Posted at 12:11pm on Jun. 16, 2008 Dear Democrats: Why Does The Saudi King Know What To Do About Gas Prices, And You Don't?

By haystack

[image via House Minority Whip regularly updated]

King Abdullah seems to GET IT about how to deal with the crisis at the pumps...while our friends in the majority on the Hill continue to have no freaking clue. From The Independent:

Next month, the Saudis will be pumping an extra half-a-million barrels of oil a day compared to last month, bringing total Saudi production to 9.7 million barrels a day, their highest ever level. But the world's biggest oil exporters are coupling the increase with an appeal to western Europe to cut fuel taxes to lower the price of petrol to consumers.

You hear that Democrats?

Cut the freaking taxes and increase the freaking production. It's just not that hard, kids.

More below the stinking fold...

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Posted at 9:48am on Jun. 16, 2008 Time to Call Mitch McConnell

By Erick

Your must read of the morning is this editorial at the Wall Street Journal.

This week, the Senate takes up the Mortgage Bailout Bill.

We have known Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) received preferential treatment from Countrywide Financial.

We now know that the legislation will mostly benefit mortgage lenders like Countrywide Financial.

We now know that the two Senate leaders pushing this legislation, Chris Dodd (D-CN) and Kent Conrad (D-ND), received preferential treatment from Countrywide Financial, in addition to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Kent Conrad, on Friday, issued a statement saying he "never met Angelo Mozilo," the CEO of Countrywide Financial. But, the Wall Street Journal reports Senator Conrad now admits he "called Mr. Mozilo and asked for a loan. The result was a discounted loan on his million-dollar beach house and a separate commercial loan of a type that residential lender Countrywide did not even offer to other customers, regardless of the rate."

Call your Senator at (202) 224-3121 and tell him we should not be bailing out mortgagors as payback for Senators.

Call the Republican Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, at (202) 224-2541 and tell him that in light of apparent Democrat indiscretions with Countrywide, he should not agree to limit debate on the mortgage bailout.

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Posted at 1:50pm on Jun. 15, 2008 I didn't say it would be easy, I only said it would be the truth

By jmorganti

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Speaker of the House

The Democrat voting record on energy is one reason I joined the Republican Party.

  1. May 2003, HR 6 - Energy Conservation, Research & Development (157 Dems Voted No, including Nancy Pelosi)
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Posted at 1:57am on Jun. 14, 2008 *Ahem*

By Pejman Yousefzadeh

Kevin Drum says that "filling the amendment tree"--a method by which Senate floor leaders got to control the content of amendments to a bill and locked their opponents out of offering what those floor leaders considered objectionable amendments to the bill--fell out of favor as a Senate practice "until the mid-90s, when Bob Dole rediscovered it and made it into a standard tool of GOP governance."

Um . . . no:

Robert Byrd, the crafty and theatrical chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been at the center of the fight over President Clinton's proposal to spend $16.3 billion to stimulate the economy this year.

As floor manager for the Clinton legislation, Byrd has confronted hostile Republicans and reluctant Democrats with moves that confirmed his reputation as a master of parliamentary finagling and oratory.

His rhetoric has entertained, but his tactics have infuriated minority Republicans who are threatening to delay Clinton's bill with a filibuster.

Almost single-handedly, Byrd has used his detailed knowledge of the Senate rules to shepherd Clinton's economic-stimulus package through the mine-filled territory of the Senate. Using Senate rules to do a maneuver called "filling up the amendment tree," Byrd has all but precluded major modifications to Clinton's $16 billion package.

