- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

Double-crossers

Your article “Mexico accused of abusing its illegals” (Page 1, March 24) states, “Many of the illegals in Mexico, who emigrate from Central and South America, complain of ‘double dangers’ of extortion by Mexican authorities and robbery and killings by organized gangs.”

Yes, indeed. Mexico has double standards, and it deals with other countries as a one-way street. Because of its proximity, the United States is Mexico’s primary victim. Mexico is a rogue country, and the U.S. president insists on dealing with that nation and treating it as an equal. Just ask U.S. citizens who live by the Arizona-Mexico border about the destruction they suffer at the hands of Mexico.

HAYDEE PAVIA

Laguna Woods, Calif.

When the Arizona-Mexico border was manned just by the Border Patrol, the Mexican government issued a booklet telling how to break U.S. immigration laws, but now that the Minuteman Project volunteers are manning the border, Mexico issues a flier warning of danger. Who says the Minuteman Project isn’t working? Its volunteers are shining the light of publicity not only on malingering politicians in our nation, but on the double-dealing of our “good friend” to the South.

BARBARA VICKROY

Escondido, Calif.

If Republicans go wobbly …

Sen. Harry Reid, Senate minority leader, said regarding Republican objections to Democratic filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominees: “When it comes down to it, stripping away these important checks and balances is about the arrogance of those in power who want to rewrite the rules so that they can get their way” (“Balance of power at issue in Senate,” Nation, Sunday).

The nation is seeing a crucial moment in its history. It is the Democrats who have rewritten the rules for judicial nominations by blocking the approval of nominees who would win majority approval in a Senate floor vote and by imposing a pro-abortion litmus test for potential nominees to the Supreme Court. It doesn’t matter who controls the executive or legislative branches of government if the judicial branch can overrule any action of the other two branches without consequence. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 81, “The authority of the proposed Supreme Court of the United States … will be superior to that of the legislature … the errors and usurpations of the Supreme Court of the United States will be uncontrollable and remediless.”

If the Republican Party lacks the courage to oppose the obstructionist Democrats in the Senate on the issue of judicial nominees, it has chosen to embrace irrelevance. The insatiable lust for power within the Democratic Party, encouraged by major elements of the mainstream media and academia that are increasingly unencumbered by truth, will soon transform America’s democratic freedoms into “politically correct” totalitarian repression.

BERTRAM D. SMITH JR.

Round Hill, Va.

Vatican’s view of capitalism

Jack Kemp’s column “A defining encyclical” (Commentary, Thursday) correctly notes that under Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church changed its formerly more-or-less anti-capitalistic views and became accepting of capitalism, not only as an economic issue, but also recognizing its moral underpinnings.

The pope pointed out in his encyclical “Centesimus Annus” that being a capitalistic businessman and trying to be successful require individual virtues.

We should realize that in this encyclical, the pope is echoing the opinion of one of our Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin is famously known for having tirelessly advocated the moral qualities of self-discipline, self-improvement, perseverance, honesty, benevolence, temperance and frugality, all of which would, in his opinion, lead to a successful and prosperous life. All of them would bring out the best in man.

Also, Adam Smith said in “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” a book our Founding Fathers revered, that there is no better moral activity for a man than to make money honestly.

He also showed that the unintended consequences of capitalistic self-interest become all the end results the church has been preaching: decreasing poverty, creating well-being, liberating people, checking political power.

It is heartwarming to find out that Pope John Paul II endorsed these insights and found them significant enough to make them part of his encyclical.

GERHARD H. LUKOWSKY

Gainesville, Va.

Foul shots

“Amazing willpower,” “man-child at the point” and “a knack for playmaking.” These are a few descriptions of John Gilchrist from scouts of ESPN, NBADraft.net, and collegehoopsnet.com. Tom Knott overlooked many points when declaring Gilchrist’s decision to apply to the draft absurd (“Out of your league, out of your mind” Sports, April 1).

Comparisons to Juan Dixon were outrageous. Dixon is a shooting guard, which explains his ball-handling deficiencies. Gilchrist is a solid ball handler with a higher assist-to-turnover ratio than Raymond Felton’s. Mr. Knott explained Dixon’s problems with his physique. Gilchrist is capable of shutting down bigger guards, something that can’t be said of Dixon.

But in the NBA, who plays defense? Also, I wouldn’t agree that Gilchrist “struggled” from the college game’s 3-point line. His 39.3 percent 3-point percentage was higher than that of Deron Williams, who also has applied for this year’s draft.

Then Mr. Knott thought he could compare Gilchrist, the MVP of last year’s ACC Tournament, to God Shammgod, a player known for one dribbling move high school coaches hold in disdain. John Gilchrist is ranked as the No. 4 point guard who might enter the draft.

The three men ahead of him played on teams filled with talent. Maryland’s offense isn’t designed for scoring point guards, yet he averaged 15 points per game. If he were to switch teams with Chris Paul, Raymond Felton or Deron Williams, we might see Gilchrist’s skills fully used. Give him a Sean May, and you could have reserved tickets to the Final Four.

Gilchrist’s questionable decisions were a result of his shouldering the load because of a weak supporting cast. Gary Williams hasn’t recruited well recently. You also have to question whether the team wanted to play with him, evident by the change of play in the NIT.

Gilchrist has a future in the NBA. I expect him to land in the late first round. That will put him on a playoff team most likely and means he’ll have to work to see the court.

Having known John Gilchrist for a long time, I know he will do whatever it takes to get playing time and win. He won’t think he is above Shaquille O’Neal if drafted by the Heat, as Mr. Knott seems to think.

Instead of playing with a team that doesn’t want him to forget his junior season, proving the doubters like Tom Knott wrong would be sweeter. Good luck, John.

KYLE STRAUSBAUGH

Virginia Beach

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