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Thank you, OC Weekly and Anthony Pignataro, for "Constitutional Cuisinart," a thoughtful alert to the authoritarian inclinations of Orange County-based congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce (The County, Feb. 19). Pignataro and the Weekly contribute to our civic culture and demonstrate public service in revealing Rohrabacher and Royce's federal legislative proposal to undermine the 14th Amendment and its guarantee of citizenship to all those born on U.S. soil. Their House Judiciary Resolution 10 would prevent a cornerstone of democracy to those children born in the U.S. whose parents labor in the most precarious and dangerous corners of the private sector in Orange County without the protections of citizenship or permanent residency. Rohrabacher, Royce and many of their Republican colleagues would like to restrict citizenship, but they do not concern themselves with the grave problems of child labor, below legal minimum-wage remunerations, workplace health-and-safety problems, and employer coercion suffered by many of the parents of the children who would lose their citizenship under this resolution.
The larger problem avoided or neglected by these Orange County Republicans is the apparent association between economic growth in this county's service sector and the increasing reliance on laborers without the legal and constitutional protections of citizens and permanent residents. Orange County should embrace the 14th Amendment by ensuring that those who contribute to society and labor in our economy be given the opportunity to obtain the legal protections necessary to raise their children and protect themselves against the growing cadre of coercive employers and their subcontractors who exploit the vulnerable members of our society.
Having had personal experience with Mr. Rohrabacher stemming from the fact that a non-Christian like me also deserves representation from my U.S. congressman (the only one I get by law), I must conclude that Dana baby is simply furthering his personal apparent cause of determining for himself who gets representation and civil rights and who doesn't.
By the way, his scheduler, Kathleen, has told me that his only legal responsibility to his constituents is to be on the floor of the Congress when a vote is being taken. Well, what should we expect? He's a Nixon lover and was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan.
Of people born in the U.S. to non-U.S.-citizen parents, Rohrabacher says, "They're really taking money from the pool of resources we have for poor people." As Pignataro pointed out, the majority of transferred money is going to retirees, who for the most part are white and middle- to upper-middle-class. For most Republicans, it is not that "those people" are getting money, but rather the fact that "we" may lose some of our welfare. I don't just want to pick on Republicans; I heard Rohrabacher's 1998 congressional Democratic challenger Patricia W. Neal at a debate, where she said many of the same anti-immigration statements, yet she smiled and complimented the hard work of many undocumented immigrants. I guess kicking people out with a smile is the Democrats' version of compassion.
Being forced to choose between policies such as these, I can understand why most people stay home on Election Day.
-Mark Hilgenberg, Vice Chairman, Libertarian Party of Orange County
MURDER, HE WROTE
I wouldn't expect anything less than typical left-wing historical revisionism when describing the story of Ho Chi Minh, and in Nick Schou's article "The Ho Story" (Feature, Feb. 19), I wasn't disappointed. The first page of the article is quick to bring out one of the Left's favorite tools, moral equivalence: Ho Chi Minh is declared to be just as murderous as Johnson and Nixon! Perhaps Schou should take a look at R.J. Rummel's Death by Government, in which he documents how Ho massacred about 25,000 non-communist nationalists and imprisoned another 5,000 between 1945 and 1947. Schou claims that Ho is innocent of the subsequent class warfare against feudal landlords and gives no numbers. M. Gerard Tongas believes 100,000 Vietnamese were murdered in this period, including the starvation of women and children. Rummel believes this to be an underestimate.
Another inconvenient fact is that Ho and other communist leaders went so far as to implement a quota on murder. Contrary to the implication that the U.S. was responsible for most of the deaths, the killings continued when the Americans left. Revenge was quickly exacted on those who supported democracy and on their families. A united Vietnam went to war against Cambodia and China. All this resulted in perhaps an additional 160,000 deaths. Those Vietnamese who escaped often lost their loved ones at sea, either through harsh ocean conditions or through murderous pirates. It seems to me that those protesting Ho indeed have something to protest against.
-Richard Mendoza, Santa Ana
Nick Schou responds: Let's take your assertions one by one. The most accurate portion of your letter deals with the suffering of people who fled Vietnam. I agree: those Thai pirates were obviously communists hired by Ho Chi Minh. That said, the estimate you cited of 100,000 landlords killed as a result of Ho Chi Minh's personal leadership is way off. If, however, we accept the premise that Ho indeed was a mass murderer, then the cap fits even more nicely on the noggins of Nixon, Johnson, Kissinger and the rest. These folks were responsible for the greatest single contribution to the so-called "body count" by ordering massive air bombardments of every major industrial area in North Vietnam, plus huge tracts of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead. This is no fantasy of the Left. (I was fully aware of this fact even as a gung-ho high school student who wanted to fly choppers, so get over it already!)