The President sells stock before bad news becomes public knowledge and profits to the tune of $400,000 and his spokesperson says “so what.” It wasn't all that much money and the timing was coincidental.
The vice president does much the same thing - only the profits were in the millions. Both of them were part of shady accounting practices that bilked investors, but we're told that it was all just normal business, so pay no attention.
Yet Bill Clinton invested money in a real estate project and lost money, but that investment sparks a Republican witch hunt that lasts eight years and costs the taxpayers so much money that we still don't have the total.
But if anyone dares question any of these financial dealings of the administration, the cry goes out “We're at war! You must be unpatriotic if you bother our commander in chief with such minor details.”
The bottom falls out of the stock market. Major corporations are going under. The Defense Department is spending money on systems that even the services don't want. We have knee-jerk reactions to world situations - just say terrorist and we'll send you some money and a small army. Our troops are in harm's way all over the world to no good effect. What have we done in Afghanistan in the last six months besides below up caves and attack the odd wedding party? The President turned his back on diplomacy in the Middle East and decides six months later that maybe the situation is serious.
No wonder that the present administration has branded questions and criticism as unpatriotic. I submit that the most unpatriotic thing we can do is not question or criticize. After all, don't most authoritarian governments pride themselves on their high approval ratings?
On June 20, The Blade praised the blocking of the permanent repeal of “death taxes” by congressional Democrats, and warned of future “misleading and fabricated rhetoric” by Republicans as the 2002 political campaign heats up. It was not the first time the newspaper supported the estate tax, and likely not the last.
The Blade's main argument is the pragmatic position that the estate tax is only “paid by heirs on fewer than 2 percent of personal estates, generally those of $1 million or larger.” Equally pragmatic are arguments favoring repeal of the “death tax” that cite examples of how often enforcement costs exceed the revenues retained by governments.
Most taxes are levied on commerce. For example, income and sales taxes, or taxation against the value of property, tangible and intangible. Excise taxes are also levied at times when governments deem certain products, like cigarettes, “worthy” of their special assessments.
There is often disagreement on the variety of premises upon which the above taxes are based. However, we can all agree that they are limited only to portions of the transactions or valuations.
But estate taxes are different. They expropriate property that has already been taxed. The only event necessary to trigger estate tax is for the owner(s) of property to die. The estate then, can be literally dispossessed of huge amounts of its assets. Estate taxes are theft.
I cannot imagine how anyone believes that stealing from a so-called rich estate is any less wrong than from one not so rich. And how can we sanction stealing from the heirs of people who were ignorant of estate planning techniques? Stealing is morally wrong. No amount of legislation can make it right.
Mount Dora, Fla.
I wish to bring attention to an undignified and humiliating experience I and approximately 200 other senior citizens had to undergo in order to receive a government-allotted $20 book of vouchers enabling us to purchase fruits and vegetables from the Farmer's Market. Twenty dollars is not much, but it represents a good deal to a senior who is on a low and fixed income.
I have no problem with the program. However, I do take issue with the manner in which the books were distributed at the J. Frank Troy Senior Center. On July 1, seniors from 65 years of age to well over 80 were required to stand in line outside in the heat, with no place to sit and no water to drink. I personally was foolish enough to stand from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. before obtaining an allotment. I decided that under no circumstance will I ever do that again.
Senior citizens do not want or need sympathy. All we seek is respect, dignity, and consideration.
REV. FREDRICK DOUGLAS BROWN
Eileen Foley's July 4 column would have been an outstanding work if it had been written in the Wyoming Gazette in 1880. Her thinking is incompatible with our time and place and is demeaning to our law-enforcement men and women. Gun-toting cowboys [and cowgirls] were the heroes and heroines of Saturday morning TV back in the 1950s and that's where they belong.
What Ms. Foley chose not to tell in her column were the thousands of stories of children killed while playing with their parents' guns. Or the names of the many troubled teens who commit suicide with their parents' guns. These stories might be a bit more important to tell than the stories she told of people protecting their property. Is property more important than our children?
It is interesting to note that most of Europe bans firearms for its citizens.
Why didn't Ms. Foley list the numbers of murders committed with guns in these European nations and then compare these figures with our nation? Instead, she chose a sly mathematical tactic: use a percent. She touted the fact that murders in London (guns banned) rose 52 percent between April and November, 2001. If they rose from 2 to 3 it is a 50 percent increase.
Tell us the numbers for Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Toledo and let us compare these numbers with London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, and Toledo, Spain.
Finally, to paraphrase Ms. Foley, “She doesn't have a clue.”
My congratulations to the city of Toledo for once again providing us with a glorious display of fireworks in celebration of our nation's birth.
The weather was perfect, and the crowd of people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds melded together as one was indeed representative of our national heritage.
And this year, when the national anthem was played and all rose with silence, there was a kind of unity and patriotism that seemed to have been forgotten during the years of peace we have experienced.
Only one thing marred the evening: the unnecessary and unlovely sight of the litter left behind by the party-goers. Do you suppose these are the same folks who roll down their car windows and turn our highways into landfills?
What a disappointment the fireworks celebration at Centennial Terrace turned out to be. Overcrowded, overpriced, and no traffic control.
If they can't do it right then leave it to the experts at the fireworks show in downtown Toledo.
OK, let me check my list again. Swimsuit? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Beach towel? Check. Lounge chair? Check. Magazine? Check. Bottled water? Check. A few hours and a few dollars to spare? Check. Continual 80- and 90-degree temperatures? Check.
What? No water in the Lucas County Rec Center pool? To the Lucas County commissioners, thanks for nothing.
DIANE R. BOUILLON
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