Published on Hotsoup.com.
Are political representatives elected or anointed? Since this is America, the answer’s easy: politicians are elected.
Yet in listening to Democrats campaigning or in reading the New York Times, you’d think that elections are decided not by voters but by polls and pundits. Prognostications have replaced ballots. Rhetoric has replaced reality.
The echo chamber works like this: Shouting from the housetops, liberals begin calling the ranking members on congressional committees “chairmen” (as in Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers or Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman). In turn, the media giddily report on the Democrats’ elaborate plans to rollback (e.g., the war on terror) whatever they can’t kill (e.g., tax relief). Words like “investigation” and “subpoena” and “impeachment” issue forth from the left’s collective lips. It’s rumored that Nancy Pelosi is picking out drapes for the speaker’s office.
But, again, we live in America, and as that renowned American Yogi Berra liked to quip, It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Sure, today’s headlines appear disheartening, but think back to 2000, when the Eastern establishment was trumpeting a little-known governor from Vermont as the Dems’ presidential frontrunner. Then a funny thing happened: screaming Howard Dean imploded—even before the Iowa caucuses—and George W. Bush won the presidency.
They say history repeats itself. And, in politics, there’s nothing sweeter than a come-from-behind victory. So on Election Day, let’s make sure Howard Dean, who is now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, re-learns his lessons: half of success is simply showing up, and when conservatives show up, we—not the media—determine elections.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Published on Hotsoup.com.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
NTU’s Andrew Moylan proposes six reforms for the purposefully cryptic budget process around which all conservatives should rally: spending caps, earmark reform, supplemental-appropriation reform, a spending commission, line-item veto authority for the president, and dynamic scoring of revenue estimates.
Are the promises about ethanol too good to be true? Consumer Reports test-drives the hype.
In the campaign for Illinois governor, the incumbent Democrat and his Republican challenger are both conspicuous enthusiasts of big government and both tainted by allegations of corruption, thus leaving conservatives and reform-minded voters restless.
Colorado voters will face an unusually easy question next month: should education dollars go toward the classroom or toward bureaucracy?
The White House responds to Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial.
Cato’s Dan Griswold exposes the counterproductive and costly sham that is U.S. farm policy.
Hong Kong’s new leader recently declared his intention to modify his country’s longtime laissez-faire policies. Milton Friedman reflects, “Although the territory may continue to grow, it will no longer be . . . a shining symbol of economic freed.”
Thursday, October 12, 2006
ACU members are used to reading op-eds by Dave Keene and Don Devine, ACU’s chairman and vice chairman, but what you may not have known is that these two conservative leaders have written some scholarly papers together.
For instance, as far back as October 2000, in “A Post Cold War Conservative Foreign Policy,” they identified Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism as among the “real threats to American interests,” and proposed a foreign policy “based upon interests rather than ideology.”
Three months later, in an essay on how to stimulate the then-current economy, they suggested indexing capital gains to inflation—the same proposal now being offered by Congressmen Pence and Cantor in HR 6057.
Thursday, October 5, 2006
The Allen-Webb race has devolved into a spectacle whereby “the story of George Allen’s mother is far more compelling than that of Jim Webb’s son,” a marine lance corporal deployed in Ramadi, in al-Anbar province, the heart of the Sunni insurgency. Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait, of the New Republic, defends Allen against the unyielding storm of racism allegations, while the senator speaks directly to Virginians in a new, two-minute TV commercial.
Pejman Yousefzadeh, at TCS Daily, dissects the economic illogic of the conspiracy theories as to why gas prices are falling.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review scores a two-hour West Wing interview with White House press secretary Tony Snow.
With its usual eloquence and evidence, the WSJ editorial board argues for indexing capital gains for inflation. Related: ACU calls for the repeal of the inflation tax.
Will conservatives win if Republican lose? NR’s Romesh Ponnuru thinks so, and is buffered by a new analysis from PoliticalMoneyLine showing that, to date, the Club for Growth PAC is the third biggest (behind the NRCC and DCCC) in independent expenditures.
Monday, October 2, 2006
The California legislature recently voted, overwhelmingly, to allow competition into a sector—cable television—where prices have been elevated and service depressed by the most pernicious monopoly in America.
What one bank in America refuses categorically to engage in eminent domain? BBT, the nation’s ninth largest bank, with more than 1,400 branches in 11 states and in Washington, DC.
Deroy Murdock: “[I]t should not be harder to rent a political thriller at Blockbuster than to vote for president at the ballot box.” See also ACU’s action alert.
Tim Carney: “U.S. Subsidies Put Chinese Ethanol in Your Gas Tank.”
Adam Nagourney, the Times’s national political correspondent, profiles RNC chairman Ken Mehlman and his outreach to black America.
Reuel Marc Gerecht: “We might not be able to put our finger precisely on it—the problems of a radicalized British Muslim of Pakistani ancestry are not the same as a Sunni Iraqi suicide bomber who blows up Jordanian and Palestinian women and children—but we know there is something wrong within Islam’s global house, something that cannot be blamed exclusively on Western prejudice, bigotry, military actions or colonialism.”
From the Department of Unreported News from Iraq: “Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes that the U.S. occupation of Iraq has allowed the rectification of what the U.N. calls ‘one of the world’s greatest environmentalist disasters.’ In the 1990s, Saddam Hussein, trying to destroy the hideouts of opposition guerillas, drained 95 percent of the alluvial marshland at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This measure ruined the livelihood of the Marsh Arabs, sometimes said to be descendants of the Sumerians, and vandalized humanity’s oldest civilized habitat. An international agency called Eden Again is now reflooding the marshes; it says 45 percent of the area has been ‘robustly’ recovered, allowing the marsh dwellers to continue weaving huts and mats from reeds as they’ve been doing for three millennia.” —The Western Standard, September 25, 2006.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
A cop is dead, an innocent man may be on death row, and drug warriors keep knocking down doors. Radley Balko, the Cato policy analyst who may have saved a man’s life, gives the first full-fledged account of the Cory Maye case.
The WSJ recaps the piecemeal steps—and the loopholes therein—Congress has recently taken in the climb toward “antipork progress.”
Tim Carney unearths the evidence that the new CEO of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally, formerly of Boeing, was hired not for his business but for his political acumen, i.e., his ability to secure corporate welfare.
Glimpse “an intimate look at the administration through the eyes of Time’s press corps photographers,” via the magazine’s new White House photo blog.
Today, President Bush signed into law the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which will create a publicly available, Google-like Web site listing the myriad government grants and contracts. As a thank-you to the blogosphere, which indispensably helped shepherd the bill through the secretive labyrinth that is the senate, the president invited several bloggers to the White House this morning.
If you weren’t there, don’t feel bad—your next opportunity is already here.
In conjunction with several nonprofits, the Washington Examiner has created a Web site listing all the earmarks in the 2006 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. The goal: to spur a public backlash by snuffing out the sponsors of these pork pets.
A recent news article by Gail Russell Chaddock contextualized the importance of this bill: “When Republicans took over the House in 1995, there were five earmarks in the Labor, Health and Human Services bill, amounting to $2.4 million. By FY 2005, the number of earmarks attached to this bill had soared to 3,014 or $1.18 billion.”
Let’s make sure that number shrinks—dramatically—for the 2006 bill. With your help (click here for your state’s earmarks), we can reinvigorate the lost pillars of fiscal responsibility and limited government. One step at a time.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Jim Webb’s recent assertions to the contrary, George Allen is the “true conservative” and Reagan’s real heir in Virginia’s senatorial race.
Out with Joe Schwartz, in with Tim Wahlberg: Michigan’s seventh district sends a wake-up call to liberal Republicans.
When Israel occasionally, unintentionally and apologetically kills an un-uniformed Hamas militant, the world cries, War crime!, yet when Hamas repeatedly, intentionally shamelessly slaughters an Israeli civilian, the world averts its eyes. Victor Davis Hanson explores the “vocabulary of untruth.”
The U.N. General Committee refuses to put Taiwan’s application for membership on the agenda of the General Assembly.
If Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a mockery of the U.N., it was only because the U.N. has made a mockery of itself.
Mike Pence announces the RSC’s September priorities.
RSC members, together with their nonprofit supporters (including ACU), called for earmark reform at a press conference on Wednesday. Later that day, the bill passed.
Blog for Bolton here.
Wal-Mart recently announced that it will soon offer a 30-day supply of nearly 300 generic medicines for just $4 each. Target quickly followed, and surely Walgreens and others will be close behind. Who says that competition doesn’t work?
The WHO has reversed its long-held opposition to the use of DDT to fight malaria. Finally!
Oil discoveries off the Gulf Coast may boost American oil reserves by 50 percent and sustain declining gas prices. Meanwhile, the price for ethanol, which William O’Keefe calls a gimmick, more than doubles.
Reason’s Ronald Bailey responds to critics who allege that he’s a shill for oil companies.
Religious sensitivity has become a one-way street, wherein the rules are “enforced by Islamic mobs and abjectly followed by Western media, politicians and religious leaders.”
Friday, September 15, 2006
The WSJ profiles the likely committee chairs under a Democratic-controlled House.
Newt Gingrich proposes 11 “values-led policies” for Republicans to embrace in their fall campaigns. Cato’s response: “Gingrich’s Big Government Manifesto.”
Linc Chafee may have beat Stephen Laffey, but as National Review summarizes, “Sometimes it’s better to fight and lose than not to fight at all.”
Ticket splitting is counterproductve, says ACU board member Craig Shirley. Partisanship is the ticket.
Under the leadership of Harold Ickes, wealthy liberal donors, including George Soros, are forming a new 527, the September Fund, to help Democrats regain Congress in November.
Watch Jeff Flake on the House floor explain why congressmen today “do far too little authorizing, far too much appropriating, and far too little oversight.”
Lawrence Wright, author of the new book The Looming Tower, goes inside the mind of Sayyid Qutb, the godfather of Islamic terrorism.
After reading Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose, Estonia’s now-former prime minister transformed his country from a Soviet Union satellite into Europe’s new boomtown, the world’s most economically and politically free country, according to the State of World Liberty Index.
Matt Labash of the Weekly Standard reports on the latest abuse of eminent domain, in which the city of Piscataway, NJ, is trying to commander a 75-acre family farm. Click here for ACU’s action alert, “My Home Is Not the Government’s Castle.”
AEI president Chris DeMuth assesses Reaganomics 25 years later.
Friday, August 25, 2006
The Brits look for “reasonable suspicion”; Americans look for “probable cause.” But after the recently foiled airliner plot, perhaps we should look across the ocean for how to best balance liberty and security.
In her verdict enjoining the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor gratuitously and counterproductively took up issues outside those for which the plaintiff sought relief.
The chorus of disgruntled conservatives gets louder, especially on Iraq.
Some prominent Republicans are campaigning to help former Democratic, now independent, senator Joe Lieberman win re-election in Connecticut.
Will Steve Laffey unseat Senator Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island’s Republican primary?
John McCain is “locking up a cast of top-shelf Republican strategists, policy experts, fundraisers and donors, in a methodical effort to build a 2008 presidential campaign machine,” reports the New York Times. What the Times doesn’t mention is that McCain may have himself broken the McCain-Feingold Act.
Check out Congressman Jeff Flake’s egregious earmark of the week.
Blocking transparency via secrecy: which senator placed the anonymous hold on the bill to create a publicly searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, worth $2.5 trillion last year?
NTU’s Andrew Moylan asks liberals to "unite with conservatives to rid legislation of the earmarking scourge.”
New statistics show that compared with their private sector counterparts, federal employees are actually better compensated.
