Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ohio House Democratic Leadership Casts a No Vote for Ohio's Coal Families

/PRNewswire / -- Mike Carey, President of the Ohio Coal Association, today issued the following statement in response to the Ohio House of Representatives' passage of House Bill 1:

"Ohio House Speaker Armand Budish and House Democrats have approved a state budget bill that will have a devastating impact on Ohio's coal families.

"The so-called Energy Resource Extraction Fee contained in the House-approved version of the FY10-11 state budget bill is, plain and simple, a crippling new tax on coal production that could not come at a worse time for Ohio's coal industry or for the state's economy. If this onerous new tax ends up staying in the final version of the budget bill that the General Assembly sends to Governor Strickland, Ohio's coal industry will be forced to increase costs for consumers, scale back critical technology investments, cut coal production and eventually eliminate much-needed jobs in communities that are desperately short of employment opportunities.

"It's clear the Speaker and his caucus are out of touch with the hard-working Ohioans who have dedicated their lives to the coal industry, and who've made their living in one of Ohio's economically struggling regions -- Appalachia. Their decision to pass the budget bill with the Energy Resource Extraction Fee intact is a slap in the face to each and every one of these individuals -- and to the coal producers who've made major economic investments in the our state.

"To add insult to injury, District 93 State Rep. Jennifer Garrison (D-Marietta), whose constituents include thousands of Ohioans who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods and represents the largest coal mine in Ohio, voted to table an amendment that would have protected Ohio's coal families by removing the Energy Resource Extraction Fee from the legislation.

"Ohio House Democrats have let us down. It is the Ohio Coal Association's strong hope the members of the Ohio Senate will correct the misguided choices of the House and do the right thing for the state's coal industry by removing the Energy Resource Extraction Fee from the budget bill."

The Ohio Coal Association (OCA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of Ohio's underground and surface coal mining producers. The OCA represents nearly 40 coal producing companies and more than 50 Associate Members, which include suppliers and consultants to the mining industry, coal sales agents and brokers and allied industries. The Ohio Coal Association is committed to advancing the development and utilization of Ohio coal as an abundant, economic and environmentally sound energy source.

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Libertarians urge Obama to control border to stem “swine flu”

America’s third largest party urged the White House Wednesday to more closely monitor crossings at the United States’ border with Mexico, and keep out persons infected with “swine flu.”

“The Libertarian Party Platform is clear, Libertarians support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee the Obama administration will not try to stop infected individuals from crossing the United States-Mexico border, claiming that since there are already isolated cases of the virus in the U.S, there is no need to try and stop widespread dissemination of the virus by newly-entered carriers in areas where it did not previously exist.

“I’m sure people across the United States appreciate the Obama White House announcing there is no need to stop the virus from being introduced to their community since it’s already in places like New York and Houston,” said Ferguson.

A Mexico City toddler who traveled to Texas with his family to visit relatives died in a Houston hospital Monday evening, the first confirmed death in the U.S. from swine flu.

“That is typical of the irresponsibility of the Obama White House,” said Ferguson. “While doctors and hospitals should be focused on mitigating the virus here, as Secretary Napolitano stated, Barack Obama also has a responsibility to ensure infected people don’t flee into the United States and spread the virus here.”

“There is no reason to allow possibly infected people to cross the border. They can wait until they are cleared as healthy,” said Ferguson.

Former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, also urged federal officials to more closely monitor the border and keep out infected individuals who could further spread the disease in the United States.

“We can and should take steps to ensure neither a swine flu nor any other disease epidemic crosses into our territory by having our government commit to monitoring and restricting border crossings from Mexico,” Barr wrote in a column Wednesday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Of course, holding press conferences and telling people to wash their hands and cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze is politically less risky,” wrote Barr.

“The proper response is simple. The government should use its rightful authority over the border to control entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to our health by spreading the virus into areas where it does not exist. America’s doctors, hospitals and health care professionals – the best in the world – should then take the lead on eradicating the virus where it already exists,” said Ferguson.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dems Ditch Obama Tax Cut, Raise Taxes on Families & Workers

On the day before Democrats celebrate the staggering level of new government spending and national debt racked up during the President's "First 100 Days," Democratic leaders will bring their jobs-killing $3.6 trillion budget to the House floor – without the middle class tax relief promised by President Obama.

The Associated Press reported today that the Democratic budget allows the President's "signature tax.....

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Senator Specter: Switching Parties or Coming Home?

/PRNewswire/ -- Today Senator Arlen Specter (?-Penn) switched political parties from Republican to Democrat.

Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President of FRC Action, the legislative arm of Family Research Council, had this to say:

"Senator Specter's actions today come as no surprise. To paraphrase an old saying, 'if it looks like a donkey, quacks like a donkey and votes like a donkey - then it is probably a donkey.' This holds true for Senator Specter and the Democrats in the Senate.

"As a Republican, Senator Specter voted for taxpayer funding of destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation, for taxpayer funding of organizations that promote and perform abortions (including coercive abortions), for partial-birth abortion, for federalizing 'hate crimes' and for cloning.

"During this same time Senator Specter voted against covering unborn children in government insurance programs, against parental involvement when children seek an abortion, against school choice, against protecting marriage and even against the Boy Scouts of America!

"All these anti-family votes earned Senator Specter a lifetime average of 37 percent in FRC Action's annual scorecard. The only Republican senators scoring less were Maine's Susan Collins (28 percent) and Olympia Snowe (25 percent.)

"I look forward to working with Senator Pat Toomey in the 112th Congress."

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting Case Goes to the Minnesota Supreme Court

/PRNewswire / -- The Minnesota Voters Alliance case against the City of Minneapolis to prevent implementation of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is headed for the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 13th. The Alliance filed an appeal of a lower court decision in January. The City filed for expedited appeal to the Supreme Court.

The voting rights affected by IRV and being fought over have national significance.

The initial ruling from Hennepin County District Court concerning the constitutionality of IRV was full of factual misconceptions and faulty legal arguments.

The court failed to grasp the concept embodied in State Supreme Court precedent that when a voter votes for the candidate of his choice, his vote must be counted as one, and it cannot be defeated or its effect lessened, except by the vote of another elector voting for one other candidate. IRV violates this fundamental principle.

Even though IRV fails to count all ballots equally and places voters in the position of not knowing whether their first choice vote will help or hurt their favorite candidate, the district somehow found that not to conflict with basic notions of constitutional principles.

IRV can force voters to either dilute the strength of their ballot by not ranking all the candidates, or to rank candidates they do not prefer at all. Thus, the voter must either violate his own equal protection rights, because other ballots would carry more weight, or violate his own association rights, by having to vote for a candidate he or she opposes.

We believe the Supreme Court will overturn the district's ruling and uphold the principle of one person, one vote!

From attorney, Erick Kaardal, "We hope all citizens, opposed and for IRV, pay close attention to the case. It is the most important case for our democracy in over 90 years."

The IRV case could easily end up in the U. S. Supreme Court because of the unique issues and arguments presented under the Minnesota and United States Constitutions. This case could lead they way to protect the rights of all voters, especially those who do not want to freely give them up.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boehner: GAO Report Confirms Republican Concerns About Stimulus Waste

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office report on the implementation of the Democrats’ trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending bill, which noted that many states do not currently have the ability to ensure “stimulus” money is being spent responsibly:

“This report confirms some of taxpayers’ worst fears about the flawed ‘stimulus’ spending bill that was rushed through the Democratic Congress. It indicates that many states do not have the ability to ensure ‘stimulus’ dollars are spent responsibly, and much of the ‘stimulus’ money is likely to be spent in a manner that has nothing to do with creating jobs. As a result of the flawed ‘stimulus,’ Washington has seized hundreds of billions of dollars from our children and grandchildren under the flawed premise that we can spend our way back to prosperity, and this report provides further confirmation that the money is in danger of being squandered in a massive act of generational theft. At a time when middle-class families and small businesses are looking for real solutions to help create jobs and rebuild their savings, don’t the American people deserve better?

