that was turned into the HIV (virus) agent, It was formed by converging a leukemia and a lymphoma according to Dr. Gallo and other researchers. The case is still pending.

Bill Gates began talking to the Chinese concerning a multi-billion deal with the Chinese for Windows. However, part of the deal if the Chinese is are going to crack down on black market copies of Windows, the Chinese want the source code to Windows. Bad idea, our own govenrment doesn't even have the source code to Windows.

Hurricane Isabel caused over $1 billion in property damage on the East Coast. When are we going to learn not to build where we shouldn't. The last nine hurriances have cost the insurance companies over $110 billion to policy holders. And this doesn't count the $24.4 billion that FEMA put into emergency funds for these hit areas.

More jobs are being lost due to corporations building plants overseas. Here is an example of how it is affecting small companies in the U.S.

A small company in Chicago who used to make a small part for Ford pickups from 1949 until last year for about $18.00, had to lay off 12 workers last month. Why? Because Ford now purchases the same product in China for less. Why? Because a worker in China earns $207 a month for making the part. In 2003, a $130 billion trade deficit will exist between the U.S. and China. That means, the U.S. will purchase $103 billion more goods from China than China buys from America. What has this cost in American jobs? Over 800,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1993 to China. Nothing has changed in the last ten years regarding jobs moving overseas.

Since January, 2000, over 260,000 jobs have been lost to China and Eurasia, India and Paskitan, and this is just in manufacturing jobs, clothing, textiles, machinery. Since January, 2000, over 80,000 jobs each month have been lost in all work sectors. If you look at the manufacturing output of the U.S. in the early 1990's, factories here in the U.S. churned out over 28% of the GDP. Today, it is less than 11%. Since, January, 2000, over 2.7 million overall jobs have been lost to these countries that were once held by Americans.

Banks, tech firms, security firms, customer service firms have been exporting white collar jobs to China, India an Pakistan. It is predicted by Forrester Research, that another 3.7 million jobs will be lost in the U.S. to these countries within the next 5 years.

If you have this many people losing jobs, which means less purchasing dollars for all goods, then exactly how is the economy coming back as many financial consultants are saying?

ENRON executives still not charged with anything. Kenneth Lay, the Chairman of the Board made $37,683,887 million, Jeff Skilling, former CEO, $14,480,755 million, Lou Pai, Unit Ceo, $62,936,552 million and Andrew Fasto, the fired Chief Financial Officer, $30 million? Jeff Skiing has taken the fifth. Andrew Fasto was finally charged by the Justice Department. And what about Lay and Pai? Poor Martha Stewart has been charged concerning a mere $340,000.00 while Lay has walked away with nearly $38 million and Pai, nearly $63 million and both have yet to be charged with anything. And by the way California...there is where alot of your money went.

IRAN and North Korea have become worrisome to many. North Koreans are on the verge of starvation because of the embargoes. China is talking to them to stop their nuclear weapon development. It will be interesting to see what China does. With the recent devasting earthquake in Iran which killed nearly 30,000, Americans rescue workers were let it, the first time since 1972 that Americans has been let into Iran. Hopefully, tensions are decreasing between the U.S. and Iran, and this devastating disaster may bring about positive changes.

Gray Davis, Governor of California is recalled and Arnold Schwarzennegger is elected Governor. California is in a serious financial mess, due primarily to the electric energy pricing manipulation that ENRON did to the state, job losses in the tech fields, and high Medicaid costs due to immigrants from Mexico. Arnold, I hope you can pull this one off, I think you may have grabbed onto omething you can't lift to change.

The war in Iraq begun on March 19th and officially ended 49 days later. That is still a matter of discussion on many fronts. I believe the war in Iraq is the single most important event that happened in 2003. It will have ramifications for not only Americans, but for people all over the world. The capture of Saddam Hussein was not just about catching a brutal dictator or a "feather" in President Bushs' cap, it was about the end of a brutal way of life for millions of people. And most importantly I believe, it showed that regardless of religious belief or faith, people can come together to stop evil.

American IDOL $64,000 Question

In May of 2003, I received over 800 emails from people asking for my help in investigating why they could not get through to vote for their artist on this show. After placing a complaint form on the site asking specific questions, 1,253 complaints were tabulated. The complaints and results were sent along with a letter to each FCC Commissioner and the President of the Fox Television Corp. on July 3rd, 2003. Each complaint had the person's phone number(s), who were their telephone providers, when they tried calling, their address and comments. There still has been no reply from either the FCC or the President of FOX regarding these 1,253 valid complaints.

A Heavy Blow To Our Democracy and Freedom of Speech

Our democracy was dealt a heavy blow by the FCC with its' ruling in July, 2003 to allow large mediacorporations to buy up more TV stations, newspapers and radio stations.

Three political appointees to the Federal Communications Commission are the ones that dealt this recent blow which will surely undermine this country's sense of free speech by a free press. Most very disturbing is the fact that the FCC has done this without public review and without the American people receiving compensation in return for their public airwaves. The new rules basically meant that a large media corporation could own 95% of the television stations in this country. Think of the power in the hands of one corporation headed by a Chairman and a few board of directors this will create. Finally, a Court of Appeals has ruled against the ruling and it has not gone into effect.

HOWEVER, despite the above, the FCC just approved the sale of DIRECT TV Satellite to Rupert Murdoch's, News Corporation, the same corporation that owns FOX, and the American Idol show. If you want more information about this, read my columns on these matters.

The most devastating event that occurred in the U.S. in 2003 was the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her seven man crew. It was a moment in America that resembled the day JFK was shot. America was not only stunned, but grieved for these seven brave men and women who lost their lives as it disintegrated during re-entry.

Most important, we need to remember those men and women who have given their lives in the middle east, in IRAQ and Afganistan, who were not only protecting America, but were protecting those that cannot defend themselves from brutal dictators and murderers. By their deaths, many shining lights of hope are being lit in the middle east for peace.

In 2003, we lost a few celebrities that gave much to the world through their performances.

Here are just a few of them.

Bob Hope, 100. Katharine Hepburn, 96. John Ritter, 54. Barry White, 58. Fred Rogers, 74.
Johnny Cash, 71. Celia Cruz, 77. Gregory Peck, 87.

Katherine Hepburn
Katherine Hepburn
Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck
John Ritter
John Ritter
Barry White
Barry White
Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers
Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz

Last but not least, I would like to share this with my readers at this time also. Please try to help the following organization below. Our military families are suffering because of their spouses extended duty in IRAQ.

A sudden and prolonged deployment can throw a family into financial, emotional and spiritual crisis. Besides the emotional toll of being without a deployed mother or father, families must somehow learn to cope on a substantially reduced income when one of the major breadwinners is sent overseas. Utility bills, food emergencies, car repairs, plumbing repairs, baby-sitting, diapers, birthday parties, holidays, pregnancies-it all adds up. And with the recent reduction of $250 a month in many guard members' pay, it's easy to see how quickly a young family can go from stable to desperate.

There is an organization called, Operation Adopt-A-Family. The non-profit organization distributes store vouchers and cash to the families of the deployed who are in greatest need, beginning with families of small children, expectant mothers-to-be, and large families of professionals with a recent drastic cut in income.

Operation Adopt-A-Family also matches volunteers with needy military families. The volunteers provide emotional and spiritual support to the family throughout the soldier's deployment.

Donations can be mailed directly to:
Honor Thy Children Foundation
Operation Adopt-a-Family

P.O. Box 10822
Portland, OR 97296

If you'd like more information about the fund, you can visit the foundation's website at:

One of the supporters of the fund is former Marine, Wayne Standiford of Condon, Oregon.. Having served in Vietnam, Mr. Standiford knows the difficulties faced by soldiers and their families caught in a war as it drags on and on without any clear victory in sight. That's why he's donating $1 to Operation Adopt-A-Family for each copy sold of his book, BURY ME WITH SOLDIERS.

This holiday season, help support Operation Adopt-A-Family.

Last but least, I would like to share this photo I received from the proud warriors of Baker Company in IRAQ who wanted to do something to pay tribute to their fallen comrades this Holiday Season.

Bravo Company Remembesr 911

Welcome to 2004 and I wish you a good year.

God Bless

~ ~ David Lawrence Dewey

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