ARRA News Service
News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. Content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Celebrate St. Patricks Day With The Official Beer Of The Obama Administration!

Bill Smith, Editor: Hey, it's St Patrick's Day and  being 100% Irish, I couldn't pass up the following cartoon. I know some of you are saying Smith is full of blarney, he can't be be Irish?  I am not honorary Irish. I am the real deal.  I was born to Irish parents (Stewart and Huggins). They must have also participated in the early version of the following beer because they lost two great kids;  And, I was adopted.

By The Looking Spoon :

Like it's rhyming counterpart (think about it). It will never get you drunk,
because like Obama's administration, it can't get the job done.
Keep in mind, I didn't say it wont mess you up...

Tags: O'Fools Beer, beer, The Looking Spoon, political humor, St Patrick's Day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

No Severance Tax Increase

Curtis Coleman, The New South Conservative: It’s not a secret that Arkansas has struggled to attract major new businesses to our State. Deserved or not, the State of Arkansas has the reputation for penalizing successful businesses with higher taxes and tougher, more expensive regulations. Which is exactly what we may be about to do to one to Arkansas’s most successful new industries.

Arkansas’s natural gas industry has been an unmistakable financial bonanza for the State of Arkansas…hundreds of good-paying jobs, new wealth for thousands of Arkansans, not to mention tens of thousands of new tax revenue dollars for the State.

But some in our state are pushing for us to live up to our reputation for penalizing our successful industries with higher taxes and more expensive regulatory hurdles. This time, it’s in the form of something called higher severance taxes on natural gas produced from Arkansas’s thousands of natural gas wells.

There’s never a good time for a higher tax. Higher taxes suppress wealth creation, reduce job availability and increase unemployment, discourage business expansion and shrink the tax base for the State. A higher severance tax may produce more tax revenues on some natural gas wells in Arkansas, but it will increase the cost of production – which has the inevitable result of reducing the number of wells under production. The end result is fewer wells, decreased production, a smaller tax base, and ultimately lower tax revenues – eventually leading to a demand for even higher taxes.

Arkansas already has one of the highest tax burdens in the Nation…which means that taxpaying Arkansas pay more for the State government services they receive than more than 87% of the rest of the country. The last thing Arkansas needs to do now is raise taxes! Arkansas needs to create more tax payers, not higher taxes!

Tags: natural gas, regulatory hurdles, severance tax, tax increase, tax rate, Arkansas, Curtis Coleman, Government and Business, Jobs, Taxes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

St. Patrick's Color: Originally Blue Not Green

Happy St Patrick's Day: Each year on March 17, many celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  The original color associated with St. Patrick was blue not green. The color blue is often connected to depth and stability, but also symbolizes trust, faith, loyalty, wisdom and truth. As early as the 17th century, however, the color green was worn in celebration of this day. Green is also symbolic of balance, life, nature, fertility, health, good luck, tranquility, well-being and even jealousy. H/T to FilterFast.

For over 1,000 years, the Irish observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday, although it is steeped with deep-rooted folklore. From shamrocks to leprechauns sitting on a pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in the United States and abroad with Irish inspired feasts, parades and gallantly wearing many hues of green.

However, in the 21st Century are not so green (or in the green) but indeed very blue as a bunch of political leprechauns having stolen our former golden economy and created massive debt. So, it seems appropriate to repeat a portion of last year's St. Patricks Day 2011 when we shared the St. Patty’s Video: Drunk With Debt. In the video Seamus eagerly displays how years of overspending have left us drunk with debt. At the time of the video, the US gross debt had reached $14 trillion — the size of the US economy.  However, today, a year later,  the situation is even worse. Our National Gross Debt is  over $15.5 trillion.

Tags: St. Patrick's Day, St. Patty's Day, 2012, Irish, Irish music, Ireland, United States, Green, Blue, Public Notice, federal budget, government spending, national debt, spending, debt, deficit, budget, economy, politics To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Radical Islam: The Focus Of Evil In The Modern World

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile,
hoping it will eat him last." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Twenty-nine years ago this month, Ronald Reagan delivered a speech before the National Association of Evangelicals in which he described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire" and "the focus of evil in the modern world." Today, thanks to Ronald Reagan's belief in America and commitment to freedom, the Soviet Union no longer threatens us. But evil remains in the world. The focus of evil in the world 29 years later is radical Islam. Let me give you a few recent examples.

In a speech several days ago, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again lashed out at Israel and the United States, saying, "You [the West] have made investments and are losing face for the sake of a bunch of criminals and are not aware that the Zionist regime is like a rotten tree that you have invested in, but you will lose face. …the Zionist regime is a dead entity which cannot be brought back to life."

Referring to the recent sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration, Ahmadinejad said, "They sat and plotted for several months, made coordination and conspiracies, schemed the way that from that side, the head of the Big Satan [President Barack Obama] could say that they imposed sanctions on Iran…"

The mullahs in Iran may see Israel as a "rotten tree," but they see America as the "Great Satan." They know America is the greatest force for freedom and liberty in the world. Their desire to destroy Israel is surpassed only by their wish to demolish America.

Underscoring that reality are the comments of Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of Iran's Basij paramilitary force. In a speech two weeks ago, Gen. Naqdi said that Iran's "independence and unhindered advance toward perfection is subject to removing the despotic powers [America] and the Zionists. …As long as America exists, we will not rest. In revealing the truth about America and the Zionists, we must raise public hate against the despotic powers and create the environment for the destruction of America."

The Basij is best known as the regime's "morality police." It was the Basij that brutally attacked pro-democracy protestors in 2009. Tens of thousands of Basij sought martyrdom during the Iran-Iraq War by clearing minefields in advance of the Iranian Army. They are loyal to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and no less fanatical than Hitler's SS.

Part and parcel of radical Islam's hatred of the West is its intolerance toward other faiths. Recently Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, was asked about the proposal of a Kuwaiti politician who wanted to prevent the construction of new churches in Kuwait. Sheikh Abdullah went further than a mere ban on new construction. According to various news reports, he "stressed that Kuwait was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore it is necessary to destroy all churches in it."

As Raymond Ibrahim notes, the Grand Mufti is not some unknown, fringe cleric, but the highest authority on Islam in Saudi Arabia. He writes, "Imagine what would happen if a Christian counterpart to the Grand Mufti, say the Pope, were to declare that all mosques in Italy must be destroyed; imagine the nonstop Western media frenzy that would erupt."

Many liberal politicians and commentators have been talking an awful lot lately about a so-called "war on women." They are trivializing the government's latest assault on religious liberty. Yet when it comes to radical Islam's very real war on women, these liberals are often silent.

This week a Moroccan teenager committed suicide by ingesting rat poison in order to avoid being forced to marry her rapist. Some on the left vocally opposed the war in Afghanistan after 9/11. But they have little to say about honor killings in the Muslim world or the Taliban throwing acid in the faces of young girls going to school.

