Reader Mail

Fair Tax Counting

Rejecting any Scientology connection. Plus: Will Huckabee score after Iowa? No Iraq good news. Addressing God in French. A loyalty oath Republican. Plus more.

11.29.07

TRY TO BE FAIR
Re: The Prowler's New Arrangements:

Unfortunately, The American Spectator got it wrong on just about every count about the FairTax campaign. Firstly, we are not out of money but have scaled back recently to recover from our big push earlier this year in Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina. We went for broke in these states -- and just about did. But our sustaining membership and one time contributors are helping us right now recover from the intense and expensive program that made the FairTax the talk of the Iowa Straw Poll and the early primary states.

Secondly, the FairTax is in no way an offshoot of the Scientology religion. While this group did apparently once advocate a national sales tax to replace the income tax it bears little resemblance to the FairTax which was developed independently by economists and market researchers commissioned by FairTax.org over the past decade. We have spent $22 million on economic and market research to develop our proposal. To say we are an "offshoot" of Scientology is about the same as saying the Space Shuttle is an offshoot of a flying fish.

Finally, whatever moves the Huckabee campaign is making in Florida or elsewhere, they are independent of our efforts to bring a public message of FairTax support to every campaign -- including Democratic candidates. Our FairTax bus will be in Iowa shortly and now that we are recovering from the cost of our earlier successes, will be seen again in Florida, South Carolina and possibly New Hampshire in the coming months. Reports of our demise are, therefore, greatly exaggerated and even though we have gone through both flush and hungry days over the past decade, we are here to stay until we see enactment of legislation that ends the dysfunction of the income tax system by shifting the power of taxation decisions from the federal government to individual citizens.
-- Ken Hoagland
Communications Director
FairTax.Org

I just wanted to point out that the Prowler's statement that the Fair Tax group is "a one-time offshoot of the Church of Scientology" is completely incorrect. You can find a rebuttal to Bruce Bartlett's Wall Street Journal inaccuracy here.

Bartlett or his researchers confused Citizens for an Alternative Tax System (CATS) with Americans for Fair Taxation (AFFT) and the FairTax. Make sure you scroll down beyond the letter to the editor of the Wall St. Journal to the headline: "FAIRTAX, FLAWED TAX?" where Neal Boortz addresses that slander in prose only he can write.

I suggest all read the Fair Tax book. It is quite illuminating. I can't believe we'll ever get Congress to give up their power by putting something like this in place, but the idea is out there -- perhaps one day.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

Citizens for Fair Taxation (www.fairtax.org) is not now, nor was it ever, associated with the Cult um...I mean Church of Scientology.

A group of Scientologists got together and proposed a sales tax to replace the income tax only. This proposal should not be confused with the Fair Tax, which replaces most, if not all, of Federal taxes with a nationwide imbedded sales tax. By replacing all current taxes, prices would not change a great deal.

Citizens for Fair Taxation is a non-profit group made up of economists and lawyers who spent well over 10 years researching the best way to replace our progressive tax system with an open, free, and self-sustaining tax code that can benefit our economy and every American.

I give Huckabee full credit for supporting the Fair Tax. We need more politicians who do. I will still never vote for him, despite the fact that I want the Fair Tax to pass and be written into law.

Such an open and fair tax policy should be the standard platform of ever conservative. Eliminate the IRS, and we would have smaller government almost by default. Look at those who support the fair tax the most. Realtors support the Fair Tax to a large extent, though the National Realtors' Organization does not. CPAs support the Fair Tax, and their industry would probably suffer from its implementation in the short run (we will always need accounts, even if we don't need them for taxes). A large number of lobbying organizations exist just to lobby Congress about the tax code, the National Realtors' Organization being one of these. One and all, they do not support the Fair Tax as it would put them out of business. And wouldn't we all like to see a reduction in lobbyists?

Please, stop associating the Fair Tax group with Scientology. It's a misrepresentation of this important piece of legislation and the group of very intelligent people who made it, and makes it that much harder to describe all the benefits.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

By any measure, it is now plainly obvious how the Washington Prowler views the virtues of the Fair Tax. Using Gov. Huckabee as a foil in the column was a total red herring. What TAS should really be ashamed of is the veiled hit job performed by the Prowler by relating the Fair Tax not just once, but twice, to the Church of Scientology (CoS). Additionally, the Prowler made the totally false claim the Fair Tax effort was out of money. In fact, the Fair Tax effort is better funded than Huckabee's own presidential campaign.

It has been proven, time and again, that HR25 (in the House of Reps) and S1025 (in the Senate) has absolutely no ties to the CoS. The Fair Tax-to-CoS claim has been made in the past by columnists who have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. The tax scheme the CoS came up with many years ago was their answer to an unfavorable IRS tax ruling and bears absolutely no relationship to the current legislation (HR25) offered by Rep Linder (R, GA). The Fair Tax was borne by Houston businessmen, whom through private funds, charged a group of economists and academics to come up with a tax system which would fully fund Fed Gov operations at current levels, while at the same time, taking out all the pain and suffering experienced by us taxpayers each April 15th and turning the United States into a true tax haven.

The resultant, and independently formulated, tax plan became the basis of the Fair Tax.

The Prowler has some major "fessing" and homework to do to recover from this obvious "Oh, ----!."

The first step would be to give Leo Linbeck (Founder & Chairman of Americans For Fair Taxation) a call. You just might learn something.
-- Owen H. Carneal
Yorktown, Virginia

You may want to recheck you facts on the Scientology to Fair Tax connection. There isn't one. This is a fabrication based on some distant past support of a variation of the idea by Scientology. The current people that have done the economic analysis behind the house bill have nothing to do with Scientology. However, what would it matter if they had. The idea is either good or bad on its merits. I believe like many others that it would be the biggest drain on the power of Washington to manipulate our lives through the tax code. There is a reason why it's so complex and it isn't good.
-- Ron Gillespie
Safety Harbor, Florida

NO PROBLEM
Re: Liz Mair's Huckabee's Religion Problem:

Suppose that you're a former Baptist minister who is running for president. Any hopes you have are based upon winning a particular state. There are lots of Christians who tend to vote Republican. So, what do you do? You let them know that you're a Christian, too, and that you share their values.

Of course, this is what Mike Huckabee is doing in Iowa. All of which goes to say, I'm rather perplexed that Liz Mair is perplexed by this. Granted, she is correct that there aren't as many evangelicals in New Hampshire and Michigan, so he likely won't do as well there. But then-candidate George W. Bush lost those two states in 2000. And while these losses temporarily hurt his chances, Bush wound up winning the nomination anyway.

Granted, there are many differences between President Bush and Mike Huckabee. For one, the former had more money, and the backing of the GOP establishment. However, given that Huckabee has gained tremendous momentum, he conceivably could do very well in Iowa and other key states like South Carolina.

For Christian candidates, balancing faith and politics is nothing new. Mr. Huckabee is simply the latest to attempt it. And perhaps, as Ms. Mair predicts, his strategy will fail. But in politics, as in baseball, a win is a win is a win.
-- Greg Hoadley
Deerfield Beach, Florida

As a conservative, Christian, who considers my faith the bed rock supporting my principles of governance and politics, and a citizen of New Hampshire, let me say about Huckabee's tactic, it ain't gonna work up here. If you do not support the entire gay rights agenda, many folks round here look at you real funny. After all this is the state that is home to Bishop Gene Robinson, the practicing homosexual that has managed to just about kill the Episcopal Church in America, and the other Protestant sects were very supportive of Bishop Robinson, and still are. The GOP leaning voter lists are also very heavy with conservatives with a very distinct Libertarian stripe. The old timers among the GOP voters really do not cotton to a big government type Republican unless he is willing to swear fealty to never ever raising taxes for any reason at any time. That is why we still have no state income tax, nor any state sales tax. That may change, but it will be because of all the Massachusetts Democrats that have moved here, and they do not vote in the Republican primary.

