Tax time headaches could easily be solved
As far as I am concerned, the Internal Revenue Service can take the entire Internal Revenue Code and dump the whole mess and start all over again. The IRS is like a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks the money from our pockets and bank accounts.
The income tax is constitutional, according to the Sixteenth Amendment, but the volumes of rules, regulations, laws, court rulings and interpretations, make the entire tax code unwieldy and the task of funding the government a very laborious chore each year.
There are plenty of tax rules that do not make much sense and are largely the result of political lobbying, cronyism and political payback. We should simplify the tax code and scrap that political manure.
Maybe we could have some sort of hybrid tax system that would combine a flat tax and a semi-progressive tax on income, without a change to the Constitution.
In America, English is 'foreign' language
The latest edict from the deck of the Titanic, aka the White House, is that the national anthem should be sung in English. As an Englishman born to the mother tongue, I think the president's pronouncement is "nice." But as a naturalized American, I am perplexed as to why only one "foreign" language is preferable when singing our national anthem and not the languages of all of the immigrants of those nationalities who have helped build this great country.
Our national anthem, in whatever language it is sung, is a moment of the utmost pride, whether you are an immigrant from England, the Philippines, Korea or any other nation that came to this great country and added to its greatness. The president's buffoonery is becoming the No. 1 spectator sport in the upcoming long hot summer.
America is one nation under one flag
Before anyone takes President Bush to task for saying the national anthem should be sung in English, let me share some words of one of our most popular and influential presidents whose face is enshrined on Mount Rushmore:
"Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt also said, "The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities ... The foreign-born population of this country must be an Americanized population ... it must possess American citizenship and American ideals. It must stand firm by its oath of allegiance in word and deed and must show that in very fact it has renounced allegiance to every prince, potentate, or foreign government."
These words were spoken 100 years ago and are still relevant today. In other words, legal immigrants are by all means welcome to our shores, but illegal immigrants and those who employ or support them cannot and should not be given amnesty.
Speak out now against war with Iran
Once again, the drum beats of war are starting to resonate out of Washington, D.C. This time its Iran, and the excuse is its development of nuclear technology. We must let our politicians know that a pre-emptive first-strike policy is not acceptable.
Our intervention in Iraq three years ago has caused thousands of casualties among our troops, tens of thousands of casualties among the Iraqis, instability throughout the region, and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of needed funds.
Additionally, the United States has lost prestige throughout the world due to the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and at documented secret ghost prisons. What has happened to the art of diplomacy and negotiations?
This is not a Democratic or a Republican or a conservative or a liberal issue. We cannot go around and invade sovereign nations. We must let Washington know that this is not acceptable. I speak from experience, I am a combat veteran of the Vietnam War and I've lost, and this country has lost, too much due to that conflict. We cant wait until the architects of this conflict write their books years from now, as ex-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara did years after the Vietnam war, and tell us the truth. If we dont speak out now, who will?
Lottery would bring nothing but trouble
Thomas Cunningham, who wrote that the state "could certainly benefit from lottery revenues" (Letters, April 14
) might not be aware of the many negative aspects of lotteries.
Lotteries are a form of a regressive tax since people in the lowest income bracket spend the greatest percentage of their income on tickets. Reputable academic studies find that the elderly, minorities and those with the least amount of education also spend a greater percentage of their income on lottery tickets than others.
Compulsive gamblers increase when a lottery is introduced. North Carolina, the latest state to adopt a lottery, is being required to donate $1 million for the state to set up a gambling-addiction service.
State governments are placed in the unfortunate role of promoting gambling and hawking lottery tickets to target groups of citizens. In February, Gov. Chris Gregoire criticized the Washington Lottery Commission for its plan to focus advertising on an "underrepresented player demographic" - 18- to 21-year-olds.
Mr. Cunningham advocates a referendum to let people vote on the issue. This is a popular ploy used by the multibillion-dollar gambling industry. It alone has the means to saturate the media with full-page newspaper ads and TV commercials to overwhelm the voice of average citizens and grassroots organizations. It would not benefit Hawaii to bring mainland and international gambling industry here.
Dianne F. Kay
First vice president
Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling