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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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Conscientious Objector in Harry Reid's Ranks?

From David Almasi:

It turns out one of the protestors arrested for disrupting President Bush's inaugural address was a staffer for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

It's interesting the lack of attention this incident seems to be receiving considering that The Washington Post could find the time this week to research the current employment of Bush activists involved in the 2000 Florida recount.

What's interesting to me is that Reid staffer/protester Nathan Ackerman held up a banner reading "no war,” yet he works in Reid's "war room" to combat the majority agenda in the Senate.

Was Nathan making a statement to Bush or to his boss?


Pelosi Claims GOP Wants Race-Based Social Security System

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has this sentence in a recent press release: "Republicans... have proposed providing African American and Hispanic workers with different [Social Security] benefits than white workers."

So there can be no doubt that I have quited her accurately, here is the entire press release:

Pelosi: Latest Republican Proposal to Cut Benefits Hurts Middle-Class Workers

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today in response to reports that the Bush Administration is considering cutting future Social Security benefits for retirees based on their income.

"Today, Republicans proposed yet another cut in Social Security benefits for American workers. They have proposed cutting benefits by almost 50 percent for every single senior in the years to come. They have proposed cutting Social Security benefits for women because they live longer than men. They have proposed providing African American and Hispanic workers with different benefits than white workers.

"This latest Republican proposal to cut benefits for middle- class American workers is just more of the same. Under this proposal, middle-class workers would see a severe benefit cut but continue to pay the same level of payroll taxes.

"Trillions in increased debt, drastic benefit cuts, and the false promise of private accounts are the wrong ways to go. The Republicans should try something new -- keeping their promise to American workers. Millions of Americans have earned their Social Security retirement benefits through a lifetime of hard work. Rather than cutting benefits and betraying seniors, we should be fighting to protect Social Security as the foundation of a secure retirement."

No support for the allegation is provided within the press release.


Fisking the DNC Blog

What balderdash -- the Democratic National Committee is claiming on its blog that a Bush Administration proposal to pay and promote federal employees based on their work performance rather than seniority amounts to "eliminating their right to negotiate the terms of their employment."

Proof, perhaps, that the DNC is putting labor union interests over those of the taxpayers?

(As one of the latter, I vote for performance promotions.)

I also think the name of the DNC's blog is needlessly offensive. (It's dumb, too, referring as it does to kicking the symbol of the Democratic Party.)

I'm also not sure the prominent image of a "troll" (their term for non-Democrats who post comments on their blog) getting his head smashed by a large hammer is worthy of a major political party.

I'd like to think a group that seeks to run the government disapproves of fighting dissent with violence.


Federal Payola: Journalists Aren't Special

If you don't think columnists should receive federal grant money, read this or one of the other studies and papers about the conservative/GOP "Truth in Testimony" proposal that was informally associated with the 1994 "Republican Revolution," and was considered a highly-controversial, ultra-radical (maybe even downright nasty) right-wing plot when the GOP unveiled it.

I might be remembering wrong, but as I recall, when conservative Republicans in the mid-1990s tried to get taxpayer-funded organizations to disclose the specifics of their conflict of interest when testifying before Congress, the mainstream media did not stand on the side of disclosure.

Why not?

Here's an excerpt of the study, published by the Heritage Foundation in 1996, that I cited above:

Committee hearings can serve to educate the public by allowing a range of views to be presented and questioned. Indeed, congressional hearings often are the focus of national media reports. When these sessions are stacked in favor of continuing or expanding government programs, they give media access and prestige to those who believe that for every problem, there is a federal solution. Further, when the witnesses -- and Congress itself -- fail to reveal the self-interested nature of a spending advocate's testimony, they convey a misleading picture to the public.

Consider, for example, the fight over funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Almost all of the witnesses at a February 29, 1996, House Commerce Committee hearing were financially dependent on federal tax dollars, and each predictably called for greater federal spending for public broadcasting...

Another of many such examples is a hearing on welfare reform held by the House Ways and Means Committee on February 2, 1995. Of the 65 witnesses who testified, 18 were from organizations that received federal grants, including five state and local officials who acknowledged that their agencies depend on federal funds. Apparently, none of the other 13 witnesses -- from groups such as the National Council of La Raza, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, the Service Employees International Union, the National Center for Family Literacy, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Public Voice for Food and Health Policy -- thought that it relevant to mention their grants from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education, or the fact that their funding might have been in jeopardy. This scenario is repeated all too often, from Superfund reform to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, welfare reform, job training programs, and a host of other taxpayer-funded efforts...
Journalists aren't special (sorry, journalists!). If you should disclose a possible conflict of interest when writing an opinion column, you sure as heck should if you are testifying before Congress.

Or, better yet, decide to stop taking federal money.


The Diplomad: U.N. Dishonesty

The Diplomad fisks a U.N. press conference on the U.N.'s contributions to tsunami relief refforts.

Says the Diplomad: "The dishonesty is breathtaking."


CAGW: No Congressional Staff Pay Raise!

Citizens Against Government Waste is opposing cost-of-living raises for Congressional staffers, saying "Heavy reliance on congressional staffers allows members of Congress to abdicate their responsibility to read and write the legislation they vote on."

CAGW says some Senators today have nearly 100 staffers -- yet, the Senate did entirely without publicly-funded staffers until 1884.


Baby Jordan Update II

Baby Jordan received a heart.

Read a message from this parents here.

Please pray for the families involved -- particularly the two little babies and those who love them.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for alerting me and many others to this situation.


Chirac Proposes International Tax - Again

The French are once again floating an idea for an international tax.


Patterico's Pontifications: U.N. Undermines U.S. Effort to Encourage Voting in Iraq

Christopher Cross at Patterico's Pontifications sheds light on United Nations efforts to stop the U.S. from distributing materials to Iraqis that urge them to vote in Sunday's elections.

Remind me: Why are we in the U.N.? Oh yeah -- promotion of worldwide democracy.


Holocaust Blogburst Notes

From a couple of other blogs I have visited today:

The host of the Psycho Toddler blog tells the story, with pictures, of his own family's horrific Holocaust experience in his blog today. Very, very sad.

Meanwhile, Harry at Squaring the Boston Globe reports that the Boston Globe has what could be called an excessively complimentary obituary in today's Globe for a man Harry calls "an American Albert Speer."
My own Holocaust Remembrance Blogburst post can be found directly below this post.


Blogburst: Holocaust Testimonies

I'm participating in the January 27 Blogburst on the theme "Remembering the Wannsee Conference and the Liberation of Auschwitz."

Polls, such as this one about Canadians and this one about Britons (I could not find a recent one about Americans, but am under no illusions that I would like its results), show scandalously high levels of ignorance about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, and the multiple genocides that have occurred within the lifetimes of people living today.

My contribution to the Blogburst is to recommend this link to the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. You can use the viewer at this site to watch short excerpts of personal testimonies from people who survived the Holocaust.

See and hear what these survivors experienced, in their own words, and remember, chillingly, that most of those touched by the Holocaust did not survive.

If you don't do it today, bookmark the page, and do it on another day.

I also am publishing a list of other Blogburst participants, each of whom has committed to posting or linking to material on this topic today. I hope readers will consider visiting the websites of some of the other participants.

Other Blogburst participants include:

You can learn more about the Blogburst project, including how to become a participant in future Blogbursts, here.


Baby Jordan Update

He's strong, but still needs a heart transplant -- soon.

Spread the word.


Heritage Weblog: Does Socialized Medicine Work?

The Heritage Policy Weblog answers the question, with help from the National Center for Policy Analysis's John Goodman and the fine folks at the Cato Institute.

Hint: The answer is "no."


All Pay, No Work

The National Taxpayers Union is on the case of 25 Members of the U.S. House and Senate who did not show up for work, but still got paid.


Freedom in the Workplace

Should you be allowed to go to work if you want to?

A Michigan union apparently didn't think so.


Iraqi Elections: Where is the United Nations?

Is politics keeping the U.N. from assisting with elections in Iraq?


Bill Clinton: Social Security in Crisis

From a Talon News article today comes this February 9, 1998 quote from then-President Bill Clinton:

[I]f you don't do anything [with Social Security], one of two things will happen. Either it will go broke and you won't ever get it, or if we wait too long to fix it, the burden on society ... of taking care of our generation's Social Security obligations will lower your income and lower your ability to take care of your children to a degree that most of us who are parents think would be horribly wrong and unfair to you and unfair to the future prospects of the United States.


Podhoretz: Iraqi Election Double-Standard?

Ed Haislmaier sent over this New York Post editorial by John Podhoretz, drawing particular attention to this observation:

...But others speak in pessimistic tones about the inability or the unwillingness of the residents of the "Sunni Triangle" to participate. Sunni Muslims, who were the dominant force in Saddam Hussein's regime, constitute 20 percent of Iraq's population. And yet the argument is seriously made that a Sunni boycott will invalidate the election results.

If white South Africans had refused to participate in that nation's first-ever free elections back in 1994, nobody on earth would have argued that their lack of participation invalidated the election results.
Good point.


Love for Abortion in Search of a Justification

Speaking of the Center for American Progress, it has an essay posted today on its main page by a Reverend Debra W. Haffner saying, "we have a moral imperative to ensure access to abortion services."

The essay says even parental notification (not just consent) laws are immoral as well as any limits whatsoever on any abortion procedures.

The essay gives the following as the moral reasoning behind this position: " is precisely because life is sacred that it not be created carelessly."

But -- isn't destroying life the ultimate in treating it "carelessly?"


Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: In Ten Years We May Have Been Warned

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has a side-splittingly funny critique of the new doomsday global warming report by the world famous climate scientists at the Center for American Progress and their ideological allies abroad.

Many of the comments to this post are gems, too.

Hat tip: The DAOU Report