Re: Yale Kramer's Mother Streep in the Park:
Great article by Yale Kramer!
-- Elaine Helberg
Boca Raton, Florida
Re: Jed Babbin's Profiling and Fascism:
Sir, Mr. Babbin's article on Profiling and Fascism is an excellent article. But a word about "profiling," not racial but "threat profiling" based on accumulated knowledge, experience and awareness that is often overlooked by those making the charge against profiling. First off, everyone who is aware of their daily environment profiles! We look at most everyone we encounter and make decisions based on what we see and what our experience tells us, hence I walk out of coffee shops that are less than clean and turn my head in all directions when walking alone at night. Profiling a car salesman will help us decide to buy or not buy that new car and certainly a "used" car. As a former customs inspector, I learned from my colleagues which arriving international flights were high risk for drugs while others that were high risk for other types of smuggling, such as expensive clothes and jewelry. The number of seizures for violations of various laws were indicative of the experience and intuitive nature of many, but not all inspectors and warranted the additional threat profiling.
Over a period of decades, I have been profiled in a number of foreign countries and when returning to the U.S. I understand the basis and rationale for most of the instances and chalk the remainder up to inexperience or possibly poor information. Recently I watched security in the departure area of the international airport in Vienna take aside a non-descript passenger because he had over a half dozen bottles (plastic with the seals broken) of what appeared to be water. I could not hear the conversation but there appeared to be no legitimate reason for carrying on to the aircraft large, two-liter bottles of water in used bottles. While the man did not seem out of the ordinary, with the exception of the water bottles, the security people were profiling for safety and security. On a flight from Amman where the majority of the passengers were of middle eastern appearance, I noted two male passengers sitting across from me leaning towards one another to discuss some issues in very low tones. They stopped their conversations whenever the flight attendants passed by. Several times they looked directly at me and I assumed they were profiling me. Nothing happened but I did not believe I was profiling on a racial basis but on a behavioral basis.
From observing the TSA officers at several major U.S. international airports, I believe some of these officers are aware of their surroundings and other are working by rote. I know of an instance where a sworn U.S. federal officer with a USG ID and a U.S. diplomatic passport arriving in the U.S. and connecting to another city was taken in for an extended examination despite his showing his various U.S. credentials. This is screening by numbers and will not lead to a higher level of experience and intuition being developed by TSA personnel. Threat profiling is not racial profiling and while not 100 percent accurate, it certainly is more effective than the type of screening I have experienced since 9-11.
French-speaking Belgians are about 40 percent of total population of 10.5 million, or 4.2 million -- over double the 2 million cited in article.
I think previous generations of Belgian leaders were savvier than today's. They knew how to pay some lip service to their French cousins while keeping them at arm's length at same time.
-- T. Garvey
Tell it, Jed. Keep telling it. Don't ever stop telling it. Maybe someday our citizenry will wake up and listen to you.
-- Ken Shreve
Re: Neal McCluskey's Subsidy Economics 101:
Maybe the baby boomers' children can take their tax breaks and get their government subsidies too. All they have to do is figure out how to convince China to keep subsidizing our debt.
-- Michael Roush
SITE OUT OF MIND
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Faith-Based Terrorism:
Mr. Reiland is, of course, quite right that the phenomenon that we call the Islamic Jihad is not a new thing. I did indeed start a while ago. Mr. Reiland's mistake is in not correctly dating the onset of this current iteration of the jihad. I would recommend that people look into this website.
This site well give chapter and verse on this latest jihad and its creator, and show that it dates back to approximately 90 years ago. If you do not wish to go back that far, then you simply must go back to the takeover of our embassy in Tehran in 1979, or to the killing of the Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich seven years earlier. Incidentally, the site listed above was created, and is maintained. by truly moderate Muslims, not Zionists. Another site documenting the Islamic Jihad's birth, continuance, and intentions is this. Again, this is not a Zionist web site.
Folks, the point is that this Islamic Jihad is not new, but we, in the West, have been doing our best to hide it from view for many reasons and for many years. It is past time to get serious before Victoria's Secret installs a full line of burkas.
-- Ken Shreve
Re: Manon McKinnon's Democrats, Elections, and Ideas:
Let's add one lasting immoral position that has enjoyed unbridled success with the victory of WWII still in the rearview mirror: The Military Stalemate is O.K. for it demonstrates "compromise" and "understanding."
In Korea we had a bunch of GI's killed and in the end, we tolerate a communist. In Vietnam we had a bunch of GI's killed and in the end, we tolerate another communist.
The fall of the Wall was a rather unique circumstance where we actually made a MORAL case for why Communism was wrongâ€¦and WE succeeded because we continued to press the communist Russians and the world around them. But all the while, the compromisers fought us tooth and nail, almost claiming their prescribed victory: another compromise of containment and toleration.
Since the late '70s we have tolerated a similar menace existing within a host state: the terrorist entity. The terrorist shares similar totalitarian ties and practices to the communist entity. But by hijacking a religion the terrorist is provided cover to meld into any populace within any border. Occasionally we get lucky and a bullet, delivered only after the expense of congressional legislation, finds a few of them. But it has become a festering problem with an ever increasing number of host countries whom are no longer shy about hosting such entities. Rather than spreading precious resources and troops too thin we then either opt to contain or negotiate another compromise with another host, even after the deaths of more Americans.
We in the West are the ones going insane trying to deal with terrorists and their hosts on their terms. We have elevated them to a position of worthiness by inviting them to not only debate the size and shape of the negotiating table but the squeeze-ability of bathroom tissue as well. Having been granted access by the "tolerate" class access to our courts, the insane have been saved from what would have been their last stand: the battlefield. The insanity of their position enjoys libertarian cachet now being considered by the likes of our Supreme Court, and in effect transforming them into a legitimate grievance to be argued before our legal system.
If one hangs around insane folks long enough and we have allowed them ample media exposure as well, you become more like them. They do not have to change at all for they have become a humanized entity (with a first name) to the compromisers that have fought us all the while.
Now we're stuck with the next paradigm: "We can't kill them, because we've known them for so long." They however, will continue to kill us, and we know that they will kill our friends and allies where they can, but we can't muster the moral will to kill them and solve our problem. Morality doesn't demand tolerance of the insane, morality demands that we do sane things like ridding ourselves of the insane and the insanity among us.
Joe 6-pack has no problem seeing the terrorist wiped out. Joe 6-pack is wondering why we keep screwing around with these punks. Joe 6-pack can and will pull the trigger and live with them selves after the fact.
It is the politician that has compromised Joe 6-pack's ability to do the moral thing because the politician like a John Dingell (D-MI), a UN, or our own State Department hasn't the courage to draw a moral distinction between good and evil, and they are the only ones who are afraid of living with the decision.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
Re: David Hogberg's The Netroots' Iraq Advantage:
It is no longer news when I write in disagreeing with David Hogberg. I am delighted to be able to write in this time to say that David is right on the money in his analysis of the differences in the voters now versus almost 40 years ago.
Like Mr. Hogberg, I am not sanguine in the least at the prospects of the elections this year or in 2008. Yes there are a lot of us who are determined that the Vietnam home front experience shall not be repeated and that our vets are honored as they should be. Yes there are a lot of us who take the security of our country extremely seriously. But proportionately speaking, we are not as many as we were. Our general citizenry does not seem so willing to sacrifice and postpone gratification for the security of the country as a whole -- or any other reason for that matter.
We have become a "What have you done for me lately" citizenry. It was said a long time ago that we might be in trouble when the populace found out that they could vote themselves money from the general treasury. Well, they have found out - in spades. Entirely too many folks just seem to think that nothing will ever change for the worse, that personal responsibility never need be considered again. Oh, and all wars and other problems are supposed to be totally solved in one hour with time out for commercials.
I do think that the GOP will keep the majorities in both houses of Congress, but it is going to be a close run thing. Bush is determined to irritate as many voters as possible with his approval of the Mexican and Third World invasion of our country. He is also determined not to be prodded into doing a serious ongoing job of explaining the Islamic Jihad and selling the country on why it is important to win. Of course he is also trying to win in as PC a way as possible which I believe is costing us more WIA and KIA than necessary. With the right GOP President and other GOP leadership, this coming election should be one where the GOP is looking at increasing their margins in both houses of Congress. With our current leadership crop, it ain't gonna happen and we are going to need a little luck to hold what we got. None of this even touches on the 2008 elections.
That is a whole other can of worms.
-- Ken Shreve
The fact is, President Nixon was already leaving Vietnam. One month after the election, there were only advisors left, no combat troops. Kissinger didn't come forward in the days before the election and announce another offensive that would "win" in Vietnam, he said that "peace is at hand." So McGovern was just for rushing things a bit. In analyzing the '72 election, what seems to have defeated McGovern so convincingly was the electorate's yearning for a return to cultural orthodoxy. No more militant blacks, no more hippies, no more riots and bra-burning -- that was the deciding factor. Any objective analysis would also show that Nixon continued, and even expanded the New Deal. Today, he would never be nominated by the Republican Party.
What Nixon was decidedly NOT doing was slashing the size of government, or continuing the draft, or continuing the Vietnam War until the ARVN Army could "stand up." He was bugging out, forming the EPA, and even suggesting a Guaranteed Annual Income. Faced with this guy, the left of the Democratic Party, which felt empowered by the collapse of the center, still could not stand against Nixon.
But now, Bush is not suggesting the peace that the clear majority wants. He has no plans but keeping the troops in the buzz saw. The phantasmagoria of "victory" gets more and more remote. And it wasn't the Democrats who got us in there, it was Bush. Lamont is far from the "left" of the Democratic Party, if such a thing still exists. The CIO? Nope. New Dealers? All dead. The zealous mood after Vietnam? Gone. If Democrats were following your suggested strategy, then Nixon would have promised to keep fighting in the glorious Vietnam War or been accused of appeasement: instead, he back out from the war that had been started by a Democratic president, which was now ripping apart the Democratic Party. Sounds familiar.
Remind me, as a Democrat, not to take Republican advice on how to beat you.
-- Jim Hassinger
READER MAIL CORNER
Re: Michael Tomlinson's letter (under "Chickenhawkism") and C. D. Lueders's letter (under "Melbourne's Own") in Reader Mail's Hearts of Hardness:
Would it be possible to have Michael Tomlinson write a few articles for TAS, since most letters are in response to articles and not original articles themselves? I've been reading his responses over time and I feel he could add to the debate quite nicely with his insights from the Eastern Shore area of Maryland. Maybe you could have a section (other than Reader Mail) for guests columnists, outside of your regulars. Like Ken Shreve and Elaine Kyle, it would be nice to see a really down to earth take on events from someone considered an amateur. Jed Babbin and the rest are really fine but they are experts in their fields overall and are well versed in events as part of their jobs. Even Ben Stein is a professional. Also for Mr. Tomlinson, you may be aware of a radio personality on the local Christian station by the name of Pete Chagnon. That is my son and he has often been concerned that my opinions may be confused with his. The main difference between us is that he is more articulate, but anything under that name in TAS is mine. Thanks, people, and keep up the excellent job.
-- Pete Chagnon
It took a while to get a response in the letters to the Editor...But finally! And from my city's namesake, Melbourne as well (I am an Australian)! Right of reply...C.D. Lueders takes offense to my interest and deep affinity with my American friends and allies, and their politics. Having assumed I had a right in this democratic world to freedom of speech I apologize for any unintended offense I caused the learned gentleman (or woman). Having discussed the Connecticut situation with longtime Connecticut resident, American Spectator contributor and thoughtful political commentator Lisa Fabrizio, it's clear the Lieberman/Lamont issue is a bellwether for the upcoming elections. The voters will have their say and that will decide it, but surely we're all entitled to our opinion.
As for the GOP-basher label, I consider myself a big fan of Republicans like Arizona senator, John McCain, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani...And you might not believe it, but having read Kitty Kelley's bashing of George W. Bush, I came out of it with a new found respect for the Bush dynasty and that straight-talking larrikin I'd probably enjoy having a drink with, W. Alternatively I find Bill and Hilary Clinton and England's Tony Blair as strong leaders of the left.
Essentially I'd like to say to C.D. Lueders of Melbourne, Florida, that from Australia it's clear that the divisiveness and polarization of today's America can be put down to the "scorched earth" politics that people like you practice.
I take an interest in American politics because I have to know what I'm talking about, as I continually have to defend your great nation to those who think the USA is a belligerent, thoughtless, and red-neck blight on the world. Maybe you can appreciate the alternative and different views of your friends, allies and other countrymen, or are we to be like those enemies of America like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, France, Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, where dissent and difference is illegal and unwanted?
-- Nathan Maskiell
Share this Article
Like this Article
Print this ArticlePrint Article