Click for Bob's service in the US Army from OCT `64 - AUG `68 / 8th Special Forces Group (Abn)

Bob's Blog by:
Robert Eliot Wirt Jr ( alias ) Bob WIRT

This is the spot where I post my thoughts in a forum which can't be deleted by others.
You may wish to read these thoughts, or not, but they'll stay here so long as I have a say in the matter.

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From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Dec 28, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Carol Jeanne in Indonesia?

Hi Folks -
Last we heard from Carol / Jeanne she was living in rural Sumatra (based out of Bogor, Indonesia?) doing her anthropologist thing. Has anyone heard from her since the Tsunamis? We all need to keep her in our prayers from this end until we know she's safe. Those Tsunami really are scary, nowhere near the advance preparation time we get from our favorite unwanted visitors, hurricanes - Just a wall of water slamming ashore without even a whisper of a warning. I did send a message earlier, but of course with the time difference and creaky server setup over there, she's not had time enough to respond.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Dec 28, 2004 To: Jeanne Carol Subject: Tsunami

Terrible news from your part of the world. Hope all is well with you and yours.
Best Wishes, Bob Wirt

From: Carol Jeanne Date: Sun Jan 2, 2005 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: RE: Carol Jeanne in Indonesia?

Thanks, you folks. We're fine. We're in the US for Christmas; and our home is actually in Bogor, which is in a mountainous area on Java. So we're ok---except for the shock and disbelief at the magnitude of the

Sorry to keep you in suspense, I was not going on line because of holiday festivities. Hope you all have a wonderful 2005, and that the tsunami victims manage to get the help they need. Thanks again for your thoughts.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Dec 17, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Turkey

Funny how we knew some spy-type stuff, but not for the most part the really interesting or classified matters. As typical teenagers, we were somehow more concerned with beer, konyak, girls and pool. When you grow up with the spooky stuff it's somehow less surprising and more like matter-of-fact, everyday goings-on - so it didn't get talked about much. Then later, when the old-timers' kicks in you don't remember anything important, just the peripheral stuff that had been forgotten. Thanks, Sally, for refreshing the old neurotransmitters.

I do remember that after the Cuban Missile crisis in Oct `62 the US had to remove the Jupiter sites from Eastern Turkey that winter and spring in a hush-hush, quid-pro-quo between JFK and Khruschev. After the missiles were gone, our military was stuck with this gigantic $3,000,000 crane which we no longer had a use for, so offered it gratis to the Turks. They wanted it alright, but insisted the US government pay the 100% import duty to their tax-man before they'd accept the gift. Dad hurled a few epithets around the apartment about that little bit of venality. It's always given me a chuckle on the rare occasion it comes to mind as it wasn't often he'd get that pissed. At least that's the way I remember the scenario back through the fog of the intervening forty years or so. Anyone may correct me if I'm wrong on the details. After all, I did hit 60 a couple of weeks ago, so my memory may not be clicking along at the optimum.
Bob Wirt

From:Brad Date: Fri Dec 17, 2004

There was lots of spooky stuff going on then that we weren't supposed to know about.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Dec 16, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Fishy

Sally - My dad was the cryptography officer at the American Embassy in Ankara (`61-`63). He told me we were there to manage the couple of dozen Jupiter missile sites which were aimed at Moscow and environs. I thought everyone knew that stuff. Although, I will say that he told me not to talk about it. My dad died in 1983, but he was still pretty close mouthed about the details of the fishy stuff. After we got back to the states I always enjoyed listening to his stories about the spooks (CIA types) he dealt with throughout his career in military supply and communications posts. Never really thought I'd end up working under their aegis on various SF A-Teams, but it's what happened. Go figure. Maybe his earlier connection was how I ended up where I did. Maybe not. If so, I wasn't aware of it at the time. Spooky, those guys.
Bob Wirt

From: Sally Date: Thu Dec 16, 2004

Bob wrote: Did you read the book? Just curious......... CIA types are a little hard to peg sometimes....

Sally writes:  I still wonder what our Dad's were doing in Turkey.  My Dad died 31 years ago so I can't ask.  He said he was installing radar on the mountains in Turkey so that the airport could keep in touch with the airplanes.....sounds very fishy.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Dec 16, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Real Turkey

Chris: Funny how the old man kept most (but not all) of the really interesting stuff under his hat until later, after retirement, when it didn't matter so much that he let some of the juicy stuff out about how the twenty years in service were a lot more interesting than we ever got onto at the time. The CIA budget was always virtually impossible to quantify, and still is somehow, due to the fact that so much of their operational ability came from "borrowing" off-the-books manpower and equipment from the "bloated" military service branches. As congress has found over the years, you can't oversee what you can't see.
Bob Wirt

From: CWhite Date: Thu Dec 16, 2004

I can answer that (a little)....................My Dad (Army) had an AF aircraft (L-20) and pilot assigned to his office. While they were taking personel and supplies to Sinop among other places, they also were trying to keep tabs on a Russian aircraft test base north of Sinop. One of their successes was the discovery that the Russian Bear, the TU-95 had counter-rotating propellers on each engine. The story of how this was accomplished is rather interesting to those who may be a little tecnically oriented. It also is simbolic of our situation in Turkey........Ah, la the end of the logistics line.
Your Dad was probably doing just that...........And more.
Virtually our whole life, we were told if anybody asked what your Dad does, he's in the army  --  period. All the while I was allowed to play outside with a basketball clearly marked  66 CIC. (Combat Intelligence Corp) Later on, he revealed to me a few of their interesting deals usually because they to related in some way to something I might have been doing at the time.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Dec 15, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Praise the Lord

A friend sent me this, thought it was worth a chuckle:

There's a little old Christian lady living next door to an atheist. Every morning the lady comes out onto her front porch and shouts "Praise the Lord!". The atheist yells back, "There is no God".

She does this every morning with the same result. As time goes on the lady runs into financial difficulties and has trouble buying food. She goes out onto the porch and asks God for help with groceries, then says "Praise the Lord".

The next morning she goes out onto the porch and there's the groceries she's asked for, of course she says "Praise the Lord". The atheist jumps out from behind a bush and says, "Ha, I bought those groceries - there is no God".

The lady looks at him and smiles, she shouts "Praise the Lord, not only did you provide for me Lord, you made Satan pay for the groceries!!"

Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Dec 14, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Special Forces

Vicky - Like I said, it was the O&I guys attached to Special Forces who killed the double agent. Their ultimate resolution was a foolish way to solve the problem. The regular SF NCOs on the team tried to talk them out of their course of action, but to no avail. I'll go with what Jeff Stein reported on the affair, that the senior officers of the 5th Group were confined in metal shipping containers without many amenities, at least until they were able to engage counsel. Since Jeff interviewed everyone even remotely involved, I think I'll go with his take on the subject. Maybe I'll have to go back and re-read the book, but then I'd just get po'd again.

Trouble is that some of the worst miscreants give SF a black eye at times, like Jeffrey MacDonald, the "Green Beret" doctor who butchered his family at Fort Bragg back in 1970. Anyone who's ever been in Group knows Dr MacDonald was support staff and not a qualified Team member. And don't even get me started on Rambo... Unfortunately, SF gets the never-ending bad rep for pretenders who believe themselves invincible just because they were allowed to wear the hat. That goes for the CIA types who rode along on most of the missions back in those days, some were great assets but others were just a danger to everyone in their vicinity.
Bob Wirt

From: fvh Date: Tue Dec 14, 2004 19:25:02 US/Eastern

Those Special Forces guys who dropped the chained guy in the drink in Nha Trang were kept at Long Binh for the period awaiting their court martial.  Not in LBJ tho; they pretty much had the run of the place. Like where could they go.... Nice guys. But there are ways of eliminating people, especially in war time, instead of a stupid stunt like that. Frankly, at the risk of offending some, I suggest that war talk be left to those who have experienced it.  Sob stories included. Ours is not exactly the appropriate forum. vfh

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Dec 13, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Six reservists court-martialed

Jim - I'll await Sgt. Major Silva's counsel. I've always said if you want to know what's happening in any unit, ask the top sergeant. They're the guys who run the military anyway, even if the Generals do look better on TV. I recently was put back in contact with a senior NCO from my Panama tour who had a great deal to do with keeping me out of trouble and getting me on some interesting missions when I was down there in the 8th Group. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major and I plan on sitting down with him in a couple of weeks to go over some of what happened after I left the service. Nothing against officers (my dad was a highly decorated one and I grew up with great respect for officers and their responsibilities) but in our SF Groups the officers usually came for a year to get their ticket punched then went back into the real Army. The really good ones stayed too long, often to the detriment of their career paths. The old dog NCOs stayed in Forces for the duration which gave them a totally different perspective on what was and wasn't. CSM Mulcahy's about 70 now as well - I just hope he doesn't drop me for fifty for old times' sake.
Bob Wirt

From: Jim W Date: Mon Dec 13, 2004

Bob: I'll reserve my response until later, but basically I agree with you. If you want an inside, I am going to check with my former Sgt. Major with whom I still talk with on a current basis. I adopted him when I was in Viet Nam (or he adopted me as a 2nd Lt. and we've been friends ever since). Sgt. Major Silva is now 70 years young and still full of P-- and vinegar!Just want to hear what he has to say and I'll pass it on. I was always told to attach myself to an NCO and I found a person that really wanted our unit to succede and supported the GIs and junior officers. Jim

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Dec 13, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Six reservists court-martialed

Speaking of charging Marines with murdering enemy combatants in a war zone, and we were, here's another little joke courtesy of the morons currently in charge of military justice. When we needed equipment in the old Army, we often had to liberate it from other units who had more than they needed or were unable to put it to as good a use as we had in mind. It wasn't a courts-martial offense, just field expediency. The guys here who used their brains to accomplish their mission get brought up on charges, and the ones a few weeks ago who refused direct orders to perform their mission without as much armor as they thought they deserved, get a walk. Lady Justice is not only blind, she's apparently deaf and dumb as well. Leavenworth for the guys who went the extra mile to get into the war zone and do their jobs. Freedom for the misfits hiding behind the lines making excuses for disobeying orders. Mind boggling, to say the least.
Bob Wirt

Article of interest:
Six reservists court-martialed
By John Mccarthy The Associated Press Posted December 13 2004
Copyright © 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

COLUMBUS, Ohio · At a time when some U.S. troops in Iraq are complaining they have to scrounge for equipment, six Ohio-based reservists were court-martialed for taking Army vehicles abandoned in Kuwait by other units so they could carry out their own unit's mission to Iraq.

The soldiers say they needed the vehicles, and parts stripped from one, to deliver fuel to Iraq, but their former battalion commander said Sunday the troops should at least have returned the vehicles to their original units. Members of the 656th Transportation Company based in Springfield, west of Columbus, said they needed the equipment to deliver fuel that was needed by U.S. forces in Iraq for equipment such as helicopters and tanks.

The reservists took two semitrailor trucks and stripped parts from a 5-ton truck that had been abandoned in Kuwait by other units that had already moved into Iraq, said one of the reservists, Darrell Birt of Columbus.

Birt, a former chief warrant officer, and the others were charged with theft, destruction of Army property and conspiracy to cover up their crimes. Birt said he and two others pleaded guilty and the other three were convicted. All received six-month sentences.

"Nobody ever reported these trucks stolen. The deal was, when you are moving, if it was going to take more than 30 minutes to fix it, you left it," said Birt, who was released in November. "I'm a Christian man and I can't ignore what we did, but it was justified to get us in the fight and to sustain the fight."

Last week, the military said it would not court-martial any of 23 other Army reservists who refused a mission transporting fuel along a dangerous road in Iraq. They had complained that their vehicles were in poor condition and did not have armor. And on Wednesday, U.S. soldiers complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in Kuwait that they have to scrounge in landfills for scrap metal and discarded bullet-resistant glass to provide armor for their vehicles.

The reservists in the 656th Transportation Company had to move their equipment along with the fuel and likely did not have enough vehicles to do so in one trip, said their former battalion commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Wicker.

"That would have required multiple trips back. They do not have many cargo trucks. They are fuel haulers," he said.

From: Frank H Date: Mon Dec 13, 2004

And, it was abandoned equipment!
I might also also point out that you know about this because a reporter gathered the story and sent it home.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Dec 13, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Six reservists court-martialed

Abandoned, yes, then "stolen" from one Army unit for use by another Army unit. The concept is surreal.

Frank, I know you think I dislike all reporters, but that would be a mistaken assumption. I have often praised those who do their jobs without regard for preconceived notions or biases. As I said just the other day in this forum "Thank the Lord there're still enough honest scribes out there that we can get some of the true story..." Anyway, I believe the dateline on this particular story was Columbus OH.

I know that my own military training emphasized accomplishing the mission, and being in an "unconventional warfare" unit, most of us could have been incarcerated at one time or another for the manner in which we did our jobs. Not that it was wrong, just technically not according to The Book. Guess that's one reason we had our own operations manuals that the rest of the Army didn't have access to.

I can recommend one reporter to you, an ex-UPI guy named Jeff Stein who wrote a truly revealing book "A Murder In Wartime" which describes the arrest and trial for murder of the top half-dozen officers of the 5th Special Forces Group in Viet Nam in 1969. Seems some of their O&I guys killed a double-agent in a war zone and Creighton Abrams thought they should be tried for murder. I've had the pleasure of some occasional correspondence with Jeff and he's one of the good guys. I don't agree with everything he says, but he's honest and that's what counts.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Dec 11, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Marines

Congressional interference and micromanagement was always a problem. Back at Fort Bragg NC in the mid-`60s SF used to run the Gabriel Demonstration Area, popularly known on post as Disneyland East (not to be confused with An Khe or the Pentagon). It was a way to show off our insurgency/counterinsurgency operations for those who dispensed the funding but without actually allowing them into the real action areas in Viet Nam. The Congressional delegations used to love to tour our operation in the Panama CZ as well, sticking their noses into the Jungle Operations Course, our HALO and Scuba training and whatever else they could manage to interfere with. Our only payback was when there would be a boatload of dignitaries floating down the Chagras river to observe our interdiction ops we'd always manage to get the underwater C4 charges just a little closer to their boats than we were supposed to. Lots of wet Congresspersons and hangers-on, but no serious harm done. Chuckles all around.

Sal: You may remember that vaunted freedom of the press is what lost us the war in Viet Nam even while our guys were winning on the ground - think Tet `68. Thank Walter Cronkite et al for that ironic twist. I'm genuinely all in favor of an active and vigilant press corps, but something seriously strange happened between WWII and Viet Nam which perverted the viewpoints expressed at home and abroad. Hard to see how so many ostensibly American reporters can see what's in front of their eyes and report something so obviously skewed by preconceptions and political considerations. Thank the Lord there're still enough honest scribes out there that we can get some of the true story through the layers of management agendas. We as a society need to know what's going on in Iraq, but the troops need to be free to do their jobs without all the second guessing. The rest of the world doesn't really like us anyway, so we needn't worry about looking like idiots to peoples who envy us to the point of hatred. It's when Americans believe the pap they read and see on TV then turn on our own troops that we end up with a real problem. Now that Rather and Brokaw are finally exiting stage left, we can only hope that Jennings will finally find his way back to Canada.

Today's media has its favorable aspects, along with the obvious drawbacks. Back in the day, newspapers were blatantly biased and viewpoints expressed as news were taken with a grain of salt because people knew who was dispensing the news. In today's media mix, the biases are hidden and the agendas have to be discerned from scrupulous comparison of each individual story from several news sources to determine what the truth might be.
Bob Wirt

--------- Prior Correspondence --------------------------------------------------
From: Sally Date: Sat Dec 11, 2004

Dear Jim, Amen. I was wondering the same about all the photos of this war. Seems we have way too much coverage which may be a distraction for the troops. I know we have freedom of the press in the U.S.A. but in war or politics, seems we show up looking like idiots overseas.  Sal

From: CWhite Date: Sat Dec 11, 2004

Additional point...........OK, we have to deal with embedded reporters. The bigger problem is congressmen (and women) who think they have to micromanage military operations. Kerry as much as said so during the campain..So  ----  My suggestion is: Whenever they send or troops to war, a congressional presence be required and rotate them in and out of the war zone on a regular basis. (preferably with a bulls eye on their jacket)

----- Original Message -----
From: Jim W

Bob: I like your point suggestion. Only problem is that they would probably miss an ambush or unfriendly situation and cause more causalities. But the positive side is that we would probably have less reporters! Jim

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Dec 11, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Marines

Iraq (and Viet Nam) ain't the movies. You don't shoot to wound. You shoot to kill or you'll likely be killed. The embedded reporters ought to be where Westmoreland kept Al Gore during his five months in country - tethered to the nearest command and staff jeep. Better yet, hand each reporter an M16 and send them out on point. You'd get a very different story back on the frontline situation.
Bob Wirt

Sal: I just read this message. What I can tell you or anyone else interested, is that from my experiences in Viet Nam, when you were in a Search & Destroy mission, and you might have come upon a similar situation, if you could not see the man's hands, and he moved, you shot first and then worried about the consequences.  Also, why should we (or the military) allow reporters to accompany our troops during their missions I will never understand. I personally fully support the actions of that Marine, and would not give to two cents for the reporter, or photographer, who did that. In fact, from that point forward, I would make sure his ass was the first into a room during a sweep!  Maybe then he would appreciate the job our guys are doing over there, assuming he survived! Jim W

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Nov 19, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Cronkite rips Bush's record

Miami Herald coverage of Walter Cronkite in South Florida:
Walter Cronite, who trashed our combat soldiers in 1968 over his disagreement with the LBJ administration's war policy, is now calling for new elections following the first majority-elected presidency since 1988. Gosh, I wonder what his ultimate pronouncement on the bias of his protegé Dan Rather will be, once the CBS internal investigation is complete. I just hope that once I go senile Bettye will convince me to shut up and coast.
Bob Wirt

-------------------------------------------- Miami Herald on Walter Cronkite --------------------------
Posted on Fri, Nov. 19, 2004

TELEVISION - Now outspoken, Cronkite rips Bush's record
No longer the just-the-facts newsman, retired CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, 88, blasted the Bush administration during a charity appearance on Fisher Island.

What America needs right now, legendary TV anchor Walter Cronkite said Thursday, is a new election -- and, he warned a laughing press conference full of reporters, he wasn't kidding.

''That's not entirely a joke,'' Cronkite said solemnly, arguing that the Bush administration has spent itself into ruin while embroiling the country in a war that will eventually make public revulsion to the war in Vietnam look "like peanuts.''

''I think you journalists today have a great four years ahead of you,'' Cronkite observed dryly. "It's going to be a great story to cover.''

Cronkite -- in South Florida on a promotional visit for the Fisher Island Philanthropic Fund, a children's charity -- spent 30 years at CBS News, including 18 as anchor of the network's evening newscast, before retiring in 1982.

His retirement has mostly been a quiet one. But during the past year, Cronkite -- who turned 88 earlier this month -- has made some startling departures from his old just-the-facts anchorman's demeanor. He proclaimed that most journalists are liberals and praised them for it, and accused Republican political operative Karl Rove of orchestrating the release of a new Osama bin Laden tape last month to help President Bush win reelection.

On Thursday, he whacked away at the Bush administration even harder, accusing it of destroying the nation's infrastructure and wrecking its education system to the point that American democracy itself is in danger.

''You want to get down to the nub of how this democracy is going to defend itself,'' Cronkite said. ``We've got to have an intelligent electorate and we're not going to have it because our education system is in a shambles right now.''

The most immediate problem, Cronkite warned, is Iraq.

''We have a war that is tearing us apart,'' he said. But, he added, the administration's deficit spending is a close second, creating ``a debt that will have to be paid by our great-grandchildren, and maybe beyond that.

''In the meantime, we do not have the money to do the things that we ought to -- have to -- do here at home,'' Cronkite said.

Cronkite said the news media have generally done a good job covering the problems, including during the presidential election. But he backed away from a question about the troubles at his old network, where an independent panel is investigating a report by Cronkite's replacement, Dan Rather, that raised questions about President's Bush's Vietnam-era service in the National Guard.

