masthead-highres

Saturday, January 31, 2009

It Has Not Been Easy for Iraqis to Reach This Day

By Joe Roche:
"We in this country are by destiny rather than by choice the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.” John F. Kennedy did not live to speak these words from his speech, prepared to give the day he was assassinated. Yet, today, his unspoken conviction is with us in Iraq.

It has not been easy for Iraqis to reach this day. Decades of tyranny, a culture traumatized by a long legacy of repression and war, but like the Germans and Japanese after 1945 who had similar legacies, the Iraqis chose democracy.

I feel a personal kinship to my Iraqi friends, and not only because of the sacrifice my fellow American soldiers endured for Iraq. I had some personal tragedies over the past few years in my private life. This does not need elaboration except to say that the Iraqi will to survive numerous tragedies and to emerge anew today is something I feel inspired by.

I faced times of despair, as did Iraqis in their struggle, but the human spirit persevered. Iraqis, a God-fearing people, have given us all a lesson to appreciate God's Will in our lives, which is for us to break away from bondage and move on from adversity through our free choice. In the face of threats, assassinations and other extreme dangers from terrorists, most of whom come from outside Iraq, they chose to move on with their lives today in self-determination.

Ronald Reagan said, "No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” He knew this through the struggle of people all over the world against communist enslavement. Today I'm seeing this again in Iraq.

Set aside your political views this evening and behold this American moment in the world. From Illinois, the land of Abraham Lincoln, an African-American used Lincoln's Bible to take the oath of office as our leader freely elected in a land that once had slavery. The lesson of America's remarkable story to overcome adversity and throw away bondage is striking throughout the world.

There were advocates of slavery before the Civil War who said that Africans could not be educated, that they had a tribal culture and ethos that only was good for slavery, that their history and other physical and social attributes made them best suited to live in bondage. I've heard many of these same arguments from critics of Operation Iraqi Freedom who have said Arabs are incapable of democracy and self-determination. Yet, now, moving from Barack Obama's inauguration to Iraq's election, Reagan's conviction again proves the correctness of America's exceptional leadership and example.

I'm proud of the soldiers I'm with who have made so many amazing sacrifices to volunteer during this dangerous time and leave loved ones behind. I'm proud of Iraqis who have defied naysayers worldwide and chose to seize this day in freedom. I'm proud of the courage of Americans who stood strong against the pessimists, pushed the surge in 2007 in the face of a conventional wisdom that had declared the war lost, and our leaders who did like Lincoln and Reagan by remaining committed to an unpopular mission to defeat tyranny and reject legacies of despotism.

Yes, America is moving on, and through our national will we are largely looking away from even acknowledging our victory in Iraq. Whatever we are, we are not an arrogant people. We could celebrate this mission, but it is instead our generous sacrifice that stands as "the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.” We refrained from celebrating Reagan's victory over Soviet communism, and now we are doing the same over George W. Bush's victory over Al Qaeda and tyranny in the heart of the Arab world.

We have defeated Al Qaeda and the other enemies of Arab freedom, and joined with Iraqis to set up this birth of self-determination. We did this next to other tyrants in the heart of a region that has never known the dignity of individual liberty. In the face of the most fierce and cruel attacks thrown at Iraq, together we have prevailed.

This is noble, well done, courageous, and now we move on.

SGT Joe Roche
Operation Iraqi Freedom
This post was written by SGT Joe Roche, 100th BN, 442nd IN, Operation Iraqi Freedom. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected].

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:05 PM

Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie to Appear on C-Span’s “Washington Journal Sunday” – Watch or Listen Live

By David Almasi:
Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie will be a guest on C-Span’s “Washington Journal Sunday” program this coming Sunday (February 1, 2009).

Mychal is scheduled to be interviewed one-on-one with host Steve Scully and take phone calls. Later in the hour, he will participate in a roundtable discussion with WOL-Washington and XM talk radio host Joe Madison.

You can see Mychal live at 8:00am eastern on C-Span (please check your local cable listings for station). You can also watch or listen to it live from your computer by clicking here and selecting the format appropriate for your computer on the right-hand side of the page (choose the format to the right of the blue C-Span logo to watch or the black C-Span Radio logo to listen only).

