Bethany Bowra

published Your Money is Being Wasted in SGN Blog 2012-10-26 21:24:34 -0400

Your Money is Being Wasted

I finally sat down to read the full report on wasteful government spending for last year, and I was shocked by what I found.  Did you know that $100,000 of your taxpayer money was used by the State Department to send an American comedy group to India?  That's not all-- there are numerous other expenditures that will leave you speechless about how reckless our government has really become.  Please read the list below and take action.  Be motivated by this absurd spending and do something to stop it so in the near future, we can lose the need for a "wasteful government spending report."  This list contains far from all the wasteful expenditures noted on the full report (which you can read here), but this will give you a taste if you don't think you'll be able to handle one hundred individual situations in which your tax money was blatantly wasted.

• $27 million for Moroccan pottery classes.  This program began in 2009 (no longer occurring) to help the "economic competitiveness" of Morocco.  To do this, an American pottery instructor was brought in to teach Moroccans to create and design pottery to be sold in domestic and international markets.  Trainees ended up complaining that the instructor often forgot to bring proper materials to class, and some of the materials used were not available in Morocco, making replication there very difficult.

• $947,000 for "Out of this world Martian food tasting," part of NASA's Advanced Food Technology Project, which seeks to create a menu of foods that could eventually be served on Mars.  They've already developed a pizza along with about one hundred other recipes.  NASA spends about $1 million developing these foods; this year, NASA awarded $947,000 to researchers at Cornell University and the University of Hawaii to study which foods would be "best" on Mars.

• $325,000 was given by the National Science Foundation for the development of the RoboSquirrel to test how squirrels react to confrontation from a rattlesnake.  It's even stored with live squirrels so it smells like an actual squirrel.  RoboSquirrels in the future will even have the ability to pelt rocks at their rattlesnake attackers!

• $516,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create "Prom Week," a video game that allows people to "relive" their high school prom through a video game.

• $15 million toward the "Initiative for Proliferation Prevention" in Russia-- a program that is now, contrary to its original mission, recruiting more young scientists and engineers to develop weapons in Russia.  We're funding Russia's expansion of their weapons programs.

• $505,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development went Sergeant's Pet Care Products, Inc., which specializes in pet shampoo and toothpaste.

• $350,000 from the National Science Foundation to "examine the benefit golfers might gain from using their imagination."  Guess what they found-- golfers need to imagine the hole is bigger!

• $142,419 given to the city of Indianapolis through a federal grant from the Department of Transportation to provide free transportation to attendees of Superbowl XLVI.

• $67,926 from the EPA to Syracuse University to run "Students Against Trash," a poster contest for students in New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.  The goal of the program was to increase recycling on campus.

• $97,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services to design and run the "MyPlate Fruits and Veggies Video Contest" on YouTube.  A $9,000 prize pool was promised for the winners, bringing the total cost of the program to $106,000.

• $500,000 from the National Science Foundation for "LawMeets," an online training program for rookie attorneys. 

• $100,000 from the Department of State to send an American comedy group on a seven-city tour across India.  The show was called "Make Chai, Not War."

• New Mexico State University, Las Cruces used a $24,995 grant to develop a course called "Should We Want to be Happy?"  Students taking this class will set up a "philosophy booth" (think Lucy's stand in Charlie Brown) and use it to question other students on the "nature of happiness."

• $1 million from the Department of Commerce to Ogden City, Utah to create a "Mobile App Lab."  Hopes were that this "lab" would push people to continue coming up with new applications for smart phones and tablets.  It makes very little sense to force taxpayers to fund an already booming industry that needs little to no government assistance.

• Read the full report of wasteful government spending here.

Are you outraged yet?


published The Case Against a Second Obama Term in SGN Blog 2012-10-09 22:24:43 -0400

The Case Against a Second Obama Term

"Hope & change" was a catchy slogan.  Many people heard it and with stars in their eyes went to the polls to vote that "hope & change" into office.  Four years later, most feel that they were slighted-- "the hope is gone and the change is nowhere to be found."  In spite of this, national and state polls still show President Obama and Governor Romney statistically tied in many places.  While some may be content with voting for the person (they believe) they're "familiar" with, I think there are thousands of people who plan to vote for the President without a conclusion as to why they plan to do so.  Based on the past four years, the American public must determine what we should expect in a second Obama term.

As we saw in the September jobs report, unemployment went down to 7.8%-- the rate it was when President Obama took office.  For forty-three months, unemployment remained above 8%.  I don't want to think that the numbers were tampered with; I don't think they could have been.  However, while the overall rate went down, the number of people with part-time jobs because they are unable to find full-time work or because their employer cut their hours rose in September-- it went from 8 million in August to 8.6 million in September.  It won't be surprising if the number also goes down in the next jobs report (only days before the election); part-time work is increasing due to lack of full-time jobs, and part-time workers are counted as employed (and with the holidays approaching, stores and companies will be hiring more part-time workers).  President Obama crows about a "comprehensive" jobs plan that will boost the economy and create much-needed jobs-- why, if he claims to have a solution to the unemployment problem, has he not already begun it?  He's waiting so he can use the plan as a tool for re-election.  The President should be more concerned with the state of the country than the state of his re-election campaign, and President Obama has simply failed to measure up in that area.  Why should we believe he'll actually bring unemployment down in a second term if he has continually failed to do so in his first?

The national debt didn't reach $1 trillion until 1980.  Today it stands at just over $16 trillion.  In 2008 it was $10 trillion-- an increase of $6 trillion dollars under President Obama.  Liberals try to push this point aside and say, "All the modern Presidents spent more money than was necessary" and "It's not Obama's fault that the debt has risen so much."  The truth is that it took two-hundred-four years for our debt to reach $1 trillion dollars; there is obviously an issue if it can be increased six-fold in only four years (President Bush only increased it $5 trillion in eight years).  Government spending has catapulted into a massive, unnecessary, reckless habit that the bigwigs in the White House refuse to rectify.  If President Obama has a serious plan to reduce the debt, he has failed to reveal it; in addition, we should expect that he would have implemented and begun to run this program prior to this-- refuse to let it ever reach $16 trillion.  Why should we expect anything but more mounting debt in a second Obama term?  The future of this country is literally being spent away by shopaholics in Washington, and President Obama is a card-carrying member of the club.

President Reagan summed up his foreign policy with this statement:  "We win, they lose."  President Obama's seems to be this:  "We win if they let us."  After four years of threats and "talks," President Obama and his State Department are still sitting at the negotiating table, waiting for Iran to pause in building their nuclear weapon and come to talk.  Talking doesn't work with people whose proclaimed mission is to destroy America and Israel; it takes force to deal with people like that, yet President Obama seems to be trigger-shy when it comes to protecting the United States.  Our Embassies in the Middle East were successfully attacked on the anniversary of 9/11 and President Obama has yet to take any action other than words to condemn the attacks.  The countries that attacked us are still receiving foreign aid that we could be using here at home.  Did any terrorist attacks occur on the anniversaries of 9/11 under President Bush?  The answer comes from the fact that America's strength was displayed proudly under President Bush, rather than hidden under a carpet as it has been for the past four years.  I'm tired of seeing pictures of the President of my country bowing to Saudi kings and welcoming outspoken "haters" of America-- I want a President who isn't ashamed to protect this country at all costs.  President Obama has failed on numerous occasions to do so and has failed to give any indication of a new strategy in a second term.

An issue that has yet to solidly come up in this campaign season is Operation Fast & Furious-- the failed gun sting that resulted in the murder of two U.S. border patrol agents and hundreds of innocent Mexicans.  The United States government was willingly placing weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and silencing anyone inside the ATF or Justice Department who realized the error and attempted to solve it.  President Obama's administration is responsible for this program; they directly lied to the American people and did everything in their power to keep the program a secret from the public (that's a surprising move from "the most open and transparent adminstration in history").  Solyndra is another example of this administration using taxpayer money to appease campaign allies; Solyndra failed miserably and that funding was lost.  We can't afford a government that is willing to keep such programs under wraps from the public-- we should know what taxpayer money is funding and what programs are being carried out.  Why should we believe that other programs such as this aren't occurring even now, and will continue to in a second Obama term?

