Reader Mail

Coming Clean

America: From Freedom to What? Civilian hostages. Coral depths. Politically held tongues. Pool hall romances. Plus more.

8.3.06

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RUSSO'S CHILDREN
Re: James Bowman's review of America: From Freedom to Fascism:

I read James Bowman's article pertaining to the movie "America: From Freedom to Fascism" and was disappointed in his review and conclusions. Although I have not personally seen the movie, I have read a summary of its content and am one of the nuts he describes in his articles. I became one of these nuts several years ago when I became thoroughly discussed with our income tax system and wondered how we imposed such a horrendous system on ourselves. I researched this all the way back to the founding of the country and discovered that the Founders made it extremely difficult to impose a direct tax on the people mainly due to the fact that it would lend itself to the political corruption that we see today. Another thing I found interesting is that a graduated income tax and central bank were included in Karl Marx 10 points to communism. I think if Mr. Bowman would do some research and just look at the freedoms we have lost in this country and increasing power of the Federal government in my short life time of 56 years he might come to some of the same conclusions as Mr. Russo.
-- James W. Clark, CPA
Greenville, North Carolina

In his movie review, "America: From Freedom to Fascism," James Bowman claims that convicted tax protester Irwin Schiff and conspiracy nut Aaron Russo are working under the theory that "there should be no intermediary, no one entitled to such a position by knowledge, experience, or authority, who stands between them and the plain sense of the law." Bowman traces this idea to what he calls "Protestant fundamentalism."

In my opinion, it is simply false to trace the "no judicial intermediary" theory to the Protestant idea that the Bible doesn't need a priestly class to provide interpretations of it. That's either pro-Catholic opportunism on Bowman's part, or else anti-Protestant bigotry. Opposition to the tax laws is not a "Protestant" issue and this is the first I've ever heard such a claim. Tax rebels usually tend to follow nullification or interposition theories, which can be traced back to (ironically enough) James Madison, and also to Thomas Jefferson (not so ironically). The Civil War pretty much put an end to such ideas. For a critique of tax protestor arguments, please see the IRS site.

On the whole, however, I agree with Bowman's critique of conspiracy theories. The nuts on both the right and left hold to the idea of covert causation in history, and both are equally anti-American, witness the title of Russo's movie.
-- Vern Crisler

When Mr. James Bowman pulls his fingers out of his ears and finally wanders out of his happy place, he will realize how silly his review is and how profoundly disconnected from reality he has allowed himself to become. A few days in court will make a new man of Mr. Bowman, resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
-- Mark Yannone
Phoenix, Arizona

Anyone who considers America fascistic knows nothing of the history of fascism. Such inappropriate usage of the term is symptomatic of an inferior education.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

SHIELD THE IMAGES
Re: Christopher Orlet's Civilian Shields:

It's indisputable that Hezbollah launch their Israel-bound missiles from civilian enclaves. What is becoming unmistakably clear is that the Islamist war criminals -- or, "freedom fighters" if you prefer -- choose their launch sites through a combination of cowardice ("Don't shoot! Can't you see there are women and children near me?") and media savvy ("Move the martyrs into position! Allah has arranged that the infidel bombs will strike in ten minutes! Cameras ready!").

As we begin to better understand the enemy and his depravity, a new code of ethics should be adopted by the media. It would go something like this: "We report on -- but do not show images of -- casualties that may have been staged by militants drawing fire into civilian targets."

These images are produced and directed by the jihadists. Journalists should stop being the distributors of such pornography.
-- GnuCarSmell
Jacksonville, Texas

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Tell me, what were they doing there?
Implanted in a building where
It was forewarned a raging war
Was coming closer and more
Civilians should evacuate
Before death could be their near term fate,
Women and children did indeed die.
Were their husbands and fathers nearby?
Or were they abandoned by those they trusted?
Men whose hatred only lusted
For killing whoever got in their way,
Who were willing to sacrifice all whom they
With manliness should have defended and protected.
Love and courage were instead rejected
And lives thrown away with hardly a care.
Tell me, what in the world were they doing there?
-- Mimi Evans Winship

LOOK BUT DON'T TOUCH
Re: Patrick J. Michaels's Okay Coral:

I enjoy scuba diving along the coral reefs of Florida's Atlantic coast, and have been doing so for more than ten years. The Gulf Stream comes within about a mile of shore from Jupiter south to Boynton and Delray beaches and it's really quite a lovely spot. When I dive, I am careful not to smack the coral with my fins or drag any equipment over the reef, but I remember when I started diving reading articles that practically screamed of the dire consequences of any touch of humans on the reef. These doomsayers actually said that the touch of one finger could kill the reef. Believe me, I do what I can to enjoy, without disturbing, the sights and residents of the reef, but these Cassandras need to get a grip. Anyone who has watched parrot fish and giant sea turtles feeding on the coral polyps and nurse sharks banging through coral forests in search of a ledge to rest under probably realizes that the denizens of the reef are far more destructive than humans -- all day, every day. And what kind of an effect do these alarmists think a hurricane has? Lighten up, folks! Nobody can see the wolf you keep crying about, because it isn't there!
-- Warren Mowry

Mr. Michael's article reiterates others in the field who are concerned about the propagandizing of "global warming." Under the guise of "scientific study" some people are trying to create a panic among the uninformed (and just plain stupid) so they can literally seize power. That is the real goal of "global warming". Al Gore's slick movie is nothing more than science fiction at best, in fact, it's quite laughable to those who bother to check up on the assertions. Like its predecessor, Fahrenheit 911, it is mostly a collection of half-truths and lies in order to further an agenda. Mr. Michael's assertions are borne out by climatologists who specialize in their fields and who view the NSF study as a very sloppy piece of work. It is up to all of us to the get the real truth out about this boogeyman of the left before we lose all our freedoms to a bunch of nutcases, who should be locked up instead of influencing public policy.
-- Pete Chagnon

WAR PERCEPTIONS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Noncommittal Americans:

Much as I enjoyed learning about history from the movies and television -- I date my interest in the Civil War from a miniseries about 25 years ago -- I found it just wasn't enough. I had to go to the books to get more.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Lisa Fabrizio has hit upon a major point, the American public (including many conservatives) are allowing the gloom and doom reporting by the media blind them to the truth. A truth that this is the strongest economy since World War II, we are winning in Iraq (albeit slowly in our impatient society) and the conservative agenda is steadily moving forward. Prayerfully, conservatives currently infected with this media induced malaise will not be lulled into a sense of despair whose purpose is to keep them from the polls. Everything the media is doing is aimed at helping their political masters in the DNC seize power in Congress. America can ill afford a political shift to the left that will undermine the progress made since the election of Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43, because this time it will be a dangerously radical shift to the left that threats the stability of our Republic, economic growth, traditional values and the war against Islamic fascism.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Dear Lisa: I have been quiet for quite a while, but your column today blew air into smoldering embers. Renewing my anger and hatred towards the Fondas of this world.

They say you can't talk about politics and religion. Why not? Both have been formed by the leftist propaganda for 40 years, plus.

Recently I watched Jimmy Carter panting over Walter Cronkite. I didn't watch it for long. Walter Cronkite is the person who formed opinions in my family and my wife's family. As a Nam Vet, I am really ugly about that. Especially, when the lies get repeated in this day and age. Repeating lies is the only way the left can survive. They need to feed off of a new generation on a daily basis. That way, their lies get buried in the lives of young people, who will repeat them as fact. And of course with their parents being "Noncommittal Americans," nothing will be said to contradict what the kids have learned in their leftist public school.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of old Americans that know that they were misled by Cronkite and the 60s' Hollywood, but they are too stinking proud to admit it. They will go to their grave repeating the same swill. I look forward to the day when God Almighty chastises the pinko leftists of this country and washes their mouths out with soap. Bible says he has our hairs numbered. I doubt that He is going to skip over Jimmy Carter or Jane Fonda.

