masthead-highres

Friday, January 22, 2010

International Bureaucrat Criticizes Supreme Court Free Speech Ruling

Fortunately, it's none of his business, but it is a sad and twisted commentary on the international human rights situation when one of its top spokesman speaks out against free speech.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:39 PM

Friday, January 15, 2010

Re: Climategate, Left-Wing DeSmogBlog Website Asks Us for Research Help

DeSmogBlogLogo.jpgKindness is not usually a term one associates with the anti-Holocaustglobal warming denier website DeSmogBlog, but its staff has made an exception today.

Managing Editor Kevin Grandia is so concerned about the American taxpayer being fleeced through wasteful disbursements of stimulus funds, he's trying to help us publicize the unfortunate decision of the Obama Administration to give over a half a million U.S. taxpayer dollars to Climategate scientist Dr. Michael Mann.

It's really very kind of Kevin, especially when you consider that DeSmogBlog is a Canadian website, run by a for-profit public relations firm. How many Canadian for-profits worry about U.S. taxpayers being shafted? And after normal working hours, too!
From: Kevin Grandia [email protected]>
Date: January 14, 2010 9:52:52 PM EST
To: [email protected]
Subject: Mann claim

Hi David,

I am looking for your evidence backing your claim that Mann received stimulus money. I cannot find anything in your press release or on your blog. I also searched the Recovery.gov datbase and cannot find it. Obviously, it is imperative that such a claim is backed by solid sources and research so I would appreciate you sending this on to me as soon as possible.

Regards,

--Kevin Grandia
Managing Editor
http://www.desmogblog.com

DeSmogBlog's much anticipated book, "Climate Cover Up: the crusade to deny global warming" is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble - get your copy today! http://www.desmogblog.com/climate-cover-up
And thank you, too, Kevin, for telling us about DeSmogBlog's book highlighting the important work of many of us in the U.S. skeptic community (polite people don't call us "deniers," Kevin) who don't want to disproportionately hurt poor people by raising energy prices based on models that disagree with one another or on an injudicious analysis of the rings of a small number of carefully-selected trees. As it is always interesting to see what the neighbors next door have to say about one, Kevin, I'd be happy to read your boss's new book if you send me a free copy. You might be interested also in my book, which describes in sad detail the way the Canadian left has screwed up your health care system. You can get a free copy of it here. Be warned, though, since you live in Canada, it might come across as kind of terrifying. I regret that, but some leftist Americans want to do to us what yours did to you, and we really have to warn people.

Back to the Michael Mann grant. I can tell from your email, Kevin, that looking in three places on the Internet for information on the grant before giving up has kind of tired you out. Really, I don't blame DeSmogBlog for this, as you are PR professionals, not researchers. I'm sure if we were talking about the best way to market a new brand of laundry detergent, you'd know lots more than we would, so why should I expect you to know a lot about government? Or climate?

So I will help you out a little. The $541,184 grant from our taxpayers to Climategate scientist Michael Mann is National Science Foundation grant award #0902133. Is documentation about it online? Maybe, Kevin, but how would you learn to do research if we did all your work for you? And besides, if you want to claim we made it up, isn't it your job to prove it?

P.S. I know DeSmogBlog -- amusingly, for a PR agency website -- is in the habit of painting anyone with a differing point of view as a corporate whore, so be aware that the total funding we receive from all corporate sources combined amounts to about one-half of one percent of our total income. About 98 percent of our income comes from small gifts from over 100,000 people who are darned worried about the job-killing, price-raising and liberty-restricting agenda of people like you. Should you write about us, I doubt you'll be able to resist claiming we're corporate funded, but you won't be able to claim we didn't tell you by how much.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 AM

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reuters Reports...

From Ed Morrissey:
Barack Obama campaigned on restoring America's standing with its allies, accusing the outgoing Bush administration of insulting and alienating our closest friends with his alleged unilateralism. How has Obama done as President? He has repeatedly insulted the British, insisting that there is no "special relationship" and demonstrating it by denying Gordon Brown the usual joint press conference on his visit to the US. Reuters reports that another close ally has taken the measure of Obama and started looking elsewhere for cooperation...
To be fair, Reuters is a right-wing, racist rag.

Hat tip: Instapundit.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:16 PM

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Nobel Committee's Not-So Unanimous Selection of Obama

OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 10:  A plaque depictin...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Agence France Presse today reports that three of the Nobel Committee's five committee members had problems with awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama.

Nobel Committee Secretary Geir Lundestad, however, insists that the selection was unanimous.

This is doubtful, given that one of the members represents the free-market-oriented, unabashedly pro-Israel Progress Party. The party's leader, Siv Jensen, not only criticized the Nobel Committee's choice of Obama but called on its chairman, Thorbjoern Jaglund, to step down just one day after the committee's announcement. Although Jensen called for his resignation for a supposedly unrelated reason, the timing of her demand is interesting.

Lundestad wasn't being honest when he claimed "unanimous" vote as he neglected to mention that the Nobel Committee's selections are always "unanimous" -- even if such unanimity doesn't exist.

The Nobel Committee makes its decisions by "consensus" and the functionally-illiterate often use this interchangeably with "unanimous." Now you know why so many Norwegian parents are asking, "why can't Jens read?"

Just to make sure that no committee member challenges its "unanimous" claim, Nobel Committee rules prohibit them from speaking publicly about its proceedings.

Unanimous decision? It really depends on what your definition of "unamious" is.

Bill Clinton may not have received the Nobel Peace Prize, but it turns out the Nobel Committee has found another way to honor him.

Editor's note: We covered President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize previously here, here and here.

Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 4:48 PM

Friday, October 02, 2009

What's Happening Now

Senator Kerry blocks Senate fact-finding trip to Honduras.

Woman who "essentially starved" her toddler to death served a mere six months and is now accused of grotesquely abusing her son. Six months?

State of Michigan threatens woman for babysitting.

A population map.

In the none-of-its-business department: Major U.S. corporation spends $290,000 telling Irish voters to vote to join EU.

John Goodman asks: Why is AARP selling out seniors?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:11 AM

Thursday, October 01, 2009

What's Happening Now

Tim Cavanaugh: Another fiscal year older, another $1.65 trillion in debt.

Michael van der Galien: Everybody loves clowns, right?

GE gets its payoff.

Jules Crittenden: Intelligence without experience is like knowing how roller skates work without ever having skated. (One guess who he's talking about.)

PhRMA spends $9.4 million more promoting left-wing health care "reform"; forgets left-wing health care means drugs gets rationed.

Patterico tries to get a Washington Post correction. Good luck with that.

British Christian hotel owners charged with criminal offense after discussing religion with Muslim guest.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 AM

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's a Sad State of Affairs...

...when the leader of the free world isn't the President of the United States, but the Israeli Prime Minister.

Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 5:04 PM

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Netanyahu Asks World: "Is This a Lie?"

Netanyahu delivered a terrific speech before the U.N.

He asked the nations that didn't boycott the Iranian dictator's speech, or who didn't walk out during it when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched into an anti-semitic tirade, "...but to those who gave this holocaust denier a hearing... Have you no shame? Have you no decency?"

The U.S., fortunately, was one of a little over a dozen that did the right thing. Canada was the best. It didn't wait to hear what was said and boycotted from the outset.

Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 6:27 PM

A State of War Exists in the Americas

Brazil should be expelled from the Organization of American States. It is currently housing deposed would-be dictator Manuel Zelaya in its embassy in Tegucigalpa, which seems to be a fairly clear violation of Article 19 of the OAS Charter, which states: "No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements."

Brazil also risks triggering the collective defense provisions of the charter as any act of aggression, including but not limited to military action against a member state -- including by another member state -- is considered an act of aggression against all member states.

Article 29 states: "If the inviolability or the integrity of the territory or the sovereignty or political independence of any American State should be affected by an armed attack or by an act of aggression that is not an armed attack, or by an extracontinental conflict, or by a conflict between two or more American States, or by any other fact or situation that might endanger the peace of America, the American States, in furtherance of the principles of continental solidarity or collective self­defense, shall apply the measures and procedures established in the special treaties on the subject."

By harboring Zelaya, Brazil is endangering the peace in Honduras. Whether declared or not, a state of war exists between the OAS and Brazil.

Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 7:03 AM

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Daily Kos Wants Tea Party Participants to Forgo All Government Services, But Still Pay All Taxes

At times, activists of the superficial left write such stupid things, it is embarrassing to read them.

Such is the case with a Laura Clawson Daily Kos post Friday in which lefties are encouraged to send a faux "Socialist Free Purity Pledge" around the Internet. The gist of Clawson's message is that anyone who attended a Tea Party rally is a hypocrite if they from this point forward ever use a single thing funded by the federal government.

The post had at the time I read it 265 comments, most of which were favorable to the idea, which many of them actually thought was clever.

I ask myself, can the activist left be so uniformed as to believe that when it comes to government spending, there are only two positions possible, that of wanting the feds to spend more and grow larger, and that of wanting the feds to spend not one penny? That anyone who does not support President Obama's government-expansion plans is, ipso facto, the strictest of libertarians?

Seeing how badly the left governs when in office, I conclude "yes." Yes, they really can be this ignorant.

Which explains why the leftists in Congress and the White House think socialized medicine works and that the best way to deal with the Kremlin is from a position of slobbering, supplicating subservience.

The leftists think anyone who attended a Tea Party rally should sign a document pledging they will never use a government service again...

...but what the lefties don't put in their "Socialist Free Purity Pledge" is a pledge of their own to pass legislation offering to refund the tax dollars coercively paid by every person who might choose to sign their Purity Pledge and who sticks to it.

So selfish, these lefties. In their bitter little world, even the people who don't use any government will be forced to pay for it.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:58 AM

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's Happening Now

No independent thought tolerated: A sample of the abuse black conservatives routinely receive.

Polish newspaper: "Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back."

Czech newspaper: "An ally we rely on has betrayed us, and exchanged us for its own, better relations with Russia, of which we are rightly afraid."

Lauri Regan/American Thinker: "Missile defense Obama will ditch, but General Electric he'll enrich?"

Timothy Carney/Washington Examiner: Obama helps strengthen General Electric-Putin ties.

ACORN to file criminal complaint. (H/T The Other McCain)

Speaking of ACORN, defend Glenn Beck.

The Max Baucus money trail. (Is it that expensive to run in Montana?)

John McCain IDs "certainly the worst President of the 20th Century."


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:41 PM

Friday, September 11, 2009

What's Happening Now

Final words from 9-11. Don't forget.

Iran, Libya and Obama's inexperience.

An American experiences the NHS.

Government Electric?

Death panels strike again.

ATR: Top five tax fibs in Obama speech.

Osteoporosis drug controversy in the UK.

Britain may not have enough hospital beds to handle swine flu.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:40 AM

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What's Happening Now

"Beyond Petroleum" finds some. What to do?

39 fallacies about health care.

Cash for Clunkers spent $3 billion to save $375 million. More here.

I agree with Elliot Spitzer. Yikes.

GQ runs story connecting Vladimir Putin to terrorism within Russia, then bans story's publication in Russia. Conflicted?

NY Times news story shows jobs being killed when wages are mandated to be higher. Does the Times editorial page read the news section?

Just for fun: A huge snake. (Click on pic to see detail.)

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:34 PM

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's Happening Now

What would John Jay do?

Obama and Kennedy "weren't that close." We could tell from Obama's eulogy.

