As a traditional liberal, I have many differences with Republican policies.  However, one outstanding one sticks out like a sore thumb and has had a devastating effect on our Country’s progress.  That policy, that sin is to make taxation a dirty word.

       For more years than I care to remember, Republicans have been harping on the claim that Americans are overtaxed.  They use this as a club against the Democrats, claiming over and over that the Democrats are the “tax and spend” party, this despite the fact that the Republicans, under Bush, have spent more of the public’s money than any previous administration.  

     The Republicans have done more than just complaining about taxation; they have created an image of taxation as an evil practice.  Unfortunately, many members of the public have accepted this erroneous concept.  

      By making taxes a dirty word, the Republicans have made it impossible for our government to raise money for necessary expenditures and, have consequently forced the government to borrow, borrow, borrow money from foreign countries (particularly China and Japan) to cover these expenses.  This has not only vastly increased our national debt, it has put us at the mercy of other governments who are not necessarily friendly to our aims. 

      Taxes are necessary to finance our military machine, our police forces, our schools, our fire departments, our federal departments who protect the safety of our food supplies.  Many other areas are starved for necessary financing.  As a result, our military machine is in sad shape; our schools are deteriorating and we have had periodic reports of lives lost due to food contamination.

      We also need taxes to keep our roads, bridges, water supplies and sewage systems in good repair.  Because we have not raised sufficient money to keep up the quality of our infrastructure, substantial deterioration has taken place and we have been forced to apply bandaids where extensive replacements and renovation are required.  As a consequence, for example, we have had bridges collapse with resulting loss of life. 

      Unfortunately, the Democratic opposition has been frightened by the possibility of losing elections if they press for proper financing to keep out country on the right path.  With the Republicans constantly pressing for tax relief (particularly for the rich) and with the Democrats retreating out of political cowardice, the country is sinking deeper and deeper into a financial hole.

     We are not overtaxed.  This is particularly true of the wealthy segment of our population who are given special benefits and who are allowed to take advantage of huge loopholes in the tax laws. 

     Republicans may scoff, but paying necessary taxes is essentially a patriotic duty.




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Accept it, the situation in Gaza provides a microcosm of the growing war between Western values and Islamist extremism.  Arab militants think they have found a way to defeat us.  They know that Israel and the United States have much more powerful armies than they can muster.  So, what do they do? 

     They never face our military directly.  Instead they use the following techniques: 


(1)        Conceal all your military facilities in the middle of densely populated areas;

(2)        If you have tanks or military vehicles, store them in crowded marketplace;

(3)        Locate your military headquarters in a bunker beneath a large hospital;

(4)        Locate your military manufacturing or assembly operations in mosques, schools, hospitals and private homes; and

(5)        Store your rockets and other military hardware in similar locations.


     They then start attacking us with thousands of rockets launched from any of the aforementioned civilian sites.  They never confront us directly, since you would be bound to lose.  All rocket attacks are done remotely and, if possible, from portable or mobile launchers. 


     How do we protect ourselves against this Machiavellian approach?  We can of course try to ignore the rockets but, if we do so, the number of rocket attacks increases and advanced rockets with longer ranges are employed. 


     If we attack militarily, we are bound to kill large numbers of civilians, which is what organizations such as Hamas and Hezbolah hope for.  The media will concentrate, not on our being victimized by rocket attacks, but on the number of women and children killed when we try to defend ourselves.  Photographs of dead women and particularly dead children will dominate the front pages of newspapers and screens of television.  There will be a huge hue and cry all over the world.  Crowds will demonstrate against us.  We will be accused of brutality, of criminal activities, of acting like savages. 


     One particularly virulent accusation will be that, even if we are defending ourselves, our retaliation is excessive and unnecessarily brutal.  Let us examine this, using Gaza as an example.  What would be a proper counter attack against rockets raining on Israeli populations?  Israel could of course provide tit for tat and send thousands of rockets into Gaza.  This would still result in Israeli rockets killing more civilians than the Hamas rockets killing Israelis.  The media would be full of comparisons of the number of Gazan deaths with Israeli deaths, the implications being that Israel is in the wrong.  In World War II, there were many more Germans than Allies killed.  Does this mean that Nazis were in the right? 


     This is madness.  Unless Americans, Europeans, Asians and even the Arab world wake up to the ridiculousness of the anti-Israeli diatribe and demonstrations, none of us will be able to protect ourselves against these tactics.  True, Gazan civilians are victims, but they are not the victims of the Israelis.  They are the victims of Hamas’ policy of planting their military facilities smack in the middle of the Gazan population.


      There are those who will say that, in the Middle East, the solution is to have Israel go back to its 1967 borders.  The claim is that this would bring peace.  But would it?  Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, only to find that that area was used as a staging ground for rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.  Israel withdrew from Gaza, only to find that Gaza was then used for rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.  Given the animosity of Hamas and other extremist Arab groups, would the newly “liberated” areas then be used for rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa?  If I were an Israeli, I would certainly not want to take that chance.


      It is time for a wake-up call!  It must be made clear to the Arabs and others that if they insist on hiding their military facilities in civilian populations and using these areas for attacking their neighbors, the resulting deaths of civilians will be strictly on their heads. 


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Mea maxima culpa. It has been a long time since I wrote a blog, and the fault is all mine. I have been busy with many things, finishing my latest book Old Age Ain’t for Wimps, finding an agent and a publisher for the book and helping my wife Chie with renovation of our apartment.

The book will be out in the spring, and I highly recommend it to anyone over fifty years of age. You may or may not like it, but you will certainly relate to it. The renovation, thank heavens, is finished.

     Chie and I are now in Maui, the beginning of a 10-week trip in warmer climes to avoid the rigors of New York winters. Since I was raised in Rochester, New York, I should be accustomed to cold, snow and ice, but my bones and I were much younger then. We stay in Maui for three more weeks, then go to my son Jonathan’s place in Mexico for two weeks and finally spend a month in Brazil. We return to New York in mid-March.

      All of the above is an excuse for not keeping up with my blog entries. Beginning today, I shall try to do better. Since I have lots of time during this trip, I shall try to provide more and more of my wandering thoughts, hoping to compensate in part for my recent neglects.

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