The Washington Post profiles the president’s new domestic policy advisor, Karl Zinsmeister.
We all heard about Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic drunken rant, yet the media ignored a similar, more disturbing event that occurred on the same day: a Muslim gunmen’s premeditated assault on a prominent Jewish institution in Seattle. Jeff Jacoby has the details.
Who are the Kurds? Michael Totten, a reporter at large, investigates.
Monday, August 14, 2006
“Not limited government, but compassionate government is [Senator Sam] Brownback’s chief preoccupation,” writes Terry Eastland in a recent Weekly Standard cover story.
Alternatively, another GOP presidential aspirant, Senator George Allen (R-VA), recently told the Weekly Standard, “Unless you’re harming someone else, you [i.e., government] [should] leave people free.”
ACU executive vice president Bill Lauderback answers questions on what it means to be a conservative today.
Republicans take note: to curb losses in the upcoming midterms, stop pandering.
Even the most conservative of media outlets have ignored President Bush’s recent accomplishments.
Conservative camps keep students aware and informed of their Reagan revolution roots.
Bill Buckley questions the conservatism of the president.
Three new books challenge the Big Government ways of today’s GOP:
1. Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause, by Richard A. Viguerie.
2. Buck Wild: How Republicans Blew the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, by Stephen Slivinski.
3. The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party, by Ryan Sager.
Is your congressman a porker? Look him up in the Club for Growth’s new database showing which congressmen voted with Jeff Flake on his anti-pork amendment campaign.
Porkbusting bloggers are tired of chewing the fat about earmarks, and are now taking action against unnecessary congressional spending.
The federal budget includes a vast array of programs, but when boiled down, government spending consists of just five basic activities: paying workers, buying goods and services, transferring wealth to favored groups, subsidizing state and local governments, and paying interest on debt. Cato’s new budget bulletin (PDF) looks at trends in these activities since 1990.
Democrats fear low voter turnouts in the midterms, as leaders chide each other for not using sufficient resources to inform their voter base.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is doing his best to produce a do-nothing Congress.
Joe Lieberman lost his primary because, unlike his fellow Democrats, he refused to recant his support for the war—he refused to claim himself the victim of a hoax.
Representatives Mike Pence and Kay Bailey Hutchison propose a plan for immigration reform that is tough on security while acknowledging the necessity of a guest-worker program.
John Bolton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
A new Cato study exposes the sharp increase in unauthorized paramilitary raids into civilian homes.
Review the list of Washington’s 10 talking points this week, from culture wars to the weather.
New federal action makes pharmaceuticals less expensive, faster, safer and more easily distributable.
Click here for pictures of President Bush and U.S. Staff Sergeant Christian Bagge, whose lost his legs serving in Iraq, as they take a lap around the south lawn of the White House.
Brian Kennedy, president of the Claremont Institute, touts the necessity of a missile defense system.
New discoveries reveal the unreported truth about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
Last week’s thwarted terrorist plot in Britain illustrates the cruciality of domestic surveillance.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The Washington Post documents eight issues sure to play a key role in the 2006 midterms.
Heritage provides a model for preventing arbitrary government spending in four easy steps.
Barns, banks and billions: American tax dollars are funding farms unaffected by drought or disease and giving more than a full harvest to undeserving farmers.
Club for Growth and the Council for Citizens against Government Waste post their 2005 congressional scorecards.
E.J. Dionne outlines the uphill battle conservatives face in trying to rein-in spending largess as many Republicans facing reelection now tout the pork they are bringing home to their constituents.
The probability of passage of the legislative line item veto act is decreasing.
Charles Krauthammer proposes a plan to end the senseless violence and rampant fighting initiated and perpetuated by Hezbollah terrorists.
Iran’s new nuclear program leaves the U.S. teetering on a precipice of indecision.
Daniel Pipes opines that Israel needs to shake-off its war weariness and defeat Hezbollah and its other terrorist enemies.
Senator Rick Santorum details the significant threat that the U.S. faces in the global war against Islamist fascists.
A federal judge has ruled against Maryland’s misguided heath coverage law targeting Wal-Mart.
Interested in a wide-ranging discussion on the U.S. judicial system? Check out the Committee for Justice blog.
Clever name changes do little to hide the frivolous litigation that taints the image of the Association of American Trial Lawyers.
According to John Kerry, “If I was president this [war between Hezbollah and Israel] wouldn’t have happened.”
Bob Barr has filed a lawsuit against NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, arguing that the mayor’s crackdown on illegal gun dealers was “careless, willful and clearly illegal.”
To the cheers and applause of children, Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams says she’d “love to kill George Bush.”
Turnout at Elizabeth Dole’s latest fundraiser was lackluster, raising questions about the viability of her continued leadership at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
How did your representatives vote on three recent bills to bankroll the DC metro, protect the flag and destroy embryos?
Keep abreast of the latest information on missile defense technology and updates on tenuous international relations here.
Senator Voinovich recants his initial opposition to the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., while National Review recaps the ambassador’s progress in said post during the past year. (ACU urges the Senate foreign relations committee to give Bolton a speedy confirmation.)
Claudia Rosett reports on the egregious misuse of funds in the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, and highlights the first-ever victory in the prosecution of such misdeeds.
Human Events demands that President Bush fulfill his oath of office and veto any bill that contains unconstitutional provisions, rather than issuing his now-infamous “signing statements.”
Although the preponderance of UN member nations seeks to impose broad restrictions on the ownership of guns, the Bush administration has been steadfast in its efforts to impede the passage of any such resolution.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Congressman Jeff Flake reveals government largesse in the form of a $150,000 earmark destined to address the perils of obesity in Davis, California.
“H.R. 3496: The Biggest Pork Barrel Earmark in History?” Sad but true, says Heritage—and ACU.
Check out the new Web site for Senator Tom Coburn’s subcommittee for federal financial management, government information and international security.
Government-funded “sports pork” is an entrenched and wholly unnecessary use of taxpayers’ money, reports ESPN.
ATR releases its annual Cost of Government Day Report, a measure of governmental solvency and total taxpayers’ burden.
As he calls on conservatives to ratchet down excessive expenditures, Grover Norquist asserts that government spending is increasing at an unsustainable rate.
CEI claims that doom and gloom scenarios of global warming derive from misguided science and cautions that energy policy reform would likely result in a misallocation of scarce resources.
Last week the House passed legislation containing nearly $50 million in additional expenditures over five years and a $1.5 million decrease in government revenues over five years, reports the RSC.
The Hill reveals ironic happenings in the capitol, from a convicted felon being honored at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society to a congressman likening immigrants to livestock.
The 527 Reform Act, an anti-free speech provision of H.R. 513 that ACU opposes, will likely be sidelined in this congressional session.
FEMA’s “central planning” role in allocating resources and emergency response to disasters is replete with inefficient and ineffective bureaucracy that stifles relief efforts and inhibits stabilized recovery.
Former President Clinton praises President Bush’s efforts on immigration reform and criticizes Republicans who seek to divide Americans on this polemic issue.
As House discussion over the minimum wage increases, the RSC offers a selection of pertinent information on the history, enforcement and significance of minimum wages in the marketplace.
Congressman Steve Chabot delves into the issue of Taiwan’s freedom from Chinese control and hints toward impending trouble for the U.S. if the diplomatic sovereignty of Taiwan goes wobbly.
Michael Massing brings some much-needed context to the now-infamous essay, “The Israel Lobby,” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.
Friday, July 7, 2006
Charles Krauthammer analyzes the wretched motivations behind the Palestinians' continued bombing of Israel even after the surrender of Gaza.
The White House details progress made in Iraq in the past two years despite the efforts of an unrelenting terrorist insurgency.
Misappropriation of agricultural subsidies, amounting to billions of dollars, continues unabated with little chance for much-needed reform.
Heritage’s Brian Riedl and Baker Spring explain how members of congress unapologetically shortchange much-needed defense spending in favor of domestic pet projects.
To his dismay, Jonah Goldberg finds that conservatives and liberals alike are turning to the “redemptive power and professional competence of the state.”
President Bush may tout himself as a proponent of free trade, but Bruce Bartlett asserts that it is a guise for protectionist political maneuvering that hurts the American economy.
Deroy Murdock exposes the hypocrisy of the Bush administration with respect to immigration and multilingualism.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Human Events calls on the Justice Department to prosecute those who leaked information about the terrorist finance tracking program to the New York Times.
Former New York State Attorney General Dennis Vacco suggests that the Restaurant Opportunity Center of New York “illegally organizes minority unions and abuses its nonprofit status.”
Ron Suskind reveals al Qaeda’s aborted plot to unleash poison gas on New York’s subway system.
James Taranto observes the hypocrisy of billionaires like Warren Buffett, who is a vocal supporter of the death tax but has no intention to pay it himself.
Pork-barrel spenders beware: the Line Item Veto Act has passed in the House.
Cato’s Tim Sandefur reports that eminent domain abuses by bureaucrats and developers are still in very much alive even after the Kelo ruling.
As a result of a complaint filed by ACU, the FEC has levied a $60K fine against the presidential campaign of John Edwards.
The New York Times analyzes the implications and addresses the vulnerabilities of the theretofore secret terrorist finance tracking program.
By targeting disenfranchised and underprivileged children, school choice programs are becoming more prevalent nationwide while making future program enhancements much easier to pass the scrutiny of legislators.
Steve Chapman finds that federal spending by both Democrats and Republicans has reached an all time high.
Ghana may have knocked the U.S. out of the World Cup, but not even Europe can touch our system of higher education.
Radley Balko reviews the futile endeavors of no-knock raids in Buffalo, New York.
Victor Davis Hanson observes that selective compliance with established laws fosters illegal immigration and undermines our legal system.
Through the Holy Grail of licensure, which makes the qualifications to become a doctor unnecessarily complex and expensive, the American Medical Association conspires with the government to squelch competition and thwart innovation.
Victor Davis Hanson argues that a minority of critics of the Iraq war, “for either base or misguided reasons[,] really does wish us to lose.”
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post detail the financial woes stemming from the erroneous and misleading financial disclosure of Congressman Alan Mollohan.
The Wall Street Journal recaps the details of the president’s surprise visit to Iraq.
Alumni from President Reagan’s 1976 presidential primary celebrate the 30th anniversary of his victory at the Reagan Ranch.
AEI’s Veronique de Rugy suggests reforms Congress should enact to curb supplemental spending.
Steve Masty, a former speechwriter to President Reagan, argues that the U.S. is losing the war on terror because we alienate moderate Muslims from politics and civic engagement.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Last week the House passed the Permanent Estate Tax Relief Act (HR 5638), 269-156. The Senate read the bill on Monday for a second time and placed it on its legislative calendar.
The House Ways and Means Committee details the bill’s tax relief provisions.
"Hard working Americans should be able to pass on their homes and businesses to their loved ones without the federal government taking an additional cut,” says Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
Bloomberg’s Ryan Donmoyer discusses different perspectives on the legislation. Many believe that the bill is a movement in the right direction to relieve all Americans from an unnecessary and archaic law, while others view it as the Paris Hilton Act, affecting only the wealthiest of taxpayers.
Cato's Chris Edwards responds to those who believe that repeal will only benefit the wealthy.
More information on the death tax is available from the heroic American Family Business Institute, which exists solely to eliminate the death tax.
Labels: Death Tax
Friday, June 23, 2006
Today is the one-year anniversary of Kelo v. New London, the case in which the Supreme Court drastically curtailed private property rights.
Homeowners and small business owners are sending a letter to the Senate asking that HR 4128, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, be moved out of committee.
The Boston Globe reports that the two remaining homeowners in Fort Trumble, CA, have reached a provisional agreement with the development agency that wants their homes.
The Institute for Justice notes Kelo's perverse effect: by opening the floodgates for developers to capture land, the ruling also galvanized efforts for reform.
Investor's Business Daily reports that eminent domain is now supplanting the very nature of competitive market forces in one town in California.
The Castle Coalition details the "myths and realities" of eminent-domain abuse in the United States.
Radley Balko argues that the idea of a man's home as a refuge, already the victim of the Kelo ruling, is now even more compromised by the recently decided case, Hudson v. Michigan.
Which governor has “one of the most consistently conservative tenures in recent American political history”? Hint: he governs the same state President Bush once did, and his first name is my last name.
$37 million for technology the Pentagon couldn’t use and didn’t want?
Free (ACU board member) Kirby Wilbur, pleads National Review.
Robert Byrd savors his reputation as the king of pork, yet his home state of West Virginia remains at the bottom of every economic indicator.
David Boaz explains the dissolution of the small-government ideal within the GOP.
Stephen Breyer’s dissenting opinion in Hudson v. Michigan, the recently and wrongly decided case concerning illegal no-knock raids, cites Radley Balko’s worrying study of warrants increasingly served by SWAT teams, in the wee hours of the night, armed with “flash bang” grenades, black masks and overpowering weaponry.
Joe Klein recaps the “relentless day-to-day ugly” that has consumed the senatorial tenure of Bill Frist.
A 1997 Cato essay shows why “government-sponsored entities,” like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are corporate welfare kings and queens.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The WSJ editorial board re-names Congressman Jerry “Minority Maker” Lewis (R-CA) the “Earmarker in Chief.”
$825,000 for a city swimming pool? Thank appropriator Jerry Lewis.
Both Heritage and Senator Coburn’s office detail the emergency supplemental that recently came out of conference. ACU has the roll call for the House and the Senate.
Deroy Murdock shows how the death tax endangers the environment.
The Washington Examiner observes that while President Bush has quietly been racking up small victories, the media continue to report on an administration on the skids.
John Tierney shows how immigrants do not eliminate jobs, but create them.
Tom Friedman explains the geopolitics of environmentalism.
Shmuel Rosner, the chief U.S. correspondent for the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, offers advice to the U.S., based on Israel’s experience with its barrier vis-à-vis the Palestinians, as we embark on building a fence across our Mexican border.
Nick Kristof extols the economic virtues of the “maligned sweatshop.”
Charles Krauthammer, who grew up in the bilingual and thus divisive Canadian province of Québec, argues that a unifying language—namely, declaring English America’s official tongue—is a prerequisite for social stability.
Cato’s Roger Pilon reviews a recent DC Circuit decision that might open the way for patients to seek potentially live-saving drugs while the F.D.A. drags its feet.
Radley Balko observes the hypocrisy of those members of Congress who instantly decried the F.B.I. raid on one of their colleague’s Capitol Hill offices.
Is the world running out of oil? Reason’s Ron Bailey surveys the evidence.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Is support for the Federal Marriage Amendment bigotry disguised as principle, as Senator Kennedy alleges?
Is the West Wing of GWB an echo chamber, wherein yes-men surround the president? The evidence says otherwise.
Townhall’s Jennifer Biddison finds that the “culture of corruption” permeates both parties.
David Leonhardt of the NYT finds that Americans are living in the best of times.
Former congressman John Kasich proposes de-federalizing the gas tax. An added bonus: this “would eliminate the most egregious source of money for congressional pork—the federal highway bill.”
Bloomberg’s Amity Shlaes reviews the hottest mutual fund—the Free Enterprise Action Fund—which seeks to hold corporate executives responsible to their shareholders rather than to special (usually liberal) interest groups, like environmentalists.
An oldie but goodie, from the Tax Foundation: A History and Overview of Estate Taxes in the United States.
Thursday, June 1, 2006
Another common-sense, good-government idea from Congressmen Henserling and Pence: reauthorize agency budgets every five years, or the budgets expire.
Put in a few years on the Hill, then become a lobbyist wining and dining your former bosses. Sound like fun? Then sign-up for the “revolving door” that is the House Appropriations Committee.
The FEC upholds free speech for 527s.
86 percent of the American people believe that the FBI should be allowed to search a Congress member's office if it has a warrant.
America may be ready for a new political party, speculates Peggy Noonan.
Robert Samuelson picks up where Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation left off in running the numbers on the Senate's immigration bill. Cato's Dan Griswold, like his colleague Alan Reynolds, takes a sledgehammer to these alarmist analyses.
Iran dismisses America's offer for direct nuclear talks as a “propaganda move.”
The distortions from Fahrenheit 9/11 keep coming: this time, a veteran who lost both his limbs in Iraq alleges that Michael Moore falsely portrayed him as anti-war.
More praise for the Pence plan on immigration, from the Indianapolis Star editorial board.
Jeff Jacoby joins the ever-expanding chorus of disgruntled fiscal conservatives.
Hillary Clinton “defies easy characterization”? So says a front-pager in the Post.
Cato’s energy experts, Jerry Taylor and Peter van Doren, continue to debunk myths about high oil prices.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Truth never seems to get in the way of the extreme Left when it comes to demonizing American capitalism and industry. Such was the case this week when a cadre of environmental groups got together to accuse ExxonMobil and President Bush of having conspired to invade Iraq in order to gain access to that country’s oil reserves.
At a Dallas, Texas, press conference held on May 30th, Valley Reed, the spokeswoman for an outfit called Consumers for Peace (is there also a group called Consumers for War? Never mind.), declared, “We believe that ExxonMobil . . . has been involved in conceiving of and then promoting the invasion and occupation of Iraq. When the Iraq war was being cooked up, we think ExxonMobil was in the kitchen.”
