Reader Mail

Other People’s Money

Big mouths, small hearts. Webb spun. Some people never learn. Others do. Plus more.

6.9.08

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REALLY CARING
Re: Peter Schweizer's Liberal Scrooges:

Peter Schweizer is confused. Liberals don't give away their own money. They give away other people's money. The reason? Why in the world would one subsidize compassion personally, when you can get someone else to do it -- and still get the credit for it?
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

What does it cost an individual to be generous with someone else's resources? Just enough to assuage one's sense of responsibility for the plight of the less fortunate apparently. But can we really call compulsory participation in government social programs charity? In his book, Who Really Cares?, Arthur Brooks differentiates between governmental attempts to alleviate social ills and real charity, "Let us be clear: Government spending is not charity. It is not a voluntary sacrifice by individuals. No matter how beneficial or humane it might be, no matter how necessary it is for providing public services, it is still the obligatory redistribution of tax revenues." No matter how much the government extracts from a person's paycheck it does not qualify as true charity.

When asked about their miserly contributions to charitable organizations I've read statements by prominent progressives who justify their lack of giving by maintaining that it's the government's job to take care of the disadvantaged. Others advocate granting the government the power to extort an even greater percentage of their (and our) income for such purposes. Since they can easily afford higher tax rates, it seems like the logical choice to them. It reminds me of the retort Ebenezer Scrooge gave when questioned about his refusal to give anything to assist the poor at Christmastime, "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" After all, he paid his taxes which were collected to take care of these unfortunate occurrences didn't he? In other words, do what you need to do just don't ask me to get my hands dirty.
-- Rick Arand

I just want to make a quick point on the use of the allusion to Robin Hood so often used by such Liberal Scrooges as outlined in this article.

This allusion has really been bothering me of late, in no small part because of the "Robin Hood Program" here in Texas that takes money from richer school districts and moves into the budgets of poorer ones.

It is technically true (according to legend) that Robin Hood robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. But it's important to remember that Robin of Loxley lived in the 11th century in England. A time when the rich were the Aristocracy, and thus the Government. Anytime one uses the government to take from one to give to another, it is not an action worthy of Robin Hood.

He was fighting the government. We should remember that instead. I'm sure that Mr. Schweizer was using this allusion in irony.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

As a military officer I make significantly less than the Democrat politicians who want to appease terrorism, raise working American's taxes and punish successful American corporations, but I still give a heck of a lot more to charity than they ever do (I make their racist Presidential nominee look like the empty suit he is). Of course, I'm a lifelong Republican and a conservative, so I'm actually interested in doing good rather than spouting a lot of BS like greedy Democrats (the party of the rich) who want to steal from the workers and give to themselves and their special interest groups.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

"The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation." -- William Hutton.

The Bible commanded that a tithe be made to assure social justice. Today, few give a full tenth of their earnings to charity to assure that their brethren are fed and sheltered. But the good people of the Exodus were not being taxed for near 50% of their incomes, nor did they have to deal with oppressive bureaucracies. If Big Brother would get out of the way of business and out of our pockets, charity rates would surely soar. Human beings, generally, are of a generous nature. It is under the crushing burden and heel of big government that people become callous. When people believe the governments' claims that it can cure all of its social ills, the social contract frays and becomes shredded. The social contract is like a summer dress: it is best when it is light and unrestricting, causing much stimulation in both the beholding and the wearing. When we are feeling freer as a people, we will give more even when others are not looking.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

Mr. Schweizer misapprehends the liberal dogma. That is best illustrated by a joke currently circulating on the net.

Mr. Obama, Ms. Clinton and Mr. McCain are walking together in a city and spy a poor man on the street begging.

Mr. Obama looks through his pockets and says to McCain "I've come out with no money. Could you give him something for me and something to me so I can buy lunch?" McCain does that.

Ms. Clinton snatches Mr. McCain's wallet and takes out $25.00. She gives the beggar $5.00 and keeps the rest explaining "that's for administrative costs." She pockets the wallet.

'Nuff said?
-- Jay Molyneaux
North Carolina

The opposite side of the coin of individual leftists and their personal parsimoniousness, as highlighted by Mr. Schweizer, is that it's nonetheless easy to possess superior virtue when giving away other people's money.
-- A. DiPentima

What's that old saying? "Actions speak louder than words," isn't it?
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

OBAMA-WEBB '08
Re: Philip Klein's Webb Auditions for Obama:

Barack Obama and Jim Webb would be a perfect match -- both are racists, misogynists, empty suits (Obama's resume is non-existent and Webb was a total flop as SECNAV, saved from the humiliation of being fired by Reagan's kindness), liars and narcissists who despise us mere mortals. Both blithely ignore the fact that under President Bush and a Republican Congress economic growth averaged a blazing 3-4% annually and since Democrats have controlled Congress for the last 2 years growth is down below 1%, unemployment has risen (still below historic norms thanks to President Bush's policies), oil and gasoline prices are skyrocketing, GM is closing plants, and while foreclosures cannot match the astronomical highs under Bill Clinton in 1997 they are still worrisome.

