Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Welcome to Waziristan, bin Laden

I must admit, I have been waaaaay behind on the news these days. Call it life; call it political overload; call it what you will, I simply disconnected for a bit. Frankly, I don't know how anyone can pay as much attention to the news as I was and not feel a bit overwhelmed: the war against Islamo-fascism rages on across the globe, the political spin begins for mid-term elections, and Muslims continue their violent form of extortion at any perceived slight to Islam. For crying out loud, can't the world just slow down, take a deep breath, and relax for five seconds?

Seriously though, I'm back and catching up on the news. Thanks to an article in The Weekly Standard written by our friend Daveed Gartenstein-Ross with Bill Roggio, I'm now deeply convinced that the world will never stop for five seconds for that deep breath. *sigh*

In the early days of this month, Pakistan made a peace agreement with the Taliban insurgency in North Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan. Basically, they've ceded all authority to the Taliban and Al Qaeda in that region. But wait... it gets worse: Not only did Pakistan give Waziristan to the terrorists, they then released prisoners they'd been holding from four years of warfare in that region. Yep, jihadists who will now return to Waziristan to carry on the insurgency and plot terrorist attacks worldwide from their safe haven, courtesy of the Pakistani government. Gee, thanks Pervez.

Immediately after the Pakistani delegation left, al Qaeda's flag was run up the flagpole of abandoned military checkpoints, and the Taliban began looting leftover small arms. The Taliban also held a "parade" in the streets of Miranshah. Clearly, they view their "truce" with Pakistan as a victory. It is trumpeted as such on jihadist websites.
Read the full article and tell me that we're not in for more trouble around the globe now, all courtesy of our buddy Musharraf. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Grassroots Support is Vital

You may be reading the pieces I post on my blog about the FairTax. You may even be in favor of the FairTax. Are you hoping that the FairTax will become reality by virtue of Congress showing some commonsense and passing the bill? Bah! Don't just sit there! Time to become part of the grassroots effort. Individuals can make a big difference. We're seeing more and more support for the FairTax in traditional publications like local newspapers. It's within your power to make a difference; it feels sooo good to be a part of a radical movement that may change our economic future as a country and for each individual citizen.

This week's FairTax blogburst is all about getting involved...

by TD of The Right Track

A quick and dirty search through Google News for articles, news, and editorials revealed no less than 14 pieces written in the last month regarding the FairTax. Fully 1/3 of those were editorials agreeing with the need for the FairTax.

A sampling:

From the Denver Daily News, an editorial titled "FairTax, not flat tax, needed to fix nation's taxation woes":

Dear editor,

The IRS needs to be eliminated and replaced with the FairTax, not the flat tax, as suggested by columnist Aaron Harber in Monday's Denver Daily News.

The flat tax changes absolutely nothing -- the IRS, tax code, regulations, 16th Amendment, corporate taxation and payroll taxes (the way Social Security is funded) stay exactly the same under the flat tax.

At best, the flat tax is temporary, the wrong direction to move towards simplification.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "The Fairer Tax":

The Fair Tax (FairTax.org) will make our true tax burden -- most of which is concealed in the price of goods and services -- visible to all and is a necessary first step toward smaller and less-intrusive government.

We cannot allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.

So first, let's replace the current complex and dishonest system of taxation with a fair and transparent system that will allow the people to choose how much government they can afford in full knowledge of how much it really costs.

The Raleigh/Durham News & Observer has an editorial headlined "Total Replacement":

Our tax code has grown steadily more complex, unwieldy, expensive and out of control ever since its overhaul in 1986. The IRS is increasingly unable to cope with the tax code, and puts much of its resources to uses unrelated to raising revenue and contrary to the wishes of the Founders.

Like Icarus flying ever closer to the sun, the tax system appears to be headed for self-destruction. It is far beyond any fix and is losing respect and credibility. The only reasonable solution is to finally and completely scrap it and replace it. I support the revenue-neutral FairTax plan. (http://www.fairtax.org/ 1-800-FairTax).

This is just a sampling of what people are saying all across the country. Truly a grassroots effort, it takes people willing to step up and show public support for the FairTax to convince politicians that it's in their best interest to support the bills.

One way to show public support is to write an editorial to your local paper, no matter how large or small. Use the FairTax category that may appear on this participant blog, visit http://www.fairtax.org/, or read the FairTax book by Boortz and Linder to learn more. Get your facts straight, then write your editorial and submit it. Many papers now have a way to submit online or via e-mail.

