Violent hatred prompts attacks
A brilliant travel article on Jerusalem by Rick Steves made clear why two of the world religions find the Temple Mount to be of supreme importance (Dec. 15 Arts & Leisure). Both Christianity and Judaism began there. The other world monotheistic religion values it as well, since much blood was shed during the Crusades to keep control of the conquered city. Because of the intense feelings about the significance of this city, a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is highly improbable.
The anger directed toward America because we are the major supporter of Israel has generated a violent jihad directed toward our country and led to Sept. 11. The most recent attack, which was unsuccessful, occurred in a highly unlikely site – our own airport (Dec. 14 Eagle).
Many see the successful aborting of the attack as an example of our federal government entrapping an innocent citizen. This thinking fails to realize the intense, violent hatred of those promoting these attacks, and that there are some Americans so alienated from our culture that they can be recruited into this jihad. Rather, we should give praise to the FBI for its diligence.
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RICHARD C. GILMARTIN
The federal government doesn’t lack revenue coming in. The problem is too much money going out, often wasted on duplicate or unneeded programs. And there’s a refusal of many members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, to actually cut spending.
Members of Congress consider something to be a spending cut if they spend less this year than they planned to, even if the budget is larger than last year’s bill. By that logic, if I expected a 4 percent raise and only got a 3 percent raise, I took a pay cut.
On the revenue side, let’s go with a 17 to 20 percent flat tax rate, with generous exemptions, or replace the income tax with a national sales tax. Food staples and housing could be exempt, or a rebate on an estimated part of that tax for basic needs could be provided.
We then need to cut spending at the federal level by at least $100 billion to $150 billion, including shutting down several Cabinet-level departments completely and reducing funding to other areas such as foreign aid, the United Nations, corporate welfare and overseas military bases.