C-Span Radio is broadcast in the Washington/Baltimore area at 90.1 FM and available nationwide on XM Channel 132.

Later in the day, the show should be available for viewing at the "Washington Journal" web page.
To contact author David Almasi directly,
write him at [email protected]

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:05 PM

Friday, January 30, 2009

Regulation Expected to Push Gas Stations Out of Business

From Alfred Lee at the Pasadena Star-News, information that new environmental regulations in California will push some gas stations out of out of business:
Dozens, and potentially hundreds, of gas stations around California are choosing to shut down rather than comply with a state mandate that would require owners to purchase new equipment to reduce vapor emissions at the pump.

The requirement, known as Phase II in the state's Enhanced Vapor Recovery Program, is set to go into effect in April. It requires gas station owners to individually purchase tens of thousands of dollars of equipment designed to prevent harmful vapors from escaping into the air when gasoline is pumped.

But smaller retailers say that the requirement puts an unfair burden on businesses that don't sell enough gasoline to offset the extra cost - and that don't contribute much to the problem in the first place.

Among them is George Fasching, who after 31 years of selling gasoline at Fasching's Car Wash in Arcadia, stopped in December.

"I came to the decision that I was too small a volume operator to continue on with the expenses imposed by the bureaucracy of the state," Fasching said.

April's requirements would have cost him $35,000, he said. Fasching used to sell the gasoline as a convenience for his car wash customers, and blames the new regulations for forcing him to stop.

"It will have some effect on my business, but at least I have the relief that I don't have to deal with these people anymore," he said.

As of the end of December 2008, the South Coast Air Quality Management District had heard back from 3,109 of its 4,500 sites about EVR Phase II.

Seventy-six - or 2.4 percent - indicated they will be shutting down on April 1, 2009 rather than upgrade their sites...
Read the rest here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:21 AM

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How the Stimulus Bill Could Kill You

If adopted, the stimulus bill could kill you you or your loved ones. No, not immediately, and not for certain, but it could.

It's because of something in the fine print.

If you haven't yet read this James C. Capretta column on the Corner on National Review Online, you should.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:59 PM

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Global Warming News Roundup

A British government environmental minister is warning that recycling "could be adding to global warming."

Furthermore, this Daily Telegraph article notes that some local governments in Britain have "admitted using anti-terrorism legislation to snoop on householders who fail to recycle properly."

And then there's the report that Britain's National Health Service (socialized medicine system) is going to cut back on serving meat to patients in order to help combat global warming. That's the rationale, anyway, but the NHS is always looking for ways to save money, and it often comes at the cost of patient welfare.

Another British National Health Service recommendation is that patients be encouraged to get diagnoses from their doctors by telephone consultation instead of by in-person examination. This too is being sold as an effort to combat global warming.

Finally, in other global warming-related news, James Hansen's former supervisor at NASA has told Marc Morano of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that James Hansen "violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting" because the agency "did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind's effect on it." He also says Hansen "embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress." Read all about it here.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:12 PM

Good for Them

Cato is fighting back, reports the Heritage Foundation's Gerrit Lansing in the Foundry blog.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:54 AM

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Curious Omission

In light of the new federal subpoenas on top Obama aides avid Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey asks: "Why did the internal report from the Obama team [on the Rod Blagojevich scandal] not mention Axelrod when they cleared themselves of all complicity in the scandal?"
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:58 AM

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Braking the Stimulus

An e-mail from Joe Roche, writing from Operation Iraqi Freedom:
Amy,

I'm reading John Steele Gordon's book on an economic history of the US. Great book, and fascinating reading. And it strikes me...

What is missing in countering all the massive "stimulus" spending and legislation is perspective. That is what the Obama campaign and the liberal press succeeded most in doing, the single most important impact of the past several months: the perspective of the American people on the economy has been completely distorted.

In doing this, "we" can be fooled into thinking this is the Great Depression and that it is "unprecedented" and all sorts of baloney like that, thus cornering the Republicans and empowering the Democrats.

