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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
Monday, April 27, 2015
Hillary In Orange . . .
. . . Jail time could be possible for Democrat Hillary . . . if she were a republican.
Tags:Hillary Clinton, in orage, prison, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Ron Paul: One of the great ironies of American politics is that most politicians who talk about helping the middle class support policies that, by expanding the welfare-warfare state, are harmful to middle-class Americans. Eliminating the welfare-warfare state would benefit middle-class Americans by freeing them from exorbitant federal taxes, including the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax.
Politicians serious about helping middle-class Americans should allow individuals to opt out of Social Security and Medicare by not having to pay payroll taxes if they agree to never accept federal retirement or health care benefits. Individuals are quite capable of meeting their own unique retirement and health care needs if the government stops forcing them into one-size-fits-all plans.
Middle-class families with college-age children would benefit if government got out of the student loan business. Government involvement in higher education is the main reason tuition is skyrocketing and so many Americans are graduating with huge student loan debts. College graduates entering the job market would certainly benefit if Congress stopped imposing destructive regulations and taxes on the economy.
Politicians who support an interventionist foreign policy are obviously not concerned with the harm inflicted on the middle-class populations of countries targeted for regime change. These politicians also disregard the harm US foreign policy inflicts on Americans. Middle- and working-class Americans, and their families, who join the military certainly suffer when they are maimed or killed fighting in unjust and unconstitutional wars. Our interventionist foreign policy also contributes to the high tax burden imposed on middle-class Americans.
Middle-class Americans also suffer from intrusions on their liberty and privacy, such as not being able to board an airplane unless they submit to invasive and humiliating searches. Even children and the physically disabled are not safe from the Transposition Security Administration. These assaults are justified by the threat of terrorism, a direct result of our interventionist foreign policy that fosters hatred and resentment of Americans.
Some “military Keynesians” claim that middle-class workers benefit from jobs in the military-industrial complex. Military Keynesians seem to think that the resources spent on militarism would disappear if the Pentagon’s budget were cut. The truth is, if we reduced spending on militarism, those currently employed by the military-industrial complex would be able to find new jobs producing goods desired by consumers. Even those currently employed as lobbyists for the military-industrial complex may be able to find useful work.
Few things would benefit the middle class more than ending the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies erode middle-class families’ standards of living while benefiting the financial and political elites. Middle-class Americans may gain some temporary benefits from Federal Reserve created booms, but they also suffer from the inevitable busts.
As I write this, the dollar still reigns as the world’s reserve currency. However, there are signs that other economies are moving away from using the dollar as the reserve currency, and this trend will accelerate as the Federal Reserve continues to pump more fiat currency into the economy and as resentment toward our foreign policy grows. Eventually, international investors will lose confidence in the US economy, the dollar will lose its reserve currency status, and the dollar bubble will burst.
These events will cause a major economic downturn that may even be worse than the Great Depression. The main victims of this crisis will be average Americans. The only way to avoid this calamity is for the American people to force Congress to free them from the burdens of the warfare state, the welfare state, taxation, and fiat currency.
-------------- 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, Real War on the Middle Class, middle class, stop welfare state, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Rep. Paul Ryan Weekly Republican Address Makes The Case For Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities & Accountability Act
'We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms, to raise other countries to our standards, to create more opportunity for our people. This is our moment. It’s our chance to lead, to restore American leadership in the world.' ~ Paul Ryan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address on Friday, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) makes the case for bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will help secure new trade agreements to create American jobs, boost wages, and fuel stronger economic growth. As Chairman Ryan notes, the bill is widely supported by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and will give Congress a stronger hand in outlining priorities for trade negotiations and holding the administration accountable. Video and transcript below:
Full transcript of the address follows: Hi, I’m Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
This week, our committee passed a bill that we’re pretty excited about. It would establish what we call TPA—or “trade promotion authority.” And soon that bill will go before Congress.
I think this is one of the most important things Congress can do for the country right now. So, here’s the issue.
Right now, the United States is negotiating two historic trade agreements—one with our friends in the Pacific Rim and another with our friends in Europe. We need these trade agreements so we can lay down fair and strong rules that tear down trade barriers and open markets to American products.
You see, ninety six percent of the world’s consumers—they don’t live in the United States; they live in other countries. We have to make more things in America and sell them overseas, so we can create more jobs here at home. And when we do, American workers benefit. Manufacturing jobs that rely on trade pay 16 percent more on average.
But today, the deck is stacked against our workers in far too many places. We let other countries sell their products over here. But they’ve put up trade barriers that make it hard to sell our products over there.
These trade agreements will level the playing field for America’s workers. But to complete them, we need TPA.
So what is it?
TPA is a process for getting the most effective trade agreements possible — and for holding the administration accountable all along the way.
TPA puts Congress in the driver’s seat—because it lets Congress set the agenda. We say to the administration three things. First, here are your negotiating objectives—150 of them. Tear down barriers to our products. Beef up protections for intellectual property. Get rid of kickbacks for foreign-government firms.
Second, here are your transparency requirements. To name a few: You’ve got to let any member of Congress read the negotiating offers at any time. You even have to allow any member to attend the negotiating rounds. And 60 days before the administration even agrees to any agreement, you’ve got to publish the full text so the American people can read it for themselves.
And third, Congress gets the final say. If you meet all of these requirements, we will give the agreement an up-or-down vote—without amendment. This will give our trading partners the confidence they need to make their best offers.
But if the administration doesn’t do all that we have said, we can cancel the vote, we can change it, or stop it completely. In short, TPA will hold the administration accountable and get us the highest quality agreements possible.
You know, the stakes are really high—because in the global economy, if you are not moving forward, you are falling behind. China is negotiating trade deals all over the world, and they’re trying to rig the rules in their favor. So it all comes down to this question: Is China going to write the rules of the global economy, or are we?
Are we going to rise to the occasion and provide American leadership in the world?
This is our challenge—and our opportunity. We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms, to raise other countries to our standards, to create more opportunity for our people.
All across the country, people are coming together to support TPA: farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, Democrats, Republicans. They know the stakes. They know what this means for our country. And Congress should not let them down.
We’re the only country that can do this. We’re the only country that can stand up for free enterprise and the rule of law. This is our moment. It’s our chance to lead, to restore American leadership in the world.
We’ve still got a lot of work to do. But it all begins with TPA and this vote. Thank you. Tags:Weekly Republican Address, Paul Ryan, Bypartisan, Congressional, Trade Priorities & Accountability Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
NY Post: "It Turns Out The Gridlock Was All About Harry Reid"
Harry Reid: Gridlock was the order of the day
Today in Washington. D.C. - April 27, 2015 The Senate will reconvene at 3 PM today. The Senate will then resume consideration of H.R. 1191, the vehicle for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. At 5:30 PM, the Senate will vote on confirmation of Dava Newman to be deputy administrator of NASA.
The House will reconvene at 8:00 p.m. on April 27, 2015. No known actions at this time.
On Wednesday, May 20 leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the American Fighter Aces’ heroic service to the United States throughout the history of aviation warfare. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will take part in the bipartisan, bicameral ceremony.
Dating back to World War I with the first use of aviation warfare, an American Fighter Ace is any fighter pilot whose tremendous skill and valor resulted in the destruction of five or more enemy aircraft. Of more than 60,000 United States military fighter pilots that have taken to the air, fewer than 1,500 have become known as American Fighter Aces. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow.
During the years Democrats controlled the Senate, there was constant discussion of the body being dysfunctional. A representative segment from 60 Minutes in 2012 declared, “Today it's known more for deadlock, dysfunction, and political gamesmanship; a body unwilling or unable to resolve the major issues of the day . . . .”
Some liberals, who felt the Senate didn’t advance their agenda enough, decided the Senate itself was the problem and needed to be done away with altogether. Vox’s Dylan Matthews declared, “The Senate is a profoundly anti-democratic body and should be abolished.”
But as Mitch McConnell explained numerous times, it was never the Senate that was the problem, but the choices being made by the majority running it. In a speech on the Senate floor, he said, “The big problem has never been the rules. Senators from both parties have revered and defended the rules during our nation’s darkest hours. The real problem is an attitude that views the Senate as an assembly line for one party's partisan legislative agenda, rather than as a place to build consensus to solve national problems.”
In September 2012, he admonished the Democrat leadership, saying, “It’s embarrassing. For the sake of this institution and for the sake of our country, we need to straighten this place out. We need an attitude change. This is not about the rules. The rules have remained largely the same over the years. This is about us. And this problem can be fixed. All we have to do is decide to operate differently. No matter who is up or who is down, there are basic things this institution owes the American people, which is to get the basic work of government done.”
Last November, the American people decided it was time for a change in management in the Senate thus replacing Harry Reid as Leader, and the result has been a break in the logjam.
The New York Post editors seem to have best grasped what changed. “Here’s a story you haven’t seen for a while: Congress is working — well, sort of. Better than it had for the previous six years, anyway. The difference? Harry Reid is no longer running the Senate — and Republican Mitch McConnell has made the place far less dysfunctional.”
They elaborate, “The bipartisan trafficking bill was delayed awhile by Reid-style partisanship: Democrats held it up to score ‘War on Women’ points over no-federal-funds-for-abortion language that’s been routine in such legislation for decades. McConnell broke that logjam by refusing to allow a vote on Lynch until Democrats quit playing games.
“Meanwhile, members of both parties are cooperating, particularly on the committee levelz. . . . worked to pass the bill asserting Congress’ role in overseeing any Iran nuclear deal. Reid, by contrast, regularly stomped on committee chairmen who dared compromise with Republicans.
“Under his ‘leadership,’ gridlock was the order of the day. He refused to bring many House-passed bills to the Senate floor — sometimes to protect Democrats from having to cast a tough vote, sometimes to avoid exposing the lack of Democratic support for Obama policies.
“Reid also severely limited the ability of the minority to amend legislation — leaving Republicans no way to dissent except the filibuster. McConnell has given Democrats far more ability to amend than Reid did with the then-GOP minority.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reminded reporters of this last week: “As several outside observers have noted, including former Democratic leader Tom Daschle, the Senate is indeed getting back to work. There's some encouraging signs that lots of people are noticing. As you all know, we had 15 roll call votes on amendments last year, the entire year. We've had over 100 so far this year, roll call votes on amendments.” Tags:Harry Reid, U.S. Senate, Gridlock, order of the day, McConnell, unstops gridlockTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Challenging the Vatican Conference On Global Warming
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I have devoted the better part of more than two and a half decades speaking out against the charlatans that have created and maintained the greatest hoax ever imposed on modern man. At the heart of this hoax has been the United Nations environmental program and at the heart of that program is an agenda to initiate a massive redistribution of wealth from industrialized, successful nations to those who have suffered, as often as not, from being ruled by despots of one description or another.
It is with profound sorrow and disappointment that I must now speak out against Pope Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, whom observers have noted has “a green agenda.” He has become an outspoken advocate on environmental issues, saying that taking action is “essential to faith” and calling the destruction of nature a modern sin.
Before proceeding, let me note that I am not Catholic. My thoughts regarding the Pope are rooted in my knowledge of the long record of lies, false predictions, and claims by various environmentalists over the years.
When the Vatican announced it would hold a conference on April 28 called “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development”, I wondered why the Vatican is not holding a conference to organize the protection of Christians — particularly in the Middle East — against the wholesale genocide that is occurring. The Pope is not alone in this. There appears to be little urgency in addressing a threat comparable to the Holocaust of the last century that consigned six million Jews to death for being Jews.
I frankly do not know what is meant by “the moral dimensions of climate change.” Climate change is something that was occurring long before there was a human population on planet Earth. It is the measurement of the previous global cycles through which the Earth has passed for billions of years. It is profoundly natural. Applying a moral dimension to it makes no sense whatever.
As for “sustainable development”, that is a term that environmentalists use to deny any development that benefits the human population.
Environmentalism is deeply opposed to the use of any energy resource, coal, oil, natural gas, as well as other elements of the Earth we use to enhance and improve our lives with habitat of every description from a hut to a skyscraper. Over the last five thousand years we have gone from being largely dependent on wood to the use of fossil fuel energy that keeps us safe against nature—blizzards, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, et cetera.
At the heart of environmentalism, however, is a deep disdain and antagonism to the human race. From its earliest advocates, one can find allusions to humanity as “a cancer” on the Earth. The Catholic Church has been an advocate for the human race, most notably opposing abortion that kills humans in the womb. Its charitable work is legendary.
To grasp how far the forthcoming conference is from the most basic beliefs of Catholicism, one need only take note of the persons scheduled to speak. They include the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, the leader of the institution in which the hoax of global warming was created and advanced. Another is Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, another voice for global warming, but neither is going to tell those attending the conference that there is no warming and that the Earth has been a natural cooling cycle for the past eighteen years, tied entirely to a comparable cycle of the Sun.
The Green’s response to the voices of those scientists who courageously spoke out to debunk their lies has been to denounce and try to silence them. There is no science to support the global warming hoax.
The one-day summit will include participants from major world religions. The Pope will issue an encyclical on the environment later this year.
Is there a religious or spiritual aspect to opposing the forthcoming conference and encyclical? One need look no further than Genesis. In a Wall Street Journal commentary, William McGurn drew the lesson that it offers “a reminder that God’s creation is meant to serve man—not man the environment."
Quoting Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” concluding that “the Earth is to be worked and that this work and the fruit it bears are also blessed.” The spiritual truth to be drawn from this is that man is the steward of the Earth. That does not mean its resources should be abandoned because of bogus claims that the Earth is doomed.
McGurn reminds us that “it is the have-nots who pay the highest price for the statist interventions so beloved the Church of St. Green.” There are more than a billion on Earth who do not have any access to electricity which, in addition to hydropower, is generated by coal, oil and natural gas. Lacking the means to deter the impact of insects and weeds on agriculture, much of the Earth’s annual crops are lost. Lacking access to the beneficial chemicals that protect humans from the diseases transmitted by insects, millions die needlessly.
The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank is leading the effort to alert people to the dangerous message of the Vatican Vatican because “many people of faith who are familiar with the science and economics of climate change are worried this event will become a platform for alarmism over a controversial scientific issue” noting that “there is no scientific ‘consensus’ on whether there is any need to reduce mankind’s use of fossil fuels.”
The conference agenda is “profoundly anti-poor and anti-life” says the Institute. Plainly said, the Vatican conference incomprehensibly would advocate policies whose only result would be the reduction of human life in order to “sustain” the Earth.
“These unnecessary policies would cause the suffering and even death of billions of people. All people of faith should rise up in opposition to such policies.”
The Heartland Institute is sending a team of scientists and climate policy experts to Rome where they will be joined by Marc Morano of the think tank, CFAT. Says Morano, "Instead of entering into an invalid marriage with climate fear promoters — a marriage that is destined for an annulment — Pope Francis should administer last rites to the promotion of man-made climate fears and their so-called solutions. This unholy alliance must be prevented."
----------------- Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, global warming, Vatican conference, conference on Global Warming, Pope Francis To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
U.S. Supreme Court Throws Out Obamacare Contraception Ruling
The following report was filed today by by Reuters Washington Journalist Lawrence Hurley and shared for educational purposes (fair use doctrine):
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived religious objections by Catholic groups in Michigan and Tennessee to the Obamacare requirement for contraception coverage, throwing out a lower court decision favoring President Barack Obama's administration.
The justices asked the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision that backed the Obama administration in light of the Supreme Court's June 2014 ruling that allowed certain privately owned corporations to seek exemptions from the provision.
Obama's healthcare law, known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women including access to contraception and sterilization.
Various challengers, including family-owned companies and religious affiliated nonprofits that oppose abortion and sometimes the use of contraceptives, say the requirement infringes on their religious beliefs.
The high court threw out a June 2014 appeals court ruling that went in favor of the government. In March, the court took a similar approach in a case concerning the University of Notre Dame.
The appeals court rulings in both cases pre-dated the Supreme Court's June 2014 ruling that family-owned Hobby Lobby Stores Ltd could seek exemptions on religious grounds from the contraception provision of the 2010 healthcare law.
Courts that have ruled on the issue since the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision have all decided in favor of the government, finding the government's compromise does not impose a substantial burden on the plaintiffs' religious beliefs. Religious rights are protected under a law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The case is Michigan Catholic Conference v. Burwell, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-701. Tags:Supreme Court, Tosses, Obamacare Contraception ruling, Michigan Catholic Conference v. Burwell, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-701, Reuters, Lawrence HurleyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Chuck Colson: Since 1782, the Latin phrase E pluribus unum — “out of many, one” — has appeared on the Great Seal of the United States.
But what happens when we neglect and even deny the importance of the “one” — that is, cultural unity—and emphasize the importance of the “many” — that is, individuals — which, today, we call “diversity”? As a renowned social scientist learned, nothing good.
In his famous essay “Bowling Alone,” published some years ago, Robert Putnam documented our increased tendency to “go it alone,” instead of the civic participation that marked earlier eras. This decrease in “social capital,” Putnam argued, adversely affected American democracy.
Putnam’s latest project put contemporary ideas about “diversity” to the test and found them wanting. The data compiled from 30,000 interviews led him to conclude that “virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.”
The more diverse a community is, “the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects.” They “expect the worst from their community and its leaders.” In these communities, people don’t withdraw into ethnic and religious subgroups; they “withdraw even from [their] close friends” and “distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin.”
Instead of being engaged, they “huddle unhappily in front of the television,” what Putnam calls “hunkering down,” much like a turtle inside its shell.
Putnam’s findings stunned many observers: One political scientist said that “the extent of the effect is shocking.”
It is only “shocking” if you have made “diversity” into an ideological goal. Otherwise, it makes perfect sense that constantly engaging in politically correct diversity programs would make it harder for people to trust one another. Likewise, denying universal norms can’t help but promote individualism—destroying culture.
Of course, diversity has been and always will be a fact of life in America, a nation built of immigrants. Just as there are social costs associated with diversity, however, there are also benefits: dynamism and creativity, to name but two.
The question is how do we reap the benefits of diversity while avoiding the costs Putnam describes? The model Putnam offers should surprise no one, but doubtless will: Christian churches.
Putnam wrote that “in many large evangelical congregations . . . the participants constituted the largest thoroughly integrated gatherings we have ever witnessed.” Putnam observed that “for part of the week, there is some identity that is more important to them than their ethnic identity . . .” In these churches, people are not “hunkered down” but are “quite comfortable around each other.”
Of course, that’s because underlying all the racial and ethnic diversity is their essential unity in Christ. This is why Christians can acknowledge and even celebrate the diversity within their churches without fear of “hunkering down”—the person sitting next to you may be different from you in many ways, but he is the same where it counts.
Our politically correct postmodern notions of “diversity” can’t offer that assurance, since they deny things like universal truth. So when your neighbors are concerned about a problem like this, tell them where they can come to find the right balance: Join you in church.
--------------------- Charles "Chuck" Wendell Colson (October 16, 1931 – April 21, 2012) was an Evangelical Christian leader who founded Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint. Prior to his conversion to Christianity, he served as Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. This relevant article by Colson was shared by him on Aug 23, 2007. Tags:Chuck Colson, E Pluribus Unum, out of many oneTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Oil Price War May Benefit Both US Shale And Saudi Arabia
by Michael McDonald: Even as financial commentators on CNBC are starting to come around to the idea of a bottom in oil prices, the key question for US oil producers remains one of timing. How long will the oil price slump last? Is this a relatively short term event like 2008, or a longer term slump like the one in the mid 1980’s? After the oil price crash in 1985, it took almost twenty years for prices to revert to previous levels. If oil does not return to $100 a barrel until 2035, there will be a lot less shale companies around. Some market commentators have cited hedging as a potential source of safety for oil producers, but the truth is that given most firm’s individual levels of hedging and the price of oil today, the hedges are more of a Band-Aid over a gunshot wound than anything else.
The US shale oil industry faces an implacable foe in the current crisis: Saudi Arabia. The long-time king of the oil markets is probably the party most responsible for the current price decline, and probably the party that is happiest about it. Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned to withstand low oil prices given that inside sources say the country has nearly $800B in reserves to weather the storm.
Early on in the fight, shale oil companies were loudly proclaiming their ability to withstand low prices, but those statements have dimmed in intensity and frequency in recent months. At this point, Saudi Arabia’s currency reserves are roughly equal to the combined market capitalization of the entire US shale oil industry.
The fundamental equation that drives any country or company’s ability to survive in the oil industry is: (Oil Price per Barrel – Cost Per Barrel)*Barrels Produced + Cash Reserves > 0.
Essentially if a firm or country has a cost of extraction that is greater than the price per barrel they receive, then they can only produce until their cash reserves run out. Most analysts estimate that cost per barrel for US shale companies ranges from the mid-fifties to the low nineties. That means, at this stage, almost none of the US shale oil producers are going to be making money producing. These costs have obviously fallen in the last six months as producers look to modify contracts with suppliers and subcontractors and generally push down costs anywhere they can.
Analysts have varying views on the cost of production for Saudi Arabia with some citing total costs above $80 and others suggesting costs as little as $5 per barrel. Regardless, it is likely that Saudi Arabia’s costs are lower than that of the US oil producers and their cash resources are certainly greater.
The life raft for US oil producers so far has been its hedging at higher prices. Bloomberg recently cited $26B in oil price hedges, which certainly helps to buy US oil producers time. Ultimately though, oil is not profitable at today’s levels for US oil producers and this is what has driven the falling rig count in recent weeks.
In the end, who will win the oil price battle, Saudi Arabia or US capitalism and shale producers? Probably both; US oil producers are taking unparalleled steps to lower their costs which will result in much more efficient operations in the end, similar to how US manufacturing came out of the Great Recession at high levels of productivity and ultimately profitability. By the same token, Saudi Arabia is the king of the oil markets for a reason – geologically it is essentially the perfect oil producer. The real losers in this fight are likely to be the other participants who have been trying to stay out of the conflict as much as possible. Other OPEC producing nations and even Russia are not as efficient as Saudi Arabia, nor as dynamic as US shale producers. And ultimately, they are likely to be the ones forced to give ground and cut production.
---------------- James Stafford is Editor of OilPrice.com and contributes articles to the ARRA News Service. Michael McDonald Michael is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. He holds a PhD in finance and his research has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and by Bloomberg. Tags:Oil Price War, United States, U.S. Shale, Saudi Arabia, Michael McDonald, OilPrice.comTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Marco Rubio Takes on Export-Import Bank: ‘Gov't Should Not Be Picking Winners and Losers’
by Melissa Quinn: As hundreds of business owners, bankers and government officials descended on Washington, D.C., in support of the embattled Export-Import Bank, Republicans miles away mobilized to call for the agency’s end.
“The government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to the free market,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told reporters.
Rubio, a 2016 presidential candidate, outlined his opposition to Ex-Im in a conference call hosted by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. On the call, the Florida senator denounced the bank as an engine of corporate welfare and cronyism.
“I have long supported ending funding for Ex-Im,” Rubio told reporters. “I don’t believe taxpayer money should be used as corporate welfare.”
The presidential hopeful voted against the bank’s reauthorization in 2012.
Despite the benefits the bank may bring to his constituents, Rubio argued the government shouldn't be creating an uneven playing field and taking taxpayer dollars to conduct business overseas.
“The bank should be allowed to expire, and what’s interesting about it is this is an issue where Congress doesn't have to do anything but allow it to expire,” he said.
In his calls for Ex-Im’s end, Rubio argued that 99.9 percent of small businesses don’t receive Ex-Im financing.
Additionally, while the bank often praises itself for returning money to the Department of the Treasury—operating at no cost to taxpayers—Rubio cited a report from the Congressional Budget Office that found Ex-Im will cost Americans approximately $2 billion in the next 10 years.
Rubio joins a handful of Republican presidential candidates who have called for Ex-Im’s end, and on Capitol Hill, conservatives such as Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jeb Hensarling of Texas are leading the charge against reauthorizing the bank.
However, a number of freshman Republican members have joined the fight against its reauthorization.
Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, Alex Mooney of West Virginia and Dave Brat of Virginia each spoke in favor of ending Ex-Im on the House floor today.
“You are footing the bill for this free money that falls out of heaven out here working through special interests and corporate cronies,” Brat said today.
“The Export-Import Bank does not advance the public interest,” he continued. “Export-Import imposes real costs on you, the American consumer, taxpayer, and other businesses through risk, market distortion and other misallocations of resources.”
The Export-Import Bank’s annual conference boasted a lineup that included Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg and Boeing Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney.
Those attending the two-day conference heard discussions on how U.S. exporters can remain competitive with mechanisms like the controversial Export-Import Bank.
“When I heard that Ex-Im was in question, I thought, ‘Man, that’s impossible. Why would they do that?’” Joe Kaeser, president of Siemens AG, an Ex-Im beneficiary, said today. “I really have to say that it’s the most significant supporting methods in order to do business in the United States.”
Ex-Im’s charter is set to expire in less than 70 days, and the White House has been pushing Congress to reauthorize the bank. Ending the United States’ backing of exports, the Obama administration argues, gives foreign countries with their own export financing the upper hand in the global market.
“It’s ridiculous that we have a really important asset that we need — that 60 other countries in the world have,” Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said today. “It’s a ticket often for many of the customers here to just get into a bidding process, let alone winning or financing. It’s extremely important that story gets told and that the story particularly is understood in every congressional district across the country.”
Ex-Im’s backers argue the bank helps small businesses compete in the global market, but the bank also benefits a handful of large corporations, including Boeing.
The airplane manufacturer ranks among Ex-Im’s largest clients, and 80 percent of the bank’s transactions benefit it, General Electric and Caterpillar. Because of Boeing’s involvement with the bank, critics have dubbed Ex-Im the “Bank of Boeing.”