However you decide to do it, your public support for the FairTax is vital.

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

Happy Belated "Talk Like a Pirate Day!"

Arrr, happy belated "Talk Like a Pirate Day," gar!

Yes, I know... I'm waaaaay behind on this one. For those of you who don't know, there is actually quite a following for Talk Like a Pirate Day which is celebrated on September 19th here in the states. I think some other countries do it on the 22nd.

My friends, Chris Rachael and her husband, Chaz, throw one hell of a fine pirate shindig every year. This year was my first go at the big party and I brought along me own matie as well, arrrr! I hope you all had as much fun that weekend as did me maties an' me!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

President Bush's Remarks

I was a bit perturbed that President Bush's speech to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks interrupted "The Path to 9/11" last night. It seems to me that his speech could have aired just as effectively before or after the show. By the way, I want to highly commend ABC for airing this mini-series uninterrupted. They gave up commercial dollars to present an uninterrupted lesson in American history. It seems to me that if they could forego the revenue, our Commander-in-Chief could have reconsidered the timing of his speech.

Look, it's obvious that I'm a Conservative. I support President Bush even though he does not, in many ways, represent the true Conservative ideology. He is my best hope for a responsible, self-reliant, Conservative country. But, even this diehard Conservative was dismayed with the timing and content of this speech.

President Bush is absolutely right in his estimation that this war will be a long and hard fight. He is absolutely correct that we MUST win this war. I thought he stressed that very clearly and made all the right points. However, I found myself disturbed that Iraq was brought up in this particular speech. It was clearly out of place in the remarks.

If he felt the need to ask for unity in this country, he could have done so without even mentioning Iraq. The partisan politics and the hateful rhetoric to which we are subjected daily by the Left these days is not even really about Iraq. It's about one party's dissatisfaction with their loss of power. Without a doubt in my mind, I know that even if we were still solely fighting in Afghanistan, the Leftists in this country would be roiling with hatred and dividing this nation with nasty partisan manuevers on some other basis.

I fully support this war against Islamo-fascist terrorists. As an armchair quarterback, I remain convinced that the US should have concentrated our efforts in Afghanistan for years rather than opening a new front in Iraq. I understood completely the threat we thought we faced given the intelligence in hand prior to invading Iraq -- if Hussein had the weapons we thought he had (and very likely still has), then the civilized world was at risk had he sold those weapons to Al Qaeda, terrorists who would certainly have used them against us.

So, why was I disturbed by the mention of Iraq in the speech? Well, it simply seemed totally unnecessary. There is no solid proof at present that Hussein had any hand in the terrorist attacks on our soil on 9/11. Nor, as far as I've read, is there any evidence that Hussein did anything other than provide safe harbor in Iraq to Al Qaeda. Hussein had broken UN resolution after UN resolution for years on end and, while there is no direct link to terrorist actions against us, there was definitely cause for concern.

So, even though the Iraqi front in this war is valid and needs to be pursued to victory, the mention of that front had no place in commemorating the victims and heroes of 9/11. Those people and their families deserved a speech dedicated to them and to our determination to win this war against Islamo-fascism. Focus should have been on the broad effort to defeat the Islamo-fascist terror plague that has spread globally. There was no need to call for unity in American opinion of the Iraqi front of this war. It seemed devisive and disjointed.

The failure to build unity over the war is based on one point that President Bush and the GOP need to be making over and over and over again: Iraq is only one FRONT in a global war on Islamo-fascism. It's that simple. It's not the "Iraq war;" it's the Iraqi front. Had it been positioned properly, it might have seemed to fit the speech. Unfortunately, talking about Iraq in the context of 9/11 continues to fall short and seem disjointed because the distinction is simply not being made.

My feeling toward the speech last night was lukewarm. Parts of it were stirring and appropriate in memoriam; other parts should have been saved for a more political venue. Simply put: the President made some unfortunate choices last night. I hope to see him do better.

"The Path to 9/11" was Outstanding!

As promised, I was glued to the television both Sunday and Monday nights watching ABC's "The Path to 9/11." It was time well-spent. I was extremely pleased with the way the factual information was presented and frankly didn't see too many artistic liberties taken throughout the mini-series. Even with the one-minute of edits, the story stayed intact and the facts were presented in an entertaining and informative way. All told, a very fine job -- well done!

As I watched the mini-series, I could not imagine why Richard Clarke, of all people, was up in arms over this show. He was portrayed throughout the show as being very earnest, very serious about his job, fully aware of the importance of catching Bin Laden, and extremely intent on communicating the seriousness and ferocity of the enemy we faced even before 9/11/01. He came through loud and clear as one of the saner voices during the Clinton administration. What in the world did he have to complain about? If I had no idea how nasty and partisan he's become since he was "restructured" during the early years of the Bush administration, I would have seen Clarke as a real hero in the fight, a true patriot, and an asset to this country. I can't help but wonder if he had actually even seen the mini-series prior to his complaints. This mini-series, even with some of its fictionalized scenes, did him no damage whatsoever. Clinton, Albright, and Tenet, yes; Clarke, no.

The mini-series seemed to run true to first-hand accounts and facts presented in print about the history of Islamo-fascist terrorist attacks on our country -- by the way, if you haven't read "The Cell" by John Miller, Michael Stone, and Chris Mitchell, I highly recommend it. Outstanding insight into the what we faced in the early part of this fight.

While watching, I realized my memory was in error on a couple of things. I did not realize that John O'Neill died in the attack on 9/11. How sadly ironic! Had he stayed with the FBI and lived to serve under the Bush administration, I imagine he would have made a huge difference in our early efforts in Homeland Security. Also, my recollection of the timeframe in which Massoud was assassinated was way off. For some reason, I thought he was assassinated after we went into Afghanistan. His death was yet another sad loss in this war against Islamo-fascist terrorists!
The most disheartening thing about watching this mini-series was finding out how many people did NOT watch it! Talking about it at work on Monday, I found out that the majority of my co-workers were glued to football games and didn't bother to tune in. Maybe I'm naive but I thought there would be more general interest in this mini-series. Based only on anecdotal evidence, it sure seems that very few Americans bother to stay abreast of politics and history. That's a shame, indeed. 3,000 people died in the attack on 9/11/01 and, a mere five years later, very few seem to know much about or care to learn more about what led to that infamous day in our history.

For anyone who couldn't pull him/herself away from football on Sunday and Monday, the mini-series is available to view on ABC's website. Believe me, if you're interested in educating yourself on the history of our battle with Islamo-fascist terrorists prior to the one attack that woke this country up, it is well worth your time. It is more important than ever.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Anticipating "The Path to 9/11"

The reputation of the networks lately for their "objective" reporting has been, at best, thrashed by their inattention to corroborating sources, their leap to imagination, and their obvious bias against Conservatives and this administration. So, it surprised me to hear so many good things about the upcoming ABC mini-series "The Path to 9/11."

I am eagerly anticipating this television event. Reviews by Conservatives in the media (here's just one of the many) have ranged from fair to great based on the pre-screening they received from ABC Entertainment. It's my feeling that no matter how the events are portrayed, even in the embellished scenes, this is a mini-series that needs to be presented to the American people.

Even those most of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the first news of the events that day, it's apparent that most Americans have lost their memory of the years leading up to the tragedy on 9/11. It seems to me that too many of my fellow citizens view the atrocity committed by Islamic terrorists that day in a vacuum as though it was the only incident to prompt the war we are now waging for our way of life, for our liberty.

Listening to Jed Babbin (filling in for Hugh Hewitt tonight) on my way home from work, it certainly sounds as though the "Clintonistas," the Democrats on the Hill, and many Leftwing organizations have raised such a ruckus over the film that ABC is now editing it. That's a shame.

From what I understand, the mini-series was built around facts uncovered during the 9/11 Commission's hearings and published in their report. History is what it is, folks. Even with some embellishment for the sake of maintaining a dramatic presentation, the major facts about the years leading up to 9/11 are well-documented public knowledge. Those facts cannot be changed by threats and complaints. Only a piece of dramatic television art can be changed; if ABC is actually editing this mini-series for that reason then that, my friends, is a shame indeed.

Even though I'd like to complain about ABC bending to the will of the major players in the Clinton administration, I cannot. Putting myself in the shoes of these network executives, I imagine that they may just be hedging their bets to protect themselves from a future that I hope never comes to pass, one in which Mrs. Clinton and her administration may be appointing FCC watchdogs. We all know how the Clintons treat their enemies, don't we?

I find myself eagerly anticipating the mini-series even with the rumors of editing. It's time for a refresher in history for the American people. There is no better way to educate those who admire the media (and it's stars) than by the presentation of a compelling mini-series based on historical facts.

I will certainly be in front of the TV tuned to ABC on Sunday, September 10th at 8pm and on Monday, September 11th at 8pm. Thank you, ABC, for having the courage to remind us all that there are consequences for every inaction as well as every action. I believe the intention is good; I hope the mini-series is even better!

Now THAT'S more like it!

With all of the "no confidence" rhetoric and political manuevering on the Hill lately by Dems, it's apparently for show only. Apparently, there is some actual work being done on securing our nation and better funding our efforts in the war against Islamo-fascism on the Hill these days. Yes, folks, even by the Dems! I'm proud of them for using their heads and their votes rather than their mouths and their imaginations for a change. Thank you, Senators all!

Now, if we can just slap some sense into the military brass who insist on the "good old boy" network of defense contracting, we might just be able to fight and win this war right! Attention on deck, officers -- your employers are watching...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This makes my blood boil!

Earlier this year, the U.S. Army awarded one of its favored defense contractors, Raytheon, a $70 million contract to develop a new system to combat rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which have killed nearly 40 Americans in Afghanistan and more than 130 in Iraq.

Sounds like good news, doesn't it? ...Until you read the entire investigative piece from NBC's Lisa Myers. The part of the investigation is this: "Army shuns system to combat RPGs." Very clearly, the anti-RPG system we are paying Raytheon to develop is already available from Rafael (an Israeli company). Not only is the system available, it has been tested and proven to work all ready!

For those of you who prefer video, here's the video of the story as it aired on NBC Nightly News tonight.

Our brave men and women in uniform are dying in RPG attacks and military brass are playing games with defense contractors?! I don't fully trust the MSM any more than anyone else with a brain, so please tell me this isn't true. Someone please tell me that there is a darned good reason we aren't buying and rapidly deploying the Trophy system.

"Average Joe" versus "Mr. Rich"

by Debbie of The Right Truth

A reader here at Right Truth, Ralph Ekwall, who doesn't like the Fair Tax sent me an email. He seemed to think that I would not be interested in hearing his opinions, but that could not be further from the truth. I think healthy debate is good and encourage it. Below are his arguments and our reply:

"I doubt you will print this since it is in opposition to the "Fair Tax." The "Fair Tax" is really unfair because it taxes middle and low income people at a higher rate than wealthy income people. Here is an example.

Let us consider a tax rate of 30% for the so-called "Fair Tax." Let us look at how it affects two different American families: Mr. Average Joe and Mr. Rich.

Mr. Average Joe makes just $45,000 per year. At that salary he must spend everything that he makes to support his family. So, almost all of his income is taxed. His rate of taxation is between 27- and 30% He may give money to his church or to a charity and that would not be taxed.

Now consider Mr. Rich who has an income of $10,000,000 per year. He is really rich. Most of his income will be reinvested in his business and not taxed. He will put some of his money into an education trust for his children and that is not taxed. It may be possible that he will spend $1,000,000 of his income, but that is doubtful. If so then $1,000,000 of his income is taxed and he has $9,000,000 of income that is not touched by taxation. His rate of taxation is about 3%. I ask you - is that a fair tax?????????

We now have a progressive income tax system that imposes a higher rate of taxation for high income earners. The so-called "Fair Tax" would impose a higher rate of taxation on middle and low income earners and allow most of the money earned by wealthy people to be untaxed.

It does not seem fair to me. --by Ralph Ekwall"

Our reply:

"You fail to mention that Mr. Average Joe will benefit tremendously from the PREBATE included in the FairTax. Your statement that "almost all" of his income would be taxed is erroneous. I cannot off the top of my head tell you how much of a prebate Mr. Average Joe and his family would receive, but it would be substantial.

You also fail to consider that Mr. Rich who will not have to pay tax on his income or on returns from his investments will now have more money to re-invest and he will probably have more money to return to his business which in turn creates jobs for people like Mr. Average Joe. The economy prospers, Mr. Rich is rewarded rather than punished for his entrepreneurship, and Mr. Average Joe and his friends would be assured of good jobs.

Hmmmmmmmmmm, I'm doing a little math here:

If Mr. Average Joe spends all of his 45,000 dollars and is taxed at say 23 percent he would pay $10,350 in taxes most of which he would get back in the prebate.

If Mr. Rich spends a million dollars at 23 percent his tax would be $230,000 and his prebate would be insignificant to the tax that he paid.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, sounds fair to me.

Also, don't forget that the tax is paid ONLY on NEW goods and services. If Mr. Average Joe buys that decent used minivan for his family, guess what! NO TAX! --by Thomas Hamilton"

We welcome any other comments or opinions, and thanks Mr. Ekwall for this opportunity to address your questions.


The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.