Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Sending a message

Representatives of the District-based National Center for Public Policy Research were at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal yesterday to hand out “emissions credits” printed on toilet paper.

Printed on each ply are the words ‘Emissions credit” in five languages. The organization said the rolls of toilet paper were intended to “symbolize the failure of the Kyoto Protocol and the futility of emissions-trading schemes.”

Under the European Union’s “CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme,” companies are allotted credits that allow them to emit a fixed amount of carbon dioxide. Companies that reduce their carbon dioxide output, and, thus, don’t use all of their credits, can sell them to companies that are exceeding their C02 allotments.

“Emissions credits aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on,” said David Ridenour, the group’s vice president, “unless, of course, that paper happens to be toilet paper.”

Tax reform MIA

Democrats yesterday jumped on reports that major tax reform is off the list as the White House works on next year’s agenda, with the top House Democrat on the tax-law committee saying President Bush is missing a chance to work with Democrats.

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, said the same thing happened with Social Security, Mr. Bush’s other big reform proposal this year.

“He chose ideology over bipartisanship, and now the American people will lose because neither of these very important issues will be part of his domestic agenda next year,” Mr. Rangel said.

Time magazine reporter Mike Allen writes in the Dec. 12 issue that administration officials have decided to put off tax reform because it “tested poorly” in focus groups, suggesting the need for more groundwork before a push for a bill.

Coming out of the 2004 election, exuberant Republicans like then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had predicted passing both Social Security and tax-reform bills this Congress. But those hopes have been dashed as Mr. Bush has stumbled on his legislative agenda and Congress has instead focused on deficits and spending.

Arnold miffs GOP

Arnold Schwarzenegger stunned California last week by selecting the former deputy chief of staff to Gray Davis, the Democratic governor ousted by the recall that brought Mr. Schwarzenegger to power, to be his own chief of staff,” Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund writes.

“Conservatives are furious that Susan Kennedy, a 45-year-old former acolyte of radical activists Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda, will be Gov. Schwarzenegger’s top administrator, with power to hire and fire staff. Some liberals are angry at her joining a GOP governor; others are bemused. This Wednesday, 450 Gray Davis alumni will fill the state capitol for the unveiling of Mr. Davis’ portrait. Ms. Kennedy will be reunited with Daniel Zingale, another former top Davis aide, who is now chief of staff to First Lady Maria Shriver. Jason Kinney, a [former] Davis speechwriter, quips that Mr. Schwarzenegger has decided to ‘finish the second term of Gray Davis.’ Mr. Davis, for his part, notes that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’

“Some are calling the Kennedy pick the governor’s ‘Harriet Miers moment.’ An executive with low poll numbers, urged on by his wife, makes a bold appointment without proper vetting. That sets off a firestorm of unanticipated criticism. The executive insists he hasn’t changed and asks his allies to trust him.

“That trust isn’t there for Arnold now,” Mr. Fund said. “Several key talk-show hosts have broken with him. During a meeting of the state GOP executive committee last Friday, none of the 18 participants were supportive. Several GOP groups that do vital grunt work in campaigns are in open rebellion. The GOP leaders of both legislative houses have blasted the move. ‘Californians spoke loudly for real change in the recall,’ GOP Assembly Leader Kevin McCarthy told me. ‘This is a tragic move backwards.’ ”

A few examples

“In an interview with Greg Jarrett on ‘Fox News Live’ [yesterday], Bob Beckel said, ‘I don’t know any Democrat that called George Bush a liar.’ Obviously Beckel needs a refresher,” Robin Boyd writes at www.NewsBusters.org, citing some examples:

• In a June issue of Rolling Stone, Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, was reminded by an interviewer: ” ‘You’ve called Bush a loser.’ ” Mr. Reid: ” ‘And a liar.’ ” The interviewer: ” ‘You’ve apologized for the loser comment.’ ” Mr. Reid: ” ‘But never for the liar, have I?’ ”

• On Nov. 18, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, said Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney ” ‘have begun a new campaign of distortion and manipulation.’ The two men could not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,’” Mr. Kennedy said, and ” ‘they can’t find the truth either.’ ”

• Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat: ” ‘The president is a liar. Dick Cheney, the chief architect of the Big Lie, is not only a liar, he is a thief.’ ”

• Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat: ” ‘We know that the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about nuclear weapons in Iraq, about Al Qaeda in Iraq …’ ”

The writer added: “I am not calling Beckel a liar. He just deliberately misled, misrepresented and distorted the facts.”

Ney’s reply

Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican, took out a full-page advertisement in the Wheeling (W. Va.) News-Register and the Martins (Ohio) Ferry Times-Leader last weekend to respond to an editorial in a third newspaper, the Wheeling (W. Va.) Intelligencer, that accused him of abandoning conservative principles and his constituents in two recent votes.

Mr. Ney also briefly addressed an influence scandal in which his name has come up but for which he has not been charged with any crime.

“In a stunning editorial in last Saturday’s Wheeling Intelligencer, this newspaper suggested that by voting against the Patriot Act and voting against the budget reconciliation bill that I had somehow abandoned my conservative credentials and was not working in the best interests of my constituents,” Mr. Ney said in the ad, under a headline saying “Open Letter From Congressman Bob Ney.”

“I voted against the Patriot Act because it has given the federal government unprecedented powers to invade the personal lives of American citizens, including even their library records. Limiting the scope and power of the federal government is a true conservative vote.

“I voted against the budget reconciliation bill because it would have eliminated the Byrd Amendment which has been critical to the recovery of our domestic steel industry,” and because of cuts in Medicaid and other programs, he said.

Mr. Ney added: “Now I recognize that questions have been raised in recent months regarding my association with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. It is for this reason that I have been seeking to meet with the House Ethics Committee for almost a year now. I have sent two letters to the Ethics Committee offering to answer any questions that they might have. To date, I have not received a response.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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