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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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Robert Kennedy on History

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not only not a serious environmentalist, as I noted below, nor a free-marketeer, as Jonathan Adler has just demonstrated on The Commons Blog, but he's not much of a historian, either.

Note this Kennedy paragraph in Grist magazine:

When Roman law broke down in Europe during the Dark Ages, a lot of the feudal kings began reasserting control over the public-trust resources. For example, in England, King John began selling monopolies to the fisheries and he said the deer belonged to nobility. The public rose up and confronted him at the Battle of Runnymede and forced him to sign the Magna Carta, which of course was the beginning of constitutional government. In addition to having virtually all of our Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta has two other chapters on free access to fisheries in navigable waters. And those rights descended to the people in the States when we had the revolution. And virtually every state constitution says the people of the state own the waters and the fisheries, the wildlife, the air. They're not owned by the governor, the legislature, the corporations. Nobody has a right to use them in a way that will diminish or injure their use and enjoyment by others.
There's too much to address here for just a blog entry, but a few points:

1) King John was one in a long line of Norman/English/British Kings who believed that the nobility had the right to control hunting rights in "public" forests. William the Conquerer, King John's grandmother's grandfather, was a big believer in exercising the sovereign's "right" to control the land, and the practice did not end with the signing of the Magna Carta (although that document does address the matter).

2) The Magna Carta does not "hav[e] virtually all of our Bill of Rights." It was mostly about preserving the prerogatives of a small number of families against the power of the monarch.

3) Note Kennedy's line "those rights descended to the people in the States when we had the revolution." The the governmental philosophy of the United States is that rights descend to the public (actually, all individuals) from our Creator, not from some dude or dudette in London ("...all men are created equal... endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights").

4) Kennedy's timeline ("those rights descended to the people in the States when we had the revolution") is baffling. The Revolution ended the authority of any British monarch and his/her governments over the American (ex)colonies. It was not a lobbying effort aimed at convincing King John's heirs to grant Americans a few more "rights."


Overlawyered Finds Another Doozy

Overlawyered's Walter Olson has found another doozy for his frivolous lawsuit files: Leona Helmsley is suing Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx for $150 million because the "view" from the family mausoleum has changed -- for the worse, she says.

I say, if anyone in the mausoleum can actually see, let them out.


Robert Kennedy on Environment

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has been known to make exaggerated claims -- utterly ridiculous, completely laughable statements -- about environmental issues.

This quote from him may explain why:

I have so much mercury in my body right now, having tested it recently, that if I were a woman of childbearing years, my child, according to Dr. David Carpenter, the national authority on mercury contamination, would have cognitive impairment -- permanent IQ loss.

In the same interview, from Grist magazine, the following exchange occurs:
Grist: So if you were to tell our readers the single most important environmental action they should take, what would it be?

Kennedy: If your choice is to buy a Prius or go work for a politician who is going to implement the CAFE standards, you better work for the politician. The most important thing you can do is participate in the political process. Support the environmental groups that wage legal action and lobby for these bills. Get rid of the politicians who are whoring for industry. It's more important than recycling. It's more important than anything you can do.
So rather than drive a small, fuel-efficient car, Kennedy advises, it is better for you to vote for a politician who will force you to drive a small, fuel-efficient car.

Why not eliminate the middleman?

That is, if you want to take your life in your hands. In 2002, the U.S. government's National Academy of Sciences released a report (Effectiveness and Impact of CAFE Standards 2002) saying that since CAFE standards were imposed in 1975, an additional 2,000 deaths per year can be attributed to the down-sizing of cars required to meet these fuel efficiency standards.

The National Center has a webpage devoted to fuel economy standards, our Fuel Economy Information Center. Stop by and take our quick poll: Should CAFE standards be raised, lowered or left where they are?


Bad Day

I've had bad days in my life, but I've never had my pants explode.


NAACP: Living Off Its Past

I recommend an essay by Ward Connerly on the NAACP on National Review Online Monday. A brief excerpt:

Historically, the NAACP has represented black people who were confronted with the worst kind of racial oppression imaginable: prohibited from eating at public lunch counters, forced to sit at the back of public buses, denied the right to vote, and denied access to public schools. In all of these instances, the NAACP has been the champion of those who have been without defenders. Clearly, all of us owe this organization a debt of gratitude.

In the fullness of time, however, it is not unusual for organizations to find themselves living off their past and not keeping pace with changing times. Instead, they become stagnant and atrophy fighting old battles that no longer apply, never realizing when they have achieved what they set out to accomplish. Preservation of the organization becomes more important than the original mission.

I fear that this describes the NAACP.
There's lot's more.


Mamamontezz's Open Letter to the Troops

Mamamontezz's Mental Rumpus Room blog has posted the following call to action after reading Joe Roche's post about the impact of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11 on our troops:

A Call to Action: It is up to each of us to counter what this man has done, and to heal those who's hearts and minds bare his bitter wounds. Do what's right. Send your support. However small or insignificant you may think it is, there is no such thing. Tell someone you support them and the job they're doing in your name, in our names.
The "Call to Action" is part of a much longer and very sweet open letter to the troops she has written and posted on her blog.

Check it out now, if you can. She links to a fellow blogger who will arrange to have letters of support to the troops hand-carried to Iraq.


Stem Cell Research: Legal, But You Wouldn't Know It

The Notes & Musings blog has a post about stem cell research that provides an excellent quick summary of one side of the debate in less than 250 words. If you don't understand where Bush is coming from on this issue, check it out.

I want to highlight just one sentence from it: "President Bush's ban doesn't outlaw the research; it outlaws federal funding of the research." Yes, and even that's not a total ban. Still, how often do we hear about "Bush's ban on stem cell research" as if he had actually banned all stem cell research? How many Americans even realize that privately-funded embryonic stem cell research remains perfectly legal?


Ron Reagan's Cognitive Dissonance

Ronald Prescott Reagan has this to say in the current Esquire magazine about the sentiment within the crowds that honored former President Reagan during recent memorial events: "Misty-eyed with nostalgia, people set aside old political gripes for a few days and remembered what friend and foe always conceded to Ronald Reagan: He was damned impressive in the role of leader of the free world."

Oh yeah? "Friend and foe" always conceded that, did they?

I remember working very, very hard for years (Reagan '80 and the two presidential terms) to convince people that Ronald Reagan did not want to start World War III. Millions of grassroots conservatives like me were fighting to get the truth told against an onslaught of "Reagan will start a major war" misinformation relentlessly pounded into our ears and eyes by the then-all-but-monopolistic and smarmily self-important mainstream media.

Why does Little Ron think the line "there you go again" worked so well for Governor Reagan in the 1980 Reagan-Carter debates? It was so effective -- such a turning point -- precisely because, up to that very moment, many Americans genuinely were not sure if Ronald Wilson Reagan wanted to start a war. They'd been told that, you see, constantly. They didn't like Carter much, but they weren't going to vote for Reagan if it meant nuclear war.

Stagflation was pretty bad, but incineration didn't sound inviting, either.

Then, with one comment, one quip, four little "there you go again" words, Governor Reagan showed himself to be normal. That's it. Just normal. Why, said a few million swing voters, mostly talking to themselves until they checked to see if their loved ones were reaching the same conclusion (swing voters rarely like to go out on ideological limbs), Reagan's a perfectly sane person. He doesn't drool at the prospect of nuclear war, not at all. A vote for him isn't a vote for international suicide.

So, you see, if "friend and foe" alike "always conceded" that Ronald Reagan "was damned impressive in the role of leader of the free world," then "there you go again" wouldn't have resonated. Governor Reagan wouldn't even have said it, because Carter wouldn't have been trying to paint him as an irresponsible war-lover in the debate. And, had Reagan said it, we scarcely would have noticed it then, let alone remember it now.

Most likely, Little Ron simply wasn't paying attention during those years (the Cold War was a pretty brief episode, after all, and what with dance class and pet videos and whatever, Little Ron probably didn't have a chance to familiarize himself with the basics, such as which side the good guys were on). As a result, he now knows little about the issues. No wonder he failed to become a left-wing Rush Limbaugh (or, should I say, a left-wing Michael Reagan?) with his political talk show while his sister Patti was arranging a meeting for the uber-peacenik nuclear freeze-loving Helen Caldicott with Daddy at the White House.

(Gotta wonder this: Has a man ever loved his daughter more, than he would meet with Helen Caldicott because his little girl asked him to?)

Make no mistake: If Little Ron and Patti had had their way, the only reason we wouldn't be speaking Russian now is because our post-Soviet school system would be so bad we'd never have figured out how to learn it.

I think another factor besides the obvious culprit, ignorance, may also be at play. Little Ron loved his Dad, or so I assume. He loathes conservatives. Yet, Dad was a conservative. Cognitive dissonance. Little Ron resolves it by deciding that there are two kinds of conservatives: Good ones (Daddy) and bad ones (all the others). However, since even an ultra-liberal can have a hard time believing that nearly all conservatives are evil, Little Ron is probably a little insecure about his worldview. That's why he has to be so loud about proclaiming it.

(Come to think if it, he reminds me a little of Andrew Sullivan.)

Sorry, Little Ron. Your Dad was a mainstream conservative. Philosophically, he had more in common with Rush Limbaugh than he did with you. DNA isn't everything.

Make your peace with reality. Your Dad was a great guy AND a conservative.

It is possible for a person to be both.



A note from Ed Haislmaier:

In his e-mail post "Fahrenheit 9/11 and Its Impact on Military Morale, by a Soldier," Joe Roche asks rhetorically:
I wonder how damaging and shocking a Moore project would have been in the 1940s making such a video of Franklin Roosevelt. All the corruption and decadence in that administration would have fed such a project well. Or how damaging and shocking would such a Moore project have been to Lincoln, who wavered and shifted often in finding the right mediums and balances in pursuing the great causes of the Civil War.
Evidently thinking along the same lines, Rod Thompson, writing in the Southwest Florida Herald Tribune, offers a column entitled, What if Michael Moore had made 'documentaries' during past wars? Thompson speculates on how 'Mooreumetaries' (a word I just coined) about the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II might have been reported in the papers of those times.
I'll add this: The Thompson column is hilarious.



Michael Moore and Military Morale: Soldier's Essay Strikes a Chord

The last few days I have been doing a lot more blog reading than blog writing, particularly those blogs (69 by informal count) who have reprinted or commented upon Joe Roche's e-mail blog post about the impact of Michael Moore's movie, Fahrenheit 9-11, on troop morale. As he often seems to do, Joe struck a chord.

Little Green Footballs' coverage alone received over 500 comments from readers.

Other blogs and websites covering this or linking to it included the Drudge Report, Blackfive, Kim du Toit, Sgt. Missick's A Line In the Sand, Everything I Know Is Wrong, Ben Shapiro's Blog, Betsy's Page, Citizen Smash - The Indepundit,, Enter Stage Right, eTalkinghead, Free Kentucky, JunkYardBlog,, and many others. (If I did not mention your site, it is due to time constraints, not because I do not heartily thank you. Please accept my thanks.)

Oh, and Daily Kos covered Joe, too. Called Joe a Freeper. I don't know why. Having spent the last 15 months in combat and combat-related duty in Iraq, Joe's barely had time and opportunity to send out individual e-mails, let alone spend time posting at Free Republic. Free Republic folks defend freedom with keyboards. Joe's been doing it with a rifle. Both are important, but there is a difference.

A Toronto Star columnist, Antonia Zerbbisias, also wrote about Joe in his July 27 column. By coincidence, I saw the author on Fox a few days before this piece. As I recall it, he opined that he'd rather see Al Jazeera on Canadian TV than Fox, because Al Jazeera provides more "diversity" (of opinion, presumably). I'm not sure that's true in Canada. The Al Jazeera point of view seems to get a lot of play there.

Andrew Sullivan also provided a link to Joe's writing as posted on the Perry on Politics blog.

Over the last four days, on this blog alone, Joe's individual post on Fahrenheit 9-11's impact on military morale has received 63,000 pageviews. I assume that's but a small fraction of the total who read Joe's remarks on Fahreheit 9-11 across the Internet, given the number of bloggers who quoted or reprinted his post. Thanks to you all. The Internet is an amazing resource.


Fahrenheit 9/11 and Its Impact on Military Morale, by a Soldier

Army Spc. Joe Roche has perhaps the harshest words yet for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, describing its impact on the morale of our troops deployed overseas as "devastating."

In typical Joe fashion, he did something about the matter. He made copies of this Independence Institute rebuttal of Moore's film (29 pages in small font, he says!) and distributed it widely among U.S. troops in Kuwait.

But I'll get out of the way and let Joe speak:

Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11, is making the rounds here at U.S. bases in Kuwait. Some soldiers have received it already and are passing is around. The impact is devastating.

Here we are, soldiers of the 1st Armored Division, just days from finally returning home after over a year serving in Iraq, and Moore's film is shocking and crushing soldiers, making them feel ashamed. Moore has abused the First Amendment and is hurting us worse than the enemy has.

There are the young and impressionable soldiers, like those who joined the Army right out of high school. They aren't familiar w/ the college-type political debate environment, and they haven't been schooled in the full range of issues involved. They are vulnerable to being hurt by a vicious film like Moore's.

There are others who joined for reasons of money and other benefits, and never gave full thought to the issues. For them, seeing this film has jolted them grievously because they never even knew where some of these countries were that we have been serving in. Imagine the impact this film has on them.

And there are those who are hurting from being away from family and loved ones. They are burnt out, already hurting inside from 15 months of duty out here, and now to be hit w/ this film.. it is devastating.

Lastly, there are those like me, who want to explode in anger and rage at this abuse of the First Amendment and the way Moore has twisted reality so harshly.

Specialist Janecek, who is feeling depressed because a close family member is nearing the end of her life, just saw the film today. I saw him in the DFAC. He is devastated. "I feel shitty, ashamed, like this was all a lie." Not only is he looking at going straight to a funeral when he returns home, but now whatever pride he felt for serving here has been crushed by Moore's film. Specialist Everett earlier after seeing the film: "You'll be mad at shit for ever having come here."

And there are others. Mostly the comments are absolute shock at the close connections Moore makes between the Bush family and the Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia. "Bush looks really really REALLY corrupt in this film. I just don't know what to think anymore," is a common comment to hear. Some of these soldiers are darn right ashamed tonight to be American soldiers, to have been apart of this whole mission in Iraq, and are angry over all that Moore has presented in his film.

We know this is all based on Moore's lies and deceptions. But we, I'm afraid, are a minority. Right now, just days away from what should be a proud and happy return from 15 months of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, your U.S. soldiers are coming back ashamed and hurt because of Moore's work.

What these good yet impressionable soldiers don't realize is that twisting reality and manipulating the truth is something lawyers do every day in court for their clients. OJ Simpson, so clearly guilty in the ghastly murders, was able to get off because his lawyer team completely confused the issue. Now today, in typical fashion, Moore is doing the very same thing in this film. This is, frankly, the nature of political debate in a democracy -- especially when extremism is allowed to go unchecked.

Lt. Bischoff is so angry he could explode. He knows Moore's work is based on lies and distortions, but as he says, "the damage is done." Clearly, this is the type of thing we expect from angry leftists like Moore. What we didn't expect was the full impact this film is now having and how it has been embraced and supported by so many Hollywood elites. Lt. Bischoff says Moore's film is a work of deception, lies and distortions that when seen by those unfamiliar w/ the issues involved, has the effect of attacking the American peoples' resolve and focus in this war.

