2003 letters to the editor

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About three years ago, columnist Sam Francis, in keeping with William Faulkner’s dictum that “the past is never dead, it is not even past,” wrote an item in which he opined, “the American Civil War settled nothing and never even ended.” Two events prompted him. The first was the 1999 success by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to insert language in an appropriations bill requiring Civil War battlefield parks to "encourage" discussions of the role of slavery in causing the war. The second was the Clinton administration jumping on the band wagon to make sure the National Park Service was teaching the “right messages” at the nation's Civil War battlefields. This is akin to the strategy employed by the revisionist history miscreants who wanted the Smithsonian Hiroshima Exhibit to arrogate nobility to the Japanese and to demonize the Americans. And it’s getting worse. A recent story in the Washington Times reported that the National Park Service "has embarked on an effort to change its interpretive materials at major Civil War battlefields to get rid of a Southern bias and emphasize the horrors of slavery." As part of the propaganda effort, $95 million of your tax dollars are going for a visitors center and museum at Gettysburg, which will retell the story of the decisive battle of America's bloodiest war, to deliver the “right message.” If enough of us write to President Bush asking him to stop this nonsense, maybe we can stop it before the National Park Service desecrates any more hallowed ground. But maybe not. Maybe General Pat Cleburne, CSA, who was killed at Franklin at the end of the war, was right when he wrote: "Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision.” Which will it be?


The Letter to the Editor in the 1/22/2003 issue of the North Georgia News, closed by inviting readers to respond. Herewith my contribution - some elementary lessons from French 101, Economics 101, and Political Science 101.

The French lesson: the French say “Répondez s'il vous plaît,” not “Response sil vous plait.”

The Econ lesson: there is no free lunch. The few rich Americans at the top of the income pyramid (top 5 percent) are paying in more than half of the total tax revenue. Without them, the rest of us would have to make up the shortfall to meet the Feds two trillion dollar budget. And that would include the one out of eight workers who have no tax liability today, and another 16.5 million who have some income but don't file at all.

The Political Science lesson: Almost two-thirds of all Americans think that Karl Marx's (1818-1883) dogma, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” was or may have been written by the Founding Fathers and was included in the Constitution; so it is not surprising that most Americans, including most members of Congress, act like it is the government’s job to engage in income guarantees and income leveling. It is not.

What is in the Constitution? Franklin Pierce and William Giles got it right. As US President Franklin Pierce put it: “I readily and, I trust, feelingly acknowledge the duty incumbent on us all as men and citizens, and as among the highest and holiest of our duties, to provide for those who, in the mysterious order of Providence, are subject to want and to disease of body or mind; but I can not find any authority in the Constitution for making the Federal Government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States. To do so would, in my judgment, be contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and subversive of the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.” Or, take it as William Giles of Virginia put it on the floor of the House of Representatives: Giles insisted that it was not the purpose nor the right of Congress to "attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require.” Today’s President, and today’s Members of the House, would do well to follow the examples set by Pierce and Giles, rather than the example set by Marx.


Dear Mr. President:

If the pilots, crews, and passengers had been armed, the tragedy of 9/11 could have been averted. Four or five terrorists would not have attempted to take over a plane on which there were more than a hundred armed citizens. But that’s hindsight; and besides, there is no way that today’s anti-gun culture would forbear a gun-toting average citizen to drive across the country, let alone fly across the country. On the other hand, most Americans, including most pilots, and the US Congress, believe that arming pilots is a good idea. This is why, in November 2001, Congress passed legislation authorizing the administration to arm pilots. So why aren’t the pilots armed today? Back in November 2001, anti-gun bureaucrat Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta refused to implement the program. And that’s why, last year, Congress had to pass additional legislation MANDATING that the Transportation Department move forward on arming pilots. Ignoring Congress’ clear intention, the contumacious Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the arm of the Transportation Department responsible for implementation, is making the program so difficult, intimidating and burdensome, that few pilots will be willing to run the gauntlet necessary to get armed. Congress wants pilots to be armed, pilots want pilots to be armed, and the American people deserve pilots who are armed. Mr. President, please rein in the TSA. That agency should not be subverting the will of Congress and continuing to endanger the American people.

IN MEMORIAM (4/2/2003)

As we approach the Easter weekend, during which Christians around the world will remember the death of Jesus, there are other deaths to be remembered, including those of Beverly Elliott, Woodrow Brady, and Jonas Parker.

During their news coverage on Easter weekend, the mainstream media will remind us that April 19th is the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing (and we should not be surprised if the name of executed bomber Timothy McVeigh is mentioned more often than the name of executed Savior Jesus Christ). The scores of innocent men and women, and the 19 children who perished in the Murrah Federal Building are deserving of our remembrance and our prayers. But so are the scores of men and women and the 25 children who perished on another April 19th, in Waco, Texas, during an attack authorized by President Clinton and ordered by Attorney General Janet Reno. Two of the police officers who apprehended Rodney King were sent to prison for using excessive force on King during his arrest. The Waco tragedy , including the gassing of infants and children, and the use of US Army tanks against civilians, was an egregious example of the use of excessive force during an attempted arrest, yet Janet Reno, who publicly accepted full responsibility for the unconscionable action, is walking around free. Why is she not in jail for criminal negligence, reckless child endangerment and violation of the civil rights of innocent children? On another April 19th, eight men died eat Lexington Green, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War that brought us Freedom and Independence. We should pray we never have a recurrence of the profane events at Waco and Oklahoma City, which dishonored the eight noble men from Lexington, and the thousands after them, who gave their lives so that we could have a chance at Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Finally, in case you were wondering , Beverly Elliott, Woodrow Brady, and Jonas Parke, all died on April 19th: Elliott in 1993 at Waco, Brady in 1995 at Oklahoma City, and Parker in 1775 at Lexington Green. May they all rest in peace.

BAN UN FROM IRAQ (4/16/2003)

I have a yard sign which reds, “U.N.-Free Zone, United Nations Keep Out!” and I’m considering donating a bunch of these signs to Iraqi residents willing to display them. As the US led coalition winds down the military in Iraq, the hubristic United Nations is scrambling to get to the front of the pack of “humanitarians” who want to help Iraq get back on its feet. Before Iraq welcomes the U.N., they should remember the results of the corrupt U.N. “oil for food” program (exemplified by gold plated toilet fixtures in Saddam’s palaces, and food shortages among Iraqi plebeians), and they should review the bitter lessons learned by the Kosovar Albanians during their “reconstruction” by the U.N. The expectation of the Iraqi people is that they will soon have their jobs & salaries back, roads & bridges repaired, electricity back on line, etc. Kosovo, four years after the bombing stopped, suffers low salaries, an economy in the funk, torn up roads, and scarcities of water, heat and power. The U.N. has estimated that $9 billion has been spent on reconstruction. I believe it was spent, but I wonder what portion of it went for reconstruction, inasmuch as Kosovo isn’t much better off now than four years ago (although several U. N. bureaucrats are much better off). The US had too much invested in Iraq, including the lives of many young Americana men & women, to allow the dysfunctional U.N., with its shameful record in the Balkans (as well as in Africa, Cambodia, and elsewhere), to muck up postwar Iraq. When the Iraqis are finished with the “United Nations Keep Out” signs, they can recycle them for use somewhere else – like, maybe, New York City.


Please conduct a “flag issue” readers poll. The apostates at the Capitol, fearful of threats from the NAACP and SCLC, and kowtowing to the political correctness movement sweeping the south, are offering a choice between two flags, but the “1956” flag will not be a candidate. The selections are the current “bland old flag,” or a newly designed flag, purportedly reminiscent of the CSA national flag. The NGN poll should demonstrate more respect for southern heritage than the General Assembly, and should proffer THREE flags: the current flag, the newly designed flag, AND the “1956” flag. Allow me to be the first to cast my ballot to reverse the trend of debasement and divestment of Confederate symbols by voting for the “1956” flag.

“WAR” COST? (5/17/2003)

We will probably never know the true dollar cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom; but one thing we can be sure of is that the cost will not be what it appears to be. At this point the Congress has passed a $78.5 billion War Supplemental Appropriations bill, ostensibly to pay for war costs. But, predictably, some members of Congress ( the “usual suspects”) have managed to slip in hundreds of millions of dollars to fund PPP (Pet Pork Projects) which have no relationship to the war, and indeed, have no relationship to any Constitutionally authorized appropriations. Some of the most flagrant examples: $110 million for an Animal Disease center in Ames, IA; $15 million for the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ); $5 million for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants; $1 million to the Department of Labor for the Jobs for America’s Graduates program. When I learn of appropriations like these I often write my legislators, asking them to cite the Article and Section of the Constitution which gives Congress the authority for such expenditures, but I never receive a satisfactory answer. That’s because there isn’t one. President Grover Cleveland, the king of the veto, rejected hundreds of congressional spending bills during his two terms as President in the late 1800s, because, as he often wrote: "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution." That was back in the days when legislators were honest enough to call a spade a spade. Nowadays, with hundreds of millions of dollars of unconstitutional Pet Pork Projects masquerading as legitimate obligations such as “War Appropriations,” more of them slip through. Anyway, you get the point. And, of course, you get the bill.


Unless you are a small business owner you may never have heard of Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business Survival Committee (SBSC). Indeed, you may never even have heard of the SBSC. Nevertheless, if you have noticed that the US economy has been a funk for the last three years, Mr. Keating had something to say in a recent article, which may be of interest to you. Since late in 2000, business investment has been in the dumper, with venture capital investment in free fall. Job creation has been nonexistent, with millions of jobs lost, some of them right here in Union County. Accelerating the income tax cuts passed in 2001 is a start, but as Mr. Keating points out, one pro-growth proposal that has had little attention in the current tax debate is: cutting capital gains taxes. This is a gross economic mistake, since the capital gains tax arguably ranks as the most anti-investment, anti-entrepreneur, anti-growth tax of all. Capital gains taxes reduce the potential returns from investing and entrepreneurship, and thereby restrain such productive activity. The result is that economic growth suffers, as does job creation. The solution? Keating suggests eliminating capital gains taxes. Not temporarily reducing them (as is the current proposal), but eliminating them. This makes sense because killing the capital gains tax would remove a large, government-imposed obstacle to investing and entrepreneurship. The stock market also would benefit, and likewise, the ability of companies of all types and sizes to raise capital would be improved. The US would become a magnet for capital investment from around the globe. Economic growth would accelerate, and more jobs would be created. If our elected officials are serious about getting the US economy back on a track of robust economic growth, then killing the capital gains tax makes sense. As usual, the best thing the government can do to help solve the current economic situation, is to get out of the way. As usual, we should not hold our breath.


Ponder this question about the skin color of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence: were they red men, or white men? And what about the men who drafted and ratified the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - red men or white men? The freedoms that all Americans (red, white, black, yellow, brown) enjoy and take for granted today, are protected by those documents, which were created by white men, not red men. And lest we forget, those white men were here because of the legacy of an Italian pathfinder named Christophoro Columbo. We changed his name to Christopher Columbus, but there’s no changing the fact that his explorations led directly to the opening of the western hemisphere to European colonization, and eventually, to the birth of this nation. For this, he deserves a federal holiday

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