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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)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Today in Washington, D.C. - Jan 30, 2015:
The Senate at 10:30 Am and adjorned at Noon. It will reconvene on Monday at 4 PM.

On Monday at 5:30 PM, the Senate will vote on passage of H.R. 203, a bill to provide mental health assistance and suicide prevention for veterans.

On Tuesday at 2:30 PM, the Senate will hold a vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 240, the House-passed Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 62-36 to pass S. 1, the bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. And notified the House and sent the bill to the President.

Prior to final passage, the Senate rejected 3 more amendments to the bill. Senators voted down an amendment from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), which would have allowed permitting agencies to go back and reopen the permitting process, by a vote of 41-56, and two amendments from Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), one which would have required yet another study, this time of extreme weather events before allowing the pipeline to be constructed, and another which would have imposed an excise tax on petroleum products derived from oil sands. The Markey amendments were rejected by votes of 36-62 and 44-54, respectively.

In all, 41 amendments to the bill were voted on, almost 3 times the number of amendments that received votes in all of 2015 under democrat Senator Harry Reid's leadership.

The House will reconvene at 2 PM and then recess until Monday at 2 PM. No legislative business will be conducted.

The New York Times writes, “The Senate passed a bill on Thursday to force approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline . . . . When Republicans won control of the Senate late last year, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, chose the Keystone bill as the first measure Republicans would send to Mr. Obama. The White House promptly said that Mr. Obama would veto the measure, which would force the approval of a proposed 1,179-mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. . . .

The Times notes, “[P]ressure is mounting on the president from both sides to make a final decision on Keystone construction, which has been pending since he took office.” And the article then goes through the litany of excuses the president has used to stall on the decision, pointing out that they’ve all run out.

Meanwhile, The Hill observes, “The Senate closed its first month under Republican rule on Friday by passing legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline — moving a step closer to sending the controversial bill to President Obama’s desk. It’s the most significant accomplishment McConnell's had so far as majority leader, but is far from the only one. The Senate under McConnell has already held twice as many roll call votes on amendments as the chamber held in all of 2014."

Tags: Senate, Keystone XL Pipeline bill,  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, January 29, 2015

Marriage on the Chopping Block?

by Phyllis Schlafly: Within hours after the Supreme Court announced it would decide whether the Constitution requires every state to recognize marriages between persons of the same sex, the New York Times published an editorial gleefully predicting the inevitable outcome. When its ruling comes down in June, the Times assures us, the Supreme Court will “end the debate once and for all.”

It’s undeniable that a sense of momentum, skillfully propagated throughout the media, including the “conservative” Fox News Channel, has carried the gay movement to the brink of final victory over traditional values and religious beliefs of most Americans. If the Supreme Court rules as predicted, its decision will achieve the longtime goal of the gay movement: to silence Christians from freely expressing their traditional beliefs in the public square, allowing them, at best, the privilege of speaking to each other privately inside the four walls of their churches.

To increase the pressure to accept the inevitable, we’re told that more than 70% of Americans already live in the 36 states that have recently begun to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The truth, of course, is that only 12 states made that decision through a democratic process; in the other 24 states, the change was imposed by unelected judges — in several states (including California and Pennsylvania) by only a single judge.

But if the justices follow their own precedents, as they are supposed to do, the court will fail to deliver the result that the Times and most pundits have declared is a done deal. After all, no previous Supreme Court decision has ever questioned the authority of the states to define marriage as the union of husband and wife.

Once before, a gay couple from Minnesota asked the high court to rule that their state’s husband-wife definition of marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. The question then was identical to the one the Supreme Court has agreed to decide this year: “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?”

Despite the presence of such liberal judicial activists as William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall and Harry Blackmun, the Court in 1972 summarily rejected the Minnesota gay couple’s appeal “for want of a substantial federal question.” In other words, the court unanimously thought the claim was so outlandish that it didn’t even warrant a formal hearing.

Some have questioned whether a one-sentence decision from 43 years ago should really be binding today. But that’s not the only precedent that should prevent federal courts from requiring the states to change the definition of marriage.
A series of cases have established the principle known as the “domestic relations exception” to federal court jurisdiction. That principle explains why federal courts do not accept cases involving divorce, alimony, child custody or support, which are exclusively heard in state courts.

That principle was recognized as early as 1859, but its clearest statement comes from a Supreme Court decision in 1890, which said: “The whole subject of the domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child, belongs to the laws of the States and not to the laws of the United States.” That ringing declaration was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in 1992 and again in 2004.

The domestic relations exception should have prevented federal judges from ordering states to redefine marriage, but a string of recent decisions by federal district and circuit courts (most recently in Mobile, Alabama) have ignored that historic rule. It’s long past time for the Supreme Court to reaffirm the principle that federal courts have no business intruding on the States’ authority over domestic relations.

Many Americans wrongly assume that the concept of “judicial review,” which originated in the famous case of Marbury v. Madison, authorizes a single federal judge to overturn any state law which the judge thinks is unconstitutional. Actually, for the first 87 years of our country, federal courts below the Supreme Court were not allowed to decide questions “arising under the Constitution.”

So-called federal question jurisdiction was withheld from the courts because Congress rightly feared that federal judges would abuse their power. When Congress finally conferred the “federal question” power in 1875, the law creating that new jurisdiction was expressly limited to “cases in law and equity,” a phrase that historically excluded marriage and thereby preserved the “domestic relations exception” as the Framers understood it.

Some have urged Congress to pass a new law explicitly prohibiting the federal courts from invalidating state laws reserving marriage to persons of the opposite sex. While there’s no doubt that the Constitution gives Congress the power to pass such a law, Congress could simply reaffirm that the law it passed in 1875, which is still on the books, already limits judicial power to redefine marriage.
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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: Supreme Court, same sex, case,  Marriage, traditional marriage, on Chopping Block, Congress, 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!

FDIC Changes Tactics in Response to Operation Choke Point

Republican Lawmakers Demand Answers From
Justice Department on Operation Choke Point
by Kelsey Harkness: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has acknowledged its role in Operation Choke Point and is taking dramatic steps to reverse its policies in targeting legal and legitimate industries that are disfavored by the Obama administration.

“We’re very pleased they’ve acknowledged their wrongdoing and they’ve accepted our suggestions to put in place measures to stop this activity,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., told The Daily Signal in a phone call this morning.

Luetkemeyer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee and leader in the fight to end Operation Choke Point, met with FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenbery and Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig earlier today as a follow-up to concerns voiced last November.

The Justice Department contends that Operation Choke Point combats unlawful, mass-market consumer fraud by “choking” their access to banking systems. But a report by the House Oversight Committee found the program’s targets, under direction of the FDIC, included legal businesses such as short-term lenders, firearms and ammunition merchants, coin dealers, tobacco sellers and home-based charities.

To address concerns raised about Operation Choke Point, the FDIC will now require bank examiners to put in writing any recommendation or requirement for an account termination.

The examiner will also be required to indicate what law or regulation they believe the bank or the customer of the bank is violating.

The policy shift was announced today in an official Financial Institution Letter sent to all FDIC supervisory staff. In it, the FDIC states:The FDIC is aware that some institutions may be hesitant to provide certain types of banking services due to concerns that they will be unable to comply with the associated requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The FDIC and the other federal banking agencies recognize that as a practical matter, it is not possible for a financial institution to detect and report all potentially illicit transactions that flow through an institution.The letter reiterates that decisions on accounts need to be made on a case-by-case basis and stresses they should not be made based on industry or moral objection.

The Daily Signal has reported multiple cases of legal business owners being dropped by their banks and payment processors simply because their industry is considered a “reputational risk.”

Last December, a 20-page investigative report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee detailed FDIC officials working closely with the Justice Department to implement Operation Choke Point.

Emails unearthed by investigators showed employees scheming to influence banks’ decisions on who to do business with by labeling certain industries “reputational risks,” ensuring banks “get the message” about the businesses the regulators don’t like, and pressuring banks to cut credit or close those accounts, effectively discouraging entire industries.

FDIC officials were also seen inserting their personal and moral opinions into banking decisions.

“The FDIC has allowed a culture within their agency to blossom that they believe it’s OK to impose their personal opinions and value system in a regulatory way,” says Luetkemeyer. “They are not a regulatory police—their job is to enforce the law.”

Luetkemeyer left his meeting this morning pleased that the FDIC has implemented the majority of his proposed policy changes administratively, but says he still intends to move forward with a bill introduced last year that aims at ending Operation Choke Point.

The Missouri congressman, who has a background in banking, told The Daily Signal he will work with Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., to pass that legislation in the coming weeks.

The bill will affect other regulatory agencies in addition to the FDIC, and would also provide a legal basis for citizens to take action against banks or regulatory institutions.

“While these other agencies are not necessarily the main problem with Choke Point, they have been implicated in a story or two and therefore we need to have this bill in place to stop them from being a part of this activity as well,” says Luetkemeyer.

Luetkemeyer says the FDIC also intends to work with the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate Operation Choke Point and hold those within the FDIC accountable for any wrongdoings.

“We’re pleased that they’re working with the [inspector general] so that they can change the culture of what goes on in their agency,” he said. “But we’re not going to take anything off of the table until we get this program stopped.”
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Kelsey Harkness (@kelseyjharkness)is a news producer at The Daily Signal.

Tags: FIDIC, changes tactics, Operation Choke Point, Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Increasing Demand For Refined Products Will Increase Oil Prices

by Dan Steffens, Opinion Editorial: In last week's article I posted a chart from the International Energy Agency's recent Oil Market Report that shows global demand for refined products catching up to supply by the 3rd quarter of this year. My opinion is that all of the analysts who are now blaming the sharp drop in oil prices on a “glut” of supply could change their tune quickly as consumers adjust to lower fuel costs. Just as higher costs reduce demand for any commodity, lower costs will increase demand. This is especially true for a commodity that has a direct impact on standard of living, like oil does.

When the price of gasoline plunged below $1.00/gallon in 1986, demand for motor fuels and other refined products increased by almost 5% within twelve months. Today, world demand for hydrocarbon based liquid fuels (including biofuels) is over 92.5 million barrels per day. You can go to the IEA website and see for yourself that normal seasonal demand is expected to push demand over 94.0 million barrels per day within six months. I think both the IEA and our own Energy Information Administration (EIA) are grossly underestimating the price related demand increase that is already starting to show up in the data.
Last week's EIA report confirms that demand is already surging in the United States. Granted, part of the year-over-year increase in gasoline consumption may be a result of the harsh winter weather we had last year, but I think this story is going to play out. If gasoline prices remain low until this summer, we should see a sharp increase in the number of Americans that decide to take long driving vacations this year. We do love our SUVs.

Today's low crude oil price is blamed on Saudi Arabia's decision not to reduce supply even though the world is oversupplied by an estimated 1.5 million barrels per day. If gasoline under $2.00/gallon increases global demand for motor fuels by half of the amount it did back in 1986 (2.5%), demand for oil will increase by 2.4 million barrels per day and today's “glut” will soon fade from memory.

Gasoline prices in Texas are now under $1.75/gallon at many discount stations.
It is going to take a while to work off the build-up in both crude oil and gasoline inventories, but if the IEA and EIA start reporting that demand is catching up with supply the NYMEX strip price for crude oil will adjust quickly. The December, 2015 futures contract for WTI crude oil closed at $53.12/bbl on Friday, January 23 ($7.83/bbl above the front month contract). By the way, this has a lot to do with why crude oil inventories are building.

Keep in mind that oil production is also going to drop in response to lower prices. The U.S. active drilling rig count dropped by another 43 for the week ending January 23, 2015 to 1,633. Based on the upstream companies' capital budgets that I'm seeing, I expect the active rig count to drop below 1,000 by the end of May. We will soon have less than 700 rigs drilling for oil in this country and that means U.S. oil production will be on decline by the 4th quarter. In the last three years, only the U.S., Canada and Brazil have increased production. The rest of the world's oil production has been in decline despite previous $100/bbl oil prices.

Even before the sharp decline in oil prices, global demand for oil was growing at a rate of 1 million barrels per day per year. In my opinion, within six months the rate of demand growth will accelerate to over 2 million barrels per day. Demand could go even higher if consumers adjust their driving habits like they did back in 1986.

The upstream oil and gas producers will soon be reporting 4th quarter results, including updated reserve reports. Now is the time to add the best oil producers and MLPs to play the coming rebound in oil prices.
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James Stafford is Editor, OilPrice.com and contributes articles to the ARRA News Service. Dan Steffens is President of Energy Prospectus Group (EPG), a networking organization based in Houston, Texas. A former CPA, he he transitioned to the oil & gas industry with 18 years with Amerada Hess Corporation (HES).

Tags: opinion editorial, Dan Steffens, OilPrice.com, United States, lower gas prices, higher usage, oil prices, increasing demand, refined product, increase oil prices, market expectations To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

#SchoolChoice Week Is Freedom Week

Univ. of New Orleans was the focal point that marked the beginning
of National School Choice Week. Gov. Bobby Jindal is preparing to
advance an education reform agenda which makes School Choice
scholarships available statewide to parents. [Via Pelican Post]
by Gov. Bobby Jindal: This week marks one of the most important weeks of the year — for reasons that have nothing to do with Sunday’s Super Bowl. For this week is National School Choice Week, in which parents, teachers, policymakers and legislators from both sides of the aisle rally to support the right of parents to choose the best education for their child. I couldn't agree more with the important principles that National School Choice Week represents — namely, equal opportunity in education for millions of Americans.

On the most basic level, school choice represents the freedom to choose — empowering parents to select the best educational options for their sons and daughters. That could be a charter school, a private school, a religious school, home schooling, or even online learning. Governments should provide parents with the personalized and individualized tools they need to help their children excel academically.

That freedom to choose in turn will provide children with the freedom to succeed. With the right educational environment, teachers and academic training; students from all locations, income brackets and demographic groups will have better tools to compete in the global economy. We need to develop the talents of every American — no matter where he or she is from, and no matter the color of his or her skin — to maximize our country’s potential.

School choice also serves another important purpose — freeing low-income children from failing schools. No child should see his God-given talents go to waste because he is stuck in a failing school — and no parent should face the disempowerment that comes from knowing her son or daughter remains trapped in a poor school, and she lacks the financial means to move that child elsewhere. We can do better — and, by allowing parents dissatisfied with their school to move with their feet, school choice gives both high-performing and low-performing schools more incentive and motivation to improve their offerings.

Finally, school choice provides parents with freedom from the status quo — an educational-industrial complex that thinks bureaucrats, not parents, can best make decisions about the lives and futures of America’s children. It’s about pushing back when the then-head of Louisiana’s largest teachers’ union said low-income parents had “no clue” how to choose the right school for their children. And it’s even about standing up to the Attorney General of the United States, when the Department of Justice asked a court to block Louisiana’s school scholarship program on civil rights grounds — even though 90 percent of the program’s participants come from racial minority groups.

For here in Louisiana, we've put those principles to practice. Since we removed the cap on charters in 2009, we've authorized almost 200 charter schools throughout the state — that’s 70,000 kids who now have a choice about where they go to school. This last year, our Recovery School District became the nation’s first school district with 100 percent charter school enrollment. And the results are dramatic: The graduation rate in New Orleans has increased from 54.4 percent before Hurricane Katrina in 2004 to 72.8 percent; the percentage of New Orleans students scoring basic and above has increased from 35 percent to 63 percent; and the percentage of failing schools in New Orleans has dropped from 67 percent in 2005 to 17 percent.

We expanded our school choice scholarship program, which was initially confined to New Orleans, statewide. Parental satisfaction with the statewide scholarship program stands at a whopping 91.9 percent. We went even further though and created a dollar for dollar rebate for donations used to fund nonpublic school scholarships low-income students through our “school tuition organizations." Between 2008 and 2013, the percentage of students in the scholarship program who are proficient in third grade English language arts has grown by 20 percentage points and in math by 28 percentage points. Again and again, we've proven that giving more choice to parents is not only vital, but it gets results.

We also expanded access to online and dual enrollment courses for students across the state. This year, we've had over 19,000 students take advantage of our Course Choice program enrolling in advanced placement courses and career and technical courses that they otherwise wouldn't have access to.

Because of our work in Louisiana, and the work of many hard-working legislators, teachers, and parents across the country, literally millions of young Americans now have school choice options. But we should not stop until all Americans have the same opportunities available to them. That’s why I fully support National School Choice Week — to bring that educational and economic freedom to every student, and every parent, across this great land. For freedom is a lamp that should not be left under a bushel basket.
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Bobby Jindal (R) is the governor of Louisiana. He also shared this article as an Op-Ed in the Washington Examiner.

Tags: School Choice Week, Freedom Week, equal opportunity in education, Governor, Bobby Jindal, Louisiana, Univ. of New Orleans,   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: Tons of Practice & Fairwell To William Warren

President Obama has had "tons of practice" vetoing the will of the American People and responsibility of the Presidency!
Editorial Cartoon by William Warren

Today, we say goodbye to one of this editor's most favorite cartoonists William Warren. He has worked with and has provided editorial cartoons for Americans for Limited Government (ALG) for seven years.  I have worked with ALG on various issues and projects and will continue to share their research, articles and comments with readers.  During that time, I had an opportunity to talk with William Warren and to share his work on this site.  During his time at ALG, he completed his degree and then examined new ventures and opportunities.  He has joined in launching a new business which he tells you about in the below cartoon. I wish William the very best in this future.  ~ Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service.
Editorial Cartoon by William Warren

Tags: editorial cartoon, William Warren, President Obama, Tons of Practice, farwell To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

His Kingdom Come . . .

. . . He will be done in 2 more years.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: AF Branco, editorial cartoon, Barack Obama, King Obama, executive orders, John Boehner, invitation, Israel prime minister, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sons of Liberty: A Review

Sons of Liberty promotional image via History Channel
by Nelson Hultberg, Contributing Author: The History channel’s new miniseries, Sons of Liberty, will anger the purists and the prudes. But it will delight the swashbuckler in the rest of us. It is a big, bodacious screening with superb production values that covers the lead-up years to the American Revolution, 1765-1775. Yes, certain liberties are taken with some of the facts and events. The main characters are glamorized. But the essential theme of America’s birth is kept intact: we as a nation were spawned by a band of rebels made up of assorted firebrands, smugglers, and philosophers all coalescing together under the rubric of Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man.” Besides, what depiction of history is not romanticized by making the main characters a bit handsomer and younger than they, perhaps, were. Certainly not any depiction made for television.

The main character striding through Sons of Liberty is the famous Samuel Adams, played robustly by British actor, Ben Barnes, who doesn't give us an actualization of Adams’ role in history, but rather a symbolization of it. First of all, Barnes is in his early thirties, and Adams was 51 years old when he fomented the Boston Tea Party. So the producers of Sons of Liberty are trying to give us the symbolic Sam Adams and what his role was in the creation of America. Sam Adams was the quintessential rebel mind. He didn't have the scholarly genius of Thomas Jefferson, but he had a brilliant revolutionary mind. And valor permeated his entire life. He blended mind and defiance as well as, and perhaps better than, any of our Founders.

Sam Adams told his fellow patriots in 1773 in the build-up to the Boston Tea Party, “It does not take a majority to prevail…but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

This is what brings about all revolutionary change in history – small minorities of men and women fervently committed to a cause that will require courage and resourcefulness to bring into fruition. Yes, luck is also necessary, but mostly courage and resourcefulness because luck eventually descends upon us all. It’s the ones with courage who ride the luck into history and change the fate of mankind. Sam Adams and the “Sons of Liberty” were these kind of men. They seized the opportunity that the arrogant, blundering British gave to them.

The valor of Sam Adams was the spark that made him one of our most important Founders. As we all know, the colonists were by no means united. Sons of Liberty portrays this Rebel-Tory division clearly, and it demonstrates how remarkable the likes of Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Dr. Joseph Warren were. They were willing to break from the security and stability of life under the British Crown to venture into uncharted waters for a new future – a break that offered them certain death or prison if they failed, yet they eagerly proceeded. In the process they galvanized a band of rebels and lit the match to “the shot heard round the world.”

The Partnership
In the first segment, we see Sam Adams and John Hancock initiate their partnership, which eventually leads to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Adams is a scruffy, roguish firebrand, while Hancock is portrayed as a rich, cautious, unbearably foppish socialite who relies on trade and imports to bring him the lavish life he desires. In dddition, the director, Kari Skogland, has him constantly urging Adams and his band of street rebels to “stop their insanity.” Unfortunately this is not the historical Hancock at all. Yet at every turn, Skogland and her writers insist on painting this false picture of Hancock as timidly opposing the rebellion, even opposing the dumping of the tea into Boston Harbor.

All historical records clearly show Hancock was a vigorous supporter of the colonial protests against the British from 1765 on in concert with Adams. Yet Skogland has him reluctantly and timidly dragging his feet throughout these crucial years. Hancock was not a warrior, but he was very much a willing rebel who financed the agitations and the dumping of the tea. He was upper class, yes, but hardly a fop. He fervently favored the revolution, and served admirably in various roles of political leadership for the American cause from the beginning. For some reason, however, Skogland’s writers have quite incorrectly portrayed him. Not good.

The British Are Coming
In the second segment, we are introduced to the tyrannical British Gen. Thomas Gage (played to menacing perfection by Marton Csokas) and also to the renowned Paul Revere and his epic ride (played forcefully by the rugged Michael Raymond-James). Revere was a silversmith, but he had a warrior persona. The Boston Tea Party is presented in a sensationalized manner with Sam Adams standing astride one of the ships to stare down a regiment of British regulars with muskets raised on the wharf, daring them to shoot him. Quisling Governor Hutchinson arrives just in time to halt the British regiment leader for fear of making the heroic Adams into a martyr.

If director, Skogland, is lacking in historical accuracy, she is certainly not deficient in the ability to entertain her viewers. She gives us action, conflict, suspense, and charismatic characters we care about, as well as a salacious romance between Dr. Joseph Warren and Gen. Gage’s ravishing wife, Margaret, played by Emily Berrington. Ryan Eggold is very appealing as the clever and courageous Dr. Joseph Warren. Berrington is pristinely beautiful as Margaret Gage. Their love affair is total fiction; but it’s insertion into the story allows Sons of Liberty to avoid being just a litany of politics and battles. It becomes a sexy romp as well. After all, America’s rebels were not prudes; they lusted after women in their day as we do in ours. This tale is not meant to be a staid documentary with sidebar commentaries by dreary Doris Goodwin types. It is meant to be a TV blockbuster. Sex is necessary for that.

Lexington and Bunker Hill
The third and final segment begins with the British rout of the rebels at Lexington Green on April 19, 1775 and the following rebel victory at the Concord munitions storage. Thus begins our War for Independence. These and the later battle scenes are carried off spectacularly with big sophisticated production values. The Concord surprise victory for the rebels shakes Gage and his troops severely, which is demonstrated by Gage’s hurried request to London for more troops and his demand to recklessly attack the rebels at Bunker Hill despite the certainty of heavy British casualties and warnings from his subordinate officers. Gage is vile and icy in demeanor. He will surely go down as one of the great villains of TV entertainment. There is a grisly inhumanity about the man. Gen. Washington termed him a ruthless cancer.

At John Adams’ insistence, our rebel heroes then pay a visit to Benjamin Franklin for advice and support. Apparently the historical Franklin is not in Skogland’s memory bank either, for the Franklin we encounter here seems more like a brawny biker with a Harley outside at the hitching post. He is played by Breaking Bad’s robustious Dean Norris. He pours forth the braininess we expect from Franklin, but Skogland has injected a few choice morsels of modern dialogue into his part. “You’re talking about a new country,” he informs a startled contingent of Sam and John Adams, and Paul Revere. They reply hesitantly that they guess they are, to which Franklin responds, “That’s a bat shit crazy idea.” But he assures them that he agrees with this crazy idea. Inserting modern slang into the revered mouths of the Founders may be “progressive” and “avant-garde” to Skogland, but to me it is a stink bomb for the script.

Next comes the Battle of Bunker Hill, and it is as gritty and grotesque as a battle can be. Huge casualties are suffered by the rebels as they are overrun by the monster British war machine and Gage’s fanaticism. In the aftermath, Gen. Washington, who up till now has remained a non-participant in the rebel hostilities, manifests as the heroic leader we know from history and assures the rebels that all is not lost. A fierce war is coming, but he will lead them.

The finale is a stirring speech for liberty by Sam Adams in front of the delegates of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in July of 1776 that prefaces the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock inscribes his now famous signature to the storied document, a war begins, and a new country is born.

The Lesson for Us Today
In conclusion, Sons of Liberty is far from accurate history, but it is splendid entertainment. Most importantly it is true to the fundamental fount of America – that we were spawned by a new philosophical vision of strictly limited government instituted to protect men’s rights rather than manipulate men’s lives.

How did these scruffy “Sons of Liberty,” and the rag-tag army they morphed into, pull off defeating the most powerful military force in the world at that time? They did it because there exists a dynamic force in our lives that all tyrannical systems lack and all rational revolutionaries possess – moral truth! This is what brings the most powerful of tyrannies down. No matter how much military or regulatory control they possess, no matter how ruthless they are – they are always vulnerable in face of men and women who are in possession of truth and willing to take a moral stand against overwhelming odds. Moral truth connected to unbending human will is what eventually destroys the most entrenched of evil.

We have this force on our side today in the crisis we now face, which is identical in principle to the crisis our Founders faced. We possess the same moral truth that they had, and we can use it to overcome today’s Washington tyrants. We just have to design the right strategy to implement it. There are countless Americans out there just waiting for the right mix of political savvy and passion to come along and sweep them up into a crusade.

In 1776, the Tories timidly hid behind closed doors where it was safe and popular. They wallowed in pessimism and lamented that nothing could be done. The British were too strong. Why make a big fuss? But the rebels – men like Samuel Adams and John Hancock, Paul Revere and Joseph Warren – would have none of it. They knew they had moral truth on their side, and that the British Gargantua would fall precisely because of that. And if they weren’t absolutely certain they would prevail, they knew they still must fight, or their lives were meaningless. This is the lesson we glean from the Sons of Liberty for our lives today.

Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Dr. Joseph Warren are eternal archetypes of what is required as human beings to live freely and justly. If you missed this original History channel presentation of their fight, it will come around again. Don’t miss its rerun.
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Nelson Hultberg is a contributing author to the  ARRA News Service. He is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic and author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values.

