Monday, January 31

Meet Sgt. Missick

This is from Sgt. Missick, stationed in Iraq. He's an amazing writer and this is his "take" on the elections.

Iraqi Elections

Today is not simply a day for the courage and fortitude of Iraqi citizens who are exercising their right to vote to be displayed throughout the world, it is a day of celebration for all free peoples everywhere enjoying the benefits of representative rule and freedom of choice.

Today we welcome Iraqis into the circle of freedom's beneficiaries, and can take pride as a nation that we helped to make this possible. Regardless of the various opinions one has on everything from our mission in Iraq to the opinions I express on this site, today I hope we can at least pause and recognize the bravery of Iraq's voting citizenry and stand welcoming them with open arms to freedom's ever expanding circle.

It is hard for us as Americans to recognize the sacrifice many of these folks are taking. With leaflets declaring that their lives are at risk for voting littering the streets, and polling places being bombed and riddled with small arms fire, they truly are taking a step on their own today to benefit their nation.

Obviously I have no idea who will win this election, and in all honesty, I believe that the fact that the election is taking place may be even more significant in the long run than who the short term victors are. After the tragedies of the last month in regards to the tsunami, I hope that we stand today on the edge of a tsunami of hope. The initial earthquake is taking place today in Iraq, and it is my hope that the effects of that political quake will send tremors throughout surrounding nations, inspiring a region to do for itself, what it had previously determined would be impossible.

Like Jason, who expressed in comments a few days ago that we have major problems with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, I hope that the tide of republican rule sweeps across Islamic nations, empowering the people who advocate peace and a coexistence of Islam and republicanism, and that we can begin a new phase in Middle Eastern history. Of course, reality dictates the road will not be easy, but let us pray that the road is at least being paved today.

It was fascinating to see soldier reactions today all around camp. One particularly poignant moment came for me at chow today. Huddled around one of the televisions that air Fox News, a group of soldiers stood eagerly watching the reports. Of course, a few sighs came from some of the soldiers when Geraldo came on the screen, but after the incident in the early days of this war, I guess that was to be expected.

There is a nervous excitement among many soldiers here today. There is a genuine desire for the elections to go well, for freedom and republican government to succeed in Iraq. There is also the ever-present thought that all soldiers have, that when Iraqis begin to accomplish more on their own, we will be able to go home sooner.


Surely this generation of soldiers will be known as the "Greatest Generation" for we are told that there is nothing greater than to lay down your life for your friend.

Funny and Not So

Iraqi Voting Disrupts News Reports of Bombings
Scott Ott is the "Network News" of the Internet. He writes:

(2005-01-30) -- News reports of terrorist bombings in Iraq were marred Sunday by shocking graphic images of Iraqi "insurgents" voting by the millions in their first free democratic election.

Despite reporters' hopes that a well-orchestrated barrage of mortar attacks and suicide bombings would put down the so-called 'freedom insurgency', hastily-formed battalions of rebels swarmed polling places to cast their ballots -- shattering the status quo and striking fear into the hearts of the leaders of the existing terror regime.

Hopes for a return to the stability of tyranny waned as rank upon rank of Iraqi men and women filed out of precinct stations, each armed with the distinctive mark of the new freedom guerrillas -- an ink-stained index finger, which one former Ba'athist called "the evidence of their betrayal of 50 years of Iraqi tradition."

Journalists struggled to put a positive spin on the day's events, but the video images of tyranny's traitors choosing a future of freedom overwhelmed the official story of bloodshed and mayhem.


I wish the following was intended as humor. Unfortunately, it's not. It was posted on a Democratic blog and gives us a sad picture of what that party has come to:

From DUmpster:
"The Iraq vote is making me sick this morning.

All the media keeps talking about is how happy the Iraqis are, how high turnout was, and how "freedom" has spread to Iraq. I had to turn off CNN because they kept focusing on the so-called "voters" and barely mentioned the resistance movements at all. Where are the freedom fighters today? [Ed note: At the polls.] Are their voices silenced because some American puppets cast a few ballots?

I can't believe the Iraqis are buying into this "democracy" bull****. They have to know that the Americans don't want them to have power, because they know that Bush is in this for the oil, and now that he finally has it he's not going to let it go.
[Yeah, just like we didn't let go in Germany and Japan.]

This election is a charade. The fact is that the Iraqis have suffered during the past two years [two years? what about the 30 years before that?] more than any people on earth at the hands of the American gestapo. Maybe they're afraid and felt they had to vote. That's the only way I can explain it to myself. [And that's why they were cheering and dancing in the streets?]

OR -- I just thought of this -- maybe they're smiling because they're using the Americans' own game to defeat them. They're voting in candidates who they know will widen the resistance, take the fight to the streets, and finally drive the occupying forces out of their country. Perhaps they're smiling because -- right under the Americans' noses -- they're planting the seeds of a bigger and more effective resistance movement. Wouldn't that be fitting? [Only to an insanely jealous mind.]

Use *'s own tools against them?

We can only pray that this is the case. Becuase if it's not -- and if the Iraq vote is seen as a success that spread "freedom -- the world is screwed.

[President] Bush's inaugural speech left little doubt that he has other countries on his list to spread "freedom" to. They will be his next targets, and the world will burn because of it.

Let's hope the resistance got voted in, or if not, they only increase the fight and take down those who betrayed their country today by voting in this fraud election."


You'll have to forgive the editorial comments; actually I restrained myself admirably. It's MY blog, after all, and if I give space to this kind of tripe, I get to treat it the way I want. I just wish I knew the name of the author. I would print that, too. It was probably the infamous "anonymous."

Sunday, January 30

Racing The Sun

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The people have won.
We would love to share what we did this morning with the whole world, we can't describe the feelings we've been through but we'll try to share as much as we can with you.

We woke up this morning one hour before the alarm clock was supposed to ring. As a matter of fact, we barely slept at all last night out of excitement and anxiety.

The first thing we saw this morning on our way to the voting center was a convoy of the Iraqi army vehicles patrolling the street, the soldiers were cheering the people marching towards their voting centers then one of the soldiers chanted "vote for Allawi" less than a hundred meters, the convoy stopped and the captain in charge yelled at the soldier who did that and said:

"You're a member of the military institution and you have absolutely no right to support any political entity or interfere with the people's choice. This is Iraq's army, not Allawi's".

This was a good sign indeed and the young officer's statement was met by applause from the people on the street.

The streets were completely empty except for the Iraqi and the coalition forces' patrols, and of course kids seizing the chance to play soccer!

We had all kinds of feelings in our minds while we were on our way to the ballot box except one feeling that never came to us, that was fear. We could smell pride in the atmosphere this morning; everyone we saw was holding up his blue tipped finger with broad smiles on the faces while walking out of the center.

I couldn't think of a scene more beautiful than that.

From the early hours of the morning, People filled the street to the voting center in my neighborhood; youths, elders, women and men. Women', turn out was higher by the way. And by 11 am the boxes where I live were almost full!

Anyone watching that scene cannot but have tears of happiness, hope, pride and triumph.

The sounds of explosions and gunfire were clearly heard, some were far away but some were close enough to make the windows of the center shake but no one seemed to care about them as if the people weren't hearing these sounds at all.

I saw an old woman that I thought would get startled by the loud sound of a close explosion but she didn't seem to care, instead she was busy verifying her voting station's location as she found out that her name wasn't listed in this center.

How can I describe it!? Take my eyes and look through them, my friends, you have supported the day of Iraq's freedom and today Iraqis have proven that they're not going to disappoint their country or their friends.

Is there a bigger victory than this? I believe not.

I still recall the first group of comments that came to this blog 14 months ago when many of the readers asked "The Model?"
"Model for what?"

Take a look today to meet the model of courage and human desire to achieve freedom; people walking across the fire to cast their votes.

Could any model match this one? Could any bravery match the Iraqis'?
Let the remaining tyrants of the world learn the lesson from this day.

The media is reporting only explosions and suicide attacks that killed and injured many Iraqis so far but this hasn't stopped the Iraqis from marching towards their voting stations with more determination. Iraqis have truly raced the sun.

I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants.

I put the paper in the box and with it there were tears that I couldn't hold; I was trembling with joy and I felt like I wanted to hug the box but the supervisor smiled at me and said "brother, would you please move ahead, the people are waiting for their turn".

Yes brothers, proceed and fill the box!
These are stories that will be written on the brightest pages of history.

It was hard for us to leave the center but we were happy because we were sure that we will stand here in front of the box again and again and again. Today, there's no voice louder than that of freedom.

No more confusion about what the people want, they have said their word and they said it loud and the world has got to respct and support the people's will.

God bless your brave steps sons of Iraq and God bless the defenders of freedom.

Aasha Al-Iraq Aasha Al-Iraq Aasha Al-Iraq.

Mohammed and Omar.


I remember how I felt when I came home from a trip to East Berlin during the Cold War. I had seen true political oppression there and experienced having machine guns trained on me at the Wall. Through that small experience I learned a little of the value of freedom. Omar, I, too, shed grateful tears the next time I cast a ballot and I have never forgotten what I learned in that short view of Communism.

Today I shed grateful tears for you, too.You have not let us down and someday you'll know the joy of living in total freedom and casting a fearless ballot.

God/Allah bless the Iraqi people.


All Across Iraq

The mood in Bagdad is joyful, they say. "I've never seen so many Iraqis smiling until this day. This day there is joy and optimism and hope in every eye in Bagdad. There was gunfire on many occasions but people didn't seem to care." Omar in Bagdad.

There was opposition in unexpected places, however.

The election seemed to go pretty well in Najaf, as well. The worst thing that happened wasn't anything like a terror attack, but a bit of malfeasance by the governor.

Our correspondent there spoke to local human rights chief Talleb Al Zayyadi.

"It is a great day for Iraq, a new Iraq, a great Iraq, without Saddam Hussein, an Iraq looked upon by all people of the world, a democratic Iraq. We witnessed today a big and unexpected turnout of Iraqi voters to the polls. Things are going to the better, but there are some negative things that happened today.

I am sorry to say these are done by certain persons, in particular the Governor of An Najaf who took advantage of his position to do all what he can to promote the list No. 254 of which he is the leader, the list of Al Wafaa. He used all these capabilities for his advertising campaign and even today, he rented more than 400 cars to transport voters to and from voting centers to vote for his list.