“In recent weeks, we have learned that taxpayer dollars are being used to fund a skateboard park in Rhode Island, bike racks in Washington, DC, and highway studies instead of construction projects in Ohio – all in the name of economic ‘stimulus.’ Today’s report is a warning that we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg so far when it comes to the waste and abuse of taxpayer funds resulting from the so-called ‘stimulus.’ Republicans had a better solution to get our economy moving again – a proposal that would have created twice as many jobs at half the cost of the Democrats’ flawed plan. While I am disappointed the Democrats opposed our plan, I am hopeful they will finally decide to work with Republicans and craft better solutions to the problems facing the American people.”

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AP poll shows independents not sold on Obama

America’s third largest party points to polling released April 22 by the Associated Press showing only 17 percent of self-described political independents think America is “heading in the right direction” under Barack Obama as a sign the president’s agenda of higher taxes, higher spending, higher debt and nationalizing industry isn’t winning over sensible voters.

“The percentage of Americans who believe Elvis is or might still be alive is higher than that of political independents who think Obama has America heading in the right direction,” said Libertarian National Committee Communications Director Donny Ferguson.

Nineteen percent of respondents to an Aug. 2002 FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll said they believed either Elvis Presley was still alive, or weren’t sure.

“The fact someone is more likely to believe Elvis could still be alive than a political independent is to believe Obama has us heading in the right direction should be astonishing,” said Ferguson. “Until you realize both require you to believe an out-of-control appetite has no negative consequences whatsoever, whether it’s for fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches or prosperity-crushing national debt.”

Overall, 48 percent of Americans tell the Associated Press they believe America is “heading in the right direction” under Obama, while 44 percent say America is heading in the “wrong direction.”

“If you want the truth, you have to get away from the partisan Republicans and Democrats and look at people who decide elections – the independent American,” said Ferguson. “Only 17 percent of independents – the people who decide elections – say they believe things are looking better under Obama. That should be a stark warning for the President and any other politician who hopes to change America into the very kind of European socialism that continent is trying to get away from.”

Seventy-nine percent of all respondents say the record-shattering debt being run up by Obama will hurt future generations. Republicans fare poorly as well, with only 29 percent of Americans stating they approve of the way the party, which began the current bailout mentality with then-President Bush’s TARP plan to prop up failed banks, is handling economic issues.

“After 14 years of a Republican Congress and White House that exploded spending, bailed out banks and regulated virtually more and more facets of American life, and now a Democrat administration building on that foundation at a record pace, it’s clear the Libertarian Party – with its message of fiscal and personal responsibility – is America’s only mainstream political party,” said Ferguson.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

U.S. Senators John Kerry and Arlen Specter Introduce Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act

/PRNewswire / -- Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) today introduced a bill, S. 841, intended to protect the blind and other pedestrians from injury or death as a result of silent vehicle technology. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study on how to protect the blind and others from being injured or killed by vehicles using hybrid, electric, and other silent engine technologies.

Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and evaluate traffic using their vision, they must listen to traffic to discern its speed, direction, and other attributes in order to travel safely and independently. Other people, including pedestrians who are not blind, bicyclists, runners, and small children, also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle engines. New vehicles that employ hybrid or electric engine technology can be silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other.

"The National Federation of the Blind appreciates the wise and decisive action taken today by Senators Kerry and Specter to preserve the right to safe and independent travel for the blind," said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities without being injured or killed. This bill will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent. The blind of America will do everything in our power to ensure its swift passage."

"I'm a major proponent of hybrid vehicles -- I own one, I drive one, and I've seen firsthand their environmental and economic benefits," said Senator Kerry. "The market is demanding new technologies in the auto industry, and Americans are demanding we finally kick our foreign oil addiction. As we continue to promote our energy independence, however, we must do more to ensure the safety of those who use senses other than sight to navigate the roads. I look forward to working with Secretary LaHood to ensure that hybrid vehicles are safe for everyone."

"Blind people have the same right to safe travel as all other pedestrians," said Senator Specter. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on this important legislation to ensure that the blind and other pedestrians can continue to travel safely and independently."

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No Child Left Inside Act 2009 Introduced on Earth Day

Today Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) will introduce the No Child Left Inside Act of 2009 to advance environmental education in our nation’s schools. The legislation is strongly supported by the nearly 1,300 members of the No Child Left Inside Coalition, spearheaded by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education and Training at the National Wildlife Federation, said:

“We welcome the introduction of the No Child Left Inside Act by Senator Jack Reed and Congressman John Sarbanes. Hands-on environmental education helps kids learn about the world around them, a world they will inherit and will need to take care of. It’s good for their academic performance and hands-on environmental education connects children with nature.”

“National Wildlife Federation has been a key member of the No Child Left Inside coalition which is led by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Nearly 1,300 organizations belong to the NCLI coalition, representing more than 45 million Americans.”

“There is significant support for environmental education in our nation’s schools, as underscored by the overwhelmingly, bipartisan vote on the No Child Left Inside Act in the House last September. Reintroduction of this bill underscores the widespread support that America's leaders, families, and educators have for hands-on environmental education.”

“In addition to the many academic and conservation benefits of environmental education, business leaders increasingly believe that an environmentally literate workforce is critical to their long-term success.”

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On Earth Day Vice President Biden Announces $300 Million in Recovery Act Funds for Clean Cities Program

During a visit to the WMATA Carmen Turner Maintenance and Training Facility in Landover, MD, Vice President Joe Biden today announced $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state and local governments, and transit authorities to expand the nation’s fleet of clean, sustainable vehicles and the fueling infrastructure necessary to support them.

"For city and state governments across this country, every day is Earth Day thanks to the ambitious commitments they are making to green their vehicles and transit systems. Now it’s time for Washington to help them deliver on those promises," said Vice President Biden. "From advanced battery cars to hybrid-electric city buses, we’re going put Recovery Act dollars to work deploying cleaner, greener vehicles in cities and towns across the nation that will cut costs, reduce pollution and create the jobs that will drive our economic recovery."

The Clean Cities Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Pilot Program will speed the transformation of our nation’s vehicle fleet, help to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy security by helping reduce U.S. dependence to foreign oil. This funding adds to the $11 billion already announced by the Department of Energy to bolster state and local government energy efficiency programs and weatherize low-income homes.

"These funds will give local and state governments the tools to expand the use of advanced technology vehicles in their fleets while at the same time building the infrastructure needed for tomorrow’s clean economy," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "This program represents another step toward freeing America from its reliance on foreign oil and lessening our emissions that contribute to global climate change."

Vice President Biden was joined at the event by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who last year committed to convert the entire Maryland Transit Administration bus fleet to hybrid-electric buses by 2014. Earlier this year, the state of Maryland was able to accelerate purchase of the hybrid-electric buses with the help of Recovery Act funds and, as a member of the Clean Cities program, the state would be eligible to apply for additional funds needed to meet their goal through the pilot program announced today. The Vice President was also joined by United States Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD).

"Sustainability, particularly in terms of stabilizing and reversing Global Climate Change before it is too late, may very well prove to be the defining economic, environmental, and moral issue of our times," said Governor O’Malley. "One of the boldest, most innovative, most forward-looking parts of the President and Vice President’s vision for economic recovery and reinvestment, is their belief that we can fuel our country’s economic engine by revolutionizing the way we fuel our cars, trucks, buses, trains and airplanes. Here in Maryland, where the $610 million in transportation investments we’re receiving from the Obama-Biden Administration are supporting an estimated 17,000 jobs, federal investments are helping us advance toward a goal we’ve set of transitioning a full 40 percent of our state vehicle purchases to alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles by 2010."

The Clean Cities Program offers $300 million to support at least 30 alternative fuels or advanced vehicles projects and requires a 50 percent participant cost share. Technologies eligible to be funded include a number of different light and heavy-duty vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, hydraulic hybrid, electric, fuel cell, and compressed natural gas vehicles. In addition, projects can support refueling infrastructure for alternative fuels, including biofuels and natural gas. Other efforts eligible for funds include public awareness campaigns and training programs on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and infrastructure.

"We are living in a critical time in our nation’s history. We face an economic crisis, an energy security crisis, and a global climate crisis. The Recovery Act has already begun to put Americans to work undertaking the essential task of reducing our use of energy and our dependence on foreign oil, which will strengthen our economy and security. It will also boost investments in clean renewable energy generation from the wind, sun, and other clean sources," said Senator Cardin. "These funds will allow us to develop new sectors in our economy that will provide high-paying jobs here in America and technologies and services we can export aboard."

"On this Earth Day, I am proud to join Vice President Biden, Gov. O’Malley, and Sen. Cardin in announcing funds from the Recovery Act to be used for the Clean Cities Petroleum Reduction Technologies Project," said Rep. Donna F. Edwards. "This funding exemplifies the dedication of the Obama Administration and this Congress to invest in the development of alternative fuel technology and infrastructure. These efforts will help spur economic development through job creation in Maryland and across the country, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels."

Applicants to the Clean Cities Program must be state governments, local governments, or metropolitan transit authorities, that partner with a designated Clean Cities coalition. Once awarded, these funds will help local and state government agencies make investments in clean transportation vehicles and fuels that they may not have the resources to do otherwise.

Clean Cities is a government-industry partnership led by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy that promotes the growth of alternative fuels and showcases the potential of advanced fuels and vehicles. The existing program has helped put more than half a million alternative fuel vehicles on the road and played a role in the construction of thousands of alternative refueling stations. For more information on Clean Cities, please visit

The pilot projects will be funded with money appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Administration expects these projects will create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. More information on the Recovery Act and all projects funded by it are available at

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

President Barack Obama Signs Legislation to Establish Anniversary of 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Barack Obama today signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which for the first time includes federal authorization to establish September 11 as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.

"Today President Barack Obama created a historic, enduring and compassionate legacy that truly honors the 9/11 victims and their families, first responders and rescue and recovery workers, the soldiers who have take up arms to defend our freedom and safety, and the many volunteers who spontaneously contributed their efforts in the immediate aftermath of 9/11," said David Paine, founder and president of, the nonprofit group that led a seven-year campaign to formally establish 9/11 as an annually recognized day of service and remembrance. "There isn't a better or more fitting way to remember 9/11 than for all of us as Americans to voluntarily set aside time on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks to help others in need."

"As a 9/11 family member, I cannot think of more inspiring, appropriate and constructive tribute to my late brother and all those who perished, were injured or rose in service - to rekindle at least for one day each year the remarkable spirit of compassion and service that unified our country," said co-founder and vice president Jay S. Winuk, whose younger brother Glenn J. Winuk, an attorney, volunteer firefighter and EMT, died in the line of duty in the collapse of the World Trade Center. "This groundbreaking national service legislation will greatly benefit the nation in so many meaningful ways as we face these challenging times."

Paine and Winuk were among a select group of service sector leaders, government officials and other dignitaries who attended today's ceremony at the SEED School in Washington, D.C. to witness President Obama signing into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

A New Catalyst for Volunteerism

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and U. S. Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) both worked closely with the sponsors of the Serve America Act in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to draft and include language to establish 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

"I could not be more proud to work to pass this important provision," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), who joined with U.S. Representative Peter King (R-Long Island) in first proposing to Congress back in 2004 that 9/11 should be designated a national day of service. "September 11 should not only be a day for mourning - it should be a day to think about our neighbors, our community and our country. We can take a tragic day in our nation's history and turn it into a force for good."

"I have been active in seeking a service day for years," said Rep. King. "America came together in the aftermath of 9/11, reminding us what it truly means to be part of this great nation. By making 9/11 a national day of service, that same spirit of giving will continue in a day of remembrance, unity and selflessness."

"We greatly appreciate Senator Schumer's, Congressman King's and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's tireless dedication to this cause, as well as the support we received from Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Representatives George Miller (D-Calif.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-Calif.) and Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), all of whom joined together to include the 9/11 Day of Service in this important national service legislation," Winuk said.

Under the new law, the anniversary of 9/11 would be observed annually in ways somewhat similar to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, although it intentionally will not be a federal holiday. "We do not wish to see it ever become a state or federally designated day off," said Paine. "Instead, we hope that individuals, businesses and organizations will be inspired on their own to voluntarily engage in community service, perform good deeds of any nature, and participate in other private and organized activities in remembrance of the events of 9/11."

To support this observance, the new legislation authorizes the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees federal national service programs, to make grants and provide other assistance to community nonprofits and other groups that want to organize 9/11 service and remembrance activities.

"Our hope is to organize the single largest day of service in U.S. history on the 10th anniversary of 9/11," said Paine, referring to September 11, 2011, just two and a half years away. "Though millions of people already support the initiative by engaging in charitable service each 9/11, we realize it will take some time to build widespread awareness of this formal observance. We are very are confident, however, that the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance will ultimately play a very significant role in energizing volunteerism in America, while also bringing a sense of national healing to one of the worst human tragedies in U.S. history." is a 501c(3) charitable organization based in New York. Each year organizes activities that encourage individuals and organizations to set aside time on the anniversary of 9/11 to perform simple acts of good deeds and service that help others in need. Since the initiative began as a grassroots movement, more than one million people have visited the Web site, from all 50 states and 170 countries, with many posting their plans to perform good deeds and service projects on 9/11.

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Libertarians: Obama health care rationing plan makes America sick

America’s third largest party Tuesday blasted comments by White House chief economic advisor Lawrence Summers that Americans are getting too much health care and the government should begin rationing access to medical procedures.

“Decisions on medical care should be made by patient and his or her doctor, not by a government employee with a calculator figuring out whether treating your illness is in Washington’s fiscal interest,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director.

“Whether it’s tonsillectomies or hysterectomies…procedures are done three times as frequently [in some parts of the country than others] and there’s no benefit in terms of the right kind of cost-effectiveness, by making the right kind of investments and protection, some experts…estimate that we could take as much as $700 billion a year out of our health care system,” said Summers on “Meet the Press” Sunday, quoted in The Washington Times.

“Summers’ statement that Americans have too much health care, and it’s up to Barack Obama to cut off their access is chilling,” said Ferguson. “Even more disturbing is the White House’s view that private decisions on your medical care should be viewed as a government-run ‘investment.’”

“The same people who gave us Agent Orange, the IRS and the Hurricane Katrina response have no business making my doctor’s decisions for him.”

Despite assurances from the White House that rationing health care leads to better treatment, information from rationed health care systems tells a different story.

Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, only one fifth die in the United States, compared to one third in France and Germany, and almost half in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Cato Institute scholar John Goodman finds, citing statistics from their national health care services. Goodman’s research finds among men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, fewer than one fifth die in the United States, compared to one fourth in Canada, almost half in France, and more than half in the United Kingdom.

The culprit is often the kind waiting lists the White House proposed Sunday. In 2000, the British medical journal Clinical Oncology, studying lung cancer patients waiting for government permission to get medical treatment found that about 20 percent “of potentially curable patients became incurable on the waiting list.”

Another 2003 British study found that after major surgery, 2.5 percent of American patients died in hospital, compared to 10 percent of similar Britons. Seriously ill patients in U.S. hospitals die at only one-seventh the rate of those in the British system, where government controls, prices and rations health care, according to Atlas Economic Research Foundation senior fellow Deroy Murdock.

“The proper way to reform health care is to get government out of the way, drive down prices by opening up a health insurance market closed off to competition by politicians doing the bidding of insurance lobbyists and remove FDA roadblocks that keep medication off the market and drive up the costs to develop lifesaving drugs,” said Ferguson.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

The United States and the 2009 Summit of the Americas: Securing Our Citizens’ Future

"As neighbors, we have a responsibility to each other and to our citizens. And by working together, we can take important steps forward to advance prosperity, security, and liberty." President Barack Obama, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, April 17, 2009

On April 17-19, President Barack Obama attended the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, along with the 33 other democratically elected Heads of State and Government of the Western Hemisphere. The President used his first meeting with many of his regional counterparts to start engaging in a new relationship with countries of the Americas and to forge partnerships and joint approaches to work on the common challenges facing the people of the Americas—the economic crisis, our energy and climate future, and public safety. The theme of the Summit was "Securing Our Citizens' Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security, and Environmental Sustainability."

Over the past three days, the Summit leaders demonstrated their commitment to promote human prosperity by agreeing to cooperate to address the current financial crisis, strengthening efforts to reduce inequality, improving food security, promoting health, and improving the quality of education. In the spirit of partnership, leaders committed to developing strategies to promote access for our people to reliable, efficient, affordable and clean energy, especially for the poorest sectors. Leaders also agreed to take actions to promote environmental sustainability. Recognizing the importance of addressing the threats to security in our hemisphere, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen public security. Leaders also affirmed that the aspirations and goals for the Americas depend on strong democracies, good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. President Obama announced measures of the past three days that reinforce the U.S. commitment to work jointly to advance the goals agreed to in Trinidad and Tobago.

Social Inclusion and Economic Development

In recent years, the Western Hemisphere has made significant progress in social inclusion, the reduction of poverty, and democratic governance. Still, much more needs to be done and President Obama committed to work jointly to protect these advances in a period of economic crisis.

Economic Recovery: President Obama led efforts to triple the size of a reformed International Monetary Fund from $250 billion to $750 billion, which will have significant impact on emerging markets in the region. The United States also supported expanding the Inter-American Development Bank's short term crisis response through changes in lending limits and capital ratios.
Microfinance Growth Fund for the Western Hemisphere: The President announced a new partnership of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) for the purpose of launching a fund that will provide stable sources of finance to microfinance institutions and microfinance investment vehicles to help rebuild their capacity to lend during this difficult period and to increase the supply of finance for micro and small businesses as recovery takes hold. The partners have identified $100 million in initial capital and will look for additional partners with the ultimate goal of $250 million.
Social Protection Network: President Obama announced his support for the Inter-American Social Protection Network, which will share best practices, including the development of new conditional cash transfer programs. The President also announced that 1,500 students from marginalized groups would receive scholarships to learn English, and 1,300 students would receive scholarships over five years through the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program to study in the United States.
Education Partnerships for At-Risk Youth. The President proposed a pilot program to form partnerships with countries that have the highest levels of inequality, significant numbers of unemployed and at-risk youth, and considerable potential for leveraging additional public and private sector resources. This program would add a focus on youth at risk such as out of school youth, under-employed youth, and ex-gang members.
Energy and Climate Change

Approximately 50 percent of U.S. oil imports come from the Western Hemisphere. By increasing green energy cooperation, we will set our economies on a clean energy growth path and curb global greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas: President Obama invited countries of the region to participate in an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas; a voluntary and flexible framework for advancing energy security and combating climate change. Countries will be encouraged to suggest tangible ideas for cooperation, including on energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels, and energy infrastructure. President Obama also asked Secretary of Energy Chu to advance further cooperation with his counterparts this June in Peru at the Americas Energy Symposium.
Global Climate Change: President Obama expressed his commitment to working with his regional counterparts toward a strong international climate agreement at Copenhagen. He will also work closely with Brazil, Canada, and Mexico through the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.
Citizen Safety

Public safety and crime are among the top concerns of citizens throughout the region. President Obama emphasized the need for partnerships that address this issue, focusing on our co-responsibility to address threats to public safety.

Firearms Trafficking: The United States must do more to reduce the number of illegal firearms which flow to Latin America and the Caribbean. President Obama announced his commitment to seek ratification of the Convention on Illicit Trafficking in Firearms Convention (CIFTA) in 2009, and offering technical assistance to trace illicit firearms and control, store, or destroy excess national stockpiles.
Caribbean Basin Security Dialogue: President Obama announced that he would engage the Caribbean Community member states and the Dominican Republic in a strategic security dialogue with the intent of developing a joint security strategy, which may include future increased financial and technical assistance to address shared challenges such as transnational crime, illicit trafficking, and maritime and aviation security. The next meeting between the Caribbean Community and Common Market and the United States is scheduled to take place in May in Suriname.
Enhance Public Security Cooperation: President Obama has asked the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to meet with all of their counterparts in the hemisphere to address violent crime in our communities.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

EPA Endangerment Finding Fuels Damaging Economic Uncertainty

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed decision to regulate Carbon Dioxide and other gases. Rep. Issa has twice written to the Obama Administration expressing concern about the endangerment finding but has yet to receive a response.

“Today’s decision adds uncertainty for businesses already struggling in the current economy. The prospect of new, yet uncertain, regulations on the use of energy will give pause to businesses considering new construction or investments.

“Administration officials themselves have described this new regulatory approach as problematic, an approach of second choice to Congressional action.

“By pushing forward a flawed approach, this Administration is playing a game of chicken with Congress over regulations and our economy: either pass legislation or force economically damaging new regulations on businesses.”

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report explains that proposed regulations do not stop at power plants and factories. The report found that the following emit enough carbon dioxide to land in the crosshairs of new Federal permitting requirements:

100,000 schools and other educational facilities;
92,000 health care facilities;
71,000 hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities;
58,000 food service industry buildings;
37,000 houses of religious worship

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Libertarians call out Obama for fake gun stats

Libertarians are taking President Barack Obama to task for once again intentionally spreading false information about the source of guns used by Mexican drug cartels and blaming the United States for crime in Mexico.

“This war is being waged with guns purchased not here, but in the United States. More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States,” said Obama in a face-to-face meeting Thursday with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City.

That claim, however, is blatantly false. According to information supplied by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) the real number is closer to only 17 percent.

“There is a reason Obama is intentionally spreading false information about American firearm businesses. He opposes the Second Amendment, promised anti-gun groups he would enact gun bans and is hoping to scare people into voting away their own rights,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director.

“The first casualty in Barack Obama’s war on the Second Amendment is the truth. Not only does Obama want to renew failed gun bans here in the United States and register all gunowners, he’s hoping to literally scare up enough support for an international anti-gun treaty the Senate has been rejected for over a decade,” said Ferguson.

Obama hopes to enact the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA,) requiring all guns to be marked and tracked by the government. It was signed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1997, but never ratified.

“The people who wrote that treaty know you can’t ban and confiscate guns unless you know exactly where they are,” said Ferguson.

Backers of the treaty, such as Calderon, hope it will be the first step towards gun registration and prohibition in the United States. Obama hopes to push the Senate into finally ratifying the anti-gun treaty.

But Obama’s “90 percent” talking point has absolutely no factual basis.

ATF Special Agent William Newell tells Fox News that between 2007 and 2008, around 11,000 guns used in Mexican crimes appeared to come from the United States and were submitted to the ATF for tracing. Of those, only 6,000 could be successfully traced. Of those, only 5,114, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover, were found to have come from the U.S.

Obama’s “90 percent” number refers, not to the percentage of “guns recovered in Mexico,” as Obama claims, but to the "percent of the traced firearms” according to a BATFE spokeswoman.
But Mexican authorities report that in those two years, a total of 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes. That means 68 percent of the guns recovered by Mexican police did not even appear to come from the United States.

That means only 5,114 out of 29,000 guns used in Mexican crimes were found to have come from the United States. That figure would be 17 percent, not the 90 percent repeated by Obama.

Further weakening Obama’s case is the fact firearms manufacturers such as Colt legally shipped some of those United States-originated guns into Mexico for permitted uses, such as by the Mexican military.

Research finds most of the guns used by Mexican criminals come from overseas black markets, Russian crime organizations, South America, Asia, Guatemala and even the Mexican army.

“No reasonable person would think Obama didn’t consult the BATFE to get numbers before coming up with his talking points, and this information has been public for over two weeks. Barack Obama chose to intentionally spread fake information because he hopes to use fear to ram his anti-Second Amendment agenda through the Senate,” said Ferguson.

During his term in the Senate, Obama earned an “F” rating from Gunowners of America, as well as the National Rifle Association. In an April 11, 2008 campaign speech in San Francisco, Obama claimed gunowners are simply “bitter,” racist people who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them.”

“Obama is ‘bitterly clinging’ to falsified numbers, hoping he can take away the constitutional rights of ‘people who aren’t like’ him,” said Ferguson.

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Secretary Clinton Announces $12.5 Million to Improve Dominican Public Schools Teaching

/PRNewswire / -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a $12.5 million dollar expansion of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Effective School Program during a visit to the Rosa Duarte Public Elementary School in the Dominican Republic.

This new five-year $12.5 million dollar increase in the USAID Effective School Program will allow an additional 450 public schools to access a full range of programming in reading, writing, math, and school administration. This project is fully supported by the Ministry of Education and will be implemented by USAID partner Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM).

The Effective School Program will train first through fourth grade teachers in improved methodologies and better use of available materials and classroom time. Additionally, it supports improved school management by increasing the capacity of school administrators and the community to participate in the shared responsibility of educating children.

During the visit, Secretary Clinton, accompanied by the Dominican Minister of Education, Melanio Paredes and PUCMM Rector, Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado, and School Principal Sister Victoria Reyes toured the school facilities. The Secretary had the opportunity to meet with teachers and students and important local authorities.

During the initial implementation of the activity, USAID provided for training of more than 3,000 teachers, principals, Dominican Ministry staff, and trainers have been trained and there now exists higher quality math and reading instruction in more than 200 schools, benefiting more than 90,000 students.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three Strikes: Is Sebelius Out?

PAC Letter Shows Another Failure to Disclose Money Connections to George Tiller

Family Research Council (FRC) has obtained a copy of a 2002 fundraising letter from late-term abortionist George R. Tiller in which he claims that he personally contributed $200,000 to ProKanDo, a political action committee (PAC) dedicated to defeating Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's pro-life opponent. Dr. Tiller's PAC receives funding not only from his own clinic but from other late-term abortionists from across the nation.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement responding to this latest revelation, which follows an admission of tax problems by the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services and a failure to report more than $23,000 in direct campaign contributions from Dr. Tiller.

"The revelation that Gov. Sebelius owed back taxes and now the additional disclosure of her deep financial ties to the abortion industry invite a serious question about her integrity. What else has she not told us? What else remains in Gov. Sebelius's closet? What other alliances are there? What other political contributions may have influenced her decisions as governor?

"She pocketed money from one of the most infamous abortion clinics in the nation then shortly there after vetoed legislation that would require abortion clinics to meet minimal safety standards. This appears to be a deadly political payback, one that compromises her ability to carry out her duty to run the federal government's largest agency.

"HHS addresses every facet of Americans' health and well-being, from drug approvals and leading-edge medical research to food safety and disease prevention. If we can't trust Gov. Sebelius to be open and honest about her money connections, how we can trust her to administer and improve our health care system?

"We urge President Obama to withdraw this nomination and fulfill his campaign promises of establishing an ethical Administration and uniting citizens around common goals. We also urge the U.S. Senate to reject this nomination and make clear that the American people expect a nominee who upholds strong ethical standards and has a record of accountability.

"We will include the vote on Kathleen Sebelius's nomination in our annual Vote Scorecard which tracks votes in Congress critical to the family."
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84 Members of Congress, Led by Rep. Betty Sutton, Urge Policymakers to Rescind Controversial Medicare 'Competitive' Bidding Rule Before April 18

84 Members of Congress, Led by Rep. Betty Sutton, Urge Policymakers to Rescind Controversial Medicare 'Competitive' Bidding Rule Before April 18 Deadline

/PRNewswire / -- In a letter sent yesterday, a bipartisan group of 84 members of Congress urged the White House Office of Health Reform, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review and rescind the controversial "competitive" bidding rule before it is implemented on April 18, 2009. Representatives signing the letter include Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and John Lewis (D-Ga.).

The bidding program, which was initially suspended by Congress in 2008 because of numerous flaws detected, will lower quality and reduce access to care for seniors and people with disabilities. The current version of the bidding program will put at least 90 percent of providers - many of which are small businesses - out of work at a time when unemployment is high and government is already fighting to protect jobs.

"As growing numbers of seniors enter the Medicare program, it is important that we take care to maintain an adequate number of qualified and capable providers to address demand for care in the home, especially in rural areas," said Betty Sutton, a U.S. Representative from Ohio's 13th District.

The current structure of the program bears no resemblance to earlier demonstration programs in Florida and Texas in 1997 and 1998. The current bidding program is actually anti-competitive because it will selectively contract with a small group of homecare providers based on the lowest bid, forcing out providers who utilize high-quality homecare equipment or provide critical patient services. These selective contracts would result in the immediate elimination of thousands of eligible small businesses throughout the country from the Medicare program.

"Of the more than 4,000 providers in the initial bidding areas, only 376 were deemed to have met the bidding program requirements," said Rep. Sutton, describing the implementation last year. "This is not a solution to Medicare reform and would only reduce quality and access to care for seniors and people with disabilities."

Home medical equipment and care is already the most cost-effective, slowest-growing portion of Medicare spending, increasing only 0.75 percent per year according to the most recent National Health Expenditures data from the federal government. That rate compares to more than 6 percent annual growth for Medicare spending overall. Home medical equipment represents only 1.6 of the Medicare budget.

Please find the full text of the letter below.

April 15, 2009

Mr. Charles Johnson, Acting Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Ms. Charlene Frizzera, Acting Administrator
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Ms. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director
White House Office of Health Reform
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20050

Dear Acting Secretary Johnson, Acting Administrator Frizzera and Ms. DeParle:

On January 16, 2009, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published an interim final rule on the durable medical equipment (DME) competitive bidding program effective April 18, 2009. We are deeply concerned that CMS has rushed implementation of this rule counter to Congress' intent when it delayed the competitive bidding program as part of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA). As such, we urge you to rescind the rule so that all affected parties will have an opportunity to comment on it as a proposed regulation.

In the initial implementation of the durable medical equipment competitive bidding program, many questions were raised as to the immediate impact of the program on quality and access to care for patients. Of particular concern was the immediate elimination of thousands of eligible providers throughout the country from the Medicare program. Of the more than 4,000 providers in the initial bidding area, only 376 were deemed to have met the bidding program requirements, which were not clearly defined by CMS and its contractor. As growing numbers of seniors enter the Medicare program, it is important that we take care to maintain an adequate number of qualified and capable providers to address demand for care in the home, especially in rural areas.

The agency's stated rationale in its interim final rule for not electing to pursue the traditional notice and comment rulemaking was that the statutory language was highly prescriptive and it would be redundant to propose a rule to incorporate the words of a provision already contained in statute. In fact, we remain concerned that many of the recommended changes designed to prevent future access problems and confusion in the competitive bid process were not incorporated or even raised for public comment. Any final rulemaking on this program should at a minimum provide assurances that the alleged discrepancies between information submitted by bidders and received by CMS will not again result in the unfair disqualification, without appeal, of longstanding companies in our states who have offered quality homecare for decades. CMS also needs to ensure that its contractor is consistently and properly applying the standards established to qualify suppliers for participation in the program, notably a supplier's demonstrated capacity to serve a given area and patient population.

We agree that MIPPA addressed near-term concerns with the program, but thoughtful and deliberate rulemaking by CMS was clearly anticipated by Congress. Under the circumstances, it would be much more appropriate for CMS to utilize traditional notice and comment rulemaking ensuring a collaborative and transparent process, and program success.

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response.

Signing members below.

Signers of April 15, 2009 Congressional Letter to CMS re Competitive Bidding Interim Final Rule

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R)

Rep. Joe Baca (D)
Rep. Sam Farr (D)

Rep. Joe Courtney (D)

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R)
Rep. Kathy Castor (D)
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R)
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R)
Rep. Alan Grayson (D)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D)
Rep. Ron Klein (D)
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D)
Rep. Adam Putnam (R)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D)
Rep. Robert Wexler (D)

Rep. John Barrow (D)
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D)
Rep. John Lewis (D)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R)

Rep. Jerry Costello (D)

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D)
Rep. Peter Visclosky (D)

Rep. Bruce Braley (D)
Rep. Tom Latham (R)
Rep. Rep. David Loebsack (D)

Rep. Geoff Davis (R)

Rep. Michael Michaud (D)

Rep. John Sarbanes (D)

Rep. William Delahunt (D)
Rep. Barney Frank (D)
Rep. John Olver (D)
Rep. John Tierney (D)

Rep. Travis Childers (D)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D)
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R)

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D)
Rep. Dina Titus (D)

New Jersey
Rep. John Adler (D)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R)
Rep. Albio Sires (D)
Rep. Chris Smith (R)

New York
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D)
Rep. Michael Arcuri (D)
Rep. Tim Bishop (D)
Rep. John Hall (D)
Rep. Brian Higgins (D)
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D)
Rep. Steve Israel (D)
Rep. Peter King (R)
Rep. Christopher Lee (R)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D)
Rep. Eric Massa (D)
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D)
Rep. Mike McMahon (D)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D)

North Carolina
Rep. Bob Etheridge (D)
Rep. Larry Kissell (D)
Rep. Sue Myrick (R)
Rep. David Price (D)
Rep. Heath Shuler (D)

Rep. Robert Latta (R)
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R)
Rep. Betty Sutton (D)

Rep. Dan Boren (D)

Rep. Jason Altmire (D)
Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D)
Rep. Tim Murphy (R)
Rep. Bill Shuster (R)

South Carolina
Rep. John Spratt (D)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R)

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D)
Rep. Chet Edwards (D)
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D)
Rep. Kay Granger (R)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)
Rep. Ted Poe (R)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R)

Rep. Tom Perriello (D)
Rep. Robert Wittman (R)

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Message from Casey Cagle

Cagle announced yesterday that he was dropping out of the race for Georgia Governor. He will be running for Lt. Governor. Here is one statement he made regarding the move:

As you may already know, last year I filed paperwork to run for governor. I have experienced pain in my back and neck for years, but during this past legislative session, the pain worsened. At times my arm was numb and the pain spread. Therefore, as part of preparing to run, I visited my physician. That doctor's appointment significantly changed the way my life will look for the next several months.

I've been diagnosed with serious muscle and bone problems and a degenerative spinal condition. It may be hereditary, or it may be the result of an old injury, but the unfortunate reality is that it requires immediate surgery to treat.

While I feel a deep obligation to Georgia's future, I also have a strong sense of duty to my family. Georgia needs a strong governor, but Nita and my three boys also need a dad who can provide for them well into the future.

The only way I can balance both obligations is to make the difficult decision to end our campaign for governor. I expect to make a full recovery by next year's legislative session and intend to campaign vigorously for reelection to the office of Lt. Governor at the appropriate time.

Together, we have accomplished great things, and it's an honor to have been considered for this opportunity by so many Georgians. I pledge to continue working with you to achieve our goals for Georgia, and hope I can count on your continued support.

For Georgia,

Casey Cagle
Lieutenant Governor
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State Rep. Austin Scott Announces Candidacy for Governor

Today, State Rep. Austin Scott launched his candidacy for Governor of Georgia in 2010. Scott was elected to the Georgia General Assembly at the age of 26 and has since served 14 years as a state lawmaker.

“Serving in the Georgia House of Representatives has been one of the most rewarding opportunities of my life,” says Rep. Scott. “Today we start a mission that will combine the experience of 14 years in the legislature, the commitment to a higher ethical standard, and a campaign that represents the hard-working taxpayer who deserves for their voice to be heard—William Graham Sumner described this person best as the ‘The Forgotten Man.’”

Austin Scott, R-Tifton, represents House District 153, and serves as chairman of the House Governmental Affairs Committee; he also serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee. He has been recognized by Georgia Trend as one of “Georgia’s Brightest Stars under the Age of 40.” The Atlanta-Journal Constitution named him a “Hero of Open Government.”

“The recent mobilization in the Republican Party represents a progression towards reaching tangible reforms in our State. We are ready to begin the fundraising process, and we want people to participate at all levels of our campaign. I invite people to visit our campaign site at to learn more and to join our team,” says Rep. Scott. “I also want to say a special thanks to my wife Vivien for her support, my son Wells for his encouragement, and to my family and supporters. It’s not going to be politics as usual.”

A devoted husband, father, and small businessman, Scott is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.B.A. in Risk Management and Insurance from the Terry College of Business, and a member of First Baptist Church of Tifton.
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Libertarians urge Obama: Stop blaming America and start opening markets

President Barack Obama leaves today for a trip to meet with Latin American leaders, and America’s third largest party urges him to use the occasion to open up markets to American products, instead of continuing to use foreign trips to attack American beliefs and freedoms.

“President Obama has already traveled to Europe to blame American capitalism for the global economic problems, and his administration is already blaming American gun rights for Mexican crimes largely caused by a corrupt police force,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director. “Instead of blaming capitalism and constitutional rights for the world’s problems, the president should try defending freedom and creating jobs by opening foreign markets to American goods.”

As the president leaves for a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City Thursday, the Mexico/United States border faces a wave of murder and violent crimes fueled by corruption within Mexican police forces.

Rather than urge Calderon to clean up police corruption and crack down on murder, the Obama administration has instead blamed the United States for the recent border-area crime wave. When asked if the United States is partly to blame for the violence along the border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "There certainly is a relationship. You can't deny it."

The government’s own information does deny it.

The Obama administration has claimed “90 percent” of the guns used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, however, says that is not true. According the BATFE, that “90 percent” statistic refers only to the few guns used in Mexican crimes with clear markings indicating they came from the U.S. The BATFE estimates the real figure is only 17 percent. Obama is an opponent of gun rights, earning a “F” rating from Gunowners of America during his Senate term .

Obama must also deal with a trade war with Mexico that has sparked retaliatory tariffs on American agricultural products.

Acting on a request by the Teamsters, the Obama administration canceled a program that allowed 100 pre-approved Mexican trucks to travel further than 25 miles from the Mexican border. In retaliation, Mexico levied new tariffs on 89 agricultural products from the United States, affecting $2.4 billion in U.S. exports.

“We urge President Obama to stop criticizing America long enough to get in a word with Calderon about ending these tariffs and letting American farmers sell their goods,” said Ferguson.

Obama will also travel to Trinidad and Tobago to meet with Latin American leaders at the Summit of the Americas, including Venezuela’s socialist president Hugo Chavez. When questioned by CNN about how he would deal with Chavez, who has restricted free speech, nationalized industries expelled human rights activists from his country in a bid to consolidate his socialist control, Obama refused to criticize Chavez or mention the threats the Venezuelan leader’s crackdown on human rights and economic freedoms.

The South American Project Director for the Center for Strategic International Studies reported to the U.S. Senate that Chavez is "selectively arresting opposition leaders, torturing some members of the opposition (according to human rights organizations) and encouraging, if not directing, its squads of Bolivarian Circles to beat up members of Congress and intimidate voters—all with impunity."

Ferguson urged Obama to criticize Chavez’s attacks on freedom and support Venezuelans who would like to live in a free country.

“Libertarians support our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms and our free market economy. We hope the president can find the courage to not only defend American freedoms and open markets to create jobs for American businesses, but to actually criticize someone other than the United States for once,” said Ferguson.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Barr blasts deficits, urges “tea partiers” to stay involved

Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian presidential nominee and former Republican congressman, urged Americans gathered at “tax day tea parties” Wednesday to continue their fight against government growth and to join Libertarian Party, the Party of Principle.

“If the protests are simply a one day event it will have no impact on Washington,” said Barr in a press conference held at the Libertarian National Committee’s Watergate offices in Washington, D.C. “It is incumbent on the people who are out there today to stay involved. There has to be a sustained effort. Otherwise the tide of government will wash right over us as if nothing happened.”

“There are a lot of Libertarians not only involved with the ‘tea party’ movement, but of course it was Libertarians who started the whole notion of organizing ourselves as freedom-loving men and women for an April 15 event,” said Barr.

Barr applauded anti-tax activists for successfully using the Internet and social networking websites to organize thousands of nationwide events, just as the Obama presidential campaign did in 2008.

“The Internet is being used much as the gazettes and flyers were being used in the pre-Revolutionary War period to spread the word of freedom and organize the citizens,” said Barr. “That is, to educate the citizenry as to what is going on in the government, as a medium to organize the citizenry to become involved, to have a common purpose.”

“Whenever the citizenry makes their voice heard in opposition to oppressive government programs and excessive government spending which is hurting the populace in this county, it’s a good thing,” said Barr.

Barr concluded: “It’s important for people to realize just what government is doing to them. The national debt right now, and it grows by millions of dollars every single day, is approaching $11.5 trillion dollars. Every man, woman and child in this country, not just taxpayers, but every man women and child, owes, because of that debt, approximately $40,000. That’s money coming out their pocket, it comes out of their businesses, it is dramatically limiting the freedom people have in this country to do what they want to do with their lives. And that’s power the government is taking from them.

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Cagle Withdraws from Georgia Governor's 2010 Race

Cagle’s statement: ‘I’ve been diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition’

Here’s the statement from which Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle read on Wednesday afternoon, withdrawing from the 2010 race for governor:

By Jim Galloway

For the past several months, it has been my full intention to campaign aggressively for election as Georgia’s next Governor.

We have recruited a top-notch team, raised over a million dollars, and I’ve worked to help my family understand the kind of stress we will face.

I did this because I truly believe our state is at a crossroads, and the next Governor will play a critical role in determining whether our kids and grandkids have an opportunity to enjoy prosperity and opportunity here in Georgia......


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Libertarian “Prosperity Plan” repeals income tax, ends corporate welfare

The Libertarian Party seeks to abolish the income tax, enact a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and eradicate corporate welfare under an ambitious three-point legislative plan unveiled by America’s third largest party Tuesday.

“Tens of millions of Americans are angry, fed up and demand real reform,” said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chair. “The Libertarian Party is the only party that agrees with those tens of millions of Americans that government should stay out of both their pocketbook and their personal decisions.”

The “Libertarian Prosperity Plan” seeks to repeal the income tax and abolish the IRS, enact a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget without tax increases and repeal all corporate welfare programs and bailouts.

“The ‘Libertarian Prosperity Plan’ is rooted in the Libertarian Party platform and bedrock libertarian principles. Unlike the other parties, we don’t promise tax cuts to just grab enough votes to win and then do nothing. Elected Libertarians enact tax and spending cuts because it is what we believe in,” said Redpath.

The Libertarian Prosperity Plan can be read and downloaded at The Plan would:

1) Repeal the income tax: Adopt legislation repealing the income tax and abolishing the Internal Revenue Service. Until the income tax is repealed, adopt legislation preserving the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and enacting across-the-board income tax cuts.

2) Adopt the Balanced Budget Amendment: Adopt a constitutional amendment requiring the federal budget be balanced, and balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, not by raising taxes.

3) Abolish corporate welfare and bailouts: Adopt federal legislation prohibiting any federal spending program that provides payments or unique benefits and advantages to specific companies or industries, terminating programs that provide direct grants to businesses, eliminating programs that provide research and other services for industries and ending programs that provide subsidized loans or insurance to businesses.

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Reaching Out to the Cuban People

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced a series of changes in U.S. policy to reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their country’s future. In taking these steps to help bridge the gap among divided Cuban families and promote the freer flow of information and humanitarian items to the Cuban people, President Obama is working to fulfill the goals he identified both during his presidential campaign and since taking office.

All who embrace core democratic values long for a Cuba that respects basic human, political and economic rights of all its citizens. President Obama believes these measures will help make that goal a reality.

Cuban American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans. Accordingly, President Obama will direct the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to support the Cuban people’s desire for freedom and self-determination by lifting all restrictions on family visits and remittances as well as taking steps that will facilitate greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of information and humanitarian resources directly to the Cuban people. The President is also calling on the Cuban government to reduce the charges it levies on cash remittances sent to the island so family members can be assured they are receiving the support sent to them.

Specifically, the President has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to take the needed steps to:

Lift all restrictions on transactions related to the travel of family members to Cuba.
Remove restrictions on remittances to family members in Cuba.
Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.
License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba.
Authorize the donation of certain consumer telecommunication devices without a license.
Add certain humanitarian items to the list of items eligible for export through licensing exceptions.


Supporting the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their future and that of their country is in the national interest of the United States. The Obama administration is taking steps to promote greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of remittances and information to the Cuban people.

Lift All Restrictions on Family Visits to Cuba

We will lift all restrictions on family visits to Cuba by authorizing such transactions by a general license, which will strengthen contacts and promote American good will. We will ensure the positive reach of this effort by:

Defining family members who may be visited to be persons within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) and to allow individuals who share a common dwelling as a family with an authorized traveler to accompany them;
Removing limitations on the frequency of visits;
Removing limitations on the duration of a visit;
Authorizing expenditure amounts that are the same as non-family travel; and
Removing the 44-pound limitation on accompanied baggage.
Remove Restrictions on Remittances

We will remove restrictions on remittances to a person’s family member in Cuba to increase Cubans’ access to resources to help create opportunities for them by:

Authorizing remittances to individuals within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) provided that no remittances shall be authorized to currently prohibited members of the Government of Cuba or currently prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party;
Removing limits on frequency of remittances;
Removing limits on the amount of remittances;
Authorizing travelers to carry up to $3,000 in remittances; and
Establishing general license for banks and other depository institutions to forward remittances.
Authorize Greater Telecommunications Links with Cuba

We will authorize greater telecommunications links with Cuba to advance people-to-people interaction at no cost to the U.S. government. This will increase the means through which Cubans on the island can communicate with each other and with persons outside of Cuba.

Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into and operate under roaming service agreements with Cuba's telecommunications service providers.
License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba, except certain senior Communist Party and Cuban government officials.
Authorize, consistent with national security concerns, the export or re-export to Cuba of donated personal communications devices such as mobile phone systems, computers and software, and satellite receivers through a license exception.
Revise Gift Parcel Regulations

We will expand the scope of humanitarian donations eligible for export through license exceptions by:

Restoring clothing, personal hygiene items, seeds, veterinary medicines and supplies, fishing equipment and supplies, and soap-making equipment to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;
Restoring items normally exchanged as gifts by individuals in "usual and reasonable" quantities to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;
Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donors to include any individual;
Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donees to include individuals other than Cuban Communist Party officials or Cuban government officials already prohibited from receiving gift parcels, or charitable, educational or religious organizations not administered or controlled by the Cuban government; and
Increasing the value limit on non-food items to $800.

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Libertarians back secret ballot voting rights in union elections

America’s third largest party warns concerned citizens that plans to scrap the right of workers to a secret ballot in union elections are far from dead. Libertarians also warn that such "card check" legislation also destroys hundreds of thousands of jobs as the nation attempts to revive its economy.

“The right to vote by secret ballot is one of our most cherished institutions for a reason. It protects people from those who would use violence or intimidation to achieve their goals,” said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chair.

“The card check bill currently in Congress that strips workers of their basic voting rights in union organizing matters is far from dead, and it threatens not just workers’ rights and safety, but it threatens people’s jobs as well,” said Redpath.

Card check allows a union to organize by confronting employees with a so-called “signature card” supporting the creation of a union in their work place. The union would maintain control and possession of the cards, along with the names and personal information of the employees, until they get enough signatures to force unionization. In many cases, the person demanding the signature would be the employee’s supervisor.

"A good union shouldn't fear a secret ballot. Stripping workers of that right only empowers bad unions to organize through coercion," said Redpath.

Allowing a union to form by simply coercing workers to publicly sign cards could force businesses to slash as many as 600,000 jobs nationwide, according to research from The Alliance To Save Main Street.

74 percent of rank-and-file union workers oppose the card check legislation in Congress, a January 2009 McLaughlin & Associates poll finds.

Once a majority of workers submit to the signature card demands, the union could then begin collecting dues from the workers’ paychecks without ever having a secret ballot election on the matter.

“These signature cards strip workers of their right to a secret ballot, allowing an unscrupulous union boss to organize a workplace by simply bullying or threatening a minority of the workforce into signing signature cards,” said Redpath. “There’s a reason we don’t allow signature cards in elections for political office, and those concerns over violence and intimidation are just as valid in the workplace.”

It would also allow union bosses to pocket an additional $7 billion in forced dues, according to the National Right to Work Committee. Much of that $7 billion could find its way into the campaign accounts of card check supporters, through extensive union political donations, giving senators much incentive to pass the forced unionism-friendly bill.

The bill is considered stalled in the Senate after past supporters Arlen Specter (R-PA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced they could not support the bill as written. But the impending arrival of Senator-elect Al Franken (D-MN) may give anti-ballot forces the votes they need to pass card check, and any changes to the bill allow Specter, Lincoln or Feinstein to switch their allegiance back.

“Opponents of secret ballot voting rights want you to think card check is dead. They’re wrong. Voters, especially voters in Pennsylvania, Arkansas and California, need to call their senator at 202-224-3121 and tell them to oppose the very-much-alive card check bill,” said Redpath.

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Biden Announces $2.3 Billion in Recovery Act Funds to Help Care for Children, Prevent Disease

Georgia is to receive over $82 million in total childcare funding, and over $6 million for vaccines.

Vice President Joe Biden announced last Thursday that the Obama Administration
will make $2.3 billion available for crucial health and human services
programs that help to provide care for children and prevent disease.
States will receive $2 billion in Recovery Act funding to support child
care for working families. The administration also plans to make $300
million in vaccines and grants available to ensure more underserved
Americans receive the vaccines they need.

The $2 billion in Recovery Act funds for the Child Care and Development
Fund will allow states across the country to support child care services
for more families whose children require care while they are working,
seeking employment or receiving job training or education. The funds
will be used by states to provide vouchers to families for child care or
to provide access to care through contracts with child care centers or
invest in quality improvements. Recovery Act dollars will support a
wide range of child care providers, including child care centers and
home-based programs.

"Parents are worried about finding a job or keeping the job they have
and they shouldn't have to worry about affording quality child care,"
said Vice President Biden. "Safe, affordable, high-quality child care
gives working parents the peace of mind they need to be stable,
dependable employees."

In addition to funding for child care programs, an additional $300
million in Recovery Act funding and grants will help to ensure more
underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need. The Vice
President's announcement came as Americans mark National Public Health

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the majority of
these new resources will be used to purchase vaccines, which will be
distributed through the HHS' Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's (CDC) Section 317 immunization program to all 50 states,
several large cities, and U.S. territories. Funding will also be used to
support national public information campaigns regarding vaccines and
support grants to states that demonstrate innovative new ways to ensure
more Americans receive the vaccines they need.

"Vaccines help keep children healthy, prevent costly stays in hospitals,
and fight diseases that can lead to serious illness or death" added
Biden. "The Recovery Act will help to vaccinate more Americans, cut
health care costs, improve public health and save lives."

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Libertarians applaud steps toward marriage equality

America’s third largest party Monday praised officials in Iowa, Vermont and the District of Columbia for taking recent steps toward marriage equality, and urged legislators in all states to scrap government licensing, taxation and regulation of marriage.

“The government’s power to define marriage has historically been used as a tool to retaliate against minority groups, and the right to marry is the newest frontier of civil rights. Libertarians everywhere applaud this advancement of civil rights, but warn the only way to guarantee true marriage equality is to get government out of the question entirely,” said Catherine Sumner, LBGT policy advisor for the Libertarian National Committee.

“Removing government from the equation entirely allows gay and lesbian couples to enter into the same legal agreements and arrangement as heterosexual couples, and it would allow individuals and businesses to decide for themselves who to grant the benefits of marriage to,” said Sumner. “No individual, straight, gay or lesbian, should be forced to accept someone else’s definition of marriage.”

On April 3 the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the state’s “one man, one woman” definition of marriage violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause. On April 7, Vermont’s state legislature overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a marriage equality bill, nine years after the state was the first to allow civil unions. The next day the District of Columbia City Council, which allows domestic partnerships, voted to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere, with an expected final vote coming May 5.

“The power to define is the power to discriminate. There’s a reason why the government doesn’t decide who can be baptized, who can be ordained, who can receive Communion or who can celebrate a Bar Mitzvah. Libertarians think the same should apply to marriage, and seek to end all government intervention, licensing and taxation of marriage,” said Sumner.

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Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine Released the Following Statement After a Three Judge Panel in Minnesota Declared Al Franken as Winner

/PRNewswire / -- Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, issued the following statement after a three judge panel in Minnesota declared Democrat Al Franken the winner of the contested Senate race in Minnesota. Former Senator Norm Coleman challenged the result of the election after losing to Franken by a 225 vote margin. As a result of Coleman's challenge, Franken's lead grew to 312 votes and a three judge panel said tonight that Franken leads the contest and is entitled to an election certificate.

Despite losing ground in the vote count, and credibility after increasingly questionable and inconsistent legal challenges, Coleman and his attorneys have vowed to appeal the decision to the Minnesota State Supreme Court and if unsuccessful there possibly the U.S. Supreme Court. Leading Republicans in Washington, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican Campaign Chairman John Cornyn, are supporting Coleman's appeals as a way to obstruct Franken from being seated to a Senate seat he has rightfully won to prevent Democrats from claiming their 59th seat in the 100 member body.

"Enough is enough," said Kaine. "It is time for Norm Coleman to concede and for Al Franken to be sworn in as the next U.S. Senator from Minnesota. The voters of Minnesota months ago elected Al Franken to the Senate - and during every step in the legal process that judgment has been confirmed. Norm Coleman's own legal challenge resulted in more votes for Al Franken and now a three judge panel has ruled Al Franken the winner. Former Senator Coleman's insistence on continuing his quixotic quest for this seat at best shows that he is putting his own political ambition ahead of the people and worst that he is complicit in an effort by national Republicans to deny Al Franken this seat for as long as possible so there is one less Democratic vote for President Obama's agenda for change.

"The people of Minnesota deserve two Senators and the people of America deserve 100 in the U.S. Senate. More importantly, the voters who cast ballots on Election Day deserve to have their verdict stand. Senator Coleman may have a right to continue his legal challenges no matter how hopeless they are, but the right thing to do here is to concede defeat and allow this saga to end once and for all."

Kaine went on to say that regardless of whether or not Coleman concedes, the state should issue an election certificate based on tonight's ruling so Franken can be sworn in immediately.

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Election Notice

There are a few elections of interest around the county and state. As always, the Fayette Front Page and the Georgia Front Page offer ALL candidates from all sides free pages. We also include some information in our various blogs.

We do NOT edit or censor any information unless it includes personal attacks or content not suited for family reading. We will give any candidate the opportunity to revise their material if deemed inappropriate.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Conservative Group Pioneers Mobile Petition Drive at Nationwide Tax Day TEA Party Protests

Let Freedom Ring, a national conservative advocacy organization, is unveiling the next generation in grassroots advocacy technology in hundreds of American cities during the Nationwide Tax Day TEA Party rallies scheduled for April 15th.

Let Freedom Ring is utilizing mobile technology in more than 1,000 American cities to allow concerned citizens to interact with their government and express their displeasure with reckless spending, the ballooning federal budget deficit, and increased taxation. Protesters will have the opportunity to join up, sign, and send a "mobile petition" with their cell phones to President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and their respective Senators and members of Congress. TEA Party attendees must simply text the words "TEAPARTY" to 74362 on their mobile phones
to be heard by their representatives in government.

"We're mobilizing thousands of grassroots conservatives and facilitating contact with their
government in what could be the most democratic technology ever deployed in the political arena," said Colin Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring. "There is a great deal of justified anger out there over abusive taxation and excessive government spending. We're making certain it's heard loud and clear, and we're not going away."

The Let Freedom Ring mobile petition reads: "We, the undersigned American taxpayers, do not believe that the United States can tax, spend and borrow its way back to economic prosperity. We call on you to lead the fight to make Washington tighten its belt rather than make us tighten ours."

"We expect this to be a turning point in conservative political activism. We're building a new conservative grassroots army from the bottom up, and we're keeping our troops in the field for good," said Colin Hanna. "Our elected officials will be held to account by hearing from the American people in real time. We're about to knock down the wall that keeps everyday
Americans from accessing their leaders in Washington."

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