- The Washington Times - Monday, February 12, 2007

Shame on Democrats

After reading yesterday’s letter from Sen Barbara Mikulski, “Reckless and irresponsible,” I had to respond, as she is spinning on Cal Thomas’ column castigating her (“ ’Spartan and skimpy’ budget,” Commentary, Friday). The actions of Senate Democrats are disingenuous, as they act as if there are not scarce resources and the lower funding for homeland security has somehow left us more vulnerable to terrorist attack. To dispel this canard, one only has to notice that under the Bush administration, there have been no more attacks since September 11 on U.S. soil, while we fight the enemy overseas.

Miss Mikulski is simply regurgitating the standard Democratic Party talking points, which is the Democrats’ entire strategy. The sad part is that when America needs them to stand with the president and let him lead as he was elected to do (and in a time of war, no less), they elect to work against him to make his job harder and less certain, which leaves Americans more vulnerable. This is unconscionable, and they should be ashamed.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie, Md.

Keep VOA

Arnold Beichman’s “Regression in Russia” (Commentary, Sunday) turns a powerful spotlight on the suppression of free speech in Russia. Why, one must ask, does the Bush administration’s budget proposal for fiscal 2008 propose to end Voice of America radio broadcasts to Russia?

For 60 years — the anniversary was last week — those broadcasts have brought honest reporting to millions of Russian and Russian-speaking minorities of the old Soviet Union, including many Muslims. Will Russians, and Muslims in the successor states, have to rely on Radio Moscow, or maybe Al Jazeera, for news about America and the rest of the world? Cut the fat, but please leave the vital organs in place.

WOODFORD MCCLELLAN

Henderson, Nev.

Hurting man’s best friend

The article “Sled-dog whisperer” (Travel, Saturday) left a lot unsaid. Long-distances races like the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, which are equal in length, are dangerous for dogs. The short list of what happens to them includes death, paralysis, penile frostbite, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, broken bones, pneumonia, torn muscles and tendons, vomiting, hypothermia, viral diseases, torn footpads, ruptured disks, sprains and lung damage.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those that finish the Iditarod, 81 percent have lung damage. The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine reported that 61 percent of the dogs that finish the race have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

Pushing a dog to the breaking point is very different from allowing a dog to run at his own speed on his own schedule. Dogs don’t want to labor when they are in pain or are suffering from the many diseases and injuries that can afflict them in the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

For the dogs, these races are torture.

MARGERY GLICKMAN

Director

Sled Dog Action Coalition

Miami

Born free

In his column “All the news?” (Commentary, Sunday), Thomas Sowell cites philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau as leading the charge against all societal restraints in the 18th century. He argues that this has culminated in the New York Times’ celebration of the decline of marriage in the 21st century.

Mr. Sowell, however, relies on a false understanding of Rousseau’s text — one that does not put his dictum that “man is born free but is everywhere in chains” into context. Rousseau is not arguing that we ought to throw off all societal chains and restrictions. Quite the contrary. He is only advising that we cast off those that have been imposed by despotic masters for the selfish purposes of consolidating and promoting their own power. Instead, he counsels in his “Emile,” “the eternal laws of nature and order do exist … They are written in the depth of [the] heart by conscience and reason. It is to these that [the citizen] ought to enslave himself in order to be free.”

When society’s laws conform to these laws of nature, we should cherish our chains rather than struggle to break them. In other words, Rousseau was not leading the charge to demolish law and order — he only desired to make them more just.

DAVID LAY WILLIAMS

Associate professor of philosophy and political science

University of Wisconsin at

Stevens Point

Stevens Point, Wis.

Supply and demand

In his Commentary column on Sunday, “Taxing profits taxes people,” Lawrence Kudlow claimed that “[e]xpanding profits” enables businesses to “hire additional workers.” He went on to claim that cutting corporate taxes would lead to wage increases. Businesses already are nearly twice as profitable as in 2000. Until last year, wages for most workers had stagnated or declined since the inauguration of President Bush.

Companies do not hire people when they have more money. They hire people when they have more customers, even if they have to borrow money to do it. Companies do not give pay increases when they have more money. They give pay increases when the unemployment rate gets low enough that they have to compete for employees.

According to the July 9, 2006, editorial “New job numbers” in The Washington Times, an average of 25,000 private-sector jobs had been created every month during Mr. Bush’s presidency. According to this same editorial, during Bill Clinton’s presidency, an average of 217,000 private-sector jobs were created every month. Mr. Bush, of course, cut taxes for the rich. Mr. Clinton raised their taxes.

JOHN ENGELMAN

Wilmington, Del.

Thanks

I just wanted to thank you for running Harlan Ullman’s column “RethinkIran”(Op-Ed, Wednesday). It is the most thoughtful and realistic analysis of what the United States should be doing regarding Iran that I have read.

We already are engaged in one very bloody, costly war. The Bush administration would be well-advised to heed Mr. Ullman’s wise advice and avoid another.

ANN LOIKOW

Washington

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