Monday, September 27, 2010

Libertarians say Republicans owe apology, not pledge, to America

In response to the recent Republican "Pledge to America," Libertarian Party executive director Wes Benedict released the following statement:

Instead of a "Pledge to America," the Republicans should have written an "Apology to America." It should have gone something like this:

"We're sorry, America. Sorry we grew the federal government budget from $1.7 trillion to over $3 trillion. Sorry we added $5 trillion to the federal debt. Sorry we doubled the size of the Department of Education. Sorry we started two incredibly costly foreign wars. Sorry we supported the absurd and costly TARP bailouts. Sorry we created a huge and costly new Medicare entitlement. Sorry we did nothing to end the costly and destructive War on Drugs. Sorry we did nothing to reform the federal government's near-prohibition on immigration. But hey, at least we helped you by shifting a lot of your tax burden onto your children and grandchildren."

There are so many lies, distortions, hypocrisies, and idiocy in this document that it's hard to know where to start.

It is deeply insulting to see the Republicans refer to "America's founding values" on their cover. The Republican Party has no understanding whatsoever of America's founding values. They have proven and re-proven that for decades.

The document talks a lot about "tax cuts." Unfortunately, the Republican "tax cut" proposals would really do nothing to cut taxes. All their proposals achieve is to defer taxes, pushing the burden onto our children and grandchildren. The only real way to cut taxes is to cut government spending, and the Republican document does almost nothing in that regard.

The Republicans say they want to "roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels." In other words, to re-create the situation near the end of the Bush administration, after Republicans had massively increased federal spending on almost everything.

Republicans must love it when Democrats expand government, because it gives them the opportunity to propose small "cuts," while still ending up with huge government.

One shocking aspect of the document is that it actually includes subtle Republican proposals to increase government spending.

The Republicans offer no plan whatsoever to reduce military spending, America's foreign wars and nation building, or our military defense of rich foriegn nations. On the contrary, the Republicans apparently want to increase military spending, promising to "provide the resources, authority, and support our deployed military requires, fully fund missile defense, and enforce sanctions against Iran."

The Republicans also appear to want to increase government spending on border control. They say "We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border," a costly proposition.

Furthermore, as expected, the document complains about "massive Medicare cuts," implying that Republicans want to make sure Medicare is kept gigantic.

The bulk of federal spending is in three places: Social Security, Medicare, and the military. The Republicans propose absolutely nothing to reduce spending on these three things, or even to slow down their growth.

There must be a typo in the document where it says "Undeterred by dismal results, Washington Democrats continue to double-down on their job-killing policies." That probably should read "Washington Democrats continue to double-down on Republican job-killing policies."

The best way to restore American prosperity would be to implement the straightforward 28 planks of the Libertarian Party platform, or even just follow the Constitution. I mean the actual Constitution, not the Republican re-write that allows for every federal government program imaginable.

I suppose the one positive aspect of the document is that it finally dispels any illusion that Republicans want to shrink government in any meaningful way.

Apparently the Republicans are hoping they can "fool some of the people all of the time." The Libertarian Party is ready to point out Republican lies and hypocrisy to American voters, and we hope that Americans who actually want small and constitutional government, not just hypocrisy and worthless rhetoric, will vote Libertarian this November.

The Libertarian Party has 21 candidates for U.S. Senate and 170 candidates for U.S. House in the upcoming November 2010 elections.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Log Cabin Republicans Call on Senator Harry Reid to a Full and Open Debate of the Defense Authorization Bill

/PRNewswire/ -- The Log Cabin Republicans are appalled by the overwrought political actions by Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) by merely allowing 3 Democrat-only amendments to the Defense Authorization Bill (FY2011 NDAA). Right now, Senator Harry Reid is not permitting any open debate or other amendments to this bill.

However, one of the 3 amendments that does have Senator Harry Reid's full support is the DREAM ACT. The DREAM ACT would offer paths to citizenship for undocumented students who came to the US as children, most likely illegally. Nevada has the largest percentage of illegal immigrants in the United States.

"Senator Harry Reid is treating the United States Senate like his own personal re-election campaign," says R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans. "We are simply asking the majority to play fair and not stack the bill with Democrat-only amendments that help Senator Reid's re-election bid and could potentially kill any Republican support."

Also appalled by the process, or lack thereof, are Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Senator Collins "would like the Senate to proceed to a full and open debate on the Defense Authorization bill, with members to offer other amendments on all relevant issues."

The Log Cabin Republicans met early today with Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) minority staff and were told, "the hay is in the barn." However, the LCR wants to know if that is the case "then why aren't the horses feeding?"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Study Finds Defensive Medicine Costs $45 Billion Nationally

/PRNewswire/ -- Lisa Maas, executive director of Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), issued the following statement in response to a recent study published in the 2010 issue of Health Affairs which found that costs related to medical liability account for more than $55 billion a year or 2.4% of the total costs to the U.S. healthcare system. According to the study, approximately 80%, or $45 billion of these costs are the result of defensive medicine, procedures performed to avoid unnecessary litigation.

CAPP is a coalition of physicians, hospitals, community clinics, local governments, dentists, nurses and other groups supporting California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) law which allows reasonable reforms on medical liability lawsuits to protect access to healthcare. MICRA provides injured patients unlimited compensation for economic damages (lost wages, medical costs), unlimited punitive damages, but limits non-economic damages (pain and suffering) to $250,000.

"Common sense dictates that if healthcare practitioners are looking over their shoulders and constantly worried about getting sued, they will take action to cover themselves. These actions have societal costs and this recent study found that the costs impact us by more than $45 billion per year.

"Meritless lawsuits do not result in better care, just more dollars spent on defensive medicine, unnecessary tests and litigation costs that drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone.

"The study demonstrates that if national medical liability tort reform were implemented to limit meritless lawsuits, it could produce a national healthcare savings of tens of billions of dollars. That is a significant savings. It would free up these funds to care for the uninsured, make insurance more affordable, or provide new dollars for more research.

"If President Obama and those working to implement national healthcare reform are serious about 'bending the cost curve down,' then national medical liability tort reform, similar to California's MICRA, would achieve significant savings nationally. The purpose behind the recent federal reform legislation was to reduce the cost of healthcare and make it more affordable for all Americans. Real medical liability reform complements this goal and will generate tangible savings quickly without negatively impacting care. We hope this study will spur Congress to adopt these evidence-based reforms in its next session."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ex-White House Spokesman Robert Weiner Asks, 'If There Were Reagan Democrats in the '80s, Why Can't There be Obama Republicans Now?' Roll Call Op-ed

/PRNewswire/ -- Ex-White House spokesman Robert Weiner, and policy analysts Jonathan Battaglia and Noah Merksamer, are asking, "If there were Reagan Democrats in the '80s, why can't there be Obama Republicans now?"

In an op-ed in today's Roll Call, they assert that "In today's politics, bipartisanship seems like a distant memory. It was not always like this.

"Until the 1990s, we had consensus by issue, not by party -- fierce opposition and strong support, but not based primarily on party lines." Weiner traces the history of large minority votes on historic issues as contentious as today's -- Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, and show their contrast to almost no minority votes on recent budgets, tax cuts, health care, the economy, and financial reform.

"In 1935, 92 percent of Congress voted for the Social Security Act, including 81 Republicans in the House. There were dissenters -- Rep. Daniel Reed (R-N.Y.) said that with Social Security, Americans would 'feel the lash of a dictator.' Sen. Daniel Hastings (R-Del.) declared that Social Security would 'end progress.' Yet the measure passed 77-6 in the Senate, 382-33 in the House.

"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did away with segregation. 70 percent voted 'aye,' including 136 Republicans in the House and 21 in the Senate. Republicans and Southern Democrats crossed party lines on both sides of the issue -- they were voting on the issue, not the party regimen.

"When Congress was debating Medicare in 1965, Sen. Carl Curtis (R-Neb.) called the program 'brazen socialism' -- sound familiar? Yet 72 percent of Congress supported Medicare's creation, including 70 Republicans in the House.

"Under former Speaker Tip O'Neill (D), the Reagan tax cuts passed in 1981 with 48 Democrats supporting it. In addition, O'Neill and Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) were able to keep Congress from slashing Social Security benefits amid President Reagan's cuts in domestic spending. Reagan and House Republicans were part of governing with bipartisanship.

"In contrast, last year's health care reform did not receive a single Republican vote in the House or Senate on final passage. Despite the bill's use of private insurance, no public option, no Medicare buy-in and 160 Republican amendments in the bill such as tax breaks for 95 percent of small businesses, the minority would not give the Democrats a vote. Democrats weren't flawless -- they let partisanship get in the way of including medical malpractice reform, despite Obama's public support for it. Regardless, in the past, a bill with such broad-based compromises would have received 30 to 100 Republican House votes on passage and 10 to 30 in the Senate.

"Only three Republicans in the Senate voted for Wall Street reform in July, despite the financial meltdown, and despite broad minority participation in the drafting.

"This recent unwillingness to compromise began in 1994, with the rise of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and the Contract With America. Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) earned the nickname 'The Hammer' because he punished those who did not support George W. Bush. The leadership triumvirate of DeLay, Gingrich and Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) would not allow Republican Congressmen to vote against the party only on major issues -- exactly the time to express one's conscience."

Weiner, Battaglia, and Merksamer conclude by asking, "If there were Reagan Democrats in the '80s, why can't there be Obama Republicans now?"

Obama's FHA Short Refinance Program: Roy Oppenheim Says Too Little Too Late

/PRNewswire/ -- First loan modifications, then short sales ... now it's the short refi. Officially known as the FHA Short Refinance Program, it's the latest band-aid in Obama's bailout plans aimed at resuscitating Florida's underwater homeowners facing foreclosure. Oppenheim Law helps homeowners understand the "short refi" pros and cons.

The FHA Short Refinance Plan now offers aid to people who owe more than their mortgage is worth. Will it bring life back to the real estate market and stimulate the economy? This is the question market analysts and legal bloggers like Florida Attorney Roy Oppenheim are debating.

One of the biggest dangers facing the housing market is the glut of underwater homeowners who could default if their financial situations or home prices worsen. About 11 million borrowers, or 23% of households with a mortgage, were underwater as of June 30, 2010, according to CoreLogic Inc. That number is expected to double next year.

"This is a much needed program, but just might be a case of too little, too late," says Oppenheim, who continues to help Florida homeowners navigate through the tides of the real estate market. "Servicers will not be highly motivated and sometimes inclined to steer towards foreclosure." In addition, the Program, at best, is designed to help about four million homeowners according to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Website.

Criteria for FHA Short Refi Program

-- Must occupy subject property as their primary residence
-- Must be current in your mortgage loan
-- Must be in a non-FHA loan
-- Credit score must be at least 500
-- Bank must agree to write off at least 10% of principal and
-- Second mortgage must be willing to cooperate (if applicable)

For two years, Oppenheim Law has advocated a much broader and bolder refi program pushing for an FDR-style program modeled after the Homeowner's Loan Corporation that assisted underwater homeowners during the Depression.

"History proves it's always the refinance market leading the country out of recession. This time, because the banks have absolutely no incentive to refi, they will not," said Oppenheim. "A strong government program could easily and quickly pump $50 billion back into the economy."

William H. Gross, managing director at Pimco, a giant manager of bond funds, has also proposed the government refinance millions of mortgages at lower rates.

"A more comprehensive short refi program would increase jobs and improve consumer sentiment," noted Oppenheim.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sen. Reid's Former Campaign Manager Makes Shocking Revelations of Illegal, Undeclared Donations

/PRNewswire/ -- The hot item generating buzz on the internet and heartburn in Democratic circles is KMZQ's morning host Steve Wark's 8/26 interview with Don Williams, Sen. Harry Reid's former campaign manager and 30-year associate.

Danny Tarkanian, chairman of 1001 Reasons to Vote Against Harry Reid, listened to the interview (click here: and commented, "I'm certain Sen. Reid will denounce his old friend and campaign manager Don Williams and call him every vile name in the book. However, Williams has taken polygraph tests and the results would indicate that he is telling the truth."

KMZQ's host Steve Wark added, "Don Williams is a legend in the political and business circles in Nevada. He took the polygraph multiple times about this information and most folks would consider his stories about Harry Reid's consorting with Nevada's most famous pimp unimpeachable. After an hour I was convinced that Harry Reid was much more effective as a whore trader than a horse trader."

Tarkanian continued, "Many of these stories fit into the Reid pattern of saying one thing and doing the opposite. While brothels are legal in Nevada, Sen. Reid has emphatically stated over the years that he would never, ever accept money from anyone involved in prostitution. Well, accepting brown bags of cash from Joe Conforte of Mustang Ranch fame would certainly enable him to skirt the FEC reporting requirement which would have revealed his hypocrisy."

"There are more Reid stories about FEC law violations, mysterious bags of absentee ballots and disturbing quid pro quo with some extremely shady characters, and I would encourage my fellow citizens to listen to the interview in its entirety. I believe Don Williams, and I believe that Nevadans deserve better than Harry Reid," concluded Tarkanian.