''I'm not going to comment on the Dan Rather matter until the investigators come up with their report,'' said Cronkite. ``I've had great difficulty keeping my lips buttoned, but so far I've made it.''

© 2004 The Miami Herald

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Nov 3, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Voting

Apology not accepted. The Democratic Party of John F Kennedy was a much different animal than is the party of Clinton, Gore and Kerry. Nothing wrong with today's democrats that a little direction and a solid message wouldn't fix. I've got plenty of friends who are democrats and I truly enjoy engaging them on the issues. Individually you guys make a lot more sense than your leadership. The same could be said of the republicans. Were he to return today, Ike would probably not recognize today's GOP. Hang in there because what goes around comes around. Every dog, donkey and elephant has its day. We each just have to watch out for the fanatic fringes of our own party. Like the man said, each of us is endowed with certain inalienable rights, all of which end where the other guy's rights begin.
Bob Wirt

From: Tom L Date: Wed Nov 3, 2004

Geez, sounds like i am the only Democrat that went to Ankara High. my apologies
Tom L '60

From: CWhite Date: Wed Nov 3, 2004

There's still time for you. Tom.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Nov 3, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Operation Joint Replacement

I received this today from an old Airborne officer who is now a retired attorney in Miami. I don't know whether he's totally lost it or not, but he's kind of amusing. Guess it's too late to switch my vote at this point. I just may have to volunteer.
Bob Wirt

Bush Secret Plan to Draft Elderly Revealed
(2004-10-19) -- Previously unseen documents released by the Kerry-Edwards campaign today reveal a secret Bush administration plan to draft the elderly into military service. "If George W. Bush wins this election, I warn you that he will kill two birds with one stone," said John Forbes Kerry, the Democrat presidential candidate. "He'll bail out Social Security by sending our nation's grandparents to the front lines in Iraq to die in the wrong war." Mr. Kerry, who is also a U.S. Senator, said, "Senior citizens are patriotic, plentiful and many of them still have their old military uniforms and vintage rifles from World War II and Korea. It's a cynical scheme, and that's why this administration is hiding it until January." According to details of the secret Bush plan, backdoor-drafted National Guard and Reserve troops will come home rapidly as they're replaced by five divisions of combat-ready "geriatric GIs." To date, the Pentagon has not specifically denied the existence of the alleged secret plan dubbed 'Operation Joint Replacement.' President Bush, asked to respond to the Kerry allegation during a campaign stop, said, "This is the first I've heard of it. But we don't need to draft our seniors. If we'd let 'em, they'd volunteer. Next question."
Irv Weinsoff, Esq.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Nov 3, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Michael Moore

One of the true satisfactions of yesterday's balloting has been seeing Michael Moore going down in flames. Since there's no chance in hell it'd ever have happened to him in real combat, the apocryphal destruction will have to do. Bob Wirt

From: CWhite Date: Tue Nov 2, 2004

Moore and Barr Huh? Didn't have to guts to come to Texas? Our voting only took a couple of minutes. Voted early. The turnout inWashington County is greater than anywhere we've ever been. These folks are serious about the process.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Nov 3, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Google

What I want to know is how those guys got ahold of my drivers license photo.
Bob Wirt

From: Rich B Date: Tue Nov 2, 2004

I fell for it and laughed for five minutes. Thank you on election night.

-----Original Message-----
From: Cwolf Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004

You think google is something...Try  enter your name, address, state and town. Your drivers license and picture will pop up. You can ask that it be removed by klicking on remove name box.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Nov 3, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Voting

Bettye and I stood in line yesterday for about thirty minutes, and cast our ballots with no problem. So much for us incompetent oldsters who can't figure out these newfangled touch screens. And now, thank goodness for Ohio. Sure takes the pressure off those of us living here in the sixth borough of New York City (South Florida).
Bob Wirt

From: Rich B Date: Tue Nov 2, 2004

I was in line for 45 minutes a week ago. I'm praying for a mandate, but aware of the fact that there are a lot of stupid people in this country that think P diddly is a political adviser.

-----Original Message-----
From: fvh Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004

We had to stand in line about 15 minutes to vote this afternoon! So much for all the horror stories. 

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Nov 1, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Florida Voting Follies

I had copied my Mom on one of my messages to you all, and she questioned something I had said, so I thought I'd pass my response on. She was a longtime member of the Alameda County Republican Central Committee in Oakland CA, back in the late `60s and through the mid `70s, at a time when my Dad was giving speeches on behalf of Governor Reagan as a member of the Governor's Speakers Bureau. One of the guys you've heard on the rubber chicken circuit at dinners for your local business or service club. Of course being a Republican in Northern California is a lot like being the only hen in a den of foxes - not likely to prevail once the votes are counted... Mom and Dad were Nixon delegates to the `72 Republican Convention in Miami Beach.

Mom: Good question, how did the editor of the Miami Herald know how the early votes were being cast solidly for Kerry. The way they determine who's getting the votes is to take exit-polls as people come out after having cast their "secret ballot" and blab about who they voted for. That's the count that was going two to one for Kerry over the weekend. Although if anyone ever asked me how I voted as I exited my polling place I'd certainly lie to them.

We've had literally thousands of poll watchers and challengers at our early voting sites these past ten days in spite of the fact that Florida law bans their presence in the polling areas "on election day". The lawyers have taken the position that the early voting days are not technically "election day" as defined in Florida law, so they can legally intrude on the sanctity of the voting booth. Incredible. Just twist the law until it says what you want it to, forget the intent of protecting voters from intimidation and violation of their rights.

There was a photographer arrested Sunday in Palm Beach County for violating state law while photographing voters waiting in line for a chance to cast their ballot. He got into a fight with the officer who was attempting to enforce the law against de facto intimidation of the electorate and will surely end up a hero of the the civil rights crowd. The guy violating the civil right of voters ends up a poster boy for having his civil right violated by the police. Thank goodness the Elections supervisor in Palm Beach County is a Democrat, but even with that Jeb Bush will end up the villain. David Boies will see to that.

Bettye feels strongly that the polls showing Bush with a slight edge in most states and in the electoral totals are based on an outdated model since most younger voters tend to vote Democrat and they overwhelmingly have cell-phones only, without land-line service. Because of this they aren't included in many national polls which depend on phone contact to listed land-line phones. One more reason not to base your opinion on opinion polls.

I've been polled three time in the past weeks and gave honest answers each time since a phone poll doesn't violate my right to cast a secret ballot, but I do wonder sometimes about the manner in which the questions are posed. The wording can sometimes be taken in ways other than you might at first believe. When I try to clarify the intent of a question, they often just skip to the next. Makes you wonder if any of it is meaningful.
Bob Wirt

From: LauraAWirt Date: Sun Oct 31, 2004

Hi - Liked your comments re the election. I was interested in a point - the Miami Herald editor who "is pleased that the current vote (in progress for over a week)" is running two to one Kerry. I thought the vote was secret until all are counted! Well, I know my vote will go down the drain as California is clearly on Kerry's side. I agree, why can't it be one man, one vote and winner take all. As to current charges filling the airways that Republicans are destroying demo votes and negating black votes - my 10 years of activism in the Rep. party taught me one thing - the only thing tampered with then was the moderate republicans being destroyed by the conservative faction! How they loved to attack! Anyway, only 48 hours and we can then watch the legal pundits flying around the country challenging everything that did not go as they expected. How happy I am to be an innocent bystander.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Democracy

Ah yes, democracy! Would that it were what we all wish it to be. Wasn't it Hitler who became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 after his Nazi party received a plurality of the seats in the Reichstag through a democratic election? Through representative democracy the devil assumed control and threw the civilized world into chaos, murder and mayhem in the name of vox populi. And we almost didn't oppose him since Britain's own Neville Chamberlain preferred appeasement, and loyal Americans such as Joe Kennedy and Charles Lindbergh had FDR's ear through much of the `30s when the groundwork for the atrocities was laid, and the sentiment of most voting Americans seemed to be that what was going on in Europe was none of our business.

War is never popular. Just a nasty business which has to be carried out by those strong enough to stand up for what's right. The only reason we ended up opposing Hitler was Japan's sneak-attack on our sleeping troops at Pearl Harbor. When we declared war on Japan, which we had to do, we necessarily engaged their ally Germany as well. We didn't really need to go to war against Germany to pull ourselves out of the Great Depression since our lend-lease with England was accomplishing that for us, even while we stayed neutral against the perpetrator of the holocaust. A similar dynamic pertains now in our war on terror with honest people honestly disagreeing on how to deal with butchers like Saddam and OBL. We'll get it right, we always do.
Bob Wirt

From: Carol Jeanne Date: Thu Sep 30, 2004 Subject: RE: Fables and Fantasies

I think you, Chris, are responding to what Kerry's saying right now, more than what I've said---and I agree with *some* of your critiques. I *began* supporting Kerry bcause I was so worried about what Bush was doing---definitely initially an anti-Bush vote. As I've listened to Kerry throughout the campaign I've become much more positive about him, and feel that he will indeed make a good, if not terribly charismatic, president. It's interesting that some of you are as convinced that Kerry's lying as I am that Bush is lying. I suppose all politicians lie to some extent, but, to me, the evidence against Bush is far more believable.

I think we're simply deluding ourselves if we think that any president can really protect us. We're adults, living in a world where bad things happen. The most effective thing we can do is work to change the conditions that lead people to do violent things---and that's the approach I think Kerry will take. I don't agree with Kerry when he blames Bush for various attacks----I simply don't think protecting ourselves is really possible in every instance---though we can reduce the chances of attack certainly, by being careful. And ultimately we can reduce the likelihood of wars and terrorist attacks by improving human conditions, setting a good example, working cooperatively with other nations, etc.---some of the "hearts and minds" activities mentioned by Bob. We haven't spent enough time and effort on that kind of thing, in many places (probably under any administration)!

I guess I have a very different view of human nature than you, Alan. I recognize that people sometimes do bad things, but underneath I have a lot of faith in human beings (and in humanity's ability to progress in our moral and ethical values). I see examples of selflessness, altruism, helpfulness and kindness every day---being in Baghdad, Chris, you may have a different daily experience. There's no doubt that there are some people doing awful things---I'm just as horrified by beheadings as you are (though thankfully I don't have to deal with them in the direct manner that you must). But if you are in favor of Democracy, then...don't you have to believe in people?

The awful things we're seeing on the increase make it all the more important that we stop this kind of violence, and NOT participate in anything even remotely similar ourselves. Wars make people less human. People who see others abused or killed want to reciprocate. We have to work to get this global spiral of violence stopped---and I am quite sure that Bush's approach (the tough guy stance, rather than the global cooperation stance) is not the way to do that. It'll just lead to more of the same.

Anyway, I honestly do appreciate hearing all these views---I'm surrounded by people who share many of my own views. Like you, Chris, I'd like to understand the motivation of those who disagree with me.

One last comment, a note of support to Chris: Hang in there---those of us who feel Bush is doing a bad job are no less concerned, either about the people who are out there in the front lines or about the innocent Iraqi people (in fact I argue we are more so). Now you too will be in my mind and worries.

Cheers, Jeanne

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Florida Voting Follies

Jesus, Joseph and Mary! I'm tired of this election crapola. First the ethics-challenged pseudo-mayor of Broward County, Ilene Leiberman, has now taken over the functions of our Supervisor of Elections and appointed her own personal spokesperson as media liason for the Supervisor's office. This on the strength of her contention that since the county funds the Supervisor of Elections' office she has a right to run it as well. The Democratic county Mayor pulled a coup d'etat on the Democratic Elections Supervisor to ensure minority participation in the current election. Apparently because Dr Snipes, a black, female Democrat, was being too even-handed in her conduct of the election (we've been voting here in Broward for ten days now).

Now David Boies and his minions are running around the state filing preemptory lawsuits alleging future potential fraud on the part of the nasty Republicans and their minions. This thing is going to drag out with creative litigation and castigation of everyone within shouting distance for weeks, if not months to come. The editor of the Miami Herald was just interviewed on Fox and was overtly (as in Cheshire Cat) pleased that the early voting of the past week or so has been running two to one for Kerry in a state where Bush holds an overall two point lead in the Florida polls. Makes me long for the normal news diet of drugs, murder and mayhem in our everyday lives outside the election season.

Alan's idea of the Speaker of the House being a third party mediator may not be too far off the mark if the electoral college ends in a tie vote and the House gets to choose a winner this time around. Then watch the lawsuits fly.

I really don't understand why we can't just go to the polls, vote, and let the winner take office. Too easy?
Bob Wirt

PS: I refer to Ilene Leiberman as our pseudo-mayor because we had a ballot issue here in Broward a few years back attempting to establish a mayoral office over the county, which was defeated on a countywide vote. She later had the county commission vote among themselves to change the title of the Commission Chair to Mayor. Slick. She also conducts a lucrative lobbying business using her married name while maintaining her public office under her former name. Apparently this absolves her of responsibility to abide by state ethics laws. Also slick.

From: Alan K Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004 Subject: Re: Fables and Fantasies

Bob, you really said a mouthful quite eloquently. . .

“…the real problem is finding a viable candidate who can tell the truth with conviction and follow through with the necessary actions…”

We’ve had a number of very honest, well meaning and ineffectual leaders. Mostly democrats. Kerry echoes the sentiments of so many has-beens/did-nothings, who had really humane, idealistic views. The truth of the matter is that, even looking back to the Roman times, the effective people are highly manipulative (political), deceitful, and strongly driven to achieve personal success (money, power, recognition). They need to hide those traits from the proletariat in order to be elected.

“there's a large number of the electorate who prefer to be lied to and don't really want to hear the hard truth of many matters”

That’s why people vote for what makes them most comfortable, not for those who would be most effectual. Covert operations groups like the CIA, etc, hide their tactics because the populace would rebel at their implementation. Nixon was no different from other successful leaders, he just lacked finesse. He kept getting caught.

I can’t see “the day these abominable political ads stop” ever happening, only proliferating further. This is part of the genome. Go back to any great civilization, and imagine if they had the choices and access to mass media information distribution that we have today. Then they congregated in squares, en-mass. Given today’s dissemination capabilities, they’d be right in there. . . . It’s in the genome, as is our political prowess!!!
Alan K

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Fables and Fantasies

I'd have to be trusting to be apolitical. Unfortunately I don't see many politicians around to whom I'd entrust my life and liberty. Don't forget that the last time we were attacked on or own soil prior to 9/11 was by the Japanese at Pear Harbor some fifty years earlier. We were asleep at the switch then just as we were three years ago. Say what you will about President Bush, he's taken the war to the enemy and is prevailing in spite of what the left-leaning media would have us believe. Each of us who lived in Turkey has a personal take on cultural differences and obviously there aren't many national politicians out there with that type of insight, and that's unfortunate.

I still think a McCain/Lieberman ticket would have been better than the Hobson's Choice we're faced with. The Libertarians have the right idea but never seem to garner support of more than a million or so voters, even though they're on something like 48 state ballots this year, many more than is Ralph The Corvair Crusader Nader. Unfortunately, a vote for anyone other than one of the two major party candidates is a vote wasted as no third party candidate can prevail with the political system stacked against them in the manner in which our democracy has evolved.

Given the reality of today's two-party political environment, the real problem is finding a viable candidate who can tell the truth with conviction and follow through with the necessary actions, difficult as such may be. But then again, there's a large number of the electorate who prefer to be lied to and don't really want to hear the hard truth of many matters. All I know at this point is that I'll cherish the day these abominable political ads stop. For those of you not in a "battleground state" like Florida, you can't know the true meaning of overwhelming. To paraphrase the poet: Enough Is Too Much.
Bob Wirt

From: Alan K Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004
I'm generally very a-political - not really paying much attention. But as everyone has been saying, this year we all seem to have an opinion. I've taken the liberty to be "emotional" rather than pragmatic about the choices. I don't think Kerry or Bush have it right. I'd almost like to see the two of them in the presidency with some 3rd party (house speaker?) as mediator. I'm definitely not a dove, but don't think Bush has any understanding of the nuances of cultural differences. Kerry would turn the other cheek too many times and allow a loss of presence dropping below "critical mass" for control, or the ability to at least fight our way out of the barn. I've watched him (Kerry) learn how to communicate over the past 2 months -- don't know if we can afford to have someone with a long learning curve to lead the country at this time. I still remain in the uncommitted camp.
Alan K

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Fables and Fantasies

John Kerry has been vociferously claiming that Bush "outsourced" the hunt for Osama Bin Laden to a bunch of Afghan Warlords in the Tora Bora campaign, but the truth is just a little different from Kerry's claim. US Special Forces A-Teams typically move into a situation, live with and train the local indigenous troops, then field those troops in the hunt for their guerrilla quarry, in this case OBL. One twelve man A-Team generally leads and advises an indigenous force of 500-1,000 troops in the field with alacrity and dispatch. It often takes years of hard work in-country to build relationships and accomplish our goals. We did it in Viet Nam with the Montagnards against Ho Chi Minh; in Bolivia with their 2nd Ranger Battalion stopping Che Guevara dead in his tracks; in Nicaragua with Somosa's Guardia against the Cuban backed Sandinistas; but you get the idea.

We entered Iraq and Afghanistan at a disadvantage: for eight years Bill Clinton had failed to send covert SF A-Team operations into either country, even though he well knew the dangers we faced from those locations. The tactics and techniques taught at the John F Kennedy Center For Special Warfare at Fort Bragg are directly tied to our ability to work with and train the troops of our allies and to help them help themselves, instead of sending armies of American troops into uncertain situations as cannon fodder. It also takes a great deal of time in working with the local civilian populations in areas of health, sanitation, farming and education in order to win their loyalty and convince them we're there to help. Hearts and Minds. It works, but requires time and patience. Something LBJ never had, and those looking for a quick fix can never appreciate. Our SF teams fielded the Warlord troops and conducted their hunt for OBL quickly and at great disadvantage, but will eventually prevail in their mission.

Had the Democrats done their job during the `90s in promoting these simple but effective methods, we would not be mired in conflicts where we suffer the disadvantage of having no local intelligence and are lacking in relationships to help us accomplish our mission. After all is said and done, our servicemen and women have done an outstanding job in their conduct of both conflicts and will eventually be successful in spite of the decade of Clintonian inattention they are attempting to overcome. Hard to tell what was on Bill's mind during all those years he was supposed to be watching the store (Monica, Paula, et al). I hardly feel Kerry would be any better as he has certainly proven over the past twenty years of adverse Senate votes that he is no friend of America's military. He is more closely sympathetic with the French, Germans and Russians in their stance against America, one they took only because our Iraq invasion disrupted their multi-billion dollar annual business of defrauding the UN Oil For Food Program in concert with their favored business partner, Saddam Hussein. With friends like these of Kerry's we certainly don't need (more) enemies. Oh well, at least Osama Bin Laden is publicly siding with the Democrats against Bush in the election next week. That'll help.
Bob Wirt

From: Alan K Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004 Subject: Re: RE: Bubba's Opinion

Hey guys, why do Americans take heat for "minor" sexual humiliation, when our enemies, main, degrade, torture, kill, behead, castrate (without anesthesia). They parade the dead bodies of our servicemen (service boys) and everyone cheers. Give me a break !! Sure, we're the leaders and others should look up to us, and we should set some sort of example. It is more for those who are not involved in the conflict than not: our enemies could give a flying ..........

From: CWhite Date: Sat Oct 30, 2004

You have made your support for Kerry clear. I'm curious though, are you saying that untruths (lies), false claims and just outrageous statements are OK if the result gets one responsible elected? That we then can trust this individual after the fact? Are we to believe the promises even though the numbers prove that we will pay and pay and pay if these programs are enacted?

Your man said that the tax reductions benefited only the rich. I'm amazed that I am now counted among the weathy, priviledged few as I have benefited from them. Can you explain to me how it is unfair that the people who paid the most in taxes received the largest tax refund and that people who paid NOTHING are entitled to receive cash refunds? I always thought that refunds are proportionate to the amount paid. Excuse my ignorance.

Your man is saying that President Bush was at fault for not getting Bin ladin at Tora Bora when we are not even sure he was there at the time all the while ignoring the fact that the honorable Bill Clinton was offered him on a silver platter and refused to get him, but that's OK?

