Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Take That, Hans Blix!
An observation from NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi:
President Bush's strong stand against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the prospects of an Iraqi program to produce weapons of mass destruction made the writing on the wall very clear to Libyan strongman Mommar Gaddafi. The actual liberation of Iraq was only the icing on the cake. Gaddafi quickly negotiated a deal with our government and the British to get himself safely out of the WMD business, in which he was indeed involved.
The first inspections of Libya should be a lesson to the liberal critics of President Bush. Not only does Gaddafi's admission and capitulation to inspections validate Bush's get-tough attitude toward rogue governments, but what the inspections are finding should also give pause to those who expected our troops to find WMD labs that would made a James Bond movie villain proud on the very first day of the liberation. Those who are now crowing about the lack of a "smoking gun" that meets their approval may someday have egg on their faces.
No less than the top official of the International Atomic Energy Agency is shaking his head over what they are finding finding in Libya. Not only was Libya blatantly disregarding the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, but the IAEA apparently had no idea what Libya was up to. They are now finding nuclear materials and machinery bought on the post-Cold War black market in use in slum neighborhoods. Said IAEA director Mohammed El Baradei: "Low-level programs like this are difficult to detect. They can be run in a garage. You would have to be lucky or have very good intelligence to run across it. We're doing a lot of soul-searching."
Take that, Hans Blix!
Considering that our forces in Iraq have made surprising discoveries (like MiG jet fighter buried in the sand literally yards away from post-liberation allied command posts) and have yet to sort through munitions depots described as rivaling the size of Manhattan, a dreaded "October Surprise" of concrete evidence of Hussein's WMD programs would be a lot less of a hit to the liberals if they didn't make a supposedly deceitful President Bush their Exhibit A.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:32 AM
Monday, December 29, 2003
WSJ - The Politics of Autism
Trial lawyers on the loose again, this time in an effort
to cash in on a very tenuous (probably nonexistent) link between vaccines and autism.
Vaccines have saved a lot of lives. We know this for a fact. Science doesn't know what causes autism, and trial lawyers don't know, either.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:20 PM
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Raining on the Environmentalist Parade
NCPPR executive director David Almasi rains once again on the environmentalists' parade:
In his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush promised $1.7 billion in funds to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham envisioned "a world where our pollution problems are solved."
Not so fast! It could cause... global warming!
Atmospheric scientist Yuk Yung contributed an article to Science magazine warning that the large-scale integration of hydrogen-powered equipment would lead to the inevitable release of hydrogen into the environment. This could lead to a cooling of the stratosphere, a warming of the climate in general and an increase in the size of holes in the ozone layer.
Before we trundle off down a new path looking for that elusive energy source that it clean, cheap and does windows, let's look at what we've got. Nuclear power, for instance. And domestic fossil fuels in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Both are obtainable and can't yet be proven to cause global warming (honest!).
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:28 PM
Friday, December 26, 2003
Protesting Affirmative Action, One College Application at a Time
This interesting website takes a grassroots approach to the cause of promoting a colorblind society by asking
students heading to college or grad school to formally pledge to refuse to play the affirmative action game by entering their race incorrectly on college entrace forms.
Here's how the site's sponsors describe their goal:
"What would happen to affirmative-action programs if a significant portion of college applicants intentionally misreported their races? Even if most applications were marked correctly...a little civil disobedience could introduce just enough margin of error to really bring out the pure intellectual chaos and moral repugnance of affirmative action."
The site also has a nice collection of articles on affirmative action by worthy writers and is worth a visit.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:18 AM
Thursday, December 25, 2003
And This Shall Be A Sign Unto You
Luke 2: 1-14
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:12 AM
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
The Hand of Providence
The American Minute
for December 25:
American Minute with Bill Federer
In the first six months of the Revolution, the Continental Army was driven back, out of New York, across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.
The American troops dwindled from a high of nearly 20,000 volunteers down to barely 2000, and half of those were planning on leaving at the end of the year, when their six month enlistment would be over.
In a desperate act, Washington crossed the dangerous ice filled Delaware River in the freezing cold on Christmas Day evening, December 25, 1776, and attacked the Hessian mercenary troops at Trenton, who were not at their highest level of alertness due to the effects of their Christmas celebrations.
General Washington captured nearly a thousand of them, and ten days later captured 3,000 British at Princeton. Washington later wrote:
"The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this (the course of the war) that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations; but it will be time enough for me to turn Preacher when my present appointment ceases."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:34 PM
Leftist Darling Still Supports Saddam
NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi feels vindicated:
Back in the 1980s, when conservative foreign policy interest was concentrated on forcing Soviet influence out of Latin America, conservative activists had a whole stack of quotes from Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega supporting other totalitarians around the globe. The left tried to laugh us off.
