CHUCK MUTH'S NEWS & VIEWS

The good, the bad & the ugly. Liberal excesses. Conservative successes. Clowns to the Left. Jokers to the Right. Read all about 'em in Chuck's FREE hard-hitting, no B.S. newsletter of current events and political goings-on you won't find in the "mainstream press."

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Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. Mr. Muth is a professional campaign trainer, a newsletter publisher and talk-show host who regularly appears on political TV and radio programs.

Saturday

News & Views, 10/9/04


POST-DEBATE DEBRIEFING

Here’s a special News & Views EXTRA with some thoughts on last night’s second presidential debate between John Kerry and John Kerry...er, I mean George W. Bush.

* George W once again showed himself to be the Road Runner president. Every time the opposition thinks they have him trapped...Beep! Beep!...he escapes. Kerry, the Democrats and their liberal allies in the media thought for SURE they had W down for the count after last week’s debate. Beep! Beep! Bush left ‘em in a cloud of dust last night as the anvil conked JFK in the noggin. Splat.

* I loved this post-debate assessment by my friend Kay Daly over at the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary: “The last debate, Bush had sort of that ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look. This debate, Kerry had that sort of ‘deer-strapped-to-the-hood’ look.”

* They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The president must be extremely flattered that John Kerry took to such heavy smirking last night.

* Kerry didn’t appear presidential. Heck, he didn’t even appear senatorial. He appeared prosecutorial. As though the President of the United States was some kind of serial child molester and Kerry was trying to obtain a conviction from the jury. And he wasn’t even that good at THAT.

* My favorite part of the debate, of course, was when the President refused to be silenced by the debate moderator, Charles Gibson. He just stood up and made his point, ignoring the objections and efforts to restrain him by the French...er, I mean Gibson. Damn your “rules,” sir. This is for all the marbles. Doggone it, I’m President of the United States. Leader of the free world. And I WILL be heard. What a cowboy. No wonder he can’t hold any “summits.”

* If you believe John Kerry and John Boy, whatever bad things may have happened in your life over the last four years, George W. Bush is responsible for them. Got crabgrass in your lawn? W did it. Got ring around the collar? Blame Bush. Leaky faucet in the kitchen? It’s all George’s fault. Now, I know one has to “go negative” in a campaign...but negative charges have to bear some credibility. Everything, including negative campaigning, can be taken to an extreme. The Two Johns, in this regard, are extremists...to the max...big time.

* MLK said, “I have a dream.” JFK Jr. says - over and over and over and over and over and over again - “I have a plan.” Got crabgrass in your lawn? Kerry has “a plan.” Ring around the collar? Kerry has “a plan.” Leaky faucet? Kerry has “a plan.” A plan for this. A plan for that. To every season...plan, plan, plan. There’s a plan for every purpose...under heaven. Which - with apologies to my friend Adrian Cronauer - begs the question: Where have all these plans been for the last 20 years? Kerry’s been in the Senate since the mid-80s. If he has the answers to all the world’s problems, why hasn’t he offered up his “plans” as legislation before now? Are they “secret plans”?

* The president made one MAJOR mistake last night. When talking about his opponent’s liberal voting record, he inadvertently referred to Sen. Kerry as Sen. Kennedy. What’s it say that nobody noticed...or felt it worth taking the time to correct? Two peas in a pod. They’re interchangeable.

* Kerry is a liberal. Big time. He’s a liberal’s liberal. But boy, he sure doesn’t want to be called a liberal. After President Bush whipped out the ol’ “L-word” last night, Kerry went to great pains to tell the world that “labels don’t mean anything.” Yes, they do. And Kerry knows it. The label “liberal” does to Democrat presidential candidates what sunlight does to vampires. Just ask fellow Massachusetts LIBERAL Mike Dukakis.

* This election will turn on the one issue of the war on terrorism. Bush has told the nation where he stands. Many don’t agree with him. But they DO know where he stands. Kerry, on the other hand, has told the international community where he stands...or not...sometimes...depending on which day it is...and whether or not France says it’s OK. Last night, Bush took to calling Kerry’s various positions on the war “naïve and dangerous.” If that perception indeed sinks into the electorate’s collective psyche (if it hasn’t already), stick a fork in Kerry; he’s done.