Is it wrong that we have should have a president who will protect us when attacked? Remember the embassy bombings, the Cole as well as 9/11? How many of the "friends" Kerry proclaims to have came to our rescue then? How long do we wait for the U.N. to thrash about without doing anything? How many U.N. resolutions have to be ignored before we do something? Over how long? 12 years isn't enough?

At risk of going on too long, may I ask one last question? Do you really support Kerry or are you just against Bush? I'm really interested in understanding one's motivation.

I am also one who believes that one who doesn't make mistakes does nothing and that often the first casualty of war is planning.

----- Original Message -----
From: Carol Jeanne Sent: September 30, 2004 Subject: RE: Fables and Fantasies

The strength of everyone's views on politics this year is amazing---including my own. None of you knows me as an adult---if you remember me at all, it's as a girl of 13, 14, or 15. Now I'm a greyhaired grandmother and an anthropolist with a whole life behind me. I have never urged anyone to vote for anyone or believe anything before, I don't think, and I'm hardly an alarmist by nature. But this year, I can't help but feel that the world is at a turning point, that if we continue on the course set by Bush and his Administration, we will be turning our backs on decades of progress in terms of international understanding and possibilities for world peace. I see us in what is potentially a downward spiral of violence and international distrust that could very conceivably lead to global annihilation---IF we continue on this path. Where America leads, the world tends to follow (and right now we're leading everyone toward violence).

I see the fiscal irresponsibility of this administration; dangerous inroads on our personal freedoms as citizens (not to mention the administration's disregard of international treaties and the human rights of visitors in our country); worrying ignorance about environmental issues and dangers; secrecy and an unwillingness to learn from failures and problems; disregard of solid scientific evidence.

I'm not arguing that Kerry is perfect, but I do believe that he will put us on a more cooperative path that has much greater chances of dealing constructively with terrorism and other problems/dangers than Bush has done. I voted for Kerry (from Indonesia); and hope with all my heart that he wins this election. I think we and the rest of the world are in real danger if he doesn't. I don't know how many of you are likely to vote Democratic, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's a lot.

With fond memories, Carol Jeanne

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Oct 29, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Slander and Lying

Slander and Lying. When you're a political operative these things are politely referred to as dissembling; prevaricating; obfuscating; but not lying. If you called it what it is, people would know what you mean. Of course it only rises to the level of perjury, which IS illegal, when you're under oath - which none of them are.
Bob Wirt

From: Rich Date: Fri Oct 29, 2004

Isn’t there a law about slander and lying?

-----Original Message-----
From: CWhite Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2004

Pretty quiet....Everybody studying for the election? Early voting did it for us. No waiting. No crowds.
The aminuls how still here........

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Oct 28, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Fables and Fantasies

RE Silenced by the President (attached below):
Truly heart rending. I was not surprised to see this was sent to you by a UC Santa Cruz staff member. While I wear my Banana Slugs T-Shirt proudly, I must say I've never been what one would call a bleeding-heart liberal along the lines of what seems de rigueur in academia today.

Trish Bowcock published her "Silenced by the President" thesis as a Guest OpEd in The Lone Star Iconoclast of Crawford Texas, President Bush's "Hometown Paper". Although The Iconoclast seemed to be making a potent statement when it recently endorsed John Kerry over George Bush, most people don't know that the weekly paper is not even published in Crawford but rather in Clifton Texas by the staff of The Clifton Record; that the editor, W Leon Smith, isn't even a resident of Crawford; and that the Iconoclast didn't begin publication until after Bush was elected president in November 2000. I'd tend not to put a great deal of faith in anything the Iconoclast publishes or promotes as strongly as it has this one-sided fable. If they truly were iconoclasts, they'd expose their own hypocrisy.

Trish doesn't mention in her story that she is currently the campaign manager for a county commission candidate (Democrat Sue Densmore) who is running against the former Jackson County Sheriff (Republican C W Smith). I'm sure there's just a little animosity toward the police built into her fantasy. Trish also writes multiple letters to the editor of her local paper, The Medford Mail Tribune, castigating Smith and praising Dinsmore's virtues, without ever mentioning the fact that she is Dinsmore's campaign manager. Hard to tell whether it's her or the paper trying to fool the readers. She hardly seems to me to be a disinterested observer. While her description seems heartfelt, I doubt her motivations are all that pure. Also, Trish left out the part about the "Jack-Booted Thugs". Yet another missed opportunity ...
Bob Wirt

Aside for Cheryl: Don't you find it aggravating that Bush is a much stronger supporter of Israel than is Kerry? Kind of sets the old preconceived notions a-whirling. Were I Kerry, I'd play up my Jewish heritage and downplay the Catholic upbringing since he doesn't seem to subscribe to Catholic theology anyway. And no, I didn't graduate from UCSC, I just surfed Santa Cruz (Steamer Lane) some forty years back and miss the place. My family also has roots in Ben Lomond. That, and I'm a fan of Pulp Fiction - thus the T-Shirt connection.

---------------------- Prior Correspondence -------------------

From: Cheryl Date: Thu Oct 28, 2004 To: carol Subject: Bush visits a small town in Oregon

Hi all:
This is not my story but one sent to me by a coworker. One of the many reasons why I cannot support 4 more years of the current presidency.
Cheryl V Program Assistant Jewish Studies Program

Silenced by the President
By Trish Bowcock
Oct. 16, 2004

A few weeks before my father died, he woke me in the wee hours of the morning. He needed to talk. He was worried about Attorney General John Ashcroft and the destruction of American civil liberties. I comforted my father, believing he was delusional from medications. I was wrong. I write this from my home in Jacksonville, Oregon (population 2,226).

President George W. Bush came here this week. The purpose of his visit was political. Southern Oregon has been deemed a "battle ground" area in the presidential race. John Kerry has made incredible inroads in this traditionally Republican stronghold. President Bush's campaign stop was an attempt to staunch the slide. Jacksonville is an old gold mining town. Our main street is only five blocks long, lined with restored storefronts. The sidewalks are narrow. We are a peaceful community. The prospect of an overnight presidential visit was exciting, even to me, a lifelong Democrat. My excitement turned to horror as I watched events unfold during President Bush's visit. In the mid 1800s, when Indians invaded Jacksonville, citizens clambered upon the roof of the old library. It was the one building that would not catch fire when flaming arrows were shot.

This week it was a different scene. Police armed with high-powered rifles perched upon our rooftops as the presidential motorcade approached. Helicopters flew low, overhead. A cadre of motorcycle police zoomed into town. Black SUVs followed, sandwiching several black limousines carrying the president, his wife and their entourage as they sped to the local inn where they would eat and sleep. The main street was lined with people gathered to witness the event.

Many supported the president. Many did not. Some came because they were simply curious. There were men, women, young and old. The mood was somewhat festive. Supporters of John Kerry sported signs, as did supporters of George Bush. Individuals, exercising their rights of free speech began chanting. On one side of the street, shouts of "four more years" echoed in the night air. On the other side of the street, chants of "three more weeks" responded. The chants were loud and apparently could be heard by President Bush.

An order was issued that the anti-Bush rhetoric be quieted. The local SWAT team leapt to action. It happened fast. Clad in full riot gear, at least 50 officers moved in. Shouting indecipherable commands from a bullhorn, they formed a chain and bore down upon the people, only working to clear the side of the street appearing to be occupied by Kerry supporters. People tried to get out of their way. It was very crowded. There was nowhere to move. People were being crushed. They started flowing into the streets. Pleas to the officers, asking, "where to go" fell upon deaf ears. Instead, riot police fired pellets of cayenne pepper spray into the crowd.

An old man fell and couldn't get up. When a young man stopped to help, he was shot in the back with hard pepper spray balls. Children were hit with pepper spray. Those deemed "Protesters" were shoved and herded down the street by the menacing line of armed riot police, until out of the President's ear-shot. There the "Protesters" were held at bay. Anyone vocalizing anti-Bush or pro-Kerry sentiments were prohibited from venturing forward. Loud anti-Bush chants were responded to by the commanding officer stating: "FORWARD," to which the entire line of armed police would move, lock-step, toward the "Protesters," forcing backward movement. Police officers circulated filming the crowd of "Protesters."

Some were people like me, quiet middle-aged women. Some sported anti-Bush signs, peace signs, or Kerry signs. A small group of youth, clad in black with kerchiefs wrapping their heads chanted slogans. A young woman in her underwear, sporting a peace sign sang a lyrical Kumbaya. Mixed among the "Protesters" were supporters of the President. One 19-year-old man shouted obscenities at anyone expressing dissatisfaction with the president, encouraging the police to "tazar" the "Stinking Protesters."

Neither the "Protestors," nor the police harassed this vocal young man. Across the street, individuals shouting support for the president were allowed to continue. Officers monitored this group but allowed them to shout words of support or hurl derisions toward Kerry supporters, undisturbed. Honking cars filled with Bush supporters were left alone. A honking car full of Kerry supporters was stopped by police on its way out of town.

The standoff with "Protesters" continued until the President finished his dinner and was secured in his hotel cottage for the night. Only then were the riot police ordered to "mount-up," leaping upon the sideboard of a huge SUV, pulling out of town, and allowing "free speech" to resume.

In small town America, I witnessed true repression and intimidation by law enforcement. I saw small children suffering from the effects of being fired upon by pepper bullets. I felt legitimate fear of expressing my political opinions: a brand new feeling. Newspaper accounts state the chaos started when a violent "Protester" shoved a police officer. No one I talked to witnessed this account.

It is reputed that President Bush and his staff will not allow any opposition activity to occur within his ear or eye sight. I can confirm, that in tiny Jacksonville, Oregon, this was true. Physically violent means were taken to protect the president from verbal insults. Freedom of speech was stolen.

My father was not paranoid as he lay dying. He was expressing great insight into the dangers of our current presidential administration and its willingness to repress personal freedoms. If I could talk to my father today, I would say, "I am sorry Daddy for doubting you." And, no matter what, I will continue to exercise my individual right to freely express my opinions. Americans cannot take four more years!!!!!!!!

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Oct 24, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Birthday Girl

Nothing wrong with being on the Senior dole, particularly in Florida. I used to resent it, but now enjoy receiving the 5% discounts at Wild Oats earned from my gray beard and balding head, $2.99 buffet breakfasts at Shoney's plus the lowered ticket prices at the movies. Looking old has its benefits down here, except of course for when the young ladies address me as "sir", that stings a bit. Bettye, though, finds that part amusing. Although, when they give her an unsolicited senior discount they're apparently just being catty. Go figure. Happy birthday.
Bob Wirt

From: Sally Date: Sun Oct 24, 2004

Thanks for all the Birthday wishes. I am officially 5 days older than Victoria today.  On the dole!!  No, no, now I am a woman of means (as my Mom used to say).  Not big means, but better than no means....I did register for Social Security on the computer and it was very easy.  Although you should have every number in your life's history on your desk as you enter the site.  However, I am not old enough to drive down A1A in the left lane with my right blinker on.  I think you need to be in the "almost 70's" range to do that.  Am headed off to watch the Lord of the Dance tonight. My granddaughter in Kenya (age 4) asked if Grandpa got me a Barbie cake for my birthday.  Awww.....she must think I am forever young.  Sally 
Now, Carole, why would she want to be 39 today?  This is the day (well, tomorrow really) that she can go on the senior dole! -- albeit at a reduced rate.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SARAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Oct 19, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Ramadan

Ah, yes! Ramadan! I remember in October 1961, having adjusted (or so I believed) to life in Ankara when I happened upon my first goat being slaughtered on the corner opposite the bowling alley. Then Santa, laying a finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, with the goat did dispose ... Happy Holidays!
Bob Wirt

From: fvh Date: Tue Oct 19, 2004

Happy ramadan.  Sorry, forgot how to spell it and spellcheck isn't very sophisticated.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Ancient Turkey

The archaeological digs were great. Troy - King Midas' Tomb at Gordion - Whirling Dervishes - Castles and Walled Cities. What a great place to run around and explore. Ancient Roman baths and aqueducts. Byzantine and Ottoman artifacts lying around like so much detritus. Mom and Dad made sure we kids got to see as much as possible in the 2+ years we were there, since it was so much more interesting than the dry history texts we could expect in school. It's one reason I so enjoyed John Tumpane's "Scotch and Holy Water": he was absolutely enthralled with the history of the place - the Holy Water story was great with the mission culminating in the beverage of the title.
Bob Wirt

From: fvh Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004

Thanks for the site, Bob.  I adore learning about Turkey's history. Just about everything happened there and I feel so lucky that I had parents who took us to every site, dig, nook and cranny that was visit-able at that time.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Ancient Turkey

Yes, and I do believe the Turkish cigarettes were made from the camel dung. Remember when we used to call cigarettes fags? Lord, I feel old.
Bob Wirt

From: CWhite Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004

Weren't Camels made of genuine Turkish tobacco?

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Ancient Turkey

Here's what I found on Nicomedia (now Izmit). Don't know about nicotine. I do remember the poppy fields where the women and old men were harvesting the opium. As I remember it was a pretty big crop each year, 100% for export of course.
Bob Wirt

Nicomedia - Related: Ancient History Middle Eastern
(nI&Mac249;kÿmï´dïe) , ancient city, NW Asia Minor, near the Bosphorus, in present-day Turkey. Refounded (264 BC) by Nicomedes I of Bithynia to replace Astacus as his capital, it flourished for centuries. The Goths sacked the city in AD 258. Diocletian chose it for the eastern imperial capital, but it was soon superseded by Byzantium (Constantinople). The modern city on its site is Izmit.

Kocaeli (Izmit), Turkey Kocaeli is mostly known by its district center, Izmit. The ancient name of the city is Nikomedia. Remains from Roman and Byzantine times may be seen here, among which are the citadel, the Temple of Augustus and the agora.

From: fvh Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004

Thanks for the site, Bob.  I adore learning about Turkey's history. Just about everything happened there and I feel so lucky that I had parents who took us to every site, dig, nook and cranny that was visit-able at that time.

Can you, or anybody, tell me where Nicotina or Nicotiana or Nicotinia -- you get the picture -- is located?  Logic tells me it must have been where they grow tobacco, but my brain doesn't remember seeing tobacco grown in Turkey, which is an oddity in itself.  I remember pigs in the zoo.  Why don't I remember the thing Turkey is famous for?  Thinking of it, I thought the indians introduced tobacco to Europe via Columbus. Now I'm even more confused.

Happy birthday to Chris, too.  He gave me a day off.


From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Oct 10, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Buying a Condo?

The ranch sounds great. Reminds me of our house in Praia da Vitória in the Azores when my dad was first transferred to Lajes Airfield on Terciera back in 1955. There were six of us in a two-room stone hut with a kitchen dominated by what my mom called an iron monster - the wood burning stove. Our next door neighbor was a donkey and several goats and chickens in a stable, and the rats scavenged in the corn crib out back. Won't tell you what the little Portugese kids in the neighborhood did with the rats they caught. Think high-protein stew. Saturday nights were interesting when everyone jockeyed for position, wanting to be first into (and out of) the 55 gallon oil drum which served as our bathtub. Two set of bunk beds, liberated from the airmens' barracks, were a true luxury for the four of us kids in our semi-private room with blankets for walls.

Where you live makes me think about our (former) family farm in Ben Lomond, high in the hills above Santa Cruz. My great-grandfather traded it away during the depression in a swap for an apartment in a missionary retirement residence complex in Claremont CA. A transaction my dad ruefully used to refer to as the real-estate deal of the century.
Bob Wirt

From: Anita Date: Sun Oct 10, 2004

I've thought of working as a greeter in the local WalMart.  Laugh if you like, but I'm serious.  They people who work there like their jobs, and because of their attitude, I like to shop there.  Does Home Depot employ greeters?  A new one just opened ten miles up the highway.  I'd rather work there for the employee discount on the inventory.  But all that is in the future when travel becomes infrequent.

My situation here on the ranch is sort of like living in a condo, but even more like living in a village.  I pay a whopping $500/mo rent for what my mother once called a shack.

My little house was built in 1910 of boards, batten strips and topped with a metal roof.  No concrete slab.  No insulation.  Ubiquitous dust.  The cats keep the mice and gophers down, but they do bring their quarry inside to show me and hear "Good girl!" and a reward.  I depend on cows for whom a fence is merely a psychological barrier to keep my grass and weeds cropped; I've destroyed four lawnmowers on the uneven terrain and refuse to go through that again.  No central heat beyond a wood burning stove with a glass door.  The hotter the fire, the cleaner the glass.  It works so well, I have to open doors and windows when the outside temperature is freezing.  What is not so enjoyable is coming home after dark when I've been away all day and the house is very, very cold.  If it is late to build a fire, I slip into my old double bed, pull the down comforter up to my chin and dream sweet dreams.

Rich, you and Hanna really should come and visit.  There's a historic stone house on Los Yridises/Rancho San Julian that is being renovated in preparation for becoming a rental property.  Long ago, the house was moved from Santa Barbara to the ranch.  We won't sell it to you, but you could take out a very long lease.  It'll be a while before it is ready, and the rent will be steep to provide a healthy ROI, but come and have a look anyway.  Even if the way of life is too rural for your tastes, I'd love to see you here for a long weekend.  Lompoc has an Embassy Suites if you find the Casa too rustic for comfort.  Santa Barbara County is a thriving retirement community...

But I still like the idea of the Agean Coast or somewhere along the south/southwest coast of Turkey.  Once upon a time, I was fluent in Turkish.  Wouldn't take long for it to come back.

love, Anita

Bob Wirt wrote:
Rich: Most of them are now bagging groceries at Publix Supermarkets. Doesn't say much for the dependability of Social Security as a retirement plan - it's not even much of a safety net at this point. We used to say that when people up north got old and retired they moved to Fort Lauderdale; and their parents moved to St Pete.
Bob Wirt

-----Original Message-----
From: Rich Date: Sun Oct 10, 2004 :
Sally, when I lived in St. Petersburg I couldn’t find a decent job because all these fifty year olds retired early to Condos and after a couple of months their Wives threw them out and told them to find a job no matter what the job paid.

From: Sally Sent: Saturday, October 09, 2004 6:24 PM

Bob and I looked at a condo, direct ocean less than 5 years old at 2300 square feet with 2 car garage priced at $375,000.  In fact we stayed with a friend that owns a unit there during the last hurricane - the place was like Fort Knox.  We should have bought!    (Rich writes: The only Condo we liked was $560,000 for 560 sq ft.Were the walls made of silver?)  NEVER, never put a woman who has lived in 4000 sq foot home into a 560 sq foot condo.  Trust me on this one. Sal

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Oct 10, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Miami

Miami is truly an interesting place. Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Peruvians ... every Central and South American country seems to have its own little neighborhood and cultural interests. I like the fact that I get to sharpen my Spanish when we're down there for business or pleasure. At least I can ask for cafe cubano con leche and sound almost like a Cuban when I want. We almost relocated the company from Atlanta to Miami, but settled instead on Fort Lauderdale back in 1982. Miami was a little dangerous at that time. Now it's too expensive. Oh, well.

Speaking of relocating overseas: My youngest daughter moved with her husband, who is originally from Lima Peru, and their two children from Maryland, where he was a professor of combustion engineering, to Edinburgh Scotland. They had gone earlier (1999?) on a one year's sabbatical and loved it so much he took a professorship at the University of Edinburgh, transferred his NASA grants back to UC Berkeley and gave up UM altogether. They settled in by renovating an old house in the historic district and adopting the European lifestyle. Now when I speak with my grandkids I'm trying to translate their Scottish brogues, flavored by French and Spanish, back into American English. They spend summers in Poitiers France where he has had a professorship at the university there since taking his doctorate at Berkeley, and she teaches English while studying French while they're there. Shelley has her masters in Museum Science so she's found plenty of interesting things to do around the ancient castles and such in Scotland. Guess the old world traveller gene lives on in my daughters. Her sisters both travel a lot, but still live in California.

Here's a really cool link to an archaeological map of Turkey with mouse-overs of most of the interesting sites:
Bob Wirt

From: Anita Date: Sun Oct 10, 2004 Subject: Re: south/southwest coast of Turkey?

