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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
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
ISIS Strikes Again, Border Warnings, Jihadi High, Stop The Self-Delusion
by Gary L. Bauer, Contributing Author: Breaking News - ISIS has released a video purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff. ISIS has released a video purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff. The jihadist taunted Obama in this video. In that sense, he is a lot like Putin, who regularly taunts the president while he continues his murderous ways in Ukraine. More and more we are seeing that a foreign policy based on reciting "Give peace a chance," doesn't work well in the real world.
NBC reports that Pentagon officials were "apoplectic" over Obama's comment that we are lacking a strategy to deal with ISIS. Why might that be? According to Fox News, Obama has been receiving briefings about ISIS for a year but never followed up or requested additional information.
Border Warnings - As Americans kicked off the Labor Day weekend, a number of conservative news outlets and organizations were reporting stark warnings from federal and state border officials. They were on alert due to intelligence indicating that ISIS, cooperating with drug cartels, might launch car bomb attacks across the border from Ciudad Juarez, next to El Paso.
The Obama Administration said only that it was not aware of any immediate threat. But Fox News reported that "Islamic State militants are keenly aware of the porous U.S.-Mexico border." We can see on the nightly news what happens to nations with porous borders.
By the way, it's not just the borders we need to be worried about. Our entire immigration system is "porous." The federal government has apparently "lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals" who came here on student visas. It is beyond breathtaking that 13 years after 9/11 this still remains a major homeland security problem.
Meanwhile, a major Al Qaeda publication has threatened attacks in Las Vegas, Times Square and at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. All this is happening amid growing concerns in Europe and the U.S. that Westerners are joining jihadist groups and then returning home with combat skills. (See next item.)
Jihadi High - As we reported last week, two former students at Robbinsdale Cooper High School, located in a suburb of Minneapolis, converted to Islam, joined radical groups and died fighting with Islamists on foreign battlefields. They may not be the only jihadists from Robbinsdale Cooper. In 2013, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a Syrian sniper had been filmed wearing a Robbinsdale Cooper Hawks sweatshirt. That raises the possibility that this single school has produced three jihadists.
No doubt the great majority of graduates from Robbinsdale Cooper are good Americans. But what are the influences in this particular community, which appears to be breeding jihadists? These two individuals have been glibly written off as merely "losers." But that is not a sufficient explanation for why these converts to Islam traveled halfway across the world to join the jihadists of ISIS.
If several boys had graduated from a Birmingham or Biloxi high school and went on to become KKK thugs, there would be an understandable interest in finding out what, if anything, might have been going on at that high school that would cause not one, not two, but perhaps three boys to go down that road of hatred and violence. I suspect there would be considerable media interest in going to the school and interviewing students and teachers. Perhaps it is worth taking a look.
Minnesota's Twin Cities are a stronghold of the secular, radical left. The area is also increasingly a hotbed of radical Islamism. Both worldviews are defined by their hostility to Western civilization and our Judeo-Christian values.
Stop The Self-Delusion - Three churches in Columbus, Indiana, were vandalized over the weekend. The word "Infidels" and various Koranic verses were spray painted in prominent locations. An investigation is underway and the story is troubling on its face. But something else in the reporting caught my attention.
Doug Marcotte, a priest at near-by Saint Bartholomew's Catholic Church, told one local news outlet, "Is this some sort of nasty prank? Is this someone that's trying to incite people against Muslims?"
We don't know who did this. But given the headlines around the world of beheadings, crucifixions, forced conversions, church bombings and attacks on synagogues, I am not sure why Father Marcotte's first reaction to the defacing of the churches is to speculate that someone may be trying to smear Islam.
In recent years, across Europe and increasingly in the U.S., churches and synagogues have been the targets of vandalism. The perpetrators have often been either heavily involved in Satanism and the occult or Islamists.
Father Doug Marcotte also said, "Is there somebody that really believes this, that we're all infidels, so they felt the need to write it all over our church?" With all due respect, father, as we have seen from the news today the answer is yes!
It seems to me that Father Marcotte's reaction is more evidence of why we are in such deep trouble: Too many of our political and cultural elites are in denial about the threat we face.
Sadly, I believe it is likely if we continue down the road we are now traveling that Christians and Jews in America, sooner than we think, will see our places of worship bombed and burned by the jihadists of Islamism.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:ISIS, ISIS Strikes Again, Border Warnings, Jihadi High, Stop The Self-Delusion, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: As the great P.J. O’Rourke said: “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”We have to give the Feds some - the Constitution requires it. But in 1984 the Supreme Court threw wide open the doors to every liquor store and vehicle in the nation.Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. was a case in which the United States Supreme Court set forth the legal test for determining whether to grant deference to a government agency's interpretation of a statute which it administers.
Chevron is the Court's clearest articulation of the doctrine of "administrative deference," to the point that the Court itself has used the phrase "Chevron deference" in more recent cases.What has that meant in thirty years of practice?Supreme Court Rules Bureaucrats Can Set Their Own Power Limits; No Bureaucrats Find AnyWhich brings us to the Obama Administration. And its million-plus bureaucrats speeding and swerving from one adult beverage center to another - sloppily all over every lane of every highway and byway in the land.
All of this egregious overreach, the ensuing woeful and unnecessary damage and more we discuss in the accompanying video.
Please press play - and enjoy.
------------- Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and contributes to ARRA News Service. RedState also published this article. Please feel free to follow him on Twitter / Facebook Tags:bureaucrats, own limits, no limits, FCC, Internet, news, politics, Seton Motley, Less GovernmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:ISIS, PResident Obama, eye on the ball, 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 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Younger generations can be forgiven if all they know of war is what they have learned in school or seen dramatized on film and television. For most Americans, the Civil War, the two World Wars, and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam are events that occurred “a long time ago.” For my generation, born just prior to or during World War Two, wars have been a constant element of our lives.
Anyone with an interest in U.S. history knows that America was born out of a long war (1775-1783) with Great Britain which eventually led to the writing of the Constitution in 1787 whose ratification became official in June 1788. A year later George Washington, the wartime general, became the first President and, thereafter, nearly every President has had to dispatch U.S. naval, land and air forces in combat. This is why the Founders concluded that the President also had to be Commander-in-Chief in order to respond to threats to the nation whether near or far.
Not all Americans were eager to engage in various conflicts and most of the larger ones have had to address a fair measure of opposition. Even the Revolution was resisted by those who felt being a colony was a wiser choice than being independent.
In the greater world, wars have been constant somewhere, a shaper of history, and, according to Benjamin Ginsberg, a prolific historian and director of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University, it has some beneficial aspects. His latest book, “The Worth of War”, explores this aspect of history.
“Organized warfare is among the most common and persistent of human activities,” says Prof. Ginsberg. “As terrible as it is, war and the possibility of war exert considerable pressure upon societies to think and plan logistically in order to protect their security interests and, sometimes, their very existence.”
“In the decades since World War II, of course, the United States has been at war on a continual basis. The nation has fought large engagements in Korea, Indo-China, and the Middle East, as well as numerous smaller conflicts throughout the world.” Americans are now debating having to return to the Middle East a third time since the Persian Gulf War 1990-1991 to undertake the vital mission of destroying the newly declared Islamic State that threatens the region and, should it grow more powerful, the West.
It may strike the reader as odd to think of war as a good thing, but Prof. Ginsberg points out that “Bureaucracies developed from war. Once built, they expanded the scope of their operations to handle purely civilian tasks as well. War also required societies to learn the rudiments of fiscal policy” because “armies and war are expensive.”
Much of the technology we take for granted emerged from the need to succeed in warfare. “Europe’s lead in military technology widened sharply with the European industrial revolution of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (and) with their weapons, their ships, and their tactics, European armies conquered the Americans, Africa, portions of Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.” In the process, the Europeans exported their technological advances to those they conquered, spreading knowledge.
The concept of being a “citizen soldier” developed out of war. “During the medieval and early modern eras, wars were fought by small feudal levies and professional or mercenary armies” but “beginning with the French revolution and Napoleonic eras, the size of national military forces began to increase substantially.” Not only did war become very expensive, a nation’s people had to be given a reason to feel they were defending or expanding the interests of the nation, having loyalty to the state. They had to be paid; funding had to be raised via taxes and bonds and, beyond conscription, others had to feel inspired to participate in making the instruments of war.
“In the modern world, military success requires a strong economic base to support the armies, weapons, training, and logistics need to prevail in serious or protracted combat.” Indeed, “the level of economic development is the single most important variable explaining military outcomes over the past century or so.”
The United States has enjoyed the greatest, thriving economy since the end of World War II, but public opinion has played a significant role, via Congress, elections, and public displays of support or resistance to whether the U.S. has entered a war or relinquished combat. The role of the President to encourage participation or resist combat is the other significant factor.
President Obama, who was elected twice on the promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, now faces the decision whether to employ military power to attack the Islamic State. Failing to retain our troops in Iraq or to engage jihadists in Syria is credited with its emergence and its threat.
The images of Islamic State barbarity, as well as its deliberate slaughter of Christians in the Middle East, is tending public opinion to the need to destroy it before it exports its violence to the U.S.
As Prof. Ginsberg points out, “Tolerant, politically liberal individuals shrink from using violence under almost any circumstance” but “in the international realm, by opposing war and violence they are effectively condemning many peoples to live under tyranny.”
At home, “America is a country whose citizens are connected to one another and to their government less by the blood in their veins than the blood they have shed—their own and that of others.” We honor our veterans. We have national holidays to celebrate our past victories.
We need a victory in the Middle East. We had one in Iraq until President Obama militarily abandoned it. We have troops in Afghanistan that are the only thing between its modernization or a return to the oppression of the jihad.
One way or the other, whether we respond to the current threat or not, wars will be fought, won or lost.
------------ Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service. Tags:war, fact of life, Worth of War, 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!
Benjamin Franklin "A republic, if you can keep it."
by Herman Cain: Our destiny as a nation is not to just survive but to thrive. That destiny is embedded in our founding principles as the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution and our free market system. But our Founders knew that it would be a challenge to stick to those principles due to the natural tendencies of government.
Recall the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
If we can keep it!
That's our continuing challenge because there have and will always be forces trying to destroy or weaken our republic. Radical Islamists want to destroy our republic. Progressives in this country want to weaken our republic with bigger and more expensive government, and the selective enforcement of our laws.
As a result, we are in a survival mode with foggy foreign policy, a sluggish economy, insecure borders, heightened tensions between citizens and law enforcement, a heightened mistrust of government agencies and a severe lack of leadership in government.
The obvious solutions are a clear foreign policy, a robust economy, secure borders, increased mutual respect between citizens and law enforcement, trust in government agencies and real leadership in government.
That's easier said than done, which is why we are in survival mode, rather than thriving economically, socially, militarily and as a world leader.
To “keep it” we must begin to reverse the slide. We can't change everything instantly, but we can begin an orderly strategy to reverse the tide. That strategy is also easier said than done, but it is doable if enough of "we the people" wake up and step up to the ballot box with the right votes, and speak up to those in office who are abusing our liberties.
Yes, that means electing Republicans to control both chambers of Congress in November 2014, and electing a Republican president in 2016. As I have said and will continue to say, Republican officials are not perfect, but they are better for the preservation of our republic than the deceptive and destructive policies of Democrats in office.
We can win in November if conservatives, independents and undecided voters turn out in November and opt for less government, less taxation and adherence to the Constitution! Staying home is just as much a vote for the weakening of our republic, as it is voting Democrats back into office.
Now that the Labor Day Weekend is behind us, political campaign ads will be unleashed on the public with a fury. As I wrote previously, we must arm people with the truth in order for them to make the right decisions. We are all members of Truth Squad USA, because the lies and deception cannot be contained by one person or one source.
Benjamin Franklin also said this: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
Can we keep this Republic and once again become a thriving nation?
I believe we can! Tags:America, just surviving, herman Cain, Ben Franklin, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Why The Debate Over Energy Storage Utterly Misses The Point
by Chris Dalby: The debate over which energy storage technology will prove to be the best in the long-term is woefully misguided.
Many technologies have been tested in the field or been fully installed, but their real-world applications have created constant questions around a number of fixed themes: the three-points concern cost, technology, and potential environmental impact, as well as the need for specific regulation and end-of-life management.
Here, engineers have run into the dilemma of energy storage technology. It is difficult for any energy storage method, at least at the current stage of development, to produce the amounts of power and energy required at a cost-effective price. However, passing judgment on energy storage by using this equation alone is simply incorrect. After all, we do not expect renewable energy to provide a one-size-fits-all solution to help us move away from fossil fuels.
Wind farms are suitable for areas with high wind currents, such as southern Mexico, while photovoltaic (PV) plants have found more traction in sun-kissed regions like California. Even with the same type of resource, different technologies are used for different applications. After all, the ability of operators to connect small PV setups to the grid has seen the use of solar installations in private homes skyrocket.
Why should we expect anything different from energy storage technologies? It is highly unlikely that in the short-term, any one of the available options will turn out to be the true leader of the pack.
Last year, researchers at the University of Illinois announced the cost, technology, and potential environmental impact…which breaks the paradigms of energy sources." This is a wonderful advance that, if found commercially viable, will allow for a future generation of smart phones to be charged much faster or to power single, high-energy applications such as medical equipment.
However, the accelerated output of such lithium-ion battery technology is still not able to happen on the grid-scale level that society requires. To counter this problem, some countries such as Germany have been looking at chemical energy storage as the answer for a 100 percent renewable future. This involves the use of electrolysis to create hydrogen and methane from extra energy generated by renewable plants such as wind or solar. Dr. Gunter Ebert, from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, says that these two are "the only options for large-scale storage." In his vision, large storage facilities would be used to serve hydrogen, which could then be converted for use in vehicles or fuel cells. Methane could be used in the gas grid, or to serve needs such as heat and power.
Chemical energy storage is certainly gaining traction, with the first hydrogen made from electricity having been pumped into Germany's gas network in December 2013. But again, it would be presumptuous to say that these advances are resolving the energy storage debate. It looks likely that as research progresses, other equally viable forms of energy storage will occur. This will give the consumer, whether a single family or a national grid operator, the very thing that was lacking from renewable energy offerings for so long: a choice.
They will be able to determine the size of the storage that they each need and the applicability of various solutions to their needs. House owners, or a small community, might opt for a diffuse storage option with a number of small storage units across a local area. Large-scale operators, such as public transport companies, might instead prefer to rely on a centralized network comprised of several vast storage facilities.
The final problem with the current energy storage debate is the tendency to judge a method's cost-effectiveness on the merits of available technologies alone. Much like any other scientific development, its cost-effectiveness should be calculated through links to other technologies it will be paired up with. For energy storage, these are obviously renewable energy plants. And here is where the good news comes in.
Just last week, a report by Swiss bank UBS showed how the linked development of energy storage, solar power and electric vehicles is changing the economics of power generation. UBS predicts that by 2020, a return on investment for an unsubsidized purchase of an electric vehicle, coupled with a rooftop solar installation and battery storage, will drop to just six years in much of Europe. Smart distribution networks would precisely manage the usage and allocation of electricity, allowing for an electric car to be charged at night, for the sun to power a house during daylight hours and for improved batteries to store power for other residential uses. While such news might not be met with cheers in the offices of national grid operators, it shows just how the quest for "The Holy Grail of Energy Storage" is doomed to fail.
---------------- James Stafford, Editor, OilPrice.com contributed this article to the ARRA News Service. OilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site. Chris Dalby writes for OilPRice.com. Tags:energy storage, debate, technology, cost, technology, potential environmental, impact, OilPrice, Chris DalbyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Norm Beznoska Jr., Letter to Editor: There is a "Thin Blue Line" that separates "Good from Evil; Order from Anarchy; Civilization from Barbarians." That 'Thin Blue Line" is made up of our Police and Sheriff Departments, Border Patrol, Firemen; and EMS personnel. These Men and Women stand watch over us and protect us 24x7, 365 days a year, from those who know NO Law; NO Order; NO Civility.
We saw what happened in Missouri when rioters and looters used the pretext of the killing of a 6'4" 290 lb unarmed Black man in a confrontation with a white policeman, to run amok, causing tens of millions of dollars damage. For what purpose? To "mourn" the loss of the young man? Or, to rob and loot businesses, and throw gasoline bombs at the Police in a senseless, racial rage? At the same time in Utah, a young unarmed, white man was killed by a Black Police Officer. But, unlike Missouri, there was no rioting; no looting; no confrontations with the Police. Perhaps because no racial agitators like Al Sharpton and Attorney General Holder showed up?
Even the President of the United States got involved (again); sending three high ranking Government officials to the funeral of the young black man. The same president who, only the week before, couldn't send one, just ONE government Official to the funeral of Major General Harold Greene, the US Army's highest ranking Officer to be killed in Afghanistan. Why not?
I'm tired of the print and TV news media, Attorney General Holder and President Obama using our Police as "political pinatas and whipping boys". In 2012, there were 12 Million criminal incidents in the country, but only 400 fatal shootings by the Police.400! That is .000035 of one percent. However, a Police Officer is Killed in the line of duty every 58 hours.
I cannot speak for the citizens of my city, but I can speak for my family, my friends, and my neighbors who feel like I do about "The Thin Blue Line".
We Thank You; We Respect You; and We Have Your Back.
---------------------------- Norm Beznoska Jr., aka Navyman Norm, lives in Strongsville, OH and his letter speaks for many Americans. He is also a contributing author to the ARRA News Service Tags:letter to the editor, Navy Man Norm, Norm Beznoska Jr., Thin Blue Line, policeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
CBO Report: GDP Going Down & Gov't Debt Will Hit 64 Yr High | Kaiser Health News: Obamacare Tax On Insurers Passed On To State Taxpayers And In Higher Premiums
Today in Washington, D.C. - August 2, 2014
Last week in August was a data heavy one. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their updated forecast of the nation’s fiscal situation over the next decade, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their advanced estimate of second quarter GDP growth for this year. In addition, problems with Obamacare continue to persist, as many contractors for the Healthcare.gov site will be paid more than their initial estimate.
Government Debt Will Hit A 64-Year High This Fiscal Year. According to the CBO’s updated budget forecast, “federal debt held by the public will reach 74 percent of GDP at the end of this fiscal year—more than twice what it was at the end of 2007 and higher than in any year since 1950.” In addition, interest payments on the debt will total more than $799 billion in 2024. According to the report, “The federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2014 will amount to $506 billion, CBO estimates, roughly $170 billion lower than the shortfall recorded in 2013. At 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), this year’s deficit will be much smaller than those of recent years (which reached almost 10 percent of GDP in 2009) and slightly below the average of federal deficits over the past 40 years.”
The CBO Predicted GDP Growth Of Only 1.5. Percent In 2014. In February, The CBO projected the economy would grow by 3.1 percent in 2014. However, the agency downgraded the growth rate to 1.5 percent citing “the surprising economic weakness in the first half of the year.”Government Debt Will Hit A 64 Year High, As A Percentage Of GDP. Also noted in the CBO report, “federal debt held by the public will reach 74 percent of GDP at the end of this fiscal year—more than twice what it was at the end of 2007 and higher than in any year since 1950.” Interest Payments On The Debt Will Total $799 Billion In 2024. According to The Wall Street Journal:, “interest payments on the debt will be less than originally forecast, they will reach $799 billion in 2024 alone.”
The Senate and House are still adjourned for the August recess to allow senators to work in their home states. The Senate will return for legislative business on Monday, September 8th. When the Senate returns, votes are scheduled on nominees to the Social Security Advisory Board and on the nomination of Jill Pryor to be a judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The House may adjourn on Friday, September 5, 2014. However, no bills or votes are expected until potentially the following week. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) today announced new additions to his staff for both the Office of the Majority Whip and his personal office. “I’m proud to welcome these new members to my Washington staff,” Scalise said. “All of them bring to the team their unique and varied experiences, dedication to public service, and commitment to representing the values, interests, and people of Southeast Louisiana. They will play an integral role as we work to unite the Republican Conference around conservative solutions that move America forward.”
Moira Bagley Smith, Communications Director: Moira joins the Office of the Majority Whip after most recently serving as Communications Director for U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) She began her career in Washington, D.C. at Roll Call Newspaper before working for the Republican National Committee and subsequently, The Daily Caller. Dan Sadlosky, Policy Advisor: Dan served U.S. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) as a Legislative Assistant.He previously worked for Rep. Scalise as a Legislative Aide.
Kaiser Health News reports today, “When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it required health insurers, hospitals, device makers and pharmaceutical companies to share in the cost because they would get a windfall of new, paying customers. But with an $8 billion tax on insurers due Sept. 30 — the first time the new tax is being collected — the industry is getting help from an unlikely source: taxpayers. States and the federal government will spend at least $700 million this year to pay the tax for their Medicaid health plans. The three dozen states that use Medicaid managed care plans will give those insurers more money to cover the new expense. . . . Other insurers are getting some help paying the tax as well. Private insurers are passing the tax onto policyholders in the form of higher premiums. Medicare health plans are getting the tax covered by the federal government via higher reimbursement. . . . ‘This situation results in the federal government taxing itself and taxing state governments to fund the higher Medicaid managed care payments required to fund the ACA health insurer fee,’ said a report by Medicaid Health Plans of America, a trade group.”
So once again despite Democrats’ claims that Obamacare lowers health care costs, a new tax imposed by Obamacare is once again falling on American taxpayers, either through taxes to their states or to the federal government, or through higher health care premiums (which Democrats also said Obamacare would lower).
The report continues, “A KHN survey of some large state Medicaid programs found the tax will be costly this year. . . . Florida anticipates the tax will cost $100 million, with the state picking up $40 million and the federal government, $60 million. Texas estimates the tax at $220 million, with the state paying $90 million and federal government, $130 million. Tennessee anticipates it will owe $160 million, with the state paying $50 million and the federal government, $110 million. California has budgeted $88 million, with the state paying $40 million and the federal government, $48 million. Georgia estimates the tax on its plans at $90 million, with the state paying $29 million and the federal government, $61 million. Pennsylvania predicts the tax will cost $139 million, with the state paying $64 million and the federal government, $75 million. Louisiana estimates the tax will cost $27 million, with the state paying $10 million and the federal government, $17 million. . . . ‘The premium tax is just another way that the costs of the Affordable Care Act are pushed down to states and families,’ said Stephanie Goodman, spokeswoman for the Texas Medicaid program. Medicaid officials in other states complain that paying the tax reduces money they could have spent on covering more services or paying providers.‘I do not feel I am getting anything in return for this,’ said Tennessee Medicaid Director Darin Gordon.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told 14 News, in Owensboro, KY, “[Obamacare is] a big burden, both in Medicare reimbursement reductions and taxes on the providers of health care. And of course it’s been a catastrophe for the consumers: higher premiums, higher deductibles, lost jobs. Really a disastrous piece of legislation that we’re paying the price for.” Tags:CBO Report, GDP Going Down, Government Debt, 64 Yr high, Obamacare, Obamacare Tax, state tax payers, consumers, higher premiumsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
The last primaries of this election season are next week and the general election campaign is cranking into gear--with incumbent members of the House at their lowest home district approval rating ever. But how many incumbents will actually lose? Probably no more than 15% of those on the ballot. We suggest some reason why it is so difficult to defeat incumbents in our latest essay, inspired by Alexander Hamilton's reflections on the power of election laws in Federalist essays 59-61. ~ Matt Parks
And how to defeat them as we move forward.
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks: The upcoming 2014 mid-term elections will be the first electoral test for the eight Democratic senators who defeated or replaced Republicans in 2008. Of these, only three appear to be in serious danger of defeat two months prior to the general election.
This ought not to surprise anyone. Despite the Congress’s woeful approval ratings, House incumbents have won at least 85% of their races every election for the last 50 years, and Senate incumbents have been victorious 82% of the time since 1964.
Part of the explanation as to why incumbents win is that approval ratings for one’s own members of Congress are generally much higher than the approval rating for Congress as an institution. However a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates that for the first time in 25 years of polling, more than half of Americans (51%) disapprove of the performance of their own Representative, while just 41% approve, a record low.
In 2010, a 51%-41% approval-disapproval rating spread produced an 85% reelection rate for incumbents. The reverse (41% approval -51% disapproval), however, does not portend a wave of electoral defeats for incumbents in 2014. Why?
Certainly the bipartisan efforts of ruling class politicians to all but gerrymander competitive congressional districts out of existence has made it easier for incumbents to hold their offices. One could easily mistake a map of a typical House district for a Jackson Pollock painting–not one, however, produced by random ink drips, but rather by careful political calculation.
Less obvious, but perhaps equally important are the rules–written and otherwise–that guide campaign funding.
Most critics of campaign spending focus on concerns about what wealthy corporations and individuals get for their donations. It is at least as important to ask what incumbents get for the restrictions they legislate on donations: a disproportionate number of (a.) underfunded competent candidates and (b.) well-funded incompetent candidates.
Under current law, an individual can give an unlimited amount of money to a Super PAC for “independent” expenditures or spend an unlimited amount on his own campaign. But he can only give $2600 to a promising candidate. Given the average cost of campaigns for the House ($1.6 million) and Senate ($10.4 million), campaign spending limits make it necessary for challengers without pre-established political networks (which, of course, are too often fed only by the sorts of favors incumbents can supply) to garner the support of the hundreds (for the House) or thousands (for the Senate) of well-heeled donors willing to give the maximum to fund their campaign.
Challengers who wish to control the message of their campaign and who aren’t independently wealthy are caught in a classic catch-22: required to convince large numbers of would-be donors that they are strong candidates when the very funds they are seeking are necessary to make that case plausible.
On the other hand, if you remove the individual contribution limit, it only takes one convinced and dedicated patron to provide the seed money (or even all the money) necessary to mount a serious challenge–and eliminates the necessity for that patron to run himself while often burdened with deficiencies in political skill and experience.
Worried about the corruption that might result if the Koch brothers or a combination of George Soros and Tom Steyer could give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates? It should be easier to watch out for special deals favoring one or a handful of patrons than to keep track of the benefits received by large numbers of often rent-seeking maximum donors.
Moreover, our system already has an incumbent-security proxy for the campaign financing patron: the “bundler,” who gathers together the max donations of friends and associates into one tidy package. Why incumbent-security? Ask yourself how many friends you have willing and able to write a check for $2,600 so that you or a favored candidate could run for higher office. But such “friends” abound in Washington, D.C., where lobbyists and their clients always hedge their bets on the side of incumbency, regardless of party or ideology.
And why not? So long as Congress regularly produces tax legislation with more exceptions than rules and spending bills filled with pork and earmarks, incumbents will be courted by political “investors”–and have something shiny to show off in their home state or district too.
Of course, from the beginning of our nation’s history, men have debated the means and manner of popular elections. Anti-Federalists, for example, argued that the Federal Constitution’s Article I, Section 4, grant of regulatory power to Congress over national elections would enable a “wealthy and well-born” elite to control American politics and to consolidate power at the national level.
Alexander Hamilton responded to these criticisms in Federalist 59-61 by arguing “every government ought to contain in itself the means of its own preservation,” and added that had this power been given exclusively to the states, this would have left “the existence of the Union entirely at their [the states] mercy.”
Hamilton hypothesized that no would-be national elite and violator of the people’s rights would hazard “dismission, disgrace, and ruin” by the “citizens, not less tenacious than conscious of their rights” by attempting to legislate an electoral advantage. The evidence confirmed that hypothesis in his day.
The difference between his day and our own is that our elite do not fear the people in the same way.
How do you get members of Congress to pass bills that make their own reelection more difficult? By making it even more difficult if they don’t. You want to get corporate money out of politics? You can leave the 1st Amendment alone. Don’t legislate against it; vote against it – against the candidates who make it worth giving. Punish the gerrymanderers and campaign finance reformers at the ballot box and you’ll have a lot fewer victories by unpopular incumbents–and, hopefully, a fuller enjoyment of your rights.
---------------- Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks are Professors of Politics at The Kings College (NYC). They are contributors to the ARRA News Service. They edit and write for The Federalist and are on Facebook and Twitter. Tags:Congress, Washington, D.C., unpopular incumbents, win elections, advantages, gerrymanderers, campaign finance reformers, Alexander hamilton, Federalist 58, David Corbin, Matthew ParksTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Bill Whittle At 2014 Americans for Prosperity's Defending the American Dream Summit
Bill Smith, Editor: Bill Whittle, a modern day humorist and social commentator, reminds me of the video's and writings of Oklahoma's favorite son, Will Roger (1879-1935). Whittle's precise and cutting words would have had all the conservative free market Defending the Dream activists in tears of laughter if it hadn't been for their note taking and stunned amazement over Whittle's rocket speed intellect and the bottom line sensible comments. America needed George Will in the 1920s and 30s, and America needs those like Bill Whittle today. We need people who can combine facts and humor into rational thought confronting reality.
As a regular follower of Bill Whittle, I appreciated AFP ending its summit with Whittle's zany true insights. And so did the attendees at the 2014 Americans For Prosperity (AFP) Defending the American Dream Summit. He spoke on Sunday, August 31th. I tweeted many of his comments which can be viewed on Twitter at @arra. You can hear more of Bill Whittle's comments on PJ Media on Youtube Below is the Right Scoop video of Whittle's speech.
Tags:Bill Whittle, humorist, political commentary, speech, video, AFP, Americans for Prosperity, Defending the American Dream, Summit, 2014, Bill Smith, Twitter @arra To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Idaho Joins Growing Movement Allowing Concealed Carry On College Campuses
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor Note: The following report is shared in its entirety so as to not slant any aspect to the editor's bias. As to the final line of the article,"Now that Idaho State student Derek Sommer has that ability (to carry a weapon), he said he wonders if he could use his weapon should someone attack him. 'In my dream world, we could help these individuals before anything like this ever happens,' Sommer said. 'Would I ever want to draw a gun on somebody? I would hate that. I don't know if I could live with myself if I ended up taking somebody's life, especially if it was somebody troubled.'"Considering the consequences evidences mature rightfully thinking before carrying a weapon. It has been rightfully considered millions of people who lawfully possess and take up arms to protect themselves, their families, their property and others. Living has responsibilities and consequences. Regarding Sommer's reflections, living with yourself is far better than being dead and leaving your child fatherless and your spouse to raise your child alone. Also, knowing you may have stopped the death of others far out weighs knowing you failed to stop the deaths of others. Being responsibility is not emotion free. Just ask any living military veteran, policeman, security guard, or citizen who acted responsibly when placed in harms way by actions and situations not of their own making. And, don't forget to ask the parent's of 392 murdered students mentioned in this report. Don't forget the multitude of others murdered or those who have had their homes, cars, stores and other properties robbed or those physically assaulted. For the living, consider their emotional and physical devastation because they, or even others around them, possessed no means to stop the perpetrators/predators.
School Shootings Across the United States - 1960 to today
More than 170 shootings killing 392 students, faculty & others
on school property. Events include suicides, mass shootings,
police action, and everyday gun violence committed by
students, faculty, and unaffiliated and unknown assailants.
By Wade Millward and Carmen Forman / News21: Pocatello, Idaho — Derek Sommer carries a concealed handgun almost everywhere he goes these days, including onto the campus of Idaho State University — an illegal act until recently.
Under an Idaho law that took effect July 1, nearly 3,000 residents with enhanced concealed carry permits can bring their guns on college campuses. Sommer no longer leaves his gun at home or in his car's locked glove compartment.
Idaho became the seventh state to allow "campus carry" in a movement gaining traction across the country, despite the often strenuous opposition of other students, faculty and campus administrators. Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi and Wisconsin also have laws on the books that allow students to conceal weapons on campus.
For Sommer, 23, a computerized machining student who founded Idaho State's SCC chapter, carrying his handgun means protection for himself, his wife McKinley, and their 7-month-old daughter, Andi. "It makes me angry; it really does," he said. "I don't like the fact that there are places where it's considered OK to tell somebody, 'You don't have the right to protect yourself.'"
Opponents of campus carry laws have seen mixed success of late.
Arkansans Against Guns on Campus got state lawmakers to exclude students from a law letting faculty and staff bring concealed guns on campus if their college grants permission.
Attempts to start a Colorado referendum to end campus carry there ended in failure.
Groups like SCC, meanwhile, have active chapters in at least 30 states, mobilizing as many as 30,000 students and faculty to support laws and court cases favorable to the cause, said group spokesman Kurt Mueller.
The group occasionally makes local headlines when members gather to wear empty holsters to promote campus carry — from Washington state to Michigan to Florida. It operates with little funding, relying instead on volunteers and social media for recruitment and chapter operations, Mueller said.
"We don't have professional lobbyists," he said. "We don't pay anybody to lobby. People do it for free because it's what they believe in."
Victory in the West, Battles in the South
A News21 analysis of on-campus shootings found 87 of them, or 60 percent, have happened in the past decade. Campus carry supporters nationwide said in interviews that the increase in shootings partly influenced their desire to bring concealed guns on campus.
SCC formed after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Mueller argues an armed student could have stopped the shooter without waiting for police to arrive.
"The confrontation would have ended a lot sooner," he said. "Lives would have been saved."
Campus carry supporters point to the legal doctrine of preemption, which says only the state legislature can regulate guns in the state. No other government in the state, such as cities and counties, can make gun rules. Many states exempt K-12 schools and some public buildings from concealed carry of guns.
The first state to finalize campus carry was Utah in 2006. University of Utah continued banning guns on campus despite the state's 2004 preemption law. Two years after the law passed, a lawsuit against then-state Attorney General Mark L. Shurtleff led to colleges allowing concealed guns.
A 2011 lawsuit by a division of the Oregon Firearms Federation led to a state court striking the Oregon state education board's ban against guns on campuses.
The victories are not complete. As in other campus carry states, Oregon universities insist they can limit guns in buildings, and the Oregon state board bans guns in event centers, classrooms and dorms.
In Utah, students may ask not to live with gun owners in dorms, and universities can ban guns from certain meeting rooms.
Kansas' 2013 campus carry law included an optional four-year delay before licensees could bring concealed guns on campus. Arkansas' law allowing only faculty and staff to carry requires colleges annually renew any on-campus bans.
The laws on campus carry in other states vary, from letting students store guns in their cars to leaving policy decisions to the schools.
Colorado courts sided with SCC in 2010 and 2012, ruling the state's public universities and colleges must allow concealed weapons permit holders to bring guns on campus. The courts said college gun bans violated a 2003 state law giving the legislature sole gun regulation control.
Colorado colleges still regulate guns in dorms, dining halls and event centers. University of Colorado, Boulder, designated dorm space for gun owners, but no students have requested it, said campus spokesman Bronson Hilliard. In Colorado, concealed carry licensees must be at least 21.
Battleground in Texas
SCC's focus next year is Texas, Mueller said.
As of September, students could store guns in cars on campus in Texas. The group plans to have members write and call state lawmakers to demand more places on campus that allow concealed guns.
The law shouldn't block licensed gun owners — including students — from carrying on campuses, Mueller said. In some places, crossing the street could mean a law-abiding gun owner is now on campus and breaking the law.
"If you're responsible off campus, you're going to be responsible on campus," Mueller said. "Likewise, bad people don't change. They're bad off campus, and they're bad on campus."
"We're not interested in every college student carrying," he said. "There might be a lot of people who might never want to use or bring their firearms. If that's the case, that's cool. We don't think anyone should have to exercise rights they don't want to. But on the other hand, we don't think they get a veto over the rights of others."
Crime research consultant Tom Gabor said he believes letting students possess guns in more places goes against dozens of public health and criminal justice studies.
People in the 18- to 24-year-old age range are more impulsive and at greater risk for suicide, said Gabor, who taught criminology at the University of Ottawa for 30 years and studied firearms for 20 years.
Gabor cites statistics from a 1986 New England Journal of Medicine article — an article contested by gun rights groups — that said for every one time someone shoots and kills another in a home in self-defense, about 43 other home gun deaths result from suicide, murder or accident.
"People will thwart an attacker, but I imagine many more reports of death and disabling injuries," he said. He sees campus carry as a gun industry move to gain customers.
"It's very mercenary, in my view, to profit at any cost and put young people at risk in school," Gabor said. "More people carrying, bringing guns on college campuses, in public venues, grocery stores, makes people feel more afraid than providing them security."
Disputes in Florida, Ohio and Georgia
Marion P. Hammer calls opposition to campus carry "nothing more than an attempt to make gun-free zones, where murderers come on campus and kill kids."
Hammer, a former NRA president and the organization's longtime lobbyist in Florida, said that NRA will use the state's preemption law to push state legislators to authorize concealed carry on campuses.
"Students can't (carry) right now, but we're going to fix that," said Hammer, one of 76 NRA board members.
On July 30, the Florida Carry lobby lost its suit against the University of Florida over the university's guns-in-cars policy and whether colleges must let guns in campus-owned housing statewide. The lobby will appeal, according to its website.
