- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Stretching for taxes

Regarding “Legislators revisit speed-camera bill” (Metropolitan, Monday): How low can they go? Is there no level of pretense below which local commissars will not stoop in order to fund “liberte, egalite and fraternite” in the People’s Republics of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties?

Now we’re told that speed-trap cameras are justified by the results of a study titled “Pedestrian Safety in Crisis: Latino Deaths on the International Corridor.” It told of 103 pedestrian deaths over a four-year period in Prince George’s County. Could some of them have been prevented by the threat of speed-trap cameras?

For those who doubt the connection, a proponent noted that foreign countries and the District use speed cameras.

Good grief. A pretext for taxation can’t get much lower than that.

GREGORY L. LEWIS

Baltimore

Hollywood hypocrisy

Your coverage of the AcademyAwardsceremony (” ‘Lord of the Rings’ wins record-tying 11 Oscars,” Nation, Monday) noted that for the first time in a number of years, the pageant “returned to full-glamour mode” with “traditional red-carpet arrivals” and the like. There also was another unusual aspect to this year’s ceremony: It was, perhaps, the first time that a Nazi propagandist was included in the ceremony’s annual memorial tribute to recently deceased film-industry figures.

Alongside Gregory Peck, Bob Hope and others whose names were listed in the memorial segment of the program was Leni Riefenstahl, who was chosen personally by Adolf Hitler to direct films glorifying the Nazis, such as the infamous “Triumph of the Will.” Mrs. Riefenstahl even used Gypsy prisoners from German concentration camps as extras in one of her films. Although Mrs. Riefenstahl later claimed she did not support the Nazis, when Hitler conquered Paris in 1940, she sent him a telegram declaring: “Your deeds exceed the power of human imagination. They are without equal in the history of mankind. How can [the German people] ever thank you?”

Mrs. Riefenstahl played a leading role in making propaganda for the most evil regime in human history. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should not have included her alongside legitimate artists, but rather should have explained that Mrs. Riefenstahl was an example of how art can be perverted to promote fascism, racism and genocide.

RAFAEL MEDOFF

Director

David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Melrose Park, Pa.

Arnold loses his immigration muscle

CaliforniaGov.Arnold Schwarzenegger is contemplating a way to make driver’s licenses for illegal aliens a reality (“Arnold seeks to revamp license bill,” Nation, Monday). It has become a rallying point for some of the more liberal members of state legislatures, other community leaders and the news media.

Truthfully, I find it absurd that people would advocate driver’s licenses for people already in our country illegally unless the licenses are used to identify those who should be deported.

The answer to the driver’s license issue is relatively simple.

Once the illegal aliens provide the proper identification, pass the required written and driving-skills tests and pay the required fees, they should be issued brightly colored or multicolored driver’s licenses. The licenses should be complete with address, photo, country of origin and thumbprint.

This would enable the aliens to drive safely to and from their jobs while also allowing easy identification for the safety of our police and sheriff’s departments. Certainly this is a solution reasonable people would accept willingly.

DENNIS HAYWARD

New Bern, N.C.

The reappearance of “Son of SB 60” proves that California’s arrogant Legislature did not learn the underlying lesson in last year’s recall — Californians from every ideology, age, economic and racial group overwhelmingly oppose rewards for illegal aliens.

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s apparentretreatfromthe strength that swept him into power may mean that he trusts the legislators who got us into our economic hole more than the people who voted for him. If so, he can kiss any further political office goodbye. We already have plenty of liars, and we are looking for men of character and courage.

BARB VICKROY

Escondido, Calif.

Here’s a true ‘multilateralist’

TheMondayeditorial “Kerry and the ayatollahs” reports that Sen. John Kerry sent a letter to an Iranian news agency stating why he should be elected president. What was the man thinking? Why should a candidate send a letter like that to a foreign agency, particularly when the letter chastises President Bush on a subject of intense interest to the Iranians? Isn’t it enough that he should say these things to the American electorate?

He has no business injecting foreign nations or their news agencies into the campaign. They can’t vote for him; all it does is inflame anti-American sentiment in foreign countries. We already have enough problems with Iran.

It is kind of like the Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which, supposedly, the mother makes her child sick so she can get attention as the person who nurses the child back to health. Mr. Kerry apparently wants to make the United States the bad guy to foreign interests so he can step in and make things right again. This gives aid and comfort to the enemy, as far as I am concerned.

This is just another reason why the man is unfit to be president, much less senator. He scares the pants off me.

JACK DORWIN

Livingston, Texas

The re-importation blackmail

In their Feb. 24 Commentary column, David Henderson and Charley Hooper make a fuzzy free-market argument that re-importing drugs from Canada could be a “small boon” to Americans “by causing the Canadian government to relent from its price-control policy” (“Hidden drug-reimport potential”). In fact, they argue, “if many people in the United States are allowed to buy (drugs) from Canada, drug companies will certainly notice.” Consequently, “there is only one way not to have (U.S. companies’) prices seriously undercut: They will choose to limit supplies to Canada.” Some companies already are doing this by limiting supplies to historic levels.

Mr. Henderson and Mr. Hooper are sorely confused. Despite their good intentions, they have ignored the crux of the problem — namely, patent theft.

The Canadian government has promised to retaliate if U.S. companies refuse to sell drugs to Canada by allowing generic companies to steal American patents and reproduce the drugs for a lower price.

By threatening to violate U.S. patents, the Canadian government routinely blackmails American companies into selling to Canada at price-controlled below-market rates. This is not a matter of free-market economics; it’s a matter of theft — plain and simple.

SALLY C. PIPES

President and chief executive

Pacific Research Institute

San FranciscoCalif.

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