Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wall Street Journal
It's no fun to kick a state when it's down – especially when the local politicians are doing a fine job of it – but the latest news of Michigan's deepening budget woe is a national warning of what happens when you raise taxes in a weak economy.
Officials in Lansing reported this month that the state faces a revenue shortfall between $350 million and $550 million next budget year. This is a major embarrassment for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the second-term Democrat who shut down the state government last year until the Legislature approved Michigan's biggest tax hike in a generation.
Her tax plan raised the state income tax rate to 4.35% from 3.9%, and increased the state's tax on gross business receipts by 22%. Ms. Granholm argued that these new taxes would raise some $1.3 billion in new revenue that could be "invested" in social spending and new businesses and lead to a Michigan renaissance.
Not quite. Six months later one-third of the expected revenues have vanished as the state's economy continues to struggle. Income tax collections are falling behind estimates, as are property tax receipts and those from the state's transaction tax on home sales.
Michigan is now in the 18th month of a state-wide recession, and the unemployment rate of 6.9% remains far above the national rate of 5%. Ms. Granholm blames the nationwide mortgage meltdown and higher energy prices for the job losses and disappearing revenues, but this Great Lakes state is in its own unique hole. Nearby Illinois (5.4% jobless rate) and even Ohio (5.6%) are doing better.
Leon Drolet, the head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, complains that "we are witnessing the Detroit-ification of Michigan." By that he means that the same high tax and spend policies that have hollowed out the Motor City are now infecting many other areas of the state.
The tax hikes have done nothing but accelerate the departures of families and businesses. Michigan ranks fourth of the 50 states in declining home values, and these days about two families leave for every family that moves in. Making matters worse is that property taxes are continuing to rise by the rate of overall inflation, while home values fall.
Michigan natives grumble that the only reason more people aren't blazing a path out of the state is they can't sell their homes. Research by former Comerica economist David Littmann finds that about the only industry still growing in Michigan is government. Ms. Granholm's $44.8 billion budget this year further fattened agency payrolls.
There's another national lesson from the Granholm tax dud. If Democrats believe that anger over the economy and high gas prices have put voters in a receptive mood for higher taxes, they should visit the Wolverine State.
Just a few weeks ago taxpayer advocates collected enough signatures in suburban Detroit for a ballot initiative to recall powerful Speaker of the House Andy Dillon,* who was one of last year's tax-hike ringleaders. Voters seem to think there would be rough justice if for once politicians, rather than workers, lose their jobs from higher taxes.
*An update about the recall:
I received an e-mail from Leon Drolet which states,
Michigan Secretary of State has released their preliminary review of the petition signatures submitted for the purpose of recalling the tax-raising Speaker of the Michigan House, Andy Dillon. The Secretary of State's (SOS) preliminary review contends that the petition drive is 500 signatures short of the 8,724 valid signatures required for Speaker Dillon to face recall, despite having turned in over 15,500 signatures. The SOS believes that several petition circulators who gathered a very significant number of signatures are not registered voters residing in Andy Dillon's district. ...
The SOS will issue their final validity report on June 5th.
By then, we will have done our best to rebut many of the findings in the SOS preliminary report and review all legal options. Things have and will continue to be difficult, but it ain't over yet.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
by William W. Beach, Ben Lieberman, David Kreutzer, Ph.D. and Nick Loris WebMemo #1930
Workers and families in the state of Michigan may be wondering how climate change legislation before Congress will affect their income, their jobs, and the cost of energy. Members of Congress are considering a number of bills designed to address climate change. Chief among them is S. 2191, America's Climate Security Act of 2007, introduced by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA). 1
The Lieberman–Warner legislation promises extraordinary perils for the American economy, should it become law, all for very little change in global temperature…perhaps even smaller than the .07 of a degree Celsius drop in temperature that many scientists expected from worldwide compliance with the Kyoto climate change accords. S. 2191 imposes strict upper limits on the emission of six greenhouse gases (GHG) with the primary emphasis on carbon dioxide (CO2). The mechanism for capping these emissions requires emitters to acquire federally created permits (called allowances) for each ton emitted.
Arbitrary restrictions predicated on multiple untested and undeveloped technologies will lead to severe restrictions on energy use and large increases in energy costs. In addition to the direct impact on consumers' budgets, these higher energy costs will spread through the economy, injecting unnecessary inefficiencies at virtually every stage of production and consumption.
Implementing S. 2191 will be very costly in Michigan, even given the most generous assumptions.
Ftom 2012 to 2030 the loss in Gross State Product,Non-Farm Employment Manufacturing Jobs, and Personal Income Lost would be in the millions
Table here Table 1: Estimated Economic Impact of S. 2191 in Michigan
Consumers will be hard hit. Table 2 shows the expected increases in retail energy prices (adjusted to 2006 dollars to eliminate the impact of inflation) in 2025 for Michigan. Between 2012, when the restrictions first apply, and 2025, the prices of electricity, natural gas, and gasoline could rise by nearly 20 percent nationally when compared to prices in a world without S. 2191.
Changes in Household Energy Prices in Michigan Due to S. 2191
Natural Gas $181
Note: The current annual cost of natural gas is based on consumption and prices as of 2006, the most recent data available. The annual cost of gasoline is based on the average price of regular unleaded in each state on May 20, 2008.
In addition to taking a bite out of consumers' pocketbooks, the high energy prices throw a monkey wrench into the production side of the economy. Contrary to the claims of an economic boost from "green" investment and "green-collar" job creation, S. 2191 reduces economic growth, gross domestic product (GDP), and employment.
To learn more about the economic effects of the Lieberman-Warner legislation, see "The Economic Costs of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Legislation", CDA Report published on May 12, 2008. This Report is available at www.heritage.org. The authors gratefully acknowledge the work of Dr. Shanea Watkins in preparing the maps used in this briefing memo.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The "energy plan" announced by the Democrats offers one thing: a significant slowdown of our economy for at least twenty years. Those who run both legislative branches of the congress, and the energy plans of both of their leading candidates for president clothe themselves in the mantle of righteousness. That the Republicans are allowing this to happen, right before our eyes, tells us much about the sad state of American politics.
From their official website, here is the summary paragraph (including the bad grammar) of the Democrat plan to solve the energy crisis:
We will create a cleaner, greener and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop energy alternatives, and investing in energy independent technology.
This is also the Democrat solution. Get it? The Democrat plan is the Democrat solution. In logic this is called petitio principii or "begging the question."
Ask yourself: which of the five components of the "plan" should happen first? "Reducing our dependence on foreign oil" is listed first. But it cannot happen first. In order to keep the economy moving ahead, some type of energy must replace foreign oil-and this energy must be tangible, readily available, and close to the market price of the energy it is replacing.
This is a crucial point and very few people seem to understand it. We cannot solve the energy crisis by talking about the creation of, say, hydrogen fuel cells for cars. We must have a fully functioning economy in the intervening thirty or forty years that it will take to "develop energy alternatives" like hydrogen fuel cells. In other words, the pressing question is not "What energy alternative will we be using in forty years?" The real question is: What energy alternative will we be using tomorrow that will allow us the economic prosperity to create future alternative energies much further down the road?
Presently, over eighty-five per cent of our energy comes from "fossil fuels." We use more than twenty million barrels of oil every day in this country. For the economy to expand and give us time to create alternative forms of energy we will need more, not less, moderately priced fossil fuels in the intervening years. Nowhere in the Democrat plan is there a strategy to provide this energy.
Make no mistake, we are entering an energy crisis. At five dollars a gallon a typical low-income family will spend nearly 20% of total income on gasoline each year. At ten dollars a gallon these people will not get to work -- especially in rural or suburban America where a car is an absolute must.
Where will the desperately needed and moderately priced energy come from? Most of the currently developed oil fields are in the hands of dictators, like Hugo Chavez and the Saudi Royal Family or in the hands of socialist governments, like Norway, Mexico, and Russia. They can afford to keep production low and prices high. Indeed, given their controlled economies, it makes absolute economic sense for them to do so. It is our job (not Saudi Arabia's) to develop new natural gas and oil resources to help stem rising energy costs.
The Democrat plan also calls for "eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies." (I could not discover when and how the federal government has provided "billions in subsides for oil and gas companies." I assume that this really means raising taxes on oil and gas companies.) How is this strategy going to provide one gallon of fuel for Americans? It certainly has not worked in the past when price controls and higher taxes have always led to long lines at the gas pumps.
The Democrats are playing a very dangerous game. If we do not have a viable, recession free, economy in the short and medium term, then we will not get to a "cleaner, greener and stronger America" in the long run. We will not be able to sustain short-term economic growth that leads to long-term technological development without moderately priced energies being available throughout the process.
Republicans, if they are truly interested in America's future, had better start to point out the obvious flaws in the Democrats' "plan." Time to start drilling.
Larrey Anderson is a philosopher and writer living in Idaho.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Please call your State Representative and urge them to vote YES on SB 776, which should be on the House floor for a vote THIS WEEK. Please also contact Governor Granholm and urge her to sign this bill into law. NOTE: The HOUSE is voting on a SENATE bill; please be aware to contact your HOUSE Representative about SENATE Bill 776.
Partial Birth Abortion Vote Coming May 21-22
After three weeks of sporadic negotiations, a tentative agreement to take up the PBA ban along with some bills regarding contraception seemed to be in place. As this week unfolded, however, no confirmation was forthcoming that the proabortion contingent in the House was prepared to stick to the deal. Finally, by Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Andy Dillon personally (face-to-face) assured RLM President Barb Listing that the vote would take place next week. While there is still reason to mistrust certain members of the proabortion forces, who may yet try to "blow up" the deal at the last minute, prolife House members are prepared to take whatever procedural action is necessary to see that the vote takes place.
Call your State Representative and urge them to:
Especially If your State Representative is one of the following:Marc Corriveau, Andy Coulouris, Kate Ebli, Lee Gonzales, Richard Hammel, Gino Polidori, Richard LeBlanc, Matthew Gillard, Tim Melton, Shanelle Jackson, Bettie Scott, Virgil Smith
Saturday, May 17, 2008
So of course, I love horses and every year for as long as I can remember I have watched the Triple Crown. It has been over 25 years since any horse has won the Triple Crown and with the passing of Settle Slew, there are no living Triple Crown winners. Proving that it is an amazing feat of athletic virtuoso to win the Triple Crown.
Every year a favorite emergences and this year is no exception. This year it is "Big Brown" and I watched him win the Kentucky Derby 2 weeks ago. And I thought, "Could this be the one?"
It was not just his performance in the Derby that made me think, he could be "The One," it was, I realized his name, Big Brown that brought back memories of one of the greatest racehorses of all time and 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who was called "Big Red"
Thinking about Secretariat brought back other memories, when I was entering young adulthood. The late sixty and early 70's were a time of cultural and political upheavals.
In 1973, President Nixon was in the White House, the war in Vietnam was ending, there was the Watergate scandal, and the "hipper" counterculture movement was in full swing. Because of the war, many Americans were dived and the culture clash between the younger hippies and older established generations acerbated that divide.
However, the big beautiful chestnut, Secretariat became headlines. For a brief moment, we were not for and against the war, hippies, or establishment; we were just Americans rooting for this incredible athlete in his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years
Secretariat set still-standing track records in two of the three races in the Series, the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24). He won the Belmont Stakes by an unbelievable 31 lengths! He named Horse of the Year. He was on the cover of Time magazine.
In 2005, Secretariat appeared once more in ESPN Classic's show Who's No. 1?. In the list of "Greatest Sports Performances" (by individual athletes), the horse was the only non-human on the list, his run at Belmont ranking second behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game.
The horse was named the greatest athlete wearing #2 (the saddle cloth number he wore in the Belmont Stakes) by Sports Illustrated.
Secretariat became a beloved figure with fans and non-fans of horse racing coming to see Big Red at Claiborne farm, where he stood at stud from 1974 through 1989, living in the same stall, which was once home to his sire, Bold Ruler. Secretariat sired a substantial number of major stakes winners,
In the fall of 1989, Secretariat was afflicted with laminitis, a painful and often incurable hoof condition. His condition failed to improve, and he was euthanized on October 4. He is buried at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky.
For those who never had the chance to see the great Secretariat run or for those who did
Here is Secretariat running Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1973
I cried my heart out watching him. For one moment, it was 1973 and he was my "animal hero." He will always have a place in my heart.
Secretariat running the Kentucky Derby
Secretariat running in the Preakness
Secretariat running and winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lenghts!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Coming to your state...Once again black robed renegades snub their nose at the Constitutional separation of powers and legislate from the bench!
Hopefully this promotion of the homosexual agenda from the bench will backfire as it will surely galvanize traditional marriage supporters in their efforts to get a marriage measure on the November ballot in California.
Dear heavenly Father, please heal our land...
May 15, 2008
By Cheryl Wetzstein
- The California Supreme Court has ruled that state marriage laws are unconstitutional, opening the way for gay marriage in the state. The "language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union 'between a man and a woman' is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute," the seven-member court ruled in a 4-3 decision.
The designation of marriage must be made available to opposite-sex and same-sex couples, it said in a 121-page opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald L. George. The court also struck down section 308.5, which was added by voters in 2000, that says, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The court then remanded the issue back to the Court of Appeal "for further action consistent with this opinion."
"Today is a day I will never forget," Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, said in an email minutes after the decision was released at 10 a.m. PDT. "It is with unimaginable joy that I write to tell you that the California Supreme Court just ruled in our favor, declaring that each of us has the freedom to marry the person we love," he wrote.
The court has "engaged in the worst kind of judicial activism today, abandoning its role as an objective interpreter of the law and, instead, legislating from the bench," said Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at the Concerned Women for America.
The decision galvanizes a political battle in California — traditional marriage supporters are making headway in their efforts to get a marriage measure on the November ballot. The measure would put the words "Only a marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized in California" into the state constitution.
If passed by voters, the measure could affect the court's decision.
A marriage amendment also is expected to appear on the November ballot in Florida and possibly in Arizona. In the meantime, California is likely to attract thousands of gay couples seeking to marry. Massachusetts legalized gay marriages in 2004. However, a state residency law, which says out-of-state couples cannot marry if their marriages would not be recognized in their home states, discouraged out-of-state gay couples from marrying there.
California has no such residency law.
In the lawsuit, In re Marriage Cases, the California Supreme Court evaluated the constitutionality of state marriage laws and found that such laws were unconstitutional. It further said that the current situation in California, in which opposite-sex couples marry and same-sex couples enter a domestic partnership, is unfair. This is because such an arrangement "poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect."
The high court said that "extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples" would be best.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
While oil and gasoline prices continue to rise, the rhetoric and actions of Democrats in Congress seem destined to push those costs even higher, contrary to the Dems' promise that they used to get elected to majorities in 2006 that they had "a common-sense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices".
Investor's Business Daily has a continuing series on "Breaking the Back of High Oil", and today's edition has a fascinating breakdown of some of the actions that the Democrats have taken over the last three decades or so to ensure that our country has no defense against the effects of rising oil prices. While doing so, they've made us all captives of OPEC and such tinpot dictatorships such as Venezuela.
Today's editorial in the series, Who Is Really Responsible For The High Prices You Pay For Gasoline?, points out that we have attempted to get Congressional approval for drilling in Alaska's ANWR region for the last 28 years. Remember that the next time a Democrat brings up the "fact" that it will take 10 years to get ANWR on line - if President Clinton hadn't vetoed ANWR drilling the time that it evaded blocking maneuvers by Democrats and got through a Republican controlled Congress in the mid-90s, we'd be in the second or third year of active production from that oil field. Any such domestic drilling would have produced substantial downward pressure on international oil prices set by the cartels - so in addition to having our own new source of oil, prices we pay internationally today would have been cheaper.
Other actions during the past few decades that the Democrats (and a few stray Republicans) have taken to ensure that we have high energy prices include:
For the past 31 years, Congress repeatedly prevented us from building any new oil refineries that we now badly need.
More recently, congressional Democrats defeated and discouraged any bill that would let us drill in the deep sea 100 miles out. However, it's somehow OK for China to drill there.
As a further indictment of our Congress, since the 1980s it has continually stopped all building of nuclear power plants while France, Germany and, yes, Japan, plus 12 other major nations, did build plants and now get 20% to 80% of their energy from their wise and safe nuclear plant investments.
From 1990 to 2000, U.S. crude oil demand rapidly accelerated by 7.41 quadrillion BTUs, according to Department of Energy data. And our rate of foreign oil dependency dramatically increased while our domestic oil production steadily declined.
Under the eight Clinton years alone, U.S. oil production declined 1,349,000 barrels per day, or 19%, while our foreign imports increased 3,574,000 barrels per day, or 45%.
The offshore drilling debacle is particularly goading.
Cuba made a huge offshore discovery of oil in 2006, 50 miles or less off the coast of Florida. As it's in Cuban territory, that country has sold off blocks for development to Venezuela and China. Correctly assuming that the United States was best equipped to drill responsibly in that area (thus protecting Florida's coastline), Republicans in Congress introduced the "Western Hemisphere Energy Security Act of 2006", which would have allowed US companies to lease that land in Cuba's territorial waters. The bill was killed before hearings were even held on it.
With the enormous amount of information available to the public on Congress' actions (or inactions) on energy policy over the past 30 years, it should be easy to paint Democrats as the "owners" of high oil and gasoline prices.
As for alternative energy sources other than nuclear that everyone seems to be pushing, there's no guarantee that any of those will 1) be a viable large-scale substitute of energy derived from fossil fuels, and 2) result in cheaper energy. And remember the law of unintended consequences.
Ethanol was sold to the American public as a cleaner and cheaper alternative to gasoline. It is neither, and the demand for corn-based ethanol has had the added impact of increasing food costs worldwide.
As the IBD editorial states, "It's wake-up time for America. Maybe we should investigate the blame-throwing investigators in Congress."
I highly suggest that all readers check out the series "Breaking the Back of High Oil" on the IBD web site. Use the FACTS to write letters to the editor to educate and inform.
Call your Congressional reps and demand that they remove regulations that hinder drilling and the building of new refineries, such as Arizona Clean Fuels.
The demand for oil will only increase here and globally. We need to act NOW or be faced with ever increasing cost at the pump and at the grocery store.
Monday, May 12, 2008
This will be a tough race but I believe that with a candidate like Chris we have an excellent chance of unseating Gene Wigglesworth. Chris is extremely organized, a tireless campaigner, and has some great endorsements coming down the pipe (more on those in a soon to come update). However, more than that Chris is motivated by a deep desire to see long needed changes and to return the Ingham county sheriff’s dept into one that truly does "protect and serve" the community.
A short time ago, I had an opportunity to interview Chris
Chris what has motivated you to run?
I am a conservative that believes very strongly in limited government, upholding the rights of an individual’s civil liberties and property rights given to us by our Constitution. I grew up the son of an Ingham County Deputy. My father's job was true community policing as I watched him serve and protect the public. This ideology no longer exists in the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department.
It has become a machine bent on generating revenue through leasing jail space, seizing property as directed by family court and traffic enforcement. A corporate culture of greed and irresponsible spending runs through the current system.
I was a Deputy and a Rescue Diver under the current Sheriff and left because I objected to Gene Wigglesworth's policies.
Chris, what is your vision for the Ingham Co Sheriff’s dept?
I intend to restructure the Department to create an environment that rewards frugality, promotes individuals who help citizens, and restore the public’s respect for law enforcement. The Ingham County family of law enforcement has a broken home; I am determined to fix it.
Chris how can volunteers contact you to get involved in your campaign?
The Committee to Elect Chris Greenshields at http://www.08sheriff.com/ Or you may e-mail Chris directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, May 10, 2008
"If we all spent $10 a week on Michigan products, we could put $36 million every week back into the state's economy". That was powerful to me.
Every day I hear people bemoan the state of Michigan's economy. Here was a simple and impactful thing that each of us could do to help.
I contacted a woman named Jeanne Lipe at the Michigan Agri-tourist Department who confirmed that the numbers were correct and gave me some leads to get started on what has turned into this email today. The idea is to shift $10 per week of your grocery budget to products that are from Michigan companies.
I wanted an easy to use list of Michigan products that I could find at my local grocery store. I have attached a copy of that list to this email. It is in no way complete, but it will get you off to a good start if you should choose to help out.
Some things I learned along the way:
There are a lot of Michigan owned grocery stores that are supporting other Michigan businesses on their shelves. Spartan stores are a cooperative, this means that if you buy a Michigan made product from a Spartan affiliated grocery store, you are getting a "triple dip".
The product is made in Michigan, the grocery store is independently owned by a Michigan family, and Spartan Stores headquarters is located in Grand Rapids.
Other independently owned stores are a "double dip". This includes stores like Randazzo's and Westborn markets. Meijer is based in Grand Rapids, MI.
I believe it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
It may be a small thing but this simple suggestion is something we can all do to help
Here is the list of of Michigan-made products that you can find at your local grocery store. Print it out and take it with you on your next shopping trip!
Product brand names company located in:
all purpose gourmet spice blend deyoung's fore seasons hartland
bill knapp's cake etc. awrey battle creek
brats alexander & hornung st. clair shores
bread flatout saline
bread and muffin mixes jbdough benton harbor
cereal kellogg's battle creek
cheese reny-picot benton harbor
cheese s. serra warren
chewy granola bars yotta bar maple city
chocolates morley's sterling heights
condiments american spoon petosky
cookies archway livonia
cookies& crackers keebler battle creek
dairy goods bareman's holland
dairy goods calder carleton
dairy goods cf burger detroit
dairy goods guernsey northville
dairy goods melody farms livonia
dairy goods dairy fresh taylor
soynut snack products nature's select owosso
extra virgin olive oil kenzoil ann arbor
garlic bread - frozen cole's grand rapids
herring ma cohen's detroit
hommus basha ferndale
horseradish brede's detroit
hot dogs etc kowalski hamtramck
juice old orchard sparta
lunch meat & sausages koegel's flint
mexican food hacienda mexican detroit
muffins and snack cakes weight watchers jackson
muffins, brownies etc jiffy mix chelsea
mustard mucky duck ferndale
natural foods eden's clinton township
nuts germack detroit
packaged vegetables butter blends grand rapids
pasta al dente whitmore lake
pasta - frozen pierino lincoln park
pasta sauce sansonetti foods holly
pasta sauce romano's shelby township
peanuts and snack food kars madison heights
peanuts and tortilla chips great lakes snacks or festida cedar springs
pickles freestone pickles bangor
pickles topor's detroit
pop faygo detroit
pop vernor's detroit
private label beef jerky spartan, meijer taylor
produce aunt mid's detroit
rice and tapioca pudding spillson's monroe
salad dressings litehouse lowell
salsa sansonetti foods holly
sausage dearborn sausage dearborn
snack foods better made detroit
sugar pioneer and big chief bay city
sugar free candies dr. john's grand rapids
tortilla chips, salsa garden fresh, ferndale
tortillas la michoacana detroit
tortillas don marcos romulus
tortillas la jalisciense detroit
turkey (deli) golden legacy, brickman's grand rapids
tuscan italian foods elena's auburn hills
water absopure plymouth
wines st. julian paw paw
The foods on this list may be available at these Michigan owned grocer’s :
Vince & Joe’s
If you don’t see them at your store, ask for them!
In addtion here is a list of Michigan Farmer's markets around the state:
More information here about Michigan products
Friday, May 9, 2008
By Stephen Dinan
- Democrats are trying to chase from the political playing field a new conservative group expected to spend tens of millions of dollars this year attacking liberal candidates. Using accusations of links to gambling and "forced abortions," the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is striving to make the group, Freedom's Watch, too toxic for Republicans to stomach.
"House Republicans and Republican candidates need to decide whether they can afford to partner with Freedom's Watch, a group that embodies the Republicans' culture of corruption by consistently breaking the law and is bankrolled by money that is inconsistent with their values," said Jennifer Crider, communications director for the DCCC. Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson is the principal financial backer for the group, which has taken a major role in attacking Democratic candidates in recent special congressional elections.
Faced with the group's deep pockets, the DCCC has fired off mail and broadcast ads highlighting Mr. Adelson's gambling interests and ties with China, which they argue is "a country notorious for forced abortions."
Democrats this week filed a third legal challenge to the group with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). "It's been reported that Freedom's Watch intends to spend up to $200 million this cycle against congressional Democrats, and that's money coming from sources that believe very different things than the people in Louisiana, Mississippi and elsewhere across the country," Miss Crider said.
Freedom's Watch officials said they would not discuss the organization's financial wherewithal, but disputed the reports of a budget upward of $200 million. Ed Patru, vice president for communications at Freedom's Watch, said the effort to sully candidates by association is silly.
"'Vote against candidate X because he has common values with philanthropist Y, who has business interests in China where, by the way, abortion is legal.' What a dynamite argument," Mr. Patru said, adding that the House's top Democrat is also susceptible to guilt by association. "Given Nancy Pelosi's relationship with Syria's [President Bashar] Assad, we're not surprised her campaign arm is going after one of Israel's most prolific benefactors." (Love it!)
"There are numerous degrees of separation between the issues in Mississippi and issues in Chinese provinces. We're looking forward to getting linked to Kevin Bacon next week," he said, referring to the parlor game of trying to link movie stars to the ubiquitous actor.
With House Republicans' own committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), reeling from poor fundraising and an embezzlement scandal, the ads from Freedom's Watch have filled a gap. At stake is Democrats' majority in the House, which they won in 2006 after 12 years in the minority.
Freedom's Watch is organized under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Service code, which frees it from certain fundraising limits and reporting requirements that apply to traditional political groups. In 2004, liberal 527s far outspent conservative ones, though Democrats are still furious over one 527 group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which attacked presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry.
The stated goal of Freedom's Watch is advancing conservative causes, and Mr. Patru said that includes defending Democrats when they share the same positions. He pointed to ads that the group ran last year defending Rep. Brian Baird, Washington Democrat, against attacks by liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org after Mr. Baird concluded that the surge of troops in Iraq had been a success.
After a staff shake-up earlier this year, Freedom's Watch has become far more active in day-to-day politics, sending reporters several e-mails a day that attack Democratic leaders. The group has taken a broader role in electoral politics: In recent months, Freedom's Watch ran ads boosting Republican Bob Latta, who won a special election for an open congressional seat from Ohio; ran $560,000 in ads attacking Democrat Don Cazayoux, who won a congressional seat from Louisiana last weekend; and is airing an ad in Mississippi's open congressional district, which holds a special election Tuesday.
To counterattack, the DCCC sent 20,000 pieces of mail in Louisiana's 6th Congressional District to Republican and independent households tying the Republican candidate, Woody Jenkins, to Mr. Adelson. "A casino mogul who made his money in Las Vegas uses it in a country that forces its citizens to have abortions and for Woody Jenkins," reads one mailing.
In March, Mr. Adelson ranked 12th on Forbes' list of wealthiest people in the world with a net worth of $26 billion. He runs several casinos, including two in Macao, a Chinese territory. The DCCC has also filed complaints arguing that Freedom's Watch and the NRCC coordinated their campaigns, which would violate federal laws, has charged that the group goes beyond the activities allowed by IRS code, and this week filed a complaint that Freedom's Watch didn't file the right forms from its ads in Louisiana. Freedom's Watch said the forms were filed, and the FEC has been slow to post them.
Both Freedom's Watch and the NRCC said the collaboration charge is wrong. "If Democrats want to waste their time and resources on filing politically motivated complaints, then we hope they continue to do so. Their obsession with this conspiracy theory has gone from being ridiculous to the point of sheer lunacy," said Ken Spain, the NRCC press secretary.
Well isn't this rich?! (excuse the pun)
The liberals accusing Freedom's Watch of nefarious ties while somehow ignoring George Soros.
There is the fact that speculation in foreign currencies a la Soros, can beget economic havoc in countries. In 1992, Soros earned one billion dollars in a one day by betting that the British pound would fall. Although Soros denies it, there are some that accuse him of causing the 1997 Asian economic crisis by his betting against the Thai baht. .....we believe he is a more destructive person — a self-hating Jew whose money gives him a podium to spout his nonsense.
Lets not forget Hilary Clinton's acceptance of $850,000 from about 260 donors who had been recruited or tapped by Norman Hsu, who fled arrest and is now under investigation for his fundraising practices
How about Marc Rich, fugitive American businessman; Denise Rich, songwriter and socialite
Over seventeen years after Marc Rich fled to Switzerland to avoid charges of racketeering, illegal trading, and tax evasion (he owed $48 million), Bill Clinton pardoned Rich during his last moments in the White House. His ex-wife Denise's generous donations and Friend of Bill status gave the pardon a particularly rotten stench.
Or Aaron Tonken, former Hollywood fund-raiser, current federal penitentiary inmate in California.
Tonken originally drew interest from the FBI for failing to report some donations from the event to the FEC. Although he was never charged for election-law violations, in 2003 he pleaded guilty to stealing from charities, including, according to an ABC News report, the Betty Ford clinic. He is currently serving a five-year sentence for mail and wire fraud.
Or Peter F. Paul, renaissance man, jack of all trades
He co-hosted the 2000 fund-raiser with Tonken.
How did Paul underwrite the gala? According to The Washington Post, by improperly borrowing more than $4 million from Merrill Lynch. Shortly after that was discovered, Paul hopped a plane to Brazil and spent years waging a two-front war: fighting extradition and trying to sue Hillary for underreporting the value of the event. In 2003, Paul was extradited to the U.S., and Clinton agreed to pay a $35,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission.
The list goes on and can be found here: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=076fd56f-4aca-4683-a9d1-3c55d748946e
Or the fact that elected officials serving as superdelegates have received about $890,000 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years," the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported today.
Kinda like the kettle calling the pot black!
Well one thing for sure is that Freedom Watch has got
the liberals worried hence the smear campagin.
However it appears the Freedom Watch is more than up to the fight!
Carry on Freedom Watch!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
By Sean Lengell
- Michigan Democratic Party leaders will meet today to consider a compromise on seating the state's disqualified delegates at the national convention. The proposal, offered by four prominent Michigan Democrats, would give Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton a 10-delegate edge, 69-59, for her victory in a race that did not include rival Sen. Barack Obama on the ballot.
"While we expect that neither candidate will explicitly embrace this approach, we believe that the [Democratic National Committee] should adopt it and both candidates should accept it because it is fair and because it would resolve an impasse that with each passing day hurts our chances of carrying Michigan and winning the presidency," wrote the proposal's authors in an April 29 letter to Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer.
Mrs. Clinton has insisted Michigan's 128 pledged delegates be seated according to the state's Jan. 15 primary results, giving her 73 delegates. Mr. Obama has suggested an even 64-64 split. But the 10-delegate advantage the proposal would award Mrs. Clinton would do little to help her chip away at Mr. Obama's sizable pledged-delegate lead, which stood at 157 before yesterday's primaries in North Carolina and Indiana.
Neither candidate has endorsed the plan by Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger and DNC member Debbie Dingell. "The math is really bad for [Mrs. Clinton] now," said John C. Fortier, an elections scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. "If somehow Michigan and Florida are back on the table, she's going to need more delegates out of it than 10 in Michigan."
The Michigan party has negotiated for months with the DNC to hammer out a resolution that's agreeable to both campaigns, said Michigan Democratic Party spokeswoman Liz Kerr. "The political reality is the national party is not going to send the Michigan delegation home [from the August convention] three months before the general election" in November, Ms. Kerr said.
The national party punished Michigan and Florida for moving their primaries to January, stripping all their delegates to the party's national convention in Denver in August.
In Florida, Clinton supporters such as Sen. Bill Nelson have proposed seating the state's pledged delegates based on the results of Florida's Jan. 29 primary, but with each delegate getting a half vote. The plan would give Mrs. Clinton a margin of 19 delegates over Mr. Obama, instead of the 38 she would gain if the results of the state's disputed primary were counted.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean has said he is committed to finding a resolution to the Michigan and Florida delegate disputes before the convention. The DNC's Convention Rules and Bylaws Committee is scheduled to meet May 31 to discuss the issue.
Oh NOW Michigan matters!
Well at the very least this is giving Howard Dean fits and at the most it showcases how very divided the Democrats are. (I am smiling now)
I will be ready to "welcome" either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama to Michigan should delegates be seated and it looks like something will be worked out by the usual suspects
For Mrs. Clinton's appearances, my sign
For Mr. Obama's appearances, my new T-Shirt
Thursday, May 1, 2008
By Stephen Dinan
Members of Congress say they overreached by pushing ethanol on consumers and will move to roll back federal supports for it — the latest sure signal that Congress' appetite for corn-based ethanol has collapsed as food and gas prices have shot up.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Democrats will use the pending farm bill to reduce the subsidy, while Republicans are looking to go further, rolling back government rules passed just four months ago that require blending ethanol into gasoline.
"The view was to look to alternatives and try to become more dependent on the Midwest than the Middle East. I mean, that was the theory. Obviously, sometimes there are unforeseen or unintended consequences of actions," Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, told reporters yesterday.
Only a year ago, Congress and President Bush seemed to view ethanol as a near-magic solution to the nation's dependence on oil and counted on it to make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans and Democrats together piled up the incentives and mandates that pushed farmers into planting corn for ethanol and consumers into buying gasoline blended with it.
But as farmers switched crops, they left a dearth in other foods — which, coupled with higher worldwide living standards and higher demand — has caused food shortages. Food riots have erupted in some nations, while even in the U.S., some stores have said they will ration sales of staples such as rice.
Now the most common phrase when lawmakers talk about ethanol is "unintended consequences."
"This is a classic case of the law of unintended consequences," said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, who introduced a bill this week to end the entire slate of federal supports, including the mandates for blended gasoline, the tax credits for ethanol producers, and tariffs that keep out cheaper foreign ethanol.
"Congress surely did not intend to raise food prices by incentivizing ethanol, but that's precisely what's happened. A jump in food prices is the last thing our economy needs right now," Mr. Flake said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, is working on her own plan to freeze the ethanol-renewable-fuel-replacement mandate at this year's levels.
"I've talked to cattle producers, I've talked to pig producers. They are all saying the same thing: The cost of food and the cost of fuel is just killing their ability to continue to operate," Mrs. Hutchison told radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh yesterday, taking her case to the airwaves. "I think it's going to get worse, and I'd like to try to do something that might mitigate this and not cause the crisis."
Her state's governor, Rick Perry, last week asked the Environmental Protection Agency for a waiver from 50 percent of the replacement fuel mandate, calling it "a well-intentioned policy" but one that's distorted the market and driven up prices.
He said that 25 percent of U.S. corn production went to ethanol last year and that up to 35 percent will be devoted to ethanol this year.
"With ever increasing mandates of corn crop diversions to ethanol production through 2015, the impact on food prices globally, and to Texas specifically, will only worsen," he wrote in a letter to the EPA.
Sensing the tide turning against them, those who support the government mandates say blaming ethanol for food prices is misplaced.
"A complex set of factors are at work helping to drive food prices higher around the world," former Secretary of Agriculture John Block said. "Singling out biofuels like ethanol for all or even the majority of the blame misses the boat."
Farmers and corn growers, a powerful lobby in many states, said corn is being scapegoated and urged Congress to go after oil companies instead, arguing that the increasing price of energy is driving up food prices.
"To put things into perspective, in 1999 a barrel of oil cost $10, compared to $120 today. Consumers lose when the oil industry plays a cat-and-mouse game with the American people," said National Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Rick Tolman. "Truth be told, Americans are actually saving $69 billion each year at the pump thanks to biofuels."
The White House yesterday could not say whether Mr. Bush would be open to the efforts to reduce supports; although on Tuesday, Mr. Bush seemed enthusiastic about increasing use of ethanol.
"The high price of gasoline is going to spur more investment in ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. And the truth of the matter is it's in our national interests that our farmers grow energy, as opposed to us purchasing energy from parts of the world that are unstable or may not like us," he said at a press conference.
He cited statistics that only 15 percent of world food price increases were because of demand for ethanol.
Lawmakers acknowledge those other factors but say there's still room for action.
The Democrats' farm bill plan would reduce the subsidy paid to corn-based ethanol producers and increase the subsidy paid for cellulosic ethanol made from other sources, such as wood chips or switchgrass.
The fate of Republican plans is less clear, with support for subsidies and mandates breaking along regional rather than party lines. For example, it pits the corn-growing regions of the Midwest against cattle-raising states such as Texas.
Top congressional aides yesterday said they were wary of predicting whether Congress would go beyond the tinkering in the Democrats' farm bill.
"unintended consequences." my left foot!
This whole growing food for fuel debacle was the result of the eco radicals, speculators, politicians who had farmers as constituents and powerful lobbyist. ANYONE who looked at the facts could have seen the repercussions.
Not only that, Ethanol is more energy intensive to produce, driving one mile on ethanol consumes 600 gallons of water to irrigate the corn from which it's made http://www.sandia.gov/energy-water/congress_report.htm AND
Since biodiesel burns hotter, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are actually higher than conventional diesel and up to nearly 3 1/2 times that of gasoline.While biodiesel is cleaner than conventional diesel in many other ways, it’s still dirtier (more air polluting) than gasoline. Biofuels in general “result in more atmospheric CO pollutants than burning an energy equivalent amount of oil" when considering the entire production and consumption cycle ("well-to-wheel"). http://www.energyjustice.net/biodiesel/factsheet.pdf
Yet we don't take advantage of the natural resources we have because of eco-radicals and the draconian polices fostered by them and adopted by liberals.
Don't get me wrong I believe it stewardship of the natural resources of our country. The Lord said His creation was "good" so we have a mandate to take care of what the Lord said is good. However we can have cost effective environmentally sound energy technology and we do.
Case in point;
About 100 miles southwest of Phoenix, in Yuma County, Arizona, we're planning the most technologically advanced refinery in the history of the United States. When completed, the Arizona Clean Fuels refinery will produce the cleanest burning gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in all of North America. http://www.arizonacleanfuels.com/index.htm
Yet the plant has yet to be built!
Arizona Clean Fuels first began working on a permit for a large refinery near Mobile in 1998.But in 2003, as it was ending its work on the permit application, the state determined Mobile was part of the area around Phoenix out of compliance with standards for ozone, the smog-forming pollutant. The company agreed to move to Yuma, and the final permit was issued in April 2005 - seven years after the company first began its work.
Feb. 2008 PHOENIX (AP) -- A company planning to build an oil refinery in southwestern Arizona announced Monday it is changing sites again to avoid a pending legal challenge to a related land transfer.
Phoenix-based Arizona Clean Fuels said the latest site is 3 miles east of the previous site in eastern Yuma County. The company already had moved the $2.5 billion project to Yuma County from a site near Maricopa in northwestern Pinal County. "It can now proceed as planned," Chief Executive Glenn McGinnis said in a statement. http://www.fox11az.com/news/topstories/stories/KMSB-20080204-apbp-refinery.8de370f6.html
This is one issue I look forward to some bi-partisan agreement and I only hope the Republicans use it to push for more drilling and refinery building permits. I intend to contact both Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican with my support.
Rep Flake can be reached at
Washington, D.C. Office 240 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-2635 FAX (202) 226-4386
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison can be reached at http://www.senate.gov/~hutchison/contact.html
284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-4304 (202)-224-5922 202-224-0776 (FAX)