A year and a half ago, I visited a college roomate who now lives in Key Biscayne.  Alice and her husband took me into the Spanish speaking community of Miami a couple of times, and I must say, I loved the city.  Note: Alice is from San Salvador, and Gonzalo is from Lima.  We ate at a fabulous Argentinian restaurant and found a Salvadoranean treat in another district.

If the southern coast of Turkey looks like Miami these days, I will like it there!

Bob, I understand the southern coast looks like Miami.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Oct 10, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Florida Living

Foreigners indeed. A new condo building (Le Club) went up across the Intracoastal waterway just to the north of us on the site of the old Le Club bar and restaurant. They sold out 100% within a few months, with prices ranging from $650,000 to $3,000,000, but no one seems to live in the building as we see very few lights at night. Apparently the units were bought sight-unseen by South Americans looking to invest their dollars in a safe place since their governments have this nasty habit of from time to time nationalizing the local banks and seizing whatever dollar accounts are there. It seems to be a similar story throughout South Florida. This rampant speculation makes it a little difficult on those of us who live and work here.
Bob Wirt

From: Rich Date: Sun Oct 10, 2004

My hidden issue is that too many people are screaming that the decrease in unemployment isn’t real because people aren’t making as much money. Could it be that all this high rent property is going to foreigners?

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 9, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: south/southwest coast of Turkey?

... south/southwest coast of Turkey? ...
Always wanted to go back to Korykos and Kizkalesi, the twin castles on Turkey's south coast. What an incredibly beautiful place. Probably not just the right place to retire, however. I remember my dad taking us camping on the beach below the Korykos castle. When the tide came in about midnight we all got pretty well soaked and spent the rest of the night up on the access road sleeping in the Rambler. There were, however, plenty of aqueducts and burial caves along the cliffs to keep the curious occupied for quite some time. Retirement condos though? Can't Say.
Bob Wirt

check it out

From: Anita Date: Sat Oct 9, 2004

Port Aransas is fun to visit, but the water at the beach isn't very appealing.  Very nice long stretch of sand, though.  Great walking beach. Rich, have you & Hanna considered the south/southwest coast of Turkey?  Or somewhere along the Agean coast?

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 9, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Florida Living

The trick is to buy somewhere before the developers arrive, hold the real estate then trade up after enough years have gone by. Appreciation is the name of the game and the prices always (eventually) increase. We bought our beach house in Fort Lauderdale in 1985 for $275,000 and sold it thirteen years later for $1,350,000, garnering a $450,000 after-renovation profit (tax-free thanks to President Bubba). We paid $185,00 for our condo in 1998, comparables to which are now selling at $599-$699,000 in our building. All things being relative you may recall that a $100,000 home in 1970 was probably an actual mansion. Not that long ago, and I don't believe income has kept pace with home prices since then. We thought we'd eventually retire partially on our equity. Not so.

Problem is that when you sell, you have to buy something else. We can't afford to go back to the beach where our old house is worth over $3,000,000 in today's market, and can't afford to move into one of the new $750-950,000 2Br/2Ba condos going up in the neighborhood (which are, by the way, driving up the value of our 30 year old unit). If we sell, we'll have to move inland, far away from the water, so we're really stuck where we are. You think you're making money on this merry-go-round, but you're really just holding your own as you still need a place to live. I don't long for the $15/wk room from my Hunt's Cannery days, but do wish I still had my old $17,000 home in the SF Bay area which I couldn't touch now for under $500,000.

We shopped around Fort Myers Beach last spring looking for a funky old cottage to retire to and found a moldy, run-down piece of crap on the Gulf (about 1,200 sq/ft) for $2,500,000, as is. Sure woke us up. We went from 4,000ft in the house to 1,800ft in the condo, but the new, more expensive condos here are more like 1,200-1,300ft with lesser views. We always wonder about where people get the money to afford these places. We've always worked hard and been self-sustaining but find the current explosive home costs to be pushing real people out of the market. Frightening when you think of what's to come over the next decade or so. Costa Rica was always tempting, but we can't face living outside the good `ol USA. I guess eventually the condo fees and property taxes will force us out, but for now we're gonna hang in there.

We can't leave Florida because our health insurance policy limits us to the state due to Bettye's lung cancer, so our options are limited. Neither of us can go home (North Carolina or California) until this plays out over the next five or six years. If we get lucky and she goes into remission for the five years Blue Cross considers that she would be cancer-free, we'll buy new coverage and head for the hills (Blue Ridge) but meantime we're going nowhere fast. Trapped in paradise, I guess. Meanwhile the prices in the North Carolina mountains get higher and higher ...

By the way, Rich, pasta's a good alternative for us old timers on the old soft-food, no-steak diets required of our age group. If not now, sooner or later... Sally's right about the weather making things worthwhile - Bettye and I spent the first several hours of this morning sitting on the beach eating muffins and drinking coffee, with incredible balmy breezes blowing in from the Atlantic. Cost aside, you can't beat the Florida environment.
Bob Wirt

From: Sally Date: Sat Oct 9, 2004

Dear Rich, Thanks for the photos.  I love the nice yellow shirt you brought to our sunny state.  It was fun having you here.  Wish we would have had more time to show you around. Actually, we call him Kerry down here in Florida in the English speaking areas.  And in your reference to Bubba with the Lobster.  He is probably a roofer, a tarper (we have had three tarp installations and for 2 hours work, we paid the last one $546), or a fence manufacturer, a roof tile manufacturer, and Bubba can afford to eat Lobster with his hat on.  The local plumber lives in a 3 story house on the beach worth millions. In depends on the job you choose.  We do have rocket scientists and industries that pay very well.  The doctors (despite the grumbling about malpractice insurance) own most of our island homes.  A few days in Florida doesn't give you the whole picture.  Victoria and I live here! We are not millionaires. We probably could not afford to buy your home in Texas and pay the upkeep. Today it is in the low 80's and the breeze is just right. We are painting and planting things.  Florida will look better than ever.  If you sell your home in Texas, you will just have to put that equity into buying a nice condo.  If you buy before they build - you will get a huge discount.  You will need to size down to 2000 square feet. Where were you with Victoria?  It looks absolutely beautiful over there.  It was great seeing you and meeting your wonderful wife, Hanna. 

Rich B writes: Had a great time in Florida. Kurry is right, there may be more jobs, but less pay and I found out I'm one of the ones that must be next to poverty. Can't believe the number of Condos that are being built and they all start at over $500 thousand.  Most over a million.  I cannot understand where so many people get so much money?   Even Bubba and his wife with four kids (all wearing their baseball caps through dinner) were eating lobster and king crab while I was eating a pasta meal.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Oct 5, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: The 60s Generation – Wake Up!

Hi Carol/Jeanne;
Thanks for sending the text on your 60s Generation piece (attached below for reference). Nice work. I can see where your feelings are heartfelt and can certainly admire your conviction. The only things I don't like are lies told by those seeking to gain through deception that which they could not obtain honestly. You don't seem dishonest to me.

I was an admirer of JFK, even though I am a lifelong registered Republican. I come by my GOP roots honestly as my great-grandfather, Loyal Lincoln Wirt, was born in 1862, at a time when the first Republican president was taking the worst political shellacking of his tenure due to his stance in favor of emancipation of the slaves and his poor progress in the War Between The States. My great-great-grandfather David felt the only way for him to show the family's solidarity behind Mr Lincoln was to hang the aforementioned "Loyal Lincoln" moniker on his first-born. But then, there are those who feel the whole emancipation stance by Lincoln was a political ploy. I'm still a Republican; but at times am disappointed by the behavior of some in the party. JFK was flawed, certainly, but had his idealism as well. Each of us is balanced with a bit of both or we wouldn't be human.

I took note of Special Forces at JFK's funeral in 1963 when a lone SF Sergeant among the other uniformed services accompanied his caisson to Arlington. I enlisted to fight JFK's war right after the Tonkin Gulf resolution, even though I detested LBJ. It was only later that I was disillusioned by facts leaking out about how Joe Kennedy had bought votes in the 1960 election in West Virginia with a little assist from his former bootlegging cronies in the Mafia; in Chicago with ballot stuffing help from Richard J Daley whose cemetery constituency was legendary; and from "Landslide Lyndon" Johnson in Texas. Hard to pick a hero from among those politicians. Today's lot is not much better. Nixon is the one who refused to challenge in 1960, for the good of the country according to his statement at the time, what was certainly at that point the closest presidential election of the century. He only disappointed me later in the matter of the lies he told about Watergate. Not the break-in (pure politics); just the lies.

I enlisted in the Army (October `64) to fight in the war due to idealism I learned from two decades of living the life of an Air Force dependent and listening to my dad talk about duty, honor and country. I didn't realize then, as I do now, that the Tonkin Gulf situation was probably ramped up from a non-event into a resolution of war supported by 99% of the US Congress so LBJ could (in 1964/5) hand Houston's own Brown & Root (Halliburton) $2 Billion in no-bid contracts to outfit South Viet Nam for the coming conflict. Also, thanks for remembering that Viet Nam is two words, hardly anyone does anymore. By the way, you may recall that the warning about the threat of the military industrial complex you cite came in 1961 from none other than Dwight David Eisenhower - a Five-Star who knew whereof he spoke.

I got out of the Army in August 1968 (after much training, many covert missions and no combat) and came home to college where I was vilified as a murderer, rapist and war criminal for nothing less than having served my country honorably. 1968 was indeed a seminal time. We won the battles on the ground in Viet Nam during and after Tet (`67-`68) but lost the war in the newspapers and on television once CBS's Walter Cronkite decided to get on his high-horse and reverse his own take on the war. Probably because it was better for his ratings to be anti-war at that point. No heroes there, either, so far as I can see. The VVAW were darlings of the student body (pre-Kerry), but I stolidly resisted attempts of VVAW types on campus to lure me into their wrongheadedness. Still don't like them.

It's hard to remain idealistic when the corruption, lies and graft in public life are so widespread and institutionalized. The few honest people who serve to change things for the better never seem to get past legislative office, with no real power to effect the changes we'd all like to see, but likely never will: Joe Lieberman; Pete McCloskey; Jack Kemp; Bob Dole; and John McCain spring to mind. It's not defeatist, just reality. No party in our country's history has had a monopoly on this stuff, from beginning to end. It seems to be the nature of the beast that even idealistic, public minded people become corrupted by the system. How is it that Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the "conscience of the Senate", can, self-righteously and with a straight face, castigate George W Bush for his Mission Accomplished speech from the USS Abraham Lincoln when the Senator was a longtime active member of the KKK, and proud of it. Alice just thought she was in Wonderland.

What we as US citizens can do is continue to point out the follies and foibles of our elected representatives, and keep trying for something better. Meanwhile, the choices are limited and the course we are on seems to be correct: Bring our enemy around to our way of thinking before he murders us in our sleep as the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor; or the Jiihadists did at the WTC, or the USS Cole, or the multiple US Embassy bombings, ad infinitum. However we got into the situation we're in, it's up to us to follow through and stop the murderers where they breed.
Better there than here - Better now than later.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Oct 7, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: The 60s Generation - Wake Up!

I hope you don't think I said you were dishonest, because I didn't. I was just responding to your statement "... though you won't like it, judging from what you've written ..." when you sent your article. What I did say was "The only things I don't like are lies told by those seeking to gain through deception that which they could not obtain honestly. You don't seem dishonest to me." More later, once I've had a chance to digest your Freedom and Democracy tome. Maybe tonight. I don't generally go negative on people unless they've done something particularly egregious. I haven't noticed that happening in any of the Ankara correspondence I've had the pleasure of experiencing to far this year.
Bob Wirt

From: Carol Jeanne Date: Wed Oct 6, 2004

Hi Bob and everybody,
I don't think I'm dishonest ( :-) ); and I agree with much of what you've said, Bob---except most notably the last paragraph.  Below is another short blurb I wrote when contemplating Bush policies.  What do you folks think of the debates?  Though I haven't seen them (not very accessible in rural Sumatra---but am planning to be back in touch with CNN on Friday night, so I'll get to see the last one), I've heard they were interesting and positive for those of us interested in ousting Bush.  I was dying to see the website you mentioned, Bob---but only my email seems to work here, no web surfing.  When I get home...
Cheers, Carol/Jeanne

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Oct 5, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: DETERIORATA

Here's a comforting piece of doggerel I've had hanging on my wall for thirty-some years now. Found a copy online and thought I'd send it along for anyone seeking divine guidance in these perilous times - lest we forget that no matter how much things change, they always seem to remain the same.
Bob Wirt

Go placidly amid the noise & waste, & remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof. Avoid quiet & passive persons unless you are in need of sleep. Rotate your tires. Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself and heed well their advice even though they be turkeys; know what to kiss and when. Consider that two wrongs never make a right but that three do. Wherever possible, put people on hold. Be comforted that in the face of all aridity & disillusionment and despite the changing fortunes of time, there will always be a big future in computer maintenance. Remember the Pueblo. Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, & mutilate. Know yourself; if you need help, call the FBI. Exercise caution in your daily affairs, especially with those persons closest to you. That lemon on your left, for instance. Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet. Fall not in love therefore; it will stick to your face. Gracefully surrender the things of youth, birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan; and let not the sands of time get in your lunch. Hire people with hooks. For a good time, call 606-4311; ask for Ken. Take heart amid the deepening gloom that your dog is finally getting enough cheese; and reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, it could only be worse in Milwaukee. You are a fluke of the universe; you have no right to be here, and whether you can hear it or not, the universe is laughing behind your back. Therefore make peace with your God whatever you conceive Him to be: Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin. With all its hopes, dreams, promises & urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate. Give up.
By Tony Hendra - 1972

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Oct 3, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Draft Rumors, Politics and CBS

I had been wondering why this talk of Bush and the Republicans intending to revive the draft suddenly popped up on CBS (Dan Rather) and other talking-heads type punditry shows. A recent letter in The Miami Herald may shed some light on the subject for those interested in the genesis of such rumors:

[ Posted on Sat, Oct. 02, 2004 Thoughts on draft: There has been a lot of talk about a Republican ''secret plan'' to reinstate the draft. Recently, John Kerry and his campaign people brought it up again to try to scare people into voting against President Bush. There is no ''secret plan.'' Check -- Congress's official website. Search for the bills HR 163 and S 89. U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., sponsored HR 163, and all 14 cosponsors are also Democrats. Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-N.C., sponsored S. 89, which has no cosponsors. While I may agree with the idea of every eligible individual performing two years of military or equivalent service, it's not likely to happen, and President Bush cannot be blamed. DOUGLAS ALDRICH, Homestead ]

I did check the link and Mr Aldrich seems to be correct with regard to this one. There was nothing wrong with the draft (we all registered when we were supposed to - I clearly remember doing to in Ankara in 1962 - and we all apparently served when asked) but there is something just a little scary about using the draft in this false manner as a billy-club to frighten voters into believing the worst of your political opponents.

You can check out the New York Post OnLine for the story on this one from Thursday, 09/30/04: "DAN DOES IT AGAIN Dan Rather (and CBS News) got snookered by political malcontents with an ax to grind. Again ..."

Aside to Jeanne (aka Carol):
Hi - I'd love to read what you've contributed, but as I'm on a Mac I have no interface to open your word.doc - If you'd do me the great favor of opening the .doc, pasting the text into an email and sending it to me, we may have something to debate. I had Word, but trashed it last year; something about carrying my platform preference just a step too far... Unless you can't send open text because your proxy server is in Indonesia and you don't want your mail read, in which case I totally understand.
Bob Wirt `63

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 2, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Scotch and Holy Water

Thanks Sal! I just received my copy of John Tumpane's "Scotch and Holy Water" through Barnes & Noble's used books search engine. Got the autographed copy in paperback for $41.95, but they had several others for less money without the signature. So far I've been reintroduced to Diyarbakir and the US Air Force Base where my dad spent his earliest days in Turkey (1961) prior to heading back to Ankara and installing us in the Merhaba Palas for our first three months in-country. Looking forward to the rest of John's adventures since he's writing about a ten year period (`58-`68) neatly spanning our own experience there in `61-`63. Interesting, too, since I spent one summer in Ankara working for the Tumpane Company as a timekeeper while in High School. One of those neat little "keep the kids out of trouble" projects that was actually quite interesting to me at the time as I learned a lot about mixing and pouring cement, cinder block alignment and plenty of other neat stuff. Wasn't much of a timekeeper though as I kept forgetting to write down who got to work when and what time they broke for lunch. Still not good at it either.
Bob Wirt

From: Rich Date: Thu Sep 16, 2004
Once John died the books ended up in someone's basement. As they got older or died it became hard to find the books.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bradley Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2004

Scotch and Holy Water should be required reading for the "younger" folks in our group because it truly represents what a lot of us went through in those early years.  I think I got my copy from St. Giles Printing a few years back.  Wonder if they would be willing to crank up the presses again for the reunion next summer?
brad te

Sally wrote:
Anyway, we were talking about Turkey memories and I asked him if he had read the book by John Tumpane, "Scotch and Holy Water?"  I decided to send him a copy.  I went into the original site - St. Giles Printing and couldn't find it. I hit Barnes and Nobel and they were selling it for $42.90. I went to Amazon dot com and it was $14+.  I sacrificed my original book signed by John and sent it on today.  I thought of all the grief we caused those poor teachers during those wonderful years and sealed the envelope. What a memory Mr. Magoo has - he recalls every kid in high school during his stay.  He laughs and tells me things I truly don't remember.  However, it sounds like things we would do as seen through the eyes of a teacher (you know the eyes they have in the back of their heads...).  Sal 

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 2, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Retirement

Speaking of retirement, a friend (retired Navy pilot) sent me this email today:

Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 2, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Absentee Ballots

Bettye and I had a situation here in Florida a couple of years back (2002) where our Supervisor of Elections in Broward County had sent her an unsolicited absentee ballot when she had only called in to check on the new location of our polling place. Bettye and I went to the polling place on election day to cast our ballots and they wouldn't let her vote because they had mailed her an absentee ballot. We had to go back to our office and sift through junk mail and assorted fliers until we found what actually looked like a political mailing piece - turned out it really was an absentee ballot - hand-carried it back to the polls and had it cancelled out so Bettye could vote. It's not just the overseas military that gets caught up in this foolishness, it's ordinary people being misled by the system.

Governor Bush removed our county Elections Supervisor, Miriam Oliphant, a few weeks after that election for fiscal incompetence. She later filed to run in the next election to reclaim her job while still under suspension awaiting her Senate trial. The $7,726.24 check for her filing fee bounced, but she was allowed to stay on the ballot anyway. Fortunately she came in dead last in the (2004) primaries. Her successor Brenda Snipes, another black, female Democrat who was appointed by Governor Bush as interim Elections Supervisor was elected by default since no Republican ran for the office. Ah, democracy.

Talk about attorneys lining up - when the 2000 election was held, several attorneys were on planes from DC the day of the election with their briefs in hand to challenge alleged fraud in Palm Beach balloting. The supposed fraud against the Democrats was a butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County which was allegedly rigged to funnel votes to Pat Buchanan and away from Al Gore. Only it turned out that the ballot was designed by the local Democratic Elections Supervisor, Theresa LePore, and approved by the state elections commission well in advance of the election. Talk about a setup. Made everyone in Florida look pretty bad and cast a cloud over an already tense situation. This stuff really makes the rest of us want to go to the effort of voting next time. I can't even write in McCain next month with these touch-screens we've got now. Lord, tell me again why I quit drinking?
Bob Wirt

From: Sally Date: Sat Oct 2, 2004 Subject: Re: [AnkaraClassics] Only the Shadow knows....

