Reader Mail

After the Fall

Doing as the Romans did? Illegal aliens and living wages. War heroes, then and now. The talented Messrs. Gore and Carter. Plus much more.

5.30.07

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IMPERIAL DEBRIS
Re: Paul J. Cella's The Last Sunrise:

The article on the fall of Constantinople is highly relevant to the battle against Islamic terrorism. The Eastern Roman Empire for centuries was the foundation of order and civilization in the Middle East, it survived repeated Islamic invasions and always managed to keep the invaders out of Europe. Once the Empire had fallen the Turks occupied the Balkans and twice reached the walls of Vienna, creating the conditions for wars that we are still dealing with now. Once Islamic armies are entrenched, you lose everything and it might take centuries and a lot of bloodshed to get your liberties back.

The Eastern Roman Empire might well have survived but for internal disunity, bad leadership and attacks from Christian forces who should have been allies (in particular the Venetians) that sapped the Empire's strength at critical times. Constantinople had been undermined by bad and corrupt government when it was sacked in 1204 by the Fourth (Unholy) Crusade after Venice managed to divert the crusaders from going to the Holy Land to attacking Constantinople instead. You never hear the jihadists complaining about that particular crusade -- it was a catastrophe for the West that gets nothing like the attention it deserves in the history books. The Empire never recovered from this defeat and the civil wars that followed and the Ottoman Turks managed to pretty much walk in and pick up the pieces one by one. The Empire rotted from within well before it was defeated from without, two centuries later.

The war against Islamic terrorism is going pretty much the way it went for the Eastern Roman Empire -- worthless allies, disunity, internal moral weakness and failure, incompetent and self-serving leaders and endless failures to recognize threats and to act decisively against them in good time. Leaders who can't warn against these things and organise their people to oppose them in their own interests do not deserve to be appointed. Too bad they will not be around in 500 years to explain, once again, how a second great empire crumbled to dust in the face of a threat that it should have soundly thrashed centuries before.
-- Christopher Holland
Canberra, Australia

One has to wonder how future historians will chronicle our fall. A Nation of 300 million with the highest standard of living on the planet, the strongest economy, the strongest military on a man for man basis and we can't control our own borders or subdue a third world back water Nation like Iraq where most of the people there want peace and a rising standard of living. Over 10 million foreigners have invaded our country and no one takes the least bit of offense at that.

Add to all this a divided Nation, half wanting what no signer of the Declaration of the Independence would have signed for and willing to sell out their mother for one more vote on election day and you have the stage for the eventual fall of the greatest Nation this world has ever known. If self government is to survive it will either rise to the occasion as required or fall by the way side like Rome did. Rome and Greece both fell from the pentacle of achievement when they stopped believing in themselves. Half this Nation's population would feel better living somewhere else. Every hyphenated American is testament to this. Our strength does not come from our diversity. It comes from our common ground born and paid for in blood not ballots on Election Day.

We don't pay much in blood any longer as a proportion of our glutted population. The best and brightest this Nation has to offer go to law school to figure out how to suit doctors to get rich the easy way; most of the rest go into politics to figure out how to get rich without suing anyone. What's left are fighting and dying another political correct limited war that was supposed to define our future, again. Our military may have the Spartan reputation when fighting an enemy out in the open but they share another characteristic with them too. They are a bit Spartan in numbers too. The early Romans or Greeks would not suffer this kind half arse incremental approach to war. The latter Empires wanted Peace; they got war.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Though lyrical, Mr. Cella's moving panegyric omits a coda two centuries long.

Byzantium's end is not to be found by the shores of the Bosphorus, but overlooking the blue Caribbean, in a churchyard not ten miles from the International airport where the Concorde used to land in Barbados.

There, still projecting from the hallowed ground of St. John's parish, can still be read a stone bearing this inscription, chastely framed by a Doric temple portico:

HERE LYETH YE BODY OF
FERNANDO PALEOLOGOS
DESCENDED FROM YE IMPERIAL LYNE
OF YE LAST CHRISTIAN
EMPEROR OF GREECE
CHURCHWARDEN OF THIS PARISH
1655-1656
VESTRYMAN TWENTY YEARS
DIED OCTOBER 3, 1678
How Ferdinand Paleologos came to be there is, as they say, another story.
-- Russell Seitz
Mustique, West Indies

Thank you for the report on the fall of Constantinople.

Today Tuesday 29 May, like that Tuesday of May 29th 1453, the Greeks mourn and remember...

Thanks a lot
-- Kyriacos Savoullis
Cyprus

HILLARY'S CAPITAL IDEAS
Re: Jennifer Rubin's Hillary's Die Is Cast:

The comment: "The gal who declared contemptuously that small businesses should just grin and bear Hillarycare health costs ("I can't be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in America") was at it again."; in particular the line in parentheses is typically viewed as a sign of Hillary's callousness. It is, no doubt about it. However, there is a deeper, more troubling aspect to it coming from someone who wants to dictate to one-seventh of the economy. Healthcare costs are an operating expense, not a balance sheet item, such as capital. She clearly doesn't know the difference, nor does she understand the implications of either. There isn't enough capital to continue to subsidize the losses that would occur with Hillarycare. Do we really want such a contemptuous ignoramus as President?
-- James M. Mulcahy
Grand Island, New York

We must remember: Hillary Clinton is first and always will be an opportunist who sails the prevailing winds of public sentiment -- or at least what she and her handlers interpret that to be at any given hour of any given day.

That she failed to support funding for the troops, though some might say is failure to see where the winds blow, revealed her true anti-American heart. And with that vote, she's out-John-Kerry-ed Mr. Flip Flop himself.

As for her "anti-capitalist" tricks, please, let's stop pussyfooting around. If she's anti-capitalist, doesn't that make her at least a socialist, if not a communist? Why the diplomatic punch-pulling with someone who doesn't' understand yet loathes America -- and the economic system that, through the taxes imposed on it, allows her and Bill to live off the proverbial fat of our land?

Any further kid-glove treatment for someone stupid and ignorant enough as she was and may still be to disparage small businesses would also be outrageous. Why? According to the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration in late 2006, data released in 2005 showed that small businesses "represented 99.7 percent of all the nation's employer businesses." That office also reported that data showed "that small businesses employed 57.4 million Americans or 50.6 percent of the non-farm private sector workforce."

When will people in this country understand what a serious threat the shallow, disingenuous Hillary Clinton represents? Better yet, when will more and more people begin to voice their concerns about her, and stop her from holding any further public office?
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

WAGE RAGE
Re: Jill Jenkins's The Deathly Living Wage:

People I know who work for H&R Block during the tax season have commented to me that the EITC is the most fraud-riddled part of the Tax Code that they deal with during the tax preparation season. People frequently and blatantly make up the information on the spot so as to maximize their "take." The preparers are cautioned not to "make waves" by calling them on this lest they become violent.

When you offer people "free money" after having prepared the ground by telling them they are "entitled" then what follows as the night the day is "fraud."

Another fun program you might want to write about is known in the South as "Crazy Cheques" -- government money doled out to "ThePoor" who have retarded or mentally unbalanced children. In Alabama there are classes held to teach the children how to "pass" the test so Mommy qualifies for the "Crazy Cheques" to the max. People openly laugh about how easy this money is to pick up.

The best way is still "He who does not work, neither shall he eat."
-- Kate Shaw
Kanukistan East

I read this article with great interest expecting the most obvious conclusion but not finding it. It is clear to me that, is you artificially increase wages, whether it be though a so-called "living wage" or a minimum wage, you will drive employers underground. There are so many contractors across the country who now knowingly hire illegal aliens because they will (a) work for a much lower amount than the law requires; and (b) never report the employer for paying them illegally (or too low) because they will be exposing themselves.

So now we have this big fat juicy underground economy that Congress thinks they can fix by making illegals legal. If these same workers become legal, employers are once again subject to minimum wage and living wage standards. Forced to pay employees in accordance with the laws, they now have 2 choices: Comply or seek another route to cheaper labor.

Why would any employer, under those circumstances, comply with the law when it means paying standard wages to non-English-speaking workers? Why not just hire skilled English-speaking workers?

Of course, most illegal employers will seek the next wave of cheap labor. Either illegals will remain illegal or find themselves out of work Americans (if Congress gets its way).

The ONLY solution is to clamp down on illegal employers not the employees. The employees will soon go away if there are no employers will to go underground for fear of prosecution.

Employment enforcement against illegal employers is the key to the illegal immigration problem. The "living wages" may be the cause of the rise in illegal employment, thus hurting those who would be helped by the well-meaning but impossible to execute plans of the socialists in Congress.
-- Dennis Brennan
Foxboro, Massachusetts

The EITC, the earned income tax credit is certainly a positive program for socialist income re-distribution. However, when the 10 to 12 million illegal immigrants become quasi-legal (these are generally low-income workers), they will become eligible for the EITC. If they bring in their spouse , children, parents etc. into the U.S.A. they are eligible for even more entitlements (food stamps, utility subsidies, public transportation, day-care, SSI, Medicaid etc.).

Who is going to pay for this? The Rich??? I don't think so, they know how to shelter their wealth (Gates and Buffet hid billions in a foundation that is nontaxable as are the investments of the foundation, nontaxable). The shrinking middle class gets the bill.

No amnesty, no quasi-legal status for illegal immigrants -- no way, no how.
-- Fred Edwards

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Re: James Bowman's Smart Enough To Be Cretins:

"A good old man Sir; he will be talking: as they say, when the age is in, the wit is out." William Shakespeare, Much ado About Nothing.

I have long thought this passage describes Jimmy Carter. Mr. Carter need only look to his disastrous time in office to see what might constitute the worst presidency at least in the 20th Century.

Let us list his achievements: 21 percent inflation; 17% mortgages; effectively shutting the majority of Americans from home ownership; nearly 10 percent unemployment; the unopposed expansion of communism into sub Saharan African nations; Nicaragua unopposed slides into Communism and exports that revolution el Salvador; the cancellation of the Olympics.

Mr. Carter's crowning glory is his complete non-reaction to the invasion of sovereign American soil, recognized as such by International law, by Iran and the kidnapping and torture of Americans in that wretched country for more than a year. Mr. Carter did nothing, nothing at all!

Truly Mr. Carter demonstrates the 400-year-old wisdom of the Bard.

Mr. Gore is a horse of a different color. Mr. Gore was born into Tennessee royalty. He is the Prince of Tennessee! Raised in privilege, elite private schools, accepted into prestigious Universities-who doesn't want a Prince among their students, especially one from a liberal background. Mr. Gore has never worked, never wanted for anything. He was the recipient of the only scheduled 90 day tour in Viet Nam known to me, courtesy of the King of Tennessee, his Dad. For virtually all of his Mr. Gore's life, the "fix was in."

My wife and I sat and watched the returns on that fateful night and both opined that Mr. Bush should withdraw and concede the election to Mr. Gore. That would have accomplished two things. First we would now be sure who qualified for Worst in the presidential sweepstakes and who came in second. Second, if Mr. Bush ran again it might be a bit more difficult for the drive by media to crucify him, because of this very honorable gesture.

But alas, we are now saddled with an increasingly irrelevant Mr. Gore, who in his political death throes, is thrashing and smashing all who come near. Mr. Carter ceased being relevant in the first few weeks of his administration and has remained remarkably constant only in his anti Americanism and bitterness towards her people.

If in fact discourse has coarsened it can be laid at the feet of these two running sewers of hatred, vitriol and bitterness.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

Thank you, Mr. Bowman, for another brilliant article. Al Gore's smugness & depravity is wonderfully illustrated by Mr. Bowman when he writes, "...he (Al Gore) could have foreseen the disaster of September 11th, if only anyone had thought to ask him about it in advance."

Al Gore did indeed have a golden opportunity in late 1996 to prevent 9/11 when he was Chairman of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security in the aftermath of TWA 800. Even a child would reason that Al Gore failed miserably at this task and he should be held accountable for his misdeeds and stupidity. Here's what Vice President Al Gore said in 1996, '"Sometimes, government must step back and ask itself, 'Is there a better way to do this?' Given the increase in terrorism (my emphasis), the continuing changes in the airline industry, and the rapid advancement of technology, President Clinton said it is clearly time to ask that question and reevaluate the way the federal government oversees aviation safety and security." How prescient Mr. Gore! This quote was nearly five years to the day of 9/11. It is from the September 1, 1996, report of the American Association of Airport Executives. If anyone has blood on his hands it is most certainly Al Gore, not President Bush.

Mr. Bowman's concluding line sums today's Kultursmog: "Neither man (referring to Al Gore & Jimmy Carter) has ever learned that being right without the will or the capacity for action is the cheapest form of self-gratification."

Bravo, Mr. Bowman, bravo!!
-- Joe Weldon
Juno Beach, Florida

Every time I hear Al Gore accuse the incumbent president of ignoring "clear warnings" of 9/11 I recall the days when Clinton kept Honest Al out from under foot by having the CIA monitor the migration patterns of whales and other oceanic fauna; then I contemplate the damage that organization suffered when the Bill and Hilly decreed it could employ no human intelligence asset suspected of violating somebody’s human rights.

Bad as it is in Iraq these days, what might have been, were Al now the leader of the free world, and Jimmy Carter its elder statesman. Try not to dwell on the question, for that way madness lies.
-- Edmund Dantes
Coshocton, Ohio

Since Mr. Bowman injected allusions to the Holy Bible -- the beam in Al Gore's eye and the motes in others' eyes -- some other things from the Bible could describe alarmists, naysayers and holier-than-thou Messrs. Carter and Gore. These came immediately to mind:

"A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." -- Proverbs 17:27-28

"Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." -- Proverbs 21:12

Both men need prayer to have their eyes and hearts opened.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

WAR AND PEACE
Re: Jeff Emanuel's The Lost Heroes of the War on Terror and the letters (under "Faithful and Brave") in Reader Mail's Speechless and Stunned:

Beautiful article -- it should be read by every editor of every cheesy fishwrap across the nation. Perhaps they would wake up and concentrate less on coverage of protest marches and give subscribers something a little more inspiring to read.

The mention of Audie Murphy brought back memories of my first job -- that of copy girl in the city room at the Dallas Morning News. All the copy boys had gone to war. I had many "important" duties -- measuring contributions from "stringers'" who got paid by the line, taping the stock reports as the endless ticker tape spewed out of the AP machine. I remember the day the stock market reports were interrupted by FDR's death. I ran out to the City Room to report President Roosevelt was dead. Everyone, in unison, shouted "Who shot him?" That is how primitive news gathering was in those days -- the President of the United States had died and a seventeen year old flunky sitting alone in the AP Room was the first to know! The AP crew came on in the afternoon.

But most important of my duties was greeting returning servicemen as they came in to be photographed and interviewed for their Returning Warrior stories. In 1944-45 a good deal of space -- whole sections sometmes -- was given to our Texas heroes and all of it deserved. No story was ever turned away.

One day a shy, small statured boy in a rumpled uniform came in, looking bewildered, uncomfortable and a little lost. His name was Audie Murphey and he "believed" he had an appointment with our city editor. Of course, we wanted pictures of him with his chest ablaze with all his ribbons and medals -- most of which he was not wearing. He said he had "not had time to get them". So he was told that there was a nearby store, Ring & Brewer that sold riding equipment and military paraphernalia that could probably furnish them. I was asked to walk him over as he had no idea where the store was.

I still have my AP wire photos of our Nimitz Day Parade, honoring Admiral Chester Nimitz. Cadillac convertibles, planes flying over in formation, military band -- and "protest" was not even in a Texan's vocabulary! Do you suppose General Petraeus will be similarly honored? Was Tommy Franks? He may have been -- and our liberal California papers did not consider it newsworthy -- but my bet is that he was not.

Texas knew how to honor its heroes, then. Today the Dallas Morning News is a pathetic excuse for a newspaper, as are most across this wonderful land. What has happened?
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco California

Mr. Emanuel's reply in Tuesday's Letters section said more than most anything I've read concerning my total and complete disgust with George W. Bush and Dr. Rice's hideous State Department -- the restricted "rules of engagement" and having tied the troops hands from actually WINNING over there.

This president is the worst excuse for a "Commander In Chief" this veteran has ever seen, his Pabulum Puke pontifications and pseudo-concern notwithstanding.

I'm reminded of Fallujah a year or so ago when snipers were merrily picking-off our Marines from a mosque, and our guys had their hands tied. If Disastrous Dubya had taken the gloves off then, perhaps we'd have actually won in Iraq -- note the intentional past-tense.

Truly, he'll go down with the likes of Tyler, Buchanan, Pierce, Harding and LBJ as one of the worst presidents ever, simply because he refused to WIN; if I were in the military, restricted from killing bad-guys and maybe breaking a few things, hell, I'd quit. Look how long it took him to replace the various McClellans and Pentagon hacks -- - there's no excuse for ineptness, gang, and, candidly, he's become an embarrassment as a leader.

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but this has become Terminal Frustration! Where's Barry Goldwater when we need him? Or Harry Truman. Or even the fictional Jack Ryan? Really.

And, waiting in the wings...?
-- Geoff Brandt

I was waiting for Memorial Day to complete to see what the reactions would be to "The Lost Heroes of the War on Terror." And, as expected, I noted that the comments reflected another serious problem we have that portends defeat for this country, now and in the future. The article was fine, but it occurs to me that we have been transmogrified as a nation into bemoaning each and every casualty taken in combat as if they were national tragedies.

In keeping with our now-universalized victim-oriented ethos, we invariably choose to lionize only those servicemen who have the misfortune to die (albeit heroically), rather than to affirm and elevate those soldiers or sailors who bravely kill our enemies in large numbers (like Audie Murphy and Neville Brand). To this day, I have no idea how many "evil-doers" the US has taken out in this conflict and have seen attempts to quantify our vengefulness considered somehow unseemly. I maintain that this misguided squeamishness works to our detriment. The importance of this information is twofold; it serves to assure those in the fight that their mortal sacrifices will not go unavenged, and it gives notice to our enemies that their depredations will not go unpunished. But I guess martial thinking of this type is considered archaic and quaint nowadays, and something to be discarded, like notions of victory.
-- Harry Hill

TRUTH MOVING
Re: Peter Hannaford's The Loony Left's 9/11:

Peter Hannaford's attack article against David Griffin is pathetic. I suspect that his intended audience is either extremely gullible or uninformed. Hannaford's tactic is to simply declare that Griffin comes to his "conclusion first" which absolves him from any serious attempt to address the arguments or evidence presented by the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Hannaford never bothers to mention Griffin's recently published "Debunking 9/11 Debunking" which happens to contain responses to Cockburn and Garcia. Why is that?

He also brings up the old strawman that Griffin's discussion of the twin towers hinges on the issue of whether jet fuel can melt steel. Anyone who has actually read Griffin's books will notice the failure to understand the relevant issues. Has Hannaford read Griffin's responses to NIST or Popular Mechanics? Is he even aware of these responses?

This display of ignorance leaves me puzzled as to how this article ever got published in the first place.
-- Scott

NOT PULLING FOR McCAIN
Re: Jerry McDonald's letter (under "Genuine Hero") in Reader Mail's Speechless and Stunned:

Unless I am mistaken, only the top ten percent of any military academy are selected for pilot training (unless of course, daddy and granddaddy were Admirals). Of those selected for pilot training, only the top ten percent are assigned to fighter aircraft (again, unless daddy and granddaddy were Admirals). McCain got to where he was due to political pull and in his day, his personnel file was probably stamped with "PP" (meaning political pull) in large red letters. If I am wrong in these assertions, please accept my mea culpa in advance, I'm not in the mood for frivolous discourse on the subject.

As a RINO, he is the darling of the liberal media and the Democrat Party largely because he constantly bucking the party to which he supposedly belongs. He showed his true character after returning from Viet Nam by dumping the family which stood by him during his ordeal and "marrying rich!" JFK II (who by the way also served in Viet Nam) did the same thing, and went one better when he dumped millionaire number one for someone even richer.

I am all in favor of giving credit where credit is due but, except for the sick desire to destroy this country, I'm afraid McCain deserves little credit for anything, having done nothing positive during his tenure in the Senate.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

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