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Saturday, January 14, 2012
Trillion Dollar Bubble
by Kerby Anderson, Point of View: A recent blog post by Arnold Ahlert reminds us that we are probably headed for another trillion dollar bubble. This one is due to the way the government has managed the student loan program.
Those of us who have sent our kids to college are well aware that college tuition has skyrocketed. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has found that published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, while the median family income rose 147 percent. The major reason for that is student loans. And that proves the economic maxim: “If you subsidize something, you get more of it.”
Let me explain. Federal assistance to college students has risen 60 percent just in the last three years. More and more student loan money is available to students because the cap has also risen. Back in the 1980s, there was a $2500 annual cap. That means that the maximum amount of federal debt a student could borrow in getting a four-year degree was $10,000. That amount has more than tripled to $31,000.
Next comes the vicious cycle. As college tuition costs increase, the government makes more funding available to students. The more funding available makes it easier for colleges to raise their tuition since they never have to worry about student loan default.
But students do default on their loans. So who pays? You, the taxpayer, pay. The universities are insulated from default, but we get to pick up the tab.
It gets worse. Congress instituted a government takeover of the student loan program which was slated to begin July 2014. President Obama, however, issued an executive order to move the timetable up to this year. And if that is not bad enough, there is a bill in Congress right now which would actually forgive student debt. The argument is that the government bailed out “rich bankers” so why not “poor college students”?
We are headed for a major economic crisis, and it is clear that the government is the major reason it is about to hit. I’m Kerby Anderson, and that’s my point of view.
----------- Kirby Anderson is an author, lecturer, visiting professor and radio host and contributor on nationally syndicated "Point of View" and the "Probe" radio programs. Tags:Kerby Anderson, Point of View, United States, student loans, student loan program, trillion dollar bubbleTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Economic freedom -- the ability of individuals to control the fruits of their labor and pursue their dreams -- is central to prosperity around the world. Heritage and The Wall Street Journal measure economic freedom by studying its pillars: the rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency, and open markets. Things like property rights, freedom from corruption, government spending, free trade, labor policies, and one's ability to invest in and create businesses all factor in to a country's economic freedom.
Sadly, economic freedom declined worldwide in 2011 as many countries attempted -- without success -- to spend their way out of recession. The editors of the Indexexplain what has led to this troubling decline:
Rapid expansion of government, more than any market factor, appears to be responsible for flagging economic dynamism. Government spending has not only failed to arrest the economic crisis, but also--in many countries--seems to be prolonging it. The big-government approach has led to bloated public debt, turning an economic slowdown into a fiscal crisis with economic stagnation fueling long-term unemployment.
Though some might think that the United States -- the land of the free, the home of the brave -- is of course a leader in economic freedom, they would be wrong. The United States fell to 10th place in the world for economic freedom, and its score continues to drop. The U.S. ranked 6th in 2009, 8th in 2010 and 9th in 2011.
Heritage President Ed Feulner writes, "Under President Barack Obama, [the United States] has moved to the back of the band. Its economic freedom score has dropped to 76.3 in 2012 from 81.2 in 2007 (on a scale of 0-100)." The culprit? Government spending, which has grown to a level equivalent to over 40 percent of GDP, and total public debt, which exceeds the size of the economy. . . . [Read More] Tags:economy, free markets, Index of Economic Freedom, economic freedom, United States, jobs, Morning Bell, trade, unemploymentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Yet the disaffection, trending toward apathy, that America is feeling toward its politicians is bleeding into the 2012 race, possibly setting the stage for … the totally unexpected. Apathy? The Tea Party — which not so long ago was turning out over a million people on the National Mall — has bored itself into hibernation. Occupy Wall Street has been reduced to a dispirited tent city in Washington. According to most of the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post it mostly is good for romantic liaisons. Devoting Page One to this implies the Post, too, finds the presidential race strangely uninteresting.
Disaffection? Progressive enthusiasm for President Barack Obama has been replaced by a hard slog by party regulars. Obama now is being pilloried by the Feisty Left for a “trail of betrayals,” as a “coward” and “traitor” who “for now on desperation is his path.” He's also been called a “Trojan Horse, A Psychopath, A Bad Boyfriend.”
And it looks very possible that the badly overdue cyclical recovery now, notwithstanding the inane growth-curdling polices of liberal Democrats, may be getting under way. James Altucher, in his extraordinarily perceptive column “My Last Death Threat in 2011” points out the inconvenient truths. Housing inventories are at the lowest level since 1963, corporate profits are at an all time high, cash in the bank is at an all time high, announced stock buybacks are at an all time high, consumer spending is at an all time high, household obligations are the lowest since 1993.
These (and more) point to what could be a rip-roaring recovery. If recovery, cyclical though it would be, is at hand Obama will receive credit, foredooming the Republican nominee.
We mere citizens are having a hard time staying interested. “This pudding,” once complained Churchill, pushing away his dessert course “has no theme!” The headline of an earlier column here, “The End of Politics: The Dawning Irrelevance of Obama and the GOP”, suggests why voters are so disengaged: irrelevance.
With a half century of total war ending and something like peace breaking out politics loses its life-and-death drama. If prosperity joins peace, as threatening, it will be hard for an Oval Office address to draw as many viewers as How I Met Your Mother.
Excitement is likely to return, however, emerging from outside the old two party paradigm. There are a number of transformative developments simmering below the media’s radar. Any one of these, if it pops, could upend the stale status quo.
Consider just a few:
– “Lessig’s Lab” at Harvard Law School is incubating an entity (upon whose board this columnist may have been asked, and may even have agreed, to sit) to make Article V (State originated single issue) Constitutional Conventions a regular feature of our politics, putting vastly more power into the hands of the people as a regular thing. Populism with teeth.
–Almost unnoticed, North Dakota State Senator Curtis Olafson and a few others are unleashing a national movement of state legislators designed to transfer the power to raise the debt ceiling from the Congress to the States. Voila: a federal balanced budget.
–Texas statutorily is permitted to carve out from within its territory four microstates, each the size of Rhode Island with a population slightly larger than that of Wyoming. This would reduce Texas’s size and population by an immaterial 1% to 2% yet send eight more Texan-type Senators and four more Congressmen to Washington. If this catches on, prepare to watch the Liberals in the federal government being crushed, driven before you, and to listen to the lamentations of their women.
–A national movement has been proposed (and could be worthily led) by public intellectual Walter Kirn to change a rule and allow Members of Congress to vote on laws by telecommunication. This would, of course, immerse our national lawmakers in their constituents, insulating them from the lobbyists, utterly changing the chemistry of our federal government.
–And just for good measure the possibility of a Conservative-Black Alliance (Blacks being even more ardently pro straight marriage than most white conservatives) emerges. Not only would it completely stop the march away from traditional marriage. It would create an entirely new array of opportunities both for African Americans and the Republican Party. African Americans, says Rasmussen, are the most enthusiastic demographic group for the gold standard!
There are more profoundly interesting proposals such as the restoration of the gold standard, a favored topic of this column. Most are at an early stage. Some never will get off the ground. But one is bearing down the tracks like a runaway locomotive: Americans Elect. (This columnist already belongs. Enlist!) This is the big wild card in the 2012 cycle.
Americans Elect is spending $20 million to achieve ballot lines in all 50 states. It reportedly was designed as a refuge for the mythical raging moderates. By the time its creators discover that there are few “raging moderates” (moderates, having moderate dispositions, don’t rage) the genie will be out of the bottle.
Soon the GOP truculently will settle on a nominee, ending the 2012 nomination drama long before the general election drama is ripe. Media Jackals like this columnist must look elsewhere to sustain your interest. What looks to emerge — next Spring — will be a tsunami of media reports on “the Internet Primary.”
Left wing nuts seem sure that AE is a secret project of the Kochs. Right wing nuts are convinced AE is a secret project of Soros. The evidence is that AE is the project of the man who fused the Web to the radical concept of…grocery delivery, earning himself several hundred million dollars. Peter Ackerman, a founder of Freshdirect, apparently somehow got enough of his poker buddies to ante up to raise the money to do this right.
However disconcerting to the conspiracy-minded there appears nothing sinister behind an effort to disintermediate, from the parties, a presidential nomination. And because it requires its nominee to pick someone from the other party its ballot line cannot be appropriated either by Obama or the GOP. This has the potential to make a huge impact on this election cycle and on all future politics.
The novelty and drama of Americans Elect is likely to transfix the political chattering class throughout the Spring and Summer. The publicity generated has the potential to drive millions to participate in this work of political genius (and to taste their own Power).
Who will its nominee be? Can she win? Which of the Two Political Oligarchies’, um, major national political parties’, nominees will it benefit? Will it act as a spoiler? Is it viable?
Yeah: Pundit Catnip.
The duties of citizenship are a pain in the neck. That’s why we have let the Governing Class get away with conduct tantamount to embezzlement (if not outright murder). But … it’s our country. And if we let it go to Hell without a fight we have nobody but ourselves to blame. It’s called Participatory Democracy for a reason. If you wish to hang on to your Bitching Rights, dear Reader, join up or join in. Use your Power As A Citizen to wreak some unholy Hell on a corrupt and inept Governing Class.
Political transformation, like the recovery, is overdue. It has been seeking — MoveOn,org, the Tea Party, Occupy — a channel. Americans Elect may prove to be it.
Tune in. Drop in. Turn out.
------------ Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. His article first appeared in Forbes Tags:Ralph Benko, transformational politics, 2012, political transformationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: It was bad enough when President Obama bamboozled Congress into passing a Stimulus bill that didn't produce any jobs, then increased the federal deficit in the 2012 omnibus spending bill, then raised the debt ceiling, then bailed out the big U.S. banks, then tried to bail out his pal Solyndra to try to save it from bankruptcy, and then appointed a Jobs Czar who creates jobs only in China. But it's over the top when Obama told the European Council President and the European Commission President that "the United States stands ready to do our part" to bail out Europe.
Bailing out Europe is absolutely not any "part" of "our" duty; we've already bailed out Europe more times than it deserves. Obama didn't give specifics, but he was probably referring to recent proposals to pour more U.S. cash into the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be used to bail out Europe.
On December 16, the IMF board of governors adopted a proposal to double its resources from its current $375 billion to $750 billion. Of course, other IMF member states thought that was a nifty idea since it would mean that the United States would donate another $100 billion in addition to our present $108 billion stake in the IMF.
The U.S. is the biggest contributor to the IMF; we pay about 17 percent of its budget. A European default could make U.S. taxpayers liable for 17 percent of the IMF's liabilities.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) says we should just say "no" to Europe, and has filed a bill with 26 cosponsors to defund our $100 billion IMF contribution. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has introduced a bill in the House with 83 cosponsors to reclaim whatever remains of our commitment to the IMF.
There is also the danger that our Federal Reserve System will come to the rescue of the Europeans by making major bond purchases of European debt. That expensive decision may be imminent; apparently, there is no law to prevent the Fed from such extravagant folly.
We the people who end up paying for IMF donations only found out after the fact, because of our federal courts enforcing Freedom of Information Act requests and a congressionally authorized audit of the Fed, that trillions of dollars of emergency loans have already been given to foreign banks. In addition, the Fed simply printed $442.7 billion out of thin air to buy back flaky mortgage-backed securities from overseas institutions that were heavily invested in U.S. housing.
Obama has no business using U.S. taxpayers' dollars, through the IMF or the Federal Reserve or any other secretive agency, to bail out foreign banks.
Obama's narcissism has reached the point where he thinks he can act like a king and do whatever he wants. In addition to giving away our money so recklessly, he has announced his intention to refuse to enforce laws he doesn't like, even though the U.S. Constitution makes it the prime duty of the President to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
For example, Obama announced that he won't obey 20 provisions in the $1 trillion spending bill. He specifically repudiated the provision that "none of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control."
Obama also said he will ignore a provision in the appropriation law that bars taxpayer funds from being spent for the "salaries and expenses" of his so-called White House czars. We are particularly annoyed by his attempt to run our government with czars instead of with Americans confirmed in the proper way by the U.S. Senate.
Obama is even trying to make "recess appointments" when the Senate is not in recess.
In a sneaky Christmas Eve release, Obama overturned the U.S. law that prohibits internet gambling. He used a Justice Department legal opinion (after it had been kept secret for four months) to open the door for all U.S. states to sell lottery tickets over the internet, and to encourage varieties of online web-based gambling such as poker.
This Obama Administration action undermines the U.S. Wire Act of 1961, which up to now has prohibited all wagers via telecommunications across state lines or international borders. Attorney General Eric Holder's lawyers invented the argument that the Wire Act applies only to bets on a "sporting event or contest," but not to a state's use of the internet to sell lottery tickets.
Obama is even refusing to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and is having his Justice Department try to get supremacist judges to declare it unconstitutional. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified 1,138 federal laws that depend on DOMA's traditional definition of marriage. Tags:European Union, Phyllis Schlafly, bailing out, Europe, U.S. economy, national debtTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
-- More Than All Presidents from Washington Through Clinton Combined.
by Terence P. Jeffrey, CNSNews.com: President Barack Obama has been increasing the national debt during his presidency by an average of $4.24 billion per day ($4,240,506,004.34) putting him on a pace to increase the national debt by $6.2 trillion ($6,195,379,272,340.74) by the end of his term on Jan. 20, 2013, according to the debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury.
That $6.2 trillion is more debt than was accumulated by all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton combined.
In fact, the U.S. national debt did not eclipse the $6.195 trillion level—the amount Obama is on pace to increase it in one term—until August 19, 2002, during President George W. Bush’s second year of office.
The national debt was $10.6 trillion ($10,626,877,048,913.08) on Jan. 20, 2009, the day Obama was inaugurated. As of the close of business on Jan. 11, 2012, it was $15.2 trillion ($15,236,307,075,631.58.) In Obama’s first 1,087 days in office, the debt increased $4.6 trillion ($4,609,430,026,718.50)—or an increase of $4.24 billion ($4,240,506,004.34) per day.
At that daily rate, the debt would increase a total of $6.2 trillion ($6,195,379,272,340.74) over the entire 1,461 days of Obama’s four year term.
At the close of business Aug. 19, 2002, the total national debt was $6.195 trillion. Tags:Barack Obama, national debt, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Yesterday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donahue called on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Donahue said, “Our biggest and most reliable foreign energy supplier is Canada. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would bring Canadian oil sands down to our Gulf Coast refineries and to other destinations along the way. This project has passed every environmental test. There is no legitimate reason—none at all—to subject it to further delay.” He added, “Labor unions and the business community alike are urging President Obama to act in the best interests of our national security and our workers and approve the pipeline. We can put 20,000 Americans to work right away and up to 250,000 over the life of the project.”
Also yesterday, over 100 trade groups, including the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many local trade associations such as the Mid-West Truckers Association, sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to approve the pipeline. They wrote, “[We] urge you to approve the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as possible. With your approval, this shovel-ready project will provide 20,000 jobs in construction and manufacturing in the next two years, and add tens of thousands of additional jobs throughout the economy in other sectors including service, retail and distribution. With our nation's stubbornly high unemployment, it would be irresponsible to let such good-paying jobs slip away. . . Mr. President, the significant job creation, economic growth, energy security and national security benefits of this project make clear it is in the national interest. We strongly urge you to act swiftly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.”
And of course, labor unions and Democrats in Congress have been calling for the president to move ahead on this pipeline for months. The AFL-CIO’s President of its Building and Construction Trades Department wrote in November that “we can’t wait” for the jobs the pipeline would create. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) said on the Senate floor last month, “I personally think the pipeline is absolutely in the national interest. . . . Canada is going to develop this resource. This oil is going to go somewhere. It, to me, is absolutely in our national interest for that oil to come to our country.” Even a member of Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) House Democrat leadership, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), told MSNBC, “I'm very much for the pipeline. There is no question about that.”
It’s obvious that approving the Keystone XL pipeline is a no-brainer: it creates jobs, enhances America’s energy security, and would undoubtedly help our economy. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The President has said his first priority is jobs. Well here’s an opportunity for him to show it, . . . according to some estimates, would create thousands of jobs right away. Here’s an opportunity for the President to say he’s not going to let a few radical environmentalists stand in the way of project that would create thousands of jobs and make America more secure at the same time. The labor unions support this pipeline. The Chamber of Commerce supports it. Out-of-work Americans support it. And a growing number Democrats are expressing support for it too.”
Repeating yesterdays question: Why is President Obama stalling the approval of this pipeline which will create jobs, strengthen ties with a valued ally, and reduce reliance on oil from the Middle East? Tags:Barack Obama, Keystone XL PipelineTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Obama administration, military cuts, view by despots, weakened position, declining national defense, America, A.F. Branco, political cartoonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
US Chamber of Commerce: The most immediate priority facing our nation is to create jobs for the 25 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or have simply given up looking for work. There are specific steps Congress and the administration can take right now to spur faster job growth in America’s private sector without adding to the deficit. Thomas Donohue, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Labor Day Briefing. Donohue discussed the Chamber's six point jobs plan. Learn more at 6 Steps to Create Millions of Jobs
Tags:US Chamber of Commerce, jobs, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:primaries, primary, electons, 2012, republican, democrat, Tale of Two Primaries, William Warren, political cartoonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Why is Obama Blocking The Keystone XL Pipeline? Canadians Consider Shipping Oil To China
Who is behind these protests? Note the sign behind the signs
What is going on in the White House? We have noted:
Lavish vacations and trips
Appointments of more radicals to the Obama White House Staff
Unconstitutional appointments when Congress is not in recess
The Growing National Debt Is ‘Now As Big As The Entire U.S. Economy
High unemployment created by government interference including the lost oil jobs in the Gulf due to deliberate delays by the Obama administration
Military returning home to lost job opportunities
The XL Pipeline being blocked
And, now we note that even Canada is fed up and reacting to the continual delays in the Keystone XL Pipeline by President Obama and his staff and agencies. Canada is proceeding with studying its options to ship their oil to China instead of the United States.
Job creators this week are again urging President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The Hill reports, “President Obama should green-light the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast without delay, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Thursday. ‘There is no legitimate reason, none at all, to subject it to further delay,’ [Tom] Donohue said in his annual address on the state of business and the economy. . . . Donohue said action is needed this year and cannot be stalled by politics. ‘Real leaders understand that Americans can have big differences in philosophy but still find common ground,’ Donohue said. ‘They wouldn't tell us that solutions have to wait until after the election.’”
Over 100 trade groups have sent a letter to the president, saying, “[We] urge you to approve the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as possible. With your approval, this shovel-ready project will provide 20,000 jobs in construction and manufacturing in the next two years, and add tens of thousands of additional jobs throughout the economy in other sectors including service, retail and distribution. With our nation's stubbornly high unemployment, it would be irresponsible to let such good-paying jobs slip away.”
Meanwhile, Canada’s Financial Post writes, “TransCanada Corp. has released a detailed job breakdown for the Keystone XL pipeline and said it will create 13,000 construction employment opportunities and 7,000 in manufacturing for Americans. . . . ‘These are new, real U.S. jobs. Thirteen thousand Americans would be put to work constructing our Keystone XL project,’ said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer in a statement. ‘Seven thousand more jobs would be created in the U.S. manufacturing sector, making the materials needed to build Keystone XL.’”
And according to the AP, “A Canadian company attempting to build a $7 billion pipeline to carry oil from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast soon will have a new route that seeks to allay worries of U.S. regulators, a company executive said Wednesday. ‘In a matter of a very few weeks we will have a route that everyone agrees on,’ said Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada Corp.'s president for energy and oil pipelines. . . . Pourbaix said the Calgary-based company has been meeting with U.S. regulators and officials in Nebraska on mapping a new route that will avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills area of Nebraska.”
Why is President Obama stalling the approval of this pipeline which will create jobs, strengthen ties with a valued ally, and reduce reliance on oil from the Middle East? Just a minute, is that the problem? Does President Obama want or intend for the United States to be continually dependent on the radical Muslim countries of the Middle East? Neither the American people and especially the American workers - both union and nonunion workers agree with such a position. The focus should be on jobs and oil for Americans. The American voters are taking note that it appear that our President maybe more than in over his head, he may not even be in favor of protecting the U.S. Economy or the North American economies? Even the Communist leaders in China looks out for their own economy.
Continued delay from the White House could be costly. The AP notes, “Pourbaix and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., told North Dakota officials and oil industry representatives that if the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline is not built Canada's oil-sand developers likely would ship the crude to Asia. ‘It's going to go to China if we don't build it here,’ Hoven said.” And USA Today reported on Monday, “While President Obama wants to delay a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stepping up efforts to explore an alternative pipeline that would allow Canada to ship their tar sands oil to China. On Tuesday, an independent federal panel in Canada will begin its review of a proposed western pipeline that would carry the oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. From British Columbia, the oil would be shipped on tankers to oil-hungry China. . . ."
“‘President Obama says we can't wait for action on jobs,’ House Speaker John Boehner's office noted in an e-mail to reporters today. ‘Well, Canada isn't waiting. One way or another, a new energy pipeline will be built. The question the president and Democrats in Washington need to answer is: would Democrats rather American workers get these Keystone jobs? Or China?’”
As Senator Mitch McConnell said, “Keystone [is] an obvious choice: everybody in Washington says they want more American jobs now. Well, here’s the single largest shovel-ready project in America — ready to go. . . . The labor unions like it. Democrats want it. It strengthens our national security by decreasing the amount of oil we get from unfriendly countries. And it wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. . . . And since I still haven’t heard a good reason from the White House as to why they would block it, . . . The only thing standing between thousands of American workers, and the good jobs this project will provide, is President Obama.”
While the Obama White House has sided with the Occupy protestors and liberal radical environmentalist who have favored blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline and wrecking our economy; they have also motivated and united the voters to focus on a 2012 Occupy the White House movement to replace the incumbent and to pursue actions to fix our economy, free up businesses, access our own resources, and to create jobs for citizens of the United States. Tags:President, Barack Obama, White House, Keystone XL Pipeline, jobs, American jobs, out economy, Canada, ChinaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
NLRB to Host ‘Meet and Greet’ For Illegally Appointed Officials
The Scribe: U.S. senators never got a chance to question or vote on President Obama’s illegal appointees to the National Labor Relations Board. Now that they’ve been installed at the board, however, senators and their staff will at least have the chance to meet the individuals they were prevented from properly vetting.
The NLRB informed congressional staffers Wednesday that they would be holding an informal “meet and greet” with the three non-recess appointed board members on Thursday at 3 p.m., according to an email from the NLRB’s special counsel for congressional and intergovernmental affairs obtained by The Heritage Foundation.
I am writing to invite two members of Senator [redacted] staff to join us this Thursday at 3 pm for a small “meet and greet” with the new board members. The event will be attended by NLRB staff and a few folks from the Hill. Please let me know if anyone on the staff is interested and if so, which two members will be joining us (I need to get the names over to security). I apologize for the short notice – this is all coming together rather quickly.
Indeed it is. As Scribe has noted, the two Democrats on their way to seats at the NLRB had been nominated for less than a month before the president decided he had waited long enough. His unconstitutional appointments prevented the Senate committee handling the nominations from conducting even the most basic vetting procedures, including background checks required of all nominees for federal office.
Newt Gingrich's Messaging Off Track - Channeling Michael Moore
Bill Smith, Editor: Many Republican voters have noticed in the last week that candidate Newt Gingrich's message has jumped the tracks and taken a direction which is rapidly wrecking his previous message of being solutions oriented and against the socialist agenda of President Obama. As a result, it may wind up that the final money spent by the Newt's campaign on attack ads on fellow candidate Mitt Romney will not only wreck Gingrich's own campaign but damage Newt's image as a results oriented guru. Of course, if Romney wins in Nov. 2012 and then after a couple years as POTUS the economy becomes worse than under Obama (unlikely), then we may hear the cry of the Newt: "I told you so." Not very Reaganesque.
Conservative Cartoonist A.F. "Tony" Branco highlights the damaging perception of Newt's actions:
Tags:Newt Gingrich, campaign ads, capitalism, Occupy Wall Street, Michael Moore, liberal, political cartoon AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
SCOTUS Unanimous: Judges And The Govt Cannot Get Involved In Church Ministry
The Roberts Court 2011
(Back L to R) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito, Elena Kagan
(Front L to R) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts,
Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Jesse J. Holland, GOPUSA: In a groundbreaking case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held for the first time that religious employees of a church cannot sue for employment discrimination.
But the court's unanimous decision in a case from Michigan did not specify the distinction between a secular employee, who can take advantage of the government's protection from discrimination and retaliation, and a religious employee, who can't.
It was, nevertheless, the first time the high court has acknowledged the existence of a "ministerial exception" to anti-discrimination laws — a doctrine developed in lower court rulings. This doctrine says the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion shields churches and their operations from the reach of such protective laws when the issue involves employees of these institutions. . . . [Read More]
by Peter Johnson Jr., FoxNew: Wednesday the United States Supreme Court delivered a knockout blow to the White House in the cause of religious liberty.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a unanimous court swatted away the government’s claim that the Lutheran Church did not have the right to fire a “minister of religion” who, after six years of Lutheran religious training had been commissioned as a minister, upon election by her congregation. . . .
There was just one big problem standing in the way of the government's plan: the U.S. Constitution. For a long time American courts have recognized the existence of a "ministerial exemption" which keeps government’s hands off the employment relationship between a religious institution and its ministers or clergy.
Here, in this case, the Department of Justice had the nerve to not only challenge the exemption’s application but also its very existence.
But, Chief Justice Roberts pushed back hard, telling the government essentially to butt out: “Requiring a church to accept or retain an unwanted minister, or punishing a church for failing to do so, intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs. By imposing an unwanted minister, the state infringes the free exercise clause, which protects a religious group’s right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments. According the state the power to determine which individuals will minister to the faithful also violates the establishment clause, which prohibits government involvement in such ecclesiastical decisions.”
Citing well-known legal precedent dating as far back as Reconstruction, the court made it clear that it is not up to the government to contradict a faith’s determination as to who should -- and should not -- be performing religious functions. . . .
The Court also took aim at Plaintiff’s Cheryl Perich’s claims for back pay finding that such relief would operate as an unconstitutional penalty against a religious institution for terminating an unwanted minister and exercising its constitutional right to make decisions about internal church governance. Unfortunately, the federal government has become expert in imposing penalties for practicing one’s faith. . . . [Read More]
Thinking about producing your grandmother’s homemade maple syrup recipe?
Well you better make sure it’s actually maple syrup or the federal government may come after you.
Three months ago, the Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement Act of 2011 (MAPLE Act) was introduced in the Senate. The bill would make it a federal crime, punishable with prison time, for anyone to knowingly and willfully distribute in interstate commerce a product that is falsely labeled as maple syrup.
Are maple syrup felons sufficiently heinous that they should be imprisoned for perhaps as long as 45 years? Some members of the U.S. Senate seem to believe the answer is yes: How else to explain the provisions of the Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement Act of 2011? This bill, known as the MAPLE Act, would make it a “federal crime…for anyone knowingly and willfully to distribute into interstate commerce a product that is falsely labeled as maple syrup.” While falsely labeling a product should not go unpunished, there are ample criminal laws on the books to deal with the false labeling of maple syrup. The real threat raised by the MAPLE Act is not that of a shadowy syrup syndicate, but a U.S. Congress determined to expand the federal criminal law well beyond its intended limitations—the phenomenon known as overcriminalization.
The two most widely used federal antifraud laws are the mail and wire fraud acts, Larkin explains. These acts already cover anyone who uses any large-scale marketing of fraudulent material in the mail or via telecommunications services. That means the MAPLE Act is redundant.
With ample criminal laws on the books to deal with fraud, the MAPLE Act is overkill. Tags:maple syrup, criminalization, legal issue, Heritage FoundationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
White House Still Insisting On Closing Gitmo; But Is Banned From Bringing Prisoners the U.S.
AFP reports, “The White House insisted Monday that President Barack Obama was determined to close Guantanamo Bay, despite failing to do so by the war on terror camp's 10th anniversary this week. Obama declared within a few hours of taking office in January 2009 that he would shutter the camp within a year, saying it was used as a recruiting tool for terrorists, and detrimental to US national security. But in the face of deep opposition in Congress to moving inmates to the US mainland and over the idea of holding civil trials for key Al-Qaeda suspects, Obama has failed to live up to his vow. ‘The commitment that the president has to closing Guantanamo Bay is as firm today as it was during the (2008) campaign,’ said White House spokesman Jay Carney.”
In November, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “[T]he Executive Orders signed by the President in January 2009 were issued with an eye toward fulfilling Candidate Obama’s campaign promises — rather than after conducting a serious review of sound counterterrorism policy. And now, three years after taking office, the President has had enough firsthand experience dealing with terrorism to know that many of the terrorists held at Guantanamo can’t be sent back to places like Yemen, where they’re likely to return to the fight. But the President’s own Executive Orders have denied our military commanders and our intelligence community the certainty they need when they capture, detain, and interrogate terrorist suspects. His early Executive Orders, for instance, ended the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention program and directed the closing of Guantanamo. The order to close Guantanamo makes little sense.”
Despite this, according to AFP, “Carney said that Obama, top national security officials and senior members of the military still believed that closing Guantanamo was in US interests. ‘We will continue to abide by that commitment and work towards its fulfillment,’ he said.”
The recently signed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) forbids the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to US soil and sharply restricts moving such prisoners to third countries. What action is President planning to go around this ban? Will he violate the law, release all detained terrorists, or .... [your opinion]? Tags:President Obama, Gitmo, NDAA ban, National Defense Authorization ActTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
What a Contrast in Character and Performance! Denver Broncos' quarterback Timothy "Tim" Richard Tebow on the field and off the field performance and his character to date outshines our incumbent president who has been lacking in good performance and character. Tebow had better beware as Obama's liberal media kneecapping thugs will be out trying to bring Tebow down. Tony Branco's excellent cartoon today highlights the difference: Tebow responding to the living Word while Obama pursues the ideas and words of a dead anarchist. Tags:Tebow, Obama, character, performance, Denver Broncos political cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
· “The amount of money the federal government owes to its creditors, combined with IOUs to government retirement and other programs, now tops $15.23 trillion. That's roughly equal to the value of all goods and services the U.S. economy produces in one year: $15.17 trillion as of September, the latest estimate.” (“U.S. Debt Is Now Equal To Economy,” USA Today, 1/9/12)
The ‘Buck Stops’ With President Obama, Who Promised ‘To Stop Adding To Our Deficit’
THEN-SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL):“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.”(Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S.2237-8, 3/16/06)
· “The first thing you do when you're in a hole is what? … you stop digging. So the first thing that we're going to have to do is to stop adding to our deficit.”OBAMA: “Keep in mind, the first 42 presidents, they amassed $5 trillion worth of debt, the first 42 of them. The first couple of hundred years-plus of American history, we accumulated $5 trillion. Now we're at $9 trillion. That's just bad -- that's not being fiscally conservative. And so we're going to have to change our policies. Now, it's going to be -- let me say this. It's not going to be completely easy, because we're in a hole. And the first thing you do when you're in a hole is what?” (UNKNOWN): “Stop digging.” OBAMA: “Stop digging. Who got that right? There you go. You stop digging. So the first thing that we're going to have to do is to stop adding to our deficit.” (Sen. Obama, Remarks To Campaign Event, Watertown, SD, 5/16/08)
JACK LEW:“The problem is that, for years, we have just put it on the national credit card. And we have built up the debt… we say it’s time to stop.”(PBS, 2/14/11)
Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: In an op-ed for USA Today, Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley challenges the rationale for Obama's "Recess" Appointments. While such a challenge is indeed appropriate, Obama continues to "set fire to Rome."
Grassley writes, “President Obama’s appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unacceptable because it violates both the letter and spirit of the Constitution. The framers saw the dangers of power grabs by any one branch of government. The president upended years of Senate practice and more than 90 years of Justice Department precedent by bypassing the Senate to appoint his nominee to direct the new bureau. Overturning this sort of precedent is a major shift in the constitutional separation of powers. If there’s a legal rationale, the White House needs to make it public.”
Unfortunately little legal explanation has come from the White House about this outrageous maneuver. Why, because that is exactly what Obama's action was meant to be "outrageous." The Wall Street Journal editors wrote last week, “A President has the power to make a recess appointment . . . . The Constitutional catch is that Congress must be in recess. The last clause of Section 5 of Article 1 of the Constitution says that ‘Neither House’ of Congress can adjourn for more than three days ‘without the Consent of the other’ house. In this case, the House of Representatives had not formally consented to Senate adjournment. It’s true the House did this to block the President from making recess appointments, but it is following the Constitution in doing so. Let’s hear Mr. Obama’s legal justification.”
President announced the appointment at a rally in Ohio. He knew he was doing so in the home state of Speaker John Boehner and of the Republican Study Committee Chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan.
At that time, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell responded, “Although the Senate is not in recess, President Obama, in an unprecedented move, has arrogantly circumvented the American people by ‘recess’ appointing Richard Cordray as director of the new CFPB. This recess appointment represents a sharp departure from a long-standing precedent that has limited the President to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer. Breaking from this precedent lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.”
While both Senators Grassley and McConnell are indeed correct, President Obama is out their bragging about his actions. His actions over the past three years clearly evidence the Obama is no constitutional scholar as claimed by his past proponents. He is a Saul Alinsky radical, and his actions and the actions by his appointed and hired "uncivil" servants are undermining the Republic on numerous levels.
In April, 2011, I stated that "The actions of Barack Obama are in fact also following the pattern which will wipe out the middle class in America. ... In our Republic, we have been afforded opportunities for people to change their financial station in life through work, invention, and good fortune thus providing a fairer playing field. We have been provided more opportunities for people to move up the economic chain. We have even allowed people (at least in the past) the opportunity to retain or spend their wealth as they saw fit to do or to pass it on to their children or others. As a result, America has developed a large middle class. It is this large middle class that is now threatened by President Obama's actions. Obama road map appears to be that followed by socialists of the past. His actions and proposals will lead to the destruction of the middle class as happened in Argentina.
" . . . President Obama has signally an attack on the wealthy. However, his proposals and actions are in fact an attack on the middle class. It is the middle class of America that works and sustains much of our culture, our economy and the American way of life. The middle class has created numerous new ideas, small businesses and services which employ large numbers of other Americans. It is now the middle class that is most threatened because it is also the voice that cries out the loudest for freedom and against the expansion of government.
"This statement does not mean that there are not patriots and lovers of freedom who are rich or poor. Thank God, for those who are wealthy and patriots and who are willing to support the middle class in their champion rights and freedoms. Thank God for the poor who also understand that a poor man never offered them a job or an opportunity to advance. And understand that presently in American even a poor person has the same rights and freedoms of all Americans and that they can work to provide options for both themselves and their children to move up the economic ladder.
"It is most critical for the middle class to realize that it is really their 'goose that is in the process of being cooked'. . . .
"In a speech by Dinesh D’Souza at the Heritage Foundation, 'Barack Obama is different leader from previous Democrats – especially different from so-called liberals like Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton.' Barack Obama is 'the first anti-American, anti-colonialism president and he is driven by that mindset!' Obama is seeking to 'bring us under the rod of the Federal government.' . . ."
In light of Obama's continued dismantling or challenges to the U.S. Constitution, consider the bigger threat, President Obama and his minions must destroy the middle class of America because it is the middle class which stand for the continuance of the American way of life, freedoms and rights. They own land, property, businesses, and have accumulated as a "group of people" enormous wealth.
Obama appears to have his eye on the rich but in fact, it is the middle class that he must eliminate for his agenda to move forward. Once he and those who support his agenda have destroyed the middle class, they have leverage over any unpatriotic rich seeking to save their wealth by aligning with the new agenda. The process is not new, it has happened varied forms before in history. the effects are not inevitable. However, what will 1) Congress do to reign in the president, 2) How will the Courts respond, and 3) Will the American people wake up to the actions of this administration which are undermining the "Constitution," the "Rule of Law", and the "property rights, freedom and liberty" of American citizens? Tags:Bill Smith, editorial, Barack Obama, unconstitutional appointments, undermining the Congress, Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sneate, Richard Cordray, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB, Dinesh D’Souza, tax the rich, confiscate land, confiscate property, eliminate the rich, middle class, America, property rights, freedom, libertyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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