* In Debate #1, Kerry stepped in deep doo-doo by telling American voters he’d defend the nation with pre-emptive attacks...but ONLY if the United States passes an undefined “global test” first. Kofi Annan over at the UN missed last night’s debate because he was busy drafting just such a test. Question #1: “What’s France say?”

* Now, in Debate #2, Kerry stepped in a pasture’s worth of deep doo-doo, but this one may have been the Mother of All Cow Pies: The president said, “The truth of the matter is, if you listen carefully Saddam would still be in power if he (John Kerry) was President of the United States.” That’s a damning accusation. Where I come from, them’s called fightin’ words. How did Kerry respond? “Not necessarily be in power…” So, yes, if Kerry had been president, Saddam would probably still be in power...but not necessarily. Maybe yes. Maybe no. It would have depended on what France said.

Case closed.

SURVEY SAYS!

Should NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. be stripped of points and fined for errantly using the “S-word” in a nationally televised interview?

· * Yes
· * No

Cast your vote by clicking the “Survey Says!” tab at www.citizenoutreach.com

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chuck Muth’s News & Views is published by Citizen Outreach, a non-partisan, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. The opinions and views expressed in Chuck Muth's News & Views reflect those of the writers, editors and columnists therein and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizen Outreach, its officers, directors or employees.

Published by: Citizen Outreach
Chuck Muth
Editor/Publisher
611 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, #439
Washington, DC 20003-4303
E-mail: chuck@citizenoutreach.com

Friday

News & Views, 10/8/04


SURVEY SAYS!

Should “Junior” Earnhardt be stripped of points and fined for errantly using the “S-word” in a nationally televised interview?

* Yes
* No
* I don’t give a $#!+

Cast your vote by clicking the “Survey Says!” tab at www.citizenoutreach.com

CRACKING DOWN AND CRACKING SKULLS

“The vigor (Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld put behind the drive on Baghdad has been lacking in fighting the insurgency. The pull back from Fallujah last April was an unimaginable strategic blunder. Marines, backed by Army tanks and precision air strikes, had proven their superiority over the ragtag militia of Ba'ath loyalists, Islamic extremists and al Qaeda terrorists. The U.S. retreat gave the insurgents what they needed most, confidence America was a paper tiger.

“The same mistake has been made repeatedly with Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army. American casualties have been heaviest when on the defensive, as convoys are ambushed and facilities bombed by enemies operating from sanctuaries U.S. inaction has tolerated.”

- William Hawkins of the U.S. Business & Industry Council

ALL WE ARE SAAAAAYING...IS GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

“The AFL-CIO engaged in 20 coordinated demonstrations at local Bush-Cheney headquarters around the country on Tuesday. In Orlando, things grew ugly when union protestors forced their way inside the Bush-Cheney campaign office there, poured piles of letters onto the floor and injured a Republican volunteer. A local TV station says several protestors face possible assault charges.

“Meanwhile, in nearby Gainesville, a Democratic college instructor who teaches behavioral science punched the chairman of the local Republican Party in the face. Philip McCally faces misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief charges after he was accused of hitting Travis Horn after arguing with him and also punching out a life-sized, cardboard cutout of President George Bush.”

- John Fund, Political Diary, 10/7/04

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CHENEY MOWS DOWN JOHN BOY

“An analogy would be a water pistol against a machine gun. I mean every once in a while he'd (John Edwards) take a squirt at the Vice President and then he'd (Dick Cheney) just and then the Vice President would just turn the, the Howitzer on the guy."

- MSNBC’s Chris Matthews declaring Dick Cheney the clear winner by TKO in the vice presidential debate

SLAYING CASPER THE GHOST

“Dick Cheney won this debate not because he made John Edwards look like a playful puppy, though he did. He won because he drove a sword into the man who wasn't there -- John Kerry. The Democrats are going to lose this election because Americans don't trust them to manage national defense. Cheney ruthlessly reinforced that historic predilection"

- Columnist Phil Boas of the Arizona Republic

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER

“Should Mr. Kerry actually win the presidency now, he'll be stuck with a smiley-faced conniver for vice president, albeit one who would give every American an extra reason to pray for Mr. Kerry's health each night.”

