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Comment Last Three
April 23, 2014
By MANU RAJU | 4/23/14
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — Sen. Lindsey Graham recognized the threat years before it had a chance to form — and knew immediately what he had to do.
After the tea party wave in the 2010 election, right-wing groups were itching to get one of South Carolina’s newly elected conservative congressmen to challenge Graham, the blunt-spoken, deal-making congressional veteran of two decades. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a favorite of the grass roots, was high on their list.
So when Graham got wind in 2012 that Mulvaney wanted a seat on the House Financial Services Committee, he quietly lobbied his longtime friend, Speaker John Boehner, to make it happen. During regular dinners and breakfast meetings, the senator made clear to Mulvaney and other up-and-comers in the delegation that he was there to help with their districts’ needs. All the while, Graham was busy assembling a daunting multimillion-dollar political operation.
Lo and behold, Mulvaney and others thought better of taking on Graham when the time came. “Not being able to win is a really good reason not to run,” Mulvaney said in an interview.
Graham’s deft maneuvering shows why he’s become the dominant political figure in this deeply red state and is skating to another six years even as he’s angered the base on immigration and other hot-button issues. Far from pandering to the party’s tea party wing in order to get reelected, he’s challenging it head-on: Graham warns that the GOP is caught in a “death spiral” with minorities, says it needs to get real about climate change and defends his move to open debate on gun control legislation after a school massacre.
His legwork to protect his seat could serve as a model for other endangered incumbents looking to fend off more conservative challengers.
“There’s a head wind for all incumbents,” Graham, 58, said over a dinner of chicken livers and fried green tomatoes in nearby Charleston last week. “I’ve tried to insulate myself.”
The losses of GOP Sens. Bob Bennett of Utah in 2010 then Dick Lugar of Indiana two years later showed how longtime incumbents who look unbeatable can be upended in primaries by more conservative challengers.
“Perhaps I was not as concerned as I should have been about the challenge in my primary,” Lugar said in a recent interview.
Read entire post at: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/lindsey-graham-south-carolina-tea-party-105928.html#ixzz2zj5AcYwZ
September 02, 2013
By Chuck Warren
In the years since the United States first went to war in Iraq, liberal groups and commentators have accused many media outlets of not asking the right or critical questions of the Bush administration. This is something our gatekeepers of information vowed would never happen again with future military endeavors.
Has it changed? This time around, under President Obama, as the US has engaged in military action in Libya, launched an unprecedented number of unmanned aerial drone strikes around the world and threatened military “punishment” in Syria, I have to ask if the media is completely falling asleep on the job?
In 2011, President Obama laid out a very expansive doctrine of his justifications for war, including genocide, humanitarian relief, regional security or economic interests. He declared his willingness to act unilaterally under certain circumstances, and just recently the White House signaled that with the British rejection of war in Syria, the US would consider doing just that.
Of course, this conflicts with the parameters of unilateral action that Obama laid out just a few short years ago, which would be “to defend our nation and its core interests.” And it certainly conflicts with the Vice President’s remarks made on MSNBC in 2007 when, as a Senator, he said, “the president has no constitutional authority to take this country to war against a country of 70 million people unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. And if he does, I would move to impeach him.” Maybe it’s because Syria is only a country of 20 million that Vice President Biden thinks it’s okay?
Just five years ago, the Huffington Post published a piece entitled, “The Bush/Cheney Holocaust in Iraq,” which claimed that the use of such language was justified, in part, because of the civilian casualties as well as the administration’s attempts to “exempt its actions from court oversight.” Why aren’t they putting the same stamp of contempt on the Obama Administration?
Drone strikes apparently have a kill rate of 50 civilians per terrorist, and the Obama administration has specifically justified the killing of American citizens through those strikes without any court oversight. In fact, the administration’s response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against them puts forth the claim that these killings are constitutional because Eric Holder and Barack Obama say they are.
I have not come across any Huffington Post articles deriding the administration for the Obama/Holder holocaust.
In an even further expansion of war making powers, the president declared that, “where a brutal dictator is threatening his people . . .I think it’s in America’s international – in America’s national interest to do something about it.”
He just presumably defined every country around the world ruled by a brutal dictator as being within the national interest of the US, and therefore a reasonable target of our military aggression. Apparently aggressive military action is only wrong if the office holder is a Republican.
On the other hand, the slur, “warmonger” was thrown around at President Bush by the media as though it were his middle name. It was even used to denigrate his supporters, from Ed Schultz, of MSNBC using the term to describe John McCain while warming up a crowd for Obama to salon.com calling Ed Koch a warmonger because of his support of Bush.
President Bush assembled a coalition consisting of 48 other countries to support the Iraq invasion, in addition to receiving a Joint Resolution from Congress authorizing it; the current administration took military action in Libya without congressional approval, was ready to proceed in Syria without a Congressional vote until the public outcry became too loud this weekend. Yet, previously they have already asserted the right to engage in limited action without authority from Congress. Ed Schultz is at it again, but instead of blaming Obama for his eagerness to go to war against Syria, he claims it’s the “neo-cons” pushing him into it. Poor President Obama is just paralyzed because he is unable to build a coalition for anything except for winning a presidential election.
In 2004, with the US embroiled in the Iraq War, the New York Times declared, “Before the Iraq fiasco, American leaders rightly viewed war as a last resort, appropriate only when the nation's vital interests were actively threatened and reasonable diplomatic efforts had been exhausted . . . that is still the wisest course.”
Instead of offering similar guidance to the current president regarding Libya, The New York Times chose to give him preemptive cover for that mission, apparently in case things didn’t go so well. “Mr. Obama has been caught between criticism that he did not do enough and that he had done too much.” And in the case of Syria, a country which the president threatened before he even had a plan in place on how to follow through, the Washington Post says, “History says don’t do it. Most Americans say don’t do it. But President Obama has to punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s homicidal regime with a military strike — and hope that history and the people are wrong.”
Do you have any questions regarding military action? Apparently you are alone because most of the media and liberal commentators have few when a Democrat is in the White House.
May 10, 2013
Ben Key Addition Allows Veteran Political Shop to Expand
Salt Lake City, May 13, 2013 – Silver Bullet, LLC (www.silverbulletllc.com) is pleased to announce the addition of Ben Key as its Senior Counsel and Strategist. Key joins Silver Bullet after working at the Republican National Committee in Chairman Reince Priebus’ office as Director of External Affairs and Special Projects, including oversight of the Growth & Opportunity Project - the recently released document which details what the Republican Party must do to grow and win elections in 2014 and well beyond.
His arrival provides additional support and depth for Silver Bullet’s nationwide client base in their specialty areas of ballot qualification for referenda, initiatives and candidates, as well as personal voter contact activities and grass roots lobbying efforts.
“Ben is a nationally respected, strategic and effective campaign and public affairs professional,” says Chuck Warren, partner of Silver Bullet, LLC. “He has a deep reservoir of experience and relationships at the national, state, and local level.”
Prior to working at the RNC, Key was a highly regarded political and business consultant with extensive national experience. His 30+-year track record exemplifies his understanding of strategic initiatives, message development and tactical implementation. Key has worked on behalf of candidates, political parties & industry associations at the national, state and local levels. Key has worked for a U.S. Congressman, served as Chief of Staff for the Legislative Caucus Leader in Sacramento, and has been a Senior Consultant on successful Presidential, U.S. Senate and Congressional campaigns.
“Ben not only has the expertise to navigate at all levels of the political landscape, he understands the nuances of voter contact and connecting with voters on a personal level,” adds Tim Mooney, partner of Silver Bullet, LLC.
During his professional career, Ben Key was also an Executive Vice President of a NYSE traded Food Industry leader and was elected Chairman of the industry’s international association. In that role Key launched significant initiatives with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to bring about needed food safety regulations to better protect consumers while limiting government involvement. Consequently, food safety practices for this industry have been incorporated into FDA regulations.
A graduate of UCLA with a degree in Economics, Key and his wife, Michelle have two grown children. Ben will be based in Dallas, Texas.
About Silver Bullet LLC
The partners of Silver Bullet LLC have a combined 60+ years working in politics and policy at all levels and in every state. Current and previous clients include some of America’s best-known and well-respected associations, corporations and political figures. With specific emphasis on grassroots political activism and ballot measures, the partners hold an enviable record of 30-to-5 with issues at the ballot and have passed state constitutional amendments eleven times in seven states, and have placed or prevented the placement of initiatives on the ballot in over a dozen states. Silver Bullet has help place candidates on the ballot in over two-dozen states and has registered hundreds of thousands of new voters throughout the country.
March 11, 2013
By Chuck Warren
Imagine if America experienced a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in a highly populated area with notoriously unstable buildings resulting in more than 200,000 dead, 1.5 million homeless and $8 billion worth of damage. Needless to say, it would garner world headlines and galvanize a national effort to completely rebuild.
While we can only imagine the scope of pain and suffering, this natural disaster did occur, albeit in one of the world’s poorest nations – Haiti.
Despite multinational efforts – including a joint public campaign by George W. Bush and Bill Clinton that raised considerable resources – the recovery process ought to be a lot further along than it is. The fact is, despite billions of dollars in aid and countless hours of work by relief organizations, volunteers and the people of Haiti, the island nation is still severely damaged and the scope of human suffering is simply staggering.
Over $9 billion in aid has flooded into the country in the years since the earthquake occurred, but a lack of transparency and absence of an overall strategy have prevented these resources from making a lasting difference on the ground.
If Barack Obama feels compelled to do the right thing for Haiti, he should take a hard look at the idea of appointing Mitt Romney as Ambassador to Haiti.
Why? The answer lies in Mitt Romney’s special skills, which he can use to help Haitians get back on their feet and build a stronger and more stable nation for the future.
Let us start off with the simplest of obstacles: language. Romney served his missionary outreach in France, spending almost two-and-a-half years there and picking up the language in the process. Mr. Romney thus speaks a language many Haitians understand, and he would be able to credibly communicate with the people there in a way that most cannot.
A lack of suitable housing is probably the single most pressing issue in Haiti, although it could be argued this it is only an issue due to the lack of economic recovery.
Mitt Romney tackled complex housing issues as the Governor of Massachusetts. He also handled emergency situations during his tenure as he dealt with heavy flooding in large swaths of the Bay State. His father George Romney may be best known as a popular former Governor of Michigan, but he also served effectively as Richard Nixon Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. As such, Mitt Romney has shown a specific interest in housing issues for many years.
Housing in Haiti remains a desperate challenge, especially in Haiti’s capital Port Au Prince, where hundreds of thousands still live in tent cities that grow increasingly less safe and sanitary every day. Tens of thousands of others live in dilapidated and condemned buildings rather than face the overcrowding of the tent cities or the harsh reality of having no roof over their heads.
The economy is in complete disrepair, with tens of thousands of businesses, formal and informal, destroyed in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, economic growth within Haiti is not as simple as just pumping billions of dollars into the country, where corruption, malinvestment, and a lack of infrastructure would frustrate its success.
Finally, the United States is home to over eight hundred thousand members of the Haitian Diaspora. Like it or not, we are Haiti’s neighbor, and as citizens, we have a vested interest in helping to improve the situation there.
So what difference might Mitt Romney make – personally, economically and organizationally?
Economic investment into Haiti is a task for which Mitt Romney has a wealth of experience. His leadership while serving as CEO of Bain Capital shows that he knows how the business world works and that he has advanced management skills. Emergency preparedness and response is a daily need in Haiti, especially since major hurricanes can strike at any given time and further stall progress.
While Romney dealt with emergency services issues as Governor of Massachusetts, his work as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics truly illustrates his ability to tackle a challenge of this scope.
Facing revenue shortfalls, organizational bottlenecks and no ready sources of revenue, Mitt Romney took over the Games and oversaw an incredible turnaround that ended with a $100 million surplus.
We have a true stake in helping this Caribbean nation become stable and even prosperous, instead of a never-ending parade of non-government organizations with tents to put up and food to hand out. Mitt Romney can help the recovery process to transition from the “give a man a fish” level to “teach a man to fish,” if only Barack Obama will give him the chance.
To his detractors, Barack Obama represents divisive politics at its worst, and they are convinced he has designs to marginalize his political opposition – perhaps even destroying the GOP. But think what a move like this could mean – for the people of Haiti, for the character of American generosity and the president’s frequent calls for us to come together after the bruising 2012 election.
February 25, 2013
By George F. Will
Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying “Wolf!” about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying “Hamster!”
As in: Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forfend, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut!
The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. At his unintentionally hilarious hysteria session Tuesday, Obama said: The sequester’s “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. “And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”
“Forced”? The Navy did indeed cite the sequester when delaying deployment of the USS Truman. In the high-stakes pressure campaign against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, U.S. policy has been to have two carriers in nearby waters. Yet the Navy is saying it cannot find cuts to programs or deployments less essential than the Truman deployment. The Navy’s participation in the political campaign to pressure Congress into unraveling the sequester is crude, obvious and shameful, and it should earn the Navy’s budget especially skeptical scrutiny by Congress.
The Defense Department’s civilian employment has grown 17 percent since 2002. In 2012, defense spending on civilian personnel was 21 percent higher than in 2002. And the Truman must stay in Norfolk? This is, strictly speaking, unbelievable.
Read the full post, click here.
February 25, 2013
Legislator wants to protect process
A freshman lawmaker from South Forsyth County has introduced a measure that proposes amending the state constitution to protect the right to secret ballot.
“I didn’t just want to go down and play the part, I wanted to be part of the process,” said Geoff Duncan, a Republican who represents District 26.
“I wanted to come down to the Capitol and make a difference, and this definitely allows me to be able to participate in making a difference.”
House Resolution 108, the first measure Duncan has introduced, aims to guarantee a secret ballot wherever local, state or federal law requires an election. If approved by the legislature, state voters would then be asked to decide on the amendment.
“Big labor is demanding to change the way unions are organized; namely, to end an employee’s right to a secret ballot when deciding whether or not to join a union,” Duncan said. “Eliminating the secret-ballot requirement opens the process up to widespread intimidation.”
The measure is an initiative of the Save Our Secret Ballot organization, which wants to prevent voter intimidation, particularly in situations involving labor unions.
In a statement, the group’s chairman, Ken Blackwell, welcomed Duncan joining “our aggressive fight to protect the secret ballot in all elections.”
“[His] efforts bring Georgia one step closer in protecting our most inalienable rights from the over-reaching hands of Washington,” Blackwell said.
As it stands, the amendment measure has passed in all five states in which it has appeared on the ballot. In two of those states, Arizona and South Dakota, lawsuits were unsuccessful in overturning the amendments.
The National Labor Relations Board, which brought forth the suit, argued the states’ secret ballot amendments conflicted with federal labor laws by restricting methods in which employees can choose a union.
“If unions get their way, a business could be unionized virtually overnight — no campaign, no election and certainly no secret ballot,” Duncan said.
“HR 108 gives voters not only an opportunity to protect one of their most fundamental rights, it safeguards them against future action.”
Duncan’s measure has been co-signed by Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, and Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, among others.
Duncan said he met with Lindsey to talk about the legislation before the 2013 General Assembly convened.
“I made a promise to Forsyth County to come down to the Capitol and create jobs that don’t cost the taxpayers a dime and this legislation does exactly that,” he said.
“It allows us as a state to be able to tell businesses all over the country and the world that we not only want them to come to Georgia, but we want them to succeed in Georgia.”
See story here.
January 30, 2013
By Matt Canham Salt Lake Tribune
Washington • A new immigration bill led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would greatly increase the number of foreign-born scientists and engineers who are allowed to live and work here.
It’s a bipartisan idea touted by President Barack Obama that joins the touchy topic of immigration reform with the employment need for many companies.
As an example, Hatch noted there are on average 120,000 openings each year for computer scientists but only 40,000 graduates with legal status.
"At least right now there are not enough Americans trained and ready to fill these jobs," Hatch said. "We cannot continue to ignore this problem. It is that simple."
He introduced the bill with Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Coons, D-Del.
Their legislation would give legal status to foreign-born students who get a doctorate or master’s degree in a science, math, engineering or technology field.
And it would boost the number of highly skilled immigrant visas by at least 50,000 each year to a total of 115,000 and depending on economic need that number could rise all they way up to 300,000.
Companies who recruit these foreign workers would pay a federal fee that would be used to boost science and technology education in the United States.
"We must be a country that makes stuff again, that invents things, that exports to the world," said Klobuchar said. "And to do that we need the world’s talent."
Klobuchar and Rubio linked their proposal with efforts at broad immigration reform that would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, and even Hatch said he hopes this is just the first in a larger attempt at reforming the immigration system.
Read the full story here.
December 26, 2012
By Chuck Warren
One of the disappointing byproducts of the inconceivably brutal horror in Newtown, Connecticut was the sneering self-righteousness disseminated immediately by those attempting to advance ideological arguments and score political points.
Of all the great tragedies in America over the past two decades, the most long-lasting might be the loss of decorum, civility and kindness in public discourse. While I pray that it returns quickly, the stakes are higher than just the virtue of disagreeing without being disagreeable. The truth is that dignity and civility allow us to rationally deliberate and discuss the ideas that make a better country.
We are about to undertake a national conversation regarding gun control. As we participate in this process, from cable news shows to our very own kitchen tables, I hope that we will take a collective breath and give facts (whether they support our view or not) their appropriate measure. And we should engage a fundamental question: Should we as a nation institute a surplus of well-intended laws to protect all of us all the time?
In 2011, 32,310 Americans lost their lives in auto accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this is the leading cause of death for teens and teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Additionally, male teens have nearly twice the death rate of their female counterparts.
If we are going to take immediate action to save as many young lives as possible as quickly as possible, we should ban teenage drivers tomorrow – and male teenage drivers today.
Drivers age 75 and older have a higher motor vehicle death rate per mile driven than any group except teenagers. When an accident does occur, elderly individuals are much more likely to die from their injuries. Sorry, grandpa, give me your keys. And while you’re at it, I’ll take that driver’s license, too. Just trying to save your life, okay?
Of the vehicle deaths referenced above, almost a third occurred in drunken driving crashes. Should we go back to prohibition? If not that, perhaps require individuals to submit to psychological testing first before buying alcohol.
Each year, around 600,000 Americans lose their lives due to heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women. Should only low-fat, organic food be made available? Should everyone be required to join a gym, hire a trainer or diet rather than be incarcerated?
Numerous studies show that the availability of free, over-the-counter contraception has corresponded with a rise in sexually transmitted disease among teens – with no corresponding decrease in the rate of pregnancy or abortion. Should we ban this kind of contraception? After all, its ease of availability runs parallel to more risk-taking behavior among teenagers. Better yet, maybe the federal government should just ban teen sex altogether: teen abortion, pregnancy and STDs gone with just a single federal law.
Tongue-in-cheek to be sure, but is it really different from the logic being employed in much of the gun debate?
I own guns, but I’m not opposed to reasonable gun registration. I also support preventing mentally ill people from obtaining guns – but how do we do this? A note from your doctor? A five-year waiting period between taking any depression medication and obtaining a firearm? What we want to do and what we can do has rarely seemed further apart.
Within seven hours of the Sandy Hook shooting, one liberal friend’s Facebook page said “the parents should be prosecuted.” Maybe my buddy started a career in the mainstream media, because he had all the fury and none of the facts. And yet, he feels essentially entitled to (pardon the expression) shoot from the hip about whatever was on the top of his head. Unfortunately, this is an example of the logic that seems to be percolating in some corners. And it is dangerous.
Hopefully, we can have a real and rational conversation about possible gun control measures in which both sides arrive with fresh eyes, with “culture” and “reality” given their proper place.
Culture is more than graphic video games or gratuitous violence in entertainment. It is also the people we are producing and becoming. As for reality, it should guide us to the unarmed truth. If we ignore one or both, we run risk of realizing the prophetic words of Ayn Rand: “You can avoid reality, you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”
December 07, 2012
It's clear that the Bush-era cuts should never have carried an expiration date. And they wouldn't have — if more Democrats had been on board. Middle-class families take note.
No one of either party seems to want these so-called "Bush-era" cuts to end for the middle class. And no one wants to be blamed if there's no cliff deal and the Tax Code suddenly reverts to its pre-2001 state.
Why, then, are they expiring at all? The answer to that question points to some interesting historical facts, particularly about which party has a stronger record on providing tax relief to the middle class.
Let's start with a point that, by now, should be obvious to thoughtful people on both sides of the debate: Temporary tax cuts are usually bad policy. They breed uncertainty, sow confusion in business and personal financial planning, and create artificial crises (Exhibit A: Fiscal Cliff).
The looming sunset of the two Bush tax-cut laws is especially hard on the party that enacted them in the first place.
Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/120612-636018-senate-rules-democrats-tax-cut-resistance-led-to-fiscal-cliff.htm#ixzz2EO3l6tHx
December 05, 2012
Amid all the political and media hoopla about the "fiscal cliff" crisis, there are a few facts that are worth noting.
First of all, despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on "the rich," even if that is done it will scarcely make a dent in the government's financial problems. Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top two percent will not get enough additional tax revenue to run the government for 10 days.
And what will the government do to pay for the other 355 days in the year?
All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting "the rich" to pay "their fair share" is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing "the rich" will produce a drop in the bucket when compared to the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.
No previous administration in the entire history of the nation ever finished the year with a trillion dollar deficit. The Obama administration has done so every single year. Yet political and media discussions of the financial crisis have been focused overwhelmingly on how to get more tax revenue to pay for past and future spending.
The very catchwords and phrases used by the Obama administration betray how phony this all is. For example, "We are just asking the rich to pay a little more."
This is an insult to our intelligence. The government doesn't "ask" anybody to pay anything. It orders you to pay the taxes they impose and you can go to prison if you don't.
November 19, 2012
By Chuck Warren
Let’s get to the point of the matter: President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and their media parrots are hell bent on raising taxes for those making over $250,000. While their talking points are the worst example of political demagoguery rather than reality, we are losing the public battle.
How do fiscal conservatives deal with this desire to raise taxes? Reality is, we have to get our country back on a sound fiscal path and that means real spending cuts. Those cuts will not be forthcoming with a Democrat controlled Senate and an Obama White House unless they get their income tax hike (read The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward). The first step to any negotiation is understanding reality, and Democrats focus is raising the rates on the top bracket.
Therefore I have the following suggestion which should be considered:
Agree to increase income tax rates for those making over $250,000; however, instead of trusting the government will actually pay down the debt with the additional money, legislate that three things: 1) The $823 billion estimated 10 year revenue is all put toward fixing and expanding our infrastructure, at $823 billion per year. All projects would be required to go to the most cost effective bid, with no union preferences, 2) the president signs off on the Keystone pipeline and 3) for $823 billion in new revenue, Congress and Pres. Obama provide $2,469 trillion in real spending cuts (3-1 spending cuts).
Infrastructure spending will stimulate job creation and allow for greater competitiveness and productivity. Instead of allowing this increased revenue to go down an Obama black hole, it could be directed toward modernizing our infrastructure so at least we would have something to show for it. According to the CBO, “From 2008 to 2011, total government spending on surface transportation infrastructure – highways, mass transit, and passenger rail – surpassed $200 billion a year,” with just over $50 billion of that coming from the federal government.
According to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission, in order to aggressively expand the highway system, significantly improve conditions and accommodate increasing demand while maintaining already existing infrastructure, we would need to spend around $240 - $250 billion annually.
If we were able to add another $82 billion per year to what they’re already spending, federal government contribution would more than double and could bring available funds to over $280 billion annually. This would provide us with resources to not only upkeep that which we have, but to expand the system to a degree that efficiency would be maximized. Currently, overcrowded freeways cost Americans $78.2 billion a year in wasted time and fuel costs and freight bottlenecks cost an estimated $200 billion per year.
While we were promised that the stimulus bill of 2009 would provide us with major investments in roads, bridges and rails, in actuality we saw less than 3 percent of the money go toward infrastructure. Lesson learned. The requirement here to direct that money specifically to infrastructure projects would need to be airtight.
The result would be more people working at decent wages (hence more tax revenue) and less money dumped into unemployment and food stamps. We might as well have some say over how those funds are spent to at least ensure long-term benefit.
The second issue of compromise, the Keystone pipeline, would create somewhere between 6,000 – 10,000 jobs per year, generate an additional $5.2 billion in property tax revenue to the states along the route and allow the US to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
Our refineries in the Gulf of Mexico are calibrated to refine the heavy crude that Obama made difficult for us to get out of the Gulf of Mexico, but which is in abundance in the Persian Gulf and Canada. Even as our oil imports have been falling, our dependence on the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, has increased rather sharply.
The final must-have for our compromise, make real spending cuts. When I say spending cuts I’m not talking about any of these slow the rate of spending increases that politicians like to call cuts; I’m talking about real cuts, where with every $100 spent, $3 will be cut out of the next budget. This is only a down payment to solve our fiscal mess.
Yes, we need real tax reform - every working American should pay some income tax so they understand the price of government - but if Obama is willing to put our entire economy at risk and send the country over the fiscal cliff in his political class warfare game, then we need to call his bluff.
It certainly is something worth considering, especially since there aren’t many better ideas out there. It’s not a perfect idea, but it is called governing.
Read the post on Breitbart.com here.
November 12, 2012
By Aaron Gould Sheinin
Late Wednesday afternoon, as the impact of Mitt Romney’s loss sunk in, a quote by Utah Republican strategist Chuck Warren began bouncing around Twitter.
November 12, 2012
Mitt Romney will be chastised for his missteps. But he isn’t the only one who was tone deaf. Voters are ambivalent about President Obama and his record. He needs to listen to the echoes from the exit polls, broaden his approach, and seek a new direction for his second term.
Plenty of ink will be spilled chastising Republicans and the Mitt Romney campaign for their many missteps and missed opportunities. But they aren’t the only ones who were tone deaf in Election 2012.
After the costliest campaign in American history, spending $1 billion to squeak out a win against a candidate more than half of the voters disliked,President Obama becomes the first president since 1832 to win a second term with a smaller percentage of votes than in his initial victory.
Instead of running victory laps, Mr. Obama should go on a listening tour.
Exit polls confirm what the small margin of victory suggests: Voters are ambivalent about the president and his record. Tuesday’s vote was not a resounding affirmation of the past four years; it was a stark reminder that the nation is deeply divided. The president needs to listen to the echoes from the exit polls, broaden his approach, and seek a new direction for his second term.
A majority of voters say that things in this country today are “seriously off on the wrong track.” A super-majority rate the state of the economy as not so good or poor.
October 19, 2012
By Chuck Warren
In 2010, the largest accidental marine oil spill in history took place in the Gulf of Mexico. Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, was roundly criticized and President Obama declared that had Mr. Hayward been working for him he would have been fired.
BP had a long history of safety violations, many leading to injury and death. Hayward was the CEO for just over three years when the oil spill occurred. Certainly you couldn’t be expected to clean up many years’ worth of violations and problems in such a short time, could he?
According to President Obama, yes, he could. Clearly our president believes that just doing your best, when it leads to failure, simply isn’t enough. Hayward eventually did resign after public pressure was placed on him and on BP.
Flash forward to 2012.
The Middle East is on fire, our embassies are being attacked and the American flag burned, and our President has told us that all this chaos is the result of a video on YouTube. A senior retired CIA official, responding to the video comment, said, “I think this is a case of an administration saying what they wished to be true . . .”
It looks as though US officials had been warned regarding deteriorating security conditions in Benghazi up to three days before the attack that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared the attack an act of terror, and al-Qaeda has been linked to it.
Obama has repeatedly claimed that these deaths were the result of spontaneous mob outbursts, despite numerous requests for additional security in the months leading up to the attack; requests which had reportedly been denied by US officials and ultimately led to the death of four US citizens.
The unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August, down from a high under Obama of 10 percent. President Obama promised that if the $800 billion stimulus were passed, unemployment would stay below 8 percent and would be around 6 percent by now. Since the passage of his stimulus, we’ve hardly seen “below 8 percent” again. In fact, the percentage of employed Americans has dropped since the recovery began, from 59.4 percent to 58.4 percent.
Of course, according to President Obama, these high rates of unemployment are still apparently due to President Bush, as well as “problems that were more than a decade in the making.”
President Obama promised that during his first term, he would make the “tough choices necessary to restore fiscal discipline, cut the deficit in half . . . and put our nation on sound fiscal footing.”
His deficits have exceeded $1 trillion every single year in office, adding more to the debt in four years than George Bush did in eight. Our debt rating was downgraded from AAA to AA for the first time in US history, and rating agency Egan-Jones just last month downgraded us yet again, to AA-, citing the Fed’s QE3 and its potential effects on the stock market and commodity prices.
GDP growth has also been sorely lacking these past four years. Certainly the recovery, which began in June 2009 and was touted by Obama as proof of his success, is the construct of his own policies.
It has given us real GDP growth at its lowest level in 65 years: 2.2 percent, or less than half the historical norm.
President Obama has begun claiming that this slow GDP growth is typical for recoveries associated with financial crises, but this has not historically been the case in the US. Further, his own projections called for GDP growth of 4.6 percent this year, ostensibly as a result of the failed policies he implemented.
In response to BP’s defense of their actions after the oil spill, Obama said, “We’ve heard time and time again throughout this crisis that BP has tried, and failed . . .”
Yep, Mr. President, you gave it your best, but time to step aside.
October 01, 2012
From Breitbart.com, click here to read full story.
It wasn’t so long ago when Canada found itself heading down the same path of economic destruction that we are on today. What differentiates them from much of the rest of the developed world, is the approach they were forced to take in dealing with their escalating economic crisis.
In the early 1990s, Canada was facing a debt-to-GDP ratio of nearly 80 percent and federal spending had reached 23 percent of GDP. Our debt-to-GDP ratio has already surpassed 100 percent and federal spending has ballooned from a historic rate of 18 percent to around 25 percent today.
September 27, 2012
By Amelia Hamilton, Freedom Works
Workers in Arizona are more free today after a judge upheld the Arizona anti-card check law. The “Secret Ballot Amendment” was adopted by Arizona in 2010 and gave workers the chance to vote on unionization through a private ballot. The alternative is to have workers sign a card in public. With a public vote, the chance of intimidation and coercion by unions is much greater. Because workers would be free to vote as they wished with a secret ballot, the amendment had the very real potential of reducing unionization, causing labor unions to fight the law. Big labor, as expected, did just that.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed suit against the state of Arizona to have the law overturned, ending secret ballots in that state. The NLRB is a federal agency appointed by Whit House and Congress, and has close ties to President Obama. Today, Federal District Judge Frederick Martone dismissed the challenge in summary judgement, which means that the case was decided without trial.
A press release from The Goldwater Institute, which helped to write the law, stated that “Today’s ruling is a huge victory for federalism and the authority of states to protect the rights of their citizens...In the backdrop of continued power grabs by federal agencies like the NLRB, this ruling affirms that vital protections such as the right to secret ballot can remain in place.”
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s office released a statement saying that the ruling was “A rebuke to a 2011 Obama administration demand calling for Arizona to repudiate the voter-approved protection of secret balloting in union elections.” Although Arizona voters wanted secret ballots, the NLRB tried to strong-arm the state into overturning the will of the people. The NLRB may still appeal the decision, but today was a big victory for freedom in the workplace.
September 27, 2012
By Chuck Warren
Every cycle, in almost every state, there is a news story about some fearful politician(s) who endorsed a candidate of a different political persuasion and -- GASP -- they discover that people of their political party are not happy about it. Are they really surprised by this disappointment and grumbling from their former political allies? If they are, they should resign immediately because they are lacking the IQ to hold public office.
Such is the case today in a story written by Bryon Schott, entitled "Republicans Who Support McAdams Say They've Been Threatened with Reprisals." Read more: Utah Policy - Republicans Who Support McAdams Say They ve Been Threatened with Reprisals
Let’s look at some facts regarding the recent disillusionment and fear peculating in these naive politician’s hearts.
1. Mark Crockett = Revenge. Have these people met Mark Crockett? Ever? He is a man that tries to make companies more efficient. Would he really waste time on trying to defeat mayors who are looking for a government handout for their city? In his attempts for public office, has Mark Crockett even shown the ability to raise vast sums of money for his own race? If he hasn't done it for his own race, what makes anyone think he is going to get a burr in his butt and go on a jihad on against Republicans who support Ben McAdams (who I understand is a gem of a guy)? Facts don't support these idiotic and uninformed assumptions. This sounds more like a political tactic then reality. As Mr. Crockett's campaign manager eloquently said, this sounds like "October electioneering." Mark Crockett has a beautiful family, a successful business and is running his own race. As they say in the diabolically good TV show "Revenge," Mark is not in the “revengy” business.
2. My Year in Purgatory. In 2002, I was a member of Republicans for Horiuchi. I liked and still like Randy. He is a friend. Well, apparently I committed apostasy by supporting him. The Salt Lake County Republican Party booted me from my position as a county delegate and precinct vice chair with several other Benedict Arnolds. I still have the letter they sent me framed in my office, signed by Randy Horiuchi and a framed editorial cartoon depicting county Republicans coming to the homes of apostate Republicans and throwing us in a truck for “re-education” camp. Did we deserve it? Yes. We were party officers and delegates. I am still a Republican, but I suffered a consequence. So what? I understand what they did and didn’t then begrudge them of stripping me of my duties. I am rock solid Republican still to this day and give significant money and time to our candidates. That being said, I don't regret supporting Democrat Randy Horiuchi that election. So if these folks support Mr. McAdams, be proud of it, don’t moan and groan and if you are targeted for defeat, suck it up. You asked for it.
3. Get Tough. Which brings me to my last point -- though I have many. These buffoons who are complaining about ramifications either need to put their name in print and specify the "reprisals" or shut-up. Anything less is slander. It is illogical for elected Republicans to endorse and work for a Democrat candidate in one of the top two races in Utah and think you get a Monopoly "free pass." Again, I think the accusation of being the target of reprisals is simply “October electioneering.” At most, these fears are based on shallow assumptions or the delirious talks of some Republican voting precinct officer, but at the end of the day if it happened, so what? You made a choice. Are you really naive enough to think that if you try to defeat your party nominee that some people will not be upset and work to defeat you? Isn't that what you are doing now – trying to defeat the Republican nominee? Do you deserve special treatment when you run again?
You made a choice. You probably have nothing to worry about, but if you do it is based on your choice. It’s called the Law of the Harvest.
September 10, 2012
The payday loan industry didn’t want to argue its case to Missouri voters. So it pulled out all the stops to keep an initiative to cap interest rates off of the November ballot. Sadly, it has succeeded.
Industry operatives falsely told churches they could lose their tax-exempt status if they educated parishioners about the exploitive nature of payday loans. Thugs harassed citizens as they gathered voters’ signatures.
Bankrolled with $2.3 million in secret money, supporters of annual interest rates that on average exceed 400 percent threw up one legal hurdle after another.
After losing their early skirmishes, payday loan supporters rejoiced when Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced that the measure couldn’t appear on the November ballot because too many voters’ signatures were invalid. The industry sent its lawyers back to court to prevent its opponents from proving otherwise.
And so it ends. The grass-roots coalition known as Missourians for Responsible Lending has announced it is out of time to jump through the legal hoops required to prove legitimate registered voters signed its petitions.
Voters will not have their say on payday loan restrictions in November.
The collapse of the payday loan initiative took down another worthy initiative attempt. The coalition attempting to cap interest rates on payday loans had worked hand-in-hand with Give Missourians a Raise, the group seeking a dollar raise in Missouri’s minimum wage. That initiative won’t appear on the November ballot, either.
Opponents had good cause to fear the will of voters on both these matters.
Caps on the interest rates that can be charged by payday lenders have passed by solid margins in other states. Three-quarters of Missouri voters in 2006 said “yes” to a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage and there is little evidence that support has fallen much since then.
The demise of the two initiatives tells a disturbing story about the influence of money in Missouri politics.
Supporters of reasonable restrictions on payday lending have been rebuffed for years in the state legislature.
A study released a few months ago by Public Campaign, a watchdog group, showed why. Payday lenders and their lobbyists gave more than $1.6 million to top legislative leaders in Missouri over the past decade.
Missouri has now seen the initiative petition process corrupted by the same interests which dole out campaign cash to legislators.
Supporters of the payday loan industry hid their financial backing by donating to a non-profit organization called Missourians for Responsible Government. Founded by Kansas City communications consultant Patrick Tuoey, this entity acts as a conduit for people who want to donate anonymously to certain political causes. It passed money along to a campaign committee, Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity.
Records with the Missouri Ethics Commission show that Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity doled out hefty sums to, among others, consultant Jeff Roe’s firm, Axiom Strategies; to the politically connected law firm Graves, Bartle, Marcus & Garrett; and to a Las Vegas firm that specializes in petition drives, Silver Bullet Group. Chuck Hatfield, a well-connected lawyer in Jefferson City, also worked to keep the initiatives off the ballot.
So, for now, workers in Missouri will see no raise in the minimum wage and no protections against exhorbitant interest rates charged by the state’s ubiquitous payday lenders.
For the lawyers, consultants and others, it’s payday as always — this time at the expense of democracy.
September 06, 2012
by Mary K. Reinhart - The Arizona Republic
A federal judge Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of Arizona’s requirement for secret-ballot elections if workers want to organize a labor union.
The National Labor Relations Board last year sued to overturn the state constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2010, arguing that it violated federal law.
U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone said it’s impossible to say whether the laws would conflict since there has been no dispute. But he said his ruling “should not be construed to foreclose … challenges if and when they materialize.”
“This is a tremendous victory not only for the people of Arizona, but for the institution of free elections for all people,” said Attorney General Tom Horne, whose office defended the law.
Business and conservative groups called for the law change to pre-empt proposed federal legislation that would have made it easier for workers to form unions by signing cards in support. Gov. Jan Brewer called a special session and lawmakers placed the measure on the ballot.
Read the full story, click here.
September 06, 2012
Federal District Court Judge Rules NLRB’s Challenge Invalid
Phoenix--In a strong rebuke to the Obama Administration Wednesday, federal district court Judge Frederick J. Martone ruled that the Secret Ballot Amendment, which protects workers’ right to secret ballot in union-organizing elections, is constitutional.
Drafted by the Goldwater Institute in 2009, the Save Our Secret Ballot amendment was added in 2010 to state constitutions in Arizona, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Utah, by voter majorities ranging from 60 to 86 percent.
The constitutional amendment was sought after President Obama and congressional Democrats attempted to end the use of secret ballots in union-organizing elections and force workers into a system called “card check,” which would make it easier for unions to organize and open up the system to abuse by union organizers.
“Today’s ruling is a huge victory for federalism and the authority of states to protect the rights of their citizens,” declared Clint Bolick, Goldwater Institute Vice President for Litigation. “In the backdrop of continued power grabs by federal agencies like the NLRB, this ruling affirms that vital protections such as the right to secret ballot can remain in place.”
The National Labor Relations Board filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 charging that the measure intrudes on its powers and is preempted by federal law. The Goldwater Institute intervened to defend the provision on behalf of two dozen workers who want to protect their right to secret ballot.
The Court ruled that the provision does not on its face conflict with federal law. Noting that the law has yet to be invoked, Judge Martone added, “We must still balance the harm to the regulatory scheme with the importance” of the state’s interest “in the protection of its citizens.”
“In today’s ruling, the Court has reined in the NLRB’s aggressive actions promoting unions and opposing the rule of law,” said Goldwater Institute President Darcy Olsen. “This decision affirms the Goldwater Institute’s strategy of harnessing the power of state constitutions against federal overreach.”
It is unknown whether the NLRB will appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but today’s ruling allows the law to stand.
To read more about the Goldwater Institute’s efforts to protect the fundamental right to secret ballot, please visit:http://goldwaterinstitute.org/