This is the reality of radical Islam. It is an ideology of hate. It is the focus of evil in the modern world, and Western Civilization must find the will to combat it and defeat it.
Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Radical Islam, Focus Of Evil, Modern World To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Congressman Rick Crawford Responds to ARRA News Service

Rep. Rick Crawford
Bill Smith, EditorIn response to ARRA News Service’s request for comment, Arkansas First District Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) submitted the below note summarizing his The Shared Responsibility in Preserving America’s Future Act. It is provided without editorial comment.
I have read many of your comments and wanted to take a minute to explain the purpose for the legislation I will introduce next week.  The premise behind the bill is not that we need more revenue (taxes) in America.  I wholeheartedly believe our problem is with spending.

However, we must think strategically about how we move forward as a country.  I haven’t met anyone who believes America can continue borrowing trillions annually.  It is an indisputable fact our country will face economic calamity if we do not end the spending binge in Congress.

The question is how do we accomplish this mission?  Having served in the military, I understand the need for strategic planning based on real-time in-theater intelligence gathering.

As I see it, the success probability for our mission to keep taxes low decreases significantly as the size of our national debt continues to skyrocket.  Likewise, our mission to limit the size of government will surely be an abject failure if we do not implement permanent reforms that require Congress to balance its budget yearly or limit spending as a percentage of GDP.

How then do we accomplish our conservative mission?  It most certainly cannot be done by raising taxes or by agreeing to temporary spending cuts, which is the current strategy of most Republicans.  I have a newsflash – Republicans balanced the budget in the mid to late 1990s and the problem is worse today than in almost any other time in history.  Why?  Absent permanent budget reform government will grow ever larger and taxes will eventually skyrocket.

Looking forward there are a few scenarios that are likely to play out.  Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has united most of her members in Washington behind a strategy to position the debate to reduce the deficit as shared sacrifice (i.e. cuts to ‘vital’ programs for the poor and middle class coupled with tax increases on the wealthy).   As has been reported widely, many Republicans in the House and Senate (members of the gangs of 6 and 100) are privately contemplating a compromise that would involve tax hikes and spending reductions.  From my standpoint, this is more of the same absent permanent budget reform.

A second scenario is for Republicans to hold out and insist on a spending-cut only strategy.  To be successful, however, one must assume the Republican members of the gangs of 6 and 100 will have a change of heart and will not strike a deal to accept tax increases in return for temporary spending cuts.  I invite you to ask yourself how much confidence you have that Republicans in Congress will hold firm and not accept tax increases in exchange for temporary spending cuts?  If you do, I have some nice beach-front property in Black Oak I would like to sell.

All kidding aside, even if Republicans were to hold firm, Senate Democrats will never give in because their polling shows their position has stronger support than a spending-cut only strategy.  Republican know this, which is so many are working behind the scenes to strike a deal – a bad deal in my humble opinion that exchanges tax increases for temporary spending cuts.

The bill I am introducing takes into account the political realities and is an attempt to change the mindset of Republicans so that we do not get snookered once again by accepting temporary spending cuts while claiming “victory.” I believe we should only accept a tax increase in exchange for permanent budget reform that will never allow Congress to spend our country into oblivion.

Congressman Rick Crawford

Tags: Rick Crawford, US House, Congressman, Arkansas, response to request, Shared Responsibility in Preserving America’s Future Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Surge In Gas Prices Squeezing American Families

Gas Prices From Hell Squeezing Americans
The House and the Senate are NOT in session today. The Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 3606, the bipartisan House-passed JOBS Act on Monday afternoon.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 95-2 to confirm Gina Groh as US District Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia and 91-6 to confirm Michael Fitzgerald as US District Judge for the Central District of California.

Surging Gas Prices:
Bloomberg News writes today, “The surge in gasoline prices now squeezes middle-income families again as President Barack Obama approaches the election. Gasoline prices are up almost 17 percent, or 54 cents, this year through March 14, according to the American Automobile Association. . . . While gasoline accounted for just 3.8 percent of consumer spending in January, fuel prices have a disproportionate impact on both the psychology and actual finances of middle- and lower- income families. . . . The national average retail price of unleaded regular gasoline climbed to $3.821 a gallon on March 14, according to a daily survey by the American Automobile Association. That’s 7.5 percent higher than a year ago, according to AAA’s survey. Recent polls show public unhappiness with the president over energy costs. Americans by 65 percent to 26 percent disapprove of how Obama is handling the price of gas, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted March 7-10. . . . Thirty-six percent of Americans say the increase in gasoline prices has been a ‘serious hardship’ and 48 percent of those earning less than $50,000 per year say so, the same poll found.”

USA Today reports, “Nearly one-third of the nation’s drivers now fork out $4 or more for a gallon of gasoline. After a 31-cent jump in the past month, regular gasoline averages $3.82 nationwide. But price analysis of major metropolitan areas and 10 states — home to more than 65 million of the nation’s 210 million drivers — shows even more pain at the pump, especially in heavily populated California, New York and Illinois.”

Little wonder, then, that following President Obama’s combative and arrogant speech on energy yesterday, the National Journal responded, “President Obama is in full crisis-control mode as gasoline prices continue to rise. On Thursday at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md., he gave his third speech on energy in two weeks . . . . The problem is that for many voters, Obama’s more detailed, nuanced, long-term message on energy is harder to wrap their heads around than the GOP's short, simple idea that more drilling equals lower prices. So Obama is using repetition in hopes of drilling his own message home. . . . Don’t expect the messaging to let up: The writing is on the wall that high gas prices are hurting Obama. Historically, presidential approval ratings have fallen as gas prices have climbed, and the trend is playing out now as it has in the past.”

And yet the president continues to encourage policies that are making things worse. He rejected the Keystone XL pipeline that would have allowed the U.S. to get more oil from Canada instead of Saudi Arabia (the latter of which seems to be Sen. Chuck Schumer’s [D-NY] preferred solution), created 20,000 jobs, and allowed more American oil to get to refineries.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly laid out the Obama’s administrations poor record on energy:
  • Limited offshore areas to energy production
  • Granted fewer leases on public land for oil drilling
  • Encouraged countries, like Brazil, to move forward with their own offshore drilling projects
  • Imposed burdensome regulations on the domestic energy sector
  • Raised taxes on the energy sector
  • Rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline
  • Continued and increase dependence from Middle Eastern oil
  • Prevented tens of thousands of private sector jobs
  • Pushed gasoline prices higher
The president can lecture others by saying, “a lot of politicians talking a lot but not doing much,” but the facts speak for themselves. This White House’s energy policies are making things worse.

