- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Senseless partisanship

In “Unnecessary conflict” (Commentary, Tuesday), Bruce Fein offers sensible and reasonable ideas on how President Bush might deal effectively with the current flap over U.S. attorney firings.

Sadly, the problem with Mr. Fein’s prescriptions is that our political discourse no longer allows sensible or reasonable solutions, thanks largely to the Democrats’ obvious and constant intent to criminalize political differences. Especially with I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby liable to do hard time for not lying to serve the non-cover-up of a non-crime, no executive branch official can fairly be expected ever to testify before bitterly partisan Democratic committees, especially under oath, without invoking executive privilege or standing on the Fifth Amendment simply for the sake of his or her own survival.

TOM MANGIERI

Long Valley, N.J.

Taxing burdens

Richard Rahn points out the rarely acknowledged fact that people are just as likely to overpay as underpay their taxes (“Tax traps,” Commentary, yesterday). After all, the tax code is an abomination consisting of thousands of lines of legalese, which is an ever-changing target and subject to interpretation.

So, here is my own example to support Mr. Rahn’s claim. My brother does our elderly mother’s tax return. He asked me to review it this year. I noticed that a large portion of her savings is in U.S. Treasury securities and looked for a breakout of the interest paid, which should not be taxed by the state.

He had neglected to take the deduction, worth several hundred dollars. How many elderly people not only overlook this deduction, but fail to do the math to ascertain what portion of their municipal bond interest is attributable to their state of residence, or the Virgin Islands for that matter.

This interest should not be taxed by the state. Of course, on the minus side is the tabulation of the percentage of private activity bond interest to be considered in the alternative minimum tax (AMT), a separate tax system set up by Democrats in order to be fair.

The present push by the Democrats to garner the $300 billion tax underpayment, no doubt to be used for vote-buying pork, such as exists in the latest war-funding bill, is yet another scam. They will claim they are only going after the rich, not you.

And yes, they support the troops.

This is a politically convenient lie. After all, the AMT was established to single out a small number of the rich. Look whom it is hitting now. And who cares about paying for armor on Humvees when the next election comes up and it only takes a $20 billion pork bribe tacked onto a $100 billion war-funding bill to get the votes to appease your left-wing constituents.

Every American’s freedom is vanishing at an ever-increasing rate in the Congress, and it has little to do with the Patriot Act.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston

Upon reading Richard Rahn’s “Tax traps,” all I could do was shrug my shoulders and wonder what else the American taxpayer could expect. The $400 toilet seat is alive and well. Why do we need 14 different stock numbers or a common electronic diode (1N459) with prices of 50 cents to $10, depending on which stock number is used? One can be had for less than a dime at most electronic parts stores. Why do we need a 17-page government specification for fruit cake? We have a Ponzi scheme for Social Security.

The government is the only “corporation” I know of that can use single-entry, deficit-spending bookkeeping and make it work. Anyone else who would attempt it would soon be bankrupt and in prison. Nevertheless, this is what the American people seem to accept. I pray for the day when the public will wake up and smell the coffee.

ROBERT SEYBOLD

Sioux Falls, S.D.

Turkey and its past

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul is worried that the House of Representatives will pass an Armenian genocide resolution (“Politicizing the Armenian tragedy,” Op-Ed, yesterday). He’s a bit late.

You see, the House already has passed three resolutions (in 1975, 1984 and 1996) that explicitly reaffirmed America’s long-standing recognition of the Armenian genocide.

President Reagan’s official proclamation of April 22, 1981, also affirmed the factuality of that genocide.

Turkey took no action against the United States on those occasions and cannot do so when the current resolution passes, as Turkey is infinitely more dependent on America than America is on Turkey.

That it would threaten the United States with retaliation over a mere resolution disproves Turkey’s contention that it is a loyal ally.

Finally, Mr. Gul’s call for a “joint commission” to study the 1915 Armenian massacres is disingenuous, to say the least. He knows very well that such a joint study was undertaken by the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission and released in 2003. Its conclusion: Turkey committed genocide.

Turkey is in denial and must confront its demons.

DAVID BOYAJIAN

Newton, Mass.

A real conservative candidate

I agree that liberal Rudy Giuliani, moderate Sen. John McCain and former liberal Gov. Mitt Romney are not exciting the conservative base, but do not view former Sen. Fred Thompson as the new conservative savior (“Why Thompson should run,” Commentary, yesterday).

First, Mr. Thompson’s pro-life views are spotty. In his 1994 Senate race, he supported first-trimester abortions. He also strongly supported McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform but now conveniently is against it. (He was for campaign-finance reform before he was against it.) He also has globalist views on immigration and trade, though (like Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Romney and now even Mr. McCain), with his finger in the wind, he is suddenly sounding tough on border security

I simply don’t trust Republican presidential candidates who suddenly veer to the right to pander to the conservative base.

I would much rather vote for a candidate with a consistent and proven conservative track record over a long period of time. This is why I think Rep. Duncan Hunter is a much better choice for conservatives.

Mr. Hunter has had a consistent and strong pro-life voting record for many years. He was a stalwart fighter for tough border security long before it became fashionable.

He is the only candidate questioning the national-security implications of our giveaway trade agreements with communist China. He has been fighting for years for a much stronger military. Mr. Hunter also is a decorated Vietnam Army Ranger whose Marine son has served two tours of duty in Iraq. This is the type of man I want to be commander in chief in these perilous times.

It is time for the conservative media to start promoting a bona fide patriot like Duncan Hunter instead of liberal and questionable conservative candidates.

LEWIS SPECTOR

Doylestown, Pa.

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