SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
November-December 2005

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independence.

-- C.A. Beard

Disclaimer: The editor speaks only for himself, and sometimes even he is wrong.


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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,
"Iraq. Is it time to cut and run?"

Alert readers will recall this is the question that led off for 2005 in the Jan/Feb issue.   Strangely enough, we are ending on the same note.  Dems on the Hill are once again on the hunt for ammo to force the Bush Admin to pull out of Iraq, whether or not Iraqis can stand on their own. The latest probe is to prove that Bush is a liar (read the Valerie Plame news item below), that all intelligence he used to get the US into war was faked, and therefore the war only got popular US support based on a falsehood.

Therefore; as a test of our readers, I put out the following edited transcript of our Presdent's speech on the eve of our going into combat in Iraq. I asked the readers to comment on whether they, with the benefit of hindsight, feel the words of the President were justified. What I did not tell the readers was, the speech was made on 16 Dec. 1998, by Bill Clinton, on the eve of sending cruise missiles into Bagdad.  See the Letters section for the view of those who responded to the Last Call. The speech follows:

Earlier today I ordered America's armed forces to strike military targets in Iraq. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs and its ability to threaten its neighbors. Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten the world with nuclear arms, poison gas and biological weapons. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction, but with Saddam there is one big difference. He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Chemical weapons against Iran troops in a decade long war. Against civilians by firing SCUD missiles at Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. And against his own people, Kurds in the north.

The international community and the US have no doubt that left unchecked Saddam will use these weapons again. The situation represents a clear and present danger to the people of the Persian Gulf  and the world. The international community gave Saddam one last chance to avoid war via the UN Weapons Inspectors, but Saddam failed to sieze the chance. If Saddam can get away with flaunting the weapons inspectors, he will conclude that the international community led by the US has lost its will. The crediblity of the US as a deterring power will be destroyed. That is why on the unanmious consent of my advisors, I have ordered a strong sustained series of attacks against Iraq.

The hard fact is that as long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well being of his people and the peace of the region and the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi govt. ... If we fail to respond, we will face a far greater danger in the future. Saddam will strike again ... he will develop weapons of mass destruction and he will use them.

Because we act today it is less likely we will face these dangers in the future. America has often made the difference between chaos and community ... Now in the new century, we'll have an oppurtunity to shape a future more peaceful then the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace. Tonight, the US is doing just that. May God bless the men and women of the armed forces who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.

On Gasoline Price "Gouging";
Let's talk Econ 101. When was the last time any of you saw a new refinery get built in your neighborhood? Or wait, let's see, what happend when Bush tried to open ANWR for oil drilling? For 30 years, leftists have stalled every attempt in this nation to boost either crude production or refinery capacity. With few exceptions, enhanced refinement capacity has come via expansion of existing plants. So, Katrina comes along and wipes out 28% of the refineries in the US, and the river/rail based distrubution network of those products.

Prices sky rocket.

"Gouging", scream the lefties!

And opening the Strategic Petrol Reserve is not a quick fix either since the products still need to be refined.

"Outrage, profiteering", scream our pals on the left.

Now in DC there is a call for a windfall profits tax. Eh? Latest industry numbers show the profit on a gallon of gas average across the nation is about 9.8 cents. The Federal tax is 18.5 cents, and in my state it's another 20 on top of that.

How about a tax break on the product?

Blasphemy! Stone him!

On the end of another year;
We have come to the end of another year, one of many changes, not least of which for this Rag. Last year the former editor handed this task on to me. While I have striven to live up to the prior standard, the publication frequency this year dropped to every two months. This seems to have had negative impact on Letters to the Editor, so I will try to increase the rate next year. In any event, happy holidays to you and yours, may the new year find you happy, healthy and wealthy. And don't forget, if it's a Holiday Tree, try to buy decorations for one on the 4'th of July!


Guest Editorial:

New Orleans vs. Missisippi after Katrina

So people, they ask me, "Serge, Why does Pres. Bush hate Louisiana so much, and give all the Katrina aid to Misissippi? Is it because his former party chair - Haley Barber is Govr. of Miss. while the hated Dems rule in LA and New Orleans? It is, isn't it?"

Well, maybe, but maybe there are some real differences in the way the two areas responded.

First, only LA had a major population center under sea level, New Orleans. So any storm surge over ten feet or levee failure was bound to cause greater issues. So of course the leaders of LA would pay attention to levee maintenance right? We'll get to that in a minute. First let' s look at

Myth 1: Bush hates LA
Aug 27. Pres. Bush called LA Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) and suggested to both of them they order a mandatory evacuation. Blanco responded that her team thought the storm woudl soften before landfall.  Blanco also asked for Bush to declare the area a Federal Disaster Zone to free up resources, which he did. But she did not take the critical step of asking for National Guard troops (which has to be done under the Posse Commatatis Act) before a Pres. can send them in. Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black told CNN that a train that could haul 900 people was standing by in New Orleans, but was sent away by Nagin as unneeded.

Aug. 28 Gov Blanco goes on CNN at 0930 to report that, "The Pres. has just called me and asked me to assure that there will be a mandatory evauation of New Orleans. Ray Nagin finally calls for an evacuation with 20 hours to go before T zero. The New Orleans evac. plan calls for a 72 hour notice. The plan also called for area school busses to be used to evaucate people.

Aug. 29  The storm hits in the AM. Blanco called the Pres. for help again, but did not ask for troops. Fox News reports tha the Red Cross has trucks ready with Food/Water and tents. They are not permitted to get off the freeway via the exit that would take them to the Astrodome becuase the LA Dept. of Homeland Security does not want the Astrodome to become a bigger magnet for refugees.

