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Old New Politics

Re: Philip Klein’s Stop Believing Obama:

This is in regards to your Stop Believing Obama article. It is interesting to see how far we’ve come. To see a time in which an even-handed approach to two nations at war is so inconceivable it is mentioned in a treasonous tone. The exact problem to our approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the lack of an even handed approach, a lack of respect to the powers that be in the Palestinian camp. We attack and put down the actions of Hamas and rightfully so, but we do not take the same “even-handed” approach when it comes to the actions of Israel. For some reason this would be unthinkably treasonous, and a presidential candidate that would take this approach would be unacceptable. If you wish to ascribe to the thought that people commit acts of terror against our nation and against Israel because they our jealous of our freedom, they hate our way of life, or they have a lunatic driven hate of all things non-Muslim than you are no greater enlightened than our president and we have seen where his logic has led us. Sir an even-handed approach is the best way for our country to gain respect and trust in the middle east and is the true way to fight the war on terror. To not believe so is the definition of discrimination. It is to believe that a group of people are inherently evil, or that they do not have the comprehension level to wish or want for peace and thereby to wish to prosper. This points to the belief that these people do not have the cognition to ensure their own longterm survival. Sir I look not to defend Hamas, Hezbollah, or any other terrorist organization. I am a patriotic American citizen with no religion. I simply want to attack the lunacy of attacking an even-handed approach as an unpatriotic, treasonous, and intolerable one, when in fact it is the only way.
Parham Farahat

Philip, it is not a new kind of politics, in fact it is just one of oldest known. Nothing works better on a mass of ignorant people than setting one’s self up as a god like figure and attacking the credibility of anyone that dares questions the all mighty. This theme is played out time and time again throughout the ages and it works when you have enough ignorance running amok. We’ve got a butt load running about and you can find them most nights dialed into ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NPR and even FNC to some extent. Ignorance and one vote more than the other guy wins every time.
Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

In addressing Obama’s position on the Mideast, Philip Klein speaks of Israel as if it is an American state and deserving of unequivocal support from a U.S. president. In light of this, the assertion that Obama has a mixed message on Israel’s fundamental security is valid only if seeking the type of bluster that Senator Clinton offered up by threatening to “obliterate” Iran.

If Israel wants perpetual war, then the Jewish community should support American and Israeli leaders that bluster in their sleep. If not, I suggest that such utterances are rather counterproductive and ignore the sometimes nightmarish reality of the present, and certainly the less homogeneous future of Israel.

Rather than bluster, Senator Obama offers the insight of his own interaction between the Jewish and Palestinian communities in Chicago. I suggest that Senator Obama is a very discerning judge of character and history, a leader of high personal integrity, and an individual that is empathetic to the oppressed — a history that blacks, Jews, and Palestinians share.

If international combatants could both believe the American president is on their side, it may just well be the impetus needed for progress. Obama is doing well to maintain his status as a champion of peace, and neither the Jewish nor Palestinian or Arab communities of America should try to paint him into their corner. The ref must stand in the center of the ring.
Doug Mytty

Concerning Phillip Klein’s article on Mr. Obama’s waffling, we can never know ahead of time whether or not a candidate has that capacity to grow to meet the awful demands and crises that hem the President of the United States. We’ve not always been lucky in the past, and we will probably not be lucky enough in 2009 to get a man guided by principle to same degree or with as much backbone as George W. Bush. But if we cannot say in advance who possesses the needed strengths for the office, we can sometimes see clearly who is without them, and, despite his and his handlers’ coy efforts, Mr. Obama’s song and dance has shown him to be a reed in the wind.

Besides following the common leftist anti-American view of the world, and proposing not-so-clandestine socialist solutions for what he would like to convince us are America’s great failings, Mr. Obama also would have us believe he is a perfectly rational and largely unaffected man with whom any of us would enjoy conversing and with whom we could, every one of us, find common ground. None of this is true. Any person who does not now suspect Mr. Obama of hiding his actual views, values, and beliefs in order to facilitate his election to the presidency is either a party-line Democrat or a fool — if one cares to make the distinction. The unhappy truth is that even if reporters could solidly demonstrate Mr. Obama’s perfidy, those with the greatest access to the public ear would avoid it, and the others would find themselves shouting in the wilderness. It will be our good luck if Mr. Obama were to accidentally expose his real mind to the public’s view.