An Obama-Webb administration supported by a Democrat Congress means simply higher unemployment, taxes, gasoline prices, food prices, terrorist attacks against the US and innocent Americans, abortions, homosexual marriages and government spending on useless pork. Obama, with or without Jim Webb, plans to return to the failed policies of Jimmy Carter that nearly destroyed the American economy and way of life. It would be safe to say the only people who benefited from Carter are the same ones who want an Obama Presidency -- selfish rich liberal elitists, welfare cheats, leftist special interest groups, terrorist appeasers, Euro-trash, Islamic terrorists and international tyrants. Happy days will be here again if Obama is elected, but not for hardworking and patriotic Americans.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Senator Webb would bring gravitas to a very light ticket, but much of the weight would be, as is said in avionics, drag. As noted, Webb has left a long trail, both in writing and action. The presumptive Democratic nominee, Mr. Obama, likes to bill himself as a uniter, someone who can reach across the other side of the aisle (though his very brief record belies this narrative). Webb is a highly combative player and this may be his greatest strength. But while, admittedly, the VP has historically been seen as the "attack dog" on the ticket, it makes little sense to buy a Doberman if you are going to leash and muzzle him.

The Dems' latest and greatest messiah has said, ad nauseam, that he wants his team to be above negative and aggressive tactics. (A case of cognitive dissidence gone wild or just plain lying?). If Obama picks Webb as his hatchet man, even the mainstream media will eventually have to note the discrepancies between narrative and reality. Lastly, when running against someone of the stature of Senator McCain, the question of experience will be central in the minds of many, or at least the cognitively engaged electorate. If the senatorial experience of the less than two full term Illinois junior Senator and the newly elected Senator from Virginia are added together, the total time logged towards becoming sagacious and prudent leaders is less than ten years.

The last time we had such an inexperienced senator rise to the office of the President of the United States, who at least had a battle hardened and proven partner to perform as sounding board, America ended up losing a police action (war) that could have been won (the argument of necessity aside) and the world came closer to nuclear war with an aggressive USSR than any other time in history. (As the cliche holds, the more things change...) If BHO chooses Webb, the American public will be faced with a choice between an experienced senator and an on the job trainee. Hopefully, in these trying times, we will look back, pause to consider and weigh the words and deeds of the candidates and choose wisely. May God help us if we don't.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

Let us hope that Sen. Obama does choose Webb as his running mate and appoints Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

It's way past time to return the United States to the citizens and take it away from a cabal of brainless drones who have only their personal financial interests invested in their presumed stewardship of the well-being of the nation.

Kinda difficult to legitimize the death of 4,000 young Americans on the basis of deceit.
-- William J. Neill
Conroe, Texas

BIG GOVERNMENT, LITTLE KIDS
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Thing I Don't Understand:

If one applies Lawrence Henry's article to presidential politics, the ascension of Barack Obama becomes easy to understand: a lot of Americans (possibly a majority?) no longer want to be grown-ups and "grind" their way to a better life. They don't want a Commander-in-Chief elected president. They want a Surrogate-Parent-in-Chief who will indulge their steadfast refusal to do the work and do it right.

Let big government "read the directions."
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

WORTH A LOOK
Re: Christopher Orlet's Disaster Spring:

Actually, there already is a powerful documentary on the genocide in Darfur. It is entitled "The Devil Came on Horseback." It was written by Brian Steidle, an unarmed military observer and retired Marine. It has been shown on cable channels (History or Discovery) and is available for sale as a DVD and a book. Here's a link to a review of the film.

Mr. Orlet is entirely correct, though, it should be shown once a week on the broadcast networks, if for no other reason than to graphically demonstrate how corrupt and impotent the United Nations is as a "peacekeeping" force.
-- Patrick Slamon

LIMOUSINE BORDERS
Re: Ben Lerner's Green Borders:

Ben Lerner does us all a service by pointing out how the Sierra Club and the Defenders of Wildlife are much more interested in defending the standard limousine liberal agenda, including open borders, than in defending wildlife. When we lived in San Diego in the eighties the California Coastal Commission kept taxpayers from building houses or roads where coastal California gnatcatchers, Least Bell's vireos, or kangaroo rats lived in the brush. But they fought attempts to clear out the illegal aliens' squatter camps on the land thus left vacant.
-- D.M. Duggan

OBJECTION
Re: Tom Wasney's letter (under "Coal Country") in Reader Mail's Cap-and-Tirade:

Mr. Wasney says that Lieberman-Warner isn't aimed at coal, just CO2. Generally, he's right.

