News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru] - firstname.lastname@example.org (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
Saturday, February 14, 2009
A Load of Hot Air
The Heartland Institute launched the following video promoting its upcoming second International Conference on Climate Change, taking place March 8-10 in New York City. The conference is expected to be the largest gathering of global warming "skeptics" ever convened. Approximately 1,000 scientists, economists, policy experts, elected officials, and civic and business leaders are expected to attend.
The 'Cows' video is edgy and humorous in a tasteful barnyard kind of way. But it makes the point that alarmists have exaggerated the impact on climate from factors they can't control, and how attempting to do so will unleash a blizzard of bureaucrats eager to regulate and tax every aspect of our lives. It takes aim at the federal EPA's suggestion it may tax animal flatulence as a way to help control greenhouse gases.
Tags:global warming, Heartland Institute, taxing cowsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Arkansas Candidates & Elected Officials Get to Keep Their Criminal Records Secret
Bill Smith, ARRA News Service: That's right folks! In Arkansas, candidates for office and elected officials get to keep their records secret unless a citizen is willing to drive to 75 counties and visit huge numbers of courthouses and police stations to try to get criminal record information. Rep. Dan Greenberg noted the need to improve government transparency and introduced a bill that would make access the criminal records of candidates and elected officials easier to access by the public. Guess who objected most? It was Attorney General Dustin McDaniel who argued against the bill saying that we should "protect the privacy" of criminals' public records. Duh! If a person runs for public office and they have been a criminal, don't the voters have the right to know that the person has a criminal record?
This week made me ask: why is our attorney general trying to hide public information?
When I first filed a bill that would make the criminal records of government officials public — at the suggestion of a professor at our local law school — I figured most people would think it's a good idea. Maybe so, but it turned out that most state legislators thought differently.
HB 1051 would have made the criminal records of candidates, elected officials and high-ranking appointed officials accessible on demand. The argument for this is simple: public access to the criminal histories of government decision-makers is absolutely in the public interest, and the public has a right to know about the criminal past of those who are supposed to act in the interest of the public.
State government already compiles all Arkansans' criminal history from public records. The information in Arkansas law enforcement databases is already public information, already collected by state government employees, and is already paid for by taxpayers. It's exactly the kind of information that is supposed to be open to the public under our freedom of information laws.
The only bar to getting it is that the everyday citizen has to drive to 75 counties and visit huge numbers of courthouses and police stations in order to get criminal record information. It's unreasonable to make citizens go to this length when state government already has a complete database of easily accessible public information.
We discussed this bill several times in the House Judiciary Committee. At our first committee meeting, legislators raised questions about how the bill would work and who would administer the background checks. In response to these concerns, I repeatedly met with and talked to professional law enforcement staff from the State Police and the Arkansas Crime Information Center, who suggested numerous modifications to the bill to make it work better. I accepted all but one of their suggestions — I didn't take their advice on how to set prices for the background check.
One day after our last conversation, I took the bill before the Judiciary Committee again, only to be met with hostile testimony from the same law enforcement professionals who advised me before. The same law enforcement professionals who had advised me didn't like my proposed fee.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel also spoke against the bill; he said he thought the bill was too extensive — that letting the public do background checks on every "state legislator, Justice of the Peace and dogcatcher in Arkansas" granted too much access by too many people. We don't actually have elections for dogcatcher in Arkansas, but it was interesting to see him say publicly what I suspect some elected officials thought privately.
I once again modified the bill: the newest draft increased the price for background checks, ensured that sealed and expunged records would not be revealed, and made a variety of technical changes to satisfy other members.
I then took it back for a third round of questioning before the Judiciary Committee, where the real motivation for the hostility towards the bill by some members was growing more evident. One of my favorite colleagues, freshman Rep. Ann Clemmer, spoke in favor of the bill at the hearing, noting that "with this much scrutiny over the bill, I'm worried that the public is going to think that we have something to hide."
One of the attorney general's lawyers showed up and criticized the bill, saying that it would reveal confidential information, but admitted under questioning that every bit of information covered by the bill was already public information.
The bill finally made it out of committee but didn't fare so well on the floor. Attorney General McDaniel sent a letter to all legislators arguing that we should "protect the privacy" of criminals' public records. That didn't make much sense to me, but apparently it was more persuasive to others. On Friday, government secrecy won and freedom of information lost; the bill failed33-56.
Thank you Dan Greenberg and those who voted for this bill. Transparency in government is needed even if the Attorney General would rather protect some of his colleagues. Gee - wonder who these people are? Below is review of the votes; Note while almost all Republicans supported greater transparency in government, it was Democrats who stopped this bill.
Tags:Arkansas, criminal records, Dan Greenberg, elected officials, freedom of information, government transparencyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Sam Adams Alliance: Everyday thousands of activists fight big government and come away with nothing but frustration, legal bills, property losses, or worse. Sam Adams Alliance understands that standing up to government corruption and bureaucracy is hard work, so we created the Sammies, awards that recognize exceptional citizen activism. With prizes ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, the Sammies seek to inspire more people to stand up for good government practices in their communities.
