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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
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Dick Armey May Help Fight Increased Arkansas Cigarette tax
The Tobert Report identified that based on talk around the capital, former U.S. Congressman from Texas and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Chairman ofFreedom Works, will be coming into town in February to lend a hand in fighting the Governor's proposed Cigarette tax. Evidently details are still being hammered out but he should be at the state capital on Tuesday morning of February 3 immediately followed by a lunch to raise funds for the Republican Party of Arkansas.
[T] he battle lines are being drawn in the fight over a proposed 56-cents a pack increase in the state cigarette tax to fund a statewide trauma system and other health-related programs, according to the bureau.
William R. Phelps, spokesman for Philip Morris USA owner Altria Group Inc., hit town today and began making the rounds with reporters in opposition to the increase. A rally in support of the tax hike proposal is scheduled for 11:30 am Monday at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
The 56-cent tax hike, plus an as yet unknown increase in the tax on smokeless tobacco, would generate about $87 million a year. Gov. Mike Beebe wants the new revenue stream to pay for a statewide trauma system, community health programs and a Fayetteville satellite campus of the state’s Little Rock-based medical school. Look for the bill outlining the Governor’s proposal to be filed as early as Monday of next week. Rep. Gregg Reep will be a primary sponsor of the bill . . . The bill is expected to originate in the House and work its way down to the Senate.
The bill will be sent to the House Rules Committee, a committee that Speaker Robbie Wills controlled appointments to. With his avid support, the votes on that committee are likely sown up – at least that’s the consensus from tobacco lobbyists to whom we’ve spoken - but there is still a shortage of votes on the House floor. . . . the tax proposal likely had around 50 votes as of Thursday, but a supermajority of 75 votes will be required for passage in the House. Tax supporters say they feel good about the progress they’ve made on gaining commitments, but objections still exist. There are some Republican opponents of the tax increase; others question singling out smokers and expanding government.
One of the biggest sticking points revolves around rural legislators who see the approximately $28 million budget for a trauma center network being consumed by Little Rock area hospitals who will offer trauma center services. UAMS, Baptist Health and St. Vincent’s could all offer trauma services under potential guidelines for the program, according to one uncommitted but persuadable Delta legislator.
While the tax funding measure will originate in the House, the Senate will be the starting point for enabling legislation related to the trauma network. That bill should be filed in conjunction with the cigarette tax bill early next week. It will be carried by Sen. Tracy Steele and steered through the Senate Public Health Committee. . . . if approved by the House, would then have to be approved by a five-member majority of the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee. Presently, supporters say there are four “yes” votes for the tax on the panel. Three Senators remain as potential swing votes. Sen. Denny Altes is a firm “no” vote, according to supporters. Its fate on the Senate floor is unknown at this time, but it will need a supermajority vote of 27 of the 35 Senators for approval. Governor Mike Beebe has political capital as they say. He'll have to spend a chunk of it on the House and Senate floor votes.
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: I concur with Isaac MacMillen, contributing editor of ALG News Bureau that Eric Holder is not "someone to be entrusted with the pivotal duties of upholding the law of the land." By Isaac MacMillen: Eric Holder, President Barack Obama's nominee for Attorney General, has a long and dubious record as a supporter of strong governmental intervention, questionable pardons, and onerous gun control. Throughout his history of government employment, he has continually put the broad interests of the American people on the back burner in deference to a narrow spectrum of special interest groups.
Eric H. Holder, Jr., has worked for the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, as a DC judge; as U.S. Attorney for DC; and finally as deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno. For the past 8 years, he has remained out of public scrutiny in his work as a private attorney. But his nomination brings his past back into the spotlight. And that light reveals an enduring darkness.
• Many Americans remember the Elian Gonzalez incident in 2000, in which heavily-armed federal agents forcibly seized a 6-year old Cuban boy and returned him to Castro’s Cuba. Mr. Holder helped initiate the action, and was embarrassed when he was shown on national TV stating that agents had not taken the boy by force—while the shocking image associated with the raid appeared on-screen and infuriated Americans.
One of them, Susan Rosenberg, had been sentenced to 58 years in prison for possession of 700lbs of explosives and other illegal weaponry. She had also participated in a triple-homicide Brinks robbery. Upon hearing of her pardon, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) voiced his opposition, calling it a “terrible injustice.” The other terrorist, Linda Evans, had sentenced to 40 years for her involvement in the robbery. Five more years were added to her sentence for her role in several bombings, including that of the U.S. Capitol.
• The infamous pardon of Marc Rich also fell under Holder's purview. While his apologists claim that he did not have enough time to fully evaluate Mr. Rich before approving the pardon, the fact remains that Mr. Holder's signature of approval was upon the document handed to then-President Bill Clinton. Additionally, he appears to have been swayed by influence and power in deciding to support Rich.
At the time of the Holder-approved pardon, Marc Rich, was living in luxury as a fugitive from charges of tax evasion and illegal deal-making with Iran during the Iranian hostage crisis. His pardon came after his wife contributed large sums to the Clinton library and Democratic Party, causing many Republicans—and Democrats—to cry foul. Senators Charles Schumer and Russel Feingold joined then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in voicing concern that the politics of money had played a role.
Mr. Holder's supporters would like to claim that his involvement in many of these controversial last-minute pardons was minimal. But part of Mr. Holder's job was to oversee pardons. At best, this makes him inept; at worst, complicit. Even the liberal site Salon.com is forced to admit that “[t]hough Holder wasn't the driving force behind the Rich pardon, the assembled facts nonetheless demonstrate that his involvement in that process was substantial, continuous, and concerted.”
