News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru] - firstname.lastname@example.org (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Poverty in Arkansas but Government saving US with Liberalism
"I grew up in the Delta and I need to start reminding folks of the truths of why we are so Economically distressed. Yes it does fall back onto Fat Cat politicians protecting their farm labor force, ie cheap regulated workforce in maintained poverty." - Harvey Edwards Excerpt of article by Harvey Edwards, Stuttgart, Arkansas: We are the poorest of poor with the richest of rich politicians. Therein lies the coorelation of our delima. Big Government has formed a feel good program administered by Congress in the form of The Delta Regional Authority. All aspects of their program involves rhetoric rather than action. Their own website has such feel good statements as “The Delta Regional Authority is involved in numerous efforts to improve the lives of the people it serves” and one of my favorites “The authority has launched a major diabetes awareness and prevention program, serving people in all 240 counties and parishes of the region.” . . .
It is obvious to see that the Government should get out of these feel good programs and rely on the business sector to put folks to work. If a person needs funded diabetes awareness programs, it is still because too many have been left behind and don’t even have proper nutritional habits. They just cant afford good nutrition. . . . We are an Agricultural region that depends on cheap or illegal immigrant workers to even turn a profit on the farms. The Farmers cant be blamed, they are at the mercy of price controls on their seeds and chemicals to the point that they are lucky to break even in a good year. Many Farms are folding as we speak. Without our economic muscle , the manufacturing and textile and other small business we are doomed to failure no matter how much so called grants or Subsidies go into the region. Subsidies are another word for Welfare since it is tax dollars going to prop up a failing business.
When will we let developers have some incentive to come in and build our economy. No, we had rather tax large and small business to the point that they would rather go somewhere, anywhere else. Our Government has made their exit easier with NAFTA and other trade agreements. The Official line is that this is good for America. Bull, Tell that to the rice farmer who cant sell his rice to Mexico but has to buy chemicals and seeds manufactured by American Companies in Mexico and other countries.using other than American Labor. . . .
Our State level Government at the Senate and House along with Mayors and Governor need to take a step back, yes back. See what part they are taking in continuing our backwards development and open their eyes to what they can do in spite of their special interests. Its simple, Incentives to Small and large business to stay and grow in Arkansas or other affected areas and to NOT tax them as a way of welcoming them. Put American people to work . Give them back some of the self respect that Government has taken away. . . . [Read More] Tags:Arkansas, Arkansas Delta, big government, Mississippi Delta, povertyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
A PA judge sentenced 4 young men who committed armed robbery to learn English, get GEDs and get jobs. According to an immigration attorney, having to learn English is "absolutely un-American" and a "really onerous task".
Please notice, everyone talks about poor robbers having to go to jail if they don't learn English.
Going to jail would NOT be for not learnig English -- IT WOULD BE FOR HAVING COMMITTED ARMED ROBBERY!
Plus, not taking up the judge on the very generous bargain!
Tags:armed robbery, English, illegal immigrants, robbers, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Contrary to the claims last year of Sen. Barack Obama, it was never the financial services industry (in my experience) that lobbied for easier lending terms. Rather it was politicians who sought easier lending regulations so more constituents could borrow. Community activists (Mr. Obama’s occupation before becoming an elected official) also put on the pressure.
And as Heritage scholar Ronald Utt details, the government’s drive to increase homeownership rates is at the heart of the current financial crisis. After mortgage lenders lowered their standards so credit-impaired borrowers could afford larger loans (usually including no down payment, interest-only payments and negative amortization), homeownership did soar from a historical average of 64% to 69% in 2004. But along with the increased homeownership came a ballooning of the share of “subprime” loans in the overall mortgage market. In 2001 these loans accounted for just $330 billion or 15% of all residential mortgages. By 2006 there were $1.4 trillion of these loans accounting for 48% of all residential mortgages.
Things started to go south for subprime borrowers when housing prices began to fall. As many subprime borrowers found their house worth less than what they owed the bank, the percentage of delinquent borrowers soared to 17%. Many are hopeful that the bottom has been reached and that the market will soon revive, but this seems unlikely. As a consequence, the homeownership rate is likely to fall from its record levels near 69% to something closer to the long-term historic norm of 64%. Under the circumstances, government policies should focus on cost-effective ways to facilitate the transition to a sustainable housing market of fewer homeowners and/or lower home prices, as opposed to a costly exercise to prop up the inflated and unsustainable market that characterized 2004 to 2006. The sole role of government in this process is to ensure that markets are functioning, that full and accurate information is available, and that contracts are honored . . . [Read More] Tags:Barack Obama, Heritage Foundation, home ownership, Morning Bell, subprime, the economy, The FoundryTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:campaign ad, economy, Election 2008, John McCain, political video, presidential candidate, taxesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Two Muslum countries, Indonesia and Pakastan, have already taken action to block YouTube, for making available the anti-radical Islamic film, Fitna, by a Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The 16 minute film includes a mix of images of terror attacks, verses from the Koran, and menacing quotes by radical clerics and others. The film has also drew criticism from the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). As well as banning Wilders’ film, hardline Muslims called for the death of the Dutch legislator for producing a film critical of their faith at a protest in the outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta. The film, Fitna, the Arabic word for “religious discord”, accuses the Koran of inciting violence. It appears, Wilders has clearly made his point by the reactions of the governments and the actions of individuals. Today, it was reported in Brussels, Belgium that Malaysian supermarkets have begun a boycott of Dutch products following the recent release of the film. Also See:The Film Vs. The Faith and Terrorism -- Radical Islam’s Faith-Based InitiativeTags:Arab League, Fitna, Geert Wilders, Indonesia, Islamist, Muslim, Pakistan, YouTubeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senate approved a resolution honoring the sacrifice of those killed in service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From Senate & News Sources: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. Dick Lugar (R-IN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) unveiled the recommendations of the Fiscal Reform Working Group yesterday. The Heritage Foundation has posted the group’s report. According to The Hill, the plan was not received well by leading Democrats. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) “excoriat[ed] the plan.”
In advance of next week’s testimony on Capitol Hill by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the AP reports that a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) “says there has been significant progress in security [in Iraq] since the last assessment was delivered in August.” Unfortunately, Democrats apparently aren’t interested in hearing about political and military progress in Iraq. Though the NIE cites “significant progress,” Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told The Washington Post that he “was discouraged” by the new NIE. Politico reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “warned Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Thursday not to ‘put a shine on recent events’ in Iraq when they testify before Congress next week. Are Democrats really saying they can’t handle positive news from Iraq? Tags:fiscal reform, General David Petraeus, housing assistance, Iraq, Ryan Crocker, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Blogs 4 Borders! 033108: 100% Preventable! Americans continue to pay the bloody price for open borders. When will the madness end? And kidnapping: a defeated crime in America revived by our cheerful invaders.
Tags:Blogs for Borders, crimes, illegal immigrants, kidnappers, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Tony Perkins, Washington Update: The military follows congressional orders. Unfortunately for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the House leadership does not. Earlier this year, the Pentagon refused a request by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to bring her lesbian partner on a military flight to Europe. Under House rules, only a legal spouse (or, in some instances, an adult child) is eligible to travel with members of Congress when space permits. Baldwin, who claims to have "married" Lauren Azar in 1998, insists on registering her girlfriend as a "spouse" on government forms even though her own home state doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. Secretary Gates insisted that he was following Congress's own protocol in blocking Azar from the transport, but that didn't prevent Pelosi from contacting his office and demanding that he make an exception. According to Pelosi, former Speaker Dennis Hastert authorized similar trips. His former aides, however, disagree, saying that in at least one instance Hastert wasn't informed that Azar was on a trip "until it had already begun." Gates too was unaware of any prior exceptions but said that he would honor Pelosi's request if she issued an official letter approving it. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell points to the irony of the Speaker wanting to waive her own rules to create gay-friendly exceptions. "This is not an issue of DOD regulations," Morrell says. "Secretary Gates honored a request from Speaker Pelosi but that's really as far as it goes. This should not be viewed as a precedent." Tell that to the Speaker of the House. Although the matter was temporarily resolved, the dispute is ongoing. There is more behind this than a seat on a military plane, this is about hijacking the meaning of marriage. It is clear that the Speaker's actions are in direct conflict with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)--a law that Congress passed and former President Bill Clinton signed. Call the Speaker's office at 225-0100 and ask her to respect the government's policy on marriage: Congressional Directory Tags:DOD, DOMA, House Speaker, lesbian, military, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Gates, Tony Perkins, Washington UpdateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
CNN: Citizen's Against Government Waste Congressional Pig Book.
Congress is still involved in billions of pork barrel spending. The Pig Book, a report by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) exposes the worst abusers in 2007 who apparently believe that government which governs best is government that earmarks most. Over 11,610 pet projects were squeezed into spending bills last year. The final cost to taxpayers is around $17.2 billion!
Tags:CAGW, Congressional Pork, earmarks, pork-barrel spenders, US Congress, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
But there's more to the rise in food stamp acquisition and usage that the Independent failed to check before creating all this drama.
The increase—from 26.5 million in 2007—is due partly to recent efforts to increase public awareness of the programme and also a switch from paper coupons to electronic debit cards….
The photo (which should have been marked as "file") is meant to imply that America's poor are now standing in line for food stamps, soup, and a warm place to lay their heads for the night. However, according to the Done With Mirrors website, A little poking around on the Getty archive Web site, and I found an identical photo here. It has this caption:
New York Mayor Hands Out Coats To The Poor- People wait on line to receive donated coats at the kickoff of the 17th annual New York Cares Coat Drive a the Bowery Mission November 30, 2005 in New York City. Bloomberg helped give out coats to residents of the Mission and the coat drive hopes to collect and distribute 80,000 coats to needy New Yorkers by New Years. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
. . . [Read More] Tags:Bob Parks, fraud, leftist, Media, Outside the Wire, punditryTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Bob Parks, Outside the Wire: In the case of the oil companies it's not clear who should receive more pity. The corporations, or us. In the case of "Big Oil", our knowledgeable congressmen issued a very public tongue-lashing to the CEO's of America's major oil companies earlier this week. Purely for show, our elected representatives dressed down the leaders of a profitable enterprise, purely because it is profitable. . . .
Introspection is a trait seldom seen on Capitol Hill, that is, unless one of those politicians is issuing some kind of scripted mea culpa. We are all feeling it at the pump, but these congressmen and senators seldom ask what have they done to contribute to the high prices that amount to higher profits for the oil companies?
Food for thought. Thanks to environmentalists and the politicians that suck up to them, American oil companies haven’t been allowed to build a new oil refinery here for over 30 years, while the demand for gasoline has greatly increased since. Thanks to environmentalists and the politicians that suck up to them, American oil companies haven’t been allowed to drill for new oil reserves domestically, while the demand for gasoline has greatly increased since. It’s kind of disingenuous to talk about “energy independence” while doing everything possible to keep us dependent on foreign, sometimes hostile, sources. . . . Biting the hands that make our cars go is stupid, that is, unless you’re a congressman with a taxpayer-funded travel allowance . . . [Read More] Tags:Bob Parks, gasoline, gasoline tax, Outside the Wire, US CongressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Mi Blog Es Tu Blog saw the ad in the current issue of Quien magazine."In an Absolut World anything can happen including getting the US-Mexico border straight once and for all."...You may become so drunk you might even imagine you're inAztlan.
Contact: The Absolut Spirits Co., Inc., Jeffrey Moran, Director of Public Relations & Events, 1370 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10019; Ph: 1 212 641 87 20; E-mail
“We can have no "50-50" allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all." - Teddy Roosevelt Tags:Aztlan, La Raza, Reconquista, Teddy RoosevelTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On The Senate Floor: The Senate begins debate on a compromise housing bill worked out by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL). The New York Times provides a summary of the bill's provisions. Fortunately, the compromise omitted Majority Whip Dick Durbin's proposal to allow bankruptcy judges to adjust mortgage rates, a policy that would undoubtedly lead to higher mortgage rates on responsible homeowners and borrowers. However, an amendment to restore this provision will be the first to be considered today.
Also in the Senate, the Banking Committee is holding a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase and Bear Stearns. Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee began a markup and is expected to vote later on the nomination of Catharina Haynes to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. CQ Today notes that Republicans on the committee will take the opportunity to press Democrats on the glacial pace of confirmation hearings.
From Senate & News Sources: Later today, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell will hold a press conference with members of the Fiscal Reform Working Group: Sens. Dick Lugar (R-IN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). They will unveil recommendations for reforming the earmark process. The New York Times reports the panel will “recommend a change in Senate rules to require that all earmarks be set forth explicitly in the text of spending and tax bills, not buried in committee reports.” Roll Call reports, “the proposal will include new disclosure requirements such as requiring all earmark requests to be posted in a searchable format online 48 hours before the Appropriations Committee begins work on the bill and expanding conflict of interest disclosure rules that would require staff members to disclose any benefits they or their family members would receive from an earmark. A ‘full justification’ provision would require Members to identify the primary beneficiaries of an earmark as well as explain why the recipients are worthy of receiving federal funding and to disclose whether the funding will be used in a competitive bid process.”
Also, The Washington Post and The Washington Times have good editorials on Iraq. The Post discusses the fighting in Basra, writing, “the decision by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to launch an offensive by government forces to seize control over the vital port city of Basra ought to have been welcome. Those who portray every development in Iraq as negative described the fighting as proof of worsening sectarianism or as a negation of the improved security achieved in the past six months. In fact, it was neither.” Tags:earmark reform, housing assistance, Iraq, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign released yesterday a new web ad. The ad, entitled "American Heroes," tells the story of John McCain's Episcopal High School teacher and football coach, William B. Ravenel, who had a profound impact on his life. The ad details the honor code John McCain has faithfully lived his life by, taught first by his parents and reinforced by Mr. Ravenal in high school.
Tags:American Heroes, Election 2008, heroes, John Mccain, presidential candidate, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gary Bauer: Congress "huffed and puffed" yesterday, April fools day no less, in a hearing called to bash the executives of U.S. energy companies. Desperately looking for someone with lower approval ratings than themselves, congressional Democrats spent several hours railing against "Big Oil." But alas, at the gas station this morning, there was no change in the price of a gallon of gas. Why? Because gas prices aren't "set" by Exxon or Shell, no matter how much virtually all liberals believe they are. And no matter how much hot air comes out of Ted Kennedy, high prices are likely to continue to put a hit on family budgets.
Here are some of the reasons we won't see significantly lower prices anytime soon. First, billions of people in India, China and elsewhere are entering the economic mainstream. As their incomes rise, they want what you and I want --T.V.'s, air-conditioners, microwaves, automobiles and more food. These demands put upward pressure on all energy prices.
Second, the same liberal Democrat politicians who are pointing fingers at U.S. oil companies have systematically restricted access to U.S. energy supplies. Oil companies have been blocked from drilling in parts of Alaska, significant parts of the Outer Continental Shelf and elsewhere. And it isn't just oil. We haven't built new nuclear power plants or refineries in decades because of environmental pressure. Coal, which America has an abundance of, is under attack by Al Gore and his friends. So far, only natural gas has escaped the energy bashing. So, of course, prices are going up as demand increases and as liberal policies stifle supply.
Third, a big part of the cost of gas is the cost of Big Government. The federal gas tax plus the average state gas tax costs consumers nearly fifty cents per gallon. Residents of California, Connecticut and New York are paying sixty cents or more. Perhaps we should have an investigation of Big Government, too!
The result is that more and more of our oil comes from very unpleasant, hostile places in the world - the Middle East, Venezuela, Russia, etc. Governments, including our own, are stockpiling oil for fear that a future war or terrorist attack could severely restrict supplies. Put it all together, and it translates into the ugly prices you see at the pump.
The truth is that if we didn't have companies like Exxon discovering oil and bringing refined gasoline to us, we would be paying a lot more. And no liberal politician I am aware of has ever discovered oil or fueled anything, except perhaps his or her own ambition. There is one way guaranteed to get prices down fast - a deep U.S. or global recession. People without jobs to go to certainly use less gasoline. And if Democrats in Congress follow-up on their threats to raise taxes and continue to bash the capitalist system that has given our country great wealth, a deep recession may be exactly what we get. And when that happens, I doubt any of us will be applauding the lower prices at the pump. Tags:big government, foreign oil, Gary Bauer, gas prices, gas tax, liberals, oil companiesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: While most companies have started to feel the squeeze of our sagging economy, business has never been better for Planned Parenthood. Although the organization couldn't be more controversial, its profits have never been higher, according to the group's 2006-07 annual report. For the first time in history, Planned Parenthood has surpassed the $1 billion mark in annual income, a milestone made possible by $336 million of your tax dollars.
Despite the rash of bad publicity, Planned Parenthood received a $31.4 million pay raise in taxpayer funds--a 10.8 percent increase in the "nonprofit's" government revenue. Adding to the windfall, Planned Parenthood's clinics worked overtime for an extra 24,707 abortions in 2006, six times the number of casualties from the entire Iraq war. All together, its abortion mills put 289,650 unborn babies to death in the year 2006 alone. This is an increase of more than 20,000 aborted babies from the year before. All from an organization whose supporters say they want to make abortion rare?
Planned Parenthood also makes a tidy sum sowing its wild oats in the next generation of abortion customers. The group sold more than 1,400,000 "emergency" contraception kits, in many instances making transactions without as much as a medical exam.
While the public is increasingly skeptical of Planned Parenthood's operation, it has yet to put a dent in the organization's bottom line. For that, we need your help. The majority of Americans wouldn't invest in a company that conspires in sexual crimes against children, accepts racially-motivated donations, promotes pornography to kids, devotes millions to the election of pro-abortion politicians, and uses unsanitary equipment to treat patients. Unfortunately, through Medicaid and Title X, the federal government is forcing taxpayers to do just that.
Please sign the petition to President Bush, which FRC will deliver to the White House, asking him to approve new Title X regulations that will ensure no federal money goes to subsidize the abortion facilities of groups like Planned Parenthood. Ask the President also to ensure that legitimate clinics are not forced to refer for abortions. Please share this alert with all your friends. Click to Sign FRC PetitionSee also:New Evidence of Racism at Planned Parenthood Tags:Family Research Council, FRC, petitions, Planned Parenthood, abortions, Tony PerkinsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
NRCC is experiencing financial mood swings. On the good side of the equation, according to Politicolthe National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is expected to announce this week that it has paid off every last cent of its estimated $19 million in debt from the last election cycle. In a letter to members, NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) announced it had paid off the balance of an $8 million Wachovia loan from 2006, as well as an additional $10 million in back payments that were still owed to vendors for work done in the final months of that year. According to Rep. Cole, “Going forward, every penny you give the NRCC from your campaign account or raise for our events will be spent only on specials and the 2008 elections.”
On the reverse side, information continues to come out about the thefts by the former NRCC Treasurer. Today, the Washington Post reported that "three more political committees run by House Republicans have accused a former treasurer of diverting campaign funds. . . . In February, after his dismissal from the National Republican Congressional Committee [Christopher] Ward returned $4,200 to Hensarling's PAC and $3,500 to Dent's committee, FEC records show. The NRCC has accused Ward of diverting at least "several hundred thousand dollars" from committee coffers into his personal accounts. The FBI is investigating." See prior report:Former Treasurer Embezzled NRCC Funds Tags:FEC, fund raising, NRCC, Republican National Committee, RNC, election 2008To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
"This is no longer about past preferences or differences. It is about what is best for our country and for me that means that Republicans should close ranks behind John McCain," Fred Thompson. You are invited to sign the Roll Call and comment at Vets4McCain.com
Tags:Election 2008, John McCain, presidential candidate, Roll Call, veteransTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On The Floor: The Senate resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 3221, which will be the vehicle for the housing bill. Yesterday, the Senate voted 94-1 to move forward with consideration of housing legislation after Reid and McConnell agreed to let Dodd and Shelby try to write a compromise bill. While the Senate Banking Committee works on housing, the Joint Economic Committee is holding a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke this morning. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL) are currently working on putting together a bill which Majority Leader Harry Reid would like to have on the floor later in the day.
From Senate & News Sources: In an op-ed for Human Events, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell laid out some of the key issues facing Congress during its two month work period leading up to Memorial Day:
If Democrats want to help homeowners, they need to work with Republicans on proposals that will draw substantial bipartisan support. Republicans have proposed new tax benefits for struggling businesses, new Truth-in-Lending requirements, expanded protections against foreclosure for returning veterans, and FHA reform to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes.
. . . “it’s been nearly a year since the Director of National Intelligence asked Congress to modernize our nation’s electronic surveillance laws. The House had a chance to make the necessary changes before the recess. But it chose an irresponsible path instead, passing an amendment to the bipartisan Senate bill that included none of the things the Director of National Intelligence had called for. . . .
General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will be here next week, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. Under the leadership of these two men, our prospects for protecting America’s national security interests in the Persian Gulf have improved. Our men and women in uniform have protected the Iraqi people, scattered Al Qaeda, deterred militias, and helped create an environment that has led to progress not only at the tactical level, but in governing and reconciliation.
Unfortunately, Democrats continue to ignore political and military progress in and are yet again trying to figure out how to retreat from Iraq, according to stories by the AP and Politico. All of the Democrats’ various withdrawal plans over the last year were defeated and a majority of Americans still do not support precipitous withdrawal. Democrats would do well to actually pay attention to what Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker say, instead of simply plowing ahead with more plans to leave. Tags:Federal Reserve, FISA, housing assistance, Iraq War, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Congress returned yesterday but today on April Fools Day many "progressives" prepare to play the fool, or at least attempt to fool the public by advocating legislation with "nice title" but whose content is designed to expand government and to reduce individual liberty and choice. In the Senate: There will be a vote on the motion to reconsider cloture on the motion to proceed to the housing bill. If the motion is agreed to the Senate is expected to take up H.R. 3221, which will be used as a vehicle for the housing legislation, S. 2636. The bill previously failed to get cloture in February because Democrats insisted on pre-approving Republican amendments to the bill.
Senate Republicans are again interested in offering sensible ideas on housing. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia has proposed a one year $15,000 tax credit for people purchasing a foreclosed house. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the proposal “will raise the value of homes and increase the stability and security of neighborhoods that have been hit hard by foreclosures.” Sen. Reid has called this and other GOP ideas “A good starting point.”
However, there are troublesome provisions in the Democrats’ bill. Particularly problematic is language which would allow bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgage contracts and change interest rates. Because of the increased risk this would impose on lenders, this provision would force interest rates on mortgages higher. The White House has said it would veto the bill because of a provision that would allow bankruptcy judges to change the terms of a homeowner’s mortgage.
From Senate & News Sources:U.S. News & World Report notes, “[m]ore people would be hurt than Democrats say will be helped—for example, more than 400,000 people in New York state and more than 500,000 people in Illinois . . . .” Las Vegas Review Journal editorialized today, “Who the heck would loan money in the form of a low-interest mortgage, if judges are empowered to unilaterally alter the terms of that contract later on? A stable economy depends on the presumption that the courts will enforce legitimate contracts. President Bush should stand firm in his refusal to endorse this dangerous nonsense.”
In other Congressional news, Roll Call reports today that the Colombia Free Trade Agreement continues to face stiff opposition from unions and many of their Democrat allies on the Hill. Sen. McConnell urged Democrats to allow the agreement to be approved: “The Colombia Free Trade Agreement is more than an act of friendship between allies. It would also strengthen our economy, and it would send a strong signal to Colombia our other Latin American allies that the U.S. stands with those who support strong markets and free societies in the face of intimidation and threats.” Tags:Columbia, Free Trade, housing assistance, mortgages, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Increased Severance Tax Will Hurt Arkansas Economy
by Ryan Norris, Pulaski County GOP Committee Chairman: As a child, I spent my summers on my grandparent’s farm and fishing in their stock pond. While I waited for a fish to take the bobber under, I killed the time by throwing rocks into the still surface of the water and watching the ripples travel in perfect rings to the shore. So you can imagine my bewilderment as have listened to Arkansas state representatives and senators discuss an increase to the severance tax in the middle of the Fayetteville Shale and then deny that there would be ripples. Here are a few of the ripples that I perceive with an increase on the severance tax:
1) Ultimately a consumer will pay the increased tax. The severance tax is based on the “market value” of natural gas when it is sold to the “first purchaser.” The drilling company extracts the gas and processes it for sell to a distributor. The distributor, or “first purchaser,” is then charged the cost of the drilling and processing, plus the increased severance tax. The distributor then adds on his costs for distribution, which now includes the increased severance tax, and passes that cost on to his customers. The customer then pays the cost of the drilling, processing, distribution and all applicable taxes. To increase the severance tax is to increase taxes on the general public that use natural gas. The Governor is quick to point out that the natural gas companies have accepted the severance tax increase. But why shouldn’t they? The consumer—not the company—will ultimately pay for it. The companies need only to collect the tax for the state.
2) Natural gas companies will invest less in Arkansas. While conducting a study on the economic impact of the Fayetteville Shale, the University of Arkansas Center for Business and Economic Research (UACBER) asked the drilling companies if they would limit their investment, if the severance tax was increased. The response from the companies was “yes.” According to the study, there would be a loss of over $2.4 billion in the first five years of drilling, due to decrease in investment.
3) Less investment will mean fewer jobs created. When the cost of a product goes up, the most expedient way to cut overhead is through layoffs or hiring fewer people. According to the Fayetteville Shale study conducted by Kathy Deck, director of the UACBER, nearly 3,000 fewer jobs would be created over a five year period if the severance tax was increased to five percent. What voters should note is that Gov. Mike Beebe is willingly and knowingly choosing to forgo Arkansas jobs that could produce a projected average of $480 million in revenue per year so that he can raise a tax that will produce a $100 million for highways.
4) A plan for spending the money doesn’t exist. The Highway and Transportation Department does not have a plan for the funds, and further adds that the projected funds will not fully fund all highway projects throughout the state. The Highway Department will be on an honor system that they should spend the money as the governor wishes, but the senators controlling the purse strings of these taxes have said that if they believe that the money is not being spent the way that they believe that it should be spent, then they are more than willing to redirect the severance tax funds. There is nothing in the bill that mandates that future General Assemblies cannot move the money to other projects.
It is the duty of the voters to question the logic by which their government is operating, and all eyebrows should be lifted and magnifying glasses out as we scrutinize the governor’s proposed bill. He is asking us to believe that you can charge a higher tax on a specific industry and that the industry will continue with business as usual, even though the companies themselves have said otherwise. During those summers at my grandparents, I may have thought that I wasn’t in school and therefore not learning anything, but now that I think about it, throwing rocks in a pond and counting ripples might have taught me enough to be governor.Tags:Arkansas, increased taxes, Mike Beebe, Pulaski County, Ryan Norris, severance tax, special sessionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Rest in Peace Matt, you served bravely and you did your duty, you’re coming home now, and your Mom and Dad can have some peace in just knowing your fate, I hate the word closure, but for lack of a better word, maybe they can finally have some closure. All our love and sympathy to the Maupin family, and to ALL the families of our brave troops that have given their lives in the line of duty. H/T Texas Fred for update onAP Story - The father of a soldier listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004 said Sunday that the military had informed him that his son's remains were found in Iraq. Keith Maupin said at a news conference in suburban Cincinnati that an Army general told him DNA testing had identified the remains of his son, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, or "Matt" as he was commonly known. Lt. Lee Packnett, an Army public affairs officer in Washington, confirmed that the Maupins were notified Sunday that their son's remains had been identified. Packnett said an official statement about the identification would be released Monday.
Matt Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy, part of the 724th Transportation Company, was ambushed west of Baghdad. A week later, the Arab television network Al-Jazeera aired a videotape showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles. That June, Al-Jazeera aired another tape purporting to show a U.S. soldier being shot. But the dark and grainy tape showed only the back of the victim's head and not the actual shooting. . . . A month after his capture, Maupin was promoted to the rank of specialist. In April 2005, Maupin was promoted to sergeant . . . [Read More] ARRA: Where is the outrage by the news services concerning the Specialist Maupin's murder by Islamic extremists and the broadcast of the murder by Al-Jazeera? Tags:Iraq War, MIA, military, TexasFred, US ArmyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Gary Bauer: After months of controversy, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders was finally able to release his film critical of Islam called "Fitna." In the 15-minute movie, Wilders argues that the jihadists attacking free societies are not distorting Islamic teachings. In fact, Wilders says, they are inspired by the Quran's many verses that justify violence against non-believers. Wilders says the Quran is a "fascist" book.
The reaction has been predictable and depressing. Islamic websites have called for Wilders to be killed-threats that can't be ignored. In 2004, another Dutch filmmaker, Theo van Gough, was murdered by a jihadist in Amsterdam after he released a film about the mistreatment of women in Islamic societies. Muslim demonstrators in a number of countries have demanded that western nations pass laws forbidding criticism of Islam, and Wilder's film has been condemned by European officials and the Secretary General of the U.N., who said "incitement" against a religious faith should never be allowed.
It is hard to take the Secretary General or the European Union seriously in their outrage over this "insult" to Islam. Everyday in the Palestinian territories-on T.V., in movies and in music-there is a steady diet of incitements against Jews, who are routinely compared to apes and monkeys. Palestinian students are taught that Jews use the blood of kidnapped Muslim children in Jewish religious ceremonies. Where are the condemnations from Europe or the U.N. for this incitement? In fact, the exact opposite has happened-Europe and the U.S. are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidies into a new Muslim Palestinian State being built on a foundation of hate and incitement.
The reaction of European politicians to Geert Wilders' film is proof that radical Islam has already cowered too many Western leaders into silence. Many people are so worried about literally losing their heads that they are willing to lose their democratic values of free speech and open debate. Certainly radical Islam is a threat, but long-term, the greater danger to our liberty may be internal-the lack of resolve to defend western values against the demands of the new fascism. ARRA Note: Under pressure, fitnathemovie.com "has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy. Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation." We can guess who have complained. Talk about a violation of freedom of speech - especially when the truth is provided. Before the movie (video) is removed - view the short film by clicking here. Tags:Fitna, Gary Bauer, Geert Wilders, Islamic Violence, Quran, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Without conservatives stepping forward this year to challenge Arkansas three "unlimited government" democrat U.S. Representatives, the ARRA News Service previously decided to examine and address other congressional races in the U.S. We have already addressed two congressional races in Pennsylvania and have placed links our sites for Lou Barlettaand William Russell. This weekend, I learned of a third candidate worthy of note in Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District: Chris Hackett. My good friend Doug Welch in Stixhas identified that:
Chris Hackett is a no nonsense conservative running against a liberal college professor that took the seat in 2006. This is who we need to go against the overpowering CONgress Critters that think the Government is the answer to all of our problems. The Republican Party needs people like him to run and get back on track to be the party of smaller and less government. . . ."The Republican Party is a party in need of conservative leadership. Chris is a bold leader who will work tirelessly to restore the core principle of the GOP - limited government."
While the ARRA would like to focus on Arkansas U.S. Congressional and a Senate races, since we have been left empty handed, we will continue to focus on other races in the U.S. as well as with Arkansas state congressional races that offer candidates that support limited government, traditional values and other aspects of the conservative message. If you know of any other U.S. congressional or Senatorial candidates like Chris Hackett, please leave a comment with the information and we will follow-up on your lead. Tags:Chris Hackett, Elections, 2008, PA, Pennsylvania, US CongressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Personal Tweets by the editor: Dr. Bill - OzarkGuru
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