Saturday, December 22, 2007

To Ben LiebermanSaturday
December 22, 2007 11:04 PM
From: "Arnold Nelson" <>To:

Mr. Lieberman, your Friday December 21, 2007 article 'No Toilets Left Behind' on made a lot of great points - many more than I'd expect from only 420 words.

My first thots on hearing of ethanol many years ago was finally! a renewable source of energy. But a few years ago it came to me: "Just how often is ethanol renewable?" As far as I know, it's once a year. This is 'renewable? (I must admit I didn't check Amazon on this point - you have probably written a book on it.)

Also as far as I know, it's only renewable in a two-dimensional space (fields) and that of only 30% of the earth's surface (70% is under water.) And I haven't been able to work it out, but damn little of that. I'm sure a big majority of the earth's land area couldn't sustain corn if each stalk had a personal USDA agent watching over it.

OTOH, about that petroleum we're supposedly running out of. It comes from a 3-dimensional space. I think you can go to the most over-pumped area in the world, and I doubt you would find a single driller who would tell you: "Hey, you can drill down 4,000 miles and you'll never find another drop of oil." But I think he will also tell you there are vast areas where we haven't even begun to look for the stuff, with a far higher likelihood of being potentially cheaper to extract than here.

And further, the biggest single area we haven't even tried yet is the 95% of the seabed where we now don't have the technology to even try (we've picked, quite successively, but very selectively, on some of the inshore, knee deep parts. The average depth is 12,500 feet, the deepest offshore well is in 7500 feet.) So thanks again for such an authoritative article. I'll be watching for more.

Arn Nelson in Chicago

PS I think you can add to the US toilet flushing disaster the automatic clothes washer disaster in Euorpe. They mandated front loaders some years ago "to save water", and they are terrible. A strong incentive to come home sooner than I'd planned.

How long can WSJ resist...

...publishing letters like this:

Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2007 22:03:15 CST From: "Arnold Nelson"
Subject: 'Founders Wanted Living Constitution'
To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago IL Monday PM, November 5, 2007


A letter in the Monday, November 5, 2007 WSJ 'Founders Wanted a Living Constitution' from someone self-described as "a proud nonlawyer" tells of his
viewing "the original Constitution at the National Archives" on a recent trip to Washington DC. The writer further gives the ninth amendment as an example
of a living Constitution, and quotes Thomas Jefferson that "institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times" as another.

It's been 50 years since my only visit to Washington, and I did not see the original Constitution. I do read it quite often, and well before the ninth amendment I
find Article five, which describes a dandy way of giving life and breath to the Constitution, the amendment process itself. It allowed 10 deep living
Constitutional breaths in the first four years after adoption in 1789, and 17 more healthy expirations since then to fit to changing times.

The process requires approval of three groups directly answerable to the people: two thirds of the the House of Representatives and Senate, and the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. The detail of this description makes it clear the founders did not want to leave the determination of what constitutional "living, breathing" meant to a half dozen unelected Judges.

On the bright side, the process requires no action of the Executive, so if people want to pass an amendment calling for the immediate dismissal of our current President and Vice President, be their guest.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine DriveChicago, IL 60640

[Woulda coulda shoulda - how could I forget suggesting they look up Marbury vs Madison to see what Jefferson thot of judicial meddling?]

Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 06:23:16 CST
From: "Arnold Nelson"
Subject: "[W]orst natural disaster in US History..."?
To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago IL Sunday AM, November 18, 2007

Editors, The Wall Street Journal:

For as fine a piece as James O. Wilson's Friday, November 16, 2007 op-ed "A Real Insurance Fraud" is, how could he start with these 19 words: "When
Hurricane Katrina hit our southern coast, it was the worst natural disaster in American history, killing 1,800 people...."

A quick look in a widely available annual almanac [The World Almanac] shows a 1928 South Florida hurricane with 2500 dead, the San Francisco earthquake with 3000, and just down the coast in Galveston, Texas a 1900 hurricane leaving 8000 dead. If Mr. Wilson wants to list Katrina as a first, why not the most ineptly managed response to a natural disaster, by New Orleans' own (idle) school bus Ray Nagin, and the deliciously onomatopoetically-named governor Kathleen Blanco.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago, IL 60640

Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 07:03:52 CST
From: "Arnold Nelson"
Subject: "Health Insurance As a Homeowners Policy"
To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago, Thursday AM, November 29, 2007

Editors, Wall Street Journal

A letter in the Tuesday, November 27, 2007 "Think of Health Insurance As a Homeowners Policy" from a California Internist says that "...for-profit insurance
companies exist... to create profits for shareholders and prevent financial catastrophe to the insured." The good doctor does not say it, but wouldn't he agree the fundamental doctor's business model is exactly the same: the doctor exits to make a living for himself and keep his patients alive and healthy? Any thot that the doctor's priorities might be reversed is disproved later in the same letter when the doctor says he has "decided not to accept many insurance
plans" because they pay "less to care for a critically ill patient than my plumber gets to fix my leaky toilet."

Doctors must be no less profitable than insurance companies. The doctor concludes that "our current health-care system is in disrepair." The 'disrepair' is because of way too much interferance by our 'not-for-profit' federal government. It got there because of a much too broad interpretation of the Constitution's 'general welfare' clauses. Continued reliance on those words to
implement congressional statutes will result in a worthless Constitution - if there is nothing that can't be mandated by statute, we don't need a constitution
(Just a dictator of some kind - how about a King?)

If you want federally managed health insurance, do it as the Founders described: Get two-thirds of both federal houses to agree, then run it by three-quarters
of the directly-elected-by-the-people state legislatures. Please note you need no agreement by a too-often berserk executive.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL 60640

Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2007 10:31:18 CST
From: "Arnold Nelson"
Subject: 'Compelling Insurance Is Not So Un-American'
To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago, Wednesday AM, December 5, 2007
Editors, Wall Street Journal

The second sentence of a Wednesday, December 5, 2007 letter 'Compelling Insurance Is Not So Un-American' starts with the statement: "We already have several such mandates which are working smoothly," then gives as examples Social Security and Medicare. The writer implies that the first prevents us from becoming wards of the state. What else is a SocSec recipient other
than a ward of the state? Then he claims that "the IRS is not having any problem in collecting these payments."

The IRS is having so few such problems because it need not pry these payments from each individual taxpayer's bank account, but can much more easily require
employers to make the payments from their bank accounts instead. Also employers, being only one tenth as many as individuals, can't hope to vote the practice out, and, employers can pass the cost on the their customers
- who's gonna notice?

So the so-called employee investment is actually sucked out of the soft
underbelly of the ever expanding US economy. This has worked so far, but exactly what is the difference between this and just being honest and calling it what it actually is: a tax on employers?

I notice no attempt to demonstrate that Medicare is "working smoothly", most likely because the writer's not on it yet.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL

Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 09:09:46 CST
From: "Arnold Nelson"
Subject: A real 'Fair Tax' To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago, Tuesday AM, December 11, 2007

Editors, Wall Street Journal

The FairTaxers have their hearts in the right place (WSJ Monday, December 10 'Fair Tax Advocates Speak Up For Their Plan') but might there be an easier way? How about a simple Congressional statute that says, instead of employers sending in a portion of wage earners' pay to the Feds, just have them send in a report of how uch they paid each wage earner in a given pay period. Then require the wage earner to send in the tax due before the end of the next pay period.

If every individual wage earner was required to write a check on his personal account every pay period for the taxes due that pay period, I think you would see a quick voter reaction to the habits of our control-freak Federal government.

Would it be 'inefficient'? For a tax-insatiable government, yes, for responsible citizens, no.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL

Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 11:04:10 CST
From: "Arnold Nelson"
Subject: Bill Clinton influence President Hillary?
To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago, Friday AM, December 14, 2007

Editors, Wall Street Journal

A Friday, December 14, 2007 letter writer 'A Word in Her Ear' has no problem with former President Bill Clinton's influence on Hillary if she is elected
president, citing as an example the current president's father. Can the writer give one example of the current president's actions being influenced by his father?

One reason for this lack of influence might be the father's total lack of Executive experience before succeeding a very successful two-term president, further demonstrated by his inability to succeed himself. The current president had six years of executive management experience as governor of the nation's second largest state.

The writer gives a second example of Nancy Reagan's "legendary" influence over her husband. Legendary? only with President Reagan's enemies. The letter writer, on a roll, continues with "many suspect that Vice President Dick Cheney has played a disturbing 'hidden-hand role' ... in the White House." Hidden or not, I think we'd all be better off if Dick Cheney had played a considerably larger role in the current administration.