But Eric Holder's pardon problems are not confined to the midnight-before-inauguration. The former assistant AG also drew fire for his role in granting clemency to FALN terrorists. The 16 members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, a Marxist-Leninist Puerto Rican terrorist group, that set off over a hundred bombs in American cities, resulting in American fatalities. A report by the House Committee on Government Reform raked the Clinton Administration over the coals for its decision to free FALN terrorists, citing numerous highly-questionable elements of the whole procedure—including the fact that the FBI and other government agencies joined victims in opposing clemency. Mr. Holder coldly ignored their pleas.
Leaving the Justice Department didn't improve Mr. Holder’s performance. After his departure in 2001, he made millions of dollars defending the questionable actions of dubious corporations. He performed private work for a company under threat of investigation for paying off terrorists, and later defended a massive drug company against the Justice Department. Mr. Holder also gave advice to Global Crossing, “in connection with legislative and regulatory issues arising from a potential sale to an Asian purchaser as Global Crossing emerged from bankruptcy.” He did so on the heels of a government report accusing Global Crossing and Enron of having “used a complex deal brokered by a third company to sidestep accounting rules.”
Senator Arlen Specter and formerAttorney Generation Edwin Meese III penned an article slamming Eric Holder for his role in the “Holder Memorandum,” which effectively denied white-collar employees their constitutional rights against self-incrimination and for counsel. The memo allows federal prosecutors to force a company to waive its right to counsel in exchange for investigation “cooperation” credit. The measure, which they label as “draconian,” has been adapted by other agencies, forcing Congress to attempt to intervene.
As bad a job as Mr. Holder has done in the past, the worst may be yet to come. Despite President Obama's insistence that he supported the 2nd Amendment, his nominee for attorney general has a history of extreme opposition to gun ownership—or at least when it isn't heavily regulated. After the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Holder penned an Op-Ed in the Washington Post arguing for gun control, lest terrorists get their hands on them. More recently, he signed an amicus brief in the Heller vs. DC case—which was based on arguments that even the liberal Supreme Court justices thoroughly rejected. Also disturbing for gun owners is the fact that, during Mr. Holder's tenure at the Justice Department, the “background check” system repeatedly “broke down.” This hurt the gun market, as sellers were obligated to perform background checks before completing sales. And it deprived gun buyers of their Second Amendment rights.
Gun opposition, questionable legal jobs, approval of downright-controversial pardons, politicization—members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle believe is not the kind of track record America needs in its next attorney general. An attorney general who routinely puts politics above principle and personal gain above the public weal is not someone to be entrusted with the pivotal duties of upholding the law of the land. Tags:Attorney General, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, nomineeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
White House: As promised to pro-abortion groups, the AP is reporting that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order today ending the ban on federal funds for international groups that promote or perform abortion. The current presidential executive order known as the "Mexico City policy" bans U.S. taxpayer money from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion. Why waste U.S. Taxpayer funds promoting abortion overseas?
Previously, Obama signed three executive orders and one presidential directive that mandate that interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual be used by all intelligence and law enforcement services; call for a task force to look at closing the detention center in Guantanamo Bay within the year; and order a strategy to be developed for handling detainees in the future. The presidential directive also orders a stay in the case of Ali Al-Marri, the only person being held by the military as an enemy combatant on U.S. soil. In addition two other executive orders were signed that 1) revoked an executive order which makes presidential records secret for up to 12 years after leaving office, and 2) established a ban on executive branch personnel (his staff) from accepting gifts from lobbyists and implements so-called "revolving door bans" to restrict personnel movement between related public and private sector jobs within certain time frames.
Congress: Yesterday, the Senate passed the Ledbetter bill (S. 181) by a vote of 61-36. Prior to passage, the Hutchison substitute amendment failed 40-55 and six other Republican amendmentswere voted down by majority Democrats. Now trial lawyers can sue retroactively for "civil rights" violatons without regard to statutory limits. Senators also confirmed by unanimous consent the nominations of Susan Rice to be UN Ambassador, Lisa Jackson to be EPA Administrator, Shaun Donovan to be HUD secretary, Mary Schapiro to be a member of the SEC, and Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) to be Transportation secretary.
The Senate is in recess until 2 PM on Monday. At 4 PM Monday, the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on the nomination of Timothy Geithner to be Treasury secretary, with a vote expected around 6. Following the vote on Geithner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants the Senate to begin working on the SCHIP expansion bill (H.R. 2).
At 1 PM today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will give a speech to the National Press Club discussing the role of Republicans in the 111th Congress. Sen. McConnell will call on President Obama and Democrats in Congress to work with Republicans to address the looming crisis in entitlement spending. He’ll also remind reporters why bipartisan cooperation has been difficult over the last several years. In particular, he will note, “I think reporters too often confuse being conservative with being partisan.” Politico points out that Sen. McConnell will also call out Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for sitting “at the negotiating table with me” on the financial rescue bill and then turning around and running ads against him and other Republicans for supporting the bill. Reporters would also do well to recall that five of the newly-elected Democrat senators who ran against the bailout last fall subsequently voted for it last week, as detailed by Mary Katherine Ham in the Weekly Standard.
Reacting to the announcement out of the White House yesterday, Sen. McConnell said, “I am committed to working with the new Commander in Chief to ensure that the symbolism of the Executive Order directing the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not lead to action that imperils the American people, either through the release of terrorists on American soil or into the wider world. Our first responsibility is to protect our nation.” Already this task looks difficult, given the report in The New York Times today that a Saudi detainee released from Gitmo in 2007 has returned to the Middle East to become “the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch. . . . The Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda has carried out a number of terrorist attacks over the past year, culminating in the assault on the American Embassy in Sana on Sept. 16.”