Thank you for talking about easily led, will not take a stand for anything, pinko, anti-war leftists. Remember Vietnam. I do.
-- Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

GIBSON-TONGUED
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Braveheart's Tequila Sunset:

I understand Mel Gibson. He watches mainstream television. He only reads mainstream newspapers. Everything he sees or hears blames every conflict on Israel. Mix in a few drinks and hours later he is screaming about the f****** Jews. This is not unlike someone sipping a few drinks and watching a sporting event with a disastrous outcome. How many times have we all heard "that f****** Notre Dame," "those f****** Yankees," or "that f****** Mickelson'? Whenever I attend a wine and cheese event in liberal Oak Park, Illinois, all I hear is "that f****** Bush". In short, that's how a lot of people talk when they are loaded. So what?
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

Great piece ! I've been waiting for the television news media to make the connection, as per your article, but I haven't heard them do it yet.

As a retired drug and alcohol counselor, I recall part of the brain most affected by alcohol , if I'm not mistaken. is the "reptilian" (as in reptile) ,within the hypothalmus. Apparently while drunk some persons have such a personality change that what spews from their mouth is not considered to be true. Instead, what spews from their mouth is intended to be mean and hurtful and is terribly base and primitive. Sounds like our guy, Mel.

I hope Mel Gibson is able to receive treatment for his alcoholism.
-- Suzi Scofield

HIT THE ROAD...AGAIN
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Dear Senator Kennedy: Resigning to Reform and Mimi Evans Winship's poem (under "Teddy Haymakered") in Reader Mail's Passion Fodder:

Bravo to Jeffrey Lord. Wouldn't the senate be a so much better place without Kennedy. He is a curse on the Senate.

Let's see...Teddy's qualifications to be the senior senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are: Daddy made the Kennedy fortune as a bootlegging rumrunner during prohibition. Brother Joe was an instant war hero since he died in WWII. Brother Jack became an instant martyr by being assassinated while president, so too brother Robert while only running for the same office. These two dying at least kept killer Ted from even announcing a candidacy, (he being afraid of the same fate as his brothers). His one claim to fame: Mary Jo Kopechne. How many Kennedy millions were expended in that cover-up?

How he keeps getting elected is beyond me. How the Democrat party could repeatedly name him to the Senate Judiciary Committee is also beyond me (although not surprising). The man is a sot and a coward and, while I wish no one dead, the United States (and possibly the world) will benefit greatly from his demise.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

Good article, now lets put pressure to make Kennedy resign, he can go count all his whiskey money where he is hiding it, in another country. Everybody should get on this and hit him hard, everyday if necessary.
-- E.K.

Amen Jeffrey Lord, Re: Kennedy and the Supreme Court nominations, but if you think for one minute that Kennedy will see himself in any of your article, then I have a beach front proerty in the middle of Arizona for sale cheap. The man is so arrogrant he cannot think of himself as ever being wrong. On the other hand it has worked so well for him, why should he change?
-- Laura

Ms. Winship might wish to note that Sen. Kennedy did not have "two big brothers" who paved his way with their lives. He had three.
-- Paul Curley
Hong Kong

VALUE-ABLE
Re: Paul Chesser's Values Apply to All Issues:

Well done, Paul Chesser!

He is correct is his assessment that "values voters" are not necessarily one-issue voters that politicians can simply pigeon-hole at will by throwing red meat (i.e., abortion, gay "marriage" etc.) in front of them. They are thoughtful people with needs and concerns just like everybody else.

Exhibit A: the recent Georgia primary, where Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, was defeated by a virtual unknown by double digits in the race for Lt. Governor. The reason: Reed's rank hypocrisy in emphasizing "Christian values" in his campaign, after manipulating Christians into closing down a casino...at the behest of another casino! But the Republican--and heavily Christian--voters of Georgia knew differently, and they deserve a pat on the back for soundly rejecting Reed. They have shown a watching world that by and large, Christian conservative voters are hardly the "poor, uneducated and easy to command" bunch that the Washington establishment would have the world believe.

