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More about the Amazon controversy.

One MNB user wrote:

I disagreed with your view on Amazon selling a book on child rape – let’s dispense with the meaningless euphemisms – but I was going to let it go until some of your users weighed in on the issue of censorship.  As Americans, we love free speech.  It is a right that we all enjoy, but rights are not absolute.  They are relative.  For this reason, it is not protected speech to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.  All analogies limp, but the one about the Underground Railroad is crippled.  No one is suggesting that all books on illegal activities should be banned.  Some laws are unjust.  God help us if we ever get to live in a society in which laws against child rape is morally repugnant.  What’s next?  The Jeffrey Dahmer cookbook?  We are a tolerant society, but some things should not be tolerated.  It is not a virtue if we endlessly wring our hands and refrain from making all moral judgments.  If that makes me a bigot, so be it.  I’d rather be on the side of the bigots on this one.

I’m not sure how much we disagree, though I certainly would refrain from describing people who are anti-pedophiles as “bigots.” (You seem to be making a political statement in there somewhere, but I’m not sure what it is.)

I came out the first day and said that I thought Amazon should not be selling the book, that it needed to exert some editorial judgment...though I’ve also said that I’m sympathetic to the position in which Amazon finds itself.

On the subject of lead in reusable shopping bags, MNB user Donald Pruitt wrote:

It never ceases to amaze me with the environmentalists and food police trying to find something to bitch about.  I am 70 and was raised on a chicken farm in North Georgia.   We drank raw milk, and ate churned butter from my grandmothers.  I was in college before I knew that you were  not supposed to eat cracked eggs.  My dad bought a flat of cracked eggs from an egg producer for probably 50 cents.  All of our vegetables came from a garden or were canned.   We killed hogs each winter and had no meat inspectors.  How did we all survive?   My dad was the oldest of eleven and he and 10 siblings survived even more primitive conditions.

So there may be trace elements of lead in a colored cloth bag!!   How in the name of GOD is any of it going to leach into the food in bringing it home.  Only produce would be susceptible and it is probably in a PET bag....................... oooooooooohhhhh, how about that danger?

I am a chemist and I worked with Arsenic and Lead compounds.  True, they can absorb into the skin, BUT you almost have to bath in most of them.   I would ask some of these germophobes and pathegenophobes, DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS IN A LOAD OF BREAD THAT YOU BUY AT THE STORE?  How many rodent droppings and insect parts are allowed in bread before the baking process at a local bakery is shut down?  All these CLEAN  fanatics watch yogurt OODs, but I have purposely kept private label yogurt for six months and then eaten it with no ill effects.  My word, it has strains of bacteria added to sour clabbered milk.  That is how you make yogurt culture.

30% of what comes off the loading dock in American grocery stores goes in a dumpster somewhere.   What a waste!!!  Have you ever been to the Mall in Washington and seen a homeless guy collecting all the discarded sandwiches and drinks from the cafeteria in the Air and Space Museum?   How many of those fellows have died from food borne disease?

Methinks that we go to the extreme in this country and do not use good common sense in protecting the food supply or the way we think.   I will gladly take all the cloth bags that Winn-Dixie is throwing out, BUT there are no more Winn-Dixie stores within a thousand miles from here.

But another MNB user seemed to be coming from a different direction:

First of all…with all the recent (last several years) publicity around China and their shoddy products, as well as their reputation for using lead in paint used for consumer products, including children’s toys…why would any U.S. business purchase a product that is made in China without a disclaimer being signed stating the product is made from lead-free paint?  Isn’t this just basic ECR…isn’t this just a basic back room detail that allows for front-end safety…Isn’t it just good business to be safe???? Come on folks…check your products’ safety to protect your customer!!!

On another subject, MNB user Mark Monroe wrote:

It continues to amaze me how uninformed people in this country are.  In response to a recommendation of increasing taxes, cutting entitlement and cutting defense, an MNB reader responds that they disagree and what we need to “cut spending”???  What does this person think entitlements and defense are?  Try 80% of Federal SPENDING…I love how the recently elected politicians are all in favor of “cutting spending” yet have no SPECIFIC recommendations.  YET PEOPLE BUY IT! 

It’s a great example of where we are in this country…words mean absolutely nothing.  Here’s a suggestion: why don’t people start actually REFLECTING upon what it is they hear politicians and pundits say instead of just accepting it as true and repeating it ad nauseum.  If you want to know what we’ve lost in this country it’s simple…the art of thinking.  People need to learn how to think for themselves.  To wit:

While generically increasing taxes sounds terrible, that is only true in a vacuum.  Would a tax increase still be terrible if taxes were 2% and raised to 5%?  So we need to stop debating increases vs. decreases and start talking about optimal rates.  If you don’t want anarchy, you have to have a government.  Tax rates in this country are at historic lows and the tax code is hugely favorable to the wealthy.  Care to guess the average tax rate actually paid by the top 10% of households by earned income in the U.S.?  Try on average the top 10% pays 19% of their income in taxes…I’m sorry but this is not punitive and raising it to 22% would still not be punitive.  Marginal rates may look high but there are so many ways to avoid paying those that hardly anyone actually does (as the numbers clearly show).

The politicians / pundits drone on and on about how you can’t raise taxes in a tough economy.  There is zero evidence that increasing taxes hurts the economy.  When was the last major tax increase in this country?  1993…and the economy was truly awful in the 90’s wasn’t it?  Maybe if you raised taxes, people might realize that they actually have to pay for all of the boneheaded things the govt has been doing (Iraq War, bailing out Wall St, etc) and start paying more attention to how the govt was spending tax revenue.  In other words, the fastest way (practically speaking) that I can see to improving government oversight by those who were intended to oversee it (duh, the people) would be a tax HIKE.  It’s no surprise that government largesse has gotten out of control during a 17 year period that involved ZERO tax increases.  It’s called IRONY and most people would be better served to understand the concept.

As for spending, we spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined is this really necessary?  On a per capita basis we spend twice what they spend in Israel (which we also pay for, by the way), which is #2 and 4x what most high spending countries spend.

One can only imagine the emails of protest that this letter will prompt. Which is fine.

I continue to believe that common sense dictates that everything needs to be on the table if we are to get our fiscal house in order, and that everybody is going to have to compromise if we are to make any progress. I’m also reasonably sure that the current political environment does not encourage or reward compromise or civil discourse, so I am not optimistic.

But I am willing to be surprised.
KC's View: