Enslaved to Taxes

Dear Editor,

After a recent flight to Britain, I took the time to analyze my bill and noticed that the two governments involved pocketed $496.62 out of the $1,598.62 I paid United Airlines for two round trip tickets to London. That’s almost a third of what I paid, or an effective sales tax rate of 45 percent. The federal government grabbed $128.82 while the Brits robbed me of $367.80.

It looks like government – especially the British government – is getting its pound of flesh from the airline passenger. Why are the British government’s levies nearly three times those of the US? Because Britain is further down the road towards socialism and statism. These creeds are a cancer that advances unremittingly and incessantly. Even as we resist, we still seem to lose ground.  I recall that the North Carolina sales tax was 4 percent statewide when I came here in 1983, but is now about 70 percent higher. British “sales tax,” VAT – Value Added Tax – was once levied at 8 percent but now stands at 20 percent.  So it goes. Margaret Thatcher called it the ratchet effect, and did her best to reverse it, but even she ultimately failed to lower the overall tax burden in Britain because she failed to tamp down the public sector’s avaricious demands for ever more money.  The parasite sector never ceases to demand more; the productive sector can never keep up. We’re lucky that they realize they must not kill the Golden Goose – just wring it dry.

But if we can all agree that slavery is bad, why can we not agree that being enslaved to our government for five months of each year is bad?

Christopher Rees

 

 

Dangerous Driving

Dear Editor,

I just returned from what I could call a “road rally” on my way home again today after a lunch out with friends.  Almost every day I drive on Pisgah Church Road and Battleground Avenue one or more times during the day.  And almost every day I am seeing such dangerous driving and near accidents.

Drivers appear to know there are likely to be no police watching them, and I see cars running red lights and appearing to chase each other, weaving from lane to lane through traffic, at speeds at least 15 to 20 mph faster than the surrounding cars.  If I am the first driver waiting for a red light to change to green, I count to five seconds before moving into oncoming cross traffic because too often I see cars running the red light they just got by three to five seconds after it has changed.  It has become quite routine around Greensboro, I believe.

I know from what I read that the police are stretched thin answering important calls for all kinds of reasons.  But I also know more lives are being put at risk by these ever-increasing dangerous drivers around here, and all of our auto insurance rates are being increased in part because of the accidents they cause.  Luckily I still have pretty fast reflexes at my age for emergency driving situations, but I know many silver-haired drivers I see out there must not.

There has to be a better way that the message can be delivered to these dangerous drivers that there are consequences ahead for their actions the longer they keep this up.  Even if I do find myself sometimes driving with the pack at 45 mph on these 40 mph highways, I am wishing more and more for speed cameras and stop light cameras (once again) in Greensboro to protect me and the people I care about.

William D. Courter

 

 

Not Making It Up

Dear Editor,

I went downtown last Wednesday to demonstrate my opposition to the gun control roadshow that passed through Greensboro lead by the liberal hand puppet David Hogg.

We were down the street from the rally and, as expected, attendees wandered down our way with camera crews in tow (or was it the other way around) to engage us. There is no question in my mind the “documentary” camera crews were there to get footage they could edit and modify to suit their anti-gun agenda.

I had what can be described as semi-reasonable discussions with several people and, while there was very little we agreed on, for my part the majority of people were relatively civil – misguided, misinformed and lacking originality in their points, but still civil.

The one thing that stood out to me was the obvious ignorance and lack of education (not their fault) of these young people. Some of the main lines they kept parroting were that there needed to be more laws, there were too many loopholes, we have too many guns, x number of children are killed by guns every day, and so on.

When I pointed out to one 22-year-old young man that we didn’t need more laws, we just need to enforce the existing ones, his reply was (and I’m not exaggerating here) we need laws to force judges and courts to enforce the existing laws. I actually stared at him for about five seconds before asking him to repeat that so I could be sure I heard him right. The scary part is he was serious.

One lady argued that the Second Amendment didn’t mean we should be allowed to own the kind of guns made today. I asked her to point out where it says what kind of guns we were allowed to own. One person wanted to ban the components of gunpowder.

But the one statement from the overwhelming majority was, “we don’t want to take your guns, we just want ‘reasonable’ gun control.” When I used the old adage about the nose of the camel under the tent they had no counter argument.

I had reasonable discussions with people who truly believe in their cause and a few that were mindless monologues involving epithets, uncouth language and insults.

But in the words of King Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae – molon labe.

Go Galt and save the republic.

Alan Marshall

 

We All Have Names

Dear Editor,

In the scriptures, Luke 22: 63-65 tells of Christ being blindfolded, mocked and struck by his accusers. Perhaps one of the reasons they blindfold him was to avoid having to look into his innocent and forgiving eyes. In our country, in a court of law, an accused person must be faced by his accuser.

Several times in my life, I have had to face, speak out and stand against wrong because, as a Christian, speaking up was the right and only thing I could do. Consequently, I suffered great loss, including loss of employment. True convictions breed courage.

I cannot agree that anonymity protects and guarantees our freedom of speech, as a recent letter to the editor of Rhino Times states. Freedom of speech is a constitutional right given to an American citizen. Every American citizen has a face and a name. My dictionary defines anonymous as “without a name.” I believe we should never underestimate the value and the power of a person’s name.

I also think one of the problems in this debate is a confusion between freedom of thought and freedom of speech. Legally, we can think anything we want, even hate a particular race, but how many of us express every vile thought that comes into our mind? Of course one can be tempted to speak anonymously if there are no consequences. In a riot or looting situation, the feeling of anonymity can even cause participants to act in ways they otherwise would not. But isn’t this type of anonymous speech comparable to the act of a coward who runs out from his hiding place in the dark, slaps someone and then quickly retreats?

Is this historically how our country has acted? Not in my history book. My history book tells the story of 56 brave men who to their own detriment, some to their own death, signed a declaration to send to the king of England. They knew that without their signatures this document would have been considered a worthless piece of paper.

Patricia Small

 

 

Not Just a Fad

Dear Editor,

For me, the father of effective economics is still the Scottish economist Adam Smith.  He is also known as the father of modern capitalism.  He was born in 1723 and died in 1790.  His theories included the minimizing of the role of government, including taxation.  Also, contrary to news biased opinions, he was a believer in government helping the less privileged.  The key to his continuing successful theories has been in his reliance on the natural balancing of supply and demand.

Since Smith, many economists have come with their theories only to now be going or gone.  These include the likes of Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes.  Tragically, our biased news media have, through the years, endorsed these and other wannabes with only shorter-term successes.  Was it a case for attempting to gain attention for some sensational news event of the moment, that seemed to be working, in an attempt to gain recognition for themselves, or a case of political jargon?  Who knows, but his theories have continued to work for most of us and the success Donald Trump is now having is mostly in just his returning us to many of the economic theories of Adam Smith.

Ray Hylton

 

 

Good For One And All

Dear Editor,

In the July 26, 2018 News & Record, I read where a federal judge made a ruling that Maryland and the District of Columbia can proceed with a lawsuit against President Donald Trump. This lawsuit accuses President Trump of unconstitutionally accepting payments from foreign and state interests through his Washington hotel.

Unless you are a constitutional attorney or studied the Constitution from beginning to end, you would not know about the Constitution’s emoluments clause. This clause bans federal officials from accepting benefits from foreign or state governments without congressional approval. From the News & Record article, “this is the first time a federal judge has interpreted the emoluments clause which has never been fully tested in an American courtroom.” Interesting, why now?

The key issue here is “bans federal officials.” I would assume that includes the secretary of state, FBI and other government diplomats. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received donations from governments around the world, hidden through “donations” to the Clinton Foundation. Not any different than the lawsuit against President Trump through his business, and hers through the Clinton Foundation. In the News & Record article, “the Justice Department stated that earnings from business activities and hotel stays do not qualify as unconstitutional gifts.” This is certainly different than hiding donations in the Clinton Foundation.

My issue with this is, what is good for one party should also be good for the other. However, since the beginning of time the political arena has been dirty and it needs to be cleaned up.   It appears the initial R or D beside the federal official makes the difference as to whether that person will be brought to court.

It is time to bring corruption in Washington, DC, to an end and prosecute those who have contributed to it regardless of the R or D. Then perhaps our nation can get on with business of the people, solve whatever problems we have, and become a unified country again.

God bless those who serve with dignity and honesty, and God bless America.

Fran Rafanovic

 

 

Anonymous Sources

Dear Editor,

In the politically charged environment, anonymity can protect individuals disclosing abuse from punishment.

However, one of the biggest threats of anonymity is lack of specifics.  Giving too much description/evidence to support a concern reveals the sources identity.  Reporters seeking to protect their source may fail to substantiate a claim to protect a source.  Withholding details leaves the audience with a mere unsubstantiated accusation of personal opinion.

Another problem with anonymity is determining credibility of the source.  Does the source have an ulterior motive that prevents him/her from clearly perceiving the circumstance?  Did the source miss many key facts due to witnessing small subsets of data without context?  Confirmation biased reporters would logically have lower threshold of evidence to substantiate their own personal beliefs.

The more news outlets the source speaks with the more credible accusations are to the public.  If the source tells part of the “story” to six different journalists then six different articles will be published. When this occurs, the reader interprets this as a “wave” of similar accusations and further evidence.  The audience cannot tell if this is one person talking to six organizations or six individuals talking to six organizations.  We assume reporters are ensuring that the source doesn’t shop reporters.

We live in a time when you can go to the court if you lose a vote. Political savvy organizations pick cases in jurisdictions friendly to the group’s ideology.  If accused has constitutional rights, sidestep the judicial system by setting up college/employer boards to act as de facto courts with lower standards.  If that doesn’t work use the court of public opinion to shame dissenters.  Politically savvy groups have successfully pressured employers to fire an accused even after winning a court cases.

This is why we have the Sixth Amendment right to face accusers.  As recently as the ’50s, with little evidence deemed too “secret” to disclose, Sen. McCarthy, and others, made successful accusations for political purposes.  People’s lives were destroyed.  Today we are supposed to trust anonymous witnesses only motives are protection from backlash with no agenda.  We depend on reporters to shed personal selection biases to vet the source carefully.  In the end, only the source knows their intentions. Asking for evidence is deemed “victimizing the victim” or many other labels. Accusations have impact.  As a juror in the court of public opinion, I demand to know source’s identity.

Alan Burke

 

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