*Best Microblogger: $2,000
*Best Video: $5,000
*Sunshine Award: $5,000
*Tea Party Award: $5,000
*Best State/Local Blogger: $5,000
*Modern-Day Sam Adams: $10,000
*Wikiteer (Ballotpedia): $1,000
*Wikiteer (Judgepedia): $1,000
*Wikiteer (Sunshine Review): $1,000
*Voter Watchdog: $2,500
*Blogivist of the Year: $2,500
Enter today! Deadline to nominate yourself (or someone else): 3/20/2009. Winners will be flown to Chicago to be showcased at the red-carpet Sammies winner reception in April of 2009. For more info, visit Sam Adams Alliance.Tags:activism, awards, blogger, conservative, contest, free market, grassroots, libertarian, microblogging, Sam Adams, Sam Adams Alliance, Sammies, sunshine, transparency, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is finding that her job description is dissolving under her feet, leaving her with only a vestige of the power she must have thought she acquired when she signed on to be President Obama’s chief Cabinet officer. Since her designation:
# Vice President Joe Biden has moved vigorously to stake out foreign policy as his turf. His visit to Afghanistan, right before the inauguration, could not but send a signal to Clinton that he would conduct foreign policy in the new administration, leaving her in a backup role.
# Richard Holbrooke, the former Balkan negotiator and U.N. ambassador, has been named special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He insisted on direct access to the president, a privilege he was denied during much of the Clinton years.
# Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, negotiator of the Irish Peace Accords, was appointed to be the administration’s point man on Arab-Israeli negotiations.
# Samantha Powers, Obama’s former campaign aide, who once called Hillary Clinton a “monster,” has been appointed to the National Security Council as director of “multilateral affairs.”
# Gen. James L. Jones, Obama’s new national security adviser, has announced an expansion of the membership and role of the security council. He pledges to eliminate “back channels” to the president and wants to grow the council’s role to accommodate the “dramatically different” challenges of the current world situation.
# Susan Rice, Obama’s new United Nations ambassador, insisted upon and got Cabinet rank for her portfolio, and she presumably also will have the same kind of access to Obama that she had as his chief foreign policy adviser during the campaign.
So where does all this leave Secretary of State Clinton? . . . Hillary’s essential problem is that she is an outsider in the current mix. She was the adversary in the campaign, and Rice and Powers — at the very least — know it well, having helped to run the campaign that dethroned her. Can they — and she — be devoid of bitterness or at least of normal human trepidation? Not very likely. The fact is that the power of the secretary of State is not statutory, nor does it flow from the prestige of the post’s occupant. . . .
The power of the secretary of State flows directly from the president. But Hillary does not have the inside track with Obama. Rice and Powers, close advisers in the campaign, and Gen. Jones, whose office is in the White House all may have superior access. Holbrooke and Mitchell will have more immediate information about the world’s trouble spots.
So what is Hillary’s mandate? Of what is she secretary of State? . . . And for this she gave up a Senate seat? Tags:Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of StateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tony Perkins Addresses President Obama's Liberal Nominees
The U.S. Senate will vote soon on these key appointments that will determine U.S. legal policy for years to come. These appointments (David Ogden, Thomas Perrelli, and Elena Kagan) have a legacy of championing abortion on demand, legalized obscenity, special rights for homosexuals, and euthanasia. Continue reading... Note: two more additions to the daily Change Watch: Sanjay Gupta, Surgeon General-designate; and Jane Lubchenco, Obama's pick to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Tags:Barack Obama, David Ogden, Elena Kagan, liberals, nominee, Perkins on Point, Thomas Perrelli, Tony PerkinsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Family Research Council: A group with pedophilia ties may be too extreme for the United Nations but not for the Obama State Department. In a fiery debate this week, the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council voted 8-6 to deny official non-governmental (NGO) status to a radical gay advocacy group from Brazil which supports sex with children. The committee that reviews NGO applicants includes several major member nations, including the U.S., which voted in favor of Brazil's Association of Gays, Lesbians and Transgenders.
While conservatives may find it outrageous that the Obama administration is unconcerned with pedophilia, few are surprised. After all, this is the same White House that has nominated a liberal extremist like David Ogden to the nation's second-highest Justice post. As you may remember, Ogden, whose Senate vote was delayed after thousands of calls and emails, represented purveyors of hard-core pornography in court, including those who did not want to take the trouble to verify that their "actors" weren't underage. Tags:Family Research Council, FRC, Brazil, David Ogden, gay activist, NGO, pedophile, pedophilia, White HouseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Arkansas Legislators Insult Public by Stopping Hearing On The Cutting Bingo Tax
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: On Wednesday, February 11, an Arkansas legislative panel delayed public input and discussion of a bill by Rep. Tracy Pennartz, D-Fort Smith, that would eliminate the 1-cent tax that lawmakers approved last session. Members of various American Legion and VFW posts crowded the committee room Wednesday to speak in favor of the HB1111. The formal scheduled hearing was for public input to members of the 87 General Assembly and was scheduled to begin at noon with no established time limit established.
People traveled from all over the state to express either their opposition or support of the proposed amendment. The majority came to support the amendment but their voices were not allowed to be heard. However, the committee, after hearing lobbyist opposing the bill for over a half hour with questions and answers, started to call Department of Finance & Administration (DFA) representative who also opposes repeal because they have established a a new enforcement unit which consumes $800, 000 in operational costs. However, one member rightly identified that the hearing was to garner input from the public. After hearing from just one person representing the VFW who supporting the amendment, panel members instead called for the DFA representative and proceeded to with a Q&A.
After an hour wasted by Q&A of the first speaker and the DFA representative, Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, an open opponent of the amendment, moved to postpone the matter. The result was that no more people were allowed input. Only one person was allowed to speak in favor of the amendment. Disappointed people who felt this issue was important and had traveled from the four corners of Arkansas to address the issue were dismissed. It was the panel that had consumed the majority of time with questions and in an unprofessional manner insulted the people who had traveled to Little Rock at their public invitation to provide input on the bill.
One of the individuals attending the session was Frank R. Kaye, Commander of the Alley-White American Legion Post 52 in Mountain Home, AR. Kaye said, "325 miles, 7 hours driving time and I didn't even get to present my side of the story! And I was only 1 of 40-50 veterans who traveled from all parts of the state to testify at your committee meeting yesterday. Is this really how we, who served to protect the Constitution of the US and Arkansas, deserve to be treated? I can't begin to express just how upset I am."
At the center of the issue is the current bingo tax in Arkansas for charitable bingo is creating a huge financial hardship and burden on the charities and nonprofit organizations running bingo across the state. Less than 300 permits are held currently in Arkansas and many of those are only for raffles. The windfall to the State has amounted to $1,813,217 as of last month. The tax is being touted as a penny a card which is grossly misleading. Each nonprofit organization and charity has paid an average of $6,252.00, with $4,137.00 funding a state bingo regulation and enforcement operation.
Keith Dover of Little Rock who is the Public Relations Chairman for the American Legion Department of Arkansas identified:
"Many Legionnaires believe that the state enforcement is redundant and unnecessary. For many years, the state published bingo regulations, collected an annual fee and issued Non-Profit Bingo Establishment Registration Certificates. During this time, local law enforcement and local prosecutors policed charity bingo in a professional manner. Organized crime and casino style bingo halls have not been a problem. If there is a problem with a charity bingo operation, not only are local authorities better positioned to respond, they are also directly accountable to the local community.
Every dollar taken from Arkansas charities takes away from programs like Volunteer Fire Departments, Humane Societies, Parent Teacher Associations, Court Appointed Child Advocates, Cancer Support Groups, Senior Citizen Centers, Special Olympics, March of Dimes, Cerebral Palsy, children shelters, public and private schools, churches, youth organizations, museums and veterans’ organizations. The American Legion sponsors many youth programs state-wide, including Arkansas Boys State, American Legion Baseball, American Legion Oratorical Competition, Junior Shooting Competition, numerous Scholarship Awards, Flag Education, assistance to veterans and their families, particularly those mobilized overseas and numerous programs and activities all across Arkansas.
Much of the funding for these outstanding programs is seriously being affected by the current bingo tax, and members of the American Legion are urging lawmakers to amend the current legislation to eliminate the tax."
Frank Kaye of Mountain Home has sent a letter to all the legislative members expressing his frustration. He asked,
Do you really believe that DF&A's collection and auditing of this $1M excise tax - and the legislature's decisions on how to use that revenue -are more effective than leaving it in the hands of the non-profit veterans' groups that are DEDICATED to helping the thousands of needy in our state?
If your answer to that question is NO, then please put the bill back on the agenda as a Special Order of Business in the very near future. Let us present our side of the story, and call for a straight-up vote on the issue, rather than letting the bill 'lay on the table.'
If your answer is YES, then I suggest you really don't understand the economics of the situation! That $1M of tax revenue DF&A collected from us the first year would have gone directly to the aid of thousands of needy people across the state - without paying the salaries of 5 or 6 auditors and the needless travel expenses associated with the audits of 501 C's who are already reporting to the IRS, not to mention the other miscellaneous costs that government incurs.
In pre-Act 388 years, Post 52 gave ~$13K to14K per year to local charities, men's and women's shelters, food baskets, Salvation Army, etc., and funded 4 college scholarships per year. The first full year since the tax went into effect, we've managed only one (1) $500 scholarship and one(1) $500 donation to the Family Readiness Group of the ARNG 224th Maintenance Company; we repaid Post 52 the $6000 Bingo startup loan, paid $3250 in building expenses (utilities, insurance, etc), all the while remitting $15,136 in taxes to the DF&A! We actually gave out $2241 more in donations than we realized in net receipts!
Now in the 2nd year of this misguided tax, we have had to realign our business plan, dedicating all net Bingo receipts to charity, while absorbing the cost of running the business (utilities, insurance, etc) by holding at least one additional fundraiser per month. We've done this to try and bring our support of the local charities back to the pre-Act 388 levels, even though it places an additional burden on the members of this Post. And realize this, the average age of my volunteers who do all this work is about 75!
Please bring this bill back for a vote and vote to pass it. The poor among us need this help, especially with hard times ahead. And letʼs not forget, the voters overwhelmingly voted to authorize CHARITABLE BINGO, not another tax!
