Letters May 2010
More Than Zero
I agreed completely with the main point of Matt Welch's "More Than Zero" (February), but the example of China as a victim of U.S. tariffs left me cold. I support free markets for free countries, and while no country fully practices free trade, China is a good example of a bad trading partner. China uses slave and prison labor, does not honor intellectual property protected by patents and copyrights, and actively engages in industrial espionage.
China's population was a victim of crushing poverty due to the policies and actions of its own government for many years. The people are catapulting themselves to prosperity now only because the leadership there is grudgingly moving out of the way. Targeting tires specifically for a punishing tariff may not be the best move, but I don't mind Barack Obama looking out for U.S. interests overall when trading with a country that we should be reluctant to trust.
The Greatest Business Story Ever Told
Greg Beato states that Bible translators "appeared to undermine the doctrine of the virgin birth" by using "young woman" instead of "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14 ("The Greatest Business Story Ever Told"). Mr. Beato has it backward.
The 52 Anglican bishops who put together the King James Version were illiterate in Hebrew and Aramaic, and so used as their source text the Septuagint, a work written in the Koine dialect of Greek, a language that had one word that meant both "virgin" and "young woman." When the Greeks came upon the Hebrew word ha-almah ("the young woman") in Isaiah 7:14, they used the same Greek word that they applied to bítoolah ("virgin") in the Pentateuch.
The King James mistranslation oversold the "legitimization" of virgin birth. Translations that are accurate do not undermine what the original texts never proved.
The Forfeiture Racket
As a police officer and property room manager at a small Michigan police department, I can heartily agree with Radley Balko's excellent essay on the forfeiture issue ("The Forfeiture Racket," February). When we went to a seminar around 1986 on how to seize money, cars, and houses, the instructor heavily emphasized that the presence of drugs was not needed, just cash. When command and our local prosecutor in Clinton County figured out this was a cash cow, officers were encouraged to spend more time looking for drugs—which meant less time for the deadly DUI and reckless drivers.
The last 25 years of police action enforcing drug prohibition has undermined public safety and left a large stain on our professional image. Despite that, money talks and we continue to steal from citizens who deserve better. Please urge your politicians to repeal all drug prohibition laws.
Det. Howard Wooldridge (retired)
Instead of protecting the public, bandits with badges are out to rob whomever they can, however they can. The forfeiture laws have turned many police departments into dens of thieves.
One change in the forfeiture statutes can remedy much of the mischief. Allowing trials to determine whether a seizure is legitimate will force crooked cops to stop stealing.
Daly City, CA