Archives for December 2011

Reining In Out-Of-Control Bureaucrats

Joel Aaron, Grassroots Director for the Georgia chapter of Americans for Prosperity, sent along this piece about the REINS Act, which would curtail regulations placed businesses and, ostensibly, consumers. It’s tailored to Georgia, but this is an issue that Democrats in swing districts across the country may have to contend with in 2012.

Last week, Georgia Democrats John Barrow and Sanford. D. Bishop, Jr. casted votes in favor of alleviating excessive regulatory burdens with minor procedural hindrances. Today, Georgia legislators have the opportunity to confront Washington’s over-regulation problem head-on, by supporting the Regulation from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.

The REINS Act was inspired in 2009 when Kentucky activist Lloyd Rogers approached U.S. Representative Geoff Davis after EPA water regulations had doubled his county’s taxes without so much as a congressional vote. Unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats should not have the power to make laws in this country, plain and simple. This basic, founding principle is given to lawmakers who must account for their votes and listen to the voice of the people they represent.

Rogers challenged Rep. Davis with language from the U.S. Constitution which says “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Rep. Davis took this challenge to Washington and thus H.R. 10, the REINS Act, has become a centerpiece of the Republican House agenda.

Bullies With Badges

If it were “Just the facts, ma’am,” then thousands of Florida police officers would be out of work:

Thousands of Florida officers remain on the job despite arrests or evidence implicating them in crimes that could have landed them in prison, a Herald-Tribune investigation has found.

Corrections officer Kurt Stout, already dogged by allegations he groped and had sex with prisoners, was arrested on allegations he raped two teenage girls. Nick Viaggio capped a string of violent outbursts at the Ocala Police Department by attacking his girlfriend in a crowded nightclub until bouncers dragged him away. Palm Beach County deputy Craig Knowles-Hiller, under investigation for sleeping with a 14-year old, had to explain why the girl’s DNA was found on one of his sex toys.

Even those officers with multiple offenses have been given chance after chance through a disciplinary system that has been reshaped in their favor by the state’s politically influential police unions. As a result, officers around Florida carry personnel files that are anything but heroic.

Gingrich defends Trump, Romney declines debate invite

As noted on Monday, Donald Trump will moderate a Republican debate hosted by Newsmax on December 27th in Iowa. There has been some pushback inside Republican circle as Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul almost immediately declined invites. Mitt Romney has also declined. Michele Bachmann has not actually said whether she plans to attend, but did express “concern” about the debate.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum accepted the invitations, and Gingrich also defended Trump against criticism from Paul that it would be a circus:

After a nearly hour-long meeting at Trump Tower, Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich emerged for a joint news conference, during which the former House speaker defended The Donald from slams from Ron Paul that Trump moderating a debate would create a “circus” atmosphere.

Obama’s top 10 violations of the Constitution

Let’s get away from the fight for the GOP nomination for a moment. Over at The Daily Caller, Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, has listed in detail the top 10 constitutional violations committed by President Barack Obama. The list is obviously long, and there is a long to say about them, so I’ve listed excerpts of the main points, though you really should read the entire piece:

The first item on the Shapiro’s list is the individual mandate:

No list of President Obama’s constitutional violations would be complete without including the requirement that every American purchase health insurance, on penalty of civil fine. The individual mandate is unprecedented and exceeds Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce. If it is allowed to stand, Congress will be able to impose any kind of economic mandate as part of any kind of national regulatory scheme. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has a chance to strike this down during its current term.

Shapiro also lists the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB; better known as “death panels,” which is part of ObamaCare):

Ron Paul is the “big dog”

Speaking of new ads, Ron Paul has dropped one of his own in Iowa and New Hampshire — the first two state that will cast ballots in the race for the Republican nomination. While Newt Gingrich’s new ad portrays him as a frontrunner by not at all mentioning his rivals in the race, Paul’s hails him as the “big dog” when it comes to fighting for limited government and cutting spending.

How does Paul cast his opponents, you ask? Well, they talk a big game, but they’re “little shih tzus” when it comes to being friends of the taxpayer:

Paul’s campaign also released this ad in Iowa knocking Gingrich. It’s a shortened version of the web ad they released last week:

Left Turn: Liberal Media Messing With Your Mind

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of once again visiting the Cato Institute in downtown DC for a book forum. (As a bibliophile, I’m constitutionally required to go. “Constitutionally,” as in, my body would fall apart if I didn’t.) I was particularly interested in last week’s offering, Professor Tim Groseclose’s Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, because it’s something that everyone talks about but no one really believes. What Dr. Groseclose was claiming to do—and really, after reading this book, I don’t think it’s really a claim, it’s proven—was to document this in numbers and math, and thus make it truly science.

I’m not going to repeat the video above; they go quite in depth into what the book is about, and I do encourage you to watch, although it is about an hour long, so get popcorn if you do. (Fortunately, I do not believe there is any threat of seeing my ugly mug, so don’t worry about spit takes on your monitor.) Instead, I’ll provide a few highlights and commentary.

The core idea of the book is, obviously, that there is liberal bias in the media, and moreover, that it actually affects our perceptions and our voting. He does say, though, that this is not from false statements, but bias is actually the choice of topics to cover. Someone with a conservative bias would naturally look to find stories that proved that free market capitalism is the best way to ensure prosperity for all, while someone with a liberal bias would naturally look for a story that showed a corporation ripping off people or poor people not being able to help themselves. No lies, just different focus areas.

Gingrich drops his first ad in Iowa

With polls showing him with a growing lead over the rest of the pack — a lead that has largely fallen in his lap, Newt Gingrich has finally started to run ads in Iowa, less than a month before the state’s caucus.

The minute-long ad channels Ronald Reagan, who often spoke of America’s best days being ahead of us; though Gingrich is not as passionate or eloquent. Gingrich says that the “America we know and love” is not a thing of the past, adding that “we can rebuild America.” Gingrich mentions a restoring the confidence of small-business owners, putting a “simple and fair” tax code into place; and regaining respect in the world by “standing strong again”:

Gingrich builds on lead in Iowa, South Carolina

With less than a month to go until the Iowa caucus, a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows him opening his lead on Mitt Romney and Ron Paul among likely caucus-goers:

Gingrich, according to the survey, has advantages that extend well beyond the horse race that put him in an enviable position in the final weeks before the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses, which serve as the formal start of the long nominating season. On electability, empathy and handling the economy, he does as well as or better than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has long been described as the nominal front-runner for the nomination, or Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.).
With 33 percent support among likely caucus-goers in the new poll, Gingrich runs well ahead of his two main rivals, Romney and Paul, a libertarian whose passionate following and anti-government rhetoric have made him a durable force in the race. Both are at 18 percent.

But Iowa Republicans are far from decided. More than six in 10 potential caucus-goers say they could change their minds, and even among the likeliest attendees, fewer than half say they have definitely chosen a candidate.

Of the top three, Paul’s supporters are the most solid, followed by Gingrich’s and Romney’s.

Here are the full results of the poll:

Donald Trump to host Republican debate (*sigh*)

We just can’t seem to get rid of Donald Trump. This attention whore and advocate of big government was at one time considering a bid for the Republican nomination, but in the end it turned out to be a publicity stunt for his show, The Apprentice.

Unfortunately, those of us hoping that this race would become serious with the departure of Herman Cain are in for some bad news as it was announced on Friday that Trump will moderate the Newsmax-hosted Republican debate on December 27th:

Donald Trump will moderate a Republican presidential debate later this month in Iowa.

The reality TV star and real estate mogul was selected by the conservative media outlet Newsmax to host a Dec. 27 debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We’ve interviewed him several times over the last few years,” said Newsmax Editor Brett Sandala. “We see him as a truly great American and his vocal conservative voice reaches millions, so we wanted a moderator that resonated with that base.”

The debate would be the last one scheduled before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus.

Emissions rule to cost nearly 200,000 jobs per year

At a time when the economy is need of jobs, a new emissions rule about to be put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency will likely be a jobs killer:

House investigators suggested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not act in “good faith” when it assessed the economic impact of a new emissions regulation, and called for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to require EPA to revisit that rule, which they believe could cost 186,000 jobs per year.

“The [House Oversight and Government Relations] Committee is not satisfied that EPA has conducted a good faith analysis of the employment impact of the [Utility Mact] rule” regarding coal emissions, wrote Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and the head of the regulations panel Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “EPA’s jobs analysis failed to look at the impact that higher energy prices would have on employment,” they continued, also noting that “a study by the National Economic Research Associates found that average retail electricity prices will increase by an average of 6.5 percent and result in a loss of 186,000 jobs per year due to the cumulative impact of the rules.”

The representatives also questioned the effect of the Utility MACT rule on the electric grid, which might prove less reliable if the rule goes into effect. “EPA’s steadfast refusal to ascertain the impact its regulatory actions will have on grid reliability is troubling,” Issa and Jordan wrote. “[I]t appears that EPA has purposefully ignored grid reliability issues.”

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