“If Ex-Im goes away, you’d have the Wild West,” Boeing’s McNerney told the audience. “You’d have certain countries whose governments do believe in subsidization very much distorting the marketplace.”
McNerney’s appearance at the annual conference earned the ire of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas. Hensarling, whose committee has jurisdiction over Ex-Im, requested McNerney testify at a hearing on the bank, but he ultimately declined.
“It is both curious and disappointing that Boeing’s CEO can make the time to appear at what amounts to nothing more than a pep rally for Ex-Im’s reauthorization, but is unwilling to make the case in a public forum open to congressional opening,” Hensarling said. ------------------- Melissa Quinn (@MelissaQuinn97 ) is a news reporter for The Daily Signal. Tags:Marco Rubio, Export-Import Bank, Ex-IM, Government, Picking, Winners and Losers, taxpayer's expense Melissa Quinn, The Daily SignalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
This conclusion is informed by the example of 92-year-old Eileen Mason, who was with her 75-year-old friend, Margaret Seabrook, when a mugger tried to make off with the contents of a scooter basket.
The two British great-grandmothers were returning from a lunch club in Wiltshire as the thief approached and targeted the older of the two.
When he grabbed Eileen Mason’s arm and reached for the bag, she shouted “Oh no you don’t” — at her maximum volume.
“I put my scooter into accelerate and turned really fast,” she told the UK Telegraph. “The next thing I know he was on the floor. I thought ‘my gosh.’ Something in me just told me to turn so I squeezed the accelerator and turned and he went flying. He was so evil looking.”
If you like this story, don’t miss the ones about the grandma who used a handbag to stop a jewel-store robbery, or the grandma who trapped a burglar in a shed.
Margaret Seabrook says they want their experience to teach people “not [to] leave things on display in their baskets. . . .”
That’s one lesson — don’t make yourself an unnecessarily tempting target. But the other thing is be prepared . . . to defend and evade.
If somebody is gearing up to rob you, be ready to stop him. At least, if you can do so without too much risk to life, limb, or liberty.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
------------------ Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America — and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Paul Jacob, Common Sense, resist criminal attacks - Lesson from NonagenariansTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Bill Smith, Editor: In the following video, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, discusses with The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview the ongoing issues with the IRS targeting scandal.
Tags:IIRS investigation, not over, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform, interview, The Daily SignalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Renewed Scrutiny of Veteran Administration's Systematic Disarming of Beneficiaries Brings Further Shame to Troubled Agency
by NRA-ILA: Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) brought renewed attention to the plight of a growing number of veterans who have been unjustly stripped of their Second Amendment rights. In an April 14 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Grassley takes the Department of Veterans Affairs to task for overreaching policies that have resulted in the names of well over 100,000 veterans and dependents being placed in the FBI’s National Instance Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as prohibited from possessing firearms.
Federal agencies are required to forward information to the FBI about individuals who have been disqualified by agency action from legally possessing firearms. This includes information about disqualifying mental health “adjudications” and “commitments.” The VA’s interpretation of what constitutes a disqualifying mental health “adjudication,” however, has resulted in widespread, unjustified deprivation of Second Amendment rights and Fifth Amendment due process rights.
As Grassley’s letter points out, federal regulation allows the VA to determine whether its beneficiaries need a “fiduciary” to manage their benefits. Veterans who the agency determines need help administering their VA compensation are then labeled “mental defectives” and reported to NICS to be barred from firearm acquisition and possession, alongside the likes of felons, fugitives, and the dishonorably discharged. The process of assigning a fiduciary, however, does not require the VA to consider whether the veteran actually poses a danger to himself or others or is seriously functionally impaired in any other respect. Indeed, the VA’s own website states, “The determination that you are unable to manage your VA benefits does not affect your non-VA finances, or your right to vote or contract.”
Needless to say, it’s completely untenable that America’s military men and women must choose between what’s best for their medical care and financial management and the fundamental civil liberties their own service protects. The fact that a veteran’s spouse or other loved one is more financially astute or is simply more accustomed to maintaining the household finances is completely irrelevant to the veteran’s ability safely and responsibly to handle firearms. That the VA claims otherwise reveals nothing so much as its own systemic, institutional anti-gun bias and its distrust of the very people the agency serves.
For veterans who choose to contest the appointment of a fiduciary, VA procedure offers scant protection. Typically, deprivation of a fundamental constitutional right requires significant due process, as required by the Fifth Amendment (for example, a criminal trial). As Grassley’s letter makes clear, the procedure VA employs falls well below acceptable due process standards and places the burden of proof upon the veteran to seek redress after the fact.
In an April 21 article for the Daily Caller, entitled, “VA Sends Veterans’ Medical Info To FBI To Get Their Guns Taken Away,” journalist Patrick Howley puts a human face on this tragedy. In one instance, disabled veteran Henry Wrobel was categorized as unable to handle his own finances, triggering the firearm prohibition. The VA’s actions followed Wrobel’s conversation with a VA counselor during which he mentioned having recently opted to receive his benefits by direct deposit in an attempt to simplify his life. In another case, a Vietnam War widow receiving VA benefits was deprived of her right to bear arms after making a request to the VA for assistance in obtaining someone to help with her household chores after she suffered a mild stroke.
Beyond this matter’s constitutional concerns is that the VA’s “mental defective” determination process and forwarding of records to NICS have contributed to a deep distrust of the agency among those it serves. Rumors abound regarding VA measures to strip gun rights from veterans, and current VA practices regarding fiduciary appointments, along with other highly suspect efforts, substantiate these concerns. Undoubtedly, some veterans have chosen to forego vital benefits and medical treatment, or have been less than candid with VA personnel, due to a fear of losing their Second Amendment rights.
NRA has long been aware of the ongoing abuses at the VA and has worked with our allies in Congress to find a remedy. Since the 112th Congress, NRA has sought to advance the “Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act.” This legislation would require a judicial finding that a person under the VA’s care poses a danger to himself or others before the person could be considered to have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” and stripped of his or her firearm rights.
NRA appreciates Sen. Grassley’s work in bringing attention to this shameful state of affairs. Moving forward, NRA will continue to pursue every avenue available to correct this injustice. That those who have fought and served to protect the rights of all Americans are especially vulnerable to losing their own rights, and that from the very agency they should most be able to trust, is nothing short of a national disgrace. Tags:NRA-ILA, veterans, disarming veterans, Dept. Veterans Affairs, VA, Veterans Administration, background checks, FBI, second amendment ,2nd Amend RightsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Newt Gingrich: Some people were surprised when I wrote in favor of doubling the budget for the National Institutes of Health.
They shouldn't have been.
When I was Speaker, we set out on a path which BOTH doubled the budget for NIH and balanced the entire federal budget for four straight years.
We were following President Reagan’s advice when he said in his April 2, 1988 radio address on “the federal role in scientific research”:Some say that we can’t afford it, that we’re too strapped for cash. Well, leadership means making hard choices, even in an election year. We've put our research budget under a microscope and looked for quality and cost effectiveness. We've put together the best program for the taxpayers’ dollars. After all, the American tradition of hope is one we can’t afford to forget.There is a long American tradition of believing in science, technology and a better future.
Dramatic breakthroughs in health are vital to balancing the federal budget for two very different reasons.
First, if we increase our lead as the most creative and productive country in the world in health care, we will create hundreds of thousands of high-value jobs and invent entire new industries we can’t even imagine. As the world grows wealthier, people everywhere will pay for better outcomes.
Discovered in America, made in America and delivered by Americans will become the gold standard for healthcare if we make the right investments.
Second, health costs are the single largest projected cost of the federal budget.
Unless we find a series of breakthroughs in health, we will never sustain a balanced budget. As I wrote in my New York Times op-ed this week, the cost to the taxpayers of treating the most common diseases (Alzheimer’s, for instance) is increasing dramatically. Medicare and Medicaid now spend more just on Alzheimer’s and dementia than all federal education spending combined.
The number of people living longer will keep increasing. The number of people who survive birth defects that would have killed them a decade ago will keep increasing. And Americans are not going to let people die to save money. We don’t today and we aren't going to start.
Americans will not be happy if the solution to our budget problems is to bureaucratically grind down spending so the whole health system becomes mediocre. That is not a better future.
The only strategy that will work is to invest dramatically in more research to develop the breakthroughs needed to reduce healthcare costs by eliminating the health problems.
This investment, which must be both public and private, has to be matched by replacing the current expensive, anti-innovation, anti-entrepreneur behaviors of the increasingly obsolete Food and Drug Administration. It does little good to invent new breakthrough treatments if the bureaucracy prevents them from reaching Americans.
This research has to be translated into better health outcomes by new, far less bureaucratic models than the current federal agencies deliver–from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to the Veterans Administration, TRICARE, the Indian Health Service and the federal employee health plans.
If we can fix the current bureaucracies’ bad implementation, the path to balancing the budget through scientific breakthroughs is simple.
Cure or prevent the disease and you crash the cost.
Iron lungs are no longer a line item in the federal budget (there are an estimated 10 to 25 still in use in the United States). The polio vaccine in the 1950s means we no longer spend money on polio.
There are an average of just six cholera cases in the United States each year. What was once an epidemic has been tamed through scientific breakthroughs.
The Alzheimer’s Association captured the scale of the challenge and the excitement of the opportunity:Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, an estimated 13.5 million Americans will have the disease. In 2050, 6.5 million Americans will be in the severe stage of the disease — more than the total number of people with the disease today.
Caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the United States an estimated $226 billion in 2015. By 2050, the cost of care for those with Alzheimer’s is expected to reach over $1.1 trillion. [That's every year!]
Medicare and Medicaid spending will shoulder the majority of the care cost. Medicare and Medicaid will spend $153 billion on Alzheimer’s in 2015 and $765 billion in 2050.
This means nearly 1 in 5 (18%) Medicare dollars will be spent on someone with Alzheimer’s this year. By 2050, nearly 1 in 3 (31%) Medicare dollars will be spent on someone with Alzheimer’s.
A federal research investment of $2 billion a year between now and 2025, as suggested by the scientific community and less than currently provided for other diseases with a comparable national impact, would be recouped in the first three years after a treatment became available.
There will be a total savings of $220 billion over the first five years.
Over the first 10 years after a treatment became available, Medicare and Medicaid would save a cumulative $535 billion, and American families would save a cumulative $228 billion. Total 10-year savings to America would be $935 billion.
In total, America would save $367 billion in the year 2050 alone. Medicare and Medicaid would save $218 billion in the year 2050.
An estimated 7.8 million Americans would have Alzheimer’s disease in the year 2050, 5.7 million fewer than under the current trajectory.Remember this is the impact on lives and taxpayer dollars of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s alone.
Add in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, autism, Parkinson’s, mental health, kidney disease, etc. and you can begin to see the scale of the opportunity for greater knowledge to lead to much better health for all Americans at dramatically lower cost.
Remember also that people who remain healthy continue to work and pay taxes. The combination of a larger economy with higher revenues combined with lower healthcare costs is the biggest single step we can take toward a permanently balanced budget in the long term.
In coming weeks I will outline other steps to getting back to a balanced federal budget.
For now, however, a good start is to let your Congressman and Senators know that you favor taking a big step toward a balanced budget by investing in health research.
---------------------- Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions. Tags:Newt Gingrich, balanced Budget, health research, National Institutes of HealthTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: One of the most outrageous but least reported ongoing scandals in Washington is that the House and Senate have both falsely certified themselves as small businesses in order to fund health insurance for themselves and their staff with taxpayer dollars, sidestepping provisions of Obamacare. Senator David Vitter (LA) recently tried to subpoena the documents in which the false declarations were made, but he ran into strong bipartisan opposition. Perhaps most shockingly, Senator Rand Paul – who is campaigning for president on a promise to “defeat the Washington machine” – voted to keep this ultimate Washington insider scam secret.
When the Democrats were rushing the health care law through Congress – passing it, perhaps, before they even knew what was in it – Republicans managed, with strong public support, to get language included requiring members of Congress and their staff to go into the new health care exchanges, to experience the same thing millions of Americans would experience and create a strong incentive, therefore, for them to make sure the system works.
Like many Americans being dumped into Obamacare exchanges, members of Congress and their staff stood to lose their employer contributions – in this case, the generous financing of their health benefits by taxpayers that they had before the law passed and took it away.
But unlike all of the other Americans in that situation, Congress had access to President Obama to personally intervene on their behalf. And he did, with an Office of Personnel Management rule allowing them to have taxpayers continue picking up most of the costs of their premiums.
It gets worse. Because there is no mechanism for employer contributions in the individual exchange, Congress also filed false documents claiming the House and Senate each have less than 50 employees to qualify as “small businesses,” even though over 13,700 employees have in fact signed up. That's fraud.
The watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained the false documents in Freedom of Information Act litigation, but the redactions included the most crucial piece of information – the names of the people who signed, under penalty of perjury, the blatantly false statements that the House and Senate each have just 45 employees.
That’s where Vitter’s effort comes in. As the chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, Vitter wanted to investigate exactly how the very large institutions of the House and Senate, with thousands of employees, came to be officially designated as small businesses. In the interests of that investigation, he sought to subpoena the false documents without redaction to find out who signed them so those people can be questioned.
Who could be against that? Sadly, 14 of the 19 members of the committee. To their great credit, four other Republicans voted with Chairman Vitter to issue the subpoena: Marco Rubio (FL), Tim Scott (SC), Cory Gardner (CO), Joni Ernst (IA).
The rest of the committee all voted no, including Republicans Mike Enzi (WY), Jim Risch (Idaho), Deb Fischer (Neb.), and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) – along with the aforementioned Senator Paul.
Democrats on the committee told constituents they were undecided up to the vote, but then all voted in lockstep to keep the documents secret. They are: Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Maria Cantwell (WA), Ben Cardin (MD), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Ed Markey (MA), Cory Booker (NJ), Chris Coons (DE), Mazie Hirono (HA), and Gary Peters (MI).
This is much more than a minor vote in an obscure Senate committee.
Nothing makes the American people more angry than Congress cutting corrupt backroom deals to give themselves and their staff special benefits – especially a deal that relies on the blatantly false claim that the House and Senate are small businesses. Yet Senator Paul and 13 others (along with House and Senate leadership, who could end this scam and begin complying with the law if they wanted to) sided with the Washington machine, a fact their political rivals would do well to spotlight.
------------------ Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Follow him at (@kerpen) and on Facebook. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. Tags:Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, Congress, Bipartisan, Obamacare FraudTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: In 1973, the Supreme Court looked into the Constitution, found that it approved of abortion and overruled laws banning it. Other laws have since addressed late term abortions and those resulting from rape or incest, but killing human life in the womb has been lawful since then. . According to the Guttmacher Institute from 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions occurred in the U.S.
By dismantling the fundamental traditions and beliefs of a nation piece by piece, you ultimate will destroy it. Claiming this is done in the name of “love” or “equality” ignores the greater societal issues involved in marriage; the creation of families with mothers and fathers, and, indeed, the welfare of children raised in same-sex marriages.
Abortion remains a moral issue in the minds and hearts of many Americans and now they are waiting to see how the Supreme Court will rule on same-sex marriage. As Ryan T. Anderson wrote in The Heritage Foundation’s publication, The Daily Signal, “There simply is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage.”
“The over-arching question before the Supreme Court is not whether a male-female marriage policy is the best, but only whether it is allowed by the Constitution. The question is not whether government-recognized same-sex marriage is good or bad policy, but only whether it is required by the Constitution.”
Anderson points out that “The only way the Court could strike down laws that define marriage as the union of husband and wife is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it an essentially genderless institution…” Marriage is all about gender and the union of opposites that is blessed by the community when a man and woman enter into it. To legalize same-sex marriage is to degrade the essential element of society, the keystone of family.
What we are witnessing is the current high point in a long campaign to remove any obstacle to being homosexual and the right to marry another homosexual represents an important political goal for GLBT community. For them it’s not about the thousands of years in which all societies forbid the marriage between those of the same gender or the 227 years since the Constitution was ratified.
Clearly the Constitution neither requires nor bans same-sex marriage. The thought of such a marriage would never have occurred to the Founding Fathers and the creation of a new nation had far greater priorities and responsibilities than same-sex marriage. Most such issues such as abortion were left to the states to determine. Even so, when the voters of California voted in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage, the courts there overturned it.
We are witnessing a homosexual juggernaut that will settle for nothing less than their own interpretation of the relations between the sexes.
When the Supreme Court hears the same-sex marriage case on Tuesday, April 28, it will be decided by a Court that is sharply divided between liberal and conservative points of view, but in the legal community, there is no argument that, as federal law states, “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
That’s why the fact that in late September Justice Elena Kagan performed a same-sex “wedding” takes on tremendous importance. As documented by MassResistance.org, Justice Kagan has a long history of advancing homosexual issues and policies. A 16-page report leaves little doubt that she favors acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism as “civil rights.”
There is no way that Justice Kagan should join other Supreme Court judges to rule on this case. That would run counter to federal law and would be an arrogant dismissal of the most fundamental concept of justice before the bench.
What we have learned thus far is that the practice of same-sex marriage has proven more a threat to the rights of those who are opposed to it for sincere religious reasons than for those demanding their services. If there is any justice left in America, a bakery or florist should be able to say no. Demanding that they act against their faith tells you a great deal of the homosexual mindset when it comes to their “rights.”
I am utterly opposed to same-sex “marriage” for all the reasons the Bible and history provide.
If Justice Kagan does not recuse herself from Tuesday’s case and her fellow justices do not demand that she does, the rule of law and justice in America will have suffered another serious blow.
----------------- Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, same-sex marriageTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Bibi Better Have The Cojones To Take On A White House Proudly Abandoning Israel
by Caroline B. Glick: In testimony last week before the House committee in charge of State Department funding, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power acknowledged that the Obama administration intends to abandon the US's 50 year policy of supporting Israel at the United Nations.
After going through the tired motions of pledging support for Israel, "when it matters," Power refused to rule out the possibility that the US would support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council to limit Israeli sovereignty and control to the lands within the 1949 armistice lines — lines that are indefensible.
Such a move will be taken, she indicated, in order to midwife the establishment of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state whose supposedly moderate leadership does not recognize Israel's right to exist, calls daily for its destruction, and uses the UN to delegitimize the Jewish state.
In other words, the Obama administration intends to pin Israel into indefensible borders while establishing a state committed to its destruction.
In about a week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government will be sworn in. The new government will have no grace period before it will be called upon to forge and implement policies to lead Israel through perhaps the most trying time in its history.
Clearly, developing the means to cope with our deteriorating relations with the US is one of the most urgent issues on the agenda. But it is not the only issue requiring the attention of our leaders.
Israel must quickly determine clear strategies for contending with the consequence of US's strategic shift away from its allies, Iran's nuclear project. It must also determine the principles that will guide its moves in contending with the regional instability engulfing or threatening to engulf our Arab neighbors.
As tempting as it may be to believe that all we need to do is wait out Obama, the fact is that we have no way of knowing how the US will behave once he has left office.
The Democratic Party has become far more radical under Obama's leadership than it was before he came into office. Hillary Clinton may very well become the next president, particularly if Jeb Bush is the Republican nominee. And she has evinced no significant interest in moving the party back to the center.
As secretary of state during Obama's first term in office, Clinton was a full partner in his foreign policy.