If the public could then grasp what they were seeing, they might reject his candidacy. For the rest of us the indirect evidence uncovered so far is sufficient, despite it having been belittled and spun unmercifully by the left and the major media, but we must wait and hope.
Don Carlson

Re: Larry Thornberry’s The Last Cattle Call:

Thanks for your Eddy Arnold column. One of my early memories is driving with my Dad to Vermont one summer and the only 8 track in the truck was of Eddy Arnold and included Tennessee Stud. Must have heard it hundreds of times. With apologies to Johnny Cash I think Mr. Arnold’s is better. Sorry to hear he passed. RIP
Lee Phelps
Brandon, Florida

Alas, Mr. Thornberry, reading your article brought a flood of memories, and not a few tears. When I was a kid, my dad played Arnold’s records, with much the same passion as yours. I remember trying to sing Cattle Call and yodel like Eddy. Occasionally, I still try, but mostly I just whistle it now.

Original, unsophisticated, pure, and genuine, listening to Eddy Arnold’s balladic music during those Cold War years reminded one of what American culture, and being an American, was all about and why it
mattered. It was natural, inspiring the heart and nurturing the soul. Cowboy’s were heroes, tall in the saddle, yet human. What marvelous years they were. While there are a few exceptions, today’s music is
nihilistic, culture is trash, nothing matters, it is unnatural, disheartening, and abandons the soul. Cowboys are murderers, slouching in their Humvees, and inhuman. The years grow desperate. What’s to become of us?
Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Re: William Tucker’s Parlez-Vous Nucleaire?:

What a wonderful article! It should be required reading for all 535 jackasses in you-know-where, with a test at the end. Anyone failing the test should have to go out and actually earn a living doing whatever it was they did before they were elected.

Americans today are sheeple. If we’d get rid of the Imperial class in Washington, and stop wringing our hands about how bad things are, we could get on with this country’s future, as was envisioned by the Founders.
R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

The only thing more embarrassing than Barack Obama’s sympathetic leanings towards terrorist organizations is the likelihood that he’ll win a majority of the Jewish vote in the 2008 election.
Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

You’ve probably received about as many emails on the subject, but “milliard” in French means a billion, not a million.
Ted Angell

Re: Andrew Cline’s Who’s the Real Elitist?:

Elitist or not, the voters gave us eight years of Bill. Kind of proves her point, does it not? It works so she’s going to work it. Hillary HAS been around the block on this one.

It’s like Phil Mickelson at tournament time. Somebody ought to ask old Phil, “hey Phil, do you want to win or would you rather keep slapping golf balls all over the course; into the woods, the sand, the water, et al. If you want to win shorten that swing a bit, if not, by all means knock yourself out.
Jim Jackson

Mr. Cline you ask; “So in the end, who is the real elitist?” You argue that it is, indeed, Hillary Rodham, not Obama. Sir, you are wrong. The answer, clearly, is both of them. I would argue that Mr. and Mrs. Obama are the worst. They do not even pretend to identify with the rubes. They are above that.

Oh, Michele Obama attempts to get us to identify with how picked on and disadvantaged, how victimized, she and her husband are. I know that I always worry about how victimized those in the upper 5% of the wealthy of this country are. At least Hillary pretends to be one of the boys. I mean, we know that she isn’t, and would be horrified to actually be one of us, but she does go to the trouble to pretend, as if we do matter for something.

That said, I would vote for a yellow dog before I would vote for either one of them. That would be as bad as voting for McCain. I started following politics closely with Harry Truman (I was living and being raised in the Washington DC suburbs). This is the first Presidential election that I can remember that the GOP put up a moderate Democrat to run against the liberal Democrat of the Democrat party.
Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

Mr. Cline justifiably takes Mrs. Clinton to task for pretending to know the difference between Glock and a Lugar. However, if he means she pretends to know the difference between a Glock pistol and Senator Lugar, well, she probably does. But if his point is that she really doesn’t know the difference between two pistols, a Glock and a Luger, then he needs a better editor or a more informed spell-checker.
Michael C. Durney

Re: W. James Antle III’s The Audacity of Webb:

Webb suffers from Split Personality Disorder coupled with Boorish Overlay Syndrome. And he always looks as if he’s just polished off a keg, too. Or two.
Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Re: Mike Dooley’s letter (under “Let’s Get Serious”) in Reader Mail’s Miss Teen USA:

Common ground! I agree with practically everything written in Mr. Dooley’s last letter. One possible exception concerns Supply Side economics. I refer all to Ben Stein’s March 9th column in the New York Times. In this article, Mr. Stein wrote:” The next thing is that the Republican Party (my party and yours) has for the last 30 years or so been operating under a demonstrably false and misleading premise: that tax cuts pay for themselves by generating so much economic growth that they replace the sums lost by tax cutting.” Because of this, Mr. Reagan was forced to start the unfortunate trend of putting American on the equivalent of a national credit card with no limit. With both parties being complicit, our federal government has been a most irresponsible user of that “credit card” for the past seven and a half years. One other point. I believed President Clinton and the Republican controlled Congress did agree to “pay as you go” rules which had a salutary effect on budget deficits and the national debt during the Clinton administration.
Mike Roush
North Carolina

Re: Lene Johansen’s Food Fracas:

Ms. Johansen’s pro-bioengineering piece drew on some spurious assumptions to justify her call for bio-engineered food products.

While it is true that increased demand in emerging nations and the divergence of arable farm land to non-food production [bio-fuel and no-grow subsidies] has caused a slight rise in food prices, the main reason for worldwide inflation is a devaluation of the dollar.

Supply and demand economics totally disregards the effect of currency in an economy. In a barter economy, classic supply and demand adequately explains market trends. But, when you introduce currency to facilitate commerce, the model changes. And it changes even further as the number of variables [different currencies] increase.

During the last major worldwide depression [the Great Depression] world currencies became next to worthless, not because there was a large shortage of products, but because the rate of exchange for currencies became unstable. The U.S. dollar remained the most stable currency during this period [even though it was removed from the gold standard] but it too became almost worthless due to the fact that bad lending practices promised more money than was actually in circulation. This is the main reason for increased prices today.

The value of a nation’s currency is no longer directly tied to stockpiles of precious metals [themselves a variable commodity] but to the strength and stability of a nation’s economy. The Federal Reserve, in an effort to shore up lending institutions and the stock market, dumped billions of dollars into the market at a time when the U.S. economy was unstable. While this accomplished the short term goals of increasing the solvency of the lending institutions and stimulating stock prices, it devalued the dollar even further and will cause increased long term problems.

At this time, most of the world’s products and currencies are valued against the U.S. dollar. As the purchasing power of the dollar declines, so does that of most other currencies. This drives up the cost of other products such as food and petroleum. The increased costs of these products drive up the cost of other products, while reducing the amount of income that would normally be spent on other, non-essential products. This leads to failure of businesses and an increase in unemployment which further decreases the amount of disposable income available to the economy. If this cycle continues long enough, then serious consequences usually occur; famine, increased crime, social unrest and even war.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any single solution to this problem. In fact, most government efforts seem to aggravate the situation. Like a bad cold, economic illnesses sometimes have to be allowed to run their course. It is not pleasant for the person affected, but there simply is not much else to do. Given time and a lack of government interference, things will stabilize.
Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Re: Michael Skaggs’ letter (under “Foreign Legion Treason”) in Reader Mail’s Miss Teen USA:

In his letter of 12 May, Mr. Michael Skaggs leaves out a few other instances of American citizens fighting under foreign flags without incurring any loss of U.S. citizenship. The most famous of these is the American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as the Flying Tigers, who were mainly officers in the U.S. armed forces who resigned their commissions to fight under the Chinese flag against Japan. They were also joined by several hundred ground crewmen who were drawn from the ranks of the armed forces and commercial airlines. This was done with the connivance of Franklin Roosevelt but against the wishes of the chiefs of the armed services, who did not want to lose trained aircrew with a war on the horizon. Though they did not actually see combat prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were commissioned or enlisted in the Chinese air force, and were paid by the Republic of China — a very princely sum, too — $250 per month for wingmen, $500 per month for squadron and flight leaders, plus a bonus of $500 per confirmed Japanese plane destroyed, all to be paid in gold into U.S. accounts. This was at a time when a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps made less than $50 per month, including flight pay.

For this reason, as well as several others, the AVG met the current definition of “mercenaries” under both the revised Geneva Convention and the United Nations convention on mercenaries. Back then, though, we just called them heroes.

A considerable number of American citizens also fought for Israel during its War of Independence, principally in the nascent Israeli air force. Among these were Chalmers “Slick” Goodlin, also known as one of the company test pilots on the Bell X-1; and Marine Corps Captain Chris Magee, an ace in World War II with VMF-214, the famous “Black Sheep,” whose squadron commander, Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington scored six of his 28 victories while flying with the AVG in 1942. The most important American to serve in the Israeli forces in 1948 was Colonel David “Micky” Marcus, who help organize and professionalize the staff operations of the Israel Defense Force and served as the first “Aluf” (General) in a Jewish army since the era of Herod the Great.

Since then, hundreds, perhaps thousands of American citizens have served in the IDF, and fought in Israel’s wars, particularly in 1967 and 1973, when the survival of the Jewish state was believed in jeopardy. To the best of my knowledge, none of these men (and women) have ever been stripped of their American citizenship as a result of their combat service in a foreign army.
Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

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