This is a flagrant violation of the electoral law and the instructions of the IECI. Unfortunately, the IECI did nothing and let him do what he wanted. A statement published by An Najaf Governor No. 150 on 28 January comprised instructions in five articles, article No. 4 was to get cars to transport voters, by the governorate in coordination with the IECI. The IECI said it has no knowledge of this matter. The governor refused to give badges to delegates of all other entities so let them circulate within the governorate and observe elections, that is a breach."


This material comes from Friends of Democracy

Election Goes Smoothly in Kirkuk

Our Friends of Democracy correspondent in At Tamm'im province reports that all seems to be going well in Kirkuk.

Everything was so quiet in Kirkuk and all the citizens were going to the voting centers for the early morning. The streets were empty of the cars but buses were used to help people reach their electoral centers.

In Tiseen which is part of the Shi district (mostly Arabs and Turkmen) the electoral center was so crowded and the lines had a lot of people (at least hundreds). It is significant that on average there were more women than men. Every center had 3 security tiers which had the police, the Iraqi National guards and the coalition forces.

In Mousala which is a pure Turkmen district every one was going to the electoral centers, even the elderly women and men and the handicapped.

In Hawiga which is one of zones in the country sides of Kirkuk many electoral centers were bombed in the few last days. Although high risk, some resources said there are people are going to the elections now. The police and the Iraqi national guards have their own plans to make the electoral operation as secure as possible for the people to go to the elections.

In Isakan, which is a Kurdish district, the security is very high and the electoral centers were crowded. The police and the national guard were everywhere.

Although there were 3 attacks on the coalition airbase in Kirkuk, at 8 o'clock the electoral centers was filled with people and no one was afraid because of the number of police in the streets. This made the people feel secure enough to walk to and from the electoral centers.

He filed a second report from Kirkuk today.

During the elections the kids have nothing to do as everyone is busy voting.

These kids are playing football on the main streets which are usually crowded with cars.

In Abbasi and Riyath, which are villages near Hawgi, most of the tribes are going to the elections. These were among the most unstable places in the countryside of Kirkuk, which means everything is under control in Kirkuk.


--------
Posted By Sunnye

Saturday, January 29

The Heart of an Iraqi in Bagdad

The following is from a resident of Bagdad about the day before the elections. I've searched and searched for a negative opinion and this is as close as I've found:
Good morning

The world is more concerned of the Iraqi elections than the poor Iraqis themselves.
People in Iraq are busy with their lives details and in solving the problems of water and electricity, and dealing with the lack of gas for cars and cooking, in addition to the daily horror of the bombed car, explosions, death and destruction -- and the gangs of thieves and kidnappers.

All of this in Iraq, while the international media stations are trying to find answers to questions like: What’s the ration of voters? Are the elections going to be held or not? Who is for the elections and who is against it? Who are the names in the winning elections lists? How many people are on each list?

Hmmmmmmm….

The world is living other priorities that are totally different from the regular Iraqi's main concerns.

I know and feel the size of the struggle and sacrifices of Iraqis, and I wish that Iraq and Iraqis will achieve a stable life as soon as possible because they witnessed a long history full of suffering.

We always laugh and say that God will put Iraqis in heaven and tell them: you saw enough of misery in your life.

My heart laughs and cries at once.


The heart of the Iraqi people is staunch and brave. The more I read of what they are feeling and doing, the more I believe that what we have done and are doing was right and true.

Friday, January 28

It is the best of times and the worst of times

This first quote is typical of our usual American media reports on the election in Iraq. It's from CNN:

KARMA, Iraq (CNN) -- The concept of democracy appears to have taken root in the dusty town of Karma, a predominantly Sunni community of 75,000 people about nine miles (15 kilometers) northeast of Falluja.

Karma sprawls for miles along the canals of the Euphrates River, with its little communities of sandy brick houses, each separated by the bright colors of laundry hanging out to dry. Patches of bright green grass dot the landscape. Herds of sheep and goats drink from the river while children run behind Humvees screaming "Mister! Mister!" as Marines on their daily patrols throw them candy.

Troops from the Regimental Combat Team 7 (RCT-7) of the 1st Marine Division meet with local leaders, sheiks and the people of Karma to try to gauge their sentiment about the upcoming elections. They distribute flyers that read: "Participate in the elections to build a strong Iraq" and "Vote! The future is in your hands."

But many villagers are not as interested in talking about the elections as they are about the lack of petrol, gas, electricity and work. They say they receive their information about the elections from TV and say no one has campaigned or even hung campaign posters in their community.

Although most say they don't know who the candidates are or where to vote, they say they will vote come January 30.


Read more of this story by Arma Damon by clicking here.

Now contrast that reporting with an Iraqi blogger, who celebrated the New Year by writing this on his blog:
As for the elections, they are doing their best to intimidate and threaten people. What can be more abominable than this; openly intimidating people from participating in the first truly free elections in the history of not only Iraq but also probably the entire region. And what lame excuses they give! The security situation? But it is you gentlemen who are responsible for the havoc. And; what guarantee can there be if the elections are postponed that the situation will not get worse? In fact, we all know that you will do your damn best to aggravate it further in the vane hope that you might achieve your vile objectives. Fair elections cannot be held under occupation! : As if we ever saw any fair elections when there was no “occupation” for almost a whole century when your minority clan was lording over the people. Besides, Palestinian elections were recently held under Israeli occupation, and we did not see anybody objecting. You are not telling us that the Israeli occupation is better than the presence of the MNF who have liberated the country from your tyranny. Oh, and they want a precise timetable for the MNF to leave. That, we assure you does not stem from any patriotic sentiment. You can be certain that within few hours from the departure of the last American soldier, the old Saddam military and security apparatus will reemerge from their holes, reinforced this time with the vampires of the Bin Laden clan and their likes. The pogrom that would ensue then would be a horror unparalleled in the entire history of genocide and mass murder. In fact, it would be merciful, if our American friends “nuke” the whole place before leaving (to use the cute expression I have read somewhere). That would eliminate the scum while giving the rest of the population a quick death, which is better than the horrible torture that could await them; a kind of mercy killing, you might say: Euthanasia.

Well, I am sorry, but these are horrible thoughts for the New Year. Nevertheless, do not go thinking that we have weakened. This time America is right, and the Iraqi people will never allow the clock to be turned back. No matter what sacrifices are required: We Shall Overcome.

Love to all our friends in America and elsewhere: You shall be proud of the Iraqi people, your grateful friends.

Salaam

To read more of Salaam's comments on the situation in Iraq, click here.

The difference in tone is amazing, isn't it!

This Sunday I'll be attending (via the internet)a conference in Washington D.C. to get the latest news and photos from Iraq. I'll be posting about the election here, trying to give you a feel for what is actually happening without the benefit of a leftist prejudice against the proceedings.







Wednesday, January 26

What The Fair Tax Means to Seniors

It’s “in” to be “old.”

The pre-boomer generation now sports grey hair and grandchildren.

Senior citizens are becoming a larger portion of the overall population, too. In 1970, those over 65 years of age were 9.8 percent of the population. By 1995, seniors were 12.7 percent of the population. 13 years from now, seniors will account for 13.3 percent of the population and in 2020, they will account for 16.5 percent.

Under the FairTax senior citizens, like everyone else, will receive a cash rebate at the beginning of each month. Therefore those with the lowest incomes will pay no tax at all. In fact, the Fair Tax is the only tax plan, including the current income tax regime, that completely "untaxes" the poor.

Income tax on social security will be repealed. The income tax imposed on investment income and pension benefits or IRA withdrawals will disappear. Pension funds, IRAs, and 401(k) plans had assets of over $9 trillion in 1998. An income tax deduction was taken for contributions to many of these plans, and all beneficiaries and owners of these plans expected to pay income tax on them upon withdrawal. Not if we pass the Fair Tax — once the income tax is gone, taxes on savings go with it. In other words, the hard-earned savings of seniors will be accessible, tax free.

Repeal of the corporate and individual income tax, and the estate and gift tax will have a substantial positive impact on the stock market. Seniors who own stocks either directly or through mutual funds, Individual Retirement Accounts, 401(k) plans, or otherwise, will experience significant gains. More seniors own stocks than any other age group. In addition, unrealized capital gains that would have been subject to the income tax when realized will no longer be taxed.

Newly constructed homes will be taxed, but formerly owned homes will not be. Currently, equity payments on homes must be paid from after-income-tax earnings (i.e. principal payments are not deductible). The purchase of existing housing is thus subject to the income tax. All owners of existing homes will experience large capital gains due to the repeal of the income tax and implementation of the FairTax.

Estate and gift taxes will be repealed. The need for small businesses and farmers to engage in expensive estate planning involving attorneys, complex estate freeze transactions, and expensive life insurance plans in anticipation of future estate and gift tax liability will disappear. The “death tax” will be repealed. Heirs will no longer need to sell the business or farm out of the family or borrow heavily, putting the business at risk, in order to pay the estate tax.

The Fair Tax will make the economy much more dynamic and prosperous. Consequently, federal tax revenues will grow, spending will be under less upwards pressure, and the deficit will decline. Budget pressure on entitlement spending, already significant, will become much more pronounced once baby boomers start retiring in 2010. The economic growth caused by a consumption tax will make it substantially less likely that federal budget pressures will result in Medicare or Social Security benefits cuts.

Seniors, able to live more comfortably in their last years, will be happy to know that their children and grandchildren will no longer labor under the yoke of the income tax and will know that they can leave the fruits of their lives to the next generation without fearing punishing taxation.

Tuesday, January 25

Bush's Legacy: The American Dream and More

In a recent speech, Hillary Clinton said, "President Dwight D. Eisenhower left a legacy of highways, John F. Kennedy the excitement over space exploration, and Lyndon B. Johnson created the legal framework for civil rights, Clinton said. "What are
we investing in today?">>

I can answer that with the confidence of personal experience: Freedom. Afghanistan, for example. Safety. Egypt's standing down their nuclear weapons program, for example.

An ownership society. America, for example: our son, 38 years old and so severely retarded that he has a full time staff to look after him, bought a house this year, thanks to President Bush's ownership society projects.

Our son, Allen's, income is around $1,000.00 a month -- actually less than $12,000.00 a year. But thanks to a US Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development loan that figured the monthly payment on the mortgage and the amount they would lend on his income, he has a charming 2-bedroom home on 1/2 acre of land outside of a small town in Mid-America.

The fact that a young man who can barely speak and cannot work can afford to buy his own home is a dream that we never dared to dream come true.

Yes, Senator Clinton, impossible dreams are coming true all over the world because George W. Bush is President of the United States.

Sunday, January 23

Proof That Dems Believe Americans Are Stupid

If you didn't believe it before, you will now.

According to NewsMax.com, "Congressional Democrats will OK a constitutional amendment allowing naturalizaed citizens like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for President if Republicans help kill the 22nd Amendment."

Two things are wrong with that: First, the Democrats have already proved they support an amendment allowing foreigners to run for President. Barney Franks, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced the bill to do so in the Senate in 2000. That's no bargain when you've already proved you favor the proposition.

In the second place, Bill Clinton's ego has just gotten a little out of hand here. "Clinton himself has boasted that he 'could be re-elected' one more time," according to the article.

All I can say is, over MY dead body.

The man is a disgraceful excuse for a human being; a cynical, crass, immoral, male slut who made the Presidency of the United States into a sham and a laughing-stock. I'd rather see Newt Gingrich in the office than give Clinton another chance at degrading our nation.

This is the time to be aware of what might happen and to stop it before it "gets legs."

I'm beginning to think it's time to make people stop changing the Constitution to meet their own personal preferences and ambitions.

Thursday, January 20

IT'S OUR PARTY, YOU CAN CRY IF YOU WANT TO

by Ann Coulter

In what The New York Times called Angola's "worst crisis" in "nearly 30 years" in December 1992, the country erupted into civil war. By January 1993, the streets were piled with thousands of dead bodies. In the prior year, hundreds of thousands had died of starvation in Somalia. Millions more were still at risk.

Also in 1993, January floods left dozens dead and thousands homeless in Tijuana, Mexico. Russia was, according to a New York Times editorial, on the brink of disaster, facing economic circumstances like those "that helped bring forth Hitler." Nine people were killed in a volcano in Colombia in mid-January, including American
scientists. In Bosnia, according to the Times, hundreds had died of starvation and exposure in a matter of days.

"It has all been so much fun," Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd gushed in The New York Times in January 1993. It was Bill Clinton one-week inaugural celebration. "Is it too much to ask that it go on forever?" (For those who loved America, the next eight years would only seem to go on forever.)

Rich and Dowd quoted Hollywood agent Karen Russell, saying: "I'm in this fantasy world. I haven't slept. I'm punch drunk. ... I just feel like I'm in this place called Clinton-land" -- which, if it were a theme park, could bill itself as "the sleaziest place on Earth!" Russell, they said, "spoke for everyone."

While dead bodies rotted in the streets of Angola and Somalia, the only "dead soldiers" in evidence in Clinton-land were the empty Cristal bottles lining the parade route. The most massive relief efforts that week took place at the rows of portable toilets circling each site of drunken Clintonista revelry.

Instead of having the usual Inauguration Day in 1993, Clinton had an "Inauguration Week," with high-tech pageantry, large-screen TVs on the mall, Hollywood direction and, indeed, half of Hollywood. The amount of money that would have been saved just by holding the inauguration in Brentwood could have averted the Rwandan tragedy Clinton ignored just a few years later.

The spokesman for Clinton's 1993 Inaugural Committee said the inaugural events would cost about $25 million -- largesse exceeded only by the $50 million Ken Starr was forced to spend when "Clintonland" turned out to be populated with felons. Think of all the starving children in Angola, Somalia, Bosnia and elsewhere that $25 million could have fed! And don't even get me started on Michael Moore's "on location" food budget!

I wouldn't mention it, except for the Times' recent editorial snippily remarking that the amount of foreign aid to tsunami victims offered by the United States within the first few days of the disaster was "less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities." By that logic, why hold the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, or spend money on restaurants and theater productions praised
in The New York Times? That money could go to tsunami victims!

A letter writer to the Times redoubled the Times' bile, claiming to be "embarrassed for our country" on account of the government's "pathetic initial offer of aid" to the tsunami victims. Yet he was still willing to throw away 37 cents on a postage stamp to send his letter -- money that could have been spent on the relief effort! (One strongly suspects the letter writer was embarrassed for his country long before
the tsunami hit and will remain so long after.)

Another letter writer suggested the first lady wear a used dress to the inauguration to "honor the young people who are dying in her husband's misbegotten war." (To honor John Kerry position on Iraq, Mrs. Bush would have to order an expensive gown and then, after it was delivered, decide she didn't want to pay for it.)

Hollywood liberals could not be reached for comment on the cost of the inauguration because they were being fitted for gowns and jewelry worth millions of dollars in anticipation of Oscar night.

Speaking of which, I just remembered: George Soros is worth $7 billion! Couldn't he get by on, say, $1 billion and donate the rest to the tsunami victims? If gun owners have to explain why they "need" a so-called "assault rifle," shouldn't Soros have to explain why he "needs" $7 billion? Last year, Soros announced that the central focus
of his life would be removing Bush from office. Would that Soros could refocus that energy on alleviating the suffering of tsunami victims.


I think it's terribly kind of Ms. Coulter not to remind us that the Dems claimed an excess of $30 million dollars left over AFTER the election campaign. And I haven't seen that amount touted anywhere as being donated to victims of any kind.

I have, however, taken note of the first Anti-Inaugural Party ever...to be hosted by the losers. If there was so very much concern over scraping up all we could find for tsunami victims, there's a hefty hunk right there.

Never, I think, in the history of the United States elections has the loser exhibited such an intense level of poor sportsmanship.

They refuse to support the President and vow to frustrate him at every turn, beginning with holding up finalizing the confirmation of Condleeza Rice. This is the OTHER political party in the US. And they think Americans will want to vote for them in 2006 and 2008?

That may very well explain the Republicans' growing support. Although they have opposed Democrats on some issues, they have never exhibited the kind of destructive poor-sportsmanship we are seeing now. I wouldn't support them if they did.

Wednesday, January 19

Kicked Off The List

I just experienced something that has never happened to me before on a Republican/Conservative list. Democrats/Liberals have kicked me off when I expressed my views, and I've come to expect that. I've taken a great deal of pride thinking that "red" groups are more willing to discuss issues with everyone and are more cautious about judging. In my experience until now, it's the so-called "right" people who are willing to discuss. I was wrong. Not so on the Federal Marriage Amendment list.

Now when I joined, I admit I was unequivocably in favor of a Constitutional amendment opposing gay marriage, although I rather resented the negativity of the stand. I would much more eagerly support an amendment affirming the union of man and woman as the only definition of marriage because it cuts straight to the problem and it's a positive approach. Positive approaches "sell" better than the negative.

Lately I've been doing some intensive reading on the Constitution and the result of that has been to make me far more protective of it. I don't think it should be changed for less than an earth-shaking issue.

It has also made me appreciate the reason for the separation of powers -- the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government.

So I posted a note on the list that I questioned the need for the amendment, referring to the Republican tradition of states' rights -- i.e. the right of states to determine certain laws for themselves.

Instead of answering my post on the list, the leader sent me a message saying that I was excluded from the list and accused me of joining under false pretenses. I am hurt (for the accusation isn't true), insulted (because he obviously didn't think I was important enough to discuss this issue with me), and angry (a normal, human reaction to this kind of unfair treatment, especially from an uexpected source). I'll get over the anger by morning; the rest -- I'm not so sure.

Meanwhile, I definitely feel more negative toward the FMA than I did an hour ago. I'll do some more research before I blog against it, but I'm thinking I may not be as fair as I would have been!

Living in Exciting Times

We have hooked up with Friends of Democracy to provide countrywide, ground-level news and information on Iraq's upcoming elections. The goal is to provide a more complete picture of Iraq's elections from the perspective of the Iraqi people. That way the American people will have a direct source (avoiding regular news sources who, shall we say, are not always reliable) to news concerning these world-changing elections.

Al-Sabah, Bagdad's newspaper reports today (January 19)
In a widest poll done by as-Sabah newspaper, several approximate indicators have been showed in reasons behind citizens participation in the elections, the largest number of Iraqi citizens are supporting the creation of an Iraqi government enjoys with sovereignty, hoping that the occupation will be ended and democracy will be realized while the largest number of citizens who subjected to the poll indicate that the elections must be fair and just, while citizens who put trust in police and national guard capability are less than those who trust in the Iraqi police and national guard capability to provide the necessary protection.

As-Sabah polls center had performed a poll for 870 citizens through casting three questions, the first one: why you join the elections, whereas 29% said for creating a sovereign government, while 26% citizens support the idea of foreign forces departure, 25% support realization of democracy, 12% support finding special constitution to Iraq, while 8% said we are participating in the elections for certain parties.

Concerning citizens' imaginations on elections fairness, 41% said elections will be fair, while 29% said they are not fair, while 30% rejected to give any opinion.

The poll clarified that 36% said that the Iraqi police and National Guard are incapable to protect elections' centers, while 28% said Iraqi police and National Guard are capable to protect centers and 16% prevented to give any statement.

The poll includes different segments of Iraqi public, 502 males and 368 females. The number of the male workers are 332, female workers are 198, 26 Kurdish, 5 Turkmen and two yezidis.


I'll keep you informed via these sources on election day, so stay tuned.

Corporate Tax Sham

by Tom Wright
The sham of corporate taxes: Who is actually being dishonest?

Most people believe we instituted corporate income taxes to reduce the tax burden elsewhere particularly on low-income/fixed-income Americans and to ensure that our corporate citizens pay their fair share for the economic opportunitiesour great country offers.

Unfortunately, even a modest study of the history of taxation will quickly demonstrate that no corporation (or other similar corporate structure) in the recorded history of civilization has ever paid one thin dime or shekel or farthing or picayune or cowrie shell in taxes. Collected and remitted, yes. Paid them? Never. Thus, all of this hoopla over unethical corporate tax shelters and irresponsible corporations simply misdirects our good citizens and journalists. Weve been served up an incorrect target for our ire, ensuring yet another unworkable complication in the guise of a legislative solution usually called tax reform.

Corporations do not pay taxes, people do. This is not a contest between capitalism and socialism, or good and bad, or Wall Street and Main Street. It just is. The buck does not stop at a corporation, it just passed through. This is the nature of the beast. When a corporation is taxed, any one or all three of the following pass-throughs happen in some measure. *

The corporation will raise the price of its goods or services by the amount of the tax and the cost of compliance, if competition allows. Dale Jorgensen, Ph.D., Harvard economist, estimates the federal income tax system requires tax-and-compliance premiums amounting to 20 to 30 percent of each products or services price. These premiums are hidden in the cost of every good or service bought in or exported by our country. Think about that as we try to sell
American-made goods overseas.

With the complexity of our tax code, it should come as no surprise that the compliance costs are actually higher than the tax burden. The National Federation of Independent Business estimates that ratio at 3:1 for small business: three dollars of compliance cost for every dollar of tax paid. Even those corporations that legally (if artfully) zero their taxes still have those compliance costs to pass
through.

Most importantly, whom do these hidden premiums really hurt? Who can least afford the increased cost? Why the low-income/fixed-income citizens we set out to protect when we taxed corporations in the first place?

Often global competition (and WalMart) will not allow pricing to absorb the entire cost of taxes/compliance. What is the next corporate move? Reduce the cost of
labor. Who loses their jobs to efficiency or foreign manufacturing? It is our low-income friends again, taking it on the chin and out of their wallets.

Now, assume prices are as up as they can be and labor costs are as down as they can be, and there are still taxes/compliance costs to pay. What do corporations do? Lower profits to their shareholders.

For a mom-and-pop, that means a lesser lifestylefor Mom and Pop. That means later or no retirement. For Wall Street, that means union pension funds experience lackluster performance when invested in domestic corporations. This may not be a big concern for the low-income, working poor, but that certainly puts a double whammy on the working class. Fewer jobs and threatened pensions. And then there are the undue burdens our fixed-income retirees. Yet again, the very groups we set out to protect with corporate income taxation are those we punishmost.

So, as we seek an honest solution to a fair distribution of the tax burden, we need to find the correct target to affect a successful solution. Discussions of tax shelters and corporate irresponsibility mislead us. Attacking the wrong solution misdirects the well intentioned. Simply put, taxing corporations burdens the very citizens we seek to protect.

Now, whose idea was corporate taxation? And who is writing these foolish laws anyway? Perhaps more importantly, who is lobbying these bills into law? Probably the same lobbyists who resist replacing the income tax with the FairTax a progressive federal retail sales tax. This legislation (HR 25/S 1493) honestly protects poor and fixed-income Americans while ending the sham of corporate taxation.


Tom Wright, a 14-year veteran of the rebellion to replace the current
tax system, is the volunteer executive director of FairTax.org. You can
reach him at tom@fairtax.org or 1-800-FAIRTAX.

Monday, January 17

USA, UN and Asia

by Jack Kinsella

There are over six billion people living on our planet. Of that six billion, almost two billion are Muslims. That's roughly a third of the total population of the earth.

The earthquake that triggered the killer tsunami was centered just off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country. It was also the most severely devastated by the wave. Nearly 100,000 of the victims of the December 26 catastrophe were Indonesian Muslims.

The vast majority of the victims were either Muslims, Buddhists or Hindu.

Got all that? Good.

Now, to the United Nations. The United Nations consists of 186 countries. The most powerful voting bloc is the fifty-seven Islamic countries that generally vote with one voice, especially when the United States or Israel are voting the other
way.

The United Nations' head of humanitarian relief, Jan Egeland, criticized the West for being stingy. He didn't specifically mention America, but he cited the exact
percentage of the US GDP that is budgeted for foreign aid, so there is little doubt of who the 'stingy West' was, at least in Egeland's mind.

Egeland slammed the United States for not raising taxes so that America could give a greater percentage of its GDP to the UN to distribute as part of the UN's foreign aid
package.

Editorials in the Washington Post, the New York Times and other liberal newspapers echoed Egeland's charge, with the New York Times calling Americas $350 million in direct government aid 'miserly'.

The United States makes up some six percent of the world's total population, but we pay a quarter of the United Nation's total budget. The United States pays forty percent of the world's total disaster relief aid, and sixty percent of the world's total food donations.

The $2.4 billion (that's BILLION) dollars Washington spent in emergency aid in 2003 represented 40 percent of the total amount of emergency assistance from all bilateral
donors provided that year. Evidently,that isn't enough.

It didn't take long for these same liberal elitists to turn Mother Nature into an American right-wing hater of Islam.

Not only had America's imperialistic self-enrichment policies created the natural disaster, but also cold-hearted Muslim-hating President Bush wouldnt leave his ranch
in Texas... which by the way, is his home -- not a vacation destination -- and only offered a 'stingy' initial monetary donation.

While these elitist journalist were assailing President Bush and expounding the mantra that America should be giving more money to the devastated region in a token gesture that would "show Islam that America didn't hate Muslims," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was still on his vacation skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He returned to New York four days later.

The wave struck on Sunday, and it took only until Monday before the US announced its $350 million in initial aid, sent the USS Abraham Lincoln into the region, including
helicopters and C-130 transport planes, sent hundreds of tons of pre-packaged emergency aid supplies, and deployed some 14,000 American troops to help with the
recovery and cleanup.

In Indonesia, U.S. helicopters flew at least 30 sorties, delivering 60,000 pounds of water and supplies, from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln along a 120-mile
stretch of Sumatra island's ravaged coastline.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the richest nations in the Islamic world, donated a paltry $10 million each. The United Arab Emirates donated some $20 million to relieve the
suffering of their Islamic 'brothers'.

Egypt's contribution at the time of this writing is $104,000.00. (Note: Egypt gets $2 BILLION in US foreign aid annually)

And did anybody notice that the majority of the private donations came from those evil corporate types the left so loves to loathe?

Pfizer donated $10 million in cash and $25 million in drugs. (That is more than oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Kuwait combined). General Motors pledged $2 million in cash,
agreed to match employee donations dollar for dollar, and is sending vehicles to transport food and medical supplies to the region.

Other corporate donors include Nike Inc., American Express, General Electric First Data Corp., Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Exxon-Mobil, Citigroup, Marriott International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

On the other hand, where are all the Hollywood liberals? Activist actors such as Ben Affleck, Susan Sarandon, Al Franken, Tim Robbins, Martin Sheen, and Barbra Streisand
have not been heard from.

And where is George Soros, the world richest left wing liberal?

Actress Sandra Bullock donated one million dollars, but Bullock is neither an activist nor a liberal. (She also donated one million following September 11.)

Super-rich liberals like Bono and Bruce Springsteen are promising to hold another 'aid concert' to collect money (but haven't offered their own funds)for the victims.

America, as noted at the outset, represents six percent of the global population. But in any catastrophe, it gets one hundred percent of the blame The UN's nose is out of joint because the Bush administration refuses to funnel its aid through the UN's various aid agencies.

Kofi Annan wants to use the catastrophe to shore up the UN's sagging image in the wake of the Oil-For-Food thefts from Iraq. The United States wants to ensure the aid doesn't end up lining the pockets of UN officials. So the US is 'too stingy' and gets another black eye.

Where is the rest of the Islamic world? There are fifty-seven Islamic nations, and the world's biggest Islamic nation is the one that took the hardest hit. But it is the United States -- the world's largest donor nation -- that is grabbing all the
headlines for being 'stingy'.

To put things in perspective, I saw a news photo yesterday of one of the Indonesian victims.

He was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the face of Osama bin Laden.

Friday, January 14

Fair Tax Fax

Fair Tax is a national consumption tax instead of income tax Proposed to be about 23%, which would include making social security solvent. You pay only when you buy.

Would NOT be on top of Federal income tax.

Nothing to file. No paperwork – saves $500 billion in government paperwork alone.

The difference: Income taxes productivity; fair tax taxes only spending. Savings are tax free.

Those who make $25,000 a year or less do not pay any tax at all. Everyone receives a annual rebate of $5000 a year so those at poverty level would actually make some money.

It would tax a vast body of people who now avoid paying income taxes, like those in the entertainment industry, illegal immigrants and drug dealers. Also people who use massive tax holes to pay less tax, like John Kerry.

Merchants who usually pass the cost of tax along to their customers could cut prices 20% to 30%. This would make domestic goods more competitive in international trade.

The Fair Tax bills provide for a monthly rebate that would be paid at the beginning of every month to valid Social Security cardholders. The amount paid would be equal to the amount of tax paid for essential goods and services.

The research puts the tax rate at 23 percent, not at an "estimated" rate of between 20 and 23 percent. Nor does the Fair Tax apply to all spending. Rather, the tax is only collected on all new products sold at retail and services. Business-to-business sales and used items such as automobiles and the selling of an existing home to a buyer are not taxed.

Research by Professor Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University's School of Economics clearly shows that prices will drop by as much as 22 percent on products and 25 percent on services.

There will be no exempting items by category because the research has shown that the wealthy spend much more on prepared food, clothing, housing and medical care than do the poor.

Instead of the Fair Tax being collected from approximately 180 million working people, it will be collected from 300 million-plus Americans, and the more than 40 million visitors to our shores. Further, a recent study by American Farm Bureau economist Ross Korves shows the Fair Tax base was less variable than the income tax base because even with the loss of jobs or the inability to work, people do not stop consuming. And finally, for the first time, it will make criminals honest taxpayers and dramatically reduce the more than $1 trillion underground economy.

On real estate: Say your son and new daughter-in-law want to buy a $150,000 new home as their starter home. If you subtract the 30% the home builder has added on to cover the embedded tax and compliance costs, the real price becomes $105,000. Then you add onto that the 23% FairTax , or $34,500. That makes the price of the home $34,500+105,000 equaling $139, 500. Also, they get a monthly tax return from the government based on their income to help pay for furnishings. The appraisal values in a new home community include embedded tax and compliance costs on all materials and construction.

