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Suspension of Belief

Life matters and misdirections. Republicans and the NAACP. The endless immigration war. Health care's golden age. Plus much more.

10.1.07

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TOO MUCH INFORMATION?
Re: Pia de Solenni's Hooked for Life:

Please accept my gratitude for this wonderful article. Yes, the original was TMI. But hopefully it got a few people thinking.

I am a USMC Vietnam vet and now serve as a chaplain trainee in the VA. I can recall the debate pre-Roe v. Wade. I can recall my mother, a woman with a Harvard Master's in Education, being soundly vilified by the left as an "alarmist" for suggesting that if Roe V. Wade were allowed to pass, we would be facing "abortions by the thousands every year." Sad to report -- as a prognosticator mom was a failure; by several orders of magnitude. We are now upwards of a million a year. That is more than disgusting; it is evil. And extremely short-sighted. Looking at it with a pragmatic lens, and completely ignoring any philosophical, spiritual, or political views; had we not killed 45,000,000 in the last 35 years, we wouldn't be needing the 12, 18, or 24 million illegal alien immigrants.

As a chaplain I hear tragic stories on a regular basis of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s and 70s, who have had their marriages (or shack-ups) wrecked by an abortion. In many instances that is one of their first self-disclosures. In other cases it comes out only after many sessions of pastoral counseling.

Chaplains have been called "Cardiac specialists of a sort; we listen for 'heart murmurs.'" There is more than just a murmur out there. There is a full-throated, broken-hearted, blood-curdling scream.
-- Kevin Coughlin
aka ''cap MarineTet68' on Lucianne.com

Interesting article. But, my question is as follows: Who, with a third grade education and beyond, reads the New York Times? The NYT, in my opinion, ceased reporting the news just before Clinton became president. Since then, it has become no more than a screecher for the left-wing loonies. In my opinion of course. Having said that, the paper is a fantastic wrap during fishing season.
-- Jim L
East Sandwich, Massachusetts

Maybe if the inevitable second thoughts were given more emphases before the procedure, there would be fewer abortions. To me, this article in the Times shows the writer's remorse by using her former boyfriend's reactions to shield her own regrets.
-- L. Lenox

TAKE IT THE BANK
Re: Jennifer Rubin's Going Where the Voters Are:

Jennifer Rubin suggests that Republicans keep in mind Willie Sutton's advice to rob banks because "that's where the money is." However prolific Willie was, he had the brains to not jump the fence at Fort Knox. Doubtless Ms. Rubin would thus characterize Willie a bit on the cautious side.

White male Republicans do not show up at NAACP or equivalent gatherings because the attendees have been historically hostile, impolite and only provide video and sound bites for the opposition. American blacks are by far the most monolithic voting block in the country, almost inevitably going 95% Democrat. And it's politics, not race, as proven by the failed candidacies in 2006 of Michael Steele in Maryland and Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio (see
Washington Post article). Their minds are closed; there is nothing positive to be gained by approaching them, and more than a little to lose.

As to many other Democratic core constituencies, visits by Republican Conservatives to national gatherings can only have similar results: hostility, impoliteness and video and sound bites for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, etc. If there is any hope for engineering a change in attitudes, it has to be done at the lowest level, more likely in churches than any other venue, and give people something to think about, a few dozen at a time.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

Jennifer Rubin is correct that our candidates and other party members need to get out more. Our core beliefs in right to life, lower taxes, less intrusive government and national security, including the recognition that as a country we are on the side of freedom and doing the right thing need to be openly discussed with more people. In order to reach them you have to face your political enemies in the press and broadcasting because like it or not they still have a large following. Sometimes I think Republicans actually start to believe the nonsense the press continues to spout about being mean-spirited, skinflints that want to mold America into a place only Ebenezer Scrooge could love. What happened to having confidence and pride in basic or core beliefs that guide a person's life?
-- Roger Ross
Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Jennifer, once again you are wrong. First, the GOP is not going to get the black vote no matter how much they allow them to attack us. Second, Tim Russert does not have a huge audience unless you compare it to other MSNBC show and CNN. Fox news and the top Radio talk shows both top him. Third, Hillary was on Tim's show because he is not that hard on her. So give me a break that she face tough questions.