The writer concludes with "Let's face it - any president is going to be influenced by a wide variety of people...." Let's face it, the only goal of Hillary's entire campaign is to get Bill Clinton around the 22nd amendment.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL

Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 08:37:39 CST
From: "Arnold Nelson"
Subject: Big Pharma
To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago, Sunday AM, December 16, 2007
Editors, Wall Street Journal

A letter in the Saturday, December 15, 2007 WSJ under the headline "Medicine for Big Pharma's Anemic Condition" says "Big Pharma has consistently
outperformed many Fortune 500 companies in profitability...." "Consistently?" How 'consistent'? "Many" Fortune 500 companies? How many? Ten? Fifty?
Two-hundred? Has the writer a copy of an almanac, or the Statistical Abstract of the US and an hour for some research?

Then we get: "The top-tier companies, while commanding about two-thirds of the market, have produced the minority of innovative drugs in the past decade." The
writer is identified as an MD, so must know someone who knows how many "innovative" drugs have been produced in the past decade. Pinning down how many "top-tier" companies there are, whether that group actually commands "two-thirds" of the market and whether they have produced less than half of all the innovative drugs introduced in the past ten years might take a little more work.

The doctor continues: "[Big Pharma has] successfully avoided expiration of their patents by what could best be described as legal tricks." "Legal tricks" may be
the best way the writer can describe how drug companies' protect their intellectual capital, but I'm sure there are many other ways to describe them, by
people at least as illustrious as he.

The good doctor from Maine closes his letter with a paragraph acknowledging that costs have risen, but suggests cutting back consumer advertising and
payments to physicians "would free up billions of dollars," that if put "toward lowering drug costs and investing in R&D will produce results for patients and
likely for shareholders, too."

It appears that the writer is not an investor in Big Pharma (maybe because
he feels too pure to sully himself with those filthy profits?) But look at it this way: He need not spend his share of those profits on himself, he can donate it
to the Clintons' presidential campaign. And as a stockholder, he can make his case directly to management at stockholder meetings, where I'm sure his
views will go over big with fellow stockholders.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL

Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 10:43:18 CST
From: "Arnold Nelson" S
Subject: Responsible taxation
To: "WSJ Letters" <>

Chicago, Thursday AM, December 20, 2007

Editors, Wall Street Journal

Your Monday, December 17 Editorial "Taxes on Income" makes a lot of great points. It's hard to keep readers' attention when your point requires so many
figures, but you do it better anyone. The subject also requires recitation of way too much tax law minutia, but what else do you have to work with? And the left
will always be suspicious of any one claiming the rich are paying more and the poor less.

There is another federal tax problem that deserves to be discussed more often, but also requires some figures. The 2007 Statistical abstract of the US shows the US government took in $2.1539 trillion in 2005 (This was not enough to cover expenses as it turns out, but that's another letter.) Of this amount $927.2
billion was from income taxes, and $794.1 billion from Social Security taxes, for a total of $1.7213trillion (80%) from individual citizens.

But is it really coming directly from voters? The SAUS says $795 billion (86%) of the income taxes are withheld by employers. It does not break out the
withheld Social Security figure, but using the same % gives $681 billion withheld by employers. So that means that 69% of all the money received by the
feds in 2005 actually came out of employer bank accounts, not voter's bank accounts. Oh, the voters get statements that the employer "paid" these taxes for them, but few voters actually need to write a check on their personal bank
accounts to pay any part of the 69% of the federal income they are credited with paying. There may be some settling up in April, but the feds are consistently
reducing that by regular tightening of the check-off rules. And they even encourage over withholding, refunded at the end of the year in what most people
feel is a Christmas-club like "bonus," (actually an interest free loan to the feds.) And since the actual overpayment physically came out of the employer's bank
account, maybe the employer should be getting the refund.

Now the employers have no real voting power in numbers to fix this, but they really don't need it. They are able to pass on this expense to consumers, effectively sucking 69% of the federal tax intake from the soft underbelly of a, fortunately, continuously expanding national economy. The solution to this flim flam requires neither a monstrous conversion from income taxing to consumption taxing (and can't you hear the feds salivating over the strong possibility of ending up with both?), nor the repealing of the 16th amendment (no danger of that until the 17th is upended.)

All we need is a simple Congressional statute requiring employers to continue
reporting to the feds how much they pay each employee every pay period (and the employers have proved themselves very effective at this) , but instead of
sending the taxes due on that amount to the feds, give it to the employee, with a stern note telling how much he employee is expected to remit to the feds before
the next pay day.

Would this inefficient? Certainly for an insatiable federal government, but very efficient in giving oters a hands-on feel of how much the feds really have to work with, resulting in increased interest in who they are voting for.

Arnold H. Nelson
5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL