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: Dr. Bill Smith [OzarkGuru] - firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Happy Easter 2011
The ARRA News Service wishes all our fellow conservatives, our readers and those who have helped us with resource a very Happy and Blessed Easter.
Tags:Easter, 2011, Jesus Christ, Bible, ARRA News Service, Arkansas Republican AssemblyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The most important thing did not happen in Washington or London, in Athens or in Rome. Nor did it happen in Cairo or Beijing. It happened in Jerusalem. The women who ran from that empty tomb, from which a great stone had been rolled away, bore the good news. He is not here. He is Risen! That Good News is the foundation of all truth.
Here in Washington, the great and powerful often deny that truth. Or, perhaps more often, they stumble over it, but they soon pick themselves up and toddle along as if they had never encountered it. Here, the conversation is all about things like healthcare or war, the billions and trillions that are needed. For what? Well, we are endlessly told it is all necessary to stave off the sting of death, to deny the grave's victory.
While critical temporal issues are important, they do not endure. Jesus does. He is both Lord of and central to human history. He was not the first person to rise from the dead. Remember the story of Lazarus? Dead four days, this beloved brother of Mary and Martha had been buried in Bethany. When Jesus came to them, they told him if he had only been there, their brother Lazarus would not have died. Jesus joined in the mourning of those who loved Lazarus. He wept. But then he called upon Lazarus to come out of the grave. Lazarus came back from the dead!
Scripture tells us that the conspirators sought the life of Lazarus because they knew that many believed in Jesus, having seeing Him raise Lazarus from the dead. How ironic.
But there is a difference between Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus, we may assume, took full advantage of his second opportunity at life, but died again. Not Jesus. Jesus, who died for our sins, was raised from the dead to eternal life. And just as we believe not in Lazarus, but in Jesus, Christians too are promised that we will be raised to eternal life.
Some of our radical enemies have said: "We love death. America loves life. That is the big difference between us." As Christians, however, we know that he who clings to his life at all costs will lose it but he that believes in Jesus will know everlasting life.
Our enemies do not understand us. Throughout the world during Holy Week, they burned churches, rioted against Christians, threatened our brethren, and uttered vile curses.
They did that to Jesus, too. But all their threats, all their curses, all their cruelties came to naught. They put a huge stone in front of His grave. That will keep Him away from us, they thought, that will put an end to this Jesus, this troubler of Israel.
It didn't. For two thousand years, mockers have denied that Jesus was raised from the dead. He was drugged and taken down from the cross early, wrote one popular author in the 1960s, and his followers spirited His body away. A plot. A conspiracy. A cabal. Believe anything, these mockers tell us, but don't believe in Jesus.
Yet we have more witnesses to the Risen Christ than we have to the assassination of Julius Caesar, and no one invents conspiracy theories to deny Caesar's assassination.
It is Jesus they deny. Jesus they fear. Jesus they hate. Even as He loves, and we must, for His sake, love them too.
Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith. The builders may have rejected Him, but we cling to our Savior, our faith, to the very hem of His garment. With Doubting Thomas, we say: "My Lord and my God!"
It is this Risen Lord who conquered sin and death that we may have life, and have it abundantly. Hallelujah! Tags:He is Risen!, Jesus Christ, EasterTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Earth Day/Good Friday 2011: Worship the Creator – NOT His Creation
by Alexander Mason, Family Policy Network: There is increasing pressure on Christians to embrace worldly causes like environmentalism. Some susceptible believers have even renamed the cause “creation care” in order to make the idea more church-friendly. Joining the environmental movement is also seen by many Christians as necessary to gain credibility among unbelievers and therefore afford more opportunities to preach the Gospel. However, such efforts come dangerously close to what the Apostle Paul called worshiping the created things over the Creator (Rom. 1:25).
Paul became all things to all men in order that some might be saved (I Cor. 9:22b), but he never did so outside of the limits placed on him by Scripture. While there is a danger in undervaluing the work of creation, there is a greater danger in overvaluing what God has created (Rom. 1:25). Without a doubt, secular environmentalists worship creation while rejecting the Creator. This constitutes idolatry, which Christians must avoid, regardless of the intended result.
Environmentalists often claim catastrophic events in nature like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and tsunamis are caused by humans. In one sense, they are correct. All human suffering is a consequence of human sin, both individually and collectively all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Through Adam, sin was ushered into the world. Because of his sin and ours, God cursed His creation, and much of its former glory is gone.
Evangelicals who embrace environmentalism seem to believe humans can reverse, or at least limit, the effects of God’s curse on the earth. But it is not our job to reconcile creation to God. We cannot restore Eden. Creation is groaning under the bondage of sin (Rom. 8:22) and it is looking and longing for redemption by Jesus Christ, not us. It is eagerly awaiting the day when He will deliver creation from the burden brought by Adam’s fall and our sin (Rom. 8:19). An implicit truth in this passage is that we, as part of creation, cannot save creation from God’s curse. This is a special work of Christ, who exists outside of His creation (Col. 1:16-17). It is He who makes all things new.
“Creation care” distracts the Church from its one, true mission. Satan delights in all endeavors that are deviations from Christ’s preeminent message of God’s righteousness, our sin, and His redemption. Every Christian’s primary duty should be to glorify God by repudiating sin and proclaiming Christ’s sacrificial atonement on the cross. The Great Commission remains the same: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).
Regardless of the temperature of the earth or the level of the seas, we know God is sovereign over the dryness of desolate wastelands (Job 38:25-26) and the boundaries of the waters (Job 38:8-11). As Creator, He upholds our existence by a mere word of His power. The most inconvenient truth that Christians must proclaim is the consequence of sin in the lives of men, along with the only hope of redemption through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus did not come to reduce our carbon footprint. He came to pay the price for our redemption so we may glorify Him. Under the righteous wrath of a holy God, Jesus offered His blood as payment for our guilt, if we will only turn from our sin and follow Him. His message to us is not to recycle, but rather to repent and believe. Our message to others should be no different.
It is not a little ironic that this year Earth Day falls on Good Friday, the day reserved by Christians to remember the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ as payment for our sin. Such a coincidence appropriately highlights the stark contrast between a worship of creation and the worship of the One through whom all things were created.
