- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Security along the border

In reference to the article “Frustrated ranchers take over bordersecurity”(Nation, Monday), those of us who live along the border have been trying to tell the public that we are being invaded by a horde of illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico. What better proof than recent acts of destruction by those who make their living smuggling illegal aliens and drugs across the border?

They are being aided by violent gang members in this country and by the Mexican military, whose members are bribed to distract the Border Patrol to cover for the smugglers. There have been hundreds of incidents involving gunfire on our law-enforcement officials, and several such officials have been killed, including Kris Eggle, 28, a park ranger at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona..

Failure of the federal government to take action is nothing short of malfeasance and dereliction of duty. The Bush administration has consistently turned a deaf ear to all pleas by the ranchers for help.

The Minutemen certainly have called the situation of our “out of control” border to the public’s attention. Texas National Guardsman Alan Wall reports that his unit in Iraq has done a tremendous job sealing the borders of Iraq and asks: “Why can’t the National Guard do the same job on our border with Mexico?”

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

Spooky houses on the Hill

How wonderful to see the spotlight put on the Halloween-decorated homes of Capitol Hill (“Homes dressed to chill,” Metropolitan, Friday). Many residents have made “spooky houses” a fun feature of living on the Hill at this time of year.

However, they have not done it just for their own enjoyment or that of passers-by. They’ve done it to benefit Capitol Hill schools via the neighborhood contest to which your article referred.

It was a passing reference, but one that deserves illumination. The force behind the contest is Capitol Hill Realtor Phyllis Jane Young. This is the fifth year she has awarded thousands of dollars to the judged winners of the houses that deliver the biggest “horror” blast. The winners donate the money to the school of their choice.

The annual neighborhood contest is a terrific example of what life on the Hill is about: a businessperson putting back into the community — and everyone having a heck of a lot of fun.

MAGGIE HALL

Washington

Kilgore on taxes

David Botkins, formerly the press secretary with Republican Mark Earley’s failed gubernatorial campaign, should know better than most that Republican candidates for Virginia governor run on a strong pro-taxpayer message (“Anti-tax ‘purists’ to shun Kilgore,” Metropolitan, Monday). After all, with James S. Gilmore III having swept to victory by a 56 percent to 43 percent margin on the strength of his pledge to abolish the hated “car tax,” Mr. Botkins’ old boss Mr.Earley allowed Democrat Mark Warner to negate taxes as a wedge issue and beat him 52 percent to 47 percent.

Jerry Kilgore is well on his way to repeating Mr. Earley’s mistakes by failing to campaign against Mr. Warner’s tax increases and failing to promote himself as taxpayer-friendly. Instead of arguing that Mr. Warner’s tax increases were unnecessary in light of the massive $2.2 billion budget surplus, Mr. Kilgore has promoted the idea of allowing local governments greater “flexibility” in asking voters for more money at the ballot box. By acquiescing to demands for even higher taxes, Mr. Kilgore has ceded ground on fiscal issues.

Regardless of whether conservatives choose to stay home or go fishing come Nov. 8, it is clear that any Republican who ignores fiscal issues sets himself up for failure.

Mr. Kilgore and other prospective candidates should focus first on cutting taxes, reducing spending and enacting constitutional limits on the growth of government. Otherwise, come Election Day, Virginians may have more important things to do than vote.

PAUL J. GESSING

Director of government affairs

National Taxpayers Union

Alexandria

Not so friendly to investors

While Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski portrays himself as a great friend to America and Macedonia as a haven of peace and democracy in southeastern Europe, I couldn’t help noticing that he was silent about how his country treats U.S. investors (“Macedonia’s journey,” Op-Ed, Thursday).

As chairman of a nonprofit company that has spent six years trying to enforce two U.S. court judgments in Macedonia — to recover a loan of $1.4 million that was misappropriated by the owner of a TV station — I would like to add a different perspective to Mr. Buckovski’s description of the “remarkable success story” that is Macedonia.

In 1997, Media Development Loan Fund made a low-interest loan to A1 Television so it could strengthen its work as an independent news outlet and support the country’s progress toward full democracy. Under a shroud of lies and falsified invoices, the company’s owner, Velija Ramkovski, misappropriated the entire sum of $1.4 million.

In 1999, we secured two U.S. court judgments ordering the repayment of the full amount of the loan, but when we sought to have those judgments recognized and enforced in Macedonia, a process that should have taken months, not years, we met frustration at every turn. Despite numerous court decisions in our favor, A1 Television and Mr. Ramkovski, a rich businessman in Skopje, still have not repaid a single cent of the loan, and there appears to be little likelihood that they will do so.

In your pages and at the White House, Mr. Buckovski talks the talk of a good friend to America, but — in our case at least — he fails to walk the walk. We have written to both Mr. Buckovski and his ambassador in Washington to request a meeting to discuss our case, yet our letters remain unanswered.

Without foreign investment, Macedonia will continue to languish toward the bottom of Europe’s rich list. Without serious reforms of the judicial and legal systems, U.S. and other foreign investors will — quite rightly — continue to give Skopje a wide berth. To our ear, at least, Mr. Buckovski’s claims to have introduced “significant economic reforms to attract investment and spur growth” ring hollow.

KENNETH ANDERSON

Chairman

Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF)

Washington

Rice gets it right

Diana West’s Friday Op-Ed column, “Mixed-up history: Rice gets it wrong,” brings things home on why so many blacks, myself included, suspect that most white “conservatives” are closet white supremacists. (We are still trying to figure out just what black “conservatives” are.)

Though I do not always agree with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s politics, I am pleased to see that she is in unanimity with roughly 40 million blacks and a good many white Americans, thank God, on America’s racial history. It is too bad that Miss West and most of her fellow conservative travelers cannot grasp that to black America, it was, indeed, the bloody civil rights movement of the 1960s — not the 700,000 Civil War casualties, as the writer implies — that finally made America a true democracy.

I am appalled and depressed when apparently highly intelligent people who do not consider themselves to be racists and white supremacists can still believe that America’s officially sanctioned 1865-1964 government policy of white supremacy and black debasement made America a “true champion of democracy.” To many black Americans, what happened in Belleau Wood in 1918, St. Lo in 1945 and Chosin Reservoir in 1950 — as in the American South in 1865 — was about preserving “democracy” on the foundation of white supremacy.

MELVIN L. MITCHELL

Washington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide