Reader Mail

Medal Performance

John Kerry's undying heroics. Also: McCain as Dewey. America's beverage. Our new 51st state. Plus more.

7.9.08

SWIFT TRUTHS
Re: Mark Hyman's Continued Unfitness for Command:

Mark Hyman's excellent column demonstrates the standard Democratic response to any scandal, which is to attack the accuser, claim victory and then continue to act indignantly whenever the issue is raised. In the case of John Kerry, the suspicious nature of his first Purple Heart award is compounded by the fact that he was apparently wounded three times during a four-month tour, yet never required any convalescence. His immediate return to duty following each incident would strongly indicate that his injuries were extremely slight, and that Kerry was exaggerating them in order to claim decorations for which he was not eligible. His supporters continue to claim that he was slandered, but their proof is, as Mr. Hyman points out, substantially less than compelling. Unfortunately, so long as Sen. Kerry continues to withhold his records, the issue will not be settled to the satisfaction of his supporters, who will continue to slander those who have firsthand experience with Kerry's leadership and found it wanting, however, any officer who refuses to provide proof of his right to wear his awards would be suspect, and there is a means of addressing the problem.

Under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, it is a federal crime to falsely represent oneself, "verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any colorable imitation thereof shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both." This bill passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent, which would presumably include Sen. Kerry's. If Kerry's first Purple Heart is in doubt, he has an obligation under the law to provide proof of his right to wear it. If he chooses not to, then he can be compelled by a formal complaint.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, US Army

John Kerry is a narcissist. He wanted to get his ticket "punched" as fast as possible while in Nam. As an officer, he had great leeway in creating paperwork to do such.

When one seriously ponders how a group of fellow swifties come together to denounce a fellow sailor, doesn't he conclude Kerry is a true phony, a liar, a con artist.

I wouldn't walk my dog on the same path this jerk took!

I've got the DD214 to back up my status. My opinions are derived from knowing real men who did real heroic acts, brave men who fought and protected their fellow sailors, honorable men who were proud to be American, to be sailors, to help the Vietnamese fight for democracy.

Kerry is a coward, in more ways than one. Medical record release... how simple an act to provide facts from which truths may be presented, or discovered. Phony.
-- RP
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't we still awaiting the full release of Sen. John Kerry's military records -- you know, the records he said a few years ago would be released with a few months?

Again, if there is one defining characteristic of today's liberals it is their propensity to lie.
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

The thing I noticed about Kerry's Purple Hearts was the order in which he received them.

For the three events for which Kerry claimed, he received a Purple Heart for the second event first, the third event second and the first event last. I looked at the documents Kerry had posted during the Presidential campaign, and the only substantiation of it was an admin memo saying, in effect, "give it to him."

To me, it looks like that Kerry realized, now that he had his ticket punch, he could get an early out if he could talk somebody into giving him a third Purple Heart for that earliest event.

I suspect that his command wanted him to go home, too, so they complied. There are ways and ways to get rid of people you just want to make go away and personnel clerks can do it.

I was a personnel specialist for the Army, 1971-1974 and I know whereof I speak.
-- Jacqueline Davis

Whilst pondering the bleatings of John Kerry and his minions on a blog recently, it occurred to me that they had every reason to protest the "swiftboating" of the prep school blowhard, Winter Soldier Senator...What they fail to appreciate is that, notwithstanding their long-term efforts, the true definition of "to swiftboat" is "to tell the truth about." That understood, one can appreciate their squealing....
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

It is also interesting to note that Kerry did not receive his honorable discharge until 1978 when Jimmah Carter pardoned all the draft dodgers from the Vietnam War. The cowards! He was still in the active reserves when he met with the North Vietnamese in Paris. Really, he should have been tried for treason and being a traitor.
-- Mike Barbour
Naperville, Illinois

Will there ever be a definitive answer on whether Kerry is (was) lying or the Swiftboaters are (were) lying? In the alternative, can we just make this all go away?
-- Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

HONOR IS FOR LOSERS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Dewey, McCain, and the Politics of Personal Honor:

Jeffrey Lord ignores the most obvious pitfall John McCain faces whenever he dares to criticize Barack Obama: an in-the-tank media and Obama's campaign surrogates defining such criticism as "racist." John McCain thinks he's been invited to a tea dance. By the time he figures out it's a mud-wrestling match, it may be too late.

As for honor, there's nothing honorable about "gracefully" handing the election to an unabashed socialist.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Mr. Lord has his mind on the nub of Senator McCain's present and future problems as a candidate. McCain calls too much attention to his own virtue and not enough to his plan for the country. It comes off like that person we all know who sits in the first pew at church or an aging athlete who can't let go of his past career. He would do better if he accepted a plan put together by his advisors and experts and sold the plan as its capable leader. The "Pristine" comment about ANWR, not wanting to drill there, epitomizes his problem and will be his albatross if he does not drop it. The same is true of global warming and his carbon credit-trading scheme. It is incompatible with new drilling that he correctly proposed to deal with a pressing and immediate problem. The country wants results not piety. Mitt Romney could help McCain immeasurably in a conversion from "pious virtue" to "taking care of business."

Bill Clinton almost made the same mistake when he started the "Man From Hope" myth before he proved he could lead. He was smart enough to drop it like a hot potato when he realized it would be up to historians to write such an epitaph. Senator McCain should take Mr. Lord's advice.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

I appreciated Jeffrey Lord's comparison of Thomas Dewey and John McCain. Hopefully, the latter will not suffer the fate of the former. McCain may want to borrow a page from the successful Nixon campaign and call on the silent majority of decent Americans to reject the anti-American radicalism of Democrat Obama.

That said I must admit I'm more intrigued in how Barack Obama is an amalgam of George McGovern, Mike Dukakis, Walter Mondale, Al Gore, John Kerry, Bill Clinton and most disturbingly America's worst President, Jimmy Carter. He seems to embody the worst characteristics of each of these men. He's egocentric, arrogant, paranoid, inept, inexperienced, hypocritical and cowardly, but what makes him even more insufferable and dangerous is he's pathologically devious and dishonest. Obama makes Bill Clinton look like a man of integrity and that's saying a lot.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

LIGHT HEARTED
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III's This Bud's Not for You:

How many Americans remember years back in 1969 when AMF bought Harley Davidson Motorcycle Corporation? This resulted in a labor strike and a lower quality of bikes. The bikes were expensive and inferior in performance, handling, and quality to Japanese motorcycles. Sales declined, quality plummeted, and the company almost went bankrupt.

What binds Harley Davidson and Anheuser-Busch together is that they both are unique American institutions that are recognizable all over the world and this uniqueness and recognition is the driving force of the companies' success.

The InBev Anheuser-Busch deal has similarities to AMF and Harley Davidson. InBev doesn't look at Anheuser-Busch as an American institution but just a boardroom statistic that has the propensity for large profits that will be achieved by massive and draconian cost-cutting measures that will be implemented by faceless corporate automatons, who could care less if Anheuser-Busch is American, Chinese, or any other national beer. Anheuser-Busch is just another profitable acquisition and everything else is irrelevant.

It is a given if this deal is approved either by a friendly, or hostile takeover, the quality of Anheuser-Busch that has been its hallmark will surely decline as did Harley Davidson after the AMF buyout. Anheuser-Busch will lose its Americana, it will lose its only one of a kind quality, and it will cease to be American corporate icon.

I write as a United States Marine who has drunk his quota of two cans of Budweiser sitting on a 100-degree flight deck on a United States Naval warship floating around the Persian Gulf during a steel beach party. A small part of it was, "damn this cold beer tastes good," but the biggest part purely symbolic, because the main reason that those cans of Budweiser tasted so good was that it tasted of home, it tasted American, those simple red and white cans of Budweiser was a testament of everything that is and will be American. Those two cans represented New York City, Seattle, Portland, and every American city, village and town across our country and it validated at least on a personal level in why I was sitting on that flight deck in the middle of nowhere.

Oh sure my opinion will be scoffed at by the globalists and free market purists, but then again as Americans who cares what the globalists think anyway, come to think of it, they don't even like drinking beer anyway, it isn't considered chic.
-- Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I have no problem with InBev buying Anheuser Busch, mainly because AB has squandered an opportunity.

Simply put, AB is the GM of beer companies. They produce mediocre beer and depend on marketing/patriotism to keep sales up.

Their strategy will ultimately fail. Americans are realizing that Budweiser is a boring, bland lager and that Bud Light should have lost the ability to be called "beer" years ago.

AB is on a downhill slope even if they are lucky enough to stay intact. Tricking people into consuming a bad product is not a sound strategy.
-- Brian

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Re: Mark Tooley's Swimming in Drag to Help the Poor:

Mark Tooley fails to point out that "ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History, launched by Bono of the band U2" is the "perfect" charity for the liberal wing of the United Methodist Church. The campaign does not do anything so mundane as actually give food to the hungry or provide malaria-preventing bed nets in Africa. Rather, ONE lobbies the U.S. government and other governments to tax their people more so that the governments can give more money to the poor or spend more taxpayer money on other schemes to eliminate poverty. If these people actually interacted with the poor they could use that interaction to testify about the riches that come with a life in Christ. They could even model Christ's love. However, by lobbying government instead of actually interacting with the poor, they crowd out those Christians who might provide spiritual sustenance with their material gifts, reducing the likelihood that the poor who are helped will hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Seeing the liberal wing of my church act in that fashion instead of personally showing Christ's love to the world is a lot more irritating than seeing them make fools of themselves by swimming in drag.
-- John Hockert
Albuquerque, New Mexico

It is interesting and reassuring that the churches that support (dare I say, flaunt) gay marriage are suffering declining memberships. Meanwhile, churches that support the "California Marriage Protection Act," such as the Evangelicals, Protestants, Roman Catholics and the Mormons, are growing, or at least, keeping up with the population growth. Fanatics on the left are driving people out of their own churches, it would seem.

There are really three aspects to marriage, in my opinion - spiritual, legal and religious. The spiritual aspect is between the two people that are married. Despite the recent emergence of "thought crime" (also called hate crime), there really is nothing the government or anyone else can do to control the spiritual thoughts of marriage. What two people united in marriage think and feel about each other and their relationship with God is beyond the control of even the most earnest and zealous bureaucrat, and it is also none of their business.

However, laws can be made that affect the legal rights and "privileges" of married couples. Traditionally, laws have been created to help out those that wish to marry and raise future citizens, since, and I speak from experience, raising children is no way to get rich or live an easy life, but it does help to guarantee the future existence of society. This has been recognized by civilizations for many thousands of years. Hence, today's tax deductions and marriage tax brackets exist to soften the struggle to raise future members of society. Government has a rightful place to control the legal aspects of marriage, as long as our government is of the people and still respects the rights of individuals (thank God for the Constitution!).

Religion is the 3rd aspect to marriage. Religions are groups of people with similar spiritual viewpoints, and they each deploy institutionalized systems of attitudes, beliefs and practices (see Merriam-Webster). They are run by people, and are therefore susceptible to imperfection, but these institutions are protected by the 2nd Amendment. The government may not interfere with a religious groups practices - if a certain religion says that marriage is between a man and a woman, that is there right, and the government may not interfere. Conversely, even if a religion stated that a marriage is only between two men or between two women, the government may not interfere.

I propose a solution to today's marriage political issues. Let states have the right to grant civil unions between any two human beings, regardless of sex. Gay couples in a civil union may enjoy the same legal benefits of marriage as any couple in a more traditional marriage. While the majority of religious people in this country do not believe in gay marriage, most will not vigorously oppose this with one condition: the government must not interfere with the religious rights of any church that does or does not believe in gay marriage, and they must not ever force a church to conduct such a ceremony against their principles, nor may they ban a church from conducting such a ceremony. Also, the government must not deny the right of any individual to have an opinion on gay marriage, and they cannot force one to behave or act in a manner that is against their beliefs.

This solution should stop the antics of the pro-gay marriage crowd, if it was only the legal aspects of marriage that they were interested in. However, I suspect that they will also want to influence our spiritual and religious beliefs, too, and will try to use legal methods to do so. Perhaps a new constitutional amendment on gay marriage, as outlined above, is needed to protect the rights of everybody on both sides of this issue?
-- Mike Spencer
Missouri City, Texas

WILL O'THE IRISH
Re: Doug Bandow's The Irish Exception:

May I congratulate Doug Bandow on his excellent and well-informed article about the present situation in the European Union.

As he writes: "A few Eurocrats advocate tossing the Irish out of the EU," for having the temerity to exercise their legal right of veto over proposed changes to the EU treaties.

Even though that right is embedded in Article 48 of the present Treaty on European Union, a treaty which is in legal force, while there is no treaty provision which permits a member state to be expelled from the Union for any reason whatsoever.

And even though another current treaty article explicitly prohibits any form of discrimination of the grounds of nationality, let alone the collective punishment of a whole nation because the majority of those who cast their votes in a referendum voted the "wrong" way.

This is about national sovereignty, and the right of a nation to freely decide whether or not it will consent to be bound by a new international treaty.

And it is about national democracy, the only real democracy in a multinational union which lacks a single, coherent "demos." Democracy being not just government of the people by the people, but government of the people by the same people, not by other peoples in other countries.

But now, beyond these issues of national sovereignty and democracy, it is becoming a question of something even more fundamental -- the rule of law.

It does not auger well for the future of Europe that some Eurocrats have reacted to the Irish 'No' by suggesting that the present EU treaties, solemnly agreed and legally binding contracts between nations, could simply be torn up.
-- Dr. D. R. Cooper
Maidenhead
Berkshire, England

I have been following very closely the development of the "U.S. of Europe" since the late 1950s and early 1960s, when my Economics professor -- a refugee from Europe after World War II -- laid out the development of the U.S. of E., starting with the Common Market.

He has been spectacularly accurate in every one of his predictions. Doug Bandow's analysis of matters as they stand today is an accurate restatement as history of some of his predictions.

Here are the three major problems as I see them. (I apologize for the length of this letter, but it's a complicated issue.)

1. I disagree with Mr. Bandow in this one particular -- we DO have a great interest in what happens with the U.S. of E. However, I agree with him that we should mind our business. There can be no good to come of our meddling, however "theoretical" that might be. What will happen will happen with our input or without it.

2. We in the United States of America tend to see history as being about two presidencies old. That includes our view of the history of Europe, as well, and it fuels our inability to get it right.

3. Europe has a history more than two millennia old, and even a cursory examination of their history will show that tyrannical governments have always been there, starting with the Romans and all of their enemies to the north. They do not see tyrannical governments as either unusual or necessarily bad.

Look at the Soviet Union as a most recent example. The Russians, after having lived under tyrannical governments for all of their history, have become so uncomfortably itchy about "democracy" that they are welcoming Putin-style tyranny with nostalgic relief.

In our own recent 20th century, Germany, Italy, and Spain, Turkey, and Yugoslavia have all accepted governments that were seriously tyrannical to one degree or another.

We ourselves had to overthrow a tyrannical Britain to find our freedom, and that harsh experience has given us the Second Amendment to help to maintain that ability. In his Citizen of America, Noah Webster said it most clearly. "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe." Not only has that rule not changed, but at this moment, the E.U. is about to force through an E.U. standing army. Literally. Their next trick will be the elimination of any state armies. The tyranny will then be complete.

The Irish, like us, do not respond well to tyranny, as again history shows, but sadly, as Mr. Bandow correctly points out, the E.U. has effectively prevented any other country from holding a referendum which would have the same result.

The final layer on this poisoned cake is the fact that, in their self-interested rush to get "equal" with U.S. economic strength, most Europeans have allowed a central core of politicrats -- always bent on a strong central tyranny administered by themselves - who are convinced that they "know best" what's good for Europe, to highjack their economic dreams and turn them into an incipient political nightmare.

Someday, most likely after I'm gone, we here in the U.S. of A. will have to spend our blood and money to deal with the coming infernal mess of the U.S. of E.

Count on it. Read European history and count on it.
-- A. C. Santore

Why not confound the Europeans by proposing negotiations with the Irish over statehood? The Irish may not be interested, but an attempt to convince them would be amusing, especially for its effect on the EU bureaucrats.
-- Michael J. Lynch
Atlanta, Georgia

OBAMA AND GOD
Re: Letters under "Please, God, Make Me President" in Reader Mail's The Gospel of Politics:

While I will not support Obama under any circumstances, I think we should take a bit of caution in assessing Obama's faith or lack thereof. While previous letter writers have valid points to make -- especially that use of religious language is no proof of actual faith -- we should heed one Christ's own parables.

In this parable, the Master's fields are sown with wheat. During that night, his enemy came and sown tares (just think "weeds") among the wheat. In the next few days, the wheat and the tares sprouted together. (During the early stages of growth, it is difficult to tell one from the other.) Then the parable continues:

"The servants said unto [the Master], 'Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?' But he said, 'Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.'"

The parable ends with the Master saying that at the harvest time the wheat and tares will be separated with the tares to be burned and the wheat gathered into the barns. (Matthew 13: 28-30)

Our lesson is that it is hazardous to judge the sincerity and depth of another's faith -- deciding in the place of God who is actually His. While things don't look so good for Obama, we must remember that our Lord also said many prostitutes and "tax collectors" will walk before us into the city of God because they had heard the Word of God and repented.

The disposition of Obama's soul is one area we should avoid speculation.
-- Mike Dooley

SHREVE PORT
Re: Diane Smith, "A Reader," and Ira Kessel's letters (under "Bradley and Helms" and "Please God, Make Me President") in Reader Mail's The Gospel of Politics:

I find today that there is much wisdom in the "Letters" section of your emagazine issue, as usual.

First, the letter by Diane Smith. She writes of a piece that she has saved out of the MSM of years past. It speaks of Sens. Jesse Helms and Bill Bradley. The article speaks of two "gentlemen." That is an interesting word. There are very few "gentlemen" left in our society. Jesse Helms was the consummate Southern Gentleman. Like Diane, I am old enough to have been raised to understand that term, in all its implications. I was also raised to value very highly the qualities embodied in being a Southern Gentleman. I was taught that one could not always be among the wealthy, but that one could always strive to be a "gentleman," and that wealth had nothing to do with whether one was, or was not, a gentleman. Sen. Bradley was also a gentleman. Just not a "Southern Gentleman." There really is a bit of a difference. I miss Jesse Helms with an equal fervor to my morning of the loss of Ronald Reagan. Our country is much the poorer because we no longer seem to value the qualities of gentlemanliness. Of course, as Mr. Hillyer would say, I am just having a temper tantrum. By the way, Quin, name-calling is NOT one of the things that "gentlemen" engage in.

Second, are the letters by A Reader, and Mr. Kessel regarding Obama and his words about faith. I had the same reaction as these writers to the portions of a speech by Obama, and what they mean. My attention to the real meaning of the words uttered by speakers, particularly of the political variety, that I was taught, was reinforced during the Clinton years. I understand that any sales pitch simply must be parsed very closely, lest we be deluded to buy into a pig in a poke. No matter how much lipstick you put on the pig represented by the Obama illusions to a Christian faith, it is still a pig. I have also learned during this election cycle that entirely too many conservative Christian fundamentalists and Evangelicals seem to be going out of their way to be deceived. As Rush Limbaugh so often says, "Words mean things." The meaning does not change simply because we may want it to. Pay attention to the meaning of the words used. That is what is called common sense, another scarce commodity today.
-- Ken Shreve

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