Florida Carry, which is unrelated to SCC, has a reputation for using the preemption law to successfully sue cities, counties and colleges over their gun bans. Last year, the lobby successfully sued the University of North Florida to get guns allowed in cars on college grounds.
The NRA led the campus carry effort in Idaho, where the NRA state lobbyist was a regular at bill hearings. Though the NRA has been a major player in Idaho and Florida, it usually takes a supporting role on campus carry, NRA board member and former lobbyist Todd Rathner said.
"The NRA is a huge organization, and second to none in protecting gun rights. It gets spread thin," Rathner said. "There's a need for these (single-issue) groups. They help maintain focus."
The NRA's press office declined to comment for this story.
SCC and a grassroots group called Ohioans for Concealed Carry cited Ohio's pre-emption law in a July lawsuit against Ohio State University that seeks to allow campus carry there. The trial is expected to start next year.
SCC has also threatened to sue Georgia after a letter from the state attorney general's office declared campus carry still illegal, SCC Southeast Director Robert Eagar said.
The groups say campus carry is allowed by Georgia's Safe Carry Protection Act, which critics have called "guns everywhere." The law, which took effect July 1, allows permit holders to bring concealed guns into K-12 schools, bars, churches and more.
Colleges fight back
For Hernandez, the Boise State student, campus is no place for guns.
Boise State student body President Bryan Vlok helped organize the student protest against concealed carry on Idaho campuses. Vlok believes the requirements to get the enhanced concealed carry permit in Idaho are not enough to make someone responsible or accurate. The license requires applicants take an eight-hour class on gun use and fire 98 rounds in front of an instructor. (Carmen Forman/News21.)
"School should be a place where you learn, where you make something better with your life," said the 24-year-old Hernandez, who wants to teach civics when he graduates in two years. "It shouldn't be a place where you deal with the stress of a gun in the classroom."
He is a member of the student government who joined other Idaho students to protest the campus carry law.
The students and other Idaho activists received guidance from Andy Pelosi, who challenges campus carry on a national level.
Pelosi, who is not related to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, started the anti-campus carry group GunFreeKids.org in 2008.
A series of campus carry bills following Virginia Tech and the 2008 Northern Illinois University shootings — in which 27-year-old former student Stephen Kazmierczak killed five people and wounded 18 — caused Pelosi to focus on higher education.
His group focused on Idaho and Georgia this past legislative year, he said. Next year, he expects to help coordinate resistance to campus carry in Texas.
Colleges that side with Pelosi fear on-campus gun theft, threats with guns and accidental shootings, he said.
"We really believe that college campuses are safe environments, certainly safer than places off campus," he said. "The educational environment is very different than people's homes, and that's not a place that guns should be carried."
But supporters of campus carry say the Idaho opposition is a vocal minority led by Boise State administrators. Idaho state Rep. Judy Boyle, a Republican and one of the law's sponsors, hopes to amend it to stop the university from exempting the student union building.
"We're talking about a Second Amendment right, a right to protect your life or the life of someone else," Boyle said. "That's why we felt it was important to give someone that ability."
Now that Idaho State student Derek Sommer has that ability, he said he wonders if he could use his weapon should someone attack him.
"In my dream world, we could help these individuals before anything like this ever happens," Sommer said. "Would I ever want to draw a gun on somebody? I would hate that. I don't know if I could live with myself if I ended up taking somebody's life, especially if it was somebody troubled."
------------ This report is part of the project titled "Gun Wars: The Struggle Over Rights and Regulation in America," produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative, a national investigative reporting project involving top college journalism students across the country and headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Tags:Concealed carry, college campuses, gun rights, 2nd Amendment, rights, regulations, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
How Cities and Counties Can Free Workers from Bullying Unions
By James Sherk and Andrew Kloster, Heritage Foundation: Under the National Labor Relations Act, states may pass right-to-work (RTW) laws. In jurisdictions without these laws, unions can force workers to pay dues (although they cannot force them to actually join the union). Almost half of all states have passed worker-friendly RTW laws to protect workers from union coercion.
What about the employees in the 26 states with no right-to-work law? Are they out of luck? Not quite.
In a new Heritage paper we conclude that cities and counties in non-right-to-work states have the authority to pass their own RTW ordinances. Many local city councils could protect the freedom of their workers by passing RTW ordinances. This would also attract employers since many businesses will not consider locating in places without a RTW law.
Unfortunately, many local government officials have simply assumed they cannot pass RTW laws. Labor law is complex, and many local officials instinctively avoid rocking the boat. Federal law overrides or “preempts” conflicting state or local laws, so local officials are often unduly afraid of lawsuit. And Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act expressly authorizes states and territories to pass RTW while saying nothing about local governments. So many local government leaders assume Congress has prevented them from passing Right-to-Work.
But a closer look at the Congressional record shows Congress passed § 14(b) simply to make it clear the National Labor Relations Act does not override RTW laws. Back then only states had passed RTW laws so Congress only expressly authorized them. But §14(b) does not mean Congress prohibited local RTW laws. It might mean Congress decided not to regulate them at all. And it seems the U.S. Supreme Court has taken this view:
“[A] section, which later became 14 (b), appeared in the House bill – a provision described in the House Report as making clear and unambiguous the purpose of Congress not to preempt the field. That purpose was restated by the House Conference Report in explaining 14(b). Senator Taft in the Senate debates stated that 14 (b) was to continue the policy of the Wagner Act and avoid federal interference with state laws in this field.”
In our federal system, courts interpreting federal law apply a presumption against preemption “unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress.” And, in context, it would seem strange to interpret a provision meant to support state RTW laws as clearly prohibiting local ones.
Of course many cities and counties have no authority to regulate unions, no matter what federal law allows. Local governments have only the powers the state gives them. If a state does not permit its counties to pass labor regulations then they can’t pass right-to-work laws.
However, many non-RTW states — like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky—have “charter” or “home rule” localities. Such cities and counties can pass any law the state legislature has not said they cannot, including right-to-work laws. Further, regular counties can usually vote to become charter counties.
If you’re a local activist and you think you can’t influence national politics, and you even think you can’t influence state politics, one thing you can do is read up on RTW. Your local government might be able to improve your community in this area of the law, and you might be able to help out.
------------ James Sherk (@James Sherk) is a senior policy analyst in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation. researches ways to promote competition and mobility in the workforce rather than erect barriers that prevent workers from getting ahead. Andrew Kloster (@ARKloster)is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, focusing on civil rights, the role of the federal courts and other constitutional issues. Tags:Cities, Counties, bully unions, Right to work states, non-Right to work states, non-RTW, protect workers, union coersionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Labor Day: Congress must take action to protect workers, not Big Labor
by Bill Wilson: The U.S. economy has endured eleven recessions since World War II – and in each case jobs and wages bounced back quickly.
Not this time. America’s current “recovery” features the weakest wage growth of any economic rebound – with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing real compensation per hour increasing by only 0.5 percent since 2009.No agency has been more instrumental in the assault on American productivity than the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – which was recently at the heart of a major constitutional crisis.By comparison, the average compensation increase at this point in previous recoveries clocked in at a whopping 9.2 percent – more than eighteen times higher. Meanwhile a new study by the Chicago Fed reveals real wages should be at least 3.6 percentage points higher than they are based on prevailing labor market conditions.
What’s happening out there? Why is the latest economic downturn proving so hard to shake?
As we pause this Labor Day to honor the indispensability of American workers – and the essential roles they play in advancing our economy and national fabric – we must also honestly examine the forces currently holding them back. And that starts with a basic acknowledgement that the sweat of our brows is producing diminishing returns – both for ourselves and our families.
Barack Obama’s vow to create a “rising, thriving” middle class has instead produced stagnant incomes, a weak consumer economy and a surge in government dependency – all while his overbearing executive branch actively works against the best interests of American laborers. And no agency has been more instrumental in this assault on American productivity than the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – which was recently at the heart of a major constitutional crisis.
Obama’s NLRB has been waging war on the American free market for years – launching an indiscriminate vendetta against companies large and small. In an effort to facilitate expanded unionization, the agency has sought to regulate all manner of corporate decisions– ranging from where businesses can relocate to what they can post on their social media accounts.
The thuggish, overbearing tactics have worked, too. Aircraft manufacturer Boeing – which was sued by the NLRB for opening a facility in the right-to-work state of South Carolina – has since decided to steer the vast majority of its new business back to a unionized facility in Washington State rather than deal with Big Labor’s taxpayer-subsidized bully.
In fact after years of steady private sector unionization declines, Big Labor’s bleeding stopped in 2013 thanks in no small part to the aggressiveness of Obama’s NLRB.
But Obama took it a step too far – illegally installing three NLRB members during a so-called “Senate recess” in January 2012. The Supreme Court unanimously struck down this unconstitutional overreach earlier this year – calling into question more than 400 decisions reached by this illegally appointed board.
Has this ruling caused Obama’s NLRB to think twice? Of course not.
Earlier this summer the agency launched a new war against franchise based businesses like restaurants and convenience stores – endeavoring to hold parent corporations (and their tens of thousands of franchisees) responsible for employment decisions made at individual locations. Such a groundless expansion of liability goes against decades of established law governing franchise operations – opening the floodgates to waves of litigation that could cripple an industry employing more than 8 million Americans.
“The best thing for workers is a profitable, growing sector built on a proven system,” The Chicago Tribuneeditorialized. “If that system falls by the wayside, a lot of (union) jobs will go with it.”
Obama and the NLRB don’t care about lost jobs, though. As we saw during the debate over the minimum wage, they care only about the preservation of political power. This is why specific steps must be taken sooner rather than later to rein in the NLRB – before it does even more damage to our economy.
Last year, Rep. Austin Scott reintroduced his Protecting American Jobs Act – legislation aimed at confining the NLRB to investigating allegations of unfair labor practices. Scott’s bill – which has more than fifty co-sponsors – would “repeal the authority of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board to issue, and prosecute complaints” regarding labor practices. It would also expressly ban the board from “promulgating rules that affect the substantive rights of a person, employer, employee or labor organization.”
In other words the authority to adjudicate labor issues would be placed back where it belongs – in the American court system.
Workers need more, better-paying employment options if our economy is ever going to truly rebound. But those options are never going to materialize as long as Obama's NLRB is fighting them at every turn.
---------------- Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. Follow Bill on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG. This article was also published by Fox News Tags:Labor Day, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, Congress, protect workers, NLRB, Reduce power of NLRB, big labor, Bill Wilson, Americans for Limited GovernmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Rick Manning: Labor Day provides the opportunity to evaluate those government agencies that impact the workplace, and gauge if they are helping or hurting the employment situation in America.
In the six Labor Days since President Obama took office, his appointees have gone to outrageous lengths to compel the 93 percent of the private-sector workforce who don't belong to an organized labor union to become dues-paying members.
While the Labor Department and the National Mediation Board have each pushed hard to create rules that overwhelmingly favor union organizers over those employees who oppose unionization, it is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which has taken the most outlandish actions in their attempt to tip the balance toward primary Democratic Party funders in Big Labor.
Few need to be reminded of the NLRB's general counsel's failed attempt to compel Boeing Corp. to remain in union-friendly Washington state, rather than relocating to South Carolina. After garnering national headlines and sending Congress into a frenzy, the NLRB backed down from their attempt to stop the aircraft manufacturer's move to the right-to-work state. But the audacity displayed by the agency — that they believed they could dictate company relocation or expansion decisions — made this obscure entity a national talking point of big government gone wrong.
The general counsel, at the same time, filed a lawsuit against two states whose voters had affirmed the right to secret ballots in union elections through their state constitutional amendment processes. The uproar in the states being sued was real, but this NLRB threat largely faded away as Big Labor's attempt to do away with secret elections through congressional action failed.
Now, the NLRB is going off the rails again. They have decided to destroy business franchise/franchisee agreements by allowing the corporations that spin out thousands of small businesses using their name, business model and products to be sued over the alleged actions of a few of the small, independent business.
This strikes at the heart of the independence of almost 1 million locally owned franchise businesses. If the actions of a few franchises can drag the corporate partner into legal action, then the cost of operating this small business model rapidly escalates, and the advantages of splitting profits with local, independent store operators rapidly disintegrate.
If the left wants to change the franchise laws, that is their prerogative. They need to go to Congress and seek to change the law, not go to the rogue, Big Labor-controlled NLRB to rewrite the law.
It's three strikes and you're out for the NLRB's ability to play investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner when it comes to our nation's labor laws. Legislation by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) that would rein in the NLRB's outrageous, one-sided behavior by stripping away the NLRB's adjudicatory authority, returning it to the federal justice system where it belongs.
It is time to rip the power over our nation's labor laws from this rogue body's grip and give it back to Congress and the federal court system. It is time for the House of Representatives to pass Austin Scott's Protecting American Jobs Act.
---------------- Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government and and a former appointee in the George W. Bush Labor Department. This article was also published on The Hill blog. Tags:Labor Day, National Labor Relations Board, NLRB, Goes Rogue, against, small business, Rick Manning, Americans for Limited GovernmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: For starters, Rand is short for Randal, not an allusion to Ayn Rand, after whom Sen. Paul was not named by his libertarian (not Objectivist) father Ron Paul. Reportedly, growing up he was called Randy … until his wife shortened the diminutive to Rand.
Washington, ordinarily, is committed to maintaining the status quo or making, at best, incremental changes. As we struggle with the political consequences of the end of an era of all-out war the old political status quo is ripe for transformation.
Paul shows signs of being the key transformational figure. If he himself understands the depth of this proposition he well might become unstoppable.
Washington, naturally, finds him confounding.
As Aaron Blake, a columnist for the ever-conventional Washington Post, says, “Rand Paul is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. And four years after he burst on to the scene in the 2010 Kentucky Senate race, we’re still trying to figure out precisely who he is.”
August was a bit of a roller coaster PR month for U.S. Senator Rand Paul. He caught flak for denying a change of view on foreign aid, specifically to Israel, and got static for including a fundraising trip (for a local library) in the Hamptons during a family commitment to which he gave priority over a Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa.
Then Paul upped the ante with his Time Magazine essay We Must Demilitarize the Police. Particularly noteworthy was his observation that “If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.”
This essay brought him more flak from the law-and-order right’s Bob Patterson and from “reform conservative”– meaning the Washington Post’s version of “conservatism” – Michael Gerson. Gerson belatedly exalts Jack Kemp, to whose supply-side wing of the GOP Gerson never belonged, and denigrates Paul.
This column also brought Sen. Paul extensive praise both from left and right. Confusion abounds.
As World War II bomber pilots used to say, “If you’re not catching flak you’re not over the target.” So the flak provides evidence that Sen. Paul might be “over the target” in a probable drive to Occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Naturally, his rivals for that office will attack, and the mainstream media, that Neo-Spanish Inquisition, will be Very Inquisitive. As for his rivals…
There are two major factions within the GOP. The Establishment Moderate (and big donor Chamber of Commerce) faction was uniting behind Gov. Chris Christie until Gov. Christie stubbed his toe, hard, on a bridge abutment. The Establishment, since Christie’s stumble, now is leaning toward former governor Jeb Bush. Mitt Romney, chastely protesting disinterest, appears to be waiting in the wings for Gov. Bush to bow out.
The second faction has been called, by Pew, “steadfast conservatives.” Steadfast conservatives are disproportionately influential in the early nominating contests, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
But (writing as a member of the Tribe) it’s not a homogenous group. Sen. Ted Cruz leads in the Tea Party demographic. Yet Cruz’s base support, at 15%, is by no means overwhelming. Cruz polls, therein, barely ahead of Jeb Bush. Also, the Tea Party is a vociferous but distinctly minority segment even of the steadfast conservatives.
The steadfast conservative base for the Iowa caucuses roughly divides, in a manner lost on most of the mainstream media, between the anti-big-government Tea Party and the social-issues-devoted religious right. It’s not at all clear that Sen. Cruz’s popularity in the anti-government Tea Party will propel him to victory over a candidate who appeals more directly to evangelicals. His appeal to religiously serious Catholics (who tilt more favorably toward a government role in social insurance and social justice) is even less apparent.
Favorite sons of the religious right have included Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rick Santorum. Gov. Huckabee polls well in Iowa (where he won in 2008). Yet Gov. Huckabee has not committed to running and well may not. Sen. Santorum won Iowa — in the recount — in 2012. In this cycle, however, rather than focusing on values issues he seems to be retooling as a populist champion of blue collar workers.
Focus on the economic plight of median income families is shrewd. Yet it’s unclear that Sen. Santorum’s endorsement of such Big Government nostrums as raising the federal statutory minimum wage will prove an apt way to excite a steadfast conservative base. The free market is doctrinal to the base.
Steadfast conservative commentator Erick Erickson is curiously dim on the evangelical appeal of Huckabee and Santorum. He calls Ben Carson “a novelty.” Erickson describes Rand Paul as “too far removed” (which, in context, represents praise by faint damning).
Erickson floats the names of Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry as “three candidates who seem most able to tap into evangelical angst.” Recasting the smart but technocratic Jindal as a religious right favorite seems a stretch. Cruz, as noted above, has achieved Tea Party rock star status with his lion-tamer act against Uncle Sam. Yet Cruz has shown himself, so far, as much better at being oppositional than as a candidate with a positive agenda. Righteous indignation will only take him so far. The charismatic Perry well might emerge as a contender… if he, this round, can find, and keep, his footing.
As the voters begin to focus religious conservatives may find Sen. Paul far less “removed” than at first blush. Sen. Paul is Senate sponsor of pro-life personhood legislation about which he says “I am 100% pro-life. I believe life begins at conception and that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being.” This gives values voters a very good reason to fall in love with Sen Paul.
If Paul expands his fierce defense of the Bill of Rights beyond the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, his current focus, he is positioned to make himself the leading champion of religious liberty. That’s a politically impregnable position, a way of making palatable a principled defense of liberty to less conservative constituencies the nominee will need to win.
There’s more. Rand Paul, like his father, the iconic Ron Paul, is a medical doctor. This matters.
Politics is replete with lawyers. All of the leading Democratic presidential contenders are lawyers. (The GOP field offers, at least in this area, much greater diversity.)
The three most transformational political figures in this columnist’s lifetime — Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and Charlie Wilson — were not lawyers. Reagan had been an actor, Kemp a champion football quarterback, and Wilson a Naval officer.
Actors embody narrative. Athletes and officers play to win rather than merely hold on. Physicians think in life and death terms. This mindset represents a profound dispositional difference from that of most politicos. Lawyers by training and disposition simply mitigate risk. Rand Paul “thinks different.” America is hungry for someone different.
Tactically, Paul portends profound fundraising capability both with the rank-and-file wherein his father raised many millions through “moneybombs” and from the wealthy libertarian-leaning. There is an army of hundreds of thousands of well-organized political foot soldiers deeply loyal to Paul. This grass roots network is unrivaled by any other prospective candidate.
Paul has proved to have crossover appeal to youth. And he demonstrates a heartfelt, rather than merely tactical, commitment toward inclusion of ethnic voters.
Most important, his message (rather than “messaging”) may perfectly capture the mood of war weary, big-government-skeptical, voters (across the ideological spectrum). As this columnist has noted, the improbable Barack Obama’s candidacy’s distinguishing feature was a promise to bring home the troops and restore America to a peacetime footing.
With this, plus the brilliant tactics of David Axelrod, Obama beat the immensely better known (and better funded) hawkish Hillary Clinton, beat the hawkish John McCain, and, in 2012, beat the hawkish Mitt Romney. If, as this columnist surmises, the electorate desires peace … and desires America to downshift from hyperpower to superpower … the predicate for smaller government … Rand Paul holds the trump card.
To become unstoppable, however, it is vital that Rand Paul capably define himself. As the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake observes:
The trouble with Paul is that no well-known labels seem to fit him well. While his dad, Ron Paul, is a pretty straight-line libertarian, that’s not really who the younger Paul is. He’s not an establishment Republican, a neo-conservative, an arch-conservative or a moderate Republican.
We still don’t know what label would be better than “tea party,” but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that this label doesn’t really fit.Hello Aaron? This is not “the trouble.” This is the defining quality.
Paul, unlike politicians-as-usual, is working from fundamental axioms – axioms as in Jefferson’s “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Most politicians work from postulates, “the notion that we are going to do it this way.” The “trouble” is with Washington’s outworn categories, not with Paul.
Who is Rand Paul? Pull off the blinders. He easily demystifies.
Memo to the Washington Post: you find Rand Paul “an enigma wrapped in a riddle” not because there is anything at all obscure about him. Washington is bewildered by its own obsolete taxonomy. Ease up on “left vs. right.” (It’s significant but much less so in the post-cold-war era than it once was.) Stop worrying about “libertarian vs. authoritarian.” (That matters, yet more as a means to an end than as an end in itself.)
Let’s make it easy for you, Washington.
Rand Paul is a classical liberal (holding certain human rights, such as the right to life, sacrosanct even from majority violation) republican (as in expecting the government to follow the people’s will rather than impose its will on the people a la Obamacare).
Rand Paul is a constitutional (as in explicitly referencing our national charter rather than vague platitudes) populist (as in, as fundamentally defined by public intellectual and former partner of this writer, now US Senate candidate from New Jersey, Jeffrey Bell, optimistic about people’s ability to manage their own affairs better than any elite can do for us).
Rand Paul is a radical (as in dealing from the fundamental axioms rather than mere postulates) humanitarian (committed to taking practical steps to support human flourishing, as befits a medical doctor who, as this column is being composed, is conducting charity eye surgeries in Guatemala).
Who is Rand Paul? If one understands the axioms from which Rand Paul is working he emerges not as an enigma but, rather, as a transformational figure. This has been noted by the Daily Caller‘s Matt Lewis writing in the UK Telegraph.
Who is Rand Paul? The penny is beginning to drop. Rand Paul: classical liberal republican, constitutional populist, and radical humanitarian. Whether or not he becomes president of the United States Rand Paul already is changing the conversation, powerfully, and transforming American politics.
------------ Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. His article first appeared in Forbes Tags:Rand Paul, Who is Rand Paul, Ralph BenkoTo 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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