Reader Mail

One Referendum Too Many

Europe insists Irish apply. Matters of life and death. Dems per usual. Command of the seas. Ken and Quin. Plus more.

6.23.08

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GAELIC PRIDE
Re: George H. Wittman's Irish Eyes Aren't Smiling:

Will the EU insist on new votes until it finally gets what they want? In any normal society, one referendum on an issue usually suffices, but note I said normal. The EU has been trying to bully Great Britain for years, even to the point of dictating how many times a month the English should have their trash collected. The Brits are getting tired of it, and would walk away from EU if they could vote on the issue of being in the EU. Of that I am certain. They were conned in the first place by an unscrupulous Prime Minister and the Brits have been suffering since. They are being choked by the huge number of immigrants allowed to enter Britain, and if this policy is not changed soon, it will destroy what was once a wonderful country.
-- Jac Mills
USA

George H. Wittman's analysis of the effect of the Irish "no" vote on the EU's previously-rejected Constitution, now cleverly disguised as the Lisbon "Treaty" (well, not so cleverly disguised), was very good as far as it went. May I respectfully fill it out?

It should be added that only three countries have been allowed to present the ConstiTreaty to their electorate for a referendum, and all three rejected it.

The British referendum -- solemnly promised by all three major parties at the last election -- was rudely dismissed by the government of Gordon Brown on the grounds that the original EEC vote by referendum decades ago settled the matter. There have been rumblings of a general strike, civil disobedience, and even armed rebellion. Not a joke.

Furthermore, the EU politicrats continue to describe the ConstiTreaty as a refining of what's already there, blatantly ignoring a nest of vipers hidden in the reeds, not the least of which is a very powerful executive, a more-powerful Foreign Minister, a section making it more difficult for member states to avoid EU diktats, and others.

Moreover, ratified ConstiTreaty or no, the EU has already for some time been implementing some of the new features of that document, blatantly, illegally, and immorally.

Finally, the EU has not only ordered the governments who have not yet rubber-stamped the ConstiTreaty to get on with it and get it ratified, it has also ordered the Irish government to get on with correcting their deviant error.

The process of replacing the sovereignty of the formerly independent states of Europe with an ubermeister federal government is not nearly complete. Those who know best -- the politicrats of the U.S. of Europe -- will win.

And who will lose?
-- A. C. Santore

If the EU is fearful of the Islamic radicals, wait until it gets a load of the IRA. Your writer is right to advise caution by the EU in messing with the Irish.
-- Oldguy

BEST WISHES
Re: Lawrence Henry's Deliver Me or Take Me:

My prayers are added to yours and, I know, to the prayers of thousands of your readers. You have enriched my life with your past writings and I fully believe you will continue to do so! Don't give up.

G-d Bless You,
-- Eva Damato

Mr. Henry, you never fail to take my tortured breath away, so to speak. I suffer from chronic asthma, and believe me, there are days I think I'd rather have your kidney problem, as lung transplants are, well, let's just say they're not in the same league as kidney transplants. It gives me great comfort, though, to breathe the fresh air of one of your pieces in TAS any day. They're "write on." Whenever I am tempted to feel a little bitterness, or self-pity, I think of you, and it vanishes. You bless my life, sir. Thank you.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Mr. Henry, I have to say I was confounded by your piece. Why isn't hemodialysis an option this time around? I can appreciate your desire to have a working kidney but even more than in 1975 you have some good alternatives in 2008. You can participate in an online presentation hosted by the nonprofit Medical Education Institute through their Home Dialysis Central website 'How to Live a Good Life with Kidney Failure: Advice from a 42+ Year Patient.'

I know Nancy (who'll be the speaker), she's had 4 transplants and still works full time as a nurse. Nancy actually went through the selection process in 1966 as a 16 year old.

Typically someone in your position (failed second graft) can choose to deliver themselves, by choosing the best renal replacement therapy available. It may or may not be transplant; the choice is yours, not entirely His.
-- Bill Peckham

I have often disagreed with Mr. Henry, and a few times have written letters expressing that disagreement. Nothing personal, just a difference of opinion. I would like to type a few lines in appreciation of Mr. Henry's contributions to the intellectual atmosphere surrounding this publication. I, for one, hope that his latest transplant will be successful, and that he gets that extra decade that he desires. My father passed due to kidney failure brought on by diabetes. It is likely that I will succumb to the same fate at some undetermined time in the future, as I already have the diabetes. Mr. Henry, I wish for you that whatever God has in store for you will be accomplished. His will, His plan is indeed supreme. Mr. Henry, those of us that truly believe in a God that controls the fate of the universe and also the fate of individuals are the lucky ones. We can go into that good night without fear, without serious regret. How sad it is to contemplate the time of our leaving if we believe that there is nothingness. How chilling that would be, how fear inducing. After all, if you and I are wrong, then we simply expire. If the non-believer is wrong, he or she misses all of Paradise, and all of Eternity. Yes, Mr. Henry, either way you will shortly be a winner, and yes, despite all our cajoling, God's will shall be done. Good luck to you sir. As one of my favorite Southern Gospel singers used to say, "Getting old is not for sissies." Oh, and yes, I have a decade of seniority on you sir.

May God's blessing be upon you and all those that care about you.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

I look for your articles often because I share your point of view on many things, but especially since my Mom did five years of hemodialysis and everything you relate resonates.

Not sure if today's article "Deliver or Take..." means you're having a rough one, but I hope things resolve for the better. Because my Mom was 81 when she started, I don't have much experience with the transplant side, but can understand (OK -- since it wasn't me I can't fully understand) the suffering side. The few times I remember to pray, I pray for everyone who has a dialysis session coming up, ongoing, thinking about.....

There must be a special place in heaven for those who dialyze. And for the good folks (techs) who help. Dialysis brought agonizing trials to my Mom and our family, but incredible blessings in the people we met. Five years after her last session, and I still dream it's dialysis day, wondering how she'll do after so long away...

Take care, Mr. Henry
-- June Gaishin

Whenever I read a piece by Lawrence Henry I am reminded that my own problems are at best illusory. I only hope that when I am tested I can respond with one-tenth of his grace and courage.
-- Gene Schmidt
Brooklyn, New York

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION
Re: Shawn Macomber's Revolutionary Sellout Redux:

I trust no one reading Shawn Macomber's exposure of the Democrats' hypocrisy was surprised.

The recent history of the Democratic Party -- both in politics and in government -- has been a steady stream of broken promises and broken own-rules.

We need but quietly and respectfully breathe the names of The Right Honorable Senate Majority Leader and The Even MORE Right Honorable Speaker of the House, or the compound hypocrisies of the DNC's re-tooling of their own "democratic process" on an as-needed basis in order to get the results it wants, to see that this is nothing new. (Does "DNC" really stand for "Don't Need Consistency"?)

It's a pattern, I tell you, a pattern!
-- A. C. Santore

An effective way to support the First Amendment is to change current legislation to allow any and all U.S. citizens (and only U.S. citizens, sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton) to fund the candidates and campaigns of their choice. Couple this with the power of the internet, so far the ultimate free speech distribution system (thank you, Mr. Gore) and freedoms grows instead of being illegally and unconstitutionally undermined and denied. Any contribution over a certain dollar amount, say $2,500.00, must be reported to the FEC and posted on a searchable website run by the same. People can then log on and see who supports whom and infer what is logical. Contributions would become transparent, and as the nostrum goes, the light of day is the best disinfectant. Allowing for contributions and open access of information will increase citizen participation in exercising our civic duties. America was founded on principles of freedom. Now is not the time to turn our backs on the gifts we have been granted.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

LOST CAUSE
Re: Doug Bandow's LOST at Sea:

Pass this treaty and you will see all kinds of offshore drilling, none with American flags flying from the drilling platforms and all within view from anywhere along the complete coastal waters of America.

Do you think any of our senators in the coastal states realize that they will not be able to do a thing to stop this offshore drilling?

It is bad enough foreign countries are drilling fifty miles from Florida; how about fifty yards!
-- Oldguy

An excellent analysis and expose of the Law Of the Sea Treaty by Mr. Bandow. LOST is nothing more than the Kyoto Accord on steroids. It serves none of the interests of the United States. It serves to place 75% of the Earth's surface under the direct control of an extra-governmental agency that is independent of the US or any other government. And it grants this agency control of activities within the sovereign territory of the US and every other nation that has any physical link to the planetary oceans.

Unfortunately, many [if not most] of our Senators are salivating over the chance to ratify this treaty. Should that happen, not only may we NOT be able to drill for oil on our own continental shelf, but those drilling rights could be given to another nation, without our consent.

BAD, BAD treaty.
-- Michael Tobias

KEY WEST
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Colonel of Truth:

Every American should send Col. West $1.00 for his campaign. This guy is the real deal! We should all know his story. I'm glad he's running...maybe he can shame the other Republicans into discovering their manhood.
-- Gene Hauber
Meshoppen, Pennsylvania

I feel the need to make one relatively important correction to the "Colonel of Truth" article: Claw Shaw was a 13-term (26 years) Congressman, not a 13-year Congressman.
-- Charles P. "Chuck" Tiedje
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

MORAL EQUIVALENCE
Re: Jennifer Rubin's Reject and Denounce:

While I am in total agreement with Ms. Rubin in her thesis about Mr. Obama and his unwillingness to completely and totally reject and denounce Louis Farrakhan, I would like to posit a similar problem with Conservatives.

We have among us a person who fully as virulently anti-Semitic as Minister Farrakhan or Mr. Shabazz. I refer, of course, to Patrick Buchanan. While Mr. Buchanan is more circumspect in wording his Jew hatred than these two, it is no less vile.

Yet, with the single exception of William F. Buckley several years ago, I have not seen leaders of the Conservative media totally reject and denounce Mr. Buchanan and his ranting and railing against the "Neo-cons," his favorite code word for Jews. Far from it, two supposedly "conservative" web sites, Human Events and Townhall, regularly give a platform to Buchanan for his screeds. Sean Hannity had him on his program to promote his laughable "history" of World War II, and other Conservatives seem perfectly comfortable with Buchanan carrying around that label.

Let me say, loudly and clearly, that if this Grade A crackpot and his detestable views of the Jews are "conservative," I DO NOT WANT TO BE IDENTIFIED AS A CONSERVATIVE.

I would suggest that Conservatives clean this skeleton out of our own closet before we throw rocks at Obama for the same thing.
-- Keith Kunzler

WAR ON DEFINITIONS
Re: "Pastor" Don's letter (under "Too Soon?") in Reader Mail's Defenses Down:

Yah, yah, yah.

Sounds like you two are members of the same cult. Just keep selling your defense strategy doubletalk to each other at the Obamanista rallies. "Let's all chant: Bush Lied, the Troops Died" like we've never done before!

And, oh yah, the Twin Towers was an inside job. Cheney blew up the levees, too.

No need for you guys to worry about terrorists killing innocents, you're on a higher calling defending the Constitution. Yah, I'm afraid to pick up the phone and call my wife and talk dirty for fear Cheney is listening in. Talk about propaganda of fear. Can you spell P-A-R-A-N-O-I-A, Pastor Don?

The more you spout your half-baked doubletalk, the more you make old gray haired Maverick look like Top Gun, at least to sane people.

Tip of the Day: Next time you're whooping it up at one of your rallies, and you, like Chris Matthews, feel that tingle running down your leg, check for a dark spot on your pants.

Oh the Audacity of Hope!
-- Ron Ferrell
Manitou Beach, Michigan

DIALOGUE
Re: Ken Shreve's letter and Quin Hillyer's reply (under "Creative Writing") in Reader Mail's Just Married:

Like Mr. Shreve, I'm fed up with the timidity and weakness of Senate Republicans on the issue of confirming judges (and I appreciate Mr. Hillyer's numerous writings on the subject).

What I cannot fathom is why these Republicans are so timid on so many issues -- if they don't believe the Republican position on any of these matters, why do they run under the Republican banner? Why "show the flag & then tack away" -- if they don't believe it enough to act upon it, why say it at all?
-- Brad Bettin
Melbourne, Florida

If I might indulge your patience just a tiny bit more, I would like to comment on Quin's comment regarding my comment regarding his column regarding the slowdown in confirming judicial nominations. Phew! Now that is a sentence. Yes, Quin, I am aware that you have taken the offending GOP Senators to task in the past. My point is, why take the fight to the opposition party members when the GOP can not clean up its own house? Should they not at least TRY to take out the trash before chastising the neighbor for not disposing of his trash? Why should we expect the Dems to clean up our mess? They are the OPPOSITION party.

Quin, I ended my comment by using children's behavior as a metaphor for the situation discussed. Let me continue in that vein. Quin, if you simply cannot control the behavior of your children no matter how hard you try, that does not mean that you, therefore, should seek employment writing advice columns telling other parents how to control their children. If your kids are constantly in juvie court, I am not going to accept your advice about how I should be raising my honor roll student that never is in trouble. When you get the well worn paddle down and show your children that actions truly have consequences, then I will listen about my parental skills or lack thereof.

Perhaps my problem is that I am a Conservative who is registered as a Republican. You, it would seem, are a Republican that usually finds agreement with Conservatives. Don't get me wrong. That is not all bad. But neither is it all good. When you are ready and willing to take steps to send home the miscreant RINOs, even at the cost of the occasional Democrat getting elected, then the Senators like McCain, Graham, Warner, Hagel, et al. MAY finally realize that their actions do have consequences. Why should Arlen Specter believe that the GOP movers and shakers will do anything meaningful about his forays off the Republican reservation? Why should McCain fear retribution for his abandonment of the base of the Republican Party in favor of Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Russ Feingold, Pat Leahey, et al.? Oh yeah, we will get all worked up about some GOP office holder getting caught with his mistress while his wife sits at home. We will kick him out of office for that. We will rush to agree with the Dems that one of ours should be disciplined for an innocent remark at a tribute celebration. But we are admonished that we must do nothing when one of ours makes a concerted effort to get to the left of Chuckie Schumer, politically.

I realize that I am older than dirt, and thus was raised with a different set of values, etc., but I really do not think that it is useful to make a big deal about the behavior of the opposition party partisans until and unless we are in control of our own side. You do not see the Dems having a lot of trouble with mavericks within their ranks. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that they have the rules of party unity explained to them when they first show up on Capitol Hill? Could it be that there are real consequences for members that stray off the reservation without permission? Could it be that, when they do stray, they are called in for what we in the South always called a "Come to Jesus" meeting?

Well, Quin, enough. I know that you have called out our side before. I just don't think that it does any good to essentially admit failure and go to calling out the other side instead. Have a great time beating your head bloody against Pat Leahy's Senate Judiciary Committee wall. I will be glad to send you some Aspirin and an ice pack. As long as you are doing that, the RINOs figure that you are not watching them, so they are home free. Oh, and Conservatives like me can go sit in the corner and shut up until called upon to speak, or otherwise told what to do. Like Hell I will.
-- Ken Shreve

Quin Hillyer replies:
Now Mr. Shreve is having a temper tantrum. Again, though, his aim is wrong. First, nobody who knows me or who reads me could possibly, with a straight face, convince anybody that I am "a Republican that usually finds agreement with Conservatives," rather than vice versa. I have bled more for the conservative movement, while crossing the Republican establishment, than many self-proclaimed "conservatives" 20 years older than I. Second, he misses the implied criticism within my piece: I had to write that piece because GOP senators are still not making the case well enough on their own, so I was trying to frame the issue better for them. Third, I would note that Arlen Specter, of all people, has fought superbly hard and quite bravely on this issue for a full year now, without enough public support from his colleagues, and that Leader McConnell has now at least started to join him. McConnell's caucus needs to do more to back him up and embolden him, but they are moving in the right direction. Carrot and stick, Mr. Shreve, carrot and stick. I've applied plenty of stick in the past.

Finally, it is quite important to note the distinction between a lack of sufficient resolve, on the one hand, and utterly mendacious, mean-spirited, constitutionally subversive behavior, on the other. The GOP senators are perhaps guilty of the first. But the far worse sin, and thus the one that deserves far more calumny, is the latter behavior, which is characterized by Sen. Leahy and his liberal Democratic compatriots. They deserve far more "stick" than do the Republicans, and that's why I focused on them.

TAKING ALL COMERS
Re: Clifton Briner, Tricia Carr, "Frost," and David Gonzalez's letters (under "Glutton for Punishment") in Reader Mail's Just Married:

Nice try Mr. Gonzalez, Ms. Carr and Frost. But, any serious reader of David Ehrenstein's op-ed piece in the L.A. Times understands that he was commenting on the current state of race relations in the United States. As he said early in the article, he was writing about a particular perspective on the subject: "the Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education." Anybody who thinks Rush Limbaugh was within a country mile of commentary on a sociological perspective concerning race relations should see me immediately about a bridge in Brooklyn.