- Holman Jenkins, Political Diary, 10/6/04

SIGH-ZING UP GORE

“Al Gore's sighing in his first debate with Mr. Bush four years ago was worth noting because it was so unmistakably an affectation, done with calculated aforethought to demonstrate disdain, and because the sighs at first made you wonder if he had appendicitis and needed to be rushed to a hospital. But a hospital wasn't needed so much as a lecture on how to act like a polite and humble adult.”

- Columnist Jay Ambrose

BEING ALL THEY CAN BE

“(T)he military today isn't a repository for poor kids with little education and few opportunities in life. The U.S. military didn't get to be the most technically advanced fighting force in the world by relying on a collection of high school dropouts.”

- Brendan Miniter on Democrat charges that only poor, minority kids are being sucked into military service these days, Political Diary, 10/5/04

FLYING THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES

“You're sitting in seat 22A of a Boeing 737 traveling 530 mph at 30,000 feet. The flight attendants complete their beverage service and the in-flight movie begins. At that moment, six terrorists leave their seats in unison. God forbid this happens to you or your loved ones. But if it does, would you want the flight crew to have firearms to stop the terrorists or wait for an F-16 carrying six AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles to be ordered to shoot that commercial airliner out of the sky? Forget about an air marshal being on board -- latest reports show that only around 5% of the 28,000 daily commercial flights in the U.S. have an air marshal.


“...You might know Congress has already passed legislation authorizing armed pilots. Unfortunately for the flying public, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has deliberately dragged its feet on implementing the program. . . . Congress already voted to arm commercial pilots to provide a last line of defense against onboard terrorists. But the Transportation Safety Administration would rather use an F-16 armed with Sidewinder missiles to shoot down a hijacked airliner!”

- The Liberty Committee, 10/5/04

TAKING THE “SERVICE” OUT OF USPS

“Today I visited a relatively new USPS (United States Postal Service) outlet in Sandy, Utah. All I wanted to do was throw some letters in a box and drive-off. After ten minutes of circling the building where it is housed, I realized that this was too much of a ‘service’ for the Postal people. So I had to find parking (not easy because every other would-be postal patron had to as well), get out of my car and walk inside because letter carriers are now too lazy to carry letters from boxes. “Drive-up drop-off letterboxes in Utah are usually only found at Post Offices. It appears they are trying to get rid of even this niggling customer convenience. I have a feeling that FedEx and UPS would battle for corners to put up drop-off boxes if Congress had the sense to open postal services to competition.”


- News & Views reader Jim Dexter

BANNING GAY TEACHERS

“U.S. Senate Republican candidate Jim DeMint, in a leadoff televised debate with Democratic rival Inez Tenenbaum, said homosexuals should not be allowed to teach in South Carolina public schools. . . . DeMint's comment on gays came in response to a moderator's question about a state Republican Party platform plank that opposes hiring gay teachers. . . . ‘If a person wants to be publicly gay, they should not be teaching in the public schools,’ DeMint, a three-term congressman from Greenville, repeated for reporters after the debate ended.”

- The Charleston Post & Courier, 10/4/04 (EDITOR’S NOTE: As you might suspect, I have something to say on this little item. Stay tuned for this weekend’s Muth’s Truths)

OPEN MOUTH, INSERT BOTH FEET

“After saying in a debate a few days ago that he would not favor allowing any openly gay educators to teach in the public schools, (Jim) DeMint added on Tuesday that he also would not want to see ‘a single woman who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend’ teaching in the public schools.

“On Wednesday, DeMint apologized for the comment about unwed pregnant teachers: ‘Sometimes my heart disengages from my head and I say something I shouldn't and that's what happened yesterday ... and I apologize.’ ”

- Politics1, 10/7/04

HOMOPHOBIC KOOK?

“No gay school teachers? Then who's going to teach band?

“You know, it was about time for someone in South Carolina politics to step forward and say something stupid. No, not just goofy, like, ‘I actually voted for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.’ I mean really, really dumb. And who enters stage (far) right, but Congressman Jim DeMint, with his announcement that Carson Kressley shouldn't be allowed to teach home ec. . . . (I)n a single statement, DeMint may have transformed himself from ‘innovative conservative’ into ‘homophobic kook.’ He announced that he supports banning every openly gay teacher from South Carolina public schools.

“...And by the way, how do my fellow Republicans define ‘openly’ gay? If Harvey Fierstein shows up to teach high school drama, does he really have to burst into a chorus of ‘It's Raining Men’ for the kids to figure out his sexual orientation? If a lesbian teacher is spotted with her life partner in the power tools section of the local Home Depot, has she been formally outed? Would Ron Reagan Jr. be allowed to teach civics in South Carolina, given that he apparently falls into that strange category ‘everyone knows he's gay except him’?”

- Columnist Michael Graham, Columbia Free Times, 10/6-12/04

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Chuck Muth’s News & Views is published by Citizen Outreach, a non-partisan, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. The opinions and views expressed in Chuck Muth's News & Views reflect those of the writers, editors and columnists therein and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizen Outreach, its officers, directors or employees.

Published by: Citizen Outreach
Chuck Muth
Editor/Publisher
611 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, #439
Washington, DC 20003-4303
E-mail: chuck@citizenoutreach.com

Wednesday

News & Views, 10/6/04


THE BIG VEEP DEBATE

Last night was the big debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards. It was like watching Albert Einstein debating physics with Forrest Gump. Cheney mopped up the floor with him. Edwards was lucky they didn’t have a “slaughter rule” in place for the debate the way they do in some politically correct Little League baseball leagues. He’d have been out of there by about the fourth question.

Look, this isn’t just my personal partisan “spin alley” here. I’ve been VERY critical of both campaigns for one thing or another. The fact is, John Edwards has a pretty smile...and that’s it. His public policy thought processes are as deep as a paper cut...and just as painful. The idea of John Edwards sitting in command in the Oval Office is akin to imagining my 4-year-old sitting in the captain’s chair of the USS Enterprise. This guy makes Dan Quayle look like Winston Churchill. Edwards may be great wowing naïve juries in a North Carolina courtroom with his “channeling” ability, but he lost the case to Dick Cheney last night...BIG TIME.

Two particular observations:

1.) By the end of the debate, Edwards’ never-ending “We have a plan” responses became a running joke among those of us watching. He and John Kerry have a plan for this, a plan for that. They have a plan for everything. Tired of having your newspaper delivered into your bushes? Don’t worry. The Two Johns have a “plan.” Having trouble with unsightly dandruff? Don’t worry, the Two Johns have a “plan.” And usually, that plan will somehow involve a “summit.” Good grief.

The simple fact is, the planning is easy. The execution is hard (Tip of the Hat to Joe Gaylord). These guys couldn’t execute a U-turn on a deserted country road.

2.) Dick Cheney showed last night that quite often, less is more. Just because he was given 90 seconds or 30 seconds to respond, didn’t mean he HAD to use up his full allotment of time in order to get his point across. While Bush, Kerry and Edwards rarely finish speaking before the red light comes on, Mr. Cheney regularly said he simply had nothing further to add and just moved on to the next question.

For most politicians I think it actually causes physical pain to try to stop talking before their time is up. Cheney did so with doggone-near reckless abandon. Had Edwards followed suit, last night’s debate would have been over in plenty of time for the rest of us to catch the end of the Twins-Yankees game.

And in the Dick Cheney spirit of less-is-more, that’s it for today’s edition of News & Views. More in this afternoon’s DC Confidential. Speaking of which...

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO DC CONFIDENTIAL

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The cost for DC Confidential is just $2.95 per month (billed automatically each month to your major credit card through our secure PayPal system)...OR...you can save ten bucks by signing up for a one-time annual payment of just $25. Just go to: http://chuckmuth.com/onlinestore.htm

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Or simply mail a check or money order to: Citizen Outreach, 611 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, #439, Washington, DC, 20003.

Monday

News & Views, 10/4/04


GOOD LORD, EVEN IRAN IS PRIVATIZING ITS POST OFFICE

“The Expediency Council, the top policy making body (in Iran), on Saturday passed another part of a general plan to rescind articles 43 and 44 of the Constitution which advocate state monopoly of the economy. As per the decision made today, all major industries, manufacturing and service sectors will be ceded to the private sector in a bid to 'prevent the governing system from being a big employer'. . . . Foreign trade, banking, insurance, power generation for domestic consumption and export, telecom and postal service, railway, airlines, and shipping have been singled out by the Expediency Council as the areas that the body prefers not to remain under state monopoly.”

- Payvand’s Iran News, 10/2/04

WE WISH YOU HAD, TOO!

“When I look at my children, sometimes I wish I remained a virgin."

- The late Lillian Carter, mother of Jimmy Carter, as quoted by White House reporter Helen “Crazy Aunt in the Attic” Thomas at the N.Y. Women in Communications breakfast, New York Post, 9/29/04

SURVEY SAYS!

Do you think the first debate put John Kerry back in contention?

· * Yes
· * No

Cast your vote by clicking the “Survey Says!” tab at www.citizenoutreach.com

SPLIT PERSONALITY


“If John Kerry is elected, he would be the first president to deliver the State of the Union AND the rebuttal.”

- Tonight Show host Jay Leno

MAN OF THE UNCOMMON PEOPLE

“On the way to the debate yesterday John Kerry stopped to get a manicure. Now that's the way to identify with the common man in America...get a manicure. Nothing wrong with manicures...but my guess is that less than one percent of the people who are likely to vote for Kerry have ever had one. He would have been better off going to sit in a middle class barbershop somewhere.”

- Talk show host Neal Boortz, 10/1/04

JOHN PAUL JONES OF THE MEKONG DELTA

“Smug, vain and blowing hard, John Kerry presents himself as the gaudily bemedaled John Paul Jones of the Mekong Delta, the war hero who fears no foe. Maybe he doesn't. But he can't reconcile himself to the harsh and unforgiving fact that we're at war again, and this time against an enemy more vile, more depraved and more wicked than any America has faced since becoming a nation 228 years ago.”

- Wes Pruden, Pruden On Politics, 10/1/04

A TRULY FRIGHTENING THOUGHT

“I’ve got your back.”

- John Kerry to a crowd on the campaign trail in Florida Saturday

YOU CAN’T

“You can't have it both ways. You can't say (Iraq) is a mistake and not a mistake. You can't be for getting rid of Saddam Hussein when things look good and against it when times are hard. You can't claim terrorists are flowing across the border into Iraq yet, at the same time, try to claim that Iraq is somehow a diversion in the war against terrorism.”

- President Bush, 10/1/04

ALL TALK AND NO ACTION

"I've never seen a meeting that would depose a tyrant or bring a terrorist to justice.”

- President Bush mocking John Kerry's promise in the debate Thursday that if elected he would call a summit to seek more international help for Iraq, 10/1/04

ONE THING IS CRYSTAL CLEAR

“It cannot be said that Kerry fails to offer a clear alternative to the president. When it comes to dealing with ‘the world,’ meaning the United Nations, Kerry would rather be popular than right.”

- James Taranto, Best of the Web, 10/1/04

REJECTING THE KERRY DOCTRINE

“When he laid out the Kerry Doctrine, he said that America has to pass a 'global test' before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. Think about this: Senator Kerry's approach to foreign policy would give foreign governments veto power over our national security decisions.

“I have a different view. When our country is in danger, the president's job is not to take an international poll. The president's job is to defend America. I'll continue to work every day with our friends and allies for the sake of freedom and peace. But our national security decisions will be made in the Oval Office, not in foreign capitals.”

- President Bush, 10/2/04

NO FRENCH VETO

“The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France.”

- President George W. Bush, 10/1/04

9 OUT OF 10 CHEESE-EATING SURRENDER MONKEYS AGREE...

“Nearly nine out of ten French people would back John Kerry if they could vote in the U.S. election, according to an opinion poll on Friday which showed deep distrust of President Bush since the Iraq war. The poll, published after Kerry and Bush battled over Iraq in a television debate, came as no surprise in the country which led opposition to the U.S.-led war and whose people were dubbed ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ by American Republicans.”

- Reuters, 10/1/04

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THE LYIN’ KING - I

“John Kerry in a press conference last week repeated his accusation that Gen. Eric Shinseki was ‘forced out’ as U.S. Army chief of staff because he wanted more troops for Iraq. The trouble is that the Democratic presidential nominee was spreading an urban myth. The bigger trouble is that it was no isolated incident.

“Sen. Kerry last week also said the Bush administration may push reinstatement of the military draft, when in fact that idea comes only from anti-war Democrats. At the same time, he said retired Gen. Tommy Franks complained that Iraq was draining troops from Afghanistan, when the truth is he never did. Over a week earlier, Kerry blamed Bush for higher Medicare premiums when in fact they are mandated by law (one that Kerry voted for).”

- Columnist Robert Novak

THE LYIN’ KING - II

“(John) Kerry misrepresented the facts numerous times (in his debate with President Bush). For example, he charged that Bush diverted forces from Afghanistan to Iraq. Yet, the commander of both the Afghanistan and Iraq operations, now retired Gen. Tommy Franks, has unequivocally stated that is false. Kerry asserted that Iraq has cost more than $200 billion. But that is almost double the actual cost as determined by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. “Kerry disingenuously denied that he had ever accused Bush of lying about Iraq, but on at least two occasions Kerry has said Bush ‘lied.’ One such incident was reported in Kerry’s hometown newspaper. Kerry also asserted the President hasn’t made bridges and subways safer and provided as evidence that ‘they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there.’ But the subway was not closed. I rode the subway during the convention.”

- George Landrith, president, Frontiers of Freedom

BORDER CONTROL

“Another weak moment (in the first debate Thursday night) came when Mr. Kerry promised to shut Iraq's borders, reducing the number of insurgents. That would be a good trick, since we can't even shut our own borders to illegal immigrants.”

- Columnist Cal Thomas

VOTE M.O.T.S. 2004

“In Kerry's criticism of the Bush administration, he uses four words against Bush as if they were blasphemous: More of the same. I guess he thinks the American people don't like consistency. I'm kinda looking forward to more of the same. More bad guys dead or in jail, more tax cuts, more free people in the world, more straight talk. Even when President Bush uses words that aren't in the dictionary, the American people understand him better than they understand Kerry's double talk.”

News & Views reader Kim Reed of Belvidere, TN

SEN. HAPPY PANTS

“John Kerry detests his opponents. He detests his own staff. He detests anybody and anything that interferes with his political ambitions. Since returning from Vietnam, his main contribution to public discourse has been contempt, not courage. He possesses resentment, not hope. He does not inspire. He sulks.”

- Columnist Michelle Malkin

COMMIES FOR KERRY

“In 2000 the Supreme Court disregarded the voters' choice and installed George W. Bush. Now is the time for all Democratic minded people to stand united, march on ballot boxes and vote in massive numbers to defeat right-wing Republican control of the White House and Congress."

- Election Platform 2004, Communist Party USA

BE LIKE TED

“ ‘John Walker Lindh asked President Bush on Tuesday to commute his 20-year prison sentence for aiding the Taliban,’ the Associated Press reports: ‘His lawyer, James Brosnahan, said that Lindh was fighting alongside the Taliban in a civil war against the Northern Alliance, that he is not a terrorist and that he never fought against U.S. troops. Brosnahan said the sentence should be reduced because Yaser Esam Hamdi, another American citizen captured in Afghanistan on suspicion of aiding the Taliban, is being released after being held for three years as an enemy combatant. . . . ‘Comparable conduct should be treated in comparable ways in terms of sentencing,’ Brosnahan said at a news conference.’

“By that logic, Susan Smith should not only be sprung from prison but given a U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts.”

- James Taranto, Best of the Web, 9/30/04

BEST AND WORST IN CONGRESS

“One annual set of insider ratings I always enjoy reading are Washingtonian magazine's annual review of the best and worse of Congress. A large number of the top Congressional staffers from both parties are surveyed to determine the winners.

“So, you may ask, who are the smartest members of Congress? On the Senate site, it was a virtual three-way tie between Senators Bill Frist (R-TN), Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) and Dick Lugar (R-IN). On the House side, Congressmen Bill Thomas (R-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA) were by far the top finishers...

“And the dumbest legislators? Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) tied for the honor on the Senate side, while Duke Cunningham (R-CA), Kathryn Harris (R-FL), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Karen McCarthy (D-MO) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) took the prize in the House.”

- Ron Gunzburger, Politics1, 10/1/04

DON’T MISS DC CONFIDENTIAL

DC Confidential is Chuck Muth’s daily “insiders” e-briefing published (almost) every weekday afternoon featuring original opinion and in-depth commentary. DC Confidential is NOT posted on a website; rather, it is distributed via email EXCLUSIVELY to paid subscribers.

The cost for DC Confidential is just $2.95 per month (billed automatically each month to your major credit card through our secure PayPal system)...OR...you can save ten bucks by signing up for a one-time annual payment of just $25. Just go to: http://chuckmuth.com/onlinestore.htm

For those without a PayPal account wishing to pay for a full year subscription in advance, you may do so using your Visa or MasterCard by making a $25 or more contribution to Citizen Outreach on our secure website at www.citizenoutreach.com . Donors will automatically receive a free 1-year subscription to DC Confidential.

Or simply mail a check or money order to: Citizen Outreach, 611 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, #439, Washington, DC, 20003.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chuck Muth’s News & Views is published by Citizen Outreach, a non-partisan, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. The opinions and views expressed in Chuck Muth's News & Views reflect those of the writers, editors and columnists therein and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizen Outreach, its officers, directors or employees.

Published by: Citizen Outreach
Chuck Muth
Editor/Publisher
611 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, #439
Washington, DC 20003-4303
E-mail: chuck@citizenoutreach.com

Sunday

Muth's Truths, 10/3/04


CONGRESS FIDDLES WHILE TOBACCO BILL BURNS

Members of Congress will soon return to their districts, hit the campaign trail, kiss some babies and tell more whoppers than Joe Isuzu and Al Gore. And it’ll be interesting to see what kind of tangled web they weave over this mess of a tobacco buy-out bill.


A while back, Congress passed legislation which ultimately was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization. This resulted in U.S. businesses being harshly penalized by other nations. It is universally accepted and agreed that Congress MUST do something SOON to fix their own mistake on this, and there’s a corporate tax bill pending right now, FSC/ETI (pronounced in Washington-speak as “Fisk E.T.I.”) which would, indeed, repair the damage.

But, as Congress is wont to do, Republicans and Democrats have decided to add a host of unrelated provisions to this “must pass” bill in hopes of getting those provisions passed...provisions which otherwise would probably never pass on their own.

For Republicans, it’s a plan to pay tobacco growers a one-time fee to eliminate government price-supports and return tobacco farming to the free market. In other words, make government smaller.

Democrats, for their part, have tacked on a provision which would grant the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) new authority to “regulate” all tobacco products. In other words, make government bigger.

Go figure.

The House passed a bill without the FDA regulation provision. The Senate passed a bill with it. Both houses of Congress are now in “conference” to figure out a compromise, as only Congress can. That usually means both sides will be pretty much unhappy...and you and I will get to pay for it.

But it’s starting to look like no compromise will be found this time...dooming American businesses to continued sanctions by the international community. Here’s how Democrats are predicting this matter will play out between now and election day:

The House/Senate conference will produce a compromise bill which will NOT include new FDA regulation of tobacco. Republicans do, after all, control both houses of Congress. The compromise bill will easily pass the House...giving American businesses the relief they so desperately need, wean tobacco growers from government subsidies and keep the FDA from obtaining the power to ban tobacco products outright. Who could argue with that?

Senate Democrats, of course.

The betting is that if the compromise bill which emerges from the conference negotiations doesn’t include the new FDA regulation authority, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and his merry band of nanny-state Democrat ninnies will filibuster the bill. For those of you who may have attended government schools, that means using the powers of the minority to block any vote at all on the bill, thus dooming it to defeat by inaction.

The Daschle Democrats have elevated such obstruction to an art form.

At that point, Republican candidates in tobacco-growing states, which desperately want the buy-out provision, will begin campaigning against their Democrat opponents for blocking the buy-out...a potent issue down south. This is pure political hardball, and it appears Republicans may have finally learned how to play the game. Democrats have been doing this sort of thing forever.

For example, let’s say there’s a bill upon which almost everyone agrees. But then somebody like Ted Kennedy comes along and attaches a controversial provision, such as raising the minimum wage. Democrats know Republicans won’t accept the minimum wage hike, so the bill dies. Democrats then hit the campaign trail blasting Republicans for not passing the original bill which would have passed if not for Ted Kennedy and his poison pill provision. They wanted the issue more than they wanted the bill.

Now that shoe is on the other foot.

It ain’t pretty. It ain’t fair. And it ain’t good government. But it’s our government. And it’s still the best in the world...which gives you a pretty good idea of exactly how screwed up the rest of the world is.

Maybe now would be a good time to do better. Maybe Congress will see the light. Maybe Congress will pass the corporate tax bill on its own with no tobacco provisions whatsoever. Maybe Congress will agree to deal with the issues of the buyout and FDA regulation separately next year. Maybe pigs will fly.