Ms. Reed conveniently ignores that “regime change” in Iraq was the official policy of the environmental movement’s favorite president, Bill Clinton. As Clinton said on February 17, 1998:
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
Similarly, recall the words of Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright (February 18, 1998):
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
And what has Al “Inconvenient Truth” Gore had to say about Iraq?
"We know that he [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power” (September 23, 2002).
Was Al Gore fronting for American energy companies when he sought the overthrow of Saddam during the first Gulf War? Here’s what the former vice president said on September 23, 2003:
“I was one of the few Democrats in the U.S. Senate who supported the war resolution in 1991. And I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration's hasty departure from the battlefield” (September 23, 2003).
Al Gore felt “betrayed” because the first Bush administration did not take out Saddam? In whose “kitchen” was Gore cooking?
So much for the ExxonMobil/Bush conspiracy.
Another brilliant participant in the May 30th press conference was Shawnee Hoover, campaign director of a project called Exxpose Exxon. In her remarks Ms. Hoover opined that, “ExxonMobil is using its profits and its power to continue to keep this country addicted to oil.”
Earth to Shawnee: the world runs on oil. The world today consumes the equivalent of close to 230 million barrels of oil per day. By the year 2030, with population growth and the ever-expanding world economy, world energy needs are expected to reach nearly 335 million barrels per day of oil-equivalent. That’s about a 50-percent increase in the next 25 years.
Where will the energy come from? Global oil use will expand about 1.4 percent annually, held down by major improvements in vehicle fuel economy (a tip of the hat to the great folks in Detroit!).
Natural gas and coal use will each expand annually at about 1.8 percent as the world’s need for electricity mushrooms.
Nuclear power, hydro power and biomass are expected to grow respectively about 1.4 percent, 2 percent and 1.3 percent annually.
Ms. Hoover will be pleased to know that wind and solar energy growth will likely average about 11 percent per year! Isn’t that wonderful? Sure is, but even with this impressive growth, wind and solar energy will make up only about 1 percent of total world energy by 2030.
Creating all this new energy will require huge investments. In 2005 ExxonMobil spent over $700 million in technology R&D, and $3.2 billion since 2001. And they are not alone—together the major oil companies are spending billions each and every year on research into better, more efficient, more environmentally responsible ways to produce energy.
The truth of the matter is that ExxonMobil is a global company with a presence in about 200 countries. The company has the largest inventory of discovered oil and gas resources of any energy company in the world as well as being the largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products. Oh yeah, they also generate electric power in Hong Kong.
I’d say, thank goodness America and the world has ExxonMobil.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
As Sensenbrenner goes, so goes immigration legislation, observes the Weekly Standard’s Matthew Continetti, author of the new book, The K Street Gang.
John Fund calls Congressman Pence’s immigration plan a “workable compromise.”
The Washington Times reports on the reaction of conservatives to the F.B.I. raid of Congressman William Jefferson’s Capitol Hill office.
Tom Friedman explains why he refuses to give up on the Iraq war.
The NYT highlights the “battle for the soul” of the GOP: fiscal conservatives vs. appropriators.
Cable companies should finally join the marketplace and compete for subscribers, argues Phil Kerpen of the Free Enterprise Fund.
Tax dollars fund advocacy of illegal immigration, finds Citizens Against Government Waste.
The co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, comes out for nuclear energy.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Senator Rick Santorum calls the immigration bill in his chamber the “worst possible way to reform our system.”
The Wall Street Journal reports on “cracks in Republican unity,” and CongressDailyAM names names.
Ed Meese explains why the Senate immigration bill is an “amnesty by any other name.”
Harold Meyerson observes the ironies of neoconservativism.
Peter Wehner, of the White House, debunks the perennial criticisms of the Iraq war.
Michael Novak salutes GWB, the “bravest president.”
Time.com reports on Congressman Mike Pence’s proposal for immigration reform.
Cato’s Alan Reynolds challenges the immigration stats alarmingly compiled by Robert Rector of Heritage.
Monday, May 22, 2006
On the heels of a George Will op-ed, Ed Crane considers the implications of John McCain’s preference for “clean government” over the First Amendment.
The Hartford Courant details how conservatives are dominating Congress’ agenda.
Harry Alford, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, argues that a windfall profits tax will only hurt consumers.
Cato’s Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren note the hypocrisy of Republican do-somethingism over gas prices.
Peggy Noonan thinks a November defeat for the GOP would be a victory for fiscal responsibility.
Colin McNickle, editor of one of the few libertarian editorial newspaper pages (the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), reflects on the connection between ignorance and the price of gas.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Yesterday afternoon Senator Isakson (R-GA) offered his “secure the borders first” amendment to the immigration legislation to prohibit the granting of legal status, or adjustment of current status, to any individual who enters or entered the United States in violation of federal law, unless the border security measures the bill authorizes are fully completed and fully operational.
The amendment failed (40 yeas, 55 nays, five abstentions). Its defeat is being hailed as a victory for the president’s position and foreshadows the margin by which the overall bill will pass in the senate.
On this particular vote, the Democrats carried the day for the president. 37 Dems (including Jeffords) voted against the amendment, seven voted for it, and Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) abstained. By contrast, only 18 Republicans voted against the amendment, and a majority of them (33) voted for it, with four abstaining.
Of the seven Democrats who voted affirmatively, four face re-election in November:
* indicates re-election in November 2006
(It’s tempting to argue that the three Dems who voted affirmatively but are not up for re-election this year—Dorgan (D-ND), Landrieu (D-LA) and Wyden (D-OR)—reliably vote against anything the president is for.)
Of the five senators who abstained, four were Republicans:
Of the 18 Republicans who voted against the amendment, four face re-election in November: Chafee (R-RI); DeWine (R-OH); Lugar (R-IN) and Snowe (R-ME).
The Republicans voting negatively were:
Chafee (R-RI) *
A majority of Republicans voted against the immigration bill as it came out of the Judiciary Committee. It appears that the bill now being debated on the floor may pass with a majority of Republicans again voting against it.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Robert Rector of Heritage asserts that the Senate immigration bill will allow 100 million new legal immigrants over the next 20 years.
The Los Angeles Times investigates how Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA) profited from his earmarks.
Radley Balko observes that the recommendations of investment guru Jim Cramer derive not from a company’s performance in the marketplace but its ability to lobby Washington.
David Brooks concedes that conservatives have abandoned their Reagan-Goldwater heritage.
Cato’s Ted Carpenter calls the Bush administration myopic for snubbing the Taiwanese president during his recent trip here.
Even John McCain himself admits that campaign finance reform is unconstitutional.
Tim Lee advises the advocates of “net neutrality” to calm down.
FreedomWorks explains the debate over “net neutrality.”
Monday, May 1, 2006
Is $500 million for Northrop Grumman necessary to save this defense contractor?
Go to www.stockcharts.com and look up the stock (ticker symbol is NOC). You’ll see that at the time of Hurricane Katrina, Northrop’s stock was trading at about $54/share; after Katrina, it bottomed out at $52.17 (October 11, 2005). In recent days it has traded as high as $71.37/share (April 24, 2006).
Northrop closed today at $67.24, up $0.34 on the day. Its capitalization is $23.84 billion. By contrast, at the time of Katrina, Northrop’s market capitalization was about $19.15 billion. Thus, since Katrina, Northrop’s market cap has exploded by $4.69 billion, or a whopping 24.5% in just seven months.
And this company needs a $500 million bailout? Its ship building division, to which the money is earmarked, reported 1Q06 sales of about $1.1 billion and a profit margin of 6%. That is down only slightly from the 7.1% margin the division posted in 1Q05.
The prudent investor, recognizing the strength of this great American company, would have been wise to invest in Northrop imediately after Katrina artificially caused its stock price to slide slightly. That investor would have realized a gain of about 25% in seven months—an annualized return of about 43%!
Good luck to Senator Coburn in his efforts tomorrow to remove the earmark for Northrop from the supplemental.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
As the debate on immigration reform continues in the U.S. Senate, it might be instructive for the senators to read the Constitution of Mexico. Consider Article 33:
“[T]he Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.”
Can one even imagine President Bush or the Attorney General having such blanket authority to expel foreigners—those here legally and illegally—without due process? No way.
Such a thing could never—and should never—happen in the United States. Yet the Mexican Constitution explicitly authorizes this power.
In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and their supporters have engaged in mass demonstrations in the U.S. to pressure our senators into allowing them amnesty. How would these protestors be treated in Mexico? According to Article 33,
“Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.”
It’s rather ironic, isn’t it? Illegal immigrants who have taken to the streets in the U.S. to demand amnesty would be arrested for doing the same thing in Mexico.
Indeed, the Mexican Constitution actually grants Mexican citizens the right to arrest illegal immigrants. Article 16 states,
“In cases of flagrante delicto, any person may arrest the offender and his accomplices, turning them over without delay to the nearest authorities.”
Can one imagine the U.S. government granting such a right to the Minutemen who voluntarily patrol our borders? Absolutely not.
With respect to issues of employment and receiving government benefits, Article 32 of the Mexican Constitution provides:
“Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions, or commissions of the Government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable.”
Let’s face it: the United States is—and always has been—the most immigration-friendly country in the world. We welcome the tired, the poor and the huddled masses of the world yearning to breathe free. We are a nation of immigrants. And that should not change.
But, at the same time, we should not be afraid to demand law and order and to secure our borders.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Dear Fellow Conservatives,
It is becoming ever more apparent that the House Republican leadership is dangerously out of touch with the responsibilities of governing. The latest refusal by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader John Boehner, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt to honor their commitment to conservatives on the budget is tantamount to surrender. The refusal by Jerry Lewis, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, to rein in spending is a slap in the face to the efforts of conservative House members, led by Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Pence, to re-instill fiscal sanity.
While it is rare for ACU to send our members an editorial, we believe that the below one, from today’s Wall Street Journal, merits your attention.
The Minority Maker
The Wall Street Journal
April 13, 2006
If Republicans lose control of Congress in November, they might want to look back at last Thursday as the day it was lost. That's when the big spenders among House Republicans blew up a deal between the leadership and rank-in-file to impose some modest spending discipline.
Unlike the collapse of the immigration bill, this fiasco can't be blamed on Senate Democrats. This one is all about Republicans and their refusal to give up their power to spend money at will and pass out "earmarks" like a bartender offering drinks on the house. The chief culprits are the House Appropriators, led by Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis of California and his 13 subcommittee chairmen known as "cardinals." If Republicans lose the House—and they are well on their way—Mr. Lewis deserves the moniker of the minority maker.
Continue reading here. See Lewis's response here, courtesy of our good friends at Human Events.
Friday, March 31, 2006
On January 1, 2006, when the first quarter of the calendar year began, the federal debt stood at $8.170 trillion. Today, the last day of the first quarter, the federal debt stands at $8.365 trillion—an increase of $195 billion in just three months.
According to the latest baseline estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, federal spending over the next five fiscal years (2007-2011) will total $14.9 trillion. The CBO further estimates that the aggregate deficits for these same five years will total $1.07 trillion.
But fear not fellow conservatives: the House Committee on the Budget has a “plan” to tackle this problem.
According to the committee’s Fact Sheet, the FY 2007 House Budget Resolution will allow for $2.732 trillion in new budget authority in which “discretionary” spending will increase 3.6% and so-called mandatory spending will increase 3.8%.
The budget committee calls the 3.6% increase in “discretionary” spending a “near freeze.” Hmmm. When the nation’s gross domestic product increases at an annual rate of 3.6%, do economists call this a “near freeze”? Current estimates for our 2006 GDP are 3.4%—a rate that President Bush said “looks very strong.”
