Reader Mail

Looking Ahead — and Back

Rising presidential waters. Beyond torture. FICA fixes. Plus: German atrocities revisited. When Democrats went bad. And more.

1.19.05

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A MATTER OF MONTHS
Re: The Washington Prowler's Howie Goodies:

The piece on Howard Dean by "the Prowler" published today contains this statement, "Compounding the Clinton Conundrum is the growing sense that Hillary is positioning herself to at least dip her toe in possible presidential waters 18 months from now." Eighteen months from now!!!!!

This is obscene. The best reform of our election process that could possibly be enacted, would be to make campaigning for public office in general, and the Presidency in particular, ABSOLUTELY ILLEGAL until ninety days prior to the election. The punishment for performing any campaigning of any kind, or allowing such activities to be performed on your behalf, should be life imprisonment, totally incommunicado. I am particularly incensed by the prospect of presidential campaigning, by anyone, especially Democ rats, and definitely by TW4 (The Wicked Witch of the West Wing), beginning a scant 18 months from now, because I live in New Hampshire. We have barely cleansed our state from the most recent infestation of politicians, and now you say it is about to begin again as soon as 18 months from now. Horrors!
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

Been away for a while so I'm just catching up on things. So Howie is the front runner for DNC? How nice. Just what the dems need or is it really just what the dems are. That does bode well for the GOP all the way around. Dean's legacy here in Vermont is just starting to come to fruition and what a disaster it really is. Hopefully, he will run the DNC with the same expertise. His chairmanship will also alienate the more moderate members of that party to the point where we will probably see a third party come out while the DNC withers on the vine. Now, I'm no expert on politics like Dick Morris or the rest of those people, but I do know Howie to some degree. He represents the unstable loony left perfectly. Like the Pied Piper, he will lead these crunchies on a trip to oblivion. Meanwhile, the Clintonites had better be looking for a new place to hang their hats and that could be the third party aforementioned. It won't happen overnight. After all, it took Howie quite a few years to destroy Vermont and we're a little tiny burg.
-- Pete Chagnon

DEAD TORTURE
Re: Jed Babbin's We Ugly Americans and Justin Obodie's letter ("Brutal Interrogation") in Reader Mail's The Garbage Collector's Art:

I always enjoy reading Mr. Babbin's articles, even if I don't become as passionate as he does about these things. I agree with him concerning the way the terms torture and atrocity are so carelessly thrown around by people discussing the treatment of the prisoners in U.S. custody. I said as much in a letter printed on January 10, 2005.

Mr. Obodie has some interesting questions, but unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) none of them are relevant. His most overriding mistake, the one that kills his argument, is stated in his first question, "How do you define torture?"

Unfortunately for his argument, the term torture has been defined literally to death by several English language dictionaries and the Lord alone knows how many international compacts, including the absolutely horrible Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN General Assembly -26 June 1987). Nothing that is transpiring at Gitmo fits the existing definitions of torture. Therefore, the rest of his questions are superfluous.

One final point has to be made. That is that everything that is transpiring at Gitmo is transparent. It is open to scrutiny both domestic and international. The current administration has taken the position that the detainees are not eligible for certain rights and protections available for other types of offenses against the US and this is the only point that may be debatable. The fact that these detainees are not being "tortured" is not. Even the International Red Cross could not justify calling the prisoners' treatment torture. They had to refer to it as "tantamount to torture", similar to saying that the Soap Box Derby is tantamount to the Indianapolis 500.

Mr. Babbin's response was equally clear and concise. He is knowledgeable concerning the subjects of which he rights. Thank you for carrying him as a regular contributor.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

F.I.C.A. FIXERS
Re: David Hogberg's The True Cost of Social Security:

I am bothered by the use of 10 year periods, or 75 year periods to predict budgets.

We have numerous examples of privatization already being used successfully. The Alabama State retirement fund is totally privatized and divided among many types of investments, with a big portion being tangible, income earning assets.

Then there are Federal employees who opt out of Social Security and choose among investment packages to grow their savings.

Neither of these has led to enrichment of Wall Street brokers or to any disruption of the Stock and Bond markets. I am convinced that it will not be that hard to fix. The problem will be Democrat obstructionists.
-- G.B. Hall
Marietta, Georgia

Hogberg's article is really great. I think I understand the SocSec debate much better now. I hope this one gets great circulation. It could change the whole national debate.
-- James Lewis

How to restructure Social Security -- in a nutshell:

1. Change the system from 'push' to 'pull' by issuing a SS credit card similar to the Food Stamp card. This will facilitate behavior modification.

2. Monthly withdrawals become debts due and payable from the persons estate upon death. The poor will borrow the rich will not.

3. A new GSE (capitalized with the 1.5T trust fund) will securitize the debts and maneuver them eventually into the hands of the Federal Reserve which will/can monetize them.

4. Cancel FICA

5. New slogan: "IT'S THERE IF YOU NEED IT"

I estimate that inflation will require about 1 Trillion of
additional annual M3 growth going forward. SS restructure
using the above plan will only produce about 500 Billion
so no need to invent new drains for the system.

The program can be sold to current recipients by allowing
debt free withdrawal of all that they have paid in plus
x% interest coupled with a boost to their monthly allotment.
-- Norman D. Culver

GERMANS IN FRANCE
Re: Shawn Macomber's Voltaire's Missing Brain and Frank Dollinger's letter ("Evil Lite") in Reader Mail's The Garbage Collector's Art:

With the greatest possible respect, I feel compelled to comment on a letter by Frank Dollinger expressing an opinion on Shawn Macomber's piece entitled, "Voltaire's Missing Brain."

Regarding this opinion, and those of Mr. Le Pen, one might be excused, I think, for soliciting the response of the residents of the towns of Tulle and of Oradour-sur-Glane, neither of which is in Alsace-Lorraine. Rather, both are in the southwestern region of Haute Vienne, not far from Limoges. Tulle was admittedly a center of French resistance toward the end of World War II, which is perhaps why the male residents were questioned about such activities on June 8, 1944, by elements of the Second SS Panzer Division, Das Reich, before 140 were selected to be hanged from lamp posts without a trial of any sort. We may postulate that 41 of these unfortunates were grateful when, after the deaths of 99 of their neighbors, the Germans ran out of rope. We shall never know, since those 41 citizens thus left alive were deported to Germany and later worked to death in slave labor camps.

The town of Oradour-sur-Glane was not, however, a center of such resistance activities, nor was it populated by Jews, when, on June 10, 1944, the same troops entered the town precincts and there rounded up every man, woman, and child, numbering a total of 624. The men and women were separated, the men being imprisoned in local barns while the women and children were confined within a nearby church. Subsequently, the men were executed with machine guns and the women and children were dispatched with gas, bullets, and hand grenades. Those women and children who did not die outright were incinerated when the Germans set fire to the church. The Germans then searched the town for any who might have evaded their executions. One old man was found and burned alive; a baby was thrown alive into an oven. Others were murdered and their bodies thrown down a well.

One recounts these details not to engender a macabre effect, but simply because they are the truth and should not be forgotten by those of later generations who, apparently, are willing to excuse such atrocities because they were not as widespread as more well-documented German activities in Poland and elsewhere. It should not require repetition that neither the 92,000 French war dead nor the French Jews who met their ends in Nazi death camps considered their treatment "relatively mild." Perhaps the ghosts of those many murdered innocents, along with those of the towns of Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane, will be found somewhat reluctant to second Mr. Le Pen and Mr. Dollinger in their characterization of the French treatment at the hands of the Germans as "relatively mild," and "not severe."

It is only my own opinion, of course, but I do not feel, somehow, that Germany "treated France well." I would suggest that if foreign troops entered Channahon, Illinois, and treated Mr. Dollinger and his neighbors in a manner comparable to that in which the Second SS Panzer Division treated the residents of the two towns mentioned above, he might wish to revise his letter; always supposing, of course, that he remained alive to do so.
-- Rufus Thompson

DIRTY DOZEN
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Loathing Is Not Enough:

Ralph R. Reiland quotes Walter Shapiro as saying, "the Democrats face the bleak prospect of controlling no governmental entity larger than the state of Illinois" and identifying the Reagan election of 1980 as the pivotal event in the degeneration of the Democratic Party.

I respectfully disagree.

There WAS A pivotal tipping point that marked the beginning of the unraveling of the once honorable Democrat Party, but it occurred a dozen years before 1980. This was the milestone event authored by the Cry Baby Boom scum during which they destroyed the 1968 Democrat Party Convention in Chicago and inflicted a mortal blow on credibility in the area of national security from which the Democrat Party has NEVER recovered. Thanks to the savaging of the party faithful by the counter culture elite at that convention, the last honorable person to carry the banner of Liberalism, Hubert H. Humphrey, emerged as the wounded standard bearer of a bitterly divided party who went on to lose what turned out to be a close contest to a man the "news" media thought of as the [vulgar gerund redacted] Prince of Darkness, Richard M. Nixon.

Interestingly, this convention also marked the positioning of CBS on a slippery slope of the sort of ratings free fall now presided over by the protégé of the Sainted Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather. It was at this convention that the avuncular Cronkite revealed his true colors as a Blame America Firster -- one who did a hell of a lot of the heavy lifting earlier that year to convince the American viewing public that the catastrophic battlefield defeat suffered by Vo Giap's NVA/VC forces during the so called horrendously miscalculated "Tet Offensive" of 1968 was instead a strategic political victory for Hanoi -- when he sneeringly referred to the Chicago Police as "thugs" on air. The offense that Cronkite found so grave? The badly overworked, stretched thin Chicago cops were doing their utmost to protect convention delegates and other innocent citizens from the ravages of the sanctimonious Cry Baby Boom hypocrites who were dumping urine and feces on the cops from their upper level hotel rooms rented on a stream of daddy-money for the occasion.

The blue-collar (often devoutly pro-life, intensely patriotic Roman Catholic) workers who made up much of the muscle and tendon of the once-honorable, populist Democrat Party soon found that their party had deserted them in pursuit of a polyglot of freakish, perverted, misfit, extremist whackoes that had in common only one thing: a rigid, unyielding belief that America is to blame for everything that goes wrong in the world. In the wake of the Watergate hubbub eight years later, Jimmy Carter successfully pandered to this feel good crowd of anti-American nihilists and easily brushed aside Caretaker Ford after the GOP unwisely -- at their 1976 Kansas City Convention -- decided not to put their money on the most formidable campaigner of the 20th century, The Gipper.

Four years of the sanctimonious little peanut farmer from Plains Georgia -- whose befuddled administration was so ineffective as to GRATUITOUSLY make an enemy of Democrat Party Speaker Tip O'Neill for heaven sake! -- was more than enough to convince a landslide's worth of voters to take a chance on a divorced B grade actor who played second banana in Bedtime for BonzoSome believe the election of November 2004 marks the closing of an era of disaster for the Democrat Party thus hijacked by the preachy, pretentious, pusillanimous parasites dominate the post W.W.II boom authored by their magnificently heroic W.W.II era parents. Personally I don't share that optimistic view of Democrat Party damage control efforts. From the evidence at hand, the utterly self-absorbed losers of the Cry Baby Boom elite who maintain a death grip on party STILL have not figured out how or why they lost the presidential elections of 2004, 2000, 1988 and 1980. In short, the jury is still out.

Meanwhile let me offer this toast to my fellow Goldwater/Reagan conservatives: Confusion to our enemies! We have perishable opportunity to strike a blow for Justice. With the House, the Senate and the White House all safely in hand for two years, there is no time to waste mounting a focused, full frontal assault on the very sort of tyranny our founders sought to escape 229 years ago: the power-corrupted federal judiciary that has slithered out from under almost all the original checks and balances established to keep it in check. The focal point of the assault should be the U.S. Senate with the objective of demolishing the unconstitutional log jam thrown up by the Democrat minority to block presidential nominees. Realizing their fascist, intolerant politically correct agenda is unacceptable to most Americans (and their legislative representatives) they have sought to ram this extremist agenda a down the throats of normal people using the court as a tyrannical weapon. It is time for Senate majority leader Frist to summon all hands to battle stations: THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
-- Thomas E. Stuart
Vietnam veteran
Kapa'au, Hawaii

NOT GETTING IT
Re: James Bowman's Harry's Heroes:

James Bowman correctly identifies the hypocrisy and self-interest in the press response to the antics of the most of recent of Britain's dim-witted royals. How long has it been since the popular media have, for the most part, removed themselves from serious comment about society? Is it a dumbing down of society, or just a dumbing down of the media?

The dominant form of comment today is the ellipsis. Prince Harry went to a fancy-dress party tricked out as a sort of Nazi Wehrmacht infantryman; well, we all know what that means ... ! Except, in truth, we have very little idea what that means. Mr. Bowman correctly identifies the fact that Harry rented a rather clumsily put-together costume that suggested the Afrika Corps and the Nazi party but which really had no connection to the theme of the event he was attending.

What can we conclude? Harry's a no-longer-so-secret Nazi admirer/sympathizer (like his great-great-uncle)? He wanted to draw attention to himself? All the drunken Parisian limo driver costumes had been taken? Or perhaps, Harry is so profoundly stupid that he not only couldn't figure out the party's theme, but that it still hasn't dawned on him that the reason he can occupy his life with booze, cigarettes, and fancy-dress parties is because he has a privileged position. And when we set the price of that privilege as low as "don't wear the symbol of racist, mass-murders," he still can't get it right. If Harry had actually written The Producers I'd be prepared to cut him some slack on his Nazi references. But I'm certain he could never understand the play's rather simple, straightforward conceit -- "you can never tell how people will interpret you."

Prince Harry's role in life is to be a symbol. If he doesn't like that, he can renounce his title and his claim to the throne and head off to the labor exchange. But the same media that beatified his rather childish, self-centered, and unpleasant mother and subsequently raised her to popular sainthood, will constantly be gunning for him. He's just too easy a target. So who can blame them?
-- David McGrath
Calgary, Canada

James Bowman just doesn't get it.
-- Dan Mittelman
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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