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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)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Obama’s Fowl Rardon

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco

Tags: President Obama, fowl pardon, executive action, turkey pardoned, workers punished, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoINSERT TAGS 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 Saul Alinsky Would Deplore Amnesty By "Executive Action"

by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: President Obama is undertaking an “Executive Action” dramatically reducing deportations. The phrase, and concept of, Executive Action has a very creepy connotation. It implies extralegal action. It was used by the CIA as a euphemism for assassination.

The current Executive Action is called by its adversaries “amnesty.” In fact, it represents a temporary reprieve rather than a pardon, more likely to confound rather than promote a humane resolution. It is highly likely to cause a backlash against durable immigration reform.

And it is likely to trigger a lingering backlash against the Democratic Party. Barack Obama would do well to reflect upon and heed a social philosopher whose wisdom he spurns: Saul Alinsky.

President Obama often falsely is linked with Alinsky. They never met. Alinsky died in 1972, when Obama was around 10 years old, having spent his early life mostly shuttling between Hawaii and Indonesia. One of Alinsky’s direct successors, Arnie Graf, did indeed very briefly mentor a twenty-something Barack Obama. Obama explicitly turned away from the Alinsky way of community organizing. “Obama let Graf know that he was not interested in being an organizer. He hoped to become a great civil rights lawyer or a judge.”

In Alinsky’s magnum opus, Rules for Radicals, Alinsky — a provocateur and agitator, a man of great integrity and also of great practicality — presents a message that President Obama would do well to heed:
Life seems to lack rhyme or reason or even a shadow of order unless we approach it with the key of converses. Seeing everything in its duality, we begin to get some dim clues to direction and what it’s all about. It is in these contradictions and their incessant interacting tensions that creativity begins. As we begin to accept the concept of contradictions we see every problem or issue in its whole, interrelated sense. We then recognize that for every positive there is a negative,” and that there is nothing positive without its concomitant negative, nor any political paradise without its negative side.

Niels Bohr pointed out that the appearance of contradictions was a signal that the experiment was on the right track: “There is not much hope if we have only one difficulty, but when we have two, we can match them off against each other.” Bohr called this “complementarity,” meaning that the interplay of seemingly conflicting forces or opposites is the actual harmony of nature. Whitehead similarly observed, “In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of a defeat; but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards a victory.”
Executive Action lacks the dynamic of complementarity. Executive Action is synthetic, rather than organic. It is fragile, rather than resilient. It is the ultimate in trickle down policy. It contains within itself, as Marx once proclaimed of capitalism, the seeds of its own destruction.

President Obama, then a teenager, may have missed it when the term, Executive Action, surfaced in the Church Committee’s Interim Report on a rogue CIA project using the term as a euphemism for assassination.In addition to investigating actual assassination plots, the Committee has examined a project known as Executive Action which included, as one element, the development of a general, standby assassination capability.

… Sometime in early 1961, Bissell instructed Harvey, who was then Chief of a CIA Foreign Intelligence staff, to establish an “executive action capability,” which would include research into a capability to assassinate foreign leaders.
"Executive Action" was a bad thing. It is still a bad thing. President Obama’s use of Executive Action is not confined to suspension of deportations. It extends to regulatory actions such as the treatment of carbon dioxide by the EPA as a pollutant, pressure on the FCC to impose what could well portend a regulatory “Tragedy of the Commons” on the Internet, the Labor Department’s imposition of higher-than-market-determined wages on federal contractors and subcontractors, among other policy initiatives. Executive Action will end, as it did for the CIA, in tears.

Alinsky well understood the fundamental flaw of Executive Action. He precisely identifies the Achilles’ heel of Obama’s efforts thereby to effect positive, lasting, change. Alinsky:If you respect the dignity of the individual you are working with, then his desires, not yours; his values, not yours; his ways of working and fighting, not yours; his choice of leadership, not yours; his programs, not yours, are important and must be followed; except if his programs violate the high values of a free and open society.President Obama seems sincere in his commitment to improve the life of regular people. He has a blind spot, though: an obsessive belief that he knows best: better than an opposition he appears to consider cynical, corrupt, or stupid. Better than the people (recently categorized as stupid by a chief architect of Obamacare) themselves.

Actually we the people are a lot smarter than you might think, Mr. President. If your policies were good, really, we’d be rallying around you — and re-electing, rather than de-electing, your political allies. It isn’t, as you say, that your administration has done a poor sales job. It’s a mixture of your promoting a product that the majority of us do not want, or a poor quality version of a product (like universal health care) that we do.

It is not, Mr. President, a failure of politics. The recent election is a triumph of politics over a failure of policy.

And this bespeaks more than a utilitarian deficiency. It betrays a philosophical, even a spiritual, deficiency. Alinsky:One hundred and thirty-five years ago Tocqueville gravely warned that unless individual citizens were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self-government would pass from the scene. Citizen participation is the animating spirit and force in a society predicated on voluntarism.

… There can be no darker or more devastating tragedy than the death of man’s faith in himself and in his power to direct his future.
Executive Action — whether then by the CIA or now by ICE – means recourse to an extralegal, if not quite illegal, means. Going extralegal is toxic to the civic spirit, Mr. President. Pay attention to Speaker Boehner –a real statesman who has expressed forward-leaning sentiments toward comprehensive immigration reform. Do not to “poison the well.”

Executive Action will not end well for the immigrants who you seek to shelter from deportation. Executive Action will not end well for your reputation or for America. Executive Action is the civic equivalent to ordering an assassination. Respect our dignity, Mr. President, and turn back.
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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: Saul Alinski, Rules for Radicals, amnesty, Executive Action, Ralph Benko To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Democrats throw Gruber Under The Bus While Universities Try to "Disappear" Gruber

Democrats throw Gruber Under The Bus
M.I.T. Professor Jonathan Gruber has had a rough go in the last couple of weeks. This video offers a quick refresher of the outrageous things the architect of Obamacare has said about the law, the process used to create it, the voters who were duped into believing it would work and how if we would just be patient, everything would turn out great.

Needless to say, Gruber quickly became toxic -- so bad, in fact, that Democrats wasted little time in tossing him over the side:“MIT professor Jonathan Gruber was an intellectual architect of Obamacare,” CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews said. “But here at a conference last year, he said the law was written to hide crucial details from an American public too dumb to understand.”

Andrews noted that “embarrassed” Democrats “quickly distanced themselves from Gruber.” Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) “turned Gruber into a stranger,” while the White House claimed he never worked there.

“But when the bill was being written, the administration paid Gruber almost $400,000 for technical advice on drafting the law,” Andrew said.
So don't feel too bad for Mr. Gruber. He was paid very well for doing the Democrats' bidding on Obamacare. His real sin was telling the truth about how the process worked. Inside the Beltway, such honesty is unforgivable (especially when it's on tape).

And as for congressional Democrats..."disappearing" Gruber won't work. With each new video of him saying something disturbingly and disgustingly true about Obamacare, the worse their predicament becomes. After all, Gruber could only put the ideas down on paper. They actually voted for it.

Universities try to "disappear" Gruber
It's not just Democrat politicians who are pretending they have never heard of M.I.T. professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. Now universities where Gruber made some of his outrageous comments are removing videos of Gruber from their websites:...at least two colleges who hosted the professor have tried to scrub Gruber from the internet. The University of Pennsylvania removed Gruber’s October 2013 panel appearance — in which he laughed about “the stupidity of the American voter” — on November 10, but quickly reposted the video after withering criticism.

On Monday the University of Rhode Island took a page out of Penn’s book, removing (link is external) a 2012 discussion where Gruber explains how the law was passed to “exploit” the American voters’ “lack of economic understanding.” URI offered no explanation on its webpage as to why the video was pulled.
The aim is clear: scrub the videos from the Internet, and no more embarrassing quotes will surface. Or so whomever is pulling the videos down hopes.

The fact is nothing ever really disappears from the Internet. If you're curious about what Mr. Gruber, or anyone else, may have said about Obamacare, one resource to check is the Internet Archive, where old sites continue to live on forever.
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Linked articles via the Response Action Network.

Tags: politics, Obamacare, Democrats, trow, Gruber, under the bus, Universities, higher Education, disappear Gruber, Response Action Network To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Turning Climate Into Cash

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: As this is being written, all fifty states have freezing weather and nearly a month before the winter solstice on December 21 some northeastern cities are buried in record-setting snowfalls.

At what point will the public conclude that virtually everything that we have been told about “global warming” and “climate change” by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) as well as U.S. government agencies we’re supposed to trust has been bogus, based on computer models, none of which have proven to be accurate?

At what point will the public conclude that climate, a perfectly natural phenomenon so vast and so powerful, is being exploited in order to transfer large amounts of money from wealthy nations to those who are not? It is redistribution of wealth on a global scale. That is the primary reason for the U.N. climate fund. A total of $9.3 billion has been pledged by several nations.

My friend, Marc Morano, said this about the U.N. Green Climate Fund: 'It’s going to be a giant green slush fund of money distributed by the U.N. through political patronage system. It’s all designed to make climate an issue that every government has to pay attention to.”

“This is a new political party—if you will—the climate party, and it’s demanding a lot of fees and it’s demanding a lot of spending. The U.N. bureaucracy loves to spend money, loves to have scandals, loves to empower themselves. So this is all about empowering UN bureaucrats, diplomats and delegates and the UN’s own sense of self importance.”

Morano is the Communications Director for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and executive editor and chief correspondent for the award-winning ClimateDepot.com, a global warming and eco-news center founded in 2009. He has been on the front line of combating the lies told about global warming and climate change for many years.

I have been an advisor to CFACT over the years, sharing information that has consistently debunked what I regard as the greatest hoax of the modern era.

The worst part of the hoax was and is the billions that have been squandered on the bogus, useless “scientific” studies intended to keep it going. Then there have been billions more spent on the near useless “renewable” energy projects that have only demonstrated that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds and solar farms have the same affect. The electricity they produce is minimal and so unpredictable it requires the backup of traditional fossil-fueled energy plants.

The near total lack of the impact of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere on its climate has not stopped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from using carbon dioxide as justification for issuing a torrent of regulations that are crippling the provision of energy nationwide, attacking private property rights, and slowing the growth of our economy.

Thanks to Mother Nature, Americans and others around the world experiencing the 19-year-old cooling cycle the Earth has been in are beginning to realize that humans have nothing to do with causing climate change.

Sadly, too many world leaders, including our own, keep talking about climate change as if it was something we can influence by a reduction of “greenhouse gas” emissions. That’s just another way of saying use less energy.

The world leaders are wrong. Some are just flat out lying.

H. Sterling Burnett, Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News, Nov 25, 2014 noted, "According to Weatherbell: More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning, November 18. All 50 states saw at or below freezing temperatures that day.

"Boston.com reported 1,360 daily low maximum records were set, meaning those 1,360 cities and towns saw their coldest daily highs ever recorded. In addition, snow covered more than 50 percent of the country, more than twice the coverage the U.S. usually experiences in mid-November CNN reported areas in Buffalo, New York, among other cities along the Great Lakes, experienced a year’s snow in just three days."
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs. He is a contributor to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: climate change, cash, global warming lie, 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!

Australia Embraces the Less Government-Free Trade Model - We Should Too

Hugs - and Free Trade - All Round
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: We recently referenced the very good news to come from an otherwise very bad President Barack Obama China trip.U.S., China to Drop Tariffs on Range of Tech Products

The U.S. and China reached an agreement to drop tariffs on a wide range of technology products, in a deal that its backers say could cover $1 trillion in trade and that marks a significant accomplishment amid strained ties between Beijing and Washington.

The two countries late Monday reached a deal to expand the Information Technology Agreement, a global technology trade pact, to cover semiconductors, medical devices, Global Positioning System devices and other newer products, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Tuesday in Beijing.

The deal–reached late Monday after marathon negotiations and more than a year of stalled talks–could be ratified in December by members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Our ally Australia certainly seems to get the myriad advantages of a Less Government-Free Trade existence.Australia and China: Free and Friendly Trade

After ten years of negotiations, Australia and China have agreed to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Let’s hope we all can shave a lot of time off these things.Ultimately 95 percent of Australian exports to China will be tariff free within the next decade or so.That is a whole lot of Less Government-Free Trade.In fact, even before the FTA had gone ahead government ministers were announcing a separate “billion dollar” live cattle deal with China.Free trade deals are force multipliers. Deals beget deals - in large part because sitting down and discussing them warms even the coldest of inter-national relationships.

Australia has been on a roll.Education Minister Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine at the time, “This is the kind of thing that happens when you have a government that’s focused on economic outcomes… So we have a Free Trade Agreement with Japan, Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, working on one with China.”We can - and should - global-free-trade the Farm Bill out of existence.

And there are so many other nations with which to trade.Australia's next priority is to conclude a comprehensive trade partnership deal with India, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday during a state visit to Canberra by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi….

"We want to go further and that's why the next priority for Australia is a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India," Abbott said.

"If I may say so, this is a moment in time. This is the time to get this done."
Indeed it is. And we too should strike while the iron is hot.

For instance - we Conservatives loathe our domestic Farm Bill. For many, many good reasons. Not the least of which - it is terrible domestic policy that has begotten terrible international policy.The Global Farm Market: A Crony Socialist Nightmare Mess

(Our domestic Farm Bill) has been for seventy or so years a Government-Knows-Best train wreck. To alter slightly Ronald Reagan’s line:

“Government’s view of the (farm) economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Over those seven decades-plus, our lather-rinse-repeat anti-free-market farm policy warped the emerging global farm market. The world’s growers saw our bad moves – and matched them. Subsidy-for-subsidy, tax-for-tax, protectionism-for-protectionism.

Seven decades later, we have a worldwide Crony Socialist nightmare mess.
An inter-governmental regulatory arms race. Not good.

Conservatives have tried for at the very least three decades-plus to unilaterally disarm. The results? Not good.Unwinding the government’s crop protectionism regime has been a 30+ year-long nightmare mess. We who wish to make it all go away have in that time gotten absolutely nowhere in our attempts to do so.The solution? We have lots of time - our heinous Farm Bill just passed, and is in place for another four-plus years. We should acknowledge what Australian Prime Minister Abbott has rightly noted - and get to negotiating.The world’s (crop)-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist policies. And start horse trading.

“Brazil – how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.”

“Mexico – if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.”

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.
We’ve tried unsuccessfully - for a very long time - to undo our Farm Bill from the inside out. We should now instead try to undo it from the outside-in.

We can - and should - global-free-trade the Farm Bill out of existence.
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Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter   /   Facebook.

Tags: Seton Motley, Less Government, Australia, embraces less government, free trade model To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

It’s Time To Exercise the Legislative “Veto” . . .

The authors of The Federalist expected that in a properly-functioning republic the legislative branch would be the most powerful. Today, it is arguably the weakest--as its responses to the president's attacks on Congressional power demonstrate. In our latest essay, we argue that the Congress should fight back using its control over federal spending to stop President Obama's immigration initiative as part of a broader effort to make the public case for a legislative "veto." This isn't about exercising any new power, but rather pushing back hard against the idea that not giving the president every dollar he wants is tantamount to initiating a "shutdown" crisis--or in other words, from the president's perspective: "heads I win; tails you lose." ~ David Corbin & Matt Parks

. . . And funding a constitutional government worth funding.
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks: The apoplectic and apocalyptic will scoff at the suggestion that this past week’s executive amnesty could help fuel a partial revitalization of our republic. So why is there room for optimism that something can be done–and what?

President Obama’s threatened and now announced executive amnesty has, not for the first time, drawn pundits, politicians, and the American people, Left and Right, back to the Constitution to reflect on what, exactly, the president and Congress are supposed to do. That, in and of itself, is a good thing–an indication that, at some level, we all still recognize the need to square our political behavior with our (collective) political principles.

Judging by the results, those on the Left have not liked what they have found in the Constitution. The leading talking point of the last week has been “Republican presidents (including Ronald Reagan) did the same thing.” A number of people have shown (see here and here) that, in fact, the actions of President Reagan and his successor, George H.W. Bush, are clearly distinguishable from President Obama’s.

But suppose they weren't. Tu quoque (“you too!”) may be good politics, but it’s bad logic and, if possible, worse legal and constitutional reasoning. (It’s not a solid defense against speeding to suggest that you were only keeping pace with the car in front of you.) Better to conclude that both Republican and Democratic presidents have violated the plain intent of the Constitution than to wrench the Constitution into justifying what they did, simply out of partisan loyalty. Are any of us willing to prostitute our integrity for parties so unworthy of the sacrifice?

The president’s (slightly) more sophisticated defenders have resorted to a “devil made me do it” defense. Who’s the “devil” in this case? First choice is, naturally, House Republicans, who, according to outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, had 510 days to do something about immigration, starting the clock from when the Senate passed an immigration reform bill.

Choosing not to legislate is, of course, a perfectly legitimate legislative act–one that Harry Reid (tu quoque) knows a lot about, with more than 300 House bills awaiting action in the Senate. Surely the House doesn’t have to pass a bill it disapproves to keep the president from implementing part of what it disapproves. Shorter Senator Reid: heads I win; tails you lose.

But if the House’s (in)action is perfectly legitimate and we’re still stuck, then maybe the devil is actually the (founders-designed) system. That, at least, was the suggestion of Garrett Epps, writing for The Atlantic last week. Prof. Epps argues in ominous tones that we could use a “six month moratorium on paeons to the wisdom of the framers,” since they failed to anticipate “divided government”–when one party controls the Congress and another party the presidency–leaving us in a “dangerous” position that will “probably” lead to government “shutdown, perhaps default, and possibly impeachment.”

Much could be said in response to this charge against the founders–starting with the fact that the they didn’t just anticipate divided government, they designed the government to be divided with the separation of legislative, executive, and legislative powers. If they erred, it was in assuming (a) that the government would be divided as much (or more) legislature against executive as Party X against Party Y and (b) that parties would be more numerous and fluid than they have turned out to be.

They hoped, in other words, for something better in congressional leaders than sycophantic ideologues, like Senator Reid, who invite the president to “go big” in usurping legislative authority, but they harbored no illusions that their system would facilitate expansive legislative programs, which were neither needed (see Federalist 53) nor conducive to self-government (see Federalist 62).

Gridlock, most of the time, was a better option that bad or frequent lawmaking–and the occasional times when it frustrated good initiatives were a reasonable price to pay for avoiding the assaults to enterprise and liberty of a voluminous and unstable legal code.

That, in fact, was one of the two reasons Alexander Hamilton gives in Federalist 73 to justify the president’s veto power. The other (and, in Hamilton’s view, even more important) is equally instructive in this case: to protect the president “against the depredations of the [Congress]”–that is, to maintain the separation of powers.

The president needed such protection, both Madison and Hamilton argued, because of the natural strength of the legislative branch in a republican system. As our regime has democratized, we’ve argued elsewhere, the executive branch has become ascendant–indeed all but hegemonic.

As a result, while we still need a presidential veto to protect the executive branch from the (infrequent) assaults of the Congress, we need, much more, an understanding and forthright application of the Congress’s own “veto” power.

The idea of a legislative veto in our system should be something of an absurdity because there are very few places under the Constitution where the executive branch has the initiative–a precondition for a veto power (you veto someone else’s measure, after all).

However, in our day of pseudo-law executive orders and claims of prosecutorial discretion, pseudo-treaty executive agreements, and a dormant Congressional power to declare war, presidents have seized the initiative in almost every area of policy-making. As a result, Congress must consciously and publicly reconceive its appropriation (and correlative defunding) power as not only policy-making, but policy-stopping.

To inactivate or deactivate programs and agencies with the power of the purse is legislative activity fully within its Constitutional authority.

In quiet ways, of course, this is already done. As The Federalist’s Sean Davis writes:Congress adds riders and prohibitions to appropriations bills all the time. Why? Because it can [“Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution”]: ‘No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law[.]‘And from that power of the purse come the most powerful words in federal law:“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds shall be appropriated or otherwise made available for ______.”What has yet to happen, however, is for Congress to make the political case, in any kind of systematic or persuasive way, that defunding parts of the federal bureaucracy is not a precursor to a Congress-initiated government shutdown and default, the two horsemen of the Progressive fiscal apocalypse (see Prof. Epps), but a defensive mechanism needed to protect Congress from the “depredations” of the president.

Congressional Republicans, in other words, would improve their ability to respond to the president’s assaults if they spent more time talking about the need for a Constitutional course correction and less time making idle and often insincere threats. When the crisis point in the game of chicken comes, it is too late for a previously chest-thumping Congress, with all the rhetorical disadvantages of diffuse leadership and political division (not to mention a hostile press), to win the sympathy of the general public.

Unfortunately, the lesson Republicans have learned from their previous encounters with President Obama is that a “shutdown” must be avoided at all costs. But if not satisfying the president’s fiscal demands is tantamount to causing a shutdown, we’re back where we started on the immigration question: heads the president win; tails Republicans lose.

Madison wrote in Federalist 48: “It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.” This is the state of affairs that President Obama has furthered and taken advantage of in his personal appropriation of legislative power on a host of issues. The One Hundred Fourteenth United States Congress would go down as the one of the finest and most dutifully active and vigilant if it were to employ its power of the purse to ensure that constitutional government of, by, and for the American people did not perish on its watch.
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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: Constitution, Federalist Today, Filibuster, Garrett Epps, Harry Reid, President Obama, Ronald Reagan, The Federalist, David Corbin, Matthew Parks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obama’s Amnesty Is A Never-Ending Cycle

Dick Morris
Photo: Bill Smith 7/14/2010
by Dick Morris: President Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to between 4 and 5 million people is really part of an ongoing cyclical process of immigration-amnesty-more immigration.

He intends this amnesty to provoke a new wave of illegal entry into the United States, creating a new pool of illegal immigrants awaiting their own amnesty.

And in the meantime, they will constitute a “ghost army” able to vote illegally with no requirement that they present photo identification.

Obama’s previous grant of amnesty — to the group known as “DREAMERS” — triggered a flood of new illegal immigration from Central America. No sooner did they arrive than Obama packed them off to all parts of the country, likely shielding them from deportation.

His new amnesty, based on giving legal status to those who have had anchor babies in the U.S., suggests a simple strategy for the coming wave of illegal immigrants: Come here, sneak over the border, have a baby in the U.S., and wait for your amnesty.

None of these outcomes are unintended consequences of the president’s program — they lie at its very core. In our book “Power Grab,” we explain how Obama uses this cycle of amnesty and immigration to pad his electorate and power the left into office using demographically based politics.

But Obama’s nightmare is that even as he catalyzes millions of new immigrants, Latinos who have lived here for many years might be assimilating, voting as independents unwilling to toe the ethnic voting line. The president’s economic policies, which decrease upward mobility, may retard assimilation, but the process is proceeding nonetheless.

In the 2012 election, 75 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama. But this year, only 63 percent did.

When will the Latino vote go Republican? When it is no longer the Latino vote. The same assimilation, intermarriage, and merging which has extinguished the German-American, Italian-American, and Irish-American vote, making them all just American voters, is at work among Hispanics.

Democrats would prefer that Latinos follow the model of African-Americans, whose resentment, memory of past discrimination, and worry about ongoing racism keep them bound to the Democratic Party even as they move up the income ladder. But Latinos give every evidence of being more like the traditional immigrant groups that merge into the American population and culture.

In a sense, the very removal of the grievance over immigration reform, implicit in Obama’s amnesty, may serve to undermine his purpose by reducing the racial tensions which keep Latinos Democrat.

Devout Catholics and increasingly evangelical Protestants, the Latino vote embraces values shared largely by Republicans. Their move to the right as they advance economically may swing the electorate back to the Republicans.
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Dick Morris is a commentator for the Fox News Channel. He makes over four hundred appearances across the country each year and is well known for hard-hitting, nonpartisan, objective commentary about the U.S. political scene. His commentaries are available on DickMorris.com and you can follow him on Facebook

Tags: President Obama, amnesty, never ending cycle, Dick Morris,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

No Nuclear Weapons Deal With . . .

Question: Do You Want Iran to Have Nuclear Weapons?

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
From over 4 years ago!
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Yesterday was the deadline set by western nations for reaching an agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons programs. According to various reports, no deal was reached and negotiators will likely extend the talks for several more months. ABC News reported this morning that talks will resume in December and likely drag on until the summer.

There are several likely outcomes from these negotiations. But the one result that ought to be our objective has zero chance of happening. Our sole purpose in these negotiations should be a tough agreement denying Iran the ability to develop nuclear weapons, with sufficient safeguards to make sure it is enforced. But such an agreement just isn't plausible.

The reason I am so certain that any deal with Tehran will be bad is that there have been numerous leaks indicating shifting positions by the Obama Administration. We are making concessions, but I have seen nothing suggesting that the Iranians are making concessions.

To give you some indication of how these negotiations have gone thus far, it has been reported that Iran's foreign minister "frequently screams and shouts at Western diplomats, including Secretary of State John Kerry." And we have tolerated this abuse and petulance for a year now.

The news that the talks will take a brief respite and resume next month means that Iran's nuclear program will continue to march forward, toward a future that radically changes the dynamic of Israeli and American security in the Middle East and the world. It also sets up another confrontation between the Senate and the Obama Administration.

You may recall that the New York Times reported several weeks ago that Obama "will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote" on any deal negotiated with Tehran. The new Senate will be more conservative and, on this issue in particular, the president could face serious defections from Democrats who better understand and appreciate the U.S. / Israeli alliance.
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Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Iran, nuclear weapons, talks, no deal, Iran proceeds, editorial cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Monday, November 24, 2014

@TedCruz: Republicans Shouldn't Fear a Government Shutdown Over Immigration

The senator says the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare didn't hurt his party at the polls. So why should the GOP fear one over immigration?
Ted Cruz Photo On Twitter
by Dustin Volz, National Journal: Sen. Ted Cruz is threatening to reprise his role as a catalyst to a government shutdown, arguing on Sunday that Congress should use spending bills to block President Obama's recent executive action on immigration.

Cruz rebutted suggestions that holding government funding hostage in order to prevent Obama's plan halting the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants from taking effect would hurt the GOP.

"At the time you and a lot of folks in the press said what a disaster it was to stand up to Obamacare," Cruz told Fox News' Chris Wallace. "Let me point out, we just had a historic election where we won nine seats in the Senate, we retired Harry Reid, we just got the biggest majority in the House since the 1920s, and the biggest issue we campaigned on was Obamacare."

Cruz added: "Republicans need to actually do what we say we'll do.… It was not a mistake for Republicans to stand up and fight Obamacare."

Cruz specifically is advocating for Congress to refuse to fund the Department of Homeland Security, the agency charged with immigration enforcement. Obama may veto any funding bill that omits DHS, which would potentially set up another partisan clash that could spiral into another shutdown.

Some Republicans see such a tactic as foolhardy. Republican strategist Charlie Black told National Journal last week that a government shutdown would be a waste of time.

"It does not accomplish anything. You cannot get the president to make a concession," Black said. "Why even take a political risk if there is no achievable goal?"

Cruz is widely considered a chief architect of the shutdown last year, which lasted 16 days and prompted an indefinite furlough of some 800,000 federal employees after Congress failed to pass legislation appropriating funds for fiscal 2014.

Cruz also told Wallace incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should refuse to consider any of Obama's executive nominations "other than vital national security positions," which would include his new attorney general nominee, unless the executive action is rescinded.

Tags: Ted Cruz, Republicans, Shouldn't fear, shutdown, over, immigration, Dustin Volz To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Tiny Settlement Check Gets Man “Angry” About Massive Plaintiff Lawyer Payouts


Settlement check like this was sent to Jon Sourbeer.
Photo credit: Gilardi & Co. LLC.
by Sean Hackbart, Contributing Author: Jon Sourbeer, a computer science student and science fiction writer in Washington State, got so angry at the $20.91 settlement check he received from Toyota that he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal [subscription required].

However, if you think he’s mad at the car company for stiffing him, you’re wrong.

Sourbeer points out that while he and other Toyota owners received a check that can’t cover a single tank of gas, plaintiff lawyers made bank:
The court awarded attorneys fees totaling $200 million, plus $27 million for expenses. And what did that get? Well, besides my $20.91 check, the 25 primary plaintiffs and class representatives—those connected directly to the case and participating in the actual lawsuit—received $395,270.

You read that right: The group of some 85 attorneys and their firms made about 500 times as much as the total amount the primary plaintiffs received.
Such massive disparities aren’t unusual in class action lawsuits. A 2013 Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) study found that plaintiff lawyers “are frequently the only real beneficiaries of the class actions.” It notes other examples where plaintiff lawyers got big paydays while class action members got little:
  • A Missouri case against a stock broker resulted in “only $20.42 to each of the brokerage’s former customers and three $8.22 coupons to each current customer.” Plaintiff lawyers got $21 million.
  • In a class action suit against Kellogg’s, “class members could request $5 refunds for up to three boxes of cereal.” Plaintiff lawyers got $1.3 million.
And recently, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue explained how lawyers made more than half-a-million dollars from three text messages:

A Buffalo Bills fan sued the NFL team for receiving too many text messages—messages that he had signed up to receive. The fan claimed that he received three more messages in a two-week period than the Bills had promised to send and sought statutory damages. In the end, the lead plaintiff pocketed $5,000 in damages, other recipients of the extra texts received $2.4 million in payouts, and the lawyers walked away with a cool $562,500. So if you ask the Bills how much three extra text messages cost, the answer is $3 million.Such lawsuit abuse harms the whole economy, Sourbeer points out:How much will that cost me in the future? Will it add $200 to the price of my next car? Or $500? Or $1,000? Maybe that’s too much of an add-on in this case. But is it too much when we start totaling the lawsuits that hit all the products we buy every year?The United States has the costliest legal system in the world. This weighs down our economy and makes us less competitive globally.

Knowing that make me angry too.
------------
Sean Hackbarth is a blogger at Free Enterprise and does policy advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: attorneys, law suits, class settlement, Toyota, Sean Hackbarth, US Chamber To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Government Assaults ‘Big Dogs’ - To Advantage the Biggest Dog of Them All

T-Rex 'Stan' Stands in Front of Google HQ.
Represents Google as the 'Biggest Dog.'
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: One of the largest myths going is that government helps the Little Guy.

On its face this is patently absurd. More government - taxes and/or regulations - raises the costs of everything for everyone. The Big Guys are far better equipped to absorb the punishment - while the Little Guys are pummeled into un-existence.

Then there’s the Crony Socialism - it’s not Crony Capitalism, because it has very little to do with capitalism. Wherein Big Guys - who have the wherewithal - bend government policy to their will. To their advantage - and against that of the Little Guys seeking to compete with them. For instance:Green Scam: 80% of Green Energy Loans Went to (President Barack) Obama Donors

Crony Socialists Looking to Ban Online Gambling Don’t Seem to Realize It's a WORLD WIDE Web

Obama Donor’s Firm Hired to Fix Health Care Web Mess It Created

Obama Crony Wins Contract to Give Phones to Jobless

Obama’s United Auto Workers Bailout
Which brings us to the ridiculous Network Neutrality political rhetoric being extruded by the Obama Administration.

President Obama his own self recently said this:“(N)et neutrality”…says that an entrepreneur's fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations….Then there’s Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the President’s allegedly politics-free, independent Federal Communications Commission (FCC).FCC Chief on Net Neutrality: ‘The Big Dogs Are Going to Sue, Regardless’First - why are these lawsuits inevitable? Because the FCC has already twice unilaterally imposed Net Neutrality - and twice the D.C. Circuit Court has unanimously overturned the orders as outside the bounds of their authority.

Rather than complaining about additional suits to again fend off the Leviathan - perhaps the Leviathan should pull in its tentacles. Especially when it has already had two lopped off by Courts. As Jonah Goldberg has said: Don’t just do something - stand there.

But wait a minute - which “Big Dogs” does Wheeler mean? The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) government intends to yet again assault.

To be sure, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, et. al are big companies.
But they aren’t looking for Crony Socialist favors from government - merely protection from its monumental overreaches.

Then there’s this plucky little upstart for whom the Obama Administration is fighting.Google: ~ $370 billion.Get that? Google is bigger than Verizon and Comcast - combined.

Google has spent the last decade-plus shoving Net Neutrality down our throats.Google…Support(s) Net Neutrality, Call(s) For Extension To Mobile ProvidersGoogle has uber-generously funded pro-Net Neutrality Leftist efforts. It twice helped President Obama get elected. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was one of the first Obama Administration “adviser” hires.

The relationship really is that syrupy:Obama & Google - A Love StorySo this isn’t a galloping shock:Who Wins the Net Neutrality Debate? Google, of Course

No matter how the FCC rules next year, Google can move forward with fiber rollouts, even if they're restricted, because it will still be earning far-healthier revenues from carrying content.

Google's two-pronged strategy has been obvious for a long time, but lately it has looked genius given the net neutrality battle….

(I)t’s a strategy only a very large company could undertake….
Get that? Google is more than Big Guy enough to absorb the government hit - the Little Guys looking to compete with them aren’t.

“It’s a strategy only a very large company could undertake” - using government to make the marketplace untenable for anyone but themselves.

Creating for Google a for-all-intents-and-purposes government-mandated monopoly.

The very thing the Obama Administration - with its gi-normous Internet overreach - alleges it is attempting to address/prevent.

To paraphrase George Orwell: All monopolies are equal - but some are more equal than others.

To paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Google will be a son-of-a-bitch monopoly - but it’ll be our son-of-a-bitch monopoly.

Don’t be evil.” Enjoy the Crony Socialism, All.
-------------
Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter   /   Facebook.

Tags: Government, assaults, big companies, big dogs, big dog, Google, T-Rex, Stan, Crony Socialism, Seton Motley, Less Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Enemy Of My Enemy

. . . Iran Negotiations are much more preferable to Obama than negotiating with republicans.
Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco

Tags: Enemy of my enemy, Iran, President Obama, negotiating, GOP, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Racism Can Be White or Black

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: On Monday, Nov 17, the Governor of Missouri activated its National Guard “to support law enforcement during any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.” He declared a state of emergency.

A grand jury verdict that is likely to exonerate officer Darren Wilson is assumed to require significant law enforcement because in August we witnessed the initial weeks of rioting, looting and arson in what has been described by police authorities as an organized effort.

When the subject of racism occurs, it is always in terms of white racism and rarely, if ever, discussed in terms of black racism.

However, racism is a two-way street and while the ill treatment African-Americans encountered as slaves and for a century thereafter before the Civil Rights Act in 1964 is surely cause for resentment the fact remains that black Americans have had fifty years, two generations, of opportunity and equality intended to redress the past.

What white Americans find it difficult to understand is why there are protests at this point. Don’t the lives of blacks who have been killed, as often as not by other blacks, have value too?

Why doesn’t the fact that the nation has a black President, a black Attorney General, a black Supreme Court justice, blacks in Congress, and ample evidence of the progress the black community has made since the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed seem to make any difference?

The events in Ferguson are well known by now. Video confirmed that Michael Brown stole some cigarillos at the Ferguson Market and Liquors on August 9th and when one of the staff protested, he was threatened in a menacing manner by Brown, a very large young man.

The theft was swiftly reported to the police with a description that fit Brown. Not long after, Officer Wilson, driving alone, spoke to Brown and a companion, telling them to move away from the center of West Florissant Avenue. At that point Brown began to scuffle with Wilson and forensic evidence showed that Wilson’s gun was fired twice in the police car during the struggle. Brown allegedly punched him repeatedly, leaving a swelling on his face. He attacked a police officer.

Wilson went after Brown to arrest him and when Brown turned on him he was shot six times. Reportedly, six black witnesses to the incident confirmed Officer Wilson’s account. The autopsy is said to have showed evidence of marijuana in Brown’s system. Brown was not armed, but his size and the assault on Officer Wilson constituted a threat to Wilson’s life.

What followed were weeks of demonstrations that quickly escalated in force, in arson and looting in addition to the confrontations between the protesters and the police. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard to help quell the disturbances. In October the Ferguson Police Department handed over responsibility to the county police department which is larger and better equipped. At this point, all of the police who were called upon had protective gear and an arsenal of means to quell a riot.

Why did the shooting evoke such a reaction? Why did those involved in the demonstrations assume it was more than a white cop versus black suspect situation? The assumption among the protesters is that a white police officer had shot Brown for no reason other than racism.

Blacks (and whites) who commit crimes or who are suspected of doing so and who are seen to pose a lethal threat are killed by police during the course of any year. However, statistically blacks are more involved in crime, from minor to major, than whites. According to the NAACP, “African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.” This is blamed on poverty, poor education, and other factors, but America has had wave after wave of immigrants come here, work hard, enter the middle class, and rise to success.

It is worth noting that the Ferguson police force has few blacks in its ranks. Of its 53 members, only three are black. Why? Is there something about being a police officer that is unappealing to blacks in Ferguson? This is a useful question given the fact that 67% of Ferguson’s residents are black.

Maybe we can just blame the demonstrations, the burning and looting of businesses on the fact that among the most dangerous U.S. cities, the Huffington Post just listed St. Louis as number four, dropping down from being number three last year. “The city has the highest murder rate of any locale in the top five, with 38 murders per 100,000 people. Its overall violent crime rate is 1,594 violent crimes per 100,000 people.” Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis, a city whose population is nearly half black.

The “demonstrators” and “protesters” in Ferguson are a disgrace. They have put hard working, law abiding blacks at risk of being lumped in with their behavior. That, regrettably, is how racism works.

If, however, you want to exploit the incident, you send the U.S. Attorney General to Ferguson to stir up the black racism that exists and you have the Department of Justice conduct both civil and criminal investigations.

If you want to exploit the incident, you have the Attorney General participate in planting a tree last Monday in the memory of Emmett Till, a teenager who was murdered in 1955 by white bigots and have him speak of young black men "who died senselessly," but Michael Brown died as the result of an assault on a police officer.

The grand jury has conducted its investigation and will likely find that a police officer lawfully defended himself against a young thug. That’s how our legal system works. And black racism is every bit as bad as white racism.
-----------------
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs. He is a contributor to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: racism, white racism, black racism, Ferguson, MO, 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!

Hagel Dismissed, But Not Missed

Bob Morrison and Ken Blackwell
by Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison: Nearly two years ago, these writers urged President Obama to “Chuck Hagel.” Today, it seems, the hapless Secretary of Defense is on his way out. We wish him no ill. And we certainly don’t rejoice in his forced resignation. The timing of his dismissal could hardly be worse. It comes on the eve of another “deadline” in our dealings with an Iran bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.

Secretary Hagel never overcame his stumbling debut. A recent poll of national security personnel gave him an abysmal 26% approval rating. And while we should never put civilian control of the military up for a vote of the troops, we should try to avoid naming defense chiefs who command so little respect among those whom they can order to risk their lives.

Secretary Hagel needed to go. His tenure has been characterized by ineptitude of the first order. According to the New York Times, Mr. Hagel never recovered from his bruising confirmation hearings. He responded at length to a senator’s questioning that he saw the need to “contain” Iran’s nuclear capacity.

The containment doctrine, after all, was the dominant idea of the U.S. from 1949 with the announcement of the USSR’s first atomic bomb test until 1981, with the advent of the Reagan administration. Reagan was committed not merely to containing the USSR, but to prevailing over the evil empire. He set in train the powerful forces that helped to unravel the Soviet bloc and bring down that tyrannical regime—and he did this without war.

When Secretary-designate Hagel expanded on his views of “containing” the Iranian nuclear threat, he had to be nudged by one of his Obama administration handlers. A quickly whispered conference ensued. And then Hagel took it all back. We are not in favor of containing Iran’s nuclear capability, he quickly and clumsily amended his sworn testimony.

Hagel then proceeded to recite the Obama administration’s official position: We are opposed to Iran’s achieving a nuclear breakout. Iran must not have a nuclear weapon, President Obama has stated again and again. This position has been re-stated by Sec. of State John Kerry and by all other administration spokespersons.

We could only imagine the reaction of our NATO partners to the sight of an obviously flummoxed senior member of their club. No European or Canadian Defense Minister could have survived such a disastrous public pratfall. To have to make a one hundred eighty degree turnabout on the central defense issue of our time, in the full glare of television klieg lights, would instantly disqualify any of those parliamentarians from high office. And not one of those ministers has the weight of responsibility for military matters that our Sec. of Defense has.

But this was all to be expected from a President who came to office promising to turn over a new leaf in relations with Iran. He approached the Mullahs of Tehran “with an open hand not a clenched fist.” During the 2008 campaign, he even clashed with Hillary Clinton over Iran. She was unwilling to deal with Iran’s Mullahs “without preconditions,” she said. Sen. Barack Obama took the unusual, not to say, profoundly unserious, position that he could sweep away thirty years of hostility with a handshake.

We need to understand what President Obama’s extended meant. We would “re-set” relations with Iran while they still held our embassy compound. Under international law. that compound is sovereign U.S. territory. They attacked, overran, and have occupied our embassy for thirty years. They kidnapped and held hostage 52 Americans and subjected them to beatings, torture, and mock executions for 444 days.

Then they murdered 241 U.S. Marines and Navy corpsmen in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. There is little doubt that Hezbollah—the terrorist gang that perpetrated this first suicide bombing among Muslims—operates under the direction of the Mullahs ruling in Tehran.

Sweeping aside all of this and despite the fact that the U.S. State Department lists Iran as the Number One state sponsor of terrorism, President Obama was elected with a pledge to approach Iran’s rulers with an open hand.

They treated his open hand with scorn. Now, we are in protracted negotiations with Iran’s regime over their nuclear program. We are about to give them yet another “extension,” kicking the can further down the road, and permitting them to approach the point of “breakout” That’s the status achieved when a nation can rapidly move from nuclear research to creation of a bomb. Left unaddressed in these negotiations is Iran’s work on intercontinental ballistic missiles, so helpful for the delivery of nuclear weapons.

Reagan succeeded with the Soviets because he was not blind to the nature of the regime he was dealing with in the Kremlin. President Obama seems to have dismissed the nature of the Mullah’s murderous regime as a factor to be considered. These are the men who sent thousands of ten-year old boys marching through Saddam Hussein’s minefields during a decade-long war with Iraq in the 1980s. They gave these little boys plastic keys around their necks, promising the innocent lads the keys would open the Gates of Paradise before them.

What good can come of these negotiations with such homicidal men who so disregard the most vulnerable of their own people? What is needed in Iran is what Reagan provided with the Soviets—peace through strength.

Secretary Hagel’s most notable achievement was to assure us all that a radically reduced U.S. military was all that we could afford and we had to get used to not being the world’s leading military power. Americans have never accepted that dangerous idea. Sec. Hagel will not be missed.
---------------------
Ken Blackwell is an advisor to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and a conservative family values advocate. He is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison, Chuck, Hagel, resignation, firing, , Secretary of Defense, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Lone Republican In Obama's Cabinet Fired | Obamacare Train Wreck Continues

Hagel bows out as Sec. of Defense
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov 24, 2014
The Senate has adjourned for Thanksgiving recess. It will reconvene on Monday, December 1st, at 2 PM with votes scheduled on two ambassador nominees.

The House has adjourned for Thanksgiving recess. The next meeting is scheduled for 12 noon on Monday, November 24, 2014.

Today, President Obama announced the resignation of Secretary of Defense (SOD) Chuck Hagel. Hagel was a former Republican senator and has served as SOD since early 2013. He resigned under pressure from the White House. Hellen Cooper, The New York Times reported that "Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks. . . . He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an 'imminent threat to every interest we have, adding, 'This is beyond anything that we've seen.' White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State."

It appears that President Obama refusal to recognize the threat of ISIS and calling it ISIL was at odds with Defense Secretary Hagel's and the Pentagon's assessment. And the shellacking that the Democrats took in the 2014 elections and the constant deceptions occurring in the Obama administration appear to have contributed to the firing of the last Republican voice in the White House cabinet. When an Emperor has no clothes, all of his court must at least pretend to be blind to his nakedness.

While the Obama administration has made headlines with its executive actions on immigration, personnel changes, and more pushes on costly regulations, there is plenty of usually troublesome news on Obamacare as it enters its second enrollment period.

Of course, the biggest story was a report from Bloomberg News that the Obama administration was counting enrollments in dental plans as full Obamacare enrollments, “incorrectly adding 380,000 dental subscribers to raise the total above 7 million.” The report noted, “The error was brought to light by Republican investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, using data they obtained from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. . . . The new count puts enrollment short of a 2013 estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, adopted last year as a goal by the Obama administration, that 7 million people would be enrolled this year. . . . Blending dental and medical plans let the administration assert that enrollment was more than 7 million. The move also partly obscured the attrition of more than 1 million in the number of people enrolled in medical insurance.”

Meanwhile, health insurance premiums continue to increase despite all the promises from Democrats that they would decrease under Obamacare. The Hill reported last week, “The average price of the most popular ObamaCare health insurance plans rose 10 percent for 2015, according to a new study of premium figures published Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Consulting firm Avalere Health analyzed the monthly price of the lowest-cost silver plan in each region. Twenty-eight percent of all marketplace enrollees chose the lowest-cost silver plan available to them. . . .

“Not only are premiums increasing, but if consumers do not pick a different plan, they could pay more due to annual changes in how subsidies are calculated. The report underscores the complicated nature of out-of-pocket costs for ObamaCare plans for people receiving subsidies. The credits are calculated annually based on the price of the second-lowest-cost silver plan in each region, or the "benchmark" plan, which varies year to year. People who find that their plan is suddenly more expensive than the benchmark policy have to pay the difference dollar for dollar. Only a handful of regions will see their benchmark plans remain the same for 2015, meaning that many people who receive subsidies will face higher prices if they do not pick another plan.”

Though liberals have touted the states that created their own exchanges, there have been just as many failures and problems at the state level.

The AP reports, “The federal government shelled out billions of dollars to get health insurance marketplaces going in the 14 states that opted to run their own. Now they must act like true marketplaces and start paying for themselves. Under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, state-run health insurance exchanges need to be financially self-sustaining starting in January. Some appear to be on that path, while others have shaky funding models or even none at all. Some states, prohibited from using state money, are imposing fees on plans sold on the marketplaces. Others are spreading costs more widely — which, in one instance, has drawn a federal lawsuit. . . .

“[Rhode Island] does not have a way to pay for the exchange's long-term operations, and some lawmakers in the state General Assembly have suggested shifting to the federal exchange. The cost to operate Rhode Island's exchange is estimated at $17 million a year, although an earlier estimate pegged the cost at $24 million. . . .

“New York is relying on two agencies' general revenue, while Maryland is using money from an existing 2 percent tax on insurance plans. Republican Delegate Anthony O'Donnell, a critic of Maryland's decision to create its own exchange, said he continues to question its sustainability. He said last week that he is concerned ‘about the entire structure and that it may collapse of its own weight.’ . . .

[Colorado’s exchange is] imposing a 1.4 percent fee on monthly premiums for its plans but also approved charging a $1.25-a-month ‘general market’ fee on all individual and small group policies, including those sold outside the state exchange. Some lawmakers called the fee unfair, and one board member voted against it. It is expected to raise an estimated $13 million a year before it expires in 2016.

In the District of Columbia, which also is operating its own marketplace, the exchange's budget is being funded by a new 1 percent tax on all health insurance policies. The American Council of Life Insurers is suing, arguing it unfairly taxes insurance products that cannot be purchased on the exchange. . . .

Earlier this year, California's exchange said it was setting aside $184 million in federal money to fight off projected budget shortfalls through 2016. . . . The Vermont marketplace, which is being funded by the state's health care provider tax, is on shakier ground. Officials there acknowledged it could face a $20 million shortfall by year's end. The state hopes pending federal grants will fill the gap.”

The exchanges themselves continue to have problems, too. Roll Call noticed the DC exchange had to be taken down for maintenance for a couple of days. “‘During this outage, important maintenance work is taking place that will resolve a variety of different issues employees have been seeing,’ read a message sent to Senate staffers Friday morning, which also noted the website, also known as DC Health Link, was unavailable beginning Thursday evening. . . . The spokesman said the website was unavailable due to a data update. Before individuals can renew their health care coverage, the Affordable Care Act requires the data to be refreshed to verify that the individuals are still eligible for their plans. . . . DC Health Link is also in the process of correcting information for employee accounts.”

And in California, patients are still dealing with the fallout of narrowed networks under Obamacare. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Bolstering a chief complaint about Obamacare coverage, California regulators said two major health insurers violated state law by overstating the number of doctors available to patients.

More than 25% of physicians listed by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California weren't taking Covered California patients or were no longer at the location listed by the companies, according to state reports released Tuesday. In some cases, these errors led to big unforeseen medical bills when patients unwittingly ventured to out-of-network doctors for medical tests or a surgery. . . .

‘We found the provider directories made available to the public had significant errors,’ said Shelley Rouillard, director of the California Department of Managed Health Care. ‘When you have a quarter or more of physicians that aren't available, that is significant.’ Anthem and Blue Shield account for nearly 60% of enrollment in Covered California. The two industry stalwarts have long catered to patients wanting the widest selection of physicians. As a result, their narrower networks and more restrictive policies were a jolt to many people and often came to light only when they were getting treated. The insurers compounded the problem with inaccurate provider lists, mislabeled insurance cards and false assurances about coverage, according to patients, doctors and regulators.”

The LA Times documented the frustrations of Californians stuck in the narrower networks Obamacare has resulted in. “Patient Darrell Done's experience at the doctor's office was typical for many under the Affordable Care Act. The 57-year-old real estate agent from Pasadena said he confirmed on Blue Shield's website in December that his longtime family physician was part of his network. Then he went for a check-up in May and handed his new insurance card to the receptionist. ‘She said, “Oh. I'm sorry. This is an Obamacare policy, and Blue Shield changed all of their plans,”’ Done recalls. Done said he was upset at being locked into his plan until the next open enrollment. ‘I'm trapped in a policy that's not what I thought it was,’ he said.

“Redondo Beach resident Doug Evans, 62, bought a Blue Shield policy through Covered California a year ago only to find out later that his primary care doctor and orthopedic surgeon were no longer covered. ‘There was no explanation that Blue Shield in Covered California would be this limited network,’ Evans said. ‘That's what ticked me off.’”

Tags: Lon Republican, Obama Cabinet, fired, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, Obamcare Train Wreck, prices Rise, states struggle, cost of exchanges, 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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  • 11/23/14 - 11/30/14