Using Good Friday to focus attention on creation undermines the critical message of man’s sin and Christ’s atonement that we should be proclaiming on this day. The secular observance known as Earth Day usurps Christ’s role of reconciling creation. More importantly, it distract Christians from their most important duty, which is to carry out the Great Commission on His behalf.
Choose this day what or Whom you will serve: creation or the Creator. Tags:Godd Friday, Earth Day, Jesus Christ, Family Policy NetworkTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obama's Claim to Want "A Serious Plan" On The Debt
Forgetting the numerous shortcomings of his own proposal and his use the campaign trail to bash the serious plan being put forth by House Republicans, Obama now announces in his usual political fashion that he wants "A Serious Plan" on the Debt.
Reporting on President Obama’s appearance at Facebook headquarters in California this week, the AP writes, “Obama said that unless lawmakers get the country's long-term finances under control, more immediate economic gains could prove difficult. ‘If we don't have a serious plan to tackle the debt and the deficit, that could actually end up being a bigger drag on the economy than anything else,’ Obama said.”
On top of that, The Washington Post reported last night, “President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan ‘falls short’ of targets set by House Republicans and Obama’s own fiscal commission and would be unlikely to stabilize borrowing, according to a new independent analysis [by the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget]. . . . The new outline is a significant improvement over the budget request Obama submitted to Congress in February, which would have required $9.5 trillion in fresh borrowing through 2021. However, the framework is unlikely to reduce deficits as much as Obama suggested, the analysis found, and would therefore permit the portion of the national debt held by outside investors to continue rising, when measured against the size of the economy, to just less than 80 percent of gross domestic product by the end of the decade. By contrast, the budget blueprint adopted last week by the House matches the fiscal commission’s plan ‘dollar for dollar’ with new savings, according to the analysis.”
The Post notes, “‘At the same time, when compared to the House budget and Fiscal Commission plan, the President’s Framework falls short,’ the analysis says, adding that the level of savings achieved by both the GOP plan and the fiscal commission ‘is the minimum level of savings policymakers should aim for.’”
According to the article, “White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage defended the president’s plan, arguing that the committee’s analysis relies on economic forecasts by the Congressional Budget Office that are less optimistic than forecasts by the White House budget office. ‘Under the administration’s estimates, the president’s framework saves $2.9 trillion over 10 years and $4 trillion over 12 years,’ Brundage said.”
It’s worth pointing out, though, that even granting the assumptions in the president’s plan, the $2.9 trillion shaved off the deficit over 10 years that the White House’s spokeswoman asserts, is less than the amount that has been added to the debt over the last two years. According to the Treasury Department’s website, the total public debt was more than $10.6 trillion on the day of President Obama’s inauguration, and was more than $14 trillion two years later, an increase of over $3.4 trillion in just 24 months.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded to the president’s speech about the debt, "With all due respect, the American people are not inclined to take advice on fiscal responsibility from an administration who’s unprecedented borrowing and spending has done so much to create the mess we’re in. After two years of adding trillions to the debt and ignoring our nation's looming fiscal nightmare, the President may be right in thinking that the politically expedient thing to do is point the finger at others. But the truly responsible thing would be to admit that his own two-year experiment in big government has been a disaster for the economy and itself a major driver of our debt; and that his inaction on the latter is the primary reason others have been forced to step forward and offer meaningful solutions of their own.”
Obama's sudden claim to want "A Serious Plan" on the debt is more campaign political rhetoric that rings hollow when confronted by the facts. Thus the use of the above image, "Had Enough Yet?" Here is a small portion of the facts: Obama's administration's "over the top" "super sized" big spending; his dragging the US into a third regional conflict and wasting "blood and treasure" in a region of little interest to the US; his banning American companies from drilling for critically needed oil while providing American tax dollars to underwrite drilling by foreign countries; his continued expansion of government departments' oversight of American citizens. The President is responsible for border security but has evidenced an unwillingness to secure American borders and to protect Americans and American interests. The list is almost endless' and our resources are almost at an end. However, Obama keeps smiling and raising campaign funds, keeps fabricating rhetoric, and keeps attacking TEA Party and other American citizens concerned about government big spending and waste. His actions evidence that he is not really interested in "a serious plan" on the debt other than pushing for higher taxes and more redistribution of wealth primarily for use by Big Government.
Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum summed it up best recently in identifying why Obama does not wish to cut deficit federal spending: "Obama's profligate deficit spending confirms the researchers who discovered that Obama absorbed the Frances Fox Piven strategy, which he learned from her own lips as a principal speaker at a Socialist Party Scholars Conference in New York in 1983 when Obama was a student at Columbia University. The strategy is to flood the welfare system with more recipients than taxpayers can afford, thereby creating a financial and political crisis that will doom the capitalist system and move the U.S. into Socialism." Tags:Barack Obama, national debt, expanding government, big spending, deficit, socialism, news reports, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Editor Comment: Confronted by his own deficit spending, Obama declares in the cartoon, "We must stop spending more than we take in." This week, Obama is traveling America speaking and again raising money for his 2012 campaign. His current comment provide additional insight for the comment in the cartoon. President Obama doesn't want to cut spending, but he is practicing class warfare politics and stating that he wants to "increase taxes on the rich." However, it is his definition of the "rich" and his misunderstanding of the facts or maybe even his deliberate effort to misrepresent the facts that will assure that federal spending remains out of control. Be sure to watch the video: Eat the Rich! Tags:A.F. Branco, political cartoon, federal spending, deficit spending, politics, taxing the richTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
A legion of bloggers have reported on the story former FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky broke at Pajamas Media about the Obama administration’s attempt to circumvent Congress and implement portions of the partisan DISCLOSE Act by executive order. Today, Reuters, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal have joined them.
The Washington Post writes, “President Obama is considering an executive order that would force government contractors to disclose their donations to groups that participate in political activities, a move Republicans slammed Wednesday as an attempt to restrict political speech. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the administration has a draft proposal and would not offer details. . . . The provision is similar to one in a bill that Democrats pushed before the midterm elections called the Disclose Act.”
The Wall Street Journal adds, “The White House casts the proposal as an effort to improve transparency and accountability, but Republicans charged that the rules would inject politics into what should be an unbiased procurement process. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that President Barack Obama ‘intends to pursue’ the executive order, but said details have not yet been settled.”
The WSJ also provides some details of the executive order: “The draft executive order would require that companies seeking federal contracts disclose political contributions made in the prior two years to organizations that seek to influence elections through independent expenditures, which are allowed to remain anonymous under current law. Companies would also have to disclose contributions to federal candidates and political parties, which already are required to disclose contributions. The draft rules would cover a company's officers, directors, affiliates and subsidiaries.”
While the White House is under fire for leaked proposed executive order, Obama is traveling on Air Force One raising campaign funds. Tags:Hans A. von Spakovsky, Obama administration, Executive Order, Disclose ActTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM) Announces Candidacy For President
Finally, someone doesn't just say their "thinking about" or "exploring their options" for running for the Republican nomination for President, they announce their candidacy. Today, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson announced that he is seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for President of the United States. Johnson, a Libertarian Republican, was a two-term Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. He has been a consistent and outspoken advocate for efficient government and lowering taxes. During his time as Governor he vetoed 750 bills and cut the rate of state government in half.
His announcement was made this morning on the steps of the New Hampshire State House. Announcing his candidacy, Johnson released the following statement:
Gov. Gary Johnson
Let’s talk about America.
Today’s mess didn’t just happen. We elected it -- one senator, member of Congress and president at a time. Our leaders in Washington, DC, have ‘led’ America to record unemployment, a devalued currency, banking scandals, the mortgage crisis, drug crisis, economic crisis, loss of our nation’s industrial might – and a long list of other reminders our nation is way off course.
Why am I telling you this? Because America is better than this. And because I can help fix it.
I’m a fix-it man.
Before I was governor of New Mexico, I started a one-man fix-it business that I grew into an American dream with more than a thousand employees. My formula for success was simple. I showed up on time, did what I said what I’d do, and knew what I was doing.
I did the same thing as governor, exactly. Within two terms, I’d eliminated New Mexico's budget deficit and cut the rate of state government growth in half while reducing the state workforce by over 10%, without laying off a single qualified state worker. Saying no to waste, corruption and political games is easier than you think. During my two terms I vetoed 750 pieces of bad, unnecessary and wasteful legislation, and used the line-item veto to save millions of dollars. I was called “Governor Veto,” and accepted that nickname proudly.
America needs a ‘President Veto’ right now – someone who will say ‘no’ to insane spending and stop the madness that has become Washington. That’s why I am here today to announce that I’m running for President of the United States. And I don’t do so lightly.
President Obama is about to raise and spend $1 billion in a reelection campaign to keep America on the track it’s already on. I would ask: How much more of this track can we stand? How much more financial stress can we handle? How high do taxes have to go? How much deficit is too much? How much more of the Bill of Rights do we have to lose before we say not just no, but HELL NO?
It’s time to put one of our own in the White House. I have the qualifications, the ability and the know-how to do the job. I also have a track record. I’ll do what I say I’ll do.
I look at the rest of the field running for president, and that song by The Who comes to mind. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. You know the one. We ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ What’s the definition of insanity? It is to keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome.
I’m ready for a different America. I’m ready for the day when a person can build a good life on a decent income, and we can take our government at its word – when people have more to smile about. I’m ready for peace and prosperity and some American dreaming. I’m ready for America to be AMERICA again.
Our current president will not lead us there. None of the professional Washington set will. We have to get there on our own.
I’m here in New Hampshire today because I can – and will -- do a better job for you as president.
I’m optimistic about our chances. Winning freedom is what America does.
To Learn more about Gov. Gary Johnson or to follow his campaign, visit GaryJohnson2012.com Tags:New Mexico, Governor, Gary Johnson, candidate, Republican, Libertarian republican, nomination, 2012, President of the United States, announcement, New HampshireTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
By Bill Whittle, The Firewall: Is America really broke? Michael Moore (and others) tells us that there are oceans of cash being hoarded by the wealthy. But Iowahawk (iowahawk.typepad.com) did a little addition, and armed with these statistics Bill and the 'Hawk blow a hole in the "hoarding" lie big enough to fit a documentary filmmaker through.
Tags:Bill Whittle, Firewall, London Riots, Wisconsin, Michael Moore, Soak the rick, tax the rich, income redistribution, social benefits, US is broke, spending, Federal spending, government spending, Obama spendingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the "probable cause" of the bridge collapse was "a design error." . . .
On Aug. 1, 2007, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minn., collapsed sending 111 vehicles into the Mississippi River and killing 13 people. Contrary to Obama’s townhall speech, the bridge did not collapse because of “deteriorating” infrastructure. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the collapse was due to a design flaw, not to a lack of maintenance.
“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the inadequate load capacity, due to a design error,” the NTSB states in its 2008 report on the incident.
In fact, the NTSB reported that on the day of the collapse, the bridge was in the process of being refurbished, further contradicting Obama’s claim that the collapse was evidence of a lack of infrastructure spending. “On the day of the collapse, roadway work was underway on the I35W bridge, and four of the eight travel lanes (two outside lanes northbound and two inside lanes southbound) were closed to traffic,” reads the NTSB report.
Instead, the NTSB determined that the bridge collapsed partly because federal transportation inspectors did not properly inspect the design and did not give “adequate attention” to the parts of the bridge that caused the failure. . . .
"Contributing to the accident was the generally accepted practice among Federal and State transportation officials of giving inadequate attention to gusset plates during inspections for conditions of distortion, such as bowing, and of excluding gusset plates in load rating analyses,” states the report.
Gusset plates are the steel plates that are used to tie multiple steel support beams together on bridges like the I-35W bridge. The NTSB, in its investigation, found that the steel beams that supported the bridge had been poorly designed and were not strong enough to handle the combined weight of rush-hour traffic and heavy construction equipment. Tags:AF Branco, political cartoon, the Deficit, Barack Obama, bridges, Minnesota, politics, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: The below article is by Dr. Bobby Eberle whom read regularly. As a blogger, I have shared some of his articles under the Fair Use doctrine. But it would be amiss for me not to recommend that readers check out his site and subscribe to GOPUSA. No, this is not a paid advertisement, just a great suggestion. As for me, I regret that Bobby and I have never crossed paths at various events.
Dr. Bobbie Eberle
By Bobby Eberle, The Loft, GOPUSA: We all know that the Obama administration would love to simply grant amnesty to the millions of illegal aliens who are in our country. After all, think of all those potential votes, right? But now the situation has gone too far. It's one thing for Barack Obama and his team to not take border security seriously. It's quite another to blatantly ignore the law. And that's exact what's happening as Border Patrol agents are being told to NOT arrest illegal aliens.
First, let's touch on the politics. It appears that since Obama can't handle the budget, the economy, foreign policy, or just about anything else, he has picked now to make his push for "immigration" reform. He's also feeling the pressure to do so by members of his own party.
On Tuesday, Obama held a meeting with a number of administration officials and a select group of "stakeholders" on the immigration issue. According to the background information provided about the meeting, Obama "remains deeply committed to fixing the broken immigration system."
The United States has been enriched by a steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have helped make America an engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope around the world. As we work to rebuild the economy, our ability to thrive depends, in part, on restoring responsibility and accountability to the immigration system. President Obama believes Democrats and Republicans should come together to tackle an issue that is critical not only to our national security but also to the economy and our global competitiveness.
It's just more of the same. Yes, immigrants have enriched America, and they continue to do so. LEGAL immigrants. I capitalized "legal" for emphasis, but equal emphasis could be put on the word "immigrants," in that our country was built by people who came to America to BE Americans... to embrace our culture and become part of the American melting pot. The press release then offers this gem:
The President takes seriously his responsibility to enforce our immigration laws and secure the border. Over the last two years, the Obama Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border, taken important steps to make interior and worksite enforcement of our immigration laws smarter, and more effective, and made improvements to the legal immigration system.
Well... so much for fantasy. Now, it's time for reality. An Arizona sheriff has come forward, saying that he has been told to stop arresting illegal aliens. As reported by Fox News, the sheriff "has been flooded with calls and emails of support from local and federal agents who back his claims that the U.S. Border Patrol has effectively ordered them to stop apprehending illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexican border."
"Upper management has advised supervisors to have agents 'turn back South' (TBS) the illegal aliens (aka bodies) they detect attempting to unlawfully enter the country ... at times you even hear supervisors order the agents over the radio to 'TBS' the aliens instead of catching them," one San Diego border agent wrote in an email to Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.
"This only causes more problems as the aliens, as you know, don't just go back to Mexico and give up. They keep trying, sometimes without 10 minutes in-between attempts, to cross illegally," continued the email, which was among a number of communications to Dever reviewed by FoxNews.com. "This makes the job for agents more dangerous. Not only are the aliens more defiant, they also begin to feel like they can get away with breaking our federal laws."
Dever claims that he was told to "keep the number of border apprehensions down by chasing illegal immigrants back toward Mexico." Then, of course, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano takes credit for increased border security by noting that apprehensions are down. Is this making sense to you?
So there you have it. Apprehensions are down, because Border Patrol agents are being told not to apprehend. And this is border security? Does anyone think that an illegal alien who is chased back to Mexico will actually give up? This is what we face, and the problem will only get worse as long as people like Obama and Napolitano are in control. Tags:Obama Administration, illegal aliens, border security, border control, border patrol, agents, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Will Obama End-Run Around Congress and the Courts: Executive Orders
President Obama Signing Previous Orders
Today in Washington, D.C. - April 20, 2011:
Yesterday, we reported on former FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky identified the Obama administration’s latest attempt at an end-run around Congress. He said, “An impeccable source has provided me with a copy of a draft Executive Order that the White House is apparently circulating for comments from several government agencies. Titled ‘Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors,’ it appears to be an attempt by the Obama administration to implement — by executive fiat — portions of the DISCLOSE Act.”
Spakovsky even gave a refresher on the DISCLOSE legislation. “This was the bill introduced last year by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The bill had onerous requirements that were duplicative of existing law and burdensome to political speech. It never passed Congress because of principled opposition to its unfair, one-side requirements that benefited labor unions at the expense of corporations. Democratic commissioners at the Federal Election Commission then tried to implement portions of the bill in new regulations. Fortunately, those regulations were not adopted because of the united opposition of the Republican commissioners. As my source says: ‘It really is amazing — they lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in Congress, they lost at the FEC, so now the president is just going to do it by edict.’”
A liberal source, The Huffington Post, confirms this is what the Obama administration is up to: “After exhausting normal legislative avenues, the Obama administration has prepared a draft executive order that would enact some campaign finance reform provisions. The administration was unable to secure the changes to donation disclosures it wanted in the last Congress. Several Democratic sources confirmed a document being circulated by the administration would require government contractors to disclose campaign contributions made by directors, officers, affiliates or subsidiaries to federal candidates, political party committees and ‘third party entities’ involved in electioneering. . . . Another plugged in Democratic aide said administration officials had been exploring a wide range of executive actions to pursue in light of lawmakers’ failure to push legislation. The toughest component of the talks, the aide said, was figuring out what would withstand legal challenges.”
Spakovsky explained, “[T]his proposed Executive Order would require government contractors to disclose:
(a) All contributions or expenditures to or on behalf of federal candidates, parties or party committees made by the bidding entity, its directors or officers, or any affiliates or subsidiaries within its control.
(b) Any contributions made to third party entities with the intention or reasonable expectation that parties would use those contributions to make independent expenditures or electioneering communications.”
“The problem,” Spakovsky writes, “is that this will require companies to delve into the personal political activities of their officers and directors — and require them to report political contributions those employees have made, not out of corporate funds (which is illegal), but out of their personal funds. And note that these disclosure requirements will only apply to companies that make bids on government contracts. Federal employee unions that negotiate contracts for their members worth many times the value of some government contracts are not affected by this order. Neither are the recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants.”
Fred Wertheimer, founder of Democracy 21, a group that pushes restrictive campaign finance reforms, was explicit about what the aim of the proposed executive order, telling The Huffington Post about the intrusive and political speech-chilling disclosure rules, “It is becoming a condition of doing business with the government.”
Today , U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the unprecedented executive order allowing the administration to review company’s political donations before deciding whether to award them a federal contract:
“Just last year the Senate rejected a cynical effort to muzzle critics of this administration and its allies in Congress. Now, under the guise of ‘transparency,’ the Obama administration reportedly wants to know the political leanings of any company or small business, including those of their officers and directors, before the government decides if they’ll award them federal contracts. Let me be clear: No White House should be able to review your political party affiliation before deciding if you’re worthy of a government contract. And no one should have to worry about whether their political support will determine their ability to get or keep a federal contract or keep their job.
“Democracy is compromised when individuals and small businesses fear reprisal, or expect favor from the federal government as a result of their political associations. So recent press reports about an unprecedented draft Executive Order raise troubling concerns about an effort to silence or intimidate political adversaries’ speech through the government contracting system. If true, the proposed effort would represent an outrageous and anti-Democratic abuse of executive branch authority. No administration should use the federal contracting system for campaign purposes.
“It is my sincere hope that recent reports of a draft Executive Order were simply the work of a partisan within the Obama administration and not the position taken by the President himself. But he should make that clear.”
Will President Obama attempt an end-run around Congress and the Courts using Executive Orders? It appears that at least people in his administration or political campaign team are willing to encourage such action.
Update:Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today condemned a draft executive order by the White House to compel companies to disclose donations to non-profit groups that might make independent expenditures during an election cycle:
"The White House cannot arbitrarily amend federal contractor requirements without a vote in Congress. This is an end-run around the constitutional process, with the Obama Administration once again attempting to implement administratively what it cannot achieve legislatively.
In this case, the White House could not get the DISCLOSE Act passed, and so the draft executive order compels federal contractors to publicize donations to third parties that make independent expenditures in election cycles that are otherwise shielded from public scrutiny under federal law. It's nothing more than a cynical gag order issued by executive decree with no basis in the duly enacted laws of the land. As part of the contract-awarding process, the White House wants to know who is giving to whom and will surely make decisions based on that knowledge. . . .
There is no question that individuals' speech is stifled by excessive disclosure requirements on independent expenditures. The Obama Administration is once again attempting to shame and intimidate certain corporations, groups, and individuals from saying anything about elections. Free speech is now an executive order away from being abolished. It is outrageous that Obama is making political contributions a criterion for getting a contract with the federal government. This is corrupt Chicago-style politics at its worse."
Tags:Washington, D.C., President Obama, Obama Administration, Executive Order, end-run, disclose act, campaign contributions, privacy, free speech, Congress, Courts, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by William Warren: Today’s cartoon looks at the mainstream media coverage of the high gas prices that Americans are dealing with. If anyone remembers just a few years back when gas prices soared under the Bush administration, the MSM went nuts blaming Bush. But today, under Obama, the media is silent…
Tags:High Gas Prices, Main Stream Media, MSM, Political Cartoons, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Government shutdown? America was treated to a faux spectacle recently. The threatened apocalypse? Government shutdown. It was a through-the-looking-glass threatened inversion of the magnificent, and similarly grandiose, fantasy of Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged (Now Playing At a Theater Near You) of a “General Strike by the Productive” and the ensuing collapse of civilization.
The federal government does a few genuinely useful things. It dispatches checks to bondholders and social security retirees. It provides for the care, feeding and arming of our warriors in and out of battle. It even has retained a few essential services. (Come in, Air Traffic Control. Hey! Wake up! And while you are at it, how are your vacuum-tube-based radar systems working out?)
Beyond certain nontrivial exceptions involving a tiny fraction of the federal workforce, shutdown of the federal government would probably amount to little more than an inconvenience. Really, what is one to make of a nation that employs more people in the U.S. Department of Agriculture than there are farmers?
In fact, most essential government services are not provided by the federal government but by municipal and state governments. If the federal government were to shut down traffic lights would still turn from green to red and back again; schools would remain open, as would fire, police and emergency medical services. A federal shutdown would not be catastrophic, not even close.
Except symbolically. Between the symbolism and the reality lies a … psychodrama.
Our elected and senior appointed officials, the mainstream media and every progressive in good standing, attach a kind of presumption of nobility to government. The idea of agencies shutting down, therefore, carries intonations of anarchy. Riots in the streets. Burning cities. The Fall of Civilization.
But social cohesion, and the superb diffusion of powers set up by the Founders, make such a vision risible. Law and order primarily come from a lawful, orderly citizenry. Commerce and culture are almost exclusively a function of enterprise, not government. Liberty endures in spite, not because, of the government.
And yet even those who gripe about its excesses find something deeply magical to the word “government.” Our officials, by virtue of their election to office, become known, even after retirement (and under prevailing rules even after indictment and conviction) as The Honorable.
Many of my progressive, and even many of my politically apathetic, friends honestly, deeply and sincerely believe that the work that takes place inside these massive marble and sandstone edifices in Washington, and in federal buildings around the country, must be undertaken by people who are nobler, smarter and wiser than mere citizens.
Few have ever looked inside the box known as “the federal government.”
There are many fine and conscientious people who work for the federal government. That said, fine and noble people are by no means more numerous there than in the private sector. Yes, the civil service is based, in theory, on the merit system. This is a shining ideal of the original Progressive Era in which government agencies were rife with patronage and graft. The Merit System was designed to create a government meritocracy. Yet the Merit System, upon inspection, is terribly broken. There is a lot of evidence that a bureaucratic spoils system has supplanted the political spoils system.
Whether or not there is a flimsy pretense of “competitive service” protocols established for hiring there can be no question that job security protections are so convoluted that, as a practical matter, it is next to impossible to fire a career civil servant. This leads to a very mixed quality of workers — not to mention the enormous inertia one imagines from a system that protects the incompetent and only slightly, if at all, rewards the able.
There are very few meaningful rewards for exercising judgment and initiative inside the federal civil service. It’s very much paint-by-number in there. The system was, in fact, designed to, and usually does, stifle imagination and initiative. Very few really brilliant civil servants, men like the father of the F-16, Col. John Boyd, or the visionary who brought about the Internet, J.C.R. Licklider, or the CIA’s Afghan Task Force Chief Gust Avrakotos,achieve extraordinary things from within an agency. Very few indeed.
And yet, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, most progressives believe — as an article of faith — that most GS-13s somehow are better adapted to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity than are mere citizens. As Ernest Hemingway concludes The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so.” It takes a special kind of sweet naiveté to think so. Ah, Faith!
Bless the hearts of all those in federal agencies fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way. Yet really, dear progressive reader (if any), brace yourself: Civil servants are not superheroes. They are people like everybody else, no more, no less. It is the values that citizens bring to the government, not the values that the government brings to its citizens, which made, and again will make, America great.
Government shutdown? William Jennings Bryan once unforgettably declaimed, “I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.“ Shut down the government and leave our enterprise, and enterprises and the government will spring up again as if by magic. But if the government destroys our enterprise and our enterprises, grass will grow in the streets.
------------ Ralph Benko is a senior economics advisor to The American Principles Project and author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World. He is working on a new book, called "A Golden Age: the political consequences of the peace."This article which first appeared in the Forbes was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko Tags:Ralph Benko, Federal Government, Government Shutdown: psychodrama, Ayn Rand,, Atlas ShruggedTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Says our source: "They lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in Congress, they lost at the FEC, so now the president is just going to do it by edict." Download PDF by Hans A. von Spakovsky: An impeccable source has provided me with a copy of a draft Executive Order that the White House is apparently circulating for comments from several government agencies. Titled “Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors,” it appears to be an attempt by the Obama administration to implement — by executive fiat — portions of the DISCLOSE Act.
This was the bill introduced last year by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The bill had onerous requirements that were duplicative of existing law and burdensome to political speech. It never passed Congress because of principled opposition to its unfair, one-side requirements that benefited labor unions at the expense of corporations. Democratic commissioners at the Federal Election Commission then tried to implement portions of the bill in new regulations. Fortunately, those regulations were not adopted because of the united opposition of the Republican commissioners.
As my source says:
It really is amazing — they lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in Congress, they lost at the FEC, so now the president is just going to do it by edict.
The draft Executive Order says it is intended to “increase transparency and accountability,” an interesting claim given the fact that federal contractors are already completely barred by 2 U.S.C. § 441c from making:
Any contribution of money or other things of value, or to promise expressly or impliedly to make any such contribution to any political party, committee, or candidate for public office or to any person for any political purpose or use.
Yet this proposed Executive Order would require government contractors to disclose:
(a) All contributions or expenditures to or on behalf of federal candidates, parties or party committees made by the bidding entity, its directors or officers, or any affiliates or subsidiaries within its control.
(b) Any contributions made to third party entities with the intention or reasonable expectation that parties would use those contributions to make independent expenditures or electioneering communications.
The problem is that this will require companies to delve into the personal political activities of their officers and directors — and require them to report political contributions those employees have made, not out of corporate funds (which is illegal), but out of their personal funds.
And note that these disclosure requirements will only apply to companies that make bids on government contracts. Federal employee unions that negotiate contracts for their members worth many times the value of some government contracts are not affected by this order. Neither are the recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants.
Clearly, this administration is not interested in increasing “transparency and accountability” when it comes to forcing union leaders or the heads of liberal advocacy organizations such as Planned Parenthood from disclosing the personal political contributions they make to candidates running for federal office.
The draft order also tries to interfere with the First Amendment rights of contractors. It requires them to disclose independent expenditures that can be made legally on everything from politics to grassroots lobbying on issues. This is clearly intended to deter charitable and other contributions to third-party organizations, since the contractors will have to report any such contributions made with the “reasonable expectation” that the money will be used for First Amendment-protected activities.
“Reasonable expectation” is the kind of broad, nebulous legal term that can cover almost any situation that the government — and government prosecutors — want it to cover. This makes it almost impossible for contractors to know what the acceptable legal standard is for engaging in First Amendment activity.
This administration completely mischaracterized the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, especially when President Obama attacked the Court in his State of the Union speech. It misrepresented the intended effects and requirements of the DISCLOSE Act, which former FEC Chairman Brad Smith correctly observed should really have been called the “Democratic Incumbents Seeking to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections Now” Act.
With this proposed Executive Order, the administration is engaging in a back-door maneuver that promotes transparency only in the form of transparent political gamesmanship. It’s an alarming proposal that should raise great concern among members of Congress and the American public.
------------ Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org) and a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission. Tags:Hans A. von Spakovsky, Obama administration, Executive Order, Disclose ActTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Reporting on a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, The Post writes, “Deepening economic pessimism has pushed down President Obama’s approval rating to a near record low . . . . In the survey, 47 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, down seven points since January. Half of all Americans disapprove of his job performance, with 37 percent saying they ‘strongly disapprove,’ nearly matching the worst level of his presidency.”
According to the poll, “57 percent disapprove of the job the president is doing dealing with the economy, tying his highest negative rating when it comes to the issue. And the president is doing a bit worse among politically important independents.” Overall, 46% “strongly” disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy. That’s more than his total approval rating on the economy of 42%.
Importantly, The Washington Post notes, “Driving the downward movement in Obama’s standing are renewed concerns about the economy and fresh worry about rising prices, particularly for gasoline.” Indeed, according to the poll, 71% say recent gas price increases have caused “financial hardship.”
It’s interesting to consider that result in light of a new CNN poll finding increased support for offshore drilling. According to CNN, “A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 69 percent of Americans favor increased offshore drilling, with just over three in ten opposed. That 69 percent is up 20 points from last June, while the oil spill was still in progress, and is back to the level of support seen in the summer of 2008. ‘Although support for increased drilling in U.S. waters is highest among Republicans, a majority of Democrats also favor it,’ says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. ‘Fifty-six percent of Democrats favor more offshore drilling, compared to 70 percent of independents and 86 percent of Republicans.’”
And yet, the Obama administration only recently began to lift a moratorium it placed on new offshore drilling permits for many months. Even former President Bill Clinton said last month there are “ridiculous delays in permitting when our economy doesn’t need it.” Back in February, when the first new permit was finally issued, CNN reported, “The deepwater moratorium was officially lifted in October, but no new permits had been issued until Monday. The industry argued the delays have cost jobs and hurt domestic production.”
Then as reported yesterday, Wall Street sent the Obama administration a clear message when benchmark rater Standard and Poor’s cut its long-term outlook on U.S. debt to a dismal negative rating, signaling a financial crisis if the Obama administration doesn't work with Congress to bring down the national debt.
In light of continued actions by President Obama and his administration, an important question arises: Does President Obama Want A Diminished America? The American public continue to evidence their concern in a myriad of ways, but their seems to be no response other than "political speak" from Mr. Obama or his administration. Tags:Barack Obama, polls, ABC Poll, CNN Poll, Stand and Poor, economic crisis, United States, debt,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Most People Oppose Citizenship for Children Born to Illegal Immigrants
Back on April 11, 2011, we reported on a Rasmussen Report findings that "Most People Say Enforcing Immigration Laws Would Cut Poverty." The following new Rasmussen Report reveals that "Most People Oppose Citizenship for Children Born to Illegal Immigrants." Unfortunately, the Federal Government and several State Governments are still ignoring these facts. Rasmussen Reports: Several Republican senators are seeking to amend the law that grants full U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants in this country, and voters strongly support such an effort. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that a child born in the United States to a woman who is here illegally should not automatically become a U.S. citizen.
Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagree and feel that children born to illegal immigrants in this country should automatically become American citizens as is currently the practice. That’s down six points from August. Another 11% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) . . .
Eighty-four percent (84%) of voters believe that before anyone receives local, state or federal government services, they should be required to prove they are legally allowed to be in the United States. . . . [Full Article] Tags:Rasmussen Reports, poll, illegal immigration, babies, US Citizenship, illegal aliensTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obama's Debt Speech Still Under Fire - US Credit Rating in Jeopardy
As of 4/18/2011
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 18, 2011:
Congress on Easter recess. In response to Standard & Poor’s placing the U.S. Debt on "Negative Long-Term Outlook," Rick Calhoun, Crews and Associates, Little Rock, AR, responded, "If this isn’t a wake-up call for Congress, nothing is. It’s time to rein in federal spending and balance the budget. Instead of pointing fingers, congress must take action now." [Full Statement]
Today, President Obama signed a bill that repeals a health care reform law provision that would have required employers to offer low-wage employees company-paid vouchers to buy coverage in state health insurance exchanges. Last week, he signed a bill repealing the 1099 requirement that was in the healthcare bill.
While President Obama has proven unable to live without his teleprompter, unfortunately he has declared that he also cannot live without his Czars. After having signed the Continuing Resolution bill which required the elimination of four Czars that duplicate services of established government officials, Obama has announced he will "ignore" that aspect of the law. Obama issued a "signing statement" Friday stating, "The president also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the president’s ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the president’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these presidential prerogatives."
As Capital Hill Blue summed it best: "Hell No,they won't go ... Obama tells the GOP they can take their language and shove it."
Following his widely criticized speech on the debt last week, The Washington Post reports today, “President Obama will hit the road this week and forcibly deliver his message that a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes on the rich is necessary to rein in the nation’s rocketing debt — a high-stakes effort to rally public support ahead of a series of contentious budget battles in Congress.” Yet if the message he’s looking to deliver is based on his speech, the president may run into more trouble, as more criticisms arise.
The Wall Street Journal editorializes today, “A dominant theme of President Obama's budget speech last Wednesday was that our fiscal problems would vanish if only the wealthiest Americans were asked ‘to pay a little more.’ Since he's asking, imagine that instead of proposing to raise the top income tax rate well north of 40%, the President decided to go all the way to 100%. Let's stipulate that this is a thought experiment, because Democrats don't need any more ideas. But it's still a useful experiment because it exposes the fiscal futility of raising rates on the top 2%, or even the top 5% or 10%, of taxpayers to close the deficit. The mathematical reality is that in the absence of entitlement reform on the Paul Ryan model, Washington will need to soak the middle class—because that's where the big money is.”
The WSJ editors note, “This is politically risky, however, so Mr. Obama's game has always been to pretend not to increase taxes for middle class voters while looking for sneaky ways to do it. His first budget in 2009 included a "climate revenues" section from the indirect carbon tax of cap and trade, which of course would be passed down to all consumers. Such Democratic luminaries as Nancy Pelosi have often chattered about a European-style value-added tax, or VAT, which from a liberal perspective has the virtue of applying to every level of production or service and therefore is largely hidden from the people who pay it.”
They conclude, “Mr. Obama's speech was disgraceful for its demagoguery but also because it contained nothing remotely commensurate to the scale of the problem. If the President had come out for a large tax on the middle class, like a VAT, then at least the country could have debated the choice of paying for the government we have or modernizing it a la Mr. Ryan so it is affordable. Instead the President will continue targeting the middle class for tax increases to pay for an entitlement state on autopilot, while claiming he only wants to tax the rich.”
Meanwhile, FactCheck.org has examined the portion of the speech where President Obama attacked House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan and found that he “went too far.” In their summary of the problems with Obama’s speech, FactCheck.org writes:
“Obama claimed the Republicans’ ‘Path to Prosperity’ plan would cause ‘up to 50 million Americans … to lose their health insurance.’ But that worst-case figure is based in part on speculation and assumptions.
He said the GOP plan would replace Medicare with ‘a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.’ That’s an exaggeration. Nothing would change for those 55 and older. Those younger would get federal subsidies to buy private insurance from a Medicare exchange set up by the government.
He said ‘poor children,’ ‘children with autism’ and ‘kids with disabilities’ would be left ‘to fend for themselves.’ That, too, is an exaggeration. The GOP says states would have ‘freedom and flexibility to tailor a Medicaid program that fits the needs of their unique populations.’ It doesn’t bar states from covering those children.
He falsely claimed that making the Bush tax cuts permanent would give away ‘$1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire.’ That figure — which is actually $807 billion over 10 years — refers to tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000, not just millionaires and billionaires.
He said the tax burden on the wealthy is the lowest it has been in 50 years. But the most recent nonpartisan congressional analysis showed that the average federal tax rate for high-income taxpayers was lower in 1986.”
FactCheck.org further notes, “Obama also repeated a deceptive talking point about his health care law, saying: ‘Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion.’ As we wrote earlier this year, that’s a rough calculation based on a 20-year projection from CBO, a projection it says is uncertain. . . . In March testimony before Congress, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said: ‘CBO does not generally provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year projection period,’ and noted that the ‘impact, however, becomes more and more uncertain the farther into the future one projects.’”
As Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said in the Weekly Republican Address Saturday, “[U]nfortunately, in his speech this week on the deficit, President Obama took us three steps backwards. Instead of describing the threat and bringing both sides together, the president attacked those who have a different vision of the government. . . . By pretending that Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security are sound financially when they are not, the president is jeopardizing the benefits for the very Americans he says he wants to protect. . . . As someone who has spent most of my 63 years outside of politics, I know there isn’t a problem we can’t solve if we do it together. But the only way we can solve them is to put our political careers on the line and stop engaging in petty political attacks. Tags:Washington, D.C, President Obama, repeal bills, signing statement, Czars, national debt, demagogueryTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Standard & Poor’s Places U.S. Debt On Negative Long-Term Outlook While Moody's Maintains Top U.S. Sovereign Rating, Positive Outlook
Rick Calhoun, Crews and Associates:: If this [action by Standard & Poor] isn’t a wake-up call for Congress, nothing is. It’s time to rein in federal spending and balance the budget. Instead of pointing fingers, congress must take action now. We can argue about entitlements until the cows come home, but nothing will solve the problem until we reform entitlements and reassess all federal spending. If we want to protect Social Security – fix it! If we want to protect Medicare and Medicade – fix it! If not, both programs will go away. Partisan bickering aside, if we don’t fix our problems, the markets will do it for us. It will be painful either way, but far less painful if we do it on our own.
Remember, Greece was placed on Negative credit watch by Standard & Poor’s on December 7, 2009 – only sixteen months ago.
* On another note, consider how many AAA sovereigns are out there...what follows is a list. Note the U.S. is at the bottom due to alphabetical listing and not because of credit quality. Also note, that U.S. GDP is $14.6 trillion which is exactly equal to the sum of all the other countries GDPs combined. So while the downgrade threat is what it is, buyers shying away from U.S. debt have little other choice. Therefore, the United States financial leadership will make or break global economics in the future. GDP trillions
Isle of Man
------------------ Rick Calhoun is First Vice President, Crews & Associates, Inc., Little Rock, AR Tags:US, Credit Rating, Standard and Poor, Moody, Rick Calhoun, Congress, President, fix the problem, Crews and AssociatesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Justin Harris: Arkansas House Commentary: April 17, 2011 - Viable Two-Party System
By Rep. Justin Harris: After weeks of wrestling over congressional redistricting proposals, the 88th General Assembly pulled a full nelson and pinned down a final proposal Wednesday, making Arkansas the first state in the nation to complete the redistricting process.
The contentious federal redistricting battle concluded with a compromise map that most notably splits several counties, extends the ordinarily southern fourth congressional district into Northwest Arkansas, and sends some southeastern counties into the first congressional district. Because conservative legislators stood up for common sense, we defeated partisan schemes like the State Democratic Party-endorsed “Fayetteville Finger,” which unfairly manipulated geographical boundaries for political gain. Southern Washington County remains in the 3rd District.
After 92 days of debate, House members recessed until April 27, which final adjournment of the legislative session. Long before I stepped foot on the marble halls of Capitol Hill, my goal has been to cut your taxes, reduce spending, increase transparency and pass laws that move Arkansas forward.
Last month Arkansas moved into the national spotlight when lawmakers passed $35 million in tax cuts. From creating a back-to-school sales tax holiday to reducing the used car tax, House and Senate members nearly doubled the amount of tax cuts originally forecasted by the Governor. Not only that, but we balanced our budget, reduced state spending, sufficiently funded public education and cut no essential services.
Because you deserve to know where your tax dollars are being spent, last month we passed the Arkansas Financial Transparency Act, which creates an online database to track state spending. This act will open up doors to the nuts and bolts of state government, while providing a check against wasteful spending. Your online checkbook will be fully established by July 2012.
Until we know how the Supreme Court will rule on Obamacare, Arkansas does not need to spend money implementing the federal healthcare overhaul. A bill to establish federally mandated insurance exchanges necessary to healthcare implementation was sent to interim study after House members raised legitimate concerns over a federal law the majority of Arkansans oppose. According to the Arkansas Department of Insurance, the insurance exchanges as mandated in the law do not have to be fully established until 2014. Therefore, sending the bill to interim study helps ensure a slow and deliberate process for examining a federal law.
The most interesting dynamic of the session was that for the first time in history, aviable two-party system challenged the political old guard, introducing innovative ideas and responsible policy to move Arkansas forward. Instead of rubber stamping a state budget that called for millions in spending increases, lawmakers challenged the status quo and successfully shifted dialogue from how much we can spend as a state to how much we can cut. As a result, we reduced taxes and provided relief for Arkansas families. Rather than accepting a government out of touch with its people, a two-party system fought for transparency and accountability. And when no one stood up for Arkansans when our healthcare system was being turned upside down, I fought to protect your values.
While the legislative session has concluded, my work representing your views and values has just begun. It has been an honor to serve you and your family in the Arkansas House of Representatives.
----------------- Justin Harris is Arkansas State Representative (R-District 87). Although he directly represents Crawford and Southern Washington Counties, he also represents all Arkansans with his public stands for limited, transparent and responsible government. He is both a fiscal and social conservative and is the owner of Growing God's Kingdom preschool in West Fork, Arkansas. Tags:Justin Harris, Arkansas, legislature, State Representative, Arkansas House, Congressional Redistricting, tax cutsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Freedom Works: Introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), H.R. 1182 GSE Bailout Elimintation and Taxpayer Protection Act would end conservatorship for government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Taxpayers should not be forced to bailout Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from their poor lending decisions.
Prime examples of crony capitalism, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be forced to sink or swim in a free market. Evidence shows that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played a major role in the recent housing bubble. Since these two public companies knew they had an implicit taxpayer bailout guarantee, they took more risks than they otherwise would.
The GSE Bailout Elimination and Taxpayer Protection Act would end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's conservatorship within two years. It will immediately provide taxpayers relief by repealing the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the affordable housing goals mandate and caps their maximum portfolio size at $700 billion. That cap would be reduced to $250 billion over the next five years. Take Action Tags:Freedom Works, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GSE Bailout Elimination, Tax Protection Act, Jeb HensarlingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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