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]
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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, June 23, 2012

What Makes Americans Different?

Heritage Foundation: Even before the United States became a nation in 1776, it had thrived under the American people — a fiercely independent people whose values were distinct and whose vision was far-reaching. The American Spirit: Celebrating the Virtues and Values that Make Us Great, a new book coauthored by Dr. Ed Feulner, president of The Heritage Foundation, and Brian Tracy, celebrates those values that have made America great.

Below this short video is an article by Ed. Feuler on the The American Spirit.

By Ed. Feuler, TownHall Commentary: Are America’s best days behind her?

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, seems to think so. “The American dream is a myth,” he writes in a recent column. In a new USA Today/Gallup poll, nearly six in 10 disagreed with the idea that the next generation will live better than their parents do.

Negative thoughts like this are nothing new. It stands to reason that tough economic times will breed pessimism. Sometimes, though, we need to remind ourselves of the principles this country was founded on, and reconnect with the genius that created the United States of America, the only country founded not on identity, but on ideas.

That’s what prompted my friend Brian Tracy to join me in writing a book called The American Spirit. As Brian explains in the introduction: “Today, millions of Americans are not clear about why the United States is the greatest country on earth and in all human history.” And that’s a shame.

Consider the phrase “the American Dream.” The words themselves reveal something extraordinary. In all the history of man, there has been only one country with the word “dream” attached to it. There is no French Dream or Russian Dream or Chinese Dream. There is only the American Dream, to which people worldwide aspire and have aspired since our founding. From 194 countries, people have come to America to pursue this dream.

In America, people care very much who you are. They care little about your background. In America, you can start from anywhere, with or without benefits and advantages from your family, and make your own way and your own life. At any time, you can decide to change and do something completely different. Your life is yours to chart.

In my opinion, this freedom to define your own destiny ultimately derives from the Judeo-Christian tradition. God created us in His own image, and just as God is free, so we are meant for freedom.

Government’s purpose is not to impose some elite-inspired vision of the good society on the rest of us, but to empower men and women to use their God-given freedom as they choose.

This opportunity has its roots in our extraordinary founding in 1776. Having such freedom is more the exception than the rule throughout much of human history. The republican form of government had mostly been consigned to the history books since the fall of Rome. Monarchies had ruled the leading powers of the world for centuries.

By choosing a republic, where the governed control the government -- not the other way around -- the Founding Fathers displayed faith in the individual’s ability to know better than any elected or appointed official what is best for himself and his family. That’s why they created a Constitution that protects our God-given rights from government. The government does not grant those rights to us as citizens.

If you believe we are granted our fundamental rights by the government, then you are more likely to seek additional favors from the government. If the government is the granter of all good things, what is to stop someone from thinking up more good things that could and should be granted by government?

Yet our government is not Santa Claus writ large, and our rights are not wish lists drawn up by eager tots on Christmas Eve. The Constitution does not grant us the wonderful rights we embrace; it handcuffs the government from infringing upon them. Or at least, it used to be that way.

Some might be tempted to conclude that the American experiment has failed. I take a different view. We’ve faced tougher problems in the past, yet our optimism has prevailed.

There’s no reason why we shouldn’t overcome our current difficulties as well -- provided we adhere to the virtues and values that constitute the American Spirit.

Tags: Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner, Brian Tracy, The American Spirit, Culture of Life, Founding Fathers, Government, Republic, America, American Dream To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Coal Matters – Even in Manhattan

By Ken Blackwell, former Mayor of Cincinnati: Coal today may seem of little relevance to many residents of New York City or other American urban centers. It long ago ceased to fuel the furnaces of their homes and apartment buildings in winter.

But long after it disappeared from the uses most visible to city dwellers, coal is still the critical fuel behind the everyday functions of their lives. Across the U.S., for more than a century, coal has remained quietly at work – providing in recent years nearly half the electricity that lights urban buildings and streets, keeps air conditioners humming on hot days and energizes computers and TVs to inform and entertain. Electricity generated with coal powers the factories that produce all manner of food, clothing, cars and other goods for Americans everywhere.

Coal maintains that role with good reason. It is America’s most abundant energy resource; our coal reserves are the world’s largest, sufficient to last more than 250 years. That abundance makes coal affordable; over the decades its price has been far more stable that of another major power generation fuel, natural gas. And way below costs those promising but still-unproven resources, solar and wind power.

Meanwhile, science has made coal a much cleaner fuel. Utilities’ use of coal for power generation has jumped more than 180 percent since 1970 but emissions from those plants have plummeted 75 percent. And the march of technology promises even cleaner coal in the years ahead.

Apparently, all those facts have escaped the attention of New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This month, he marshaled 90 U.S. mayors behind a campaign of misinformation that could in short order end the use of coal for power generation – and in doing so wipe out America’s historic coal industry.

In a letter to the EPA Administrator, Bloomberg and his fellow mayors expressed strong support for new air quality regulations that will shut down coal fired power generation on the grounds that coal is too “dirty” and must immediately be replaced with generation fueled by natural gas, solar and wind power.

Joining Mayor Bloomberg on the letter were my successor as Mayor of Cincinnati, Mark Mallory, two other Ohio mayors (Michael Coleman of Columbus and Bruce Rinker of Mayfield Village), the senior elected officials of big cities from Atlanta to Boston Chicago, Denver, Houston and Los Angeles, and the chief executives of smaller but staunchly “progressive” strongholds such as Burlington, VT, Takoma Park, MD, Maui County, HI, and Decatur, GA.

With one stroke of the pen, all wrote off the fuel that has helped make possible a century of economic growth in their cities. They accepted the higher electric rates that utility executives say are certainly on the way as today’s historically low natural gas prices zoom upward while wind and solar power, for the foreseeable future, remain very expensive.

The mayors also agreed, in signing that letter, to condemn the jobs of 555,000 Americans who mine, transport, market and utilize coal, along with their combined annual income of $36.3 billion.

All of this comes less than a year after Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to donate $50 million to the Sierra Club to support its nationwide campaign to eliminate coal-fired power plants.

On many levels, I have great respect and admiration for my fellow Republican, Mayor Bloomberg. Elected in the dark days just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he helped rebuild the city both physically and emotionally. In that and other roles he has followed a course of pragmatic progressivism, addressing public concerns on social – and environmental – issues with a common-sense approach that recognizes economic realities.

So I am surprised and very disappointed that he would lead his mayoral colleagues in demonizing a valuable American energy resource, assuring higher utility bills for Americans still strapped by a slow economic recovery, and wiping out one of our oldest industries.

My personal commitment to cleaning up and protecting our environment runs deep. I’m proud of the progress America has made these past 40 years from a land of smoggy skylines and dead rivers to one that is getting cleaner by the day.

But I also understand that our environmental ideals must be balanced with recognition of our economic challenges, both short - and long-term. We can’t build a stronger economy and create the millions of jobs we need if we’re paying sharply higher utility bills and killing a half million good-paying jobs in the process.

Numerous polls show that the majority of Americans share that pragmatism. I thought Michael Bloomberg was among them, until I saw that letter to the EPA Administrator.
J. Ken Blackwell formerly was mayor of Cincinnati, Secretary of State of Ohio, as  Ambassador to the U.N.   He also serves on the boards of the Club For Growth,  the National Taxpayers Union and National Federation of Republican Assemblies.  He is the Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee's Platform Committee and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Ken Blackwell, Coal, Coal Matters, Manhattan, New York, Michael Bloonberg, Cincinnati, Ohio, Mark Mallory, Columbus, Michael Coleman, Mayfield Village, Bruce Rinker, EPA, killing jobs, increasing energy costs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

U.S. Per-Person Debt To Increase 7 Times Faster Than Italian Debt

U.S. Senate Budget Committee: In the face of growing concerns about unsustainable debt across the Eurozone, it was announced this week that Italy and Spain are on track to receive a $984 billion (£600 billion) bailout deal from their European counterparts. Meanwhile, a new Senate Budget Committee chart shows that total U.S. per person debt is on track to increase, over the next five years, at a rate seven times faster than per person debt in Italy.

Tags: debt, U.S., Italy, Eurozone,per person debt, Senate budget Committee To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Four Supreme Court Decisions Released - Decision On ObamaCare Expected Next Week

U.S. Supreme Court
Today in Washington, D.C. - June 22, 2012:
 The US Supreme Court issued four decision yesterday but not their expected ruling on the Federal Affordable healthcare Act, aka, ObamaCare.  The following decisions are not listed in any order of importance and more detailed information and links can be found at SCOTUS Blog.
1. Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. - Docket No. 10-1293.
Holding: Because the FCC failed to give Fox and ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent, the FCC’s standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague.
Judgment: Vacated and remanded, 8-0, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy on June 21, 2012. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. (Sotomayor, J., recused.)
Another source, FoxNews said, The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the FCC's policy regulating curse words and nudity on broadcast television. In an 8-0 decision, the high court threw out fines and sanctions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission. The case involved some uncensored curse words and brief nudity on various networks, including Fox. "Because the FCC failed to give FOX or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionable indecent, the Commissions' standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague," the Supreme Court said in its opinion. The court said the FCC is "free to modify its current indecency policy" in light of the ruling.  The justices, though, declined to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC indecency policy. Instead, the court concluded only that broadcasters could not have known in advance that obscenities uttered during awards show programs and a brief display of nudity on an episode of ABC's NYPD Blue could give rise to sanctions. ABC and 45 affiliates were hit with proposed fines totaling nearly $1.24 million. . . .

2. Knox v. Service Employees Int’l Union, Local 1000 - Docket No. 10-1121
Holding: The case is not moot, and the First Amendment does not permit a public-sector union to impose a special assessment without the affirmative consent of a member upon whom it is imposed.
Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 7-2, in an opinion by Justice Alito on June 21, 2012. Justice Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Kagan.
Another source,  Courthouse News Service said, "A union trampled the free-speech rights of nonmembers by forcing them to finance political activities, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.  California law allows public-sector employees to decline membership in a union, but such employees must still pay an annual fee to cover collective bargaining costs. Trouble arose in 2005 for the Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, however, when it sought to increase fees temporarily by 25 percent because it wanted to combat certain propositions up for election that year. . . . The SEIU and other unions wanted to raise $10 million to fight these measures, and looked to their ranks for the money. Some employees balked when the SEIU's general council implemented the proposed "back fund," and the union tried to placate these objectors by reducing their newly increased obligations by about 44 percent. Still unhappy, a group of nonunion members filed a class action on behalf of 28,000 forced to contribute to the back fund. . . . Though a federal judge sided with these non-union members at summary judgment, a divided panel of the 9th Circuit reversed in 2010. After the members brought their fight to Washington, the union defended the merits of its back fund and then offered all class members a full refund. It told the Supreme Court that the case was now moot, but the justices wouldn't bite  . . . Seven members of the court agreed that First Amendment required the SEIU to let nonmembers opt out of the special assessment intended for political lobbying . . ."

3. Southern Union Company v. United States - Docket No. 11-94
Holding: The rule established in Apprendi v. New Jersey – in which the Court held that the Sixth Amendment’s jury-trial guarantee requires that any fact (other than the fact of a prior conviction) which increases the maximum punishment authorized for a particular crime be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt – applies to the imposition of criminal fines.
Judgment: Reversed, 6-3, in an opinion by Justice Sotomayor on June 21, 2012. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Kennedy and Alito.
Another source, Forbes said, "Southern Union vs. U.S. . . . dealt with a seemingly arcane question of the law, whether a judge can impose a criminal fine against a company without a clear finding by the jury backing it up. The court said no, following up on its 2000 decision Apprendi vs. N.J. to rule that juries must determine beyond a reasonable doubt any fact that increases a criminal fine or a prison sentence. "

4. Dorsey v. United States - Docket No. 11-5683
Holding: The more lenient mandatory minimum provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act – which reduced the disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine offenses – apply to defendants who committed a crack cocaine crime before the Act went into effect but were sentenced after its effective date in 2010.
Judgment: Vacated and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Breyer on June 21, 2012. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, in which the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito joined.
Another source, the Washington Post said, "The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Congress intended the more lenient sentences it created for crack-cocaine offenders to begin immediately, even for those who committed their crimes before the law was signed. The court’s 5 to 4 decision settled a question that Congress seemed to leave open when it passed the Fair Sentencing Act. The law narrowed the discrepancy in punishment between those convicted of crack-cocaine violations, who tend to be black, and those with powder-cocaine offenses, who tend to be white. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the more lenient penalties apply to the thousands of people who violated the law before President Obama signed it on Aug. 3, 2010, but who were not sentenced until afterward. . . . .

The House will reconvene on Tuesday.  Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 4480, Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, aka, Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, by a vote of 248-163.  It provides for the development of a plan to increase oil and gas exploration, development, and production under oil and gas leases of Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Defense in response to a drawdown of petroleum reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  The vote was predominately along party lines.  For the Bill: 229 republicans and 19 democrats.  Against the bill 158 democrats and 5 republicans. Not voting, 7 republicans and 14 democrats.

The Senate will reconvene on Monday, when it will vote on cloture on the motion to concur with House amendments to S.3877, the FDA user fee bill.

Yesterday, the Senate passed S. 3240, the farm bill, by a vote of 64-35.  While many may not be in agreement with this bill, it was a bi-partisan passed bill with members of both parties voting for and against the bill. Yesterday,&n they adopted a final amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) which had nothing to do with farming.  Coburn's amendment was to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit the use of public funds for political party conventions, and to provide for the return of previously distributed funds for deficit reduction.  As usual there were a great number of amendments offered during the debate on this bill and some others were not related to farming or agriculture.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted 96-2 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. agreed to take up) S. 1940, the flood insurance bill.

Since Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell gave a major speech last week on threats to the First Amendment and free speech coming from the Left, liberals have predictably attacked him for the suggestions.

In a must-read column today, Washington Examiner executive editor Mark Tapscott makes the same point. He writes, “[T]he U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ‘ruled that Congress may not ban political speech based on the identity of the speaker,’ [McConnell] said. In other words, you cannot be silenced either because of what you say or who you are.

“But there is a growing movement among liberals -- found mostly but not exclusively in the Democratic Party -- to use government to intimidate and silence speakers based upon their identities. The DISCLOSE Act and related proposals are their preferred tool at the moment. DISCLOSE would require grassroots advocacy groups to make public the names of their donors. Transparency in government is clearly a virtue, particularly of financial contributors to congressional and presidential candidates. But like any other good thing, transparency can be hijacked and turned into a weapon of political oppression.”

Curt Levey, Executive Director of the Committee for Justice, lays out precisely the kind of tactics some on the Left have tried to use to silence conservatives in an op-ed for Fox News: “There is a growing threat to political speech in America,” warned Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in a speech in Washington, DC last week. “Sadly, a growing number of people on the left … appear to have concluded that they can’t win on the merits. So they’ve resorted to bullying and intimidation instead. McConnell focused on ‘an [Obama] administration that has shown an alarming willingness itself to use the powers of government to silence [conservative] groups.’ I focus here on the other half of the threat, intimidation and harassment by private groups on the left. . . . Most importantly from a constitutional perspective, groups on the left are increasingly enlisting the coercive power of government in their intimidation and harassment campaigns. When they do, they threaten the First Amendment’s guarantee that government shall not abridge the freedom of speech.”

Levy notes “The mentality of lawfare practitioners is illustrated by a Media Matters internal memo suggesting the organization ‘look into contracting with a major law firm to study any available legal actions that can be taken against Fox News … I imagine this would be difficult but the right law firm is bound to find some legal ground.’ . . . Lawfare’s most persistent practitioner . . . has targeted conservative bloggers . . . in part, by filing over 100 harassment claims against them in various courts. . . . In addition to the courts and White House, the left is turning to various agencies in the Obama administration for help in intimidating their opponents. Angered by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s support of "Stand Your Ground" laws, left-wing groups are coordinating a campaign against ALEC, which includes an IRS complaint challenging its tax-exempt status.”

Further, Levy points to “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an organization handsomely funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros. . . . CREW is also urging the friendly FCC to revoke 27 broadcast licenses held by News Corp’s FOX Broadcasting Company. CREW cites phone hacking by News Corp in Britain, which didn’t involve FOX Broadcasting. Of course, CREW’s real concern is not ethics abroad, but ideology at home. Not content to harass Fox by using only one branch of government, CREW and its allies also sent a letter to Congressional committees demanding hearings on revocation of the licenses.”

As Goodman writes, “McConnell said it’s these attacks on private American citizens that has driven him to fight against the DISCLOSE Act and similar legislation. ‘They try to be involved in the political process and all of sudden they find themselves being chased by the IRS.’"

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, Farm Bill, US House, Strategic Energy Production Act, Supreme Court, decisions, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scott Rasmussen: The American People Want an Advocate - RightOnline 2012

Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: Where would bloggers, politicians, and activist groups be without pollsters?   As readers of this site know, I often reference and am indebted to  Rasmussen Reports. Therefore, I was more than pleased to be present to listen to Scott Rasmussen as the keynote dinner speaker on June16th at the  RightOnline 2012 conference in Las Vegas, NV.

I took lots of notes balancing my notepad on my lap and on the round dinner table where several wonderful people were eating,  listening, taking notes and sending out tweets. As I was transcribing my notes to write an article, I thought, "dang, I wish someone had made a video of Scott Rasmussen's presentation so that readers could hear for themselves the thoughts of  man who makes his living being unbiased and polling the opinions of the American people but who also listens to them, understands them and has a heart's desire for America to live up to the ideals that were meant for it.  In his speech he noted that the 80% of the American people still believe in the ideals upon which America was founded and they want an advocate or advocates, not politicians, who will take on the political class running and ruining our country.

Fortunately, I learned today that Richard Sincere had made a video of the the speech and posted it to his YouTube account. Richard is a conservative reporter whose articles have appeared in the Liberty magazine, the Houston Chronicle, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, and Washington Times. You can read his interview of Scott Rasmussen in the following article: "Rasmussen Reports founder discusses opinion trends, future of polling methods.

Thank you Richard for posting this video.  After the video, I have posted some Scott Rasmussen's comments from his speech.

Below are comments by Scott Rasmussen in his presentation.  He depicted, with words, the shifting dynamics in communication in America, the shift that the people will demand of their government, and the hopes of the American people.  Next time you read the Rasmussen Reports, you will now know there is a philosopher and concerned American behind those numbers and words.

~ Whoever wins this year is going to claim a great mandate for their side. . . . that statement will be false.
~ This election is going to be like the trench warfare of WW1. That was the war fought to end all wars . . . all they did was set the stage for a bigger war 20 years later.
~ It will be the communications, the battles and the public opinions shifts that take place after the elections that will determines where America goes.
~ I bet everyone underestimates how the new media is going to change things. You don't have a clue of how big the changes are coming will be.
~ Sometimes people who work in the political world get so wrapped up in politics that most Americans live in different worlds. [The real world.]
~ The New Media is changing America; it is changing everything about our society.
~ In the next 10 years, it will fundamentally change the relationship between the American people and their government.
~ In this world, public opinion drives everything else in the political world.
~ The American people are always ahead of their politicians. They always see the changes coming and what needs to happen first.
~ Public opinion moves first, then there is a catalyst, and only after that do the politicians get involved.
~ The financial industry bailouts remain the most hated piece of legislation in modern American history. . . . That spun off the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement.
~ There is a sense of frustration, in 2006, 2008, and 2010, the votes did the same thing every election, they voted against the political party in power. It wasn't because they loved republican on e year and democrats the next year, they just wanted to throw out whoever was in charge. Because bluntly they don't think either side has a clue.
~ One of the mistakes we make in politics is that we think everyone is watching the game. That just isn't true.
~ If you want to change the country, you need to reach those people.
~ If you want to reach the people find out what is popular to the people.
~ If you don't find a way to get a better message out, your going to loose them.
~ In this process, the government is not in charge, the government does not run the country. If it is functioning properly, the government plays a nice support role in a self-governing society.
~ Think of government as a "free rider" that is riding along with whatever society does.
~ In 1941, when FDR gave a speech on the radio about WWII, there were 130 billion people in the country, an estimated 90 million listened to the presidents speech.
~ When Jimmy Carter was in the White House and gave his speech, everybody watch because those of us who wanted to watch "Charlie's Angles" had to wait because they wouldn't start the show until he President's speech was done.
~ But then, stations started carrying other things other than the president's speech. Now when Barack Obama gives a speech, 37 million people tune in. And their mostly partisan Democrats. Same thing thing when George Bush gave a speech - the partisan Republicans listened.
~ That means that it is very difficult to get a central message out the way it used to.
~ How do you get the message out on limited government; let's start with the fact that nobody in America cares about limited government. They care about the kind of society that limited government creates.
~ People are pragmatic. They want to hear about results. . . . So when you begin to push a message out focus on how it impacts life in the real world. And recognize as it gets sent along in all those tweets and different chains of communications to the end user, it will get changed a lot. But the tone of it matters at least as much as the content.
~ With this new media world and people exchanging information like they do, there is simply no way a centralized government can survive like has in the past several decades.
~ The changes we are going to see in the next decade will bring about the first significant spending cuts; I am talking real spending cuts, not reducing the growth of spending at the Federal level; Real spending cuts at the Federal level more than in five decades.
~ Even more than that it will be a a shift in the role of government and that is something that is painful to achieve. Every time you shift power and money from one group to another, the group losing power and money fights back.
~ The Political Class is not going to say that the public thinks we should be spending less and taxing less so we are going to give up our money.It will be an ugly, ugly fight.
~ I am optimistic about America's future, because the American people are ahed of their politicians and I trust the judgement of the American people far more than I trust any elected politician in America.
~ I am also optimist because I believe the American people have a good sense as to what is needed.
~ It going to difficult and some discomfort.
~ 81% of Americans believe that we are endowed with certain inalienable rights including the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
~ 77% of Americans believe a free market economy is better than a government managed economy.
~ 6 out 10 believe that when our nation is living up to our ideals we are the last best hope for mankind.
~ Americans believe in the principles and ideals that our country was founded upon.
~ What people need to do is what Dr. Martin Luther King did, America needs to live up to those ideals in good times and bad. We need to promote a message to become what they were supposed to be.
~ When people talk about politics they are not looking for a checklists ... the are looking for an advocate for the American people. . . a person who will take their views and opinions and make the political class surrender.

Tags: Scott Rasmussen, speech, RightOnline 2012, pollster, Rasmussen Reports, video, Richard Sincere, communications, news, new media, the future, The American People To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama and Holder: Hiding Something?

A.F. "Tony" Branco:
"Fast and Furious" turned out to be a bloody scandal after the U.S. Justice Department okayed the sale of guns to Mexican drug cartels, under the ridiculous excuse that this would give us the opportunity to get more information about the drug dealers. Somebody should be held accountable for the fact that one of these U.S. guns was used to murder U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Operation Fast and Furious allowed over 2,000 weapons to be smuggled to the violent Mexican drug cartels. A new book by investigative journalist Katie Pavlich, called "Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-up," asserts that a third gun was involved whose existence was covered up by the FBI and the Justice Department.
~ Phyllis Schlafly - Obama Bogged Down by Scandals

Related articles on AG Eric Holder and "Fast and Furious" (Oldest to Newest):

Tags: Scandal, Fast and Furious, gun running scandal, Operation, Fast & Furious, Oversight hearings, Eric Holder, Justice Department, Barack Obama, executive privilege, A.F. Branco, political cartoon, history, articles To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Washington Liberals Reveal Their Hypocrisy Over Free Speech

Today in Washington, D.C. - June 21, 2012:
- Banks and investors pensively await a notice of the anticipated downgrade in credit rating for American banks.
- Supreme Court decision on Obama care expected. The Hill is reporting. "Legal insiders are convinced the Supreme Court will strike down all or part of President Obama's healthcare law, according to a new survey of former Supreme Court clerks and attorneys who have argued before the court conducted by Purple Strategies on behalf of the conservative American Action Forum. According to the survey, "fifty-seven percent of the attorneys and former clerks now say they expect the court to strike down the law's individual mandate -- compared with just 35 percent who thought that was likely in March."

Obama Administration:
Commerce Secretary John Bryson announced today in a letter to President Obama that he is stepping down from his post, citing a recent seizure and medical leave of absence. Earlier this month, Bryson was cited in a felony hit-and-run car accident in Los Angeles after suffering a seizure while driving. It is unknown, weather this charge will holed if the medical problem created the situation.

The Senate reconvened and resumed consideration of S. 3240, the farm bill. They will vote on the final group of 8 farm bill amendments, all of which require 60 votes for adoption. Once all amendments have been voted on, the Senate will vote on final passage of S. 3240, which will require 60 votes to pass.  Senator John Boozman (R-AR) expressed the frustration of the major agricultural states with the Senate version put form by the democrats,  “Although the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill includes a number of important reforms, the commodity section of lacks vital protection for southern farmers, especially rice and peanuts.  I cannot support a Farm Bill that does not have a strong safety net for all crops and regions.. This nation has a diverse fabric of agriculture with a variety of risks, and we must write a Farm Bill that serves the country as a whole.  As the process moves forward, I feel confident we can come to an agreement that creates an equitable safety net for all crops and regions.”
Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1940, the flood insurance bill. A cloture vote could come this afternoon (a vote to cut off debate and begin considering the bill).

Yesterday, the Senate voted 53-46 against taking up S.J. Res. 37, the resolution of disapproval of the EPA’s expensive Utility-MACT regulation, offered by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK).

Also yesterday, during a long series of votes, the Senate adopted 7 amendments to the farm bill and rejected 9 more. Also rejected were two motions to recommit the bill to Agriculture Committee: a motion by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to recommit the bill and report it back reduced to funding levels from fiscal year 2008 and a motion from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to recommit the bill and report it back split into one bill on farm programs and another on food stamp programs.

The House reconvened and continued debate on H.R. 4480 — "To provide for the development of a plan to increase oil and gas exploration, development, and production under oil and gas leases of Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Defense in response to a drawdown of petroleum reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve."

Yesterday the House passed by voice vote . S. 3187 — "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to revise and extend the user-fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices, to establish user-fee programs for generic drugs and biosimilars, and for other purposes."

Also, yesterday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), approved a resolution along party lines to place Holder in Contempt of Congress after battling him for months over access to internal agency documents about the gun-tracking operation Fast and Furious. The resolution was sent to the Speaker of the House for consideration and action.  the vote was along party line.

The vote was forced by AG Eric Holders failure to provided documents to the Oversight Committee and the President actions yesterday. As reported, the President Obama asserted executive privileged over documents from the DOJ requested by the House Oversight committee investigating the incident known as Fast and Furious. Many, regardless of political affiliation, find this action by the Obama White House very onerous because Attorney General Eric Holder has been dragging his feet in providing requested documents and this White House action has been taken right before the final deadline and a potential charging of AG Eric Holder with Contempt of Congress.

Debate over Free Speech Continues - Do The Liberals Despise the Constitution?
Liberals fond of regulating and restricting political speech have come out of the woodwork to attack Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's warning of their threats to First Amendment. From Fred Wertheimer, to former DCCC chair Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Daily Kos, Robert Reich, Ed Schultz and Norm Ornstein (who recently wrote a book accusing Republicans and tea partiers of being what’s really wrong with Washington). Most of the criticism has been about their desire for disclosure, completely ignoring Leader McConnell’s point that “if disclosure is forced upon some but not all, it’s not an act of good government, it’s a political weapon.” He explained that liberals’ preferred policies amount to “an effort by the government itself to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies.”

"However, this week liberals have evidenced their hypocrisy regarding transparency and disclosure. Lachlan Markay, Heritage Foundation notes, “President Obama invoked executive privilege to prevent further congressional oversight of the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious operation on the same day it bemoaned the supposed lack of transparency among some conservative non-profits. Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, touted efforts on the campaign’s website to get Crossroads GPS, a conservative super PAC, to disclose its donors. But while Messina was hyping political transparency, Obama himself was ensuring the opacity of one of his Justice Department’s most controversial programs. On Wednesday morning, the president opted to stonewall the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s efforts to obtain documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, which facilitated the transportation of thousands of firearms across the southern border, where they were handed off to Mexican drug cartels with the foreknowledge of some top DOJ officials.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Free Beacon reports, “Liberal protesters funded by secretive, big money non-profits marched to the headquarters of a conservative super PAC on Wednesday to protest the influence of secretive big money in politics. Starting from a downtown Hilton in Washington, D.C., protesters marched more than a mile in sweltering heat before arriving at the headquarters of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, the political group cofounded by Republican strategist Karl Rove. The event was sponsored by such liberal groups as the Campaign for America’s Future, Rebuild the Dream, People for the American Way, Public Campaign, The Other 98%, Health Care for America Now, Alliance for Justice, Public Citizen, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).”

The Free Beacon adds, “Many of the groups sponsoring the rally engage in the same tactics they claim to deplore. . . . For example, the Campaign for America’s Future, which describes itself as ‘the strategy center for the progressive movement,’ does not disclose its donors. It could not be reached for comment. Billy Wimsatt, the partnerships director and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, was unsure if his organization released its donors. When asked if he knew who funded the group, he said, ‘That’s not my job.’ Rebuild the Dream was co-founded by former Obama green jobs czar and 9/11 Truther Van Jones, with help from the liberal activist group MoveOn. The organization was not available for comment to disclose its donors. Jones’ other organization, Color of Change, does not reveal its sources of funding.”

Heritage Foundation expert Hans von Spakovsky noted, “As a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, I have to say ‘amen’ to Sen. McConnell’s remarks.  The unprecedented attacks on political speech by ‘reform’ groups and mainstream media outlets have been unrelenting in the last three decades.  The so-called ‘reform’ laws passed by Congress with the approbation of the Washington Post and the New York Times to regulate the financing of federal campaigns have been complex, confusing pieces of legislation intended to protect incumbents and chill political speech.  Everyone who believes in the First Amendment and the fundamental rights protected by the Bill of Rights should unite to fight these deceptively-labeled ‘reform’ efforts. The First Amendment does not need to be reformed, just abided by.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., Obama administration, US House, US Snate, freed speech, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Supreme Eulogy - We Hope!

The following cartoon by William Warren details a projected positive hope for the decision to be released by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Obamacare and the Obama Presidency.  Hoping that his insight is correct!
Newsmax: House Speaker John Boehner said the Republican-led chamber will move to repeal President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul law if the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t strike it down.

“Unless the Supreme Court throws out the entire Obamacare bill, the House will move to repeal all of it,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters in Washington today.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of this month on the health-care law, passed by a Democratic-led Congress in 2010. The court heard arguments on the case in March.
Grace-Marie Turner, president of the non-profit research Galen Institute, has identified 10 reasons for overturning the entire Federal Healthcare Bill (Obamacare):
1. Employer mandate: Most companies will have to provide and pay for expensive government-determined health insurance for their employees or face federal fines.
2. Conscience mandate: Religious organizations will still be required to provide free sterilization, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees, even if this violates their religious beliefs.
3. New and higher taxes: The law contains at least 20 new taxes totaling $500 billion that will hit medical innovators, health insurance and even the sale of your home.
4. The Independent Payment Advisory Board: This unconstitutional board, with its rationing power over Medicare, will stand.
5. State exchanges: States will be compelled to set up vast new bureaucracies to check into our finances so they can hand out generous taxpayer subsidies for health insurance to families earning up to $90,000 a year.
6. Medicare payment cuts: $575 billion in payment reductions to Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans will cause more and more physicians to stop seeing Medicare patients, exacerbating access problems.
7. Higher health costs: The Kaiser Family Foundation says the average price of a family policy has risen by $2,200 during the Obama administration. The president promised premiums would be $2,500 lower. Hospitals, doctors, businesses and consumers all expect health costs to rise under the law.
8. Government control over doctor decisions: Value-based payments, quality reporting requirements and government comparative-effectiveness boards will dictate how doctors practice medicine. Nearly half of all physicians are seriously considering leaving practice, precipitating a doctor shortage.
9. Huge deficits: The Congressional Budget Office has raised its cost estimate for the law to $1.76 trillion over 10 years, but that is only the opening bid as more and more people will lose their job-based coverage and flood into taxpayer-subsidized insurance.
10. More than 150 new boards, agencies and programs: The Obama administration will work quickly to set up the law’s new bureaucracies to lock in government control of the health sector.
[See original article for supporting links]

Tags: Supreme Court, SCOTUS, eulogy, Obamacare, John Boehner, Repeal the bill, healthcare mandate, William Warren, political cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama Covers Holder with Executive Privilege

Update 4:10 pm: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), approved a resolution along party lines to place Holder in Contempt of Congress after battling him for months over access to internal agency documents about the gun-tracking operation Fast and Furious. The resolution now goes to the Speaker of the House for consideration and action.

Today in Washington, D.C. - June 20, 2012:
The White House and Dept. of Justice:
Today, the President Obama asserts executive privileged over documents from the DOJ requested by the House Oversight committee investigating the incident known as Fast and Furious. Many, regardless of political affiliation, find this action by the Obama White House very onerous because Attorney General Eric Holder has been dragging his feet in providing requested documents and this White House action has been taken right before the final deadline and a potential charging of AG Eric Holder with Contempt of Congress.

Executive Privilege goes to the Office of President and Vice President and White House communications and has been exercised by prior presidents. However, the information requested via the U.S House Oversight's investigation was not directed at documents and communications by the White House but at who implemented the program in the DOJ and when did Eric Holder first know about the decision by the DOJ to approve the the gun running activities under Fast and Furious.

Now that the White House has asserted executive privilege over the DOJ's documents, people are beginning to ask if the President or members of his White House staff were involved in the actions that led to Fast and Furious. If not, why this overreach by the White House to cover documents in Departments of the Government? If any member of the White House was involved, there is a major scandal being hidden by the Obama administration. Also, if we cannot trust the Attorney General and be allowed to have our elected representatives to carry out their oversight responsibility, what else may we have to fear from the White House and the Department of Justice? Will we see abuse of the upcoming 2012 election process by the White House and DOJ? We have noted the apparent bullying of of both states, government agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations. Will we see an even bigger wave of potentially bullying by the DOJ and other departments of the Federal government to advance the current White House's agenda - whatever that agenda may be?

The Congress:
The Senate reconvened today and resumed consideration of S.J. Res. 37, the resolution of disapproval of the EPA’s expensive Utility-MACT regulation, offered by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and voted 53-46 against taking up the resolution.

The Senate then resumed consideration of the farm bill, S. 3240. There are 45 amendments remaining to consider. When all amendments have been disposed of (via a roll call vote, voice vote, withdrawal, or adoption), the Senate will vote on passage of the farm bill, as amended. The bill will require 60 votes to pass. Yesterday, the Senate voted to adopt 6 amendments to the farm bill, and rejected 10 others.

As discussed above, the House Oversight Committee received notice by Eric Holder that the President Obama was exercising executive privledge over DOJ documents and communications.  The House Oversight Committee is at this time proceeding with debate on voting to cite AG Hodler with Contempt of Congress.

Yesterday, the House passed:
H.R. 2578 (232-188) — Tto amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act related to a segment of the Lower Merced River in California, and for other purposes."
HR 2938  (343-78)  — Gila Bend Indian Reservation gaming but did not vote on the bill.
They postponed debate instructions related to conferees on previously passed HR 4348 Federal Highway bill.

Today the House will debate instructions requirements for conferees on HR 4348 and will debate S. 3187 — "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to revise and extend the user-fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices, to establish user-fee programs for generic drugs and biosimilars, and for other purposes."

Return of the abusive Disclose Act:
Roll Call reports today that Senate Democrats are once again planning to vote on their partisan DISCLOSE Act. “The Supreme Court is expected Thursday to decide on a Montana case that could undercut or reaffirm the court’s controversial 2010 campaign finance decision — and don’t think Senate Democrats aren’t paying attention. Just four and a half months shy of national elections and against the backdrop of super PAC dominance, Democrats still see campaign finance as a winning issue . . . . [Sen. Sheldon] Whitehouse [D-RI] said he has been in conversations with Democratic leaders about ensuring that the DISCLOSE Act gets put on the legislative docket before the elections. And he has an ally in the Senate Democrats’ messaging chief, Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who is an original co-sponsor. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he again would bring up the bill to address the Citizens United decision. ‘We’re going to move on the DISCLOSE Act anyway,’ the Nevada Democrat said when asked whether the Supreme Court’s actions in the Montana case would affect the Senate strategy on the issue.”

In his major speech at AEI discussing threats to First Amendment rights, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained the DISCLOSE Act: “This is the Democrats’ legislative response to Citizens United, in which the Supreme Court correctly ruled that Congress may not ban political speech based on the identity of the speaker. The DISCLOSE Act aims to get around this ruling by compelling certain targeted groups to disclose the names of their donors, while excluding others, such as unions, from doing the same. . . . What this bill calls for is government-compelled disclosure of contributions to all grassroots groups, which is far more dangerous than its proponents are willing to admit. Because if disclosure is forced upon some but not all, it’s not an act of good government, it’s a political weapon. And that’s precisely what those who are pushing this legislation have in mind. This is nothing less than an effort by the government itself to exposes its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies. And that should concern every one of us. Those pushing the DISCLOSE Act have a simple view: if the Supreme Court is no longer willing to limit the speech of those who oppose their agenda, they’ll find other ways to do it.”

Meanwhile, President Obama and his allies have stepped up their assault on groups exercising their constitutional rights to political speech. According to The New York Times, “The lawyer for President Obama demanded on Tuesday that Crossroads GPS disclose its donors, saying in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that the group is plainly a ‘political committee’ subject to federal reporting requirements. In the complaint, obtained by The New York Times, Robert F. Bauer, the campaign’s chief counsel, writes that the group — founded by Karl Rove, among others — can no longer shield the identity of its donors by defining itself as a ‘social welfare’ organization. . . . Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for Crossroads, questioned Mr. Bauer’s motivation, saying that the president’s lawyers only seem to take issue with groups that benefit Republicans. He noted that Mr. Obama’s campaign has embraced Priorities USA Action, a Democratic group.”

And Politico reports today that the Obama campaign is busy promoting this action. “The Obama campaign has started a petition demanding that Crossroads GPS and similar groups disclose the identities of their donors. In an email with the eye-catching subject line, ‘Hell no,’ campaign manager Jim Messina implores supporters to ‘Do what these guys won't do: Let the country know exactly what you stand for by adding your name today.’ . . . The petition comes after the campaign filed a complaint Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission arguing that the groups are political committees and therefore should be subject to disclosure requirements. What the Obama campaign doesn't mention is that Democrats have their own outside groups that are not subject to the requirements.”

As Leader McConnell said, “Those who have the resources and the will to fight these things should be commended. Those who don’t should be able to count on our support. But let’s be very clear: no individual or group in this country should have to face harassment or intimidation, or incur crippling expenses, defending themselves against their own government, simply because that government doesn’t like the message they’re advocating.”

Tags: Washington. D.C, White House, executive privileged, DOJ, Eric Holder, Fast and Furious, House Oversight Committee, US Senate, Disclose Act, US House, bills To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Stacey: RightOnline 2012 Digital Activism #RO12

The 5th annual RightOnline (2012)  in Las Vegas, NV on June 15-16 had multiple workshops at the same time. One of the popular workshops - Digital Activism Workshop. It was covered Stacy On The Right:

Digital Activism Panel: How your Mobile Phone is Changing the Face of Grassroots
Steve Green of PJTV
Stephen Kruiser of PJTV
Javier Manjarres of Shark Tank

Get out of the blog post mindset! Activism is twitter! It's video! It isn't just blogging!
Nuts and bolts:
  • Anyone with an iPad, iPhone whatever, rigorously test the apps.  Do it quarterly. The apps change and get updated...  Glitches and interfaces should be watched for on a regular basis.
  • Focus on one or two things
  • Don't expect to get paid
  • If you are just starting out, no one will be watching or reading what you do!  It takes time to build a following
  • Use your phone and get busy
  • You will piss people off, toughen up and expect it.
  • Get serious about your equipment and make sure that it's ready.
  • Build your social media presence.
  • Relentlessly self promote!!
  • The three things matter most: Content, Content, Content

Tags: Right Online 2012, Digital Activism, workshop, Steve Green, PJTV,
Stephen Kruiser, Javier Manjarres, Shark Tank
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How can President Obama be so out of touch?

"The private sector's doing fine" - President Obama, June 8, 2012
Americans For Prosperity With 40 straight months of unemployment above 8%, 12.7 million unemployed, and 15 trillion in debt, how can President Obama be so out of touch? The private sector is not doing fine. Tell President Obama to support the Americans for Prosperity Jobs Agenda.

Americans For Prosperity: It's important to remember that any agenda to create jobs must focus on economic growth. Jobs are created through vibrant private-sector economic activity, not big government jobs programs that are funded on the backs of hardworking, taxpaying Americans. A tax-and-spend redistributionist plan will never create long-lasting stable job growth.

America must Restore a Competitive Tax and Regulatory Environment
  • Reform the tax code to remove distortions that allow politicians to manipulate individuals’ decisions and give preferential treatment to favored industries (read more)
  • Lower the corporate tax rate and switch to a territorial tax system that will encourage domestic investment and the free flow of capital (read more)
  • Avoid double and triple taxation of the same dollar by repealing the death tax (read more)
  • Rein in the EPA’s abuse of its regulatory authority, including efforts to shut down the coal industry and regulate greenhouse gases without congressional authorization (read more here and here)
  • Repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulations that purportedly dealt with “too big to fail” but instead created costly and ineffective layers of bureaucracy (read more)
  • Protect the American worker from the NLRB’s big union agenda (read more)
America must Repeal the President's Health Care Takeover
  • The President’s health care law is making it more expensive for businesses to add workers. It must be repealed in order to alleviate the so-called employer mandate and the corresponding tax hikes
  • Oppose implementation of health care exchanges that will give the federal government control over state health care marketplaces (read more)

America must Tackle Runaway Spending that is Driving our Debt Crisis
  • Government spending is producing massive amounts of debt that is crippling our nation’s economic future
  • Businesses aren't confident to invest and expand in the United States because of our nation’s dismal debt outlook
  • We need to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path by reforming Medicare, block granting federal welfare programs like Medicaid and allowing optional personal retirement accounts in Social Security

Tags: AFP, Americans for Prosperity, Obama, President Obama, private sector, economy, doing fine, unemployment national debt, AFP jobs agenda To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

KERPEN: Block Obama’s war on coal

Emissions rule threatens to pull plug on source of affordable electricity

Wikepedia: Anthracite Coal
Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: The president’s Dream Act-by-dictate provides the latest evidence of this administration’s determination to push its agenda through without respect to Congress, the Constitution or the rule of law. While there are enough examples to fill a book (which I wrote and titled “Democracy Denied”), the most outrageous of all is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) being used to advance an extreme anti-energy agenda that the American people decisively rejected when Mr. Obama proposed it as cap-and-trade. Wednesday we’ll find out where every U.S. senator stands.

In 2008, Barack Obama explained his energy policy: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad.” He went on to explain, “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can - it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

That plan was utterly repudiated by the American people. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to narrowly grease it through the House with hundreds of pages of corrupt special-interest provisions, but the Senate refused to even bring it up for a vote. Dozens of House Democrats who voted for it were turned out of office largely because of that vote. One coal-state Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, won a Senate seat by literally shooting a bullet through the bill in a campaign spot called “Dead Aim.”

Yet the day after the 2010 election, Mr. Obama said, “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end.”

The following week, the Center for American Progress released a report, complete with a cover letter from Obama transition co-chairman John Podesta, outlining ways in which Mr. Obama should bypass Congress and move his agenda forward by manipulating regulatory and executive power. Mr. Podesta’s report specifically recommended a regulation purporting to regulate mercury as a way to shut down coal plants and advance the global warming agenda.

Mr. Obama did just that, and it has become the linchpin of the war on coal. It is officially known as the “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards,” but is better known as Utility MACT, because it requires the “Maximum Achievable Control Technology” for mercury at coal-fired power plants.

U.S. power plants account for just 0.5 percent of all mercury in the air we breathe. According to an analysis by Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Willie Soon, coal plants emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury, while U.S. forest fires emit 44 tons per year, cremation of human remains 26 tons, Chinese power plants 400 tons, and natural sources like volcanoes and geysers about 9,000-10,000 tons.

Yet proponents of the rule, including the White House, insist it has enormous “co-benefits.” This dishonest argument claims that using mercury as a pretext to shut down coal plants will improve health outcomes - unrelated to mercury - by reducing particulate matter. Of course, particulate matter is already strictly regulated.

The EPA itself estimates annual compliance costs of about $10 billion per year, versus benefits from regulating mercury and other toxic emissions of just $6 million per year. A more realistic analysis from the National Economic Research Associates found compliance costs of $21 billion per year, with 183,000 lost jobs per year. The supposed health benefits would accrue to unborn babies of pregnant women in subsistence fishing households who eat in excess of 100 pounds of fish per year - a population the EPA has not proven actually exists.

More than 90 percent of utility industry executives believe the costs of Utility MACT will be passed on to retail customers, and more than half predict the price increases will be significant. Recent studies have projected retail price increases of at least 10 percent to 20 percent for most of the country, and more than 20 percent in the coal-dependent states of the Midwest.

That’s just the beginning. Pending greenhouse gas regulations - slated, conveniently, to go final just after this year’s elections - will require all coal plants undergoing major modifications to shut down or convert to natural gas. Because Utility MACT requires most existing coal plants to undergo major modifications, the two rules will combine to force mass coal retirements and accomplish Mr. Obama’s 2008 goal of bankrupting coal.

Wednesday the Senate is scheduled vote on Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe’s S.J. Res. 37, which would overturn Utility MACT. Each senator will either vote to let Mr. Obama govern by regulatory decree and make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket,” or reject Mr. Obama’s plan and take responsibility as a legislator.
Phil Kerpen is the president of American Commitment,  a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. He is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service. This opinion article was also shared on the Washington Times

Tags: Phil Kerpen, War on Coal, Barack Obama, Obama Administration, EPA To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

It's Time For An American Economic Miracle: Good Money, Good Jobs

Ralph Benko
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Our presidential candidates squared off in Ohio last week, each merrily indicting the policies of the other.  Both speeches lacked one crucial plank in their platforms.  Good jobs require good money.  The absence of good monetary policy is submerging the whole world in a second decade of “Dark Ages” stagnation … and misery.

Romney’s choice of Columbia business school dean R. Glenn Hubbard as a key economic adviser is promising. It means a Romney administration is more likely to adopt free market policies of economic growth than those offered by Mr. Obama. Obama’s idea of collegial collaboration is to yank his tax increase leash and yell Heel! at Republicans. Obama is hampered by an attitude that treats businesspeople as alien and, other than as his campaign donors, fundamentally sinister. That’s a recipe for, well, 8.2% unemployment. But something important is missing from both. and editor John Tamny nails the missing variable:
Unstable money values lead to chaotic pricing of investments and goods purchases in much the same way that an unstable minute would lead to a lot of burnt apple pies. Once this is understood it should be clear that stability of the measure of value is the goal….
Tamny’s right. Good money was key to the Erhard German “Economic Miracle” of 1948, the Wirtschaftswunder — which started out from a much more dire baseline than America confronts. Ludwig Erhard took an utterly destroyed, destitute, and demoralized Germany from ruin to riches in stunning fashion. It is a forgotten story, but… Erhard, in his memoir Prosperity Through Competition, available through the generosity of the Mises Institute here, sums up the basis of the miracle:
“The big chance for Germany came in 1948: it depended on linking the currency reform with an equally resolute economic reform, so as to end once and for all the whole complex of State controls of the economy-from production to the final consumer-which, following in the wake of the people’s nonsensical demands, had lost all touch with reality. Today few can realize how much courage and sense of responsibility were needed for such a step. Some time later two Frenchmen, Jacques Rueff and Andre Piettre, summed up the combination of economic and currency reform thus:
‘The black market suddenly disappeared. Shop windows were full of goods; factory chimneys were smoking; and the streets swarmed with lorries. Everywhere the noise of new buildings going up replaced the deathly silence of the ruins. If the state of recovery was a surprise, its swiftness was even more so. In all sectors of economic life it began as the clocks struck on the day of currency reform. Only an eye-witness can give an account of the sudden effect which currency reform had on the size of stocks and the wealth of goods on display. Shops filled up with goods from one day to the next; the factories began to work. On the eve of currency reform the Germans were aimlessly wandering about their towns in search of a few additional items of food. A day later they thought of nothing but producing them. One day apathy was mirrored on their faces while on the next a whole nation looked hopefully into the future.’”
Good money (and low tax rates) were also the key to America’s great Industrial Revolution prosperity.  Economic historian Brian Domitrovic writes, in Forbes:
Booms in the 19th century – for example, 1875 to 1892 – saw growth sustained for decades at 5.3%. A growth rate of 5.3% means that in just twenty-five years, the economy is two-thirds larger than under a rate of 3.3%.

“What was the secret to the outsized growth of the 19th century, particularly its latter portion, the Gilded Age? There were great technological innovations and large population increases, to be sure – but these things came in the 20th century as well. What was different back then was the absence of macroeconomic institutions.

There was no Federal Reserve, and there was no income tax …. No wonder we had such an incredible boom.”
Good money was fundamental to De Gaulle’s French Economic Miracle of 1958 engineered by the same Jacques Rueff cited by Erhard.  Good money was fundamental to the Reagan Revolution.  Reagan, with Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, reformed the papier mâché Carter Dollar … and cut marginal tax rates.  Good money and lower marginal rates put America on course to drive its key stock market index from 1,000 to 14,000.

Gov. Romney, last January, told Larry Kudlow, “You know, I’m happy to look at a whole range of ideas on how to have greater stability in our currency and in our monetary policies.” Romney senior economic adviser R. Glenn Hubbard, argues vigorously against the “discretionary activism” of the Obama Fed in a book he recently co-authored, Seeds of Destruction, which entitles a chapter “Why an Easy-Money Street is a Dead End.”

But in the Buckeye State the candidates were duking it out on tax, spending, and regulatory policy.  All of these are, of course, important.  If “taxmaggedon” hits as scheduled in January America might well join in the collapse of the wobbly economies of Europe.  But neither candidate addressed, much less emphasized, the missing element required for job growth: good money.

The presidential candidates have dramatically differing views on what constitutes good monetary policy.  Obama seems to favor Chairman Bernanke’s central planning discretionary activism.  The GOP stands for what economist John Taylor called, in the Wall Street Journal, “a … more rules-based policy of the kind that has worked in the past.” Republican elites lean toward the Taylor Rule.  The GOP base — including the followers of libertarian icon Ron Paul and Tea Party champion Herman Cain — leans strongly toward the true gold standard (as detailed in the eponymous book by Lewis E. Lehrman, whose nonprofit Institute this writer professionally advises).

If Prof. Taylor is serious about a “policy of the kind that has worked in the past” he need look no further than the work of the late Roy Jastram, professor in the School of Business Administration, Berkeley. Jastram’s work widely is considered, well, the gold standard on the performance of monetary standards in history. In 1981 Jastram summed up  a key finding:
“From the time the United States went off the gold standard in 1933 the wholesale price level has gone up by 760%. Since England abrogated the gold standard in 1931 her price index number has risen by over 2000%.
“Before that the two countries had a combined history of 350 years of long-run price stability. The price level was the same in the United States in 1930 as it had been in 1800. In England the price index stood at 100.0 in 1717 (the first year of her gold standard) and it was at that figure again in 1930.”

Good jobs require good money. Rep. Kevin Brady, vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (with 42 House cosponsors) and Sen. Mike Lee have begun to move the monetary reform question on Capitol Hill.  These leaders are doing something important in helping to hammer out the missing variable in job creation, good money, and creating a forum where the proponents of the Taylor Rule and the proponents of the gold standard can make their respective cases.

Time, and past time, for an American Economic Miracle.  Good money is absolutely necessary for prosperity and for job creation.  Time for the presidential candidates to give us their recipes for good money instead of the discretionary paper dollar recipe for burnt apple pies.
Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to he ARRA News Service. The article which first appeared in Forbes was submitted for reprint by the author.

Tags: Ralph benko, American Economic Miracle, Good Money, Good Jobs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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