Re: Andrew Cline's Big Oil Democrats:
Mr. Cline's prescription for taking back the issue of the high price of gas and fuel oil, and oil company profits is fine, as far as it goes, but he leaves out a piece of data the needs constant reiteration in the current debate. That piece of data is the huge amounts that the oil companies remit to the government in taxes. This should be broken down into the corporate income taxes and the federal and state taxes paid at the pump on a gallon of gas.
I am all in favor of the economics lesson that Mr. Cline advocates, but the general public, stupid or not, can slough it off if it is not tied directly to their own wallets. It should be a constant refrain from McCain about the taxes paid at all levels by the oil companies. That ties the economic lesson directly to our wallets; it makes the information a reality to the American consumer, many of whom pay little attention to the facts underlying the issue. If I could advise McCain, I would have him include this riff in virtually every speech that he gives on the campaign trail. It should be drilled into the consciousness of Americans just like the "Drill here, drill now" campaign sound bite until the public reflexively thinks of it every time anyone starts to rant about the high price of oil at the pump, or in our heating oil tanks, or the price of truck diesel that is included in the price of everything that we buy at the grocery store.
-- Ken Shreve
I've got a response for Bill and Hillary Clinton's relative (Barbara Boxer) -- Democrat Congress = $4+ gas prices. Not until Democrats seized control of Congress on a platform of outright lies and liberal blue dogs promising to support conservative values did we see gasoline prices skyrocket to over $4 and the booming Bush/Republican economy slow down.
As far as Obama condemning John McCain for taking legal contributions from American corporations, he should clean up his own act and quit taking illegal donations from foreign Muslims with links to terrorist groups like Hamas. Better $2 million from Big Oil than over $2 million from shady Middle Easterners.
Let's not forget Obama's only regret about the high gas prices is that American's didn't have time to get used to them. This is really a guy who cares about the little guy isn't it? Like Obama, Al Gore thinks gas prices are too low and should be over $5 a gallon. John Conyers wants to raise the Federal gasoline tax and Bill Clinton if he'd gotten his way would have doubled energy taxes in his first administration. Democrats don't give a tinker's damn about working Americans paying higher gas prices. What really matters to Democrats is power -- naked raw power for them, their families and their cronies who they make rich on the backs of the American people -- time to show Americans who the grossly rich are and how they're getting that way by abuse of power.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq
If Big Mac says, "No more!" to Big Oil he can put to rest the Big Lie of the Madam Speaker, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic Party. If McCain announces that the GOP platform will include the complete dismantling of all corporate taxation and wealth redistribution (i.e., corporate welfare), he will strengthen his outreach to fiscal conservatives and will show that he, unlike Obama, is serious about solving structural economic problems and not just turning every which way like a weather vain blown by the latest idiot wind. Many think that "economics is not his strong suite," but what can be simpler for his (and the American people) understanding than zero interference. Less means more: more innovation, more free flowing capital, and more money in the people's pockets. Obama is most excellent at obfuscating while McCain is the man with the "straight talk." What can be more straight, and less Obama, than stating the government is getting out of the business of minding corporate business?
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
I would like to believe Republicans teaching Americans some "basic economics" regarding oil would turn it into a winning issue for them. But considering the years of re-distributionist nonsense that's been shoved down our throats--under the banner of "fairness," no less--it could be a hard sell.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Re: John Samples's Four More Lies:
1) The doctrine of equality brings the end of progress. Progress of every sort throughout history has been propelled by the desire for inequality. Equality makes us poor, inequality (in a free society) makes us all richer, and yet more unequal. That is the conundrum, to some.
2) Entitlements -- "raising taxes, cutting spending, or both." As long as we do not wish to solve the problem, there is a third way. Merely raise the age to receive entitlements to the point where these funds pay for themselves, however badly. That's reality, so get used to it.
-- James Wilson
You can stop with lie number #2, as far as I am concerned. As the mother of a serving son who fears that my son will be calling Obama Commander-in-Chief (please God, help us!), I fear those wars in places like Somalia and Sudan. Dems are free with the military in particularly strange causes. And since these Dem presidents don't have nerve, when things get tight or difficult, they falter, resulting in lots of men and women killed. Picture Obama being in command, after this week's incursion by Russia into Georgia. Obama's spokesperson, Rice, started attacking John McCain's stance (which was spot on), responding that Obama's response was dictated by the facts when they became known. What the heck is that supposed to mean? When the enemy strikes you want someone fixed and decisive in charge.
To military families far and near it means this is a man that waffles, tries to second guess, doesn't have backbone, if elected, will put those we love in harm's way needlessly. We have seen this before and repeatedly from Carter to Clinton. And I thank God daily that Al Gore wasn't President on 9/11, since our family had a son just beginning his service.
For those who want to draw insinuations that we "invaded" Iraq, I stick with Rush Limbaugh's reminder yesterday that Iraq was already on a short string being monitored by the U.N. and having some 15 security counsel violations. Now that the main stream media has published reports of the tons of WMD's found in recent months (no, you only heard about this on conservative sites, not a peep by MSM!), we can be grateful that the constancy of President George Bush reigned during this time. Not prone to poll-driven leading or to defending himself repeatedly, he sacrificed any personal dignity and vilification (and possible impeachment from the Nutroots), to stand firmly in the gap and defend our country.
I pray each day for God's leading and that those who would destroy this fine life of freedom not succeed in their mission. Life with Sharia law should terrify most Americans, but only those of us who faced terrorism abroad in the 1980's understand that our enemies are determined and their planning is for the long term, unlike our weak will to stay constant in anything we do.
"Give me liberty or give me death," said Patrick Henry, and for this fall election this should be our cry as well, in the face of hostile animus by our enemies. May we understand that who we vote to lead us could prove to be the most important election in the history of democracy.
-- Bev Gunn
Number 3 is based on the false premise of Man-made Climate Change. The fact is that we cannot even now say with accuracy that we are entering a warm period.
Moreover we didn't cause the present climate and we certainly cannot change it in a meaningful controlled way.
Finally, we need to remember that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and has varied over the eons in warming and cooling cycles, and that there is no doubt that for all of the nine planets, the sun is what controls climate. not 38 atomic particles in every 100,000 air particles. CO2 is 50% heavier than Air, it sinks, it does not rise up into the stratosphere. And CO2 is not a pollutant either except Maybe Algore's hot air.
Before you involuntarily reduce your standard of living and accept the loss of your freedom, go back and research the claim of man causing weather. Your return to the stone age is a study in futility.
-- G .B. Hall
A FEW BAD MEN
Re: W. James Antle III's The Last Frontier:
There's no doubt that Stevens' outrage about these charges is not "how could they accuse of me of doing something wrong" but rather "how dare they accuse me at all." He's like Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men, so convinced of his superior wisdom and power that he is above the standards that apply to mere mortals.
I believe there is a fundamental flaw in the American political model when the Congressional seniority system, coupled with the ability of incumbents to dominate the political apparatus in small state, topped off by right of small states to wield disproportionate influence in the Senate, creates such monstrosities as Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd. Human egotism being as it is, such long-time officeholders reach the point where they equate the good of their state with their own personal good, and frame attacks on themselves as attacks on their state ("L'etat, c'est moi!). Before long, their longevity itself becomes the justification for them remaining in office ("If I'm not re-elected, our state will lose its influence!").
If the Senators from the 26 states with the lowest populations were to vote together against all the rest, the Senate representatives of 19% of the American population could outweigh the other 81%. This gives an idea of the damage that a Ted Stevens can do, lasting for decades. There is no greater argument for term limits than Ted Stevens.
Thanks for your consideration. I know I am at best hopelessly idealistic and more likely delusionally naive, but that's how I feel.
-- Bill Pai
Unfortunately, we, the American voters, get the kind of governance that we ask for, and deserve, by the choices that we make when we go to the voting booth. The founding fathers were concerned about this very thing. That was shown when it was noted that we might be in trouble once the "people" figured out that they could vote themselves money from the federal treasury. I devoutly wish that we were allowed to administer a history and civics test as a requirement for the privilege of voting.
-- Ken Shreve
Re: Sean Higgins' Gullible Gospel:
What a great read by Sean Higgins! And now we discover that, having thrown Rev. Wright under the bus, Obama has chosen to lead his coronation in Denver a woman who is perfectly comfortable with black liberation theology.
-- Mary McLemore
Pike Road, Alabama
Re: Peter Ferrara's Flower Power:
Allow me to summarize, if I may, this article and so many others like it in one sentence:
"Energy questions in the United States flow from the very fact that we have an energy policy in the first place."
That is: this "energy crisis" -- inaptly named despite the ready availability of gasoline anywhere, at least until Inauguration Day -- arises, for the most part, from the same place that most problems causing politicians everywhere to gnash their teeth and bewail our misfortune come from: first, from the mistaken belief that if we shoot a sufficiently large ball of dollars out of a sufficiently powerful cannon at whatever befuddles or vexes us, that it will go away, never mind any relevant track record of failure, or any constitutional authority to do so, or the possible effect on our personal freedom and property rights; and second, the fact that we do not leave our neighbors alone so long as they return the favor.
We approach and harass strangers if we spot them smoking or driving alone in a large, thirsty vehicle, or if we disagree with they way they raise their own children; we allow faceless bureaucrats to design education curricula for a nation of 300 million; we refuse to see our own health care or retirement as our own responsibility; we think it is our business, through our representatives and their police enforcers, to see to it that the driver in the next car has his seat belt fastened or doesn't drive faster than we'd like, and in turn, allow them -- our neighbors and representatives -- to make these decisions for us. The list could effectively be endless; were government silent on these matters, your pocket would not be picked, nor your leg broken.
Yes, (Prime) Minister (BBC series of the '80s) had it succinctly put twenty years ago: Government departments are tombstones; the Department of Energy marks the grave of Energy, the Department of Education marks the grave of Education, etc. The depth of a problem is in direct proportion to governmental immersion in it. This is its own argument for smaller, disinterested government; it matters not who controls it, since each side wishes to use its power to entice or coerce you (and business, and everyone else) into doing their particular bidding; it matters only that their influence is reduced to the barest minimum. Better that the states abandon their manifest failures in these and other areas and confine themselves generally to reacting when the life, liberty, or property of another is harmed, and better still that the federal government confine itself to those constitutionally directed duties.
-- John M. Lengyel
Senator's Obama and McCain apparently agree that higher CAFE standards are desirable -- to encourage petroleum conservation. While the idea of focusing mandates on manufacturers rather than consumers can rightly be ridiculed as a political ploy, the standards can still be effective, and don't necessarily deny consumer choice.
Manufacturers are free to violate the CAFE standards -- they simply must pay penalties. To recoup the cost of CAFE penalties the manufacturer can simply raise the retail price of less efficient cars. That's what BMW and Porsche do -- in a typical year they pay the USA $5m each in CAFE penalties, and obviously still make a profit selling cars here. The real problem with the CAFÃ‰ standards -- from an energy policy perspective -- is that the penalties are too low to accomplish anything. The penalty -- for flunking the standards by 10 miles per gallon -- is the equivalent of adding $850 to the cost of a car. If the goal is to reduce use of petroleum (without keeping prices high, so as enrich unstable and adversarial governments) the only solution is to artificially raise the cost of driving, through either a gas tax hike or CAFE standards with much higher penalties. If the goal is not to reduce petroleum consumption, and let the chips fall where they may, we just continue what we've been doing.
-- Donald Susswein
Washington, District of Columbia
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s In Michael Phelps' Skin:
Interesting article by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. In short, Mr. Tyrrell is a bona fide purist -- a distinction he clearly earned. And maybe the IOC should ban such 'outfits' but the harsh reality are these:
Artificial skins are allowed (even coarse to mimic a shark!)
The benefits are negligible.
An Olympic swimmer is certainly distanced from an Olympic near-miss swimmer with or without such assistance.
I asked one of Phelps' early coaches about those special suits a year ago. His response was simply "either the swimmer's got it or they don't...the suit will not win the race."
The same discussion regarding swimming attire can be lent to running shoes. Compare the 'typical' track star's shoes to those from the same Rome Olympics. Heck, compare/contrast Abebe Bikila's barefoot win in 1960 to today's top runners. It is what it is. If everyone is wearing shoes, the guy with the Jack Purcell's doesn't stand a chance with the guy wearing Asics' GEL-Kinseis.
Phelps's achievements are monumental. Suppose everyone in the pool loses .5 seconds not wearing the space-swim-suits. The margin of victory remains the same. And Phelps remains the greatest of Olympic athletes.
-- Kevin Scally
PAT ON THE BACK
Re: Diane Smith's letter (under "Doppelganger") in Reader Mail's If Slogans Were Jobs:
Amazing. Scrolling down, reading the start of the next letter, 'n I say to myself, "self, there's another terrific Diane Smith letter." And it is. Or Ira, Beverly Gunn, or several others with distinctive writing styles or wonderful ways of thinking. Yet, it's the substance, along with style; no Pabulum Puke letter writers here, the most stimulating bunch of contributors of any publication I've been privileged to come across -- even those with whom I disagree. And I thank you.
I nominate Diane Smith's letter as the best you have ever printed. And go ahead and Google "frim-fram sauce and shifafa on the side." You will learn a lot. I did.
-- Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
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