Tags: review, Sons of Liberty, show, History channel, Nelson Hultberg, Americans for a Free Republic 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 ad Nauseum

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I made a promise to myself that I would not write about President Obama’s State of the Union speech because that would require me to watch him deliver it. Like many others I can barely watch him under any circumstance because, to my mind, that means having to watch a psychopathic liar. The problem with that is that he is the President for two more years.

And then I read an article on Politico.com, “Republicans outfox Democrats on climate votes” subtitled “The GOP accepts the notion of climate change, but not in the way the Democrats wanted them to.”

In a rational world, politicians voting on whether the climate changes or not is an absurdity. Of course the climate changes. It always has and always will. But when Democrats use the term “climate change” they really mean “global warming.” And global warming has been the greatest hoax of the modern era, getting its start in the late 1980s and becoming a huge academic industry generated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Global warming put billions in the pockets of “scientists”, universities, and any think tank that would lie about it, telling the nation and the world that carbon dioxide, a gas that is barely 0.04% of the Earth’s atmosphere was warming it when, in fact, the Earth stopped warming some 19 years ago at the same time the Sun entered a natural cycle of lower solar radiation.

Few of these “scientists” bothered to tell the public that, without carbon dioxide, we and all other life on Earth would die as it is critical to the growth of all vegetation. The fact that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has actually been increasing at the same time the Earth has been cooling is proof enough that all the warming claims were and are pure hogwash.

It turns out that all the computer models that they and others have generated to predict a catastrophic global warming have been wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Obama didn’t have a word to say about al Qaeda and the other Islamic fascists eager to destroy modernity and drag the world back to the Dark Age, but he did lie about 2014 as “the planet’s warmest year on record.”

That lie was initially put out by NASA and National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) two government agencies that shortly thereafter admitted that they might be wrong, seeing that their assertion of the 0.02 degree Celsius increase wasn’t even outside their own margin of error. They could have taken a look at their own satellite data and saved themselves from looking like idiots.

Obama said, “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what—I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all tell us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, long, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger great migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.”

This is lying on a galactic scale. The United States doesn’t need to do a single thing to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions”, nor should it bother to do so. Obama’s claims of catastrophic change bears no relationship to the fact that in recent years the planet has had a record low in the numbers of tornadoes and hurricanes, and a record gain in Arctic and Antarctic ice. There has been no change of any significance in the sea levels. Those who study such things note that “Until about 7,000 years ago the rate of rise was about 100 mm/decade. Since then rate of rise has averaged 10 mm/decade.” That’s “mm” as in millimeters.

In late December, the world’s second largest reinsurer, Swiss Re, reported on the losses from natural events in 2014 and, despite predictions that climate change would cause more frequent natural catastrophes due to man-made worsening of the climate, it saw “markedly less damage claims than in previous years” and far less loss of lives.” In terms of the dollars it cost the insurance industry, Swiss Re estimated that costs insurers covered were USD $113 billion in 2014, down from USD $135 billion in 2013. Losses were down 24% from 2013.

That, of course, doesn’t matter to Obama. It should, however, matter to the rest of us because the Environmental Protection Agency has been using those computer models and abjectly phony “science” to wage Obama’s war on the nation’s providers of the energy on which we all depend. From coal-fired plants to drilling for oil and natural gas, anything that might provide energy is under attack by the EPA.

As Katie Tubb, a research assistant for the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, responded to Obama’s claim saying that “The EPA’s proposed regulations would have almost zero impact on global temperatures, but will certainly impact Americans now and for future generations.”

So, when you read about a bunch of U.S. Senators, only one of whom, Oklahoma’s Sen. James Inhofe (R) has a grasp of the real science, spent time voting back and forth over amendments and their language regarding the climate, you were in fact really reading about the debate leading up to the passage of the bill that would remove Obama’s authority to prevent the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Between a President who lies about global warming and climate change, and a Congress composed mostly of lawyers who are clueless about the actual science, the best we can hope for is a Republican Party determined to rein in the EPA and other government agencies; the reason they were voted into office.
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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 contribution author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Obama ad Nauseum, environmental agenda, global warming, 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!

@SpeakerBoehner - 'It Is True,' Republicans Plan to Sue Obama Over Executive Amnesty

by Susan Jones, CNS News: House Republicans are finalizing a plan to sue the Obama administration over its unilateral decision to defer deportation for millions of illegal immigrants.

"It is true," House Speaker John Boehner told Fox News Wednesday night. "The president's overreach when he took executive action to -- to deal with the immigration problems in our country, frankly, in my view, is a violation of our Constitution, is -- it's a violation of his oath of office.

"I said in December, we were going to do everything to try to stop it."
Boehner said that's why the House blocked funding for Obama's immigration plan in a Homeland Security appropriations bill, which now awaits action in the Senate.

"But in addition to that, we believe that the filing of a lawsuit to try to stop the president from -- from violating our Constitution is an important step for our institution. This isn't about immigration. This is the president violating the Constitution, violating his oath of office and, frankly, not upholding the rule of law."

This is the second lawsuit challenging Obama's executive overreach. Last November, Republicans sued the Obama administration for unilaterally waiving provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Earlier this week, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Republicans of "crawling to the courts to relieve them of their responsibility to govern." Drew Hammill said Republicans "should stop wasting millions of taxpayer dollars suing the President, and start showing some seriousness for the security of the American people."

At her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Attorney-General nominee Loretta Lynch said Obama's directive to prioritize the removal of criminals and other dangerous people instead of aliens that pose no threat seems "to be a reasonable way to marshal limited resources to deal with the problem."

Boehner noted that President Obama himself said 22 times that "he did not have the authority to do what he did...Yet he decided to do it anyway."

Boehner said a border security bill pending in the House eventually will pass, after Republicans expand it.

"We've got members who want more in the bill outside of the committee's jurisdiction. We have some members who believe that we ought to include a lot of other things. So there's a lot of conversation going on about how best to address this," Boehner said.

On another topic, Obamacare, Boehner said Republicans plan to come up with an alternative, after they once again vote to repeal the law"

"There are three committee chairmen that have the jurisdiction over the health care policy in our country. And those three chairmen are working together to craft what we believe would be a better approach with regard to health care for the American people than ObamaCare...There will be an alternative, and you'll get to see it."

Boehner listed several areas where Republicans should be able to find common ground with the president, including trade promotion authority; an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS/ISIL; a long-term infrastructure bill; and cyber security.

Tags: Speaker, John Boehner, will sue,   President Obama, executive amnesty, CNS News To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Bipartisan Senate Vote Advances Keystone XL Pipeline; Final Passage Expected

Update 3:15 PM CST: By a 62-to-36 vote, Republicans and nine Democrats passed S.1, the bill to authorize construction of the 840 mile Keystone XL pipeline which Obama has vowed to veto.
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Today in Washington. D.C., Jan. 29, 2015
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate resumed consideration of S.1, the bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Senate, under the new Republican majority, also voted 62-35 to invoke cloture on S.1, the Keystone bill. Nine Democrats voted with Republicans. A vote on final passage is expected in about an hour. And if the Nine democrats stay with the Republicans the bill will pass.

Prior to the cloture vote, the Senate voted on three more amendments to the bill. All required 60 votes for adoption by a unanimous consent agreement. Senators voted 47-51 to reject an amendment offered by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), expressing the sense of Congress that reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund should be a priority, 59-39 to reject an amendment from Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), permanently reauthorizing that fund, and 45-53 to reject an amendment from Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), that would have established a renewable electricity standard.

Yesterday, the Senate voted on 11 more Keystone bill amendments by both Republicans and Democrats  each amendment required 60 votes for adoption, and all failed. The Senate rejected amendments from: Sen. Cardin, which would have required yet another study, this time of risks to drinking water from a potential spill, by a vote of 36-62; Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), which would have halted pipeline construction until another study by the administration of pipelines in the Great Lakes was completed, by a vote of 40-58; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which would have established an Energy Department program to provide rebates for solar panel installation, by a vote of 40-58; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), which would have expedited applications and approvals for the export of liquid natural gas, by a vote of 53-45; Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), which would have removed the Lesser Prairie Chicken from the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, by a vote of 54-44; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), which would have singled out citizens and employers involved in energy production for special campaign finance disclosure requirements, by a vote of 44-52; Sen. Daines, which would have expressed the sense of Congress that national monument designations should be subject to consultation with local governments and approval by the state where it would be located, by a vote of 50-47; Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), which would have expressed the sense of Congress that climate change is impacting the safety of US infrastructure and declaring the necessity for the government to offer insurance programs to mitigate the issue, by a vote of 47-51; Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), which would have required areas the Interior Dept. has declared wilderness areas to be released from that status if Congress has not designated them so within one year, by a vote of 50-48; Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), that would have expressed the sense of Congress that the wind energy production tax credit should be extended to 2020, by a vote of 47-51; and Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), which would have required fracking and natural gas storage be regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, by a vote of 35-63.

Some of these issues are expected to return either individually or as actual bills. It appears as if the Keystone XL Pipeline will go to the Presidents desk principally as a clean bill as intended by the U.S. House.

Speaking on the floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. But the Keystone jobs debate has been important for the Senate and for our country. We took about a dozen more roll-call votes on amendments yesterday. That means the Senate has now taken more than twice as many of these amendment votes on this bill alone than were allowed all of last year.”

As Leader McConnell said, “The debate over these American jobs has shown that, with bipartisan cooperation, it’s possible to get Washington functioning again. This debate is also proving that the new Congress is ready to work hard for the middle class — even in the teeth of opposition from powerful special interests. Let’s notch one more win for the middle class by passing this important infrastructure project.

Once the bill has finally passed the Senate, which is expected later today, President Obama will have an important choice to make. Will he finally end the years of stalling from his administration and allow these jobs to go forward, or will he side with deep-pocketed millionaires and liberal special interests who have fought tooth-and-nail to block this popular project?

The House is NOT in session today. It is scheduled to reconvene at 2:00 PM tomorrow, Jan. 30, 2015.

Yesterday the House debated an passed H.R. 351 (277-133) — "To provide for expedited approval of exportation of natural gas, and for other purposes." Forty-one democrats joined 236 republican in the passage of the bill. Republican Rep Chris Gibson (NY) voted with 132 Democrats opposing the bill.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The EPA’s Unconstitutional Highway Funding Threat

by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: President Obama’s EPA is executing a massive power play, attempting to coerce states into adopting draconian policies that would steeply increase the price of energy. States that don’t cooperate are being told they’ll have their federal highway funding cut off. That’s unconstitutional.

Obama’s cap-and-trade energy tax scheme spectacularly crashed and burned in his first term, and was a significant factor in the 2010 “shellacking” he received at the ballot box. The day after that election, he famously said that the federal legislation “was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.”

It turns out the threat to yank highway funding is his all-too-clever way to skin those of us cats who enjoy affordable electricity.

We know the threat is unconstitutional because there was an almost identical strategy used to coerce states embedded in that other debacle from Obama’s first term: Obamacare.

The most famous holding in the same landmark case NFIB v. Sebelius was on the individual mandate that John Roberts contrived to rewrite as a tax. But the other major holding in the case struck down the law’s feature that required states to expand Medicaid, originally designed as a program for specific, vulnerable populations (children and the disabled) into a new, universal welfare program for able-bodied working-age adults. The penalty for states that didn’t cooperate was supposed to be the loss of all of the state’s federal Medicaid funding.

The Court said no. It made clear that Congress cannot commandeer the states into adopting a new program by threatening to remove funding for an existing program. It wasn’t even particularly controversial, with liberals Breyer and Kagan joining the five Republican appointed justices in a strong 7-2 decision.

“In this case, the financial ‘inducement’ Congress has chosen is much more than ‘relatively mild encouragement’—it is a gun to the head,” the Court wrote. They were drawing a distinction between the Medicaid provisions and the penalty for states that resisted the national 21 year-old drinking age, under threat of losing five percent of their highway funds, which the Court upheld in 1987’s South Dakota v. Dole. The EPA’s current threat – imperiling all highway funds, because the penalty provisions designed for local non-attainment areas would be applied to entire states – is far more like the former.

“The threatened loss of over 10 percent of a State’s overall budget, in contrast, is economic dragooning that leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion,” the Court continued.

Federal highway funding is not as big a portion of state budgets as Medicaid, but it is substantial.

The EPA says its cap-and-trade ambitions are not a new program, but merely the latest in its ongoing implementation of the Clean Air Act. But that won’t fly.

“We cannot agree that existing Medicaid and the expansion dictated by the Affordable Care Act are all one program simply because ‘Congress styled’ them as such,” the Court said. “If the expansion is not properly viewed as a modification of the existing Medicaid program, Congress’s decision to so title it is irrelevant.”

Nothing like the proposed EPA greenhouse gas regulations has ever previously existed. The very fact that the agency is pressuring state legislatures to adopt sweeping new laws to transform their electric power sectors is ample evidence of that.

The highway funds threat will therefore be struck down for the same reason the Medicaid threat was, and states can confidently ignore it.

The EPA is going to extraordinary lengths to coerce states to adopt policies that Congress and the American people have already rejected. The proper state response is to flatly refuse to cooperate while fighting back via litigation, congressional action and, ultimately, by electing a new president who will rein in the out-of-control environmental activists running the EPA.
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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: EPA, Unconstitutional Threat, Highway funding, Phil Kerpen, American Commitment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The 2015 ABCs of #SchoolChoice Handbook

ARRA News Service - Today the Friedman Foundation released its annual school choice reference guide, The ABCs of School Choice. In it, we profile every program in the U.S., providing participation levels, eligibility rates, and purchasing power. Click here to download your copy.
Robert Enlow, President and CEO, Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice: "As state lawmakers consider expanding school choice over the next few months, and thousands celebrate National School Choice Week over the next several days, we hope The ABCs of School Choice will be helpful to your work."

Tags: 2015, ABC of Scholl Choice, handbbook, states,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Building Consensus . . .

. . . Settled Science for a price. Scientist who don’t agree that the planet is warming due to man made causes, well . . .
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: building consensus, settled science for a price, scientist dpn't agree, warming is man made, 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!

House Conservatives Band Together In Freedom Caucus

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH)
by Melissa Quinn, The Daily Caller: Conservative lawmakers are officially rolling out a new group aimed at advancing a conservative agenda in the House of Representatives after they expressed discontent with the direction of the Republican Study Committee.

“Our main hope is that we can represent the voids and valleys for our constituents back home,” Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho told The Daily Signal today. “With a small group that is nimble and able to work on issues that are of importance to our constituents, we can make a difference in Congress.”

Called the House Freedom Caucus, the group serves as a conservative alternative to the Republican Study Committee, which has over 170 members. However, it was not formed to be “anti-RSC,” a Republican congressional aide told The Daily Signal last month.

Membership in the Freedom Caucus will be by invitation only, and the group plans to “advance an agenda of limited, constitutional government in Congress.”

The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them” its mission statement says. “We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans.”

The Freedom Caucus has nine founding members: Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, — the interim chairman — Labrador, Justin Amash of Michigan, Ron DeSantis of Florida, John Fleming of Louisiana, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina and Matt Salmon of Arizona.

The new group will boast around 40 members, though there is no set cap according to Labrador, and more than 30 have signed on to the Freedom Caucus for its debut. Members of the group will suggest potential members and vote on their membership, Labrador said.
The group will be led former RSC Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, left,
and Raul Labrador of Idaho. (Photo: Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
All will pay dues, enabling the new caucus to hire three to four staff members. The nine founders, though, will pay “mortgages,” or a higher level of funding, National Review reported.

Those more than 30 House Republicans will meet tonight to draft the Freedom Caucus’ bylaws.

“We want to accomplish an agenda of conservative reform, something where we represent the values of the people back home,” Labrador said. “Both parties make the mistake of representing special interests and lobbyists and the groups that give money to their campaigns. We really want to represent the people, and that’s what we want to make sure we do in the House Freedom Caucus.”

Whispers that conservative House members would start an alternative to the Republican Study Committee began earlier this month. The group then did not have a name, but several RSC members were looking to form a new group that would draft and push conservative legislation.

The Republican Study Committee began in 1973 as a vehicle to advance conservative policies. However, some of the group’s members feared that it began to drift from its founding roots over the years, especially as its membership swelled to more than 170 lawmakers—more than half of all Republicans in the House.

The November election of Rep. Bill Flores of Texas to serve as RSC chair further fueled discontent among the committee’s more conservative members, as they feared Flores would side with House leadership on policy issues and debates.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Flores said he views the Freedom Caucus as a “complimentary effort to advance the cause of conservative policy in this caucus.”

“You’ve got a group of passionate conservatives just like the Republican Study Committee, and they will have an opportunity to get together and come up with ideas,” Flores said.

The Texas Republican said he met with Jordan during the group’s earlier planning stages and said he’s confident Freedom Caucus members will remain in the RSC. Flores even suggested lawmakers in the new caucus share ideas with the RSC to “help get these conservative policies across the finish line on the House floor.”

Labrador told The Daily Signal there were general conversations with leadership about the group, but said there was no direct feedback about its formation.

“We don’t want to surprise leadership,” he said. “We want to work with leadership.”

The debate over a border security bill from Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas gives the Freedom Caucus its first opportunity to push conservative policy, as National Review first reported. Though the legislation focuses on securing the border—an aspect of immigration reform conservatives are pushing for—conservatives believe the House and Senate should first focus on a bill that blocks President Obama’s immigration executive action.

The House passed legislation addressing the president’s immigration policies earlier this month. However, the Senate has yet to do so.

Labrador said participating in the debate around McCaul’s bill allows the Freedom Caucus to speak as an official group. He lamented that often times, conservative members fail to present a plan and a strategy in pushing a conservative agenda. However, he’s hopeful that the group will present a “positive message” for the House.

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An Auschwitz Anniversary

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: There was some serious irony when U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew gathered together with French President Francois Hollande and a Russian delegation led by Sergei Ivanov, Putin’s chief of staff, along with leaders from Germany and Austria to participate in the January 27 ceremony commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945 by Russian troops.

I suspect that an entire generation or two born after that year, 70 years ago, may have little or no knowledge of what Auschwitz was. It was a Nazi death camp located in Oswiecim, Poland. Its full name was Auschwitz-Birkenau and it is estimated that one million people, mostly Jews, were killed there.

I say “irony” because Auschwitz-Birkenau was part of a system of six Nazi death camps that included Belzac, Chelmo, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Each camp was filled with the victims of a widespread anti-Semitism that had existed in Europe for two thousand years, so it was not difficult for the Germans to turn a blind eye or the French and others to provide assistance in rounding up their Jews.

The camps engaged in large scale murder to fulfil Adolf Hitler’s intention to exterminate every Jew in Europe. In 1933 there had been nine million living in 21 nations that would be occupied during World War II. By 1945, two out of every three European Jews had been killed.

In addition to the Jews, an estimated five million others deemed enemies of the state for political or other reasons such as being Communists, trade unionists, gypsies or homosexuals also died in the camps.

What is rarely acknowledged is that the Europeans of that era were largely educated, had a rich culture of music, literature, and drama, and many were church-goers. In short, you would not have been able to tell them apart from the Europeans of today.

The Nazis wrote the book on the use of terrorism to facilitate their barbaric, murderous theology of death. The Muslims that have moved to Europe have adapted it to their own ends, seeking like the Nazis to become globally dominant. They don’t have death camps—yet—but the widespread and constant slaughter in which they are engaged has a similar feel to it.

In the 1930s those European Jews had few places to which to flee. They were not even that welcome in America where anti-Semitism was widespread. Those that could did emigrate and, again there is irony because several of the German physicists that came to the U.S. were instrumental in the creation of the atomic bomb that ended World War II while others played roles in the Nazi’s defeat during the war. One such emigrant, Albert Einstein, was the first to suggest the creation of the weapon to Franklin Roosevelt.

In response to European anti-Semitism, a movement called Zionism had begun before World War II with the intention of reestablishing Israel as a Jewish state where Jews could be safe. The movement was founded by Theodor Herzl in 1896. Here again there is irony because the movement was dominated by secular Jews who were not motivated by Jewish history or the Torah. What they wanted was to be free of the oppressive antipathy of the nations in which they lived. What they were seeking was emancipation.

By the time World War II occurred, they were a force to be recognized in Israel, known at the time as the Palestinian Mandate and run by the British who, as often as not, shared the anti-Semitism that had given life to the Zionist movement. It would take the Holocaust to accelerate the movement of Europe’s surviving Jews to Israel which in 1948 declared its sovereignty and was immediately attacked by the Muslim nations surrounding it.

Fast forward to our times and the Jews of Israel as well as those around the world know one truth. If Iran is permitted to reach a point where it can create its own nuclear weapons and put them on their missiles, Israel will only be minutes away from an extermination that the Iranian leadership and the other Muslim nations of the Middle East have openly called for since Israel came into being and the Islamic Revolution took control of Iran in 1979.

This time, however, the same nuclear weapons that would destroy Israel would also be turned on the United States because the shouts of “Death to America. Death to Israel” are a part of the daily lives of the Iranians, as well as others in the region.

What makes these days so dangerous is that the United States of America is engaged in negotiations with an Iran that has never made a secret of their intention to be a nuclear-armed nation. What makes these days so dangerous is that the President of the United States has barely hidden his own anti-Semitism and animus toward Israel.

One can only pray that seventy years hence some other writer will not be commenting on the second great annihilation of the Jews, literally within the lifetime of people who were alive during the first one. I am one of those people and Auschwitz is not some place that existed a long time ago. It was yesterday.
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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 contribution author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, Auschwitz, anniversary, death camps, extermination, Jews, Israel, Iran To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Speaker Boehner Supports #SchoolChoice, Obama Drops Toxic Plan To Tax Middle Class 529 Savings Accounts

Speaker Boehner speaks for School Choice
Today in Washington, D.C. - Jan. 28, 2014:

The House reconvened at 9:00 AM today. This AM, the House has already consider and passed:  H.R. 351 (277-133 ) — "To provide for expedited approval of exportation of natural gas, and for other purposes."
The house in recess until 2 PM today.

Yesterday the House passed by Voice Vote:
H.R. 159 — "To stop exploitation through trafficking."
H.R. 181 — "To provide justice for the victims of trafficking."
H.R. 285 — "To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a penalty for knowingly selling advertising that offers certain commercial sex acts."
H.R. 350 — "To direct the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to identify strategies to prevent children from becoming victims of trafficking and review trafficking prevention efforts, to protect and assist in the recovery of victims of trafficking, and for other purposes."
H.R. 398 — "To provide for the development and dissemination of evidence-based best practices for health care professionals to recognize victims of a severe form of trafficking and respond to such individuals appropriately, and for other purposes."
H.R. 460 — "To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities, and for other purposes."

The House also passed:
H.R. 246 (411-0) — "To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking."
H.R. 469 (410-0) — "To amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to enable State child protective services systems to improve the identification and assessment of child victims of sex trafficking, and for other purposes."

Yesterday Speaker Boehner supported "School Choice" speaking at at a rally on Capitol Hill for National School Choice Week. A former chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, Boehner has been an advocate for school choice and the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program throughout his time in Congress. In remarks Boehner said, ". . . I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters, grew up working at my dad’s bar. And my parents sent all 12 of us to Catholic schools – I don’t know how they managed it, but I owe everything to that opportunity.

“When I got here in 1991, I wanted to help make sure every student had the same chance that I did. Because education is the great equalizer in America – it can lift up kids who would slip through the cracks. . . .

“This struggle won’t be won by my generation, but it will be won by yours. Through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, you’ve shown that students thrive when parents are empowered to pick the best schools. You’ve shown how great charter schools are – and how we need more of them. Because of you, we know that school choice can make anything possible. . . ."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate resumed consideration of S.1, the bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. At 2:30 PM, the Senate will begin a series of up to 18 roll call votes on amendments to S. 1. By unanimous consent, each of these amendments will require 60 votes to be adopted. Twenty-four amendments have been voted on so far on this bill alone. In all of 2014, Democrat leadership permitted votes on only 15 amendments.

Today, ALG President Rick Manning issued a statement opposing passage of an amendment offered by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) that would extend the Wind Production Tax Credit for another five years. "Americans for Limited Government strongly opposes Senator Heidi Heitkamp's amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill that would extend the Wind Production Tax Credit for another five years. The Wind Production Tax Credit is just another example of the crony capitalism that runs rampant in Washington, D.C. distorting our nation's energy markets while encouraging the non-economically sustainable wind farming of America. After decades of being propped up by taxpayers, it is time for the mature wind energy industry to fairly compete in the marketplace rather than serving as a tax dodge for the wealthy."

The New York Times reported yesterday, “President Obama, facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties, will drop his proposal to effectively end the popular college savings accounts known as 529s, but will keep an expanded tuition tax credit at the center of his college access plan, White House officials said Tuesday.

“The decision came just hours after Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio demanded that the proposal be withdrawn from the president’s budget, due out Monday, ‘for the sake of middle-class families.’ But the call for the White House to relent also came from top Democrats, including Representatives Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking member of the Budget Committee. . . .

“The move was an abrupt turn for the president, who had made the proposal during his State of the Union address only a week ago, a proposal he called part of his pitch for ‘middle-class economics.’ . . . Mr. Boehner said Tuesday that ‘529 plans help middle-class families save for college, but now the president wants to tax those plans.’”

The Times
notes that “taking away the tax advantage of the 529 plan . . . proved to be politically toxic.”

The Wall Street Journal editors explain why: “The 529 plans put the power in the hands of parents. The political problem is that 529s have become popular with, well, the middle class; there were some 11.8 million accounts and the average balance was $20,671 as of last June.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was happy to see the president shelve this proposal. “I’m glad to see the President has dropped his plan to make it harder for middle-class families to save for college with 529s,” he said. “I fought to ensure these plans were tax-free at the federal level. Thanks to this incentive to save, millions of Americans use 529s to help prepare for college expenses. These are good plans that promote responsible savings. I’m not sure why President Obama would have sought to undermine them in the first place. It’s just good to see the president coming around to Republicans’ pro-middle class view in the end.”

If President Obama wants to continue this and take some positive action for the middle class, he could sign the bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline when it reaches his desk. The pipeline will create thousands of jobs and help increase the supply of oil, which ultimately contributes to lower gasoline prices.

Tags: School Choice, child and sex trafficking bills, Keystone XL Pipeline, toxic tax, middle class, college savings, 529 plans,  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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