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Jul 23, 2008
Focus: Government
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States

I have two grandchildren, ages 5 and 7. If you're a parent or grandparent yourself, I challenge you not to think about a child you love when you read what I'm about to tell you.

I challenge you not to share my disgust with the barbarians who use the blood of innocents to further their political agendas.

And I challenge you not to share my contempt for the bureaucrats who think they can appease them.

For the governments that think their actions don't have consequences.

For the politicians who think that something - anything - good can come from allowing the killers of children to walk free.

Child Killers Sent to "Protest" the Camp David Accords

Smadar Haran, her husband Danny, and their two daughters, ages two and four, were at home in their apartment in northern Israel on the night of April 22, 1979. They were asleep in their beds around midnight when they awoke to gunfire and grenades exploding.

Terrorists, sent by terrorist leader Abu Abbas to protest the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty at Camp David the year before, were breaking into their building.

Desperate to hide, Smadar carried her two-year-old into a crawl space above their bedroom. So terrified was she that her baby girl would cry out and alert the terrorists to their hiding place that Smadar held her hand tightly over the girl's mouth. Too tightly. By the time they were rescued hours later, the little girl was dead. Smadar had accidentally smothered her own child.

But the horror doesn't end there.

Kuntar Smashed a Four-Year-Old Girl's Head Against a Rock Until She Was Dead

While Smadar and her child hid in the crawlspace, Danny and the four-year-old ran out of the apartment for the safety of an underground shelter. They didn't make it. The terrorists took Danny and the little girl down to the beach where one of them, Samir Kuntar, shot Danny in front of the girl. His goal, according to Smadar, was that the sight of her father being killed "would be the last sight she would ever see."

Then Kuntar smashed the little girl's skull against a rock until she was dead.

Last week, in a deal brokered by the Israeli government with the terrorist group Hezbollah, Samir Kuntar, a cowardly child killer, walked out of an Israeli prison.

Israel Didn't Cave to Terrorists in 1985 But It Did Last Week

The deal the Israeli government made with Hezbollah included the exchange of the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed by Hezbollah in return for five live terrorists in Israeli prisons, including Kuntar.

And Kuntar was no ordinary terrorist prisoner. Abu Abbas was so impressed with Kuntar's savage child-killing tactics that Abbas masterminded the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 - including the killing and dumping into the ocean of the defenseless, elderly, wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer - to secure Kuntar's release.

Israel didn't cave into terrorists in 1985, but it did last week. And the deal it struck with Hezbollah will have disastrous consequences for Israel and the world.

The concession, writes the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick "will cement Iran's control of Lebanon through Hizbullah. It also all but guarantees that any future Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hizbullah will be killed on the spot. Why care for hostages when you can murder them and expect to receive the same payoff you would get if you kept them alive?"

Kuntar Receives a Hero's Welcome in Lebanon

Kuntar Receives a Hero's Welcome in Lebanon

Photo Credit: AFP

But possibly even more disappointing than the Israeli government's willingness to make deals with terrorists is the reception that greeted the release of Samir Kuntar in parts of the Middle East last week.

Columnist Mona Charen reports that Kuntar literally received a red carpet reception in Beirut. Charen writes:

The government closed all offices and declared a national day of celebration. Tens of thousands of Lebanese cheered, waved flags, threw confetti, and set off fireworks as Hezbollah staged a rally to celebrate their "victory" over Israel. Mahmoud Abbas, the "moderate" leader of the Palestinian Authority, sent "blessings to Samir Kuntar's family." PA spokesman Ahmad Abdul Rahman sent "warm blessings to Hezbollah . . . on the return of the heroes of freedom . . . headed by the great Samir Kuntar."

This barbaric display enrages me and it should enrage all Americans.

Both the Palestinian Authority and the Lebanese government are recipients of U.S. taxpayers' money through foreign assistance. Political leaders - and the people they lead - who cheer the release of despicable child murderers are unworthy recipients of our assistance.

Congress should insist that the Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority retract their support for Kuntar or it should cut off U.S. assistance to them.

Appeasement Comes Home to America

As if the news from Israel weren't bad enough, the seemingly irresistible urge among some foreign policy elites to appease our worst enemies came home to America last week.

The State Department sent its third most senior official to sit in on nuclear "negotiations" with Iran, even as Iran continues its relentless pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

In the past, President Bush had a label for such a move. He called it "appeasement." Last week, his own State Department succeeded in taking the first steps in a futile attempt to appease a dictator who has called for the destruction of Israel and defeat of the West. His stated goal? A world without America.

And so I ask again: Have our leaders lost their minds?

"Hitler Tamed By Prison" - The Unexplainable Desire of Elites to Lie to Themselves

As a historian, I look for clues for how to manage our present from how we've managed our past.

One thing history shows is that some elites have a dangerous and unexplainable desire to lie to themselves.

A case in point: In 1924, Adolph Hitler was released from a German prison after serving time for conspiracy to overthrow the German government.

Nine years before he took power and led Germany on an irrevocable course toward world war and a campaign of systematic genocide against Jews, Gypsies, Catholics and others, the headline in the New York Times was:

"Hitler Tamed By Prison"

Read closely. The article concludes on this deluded note: "[Hitler's] behavior during imprisonment convinced the authorities that [he], like his political organization, known as the Volkischer, was no longer to be feared. It is believed he will return to private life and return to Austria, the country of his birth."

When the Negotiations Don't Work, What Are We Prepared to Do?

As America looks ahead to the swearing in of a new president next January, we need now, more than ever, leaders who resist the temptation to delude themselves about the nature of our enemies.

As a young Senator with little foreign policy experience, Barack Obama faces a unique challenge. As I write this, Senator Obama is traveling abroad seeking to convince the American people that he has the leadership ability to be commander in chief.

Senator Obama has also repeatedly assured us that he, too, will negotiate with regimes like Iran. But the question we owe to ourselves is to ask Senator Obama and our current State Department:

When negotiations don't work, what are you prepared to do?

Talking isn't a policy, it's a process. And talking to people who have vowed your destruction is at best a futile and at worst a dangerous process.

Just ask the Israelis. After greeting Samir Kuntar with a hug and a kiss when he returned to Lebanon last week, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah declared, "The time of defeat is long gone. Today is the time of victory."

A Sad and Fond Farewell to Tony Snow

I've had some strong words today for Israeli and U.S. leaders. But I want to end today on a loving note. I want to say a fond farewell to a magnificent friend and colleague.

Last week, America lost a principled advocate and loving family man, Tony Snow. My sympathies go out to the entire Snow family for the loss of this generous and brave man. Despite Tony's passing, the Center for Heath Transformation will continue the "Eliminating Cancer as a Cause of Death and Suffering" project that Tony began.

In addition, the Center has started the "Tony Snow Family Trust" to help his wife Jill pay for the education and expenses of their three children, Kendall, Robbie and Kristi. For more information and to donate, please click here.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. -- All summer long we have heard certain politicians in Washington argue against opening up new drilling offshore or in ANWR because, as they claim, everyone knows drilling now won't have any impact on today's oil prices. It turns out two economists recently conducted a study to examine what the impact of opening up ANWR would be on today's oil prices. Their conclusions speak for themselves: "We find that oil that is expected to reach the market some years hence has an immediate impact on oil prices," and that "if oil firms were allowed to drill in ANWR and many of the other areas that are currently off limits to oil production, it is possible that these areas together might have a significant impact on world oil prices."

And when these two authors - both economics professors - submitted their findings for publications to a prestigious energy journal, what was the response from the rarified world of economists? It was rejection -- but not for the reasons opponents of opening up new areas for oil and gas exploration would like to believe. No, their study was rejected because their conclusions were so obvious and so well-known - and have been for so long in the field of economics -- that the two authors were not offering up anything new that merited publication. Because The Energy Journal wishes to publish only original work, it rejected the request to publish the study because the two economists had nothing new to say.

This is how the rejection letter reads in part: "Basically, your main result (the present impact of an anticipated future supply change) is already known to economists (although perhaps not to the Democratic Policy Committee)." Read the full rejection letter here.

This just shows how in the world that works, the facts and how markets work are well-known and indisputable while in the world that fails (the one certain liberal members of Congress seem to be living in), a denial of common knowledge, a denial of reality, and a denial about how the world works prevail. Opponents of expanded drilling would be wise to get in touch with reality and Drill Here, Drill Now so we can Pay Less."

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Posted: Jul 23, 2008 6:11am
Jul 2, 2008

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"Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age till time shall be no more. Amen and Amen."
                                                 
Virginia Gazette on July 18th, 1777

Schoolchildren in America learn the basic history of the events surrounding the Fourth of July, but the details of this monumental occasion in American history somehow fall through the cracks.

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Although July 4th is celebrated as America's official split from Britain's rule and the beginning of the American Revolution, the actual series of events show that the process took far longer than a single day. 

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Taxation without representation! That was the battle cry of the 13 colonies in America who were forced to pay taxes to England's King George III with no representation in Parliament. As dissatisfaction grew, British troops were sent in to quell any signs of rebellion, and repeated attempts by the colonists to resolve the crisis without war proved fruitless.

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The original resolution was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776, and called for the Continental Congress to declare the United States free from British rule. 

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On June 11, 1776, the colonies' Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, formed a committee with the express purpose of drafting a document that would formally sever their ties with Great Britain. The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. The document was crafted by Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer (nevertheless, a total of 86 changes were made to his draft!) The final version, the document that we know as the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the resolution that led to the writing of the Declaration was actually approved two days earlier.

The following day, copies of the Declaration of Independence were distributed and, on July 6, The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print the extraordinary document!!!

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On July 8, 1776, the first public readings of the Declaration were held in Philadelphia's Independence Square to the ringing of bells and band music. 
All of this had occurred with some of the delegates to the Congress not even present; New York, for example, did not even vote on the resolution until July 9th.(Did you know that that not a single signature was appended to the Declaration on July 4th. While most of the fifty-six names were in place by early August, one signer, Thomas McKean, did not actually sign the Declaration until 1781.)

 

One year later, on July 4, 1777, Philadelphia marked Independence Day by adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells and fireworks.

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The custom eventually spread to other towns both large and small, where the day was marked with processions, oratory, picnics, contests, games, military displays and fireworks. Observations throughout the nation became even more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

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On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Roger C. Weightman, declining an invitation to come to Washington, D.C., to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was the last letter, Jefferson, who was gravely ill, ever wrote. In it, Jefferson says of the document:

 

 

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be ... the signal of arousing men to burst the chains ... and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ... For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

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In 1941, Congress declared July 4 a legal Federal holiday. Today, communities across the nation mark this major midsummer holiday with parades, fireworks, picnics and the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and marches by John Philip Sousa.

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Posted: Jul 2, 2008 8:27am
Mar 29, 2008
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States

By JESSIE BONNER, Associated Press Writer Sat Mar 29, 6:04 AM ET

BOISE, Idaho - Good news for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains: They no longer need federal protection. The bad news for the animals? Plans are already in the works to hunt them.

Federal Endangerd Species Act protection of the wolves was lifted Friday in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, giving those states management of the estimated 1,500 gray wolves in the region.

Even though environmentalists plan to sue the federal government next month to restore wolf protections, hunts are already being scheduled by state wildlife agencies to reduce the wolf population to between 900 and 1,250.

Idaho hunters will be allowed to kill between 100-300 of the animals this fall under a plan approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. The hunts are partly in response to increasing numbers of livestock being killed as the predators' population has grown.

"We manage big game for a living, we're good at it," said Steve Nadeau, who oversees large carnivores for the Idaho Fish and Game Department. "The world is watching and we know it."

Fish and Game estimates Idaho now has 800 gray wolves. Should the number of breeding pairs in Idaho fall below a target number, the animals could be brought back under federal protection.

After a series of public shouting matches between wolf advocates and opponents, comments from Idaho Department Fish and Game officials on Friday seemed largely designed to reassure both ends of the debate.

Cal Groen, director of the department, told reporters that his agency has already proven its ability to recover and maintain Idaho wolf populations. "We've exceeded all the goals the federal government set," Groen said.

But Doug Honnold, a managing attorney for the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, disagrees. Honnold said the wolf populations won't be fully recovered in Idaho and the northern Rockies until the animals number between 2,000 and 3,000.

Earthjustice, which represents 12 local and national environmental groups, plans to sue the federal government next month to continue wolf protections.

All three state plans to manage the wolves call for a reduction in their numbers, which will eventually lead to weaker breeding, Honnold said in a telephone interview from Bozeman, Mont.

"We think that would be a disaster," he said. "We've spent a lot of time, money and effort to promote wolf recovery."

Gray wolves were listed as endangered in 1973 after being hunted into near extinction, but the population has rebounded dramatically after restoration efforts began in 1995. The wolves were recently de-listed in the western Great Lakes, while the wolf population in the Southwest remains endangered.

Wildlife biologists estimate there are now 41 breeding pairs in Idaho, in 72 packs. If that number falls below 10 breeding pairs, or 15 during a three-year period, the wolves could be brought back under federal protection.

On Friday, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed a bill to allow ranchers, outfitters and pet owners to kill wolves harassing livestock. The law gives owners up to 72 hours to report wolves they've killed after catching them annoying, disturbing or stalking animals or livestock.


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Posted: Mar 29, 2008 8:47am
Mar 24, 2008

stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others.



I sweat, and I am tired. My back aches from the loads I carry. Young American boys look to me to direct them in a manner that will someday allow them to see their families again...and yet, I too, am just a boy, my age not but a few years more than that of the ones I lead. I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid ... because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there.



There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own ... but that are necessary for survival. I've made compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this. Miles from me are my brethren in this world, who walk in the same streets ... who feel the same things, whether they admit to it or not.



And to think, I volunteered for this ... And I am ignorant to the rest of the world ... or so I thought.



But even thousands of miles away, as I sit in Ramadi, Iraq, the cries and screams and complaints of the ungrateful reach me. In a year, I will be thrust back into society from a life and mentality that doesn't fit your average man. And then, I will be alone. And then, I will walk down the streets of America, and see the yellow ribbon stickers on the cars of the same people who compare us to butchers and our President to Hitler.



I will watch the television and watch the Cindy Sheehans, and the Al Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America spout off their mouths about a Subject they know nothing about. It is their right, however, and it is a right that is defended by hundreds of thousands of boys and girls scattered across the world, far from home. I use the word boys and girls, because that's what they are. In the Army, the average age of the infantryman is nineteen years old. The average rank of soldiers killed in action is Private First Class.



People like Cindy Sheehan are ignorant. Not just to this war, but to the results of their idiotic ramblings, or at least I hope they are. They don't realize its effects on this war. In this war, there are no Geneva Conventions, no cease fires.



Medics and Chaplains are not spared from the enemy's brutality because it's against the rules. I can only imagine the horrors a military Chaplain would experience at the hands of the enemy. The enemy slinks in the shadows and fights a coward's war against us. It is effective though, as many men and women have died since the start of this war. And the memory of their service to America is tainted by the inconsiderate remarks on our nation's news outlets. And every day, the enemy changes ... only now, the enemy is becoming something new. The enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans. The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives. And they do not realize it. But in denouncing our actions, denouncing our leaders, denouncing the war we live and fight, they are isolating the military from society ... and they are becoming our enemy.



Democrats and peace activists like to toss the word "quagmire" around and compare this war to Vietnam. In a way they are right, this war is becoming like Vietnam. Not the actual war, but in the isolation of country and military. America is not a nation at war; they are a nation with its military at war. Like it or not, we are here, some of us for our second, or third times; some even for their fourth and so on. Americans are so concerned now with politics that it is interfering with our war.



Terrorists cut the heads off of American citizens on the internet ... and there is no outrage, but an American soldier kills an Iraqi in the midst of battle, and there are investigations, and sometimes soldiers are even jailed ... for doing their job.



It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this.

Why are we so obsessed with the bad news? Why will people stop at nothing to be against this war, no matter how much evidence of the good we've done is thrown in their face?

When is the last time CNN or MSNBC or CBS reported the opening of schools and hospitals in Iraq? Or the leaders of terror cells being detained or killed? It's all happening, but people will not let up their hatred of Bush. They will ignore the good news, because it just might show people that Bush was right. America has lost its will to fight. It has lost its will to defend what is right and just in the world. The crazy thing of it all is that the American people have not even been asked to sacrifice a single thing. It's not like World War Two, where people rationed food, and turned in cars to be made into metal for tanks. The American people have not been asked to sacrifice anything. Unless you are in the military or the family member of a service member its life as usual...the war doesn't affect you.



But it affects us. And when it is over, and the troops come home, and they try to piece together what's left of them after their service...where will the Detractors be then? Where will the Cindy Sheehans be to comfort and talk to soldiers and help them sort out the last couple years of their lives, most of which have been spent dodging death and wading through the deaths of their friends? They will be where they always are, somewhere far away, where the horrors of the world can't touch them. Somewhere where they can complain about things they will never experience in their lifetime; things that the young men and women of America have willingly taken upon their shoulders.



We are the hope of the Iraqi people. They want what everyone else wants in life: safety, security, somewhere to call home. They want a country that is safe to raise their children in. Not a place where their children will be abducted, raped, and murdered if they do not comply with the terrorists demands. They want to live on, rebuild and prosper. And America has given them the opportunity, but only if we stay true to the cause, and see it to its end. But the country must unite in this endeavor ... we cannot place the burden on our military alone. We must all stand up and fight, whether in uniform or not. And supporting us is more than sticking yellow ribbon stickers on your cars. It's supporting our President, our troops and our cause.



Right now, the burden is all on the American soldiers. Right now, hope rides alone. But it can change, it must change. Because there is only failure and darkness ahead for us as a country, as a people, if it doesn't.


Let's stop all the political nonsense, let's stop all the bickering, let's stop all the bad news, and let's stand and fight!

Isn't that what America is about anyway?

Feel free to copy and repost

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Posted: Mar 24, 2008 6:14am
Mar 19, 2008
Focus: Media
Action Request: Petition
Location: United States
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, but you might not have seen much about it on TV recently. Just 3% of the news in February was dedicated to the war and fewer than one in three Americans know how many American troops have died in Iraq. Believe it or not, a study just released by the Pew Research Center shows that press coverage of the war is at the lowest point since the war began.
Please take a minute now to sign an open letter to the media and demand that major networks increase their coverage of the Iraq war.

The economy and the presidential campaigns are both important stories, but news of the ongoing wars shouldn't fall by the wayside. The media must demonstrate that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Over 80% of Americans are aware that Oprah Winfrey endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president, while just 28% know how many troops have died in Iraq- even though we are rapidly approaching 4,000 casualties.

An unprecedented detachment between the American public and the men and women at war makes the media's coverage of the conflicts more vital than ever. Just because the coverage has waned doesn't mean our troops aren't facing daily dangers or major issues once they return home.

Men and women continue to serve in Iraq, though you might not realize that just from watching the news. Please sign this open letter and honor the sacrifice of those who have served in the past five years by making sure they remain in the public eye.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,
 
Paul Rieckhoff
Iraq Veteran
Executive Director
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America



P.S. Be sure to watch Choose or Lose Presents: Clinton & Obama Answer Young Veterans on MTV, Thursday at 6pm EST (Senator McCain is in Iraq this week and was unable to participate). Several IAVA member veterans are participating in the discussion.



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Posted: Mar 19, 2008 10:40am
Mar 6, 2008

      I KNOW MY HUBBY LOOKS GOOD!! OH YEAH!!

FORT BENNING, Ga. - Commando Military Supply on Victory Drive here is about as different from a musty Army surplus store as you can imagine.

More REI than M.A.S.H., Commando is regularly jam-packed with deploying grunts and sergeants, poking around for custom gear including $200 flashlights, $150 Oakley protective sunglasses, $180 Thinsulate boots, and $20 thermal socks.

"When you're comfortable and you know where all your gear is, it makes you a better fighter," says Lt. Tucker Knie, an Army Ranger perusing custom ammo pouches and techno-fiber socks. "You don't want to be rummaging around in your pocket during a firefight."

The traditional Army credo is that it's guts that win the glory – not fancy long-johns or Oakley sunglasses. But that old-school thinking is wicking away like perspiration through Gore-Tex as US soldiers today go beyond military-issue battle dress uniforms in favor of top-of-the-line gear to help them get home in one piece – and look sharp, too.

One reason, critics say, is that military procurement, especially of life-saving equipment, is still too slow. Quietly, however, the Pentagon – with the Army leading the charge – has begun bypassing rigid procurement rules, loosening uniformity requirements, and even spearheading technical innovations in gear, ranging from flame-retardant shirts to low-infrared signature zippers.

"The idea now is, 'If it helps Joe do the mission, let him have it – as long as it's not hot pink,' " says Army veteran Logan Coffey, founder of Tactical Tailor, a custom-maker of packs and pouches in Lakewood, Wash. "It's a giant change" in the military mind-set, he says in a phone interview.

Since 9/11, the market for tactical war gear has expanded from nearly nonexistent to nearly $150 million in sales each year, which includes sales directly to soldiers as well as to the Pentagon, according to industry sources.

CIA operatives, domestic SWAT teams, and Border Patrol agents are also rounding out their gear at bazaars like Commando.

To some critics, the sight of soldiers buying their own battle gear symbolizes a divide between frontline grunts and rear echelon procurement officers who may never have seen battle. Rep. Gene Taylor (D) of Mississippi told the House Armed Services Committee last week that supplies such as body armor and uparmored Humvees "[have] taken entirely too long" to get to frontline troops.

In some cases, charity groups have stepped in to help. Operation Helmet, founded by Bob Meaders of Montgomery, Texas, shipped special helmet liners to soldiers to replace what many soldiers said were poorly designed helmet pads issued by the Army and the Marines. Just as Operation Helmet thought its work was done late last year, more requests came in from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The Army is planning a $20 billion future combat system, and they can't provide boots that don't wear out," says Roger Charles, editor of DefenseWatch, an investigative website that advocates on behalf of frontline soldiers. "There's no priority for taking care of relatively mundane items where most people would think, 'Gosh, that's so simple. Why don't they have the best boots, the best uniforms, the best helmets, and the best flak jackets?' "

But through new and rejuvenated efforts like Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, the Soldier Battle Lab here at Fort Benning, and Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass., the Army has quickened the supply chain, sometimes against daunting odds, experts say.

For example, PEO Soldier's Rapid Fielding Initiative recently turned around an order for special mountain boots for units in Afghanistan in a month's time. "The Army has never been able to field such updated equipment so quickly before," says Lt. Col. John Lemondes, head of Clothing and Individual Equipment at Fort Belvoir, Va. "We really are moving at the speed of lighting with respect to equipping the war effort."

And at Ft. Lewis, Wash., one unit commander is putting an array of new protective glasses to the test this month. The unit will use discretionary funds to buy the glasses the soldiers prefer.

Moreover, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service reports that sales of tactical gear to units have climbed from $60 million in 2005 to $90 million in 2007. At the same time, there's evidence that soldiers are spending less of their own money on gear: One study found that two years ago, marines were spending $400 of their own money on extra gear; last year, they spent an average of only $100.

"The military is now doing a pretty good job of outfitting the war fighters with what they need, and a lot of it comes from effort and real caring," says Drumm McNaughton, a Navy veteran and management consultant who has written about the struggles of military procurement.

Because little enhancements can make a big difference, soldiers often choose to pick up their own "dirty packs" to augment the issued gear, especially as many feel flush from combat bonuses.

"What's 100 bucks for a flashlight if it's going to work during an attack, and help you fend off a knife fight?" says a Commando clerk, who didn't want to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak by the store manager.

But many soldiers don't blame the Army. One lieutenant shopping at Commando says standard issue gear is usually good enough. His one complaint: the clunky Army cap, which has a thick bill that can't be formed baseball-style. "They need to change it," he says. "It makes you look like a dork."

Even in life and death situations, fashion means something on the battlefield, soldiers say. "The Army does issue everyone glasses, but the young soldier wants to look cool, fashionable. He wants to look sexy," says Mr. Coffey.

The sales growth in custom tactical gear is partly made possible by manufacturing advances that allow companies to make profit on small batch orders. But for war fighters, a perk to the hard slog is being allowed to put their own spin on the Army look.

"One of the basic tensions is that in the Army there's pressure for a strong collective identity ... to develop this feeling of belongingness and camaraderie," says Frederic Brunel, a marketing professor at Boston University. "At the same time, there is a basic human need to pull away from that ... [to] retain some sense of self-identity that is separate from the group identity."

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Posted: Mar 6, 2008 8:50am
Mar 2, 2008


On Saturday, March 01, 2008 the USS New York was christened at Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, La. The United States Ship New York (LPD-21) is the Navy’s newest amphibious transport dock ship. It is named in commemoration of those tragically affected by 9/11. Her Commanding Officer will be a native of  New York City, Commander F. Curtis Jones.
Twenty-four tons of steel used in its construction came from the small amount of rubble from the World Trade Center (WTC) actually preserved for posterity. The bow stem was formed using 7.5 tons of steel from the WTC. The shipyard workers reportedly treated it with "reverence usually accorded to religious relics,” gently touching it as they walked by.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, Then Governor of New York George E. Pataki wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy Gordon England requesting that the Navy bestow the name USS New York on a surface warship involved in the War on Terror in honor of September 11's victims. In his letter, the Governor said he understood state names are currently reserved for submarines, but asked for special consideration so the name could be given to a surface ship. The request was approved August 28, 2002.

The bow stem is the foremost portion of the ship where it cuts through the water and offers hull integrity. "The significance of where the WTC steel is located on the 684-ft-long ship symbolizes the strength and resiliency of the citizens of New York as it sails forward around the world," said Cmdr. Quentin King, Navy program manager representative on site. "It sends a message of America becoming stronger as a result, coming together as a country and ready to move forward as we make our way through the world."

This fitting tribute by the US Navy continues to show true American grit. The ship’s motto: “Never Forget, Strength Through Sacrifice" should serve as a reminder to all Americans of the sacrifice so many has made and continues to make for our Freedom. Thank you to the US Navy and to all our brave men and women in uniform. We are truly the land of the free because we are home of the brave.
Never Forget!
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Posted: Mar 2, 2008 5:29am
Feb 28, 2008
Abortion:
   Clinton is pro-choice. She spoke out against the Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortions. Clinton also voted in 2005 to give $100 million toward teen pregnancy prevention and emergency contraception education programs.

Energy/Environment:
   Clinton supports investment in renewable energy, carbon sequestration, and market-based emissions reduction plans. She supports the creation of a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Clinton introduced a Strategic Energy Fund that would dedicate $50 billion to research, renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean coal technology, ethanol, and other domestically-made bio-fuels. She opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and voted for a bill to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Immigration:
   Clinton wants tighter border security, more sanctions on those who employ illegal immigrants, and more immigration assistance for state and local governments. She has attracted criticism for giving different positions on a now-failed New York proposal to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses. Clinton supports allowing illegal immigrants to earn legal status by paying fines and back taxes and learning English. She voted for the 2006 Kennedy-McCain immigration reform bill and for border fence legislation.

Iraq:
   Clinton opposes the Bush-backed troop surge. Though she voted for the October 2002 resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, she introduced in early May 2007 a bill to rescind that authorization.

Taxes:
   Clinton supports some middle-class tax cuts, including a permanent repeal on the marriage penalty, property tax relief, and the Alternative Minimum Tax. She believes the rich do not "pay their fair share," and would let cuts for households earning more than $200,000 expire. Clinton voted against the permanent repeal of the estate tax. She supports a tax deduction for college tuition and refundable child and adoption tax credits.

ANOTHER PERSON I'M NOT VOTING FOR~BAD, VERY BAD FOR THE COUNTRY
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Posted: Feb 28, 2008 2:00pm
Feb 28, 2008

Abortion:
    Obama supports abortion rights. He opposed restrictions on public financing of abortions while serving in the Illinois legislature. He said partial-birth abortion only focuses on 1 percent of all cases, and would entrust a woman to make such a decision for herself.

Energy/Environment:
    Obama would create a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, taking revenues generated from the program to help those negatively impacted by the limits. He would also raise fuel efficiency standards for cars. Obama would establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard that would require all transportation fuels to contain 5 percent less carbon by 2015 and 10 percent less carbon by 2020. He believes the plan would spur investment in renewable fuels and help reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Immigration:
   Obama says it is vital to bring out of the shadows the 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. by implementing a system through which illegals could earn citizenship by paying a fine, learning English, and waiting their turn behind legal immigrants. Obama says the U.S. needs a better employment verification system and more serious employer sanctions for those who hire illegal immigrants. He also voted for the 2006 Kennedy-McCain immigration reform bill and is in favor of a border fence.

Iraq:
   Obama favors a timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. He introduced a bill that would cap the number of troops in Iraq at 130,000, the number on the ground before the recent surge. Obama was not in the Senate in 2002, but was opposed to the Iraq war from the start.
 
Taxes:
   Obama would let expire tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000. He acknowledges that additional revenue might be needed to achieve his health care goals, but says a large amount of money can be saved within the existing system.
 

I WILL NOT BE VOTING FOR THIS MAN. HE IS A DISGRACE TO OUR COUNTRY!

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Posted: Feb 28, 2008 1:48pm
Feb 28, 2008

TAKE A FEW MOMENTS AND READ HIS LETTER. THESE ARE STRONG, POWERFUL AND
COURAGEOUS WORDS COMING FROM A RETIRED COLONEL.

AND READ WHAT LINCOLN HAD TO SAY AT THE END.

WOW!

33 Senators Voted Against English as America's Official Language on June 6, 2007. On Wed. 6 June 2007 23:35:23 - 0500  Colonel Harry Riley, USA, Ret.
Wrote:

Senators:

Your vote against an amendment to the immigration Bill 1348......to make English America's official language is astounding. On D-Day, no less, when we honor those that sacrificed in order to secure the bedrock, character and principles of America, I can only surmise your vote reflects a loyalty to illegal aliens.  I don't much care where you come from.  What your religion is.  Whether you're black, white, or some other color

......male or female......Democrat, Republican or Independent....... But I do care when you are a United States Senator representing Citizens of America....and
Vote against English as the official language of the United States.

Your vote reflects Betrayal.  Political Surrender.  Violates Your Pledge of Allegiance.  Dishonors historical principle. Rejects Patriotism.  Borders
On traitorous action and, in my opinion, makes you unfit to serve as a United States Senator...impeachment.... Recall........Or other appropriate action is warranted or worse.

Four of you voting against English as America's Official Language are Presidential  Candidates:  Senator Biden, Senator Clinton, Senator Dodd and Senator Obama.  

Four Senators vying to lead America, but won't or Don't have the courage to cast a vote in favor of "English"  as America's Official Language when 91% of American Citizens want English  officially designated as our language.  


This is the second time in the last several months this list of Senators have disgraced themselves as "policital Hacks"...... Unworthy as Senators and certainly unqualified to serve as President of the United States.  


If America is as angry as I am, you will realize a backlash so stunning it will literally "rock you out of your panties"......... And preferably totally out of the  United States Senate.


The entire immigration bill is a farce... Your action only confirms this really isn't about America.....it is about self-serving politics......despicable at best.  It has been said:

"Never Argue with an Idiot....They'll drag you down to their level!"

The following Senators voted against making English  the official language
Of America:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE) (Wants to be President)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Clinton (D-NY) (Wants to be President)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D- MN) wants to be president
Domenici (R-NM) coward. Protecting his senate seat
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-win) - not unusual for him
Feinstein (D-ca)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-hi)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy - (D-ma)
Kerry (D-ma) (tried to be president)
Kohl (D-WI))
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (I-CT) Disappointment here.....
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL) (Wants to be President)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV) Senate Majority Leader
As Lazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-M


PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN
"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or Hanged!!!

PLEASE KEEP THIS GOING AROUND THE UNITED STATES TILL THE ELECTION!
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Posted: Feb 28, 2008 11:17am

 

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