Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Who’s more responsible: Charlie Sheen or Washington?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Bankrupting America, Charlie Sheen, data visualization, debt, deficit, Government Overspending, Government Spending, new video, video, who is more responsible, Who's more responsible: Charlie Sheen or Washington?, winning Via ARRA News Service.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Operation March Sadness

It’s not every day that state employees are caught on video threatening, lying to, and blatantly stealing from innocent citizens — but that’s exactly what happened on March 25 in a quiet neighborhood in Claymont, Delaware. With the help of the Delaware State Police, a horde of Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) workers rumbled through two subdivisions early Friday morning, uprooting street-side basketball hoops with a front-end loader and roughly piling them into a dump truck. Operation March Sadness, as it has been nicknamed by outraged locals, was the state’s response to the complaints of a neighborhood grouch, who felt that games of street ball were hazardous to children and drivers alike. Melissa McCafferty, who lives in a peaceful cul-de-sac, scrambled up her kids’ basketball pole to protest its removal. After unsuccessfully trying to persuade her to come down, and, she claims, threatening to tear the pole down with her on it, the crew moved on. But as her husband, John, was being interviewed by a reporter for the News Journal, the posse returned. The video of the resulting confrontation, posted on YouTube.com, immediately went viral. The family’s vehicles were parked under the pole to prevent its removal. In the video, John and Melissa are threatened with arrest if they do not cooperate. After being told that he could keep the pole — “They’ll lay it in your driveway” — John begins yelling when the pole is knocked down and loaded into a truck. “You just told me I can keep it. You lied!” he exclaims, incredulous. “I did not,” comes the cold reply. McCafferty is ordered to go into his home and stop taunting the workers. Admirably, he refuses, citing his First Amendment rights, and stands in the front yard with Melissa as state employees steal a basketball hoop that had been in place for sixty years, with the indirect assistance of state cops sauntering around like the jack-booted thugs of some third-world dictator’s private security force. A state law passed in 2005 empowers DelDOT to remove objects within seven feet of the pavement in subdivisions, so Operation March Sadness might have been legal. But does the law require officials — including officers of the Delaware State Police — to behave like arrogant bullies? Does it encourage them to lie to law-abiding citizens? And where, exactly, does one draw the line between “removal” and theft? Of course, a law is a complex thing. There are good laws that ought to be obeyed, bad laws that ought to be repealed, and very bad laws that ought to be disregarded. As a society, we recognize the importance of civil disobedience, which is often the citizen’s only option when government crosses the line. McCafferty wanted to file an injunction in Chancery Court, but was not given time. His choice: To yield before police-enforced injustice, or to be arrested? As for the details of the law in question, seven feet of a homeowner’s yard is quite a bit of ground, particularly in a subdivision. Is there such a thing as property rights in the modern United States, or are we truly the subjects of a government that owns everything? Assuming that property rights cannot legitimately be stripped away or infringed upon by state legislators, this law might not be deserving of Delawareans’ compliance. As for the state employees who were involved in Operation March Sadness, they should, at the very least, be required to publicly apologize to the victims of their bullying. Considering which party controls the First State, they’re more likely to receive a pay raise. Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He writes from Delaware. Tags: Delaware, DelDOT, property rights, civil disobedience, March Sadness, basketball hoops To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The New Union Label

Matt Ross, Conservative Hideout:
Here is a special video from the Conservative Hideout. I tried to show the new “civil discourse” from the labor unions…

Tags: Matt Ross, Conservative Hideout, video, union thugs, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mandatory DNA Sampling Threatens Constitutional Liberties

Ken Marrero
By Ken Marrero, Op-Ed, Washington Examiner: In 2007 a Tennessee law was passed, as many bad laws are, in response to a horrific crime.

Johnia Berry was murdered in 2004. Her parents asked then state Sen. Ron Ramsey to consider working with a national DNA database to assist in a stalled investigation. He introduced a bill mandating collection of DNA samples from those arrested for violent felonies. In addition to Tennessee, 23 states have adopted similar legislation.

This year, Ramsey, now Tennessee's lieutenant governor, wants to expand mandatory collection to persons arrested for any felony via TN SB 257. Supporters contend this collection is no different from the photographing and fingerprinting to which felony arrestees are currently subject.

Detractors appeal to the Fourth and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution and question requiring citizens to surrender a part of "their person" for a criminal case which might "[compel him] ... to be a witness against himself" as well as being deprived of his "property" without "due process."

If charges are dropped or the accused is not convicted, the sample is destroyed. Detractors see this as an acknowledgment of the bill's weakness. If the criteria for sample retention is a conviction, why not delay collection until then?

Additionally, there is significant distrust that samples are safe in the custody of government. Ramsey notes as many as 15 percent of the samples may be subject to destruction. Will these merely be stored until the donor's case is decided or might they be compared against other databases in the meantime for potential matches to other crimes?

Who collects, processes, stores and destroys them? Ramsey is confident the law's criminal penalties for mishandling samples are a sufficient safeguard against misuse. Others remain suspicious of government's record as a watchdog for individual rights.

Such suspicions may be downplayed until one learns of the development of a portable, high-speed DNA scanner and plans by the federal government to hand the technology over to the Transportation Security Administration. Controversies surrounding TSA's use of technology and clashes with the liberties of citizens are well publicized.

Handing over portable, high-speed DNA testing devices to TSA can only lead to an exponential increase in the potential for the disregard of individual liberties. As with backscatter scanners, implementing it in as public and high-profile an arena as our nation's airports will not improve air travel safety. It will, however, serve to further soften the resolve of citizens to resist such unwarranted infiltrations of the state into their daily lives.

Technical innovation is welcomed by the law abiding. But I cannot sanction violating one law while enforcing another. The pursuit of justice must not itself create injustices and securing the rights of the people must remain the highest priority of government.

In a rapidly changing technical environment and with the ability of multiple jurisdictions to pass laws concerning the collection and use of DNA, extreme vigilance must be maintained to ensure the rights and liberties of Americans are not trampled in the process.

A good start would be serious revisions to TN SB 257 and to halt the introduction of portable DNA scanners in our nation's airports until the ethical questions inherent in such technology have been fully asked and answered.
Ken Marrero has blogged at BlueCollarMuse.com since 2006 and is the founder of the Tennessee ConserVOLiance, a statewide blogger alliance in Tennessee.

Tags: DNA, DNA testing, DNA scanners,law enforcement, Constitution, liberties, Ken Marrero, Blue Collar Muse To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". H/T ARRA News Service. Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To The Shores Of Tripoli: Empires Fell; Dictators Arose; Republicanism Prevails

ROME - AUGUST 29:  Libyan leader Muammar Gadda...
Image by Getty Images Europe via @daylife
by Ralph Benko: When my father was born, in 1910, 80% of the world was ruled by emperors. Only 13 years later four empires had been toppled and the British Empire’s descent became inevitable. Less than 100 years ago Lenin overthrew the Czar (a title derived from Caesar). Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand, precipitating World War I and leading to the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The great Atatürk transformed the Ottoman Empire into modern republican Turkey.

Humanity has experienced thousands of years of Empire but less than a century without emperors. Civilizations are massive. Culture changes slowly. The collapse of the imperial world led first to the rise of dictators rather than republicans. If World War I was the war to make the world “safe for democracy” it was, like so much President Wilson did, well meant but ineffectual.

America, its allies, and other anti-imperial forces, did bring about the collapse of empire. Emperors were however succeeded by dictators, not republicans: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao and others. It took World War II to bring democracy and human rights to Western Europe, and to Japan and to the world’s largest democracy, India. America was the force, intellectual and military, that brought this about.

It took American victory in the Cold War, World War III, led by Reagan and proclaimed by him at Moscow State University, to bring basic democracy and human rights to the former constituent republics of the USSR and to Eastern Europe. Victory brought republicanism to Latin America, no longer a venue of proxy wars dominated by military dictatorships, ruling juntas, and corporals’ coups. Latin America, in the wake of American victory in the Cold war, is a continent full, the atavistic despot Hugo “Huey Long” Chavez, aside, full of vibrant republics.

After the Cold War China, beginning with Deng Xiaoping, liberalized. China embraced capitalism and was moving toward democracy when the USSR broke up. China too is vulnerable to break up, which would be bad for China and for the world. China is far more fragile than it might seem. Moving from within a 6,000 year history China moves far more deliberately than the impetuous West. Yet China reveres Sun Yat-sen. Dr. Sun left an unambiguously republican testament. China leans toward reform.

Left behind, so far, is Africa, still struggling through its post-colonial period, shamefully neglected by the wealthy nations of the world. And left behind, of course, was the Middle East. The Middle East, except for our ally Israel, is the world’s last major refuge of kings and dictators.

Ralph Benko
Ralph Benko
It looked as if America went to Iraq to wage World War IV — removing its monstrous dictator in our epochal revolutionary spread of democracy and human rights, militantly bringing republicanism to the world’s last bastion of monarchs and dictators. Our effort to spread democracy and human rights throughout the region faltered. Many find it unsettling to watch an American president, Barack Obama, bowing low before monarchs like the King of Saudi Arabia.

World War IV seemed, as an advance for democracy and human rights, thwarted. Yet perhaps it is premature to say so. People inherently fear the motives of outsiders, particularly those of the world’s hyperpower, America. Now, exactly as it becomes clear that America is disengaging, rather than staying on as an occupying power, the citizens of the Middle East are taking a stand in, and for, their dignity. The “Arab Street” is demanding principled republican self-government.

There are no guarantees that the peoples of the Middle East will not end up either crushed or trading in authoritarian regimes for tyrannical ones. The Iranians went from the frying pan to the fire in trading the Shah for the Ayatollahs. But let’s put the ferment into its century-long trend. Empires fell; dictators arose; republicanism emerged and prevails. The people of the Middle East yearn to join the rest of the world in what my colleague, Jeffrey Bell, astutely termed “the age of equality.”