Aug 31. Again on CNN Blanco was asked why she did not call for troops. She said she should have back on the 27'th, and did after that TV appearence.

Sept. 2 Troops arrive under the command of Gen. Honore. His group camps out waiting for formal oders from the Gov. giving them authority to operate in the State. Helicoptor TV crews show shots of hundreds of school busses parked at the buss barn, flooded.

Sep 5. NY Times reports that Gov. Blanco has still not signed the paperwork to give the Guard authority to operate in LA.

Sept 9 Dateline NBC's Stone Philips interviews Mayor Nagin. Question: Where were the troops, helpcopters and busses? Answer: I don't know, that's a question for somebody else.

Myth 2: Bush sabotaged the levees  bashes Bush for slashing leveel funding. Well, over the five years of the ush Admin. funding for LA Army Corps of Engineer projects was about 2% higher then under Clinton, and LA got $1.9 Billion, more then any other state. Further, the Chicago Tribune reports that the levees that in fact broke after Katrina were ones that had just recently been repaired  by the Corps  and were  marked as  "good condition".

Meanwhile, NBC reporter Lisa Myers investigation into the spending of the New Orleans Levee Board dug up:  $2.4M for a Mardi Gras FOuntain, $15M for  two overpasses to Bally's Riverboat Casino,  and of 11 projects on the Board's website only 2 are related to flood control.

Myth 3: Bush environmental policies caused Katrina
According to stats maintained by the National Hurricane Center since 1851, the per decade average of storms hitting the US causing major damage is 7. So far the 2000-2010 period has three. The 1940s hold the record of 10, when global warming wasn't on the map.


For this month's last call, I sent out the President's speech on the eve of the Iraq invasion (see above "On Last Month's Fix") and asked the readers to comment on whether they thought subsequent events proved or refuted the president's reasons for going to war. What I did not tell them was, this was a speech by Bill Clinton. One responded.

1. From sunny southern Cal.

Re: last call for 2005 V2
Date: 18 Dec. 2005

** speech deleted **

Well, Bush was just about wrong on everything wasn't he? There were no WMDs, no threat to America. That was all BS to justify finishing the job for his dad. Plus it made it easier to get more oil money for him and Cheney. I think he should be investigated for lying to the US public and impeached.


Quote(s) of the month:

"We're an ignorant nation right now. We're not really capable .....I don't think we're bright enough to elect the right people that would preserve our republic ..."
-- Walter Cronkite on Larry King Live

Fix of the month:

"Should New Orleans be rebuilt the way it was?"



1. Miami, Dec 7: An unarmed mentally disturbed man was shot to death in the back as he ran off an American Airlines jet. The Air Marshall who shot him reported that the suspect hoisted his backback and claimed it was a bomb. He then ran to the front of the plane and down the jetway, his Hispanic wife behind screaming that he had bipolar disorder. Afterword, squad cars surrounded the plane and forced the passengers to deplane with hands on head.

A TSA spokesperson said this event played out "by the book" and proves that passengers are safe.


1. Newport Beach, Oct 30: Sea lions are piling up on the docks and boats around the harbor and since they are a protected species they cannot be harassed. So a plan to hire someone to fire blanks all day to scare them off was nixed. The best the city council can come up with is to pass a law banning feeding of the pinnipeds, and hope that hunger drives them up the shore. 

Washington D.C.;

1. Nov.12: VP Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby has been indicted on a slew of charges stemming from the initial belief that he "outed" CIA agent Valerie Plame to a reporter. Libby supposedly did this in retaliation becuase Plame's husband Joe WIlliams, a career State Dept official, was at odds with the White House over the interpretation of Intelligence reports that pointed to Iraq as a hotbed of terrorist activity. It would appear, however, that Libby did not give away anything approaching a state secret though, becuase reporter Bob Woodward (of Woodward and Berstein Watergate fame) was writing a book about the first Iraq war at the time, and had ALREADY penned in notes that large parts of the analysis for Gulf War One was done by none other then Plame. This was several months before the alleged Libby crime.


1. London, Nov. 1: CNN reports that Anne Owens, Chief Inspector of Prisons, has ordered guards in England to stop wearing St. Georges crosses while at work. Why? Becuase the cross bears a hurtful message to Muslim inmates, it reminds them of the Crusades. Owens adds that Muslims could also be offended if guards wear a Red Cross badge. But wait, it doesn't stop there. Also banned are Kleenex boxes that show Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. As Muslim counseler of prisoners Mahbubar Rahman says, "It's a tolerence of religios beliefs issue."
Ed: Interesting how tolerence of other religions means the subjugation of one's own.


1. Beijing, Oct 21: Reuters reports that the victim first became addicted to cigarettes in 1989 when she began smoking to ease her grief over the loss of her partner. By 1997 her second significant other had died and her daughter left the house which only intensified her depression -and smoking. Finally Chinese officials took away her cigarettes, made her listen to music after dining and forced here to excercise to cope. For several months, the victim would cry out from her addiction, but Nicoderm patches helped. Now Ai Ai, a 27 year old female chimp, is largely smoke free.


1. North Pole, Nov. 1: Yes, you read that right - dateline Mars. NASA spokespersons report that in the six years that the Mars Global Surveyor has been on station, each year shows an increase in polar cap melting and volcanic earthquakes (err marsquakes). In fact the polar caps are melting back 10+ feet a year. Now given that there are only two solar powered human vehicles on Mars, one has to ask the obvious question, "Where are the rest of the greenhouse gasses coming from?"