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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru] - editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Express Your Outrage at the Attack on Marriage!

Eagle Forum: As you might have heard, the liberal Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill shamefully misnamed the "Respect for Marriage Act" (H.R. 1116, S. 598), which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), today by a straight party line vote. All 10 Democrats [Feinstein, Leahy, Kohl, Schumer, Durbin, Whitehouse, Klobuchar, Franken, Coons, Blumenthal] voted Yes and all 8 Republicans voted No.

DOMA, passed on an overwhelmingly bi-partisan basis and signed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996, is vital to protect marriage, states' rights and taxpayers. DOMA defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and requires federal agencies to apply this definition to all federal policies.

Now that six states have legalized same-sex marriage, in many cases by judicial or legislative fiat, overriding the express will of the people of those states, DOMA is more essential than ever to ensure that states choosing to protect traditional marriage are not forced to recognize and subsidize another state’s objectionable definition of marriage.

News reports about today's Committee vote indicate that this is largely a symbolic vote to appease liberals and that Harry Reid will not bring it to the floor.  However, we can't sit silent. Your Senators need to hear from you that DOMA must be protected!

We are hearing some reports from Capitol Hill that liberals in the Senate are considering introducing the bill as an amendment to the Department of Defense (DOD) Authorization Bill.

As outrageous as this sounds, it is becoming a liberal tradition.  This would be the third consecutive year that the liberal Senate has attached an item from the radical liberal wish list to this bill that is so important to our nation's defense, knowing that our legislators respect our military and don’t like to oppose defense-related authorization bills. Last year, they attempted to attach a repeal of the 1993 law prohibiting homosexuals from openly serving in the military, and the year before that, liberals attached a federal “hate crimes” bill to the DOD Authorization Bill.

Your Senators need to hear that you expect them to protect marriage and to not only vote against, but to loudly decry any effort to move this bill forward.
Call them today and tell them to oppose the so-called "Respect for Marriage Act!"
Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121

Further Reading: Democrats Push to Repeal Defense of Marriage Act,Associated Press

Isaiah 5:20 NIV: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.


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Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans


Join me (Dr. Bill Smith, Ozark Guru) and others and find more videos and great music on BigDawg Music Mafia

Tags: Veterans, video, music, BigDawg Music Mafia To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Washington Could Learn A Lot From Veterans

Washington Could Learn A Lot From ...: As we honor our service members this Veterans Day, let’s remember that if Washington could learn something from anyone, it’s our veterans.

Serving in the military isn’t a glamorous job. There are long hours, insane working conditions, not to mention the dangers faced in combat. So why do our men and women in uniform do it? Because they know that someone has to put the needs of our country before their own personal ones. Our veterans did just that when they served; defending our country and our way of life.

Now it’s Washington’s turn. The United States faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in the coming years and they can’t be treated lightly. We need to act now for the good of our country. Yes there are tough choices to make, but in the end everyone will be better off for having done so. We owe it to our future generations, just as our veterans made their sacrifice for us. So Washington, listen up, our veterans have a lot to teach you.

Tags: veterans, veterans day, Washington, D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

I Fought For You



AndrewManzano:(Available at www.sermonspice.com) A moving, patriotic tribute to our military, past and present. Thank you for your service! This video was produced by "The Sound Tank". For more info note listen to a short conversation with the makers of "I Fought For You". Josh Pies, Andrew Manzano and Dave Bode. By the way, we were just told that it's not "ex-marine" it's "former marine."


Tags: I Fought For You, Video, Making of Fought for You, patriotic,
military, behind-the-scenes, theater, Manzano, Pies, Bode, Memorial Day, Veteran's, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, War, military, movie, soldiers, vet, WWII, Battle of the Bulge
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“Happy Veterans Day” 11/11/11

A.F. Branco:

By R. Mitchell: It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 when nations the world over celebrated the end of World War I.

Originally, this day was celebrated as “Armistice day” marking the peace agreement signed in Rethondes, France. In 1954 Congress designated November 11th as Veteran’s day in order to honor all Veterans.

In 1971, President Nixon declared it a Federal holiday on the second Monday in November which would be the 14th. This year, the holiday is on a Friday, today.

Tags: Military, Obama incompetence, U.S. Military, Veterans, Veterans Day, A.F. Branco, political cartoon, R. Mitchell, history of veterans day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Legislation To Improve Existing Military Educational Benefits, Reduce VA Benefit Delays

Washington, D.C. - Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) has introduced three bills in the U.S. House of Representatives intended to help veterans and National Guard and Reserve service members.

“This week, our nation will formally honor America’s veterans,” Griffin said.  “As an officer in the Army Reserve, I know firsthand the sacrifices our veterans and current service members – along with their families – have made to protect the liberty we all enjoy.  That is why I’ve introduced three bills designed to improve their existing military educational benefits and reduce the delay some veterans experience when visiting the VA.”

Griffin’s first bill, the Franchise Education for Veterans Act (H.R. 3351), would allow veterans to use their GI Bill benefits for education and training in franchise ownership. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchises in the country, which have created over 815,000 American jobs.

“Many veterans return from serving their country and use their GI Bill benefits to help pay for college,” Griffin said. “Others decide to start a franchise and become job creators. My bill would help these veterans by giving them the freedom to use their hard earned GI Bill benefits toward the educational and training expenses associated with opening a new franchise.”

The second bill, the Veterans Travel Benefits Modernization Act (H.R. 3350), would help alleviate the long lines many disabled veterans experience when they apply for their travel waivers. Currently, all disabled veterans, pensioners and low-income veterans must apply for travel waivers at the beginning of each year. These waivers reimburse veterans for certain travel expenses incurred in order to obtain VA health care services. Griffin’s bill would prevent this annual logjam by changing the deadline to coincide with each veteran’s birth month.

“I’ve heard the concerns of a number of Arkansas veterans who are forced to endure multiple-hour wait times at the VA in order to obtain their travel waivers,” Griffin said.  “By spreading out the renewal dates throughout the year, disabled veterans will no longer have to suffer long delays in order to receive the benefits they need.”

Finally, the National Guard and Reserve Equality in Education Act (H.R. 3349), would level the playing field for members of the National Guard and Reserve who are furthering their military education. Specifically, Griffin’s bill would enable distance education program graduates of the Senior Service War College to receive the same recognition and credit as resident graduates. Presently, programs for both resident and distance education students have the same academic accreditation and curriculum, but these programs receive different credit. This difference hinders distance education graduates from attaining a Joint Qualified Officer designation, thereby hurting their chances for advancement.

“Our National Guard and Reserve units continue to play a critical role in our nation’s defense,” Griffin said. “For these service members, who in many cases have full-time civilian jobs and families that depend on them, distance education is the only way for them to earn their Masters of Strategic Studies Degree.  Unfortunately, a graduate who earns their degree through distance education is not eligible to receive a Joint Qualified Officer designation.  My bill would end this disparity.”

Major General Bill Wofford, the Adjutant General of Arkansas, welcomed Griffin’s bill. “We appreciate Congressman Griffin for introducing this bill,” Wofford said.  “The Guard is a vital part of America's ‘Total Force,’ as such we must strive to provide our guardsman the same opportunities of advancement as our active component services.  Joint credit is becoming increasingly important for the selection of future general officers.  This legislation would level the playing field by authorizing guardsmen who attend the non-resident U.S. Army War College the same joint credit as those who attend the active duty course.”
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U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-2 District) is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on the Judiciary. Griffin is also a Major, U.S. Army Reserve, with 14 years service including a deployment to Iraq.

Tags: veterans , military, National Guard, Reserve, education, GI Bill, benefits, VA, U.S. Rep., Tim Griffin, Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

America's Heroes

U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Tribute to Veterans:


Tags: 11-11-11, Veterans, Veterans Day, U.S. House, Veteran's Affairs
Day
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Too Busy Too Occupy Wall Street

Bill Smith, Retired 22 Yr Air Force Veteran: The below photo illustrates that it is time to grasp reality verses the fallacious agenda of liberal progressives. On this day, I salute my fellow Veterans, especially those presently serving in harms way. Men and women who are too busy making America either protecting America and American interests, making America a better place, and continue to seek to protect the God Given Rights of American citizens. Duty, Honor Country is a far cry from the greed, covetousness, and wantonness of the advocates of the Occupy movement.
God Bless Our Veterans and the United States of America!
Photo via FamilySecurityMatters.org

Tags: veterans, Veterans Day, duty, honor, country, Occupy Wall Street, OWS, Bill Smith To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Democrat Underground Railroad Job

A.F. "Tony" Branco:

Tags: 2012 GOP Presidential debate, CNN GOP debate, Democratic Attack machine, Herman Cain, media bias, media malpractice, media manipulation, Sex Scandal, A.F. Branco, political cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senate Passage of Veterans Bill A Welcome Approach to Jobs Crisis

Bill also repeals burdensome withholding requirement that slows job creation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today voted for legislation that was a prt of Obama's job proposal.  It will help create jobs for veterans and also ends a requirement that penalizes small businesses that contract with the government.

Boozman called today’s vote “a welcome bipartisan approach” to our economic crisis.  The $447 billion veterans jobs bill passed with a vote of 95-0.   The bill also repealed a piece of  Obama’s job proposal - a tax provision slated to go into effect in 2013 that would have withheld 3% of payments to contracts by government agencies.

“The American people want us to work together to turnaround our economy, and on the eve of Veterans Day, we showed we can do that to help get unemployed veterans back to work. I remain confident that we can do the same on larger scale to help put our economy as a whole back on track and get unemployed and underemployed Americans working again,” Boozman said.

The bill increases the tax credit for companies that hire disabled veterans who have been jobless for six months or more to $9,600.  The bill also creates new tax credits of up to $5,600 for employers hiring veterans who have been job hunting for six months or more and $2,400 for those out of work for a month or more. It also enhances job training and counseling programs for veterans.

“During my tenure as Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, we worked hard to help assist veterans in making a smooth transition into civilian life. That has become a far more challenging task this difficult economy. The tax credit that this bill increases and the new ones it creates will help ensure veterans are able to assume their rightful role as an indispensable part of America’s work force,” Boozman said.

The repealed regulation penalizes small businesses that contract with the federal, state and local governments by requiring the government entities to withhold 3 percent of their payments. The Withholding Tax Relief Act, which is one of the initiatives in the Senate Republican jobs plan which Sen. Boozman cosponsored, had broad bipartisan support so it became the vehicle used by the Senate Majority to add the veterans’ jobs initiatives.

“There is no reason why government agencies should be required to withhold federal taxes from payments to contractors. All this does is divert resources to the federal government, resources that could otherwise be used for capital investments, employees or additional project bids.  Repealing this requirement is one step toward fostering an environment that helps create jobs where they are most needed—the private sector,” Boozman said about the withholding tax repeal provision of the bill.

During consideration of the bill, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) offered an amendment based on the Senate Republicans jobs plan that would reform the tax code, abolish burdensome regulations, eliminate wasteful spending, promote new markets for American exporters and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. However, the amendment was not agreed to.  However, Boozman said “this is the kind of bold plan our economy needs to turn around.”

“My colleagues and I remain committed to seeing this vision through as the broad range of market-based solutions included in it will help turn the economy around by encouraging private sector job creation and economic growth,” Boozman said.

Tags: US Senate, John Boozman, Veterans, contractor withholding, Obama jobs plan, jobs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

History’s fate for Obama

by William Warren:

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

52 Senators Aided and Abetted The Obama Administration’s Illegal Net Neutrality Power Grab

Update 2:57 PM: The Senate voted (95-0) to support repeal a requirement that government contractors have 3% of their payments withheld for taxes (H.R. 674). President Obama has said that he would sign the repeal into law.
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Today in Washington - Nov. 10, 2011:
This week the House is not in session. The Senate however was in session and to sum it up as of this posting, the progressive liberals have run over the rights of Americans.

The Senate on S.J. Res. 27, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act of the EPA’s cross-state air pollution regulations and then failed to support the resolution (41-56).

The Senate on S.J. Res. 6, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) resolution of disapproval of the FCC’s new net neutrality regulations also failed strictly along party lines (46-52).

As detailed previously, it was critical that the Sneate vote to reject the FCC's unconstitutional take over of the Internet by the FCC using net neutrality. Future Free speech of Americans is now at grave risk. The liberal progressives democrats are seeking to take the road of totalitarian countries to control access to the Internet.

Less Government President and StopNetRegulation.org Editor in Chief Seton Motley issued the following statement in response to today’s failed vote to undo the Barack Obama Administration’s illegal Network Neutrality Internet power grab:
“Today 52 lawmakers decided to give up on making law – and instead allow unelected, unaccountable Obama Administration bureaucrats to illegally do their jobs for them.

“These 52 Senators stood down and allowed regulators – who are only supposed to enforce law that these Senators write and pass – to illegally make up law themselves.  This isn’t how a representative Constitutional Republic does things – this is dictatorial authoritarianism.  These 52 Senators had an opportunity to stop it – and they refused to do so.

“The Federal Communications Commission has already been once told that their unilateral Net Neutrality imposition is illegal.  For these 52 Senators, that – and the fact that they still have never voted on anything having to do with Net Neutrality - apparently wasn’t enough of a visual aide.

“If these 52 Senators don’t want to do their jobs, why did they ask their constituents to give them the honor and opportunity?  These egregious mis-representations are easily correctable.  And We the People will begin doing so - starting next November.”
Robert Romano, Senior Editor, Americans for Limited Government, responded:
“The decision by the Senate not to rescind the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulation is a great disappointment for the American people, who do not want government to have control over the Internet nor Internet providers. Now that the FCC has a foothold, they can expand their umbrella to tell broadband companies under what bases they are allowed to provide Internet service. There never was any proof that broadband companies were suppressing content, but there didn’t need to be for government to step in and take over yet another sector of the economy.

“Regulation is the backdoor to nationalization. Congress never voted to give the FCC the authority to regulate the Internet, they have just taken the power unto themselves. This is the Obama way. It was the same thing with the EPA’s carbon endangerment finding, or the Federal Home Finance Administration’s decision to allow refinancing above 90 percent loan-to-value in 2009 and then above 125 percent loan-to-value last month, or Obama’s call for new student lending standards that weren’t supposed to go into effect until 2014 to take effect immediately. This all goes beyond the scope of congressional intent.”

Elections do matter. It is time to replace the progressive elitists leading our country down the road of more government control of our lives. It is Congress' responsibility to reign in the expansion of government bureaucracy. The FCC had no constitutional authority to regulate the Internet. However under the leadership of the Obama administration and the appointment of people who would support its agenda verses the Constitution, unelected bureaucrats at the FCC voted themselves the authority to control the Internet using net neutrality. Today, the US Senate voted along party line to stop the FCC from this overreach of its authority.

In the future, if this overreach is not somehow reversed, the American people will find their free speech on the Internet limited. Regardless of changes in Government, those in power (extreme left or right) will eventually find the "need to control" the voice of independent minded people who do not agree with their positions and leadership. Although not addressed herein today, regardless of the Constitution, free speech has been limited in the past by government. With the FCC's control of the Internet, limitation of free speech on the Internet will eventually be a future reality.

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, FCC, net neutrality, EPA Rule To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Bill Whittle: Three and a Half Days To Cure Occupy Mentality

Bill Whittle, PJTV: The Occupy Wall Street protesters are complaining about everything from corporations to having to repay student loans. Is America the victim of its own success? Have we created a generation of self-entitled cry babies? Is it time to make these people spend three and half days in the woods so that they can appreciate what capitalism has given them? Find out.


Tags: video, Bill Whittle, PJTV, Afterburner, ipads, occupy wall street, college kids, civilization, prosperity, entitlement. reality To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Frank-n-Spine: Author & Consultant Suffered For His Social Conservative Values

Tony Perkins, Washington Update: Being socially conservative can be an occupational hazard! Just ask our good friend Dr. Frank Turek. As a consultant with Cisco and Bank of America, Frank's contract was abruptly terminated when an employee complained that he'd authored a book on the harms of same-sex "marriage." It was a stunning decision--mainly because Frank's views on marriage had never been a topic of conversation. This was ideological sabotage, pure and simple. I say "was," because Cisco and Bank of America have reversed course. After the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) contacted the Boards of Directors and generated more than 1,400 grassroots phone calls, the corporations apologized. In a letter to NOM last Friday, Cisco Senior Vice President Mark Chandler said his office is taking steps to ensure that it never happens again. "Cisco was incorrect in dealing with Dr. Turek... It is not Cisco's policy, nor is it 'acceptable to discriminate against vendors such as Frank Turek or employees who, outside the work context, have taken a position supporting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.'" At Bank of America, executives echoed the sentiment. "We recognize that our differences--in thought, style, culture, ethnicity, and experience--make us stronger as a company. We have taken the appropriate measures within our organization to address this matter. Dr. Turek remains a vendor in good standing with us."

Let's hope the Human Rights Campaign is listening. The rabid pro-homosexual group is trying to take another scalp in their corporate bullying campaign. HRC's newest target is the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, who employs pro-marriage attorney (and friend of FRC) Cleta Mitchell. She recently registered as a lobbyist for NOM in Minnesota, where a marriage amendment will be on the ballot in 2012. For this, HRC (as well as homosexual group GOProud) thinks she is unemployable. In a menacing letter, HRC threatens to downgrade the firm to a 60% on its corporate index. Let them! It just might be better for business.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Washington Update, FRC, Frank Turek, consultant, author, book, National Organization for Marriage, Cisco, Bank of America, fired, gay activists, reinstated To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Yesterday's National Election Results

Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Listening to the liberal news media today you would think that Republicans got skunked in last night's off-year elections. While it's true that there were a few high profile losses, the result was more mixed.

Democrats and their big labor allies are crowing about the lop-sided repeal of an Ohio law limiting collective bargaining rights for public sector employees. Voters rejected the law 61% to 39%. But those same Ohio voters passed an initiative rejecting ObamaCare by an even larger margin -- 66% to 34%.

For whatever reason, Ohio Republicans could not close the deal as they did in Wisconsin, where big labor's recall efforts were beaten back. If there is any lesson to be gleaned from the results in Ohio it is probably that voters do not like overreaching by either party. They don't want big government telling them what they must do with their own money. And they don't like it when it appears as though the middle class is bearing the brunt of cost-cutting measures.

While controlling spending is absolutely essential, Republicans, while fighting the unions, cannot be seen as enemies of policemen, firefighters and teachers. These are honorable, necessary professions that employ many good people who are genuine public servants.

In the gubernatorial races, nothing changed. Democrat Steve Beshear was reelected in Kentucky, while the Republican lieutenant governor succeeded Haley Barbour in Mississippi. In Virginia, the GOP picked up six seats in the state House, winning a historic two-thirds majority. It also appears poised to take control of the state Senate. There will be a recount in one race in which the incumbent Democrat is losing by just 86 votes. (Yes, every vote does matter!)

Obama carried Virginia in 2008, but last night's results led the Washington Post to run a story headlined, "Virginia Elections May Be A Warning Sign For Obama." If the results hold, it would mark the third consecutive year in which Democrats took a beating in the Old Dominion, strongly suggesting that Obama's hopes for a repeat win in 2012 are fading fast.

In Mississippi, a ballot initiative to declare that life begins at conception failed by a wide-margin -- 42% to 58%. It was disappointing to see the pro-life cause suffer such a loss in this conservative state. But pro-life groups were divided on the merits of the initiative, and pro-abortion groups spread a lot of misinformation that confused many voters.

In Arizona, State Sen. Russell Pearce, who spearheaded that state's tough anti-illegal immigration law (SB 1070), lost a recall election to a more moderate Republican.

But in western Pennsylvania, Republicans scored a major upset, taking control of the Westmoreland County Commission for the first time since 1956. Democrats there have a 53% to 37% advantage in voter registration, which makes the GOP win all the more surprising, adding to speculation that the Keystone State may not be securely in Obama's column on Election Day 2012.
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Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

Tags: national, November 2011, election results, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama's Attempted New Tax on Christmas Trees

[Breaking: the Obama administration has just backed off its plans to tax Christmas trees. Read more.] Will they next go after the taxing of crosses, religious jewelry, icons, Islamic pray rugs, in the future?

by Tierra Warren, Heritage Foundation: You better watch out. You better not cry. But you’ll probably pout. I’m telling you why.

There’s a new Christmas Tree tax coming to town! [Or, there was see breaking news above.]

Heritage Vice President David Addington explains that this is no joke: “President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.”

Excuse me? Improve the image of Christmas trees?

According to Addington,
the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” (7 CFR 1214.46(n)).  And the program of “information” is to include efforts to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States” (7 CFR 1214.10).

The tax, imposed on sellers of more than 500 trees per year and passed on to consumers, will pay for this new marketing program. The administration is already playing defense. They’re calling it a fee. But when the government charges a fee to raise money for a government program, that sounds an awful lot like a tax.

As Addington puts it,
Nobody is saying President Obama doesn’t have authority to impose his new Christmas Tree Tax — his Administration cites the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996.  Just because the Obama Administration has the legal power to impose its Christmas Tree Tax doesn’t mean it should do so.
With the economy still recovering from the recession and the jobless rate at nine percent, adding a tax to the jolliest time of year is not only depressing but unnecessary. The new tax hurts the businesses that sell these trees, many of them small businesses. And it puts consumers on the hook for increased costs. Besides, the Christmas tree already has a great image. It doesn’t need any help from the government.

Tags: Obama administration, Christmas Tree, tax, Secretary of Agriculture, Christmas Tree Promotion Board To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Increased Ethanol Driving Up Corn And Food Prices

Via The Blue Eye:

Tags: corn corn prices, ethanol, chart To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senate Vote on Net Neutrality Set For Thursday

Unless You Opt For Net Neutrality
And Other Laws Limiting Free Speech
Then - Kiss Your Free Speech Goodbye.
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 9, 2011:
This week the House is not in session. The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following morning business, the Senate began consideration of S.J. Res. 6, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-TX) resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations.

After 4 hours of debate on net neutrality, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 674, the bipartisan, House-passed bill to repeal a requirement that government contractors have 3% of their payments withheld for taxes.

Tomorrow, the Senate will begin debate on S.J. Res. 27, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act of the EPA’s cross-state air pollution regulations.

Shortly after noon on Thursday, the Senate will vote on the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 6 and then the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 27. Both need only a majority to succeed, and consideration of the measure would begin next week if either motion is agreed to.

At 2:15 tomorrow, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 674. Senators will then vote on 2 amendments to the bill, followed by a vote on final passage. The Senate will then vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2354, the next minibus bill, which includes the Fiscal Year 2012 Energy-Water, Financial Services, and State-Foreign Operations appropriations bills.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 99-0 to confirm Evan Wallach as a Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit.

Today, the Senate is debating a resolution of disapproval offered by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) of the FCC’s new net neutrality regulations, which, if agreed to by the Senate, would overturn those regulations. A vote on the resolution, which requires only a majority for adoption, is scheduled for noon tomorrow.

Senators Mitch McConnell and Kay Bailey Hutchison detailed problems with net neutrality today in the Philadelphia Inquire: “Unless the Senate acts on a measure under consideration this week, Internet service providers will be subject to the [FCC’s] new ‘Net neutrality’ rules. Under these mandates, broadband companies would lose control over the traffic and technology flowing through their infrastructure. Government bureaucrats would tell companies what is and is not a ‘reasonable’ way to operate their systems. These regulatory burdens would discourage Internet service providers from innovating and investing, inject uncertainty into a thriving sector of our economy, and jeopardize the information industry's vast potential for growth. More regulation would diminish broadband providers' expected returns on their capital. Lower returns mean less investment, which means fewer jobs created. Smaller companies would suffer the most, as they operate on thinner margins. With unemployment over 9 percent, do we really need this kind of regulatory overreach?”

They note, “The government's primary rationale for these new rules is that broadband providers must be prevented from blocking certain online content and services. On the surface, this is an admirable goal. We, too, believe in an open Internet free of unreasonable discrimination. But market forces have and will continue to prevent such discrimination. . . . [D]espite a decade of Net neutrality advocates' doomsday warnings that rampant discrimination is imminent, the Internet remains open. The few instances of bad behavior have been dealt with swiftly by the free market or by the FCC using the tools it already has. In short, Net neutrality is a big-government solution in search of a problem.”

“Moreover,” they warn, “this FCC power grab is unprecedented and, in our estimation, unlawful. Congress has never given the commission the authority to regulate Internet providers' management of their networks.”

While the points made Sens. McConnell and Hutchison are indeed relevant, also of critical importance is the threat to free speech. Yesterday, the ARRA News Service editor continued the discussions on why Net Neutrality should be defeated and a listed senators to contact. As Dr. Bill Smith previously said on Internet net neutrality, "In my opinion and the opinion of most Americans, this issue before the Senate is not left verses right (in the traditional sense) or Democrat verses Republican. It is progressive elitist socialism verses the rest of America. Unfortunately, it is within the Democrat Party that this movement is currently operating. But the same dangers could exist in the future with elitists in any political party whom believe they have the need to control the voice of the people.

It is patently obvious that net neutrality will result in reduced access and eventual suppression of freedom of speech. We can ill afford giving up any avenue of free speech which is used by both left and right minded citizens to freely address issues. Free speech is used by Americans to address and even mock actions government officials that walk away from the mainstream of America."

Tags: US Senate, FCC, net neutrality, EPA, cross-state air pollution, regulations, taxes on government contractors, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

FCC Net Neutrality & EPA Cross-border Air Pollution Votes Pending

Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 8, 2011:
This week the House is not in session. The Senate will reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 674, the bipartisan, House-passed bill to repeal a requirement that government contractors have 3% of their payments withheld for taxes. Yesterday, the Senate voted 94-1 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 674.

At 12:15 PM the Senate will vote on the nomination of Evan Wallach to be a Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit; then recess until 2:15 PM  and will  resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 674. 

Later in the week, as the critical deadline approaches for Congress to disapprove of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations, the Senate is expected to consider a resolution of disapproval, S. J. Res. 6. The Senate is also expected to take up a resolution of disapproval of the EPA’s cross-border air pollution rule, S. J. Res. 27.

Yesterday, in abbreviated from addressed the background, rationale and the need for stopping the FCC's net neutrality regulations. Here is an extract from those comments:
On Dec.21, 2010, the FCC voted 3 to 2 to regulate the internet. Seton Motley, president of Less Government called the FCC's action a "worse power grab than ObamaCare." Motley said, "It was done without authority from the People's representatives. In fact, 302 of them (inlcuding more than 80 Democrats) told the FCC not to do it. Then there was the D.C. Circuit Court, which ruled unanimously that the FCC doesn't have the authority. More than 150 organizations, state representatives, and bloggers gave them the anti-Nike "Don't do it." So too did seventeen minority groups (that are usually almost always in Democrat lockstep) and many additional normally Democrat paragons - including several large unions, several racial grievance groups, and an anti-free market environmentalist groups."

In my opinion and the opinion of most Americans, this issue before the Senate is not left verses right (in the traditional sense) or Democrat verses Republican. It is progressive elitist socialism verses the rest of America. Unfortunately, it is within the Democrat Party that this movement is currently operating. But the same dangers could exist in the future with elitists in any political party whom believe they have the need to control the voice of the people.

It is patently obvious that net neutrality will result in reduced access and eventual suppression of freedom of speech. We can ill afford giving up any avenue of free speech which is used by both left and right minded citizens to freely address issues. Free speech is used by Americans to address and even mock actions government officials that walk away from the mainstream of America.

Consider Phil Kerpen's warning, "Once we accept that it's the role of the government to regulate the economics of the Internet and the way traffic is managed on the network, we'll start down a path in which government not only designs and manages but also builds and owns. As taxpayers, we'll pick up the tab of enormous costs of building broadband networks that are regulated so strictly they can't even earn a market return. And the government-owned and -controlled network will almost certainly be subject . . . to pervasive content restrictions."
Only 51 votes are required for passage of the resolution. Which mean we need all Republicans and 4 Democrats. There are 23 Democrat Senate seats up for reelection next year. A few of these folks aren’t running. Many of the rest are from center or center-right states. Additionally, there are a few other Senators that may be subject to Constitutional reasoning and concerned about the expanding takeover of the Internet. Below is a list of some of these Senators. Please contact your Senator and contact the following and tell them to vote Yes on S.J.Res 6:

  • Joe Manchin – West Virginia
    • Phone: 202-224-3954
    • Fax: 202-228-0002
    • Email: Here
  • Mark Pryor – Arkansas
    • Phone: 202-224-2353
    • Fax: 202-228-0908
    • Email: Here
  • Tim Johnson – South Dakota
    • Phone: 202-224-5842
    • Fax: 202-228-5765
    • Email: Here
  • Bill Nelson – Florida
    • Phone: 202-224-5274
    • Fax: 202-228-2183
    • Email: Here
  • Ben Nelson – Nebraska
    • Phone: 202-224-6551
    • Fax: 202-228-0012
    • Email: Here
  • Debbie Stabenow – Michigan
    • Phone: 202-224-4822
    • Fax:
    • Email:Here
  • Jim Webb – Virginia
    • Phone: 202- 224-4024
    • Fax:
    • Email: Here
  • Mark Warner – Virginia
    • Phone: 202-224-2023
    • Fax: 202-224-6295
    • Email: Here




  • Jon Tester – Montana
    • Phone: 202-224-2644
    • Fax: 202-224-8594
    • Email: Here
  • Joe Liebermann – Connecticut
    • Phone: 202-224-4041
    • Fax: 202-224-9750
    • Email: Here
  • Claire McCaskill – Missouri
    • Phone: 202-224-6154
    • Fax: 202-228-6326
    • Email:Here
  • Bob Casey – Pennsylvania
    • Phone: 202-224-6324
    • Fax: 202-228-0604
    • Email: Here
  • Kay Hagan – North Carolina
    • Phone: 202-224-6342
    • Fax: 202-228-2563
    • Email: Here
Speaking on the floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s now been two months since the President came before Congress and outlined his plan for tackling the jobs crisis — a plan that can best be described as a rehash of the same failed policies of the past few years disguised as a bipartisan overture, a political strategy masquerading as a serious legislative proposal. The president put this plan together knowing that Republicans would oppose it. In other words, it was actually designed to fail, as White House aides have readily admitted to reporters for weeks. This was not, I repeat, a serious effort to do something about jobs and the economy. It was a serious effort to help the President’s reelection campaign by making Republicans in Congress look intransigent. So what I’ve been saying for the past few weeks is let’s put the political games aside. We’ll have time for the election later. The American people want us to do something about jobs right now.” And in fact, House Republicans have been doing just that. Leader McConnell pointed out, “While the President has been out on bus tours, Republicans in the House have been debating and passing bipartisan legislation aimed at making it easier for businesses across the country to grow and create jobs. And over the past two weeks, I’ve highlighted some of their good work. Yesterday, I mentioned in particular a bill the House passed just last week called the Small Company Capital Formation Act, or H.R. 1070, a bill that received 421 votes, including 183 Democrat votes. Only one person in the entire 435-member House of Representatives voted against this bill — just one. And President Obama endorsed the idea contained in this bill in his jobs speech to Congress in September. The question is: Why in the world wouldn’t the Democrat majority take it up and pass it here in the Senate?” H.R. 1070 would remove a regulatory barrier that prevents small businesses from going public and improves their access to the capital they need to grow and create jobs. The Senate version has the bipartisan sponsorship of Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Jon Tester (D-MT).  Job creators support the bill, as well. The AP wrote recently, “Companies use the cash they raise to grow — and that means hiring people.” Surely this bill would be a no-brainer for Senate Democrats to take up and pass. As Leader McConnell said to majority Democrats, “Take up this legislation that’s already passed the House with the support of almost everybody over there, and show the American people that you care more about creating jobs than in creating campaign slogans.”

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Coming At You: "An Endless Series Of Hobgoblins, Most Of Them Imaginary"

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by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: As early as tomorrow, and certainly in the next fortnight, the Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate is delivering an announcement of their virtuous intention to hit us with a whopping tax increase coupled with patently inauthentic promises of some spending “cuts” someday. The fact that Republicans appear to be planning to connive at class “millionaire tax” warfare makes it worse, not better. It’s not a zero sum game. You don’t raise those at the bottom of society by fleecing those who have earned a place at the top. Jack Kennedy understood. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Big Government has become the grotesque man-devouring giant Gargantua, skewered by Rabelais half a millennium ago. Those who encourage a “shared sacrifices” compromise are “feed the beast” appeasers rather than responsible officials. In all likelihood, however, avowals of the tax-increasers, frightening and irresponsible as they are, are “weapons of mass hysteria,” rather than of mass destruction.

Republican officials who give aid and comfort to the tax collectors thereby conveniently provide confessions in the open court of public opinion of stupidity and dishonor. Thank you. We, the Tea Party, will (again) court martial and purge these from our national legislature.

Once the great goat rodeos and high melodrama (or, perhaps, farce) in which Washington excels die down the most likely result will be… nothing. Washington lives to preserve the status quo. It feels a need to theatricalize preserving that status quo by flamboyant gestures worthy of Tom Sawyer professing determination to mend his rascally ways. Not really. The Christian Science Monitor’s Gail Russell Chaddock shrewdly observes:
If the super committee fails, will there be any real consequences? Or will a future Congress take one look at the draconian automatic cuts set to take hold in 2013 – $600 billion to defense, $600 billion to entitlements – and say, no way. That’s the latest rumor in Washington this week, as the 12-member joint deficit reduction committee struggles to find a $1.2 trillion package of cuts that can pass the panel and the Congress.
So expect some Wagnerian opera from the “Other End” of Pennsylvania Avenue this week. But ... there is another way. Call it “The Pattison Plan.” The late Rep. Ned Pattison used to say “Don’t do something, just stand there!” What does “just standing there” represent? It represents letting the sequester happen: accepting the pre-programmed $1.2 trillion dollar spending cut.

Draconian? The Republicans are having mass hysterics at the prospect of defense cuts even of such modest proportion. The service chiefs, shrewd bureaucrats all, are calling such cuts “catastrophic.”

Catastrophic? $600 billion ... spread over 10 years, amounting to $60 billion a year .... The 2010 military budget, including the wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan, (but not including taking good care of our veterans, or maintaining our nuclear weapons arsenal) totaled around $700 billion. So, a $60 billion cut, very roughly speaking, represents something like an 8.5% reduction. A scaleback of this magnitude would leave America with a military budget very slightly smaller than that of the entire rest of the world, friends and foes, combined.

One is reminded of Mencken’s acid observation:
Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.
The Washington Post fulminates that “Now it is time for Republicans to untangle themselves from their self-imposed straitjacket of anti-tax pledges and negotiate for the greater good.” Well, their “self-imposed straightjacket” was an unequivocal promise to those who sent them here not to set up permanent troughs from which to feed the voracious, Gargantuan, monster that the federal government has become. Not raising taxes was what they were sent to Washington to do. The Post just calls going native “the greater good.” Sure it’s the greater good for Washington, which gorges at this trough. And which sanctimoniously sticks us with the tab.

Yes, it is bad to borrow from our children to placate this beast’s gluttony. No, it isn’t any more virtuous to tax ourselves — and our prospects of economic recovery — into oblivion instead. What the Post seems incapable of grasping (itself representing Gargantua’s monstrous son, Pantagruel) is that the people of America are tired of insatiable, inept, privileged officials sucking their honest labor dry.

The Post’s way lies madness. As previously observed in this column Peter Drucker nailed it in The Effective Executive: “In every area of effectiveness within an organization, one feeds the opportunities and starves the problem.” Our permanent government is as fixated by the federal deficit as was Ahab by the White Whale.

Obsession comes to similar, tragic, ends. The solution is starving the problem — spending — and feeding the opportunity — instituting growth policies.

Washington again will finish its latest exercise in sound and fury signifying nothing. There’s still time to get down to business: feeding opportunity. If government policy had not strangled growth rates for two generations the U.S. GDP would be north of $20 trillion rather than around $15 trillion.

Each of us, on average, would have an income a third higher, and wealth a third greater, than we do. Federal tax revenues would be a third greater, the deficit non-existent, and the social insurance programs such as Social Security solvent. Cut? Certainly! But cut out of a healthy Engelsian impulse to speed the universally-desired “withering away of the State” – in a context of a thriving economy. The truly critical priority (for those who like Gargantua as well as for those of us who detest him) is to start making up for lost time on that growth.

Bring on the American Economic Miracle! How? One “miracle” was engineered in Germany, in 1948, by Ludwig Erhard; another, in 1958 France, by Jacques Rueff. The miraculous growth of the Reagan era (continuing through and ending with the Clinton administration) was founded in part on strengthening, rather than rubbishing, the dollar.

Reagan and Clinton bequeathed us a clear recipe: low tax rates, sensibly light regulation, liberal trade, work not welfare, and, the currently most neglected element, healthy money. Currency reform, adroitly done, is the common thread of all these economic miracles. Once a Representative comes to the end of histrionics and champions true monetary reform — as Jack Kemp, in his day, championed across-the-board marginal tax rate cuts — the real path to prosperity, on streets paved with gold, beckons.
------------
Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, a lead participant in the Iowa Tea Party’s upcoming Bus Tour.  This article which first appeared in Forbes was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko.

Tags: Ralph Benko, Hobgoblins, taxes, republicans, democrats, tea party, Economic growth policy, gold standard; To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Calling Harry Reid! Small Businesses Waiting On A Senate Vote!

183 House Dems Joined All Republicans In Voting For The Small Company Capital Formation Act Arguing It Would ‘Grow And Create Jobs’

Sens. Toomey And Tester Are Waiting For A Senate Vote
“The bipartisan Small Company Capital Formation Act [S. 1544] makes it easier for small startup companies to raise much-needed capital through public offerings… will help entrepreneurs raise more capital and create jobs.” (Sens. Toomey & Tester, Press Release, 9/12/11)

House Voted 421-1 In Favor
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: 421 Congressmen, Including 183 Democrats voted for H.R.1070: “The Small Company Capital Formation Act.” (H.R.1070, Roll Call Vote #820, Bill Passed 421-1: R 238-0; D 183-1, 11/2/11)

REP. GARY PETERS (D-MI): “Mr. Speaker, it's clear that we must pass this bipartisan legislation to help our small companies grow and create jobs. I urge adoption of this bill.” (Rep. Peters, Congressional Record, H.7231, 11/2/11)

REP. ANNA ESHOO (D-CA): “I'm proud to be a cosponsor of H.R. 1070, to raise the regulation offering limit from $5 million to $50 million, once again creating a meaningful offering limit. What better time than now when our economy needs this important boost.” (Rep. Eshoo, Congressional Record, H.7231, 11/2/11)

President Obama Supports The Idea
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “We’re also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly growing startup companies from raising capital and going public.” (President Obama, Address To A Joint Session Of Congress, 9/8/11)

“The President’s jobs plan, specifically crafted to garner quick bipartisan support… This means reducing the disproportionately high costs that smaller companies face when going public, as well as raising the cap on “mini” public offerings (Regulation A) from $5 million to $50 million.” (“The American Jobs Act,” The White House, 9/09/11)

‘Increasing The Ability To Grow Jobs’
PENNSYLVANIA JOB CREATOR, JEFF HATFIELD: “Changes to the offering threshold of Regulation A would significantly improve the funding opportunities… increasing the ability to grow jobs…” (Sens. Toomey & Tester, Press Release, 9/12/11)

MONTANA JOB CREATOR, DR. ROBERT BARGATZE: “In addition to the difficult financing landscape and struggling public markets, growing biotech companies also face regulatory burdens which further hinder capital formation in our industry…  Making changes to regulations which unintentionally harm the biotech industry would free companies to focus their efforts on their innovative scientific research rather than complex reporting and compliance.” (Sens. Toomey & Tester, Press Release, 9/12/11)

IT INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: “CompTIA applauds the House's passage of the Small Company Capital Formation Act of 2011 and urges the Senate to follow suit… This is a clear bipartisan common sense tool that will help make our capital markets more vibrant and competitive at a time when so many small businesses are in need.” (“CompTIA Commends the House on Passage of the Small Business Capital Formation Act of 2011,” Business Wire, 11/3/11)

BIOTECH INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: “The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) strongly supports the Small Company Capital Formation Act (HR 1070), sponsored by Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), which passed the House today by a vote of 421-1.” (“BIO Praises Passage Of Small Company Capital Formation Act,” Business Wire, 11/2/11)

‘IPO’s And Hiring Sprees Go Hand In Hand’
“Companies use the cash they raise to grow — and that means hiring people. And at a time when 14 million Americans are looking for work and the unemployment rate has been stuck near 9 percent for two years, the last thing the economy needs is for one engine of hiring to stall.” (“The IPO Market, An Engine Of Job Growth, Stalls, The Associated Press, 10/24/11)

“For upstart companies, IPOs and hiring sprees go hand in hand … For profitable businesses, an IPO can also unlock the door to corporate debt markets, another source of cash that helps a company grow.” (“The IPO Market, An Engine Of Job Growth, Stalls, The Associated Press, 10/24/11)

“A recent study by the National Venture Capital Association, a trade group, and IHS Global Insight, an economic forecasting firm, examined companies that went public from 1970 to 2010 and had been backed by venture capital before their IPO. It found that 92 percent of the people hired by those companies over the four decades came on after the IPO.” (“The IPO Market, An Engine Of Job Growth, Stalls, The Associated Press, 10/24/11)

“…Nasdaq OMX, which owns the Nasdaq Stock Market, examined companies that went public from 2001 to 2009 and found that they increased their collective work force by 70 percent.” (“The IPO Market, An Engine Of Job Growth, Stalls, The Associated Press, 10/24/11)

Tags: US Senate, small business, Senate, vote, Small Company Capital Formation Act, 2011 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

A Little Perspective

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr
Arkansas Lt Gov. Mark Darr: Much attention has been given in the press lately to the spate of protests around the country sparked initially in New York by a group calling itself Occupy Wall Street. By their own account, they are protesting against the people they believe are responsible for economic inequality in this country, namely banks, the wealthy and big corporations. At its heart, however, this is mostly a reprise of the same anti-capitalist protest movements we’ve seen in this country for decades. Class warfare is the theme of the protest, attempting to pit one part of society against another.

The group says they are targeting the top 1% of wealth holders in the country. As such, they claim that they represent the other 99%. Though, they don’t represent most of the hard-working Arkansans that I know.

Now, these protesters certainly have a right to demonstrate. That’s one of the great things about our country is that we have the freedom to voice our opinions publicly. As long as the protests remain peaceful, I don’t begrudge them their right to say what they want. A group affiliated with this movement recently demonstrated on a Saturday morning at the Arkansas State Capitol and by all accounts, it was peaceful and orderly.

These protesters have set up tent cities, occupying urban areas as if they are some persecuted group of political refugees. I get that they are trying to make a statement, but this does not seem productive. We have places for tent cities already set aside. They’re called state parks (and aren’t you glad we’ve got ‘em?).

What I think is needed in the debate, however, is some perspective. A picture has been circulating on the internet recently showing the Occupy protesters with the label 1% and impoverished people from a third world country with the label 99%. The point of the picture is that we have people in our country, the greatest country in the world, complaining about seemingly everything, while millions of people the world over have so much less than most people considered poor in the United States.

Consider the following from a recent report from The Heritage Foundation: “Scholar James Q. Wilson has stated, ‘The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.’ In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or a PlayStation. In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.”

On my recent trip to China, we took a train ride for several hundred miles across the country. We saw some very rural, very poor areas, unlike anything I’ve seen in this country.

According to UNICEF, nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or write their names. Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries lack sufficient access to water. Millions of people around the world die every year from illnesses that are readily treatable here in this country.

Our nation is a giving nation, but the foundation of our economy is capitalism, not socialism. Protesting banks and corporations will not create jobs. Sowing division and unrest will not bring an end to the recession. It seems lost on the protesters that the federal government from which they seek solutions is the very entity that has made the problems they cite even worse through bailout after bailout. We need solutions that encourage job creation, not restrictions that hinder businesses and grow government and debt.

We are blessed to live in America. This is the month we celebrate how thankful we are for what we have. Let’s try to keep this all in perspective.

Tags: Mark Darr, Lieutenant Governor, Arkansas, perspective, protest, Occupy Wall Street, China,the economy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Taking Executive Orders Too Far

Editor's Note: The running of this article is not an endorsement of Rep. Ron Paul as a candidate for President. Which can also be said for articles run on occasion by elected and non-elected officials who are also candidates for president. Having said the above does not diminish the need to head the words of in Rep. Ron Paul's article on presidential executive orders.

Rep. Ron Paul
Representative Ron Paul (R-TX-Dist. 14): These are frustrating times for the President. Having been swept into office with a seemingly strong mandate, he enjoyed a Congress controlled by members of his own party for the first two years of his term. However, midterm elections brought gridlock and a close division of power between the two parties. With a crucial re-election campaign coming up, there is desperation in the president’s desire to "do something" in spite of his severely weakened mandate.

Getting something done is proving to be a monumental task. This may be news to the supposed constitutional scholar who is now our president, but if the political process seems inconvenient to the implementation of his agenda, that is not a flaw in the system. It was designed that way. The drafters of the Constitution intended the default action of government to be inaction. Hopefully, this means actions taken by the government are necessary and proper. If federal laws or executive actions can’t be agreed upon constitutionally- which is to say legally- such laws or actions should be rejected.

The vision of the founders was to set up a government that would remain small and unobtrusive via a system of checks and balances. That it has taken our government so long to get this big speaks well of the original design. The founders also knew the overwhelming nature of governments was to amass power and grow. The Constitution was to serve as the brakes on the freight train of government.

But the Obama administration, like so many administrations in the 20th century, chooses to ignore the Constitution entirely. The increasingly broad use and scope of the Executive Orders is a prime example. Executive Orders are meant to be a way for the president to direct executive agencies on the implementation of congressionally approved legislation. It has become increasingly common for them to be misused in ways that are contradictory to congressional intent, or to bypass Congress altogether in enacting political agendas. The current administration has unabashedly stated that Congress's unwillingness to pass the president's jobs bill means that the president will act unilaterally to enact provisions of it piecemeal through Executive Order. Obama explicitly threatens to bypass Congress, thus aggregating the power to make and enforce laws in the executive. This clearly erodes the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. It brings the modern presidency dangerously close to an elective dictatorship.

Of course, the most dangerous and costly overstepping of executive authority is going to war without a congressional declaration. Congress has been sadly complicit in this usurpation by ceding much of its war-making authority to the executive because it wants to avoid taking responsibility for major war decisions, but that is part of our job in Congress! If the President cannot present to Congress and the people a convincingly strong case for going to war, then perhaps we should keep the nation at peace, rather than risk our men and women's lives for ill-defined reasons!

This administration certainly was not the first to behave in ways that have defied the Constitution to overstep its bounds. Sadly, previous administrations have set precedents that the current administration is only building upon. It is time for Congress to reassert itself and its constitutional role so that future administrations cannot continue on this dangerous path.

Tags: POTUS, president, executive orders, Ron Paul, warnings To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!


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