Well, check out this story from The Drudge Report:
Former Nicaraguan President Ortega Offers Support to Saddam Hussein
Fri Dec 19 2003 13:59:52 ET
Managua (dpa) - Former Nicaraguan president and leftist Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega Friday offered his full support to deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, whom he said was still president of Iraq "because he wasn't kicked out by his people but by a foreign intervention."
"We act on principles,'' Ortega said at a news conference. "We have shown solidarity with the people of Iraq and we continue to show solidarity with President Hussein, with whom a barbarity is being committed.''
Local press reports said Ortega, who was president of Nicaragua during the 1980s after the Sandinista rebels overthrew the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in 1979, received generous financing from Hussein when he was in power in Iraq.
Ortega denied the reports Hussein gave him money during his trips to the Middle East.
Regarding prosecution of Hussein, Ortega said: "This is a president who has not been kicked out by his people, and in those conditions, it is not legitimate to open judicial proceedings.''
The corrupt Ortega was forced from power by a democratic election. I found him in his own "spider hole" shortly after his downfall when he visited Washington, D.C. The man who once was the darling of the American left (next to Castro, of course) spoke to less than 20 people in the basement of a church just up the street from where the NCPPR's office is now located. And, unknown to Ortega, about a quarter of the crowd consisted of conservative infiltrators!
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:04 AM
None Dare Call It Dictatorship
From our executive director, David Almasi:
Here's just one example of why President Bush is inclined to nominate judges who adhere to a strict interpretation of the law, and why the liberals are opposing him to the degree that they are -- simply denying those nominees a simple up-or-down vote. The Washington Times reported on December 5, 2003 that D.C. City Council member Jack Evans (D) -- whose ward includes the White House -- has given up hope that Congress will allow D.C. to tax the salaries of out-of-staters who work in Washington. Since he believes our elected officials will not do his bidding, he is now placing his hopes for a "commuter tax" on a decision rendered by an appointed (and therefore virtually unaccountable) judge.
By the way, how would D.C. spend commuter tax dollars? Besides building a stadium in the hope of luring the current Montreal Expos baseball club to Washington, the city government recently put itself further into the birth control business by offering free condoms at taxpayer expense.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:01 AM
Monday, December 22, 2003
And in a Stunning Victory, More Human Rights Were Lost
Thousands of French Muslims have gone to the street to protest Jacques Chirac's ban on head scarves, yarmulkes and crosses in French public schools.
Chirac apparently is afraid that a child in France might accidentally grow up with a conscience.
Based on what we've seen from France, he needn't worry.
The Washington Post report
on the matter has this line:
"Chirac said a ban was needed because France's cherished tradition of secularism -- won a century ago when the separation of church and state was enshrined in the constitution -- was now under threat from rising Islamic militancy."
Forced secularism, to the Post, is something that is "won." And no, the sentence was not in an opinion column.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:52 AM
Sunday, December 21, 2003
to Bush's success with Libya as proof that Bush's foreign policy is a failure.
You're going to have to try harder, guys. Even your mothers won't fall for this line of reasoning.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:06 PM
Who or what is the shadowy figure
caught on security cameras at the doorway of Henry VIII's reputedly-haunted Hampton Court?
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:29 AM
Saturday, December 20, 2003
New Leadership Institute Study of PAC Giving Patterns Released
The Leadership Institute has just completed a study
of the giving patterns of business and association PACs for the 2001-02 election cycle. It's worth reading.
Among the very many tidbits contained within it:
Union PACs gave over 90 percent of their funding to Democrats.
Business PACs gave 64.4 percent of their funding to Republicans.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:32 PM
Friday, December 19, 2003
PETA Terrorizes Little Kids
This sounds like domestic terrorism
PETA apparently has compassion for animals, but not for little kids.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:31 PM
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Chirac is Consistent: French People, Like Iraqis, Don't Deserve Civil Rights
Jacques Chirac really, really hates manifestations of morality. He's now pushing
for a law in France barring the wearing of headscarves by Muslims, yarmulkes by Jews and crosses by Christians in public schools.
Chirac believes France is a secular state and this secularism should be forced down the throats of the French populace.
Hey Jacques, why just bar clothing-related manifestations of religion? Why not all kinds? For example, if a student in a French public school respects his teachers and studies hard because his religion teaches him to respect authority, shouldn't he be forced to act up instead? And the children who don't bully other children because their religious instructors told them it's wrong -- why, bully away!
There's nothing special about clothing, after all. If betraying signs of religiosity through clothing choices is wrong, then it's truly wrong to manifest signs of religiosity in other ways as well. And thus, those French students who have been behaving themselves in school because their faith says they should should stop right now
The U.S. State Department has protested this idiocy, saying it infringes on religious freedom. Good for the State Department.
