Right-wing smears won't work this year

To the editor:

As an obvious student of history, the Review-Journal's Thomas Mitchell often sprinkles his writings with quotes from our nation's Founding Fathers. I had to chuckle at his use of a Thomas Jefferson quote at the end of Sunday's right-wing slam against Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama ("Socialists among us").

In scouring our nation's op-ed pages and news stories for answers to our nation's many problems, especially our financial woes, one thing is abundantly clear: The right-winger always points to the left and the left-winger points to the right to place blame. In fact, all are to blame.

Mr. Mitchell used his entire Sunday column to continue to bring up every dirty trick Republican nominee John McCain has thus far unsuccessfully tried: William Ayers, ACORN, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He tried to hide the smear behind a description of the evils of socialism. The GOP is hoping for another Swift Boat-style derailment, and it's simply not working.

Mr. Mitchell closed his column with a beautiful quote from Thomas Jefferson, the grandfather of American dirty tricks. I am not fundamentally ignorant of history, Mr. Mitchell. You know and I know that Mr. Jefferson employed a man named James Callender to, among many other things, label John Adams thus: "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

Mr. Adams, no slouch himself, shot back with this description of Mr. Jefferson: "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

So, it's business as usual in the good ol' USA. The facts become hidden amongst the slander and libel, as they always have. The supermarket-tabloid-reading majority in this country will perhaps decide this year's election. After all, those vicious TV ads are aimed at them -- and so was Mr. Mitchell's column.

Gregory Haley


Oppression, injustice

To the editor:

John Stossel's assertion that government cannot regulate capitalism, and therefore should not intervene in business, is absurdly ahistorical ("Regulation, always there, caused problem," Thursday Review-Journal).

Before government intervention in business, children regularly worked in mines and mills, industrial deaths and disease were commonplace, women and people of color were systematically discriminated against and noxious fumes filled the air of cities. Faced with people rising up and seeking justice, progressive politicians, including Republicans, realized that regulations were necessary to maintain a democracy.

Since the progressive era, the U.S. government -- with pressure from the people, labor unions and progressive interest groups -- has played a key role in social change, including the reduction of child labor and racial and gender-based job discrimination and the improvement of workplace, consumer and environmental safety. Businesses have opened the doors to people of color, older adults and those with disabilities, but often only with legal and political pressure.

However, since the Reagan era and the return of classical economics, the government has often failed the people, allowing corporations to build uncaring and predatory bureaucratic enterprises, maximizing profits at the expense of society.

Given this historical lesson, would Mr. Stossel and his readers still prefer that we return to the 19th century world of oppression and injustice?

Dahn Shaulis


Property of government

To the editor:

We are all dealing with the inevitable results of the insanity of the federal government forcing banks to loan money to people who cannot pay it back, and the behavior of people who, apparently correctly, believe the government will always bail you out.

An ultimately much more important economic factor in this election is whether the president and Congress have a fundamental belief that all income earned by the citizens of our country belongs to the government, and whether it is the role of government to decide how much of our income we should be allowed to keep. This is the crux of the Barack Obama tax plan.

In the Constitution, the power to tax is given by the people to the government to "provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and to secure the Blessings of Liberty." Nowhere does it say the government can blatantly redistribute wealth to promote the candidate who is most willing to abuse the tax system to get himself elected.

John McCain believes that my earnings are my money, subject to reasonable taxation. As happened when Bill Clinton was elected on the promise of middle-class tax cuts, anyone who thinks Sen. Obama will tax only the envied rich has a big surprise coming if he is elected.

Bill Olson