House of Saud

Trib contributing columnist and global affairs analyst David Oualaalou’s assessment of the current situation in Saudi Arabia [“Once-stable House of Saud imploding amid Arabian intrigue,” Nov. 19] reminded me of a book I have titled “The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud.” Written in 1994, it chronicles the astonishing corruption and mismanagement of a country swimming in oil and money. The author’s predictions were premature: He thought the collapse would come 20 years ago. But he lays out in great detail the perfidy of a royal family that sometimes acts more like a crime family. Senior princes have been known to order up a boatload of crude oil, sell it on the Rotterdam spot market and keep the money. I had a co-worker who was flying non-stop (he thought) from Paris to Riyadh. An hour into the flight, they landed in Geneva, Switzerland, and were told, without explanation, the flight would continue on the next day. Turns out a Saudi princess was on a shopping spree in Geneva and needed a ride home.

Corruption has been a way of life in Saudi Arabia ever since its founding and it is no secret that the royal family has been bleeding the country dry for decades. I can recall reading newspaper editorials actually defending kickbacks to government officials who signed contracts with private companies. Whenever the list of the world’s richest people is released, I always imagine the Saudi king getting a good laugh out of it, knowing that the extent of his wealth is far greater than what is publicly disclosed.

If Saudi Arabia implodes, Iran will try to move in to fill the void and could very likely become the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East. And when the Iranians finally develop nuclear weapons, things will get very serious very quickly if the mullahs decide to confront Israel.

David B. Anderson, Waco

Trickery in taxes

I see President Trump managed to get the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to vote for a bill to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. His selling point: By reducing the tax rate, corporations will have more money to hire more workers and extra money will sort of “trickle down” to their employees. This would give workers more cash to buy more things and live a better life. With workers making more money, they will pay more taxes. All this will supposedly improve our economy.

If this scenario works, it would seem at least twice as good to completely eliminate the corporate tax so they can hire yet more and more people to buy more and more goods and pay more and more taxes. Unfortunately, all this is based on the highly dubious theory of “trickle-down economics.” And Washington itself hasn’t learned that if you spend more than you take in, you can’t fix matters by spending more. Conclusion: This is more trickery than trickle.

Maurice Labens, Waco

No collusion at all

We homophobes, xenophobes and deplorables, as Hillary likes to label us, welcome all Democrats to our seasonal table. Be aware, though, if you sit with us, you’ll be exposed to all the scrutiny our president faces daily. At least now we have Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of your own, admitting that “we see at this point no [Russian] collusion.” So for now just sit back, relax and enjoy our company. You may find out we are not all the things you have been told.

Mercer Buchanan, Waco