Of all of the myriad agencies created and maintained by the Executive Branch, few have proven to be as detrimental to the United States as the Environmental Protection Agency. Since its birth under President Nixon’s executive order in 1970, the mission of the EPA has been to protect human health and the environment. The mission has been mutilated since the start, as the environment (or at least what we are led to believe is the environment) has taken so much precedent that the human health aspect — whether it is the physical, mental, social or economic sort — has been deemed worthless in comparison.
More often than not, it has appeared that the power brokers in Washington use the environment (and therefore the EPA) as a tool, a compelling means by which to exert its brand of total control over economic functions it would otherwise have a difficult time with without such propaganda. Over time, the EPA has touched everything from the food we eat (from over-the-top dust regulations to clean water rules that strip property rights) to the energy we use (telling oil and gas companies where, how and when to extract much-needed resources, creating a dependency on foreign sources) to the air we breathe (instituting utterly insane emissions standards for things as simple as portable fuel tanks). All of those rules and thousands more add to the cost of doing business and therefore the cost of living. The actual negative impact on the American consumer is in the hundreds of billions per year as we end up paying for these regulations at the market, fuel pump, and department store.
In this year’s summer of discontent, as the nation faced a possible government shutdown in the battle over the debt ceiling, presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty was assuring voters he could handle such a crisis when his turn came. As a former Governor of Minnesota, he has, as they say, been there, done that.
“I shut down a government and won,” Pawlenty said in one TV ad. Another says, “Minnesota government shut down. Why? Because Tim Pawlenty would not accept Democrats’ massive tax and spending demands. Result? Pawlenty won.” At the time, however, the Governor did not sound so triumphant. When the partial shutdown ended after nine days in July of 2005, Pawlenty cautioned against boasting by either side. “Given what the state’s been through, anybody who tries to spin this as a partisan victory should be ashamed of himself or herself,” he said at a press conference. The budget standoff ended when Pawlenty and the Democrats agreed to a 75-cent increase in the cigarette tax, an increase Pawlenty had proposed near the end of the regular session of the Legislature. It was revived during the special session as a way to help pay for public health programs. Pawlenty wouldn’t call it a tax hike, though.
Representative Thaddeus “Thad” McCotter of Livonia, Michigan, entered the presidential race in July 2011, and styles himself as a conservative, telling the Detroit NBC-TV affiliate, “I’m a Russell Kirk conservative. I’m a Ronald Reagan conservative.” But McCotter earned an anemic average of only 53 percent during his nine years as a Congressman on The New American’s “Freedom Index,” far lower than the other two Congressmen running for President, Ron Paul (100 percent) and Michele Bachmann (81 percent).
The 45-year-old, five-term Michigan Congressman is basing his candidacy on what he calls his “five core principles.” Those principles are: “1. Our liberty is from God not the government, 2. Our sovereignty is in our souls not the soil, 3. Our security is from strength not surrender, 4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector, 5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.”
“I’m Ron Paul, I’m a Congressman from Texas serving in my tenth term. I am the champion of the Constitution.”
— Ron Paul (R-Texas), self introduction in the CNN presidential debate, June 5, 2007
The statement above was not mere braggadocio; Representative Ron Paul has the most consistent record in Washington of defending the constitutional limits of government of any person in Congress. Over nearly three decades, Representative Paul has never voted for a tax increase, an unbalanced budget, a debt limit increase, federal gun restrictions, foreign aid, bailouts of private institutions, or unconstitutional spending of any kind.
He consistently earns a perfect 100-percent rating on The New American’s “Freedom Index,” and has stood alone in defending the U.S. Constitution in so many 434-1 votes in the House of Representatives that he earned the nickname “Dr. No.” He is also a Duke University Medical School graduate and obstetrician who’s delivered 4,000 babies.
Four of the six Republican state senators forced to defend their seats in a historic recall election on Tuesday emerged victorious, keeping the Wisconsin state Senate under GOP control despite a massive union-backed campaign sparked by reforms passed earlier this year. Democrats needed to win at least three of the races to gain a majority.
Two Democrat state Senators will also face voters next week in separate recall elections. But even if they win both races, Democrats will still be in a 17-to-16 minority. Republicans also still control the state Assembly and the Governor’s mansion.
Charges of vote fraud in at least one of the August 9 recall races were initially raised by Democrats. But within hours, the party backed off.
Texas Governor Rick Perry will try to take a share of the spotlight shining on the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa on Saturday and direct it to the East Coast, where the yet-undeclared presidential hopeful will be the star attraction at Republican events in two key early primary states on the same day.
Perry will speak at the RedState Gathering, a national conference of conservative bloggers, in Charleston, South Carolina, before flying on up the coast to appear at a house party on his behalf in Greenland, New Hampshire. He is expected to make clear his intention to run for President, though a formal announcement of his candidacy will take place in Texas, probably some time next week, sources told Politico.
Jon Huntsman, Jr. was barely known outside of Utah and the upper echelons of D.C. politics before his GOP candidacy received a series of big publicity boosts. But still today, Huntsman is relatively obscure — especially among the general public.
Even if he were more well known, however, the additional scrutiny might damage his campaign even more than obscurity. According to political analysts, Huntsman’s policies and record over the years would be tough to overcome in primary elections largely controlled by the GOP’s conservative base.
Setting aside the fact that he served in the Obama administration, Huntsman has a long track record of supporting political viewpoints considered unacceptable to many Tea Party activists and constitutionalists.
Former Congressman Newt Gingrich has never shied away from controversy, so the recent turmoil among his presidential campaign staff, leading to the abrupt departure of a number of his senior aides, was very much in character. At the time, the candidate whom Robert Novak of the Washington Post had once identified as a top presidential contender seemed to be dead in the water. Gingrich, however, has opted to soldier on, and while campaign funding is lagging, the toxic political climate and economic turbulence have made presidential electoral politics more uncertain than at any time in recent memory.
Announcing his entry into the 2012 presidential race, Gary Johnson rattled off a list of crises besetting the United States, from “record unemployment” to “loss of our nation’s industrial might.” “Why am I telling you this?” he asked, then answered: “Because America is better than this. And because I can help fix it.”
“I’m a fix-it man.”
The White House has informed Governors that they are forbidden from opting out of the Department of Homeland Security’s controversial Secure Communities (SComm) program. The plan mandates the cooperation of federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies in the identification, arrest, and deportation of criminal aliens. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the branch of DHS tasked with managing the program.
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security informed Governors that the SComm program does not require state ratification and that it would operate in those states with or without approval of the state government. Furthermore, state executives were told that any agreements entered into by DHS with states regarding the scope of the particular state’s participation in the identification and tracking scheme were immediately null and of no legal effect.