Saturday, May 30, 2009

Statement On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism In Response to the Solicitor General's Refusal to Support Petition

Statement On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism In Response to the Solicitor General's Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families' Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court

/PRNewswire / -- The following is a statement of 9/11 Family Members: Mike Low, Father of Sara Elizabeth Low, AA Flight 11; Bill Doyle, Father of Joseph M. Doyle, WTC North Tower; Tom & Beverly Burnett, Sr., Parents of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., UA Flight 93; and Terry Strada, Wife of Thomas Strada, WTC North Tower on Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism in Response to the Solicitor General's Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families' Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court:

Today the Obama Administration filed in the Supreme Court a document that expressed the Administration's decision to stand with a group of Saudi princes and against the right of American citizens -- 9/11 family members -- to have our day in court. Let there be no doubt: The filing was political in nature and stands as a betrayal of everyone who lost a loved one or was injured on September 11, 2001.

We are deeply dismayed by this decision, filed by the solicitor general of the United States in response to the Supreme Court's February 23, 2009 invitation for the government to express its views in the 9/11 families' request to appeal a portion of the case to the Court. The Administration's filing mocks our system of justice and strikes a blow against the public's right to know the facts about who financed and supported the murder of 3,000 innocent people. It undermines our fight against terrorism and suggests a green light to terrorist sympathizers the world over that they can send money to al Qaeda without having to worry that they will be held accountable in the U.S. Courts for the atrocities that result.

The Administration apparently gave less weight to the principles of justice, transparency, accountability and security, which our case embodies, and more weight to political concerns and pleadings of a foreign government on the behalf of a handful of members of its monarchy and others who stand accused of financing the attacks that murdered our loved ones. Sadly, although the Administration's obviously politically based filing is merely informational and in no way binding on the Supreme Court, if the Supreme Court were to follow it, these people will avoid being held accountable not because they are innocent, but because they are royalty.

The Administration's filing is all the more troubling in that it expressly acknowledges that the courts below applied incorrect legal standards in dismissing the Saudi defendants, but nonetheless argues that the case -- one that seeks to account for the terrorist attacks against America and the murder of our family members -- does not warrant the Supreme Court's time. Contrary to the view expressed by the Obama Administration in the solicitor general's filing, the victims of the September 11th attack deserve to have their claims decided under accurate legal standards.

For all of these reasons, we urge the Supreme Court to reject the solicitor general's politically-premised filing, along with its wrongheaded priorities, accept our petition, and grant us our fundamentally American right to have our day in Court.

Political News You Can Use

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ATR: Obama's VAT Trial Balloon Dusts Off Bill Clinton's 1993 Playbook

/PRNewswire / -- When it comes to finding a way to finance government-run health care, the administration of Barack Obama is floating a VAT trial balloon echoing that of President Bill Clinton in 1993.

The Obama administration's VAT trial balloon is being floated by Kenneth Baer, spokesman for Obama Budget Director Peter Orszag, who was quoted in the Washington Post on Wednesday as saying a VAT is "unlikely to be in the mix" but did not rule it out, despite Obama's central campaign promise not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000: "While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers."

In April of 1993, newly inaugurated President Clinton was exploring ways to pay for his government health care plan, including a VAT, as noted at the time in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Trial balloons wafting over Washington say the administration may be considering a value-added tax -- VAT for short -- to fund universal health care coverage. And President Bill Clinton himself is keeping the balloons aloft. "There are all kinds of arguments for it on policy grounds," Clinton said Friday at a press conference. Clinton said he hadn't decided to include a VAT in his health care plan. But he said he didn't mind the fact that two top administration officials said they liked the idea.' We've had a lot of people from business and labor come to us saying they thought that that tax would help make their particular industries more competitive in the global economy," Clinton told a reporter, who implied that the aides were speaking out of turn. (Gallagher, J. (1993, April 25). Clinton Stirs a VAT; New Tax Enters Health Debate. St. Louis Post-Dispatch.)

"The people closest to Obama seem to believe he wasn't telling the truth when he promised not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Otherwise they would have outright rejected the mere mention of a VAT, a tax that would be paid by all Americans."

Political News You Can Use

Health Affairs Report On Mass. Mandatory Insurance Law Confirms: Strong Public Option Must Be Included in National Health Reform

/PRNewswire / -- A study released today in Health Affairs finds that a Massachusetts law requiring all to show proof of health insurance has resulted in higher costs. This predictable result confirms that President Obama's promised "public option" to private insurance must be a part of national health reform, said Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer Watchdog said that Massachusetts' experience shows that reform is unaffordable without a public option like Medicare in competition with for-profit insurance companies. Unlike Massachusetts which is dominated by non-profit insurers, the mandatory purchase approach would be much more damaging if applied nationally, where most HMOs and insurance companies are for-profit and take 25% or more of premium charges for overhead and profit.

The Massachusetts law, similar to proposals pushed by health insurers at the national level, requires every person to either buy an insurance policy or show proof that an employer provides one, but does not regulate what insurers can charge. The state does not limit health insurance overhead and profit, and does not limit how much people have to pay out-of-pocket when they get sick. As result, the study released today found that the number of adults "who reported that they did not get care that they thought they needed" has increased due to the proliferation of high-deductible health insurance policies that require patients to pay up to thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before accessing care.

"Under the mandatory purchase approach, particularly one that does not provide a public option to for-profit insurance companies, patients might be technically 'insured' but will not receive the coverage they need when they get sick," said Jerry Flanagan, Health Care Policy Director for Consumer Watchdog. "National health reform must provide the American public an option to buy coverage through Medicare whose low-overhead costs provide the most health care for our dollar. Competition with a low-cost alternative will help keep the likes of WellPoint, United Health, and Humana in check."

According to Consumer Watchdog, the biggest advantage of a voluntary public option is that it is inexpensive to administer. Medicare's low administrative overhead costs (2 percent) are well below the overhead costs charged to large companies that are self-insured (5 to 10 percent of premiums), companies in the small group market (25 to 27 percent of premiums), and individual insurance (40 percent of premiums).

Political News You Can Use

Heading into Memorial Day Recess, 'Right to Repair' Gains Four More Congressional Co-Sponsors

/PRNewswire / -- As Congress approached the Memorial Day recess last week, four more members of Congress declared their support of the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act (HR 2057). Reps. Jason Altmire (D-PA), Peter DeFazio, (D-OR), James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) became the most recent co-sponsors of the recently introduced bill.

"We thank Reps. Altmire, DeFazio, McGovern and Platts for their support of this important piece of legislation," said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "By co-sponsoring HR 2057, these four members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have made clear their belief that convenient neighborhood auto repair should remain available to car owners throughout the country as well as in their home districts."

Because vehicles are becoming increasingly sophisticated with virtually every system either monitored or controlled by computers, servicing these vehicle systems to keep them in safe working condition requires ready access to complete and accurate information from the car companies. The Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) was introduced into the 111th Congress by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA) to ensure that car owners and their trusted repair shops have the same access to safety alerts and repair information as the franchised new car dealer network.