Americans almost take republican government and civil liberties for granted. These manifested only 232 years ago with the creation of the United States. It took America 75 years to grant the vote to African Americans. It took another 50 years to grant the vote to women. Today we still deny unborn children personhood and, marginalized as African Americans and women before them, still deprive them of the constitutional right to life. Yet America, exceptionally if imperfectly, has led and still leads the world.

America stands for a few simple principles: that all … are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

America’s creed defines the trend of history. The principles of the Declaration have transformed the world. This vision continues to transform the world toward unalienable rights, toward governments drawing legitimacy from securing these rights, and that governments draw their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Americans hold the people of Tunisia, of Egypt, of Bahrain, of Libya, as it holds people everywhere, firmly within our vision of unalienable rights and human dignity.

We hold these truths to be self evident that all … are created equal.
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Ralph Benko is a senior economics advisor to The American Principles Project and author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World. He is working on a new book, called "A Golden Age: the political consequences of the peace."The article which first appeared in the Forbes - Blogs was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko

Tags: Ralph Benko, Tripoli, empires, dictators, history, world history, Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Americans, Republicanism, unalienable rights To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wisconsin Education Held Hostage by SEIU

A.F Branco, ComicallyIncorrect.com: Education held hostage in Wisconsin by teacher's Union.

H/T ARRA New Service

Tags: A.F. Branco, political cartoon, Wisconson, SEIU, NEA, unions, education, hostage To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Democracy for Demmies

by William Warren Today’s cartoon is about the Wisconsin Democrats (and those from other states, for that matter) that think Democracy means running away and hiding when things don’t go your way. Absolutely absurd.


Interesting AP item: Wis. Senate Orders Arrest of 14 AWOL Dems If They Don't Return

Tags: Big Labor, Democracy for Demmies, Democracy for Dummies, Democrats, Political Cartoons, William Warren, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Democrats, WI, senators, arrest rule To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nullify the Real ID Act

Chris Slavens: House Republicans seem to be confused about which side they’re on, again. Roughly one month after they voted overwhelmingly in favor of extending certain unconstitutional provisions of the so-called Patriot Act, they are urging the Obama administration not to delay the implementation of the Real ID Act of 2005, which will otherwise take effect on May 11.

The Real ID Act, an unfunded federal mandate which will require all fifty states to issue federally compliant identification cards, was swiftly signed into law by President Bush after being passed with no debate. Proponents claim that it will make it easier to combat terrorism and crime, though when asked for specifics, they tend to fall back on nonsensical Bush-era neoconservative talking points.

Critics on both sides of the aisle point out, correctly, that Real ID will make it easier than ever before for identity thieves to obtain personal information, while foisting an utterly unnecessary financial burden onto states that are already strapped for cash. And, of course, government programs always evolve, so what will the next step be? As the U.S. regresses into the ideological darkness of statism, the very authoritarianism our heroic founders left behind, how could future administrations — worse than the current one, unimaginable as that seems — abuse and exploit a national identification card?

Fortunately, sixteen states have passed laws rejecting Real ID, while another eight have enacted resolutions expressing opposition to the mandate. It is interesting to note that this is not a red/blue issue; the states opposed to Real ID are all over the map, both politically and literally, from Maine to South Carolina to Illinois to Hawaii.

Not all states have reacted so wisely. Some, like Delaware, began issuing federally compliant identification cards without any local legislative authorization whatsoever, while adamantly (and dishonestly) denying that the move would lead to a national identification card.

It’s quite likely that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has been a vocal opponent of Real ID in the past (though she wants to replace it with a similar law that would probably be even more frightening), will delay the implementation of the law.

However, Napolitano’s decision shouldn’t make a difference to the fifty states. With nearly half of them prepared to violate federal law by saying “no” to Real ID, there is no reason to assume that the implementation of the law — whether it takes place on May 11, or years from now — will affect anyone, provided that state governments simply exercise their constitutional right to nullify it.

Nullification, despite being suspiciously absent from most public school curriculums, has a long and honorable history in the U.S. It is the process by which one or more states invalidates an unconstitutional federal law, whether by blocking its enforcement, or simply ignoring it. An excellent example from the 19th century is the Fugitive Slave Act, which permitted slave-catchers to recapture escaped slaves, even in free states. A number of northern states nullified this horrendous law, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Their noble efforts were opposed by the Supreme Court, but the fact of the matter is that a handful of black-robed judges cannot really force a state government to do anything, and in this case, northern states acted appropriately, if illegally.

Suppose that, say, a quarter of the states refuse to comply with the Real ID Act. What will the Democrat-controlled federal government do? Withhold funding for other programs? Send in armed troops? Throw a temper tantrum — or be forced to admit that it’s not nearly as powerful as it likes to pretend?

We’ll have to wait and see.

Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He lives in Delaware. He contributes to numerous conservative sites including ARRA News Service, Conservative Voices, and his own blog, Slavens Says.
Tags: Real ID, civil liberties, nullification, Tenth Amendment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!