Meanwhile, Democrats have been pushing ahead with their $800 billion plus stimulus package and have allowed very little Republican input, as Politico and The Washington Post discuss today. The Post story details growing GOP problems with the Democrats’ stimulus plans: “Sen. John Thune (S.D.) said the nearly $1 trillion price tag would add too much to a federal deficit that is already predicted to top $1.2 trillion for 2009. . . . some key Democrats are pushing to add pieces that would result in fewer Republican votes. [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi (CA) and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (IL), the No. 2 Democratic leader in the Senate, support including changes to bankruptcy laws that would allow judges to modify loans on primary residences, which they say would help alleviate the housing crisis. Republicans and the banking industry have vehemently opposed this because it might cause mortgage interest rates to rise.”Tags:Barack Obama, confirmations, economic stimulus, executive orders, trial lawyers, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C., White HouseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Yesterday the Senate voted 94-2 to confirm Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. I guess all all the Republicans now "love" former Sen. Clinton except for two [thank you Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and David Vitter (R-LA)] .
Today, Congress gets back to "work" [Spending our money and that of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren's money]. Democrats in both chambers are pushing things that are giving Republicans a great deal of concern. In the House, the Appropriations Committee considered Democrats’ $825 billion stimulus package, despite a report from the Congressional Budget Office that “less than half of the $355 billion that House Democrats want to spend on highways, bridges and other job-creating investments is likely to be used before the end of fiscal 2010,” per the The Wall Street Journal.
The Senate today resumes consideration of the Ledbetter bill (S. 181). After an hour of debate, senators are scheduled to vote on a substitute amendment to the bill by Sen. Hutchison (R-TX) at 11:30. Amendments from Sens. Specter (R-PA) and Enzi (R-WY) could also be voted on today. CongressDaily describes the amendments in a story today: “Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter offered two proposals. One would allow businesses to better defend themselves against discrimination claims, while the other clarifies that the Ledbetter legislation applies only to pay discrimination. “Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ranking member Michael Enzi has offered two amendments that would reinforce the Supreme Court's decision. And Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, offered a substitute bill that would require women to prove ‘a reasonable suspicion of discrimination’ before they would be allowed to proceed with claims that date beyond six months.”
At apress conference yesterday Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell noted troubling issues with the proposed stimulus bill: “[T]he CBO has issued a report on the appropriations portion of the House Democratic stimulus package, which indicates that less than 40 percent of the stimulus will be used in the first 18 months. I would remind everyone that I think Speaker Pelosi had it right when she said a stimulus package ought to be timely, temporary and targeted. . . . There is a substantial portion of the package that the House Democrats have approved that actually increase spending permanently. And we all know that permanent increases, when we’re looking at a $1.2 trillion deficit this year before we even pass the stimulus, is something we need to think very seriously about the appropriateness of doing.”
The Wall Street Journal notes that in committee yesterday “[s]ome Republicans argued that the plan doesn’t contain enough safeguards on how the money is spent,” a concern all the more pressing in light of another Wall Street Journal story today. The Journal reports todaythat Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, went out of his way to assure that TARP funds went to a small Boston bank that “was under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives’ use.” According to the WSJ, “Mr. Frank, by his own account, wrote into the TARP bill a provision specifically aimed at helping this particular home-state bank. And later, he acknowledges, he spoke to regulators urging that [the bank] be considered for a cash injection.”
Meanwhile, Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met yesterday with Al Franken, the Democrat candidate in the still-unresolved Minnesota Senate race and raised the possibility of seating Franken before the election contest in Minnesota has been resolved. Senate Republicans would not react favorably to such a move. At the press conference, Sen. McConnell emphasized that “It remains the view of every single member of my conference that the Minnesota Senate race will indeed be decided in Minnesota and not in Washington.”Tags:economic stimulus, confirmation,Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, 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!
American Spectator Weighs in Choice for RNC Chairman
Quin Hillyer posted on AS' Streetcar Linethis morning an article titled "Would All Be Well With Blackwell? that details excelent supporting points for the selection of Blackwell as the new new RNC Chair." The following extract of Hillyer's article shared this morning in hopes that you will pass them on to your three State RNC delegates that will be voting for the next RNC Chairman. We need a new voice for the Republican Party:
by Quinn Hillyer: Nobody in the race for chairman of the Republican National Committee has attracted as many high-profile conservative movement supporters as has former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. And it's true that conservatives have a host of good reasons to be high on Blackwell. But while Blackwell clearly would re-energize the movement, he is not rightly seen as appealing only to conservatives. This is a man with a history of winning elections and a comprehensive plan for helping his party win plenty more of them, at all levels of government.
First, to be clear: The list of conservatives who have endorsed Blackwell's campaign is more than impressive. Former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese. American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene. Former presidential candidate and supply-side economic champion Steve Forbes. Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson. Legendary conservative direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie. Former Reagan Budget Director James C. Miller. Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly. Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. American Spectator Publisher Al Regnery. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Media Research Center President Brent Bozell. Virginia National Committeeman and conservative youth trainer extraordinaire Morton Blackwell (no relation to the candidate).... And on and on the list goes.
Even longer than the list of prominent conservative backers is the list of impressive items on Blackwell's résumé. In elective office, he has been mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio State Treasurer, and two-term Ohio Secretary of State. In appointive office he has been U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, an undersecretary (under Jack Kemp) of HUD, and on official commissions for the Department of Labor, on retirement savings, and on tax reform. He has won awards for his work in government finance and in technology. And he has served on more boards and been given more honorary degrees than most people would do in several lifetimes. . . .
What's impressive about Blackwell this year is how quickly he produced an absolutely superb "Conservative Resurgence Plan" to remake the RNC. Read it for yourself. At first it comes across as just a gathering of important-but-predictable promises: Raise more money, use technology better, yada yada yada. But after a while you realize it's a whole lot more. Blackwell provides not just platitudes but details. And they all make sense.
He lays out a plan to meld good, old-fashioned precinct politics -- including neighbor-to-neighbor, door-to-door (not just by phone) work, the way we all once did it when the organization charts were kept on paper hanging from easels -- with every last bit of modern technology, which Blackwell's plan cites by name and with obvious familiarity. He focuses on the importance of governorships and state legislatures for the crucial redistricting battles coming after the 2010 census -- an issue he knows well because he served three years as chairman of the official national Census Monitoring Board.
He pledges a revenue-sharing system, along with all sorts of other help, for state Republican parties. And he spends a great deal of space explaining why it is so important to appeal to young voters and to re-build the ties between the RNC and the national College Republicans -- historically the proving grounds for so many party leaders. Indeed, the four top current national officials of the CRs have all endorsed Blackwell, as have the CR chairmen in 13 states.
Blackwell also plans greater consultation (within federal law) with outside conservative groups. And, finally but of utmost importance (this is a pet issue of mine!), Blackwell quite rightly insists that the RNC should make greater efforts at candidate recruitment. "We must no longer relinquish control of federal candidate identification solely to the NRSC and NRCC," he writes. The problem with the senatorial committee and the congressional committee are that both are mostly incumbent protection bodies rather than candidate development bodies -- with the added weakness that they often do a bad job of actually protecting Republican incumbents! And no wonder: Every two years, a new senator or representative takes the helm of the two committees, and tries to oversee them while also handling full congressional duties and worrying about their own re-elections as well. The Republican National Committee chairman darn well ought not leave candidate recruitment to such weak reeds.
"The most important factor in evaluating a potential Republican candidate is whether he/she has integrity and agrees with our philosophy of limited government, traditional values and a strong defense," Blackwell's plan continues. "If someone doesn't agree with the Republican philosophy of government, it hardly matters whether or not they make a good candidate on other levels. Once we are assured that they agree with our party philosophically, we should evaluate important factors such as their ability to appeal to voters for the office for which they are running, their ability to raise the resources necessary to be competitive, their ability to represent our party admirably on the national stage, and importantly, whether they are free from the corruption that plagued our party in recent years." Hear, hear. . . .
Tags:candidate, Christian Conservative, conservatism, Ken Blackwell, Republican National Committee, RNC, RNC ChairmanTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Where Are the 'Hard Choices'? The Heritage Foundation Comments On Obama's Speech
Conn Carroll, Morning Bell, The Foundry: Just like all his other speeches, President Barack Obama’s inaugural address delivered lofty rhetoric yesterday, but as is often the case with Obama, the speech provided more heat than light when it came to tough issues. Seeking to set a tone of accountability, Obama said:
Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. … The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act. … The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.
The “bold and swift” action the president is referring to is the currently priced $825 billion economic stimulus package that the House introduced last week. Everybody expects that number will only go up after the Senate introduces their own bill, but let’s crunch the numbers on Obama’s plan as is. If Congress passes an $800 billion, two-year stimulus bill, the deficit in 2009 could stand at $1.31 trillion and could be $1.27 trillion for FY 2010. As a percent of GDP, the FY 2009 deficit will be 9.2% of GDP, and the FY 2010 deficit will be 8.7% of GDP. Moving to the total obligations of the federal government, if the stimulus passes our national debt will be $13 trillion in FY 2009 (92% of GDP) and $14 trillion in FY 2010 (95% of GDP).
Obama seems to believe that deficit spending will expand the economy. If that were true, then the current $1.2 trillion deficit — the largest in history — would already be rescuing the economy. It’s obviously not. So why would $800 billion more of the same suddenly end the recession? How is borrowing and spending money at faster rates a change from our past “collective failure”? It is not.
Obama’s deficit spending stimulus is the exact opposite of making “hard choices.”As Politico points out today, while “Obama frequently talks of the need to transcend partisanship … In fact, there are few examples of him making decisions during the campaign or the transition that offended his own party’s constituencies.”
If the president is interested in ushering in an age of what works, he could suspend the Davis-Bacon “prevailing wage” rules for all infrastructure stimulus spending. A 2008 study by Suffolk University and the Beacon Hill Institute found that Department of Labor estimates for the “prevailing wage” in cities are about 22% above the actual wages paid in these cities and that taxpayers could save almost 10% in federal building costs if they were suspended. If Obama spends $400 billion on infrastructure, he could save taxpayers $40 billion. But the unions that Obama is beholden to would never allow this.
Our country is facing tough economic times, but they are no worse than Ronald Reagan faced in 1982. Reagan did make some unpopular choices, but those choices set the stage for 20 years of economic growth. We sincerely hope President Obama chooses a similar path.Tags:Barack Obama, Davis Bacon, deficit spending, Heritage Foundation, National Debt, presidential inauguration, speechTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Gary L. Bauer, Campaign for Working Families: A number of commentators made the point yesterday that there was such goodwill for President Obama that there were no demonstrators at the inaugural. Of course there weren’t. Conservatives and Republicans don’t demonstrate. The 60 million Republican and conservative voters who didn’t vote for Obama wouldn’t dream of trying to disrupt his day. It is the political Left that acts like children when it loses. It’s the Left that tried to turn both Bush inaugurals and both Reagan inaugurals into fiascos.
Actually, there was one demonstration yesterday, but not from our side. Even in victory, the Left couldn’t restrain itself. When President Bush and Mrs. Bush were introduced at the Capitol, the crowd of liberal Democrat VIPs with the close, up-front seats, in one final display of ignorance and classlessness, booed the outgoing president. Not satisfied with that insult, a mocking chant started, “Na Na Na Na, Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye.” These are the “tolerant” people who want us to close ranks now – behind their agenda. (By the way, to see how these eco-conscious "progressives" left Washington after their victory bash, click here.)
But the lack of grace doesn’t end there. For decades Democrats have played the race card against Republicans and conservatives. If we opposed quotas, we were bigots. If we thought welfare or subprime mortgages needed reforming, it was said we hated black people. The list goes on and on. But Pastor Joseph Lowery just couldn’t help himself. He had to play the race card again.
He did it with this little prayer/poem: “Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead man, and when white will embrace what is right.”
A mixed race man had just become the 44th president of a nation that is 67% white – something that has not yet happened in any of the “progressive” European nations, which we are always told are more “enlightened” than we are. But to Lowery and the Left, if you are white and conservative, you still haven’t “embraced what is right.”
As a matter of fact, to these ideologues, if you are black, brown, yellow or red AND conservative, you are the problem. Seriously, would the media have been in a similar state of euphoria if the man sworn in yesterday had been J.C. Watts, Ken Blackwell or Clarence Thomas? What a contrast Lowery’s racist poem was compared to the “controversial” Christian Pastor Rick Warren, who with grace reminded the audience that God loves us all. (Presumably even Republicans and conservatives!) Tags:Gary Bauer, liberals, presidential inauguration, promoting racismTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obvious the above photo is rather hard to view - the situation is more than trashy! Also note all the plastic bags which they could have used to haul out their own trash. TexasFred sent the following humorous comment which could explain the attitude of those in attendance. Not counting Gov't Officials,
There were 2.7 million people at the inauguration in Washington D.C.
18 of them missed work.
For those insulted that "progressives" could not pick-up their own trash, you are a "Real American." If you are insulted by Texas Fred's joke, after viewing the photo, --- study the photo again. Then if you are more bothered by the joke than the reality presented by the photo, send your comments and we will let other readers educate you.Tags:TexasFred, presidential inauguration, Washington D.C., Washington MonumentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
President Barrack Obama asserted yesterday in his inauguration speech that it is no longer whether government is too big or too small, but whether government "works." Most readers know that those who created our Federal system of government wanted it limited in scope because the knew that "Big Government" creates problems, limits individual freedom and eventually become tyrannical in its actions towards its people. Jesse Benton, Senior Vice President, Campaign for Liberty visited Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) yesterday to get his response on emails concerning Obamas's inauguration speech. A few of Dr. Paul's comments from the following video:
President Obama is not calling for less government but for government that "works" no matter what the cost. He in fact is calling for a "lot more government." Conservatives know and want "individual liberty with the full belief and confidence that freedom does work, that markets work and that big government is the problem." At issue is "can the government create prosperity, can it regulate the market place, can it be a central economic planner, can it be empire builder, and can it police the world. ... What is coming is a strong ideological belief that government can run things." "If it isn't socialism, it is fascistic and it is inflationary and its control and it is loss of liberty, so we should not be feeling reassured by any words that we heard in the inaugural address."
You may need to turn up the volume.
Tags:Barack Obama, big government, Ron Paul, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Senate reconvened at noon today and proceeded to executive session to consider the nomination of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to be Secretary of State. Three hours of debate are scheduled, with a vote expected at 4:30 PM. Following the vote, the Senate will resume consideration of the Ledbetter bill (S. 181) .
Yesterday the Senate confirmed by voice vote the nominations of Steven Chu as Energy secretary, Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) as Homeland Security secretary, former Congressional Budget Office director Peter Orzag as director of the Office of Management and Budget, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) as Interior secretary, retired Gen. Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) as Secretary of Agriculture.
From Senate & News Sources: With the new president sworn in, attention is turning to the stimulus legislation being pushed by his congressional allies to address the nation’s economic downturn. House Democrats recently unveiled a massive $825 billion spending bill, which was supposedly designed to pump money into the economy. However, a report from the Congressional Budget Office this week reveals that “[l]ess than half the money dedicated to highways, school construction and other infrastructure projects . . . is likely to be spent within the next two years, . . . meaning most of the spending would come too late to lift the nation out of recession,” according to The Washington Post.
Further, The AP reports, “Overall, only $26 billion out of $274 billion in infrastructure spending would be delivered into the economy by the Sept. 30 end of the budget year, just 7 percent. Just one in seven dollars of a huge $18.5 billion investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs would be spent within a year and a half.”
Wall Street also appeared to be skeptical of the stimulus plan. Alan Sinai, chief economist at Decision Economics of Boston, told The Boston Globe, “The message from Wall Street is ‘Show me.’ Stimulus heavily oriented towards government spending has a checkered history.”
Last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that economic stimulus spending should be “timely, temporary, and targeted.” If the CBO report is accurate, it looks like the proposal being put forward by Democrats is anything but timely. If it includes money for dubious projects Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has criticized as “mob museums and waterslides,” it would be hard to consider it targeted. It appears that Democrats need to spend a little more time considering something that would actually have a stimulative effect on the economy.Tags:confirmations, 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!
Greatest Nation in History Displays Peaceful Transition of Power
This is the greatest nation in the history of the world! God Bless George W. Bush God Bless Barack H. Obama And God Bless The United States of America!
Editor Note: Recognizing the 43rd and 44th presidential transition and asking for God's blessing does not mean agreement with all actions or positions of the individuals. It is rightfully yielding to the Almighty in his Sovereignty and seeking His blessing. Tags:America, Barack Obama, George Bush, God, God Bless, Human Society of United StatesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
42 Taxpayer Heroes Stood in Opposition to TARP - #TCOT #diggcon #statebooks
H/T to Robert Romano. Ameicans for Limited Governemnt for the following: There may be a growing consensus in Washington against simply flushing money down the toilet. The Senate did vote late last week to release the second installment of $350 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to the Treasury for disbursement. But, surprisingly, the resolution only passed by a slim 52-42 margin. Although the bill now moves to the House, there were in fact 42 heroes who stood in opposition, and here they are, listed in full:
Included were 9 Senators who caucus with the Democratic majority. What does that mean? It means that if Senate Republicans had stood together—and if they can now unite—the unbridled Washington spending spree could actually be brought under control. It also means that those tired of the bailout—in the media and at the grassroots level—need now to apply pressure to the the following Republican Senators who defected from the vast majority of their caucus:
Alexander (R-TN; Gregg (R-NH); Kyl (R-AZ); Lugar (R-IN); Snowe (R-ME) Tags:bailout, heroes, Senators, TARP, taxpayers, toiletTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gas prices to surge after Pelosi legislation - Get ready to pay more!
by Carter Clews, Executive Editor, ALG News Bureau: Unbeknownst to most, … On Sunday, January 11 of this year, CBS News reluctantly conceded that they had failed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what actually caused last year’s horrifying spike in gasoline prices. Oh, they didn’t come right out and say, “We lied.” But, even a casual reading between the lines of their story entitled “Did Speculation Fuel Oil Price Swings?” makes it more than abundantly clear that they finally thought it was time to come clean.
You may recall that month after month in the spring and early summer of 2008, as gas pump prices skyrocketed, Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, and the other talking heads at CBS, made it their stock in trade to portray the crisis as irremediable. They told us that prices would continue to climb through the stratosphere. And that there was nothing in the world anyone could do about it (except, perhaps, resort to windmills, solar panels, and bicycles built for two). Least of all, they proclaimed, would domestic drilling in any way, shape, or form help alleviate the problem, even in the slightest. Not now. Not ever. They took great pride in ferreting out left-wing politicians who would declare, as Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin did on May13, 2008, "We can't drill our way out of this."
And they became almost apoplectic with joy when, after President Bush had lifted the executive ban on domestic drilling in July, The Dragon Lady, Nancy Pelosi, sneered: "Once again, the oilman in the White House is echoing the demands of Big Oil. The Bush plan is a hoax. It will neither reduce gas prices nor increase energy independence. It just gives millions more acres to the same companies that are sitting on nearly 68 million acres of public lands and coastal areas." Of course, the Bush “hoax,” coupled with the American people forcing Ms. Pelosi, et. al., to lift the congressional ban did reduce gas prices. In fact, they plummeted. . . .
Now, as of January 11, CBS is finally admitting that, well, gee whiz, maybe the lifting of the moratorium did help bring gas prices down – but only because it stopped the evil speculators from continuing to drive them up. Which, of course, gets it all exactly backwards. Those of us with even a modicum of good sense (and a smidgeon of erudition and integrity) knew all along – and tried tirelessly to tell Ms. Couric, Mr. Gibson, and their political cronies – that the speculators paying top dollar on the futures market was the result, not the cause, of rising gas prices. And that once said speculators knew that America would, indeed, start drilling for its own oil, they would, in turn, stop paying top dollar for tomorrow’s yield. And gas pump prices would, as a result, begin to drop. It’s called “simple logic.” Something that TV anchors and political hacks apparently find too abhorrent even to consider when it stands athwart their own firmly entrenched political agenda.
But, drop gas prices have. Like a rock. Much to what should be the chagrin of Dick, Nancy, Katie, and Charlie. Dick and Nancy, of course, have gone to ground on the issue, refusing to admit even for one moment that they were, in fact, dead wrong. . . . To its credit, CBS News has, at last, taken the bold step of admitting that, indeed, gasoline prices have dropped. . . . Though they still get the whole cause and effect thing exactly backwards.
-------------------------- Editor's Footnote: On Sunday, January 11, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid began pushing through his omnibus land grab bill to prevent America from tapping some 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 300 million barrels of oil in Wyoming alone. And President Obama’s Interior Secretary designee has already announced that he intends to bring back the domestic drilling ban. So, get ready to retrieve your bicycle built for two. See Also:Obama's Energy Plan - Socialism in Action and 74 miles in Alaska & Bakken Formation in Mountana & N. Dakota Tags:CBS, Gas prices oil drilling, gasoline prices, higher prices, Nancy Pelosi, oil banTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Americans for Limited Government, government, political humor, the economy, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bush Commutes Sentences of Former Border Patrol agents
Update: On today’s debut of Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck Show, Gov. Sarah Palin, Wives of the Border Patrol Agents Compean and Monica Ramos will be guests. Washington D. C. - On his final full day in office, President Bush issued commutations for two former border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso convicted in 2007 of shooting a Mexican drug runner. Their sentences will now expire on March 20 of this year.
In 2005, drug runner, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, was shot in the buttocks by the border patrol agents while trying to flee along the Texas border. Ramos and Compean unsuccessfully argued they believed Davila was armed and they shot him in self defense. Davila himself admitted in court to smuggling tons of marijuana into the US and plead guilty to two related smuggling charges.
The imprisonment of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean had sparked outcry from critics who said the men were just doing their jobs and were punished too harshly. They had been sentenced to 11- and 12-year sentences, respectively. Numerous organizations and members of Congress -- many of them Republican -- argued that the men were just doing their jobs. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., was particularly outspoken on the issue, at one time describing Ramos and Compean as "unjustly convicted men who never should have been prosecuted in the first place." Nearly the entire congressional delegation from Texas and other lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle pleaded with Bush to grant them clemency. Conservatives hailed Bush's decision Monday.
"The whole thing was ridiculous from beginning to end, and two years was way too long for them to serve," said radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. "Conservatives are very happy across the country." Although a pardon was preferred, it was finally recognised that President bush would not oppose the work of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of the Western District of Texas. With Ramos and Compean living daily in solitary confinement which was required to protect them against the very criminal types that they had sent to jail. All that was left was to hope to seek a commutation of Sentence and release from prison.
A pardon is an official forgiveness of a crime (typically requested at least five years after the completion of a prison term); a commutation is a reduction of sentence. It is unfortunate that they will forever be branded for doing their job protecting America. Tags:border agents, border guards, commutation of sentence, Ignacio Ramos, Jose Alonso, President George BushTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Hastings Wyman, Southern Political Report, asked the question "Arkansas: Can the GOP Regroup?" After detailing past years' successes: a Republican held US Senate seat, a US Congressional seat, Governor (10 years) and Lt Governor (8 yrs), Wyman correctly identifies the key reason for the GOP's decline in Arkansas " the party became top-heavy and bottom-light."
But then Wayman fumbles the ball by focusing on the top of the ticket instead of the rebuilding of the grassroots base of the party - the "bottom of the ticket." As follows, Wayman ends by focusing on the top and in usual reporter fashion, does some "name dropping": [potential candidate names are edited out, if interested read his post]:
Can Arkansas Republicans stage a come-back? A political party can’t prosper, even as the minority party, if it doesn’t compete for the top offices. So will the Arkansas GOP’s plans for 2010 include nominating candidates for governor and US Senator? “Absolutely,” says [RPA Executive Director] Ray.
That means tackling Gov. Mike Beebe (D), who will be seeking a second term and so far looks like a strong bet for re-election, as well as running against popular moderate US Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D). [Lincoln is not a moderate, she is a liberal progressive; whereas, Sen. Pryor (D) might be labeled a moderate.] That’s a tall order. Indeed, SPR’s Little Rock insider (R) believes in 2010 the party should not “get bogged down in many campaigns they can’t win, like [against] Beebe. . . . Lincoln, however "is vulnerable," he says, especially if she votes for such measures as the union-boosting bill that would abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections.
In any case, the party started recruiting 2010 candidates about two weeks after the 2008 election -- for both statewide and local offices. While GOP headquarters wouldn’t name names, potential candidates -- especially for Lincoln’s US Senate seat . . . . There’s even GOP talk of running a strong campaign for the 2nd District (Little Rock, etc.) congressional seat currently held by seven-term US Rep. Vic Snyder (D). . . . While it is far too early to guesstimate the political climate in 2010, it may be another disappointing year for Arkansas Republicans, at least on the statewide and congressional level. Then again, they might add to their farm team for 2012, if you want to look that far down the road.
The answer to Wayman's first question is "Yes, the Arkansas GOP can regroup!" But as alluded to, the work is at the bottom and not at the top of the ticket. The burden rests on the new RPA Chairman Doyle Webb to bring a voice to the party and to encourage the people at the grassroots. It appears he has begun and has scheduled trips to varied GOP events in the state. In addition, within Arkansas there are numerous grassroots party members and new media activists working to stir up and to motivate the base. It should be noted again that Arkansans by a majority voted for McCain (R) over Obama (D) for president. However, much of the enthusiasm may have been for the second person on the Republican ticket, rising star, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).
Grassroots republicans will work to add more than just to the farm team. They will continue to share their conservative values across the state and will work together to rebuild the party. Thus they will win more county races, state senate and house seats. From discussions with elected conservative democrats and republicans, it is not Republicans who wish to be Democrats, but many Democrats who know they should be Republicans but are hesitant of changing brands based on family and family histories. Traditional values reign in many legislators' hearts even when being restricted or controlled in Little Rock by big government, limited rights liberals (progressives).
It will not be a Phoenix that rises to save the GOP, but it will be conservative Arkansas men and women who come forward to be the leaders that win local races and eventually State Constitutional offices and positions in the US Congress. It will be people representing Arkansas basic values that fires transformation verses the stink of death based in the liberal values of the East and West coasts. It will be "mislabeled" conservative democrats accepting, like their fellow brothers and sisters in other Southern states, that they are Republicans both in principle and now in name.