"Right to Repair has become more important than ever as motorists seek new neighborhood repair shops because a dealership has closed in their area. In order to ensure the continued availability of convenient and affordable vehicle repairs for consumers, clearly the time to pass Right to Repair is now," Schmatz added.

Political News You Can Use

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

FRC: No Federal Constitutional 'Right' to Same-sex 'Marriage'

/PRNewswire/ -- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins today criticized a lawsuit which claims that same-sex "marriage" is a right guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. The suit, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

"It is outrageous that the right of the people of California to govern themselves, which was just upheld yesterday by the California Supreme Court, is now being challenged again at the federal level," said FRC President Tony Perkins. "This demonstrates an insistent contempt for the will of a free people who are fully capable of governing themselves without any judicial dictate."

"The claim that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment is absurd on its face. The members of Congress who wrote that Amendment in 1866, and the state legislators who ratified it, could not possibly have envisioned or intended such an application, nor can anything in the Amendment be construed to imply such a 'right.'

"Every individual has an equal right to marry in this country, but no one has an unlimited right to marry 'the person of their choice.' No one can marry a child, a close blood relative, or a person who is already married, and in the vast majority of states, no one can 'marry' a person of the same sex."

"Ironically, the very first sentence of the complaint filed by two homosexual couples contains the explanation of why marriage is, by definition, the union of a man and a woman. Quoting Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case that established a right to interracial marriage, it says that 'marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival. But marriage can only be called 'fundamental to our very existence and survival' because of its role in encouraging and protecting the only type of relationship which can result in the natural reproduction of the human race - namely, a male-female union.

"The 36 year-old Roe v. Wade decision did not resolve the abortion debate. Similarly, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturns 29 state marriage amendments and denies the American people the right to be heard will do nothing to bring resolution.

"It is time for homosexual activists to stop asking judges to redefine our most fundamental social institution. This lawsuit illustrates yet again why we need a Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - to provide a uniform definition of marriage as the union of a man and woman, and to stop this endless litigation once and for all."

Political News You Can Use

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FRC: CA Supreme Court Upholds the People's Right to Amend Constitution

/PRNewswire / -- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (FRC) today praised the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold democracy and reject efforts to strip the right of the people to amend the state's Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

"Over one million Californians signed petitions to place Proposition 8 on the ballot and over seven million voters approved the measure on Election Day. California's Constitution gives its citizens the right of self-governance and we are pleased that the court resisted demands to strip the right of the people to amend the state constitution. Even this widely-recognized liberal court understands that overturning Proposition 8 would represent a repudiation of the state Constitution it is sworn to uphold.

"Unfortunately, the Court chose to ignore the plain meaning of Proposition 8 and will force state recognition of same-sex 'marriage' licenses issued last year. The Court's recognition of these 'marriages' clearly seeds the ground for a possible legal battle before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"At every opportunity, the people of California have voted to protect marriage because they recognize the far reaching consequences that redefining marriage will have for children, the family, religious liberties, businesses and every facet of American society. Today's decision should encourage pro-family activists not only in California but across the country. Marriage redefinition is not inevitable unless advocates of the family stand aside and allow it to happen."

Political News You Can Use

Judicial Watch Statement on Obama's Nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the United States Supreme Court

/Standard Newswire/ -- Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today in response to Barack Obama's decision to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court:

"Barack Obama is on record saying he favors judges
who will let their 'empathy' or bias for certain
individuals color their decision-making. If Judge
Sotomayor shares Obama's activist judicial
philosophy, U.S. Senators who want to protect the
Constitution will have no choice but to oppose her

"Americans want the Supreme Court to make
decisions based on the Constitution and not on some
lawless standard that puts identity politics before the
law. There is no room on the Supreme Court for
someone who will put her feeling and politics above
the rule of law."

Political News You Can Use

Bauer Expresses Concern That Sotomayor Will Replace the Rule of Law With Her Feelings

/PRNewswire / -- Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer on Tuesday expressed great concern over President Barack Obama's pick of Sonia Sotomayor given her long history of using her feelings as a judicial guide rather than the rule of law.

The president of American Values made the following statement: "Sotomayor's appointment proves what we already knew--that President Obama is committed to packing our federal courts with activist judges who will make policy according to their 'feelings' rather than the requirements of the Constitution.

"Judge Sotomayor admitted in a panel discussion at Duke University Law School in 2005 that she believes the courts are 'where policy is made.' In a 2002 speech at Berkeley, she suggested justice might be better determined by some races than others, saying, 'I would hope that a wise Latino women with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.'

"In view of these quotes, I urge senators to fully examine Judge Sotomayor's judicial philosophy. The American people deserve to know whether once again we are putting someone on our highest court who thinks her job is to remake America to reflect her leftwing prejudices."

Political News You Can Use

Opinion: Americans United for Life on Sotomayor Nomination

/PRNewswire / -- Americans United for Life (AUL) President & CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest reacted to President Barack Obama nominating Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice Souter on the United States Supreme Court, stating:

"For all the President's talk of finding 'common ground,' this appointment completely contradicts that hollow promise. Judge Sonia Sotomayor's judicial philosophy undermines common ground. She is a radical pick that divides America. She believes the role of the Court is to set policy, which is exactly the philosophy that led to the Supreme Court turning into the 'National Abortion Control Board,' denying the American people the right to be heard on this critical issue. This appointment would provide a pedestal for an avowed judicial activist to impose her personal policy and beliefs onto others from the bench, at a time when the Courts are at a crossroad and critical abortion regulations - supported by the vast majority of Americans - like partial-birth abortion and informed consent laws lie in the balance."

Political News You Can Use

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NBCC Study Finds Waxman-Markey Reduces GDP by $350 Billion

/PRNewswire / -- Today, in anticipation of Friday's House Energy and Commerce Committee vote on the Waxman-Markey legislation, the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) released a new study that determines the potential economic impacts of the federal cap-and-trade system outlined in the bill. Compiled by CRA International, the analysis determines that by 2030 the law would:

-- reduce national GDP roughly $350 billion below the baseline level;
-- cut net employment by 2.5 million jobs (even after accounting for new
"green" jobs); and
-- reduce earnings for the average U.S. worker by $390 per year.

NBCC President and CEO Harry Alford notes, "These findings add to a growing body of evidence that demonstrates cap-and-trade would make American consumers poorer and the products they buy more expensive.

"Moreover, the NBCC study finds there will be little, if any, environmental impact to justify the high price U.S. families will have to pay, since the trading system will deliver virtually negligible changes in global CO2 emissions so long as developing nations such as China and India don't buy in.

"The House cap-and-trade bill seems to profit special interests at the expense of small businesses and hard-working families. It's evident from the some 85 percent of emissions permits that politicians have already given away for free to favored industries that the 111th Congress is learning that producing laws (like making sausages) requires a lot of pork.