I'd boycott French products over this, except we already boycotting everything from France for other reasons, so this particular boycott idea will have to get in line.
One thing I will say for Chirac. He's consistent. He didn't care about civil rights for Iraqis, and he doesn't care about them for the French, either. Just like Old Scratch.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:25 PM
Stick to Making Chocolates; There's No Reconstruction Work for You
The U.S. government is preparing to award $18 billion in contracts to help rebuild Iraq. But there's a catch. Companies based in countries that did not support U.S. liberation efforts - namely Russia, France and Germany - have been barred from bidding.
Horace Cooper, a member of The National Center's African-American leadership network Project 21, represents many other members in pointing out that this is not discriminatory, but rather a legitimate choice that honors those who risked their lives so that others may now be free:
"This is a sound and commonsense policy. It's very balanced and considered. It respects the American taxpayer, the American troops and their coalition partners while leaving an opening for others to play a role in rebuilding Iraq."
"These are American tax dollars we're talking about; our government, just like the governments of every country has always had the right to make the decisions for themselves how their resources will be expended. America and the coalition of the willing have spent blood and treasure to liberate Iraq, and will likely spend much more before we're finished. While no country has done as much as ours, only a few countries actively opposed us. Neither France, Germany - or any of the other countries where fine chocolates are made - have been billed for the cost of peace and security in Iraq, yet they benefit from our efforts."
"President Bush is to be commended for acknowledging that Americans and her allies in Iraq have worked to make the world more free and more secure."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:29 PM
Questions for Old Europe
Ed Haislmaier recommends an article
in the German press defending Bush’s decision to limit bids on Iraq contracts to allies. The piece begins:
Reconstruction in Iraq has begun in earnest, but many European firms are being left out.
The United States government's decision to hand Iraqi reconstruction contracts to war allies has irked war opponents in "Old Europe." But they probably would have done the same.
It also says:
When Europeans hand out development aid, they usually require the recipient to do his shopping with them. "Old Europe" also sulked less than a year ago when the "new Europeans" in Warsaw used EU funds to buy U.S. planes.
Why should Washington do things differently in the case of Iraq?
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:25 PM
A Scrooge for Our Time
From our executive director, David Almasi:
I am one of the biggest supporters of private property rights out there, but let's call a Scrooge a Scrooge.
The Hall family owns a piece of property on Main Street in Edgartown, Massachusetts. The plot boasted a theater that burned in 1961, and the Hall family has yet to make good on plans to rebuild it. In the passing decades, people cleaned it up and turned it into park. The city leased the land from the Halls a number of years ago to make the park official. Now, the Halls are stipulating that the prominent 20-foot spruce that's decorated at Christmas must be removed because family patriarch Benjamin Hall, Jr. considers it a "religious icon." (See an article about it here.) If the city doesn't comply, the Halls may not renew the lease. And Hall implies he'll take a saw or an axe to it himself if he must.
As the property's owner, Hall does have the right to do anything he wants with the land. But to demand the removal of the tree -- not just a prohibition on decorating it -- shows the extent that anti-religious zealots will go these days.
First the Pledge of Allegiance. Now the Edgartown spruce. What's next?
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:14 PM
Our Ed Haislmaier contributes this link and comment:
The AP Wire has the following (as Andrew Sullivan would call it), "money quote:
"In Tikrit, about 700 people rallied in the center of town Monday chanting 'Saddam is in our hearts, Saddam is in our blood.' U.S. soldiers and Iraqi policemen yelled back: 'Saddam is in our jail.'"
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:09 PM
Putin Wins in Russia -- But Will Liberty?
A good piece and wise advice
, in my opinion, about how the Bush Administration should react to the results of the recent parliamentary elections in Russia.
The piece, by the Heritage Foundation's Ariel Cohen, concludes: "Russia now has a Duma that is more nationalist and less democratic. While emerging democracy is often a two-steps-forward, one-step-back proposition, it is in everyone's interest that Russia pursue civic society, free markets, and political liberty. The U.S. and the West should not hesitate to remind Moscow of this."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:08 AM
Monday, December 15, 2003
An Idiot Hiding in a Hole
From Time.com, this tidbit
from the interrogation of Saddam Hussein: "When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, 'If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?'"
He hasn't been to the bathroom since April?
The Time story ends on this: "The official said it may soon be clear how much command and control over the insurgency Saddam actually had while he was in hiding. 'We can now determine,' he said, 'if [Saddam] is the mastermind of everything or not.' The official elaborated: 'Have we actually cut the head of the snake or is he just an idiot hiding in a hole?'"
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:46 PM
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Telegraph: Terrorist Behind September 11 Trained by Saddam
Thanks to James Taranto's Best of the Web for pointing out this fascinating story
It begins: "Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist..."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:40 PM
Friday, December 12, 2003
Thoughts About Racismitis
Words from Project 21 member Darryn “Dutch” Martin:
Cincinnati is afflicted with another case of police brutality/racismitis. This time, events were caught on tape (please see Project 21 member Jerry Brooks' analysis of the racial ramifications). I may sound cold-hearted, but I'll say it anyway: as unfortunate as the incident and subsequent death of Nathaniel Jones was, I have no sympathy for him.
Why? Consider the facts:
1. The guy was high on drugs (cocaine, PCP and methanol in his system), so a big strike against him there;
2. He resisted arrest (strike two); and
3. Given his medical condition -- an enlarged heart -- he should have exercised common sense by not committing the first two blunders.
Nathaniel Jones contributed to his own demise, plain and simple, but you'll never hear that from the police-hating racial mafia who saw this as a golden opportunity to once again stick it to law enforcement. Even worse is the fact that many blacks continue to buy into the lies, deceit and mind games of the modern-day black establishment.
When is the rest of the black community going to realize such self-appointed "leaders" are only concerned with advancing their own selfish political and personal agendas at their expense? Are we collectively that stupid!?
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:57 PM
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Pop (from Your Pocket) Quiz
How much of the nation's total electric bill goes to pay for pollution-reduction measures?
A. $100 million
B. $1 billion
C. $10 billion
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:27 PM
20 More Americans Out of Work
A 59-year-old bar closes
because of a ban on smoking.
"It's the little guys," says the article, "who suffer the most."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:25 PM
Mercury Madness: First-Ever Mercury Limits Called "Gift to Polluters" by Bush's Opponents
The story I tell here
ought to be lesson enough to reform anyone who believes that environmentalists will ever give right-of-center policymakers a fair shake.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:09 AM
Monday, December 08, 2003
Sometimes It's Best to Let the Liberals Dig Their Own Holes
David Almasi was kind enough to create a transcript of some of Project 21's Horace Cooper's exchange with liberal (and former National Bar Association president) Keith Watters on Hannity and Colmes on Friday, December 5. The topic was a Project 21 complaint filed with the Virginia Bar Association regarding NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. president and director-general Elaine R. Jones allegedly colluding with the liberal-run Senate Judiciary Committee in 2002 to delay the confirmation of a federal judge for the purpose of obtaining a desired ruling in the University of Michigan affirmative action case.
Horace Cooper: "The whole purpose of our judicial system is to create a neutral forum for the decisions to be made. You are not allowed to pick the judge that's going to handle your case. You're not allowed to file a motion to qualify a judge solely for influence."
Alan Colmes: "Keith, do you see... Let me get Keith back in here. Do you see a difference in principle here?"
Keith Watters: "No, and I don't see any merit to this complaint. I don't think the NAACP Inc. Fund [sic] did anything improper. I think that this is being filed for political gain. Conservatives are sore losers."
Cooper: "You can play smoke and mirror games all you want, but the reality is that attorneys can get disbarred for this type of behavior. This is a very, very serious violation. The breach that was involved here is to actually influence who is going to be hearing the case with the expectation - like a John Grisham novel - that you're going to get the outcome you want."
* * *
Cooper: "It is an ethical violation for a person who is party to a pending matter to attempt to influence either who a judge is or whether that judge can be maintained on that court as a way to determine the outcome. That cannot occur if we're going to maintain any semblance that it's a neutral court."
Colmes: "Alright, Keith Watters, from an ethical standpoint, does Horace have a point? Is there an ethical problem here?"
Cooper: "It's Rule 3.5."
Colmes: "Hold on, let Keith speak. Does Elaine Jones have an ethical issue here?"
Watters: "I... I mean, you can always debate these things, and you can split hairs. I've known Elaine Jones for many, many years. She's of utmost integrity. I don't believe what I read, especially when it's in the Wall Street Journal and these other conservative organs that just have this agenda to ship this country so far to the right..."
Cooper: "Smoke and mirrors!"
* * *
Sean Hannity: "Do you want that type of influence in the judiciary? Wait until a decision comes in our way, and then you can go ahead and put them on. Is that what you want?
Watters: "The only one who has a vote... The only one who has a vote in the Judiciary Committee of the Unites States Senate is our elected representatives. No one else. And people have a right to petition their representatives in a constitutional government."
Cooper: "They have a right to petition their representatives, but what they don't have a right to do is try to unfairly influence the outcome of a decision."
Watters: "Why is it unfair?"
Cooper: "You are not allowed to either falsely attack the judge and get the judge removed to get a favorable judge there..."
Watters: "None... None of that happened. There is no false attack."
Cooper: "The allegation is... The allegation is, and that's what we're asking to get a determination of, the allegation is that they requested that the person be delayed so that the outcome could happen."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:30 PM
From our executive director, David Almasi:
If the Clinton era has left any mark on the political/social landscape, it creating the mindset that not recalling doing anything wrong is now believed by many to be tantamount to not doing anything wrong. This plea is now being used by Congressman William Janklow to defend against charges of hit and run.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:25 PM
Friday, December 05, 2003
The Story of the Three Hour Roll Call
Steve Moore of the Club for Growth
has written an analysis telling the dramatic story of the Medicare bill's approval by the House. Every conservative should read it.
With his permission, I excerpt much of it here.
The story of how this bill actually passed the House is worth recounting in some sordid detail, because there were so many House conservatives who acted heroically.
In the end, the bill passed with just two votes to spare in the House in a roll call that started at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and ended just before 6:00 a.m. This was the longest time ever taken for a House vote.
During the days before the vote Club for Growth Advocacy alerted every House Republican that we opposed the bill because of its enormous cost and because we believe it is a giant leap toward Hillary-health care. We released a poll showing that most seniors are satisfied with their existing prescription drug insurance coverage and that seniors oppose the bill when they learn of the details. We called all the Club members in the House, in some cases repeatedly, to remind them of our opposition and to urge them to hold firm and vote no.
Two lieutenants quickly emerged to lead the conservative revolt against the bill: Pat Toomey and Mike Pence. Both of them were elected with Club support, of course. Mike was all over the news eloquently dismantling this bill, arguing that he could never in good conscience look his children in the eyes and tell them that he had voted for a $1 trillion entitlement program that they would have to pay for some day. Sitting in the Oval Office of the White House, he told George Bush: "With all due respect, Mr. President, I didn't come to this town to create new entitlements, but to rein in the ones we already have."
The day of the vote it became clear to Toomey and Pence that there were 30 Republicans who were solid no votes, or leaning toward a no vote. One member who was a hard no vote from the very beginning was Tom Feeney of Florida, also elected with Club backing last year. Tom is the freshman class representative to the House leadership, a position that goes to the newcomer who the Speaker wants to groom for a leadership position. Feeney was told that his stubborn no vote would set him back three years in his bid to climb the House ladder. He would be relegated to a position of a back bencher. They put their arms around him and shook their heads and told him how disappointed they were in him. "Why jeopardize your career, Tom, over this one little vote?" Feeney never wavered. He too told the President that he could not in good conscience vote for an expansion in the welfare state. He told the House leaders that "this is not about my career, this is about my country." Of all the no votes, Tom probably had the most to lose.
The night of the vote Pat Toomey hosted a dinner at the Hunan Restaurant on Capitol Hill for 20 of the Republicans who were against the bill. The message was "stick together." Toomey and Pence had devised a fallback plan to vote down the Medicare bill then come back to the President with a much scaled back plan that would 1) cover only those seniors who don't have existing prescription drug insurance and 2) retain the health savings accounts (the one redeeming feature of the bill). This was exactly what we at the Club and the Wall Street Journal urged as a sensible alternative that would cost only one-third of what the conference report cost. The plan of action was for these conservatives to go to the floor and record their "no" votes immediately, which would signal to the Democrats that there were not enough Republican votes to pass the bill. It almost worked.
In the first 10 minutes of the vote there were 17 Republican no votes recorded. The Democrats, who did not want to hand Bush a "victory" on this issue, voted no en masse, with the exception of about a dozen who waited on the sidelines to see what would happen on the Republican side of the aisle. When the normal 15 minutes passed, the bill was losing by 15 votes. After an hour it appeared that the House rejected the bill as 218 representatives, a majority, had voted "nay."
Now the intense lobbying pressure began. Members were promised pork barrel projects. They were threatened with primary challengers. The President, who had just returned from Britain, called lawmakers at 5:00 in the morning to round up a few more votes.
Todd Akin of Missouri got a call from a state legislator earlier in the day, no doubt at the urging of the White House, threatening to run a primary challenge against him if he voted no. I talked to Todd several times during the day, urging him not to buckle. Akin withstood intense pressure from his colleagues all night long and by 5:00 a.m. looked like he had come out of a torture chamber. But he held firm and voted no.