When voting in an election that includes an incumbent President, the question is whether or not that incumbent has performed up to the level that is expected of an American President.  I could continue this list of reasons President Obama has not performed to that level-- his disrespect for human life, apparent dislike for small businesses and the people who run them, refusal to allow American drilling for our own oil, the decrease in the average family's income, the countless broken campaign promises-- this post is just a sample.  It's hard to get worse than these statistics and situations.  We need a President who has experience in problem-solving, and a community organizer was never the answer.  It's time to rectify the mistake we made in 2008 and improve the dismal "hope & change" that we received.  What we should expect in a second Obama term is more of the same:  reckless spending, decrease in respect, rising unemployment, exploding national debt, and more of the problems we have encountered.  Don't believe for a moment that President Obama really has plans to improve the situation in a second term-- if he did, he should have (and most likely would have) implemented them long ago.  Real "hope & change" will only occur with a new President in the White House.


published RNC 2012: The Big Night in Home 2012-08-31 22:35:11 -0400

RNC 2012: The Big Night

There was much hype surrounding Governor Romney's acceptance speech Thursday night, and he far exceeded expectations.

Governor Romney was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio, whose story of immigrant parents and humble beginnings perfectly exemplifies the American Dream to its fullest.  He told of how his parents fled Cuba and came to the United States, and, when speaking of his father's sacrifices for his family, said, "He stood behind a bar at the back of the room for years so one day I could stand behind a podium at the front of the room."  Senator Rubio's personal stories were incredibly moving to everyone in the room.  It was an honor for me to meet Senator Rubio this week as well.

Thursday night was the "big night" as Governor Romney accepted the Republican nomination for President of the United States.  He far exceeded my expectations (he even perfectly handled Code Pink protestors who used media passes to enter the Forum and started shouting in the middle of his speech).  He made a few comments that I thought were spot-on:

"We're united by much more than what divides us."  Even with the seemingly endless list of issues that divide us (and the countless attempts by our government to further that division), we're still united as Americans.  We're united by the Revolution our Founders fought to win our independence; by the Greatest Generation that stepped up and took out one of the most dangerous men to ever live; by the collapse of the Berlin Wall that happened due to pressure by President Reagan and which freed thousands in Eastern Europe; by the flag we salute, and more.  Nothing can divide the American spirit that true patriots possess.

"I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed."  Contrary to liberal belief, Conservatives didn't wish for President Obama to fail right from the start; we're not the "racists" they call us.  We were wary of President Obama and his past but at the same time desperately hoped we would be proven wrong.  Restoring America matters much more than which political party is in the White House-- but if the current one isn't doing its job, it's time for something new.

"Why should women have any less say than men in the issues facing their nation?"  With all the claims of a Republican "war on women," this line was a refreshing reminder that the real "war" is waged by Democrats on women (and young people).  While discussing how much he was required to travel for his work, leaving his wife at home with five young boys, he said, "I knew without question that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine."  In the same speech, Governor Romney pointed out that women and men care about the same issues-- American issues-- and praised stay-at-home moms for the tremendous work they do.

"You know there's something wrong with the job he's doing as President if the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him."  I highly doubt that many people who voted for President Obama in 2008 are enthusiastic about doing so again.  As his presidency has progressed voters have slowly become disenfranchised by the "hope and change" they were manipulated into believing in.  If your excitement didn't carry over from Election Day now that he's the President, why would you vote for him again?

I've said this about two speakers already this week, but Governor Romney really knocked it out of the park with this speech.  He clearly conveyed his vision for America and did so in a way that will excite Americans from every walk of life.

 


published RNC 2012: The Big Night in SGN Blog 2012-08-31 22:33:10 -0400

RNC 2012: The Big Night

There was much hype surrounding Governor Romney's acceptance speech Thursday night, and he far exceeded expectations.

Governor Romney was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio, whose story of immigrant parents and humble beginnings perfectly exemplifies the American Dream to its fullest.  He told of how his parents fled Cuba and came to the United States, and, when speaking of his father's sacrifices for his family, said, "He stood behind a bar at the back of the room for years so one day I could stand behind a podium at the front of the room."  Senator Rubio's personal stories were incredibly moving to everyone in the room.  It was an honor for me to meet Senator Rubio this week as well.

Thursday night was the "big night" as Governor Romney accepted the Republican nomination for President of the United States.  He far exceeded my expectations (he even perfectly handled Code Pink protestors who used media passes to enter the Forum and started shouting in the middle of his speech).  He made a few comments that I thought were spot-on:


published RNC 2012: Day 3 in Home 2012-08-30 01:59:00 -0400

RNC 2012: Day 3

Tonight Paul Ryan gave his Vice-Presidential nomination acceptance speech and blew everyone away with his incredible ability to convey America's best qualities and needs in a way that everyone can understand.

I had the privilege of finally meeting my Senator, Marco Rubio, and speaking with him briefly.  He was incredibly friendly (and, by the way, he loves the new RedState website design).  Senator Rubio is rapidly rising in the Conservative movement and is sure to become a very prominent leader in the Republican Party in the very near future.  He's a great voice to be representing Conservatives not only in Florida, but around the country.

This was my first time following an entire primary season, and the first candidate I chose to support was Texas Governor Rick Perry.  Since he first jumped into the presidential race I've been hoping to meet him, and today I did.  Governor Perry is the best job-creator in the country and is leading Texas down a prosperous economic path.  It was an honor for me to meet the first candidate I researched and supported for myself!

 


published RNC 2012: Day 2 in Home 2012-08-30 01:13:37 -0400

RNC 2012: Day 2

Last night's speeches were only a glimpse of what is to come as the week progresses, and they did an exceptional job of conveying a true American message.

Throughout the day I had the honor of meeting Michele Bachmann, Jan Brewer, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum, Chris Wallace, and more.  The speeches were all incredible; my favorites, though, were Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, and Ann Romney.

Rick Santorum's most memorable phrase was this:  "I shook the hand of the American Dream, and it has a strong grip."  He spoke about the different hands that are the American Dream-- hands of farmers, members of the military, beautiful children like his daughter Bella, and more.  I always love listening to Senator Santorum speak; I have since he first jumped into the Presidential race.  He knows what he's talking about and he talks about it with a passion that is hard to match.

Ted Cruz gave a perfect speech for last night.  He talked about the "American Love Story" and how we must keep it alive for future generations.  This American love story starts in the 18th century when our Founding Fathers created this nation, and stretches from the battlefields of war to the classroom at home.  The love Americans have for freedom is one that must be protected and passed on to future generations if we hope to keep this nation alive; this love story doesn't have an end unless we give it one.

Ann Romney absolutely knocked it out of the park with her speech last night!  She seemed a little nervous at first but quickly became comfortable and spoke warmly and genuinely about her family.  That "boy she met at a high school dance" was portrayed by her as someone other than who the liberal media portrays him to be.  She did an incredible job of talking about love-- love that we all have for our families and country and what it takes to keep our country running by that love.

Tomorrow night we'll hear from Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan-- looking forward to it!


published RNC: Day 1 in Home 2012-08-27 23:05:25 -0400

RNC: Day 1

Today I visited the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the first time and got to walk the Convention floor and meet some incredible people. 

On my way to the Forum I passed the Occupy Tampa camp and saw their pop-tents and buses; one of the buses had a sign hanging on the side that said "Need Food Donations."  Occupiers are so determined to crash the Convention that they're willing to ask for food if it means continuing in their goal!  Ironically, I'm sure most of the people in the Occupy camp don't know why they're there.  They don't know what they're truly protesting-- they can say "big corporations" all they want, but in reality they're protesting the fact that hard work is an asset in America if they want to be successful.  Occupiers were attempting to block and harass people at the main pedestrian entrance to the Forum; I wonder, though, if they realize that they could do more good for their "movement" if they weren't making fools of themselves by trying to shut down someone else's freedom to assemble and a Party's right to nominate their candidate for President.