I know I started all this and it falls under the "no politics rule" but the pace has already begun down here.  The attorneys are lining up checking on the ballots at our base here (which probably won't arrive in a timely manner).  I have the names of the attorneys who are working on this.  I will never recommend them.  If I were overseas, I would want my vote to count. If I were in the military, I WOULD really want my vote to count. Naughty people here. A special group has visited all the prisons this week and registered the (hopefully) non-felons.  I wish they would use the same energy to visit the prisons and push for education -- wouldn't community service be a plus?  What great things those prisoners could do to help with our hurricane cleanup, tarp installations, etc.... I would gladly pay the price back to the prison instead of overpaying these workers who are coming through and doing a poor job.  But then, that's a whole new subject.
I thought Robert Blake was Alfalfa in Our Gang.  I don't remember him as Beaver. I do remember The Shadow on radio.
Rich and his wife, Hanna, were just here.  Why is it that Rich still looks so young? He raised three beautiful daughters.  He is calm and seems to have no worries.  I want the name of his doctor.....  He is off swimming in the ocean and then heading to see Victoria and hopefully, Corky. 
Bob W writes: The problem really has been that the military ballots arrive from overseas absent the postmark, as Chris says. They're not counted because the states' rules are written by someone who was never in the military overseas and doesn't understand reality; or written by someone does know and wants it to appear accidental that the (mostly Republican, oops, sorry) absentee military ballots are not counted. That's some "Thank You" to those serving their country, in peace or in war.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Oct 1, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Florida voting

The problem really has been that the military ballots arrive from overseas absent the postmark, as Chris says. They're not counted because the states' rules are written by someone who was never in the military overseas and doesn't understand reality; or written by someone does know and wants it to appear accidental that the (mostly Republican, oops, sorry) absentee military ballots are not counted. That's some "Thank You" to those serving their country, in peace or in war.
Bob Wirt

From: CWhite Date: Thu Sep 30, 2004

Actually (and I tread carefully here) remembering the News? reports, the only absentee votes tossed in great numbers were from the military. They decided to rule very technically against the military because each vote lacked the appropriate post mark. It was on the box containing them. You know how it is when you're overseas, not everything is done as per somebody's stateside rules.
----------- Original Message -----------
From: Sally Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Dear Carole, We thought about absentee voting since we usually travel when hurricanes are not heading our way.  I feel the same -- so many Absentee Votes were tossed that I want to be there in person. This is a subject I can't discuss because I would certainly be too hot headed so I will just go bang my head against the wall.

Carole writes:  However, she wants to get back in time to vote, because she says they don’t count the “Absentee ballots” in Florida. 

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Oct 1, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Florida voting

That's it, a bunch of sixtysomething teenagers ensconsed in a foreign land acting out the Sharks and Jets as if we were getto JD's instead of middle-class world travelers. Guess that only applies to those of us who were in Ankara in 1961, but still - you gotta love it.
Bob Wirt

From: Brad Date: Fri Oct 1, 2004

Judy did some recon on one of those expatriate communities down in Mexico. What about the U.S. Virgin Islands? Puerto Rico? Wouldn't that be a hoot. Can you imagine a bunch of old mil-brats who have known each other for 40 to 50 years in the same community?
----- Original Message -----
From: Anita Sent: Friday, October 01, 2004

Carole, forget the nursing degree and go find the perfect retirement community for all of us!

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Oct 1, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Red Ryder

"You betchum Red Ryder" was the catchphrase spoken often by Little Beaver, Red Ryder's sidekick on TV in the `50s, but who else remembers the part being played by Little Bobby Blake? Barretta should have stuck with acting and not tried out one of his discarded scripts to solve a real life problem.

Carole: Sorry for being so pedantic in changing your quote but it's what we know-it-alls tend to do. Of course, if I were a true pedant I would insert the dictionary definition here. Maybe there's some hope for me after all.
Bob Wirt

From: Carole Date: Thu Sep 30, 2004 Subject: Florida voting
You betcha Red Ryder! ... Carole

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Oct 1, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Little Beaver

Always thought Blake was a talented guy. Makes you wonder how much money it takes to make someone happy and keep them from totally losing their mind. Or maybe it's not really the money, just the insecurity.
Bob Wirt

From: Dennis Date: Fri Oct 1, 2004
He was also Mickey in the Little Rascals.

On 10/1/04 9:34 AM, Carole wrote:
Yes, I knew Robert Blake played Little Beaver. I also used to watch him on “Baretta” with his parrot.
BTW – Bob you can change any of my quotes, and that will never bother me.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Sep 30, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Topics

Let's watch it with those ethnic slurs buddy -
Braves? Where's your New World sensitivity?
How about Native American Warriors?
Catchy team name, no?
Call Ted, quick.
Bob Wirt

From: Brad Date: Thu Sep 30, 2004
Say, how 'bout those Braves?

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Sep 30, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Little Long-Term Memory

Here's a memory. Chasing down the ekmek guy in the morning to get a huge, steaming hot loaf of bread out of the basket on his back for half a lira (5 cents?) then smearing the darn thing with peanut butter from the commissary and downing it on the way to school. Sure can't eat like that anymore. Things are different when you're 6' and only 120 lbs in spite of your gluttonous diet.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Sep 29, 2004 To: Bob's Bunch Subject: Turkey

Here's something political to chew on that we can appreciate without getting mad at each other, or not. I'm attaching two letters to the editor of the Washington Post from today's issue. While each writer expresses opposing views, the one from Oregon in favor of Turkey being admitted to the EU and the one from Belgium against, both miss the reality that Turkey is a democracy - and that western Turkey is in fact in Europe. Their government may be a model different from ours, considering that the army can remove a sitting President for violating their constitution instead of their legislature having that power (Menderes et al), but is a democracy nonetheless in the manner set forth by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk almost eighty years ago.

While the Turkish constitution has since been changed dramatically, they remain a representative democracy through their parliament and truly should be set forth to the rest of the muslim-majority countries as an example of how Islam, through a secular government, can emerge into the 21st century with some measure of dignity. Why the US seems to ignore one of our staunchest allies in the world in favor of insisting that no Islamic culture has been capable of open self governance is amazing.

We seem to forget that the Turks were some of the fiercest fighters at the side of our troops in Korea during the height of that conflict. We truly disrespected their sovereignty in the 2003 lead-up to the Iraq war when we demanded invasion bases in the south of Turkey without appreciating what it would do to their (relatively) peaceful relationships with the muslim countries they border. Our diplomacy was lacking in that regard. Just as we gave mixed signals to Saddam Hussein prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait when we indicated our government would not object to his reclaiming what they considered to be a province of their territory, and then objected vociferously with 500,000 troops. Just as we diplomatically misled Iraqi Kurds and Shiites into rising up against Hussein following Desert Storm then failed to support their revolution with the airpower we had committed to. Reminds me of JFK's own failure to follow up with promised air support for the Bay of Pigs back in 1961, allowing the invading Cuban exiles to be killed and imprisoned while our government sat silent. We often seem to treat our friends worse than we do our enemies.

I actually have always appreciated some of the values I obtained through osmosis while in Ankara. Being a child of the 60s I have always been the only one of my peers who never used illegal drugs. When asked why, I don't fall back on the easy answer that I hadn't wanted to fry my brains, I simply say that when I was in high school, drug use was a (de facto) capital offense and the lesson has always stayed with me. Midnight Express and all ... It's a funnier answer and usually prompts a discussion of the relative merits of life in the USA as opposed to Americans' lives overseas. Thank God, however, that the Turks were always happy to sell us the alcohol they condemned us for using.
Bob Wirt

--------------------------------------------- From the Washington Post ---------------------------

Democracy in Turkey and the E.U. Wednesday, September 29, 2004; Page A26

Fareed Zakaria ["Rejecting Turkey, and the Future," op-ed, Sept. 21] captured that odd European deafness to the sound of history being made. The rejection of Turkey's application to the European Union because of the Turkish government's proposal to outlaw adultery -- which it has since dropped -- is a pretext for the age-old European desire to keep its culture pure. Despite some unfortunate tendencies toward centralization and a lack of transparency, it's hard not to respect what the European Union has accomplished. The addition of Turkey would raise its importance dramatically by helping to bridge the chasm between the Muslim world and the West. Anything the West can do to engage Muslims, to challenge them with ideas such as the power of opportunity and individual initiative, it must do. Why push them out when we can bring them in? Democracy needs Turkey as much as Turkey needs democracy. The European Union should help Turkey realize its democratic potential, and to do that Turkey should be embraced as former East Bloc countries have been.
SUTTON STERN, Portland, Ore.

Fareed Zakaria suggested that Turkey would not need membership in the European Union if it were already an economically developed nation. But the European Union is not just another development project; it is a community of political, social and cultural values, and Turkey happens to be far from those values. True, France had laws against adultery until 1975 (probably in the context of divorce proceedings), but since 1789 France has been a modern and enlightened country. Turkey is still feudal at its base. Mr. Zakaria argued that Turkey's accession to the European Union could be mutually beneficial and promote better integration of Muslims. But that reasoning is contradicted by the slow pace of integration displayed by Turks already residing in E.U. nations. And none of Mr. Zakaria's arguments void the fact that Turkey is not a European country. The mistake of offering Turkey the prospect of membership in 1999 needs to be corrected.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Sep 28, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Al Neuharth

Lots of vitriol out there regarding the personality of Al Neuharth of USA Today. However, isn't he the one who did the right thing in ridding USA Today of Jack Kelley and Karen Jurgensen over the whole-cloth lies they published in his paper? I may not agree with his politics (whatever they really may be) but agree with his determination to keep McPaper's stories honest. As he wrote in his weekly column after Karen's departure: "When big-time blunders occur in any workplace, the boss or bosses usually are at fault. Not clerks or secretaries or salespeople. Not reporters. The buck stops with the boss." Seems right to me.

I like his "journalism of hope" and find USA Today gives a generally more balanced presentation of events and allows the reader to make up his or her own mind, rather than permitting the nuancing of stories to flavor the text with political bias. On the other hand, I like that The Miami Herald leaves newsprint on my hands after I've read it - more like the good old days. Real news comes accompanied by real newsprint. Actually, I don't really mind picking through the bias to get at the truth. Makes things more interesting.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Sep 27, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Back to normal

There're a couple of dozen ships of all manner lined up out on the ocean off Fort Lauderdale, waiting to slip back into Port Everglades and get on with business. Here's hoping the normalcy, relative though it may be in Fort Liquordale, prevails and no new storms pop up this year.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Sep 27, 2004 To: Richard Subject: Well written

Thanks, I think you're right about avoiding certain topics. Had no idea Frank was going to take the truth so personally. Although I took it to heart after I got out of the service in 1968 when everyone on campus out in California considered veterans murders and rapists for having served in the military. Took it personally for years because people called salesmen scum when I just considered I was making a honest living. Got over that years ago, however. Hope Frank reflects and realizes it might be a good thing to be one of the only honest guys in his business.

I had a run-in with Bob Wussler at Billy's Buckhead Bar in Atlanta right after Ted hired him to head up CNN back in 1982. What a jagoff. Never met a reporter I could respect, although I'm sure there are honest ones out there. All most of the broadcast types are really after is airtime; and for the print sort - ink, a byline and promotion to a cushy job in the editorial offices.

Bettye and I were at the PC mini-reunion in August 2002, other than that I hadn't heard of any other reunions. Here's a shot of us taken then. I'm the graybeard and Bettye is the kinky blonde.
Bob Wirt

From: Rich Date: Mon Sep 27, 2004 To: Bob Wirt Subject: RE: Well written

Thanks, now I remember. In Baghdad every reporter was a liar and Dan Rather used a very ugly picture of me to screen his credits after our interview in Baghdad. At least all of my hotels have checked in so I'm on the way down there on Friday.

From: Richard Date: Mon Sep 27, 2004 To: Bob Wirt'Subject: Well written

As a guest of Sodom Hussein for four months I can tell you that reporters make up stories. Their favorite trick was to say hello, I'm so and so at which I would reply I'm Richard. The next day in the headlines would be 'talked to Rich yesterday and what ever story they wanted to make up. I threatened one that was making up stories on the spot and he said 'What do you want me to do? My paper spent a lot of money sending me here". CNN was the worst. Towards the end we refused to let them on the property. Our group is so large and diverse it is best to stay away from controversial items. I'm trying to remember if you were at the last reunion?

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Sep 26, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Bo Diddley

Bo diddley say "them ain't no boots you got on, them brogans".
Bob Wirt

From: CWhite Date: Sun Sep 26, 2004 23:17:08

You have to admit, this is a diversion from storm.....................................

And what's funny is the memories that are sometimes provoked. In my case it's a line from Bo Diddley's "Say Man". The line is something  like "I see the Man is Right". This following the lines "The wind blew her hair into her
face, and then the wind blew her hair into my face, then the wind blew her hair into the street"!

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Sep 26, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Foreign Aid - Political Ads - Reporters

Hi Frank:
Welcome aboard. Sorry you find my opinion to be horseshit. I tend not to get so personal, but you go ahead. I was commenting on a situation which recently happened to me when I had a letter published by the editor of The Miami Herald. They took my letter about Bob Graham and John Kerry and their joint failures during a decade of oversight on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and substituted Edwards' name for Kerry's when they published it. This of course changed the whole complexion of the point I was trying to make as John Edwards had not served on the committee during the time frame being discussed. The Herald's editor refused to correct the record, even though the changing of the text was not done in the interest of space considerations, but rather because someone at the paper was trying to soften the argument against Kerry. Neither is inserting Edwards for Kerry a typo.

I could cite many instances where I have been interviewed by reporters supposedly intent on seeking the truth where my facts were omitted when the story ran simply because they did not fit the reporter's preconceived notions. Who, what, where, when, why and how don't often seem to serve anymore in relating a story to the public. It's simply which facts can the reporter dig up which fit what he or she thinks the story ought to be.

And you're right, I don't consider Rather or his broadcast colleagues of the right or left to be journalists. But then I haven't found many print reporters to be significantly better. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but then you get to print yours in the paper the way you wrote it, and I don't.
Bob Wirt `63

From: Frank Date: Sun Sep 26, 2004

Sweeping generalizations such as yours are almost never accurate. Don't ever confuse Dan Rather and his microphone-pushing colleagues with real journalists.  They're entertainers; nothing more and nothing less. As someone who has made his living as a reporter, editor and writer for 41 years, I disagree strongly with your opinion. I searched long and hard for an eloquent description for your paragraph, and came up with just one word: Horseshit.
Frank '60

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Sep 25, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Jeanne

Well I drove Bettye inland about five miles to Friend Susan's house this afternoon to camp out overnight. I don't blame her for wanting to get back near ground level in this wind. The view from the 17th floor out over the ocean has been incredible and the downtown scene to the west with transformers exploding all over town is awesome. The gusts around Fort Lauderdale are from the west running at 40-60 knots and at this altitude are even stronger according to our know-it-all meteorologists. This is quite a bit more activity than I had imagined considering that Jeanne is getting ready to make landfall fully a hundred miles north of here. A very nasty feeder band just passed over Islamorada in the Keys about a hundred miles south of Fort Lauderdale. Gives you some idea of how big this thing really is.

Vicky - I see they're now predicting on many tracking models that Jeanne is headed to the Northeast of Tampa. You may be right in line for what will surely be a lot of wind and rain, even given the long trek across the state. We send you our best wishes for some good luck there. Maybe it really will turn north as everyone has been claiming for the past couple of days.
Bob Wirt

------ Prior ---------
The next hurricane warning, if we must -- or are lucky enough* -- to go through this  again I want a doggie door cut into the plywood.  Pete is on the wrong side of the door tonight whether he's in or he's out.  Or maybe he just likes to watch us get up sit down get up sit down over and over.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Sep 26, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Jeanne

All is well here, thanks. Bettye and Friend Susan fared well at ground level and I rode it out from the 17th floor. Great show and all but I lost cable (and my broadband) at about 2AM. After the cable came back up today I heard Fort Lauderdale had gusts to 75, which I would have sworn to anyway. Ran the gauntlet this AM going to pick up the girls for breakfast. Plenty of felled trees in the streets and cops blockading roads around dangling traffic lights and downed power lines. Pretty light damage overall, however. Not near as bad as Frances a couple of weeks back. We got lucky with this last one. Not so for what we saw of Palm Beach to Daytona Beach.

Vicky - Looks like Jeanne did pass right over Tampa after all. How're you guys faring?
Bob Wirt

From: richard Date: Sun Sep 26, 2004
Bob, Hope all turned out well?

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Sep 26, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Jeanne

For those who live outside the hurricane prone areas and haven't been through any of the little devils, Jeanne is now in Tampa about 300 miles north of us, and we here in Fort Lauderdale are still going through the trailing storm bands to the southeast of the eye. That's how big this thing was. The bands are what make the storms look like oversize pinwheels on the TV graphics and the satellite shots of obliterating clouds are not exaggerations.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Sep 25, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: It's a damn Trifecta !

Certainly it's Palm Beach which is on the coast. West Palm Beach is, of course, to the west. You'd be amazed at how many people who live here don't understand the concept.

Lets see, so far there're Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Ivan & Jeanne - What's next for Florida? Just two months `til the 2004 hurricane season ends. Bettye and I were able to sit on the sand this AM with our tea and muffins, watching the surfers enjoy the surge. We're back in the condo watching the storm brew out to sea. Just had the shutters installed at the office (again) and had trouble getting back onto the barrier island since the bridges are blockaded with cops keeping the lookie-lous out. Too bad we're not drinking these days - couple of margs would make the situation a little more enjoyable.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Sep 24, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Foreign Aid - Political Ads - Reporters

Vicky - I try not to wax philosophical as it tends to be non-productive and impractical. I really find there to be not a great deal of direct benefit from foreign aid. The peace corps guy might otherwise be on public assistance and the (significant) money spent to support his mission goes to people who work for a living so there's always that. When our Special Forces A-Teams would go in-country on civic action missions we tried to impart useful information such as hygiene, construction of clean water facilities, schools and hospitals, in addition to running medical and dental sick-call clinics. This, of course, along with the training of the local military units to guard against incursions from outside groups (such as the Ernesto Che Guevara's Cuban Special Forces) to try and stabilize the local economies and resist foreign attempts at insurgency. Such aid as we were able to provide on these hearts-and-minds missions cost real money and plenty of people were paid in support of our work. That was my point, not that I approve of throwing money at foreign governments, much of which is intercepted by the families and friends of the various tin-pot dictators we tend to support worldwide.

Chris - Government mandated jobs are always the first to disappear since by the time they are set in place the perceived need has changed. It's why the marketplace drives a true economy, not public money taken from private sources which would put it to better, more efficient use. It's why we're still paying our farmers not to grow crops. Bad for their business and bad for the health of the US economy. Foreign aid with a domestic flair. Believe me when I say that while I volunteered to go to Viet Nam right after the Tonkin Gulf Incident, I was more than a little disillusioned when I realized a couple of years later that LBJ's favorite contractor, Houston's own Brown & Root (Halliburton purchased them in 1961), had been awarded a couple of billion dollars in no-bid contracts for the construction of airfields and military facilities in South Vietnam. I'm all for people being able to make a living, even through the symbiotic relationships between the companies and our legislators, but sometimes you wonder which came first, the contracts or the wars. Of course, I was viewed askance by some of the regular Army types I had the misfortune to have "supervising" some of our counter-insurgency activities in those days since I had the unfortunate habit of subscribing to and actually reading that well known commie-pinko-bedwetter rag, Time Magazine. The military generally prefers those on active duty to receive all of their information through the chain of command. They also didn't like that we used Mao's "Little Red Book" and Che's "Guerilla Warfare" in our counter-insurgency training classes, conveniently forgetting the tenet "know thy enemy".
Bob Wirt

---------------------------- Original Message --------------------------------
Bob, you're such a practical philosopher.  I'm not sure I follow you on the benefits of foreign aid.  The peace corps guys telling farmers how wonderful tractors are when all they have are eseks is cruel.  But I'm right with you on the charity angle.

Let's not forget what happened after the ITC program was killed. Want to know where the jobs went? That's a good place to look. As a pilot I saw it first hand as pilots and planes are the first to go. Prior to that, I couldn't stay unemployed. As an MU-2 captain, I was getting calls to fly extra trips for companies who owned them, but couldn't fin a pilot who could fly them. Then  -------------------------- Talk about the trickle down process. This was it...I saw the jobs lost that were a product of the ITC. It gave encouragement to buy the newest and best while the newly obsolete went to the next guy down the ladder and so on. Worked great.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Sep 24, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Foreign Aid - Political Ads - Reporters

Foreign Aid - Political Ads - Reporters
Truth of the matter is that it's a basic tenet of supply and demand that anything which keeps dollars circulating helps the economy. When lying pigs pay big bucks to air specious political diatribes the money expend actually puts people to work who in turn spend their funds on other goods and services, thereby putting others to work. The devil's in the details as they say. What used to be derided as "trickle-down economics" is the reality of the marketplace. It'd be nice to just hand the money to some needy person, instead of kick-starting productivity with unconscionable amounts of money, but that would just deplete the working capital and leave the poor soul hungry in the long run. He'd just resent you for your efforts anyway. Better to put him to work making the goods which go into the Care Packages or whatever. What was that about teaching a man to fish ...

Foreign aid is what makes others love, and hate, Americans. But foreign aid is also what pumps up the stock value of thousands of multi-national corporations, thieves and liars though they may be, and stokes the fires of the American economy while plumping up the 401k's of guess who, the great American middle class. It's why governments love wars. In a depression or recession? Start a war and put everyone to work. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Or unusual either. Check the stats, the deficit spending of a wartime economy drives productivity, lowers joblessness and lines everyone's pockets - even for those who think they're not participating. Of course the downside is death, but then domestic workplace deaths outpace combat deaths. Thank God our elected representatives are charged with the actual dirty-work of the whole sordid process. Otherwise none of us could rationalize the situation and actually get any sleep at night.

If anyone's ever spoken with a reporter allegedly seeking facts for a story, they know that the story is usually written with a preconceived slant and those facts which don't fit the reporter's theory of the story end up in the trash can. Sorry, shredder, to maintain deniability. Even before Dan Rather et al. And just try to get a correction or retraction printed by the editor. Not today. The documents may be forged but the "facts" they put forth are true? Whatever happened to journalistic ethics anyway ... or was that just another Pollyanna mirage.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Sep 24, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Ivan is back, and Jeanne Too

Hurricane Jeanne, after having killed over a thousand people in Haiti, swung north, did a roundhouse turn, and is now on the same latitude as Fort Lauderdale heading due west. At least Bettye and I won't be out on some interstate for this one. Most likely it will swing to the north around that high pressure out there and miss us, but of course the local weatherpersons are beginning to freak as usual. Vertical evacuation where we climb buildings - into the storm. Lord, where's my coffee?
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Sep 23, 2004 To: Ankara Kids
Subject: Much Progress on Spyware/adware Protection/Prevention

Know the feeling well about incompatible software. For many years no one wrote for Mac so I was limited as to software apps. Then Steve Jobs got even smarter and fixed the Mac so it runs PC software. Problem solved and he still didn't have to give up his source codes. Although, to be honest there are still online sites which I can't navigate because the programmers limited access to PC's and didn't allow for us Mac freaks because it wasn't cost effective so far as they were concerned. Maybe Jobs will eventually come up with a Stealth Mac which disguises itself as a PC and navigates those denied territories.
Bob Wirt

No doubt the Mac is secure!  I am, however, stuck with PC's because I use many technical software packages that are written only for the PC. So I have to load my PC's down with protection which itself causes slowdown in operations and crashes... Alas... the cure can be worse than the original problem.
Dave - AlaskaGuy

At 02:25 PM 09/23/2004 -0400, you wrote:

Firewalls? Security? Windows problems? I know not of such things. Guess I'll just remain snug in my safe little Mac-World here and reflect on the good fortune of having chosen the correct platform 'lo these many years ago. By the way, has anyone checked out the new iMac G5 with the cpu built right into a 20" widescreen flat-panel display (1.8GHz PowerPC G5 160GB Serial ATA; 7200 rpm)? I think it may be time to grab the data out of my old AT&T 3B2400 unix (circa 1984), and network my Mac Titanium PowerBook G4 into one of these new babies. Sweet.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Sep 23, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Homeless follies

The aforementioned defense attorney friend of ours was defending a guy a couple of years back who was charged with felony murder. He and an idiot buddy had tried to hold up some guy with an unloaded pistol. The potential victim, a Coast Guardsman, ran to his car and retrieved his own weapon which he used to kill the unarmed robber. My friend was stuck for a defense until I suggested to him that the guy who had been threatened with the unloaded pistol probably recognized there were no bullets in it when he looked at the empty cylinder as the pistol was being pointed at him and that's why he turned and got a weapon of his own, knowing he wasn't going to be shot. My suggestion to my buddy was to show the jury that the victim knew he was in no real danger of being shot and actually escalated the situation when he killed the other guy. He got an expert weapons witness who put on a demonstration in court and gave similar mitigating testimony. Long story short his client was convicted of the many worthwhile charges but not of the felony murder count since the killing was actually done by a guy who knew he was in no danger of being shot himself, just mad at having been held up by a couple of dummies. The original twenty-year sentence seemed like a good compromise since the idiot actually faced a death penalty with conviction on the major charge. I thought the perp was a guy who deserved to be convicted for the crimes he did but didn't deserve to die just because someone else took it upon himself to commit murder when he likely knew it was unnecessary. About a year later the guy got a new attorney who charged my friend with failure to provide effective counsel. Such frustration is probably why my friend slams his margaritas down so hard. I personally don't think I could ever argue effectively for some dirt-bag I knew belonged in jail, but I always admire those with the fortitude to do so because everyone really is entitled to a vigorous defense ... ungrateful though they may be.
Bob Wirt

Begin forwarded message:

From: Brad Date: Thu Sep 23, 2004 Subject: Re: Homeless follies

Your homeless story doesn't surprise me in the least. When I was trying to ride herd on convicted felons, many of them went home to live with mama in the projects. It always amazed me when the housing authority would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars refurbishing these buildings, how quickly they reverted to smashed windows covered with cardboard, screen doors hanging off the hinges and turfed yards returned to dry dust.
In a related story, I went to the sentencing hearing today for a retained client charged with Aggravated Battery and Aggravated Assault. The trial lasted 4 days last week. He was facing 40 years. He was found guilty of one charge and not guilty of the other, so then he was facing 20 years. After I made my impassioned plea to the judge this morning, he sentenced my client to one year, same as a co-defendant found guilty of misdemeanor battery. My client looked all pissy when they led him away! No thank you or kiss my butt, nothin'. 

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Sep 23, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Homeless follies

A good friend of ours is a Fort Lauderdale police detective. A dozen or so years ago he was on the weekend patrol assigned to clean the "tent city" we had set up downtown as a stopgap shelter for our local homeless population. He said that while the officers were picking up the beer bottles, hooch bottles and assorted garbage from the area where these people were encamped, not only did not one person offer to help clean the garbage from their own sleeping area, many would toss trash on the ground in front of the officers just for the pleasure of watching them bend to pick it up for them. Fort Lauderdale subsequently built a multi-million dollar shelter on Sunrise Boulevard but most of the homeless wouldn't stay there because of the no-drinking and no-drugs rules. With the tent city gone many just drifted back under their customary shrubberies, where they remain today. Someone we know is a current defense attorney who routinely refers to his clients as "citizens accused". Better than "perps" I guess.
Bob Wirt

Begin forwarded message:

From: Brad Date: Thu Sep 23, 2004 Subject: Re: Homeless follies

Trust me, there is no limit. As a current criminal defense lawyer, and former parole officer I can attest to this.

----- Original Message -----
From: CWhite Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2004 Subject: Re: [AnkaraClassics] Homeless follies

I love Jay Leno's collection of reports on Stupid criminals.....Is there no limit?

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Sep 22, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Homeless follies

For those of you not lucky enough to live in Florida, I return us now to the pre-hurricane(s) homeless discussion. I saw this guy on the local news this morning railing about the injustice that white boys get $10,000-15,000 in a bank robbery and he, as a black man, received just $200 from the teller. Race aside, the expectation of something for nothing seems to be pervasive these days. You can try to help people, but oftentimes they are just never satisfied with the level of your charity or assistance.
Bob Wirt

The Miami Herald - Miami-Dade Posted on Wed, Sep. 22, 2004
COCONUT GROVE Wheelchair bank robbery fails
A man in a wheelchair didn't get far after he robbed a Coconut Grove bank, police said.

Cursing because he'd gotten only $200, the bank robber threw his note demanding $1,500 on the floor, rolled out of Pan American Bank in his wheelchair and headed for the Metrorail station. A security guard at the station stopped him and called Miami police. They arrested Larry Miller, a homeless man who said in an angry public tirade that he had robbed the bank because he couldn't get the help he needed at the Homeless Assistance Center downtown. ''I am a man of God,'' he said. Police said Miller, 42, went into the bank, 2770 SW 27th Ave., across from the Coconut Grove Metrorail station, about 10 a.m. Tuesday. Bank President Hugo Castro said when Miller couldn't get through the security doors at the main entrance, an employee held a side door open for him. Miller had a small, brown paper bag with an ink-scrawled message -- ''Robbery put the money bag'' -- and a number: 1,500. He first set the note in front of a bank manager, then, realizing there was no cash at her desk, gave it to a teller, said Lt. Bill Schwartz, a police spokesman. The teller gave him two $100 bills. ''When he came to the door, he suddenly realized he only had $200 and became very agitated and started cussing,'' Schwartz said. He threw down the note and made for the Metrorail station, where a Wackenhut Security guard stopped him and summoned police. Schwartz said Miller had no weapon -- this time. He told arresting officers he lost the ability to walk in a botched robbery nearly 20 years ago. ''He ended up in a wheelchair back in 1985 because he was robbing a store with a gun and the owner of the store got the gun away from him and shot him,'' Schwartz said. Though records for that robbery could not be found by the Herald on Tuesday, police say Miller has a history of arrests including one for homicide in 1985, as well as robbery, burglary, aggravated assault with a weapon, aggravated battery on a police officer, and smugging contraband into prison. Sitting in a $2,000 ''top of the line'' Quickie 2 sports chair, Miller told reporters that ''the system'' made him rob the bank. Shouting, he blamed Alfredo Brown, deputy director of the Community Partnership for the Homeless. ''This is because of you, Alfredo Brown at the HAC bothering me,'' Miller said. Brown told The Herald that Miller had gone into the Homeless Assistance Center downtown on Aug. 6 and left last week on his own accord. ''We tried to help him, but we weren't able to do much because he wasn't very cooperative,'' Brown said. Miller also blamed the Salvation Army and Jackson Memorial Hospital. ''Wouldn't give me no medical care,'' he said, and showed a hospital bracelet from Monday that shared space on his wrist with a plastic handcuff. Schwartz said Miller likely wanted to get arrested. "It's sad. I think he just wants to go to jail.''

© 2004 The Miami Herald

Dear Bob,   Poor guy.  I'll bet he sues the bank for slow wheelchair egress. Now that's more like our news. Actually, in a given day, you can have three good meals, a shower, new clean clothes, laundry done and a bed to sleep and it is all free. This is a very charitable area.  We really get the homeless from up north when winter arrives. Many crowd our hospitals.  All they have to say is that they are thinking of commiting suicide and they are admitted without need of insurance.  They are given a nice bed, 3 meals and nursing attention.  I think we should all get on the bandwagon.   Bob, you must have missed the article on the gal that was badly beaten by her boyfriend.  When the cops handcuffed him, she took a swing and smacked him.  He is suing her for that slap as he could not protect himself....Sal 

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Sep 22, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Homeless follies

Sal -
As I recall, the girl was arrested for hitting her boyfriend in front of the cop and then the guy who was beating her got off because she didn't want to prosecute. Or was that Law & Order? or Cops? Real life, or just TV? My mind's almost gone anymore. Blame it on the Oldtimers'.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Sep 18, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Atlanta

Chris -
Thought I'd run it by you. These things do happen and you regret not pursuing the matter until it's too late. I was working in Tulsa Oklahoma one day in about 1972 or so stocking shelves in a discount store while waiting to see the buyer and the salesman next to me (also biding his time) keeps insisting he knows me. Took about an hour but we found out we really were schoolmates at Ankara HS in `62-`63. We chatted, had a nice leisurely lunch and went on our way. Never did run across him again as we forgot to exchange business cards. In about 1980 I hired a salesman to rep some of my lines to K-Mart in Detroit and the same thing happened. We spent some time trying to figure out where we knew each other from. Turns out Frank was an airman in the billets at the same time I was a military brat hanging out at the teen club. We used to trade dollars and lira with the same cab driver and bowl in various leagues. Sure is a small world out there.
Bob Wirt

Sorry Bob,
I know the kind of situation to which you refered. But, nope, no hit. I'm always finding myself in those kinds of things where the chance of running into someone you know happens.

Had something like that happen when we first came to the Houston area.......Had lunch with First Wife and was headed back to my office. Waiting for a light and this guy walks up to me and says, hey were you ever in Turkey? I said yeah, '57-'59. He said he thought he recognized me, but it was '61-'62. No, '57-'59, you don't forget the dates of a hardship tour as it was classified at the time. I was in shock and the light changed and he went one way and I went the other, stunned. Didn't think to get his name or phone no. Have always wondered who that could have been.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Sep 18, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Atlanta

When Bettye and I were in Atlanta back in the mid-70s she managed an executive office setup on Peachtree Street for several dozen business-people, of which I was but one. There was a gentleman there at the time who was out of the country most of the time, but I noticed from the return address on some mail he was picking up one day that he had friends in Turkey. We both travelled quite a bit and I was only able to speak with him the one day. He was at the time apparently working as a contractor out of Saudi Arabia. I know his last name was White, but for the life of me I can't remember his first name, nor can Bettye. He would have been sixty-something at the time. Thought I'd bring it up on the off-chance you might know who I'm talking about.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Sep 18, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Anniversary

Chris - Congratulations on your good fortune.
... and Rich - Quick uptake with the mathematical logic.
Bettye and I were married at sunset on the beach at the Acapulco Princess on her 40th birthday. Romantic, yes, but I never forget either her birthday or our anniversary. Since we lived in sin for eight years before we were married, we consider that we're heading for our 30th anniversary. Since I never thought I'd live to see my 40th birthday anyway, every day with her is an unexpected gift. Also, now that her six months of chemotherapy has ended and she's started on Iressa tablets daily for maintenance, each day truly is a gift to us both. The other day when she confided to her oncologist at Moffitt how pleased she was to have seen her 61st birthday, his response was "How about your 71st?" ... Sure made our day.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Sep 15, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Ivan and the Gulf Coast

Looks like the howling winds of Ivan in Fort Lauderdale are finally ending after two days. And to think: the storm never got closer to us than a couple of hundred miles yet still kicked up this much of a duster. Guess we'll get ready for Jeanne next. Having lived in both Biloxi MS (Keesler AFB) and Fort Walton Beach FL (Eglin AFB) I know well the threat posed by Ivan to those low lying outposts. Bettye and I will pray for the well-being of those in its path as the storm approaches. Good luck to you all.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Sep 15, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Movers

Extortion! It's a concept they understand and apparently can respect. Congratulations.
Bob Wirt

Ha! Same thing (*movers) happened to us when we moved from Va. to Fla. except: The guy called from Jacksonville and said he was headed our way (Gainesville) and the bill was $xxxx.xx More than quoted. I said come on. When he got there, he had to bring the truck way off road and I blocked it with one of our cars. Gave him a cashiers check for the quoted amount and had a call to his home office. (Allied Van lines) They gave me a line of crap and I responded by "I've got your truck and if you want it back then tell him to take a personal check for the difference". They did and I promptly stopped payment and we never heard from them again.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Sep 15, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Nice Pills

Sal -
Welcome to the wonderful world of Florida Contractors. The only place I know of where an unlicensed contractor can file a mechanic's lien on your property and force you into court over unsubstantiated claims for money owed, even though the same law states a contractor must have a license to file a lien. We went through it twice and each time it cost us thousands just to get to the point where a judge would look at the cases and throw them out. I never paid the unwarranted charges, but the lawyers all made out big-time. The big scam down here for years has been moving companies which give you a lowball quote; get your stuff on their truck; and then won't unload your furniture until you pay exorbitant extra costs for the move. You can't stay - and you can't leave.
Bob Wirt

-------------------------------- Prior Messages --------------
Dear Chris, You are so right.  We didn't need to find someone from N.C. as we got taken by someone here locally.  He stood on our roof with our tarps and said he would leave unless we paid him a lot more money than agreed.  I did. My poor hubby's blood pressure was so high that I just paid them to get them finished and off our property. We were Screwed.  Oh well, we have something to cover our roof.  If the contractor didn't have three brothers, I would report him but am afraid they would return and destroy our property.  I understand why some people want a gun control law. I was not ready to be a lady yesterday.  I am running out of nice pills.   Sally
Careful Sal,
There is a bunch I think headquartered in N.C. that specialize in screwing people on jobs like roofing. They either take you money and never come back or they do shuddy work. Bet they'll be there.

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: homeless phones

Sal -
There's definitely a place for charity (Bettye and I practice it on a daily basis) but also there's absolutely no work which should be viewed askance as being unworthy of a resume from a hard-working job candidate. There was a time when I had a pretty good-size work force answering to me and I never disparaged anyone's prior employment - only wanted to know that there were no unexplained breaks in their employment record. After I got out of the Army in August of 1968 I went back to college but got absolutely nowhere. I was carrying 15 credits, working five nights a week from 11PM to 7AM as a hospital orderly, moving furniture for my in-laws' moving company on Saturdays and selling beer at the Oakland Coliseum during Raiders games on the Sundays they were at home. With two baby girls and a third on the way, my college days were necessarily numbered. More important to get a good job and feed the babies than anything else. My girls all worked their way through college waiting tables and ended up with the lives they each wanted. Can't ask for more than that - unless it's the five beautiful grandchildren they blessed me with.
Bob Wirt
----------------- Prior Messages ------------
Dear Bob,
Think I will order some of your vitamins as they got you to where you are today. You need to write a biography to tell folks how it was if you worked and tried to get by ... had my poorer days too. Can recall working 3 jobs in the 60's and barely pull together rent and food. Things have changed. I have a friend whose son obtained a degree in photography and waited 3 years for someone to call him to work in his field.  Stayed home as he didn't want anything on his resume to show he was willing to work for a lower paying job. HELLO? I guess I can concede that cell phones are needed for good causes. I still think folks should try and earn some of these perks. There are always little things a person can do. Sal

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: homeless phones

Mobile phones for the "homeless" - a topic of interest to anyone who works for a living. I do remember my "homeless" days following our return to the States from Ankara. I moved out of my parents' house about four months later (early 1964) and ended up living in my car (`53 Ford) while working at various dead-end jobs. The only good job was at Hunt's cannery stacking boxes on pallets at the end of a production line from 7PM to 7AM six days a week. The first forty hours of the week were paid at $2.10/per, but the remaining 32 hours fetched a big $3.15/per. During canning runs I could rent a $15/week room, but otherwise the car sufficed as I occasionally weeded onions or picked tomatoes alongside the braseros for $8/day. Other than that I just surfed Santa Cruz or bummed around San Francisco until Tonkin Gulf and the Army beckoned. Never did have anyone offer me shelter or meals for being "homeless" but I always managed to earn enough money to scrape by. Parking the car near a pay phone was as close as I came to having a mobile phone, but then the `60s were very different. Thanks to my folks' example, I still thought there was some pride to be had in working for what I received, after all they had worked their way through the Depression and taught me self-sufficiency. Do you suppose Bob Dylan realized the welfare state to come when he sang about The Times They Are A Changin'? Change they did.
Bob Wirt
----------------- Prior Message ---------
Mobile phones carry their charges longer than they used to, and the homeless charge them at shelters and any other place that will give them access to a plug.  If you think about it, mobiles phones are the only type that work for the homeless.  In my mind, it's a good thing.
richard biasetti wrote:
Sally, now there is a question I will carry around all day. Where do homeless people charge their phones? The library? 

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Sep 9, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Re: Anybody there?

