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Letters to the editor

Freedom of speech an old-fashioned notion?“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” is a quote found in the 1907 book written by Beatrice Hall called “Friends of Voltaire.” It has been quoted many times over in books and movies, but it appears that the times they are a-changing. I am referring to a U.S. citizen who made a movie that upset the Middle East, and now our president and other political figures are trying to wiggle out of our most basic right, that of freedom of speech. It is OK to condemn the movie but in the second sentence (which appears to be missing,) it is an American right to be able to make that same movie. I want our political figures to defend us as Americans and our American rights, don’t you?Christeen HansonMindenSuccess achieved with government’s helpBob Thomas, in a Sept. 2 follow-up to an Aug. 16 column, again attempts, perhaps a bit desperately, to convince us that his entrepreneurial success was not at all dependent on government by pointing out that there were successful entrepreneurs in the U.S. from the beginning, well before today’s infrastructure existed.Nevertheless, Bob did not become an entrepreneur 200 or more years ago, so his argument, at least as it refers to his personal success, is not valid.What the U.S. has had from the beginning is a government that incentivizes entrepreneurs by providing secure property rights, clearly defined patent rights, a government-backed monetary system, and well-enforced law and order.As I wrote in a prior unpublished response to Bob’s August column, let him demonstrate his ability to be successful in an environment without the security of the U.S. Perhaps he could replicate his success in a place like Somalia, which would surely prove his point.James SadilekCarson CityTime for Harry Reid to release his tax returnsI see Mitt and Ann Romney have released their 2011 income tax returns and a summary of their taxes for the previous 20 years. According to the information in the released documents, the Romneys paid a 14 percent tax rate last year and an average effective tax rate of 20 percent for the past 20 years. Last year’s tax returns showed the Romneys gave nearly 30 percent — no, that is not a typographical error: 30 percent — of their income to charity. This could have reduced last year’s taxes further, but they did not take full advantage of the available charitable deduction for the year.Fourteen percent does not seem like a lot until one realizes this was tax on investment income, that is, for income earned on investments made with funds on which tax had previously been paid.Former IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg commented about the Romneys’ taxes that he saw “no indication or suggestion of any tax-motivated or aggressive tax planning activities … they have fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers.”Over to you, Harry Reid! Time to release your tax returns.Carol LaSorMinden