Chuck Muth is
president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy
advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. The views
expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the
views of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at
What Net Neutrality Really Means
Posted by Chuck Muth
May 3, 2006 at 7:32 am
Those who coined the term "net neutrality" are hoping the
words will make the public, and especially lawmakers,
believe it’s a good thing. But if passed into law, this
e-Trojan horse could inhibit further development of the
Internet for years, if not decades to come, putting America
at a distinct technological disadvantage with other nations
in the world economy.
Already, this country hovers around 15th worldwide when
it comes to broadband penetration. And while many Americans
do not yet have access to broadband - sometimes called
high-speed Internet - technology advances are quickly
overloading our current bandwidth capacity to deliver live
video, real-time gaming and broadcast quality movies.
The term "bandwidth" itself is probably confusing to
many, but it’s important in this discussion. So let me try
to ‘splain it in layman’s terms…
Think of a typical garden-variety garden hose. Now think
of sending a small marble through the stretched-out garden
hose as you hold one end above your head. No problem, right?
The marble will roll right on through from beginning to end.
OK, now imagine trying to send a golf ball through that
same garden hose. No can do, right? The golf ball is too big
to roll through the narrow garden hose. And even if you were
somehow able to get the golf ball into the hose, it would
inevitably get stuck in the middle somewhere and block all
the marbles you might try sending through behind it.
Think of the cable bringing your Internet connection into
your home in the same way as the garden hose. And think of
your typical email messages coming through the cable as the
small marbles. Now think of someone trying to send you, say,
Shrek II through that same cable. That movie is the
proverbial golf ball trying to go through the garden hose.
In order for the Internet to deliver new services such as
live video feeds and full-length movies, we’re going to need
greater bandwidth to make sure such things come through
without gumming up the works. The fact is, we do not
currently have unlimited bandwidth. And until we do (if we
ever do), we need to avoid the traffic jams and blockages
which are sure to arise.
There is a reason the Internet was once called the
Information Superhighway - and a highway is a good analogy
here. Think of those times on the freeway when traffic is
heavy and best described as stop-and-go. Now, those who are
willing to pay more have the option of taking a shorter,
less-congested toll road or drive in a high-occupancy lane.
For some, the additional cost will be worth it; for others
not. That’s what choices are all about. With the
free-market, you get lots of choices. With government you
get…well, things like the public school system.
Now let’s look at "net neutrality."
Let’s say you want to send a birthday card to your nephew
Ronnie. You put a 39-cent stamp on the envelope and drop it
off at the post office. And away it goes (you hope). Now
let’s say that instead of sending little Ronnie a birthday
card, you want to send him a shiny, new bicycle. If you
support so-called "net neutrality," that means you think the
government should require that the post office deliver
Ronnie his shiny, new bike for the same price it charges to
mail him the birthday card. The post office would have to be
"neutral" in what it charges to mail any given item.
The fact is, mailing a bike eats up a lot more resources
than mailing a card; just as it eats up a lot more resources
to deliver broadcast quality movies through your Internet
cable than it does to send a simple email. What "net
neutrality" proponents are basically saying is that they
want the government to guarantee that you can send a bike
through the mail system for the same cost as a birthday
card…which inevitably will mean the cost of mailing a
birthday card will skyrocket.
"Net neutrality" is the camel’s nose under the tent
leading to government control of the Internet - a line most
conservatives and libertarians have refused to cross for
more than a decade. The Internet has flourished thus far
precisely because we’ve kept the government from taxing and
regulating it. "Net neutrality" activists, such as the
far-left MoveOn.org, are courting multiple dangers by
inviting government oversight now. For one thing, technology
changes overnight, but government regulations tend to
respond with the all the speed of…well, the post office or
Passing legislation to regulate the Internet is an idea
whose time should never come.
Assimilate…Or Stay Home
By Chuck Muth
March 3, 2006
champion Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, appears to
have drawn a Republican primary challenger…a development
which should make the incumbent happy as a clam. Tancredo
will most likely dispatch the challenger with relative ease,
but the challenge itself should allow the incumbent to raise
a boatload of campaign donations via direct mail from all
over the country.
The opponent is a
42-year-old Colombian immigrant named Juan Botero. Botero
believes "bad" illegal immigrants - drug dealers, gang
members, terrorists - should be deported, but the "good"
illegal aliens should be allowed to simply pay a fine and
remain in the U.S. via a guest-worker program.
Gee, I wonder if the Bush
gang had anything to do with this guy throwing his sombrero
into the ring?
In any event, Botero is
guilty of missing the same point almost everyone else who
supports President Bush’s amnesty program misses. The
American people couldn’t care less about forcing the
illegals presently in the country to pay a "fine." And many
wouldn’t object to some kind of guest worker program - but
only after the feds get serious about enforcement FIRST.
No, the one thing that
REALLY seems to bug most people about this issue is illegal
immigrants coming to America…but not being willing to become
That includes learning to
speak English and the government not printing government
Spanish. That means learning
our nation’s founding history and taking some civics lessons
(our native kids wouldn’t be hurt by a little of this in the
public schools either). All immigrants should come here to
embrace OUR system of government, not try
to force us to embrace THEIRS.
After all, if their system
of government is so great, why are they leaving
THERE and coming HERE in the first
Article printed from The Loft: http://www.gopusa.com/theloft
URL to article: http://www.gopusa.com/theloft/?p=232
By Chuck Muth On April 6, 2006 at 5:47 pm
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, said this week
that the House GOP immigration bill would make her and her
Senate aides criminals. (Insert your own smart-aleck comment
* The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and
Maryland transportation officials announced this week a
pilot program for screening commuter train passengers and
their bags for explosive materials. Does anyone in their
right mind think for even a minute this "pilot" program
isn’t going to be adopted and expanded at great taxpayer
expense and aggravation? It’s a basic law of physics:
Bureaucracies expand. Republicans in Congress need to pull
the plug on the TSA pronto, before this blob begins
screening you before you get into your own car!
* At one point in time, it was Republicans who stood up
for free speech and opposed the un-American McCain-Feingold
campaign finance censorship law. Then one by one, enough of
them caved and, thanks to President Bush’s signature on the
bill, the abomination became law. Now, rather than seeking
to undo or repeal this horrible mess, a majority of
Republicans are attempting to EXPAND the speech restrictions
beyond the major political parties to include so-called
independent "527" organizations. It’s embarrassing and
Tell me again why it’s so important for Republicans to
maintain control of Congress?
* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
opened their new Thomas R. Harkin Global Communications
Center and moved into the Arlen Specter Headquarters and
Emergency Operations Center on their main campus in Atlanta
today. I wonder why the CDC would name two gigantic,
taxpayer-funded government buildings after two sitting
United States senators.
* The $67 billion "emergency" bill to fund war efforts in
Iraq ballooned up to $107 billion this week as senators went
of a porkapalooza spending binge, tossing in new money for
flood damage, drought, energy costs, highway repairs, avian
flu and fishing equipment for the Gulf Coast. The spend-o-rama
clocked in at almost $100 million PER MINUTE of Senate
* The "emergency" war bill included some $27 billion in
ADDITIONAL hurricane relief for Gulf Coast states, but even
that wasn’t enough for Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana
Democrat, who now "vows to block Senate confirmation of
every Bush administration appointment until President Bush
supports the new and higher figure."
Doesn’t the mob have a term for such a threat?
* "Budgets are about setting priorities," notes the
Heritage Foundation. "National defense and homeland security
are the federal government’s highest priorities, but
lawmakers have boosted non-defense discretionary spending by
49 percent since 2001." Therefore, Heritage is calling on
Congress to freeze non-defense discretionary spending
Great idea. Fat chance.
* Citizens Against Government Waste released its annual
"Pork Book" this week, detailing some $29 billion in pork
barrel spending. Get all the gory details at www.cagw.org
* U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), chairman of the
Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management,
launched a new oversight website this week which will
provide the public with tools to track how their tax dollars
are spent and help taxpayers access information on federal
spending and congressional oversight. The new oversight
website will feature a "taxpayer whistleblower" link, where
citizens can anonymously submit tips on wasteful government
Check it out at www.coburn.senate.gov/ffm
* Tom DeLay’s decision to exit, stage right, is the right
decision for all concerned. DeLay, even if re-elected, would
never again achieve the power he wielded in the House of
Representatives as Majority Leader. And because of the
forces lined up to pay back the Texas conservative, there
was serious doubt about his ability to even hold onto his
seat next November.
The decision to hang up his spurs now means he won’t face
the embarrassment of a ballot box loss. It also denies the
Democrats the ability to tie DeLay around the neck of every
Republican congressional candidate around the country the
way they once did with Newt Gingrich. The GOP and DeLay move
on. And the D’s have to go back to the drawing board and
build a new boogie-man. They don’t have "The Hammer" to kick
around any more.
* Responding to outgoing House Majority Leader Tom
Delay’s charge yesterday in the Washington Times that
Republicans don’t have an agenda or a vision, House
Republicans released a vision statement originally drafted
earlier this year for current House Majority John Boehner:
"We will promote the dignity and future of every individual
by building a free society under a limited, accountable
government that protects our liberty, security, and
prosperity, for a brighter American Dream."
Game, set, match - DeLay.
* Last week in England, Secretary of State Condi Rice
said to reporters, "I know we’ve made tactical errors (in
Iraq), thousands of them I’m sure." That remark appears to
have rubbed the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, the
wrong way. When asked about Rice’s remark in a radio
interview yesterday in Fargo, ND, Rumsfeld expressed
puzzlement. "I don’t know what she was talking about, to be
perfectly honest," Rummy said, suggesting the remark
indicated that Rice didn’t understand warfare.
Such a conflict between two mega-personalities within the
Bush administration does not bode well for what already
appears to be a lame duck administration.
* "Cuba’s communist government has announced its
candidacy for the United Nations’ new Human Rights Council (HRC),"
reports CNS News. "The HRC is replacing U.N. Commission on
Human Rights (UNCHR), long criticized because rights-abusing
states were accused of seeking admission to block criticism
of themselves and their allies."
In other words, the more things change…
* Massachusetts this week became the first state in the
nation to REQUIRE that every one of its citizens "have some
form of health insurance." The poor will get "free"
taxpayer-funded insurance and those who can afford their own
insurance but elect not to will be severely penalized.
Businesses who do not offer insurance to their employees
will now have to pay the state a new $295 per employee tax.
In unrelated news, Massachusetts also announced its
intention to run against Cuba for the UN’s new Human Rights
* So Katie Couric is going to take Dan Rather’s place on
the CBS Evening News. In other words, the more things
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
"I am a Republican because, like Ronald Reagan, I believe
that freedom is America’s most important product."
- Late Reagan adviser Lyn Nofziger
Rolling Snake Eyes in Gambling Fight
Posted By Chuck Muth On March 26, 2006
While I recognize that an inordinate amount of hypocrisy
is almost a prerequisite for politicians, the examples of
such never cease to amaze, especially when it comes to
Republicans. Which brings me this week to Rhode Island. And
no, believe it or not, this does NOT relate to liberal
Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee for a change.
Here’s the deal. Back in 1973, the people of Rhode Island
held a constitutional convention in which a state-run
lottery was approved. Then, in 1981, the state Supreme Court
expanded the definition of "lottery" to include what became
known as "video lotteries." You and I know "video lotteries"
by their common name: slots.
Anyway, video lotteries have since been approved for two
Rhode Island "facilities," one in Lincoln Park and the other
in Newport Grand. You and I know "facilities" by their
common name: casinos. The big difference being that the
"house" in Lincoln Park and Newport Grand isn’t a
privately-owned company, but the state. So the net revenues
generated at the facilities aren’t profits, they’re,
Enter the Narragansett Indian tribe and Harrah’s
Entertainment. The two have partnered up together to open a
privately-owned casino in West Warwick, RI. In both 2004 and
2005, state legislators passed bills allowing the people of
West Warwick to vote for themselves on whether or not they
wanted to approve the new privately-owned casino in their
town. However, the state’s Supreme Court overruled the
General Assembly, saying the bills were unconstitutional.
To reach this decision, the court played one heck of a
game of legal Twister. Remember, the constitutional
convention in 1973 only empowered the state to run a
lottery. It said nothing about casinos. Then in 1992, slots
were renamed and reclassified as video lotteries in order
for the state to "constitutionally" open up the two
government-owned casinos. But now that a private firm wants
to open up a competing casino, the court laughingly ruled
that the constitution only allows the state to run a casino
by equating a full-scale casino to a number-drawn lottery.
Thanks to this goofy ruling, the only way for the people
of West Warwick to get a chance to vote for themselves
whether or not to approve the proposed privately-owned
casino is for the entire state to first vote on a
constitutional amendment which clarifies the clear language
of what is already crystal clear to the Average Joe: that
casinos and lotteries are two completely different things.
But the only way for a constitutional amendment to make it
on the ballot in Rhode Island is if the General Assembly
approves and submits it. There’s no petition option for
citizens to gather signatures and place a measure on the
Now here’s where the world-class hypocrisy comes in to
Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri boldly proclaimed earlier
this month, "Let the people decide." He was talking about a
measure which would allow citizens to gather signatures to
put an issue on the ballot without having to go through the
General Assembly. But when asked about letting the people of
West Warwick decide for themselves whether or not to approve
the privately-owned casino, Carcieri just says no. Why the
forked tongue on letting "the people decide"?
"We already have gambling in Lincoln and Newport," the
So? If there are already casinos in his state, what’s the
big deal about letting "the people" in communities OTHER
than Lincoln and Newport have a casino, too? Well, because
ALL of the revenue from the Lincoln and Newport casinos goes
to the state government - while the net revenue (after
taxes) from the proposed West Warwick casino would go to a
Indeed, in objecting to a privately-owned casino project
proposed for Johnston, RI, Gov. Carcieri actually said, "For
every dollar such a new casino takes from Newport or
Lincoln, Rhode Island is losing 35 cents. Why put a third
one in when it will draw from the other two?"
You see, the government hates competition. There’s no
objection to gambling. There’s no objection to casinos. A
casino in another town would be fine, according to Gov.
Carcieri, but only "if it’s operated and controlled by the
state." Which is kinda like the old saying that you can get
your car in any color you want…so long as it’s black.
It’s bad enough the Supreme Court decided that a tree was
a goat, but for Gov. Carcieri to take a position that the
people should be able to decide important public policy
matters EXCEPT when those matters might limit government or
promote free-market competition really takes the cake.
If Gov. Carcieri was anything close to an actual
Republican, as opposed to a Lincoln Chafee Republican, he’d
pressure the General Assembly to put the constitutional
amendment on the ballot in November and let the people
decide if the government should continue to hold a monopoly
on gambling operations in the state. And if the people say
they want free-market gaming competition, then the people of
West Warwick should get to decide if they want a casino in
their back yard at the earliest opportunity.
Anything less on Gov. Carcieri’s part is pure,
unadulterated hypocrisy. And it’s darned hard to swallow.
The War On
By Chuck Muth
March 6, 2006
"Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that
drinking soda can be hazardous to your health."
Look for that warning label on bottles and cans of Coke,
Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper and even Hawaiian Punch in stores
near you in the not too distant future...that is, if the
Health Nannies and the Trial Lawyers get their way. An
Associated Press story this week reports that nutrition
"experts" are "escalating the fight" against obesity, and
they appear to be changing their focus from fast-food to
"In reports to be published in science journals this
week, two groups of researchers hope to add evidence to the
theory that soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks don't just
go hand-in-hand with obesity, but actually cause it," the AP
reports. "Not that these drinks are the only cause, but that
they are one cause, perhaps the leading cause."
And once "science" takes that leap, the AP predicts the
results could be "higher taxes on soda, restrictions on how
and where it is sold - maybe even a surgeon general's
warning on labels." As Barry Popkin, a "scientist" at the
University of North Carolina boasted, "We've done it with
Yes, they did. And many of us fought the three-headed
hydra of government bureaucrats, trial lawyers and junk
scientists in their war against Big Tobacco. The bottom line
for our side was simply that no one was pointing a gun at
anyone's head and making them smoke cigarettes - just as no
one is making anyone drink sodas today. But that didn't
matter to a lot of fair-weathered conservatives who
willingly joined the War on Tobacco simply because they
didn't like cigarettes. Freedom and responsibility?
Fuggetaboutit. Let's just get rid of Joe Camel, right?
Well, we tried to warn you people. And I'm not hesitant
in the least to say, "I told you so." You allowed the hydra
to get its nose under the tent. And now, flush with cash and
success in "getting" Big Tobacco, they're coming for your
Yoo-Hoo and your Pepsi. Serves you right.
Of course, some of you will still blow off this
encroachment on freedom as nonsense. The government would
never crack down on Gatorade the way it did Marlboros,
Wrong. They're already doing it. In legislatures and
local governments across the country, a quiet but growing
movement is already well underway to ban soda machines in
schools. After all, what self-respecting social engineering
project would dare move forward without a "for the kids"
In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - who should
know better -- signed two bills last fall banning vending
machine sales of sodas, chocolate bars, crackers, chips,
candy and other "junk" foods. The bills' sponsor,
Democrat/Socialist state Sen. Martha Escutia, justifies her
Big Brother bill thusly: "The benefits of having kids in
class who are not on a sugar high, who are going to be able
to concentrate and learn better - that's just as important
as the obesity aspect."
Yes, dear reader, you read that right. The War on Soda is
actually an effort to help kids learn better!
Forget about hiring competent teachers, paying them more,
raising standards, dumping No Child Left Behind, getting
back to basics, breaking up the government monopoly on
education, providing school choice and kicking the teachers
union out of the classroom. No, all we really need to do to
raise student performance is kick the Coke machine out of
the school cafeteria.
The California bans take effect in July 2007, and let me
tell what's going to happen. Kids will continue to drink
their favorite beverages. They'll continue to eat Snickers
and Ding-Dongs. And if they can't purchase them on campus,
they'll purchase them off campus. In addition, a black
market in Fritos and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups will pop up
under the gymnasium stands, as young entrepreneurs recognize
the new demand and fill it from their back-packs.
Psssst. Wanna buy a Twix?
Eventually, the Dudley Do-Gooders such as Sen. Escutia
and Gov. Schwarzenegger are going to pursue legislation to
crack down on the Twinkie black market, banning not just the
vending machines on campus, but penalizing mere possession,
thus equating snacks with the likes of marijuana - which is
already sold on campuses and the use of which only fuels an
even greater demand for potato chips and donuts.
Hmm. I guess marijuana IS a gateway drug after all.
Eventually, our kids are going to be sent to the
principal's office or suspended for getting caught sneaking
a Hershey's bar between classes. Somehow I don't think this
is what the Founders had in mind when they promoted the need
for an educated populace in order to maintain our liberty.
But does anyone care any longer?
Posted By Chuck Muth
April 20, 2006
The Associated Press ran a story this week on Milwaukee’s
school voucher program, "the nation’s oldest and largest
school voucher program," maintaining that there is "no
clear-cut evidence after 15 years that sending youngsters to
private school at taxpayer expense yields a better
As if that was the argument, even if true.
First, public education and public schools aren’t the
same thing. If communities have a compelling reason to
assure an educated populace, that doesn’t necessarily mean
the government needs to run the schools. Indeed, a
compelling argument could be made exactly opposite.
Second, the only reason the AP cites to back up its
contention that there is no "clear-cut evidence" that
vouchers work is the fact that the teachers unions and other
education establishment advocates object. But there’s no
clear-cut evidence that anything the teachers union or
education establishment folks say on this subject should be
And lastly, school choice isn’t, or at least shouldn’t
be, about "proving" that the education received in private
schools is better or worse than that received in the public
schools. It’s about giving PARENTS, not the
government, the power and right to make that choice.
Chuck Muth’s News & Views, 5/30/06
May 30, 2006
WAR TAX FINALLY KILLED
"The Spanish-American War was fought in 1898 and lasted
less than eight months, but Americans still pay an excise
tax on phone service that was imposed to finance it. Last
week, a mere 108 years after the end of that conflict, the
Bush Administration moved to terminate the levy. Its
duration is something to keep in mind the next time you hear
a politician call for a ‘temporary’ tax. Treasury Secretary
John Snow said the Internal Revenue Service will no longer
collect the 3% federal excise tax on long-distance phone
calls and will offer refunds for the past three years."
- Wall Street Journal, 5/30/06
THE REAL LITMUS TEST ON THE RIGHT
"Republican members should insist that party leaders stop
undermining (spending) restraint by using their positions
for parochial gain. They ought to stop supporting leaders
who call themselves conservatives just because they favor
tax cuts. The real litmus test for conservatism is
leadership on spending cuts and a willingness to forgo pork
to set a good example for the rest of Congress."
- Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute
STUCK ON STUPID
"In America, the minute gasoline prices start to climb,
the entire nation is transformed into a horde of gibbering,
whining, state-dependent automatons… Republicans,
demonstrating once again how urgently they want to reclaim
the title of the Stupid Party back from the Democrats…want
to offer every American a $100 tax rebate. Just like that.
One hundred dollars to spend how they please and the
Treasury will just have to deal with it."
- Times of London columnist Gerard Baker
KNOWING MANURE WHEN HE SEES IT
"Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona says he
grew up on a farm, ‘so I know manure when I see it.’ His
colleagues think Mr. Flake is the real farm nuisance,
however, after he tried and failed to strip spending
earmarks from an $18.4 billion agriculture bill that passed
the House this week.
"Mr. Flake counts 400 ag-bill earmarks in all, ranging
from $100,000 for the National Grape and Wine Initiative to
$180,000 for tomato production, to $229,000 for dairy
education. The point of the latter was to ‘improve the image
of the dairy industry.’ These are precisely the kinds of
earmarks that have proliferated by 1,100% in the last decade
and that Republicans claimed to have sworn off only weeks
ago. Yet Mr. Flake’s amendment to strip them won only 93
- Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal, 5/27/06
PRETTY BIG DIVIDE
"The Senate and House started miles apart (on the
immigration bill), and as a result of some amendments that
were offered in the Senate, miles have become moons apart or
- Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee, Houston Chronicle, 5/28/06
MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
"As President Bush’s poll numbers drop dramatically even
among his base, the question most frequently asked by angry
Republicans is: Why, oh why, is Bush so stubbornly rejecting
the advice of his supporters even though that advice is
consistent with the thunderous message from public opinion
- Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum
HONESTY ON IMMIGRATION BILL
"The words ‘path to citizenship’ is a buzzword for
amnesty. We ought to be honest, it is amnesty."
- Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee, "Meet the Press," 5/29/06
DEAL OF A LIFETIME
"Illegal aliens will have to ‘pay taxes’: That’s no
penalty; they’re supposed to pay taxes. In fact, according
to Sen. Chuck Grassley, under Bush’s plan illegals would
have the option to only have to pay three of their last five
years in back taxes.
"They have to ‘keep their nose clean’ : Big deal. So does
everybody else. They have to get a tamper-proof ID card: Oh,
the humanity! They’ll have to stay employed: But isn’t that
why they came here, to do jobs Americans won’t? They’ll have
to learn English: That’s a benefit to the illegal.
"…Most of these ‘benchmarks’ would be required of any
legal immigrant. They are in no way burdensome, yet (White
House spokesman) Tony Snow makes them sound almost
oppressive. The only real punishment on the entire list is
the fine. Know what it is? A measly $2,000 payable in two
$1,000 installments. When you consider what illegals get for
their two grand, it’s the deal of a lifetime."
- Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, ripping apart
the White House’s immigration policy, National Review
MORE RIGHTS THAN A REAL CITIZEN
"Some people are worried that amnesty will give illegal
aliens the same rights that American citizens have. In
reality, it will give the illegals more rights than the
average American citizen. Since most of the illegals are
Mexican, that makes them a minority. Under affirmative
action, combined with amnesty, they would have preferences
in jobs and other benefits. Those who set up their own
businesses would be entitled to preferences in getting
government contracts. Their children would be able to get
into college ahead of the children of American citizens with
better academic qualifications."
- Columnist Thomas Sowell
NEW TUNE, SAME ‘OL CANNON
"Four years ago, U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon told the audience
at a Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
dinner: ‘We love immigrants in Utah. We don’t make
distinctions between legal and illegal.’ . . . A prominent
champion of immigrant rights in Washington, Cannon says he
hasn’t changed his position. Instead, he has repackaged it
in reaction to a nationwide backlash against illegal
immigration. . . . Cannon, who has unsuccessfully sponsored
congressional bills that would legalize farmworkers, provide
in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrant students
and legalize those who excel in their studies, is a
perennial target of anti-immigration forces."
- Los Angeles Time, 4/30/06
AS GOES CANNON, SO GOES IMMIGRATION ISSUE
"Late next month, just as the conference committee that
will decide the fate of an immigration bill gets down to
business, a GOP primary for a Utah House seat in the
country’s most conservative congressional district may set
the boundaries for any legislation that has a chance of
passing both the House and Senate.
"Illegal immigration is the key issue in the race, and
should five-term incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon of Provo lose
to a restrictionist challenger, look for House Republicans
to dig in their heels and block any bill that creates a path
to citizenship for illegal aliens. ‘House Republicans are
already spooked about immigration, and should one of our own
lose on the issue, you will see panic break out,’ one GOP
congressman told me.
"…Right now, things don’t look good for the Utah
Republican. His standing among party activists has clearly
been weakened by the images of recent mass demonstrations of
illegal aliens. In the final round of voting at the GOP
state convention two weeks ago, Mr. Cannon was outpolled,
52% to 48%, by political newcomer John Jacob. Because no one
won the necessary 60% of the convention vote to avoid a
primary, the two will go head to head at the ballot box
- John Fund On the Trail, OpinionJournal.com, 5/30/06
Congress Chooses Pork Over Bullets
By Chuck Muth
May 24, 2006
"It appears that the House and Senate have agreed that
the supplemental emergency spending bill will not exceed the
amount requested by the President in an effort to avoid a
veto," writes a Hill staffer to me this morning.
"What they have NOT agreed to is removing the earmarks
included in the Senate bill. Therefore, any earmarks agreed
to by the conference will come at the expense of our
fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Katrina
reconstruction efforts in the Gulf Coast. This once again
underscores how Congress’ addiction to pork not only
undermines our nation’s economic security, but also our
This is outrageous.
First, there shouldn’t even BE an "emergency" spending
bill for Katrina relief and the War on Terror. After five
years of fighting the War on Terror, military appropriations
should be included in the regular budget. Ditto relief
efforts for Katrina. That disaster occurred last September,
and billions have already been shelled out for relief.
Where’s the "emergency"?
That being said, the "emergency" supplemental is a
reality. The White House requested around $94 billion and
the House approved around $94 billion. The Senate, on the
other hand, loaded this baby up with pork and earmarks,
swelling the bill to over $108 billion.
Now, apparently, the House and the Senate have agreed to
keep the bill at $94 billion. But since the Senate refuses
to give up any of its earmarks, that means some $14 billion
is going to have to be cut from what is supposed to be
"emergency" money needed for the war and hurricane relief.
If Congress chooses pork over bullets, President Bush
should veto this bill whether it comes in at $94 billion or
not. This unconscionable spending has to end!
Spending Bill Still Out of
URL to article:
Posted By Chuck Muth On June 13, 2006 at
The House and the Senate have reached a compromise on
H.R. 4939 - the Iraq-Katrina supplemental appropriations
bill. The bill designates the entire $94.4 billion as
“emergency” spending, thus getting around the budget
resolutions already in place.
This is the largest appropriations measure ever
considered by Congress. And while the agreement stripped out
the $700 million requested for Mississippi’s “Railroad to
Nowhere,” there are still several areas of concern, as
outlined below by a Capitol Hill staffer who forwarded it to
me this morning…
Items of Possible Concern
o $44.5 million provided to the “Former Soviet Union
Threat Reduction Account” or “Nunn-Lugar Program” which aids
in the dismantling of WMDs in the former Soviet Union.
o In addition to not being requested by the White House,
this item was not contained in either the House or Senate
passed version (i.e., it was added in conference).
o Provides $710.7 million for research and development
(R&D) activities, $291.3 million below the House-passed
level. It is unclear how such R&D funding is urgent,
unforeseen, or temporary, therefore meriting inclusion in a
war supplemental as opposed to being funded through regular
o The agreement appropriates $37.9 billion for activities
related to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $808
million less than the president’s request.
o The total includes $3 billion to train and equip Iraqi
security forces - including military, protective services,
border patrol and police - and $1.9 billion for Afghan
security personnel and the new Afghan Army. The total is
roughly $1 billion less than requested.
o The agreement provides $228 million in unrequested
funds to support advance procurement of seven new C-17
o $230 million in unrequested funds for the V-22 Osprey
o Provides $17.5 million for police and judicial reform
o Army Corps of Engineers construction funding includes
$30 million for flood control work in Sacramento, Calif., $2
million for the Hawaii Water Systems Technical Assistance
Program and $1.5 million for North Padre Island, Texas. In
addition, the bill provides $16 million for
hurricane-damaged projects in Pennsylvania.
o The agreement allows the transfer of up to $140 million
in funds provided for Navy shipbuilding by this measure and
the supplemental appropriations provisions of the FY 2006
Defense Appropriations law (PL 109-148) for infrastructure
improvements at Gulf Coast shipyards with existing
shipbuilding contracts. (i.e., Northrop Grumman) The
language replaces Senate-passed language that would have
allowed the department to pay the costs of any business
disruption to facilities or businesses incurred by a ship
construction contractor as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
o Like the Senate bill, the measure provides a separate
$176 million allotment, available until expended, for
planning and construction for a new Armed Forces Retirement
Home in Gulfport, Miss.
o Provides $10 million for AmeriCorps funding.
o The agreement provides $702 million for the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) Emergency Relief Program. The
funds provided by the agreement would be available until
expended and would be used on projects identified on a
Federal Highway Administration table, except for those
projects addressed elsewhere in the measure. The agreement
provides $108 million more than the Senate bill; the House
bill had no highway funding; White House did not request
o The measure rescinds $702 million in funds that were
apportioned to states from the Highway Trust Fund, but were
not obligated, excluding funds for safety programs or for
population areas in a state. Conferees direct the FHWA to
allow each state maximum flexibility in making adjustments
among the apportioned highway programs.
o The bill proposed to pay for this funding with a
rescission of excess highway contract authority. However,
since the language does not also adjust the annual
obligation limitations, it is unlikely to result in outlay
savings and thus real savings to the taxpayer (according to
Republican Study Committee).
o The agreement includes $500 million in assistance for
agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, in
areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes. The House bill did
not include such provisions (nor did the White House request
any), but the Senate bill provided $3.9 billion for
agricultural producers affected by a number of events,
including floods, droughts, and wildfires.
o $40 million for sugarcane producers in Florida, $40
million for sugarcane producers in Louisiana, $95 million
for the Livestock Compensation Program, $45 million for the
Livestock Indemnification Program, $95 million for producers
of specialty and nursery crops, $17 million for dairy
farmers, $15 million for producers and first handlers of the
2005 cottonseed crop. Language providing flexibility for
aquaculture producer grants is also expected to cost $8
million. It also allows $9.6 million in funds to be used on
o $90,000,000 for the National Marine Fisheries Service
to provide technical assistance to States and industry for
oyster bed and shrimp ground rehabilitation and to undertake
cooperative research to monitor the recovery of Gulf
fisheries; and not to exceed $5,000,000 to assist fishermen
to recover from severe economic impacts due to fisheries
disasters declared in 2005. (Not requested by the White
House or House)