Monthly Archives: April 2010

Debate: Oil and the Iraq War – Reed Clifton vs. Gregory Hilton

Reed Clifton of Portland, Maine is a professional musician concentrating on folk, country and blues. He was born in northern New Jersey. He describes his hometown as a “New York City suburb/inner city ghetto, and spent much of his early life as a product of his environment. After cleaning up his life he attended college in California’s San Joaquin Valley. In college he began frequenting country music clubs such as Trouts in the Oildale section of Bakersfield, and his love and appreciation of country music grew.” He describes his philosophy of life by saying: “Some folks journey’s take them on sidewalks, mine goes over Everest. Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Continue reading

25th Anniversary: Jeane Kirkpatrick Who Denounced “The Blame America First Crowd” Retires as U.N. Ambassador by Gregory Hilton

Monday will mark the 25th anniversary of the day Jeane Kirkpatrick stepped down as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. One of the high points of my career at the American Security Council was being able to work with her. I first knew the Ambassador as a professor at Georgetown University when she a Democrat and a great admirer of Sen. Henry Jackson (D-WA). She worked on his 1972 and 1976 presidential campaigns, and there were many conservative Democrats in those days. Continue reading

April 25, 1980 – 30th Anniversary of Desert One, Hostage Rescue Attempt in Iran Fails by Gregory Hilton

It was 30 years ago today that eight U.S. servicemen died at the Desert One site south of Tehran, Iran. Their bodies had to be left behind, and at the time it was described as the worst humiliation the U.S. had ever suffered. Continue reading

Governor Who Promised No State Income Tax Now Supports It by Gregory Hilton

That was then, this is now. In September of 2008, Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA) said her opponent, State Sen. Dino Rossi (R), was wrong. He based his gubernatorial campaign on a no new taxes pledge, and claimed she favored the adoption of a state income tax. The Governor responded vigorously by saying the accusation was “a big lie.” The Governor said an income tax would be “unwise and unrealistic.” Continue reading

We Made a Difference: Americans Can Be Proud of our Role in Afghanistan and Iraq by Gregory Hilton

For the past two days my Wall has been filled with comments from libertarians and liberals. They both advocate the same isolationist foreign policy, and a significant part of their anger is directed towards the U.S. missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading

House Votes 403 to 11 to Condemn Iran But Ron Paul Defends The Islamic Republic by Gregory Hilton

Last night the House of Representatives voted 403-11 to proceed with a conference which would further isolate Iran by cutting off its supplies of refined petroleum products such as gasoline. Under the proposed law, companies that export gasoline to Iran would be barred from the U.S. market. Despite Iran’s massive oil reserves, the country has limited refining capacity and has to import the gasoline it requires.
The lawmakers are acting to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said last night, “We have waited long enough for diplomacy to work.” Many lawmakers told the House last night that Iran’s intentions are clear, and “now is the time to implement crippling sanctions on this reckless regime.”
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, was once again in the forefront of those rushing to defend the Islamic Republic and its nuclear weapons program. Paul led the opposition to the “Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act,” and told the House:

I rise in strong opposition. I object to this entire push for war on Iran, however it is disguised. . . We hear war advocates on the floor today arguing that we cannot afford to sit around and wait for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon. Where have we heard this before? Anyone remember then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s oft-repeated quip about Iraq: that we cannot wait for the smoking gun to appear as a mushroom cloud. We need to see all this for what it is: Propaganda to speed us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests. . . A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran.

Ron Paul is the only Republican who has consistently defended Iran’s President when he makes statements such as “Israel should be wiped off the map.” Congressman Paul has also repeatedly justified the actions of terrorists who have attacked the United States. He also accuses the CIA of being in the drug business and says they need to be “taken out.” Paul is considered a champion of the “9/11 Truth” movement.
They believe the NYC Twin Towers were packed with explosives. Many liberal activists are understandably enthusiastic about Rep. Paul. One group assisted in the funding and production of one of his TV ads, and the organizations website continues to promote meetings of Paul supporters.
Reps. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) are the only two lawmakers who voted against a resolution condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his statements calling for the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jews. The resolution outlined the reasons why the Iranian leader was in violation of the UN Genocide Convention.
In October 2009, Ron Paul and Kucinich were the only two Members of Congress to vote against H.Res.175 condemning the government of Iran for “state-sponsored persecution of its Bahá’í minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.”
On January 9, 2009, Paul and Kucinich were once again in the minority on a 390-5 vote recognizing Israel’s “right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks” and reaffirming the U.S.’s support for Israel.
Ron Paul is also the only 2008 GOP presidential candidate who refused to support John McCain in the general election.
I sure wish a national Republican leader would step forward to condemn the many radical and dangerous statements of Ron Paul and his supporters.

The New Climate Change Legislation: All Eyes on the Chamber of Commerce by Gregory Hilton

Senate Democrats led by John Kerry (MA) are expected to unveil their new national energy legislation on Monday, April 26th. It will be known as the American Power Act but the details are still secret. The legislation is expected to appeal to conservatives by expanding nuclear power and allowing more off shore drilling.
Its fate could well be determined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which is now involved in negotiations with the Obama administration. The Chamber was in forefront of the opposition to the climate change legislation in the House, but they could now shift sides if the bill is altered significantly.
President Obama said on Friday his administration would shift its focus to climate change after finishing financial regulatory reform. The President said “This is one of these foundational priorities from my perspective that has to be done soon.”
The cap and trade national energy tax passed the House last year on a 219 to 212 vote. The bill would require emissions of greenhouse gases to be reduced by 17 percent by 2020. Speaker Pelosi secured the victory despite the opposition of 44 Democrats.
If enacted cap and trade would be the largest tax increase in American history, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the cost at close to a trillion dollars. CBO said the average American household could pay an additional $1,600 a year because of cap and trade, while other studies had a higher cost. The House passed the measure despite the fact that only 33 percent of voters believe global warming is mainly caused by human activity.
This was one of the major promises in last year’s presidential campaign. In January of 2008, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) described his proposal:

Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants…natural gas…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was…would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers…So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being omitted.

The good news is that the prospects for stopping cap and trade are excellent, and as of today the Democrats only have 26 solid votes in favor of the House plan. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has signaled the upcoming Democratic strategy change by saying, “I think the term ‘cap-and-trade’ is not in the lexicon anymore.” Even Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has acknowledged that Congress may take years before it passes a global warming cap and trade bill.
The new energy legislation will be somewhat similar to health care. The House passed a health care public option but it was immediately rejected by the Senate. Now the Senate is expected to abandon cap and trade. The editorial in yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor noted:

A successful US cap-and-trade program in the 1990s reduced emissions known to cause acid rain from coal-burning plants. But the program was limited in its scope, and simple. Relatively few plants slowly switched to low-sulfur coal or added scrubbers.
Scaling up this idea for greenhouse-gas emissions – and allowing the trading of permits for green projects around the world – is asking for trouble. Public confidence in curbing global warming could nose-dive if a cap-and-trade plan results in a slew of dubious schemes.
One climate bill reportedly to be introduced in the Senate may dilute a cap-and-trade system by also offering a gasoline tax – a proven way to cut the burning of fossil fuels but one that may be anathema to voters. Before Congress leaps into cap-and-trade, it should take a lesson from voluntary offsets: Buyer beware.

As usual, radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is speaking for many conservatives in questioning the need for any climate change legislation. He recently said, “Computer models can not predict within hours where the wind will take the ash cloud from Iceland. Nevertheless, we are supposed to significantly alter our lives because of what similar computer models say global climate temperatures are going to be in 50 years. All of liberalism is a giant hoax. It’s just a giant lie with a bunch of subset of lies to support the big one.”

BOOK REVIEW: “Nothing for the Nation: Who Got What Out of Iraq” (2008) by former Congressman John Hostettler (R-IN)

Many Republican candidates are attacking President Obama this year, but John Hostettler is the only one to criticize Obama for abandoning the anti-war lobby. According to the Evansville newspaper, he "accused Obama of abandoning his anti-Iraq War views. 'The one person, the one person who can get us out, who has unilateral authority to get us out, doesn't want to,' he said."

Book Review by Gregory Hilton
Former Congressman John Hostettler (IN) is now running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. He is in a primary with former Senator Dan Coats and State Senator Marlin Stutzman. The incumbent Democrat Evan Bayh surprised everyone by announcing his retirement on the day before the filing deadline. The GOP now has an excellent chance to capture this open seat. Continue reading

Is Rand Paul Too Kooky for Kentucky? by Gregory Hilton

Based on data from the past decade, 63% of all traffic fatalities involve people who are not wearing seat belts. For the sake of his wife and children, I hope Rand Paul will buckle up.

U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) continues to have a significant lead in both the primary and the general election. His opponents have powerful issues to use against him, but with a month to go they are not having much of an impact.
A survey sponsored by his opponent, Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R-KY), shows a tight race among likely primary voters, but Paul is maintaining a 15% lead in four independent polls. One of Grayson’s ads quotes Paul as saying America was responsible for the 9/11 attack, but the frontrunner has since changed his position on this and several other key issues.
Paul is the strangest Senate candidate to emerge in the 2010 cycle. He talks of his opposition to the North American Union (NAU), which he claims will be similar to the European Union. He also says he does not want the Amero currency to replace the dollar.
This raises eyebrows because neither the NAU or an Amero exist, and no one is planning on creating them. There has never been a bill in Congress to establish an NAU. It only exists as a topic among the conspiracy theory crowd, and their fears are fanned by articles on the websites of WorldNetDaily and the John Birch Society.
Benjamin Sarlin, a journalist previously associated with the New York Sun, interviewed Rand Paul and said he:

“echoed his father’s strong isolationist streak. He brought up fears of a united North American government, including Mexico and Canada, that would replace American currency, an idea he said was being actively promoted by David Rockefeller. He doesn’t discount all conspiracy theories. ‘Some of the fears of world government are legitimate,’ he said.
‘When you hear about the ‘Amero,’ a new North American money,’ he said, ‘you might say that those people are just conspiracy theorists. But if you said the same thing about the euro 30 years ago they would have said, ‘Oh, you’re crazy, we’ll never get rid of the pound and those currencies, and lo and behold we have a euro currency. So some of the fears of world government are legitimate.’ . .
Paul’s father was criticized during his presidential race for speaking out against a nonexistent federal plan for a ‘NAFTA superhighway’.
“Asked whether he believed the Trilateral Commission and other groups had a secret agenda to control the world, Rand Paul . . . was not entirely clear how much distinction there was between his position and the John Birch Society.”

Rand Paul has repeatedly said he wants to “preserve personal liberty, and repel national security threats without intruding into personal lives.” Similar to the Libertarian Party, personal choice is one of his major themes, and his definition is unusual. For example, he doesn’t believe automobile passengers should be required to wear seat belts, and says “I think the federal government shouldn’t be involved. I don’t want to live in a nanny state where people are telling me where I can go and what I can do.”
Since 1968, Federal law has required all vehicles to be equipped with seat belts, but legislation requiring vehicle occupants to wear seat belts is left to the states. Based on data from the past decade, 63% of all traffic fatalities involve people who are not wearing seat belts.
For the sake of his wife and children, I hope Rand will buckle up. It does impact your personal choice when the law says you can not drink and drive, or you can not speed in a school zone. Most of us have common sense and understand the importance of these laws, and I do not know any lawmaker who is trying to repeal the mandatory seat belt requirement.
Rand Paul’s father was the 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, and Rand also wants to overturn all bans on public smoking. It costs a considerable amount to support emergency assistance for traffic fatalities, and we all pay in increased health-insurance costs when smokers are ill.

The 2010 Campaign: Cook Political Report Predicts 30 to 40 Seat GOP House Gain by Gregory Hilton

Based on current survey research data, if the election was held today Republicans would gain 8 seats in the U.S. Senate (AR, CO, NV, DE, IN, PA, IL and ND). Democrats would still be in control but their majority would shift to a narrow 51 to 49 lead. Republicans are also heading towards impressive gains in the U.S. House of Representatives. This will be a welcome change for them after losing 54 seats in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Continue reading