Re: Doug Bandow’s Those Meddlesome ChiComs:
The Chinese Communists think of themselves as appointed by Heaven just as emperors were before Sun Yat Sen. Worse, the ultimate and basic law those Communists will enforce is ex-post facto law: do whatever you think is right and good. If, after the fact, you are wrong, we will tell you and punish you; we, no one else, decide what is right and what is wrong.
No wonder Chinese capitalism never grew much beyond extended family business in the past. The reason for overseas Chinese prowess in economic matters was the completely trustworthy family fiduciary far, far from home base who collected and accounted honestly for the money. In a world where pirates ruled the seas and robbers ruled the trade routes, shipping gold was chancy. Pirates and robbers could not so easily get away with goods, but gold asportation was a chinch.
The mixture of Chinese intra-family fiduciary solidarity and English common law, equity, and admiralty in Hong Kong and Singapore worked economic wonders. The Communist ego will not allow complete, effective replacement of the ex-post facto “law” they so love by real, predictable law analogous to what existed in Hong Kong and may still exist in part in Singapore. The dictatorship in the latter may be a precursor to customary Chinese mainland practice.
— Nathan Lord
HANG ON TO YOUR HEALTH
Re: William Tucker’s Solving the Health-Care Mess:
I found William Tucker’s report interesting and informative, but it’s hard for me to agree that health insurance will be a major issue. Sure pollsters survey it all the time but it’s an issue only in the context of a handout.
MSAs seem like a great idea but again would they be popular considering we live in a society that values spending into debt at all levels while not saving much, even for retirement?
Look at 401ks for example. It would be reasonable to think 100% by those who are eligible to participate would do so considering it’s a pre-tax savings account that will grow and be taxed at a lower rate when withdrawn. For those who don’t qualify IRAs are available to do the same thing. What percentage of the eligible population takes advantage of these programs? Not nearly 100% including those who have much higher than average incomes. So Tucker expects everybody will be thrilled with MSAs for something many people will think is an unnecessary, intangible program?
What would the required contribution rates be for people with varied risk factors? Would unhealthy lifestyle habits require a higher contribution rate? How about the situation where someone has contributed a few hundred dollars to their account and then faces a thousand dollars or more of expenses. On top of all this people will still be required to buy catastrophic coverage? Note the word required. How many people like to be required to do anything?
The issues that most of the population understands or takes the time to understand are simple. Those issues have a direct impact on lives such as taxes, take home pay, traffic, the cost of gasoline, price of cigarettes, etc. Recall the phrase “a chicken in every pot”?
Insurance? Tucker should try selling any type of insurance to get a feel for how people react to it. In most states there is already a required insurance program. It’s called car insurance. Do a survey on that one!
— Diamon Sforza
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Blown Away:
Loved the [Sopranos] review. Didn’t think about the bear as a symbol for the Russian mob — but it works.
(I was looking at the bear as a contrast to the duck family that Tony adored. Now, Tony’s duck food has rotted and is attracting the threatening bear. The bear outs A.J. as a wimp and brings a potential suitor to Carmela. More harbingers than you can shake an automatic weapon at.)
I’m so glad it’s back!
— Dawn Westerberg
Re: K. Andrew Jackson’s Imagine Private Property:
No one can dispute that the changing of the guard, as it were, would be a good thing for these 1.3 billion Chinese people. This article by Mr. Jackson is the first I’ve read of it anywhere. I don’t even think I’ve heard any Talk Radio bring forth conversation on this topic, not yet anyway.…
— Anthony LaRussa
Registered Republican since the 8th grade (1968)
Re: Shawn Macomber’s A Million Austins:
Amen to “A Million Austins.” If a humble concrete contractor from mid-Texas can be used of God to shut down, or severely slow down, the construction of a $6.2 million Planned Parenthood Abortion Factory, surely more of us around the country can do the same. If they are already killing babies in your community, get out there and speak up for your neighbor in the womb. On March 9th, a young woman told me outside the Planned Parenthood Appleton, Wisconsin Abortion Mill, that six years ago she planned to abort her baby. After seeing an enlarged photo sign of an aborted baby, she had a change of heart. Now she says her little boy was a blessing in disguise, the joy of her life! Be a witness outside your local abortuary and save lives.