Quonset Huts! Memories indeed! Between WWII and Korea my dad flew Air Sea Rescue in a PBY out of Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada. We lived in a quonset hut for two years from `47 to `49. All I really remember is my mom had no refrigerator, just an icebox which consisted of a wooden box hung outside the kitchen window. No electricity required, year-round. Standard issue, courtesy of the Army Air Corps.
Bob Wirt

Oh fond memories... I lived in those Quonset Huts several times on overseas assignments in Typhoon country. They survived high winds like a champ.  Most of the military buildings were built that way in the Far East until they could build super-reinforced concrete structures.
Dave - AlaskaGuy

From: Bob Wirt Date: Wed Sep 8, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Frances

Our trip to Blowing Rock NC was cut short by Frances' change of course in going north from Florida instead of continuing to the NW. We abandoned our plans to slide down the Blue Ridge Parkway into N Georgia, left NC and went back to Savannah on Sunday night planning to cut back around the eastern edge of the storm and then continue on to Saint Augustine Monday night and on into Tampa Tuesday. We couldn't raise the hotel in Saint Augustine to confirm for Monday so stayed on at the River Street Inn an extra night. During lunch on Monday in Savannah we were treated to the sight of a tornado touching down across the river and plenty of rain with ongoing tornado alerts until 5AM Tuesday.

We scooted into Tampa Tuesday evening in the wake of some incredible flooding, but with no rain since we arrived. We made the 365 miles in just over six hours, so in retrospect it seems the traffic on I-95 and I-4 wasn't really as bad as it seemed when we were in transit, although it's a trip I would normally manage in four hours. Guess it could have been worse.

Our fort Lauderdale condo came through Frances with no damage and the power at The Corinthian (our building) never went out, although most of Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park were in the dark for a few days. A friend had put the shutters up at our office at the Galt Ocean Mile (along with those of a couple of neighboring businesses) and there was no damage there either. Our good friend Alan, who has been running a tree trimming business out of Oakland Park for about twenty years, had a bad chain saw accident on Thursday while doing some pre-storm cutting for one of his clients and has been laid up since then unable to work in this busiest of times for his business. Very bad luck for him but they were able to stitch all three fingers back on and the doctors indicate microsurgery for the tendons and nerves should eventually put him back on the job. Makes me glad our business is now web-based and we can run it from almost anywhere, with no heavy lifting.

Hope everyone else was as lucky with the storm as we seem to have been. We'll be going home through Fort Myers Beach and on into Fort Lauderdale Thursday PM. Sure hope Ivan cuts us a little slack and heads somewhere else for a change - Maybe a few days hanging over Cuba before fizzling.

Rich - you got it right about supporting W at this point, although I'm still a John McCain Republican, I'm definitely voting Bush. Kerry's just too risky. He was anti-war before he lost his draft deferment at graduation from Yale in `66; got his ticket punched in VN for credibility; then returned stateside to run for Congress and spread some really nasty lies about his fellow veterans. I don't believe his activism with Hanoi Jane Fonda and VVAW qualifies him as Commander In Chief, particularly since it came at a time when troops were fighting and dying on the ground. His vilification of George's National Guard service has been a disgrace and an insult to everyone who signed up and served during the `60s. People forget the 90% of troops it takes to support the 10% who are actually being shot at in any army. See for another viewpoint.

Saddam was indeed a major piece of dog-dung that had to be gotten rid of. However, as someone who spent most of his time in the military on Special Forces A-Teams, my feeling was that in the early `90s we should have sent several undercover teams into Iraq right after Desert Storm to dig in and develop the intelligence and assets to plan for an insurgency based regime change. Too bad Jerry Ford crapped out on us in the `70s and outlawed assassination with a pen-stroke executive order. One properly placed A-Team could have HALO'ed in one dark and stormy night; slit Saddam's evil throat in one of his palatial mansions; and been Sky-Hooked out before dawn broke. But then, that's just me ... It might have been a suicide mission a`la SOG in Laos, but would certainly have been quicker and a lot less bloody. I'd have volunteered for the job but at almost sixty years of age I'd have had to question my own sanity, as well as that of anyone who'd have agreed to send me. Oh well ... maybe they'll totally lose their minds and call on me to go after Osama ... Not.

Best regards, Bettye and Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Aug 30, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Birthday Trips

Rich and Frank -
It was either Sanibel or Captiva Island next door that was cut in two by Charley. Not sure which, but when we were in Fort Myers last Thursday the news was that they were just beginning to let resident back to their homes. No tourists as yet so far as I've heard.
Bob Wirt

Is Sanibel still there?? Rich

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Aug 30, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Birthday Trips

Birthday trips are definitely the way to go. Bettye and I are taking her birthday trip this week. We leave Wednesday for Savannah GA where we stay at our favorite River Street Inn, then drive on in to Lake Wylie SC, just south of Charlotte NC to visit her sisters and brothers for a few days. Sunday we head for Blowing Rock NC and a cozy (with jacuzzi and fireplace) cabin at the Mountainaire Inn, then down the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Great Smoky Mountains and on into the Helen half of North Georgia. Wednesday in Tampa for her CT and chemo (bummer portion of the trip); Thursday in Fort Myers Beach; and then back to Fort Lauderdale. Our plan is to drive around yet another hurricane (Frances), enjoy some truly beautiful scenery, and return to what we hope will be our still-intact condo made of stone-o. If you ask me there've been way too many storms this season. Almost makes me nostalgic for the good 'ole California earthquakes.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sun Aug 29, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

Rich - Wasn't me, I swear. I was still in Panama. Besides, Fort Lauderdale has a better class of drunken crazies now. The city chased off all the Spring Breakers in 1985, trading away the All The Beer You Can Drink For $5 crowd for the more upscale middle-management troublemakers who can afford oceanfront hotel rooms and pay their bar tabs with corporate AmEx cards. More money for the city and fewer shootings in the streets. By the way, the fishing boats are still there, alongside the International Swimming Hall Of Fame, and seem to be doing well. This guy who tried to shoot you, what was his wife's name again?
Bob Wirt

Bob, I lived in Pompano Beach 66 & 67. Used to hang out with the fishing boats on Fort Lauderdale Beach until some guy tried to shoot me..

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Aug 28, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

Chris -

Fort Lauderdale Beach. We spent 13 years building on our house on A1A, sold out in 1997 and bought a 17th floor condo on the intracoastal waterway looking out over the waterway, a couple of parks and the same beach where our old house stands. Its great leaving each day and waving to the staff doing the gardening and painting and all the other stuff we used to have to do at the house.

Johnny Cash changed in the 60s, true enough, mainly due to the drugs. June Carter kind of straightened him out but the old outlaw still hung in there until the end. I had "I Walk The Line" on the old Sun Records label - acquired of course from one of the Turks in the Bazaar. Left the 45s in Panama with a friend, but still have the albums.


Which beach? Had all of Johnny Cash's stuff through about '58. Then he changed a bit Chris

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Aug 28, 2004 To: Ankara Kids <Ankara50-60s@ Subject: Memories

Chris -
Friends from my Army days still say that whenever they hear a Johnny Cash song on the radio they think of me. I know I was nuts for his stuff, but didn't think I was quite that bad about it. The train stuff was the best - I still love the sound of train whistles in the night. I hear them here at the beach even though the tracks are a good three miles away.

P.S.  I still have the original I Walk The Line and Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. They went TO Turkey and back and more. Chris

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Aug 28, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

The only time I made it to Izmir was following a space-available trip I made to Athens on a JUSMAT plane in 1962. On the way back to Ankara I hitched a ride on a general's tricked-out C-47 with plush leather seats and mahogany panelling throughout. The pilot ran into heavy weather crossing the Aegean Sea and the wings were freezing over with ice chunks breaking off and hitting the sides of the plane as he struggled to stay airborne. I went forward to the cockpit to look for some reassurance and they both yelled at me to get back in my seat and buckle up. It was just the three of us aboard and I can say I've never before or since seen quite the fear in a pilot's eyes as I glimpsed that night. I figured at that point that it was OK for me to be scared too, since the other two were. We were eventually forced down in Izmir (beats the water) and as luck would have it the plane was grounded and there were no more flights out to Ankara for the foreseeable future. I ended up on a dolmus for a three day road trip with assorted Turks clutching all of their possessions including goats and cats, with people hanging from the rear of the bus and sitting on top all the way to Ankara. Never did get to see much of Izmir and I was never so glad to make re-acquaintance at home with that great super-hot shower with its magical in-line gas water heater. It took an exceptionally long time to get the smell off, but the trip was certainly memorable. Enjoyable, however, only in retrospect.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Aug 28, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

Chris -

The Kingston Trio did Tom Dooley at the Purple Onion in San Francisco and released it on their first album in 1958. I believe it was called "From The Purple Onion" and was one of the albums I bought used in a Turkish Bazaar sometime in 1961 or `62. It's still in a box in my warehouse. Probably not playable any longer.

Carole - Lucky, indeed, on the plane ride to Izmir.

Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Aug 27, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

Speaking of 45s, the best records weren't at the PX (mostly covers there) but were to be found down below street level in the Turkish Bazaars. That's where we found Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Duane Eddy, Fats Domino and the (pre-Beatles) real English Rock & Roll of Cliff Richard and The Shadows.

The buses were indeed blue, and we did spend a lot of time riding them around to nowhere just because sometimes there seemed to be nothing else to do. Just sometimes though, because there was usually plenty to get us into trouble and make the time speed by.

Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Aug 24, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

Chris - Small world indeed. My dad, Major Bob Wirt USAF, was the crypto officer in Ankara charged with security and transmission of all of the encrypted communication in and out of the area. He used to have some interesting stories about his dealings with the CIA spooks during his years in various AF supply and communications postings. When our SF A-Teams were deployed from the Canal Zone we always had CIA O&I guys brief and de-brief our missions, and sometimes couldn't keep them away when we were in country. Interesting sorts of guys. We were mostly concerned with keeping the Cuban Special Forces from their insurgency missions by doing counter-insurgency missions for the friendlier despots (sorry, allies) in the region. Mine were mainly with the Somoza Guardia in Nicaragua. Some of our best guys left to ease into the CIA and out of the Army altogether.
Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Aug 24, 2004 19:31:47 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

Hey, Chris -
The time was close in Panama (`67-`68), but as enlisted scum I didn't see much of the field grade types, particularly if the LTC was an AF pilot. Jumped out of plenty of their planes, however. My dad was a B-17 pilot in WWII and B-25s in Korea, but my own days of hanging with the senior officers ended when I left Turkey. Was Colonel White at Howard AFB? Most of our air support came from there.

We were pretty much confined to Fort Gulick and Fort Sherman over on the Atlantic (low rent) side of the Zone. AF had the better duty on the Pacific coast. If he dropped crazy people into trees or over the ocean in the middle of the night wearing swim fins, double scuba tanks, running shorts and a knife sandwiched in between two parachutes, it was probably me and my compatriots. We mostly jumped C47s, C46s and CH-21s in Panama, but when we were dropping into the jungles in Honduras or Nicaragua it was mostly from C130s.

The world truly is small. I think the riots you refer to were in 1964 and had to do with some American High School students illegally flying an American flag, or so I've heard. Can't keep those American HS kids down anywhere in the world, can they? Speaking of riots, surrounding the impeachment of President Robles in 1968 we stood the riot line between Gulick and Colon to keep the locals from swarming the CZ. We had M16s (but no bullets) and sheathed bayonets. We took plenty of spit, rocks and bricks, but fortunately no one got on to the fact that we were essentially unarmed. Can't have the gringos actually hurt anyone, since they were our allies and all.

I've got a few shots of Panama CZ on my personal page if you want to check it out.

Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Aug 24, 2004 To: Ankara Kids Subject: Memories

Thanks for the clarification on the billets, Brad. I didn't think the "Oldtimers" had kicked in quite that badly. My recollections are often clouded by the mists of time, but not usually by the mists of my mind.

I remember the Czech Jawa motorbikes we used to rent to tear around the countryside ... what were they, about fifty cents a day or something? Maybe more, maybe not. And the puke-your-guts barrel ride and feats-of-strength weight-toss contests at Luna Park. Didn't take much beer to get us to overindulge in showing off for the ladies.

Climbing the Anakara Hilton while it was under construction (evading the guards and their dogs) and copping the red light from the crane at the top may have been a bit too much teenage macho foolishness, but it was fun at the time. Risky but fun. Foolish too, now that I think on it.

Thanks, Sally, for the Lake Gobachi and Beirut memories. Lots of good times. Of course, some of the memories were a little dicey and tend to keep our perspective in balance.

Kavaklidere Caddesi was where our family lived, just down the street from the bowling alley. I remember waking one morning at about 6AM to the sound of F-100's roaring overhead, strafing the Parliament building about six blocks away. I thought it was cool to wander the streets and watch the Turkish soldiers taking potshots at each other. Cool that is until the German kid who lived across the street from us (and in Wozniak's apartment building I think) got himself shot and killed taking pictures of the action. My folks made sure I stayed indoors after that.

The attempted Coup d'Etat against President Inonu was about a three day affair but I think martial law lasted six months or so with its dusk-to-dawn curfew. I believe it was in late `62, sometime after the Cuban Missile Crisis (?) - can't be certain anymore, but I remember us still being under martial law restrictions when we took our Senior Trip to Cyprus in June of `63. We had a great time at The Dome Hotel in Kyrenia (?) on the Turkish North Coast of course. They probably wouldn't have let us travel to the Greek side of Cyprus from Ankara anyway.

We had a geography teacher who used to rant about Laos and Indochina. Wish I could remember his name. I probably should have been listening a little closer as subsequent events certainly proved him to have been prescient. When I enlisted in the Army in October of 1964, about six weeks after the Tonkin Gulf incident, I still hadn't taken his warnings to heart. I just thought we'd head over there and clean house for the home team. He was absolutely right about the trouble we were getting into. Of course we won the war on the ground but lost it at home.

When the Special Forces recruited me out of basic, I went to Fort Bragg NC for training (two years) and based on my 1964 (claimed) language skills of French and Turkish my Uncle Sam sent me, of course, to the Panama Canal Zone. I was the only guy in my `66 graduating class at JFK Center for Special Warfare to be taken off orders for 5th SF in Viet Nam and sent to Berlitz in DC to study Spanish. Call me Lucky, because I was.

Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Aug 23, 2004 07:34:16 To: Ankara Kids - Subject: Memories

OK guys ... The Teen Club (in the airmen's barracks basement) was the place I remember from 1961-1963 as being where we gathered to attempt Duane Eddy -like guitar licks, emulate Minnesota Fats and venture out afterwards seeking dark German beer or pints of cognac ... the GI's upstairs weren't so much supervision as someone to joust with ... Luna Park ... Makeout sessions in the two-seat cubbyhole rows at the back of the movie theater where it was dark enough, but not quite. The hayrides to the mountains in the backs of military deuce-and-a-half's ... Jackson and his green Hudson taxi ... The bowling alley definitely kept us out of trouble, for a couple of hours at least. The Turkish baths and lira based poker machines at times beat going to class; followed by the world's best Gyros and gazoz or some pretty-flat Turkish beer. High school was tough back in the good old days. Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Aug 14, 2004 13:45:36 To: Anita D Subject: Charley

Anita -

Thanks for the kind thought and the prayers. They're well appreciated.

Bettye and I drive on Wednesdays from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa for her chemotherapy treatments every Thursday at the H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida. Following her chemo we normally return down I75 to Fort Myers Beach where we get a room over the Gulf for some rest and tranquility before returning to Fort Lauderdale across Alligator Alley noonish on Fridays.

Thursday while we were at the Clinical Research Unit at Moffitt I phoned The Edison Beach House to confirm for the evening because all the TV stations were saying Charley was heading for Tampa in central Florida, or the beaches to the north of Tampa Bay. We were told then that the Edisto Beaches had just received evacuation orders, so that afternoon we headed east to the Turnpike and then south to I95 along the Atlantic coast, deftly avoiding the storm and the mayhem which later Thursday evening hit Fort Myers and Punta Gorda about 140 miles to the south of Tampa.

Our regular room in Fort Myers looks out across the Caloosahatchee river harbor to Sanibel Island which took the major hit from the eye of the storm. We got real lucky by getting out of town when we did. Most everyone on the southwest coast believed the storm was tracking to the north and would miss them altogether.

From my time at Myrtle Beach, SC, (pre-Ankara) and the twenty-plus years Bettye and I have lived at the beach in Fort Lauderdale (think Andrew in '92), the one thing we've learned about hurricanes is that they are totally unpredictable.

We were fortunate with this one, but others less so.

Hope the other Ankara kids got as lucky this time as we did.

Best regards, Bettye and Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Aug 6, 2004 20:22:56 To: Pat Loughney Subject: Bob & Bettye's Big Adventure


Interesting that you guys spent time in Myrtle. I went to Myrtle Beach High School from Spring of 1958 to June of 1961. What a great place in those days. A population of 10,000 which swelled to about 150,000 from Memorial Day to Labor Day each summer, then about 90% of the businesses in town closed for their nine month siesta awaiting the next Memorial Day weekend and our ever popular Sun Fun Festival. The High School in now a KMart.

I did my last two years of HS at the American High School in Ankara, Turkey, from 1961 to 1963. I consider that I was the cornerstone of my (32 person) high school class since without my D- graduating average the whole house of cards might well have collapsed.

After I got out of the Army in August of 1968 I went back to college but got absolutely nowhere. I was carrying 15 credits, working five nights a week from 11PM to 7AM as a hospital orderly, moving furniture for my in-laws' moving company on Saturdays and selling beer at the Oakland Coliseum during Raiders games on the Sundays they were at home. With two baby girls and a third on the way, my college days were necessarily numbered.

Got a job in 1969 selling soy protein isolate baby formula and a line of baby analgesics for the Borden Pharmaceutical Division (yes the Elsie The Cow Company), mainly because I knew about acetaminophen from my A-Team days at a time (pre-Tylenol) when most people hadn't a clue. The time spent pulling jungle sick-calls with the Central American indians didn't hurt as I got a good grounding in basic nutritional needs as well. Two years later I jumped from the company that bought out Borden (Syntex Labs) to Cooper Laboratories in Wayne, NJ. Their main product was Oral-B toothbrushes (Major Hirsch's de riguer prescription for oral health) and after two years on the West coast as salesman then District Manager, I was appointed National Sales Manager in 1973. I lived in Danbury, CT, and worked at the main office in Bedford Hills, NY, which later moved to Parsippany, NJ. The Danbury to Parsippany commute got to be a little much and in 1975 I took a job as National Sales Manager for the Akwell Industries Division of GD Searle, based out of Atlanta, GA.

I've been self-unemployed since December 2, 1977, (my birthday of course) and Bettye and I have been business partners since just shortly after that time. She's President of Vitamin Products International, Inc, which owns 100% of Head Start ® Vitamin Products, of which I am President. Two presidents in a (very) small pond, as it were.

We were married in July, 1983, at the Acapulco Princess Hotel; on the beach; on a palm tree shaded patio; with a Mexican judge a mariachi band and a tub of Mexican champagne; at sunset with a goat mowing the grass; on Bettye's 40th birthday. That was twenty-one years ago, but we lived in sin for eight years before that, so we consider that we're coming up on our thirtieth anniversary next year.

We're trying to cut back and relax some, what with the health situation and all, but the business necessarily interferes with our bumming on the beach. Our Blue Cross HMO has us confined to Florida so we can't move back to Bettye's beloved North Carolina mountains and her family as we had planned previously. We're just thankful every day that she's stabilized and receiving incredibly good care from Moffitt, so we've resigned to find our happiness here for the time being. Actually, South Florida has been very good to us and truly is a paradise found.

My youngest daughter, Shelley 34, lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband and two of my grandchildren Amalia (7) and Santiago (5). My middle daughter, Becky 36, lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and the other three grandchildren Ami (8), Roopi (6) and Nora (1). my eldest daughter, Dawn 38, (the one who drove down to the Canal Zone with me and Carla back in 1967 when she was 1) lives in Castro Valley, CA, and (as the smart one) has no husband or children. She just got back from a month in Paris and just left yesterday with my eldest grandson, Ami, for a couple of weeks' vacation visiting her sibling in Scotland.

I hope to get that SF website posting ready and send it sometime this weekend.

Gotta go now, Bettye beckons.

Stay safe. Bob

From: Bob Wirt Date: Thu Aug 5, 2004 08:27:10 To: Pat Loughney
Subject: RE: 8th Special Forces Group (Abn) Panama Canal Zone


I'll definitely be posting to the SF site this weekend. Is the one you mean?

Bettye and I are up in Tampa today on our weekly trek to the Moffitt Cancer Center at USF where she's undergoing chemotherapy for adenocarcinoma lung cancer which recurred this past February after a year and a half being cancer free following removal of her upper left lung in September 2002. Needless to say the three days away from the office each week cut into our time tending to the vitamin business, but first things first. Her health obviously takes precedence over business matters. She's in a cellular directed clinical trial which seems to be reversing the cancer growth. We have high hopes for ultimate success in gaining remission and stabilization of her condition.

Last time we spoke you were in the NE somewhere with your wife managing a group home and Bettye and I were in Atlanta doing our sales thing. Did you ever get into the dog business or was that just a flight of fancy? Your site looks pretty good to me. I do mine using Adobe GoLive and lots of trial and error since I never bothered to read the manual.

More later, we've got an early appointment at the hospital.

De Oppresso Liber - Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Jul 3, 2004 19:27:42 Subject: Iguana Stew (Choco Indian recipe)

Iguana Stew (Choco Indian recipe)

Posted by Manin Erixon-Stanford on March 23, 1997 at 01:25:29:

Run out and catch yourself a gravid female iguana. Skin it, removing the insides and saving the eggs, including the yellow ones and the heart and liver. Dismember the iguana by cutting it down the spine, dividing the halves into three pieces and the legs in two. Place the meat in a pot of heated coconut oil and brown it lightly. Drop in hot pepper and garlic to taste, and brown a little longer. In another pot, boil eggs in their shells for 1/2 an hour w/chili pepper. (Iguana eggs, boiled for 10 minutes and then sun dried have a cheese-like flavor and are relished by all Darienites). Drain and add to the meat along with the diced liver, heart, and yellow eggs. cook until the broth has all but disappeared. Serve with rice and beans.

From the Panama Canal Review Special Edition, 1973

From: Bob Wirt <> Date: Sat Jun 26, 2004 To: John and Sue

Hi guys -

I happened to run into your neighbor Carolyn in the lobby today and it reminded me we hadn't heard from you guys in awhile. Thought I'd drop you this note to update you on our situation.

Bettye had been having trouble breathing during December and January, and found she tired easily and had to stop exercising. As you can imagine, going from a two to three hour workout regimen four days a week to almost nothing was a great concern to her. She had her semi-annual cancer checkup last October and was clear, as had been the case for the prior fifteen months, but there was a small cyst on her liver which the doctor ordered to be reexamined in January. When the liver scan came back it showed the cyst to be of no consequence, but also revealed a pleural effusion in her left chest cavity where her upper lobe had been removed in September of 2002.

Long story short: testing showed the cancer to have returned and after a couple months of further tests and interviews at various cancer facilities, and following strong recommendation from Dr Dennis of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, she settled on the H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa for treatment in a clinical trial being run there by Dr George Simon. They stopped the fluid buildups in her lung and began chemotherapy with targeted drugs based on microscopic evaluation of her cancer's cellular structure. This was not an easy task, as she has no tumor, just tiny nodules on her pleura which were shedding adenocarcinoma cells into the effusion. The cancer was contained, but nevertheless malignant.

She's been in chemotherapy for about eight weeks now. We drive to Tampa each Wednesday afternoon; she receives testing and therapy each Thursday; and we stop over in Fort Myers Beach Thursday evenings, returning home just after lunch each Friday. The process has been draining but also rewarding as she had her first followup evaluation via CT scan two days ago and they found her nodules to be shrinking and the cancer to be in retreat. She reports back to Moffitt on Thursday to begin a new six-week round of chemo with high hopes that the results will continue to improve.

Anyway, our whole situation has been changed by this new development as we find our planned re-location to North Carolina is impossible since Blue Cross won't cover her outside Florida, and of course if we try to change carriers she's subject to the pre-existing condition bugaboo which means no coverage anywhere but here. We've considered relocating within Florida but the project seems somehow unmanageable with our primary consideration now having to be her treatment and well-being. Attempting to move both ourselves and the business at this point would be just too much for either of us to manage.

Hope this message didn't turn out to be too depressing as I didn't intend it to be, but I thought you'd want to know.

Best regards, Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Tue Apr 6, 2004 13:39:41 US/Eastern

You Wrote:
I just visited your web site after doing a Google search of Fort Gulick... just wanted to say hello. My father was in 8th SFG in Gulick but left a year or so before you got there- Lt. Col. Tom Estrada. He was XO for Bull Simons... I've been reminiscing about the zone with some colleges here at work - I just found out they also lived at Gulick- probably around your time-
Take care..........I enjoyed looking at your pictures.... it's always nice to "go back"... I miss it........

Tom Estrada


Thanks for writing. I didn't know your dad, but of course heard all about Bull Simon and the formation of the 8th back in 1962. Too bad it was disbanded in '72 - Fort Gulick was a great location to work out of considering the countries we were involved with.

I was in Company B, A-Team 24 for about two years; and wish sometimes I'd stayed on in the Zone. I later had a home in Indian Hills (Marietta) during 1975/76, and moved in 1977 to the Riverbend Condos nearby with a small office across the river at Powers Ferry landing next to the restaurant and looking back across the Chattahoochee at my condo. Hell of a commute. Now I've been 22 years in Fort Lauderdale with my wife of 29 years who happens to have been the first person I met in Atlanta in 1975. Lauderdale is about as close as I could get to replicating the Panama climate without actually leaving the continental US.

My first wife and infant daughter joined me at Gulick in mid-1967 and we lived in an on-post apartment with free bananas and coconuts in the yard year-round. I actually drove them from San Francisco to Panama (4,800 miles) on a two week leave with everything we owned packed into our 1964 VW bus. Checked in at Company HQs 15 minutes before my day of grace expired on the leave.

Fort Gulick was a CIA base following WWII and became SF in 1962. I've been unable to find Gulick on any of the official maps of bases turned over to Panama following Carter's canal giveaway, although most of the others appear as before. It's like Gulick never existed according to the current documents. Even Fort Sherman remains, but not Gulick.

I instructed at the Scuba School, Jungle Operations Course and had several missions to the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua. I understand the Army doesn't even allow the wearing of our Balboa Boat JOC patch any longer. Bummer.

De Oppresso Liber - Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Fri Feb 6, 2004 08:58:49 To: Richard_Harris Subject: Che in Bolivia


I found Death Of A Revolutionary to be quite interesting, but even more so in what was left out of the story.

I served with the 8th Special Forces Group (Abn) in the Panama Canal Zone from 1966 to 1968, and was on hand when a Complemented A-Team (12 Berets and three CIA ops/intel guys) was sent from our unit to Bolivia to train the 2nd Ranger Batallion of the Bolivian army.

They arrived in-country in March 1967; spent six months training the Rangers; fielded them for two weeks in tracking down and capturing Che; and were extracted and returned to Panama the next day, sometime in mid-October 1967.

When they returned to Fort Gulick (CZ), I was between missions and was assigned to drive the Major who commanded the team to "the-other-side" for debriefing by USARSO and various CIA types. What he imparted to me during our day-trip was quite interesting and the story from the enlisted members of the team (along with the pictures they brought back from the schoolhouse) were textbook counter-insurgency.

Unfortunately, the US plan to capture and try Che was compromised by the execution - which you pretty accurately described according to what I was told by those who were there at the time. Che violated every precept of his own Guerrilla Warfare manual in Bolivia, and we believed then (and I believe to this day) brought on his own demise as a result. Without the support of the people in the countryside there can be no successful insurgency.

Around the time they were in Bolivia, I was serving on three separate missions to Nicaragua's mosquito coast in the area of Puerto Cabezas and Bluefields. We conducted civic action missions and training of the Somoza Guardia in a hearts-and-minds effort to deflect the efforts of the Cuban Special Forces there who were attempting to implement Che's revolution in Nicaragua through their field-work with the Sandinistas. Something they were only able to accomplish once Jimmy Carter stopped US aid to Somoza after a fifty-year history of training and support for the Nicaraguan government.

It is very true that when outsiders (Che; us; or others like us) inject themselves into another society's dynamic, such as was done in Bolivia in 1966-67, they often have no understanding of the history of the situation or what is likely to assist them in accomplishing their goals.

De Oppresso Liber, Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 25, 2003 To:
Subject: Tradewinds Park Holiday Festival of Lights and Calvary Chapel Lawsuit

To the Broward County Commission:

Allowing a church to erect a Christmas display; on county property offered for displays of Christmas sentiment; during the Christmas season; to express its faith and belief in the birth of Jesus (Christ's Mass); is not an establishment of a state religion which would violate the Constitution. Preventing that group of citizens from expressing their opinion and belief is a violation of the Constitution's explicit protection of religious freedom.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

These are not self exclusive tenets as you seem to believe, but totally complementary laws. You are not Congress and are therefore in no position to establish a state religion. Your take on "separation of church and state", a concept with popular misconception leading to violation of express rights of groups of citizens, is based on faulty logic. You will not find the phrase "separation of church and state" in the Constitution because it is not there. Allowing people to express their faith during a holiday of obvious religious origin is simply allowing citizens the rights afforded them by their founding document; the flawed logic of certain jurists notwithstanding.

I'm no fan of Bob Coy or of his exclusionary, judgmental viewpoints, but feel I must speak out in defense of their right to express their holiday sentiments in the manner they have requested. It's not as if they have requested special dispensation such as a free display since they have offered to pay the going rate to rent the space on county property that you are charging other entities for their displays of Christmas sentiment.

Kinky Friedman said it best: " ... we Jews believe it was Santa Claus who killed Jesus Christ." What in the world is wrong with a religious sentiment being expressed during a religious holiday by a group of religious citizens? Wake up, people, and get real.

How much of our tax money do you plan on spending defending your untenable and misinformed position on this matter? Even if you end up winning your point, the taxpayers of Broward lose their money; once again over some foolishness which would have best been avoided to begin with. Take their $15,000 and let them have their say, as is their Constitutional Right.

Sincerely, Bob Wirt

From: LORI PARRISH Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:48:41 To: bob.wirt
Subject: Re: Tradewinds Park Holiday Festival of Lights and Calvary Chapel Lawsuit

Thank you for writing. I personally don't object! However, we are all concerned it could generate lots of anti-Christ messages. If we allow Calvary Chapel, we would be legally forced to allow lots of negative messages. This would spoil the Festival of Lights for all of our families. I'm so sorry it's not that I'm being politically correct...just careful not to spoil the park for our children.

Lori Nance Parrish Broward County Commissioner District 5

From: Bob Wirt Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 17:05:38 To: LORI PARRISH
Subject: Tradewinds Park Holiday Festival of Lights and Calvary Chapel Lawsuit


Thank you for responding. Your convoluted logic is astounding.

Sincerely - Bob Wirt

From: Bob Wirt Date: Sat Oct 25, 2003 13:02:27 To:
Subject: Please Protect my ability to Vote in Broward County.

Governor Bush,

The arrogance of Ms Oliphant and her criminal actions in loading her no-talent posse onto the supervisor's payroll, while firing everyone in her office who understands the election process, has shown her to be unworthy of the public trust. Giving exorbitant raises to favored underlings who thereafter kick-back proceeds in the form of rental fees on real property owned by the supervisor is glaring criminality and a thumb-in-the-eye of the voters of Broward - the State's Attorney's biased, partisan opinion aside. Firing a long-time poll-worker, as she did, to enable her to put her mother on the county payroll, however briefly, was an outrage worthy of official rebuke and condemnation by those supposedly overseeing her actions and conduct of her office.

Her complaint last year that no one was being fair to her since she had just recently taken over the Supervisor's job came at a time when she was more than half way through her four year term. How much time does she believe she should be allowed to take control of her office and its budget? Four years? ... Eight? Sheer incompetence on the face of it.

Complaining that the county commission may be persecuting her because of her gender, as Ms Oliphant did recently in televised interviews, ignores the thirty-five years that Republican Jane Carroll ran the Supervisor's office without fanfare, scandal or budget crises. Complaining about retaliation from the county commission because of the hue of her skin was an outrageous and unnecessary playing of the race card in a situation where such was unjustified by any fact theretofore in her tenure. If anything, Ms Oliphant found her rapid rise in Broward politics eased by her gender and race, not hindered by same. This type of race-baiting should call her competence into question, even if her criminal actions have not.

Please use your good offices to ensure a fair, honest and accurate election in 2003/2004 in Broward County Florida. I have no confidence that the current supervisor of Elections, who recently terminated many of her senior staff members, can effectively run our elections. Thank you for your interest protecting my right to vote!

Sincerely, Bob Wirt

From: Bob Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 To: Family & Friends Subject: Bettye's Recuperation and Prognosis

To our friends and family:

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers for Bettye over what have been a very difficult couple of months. Her recuperation here at home began on September 11th and continues with her regaining more of her health and strength with each passing day. She is still in significant pain, but the debilitating effects of her successful lung cancer surgery seem to lessen daily. As a confirmed non-smoker, she was of course devastated by the diagnosis but determined to defeat her cancer, which she seems to have accomplished handily. She's been doing breathing exercises every hour or so for the past month in an attempt to get the remaining lobe of her left lung to expand and fully replace the top lobe, which was removed during the surgery.

She has been able to get out for limited excursions most mornings for the past week or two to our favorite spot on the beach for coffee and muffins, and is looking forward to getting back to The Zoo Health Club for a resumption (albeit slow) of her regular daily workout routines. An hour or two of activity outside the condo is about all she can manage at this point without tiring and being forced to rest up before undertaking anything further. We have been to a couple of movies and out to a few restaurants, but must necessarily avoid crowds, so early-birds and matinees have been the limit so far. Our main concern is keeping her away from any kind of coughs, colds or respiratory bugs until her lungs have healed completely; a bronchial or pulmonary infection is the last thing she needs at this point.

Bettye has asked me to thank each of you for your kind messages, cards, calls, flowers and visits. We know that everyone's prayers and good wishes went a long way toward ensuring her good health and a successful recovery. The news from her surgeon that radiation and chemotherapy would not be needed was a wonderful thing to hear. He will, of course, be sending her to an oncologist for followup and further evaluation and we have confidence the news at that time will be just as good as the post-surgical pathology indicated.

For those who did not receive my first message of September 7th on this matter, I have attached a copy below. We are confident that her preemptive strike with the diagnostic CT Scans we had at FAU back on July 10th have, just as her doctor said: "saved her own life", and that she will achieve a full and complete recovery over the course of the next few months.

Again, we urge anyone who has the slightest doubt about their own good health or the thoroughness of their most recent annual physical exam, to seek out and secure a diagnostic CT Scan of their own. Bettye's perseverance in this regard certainly saved her life, and it can do the same for others - we advise you to go for it. We're more than glad that we did.

Sincerely, Bob

From: Bob Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2002 To: Friends & Family Subject: Bettye's Surgery and Result

To our friends and family:

If you are aware of what has been going on with Bettye over the past couple of months, please bear with me while I explain the full situation to those who are not.

Bettye had been having some trouble over the past year or so with a persistent cough and unexplained itching in her chest, along with a certain uneasiness about the state of her health. She had never been treated for any of these admittedly generalized symptoms other than with Claritin for suspected allergies or anti-histamines for her respiratory complaints. Even though she works out regularly at The Zoo Gym (two hours a day, four days a week, with other workouts at the condo on her off days) she has felt the need for a complete medical checkup. She booked us both into the FAU (Florida Atlantic University) MRI diagnostics lab on July 10th for full-body CT scans.

The doctor at FAU pointed out a couple of problems for us both, but the one he was most concerned with was a "hyper-metabolic" tumor in her upper left lung. He provided us each with a three page written report and CD/Roms of the scan results, then called in followup the next day to be certain she had contacted her primary care physician. Bettye advised that she had called but had not yet heard back, at which point Dr Stone said if she didn't hear back from him that afternoon that he would call personally the next day. Bettye took it seriously but the doctor from FAU was adamant about the urgency for followup, which she pursued relentlessly, and which her primary care physician acted on immediately and with appropriate concern. He referred her to all the necessary specialists and followed closely to ensure things moved along quickly.

We were able to get all the tests run over the course of the next couple of weeks (PET scan, CAT scan, brain scan, bone scan, blood work, respiratory function, ad nauseum) but then the oncology surgeon seemed to be dragging his feet about scheduling the surgery. We went for a final consultation with him on Thursday, August 29th, which began and ended with acrimony in that he was unwilling to address her questions or concerns and seemed to take the overall position that he knew what was best and the procedure didn't require an explanation to us. Anyone who knows Bettye knows that at this point she moved on to Plan B.

We finally enlisted a new surgeon that same afternoon. Bettye, of course, had all of her reports and copies of the various films and CD/Roms from the diagnostic workups; delivered them to his office on that Friday; and set an initial consultation for Tuesday, September 3rd. He was not only very forthcoming with his diagnosis but also welcomed each of our questions regarding the procedure and his prognosis for her future. He was one of the few physicians we had spoken with over the course of this situation who told her "Good for you" when advised that she had taken the initiative to secure the CT Scans no one else was willing to order up.

The surgeon, Stuart L Boe MD at North Ridge Medical Center, is the same surgeon Bettye's brother Everett had for his bypass surgery about a dozen years ago and Bettye had a feeling of complete confidence in him. His manner on Tuesday convinced her to switch surgeons and hospitals on the spot and Dr Boe indicated he had already made a tentative scheduling for her surgery two days later (the 5th) provided she was ready to proceed. Needless to say, she and I were ecstatic at the prospect of finally getting her to surgery for what we knew to be a serious, life-threatening problem. Skipping out of the office that day may have seemed inappropriate to an outsider but it certainly expressed our relief at finally getting off the dime with the surgical schedule.

The initial procedure was done at noon on Thursday, beginning with a technique known as VAT (video assisted thoracotomy) and the tumor and several nearby lymph nodes were excised and sent for immediate biopsy. The tumor proved to be every bit the hyper-metabolic, intense cancer the tests had anticipated, although still in what is apparently known as stage one. The good news was that the lymph nodes were clear of any involvement. Dr Boe then proceeded to enlarge the small 6cm incision he had used to access the tumor with the laparascope to about 9cm (approximately 3.5") through which opening he removed the upper left lobe of her lung.

She has spent the past two days in ICU at North Ridge, and Dr Boe brought her more good news yesterday that the tissue pathology had come back negative for cancer cells anywhere but within the tumor itself. His opinion is that everything came out with the tumor and upper lobe, and that no chemotherapy or radiation would be required at this time. He explained that he was able to get the lobe out through such a small incision mostly because Bettye was in such excellent physical condition and was so flexible that he didn't even have to break a rib to accomplish the removal.

We expect her to have a full recovery and Dr Boe indicated his prognosis was that her chances for a recurrence of the cancer were minimal at best, but that she would of course be monitored regularly. The most encouraging thing he offered us was when he came into the recovery room Thursday night and told Bettye: "Congratulations, you saved your own life."

Her insistence on having the CT scans done had indeed saved her life as waiting for more serious manifestations to arise and trigger a medical response could have allowed the tumor to grow over a rather short period of time and become metastatic and inoperable.

It is for this reason that we have encouraged anyone else, particularly those of you in our age group, to seek out and secure a preventative full-body diagnostic CT Scan as a way of catching what may be life threatening problems before they advance too far. My own scan revealed the kidney stones I knew I had, but also showed one of the stones to be blocking the ureter (drain) from my left kidney and threatening the loss of that kidney if left untreated. My own urologist was unaware of the blockage, but my new one solved the problem forthwith using what seemed like an ultrasound jackhammer. When your doctor's hands are tied by the intransigence of your insurance provider, you have no choice but to take the initiative on your own. It is, after all, your health being dealt with.

In any event, these CT Scans were, for us, the best couple of thousand dollars we have ever spent - even if Blue Cross does refuse to pay for them. The best result, of course, is having the scan; finding nothing wrong; and securing peace-of-mind in the knowledge that you really are in good health.

We thank you all for your good wishes and prayers.

We're confident they went a long way toward ensuring success in Bettye's battle with cancer.

With best regards, Bob

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