Tags: Gas prices, American families, House JOBS Act, judicial confirmations, Gina Groh, Michael Fitzgerald, energy policies, White House, Obama Administration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Liberal Women’s War on Rush

A.F. "Tony" Branco:

Tags: Liberal Women, NOW, Bill Maher, War on Rush, Rush Under Fire, Fire Rush, Rush Limbaugh, AF Branco, political cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Rep. Crawford Calls for 5% Tax on Millionaires and Sen. Schumer Hits GOP On More Wedge Issues

Proposed by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 15, 2012:
The House is not in session. The Senate  began consideration of H.R. 3606, the bipartisan JOBS Act that passed the House last week. Reid announced this morning there will be votes on at least two amendments to the JOBS Act on Tuesday.

This afternoon, the Senate will vote on the nominations of 2 district court judges.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) backed down from a threat to manufacture gridlock by forcing unnecessary cloture votes on 17 district court nominees after Republicans pointed out they were prioritizing judges over jobs. Fortunately, Reid agreed with Leader McConnell to move to the JOBS Act instead.

Earlier yesterday the Senate passed 74-22 its version of the highway bill, S. 1813.

While the House is not in session, a freshman republican from Arkansas' First District has lit up the headlines.  Yesterday, in response to a Politico article, the ARRA News Service commented about Congressman Rick Crawford
proposing a Millionaire's Tax. Today, Crawford will propose a additional surtax on millionaires - "expected to be north of 2.5 percent on individual income over $1 million." The ARRA News editor, Bill Smith, noted, "Most issue and limited government organizations know that millionaires are not the problem. Millionaires already pay the majority of income taxes and are a subject of class warfare attacks by the Obama administration. Obama and the liberal agenda are creating the economic problems."

Smith added, "The advocates for taxing the golden goose are Democrats. It now appears that there is one issue that Rick Crawford, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can agree on - the need to tax the rich more. Crawford’s proposal right before the 2012 election had better yield a significant number of Democrat votes. Otherwise, Republican Congressman Crawford may be headed home in Jan 2013"

Republican Rep. Rick Crawford Proposes Millionaires Tax:
Today, Crawford announced his proposed tax that was indeed far "north of 2.5%." It was double! His proposed "The Shared Responsibility in Preserving America's Future Act," would require passage of a federal balanced budget amendment in exchange for a 5% surtax on individual incomes exceeding $1 million a year. Crawford said in a press release, "While my proposal may turn some heads, I hope it will mark the beginning of Republicans and Democrats working together to fundamentally change Washington and start reducing our national debt. My bill contains two important measures: 1. It requires the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. 2. If and only if Congress passes a Balanced Budget Amendment, a 5 percent surtax would go into effect for individuals with income over $ 1 million a year. The 5 percent surtax would only be on income over $1 million. Taxes would not increase at all on anyone making $1 million or less. Also, small businesses that file taxes as individuals would not be required to pay this 5 percent surtax. . . . It is unconscionable for Congress to keep pushing our nation’s debt onto future generations of Americans. I want to assure you that I would not consider asking millionaires to pay more taxes unless it was tied to a Balanced Budget Amendment."

No mention was made to cutting spending by the Federal government or the elimination of the present funding of government waste and government programs. HArd to imagine using greed in the attempt to buy a Balanced Budget Amendment. Also, a Balanced budget Amendment will not stop or slow down government spending. Look at Rep. Crawford's home state of Arkansas. Without the components of Cutting and Capping Spending, government will continue to place more tax burdens on the working people and to grow government. The end result of "plantation politics" is enslavement of the people on the government run plantation.

Daniel Horowitz at Red State expressed his frustration with All Tea Partiers in Rick Crawford’s Northeastern Arkansas District. He said, "nobody could possibly be so naive to believe that if Republicans agree to massive tax increases, Democrats will reciprocate with commensurate spending cuts. Democrats will never willingly agree to close one major department, eliminate one major welfare program, repeal Obamacare, or institute free-market Medicare reform – even if we agree to all the tax increases in the world. As such, there will never be a “balanced approach” to budget solvency."

He added, "This is not surprising . . . He voted for the debt ceiling increase, megabus, minibus, and against every single RSC budget proposal and spending cut. What happened to the balanced approach between spending and revenues? Crawford scored a failing 58% from Heritage Action and 53% from the Club for Growth. But guess what? Crawford has no primary challengers, and the filing deadline expired at the beginning of the month. We are stuck with a progressive OWS congressman from a conservative state for another 2 years. This is what happens when we ignore congressional races and voting records. Will we learn the lesson for the remaining primaries?"

Fortunately, most politically motivated bills die at the end of the Congressional session. While Crawford fishes for Democrat votes in his district to assure his re-election, it is doubtful that he will get enough Republicans in the House to support his bill. However, his proposed bill does shows his frustration as a freshman congressman verses leadership. In two more years, this action may precipitate opposition in his own party.

Now for Some Democrat Diversions by Sen. "Chucky" Schumer:
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a key member of majority Democrats’ leadership team and their messaging chief, told George Stephanopoulos, “Democrats are focused like a laser on jobs, the economy, and the middle class.”

But today, Politico  reports that Schumer has decided Senate Democrats will have an entirely different focus: “political weapon[s],” “fodder for a campaign ad,” and “campaign-style attacks.” Politico writes, “New York Sen. Chuck Schumer believes he has found a political weapon in the unlikeliest of places: the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans have several objections to the legislation, but instead of making changes, Schumer wants to fast track the bill to the floor, let the GOP block it, then allow Democrats to accuse Republicans of waging a ‘war against women.’

“It’s fodder for a campaign ad, and it’s not the only potential 30-second spot ready to spring from Senate leadership these days. From his perch as the Democrats’ chief policy and messaging guru, Schumer wants to raise taxes
on people who earn more than $1 million, and many Democrats want to push the vote for April 15, a move designed to amp up the “income inequality” rhetoric just in time for Tax Day. Schumer has a plan for painting Republicans as anti-immigrant as well. He’s called the author of the Arizona immigration law to testify before his Judiciary subcommittee, bringing Capitol Hill attention to an issue that’s still front and center for Hispanic voters.

“None of these campaign-style attacks allow for the policy nuances or reasoning behind the GOP’s opposition, and some of the bills stand no chance of becoming law. But that’s not really the point. The real push behind this effort is to give Democrats reasons to portray Republicans as anti-women, anti-Latino and anti-middle class. In the aftermath of a fight over a payroll tax cut for American workers and an Obama contraception policy, Democrats are ready for this next set of wedge issues.”

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell took a dim view of this saying, “Apparently, [Democrats would] rather spend their time manufacturing fights —and 30 second television ads — than helping to create jobs. . . . At a moment of economic crisis, the Number 3 Democrat in Senate — the Democrat in charge of strategy over there —is sitting up at night trying to figure out a way to create an issue where there isn’t one, not to help solve our nation’s problems, but to help Democrats get reelected. So I’d like to enter into record the Politico story I just referred to entitled ‘Schumer schemes to hit GOP’ that lays out the Democrat strategy. The American people need to know what’s going on in the Democrat-controlled Senate.”

Politico notes, “The move carries some risk. The economy is still struggling, with the jobless rate above 8 percent and millions seeking work. Gas prices are skyrocketing. And Schumer himself said last Sunday that Democrats would focus like a ‘laser’ on the economy, a comment Republicans giddily pointed out as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed for judicial confirmations this week. Schumer and Reid have also shown little interest in bringing forward a budget resolution this spring, saying that overall spending levels have already been agreed upon. That has opened them up to Republican charges they are steadfastly avoiding tough votes on the budget in favor of election-year point scoring. Republicans see the latest chatter in the Senate as a political ploy by Democratic leaders to steady the ship in the face of a shaky political landscape. ‘Sounds like all politics all the time,’ said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of his party’s leadership who also serves on the Judiciary Committee.”

As Leader McConnell added, “Fifty years from now, I really would like an American doing a research project to look back at what is outlined in this Politico article today to understand what this Democrat-controlled Senate is like. To understand what their priorities are. What did this country’s leaders do to make America stronger for the next generation?

Senator McConnell, people our age are not expected to be here in 50 years. Let's pray that the freedoms and the economy survives the damage being done by the present progressive Democrat led White House and mistakes made by Congress and the Courts. Let's hope such a limited academic project may occur verses an obituary in a new book documenting the Fall of the Republic of the United States.

Tags: Washington, D.C., Representative, Rick Crawford, millionaires tax, taxes, taxed surcharge, balanced budget amendment, US Senate, highway bill passed, Senator, Charles Schumer, political diversions, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Obama's Political Cover

A.F. "Tony" Branco:
Politically speaking: "Naked as a Jaybird" or "The President Has No Clothes."

Tags: Barack Obama, political cover, birth control, National Debt, Obamacare, high gas prices, no jobs, high unemployment, political cartoon, Tony Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Republican Rick Crawford To Propose Millionaire's Tax

Rep. Crawford shares his House voting card with
2011 Baxter Co. Republican Lincoln Day Dinner
attendees. He criticized the Obama Agenda and
supported the Cut, Cap, and Balanced agenda.
Photo by Bill Smith, ARRA News Service
Politico reports that Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) will next Tuesday introduce in the US. House a bill that supports a tax surcharge on millionaires. Needless to say conservatives in his district are shocked. Crawford who is in his first term replaced retiring democrat Rep. Marion Berry. We expect a Democrat like Marion Berry would have proposed this class-warfare tax on millionaires. However, it was not expected that this would be done by a first term Republican who is the first Republican since reconstruction elected to Congress in Arkansas 1st District.&

Crawford did not make this announcement of a Millionaire's Tax before the 2012 primary filing date, and now benefits by not having an opponent in the Arkansas Republican primary. However, he will be opposed in the Nov. general election by one of three democrats running for his position. Beyond Crawford's reasons detailed in the following Politico article, conservatives in the first district will be expecting far more justification for a "conservative" freshman introducing increased tax legislation.

In 2010, candidate Crawford received substantial assistance via issue ads by independent organizations like American For Prosperity which addressed issues and the record of his opponent who had been on staff and then chief of staff for Democrat Rep. Marion Berry. Will Crawford's proposed tax increase silence support by 2012 conservative PACs, independent issue advertising, and district conservatives who supported his campaign in 2010. Most issue and limited government organizations know that millionaires are not the problem. Millionaires already pay the majority of income taxes and are a subject of class warfare attacks by the Obama administration. Obama and the liberal agenda are creating the economic problems.

The advocates for taxing the golden goose are Democrats. It now appears that there is one issue that Rick Crawford, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can agree on - the need to tax the rich more. Crawford’s proposal right before the 2012 election had better yield a significant number of Democrat votes. Otherwise, Republican Congressman Crawford may be headed home in Jan 2013.

Politico's story follows.

By Jake Sherman, Politico: Freshman Republican Rep. Rick Crawford will propose a surtax on millionaires Thursday morning, a crack in the steadfast GOP opposition to extracting more money from the nation’s top earners.

The Arkansas Republican will unveil the plan during a local television interview Thursday morning, and plans to introduce legislation when the House returns next week, according to sources familiar with his thinking.

Crawford will propose the additional tax— expected to be north of 2.5 percent — on individual income over $1 million as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.

“He’s watched the Gangs of Six and 100 and deficit commissions, as well as leadership’s budget and tax plan, and he feels there will never be a deal that will pass the Senate without a revenue component,” a Crawford aide said, describing the legislation without attribution because it has not yet been officially announced.

It’s a significant development in the multi-year Republican fight over the $15 trillion debt.

This freshman class was swept into D.C. on a wave of fiscal responsibility, which has given way to a slew of proposals to attempt to right the nation’s finances. Most notably, Republicans have slashed billions of dollars in government spending, proposed massive overhauls to social programs and morphed routine events like raising the nation’s debt ceiling and funding the government into cataclysmic, soul-searching fights.

But Republicans have always been resistant to raising government revenue through increased taxes. House Republican leaders have insisting that raising taxes on the nation’s top earners would stifle job creation and economic growth. They prefer to raise revenue through overhauling the tax code — they have constantly proposed lowering rates and broadening the base of taxpayers.

Increasing taxes — or imposing a surcharge — on the nation’s super-wealthy has long been the province of Democrats ranging from Senate leaders such as Harry Reid of Nevada to President Barack Obama. Republicans have privately scoffed at a surcharge, and its prospects are uncertain even in the Democratically controlled Senate.

Even when Republicans have said they would consider revenue, raising rates has always been off the table. Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has been vocal in trying to keep Republicans away from hiking rates.

But Crawford’s plan signals a shift, and will certainly spark conversation on Capitol Hill among conservatives, who have been divided on many issues this year, but rarely on increasing taxes.

According to a source close to the Arkansan, the lawmaker “feels that if were going to make any progress in addressing the deficit and the debt eventually, then we need to find compromise.”

Tags: Rick Crawford, higher taxes, millionaires, surtax, class warfare, Arkansas, Republican, 1st District To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

We Need A Long Term Energy Policy

Sen, John Boozman
by U.S. Sen. John Boozman, (R-AR):: Under President Obama’s watch, gas prices have doubled and all signs point to a continued rise. Many analysts are predicting we will hit $4 per gallon by summer. In some parts of the country we are already there.

In Arkansas, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is up almost 25 cents from a month ago.

Think about what that does to our economy. It hits seniors and single parents living on fixed incomes hard; drives up the costs of goods; and dramatically changes our spending decisions.

High fuel prices are hurting Americans and preventing our economy from creating new jobs.

To combat this, I’ve joined with my Republican colleagues to push for amendments to legislation that will authorize construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and drilling off the Outer Continental Shelf. Both of these measures will help us ease this crisis by increasing production.

Unfortunately, President Obama and Senate Democrats are playing politics and blocking these responsible energy policies because of complaints from environmental special interests close to the Democrat Party.

That’s unacceptable and I will continue to fight for increased energy production in the United States.

The American people are demanding action from Washington. They are frustrated by rising prices at the pump and across our economy as businesses cope with spending more on transportation costs. We can begin to change that by increasing production here at home.

I believe creating new energy jobs and reducing prices at the pump is a winning proposition for the American people and our economy. We need to be responsible about the environment but not hold energy production hostage to a radical point of view.

What do you think? Please click and leave me leave me a comment. I want your opinion on this critical issue.

Tags: U.S. Senate, John Boozman, energy, energy policy, long term energy, high gas prices, the economy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Democrats Misplaced Priorities: Judges Over Jobs

Update 12:10 PM: Washington Post reports "Senate Republican and Democratic leaders ended their standoff Wednesday over President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations and agreed to debate a small-business bill . . . both leaders announced a deal at midday before the standoff turned into a real fight that might have pleased their parties’ bases, but alienated a broader electorate hostile to partisanship on Capitol Hill."
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 14, 2012:
The House is not in session. Senate will resume consideration of S. 1813, the highway bill.  Currently, the Senate is finishing voting on two remaining amendments pending to the highway bill. Following those votes, the Senate will vote on final passage of S. 1813.

This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has decided that he’d prefer to spend time on unnecessary cloture votes on 17 district court judges instead of taking up the bipartisan House-passed JOBS Act. The JOBS Act passed the House by a huge bipartisan vote of 390-23 and would cut red tap

Unless Reid changes his mind, the series of cloture votes is set to begin at 2:30 PM.

Yesterday, the Senate voted on 10 amendments to the highway bill. Among those, Democrats voted down one from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), which was another opportunity to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline. Also rejected were an amendment from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to extend a number of green energy tax credits, an amendment from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to give tax incentives for natural gas vehicles, and an amendment from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to offset some of the costs of the bill with spending cuts.

Today, Senate Democrats and President Obama showcased their misplaced priorities after they pushed for a long series of cloture votes on district court judges instead of moving forward on a bipartisan House-passed bill that would create jobs.

The Hill writes today, “Senate GOP leaders attacked their Democratic counterparts on Tuesday for scheduling action on judicial nominees instead of acting this week on a jobs bill. But the White House came out in strong support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision to invoke cloture to break a Republican filibuster to confirm the 17 court nominees. . . . Fresh off the overwhelming passage of the House-backed JOBS Act last week, McConnell called on Reid to forgo the ‘manufactured crisis’ over 17 judges, and move on the JOBS Act. ‘We have a way of dealing with judicial and other appointments in the Senate — this effort to have 17 cloture votes in a row is manufactured crisis. … This is a needless exercise and waste of the Senate’s time,’ [Senate Republican Leader Mitch] McConnell told reporters. Reid noted that he liked the House-passed bill and said it would be acted on in the near future but, at this point, he was resolved to move the judicial nominations.”

The Wall Street Journal noted the choice Democrats are making, asking “Are jobs more important than getting federal judges confirmed?” Even a Los Angeles Times opinion piece backing the Democrats acknowledged, “Jobs bills are arguably more urgent than judicial nominations . . . . Compared to, say, someone laid off because of the recession, a judicial nominee waiting for confirmation isn't a particularly poignant figure.”

Apparently, President Obama’s White House has decided to give “a ringing endorsement” to Reid’s move, despite the president’s insistence that he’s focused on jobs. White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler went so far as to tell reporters on a conference call, “What the president is really asking — what he's demanding — is that the Senate do its job on behalf of the American people.” The president is “demanding” that the Senate put jobs on the back burner and instead have show votes on district court judges?

Recall that Democrats’ messaging chief, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that “Democrats are focused like a laser on jobs, the economy, and the middle class.” It’s hard to see how setting aside a jobs bill that has support from both political parties in both houses of Congress and the president in favor of a long series of votes on judges.

As GOP Leader McConnell said today, “[T]his is not about making sure the President is treated fairly in his judicial nominations.  In fact, this isn’t about judicial nominations at all. This is about giving the President what he wants, when he wants it.  And what the President wants is to distract the country from his failed policies that have led to soaring gas prices and high unemployment, and instead try to write a narrative of obstruction for his campaign. . . . What the Majority should do is work with us to move these lifetime appointments in an orderly manner . . . . As I suggested yesterday, we could get to the bi-partisan JOBS Act this week and process some judicial nominees. The JOBS Act passed the House by a vote of 390 to 23, and the President says he supports it. . . . So I encourage the Majority to work with us on both legislation and nominations, not to go off on a partisan, and unprecedented, path that won’t get us anywhere, and won’t solve the problems Americans care about.”

Tags: Senate, highway bill, amendments, natural gas subsidies, High gasoline prices, jons, the economy, judges, Obama administration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

President ‘Demanding’ Judges Over Jobs

Update 12:10 PM: Washington Post reports "Senate Republican and Democratic leaders ended their standoff Wednesday over President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations and agreed to debate a small-business bill . . . both leaders announced a deal at midday before the standoff turned into a real fight that might have pleased their parties’ bases, but alienated a broader electorate hostile to partisanship on Capitol Hill."
As an continuance of yesterdays article on Senate Democrat leaders pushing Judges Over Jobs, today the we note that President Obama is not only pushing but ‘Demanding’ Judges Over Jobs. Why is the President using Senate leaders to ram through and marshal a league of judges? Is Obama afraid he will lose in 2012? Or, is Obama demanding his liberal stamp on the courts for years to come? Maybe he is marshaling his judicial army to defend the Obama's administrations continued actions and failures to follow the U.S. Constitution, and its aggressively interference in the operation of States, local governments, industry, private businesses and organizations, and the lives of American citizens.  Americans are hurting, they need jobs -- not the employment of more judges. 

President ‘Demanding’ Judges Over Jobs
In ‘An Unusual On-The-Record Call With Reporters,’ The White House Offered A ‘Ringing Endorsement’ Of The Move To Put Jobs On The Back Burner

White House: ‘The Bottom Line Is The White House Strongly Supports Leader Reid's Move’

“White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler had an unusual on-the-record call with reporters Tuesday to press for confirmation of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees…” (Politico, 3/13/12)

“‘What the president is really asking — what he’s demanding — is that the Senate do its job on behalf of the American people,’ White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler told reporters.” (ABC News, 3/14/12)

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) picked up a ringing endorsement from the White House on Tuesday… ‘The bottom line is the White House strongly supports Leader Reid's move,’ White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said in a conference call with reporters.” (The Huffington Post, 3/13/12)

“… the White House came out in strong support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision…” (The Hill, 3/13/12)

“Reid’s maneuver and the White House’s renewed push for the nominees are aimed at… portraying the GOP as obstructionists this election year.” (Ibid)

‘Are Jobs More Important Than Getting Federal Judges Confirmed?’

“Jobs bill hung up on judicial fight… a fight Senate Democrats have picked… Reid has moved to hold cloture votes on 17 judge nominations starting tomorrow. Each judge vote could tie up the Senate floor for weeks…” (NBC News, 3/13/12)

“McConnell… argued the Senate should move right away to the JOBS bill that passed the House with 390 votes.” (Ibid)

“Jobs or Judges… That brought a new round of recriminations, set beneath a question that appears to favor Republicans, if you follow the polls: Are jobs more important than getting federal judges confirmed?” (The Wall Street Journal, 3/13/12)

“Jobs bills are arguably more urgent than judicial nominations… Compared to, say, someone laid off because of the recession, a judicial nominee waiting for confirmation isn't a particularly poignant figure.” (The Los Angeles Times, 3/13/12)

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hit back Tuesday in the fight over judicial nominations, accusing Majority Leader Harry Reid of ‘manufacturing a controversy’ rather than addressing high unemployment and gas prices…” rel="nofollow" target="new">(Politico, 3/13/12)

“Reid filed cloture on the nominations of 17 district court judges... It’s a move that could jam up the floor for weeks…” (Ibid)

Tags: President Obama, Barack Obama, judges over jobs, U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, jobs, judges To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Mitt Romney Wins Hawaii and American Samoa Republican Caucuses

Mitt Romney
Pix by Bill Smith
Yesterday, Mitt Romney won both the Hawaii and American Samoa Republican 2012 Caucuses. However, the results were not reported until today because of the time zone variations.

Hawaii (20 Delegates): Mitt Romney 45%; Rick Santorum 25%; Ron Paul 18%, Newt Gingrich (11%). Delegate Distribution: Romney 9 delegates; Santorum 5 delegates; Paul 3 delegates; and 3 delegates are uncommitted. Gingrich will receive no delegates.

America Samoa (9 Delegates): Mitt Romney received all 9 (100%) of the delegates.

In summary, at the conclusion of of yesterday's primaries /caucuses, the 2012 republican candidates have the following pledged and unpledged delegates : Mitt Romney 491 delegates; Rick Santorum 233 delegates; Newt Gingrich 157 delegates and Ron Paul 78 delegates. Still available 1322 delegates available to candidates and 5 additional delegated pledged to "uncommitted."

Tags: March 13, 2012, Republican, Primary, Caucus, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Hawaii, American Samoa, election 2012, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rick Santorum Wins Alabama and Mississippi Republican Primaries

Rick Santorum
Pix via Bill Smith
Today, Rick Santorum won both the Alabama and Mississippi Republican Primaries. And he did this in Newt Gingrich's backyard. Santorum had trailed in the polls before the voting began but the voters registered in the the real poll that mattered - the voting booth.

Newt Gingrich mockingly claimed the victory of stopping  the Massachusetts millionaire, a reference to Mitt Romney. Newt kept alluding to being the real conservative whom the party can turn to at the convention.

Rick Santorum was again a class act. In addition to his clear win, it is evident that if Gingrich had not been in the race, Santorum would have won the night with over 50% in both   states.

While Santorum is the winner of both states, Gingrich and Romney were neck and neck in the race.  Congratulations Rick!

Alabama (40 Delegates): With 100% reporting, Rick Santorum 35%; Newt Gingrich 29.2%; Mitt Romney 28.9%; Ron Paul 5%. Other 2%.  Santorum received 16 delegates with 1 more pending; Gingrich 12 delegates; Romney 11 delegates and 9 delegates are uncommitted.

Mississippi (40 Delegates): With 99% reporting, Rick Santorum 33%, Newt Gingrich 31%, Mitt Romney 30%; Ron Paul 4%. Other Former candidates 1%.  Santorum received 13 delegates;  Gingrich 12 delegates, Romney 12 delegates with 3 delegates uncommitted.

Two other primary / caucus events are going on right now: Hawaii (20 Delegates) and American Samoa Territorial Caucus (9 Delegates).

Tags: March 13, 2012, Republican, primary, caucus, Alabama, Mississippi, election 2012, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Super PAC To The Rescue

by A.F. "Tony Branco:

Tags: A.F. Branco, political cartoon, Media, lame street media, super pac, media bias To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Jobs Or Judges?

Democrats Face Tough Questions As They Push Jobs To The Back Burner In The Senate

‘Are Jobs More Important Than Getting Federal Judges Confirmed?’

“Jobs bill hung up on judicial fight… a fight Senate Democrats have picked… Reid has moved to hold cloture votes on 17 judge nominations starting tomorrow. Each judge vote could tie up the Senate floor for weeks…” (“Senate Vote On Jobs Bill Hung Up On Judicial Fight,” NBC News, 3/13/12)

“McConnell… argued the Senate should move right away to the JOBS bill that passed the House with 390 votes.” (“Senate Vote On Jobs Bill Hung Up On Judicial Fight,” NBC News, 3/13/12)

“Reid is indeed holding the JOBS Act as leverage.” (“Reid Dares GOP: Block Judicial Nominees, And You Will Also Stall The Jobs Act,” TPM, 3/13/12)

“That brought a new round of recriminations, set beneath a question that appears to favor Republicans, if you follow the polls: Are jobs more important than getting federal judges confirmed?” (“Jobs Or Judges? Debate On Judicial Nominees Boils Over In Senate,” Wall Street Journal, 3/13/12)

“Jobs bills are arguably more urgent than judicial nominations… Compared to, say, someone laid off because of the recession, a judicial nominee waiting for confirmation isn't a particularly poignant figure.” (“A Harsh Judgment On Obstructionism In The Senate,” Los Angeles Times, 3/13/12)

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hit back Tuesday in the fight over judicial nominations, accusing Majority Leader Harry Reid of ‘manufacturing a controversy’ rather than addressing high unemployment and gas prices…” (“McConnell, Reid Spar Over Judges,” Politico, 3/13/12)

“Reid filed cloture on the nominations of 17 district court judges... It’s a move that could jam up the floor for weeks…” (“McConnell, Reid Spar Over Judges,” Politico, 3/13/12)

“Minority Leader McConnell insisted that Majority Leader Reid agree to put aside a series of time-consuming votes on 17 of President Obama’s judicial nominees to turn immediately to the JOBS Act, which the House passed with overwhelming support last month.” (“Reid, McConnell Lock Horns Over Legislative Agenda In Senate,” The Hill, 3/13/12)

Tags: U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, jobs, judges To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

White House Feel The Heat Over Rising Gas Prices While Reid Advocates for $5 Billion Natural Gas Subsidies

Today in Washington, D.C. - March 13, 2012:
Except for pro-forma meetings, the House is not in session. The Senate has resumed consideration of S. 1813, the highway bill. The Senate will vote on two amendments to the highway bill: one from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and one from Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

At 2:15 pm, the senators will begin a long series of votes on the remaining amendments to the highway bill, around 20. There may also be votes on a manager’s amendment and points of order.  On of those amendments is a "Big Government $5 Billion subsidy boondoggle." This legislation, authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), seeks to amend the highway bill with the to include the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions act, or NATGAS act. The act would provide $5 billion in subsidies for individuals, corporations and public entities that purchase natural gas vehicles or build natural gas distribution facilities. The act would subsidize three different enterprises controlled by four billionaires: T. Boone Pickens, Aubrey McClendon, Stephen Schwarzman and George Soros.

This legislation, was considered dead in the water due to anti-subsidy sentiment in with the voters. However as happens a lot in the Democrat controlled Senate, never count a bad bill out especially when someone is giving Reid lots of money Surprisingly, the Huffington Post noted the mixture of lobbying money and strange bedfellows. It said, "Despite Reid's support, the natural gas measure had been considered dead last year. Its revival shows the power that money can wield in Washington -- sometimes without even being spent. . . . In 2010, Roll Call wrote that Pickens said he had made a pledge to stay out of the elections game. "Once a prominent Republican donor, Pickens told reporters last week that he has pledged not to make federal campaign contributions and to work with Members of both parties. Pickens also said Reid will be able to move an alternative fuels subsidy bill during the lame-duck session. . . . A similar story emerged out of a fundraiser last month for a Republican Senate candidate from Nebraska. According to a GOP source who was in attendance, the candidate told some of those gathered that Pickens told him he couldn't financially back his bid. The reason given was that the majority leader was backing the natural gas bill, and Pickens had promised he would not target races that might cost Reid the Senate majority."

After all pending amendments have been disposed of, the Senate will vote on final passage of the bill.

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on 17 district judge nominees, trying to force votes on judges instead of taking up the bipartisan House-passed JOBS Act. The JOBS Act passed the House by a huge bipartisan vote of 390-23 and would cut red tape for small businesses and startups and make it easier for them to raise capital. This morning, Leader McConnell asked consent for the Senate to take up the JOBS Act next but Reid objected, apparently preferring a manufactured partisan confrontation over judges to doing something about the economy.

Today is one of the occasional days when headlines can tell much of the story. The Hill writes, “Gas prices trigger Obama scramble,” Roll Call has “Democrats Playing Defense on Energy,” USA Today reports, “Obama: People will blame me for gas prices,” NBC’s First Read features, “White House plays defense on gas prices,” and the AP underscores it all with, “AAA: Ohio gas prices rise for 4th straight week.”

According to the USA Today piece, “Rising gas prices are hurting President Obama, and he knows it. ‘Well, look, as long as gas prices are going up, people are going to feel like I'm not doing enough,’ President Obama told WFTV of Orlando, one of a string of television interviews he did Monday to promote his energy policy. ‘And I understand that,’ Obama added, ‘because people get hurt when they're going to that gas station and seeing those prices rise everyday.’ Obama's approval ratings are falling in the face of higher gas prices. He is down to 41% in one survey, the New York Times/CBS News poll.”

Politico adds, “The White House on Monday launched an all-of-the-above press strategy designed to contain the damage from high gas prices. Thus far, the administration’s message hasn’t worked: According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll published Monday, 65 percent of Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama is dealing with high gas prices. Obama attempted to counteract that by sitting down for several local TV news interviews on Monday, including visits with anchors from the electoral battlegrounds of Cincinnati, Denver, Des Moines, Las Vegas, Orlando and Pittsburgh.”

Roll Call reports that the Obama White House and Democrats in the Senate have decided they want to do something about rising gas prices: raise taxes on American energy producers. “Senate Democrats and the White House are feeling the heat over rising gas prices and are preparing a legislative response to blunt GOP criticism. After coordinating with the White House, Senate Democrats expect to consider, likely before the end of the month, legislation that would repeal tax breaks for oil and gas companies, a senior Senate Democratic aide said. . . . Republicans, who see a political opportunity in the gas price issue, contend that raising taxes on energy companies would simply lead to even higher gas prices. . . . A senior GOP aide also noted that the Senate last voted on a similar measure in May. The proposal — which would have eliminated a raft of tax breaks for the five largest oil companies — failed to win the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle to move forward.”

Democrats have trotted out this tired proposal every time gas prices go up, yet they never seem to be able to explain how making it more expensive to produce energy in the United States is supposed to help lower gas prices.

Roll Call notes, “The energy debate will continue Tuesday when the Senate will vote on a Republican amendment to a transportation bill . . . which includes a provision to approve the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline. The proposal is being offered by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) . . . . Republicans see the approval of Keystone as imperative to creating jobs, increasing energy production and helping reduce gas prices. They argue that Democrats should get behind the proposal's approval instead of looking to raise taxes on energy companies. ‘Instead of returning again and again to tax hikes that increase consumers' costs, the administration and its Democrat allies in Congress should open their eyes to the opportunity presented by the Keystone XL pipeline,’ McConnell said in the statement.”

If Democrats and President Obama are really concerned about high gas prices, their responses to this problem that affects every American family are strangely disconnected. Democrats are proposing, yet again, to raise taxes on American energy companies and last week voted down a Republican amendment that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, thanks in part to the personal lobbying of President Obama. How are raising taxes and blocking jobs and secure energy supplies supposed to help lower the price at the pump?

Tags: Senate, highway bill, amendments, natural gas subsidies, High gasoline prices. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gulf Coast Feels The Pain Of Offshore Drilling Slowdown

Year After Oil Spill, Obama Energy Policy Endangers Economy

Alison Meyer on The Scribe: As gas prices continue to climb, approaching a nationwide average of nearly $4, lawmakers in Washington turned their attention to the drilling slowdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held the oversight hearing Thursday examining how the Obama administration’s policies have put a strain on businesses, causing economic instability and even forcing some employers to leave the area.

“The economic impacts of this permit slow-down or de facto moratorium are diverse and far reaching, affecting individuals and businesses in various industries across the Gulf Coast,” said James Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association. “Businesses are indeed laying off workers, reducing hours and salaries, and limiting new hires as a result of the permit slow-down.”

A survey released in January from Greater New Orleans Inc. documented the consequences. It included 102 small, medium and large companies involved in Gulf of Mexico exploration and production. Key findings revealed:
  • 41 percent of businesses are not making a profit;
  • 76 percent have lost cash revenues;
  • 27 percent of businesses have lost more than half of their cash reserves;
  • 50 percent of businesses have laid off employees as a result of the moratorium;
  • 39 percent of businesses have retained workers but reduced salaries and/or hours;
  • 46 percent of businesses have moved all or some of their operations away from the Gulf of Mexico;
  • 82 percent of business owners have lost personal savings as a result of the permit slowdown;
  • And 13 percent of business owners have lost all of their personal savings as a result of the slowdown.
The hearing also examined the budgets for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The two agencies, reorganized in the wake of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, regulate drilling activity.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) called the hearing to ensure that BOEM and BSEE were efficiently using taxpayer money to carry out their missions.
“When I say BOEM and BSSE must be held accountable,” Lamborn said, “I mean that I want to know what these agencies are doing to use their taxpayer dollars efficiently to tackle these challenges. After all, oil and natural gas are America’s resources. They help us create jobs and they reduce dependency on foreign oil.”

Defenders of BOEM and BSEE countered that oil production is at its highest in eight years. “We have more oil rigs operating in the U.S. than the rest of the world combined,” said Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ). “According to industry analysts, by this summer, there will be 30% more floating rigs operating in the Gulf than there were prior to the BP spill.”

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) echoed his statement: “My Republican colleagues will tell you that we need more supply to bring down prices, but America’s oil production is at its highest levels in nearly a decade and offshore oil production is higher than it was during each of the last three years of the Bush administration.”
Critics of the drilling slowdown disagreed. They noted the number of deepwater and shallow-water permits have actually decreased under President Obama and that rigs are leaving U.S. waters for other countries.

“With respect to the statement that production is up, the number of rigs and so forth across the U.S., that is quite true, but it’s because it’s in the private sector out of reach of the federal government,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-LA). “If you look at federal lands and offshore it has gone down. We’ve seen a decrease in leasing, a decrease in permits. We’ve seen rigs leaving our shores and going to Brazil and places like that and in some cases we’ve actually subsidized activity into other countries.”

Benjamin Salsbury, senior vice president and senior energy policy analyst at FBR Capital Markets, agreed. “There are just 25 mobile offshore drilling units or ‘floaters’ and 15 platforms drilling,” he said. “That is 12 percent fewer floaters than were operating before the Macondo spill despite crude oil prices more than 25 percent higher. There continues to be a permitting constraint on deepwater Gulf of Mexico drilling activity.”

Heritage’s Nicolas Loris has echoed these concerns, warning as well that a drop in production in the Gulf of Mexico also means a loss of revenue for the federal government. The U.S. Treasury collects an 18.75 percent royalty rate on offshore oil and gas leases, meaning the government will forfeit millions of dollars in revenue.

“The economic losses wreaked by, first, the drilling moratorium, then the “permitorium” and now the frustratingly slow permitting process have been devastating,” Loris recently wrote. “It has cost the region almost $20 billion in capital and operating expenditures since the April 2010 explosion — and an estimated 90,000 jobs last year alone.”

Tags: BOEM, BSSE, deepwater, Doug Lamborn, drilling moratorium, Ed Markey, energy policy, gas prices, Gulf Coast, Gulf of Mexico, John Fleming, offshore drilling, oil spill, Rush Holt, Video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama Can Be Beaten

Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Last week I expressed my chagrin that George Will and others in Washington were writing off the presidential contest as hopelessly lost, preferring instead to focus all our resources on the congressional contests. This is bad strategy and it is defeatist.

It is bad strategy because, as I noted, there are several swing states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia that will decide the presidency. These same states also have key Senate contests. If Obama wins these states, he will most likely win the White House. And if he has coattails, Democrats will likely win these Senate contests too. In presidential elections, the race for the White House drives turnout, and defeatism at the top of the ticket can lead to defeats down the rest of the ballot too.

But what is most perplexing to me is that there is no reason for conservatives to be so discouraged. Of course incumbent presidents have tremendous advantages. But they can and do lose elections. And this one in particular deserves to lose big -- just like Jimmy Carter! The good news is that the American people are not inclined to give Mr. Obama a second term.

Just consider the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Last month this poll gave Obama a net positive 50% to 46% job approval rating. It also found Obama leading Mitt Romney by six points. But after weeks of fawning news coverage about an improving economy, endless commentary about the dysfunctional GOP primary and non-issues like birth control, the March Post/ABC poll finds that Obama's numbers have flipped: 46% approve of his job performance and 50% disapprove. According to the Post's report, "a record number of Americans now give the president 'strongly' negative reviews." By the way, the Washington Post/ABC News poll has a history of oversampling Democrats.

Moreover, in head-to-head match-ups, both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are very competitive against Obama. For all the talk about how the silly "birth control" debate is costing the GOP with independent voters, the Post/ABC finds: "The downshift is particularly notable among independents -- 57 percent of whom now disapprove -- and among white people without college degrees, with disapproval among this group now topping approval by a ratio of more than 2 to 1, at 66 versus 28 percent."

Consider how Obama fares on these measurements:
  • The economy: 38% approve and 59% disapprove.
  • Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons: 36% approve and 52% disapprove.
  • The federal deficit: 32% approve and 63% disapprove.
  • Gas prices: 26% approve and 65% disapprove.
Gallup recently asked whether Obama's presidency has been a success or failure. Half of those surveyed said it was a failure, while just 44% said it was a success. If gas prices keep going up, and given Obama's policies they likely will, he will be lucky to get 44% of the vote on Election Day!

Also Recall: "It's ObamaCare, Stupid"
Voters are clearly concerned about the economy and upset by high gas prices too. But ObamaCare could be the issue that costs Obama his job.

A recent academic study found that support for ObamaCare cost House Democrats roughly six points at the ballot box. More than the stimulus or cap and trade, ObamaCare was responsible for the Democrats' historic defeat and loss of 66 House seats in the 2010 elections.

The passage of time has not healed the Democrats' wounds. Last month a Gallup survey found that 72% of Americans -- and even 56% of Democrats -- felt that ObamaCare's individual mandate was unconstitutional. And the latest Rasmussen poll finds that likely voters still favor repealing ObamaCare by a double-digit margin of 53% to 42%.

These are horrible numbers for the president's signature accomplishment, which bears his name. But as some in the GOP seek to make the campaign all about the economy, are they giving up our most potent issue against Barack Obama in the fall campaign?

That was the question asked last week by the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger. In a column entitled "It's Obamacare, Stupid," our friends at The Weekly Standard pick up the theme this week. Consider this excerpt:
"…the more Obamacare becomes an issue in the fall, the more it will highlight President Obama's liberalism in the minds of voters -- particularly independent voters. It correspondingly suggests that the more this election is focused simply on stewardship of the economy, the less Obama's big-government liberalism will be highlighted in voters' minds.

"In other words, should Mitt Romney win the Republican presidential nomination, he could surely run (and has given every indication that he would run) as a centrist who's focused on the economy. But by choosing to de-emphasize Obamacare, he would allow Obama to come across as more of a centrist as well. This would effectively take the GOP's best issue off the table. What's more, no issue will more starkly highlight the differences between the parties than Obamacare. Voters know that if Obama is reelected, Obamacare is here to stay. If the Republican wins, there is at least a very good shot at repeal. …

"The electability argument is ultimately about issues. Obamacare is Obama's greatest weakness. He is more likely to be defeated by a candidate who is willing to run against Obamacare as the epitome of big-government liberalism -- emphasizing its singular threat to Americans' liberty and their way of life."
Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, defeat obama, Barack Obama, the economy, high gas prices, ObamaCare, lost reputation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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