Finally, I do not think we are losing out because we, conservatives, are not going on their shows. It is because the polls are slanted as usual and that Republicans lost their way with regards to fiscal policy. They fix that and stop trying to appease the left and people will come back.
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia

Jennifer Rubin is flat out wrong in her analysis. The only blacks who consistently (and in small numbers) vote for GOP candidates are those who consider pro-life and anti-gay marriage issues as primary to them. The rest like sheep pull the donkey's lever even though the evidence is potent that the ills of the major cities in the lammunity have been poorly served by decades of black leadership. They continue to reelect the very people whose policies keep them in poverty. No debate presence is going to change that. The MSM (synonymn for liberal Dems) will merely take quotes out of context by GOP candidates in order to damage them and their image in front of America. Do you think it similarly hurt Dem candidates when they boycotted a Fox News debate? Debates are mostly watched by political junkies and pundits. Most Americans haven't begun to pay attention yet. They are too busy earning a living and raising their kids.
-- Doug and Sue Boyer

WHAT IMMIGRATION CRISIS?
Re: Tom Bethell's Freedom of Immigration Acts:

Tom Bethell's article is the best I've read on this hot issue so far. I have been trying to say the same thing but up until now, I thought I was the only conservative who felt this way. So many fail to make the connection between falling birth rates and the need for immigrants. In a growing economy, even with great improvements in productivity, you still need more people. Most Americans procreate below the replacement rate. Whenever I hear conservatives complain about illegal immigrants I always ask how many kids they have (I have three so I'm not part of the problem). Often I hear numbers between 0 and 2. Not enough! Often, these people wouldn't hear of their kids working in menial jobs. I then ask who mows their lawn, who works in the restaurants where they eat, who does their home improvements, etc.

Then, there is the best kept secret in the business world. Immigrants often make better employees. They have the work ethic of our immigrant ancestors only they don't join unions. Not only are we making fewer Americans organically, many of those born here are allergic to hard work.
-- Jim Moroney
St. Augustine, Florida

Tom Bethell seems to think whites aren't reproducing in sufficient numbers. Perhaps he can visit some Bed Bath & Beyond stores or Chuck E. Cheese restaurants here in Northern Virginia. He would discover a preponderance of baby strollers -- with real, live (white) babies inside. Radical pro-natalists like Bethell, Allan Carlson and Ben Wattenberg should spend less time wringing their hands over a "crisis" of their own imagination and a little more time at the local mall.
-- Carl F. Horowitz
Ashburn, Virginia

Let me see, this is good because they contribute to the economy. Oh, please. They are paid low wages and the American citizens pick up the rest of it. When people come here from different countries, they bring their culture with them which is fine as long as they accept American culture. But unfortunately, they seem to forget that American is a country with it's own language and it's own culture. While it is true that at one time we were a nation of immigrants, that is no longer the case. We like our language and we like the American culture and are tired of being expected to accommodate people who came here. And I think you are pretty arrogant to believe that you appreciate this country more than native born Americans do.
-- Sue Blum

Tom Bethell's argument, like much in this arena, is completely unsound, bleeds of inane sentimentality, and once again disregards the obvious. Living in the shadows is not the "right" of any illegal immigrant. Mr. Bethell ironically concedes that voting is not a "right" to those who decide to break our laws and live here illegally, but then seemingly fails to grasp that all of our laws are to be equally regarded and respected; it's not a smorgasbord for God's sake, which is a very liberal idea indeed! And the notion that stronger reinforcement at the border creates anxious motivation for illegals to remain here is awash with the same liberal slop that dictates that illegal immigrants are really all victims in the end, poor dears! Such a confabulation makes reason stare!

No one that I know, nor have recently read, actually believes that immigration is bad for the country, despite the fact that the Left wishes to portray any against its shenanigans as being so. If you will allow me the common colloquialism, "That dog just won't hunt." It's the fact that so many are here illegally that cuts across the vein and disturbs so many of us. And then, the audacity to then turn and demand amnesty for themselves and their foreign families is the straw that breaks the camels back. The fact that Mr. Bethell, apparent by his undertone, wishes to diminish or disregard these facts spits in our face.

It's obvious that the vast majority of Americans are for "Legal Immigration," and most generally welcome the honest immigrant to our shores who wishes to become a part of the American experience. We sincerely welcome them and their histories, with a hand up as well. No other country is or has been ever so generous to a fault. Nevertheless, we do not welcome the spread of "hyphenated" Americans, so arrogantly bred on the heels of liberal political correctness, by those who maintain allegiance to their old country and never intend to assimilate. Those who maintain an aversion of being truly integrated into our society are truly averse in becoming proud "Americans," respectful of its history, culture and institutions. Such an outlook should be literally shamed into non-existence. In fact, it now threatens the very fabric of our society..., the "melting pot" has become the "dividing pot," as our Constitution, love for God, educational and judicial systems become further lost to the liberal brush of influence. But then again, "immigration" of late is not really about us, preserving our culture, or the welfare of the immigrant for that matter.... it's the politics, stupid: a way of using another human being for their own desperate ends. Despicable!

Moreover, lest I am misunderstood, I believe that most of us have no time for "Irish-Americans," "Greek-Americans," "African-Americans, "Asian-Americans," nor for the Vermont-Trust-Fund-Socialist that Bethell alludes to (and in that, I am in agreement), and all the rest that sport their so-called "country of origin" first and foremost, as if this conveys some form of status and special regard..., a narcissistic self-defining moment, like that of a vegetarian who proudly and publicly announces (better: preens!) their preferential gustatory habits wherever they go. In this time of shameful self-absorption and unabashed self-importance, we should remember that such cultural characteristics have always proved the undoing of cultures before us. And that is very "un-American," to be sure...
-- Dr. Gregory Young
Asheville, North Carolina

I have always admired Tom Bethell's writing style. It is clear, intelligent, straight from the shoulder and informative. But, like too many idealistic Libertarians, he is blind to political realities.

What he advocates is politically impossible. The Illegals will never return to their home countries unless forced to do so. The Left wants them here to turn the United States into the Socialist Paradise Mr. Bethell used to call home in England. The Business Class (Merchants) want them here to have a serf underclass so they can still compete in the global economy they unwittingly created when they moved manufacturing out of the USA in their idealistic pursuit of non existent "Free" trade. And the Unions want them in the hope that they can recruit them and return to the glorious days of yesteryear. And their interests like the mythical reptilian hair of the Gorgons are intricately entwined.

We do appreciate what we have. We appreciate how long and how much effort it took to get here. We don't want to lose it and leave our children and grandchildren with a culture like the one Mr. Bethell escaped from.

I would indeed like him to write that article on our "home-grown trust fund socialists" (like Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose family owned garment manufacturing sweat shops in Scranton, Pa. and North Carolina) since so many of them are third and fourth generation descendants of the robber barons and in addition to clipping their coupons still own and/or have interests in businesses throughout the northeast and the rest of the U.S. and favor the use of the cheap labor they can get from the illegals. You know, $8.00 an hour, no benefits, no limits on overtime etc. The jobs that Americans won't do. It should be interesting and enlightening.

And another thing, and I am very serious here; I would also like to see him write an article on Thomas Jefferson's dictum, "Merchants have no allegiances."

I don't live too far from Gouldsboro, Pa. which is in the western reaches of the Pocono Mountains and near the birthplace of Jay Gould, the quintessential robber baron. He is alleged to have said that he could "hire half of the working class to kill the other half of the working class." That, in a nutshell, is about what the last 150 years of the economic history of the USA has been about.

Jay Gould would roll over in his grave if he knew that the Pocono's are now predominately populated by both middle class retirees and refugees from the New York metropolitan area who commute to their jobs in New York City and the moribund municipalities that surround it. It is a middle class that he and his robber baron colleagues tried their best to strangle at birth.

We do know what we have here in the United States and believe me, we appreciate it and we don't want to lose it. NAFTA, the myth of "free" trade, Socialized Medicine and Illegal Immigration are all weapons used by the Merchant Class and the Left to destroy the middle class and the freedom it now enjoys. Yes it is, and has always been, and always will be a class war.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

The group of American citizens most adversely affected by illegal immigration is the poor and the lower-middle class. Although Democrat-Socialist -- Progressives ( commies?) In their delusions believe the welfare entitlement -pie is infinite. The reality is quite different. There are limits, and the limits translate into long waits in the entitlement line. Illegal immigrants are cutting in front of the line, demanding their "rights" to a piece of the entitlement pie. Poor Americans can point to their American ancestors who built this country as the basis for their earned right to the pie. What legacy "rights" can illegal immigrants claim?

The delusion is that illegal immigrants pay state and federal income taxes. Not true. They may be nickel-and-dimed into sales taxes and cigarette taxes, and gas taxes etc., but not income taxes or FICA per se.

Because illegals depress wages, poor Americans are forced out of the labor market. The "day laborers" (illegal immigrants) are paid in cash. Their employers pay neither FICA, State nor Federal withholding, Workman's Comp etc., and these employers save a bundle in fixed hidden costs. If these illegals become quasi-legal what was once a good deal on cheap labor is no longer, now that those hidden costs must be paid for... Eight dollars an hour now becomes twelve dollars an hour. Now there is a new need for more illegal cheap labor. The proverbial dog chasing its tale.

Once the illegals become quasi-legal, they do not pay taxes, because for all intents and purposes they are low skilled, low paid wage earners. They are now entitled to what is known as the "Earned Income Tax Credit." This translates into a transfer of taxes from the American middle class to these new poor. These new semi-citizens are also eligible for food stamps, WIC, subsidized housing, subsidized utility bills, subsidized transportation costs, and in most likelihood they still won't buy car insurance.

In Tucson the small construction outfits that don't use illegals cannot compete with them in the roofing, tile setting, cement finishing, rough carpentry, landscaping businesses. So who is really benefiting from this cheap labor? It definitely isn't the small business man.

No amnesty...no way.
-- Fred Edwards
Tucson, Arizona

I am all for getting rid of government welfare, stop paying welfare mothers to have more welfare kids. But that does not stop school districts from having to educate the illegal kids. My school taxes are going thru the roof.

Illegal workers are the next slaves, Bartlett is correct that they can not complain and are keeping the wages low for all Americans. These low wages are hurting Americans that have less than a high school education.

As far as Ernesto goes, if he wants to be with his wife he is FREE to GO HOME and be with her. It is not our problem, we did not ask him to come here ILLEGALLY and we should not have to allow his family to come. Family-reunification is a bad thing, just adding to our already overloaded schools, emergency room and yes welfare(that is never going to be gotten rid of). If family is so important GO HOME.

Maybe one of the reasons fertility rates in Mexico has dropped is all the men are up here.

If we start controlling the border, going after employers that hire illegals and sending the ones we catch home then just maybe they can not come back.

You keep talking about immigrants being good for America, when you should be saying ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS as that is who the bills want to give amnesty and they are not good for America. It is not legal immigrants I have a problem with, but until our government can keep track of visas and know if someone has overstayed the visa and can find that person I am all for putting a stop to visas. Do you know how many people come in with a visa and overstay? No? Well the government doesn't know either.
-- Elaine Kyle

GOLDEN AGE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Health Care Is In:

Mr. Tyrrell is correct about almost everything in his assessment of the Health Care Pseudocrisis as propounded by the Democrats. I would like to emphasize another aspect of the debate that is striking to me, and not often mentioned.

We really are on the verge of a golden age of medicine, where prices fall, exotic drugs and biologics are widely available, and primary and preventive care, maybe even the commonest surgical procedures, are commodities. Where top-of-the-line angiotensin receptor blockers, proton-pump inhibitors, statins, and other medicines, all generic, prolong the lives of everyone. (Note that the three drug types I just mentioned are in almost everybody's medicine cabinet nowadays, and none
of them existed 20 years ago!)

All this progress is happening now, and would happen much faster, if we would just, finally, uncouple health insurance from employment, disconnect the federal government from the equation, and let the market forces drive prices of all medical goods and services down.

About twelve years ago, the hospital where I worked was approached by a group of plastic surgeons who wanted to admit their patients for one day of recovery only, following face lifts. The amount of nursing care required for these patients is about what one would expect for a one-day, overnight adult tonsillectomy patient.

The CEO quoted the hospitalization fee at $300 per night (1994 dollars) for the plastic surgery patients! But insurers were then typically paying $3,000 per night (ten times as much) for the exact same level of care for tonsillectomy patients!! It then became clear to me: The consumers and employers are caught in a game of hyperinflationary keep-away with three players, all of whom have the stature of NBA centers:

First, the insurers have absolutely no interest in containing costs. I suppose any insurer gets a percentage of whatever bill is sent out, for "administrative" fees or whatever. Their motivation is for the bills to be astronomical, so their cut is greater. They want the status quo.

Next, the hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, suppliers, and health care providers, etc., all want the prices as high as possible for their own, obvious reasons. They make tons more money and the buyers, as long as they keep playing the keep-away game, can't haggle or second-guess them, for the most part. They too want the status quo.

Last, the federal government (Sen. Clinton as well) wants the bills high and ever-increasing so as to induce a constant, low-grade panic in the voter (mostly consumers and employers), who, confused and scared, will be tempted to vote for socialized medicine. (Of course the feds also want to be brokers and regulators of this huge segment of the economy.)

One way to end the game is available and popular right now: the Health Savings Account. Combined with a catastrophic or very-high deductible policy, they will inject a huge dose of market force (and sanity and freedom) into this lopsided game.

The panic many on the left foment is mostly projection: They see that HSA accounts and large deductible policies are growing in popularity and are already starting to force prices down. They should panic. The left is toast if the public figures out that prices are beginning to fall and the market is beginning to respond to the needs of an increasingly critical and better-informed patient population. And that the left is blocking this from happening.

How low could the prices of medical goods and services, including insurance, go? Patients and employers should expect as much from medicine in the future as they have received from the computer electronics and aviation industries over the past 50 years, because all three industries rely on high-tech advances, an informed consumer base, and economies of scale to lower prices.

For one example, even now, patients can get superb generic prescription medications such as ciprofloxacin, benazepril, omeprazole, fluoxetine, and simvastatin... these prolong life by years if not decades, they increase quality of life, and decrease the likelihood of future expensive surgeries and debilitating heart attacks and strokes. They are getting cheaper all the time, as more generic manufacturers bring these drugs to market.

Another example: Listening to Rush the other day, I heard an ad by a local medical laboratory (unusual, perhaps, but indicative of the market opening avenues of information to patients) offering fifty percent off if patients would come in for a blood draw and pay cash instead of filing insurance forms! Fifty percent is not ninety percent, but it shows how much flab there is in the prices. And of course the patients are catching on.

The panic you perceive in leftist politicians like Sen. Clinton and others, when health care is brought up, is actually due to them seeing themselves and their Leninist political philosophy drifting further into irrelevance and oblivion.
-- Francis Dillon, MD
Indianapolis, Indiana

THREE'S COMPANY
Re: Jamie Weinstein's Thank Heaven for Little Gravels:

BEWARE THE PHOENIX
With the tripping and slipping of the Dominant Three,
What will the Democrat answer be?
Inexperience is showing through ever widening cracks.
Mystification and obfuscation no longer cover their tracks.

If their prospects are roasted by this untutored core,
Will we see rising from the ashes (Oh No!) Al Gore?
-- Mimi Evans Winship

BEARS BELABORING
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Obvious:

It might be belaboring the obvious, but...a man of any quality in Clinton's position would never have gotten into that kind of situation.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

PRAYER ANSWERED
Re: Paul Dorell's letter (under "Let Us Pray") In Reader Mail's Without a Prayer:

Dear Paul: Swear off again!
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

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