"The inherent complexity of a government-regulated emissions trading system sets the stage for a perpetual struggle for political handouts. This makes Waxman-Markey a good way to promote corruption, but not energy efficiency."

Political News You Can Use

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Democrats Vote for $5 Gas, 15 Percent Unemployment, and Shipping Jobs to China & India - All to Protect Their National Energy Tax

Just how committed are Democrats to establishing a national energy tax on anyone who drives a car, buys anything made in America, or has the audacity to flip on a light switch? So committed that they are willing to let families and small businesses deal with $5 gas prices, 15 percent unemployment, and skyrocketing electricity costs just to ensure that the national energy tax becomes the law of the land.

Republicans believe there's a better path to clean energy. Yesterday, during the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s consideration of the legislation, Republicans offered a series of amendments to protect Americans from paying the national energy tax – which would cost families up to $3,100 per year – if gasoline and electricity costs soared or if unemployment reached historic levels. But one by one, Democrats rejected these common sense amendments, barreling ahead with their plans to saddle Americans with a massive new tax when they can afford it the least. Here’s a quick review of some of the amendments Democrats voted against yesterday – reflecting just how committed they are to a national energy tax:

Democrats Vote for $5 Per Gallon Gasoline. Democrats rejected a GOP amendment designed to protect middle-class families by shelving the national energy tax if gasoline prices hit $5 per gallon.

Democrats Vote for 15 Percent Unemployment. Democrats rejected a GOP amendment that made clear that if the U.S. unemployment rate should exceed 15 percent, then the national energy tax would cease to be effective.

Democrats Vote for Skyrocketing Electricity Costs. Democrats rejected a GOP amendment that would have protected residential customers from higher electric utility rates. The amendment would shelve the national energy tax if electricity rates increase by more than 10 percent over 2009 rates.

Democrats Vote for Shipping American Jobs to China and India. Democrats rejected a GOP amendment designed to provide a level playing field for American industries. It simply made clear that China and India must adopt the same emissions standards that the United States will be forced to comply with under the Democrats’ national energy tax, and if they don’t then it will not go into effect in the United States.

Democrats Vote For Keeping Consumers in the Dark About Energy Price Spikes. Democrats rejected a GOP amendment to require that any price increase for consumers as a result of the national energy tax be fully disclosed on each utility bill, fuel pump, manufactured product label, or food label.

Republicans know that we can clean up our environment, create more jobs, and bring down energy prices at the same time – without raising taxes. Cornerstones of the House Republicans’ strategy are:
- Increasing environmentally-safe energy production on remote lands and far off our shores;
- Promoting the use of alternative fuels that will reduce carbon emissions, such as nuclear, clean-coal, and renewable energy technologies; and
- Encouraging conservation to preserve and protect our natural resources.

While Democrats cling to their irresponsible plan for a national energy tax on families and small businesses – even if gas prices, electricity costs, and unemployment soar – Republicans will continue promoting their “all of the above” strategy. Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) will host a series of forums next week in California, Pennsylvania, and Indiana to highlight the plan – and shine a spotlight on the devastating consequences of the Democrats’ national energy tax.

Political News You Can Use

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Upcoming Health Legislation Can Succeed Only If It Addresses Long Term Care for All Americans

/PRNewswire/ -- President Obama, backed by Congressional leaders, has called for affordable, accessible, high-quality health care for all Americans. "But that won't be enough," says Denise Gott, "unless it also embraces the long term care needs of millions of longer-living Americans." Gott is Chairman of the Board of LTC Financial Partners LLC (LTCFP) -- -- one of the nation's most experienced long term care insurance agencies.

"If President Obama's three goals -- universal coverage, choice, and cost control -- are to be met," Gott says, "provision for long term care must be part of the legislative mix." Obama's goals, in his own words, are listed below, followed by Gott's reasoning.

1. Obama: "All Americans have to have quality, affordable healthcare."

Gott's response: "About 46 million Americans, close to 1 in 6, lack health insurance, but many times that number lack long term care insurance. Only about 9 million Americans have it -- out of a population of more than 300 million. And among those at greatest risk, 45 and older, more than 9 in 10 go uncovered. Does it make sense to protect ourselves from shorter-term illnesses or injuries, and neglect the longer-lasting ones?"

2. Obama: "Americans have to be able to choose their own doctor and their own plan."

Gott's response: "It's great for people to have options. For example, to stick with their employer's health plan, or opt for a public alternative (if one is legislated). But when it comes to long term care, choice today is very limited. The majority who lack LTC insurance face a bleak, narrow prospect. They must spend down their assets to pay their bills; to qualify for public assistance through Medicaid, they must in effect become poor; and then they're forced into an often overcrowded nursing home when they might prefer home care or assisted living."

3. Obama: "The rising cost of healthcare has to be brought down."

Gott's response: "The government estimates that healthcare could consume one fifth of the economy in ten years, up from one sixth today. Clearly that huge drag needs to be moderated. But reflect on this: 77 million Baby Boomers are set to retire, contributing predictable long term care costs of hundreds of billions to trillions over the next two or three decades. Shouldn't we moderate these costs too?"

Gott's recommendations to the President and Congress:

* First, include strong long term care provisions in the
legislative package you're now crafting. LTC is the unseen
elephant in the room.

* Offer substantial new tax incentives to help people afford
long term care insurance as a part of their overall health package.

* Offer substantial new tax incentives to companies that include
long term care options in their health benefit plans.

* For people who can't afford long term care premiums, modify
Medicaid to allow a choice of home care or assisted living in addition
to nursing-home care.

* Avoid creating a new form of public insurance covering long
term care. Instead, reform Medicaid to serve the same purpose in an
affordable manner.

* Avoid forcing people to buy long term care insurance.
Instead, rely on communication and persuasion. For example, add
a tax-deduction checkbox to the Federal income tax return; or create
a well-publicized Internet gateway to independent long term care
insurance advisors.

* To control costs, rely heavily on prevention in the long
term care arena, just as for shorter-term health needs. A great many
adult-onset diseases, ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer's, may be
avoided or minimized through proper diet, exercise, and stress control.
Consider incentives for individuals, insurers, and employers who promote
good health later and later in life, with shorter periods of down time.

"Now's the time to make your views known to the White House, your Senators, and Congressional representatives," says Gott. A simple way to do that is to submit a form or dial a phone number found at -- Gott also encourages citizens to write their favorite TV show to suggest a segment on LTC. "When something gets on Oprah, Good Morning America, The View, or 60 Minutes," she says, "Washington listens."

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Report From Top Military Leaders Finds Current US Energy Policy Poses Serious Threat to National Security

/PRNewswire/ -- America's energy posture constitutes a serious and urgent threat to national security -- militarily, diplomatically and economically, according to a blue-ribbon panel of top-ranking retired admirals and generals. In a report released today entitled "Powering America's Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security" the military leaders warn that continuing business as usual is perilous and recommend immediate action to address the nation's long-term energy profile. By addressing its own security needs, the Department of Defense can help lead the transformation of U.S. energy use as an innovation incubator for new energy technologies.

Moving beyond recent studies on the dangers of imported oil, this new report finds that fossil fuels, as well as the nation's fragile electric grid, pose significant security threats to military mission and the country, and are "exploitable by those who wish to do us harm." Issued by the Military Advisory Board (MAB) of CNA, a nonprofit research organization, the report identifies a series of "converging risks" associated with future energy choices, and concludes "diversifying our energy sources and moving away from fossil fuels where possible is critical to our future energy security."

"It's a sobering but honest, and necessary assessment," said MAB chairman General Charles F. "Chuck" Wald, USAF (Ret.). "As military planners and as responsible public servants we cannot turn a blind eye to the dangerous realities of our energy situation. The current recession is no excuse for inaction. If we don't address the fossil fuel issue now, we will see more price volatility, with steeper spikes and shorter cycles between spikes. We are already paying a penalty for not looking into the future."

"There is a relationship between the major challenges we're facing. Energy, security, economics, climate change - these things are connected," former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gordon R. Sullivan said in the report.

Due to the destabilizing nature of increasingly scarce resources, the impacts of energy demand and climate change are likely to increasingly drive military missions in this century, according to the report. The first priority for the new Administration, the MAB recommends, is to clearly and fully integrate energy security and climate change goals into national security and military planning.

"Increasing demand for, and dwindling supplies of, fossil fuels will lead to instability. In addition, the effects of global climate change will pose serious threats to water supplies and agricultural production, leading to intense competition for essentials," said MAB member Vice Admiral (ret.) Dennis McGinn, former commander of the U.S. Third Fleet, and deputy chief of Naval Operations, Warfare Requirements and Programs. "The U.S. cannot assume that we will be untouched by these conflicts. We have to understand how these conflicts could play out, and prepare for them."

The MAB, which produced the landmark 2007 report "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change" is comprised of retired 2, 3- and 4-star flag and general officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The board includes a former Army Chief of Staff, commanders of U.S. forces in global regions, a former shuttle astronaut and NASA administrator, and experts in energy, planning, deployment, procurement and logistics.

The 2007 report found that climate change constitutes a "threat multiplier" because projected impacts will exacerbate existing security risks. Building on the 2007 report, the new report states, "Our approach to energy and our approach to climate change have profound impacts on each other - and both have impacts on our national security."

National security risks resulting from the current U.S. energy posture identified in the report include:

-- U.S. dependence on oil - not just foreign oil - weakens international
leverage, undermines foreign policy and leaves us vulnerable to
unstable or hostile regimes.
-- Inefficient use of and over reliance on oil burdens the military,
reduces combat effectiveness, and exacts a huge price tag - in dollars
and lives.
-- U.S. dependency on fossil fuels undermines economic stability critical
to national security.
-- A fragile domestic electric grid makes US military installations, and
their critical infrastructure, unnecessarily vulnerable to incident,
whether deliberate or accidental.

Looking forward, the report identifies the following converging risks associated with future energy choices:

-- The market for fossil fuels will be shaped by finite supplies and
increasing demand. Continuing our heavy reliance on these fuels is a
security risk.
-- Regulatory frameworks driven by climate change concerns will increase
the costs - both economic and geopolitical - of using carbon-based
-- Insecurity driven by ongoing climate change has the potential to add
significantly to the mission burden of the U.S. military in fragile
regions of the world.

"In our view, confronting these converging risks is critical to ensuring America's secure energy future," the report states. "Consistency with our emerging climate policies should shape our energy and national security planning; we should not pursue energy options inconsistent with our national response to climate change."

The Military Advisory Board calls on the Department of Defense (DoD) to take a leadership role - for government and the nation - in transforming America's energy posture. "By addressing its own energy security needs," the report finds "DoD can stimulate the market for new energy technologies and vehicle efficiencies."

The Military Advisory Board outlines "A Roadmap for Energy Security" to help focus DoD's investments in a strategic manner in order to mitigate its highest energy-related risks and optimize fiscal resources through a series of priorities.

-- Priority 1: Energy security and climate change goals should be clearly
integrated into national security and military planning processes.
-- Priority 2: DoD should design and deploy systems to reduce the burden
that inefficient energy use places on our troops as they engage
-- Priority 3: DoD should understand its use of energy at all levels of
operations. DoD should know its carbon bootprint.
-- Priority 4: DoD should transform its use of energy at installations
through aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency, smart grid
technologies, and electrification of its vehicle fleet.
-- Priority 5: DoD should expand the adoption of distributed and
renewable energy generation at its installations.
-- Priority 6: DoD should transform its long-term operational energy
posture through investments in low-carbon liquid fuels that satisfy
military performance requirements.

"Confronting this challenge is paramount for the military; to achieve the endstate, we must have a national approach," the report states. Securing America's energy future will require the active and consistent participation of governments at all levels, as well as that of all Americans, according to the report.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Insurers Contributed $35.7 Million to Members of Congress Since 2005

/PRNewswire / -- Auto, home, business and life insurance companies contributed $35,743,017 million to members of Congress during the last two election cycles, according to an analysis released today by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer Watchdog. About $5 million went to members of the House subcommittee holding a hearing Thursday entitled "How Should the Federal Government Oversee Insurance?"

The top recipients of insurer contributions in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were Sen. McCain (R-AZ) $2,287,345, Sen. Dodd (D-CT) $1,102,056 and Rep. Kanjorski (D-PA) $491,545. Senator Chris Dodd heads the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over insurance matters, and Representative Paul Kanjorski chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee holding Thursday's hearing.

Other top recipients include Rep. Bean (D-IL) $358,603 and Rep. Royce (R-CA) $297,574 who are co-sponsoring industry legislation to allow large insurers to opt out of state regulation in favor of a federal regulator. House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Frank (D-MA) and Vice Chair Rep. Bachus (R-AL) have received $342,796 and $312,550, respectively from insurance industry sources.

The campaign contribution data used in Consumer Watchdog's analysis was compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

"The insurance industry is using the chaos created by failed federal oversight of other financial players to ask for the same weak treatment and regulatory options given to the banking industry. And insurers have invested tens of millions of dollars in politicians to help their cause," said Doug Heller, Executive Director of Consumer Watchdog.

Insurance giants like Allstate, State Farm and Zurich favor the legislation authored by Reps. Bean and Royce (H.R. 1880), known as the "Optional Federal Charter." The bill would offer big insurance companies the ability to opt out of state regulation and select a federal overseer instead. Also, it would prohibit the regulation of rates by the new federal agency and would preempt state rules governing rates and unfair rating practices.

Among the key supporters of this optional regulation plan is Subcommittee Chair Kanjorski, the House's top recipient of insurance donations. Rep. Kanjorski's Congressional website explains: "Keeping our financial markets globally competitive, improving the housing market, increasing borrower safety, enhancing investor protection, and creating an optional federal charter for insurance are some of his top priorities for the Subcommittee." [emphasis added.]

The optional federal charter, or any federalization of insurance regulation aimed at preempting state laws will necessarily undermine consumer protection laws developed around the country over the years, according to Consumer Watchdog. No state's consumers would be harder hit than California, where the voters enacted the nation's toughest rate regulations in the country in 1988 through the ballot measure known as Proposition 103. According to a 2008 study by the Consumer Federation of America, Proposition 103 has saved Californians about $62 billion on auto insurance alone over the past 20 years. Last year, for example, Allstate was ordered to lower auto and home insurance rates by $500 million. Also in 2008, all California insurers were required to comply with rules requiring driving record and annual mileage to have more of an impact on auto premiums than other factors such as ZIP Code and marital status. H.R. 1880 would preempt both the rate cuts and the premium setting rules.

"Giving insurers the ability to opt out of state regulation in favor of a legislatively neutered federal agency is nothing other than deregulation by another name. It would be disastrous to support federal insurance deregulation as a response to the banking deregulation debacle that has left the American economy in shambles," said Heller.

What has led politicians to press for this program? According to Consumer Watchdog, the staggering volume of industry donations plays a major role. A list of top Congressional recipients of insurance money follows:

Top Ten Senate Recipients of Insurer Contributions

Senator Amount
McCain, John (R-AZ) $2,287,345
Dodd, Chris (D-CT)* $1,102,056
Baucus, Max (D-MT) $449,125
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $448,633
Lieberman, Joe (I-CT) $403,644
Nelson, Ben (D-NE) $363,636
Cornyn, John (R-TX) $324,194
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) $308,386
Johnson, Tim (D-SD)* $294,247
Corker, Bob (R-TN)* $267,650

Top Ten House Recipients of Insurer Contributions

Representative Amount

Kanjorski, Paul E (D-PA)* $491,545
Rangel, Charles B (D-NY) $480,290
Pomeroy, Earl (D-ND) $474,769
Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $94,100
Boehner, John (R-OH) $383,175
Bean, Melissa (D-IL)* $358,603
Frank, Barney (D-MA)* $342,796
Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) $332,609
Crowley, Joseph (D-NY) $325,118
Bachus, Spencer (R-AL)* $312,550

*Member of Congressional committee on insurance matters

"Allowing insurers to pick their regulator, like AIG did when it strapped a federally regulated financial unit to its insurance companies, will negate hard-won consumer rights laws and destroy the state-based oversight that kept insurance products and companies solvent and stable during the current economic crisis," said Consumer Watchdog's Washington D.C. Director Carmen Balber. "But the sound of insurer campaign dollars flooding into Congressional campaign chests threatens to drown out the public's interest in strong, locally accountable insurance regulation."

Political News You Can Use

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Dire Warnings for Social Security

/PRNewswire / -- In response to the dire warnings issued in today's Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report, RetireSafe and its 400,000 senior supporters called on the President and Congress to take immediate action to secure the promised benefits older Americans rely on.

"With unfunded liabilities of up to $100 trillion and the Social Security Trust Fund scheduled to pay out more than it takes in by 2016, America's seniors deserve to know that the Social Security benefits they rely on to make ends meet will still be there for them," said RetireSafe President Michelle Plasari.

According to Plasari, there are simple ways to make Social Security more secure for current and near retirees:

Guaranteed Benefits. Currently, Social Security benefits are not a sure thing. They can be cut by Congress on a whim. Congress has continually used incoming Social Security dollars for other projects -- including pork barrel spending. For years, RetireSafe has supported legislation that would provide a certificate of guarantee to Social Security beneficiaries.

Fair COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). Seniors' annual cost-of-living-adjustments are calculated based on the spending habits of younger workers. The formula used doesn't account for increased spending on health insurance, long-term care or prescription drugs. For decades, the government has maintained an "experimental" index that tracks seniors' true cost of living. To see just how much more seniors could get over their retirement visit RetireSafe's Fair COLA Calculator at

Repeal Double Tax. Seniors are subject to unfair taxation during their retirement years. After spending their whole lives paying taxes to the government -- the IRS still gets to tax 85% of their Social Security benefits if their retirement earnings reach a certain level.

Abolish the Early Retiree Earnings Limit. Early retirees who continue to work are penalized for doing so by earning limits. The limit taxes seniors at an outrageous amount -- more than many multi-millionaires. In today's economy more and more early retirees are returning to work to make ends meet -- and being penalized by the tax man for doing so.

Prohibit Totalization. The Social Security Administration has signed a totalization treaty with Mexico. The agreement would allow millions of illegal immigrants to collect Social Security benefits. This is a slap in the face to older Americans who worked hard their whole lives yet continue to struggle on their current benefit.

Political News You Can Use

Boehner Statement on Annual Medicare and Social Security Trustees’ Report

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the Medicare and Social Security Trustees released a new report highlighting the deteriorating financial condition of the Medicare and Social Security programs and the urgent need for reform:

“The Social Security and Medicare trustees’ report confirms what we already knew: our nation cannot afford to continue this reckless borrowing and spending spree. While on the campaign trail last year, President Obama said, ‘when you’re in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.’ I couldn’t agree more, but his policies are putting our kids and grandkids deeper in that hole, and deeper in debt to China and the Middle East. Not only does the Democrats’ budget double the national debt in five years and triple it in 10, but it does nothing to address the looming crisis in our entitlement programs.

“Our nation is facing a demographic tsunami of nearly 80 million retiring Baby Boomers and rising health care costs, and it is clear that we must reform Medicare and Social Security to preserve the programs’ benefits for future generations of American seniors. The Social Security and Medicare Trustees have repeatedly warned Congress and the American people that the programs must be reformed or future benefits will be threatened, and today’s report is the most dramatic warning yet. Congress can’t sit idly by while these programs go bankrupt; we must act now.”

Political News You Can Use

Monday, May 11, 2009

Poll: Independents reject Obama, agree with Libertarian Party

Despite a deep financial crisis and the election of a left-wing president, political independents still see “big government” as a greater threat than “big business” by an unchanged two-to-one margin, America’s third-largest party notes today.

“Independent voters believed Candidate Obama when he said he would be mainstream. Their trusting votes gave him a narrow victory,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director. “But now that the real Barack Obama has revealed himself, they’re not following his bootlegger turn toward the radical left. They still believe the same Big Government that Obama promises as our global salvation will be America’s undoing.”

“Only one party in America agrees with independent voters, and that is the Libertarian Party,” said Ferguson. “Republicans spent 14 years fattening government with their ever-escalating budgets. Even the Republican ‘alternative budget’ called for massive deficits and bigger spending.”

“Once again, Libertarians are the only mainstream party in America. Only Libertarians will reduce the size and cost of government. Obama and the Republicans have us spiraling towards national bankruptcy.”

A Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday asked 1,007 adults “which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future –”big business”, big labor or “big government?” Fifty-nine percent (59%) of politically independent Americans viewed “big government” as the greatest threat, virtually unchanged from the 60 percent measured the last time the question was asked in 2006 – before the financial crisis and election of Barack Obama.

Only 30 percent answered “big business” and 8 percent answered “big labor,” both also virtually unchanged from the 26 percent and 10 percent measured in 2006.

Since the question was asked major financial crises have weakened the economy and the White House has been occupied by a president pushing radical expansions of government size and power -- with virtually no effect on independents. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

The poll was released on the same day the White House released numbers showing the economy performing worse than Obama promised, and the federal budget deficit growing to a size four times larger than the 2008 Bush record. Under Obama, the federal government will borrow nearly 50 cents for every dollar it spends, an unsustainable and inflationary level of borrowing.

In more bad news for Obama, the only Americans buying into his opposition to capitalism are largely those who already voted for him, leaving little room to expand his support.

Democrats in 2006 feared “big government” more than “big business” by a 55 percent to 32 percent margin. Following in lockstep with Obama, they have flipped their views. Now, Democrats fear job creators more than government by a 52 percent to 32 percent margin.

Opposition to “big government” grew among grassroots Republicans, though their party leadership doesn’t seem to share that view, based on their “alternative budget.” In 2006, Republicans feared “big government” more than “big business” by a 68 percent to 18 percent margin. That grew in 2009 to 80 percent to 10 percent.

“Grassroots Republicans oppose Big Government and want a party that agrees with them. Once again, the Libertarian Party is the only party that proposes cutting spending. We don’t follow the still-vibrant Republican tradition of making government bigger and costlier each year,” said Ferguson.

Political News You Can Use

President Obama, Sens. Kennedy & Baucus: Don't Buy Insurer 'Compromise' for Bush-era Plan to Gut State Consumer Protection Laws

/PRNewswire/ -- President Obama and U.S. Senate health care reform leaders must not override state consumer protection laws as suggested by health insurers last week, a move long-supported by insurers and the Bush Administration, said Consumer Watchdog in a letter to the president and senators. The hard-fought state laws enacted in nearly every state over the last 10 years were made necessary because Congress failed to enact Patients' Bill of Rights legislation.

In the letter, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"Federal regulation would be a boon to the industry, and has long been on the insurer's wish list because over the last decade almost every state has developed comprehensive patient protection laws that the insurers loathe.

"Insurers would like to take advantage of the moment of reform to eviscerate HMO Patients' Bill of Rights laws enacted in nearly every state and replace them with window-dressing federal rules that clear the way for the worst of the industry's practices."

The insurers' proposal was floated last Tuesday during the U.S. Senate Finance Committee by Karen Ignagni, CEO of the HMO and health insurer lobbying organization, America's Health Insurance Plans.

Consumer Watchdog called the insurers' proposal to kill the "public option" to private insurance coverage -- the reform that the industry hates most because of its value to consumers -- in exchange for new federal regulation of the industry a "false compromise."

In the letter, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"Insurers are not conceding a thing. They are trying to turn the squelching of a beneficial public option into a double victory. They need all of you to play along with the charade in order to succeed in killing state patient protections as well as any government competitor. If you allow the insurance industry to prevail in this deception, the worst public fears about insurers' lobbying power in Washington will be proven correct."

A similar window-dressing federal regulation scheme was last brought forward in Senator Mike Enzi's (R-WY) bill, S. 1955, in 2006 which would have gutted HMO Patients' Bill of Rights laws and state common law access to courts by enacting President Bush's promised "Association Health Plans" expansion.

In the letter, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"The Enzi bill was described in terms similar to those used by Ignagni ... to describe the federal 'standards' the insurers are willing to accept if the public option is taken off the table. Such 'harmonization' at the federal level of 'inconsistent' state laws will result in lowest common denominator regulations enforced from an impossible distance. Done the industry's desired way, an individual's state common law right to sue an insurer for even the most egregious misbehavior would also be erased."

Ignagni has also promised the industry's agreement to cover all Americans regardless of health, and not to charge more based on characteristics like health status or gender. Even these apparent concessions are far from hardships for the insurance industry, said Consumer Watchdog, in the context of their demand that all Americans be required to purchase their product.

** Read Consumer Watchdog's analysis of health insurer and drug company contributions to members of Congress. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, received more campaign contributions from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries than any other current Democratic member of the House or Senate; the third highest contributions of any member of Congress.

** Read about a recent national poll that found that 65% of voters support giving every American of any age the option of joining Medicare; 60% are willing to pay more in payroll deductions for this option.

** Read about a national poll that found, by contrast, that only 16% of U.S. voters support, and 53% oppose, the insurance industries' plan of requiring every American to provide proof of private health insurance or face tax penalties or other fines.

Political News You Can Use

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hillary Clinton 2006 FEC Immunity Deal May Be Voided, According to D. Colette Wilson, Attorney

/PRNewswire/ -- Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and the Hillary Clinton for Senate Committee, Inc. have become the subjects of a new Federal Election Commission Complaint filed today.

An original FEC complaint filed against Senator Clinton and her agents, President Clinton, Finance Director David Rosen and Treasurer Andrew Grossman, in July 2001 exposed the false reporting of more than $1.2 million expended by Hollywood dot-com millionaire Peter Paul at the request of Senator Clinton and her agents. Clinton Finance Director David Rosen was indicted and tried for FEC fraud in 2005 as a result, and a Conciliation Agreement with Andrew Grossman Treasurer of NY Senate included a fine of the Clinton campaign and an immunity agreement protecting Senator Clinton from further investigation of illegal acts.

The January 2006 "confidential" FEC immunization of Hillary Clinton as in the Senate campaign, was subject to the filing of a fourth corrected FEC Report on January 30, 2006, to legally report the $1.2 million plus expenditure contributed by Peter Paul to underwrite Event 39, and hidden in previous reports.

The new FEC complaint presents new evidence that the latest FEC Report by Hillary Clinton and her campaign violates the Conciliation agreement compelling the FEC to void its grant of immunity. It states:

"The false reporting of [Paul's 1.2 million] expenditures as nonfederal contributions to New York Senate 2000 was and is a violation of the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. Section 434(b). The activities of [Hillary Clinton and the other Respondents] in making false statements which resulted in such contributions' being improperly reported as nonfederal contributions to New York Senate 2000 violated 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 (false statements) and/or 18 U.S.C. Section 2 (aiding and abetting)."

When the FEC decided to close its file as to Hillary Clinton in 2006, it stated that, "Any potential liability of Senator Clinton would be based on whether she knowingly accepted prohibited or excessive in-kind corporate contributions." Such evidence was lacking then, but not now, according to D. Colette Wilson, attorney. Ironically, in defending against Peter Paul's fraud complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, Hillary Clinton and her agents David Rosen and James Levin filed sworn declarations that prove Mrs. Clinton knowingly accepted prohibited, excessive contributions in underwriting Event 39, by soliciting, directing and coordinating Mr. Paul's in-kind contribution.

Attorney D. Colette Wilson, on behalf of Clinton 's "unreported" donor, Peter Paul stated:

"The filing presents new evidence -- out of the mouths of Hillary herself and her agents -- proving that Hillary lied when she said her largest campaign fundraising event -- Event 39 -- wasn't a Hillary Clinton for Senate event. That's ALL it was. This new evidence proves it was a sham to claim that it was a Democratic party event, in order to get away with claiming that Peter Paul's expenditures were soft money donated to her Joint Fundraising Committee, New York Senate 2000, rather than federally proscribed, hard money to Hillary Clinton for Senate, the intended beneficiary."

Political News You Can Use

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ACCCE Statement in Response to White House Carbon Policy Meeting

/PRNewswire/ -- In response to today's meeting at the White House between Hill leaders and President Obama, Joe Lucas, Senior Vice President, Communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) released the following statement:

"President Obama, in describing a federal carbon policy, has said, 'if it is too expensive, people won't do it.' We couldn't agree more.

"That is why we believe that as officials at the White House and in Congress continue to work on a federal carbon management bill, their goal needs to be to find a policy that is both effective and affordable.

"ACCCE supports a mandatory federal carbon management program that will achieve emissions reductions, create jobs, preserve fuel diversity as a means of promoting greater energy independence, and ensure access to affordable, reliable electricity for American businesses and consumers. Bringing new advanced technologies to the marketplace and driving down the cost of deploying these technologies will ensure that consumers receive the benefit of reduced emissions and access to affordable energy.

"The current bill being discussed in the House of Representatives does not yet detail how emission allowances will be distributed. Any bill that Congress ultimately adopts needs to provide enough allowances to affected industries to help them transition to a low-carbon economy. Auctioning trillions of dollars in allowances is not the best way to make carbon legislation less expensive, nor will it make the program more environmentally effective.

"ACCCE and its members will continue to engage with Congressional leaders and the Administration in pursuit of a carbon policy that meets America's environmental and economic needs."

Political News You Can Use

U.S. Reps, Faith and Military Leaders Want Action on Climate Change to Prioritize Most Vulnerable

/PRNewswire / -- As climate bill negotiations reach their apex this week, Members of Congress, religious and military leaders are intensifying their efforts to ensure the legislation prioritizes the most vulnerable at home and abroad. Bolstered by the results of a new national poll that shows strong support among key religious groups for action on climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable, U.S. Reps. Heath Shuler and Tom Perriello joined religious and military leaders today to discuss the importance of these principles and announce a new radio and email campaign pressing this message in key districts across America.

"The climate bill provides us with the unique opportunity of answering the call to be good stewards of creation in a way that will not only create jobs and make our nation safer, but will also allow us to care for the least of these among us," said Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC). "It is not often that Congress has the ability to accomplish all of this in one bill, and I am grateful for the ability to work alongside leaders in the faith and military communities to ensure that these values are reflected in the final bill."

"Addressing climate change is not just a matter of national security and sound economic policy, but a moral duty to care for God's creation and to care for the needs of those who are contributing the least to climate change but bearing the brunt of its burden," said Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA). "We need to ensure that this legislation fairly addresses the burden on low- and middle-income families, especially at a time when millions of Americans are out of work."

According to the new national survey, sponsored by Faith in Public Life and Oxfam America and conducted by Public Religion Research:

-- Majorities of Americans, including majorities of Catholics and
Evangelicals, believe dealing with climate change now will create new
jobs and help avoid more serious economic problems in the future.
-- Nearly 7-in-10 (69%) Americans and similar numbers of Catholics and
Evangelicals agree that climate change is making it harder for the
world's poorest people to support their families.
-- Approximately three-quarters of the general public and similar numbers
of Catholics and Evangelicals favor helping the world's poorest people
adapt to food and water shortages caused by rising global

The new media campaign, beginning today, includes ads on Christian radio at saturation levels in key districts in GA, FL, NC, MS, AL, LA, VA, OH and emails to over 5.3 million evangelicals and Catholics in GA, FL, AL, and NC. The campaign, sponsored by the faith-based nonprofit American Values Network, is designed to demonstrate that the faith and military communities will stand behind and encourage undecided Members to support a climate bill that protects the most vulnerable and makes America more secure. (Listen to the ad here:

Specifically, members of Congress are pushing for the bill to include: direct rebates to help offset increased energy costs for the most affected vulnerable people and communities and to encourage spending on energy efficiency, as well as sufficient international adaptation funding to ensure that the most vulnerable populations in developing countries have the resources they need to proactively adapt to climate change.

Religious groups have long been committed to ensuring that legislation pays special attention to the needs of vulnerable communities at home and abroad who will be most affected by climate change. They have also consistently pressed Congress to prioritize the needs of at-risk populations who will have the most difficulty adjusting to our attempts as a nation to combat climate change. The groups include the Evangelical Climate Initiative, Southern Baptist Environmental Climate Initiative, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), The Episcopal Church, and Redeem the Vote.

"This important new poll confirms what I have seen in my own congregation and across the country -- people of faith are ready to address climate change and deal with its full range of effects, including its disproportionate impact on the poor," said Rev. Joel Hunter, pastor of the 10,000-member Northland, A Church Distributed. Rev. Hunter is also the voice of the campaign's radio ads.

"The moral measure of climate change legislation is how it treats the poor and vulnerable in our own country and around the world," said John Carr, Director of Justice, Peace, and Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Military groups -- including The Truman Project, VET PAC, and Veterans Green Jobs -- also support addressing the needs of those who are most impacted by climate change worldwide because they recognize the national security implications of the issue.

"Threats to nations and our world economies do not always originate with our enemies," said Rear Admiral Stuart Franklin Platt, USN Ret, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, with over 20 medals for military sea and combat service. "Global climate change is one of the greatest threats to our national security both because it literally threatens the very planet we inhabit and because the droughts, famine, and floods it creates threaten to destabilize regions around the world."

"This new poll shows that a majority of Americans, including people of faith such as Catholics and Evangelicals, support addressing climate change even in our challenging current economic conditions. Moreover, majorities support tackling climate change in a way that assists the poor who are affected by these changes," said Dr. Robert P. Jones, president of Public Religion Research.

Results of the survey were based on telephone interviews with 1,200 adults 18 years of age and older and an over sample of 250 white evangelical Protestants and 252 Catholics. The survey was conducted from March 20 to March 27, 2009. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3.0% at the 95% confidence interval. The national sample of adults was interviewed using random digit dial process.

Political News You Can Use

Monday, May 4, 2009

Obama's Proposal to Double-Tax Profits Will Kill U.S. Jobs

/PRNewswire / -- With President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner today announcing a job-killing tax increase of over $200 billion over the next ten years, Americans for Tax Reform issued the following fact sheet on the state of international and corporate taxation:

America has the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world. The United States is tied with Japan for one very dubious honor -- having the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world. According to the OECD, the United States has a combined marginal corporate rate of nearly 40 percent. This compares very negatively to our European competitors' average rate of 25 percent. The Republic of Ireland stands in the starkest contrast, with a corporate income tax rate of 12.5 percent. In the developing world, rates of 10 or 15 percent are commonplace.

America is one of the only developed countries that double-taxes the international profits of our own companies. If a Polish company earns a profit in France, it pays the French corporate income tax, and nothing else. But if a U.S. company earns that same profit in France, it must pay the French corporate tax and the U.S. corporate tax (minus whatever was paid to France). So not only does the U.S. impose the highest corporate rate in the world, it makes sure that this rate is applied to both domestic and international profits. This is called a "worldwide taxation system" and the U.S. is one of a tiny handful of countries that still practices it.

Recognizing the problem this creates, Congress has crafted a confusing set of exclusions, deferrals, deductions, and credits on international profits. In general, U.S. companies can avoid paying this double-tax until they repatriate the profits back to the U.S.

By seeking to take away these double-tax band-aids without lowering the corporate rate substantially or fixing the global taxation scheme, Obama's proposal will shove jobs and capital out of America and into foreign countries. Obama's budget and Congressional tax-writers have been clear -- they want companies to pay the full corporate rate as soon as the international profit is earned. In a global economy, companies don't have to take this lying down. It's a relatively simple matter for a U.S. company with an Irish subsidiary to become an Irish company with a U.S. subsidiary. The Obama plan will force thousands of companies to make this job-killing decision. Companies that export goods will soon start exporting jobs.

The U.S. should tax our companies the way the rest of the world taxes theirs -- territoriality. The rest of the developed world has figured this out: if they want to retain jobs and capital in their countries, they have to adopt territoriality. This means that companies only pay corporate income tax in the country where the profit is earned. The U.S. partially tried this in 2005, when companies were allowed to repatriate deferred foreign earnings at a 5.25% rate -- far lower than what they would have to pay otherwise. The result was a one-year infusion of $318 billion in capital to the United States, resulting in $17 billion in additional corporate income tax payments, and the creation of thousands of new jobs.

The U.S. needs to lower our corporate income tax rate to become more competitive. American employers are competing globally with Irish, British, German, etc. companies. It makes no sense to saddle our employers with the highest corporate rate in the world. At the very least, we need to lower our corporate tax rate to 25 percent or less. This simply begins to make our tax treatment of large employers somewhat comparable to our European competitors. When combined with territoriality, this move would begin to change the corporate tax culture in the U.S. from a jobs killer to a jobs magnet.

Zogby/O'Leary Report 100-Days Poll Shows That Taxpayers are More Opposed to President Obama's Policies Than Non-taxpayers

/PRNewswire/ -- During the 2008 presidential campaign, polls showed that President Obama drew enthusiastic support from an often overlooked demographic: Americans who have no federal income tax liability (who total 30 percent of the electorate). Conversely, Americans who pay federal income taxes (70 percent of the electorate) were more skeptical of Obama's policy proposals - particularly on issues that deal with the economy.

Recently, Zogby International and The O'Leary Report conducted a 100-Days Poll (which surveyed 3,937 people who voted in the 2008 presidential election) to revisit these two demographics and gauge their opinions on the Obama Administration's actions and proposals. The results show that non-taxpayers are still more likely to support President Obama's agenda than taxpayers. Interestingly, however, enthusiasm for the President appears to be dwindling among non-taxpayers - even on economic issues.

Taxes & Spending

Q. Thinking about the Tea Party demonstrations that took place on April
15th to protest the growth in taxes and federal government spending, do
Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
Strongly support the beliefs
of the organizers.. 47% 38%
Somewhat support them 11% 15%
Somewhat oppose their beliefs 12% 13%
Strongly oppose them 27% 29%
Not sure 3% 6%


Q. Which of the following do you think is a better economic system -
A or B?

A: A system in which the public or the state have ownership and
administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

B: A system in which wealth and the means of producing wealth are
privately owned and controlled rather than state owned or controlled
with the state regulating them.

Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
Statement A 12% 29%
Statement B 76% 55%
Not sure 12% 16%


Q. Which course of action should America take with regards to energy

Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
Make energy cheaper by developing all
sources of U.S. energy, including coal,
nuclear power, offshore drilling and
drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge 57% 48%
Reduce America's production of fossil
fuels that might cause global warming 38% 46%
Not sure 5% 7%

First Amendment

Q. Senator Durbin recently offered an amendment in the U.S. Senate that
requires the Federal Communications Commission to take actions to
encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership.
Opponents say the move would threaten the breakup of radio networks that
largely carry conservative talk radio shows like Glenn Beck, Rush
Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Do you support or oppose this legislation?

Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
Support 36% 47%
Oppose 57% 43%
Not sure 7% 10%

Q. The Federal Communications is entertaining the idea of re-instituting
advisory boards to determine the needs and interests of their communities,
to promote localism and diversity. These boards, appointed by the FCC and
would monitor what is said over the radio and report back if they were
offended by the talk show hosts and their guests. Critics argue that such
a proposal is nothing more than a back door implementation of the Fairness
Doctrine. Do you support or oppose the FCC's efforts to reinstitute
advisory boards?

Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
Support 19% 27%
Oppose 69% 58%
Not sure 12% 15%


Q. President Obama's health secretary nominee, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is a
supporter of abortion on demand. President Obama indicated that he would
appoint someone who was neutral on the issue, but pro-life forces find
Gov. Sebelius' pro-choice record unacceptable. Do you support or oppose
Gov. Sebelius is a good choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services?

Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
Support 44% 52%
Oppose 48% 35%
Not sure 8% 13%

Second Amendment

Q. Do you think new gun laws should be passed or do you think we should
enforce the laws already on the books.

Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
New gun laws should be passed 24% 31%
Enforce the laws already on the books 73% 66%
Not sure 4% 4%


Q. While visiting Turkey recently, President Obama said America is not a
Christian nation. Do agree or disagree that the US is a Christian

Paid Paid
Federal No Federal
Taxes Taxes
----- -----
Agree 38% 47%
Disagree 54% 47%
Not sure 7% 6%

The O'Leary Report/Zogby poll was conducted April 24-27, surveyed 3,937 voters nationwide, and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.6 percentage points. Only voters who voted in the 2008 presidential election were surveyed, and the sample was weighted to reflect the outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election (i.e. 53% Obama voters and 46% McCain voters).