Foreign relations

In response to Mr. Harris Sherline and his article “A world without Israel” in the July 26 Valley Journal:

Don’t overlook Ireland! Under British rule almost everything in native Gaelic (spoken from 350 B.C. & written from 500 A.D.) was forbidden and school children had to learn English. It wasn’t until Eamon de Valera (president and prime minister for almost 50 years) demanded and got a full restoration of Irish Gaelic as the first language for the Free Republic (26 out of 32 counties).

N. Wilson

Santa Barbara


Mr. Sherline, in my opinion, has a superficial understanding of President Barack H. Obama’s knowledge of the U.S. Historical support of Israel and its homeland: Mr. Obama has asserted that it is a major source of tension that needs discussion between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab World. All one needs to do is read Mr. Obama’s Cairo speech (June 4, 2009.) He devotes a considerable part of his speech to the problem, and he makes recommendations to ease the stalemate with the hope that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security with dignity.

Other evidence of Pres. Barack Obama’s support of Israel is his current request to congress for $3 billion in aid to Israel this year. This is in addition to the more than $1 trillion in U.S. aid to Israel since its beginning in 1948. The U.S. was the first country to recognize the independent state.

Mr. Sherline did not quote Pres. Barack Obama completely. Obama said, “The borders of Palestine and Israel should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps, so that secure and recognized boarders are established for both states.” This does not sound like a president who has an “abysmal lack of knowledge.”

As I have heard recently, the current Defense Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, asserted that of all U.S. presidents, Barack Obama has done the most for Israel. Certainly the billions of dollars (an average of $3 billion a year) has helped Israel become such a great country, especially when it comes to its national, government-run Health Insurance program. It makes its citizens the healthiest in the world. Would it not be wonderful if we could use some of the money here to help U.S. citizens? I am certain that Mr. Sherline knows more about the above issue than I do. I just wish he would send our president and our country, which the president represents, a little more credit for our understanding and recognition that “the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rotted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. The United States has a strong bond with Israel.” According to Obama, in his Cairo speech, “that bond is unbreakable; it is based on cultural and historic ties.” I wish to thank Mr. Sherline for his illuminating article, and I am sure he will agree with me that our president is not guilty of “an ill-considered statement” or an “abysmal lack of knowledge.”

Frank Palmer

Lompoc


Bird’s-eye view

California isn’t the only place looking out for the welfare of ducks and geese. The Compass Group, a British company that caters events such as Wimbledon, has decided it will no longer serve foie gras due to ethical concerns.

It’s an important reminder that California’s foie gras ban was the right thing to do, even as chefs and restaurants look for sneaky loopholes to continue serving diseased livers to diners. Birds force-fed for foie gras have up to four pounds of grain and fat pumped into their stomachs through metal pipes every day. The pipes sometimes puncture the birds’ throats, and the force-feeding process causes their livers to balloon to as much as 10 times their natural size, sometimes causing their livers to burst. It is common for birds that have been force-fed to suffer from hepatic encephalopathy, a serious brain ailment that occurs when their livers fail. This seems radical for a moment of gustatory sensation.

Hopefully, other businesses and states will also find their moral compass and agree that it is better to have a big heart for animals’ welfare than to dine on their engorged livers, especially when chefs are capable of creating so many other wonderful options.

Chef Tanya Petrovna

Palm Springs


Taxing situation

This country is broke. The national debt is growing so fast it will take a miracle for us to survive or will it? While our Congress and the Obama Administration seem to have no answers when it comes to solving our financial woes, the real solution is pending in Congress. The Fair Tax has been pending for several years and has been ignored by Congress. Why should they pass something that would take away their ability to buy votes in a big way (the federal income tax). The fair tax will replace the income tax.

Support is growing for the fair tax. More and more taxpayers are finding out how it will do away with the IRS and give each individual their full paycheck with no deducts from their paycheck for Uncle Sam ever again. At the same time, those living below the poverty level will pay no taxes at all. The leaders in Congress continue to ignore this solution to the financial mess this country is in. It will take a large grass-roots effort to get it enacted.

Imagine what will happen to the economy when every worker in this country received his/her full paycheck without any deduction for income or payroll taxes. Think how great it will be never to have to keep records or report anything to the IRS. What you do with your money will be none of their business. More information is available at fairtax.org.

Roy T. Newsom

Granbury, Texas

Fellow Americans, there’s been a proposal before Congress for more than a decade that would put America on track to a swift and permanent economic recovery. Congress won’t pass it unless we demand it. Its adoption would drastically reduce elected politicians’ power and control over U.S. citizens. It’s called the Fair Tax. Adoption of the Fair Tax would (1) do away with the IRS, (2) put American businesses on a level playing field with their global competition, (3) ensure those living below the poverty level pay no taxes, (4) bring both capital and jobs back to America, (5) ensure everyone pays their fair share including tourists and those in the country illegally and (6) result in an economic boom. From page 106 of The Fair Tax Book: “Economists estimate that in the first year after the Fair Tax Act becomes law, the economy will grow 10.5%. Exports will grow by 26%. Capital spending will increase by more than 70%.”

Every candidate running for Congressional office must be asked about their support of the Fair Tax at every opportunity; Town Hall meetings, public appearances and every debate. Read the book, push hard and the Fair Tax could be adopted soon.

Glen Terrell

Arlington, Texas


Reformation

Philosophy, which is the study of thoughts, generally speaking, and Wisdom, which is the behavioral application of philosophy directly into our daily lives, are at present the only means viable that can lead the great citizens of America into becoming even better individuals, which in turn will improve our society.

So, our national and most state governments barely function, if at all. Using an analogy, dispensing with severely unwise politicians at all levels is similar to being on a sea-going vessel engaged with a severe ocean storm in the middle of winter. The path is dangerous, and a successful transit over a vast distance is not guaranteed. Nevertheless, the wise will always know what is waiting for him/her on the other side of the storm, which is long overdue political and economic reformation by allowing all legal American citizens of this great country to have direct domestic political decision-making power (on the six to 10 truly important domestic issues) via the ballot box. Politicians and Judges would be delegated to the sidelines, with the authority to observe only, while we decide which is right for our stagnating nation and ourselves. Is anyone willing to sign up for a perilous voyage?

Ray Gattavara

Sumner, Wash.