Thus, it strikes me that restoring perspective is one tool that would be profoundly effective in putting on the brakes to all this "stimulus." There is no talk about what Reagan faced in 1980, or of how deep the recession was in the '80s. There is no prespective whatsoever of the economic shocks of the '70s. And there is complete historical amnesia about the depressions and economic collapses that happened about every 20 years in our nation's past.

It is very revealing and sobering to re-learn about the economic disasters that hit after Jefferson's presidency, in 1837, in 1857, in 1873, in 1896, the short depression of 1921, and about how all of these were sparked by gov't monopolies and bad monetary policies that all had their roots in liberal populist gov't "solutions." Also, pointing out that the four mega-packages of the New Deal did nothing to aleviate the Great Depression but instead prolonged it instead, is vital to re-teach. Go back to Charles Murray's book on the failure of the Great Society and the War On Poverty.

A short fact sheet accompanying a survey, well foot-noted, would be a great resource for all the nerds out there like me who will pick up on such a report to write about it in their college newspapers and argue on it.

Perspective! This is what is missing. Returning perspective to the American people, I think, is the achillees heal to all this liberal "stimulus" crap. Put it into perspective and then hit them w/ the question: will all this "stimulus" restore the economy? And, "what is really happening with all this stimulus?" Perspective perspective perspective. The GOP is completely inept at doing this. Conservative organizations should be jumping all over this.

Ok, I'll stop ranting.

SGT Joe Roche
BN TOC BTL NCO
More of Joe's e-mailed posts are indexed here.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:26 AM

Monday, January 19, 2009

Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie on Don Kroah Show

Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie is at this minute being interviewed on the Don Kroah Show on WAVA AM radio on President Bush's commutation of the sentences of jailed Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:51 PM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Very Good Point

Kudos to Rep. Joe Barton and to Iain Murray for drawing attention to this question.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:09 PM

Tom Borelli on G. Gordon Liddy

As a followup to this press release, Tom Borelli will be a guest on the G. Gordon Liddy national radio broadcast on Friday, January 16, at 10:30 AM Eastern.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:49 PM

So Was Barbarossa, Buddy, But It Doesn't Mean We Approve of It

"'The fact that we got this coalition to coalesce around a set of choices I think is impressive,'" said Jeffrey R. Immelt, chief executive of General Electric."
-Coalition Agrees on Emissions Cuts, Steven Mufson, Washington Post, January 15, 2009

More on our take on rich executives lobbying Congress to raise energy prices on poorer people so they can get richer still here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:44 PM

At Energy and Commerce Hearing, House Conservatives Call CEOs to Account

Looks like conservatives on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling turncoat corporate CEOs to account on the Hill today:

From Stephen Power's account on the Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog, as posted there by Keith Johnson:
The Waxman era begins: The first congressional hearing of 2009 on climate change got off to an acrimonious start Thursday, as House Republicans blasted a group of corporate CEOs and environmental groups for staging a press conference instead of appearing before the House Ènergy and Commerce Committee to answer lawmakers’ questions about their ideas for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Republicans also vowed to hold members of the US Climate Action Partnership accountable for their own use of fossil fuels, by demanding they explain to the committee whether they traveled to Washington by corporate aircraft and how much fuel they used.

“Be prepared for a battle,” Illinois Republican John Shimkus said at the start of the hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Mr. Shimkus vowed to “hold accountable” any Democrats from coal-abundant and petroleum-producing states who vote in favor of legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions and set up an emissions trading system in which companies would have to buy permits allowing them to pollute.

Mr. Shimkus and other Republicans called such legislation, which is favored by President-elect Barack Obama, “a shell game designed to hide” the true costs of regulation from consumers...
Good, good, good.

Using Congress for profiteering is reprehensible; doing it in the name of conservation while flying in on corporate jets to lobby for disproportionately-higher energy costs on lower-income and minority populations makes it doubly so.

I'm not at the hearing, but who wants to bet they have it heated nice and toasty on this bitterly cold global warmy January day?

The only creature comfort the conspirators will be missing is a collection of puppies for the CEOs and the liberal Congressmen to kick on their way out of the hearing room (or so I assume).

We issued a press release on this expensive nonsense earlier this morning:
Energy Bubble, Anyone?

Henry Waxman Gives Public a Look at the Corporate-Congressional Alliance that Threatens to Raise Energy Prices in Pursuit of Private Profit


Thursday's first hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee since Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) ousted Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) as chairman is drawing criticism from the National Center for Public Policy Research, which says the hearing illustrates how powerful corporate interests are working with influential special interests and with the liberal majority in Congress to use government to enhance private profits at great cost to economic growth and liberty.

The hearing will, according to the committee's announcement, "present the perspectives of members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership ('USCAP'), a coalition of over 30 businesses and nongovernmental organizations that has called for Congress to pass legislation to address the climate change threat."

"Today's hearing on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership exposes the dangers posed by the new political economy," said Tom Borelli PhD, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research. "The alignment of corporations, special interest groups and liberal members of Congress aiming for this legislative goal is frightening. The housing bubble was born from an alliance of similar interest groups and now we are about to repeat the same mistake with energy policy."

Corporate members of USCAP are trying to profit from a government-mandated "cap and trade" anti-global warming policy by selling so called carbon credits from reductions in greenhouse gases. Under cap-and-trade, emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, would be limited by the federal government. Companies that are over their emission allotment will be forced to purchase credits from another company that is below its allowance.

Under a cap-and-trade policy, companies would be forced to raise energy prices to reduce their emissions. This would unleash a series of adverse economic consequences and hardships for Americans, as the National Center's Vice President David Ridenour noted in a recent article in Investor's Business Daily:
* A study by the National Association of Manufacturers projected that emissions caps, similar to those rejected earlier this year by the U.S. Senate calling for a 63% cut in emissions by 2050, would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by up to $269 billion and cost 850,000 jobs by 2014.

* According to a study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the restrictions could raise gasoline prices by 29%, electricity prices by 55% and natural gas prices by 15% by 2015.

* A 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office, examining the costs of cutting carbon emissions just 15%, noted that customers "would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."
"The alignment of corporate and government agendas for the so called "social good" is eerily similar of the warnings in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged which described the unraveling of capitalism" said Deneen Borelli, a full-time Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research-sponsored African-American leadership network Project 21.

"Pursuing legislation that will raise energy prices in the middle of a recession is economic suicide. It exposes the inability of these CEOs to connect the dots between economic growth and their future earnings," added Tom Borelli. "Let's not forget USCAP corporate membership reads like a who's who list of corporate losers; AIG and Lehman Brothers were founding members and General Electric stock is trading at multiyear lows. Ford, Chrysler and GM are also members -- need I say more?" said Tom Borelli.

"Unfortunately for shareholders, the USCAP CEOs, like their banking industry colleagues, have executed poor risk management regarding the impact of cap-and-trade on their businesses. While banking CEOs thought real estate prices could only go up, USCAP CEOs somehow think there is no downside risk to high energy prices and handing over more power to government bureaucrats. They also think the environmental special interest groups are their friends. That's incredibly naïve," Tom Borelli said.

"We know for a fact that some USCAP CEOs have not analyzed the impact of cap-and-trade on their business. In response to my question about the company's participation in USCAP at the Caterpillar shareholder meeting in 2007, CEO James Owens admitted he did not conduct a cost benefit analysis of cap-and-trade on his business. Shareholders should be outraged over such incompetence," said Deneen Borelli.

"ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva has also not done his homework," said Tom Borelli. "ConocoPhillips has made a significant investment in Canadian oil sands, which release about three times the amount of carbon dioxide than traditional oil. Since cap-and-trade will increase the cost of carbon emissions, Mulva is lobbying to increase the cost of his investment. In addition, his USCAP partner Natural Resources Defense Council is taking legal action to block the processing of the oil sands at a ConocoPhillips refinery."

"Finally, if General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is so concerned about the state of the planet," Tom Borelli Continued, "why was he selling electricity infrastructure equipment to Iran? Nuclear Iran poses a much greater threat than carbon emissions."
America doesn't need cap and trade and it doesn't need a carbon tax. Any look at the sorry state at the USCAP portion of America's business community, however, makes clear that of the two, cap and trade is worse, because it pits the profit interests of big business directly against the pocketbook interests of the little guy.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:55 AM

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Statement on USFWS Plans to Introduce More Mexican Gray Wolves in the Southwest

Senior Fellow R.J. Smith has issued a statement on USFWS plans to introduce still more Mexican Gray Wolves in the Southwest:
For a quarter of a century the controversial program to repopulate the Southwest with Mexican Gray Wolves has created a constant political struggle in New Mexico and Arizona. There were very good reasons why the early settlers across the West and the local, state and federal governments cooperated in eliminating the wolves. The large numbers of wolves made cattle and sheep ranching nearly impossible with their constant depredations on the livestock and they also threatened family dogs and even children.

However, as radical Greens have gained influence with liberal politicians and the media, they have been able to gain support for their efforts to force family farmers, ranchers and landowners off the land and return it to dangerous predators. It is part and parcel of their ongoing program of "rural cleansing": to remove people from the land and return it to near wilderness. It is part of a massive program called the Wildlands Project, which even enjoyed support within the Bush administration's political appointees in the Department of Interior.

The USFWS has said that the federal efforts to reintroduce the wolves require the release of still more wolves in order to improve the chances for success. By success they must mean the total elimination of people and livestock in the Southwest. Apparently they have noticed that there are still some ranchers managing to survive who have not lost all their livestock. The chief Mexican Wolf official with the Southwest field office of the USFWS said that the current recovery plan's target wolf population is not high enough.

There have been continuous conflicts in the relatively limited areas where the wolves have already been released over the last decade. Constant wolf attacks on livestock and farm dogs, wolves circling farmhouses at night and wolves gathering near rural school bus stops. There have already been calls for building wolf-proof bus stop shelters in order to protect children from possible attacks. It is widely know that federal officials seldom respond quickly enough following reports of livestock predation to document the event and attempt to capture the specific wolves involved. Although the feds have had to recapture some wolves which have repeatedly been involved in predation, their often slow response has led to examples of ranchers and farmers acting to protect their livestock and their families.

Yet the feds not only want to release still more wolves but they want to release them across a far wider area of the Southwest.

One wonders what oath of office the politicians took who acted to place the well being of wolves before that of American families and children.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 PM

Monday, January 12, 2009

False, Alarming and Disastrous

Writing in the Washington Examiner, Sally Pipes says the health care "reform" plan of Barack Obama and his HHS Secretary-designate Tom Daschle's "assumptions are false, its details are alarming, and its results will ultimately be disastrous."
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:54 AM

Monday, January 05, 2009

Land Grab Bill to Be Reintroduced?

Rumor has it that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is re-introducing his massive federal land control bill.

The National Center for Public Policy Research polled African-Americans on the legislation. 52% oppose the legislation while only 37% support it.

As our vice president, David Ridenour, noted when the poll was released:
This is a key test of whether liberal politicians listen to African-Americans who cast 95% of their votes for Barack Obama and accounted for nearly one-quarter of all of President-elect Obama's votes. Black Americans don't want more land locked up if it means restricting energy development and home construction, driving up the price of both. And that's precisely what this bill would do.
The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, an amalgamation of more than 100 bills that would place new restrictions on energy exploration, home construction, and business activity, has been scheduled by Harry Reid (D-NV) for a vote during this week's special lame duck session of the Senate.

The bill would restrict use of millions of additional acres of land, both public and private, through the creation of new National Heritage Areas (a program creating de facto federal zoning), new wilderness area designations, and management practices that would clear the way for special protections for so-called "view scapes," "sound scapes," and even "smell scapes."

The National Center also helped Americans for Tax Reform gather signatures for a coalition letter to the U.S. Senate on this issue that ATR spearheaded, a PDF of which can be found here.

Addendum, January 12, 2009: The bill was brought to the Senate floor Sunday, January 11, and adopted 66-12.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:58 PM

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I Think They're Smoking Something

An argument is being made that decriminalizing marijuana would create millions of new jobs.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:38 PM

Mom Was Right: Keep Your Room Clean

If his house had been neat, do you suppose they would have saved his life?
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:31 PM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research