Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Convenience of Climate Change

The United States Senate is claiming that Cap and Trade / Climate Change legislation is being put on the back burner for the time being. However, a recent report from the State Department shows how American taxpayer dollars are being used to fund climate change initiatives on a global scale. The State Department released the Fifth Climate Action Report on April 7th that highlights "the actions the U.S. is taking to address climate change, contains updated projections on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and underscores the United States commitment to address climate change." Previous reports have been released in 1994, 1997, 2002, and 2007.St

The report details governmental funding to combat global climate change, including $1 billion from the Consolidation Appropriation Act for "climate related foreign assistance" and more than $400 million dollars managed by the World Bank and the United Nations for climate change in 2010 alone. The Obama administration has pledged nearly $1.5 billion as part of a multilateral agreement following the Copenhagen conference on climate change last winter. This agreement stated, "developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries." Additionally, the Report highlights the Obama administration's goals of devoting $30 billion by 2012 and $100 billion by 2020 as a part of developed countries mitigation efforts.

The Fifth Climate Action Report indicates that multiple U.S. government agencies are involved in funding global climate change programs: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy, the Department of State, the Department of Agriculture, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Commerce, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

In the name of combating climate change, funds are being used to fund other types of projects. One such use is the creation of World Bank Climate Investment Funds, not only for climate change purposes, but also to "pilot new advances in governance." In 2009, the G8 committed $20 billion to combat food insecurity abroad in the name of "hunger-related emergencies" that may result because of climate change. Monies have also been earmarked for conference and forums to discuss how to combat climate change, including a 2010 Methane to Markets conference in India and a carbon sequestration forum. America has also formed energy research centers with both India and China. Additionally, the EPA is working on projects for "green" vehicles and energy efficient products in foreign countries. Among the projects receiving EPA funding include "auto rickshaws" in India and methods testing of greenhouse gas emissions in trucks in China.

Further actions highlighted by this report focus on loans and public-private partnerships, including a guarantee of $183 million in loans for US renewable and clean energy projects in foreign countries via the Export-Import bank. There are also public-private sector alliances between USAID and private companies, such as the tire company Firestone, to "combine their assets to address pressing development problems, achieving a solution that would not be possible for any individual partner alone."

In the name of increasingly discredited anthropogenic climate change, such action has been taken to re-distribute American taxpayer money to "pilot new advances on governance" and help finance foreign loans among other things. When such exorbitant funding is embraced, it gets away from the goal of reducing "climate change" and moves towards a goal of increasing foreign funding for programs, conferences, and initiatives, not actual environmental improvement. With man made "global warming" now essentially debunked, why is the federal government using billions of taxpayer dollars to fund such global initiatives? Could climate change simply be a convenient way to implement a worldwide re-distribution of monies?

Crossposted here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Pictures from Sarah in Washington

Here are some Palin pictures from her speech on Saturday, April 17th from my C4P friend, Ellen:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mrs. Palin Goes to Washington....Illinois

It's not everyday that you have opportunity to go with your personal heroine to hear your political heroine speak, but Saturday, April 17th was such an opportunity for me, as my mom and I attended Governor Palin's speech in Washington, IL. If I were to say one thing, I would say it was definitely a barn burner of a speech, and in central Illinois, there are a heck of a lot of barns to burn!

To give context to the speech, it took place in Washington, Illinois, a small town of about 13,000 people in central Illinois just outside of Peoria. The town of Eureka, home of Reagan's alma mater, Eureka College, is just a short 10-15 minutes from Washington. The event was a fundraiser for Five Points Washington, the town's community center. Some of the funds raised were also to be used for a scholarship program as well. During the question and answer session following the speech, the Governor mentioned that she chose to speak at this event because she knows what a blessing such community centers bring to a town, referencing the sports complex built in Wasilla when she was mayor.

The topic of the speech was " You Don't Need a Title to Make a Difference" and was the inaugural speech in a series on Lessons from Leaders. In her own signature style, the Governor effectively wove this topic into the speech also highlighting her political platform, record, and worldview, all while truly making the speech applicable and personal to central Illinoisans. She brought up at least three examples of people who made and are making a difference without a title. She began her speech speaking of Trig, who is turning 2 years old today. She spoke of how he may never hold a title, but he wakes up everyday in applause, bringing perspective and joy to those around him. She also spoke of how Reagan saved 77 lives when he worked as a lifeguard on the Rock River in Illinois when he was young, before he had a "title". She had the words "Lifeguards Needed" written on her palm. She also spoke of how we, as Americans, can make a difference without a title through our voice, our vote, and our freedom.

Regarding leadership, she spoke specifically of three former Presidents: Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan. She spoke about Washington's leadership--how true leaders respect the will and wisdom of the people and often were reluctant leaders who did not seek office, but the office sought them. She spoke of Lincoln's use of his stovepipe hat as a "traveling office" and how if it was good enough for Lincoln to store his notes in his hat, it was good enough for her to use her palm for her notes. She spoke quite a bit about Reagan, calling him a "son of Illinois". She spoke of his politics of both personality and conviction when it came to foreign policy, saying also that America needs his "Midwestern common sense" and "relentless optimism". Governor Palin, in a jab at President Obama, spoke of how a Eureka educated politician plays better in Peoria than a Harvard educated politician. At one point during the speech she stated that the next Lincoln or Reagan may be sitting in the audience. In my head, I thought, "the next Reagan is standing behind the podium!"

On a local level, Governor Palin praised central Illinois for being people who "cling to guns and religion" and who understand what she meant when she says, "don't retreat, reload". Politically, she spoke of how Obama's policies are affecting the region. The construction machine company, Caterpillar, is based out of nearby Peoria and employs quite a few people in the area. Governor Palin spoke of how President Obama came to Peoria last year claiming that the stimulus package would prevent Caterpillar workers from being laid off, which was not the case. She spoke of how the "economically illiterate" health care bill will cost the company $100 million in the first year alone.

More broadly, she spoke of the problems of a quadrupled national deficit, a $3.8 trillion budget, and the "mother of all unfunded mandates": the health care reform bill. Governor Palin criticized the President for bowing to world leaders and alienating allies like Israel.During the question and answer session, she mentioned that the President's comments about America being a military superpower, whether we like it or not was the statement that had taken her most aback of anything during President Obama's administration. However, her political rhetoric was not limited to criticisms, but included a great deal of what she called "time tested" solutions. She spoke of how prosperity cannot be legislated from Washington D.C., but must be earned through hard work ethic and by government getting out of the way. Additionally, she mentioned that more every day people, not politicians, are needed in government.

In sharing such solutions, she was very effective in tying in her record as governor and mayor , highlighting several of the examples that she mentioned in Going Rogue. Specifically, she mentioned how she lowered taxes and improved infrastructure as mayor as part of a pro-business, pro-economic growth strategy. She mentioned the main principles by which she governed Alaska. Government must live within its means. Resource development must be expanded. Money must be saved for the future, and earmarks must be slashed. During the question and answer session, Governor Palin spoke of how important it is that politicians realize that they are spending OPM (other people's money), and she highlighted that she fired of the personal chef and the sold of the jet.

The Governor has an amazing way of connecting with the people with whom she is speaking. After the speech, my mom said, "it was like you were listening to your best friend. She talks to you, not at you." I concur with this statement whole heartedly. Governor Palin spoke with such conviction, sincerity and optimism. I was also struck by how often she used the word "blessed". She seems to see every opportunity and experience as a blessing. I was amazed how focused and personal she made it for the audience she was speaking to by pulling in Reagan's ties to the area and the effects of the Obama administration on a large local employer. It truly was a blessing beyond words to hear America's point guard speak with such optimism and conviction.

So, this begs the age old question. Does Governor Palin play in Peoria? You betcha!

To see more pictures, albeit not high quality, see here.

Cross posted here , here , and here.

Mrs. Palin Goes to Washington...Pictures

Unfortunately, with my camera and the lighting at the venue, the pictures I took didn't turn our too great. However, I still would like to share them. I will write a post about the event Sunday, but suffice it to say, Sarah rocked it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Handy Guide to Governor Palin's Accomplishments

Due in part to the ineptness of the McCain campaign in 2008 and the mischaracterization and flat out lies from the media over the 20 months, Governor Palin's gubernatorial accomplishments are largely either misunderstood or unknown. However, Governor Palin accomplished quite a lot in her 2 and a half years as governor of Alaska. As supporters of the Governor, I thought it might be a good idea to have a handy resource of Palin's gubernatorial accomplishments. This may allow us to correct the record for our friends and family who may still think that the Governor personally shot wolves from a helicopter or cut funding for special needs children. Additionally, while none of us know the Governor's political future, many of us hope that she runs for President. I feel that having something tangible that we can hand out to individuals at GOP events, Tea Parties, other political gatherings, or wherever else to let others know about the Governor's accomplishments will open the eyes of many who are skeptical or uninformed Even many conservatives and Republicans still do not have a firm grasp of what Governor Palin did while in office.

With the wonderful assistance of some of the contributors at The Palination, Conservatives4Palin, The Design Conservative and US4Palin along with other knowledgeable Palin supporters, I have put together a two page (or, ideally, one page double sided) PDF summary of Governor Palin's accomplishments while she was in office. These accomplishments range from energy issues to 10th amendment issues to budgeting and national security. Please go here to download and print or e-mail the document, and please share it as you have opportunity. Should the Governor be a candidate in any future elections, her accomplishments will speak volumes regarding her political abilities and policy chops.

Obviously, one issue that may be raised if the Governor's accomplishments are mentioned is the fact that the Governor resigned halfway through her third year in office. This is a valid criticism. I do think that the Governor has sufficiently justified her decision to step down. Upon announcing her resignation, she said:

Every one - all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We've won! But it hasn't been cheap - the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to "opposition research" - that's money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers - or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the "politics of personal destruction" ... Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime so they're not going to stop draining public resources - spending other peoples' money in their game.

It's pretty insane - my staff and I spend most of our day dealing with THIS instead of progressing our state now. I know I promised no more "politics as usual," but THIS isn't what anyone had in mind for ALASKA.


My choice is to take a stand and effect change - not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment. Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities - and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.

In the 10 months that have passed, she has not changed her tune. She resigned because she recognized the cost that the frivolous ethics complaints were having on her state, and she saw how much of her staff's time and her own time were forced to deal with those issues. She recognized how much money these unsubstantiated complaints cost her family. She was able to effectively fulfill her role as Governor, so she passed the reins onto someone who didn't have to be concerned that if he sneezed in the Lower 48, an ethics complaint would be thrown at him.

Additionally, she promised that she would "effect positive change outside of Government", and she had most definitely done that. Through her large and loud social media megaphone, the Governor has written many Facebook posts that have changed the course of debate and have effectively criticized the Obama administration's policies. She has been a champion of the Tea Party movement and the Pro-Life movement and has been a superstar on the stump in the early stages of the 2010 primaries.

The Governor has chosen, at least for the time being, to "effect change outside of Government". However, there have been numerous politicians who have resigned to effect change inside of government. Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Napolitano both resigned their Governors' offices to be part of President Obama's cabinet. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman resigned his gubernatorial position to be an ambassador to China. Secretary Clinton resigned from the Senate to be Secretary of State, and, of course, both our President and Vice President resigned from the Senate to take their positions. Would anybody say that these individuals "quit" on their constituents? I would say likely not. Governor Palin is the same. She has been able to speak more boldly for both Alaska and all Americans for the conservative principles this country was founded on now that she is outside of office and without the concern of a possible ethics violation been thrown at her.

So, I encourage you to please print off the document linked in this post and share it with anyone you feel needs to know more about what Governor Palin has achieved.

Again, a big thanks to all who helped me put this document together!

Crossposted here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shorebank: Too Green to Fail?!

****Our article, as published on BigGovernment.com on April 4, 2010.****

As the Central Illinois 912 Project has addressed previously on BigGovernment.com, Shorebank is a community bank based out of Chicago that is engaged in microfinancing – a hybrid of capitalism and social justice. They have been supported and promoted by individuals like Van Jones, President Obama, President Clinton, and Secretary Clinton. They have also become heavily involved in the financing of green projects (see here and here).

Interestingly, Shorebank is currently seeking support from a few large banks –all of which have received federal bailout money from the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) and are Shorebank stockholders. These banks include Citigroup, Bank of America, and Chase. Citigroup initially received $25 billion in taxpayer money (plus another $20 billion soon after), and Bank of America initially received $15 billion (plus another $20 billion after that). Neither of these banks has completely paid back their TARP loan. Chase also received $25 billion in bailout funds, but repaid its loan in December of 2009. So rather than seeking a bailout from a state that has a $13 billion budget deficit, Shorebank is seeking to be bailed out by banks that have already been bailed out by federal taxpayers – which is, in essence, an indirect, federally-funded bailout.

Interestingly, Shorebank is currently seeking support from a few large banks –all of which have received federal bailout money from the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) and are Shorebank stockholders. These banks include Citigroup, Bank of America, and Chase. Citigroup initially received $25 billion in taxpayer money (plus another $20 billion soon after), and Bank of America initially received $25 billion (plus another $20 billion after that). Neither of these banks has completely paid back their TARP loan. Chase also received $25 billion in bailout funds, but repaid its loan in December of 2009. So rather than seeking a bailout from a state that has a $13 billion budget deficit, Shorebank is seeking to be bailed out by banks that have already been bailed out by federal taxpayers – which is, in essence, an indirect, federally-funded bailout.

However, it may also be surmised that Shorebank may instead be the direct recipient of bailout money. The Department of Treasury has suggested that it may use TARP funds to assist “Community Development Financial Institutions” (CDFIs). The Treasury defines a Community Development Financial Institution as

… a financial institution that works in markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. CDFIs are certified by the Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund, which was created for the purpose of promoting economic revitalization and community development in low-income communities.

In February, Secretary Geithner proposed “enhancement” to TARP funds specifically aimed at community development banks that would allow them to receive capital investment funds at a 2% rate (compared to the standard 5% rate) and to receive federal TARP funds that would be matched to funding received from private institutions. Chicago Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky wants ShoreBank to be eligible for such funding and has even suggested that such funding would be equivalent to a jobs program for the area. “Plain and simple, this is a jobs program,” she says. “The funds from this program will go directly to the people and communities that need it most which will expedite hiring and rebuild a vibrant economy”.

Shorebank has received free consulting assistance from Promontory Financial, which is headed by a former director of Shorebank, Eugene Ludwig. Ludwig also helped found CapGen, an entity that invests primarily in community banks. Ludwig was formerly Comptroller of the Currency during the Clinton administration. This would not be the first time that Promontory Financial assisted in raising capital for Shorebank. In 2007, Promontory was a key player in a transaction where TIAA-CREF, a real estate developer and financier, deposited $22 million with Shorebank. TIAA-CREF also supported Shorebank in 2009 with the same type of funding via consultants at Promontory. Receiving funding by similar means now would likely help Shorebank raise private funding that would be matched by federal TARP dollars.

What might be the issue with Shorebank? Could they be the next in the line of banks about to fold, or are they the next in line to receive bailout money (either indirectly or directly)? Will they do the unprecedented and become one of the first entities to be bailed out by a state that itself has a $13 billion deficit? With its promotion of green development and new carbon credit distribution, could Shorebank become one of the first banks to be deemed too “green” to fail?

Crossposted here.

How Is an Unelected Agency Legislating Our Air?

This past week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a series of new environmental standards. These standards include more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and structured enforcement of Clean Air Act permits for facilities that produce greenhouse gases beginning in 2011.

The EPA was founded in 1970 during the Nixon administration with the following mission:

The establishment and enforcement of environmental protection standards consistent with national environmental goals… The conduct of research on the adverse effects of pollution and on methods and equipment for controlling it; the gathering of information on pollution; and the use of this information in strengthening environmental protection programs and recommending policy changes… assisting others, through grants, technical assistance and other means, in arresting pollution of the environment… assisting the Council on Environmental Quality in developing and recommending to the President new policies for the protection of the environment. (emphasis mine).

As the Central Illinois 912 Project has addressed previously, the EPA was granted the power to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant and thus it is able to be regulated by the EPA via a 2007 Supreme Court case , and this ruling is being challenged.

CAFE standards are regulations that car manufacturers must meet regarding the average fuel efficiency of the vehicles they sell, not the fuel efficiency of the cars they produce. For example, if gas prices drop, and people thus begin to purchase cars with lower fuel efficiency, the CAFE level for that company decreases. This could result in a company being penalized, even if they made fuel efficient cars that the consumers simply did not want to purchase. The EPA’s creation of CAFE standards is essentially a regulation on industry that falls in line with the mission of the EPA: “establishment and enforcement of environmental protection standards.” However, since the EPA is an agency whose role is administered under the executive branch, how can it constitutionally make and enforce regulations, a role given to the Legislative Branch?

The same can be said of the plans to enforce permits for the emission of greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide) from stationary facilities, such as manufacturing plants, via the Clean Air Act. The EPA states:

Today’s action determines that Clean Air Act construction and operating permit requirements for the largest emitting facilities will begin when the first national rule controlling GHGs takes effect. If finalized as proposed, the rule limiting GHG emissions for cars and light trucks would trigger these requirements in January 2011 – the earliest model year 2012 vehicles meeting the standards can be sold in the United States. The agency expects to issue final vehicle GHG standards shortly.

“The Clean Air Act” includes several pieces of legislation passed over the last few decades that define the EPA’s role in regulating air and the ozone. Fifteen states have sued the EPA from making such regulations until further study can be done to re-affirm that such emissions can be hazardous to one’s health, but they are not challenging on the grounds of Constitutionality. Again, why is the EPA regulating or enforcing regulations that should be formulated by an elected Congress, not an unelected “independent agency”?

Is it not again twisting the branches of government if an agency of the executive branch is legislating production and carbon emissions? Is Congress not appropriately providing the proper checks and balances if it allows unelected bureaucrats to do their elected job of legislating?

Crossposted here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tea Party Express Pictures

I didn't have time to make a sign, so I thought this would suffice!

Former gubernatorial candidate, Adam Andrezjewski, calling for a forensic audit of state spending. During one the debates earlier this year, in response to the question, "who is your political role model, Adam said, "I'd rather be a Sarah Palin than an Arnold Schwarzenegger".

Why this really matters.
It wouldn't be an event in Springfield,Illinois
without Abraham Lincoln.

All Tea Party or Sarah-related buttons.

Bobby Schilling, father of 10 kids and
running for Congress against Phil

"I don't care about the Constitution" Hare