But nothing compares to the disgusting behavior of the Republican leadership toward Michigan's Nick Smith. Smith is retiring from the House and his son is running in a crowded field to succeed him. The leadership first offered unbelievable enticements to change his vote to a yes. First, they said that the leadership would take the unusual step of endorsing his son Brad in the tight primary race. Smith said no deal. Then they promised to raise $100,000 for Brad Smith if he voted yes. He still said no. Then several Republican leaders threatened that if he didn't change his vote they would raise money for his son's opponents. At this point, Nick's wife called her son to tell him of the situation. Brad Smith phoned his dad and heroically told him to vote his conscience and to not worry about the House race. Smith stuck with his no vote. Several infuriated Republicans in the House were still fuming after the vote and taunted Nick Smith with threats that "we will make sure your son never wins this seat." Ugly stuff.
Another hero was Rep. Scott Garrett, who of course replaced the RINO Marge Roukema with Club member backing. Garrett was lambasted by the leadership for the political suicide that they said he was committing by voting no. But when I asked him a few hours before the vote what he was going to do, he said "I am for freedom." And he was the only House Republican in the entire northeast to vote no.
By 5:00 a.m. many members were starting to suffer from sleep deprivation (was this done intentionally to break down their will to resist?). The drug bill was still stuck at a vote of 216-218. The vote count on the board had not moved in nearly an hour. Incredibly, the bill was going down to defeat. According to the Washington Post, on several occasions House Majority Leader Tom Delay was ready to throw in the towel and end the vote. Each time he was urged by the White House to hold off a little longer.
Then the White House and the Whip team tried one more desperation tactic. They went to two western state members, Trent Franks and Butch Otter, and told them that if they didn't change their votes, the President would immediately instruct the House leadership to pass the Democratic version of the bill. These two were told that they were the only ones standing between passage of an even worse Medicare drug bill. I'm convinced the White House was bluffing and this was simply another scheme to peel off votes. We'll never know, because Franks and Otter changed to yes votes after getting calls from the President and the bill passed 220-215 as two other lawmakers voted to be on the prevailing side.
Poor Trent Franks looked like he was white as a ghost when he walked off the House floor. Trent is a terrific guy and I truly believe that he simply allowed himself to get snookered. I have talked to him several times since the vote (he called me at 8:00 that Saturday morning to tell me what had happened). He seemed whipped and I have no doubt his conscience is gnawing away at him -- and will do so for a long time. Actually, I feel sorrier for Trent Franks than anyone else in this whole unseemly escapade.
"I went to college at the Citadel and so I have lived through the hazing process," said Rep. Gresham Barrett, another no vote. "But the barrage of attacks we absorbed from our own colleagues during those three hours was much worse."
I really believe that if we could have won this vote against the most powerful whip operation in the history of House and a popular Republican President, it would have proven to the Republican establishment that conservatives are sick of the spending splurge that is going on in Washington. The budget has grown by 27% in two years, a faster rate of growth in the budget than at anytime since LBJ's presidency. Republican leaders in the White House and the Congress seem entirely unconcerned about the orgy of spending and debt. They are in denial. A deserved defeat of this bill would have dropped an ice cold bucket of water on their heads and helped them snap out of it. So close!
I'm convinced this is a hollow victory for the Republican Party bosses. The bill could blow up in the Republicans' laps when seniors see the details of the carved up turkey they've just been served. Worse, the bill threatens to further demoralize fiscal conservative voters who are infuriated by the GOP's massive expansion of government. I know I'm demoralized. As Mike Pence told me last week, "We Republicans seem to have forgotten who we are and why voters sent us here."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:28 AM
Thoughts on Saudi Arabia's PR Campaign
Thoughts from our vice president, David Ridenour:
Have you heard those radio commercials that the Saudis have been running? They may wish to consider limiting their lying to when it really matters. The little lies draw attention to their big ones.
In one of the commercials, they talk about how they are moving toward democracy, increasing economic freedom, eliminating "intolerance" from school textbooks, etc. -- we know that's all bogus.
But then, to make the point that their efforts are only the beginning of a sustained march toward liberalization, they note that our space program didn't begin until John F. Kennedy gave his speech about landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.
Alan Shepard piloted the US's first manned space flight on May 5, 1961 (Freedom 7) -- twenty days before Kennedy's speech. Freedom 7 was part of Project Mercury, which was launched in 1958.
...It's not like Project Mercury was a formal space program or anything.
The commercial also suggests that blacks didn't have civil rights before Dr. Martin Luther King. I guess the Emancipation Proclamation didn't advance the civil rights one iota. Nor did the 13th Amendment. Nor did the many state civil rights initiatives, such as a bill passed by the Alaska territorial legislature in 1945 prohibiting "whites only" accommodations.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was 16 at the time a young Alaskan native, Elizabeth Petratrovich, successfully pushed through this civil rights measure. I think we can be fairly certain that a teenager living thousands of miles away from Alaska in Atlanta, Georgia had nothing to do with it.