However, one should not downplay the importance of the issues so often associated with Christian conservatives, like abortion, gay "marriage" and pornography. Each of these strike at the heart of what it means to be human (much less created in the image of God), and so Christians should continue their opposition to them, as I am sure Chesser would agree. For instance, it is a tragedy that over 40 millions innocent children have been killed by abortion since 1973. It is deeply offensive to millions of Christians (and non-Christians, too) that radical judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine marriage, one of the oldest institutions known to man. Finally, it is repulsive that a man like Hugh Hefner, who has more to degrade women than perhaps anyone in history, is now considered a reputable celebrity.

In sum, Chesser is right that Christian voters should not simply be written off as simpletons with just 2 or 3 issues that concern them. But at the same time, he should remember that those 2 or 3 issues are critical to who we are as a people.
-- Greg Hoadley
Deerfield Beach, Florida

I'm afraid that if certain of

the "religious right" pundits and organizations [applied] their worldview to everything that concerns mankind -- not just their limited "family values" list -- and then crank out papers and opinions that reflect those beliefs... on immigration, gas prices (freedom and competition), and wasteful government spending

we would be mighty embarrassed and chagrined. Consider those evangelicals who play along with the global warming hucksters. I've attended too many 'socially conservative' clerics' sermons to be optimistic -- they tend to have all the economic & scientific savvy of William Jennings Bryan.
-- Joel Brigham
Cincinnati, Ohio

MENTAL CUE
Re: Lawrence Henry's Capital "P":
Wow, Lawrence Henry sure brought back a LOT of memories in his article on pool.

I personally started out during high school back in the very early '70s. After school, a bunch of us used to hang around different parts of Lafayette College trying not to look too out of place. There was this one dorm that had a pool table in the basement, and I went nuts when I first saw it and watched people play. It was like I could naturally "see" the shots, the angles, everything. It was amazing. It took only a few games before I was able to beat a lot of the college players. Not that I was that good; they were that bad.

Fast forward to my days in the Navy. I vividly remember being stationed at Bainbridge, MD, and being in the base pool hall every Saturday. There wasn't much else to do in the area anyway unless one went to one of the nearby big cities. Being as this was the 70s, and the military wasn't that popular, I found it less stressful to just hang out on base than chance coming across some abuse for being in the service. I think pool was one of the few things that enabled me to keep my sanity during a dark period of my life. The shot angles wouldn't cross you, and once you read them correctly, they didn't change while you took your shot. Geometric precision; you have to love it.

And I owe my marriage of 32 years to pool! OK, I only owe meeting my wife to pool. I lived in a small apartment on 16th NE in Cedar Rapids, around the corner from a little bar called the Sportsman. One Saturday night, I was "controlling" the pay-table. That's where challengers slap a quarter on the table and if you win, you get to play the next challenger. Well, this little gal came up when it was her turn, and it was obvious from the start that she wasn't that good. About halfway through the game, she asked if I'd let her win so she could play her boyfriend. That was a tough request; pride and "manliness" were dependent on beating an opponent, and loosing to a female was… well, it just wasn't done. But I swallowed my pride and let her win (I scratched on the 8 ball shot). And I had the pleasure of severely beating her boyfriend when my turn came around again.

It must have made an impression. A month or so later, after she broke up with that boyfriend, she and I hooked up and we've been together through thick and thin ever since.

We own a pool table today, but like Lawrence, we don't play all that much. When we do, it's apparent that I can no longer "see" the shots as I used to. Frustrating, but even so, it offers us a glance into a past time: our beginning. And even though we miss the easy shots, we come away from the game with the memories of those days 32 years ago when pool was king, and granting a simple favor to a little gal came with so many long-term rewards.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

PSHAH
Re: Daniel Freedman's Catch-22 Dictatorships:

I find it so very interesting the ease and certitude displayed by Mr. Freedman and the Carnegie Endowment as they wave away the seriousness of the Islamic threat to dictatorial Middle Eastern countries. I do not know the age of the Carnegie researchers or Mr. Freedman, but I was around and closely following such developments when the geniuses attached to foundations and think tanks told us that any true threat to the regime of the Shah of Iran was completely illusory. Perhaps Mr. Freedman would like to try convincing the Pahlavi family of the correctness of his and the Carnegie Endowments findings.
-- Ken Shreve

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