Is $5 a Gallon Gas Right Around the Corner?

Five dollar a gallon gas will shatter the Federal Reserve’s tightly constrained lid on inflation and accelerate the other half our long anticipated “double dip” recession. Gas and diesel powers America’s 141 million cars, 100 million pickups and SUV’s, 8.8 million heavy trucks and 6.7 million motorcycles. Oil runs our harvesters, delivers our groceries, cooks our food, heats our houses, propels our jets, fuels our M-1A1 Abrams tanks, and lubricates our bicycles. American business can only absorb a few percentage points increase in oil prices before passing on their additional distribution costs to the consumer. Already the increases in food and clothing prices have been felt at the cash register. Disposable income will inevitably drop along with consumer demand for domestic cars and trucks, imported goods from China, and destination vacations to resorts in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Don’t even ask what this means to our already sluggish unemployment numbers.

In June of 2008, Congressman Roy Blunt released the following information about how the House members voted on energy issues. During this time Democrats were the majority party in both the House and Senate.

ANWR Exploration:

House Republicans: 91% Supported

House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Coal-to-Liquid:

House Republicans 97% Supported


House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration:


House Republicans: 90% Supported


House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration:

House Republicans: 81% Supported


House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery-Increased Capacity:


House Republicans: 97% Supported


House Democrats: 96% Opposed

Summary:

91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas, while 86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.

In 2009, the United States still imported 51% of all its petroleum requirements, both crude and refined. This continues to be an unacceptably high number in our quest for energy independence. Gas prices remain hostage to the increasing hostile regimes that sell us oil. Our own Department of Energy has proudly halted off shore drilling. With the political unrest in so many oil producing nations, and the long-term obstruction of Democrats to domestic oil exploration and production, American families have begun to pay the steep price for our failed national energy policies. This current Administration has wasted tens of billions of stimulus dollars on solar panel factories and windmills rather than building new oil refineries and using new technologies to recover the oil buried in our own back yard.

Financial Overhaul Provision to Promote Diversity Hiring in Federal Agencies Stirs Backlash

In this Oct. 28, 2009 file photo, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. , is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Fox News

In the financial overhaul bill that is on the cusp of becoming law, House Democrats have included a largely overlooked provision that would create diversity czars to promote racial and gender hiring in federal agencies — a move that has sparked concerns about racial quotas, government waste and charges that Democrats are attempting to politicize the Federal Reserve.

The bill would establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at each federal financial services agency to “ensure equal employment opportunity and the racial, ethnic and gender diversity” of the work force and senior management.

The diversity czars would also aim to “increase the participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the programs and contracts” of each agency and conduct “an assessment” of those goals.

Each diversity czar would be a presidential appointee who must be confirmed by the Senate and have power “comparable to that of other senior level staff,” the bill says.

In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal accused Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., author of the provision, of trying to politicize the Federal Reserve.

“The Waters provision will also give Congress and the White House a new and powerful lever to influence the operation of the 12 regional Fed banks,” the newspaper wrote. “Accusations of racial or gender indifference, much less outright bias, are politically deadly.”

“With the threat of such an accusation in their holster, the Waters czars will have enormous clout to influence Fed governance and regulatory decisions, perhaps including monetary policy,” the newspaper added.

Waters’ office did not respond to a request for comment but the lawmaker vigorously defended the provision in a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, saying the newspaper’s critical editorial was “filled with misrepresentations, unsupported conclusions and outright distortions.”

“Nothing in the bill mandates lending to minorities or women,” she wrote, denying charges that the provision would politicize the Fed or allocate credit by race and gender. “The provision does not even mention lending. The offices will only be responsible for employment, management and business activities of the agencies.”

“What this legislation will do is help address an indisputable problem, the lack of diversity in financial services,” she said, arguing that studies show the “discrimination that women and minorities face compared to white men of similar educational background and age.”

Waters cited the Treasury Department where minorities make up 17.2 percent of employees at senior pay levels and a recent Government Accountability Office report that shows the lack of diversity within the financial services industry has barely improved at the management level from 1993 to 2008.

“The provision is designed to broaden and improve the work force of these agencies and expand opportunities for our nation’s small businesses – including minority-and women-owned businesses – to participate in programs and contracts instead of continuing to rely on the same ‘old boy’ network and handful of Wall Street firms responsible for the crisis in the financial markets.”

The provision remained in the legislation during a conference committee between House and Senate negotiators. The House approved the final version of the bill late last month but the Senate delayed its vote until after the July Fourth holiday.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said the bill should be sent back to conference stripped of this provision, citing concerns about racial quotas and costs.

“The chief concern is that you’re moving from a situation where discrimination is prohibited, which is well and good and that is established law, to a situation where there are quotas in the workplace,” she told FoxNews.com, contending that the law would extend the provisions to contractors and subcontractors – a situation that could lead to quotas in the private sector. “And those are two very, very different things.”

The law would create at least 20 new offices and up to 29 if every Treasury agency is required to create a minority office, she said.

“It would probably cost a million or over” to operate on an annual basis for each office, she said.

Furchtgott-Roth also noted that the Cabinet-level department all have similar offices in place and questioned why more is needed.

“This is a very serious concern,” she said. “We have a deficit of over a trillion dollars. Every American knows that we need to cut the deficit and not only is this a waste of money
but it implies that the existing offices we have are a waste of money.”

Obama’s Thuggocracy

By Andrea Tantaros- FOXNews.com

From the G.M. bondholders, to the Black Panthers at polling stations, to ACORN to the mobs showing up at the homes of private citizens, Obama is running a Hugo Chavez-style thuggocracy.

This past Sunday, in one of the most aggressive and offensive intimidation tactics to date, hundreds of members of the largest union – the SEIU – stormed the front yard of Bank of America deputy general counsel Greg Baer’s home. The angry mob had bullhorns, signs and even broke the law by trespassing to bully Baer’s teenage son, the only one home at the time, who locked himself in the bathroom out of fear.

This is what unions do. They pressure politicians into spending too much. They push government into bad policy decisions. They sacrifice the private sector for the public sector. And now, they trespass and break the law only to scare the children of private citizens to get their way.
If you think the unions are working along, think again.

These protests, the ones storming Wall Street bank lobbies and now the private homes of bankers, are likely being carefully coordinated with the White House to increase their profile against the financial fat cats and help pass disgraced Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd’s financial regulatory bill.

Remember, when the White House visitor records were finally made public, it was SEIU boss Andy Stern who was the most frequent guest.

There are also no coincidences in politics. The bill passed the Senate last night.

From the G.M. bondholders, to the Black Panthers at polling stations, to ACORN to these assaults on private citizens, Obama is running a Hugo Chavez-style thuggocracy. Like Chavez, he gets non-official “allies” to act as his henchemen and do the intimidation work. Obama provides the narrative and tells the story of “greed” while the SEIU provides the muscle. This is about power, not prosperity.

This time it’s gone too far.

Unions see the writing on the wall. The goose that laid the golden egg is bleeding on the operating table – and they’re the ones who killed it. They are bankrupting local and state governments, and putting a strain on the federal budget. Unions have also put us at a major trade imbalance. The stimulus has gone to create more public sector union jobs. These jobs cost on average, 30K more than their private sector equivalents.

Take New York State, for example, once upon a time there was manufacturing, a robust Wall Street engine of growth, Fortune 500 companies aplenty. That “Empire State” is no more. The unions lobbied to ensure that these companies were taxed to death and made it extremely challenging to do business — so much that it became easier to do business in communist China.

Let’s be clear, I’m not defending Bank of America. I’m defending the American tax payer from organized labor who has bled them dry and the politicians who have been too weak to stand up to their gangster ways.

Unsurprisingly, the SEIU has made no apology for their behavior toward Baer’s family. Their spokespeople argue that the protest was over home foreclosures under Bank of America’s watch, but that still doesn’t give them the right to break the law. It also doesn’t allow them a carve out like they demanded in the health care bill for their costly Cadillac insurance plans. It’s absurd that in a recession, the unions feel they deserve special treatment because they are connected to the party in power. If that’s what they’re arguing they need to stand up and say it.

In this economy, you can’t punch someone without feeling it yourself. Punch the bank, they stop making loans, thus hurting the private sector. Punch the private sector, you hurt the markets. Hurt the Street and you hurt the pensions funds, in fact, the very same ones unions are going gangster to protect.

We now know, there is nothing they won’t do, nobody the unions won’t intimidate. And the president, who promised to preside over an administration free from special interest influence, should be held accountable. As long as we continue to feed the unions, the country will continue to decline. It’s time to stand up to this behavior with the same muscle they’ve used to bully our country all these years and send a message loud and clear: we will not be intimidated.

Andrea Tantaros is a conservative columnist and FoxNews.com contributor.

Starve the Beast?

What would happen if U.S. businesses stopped paying federal payroll taxes? What wou;d happen if we went along with the idea thrown about by Neal Boortz and allow people to understand how much money the federal government takes from them each paycheck? Would they get the idea of how great of an idea the fairtax is if they got 100% of their paycheck for a month or two? Would the federal government get the idea of how angry the American people are if they were starved from their monthly allowance from all American businesses?

Right now, we are looking at becoming Greece, or worse, Bangkok. What is the solution, civil disobedience? What are your thoughts, your ideas?

There is a facebook page: what if Businesses stopped paying federal payroll taxes?

What say you?

Let It Burn

By Demosthenes

For the past hundred years, America has been slowly moving away from the principles of its founding. The ideals of liberty, individual achievement, limited government, and the equality of opportunity have been slowly supplanted by calls for security, class warfare, excessive regulation, and the equality of outcome. The passage of stimulus acts, bailouts, government takeovers of two U.S. automakers, and the health care overhaul prove that our movement away from 1776 has accelerated.

Passage of the health care bill has sparked a revival of small-government thinking, causing many to predict significant Republican gains in Congress this fall. But despite some short-term success, this small-government revival is doomed to fail. The depressing truth is that the only way to regain the full measure of those freedoms proclaimed in our Founding Documents is for our current federal government to completely collapse under the weight of its own excesses.

Often, one carefully articulated analogy can succinctly convey a very complex idea. In our case, that analogy is addiction. Over the past hundred years, we have slowly allowed a monstrous system of dependence to develop until nearly every citizen relies upon government money, and thus is an addict. This has come about because the hard logic of the Founders has been replaced by the seductive ease of emotional arguments. All too often, the debate is over not if government should do something, but what it should do. This almost imperceptible shift in our national philosophy is a manifestation of our addiction.

While the citizen-addict is hooked on government largesse, the politician-addict is hooked on something far more sinister: power. Their drug is available in Washington, D.C. Just as a dealer will go to any length to continue selling his wares, politicians will stop at nothing to retain their power. These two groups of addicts are locked in mutual co-dependence, where the politician-addict seeking re-election buys off the citizen-addict with more spending. Then the citizen-addict, seeking yet another free lunch from Washington, reelects the politician-addict. The result is endless, ever-expanding government programs and our current fiscal nightmare.

The persistence of these programs has nothing to do with their success. They continue because we are more concerned that our actions are deemed compassionate than whether our programs are actually successful. If we truly wanted to help people save for retirement, we would not establish a program with a meager 1.23% rate of return while simultaneously supporting a monetary policy of systematic inflation. Yet these and other ineffective or even counterproductive programs continue. Such willful blindness to economic reality cannot be sustained indefinitely. The Congressional Budget Office has recently stated that our national debt will constitute 90% of our gross domestic product — that is 20.3 trillion dollars — in just ten years. What is even more shocking is that these debt numbers do not include the unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Social Security, which currently rest at 107 trillion dollars. Sadly, this trend cannot be stopped.

If Republicans take control of the House and Senate, and if they repeal the health care bill, then they will not be able (or likely even try) to reform Medicare or Social Security. These programs alone will bankrupt our nation. Yet they are untouchable because a large number of Americans have come to depend upon these benefits. They have become unknowingly hooked. Senior citizens have organized their financial futures around the twin promises of Social Security and Medicare and will naturally resist any change to either. George W. Bush knew this when he attempted his overhaul of Social Security. That is why his plan to privatize retirement savings was voluntary and would have excluded those over 55. Nevertheless, it was easy for the politician-addicts to scare the citizen-addicts, and his plan was defeated.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.” This quote by Ben Franklin is often used by civil libertarians in opposition to government security programs such as the Patriot Act. But this sentiment is equally applicable to those who would give up economic liberty to obtain economic safety. The economic attitude of the nation has shifted. We are no longer a nation of self-sufficient, rugged individualists; we are now a nation of addicts, hooked on a politician’s promises of economic safety.

This is why America is lost. Too many Americans are hooked for us to return to a sound economic footing via the normal political processes. Our efforts to moderate the most radical agendas — welfare reform, for example — serve only to delay the inevitable. In fact, many of those reforms are quietly undermined as the slow march towards collapse continues. We cannot alter our current trajectory; expansive government, greater entitlements, and ever-increasing taxes are our fate. Attempts by responsible citizens at reform will be only partially successful, not changing the fundamentals of our dilemma.

The addict analogy carries through to recovery. For most addicts, recovery can begin only once they have descended so far in their addiction that they lose everything, a process often called “hitting bottom.” Sometimes there is no recovery, and hitting bottom means death. But for others, hitting bottom is a tremendous learning experience, and they emerge as better people. America is addicted. The decline has begun, and now our nation must hit bottom.

Detoxing America will cause social, political, and economic strife of a sort unimaginable, and yet it is a process we must endure. Hitting bottom is our only hope for a national rehabilitation. It is our only chance for a true reacquaintance with those principles that made this the greatest nation on earth: liberty, individual achievement, limited government, and the equality of opportunity.

Demosthenes is a lawyer whose current employment prohibits taking a public position on political issues.

Palin: ‘Mama grizzlies’ will take back US

WASHINGTON (AP) – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday that “mama grizzlies” will help Republicans win this November, sweeping away the agenda of President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Addressing an anti-abortion group, the potential 2012 presidential candidate also said she understood how some women might consider abortion, citing her own experiences as the mother of a child with Down syndrome and the parent of an unwed teen mother. Last year, Palin said that “for a fleeting moment” she considered having an abortion when she learned of her son Trig’s prognosis.

Palin said Friday that abortion is morally wrong and women should carry a fetus to term.

“It may not be the easiest path, but it’s always the right path,” she said.

Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, used a speech to the Susan B. Anthony List to remind activists why they rallied behind the Republican ticket and why they should work to stop Obama’s agenda.

She said Obama is “the most pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House” and asserted that the health care law would fund abortions.

In fact, Obama’s health care law would not allow federal dollars to pay for elective abortions. Catholic hospitals and organizations of Catholic nuns backed the measure. U.S. Catholic bishops and major anti-abortion groups opposed it, arguing that federal dollars could end up paying for abortions.

Palin challenged Republican women—”mama grizzlies,” she called them—to help the GOP “take this country back” and elect anti-abortion lawmakers. She praised female leaders of the tea party movement and invoked her 2008 acceptance speech where she compared herself to a pit bull.

“You don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up,” Palin said. “If you thought pit bulls were tough, you don’t want to mess with mama grizzlies.”

Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, said Palin talks a good game, but her version of what American women want doesn’t honor freedom and independence. She mentioned the Democratic lawmakers whom Palin had targeted for their votes for health care overhaul.

“First she puts targets on their back, then she wants the government in their bedrooms—what is Sarah Palin doing to Western women?” said Schriock. EMILY’S List helps candidates who back abortion rights.

Palin also criticized the media, singling out their coverage of her daughter Bristol, whose pregnancy was announced days after Palin was named the vice presidential nominee. Bristol Palin is a single mother who works on an abstinence-only campaign.

“Choosing life was the right road, the right choice. … It hasn’t been easy and society, culture sure hasn’t been easy on her,” Palin said. “Wow, our culture and our media has made it rough on her.”

She said some young women would see what happened to Bristol and perhaps be encouraged to seek an abortion instead of facing similar criticism.

She cast herself as a victim of a liberal media and elite academics.

“Some of them refused to admit I’m even a woman,” she said.

Big Brother Wants to Spy on You!

by Capitol Confidential

Thanks to provisions buried within the Obama/Dodd financial deform bill, your personal information — from ATM withdrawals to loans — will now be collected by the federal government with no protections to your personal privacy.

The legislation creates another federal bureaucracy — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that is nothing more than a systematic government invasion of your personal finances of every consumer creating a financial fingerprint for the government to watch over.

Dodd’s bill deputizes the CFPB to act as a new federal watchdog agency to collect consumers’ personal financial information and transactions including records from Automatic Teller Machines from any financial institution or firm.

Don’t believe us — read the bill.

Section 1022 – Under Dodd’s bill the CFPB is granted unprecedented power to write, administer and enforce federal consumer financial law with no Congressional oversight.

Section 1071 – Dodd’s bill compels financial institutions like banks, credit unions and stock brokerage firms to maintain records of all financial transactions including the number and dollar amount and to submit that information to the CFPB.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the bill is it leaves it up to the discretion of the CFPB bureaucrats to determine how to use the personal information collected on American consumers and to share that data with other Federal agencies as it sees fit.

The Dodd bill constitutes an unprecedented intrusion into the privacy of the American people. For this reason alone, it deserves to be defeated.