Moderates should support, vote for other moderates

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) is absolutely correct (“Loss of moderates is damaging Congress,” March 19). The solution lies in the hands of the 40 percent-plus of the voters who are “moderates.” Too often moderates fall for the post-primary pitches of far-right or far-left candidates who attempt to reposition themselves as more moderate than they actually are during the general-election campaign. Moderates all too often simply vote for whichever one they perceive as the lesser of the two evils.

Moderates need to become more militant. The solution for moderates to vote for neither, and don’t contribute to their campaigns of either. Don’t contribute to the national committees of either party because both are presently controlled by the far right and far left. Instead support and vote for moderate candidates only. In some cases you’ll have to go down the ticket to the level of the local dogcatcher before you find a moderate you can vote for. That’s OK, because if the dogcatcher gets 50 percent more votes than the successful right- or left-wing local mayoral candidate, it will both send a message and help advance the dogcatcher’s political career.

Congress will continue to become increasingly dysfunctional until moderate voters recognize the cause of the problem and take matters in their own hands. They need to get involved as volunteers in the campaigns of moderate candidates, whatever their party affiliation, and do everything they can to help spread the word.

From Bruce Hahn, president of the American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance and the American Homeowners Foundation, Arlington, Va.

Fair Tax should replace IRS, flawed income tax

A recent news report told of rampant income tax fraud. Thieves steal social security numbers and file very early fraudulent tax returns on the accounts of these social security numbers. They then receive the refunds that were due to honest, working citizens. The report went on to suggest that the IRS was not doing its part to curtail such activities. 

The income tax has been seriously flawed from its inception. Every working citizen must spend several hours every year completing the tax forms or pay a professional to prepare it. There is a myriad of persons, whose salary we pay, working within the IRS shuffling all this paper.

The income tax should be replaced with the Fair Tax and thereby eliminate the expensive IRS, its imperfections and loopholes manipulated by our congresspersons. The Fair Tax is essentially a national sales tax. It is collected at the point of sale. There are no exceptions; everything that is purchased is taxed. There are safeguards to protect those living below the poverty level. 

The Fair Tax has been “in committee” in both the House and Senate for more than a year. Ask your congressional candidates about the Fair Tax before you vote.  

From Glen Terrell, Arlington, Texas

Time to sunset Violence Against Women Act

It is more than mildly astonishing to read this bullying bit of disingenuous misinformation when the empirical research reality runs so far to the contrary (“Congress must reauthorize VAWA now,” March 15). 

 For perspective, and as repeatedly replicated in the social science research literature, domestic violence (DV) is initiated equally by men and women; slightly more women than men are physically harmed by DV, but men nonetheless constitute at least 40 percent of the physically harmed victims. The initiation rates for women, and especially young women, are rising sharply, and DV has nothing to do with patriarchy because the DV rates for bisexuals, gays and lesbians all are higher than for heterosexual couples.  

 In light of the research literature, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) should be sunsetted. Fresh legislation should be written that provides services to all victims of DV effectively and efficiently, with accountability, and utterly free of false gender ideology, which harms both the true victims and the falsely accused alike.   

From Gordon E. Finley, Miami

Obama decision over Keystone frustrating

Over the past few months, Americans have learned a lot about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — the oil industry’s scheme to pad its profits and expand development in Canada’s pristine northern forests.

Recently, President Obama announced that his administration will expedite pipeline permits including the southern leg of Keystone XL, which runs from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.

The decision is both incredibly frustrating, considering Keystone’s huge threat to wildlife and public health, and confusing, as it comes after months of White House promises to thoroughly review the project before making any decisions.

Tar-sands pipelines are dirty, dangerous and inadequately regulated, as proven by catastrophic spills in the Kalamazoo and Yellowstone rivers. Cleanup crews are still struggling to restore those ecosystems.

Keystone XL is just the tip of the iceberg and Big Oil has big plans for more tar sands pipelines and more exports. The president’s wrong turn on pipeline safety will have big consequences for Americans and does nothing to address gas prices or employment.

From Rocio Luparello, Frederick, Md.