- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

Chronicling Democratic cons

I found Claude R. Marx’s review of “Donkey Cons: Sex, Crimes and Corruption in the Democratic Party,” by Lynn Vincent and Robert Stacy McCain, witty but disturbing for some of the misimpressions it may leave (“Democratic scandals,” Op-Ed, Tuesday).

Mr. Marx states that the authors “come up short in following the time-honored reporting practice of balance.” The authors admit: “Like we said two hundred pages ago, we didn’t contract to write a book about Republican scandals” (Page 233). I was both surprised and gratified to find that the authors did, in fact, discuss Republican scandals in several places. Rather than provide an encyclopedic account, the authors chose to focus on the most important scandals of recent years. The key point of the book is the pattern of corruption. Whereas Democrats tend to protect their beleaguered brethren, Republican scandals “tend to end with three words — resigned in disgrace,” as the Donkey Cons blog points out (https://donkeycons.blogspot.com).

Mr. Marx likens the book to “one of those ‘greatest hits’ CDs” (i.e., oldies). Ah, but the hits keep coming. More up-to-the-minute information on people such as Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Georgia Democrat, who may be charged with a felony for her recent attack on a Capitol Hill police officer, can be obtained from the Donkey Cons blog. Even the discussions of decades-old scandals are useful. I challenge you to ask anyone younger than 30 what happened at Chappaquiddick or who the Weathermen were, and they most likely will give you a blank stare. Yet Edward M. Kennedy is still a senator, and the New York Times (which published a puff piece about the Weathermen — on September 11, 2001, no less) still sets the tone and direction for much of the news industry.

As for the lack of quotes from Democrats accused of scandals, I would like to point out that at least 46 of the Democrats discussed (Chapter 2 “Rap Sheet”) were convicted, indicted or resigned under pressure. The sources they cite here could hardly be considered right wing: Lexis-Nexis, Political Graveyard and Google.

If I could offer a single criticism of the book, it would be that it lets the Democrats off too easily. All of the multiperson scandals mentioned in the book (except the Jack Abramoff scandal) took place before 1994, and yet the authors modestly fail to credit the Republican revolution of 1994, which was brought about in part by the Republicans’ promise to clean up the corruption. Judging by their record, I believe they were largely successful.


Madison Heights, Mich.

One step at a time

Ronald Maxwell is right to think immigration from the Mexican border is starting to look more like invasion (“What Bush fails to see at the border,” Op-Ed, yesterday). And if we make a mistake in our repair of the immigration system, enemies of our country will seize and control every opportunity to weaken and overthrow our capitalist system.

First, Americans must admit to themselves that we have some culpability in that we have abetted illegal immigration by rewarding illegals with jobs.

Second, illegal immigration is a two-part problem. We need to shut down the border, fix a number of entry points and regain control of who enters our country. Then, a political solution can be found for how to deal with illegals already here that will satisfy a majority of Americans.

Attempting to solve both parts of the problem at the same time will only weaken both parts.


Seabrook, Texas

Semantics and Mideast peace

Your article “Talks stalled on road to peace” (World, Tuesday) contained two key factual errors:

First, the U.S.-sponsored diplomatic “road map” does not require that Palestinian Arabs disarm their “militants”; rather it requires that they end “violence and terrorism.” If the road map refers to terrorism and not to militants in this context, shouldn’t The Washington Times do likewise?

Second, there never were “original West Bank borders.” The 1949 armistice line originally separated Israel from Jordan. It always was and still is a temporary boundary, not an internationally recognized border.

Borders remain to be established under the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent documents, such as the “road map,” in a final Arab-Israeli agreement regarding allocation of the territories.


Washington director

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America


Don’t insult the French

The picture given by Suzanne Fields in her column “The rising tide of anti-Semitism” (Op-Ed, Monday), does not concur with facts: Anti-Semitic acts in France declined 48 percent in 2005 compared to 2004. According to a poll published in Maariv in September 2005, 82 percent of the French like the Jews, France ranking second among countries expressing a positive opinion (after the Netherlands).

To say that “such anti-Semitism can be linked to French behavior during World War II” is an insult to many French individuals who risked their lives to hide their Jewish countrymen during the Vichy regime. The government of Israel has recognized 2,500 of them with the distinction of “Righteous among the Nations.” According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, “more than three-quarters of the Jews who resided or had found refuge in France in 1939 managed to survive.”

The French government has been highly active in the fightagainst racism and anti-Semitism in the past years and its efforts have been widely recognized by the national leaders of the Jewish community in the U.S. as well as internationally.

During the religious ceremony honoring Ilan Halimi—attended by both the President and the Prime Minister— the head of Paris’ Jewish community stated that “the Jewish community is in mourning, the Republic is in mourning, France is in mourning.” It has never occurred to anyone to play down the crime nor the fact that Ilan Halimi, the tortured victim, was Jewish. As President Jacques Chirac declared on Nov. 17, 2003, “when a Jew is attacked in France, it is an attack against the whole of France.” Pitting communities against one another is playing the game of those extremists who want to foster hatred and violence.



French Embassy


Chess champs

Great article about the University of Maryland, Baltimore County winning the Final Four in chess (“UMBC wins college chess Final Four,” Metropolitan, Tuesday). That is a formidable team.

One correction: There are likely millions of chess players in the U.S., not 40,000. There are twice that many members of the U.S. Chess Federation, and countless thousands play chess for fun in local clubs and with friends. It is estimated that there are more than 1 million people playing chess on the Internet at any one time.

Chess may be “under the radar” in terms of the larger sporting events, but it deserves better coverage, and articles like yours help. Thanks.


U.S. Chess Federation

Crossville, Tenn.

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