Laws covering certain major campaign supporters will not be enforced, Obama Labor Department says. Equal justice under law is "the animating ideal of our democracy," says Obama. We aren't feeling animated today.

Ed Morrissey, optimist: "We've spent enough on the UAW, thank you very much." Realist: We'll never stop paying for the UAW.

Moe Lane/RedState: "Sometimes, I miss Tony Blair." Me, too, but I suspect it's because we live here.

Ed Driscoll: "It can't happen here." Or it can.

Nice enough to make you want to be a cave dweller.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:02 AM

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's Happening Now

Here are one million British National Health Service patients who don't use the Twitter hashtag #welovethenhs.

Fire extinguishers are dangerous -- people might use them.

Public health care is SO reliable. </sarcasm>

Making Dan Rather look good: Swedish newspaper admits it had no evidence when it claimed Jews steal organs from Palestinian children, then defends article making the claim.

Cap-and-trade a ball-and-chain.

Unions get a handout in the health care bill. Cheer up: Only $10 billion. (H/T @BridgettWagner)

Betsy McCaughey on Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, friend of 15-to 40-year-olds everywhere.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:02 AM

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's Happening Now

Media: Obama's a neologist; Bush was just dumb.

Jokes to play on the President.

Where does YOUR state rank? (H/T Coyote Blog.)

Examiner: If Americans were getting an average of 20 miles to the gallon before Cash for Clunkers, they are getting 20.0046 mpg after it. In a best-case scenario.

All hail Octavia: A novel new national debt relief program.

"Jackass" was the correct term.

Americans want the legal opportunity to opt out of Social Security, 49% - 37%.

Dr. Roy Cordato: And they say private insurance companies are the bad guys.

Evil doesn't die easily.

Think scientists are objective? Read this.

The power to force people to buy stuff is not in the Constitution.

Superman job: Fact-checking the White House.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:33 AM

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's Happening Now

The British government health care waiting list problem has been solved.

"Racial overtones," says MSNBC, capping its entry into the Stupidest News Clip of the Decade Contest.

British tax dollars at work: National Health Service gives Viagra to man with 30-year history of child sex crimes.

Sweden's largest newspaper claims Israel is kidnapping Palestinians and harvesting their organs. On MSNBC next?

White House deal with PhRMA undermines democracy.

Another polar expedition trapped in ice. Bonus picture of Al Gore's houseboat. Or go here.

Obama has lowest Gallup approval rating at this stage since Truman, except for one President. Find out which.

Ukraine's Got Talent.

Thomas Sowell on death guidance.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:46 AM

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thin Skins Across the Pond

There's been a bit of a fuss in Britain the last few days. It's keyed to Americans taking a look at the performance of their government-run health care system, the National Health Service, or NHS, and finding it wanting.

It seems that more than a few Britons are taking this personally, as if our horror at seeing, for example, Britons routinely denied potentially-lifesaving cancer drugs because of their cost is a hostile, anti-Britain sentiment.

Quite the contrary: If we did not like you, we wouldn't be so horrified.

This debate is more than of passing interest to me because this week the National Center for Public Policy Research will release its newest book, "Shattered Lives: 100 Stories of Government Health Care."

The chapter on Britain is the longest.

Beginning soon, we'll be running a story a day from the book in this blog. As we do, I expect I'll also be editorializing a good bit more about what our friends in Britain have said in defense of their own health system, and their attacks on our own.

In the meantime, I recommend this excellent post on the Classically Liberal blog, which contains several stories from Britain.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:11 AM

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oscar Arias Diagnosed With Swine Flu...

...he had been working with Manuel Zelaya to negotiate Zelaya's return to Honduras.

I guess you can get that flu from swine after all.


This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. E-mail comments to [email protected]. | Subscribe to this blog's feed. | Follow on Twitter.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 12:17 AM

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's Happening Now

Triumph of hope over experience: Pro-Georgian blogger asks Russian government to defend his free speech rights.

Got the flu in Britain? Need medical help? No problem! The government health service will put a 16-year-old on the phone with you.

President Obama claims U.S. private-care doctors remove tonsils too often. That's a problem the family of this 16-year-old in Britain wishes their government health service had.

A picture editorial: ObamaCare is "shovel ready."

A blogger's letter to [email protected]

The BBC wonders: Why do Hollywood movies about autistic people focus on the very few who have savant abilities? I wonder: Why is BBC surprised to find Hollywood being unrealistic?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:22 AM

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's Happening Now

House leadership tells Republican Congressman he's not allowed to use the phrase "government-run health care."

Patriotic Americans know when to die.

Racism makes Harvey sad.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) says there is no point in Members of Congress reading the health care bill: It's incomprehensible.

Fundamental facts about Honduras.

1932 Hupmobile drivers be advised: Discretion is the better part of valor.

Federal spending by the numbers.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:12 PM

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's Happening Now

Animals can sue? Can we sue back?

FactCheck.org gave President Obama's press conference statements poor marks for accuracy.

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby observes Obama opposing integration.

Barbara Boxer says she's glad she was rude to an army general and the head of the Black Chamber of Commerce: "That only revs up my people. I use that to send them letters and say, 'Help me.' So I get millions of dollars..."

Robert Gates says President Obama "was not calling the officer stupid." No, he was calling him "stupidly."

Remember, it's all about him.

A case of it being better to have an enemy in the tent pissing out? Nah!

Attention Mr. President: Here's a way to lower health costs. Doesn't expand government, though.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:26 AM

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Russian Rights Activist Killed

Another Russian human rights activist has been murdered.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:36 PM

Monday, July 13, 2009

Honduras Situation Not a Coup

Miguel A. Estrada, a native of Honduras and a man far more qualified for the U.S. Supreme Court than the lady whose confirmation for it starts today, explains why what happened in Honduras is not a coup.

Hat tip: Jonathan Adler on The Volokh Conspiracy.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:09 AM

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Russia and America's Energy Future


In light of President Obama's trip to Russia, National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen and Dow Jones Newswire Journalist Alexander Kolyandr discussed Russia's energy resources and U.S. energy policy on the Fox Business Channel this morning.

Among other things, Bonner addressed the conundrum that Russia has extensive oil resources that are difficult to get to, while U.S. oil companies have the technology to get to it. Yet Russia's legal structure is, as Bonner put it, a "kleptocracy," which makes it difficult for any U.S. company to do business there.

Bonner also discussed the limitations of the Obama Administration's reliance on renewable fuels.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:24 AM

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Honduras

If you're looking for a quick summary of what the issues are regarding the ousted Honduran president, this recap by Hans Bader will suite your purposes well.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:56 PM

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Puzzled

I don't know why everyone's so amazed by Gov. Mark Sanford's announcement. He was just getting himself a little experience in foreign affairs.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:07 PM

Iran Quick Hits

Husband David says Obama's message to the Iranian government boils down to: What you're doing is unacceptable and it's none of our business.

Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner sees in the President's Iran stance a bit of an adolescent still growing up: "There is a tendency for newly installed presidents, like adolescents suddenly liberated from adult supervision, to do the exact opposite of what their predecessors did. Presidents of both parties indulge in this behavior, though Democrats who campaign as candidates of hope and change are more likely to do so."

I assume that last sentence is a bit tongue-in-cheek.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:59 AM

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Infidels Are Cool Reprints Joe Roche Letter

Infidels Are Cool has reprinted Joe Roche's letter, with main points highlighted.

Joe's letter also appears to be getting some nice diggs over at Digg.com.

Thanks to those of you who have reprinted it, dugg it, or passed it along to friends.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:10 PM

Monday, April 27, 2009

Outrage of the Day: The Leaders of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela

The (in some cases, self-proclaimed) heads of state and/or government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela claim: "...we are going to need two planets Earth by the year 2030."

They also claim "Capitalism is leading humanity and the planet to extinction."

I guess we're doomed, then, because only capitalism has the power to motivate people to create a second planet Earth by 2030.

I don't know a lot about a couple of these leaders, but the ones I do know about are evil. I guess it should be comforting to know that in some ways, they also are idiots.

Hat tip: Drudge.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:22 AM

Thursday, April 23, 2009

GE-Owned Networks' Media Bias, Conflicts-of-Interest Remain Focus Day After Stockholder Meeting

As readers here know, at yesterday's annual GE shareholder meeting, CEO Jeffrey Immelt was challenged on the subject of media bias at GE-owned NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.

The story is far from over. I encourage those interested in it to watch the O'Reilly Factor tonight for additional in-depth reporting, including the airing at least part of an audio recording of the Q&A session inside the stockholders' meeting made by Tom Borelli. (As of this writing, Fox has also made a tiny portion of the tape, the part featuring Fox reporter Jesse Watters asking about about Keith Olbermann's handling of the recent infamous Janeane Garofalo interview, and the shareholders booing when GE cut off Jesse Watters' mike, available on its website now here, and it has been linked to by Drudge.)

Borelli is co-director (with Steve Milloy) of the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research, and, independently, a long-time shareholder activist with the Free Enterprise Action Fund pro-free enterprise mutual fund.

Leading the questioning about media bias at the shareholder meeting (the unidentified woman whose microphone was cut off by GE in Noel Sheppard's report) was Deneen Borelli, Tom's wife and full-time fellow at the conservative African-American group Project 21.

Here's how Tom described events on the Free Enterprise Project's Free Enterpriser blog:
The Hollywood Reporter described the events at yesterday's GE shareholder meeting in its story Drama at GE Shareholder Meeting

In addition, here is our first hand account from yesterday's meeting. Deneen is my wife.

Censorship and limited government was a theme at the General Electric (GE) shareholder meeting in Orlando, FL.

Deneen had the opportunity to ask the first question, directed at GE CEO Jeff Immelt. She inquired whether he tried to silence anti-Obama criticism on CNBC as it was reported in the media. The New York Post reported that GE executives were concerned that CNBC was perceived as too critical of President Obama. Immelt responded that he does not interfere with the opinions of his networks even though he doesn't necessarily agree with them.

Deneen's concern is Immelt will do anything to preserve a favorable relationship with Obama in order to sell GE's green technologies. At some point in Deneen's dialogue with Immelt, Deneen's microphone was shut off.

I told Immelt he was not only a threat to shareholders but also to liberty and limited government. I reminded Immelt that the company's stock was underperforming the stock market before the economic crisis.

I advised Immelt that we have an online petition that encourages GE never to trade with enemies, to stop pursuing cap-and-trade legislation that would raise energy prices, and that he uses his media empire to advance his agenda.

I also told Immelt that "We surround you" and that it was time for a "GE Tea Party" to reign in this out of control corporation.
In cutting off Deneen's microphone when she asked about media bias at CNBC (GE restored the mike when Deneen kept talking anyway), and then that of Fox producer Jesse Watters, when he asked about Keith Olbermann's handling of the Janeane Garofalo interview, GE showed itself to be defensive. (It also showed itself to be ineffective, as the next person up at a microphone was Tom Borelli, who asked Immelt about GE's business with Iran; GE's lobbying for cap-and-trade, and GE's double-hit on senior citizen stockholders [by cutting dividends after saying it wouldn't while lobbying for cap-and-trade regulations that will dramatically raise consumer energy prices].)

It's no wonder GE is defensive, however. As Tom's pointed questions, and Bill O'Reilly's comments tonight on the Glenn Beck TV show ("We're in an area right now that makes Watergate look like a Shirley Temple movie.") illustrate, the best that can be said about General Electric is that it is hip deep in conflict of interest. It's running TV networks that prop up liberalism, the global warming issue and Obama, while privately lobbying hard for cap-and-trade, from which it intends to profit heavily.

It is that last angle we can expect O'Reilly to illuminate tonight.

Meantime, in an apparent counterattack against Tom Borelli for his long-time free-market activism against GE's left-wing activism, media allegations are being made that Tom is employed by or is on the payroll of Fox News. This allegation is incorrect. Tom is not now nor has he ever been employed, paid or funded by Fox News. He is employed by the National Center for Public Policy Research to co-direct its Free Enterprise Project and, separately, he is co-director of the Free Enterprise Action Fund mutual fund. In these capacities Tom attends many shareholder meetings (such as one in March in which Disney CEO Robert Iger swore at him), including each of the last four GE shareholder meetings.

Arguments that the Borellis are agents of Fox News are a diversion intended to take interest away from GE's use of media outlets it owns to promote global warming policies from which it can handsomely profit. We shouldn't let the diversion succeed.

Cross-posted at Newsbusters.

Addendum: Jeff Poor, writing for Newsbusters, has a good write-up of the O'Reilly broadcast on this tonight.

Addendum 2: Moonbattery does, too.




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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:50 PM

Quote of Note

"We have a president whose foreign policy can only be described as 'anti-American.'"
-Dick Morris, speaking on the O'Reilly Factor, April 22, 2009


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:30 AM

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A (Brief) E-Mail Response from GE

An individual whose signature line identified him as a tax analyst for GE based in Ft. Myers, Florida sent along one of the shortest blog comments possible: a link to a page on GE's website, with no accompanying commentary.

The link is:

http://www.ge.com/news/our_viewpoints/iran.html

For the convenience of our readers, the linked page says:
Iran Policy

GE doesn't do business in or with Iran. Due to the developing circumstances there, the concerns of our shareholders, and our view of our corporate responsibilities, GE and its board decided in 2005 to stop doing business in Iran.

There have been two exceptions to this: completing the work for existing contracts as quickly as possible and humanitarian activity, which is authorized by U.S. Government licenses. As of June 2008, we have completed all business in Iran. GE at all times acted in full compliance with U.S. and other laws. We have always required our businesses to follow U.S. sanctions and other applicable laws. In fact, our policies have been more restrictive than U.S. law.

GE does business in more than 100 countries. We carefully consider the locations in which we do business. We want to do what is best for our shareholders, our company, our partners, and the countries in which and with whom we do business. We devote significant resources to ensuring that our business activities are in compliance with all applicable laws, that they are conducted with integrity and that they deliver value for our shareholders worldwide.

Our actions regarding Iran reflect our shareholders' concerns, our board of directors' judgment, and GE's dedication to being a responsible corporate citizen. In light of business and reputation risks that may arise from doing business with countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism by the U.S. Department of State (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria), GE will not accept business in any of these countries, except activity that is authorized by the U.S. Government for humanitarian or public policy purposes.
I don't believe this conflicts with anything we've said about GE, and it is of course silent on several of our concerns (such as GE's lobbying for cap and trade, for the new "green bank," etc.). Nevertheless we are happy to make this brief response from GE conveniently available to our readers.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:21 PM

Outrage of the Day: United Nations Threatens Bush Administration Officials

From "European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials Over Prisoner Treatment" by Craig Whitlock for the Washington Post:
...Martin Scheinin, the U.N. special investigator for human rights and counterterrorism, said the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration clearly violated international law. He said the lawyers who wrote the Justice Department memos, as well as senior figures such as former vice president Richard B. Cheney, will probably face legal trouble overseas if they avoid prosecution in the United States.

'Torture is an international crime irrespective of the place where it is committed. Other countries have an obligation to investigate,' Scheinin said in a telephone interview from Cairo. 'This may be something that will be haunting CIA officials, or Justice Department officials, or the vice president, for the rest of their lives.'"...
Tell me again: Why do we remain in the United Nations? We're paying nearly the quarter of the budget for a corrupt, bloated organization that sits by (or goes to dinner) while corrupt dictators kill and imprison suspected political opponents (and sometimes their children), but let George W. Bush try to keep Americans alive, and it is all over it.

The United Nations is an affront to our sovereignty, our pocketbooks, and to every sane notion of decency.

America must get out of the United Nations.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:36 AM

Friday, April 17, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Obama Lowers Himself

ObamaChavez041709Cartoonb.jpg
As we have no particular reason to believe President Obama kept up with foreign affairs before he was elected, perhaps someone should tell him how Hugo Chavez treats Presidents of the United States.

Come to think of it, why doesn't he know?

Obama is starting to make Jimmy Carter look like Rambo.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:28 PM

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Putin's Totalitarianism

As detailed in this Kim Zigfeld article for American Thinker, Vladimir Putin's Russia continues to get worse.

Zigfeld writing about a Russian court in Siberia issuing a $1.7 billion judgment against a Norwegian telecom firm reminds me of something I wrote back in 2002:
In the past few years, bureaucrats inside the Russian government have demonstrated a troubling tendency to use Soviet-style tactics when dealing with private companies. A situation exemplifying this growing problem has occurred in the case of world famous Stolichnaya Vodka.

Vodka production is Russia's second biggest industry. After the fall of the Soviet Union, in 1991 the government sold the assets of the Russian vodka industry to private industry. SPI International, now based in the Netherlands, bought the rights to Stoli Vodka and has run the company successfully for over a decade. Over one and a half million cases of Stoli Vodka are imported into the U.S. each year.

But last October, the Russian state trademark industry turned SPI's vodka trademarks over to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, which subsequently declared the trademarks void. A Russian court intervened on behalf of SPI but, to the chagrin of independent observers, the Russian government is ignoring the court's findings and orders. In fact, the government seized the company's assets and trademarks for its own purposes.

If this worrisome situation had occurred only to one company in one industry, it would be troublesome, but perhaps an aberration. Alas, SPI is not alone. Other private enterprises in Russia are suffering similar, all but catastrophic, fates.

If we imagine the havoc that would occur in the United States if our Securities and Exchange Commission (which regulates Wall Street), was corrupt, and officials of the President's cabinet felt empowered to seize the assets of industries as large as, say, our automotive industry - even if ordered not to do so by U.S. courts - then we have an approximate picture of the chaos into which Russia economy may be sliding.

This bureaucratic rot imperils Russia's democratic reforms. For Russia's sake, as well as our own, Congress and the President should press this point to Mr. Putin, who is the one man currently in a position to effectively reverse these dangerous trends in Russia. If necessary, normal trade relations and WTO membership should be withheld.

An impartial legal system that guards property rights is the irreplaceable cornerstone of democratic capitalism. No less than the future of an economically secure and democratically stable Russia is at stake.
I regret that my worries in 2002 don't appear to have been overblown.

I've discussed Putin's Russia many times (for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and news keeps getting worse.

I am reminded of a Putin quote I posted in this blog in 2005:
First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
-Russian President Vladimir Putin
P.S. I think we can suppose Putin still defends the Hitler-Stalin Pact.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:43 PM

Monday, April 13, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Siding With the Pirates

Today's Outrage of the Day is dedicated to those leftists who saw in the rescue of Captain Phillips a story of Western greed and Somali victimization?

Visit the "Captain Phillips is a Hero" post on the American Power blog for more.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:38 PM

Friday, April 10, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Loving Castro

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with brutal dictator Fidel Castro and fell in love.

Read these quotes American Thinker collected from Representatives Laura Richardson (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Bobby Rush (D-IL), if you think I exaggerate.

Some people see ugly old murderers and brainlessly swoon. Other people see the Castros and are so repelled, they immediately force their minds to think of something more pleasant -- such as flies in poop. I still believe most Americans fall into the latter category. I'm not sure about a majority of the Congress.

The Washington Post (of all places, so perhaps we have some hope) had a mostly decent staff editorial on this. It notes that, when it comes to Cuba, Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) could also use some scrutiny.

Yes, the rot is bipartisan.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:26 AM

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Fake Excuses for Bow to Saudi King


Ben Smith is reporting on Politico.com that the White House is denying that President Obama bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

According to the unidentified (of course!!!) White House aide, when the President shakes hands with short people, he always gets down really low, as a way of making fun of them for being short.

Well, that's not quite what the White House aide with the top-secret identity said, but it's about as likely to be true.

If they had tried to claim the President's knee suddenly gave out right before he shook the King's hand, or the President stepped on his shoelace, well, MAYBE...

...but watch the video for yourself.

Hat tip: Drudge Report.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:18 AM

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Outrage of the Day: President Obama Denigrating Bush in Europe

No one is under any illusion that Barack Obama and George W. Bush see eye-to-eye on all or even most policy issues, so President Obama's criticisms of President Bush while on foreign soil are unnecessary and, to my way of thinking, tacky.

If Obama won't forgo digs at his predecessor out of a sense of dignity and appreciation for the office of the President of the United States, or appreciation for the old dictum that politics stops at the water's edge, then he might at least remind himself that inevitably, one day (Obama confidently says this won't be until 2017), he himself will be a former President of the United States, and will want to be treated with the same amount of respect President Bush showed to him.

I agree with what Charles Krauthammer said on Fox's "Special Report," by way of NRO with a hat tip to Jake Tapper and Karen Travers:
Where does one begin? Obama says in America there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world.

Maybe that's because when there was a civil war in Europe's doorstep in the Balkans and genocide it didn't lift a finger until America led.

Maybe it's because there was an invasion in Kuwait it didn't lift a finger until America led.

Maybe it's because with America spending over half a trillion a year keeping open the sea lanes and defending the world, Europe is spending pennies on defense.

It's hard to appreciate an entity's leading role in the world when it's been sucking on your tit for 60 years as Europe has with regard to the United States, parasitically...

And then he goes on and calls America arrogant, dismissive, and derisive regarding Europe. "The London Telegraph," a correspondent in Strasbourg, said this was the most critical remarks he had ever seen a president give on foreign soil, and I think he's right.

When Kennedy arrived in Paris, he did not attack Eisenhower and the United States. When Obama's elected president, he is president of all of the United States, including Americans who opposed him, and he owns American history, including a past he may not have wanted to engage in.

I think what he did is, in order to gain the adoration of the crowd, he denigrated his country in a way that I think is disgraceful.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:26 PM

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dick Morris on "Ending American Sovereignty"

Dick Morris on the new financial regulatory framework.

He's not at all happy about it.

My brief thoughts on this are here.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:46 PM

Sunday, April 05, 2009

ABC Asks: Is NATO's Article Five Being Upheld?

ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asks: "Is NATO's Article Five being upheld?"

Of course it isn't.

NATO was set up to keep the Russians out of Europe. Continental Europe* took an interest in that, more or less.

These days, NATO has a larger mission. It's not all about Europe anymore.

So when it is time to sacrifice blood and treasure, you can count Europe out.


*I'm not including Britain.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:48 AM

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Don't Expect Much

As President Obama evidently does not object to racism, we ought not expect him to object to rape.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:42 PM

Friday, April 03, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Presidents Shouldn't Bow

It's hard to imagine what President Obama was thinking when he decided to bow to a foreign monarch, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Aside from being offensive generally -- no American should bow to a foreign monarch, least of all, our Head of State -- it really makes one wonder: If our President thought doing this was a good idea, what other things might he be contemplating?



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:14 PM

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Outrage of the Day: The Communique of the G-20

From the Communique of the G-20:
...In particular we agree: to establish a new Financial Stability Board (FSB) with a strengthened mandate, as a successor to the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), including all G20 countries, FSF members, Spain, and the European Commission; that the FSB should collaborate with the IMF to provide early warning of macroeconomic and financial risks and the actions needed to address them; to reshape our regulatory systems so that our authorities are able to identify and take account of macro-prudential risks; to extend regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments and markets. This will include, for the first time, systemically important hedge funds; to endorse and implement the FSF's tough new principles on pay and compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms; to take action, once recovery is assured, to improve the quality, quantity, and international consistency of capital in the banking system. In future, regulation must prevent excessive leverage and require buffers of resources to be built up in good times; to take action against noncooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens. We stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems...
From the Declaration of Independence:
...Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...
Any government we don't vote for has no right to regulate us.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:34 PM

Friday, March 27, 2009

Call Me White, Blue-Eyed and Proud

Gordon Brown should have pushed this guy into the water.

Hat tip: AllahPundit at HotAir.com.

Addendum, 4/3/09: President Obama tells Silva: "This is my man, right here. I love this guy."

Hat tip: Jules Crittenden.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:55 AM

Friday, March 13, 2009

Outrage of the Day: U.N. Secretary General Calls U.S. "Deadbeats"

UNFlagGoHome.jpgApparently dissatisfied with the United States paying a full 22 percent of the expenses of the ridiculously wasteful and notoriously corrupt United Nations, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon referred to the U.S. as a "deadbeat" nation while on a visit to the U.S. Congress Wednesday.

Ban effectively said that it is not only important for the United States to be the world's largest donor to the United Nations by an overwhelming margin, be perennially kicked in the teeth and insulted by U.N. proceedings, and host the United Nations here in America on some of the world's most valuable land donated by an American in a building refurbished by a massive interest free-U.S. loan, but we must also pay our dues on the timetable the U.N. specifies.

The offensiveness of the sentiment combined with the stupidity of the choice of location in which to say it makes this a whopper of a gaffe indeed.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Let us get out of the United Nations and let's kick the whiny you-know-whats out of here.

For additional commentary, see also Don Surber's "Dump Mr. Ban" on his Charleston Daily Mail blog, Jules Crittenden's "Deadbeat Nation" on the Jules Crittenden blog and Rory Cooper's "United Nations says to America: 'You're Deadbeats'" on the Heritage Foundation's The Foundry blog. Surber and Crittenden appear to be as irritated as I am; this is a quote those of us who appreciate the United Nations for what it truly is can't let die.

Let us get this one on some t-shirts.

Rory Cooper's piece should be read for information about Senator John Kerry's nauseating response, which is to give the United Nations ratification of its dangerous Law of the Sea Treaty. Kerry's obviously never going to give up his hate-America-first schtick; he must have some kind of psychological problem.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called Ban's word choice "unfortunate," and called on the U.N. to respect the rather substantial financial contributions of American taxpayers (a sentiment we hope the Administration begins to extend to domestic budgetary matters). It wasn't quite the statement I, or, I suspect, Don Surber, Jules Crittenden or Rory Cooper would have made, but considering how pro-U.N. Barack Obama is, it was a good B+ effort.

But an "F" to you, Mr. Ban.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:19 AM

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Kremlin Again Prosecutes Possible Putin Challenger

The ghost of Stalin smiles on Russia.

From the Wall Street Journal:
"As if his first show trial wasn't sufficiently illuminating about the rule of law in Putin-led Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky is back in a Moscow court this week to face fresh criminal charges.

Penned in a glass cage, Mr. Khodorkovsky can be forgiven his gaunt appearance. The former boss of Yukos, at the time Russia's largest private oil company, spent the last four years in a Siberian jail, part of the time in solitary, serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion. Already eligible for parole, Mr. Khodorkovsky could get an additional 22 years if found guilty. Suspected of still harboring political ambitions, and a grudge, he would then be out of the way long beyond the next presidential election due in four years.

Don't hold your breath for the outcome. Russia's courts take orders directly from the Kremlin, and this trial sets a new Kafkian bar. The same prosecutor who won a state award for the first Khodorkovsky conviction came up with a thousand-plus page indictment. The main charge: That Mr. Khodorkovsky and his business partner stole the entire production of Yukos and laundered the profits. The presiding judge summarily dismissed defense lawyer motions even to consult with their clients.

A Kremlin confident about its hold on power would let this man be. Vladimir Putin has already destroyed the independent-minded oligarch who dared dabble in politics, sending a message to other tycoons about toeing the regime line...

-Editorial, Wall Street Journal, "Justice in Russia: A Confident Kremlin Wouldn't Bother With Khodorkovsky," March 8, 2009
Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for continuing to cover this story.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:09 AM

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Project 21 Chairman Meets with Irish Delegation

MMassieIrishDel030409.jpgBy David Almasi:
On March 4, Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie met with a delegation of young Irish politicians and civil servants touring the United States.

The group was in the United States as part of a program administered by the Irish Institute of the Boston College Center for Irish Programs. The mission of the Institute is to bring “officials and policymakers from Ireland and Northern Ireland for professional development programs in areas such as government, non-profit, business, and education.” The ultimate goal is “to facilitate rewarding personal, corporate, and professional educational exchanges with the goal of promoting a more lasting peace on the island of Ireland.”

This particular group was made up of people affiliated with the Ulster Unionist and Sinn Fein political parties, the Dublin City Council, the Irish Traveler Movement and the Northern Ireland Electoral Commission, among others.

While in America, the delegation met with state and federal lawmakers, diplomat and professors and opinion leaders affiliated with think tanks and activist groups. Prior to their visit with Mychal at the National Center headquarters on Capitol Hill, the delegation had met with the vice president of the National Organization for Women. They also met with the Family Research Council and Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The spirited discussion ranged from topics of personal responsibility to the historical progression toward equality in the United States to the feasibility and wisdom of the policies of the Obama Administration. While the overwhelming majority of the delegation tended to embrace liberal politics, Mychal’s comments were well-received and appeared to have an impact on the delegation.

At the conclusion of the discussion, one member of the visiting Irishmen commented about Mychal: “I’m a liberal, but this guy is alright!”
This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:28 PM

Outrage of the Day: State Department Claims "There's Nothing Special About Britain"

Two slaps with a rotten fish to the unnamed State Department official quoted in this paragraph in the London Telegraph:
"The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event was so low-key.

The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: 'There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment.'"

-Tim Shipman, "Barack Obama 'too tired' to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown, London Telegraph, March 7, 2009
I call upon the Telegraph to do the United States (and itself) a gigantic favor (yes, I know, after the recent insults we don't really deserve one) and name the State Department official who made this ignorant, offensive and damaging remark. American friends of Britain want him or her fired.

Meantime, add my voice to those of the many other Americans who are profoundly embarassed that the United States treated Britain in this manner.

For additional commentary, see also: Ed Morrissey's "Great News: Obama Fumbled Brown Visit Because He’s In Over His Head on Hot Air and John Hinderaker's "Don't Blame Us: We're Incompetent! on Power Line.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:18 AM

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

From Operation Iraqi Freedom: "We Have Done Something Really Good Here"

From Sgt. Joe Roche, writing from Operation Iraqi Freedom:
This is a special day to be an American soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ninety years ago, hopes for freedom and self-determination sprung up all over the Arab world. After centuries of despotic foreign rule by the Ottoman Empire, European powers angling for survival in World War One's vast killing fields made all sorts of false promises to manipulate Arabs as proxies. Betrayals became the norm.

Despite dreams of self-determination after that war, our world was instead brutalized by the most horrific tyrants and genocide ever witnessed. Fascism, Nazism, Imperialism and Communism not only killed tens of millions and enslaved much of Asia and Europe, but other regions such as the Arab Middle East were gravely traumatized. Much of the fascism witnessed in the Arab world and in Islamic fundamentalism from Egypt to Iraq are largely a consequence from the manipulations by and ferocious ideologies of Europe and Asia.

American idealism for liberty and self-determination was felt here after World War One. President Woodrow Wilson dispatched the King-Crane Commission, which was followed by several other American envoys over decades trying to find ways to achieve self-determination. But the Great Powers of that time had other ideas. Hitler courted a lot of Arabs, particularly Islamist leaders in Jerusalem, bringing Muslims to the front lines with German forces outside Stalingrad, and facilitated a pro-Nazi coup in Baghdad in 1941. Though Israel's creation was a moment of great inspiration and achievement, the Arab world naturally felt it was just another in a long series of betrayals and conspiracies against them.

Because of the Cold War, the Arab people were left to languish for almost six decades under a series of megalomaniac tyrants, as long as stability was ensured. The Soviet Union's efforts at destabilizing the most vulnerable regions coerced surrender and apathy on the part of those who had once dreamt of self-determination in the Arab Middle East. Iraq became tied to the Soviets and was the recipient of Moscow’s largest foreign military aid during the 1970s. The collapse of the Soviet Union did unleash the virtuous spread of American liberty and self-determination in most parts of the world, but the Arab region remained frozen until Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I was part of the initial push in 2003. I had lived in this region before, and Iraq's suffering under repression and tyranny coerced the entire region to be in a constant state of war, paranoia and extremism.

I knew this would take a long time, but I had hope. As an American sharing our country's experience with democracy to Iraqis, I often reflected on how the United States had to discard our first constitution of 11 years after Shay's Rebellion, and yet the resulting constitution still had the institution of slavery. Women couldn't vote for over a century. We had a huge civil war, the effects of which were still violently playing out in the South in the 1960s.

I got to know many Iraqis. They impressed me greatly. I had known some Iraqis in exile before 2003, and I understood they were a very vibrant and strong people. Surviving the terror of Saddam Hussein's regime in a land tortured by centuries of conflict and turmoil, I knew these people could withstand a lot.

My unit in 2004 trained hundreds of Iraqis who served their military forces. They are some of the bravest people I ever met. Their casualty rates in the face of a horrendous terrorist offensive were 20 times worse than anything we faced, yet they kept showing up.

Over the past several months, I've seen those Iraqis we trained take over command of their country as we pull back. For the first time, self-determination is being expressed. Ninety years of betrayal and false promises are finally being corrected.

This is the achievement of America. Yes, there were scenes of protest in opposition to the treaty, but overall this was the remarkable -- and once unimaginable -- process of Iraqis debating the future of their own country. While most news only reported the protests, there were other large demonstrations in support of the US-Iraqi agreement, such as the 5,000 in Hillah last week.

To behold this is amazing. Some might want to just see the negatives, but I'd point out that our own experience with democracy gives us no basis to expect more from the Iraqis less than six years after being liberated by us. There will be further challenges. Ours is the world’s greatest democracy, but we had a shooting, a clubbing and even a sword used in the US Congress. Even one of our great Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, was killed in a duel. The birth of democracy is not a smooth process, but it is inspiring to participate in.

This is a proud moment. As an American soldier having been here at the beginning of this mission, and to be here now again at this moment of self-determination coming to fruition, is awesome. Lafayette came to us when we needed help. We’ve come here and finally reversed 90 years of betrayal. This is good, just and honorable. I’m very happy for Iraq and for our military mission. Out of the ashes of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks, we have done something really good here.

-Joe
For more of Joe's writing from the front and elsewhere, please go here. A profile of his life and army service published by Stars and Stripes in 2004 can be found in this post.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:04 AM

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