State of Jeer - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
State of Jeer

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Hissing Democrats:

As I start this letter I got the pun. Duh!

As a rustic of the hinterlands, perhaps I do not understand the cosmopolitan attitude toward marriage. We simple folk consider that if a couple is married one would not tell the spouse information that the other spouse should not know. Thus it seems that the wife of an ambassador would have as much deep cover that one can purchase at “Victoria’s Secret.” Once Vallie married Joe her cover became moot.
William Selenke
Cincinnati, Ohio

I agree with most of your points about the Plamegate non-scandal. However, I find no humor whatever in the illegal exposure of a covert CIA agent, who might indeed face grave personal dangers. You write, “The Democratic leadership apparently believes the pretty female agent could have been assassinated, presumably while shopping among the foreign agents in nearby cosmopolitan Tysons Corner or right there in the produce section at the Safeway, bashed by a coconut-hurling assassin. Okay, okay, so I jest.” Yes, and it was in Northern Virginia in 1993 that a Qaeda assassin murdered two CIA analysts right outside agency headquarters.

Not jestworthy in the slightest.

For shame.
Philip Jenkins
Professor of History and Religious Studies
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania

I enjoyed your article. You articulated the essence of the Democratic position very well. However, your article needs wider circulation. In effect you are preaching to the devoted. I have been a long-standing critic of the administration’s exceptionally poor communications and PR with the American people. The administration always seems to be on the defensive, no offense, or more typical, no response to the “Democrats Hissing.” As it’s been said, “define or be defined.” What can we do to convey the sense of urgency to the Whitehouse that their message is not getting out? That, I believe, is the root cause of the President’s low poll numbers. We conservatives have a hell of a debate and rebuttal to Democrat’s outrageous charges. The only problem is that it’s among ourselves!

I’ve always wondered why a picture was never made about Hiss…not the Hollywood fantasy but the real Alger Hiss. You know spy, traitor, and liar!
Bob Montrose

Re: Enemy Central’s America Held Hostage:

My Prediction, from one who has come to believe that George Bush excels at digging his holes deeper, is that the Democrats are going to very seriously regret stirring up broader investigations into Pre-Iraq war intelligence. The reason: the whole inept and possibly treasonous CIA apparatus is going to come under scrutiny, along with how it got that way starting with the Church Committee, including who did and did not do what in the years up to 9/11.

For example, there is a little group called Able Danger who identified Mohammed Atta along with the Cole threat before their respective events took place. This group was forbidden to act on its findings because of regulations written by the same Democratic operative whose presence fatally corrupted the work of the original 9/11 Commission.

Now, faced with the possibility of impeachment, should the Republicans lose control of the House next year (which their ankle-grabbing ineptitude so richly deserves), it is just possible that GWB could awaken from his New Tone Fantasy and finally realize that the bloody American Democratic Socialist Party takes no prisoners in its ultimate quest to Europeanize America. If so, he just might start fighting back, beginning with letting all the facts come out. Some might be embarrassing to himself, but more are going to be rather awkward for the party whose icon, before he left office, for example, pardoned-for-cash the same Mr. Marc Rich who was a major player in the UN’s corrupt Oil for Food scandal; a program that made Mafia protection rackets seem altruistic by comparison. Could we, should we, have allowed French and Russian crooks, aided and abetted by our beloved — nay sainted — Kofi Annan, in their greed go on deliberately sustaining Saddam Hussein while directly causing the deaths of thousands of Iraqis?

So lead on, Mr. Reid. Nye County, Nevada awaits you. After all, what you do for a living may always be legal there.
Gene Wright
Laguna Niguel, California

This is well deserved. Reid whined hard and long for it, and finally took action. How could he be denied what he so richly deserved? I only hope he knows what has been given and keeps working to hold it.
Media, Pennsylvania

Thanks Harry Reid, you meathead, for giving me an early Christmas present. Are you sure you’re not a Republican plant?
Robert Auskalnis
Portage, Indiana

Re: Carl F. Horowitz’s Wal-Mart: Ready, Aim, Fire!:

Carl Horowitz wrote, “A second and related explanation is the perception that Wal-Mart, in its paternalistic way, has been a mixed blessing to communities where it operates, providing jobs and low-priced goods, but also jeopardizing existing smaller businesses and blighting the architectural landscape.”

I’ve heard this lie from Wal-Mart haters for decades. As Mr. Horowitz correctly points out it’s just a perception. It usually is coined in the vernacular of “Ma and Pa businesses going belly up.” Those that perpetuate this lie ignore the facts and the history of Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart came into small communities in the 1970s usually buying an old, empty building in the town. I went to school and graduated from such a town of about 3,200 citizens. Not only did Wal-Mart provide jobs they provided goods at a reasonable price. Did this force all the small, local owned businesses to shrivel up? On the contrary. Every single one of those businesses are there to this day and include Western Auto, every grocery store that was there when I left in 1977, two hardware stores, a pharmacy and many gas stations with full service.

You see, Wal-Mart didn’t compete with these businesses. They were competing with the K-Marts and larger stores in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, that was 35 miles away. This is where everyone would go once a week or so and buy the bulk of their non-perishable items like toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. Anyone that would spend five minutes looking at the history of where Wal-Mart opened a store from the mid 1970s through the next 20 years will find this pattern continuing. Their customers also included others in small towns near us that drove even farther to Ft. Smith but now could drive to Wal-mart in our small community.

Eventually Wal-Mart moved into a new building they built on land they bought. Again, this is a pattern they followed for decades. Here in Franklin, Tennessee, they moved out of a strip mall area next to a Kroger and built a brand new, very large Supercenter nearby just five years ago. Frankly I don’t shop there much because it’s always too busy and puts truth to one of Yogi Berra’s famous observations.

Also, a lot of the “Ma and Pa” folks had very high markup and many were some of the richest folks in town or at least lived like they were with huge homes and new cars, etc. But those that hate capitalism love to paint them all as nearly impoverished workers living off the crumbs of their labor as they toil away in their little shop. Typical Marxist crap.

These liars also like to argue against simple competition believing we live in a zero sum world where on dollar earned at Wal-Mart means a dollar lost to another store. Poppycock. Reminds me when Kentucky Fried Chicken came to our small town and everyone was sure it would put the Deli in the grocery store I worked at (I was an industrious teenager) out of business because we sold fried chicken ourselves. Again, to the contrary. Sales went up.
Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

The Left hates Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart is the world’s most successful capitalistic entity. Capitalism, of course, is simply a name for economic freedom. And the Left hates freedom of any sort because it prevents them from controlling others.

Seeing that the subculture of leftist “documentary” filmmakers is now targeting Wal-Mart I guess I’ll make a point to buy an extra portion of Wal-Mart’s wares over the next few months. I can always use more ammunition, woodlands cammo clothing, Exxon motor oil for my fossil-fuel-burning car, and bait for my Spotted Owl trap.

Oh, by the way, don’t tell those film-making nut-jobs but CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr.’s request to Congress to raise the minimum wage is likely a ploy to gain further advantage over his competitors. Remember, such a government-mandated increase would be an across-the-board burden to both Wal-Mart and its competitors. But Wal-Mart, with its amazingly efficient logistical and operating systems is in a far better position to absorb such a cost than are they. (Regulation always favors big bid’ness, who, after all, are the ones able to afford compliance.)

And it’s hard not to laugh when reading that Wal-Mart obviously learned some tricks from the only US organization larger than they, the Federal government. The plan to reward “environmentally-friendly” suppliers seems like a creative weapon with which to intimidate them into acquiescence.

But the Wal-Martian’s most insidious conspiracy of all is their goal to curb energy use. If that goes forth it will mean lower costs to them, resulting in lower prices for their customers, which, in turn, will encourage their customers to continue shopping there. The audacity!

I don’t know what to make of that new health care plan, though. I’m not sure how that will be received at the annual Keep Others Down planning meeting hosted by The Man.
R. Trotter

If memory serves me correctly, Madame Clinton was a member of Wal-Mart’s Board of Directors during the 1980s. Does anyone remember if this is accurate?
Michael J. Ellard

Editor’s Note:
HRC was on Wal-Mart’s board in the ’80s — read more here.

Re: Larry Thornberry’s Hot and Cool:

I spent 12 years in the Air Force as a weather forecaster, and I remember when the first warnings about global warming came out. It was during the terrible droughts/heat waves of the mid to late ’80s. Before that, El Nino was all the rage. The problem with El Nino was that it just wasn’t very sexy. The Southern Oscillation or its counterpart the North Atlantic Oscillation just cannot get the activist’s blood boiling. Then Gore’s masterpiece, Earth in the Balance was published. That was followed by the Rio Summit, and the race was on. As it turns out, all serious Earth Scientists knew all along the greenhouse gas emissions caused global warming. We later learned that snowstorms, artic outbreaks as well as tsunamis and earthquakes were caused by an angry Mother Earth fed up by our SUVs. The momentum was so strong, the certainty so solid that not even Michael Mann’s famous con, The Global Hockey Stick (His graph, showed a spike in earth temperatures during the last 50 years. The graph resembled a hockey stick) slowed down the call “to do something.”

I agree with Larry Thornberry, that State of Fear isn’t a very good thriller; but I believe Crichton was just fed up with all the non-science going on. The irony is there could be something to the greenhouse gases and the modifications to global ocean currents (the jury is still out). The left’s activism has been so over the top, so disingenuous, so unscientific that many people do not trust anything that comes out of our research institutes. The doctoring of data a la Mann, and the many attempts to ignore the strong global warming of the late Middle Ages in order to get the data to fit the model has left many people disgusted.

I read State of Fear, and besides the take on Global Warming, he also tears into the Bush-is-destroying-the-forest crowd, arguing that there really is no wilderness free from human influence past the end of the Pleistocene when the glaciers retreated, and that the management of our forests and National Parks by the environmental movement — mainly letting them burn to cinders in the name of fire control — is a major scandal.

But there is another book called Travels where Dr. Crichton is apparently given to believe in demonstrations of the paranormal — spoon bending and so on. Let’s just say that State of Fear is a worthwhile read, but based on his paper trail, Dr. Crichton would have a hard time getting on the
Supreme Court.
Paul Milenkovic
Madison, Wisconsin

L. Thornberry omits one biggie from his short list of proven, lefty “cry wolfs”: Nuclear Winter
Brooks Hughes
(One of Ann Arbor’s thirty-two Right-wingers)

Re: Lawrence A. Uzzell’s Cheat Sheets and Larry Thornberry’s Hot and Cool:

“Benchmarking is the last stage of civilization,” a comment by William Deming, seems so apropos. In a masterful stroke, the No Child Left Behind Act does nothing but generate statistical flotsam and a base level of underachievement. Unwilling to consider that like some anthropologist that the mere act of observing mangles the observation, the Department of Education now shuffles our children’s brains of mush into a crucible of insignificance. Having had two children go thru the TAAS (now TACS) testing regimen in Texas, pulling them out of classes to cram meaningless dribble into their souls for but one aim — retention of federal grant money. To qualify, the schools must meet certain levels of achievement. In the meantime the very classes they are being pulled out of now suffer. So the cycle repeats.

And Deming also points the way as well — forget the testing routines. They are nothing but a cover for a facts dissemination exercise that should have occurred in class. The question that needs to first be asked is what is the purpose of education? I can think of no better definition than that offered by M.L. King, but in a nutshell to enable one’s life and future. We won’t give that to our children by giving them batteries of exams. Paradoxically, the recipient, our children, lack the baseline of experience to assess if they are being served or not. So it falls to the parents to fill that role. But for the most part, parents are denied the most critical tool of all — choice of not only the physical school but the teachers as well. It is not enough to merely be able to change locations — one must be able to change educators as well. Lacking those tools, our children, our schools, and our very way of life are threatened.

Then but a click away I read Mr. Thornberry’s review of State of Fear. It is truly a wonderful morality play having read the hardback edition. Then it hit me. Why is it that the likes of the Green Establishment have been successful to the extent that they have? I came to only two conclusions. 1) Deceitful enterprise. Certainly, but persons of reasonable intelligence of 50 years ago, I hazard, would not have fallen for what goes as proof today. But we accept such “facts” so readily. 2) The state of education. Here we run head long into the crux of the matter. Five to six generations of Americans have been morphed with less and less ability to apply rational thought and analysis. The inquiring and deductive mind that was a cornerstone of American education and enterprise has been blunted. Lacking the individual skills the general public today finds it acceptable to fall for false science.

The way out of both problems?:

-Parental choice.

-Put some physical fundamentals back in school. As corny as it sounds, home economics, drafting, shop, etc. that are generally not taught today make physical what is the ephemeral in the lecture room. Most such classes have been dropped out of high schools today. Want to test it? Ask your kid to balance your checkbook. One can update such classes to today’s reality and tools.

-Homework and books. Too many classes today lack books, thanks to review boards making it near impossible to find acceptable content. No excuse for that today. Schools can self publish on DVD entire virtual libraries on the topic at hand, costing only the effort and $2. Lack of computers are no excuse, or soon won’t be. The children need to be challenged to tease out the facts in the homework they do. So much of what I see my daughter brings home is ‘make-work’ but there is no deductive lever to foster the thought process.

Until the consumers, i.e. the parents, get the big stick, nothing will change.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Re: Lawrence A. Uzzell’s Cheat Sheets:

In high school, I thought I was something special. At university I found everyone there did, too. I was left behind by some, and left others behind myself. Get used to it, folks, we’re products of evolution, and it seems to have worked so far.
David Govett
Davis, California

Re: Clinton W. Taylor’s Joe Wilson in a Bind:

Let me put forth a paradox. A man (Libby) allegedly lied about telling the truth about a liar (Wilson). Almost feels like the time the time-space continuum should be ripped asunder.
Ron Pettengill
London, United Kingdom

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