Friday, October 03, 2003


PETA's Latest Excuse For Funding Terrorists

In 2002 the Center for Consumer Freedom first revealed that PETA had donated $1,500 of tax-exempt funds to the FBI-labeled terrorist Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Now, in a story about recent ELF arsons, the Associated Press has published the eighth in a series of different explanations PETA has offered for this misguided (and possibly illegal) cash grant.
Yesterday's AP story notes: "PETA said the money was used to send two people to Washington to testify at a congressional hearing on behalf of an ELF spokesman." Funny -- PETA officials never mentioned this in 2002, when they offered the following explanations:

1) "PETA President Ingrid Newkirk says ... that the ELF donation was for a publication (and not its illegal activities)." [The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2002]
2) "[Newkirk] said she did not remember the check to ELF, which was reported on the organization's 2000 tax return." [ABC News, February 26, 2002]
3) "[Newkirk] also said the money PETA gave to the North American Earth Liberation Front was in response to a request for funds for educational materials." [The Associated Press, March 4, 2002]
4) "Newkirk also confirms that [PETA] donated money to the ELF for 'habitat protection.'" [KOMO-TV Seattle, March 5, 2002]
5) "PETA [said they] contributed $1,500 during the 2000 fiscal year to ELF for education and habitat protection." [The Denver Post, March 6, 2002]
6) "The only reason we did it is because it was a program that we supported. And it was about vegetarianism." [PETA communications director Lisa Lange on "The O'Reilly Factor," Fox News Channel, March 7, 2002]
7) "In April 2001, PETA sent a check in the amount of $1,500.00 to the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office to assist Craig Rosebraugh with legal expenses related to free speech issues regarding animal protection issues." [PETA general counsel Jeff Kerr, letter to U.S. Congressman Scott McInnis, March 14, 2002]

Just to clear up a few points from PETA's many contradictory explanations: PETA's tax return for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2001 (FY2000) lists a disbursement to the "North American Earth Liberation Front." No mention was made of any "press office." And while PETA may claim to have earmarked the grant in question for any number of lawful purposes (depending on what day you ask them), the Earth Liberation Front has no "lawful, charitable, animal protection program activities." Period. In testimony before the House of Representatives last year, even long-time ELF "spokesperson" Craig Rosebraugh was unable to articulate any.

Study Reports Good News on U.S. Air Quality

Air quality in the United States is good and will continue to improve in coming years, according to a newly published report by Competitive Enterprise Institute adjunct scholar Joel Schwartz. The findings of the report, Particulate Air Pollution: Weighing the Risks, challenge the assumption of many activists and politicians that current low levels of particulate matter pose a significant health risk and require increased federal regulation.
The levels of pollutants such as particulate matter have declined dramatically in recent decades and will sink even lower as manufacturers produce new, even more fuel-efficient vehicles and planned reductions in emissions from power plants and industrial facilities go into effect. Despite these improvements, both the Bush administration (the Clear Skies Initiative) and Democrats in Congress have proposed stringent new limits that would be expensive to attain but are unlikely to have any positive public health effects...

Kyoto, Nyet!
...In a subsequent intervention, Putin's economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, elaborated on the Russian position. According to the Moscow Times, Illarionov voiced doubts about global warming being a stable trend, echoing Russian scientists who told the conference that the Kyoto Protocol's advocates had failed to prove that emissions trigger global warming. They pointed at other factors which require more thorough analysis.
Moreover, Illarionov explained that Kyoto would put constraints on Russia's economic growth. He pointed out that the United States and Australia opted out of the protocol after finding out that compliance would be too costly, and that it would be even less affordable for Russia, which has a much smaller economy. He furthermore underlined that Russia could benefit from global warming: warmer temperatures would help increase harvests, cut energy consumption and open ice-encrusted seas to navigation. "Public opinion was artificially focused on negative consequences of climate change, but there are also positive consequences for both our country and the planet as a whole," Illarionov said...

Bush Hating Claims an Innocent Victim
Several Democrats on Wednesday boycotted a Senate committee vote that would have sent the nomination of Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency to the full Senate floor for consideration. The unusual step means further delays in filling the top position at the agency.
While unprecedented in Senate history, the boycott of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing (click on link to see members of the committee) comes as little surprise in an increasingly partisan Washington. Democratic efforts to keep Gov. Leavitt in political limbo aren't about Mike Leavitt -- they're about scoring political points against President Bush.
...The only question that remains is whether or not there will be a political price to pay for such brazen partisanship. For example, Sen. Lieberman has introduced a bill (co-sponsored with Arizona Senator John McCain) he hopes to pass this month to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. It's basically a significant tax on energy use. Sen. Lieberman's decision to forgo a respected public servant's nomination hearing in order to attend a fundraiser -- only then to maneuver to keep his confirmation on hold -- was callous even by Washington standards. Will the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill return the favor and show the Senator from Connecticut the same respect he showed Gov. Mike Leavitt?

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