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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] - editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Doyle Webb New Chairman Republican Party of Arkansas

Former state Sen. Doyle Webb of Benton was elected today (Saturday) as chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, immediately stepping into the post. Webb replaces Dennis Milligan, who did not seek re-election. Webb’s term is two years. A lawyer, he once was chief of staff for the late Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller. Webb will work to make make the party stronger by nurturing local organizations.

Webb and state party treasurer Joseph Wood of Fayetteville were contenders for the party’s top spot. They answered questions and addressed the party’s state committee before the vote. Karen Ray, RPA Executive Direcor said the party’s executive committee will decide on a salary for Chairman Webb. After the election, Webb took charge of the meeting in his new role as chairman. Wood was re-elected state treasurer.
Jason Tolbert, The Tolbert Report, interviewed newly elected Chairman Webb [Thank you Jason]


Tags: Arkansas, chairman, Doyle Webb, GOP, Republican Party of Arkansas, RPA To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senator Jim DeMint on the Auto Bailout

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) cut a great new video against the auto bailout Thursday. His bottom line: "This is a business problem, and it cannot be solved with a political solution. Congress can't manage the auto industry, when it doesn't even know how to manage itself. Instead of using your tax dollars to prop up a failing business structure, it is time for these companies to restructure so they can be competitive for years to come."
Thankfully, enough senators joined Sen. DeMint in derailing the auto bailout, in spite of Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) plea to pass the bailout because, well, you know, "... this is the Christmas season!" Congrats to the senators who held the line and stood up for taxpayers!
H/T Center for Fiscal Responsibility, Americans for Tax Reform

Tags: auto bailout, Jim DeMint, Senate, taxes, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The 'Certified' Teacher Myth

Opinion Journal, The Wall Street Journal: Like all unions, teachers unions have a vested interest in restricting the labor supply to reduce job competition. Traditional state certification rules help to limit the supply of "certified" teachers. But a new study suggests that such requirements also hinder student learning. Harvard researchers Paul Peterson and Daniel Nadler compared states that have genuine alternative certification with those that have it in name only. And they found that between 2003 and 2007 students in states with a real alternative pathway to teaching . . . exceeded those in the other states by 4.8 points and 7.6 points in 4th- and 8th-grade math, respectively, . . . In reading, the additional gains in the states with genuine alternative certification were 10.6 points . . .

The study undermines the arguments from colleges of education and teachers unions, which say that traditional certification, which they control, is the only process that can produce quality teachers. The findings hold up even after controlling for race, ethnicity, free-lunch eligibility, class size and per-pupil state spending. . . . President-elect Barack Obama has expressed guarded support for education reforms like merit pay and charter schools. Yet he chose Linda Darling-Hammond to head the education policy team for his transition. Ms. Darling-Hammond, a professor at Stanford, is a union favorite and vocal supporter of traditional certification. She's also been a fierce critic of Teach for America and other successful alternative certification programs.

Unions claim that traditional certification serves the interests of students. But it's clear that students would be better served if the teaching profession were open to more college graduates. Teachers learn by teaching, not by mastering the required "education" courses associated with state certification. Far from regulating teacher quality, forcing prospective teachers to take a specific set of education-related courses merely deters college graduates who might otherwise consider teaching. . . . [Full Article]
ARRA Editor Note: 1) Telling physics majors, path majors, engineers that they cannot teach their subjects because they were not part of the traditional certification process is more than questionable. They majored in the subject where often teachers teach courses in which they never majored . 2) Telling retired military officers with advanced degrees and successful business executives with degrees that they cannot pursue a second career in teaching because they never followed the traditional certification process is also questionable. 3) Telling people with advanced degrees who were university professors that they are not qualified to teach elementary and secondary school children is more than insulting and definitely protectionism for the union teachers, and 4) Test results have shown home school teachers (parents) are doing very well without the Union's traditional certification programs.

Tags: home school, teachers, unions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Government Controlled Health Care

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: The clash over health care reform is coming sooner than most of us thought. During yesterday's press conference to announce Tom Daschle as head of Health and Human Services (HHS), Barack Obama said the solution to our current economic crisis is government-controlled health care. The next President put conservatives on high alert by promising to add major health components to next month's economic stimulus package.

"It's not something we can sort of put off because we're in an emergency," Obama tried to justify. "This is part of the emergency," he told reporters. Already, the stimulus stands to cost taxpayers more than $500 billion, and unlike other legislation, emergency bills are not subject to open debate or pay-go rules, which ensure that anything Congress spends is paid for up front. For an incoming president hoping to make an immediate impact, it is certainly a cunning move; but for social and fiscal conservatives, this should be cause for great concern. Among other things, Obama's plan would increase Medicaid spending, expand anti-parental features of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and overhaul medical records technology.

In effect, President Obama is using a financial recovery bill as an excuse to redefine social policy. Unfortunately, this approach will obviate a full-scale debate to vet the plan's objectionable details-not the least of which is its mammoth price tag. Meanwhile, the new administration is hoping to deflect any criticism by suggesting that Americans host holiday parties to "brainstorm" changes to the U.S. health system. Seriously, in a speech today, Daschle promised to make a surprise visit to one of these homes and take the ideas directly to the President, as if policy making were some sort of bureaucratic sweepstakes.

Maybe voters will buy the line that this makes them an invested part of the political process. To me, it sounds like a gimmick to cover up the President's plans to ramrod an expanded federal role in health care through the legislature without so much as a candid conversation in Congress. FRC is moving quickly to counter the move with our friends on the Hill, but we need your help. Your leaders must hear from you that camouflaging health care reform in an economic recovery package is unacceptable. If the American people are paying for Obama's reform, surely they deserve a voice in it. Contact your House and Senate officials today and help us hold off the liberals' first strike.

** With the ability to preside over American health policy, Daschle is likely to make significant changes to pro-life guidelines on conscience protections, abstinence education, and abortion policy. For more on his record, please stop by our continuing feature "Change Watch" on www.frcblog.com. Also, don't miss today's item on Greg Craig, a former Clinton attorney and Obama's choice for White House Counsel. **
See also: Change Watch Backgrounder: Tom Daschle

Tags: Barack Obama, Family Research Council, FRC, government, Health and Human Services, health care, HHS, Tom Daschle, Tony Perkins To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

AARP Catching Heat for Cash-Cow Insurance Policies

Well it is not only government that we need to watch, it is appears that AARP retirees may be experiencing being overcharged on policies and other services to covers royalties and fees "kick-backed" to AARP for the use of their name and endorsement. The following article was posted on the website of the Galen Institute, an organization that focuses on health and tax policy. Hat tip to Barbara Linde, Ph. D. , Lakeview, AR submitting to this information to ARRA News:
by Amy Menefee: "AARP Catching Heat for Cash-Cow Insurance Policies" - This was doubtless overshadowed by the election, but the media are noticing now: AARP is in trouble. It has come to light that the seniors' lobby group, which took in $1.2 billion last year, makes more than 40 percent of its revenue from royalties and fees -- up from 11 percent in 1999, Bloomberg reported. The source of that money? The higher prices it charges its members for AARP-endorsed insurance policies.

Bloomberg's December 5 story cited one customer who bought an AARP-endorsed auto insurance policy, while The New York Times reported on health insurance policies November 18. Customers bought the policies under the impression the AARP endorsement meant a good deal, but they discovered otherwise. The auto insurance consumer found he was paying twice the average rate, while the health insurance consumer was shocked to get a hospital bill for tens of thousands of dollars not covered by her policy.

The day before the November election, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to AARP CEO Bill Novelli and letters to insurance commissioners in the 29 states where the health plans in question were sold. “The pitch for these products should be straight up and informative, instead of designed to leave the impression of being comprehensive when the product is, in fact, very limited and leaves consumers seriously in debt if they need intensive medical care,” Sen. Grassley said.

Sen. Grassley demanded answers about AARP's marketing practices, which prompted Mr. Novelli to call for a suspension of the policies' sales and an investigation. Bloomberg reported that Novelli "has expanded AARP's marketing to include 17 types of insurance," and that "AARP holds clients' insurance premiums for as long as a month and invests the money, which added $40.4 million to its revenue in 2007."

Journalist Gilbert Cranberg wrote that he has previously questioned AARP's arrangement with partner UnitedHealth Group and was "stonewalled." "Senator Grassley shouldn't have to do the press's work for it," Cranberg wrote. "AARP has some 40 million members. It is a powerhouse. The press should have been all over this issue long ago. The least it can do now is pay close attention to the answers Grassley gets" from AARP and the state insurance commissioners, he said. . . . [Full article]


Tags: AARP, costs, insurance, medical costs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Today in Washington D. C. - Dec 12, 2008 - Bailout Dead

Other than for pro forma sessions to keep the President from ever being able to make recess appoints, the 110th Congress is over. Neither the House or Senate is expected to have any more legislative business in this Congress and is scheduled to adjourn sine die on January 2. The 111th Congress is scheduled to convene on January 6.

Though negotiations on a loan package for domestic automakers continued late into the night in the Senate yesterday, resistance from the United Auto Workers union eventually made it clear that no deal would be possible. Senators then defeated a cloture motion on a bill to be used for the auto money by a vote of 52-35, short of the 60 votes needed. Among those voting against the bill was Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana.

The deal stopper for those who voted against cloture was the unwillingness of UAW to concede any ground on establishing a target date for union salaries and benefits to be reduced equivalent to salaries paid by auto-manufacturers in other states. Many people, especially those in states with auto-manufacturing plants, are arguing that a bailout of the Big-3 in Detroit, Michigan is unconstitutional because it removed the equal protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The Federal Government is taking taxes from people and competitors in other states to prop up a business, for auto manufacturers their competitor, in Michigan.

Now Democrats will pressure the President, to intervene and to take unilateral action to used previous funding to help the Big 3 although such action may not be constitutional or legal.

From Senate & News Sources: The AP reports on the details: “Republicans . . . refused to back federal aid for Detroit’s beleaguered Big Three without a guarantee that the United Auto Workers would agree by the end of next year to wage cuts to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers. The UAW refused to do so before its current contract with the automakers expires in 2011.” Roll Call also has a good summary of the end of the negotiations last night, noting that “GOP Senators said union representatives were holding out for a 2011 date [on pay parity] and language that would give them more discretion to keep wages above those of workers at foreign-owned plants.”

Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, swiftly attempted to put all the blame on Republicans, despite the fact that they spent the better part of the week writing the bill themselves. But, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained the real issues on the floor last night, “None of us want to see [the auto companies] go down but very few of us had anything to do with the dilemma that they’ve created for themselves. And so the question was: is there a way out? The Administration negotiated in good faith with the Democratic Majority a proposal that was simply unacceptable to the vast majority of our side because we thought it, frankly, wouldn’t work.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) elaborated for Roll Call, “I think getting Republicans to vote for something that is considered to be some sort of a rescue package or bailout for this industry right now is a very heavy lift absent some of these reforms right now. So far everybody’s given something here except the unions.”

As Sen. McConnell said yesterday, “[I]n the end, [this bill’s] greatest single flaw is that it promises taxpayer money today for reforms that may or may not come tomorrow. And we would not be serving the American taxpayer well if we spent their hard-earned money without knowing with certainty that their investment would result in stronger, leaner auto companies that would not need additional taxpayer help just a few months or weeks down the road. We simply cannot ask the American taxpayer to subsidize failure.”

Tags: auto bailout, 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!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Obama Mad Lib

by William Warren


Tags: Barack Obama, Illinois, political cartoon, Politics, Rod Blagojevich, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Today in Washington D. C. - Dec 11, 2008 - #RINO #TCOT

Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Last night, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 237-170. an emergency loan package for troubled U.S. automakers, which would make $14 billion available to the auto companies. While Republicans stood strong for the taxpayers including former GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul, 32 republicans are being labeled as RINOS by conservative groups for voting for the bailout, including former GOP Presidential Candidate Duncan Hunter (not returning to Congress next session). Fifteen (15) Republicans abstained including former GOP Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo abstained (not returning to Congress next session)and 1 Republican voted Present. Maybe these will be identified as "closet RINOS. In addition, several "blue dog democrats" who claimed to be fiscal conservative, showed their true color and voted for the bailout.
Microview of Arkansas vote: Arkansas readers: Rep Boozman (R) voted against the bailout. Even with a majority of Arkansas voters opposing the bailout measure, Rep. Marion Berry (D) and Rep. Mike Ross (D), alleged Blue Dogs, voted for the bailout while surprisingly liberal Rep. Vick Snyder (D) abstained.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed for cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 7005 as a vehicle for loans to domestic auto companies. If an agreement is reached, votes on the bill could be held today. Otherwise there will be a cloture vote tomorrow morning.

From Senate & News Sources: Over the course of the week Senate Republican leaders have discussed concerns they and other GOP senators have with many aspects of this plan but have focused on the need to keep American taxpayers in mind through this whole process. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, “we will not let taxpayers spend their hard-earned money on ailing carmakers unless these companies are forced to reform their bad habits — either inside or outside of bankruptcy.” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said at a press conference, “The one point I want to make is that we’re worried about the American taxpayer and that any money that’s loaned to these big three manufacturers will ultimately be repaid.” And Republican Policy Committee Chair John Ensign said on the floor today, “With the deficit reaching $1 trillion or more next year, why aren’t we having a debate over the true cost of such a bailout? We should be worried about the U.S. taxpayer.”

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats still don’t seem to be sure they can get the votes needed to pass this bill from their own members. The Hill reported yesterday, “Montana Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, as well as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have expressed concerns about the bill that makes their support questionable. Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, released a statement on Wednesday morning criticizing a tax provision in the package.”

While Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, have been critical of Republicans for not openly supporting the bill they wrote, there seems to be a lack of unity among their own members which indicates that they may need to take another look at their (the Democrats) proposed legislation.

Tags: auto bailout, 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!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Arkansas GOP Chair Down to Two Candidates - Issues?

Dr. Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Readers should drop by The Arkansas Watch and read the latest update on the race for the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA). Briefly the race is down to two: former state Sen. Doyle Webb and Fayetteville businessman Joseph Wood. Wood is 43. He is a Senior Level Wal-Mart HR Executive and career consultant, has been RPA treasurer since 2007 and was a delegate to the RNC . Webb, 53, a lawyer, was chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller and RPA "Victory 2008 Chair.

While the local press and others blogs have concerned themselves with the debate on whether or not the new Chairman will expect to be paid, the bigger issue of who can both unite and grow the party are not discussed. Webb has served the party for a long time and some delegates have said that Webb knows his way around the capitol and has contacts with financial sources. Wood brings a young new vitalized presence to the party that clearly evidences that RPA is open to Arkansas citizens who previously have been disenfranchised or held at arms length by both parties.

Of critical importance is will the RPA awake or will it continue business as usual with the party circling the wagons and taking almost no conservative public stands on issues? Will the RPA slumber until the next election cycle only to awake to ceremoniously endorse those who have won their primary races? In the last regular legislative session, the RPA leadership did not take active stands on critical issues. Fortunately, action was taken by faithful committed Republicans who worked on their own and issued documented position papers to members of the legislature and who worked with other nonpolitical agencies to stop liberal legislation.

Another major concern is growth! The RPA does not need to sacrifice one of the wings of the conservatism to grow the party. What we need is a chair who can clearly and repeatedly articulate the conservative Republican position while standing on issues in the middle of liberal Little Rock. It definitely should not matter if the person knows and is friends with democrats. This is not a friendship position but a leadership position representing republicans and the republican message.

In the past, the RPA chair and executive staff have not been active in working with the conservative new media (bloggers and others) in Arkansas. The RPA has not worked to team up with new media conservative activists who are active in Web 2.0 social networking via FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning groups, Google groups and more. The result is an expanding conservative network outside of the RPA. This same situation is being debated as a central issue in the selection concern of the next Republican National Committee Chair.

Because of a lack of leadership and motivation by the RPA chair and executive offices, a majority of county chairmen either do not have an effective understanding of how to use email to communicate to advance Republican activism. Few chairs have an understanding of the power of the Internet and social networking to reach into the heartland and homes within their counties and districts. The result is the RPA continues in a passive mode in majority of Arkansas often with a defeatist mentality. Except for a couple staff members, the RPA does not communicate via new media and the Internet. Very few counties have active Republican websites.

When the delegates and chairs gather in Little Rock, what do they see. Do they see standard repeated activities and procedures that do little to advance Republicanism or do they see actions being taken that support the the RPA taking stands on critical issues, in the RPA rebuilding the party, in the RPA developing future candidates, and the RPA expanding its relationships and standings throughout the state. Most active party members want to see a revitalized party but again, leadership does not occur in a vacuum. We need a new chair that can competently communicate Republican principles, take clear and concise competent stands on issues, and can work with the new media talent in Arkansas to advance the Arkansas Republican Party. If this does not occur, the RPA is doomed to continue as the minority party in Arkansas.
See also: The Tolbert Report: Webb & Woods Wili Run for GOP Chair
Joseph Wood, Candidate for Arkansas State GOP Chairman - video at RNC 08

Tags: chairman, leadership, new media, rebuilding the party, Republican Party of Arkansas, RPA To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

RNC Chairman Candidates Debate

by reptrust: The Trustees of the Republican Leadership Trust will host the first ever broadcast debate featuring the candidates for Republican National Chairman. The invitations will be going out shortly to the major candidates, which currently include former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Streele, Michigan Republican Chairman Saul Anuzis, South Carolina Republican Chairman Katon Dawson and former Tennessee Republican Chairman Chip Saltsman The 90 minute debate will be featured as a podcast on www.GOPonDemand.com on Monday, Jan. 5th.

Tags: Chip Saltsman, debate, Katon Dawson, Michael Steele, RNC Chairman, Saul Anuzis To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

It's Time to Pardon the Border Guards

Eagle Forum: The end of President Bush's final term is quickly approaching. Less than two months remain until he hands over the White House keys to Barack Obama, but we cannot let him leave office without resolving one very important issue: he must commute the prison sentences of convicted U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean!

Not only do we now know that the agents did not get a fair trial and that the prosecution's case was based on the word and testimony of an illegal drug smuggler, but the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld their mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentences for "discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence." This law, Section 924(c) of the U.S. Code, has always been interpreted to apply to criminals, not law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties. Every U.S. citizen has the right to self defense, especially those serving in harm's way.

The severity of these charges and the harshness of the punishment are totally disproportionate to the violation in question. Even the illegal drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, was sentenced to less prison time than our fellow American border guards! Most recently, on November 14, 2008, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, whose office prosecuted the border guards, stated "I have always said that the punishment in this case was harsh."

Although the families of agents Ramos and Compean plan to appeal their cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no guarantee that the High Court will agree to hear it. There is the possibility that the Fifth Circuit may rehear the case in front of all 17 judges at a later date, but the fastest and most effective way to free the border guards would be with a presidential pardon or a commutation of their prison sentences to time served.

It has been said that a pardon or commutation will not be considered until all legal avenues have been exhausted, but the President has the presidential prerogative, as granted to him in Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, to pardon or commute the sentences of any convicted person for any reason or for no reason. The time to act is now!

1) Please begin to flood the White House phone lines with calls asking President George W. Bush to pardon or commute the prison sentences of Ramos and Compean before he leaves office. White House Opinion Line: 1(800) 671-7887 toll-free or (202) 456-6213 Comments to the President: (202) 456-1111

2) Call and mail letters to the United States Pardon Attorney explaining why the border guards deserve to have their prison sentences commuted! All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Pardon Attorney for investigation and review. It is important that you make the Pardon Attorney aware that the border guards have the full support of the American people. Mail letters to: Mr. Ronald L. Rodgers, Office of the Pardon Attorney, 1425 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 11000, Washington, D.C. 20530 or Call: (202) 616-6070

Ramos and Compean are counting on YOU! Review of previous ARRA News Service posts on saga of Romos & Compean


Tags: border guards, Eagle Forum, Ignacio Ramos, Jose Compean, pardon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

American Solutions Members Say Bankruptcy, Not Bailout for Big Three

Dave Ryan, President, American Solutions: Last week, American Solutions conducted an online poll about whether the Big Three should go bankrupt or get a bailout. With nearly 75,000 votes, the American Solutions community spoke loud and clear: 91% supported Chapter 11 bankruptcy and 9% supported a bailout.

Because of the overwhelming response, American Solutions produced this short video reporting the results of the poll and highlighting some of the great comments.

Last week, a $34 billion bailout for the Big Three was on the table. Today, it appears a $14 billion compromise has been reached. It's likely the Senate will vote on this compromise later in the week. We urge you Contact your senators! and tell them your thoughts about the bailout.

Tags: American Solutions, auto bailout, bankruptcy, Big three, Chapter 11, Newt Gingrich To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Our Secular Challenge

Daily Commentary Video Linkby Kerby Anderson: America has a new national religion, and it is the religion of secularism. At least that is the thesis of Dr. Herbert London (president of the Hudson Institute) in his book, America's Secular Challenge. He believes that the undermining of the Judeo-Christian tradition in America is hurting our society. And he also believes our reflexive belief in relativism has handicapped our ability to thwart the inroads of fanaticism, which is demonstrated by our lack of resolve in confronting radical Islam.

There are many signs of this. We see opposition to traditional religion. We see the rise of multiculturalism and cultural relativism. And we see a belief in scientific rationality as the ultimate arbiter of human value. When he was on my radio program, we talked about Allan Bloom's observation in his book, The Closing of the American Mind, that students in universities believe in relativism. And this emphasis on tolerance and openness in the public schools today is essentially indistinguishable from indifference.

Secularism today demands a "naked public square" a term borrowed from Richard John Neuhaus (who also endorses the book). Our public square must be stripped of any religious values lest anyone be offended. Recently one of my co-hosts talked about a cross in the desert (actually in the Mojave National Preserve) that had to be covered up. The cross stood without incident for 70 years as a memorial to fallen service members, but now might be torn down.

London's book is especially relevant in light of our current economic crisis, brought on in part by greed. He points out that "a culture willing to accept the accumulation of wealth as its greatest good will ultimately destroy itself." Markets need moral values. He reminds us (as did my one of my professors at Georgetown University) that Adam Smith not only wrote The Wealth of Nations but also wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments. The father of the free enterprise system also understood the importance of moral values. We are witnessing the rise of a secular national religion, and we are the worse for it. I'm Kerby Anderson, and that's my point of view.

Tags: Kerby Anderson, morals, Point of View, religion, secularlism To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Today in Washington D. C. - Dec 10, 2008

Intro Comments by Dr. Bill Smith*, ARRA Editor: While a majority of Americans do not favor a bailout for the "Big 3" Detroit Auto Companies, Democrats appear dead set on doing something to protect their union support base. The Unions are demanding a return for the money paid to elect and support incumbent Democrats. In any other situation, this would be seen as nothing more than extortion or bribery (the buying of members of Congress).

The inept management of the Big 3 auto manufacturers (if they really are still the "big three') has also been brazen at minimum. They first came to the US Congress, hat in hand, in their Lear jets, begging for a bailout. And the bailout these unprofitable manufacturers still desire would leave the American taxpayers paying for nothing. In Detroit, a co-dependent relationship has developed over the years between the big three auto companies management and union leaders. Congress has contributed and continues to contribute to the problem by its imposition of laws and requirements on the auto industry which has reduced their competitiveness with other companies. Instead of accepting the previous vote by the market (buyers), Congress, at least the Democrat leadership, seems more than willing to underwrite failed operations with the American Taxpayers being left with nothing -- not even useless stock certificates.

In addition to not interfering and allowing the companies to go through bankruptcy, there are other actions the Government could reasonably consider. As an "example only," the Government could aid the manufacturers and dealerships by waving all bidding and procurement legislation for all government agencies with respect to a one time massive purchase of "Big 3" vehicles to upgrade government vehicle fleets. If the government can buy useless FEMA trailers, it could consider a one-time upgrade of its vehicle fleets. The vehicles might not be as efficient or reliable as those from other auto companies, but at least, the American taxpayers would get something for their money. Detroit's dealership inventory problem would be addressed; money would be spent for "real products" verses empty rhetoric. This and other potential creative ideas could be implemented quickly with positive consequences on the auto industry. If a bridge bailout loan is considered it should be predetermined to be an advance payments for purchases of autos and the "Big 3's" manufacturing assets shielded from all future bankruptcy actions. The taxpayers should get something for their money. But in reality, I doubt that Congress is seeking or listening to new ideas; it is easier to give away our money! *Dr. Bill Smith was the former Director of Acquisitions for the $2 billion European F-16 Co-production program in 35 companies in four European countries with additional administrative oversight of all DOD contracts in those companies and all Air Force contracts in the four countries.
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The lame duck Congress is back in session: Democrats have circulated a problematic first draft of a bill for $15 billion in loans for U.S. auto manufacturers, but no schedule to move forward has been announced and the level of support for the bill remains unclear. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought three House-passed tax bills to the floor, which could serve as vehicles for the auto legislation. Reid said he plans to file cloture on the motion to proceed to a bill tonight, which could set up a cloture vote on Friday.

From Senate & News Sources: As Democrats continue to craft a package of loans for domestic automakers, press reports have indicated that Democrat congressional leaders are ready to move forward on a bill. Doing so is a bit premature, though, since legislative text actually exists at the moment, and no Senate Republicans have even seen the latest proposal. For these reasons, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor this morning, it would be unrealistic to expect votes on this proposal in the Senate today.

Further, there have been numerous reports over the last few days that Democrats in the House and Senate aren’t even sure of how many votes they have for such a package in their own caucuses. The New York Times writes today, “The Democrats may face difficulties generating votes in their own caucus as well. There were 10 Democrats who voted against the $700 billion financial system bailout in October, some of whom could similarly oppose a taxpayer rescue of the auto companies.”

Bloomberg reported yesterday, “Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said a package may not have the votes to pass because some lawmakers want more conditions placed on the companies. ‘It’s still up in the air, and the nature of conditions we impose will decide whether this is successful,’ he said.”

Today, The Wall Street Journal reports, “Montana Sen. Jon Tester, for example, is on the fence. Sen. Tester, who voted against the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, said a car industry bailout should include strong taxpayer protections and a commitment that none of the money is spent overseas, among other things. ‘The big problem with the $700 billion bailout is the lack of accountability in how that money is being spent,’ said Sen. Tester. ‘I don’t really think we want to make that mistake again.’”

Democrat senators may not even all be in town. According to The New York Times, “In addition, Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, are scheduled to leave Washington on Wednesday for a trip overseas.”

Senate Republicans remain concerned about a number of issues with the initial proposal. Speaking on the floor earlier, Sen. McConnell reiterated the position he laid out yesterday:
"For those who need a refresher, let me remind everyone of the Republican criteria for this legislation: first and foremost, we will not let taxpayers spend their hard-earned money on ailing carmakers unless these companies are forced to reform their bad habits — either inside or outside of bankruptcy. This means that workers won’t be paid not to work. This means a final bill would not interfere with pending environmental lawsuits in a one-sided manner. And it means that struggling car companies will have to rationalize their cost structures — because a company that does not respond to market conditions is a company that is doomed to failure anyway. And Republicans will not allow taxpayers to subsidize failure. As I’ve said repeatedly, my Republican colleagues and I want to put struggling carmakers on a path to long-term success. But we cannot support a plan that doesn’t.”

Tags: auto bailout, 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!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

EPA WANTS TO TAX COW FARTS!

Its not a joke. They're serious. EPA Wants to tax farmers' cows and pigs because they naturally produce and give off methane gas!

(Update:  April 7, 2014) Original Video no longer available.

 The following 2008 links address the issue:

Tags: cows, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, farming, methane gas, pigs, Taxing To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Cato Out Loud: The Auto Bailout (or #Pork)

A recent Gallup poll shows that 51% of Americans do not think the government should bail out the auto industry. In the following video CATO Institute's Dan J. Ikenson discusses the proposed bailout of the auto industry AND MAKES SENSE!


Tags: auto bailout, auto industry, Big three, Cato Institute, Chrysler, Daimler, Daniel Ikenson, Detroit, economy, Ford, General Motors, GM, UAW, US Congress To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Future Republican Leaders tap Steele for RNC Chair

Young activists join together to discuss future of GOP
WASHINGTON – More than 150 Republican youth activists named former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele as their choice to become the next chairman of the Republican National Committee as part of an event, held at the Capitol Hill Club, which brought together young activists from Greater Washington to discuss the future of the GOP.

In a preferential straw poll conducted at the event, Steele was the choice of 68% of voters. Former Tennessee GOP Chairman Chip Saltsman came in a distant second with 7.7%, while current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis tied for third with 6.4%.

The full results are:
Michael Steele 68.0%
Chip Saltsman 7.7%
Mike Duncan 6.4%
Saul Anuzis 6.4%
No Preference 5.1%
Katon Dawson 3.9%
Ken Blackwell 2.6%

The open forum was comprised of young Republicans who are members of Congressional and administration staffs, public affairs advocates, conservative columnists and bloggers, and members of the military and military families.

Forum organizers held discussions on grassroots advocacy, building Republican activism on the Internet, and how the Republican Party can engage younger supporters. Panelists included Princella Smith of Republicans Helping Republicans, Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn of RebuildtheParty.com, Moshe Starkman of YRNetwork.com, Christopher Malagisi of the Young Conservative Coalition, Mario Lopez of the Republican Leadership Fund, D.J. Jordan of HipHopRepublican.com and Republican activist Shannon Reeves.

Tags: Michael Steele, Republican Party, RNC Chairman To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Congress's Christmas Bailout Bonus

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ): Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, CitiGroup, the 'Big 3' and the union bosses all appear to be getting what they want this season, but the taxpayers are left with the looming debt - and an increasingly sluggish economy to boot. Merry Christmas!

In the past few months the federal government has dangerously overreached into the free market in an effort to jump start the economy. The government - or to be honest, the taxpayer - has already allocated nearly $1 trillion to help with mortgage foreclosures, to prop-up many of the nation's financial institutions, and to provide a bailout, er...bridge-loan to the auto industry.

Now the Democrats are talking about spending another $500-700 billion more for 'infrastructure improvements' and other measures to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Here we go again. The last thing we need is the government in the job creation business. Does anyone truly believe government is more efficient in allocating capital than the free market?

During the holiday season we all want to give more and help those that are less fortunate. If Congress truly wanted to get into the Christmas spirit, the first thing it should do is remove the financial barriers to job creation and economic expansion. How about letting people keep more of their money and spending it as they see fit?

