Looks like there's still money in the till


Matt Miller ("Right and left unite in war against the young," June 19) is trying to incite a generational war, warning the 35-and-under crowd that they are being swindled. He cites the truly lousy economic priorities of both political parties and concludes that the youngsters are out of luck: "Sorry, kids, the till is empty."

His sad solution to this mess is to embrace former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson's approach of swindling seniors instead by cutting Social Security.

Miller should be required to explain the following:

• The "till" was apparently full enough for the Federal Reserve Bank to find $16 trillion in zero-interest loans to bail out the world financial system. That's trillion with a T, kiddies, and more than our entire gross domestic product or national debt.

• More than $3 trillion went to an assortment of foreign banks, enough to fully extend current Social Security benefits to about 2062.

• Another $2 trillion went to Morgan Stanley, where Simpson's buddy, Erskine Bowles, still serves as a director.

• And let's not forget that the Fed refused to reveal those previously secret loans until ordered to do so by a Federal Court of Appeals.

So, it's pretty clear to me that "the till is empty" meme is a pernicious fraud.

Only when they finally realize that the money power has been handed over to a cabal of banks to abuse for their own profit will the under-35 crowd begin to have a clue.


* * *


Bishops' rhetoric is not persuasive


I was saddened to read the argument John Nienstedt and Harry Flynn presented to convince us that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' call for religious freedom is genuine ("Religious rights remain, despite errors," June 19).

By criticizing Susan Hogan for "unrelated linkage" in her June 7 column that reflected the shame of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy along with what many see as a flawed fight for religious freedom, Nienstedt and Flynn -- archbishop and archbishop emeritus, respectively, of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis -- showed their hand. They prize pristine logical argument over faithful attention to the very real lapses in moral principles within their church. In abandoning their role as representatives of the New Covenant of love that Jesus taught, they are wasting their energy in a desperate grasp to retain the power of hierarchy.

Instead of trying to hear what Hogan had to say, and perhaps present an opposing viewpoint, they confirm what many of us already know -- that the Catholic Church is in essence a political structure and, as such, it will focus on self-protective legalities rather than on real issues that concern the people.

There are some religious beliefs that cannot -- must not-- be protected in a civil society. We will differ on what they are, but we should be able to count on our religious leaders to debate authentically rather than politically.


• • •

Dear Mr. Honorable Archbishop,

Please tell us more about your rights, particularly regarding "voice of reason in defense of the poor and vulnerable." Inform us of the "infringements of our [Catholic] religious liberty." We need to know this because the dossier on your contributions is a bit light of late. Seems you bishops have been selected for your conservatism -- for your willingness to ignore human rights and push only Catholic rights.

Recently, you are the chief sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which seeks to deny normal civil rights to loving couples because their sex is "gravely disordered," while your pedophilia crisis is still in the courts because you have fought openness -- reviling the victims, threatening their parents and delaying until the legal limit on a victim's rights closes. And now you are at the forefront of denying birth control -- another sensible option deemed a civil, human right -- because unprotected sex is (for you) a right: "All intercourse must be available to the transmission of life."

Much has been invested by the current church establishment in its anti-human-rights ventures. But how is the pedophilia scandal doing in terms of human rights? Not one bishop has been sentenced for lying to police, parishioners, or to their own conscience, for that matter, about the shell game that moved known pedophiles around the board.

How can we help you, Most Honorable Archbishop, when at every turn, you claimed -- until now -- that you were above the civil law, the law that protects the poor and the vulnerable? Maybe you can get a public-relations firm with divine connections, but until then, you have no credibility.


* * *


A show of respect, daily, at the Capitol


I happened to be at the Veterans Building in St Paul early Wednesday to get copies of my DD214. Afterward, I visited the memorials for Korea, World War II and Vietnam. As I lingered a bit at the Vietnam Memorial, a State Capitol groundskeeper came by to raise the flag. I was honored to be able to witness him raise the flag slowly to the top and then lower it to half staff according to protocol while I gave the hand salute. Sometimes we take for granted the hard work and reverence these workers show in their duties.

Thank you from this veteran.


* * *


It feels like we've been here before


Thank you, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa and Mr. President -- welcome to your Watergate Summer.