— Freedom cherished anew

Recently, I visited my mom in Beijing, China, for nine days after not seeing her for 11 years. I practice Falun Gong, an ancient meditative practice based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. Due to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party, I was afraid of going back to visit, but my mom’s health has deteriorated, and we missed each other.

The visit began smoothly. However, on the fourth day of my stay, secret police called my family and insisted that I had to meet them before 12 p.m. in a hotel.

During the meeting, they asked me to give them details about the Falun Gong activities I have been involved with in the U.S.A., which I refused to do. They further pressured me to stop participating in any activity related to Falun Gong; otherwise, they said, my name will be put on the blacklist and I can’t see my mom again.

Apparently, due to my U.S. citizenship, they didn’t want to detain me, to avoid bringing more attention to the deplorable treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Last March, the U.S. House nearly unanimously passed a resolution condemning China for the persecution of Falun Gong. Former Reps. Marion Berry and Vic Snyder, as well as then-Rep. John Boozman and Rep. Mike Ross all voted “yea.”

I am so thankful for the freedom I have here, and especially thankful for our elected officials, who speak up for those still suffering.

FENGJUAN ZHANG Little Rock Spending is problem

It’s a funny thing about facts. When you selectively choose which ones to present while omitting others, even ones that are more pertinent to understanding the truth, you can use facts to make a case for all kinds of half truths and ill-formed opinions.

Letter writer Dennis Braddy chose these facts: Reagan cut taxes, deficits grew. Bush doubled down, deficits exploded. Braddy’s implication was that the tax cuts reduced federal revenue, creating the deficits and tanking the economy.

The facts Braddy chose to omit are: Reagan tax cuts did not decrease revenue. Federal revenue actually increased during the ’80s and ’90s to the point that a Republican Congress and a moderate Clinton administration balanced the budget in the ’90s. Comparing federal government revenue of 2008 to the revenue of 1988, the fact that Braddy chose to omit is that federal revenue increased during the tax cuts. The exploding deficits were caused by the exploding increase in the size and scope of the federal government and its expenditures and give-aways.

The fact is that the federal government does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem, which has exploded during the past two administrations. That’s why we voters must continue to clean house until we find political leaders able to honestly and courageously tackle the problem which threatens our national sovereignty.

JIM GOINS Berryville Bigotry everywhere

Bigotry is a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own. Humans who take a firm and unwavering stance on either side of any issue are bigots by definition. People who have chosen to read the Bible and follow what it says are not the only bigots. People who choose to make up their own rules can also be bigots.

I have noticed in my 38 years the people who want the most tolerance are actually the least tolerant of differing views.

I choose to live my life in a certain way. I am teaching my children values from the Bible, values I believe will benefit them as they have benefited me in my own life.

If I am a bigot because of my life choices and for my belief system, then so be it. So are you.

MARRIA HAMLIN Maumelle Spending out of touch

I can think of very few opinion editors better to dove-tail from than Mike Masterson. Now to Masterson’s documenting big spending by nose-in-the-air federal bureaucrats: How sickening and out of touch with reality these individuals are.

Masterson didn’t even mention our president and first lady, who travel in groups of 300 to a reported 600 people with bullet-proof limos in tow.

I can somehow relate to whyHouse Speaker John Boehner cries so much. Maybe he cries for young men and women dying in wars we will not win, or for the millions of citizens who have lost their homes. Possibly he gets emotional about an economy with $4 per gallon gas. Many of us cry with him for a country that was once so mighty but now seems so weak.

I can’t find one thing Barack and Michelle Obama understand about this great nation. If they don’t know where the American flag goes in the Oval Office, there are a whole bunch of us who can show them.

If an example of our foreign policy is for Obama to tell Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel’s should return to its pre-1967 borders, we should all be embarrassed.

We are not dictating policy to Japan or China because they damn near own us now.

JOHN M. MILLER III Horseshoe Bend Timely help welcome

A neighbor’s large tree fell across the power lines behind my house, knocking out power and destroying the power pole and affecting dozens of residents in the area. I immediately called it in and within 30 minutes there was an Entergy man here to evaluate the situation. Thirty minutes later there were four Entergy trucks and a new power pole, and they immediately went to work in the 98-degree heat. Within eight hours they had replaced the pole and restored power to the area. I want to thank the Entergy people and commend their timely, professional attitude in a very difficult situation.