Here's hoping Congress finds the Christmas spirit...soon.
Best Regards, Jeff

Tags: congress, Jeff Flake, Representative To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Rumors Spread as Truth -- Today in Washington D. C. - Dec 9, 2008

Both the Senate and House both conviened today. Yesterday, the news was reporting a rumor that a bill for the auto-industry bailout had been set to the White House. THIS WAS NOT TRUE. The House wasn't even in session yesterday and no bills regarding the big 3 bailout was bassed by Congress.

When the public hears “a bill was sent to the White House,” they rightly assume it was legislation ready to be signed into law. But the truth is they are being mislead. Democrats have been floating a draft bill idea to the White House staffers. The Republicans have not even been involved. In this situation, it’s just Democrats who wrote something up and then sent it over to the White House for comment. Nothing formal was done, just reporters being imprecise with their language. A good example of this poor reporting, maybe to be first with a story is the Washington Times article this morning that said $15 billion auto bailout goes to White House.

Democrats have circulated a problematic first draft of a bill for $15 billion in loans for U.S. auto manufacturers, but no schedule to move forward has been announced and the level of support for the bill remains unclear. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on the Senate floor this morning about the proposal circulated by Democrats yesterday on government loans for domestic automakers.

Sen. McConnell discussed some of the significant problems with the current proposal: “On the management side, the draft plan released yesterday fails to require the kind of serious reform that will ensure long-term viability for struggling auto companies. By giving the government the option of cancelling government assistance in the event that reforms are not being achieved – rather than requiring it – we open the door to unlimited federal subsidies in the future. . . .

“On the labor side, this bill proposal fails to require any serious reform of legacy costs. Indeed, it states explicitly that one of its purposes is to preserve the same retirement and health care benefits that have made these companies so uncompetitive. It’s delusional to expect a company that spends $71 per labor hour to compete with a company in a neighboring state that spends $49 per labor hour.”

Further, Sen. McConnell pointed out, “[O]ne thing most people expect when they’re asked for help is that the one asking makes a commitment to change. This proposal does not go nearly far enough. It holds neither management nor labor truly accountable. And in areas where one side is held accountable, the other side isn’t. One example is a provision that requires automakers to drop all legal challenges to state fuel economy standards that are inconsistent with the federal standard. Where is the offer from our friends on the other side to call on environmental groups to drop their lawsuits?”

At the moment, it appears that Democrats have crafted a proposal suffering from significant flaws which fails to assure taxpayers that they will not be asked to pay even more down the line and which does not ask the right things of both management and labor at the auto companies.

Tags: auto bailout, Democrats, Mitch McConnell, Republicans, 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!

Illinois Governor & Chief of Staff Arrested

Chicago Tribune: BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL)and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges. Blagojevich and Harris were accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that included Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. The governor was also accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions. Blagojevich also was alleged to be using a favors list, made up largely of individuals and firms that have state contracts or received taxpayer benefits, from which to conduct a $2.5 million fundraising drive before year's end.

On the issue of the U.S. Senate selection, federal prosecutors alleged Blagojevich sought appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate. Blagojevich and Harris conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of Blagojevich in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co.

Blagojevich and Harris, along with others, obtained and sought to gain financial benefits for the governor, members of his family and his campaign fund in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state jobs and state contracts.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."

Tags: corruption, FBI, Governor, Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, democrat, arrested, news To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Treasure State Judge Ignores Life's True Riches

by Tony Perkins, FRC: If Friday's ruling is not overturned, Montana could become the third U.S. state to legalize assisted suicide -- and the first to sanction it from the bench instead of the voting booth. Last week, state district Judge Dorothy McCarter issued her opinion in the case of Robert Baxler, who, according to Billings' KULR, died late Friday of incurable cancer. Using "human dignity" as justification, Judge McCarter created a "right" to euthanasia citing the state's privacy laws. In oral arguments, McCarter was unsympathetic from the start, equating euthanasia with putting down pets. "[Y]et, if we want to do it to our loved ones, it's considered murder," she said. For now, the ruling will allow "mentally competent" patients to take their lives through lethal prescriptions. State Attorney General Mike McGrath has indicated that his office will appeal.

If McCarter's opinion stands, Montana would be the only state to legalize euthanasia through the courts. In both Oregon (1997) and Washington (2008), voters approved their assisted suicide laws directly through ballot initiatives. According to the Oregon Department of Health, 341 patients have taken their own lives under the state's law. One hundred twenty-two of those deaths were funded by taxpayers through Medicare or Medicaid. Twenty experienced complications from the drugs. Proponents of assisted suicide laws say the government should have no authority to interfere in patients' lives. Sound familiar? Here the authority at issue is really a temptation: will cash-strapped governments turn more and more to euthanasia and limits on life-saving care to protect the bottom line? Montana may not wish to open such a Pandora's Box and unleash the evils of a culture of death. See also: Billings Gazette: Judge: Assisted Suicide is a Legal Right

Tags: assisted suicide, Family Research Council, FRC, judicial activism, Montana, Tony Perkins To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Newsweek Goes for Gay Marriage

Genesis certainly reveals marriage to be, by the Creator's intention, a union of one man and one woman. Turning the Bible on its Head: Newsweek Goes for Gay Marriage by Dr. Albert Mohler: Newsweek magazine, one of the most influential news magazines in America, has decided to come out for same-sex marriage in a big way, and to do so by means of a biblical and theological argument. In its cover story for this week, "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller offers a revisionist argument for the acceptance of same-sex marriage. It is fair to say that Newsweek has gone for broke on this question.

Miller begins with a lengthy dismissal of the Bible's relevance to the question of marriage in the first place. "Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does," Miller suggests. If so, she argues that readers will find a confusion of polygamy, strange marital practices, and worse. She concludes: "Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?" She answers, "Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so." . . .

"A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism," she asserts. "The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it's impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours." All this comes together when Miller writes, "We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future." At this point the authority of the Bible is reduced to whatever "universal truths" we can distill from its (supposed) horrifyingly backward and oppressive texts.

Even as she attempts to make her "religious case" for gay marriage, Miller has to acknowledge that "very few Jewish or Christian denominations do officially endorse gay marriage, even in the states where it is legal." Her argument now grinds to a conclusion with her hope that this will change. But -- and this is a crucial point -- if her argument had adequate traction, she wouldn't have to make it. It is not a thin extreme of fundamentalist Christians who stand opposed to same-sex marriage -- it is the vast majority of Christian churches and denominations worldwide.

