THEY DID IT TO THEMSELVES
Re: Brandon Crocker’s The Democrats’ Iraq Quagmire:
Brandon Crocker should give up real estate dealing in San Diego and move to Washington. The Bush administration needs the clear thinking of Mr. Crocker, who, point by point, sweeps away the fallacious criticisms hurled like rotten eggs at our Iraq policy by self-serving politicians. He hoses down the drain the outrageous and slanderous charges of Ted Kennedy. Mr. Crocker concludes that the base accusations of blindly ambitious politicians are drawing the accusers into a quagmire of their own making. We can be confident that these slimy calumnies will back up and drown their authors before November 2004.
— Basil Weir
San Jose, CA
This article really hit home with me. I have been so disgusted with the rhetoric of the now ten presidential hopefuls. They criticize and lie without offering their miraculous platform. Is that because they don’t have one? One non-presidential hopeful, Ted Kennedy, should be banished from the government for spewing such a hateful speech against our President. It’s a shame the media outlets won’t publish the real feelings of the “real” people (as John Edwards calls us). Many letters to newspapers go unpublished because they criticize the politicians harshly although the politicians can lie and call names as often as they please to suit their means. I hope the Democrats keep burying themselves deep enough so that we don’t have to listen to their garbage any longer.
— Jane McNair
Give Brandon Crocker a full-time column!
— Dave Miller
La Jolla, CA
I would suggest to the Fourth Estate that they apply their power of observation and ask each one of the 10 Democratic entrants what their specific, pointed, no-spin strategy would be for Iraq? Specifically:
• What would be your expected date of leaving the scene if ever?
• Provide the dollar cost considering your expected timeline if any.
• If multilateralism is a critical foreign policy issue of the Democratic plank please identify the specific concessions you are willing to consider to achieve those aims.
• Are you willing to indemnify the American Public that your policy will work considering the recent terrorist past?
To date I have not seen the press pose these questions to the candidates. The public deserves those answers. We are long past dealing with 16 words, presumptive facts on Iraqi WMD, who knew what in Africa, etc. Tell us what you would do NOW, based on the current situation in Iraq. I do not believe that extraction from Iraq is proper at this time. But the carping of the Democratic contenders leaves one to believe that this is the proper course. Or is it?
Ladies and Gentlemen, state your position then let the American public decide in 2004.
— John McGinnis
OUT OF AREA
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Too Clever Operators:
Shawn Macomber: Interesting point of view on the federal do not call list. In my view, the first thing the federals have proposed doing in decades with even the slightest prospect of elevating the level of American civilization. So Shawn, please send me your home phone number — not your work number, your home number — so I can call to discuss this matter with you at my convenience.
— Larry Thornberry
Re: Jed Babbin’s The French Party Candidates:
Could Reverend Al mean F-111 — or did he mean perhaps F-22? I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but Lord knows, it ain’t easy.
— Warren Mowry
Re: Bill Croke’s Old West and New in Livingston, Montana:
It simply amazes me how Bill Croke can pick up an out of the way little western town and breath life into it. Kind of like urban CPR for the forgotten places rich with history. As we gnash our teeth over the insanity of Washington, D.C., the angst of New York, the putrid snobbishness of Boston or the utter insanity of La-La Land, Mr. Croke brings us back to the sane reality of life in the west where real men lived and are mostly forgotten today. Ah, but then we have Bill Croke to open up the pages of history and bring these famous, funny and fantastic characters on to the stage for our enjoyment and history lesson.
The pioneers built a wonderful and rich life out of the wonderful and rich environment of places touched by the great rivers of the west. When you consider the challenges of men like Lewis and Clark and the limited resources at their disposal, you simply shrug your shoulders at the pathetic efforts of today’s so-called leaders loafing around in their limos, schmoozing in their air-conditioned offices and calling a yelling match a good day’s work. Most of them are the monochromic tones of gray flannel while the pioneers are stunningly brilliant in the color of their lives. Bears, beasts and braves challenged them as they went about the simple task of living. They were such a strong and independent breed to challenge nature barehanded and make a living. If a modern shopper confronts a supermarkup clerk for a scanner overcharge, he is today’s rare breed. I guess that this is why most of my heroes are long gone. Mr. Croke brings us back to raw men and raw nature and the empires created by those long on vision, strength, determination and short on temper.
They and Mr. Croke are the types I would love to sit down with near a fire and a bottle to spend an evening just living in the past.
— Al Martin
Depoe Bay, OR
Since Arianna keeps showing up in various Reader Mail items, it seems pointless to mention any particular offering. Therefore I submit a “generic” Reader Mail about the huffing and puffing Ms. Huffington.
I used to read her items with interest. Her talk-show appearances were good and her comments germane. But in 1996 she was subjected to Comedy Central’s “Political Commentary” program in which she, representing the Republicans, and Al Franken, representing the Democrats, appeared in pajamas in a double bed under the covers.
So now we know what happened to her. She was somehow infected by the dreaded Franken Disease and started her march to the Left, which inevitably precludes any sort of intelligent commentary, as she proved in the Recall Debate.
As the Franken Disease proceeds in its debilitating process, she will perforce become a Democrat and four years hence debate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
That will be something to watch!
— Bob Johnson
It strikes me that the discussion about intellectual property rights should be viewed through the wide lens of what I view as a general erosion in the notion of property rights in general. Some recent incidents from my neck of the woods:
1) A young woman climbed into a tree in protest of the development of “Brown’s woods,” a prime piece of land for development. The arguments (paraphrased) raised against the development included “I’ve always enjoyed walking through those woods with my dog and now I won’t be able to,” and “Driving by those woods has always been so enjoyable.” In other words, the protesters believed the owner should continue to maintain the property, pay property taxes, and insure against trespasser'(s’) possible injury, for the protesters’ private enjoyment.
2) My next-door neighbor and I have both been victims of someone using our yards as a means of egress from another property — not because of necessity, but just because they can in their four-wheel drive vehicles.
3) My church’s shelter house has been used by persons unknown for a party. Trash and vomit were left behind.
4) New apartments are being built beside my home. The closest unit is stairstepped to follow the topography, an enticing spot for two teenagers to enjoy their skateboards. Never mind that the preliminary plumbing connections were sticking up all over the concrete.
Somewhere along the way, the notion of the right to enjoy something that isn’t ours has become commonplace.
— Jenny Woodward
CREATE SOMETHING FIRST
Re: John McGinnis’s letter (under “No Such Thing as a Free Hunch”) in Reader Mail’s Among the Bootleggers:
As a producer of John McGinnis’s supposedly non-existent “intellectual property” (in my case, print fiction), I certainly find his arguments compelling.
Of course, I also know that publishers, producers, record companies et al., even when artist-owned, sell their creations to distributors at a fraction of their recommended list price; those distributors then sell said creations either to sub-distributors or to retailers at a slightly larger fraction of their recommended list price, and all parties concerned are only getting a piece of the difference between the simple production cost and the list price, not even taking into account shipping costs, advertising, etc.
And of course I am blown away by the simple brilliance of the downloader’s “rebellion”: rather than support the corporate monoliths who only pay some money to the artists, give it away on your own authority and take all the artists money away from them.
It reminds me of the L.A. riots following the King verdict, when we were told by fatuous liberal apologists that the looters were “sending a message to the Man.” The message, apparently, being, “don’t build appliance stores in the ‘hood.” The message of the downloaders is, “don’t create, it will be stolen by infantile, self-indulgent little punks.”
I am damn sure Mr. McGinnis has never created a piece of “intellectual property” in his life.
— Richard McEnroe
AIRPORTS AND CONSPIRACIES
Re: Robert Brown’s letter (“Go Wes, Young Man”) in Reader Mail’s Among the Bootleggers:
Robert Brown’s impassioned defense of Gen. (Saint/Savior) Wes Clark’s actions at Pristina Airport in Kosovo defies logic. As one who is intimate with many of the U.S. Army forces who served in that theater of operations, General Clark’s report card in my humble opinion still says “D”. Remember, please, Mr. Brown, that Wes Clark was fired by Bill Clinton, and — as much as I hate to agree with anything Clinton did — it was for good cause. Significantly, U.S. forces preparing to occupy Kosovo were caught by surprise, and out of position to either stop or prevent the Russian forces (perhaps a reinforced company) from seizing Pristina Airport. The nearest available forces Gen. Clark had to draw on (for some reason they were ready) were our allies the Brits.
From all intelligence indicators, the Russians traveled very light in ground convoy (no food, water or ammo beyond basic load) and had no supply corridor to sustain their coup, other that by air. Blocking the runways the Russians were depending on for survival would have caused a major shooting incident with theater-wide political ramifications. British Lt. General Sir Michael Jackson refused Clarks’ order to block the runways, or even go near the Russian occupied airport without diplomatic consultation, something that apparently evaded Gen Clark’s logic at the time. SecDef Cohen, “Madeleine the Short” and Bill Clinton agreed. It was Sir Michael Jackson who refused to start WWIII. Both of Gen. Clark’s superior officers also agreed; their final efficiency reports indicated Clark’s disregard for chain of command and judgment.
The Russians meanwhile where supposedly just as “”surprised” as General Clark. Boris Yeltsin was still trying to kill his liver in the privacy of his own dacha, and it remains puzzling exactly who was in charge of Russia when this incident took place. This was a time for diplomacy, not military action. General Clark’s recklessness, including his succumbing to political pressure from the White House for targets in Serbia (which led to the bombing of the embassy of our trading partners — the Red Chinese), still makes him the George McClellan of his age.
General Wesley Clark is a brave and intelligent former soldier. His best future contributions to the people of the United States remain outside the realm of presidential politics. Oh, yes Mr. Brown. As long as there is the “immigration policy” we have in place — we will always have too many children below the poverty level. We are the Mecca to people of the world whose governments give them no hope. It is out of economic desperation that they risk their lives to come here to live in such statistically dire straits. The more generous our policies the more who will come. The underclass in the United States is created by our own immigration and welfare policies – the double victims being the impoverished and the middle class taxpayers who are obligated to support them.
— Mike Horn
LTC, US Army Reserve, ret
Dear Mr. Tyrrell: I’ve been looking all over for a VRWC membership card, but can’t seem to find one. Since you’re a member, would you tell me how I can get one too?
— Paul Doolittle