After walking the Convention floor and seeing the podium, I went up to FOX's broadcasting area and was privileged to meet Bret Baier, Karl Rove, Juan Williams, and one of my biggest inspirations, Megyn Kelly.  It was amazing for me, as a huge FOX News junkie, to meet these people that I watch on TV all the time!  I also had the opportunity to meet two of Governor Romney's sons, Ben and Matt as they left their interview with Megyn Kelly.  They were so nice and they're incredible surrogates for their dad in this race.

Seeing the stage and podium where Governor Romney will later this week accept the Party's nomination for President was incredible; being that close to the stage that so many prominent Conservatives will share as the week progresses was an amazing experience.  I can't wait to witness history as we nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to lead our Party into November.


published "Her New View" Panel in SGN Blog 2012-08-27 00:41:08 -0400

"Her New View" Panel

As a kick-off to the Republican National Convention later this week, there was an event today called "Her New View:  Lashing Back at the Backlash."  The panel discussion included Breitbart editor Dana Loesch, author of Fast & Furious Katie Pavlich, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.  They discussed the "war on women" from the liberal media, the importance of women running for office, and the real impact women have on the political process.  As a young woman getting involved in politics, I couldn't ask for better role models!

The bias with which the liberal media treats Conservative women is ridiculous and needs to be pointed out.  As Katie Pavlich noted today, "They want to deter young Conservative women from getting into the media."  The Left doesn't know how to handle intelligent Conservative women who don't crumble beneath the pressure of buying into their progressive narratives.  The treatment given to women such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann has been appalling and must be countered by strong Conservative women in the media.  Two women on the panel today-- Katie Pavlich and Dana Loesch-- are involved in media, and I'd definitely say they're two of if not the biggest threats to the Left's fairytale media.

Representative Marsha Blackburn pointed out that this much-needed increase in Conservative women in media requires some effort on our part.  She said, "It requires that we as a party elevate a very deep bench of intelligent Conservative women."  We have capable women who can step up, but it's up to us to boost them to that level.  Representative Blackburn also pointed out the faux "war on women" and attempts to differentiate women's issues from men's issues:  "I don't know of a single woman who has said, 'give me this because I'm female,'" Congresswoman Blackburn said.  We don't need to be treated differently because of gender-- we can do just as much good in Congress and in the media as men.  As said by Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, "We can be good wives, we can be good moms, but we can also be good legislators."

Dana Loesch noted the huge impact mothers have on politics.  After watching a media clip that stated Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life," Dana responded by saying, "Motherhood is political. ...The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."  Mothers influence their children's political views more than anyone else, and it's important that moms recognize the impact they have even if they aren't in office.  She stressed the importance of teaching children about freedom; "I teach my kids to look both ways when they cross the street, why wouldn't I teach them that socialism is bad?  I don't want them to get hit by a big socialism truck any more than I want them to get hit by a Mack truck.  Look both ways before you cross the street; make educated decisions."

Lt. Governor Kleefisch completely debunked the Left's claims of a "war on women" from the Left, by stating "Women's priorities are the economy; women's priorities are their wallets."  Women are concerned with being able to provide for their families and jobs are necessary to doing that.  She also praised stay-at-home moms; they're raising children, helping run their household expenses, and, in some cases, taking on the liberal lies at the same time.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a surprise appearance at the event and shared some stories about her experiences as a woman in politics.  She emphasized the fact that no matter your gender, race, or age, you can go far and make a difference.  Early in her career in politics she ran against a thirty-year incumbent in a State House primary in South Carolina and won, helped instigate huge reforms in the South Carolina State House and is now the governor.  Her story of humble beginnings to leader of a state is a hugely inspiring one!

The Her New View panel was a huge success and I'm excitedly looking forward to the rest of the week!


published A July 4th Message From the Youth in Home 2012-07-04 13:03:00 -0400

A July 4th Message From the Youth

As a teenager, July 4th has somewhat of a different meaning for me than it does for most adults. The main focus of the day seems to be having barbeques, going for a swim, and watching fireworks light up the night sky to celebrate with family and friends the independence won by our founding fathers. While I love these things as much as anyone (okay, maybe a little more than just anyone), for me there is another, important meaning hidden beneath the fireworks and celebrations: There is a sense of the responsibility I and the rest of my generation carries to not only preserve the significance of Independence Day, but to renew that message each year with the promise that we will not allow this nation to ever return to the bondage we experienced under the British Crown— today through events and programs that lean toward socialism and government dependence.

Independence Day is the one day every year that Americans are united by patriotism and stand in unashamed pride in our country. Three-hundred-sixty-four days of the year are similar to the budding period of a flower when it comes to patriotism; but on the three-hundred-sixty-fifth day that bud blossoms out with enough fragrance and color to last the entire year— it just needed that extra push on July 4th to inspire its bloom and continue to spread its message all year. That is one of the attributes that make America such an exceptional nation. Even when hidden under layers of political games, global trends, and unsettling futures, American patriotism runs rampant throughout this country year round. We just have to take the time to water it and care for it— then on July 4th it blossoms into the incredible love of country that keeps us going.

The importance of the message I feel obligated and privileged to carry on is one that should not be taken lightly. July 4th should not be solely a celebration of the past; it should also be a declaration of the future. A declaration from every generation that clearly states to the rest of the country and the world that we will not let our country slip through our fingers. We will “preserve, protect, and defend” the “greatest trust ever confided to a political society” and we will carry on its devotion to freedom and prosperity. July 4th should not only be a recollection of the tyranny we were freed from through victory in the Revolutionary War; it should also be a “modern-day cry to declare that it shall never return.” As we commemorate the true meaning behind the July 4th festivities, we must remember that they are not only meaningful of the past— they are vital to the future. Make this Independence Day your modern-day cry that warns of a future filled with the returned prosperity, peace, and freedom that America's ideals embody.


House Votes to Hold AG Holder in Contempt of Congress

Today the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a federal subpoena that was issued in October 2011.  No one wanted to reach this point, but it has become necessary in order to give the Terry family and the American people the answers they deserve.  U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was shot on December 14th, 2010 by a gun that was provided by the federal government through a program called Operation Fast & Furious.  However, no one in the Obama administration will take responsibility for approving this program.  All are denying any knowledge of it— Eric Holder actually lied under oath about whether he was aware of the program or not! 

 

When President Obama exerted Executive Privilege over the documents pertaining to Fast & Furious, one couldn't help but wonder if he was aware of the program while it was occurring.  Whoever it was that approved this program, though, is indirectly responsible for the death of Brian Terry.  When Fast & Furious began, the goal was to “track” the guns being filtered to drug cartels in Mexico.  There are various conspiracies as to the real purpose behind this operation; could it be pushing for gun control?  We may never know, but we do know that our Attorney General has failed to cooperate with the members of Congress who are doing their jobs by investigating this failed program. 

 

Democrats are claiming that Operation Fast & Furious was ended under AG Holder— and in the same breath they claim he didn't become aware of it until months after Brian Terry's murder.  How could he end a program he knew nothing about?  During the final vote, many Democrats walked off the House floor and refused to vote.  If they're so sure that Attorney General Holder is not in the wrong on this case, why not vote not to hold him in contempt?  A total of 108 Democrats did not vote on the final count, and 17 others voted to hold the Attorney General in contempt.

 

An Attorney General of the United States has never been held in contempt of Congress.  It is “with a heavy heart” that members of Congress have voted to do so; but we must find the truth regarding Operation Fast & Furious.  We must make sure that a program such as this is never instituted again. 


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I'm a 16 year old Conservative, and I write for Next Generation Voters, SGP, & RedState!