FRC Blog

Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

January 29, 2009

Here’s some of the buzz coming from the blogosphere today.

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Kanjorski’s Stimulus Vote: A Big Deal

by Chris Gacek

January 29, 2009

There has been much press coverage of the fact that all House GOP members voted against the Pelosi stimulus bill yesterday.  Well, something like eleven Democrats voted against the measure… but not so much coverage of that.  Of considerable interest is the fact that Paul Kanjorski (Dem-PA) was amongst the dissenters.  Kanjorski  appears on  CNBC regularly and  has a  friendly, bi-partisan persona.  He is also the “senior member,” under Chairman Barnie Frank, on the Financial Services Committee.  In fact, he chairs the sub-committee on “Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises.”  That sounds like a pretty important job in a financial/banking crisis.  Given all that, Kanjorski’s vote against the stimulus bill seems very important.  Hopefully, we’ll get the scoop from CNBC host Larry Kudlow, the most important economic journalist in the Obama era, who has interviewed Kanjorski on numerous occasions.  Perhaps, Democrat support for the spending plan is less solid than we are being led to believe.

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Speaker Pelosi’s Pork and Payoff bill updated - That’s not all folks!

by Family Research Council

January 29, 2009

When you have a huge bill like Hr. 1, the so-called stimulus bill, sometimes it takes a while for things to come out. I’ve found some updates on political pork being directed towards theporkypig.jpg author of the bill’s, Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), son. Also the unions are given a sweet deal and, in what could possibly be called a bailout for the porn industry, the National Science Foundation gets $1.2 billion.

Read the updated list here.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

January 29, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Rangel Rule: Tax Cheats Given A Pass

by Family Research Council

January 29, 2009

wesley-snipes-crazy.jpgWe have a new contender for my favorite Congressman of the 111th Congress, not sure if this is in time for Wesley Snipes though (my new nominee for Treasury Secretary):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2009

New Bill Would Eliminate All IRS Penalties and Interest for U.S. Citizens

Congressman John Carter to introduce “Rangel Rule” Legislation Wednesday

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) will introduce new legislation tomorrow to eliminate all penalty and interest charges by the Internal Revenue Service against U.S. citizens. The bill is designed to provide the same treatment for all U.S. taxpayers owing back taxes as that enjoyed by House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY).

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Murkowski Goes with the Left on Mexico City

by Chris Gacek

January 28, 2009

What’s up in Alaska?  Senator Lisa Murkowski today voted with President Obama to overturn the Mexico City Policy which, according to World Magazine, “prohibits grantees in receipt of U.S. funding from performing abortions, lobbying to legalize abortion, or promoting abortion as a family-planning method.”  (See also, our Tom McClusky’s description of the policy below - in the blog on 1/23/09.)  That places her in the company of liberal Republicans Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe as the only Republicans to vote with the Democrats.  Alaska’s new senator, Mark Begich, voted to fund overseas abortion providers as well.  

I wonder whether Sarah Palin would have made it a trio ?? The GOP Platform on which Palin ran for President with John McCain stated:

We strongly support the long-held policy of the Republican Party known as the ‘Mexico City policy,’ which prohibits federal monies from being given to non-governmental organizations that provide abortions or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. We reject any treaty or agreement that would violate those values.”

Perhaps, I am wrong, but I never heard Palin stating an objection to the platform on this point.

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Not Quite a Stimulus: Speaker Pelosi’s Payoffs and Pork Bill - UPDATED

by Family Research Council

January 28, 2009

Updated 01.29.09

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently found that the cost of the Pelosi-Reid stimulus package now exceeds $1.1 trillion. CBO also estimated that only 7 percent of infrastructure money would make its way into the economy by the end of the year and only 38 percent would be spent by the end of the 2010 fiscal year. Senator Jeff Session’s (R-Ala.) office estimates the actual number going to tangible road and bridge construction is just a little more than 3 percent.

Where is this money going to? A not exhaustive look at the 1,588 page legislation, H.R. 1, “The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009” shows the bill is more payoffs and pork then stimulus.

Many thanks to the website readthestimulus.org and its participating organizations.

PAYOFFS

To the “Green” Lobby

$600 Million To Buy New Cars For Government Workers (Page 89)

These cars would be “green” friendly cars - however very few gas pumps have the right gas to run these cars. The Federal government already spends $3.5 billion a year.

$10M for bike and walking trails (Page 65)

$200M for plug-in car stations (Page 31)

$400 million for NASA scientists to conduct climate change research (Page 22)

$800 million to clean up Superfund sites (Page 122)

$600 million for grants for diesel emission reduction (Page 119)

$650 million for “alternative energy technologies, energy efficiency enhancements and deferred maintenance at Federal facilities” (Page 119)

$1.5 billion for construction of “Green Schools” (Page 176)

To the Unions

$1 billion to the controversial COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES COPS Hiring Program

$150 billion in new federal spending, a vast two-year investment that would more than double the Department of Education’s current budget. The proposed emergency expenditures on nearly every realm of education, including school renovation, special education, Head Start and grants to needy college students” Sam Dillon, “Stimulus Plan Would Provide Flood of Aid to Education,” New York Times. January 27, 2009. NOTE: Private and religious schools are excluded.

Look for the Union Label. “The stimulus bill passed by the House last night contains a controversial provision that would mostly bar foreign steel and iron from the infrastructure projects laid out by the $819 billion economic package. A Senate version, yet to be acted upon, goes further, requiring, with few exceptions, that all stimulus-funded projects use only American-made equipment and goods.” Anthony Faiola, “‘Buy American’ Rider sparks trade Debate,” Washington Post, January 29, 2009.

To the Abortion Industry

Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) inserted in the original bill billions of dollars for family planning groups, including the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. Pressure and public exposure from Congressional Republicans forced the Democrats to remove such funding from this bill. However the bill still provides billions in reforming the health care system and working towards nationalized health care - with little to no debate.

$2.7B in NIH grants which would be targeted to among other things embryonic stem cell experimentation. (Page 56)

Other Special Interests

$3 Billion for Prevention & Wellness Programs, Including $335 million for STD Education and Prevention — Recent government expenditures in this area include a transgender beauty pageant in San Francisco that advertised available HIV testing and an event called “Got Love? - Flirt/Date/Score” that taught participants how “to flirt with greater finesse.”

$83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax. SOURCE Wall Street Journal

$246 million for Hollywood SOURCE National Journal

$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (Page 122)

$75 million for smoking cessation (Page 148). This contradicts the latest version of SCHIP that is funded largely by new taxes on cigarettes.

$4.19 billion open to ACORN. The Pelosi-Reid bill makes groups like ACORN eligible for a $4.19 billion pot of money for “neighborhood stabilization activities.”

MISCELLANEOUS PORK

Some of the biggest winners in the package are federal agencies and Congressional relatives:

$2 Billion for national parks. “A top House Republican is demanding an investigation into whether the more than $2 billion for national parks in the House stimulus package is proper in light of the fact that the chief lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association is the son of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (chief author of the bill.)” Stephen Dinan and S.A. Miller, “Stimulus has plum for Lawmakers Son,” Washington Times, January 29, 2009.

$54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits. SOURCE Wall Street Journal

$462 Million for Equipment, Construction, and Renovation of Facilities at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Page 137)

$1.2 billion to the National Science Foundation (Page 46) “Chuck Grassley knows it when he sees it. The “it,” of course, is pornography. And Grassley has seen it deep in a demurely titled section of a report from the National Science Foundation — a report that says NSF employees have been spending significant amounts of company time on smut sites and in other explicit pursuits … In one particularly egregious case, the report says one NSF “senior official” was discovered to have spent as much as 20 percent of his working hours over a two-year interval ‘viewing sexually explicit images and engaging in sexually explicit online ‘chats’ with various women.’ Investigators calculated the value of the time lost at more than $58,000 — for that employee alone.” Andie Coller, “Grassley Lainches Porn Inquiry,” Politico, January 29, 2009.

$150 Million for Repairs to Smithsonian Institution Facilities (Page 128)

$44 million to the Agricultural Research Service (Page 135)

$227 million for oversight of the pork barrel spending in the stimulus (Page 11)

$1 Billion for the Follow-Up to the 2010 Census (Page 49)

Discretion is given to governors and Mayors for how to spend a large chunk of the money. The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently sent Congress a $96.6 billion wish list of “shovel-ready” projects which now could be funded by the stimulus. These projects include: “$1 million for annual sewer rehabilitation in Casper, WY; $6.1 million for corporate hangars, parking lots, and a business apron at the Fayetteville, AR airport; 28 projects with the term “stadium” in them; and 117 projects mentioning landscaping and/or beautification efforts. The taxpayers should be most teed off at the 20 golf courses included in the list.” SOURCE National Taxpayers Union

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Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

January 28, 2009

Today’s Blogosphere Buzz is focused on the stimulus legislation that Congress is going to be voting on this evening.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

January 28, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: James Steinberg

by Family Research Council

January 27, 2009

POSITION: DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE

 

NOMINEE: James Steinberg

Born: May 7, 1953.

Family: Wife, Sherburne B. Abbott, and two children.

Work history: A clerk to a federal judge; an aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Armed Services Committee; and an analyst at the RAND Corporation in California. He held several top national security positions in the Clinton administration, including State Department chief of staff and director of the department’s policy planning staff. Until 2005, he was vice president and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He is now dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas but has remained at the center of the Democratic Party’s shadow foreign policy establishment. NY Times bio

Education: J.D., Yale Law School, 1978; B.A., Harvard University (Phi Beta Kappa and John Harvard Scholar), 1973

Clinton White House: From December 1996 to August 2000, he served as deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton. During that period he also served as the president’s personal representative (“Sherpa”) to the 1998 and 1999 G-8 summits. Prior to becoming deputy national security advisor, he served as chief of staff of the U.S. State Department and director of the State Department’s policy planning staff (1994-1996), and as deputy assistant secretary for analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1993-1994).

Abortion

James B. Steinberg, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Deputy Secretary of State, claimed in written testimony to the Foreign Relations Committee that Congress cannot constitutionally restrict taxpayer funding to perform or promote abortions. Mr. Steinberg stated that the Mexico City policy, which bars taxpayer funding of abortions overseas, ‘is an unnecessary restriction that, if applied to organizations based in this country, would be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech.’

Steinberg’s opinion is in direct contradiction to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already definitively decided the matter in Rust v. Sullivan in 1991. The court’s majority opinion concluded: ‘The Government has no constitutional duty to subsidize an activity merely because it is constitutionally protected, and may validly choose to allocate public funds for medical services relating to childbirth but not to abortion.’

Steinberg’s statement was made in response to a question about President Obama’s efforts to repeal the ‘Mexico City policy,’ which bars organizations that receive funding from the State Department to agree to ‘neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.’” Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) blog, referring to written questions he submitted to the nominee.

[Source]

On the Bush Doctrine of Preventive Force

Preventive military force has a role in managing today’s security challenges. Understanding that role is step one; establishing agreed standards for its use is step two; and implanting these standards in an effective institution is the third step. The Bush administration got the first step right, and the logic of its arguments builds toward the second. But it has gotten step three wrong. Unilateralism is not the only alternative to the Security Council. Regional organizations and a new coalition of democratic states offer ways to legitimize the use of force when the council fails to meet its responsibilities.” James Steinberg and Ivo Daalder, “Preventive War, A Useful Tool.” Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2005.

Helped Craft Obama Doctrine On Negotiating with Hostile Countries

Advisers to Sen. Obama play down charges from conservatives that there is a downside risk if U.S. efforts to engage Iran fail to halt Tehran’s nuclear program immediately. They stress that any overtures would be made only after extensive deliberations inside Washington, as well as with U.S. allies. But they said such an initiative would unify the international community on Iran, while shifting the blame for any failure to resolve the nuclear issue squarely onto Tehran. ‘There are no guarantees diplomacy will succeed, but you also know that if it doesn’t you’ve strengthened your hands with other people,’ said Mr. Steinberg, who served as deputy national-security adviser from 1996 to 2000.” Jay Solomon, “Obama’s Mideast experts Emphasize talks,” Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2008.

On Nuclear Weapons, Guantanamo and the International Criminal Court

On the military side, Washington must begin devaluing nuclear weapons. The United States can’t uninvent them, and will need some nuclear capability for the foreseeable future. But if we want Iran and North Korea to give them up and for China and Russia to limit their arsenals and prevent proliferation, we must take steps of our own: canceling new weapons programs - like the nuclear bunker buster, ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and mounting a massive global campaign to secure loose nukes and nuclear materials. Finally, don’t hesitate to stand up for our values: democracy, the rule of law and human rights. But remember that the best way to get others to share them is by example, not coercion. Close Guantanamo. Join the International Criminal Court.” James Steinberg, “Enough: Americans Should Lead by Example, and start by closing Guantanamo Bay,” Newsweek. January 1, 2008.

Miscellaneous

A voracious reader, fly fisherman, runner and workaholic who often rises before dawn to run several miles before getting to the office. He has several marathons under his belt. Was struck by a car while running in Los Angeles but has recovered from his injuries. NY Times bio

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