Reader Mail

The Would-Be Messiah

Traficante's cash crop. Cap and taxing. Metricmatics and freedom. Plus more.

9.3.09

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AN OLD-FASHIONED CROOK
Re: Nicole Russell's Beam Me Up, Jimbo:

If only we had more old-fashioned crooks like Traficant in office! All they want is a few minutes alone with the cash box. Then they're satisfied, and leave everybody else alone.

Our liberties and our way of life are not threatened by the odd officeholder who dabbles in larceny. The would-be messiahs are the real menaces. Democracy and freedom are never in more danger than when government is harnessed to drag the nation into some half-cocked Utopia or other, blithely prepared to destroy us all today in the name of a murky Happily Ever After that never comes.

At least the crooks understand: it's not their money.
-- Martin Owens
Sacramento California

SELLING IT WELL
Re: W. James Antle III's The Democrats' Cap and Traitors:

I enjoyed the above article, but I take exception to "Regressive taxes tend not to sell well, even among core Democratic constituencies." Regressive taxes do sell well including core Democrats see Social Security, the myriad of sales taxes including the proposals for a national sales tax, property taxes and tobacco taxes.
-- Ernie Marraccini

I saw, on all places, PBS that the slashing and burning of the rain forests emit more CO2 than all the vehicles and power plants in the world. Perhaps that would be a good place to start.
-- Steven Powell

FREEDOM'S MEASURE
Re: Daniel Oliver's What's Your Metric?

My professor of Economics at Northwood University, Dale Heywood (who passed away in 2006), used to challenge his students for a definition for "being free."

After several of us stumbled around with our somewhat lengthy attempts he told us "being free is making a dollar and keep one hundred cents." That's as good as I have ever heard or read.

 I would have added that to the extent this test fails defines the extent that you are ot free, including the state of making a dollar and being given another twenty cents.
-- Carl Cull
Franklin, Tennessee

How does one "buy all of Beethoven for $10"? Currently through Amazon the complete works can be had from about $80 to about $150, and these are admittedly "bargain" collections. But then, much as I admired WFB, I don't think either technology or math were strong suits.

But the much more important point is not what one "can buy with what's left over." That is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is only what government takes from us, expressed as a percentage of the total, and nothing else. This is so, because money is property, and property, liberty, and life itself, are interchangeable, to an extent. In earning money, for example, one exchanges his time, which is nothing less than small pieces of life itself. With this paradigm in mind, I see no reason not to accept Dr. Friedman's "metric" of 30%, given his economic genius and understanding of conservative principles. If he felt that 30% were the correct line of demarcation, chances are, it is.

In any case, Mr. Oliver makes it clear that we are not as free as we used to be. And I think people are currently worried, because we see not only our freedoms evaporating before our very eyes, but our wealth, as well. It is one thing to be enslaved and rich, but quite another to be enslaved, and poor.
-- David Reich
Auburn, New York

Certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, plus the Bill of Rights, especially the First and Second Amendments.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

The best metric to way freedom weighs less than a pound and is written on parchment: The Constitution of the United States.
-- I.M. Kessel

NOTHING IFFY ABOUT IT
Re: Peter Ferrara's Obama and the CIA: Making the Terrorists' Day:

"President Obama has decided that the CIA is a greater threat to America than Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. If that decision turns out to be wrong, with thousands of Americans dying in another terrorist attack, President Obama and the Democrat Party will end up paying a grievous political price, which would be well deserved."

"If" that decision turns out to be wrong? If?

Even if Al Qaeda and Islamofascists don't gleefully seize the opportunities Obama appears to affording or will afford through his ideologically motivated words and actions, America's enemies must be laughing themselves silly. How can they not, watching and listening to Obama, Eric Holder, Nancy Pelosi and her supporters pursue, among other items on their leftist agenda, this public humiliation and potential prosecution of the CIA?

But besides this agitprop, as well as threatening and weakening America by their recklessness, fecklessness, spinelessness and arrogance, haven't Obama, Holder and their party have already grievously damaged themselves?

You wonder: Do Obama, Holder, Pelosi et al. really know with whom they toy so, in the CIA or the terrorist groups/countries? Or do they suspect at all that someday, they may be on the very wrong end of conduct such as theirs is now?

Regardless, all of us had best hope and pray that, because of actions such as Obama's current CIA witch hunt, another terrorist attack doesn't happen again on American soil.

For me, there also another unthinkable: That within my lifetime, there would be a president and his administration, plus his party—or, at least, its leaders—as well a malignant state-controlled media, that would be so nationally divisive and such tangible mounting threats to our country.
--  C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

TO DIE FOR
Re: Christopher Holland's letter in Reader Mail's Paying Dues:

Mr. Holland's piece was well written and thought out. I preemptively apologize for a "gotcha" but as a war veteran (Desert Storm), I feel a moral imperative to disabuse Mr. Holland of a gross misperception regarding war: "Winning is the only thing that counts and nobody prosecutes a victor."

Winning the war is of penultimate importance. The execution of the war is more important. The ethics of the Talmud, Bible and other holy writing influenced our Founding Fathers and have not (yet) been abandoned. We were founded "as a city on the hill" and a lamp unto the world. A superpower has superior might but that does not make it inherently right; its choices reflect its character. A superpower that imposes its will on others is superior in strength but inferior in morality.

A just war has two criteria: the cause must be just and so must be the prosecution of the war. Our enemies may or may not have moral convictions, but to continue to be a just people, we have to fight with an extra burden: morality. An American president (JFK, LBJ or Nixon) could have "glassed" the jungle. Even without using the nuclear option, our troops could have easily won the war in Viet Nam. We had massive superiority in troops and equipment, but we conducted ourselves in a manner to minimize "collateral damage." The same holds true for our use of force in Iraq. With air power alone, we could have destroyed every vestige of civilization in the area, but the brunt of the destruction would fall upon civilians. America chose morality over simplified victory. We continue to pay dearly with blood and treasure for this choice, but it is a choice for which American can continue to stand proudly.

Many a service member has had the words "Death before Dishonor" tattooed to his (or her -- for this instance I choose giving credit to the deserving over grammatical expedience) skin. The words are not a throw away punch line. They are words to live by. And sometimes die for.
-- I.M. Kessel

BILDT'S BILGE
Re: Daniel Mandel's The Refusal to Recognize Anti-Semitism:

"Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt retorted that freedom of expression had to be protected and that he lacked time to edit 'all strange debate contributions.'" Where was this editorial freedom when Muslims protested the comic(al) depiction of Mohammed?
-- I.M. Kessel

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