- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jimmy Carter’s opinions

Former President Jimmy Carter’s revision of his remarks about the Bush administration being the “worst in history” is typical of his history of inept thinking (“Carter says remarks on Bush ‘careless,’ ” Web, Monday). He’s done it many times before. When it comes to the worst administration in history, Mr. Carter is certainly in the running.

He did nothing about the terrible recession on his watch except blame the American people. He did nothing about the militant Islamic revolution in Iran that set up the hostage crisis and put the country on the track to terrorism. He also gave away the Panama Canal to the Panamanians.

It has always been understood that former presidents do not criticize sitting presidents. They can certainly be available for counsel and advice, but that is as far as it should go, particularly when the taxpayers are paying his way. Mr. Carter doesn’t get it, nor should he have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize.

DANIEL B. JEFFS

Apple Valley, Calif.

Jimmy Carter’s designation of President George W. Bush as America’s worst president, is more than stupid. Mr. Carter understands neither 20th-century America nor himself.

Shortly after he entered the White House, in a Notre Dame speech he accused Americans of aping the sins of “our adversaries,” citing Vietnam as the “best example” of our “intellectual and moral poverty.”

Sixteen years later, in June 1993, he told USA Today he felt compelled to balance his criticism of human-rights abuses abroad with our own sins — “high levels of crime and poverty, homelessness and unemployment.” Underlying his vague moral symmetry — which implicitly equated tyranny with unemployment — was his perverse view that somehow the United States and any adversary were equally culpable and redeemable.

In June 1994, with North Korea on the verge of making nuclear bombs, Mr. Carter, after a three-day visit there, concluded that Kim Il-Sung was “very frank,” that North Korea was not “an outlaw nation,” and that downtown Pyongyang looked like “Wal-Mart in Americus, Georgia,” comments that were relayed in the New Republic magazine.

Mr. Carter, who donned the mantle of peacemaker and humanitarian extraordinare, even claimed that the Persian Gulf War could have been prevented had he been permitted to mediate between George Bush and Saddam Hussein.

It was this Jimmy Carter who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Shame on both parties

ERNEST W. LEFEVER

Chevy Chase

Mexican truckers

A recent article omitted important safety mandates in the Bush administration’s cross-border trucking demonstration program (“House bill limits Mexican trucks in U.S.,” Business, May 16).

It’s important to note that this program’s newly created safety regime for Mexican trucking companies and drivers is stricter than the set of standards applicable to Canadian and U.S. trucking companies and drivers.

U.S. inspectors are in Mexico auditing each participating carrier’s place of business to ensure they are meeting the same requirements that apply to U.S. truckers, including: driver training, a U.S. insurance policy, hours-of-service regulations, language standards and drug and alcohol tests collected and conducted in U.S. labs. Inspectors also check fleet maintenance using full, 39-point, front-to-back inspections of every vehicle to be used in the program.

What’s more, all Mexican carriers will be prohibited from transporting hazardous materials or passengers, and from transporting domestic freight from point-to-point in the U.S.

In border commercial zones, hundreds of Mexican trucks pass through our inspection points everyday. Our inspections data shows their equipment is as safe as U.S. trucks. In fact, slightly more U.S. trucks inspected are pulled out of service than Mexican trucks.

This program gives U.S. trucking companies an opportunity to grow their businesses in an area that was previously off-limits, which in turn will lower consumer costs and make our economy more competitive.

JOHN H. HILL

Administrator

Federal Motor Carrier

Safety Administration

Department of Transportation

Washington

Paying for general aviation

The article “Paying passengers give private jets ‘a free ride,’ ” (Page 1, Sunday) was only partly correct. The implication was that someone was paying for someone else’s good fortune.

General aviation is loosely described as everything other than military or scheduled airlines. Yes, it is small planes and business jets. It is also traffic helicopters, sightseeing, firefighting and air ambulance operations. General aviation is lots of things and it contributes to what infrastructure it uses.

I own a four-seat airplane and use it for business and pleasure. I pay a fee to the federal government by way of my fuel taxes. One is a fixed amount, the other is a “pay as I use” system.

Like highway taxes collected at the pump instead of the tollbooth, my flying is paid-in-full, same as that jet at Washington Dulles International Airport. Your car is paid in full as it travels Interstates 95, 495 etc.

The flying is paid for by me primarily and everyone else in general — the same as I pay for boaters, hunters and users of hundreds of government-controlled parks and services to which I do not regularly desire or require access. Maybe public golf courses could be included in this description.

The people and businesses in the tri-state/D.C. area benefit from the accessibility of their airport. Cambridge, Salisbury, Richmond, York and Ocean City are just a few of the places I have recently left many dollars because an airport was there.

Presently, the general aviation community is paying to keep the local airport open. It will not be very long before you see the advantage in going from Point A to Point D without stopping at Points B and C “hubs” in between. That is what your local airport offers now and will offer to a greater extent in the future.

Most important to remember is that general aviation is already paying its users fees.

DON GATES

Lusby, Md.

Verizon’s deal with Metro

The editorial “No $1.5 billion subsidy for Verizon” (April 30) was inaccurate. The $1.5 billion you referenced is the proposed level of dedicated, federal funding the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority would receive in the Metro funding legislation. There is no subsidy of any kind for Verizon Wireless.

Verizon Wireless responded to WMATA’s 1992 request to install wireless service in the underground. The fact that Verizon Wireless was the only wireless company willing to make the considerable investment required does not mean we have a “monopoly.”

Verizon Wireless invested $26 million to build out our network to make the Metro the first completely built-out wireless subway in the world. This is considerably more than the $18.4 million you reported because we also invested an additional $7.6 million at WMATA’s request to provide an emergency management response system (EMRS) for WMATA’s exclusive use. No doubt, WMATA would have welcomed the participation of other carriers willing to make similar investments to improve communications and safety for the public and Metro personnel.

Now, other wireless carriers want to do what Verizon Wireless did 15 years ago. Recently introduced Metro funding legislation would require WMATA to ensure that customers from all carriers have access to wireless service in the underground rail system within a phased-in period of four years, or risk losing $1.5 billion in federal funding.

This bill would give the public, carriers and WMATA what they all want — a wireless network in the Metro that works just like the one above-ground — and would give Verizon Wireless access to upgrade our network as well.

We think this is a very good thing for all wireless customers in and around Washington.

JOHN JOHNSON

Corporate communications director

Verizon Wireless

Laurel

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