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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, April 02, 2011

Wal-Mart CEO: ‘Serious, Rapid’ Inflation Will Send Prices Soaring

Bill Simon (Getty Images photo)
by Greg Brown, Money News: The one retailer prepared to cut costs to the bone to save money for consumers now warns that prices will rise very soon — no matter what. Retailers have generally managed to hold prices low despite rising raw materials costs. They had little choice: High U.S. unemployment and lack of credit has kept people out of stores. That’s over, says Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon. Prices will now rise across the board for all retailers, Wal-Mart included. He called the situation “serious.”

"We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate," Simon told USA Today in a meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board.

Consumer prices rose by 0.5 percent in February, while core inflation — minus food and energy — was up 0.2 percent. Consumer confidence fell by a sharp 8.6 points in March, reports The Conference Board, after climbing in February, in part on expectations of coming inflation.

Wal-Mart will try to keep things under control, Simon says. "We're in a position to use scale to hold prices lower longer ... even in an inflationary environment," he told USA Today. "We will have the lowest prices in the market."

That might be, but the prices for most goods could rise at nearly all stores, so Wal-Mart’s efforts would end up relative to an across-the-board increase in the cost of living. Driving the inflation debate is a difference among monetary policymakers regarding inflation. That discussion centers on the ideas of “headline” versus “core” inflation. . . . [Read Greg Brown's Full Analysis of Inflation and Price Increases]

Tags: Wal-Mart, inflation, price increases, Greg Brown, analysis To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Don't let the EPA Skin the Cat


Tell your Senators to stop the EPA power grab!

Tags: AFP AD, EPA, cap and trade, President Obama, Skinning the Cat, Lisa Jackson, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Real Nuclear Meltdown

by William Warren: Today’s cartoon is on the whole Nuclear Energy fears triggered by the Japan situation and all the media-hyped anti-nuclear sentiment out there.

Bill Smith, Editor: William Warren's cartoon rightly calls to light the media-hyped anti-nuclear sentiment and their efforts to stall or prevent another alternative which would help America to be energy independent. However, our hearts also go out to those in Japan who are suffering and have lost loved ones. I am amazed at the bravery of those who are working tirelessly on actions to contain the radiation and who may as a result pay the ultimate sacrifice for their people. God Speed in your efforts.

Tags: William Warren, political cartoon, Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Japan, Nuclear Energy, USA, Japan To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Speaker Boehner on Cutting Spending & Tackling the Big Challenges Facing Job Creation

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discusses the new House majority’s efforts to cut spending and tackle the big challenges facing job creation in America.

In the address, Boehner, a former small business owner, talks about how the spending binge in Washington is creating uncertainty for private-sector job creators and holding our economy back. He reiterates Republicans’ commitment to fighting for the largest spending cuts possible, and says it’s important to resolve last year’s budget mess so we can tackle the bigger challenges facing job creation. Those challenges include the job-crushing $1.5 trillion tax hike in President Obama’s budget for next year, and his request for an increase in the national debt limit without a commitment to ending runaway spending. Following the video is the full text of the address. The video maybe viewed online.

“Hello, I’m John Boehner. Before I had the honor of representing the people of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, I ran a small business back in West Chester, Ohio.  Small businesses are the engine of job creation in America: they actually create jobs, the government doesn’t. That’s why I ran for Congress – to do my part to get government out of the way of American prosperity.  Despite some recent signs of life, our economy still isn’t creating enough jobs.  And one of the reasons for that is the spending binge that’s been going on here in Washington.

“Washington’s inability to get spending under control is creating uncertainty for our job creators.  It’s discouraging investment in small businesses, and eroding confidence in our economy.  To put it simply, the spending binge in Washington is holding our country back and keeping our economy from creating jobs.

“Last year, when the President tried to put forward another big-spending budget on top of his ‘stimulus,’ Americans rose up and demanded we stop the spending binge and start working together to create a better environment for job creation.  They put a new majority in charge of the House with clear orders: crash the spending party in Washington so our economy can get back to creating jobs.

“We’ve made some early progress.  This year, the federal government will spend at least $51 billion less than it would have if the president had gotten his way.  And because we’ve kept the pressure on, Democrats in the White House and the Senate are being forced to talk about a bill that would cut tens of billions more.  Over the next decade, the savings will be hundreds of billions of dollars.  This is nowhere near enough, but it’s a clear change in direction.

“Now, you’ve heard Democratic leaders claim an agreement has been reached on this issue, but let me be clear.  There is no agreement. Republicans continue to fight for the largest spending cuts possible to help end Washington’s job-crushing spending binge.

“To support job creation in America, we need to keep the cuts coming, and we need to do much, much more.  That’s why it’s important for Congress to get moving and pass a final bill that resolves last year’s budget mess while making real spending cuts – so we can tackle the bigger challenges facing job creation.

“One of those challenges is stopping the $1.5 trillion tax hike the president has called for in his budget for next year.  This tax hike will affect every family and small business in America, and it will destroy jobs.  The president has also asked Congress to increase the national debt limit – without any commitment to stopping the runaway spending that got us into this mess in the first place. If the president gets his wish, it would send the signal that America has no plan to deal with her spending illness – and that’s going to have the effect, again, of destroying more American jobs.

“We also need to address all the red tape and regulations that are making it harder to create jobs and driving up the cost of health care and energy.

“To put America on a path to prosperity, we need to remove regulatory obstacles to job growth, expand American energy production, end the threat of tax hikes, approve stalled trade agreements that would open new markets, and get government spending under control once and for all.  These are the pillars of the Republican plan to help get our economy back to creating jobs, and this is the focus of our new majority in the House.

“Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.”

Tags: Boehner, Speaker Boehner, John Boehner, Congress, US Congress, Speaker of the House, House of Representatives, jobs, spending, budget To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Senate GOP Introduces Balanced Budget Amendment - Congress Adjournes on April Fool's Day

Congress: where everyday is Fool’s Day?
Image - H/T Witch's Will
Today in Washington, D.C. - April 1, 2011:
Congress adjourned for the weekend. It was too dangerous for them to work today -  it was April Fool's Day. On Tuesday, the Senate is scheduled to hold two votes on H.R. 4, the House-passed bill repealing the onerous 1099 reporting requirement imposed on small businesses by the Democrats’ health care law.

Yesterday, the ARRA News Service reported that “All 47 Senate Republicans Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment." This year’s budget deficit is projected to be $1.6 trillion, and the national debt is currently $14.1 trillion. The key provisions of the new balanced budget amendment (BBA) are: Congress must pass a balanced budget; the President has to submit a balanced budget; spending is capped at 18% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); ‘supermajority’ vote (two-thirds of House and Senate) to raise taxes; and ‘new supermajority’ vote (three-fifths of House and Senate) to raise the debt ceiling.” The amendment also includes provisions allowing for potential necessary spending during declared wars or military conflicts on a vote of Congress. In addition, the amendment prohibits federal or state courts from ordering tax increases to comply with the provisions of the amendment.    Read the Full Text of  proposed Balanced Budget Amendment.

Reuters writes, “[B]ackers are hopeful this [amendment] may succeed amid an unprecedented push to trim the federal deficit, projected to hit $1.4 trillion this year. ‘It's long past the time that we stop spending money we don't have,’ said Senator Lamar Alexander, a member of Republican leadership. ‘Requiring that we balance our national budget is a logical step in that direction.’”

Speaking on about the amendment on the floor yesterday, Senate GOP Leader McConnell said, “American families have to balance their budgets. So should their elected representatives in Washington. It’s not too much to expect that lawmakers spend no more than they take in. I mean, since when is it extreme to want to balance the books?

“And that brings us to the heart of the matter. The last time the Senate voted on a balanced budget amendment, in 1997, the federal deficit was a little over $100 billion. Today, it’s about $1.6 trillion. Back then, the national debt was about $5 and a half trillion. Today, it’s closer to $14 trillion. Back then, the amendment failed by just one vote. Today, Democrats are already lining up against it.”

Eleven Democrats voted for a balanced budget amendment in 1997. Given how much more serious our debt crisis is today, will Democrats vote to put our country’s fiscal house in order and require Congress to do what every family and business in America must do?

There appears to be growing democrat support for McConnell EPA Amendment as identified by these press sources:
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “I Believe There’ll Be 13 To 15 Democrats That Will Vote For It,” “I’m Working On Them I Can Tell You… I Think They’re Going To Vote For It, I Really Do.” (Metro News’ “Hoppy Kercheval Show,” 4/1/11)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT) On The EPA Regulating CO2: “I Do Not Want The EPA Writing Those Regulations.” “One issue discussed was Environmental Protection Agency's role in greenhouse gas regulations. Baucus noted, ‘I mentioned that I do not want the EPA writing those regulations. I think it's too much power in the hands of one single agency, but rather climate change should be a matter that's essentially left to the Congress.’” (“Baucus Meets With Energy Distributors In Great Falls,” KRTV.Com, 10/5/10; Video )

SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): “Controlling The Levels Of Carbon Emissions Is The Job Of Congress. We Don't Need EPA Looking Over Congress' Shoulder Telling Us We're Not Moving Fast Enough … Because EPA regulations would be a government-directed command-and-control regime, they would raise the price of energy in Nebraska, add greatly to administrative costs, and create new layers of bureaucracy. The burden would fall squarely on Nebraska families, farmers and businesses.” (“Nelson Cosponsors Resolution To Fight EPA Overreach,” McCook Daily Gazette, 1/22/10)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “The Fact Remains That Allowing The EPA To Make An End Run Around Congress And Twist The Clean Air Act For This Purpose Would Result In Ever-Changing Regulations And Uncertainty In The Private Investment Market That Would Damage Louisiana's Already Fragile Economy And Fail To Address The Risks Of Climate Change.” (Sen. Landrieu, Press Release, 6/10/10)

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): “I Don't Want To See EPA Move Ahead On Its Own.” (“White House Steps Up Effort To Kill Murkowski Resolution,” National Journal, 6/10/10)

SEN. MARK PRYOR (D-AR): “…I Firmly Believe That Congress, And Not The EPA, Should Determine Policy On Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” (Sen. Pryor, Statement, 6/11/10)

SEN. TIM JOHNSON (D-SD): “Congress Is The Most Appropriate Place To Debate And Create Rules That Would Address Greenhouse Gases.” (Sen. Tim Johnson, Press Release, 1/31/11)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “No Bureaucratic Agency Should Be Able To Regulate What Has Not Been Legislated, Especially When Their Actions Jeopardize Thousands Of Jobs … In the worst economy in generations, the EPA is undermining our fragile economy and has been an adversary instead of a partner on energy issues. It is time to reevaluate the agency’s use of its authority. I will work hard to make sure the EPA cannot overstep its authority, even as we develop a balanced approach to meeting our energy needs – including using clean coal and natural gas – and end our dependence on foreign oil.” (Sen. Manchin, Press Release, 1/31/11)

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-WV): “Now Is The Time To Encourage Companies To Invest In New Technologies And Create Jobs, And We Need A System That Gives Major Employers The Framework To Do So And To Succeed.  Many Of Us Agree That Congress, Not The EPA, Must Be The Decision-Maker On Such A Challenging Issue.” (Sen. Manchin, Press Release, 1/31/11)

SEN. JIM WEBB (D-VA): “I Had The Same Set Of Concerns With This Present Administration, Particularly As It Goes To Their Climate Area And Environmental Policies. ... Unfortunately There Are People Who Simply Want To Do Away With Coal. Most Of Them Don't Live Down Here.”(“Coal At Center Of Rules Debate,” Roanoke Times, 2/6/11)

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Said She Wouldn't Be Among The Original Co-Sponsors But Would ‘Strongly Consider’ Voting For It If The Measure Reached The Floor.”
(“House Democrat To Co-Sponsor Bill To ‘Rein In’ EPA,” Politico, 3/3/11)

SENS. ROCKEFELLER, BEGICH, BROWN (OH), LEVIN, CASEY, MCCASKILL, & BAUCUS: “Dear Administrator Jackson: We Write With Serious Economic And Energy Security Concerns Relating To The Potential Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) From Stationary Sources Under The Clean Air Act. … We Strongly Believe This Is Ultimately Congress’ Responsibility…” (Sens. Rockefeller, Begich, Brown (OH), Levin, Casey, Byrd, McCaskill, & Baucus, Letter To EPA Administrator Jackson, 2/19/10)

“Eight Democratic Senators… Are Challenging The Environmental Protection Agency's Authority To Regulate Pollution Blamed For Global Warming.” “Eight Democratic senators, including Mark Begich of Alaska, are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate pollution blamed for global warming. In a letter written by Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the lawmakers said the agency lacks the power to restrict greenhouse gases from stationary sources such as power plants, factories and mines. The lawmakers said Congress -- not the EPA -- should address an issue with big implications for thousands of U.S. jobs and businesses. Opposition to EPA regulations by Democrats could pose a serious blow to the Obama administration's effort to restrict heat-trapping greenhouse gases. While the administration is still pushing for Congress to pass a comprehensive climate bill this year, officials have not ruled out controlling greenhouse gases through regulation. The letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was signed by Begich, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Carl Levin of Michigan and Max Baucus of Montana.” (“Begich Joins 8 Democrats In Opposing EPA Powers,” AP, 2/22/10)

“Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Is Urging The White House To Re-Evaluate Greenhouse Gas Permitting Regulations To Avoid Damaging Manufacturers And Other Industries That Are Vital To His State And The Nationwide Economy. Brown — who faces reelection in 2012 in the battleground Midwest state — wrote to President Obama Monday calling for a review of the ‘economic repercussions and potential unintended consequences’ of regulations the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to phase in this year.’” (“Fearing Economic Impact, Dem Presses Obama To ‘Reevaluate’ Climate Rules,” The Hill’s “E2 Wire” Blog, 2/28/11)

Tags: US Congress, Washington, D.C., Fool's Day, Democrat spending, Republicans, Balanced Budget Amendment, EPA Amendment, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

April Fool! Good Enough for Somali Pirates, Good Enough For Congress -- A Modest Proposal

by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Warning: This is an April Fool’s Day Column. It lays out a way to cut federal spending, by trillions, and how to get it done in months, not years. Washington Insiders who hear about this turn white with fear. You have been warned.

The solution: powerfully change the incentives for members of Congress. Treat our elected representatives as if they were human. Give them a huge bonus for getting the job done. It requires us, as JFK’s chair of the council of economic advisors, Walter Heller, once famously advised, to “Rise above principle and do what’s right.”

I’m sorry to reveal, but since you won’t really believe it, not too sorry: elected officials are just like you and me. And yet, we citizens yearn for heroes – superheroes, really. Our officials wish to satisfy that yearning. They erect awe-inspiring edifices like the Capitol Building. They grandiosely spend billions as if they were nickels found under the sofa cushions. They act in the epic fashion that we demand of them.

Some say that politicians are vain, shallow, creatures. This isn’t fair. Members of Congress tend to be smart, gregarious, somewhat idealistic, people who work ridiculous hours doing tedious, thankless, jobs. Few of them are so blackhearted as to destroy our illusions of them. It would be as if The New York Sun had said in its iconic 1897 editorial “No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.”

But, also, being a Member of Congress is not all trivial floor votes and rubber chicken dinners. It is the best gig most of these good folks ever had or can expect. Although their salaries are modest their perks are endless. Plus they get to be hometown heroes with, if lucky, a bit of national celebrity. Good gig.

In the final scene of "The Wizard of Oz" (a political allegory) the Wizard is revealed to be … a good man, just a bad wizard. That sums it up nicely. Officials are people.

Representatives are avid to hang on to their jobs. If they lose re-election they have to go out into the world and be a lobbyist, trade association official, even, the Horror!, lawyer. One cannot blame them for recoiling from that fate. So they ensure their reelection by saying yes, to everybody, especially powerful people, as often as possible. “Yes” often means spending lots of money. Our money.

We, the people, reward them for this. It’s sweet... in an odd way. Gallup shows we assign Congress an 11% confidence rating – while routinely re-electing our own Representative at something like a 98% rate. Mencken loved it:

"I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? … Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself -- that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle…."

OK, good fun. But, Houston, we have a problem. Federal spending has become so profligate that it threatens to destroy America. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Getting spending cut is simple. Shift the incentives. The simplest way to do this is to pay a truly handsome prize, one that well outweighs the officials’ craving for re-election. Think of Congress as akin to the Somali Pirates. Wired magazine did an analysis of the business model of the Somali Pirates:

"The rough fishermen of the so-called Somali coast guard are unrepentant criminals, yes, but they're more than that.

They're innovators. Where earlier sea bandits were satisfied to make off with a dinghy full of booty, pirates who prowl northeast Africa's Gulf of Aden captured ships for ransom. This strategy has been fabulously successful…"

Nobody considers paying ransom to pirates the “right” thing to do. Yet … if you are owner or insurer of a couple hundred million dollars worth of goods you pay the pirates who penetrate your defenses a few million rather watch $200M sink to Davy Jones’s Locker. Ransom: bitter, but practical.

If we the citizens actually wished to staunch the federal Niagara Falls of spending … we’d pay our Representatives a handsome bonus to get it right. We won’t. But it would work. We need to motivate just 359 people (a veto-proof majority) to cut the spending back to reasonable levels and lock it in.

There’s a market clearing price. There’s probably a law against it. But hey, they make and unmake laws up there.

Therefore this writer calls upon some wise American Oligarchs, um, Philanthropists (Hi Warren, hello Bill and Melinda) -- who already have committed to offloading their fortunes -- to put up, up to, a $63.5 billion bounty. That’s only about half of what they already have committed and 10% of what they are aiming to raise at

Each Member of Congress, and each Senator, would be given a $100 million prize for cutting federal spending to 18% of GDP. It’s a lot of money but less than many hedge fund managers, managing mere billions, not trillions, make.

To keep the problem from recurring — we don’t want the number of attacks skyrocketing —also they’d have to refer a really strong constitutional amendment to the States, keeping spending at 18% -- except in times of declared war. And constitutionally define war as a Big One to keep Congress from declaring it just to elude fiscal restraint.

Some might be persuaded for less than $100M. But a job is something like a bond, and the net all-in value of holding a Congressional seat, between salary, perks, staff and prestige arguably is worth close to $5 million a year. Capitalized at 5% that’s $100 million. Rather than quibbling over a tiny, one-time, fraction of our multi-trillion savings... let’s just get this done. At $100M even Dennis Kucinich might, bless his heart, take it. (You are free to donate most of it to People for the Ethical treatment of Vegetables, Sir.)

A Representative only gets her $100M if she, or he, votes for the cuts, and the Constitutional Amendment, does so within one session of Congress, and it is enacted. Hello Warren? Bill? Melinda? You’d look great on Rushmore.

Now almost all the incentives are to spend. Spending makes powerful friends. Cutting makes powerful enemies. They just want to keep their jobs! Shift the incentives decisively and the overspending will stop on a dime: welfare, warfare, all of it. Shhhh! They’re only human. People will object: it’s wrong to pay our officials what it takes to get them to do the right thing. To which this writer, probably alone, says: Huh? We’re going to let our civilization capsize instead?

Trust me on this. Or, better yet ... don’t. April Fool! Treat it as satire: it’s less painful.
Ralph Benko is a senior economics advisor to The American Principles Project and author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World. He is working on a new book, called "A Golden Age: the political consequences of the peace."This article which first appeared as an opinion in the FoxNews was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko who you can follow on Twitter: @thewebster.

Tags: Ralph Benko, April Fool, government spending, Congress, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Dealing With The Devil

A.F. Branco: Schumer's Backroom Strategy: Deal with the Devil.

Tags: A.F. Branco, political cartoon, satire, Devil, Chuck Schumer, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

All 47 Senate Republicans Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment

This afternoon, all 47 Senate Republicans co-sponsored a proposed amendment to the Constitution which would require the government to have a balanced budget. It’s expected to be designated as S. J. Res. 10. Human Events has a good story on how this amendment came together.

Key highlights of the proposal:
Presidential Requirement to Submit a Balanced Budget
Prior to each fiscal year, the President must transmit to Congress a balanced budget that limits outlays to 18 percent of GDP.

Requirement to Pass a Balanced Budget
With the following limited exceptions, Congress must pass a balanced budget:
  • Requires 2/3 of both Houses for a specific deficit for a fiscal year.
  • Requires a majority of Congress for a specific deficit for a fiscal year during a declared war.
  • Requires 3/5 of Congress for a specific deficit for a fiscal year during a military conflict declared to be “an imminent and serious military threat to national security” and the deficit must be limited to “outlays…made necessary by the identified conflict.”
18 Percent Spending Cap
With the following limited exceptions, Congress must limit outlays to 18 percent of GDP:
  • Requires 2/3 of both Houses for a specific excess above 18 percent for a fiscal year.
  • Requires a majority of Congress for a specific excess above 18 percent for a fiscal year during a declared war.
  • Requires 3/5 of Congress for a specific excess above 18 percent for a fiscal year during a military conflict declared to be “an imminent and serious military threat to national security” and the excess be limited to “outlays…made necessary by the identified conflict.”
Supermajority for Tax Increases
Establishes new supermajority requirement for net tax and rate increases:
  • Requires 2/3 of both Houses for a specific excess above 18 percent for a fiscal year.
  • Excludes increases in revenue resulting from tax cuts.
Supermajority to Raise the Debt Limit
Establishes new supermajority requirement for an increase in the debt limit:
  • Requires 3/5 of both Houses to increase the debt limit.
  • Requires a majority of Congress for a fiscal year during a declared war.
Congressional Enforcement and Use of Estimates
  • Provides for congressional enforcement and the use of estimates.
Limits on Courts
  • Prohibits courts from ordering revenue increases to enforce.
Effective Date
  • Becomes effective the fifth fiscal year after ratification.

Proposed Amendment:
JEN11494 S.L.C.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative
to balancing the budget.
Mr. HATCH (for himself, Mr. LEE, Mr. CORNYN, Mr. KYL, Mr. MCCONNELL, Mr. TOOMEY, Ms. SNOWE, Mr. RISCH, Mr. RUBIO, Mr. DEMINT, Mr. PAUL, Mr. VITTER, Mr. ENZI, Mr. KIRK, Mr. THUNE, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. CRAPO, Mr. BURR, Mr. BARRASSO, Mr. COBURN, Mr. MORAN, Mr. LUGAR, Mrs. HUTCHISON, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts, Mr. JOHNSON of Wisconsin, Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. GRASSLEY, Mr. SHELBY, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. MCCAIN, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. ROBERTS, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. HOEVEN, Mr. CHAMBLISS, Ms. AYOTTE, Mr. BLUNT, Mr. COATS, Mr. COCHRAN, Mr. CORKER, Mr. ENSIGN, Mr. JOHANNS, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. PORTMAN, and Mr. WICKER) introduced the following joint resolution which was referred to

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to balancing the budget.
1 Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives
2 of the United States of America in Congress assembled
3 (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the fol
4 lowing article is proposed as an amendment to the Con
5 stitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all
6 intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when
2 JEN11494 S.L.C.
1 ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several
2 States:
4 ‘‘SECTION 1. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall
5 not exceed total receipts for that fiscal year, unless two
6 thirds of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each
7 House of Congress shall provide by law for a specific ex
8 cess of outlays over receipts by a roll call vote.
9 ‘‘SECTION 2. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall
10 not exceed 18 percent of the gross domestic product of
11 the United States for the calendar year ending before the
12 beginning of such fiscal year, unless two-thirds of the duly
13 chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress
14 shall provide by law for a specific amount in excess of such
15 18 percent by a roll call vote.
16 ‘‘SECTION 3. Prior to each fiscal year, the President
17 shall transmit to the Congress a proposed budget for the
18 United States Government for that fiscal year in which—
19 ‘‘(1) total outlays do not exceed total receipts;
20 and
21 ‘‘(2) total outlays do not exceed 18 percent of
22 the gross domestic product of the United States for
23 the calendar year ending before the beginning of
24 such fiscal year.
3 JEN11494 S.L.C.
1 ‘‘SECTION 4. Any bill that imposes a new tax or in
2 creases the statutory rate of any tax or the aggregate
3 amount of revenue may pass only by a two-thirds majority
4 of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of
5 Congress by a roll call vote. For the purpose of deter
6 mining any increase in revenue under this section, there
7 shall be excluded any increase resulting from the lowering
8 of the statutory rate of any tax.
9 ‘‘SECTION 5. The limit on the debt of the United
10 States shall not be increased, unless three-fifths of the
11 duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Con
12 gress shall provide for such an increase by a roll call vote.
13 ‘‘SECTION 6. The Congress may waive the provisions
14 of sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 of this article for any fiscal year
15 in which a declaration of war against a nation-state is in
16 effect and in which a majority of the duly chosen and
17 sworn Members of each House of Congress shall provide
18 for a specific excess by a roll call vote.
19 ‘‘SECTION 7. The Congress may waive the provisions
20 of sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 of this article in any fiscal year
21 in which the United States is engaged in a military conflict
22 that causes an imminent and serious military threat to
23 national security and is so declared by three-fifths of the
24 duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Con
25 gress by a roll call vote. Such suspension must identify
4 JEN11494 S.L.C.
1 and be limited to the specific excess of outlays for that
2 fiscal year made necessary by the identified military con
3 flict.
4 ‘‘SECTION 8. No court of the United States or of any
5 State shall order any increase in revenue to enforce this
6 article.
7 ‘‘SECTION 9. Total receipts shall include all receipts
8 of the United States Government except those derived
9 from borrowing. Total outlays shall include all outlays of
10 the United States Government except those for repayment
11 of debt principal.
12 ‘‘SECTION 10. The Congress shall have power to en
13 force and implement this article by appropriate legislation,
14 which may rely on estimates of outlays, receipts, and gross
15 domestic product.
16 ‘‘SECTION 11. This article shall take effect beginning
17 with the fifth fisca

Tags: US Senate, Republicans, Balanced Budget Amendment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

State Democrats Give Arkansans the Cold-Shoulder to Protect Party Power

Partisan Pig Trail Gerrymander Shoved through House

Republican Party of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas – Today, House Democrats shoved House Bill 1836, the “Pig Trail Gerrymander” or “Fayetteville Finger”, through the Arkansas House despite overwhelming opposition from concerned citizens, Democrats and Republicans alike.

“The State Democratic Party’s unprincipled gerrymandering of our state’s congressional districts demonstrates their unwillingness to responsibly represent the people of Arkansas,” Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb said. “The Pig Trail Gerrymander does not respect our state’s regional communities of interest and will devastate the continuity of Northwest Arkansas.”

An independent poll commissioned by The Tolbert Report on Monday revealed that nearly 82 percent of Fayetteville voters oppose the State Democratic Party’s gerrymandering of Fayetteville into the Fourth Congressional District. On Wednesday, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce President Steve Clark called on city lawmakers, Sen. Madison and Rep. Leding, to resign if they support the so-called “Fayetteville Finger” map.

Today, Democrat Rep. Lindsey of Fayetteville told members that including his hometown in the Fourth Congressional District “tears our community apart, it divides us, potentially rendering us unable to speak together with a common voice.”

“Arkansas Democrats will stop at nothing in their attempt to exercise an iron grip on the people of this state,” Webb said. “We hope our Senators will stand up for the people of Arkansas and reject the Democratic Party’s partisan power grab.”

Tags: Pig Trail, Congressional redistricting, Democrats, gerrymandering, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

McConnell To Dems On Their Tea Party Attacks: Reducing Spending and Debt Isn't 'Extreme'

Today in Washington, D.C. - March 31, 2010:
The Senate may resume consideration of S. 493, the bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Still pending to S. 493 is the McConnell-Inhofe amendment, which would block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, a move that would amount to a backdoor national energy tax. Democrats have repeatedly pushed back a vote.

If an agreement on amendment votes is reached, there could be votes on the McConnell-Inhofe amendment, as many as 3 Democrat alternative amendments that would not adequately block the EPA’s regulations, and an amendment from Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) to properly repeal the onerous 1099 reporting requirement imposed on small businesses by the Democrats’ health care law.

Yesterday, Reid declared on the Senate floor, “The country doesn't care much about the tea party.” And today he said, “We can’t have what's going on here with the tea party demonstrating, all these very harsh cuts with unrealistic riders, punishing innocent folks just for political ideology.”

In his speech this morning, Leader McConnell pushed back against Democrats' political attacks on tea partiers saying, “Anybody who follows national politics knows that when it comes to a lot of the issues Americans care about most, Democrat leaders in Washington are pretty far outside the mainstream. That’s why we’ve got one Democrat leader coaching his colleagues to describe any Republican idea as ‘extreme.’ And that’s why other Democrats are attempting to marginalize an entire group of people in this country whose concerns about the growth of the nation’s debt, the overreach of the federal government, and last year’s health care bill are about as mainstream as it gets. . . . I’m referring of course to the Tea Party . . . Despite the Democrat leadership’s talking points, these folks are not radicals. They’re our next-door neighbors and our friends. . . .These are everyday men and women who love their country and who don’t want to see it collapse as a result of irresponsible attitudes and policies that somehow persist around here despite the warning signs we see all around us about the consequences of fiscal recklessness. And they’re being vilified because, in an effort to preserve what’s good about our country, they’re politely asking lawmakers here in Washington to change the way things are done around here.

Indeed, both Politico and MSNBC’s First Read featured headlines this week, “Dems budget strategy: Blame the tea party,” and “Dems say Tea Party is tying Boehner’s hands,” respectively. And Fox News reported, “Democrats have put out the message that ‘extreme’ Tea Party-aligned lawmakers are preventing Republican leaders from making any headway. Though Tea Party groups indeed clamor for significant spending cuts, GOP leaders called it ridiculous to blame the Tea Party for the stalemate.”

Reducing Washington Spending and Debt Isn't 'Extreme'

As seen in the above video, Leader McConnell took Democrats to task for these attacks: “At a time when the national debt has reached crisis levels, members of the Tea Party are asking that we stop spending more than we take in. In other words, they’re asking that lawmakers in Washington do what any household in America already does: they want us to balance our budget. And they do this because they know their history, and that the road to decline is paved with debt. Is that extreme?

They want us to be able to explain how any law that we pass is consistent with the Constitution. This means that as we write new laws they want us to be guided by the document that every single senator in this chamber has sworn to uphold. Is that extreme?

They want us to cut down on the amount of money the government spends. Well, this year the federal government in Washington is projected to spend about $1.6 trillion dollars more than it has. That means we’ll have to borrow it from somewhere else, driving the national debt even higher than it already is. What’s more, the Obama Administration plans to continue spending like this for years. So that within five years, the debt will exceed $20 trillion. Given these facts, you tell me: is it extreme to propose that we cut spending?

“In fact, if you ask me, the goals of the Tea Party sound pretty reasonable. These folks recognize the gravity of the problems we face as a nation, and they’re doing something about it for the sake of our future. They’re engaged in the debate about spending and debt — which is a lot more than we can say about the President and many Democrats in Congress.”

“So what’s extreme is the thought that government can just continue on this reckless path without consequence. What’s extreme is thinking we can just blithely watch the nation’s debt get bigger and pretend it doesn’t matter. What’s extreme is spending more than a trillion and a half dollars than we have in a single year. This is the Democrats’ approach. This is what’s extreme.”

Tags: Washington, D.C, US Senate, Mitch McConnell, TEA Party, reduce spending, Harry Reid, extreme To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Bribery and Blackmail of the States

Curtis Coleman, Contributing Author: By bribery or blackmail, whether ruled to be unconstitutional, defunded or repealed, Obamacare is coming to your State. A current intense debate in Arkansas serves as a perfect example.

On Monday of this week, the Arkansas legislature’s House Committee on Insurance and Commerce voted to recommend passage of House Bill 2138, a bill “to implement federal healthcare reform; and to create the Arkansas health benefits exchange.” The vote was straight party-line: 11 Democrats for, seven Republicans against. HB2138 is expected to be voted on in the full Arkansas House on Wednesday. A similar scenario has been or is currently being played out in virtually every State in the Union.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or “Obamacare”) mandates health care exchanges in each State and allows each State to set up “its own” exchange, strictly along federal guidelines of course.

Here’s the deal: If a State elects to set up its own exchange, by January 1, 2014 it must have “(1) the Federal standards established under subsection (a); Or (2) a State law or regulation that the Secretary determines implements the standards within the State.” If a State fails to establish an exchange that is acceptable to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, then “the Secretary shall (directly or through agreement with a not-for-profit entity) establish and operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to implement such other requirements.”

States are being told that they must be showing “adequate progress” by January of 2013 to avoid having the federal government begin its takeover of their exchanges.

The bribe: If a State will immediately begin the process of implementing an Obamacare exchange, then the federal government will also immediately start giving the State “federal grants” to cover the State’s implementation expenses.

The blackmail: If a State does not implement an Obamacare exchange or acceptable alternative, the federal government will initiate its usurpation of the State’s health insurance regulation.

One can almost be sympathetic to the plight of State legislators in this situation. The federal government is bribing the State with federal grants to expedite a program the majority of Americans inarguably oppose and, at the same time, is blackmailing them with a usurpation of the State’s health insurance regulation if they don’t accept the bride.

Average Americans like myself hear something different than State legislators when we hear “federal grants.” They must be attractive to State legislators since that’s money they don’t have to try to find in a crowded State budget. But when you and I hear “federal grant,” we understand the federal government doesn’t have any money unless it gets it from us. It makes little difference if the money taken from our personal incomes goes through Washington, D.C. or (as in my case) through Little Rock, it all feels the same coming out of our pockets. So we’re not impressed that something will be paid for by a federal grant instead of State funds.

We appreciate the fact that the issue of PPACA and its mandated health insurance exchanges is one that ultimately will be resolved in Washington by the Congress and the Supreme Court. What we don’t appreciate is the enormous waste of our monies (either federal or state) until this issue is resolved.

Why the Rush? Individual States can obviously implement these Obamacare exchanges by using their individual resources in their individual states much more rapidly than Health and Human Services (HHS) can do so in all of the States. So the federal government is doling out “federal grants” to the States to get their implementation processes underway. But why the rush when the constitutionality of the PPACA has not settled and while there is an intense battle raging in Congress to completely repeal and replace Obamacare?

Ronald Reagan answered that question for us when he said, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments’ programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

Here’s the strategy: If Obamacare can be implemented in the States before it’s ruled to be unconstitutional or defunded or repealed by the Congress, Ronald Reagan will once again have been proved to be right. In the rancorous debate over HB2138 in Arkansas, legislators were passionately promised that if the PPACA is found to be unconstitutional or is repealed, HB2138 will “go completely away.” I doubt that even one of them believed it.

What Can Be Done? State legislators can be pressed and encouraged to be men and women of principle and courage and to refuse both the bribe and blackmail of the federal government.

But the real battle is in Congress, where bribes (the federal grants) must be stopped, and the blackmail (usurpation of each State’s sovereign right to regulate its own health insurance industry) must be halted until the Supreme Court can determine the constitutionality of PPACA.

Congress must take immediate steps to eliminate the $105 billion slush fund in advance appropriations tucked inside Obamacare. See the full story about this $105 billion slush fund here.
PPACA Section 1321: (b) STATE ACTION.—Each State that elects, at such time and
in such manner as the Secretary may prescribe, to apply the requirements described in subsection (a) shall, not later than January 1, 2014, adopt and have in effect—
(1) the Federal standards established under subsection (a);
(2) a State law or regulation that the Secretary determines implements the standards within the State.
(A) a State is not an electing State under subsection (b); or
(B) the Secretary determines, on or before January 1, 2013, that an electing State—
(i) will not have any required Exchange operational by January 1, 2014; or
(ii) has not taken the actions the Secretary deter- mines necessary to implement—
(I) the other requirements set forth in the standards under subsection (a); or
(II) the requirements set forth in subtitles A and C and the amendments made by such sub- titles; the Secretary shall (directly or through agreement with a not- for-profit entity) establish and operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to implement such other requirements.
Curtis Coleman is the President of The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Curtis Coleman, Institute for Constitutional Policy, Arkansas, exchanges, HB2138, Obamacare, Patient Protection, Affordable Care Act, PPACA, Constitutional Crisis, Health Care Reform, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

American Civic Ignorance

Kerby Anderson, Point of View: Apparently we are a nation that knows very little about politics and history. That is about the only conclusion you can draw from an experiment done by Newsweek magazine. Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship Test and found that 38 percent failed.

Civic ignorance is nothing new. Americans have always had ignorance about or misunderstandings about our political structure and our nation’s history. But at a time when so much information is available at our fingertips on the Internet, you would hope we might do a little better. If anything, we seem to be doing worse.

Nearly three fourths (73%) didn’t know why we fought the Cold War. A stunning 70 percent didn’t know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Nearly two thirds (65%) couldn’t figure out that the Constitution was written at the Constitutional Convention. And even more interesting was the fact that 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar. These last two questions should be about as obvious as the question: Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?

Oh, there is more. Nearly two thirds (63%) got the number of Supreme Court justices wrong. By the way, in case you are wondering, that number is nine. Forty-three percent didn’t know that the first ten amendments to the Constitution are the Bill of Rights. It’s hard to imagine that these citizens could grasp the idea of checks and balances if they didn’t have some basic understanding of the structure of our government.

They didn’t know historical figures. Fifty-nine percent had no idea that Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s rights, and 23 percent didn’t know that Martin Luther King fought for civil rights. They also couldn’t name current leaders. Fifty-nine percent did not know the speaker of the House, and 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president.

While it may be easy to roll your eyes at a nation of know-nothings, we need to stop and consider that the people who couldn’t answer these questions nevertheless vote and express their opinions to elected officials. They are making decisions about candidates and issues based upon a woeful lack of knowledge of civics. Obviously we need to do a better job of educating the public through the schools and the media. I’m Kerby Anderson, and that’s my point of view.

Tags: Kerby Anderson, Point of View, Civic Ignorance, civics, US Constitution, American history, Citizen testTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trump Card vs Race Card

A.F.Branco: Trump shows his card - Obama shows his. There can only be one valid "trump card."

Tags: A.F. Branco, political cartoon, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, birth certificate, race card To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Who’s more responsible: Charlie Sheen or Washington?

Who is more fiscally responsible: Charlie Sheen or Washington? Duh! Charlie the Warlock. Washington spends $30 million, the same as Charlie’s salary, in less than five minutes. Now that’s a fastball… At least Charlie knew not to spend more than Two and a Half Men was paying him.

Bankrupting America: At first thought, Charlie Sheen hardly seems like a model for fiscal responsibility. But, somehow, Washington has managed to be far worse.

Washington's habit of spending far more than it takes in has driven the country into debt. And our economic situation is projected to only get worse.

The solution is clear, but not easy: spending cuts. History shows that reducing government spending leads to sustained economic growth. And that's something (even Charlie Sheen) can get behind.

With the help of Charlie (sort of), our latest video explains that after years of spending far more than we take in, Washington has driven us deep into the red. And there’s only one viable solution. Check out the video below and then sign up to be one of the first to receive our latest products!

Charlie Sheen (impersonator): “Yeah, well, being a ‘rockstar from Mars’ is expensive. Duh. But I still brought in more than I spent. WINNING. You can’t say the same for Washington. LOSING.”

Here are a few facts:
Last year, Washington brought in 2.3 trillion in taxes, and spent it all, plus a lot more. One and a half times to be exact. Losing!

It took over 200 years, and every president from George Washington through Bill Clinton, to rack up a $ 6-trillion debt. But Washington politicians have more than doubled that in just 10 years. Losing!

Our current debt of more than 14 trillion means every American household is on the hook for $130,000. Losing!

We pay almost $1 trillion, every year, on interest payments alone. Losing!

After World War II, the U.S. government cut spending from 44 percent of the economy to 11 percent.
We need solutions NOW and Public Notice’s latest video shows what we already know to do. Cut Spending!

If Charlie Sheen can figure out how to turn a dire situation around, there just might be hope for Washington.

Tags: Bankrupting America, Charlie Sheen, data visualization, debt, deficit, Government Overspending, Government Spending, new video, video, who is more responsible, Who's more responsible: Charlie Sheen or Washington?, winning To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama Sets Goal Of Importing Less Oil And Promotes "Use It Or Lose It" Domestic Oil Drilling Policy

Recommend The Brains In
The Obama Administration
"Use It or Lose It"!
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 30, 2011:
Today, Political reveals that "President Barack Obama’s approval rating and prospects for reelection have plunged to all-time lows in a Quinnipiac University poll. Half of the registered voters surveyed for the poll think that the president does not deserve a second term in office, while 41 percent say he does. In another Quinnipiac poll released just four weeks ago, 45 percent said the president did not deserve reelection, while 47 percent said he did."

The Senate resumed consideration of S. 493, the bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Votes on amendments are possible this afternoon. Democrats have repeatedly pushed back a vote a vote on the McConnell-Inhofe amendment to S. 493  which would block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, a move that would amount to a backdoor national energy tax.

 Oil in the News as Americans Pay More For Gas:
The Washington Post reports, “President Obama on Wednesday called Wednesday for a one-third cut in oil imports by 2020, part of a plan he says will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum. . . . Most facets of his proposals are familiar. . . . Obama also urged oil companies to make greater use of the federal leases both onshore and offshore to prop up domestic oil output.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told the Senate that he was wary of rhetoric from Democrats about energy while they stymie domestic energy production. He said, “Tell a Democrat in Washington that gas prices are too high, and, as if on cue, they’ll throw together a speech or a press conference to suggest that we open an underground oil reserve that was created to deal with calamities, not market pressures; they’ll take you on a tour of some alternative car plant that promises to have one of its $100,000 prototypes to market 25 years down the road; or they’ll quietly release some report to the media about how energy companies aren’t working hard enough to extract oil — while schizophrenically claiming American reserves are minuscule and that more production isn’t the solution. This last item is a perennial favorite of our friends on the other side. The idea here is to somehow blame energy companies for not producing enough energy on their own. What Democrats don’t mention, however, is that a drilling lease is nothing more than an agreement with the government that a company has a right to explore for oil or gas in a certain area, not a guarantee that they’ll find it. And they never see fit to mention that most of the area that could be leased is effectively off limits — thanks to the red tape factory Democrats operate here in Washington.”

“Over the past two years, the administration has undertaken what can only be described as a war on American energy. It’s canceled dozens of drilling leases. It’s declared a moratorium on drilling off the Gulf Coast. It’s increased permit fees. It has prolonged public comment periods. In short, it’s done just about everything it can to keep our own energy sector from growing. As a result, thousands of U.S. workers have lost their jobs, as companies have been forced to look elsewhere for a better business climate.”

In his speech, the President Obama said, “I’m setting a new goal: . . .  When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day.  By a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third.” But Leader McConnell pointed out, “[J]ust last week he told Brazilians that he hopes America becomes a major customer of Brazilian oil. Well, which is it?”

In fact, President Obama’s stated desire for America to become one of Brazil’s “best customersgarnered plenty of bipartisan criticism. Democrat Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska said, “President Obama didn’t have to go all the way to Brazil to find a ‘new, safe, and stable’ source of oil … Energy opportunities for the U.S. are right here in Alaska. We have to stop talking about increasing domestic production and actually invest in home-grown jobs.” And The Washington Post editorialized, “As for offshore drilling, Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm for punching holes in the ocean floor off Brazil is hard to reconcile with his decision, announced Dec. 1, to keep the waters off the East and West coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico off-limits to exploration indefinitely.”

And this whole time the Obama administration has been canceling drilling leases, imposing a moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling, and encouraging imports from Brazil, it’s preventing job creation here in America. Indeed, CNN Money pointed out in February, “In Louisiana alone, 320,000 depend on the oil and gas industry for work.” And former President Bill Clinton said recently there are “ridiculous delays in permitting when our economy doesn’t need it.”

As Leader McConnell said, “The guy who’s trying to make ends meet wants to know what you’re going to do for him today, not 24 years from now. But, of course, the administration doesn’t have anything to say to that guy, because the administration’s energy policy isn’t really aimed at him. If it were, then the administration wouldn’t be locking down domestic energy sources. It wouldn’t be looking to pass new regulations through the EPA that will impose a national energy tax on every business large and small. It wouldn’t be telling our allies in Brazil that while it’s great that they’ve found oil off their coast, those who want to search for oil off our coasts and on our mainland can’t. And it wouldn’t be telling job creators in the energy industry to go look elsewhere.”

In an effort at appeasement, the Obama administration today approved a new permit for the Shell Company to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Times-Picayun is reporting that, "A permit for a deepwater well in a new area of the Gulf of Mexico located about 137 miles off the Louisiana coast. . . . The approved permit gives Shell the green light to drill a new well in Garden Banks Block No. 427, about 2,721 feet below the seabed."

 The Hill also addressed Obama plans to call for cut of oil imports by a third over the next decade. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has been forcing his green agenda and has been placing the American public and businesses at interest. His interests continued to advocate reducing consumption verses tapping the enormous oil resources that we have. An interesting play on words "use or lose" is being used to identify the Obama Administration policy with regard to oil drilling permits.

In fact, while the companies have paid for the right for leases on which they then file for drilling permits, the Obama Agencies then block the drilling permit requests and attacks the drilling plans. The Hill, provided the House Republican response to this "use it or lose it" policy,  "Republicans and the oil industry have blasted “use it or lose it” proposals as a distraction from GOP plans to dramatically expand oil and gas drilling." Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement earlier this month."We won’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil if politicians in Washington remain dependent on hollow talking points like ‘use it or lose it.’”

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, Barack Obama, EPA, oil drilling, use it, lose it To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sniff Alert: George Soros Assault on U.S. Constitution

George Soros
by Aaron Klein (research by Brenda J. Elliott), World Net Daily: At least three White House advisers and officials, including President Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, have ties to an effort funded by billionaire George Soros to push for a new, "progressive" U.S. Constitution.

WND first reported last week that Sunstein's wife, Samantha Power, has been a champion of a Soros-funded doctrine, entitled "responsibility to protect," which was used by Obama to justify engaging in an international military alliance to bomb Libya. As the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights, Power reportedly influenced Obama in his decision.

Now it has emerged that Sunstein has maintained extensive ties to Soros' funding, particularly with regard to a movement that openly seeks to create a "progressive" consensus as to what the U.S. Constitution should provide for by the year 2020. Also, Attorney General Eric Holder sat on the board of a Soros-funded group pushing the same "progressive" constitution.

WND has learned that in April 2005, Sunstein opened up a conference at Yale Law School entitled, "The Constitution in 2020," which sought to change the nature and interpretation of the Constitution by that year. That event was sponsored by Soros' Open Society Institute as well as by the Center for American Progress, which is led by John Podesta, who served as co-chair of Obama's presidential transition team. Podesta's Center is said to be highly influential in helping to craft White House policy.

The Yale event on the Constitution was also sponsored by the American Constitution Society, or ACS, which has been described as a group meant to counter the work of the Federalist Society, which has been at the forefront of the push for a more conservative judiciary since its launch in 1982. The ACS is the main organization behind the movement to ensure a more "progressive" constitution, having received more that $2,201,500 from Soros' Open Society since 2002.

Attorney General Holder served on the ACS board of directors. Sunstein has spoken at numerous ACS events. For example, he was a speaker at a November 3, 2003 symposium by the American Constitution Society of the University of Chicago School of Law, where Sunstein was a professor.

But it was the 2005 Yale event led in part by Sunstein that has been described as jumpstarting the movement for a "progressive" constitution. Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote at the New York Times Magazine in a 2009 piece about so-called liberal justice: "If this new understanding of legal liberalism can be traced back to a single moment, it was in April 2005, when the American Constitution Society and other progressive groups sponsored a conference at Yale Law School called 'The Constitution in 2020.'"

New 'Bill of Rights'
The Constitution 2020 movement has plotted a strategy for how liberal lawyers and judges might bring such a constitutional regime into being.  Just before his appearance at the Yale conference, Sunstein wrote a blog entry in which he explained he "will be urging that it is important to resist, on democratic grounds, the idea that the document should be interpreted to reflect the view of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party."

Sunstein has also been pushing for a new socialist-style U.S. bill of rights that, among other things, would constitutionally require the government to offer each citizen a "useful" job in the farms or industries of the nation. According to Sunstein's new bill of rights, the U.S. government can also intercede to ensure every farmer can sell his product for a good return while the government is granted power to act against "unfair competition" and monopolies in business.

All this and more is contained in Sunstein's 2004 book, "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR'S Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever." In the work, Sunstein advanced the radical notion that welfare rights, including some controversial inceptions, be granted by the state. His inspiration for a new bill of rights came from President Roosevelt's 1944 proposal of a different, new set of rights.

In his book, Sunstein laid out what he wants to become the new bill of rights, which he calls the Second Bill of Right; His mandates include the following:
  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return that will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.
On one page in his book, Sunstein claims he is "not seriously arguing" his bill of rights be "encompassed by anything in the Constitution," but on the next page he states that "if the nation becomes committed to certain rights, they may migrate into the Constitution itself." Later in the book, Sunstein argues that "at a minimum, the second bill should be seen as part and parcel of America's constitutive commitments."

Tags: sniff alert, George Soros, Soros' funding, assault, U.S. Constitution, President Obama, regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, progressive U.S. Constitution, Eric Holder, American Constitution Society To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Liberal Group Plans Guerrilla War Against Fox News - Sniff Alert: George Soros

Bobby Eberle, GOPUSA
By Bobby Eberle, GOPUSA: So much for cooling down the rhetoric. At a time when liberals are blaming the "vitriol" of the conservative movement for violence in America, Media Matters (a liberal group which targets conservative media) is planning what it calls a campaign of "guerrilla warfare and sabotage" against Fox News. It just goes to show that if liberals can't win on message, they will seek to destroy the messenger.

In a story running on, Media Matters founder David Brock described the old strategy against Fox News as one of "containment." The new strategy is simple: "War on Fox."
In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters -- which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget -- is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.

Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox's top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck's show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes.
Amazing, isn't it? Rather than focusing on doing a better job of getting out the liberal message and promoting left wing policies, this group seeks to bring down the most popular cable news outlet in America. Instead of putting out a better product, they seek to destroy the other product using "under-the-radar tactics" and attacks on those who work at Fox. This is nothing short of pathetic.

Taking a casual look at the Media Matters web site, one will find a plethora of headlines aimed at Fox News:
  • Who Is G. Edward Griffin, Beck's Expert On The Federal Reserve?
  • Fox News Astoundingly Claims The Press Was Tough On Bush In Lead-Up To Iraq
  • Fox Hypes Trump's Birtherism
  • Brit Hume Resurrects Myths About Health Care Reform's Passage
  • Fox Mocks DOJ For Bringing Lawsuit To Defend Religious Practices Of Muslim
  • Hemmer Cherry Picks "Unscientific Poll" To Distort Public Support For Collective Bargaining
The list goes on and on and on.

Here's an example of their "reporting:

Media Matters purportedly received $1 million last year from left wing billionaire George Soros, and reports that the organization has around 90 people on staff with a $10 million (or higher) budget -- all aimed at bringing down Fox News.

It all goes back to the fact that Americans don't buy the left wing agenda. It was soundly rejected in the last election. Americans don't want big government; they don't want more spending; they don't want more debt; and they don't want higher taxes. Yet that is exactly what the left wing is selling. Their only hope is to be the only product. Then Americans would have no choice. So they seek out and attack, embarrass, sue, threaten, and otherwise harass members of the conservative movement. Some message, eh?

Tags: Bobby Eberle, GOPUSA, liberals, liberal group, sniff alert, George Soros, funding, Guerilla War, Fox News To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Will Dems Block EPA And Protect American Jobs?

EPA Focus: Killing Jobs
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 29, 2010: 
The Senate resumes consideration of S. 493, the bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Votes on amendments are possible this afternoon.  Still pending to S. 493 is the McConnell amendment, which would block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, a move that would amount to a backdoor national energy tax. Democrats have repeatedly pushed back a vote.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 88-0 to confirm Mae D’Agostino as a district judge for the Northern District of New York.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell reminded the Senate that even with the crises around the world that demand attention, “Now is not the time to lose focus on the paramount issue on the minds of most Americans today — and that’s the very real crisis that we face when it comes to jobs.  Americans look around them and they see neighbors and friends struggling to find work. And yet all they seem to get from the White House are policies that handcuff small businesses with burdensome new regulations and red tape; and that create even more uncertainty about the future, including the administration’s inexplicable and inexcusable inaction on trade deals that would level the playing field with our competitors overseas. And they’re tired of it. Americans are tired of the White House paying lip service to their struggles while quietly promoting effort after effort, either through legislation or through some back-door regulation, that make it harder, not easier, for businesses to create new jobs.”

And this week, the Senate is likely to have the opportunity to prevent one significant back-door regulation that would severely harm job creation if it were to be implemented – the EPA’s attempt to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. In an op-ed for Politico today, Americans for Prosperity’s Phil Kerpen explains what the EPA did: “To get away with using a law designed for a problem — local and regional toxic air pollution — that couldn’t be more unlike global warming, the EPA rewrote the law to suit its purpose. . . . The EPA did this because applying the law as written would create, it correctly noted, ‘absurd results.’”

Allowing the EPA to proceed with this regulation “would raise energy costs for every business in America — and lead to untold lost jobs for more American workers. In other words, in the midst of average gas prices approaching four dollars a gallon and a chronic jobs crisis, the White House plans to make the climate for job growth worse. And that’s why Republicans, led here in the Senate by Senator Inhofe, have proposed legislation to prevent this new energy tax from ever taking effect without congressional approval. [McConnell]”

Kerpen points to the stark choice before senators on this issue, writing, “Now, the Senate has a chance to stop the EPA’s global warming power grab. They can stand up for the Constitution and the principle that the people’s elected representatives make the laws. Or they can rubber stamp what the EPA is doing, allowing a barrage of regulations that could send energy prices skyrocketing, cripple U.S. industry and help our international competitors, including India and China.”

“The real solution for businesses of all sizes and for U.S. taxpayers,” Kerpen writes, “is the McConnell amendment, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), which blocks the EPA from twisting the Clean Air Act into a global warming law. That sensible approach would leave the question of any future global warming regulations as a question for Congress and U.S. voters. In the meantime, it would spare the economy from a devastating regulatory assault.”

Certainly, a number of Democrats recognize the problems these EPA regulations would pose. Strangely, that’s part of the reason there still has not been a vote, since Senate Democrat leaders still don’t know how to handle the potential for some moderate Democrats to vote for an amendment to block the EPA’s regulations. According to Politico’s Morning Energy today, “Democrats appear to be recalculating their approach to a series of floor votes on efforts to curtail EPA climate rules. Robin Bravender told Pros last night that senior lawmakers didn’t seem to have a clear road map when they returned from the weeklong recess. ‘We’re still talking about it. Unresolved,’ Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told POLITICO late last night.”

The Wall Street Journal has called the McConnell amendment, ‘One of the best proposals for growth and job creation to make it onto the Senate docket in years.’ Our amendment would assure small businesses across the country that they won’t be hit with yet another costly new job-stifling burden by Democrats in Washington. It will give voters the assurance that a regulation of this kind, which would have a dramatic impact on so many, could not be approved without their elected representatives standing up and voting for it. . . . At a time when Americans are looking for answers on the economy, this amendment is as good as it gets from Washington. By voting for it, we’d be saying no to more regulations and red tape. And we’d be saying yes to American job creators, and to the jobs they want to create.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., Senate, EPA, carbon dioxide, Clean Air Act, cap-and-trade, taxes, Phil Kerpen, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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