From what I've heard from the soldiers, the things that have them most shocked and upset them are the connections Moore makes between the Bush family and the Bin Ladens. The impression is that Bush is part of a conspiracy that supported the September 11th terrorist attacks. They speak of how Moore makes a convincing case all the way from the 2000 election to now that Bush and Cheney are all about making money. That the September 11th attacks were merely calculated by them as to how they would earn them more money. They speak of the Saudi who was a fellow soldier w/ Bush in the National Guard, and how Moore makes it all look like Bush is more beholden to Saudi interests than US interests.

Moore's commentary and striking video stunts, such as confronting politicians w/ enlistment papers for their kids, of course hurts and affects these soldiers out here badly. These are the ones who have sacrificed much to serve. Moore's stunt is powerful.

I sometimes want to be mad at my fellow soldiers for being susceptible to Moore's distortions, but I can't really blame them. These are good Americans, who have volunteered to serve our country. Nothing says they all have to be experts in Middle Eastern issues and history and politics to serve. That would be silly. ...But this is, of course, the vulnerability that Moore has exploited.

I wonder how damaging and shocking a Moore project would have been in the 1940s making such a video of Franklin Roosevelt. All the corruption and decadence in that administration would have fed such a project well. Or how damaging and shocking would such a Moore project have been to Lincoln, who wavered and shifted often in finding the right mediums and balances in pursuing the great causes of the Civil War. ...Need I even suggest the impact such would have had on Kennedy or Johnson and all their hypocrisies?

Moore is hurting us, hurting America, and today I can tell you he is hurting your soldiers. I don't know what to ask, except that good people out there find ways to organize information so that we can better counter Moore's impact. Is there anyone in Hollywood who is willing to stand up and make a similar film to counter Moore's? I know good people w/ integrity in the film industry don't want to be seen as pushing a political agenda in movies. But this is EXACTLY what Moore and the radical leftists in Hollywood have done. Is there no way to put together a response to them?

I hope more people will arm themselves w/ the facts and the realities of the situation out here and in the world at large. Our political arena is taking a big hit from this film by Moore, and it should tell us all something when terrorist groups like Hezbollah are distributing it around to their own people.

I think it is sad and unfortunate that at this last hour of a long and difficult deployment, so many soldiers are being made to feel ashamed and "shitty" for having ever served in this whole mission. Moore has abused the First Amendment. This is his right, and we soldiers have defended that right, but we who know better should NOT just sit back and let such enemies w/in our own country get by w/ such assaults unanswered.


Markets Protecting the Environment

The Commons Blog (Markets Protecting the Environment) has a beautiful new design (if you think I am exaggerating, check it out).

I admit to a little bias, because I post there, but The Commons is the brainchild of blogger Iain Murray, not me, so it is fair for me to praise it. You can visit Iain's other blog, Edge of England's Sword, here.


Favorite Blogs... How About Favorite Posts?

Some bloggers like to list their favorite blogs. That can be interesting, certainly, but the list I'd like to see is a list of all-time favorite posts (written by others).

It would be quite enjoyable to read the posts on these lists. I've never kept a formal list of favorite posts I've seen on other blogs, but I know that sometimes I read a post on a blog I am visiting and am just blown away by the quality of the writing.

Maybe I'll start compiling a list of my own favorites, anyway.


USS Ronald Reagan - Welcome Home

Ed Haislmaier has information to share with fans of Ronald Reagan and the U.S. Navy:

In case you weren't aware of it (as I wasn't until I came across the stories below), the USS Ronald Reagan arrives at it's new home port of San Diego today, and Nancy Reagan and Michael Reagan are participating in the welcoming ceremony. Indeed, Michael Reagan flew out to the ship yesterday to join the crew for the last leg of their journey.

It is inspiring to read about the pride the crew has in carrying on President Reagan's legacy. Here's one quote from today's San Diego Tribune story "Ronald Reagan Would be Proud of Namesake."

"It's all about Ronald Reagan," said Command Master Chief Petty Officer Kathleen Hansen, the aircraft carrier's top enlisted sailor. "It's hard to explain the pride in the ship these sailors have. It's not the fact it's a new ship; it's because it's the Ronald Reagan."

The story also notes:

"One Reagan sailor has a more personal connection to the carrier's namesake. Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Reagan, 28, is a distant relative.

New crew members stop him in the passageways when they see his name embroidered on his blue coveralls.

"'Reagan on the Reagan' is what they say," he said. "A lot of people don't believe when you say you're family."

There is also an AP story with similar comments.

In addition, I would encourage everyone to check out the ship's web site. Among other things, I think those of us who worked during the 1980s to support President Reagan's foreign and defense policies should be very gratified to know that the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier not only bears his name but has "Peace Through Strength" as its official motto.

While at the site, make sure to read the moving story of the ship's Captain flying back to present the flag to Mrs. Reagan at the conclusion of the grave side ceremony for the President -- but only if you have a box of tissues at the ready.


N-Word a "Time Honored Tool"; White People: Stop Breathing ASAP

Mike King has some interesting posts on his blog.

The first is a followup on Project 21's call for a single standard on the matter of what language is OK and what is not.

Universal Press Syndicate, which distributed Ted Rall's cartoon calling Condoleeza Rice the "n-word," responded to Project 21's protest of the matter. Basically, Universal Press Syndicate says, it considers use of the "n-word" a "time-honored tool."

Hmmm. Wonder how many of their editors are prone to using this "time-honored tool."

Michael reprints the syndicate's response to Project 21 in full and has some thoughts on it, as well as his own experiences discussing the issue on live radio call-in shows this week.

The second item is a little lighter. As in skin tone. Apparently, the Congressional Black Caucus has now formally charged that we whities are responsible for global warming. Specifically:

African-American households emit 20 percent less carbon dioxide than white households. Historically, this difference was even higher.
What? Do white people breathe more than black people? Note to self: Stop breathing. Pause. Oh, I think I see what the CBC is up to here...


911 Commission Report

Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong has 911 Commission report links up. I've only read Chapter One so far, but I intend to read the entire thing.

I wonder how many of our elected officials will.


Carbon Dioxide Nonsense

The silly lawsuit by eight state attorneys general to force plants in other states to limit carbon dioxide emissions brings to mind this paper by physicist Gerald Marsh:

"Nonsense By Any Other Name: Calling Carbon Dioxide A Pollutant Doesn't Make It A Pollutant."


"The Best Data Show No Recent Rise at All in Global Temperature"

Read about this lack of global warming here.


Timing of the Berger Scandal

Husband David is adding to his prior observations regarding the Sandy Berger case:

Let's put the controversy to rest regarding the timing of the Sandy Berger scandal: One person had control over the timing of this story -- and that was Sandy Berger. Sandy Berger decided when to examine the classified documents at the Archives. Sandy Berger decided when to depart the Archives with notes unlawfully.

And Sandy Berger decided when to comment publicly about the FBI investigation of him. He decided to wait nine months -- after the matter was already public.

Berger is no political neophyte.

In Washington, nothing stays secret for long and Berger knows that. There had to be dozens -- if not hundreds of people -- who knew about the criminal investigation. It was only a matter of time before it went public.

National Archives employees knew, law enforcement officials knew, Berger's attorneys knew and, presumably, Berger's family and close friends knew.

And since FBI searches are seldom subtle, Berger's neighbors no doubt knew something was afoot too.

Bruce Lindsey, President Bill Clinton's legal counsel, knew too. One has to assume that Bill Clinton knew as Lindsey was Clinton's, not Berger's legal counsel.

Berger had a choice: Tell this story at a time of his choosing or all someone else to determine the timing. By appearances, he chose the later.



Check out this Full Screen Apollo 17 Mission - "Last man on the Moon" panorama you can control with your keyboard and mouse.

Looks like our Apollo Astronauts were trusting their lives to a module made of foil.

Check out the 360 degree view from the top of Mount Everest, too. Sure glad I got to see that this way -- 'cuz it is the only way I ever will!

Link courtesy James Lileks.