It appears that the legislators either 1) live in a bubble and have forgotten the sacrifice people must make to travel to Little Rock to speak to their committees or panels, or 2) really don't care and have established ways or methods agendas to deal with public input especially when it does not line up with their preconceived agendas. Whether you are for against taxing Bingo at an unreasonable rate, you must admit these legislators owe the public an apology. See also:Repealing the State Bingo Tax Is Not Enough Tags:American Legion, Arkansas, Bingo, Frank Kaye, Keith Dover, legislature, Little Rock, Mountain Home, TaxTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - Feb 13, 2009 - Porkulus Alive in Congress
The race is on in Congress between Senator Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Peloisi to see which one of them can get their Democrats to approve first the economic stimulus bill (H.R. 1 - conference report). The final text of the bill was posted online after 10 pm last night and can be found on the House Appropriations Committee website. I guess our Senators, Representatives and the American Public were expected to stay up all night to review the bill before it is voting on as early as the end of today. Insanity reigns not in the asylum but in the U.S. Capitol.
The Senate at around 3 pm is expected to begin a debate on the conference report for the economic stimulus legislation (H.R. 1). And then in the evening, a vote is expected on passage of the conference report. The vote could begin as early a 5 pm. It is expected the vote will be held open to allow senators coming back from out of town to vote. Any teenager, know that this is not a real debate. Democrats are acting like dictators and a two hour debate on a conference report posted at 10 pm last night that will put Americans into debt for another $790 billion excluding interest.
Despite the time crunch, it’s not hard to spot the flaws in this bloated jumble of legislation. And of course, the pet projects and dubious spending present in prior versions are back for a curtain call in the conference report. The Washington Post writes today, “The compromise stimulus bill adopted by House and Senate negotiators this week is not free of spending that benefits specific communities, industries or groups, despite vows by President Obama that the legislation would be kept clear of pet projects, according to lawmakers, legislative aides and anti-tax groups.” See this mornings prior post: Pet Projects, ACORN Funding Return in Stimulus Conference Report.
The Post points to other questionable spending priorities such as “$8 billion for high-speed rail projects . . . including money that could benefit a controversial proposal for a magnetic-levitation rail line between Disneyland, in California, and Las Vegas, a project favored by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).” The Post also points out, “One of the biggest targets of GOP complaints was a measure in the Senate version of the bill that did not name a recipient but would have provided $2 billion for ‘one or more near zero emissions power plant(s).’ Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and other Republicans say the provision was clearly directed at reviving the FutureGen Alliance project, a proposed ‘clean coal’ plant in Illinois.”
With all this money being thrown around, another question is "Can the agencies tasked with distributing this money even spend it properly or quickly enough to boost economic activity?" The Wall Street Journal examines this issue focusing on bureaucratic bottlenecks in the Energy and Commerce Departments: “An obscure Commerce Department office with a $19 million budget and fewer than 20 grant officers could end up in charge of $7 billion in grants to expand Internet access in rural areas. A Congressional Budget Office report said it could take eight years for those grants to be issued because the amount of money would ‘far exceed’ the agency’s traditional budget and require the deployment of technology that is ‘not widely available today.’”
The main question throughout this whole process, though, has been, “Will this create jobs and help the economy?” McClatchy reports today, “The compromise economic stimulus plan agreed to by negotiators from the House of Representatives and the Senate is short on incentives to get consumers spending again and long on social goals that won’t stimulate economic activity, according to a range of respected economists . . . .Still, could this stimulus get the U.S. economy back on its feet? By itself, probably not.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell laid out the bottom line on this bill yesterday: “Democrats in Congress have said this plan will help ensure long-term economic growth. Yet, the CBO suggests that, over the long-term, this bill will result in an economy that either declines or remains flat. The only thing we know for sure is that this bill will lead to more debt for our children.”Tags:economic stimulus, 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!
Pet Projects, ACORN Funding Return in Stimulus Conference Report
Taxpayers Take Home “$8 A Week” While They Pay Billions For Golf Cart Tax Breaks, New Cars For Government Bureaucrats, ACORN-Eligible Block Grants, Fish Hatcheries, An Arts Endowment, And The Census.
Despite the fact that the final text of this bill wasn’t available until after 10 PM last night, a few dedicated folks in the Senate Republican communications Center began sifting through the Porkulus stimulus bill and found, to no one’s surprise, many of the same pet projects and pork that Democrats have stuffed the bill with since the beginning.
In the conference report, the reviews have found tax benefits for golf carts, electric motorcycles and ATVs, $300 million for federal employee company cars, $1 billion for ACORN-eligible block grants, $50 million for an arts endowment, $165 million for fish hatcheries, and $1 billion for the Census. While some of these may need to be funded, they are not part of an economic stimulus and need to be debated and funded via normal authorizations and appropriation procedures and not forced through hidden in a late night document being voted on the next day by both the house and the senate.
Democrats had previously said “So What?” to "Billions In Waste":
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): $50 Billion “Not Going To Make The Difference” “So frankly, you know, the difference between $50 billion on this bill or $100 billion -- let's get it moving. That is not going to make the difference to the economy.” (Sen. Kerry, Floor Remarks, 2/6/09)
SEN . DICK DURBIN (D-IL): $16.4 Billion “Is A Trifle.” CHRIS WALLACE, Fox News: “Senator Durbin, let's take a look at the bill and where the money goes -- on the spending side, $15 billion for college scholarships; $1 billion for problems with the census, which doesn't take place until next year, 2010; $400 million to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease.” … SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “Some of the things -- you went through your litany there, Chris, and I added it up. It is a trifle compared to the overall cost of this bill.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 2/1/09)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): $3 Billion Or More Just “Fiddling At The Edges.” Q: “Do you anticipate the spending to go down and the taxes to increase and by a large margin or is it more just sort of fiddling at the edges?” SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Well, I think it's more fiddling at the edges. … As I said, I have an amendment to just increase mass transit by $3 billion, but the highways and water and sewer and other things like that.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 1/30/09)
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): $400 Million Program “Just One Speck Of An Issue.” Q: “Well, you've heard some of the criticism from the Republican Party. They are jumping all over what they call family planning funding in this spending bill, calling it wasteful. Do you believe that that will ultimately be dropped from this plan, those types of projects?” SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): “Well, talk about just one speck of an issue. … So if the Republicans want to nitpick, God bless them, I love them, but, you know, we'll do it without them if we have to.” (MSNBC, 1/27/09)
Tags:ACORN, Congressional Pork, Democrats, pork, stimulus bill, US Congress, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Congress Should Reject Trillion-Dollar “Stimulus” in Final Votes
Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service, concurs with the assessment by Bill Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government, regarding the proposed economic stimulus bill.
Members of the Congress should vote against the 1434-page trillion dollar spending bill currently being considered, urging lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and produce a bill that would actually stimulate growth of the economy, stabilize the financial system, and pay down the national debt.
The $30 million provision for wetland restoration to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco is a a symbol of the complete and utter waste of tax dollars contained in a bill which proponents claim will 'save' the economy.
Instead of 'saving' the economy, Congress, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is concerned with saving mice. The American people now know they've been lied to. There was supposed to be no pork in this bill. This could be a tipping point that causes the people to demand that this bill be pulled back and redrawn.
The proposed spending bill is a travesty in a period when the private sector shrinking, jobs being lost, and government spending exploding. The trillion dollar spending bill diverts precious, critical capital away from the private sector by dramatically and permanently increasing government spending, thereby increasing the financial burden government poses to the economy and to future generations.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) identified that the Senate version of the bill “will add $10,800 of debt to every American family…” when he cited a CBO report that predicts the legislation will cause our GDP to shrink over the long term. The current national debt nears $10.7 trillion, and the CBO-projected deficit without this legislation this year is $1.2 trillion.
Reid, Pelosi and others leaders of Congress are exploiting the economic crisis to pay off key political constituencies: state governments, public employee unions, transportation and construction unions, the environmental lobby, the education lobby, and of course, delivers hundreds of billions of pork all across the nation.
Congressional Democrats met over the past two days and arrived at the conference report, with the bill now totaling $789 billion, or $1.1 trillion after interest. It includes roughly $97 billion in new spending programs, and $92 billion of expansions of existing federal programs.
It also includes $53.6 billion for states to balance their budgets, $45 billion of which boosts education spending, $50 billion in green energy subsidies and tax credits, $55 billion for transportation projects, make groups like ACORN eligible for up to $2 billion in neighborhood stabilization funds, extends food stamps and unemployment benefits, builds federal buildings, provides more for public housing, constructs climate change supercomputers, erects trade barriers overseas, creates refundable tax credits, and provisions for high-speed Internet service.
Even though the House passed a motion on Tuesday allowing 48 hours for the conference report to be viewed publicly before being voted, it is doubtful that all members will have the opportunity to review the bill in detail. In their rush to claim they "did something," members of Congress and the President have missed a key opportunity to do the right thing.
What is needed is a massive reduction of the federal budget, a plan to pay off the national debt, permanent tax relief for businesses and individuals, the privatization of the mortgage industry, the abolition of the dual mandate at the Federal Reserve, and the elimination of public financing of consumer, business, student, and homeowner debt.
Congress has decided not to even address the root causes of the current economic calamity: easy money from the Fed coupled by the massive expansion of credit and lending. Instead it is boosting debt, setting an unsustainable baseline for future budgets, and of course, saving mice.
The United States Congress is about to pass the largest single-year increase in domestic federal spending since World War II. Despite the fact that neither the Republicans in Congress, the media, nor the American people have been allowed to read the bill, the House plans to vote on the plan. The Senate will quickly follow suit so that the bill will hit President Barack Obama's desk by Monday. Even without the full benefit of digesting what is in this trillion dollar debt bill, over 200 economists have expressed their belief that this plan is destined to fail. And conservative economists that once supported the idea of a stimulus are now calling the current plan "An $800 Billion Mistake." Even center left economists like President Bill Clinton’s budget director, Alice Rivlin have told Congress that the long-term spending items in the plan "should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package" . . .
There is nothing credibly temporary about the spending in this bill. The new welfare spending in this bill has already become the new budget baseline and anyone who dares to try pare it down is being attacked for "slashing" government funds. According to Heritage fellow Robert Rector, once this permanent new spending is factored in, the real cost of the plan balloons to $1.34 trillion.. . . According to the CBO the 2009 deficit will reach 8.3% of the economy, not including the stimulus or bank bailout cash. If you include the permanent nature of the stimulus spendathon, the deficit could hit nearly $2 trillion, or 13.5% of the U.S. economy. That is why the CBO [Democrat appointed CBO director Doug Elmendorf ]has predicted that this so-called stimulus bill will actually harm economic growth. . ..
Tags:Americans for Limited Government, ARRA News Service, Bill Smith, Bill Wilson, economic stimulus, The Heritage Foundation, US CongressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Senate and House will recess 11:30 AM- 1 PM for a ceremony in the Rotunda marking the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth. President Barack Obama will speak at the event. Final language on the conference report for the economic stimulus legislation (H.R. 1) may be filed sometime today. However, with the confusion at hand, expect the Senate or House vote to be delayed.
As the Democrats’ bloated stimulus legislation limps to the finish line in the next two days it’s become clear that congressional Democrats have spent a great deal of their political capital pushing through a flawed bill that will boost American debt more than American jobs. Roll Call addressed the latest troubles Democrats had in putting the final bill together. And Politico features a couple stories on the squabbles between House and Senate Democrats over the conference report. (It’s another tale of the titles: “Did Reid roll Pelosi?” and “Leading liberals clash during Dem meeting.”)
Roll Call quotes a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledging that Republicans bested Democrats in the battle to define the bill for the public. Roll Call writes, “[Reid spokesman Rodell] Mollineau added that the effects of the bill would vindicate Democrats. ‘They haven’t won the message war. They’ve only won the message battle.’ In fact, Republicans proved less cowed by their election losses than Democrats had believed, and they defined the bill as laden with pork-barrel spending before Democrats really had a chance to rebuff them.”
Certainly, Democrats assisted this mightily by crafting a stimulus bill that was not timely, nor temporary, nor targeted. The problems started with the CBO determining that the money in the bill would not be spent quickly, and continued with Democrats prioritizing government spending over tax cuts and then stuffing the bill with questionable projects. Indeed, a Democrat aide said that Democrats and the Obama administration “rel[ied] too much on the committees and the committees wanted to pork it up.”
And even with the bill entering the end game, the same problems persist, despite changes made in the Senate and conference committee. The Wall Street Journal reported today, “The latest version of the economic-stimulus package is expected to provide less near-term support for the economy and make it less likely that the economy will pull itself out of recession before late this year. . . . Reducing the payroll-tax cut for workers by about 20% -- to $400 per individual or $800 per family -- also diminishes another element that was expected to help the economy in the first half of this year.” According tothe AP, the tax cut won’t begin to show up until June and would appear “as an extra $13 a week in take-home pay, falling to about $8 a week next January.”
And we learn today about another pet project in the bill. AP reports: “In late-stage talks, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pressed for $8 billion to construct high-speed rail lines, quadrupling the amount in the bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday. Reid's office issued a statement noting that a proposed Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas rail might get a big chunk of the money.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out again today that when it comes to deficit spending, this is only the beginning: “This week, Congressional Democrats are handing taxpayers a bill for $1.2 trillion. Soon, they’ll spend $400 billion to finish up spending from last year. We’re being told to get ready for untold hundreds of billions for the financial industry. Since taking over Congress and the White House, Democrats have been making up for lost time with a government spending spree on the taxpayer credit card. Even without this massive spending bill, the deficit continues to grow. Yesterday, Treasury reported that in the first four months of the current fiscal year the deficit rose to $569 billion— nearly $500 billion more than the same period the previous year. . . . In my view, and in the view of my Republican colleagues, this is not the smart approach. The taxpayers of today and tomorrow will be left to clean up the mess.”Tags:stimulus bill, 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!
In defending his support for the Un-Fairness Doctrine, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) compars talk radio to pornography. Stop the Un-Fairness Doctrine by visiting http://www.protectfairness.com/
Tags:Charles Schumer, fairness doctrine, Protect Fairness Doctrine, talk radio, UnFairness DoctrineTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - Feb 11, 2009 - Three RINOs Damn America to Debt - #pork #LibHippos #diggcon #statebooks
Senate could vote today on the nomination of William J. Lynn to be Deputy Secretary of Defense. Democrat conferees (Republicans are not allowed) will continue work reconciling the House and Senate versions of the economic stimulus legislation (H.R. 1). Yesterday, the Senate voted61-37 to pass with a two vote margin the Senate version of the stimulus bill.
At President Obama’s primetime news conference on Monday, Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg asked the president, “During the campaign, you promised the American people that you won't just tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Won't the government need far more than the $350 billion that's remaining in the financial rescue funds to really solve the credit crisis?” Indeed, the AP reported yesterday that new plans from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, combined with the $800 billion plus stimulus package being hammered out by congressional Democrats, could amount to as much as $3 trillion. Obama never answered Goldman’s question, and it increasingly seems that his administration and Democrats in Congress do not want to reveal to the American people the true costs of their efforts.
Democrats in Congress are currently coming up with a final version of their massive stimulus bill behind closed doors. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hometown paper, reports, “Sen. John Ensign on Tuesday called on congressional leaders to allow full television coverage of negotiations this week where a handful of House and Senate members will finalize the economic stimulus bill. . . . ‘It should not be behind closed doors. It should be out in the open,’ Ensign said.” The Washington Examiner explained, “The reality is that while the conference committee meetings might be open, the actual negotiations on the stimulus bill have taken place behind closed doors in the leadership offices.” The Examiner goes on to remind Democrats that at every step of the way on the stimulus bill, Americans have been given very little time to read the various iterations before members of Congress were expected to vote on them.
On another front, self admitted tax-cheat Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a press conference yesterday announcing his plans to help the financial sector. The Wall Street Journal notes that “the lack of detail in his much-anticipated speech helped drive stocks down nearly 5%, the worst selloff since President Barack Obama assumed office.” The editorial pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post were not impressed! The Times writes, “Someone should have told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that the one thing to avoid at a time of uncertainty is raising more questions.” The Post agrees: “[A]t its heart, the Geithner initiative was a work in progress -- more a concept than a plan, really.” And, The Wall Street Journalobserved, “What everyone saw was Geithner at the Improv, a routine with a few good lines but a lot of material that needs more, well, practice. . . . Mr. Geithner offered something for everyone with a financial problem, albeit with most of the details left to be filled in later. Investors naturally took this to mean that, much like former Secretary Hank Paulson, Mr. Geithner will be making things up as he goes along.”
Americans deserve to know just what is being planned by the administration and Congress, and just how much it is going to cost taxpayers. To quote Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, “Americans know they have a limit on their spending. This week they’re wondering what government’s limit is.”
In review, three republicans crossed over to the Democrat side thus assuring the needed votes to pass the Senate's porkulus spending stimulus bill. They will be labeled forever as RINOs for damming America to a millennium of debt. They failed to stands with their conservative party in an effort to strip out the needless pork, unneeded spending, and intrusive government regulations from the stimulus bill. These three non-heroes, Susan Collins (ME), Olympia Snowe (ME), and Arlen Specter (PA), even if not assured defeat in future elections by republicans, have definitely demonstrated they are so weak that they can be easily defeated by democrats unless they now move further into bed with the liberal socialists by changing their party affiliation. The bill being pushed through by the three stooges of liberalism could have been stopped and meaningful negotiations forced on the democrats. These three RINOs undid all the efforts of their fellow Republicans and its leadership. They will not find themselves profiled in future issues of "profiles of courage" unless written by a new socialist order and even then they will probably be ignored as traitors to their own party who are not worth mentioning!Tags:Congressional Pork, economic spending, National Debt, RINO, three stooges, Tim Geither, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C., WasteTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Three Political Stooges start in the "Destruction of a Nation." You'll laugh, you'll cry. as the three most powerful people in America impose unchecked ultra-liberal policies on our country. Tags:Barack Obama, Harry Reid, liberals, Nancy Pelosi, political humor, political satire, socialist, three stoogesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Heritage Foundation, Morning Bell: Yesterday the Pew Research Center released a new poll on the economic stimulus debate. Like every other poll taken so far, the Pew poll showed again that support for President Obama’s Trillion Dollar Debt Plan has fallen since it was first announced. While 92% of those polled viewed Obama as a good communicator, those Americans that were paying the most attention to the stimulus debate also were the most opposed to the plan. The more that Obama’s lofty rhetoric is tested against fact and common sense, the less support his policies have. Below are just the five most audacious sales pitches Obama employed to gin up support for his Trillion Dollar Debt Plan.
No wonder support for Obama’s economic stimulus plan is sinking like a rock. Tags:Barack Obama, Obama Statements, economic stimulus, Heritage Foundation, speech, the economy, jobs, spending, Japan, debtTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Anita Messenger, Arkansas Animal Producers: Last week our Freedom to Farm Act HB1046 was voted a "Do Pass" out of the House Ag Committee in Little Rock. It was proving to be getting a lot of support among the Representatives and it was expected to be voted through the House with no problems. Late tonight there are some new developments.
Due to a mis-guided lawyer, certain animal rights elements in Arkansas are hammering Rep. Ragland and other Reps who are supporting our Freedom To Farm Act HB1046. They were told by this lawyer that our bill will allow puppy mills. The bill specifically names the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and the NAIS does NOT include dogs, cats, etc. so it does NOT legalize puppy mills. It does define animals and dogs and cats would be in that definition as they
are indeed, animals. But the bill concerns those species listed by the USDA for the NAIS. Elephants are animals, but the Freedom to Farm Act HB1046 does not allow you to own them just because they are "animals".
We are being told that PETA has now jumped into this to oppose our bill. PETA has supported NAIS from the beginning so we know why they oppose our bill.
The representatives who are standing up for the Freedom to Farm Act are BEGGING those who support it to CALL their representatives immediately to counteract these other entities. Please let your friends, neighbors, etc. also know. The bill is due to be voted on in the House on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 1:30 p.m. WE DO NOT HAVE MUCH TIME!THIS IS SERIOUS AND CRITICAL.Find your Arkansas State Representative's contact info here! If you want to keep your llamas, birds, horses, cattle, goats, etc., PLEASE help us save our bill! Tags:Arkansas, Freedom to Farm ActTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Left-Wing Activists Line up to Lead Justice Department
by Jennifer Mesko, editor CitizenLink:'Elena Kagan's lack of qualifications for the role of solicitor general is shocking.' Awash in controversy and a tanking economy, President Barack Obama has added another name to the group of left-wing activists he wants to lead the Justice Department. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will question Elena Kagan, Obama’s nominee for solicitor general.
"Kagan's lack of qualifications for the role of solicitor general is shocking," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family Action. "Not only has she never argued a case to the Supreme Court — which is the solicitor general's function — she apparently has never tried any case." Kagan's left-wing extremism has surfaced several times during her career.
"Her most recent misreading of the Constitution occurred in the Supreme Court case dealing with military recruiters on campus," Hausknecht said. "She signed on to a brief with 40 other liberal law professors arguing a First Amendment position so extreme that the Supreme Court rejected her position by a 9-0 vote." Three other Justice Department nominees share Kagan's leftist record:
David Ogden, nominated to serve as deputy attorney general, opposes restrictions on abortion and pornography, and has represented Playboy in court. Ogden filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of child pornographer Stephen Knox, who possessed sexually explicit videos of children. Ogden argued that, because the children's genitalia were partially covered by clothing, such exploitation is protected by the First Amendment.
Thomas Perrelli, Obama’s nominee to serve as associate attorney general, represented Terri Schiavo’s husband as he fought to have food and water withheld from his disabled wife.
Dawn Johnsen, who hopes to serve as assistant attorney general, is the former legal director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.
"Obama is stacking the nation’s top legal agency with far left-wing activists, giving Republicans more opportunity to demonstrate that all the talk of 'moderation' is just that — talk," wrote Greg Mueller, former senior aide to Republican lawmakers. "Republicans must use every opportunity to expose the far-left politics and policies President Obama and his Democrat colleagues have in mind."
TAKE ACTION: Please call your U.S. senators today and ask them to oppose the nominations of David Ogden, Elena Kagan, Thomas Perrelli and Dawn Johnsen. Please make the phone calls, even if you called last week. Contact your senators! Tags:David Ogden, Elena Kagan, judicial appointments, nominations, solicitor general, US Justice DeptTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
If You Are Elderly – Be Afraid, Very Afraid – Stealth Socialized Health Care Hidden in Stimulus Bill
Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families: President Obama’s press conference last night was big on fear and short on facts. Once again, he warned the country that our “crisis” will become a “catastrophe” if we don’t immediately pass his “porkulus” spending bill. I always get suspicious when a politician wants everyone to shut up and vote on a 700-page bill. You can bet there are a lot of “surprises” hidden in the fine print.
In the last 24 hours, one of those surprises has been discovered and analyzed by conservative researchers. It is now being exposed by conservative talk radio – the same folks Obama wants to force off the air in the name of “fairness.” Who would have guessed that our president would hide in a “must pass” piece of legislation a provision that “rations” health care and makes it more likely that your Granny will be left to suffer or die?
The legislation sets up a new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology. This office will monitor the medical treatments your doctor is providing you to make sure that Washington agrees that those treatments are appropriate and cost effective. Another office, the Federal Coordinating Council of Comparative Effectiveness Research, will slow down the use of new medications and technologies because new treatments drive up costs.
It sounds complicated, but don’t be confused. Europe already has those offices and former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle wrote about them in a book last year. It was this “expertise” that led President Obama to nominate Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services, so he could serve as the architect of the planned nationalized health care scheme.
But here’s the bottom line of how it works in Europe and what Daschle and others want to implement here: The federal government will decide your medical treatment with COST being the main consideration. Daschle argues in his book that instead of treating seniors, they will have to become more accepting of the conditions that come with age!
Betsy McCaughey, former Lieutenant Governor of New York and a health care analyst, points out that this socialized medicine approach would be disastrous. In 2006, in England, the health care board ruled that elderly citizens with macular degeneration could not receive treatment with a new drug until they were blind in one eye! It took three years of public protests to reverse the policy. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Last year, one thousand British doctors were fighting hard to reform Britain’s health care system because that “progressive” nation also has one of the highest cancer mortality rates in Europe. Why? Because some bean counting bureaucrats in the basement of the British Health Department decided it isn’t “cost effective” to treat cancer patients. Like Nancy Pelosi trying to justify birth control in the stimulus bill, the Left sees people as a burden to Big Government’s bottom line.
Consider this irony. A powerful politician who has long championed government health care had a seizure last year. In Canada or Great Britain, “average Joes” might have to wait weeks for an MRI. Not this politician. In a couple of days, he was diagnosed with a rare form of malignant brain cancer. Unlike “average Joes” in Canada and Great Britain, this politician didn’t have to wait months to see a specialist. Within two weeks of his seizure, he was treated by some of the world’s foremost experts on brain cancer.
Ted Kennedy is alive today quite probably because we don’t have socialized medicine. The free market, while flawed, is still the best system man has devised. I’m sure there is room for improvement, but I’m equally sure that government isn’t the solution. The Europeans and Canadians flocking here to get health care denied them by their socialist governments obviously agree. But where will Americans flee under Obama’s new socialist order?
Here’s the danger inherent in government-run health care. Just like a child living in a parent’s house has to abide by the parent’s rules, you will be treated like a child. If you expect Uncle Sam to pay for your health care, then Washington bureaucrats will dictate whether saving your health is too costly. The elderly always suffer under such a system. By the way, what the heck is this doing in a “stimulus bill”? And does it help explain why our new president is so intent on spending a trillion dollars after only one week of congressional debate?
As one senator said last week regarding the so-called “stimulus bill,” “This bill stinks. This process stinks. We’re making this up as we go and it is a waste of money.” It’s not too late to stop this stinker. Call your senators and representatives at 202-224-3121 and tell them to oppose Obama’s trillion-dollar spending bill and his stealth socialized health care bill. If, as many of you have indicated, you can’t get through on that number,go to our websiteand use our online Congressional Directoryto look up a state or district office number for your senators and representative. Tags:economic stimulus, Gary Bauer, health care, nanny stateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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