Now, when they present you with two new grandchildren and have a couple of promotions under at least his belt (this tax may save them so much money she may decide to stay home to raise the children), they can sell their now used home without worrying about a value added tax. It's really a win/win situation all around.

Consumption is a more stable source of revenue than income. A recent study by American Farm Bureau economist Ross Korves shows the FairTax base was less variable than the income tax base. Why? Because during difficult times due to loss of a job or an inability to work, people may not have as much income, or may have no income at all. They borrow funds or use savings. They may not have earnings, but they still continue to consume.

Any questions? Please ask and I'll research the answer for you. Meanwhile, for more information check out www.fairtax.org and click on "learn more."

Wednesday, January 12

Chertoff: A Top Choice

There are few people whose word I respect more than Kris Kobach. He's an attorney who teaches Constitutional Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and he ran for congress in 2004. He lost but ran an honest campaign, refusing to sink to the level of his opponent.

I was rather startled to hear someone say that appointing Michael Chertoff as head of Homeland Security was to the Clintons like holding up a cross to vampires. That certainly got my attention.

Kris Kobach has worked with Chertoff and here's what he has to say:
PRESIDENT Bush's nomination of Michael Chertoff to the position of Secretary of Homeland Security is a homerun. More than that, it is a step that will directly and significantly improve our country's security.
Chertoff's qualifications are impeccable. Currently a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, he headed the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during 2001-2003. He also served as a mob-crushing federal prosecutor in New York, followed by a four-year stint as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.

Need more? How about degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, as well as a judicial clerkship with Supreme Court Justice William Brennan?

I worked with Chertoff at the Department of Justice. He is one of the smartest people I have ever known. And he combines his intellect with a drive to get things done. He is a legal dynamo who focuses on the task at hand with amazing intensity. He thinks fast, he talks fast, he works fast.

In the wake of 9/11, it was Chertoff who directed the prosecution of terrorists and who led efforts to increase information-sharing between federal prosecutors, the FBI, and other intelligence agencies.

Since 9/11, the Department of Justice has brought criminal charges against 372 suspected terrorists in the United States. To date, 194 have been convicted or have pleaded guilty. By any reckoning, that is an impressive record. And Chertoff deserves much of the credit.

He did not merely "oversee" these prosecutions in some detached sense. He personally rolled up his sleeves and did the heavy lifting in the critical cases. He knew the facts, knew the law and knew how to win.

Few people have the ability to change the landscape of Washington — to single-handedly move an executive department in the right direction, overcoming bureaucratic inertia. Chertoff is one of those people.

The Department of Homeland Security is many things — monitor of our country's security, assessor of its vulnerabilities, protector of our borders and coordinator of first responders, to name just a few of its missions.

But what many forget is that the department is also a law-enforcement agency. Effective law enforcement is critical to the department's success in each of these missions. And no one knows law enforcement as well as Chertoff.

When the Patriot Act was drafted to fill gaping holes in our anti-terrorism laws, Chertoff's expertise was invaluable. He knew where the problems were and knew what needed to be done. Before the Patriot Act, prosecutors who unearthed critical information about a future attack could not share that information with the intelligence community. And some forms of terrorist activity weren't even illegal.

In the confirmation hearings that lie ahead, a few senators may be tempted to question Chertoff harshly, offended by his role as prosecutorial point-man in the war against terrorism. Others may resent the fact that he served as special counsel for the Senate's Whitewater Committee in 1994-96.

However, they would be well-advised to tread carefully. If any senator decides to engage in some sparring, he or she will have a hard time landing a punch. Chertoff is an intellectual heavyweight. Most senators already know that, having confirmed him in three federal posts.

Although he's not well known outside of Washington and the legal community, Chertoff will soon be a household name. He's not simply a good pick for secretary of homeland security — he's the perfect person for the job.


So I will rest easier at night now. Not that Tom Ridge wasn't the best -- he was. It's the transition period that has had me worried. If Kris Kobach says Chertoff is a good man, he is.

Tuesday, January 11

Nothing Could Be Fairer Than The Fair Tax

This is just too good to be a government project. That, however, is explained in two ways.
1. It hasn't passed Congress yet and
2. After $22 millions and three years of research by the best economic minds in the country on tax issues; researchers from Harvard, Stanford, Boston University, Rice, MIT and the National Bureau of Economic Research, this is about the most thoroughly researched policy issues ever introduced in Congress.

The bills, now before Congress, areH.R. 25 in the House and S 1493 in the Senate. The Senate bill would repeal the income tax.

A few points that make this FairTax bill MOST interesting are:
It's a national consumption tax instead of income tax, and part goes to shore up social security and Medicare.
FairTax repeals Federal income and social security taxes -- there’s nothing to file. No paperwork -- saves $500 billion in government paperwork alone.

FairTax provides for a monthly rebate to every taxpayer, including valid Social Security cardholders. The amount paid would be equal to the tax paid for essential goods and services, therefore exempting from taxation families living at or below the poverty level.

The FairTax would tax a vast body of people who avoid paying income taxes, like those in the entertainment industry, illegal immigrants, drug dealers and millionaires who use tax loopholes.

Instead of being collected from approximately 180 million working people, FairTax will be collected from 300 million-plus Americans and more than 40 million foreign visitors.

Income taxes currently tax productivity and disproportionately burden the upwardly mobile; FairTax taxes only spending. Savings are tax free.

Things don't cost 23 percent more (the recommended amount for FairTax) because merchants who usually pass the cost of tax along to their customers could cut prices 20percent to 30percent. Research by Professor Jorgenson of Harvard shows that prices will drop by as much as 22 percent on products and 25 percent on services. Say you want to buy something new that costs $10.00. Remove the embedded tax and compliance costs from that item (22 percent) and its pre-FairTax cost is $7.80. Add 23 percent FairTax of $2.30 and the price of that item becomes $10.10. Not so bad.

FairTax is only on new goods. There's no tax on used goods -- used car, home, appliances or on business inputs (something strictly for your business).
American goods become more attractive to foreign markets. US exports wouldn't be burdened with income tax -- selling overseas for 23 percent less, with the same profit margins. Imports would be subject to FairTax. Putting US goods on the same tax basis as imports while lowering export prices gives US companies a pricing advantage.

Sound too good to be true? Check it out at Fair Tax.org. Write your congressreps. We could pass this thing.

How To Assure A Democratic Win In 2008

Well, this is it.
If there's anything on earth that will assure a Democratic win in 2008, it's cutting the defense budget while we have boots in combat. Heck, even I would vote for the Democratic candidate if the President does that. Our troops should have top priority as long as they are fightingin foreign countries. Anything less is downright treasonous.

Here's the story that has me climbing walls this morning -- in the Washington Times:
Even before Congress formally declared George Bush the winner of November's presidential election, reports began circulating he would propose a defense budget for next year that one might have expected from the loser, Sen. John Kerry.
Actually, a President-elect Kerry probably would not have dared suggest the far-reaching cuts Mr. Bush plans. And he surely would faced difficulty getting them enacted, given pervasive concerns about his judgment on national security.
Yet, here we have the spectacle of $55 billion in extensive defense reductions being made by the man who beat Mr. Kerry -- largely on the basis of precisely those concerns. It is no exaggeration to say Mr. Bush will be sworn in again on Jan. 20 because he was widely perceived to be a more credible and robust leader when it came to protecting this country.
As Donald Rumsfeld has observed, to considerable tut-tutting from the chattering classes, "You go to war with the army you have." If President Bush does not reverse course, he will be condemning the U.S. military -- perhaps on his watch, perhaps on his successors' -- to going to war with vastly inferior capabilities than they could have, should have and will need.
Worse yet, history teaches such conditions not only leave us less prepared to fight and win but tend to invite aggression. That could translate into otherwise avoidable conflicts.
Ronald Reagan, whom George W. Bush clearly admires and tries to emulate, offered an alternative approach. He called it "peace through strength." And the military build-up that flowed from Mr. Reagan's philosophy and leadership continues to provide the backbone of America's capacity to project power around the world. The fruits of his investment in modern weapon systems and troops trained to employ them proved indispensable to success in the Cold War. They have also served us well to this point in today's global conflict against terrorists and their state sponsors.
If Mr. Bush makes the mistake -- political, as well as strategic -- of emulating defense-cutting Kerry Democrats, there will be adverse effects especially for the services most critical to rapid power projection: the Navy-Marine Corps team and the Air Force. Unfortunately, these units stand to be reduced to the condition of the U.S. Army -- too small, inadequately armed and not flexible enough to meet various challenges -- for which the administration has lately been sharply criticized.


If that story had gotten out to the electorate some promises would have been extracted or the outcome would have been different.

Mr. Bush -- I agree with you on most issues and I believe you are the best man to lead our country, but if you cut the defense budget in time of war, I'm afraid I'm going to have to throw all those other issues out the window and vote on this one alone. After all, those troops are the safety of our nation even more than you are, Sir. We need to give them the best in equipment and support. If you're not prepared to do that, I'm not prepared to support you any more.

The rest of the article is as follows:
After all, to protect funding for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon is making the cuts required by the Office of Management and Budget on key research and development and procurement accounts. For example:
• The Air Force will lose perhaps as many as 110 of the 270 of the F/A-22 fighter/attack aircraft it has intended to buy. These "Raptors" would permit the replacement of 30-year-old F-15s with stealthy planes capable of providing assured air superiority and support for ground forces, even against enemies with advanced anti-aircraft defenses.
• According to press reports, the Marines would be obliged to cut some $1.5 billion from their budget for the revolutionary V-22 "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft. This would involve delaying or reducing procurement of the mainstay of the Corps' future combat capabilities, with potentially profound repercussions.
• The Navy will lose one of its 12 aircraft carriers, while its shipbuilding program will be kept at a level that will reduce the service to fewer than 270 ships -- a number clearly inadequate to meet the nation's worldwide missions. Particularly worrisome are the severe cuts envisioned in the needed modernization of the submarine fleet -- arguably the most valuable and certainly among the most flexible of sea-going platforms, given their important roles in sea control and intelligence operations.
Nowhere is it likelier that John Kerry would have cut back Pentagon spending than in the portfolio of the Missile Defense Agency. Yet, here too, President Bush is said to be considering $5 billion in reductions over the next five years. These could essentially eliminate the most promising means of performing boost-phase missile intercepts (namely, using an airborne laser and/or from space); preclude building out the initial, very modest deployment of ground-based interceptors; and sharply curtail sea-based anti-missile defenses. So much for the robust, layered missile defense Mr. Bush promised to put in place.
If the proposed defense budget cuts go forward, the American people would be entitled to feel they have been subjected to a classic "bait and switch." They rejected the candidate whose record had been one of voting against every major weapon system. They accepted the Bush-Cheney team's criticism of Mr. Kerry that he could not be trusted to keep us safe.
Now, the guys they elected seem poised to hollow out the military in ways that will make the recent tempest over the lack of "up-armored" Humvees in Iraq pale by comparison.
The public understands the need for, and is prepared to make, sacrifices in time of war. Mr. Bush must ask them to do so -- and avoid unduly increasing those already asked of our military.


I daresay I agree: ask us to collect scrap, buy war bonds, work in defense plants, whatever is necessary, and I will be first in line to help out. I'll cut my already bare-bones budget (hey, we can eat once a day), I'll do anything to help our troops. But don't cut the defense budget. Not now.

Of course another thought has entered my mind about this: maybe the President has decided to bring the guys and gals home. Terrific! But don't cut the budget till AFTER you get them home!

Now, Mr. President, a lot of your supporters are going to accuse me of not fully supporting you and that's not true. But you can't cut the defense budget now -- not when our tanks are being blown up by roadside bombs and mortars are killing the soldiers in our convoys. Develop robots to go before the tanks and protective shields for the convoys, BUT DON'T CUT THE DEFENSE BUDGET UNTIL AFTER THE WAR ON TERROR IS OVER.


Monday, January 10

Crying Wolf While The World Warms

One of the best things about the Bush administration the past four years (and the next four, I'm sure) is the responsible way they take on environmental science. It has become obvious (much to the relief of those who have seriously studied the issue) that President Bush is relying on serious, responsible science as he determines how to treat issues like global warming.

There's no dispute over the fact that the earth has been warming ever since the last ice age. Not at a continuous rate but at a fluctuating one. Warming has nothing to do with human activity; it's a natural process.

But when Al Gore decided he needed an issue to raise his political standing in the scientific community, he chose global warming and "findings" from science amateurs and opportunists as the basis of his claims.

The latest hot issue the pseudo-science hysterics have come up with is the charge that the Boxing Day Tsunami was caused by global warming. Early reports along these lines came from Russis, a big supporter of the Kyoto Treaty. Fortunately responsible American scientists are refuting those claims.

Patrick J. Michaels, an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia, calls the report "rubbish." He spoke with the Cybercast News Service Wednesday.
Michaels, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of a new book "Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media," believes that claims of human-caused catastrophic "global warming" are scientifically unfounded.

Michaels said he was especially bothered by a report from the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti, which last week quoted Russian scientist Arthur Chilingarov as saying that the cause of the earthquake and tsunami were "probably global climate change." Chilingarov is the vice speaker of the State Duma and co-chairman of the organizational committee that is planning the International Polar Year in 2007.

According to Novosti, Chilingarov also believes that "scientists have registered lately a change of the average temperature, which is now growing at fantastic rates." These changing temperatures, he added, are allowing "the atmosphere and oceans to accumulate additional energy," which can cause natural disasters like the recent underwater earthquake and tsunami.

Michaels rejected the Russian news report.

"This is just abject rubbish. That is all I can say. That is the most charitable thing I can say," Michaels said. "What happens at the surface of the ocean is not reflected at all in any measurable fashion at the depth of which the earthquake took place."

If Chilingarov's assertions were correct, Michaels said, "then there would be a high correlation between tsunamis and El Ninos because El Nino warms the ocean substantially over regions that are tectonically active." El Ninos are defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as disruptions of the ocean-atmosphere system that impact global weather.


Michaels and Dr. Fred Singer ofThe Science and Environmental Policy Project have long struggled to get the word out to the public about the many experiments conducted by prominent scientists refuting claims that global warming is caused by fuel emissions and various other man made toxins.

It's a frustrating battle.

Respected (by the public) publications like Science Magazine and the Discovery Channel are quick to come forward with dramatic panic stories and unproved theories. Drama, after all, sells. The Discovery Channel was on the global warming/tsunami thing right away
explaining that "global warming" can act as a trigger for the root causes of tsunamis and quoting tsunami scientist Neal Driscoll from the University of California at San Diego.

"Even global warming could theoretically play a role in weakening undersea slopes if frozen gas hydrates locked in deep-sea slopes are warmed enough to shift from solid to gas state," stated Driscoll. "That shift of the abundant deep-sea deposits could bloat slopes with gas and cause them to collapse, sending tsunami-generating pulses all the way to the surface," the Discovery Channel article explained.

Sir David King, the chief scientific adviser for the government of the United Kingdom, said he believes that the recent tsunami served as a warming of what was yet to come through human-caused climate change.

"What is happening in the Indian Ocean underlines the importance of the earth's system to our ability to live safely," King told BBC radio last week. "And what we are talking about in terms of climate change is something that is really driven by our own use of fossil fuels, so this is something we can manage."

King, who in 2004, said the threat of "global warming" was greater than any threat from terrorism, believes the only solution to catastrophic climate change is to change the world's "energy industry - in other words, to move away from fossil fuels."


Readers should note that Driscoll said that warming could"theoretically" cause a tsunami, not that it did. The sun could theoretically turn to ice, but it won't.

But why would they lie, you ask? Money. No one is going to spend money for research projects if global warming is a natural process that we can't change. But if we can drum up fear and get people worrying about it, governments and private trusts will fund programs and experiments. Politicians have issues to run on and political activists have something to raise money for and spend money on.

The media is a huge culprit in this duplicity. Read the articles or watch the reports in which they mention scientists who refute the man-cause of warming and you'll find that the rest of the article or report stresses those who insist that humans are the cause. Hey, it's a story; the truth isn't as dramatic.

The one thing that is predictable is that no matter what natural crisis suddenly comes upon us, someone's going to blame it on global warming. It's the modern cry of "wolf."

Sunday, January 9

Suggestions for Michael Moore and Others for 2005

CHRONWATCH.COM says they "received this in our e-mail pile without any indication of who wrote it. It was so good, we decided to post it anyway." I like it a lot, too.

To Michael Moore: Sit down and shut up. Your fifteen minutes are up. And do something about your hair. Looks can be deceiving, but not in your case...

To Jimmy Carter: Big mistake to sit down next to Michael Moore at the convention. Spend more time with drywall and the glue gun. Or start lusting in your heart again.

To Tom Daschle: If you lean too far to the left, voters will tend to lean right for a while, but will eventually push you out of the boat.

To Al Gore: Please, sir, before it's too late: seek an experienced mental health professional. You're beginning to make Christopher Lloyd in "Back To The Future" look normal.

To Dan Rather: Enjoy your early retirement. The next memo you get will be real.

To the DNC: Your platform must not have lurched far enough to the left. Keep it tilting southpaw. Read more Marx. P.S. Keep insulting the voters with your moral and intellectual condescension too. It goes well with that warp-speed registering of folks in plaid wool blankets pushing shopping carts. Lovely constituency.

To Bill Clinton: Thanks for hitting the campaign trail for Kerry. Some of us needed a reminder of what we were trying to avoid.

To Hillary Clinton: PLEASE run in '08. The Heartland will be hungry for more hors d'oeuvres by then.

To John "Breck Girl" Edwards: Can you help Michael Moore and Whoopi Goldberg with a little basic grooming?

To Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Bono, etc.: A few of us still like your music, but if you ever want to sell another record, just sing and don't go where you don't know. We don't pay to hear Don Rumsfeld do air guitar either.

To George Soros: Want to buy an election? Not in "MY" America, you monomaniacal, socialistic buffoon.

To the Mainstream Media: Congratulations on getting Kerry at least thirty more electoral votes than he would have gotten without your covert support Imagine how badly he would have lost if you were actually unbiased.

To the United Nations: Your worst nightmare will continue for another four years. Deal with it! "Oil for Food" will be your Waterloo,

To Howard "I Have A Scream" Dean: Stick with something you understand; like proctology, for instance.

To Richard Holbrooke: Learn to tell a joke. Learn to laugh at one.

To John Zogby: Monster.com will post your resume.

To Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Robert Scheer, and your minor league imitators, Greg Plast and Mark Morford: You have no readers in the red states.

To Teddy Kennedy: Sigh, it's still the blonde in the pond who leads your highlight reel.

To Ron Reagan "Junior": Do you have talent for anything, other than narrating dog shows?

To the Exit Pollsters: As long as you keep skewing the results in an attempt to influence the election, we'll keep lying to you. If you quit, so will we. Deal?

To Teresa HEINZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Kerry: Teaching is a REAL job! The Teachers Union, who supported your husband right up until you stepped in this one, can clarify any continuing confusion. Oh, and it's definitely NOT a "real job" to sleep with a third-generation ketchup heir and then cash the plane-crash check. See message for Michael Moore...

To the European Union: Sorry all the graft and corruption monies from Saddam have stopped coming in. Your pathetic economies will have to find some legitimate ways to prop up your socialist governments. Good luck with that...

To Terry McAuliffe: See message for Dan Rather. And pay a little attention to what Zell Miller reminds us of: 20 Democratic senators from the south in 1960 and only six from the GOP. Today, 22 Republicans and four Dems.You must be so proud!

To MoveOn.org: See message for George Soros.

To James Carville: You're the only guy who seems to get it; and you're very smart, even if you are obnoxious. Good luck finding an audience that's neither medicated nor mendacious.

And finally, to John Kerry: Thank you for your interest in national defense. And thank you for reporting for duty. You are hereby dismissed.

Saturday, January 8

The UN at the Tsunami

At the risk of becoming repetitious, here's more on the UN. Sorry, folks, but the organization that looked so terribly exciting to me when I first visited the newly built structure in New York back in the 1940s has disappointed me sadly. And not only me, but my nation.

"I must admit I have never seen such utter destruction, mile after mile. You wonder, where are the people?" said Annan on Friday on his return to the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, reports writes Dan Eaton at Swiss Info. Half of them are dead, Annan, and the other half are elsewhere, being fed by the Australians and the Americans.

On one of my favorite blogs,The Diplomad,an American diplomat stationed in the area of the tsunami, writes:
This Embassy has been running 24/7 since the December 26 earthquake and tsunami. Along with my colleagues, I've spent the past several days dealing non-stop with various aspects of the relief effort in this tsunami-affected country. That work, unfortunately, has brought ever-increasing contact with the growing UN presence in this capital; in fact, we've found that to avoid running into the UN, we must go out to where the quake and tsunami actually hit. As we come up on two weeks since the disaster struck, the UN is still not to be seen where it counts -- except when holding well-staged press events. Ah, yes, but the luxury hotels are full of UN assessment teams and visiting big shots from New York, Geneva, and Vienna. The city sees a steady procession of UN Mercedes sedans and top-of-the-line SUV's -- a fully decked out Toyota Landcruiser is the UN vehicle of choice; it doesn't seem that concerns about "global warming" and preserving your tax dollars run too deep among the UNocrats.

Sitting VERY late for two consecutive nights in interminable meetings with UN reps, hearing them go on about "taking the lead coordination role," pledges, and the impending arrival of this or that UN big shot or assessment/coordination team, for the millionth time I realized that if not for Australia and America almost nobody in the tsunami-affected areas would have survived more than a few days. If we had waited for the UNocrats to get their act coordinated, the already massive death toll would have become astronomical. But, fortunately, thanks to "retrograde racist war-mongers " such as John Howard and George W. Bush, as we sat in air conditioned meeting rooms with these UNocrats, young Australians and Americans were at that moment "coordinating" without the UN and saving the lives of tens-of-thousands of people.

Seeing these UNocrats perched at the table, whispering to each other, back-slapping, shaking hands, they seemed like a periodic reunion of old cynical Mafia chieftains or mercenaries who run into each other in different hot spots, as they move from one slaughter to another, "How are you? Haven't seen you since Bosnia . . .." As the hours wore on, however, and I nervously doodled in my note pad, shifted in my chair, looked at my watch, and thought about all the real work I had to do that evening, I decided that, no, labeling them mafiosos or mercenaries was much too kind. They seemed more to be the progeny resulting from a mating between a mad oracle and a giant carrion-eater. They were akin to some sort of ancient mythical Greco-Roman-Aztec-Wes Craven-Egyptian-bird-god that demands constant sacrifice and feeding, and speaks in riddles which only it can solve.

Yes, I decided, the UNocrats are great hideous vultures, roused from their caves in the European Alps and in the cement canyons and peaks of Manhattan by the stench of death in the Turd World. They leisurely take flight toward the smell of death; circle, and then swoop down, screeching UNintelligble nonsense. They arrive and immediately force others, e.g., the American tax payer, to build them new exclusive nests in the midst of poverty, and make themselves fat on the flesh of the dead. My friends, allow The Diplomad to present to you The High Priest Vulture Elite (HPVE).


He has prefaced all this with a warning to his readers, saying that he is tired and more than angry at what he has witnessed. The UN is useless at everything except stealing money and criticizing the USA.

"If we wait for the UN to tell us what to do, we wouldn't do anything," said Abdul Hadi bin e Rashid, first admiral of the Malaysian navy at the country's operations tent at Banda Aceh airport. "There are people who are hungry and angry. Why wait? So we just do it."

Michael Elmquist, head of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance in Indonesia, admitted the UN's response had encountered difficulties, but added it was poised to accelerate rapidly.

"In Banda Aceh, it has been very difficult to establish a well- co-ordinated relief operation," he said.

Mr Elmquist attributed the delays to five key factors: the sheer destruction and number of people killed, including three of the UN's nine local staff; lack of telecommunications in the early days; a lack of truck drivers and fuel; the obliteration of the local government; and Aceh's troubled history.

Aceh has been the scene of a long-running separatist Islamic insurgency. The central government has poured thousands of troops into the area to try to quell the rebellion while restricting access by outside nations.


But the US and Australia, meanwhile, are there.

My questions are these:
1. Why does the UN not have emergency funds ready to draw on and a relief plan to put into action whenever something like this happens? It's not as if it hasn't happened before and, for that matter, won't happen again.
2. Why aren't one or two nations given the responsibility of being the first to mobilize and head to a disaster area as soon as the UN learns of the need? Sweden? France? Germany? They have the resources to be first on the ground.
3. Why isn't one UN diplomat charged with the responsibility of organizing and generating emergency support as needed?

If the UN was anything other than an international social club those things would have been taken care of and world-wide supported relief would have been in southeast Asia before the Americans had a chance to get organized.

The UN has become dangerous...and useless.

Friday, January 7

The Real Enemy Among Us

Think the ACLU is a good organization, dedicated to protecting America's civil liberties? Perhaps you will find this interesting -- if not alarming.

In 1932, William Foster, the author of "Toward Soviet America," noted:

"Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following: The schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic, and other features of the bourgeoisie middle class) ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism, and the general ethics of the new socialist society."


Foster was one of the early founders of the ACLU, and head of the Communist Party USA.

Other founders of the ACLU included Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party presidential candidate, who said:

"Americans will never knowingly vote for socialism, but under the guise of liberalism, and the respectability of the Democrat Party, they will adopt every plank of the Socialist Party platform until, one day, America will be socialist without knowing how it all came about."


Joining these two in the founding of the ACLU were Roger Baldwin. In 1935, Baldwin said of the ACLU:

"Communism is the goal."


Also included in this rogue's gallery of ACLU founders were such human gems as Elizabeth Gurley (Flynn), late chairman of the Communist Party, and Agnes Smedley, who was exposed as a Soviet agent.

Whenever you hear of a case against prayer in school, removal of Christian symbol from public places, or the removal of "under God" from our National Anthem, just consider who is behind it.

THE ENEMY IS NOT "OVER THERE." IT IS OVER HERE!
by Earl Carlson

Thursday, January 6

Enough. Here's Your Hat, There's The Door, U.N.

I don't know about you, but I've just about had it with the UN. Every dealing we've had with them since the 1950s has been pretty doggoned miserable -- from getting into their "police action" in Korea through Kruschev's shoe banging to their constant, harpy criticism. UN delegates have been a headache for the new York City police for decades. Those people deserve kudos for putting up with their arrogance.

So I'm not ready to support funding an new UN building in New York. In fact, I'm ready to show them the door.

Just when you think taxpayers have been soaked enough, another ridiculous idea comes from Washington. Now they are talking about sticking the taxpayers with a loan or a loan guarantee for the United Nations to build a new headquarters for a cool $1.3 billion.

Most Americans would rather kick them out! And that is exactly what our organization, Move America Forward, is trying to do. We are tired of paying for their constant failures, corruption and anti-American attitudes – all of it expensive, I might add.

The United Nations has its hand out, seeking a complete renovation and expansion of its facilities in New York City, and they want the United States to provide the loan or loan guarantee to pay for it all.

Worse yet, the only debate in Washington seems to be whether the loan has a low interest rate or NO INTEREST at all!

The UN’s current facilities are crumbling and in violation of building, health and safety codes. If it were a private business, it would have been closed long ago. Someone recently proposed turning the building over to Donald Trump – he would turn it into moneymaking condos in no time.

So, the UN needs a new building. But who says it must be built here in the U.S.? And as more details continue to surface about UN officials involved in the “Oil for Arms” corruption, why would any American want to host these offices here when the UN has become one of the safest havens for terrorists?

The timing is perfect to tell the UN that America’s run as host nation to this corrupt institution has come to an end, and they can build their new palace in some other nation. The Sudan and Kosovo come to mind as two splendid places where UN officials can directly confront the world’s struggles they are charged with addressing. In New York, they are most known for not paying their parking tickets!

In this post 9/11 world, the most fundamental international challenge is confronting the forces of terrorism, yet the United Nations has been a miserable failure on this front. A new report by the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change admits numerous failures by the UN to take effective measures to defeat terrorism.


For more of this piece, go to Melanie Morgan's articleIt's Time to DeFund the UN.

Wednesday, January 5

First Hand View of Tsunami

Blue Water Rallies is an organization of cruising sailors and their families and friends who enjoy taking their yachts in waters around the world for the sheer pleasure of sailing. Their website, yachtrallies.co.uk publishes stories of their adventures online. The Blue Water World Rally 2003-2205 began in Gibralta on Oct. 3 and the schedule took members westward to Antigua, Panama,Galapagos, Tahiti, Fiji, Darwin, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand around Dec 4, reaching Sri Lanka Jan.5.

What follows is the story of one of those yacht crews, the Ed Muensch family:
Tsunami At Phi Phi Don
Twelve Rally boats gathered at Phi Phi Don Island positioned fifteen miles off Phuket, Thailand to celebrate Christmas day together. On the morning of December 26th Helen and I awoke and decided to go to the island for breakfast, leaving our grandson Michael sleeping aboard Tahlequah. It’s important to explain Phi Phi Don is a small island with a beautiful beach on the north side and the South side having many open restaurants, numerous shops, several luxury hotels catering to the hundreds and hundreds of tourists visiting each day. It’s the perfect picturesque island vacation get away, world famous as a popular Thailand vacation area. Each side of the island is connected by a narrow walkway.

Strolling the boardwalk we favored a small bakery with tables, enjoying breakfast together. This day I saw many small children in carriages, babies in back slings, and the usual teenagers and families on Phi Phi Don. I took special note of peoples faces and accents giving special attention to Americans. Ferries were arriving with hundreds of tourists emerging to enjoy Phi Phi Don for a days visit. Following breakfast we made a last minute decision to stop at one of many Internet cafes to respond to e-mails from family and friends. In each e-mail we stated, “Wish you were here”.

At approximately 10:45 we returned to the south beach to collect our inflatable and return to Tahlequah. Arriving at the beach we were stunned to discover little water left in the anchorage, a phenomenon we were not use too. Helen remarked she thought Tahlequah might be on sand, I added this was impossible as we were anchored in 40 feet of water a short time before. We began dragging our inflatable through the sand to reach water in the distance. I saw rental powerboats and Long Tails (Thai Canoes) racing toward us skidding frantically but unable to make progress because of the sand. I commented to Helen how people abuse boats and how furious it made me. The skippers of the Thai Canoes motioned us back and began jumping from their canoes to anchor them in the sand.

Looking into the distance I saw a small foam line on the horizon moving toward us. Helen & I agreed to abandon the dinghy and run back to the island beach for safety. Running I continued to look behind to see the wave gaining distance at an un-believeable rate. Seconds later I turned again to see the wave hit a rental power boat, it broke apart as it fell in the surf. I realized it was useless to run, I told Helen to stop and I bear hugged her. I remember saying to myself, I’m going to forget I have to concentrate on hugging her; I can’t release her no matter what.

We saw a boiling froth of sea coming at us with an increasing loud swishing noise; it seemed to go on forever. Foolishly I dug my feet into the sand hoping to withstand the wave. As it hit I felt us smacked to the sand instantly, as we hugged I could feel us tumbling like toy dolls head over heals along the bottom. The pressure and force of the water prevented us from surfacing. As my hands were ripped from embracing Helen we both surfaced against two palm trees held there by ferocious current. Helen was in shock, staring towards the ocean motionless. I held her repeating again and again, “It’s over, it’s over, we survived, you’ll be ok.

At that exact moment we were hit by a much larger wave. I felt the palm trees give way and again we tumbled together along the bottom rolling over the island. I continued to focus on not releasing Helen. I kept thinking we’re going to hit something; we have to and waited for that moment. We continued tumbling seemingly forever, I was running out of air and knew I had to make it to the surface. Forcing us to the top I had time to gulp a quick breath before being forced down again. When surfacing I saw I was passing through the palm trees on the south side of the island and knew we were now going out to sea. Desperate, I had to make it to the surface again and made a final effort to reach the top.

I tried to surface but couldn’t because of debris everywhere. I lost grasp of Helen a second time. My hand grabbed a floating cushion, pulling myself to the surface only to be forced below again and again. Swallowing water I knew the end was nearand felt death all around me. I remember feeling a sense of peace I had never felt before; everything seemed to go into slow motion, quiet and very peaceful. I recall saying to myself, “I wonder how long it takes to drown” and “I wonder if it will be quick?” “It’s over now I thought and it’s ok”.

My hand seemed to touch something ridged, it was a pipe. Grasping it I pulled myself to the surface and saw Helens head below. Grabbing her neck I raised her above the water for air. She was unconscious, pure white and just staring expressionless. Slapping her face I kept screaming “keep breathing, keep breathing, we can make it” over and over again. I suddenly realized I had grabbed the long propeller shaft of a Long Tail Thai canoe. Helen slipped and began to sink below the water expressionless, her face seemed resigned and to say I’ve had enough let me go. Grabbing her chin I raised her again planting her chin into the metal framework of the adjacent upturned boat. There was a man standing in the boat staring outwards, I screamed to him to help Helen into the boat. Looking he seemed unable to move and continued staring. Attempting to raise myself into the canoe I continued screaming at him demanding he help raise Helen. Suddenly he reached out grabbing Helens hand helping to raise her into the boat. Although lifeless I knew she continued shallow breathing.

With all my strength I pulled myself into the canoe next to Helen. She layed over whispering to me she couldn’t breathe and had awful pain in her chest. I continued to scream “keep breathing, you made it and everything would be ok”, all she had to do was continue breathing. Twenty feet away I saw a man raising a young naked woman into the canoe, I knew she was dead, drowned people were everywhere floating past us. Looking towards the island I couldn’t believe the destruction, all the hotels had collapsed and were sliding into the sea.

I saw two large wooden upturned fishing boats moving towards us caused by the rushing waters. Fearing if we didn’t move quickly we’d be crushed and got the captain to start the engine to move to a safer area and into deeper water clear of the wreckage. Continuing to hold Helen in my arms comforting her I began to hear pleas for help coming from the water. People were clinging to whatever they could with what little remaining strength they had. One woman begged me to help her and grabbed a board to stretch it towards me in an effort to reach us. Reaching out I realized it wasn’t long enough and gave up. Looking down into the water I knew the only way of helping her was to jump back into the water but feared I didn’t have the strength left to get back into the canoe a second time. Afraid of loosing Helen my hands were frozen cradling her in my arms. I kept screaming to the woman it was over, just hang on, it will be ok, your safe now but I knew she wasn’t. A young man suddenly grabbed the side of our boat trying to pull himself up. He begged for my help, I told him he had to pull himself up. Some time later the Captain placed a ladder over the side for him to climb up, he tried but didn’t have the strength. He continued pleading, I continued saying he had to find the strength to get in, my body couldn’t move, . I saw the captain finally move toward him but couldn’t lift him alone. Putting Helen down I helped bring him aboard. The Captain then found a rope to throw the woman nearby a line and dragged her aboard. I insisted the Captain had to move or we’d be crushed in minutes. Starting the engine he managed to run it. Moving away slowly I turned to hear the screams of people begging for help. I was so afraid if I stopped to help them I would loose Helen forever. I want to say all the strength in my body was gone but it wan’t, I had to save Helen with what I had left and wouldn’t leave her.

I knew Helen couldn’t last long without oxygen as her lungs were filled with water and because of her pain didn’t know if ribs punctured a lung. Motoring towards the fifteen remaining long tails the screams faded as we distanced outselves. Other long tales were moving with us, every captain standing silently and motionless staring at the island waiting for the next wave. There was total silence; no words were spoken between the boats. Everyone appeared in shock and could only stare ignoring the screams coming from the water. I asked the captain if he was ok, looking at me responding faintly he lost his niece on the beach. Looking seaward I saw a wooden square-rigger racing towards the island. I told him we had to reach that ship and get Helen aboard for her to make it. Leaving the safety of the other long tails he motored towards the square-rigger. As we approached midship I yelled to the Swedish Captain my wife needed to get to a hospital. He responded “my ship is your ship, where do we take her?” His crew immediately helped lift Helen aboard and lay her on the deck.

I requested oxygen and he responded he had a tank; unfortunately it didn’t have enough to make the 4-hour trip to Phuket. I used his radio to call the Rally fleet in the North Bay. They informed me Tahlequah was safe; most boats had broken anchor and were headed to deeper water bracing for the next wave. I was told Michael our screw had a bad gash in his arm and needed medical attention. Our boat raced towards the north bay while a couple from another boat “Regardless” raced toward us with oxygen and medical supplies. The woman was a nurse, gave us both injections for pain and administered the oxygen. They returned to their yacht to brace for the next wave. Another Rally boat brought Michael with a bandaged arm with Jesse (a paramedic from “Gaultine 2”) to travel with us to Phuket.

We raced towards a major port in Phuket only to be informed by the Rally boat “Aragorn” it sustained major damage. The Captain suggested going north until we found suitable anchorage. Three hours later we transferred Helen to a Hotel atop a hill and were immediately transported to the Phukett International Hospital. Upon arrival we were met by a gurney and were rushed into the emergency room. Paperwork was put aside; they wanted to know only the patients name and injury. Within minutes x rays indicated her lungs were filled with water but no broken bones or organ damage. I was warned by the doctor the body would slowly absorb the water but there was a high risk of serious pneumonia. She would have to be transferred to a private room for the night, then to the ICU Unit.

The following day Helen appeared worse, with more chest pain and pneumonia. The x-rays indicated her lungs were continuing to fill with fluid. Anti-biotics and painkillers were administered every few hours and within two additional days the infection was under control and Helen was transferred back to a private room. Each day she continues to improve and has been informed she will be discharged after a week in the hospital assuming all continues to progress well.

The faces and screams of the people I left behind in Phi Phi Don Bay continue to haunt me. I can never forget their screams and begging for my help and my turning away from them. I find myself walking the crowded hospital corridors among camera crews looking for people I might recognize from that day, their never here and will never know what happened to them. Riding to the hospital one morning with people from the Blue Water Rally we made an unexpected stop at the University for a medical student to volunteer. They informed me the University was providing counseling for victims of the tragedy. After sitting in the car for five minutes I said I had to stay and walked into the building. I saw people sleeping on the floor, blankets and pillows everywhere. Along the wall sat several people interviewing victims for counseling appointments. Limping to the table I said I needed to talk to someone about what happened and was provided a counselor within minutes.

A woman named Vicki brought me to a private office closed the door and sat directly in front of me. I described what happened and said I wanted one person to listen to what really happened. It was the hardest truth I’ve ever shared about myself. As I began to describe the people I abandoned I could still see their faces and hear their cries for help. I didn’t want to hear explanations, or forgiveness; I only wanted one person to know what really happened that day. I wanted Helen & I to survive the Tsunami but I could never anticipate the cost of our survival. Life suddenly seems so different my drive for pushing life to extreme challenges is numb and how I regard myself different. It was a day that changed many lives. A day later I told my dear friend Ivor from Safari about what happened that day, he responded compassionately he would have felt as I blaming himself. Knowing the only people who could forgive me were the people who died Ivor’s simple words helped me without lessening the truth of what really happened that day.

Talking to Helen about what to do next she stated she wanted to continue with the Blue Water Rally when healed. Another skipper volunteered to skipper our boat while his wife skippered his boat. We’ve agreed to stay in an apartment in Phukett to fully recover then fly to the next Rally Port and rejoin Tahlequah flying to that location. The American Embassy representative seemed shocked when Helen informed him we would continue. Some Rally members assumed we would return home following this ordeal. Helen says we’ve done this for the last two years it has to be finished.

Blue Water Rally friends at Phi Phi Don that day are responsible for saving Helen’s life and saving Tahlequah. They endangered themselves in the face of more waves to bring oxygen, medical supplies, and assistance to keep Helen live and even accompany us back to Phuket International Hospital. These same people returned to the island that evening to assist those hurt in the face of the worst disaster of the century. I will never know the man who unselfishly helped pull Helen from the water in his own grief. I will never forget his face and good will that touches only the surface of the Thai people.

Ed Muesch, SV Tahlequah


There were about 10 rally yachts in the area when the tsunami hit and everyone survived, traumatized but alive. They ask everyone to send whatever aid they can to help the survivors.

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