GLEN I. LINDAS Little RockRead the book again

Attention atheists, agnostics and skeptics. I am amazed at letter writers who seem to make it their sole purpose in life to convince the rest of us that there is no purpose in life.

They believe we came from pond scum and are going to oblivion. For their sake, I hope they are right. I disagree, but what if they are right and I’m wrong? What have I missed in this life by striving to obey Jesus’ teachings? Perhaps skepticism, indifference, love of sin, drugs, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, and a host of like behaviors.

But what if they are wrong, and the Bible is truth from a God who will one day judge all humankind? What will their defense be? “God I wasn’t sure you existed, so I should get a pass”?

God is a gentleman and forces himself on no one. Eventually, they will get their wish: an eternity without God’s presence. The Bible calls this hell. And forever is a long time to be wrong. So, for their sake I hope they and Darwin are right.

But why don’t they read the Gospels one more time? When they read, they should sincerely make this request: “God, if you exist, reveal yourself to me as I read.”

At the end of John, if they remain unmoved by Jesus’ life and offer of salvation, they can put the Bible away, but they should remember where they put it. For in the midnight of the soul, when they cry out for help and the darkness of atheism echoes, “There’s no one here,” they will want to find that book.

BOB L. WARNER Hot Springs Village Lines are dangerous

My wife and I fly several times a year. We have been subjected to lengthly delays at airport screening processes due to Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security.I am 70 years old with blue eyes and gray hair. My wife is 63 years old and still has her beautiful blond hair and blue eyes. I think simple logic would eliminate us as persons who would blow up an airplane.

I have noticed at major airports there may be 500 or more people waiting to go through the airport screening process. Terrorist do not want to destroy airplanes; they want to kill infidels. To these demented psycopaths my wife and I are obviously infidels and so is, in most cases, every one else waiting to go through the screening process. What better opportunity could you give a terrorist to destroy innocent lives than in this waiting line?

These waiting lines are putting people in jeopardy because no one is checked until the end of the line. This is a policy of incredibly stupid people that is putting all airline passengers at unreasonable risk.

I think, as head of the Department of Homeland Security, the only way Napolitano could stop terrorists would be to convince them she is one of the 72 virgins.

WILLIAM B. CLEVELAND Clarksville Sounds like profiling

Act 12 states the Office of Driver Services will now recognize a person’s status as a veteran on their driver’s license. Then it proceeds to state that this information can be helpful for a veteran to secure benefits more easily. Obviously, this was written and passed by civilians who have no idea what it takes for veterans to receive benefits of any kind. Try taking your license to astate veterans’ agency or to the veterans’ administration and see how far you get. Veterans provide a copy of their dd214 to show they were in service and how they were discharged. (They want proof, not a driver’s license). Act 12 then states that having a person’s veteran status on a driver’s license can be helpful to law enforcement officers, particularly when the veteran has returned from combat. Helpful how?

This sounds like “veteran (especially combat veteran) profiling” to me.

TANAE KNUEPPEL Jacksonville No place to buy gas

I agree 100 percent with Freddie Nixon’s letter. I immediately quit trading with businesses that sell lottery tickets. However, I had to back down because I have not found a place in Ouachita County to buy gas that doesn’t sell lottery tickets.

MAMIE JO TAYLOR Chidester Feedback One thing neglected

All of our lives, we sacrifice our time and our money to assure the best future possible for our children. We send them preschool, Scouts, dance lessons and music lessons. We buy a house in a good school district and pay high taxes to assure that they get a good education. We do it for the children, in the hope that if we provide them a good upbringing and a good education, that they will become self-sufficient adults. However, in recent years there is one thing that we have neglected to do: we have failed to buy American-made products so that they and others will have good jobs.

GARY MOREHEAD Benton Scandal was cheap

While Republicans are pointing at Anthony Weiner, I would like to point out a few things: Watergate, Iran-Contra, Charlie Wilson’s war, Scotter Libby and WMDs. Nobody died because Weiner took some pictures, and it didn’t cost the taxpayers billions of dollars.


Editorial, Pages 17 on 06/29/2011