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News Letter December 2007
"The Monthly Diamondhead"
Editor-Reporter-Chief Cook-Web Slave-
E- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. Winston Churchill
You can use the index section links or scroll as usual to access the different areas.
For Diamondhead nothing much stirring new this month.
For the Little Bears we added Kenneth Nordaune and Henry Seemore
For HHC we drew a blank.
The Year In Review
January car Crashed into my house destroying some computer and photography equipment. Ice storm hit and was without power for almost two weeks.
Added 8 members to DH, 9 to LB, and 7 to HHD
We had 8 members make the journey to Fiddlers Green, god bless them and their families.
We had 9 members get their VA benefits, and many more received increases (119 total since web page started that I am aware of)
Left For Alaska on May 10, Cleared land and completed Cabin. Sept fishing trip was once again a success. Returned south on Oct 21
Modern Day 25th Aviation Regiment returns from Iraq in October
Celina High School wins Record 8th Tx State Football Championship. (My grandkids go there so I am a HS Football nut)
Association Reunion ,San Antonio Texas is TENTATIVELY set for -
Thursday November 12, 2008 - Check Out - Sunday - November 16, 2008
Room Rates: (based on 2pp to a room) $109.00 with Continental Breakfast $115.00 with Continental Plus Hot Item (Breakfast will be served in the hospitality room each morning) **Guest Rooms will be available 3 days before the 12th and 3 days after the 16th at the group rate. The hotel will be the El Tropicano Riverwalk. I will have more details and the itinerary sorted out shortly.
If You plan on coming let me know ASAP if you can so I can figure out how big a block of rooms we are going to need, how many meals we will need, etc etc....It's a planning thing:)
Tentative Attendees so far
If you plan on coming let me know so I can keep up with my list and it helps in the planning of rooms, meals etc.
Sept 2008 1st week Annual Alaska Fishing Trip
The first week of Sept there is an open invite to come to Alaska Fishing. If you want to attend you will only be out a plane ticket fishing license, and chipping in to the grub and beer funds. (Unless you motor home it or motel it) We have a cabin, camping gear up here for a bunch, do bring your own sleeping bag and a camera.
We are planning on a base camp on the Kenai River in Sterling Alaska The guides will give us one day on the river pro bono, and I am setting up a two-day float trip down the Swanson River (free). It's a pretty easy float with few portages. But is loaded with trout and Silver Salmon that time of year. It is also Moose season, so hopefully one will have my name on it along the way<G>. There will also be lots of other wildlife, like bears, both black and brown, and a wolf or two, maybe a grizzly or two, grouse, ducks, Trumpeter Swans....it should be a fun trip. I am working on one-day (reduced rate) offshore fishing trip from Seward with Saltwater Safaris as I write this, so it will make a full week of fun and adventure. I hope to see you here; I assure you it will be a trip of a lifetime.
Sneaky Petes Yearly Get Together December 8th
It turned out to be a pretty good afternoon of camaraderie, lunch, and a beer or two. Attendees were Andy Asberry, Jan Moore, Butch Sarrat and wife, Gary Tompkins and wife, Jon Mitchell, Baxter Tatum,Captain Reynolds Daughters Kathleen and Laura, Dennis Pickett, Cliff Mosier and son, and myself.
II believe it time to see how serious we are about having a Reunion in November in San Antonio. I believe we need to send out an Early invitation to the 25th Aviation Bn. and see how many are planning on attending. I have a Reunion Planner working on Setting This Event Up.
I do realize it is early, But without some kind of Head Count its going to be hard to estimate how many rooms we are going to need, and also the price of a banquet. I think its time to take the Bull by the Horns and get this reunion planned.
God Bless you and Your Families and I hope to see everyone there in November, Date yet to be set but we think it would be best after the Presidential Election.
Larry J. Kerr
Tropic Lightning Aviation Association
DH's Terry Meredith and Debert Herne are in not so good health, a prayer or two would be in order.
DH's Chet Atkins and Bobby Connells sons are in Iraq, a prayor or two for their safe return are in order also, and its care package time again. They will be gone for a while contact me for the APO's if you want to help out.
Video Of the 25th Anniversary of The Vietnam Memorial .The blond lady with the little US flag was one of our donut dollies.
I have a new radio talk show that starts December 15th from 7pm to 8pm EST that can be picked up on the Internet, see the link on my web site. The shows web site has the wrong time, I'm on from 7 to 8 pm every Saturday after the 15th. Everyone who calls in during the show will get a free signed copy of one of my books. I hope to hear from all of you - we can talk about Vietnam as long as we keep it clean!
Check out my new web site at http://www.bocaspeaker.com
I have no problems with immigration to this country, all of us except those with Native American heritage are immigrants so way or another. What I have a problem with is illegal immigration and those who support it.
Why do I have to press 1 to continue in English?
Why do I have to select English or Spanish on an ATM or Credit card machine.
Why do stores have signs in English and usually incorrect Spanish, what about German, Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese?
Why does the Federal Government require local schools to enroll illegal children and teach them using my tax money?
Why must I be bilingual to get a job in construction, customer service, law enforcement, and health care?
Why are the police being racist when they arrest an illegal for DUI, driving without a license and no insurance, but they are doing good job when the person is a citizen?
Why does the government print all of their pamplets in English and Spanish?
Why can an illegal enter this country have a baby and the baby is a citizen?
Why are we giving free medical and dental care to illegals?
We have poor people, homeless, and veterans who do not have the same benefits as an illegal does. Does this seem right to you?
And who in the hell decided its "Happy Holidays" not "Merry Christmas", now they are selling "holiday trees".
Excuse me I am not politically correct!
Remember this at election time!!!
Minorities :We need to show more sympathy for these people.
* They travel miles in the heat.
* They risk their lives crossing a border.
* They don't get paid enough wages.
* They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
* They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a different language.
* They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day every day.
I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans; I'm talking about our troops!
Doesn't it seem strange that many Democrats and Republicans are willing to lavish all kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support our troops and are now threatening to defund them?
We have approached a very special point in time. There is a window open to us to tell our stories, to get our side of the story told. Every day this window gets smaller, as can be attested to by the number of our members that have left us since coming home. If you can all just take the time to sit down, and write that one good story, send it to me so I can record it. This way the historical events are not forgotten. Don't worry about it being perfect, I can fix it up for you.
Historical Changes Approved for Veterans Mileage Reimbursement Rate
This week, Congress approved historic changes to the mileage reimbursement rate for veterans traveling to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. The increase from 11 cents to 28.5 cents per mile was included in the final passage of legislation that funds the VA for 2008. I have been working on this issue since first coming to Congress and was successful in adding the amendment to raise the rate increase during House consideration of the bill in June. This is the first increase in the mileage reimbursement rate for veterans since 1978.
Qualifying veterans are currently compensated at the rate of 11 cents per mile for routine medical visits and 17 cents per mile for disability rating examinations. While this rate has not been changed in the last 30 years, federal employees continue to see an increase in mileage reimbursement rates as gas prices rise.
We have made great strides in improving health care services and access for veterans in Kansas. But those services are of no use if veterans cannot afford the trip. Veterans in rural areas face longer driving times and with today's high gas prices, many are not able to cover the cost of visiting the doctor. I applaud my colleagues for recognizing the need for this long overdue increase. The final passage of this rate increase is one more step that helps fulfill our promise to take care of our veterans. Click here to hear me talk about this issue.
VETERAN CHARITIES UPDATE
VETERAN CHARITIES UPDATE 04: The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), a leading charity watchdog, issued a report card this month for 29 veterans and military charities. Letter grades were based largely on the charities' fundraising costs and the percentage of money raised that was spent
on charitable activities. Following is an alphabetical summary of charities and grade assigned:
Air Force Aid Society (A+)
American Ex-Prisoners of War Service Foundation (F)
American Veterans Coalition (F)
American Veterans Relief Foundation (F)
AMVETS National Service Foundation (F)
Armed Services YMCA of the USA (A-)
Army Emergency Relief (A+)
Blinded Veterans Association (D)
Disabled American Veterans (D)
Disabled Veterans Association (F)
Fisher House Foundation (A+)
Freedom Alliance (F)
Help Hospitalized Veterans/Coalition to Salute Americafs Heroes (F)
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A+)
Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F)
National Military Family Association (A)
National Veterans Services Fund (F)
National Vietnam Veterans Committee (D)
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A+)
NCOA National Defense Foundation (F)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)
Soldiers' Angels (D)
United Spinal Association's Wounded Warrior Project (D)
USO (United Service Organization) (C+)
Veterans of Foreign Wars and foundation (C-)
Veterans of the Vietnam War & the Veterans Coalition (D)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (D)
VietNow National Headquarters (F)
World War II Veterans Committee (D)
[Source: FDVA News Clips 13 Dec 07]
Our Veterans Deserve Better from America's Charities
by Daniel Borochoff, AIP President
With over 20,000 Americans wounded in the ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and as many as 200,000 homeless veterans which account for one-third of the adult homeless population, veterans and military charities need to accomplish as much as they can with our donations. It is sad that all but one of the veterans and military charities included in past AIP Charity Rating Guides were rated unsatisfactory or poor.
Many conscientious AIP members have contacted us to express their concern that no highly rated veterans or military charities are in the Guide. Therefore, we are pleased to announce that in this issue of our Guide, we are adding two AIP A+ rated veterans charities: Fisher House Foundation (FHF) and Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF). FHF constructs facilities to house families temporarily while visiting patients in military and veterans hospitals and provides financial and other assistance to armed services personnel and veterans. IFHF recently completed a $35 million campaign to build a physical rehabilitation center at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, which will open in January 2007. IFHF's original purpose was to provide financial aid to the families of military personnel killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan war, but according to IFHF, it switched its program to serve severely wounded armed services personnel after Congress passed legislation in 2005 to award surviving families $250,000 to $500,000.
In our hunt for highly rated veteran or military charities we ran across three emergency relief groups that are holding massive asset reserves. They are the official armed forces charities for the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, which provide financial, educational and other assistance to current and past members of the armed services and their families. These three charities have combined fund balances of $638 million yet spent only $59 million, according to their most recently available financial reports. Army Emergency Relief (AER) tops AIP's list of large asset reserve charities in relation to expenses with 17.6 years of available asset reserves and a fund balance of $307 million as of 2005. Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) has 10.1 years of available asset reserves and as of 2005 holds fund balances of $172 million. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NCRS) has fund balances of $158 million as of 2005. Its years of available assets is lower at 4.8, barely low enough to keep them from earning an automatic F grade for charities having over 5 years worth of available reserves.
Why are these large stockpiles of reserves not going to aid the vast numbers of homeless veterans? Because most of the homeless vets do not meet the armed forces charities' eligibility requirements. For instance, AER states that it only helps active duty soldiers and reservists and their dependants, soldiers retired from active duty due to reaching age 60, or "longevity," usually defined as 20 or more years of service, or physical disability. AER also helps surviving spouses and children of soldiers who died while on active duty or after retirement from the military. Since poverty is the major cause of homelessness, the veterans eligible for AER assistance due to having obtained Army retirement status and the accompanying Army benefits are not likely to become homeless.
While these armed forces charities do accept contributions from the general public, most of their contributions come from armed services personnel through payroll deduction plans. Little to no funds come from the U.S. Government. They are very efficient fundraisers; each has a cost to raise $100 of only $2 to $3 in 2005. Also, each of these charities spends a very high percentage (93% to 94%) of its budget on charitable programs.
The armed forces charities operate more like private foundations than emergency relief charities. Private foundations typically spend only a small portion of asset reserves, usually 5% of their investment portfolio, whereas emergency relief charities generally spend most of their donations in the year received. For example, AFAS reports on its web site, www.afas.org, that throughout its 64-years of operations some donations were put into an investment fund for contingencies and future programs. AFAS' 2005 audit says its current policy is to spend annually about 6% of its investments.
I asked Col. George Mason, Treasurer of AER, why it was not spending more of its available asset reserves to assist needy veterans. He said, "the key reason and probably the only reason" is "the unknown contingencies faced on a daily basis." He said that the largest outflow of funds from AER was 15% during a 1.5-year period in the early 90's as a result of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. I replied that based on AER's reasoning for holding its high level of asset reserves, the American Red Cross could claim that it needed to hold a few billion dollars in reserve in the event of another Katrina scale hurricane. Many other charities could also claim that they need to hold large reserves for unknown contingencies. The problem with this reasoning is that there are not enough charitable dollars to go around for groups to stockpile massive reserves for events that may never happen. Annual giving is a fixed pie that has equaled 2% of GDP (gross domestic product) for decades. Groups that hold over five times their budget in reserve are limiting the supply of money for other charities that need it to meet their annual budgets so that they don't have to turn away those in immediate need. Certainly, it is reasonable for some charities to maintain reserves worth a year or two, but to hold available reserves for over five years worth their budget is, in AIP's opinion, excessive.
I asked why AER wouldn't undertake a special public fundraising campaign in the event of a large, protracted war, rather than holding 17.6 years of asset reserves that could be used to assist veterans now. He said that traditionally AER has refrained from actively soliciting the public. AER's audit reports that 35% of its total contributions were "unsolicited." Its web site, www.aerhq.org welcomes contributions from "Army or civilian individuals or organizations."
I also asked Col. Mason if AER was doing enough to inform soldiers and veterans of the availability of charitable aid. He said that $100,000 had been spent to publicize AER over the last 6 months and cited some new outreach efforts, including 45-minute classes for brigade commanders and spouses, and briefings to Army Reserve and National Guard. He said that traditionally 8% of the Army utilizes AER and that they would like to increase that to 10%-12%.
Many veterans charities, much like police or firefighter groups, know that they can solicit practically anyone because their cause is so highly popular. The problem with soliciting so widely, rather than to a smaller group of people more likely to make a donation, is that it is very inefficient and results in large fundraising expenses eating up the bulk of contributions. Many veterans groups include address stickers, greeting cards or other inexpensive gift items with their solicitations. The problem with this fundraising method is not necessarily the cost of the gifts but rather the size of the individual contributions that are given in response to these items. Many people who receive the gift do not want to make a donation, but feel obligated to send the charity a few dollars to pay for it. (Note: under U.S. law recipients are under no obligation to pay for any gift that they did not order.) Fundraising efficiency is usually a function of the average size of the contributions a charity receives. In other words, charities that receive mostly very small contributions tend to have high fundraising costs.
A number of AIP F rated veterans charities return most of the money raised to their professional fundraiser. It's a shame that groups such as American Veterans Relief Foundation, American Ex-Prisoners of War Service Foundation and Vietnow National Headquarters dishonor America's brave veterans by using over 80% of the money raised on their behalf to pay fundraising expenses. More charities need to adopt a policy to not enter into costly arrangements with for-profit operations.
Many of the major veterans groups are chartered by acts of the U.S. Congress, including American Ex-Prisoners of War, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Does congressional charter status mean that the U.S. government approves these groups' activities and provides oversight? No, according to a 2004 report by the Congressional Research Service, which also stated that Congress has never yanked a charity's charter status. Congressman Barney Frank called charters "... 'a nuisance,' a meaningless act. Granting charters implied that Congress was exercising some sort of supervision over the groups and it wasn't..." as cited in a 1992 article from the Washington Post.
Another slap in the face to our veterans comes from a couple who during this past Memorial Day weekend were allegedly posing as military reservists to sell raffle tickets at stores in DuPage County, Illinois to raise money for Navy/Marine Relief Fundraiser \ a nonexistent charity. As announced in a press release by the County Sheriff, the couple was charged with "felony Theft by Deception and False Impersonation of Charitable Organization."
Undercover Investigation Reveals
How Easy It Is to Set Up Phony Charity
gThe Protection charities get under the First Amendment has resulted in a nationwide plague of newly established charities doing little good but considered legitimate.
Its far too easy for anybody to set up a charity, get tax-exempt status with the IRS, do very little of anything charitable and get away with it.
- Daniel Borochoff, AIP president, on the ABC News program, Primetime
The American Institute of Philanthropy worked with ABC News on a yearlong investigation of the charity business. Rhonda Schwartz, a producer for ABC News, went undercover to see how easy it would be to set up a phony charity. She called around to people in the telemarketing industry to get the word out that she wanted to join others who make a lot of money in the charity business, with little effort.
She first thought that she would try starting a children's wish charity since many people are so emotionally shaken by the plight of a terminally ill child that they will automatically want to contribute. But she was advised against it because then she would have to go to the trouble of granting wishes, whereas if she set up a different type of charity she could get away with a lot less work. For instance, she could claim to be running an educational program for a children's charity by simply copying stuff off of the Internet and mailing it to some random schools.
Ms. Schwartzfs calls led her to Richard Troia, who has a long history in the charity business. With the ABC News hidden camera rolling, Troia gleefully describes his business, how he can help her set up a phony charity and even says: "You'll be able to make a good living off it." He mentioned his success with charities, including the Firefighters Charitable Foundation (an AIP "F"-rated charity) that is raising six or seven million a year. "It didn't begin to take off yet. It's just getting rolling," according to Troia. He also enthusiastically spoke about a new charity, United Pet Way that would solicit people to raise money to save pets from being put to sleep. Troia described a carefully worded phone pitch for this charity and said, "it's like a tear jerker."
Troia said that he had gaccess to 10,000 phones" for a telemarketing operation that takes 90% of the money raised. He said that it would be up to her to decide how to spend the remaining 10% but some of it would need to go to a charitable purpose. He advised Schwartz that money should not be taken out early on because gin the beginning, they are gonna look at you." Troia warned that, "your biggest problem is, is gonna be how to get rid of the money."
When Troia was shown the undercover tape he said he was against the idea of setting up the charity from the beginning because Schwartz was "too greedy," even though he insisted on keeping 90% of the money raised.
The program ended with Daniel Borochoff, AIP's president, warning that anyone receiving phone solicitations should gthink of this guy in your mind because it may be someone like him.
The program also discussed Kids Wish USA and its founder Michael Manzer, who was recently sent to prison for mail fraud and money laundering. This charity promised to grant the wishes of terminally ill children yet it did not grant even one wish, according to federal prosecutor Mike Snipes. The program pointed out that had Manzer spent even a small amount of money to grant one wish, he might not have been prosecuted and his charity might be considered legitimate. A more savvy scammer is going to know that he has a far greater chance of avoiding prosecution if he spends at least something on the charityfs stated purpose. This is why it is so important for donors to learn what portion of funds is being spent on the charityfs stated purpose.
Paula Van Ness, the president of Make-A-Wish Foundation (an AIP gBh-rated charity), said on the program: "It's got to be millions of dollars" that are going to organizations that are pretending to be the Make-A-Wish Foundation. People see it as an easy opportunity to make a buck."
Soldiers Angels Lose Their Halos
When potential donors receive direct mail solicitations from Soldiers Angels (SA), a Pasadena, CA-based charity, they are likely to notice the name Patti Patton Bader and her status as founder of SA and great-niece of Gen. George S. Patton. On SA solicitation letterhead her name takes precedence, appearing larger and bolder than even the name of the charity. Some donors may assume that the claims made in the solicitation of a charity associated with a famous name, such as the relative of a well-known military general, may be more reliable. A closer look at one of SA's programs could dash such hopes about this AIP D-rated charity. (The major reason for this rating is that SA spent only 36% of its total 2006 cash expenses on program services.)
A primary program of SA is its online store. Donors can shop for and purchase products that SA will then ship to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under each item the charity describes how soldiers will use these gifts. For instance, on the web page where donors can buy boots for soldiers, SA claims that "the military issues each soldier 2 pair of boots and no more." Furthermore, the charity explains that the conditions the soldiers are working in tend to "eat up" the boots, stating that "the sand and heat just destroy them." SA goes on to say,"So as you can imagine, our soldiers go through boots pretty fast. Sometimes our soldiers simply do not have the money or opportunity to purchase these boots for themselves." This may alarm some donors into thinking U.S. soldiers may be left nearly barefoot if it were not for this program. However, an e-mail AIP received from U.S. Army Public Affairs spokesperson Monica Miller seems to contradict what SA claims on its web site: "Soldiers receive two pairs of summer boots and one pair of winter boots. If the boots become damaged, enlisted soldiers can turn the damaged items in and they are replaced at no charge to the soldier."
When AIP asked SA for its source for the "2 pair of boots and no more" figure, Ms. Bader claimed she "didn't write that," but that the charity bases its needs on e-mails and conversations with soldiers. She also offered to change the web site. When AIP pointed out that the description may not only mislead the reader, but may also seem disparaging to the U.S. Army, Ms. Bader said, "We love the Army. [We are] only here to enhance the Army."
As of press time, SA took out the words "no more" from the "2 pair of boots and no more" statement. AIP does not believe this corrects the error. Not only does the statement still suggest that soldiers receive only two pairs of boots, but it implies that soldiers need to purchase additional pairs of boots unless donors purchase them on their behalf.
Another item SA sends to deployed soldiers is the First Response Backpack. These backpacks are filled with such items as t-shirts, shorts, toothpaste, mouthwash, disposable razors and shampoo and are given to injured soldiers as they are admitted to Combat Support Hospitals (CSHs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. SA's web site claims these backpacks are necessary because when the soldiers arrive "they have only what they were wearing" and that is usually not in very good condition. It can take up to a couple of days before they receive replacement supplies and it is often weeks before their belongings catch up to them." A Sgt. Cary is quoted on SA's web site about his hospital experience after being wounded in Iraq: "I woke up the next day and had nothing to wear or any hygiene stuff." In an e-mail from Margaret Tippy, a Media Relations Officer with the U.S. Army Medical Command, Ms. Tippy told AIP, "The Army provides a large quantity of personal supplies and clothing to injured soldiers at every step of care. Numerous community-spirited private groups also send items." She acknowledged that the Army appreciates the desire of private organizations to support wounded soldiers".
AIP is skeptical that if it were not for SA or other charities, soldiers would not have their basic needs, such as boots, clothing, and hygienic products provided for them. We find it disturbing that SA continues to solicit donations with these claims. Soldiers are professionals, not charity cases, and ought to be treated with respect. It is fine for a charity to send tokens of appreciation to soldiers, but it is wrong to mislead donors by implying that the basic needs of soldiers are not already being met by the military.
After publication of AIP's article "Soldiers Angels Lose Their Halos," Soldiers Angels (SA) improved the portions of its website mentioned in our article. These changes better reflect the additional goods, comfort, and conveniences SA offers to soldiers beyond what the military already provides in fulfilling soldiers' basic needs.
Galloway: Disgraceful treatment of veterans stains America's honor
Article Last Updated: 12/14/2007 07:22:13 PM MST
As you do your holiday shopping this year and think about a big turkey dinner and piles of gifts and the good life that most Americans enjoy, please spare a thought for those who made it all possible: those who serve in our military and the veterans who've worn the uniform.
There are some new statistics that give us reason to be ashamed for the way that our country has treated those who've served and sacrificed for us. Those statistics damn the politicians who start every speech by thanking the troops and veterans and blessing them. They indict our national leaders who turn up at military bases and the annual conventions of veteran's organizations and use troops and veterans as a backdrop for their photo-ops.
* An average of 18 veterans commit suicide each and every day of the year, according to recent statistics from the Veterans Administration. That's 126 veterans who kill themselves every week. Or some 6,552 who take their own lives each year. Our veterans are killing themselves at twice the rate of other Americans.
* One quarter of the homeless people in America are military veterans. That's one in every four. Is that ragged man huddled on the steam grate in a brutal winter wind a Vietnam vet? Did that younger man panhandling for pocket change on the street corner fight in Kandahar or Fallujah?
For the past four years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been insisting that it's doing everything it needs to for the nation's veterans. That's simply not true, particularly when it comes to the VA's treatment of mental health issues. As my McClatchy Newspapers colleague Chris Adams has reported in a series of groundbreaking stories this year, the VA mental health system - even by its own measures - wasn't prepared to give returning veterans the mental health care they need.
The experts say that between 20 and 30 percent of all troops returning from combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But many of VA hospitals didn't have the special PTSD programs that experts say are vital. Soldiers returning from Iraq are allowed to slip unnoticed into their old lives, and neither the Department of Defense nor the VA does anything to monitor their mental health.
The VA keeps telling Congress that all is well. That's not true, either. As Adams reported, the VA has been using fudged or inflated numbers to do so. And after years of promising that it's getting a growing backlog of disability compensation applications under control, things actually got worse this year.
No matter whether they've been wounded and need follow-up care and support, or whether they're coming apart at the seams and feeling suicidal, they sometimes must wait months for an appointment to be evaluated and treated at VA medical centers.
The same people who don't blink at spending $3 billion a week on their war of choice in Iraq were the ones who cut the VA budget and privatized maintenance at Walter Reed Army Hospital and opposed every attempt to expand benefits for veterans old and young.
They're the same people who turned a blind eye as their corporate sponsors and private donors looted billions of dollars from the treasury with no-compete contracts and bloated bills for everything from food for the troops to fuel for their tanks and trucks.
As a wave of wounded troops suffering brain injuries from the blasts of roadside bombs and landmines poured into military hospitals, these people, posing as fiscally responsible budget makers, were cutting in half the money spent on research into brain injuries.
These frauds who love to pose as wartime leaders sat back and did nothing as a cruel bureaucracy sent bill collectors out to harass double-amputee veterans for thousands of dollars because they neglected to turn their armored vests and other gear in to the supply sergeant after they were blown apart on the battlefield.
They did nothing as the Army became ever more conservative, even stingy, in the number of injured and wounded soldiers it judged worthy of full disability pensions. Soldiers who suffered brain injuries and PTSD so severe that they couldn't function were put on the street with a 30 percent disability pension - $700 a month - to support a wife and three children.
Neglecting our war veterans and the widows and orphans that result from our wars is as American as apple pie. It's nothing new. But in the past we always waited until after the war's end to forget those who'd fought the war. This may be the first time in our history that we began to neglect and forget our troops during a war.
All of this is shameful - shameful for a people whose freedom and prosperity rests on the backs of those soldiers, but who've forgotten them so completely that they haven't held their Congress and their president responsible for this stain on our honor.
The next smarmy politician who shouts ''God bless our troops'' ought to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of Washington on a rail for sheer hypocrisy.
* JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY is a military columnist for McClatchy Newspapers.
Former Marion VA patient delivers alarming tale of treatment to Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
BY JOHN D. HOMAN, The Southern
Tuesday, November 6, 2007 11:25 PM CST
MARION - A former patient at the Marion VA Medical Center was one of three people who testified Tuesday before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C. The hearing dealt with hiring practices and quality control issues at VA medical facilities, including the Marion hospital.
Dr. Gerald Cross (principal deputy undersecretary for Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs) and Tammy Duckworth (director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs) also addressed the committee, but it was Steven McCarty's testimony that tells the tale of a hospital trip gone bad.
Texas native McCarty, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve who had recently served in Iraq as a fuel truck driver, said he was traveling through the Midwest last June with his family when he became violently ill. McCarty's parents recommended they make a quick stop at the Marion facility to get him checked out.
"Upon arriving at the emergency room, the doctor ran various tests, which included blood work and a CAT scan," McCarty said. "The results of these tests were negative. At this time, the E.R. doctor, who was a surgeon, admitted me and diagnosed my symptoms as possibly being appendicitis. He recommended removing the appendix and doing exploratory surgery.
"After he consulted with other doctors, some of which did not agree with the diagnosis, he took the advice of a second surgeon who recommended doing the laparoscopic surgery," McCarty said. "We were more comfortable with this technique due to the shorter recovery time and lack of a large incision. The doctors thought I would be ready to leave the hospital in a few days.
McCarty said he underwent surgery June 15. He said he was told afterward that the appendix did not look as bad as physicians had expected. Two days after the surgery, McCarty said, his condition worsened.
"However, the doctors continued to follow the timetable for recovery and release after having appendicitis. At this point, one of the nurses told my parents that she would get me out of there if I were her son. She said the doctors did not know what was wrong with me. Seeing my deterioration, my parents began asking for specialists on June 18. They were told the specialists were part of the clinic and were not available to attend to hospital patients."
McCarty said his parents spoke with the patient advocate at the hospital.
"We were told there was not a gastroenterologist but an infectious disease specialist was available," he said. "Four days after my surgery, my stomach still swollen and the other symptoms still there, an infectious disease specialist finally came to see me. Within minutes, he diagnosed me with dysentery and changed my antibiotic but could not explain my swollen stomach.
"I honestly looked like I was nine months pregnant. That night, my mom asked a nurse about this and she said she had never encountered a situation like this. Another nurse told us that she would never take her family to any doctors there."
McCarty said his condition stabilized enough seven days after the surgery that he could travel.
"My parents asked for assistance in getting me quickly and safely home," he said. "The only assistance given was the cost of one ticket for the shuttle that runs from Marion to the St. Louis airport. When I was discharged, I was supposed to take the new antibiotic with me but was mistakenly given the old and less effective one."
The day after returning home to Texas, McCarty made a trip to the ER at Harris Methodist H.E.B. Hospital. New tests were conducted and it was discovered McCarty had a perforated colon.
"My waste was actually pouring into my abdominal cavity," he said. "I was taken into surgery that afternoon. Two sections of my colon had to be removed. Those two sections were in the same location as two of the laparoscopic incisions. Due to the severity of the infection, the wound had to be left open. After the surgery, the doctor told my parents I was lucky to be alive. If I hadn't been in such good shape and young, I would be dead."
McCarty said he spent the next three weeks in the hospital and was discharged on July 11.
"I was attached to the wound vac for six weeks and now have both a colostomy bag and ileostomy bag. The doctors at Harris Methodist H.E.B. Hospital finally diagnosed the symptoms I had been experiencing since my service in Iraq as ulcerative colitis. The part of my colon that remains is not functional at this time.
"This has affected the quality of life for me and my family. This has prevented me from drawing unemployment and working. It is also hindering my advancement in the military," McCarty said. "I have no source of income and I am told it will take one year for the VA to process my disability requests. I have also applied for incapacity pay but have not received anything to date. The actions of the VA hospital in Marion have removed this Marine and countless other veterans from the war on terror. These wounds are not a result of insurgents; they are a result of incompetence on American soil."
This is the most cogent and powerful essay on the threat of Islamic terrorism I have seen. Dr. Vernon Chong's essay is without a doubt the most articulate and convincing writing I have read regarding the War in Iraq .
If you have any doubts please open your mind to his essay and give it a fair evaluation. It's also eerily applicable to other current issues such as Iran 's nuclear program, immigration, NAFTA's impact on American jobs, trade deficits, etc.. I had no idea who Dr. Chong is, or the source of these thoughts, so when I received them I almost deleted them, as well- written as they are. Then I did a Google search on the Doctor and found him to be a retired Air Force surgeon and past commander of Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, he is a creditable source.
If you would like to see who this fellow is, go to this Air Force web site and look him up:
This WAR is for REAL
by Dr. Vernon Chong, Major General, USAF, Retired
To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).
The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.
First, let's examine a few basics:
1. When did the threat to us start?
Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer as far as the United States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us:
* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut , Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut , Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie , Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran , Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi , Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam , Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* A! den, Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;* Pentagon 2001.
(Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).
2. Why were we attacked?
Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush
2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessor, President Ford.
3. Who were the attackers?
In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.
4. What is the Muslim population of the World?
25% and growing.
5. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?
Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian (?)), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests). (see http://www.Nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm )
Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world -
German, Christian or any others.
Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US , but kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, British, French or anyone else. The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing -- by their own pronouncements killing all of us "infidels." I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?
6. So who are we at war with?
There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.
So with that background, now to the two major questions:
1. Can we lose this war?
2. What does losing really mean?
If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions:
We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?
It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post-Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get.
What losing really means is:
We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the past 18 years. The plan was, clearly, for terrorists to attack us until we were neutered and submissive to them.
We would, of course, have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see; we are impotent and cannot help them.
They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq . Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain
to do will be done. Spain is finished.
The next will probably be France . Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France . France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast!
Without our support Great Britain will go too. Recently I read that there are more mosques in England than churches
If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us if they were threatened by the Muslims. If we can't stop the Muslim terrorists, how could anyone else?
The radical Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.
Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing?
Simple.. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really
put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take
that 100% effort to win.
So, how can we lose the war?
Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and theirpurpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort.
If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!
Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation.
President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.
And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then.
Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?
No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness, and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war..
Get them out of your head.
Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose.
I think some actually do, I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.
Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war, perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue, involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.
And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type of enemy fighters, who recently were burning Americans, and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq . And still more recently, the same type of enemy that was and is providing videos to all
news sources internationally, of the beheading of American prisoners they held.
Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them.
Can they be for real?
The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.
To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned --totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.
These people are a serious and dangerous liability to the war effort. We must take note of who they are and get them out of office. Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels! That translates into ALL non-Muslims -- not just in the United States , but throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense.
We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That charge is valid. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world! We can't!
If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.
And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.
This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self- inflicted fall of the Roman Empire . If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.
If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less . They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little, on the established French traditions.
The French will be fighting among themselves, over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?
Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away,politically correct piece by politically correct piece.
And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.
Muslims have universally shown that when they have taken over,they then start brutally killing each other over whom will be the few who control the masses.
What is happening in Iraq is a good example. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"?
I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now, after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about! Do whatever you can to preserve it. I reiterate. A national election is months away.
After reading the above, we all must do this not only for ourselves, but our children, our grandchildren, our country and the world. Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal and that includes the Politicians and media of our country and the free world!
Please forward this to any you feel may want, or NEED to read it. Our "leaders" in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those that find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinks through this, that we must UNITE!
Lastly, I wish to add: At the risk of offending someone, I sincerely think that anyone who rejects this as just another political rant, or doubts the seriousness of this issue or just deletes it without sending it on, is part of the problem. Let's quit laughing at and forwarding the jokes and cartoons which denigrate and ridicule our leaders in this war against terror. They are trying to protect the interests and well being of the US and it's citizens. Best we support them.
Terrorists Target Army base in Arizona
November 26, 2007
By Sara A. Carter -
Fort Huachuca, the nation's largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.
Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.
"A portion of the operatives were in the United States, with the remainder not yet in the United States," according to one of the documents, an FBI advisory that was distributed to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department, among several other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. "The Afghanis and Iraqis shaved their beards so as not to appear to be Middle Easterners."
According to the FBI advisory, each Middle Easterner paid Mexican drug lords $20,000 "or the equivalent in weapons" for the cartel's assistance in smuggling them and their weapons through tunnels along the border into the U.S. The weapons would be sent through tunnels that supposedly ended in Arizona and New Mexico, but the Islamist terrorists would be smuggled through Laredo, Texas, and reclaim the weapons later.
A number of the Afghans and Iraqis are already in a safe house in Texas, the FBI advisory said.
Fort Huachuca, which lies about 20 miles from the Mexican border, has members of all four service branches training in intelligence and secret operations. About 12,000 persons work at the fort and many have their families on base.
Lt. Col. Matthew Garner, spokesman for Fort Huachuca, said details about the current phase of the investigation or security changes on the post "will not be disclosed."
"We are always taking precautions to ensure that soldiers, family members and civilians that work and live on Fort Huachuca are safe," Col. Garner said. "With this specific threat, we did change some aspects of our security that we did have in place."
According to the FBI report, some of the weapons associated with the plot have been smuggled through a tunnel from Mexico to the U.S.
The FBI report is based on Drug Enforcement Administration sources, including Mexican nationals with access to "sub-sources" in the drug cartels. The report's assessment is that the DEA's Mexican contacts have proven reliable in the past but the "sub-source" is of uncertain reliability.
According to the source who spoke with DEA intelligence agents, the weapons included two Milan anti-tank missiles, Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles, grenade launchers, long guns and handguns.
"FBI Comment: The surface-to-air missiles may in fact be RPGs," the advisory stated, adding that the weapons stash in Mexico could include two or three more Milan missiles.
The Milan, a French-German portable anti-tank weapon, was developed in the 1970s and widely sold to militaries around the world, including Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Insurgents in Iraq reportedly have used a Milan missile in an attack on a British tank. Iraqi guerrillas also have shot down U.S. helicopters using RPGs, or rocket-propelled grenades.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson would not elaborate on the current investigation regarding the threat, but said that many times the initial reports are based on "raw, uncorroborated information that has not been completely vetted." He added that this report shows the extent to which all law enforcement and intelligence agencies cooperate in terror investigations.
"If nothing else, it provides a good look at the inner working of the law-enforcement and intelligence community and how they work together on a daily basis to share and deal with threat information," Mr. Bresson said. "It also demonstrates the cross-pollination that frequently exists between criminal and terrorist groups."
The connections between criminal enterprises, such as powerful drug cartels, and terrorist organizations have become a serious concern for intelligence agencies monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Based upon the information provided by the DEA handling agent, the DEA has classified the source as credible," stated a Department of Homeland Security document, regarding the possibility of an attack on Fort Huachuca. "The identity of the sub-source has been established; however, none of the information provided by the sub-source in the past has been corroborated."
The FBI advisory stated the "sub-source" for the information "is a member of the Zetas," the military arm of one of Mexico's most dangerous drug-trafficking organizations, the Gulf Cartel. The Gulf Cartel controls the movement of narcotics from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into the U.S. along the Laredo corridor.
However, the sub-source "for this information is of unknown reliability," the FBI advisory stated.
According to the DEA, the sub-source identified Mexico's Sinaloa cartel as the drug lords who would assist the terrorists in their plot.
This led the DEA to caution the FBI that its information may be a Gulf Cartel plant to bring the U.S. military in against its main rival. The Sinaloa and Gulf cartels have fought bloody battles along the border for control of shipping routes into the U.S.
"It doesn't mean that there isn't truth to some of what this source delivered to U.S. agents," said one law-enforcement intelligence agent, on the condition of anonymity. "The cartels have no loyalty to any nation or person. It isn't surprising that for the right price they would assist terrorists, knowingly or unknowingly."
The REAL Miss America
Global Warming- Real Science or "Chicken Little- The Sky is Warming!"?
The following may take you 15 minutes to read and even longer to follow the links and to think the issues through, so you may want to print the email or save it for later, unless you have the time right now. Which ever is your case, please take the time to read and consider the following information. This email contains important information relevant for the time that we live in.
This information runs contrary to the popularized emanmade CO2 Global Warningf message currently being hammered into us every day we see the news or read the papers. There of course has been a small increase of average earth temperatures which is not in dispute. What is in dispute among scientists though, is what is causing the warming? Is the additional heat on earth (Global Warming) caused by manmade CO2 generated heat on earth as we are being told, or is it from natural cyclical causes?
Right now, many politicians, world media and the United Nations are saying that it is our fault, you and I, or at least the CO2 that we produce in our everyday lives. However, not as popular, is the actual science that shows a totally different cause for the current "Global Warming" trends and that is the sun itself. The sun has its own solar cycles, which directs various levels of light, heat and radiation towards the earth rhythmically. These solar cycles run in eleven year periods and have peaks and troughs called "Solar Maximums" and "Solar Minimums." Which ever the case, maximum or minimum, the earth absorbs the heat emitted by the sun. Heat from the sun is one of the important factors that render the earth inhabitable for organic life.
The solar cycles are not equal in intensity, but they ebb and flow in intensity producing "Seasons" of the sun that covers three to five eleven-year cycles, or thirty to fifty years per season. Each season being characterized as warmer or cooler than the preceding season, or the following season for that matter. Somewhat like waves riding upon the highs and lows of swells in the sea.
The following Link from NASA discusses an expectation that the current (warming) solar cycle will peak in 2011-2012 with tremendous solar activity. Hence, it will be hotter with much more extreme ultra-violet and X-ray photons bombarding the upper atmosphere and earthfs surface. However, the same forecasts show the weakest Solar cycle in recent times to be peaking in 2022, about fourteen years from now. That means that overall heat from the sun will initially getting hotter, but then will be cooling off, which will powerfully impact on earthfs average temperatures with a cooling effect. That means that eGlobal Coolingf is just around the corner! All this heating and cooling has to do with the sun and not manmade CO2 emissions.
The following pictures from NASA show the present solar cycle terminating in 2007.
The above series of pictures represent solar minimum to solar maximum in one solar cycle. The first picture on the left shows the solar minimum with a uniform surface of the sun with almost no sunspot activity. The second picture shows the sun two years later with a few sunspots and finally, the third picture shows massive amounts of sunspots approaching the solar maximum in December 1999, which peaked late in the year 2000. In the fourth image, the "white curve displaying monthly-averaged International Sunspot Numbers is overlaid on an X-ray image of the Sun."
Disclaimer: I am not pretending to be a scientist or expert of any kind, merely an interested and curious party researching the facts and allowing the facts to speak for themselves, rather than consume only what the news media and politicians regurgitate. By all means, make up your own mind on the issues after reading some of the facts contained herein, as well as from other resources.
Please take the time to read the short articles below:
Global Warming - Real Science or "Chicken Little ? gThe Sky is Warming!h"?
Copied below are a couple of recent articles, the first published in the December 2007 issue of the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society. Basically, the scientist who compiled the report say from observed data, that CO2 has nothing to do with the current warming trend on earth called gGlobal Warming.h They say that the data shows that the warming trend that we are experiencing is cyclical and caused by the sun. Increased sunspot activity (increasing"solar wind" and heat) over the last thirty years has warmed the earth's surface progressively and there's nothing that humans have done, or can do about it, unless they are willing to needlessly spend billions of dollars. The current warming cycle will end naturally as sunspot activity diminishes, followed by an earth cooling cycle called gGlobal Cooling.h
If this scientific data proves to be the truth of the matter, then the leftist politicians (with Al Gore leading the charge), the United Nations, and the World Media have whipped up a very costly "Chicken Little" scare campaign. Instead of the "The Sky is Falling!" the mantra has been "The Sky is Warming!" Unfortunately, it won't be the first time that politics has driven scientists instead of the other way around. Yes, there is Global Warming, but it has most likely been caused by a natural solar cycle (the sun); and not by manmade CO2, or other greenhouse gases.
The second article copied below shows a Newsweek Magazine Science Section printed in 1975 entitled "The Cooling World." Just like now, back in 1975, some possibly well intentioned but questionably motivated scientists were making outlandish claims for urgent action because of the earth's cooling trend for the preceding 30 years.
That 30 year time period (mid 1943 to mid 1975) was marked by almost no sunspot activity and resulted in the earth cooling slowly. Some scientists in 1975 overreacted and sounded the alarm, stating that the earth was about to enter into a "little ice age." Worse yet, some scientist of the day proposed "melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers."
That sort of over-reaction to natural earth warming and cooling cycles could cause far more problems than they solve. It sounds ridiculous now, but that same 30 year time period ending 1978 or so, was marked by significantly reduced heat from decreased sunspot activity, hence, no strong solar winds (extra heat from the sun) hitting the earth. Immediately following that cooling period, we have had over 30 years of increasingly hotter sun cycles with increased sunspot activity, and as one would expect, the earth has slowly warmed during that time period.
According to the scientific studies represented in the third article below, entitled "Canadian Professor: Prepare for Global Cooling", apparently the current warming trend of increased sunspot activity is about to finish which will be followed by another cycle of "Gobal Cooling." Briefly, the research showed "a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called proxies), a find, he wrote, that is not unique since hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators.
So, in other words, indications from scientist who study the sun and it's correlation to earth warming and cooling cycles say that the current period of sunspot activity is about to peak, being replaced by a period of reduced sunspot activity, hence the earth is expected to start cooling off again. This is good news! Hope is on the way, but mankind will have nothing to do with either the warming or the cooling of the earth!
Is it time for a remedial course for all scientists, politicians, United Nations and World Media in "Basic Meteorology" Check the answers to the questions below, following the questions.
1) What causes clouds?
2) What causes wind?
3) What causes land and the air above the land to heat up every day?
4) Why does land and the air above the land cool off every night?
5) If the sun were to increase its radiation (heat) towards the earth over a thirty year time period, what would you expect to happen to the earthfs average surface temperatures?
6) Conversely, if the sun were to decrease its radiation (heat) towards the earth over a thirty year period, what you expect to happen to the earthfs average surface temperatures?
7) What can we earth inhabitants (mankind) do about either cooling or warming earth temperatures during a solar (sun) cooling or warming cycle?
8) What part does man-generated CO2 play in the earthfs cooling and warming cycles?
9) So what should we do when we are experiencing a Global Cooling or Global Warming cycle?
1) the sun's radiation (heat) plus cosmic radiation.
2)uneven heating and cooling of the earth's surface by the sun.
3) the suns radiation (heat).
4) the lack of sun light (heat).
5) temperature increases (global warming).
6) temperature decreases (global cooling).
7) absolutely nothing
8) little to none; its the suns heat!
9) be patient, dont over react, and know that this too will pass, along with the suns cycles of sunspot activity.
What can we do then? The best advice seems to be; to enjoy life, do not take on any unnecessary guilt trips about living your life and driving your car, and be patient with the natural sun cycles. The cycle is about to change! See Article 4.
Please read the articles below.
Climate warming is natural, not human caused, says new study
International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society [DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651] (December 2007)
Climate scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia report that observed patterns of temperature changes ('fingerprints') over the last thirty years are not in accord with what greenhouse models predict and can better be explained by natural factors, such as solar variability. Therefore, climate change is 'unstoppable' and cannot be affected or modified by controlling the emission of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, as is proposed in current legislation.
These results are in conflict with the conclusions of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and also with some recent research publications based on essentially the same data. However, they are supported by the results of the US-sponsored Climate Change Science Program (CCSP).
The report is published in the December 2007 issue of the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society [DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651]. The authors are Prof. David H. Douglass (Univ. of Rochester), Prof. John R. Christy (Univ. of Alabama), Benjamin D. Pearson (graduate student), and Prof. S. Fred Singer (Univ. of Virginia).
The fundamental question is whether the observed warming is natural or anthropogenic (human-caused). Lead author David Douglass said: "The observed pattern of warming, comparing surface and atmospheric temperature trends, does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming. The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming."
Co-author John Christy said: "Satellite data and independent balloon data agree that atmospheric warming trends do not exceed those of the surface. Greenhouse models, on the other hand, demand that atmospheric trend values be 2-3 times greater. We have good reason, therefore, to believe that current climate models greatly overestimate the effects of greenhouse gases. Satellite observations suggest that GH models ignore negative feedbacks, produced by clouds and by water vapor, that diminish the warming effects of carbon dioxide."
Co-author S. Fred Singer said: "The current warming trend is simply part of a natural cycle of climate warming and cooling that has been seen in ice cores, deep-sea sediments, stalagmites, etc., and published in hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals. The mechanism for producing such cyclical climate changes is still under discussion; but they are most likely caused by variations in the solar wind and associated magnetic fields that affect the flux of cosmic rays incident on the earth's atmosphere. In turn, such cosmic rays are believed to influence cloudiness and thereby control the amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface-and thus the climate." Our research demonstrates that the ongoing rise of atmospheric CO2 has only a minor influence on climate change. We must conclude, therefore, that attempts to control CO2 emissions are ineffective and pointless. - but very costly."
A copy of the Newsweek Magazine, Science Section, page 64,April 28th, 1975.
Canadian Professor: Prepare for Global Cooling
Thursday, June 21, 2007 12:20 a.m. EDT
Don't blame rising levels of carbon dioxide (C02) for whatever global warming is now taking place; put the blame on "old sol" the sun may be getting ready to put the world into the deep freezer.
So say a growing number of scientists who have studied the effect of the sun on the earth's climate and concluded that the only thing scientists understand about climate change is that it is always changing.
"Climate stability has never been a feature of planet earth,h explains R. Timothy Patterson professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University in an article in the Financial Post.
"The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3 C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thousand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6 C in a decade , 100 times faster than the past century's."
Dr. Patterson insists that even though advocates of the global warming theory such as Al Gore are insisting that the "the science is settled," that is far from being the case.
"The fact that science is many years away from properly understanding global climate doesn't seem to bother our leaders at all," Patterson wrote." Inviting testimony only from those who don't question political orthodoxy on the issue, parliamentarians are charging ahead with the impossible and expensive goal of 'stopping global climate change.'
He cited the assertion by Canadian parliament member Ralph Goodale that parliament should have "a real good discussion about the potential for carbon capture and sequestration in dealing with carbon dioxide, which has tremendous potential for improving the climate, not only here in Canada but around the world.h Patterson observed that it "would be humorous were he, and even the current government, not deadly serious about devoting vast resources to this hopeless crusade."
Patterson explained that an extensive scientific project he conducted for his government regarding the health of the Canadian fishing industry yielded results that concerned not just the condition of the native fishery, but how solar activity regulates climate.
The research that involved taking core samples of mud at the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords used sophisticated technology that enabled him and his team to collect more than 5,000 years' worth of mud. "Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons,h he explained.
Briefly, the research showed "a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called proxies )," a find, he wrote, that is not unique since hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators.
Among his conclusions:
"I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet."
In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental Researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.
"Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today, and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry, and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades."
"In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it our star's protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the earth's atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet."
"Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the little ice age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada."
Astrophysicist Nir Shariv, a prolific researcher and one of Israel's top young scientists who was cited by Patterson, no longer accepts the logic of man-made global warming. "Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming," Shariv wrote. "But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media."
According to Dr. Shariv there is no concrete evidence, only speculation, that manmade greenhouse gases cause global warming. Even research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is bereft of anything here inspiring confidence.
"Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming," he states, adding that the sun's strong role indicates that greenhouse gases can't have much of an influence on the climate, nor will cutbacks in future C02 emissions will matter much in terms of the climate.
Even doubling the amount of CO2 by 2100, "will not dramatically increase the global temperature," Shaviv states.
Finally, an article formally located at climatecentral.org, now found at iceagenow.com, states that should solar activity take a dive tomorrow, the temperatures would cool significantly.
"Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again," the article avers. "In fact, we should be more afraid of a cooling trend because of a solar minimum that will peak in 2030 that could be fairly large. As we saw from a minor solar minimum in the mid 1900s, the earth suddenly started to cool. If we were to have even a medium sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had."
NewsMax 2007. All rights reserved.
United Nations IPCC ? Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Dishonest political tampering with the science on global warming
by Christopher Monckton, Denpasar, Bali
6 Dec 07 -
As a contributor to the IPCC's 2007 report, I share the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Yet I and many of my peers in the British House of Lords - through our hereditary element the most independent-minded of lawmakers - profoundly disagree on fundamental scientific grounds with both the IPCC and my co-laureate's alarmist movie An Inconvenient Truth, which won this year's Oscar for Best Sci-Fi Comedy Horror.
Two detailed investigations by Committees of the House confirm that the IPCC has deliberately, persistently and prodigiously exaggerated not only the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature but also the environmental consequences of warmer weather.
My contribution to the 2007 report illustrates the scientific problem. The report's first table of figures - inserted by the IPCC's bureaucrats after the scientists had finalized the draft, and without their consent - listed four contributions to sea-level rise. The bureaucrats had multiplied the effect of melting ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets by 10.
The result of this dishonest political tampering with the science was that the sum of the four items in the offending table was more than twice the IPCC's published total. Until I wrote to point out the error, no one had noticed. The IPCC, on receiving my letter, quietly corrected, moved and relabeled the erroneous table, posting the new version on the internet and earning me my Nobel prize.
The shore-dwellers of Bali need not fear for their homes. The IPCC now says the combined contribution of the two great ice-sheets to sea-level rise will be less than seven centimeters after 100 years, not seven meters imminently, and that the Greenland ice sheet (which thickened by 50 cm between 1995 and 2005) might only melt after several millennia, probably by natural causes, just as it last did 850,000 years ago. Gore, mendaciously assisted by the IPCC bureaucracy, had exaggerated a hundredfold.
For half a century we have been measuring the temperature in the upper atmosphere - and it has been changing no faster than at the surface. The IPCC knows this, too. So it merely declares that its computer predictions are right and the real-world measurements are wrong..
My fellow-participants, there is no climate crisis. The correct policy response to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing. Take courage! Do nothing, and save the world's poor from yet another careless, UN-driven slaughter.
A LITTLE GUN HISTORY
I Thought you might appreciate this . . .
In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control.
From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded
up and exterminated.
Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated' people, unable to defend
themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500
million dollars. The first year results are now in:
Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent
Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent
Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!
In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.
You won't see this data on the Canadian evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.
Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the
Take note my fellow Commonwealth subjects, before it's too late! The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.
With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.
During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade Canada because they knew most Canadians and Americans were ARMED!
The result of MacNamara's ordnance shortage in 'Nam..... .we "gave them everything we had..... EVERYTHING!" A true story from VA-25.
Just as this AD was being shot off, we got a 1MC message from the bridge, "What's that on 572's right wing?"
For those too young to remember, during the Vietnam conflict, carriers were so woefully short of ordinance that missions were often launched with only a half load just to keep the sortie rate up so that the REMF's in DC would not send out blistering messages about failure to support the war effort, etc.
Given that the loss rate approached, and sometime exceeded, one aircraft a day, all will understand that there was a degree of reticence to launch with less than a full load -- if I must dance with the elephant at least let's make it worth while. Nevertheless, the indomitable spirit of the carrier aviators, and their squadron-mates, prevailed in some rather perverse way.
I have every hope that today's successors to the mantel left at the Cubi "O" Club bar persevere as well. Kick the tires, light the fires, bolt for the blue and brief on guard -- last one up is lead. Back in 'Nam', if you weren't on USS MIDWAY in Oct 1965, I thought you'd get a kick out of one squadron's ingenuity. Yes, this really happened. Once again history is stranger then fiction, and a lot funnier:
The USS Midway VA-25's Toilet Bomb.
In October 1965, CDR Clarence J. Stoddard, Executive Officer of VA-25 "Fist of the Fleet", flying an A-1H Skyraider, NE/572 "Paper Tiger II" from Carrier Air Wing Two aboard USS Midway carried a special bomb to the North Vietnamese in commemoration of the 6-millionth pound of ordnance dropped. This bomb was unique because of the type... it was a toilet!
The following is an account of this event, courtesy of Clint Johnson, Captain, USNR Ret. Captain Johnson was one of the two VA-25 A-1 Skyraider pilots credited with shooting down a MiG-17 on June 20, 1965. Clint Johnson was also a classmate and Company-mate of mine at the Naval Academy.
572 was flown by CDR C. W. "Bill" Stoddard. His wingman in 577 was LCDR Robin Bacon, who had a wing station mounted movie camera (the only one remaining in the fleet from WWII).
The flight was a Dixie Station strike (off South Vietnam) going to the Delta. When they arrived in the target area and CDR Stoddard was reading the ordnance list to the FAC, he ended with "and one code name Sani-flush".
The FAC couldn't believe it and joined up to see it. It was dropped in a dive with LCDR Bacon flying tight wing position to film the drop. When it came off, it turned hole to the wind and almost struck his airplane.
It made a great ready room movie. The FAC said that it whistled all the way down. The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard.
One of our plane captains rescued it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it. The squadron flight deck checkers maintained a position to block the view of the Captain and Air Boss while the aircraft was taxiing onto the catapult. Just as it was being shot off we got a 1MC message from the bridge, "What's that on 572's right wing?"
A Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.
So that your family can sleep without fright.
It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers"
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us
This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania. This guy's response is hilarious, but read the State's letter before you get to the response letter.
SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023 ; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County
Dear Mr. DeVries:
It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.
A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.
The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations.
We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted.
The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2006.
Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action.. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.
David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.
Here is the actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries
Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County
Dear Mr. Price,
Your certified letter dated 12/17/02 has been handed to me to respond to.
I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane, Trout Run, Pennsylvania.
A couple of beavers are in the (unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials "debris."
I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.
These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.
My first dam question to you is:
(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or
(2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?
If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued.
(Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)
I have several concerns. My first concern is, aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation -- so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.
If you want the stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers -- but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.
In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).
So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2006? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.
In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area. It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! The bears are not careful where they dump!
Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.
& THE DAM BEAVERS
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother."
Well guys Until next month..keep a smile on your face and your skids out of the Trees?--Ron