If the Saudis can't tell the truth about basic facts of American history, they certainly won't when it comes to their own history of aiding terrorists, violating human rights, etc.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:20 AM
Former EPA Administrator Gives Comic Interview
An e-mail from Mike Catanzaro at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee brings us up-to-date on global warming and the Kyoto global warming treaty:
The following is an excerpt from the December 2 interview of former EPA Administrator Carol Browner by CNN's Aaron Brown, interspersed with fact-based rejoinders. Among other things, it covered the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, particularly Russia's reluctance to ratify. Not surprisingly, in addition to a host of comically absurd statements about global warming, Browner blamed Russia's hostility to Kyoto on the United States.
BROWN: "Carol Browner is a former administrator of the EPA during the Clinton years and she joins us tonight from Washington, good to have you with us. Let's see how much we can get done. On Kyoto first, if in fact the Russians pull out is the treaty dead?"
CAROL BROWNER, FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR: "Well, it may be but maybe not. Obviously, everyone would like to see Russia stay in to become a part of it. I think if Russia does pull out this administration, the Bush administration is partly to blame. The United States is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases. We need to do our part in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. And I think Russia is looking at what we're failing to do and thinking twice. It would be a big disappointment."
FACT: Actually, and this is something that must surely pain Mrs. Browner, Russia's reluctance stems not just from economics (more on that below) or the United States, but science. Vladimir Putin's top science advisor, Yuri Izrael, has effectively torpedoed Kyoto's science. Izrael is a vice chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose reports provide the scientific basis for Kyoto. As he said in September: "All the scientific evidence seems to support the same general conclusions, that the Kyoto Protocol is overly expensive, ineffective and based on bad science."
BROWN: "The Russians, at one point, when they looked at the treaty with the United States in it, actually figured out that they would be financial beneficiaries of the treaty, because they would be -- they could sell their credits, their emission credits, to the United States. When the United States backed out, it gave the Russians less economic incentive to go along?"
BROWNER: "I think that's a real possibility. That is right. Russia could actually sell credits to other countries that have emissions that are above the baseline. The United States is certainly above the baseline. And Russia had hoped to sell credits."
FACT: Of course. Yet Russia crunched the numbers, and found that selling credits provided only short-term economic benefits. Andrei Illarionov, President Putin's top economic advisor, put it this way: "If we are to double GDP within the next 10 years, this will require an average economic growth rate of 7.2 percent...No country in the world can double its GDP with a lower increase in carbon dioxide emissions or with no increase at all."
And the coup de grace: "Considering the Kyoto Protocol is restricting Russia's economic growth, we must say it straight that it means dooming the country to poverty, backwardness and weakness."
Moreover, a critical factor in Russia's queasiness is what happens beyond phase I of Kyoto. European officials are agitating for a 50 percent global reduction in CO2 (some want 60 percent). That's 25 more Kyotos. Under that scenario, Russia would have to reduce its emissions by nearly 60 percent, an economically suicidal act.
BROWN: "As a practical matter, this does seem to me -- and you'll correct me, I'm sure -- that, unless the world gets together to do something, whether the Europeans do something and the Americans do something else and other countries do nothing at all, probably isn't going to get it done. Do you agree with that?"
BROWNER: "Aaron, I absolutely agree. This is the single greatest public health and environmental threat the world has ever faced. And it will take the entire world working together, Russia, the United States, Europe, China, Japan, everyone working together. Absolutely."
FACT: This doesn't square with the public declaration of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development--a program, incidentally, sponsored by the United Nations--which found that poverty, not global warming, is the number one public health threat facing developing countries.
As for the rest of the world, predictions about a climate apocalypse are falling flat. Dr. John Christy, an expert on global satellite measurements, told the New York Times on Nov. 18 that satellite data show global temperatures are "not going in the dramatic and catastrophic direction." Dr. James Hansen of NASA, known as the father of global warming science, recently echoed Christy's conclusions.
BROWN: "Why is it still -- the facts of this or science of this seem continually in dispute, whether or not humans -- there is a human cause to this, whether carbon dioxide is really at fault. All of this seems to be, by critics of the treaty and others, scientifically in play."
BROWNER: "Well, I think that the naysayers, those in industry who would have to clean up their pollution, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, love to raise the scientific questions. But the truth of the matter is, there is more scientific agreement on the fact that, in fact, humans are contributing to changes in the climate of the Earth than there's ever been on any other environmental or public health issue. You have 2,500 of the world's leading scientists all in agreement that there is a problem and that we need to start the process of addressing the problem."