(Emphasis mine.) This fight occurred in 1993, during Clinton's first year and preceded Dole's use of amendment tree-filling--by Drum's own account, since Dole didn't start using the tactic himself "until the mid-90s"--and it was this tactic, employed in the fight over the Clinton stimulus package, that prompted Senate Republicans to successfully filibuster the package and kill it in the Senate. Anyone who has read Bob Woodward's The Agenda is aware of this. According to Woodward, when Byrd finished enthusiastically telling Clinton about his parliamentary scheme to pass the stimulus package, Clinton responded not by decrying the fact that the Byrd tactic "prevents anyone else from offering amendments," but by saying approvingly "Thank you Mr. Chairman. Let's pass the bill."

On another matter, Drum contends that "the Senate's decline began long ago, and mostly under Republican rule" because "[t]he GOP has perfected the art of filibustering, withholding consent, abusing the markup procedure, and just generally obstructing virtually everything that comes before the Senate, regardless of how important it is. The normal give-and-take of legislative compromise isn't in their playbook these days." Indeed. How dare the Republicans argue against and take a stand against Democratic agenda items they find objectionable? You would almost think that the GOP was an opposition party, or something.

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Posted at 6:04pm on Jun. 13, 2008 The Case of the People vs Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)

By Vladimir

Trial set for Dec. 2. After the election. Naturally.

Posted at 10:03am on Jun. 13, 2008 McCain's Top Surrogate Is Senate's No. 1 Porker

Pork Projects Make a Comeback

By Bluey

New data on congressional pork-barrel spending reveals that Sen. Joe Lieberman, a top surrogate to Sen. John McCain, has requested the most pork in the defense authorization bill.

Lieberman leads the way with 14 earmarks that cost $292 million, according to a report in the Washington Post that cites data from Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The contrast between the anti-earmark crusader McCain and the pork-loving Lieberman couldn't be more stark. If elected president, McCain has promised to veto legislation that includes pork-barrel spending. Earmarks have a corrupting influence on Congress, and McCain sees eliminating them as a key component to cleaning up Washington.

The next two weeks are likely to feature several debates on pork-barrel spending with Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) wanting the House GOP to hold a conference-wide vote that bans earmarks.

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Posted at 5:28pm on Jun. 11, 2008 Conservatives Complain GOP's Earmark Plan Doesn't Go Far Enough

Act Now, Not Later

By Bluey

As House Republicans unveiled their economic agenda today, conservatives expressed disappointment that it does nothing to address earmark reform now and instead calls for an "immediate moratorium" in the future. The document was drafted to lay out the GOP's agenda in January 2009 if Republicans reclaim control of the House.

Earmark critics, however, say that view is completely unrealistic. They think a total ban on earmarks must be instituted today because the chances of Republicans taking back the House are slim. "We need to lead by example and differentiate ourselves," a conservative staffer told me. "The economic agenda today will allow earmarks this year and the next if Republicans do not win the House. No fundamental change from the status quo."

The struggle over earmarks is reflected in the differing views of two GOP leaders: Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) and Policy Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.). The Hill reported the conflict earlier this week with Hensarling demanding action now and McCotter opposed to a "one-size-fits-all ban." In a memo released this afternoon, Hensarling reiterated his support for a ban. He could press the issue by bringing it to a conference-wide vote.

As I reported on RedState last night, the GOP's economic agenda includes many conservative proposals, including a flat tax, free-market health care, entitlement reform, balanced budget and energy production. Yet earmarks remain a sticking point despite Minority Leader John Boehner's attempt to reach a consensus.

Conservatives don't dispute the laudable policy goals included as part of the economic agenda -- many developed by the Republican Study Committee. But that's no excuse to take a pass on earmark reform today. Although it remains a divisive issue for Republicans, Hensarling should keep fighting for a ban on pork-barrel projects. Boehner faces no easy task bringing the GOP together, but he should view this as an opportunity for the GOP to distinguish itself from Democrats in advance of November's elections.

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Posted at 2:02pm on Jun. 11, 2008 Democrats Try to Make Military Press Conferences Illegal

By Warner Todd Huston

Promoted by Dan McLaughlin

Congressional Democrats announced early in May that they wanted to make "military propaganda" illegal. To achieve this goal they passed new legislation that strengthened previous legislation that is supposed to ban the Pentagon from indulging in "propaganda" for the military.

This bill is supposed to stop the military from sending "any form of communication in support of national objectives designed to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes or behavior of the people of the United States in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly."

In other words, the military is not allowed to talk to the American people or Congress for fear of disseminating "propaganda."

The only way to fulfill this idiotic policy is to stop anyone in the military from ever speaking in public because, when you get right down to it, nearly any communication from the Pentagon, or any command staff in theater, will have the effect of "influencing" those who hear it. That is the nature of human communication, after all.

Read On...

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Posted at 1:14pm on Jun. 11, 2008 Taxpayers Choice Act

By Rep. Michele Bachmann

Today, the Republican Leadership unveiled their Economic Agenda to help America’s middle-class. My bill, H.R. 3818, the Taxpayers Choice Act was the centerpiece of the agenda. With skyrocketing gas and food costs, our nation’s families are struggling to make ends meet. It’s time that Washington work to give real relief to our hard-working taxpayers and help them afford what their families need and want.

Millions of American taxpayers are dramatically affected by the burdensome Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), forcing them to send even more of their hard- earned money to Washington. I strongly believe that the AMT must be repealed and that taxpayers deserve a choice in filing their taxes. H.R. 3818 would give taxpayers the option of paying either higher tax rates with more deductions or lower tax rates with no special deductions, empowering taxpayers to choose an option that best fits their families’ needs.

The Taxpayer Choice Act (H.R. 3818), has three points:

1. Immediately, fully, and permanently repeal the current AMT;
2. Make permanent the current capital gains and dividends tax rates; and
3. Create a voluntary Simplified Tax that would give individuals the option of paying under a highly simplified income tax system or under the regular income tax as it is structured now.

It is important that Congress continue to work to see that families all across the nation get help to make ends meet. This Republican Economic Agenda is just one step to helping the struggling middle-class get back on their feet.

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Posted at 12:32pm on Jun. 11, 2008 You Must Call Your Congressman About The Farm Bill

By Erick

The President, yet again, intends to veto the Farm Bill. If you aren't up to speed on the farm bill, just check out Dan McLaughlin's breakdown of the legislation here.

As P.J. O'Rourke once wrote, "Farm policy, although it's complex, can be explained. What it can't be is believed. No cheating spouse, no teen with a wrecked family car, no mayor of Washington, DC, videotaped in flagrante delicto has ever come up with anything as farfetched as U.S. farm policy."

Consider that this year's Farm Bill contains a provision asking the Agriculture Secretary to stop paying *dead* farmers. But the Farm Bill still pays millionaires living in New York City who claim to be farmers. The Farm Bill also continues to mandate price increases of sugar and milk.

At a time when gas prices are soaring along with every other cost, **Congress is mandating that you pay more for sugar and milk than you actually would without a Congressional demand for high prices.**

A number of groups have come together to draft a letter to Congress opposing the farm bill. Read the letter here and voice your support for the letter in the comments.

Also, call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and tell the President you support his veto of the Farm Bill.

Then call your Congressman at (202) 224-3121 and demand he vote to uphold the President's veto.

Just because Congress calls this thing a "Farm Bill" does not mean it actually helps farmers or your. This is just a backdoor tax on sugar and milk and a payout to Manhattan millionaires who own ski lodges in Montana.

UPDATE (Dan McLaughlin): Not mentioned in my writeup, but the farm bill also raises the price of alternative feuls by requiring recipients of federal loans/subsidies for building ethanol plants to pay the Davis-Bacon Act's inflated wages. (See here, here and here).

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Posted at 10:45pm on Jun. 10, 2008 House GOP's Bold Economic Agenda

Earmark Moratorium, Flat Tax Among Policy Goals

By Bluey

House Republicans will unveil their economic agenda tomorrow with proposals to end earmarks, simplify the tax code and increase energy production. The GOP's agenda should excite conservatives, who will recognize many of the policy goals as long-sought objectives.

For the past 18 months in the minority, Republicans have struggled to unify around a specific set of policy goals. Their economic agenda comes one month after they promoted an "American Families Agenda." Two other policy plans will be unveiled in the coming months.

The centerpiece of the economic agenda is spending and tax reform. The proposal calls for an "immediate moratorium on congressional earmarks," which constitutes remarkable progress for House Republicans. The GOP was unable to arrive at that goal earlier this year following its retreat. But after pressure from Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), conservatives apparently won over Boehner, who has long opposed pork-barrel projects. (Note: Although this plan would impose a moratorium on future earmarks, conservatives are still insisting on one this year.)

On tax reform, Republicans are proposing a "two-tier flat tax system that can be filed on one page," a bold move that moves beyond tinkering with the existing tax code. While it certainly won't satisfy FairTax supporters, it differs drastically from anything Democrats have proposed. Americans will be dealt the largest tax increase in history if liberals have their way in Congress.

Other goals that are noteworthy include:

• Passing entitlement reform that addresses the problems facing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
• Balancing the federal budget by 2012 without raising taxes.
• Prohibiting federal spending from growing faster than the economy.
• Extending the current welfare work requirements to food stamps and housing.
• Making portability a central component of health care reform.

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Posted at 4:07pm on Jun. 10, 2008 Curtailing Kelo

By Rep. John Sullivan

Most RedState readers know about the infamous 2005 Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, where the court broadened the government’s authority to take your home, farm, business or place of worship.

Previously, the U.S. Constitution specifically limited government taking of private property through a relatively narrow exception for “public use.” Public use has historically referred to roads, schools, firehouses, etc. The negative effects of the far-reaching Kelo decision places millions of private property owners nationwide at risk.

Some states are trying to correct this injustice and have enacted restrictions on the use of eminent domain (which, in this case, is when the government seizes private property), with varied effectiveness. However, Congress has not taken action to restore private property rights and the abusive use of eminent domain has continued.

That is why I introduced H.R. 6219, the Private Property Rights Protection and Government Accountability Act of 2008, along with the House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton. This bill will restrict certain federal economic development funds for 10 years to any state or locality in which eminent domain is used to take private property for a private purpose. It will also allow private property owners the legal recourse they deserve to fight baseless private property takings by state and local governments.

No family, business operator or place of worship is safe if the government decides that their property does not measure up, and that “public purpose” would be better served if it were torn down and replaced by something bigger, glitzier and more taxable.

I hope you will support us as we try to stop the local and state governments from taking your property.

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Posted at 12:34pm on Jun. 10, 2008 So It Begins... Democrats To Impeach Bush

By BigGator5

Done yelling at the screen? Good, let's move on.

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Posted at 9:54am on Jun. 10, 2008 Senators Fienstein, Martinez and Obama propose to make national finger print database.

By paulseale

No, this isnt a joke. It is something very serious and should be treated as such.

The Heratige foundation reported yesterday that a bill with bipartsian sponsors would require those working in the real estate industry to submit their finger prints to a national database.

For individuals, who have comitted no crimes, to be forced send their finger prints into some sort of national database is nothing less than a fundamental breach of our individual rights and freedoms.

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Posted at 12:28am on Jun. 10, 2008 Republican Congressional & Senate Candidates, Your Gift Has Arrived

By Whitehorse

Gasoline is now averaging over $4 per gallon. Democrats are still blocking expanded drilling for our own oil. The American people know that there is no sound reason for the tremendous recent spike in oil & gasoline prices.

I know many are down & dispirited, with disarray in the overall Congressional & Senate campaigns. You have been given a gift, an issue that will resonate with voters. You CAN make the case that we have enough of our own oil & can obtain it with economically feasible & environmentally sound methods.

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