JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly video news update for October 17-23, 2011.

Talk about Big Nanny government running amok! All across the country, children are being told that their lemonade stands are against the law. And not just lemonade stands, but sales of Girl Scout cookies and Japanese green tea have also been declared enemies of the State.

I kid you not. In community after community, these budding entrepreneurs are being told to pack it up and scoot before they’re charged with various violations. In some instances, in fact, fines have been levied.

I’m beholden to the Freedom Center of Missouri, a relatively new public policy group in the Show Me state, for documenting the following list of outrages. Please note that all of these occurred this year. Such crackdowns are becoming more and more common.

Aug. 6: Massachusetts State police shut down the stand of a 12-year-old refugee from Fukushima, Japan, who was selling green tea he brought with him when he and his family evacuated after the tsunami.

Aug. 1: Police officers in Coralville, Iowa, ordered at least three sets of children to quit selling lemonade during the "Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa" unless they first got a vendor’s permit and a health inspection. This is the first known example of a coordinated set of shutdowns at a single time.

With the recent decline in the polls of the candidacies of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, Tea Party members have two top-tier candidates to consider as an alternative to the liberal Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney: Herman Cain and Ron Paul.  But how do these two Tea Party favorites stack up on economic issues? Here's a quick survey on their differences:

TARP Bailout

One of the biggest issues leading to the formation of the Tea Party movement was -— after the burgeoning deficit -— reaction against the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) law. Many Americans joined the Tea Party to stop what was obviously political favoritism being sold by fear-mongering government leaders, and it resulted in a number of pro-TARP Republican veterans losing their primaries and anti-TARP Republicans winning the November 2010 general election.

During the housing bubble, profits were privatized. But once "too big to fail" Wall Street banks saw major losses on risky bets made in the real estate market, they came crying to Washington and demanded taxpayers pick up the shortfall. Establishment politicians in Washington obliged, selling the bailout package with a heaping helping of fear. Mitt Romney said "all the jobs" in America would be gone if the trust funds of the super-rich were not bailed out using the tips of cab drivers and waitresses.

Terrence Jeffreys of CNSNews reports, "In yet another stunning attack on freedom of religion, President Barack Obama's Justice Department asked the Supreme Court last week to give the federal government the power to tell a church who its ministers will be."

The case involves the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School of Redford, Michigan, which in 1999 signed a one-year contract with Cheryl Perich to teach fourth grade at the church school. As well as teaching secular subjects, she taught religious subjects and was a lay minister of the church. In 2004, Perich developed the sleep disorder narcolepsy, which in the eyes of church and school officials made her unable to continue teaching, and she was terminated.

As reported here, Perich complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which in turn has alleged that she was fired in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was dismissed by the federal district court in Michigan in which the action was filed, with the judge citing the “ministerial exception” in that federal law, which is intended to prevent the federal government from interfering with church affairs. The federal appellate court, however, reversed that ruling.

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s popularity in numerous polls is increasing daily, and while the founder and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza may portray himself as a principled conservative, an analysis of his campaign positions, especially his most controversial flat tax proposal, reveals serious concerns with Cain’s commitment to fiscal conservatism.

Cain’s “9-9-9” tax plan calls for a complete overhaul of the current federal tax code, and it would replace the code, eventually and only temporarily, with three taxes — a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent business transactions tax, and a 9 percent federal sales tax. On paper, the first two look like cuts, because payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare (now nearly 15 percent, including corporate contributions) would be repealed. The sales tax would be new, on top of existing state sales taxes.

The most notorious critique of Cain’s 9-9-9 plan came from Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in Tuesday’s debate. “One thing I would say is, when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down," Bachmann said, "I think the devil's in the details." The Republican presidential hopeful added that Cain’s plan merely creates another federal tax (in the form of a Value Added Tax), and does little to address the need to reduce the national deficit. “The 9-9-9 plan isn't a jobs plan, it's a tax plan," Bachmann started.

By now, no supporter of Ron Paul’s will find himself surprised by the glaring inconsistencies, outright distortions, and, frankly, boldfaced lies to which Republican-friendly media figures will descend in their efforts to marginalize his presidential candidacy. Still, so unabashed is their illogic, so overt the dishonesty, it is nevertheless difficult not to be amazed, even mesmerized, by the audaciousness with which Paul’s critics subject him to one injustice after the other. 

For as ugly as it is, though, this phenomenon is not without its value. That is, it supplies us with a classic textbook illustration of what many of us have always known: it is indeed politicians and their cohorts in the media, and not voters, who select candidates.

Joseph A. Schumpeter was a conservative theorist who was also among the most distinguished and erudite of social scientists of the first half of the twentieth century. In his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, he debunks what he characterizes as “the classical doctrine of democracy.” According to this doctrine, it is “the people itself” that settle “issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will.” In reality, though, “the will of the people is the product and not the motive power of the political process.” [Emphasis added.]

Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain admitted to MSNBC's Chuck Todd October 12 that he had "missed" the housing bubble and 2008 financial collapse.

"What I missed in 2005 was just how bad Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had distorted the housing market," Cain told Todd. "I honestly did not realize just how bad it was, just how bad the whole bundling and derivatives thing was, and that we were on the brink of a total financial meltdown. So I learned later on by looking into it deeper that the situation was a lot worse than I thought in 2005."

As late as September 1, 2008, Cain wrote that the economy seemed to be on solid ground: “The supposed failure of Bush's economic policies has been a constant theme of the Democrats since the 2006 elections, when the Democrats regained control of the House and Senate by convincing enough of the voters that the economic sky was falling, and that the war in Iraq could not be won. Based on all of their convention speeches, they plan to continue those themes right through Election Day on November 4.” Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy just two weeks after Cain's column was published, and President Bush subsequently began pushing for the TARP bailout bill (a bill also backed by both then Senator Barack Obama and Herman Cain).

The political climate surrounding the GOP presidential nomination has changed dramatically over the course of the last few months. Months ago, when Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the race, he virtually skated into the frontrunner position. However, in the weeks that followed, and after a few failed debates, Perry has quickly fallen, and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain has emerged as a new top tier candidate. In fact, according to a new poll, Cain is the man to beat at the moment.

Fox News reports on Cain’s quick and unpredictable ascension to popularity, “Herman Cain’s star has risen steadily in the past two months, from a largely unknown CEO running for president to a top-tier candidate in the Republican field for 2012 — and now voters even rank him above the presumed front-runner Mitt Romney, in a poll released Wednesday evening.”

According to that poll, by the Wall Street Journal/NBC News, Cain now has 27 percent of Republican primary voters, while Romney is supported by 23 percent of Republican primary voters. Rep. Ron Paul was the only other candidate in that poll to receive double digit approval, with 11 percent.

Ron Paul just scored another victory in his campaign for the presidency. Just last year, the Texas congressman barely even registered in the Values Voters Summit straw poll. This year, however, with 37 percent of the vote, he didn’t just walk away with it; he left second place contestant Herman Cain in the dust. With 23 percent of voters backing the latter, Paul beat Cain by a full 14 percentage points

Long time self-avowed “social conservative” Senator Rick Santorum came in at third place with 16 percent.

This is as ironic a twist of events as it must be exasperating for Santorum: It is Santorum, most definitely not Paul, who is supposed to be “the values voters’” candidate. In fact, to hear the former Pennsylvania Senator tell it — and he spares no occasion to tell it — “values voters” are his main body of support. If the media was as interested in marginalizing Santorum as they are in doing the same to Paul, “values voters” would be known simply as “Santorum people.” Yet Paul defeated Santorum not only among the latter’s “people”; he defeated him by a vast margin.

Even as I write this, already the masters of GOP spin are laboring inexhaustibly to reduce the significance of Paul’s achievement. It isn’t, though, that they are diligently in search of ever more ingenious ways by which they can explain away Paul’s viability. There are no ingenuous explanations in the coming to this effect. Moreover, there aren’t even many disingenuous explanations. Rather, there are essentially two strategies of which Paul’s detractors continually avail themselves to dismiss him:

After losing several dramatic battles this year, Wisconsin Democrats and “Big Labor” announced this week that they are getting ready for the next fight: attempting to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker. The two-month petition drive will start on November 15.

Outraged over Walker’s successful campaign to rein in government-sector unions and balance the state budget, big-government activists have been on the warpath for months. And Democrats, whose political campaigns rely heavily on labor-group contributions, do not plan to give up easily.

"It has become clearer than ever that the people of Wisconsin — the traditions and institutions of our great state — cannot endure any more of Scott Walker's abuses," claimed Wisconsin Democratic Party boss Mike Tate in a statement, noting that there was only a month left to “organize, train and fund an army of volunteers.” He also blasted Gov. Walker’s efforts to curtail public servants’ collective-bargaining privileges.

Announcing the decision on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Tate acknowledged that the campaign would be “tough” — especially because Gov. Walker could raise up to $70 million for the battle. But the Democratic Party and its union allies appear confident.

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