Mr. Briner, please spare me the sanctimony about savaging politicians' family members. I remember George Bush's primary campaign against John McCain, Cindy McCain and their daughter Bridget in S.C. in 2000 too well to be interested. If you don't recall that campaign, please do a little research.
-- Mike Roush

FAMILY MATTERS
Re: Frank Natoli's letter (under "In Sickness and in Health") in Reader Mail's Just Married:

Frank Natoli makes his point that the fight over gay marriage has been reduced to a pointless battle for what now been rendered an empty word. Indeed, the benefits associated with marriage can now be obtained through civil unions. Thus, Mr. Natoli ends his letter stating: "If Californians and Americans do not wish substantive differences between civil unions and "traditional" marriages, then it's time to recognize that the word has been rendered meaningless."

This war is lost. There is nothing to be gained anymore. Move on.

But I would suggest to Mr. Natoli that he should consider a different question. If the word "marriage" really has been drained of practical (real) significance and its major salient benefits are available under the legal fiction of "civil unions," why do advocates for gay marriage press the issue with greater urgency than before?

As with many things Liberal, the subject isn't the subject. The push for gay marriage is less about rights and more about radically changing society, its expectations and its approval. Just as activists reduce the definition of marriage into a contract between "two" loving, nourishing people," they will further deconstruct the mores of marriage with a sliding "meaning" of fidelity. Many gay couples are exclusive and monogamous. Many others, on the other hand, are quite fluid and complex. The expectation is your partner will seek additional sexual satisfaction in others outside the union. Yet, from the most sexually exclusive to those permitting serial (if temporary) extramarital relationships will be regarded as "marriage."

The reasonable question is why should anything that happens among gay relationships necessarily have any impact on opposite sex marriages? The answer lies in the quixotic nature of contemporary Liberalism. As seen in so many other areas, when liberals call for tolerance they typically are not really asking for more tolerance as much as lifting and moving the boundaries. As can be noted in homosexual publications and increasingly among "progressive" journals, there will a conscious and overt call for a rejection of "heterosexist" expectations for gay marriages because they are bigoted and discriminatory. Moreover, given the state of contemporary heterosexual marriage with its near pathological levels of adultery and divorce, it will be asserted that exclusive fidelity as a norm is an unrealistic and unhealthy standard for heterosexuals as well.

Of course, it will be said that the above is merely alarmist. It is tempting in cultural matters to conclude that we should seal a pact in which "you go your way and I'll go mine." But in matters such as these, a single question clears the fog of what really is a stake. What shall our children be taught? Under the reign of multiculturalism, the ideal of heterosexual exclusive marriage is simply one option among many and a suspect option at that -- and that is what our children will be taught.

Much of human history involves new generations reinventing the wheel. That is, relearning the cultural wisdom our forbearers already worked and fought so hard to learn and pass down to us. We dismiss the old wisdom as old hat and then we end up going through so much grief to conclude for ourselves what had already been passed down to us. Our course of rediscovery is costly and immensely wasteful on each of us. But what is worse, it is our children -- the most vulnerable and the ones with the least resources to get by -- who bear the crush of our "experiments." They are the ones who suffer the most.

Every bit of empirical evidence shows the in the main children are best nurtured in an intact family consisting of both their father and their mother. There is nothing to suggest this will ever change. It is an ideal until recently we have held up as having crucial value. Being just men and women, we often fall short in keeping the ideal. But it is a hard won wisdom to aim for; but it is a touchstone to measure ourselves by and to mark the way to go.
-- Mike Dooley

GET OUT
Re: George Neumayr's What the Counterculture Has Joined Together:

Mr. Neumayr ends his column with, "The revolutionary path blazed by the Summer of Love has terminated in the Summer of gay marriage, and there is no turning back unless the issue is engaged at a deeper level than politics."

An interesting statement, and one to which I couldn't agree more. However, I say we take it one step further. We need to engage on all "social" issues on a level deeper than politics. I'm a major promoter of getting government out of marriage. No more state-sanctioned marriages, only civil-unions. Leave marriage where it should be, the province of the church.

I feel much the same on abortion. Retain the legal access, and make the practice socially unacceptable, and discontinue public funds for it. Government, even state and local government, has very little place in social debate. One of the major problems in this country, for both the "right" and the "left" is that both sides have agreed that it is appropriate for government to make social, moral laws. This allows people the easier path; convince the politician and have him order your side into law. Remove this, and people of the "left" and the "right" have to go back to convincing the people.

Do not kill, do not rape, do not steal. That's all the government needs to be telling us. The rest should be up to us to determine.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

State and federal governments should get out of the marriage business. Marriage implies a religious sanctification committing two people. That introduces the issue over separation of church and state issues. States and the feds are not in the sanctification business. Unless we are talking about Obama.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

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