FACT: It isn't immediately clear who those 2,500 scientists are. It's possible Browner is referring to the 2,500 individuals who endorsed the IPCC's 1995 report that found a "discernable" human influence on climate change (whatever that means). But most of them were not climate scientists, but social scientists, economists, public relations experts and government functionaries. In fact, 100 climate scientists signed the report.
Even assuming man-made emissions are the overwhelming factor -- if not the factor -- causing global warming, there's not much we can do about it. In November 2002, 18 prominent scientists argued in Science magazine that there is no regulatory solution to anthropogenic climate change. "CO2 is a combustion product vital to how civilization is powered," they wrote. Kyoto-like "solutions" have "serious deficiencies that limit their ability to stabilize global climate."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:12 AM
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Stacking the Legal Deck
Project 21, the Center for Individual Freedom, the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary and the Congress of Racial Equality have filed a complaint
against the NAACP for apparently trying to use the Senate judicial confirmation process to stack the deck in their favor on affirmative action cases.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:06 PM
"We've Been Lied To"
In one of his "Breakpoint"
opinion pieces, Charles Colson addresses the myth that Christianity historically has been at odds with scientific research.
If you are one of those who believes that Europeans thought the world was flat until Columbus sailed, you'll find this informative.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:53 PM
Rep. Nick Smith: An Idea to Help Tame Federal Spending
Writing for Citizens for a Sound Economy, Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI) provides
an interesting new idea to help get federal spending under control.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:48 PM
Bush Honors Former WSJ Editor Bartley with Freedom Medal
This is nice to see. He deserves this award
I recall that, perhaps ten ago, Mr. Bartley came to our offices, uncompensated, to teach a group of black conservatives how to get their opinion writing published in major newspapers. I attended his presentation, and it was fantastic.
Most people of his stature wouldn't have taken the time.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:46 PM
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Project 21 to Discuss Slave Reparations on ABC's Nightline
Project 21's Deroy Murdock is set to appear on tonight's edition of "Nightline"
on ABC. Topic: slavery reparations. He's opposed.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:00 PM
Talon News: Support Grows For Judicial Memo Whistleblower
Kay Daly, President of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, tells Talon News
that the staffer who exposed memos discussing the attempt of some Senate liberals to delay confirming judges to the 6th circuit in order to influence future decisions on affirmative action "should be given a medal."
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:57 PM
Monday, December 01, 2003
French Diplomats on Strike
Musings from Ed Haislmaier:
I am hard pressed to think of a strike I'd be more likely to support than this one. The main question is: How to support it?
If we send the strikers care packages or raise money for a strike fund, will that help keep them off the job?
Should the President ask Congress to approve an emergency aid package for French diplomats?
Think about how much the U.S. could accomplish abroad if we can keep French diplomats striking for weeks, months, or (dare we dream) even years...!
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:22 PM
Liberals Angry; Presses Stopped
My brother, Christian Moritz, sent along this USA Today article
: "Liberals Finding their Voice and It's Angry."
The liberals are always
angry. No newsflash there. But this article is worth reading for a couple of reasons, not least of which is its exploration of the similarity of feeling between the left-wing now and conservatives a decade-plus or more ago.
One distinction between the angry left now and conservatives-then not explored, however:
The angry left today is genuinely on the left
and is radical
. The angry left is genuinely trying to change society in a radical manner; to re-form it with mores new not only to Americans, but to any society Earth has ever known.
The angry left folks face a burden conservatives, circa, say, 1980, didn't face. Conservative social perscriptions were and are far less radical. What passed as a right-wing economic policy in 1980 would have been called "socialism" a mere few decades before. Bush's national security model is no less unilateral than FDR's. Bush's and Reagan's tax cuts were based on the same stimulous premise as JFK's (howevermuch the Kennedys hate to have anyone notice).
The left, however, should be taken seriously. It doesn't take a majority of the voters to change society, and by volume alone, these guys have to be considered players.
Let's hope the new journals, blogs and websites mentioned in this article, after they get through venting, start offering something of substance to talk about. They might start by reducing the amount of energy they spend hating one individual, George Bush, and increasing the amount of energy they expend promoting ideas.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:17 PM
OpinionJournal - Featured Article
I agree with this Wall Street Journal editorial
(subscription required) saying:
....Social Security reform becomes even more important to Mr. Bush's Presidency and his political coalition in the wake of the Medicare giveaway. Republicans are bragging that by giving seniors a vast new entitlement they will sweep to victory in 2004. But the price of that "victory" has those of us who believe in limited government wondering what difference there is between the two parties.
The only real way for Mr. Bush to vindicate the Medicare fiasco is by using whatever short-term political advantage it provides to reform the other great entitlement for the elderly.
Following this advice would take courage, but we've seen Bush be courageous in other areas.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:41 PM
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