But there's a "but." Given coal's significance in CO2 emissions and other air pollution, it's become environmentally fashionable to demonize coal, much like it was with nuclear power decades ago, but now using climate change as the platform. "Replace coal" is a polite slogan from its opponents. More energized opposition says, "Stop coal." Earthjustice says its goal is to make coal "an unacceptable energy source."

Calling coal the new battleground of global warming, the Los Angeles Times reported in an April 14 story how committed the opposition to new plants has become. "Every time a new coal-fired power plant is proposed anywhere in the United States, a lawyer from the Sierra Club or an allied environmental group is assigned to stop it, by any bureaucratic or legal means necessary."

Within the last year in Kansas, the state rejected an air-quality permit for two 700-MW coal-fired power plants because of CO2 emissions. This is the first instance of such denial based on CO2, not yet federally regulated, from these types of plants. The Sierra Club was instrumental in getting the permits denied.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that coal, whether at existing power plants or proposed new plants, is in the cross-hairs of anyone who buys into an Al-Gore-fear-based perspective on climate change. And that includes Lieberman-Warner, I believe.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Dunderhead Diplomat:

Bill Richardson's passport as well as Jimmy Carter's should be revoked, and both should be prosecuted for treason. It is the President's job to conduct foreign policy, not the cranky and bitter politicians of old.

Let's start hammering these "obstacle jerks" to legitimate progress. We have one elected government in this country...not two. The other needs to be jailed.
-- Gene Hauber
Meshoppen, Pennsylvania

POWER OUTRAGE
Re: Willam Tucker's A Qualified "Yes" To Cap-and-Trade:

I've just had a great idea. Since Washington is so concerned about global warming, fossil fuels, etc., let's have them put their commitment to this on the line. I suggest we cut all power to Washington. That would certainly lower their carbon footprint but also lower the temperature in the D.C. area as those idiots would go home and decrease all the hot air emanating from their mouths.
-- Joe Wolfe
Cincinnati, Ohio

CRONE TROOPERS
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Crone Wars:

HELL, no!

I am embarrassed that the Democratic Party will be running a candidate who a mere three years ago was a state legislator, a man with no international experience whatsoever, who espouses incredibly naive opinions regarding both history and international relations; who does not support universal health care; who had no clue about how to deal with a faltering economy or a debt load owned by a rising superpower who does not believe in democracy.

In the Party's need to make sure that everyone feels good in every state, by dividing delegates into little pieces of pie, under a system that has no consistency whatsoever--primary? caucus?--we have created a situation in which we Democrats are being asked to support a candidate who, I believe, is nowhere near ready to deal with the problems we are facing, in order to save a couple of seats on the Supreme Court. But hey, he sure can give a heckuva speech and he's so good lookin'!! American Presidency? Nah...American Idol.

I'm voting for every Democrat down ticket possible -- Representatives and Senators -- and reserving my right to decide on a choice for President at the appropriate moment, including the possibility of writing in Hillary Clinton.

And no, I don't care about comparisons to the situation with Nader. You know what? You can't help those afflicted with bad behavior by enabling them--we all know that. So why should I keep enabling the Democratic Party in its continuing battle to make the stupidest moves possible at any given moment? Sooner or later, they need to get a message that they need to change. And I think this is a pretty good time.

No-Bama 2008.
-- Patricia Esgate

HYDROGEN BOMB
Re: Ralph Cavolo's letter (under "Not a Feather in Your Cap") in Reader Mail's Pick Her:

Your letter writer Ralph Cavolo shows a naive faith in the hydrogen fuel for our cars. One has to make an energy equation for this scheme. Since you need electricity to produce hydrogen from water, you first need an electric power plant -- be it oil, gas, or coal-fired, or nuclear. You need to put 1000 BTU's of fuel into that plant to produce about 300 BTU's of electricity. Then you need those 300 BTU's employed in the electrolytic process to separate hydrogen from water; this hydrogen, which contains now about 100 BTU's is then highly compressed (perhaps to 3000 pounds) into a bomb that is placed in your car. Running your car then produces some 20 BTU's worth of motion. A fatal crash of such a car in a city context may well flatten a city block, with many hundreds dead. Naive faith, indeed!
-- Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

YELLA FEVER
Re: Geoff's letter (under "Still Yella") in Reader Mail's Pick Her:

When I read the first two lines of Geoff's letter, I thought that he had missed my point. However, as I continued reading, I suspended that thought. He described his journey to Minton's playhouse and how he was treated by the residents of Harlem on the way. I suspect Geoff could enlighten TAS readers by describing what the experience of a black kid from Harlem would have been had he tried to enter one of the East Side haunts of well-heeled white New Yorkers at that time in our history. Everybody knew their place, right Geoff? Geoff is correct when he writes, "And, while I'm sorry that Mike Roush was not greeted with the genuine joy, smiles and happiness I used to experience, I guess you can attribute that to the way times change. It was another era." He did experience Harlem in another era. Everyone knows that understanding and condoning are not synonyms. I got a little experiential push toward greater understanding in that Harlem restaurant. I don't condone the work or the rantings of the world's Sharptons (or Hagees). Today, I live in an integrated neighborhood. My neighbors, black, white and Asian, are educated people of substance. Please don't misunderstand my point. It's not about me; it's about the New South. From my point of view, the times have changed and we are in another, better era.
-- Mike Roush

HURTS TOO MUCH TO LAUGH
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Laughing Last:

I am becoming extremely weary of Republicans carping about the possibility of Conservatives voting for someone other than the Republican nominee for President. If the party wishes to lock in the Conservative vote, then it behooves it to nominate a conservative candidate. Instead, the Party is set to nominate a moderately liberal Democrat, thinly disguised as a Republican (remember when he was going to switch parties after the 2000 campaign?), who is almost unanimously abhorred by Conservatives. And, it must be seen that the candidate, himself, knows that he was nominated largely due to Democrats, Independents and the Media in open primaries (there's a stupid concept; that is like asking the opposing football team to draw up your roster before the Super Bowl). He has made no effort to woo Conservatives, not that they would believe his mouthings anyway. Now he is set to lose his biggest supporters, the Media (they're in the tank for the Messiah, remember?). When you have to sell a candidate this heavily to what has been the Party's most loyal and secure base, then the Party has screwed up big-time.

The point being, if John McCain loses the election in November, it will not be the fault of the Conservatives in this country. It will be the fault of the Republican Party for abandoning their base. If he wins, I will expect exuberant thanks from all the carpers; for it will be due, entirely, to Conservative voters. Of course, Conservatives will still have to wait four years for the chance to nominate and elect a conservative, or even moderate, candidate for President.
-- Michael Tobias

DO ALL YOU CAN BE
Re: Ron Schoenberg's letter (under "Better Think Twice") in Reader Mail's Pick Her:

Ron Schoenberg's concern about civil rights is frankly hard to take seriously. When Clinton cronies were poking through raw FBI files of political enemies, liberals like Schoenberg were looking the other way. Who hired those hacks and gave them access to those files? Hillary Clinton would be a very good guess but the incurious Schoenberg and his pals couldn't have cared less. Where is Hillary today? She is a liberal Senator and recently grabbed about half the vote to be the Democrat nominee for President. When liberal Washington Congressman Jim McDermott was making illegally recorded phone calls of his fellow Republican Congressman public, liberals like Schoenberg said and did nothing. No right to privacy here. No need for warrants here. Where is ethically-challenged McDermott today? Still representing the "good" folks of Washington in a very liberal district.

There are all kinds of schemes in Congress by good liberal Democrats to shut down talk radio, always dressed in "fairness" talk. Where are the concerned liberals defending free speech? They are a pretty quiet group. College campuses (Republican-free zones) are using speech codes to silence opposition because the usual threats of violence and the disrupting of free speech betray what these liberals are really about. Do liberals call for reform? Not really. The way liberals closed ranks concerning Ruby Ridge and Waco was a sight to behold. It was more important to protect their President than to worry about the civil rights of some weirdoes.

An interpretation of Schoenberg's concern might be that he cares about constitutional rights only for those he agrees with politically. If you are a Republican, look out. If you are part of Al Qaeda he is there to help. Like today's feature on "Liberal Scrooges," liberals speak about civil rights only as away to make themselves feel better about themselves. Their actual performance is very menacing to many of their neighbors -- and not only a hypothetical way.
-- Clif Briner

Doncha just love it? Ron, from the Socialist Soviet of Seattle, equating the terrorists with something akin to a pesky wart or hangnail: "All they can do is terrorize"?

I sat there, literally shaking my head after reading his audacity...

Unbelievable -- if it weren't so prevalent in too many instances.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm about to be ill.
-- Frost

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