Although she appears less ideologically driven than Obama, there are many indications that her basic world view is the same as his.
Moreover, the world has changed since 2009. The Middle East is far more volatile and lethal. The US military is far less capable than it was before Obama slashed its budgets, removed its most successful commanders and subjected its troops to morale-destroying mantras of diversity and apologetics for Islamic terrorism.
In light of these changed circumstances, there are in essence two major principles that should guide our leaders today. First, we need to reduce our strategic dependence on the US. Second, we need to expand our policy of openly and unapologetically making the case for our positions to the American public.
On the first score, the need to limit our dependence on US security guarantees became painfully obvious during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
Obama's interference in military-to-military cooperation between the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon, and his decision to implement an unofficial arms embargo on Israel in the middle of a war, was a shocking rebuke to the powerful voices inside the IDF General Staff and in policy circles that Israel can and must continue to trust the US to back it up in crises.
Our need to limit our dependence on the US to the greatest practicable degree will have consequences on everything from our domestic military production and development industries to intelligence and operational cooperation with the US and other governments.
It is imperative as well that we develop a plan to wean ourselves off of US military aid within the next three-five years.
Netanyahu's critics continue to attack him for his decision to abandon the longstanding policy of settling disputes with the US administration through quiet diplomacy. They blame Netanyahu's decision to publicly air Israel's opposition to Obama's nuclear diplomacy for the crisis in relations. But they are confusing cause and effect. Netanyahu had no choice.
Obama has made clear through both word and deed that he is completely committed to a policy of reaching a détente with Iran by enabling Iran to join the nuclear club. He will not voluntarily abandon this policy, which his closest aides have acknowledged is the signature policy of his second term.
Under these circumstances, it has long been clear that quiet diplomacy gets Israel nowhere. Open confrontation with the administration is the only way that Israel can hope to limit the damage the administration's policies can cause. By publicly laying out its positions on issues in dispute, Israel can provide administration critics with legitimacy and maneuver room in their own critiques of Obama's policies.
The public debate in the US regarding Obama's policy of appeasing Iran was transformed by Netanyahu's speech before the joint houses of Congress last month.
Before he came to town, most of the voices in the US warning against Obama's nuclear diplomacy were dismissed as alarmist. Netanyahu's speech changed the discourse in the US in a fundamental way.
Today, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is highly controversial and unpopular.
And this brings us to the second burning issue the next government will need to contend with immediately upon entering office: Iran.
Since word of Iran's nuclear weapons program got out more than a decade ago, Israel has operated under the assumption that a sufficient number of members of the policy community in Washington were committed to a policy of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons to make the abandonment of that policy politically impossible. Netanyahu's strategy for dealing with Iran's nuclear program has centered on convincing those policy-makers to take action, whether through sanctions on Iran or through other means that would make it impossible for Obama to conclude a deal with Iran that would give the nuclear program an American seal of approval.
In recent weeks, we have seen the collapse of that assumption. The Senate's feckless handling of Obama's nuclear accommodation of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism exposed Israel's operating assumption as overly optimistic. So the policy must be updated.
An updated policy must be based on two understandings.
First, the US will not stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Second, due to Obama's commitment to nuclear accommodation of Iran, at this point unless Iran's nuclear installations are destroyed through military force, it will become a nuclear power. Israel's survival will be compromised and a nuclear arms race throughout the region will ensue.
Given this reality, Israel's public diplomacy should no longer be viewed as a means to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Rather, Israel should view it as a means to empower American lawmakers and others to stand with Israel in the event that it carries out military strikes against Iran's nuclear weapons.
Open support for Israel by the US public and by politicians and media organs will make it more difficult for the administration to harm Israel in retribution for such action.
As for the strike itself, both the operational and diplomatic aspects of a military action must be calculated to make the most of the changing regional dynamics.
Last summer, in fighting Hamas in Gaza, Israel found itself acting in alliance with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates against Hamas, Qatar, Turkey and the US. The Arab states served as Israel's blocking backs. They enabled Israel to withstand massive pressure from the administration that sought to coerce Israel into ending the fighting on Hamas's terms.
In recent weeks, the media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have expressed support for an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations. This support will be helpful in the aftermath of any such strike as well, and will again make it difficult for Obama to take revenge on Israel. Moreover, Israel must capitalize on these states' opposition to Iran's nuclear weapons program in order to convince them to provide operational support for Israeli forces attacking Iran.
This of course brings us to the third major issue on the next government's agenda: formulating principles to govern our relations with the Arab world.
One thing is obvious. The goal that informed all previous governments in the past — that Israel's top goal should be to sign peace deals with our neighbors — is irrelevant.
Our neighbors are all engulfed in wars or crises spurred by domestic opponents. These opponents have embraced al-Qaida and Islamic State and consequently, their domestic disputes with their leaders have been transformed into existential struggles between Islamic totalitarianism and regular authoritarianism.
Israel's policy to date for handling these affairs has been to support the Egyptian military government and the Jordanians and to prevent Iranian proxies in Syria from directly attacking Israel. This policy is correct and should remain in place. But Israel also needs to adopt policies that will enable it to protect itself in the absence of friendly regimes in Amman and Cairo.
To this end, Israel must stabilize the situation with the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. Israel must ensure that it has complete military control over these areas to prevent a spillover from Syria and to withstand the effect of a potential rise of jihadist forces in Jordan. As for Gaza, Israel must stop viewing Gaza, which behaves as a separate body politic from Judea and Samaria, as related to Judea and Samaria.
Gaza is a base for the global jihad and is a threat to Israel and Egypt alike. It has to be understood and treated as such.
In short, under the current circumstances, just as the notion of sitting down and signing a peace deal with Syria or Saudi Arabia is absurd, so the notion of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians is a throwback to an entirely different time. Today the only way to keep the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria separated from the chaos and jihad in neighboring states is to make them part of Israel. As a preparatory step toward that goal, the next government must act to more fully integrate Arab Israelis into Israeli society.
To this end, Netanyahu would do well to appoint a Muslim Arab minister to his government charged with integrating the Arabs more fully into Israeli society.
The world has changed since 2009. America has changed. The Middle East has changed. Israel faces an array of challenges and threats it has never faced before. The next government must understand the dynamics of the situation and quickly forge policies based on the world as it is, not as it was or as we would like for it to be.
------------------ Caroline B. Glick is the Director of the Israeli Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Los Angeles and the senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post where this article first appeared. This article was received via Jewish World Review Tags:Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi, Israel, UN, Samantha Power, White House, abandoning Israel, United Nations, 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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