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Jeremy Parfitt is right. Even at its theoretical best, democracy is a drag. His nonviolent solution, essentially to refuse to vote, pay taxes, serve in the army, etc., is what Thoreau, Gandhi, Tolstoy and innumerable others have called for, and a few have done. We all discover representative governments, which at first speak on our behalf, bit by bit become protection rackets, extracting money in return for "the common good." This is no different than the protection offered by mobsters. And if you object, you are made welcome in jail until you decide that it is perhaps wiser to keep quiet and lead your life as well as you can.
Bill Smithson
Santa Fe

Legal and fun
Jeremy Parfitt’s article is quite intriguing. However, to contest his assumption that not paying taxes is illegal, I refer you to Aaron Russo’s movie America: Freedom to Fascism available for $1 at While viewing this DVD, we understand that there is no law that requires payment of taxes on the earnings of labor. Our Constitution does not provide for the graduated income tax and, in fact, guards against it, and yes, our rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution, have been seemingly modified by both parties. However, rights, as protected by the Constitution and the fabric of the Constitution itself, cannot be tampered with nor destroyed due to a self-enacting clause of the Constitution that immediately dissolves any legislation that is contrary to the Constitution. In this respect, we the people have to bring these unconstitutional matters to the attention of our Congress and the courts for rectification—matters such as the Patriot Act and whether or not we choose to volunteer to be taxed on our labor. Hear more 7 pm Thursday, Dec. 11, upstairs at the Rosemont Retirement Home on Galisteo off Rodeo.
Oshana C Spring
Santa Fe

For those who keep up on the newly developed political arena of exopolitics, it’s plainly evident an array of substantial extraterrestrial issues have become an increasingly credible gamut of academia using the correctness of sound scholarly standards. Exopolitics, says one of its Web sites, is based on the understanding that our world is being visited by many advanced extraterrestrial races with diverse ethics, motives and agendas…with serious implications for our planet.

I suggest President-elect Barack Obama consider creating a wholly new cabinet position: director of extraterrestrial affairs.
Richard Dean Jacob
Santa Fe

Ex-Wall Streeter Ted Rall’s apology for his former comrades, our erstwhile masters of the universe, only shows how hard old habits die. His thesis, that “real conservatives” are isolationists, is laughable on the face of it. The US has been militaristic ever since embracing the early 19th century concept of Manifest Destiny (or “exceptionalism,” (one of the $10 words offered approvingly in Sarah Palin’s cramming school), having invaded and occupied, in particular, Central and South American countries countless times in enforcing the establishment of an empire of mercantile capitalism.

Teddy Roosevelt, whose mobile party affiliation suggests a lack of rigid ideology, would seem to be the perfect historical example of Mr. Rall’s “traditional conservatism.” Roosevelt famously helped create the natural resources conservation movement and, as president, dissolved 40 monopolistic corporations. But even he said, “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one,” organizing the invasion of Cuba and the Philippines the next year.

Rall’s essay title, “Philosophy without a Party,” is a disingenuous suggestion that pragmatism can wholly replace ideology. Yet laughably, Mr. Rall’s mantra remains “deregulation,” belying his disavowal of the neocon movement. The blame for our current economic crisis can be laid solidly at the feet of Bush—and his culture of anti-regulation fanaticism—and his Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Both vehemently ignored the asset bubbles created by their negative real [estate] interest rates, which fueled speculative manias, even after the object lesson of the dot-com collapse in 2000.

Self-regulation having failed once again, common sense dictates that in an ever-increasingly interconnected and poison-able world, we need to temper corporate freedom with public protection.
Barry Hatfield
Santa Fe

We own it
The relationship between the GOP and conservatives, like any marriage, is something they must work out on their own. I personally don’t care. I hope they all go away. Ted Rall, like many before him, misses a main tenet of the Constitution and the vision of the Founders. The government is us or is supposed to be. We can wield it however and to whatever ends we please. It is what protects us and protects the commons from the depredations of greed and malfeasance. Currently, we wield it with a loose grip, but that can be mended. A little fine tuning—corporations are not people, money is not free speech, church and state are separate—and it is ours again. The personal liberty of “rugged individualists” does not apply to Walmart, General Motors or AIG. When conservatives say “get the gummint outta my hair,” it’s giant multinationals who benefit. We are seeing with a vengeance what happens when our collective regulatory grip is weakened. And taxes are, as FDR said, the price of admission to a civil society. How about if we had national health care, protective tariffs, tax incentives to keep jobs here and full public education?
Richard Ferber
Santa Fe

Bike On!
Thank you to Corey Pein for keeping the bicycle topic alive and current! I’d love to see a monthly article in SFR on bicycle-related projects and events in Santa Fe. As a bike commuter, I appreciate daily the task at hand in creating a more bicycle-friendly Santa Fe. As a member of the city’s Bicycle and Trails Advisory Committee (BTAC), I know the city is doing a great deal of work in accomplishing this huge project. Thanks to City Councilor Patti Bushee and the growing number of bicycle advocates, the topic is very real at City Hall. The community is always encouraged to attend the BTAC meetings held the fourth Thursday of every month, 5:30-7:30 pm in City Council chambers. A large community of involved and informed bicyclists is much more effective than a few squeaky wheels. Let’s make sure 2009 is the “Year of the Bike” in Santa Fe! So please fill out SFR’s Painless Commuter Survey.
Shelley Robinson
Santa Fe

The Reporter welcomes original, signed letters to the editor. Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to speci?c articles in the Reporter. They may be edited for clarity and space. Include address and phone number for veri?cation purposes; these will not be published.