At that time, Arkansas will be transformed into a prosperous state not based on the present false tenets of liberalism (expanded government, taxing friends, neighbors and ourselves into slavery, and restricting rights and choices) but instead based on expanded personal freedom and choices, free markets, free trade, traditional values and hard work (the values of our ancestors before the word Democrat was corrupted by liberals / progressives). Yes, the GOP can and will regroup in Arkansas, because at heart, most Arkansans are republicans in principles and beliefs even if not presently in name. Tags:Arkansas, ARRA, Bill Smith, GOP, grassroots, Republican Party of Arkansas, Republicans, RPA, valuesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Extracts from The Tolbert Report - Yesterday was the 31st Annual March for Life in downtown Little Rock. This year a large crowd of around a thousand made the trek down Capital Avenue to the steps of the state capital. Leading the march were a handful of state legislators included Sen. Gilbert Baker, Rep. Dan Greenberg, Rep. Jonathan Dismang, Rep. Dawn Creekmore, Rep. Duncan Baird, and Rep. Andrea Lea. Former Governor Mike Huckabee was also at the front of crowd.
Bishop Anthony Taylor brought the prayer, Arkansas Right to Life President Wayne Mays gave an update on their work, and Rep. Dawn Creekmore discussed the need for and current statue of the recently filed Arkansas Partial Birth Abortion Ban. The keynote and highlight of the march was the speech delivered by Julie Mayberry (formerly of KATV and wife of Andy Mayberry). Julie discussed her journey from a pro-choice stance ten years to her current strong pro-life stance, through the birth of her children, prayer and Bible study, and research about what abortion really is. She ended the speech by imploring the crowd not to just come to the march and go home but to go out and make a difference; borrowing a quote from Sarah Palin, she said, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not the reason a ship is built.”
Videos by Jason Tolbert:
Tags:Arkansas, March for Life, Mike Huckabee, Right to LifeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor, former Governor Mitt Romney, former CEO EBay Meg Whitman, Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Paul Ryan, ranking member on House Budget Comm. held a press conference immediately following a hearing on America's economic future (1/15/09).
Eric Cantor, Mitt Romney & Meg Whitman answer questions.
CITIZEN Q1: SMALL BUSINESS & JOBS
CITIZEN Q2: JOBS
Tags:economy, Eric Cantor, Meg Whitman, Mitt Romney, Republicans, US HouseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Ken Blackwell: Possible problems with President-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan must be thoroughly vetted. While only a few details are known, one overlooked issue is that it could create a major electoral advantage for Democrats at taxpayer expense. That would be unacceptable for what is being touted as a nonpartisan measure, and gives Republicans yet another reason to oppose it if not restructured.
President-elect Obama is constantly emphasizing the need for Congress to pass his stimulus plan. The details are vague. All that is certain at this point is that it is approximately one trillion dollars and Mr. Obama says it will create three million new jobs.
Government cannot create self-sustaining jobs. Government doesn’t create value; it takes it from us as taxes. While a government job involves work and earns a paycheck, every government job is a burden on the private sector because it takes money away from the people. While some of those jobs, such as military personnel or FBI agents, are essential for our nation, it’s no secret that government is full of countless bureaucratic and wasteful jobs that the private sector can better perform.
Indeed, massive government spending sometimes destroys more jobs than it creates. Every dollar the government takes in through taxes is a dollar taken out of circulation from the economy. It’s a dollar that does not go to your local restaurant, or hardware store, or movie theatre. When government spends massive sums financed through taxes, it can destroy more jobs in the private sector than it creates in the public sector.
The only other way to finance massive government spending is through simply printing more money. Government can do that; it controls the printing press. However, creating money out of thin air doesn’t create wealth. If the money supply rapidly expands while the amount of goods and services being produced declines (the definition of a recession, which America is in) the result is massive inflation. This inflation penalizes saving and investments and burdens long-term financial planning and capital formation, worsening the economic situation.
So whether it’s through massive taxes or massive injections of new money, a major spending bill entails consequences. And when this amount of money is at stake, the sheer size of it could make the consequences severe.
But what may be most objectionable with Mr. Obama’s plan is its potential for political mischief. The first such shenanigans come from earmarks. One of the proposed projects to receive this federal largesse is a museum on organized crime located in Nevada. Doesn’t Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid live in Nevada? Is that the kind of project that requires emergency federal funding? Is it irrelevant that Mr. Reid is facing a tough reelection next year?
Even if the earmark issue is somehow resolved, however, there is another issue that it seems no one is discussing. A week ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, mentioned Mr. Obama says his goal is for 80% of these three million jobs to be private-sector. That means, Senator McConnell continued, that 20% would be public-sector, meaning this bill would create 600,000 new federal government jobs. For comparison, Mr. McConnell noted this would be the size of the entire Postal Service workforce.
Once government creates a job, it rarely eliminates it. Government swells by nature, feeding on tax dollars taken away from private citizens and employers until it becomes a bloated, sprawling bureaucracy. So if Mr. Obama creates 600,000 new government bureaucrats, those jobs should be expected to be kept around permanently, long after this economic crisis is resolved. After all, eliminating those jobs means laying off 600,000 people. Who wants to take responsibility for that?
But most federal employees, that are not political appointees, vote Democrat. Since Washington, DC is the seat of government, whenever new federal bureaucrats are created many live in Maryland and Virginia. In 2008, Virginia went Democrat for the first time since 1964, and Mr. Obama won it by 130,000 votes. Creating 600,000 new jobs might help cement Virginia in the Democrat column, making it harder for Republicans to retake the White House.
So this bill, as currently designed, has serious flaws, some of which convey a partisan advantage. These must be thoroughly discussed and understood, and any major legislation cannot be allowed to benefit one party in what must be a bipartisan solution.
--------------------- Ken Blackwell, contributing editor of Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, the American Civil Rights Union and the Buckeye Institute in Ohio, and is a candidate for Chairman of the National Republican Committee. Tags:Barack Obama, economic stimulus, Ken Blackwell, Trojan horseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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