Scouting the Terrain - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Scouting the Terrain

Re: Harold Johnson & Mark Pulliam’s Scoutophobic San Diego:

Thank you for the wonderful and perceptive analysis of the current Boy Scout situation. With the Democrats in Congress holding up Judicial appointees it is breathtaking that none of the Republicans in the Senate, or the White House make anything of these incredible decisions by Democrat-appointed judges.

I’m ready to quit. I refuse to read the political fund-raising mail, and will only support people I know and can follow and understand what they are doing.
Paul Norton
Lewes, Delaware

Re: Brian S. Wesbury’s Deficits Don’t Matter:

As a career government employee, I have noticed that there is very little attempt on the part of the government to identify within the system actions that have high return on investment and low return on investment. The occasional exception to this only proves the general rule. When economists are paid to justify projects, especially civil works projects, they are very prone to assure everyone that a government dollar spent multiplies with all kinds of direct and indirect impacts. The dollar that the common man spends on his own needs seems unable to multiply itself in any worthy fashion. The illusion is thus formed that we would all be richer if we just let the government hold and spend all of our money for us.

As long as success is equated with the volume of money spent instead of the benefit to cost ratio, there is no incentive to try something else and there is no incentive to want to pay more taxes.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Re: RiShawn Biddle’s reply to Peter Brimelow in Reader Mail’s Remaining Supreme:

Biddle accuses his “old colleague” of not bearing any facts after his sneering opening about “getting out and about” in a forum other than VDare. Perhaps if Biddle got out some he would see Brimelow gets out quite a bit VDare being only one of his normal haunts.

Bluntly, Biddle’s original article and his response to Brimelow are breathtaking for the abysmal ignorance of the history of immigration and its affect on a society. Brimelow has argued cogently for immigration restriction and the response of Biddle’s ilk is nothing more than slander and libel. far from not bearing facts Brimelow comes to the fight bearing the data. He didn’t have to “shut up” because he “put up.” Alas for Biddle, Brimelow won this one quite handily.

If the reader wishes to see the vacuity of unlimited immigrationists, like Biddle, Brimelow’s book is an eye opener. is an ongoing update that allows the reader to judge just how bad things are in Biddle’s utopia.

It’s one thing to disagree with Brimelow. It’s another to engage in ad hominem because you have no response to the facts Brimelow presents in his book and his website. Perhaps Biddle will deal with the facts next time instead of engaging in evasion, diversion, and slander against his “old colleague.”
Richard L. Hardison, PS, PE
Stockport, Ohio

Re: Reid Collins’s The Permanent Things:

In reference to Reid Collins’ piece on UK & US making friends with Libya’s Qaddafi, it just goes to show that all nations, in this world, function along the same lines — which is namely, self interest.

Stop bashing the French, you are just doing EXACTLY the same.

When oil commands, politicians obey.
Nicolas Ziener
Grenoble, France

Re: Enemy Central’s Broadcast Blues:

I was terribly disappointed to have missed Al Frankenfactor’s grand entrance. I had something pressing that pre-empted it. For the life of me I cannot think what it was now. But, then, there was, alas, no station to tune in that carried it, so that is of some consolation. As other VRWC talkers such as Prof. Levin and Sr. Analyst Laura reviewed it for me, I guess the seemingly drug induced debut was about as expected. As for Dr. Limbaugh, I’m sure with one half of his brain tied behind his back he can hold his own with the 6 powerhouse stations he must now contend with. Let the market place decide, as it soon will. See ya ’round, Al.
Media, Pennsylvania

“His [Clarke’s] 15 days of shame are about to expire.”

Ah, then he must be on the “Last Train to Clarkesville.”
Mark Hessey
Belmar, New Jersey

Re: Larry Thornberry America’s Game:

I think you are too hard on Charlie Finley. He brought a lot of color to the perimeter of the game. Remember the pop-up rabbit that dispensed baseballs to the ump? Oh yeah — GO TWINS!
Tim Pfister

Re: George Neumayr’s John Sanger Kerry:

George Neumayr’s column about John Kerry’s steadfast and consistent “non-flip-flopping” support of abortion was both moving and depressing. It was moving because few people take time and effort to speak out against abortion anymore, especially as persuasively as Neumayr. But, it was also depressing because it reminds one that, for 40 + years now, abortionists have successfully relied on terms such as “choice,” “right to privacy,” “right of a woman to control her own body,” etc., to mask the unspeakable brutality practiced against the most vulnerable and innocent of the human family, the unborn. By shrouding this horrific violence in such “euphemisms,” abortionists (whose “industry of death” has, by the way, proved quite lucrative for them) have worked to convince the self-absorbed American public that legalized abortion is something other than what it really is, a state-approved regime of crimes against humanity. In my mind, there can be no other way to describe it, given that, since 1973, there have been 40+ million abortions, tens of thousands of which have resulted in the deaths of late-term, undelivered babies, otherwise quite able to live outside the womb.

I confess being so bitterly opposed to cruel and wicked women contracting with sadistic abortionist doctors to kill their unborn babies that, in moments of sarcastic funk, I have occasionally postulated that, if we must continue the practice of killing babies, why not, at least, deny such women a convenient, comfortable, and detached way of having it done, i.e., by abortion doctors, in clean and sterile operating suites, using advanced medical technology, with extensive encouragement by abortion counselors skilled at rationalizing the killing as morally permissible. Rather, since it is, after all, a woman’s “choice,” why shouldn’t she, after a proper and safe delivery, and by her own hand, be the only one permitted to kill the infant?…
A. A. Reynolds

At the root of the abortion issue — and at the root of all politics and philosophy — is one simple question: Does one person have the right to rule another? The people who say “yes,” whose philosophy looks French — like Kerry — believe that democracy is merely an admirably non-violent way for the Brahmins to gain power over the proles, certainly not a way to restrain one person from ruling another. “Yes,” they say, “the government (i.e. we the enlightened) do have the right to run every aspect of your life, from what your children will be taught to what you’re allowed to buy to control of your retirement savings.” And we also have the right to snuff out a life that interferes with the progressive plan. In fact, sucking the brains out of a child is a positive moral good if it helps a woman join the “liberation” movement.

To favor abortion is to defend the concept that one person can wield unlimited power over another. To oppose abortion is to declare that one person does not have the right to rule another, and the Kerry crowd must strangle this idea in its crib, because if one person does not have the right to rule another then most of the Big Mother nanny state is immoral and indefensible. I believe this accounts for the religious zeal with which the left defends abortion. Feel free to have whatever local gods you wish, Roman or not, as long as you pray number one to the divine Caesar of the state.

The ultimate destination of the Kerry crowd was well-illustrated recently when Gloria Steinam declared that we must divorce reproduction from romantic love and the social construct of the family. One wonders if she consciously understands that her brave new world was once the cutting edge of social experimentation — in late-stage NAZI Germany.
Eric Richter
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The hell with Vietnam, and all the veteran stuff. The one and foremost litmus test is “Prolife Period” If they are prolife period, the rest will follow. Even in the rape of a child, the baby is still half the childs’. Even in incest, you are still ripping a living baby to shreds, and counting the pieces to make sure you got it all. There are no circumstances to support partial birth abortion, and there aren’t hardly any at all to support abortion for any reason….

America doesn’t know what a real abortion is. And, no, I have never seen one performed. I have been prolife from the get go. And that was before I really cared about what God wanted. If all Americans watched Silent Scream, the abortion industry, and those who support it would be relegated to the sewers of this Nation. Because they would be reduced to a minority. And that scares them.

Prolife Period.
Martin Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

As a devout Roman Catholic, I find Sen. Kerry’s actions and views disgusting. To call himself “Catholic” and then mock the church he claims to be a part of is reprehensible. He is NOT Catholic, nor is he Christian, and I pray to God he is squarely defeated in November. — Lois Lee

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s All Fall Down:

Actually, your “All Fall Down” is on target. I expect to see Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as the “actual” Democratic presidential nominee at the conclusion of the Democratic national convention.

Assume: The polls continue to decline for the “presumptive” presidential nominee, a.k.a. John Kerry.

The scenario: The Democratic national convention opens with John Kerry preferred by 41% of the expected American voters while George Bush is preferred by 56%.

The smoke filled back rooms of the Democratic convention hall are shocked into understanding that they are about to nominate a candidate for President who cannot be elected.

The convention concludes with a groundswell draft of Hillary Clinton for President and “what’s his name?” as Vice President.

Joy reigns once again in the ranks of the reenergized Democratic party faithful.
Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico

Re: RiShawn Biddle’s Made in Europe:

Frontline had a very interesting exposé on the Lease-In/Lease-Out aspects of tax shelters. Not only were films being turned into leaseholds but also 20-year-old trolley lines, sewer systems and automotive plants. According to the segment, First Union bank was profitable for the past three years due to GAAP deferments of taxable income. It’s a TV piece worth viewing if it comes to a PBS station near you.

The irony is the film blockbusters generally trotted across the silver screen aren’t American culture either. The Terminator series, Matrix 1,2,3 are by no stretch a plausible representation of American culture today. Neither are most of the JackAss like movies as their plot lines are implausible in comparison to real life. So cultural retention can’t be the sole reason for the Euros’ angst. Nor will subsidies alone solve their problem. Film today is far beyond just a good director and film editor on the cutting room floor. Today digital mastery is required (e.g. Titanic), project coordination (e.g. Lord of the Rings), and first rate mobile production facilities (e.g. most any TV series) are needed. Simply put, post-production capabilities can make or break a film.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Re: Shawn Macomber’s Choose to Lose:

Shawn Macomber is correct when he says that Kerry has a lot of work to do to win over the adult vote. But Kerry may be indifferent about that because he seems to have a lock on the moron vote which we know is very substantial. Isn’t that the group that gave Al Gore the margin in the popular vote in 2000?
Dick Melville
Ozone Park, New York

Re: Unsigned’s letter (“Happily Blind”) in Reader Mail’s Remaining Supreme:

I am replying to the one that was too cowardly to sign his name in the Happily Blind comment in your Reader Mail section.

First off, what makes him think that the liberal mass media would show anything to make Kerry look bad? You can’t even get them to tell the truth on important issues like the war in Iraq. All they want to report is the casualties, why then would they report anything negatively on a spineless coward Socialist Liberal? When that is how they think and feel, it isn’t the trustworthy media such as the Spectator, Newsmax, and the other conservative outlets for info that is misleading the public. I suppose that we should expect much from the mindless slobs that call themselves Democrats and vote for a flip-flop artist that even Clinton would be proud of.
Clarkston, Michigan

Re: George Neumayr’s Onward, Christian Pacifists:

I wrote this a year ago. I just realized I never sent it. I am sending it now as I have been reminded of a very biased attack on the Catholic Church from your American Spectator website before the war. I am sure none of you will probably read this. However, I do get some satisfaction in sending it:

March 16, 2003

I have no idea who George Neumayr is but I have my suspicions.

In his simplistic diatribe about the position of the Pope on the war, Neumayr is on no better moral footing than the liberal Catholics that have purveyed their watered down version of Catholic social teaching since the ’60s.

The broad brush with which Neumayr has painted the Church hierarchy is strikingly emotional. Something I usually have seen from ex-Catholics and cafeteria Catholics. The position also smacks of what has been referred to as the “American Catholic Church.” Somehow that church is different than the “Roman Catholic Church.” Somehow it is more intellectually “in touch.”

No faithful Catholic would suggest that all of the Church hierarchy are perfect. In fact, some of them have obviously been wrong and continue to be wrong on certain issues. That has been true of the Church since its beginnings. Some offer their opinion publicly on a matter. Some are correct. Some would like you to think it was church law when it is not. No one would disagree that is very misleading and harmful. However, it is intellectually dishonest for Neumayr to superimpose the personal opinions of guilty bishops, with the Pope’s. This is not honest journalism.

The Pope’s position is perfectly in line with authentic Church teaching. Also, he has an obligation to always plead for peace as he prays for a quick war. His is the voice of reconciliation, in a Church that believes in good and evil, heaven and hell. This is the Church that also believes God has given the sword to the state to wield in just defense of its citizens.

To suggest that Pope John Paul II is a pacifist is not only intellectually dishonest; it belies the Pope’s long life under the Nazis and Communism. He was no “shrinking violet.” Quite the contrary, he kept in the face of the communists, doing everything he could to help liberate his country and Eastern Europe. In this particular regard, no one has a greater appreciation for the past efforts of the United States in combating evil, then the current Pope.

I suggest that Neumayr exercise “prudent reserve” and not let his emotions run away with him on such an important issue as a war. On the other hand, this article was not really about the war with Iraq, but with Neumayr’s own war with the post-Vatican II Church. For Neumayr’s sake, I pray that both wars are over soon. Although, I have no doubt as to the outcome of both of these wars.

According to Catholic teaching, it is the decision of the leadership of the country that is concerned about the defense of its citizens to determine weather or not its actions might be justified by the Just War teaching. Personal opinions aside, this is the bottom line. The Pope’s responsibility is to always plead for peace and pray for a quick limited war.

Personally I believe we will have to go to war. I pray something may happen to avoid that, but I doubt it. Perhaps that is my own lack of faith. However, if our conscience is clear then we must proceed. The Pope is making sure our conscience is informed by the Gospel, not just well meaning platitudes.

In some regard, we are having to clean up a mess we helped create. It would be nice if we didn’t create any more of these messes. If we had been listening to the Pope since WWII we might have avoided this.
Jerry Bonney
Aurora, Colorado

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