Disappointingly, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham offers an editorial note that broadens Newsweek's responsibility for this atrocity of an article and reveals even more of the agenda: "No matter what one thinks about gay rights—for, against or somewhere in between — this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism," Meacham writes. "Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition."

Well, that statement sets the issue clearly before us. He insists that "to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt." No serious student of the Bible can deny the challenge of responsible biblical interpretation, but the purpose of legitimate biblical interpretation is to determine, as faithfully as possible, what the Bible actually teaches -- and then to accept, teach, apply, and obey. . . . Read Full Article. Dr. Albert Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a member of the Focus on the Family Board of Directors.

Tags: Albert Moler, Bible, gay agenda, gay marriage, liberalism, Newsweek, Southern Baptists To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) - The Team Obama's Strategy

The ARRA News reported last Wednesday on the Workforce Fairness Institute findings that Americans Oppose Forced Labor Votes. When presented the statistics that with neutral language that describes the two main components of the Employee Free Choice Act, solid majorities of those who voted in this year’s elections oppose the proposed legislation.

Now a San Francisco Chronicles open forum article notes that Employee Free Choice Act may increase economic uncertainty. Michael J. Lotito details the Act's binding arbitration provision which will result in more layoffs of workers, in more "big 3 type" government bailouts to cover their union labor expenses, or in more manufacturers moving out of the country:
The world economy is in turmoil. Detroit automakers are asking Congress for a bailout. And organized labor chimes in with a demand for Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to save the day. . . . The Employee Free Choice Act contains a mandatory arbitration provision that . . . presents economic concerns that run contrary to labor's assertions that the bill would rehabilitate the economy. The bill would permit a government-appointed third party - who has no stake in an employer's business or any understanding of the company's inner workings - to impose a binding two-year collective bargaining agreement upon a company.

. . . The Employee Free Choice Act would compel mandatory arbitration in all cases, regardless of the good faith of the parties to come to an agreement. The act provides unions little incentive to reach an agreement before placing a first contract in an arbitrator's hands. Arbitrators would not be subject to any limitations, and employers could not appeal their decisions. Companies would be placed in a vacuum of uncertainty that could paralyze corporate investments.

The Conference Board, which polls top executives around the world, has identified "speed, flexibility and adaptability to change" as the three pillars of successful business operations. In other words, companies need control of their businesses in order to succeed.

The congressional hearings involving the Detroit automakers suggest what a disastrous impact the Employee Free Choice Act could have on the economy. The Big Three are carrying heavy employee pension and health-care fund obligations. Under the act, an arbitrator may compel a company to participate in a multi-employer union pension and health care fund, regardless of whether the employer can afford it. Should the plan become underfunded or the workers vote to decertify the union, an employer could be required to assume continuing financial obligations under such plans. Businesses forced to make unanticipated contributions and inherit liabilities may suffer severe consequences to the detriment of their employees and shareholders.

In addition to possibly eliminating jobs, companies may be forced to raise their prices. Worse, because being subject to Employee Free Choice Act's arbitration provisions seems so onerous, businesses may move or open operations overseas that they otherwise would have opened in the United States. . . .
From an Saturday's Boston Globe op-ed article we read: ". . . some labor supporters of the president-elect fear he may be backing away from a key campaign commitment to workers threatened by recession. . . . More disturbing, his new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has declined to say whether the White House will support the Employee Free Choice Act."

However, with this this rumor that Team Obama has begun seriously to downplay the impact of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and that Obama may not even support it anymore, we musr realize that the truth is far different. The truth is that that this rumor is not an accurate portrayal of the politics that the incoming Obama administration is playing. Obama is not talking about EFCA—or card check—because it is wildly unpopular, as the poll we referenced at the beginning of this article.

Thus, the Team Obama's strategy seems to be simply not to talk about EFCA so that it doesn’t appear in the news. EFCA still remains as part of their agenda. Before it’s too late Contact your senators! Tell them that you oppose taking away employees' right to a secret ballot and that you oppose the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) also know as "Card Check."

Tags: Card Check, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, exit polls, Senator, Survey, Union, voting rights, cartoon, Eric Allie To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Lame Duck 2 Arrives Today in Washington D. C. - Dec 8, 2008

Congress returns this week for a second lame duck session. Senate reconvenes at 3 PM today. tomorrow the House is expected to return. Democrats worked over the weekend on proposals for financial assistance to U.S. automakers, though no legislation has been written yet.

As the recount in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race draws to a close, there are a couple stories today discussing the prospects for the Senate to weigh in on any potentially disputed outcome. Roll Call reports, “Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) would not rule out the possibility that they would entertain a protest of the results [showing GOP Sen. Norm Coleman leading], which [Democrat Al] Franken has indicated he might file with the Senate.” When asked about the fallout from Senate Democrats deciding to wade into the Minnesota race, former Senate Parliamentarian Bob Dove, Minnesota politics expert and Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier, lobbyist and former Minnesota GOP congressman Vin Weber, and a senior Republican leadership aide in Politico, all seemed to agree that the likely result would be partisan warfare in the Senate. However, Politico writes, “Republicans are increasingly optimistic that Senate Democrats will shy away from deciding the fate of the still too close-to-call Minnesota Senate race, now that the prospect of a 60-seat, filibuster-resistant majority has been eliminated.”

Indeed, the Politico story notes, last “Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff victory by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss . . . dramatically altered the Democratic risk-to-return ratio. While the Constitution allows the Senate to be the ultimate arbiter of who serves in the chamber, there is far less political incentive to intervene now that a filibuster-resistant majority is no longer at stake.”

This lame duck session is meeting to consider an assistance package for struggling U.S. automakers. The AP reported over the weekend that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally gave in to President Bush’s insistence that any help for the auto industry come from already appropriated loans initially required to be used for making more environmentally friendly cars. Previously, environmental groups had vehemently opposed re-purposing the loans. Democrats have spent the last several weeks dealing with this conflict between two major constituencies: the auto unions and environmentalists. Has Pelosi decided that the unions will win this round?

Tags: auto bailout, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, 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!

George Will: Broadcast 'Fairness' Fouls Out

This weekend, George Will had a great Washington Post column opposing the Un-Fairness Doctrine. In "Broadcast 'Fairness" Fouls Out," Will writes in part:
Reactionary liberalism, the ideology of many Democrats, holds that inconvenient rights, such as secret ballots in unionization elections, should be repealed; that existing failures, such as GM, should be preserved; and, with special perversity, that repealed mistakes, such as the "fairness doctrine," should be repeated. That Orwellian name was designed to disguise the doctrine's use as the government's instrument for preventing fair competition in the broadcasting of political commentary. Because liberals have been even less successful in competing with conservatives on talk radio than Detroit has been in competing with its rivals, liberals are seeking intellectual protectionism in the form of regulations that suppress ideological rivals.

. . . today there are about 14,000 radio stations, twice as many as in 1969; 18.9 million subscribers to satellite radio, up 17% in 12 months; and that 86% of households with either cable or satellite television receive an average of 102 of the 500 available channels. Because daily newspapers are much more scarce than are radio and television choices, should there be a fairness doctrine for the New York Times?

. . . whereas in 1980 there were fewer than 100 talk radio programs, today there are more than 1,500 news or talk radio stations. . . . some liberals now say: The problem is not maldistribution of opinion and information but too much of both. Until recently, liberals fretted that the media were homogenizing America into blandness. Now they say speech management by government is needed because of a different scarcity -- the public's attention, which supposedly is overloaded by today's information cornucopia.

And these worrywarts say the proliferation of radio, cable, satellite broadcasting and Internet choices allows people to choose their own universe of commentary, which takes us far from the good old days when everyone had the communitarian delight of gathering around the cozy campfire of the NBC-ABC-CBS oligopoly. Being a liberal is exhausting when you must simultaneously argue for illiberal policies on the basis of dangerous scarcity and menacing abundance. If reactionary liberals, unsatisfied with dominating the mainstream media, academia and Hollywood, were competitive on talk radio, they would be uninterested in reviving the fairness doctrine. . . .
ACTION ALERT: If you are concerned about Free Speech and Conservative Values, after reading George Will's article, please take a moment to:
Tags: Censorship Doctrine, fairness doctrine, free speech, George Will, Protect Fairness Doctrine, unfairness, UnFairness Doctrine, Washington Post To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Political Funnies - Dec. 7, 2008

by Gary Varvel

by Scott Stantis

by Jerry Holbert

by Eric Allie
H/T TownHall Political Cartoons

Tags: cartoons, Eric Allie, Gary Varvel, Jerry Holbert, political cartoon, Scott Stantis To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Controlling The Machine

Dr. Patrick Briney, ARRA President: What do you think of this comment: ‘It is important to think of the Republican Party like a machine. It is the means whereby anyone can enter into politics and advance his agenda.’ I submit that Ronald Reagan indicated this same perspective when he said, “The Republican Assembly is the conscience of the Republican Party.” Personally, I believe this to be true and have stated it many times. Dr. Bill Smith, President of the Republican Assembly in Baxter County and Editor of the ARRA News Service brought to our attention that the Republican candidates for the RNC chair have endorsed the Rebuild the Party Plan for the Future. This group states that:
Winning the technology war with the Democrats must
be the RNC's number one priority in the next four years.”
The number one priority for the Republican Party is to win the technology war with the Democrats!?? If this is the RNC’s number one priority, it really is a machine. Organizationally, it thinks like a machine. It operates like a machine. No wonder there is no mention of values or principles in the ten point plan for the future.

I am not denying the critical importance of campaign strategies and tactics such as using the internet to build a coalition of supporters. But for the Party leaders to say that the number one priority of the Party is to win the technology war is misguided. Conservatives want to know what this technology will be used for ... another John McCain?

Well, the answer to this question is simple. The machine travels in the direction determined by those who are steering it. Perhaps the NRA slogan comes to your mind as an appropriate analogy: ‘guns do not kill people. People kill people.’

As conservatives, we need to understand that Party machines do not steer themselves. The people who run the machines do. If the leadership of the RNC lack a moral compass for conservative principles, then the RNC ship will steer in any direction it deems necessary to win. Hence, it will be driven by the conservatives’ ideological nemesis of Marxist-Leninism, namely, ‘the end justifies the means.’ No wonder the likes of John McCain is able to be the Party candidate.

A lot of conservatives struggled this past election season with the question: ‘to vote or not to vote.” Some jumped ship. To these I say again, come back and help us steer this thing! If Palin had not been on the Republican ticket, the loss would have been even greater. Without a strong conservative message, the zeal to win was more like an eight cylinder engine with only six plugs firing. And with zeal, there would have been more blogs, more Facebook discussions, and more passionate recruiting for voters.

If the Assemblies are the moral conscience of the Party, then it is up to the moral conscience to kick in and convict the Party mind of where it is headed. We need to endorse and support the conservative candidates for leadership. We need to be making the right choice be known. And we need to let the candidates know what is right.

OK, so the rhetoric has been stated. Now what do we do? The Republican Assembly is the conservative wing of the Republican party. We need members. We need representation in a minimum of our key counties. We need conservatives to take the first and easiest step of all: join the Assembly. We need to build our coalition of conservative supporters. We need to be seen as a base of people worthy to be taken seriously. We need to become more visible. We need numbers. If you do not do anything else, do this one thing. Be a part of the headcount of conservatives that are willing to at least raise their hands and say, please speak for me too. I know people like you are busy, and many feel reluctant to obligate themselves. But a closet conservative is no better than no conservative in the arena of politics and legislation. We need members even if you do not attend a meeting. Just take one step out of the closet, and join the many others who have found that, “this is so simple, even a caveman can do it.” Once you are in, it is easy to find out what else you can do if you are so inclined.

As a conservative, why should you care about the Republican Party and the Republican Assemblies? There are two controlling machines in the American election process. The liberals already control one Party machine. God forbid that we should give them control of the second one too. Please join us and invite a friend to do likewise.


-----------------------
The ARRA is an affiliate of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, a thoughtful national organization of GOP conservatives working to grow and strengthen the Republican Party in the tradition of President Ronald Reagan. Any like-minded conservative Republican is welcome to join. For more information, visit the Arkansas Republican Assembly website and our nationally syndicated news blog the ARRA News Service.
"The Republican Wing of the Republican Party" ©


Tags: ARRA President, moral conscience, National Federation of Republican Assemblies, NFRA, Patrick Briney, rebuilding the party, Republican Party, values To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!


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