'1001 Reasons to Vote Against Harry Reid' exists online at for the purpose of educating the public about Senator Reid's voting record and raising the funds necessary to finance television and radio ads this fall. It is an independent 527 committee chaired by Nevada resident and former U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian. Voters are encouraged to visit the website and use the interactive quiz function,, to see how their views align with Senator Reid's votes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

White House Launches GSA-Created Citizen Engagement Platform

/PRNewswire/ -- The White House today launched the new, an online tool for federal agencies provided by the U.S. General Services Administration that allows agencies to post contests aimed at increasing public participation with the government. As part of President Obama's call for an open, transparent government, agencies were called upon to leverage challenges and prizes to spur citizen engagement. This new site allows all agencies to post challenges in one place at no cost.

"GSA continues to help the Administration move toward a more open, citizen-centered government by providing tools that simplify the engagement process for both agencies and citizens," said Dave McClure, GSA's Associate Administrator for Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. "By providing agencies with a no cost, easy, ready-to-use solution through, GSA has built upon the successes agencies have already had in using challenges and provided a platform that offers even more uniformity and consistency in how the public engages with their government."

Working with New York-based small business ChallengePost, GSA created the technology and design for this one of a kind engagement platform and paved the way for agencies to leverage the tool free of charge and by working with the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, GSA cleared all necessary legal and policy requirements for agency use.

Nearly 40 challenges from 16 agencies will debut on, seven launching for the first time. The site features two GSA challenges:

-- The GovGab blog asks citizen writers to submit guest blog
posts highlighting ways to use government information. Five winners
will be chosen and featured one per day during the week of GovGab's
third birthday.
--, the official kid's portal for the U.S. Government seeks
creative "infographics" from children that answer the common question,
"How to Become President?" The goal of the contest is to educate kids
on the process of electing president and inspire children to new
heights. The prize is $5000 (split between one adult and one child).
Judges of the contest include Sara Slobin, New York Times Infographic
Designer, and Nicholas Felton, who served on the Design for America

As the federal government's workplace solutions provider, GSA finds unique, cost-saving ways to help federal agencies engage with the public. In February, GSA provided agencies with an innovative public dialog tool at no cost to help them meet their open government needs. Through this tool, the public was given an easily accessible forum to share ideas, give feedback, and engage in Web-based discussions with their government. Twenty-three of 24 cabinet agencies are using GSA's public dialog tool, helping them devote their attention to running, moderating, and analyzing public input.

Friday, September 3, 2010

50 Worst Deserters of Jobless Americans

/PRNewswire-/ -- During the last two years of a virtual jobs depression, these 50 led Congress in allowing the addition of another 75,000 permanent working-age immigrants every MONTH and in allowing about 7 million illegal foreign workers to keep their jobs in construction, service, manufacturing and transportation. Recent government data show that 22 million U.S. workers who want a job can't find one. But these 50 Members of Congress deserted those Americans in favor of increasing the number of foreign workers competing with them in the hiring line.

The non-partisan NumbersUSA rates every member on every committee and floor vote and every bill co-sponsorship that would either increase or reduce the foreign workers (legal and illegal) in the country. All actions and the computerized grading calculations are displayed on Those in Congress who do the most to protect American workers in terms of immigration policies receive an A+, while those doing the least receive an F-minus.

All 50 "Deserters" on this list:
-- received grades of F-minus and 0%, failing to take a single action to
reduce competition for jobless Americans.
-- are asking voters to re-elect them to Congress this November
-- are in the Senate or in the House where they are leaders with special
opportunity to influence policy toward jobless Americans because they
either are congressional chairmen, leaders of their Party or on the
Judiciary Committee with direct jurisdiction over immigration.

Bennet, Michael (CO)
Feingold, Russell (WI)
Gillibrand, Kirsten (NY)
Inouye, Daniel (HI)
Leahy, Patrick (VT)
Mikulski, Barbara (MD)
Reid, Harry (NV)

Ackerman, Gary (NY 05th)
Baldwin, Tammy (WI - 02nd)
Becerra, Xavier (CA - 31st)
Berman, Howard (CA - 28th)
Chu, Judy (CA - 32nd)
Clarke, Yvette (NY - 11th)
Clyburn, James (SC - 06th)
Conyers, John (MI - 14th)
Cummings, Elijah (MD - 07th)
Engel, Eliot (NY - 17th)
Grijalva, Raul (AZ - 07th)
Gutierrez, Luis (IL - 04th)
Hastings, Alcee (FL - 23rd)
Hoyer, Steny (MD - 05th)
Jackson-Lee, Sheila (TX - 18th)
Johnson, Hank (GA - 04th)
Kucinich, Dennis (OH - 10th)
Lewis, John (GA - 05th)
Lofgren, Zoe (CA - 16th)
Markey, Edward (MA - 07th)
McDermott, Jim (WA 07th)
Nadler, Jerrold (NY - 08th)
Napolitano, Grace (CA - 38th)
Olver, John (MA - 01st)
Quigley, Mike (IL - 05th)
Pelosi, Nancy (CA - 8th)
Rahall, Nick (WV - 03rd)
Rangel, Charles (NY - 15th)
Rush, Bobby (IL - 01st)
Sanchez, Linda (CA - 39th)
Schakowsky, Janice (IL - 09th)
Scott, Robert (VA - 03rd)
Serrano, Jose (NY - 16th)
Slaughter, Louise (NY - 28th)
Stark, Pete (CA - 13th)
Thompson, Bennie (MS - 02nd)
Towns, Edolphus (NY - 10th)
Velazquez, Nidia (NY - 12th)
Tsongas, Niki (MA - 05th)
Wasserman-Schultz, Debbie (FL - 20th)
Watt, Melvin (NC - 12th)
Waxman, Henry (CA - 30th)
Woolsey, Lynn (CA - 06th)

NumbersUSA also announced the "50 Best Defenders of Jobless Americans."

NumbersUSA is a non-profit and non-partisan organization with more than one million activist members. It was formed in 1996 in part to carry out the recommendations of the bi-partisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (chaired by the late Barbara Jordan) which opposed immigration policies that depress wages and job prospects for the most vulnerable members of the national community.

Gary Bauer Says Two-State Solution Not a Synonym for Peace

/PRNewswire/ -- Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer on Friday in an exclusive analysis piece at Politico said that the "two-state solution" so popular with the media when covering Middle East peace talks is "not a synonym for peace."

As direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians began this week, Bauer detailed some of the problems that make forcing a two-state solution a mistake for those caught up in the violence of present day Middle East conflicts.

Bauer, the president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, noted: "As a strong supporter of Israel and its right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state, I have sometimes been criticized for my skepticism about a two-state solution. But invoking the two-state mantra is not a panacea for what ails the Middle East. Two-state advocates differ wildly about what form each state would take. More fundamentally, there is voluminous evidence that many Palestinians, including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, desire not two states but the destruction of Israel.

Late in the piece, Bauer wrote, "I cannot accept a two state solution until I know what those states would look like, where they would be located, and until I'm sure that the ultimate result would not be the destruction of Israel as an independent Jewish state. The creation of two states may well be part of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But we do all parties involved a disservice by pretending that it is a synonym for peace."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Libertarians: Obama is shockingly pro-war

Following President Obama's "end of our combat mission" speech, Libertarian Party chairman Mark Hinkle released this statement:

"President Obama needs to stop lying. In his speech, he repeated the ridiculous and false claim that the U.S. combat mission is over in Iraq. He seems to think that if he keeps talking about the war in a nice way, then the war isn't really happening.

"Unfortunately, even though President Obama is the one person on Earth with the authority to withdraw the U.S. military from Iraq, he has chosen instead to keep over 50,000 troops there, risking their lives, and bleeding American taxpayers.

"The Republicans in Congress are just as bad. They have consistently failed to own up to the terrible financial impact of these wars, all the while claiming that they want to cut government. They want to nit-pick Obama's past statements about the war, but in fact they should be showering him with praise for doing exactly what they want.

"This war has been a shameful failure from the beginning. But even if the U.S. military could impose a sustainable modern democracy on Iraq, it would in no way be worth the hundreds of billions of dollars, and thousands of American lives, lost in the process. The Bush-Obama War in Iraq has done nothing to safeguard the rights of Americans -- on the contrary, it has probably made Americans less safe, and certainly poorer.

"The purpose of the U.S. armed forces is to defend the territory of the United States, not to re-engineer foreign societies.

"Contrary to his rhetoric before being elected, the president has proven himself to be shockingly pro-war. In addition to sustaining the American war presence in Iraq, he has greatly escalated the War in Afghanistan. Just like his predecessor, Obama believes that government force is the answer to everything."

The Libertarian Party platform states under "3.3 International Affairs": "American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid."