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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru] - editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Stark Contrast in Iowa

Editor's Note: Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) was one of the principal backers of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. In the Senate, he would become part of the Sen. Harry Reid's progressive team. What Iowa and Americans in general do not need is another progressive trial lawyer in the U.S. Senate seeking limits on Free Speech and other aspects of the Bill of Rights.

by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: Everything you need to know about Bruce Braley was made clear by the candidate himself in a thirty-seven second video of him speaking to his real constituents – his fellow trial lawyers – at a fundraiser in Texas.

Most of the attention relating to the video has been about his arrogant denigration of Iowa farmers but, amazingly, that may not even be the most disturbing part of the video.

Read Braley’s full comments to his assembled trial lawyer supporters and let them sink in:“To put this in stark contrast if you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice – someone who's been literally fighting tort reform for thirty years in a visible and public way – on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Because if Democrats lose the majority Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”Although he is running for office to represent Iowa in the United State Senate, in the video Braley openly boasts to out-of-state trial lawyers that if they help him win his election, he will be their voice in the United States Senate, fighting against tort reform and helping them line their pockets at the expense of the rest of us. And he presents the alternative as well – that if he loses, an Iowa farmer named Chuck Grassley will be in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It is a very compelling pitch for the trial lawyers Braley wants to continue representing.

According to the OpenSecrets website that tracks campaign contributions, trial lawyers have sent Braley an astonishing $4.2 million since 2005. Both this year and in his previous campaigns, his fellow trial lawyers have been by far Braley’s largest source of funds.

And they aren’t done. Last week, the national trial lawyers lobbying organization send out an urgent fundraising letter for Braley, noting that he had previously been the industry’s top lobbyist in Iowa and now needed their help:Dear Trial Lawyer Colleague,

One of our own, Bruce Braley, is in the fight of his life to win the Senate seat currently held by Senator Tom Harkin. We are asking you to click here to contribute to this race, this cause, TODAY. There are precious few days left before this critical election and we need everyone in our community to step up now.

As Presidents of the American Association for Justice/ATLA we have all faced critical national elections before. We have seen our share of impossible odds and overwhelming challenges. But never before has an election turned on the race of a former board member, a former President of the Iowa Association for Justice, and a great champion for the rights of your clients.
Or as Braley himself explained it – if they help him win, he’ll be their voice in the Senate, as he has been in the House – where he’s been busy for the last eight years of his 30-year fight against tort reform.

Braley was working hard for his fellow trial lawyers when he blocked tort reform in Obamacare (to the tune of $11 billion a year according to Congressional Budget Office estimates) and helped pass a final version of the bill that actually makes it easier to file abusive lawsuits, a jackpot for trial lawyers at the expense of everyone who has to pay higher premiums.

Bruce Braley was absolutely right that there is a “stark contrast” between his career of being the voice for trial lawyers and Chuck Grassley’s exemplary career of putting Iowa taxpayers first, ferreting out waste fraud and abuse, and serving with honor and distinction.

Voters in Iowa will soon choose to either put Braley on the Senate Judiciary Committee or elevate Grassley to be that committee’s chairman. If you aren’t a trial lawyer, it’s a pretty easy choice.
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Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.He is on Twitter  and on Facebook.

Tags: Phil Kerpen, Contrast in Iowa, stark contrast, Senate race, trail lawyer, Bruce Braley, Chuck Grassley, farmer, businessman, putting Iowan's first, , To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Democratic Voting Bloc-Heads

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: As this is being written, Rasmussen Reports says that 48% of likely voters approve of President Obama’s performance in office while 50% disapproved. Other polls indicate far more unhappiness with Obama, but in general one must conclude that half the voters are idiots. He is an enormous failure domestically and with his foreign relations.

In early July, a Quinnipiac University national poll found that Obama was regarded as “the worst president since World War II.” The only poll that counts will be the midterm elections on November 4th.

We know that Republicans and a significant percentage of independent voters will pull the lever for the change needed to save the nation from Congressional gridlock and whatever further mischief and idiocy Obama will seek to impose, but what do we know about the Democratic Party’s voting blocs? They say a lot about America today.

A website called Debt.org, offers a look at the “Economic Demographics of Democrats.” It offered the following conclusions:

# Generally, Democrats live closer to a coast—East or West—living more in cities than Republicans. Populated areas have a higher concentration of minorities who “overwhelmingly vote Democrat.”

# They tend to have more women in their ranks than Republicans and this is true as well of gays and lesbians.

# They support organized labor, unions, more.

# They are slightly younger than Republicans and “increasingly less religious.”

After years have telling Americans that Republicans are engaged in “a war on women” it should not come as a surprise that 37% of women are Democrats while Republicans have 24%. Unmarried women vote Democrat about 62% of the time, while married women tend to split between the parties.

What may well save the nation from the split between the two political parties is the fact that 43% declare themselves to be politically independent.

Economically, people earning less than $15,000 a year represent 31% of Democrat voters. Those earning $50,000 or more vote Republican or independent. The average median household income in the U.S. is $49,777, right near the point where the Democratic advantage in numbers disappears.

While the President and the Democratic Party are forever complaining about the inequality of the wealthy while endlessly taking their money for campaigns, a review of the twenty richest Americans as listed by Forbes magazine found that 60% affiliate with the Democratic Party!

Would it surprise anyone to learn that Republicans are better educated than Democrats? Or that Democrats tend to be slightly younger, with an average age of 47. This voting bloc, 46 million, is anticipated of increase to 90 million in 2020.

Racially and ethnically, Republicans are 87% white as compared to Democratic supporters.

African Americans mindlessly vote Democratic and are literally taken for granted by the party though an Oct 18 New York Times article reported that a confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama “contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted ‘crushing Democratic losses across the country’ if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls.” He said, “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.” That’s the kind of voter the Democratic Party has relied upon for years.

Jews as well give 80% of their votes to Democrats. Hispanics are the fastest growing group of voters and also tend to support Democrats, voting for them 60% to 70% of the time. They constitute 16% of the population and are expected to nearly double by 2050.

Observers of politics at this point note that Democrats are stepping up an aggressive push to woo single women, regarding of their age, level of education, or earning power, but they also note that many single women do not vote, especially in non-presidential election years like this one. The result is that older, white and more conservative women will vote more. One analyst, Jackie Calmes, notes that, according to the nonpartisan Voter Participation Center, in the 2012 presidential election, 58% of single women voted, but is predicting that will slide to 39%.

In an American Thinker September commentary, Chad Stafko, wrote that “The African-American voting block has become powerless and irrelevant due to its decades-old blind allegiance to the Democratic Party and the growing likelihood (is) that the group will soon be eclipsed in size by the Hispanic voting bloc.” The judgment of this bloc is best seen in the fact that African Americans have voted for Democrats for years to serve as mayors in “what are now some of the most economically-challenged cities in America.” Despite having voted for Obama at a rate of 93%, they have “received the brunt of the effects of the Obama-led stagnant economy.”

While there is much talk of the growing Hispanic bloc, but many are ineligible to vote and those that are often do not or are concentrated in noncompetitive districts and states. One observer, Nate Cohn, noted that “Hispanic voters will represent a tiny fraction of the electorate in the states and districts critical to the battle for control of Congress.” Currently that represent about 17% of the U.S. population and a quarter of them are under age 18 and cannot vote. Only 69% of adult Hispanics are citizens as compared with 96% of adult-non-Hispanics.

In general, Democrats may have numbers, but those voters are just as likely to skip the upcoming midterm elections. When you add in concerns about Ebola and the economy, there’s even more reason to believe they are less motivated to vote. In contrast, Republicans and a large segment of independent voters are far more motivated.

The Democratic Party depends on voting blocs of less educated, less wealthy, more knee-jerk voters than the Republican Party, and thanks to a liberal news media the GOP has problems getting out its message and responding to the lies the Democratic Party incessantly repeat.

Even so, political pundits are predicting that the midterm elections will sweep Democrats from office and defeat their candidates. That’s the good news.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs". He is a contributor to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Democrat Voters, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Americans Deserve Answers From The EPA

Faux Climate Hero editorial cartoon by AF Branco
by Mike Duncan, Guest Editorial: As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moves forward with its plan to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, Americans deserve answers to two questions: who really drafted these regulations, and who will be hurt by them?

The EPA claims the regulations were drafted for the benefit of all Americans. The evidence, however, points to regulations that were drafted by wealthy climate activists and special interest groups without regard for the impact on American families.

One of the most glaring examples of this is the role of billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer is a former hedge fund manager whose fortune was accumulated in part due to investments in fossil fuel projects. He has since pledged to divest himself from these investments and fight the fossil fuel industry. These days, he is best known for his pledge to spend up to $100 million dollars during this election cycle to help Democrats committed to advancing his climate change agenda.

Recently, Steyer hired Daniel Lashof to become the chief operating officer of his “super PAC,” NextGen Climate. Prior to that, Lashof was a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and one of the architects of the group’s climate proposal. In a recent New York Times report, the EPA was found to have used that NRDC proposal as the basis for its own greenhouse gas regulations.

Americans should be concerned with who is influencing the EPA’s decisions, because it is evident that these special interest groups care little about the pocketbook issues facing most Americans. Taking coal out of our nation’s energy portfolio will increase electricity costs and hurt families on a budget. This year, families earning less than $30,000 annually are expected to pay an average of 26 percent of their income on energy costs. Higher electricity bills will leave these families with even less money for basic necessities like food and housing.

Unfortunately, the families and businesses put at greatest risk by the EPA’s proposal are also those who were neglected from EPA’s formulation of the plan and, more recently, left out of EPA’s public hearings. Many groups that advocate for consumers were excluded from EPA’s hearings on the greenhouse gas rules. Only four of these hearings were held nationwide and none took place in states like Kentucky, Wyoming or West Virginia, where coal is directly tied to the states’ economies. These public hearings were seemingly nothing more than a formality to the EPA, which consistently turns a deaf ear to opposing voices while gladly listening to likeminded viewpoints trumpeted by Mr. Steyer and the NRDC.

EPA’s proposed regulations have one principal aim: to eradicate America’s and the world’s use of abundant, low-cost and reliable coal. Doing so will hurt people here at home and across the globe, but the Administration isn’t listening to – or understanding -- the consequences. Our leaders should be supporting energy policies that benefit all citizens. Instead, they’re indulging the pet causes of wealthy ideologues, at the expense of American consumers and businesses.
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Mike Duncan is president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). 

Tags: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Tom Steyer, Daniel Lashof, War on Coal, energy policies, Questions for EPA, Mike Duncan, AF Branco, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

National Service is Anti-Liberty and Un-American

Dr. Ron Paul
by Ron Paul: Former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently called on the government to force young people to spend two years either “serving” in the military or performing some other type of government-directed “community service.” Neoconservative Senator John McCain has introduced legislation creating a mandatory national service program very similar to Reich’s proposal. It is not surprising that both a prominent progressive and a leading neocon would support mandatory national service, as this is an issue that has long united authoritarians on the left and right.

Proponents of national service claim that young people have a moral obligation to give something back to society. But giving the government power to decide our moral obligations is an invitation to totalitarianism.

Mandatory national service is not just anti-liberty, it is un-American. Whether or not they admit it, supporters of mandatory national service do not believe that individuals have “inalienable rights.” Instead, they believe that rights are gifts from the government, and, since government is the source of our rights, government can abridge or even take away those rights whenever Congress decides.

Mandatory national service also undermines private charitable institutions. In a free society, many people will give their time or money to service projects to help better their communities, working with religious or civic associations. But in a society with government-enforced national service, these associations are likely to become more reliant on government-supplied forced labor. They will then begin to tailor their programs to satisfy the demands of government bureaucrats instead of the needs of the community.

The very worst form of national service is, of course, the military draft, which forces young people to kill or be killed on government orders. The draft lowers the cost of an interventionist foreign policy because government need not compete with private employers for recruits. Anyone who refuses a draft notice runs the risk of being jailed, so government can provide lower pay and benefits to draftees than to volunteers.

As the burden of our hyper-interventionist foreign policy increases, it is increasingly likely that there will be serious attempts to reinstate the military draft. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, continues to suggest that US troops on the ground may be needed to fight “Operation Inherent Resolve” in Iraq and Syria. A major escalation requiring a large US troop deployment will likely add pressure to consider a military draft.

The only real way the American people can protect their children from the military draft is to demand an end to the foreign policy that sees the US military as the solution to any and every problem — from ISIS to Ebola — anywhere in the world.

Some who share my opposition to a militaristic foreign policy support the draft because they think a draft will increase public opposition to war. However, the existence of a draft did not stop the American government from launching unconstitutional wars in Vietnam and Korea. While the draft did play a role in mobilizing political opposition to Vietnam, it took almost a decade and the death of thousands of American draftees for that opposition to reach critical mass.

It is baffling that conservatives who (properly) oppose raising taxes would support any form of national service, including the military draft. It is similarly baffling that liberals who oppose government interference with our personal lives would support mandatory national service. Mandatory national service is a totalitarian policy that should be rejected by all who value liberty.
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Dr. Ron Paul, Chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, is a former U.S.Congressman (R-TX) for 21 years. He twice sought the Republican Party presidential nomination for President. As a MD, he was an Air Force flight surgeon and has delivered over 4000 babies. Paul is an active writer on political and economic theory. He is known for his criticism of American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, and the Federal Reserve. He is also known for his love of country, government complying with the U.S. Constitution.

Tags: Ron Paul, military draft, mandatory, national service, anti-liberty, un-American, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

ICYMI: With Ebola Crisis Raging, Obama Administration Started Streamlining Visas From West Africa in August

. . . Why?
by Katie Pavlich, Townhall.com: Not only is the Ebola crisis continuing to degrade, but the optics of how the White House has handled the situation are getting worse by the day too.

A new report published at Breitbart shows the Obama administration started expediting visas from West Africa in August as the Ebola was (and still is) raging out of control with a 70 percent mortality rate. According to the report, the man who died from Ebola in a Texas hospital after visiting Liberia, had his visa approved in the same month visas were being streamlined.

In short, the USCIS has been waiving fees, expediting the immigration process, and allowing extensions of visas for anyone coming from the three designated Ebola-stricken countries, provided that they are in the United States. The Free Republic blog reported that the law firm of Edward W. Neufville, III, LLC, a Washington, D.C. area immigration firm, added a section to their website two days after the USCIS announcement, with more details about how these relief measures would work, including extensions of the time that the foreign national could remain in the United States, additional work permit opportunities, and even forgiveness for failure to appear at required interviews or submit required evidence. According to the Neufville firm, the new USCIS policies mean that "[i]ndividuals from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea currently in the United States may apply for an extension or change in status due to the Ebola Outbreak, even if their request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired." Otherwise stated, this means that someone from one of those countries who illegally overstayed their visa can now apply for an extension, or someone who arrived illegally can apply to get legal status.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died from Ebola earlier this month, had traveled to the United States after his visa was approved in August, the same month that USCIS announced the new relief measures.
Here is a breakdown of what was happening with the Ebola crisis in August courtesy of Haaretz:August 2: A U.S. missionary physician infected with Ebola in Liberia is flown to Atlanta in the United States for treatment.

August 5: A second U.S. missionary infected with Ebola is flown from Liberia to Atlanta for treatment. Aug. 8: WHO declares Ebola "international public health emergency."

August 12: WHO says death toll has topped 1,000, approves use of unproven drugs or vaccines. A Spanish priest with Ebola dies in a Madrid hospital.

August 15: MSF says the epidemic will take about six months to control.

August 20: Security forces in Monrovia fire shots, tear gas to disperse crowd trying to break out of quarantine, killing a teenager.

August 21: The two U.S. missionary aid workers treated in Atlanta are released from the hospital free of the virus.

August 24: Democratic Republic of Congo declares Ebola outbreak, apparently separate from larger epidemic. An infected British medical worker is flown home from Sierra Leone for treatment.

August 28: WHO puts death toll at above 1,550, warns outbreak could infect more than 20,000. Aug. 29: Senegal reports first confirmed Ebola case.
The White House has refused to even put travel restrictions on the table as the crisis in West Africa continues. Considering the administration has been encouraging more travel, it's no wonder travel restrictions aren't being considered. CDC Director Tom Frieden said yesterday during testimony on Capitol Hill that his first interest is protecting Americans. If Frieden really meant what he said,the folks over at DHS don't have the same priority and clearly aren't on the same page.

These revelations prompt a whole new set of questions about how the Obama administration is handling this situation and leads one to question whether the government is really doing anything real to protect Americans from a deadly disease. At a time when officials knew Ebola was killing thousands in Africa, they invited more people potentially exposed to that disease, including Thomas Duncan, to come into the United States. At best, this is negligence.

Tags: Katie Pavlich, Ebola Crisis Raging, Obama Administration, Streamlining Visas, West Africa, Thomas Sowell, quote To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

There's A Right Way To Do Executive Leadership . . .

. . . Obama has no clue what it is!
Herman Cain
by Herman Cain: We do not have an Ebola epidemic, and there is no reason for anyone to panic. But we do have a serious problem that has the potential to get much worse, and if it’s the federal government we’re going to trust to “manage the crisis” so to speak, then we absolutely need to demand competent leadership from the executive branch.

That is clearly not what we’re getting, and to understand why, you really need to look at the way President Obama thinks about what it means to lead.

His latest move was to appoint Ron Klain – a Democrat political operative with no experience dealing in diseases of any kind – as the “czar” in charge of coordinating the Ebola response. Why would he make such a move? He would make such a move because Obama doesn’t understand anything about selecting the right people for a job and charging them with working on the right problems and achieving the right results.

Let’s remember that Obama was elected for three reasons, and none of them had anything to do with competence in executive leadership: 1. He was highly regarded at the time (not nearly as much now) as a great orator; 2. People felt good about the “historic” significance of electing the first black president; 3. The economic meltdown of 2008 and fatigue over the Iraq War had people ready to go in a different direction after eight years of a Republican administration.

What all three have in common is that they were more or less about how people felt, not about any clear-eyed assessment of Obama’s ability to lead. He seemed to have personal qualities that made certain people feel inspired or hopeful, but he had no record or experience to suggest he was capable of doing the things people hoped he would do.

We have seen throughout his presidency that he lacks those capabilities, and worse, he doesn’t seem capable of learning from his mistakes. Rarely has that been on display more fully than since the Ebola problem reared its head.

First he assured us that the Centers for Disease Controls had everything under control. As we learned of health care workers contracting the virus amidst insufficient safety protocols, it became clear that this was not the case. Then he refused to institute a travel ban to the nations where Ebola absolutely is a crisis, insisting that the “experts” he consults tell him this would be less effective than the things we’re already doing. (How couldanything be less effective than what we’re doing now?) As Rob told you the other day, CDC director Tom Frieden offered the rationale that such a travel ban would hurt the economies of the African nations in question, as if that should be our priority under the circumstances.

The African nations have imposed travel bans of their own. There is no reason we should consider the option off the table.

Then Obama mused for several days that maybe he should appoint a czar to coordinate the effort, which is curious considering that he has an acting surgeon general that you’d think would be the natural leader for such an effort. (And what about the 30-some other “czars” Obama appointed at the beginning of his administration? How have they made anything better?)

Finally he appoints a political operative who has never done anything in the field of health, but is famous for engaging in partisan rhetoric on Twitter.

The pattern here? Obama doesn’t really know how to manage, but he thinks he knows how to look like he’s in charge. Make statements that appear to re-assure everybody. Announce that you’re putting someone in charge. See? Everything’s under control.

That, of course, is not how leadership works at all. I told you at the beginning of Obama’s presidency that you can’t manage more than 60 people reporting directly to you, which is the way he set up the executive branch structure. In truth, he wasn’t trying to manage them so much as he was trying to pawn off responsibility on them. “Hey, I appointed someone to do that!”

Yes you did, but making sure they do it right is still your responsibility. You can’t do that if you don’t appoint the right people and don’t know how to hold people responsible for results.

This episode might lead us to question our deep-seated instinct to turn to the federal government’s leadership every time there is a crisis. Just because it is big and has lots of people and money (or at least borrowing capacity) doesn’t mean it will necessarily do the job well. The culture of the federal government is to try hard to look in charge, not to actually get results. And that has never been more true than under a president we elected in part because he looked like we would like a leader to look – not because he actually is one.
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Herman Cain is the host of Best of Cain. He is a noted conservative radio show host and ran for the 2012 Republican nomination for president, He had over 40 years of experience in the private sector, where he balanced budgets, created jobs and rescued failing companies. He served as an analyst for Coca-Cola, an executive at Pillsbury, a regional Vice President with Burger King and CEO of Godfather's Pizza. Cain also served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and as a supervisory mathematician for the Department of the Navy developing ballistics and fire control systems for the armed forces.

Tags: Herman Cain, right way, executive leadership. President Obama, Ebola, epidemic To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Michele Bachmann Explains Why The Tea Party Is Important

Rep. Michele Bachmann
by Tyler McArthur: In remarks at The Heritage Foundation, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) defended the Tea Party and said its principles are shared by most Americans.
"The modern Tea Party stands for three very basic things. Number one, we are taxed enough already. Number two, government should not spend more money than what it take in. Number three, government should live under the constitution."This agenda, she said, is hardly extreme. “If these are the principles we stand for, I think whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, they are ones that you would agree with.”

In her 50 minute speech, Bachmann hit on several other conservative themes. Among other proposals, she called for a drastic simplification of the tax code, the termination of the Export-Import Bank, and increased border security.

The Tea Party is close to Bachmann’s heart. She was one of the first in 2010 to identify with the Tea Party’s protest against the growing size of the federal government. She also founded the House Tea Party Caucus.

The speech was one of the last of Bachmann’s congressional career. The four-term Representative and 2012 presidential candidate has elected to not seek re-election next month.

Watch this video for her whole speech.

Tags: Michele Bachmann, Tea Party To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

More WH Attempts To Bypass Congress: An Iran Deal, GITMO And More

For the second time in as many weeks, the Obama administration is floating the possibility of another end-run around Congress on a major policy, this time on Iran sanctions.

According to The New York Times, “No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it. . . .

“[T]he Iranians have signaled that they would accept, at least temporarily, a “suspension” of the stringent sanctions that have drastically cut their oil revenues and terminated their banking relationships with the West, according to American and Iranian officials. The Treasury Department, in a detailed study it declined to make public, has concluded Mr. Obama has the authority to suspend the vast majority of those sanctions without seeking a vote by Congress, officials say.

“But Mr. Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Mr. Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote. ‘We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,’ one senior official said. . . .

“[M]any members of Congress see the plan as an effort by the administration to freeze them out, a view shared by some Israeli officials who see a congressional vote as the best way to constrain the kind of deal that Mr. Obama might strike.”

Even Democrats sound troubled by this idea.

The Times writes, “The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat, said over the weekend that, ‘If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state.’ He has sponsored legislation to tighten sanctions if no agreement is reached by Nov. 24. A leading Republican critic of the negotiations, Senator Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, added, ‘Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99 to 0 vote,’ a reference to the vote in 2010 that imposed what have become the toughest set of sanctions.”

All this follows a report in The Wall Street Journal ten days ago that “[t]he White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S.,
senior administration officials said. Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S.”

At the time, the WSJ noted, “The White House has sought to make executive actions a centerpiece of its policy agenda, in areas including the minimum wage, antidiscrimination rules and, potentially, immigration.”


Tags: Preseident Obama, Obama administration, bypass congress, Iran deal,  GITMO, executive actions, minimum wage, rules, amnesty, illegal immigration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Putin: Autocrat Of All The "Russias"

by Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is moving with a steady pace to establish his total control over Russia. He’s now pushing a law to help him deal with the last pesky parts of the post-Soviet period of Russian history—that annoying free press. In this Washington Post story, we see that President Putin is doing in Russia what Sen. Harry Reid and fifty-three of his Senate colleagues attempted to do recently with a constitutional amendment to limit free speech.

Putin knows he is fairly free to act on the world scene and at home. President Obama is distracted. His administration is perplexed. Having waited too long to address the threat of ISIS, Mr. Obama is now leaping into the ISIS crisis with both feet. And he is even willing to make the Russians our new partner in the Middle East.

Jackson Diehl, a respected foreign affairs columnist with the Post, has offered a withering critique of the Obama administration’s East European policy. There, in lands so recently freed from the smothering grip of the Russian bear, new leaders are emerging who are pulling their nations back into the Russian orbit. Think Crimea. Think Ukraine.

It is clear President Obama does not like to deal with foreign policy. He came into office eloquently promising to “fundamentally transform this country.” He is working overtime to achieve that goal. Obamacare is just the start. By taking over one-sixth of the U.S. economy and having unelected bureaucrats in Washington making life and death decisions for 320 million of us, the President is working toward his objective of bringing European-style socialism to America via democratic, or at least quasi-democratic, means.

To do this, he needs to have a break from foreign entanglements. Vladimir Putin will be only too glad to give him the break he wants. Putin’s foreign minister is happy to tell the ever-credulous Sec. of State John Kerry what Kerry wants to hear. Need help with ISIS? We Russians will be there. Would you like to “manage” the situation with Iran’s nuclear program? We can help. Need to deal with—or at least appear to deal with Syria’s weapons of mass destruction? We can throw you a line, Mr. President, a red line perhaps.

The latest missteps of the Obama administration are of a piece. Early in his tenure, Mr. Obama sent his erstwhile rival, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, to meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. Sec. Clinton gave the dour and determined Slav a bright red “Re-set” button. It was spelled wrong. And her State Department crack translators had forgotten that Russians use the Cyrillic, not our Latin, alphabet. We can still hear Madame Secretary’s manic cackle as the looming Lavrov deadpans: You got it wrong.

Did she ever! But George Stephanopoulos once said the Clintons have no shame—and that’s a great advantage in politics. Mrs. Clinton earlier this year gave an interview to BBC in which she boasted that the Obama Re-set with Russia was “a brilliant stroke.”

But, gee, too bad that meany Putin came back into power and upset the administration’s well-laid plans.

All that Putin has done is to take advantage of the promise that President Obama made to him—via his fully compliant partner, Dmitri Medvedev. Recall when President Obama met with the seat-warming President Medvedev in South Korea in the spring of 2012, he was caught on a hot mic informing the Russian: “Tell Vladimir I can be more flexible after the election.” Flexible? Clearly, Mr. Putin’s translators got that word to the Kremlin’s real boss. They doubtless translated it for him. What’s the Russian word for invertebrate?

It is not surprising that American publications like Forbes magazine and the journal Foreign Policy have pegged Vladimir Putin as the world’s most powerful leader.

He is a man who its the description of Russia’s ancient rulers, the Tsars. He is rapidly becoming“ autocrat of all the Russias.” It may never have been possible for Americans, without resort to a new cold war, to have stopped this from happening. But it is equally clear that nothing this administration has done has been more than a speed bump in Putin’s path to absolute power.

This grim reality bodes ill for freedom. John F. Kennedy famously said we Americans “shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Here at home, Americans fear their own government. Abroad, no one fears us. Under President Obama, the survival and success of liberty have never been so threatened.
----------------------
Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Putin, Russia, autocrat, Obama, America, Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Friday, October 17, 2014

In Search Of Public Enemy #1

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Public Enemy, Ebola, Climate Change Deniers, John Kerry, Secretary of State, satire, editorial, cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Republican Lawmakers Demand Answers From Justice Department on Operation Choke Point

by Kelsey Harkness: Thirty members of Congress demanded today that the Department of Justice launch an “immediate investigation” into the agency’s own Operation Choke Point and those involved in creating and implementing the initiative against enterprises that are out of favor with the Obama administration.

Led by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., the 30 lawmakers sent a letter to Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, and Robin Ashton, head of its Office of Professional Responsibility, calling Choke Point a “blatant abuse of legal authority.”

“This situation merits your full and immediate attention, and we request that you launch a comprehensive investigation on Operation Choke Point and the individuals charged with creating and carrying out this unprecedented initiative,” Luetkemeyer and the 29 other lawmakers write.

The letter from House members follows one sent to the Justice Department earlier this month by six Republican senators, demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder release information about Operation Choke Point.

The House members want a response to their request for an investigation by Nov. 12.

“There is no doubt in my mind that [Justice Department] officials have abused their authority to address consumer fraud issues while misleading business owners by claiming financial institutions have not suffered any actual losses,” Luetkemeyer said in a press release.

The senators wrote Holder Oct. 6 that Operation Choke Point “is inappropriately targeting business models not supported by the administration and is politicizing the payment system and access to credit markets.” They added:
The result is causing banks and payment processors to deny or terminate loans and restrict access to payment systems for law-abiding and legitimate businesses to avoid unwarranted investigations and legal actions by the Department of Justice … and federal financial regulators.Signing the letter were Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho, David Vitter of Louisiana, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Dean Heller of Nevada.

They requested the following information by Nov. 2:
Four days after the senators wrote Holder, an editorial in The New York Times inaccurately described Operation Choke Point while defending the controversial actions taken by the Justice Department and federal regulators against politically disfavored industries.

“Lobbyists have tried to confuse the issue by accusing the government of unfairly targeting legal businesses and excluding them from the banking system without cause,” the editorial said. “But Operation Choke Point is directed at banks and third-party processors who flout the law. The regulators need to keep driving that point home.”

Earlier this year, however, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that a mix of legal and illegal enterprises—including guns and ammunition sellers—were targeted by the Justice Department’s covert operation.

As proof, committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., offered a list of businesses that was posted on the website of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s website, but has since been removed.
--------------
Kelsey Harkness / (@kelseyjharkness) is a news producer at The Daily Signal where this article was first shared.

Tags: republicans Senators, Representatives, demand answers, Justice Department, operation Choke Point, Kelly Harkness To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obama's Next Executive Order: Sending The National Guard to Fight Ebola in Africa

Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News:  The below article by Katie Pavlick could be a precursor to future Ebola problems in the United States. We already have active duty military ordered by President Obama to West Africa and thus placed in harms way of Ebola. So, what is the big deal about thousands of Guard members going to West Africa?

First regarding active duty service members. They normally return from their assignments to a stateside military base where they can be observed and if signs of Ebola raises its ugly head, then they can be isolated and treated in military medical facilities, etc. At this time, I am not going to belabor the point that active duty military troops did not enlist to to fight major diseases in Africa.

Regarding, Guard members, often called weekend warriors. When they return from active duty deployment, they return to their different communities within their home states. They return to families, work, and their community activities.  If any of these Guard men or women were to bring back Ebola, the disease would have a much easier opportunity to spread throughout the heartland of America and would be harder to contain.  A situation that is 100% preventable by not sending them to Africa!

This is a serious situation!

Why is President Obama  ordering active duty military and National Guard members to West Africa? It is not in the job description of the military to be used for these purposes. Also, why has President Obama not placed a travel ban to and from regions where Ebola is a problem? Why has he not sealed our borders to illegals crossing our borders bringing potential disease, crime and terrorists?  His actions require a lot of answers to these and other serious questions.

by Katie Pavlich, TownHall.com: President Obama will sign an executive order as soon as today deploying National Guard troops to Ebola stricken countries in West Africa according to a report from NBC News.President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order Thursday paving the way for the deployment of National Guard forces to Liberia to help contain the Ebola outbreak there, sources told NBC News.

The sources said that eight engineers and logistical specialists from the Guard, both active-duty and reservists, would probably be included in the first deployment. They are expected to help build 17 Ebola treatment centers, with 100 beds apiece. The sources said that no decision had been made.
Fox News' Ed Henry confirmed this afternoon that a draft of the order is circulating through the White House and Pentagon.

A month ago President Obama announced the deployment of thousands of U.S. soldiers to Ebola stricken regions in Africa. The original number of soldiers deployed for the task was 3,000 but the Pentagon has upped that number to 4,000 this week.

At this point it is unclear what National Guard troops will be tasked with doing or how they will be protected from contracting the disease once they arrive. Earlier this month we learned U.S. military soldiers and medical personnel will be handling Ebola infected blood samples.The U.S. military mission to combat Ebola in West Africa is facing questions about the serious health risks American troops will encounter in heading to the epicenter of the deadly outbreak.

According to officials, a small group of trained military medical technicians on the ground will not be required to make direct contact with patients infected with the Ebola virus. However, they will have to handle infected blood samples, which Pentagon officials acknowledged Tuesday could be just as dangerous, if not more.
More information {To Follow]
------------
Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women.

Tags: President O,bama, sending National Guard, West Africa, Ebola, why? To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obama Name Political Hack As Ebola Czar - Now Panic

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service - Jake Trapper an CNN Politics reported: "President Barack Obama will appoint Ron Klain his "Ebola czar, . . . Klain is highly regarded at the White House as a good manager with excellent relationships both in the administration and on Capitol Hill. His supervision of the allocation of funds in the stimulus act' . . . He does not have any extensive background in health care but the job is regarded as a managerial challenge. CNN Political analyst David Gergen said, 'that while Klain doesn't have a health care background, he does have both domestic policy and foreign policy assignments on his portfolio and both will come into play as the administration deals with Ebola.' Klain will report to both White House homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. . . . A former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and also to then-Vice President Al Gore, Klain is currently President of Case Holdings and General Counsel of Revolution, an investment group. He has clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court and headed up Gore's effort during the 2000 Florida recount and was portrayed in the HBO movie Recount by Kevin Spacey. He could not be reached for comment on Friday."

Gaff prone Vice President Joe Biden tweeted: "There's no one better at getting govt to work at its best than Ron Klain. He's a tested manager & problem-solver, and a trusted advisor. -vp"

Two days ago, President Obama was offering another person. WND reported at that time, "White House Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco, who has no professional medical expertise, was named by the White House as the point person in charge of coordinating the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak."

As previously identified, the new Czar will report to Lisa Monaco and Susan Rice.   Expect a lot of "flotsam" coming out of the offices and lips of Rice and Monaco.

CBS DC noted, "Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., slammed the decision on Twitter. 'Worst ebola epidemic in world history and Pres. Obama puts a government bureaucrat with no healthcare experience in charge. Is he serious?' Harris tweeted." In addition, they noted, "Meanwhile, the World Health Organization admitted to mistakes of its own in failing to contain the outbreak still spreading out of control in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 'Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,' the U.N. health agency said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press. The response was marred by incompetency and ineffective bureaucracy, the document says, and experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in an African region with porous borders and broken health systems."

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) is a physician. He responded that Klain's appointment "is inserting a highly political figure into this situation that's not political at all."

Now as William Warren's cartoon depicts, It is time "To Panic."

Tags: Ebola, Ebola Czar, non-medical, political hack, Ron Klain, William Warren, cartoon, Now Panic, Bill Smith, ARRA News Service To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stop Disease at the Border

by Phyllis Schlafly: Americans against amnesty are not only worried about unemployed Mexicans crossing our southern border illegally to take U.S. jobs. More than ever, we need the fence that Congress voted for and President George W. Bush made a television photo event when he signed it into law.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) said that at least ten ISIS thugs have crossed our southern border. Hunter added, if we caught ten, “you know there are going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol.”

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) says the Islamic State, ISIS, is actively working with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate and eventually attack Americans. ISIS has told us it wants to extend a caliphate over America, so why is anybody surprised that they are doing what they said they wanted to do?

The problem of invasion across our border is no longer just a jobs problem. It’s a national security problem, a welfare problem, a public school problem, and a dangerous disease problem.

It’s not a problem of accepting a few lost teenagers who arrived unannounced and demanded admission. It’s a problem of our public schools suddenly being invaded by thousands of young adults who have never been to any school, who are not familiar with basic hygiene, who can’t read or write, who don’t speak English or even familiar Spanish (but speak one of 21 different Spanish or Indian dialects), and who may carry new diseases such as EV-D68.

It’s a problem of requiring our newly burdened health-care establishment to deal with diseases that are not common in the United States. During the summer we suffered an outbreak of EV-D68, a polio-like enterovirus. The outbreak is widespread in Central America, from which many of the illegal kids came.

The CDC reports that at least 538 people, mostly children, in 43 states and the District of Columbia became ill with EV-D68. At least five U.S. children infected with EV-D68 died this fall.

Obama has refused to bar entry to the United States by people from countries where Ebola is epidemic. The problem we face is not just one African who entered our country and then died from Ebola. It’s a national health problem that has made our health care personnel carriers of a fatal African disease endangering Americans who never went to Africa.

Obama sent thousands of U.S. troops to Liberia, a country stricken with Ebola. He ignores the danger to our American troops and also to other Americans when these servicemen and women return home. The safety of the American people is less important to him than posing as a world citizen.

Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, told the National Defense University in Washington, DC that, if Ebola comes to Central America, “it will cause a panic,” that “it’s literally ‘Katie bar the door,’ and there will be mass migration into the United States.”

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control reports that “By the end of the year, there will be 14 million people infected with Ebola and 62 percent of them dying.”

Ebola
Why doesn’t Obama impose a travel ban on persons flying here from Ebola-infected countries? It’s not enough to take the temperature of airline travelers and have them fill out a written form because we know that the African who died from Ebola after arrival in the U.S. had lied on his form.

Mark Krikorian points out that the U.S. has issued 13,000 visas for travel to America from the three most Ebola-infected West African countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Will Obama let those 13,000 people into America?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the specialist on infectious diseases at the National Institute for Health, is very much opposed to closing the U.S. border. Instead, he is blaming the Dallas Hospital, saying, “They dropped the ball” by failing to determine the patient’s “travel history.”

Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the CDC, blamed a supposed “breach of protocol” for a Dallas nurse getting Ebola, and called for an investigation of how she could get the disease while following full CDC precautions.

According to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the CDC was given nearly $3 billion to fight infectious diseases but spent only 6 percent of that for its declared purpose. A much larger share of the money was spent on community transformation grants to increase access to healthy foods and promote improvements in sidewalks to make it easy for people to walk and ride bikes.

We are hearing some common sense from a few Members of Congress. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul called for barring entry into the United States for people from West African countries wrestling with Ebola, and also temporarily suspending the 13,000 visas that have already been issued to people in those countries. Senator Ted Cruz said it best: “Our priority should be protecting the American people and preventing Ebola from coming here.”
--------------------
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: Stop Disease, at the border,travel, Ebola virus, CDC, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

19 Times Government Withheld Documents It Didn’t Want You to See

Note: None of the below missing documents have anything to do with all the sealed / hidden records / documents associated with incumbent President Obama (i.e, prior associations, FBI records, academic records, and myriad of other undisclosed documents). The author's list addresses 19 Withheld Government Documents spanning the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.
by Sharyl Attkisson / (@SharylAttkisson): Lost and missing government records are not isolated to one administration or political party. The list below includes 19 examples of public files that went missing, were withheld or lost and then found. It includes the most recent example of former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell’s account of Benghazi documents.

Lost and missing government records are not isolated to one administration or political party. The list below includes 19 examples of public files that went missing, were withheld or lost and then found. It includes the most recent example of former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell’s account of Benghazi documents, which The Daily Signal revealed last month.

1) Missing: Hillary Clinton S&L Records. In 1988, according to congressional investigators, Hillary Clinton “ordered the destruction of records relating to her [legal] representation of [Jim] McDougal’s Madison S&L” when federal regulators were investigating the insolvency of the Arkansas savings and loan. Bill Clinton was Arkansas governor at the time.

The Clintons and McDougal were business partners in the failed Whitewater real estate venture. McDougal later was convicted of fraud for attempting to use S&L funds to cover Whitewater losses. His wife, Susan, served prison time for refusing to answer grand jury questions about whether Bill Clinton lied in his testimony during her Whitewater trial.

2) Missing: Clinton Counsel’s Foster Records. In 1993, according to a Secret Service official, first lady Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Maggie Williams, removed records from the office of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster the night of his suicide.

Other Clinton officials, including White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, later testified that they conducted an improper search of Foster’s office. At least one file was marked “Whitewater” and another was marked “taxes.”

Another White House counsel, Bob Barnett, later picked up a box of Foster’s documents. Associate counsel Clifford Sloan’s contemporaneous notes cite the Clintons’ initials: “get Maggie—go through office—get HRC, WJC stuff.”

3) Missing: Clinton Counsel’s Foster Suicide Note. Also in 1993, the White House released an official statement incorrectly saying that no Foster suicide note had been found. However, more than 24 hours after a note had been found, White House counsel Nussbaum turned it over to Attorney General Janet Reno.

4) Missing: Hillary Clinton Law Firm Records. In 1996, after nearly two years of searches and subpoenas, the White House reported it found copies of missing documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s law firm that described her work for Madison S&L in the 1980s. The White House previously said it did not have the records. The originals have not turned up.

5) Missing: Bush Administration Energy Emails. In 2002, the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch said more than 25,000 documents were missing from records released regarding deliberations between Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force and industry executives, possibly including documents related to the Enron scandal.

6) Missing: Clinton Terrorism Documents. In 2003, former Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger smuggled classified documents related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks from the National Archives. Berger said he removed handwritten notes by hiding them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of classified documents.

7) Missing: Bush Administration ‘Torture’ Documents. In 2004, critics of the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” for suspected terrorists, which they regarded as torture, said key documents were missing from newly declassified White House materials regarding torture and other mistreatment of prisoners. These included memos to and from the FBI and CIA, and documents dated after April 2003.

8) Missing: Millions of Bush Administration Emails. In 2005, the White House discovered some emails were not properly archived. It later was revealed that missing emails from Jan. 3, 2003, to July 28, 2005, might total 5 million.

9) Lost and Found: Katrina Conference Call Transcript. Also in 2005, Bush administration officials told Congress that they could not locate a transcript of an Aug. 29 videoconference call about Hurricane Katrina. Officials produced a transcript in 2006.

10) Missing: Bush Administration’s Abramoff Emails. In 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald found that missing emails from the 2003 period could be relevant to the criminal probe into influence peddling by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who later was convicted of bribery and corruption.

11) Missing: Bush Administration Political Emails. In 2007, it was revealed that 88 White House officials used Republican National Committee email accounts — but that the RNC preserved no emails for 51 of the officials.

12) Missing: Bush Administration Interrogation Video. Also in 2007, it was discovered that the Pentagon had lost a crucial recording of an al-Qaeda operative being interrogated in a U.S. military brig.

13) Withheld: Obama Administration ‘Fast and Furious’ Documents. In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder withheld emails regarding the “Fast and Furious” scandal. President Obama invoked executive privilege to prevent some emails from being turned over to Congress under subpoena.

14) Missing: Obama State Department Records. This year, it was revealed that the State Department may have lost some $6 billion because of incomplete or missing contract records over six years, mainly during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

15) Missing: Obama Administration IRS Emails. Also this year, the Internal Revenue Service said it had lost key emails of Lois Lerner and other officials regarding improper IRS targeting of conservative nonprofit groups.

16) Missing: Obama HealthCare.gov Records. Also this year, the Obama administration revealed that records Congress is seeks in its investigation of the Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, are missing.

17) Missing: Obama EPA Records. Also this year, the Environmental Protection Agency told Congress it was having trouble finding emails relevant to a probe into the environmental impact of a proposed gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska. In a separate case, a federal judge found that the EPA willfully failed to keep emails and other records relevant to a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the delay of unpopular regulations until after the 2012 election.

18) Missing?: Hillary Clinton Benghazi Documents. Also this year, former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell said he witnessed a Benghazi document-sorting session in October 2012 in the State Department basement. He said then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and her deputy, Jake Sullivan, were present.

19) Missing: Obama EPA Text Messages. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency said it didn’t save text messages at issue in a Freedom of Information case seeking records about the agency’s plans to crack down on coal power plants. An EPA spokesman contends that federal law doesn’t require the messages to be retained.
-----------------
Sharyl Attkisson is an Emmy award-winning investigative journalist and senior independent contributor to various publications. She is the author of the forthcoming book, "Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington."

Tags: Sharyl Attkisson, Stonewalled. government documents, withheld, obstruction, Intimidation, harrassment, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

An American Decline that Must Be Reversed

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: The tendency of pundits is to address the decline in American culture and traditional moral values. The concerns addressed include the rather sudden, but widespread embrace of same-sex marriages or calls for the legalization of marijuana so anyone can get high without the fear of arrest.

You can probably name a few things you consider evidence of decline, but there is one you are not likely to notice much. It’s the nation’s infrastructure of highways, airports, waterways and ports. It’s only dramatic declines such as the decay of Detroit, once one of the nation’s most dynamic cities that get attention because it is so blatant. We judge the backwardness of third world nations by their bad roads and lack of infrastructure to support their economies.

We don’t, however, think of the U.S. as a nation in decline, but we are.

A September study released by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) revealed that overall spending on public infrastructure fell 10.5% between 2003 and 2012. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “Spending on highways and streets by federal, state and local governments, dropped a higher 19% during that same period, according to the study.”

NAM president, Jay Timmons, said, “The United States is stuck in a decade-long decline (in infrastructure spending) that will eventually harm job creation, future productivity and our ability to compete head-to-head with companies all over the globe.” When a manufacturer cannot transport their product in a timely fashion, it puts them at a disadvantage. Multiply that by the nation’s many manufacturers and you have a very big problem for lack of adequate highways, roads, and bridges

The great power of America’s infrastructure was supported by the maintenance it requires. The 2013 study was commissioned by the Building America’s Future Educational Fund and NAM to survey manufacturers. It found that they “overwhelmingly viewed America’s infrastructure as old, inefficient, and badly in need of modernization.”

Findings included 70% who believed that U.S. infrastructure is in fair or poor shape and needs a great deal or quite a lot of improvement. The same percentage believe that road are getting worse and 65% did not believe that infrastructure, especially in their region, is positioned to respond to the competitive demands of a growing economy over the next 10-15 years.

This may not seem very exciting compared to news of combat in the Middle East or the threat of Ebola, but consider that, in early October, the Financial Times reported that “China has surpassed the US in terms of GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP), becoming the largest in the world by this measure, International Monetary Fund estimates show. In 2014 China reached $17.6 trillion or 16.48 percent of the world’s purchasing-power-adjusted GDP, while the US made slightly less, 16.28 percent or $17.4 trillion, according to IMF data.“

We are now number two in the global economy.

The NAM study’s research, said University of Maryland Professor Jeffrey Werling, “helps confirm what engineers and executives both know, The quality and quantity of current U.S. infrastructure is deficient, and these deficiencies are already hampering economic growth.”

For years, a federal fuel tax has helped underwrite needed highway construction, but it hasn’t been increased since 1993 and annual collections have been declining due to fuel-efficient vehicles and motorists who have been driving less than in the past. The Wall Street Journal reported that “Congress has shown little interest in raising the 18.2 cent-a-gallon tax” and has relied on stop-gap funding.

There was a time when a politician would jump at the chance to have a bridge or a strip of highway named after him. Those days are over. We have a Congress that can barely agree on anything, let alone something as undramatic as funding infrastructure projects. The States and local communities are squeezed for their own funds, burdened with pensions and other costs.

None of this bodes well, but at least we can say we’ve been warned, eh?
-----------------
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs". He is a contributor to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: American Decline, National Association of Manufacturers, public infrastructure, China, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!


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