— Mark Gabriel
Amen to Mr. Macomber on his Planned Barrenhood article. I just wanted to add that this diabolical enterprise is notorious for its efforts to shut parents out of their children’s health decisions. Why else would they typically work via another, more savory organization (such as a scouting group or a school district) and constantly insulate themselves from adult scrutiny? Not to mention their pornographic literature and unbelievably bad sex advice to young people. Clearly, as the country’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood has every reason to encourage lots and lots of risky sex because sooner or later they will be able to cash in on the resulting unplanned pregnancies. This also explains their complicity in covering for the men who commit statutory rape which was recently brought to light by Life Dynamics.
It’s time for Americans to wise up. Planned Parenthood is no friend of children, born or unborn. What they are is a huge, greedy abortion machine which sucks up millions of dollars in public money and corporate contributions. Chances are, your employer donates to Planned Parenthood. Isn’t it ironic that some of your sweat and labor ends up in their coffers, whether or not you choose to support abortion?
Ultimately, the abortion industry is doomed to collapse upon itself as more and more pro-abortion people slaughter their own progeny. No wonder the demographics are trending more pro-life. We’re the only ones having the children!
— Nora Peralta
Many thanks for carrying Shawn Macomber’s piece on the inspiring work of pro-life activists in Austin.
It gives me hope that America might indeed awaken from our 30 year slumber and confront evil on our home front, as well as overseas.
Shawn gives me hope, as well, that journalism can indeed be balanced — what a rare find!
Keep up the great work,
— Leslie Hanks
Colorado Right to Life
Re: Amy Welborn’s Kook Bestseller and Edward Del Colle’s letter (“File Away”) in Reader Mail’s Bonus Coverage:
Amy, Amy, Amy,
Don’t get your shorts in a twad over negative public reaction to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Most of us are reacting to the unmitigated dreariness of this most uninspiring, sleep-inducing drivel you call “writing.” Less than 50 pages through this pot boiler, I not only forgot the plot, I forgot the characters. And then I forgot why I bought it. It’s pretty clear that he wanted to write off a vacation trip to Paris and environs and U.S. tax laws say such expenditure, to be deductible, must result in “product.” Hope he enjoys the royalty from my purchase this time — he won’t ever get a second chance.
— Charles Livingston
Fort Worth, Texas
After reading Amy Welborn’s article on The Da Vinci Code I considered replying immediately, but I am glad I waited a day. Now I can reply to Amy’s article and the ignorant (not in the pejorative sense but in the factual) remarks made by Edward Del Colle.
Amy takes umbrage at the book for its alleged anti-Catholic stance. She makes these statements under the banner of “orthodox Christianity.” (This is an aside but the Catholic Church is not orthodox. Orthodox refers to following the early church’s doctrine, which are followed by the reformed churches’ doctrine. The Catholic Church doctrine is evolving and changing, that is not orthodoxy.) I understand Amy’s point but Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code is not a slight on the Catholic Church. Yes it uses a Catholic backdrop to provide an organization for the book’s plot to focus, but that is not the meaning. The book begins by declaring everything in here is true, or something like that, then it goes on a novelized retelling of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. What was not addressed in Amy’s analysis is that the Holy Blood book and Brown’s book have as the central theme that Jesus survived the cross and that he escaped to France and fathered the line of French royalty with his wife Mary Magdalene. The sacred feminine in Brown’s book is just a literary ruse to get in his attack on Christ’s deity. And that is the main point; the book does not attack the Catholic Church, so what if it does, but it is an attack on Christ’s deity and that’s what is objectionable, and that is why all believing Christians (Catholic and Reformed alike) should be vocal critics of this scholarless claptrap.
Which gets me to Edward’s remarks. Of course, a multi-volume work could be stated in response to all of the poorly understood remarks made by Edward but that would be overkill in an email response to a 250 word letter. As for the Edward’s comments that the Gospels differ, they are different in certain respects but that does not make them contradictory, it just means they give a different perspective. To date, not one serious scholar has been able to find a legitimate contradiction in the 66 books that make up the canon of the Holy Bible (the Apocrypha is not a part of the Holy canon but was added by the Catholic Church following the Reformation. The Apocrypha includes numerous errors and can not be defended as Holy but it maybe useful in teaching.) That is not to say there are not difficult passages, but that is completely different from contradictory.
Edward goes on to state that any history of organized Christianity should be disclaimed. If that is true, then I’ll disclaim the one written by Dan Brown and his ilk.
Finally, Edward gives a statement by Albert Nock, “a very erudite non-conforming sage,” that likens Christ to Lao-tze. What can you say to that? Let’s try a little truth. The apostle Paul says that if Christ did not die on the cross and was not resurrected then Christianity is a fraud. That is a bold statement that does not run from the truth but requires it. Here, and everyone has been waiting for this, is the tie into The Passion. The film does an excellent job of showing the practice of Roman scourging and crucifixion. These were bloody acts and the Book of Isaiah says the Messiah would not be recognized as human — I think Mel got this right. If Jesus survived the scourging and the cross, as Brown tells us in his book, he would be a bloody-crippled mess. Not exactly an inspiring image of someone you or anyone else would extol as having defeated death. Yet, eleven of the twelve disciples were martyred for their belief in Jesus as the Christ. Edward, would you die a martyr’s death for a lie? No one would proclaim the good news from a scarred-cripple who has run off to France. But they would die for the risen Christ and there reward in paradise.
— Steve Shaver
In response to Edward Del Colle’s rant against Christianity, it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, it’s obvious that Mr. Del Colle enjoys a good conspiracy theory. Unfortunately the darn facts keep getting in the way of his ramblings. For example, Paul of Tarsus? Anyone who has a third grade Sunday school level of knowledge about the Bible knows that it was Saul of Tarsus. Which brings us to another problem? What qualifies a person, who has clearly demonstrated he has no real knowledge of the Gospels, to make the statement that they “differ hopelessly'” on the matter of Christ’s death and resurrection. This argument is so old and has been refuted so many times, that it isn’t worth taking the time to do, here. Lets just say that many brilliant minds (much more brilliant than mine or Mr. Del Colle’s) have analyzed the Gospels with greater scrutiny than any other historical writings, and are satisfied that all four accounts can be reconciled without doing any of mental gymnastics it takes to find them in disagreement. And finally, there is only one reason that Christianity exists. It is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not some fabrication that was dreamed up several hundred years later (those darn facts get in Mr. Del Colle’s way again on this point) but was established by Jesus himself. We believe in things we don’t see all the time. I never saw Caesar, but I certainly believe he existed. I was not at the Holocaust or any of the world wars but I know they were real. Why? Because we have credible eyewitnesses and accounts. Just as we do with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” — 2Peter 1:16). My wish is that Mr. Del Colle would read the New Testament with an open and humble mind. Then he would realize just what Christianity is all about.
— Joel Wymer
FOOTING THE BILL
Re: John Sharkey’s letter (“Sharkey Writes Back”) in Reader Mail’s Bonus Coverage:
John Sharkey rebuts my reply, “My whole point was that if we are worried about increased medical cost to society, we could come up with other ways to handle the problem…. A better choice for society to make is, whether we are going to foot the bill for individual’s stupidity.”
To clarify as well, though that is exactly what I said, my intent was not to attribute those cost saving goals to Mr. Sharkey individually, but to the position taken generally. Ultimately both the seat belt law and his alternative scenario are designed to protect us from ourselves via a nanny state, and both are, or would be, draped in the smoke screen of cost savings to justify their passage.
My extension to the absurd (scanners et al.), was illustrative of the long-term, more onerous, potential consequences the alternative method of behavior control presented. If we have to take either (and apparently we do since the seat belt laws are imitating rabbits in number and polar bears in strength), I’d still prefer the more visible front-end control of the seat belt laws.
In short, yes society should foot the bill, even for the “stupid.” In the days of yore, if an individual had one too many in the saloon, stumbled into his barn and set it on fire, the neighbors still held a barn raising for him, regardless of his stupidity. I’d like to think today’s society, though removed from the particulars of any one incident, is equally compassionate.
— Mark Hessey
Belmar, New Jersey
The seat belt problem is easily handled. You get in a major accident without belts on (and easily proved, I guarantee you) and all insurance on you is void (insurance on everybody else stays in effect) your estate pays everything including police investigation costs. And you lose your right to sue. (Wearing a seat belt allows you to maneuver your car to avoid an accident when you might not without it — ask any race driver.)
You want freedom, be my guest. But you pay for it. I see no reason why I should.
— Richard Trochlil