The budget committee is proudly predicting that during reconciliation this year, the budget will include “$6.8 billion in savings in mandatory spending over five years.” Now that’s something to stand up cheer—$6.8 billion in “savings” over five years! Is one to conclude that the “$39.5 billion in savings over five years” in last year’s approved reconciliation package was too much for the budget committee to swallow again this year?
So how much of a reduction is $6.8 billion? A whopping 0.04% off the projected $14.9 trillion that the CBO estimates Congress will spend during the next five years.
That, my friends, is what we call “fiscal discipline.”
Friday, March 24, 2006
He hasn’t won a Pulitzer since 1987, but Charles Krauthammer’s recent essays (off the top of my head) on Harriet Miers, torture, gay marriage, and civil war in Iraq, for their unique perspicuity, cogency, and ability to spur debate, eminently qualify him for this year’s prize for commentary (even if the first two essays appeared late last year).
If Krauthammer doesn’t receive at least a nomination, then, as is the case with Victor Davis Hanson—who has spent the past five years explaining the war on terror with peerless eloquence, passion and historical context—it seems that the prizes (like the Oscars) are more political than I thought.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
In 1996, President Clinton proclaimed, “The era of big government is over.” In recent years, however, federal spending, and thus the size of government, has exploded. The following quotes from recognized Republicans seem to explain and sanction this trend:
1. Fred Barnes, March 2006:
President Bush thinks, and I agree, that we are not going to have smaller government. Ronald Reagan tried to do it and gave up. Newt Gingrich did it and gave up. We are going to have a government of big size. . . .
[I]t’s unrealistic to think it is ever going to happen in our country. Bush recognizes it. He’s going to use big government for conservative ends.
2. The chairman and president of the American Enterprise Institute, late 2005 / early 2006:
Over the past six decades, AEI scholars have pledged their allegiance to the idea of limited but energetic government.
3. David Brooks, Sept. 2005:
Bush has muddled his way toward . . . a positive use of government that is neither big government liberalism nor antigovernment libertarianism. He’s been willing to spend heaps of federal dollars, but he wants that spending to go to programs that enhance individual initiative and personal responsibility.
4. Fred Barnes, Aug. 2003:
[We] believe in using what would normally be seen as liberal means—activist government—for conservative ends. And they’re willing to spend more and increase the size of government in the process. . . .
Big government conservatives prefer to be in favor of things because that puts them on the political offensive. Promoting spending cuts/minimalist government doesn’t do that.
5. William F. Buckley, July 2001:
What conservatives are going to have to get used to is that certain fights we have waged are, quite simply, lost. It is fine, in our little seminars, to make the case against a federal Social Security program, but it pays to remind ourselves that nobody outside the walls of that classroom is going to pay much attention to our Platonic exercises.
6. George W. Bush, July 1999:
There is another destructive mindset: the idea that if government would only get out of the way, all our problems would be solved. An approach with no higher goal, no nobler purpose than “Leave us alone.”
Sunday, March 5, 2006
If you're a high ranking member of the Taliban, Yale University welcomes you with open arms. However, if you are a patriotic American who would like to organize a ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corp) chapter at Yale, or want to speak to a military recruiter on campus, you're told to take a hike.
As sick and shocking as it may sound, that is exactly what is happening at Yale University. On February 26, according to the New York Times Magazine, Yale University admitted Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, the Deputy Foreign Secretary of the Taliban, to the University.
This is the same Yale University that actively prohibits students from organizing ROTC chapters and seeks to deny students the right to speak to military recruiters on campus.
This is no innocent bureaucratic SNAFU.
Hashemi may not be a fan of the United States, but he certainly loves it at Yale. As he told the Times: "In some ways I'm the luckiest person in the world... I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale."
And it would appear that Yale loves him too. Or at least his money—that is... if he's paying to go to Yale?
Here's what some members of the Yale community think:
Benjamin Gonzalez, a Yale freshman told the New York Sun: "If we didn't accept him and try to learn from him, how could we say we're this diverse body and institution of higher learning? If we just dismiss him, what does that say about us?"
Well for starters Mr. Gonzales, it might say that Yale students are patriotic freedom loving Americans.
Mark Oppenheimer, a Yale graduate and editor of the New Haven Advocate, told the Sun, "He sounds like a remarkable guy."
A statement like that makes you wonder what this young man thinks of Josef Stalin or Pol Pot.
Or how about this quote from the Sun taken from an interview with an official in the Yale admissions office? Richard Shaw said the admissions office had once had another foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber apply for special-student status. "We lost him to Harvard,'' he says. "I didn't want that to happen again."
Ruhmatullah? Apparently Shaw fancies himself as being on a first name basis with Hashemi.
Keith Urbahn, a senior at Yale told the Sun that even though there was a feeling of "consternation" among his conservative friends that "most people on campus are not really upset."
And what about our men and women in uniform?
It's no secret that our institutions of higher learning are out of control and being run—in many cases—by left-wing ideologues who seek to indoctrinate the youth of America.
According to columnist John Fund:"Larry Summers resigned as president of Harvard when it became clear he would lose a no-confidence vote held by politically correct faculty members furious at his efforts to allow [U.S. military cadets] on campus, his opposition to a drive to have Harvard divest itself of corporate investments in Israel, and his efforts to make professors work harder."
And we all know the story of Ward Churchill, who is still on the staff of the University of Colorado even though he makes statements against the United States and has been shown to be an academic fraud.
But in this case, Yale has simply gone too far. What kind of message does this send to our brave young men and women in uniform who fought and died to bring freedom to the people of Afghanistan?
What kind of message does this send to the families of the victims of 9/11 who lost loved ones in the fight against terror?
What kind of message does this send to the rest of the world?