Romney will do well here because he is a neighbor, and there is a distinct streak of provincialism. Ron Paul will do better than the pundits and state GOP activists are willing to admit. I can tell you that there are a veritable plethora of Ron Paul signs here in the central part of the state. Rudy G will do fairly well because there are a whole bunch of liberal, secular Republicans, and because Independents can vote in the Republican primary if they wish, and they will so wish, I suspect. I would not be entirely surprised to see McCain slip in ahead of Huckabee based on his support from the last time that he ran against Bush. Thompson is making a fairly perfunctory effort here. Damn shame, because his beliefs are pretty close to ours, but you got to come and ask for the vote, you have to visit a whole bunch of little towns and hold town hall type meetings with a chance to ask questions. That is not what Thompson is doing.

Long story short, Ms. Mair is correct, Huckabee's religiosity will work against him here in New Hampshire. At least in the real New Hampshire that will be true. What will happen in the southern part of the state with the preponderance of refugees from Massachusetts, is another thing. They have about already about ruined the state, so I try to stay among the few sane folks left here, and away from the southern tier of towns.
-- Ken Shreve

Does the Spectator really believe that columnists like Mair lend anything to their content? Liz Mair might be better suited writing for Salon or MoveOn. Readers can readily find the normal fare of Christian bashing from the usual suspects, including RINOS like Mair. Get a clue. No Republican candidate can be elected or will be elected without the single largest voting block in the nation. Without the Christian votes, the Republican Party is about as significant as the Bull Moose. While bigots on the right continue to shudder at the thought of being grouped together with the Christians, and are embarrassed by their conservatism on social issues, they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that without them they are nothing, but a bunch of spineless, beltway blue bloods that are hopelessly out of touch with the majority of the nation.

The determination by the Gerald Ford wing of the Republican Party to fight for control of the party and to purge the Christian right will ultimately lead to their own demise, and an eventual one party system in this country. Republicans should not forget that without Ronald Reagan and the power of the Christian right, they would not have enjoyed their rise to power in the last quarter century. Currently, there isn't a Republican candidate on the slate that will stimulate the Christian right to come out and vote, which spells certain doom for the "enlightened" Republicans. In reality Mike Huckabee may be the candidate that has the best chance of stopping a Hillary Clinton presidency, if she can be stopped at all. If Republicans like Mair would prefer to slink back into the status of a subservient party and doormat to the Marxist left, rather than embrace their only chance for political survival, then so be it. A Republican Party without Christians, is nothing more than another Democrat Party.
-- Rick Smith

NO NEWS IS BAD NEWS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Missing from the News:

Patience is a virtue. It is also what separates adolescence from adulthood -- and apparently the Democratic Party and the MSM from reasonable Americans. The re-ordering of an entire nation takes time. It took us thirteen years from 1776-1789 to get our own act together -- despite a lack of deep sectarian divisions. The Iraqis have come a long way in five.

Too bad the "teenagers" don't get it. Or is it that they don't want to?
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

The casual follower of news programs might be wondering what has become of the flood of bad news we were constantly inundated with concerning our nation's war in Iraq. One might wonder if Iraq has recently dropped from the face of the earth or perhaps the media has finally ran out of words to describe the daily carnage that must be continuing there. Surely if the situation in Iraq had changed for the better we would be told of the good news with the same enthusiasm used to inform us of the bad.

Fortunately the situation in Iraq has drastically improved. Best of all American military and Iraqi civilian deaths have decreased dramatically. Unfortunately much of the media does not feel the need to report this development as energetically as they report the news of failure. The reason for this, I've read, is stories are written when planes crash, not when planes land safely. This is true enough, however if a plane crashing has been the story every day for an extended time and one day the planes cease to crash because of an applied remedy, the safe landing becomes news which should be reported.

President Bush warned us early on that many victories in the war against the terror will not be known by the public. This warning certainly seems to be ringing all too clear concerning our war in Iraq.

During World War II Winston Churchill raised his first and second fingers to form a "V" as a sign for victory. I am beginning to think if our war in Iraq cultivates a similar sign for victory, it will be the index finger raised to the lips, and a quiet shhh will be blown over the finger.
-- Ned Scarlet
Cleveland, Utah

Iraq has disappeared from the pages of America's MSM rags, because all that is coming out of George W. Bush's war is good news -- troop deaths halved, a major Shia and Sunni fatwa urging peace and democracy, the central government revenue sharing with Sunni dominated states and al Qaeda mercenaries dying under a hail of American lead. OOORAH!

While the majority of the American media and public jumped on the Democrat defeat wagon of surrender and appeasement President Bush, a real man and leader, calmly stayed the course and let the U.S. military do its job. Now it is apparent that the Democrat's longed for defeat can only be snatched from the jaws of victory if they can fool the American people into accepting Democrats and wimpy conservatives message of cutting and running despite the reality in Iraq.

That's why the Democrats and their propaganda machine are so terrified to talk about Iraq -- we're winning thanks to George W. Bush and the men and women of the U.S. military. The two entities of strength in the U.S. liberals hate the most.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I find it both amusing and astounding to listen to morons like McCain and Pentagon generals talk about the so-called "surge" being a "success." Their assessment being solely based upon fewer American deaths, and explosions around Baghdad?

Idiocy! Totally illogical. Picture this: WWI troops, huddled in a 7 foot trench half-full water, congratulating each other on the fact that a whole day has passed without the enemy shooting at them, calling it a "success." Face it, American occupation troops fight in a solely defensive position. Except for kicking in a few Iraqi home's doors, they must wait to be attacked. Result: it is the enemy, not them, that determines the frequency and amount of warfare!

Body count? Remember Vietnam? Bodies were counted on the Viet Cong side. How many insurgent kills have you heard lately? (Insurgents is a code word for Iraqis) It obviously would not be politically correct to brag about how many Iraqis, American occupation forces kill each day, would it?

Bottom line: Americans are being fed a huge scoop of propaganda by the Bush administration, air-headed Pentagon generals, members of the military industrial complex, and those Senators and Representatives whom they donate large amounts of money to.

Killing Iraqis, so that they can enjoy American-style democracy, a Protestant Christian invention, makes no sense at all. Given that half the Iraqi population are illiterate and Muslim.

Ending this sham must be done as quickly as possible. As candidate Ron Paul said, it's past time to give the Iraqis back their country. Four years of occupation by American troops has wasted 3,000 American lives and half $1 trillion, with nothing to show for it. Only total fools want to keep it going.
-- Samuel A. Hill
Weare, New Hampshire

PARIS TALK
Re: Joseph A. Harriss's To Tu Or Not To Tu:

The Lord has always been addressed by the familiar form in all languages that I have any familiarity with. Even in the Bible, the old languages use the familiar form. Only in English have the modernists tried to take the thee and thou out of religion. They claim people don't understand these forms or else that it is more respectful to address the Lord by the formal form. Both reasons are lies, the modernists just don't like the familiar which is no longer used outside religion except by the Quakers.

Aside from that, I agree that the French use of these forms is complicated. Spanish usage is a lot more relaxed.
-- Raymundo Aleman
San Antonio, Texas

So, tell me: Is Harriss the "Vous" or " Tu" form of Harris?
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Fascinating article, but really, who gives a toot?
-- A. C. Santore

WHERE DO I SIGN?
Re: G. Tracy Mehan III's The Virginia GOP's "Loyalty Oath":

I submit that if G. Tracy Mehan III can't stomach signing the statement, "I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for President," then Mr. Mehan has no business voting in a Republican Party presidential primary.

The Virginia State Board of Elections might well lose a lawsuit challenging its administration of the statewide Republican Party primary, but not the lawsuit Mr. Mehan envisions. The challenge it would lose would be its refusal to permit the Virginia GOP to use the pledge it originally requested -- a pledge to support all of the nominees of the Republican Party for public office in the next general election. That's the pledge that Virginia Republicans must make before running for a position on their local county or city Republican committee, and that, once elected, they must be willing to reaffirm upon request in any open meeting. You could look it up. (Article I, Section A)

So, that's the Republican Party of Virginia's definition of what a Republican is. And, n.b., our primary is for Republicans, not for Democrats, independents, or members of the various Weird Parties. Non-Republicans are free to vote in somebody else's primary, or to just stay home.
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

This is just one more example of why the Republican Party is finished and the Libertarian Party is going to take over!
-- K. Padfield

PUSHING TOLERANCE
Re: James Bailey's letter (under "Christian Anti-Mormonism") in Reader Mail's Bearing Children:

I assure Mr. Bailey that whatever I may have said I didn't mean to indicate ecumenical gabfests are a day at the beach. As a Lutheran, I occupy that nether land in which I am too Catholic to be Protestant and too Protestant to be Catholic. You should hear the knuckleheaded stuff I hear. When I attempt to correct a misunderstanding, four times out of five they say either I am lying or I don't understand what my own religion teaches. As unpleasant as this is, my point is that these "fellow Christians" really believe what they are saying. To extent that there is a Christian Anti-Mormonism industry, I suggest that that enterprise doesn't manufacture lies -- they may be dead wrong but they believe what they are saying. There is such a thing as "invincible ignorance" and when others display it each of us have to live with it as charitably as we can.

Mr. Bailey should know that no church (Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox) states one must recite/swear any of the three ecumenical creeds to be saved. It is the content of those creeds which are crucial: any belief contrary to that testified by the creeds falls outside of anything which can meaningfully described as "Christian." Herein lays the crux of the matter. The creeds are nothing if not Trinitarian -- which explains why Mormons are so dismissive of them. The creeds put into sharp relief the central disagreement. Mormons believe that Trinitarianism is an error, is not true, and in any case shouldn't be a crucial matter to the rest of Christianity to the point that Mormons find themselves cast beyond the pale. The "rest" of Christianity believes that the Trinity is not an error, is true, and that it is so decisive that it is Mormons themselves who have separated themselves from Christianity. Mormons point to the imperfections of the Christian Church and claim a superior revelation. Christians (Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox) pronounce that revelation false and regard Mormonism as nothing more than a "white-washed sepulcher." As long as one grants each their premises, both Mormonism and Christianity are fairly consistent within themselves.

I am old enough to remember the "bad old days" when I was regarded as a heretic not only by the Catholic Church but also by much of the Protestant Church as well. (I remember being taken to a "revival" by a well-meaning friend during which the evangelist mentioned Muslims, Hindus, and Lutherans all in the same breath.) These days, the Catholic Church grants me and my Lutheran Church the dubious honor of being "separated brethren." I gather my "Protestant standing" hasn't changed much. So I know something of what you feel; but ultimately what we feel is not important. God's truth is true whether we experience it or not. What is left to us both is to discern which spirit is speaking in either proclamation and take up our discipleship -- separately if it must be. If this makes me a bigot in your eyes, I'll have to live with that too. Nevertheless, I do agree that Jesus would have us peaceable and friendly with each other.

Happily, none of this has anything to do with our Republican candidates. The more I listen to each of them the more I like them all. Clearly, I have my preferences; but I will not lose any sleep supporting most of them. Governor Romney is definitely in my top three. But there is no need for any of them to share my faith. Luther once said that he would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian. In our present situation, our task in to decide who is the wisest among us.
-- Mike Dooley

CHILD-FREE, THE WAY TO BE?
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's "Child Free" Follies:

As a homeschooling mother of soon-to-be 7, thank you for this article. I know we are not freaks. I have many friends with many more than we have, but it is still nice to see a mainstream article by someone "of the fertility tribe." I can honestly say that it is much easier to have more children than fewer. Two was like catching a basic of mice with your bare hands. Three was more mice and a smaller basket. I started to hit my stride with four. This last baby was by far my easiest, with so many adoring subjects to worship him so capably. So to those of you with doubts, trust me: I am neither naturally organized, nor naturally patient. Motherhood has helped me learn both.
-- Maeghan MacDougall

Mr. McCain's point is well-taken: limits-to-growth theory has been all but debunked. Kansas can produce enough food for the entire world. Hooray.

My question is, how is Mr. McCain going to send six kids to college on a journalist's paycheck? They don't stay babies forever...
-- James Hunter
Ann Arbor, Michigan

It's a thought-provoking article.

It brings to mind these lines from The Gods of the Copybook Headings written by Rudyard Kipling in 1919.

"On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life. /(Which started by loving our neighbor and ended by loving his wife.) /Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,/ And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: 'The Wages of Sin is Death.'"

I like that word "Feminian" in the first line. It gives the lines an ironic tone and reminds us that our great poets are also our prophets.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

My eight children agree with this article whole heartedly.
-- SPC Snuffy Smith
Fort Gordon, Georgia

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