Reader Mail

Oil for One, One for Oil

The gall of Dundee Galloway. Plus: Why Levada? Why not Chaput? Flying low. Swatting at lefties. And more.

5.20.05

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A FAMOUS DUNDONIAN
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Galloway's Gall:

The article "Galloway's Gall," written by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., includes the line (about George Galloway) that "He is so left-wing that he was given the heave-ho by his own Labour Party." This echoes articles in the New York Times and other American media that say directly or indirectly that he was expelled from the UK Labour party for his politics, or for his anti-war views.

I live in the UK and remember the news from the time of his expulsion, and remember it quite differently. There were four reasons why he has expelled from the party:

-He incited British soldiers to disobey orders.

-He incited foreign people to attack British soldiers.

-He supported a candidate for office who was running against a Labour candidate.

-He threatened to run against Labour (if not selected by the party to run for a new constituency after redistricting).

All of these were quite well documented with videotapes of his appearances and speeches.

The Labour party for some reason felt that these behaviours were detrimental to the party. Although his political leanings influenced his acts, I think it would be much fairer to say that he was expelled for what he did than for what he thought.
-- Douglas McKinnie

As a former constituent of George Galloway's (1987-96), might I perhaps add some observations to Bob's article?

Galloway is a product of the Dundee Labour Party of the 1970's, a snakepit of vice and corruption if ever there was one, and has been a professional politician on the taxpayers' dime almost since his teens. After a spell as Leader of Dundee City Council in which his signal achievement was to raise the Palestinian flag over the town hall, he was selected for (or carpetbagged his way into) the parliamentary seat of Glasgow Hillhead, later to become Glasgow Kelvin. Many's the time that Kelvin's lone conservatives could be heard paraphrasing Galloway's cry to repel the Crusaders.

Having been dumped out of Kelvin by redistricting, and out of Labour, he has lit the touchpaper of Islamist leftism by winning Bethnal Green & Bow in the East End of London. His next trick will be to try to win control of Tower Hamlets Borough Council in two years time -- he's said so himself. That will give his Respect & Unity Coalition its first taste of real power, something he hasn't had since his salad days on Tayside.

But at least his appearance before the U.S. Senate has made him one of the world's two most famous Dundonians. One is forever portrayed as a dark actor at the heart of sinister events, plotting against his government for his own advantage.

The other is Ian McDiarmid -- Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in "Revenge of the Sith."
-- Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

So that's who that was. I was operating the controls to the VCR at my dad's place trying to view a Monty Python video, and I got instead CNN with this fellow doing an early Sean Connery/ James Bond stammering out his denial.

I was wracking my brain as to where I have seen this chap before, and it finally hit me -- it was none other than Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf (aka Baghdad Bob) in the Witness Protection Program.
-- Paul Milenkovic
Madison, Wisconsin

If there's any "comic interlude" to be thankful for, it has been provided by YOU in this ridiculous editorial posted on your website today. George Galloway has become a hero throughout the world for his frank and unapologetic assault on those who would accuse him of crimes with little evidence to back it up.

You would think Senator Coleman would have realized that the Daily Telegraph in London was fined 150,000 pounds for making these same unfounded assertions against Mr. Galloway. The man is innocent until proven guilty and the English courts have ruled that no one has proven him guilty!

Were it not so pathetic, you might be commended for your unfaltering apologies for the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress. Instead, you've brought nothing but ridicule on yourself and your publication
-- Brad Miller
Holley, New York

It is not so much a contrast between the U.S. Senate "sedate" parliamentary style and the more rough and tumble British House of Commons (but certainly not House of Lords) style, it is more that Galloway made fools of Coleman and Levin. Coleman and Levin looked unprepared. This is what you get when you represent a deliberative body whose style is totally dependent on deference and is populated by puffed up windbags who rarely debate but typically get to deliver set pieces in front of cameras or microphones. An example of this lack of preparation was the assertion by Coleman that Galloway had met with Saddam Hussein "several times." How can one blame Galloway for sarcastically correcting him? The Daily Telegraph -- hardly a British left wing organ -- has already lost a libel case on essentially the same grounds that Coleman's committee is accusing Galloway. The Telegraph had documents -- piles of documents -- still they lost. What do you expect when you put amateurs up against a feisty debater? Part of Galloway's success was that he feels no deference and can see through the pomposity of these Senators.
-- Kenneth G.D. Allen, Ph.D.,
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
P.S. I support the war, subscribe to The American Spectator, dislike Galloway, and always vote Republican.

We all know the left loves to accuse the President of lying about the reasons for war in Iraq. We all know this administration is nothing but a bunch of war mongers. Yet, has anyone wondered what might have happened if corrupt European leaders had been motivated, not by self-interest, by legitimate global concerns? What if constructive debate and action regarding Iraq had taken place, instead of being blocked by these corrupt Europeans? Maybe war could have been averted. Maybe it is these Europeans who are really to blame for war in Iraq, with their American liberal allies supporting them all the way.
-- Mike Shevach
Sarasota, Florida

BETTER CANDIDATES
Re: Roger A. McCaffrey's Pope Benedict at 30 Days:

Roger McCaffrey offers an interesting possibility to us ordinary vineyard workers as to the prospective politicking that went on within the walls of the Sistine Chapel last month, leading to the seemingly happy occasion (happy, at least, for genuine Catholics and Western traditionalists) of Joseph Ratzinger's elevation to the Papacy; but his theory bears a gaping hole for those of us who want very much to feel very much less queasy about the Holy Father's appointment of William Levada to succeed him in the office that he previously held. While McCaffrey offers an arguably compelling hypotheses as to why an American gained the position, he is deafeningly silent as to why it was Levada, and indeed himself discounts the "old friend" factor. Why didn't the Holy Father select take-names-and-kick-gluteus types, in the mold of his own reputation, for the critical office in question, such as Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput, or Nebraska's Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz? Not only are these fine men no less American than San Francisco's Levada, but on the basis of their public records, they are considerably more red-blooded. It is simply unimaginable that either would have kowtowed to the local pro-sodomy lobby, or tolerated for one instant a public view of sodomy by personnel in their chains of command that is anathema to the Catechism.

Notwithstanding that orthodox Catholics should remain hopeful (and prayerful) at the dawn of Benedict XVI's pontificate, it would yet appear imprudent to send a cocker-spaniel into the ring against the rabid mongrel of modern liberalism.
-- Francis M. Hannon, Jr.
Melrose, Massachusetts

An embarrassingly fatuous and self-indulgent effort from someone who makes Archbishop Levada look like an intellectual heavyweight.
-- Paul F. Danello
Chevy Chase, Maryland

SECURITY LOOPHOLES
Re: Charles V. Pena's The Joys of Flying:

A more fundamental question: Why is the information flowing from the airline to DHS? The airlines should be receiving a copy of the DHS list as often as it is updated, electronically and secured. And better yet, why doesn't DHS provide this list to the likes of Travelocity, Orbitz, and Expedia? Why not try to prevent a ticket from being issued in the first place? Any military mind will tell you a layered defense is best. And sorry security concerns of who is on the list don't wash.

Doing this the way DHS is applying it still allows for the following. I am a terrorist. I go to Orbitz and buy a ticket from Dallas to Orlando. I go up to the security screening station. I present my ID and ticket to the screener. I go thru the scanner. Now I have access to the terminal. I do my deadly handiwork in the terminal as I have no intent of boarding the plane. One terminal blown up or at least shutdown for hours. (And yes they could get explosives thru the scanners, let alone the operators, as the systems are not fool proof. Explosives can be concealed in everyday objects -- a shaving cream can for example.)

Mr. Pena, I think you are dead-on with this article. Maybe I should just stick my head in the sand, but DHS makes me feel less and less secure. I would feel better knowing every adult in the U.S. was armed, ready and willing.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

PUBLIC SERVING PRIVATE
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Naming Names:

I read your article with interest and found very little with which to disagree. The "very little" to which I refer to is the premise of the paragraph that begins, "By contrast, when private individuals on their own initiative...." I contend that our local, state and federal governments are put to this task by "private individuals on their own initiative." We put them in place to do our bidding and being informed of a sexual predator in our midst is precisely what we bid them to do!

I have to admit that I'm tempted to moderate my view by the suicide occurrence you mention earlier in your article, but my view is that the "greater good" was served...even by this.
-- Don Lydey

Jay Homnick does a masterful job of recounting the horrors of sexual predators loosened upon society after their timed release and offers the dilemma of government's role in notifying the community of their presence. It is a Gordian Knot of both legal and ethical complexity which many communities find themselves in; what to do with a dangerous paroled felon when their time has come? The issue is an emotionally charged one, and yet he misses the greater question; why are they released at all?

If an individual is truly so dangerous to society at large that their address and likeness must be delivered to surrounding homes for miles around why then are they not still incarcerated? Have we become so numbed to the activities of our courts and 'prisoner advocates' who routinely see to the release of monstrous individuals that we are incapable of standing up and demanding extended incarceration? Remember, to be paroled from jail or prison is to be let out in the expectation of good behavior. If this expectation is questioned, why do we set them free at all?

Yes, we do have the expectation that once a person has served their sentence they are assumed to be cured or at least punished to such a degree that recidivism is out of the question. This, however, is not always the case, and some are released with the wave of rubber stamps and little or no hope of having stilled their predatory nature. What to do?

Instead of posing an unanswerable notion let us instead assume that there are those for whom a return to normalcy is forever out of the question and instead set out to create a new class of housing for them apart from society. Take the most egregious of offenders, the serial pederasts and rapists and create a safe community for their own protection. This penal 'leper' colony would be free of temptation and they would be allowed to live and work out their lives knowing safety from their own impulses or distrustful others. Self-contained in an isolated, rural environment, they might enjoy nearly all the fruits of a technological society while being free to interact as they choose for so long as they do not commit new crimes against person or property in their new homes.

I propose placing this community in one of our less prosperous states, Arkansas, where the influx of tax money might boost the local economy and provide jobs in the form of border guards and support personnel, to maintain the artificial haven.

Finally, to honor the signatory of Meghan's Law, that reactionary legislation, I propose the community be registered under the name of Clintonville. Its association with moral decrepitude would serve as a warning for casual travelers to stay clear and leave the residents alone.
-- Bill Sluis
Oak Creek, Wisconsin

CAMPY REPLIES
Re: Letters from Grant Barber, Jonnan West, and R. Camp (under "Unfit to Print") in Reader Mail's Coolist Collaborations and George Neumayr's :

Regarding George Neumayr's detractors ("Unfit For Print"), I couldn't help but notice the amusing order in which their frothings appeared: Grant Barber, Jonnan West, R. Camp.

I'll happily grant that all *three* are camp -- defined by my dictionary as "something so outrageously artificial, affected, inappropriate, or out-of-date as to be considered amusing... something self-consciously exaggerated or theatrical (especially in the case of Mr. Berber... er, Barber).

It also occurred to me that the definitions numbered one and two, listed immediately above the one I provided, might also apply!
-- David Gonzalez
Wheeling, Illinois

Regarding the letters from Grant Barber, Jonnan West and R. Camp
(assuming they are their/his real name(s)):

Mr. Barber, the Robb/Silberman report on the intelligence leading up to the war, while very harsh in its criticism of the intelligence community, left no doubt that the administration acted in good faith in launching the war. Take notice, Mr. Camp, that that is the truth, so respect it as you claim to.

Incidentally, Mr. Barber, according to Internet protocol one should avoid the use of all upper case letters in emails, as this indicates shouting at the other party. Never mind decent manners, would you really be so "courageous" as to scream at somebody to their face?

Mr. West, regarding your comment of the administration "cherry-picking evidence," see my note to Mr. Barber above, re: Robb/Silberman. Too, your main assumption is incorrect: Nobody is blaming the "entire" Muslim reaction on the one article, but to not concede that the article would be used for a pretext to violence is not only naive, but grossly irresponsible, particularly since it was unproven.

Mr. Camp, your juvenile name-calling is more a reflection of you than those you attack. I pose to you the same question that I posed to Mr. Barber; would you use such language in person?
-- Paul Desisto
New Jersey

After having weighed in already on the "Let's get America" story in Newsweek, I made the mistake of reading the three letters mentioned above. Aside from the fact that the three in question reminded me of my pre-school grandchildren engaging in one of their "did not" -- "did too" -- "did not" -- "did too" arguments, I have to wonder at Mr. Barber's reference to several hundred thousand corpses as "FALSE INFORMATION." As for the comments of Mr. West and Mr. (Ms.?) Camp, I was unaware that our primary purpose in Iraq was to "make friends in the Middle East, and that Newsweek was attempting to "hold the administration responsible for its actions." I thought that Newsweek had found an unvetted story that would sling mud at the administration and at the military, both of which they have a long history of attacking, and thereby, undermine foreign and domestic policies with which they editorially disagree. Little did I know that that paragon of unbiased journalism, Newsweek magazine, was only trying, as it always does, to fairly and honestly report the news, without inserting its own editorial opinion. Now, for all of its honest efforts, it is being pilloried and flogged, just like CBS, by the evil minions of the right. Excuse me, the radical right! Truly, "There are none so blind as those who will not see." One other question: If we went to war in Iraq to win Middle East friends, how were we going to steal their oil? I mean, come on liberals, which is it, blood for oil, or blood for friends? It's times like these that make me wonder if liberals really believe this stuff, or are just pulling our leg to see what kind of reaction they can get out of us. I have this vision of them sitting around a potted plant, eating brie, drinking cosmopolitans and saying to one another, "Well, we really got them today, didn't we?
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

ADAMANTLY OBSTINATE
Re: Letters in Reader Mail's Coolist Collaboration (under "Back to the Books"), Renew My Cancellation, (under "Investment Opportunity"), Behold the Critic (under "Modeled on Success"), Preventions and Interventions (under "A Federal Matter"), and Michael Van Winkle's Social Security Psychology:

Let me state that I did not expect such spirited debate over my letter published on May 16th under "Investment Opportunity." The response resulted in an educational bonanza for those of us in the private sector who have no knowledge of the Federal Pension System. Let me further state that my letters were not written to denigrate federal employees. I don't think that stating the obvious about the source of their income is denigrating. And again, it is common knowledge that federal employees have been contributing to Social Security and Medicare for quite a while.

Mr. Dempsey's letter is very informative but he lets the cat out of the bag in paragraphs five and six. In paragraph six he compares a federal pension to a government program that is indexed for inflation! I have never heard of a private pension that is indexed for inflation. That would be fiscal insanity! Only a government in the business of printing money could guarantee it. If the managers of the federal pension system know of any investments that could allow private pensions to be indexed for inflation they should inform us all post haste!

Again, in paragraph five, Mr. Dempsey describes the Federal Basic Benefit Fund as "(another Ponzi scheme, but supposedly actuarially sound)." This sounds a lot like the criticism that is being heaped on the Social Security Benefit Trust Fund.

It looks to me like the federal government is a major factor in maintaining the viability of the federal pension system.

That's all I'll have to say on this subject. Others may want to express their thoughts on these matters.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

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