Quickies

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Carry Us Back to Old Virginny: the Virginia State Senate still refuses to ratify the 16th Amendment, which spawned the income tax. In fact, the latest attempt died in committee; said one legislator, "They'd have chewed that one up on the floor."

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On his last day in office, Commerce Secretary Elliot Richardson approved a $730 million loan guarantee for General Dynamics. The money will pay for seven liquefied natural gas tankers General Dynamics is building to ship gas from Indonesia to Japan. The construction will provide 6000 jobs in Quincy, Massachusetts—there is wide speculation that Richardson may run for governor of Massachusetts. The $ 1 billion Indonesian facilities to process the natural gas will be built by Bechtel Construction—George Shultz, Nixon's ex-Secretary of the Treasury, is president of Bechtel. By way of comparison, the notorious Lockheed loan guarantee was only $250 million. You may have already read about all this, back among the truss ads.

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Some of the strangest people are gold- bugs. A Mr. Stanislav Menshikov said in- the New York Times: "It is now fashionable to treat monetary gold as an anachronism. However, no better gyroscope for the monetary ship has as yet been devised." Orthodox goldbuggery; except that Menshikov is a Soviet economist who works for the United Nations, where he calls for "a coordinated effort to return to money systems based on gold." Of course, his masters happen to produce 18 percent of the world's annual output of gold, but owning gold doesn't warp your views on the subject—or does it?

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Endangered Feces: For the last nine months the National Park Service has been trying "to put out a fire in a 25,000 year accumulation of giant Shasta sloth dung in a remote Grand Canyon cave." The deposit, five feet thick, is one of "only ten known caves of sloth dung in the world" according to the Washington Post, and is considered a "treasure trove" for scientists. By February 1977 the costs of fighting the blaze, which was started by hikers, had passed $50,000.

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Puzzling Coincidences Dept.: Violent crime in the United States—murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault—fell five percent in the first nine months of 1976. During the same year, the number of felons in prison rose 13 percent.

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William F. Buckley cohabiting with Gloria Steinem? Yes indeed, in the "Citizens for Restoring Public Trust in Government;" a group that was formed to seek higher salaries for our impoverished bureaucrats. The Citizens really believe that "the rate of good people leaving the government in the upper grades has become a flood" (as some commission claimed) because the poor dears haven't had a raise since 1969. The new paupers are Senators and Congressmen, plus the highest ranking Federal judges, commissioners and the civil service "supergrades", GS16 through GS18. Of course, you know how hard it is to find Congressmen (just turn over a flat rock) and the Washington Monthly (Jan. '77) says that over the last five years resignations from the supergrades have run between 0.6 percent and 1.4 percent a year. But the Citizens insisted on the pay hikes—plus a "Code of Public Conduct" to limit how much they can steal-and Congress obliged with a $1.2 billion package that will boot the loot nearly 30 percent higher. The Code of Public Conduct, of course, was inexplicably omitted. If the Citizens really wanted to Restore Public Trust in our rulers, they could give them "raises"—by the neck—from the nearest lamppost.

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What did the National Review have to say about Carter's pardon of the draft-evaders? "If anyone needed to be pardoned during the month of January 1977," said NR, "it should have been Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, and other captains of catastrophe." Of course, NR thinks the "catastrophe" was "fighting [the war] in such a way that it could not be won"; but it's nice that someone, at least, understands who the real criminals were.

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Speaking of criminals, the state of Israel takes 71 percent of the national income in taxes. And they call the Arabs terrorists!

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The Quotable Patrick Buchanan: "Appalled at the findings of the European Commission on Human Rights—that British soldiers used torture on captured IRA suspects and terrorists- the [Los Angeles] Times thundered:…no country, however great the provocation, has the right to inflict inhuman practices on anyone.' This is the sort of unflinching and absolutist position with which it is very hard to agree."—"The Right Time for Torture", Skeptic, Jan/Feb. 1977. "If the inside of the Kremlin was like the Oakland locker room after the victory over Minnesota, it would not be surprising…Mr. Carter's main goal, 'the elimination of all nuclear weapons from the earth', would make Soviet Russia with its vast conventional superiority, invulnerable and invincible"—Human Events, Feb. 5, 1977.

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From Rhodesia comes the newest super-weapon—the cavalry. According to the New York Times, the horse-borne Greys Scouts "is proving to be one of the most successful units in Rhodesia's effort to suppress black nationalist guerrillas." Why are horses so effective? "You can get a lot of places you can't get in vehicles," the Scouts' commander says. "Also, you can cover a far greater distance and get a lot closer to the enemy before he hears you." According to Eugene McCarthy, the Soviets lead the U.S. by better than 100 to one in cavalry—3000 to 29—and just wait until the Committee on the Present Danger hears about that.

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The Progressive reports that one year after World War II, all 6058 Americans who had been listed as missing in action were declared dead. One year after the Korean War, all 5127 MIAs were declared dead. None of them ever turned up alive. In mid-December, the House Select Committee on Missing Persons said there is no reason to believe any MIAs are still alive in Indochina, and recommended they be declared dead. Take it from there, Mr. Carter.

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