Monday, November 26, 2012

Another View: Conservatives Fractured Response to Romney Defeat

Fighting Republicans
Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service & Conservative Voices: While I normally do not share article from the Washington Post. In the following article by Paul Kane and Rosalind Helderman, they have flushed out the battle shaping up in the GOP. Indeed, there will be major conflict between those seeking to win at any cost and those desiring to stand on conservative principles and values. Mitt Romney did not lose because of conservative values and positions offered by other Republicans. He lost because he was himself and not the person that encompassed and connected even with everyone under the GOP tent. Many wished for more from Romney while others feared or cold not commit to Romney for varied reasons. This situation does not mean that Republicans and conservatives attracted to Republicans principles, voted instead for Mr. Obama or another candidate. But this does address why some conservatives did not vote in the Presidential race.

While the old political GOP political guard attacks what they call "bad nominees," as identified in the below article, they also evidence a failure to fully accept that it is the people who select their nominees and not them. If "we the people" wanted centralized control, we would be in the democrat party and not addressing the issues holding back the republican party.

It is also becoming clear to the grassroots that political operatives, be they Republican or Democrat, measure winning as a victory even if that victory compromises values and principles and or leads our country further into socialism or off a fiscal cliff. When glass replaces a diamond in a ring, the value is diminished. When the GOP operatives compromise principles and a conservative platform, their efforts become of little or no value. It is time to "run" towards principles and values verses running towards destructive values and beliefs.

By Paul Kane and Rosalind S. Helderman, WP Politics: Evangelical leaders and conservative activists have a simple message for establishment Republicans about Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid: We told you so.

After nearly two weeks of listening to GOP officials pledge to assert greater control over the party and its most strident voices in the wake of Romney’s loss, grass-roots activists have begun to fight back, saying that they are not to blame for the party’s losses in November.

“The moderates have had their candidate in 2008 and they had their candidate in 2012. And they got crushed in both elections. Now they tell us we have to keep moderating. If we do that, will we win?” said Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader. Vander Plaats is an influential Christian conservative who opposed Romney in the Iowa caucuses 10 months ago and opposed Sen. John McCain’s candidacy four years ago.

The conservative backlash sets up an internal fight for the direction of the Republican Party, as many top leaders in Washington have proposed moderating their views on citizenship for illegal immigrants, to appeal to Latino voters. In addition, many top GOP officials have called for softening the party’s rhetoric on social issues, following the embarrassing showing by Senate candidates who were routed after publicly musing about denying abortion services to women who had been raped.

Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite, trounced Texas’s establishment candidate in a primary on his way to becoming the second Hispanic Republican in the Senate, and the battle he waged in the Lone Star State epitomizes the fight between the two sides. Although he is considered a rising star with a personal biography that GOP leaders wish to promote, Cruz falls squarely in the camp that thinks Romney was not conservative enough and did not fully articulate a conservative contrast to President Obama, except during the first presidential debate.

“It was the one time we actually contested ideas, presented two viewpoints and directions for the country,” he said at the Federalist Society’s annual dinner in Washington. “And then, inevitably, there are these mandarins of politics, who give the voice: ‘Don’t show any contrasts. Don’t rock the boat.’ So by the third debate, I’m pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama.”

Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who finished second to Romney in the GOP primary, lampooned Romney’s assertion that Obama’s victory was fueled by “gifts” to core liberal constituencies in the form of legislative favors.

“The American people do not want ‘gifts’ from their leaders, particularly when these gifts leave a steep bill for our children to pay, but they do want us to be on their side,” Santorum wrote in a USA Today op-ed published Monday. He placed the blame on the national party, saying it lacked an appealing agenda: “We as a party, the party of Ronald Reagan and ‘Morning in America,’ failed to provide an agenda that shows we care.”

The dispute began to take shape soon after Obama was declared the winner and Republicans, who had hoped to claim the Senate majority, lost two seats. Two days after the election, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told ABC News that the Republicans’ mission was to appeal to nonwhite voters: “How do we speak to all Americans? You know, not just to people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?”

The fight ahead will come in two phases, the first being legislative debates on taxes, entitlements and immigration, and the second in the GOP primary battles in the 2014 midterm elections.

Congressional Republican leaders have rejected Obama’s call for higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, but they have opened the door to more revenue streaming into the Treasury by limiting exemptions and closing loopholes as part of a broad tax-code overhaul. The president says those measures would not produce enough revenue.

More problematic for Republicans is the drift of Hispanic voters into the Democratic fold. Obama won among Hispanic voters by 44 percentage points this year, up eight points from 2008.

“Hispanics are an ever-important part of the electorate that can’t be ignored. The scope of the challenge is broad, but there is opportunity ahead for conservatives to engage,” Jennifer S. Korn of the Hispanic Leadership Network, a Republican-funded group designed to do outreach, wrote in a memo circulated over the weekend.

Korn warned that two reliably Republican states worth 49 electoral votes combined could become swing states if demographic trendlines continue. In 2004, George W. Bush tied in the Hispanic vote in Texas and lost in Arizona by 13 percentage points. Romney lost the Hispanic vote by more than 40 points in both states.

After several years of focusing on border security as the centerpiece of their immigration proposals, many senior party officials have reversed course and suggested that they should at least support the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of illegal immigrants to avoid deportation.

Such a move would spark a huge internal fight with some conservatives. Dan Stein, president of the hard-line Federation for American Immigration Reform, insisted that the 2012 election was decided on issues other than immigration and that the push for the party to change its position represents opportunism by those who have always favored a more accommodating approach. He said the party’s elite is captive to business interests who favor increased immigration to reduce labor costs.

“There’s no evidence, none, that amnesty will bond Hispanics to the Republican Party,” he said. “This post-election chatter is coming from people who, for the most part, have generally disagreed with the need for stronger border control or less immigration. . . . This is going to be a long, protracted debate.”

The 2014 Senate races will serve as a test for establishment control of the political process. For the third consecutive cycle, Republicans will begin as heavy favorites to gain a large bloc of seats, and some party leaders want a bigger role in choosing those nominees. In 2010 and 2012, Republicans say, bad nominees in Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Missouri and Nevada cost them what should have been easy victories. If those seats were in GOP hands today, the Senate would be deadlocked at 50-50.

Some outside groups, however, stand ready to fight for the most conservative nominee, pointing to Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) as examples of rising stars who won Senate races without establishment support.

“The party is rarely in a position to determine the best candidate,” said Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth. “When you have someone who can articulate a clear, convincing, conservative message, they win.”

Tags: conservatives, republicans, fighting, re-analysis, post election, 2012 election To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

State Health Insurance Exchanges

ARRA News Service: ObamaCare Exchanges Are NOT A Done Deal! Our Partners at Americans For Limited Government are tracking updates as they occur. Changes being posted to NetRight Daily linked below.

The following is the most current information as of 3:16 PM Eastern on November 19.

By John Vinci — Governors and other state officials, across the states, are deciding whether their state will establish a Health Insurance Exchange. The Department of Health and Human Services has given States until Friday, December 14, 2012 to decide. We have been following this issue closely and here’s the status of the states as best as we can tell.

States NOT establishing a State Exchange (20):
Undecided States (11):
States establishing a federal “partnership” Exchange(3):
States plan to establish a State Exchange (16):
AL: Gov. Bentley says Alabama won’t set up exchange, expand Medicaid, (11/14/2012)

AR: Arkansas governor says state-run health insurance exchange still an option, The Republic (Columbus, IN)(November 16, 2012) h/t PoliticoPro

AZ: Brewer picks essential benefits under federal health law, Arizona Daily Star (10/28/2012)

CA: Letter from Gov. Edmund Brown, Jr. to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (July 10, 2012).

CO: Letter from Gov. John Hickenlooper to Steve Larsen, Deputy Administrator and Director of CCIIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (July 7, 2012).

CT: Letter from Gov. Dannel Malloy to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (July 10, 2012).

DE: State Exchange Profiles: Delaware, (Sept. 24. 2012)

FL: Florida Gov. Rick Scott Ready To Negotiate State Exchange Kaiser Health News (November 16, 2012).

GA: Office of Governor Nathan Deal, Press Release, Deal: Georgia will not set up state exchange, (11/9/2012)

HI: Letter from Gov. Neil Abercrombi to Steve Larsen, Deputy Administrator and Director of CCIIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (July 7, 2012).

ID: Office of Butch Otter, Governor of the State of Idaho, News Release, DELAYED EXCHANGE DEADLINE GIVES IDAHO MORE TIME TO GET ANSWERS, WEIGH OPTIONS (11/16/2012)

IL: Illinois moves ahead on health insurance exchange, BloombergBusinessWeek (11/6/2012)

IA: Gov. Branstad tells HHS Iowa is planning an exchange, but because he says in his letter that he makes no commitment to turning in the blueprint for Iowa’s exchange, we’re changing Iowa to “undecided” and not “Establishing an Exchange.” Letter from Gov. Terry Branstad to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (November 16, 2012).

IN: Pence not ruling out health partnership with feds, (11/14/2012)

KY: Letter from Gov. Steven Beshear to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (July 10, 2012).

MA: Letter from Gov. Deval Patrick to Mike Hash, Interim Director of CCIIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (July 10, 2012).

MD: Letter from Gov. Martin O’Malley to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (July 10, 2012).

ME: Maine may give warmer embrace to Obama health law, The Boston Globe (11/10/2012)
On eve of PPACA exchange deadline, many governors still balk, Employee Benefit News (11/15/2012)

MI: Gov. Snyder has filed an application for a grant to establish a “partnership” Exchange. We are, however, leaving Michigan’s “undecided” status unchanged because according to the governor’s press release, he says the state may yet consider its own exchange and “has not yet filed a declaration letter formally choosing Michigan’s path.” Office of Gov. Rick Snyder, Press Release, Michigan moves toward state-federal partnership health exchange, leaves door open for MI Health Marketplace (11/16/2012)

MN: Election clears path for health exchange, Winona Daily News (11/9/2012)

MO: Missourians passed a referendum this month that prohibits its governor [who supports a state exchange] from acting unilaterally

MT: PoliticoPro reported on 11/16/2012 that a state official confirms Montana’s governor will not be establishing a state exchange.

NC: Press Release Gov. Perdue Chooses State-Federal Partnership (11/15/2012)

ND: ND direction on health care exchange to emerge next year, Prarie Business Magazine (11/15/2012)

NE: Press Release: Gov. Heineman on Federal Health Care Law: $646 Million State Exchange Too Costly (11/15/2012)

NH: New Hampshire’s new governor may attempt to move towards establishing an exchange but we have left it in the “No state Exchange” category based on past legislation signed by the governor that blocked the Exchange. See CATO: New Hampshires Democratic Governor Signs GOP bill blocking Obamacare exchange .

NM: New Mexico moves ahead with health exchange, CBS News (11/15/2012)

NY: Letter from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Mike Hash, Interim Director of CCIIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (July 9, 2012).

OH: Ohio to let federal government run insurance exchange required by health care law, The Plain Dealer (11/13/2012)

OK: Office of Gov. Mary Fallin, Press Release, Gov. Fallin: Oklahoma Will Not Pursue a State-Based Exchange or Medicaid Expansion (11/19/2012)

OR: Letter from Gov. John Kitzaber to Steve Larsen, Deputy Administrator and Director of CCIIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (July 6, 2012).

PA: PA: State still shaky on exchange, Medicaid expansion, (11/14/2012)

RI: Letter from Gov. Lincoln Chafee to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (July 5, 2012).

SC: Letter from Gov. Nikki Haley to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (November 15, 2012).

SD: Press Release from the Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard: South Dakota Will Not Build Health Insurance Exchange, (9/26/2012)

UT: Utah faces deadline for decision on health exchange, The Salt Lake Tribune (11/15/2012)

TN: Tenn.-run health exchange faces GOP roadblock, CBS News (11/14/2012)

VA: Post-election, McDonnell says Virginia will default to federal health insurance exchange, The Washington Post (11/8/2012)

VT: Letter from Gov. Peter Shumlin to Steve Larsen, Deputy Administrator and Director of CCIIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (July 9, 2012).

WA: Letter from Gov. Christine Gregoire to Mike Hash, Interim Director of CCIIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (July 10, 2012).

WI: Letter from Gov. Scott Walker to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (November 16, 2012).

WV: West Virginia is expected to announce 11/15/2012 that it will NOT establish a state exchange, “‘The governor continues to evaluate all options available to him,’ said Amy Goodwin, a Tomblin spokeswoman.” Tomblin’s office mum on insurance exchange, The Charleston Gazette (11/14/2012)

WY: See Feds To Control Wyoming Health Care, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (11/14/2012).

John Vinci is a staff attorney with Americans for Limited Government and is the editor in chief for the website.

Tags: Obamacare, states, status, health insurance exchanges To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Morton Blackwell: An Open Letter To Conservatives

Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win.  The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win. ~ Morton Blackwell

Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: Morton Blackwell has posted an open letter on Red State, linked on his twitter account, and shared in The Washington Times under the title, Conservatives must learn how to win. Morton Blackwell is a leader in the conservative movement and has devoted many of his years to developing the base of future conservatives through the Leadership Institute. He begins his letter noting the campaign and election night loss of Barry Goldwater.

I vividly remember Nov. 4, 1964. I was a college freshman and had followed the campaign of Barry Goldwater — the person to save America from godless communists. Yes, I had a lot to learn in life. I had just turned 18, was a recent high school graduate from rural town USA, and I couldn't vote or drink (until 21), but I could be married with a parents permission, be drafted and even die for my country. I understood little about politics but understood the of value hard work. The U.S. was at war in Vietnam. I listened to the election results on the radio with some college friends. I was beyond consolation over Goldwater's loss to Lyndon Johnson. As recall this youthful response, I must note, many years later, I have seen numerous adults rant, rave and cry over election results. The more you are committed to a campaign, the more you feel the loss.

Little did I realize that within 18 months, I would be married, drafted, and quickly volunteering to enlist in the military. My life would now be under the decisions of Commander-in Chief Lyndon Johnson. I did not hide from my responsibility like future president Bill Clinton who would become a future rising star in the progressive movement. My wife and I as conservative Christians learned life values from the Bible and service to others. Once old enough, we voted in every election regardless of where we were in the world. However, we could not participate in the political process other than voting and praying. My commitment remained to God, my family, "duty, honor, country," my Oath and serving under five presidents for over two decades. It was an honor to serve under the last one: President Ronald Reagan.

Please read the following open letter. The battle for conservative values — limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional values — is not over:

Morton Blackwell
by Morton Blackwell: I had a very exciting time at the Republican National Convention. My conservative allies and I all worked very hard in the presidential election.

When I woke up the day after the election, everything I had worked for appeared to be in ruins. An extreme leftist had been reelected president of the United States.

Some liberal Republicans immediately began to blame newly activated conservatives for the presidential defeat. I knew they were wrong. It was clear to me that these newly active conservatives would be the key to major future victories for conservative principles.

The day was Wednesday, November 4, 1964.

The Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, had suffered a crushing defeat. He won just six states and 52 votes in the Electoral College. But from the ashes of that loss sprang a vigorous conservative movement.

The conservative movement grew from modest beginnings to become a major force capable of nominating and electing candidates at the local, state, and national level, including Ronald Reagan.

Waves of newly activated conservatives elected Ronald Reagan, broke the Democratic monopoly in the Congress, and were decisive in the thrilling 2010 elections. The influx of new conservatives greatly benefited the Republican Party then, as it has again in recent years.

It would be foolish for conservatives, defeated for now, to form a circular firing squad and start shooting at each other. Each element of our coalition — limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional values — has a long and strong background of working together. These principles will lead to victories in the future as they have in the past, as recently as two years ago.

For those disappointed by the results of this year’s presidential election, remember that it is a long ball game. Politics has a natural ebb and flow.

Now is the time to study the lessons of this election and to chart a course for conservatives to win in the future. The stakes could not be higher. The margins of victory in the public policy process may be smaller now than at any other time in American history.

Conservatives must reach out and identify philosophically compatible individuals among the types of people with whom leftist organizers have had the most success.

Seek out the reasonably conservative people, the younger the better, who happen to be in categories long-targeted for organization by the left, people who share our American view of individual rights rather than group rights. Help them deepen their understanding of public policy issues. Many have strong opinions they already share with us. Then undertake systematic, persistent actions to recruit them into the public policy process, teach them political skills, and place them where they can be effective.

Work hard and wisely to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists in all categories of people. Do all you can to advance and to protect them. Their success will break the leftist organizers’ near monopolies among people like them.

In closing, let me share with you the most important lesson you will learn at any time in your life about success in the public policy process.

Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides.

You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win.

That was the clinching argument Goldwater conservatives used to revive the power of conservative principles in America in 1964. I know you will find it helpful today.
limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional values
Conservatives can and will win big again in presidential elections. But first we must learn from our experience, do what must be done, and study diligently to become ever more effective.

You have fought for good causes before. I pray you’ll continue your fight for good causes now. Victories may be just around the corner.

Tags: Morton Blackwell, conservative grassroots activism, conservatives, limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, traditional values, moral obligation, study how to win, elections To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Voters Purge the Mad Men of the GOP

Mad Men Being Purged
Ralph Benko and Andresen Blom, ARRA News Service: The American electorate, in an act of magnificently creative destruction, just purged the Republican Party of the regnant Bush-era consultants.

Advisors to the last GOP president — exemplified by Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard — had remained peculiarly influential in the Republican Party. The defeat of 2012 was, above all, a purging of these Republican technocrats. Cleansed, the Republican Party now is poised to shift from its manic technocratic “do the thing right” ethos to a values-based “do the right thing” ethos. That’s the difference between political irrelevance and relevance and thus restores the GOP's future viability.

Super-elite Republican political consultants sucked almost a billion dollars out of the GOP’s high-dollar donors to deploy at their whims. And lost. NBC featured a report showing the magnitude of the catastrophe. The network cited “A study Wednesday by the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political spending, concluded that Rove's super PAC, American Crossroads, had a success rate of just 1 percent on $103 million in attack ads….”

The Huffington Post’s Jon Ward, noted the pressure coming down on Rove: “The real lightning bolts being thrown on Wednesday were by the party's super donors …. Many of the lightning bolts were aimed at none other than Karl Rove.” As one critic told Ward, “I don't know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.”

Meanwhile, on the economic-policy side,’s John Tamny observes that Romney’s economic advisors may have cost him the election:

The numbers, along with history, suggest once again that the election was Romney’s to lose. Yet he still lost. With Romney having lost, it’s time for the GOP to rebuild, and one necessity while doing so should be the banishment of Romney’s economic advisers to hidden corners of academe so that they’re never heard from again.

Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions were collateral damage in the 2012 election, which proved to primarily be about the electorate’s purging the GOP of its Bush-era technocrats, men resembling the elegantly cunning partners of Mad Men’s Sterling Cooper. With the technocrats gone there can be renaissance of a GOP standing on principles that America cares deeply about rather than image and mere “competence.”

What values does America cherish? Opportunity, for one. It is time to reignite economic growth, which we didn’t have under the Bush technocrats—and still do not. To get growth and jobs, we need a monetary system of authentic integrity—rather than a “maestro” Fed chairman of the sort worshipped by elite technocrats. Bush’s technocratic political and economic advisors were derelict in calling for a good monetary policy when they were at the helm. They were derelict in the same manner with candidate Romney and made it clear—publicly defying their own candidate—they were unchastened.

The technocrats also spoiled Romney’s chances for victory by discouraging the party from addressing a powerful source of voter social dismay: the erosion of our civil liberties. This concern, rather than socialized medicine itself, was the main basis of the passionate Tea Party opposition to Obamacare. Voters were especially anxious about the clear undermining of the First Amendment protection of the free exercise of religion. But the Bush technocrats were unmoved and complicit in defining religion down to a right to perform the rite of one’s choice. They offered no defense against those stripping faith of its franchise to prescribe values and stand for morality within civil society.

Neutering the religious is nothing less than religious bigotry, and worse for being turned against all, rather than any particular, religion. Bush’s technocrats ruled out, apparently as déclassé, what would have been a politically winning defense of religious liberty. This is no way to run a political campaign or party. So the conservative electorate banished the GOP Mad Men.

Getting rid of the technocrats cost the party a billion dollars and an election. It saddled America with four more years of the Obama presidency and associated trillions in debt. It was expensive, but worth it. Now GOP donors and other party leaders can use their common sense, rather than subservience to former White House officials, to stand for real principles. A billion dollars to rid the GOP of the technocrats and restore its ability to stand on principle is a very good value indeed.
Ralph Benko, senior adviser for economics to American Principles in Action, served on detail as deputy general counsel to an Executive Office of the President agency under President Reagan and to a Reagan presidential commission. This article which first appeared in the The National Interest was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko.

Andresen Blom is the Senior Strategist for the Center for Civic Virtue, an award winning communicator, policy strategist and coalition builder at the federal and grassroots levels.

Tags: Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard, Mad Men, GOP, purged, Ralph Benko, Andresen Blom To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cut Spending to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff

Michael Sandoval, Heritage Investigates: The Heritage Foundation has updated its Saving the American Dream plan as the nation moves inexorably towards the fiscal cliff set to hit at the beginning of 2013.
From Amy Payne’s Morning Bell:
To meet this challenge, Heritage Foundation experts updated our Saving the American Dream plan to address the fiscal cliff and then rein in spending. Our plan features a sweeping pro-growth tax reform plan to grow the economy and generate more revenues and a broad restructuring of entitlement programs to provide real economic security to seniors while making the programs affordable.

The plan balances the federal budget within 10 years—without raising taxes—and stabilizes and then reduces the debt. The Heritage plan focuses government assistance to those who truly need it, with a guarantee that no American would have to live in poverty. It would also begin to reduce government back to its constitutionally authorized powers and make defense funding a core priority.
Payne illustrates how Heritage’s plan would reduce the debt held by the public–currently at 73 percent of GDP–to 28 percent by 2037, the lowest plan among five submitted as part of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Solutions Initiative II.

Tags: Heritage Investigates, Chart of the Week, federal budget, fiscal cliff, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Saving the American Dream, tax reform, taxes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winning the Defense Spending Debate

by Ken Blackwell, ARRA News Service: With no time to recover from a thorough election day whooping, Republicans in a lame duck Congress are facing an even worse budgetary nightmare than last year. And they only have two months to negotiate a solution with President Obama.

Last time, as the Chair the Balanced Budget Amendment campaign, fellow conservatives and I were urging Republicans to tie the unavoidable increase in the debt ceiling to a balanced budget amendment. Because it also prohibited tax increases, the amendment would have required balance to be achieved through necessary cuts throughout the federal government.

But in the end, politicians did what you might expect: They punted the issue. And America will now face serious consequences.

Initially, liberals in Congress set up a plan called "sequestration" that has held the U.S. military hostage to their desire to raise taxes. The original plan was to convince other congressmen to cave to tax increases to prevent those defense cuts.

Now those cuts are scheduled to take effect in January, and they would harm our military readiness.

During the presidential foreign policy debate, President Obama declared that sequestration "will not happen." Yet with $1.6 billion in tax increases on the table, he has already factored these military cuts into his fiscal planning for the future.

I agree with my longtime friend and former RSC Chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who said that while slashing the defense budget is undesirable, it is better than nothing. If the automatic cuts are suspended, the only thing taxpayers will have received in last year's deal was a $2.4 billion increase in debt.

Instead of accepting lazy and dangerous across-the-board defense cuts, Republicans must be at the negotiation table prepared with ideas for how to reduce military spending intelligently. When it comes to our military budget and vital national security programs, a scalpel is better than an indiscriminate budget ax.

And there are plenty of opportunities to find savings. On Thursday, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma released a study of Defense Department cuts which could easily save taxpayers $68 billion over 10 years. For too long, Congress has perpetuated a system that protects redundant, wasteful and failing programs that bilk taxpayers and provide no benefits to our brave men and women in uniform.

One place to start slashing would be the experimental Standard Missile-3 IIB missile defense program, an interceptor that is to one day take out long-range enemy missiles. It is the foundation of the fourth phase of the President's so-called Phased Adaptive Approach, but the delivery of these missiles could still be a decade away.

Opposition to the SM-3 IIB has been mounting. The concept was singled out as a candidate for elimination by a recent missile defense report authored by the National Research Council.

"It's not that Phase 4 is a stupid idea or that it won't work," Walter Slocombe, who co-chaired the NRC expert committee that wrote the report, said in an interview with Global Security Newswire. "It is that it is only necessary for the defense of the United States and there is a better way to do the defense."

L. David Montague, former President of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space program and a member of the National Research Council may have summed it up best: "For too long, the U.S. has been committed to expensive missile defense strategies without sufficient consideration of the costs and real utility."

The SM-3 IIB, as an untested technology with fuzzy development timelines, epitomizes that problem. It was supposed to roll off production lines by 2020, but the U.S. Navy, as recently as last month, was still defining the missile's requirements and capabilities. Without a defined concept in mind, development, design and testing, and production are many years away. In fact, it may never be used, and taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.

What is confirmed by the National Research Council and other military experts is that our leaders would rather have scarce resources be spent in well-tested missile defense systems that have the best chance of protecting our homeland and allies.

There are certainly other examples, but wildly expensive experimental programs like the SM-3 IIB should be first on the chopping block if Republicans want to rid the Department of Defense of wasteful spending.

And as the budget debate becomes loud and vicious, we cannot allow liberals to hold the military hostage. Only by carefully considering the often overlooked details of military budget can we avoid higher taxes and a weakened national security.
Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate; a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission; senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. He is executive vice president of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies board member. he is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Ken Blackwell, Defense spending, military budget, winning the debate, liberals, holding military hostage, national security To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Try Bipartisanship About China

Phyllis Schlafly
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: We heard a lot of loose talk during the presidential campaign about getting tough with Communist China. Since both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney criticized China’s violations of free-trade rules that the United States obeys, this would be the perfect issue to showcase the bipartisanship to which both men said they are committed.

Free trade with China is a racket because we play by the rules, while China steals our patents and manufacturing secrets, and violates the rules of the World Trade Organization to which they agreed when we helped them join in 2001. The statistics are mind-boggling: the U.S. has closed 57,000 factories, lost 2.8 million manufacturing jobs, and piled up a trade deficit with China of $3 trillion.

A new book by Peter Navarro and Greg Autry titled “Death by China” makes a powerful case against allowing China to continue its war against America while our leaders pretend it’s just good capitalism. Our workers join the unemployment lines, our country’s manufacturing base disappears, CEOs rake in their bonuses for cutting costs through outsourcing, and a big Communist country builds up a tremendous military in order to become the number-one superpower in the 21st century.

The Chinese engage in massive intellectual property theft in order to give them an unjustified leap forward in technology: aerospace, biotech, cyber, information, and energy. The Chinese force U.S. corporations to give China their technology and manufacturing secrets as the price of locating a plant in China.

Our U.S. weapons system is endangered by Chinese cheating. The Senate Armed Services Committee reported that one million suspected “bogus parts” have been found in U.S. military aircraft, including the Air Force’s largest cargo plane, special operations helicopters, and a Navy surveillance plane. This report describes a “flood of counterfeit parts” from China, which threaten our national security and the safety of our troops.

Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative, said that even the smallest counterfeit parts can cause a lot of trouble. The Senate Armed Services Committee reported that a faulty Chinese-made chip in a sensor on a Navy helicopter in the Pacific Fleet prevented the pilot from firing its missiles.

Some counterfeit chips are designed to contain a “kill switch” that can shut down the military equipment. Some chips appear to be working perfectly, but really are sending information to someone else.

Chips are not the only Chinese counterfeits. Thousands of U.S. motorists found their cars were installed with dangerous Chinese counterfeit airbags and now have to be replaced at the owner’s expense. A government test found that some Chinese airbags don’t inflate, and some shoot flames and shards of metal shrapnel instead of inflating.

China manipulates its currency to the disadvantage of American exporters, excludes American products from government purchases, subsidizes Chinese companies to give them a commercial advantage, piggybacks on U.S. technology, and invents regulations and standards designed to keep out foreign competition.

As more and more U.S. public schools are making vaccinations a requirement, Communist China is preparing to take over the vaccine market. China’s food and drug administration brags that China has more than 30 vaccine-producing companies having an annual production capacity of nearly one billion doses.

Are U.S. parents willing to inject their kids with Chinese vaccines? At least 81 U.S. deaths in 2008 were caused by Chinese-made Heparin, a blood thinner widely used in surgery.

This year’s scandal involved a big outbreak of meningitis and reportedly about 32 deaths. We don’t yet know where the contamination came from, but about 80 percent of the active ingredients in U.S. prescriptions are imported from China or India.

An expert on Chinese health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Yanzhong Huang, pointed out the difference between Chinese and U.S. medicine safety. Unlike China, U.S. vaccines are kept safe by supporting institutions such as “the market economy, democracy, media monitoring, civil society, and a business ethics code,” plus inspections and regulations, severe punishments for violators, and lawsuits by trial lawyers.

All during the ’70s and ’80s, and even the ’90s, the globalists predicted that as China pursued a market economy, China would evolve into economic freedom, then political freedom, and become a good fellow in the world community. Dream on; it didn’t happen.

China is a dictatorship run by the Communist Party determined to use every protectionist gimmick to become the world’s number-one military and economic superpower. When will Americans wake up to how U.S. adherence to “free trade” allows China to cheat us coming and going?

Tags: Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, China, political parties, bipartisanship To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Welfare States: Federal Grants Now a Third of State Revenue

By Jillian Kay Melchior, The Corner, NRO: Get your sticker shock via infographic: The Pew Center on the States has a great new illustration of how dependent states have become on federal dollars since the recession.

States now count on the federal government for $1 out of every $3 in revenue, according the 2010 Census, which offers the most recent finalized data. That’s your stimulus money at work.

And $1 out of every $3 is just the national average: In Arizona, 46.9 percent of state revenue came from federal grants; in Louisiana, 48 percent; and in Mississippi, a whopping 49.6 percent.
You don’t need a chart to realize this is unsustainable. The stimulus allowed states to maintain or increase irresponsible spending — even when the recession was raging — when they should have been cutting back.

Those cuts are even more painful now, after states have become artificially accustomed to more. Predictably, many have struggled to cut back as their federal dollars ran out. For states’ financial health, it looks like the stimulus could have done more long-term harm than short-term good.

Tags: federal grants, states, census bureau,  taxpayer dollars, spending To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The End Of The Karl Rove Death Grip Signals A Reagan Renaissance

Karl Rove
by Ralph Benko, ARRA News Service: Liberals do not grasp the distinction between Ronald Reagan and (either) George Bush.   This blind spot creates a massive confusion and hazard to their ambitions. Obama defeated neither the Reagan Narrative nor Team Reagan.  Team Bush appropriated, and then marginalized, both.  Obama beat Team Bush, not Team Reagan. The implications are huge.

There was a touchy relationship between President Reagan and his Vice President George H.W. Bush.  They were rivals during the primaries.  Bush attacked the Reagan economic agenda as “voodoo economics.”  Bush served faithfully as VP for eight years but Reagan and Bush never warmed to one another.  There was precious little rapport between the populist figures populating the Reagan circle and the Eastern establishment retinue of the son of the patrician Sen. Prescott Bush.

When George H.W. Bush’s turn came he talked like Dirty Harry, “Read my lips.  No new taxes.”  When the moment of truth came, George H.W. Bush blinked, raising taxes.   His presidency was liquidated by the perfect storm of a Reaganite base revolted by the abandonment of a solemn campaign pledge plus a tax-increase induced recession.  Bush pere was a conservative and a very decent man.  He was hornswoggled by elegant Mandarins like Dick Darman.

George W. Bush, as good as, and more conservative than, his father, was hornswoggled too.  He campaigned on the theme of “compassionate conservatism.”  That phrase, like his father’s “kinder and gentler nation”, implied a certain pitilessness in Reagan conservativism.  The implications complied with the liberal caricature of Reagan.  Pitilessness, however, reflected neither the self-concept of most Reagan loyalists nor our splendidly humanitarian outcomes (such as the dramatic reduction of the Misery Index).  Real conservatives saw Reaganomics as a way of creating broad-based opportunity, not as catering to the rich.  It worked out exactly that way … in America and throughout the world.  The blossoming of free market principles — especially low tax rates and good money — brought billions of souls out of poverty, from subsistence to affluence.

In an intraparty succession barely noticed by the mainstream media the Bush forces supplanted the Reagan forces within the GOP.  Keepers of the Reagan legacy tended to end up at positions of respect and influence within the conservative movement.  For example Reagan intimate, counselor, and attorney general Edwin Meese III long has held a prestigious office with the Heritage Foundation, the flagship of the Washington conservative establishment. Even though Meese was a General in the Reagan Revolution, though, his influence on a Bush cohort-dominated GOP — one that chiseled Reagan onto Rushmore while ignoring Reagan’s philosophy — is constrained.

Mandarins of the Bush (pere and fils) cohort sought and received mere token presence in the conservative establishment.  They sought, and achieved, rather, vast influence in the Republican Party.  Mandarin Karl Rove, comrade of Bush pere’s campaign guru Lee Atwater, became the dominant partisan figure.

The enormity of (and surprise at) the defeat of Romney is a huge setback — and perhaps fatal — to the Bush Mandarins’ hegemony over the GOP.  If so, the potential re-ascendency of the Reagan wing of the GOP will prove very bad news for liberals and excellent news for the Republican Party.  The Reagan wing now can resurge. A resurgence already has begun.

Many of the same Mandarins that delivered a stagnant economy to President(s) Bush had a hand, directly or indirectly, in misguiding McCain, and then Romney, to resounding defeat.  This catastrophic performance may discredit, permanently, Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, among others, with the donors.  The Mandarins’ Svengali-like power over the donors was the major source of their power.  If even a substantial minority of the donors are fed up with Rove it will open the field for a generational change in party leadership … and direction.

The Reagan Renaissance
Dislodging the death grip of Karl Rove from its throat would put a new generation of political leaders in charge of the Republican Party.  The new conservative Republican leaders are strikingly formidable.  The leaders of the new generation, like Reagan, and Kemp, before them (and Kennedy still earlier), all recognize the power of the “rising tide lifts all boats”.

The Reagan campaign ethos was distinct from the tactics of “naked cruelty” perfected by Bush pere’s political gunslinger Lee Atwater. (Atwater, may he rest in peace, publicly repented and apologized to his victims before his tragic, untimely, death).  Yet the politics of naked cruelty were transmitted into the political culture by Atwater’s comrade, Rove, and his doppelganger on the Left, David Axelrod.

And both the Bush Mandarins and Obama Consiglieres have complemented their politics of naked cruelty with policies of economic stagnation. A Reagan Renaissance promises to restore a political culture of hardball political decency, economic growth, and conservative values.

Eight Republican Reagan Renaissance Men are entering their prime. Removing Rove’s death-grip on the party, with party donors now freed to pursue principled victory rather than a prestige brand name, the Reagan Revolution now can morph into a Reagan Renaissance.

The Reaganesque Governors
Mike Pence was just elected governor of Indiana. Full disclosure: this columnist headed up a tiny superPAC whose mission was to persuade Pence to run in 2012.  Many consider Pence to be Reagan 2.0.  He certainly is a figure who demonstrated extraordinary, perhaps unique, moral courage (and great judgment) in a lonely opposition to Rove when Rove was at his peak of power. Politico, on the unsuccessful effort to sweep Pence onto the 2012 board:

“If he does run, it’s clear that Pence would particularly appeal to an element of the GOP that has always resisted the establishment and been wary of the Bush crowd — the kinds of conservatives who originally preferred Jack Kemp over the elder Bush.

“And at a moment of pronounced regret among GOP and tea party activists about the expansion of government that took place under George W. Bush, Pence’s distance from that brand is seen as an unalloyed asset.

“’I don’t know of anybody else [in the field] who stood up to Karl Rove,’ said Benko, touting Pence’s opposition to No Child Left Behind, the costly prescription drug benefit and TARP.  ‘He has fought for fiscal restraint harder than anybody I know.’”
Pence, however, has a worthy gubernatorial rival for the Reagan mantle. Sam Brownback is a dazzlingly Reaganesque success as governor of Kansas. Brownback just implemented the largest income tax cut in Kansas history.  At the same time, he reversed a $500 million deficit into a $500 million surplus, reducing the size of state government by 4,000 positions.  Brownback’s state budget director, Steve Anderson, is pioneering a method of accounting that holds government programs accountable for their cost-effectiveness — just like private sector companies have to be.  He’s posted it to the Kansas Budget Director’s Office website for the world to emulate.  This is revolutionary.

The Reaganesque Senators
Three Senators stand out as leading New Generation Reaganites: Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and the newly minted Ted Cruz.  (The great Jim DeMint, of course, has term-limited himself into the role of a deeply respected elder statesman.)

Rubio already has earned rock star quality, both for his personal charisma and the charisma of his ideas.  Rubio is a leader in presenting prosperity-with-social-equity, fostering Reaganesque economic policies:

“We don’t need new taxes. We need new taxpayers, people that are gainfully employed, making money and paying into the tax system. And then we need a government that has the discipline to take that additional revenue and use it to pay down the debt and never grow it again. And that’s what we should be focused on, and that’s what we’re not focused on.”Rubio leads the pack among GOP Insiders in the most recent National JournalPolitical Insiders’ Poll. He’s built a major league team and is first tier.

Suave Rand Paul does not have the same “Insiders” appeal.  Yet Paul almost certainly will be able to capture the energy of many of the followers of Ron Paul, his retiring father, while continuing to champion a refinement of his father’s profound Jeffersonian libertarianism.  Paul will be formidable in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, a chance to catapult himself into contention.  And Rand Paul is far more Reagan Renaissance than Bush Mandarin.

The most interesting newly minted U.S. Senator is Texan Ted Cruz … who campaigned on a distinctively broad-based economic growth platform.  Mother Jones’s Tim Murphy calls him “the Republican Barack Obama.”  Cruz, in NRO:

President Obama has presided over a substantial dollar decline against gold and other commodities, and a highly unstable dollar relative to other major currencies. The volatile dollar distorts investment, reduces business confidence, and hampers international trade.” … “In sum, rather than take the proven path to economic boom — the path of Reagan, as well as Jack Kennedy in the Go-Go 1960s and Calvin Coolidge in the Roaring ’20s … President Obama has willfully added huge new costs and red tape on business, proposes a major tax increase starting on January 1, and has presided over a highly unstable dollar.”A Reagan Renaissance man.

The Reaganesque Congress
In the House, three rising stars stand out as leaders of the Reagan Renaissance. These are Kevin Brady, Jim Jordan, and, of course, Paul Ryan.

Kevin Brady, vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, makes himself a man to be reckoned with by a proposed comprehensive spending reform —   “the MAP” to cut federal spending fat by more than trillion dollars over the Ryan Plan.  Brady also gains national respect with his Sound Dollar Act — about which America is likely to be hearing much more, soon.  Brady promises thereby to place the growth potential of a rule-based monetary policy at the fore of the national debate.  With Obama re-elected, picking a smart monetary policy fight is among the smartest things the GOP can do.

Rep. Jim Jordan has made a smart crusade for economic growth policy a signature matter.  He promotes a five point economic growth agenda, including, unprompted, monetary reform.  It is reminiscent, in its simplicity and potency, of Reagan … and of Kemp.  Of possibly equal importance to his policy agenda is Jordan’s disposition.  Jordan — like Kemp — is one of few championship athletes to have served in the House. Athletes instinctively understand winning and losing. They know that incremental gains are important only in respect of whether they bring one closer to final victory. Jordan, a Hall of Fame collegiate wrestler, clearly understands the Agon.

And then there is Paul Ryan.  Rep. Ryan’s status as Romney’s running mate, notwithstanding the loss, brings him to the fore.  Ryan has focused more ardently on balancing the budget than on generating growth.  This is a complicated issue and has minuses as well as pluses.  Yet Ryan is a savvy, disciplined, energetic leader.  He successfully made himself into a conservative rock star and shrewdly wooed most of the mainstream conservative establishment into backing his Plan.  And Ryan has an authentic grasp of the critical importance of monetary policy. This is an ace up his sleeve.

Economic growth and the equally important cultural, values, and civil liberties issues such as life, marriage, and religious liberty, are issues that were marginalized by the Bush Mandarins. Yes, the Mandarins were kind of mostly against tax increases and kind of for some tax cuts and sometimes for spending restraint, except when they weren’t.  But the Mandarins were not obsessed with generating economic opportunity as was Reagan and his Revolutionaries. And the Mandarins proved far too squeamish to engage with the values issues which are both principled conservative and vote rich.  But the elitist Mandarins, not the populist Revolutionaries, seized control of the party apparatus.  And it was all down hill from there.

Neither the left nor the mainstream media understand the existential difference between the Reagan Revolutionaries and the Bush Mandarins. Will the Republican financial, media, and other elites grasp this very critical distinction? Whether 2012 was the liberal triumph or the liberal last hurrah depends, in part, on whether the GOP Bigfoots notice the distinction and take heed.

If the party elites begin to shift some meaningful resources, and authority, to the Reagan Renaissance … as embodied by the rising new generation of officials dedicated to prosperity and moral courage … the election of 2012 will prove out not to have been a liberal triumph. 2012 will prove to be the calm before the storm as the Reagan Revolutionaries return from the political wilderness and settle in to generate the long-delayed Reagan Renaissance.
Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. The article which first appeared with a different title in Forbes was submitted for reprint by the author.

Tags: Ralph Benko, Karl Rove, end of Death grip, Reagan Renaissance To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Resistance with Respect

Bob Morrison and Ken Blackwell
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Contributing Authors, ARRA News Service: When President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to his fourth term, Kansas editor William Allen White, a staunch Republican, wrote: "We who hate your gaudy guts salute you." President Obama: We have never hated your gaudy guts. And we acknowledge that a majority of our fellow citizens of this Great Republic have saluted you and conferred upon you for the second time the office of President of the United States. We thank God that more than 120 million Americans voted in a peaceful and orderly election. That alone is a wonder of the world. (You will pardon us, Sir, if we also thank Heaven for the Twenty-second Amendment, another legacy from FDR.)

Our favorite portrait of you is the inaugural cover of The New Yorker. Over the past four years, we have written more than 600 columns singly and together about your administration’s policies. Throughout those years, we have kept the high promise of that Inaugural Portrait in mind. We have endeavored always to remember that you hold the office held by Washington and Lincoln. We believe that office deserves respect.

We also recall the amazing spectacle of millions of Americans attending your first Inauguration. We feel deeply what your taking the presidential oath must mean, especially to our fellow citizens whose ancestors survived the horrors of the Middle Passage. Those forebears came here in chains. For our fellow citizens of African descent, your rise to the presidency holds profound spiritual and historical meaning. With our fellow Christians, we share a belief in the redemptive value of suffering.

We must in all candor admit that we have opposed most of your policies. We believe your administration daily fails to recognize the God-given right to life. We assert that what was wrong in slavery, what was wrong in segregation, is what is wrong in abortion. It treats millions of humans as less than human. TIME’s Joe Klein admits that ultra-sound makes it “impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being.” Mr. President, your administration denies this reality every day. Abraham Lincoln said it well: “Nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon.” President Obama: Are not unborn children so stamped?

We have also opposed your administration’s policy of refusing to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. One of these laws, the Defense of Marriage Act, you have flouted from the first days of your presidency. Now, we have seen voters in four states decide to permit same sex couplings to be recognized as marriages. Thirty-two states have voted to preserve true marriage. We will see what some call “marriage equality” only when Zero equals One. We are not surprised that some today hail Tuesday’s results as proving that Four is greater than Thirty-two.

True marriage benefits all and bashes none. It is the foundation of society.

 The moving story of 10,000 more marriages being recorded in Tennessee in 1866 should be more widely known. Recently freed black couples came to Tennessee that year to have their slave marriages legally recognized. That’s how strong was the desire to preserve family life then. That’s how important marriage was for the black community. The breakdown of marriage among blacks, Hispanics, and whites has caused untold heartbreak for the nation. If you are against traditional marriage, Mr. President, you cannot have a successful administration. We will fight for this ideal with or without your support.

Your administration is paying billions to tormentors of Christians in a number of Muslim majority lands. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that Christianity is the most persecuted religion on earth. You were received with joy and admiration in Germany, Mr. President. We appeal to you to change your policies in your second term. Those who oppress neighbors who worship differently will never enjoy democracy. This must stop. You must cease taxing us to support treacherous allies who shoot us in the back.

We doubt you will be moved by our appeal. In your first term, you proved deaf to the cries of the oppressed of many lands. American blood has been shed and American treasure sunk in foreign entanglements that will result in neither freedom nor peace. And today, our strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is in mortal peril. No president had been as hostile to Israel’s survival needs as you have been.

For the sake of our beloved country, we urge you to reverse your Mideast policy. Embracing regimens which have vowed to eradicate Israel, will bring nothing but blood and dishonor.

Finally, we pray for you, President Obama. We hope you and your family are kept safe from all harm. We believe that as we pray for you and for all those in authority, we are following God’s Word.

We pray, too, that you will remember President Washington’s words to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport. Washington wanted to see an America “where each shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. May that be our America, too, Barack Obama.
Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law.   Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Global gun ban on the horizon?

Join "Reject the U.N. On Facebook
By Bill Wilson: If a new United Nations (UN) treaty governing small arms passes the U.S. Senate with a two-thirds majority, it will directly regulate gun owners in the U.S., warns acclaimed constitutional attorney Michael Farris. “[I]t is aimed not only at arms dealers — it is aimed at every ‘end user’ of firearms,” Farris wrote in a Facebook update, pointing to provisions in the treaty that define small arms, a requirement that all gun purchasers be put into a federal database, and even new powers in the treaty for the government “to prohibit the transfer of arms from any location under that State’s jurisdiction and control.”

Currently, there is no federal database compiling information on every gun owner in the country. And there really is no reason for there to be one — other than to confiscate firearms.

In the past, gun registration was a key Jim Crow law in the South. Such requirements had little to do with enforcing the law, and everything to do with confiscating firearms.

Now with such a database, the federal government would suddenly have the ability to take away everyone’s firearms if it chose to do so. This is dangerous.

And the problem is that the treaty would supersede current protections under the Second Amendment, endangering the rights of every gun owner in the U.S.

“If anyone thinks that this UN treaty would never be used against private people — but only against arms dealers and terrorists, they need to read the following decision of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Farris wrote, pointing to the 2010 U.S. v. Bond decision.

That case involved a woman who was prosecuted under the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998 — a treaty whose provisions were supposed to be enforced against terrorists.

In July, National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre recently testified in front of the UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference that his organization would oppose any treaty that includes civilian arms.

Now that the text of the treaty is available, it is clear as day that is exactly what it does.

The treaty itself gives House Republicans with quite an issue to take advantage of. Namely, if this treaty proceeds, the House could refuse to fund the United Nations. Every year, taxpayers give more than $500 million to that body for its regular budget, and over $2 billion for its peacekeeping budget.

While their Senate colleagues fight against this treaty, House Republicans should begin the process of scrutinizing the UN budget. Republicans could — and should — make the UN’s budget a referendum on this gun control treaty. Unless the treaty is withdrawn, then the U.S. should withdraw from the UN.

After all, why should the American people be forced to fund a body that seeks to take away their constitutional rights to keep and bear arms?
Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Bill on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG.

Tags: United Nations, global, gun ban, treaty, second amendment, U.S. Constitution, Reject the U.N. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Top 3 Special Interests Expecting Favors During Obama’s Second Term

Lachlan Markay, Heritage Investigates: President Obama enjoyed support from some key constituencies in his successful reelection bid. Some of those groups are surely expecting to benefit from another four years of his Administration. Here are three groups likely to get some sort of payout during a second Obama term.

Big Labor
Labor unions have spent billions since 2005 to elect friendly politicians, including President Obama. Government unions went “all out for the president,” noted Heritage’s James Sherk and Ashley Shelton on Tuesday. And that only tells part of the story. “The hours spent by union employees working on political matters were equivalent in 2010 to a shadow army much larger than President Barack Obama’s current re-election staff,” according to the The Wall Street Journal.
The Obama Administration’s activist National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has consistently served Big Labor’s agenda on the federal level. It makes little effort to mask its crusades against Boeing or workplace democracy generally with a veneer of neutrality towards the nation’s labor policy.

With Congress likely to remain highly polarized, expect the NLRB to continue promoting an agenda explicitly designed to bolster the ranks of the nation’s unions when the Administration can’t garner support for its policy proposals in the legislature.

Obama’s pro-union agenda could even revive “card check,” which would abolish secret-ballot elections for workplace unionization. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says he expects card check will come up during Obama’s second term.

“The reelection of President Obama and Vice President Biden is an affirmation of the role of government in charting America’s clean economy future,” said BlueGreen Alliance executive director David Foster after Tuesday’s results came in.
Energy Action Coalition executive director Maura Cowley expressed a similar sentiment: “it’s clear that taking bold and urgent action on the climate crisis must be at the top of Obama’s list.”

As Heritage’s Diane Katz recently noted, the Environmental Protection Agency reportedly held off on issuing major regulations until after the election. With Obama in office for another four years, expect him to advance many of the regulations he stalled for fear of the political fallout that would result from the depressing impact on the American economy.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) has compiled a comprehensive list of EPA regulations that may be coming down the line during a second Obama term. Katz reported that many of these measures are expected to collectively drain the economy of hundreds of billions of dollars, and massively reduce employment in affected industries.

IER also notes that the EPA is likely to continue settling out of court with environmental groups that sue with the knowledge that a friendly EPA will work to accommodate their radical demands.

Green Energy Companies
As Heritage’s Rachael Slobodien documented yesterday, 19 taxpayer-backed green energy companies have recently filed for bankruptcy. Despite that record, federal handouts to such companies are likely to continue under Obama, who made “green jobs” a pillar of his reelection campaign.

The president’s victory on Tuesday makes an extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC) more likely during the lame duck session of Congress, according to industry observers.

If the PTC extension passes, it will mark the first post-election handout to green energy companies, but by no means the last. “President Obama has been a tremendous supporter of solar energy,” said Solar Energy Industries of America CEO Rhone Resch in reaction to the election, “and we look forward to continuing to work with the Obama Administration over the next four years.”

Some observers expect the Obama Administration to pursue its green strategies via the military, which affords the executive more discretion to implement such an agenda. The Navy’s efforts during Obama’s first term to promote a “green fleet” have benefited companies and individuals with political ties to the Administration.

Tags: Election 2012, environmentalists, green energy, regulations, unions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please thank and link to the ARRA News Service which provided the article!

Friday, November 9, 2012

After the Election

The following insights are worth all conservatives reading. This is adapted from remarks Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner delivered Wednesday to Heritage staff.

Ed Feulner
by Ed Feulner, Heritage Foundation: I imagine that, besieged and belittled on all sides, and confronted with such a formidable array of adversaries – in the White House, Congress, the media and the academy – all determined to undo the Reagan Revolution and establish the Obama Revolution in its stead, many of you may look around in despair and ask: “Where is the cavalry that can come galloping to our rescue and save us from disaster?”

But I have news for you: This time around, we at The Heritage Foundation are the cavalry.

We are the flagship conservative organization that carries on the Reagan legacy.

We are the people conservatives look to stop the Obama Revolution in its tracks.

In large measure, it’s up to us to nobly save, or meanly lose, this great American experiment in democratic self-government.

Looking back on the nearly four decades that have elapsed since The Heritage Foundation opened its doors, it seems to me that perhaps everything we have built up, slowly and painfully, has finally led us to this defining moment.
  • Our brilliant team of analysts;
  • Our unparalleled capacity to communicate with grassroots America;
  • Our ability to market our ideas;
  • Our superb contacts on Capitol Hill;
  • The huge clout we wield through our sister-organization, Heritage Action for America;
  • Our influential friends on talk-radio and generally, in the media;
  • Our hundreds of thousands of dedicated members; and
  • Our millions upon millions of friends and well-wishers — all these hard-won assets must now be brought into play as we wage the fight of our lives.
My friends, we too have many challenging days ahead of us.

But they can also be great days, provided we recognize that we conservatives have not lost the war.

We have merely lost a battle in an on-going struggle.

The main thing is not to play into the Left’s hands by giving up the struggle. That would be truly catastrophic.

So let us not be frightened or anxious or downcast.

Let us rather remind ourselves that we are immensely privileged to participate in a struggle that is much, much larger than ourselves.

We are well-armed — morally, intellectually, and materially — to carry on this struggle. And with God’s help, and in His own good time, we will take our country back.

Edwin J. Feulner is President of The Heritage Foundation. He had lead in the transformation of Heritage from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas and into what the New York Times calls “the Parthenon of the conservative metropolis.”

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