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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Carbon TAX Scam

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: In a recent appearance before a congressional committee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told them that the agency’s proposed sweeping carbon-regulation plan was “really an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control.”

If the plan isn’t about pollution, the primary reason for the EPA’s existence, why bother with yet more regulation of something that is not a pollutant—carbon dioxide—despite the Supreme Court’s idiotic decision that it is. Yes, even the Court gets things wrong.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is vital to all life on Earth, but most particularly to every piece of vegetation that grows on it. Top climatologists tell me that it plays a very small role, if any, in the Earth’s climate or weather. Why would anyone expect a gas that represents 400 parts per million of all atmospheric gases, barely 0.04% of all atmospheric gases to have the capacity to affect something as huge and dynamic as the weather or climate?

When something as absurd as the notion the U.S. must drastically reduce its CO2 emissions is told often enough by a wide range of people that include teachers, the media, scientists, politicians, and the President, people can be forgiven for believing this makes sense.

What Gina McCarthy was demonstrating is her belief that not only the members of Congress are idiots, but all the rest of us are as well.

Faking Climate Data
“The science is clear. The risks are clear. We must act…” Sorry, Gina, a recent issue of Natural News, citing the Real Science website, reported “(in) what might be the largest scientific fraud ever uncovered, NASA and the NOAA have been caught red-handed altering historical temperature data to produce a ‘climate change narrative’ that defies reality.” As reported in The Telegraph, a London daily, “NOAA’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network has been ‘adjusting’ its record by replacing real temperatures with data ‘fabricated’ by computer models.”

The EPA has been on the front lines of destroying coal-fired plants that produce the bulk of the nation’s electricity, claiming, like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth that coal is “dirty” and must be eliminated from any use.

On July 29, CNSnews reported that “For the first time ever, the average price for a kilowatthour of electricity in the United States has broken through the 14-cent mark, climbing to a record 14.3 cents in June, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

A Carbon Tax
What the Greens want most of all is a carbon tax; that is to say, a tax on CO2 emissions. It is one of the most baseless, destructive taxes that could be imposed on Americans and we should take a lesson from the recent experience that Australians had when, after being told by a former prime minister, Julia Gillard, that she would not impose the tax, she did. They get rid of her and then got rid of the tax!

As Daniel Simmons, the vice president of policy at the American Energy Alliance, wrote in Roll Call “Australia is now the first country to eliminate its carbon tax. In doing so, it struck a blow in favor of sound public policy.” Initiated in 2012, the tax had imposed a $21.50 charge (in U.S. dollars), increasing annually, on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by the country’s power plants.” At the time President Obama called it “good for the world”, but Australians quickly found it was not good for them or their economy.

Favored by several Democratic Senators that include New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, Alaska’s Mark Begich, and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan, the Heritage Foundation, based on data provided by the Energy Information Administration, took a look at the impact that a proposed U.S. carbon tax would have and calculated that it “would cut a family of four’s income by nearly $2,000 a year while increasing its electricity bills by more than $500 per year. It would increase gas prices by 50 cents per gallon. It could eliminate more than a million jobs in the first few years.”

Simmons noted that “It only took (Australians) two years of higher prices, fewer jobs, and no environmental benefits before they abandoned their carbon tax.”

We don’t need, as Gina McCarthy told the congressional committee, “investments in renewables and clean energy” because billions were wasted by Obama’s “stimulus” and by the grants and other credits extended to wind and solar energy in America. They are the most expensive, least productive, and most unpredictable forms of energy imaginable, given that neither the wind nor the sun is available full-time in the way fossil fuel generated energy is. Both require backup from coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy plants.

In addition to all the other White House efforts to saddle Americans with higher costs, it has now launched a major effort to push its “climate change” agenda with a carbon tax high on its list. A July 29 article in The Hill reported that “Obama is poised to sidestep Congress with a new set of executive actions on climate change.”

If we don’t jump-start our economy by tapping into the jobs and revenue our vast energy reserves represent, secure our southern border, and elect a Congress that will rein in the President, the U.S. risks becoming a lawless banana republic. Carbon taxes are one more nail in the national coffin.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs. He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Scam Alert, Carbon tax, 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!

Send in the Clown

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony Branco

Tags: Send in the Clown John Kerry, Secretary of State, Israel, Ukrain, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Stunning Setback to Obamacare

by Phyllis Schlafly: Obamacare has proven again to be the biggest legislative failure in history, with last week’s ruling that its subsidies are illegal. These subsidies induced some 5 million Americans to sign up for Obamacare, but are prohibited by law as held by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell.

This humiliation to the Obama Administration was a devastating setback to legislation already disfavored by a 59-40% margin among the public, according to the latest CNN poll. Twice as many Americans say they are being hurt rather than helped by Obamacare.

Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare is neither affordable nor protective of patients. It promised subsidies for millions of Americans to buy new health insurance and to pay costly premiums that have driven insurance company stock values to record highs.

People in households making between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line (between $11,670 and $46,680 per year for one-person households) have been getting subsidies to buy insurance on health insurance exchanges. A staggering 90% of those who signed up for this Obamacare insurance did so in reliance on these subsidies, which the Court just ruled are illegal.

These health insurance exchanges are much more than marketplaces, like Travelocity or Expedia, to make it easier to shop for and buy health insurance. They are also the vehicle for dispensing subsidies and imposing penalties, while also building Big Brother-like databases about Americans.

The liberal central planners inside the D.C. Beltway thought the 50 States would comply with Obama’s demand that they set up these health insurance exchanges, at costs estimated to be as much as $100 million per exchange. As an incentive for States to set up these exchanges, the law provided substantial subsides to people who sign up for a State-established exchange.

The central government planners thought the subsidies would coerce States to establish their own health insurance exchanges, similar to how the federal government coerces States to obey D.C. commands in other fields such as education. But States balked after they saw how much control they would be giving to the federal government by establishing a State exchange, and how expensive they would end up being.

Nearly two years ago, noted patient advocate Twila Brase, R.N., explained why “a state-established exchange is a federal takeover center.” State exchanges would be required to obey federal regulations, report annually to the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and comply with a list of federally mandated Essential Health Benefits as dictated by the Secretary of HHS.

Her conclusion: “Just say no” because “refusing to build the state exchanges is key to stopping Obamacare.” More than 2/3rds of the States – 36 of them – have done just that.

States do not work for Barack Obama, which he has been slow to figure out. Democrats were crushed in the landslide midterm elections after the passage of Obamacare in 2010, and a repeat performance looms large with the next midterm elections barely three months away.

Back in 2010, Obama was riding high and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded passage of Obamacare by declaring, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it!” But now Democrats are angry at what the D.C. Circuit told them is really in the bill.

Perhaps Obama and his lieutenants should have read the bill before railroading it through Congress. The text of Obamacare expressly states that the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on an exchange are available only for an “Exchange established by the State,” and the Obama Administration broke the law by subsidizing the purchase of health insurance over federal rather than State exchanges.

The D.C. Circuit admirably upheld the law as it was passed, and properly rejected attempts by the Obama Administration to rewrite it now. The Court admitted that “our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly,” but confined its ruling to interpreting the law rather than rewriting it as Obama seeks now.

Adding to the chaos, on the very same day as this defeat of Obamacare in the D.C. Circuit, another federal appellate court upheld it. That is like one umpire calling a pitch as a “ball” after another umpire had declared it a “strike.”

Chief Justice John Roberts testified during his confirmation hearings that a judge should limit himself to the role of an umpire, calling the balls and strikes without changing the rules of the game. It is refreshing that a panel of judges on the D.C. Circuit did exactly that in applying the law as it was written, not rewriting it as Obama now wishes he had written it.
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Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: Obamacare, Setback, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The IRS Attacked Pro-Israel Groups

by AF "Tony" Branco
 by Rick Manning: According to the Wall Street Journal, the Internal Revenue Service used its power to attack pro-Israel groups. While the WSJ article is subscriber only, here is the gist of it.

Not only did the IRS target politically conservative groups, they also sought to deny tax exempt authorizations to groups who, quoting the Wall Street Journal, “whose missions might conflict with Administration policies. The IRS’s ‘Be on the Lookout’ list that November [2010] also included red flags for groups referring to ‘disputed territories.’”

The Journal goes on to report that Jewish groups seeking normal tax exempt status received questionnaires with ideologically oriented questions that are eerily familiar in their nature to the types of political inquiries made to tea party applicants.

According to the publication, “one questionnaire we’ve seen from the IRS to another Jewish group applying for tax-exempt status asked, ‘Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?’ and ‘Describe your organization’s religious belief system toward the land of Israel.’”

Now that we know that the IRS engaged in litmus testing of applicants based upon their support of Israel’s right to exist as a pre-determiner on whether a Jewish group should have received 501 (c) status, the Obama Administration can no longer cling to the notion that they were merely focusing upon conservative political groups.

The bald and ugly truth is that Obama’s IRS was being used for political purposes before even the Supreme Court Citizens United decision, and before the term “tea party group” was even included in the agency’s black list. As the Journal reports, “emails uncovered by the House Ways and Means Committee show that the IRS and State Department were conferring in 2009 about pro-Israel groups like Z Street and considering arguments to deny their tax-exempt applications.”

This disclosure should frighten every American as it is evidence that our nation’s tax collectors were more than willing participants in a scheme to regulate public discourse using their unique authority.

And it reveals an even seedier underbelly to the Obama Administration that can no longer hide behind the left’s outrage over the Supreme Court’s campaign financing decision. They have been unmasked as little more than thugs using the government’s power to intimidate or coerce those whom they disagreed.

In today’s foreign policy environment, what does it say that the first groups that this Administration went after were not necessarily domestically focused tea parties, but instead those that supported Israel’s right to exist? Given the Wall Street Journal’s revelations about the content of the IRS questionnaire, it is reasonable to ask how the Obama Administration would answer that very question.

The Internal Revenue Service scandal has always gone to the heart of First Amendment freedom of political activity in America. Now, that it is clear that the Agency had broader litmus tests of political ideology than was previously known, House Republicans need to hold firm in any negotiation with the Senate and not allow any of the monies they cut from the tax collectors budget to be restored.

Failure to exact a harsh penalty against this rogue Agency would signify a tacit acceptance of their democracy threatening behavior. What’s more, any individuals proven to be behind or involved in these attacks on freedom, should be tried and convicted for their crimes.

The power to tax is the power to destroy, and abusing the public trust by targeting perceived political foes using the tax collecting power can never be tolerated in a free society.
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Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for  Americans for Limited Government. This article was also shared on NetRightDaily.

Tags:  IRS, attacks, pro-Israel groups, Rick Manning, Americans for Limited 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!

Fired Export-Import Bank Official Pleads the Fifth at Hearing on Corruption, Fraud

Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal: An Export-Import Bank official who was fired on suspicion of taking cash in exchange for helping a Florida company obtain financing cited his Fifth Amendment right in declining to testify today during a House hearing examining corruption and fraud at the bank, a federal agency.

Johnny Gutierrez opted not to answer questions after being subpoenaed to appear before a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, sought to question Gutierrez, who earlier had refused to appear voluntarily before the panel.

Jordan hoped not only to shed light on the reasons for Gutierrez’s firing but to provide Americans with a better understanding of the inner workings of the Export-Import Bank, an 80-year-old agency that provides taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign countries and companies. Its charter expires Sept. 30.

Jordan said:
“What better time to discuss real concerns at the Export-Import Bank than when we’re looking at the issue of reauthorization? I think this would be the appropriate time to have this kind of hearing and look at these very issues. … Given such massive government largess, the bank is a natural target for fraud and its employees are natural targets for bribery and corruption.”Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ordered the subpoena of Gutierrez. But as Jordan began questioning the former Ex-Im Bank official, he cited his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg and Heritage Foundation research fellow Diane Katz testified before Jordan’s subcommittee on allegations of fraud and corruption at the agency.

At issue for Republicans on the panel was a June report in the Wall Street Journal exposing allegations of gifts and kickbacks as well as “attempts to steer federal contracts to favored companies” by four bank officials, one of whom was Gutierrez.

Gutierrez and two other bank employees were fired. The fourth was placed on administrative leave as Ex-Im officials investigate the charges.

The other three Ex-Im officials have not been identified, and Jordan today repeatedly pressed Hochberg for their names.

Darin Miller, a spokesman for Jordan, told The Daily Signal that the Ohio Republican was pointing out that Hochberg had chosen to obstruct a congressional investigation by withholding the officials’ identities. Neither the agency’s inspector general nor federal law prohibits the bank’s chairman from identifying the employees, he said.

Hochberg, who took over Ex-Im in 2009, said he is committed to running an agency with high ethical standards and pointed to Ex-Im’s ethics program as proof. The bank, he said, adheres to standards designed to quell corruption and fraud, including:
  • Ethics training for all new employees.
  • Mandatory annual ethics training for all employees.
  • Reviews of financial disclosure reports filed by employees.
  • Background checks on employees and businesses contracting with the bank.
  • Background re-investigations for high-level employees and those with high security clearances.
  • Warnings to employees to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Referral of matters of fraud and corruption to the agency’s inspector general.
Hochberg said it was important for the bank maintain a commitment to ethics. He said:
“We operate at the public trust. We’re here to level the playing field and support jobs, so it’s important that everybody at the bank operate with the highest ethical standards. It starts with top management. It continues through the training we do and making sure we have a culture that when people see something that’s awry or suspicious, they alert the proper authorities so they can take a look at it.”But many lawmakers fear the bank’s culture breeds corruption.

Ex-Im’s inspector general is investigating 40 complaints of possible fraud, Republicans on the panel noted. Hochberg, however, said the inquiries could involve companies that benefited from Ex-Im financing, not bank employees.

Jordan went on to point to 74 “administrative actions” taken by the inspector general as the result of integrity investigations, actions that Katz brought to light in her research and writing on the bank.

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is leading conservatives who are against reauthorizing the bank and would rather Congress not take action to extend its life. In a statement on today’s hearing, Hensarling said:
“The Export-Import Bank has a long and unfortunate history when it comes to ethical lapses and mismanagement, and today we shockingly learned there are 40 active and ongoing investigations of fraud at Ex-Im.

It’s important for every member of Congress to understand the full extent of Ex-Im corruption, mismanagement, and cronyism before deciding whether the bank should continue. That’s why the Financial Services Committee will soon be requesting information and records from Ex-Im about these 40 active investigations of fraud at the bank.”
Hensarling and other critics argue that Ex-Im furthers corporate welfare and cronyism. Supporters, meanwhile, insist that the agency helps small businesses compete in the global market and creates jobs in the United States.

During today’s hearing, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., praised the bank. He said:
“We have to level the playing field for our companies because other countries are putting their thumbs on the scale in favor of their own manufacturers. If we don’t level the playing field for our companies, our companies and our workers face an unfair disadvantage.”Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is expected to introduce a bill reauthorizing the bank for another five years.

Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., has floated the idea of introducing legislation to reauthorize Ex-Im with some reforms.
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Melissa Quinn is a news reporter for The Daily Signal. Follow her on Twitter.

Tags: ExIM Bank, Export Import Bank Official, fired, fraud, pleads the 5th, Congressional hearing, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

GOP To Obama: Take Your ‘Golf Cap Off’ And Visit Coal Country’ | Boehner To Reid 'No To Dems Comprehensive Immigration Reform" Modifying House Bills

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 30, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM.
The House will may consider the following today:
H. Con. Res. 107 — "Denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law."
H.R. 935 - "To amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify Congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters, and for other purposes; and providing for proceedings during the period from August 1, 2014, through September 5, 2014."
H.R. 5195 — "To provide additional visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program, and for other purposes."

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner made it clear that the House will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. Speaker Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he would attempt to add comprehensive immigration reform to any House-passed bill to address the current border crisis:“Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution. So let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid: the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis. Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House. “While the White House has abandoned all pretense of governing and the Senate is doing almost nothing to address our struggling economy, Republicans remain committed to addressing the American people’s priorities, and that includes passing a responsible bill this week to help secure our border and return these children safely to their home countries.”
NOTE: Republican Senators have also ruled out any attempt to use the current crisis to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Yesterday the House passed the following:
H.R. 3896 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act to provide a definition of recreational vessel for purposes of such Act."
H.R. 4315 (233-190) — "To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require publication on the Internet of the basis for determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4626 (Voice Vote) — "To ensure access to certain information for financial services industry regulators, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4709 (Voice Vote) — "To improve enforcement efforts related to prescription drug diversion and abuse, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4809 (386-32) — "To reauthorize the Defense Production Act, to improve the Defense Production Act Committee, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5062 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to specify that privilege is maintained when information is shared by certain nondepository covered persons with Federal and State financial regulators, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of S. 2569, Democrats’ latest partisan campaign bill that’s designed to fail.

At 10:45, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance their partisan bill, with the cloture motion failing by a vote of 54-42. Senators then voted 63-33 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. take up and debate) S. 2648, Senate Democrats’ emergency supplemental appropriations bill which includes money requested by the White House for the border crisis, Israel’s Iron Dome system, and western wildfires.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 97-0 to confirm Robert McDonald to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs. During his confirmation hearing last week, McDonald laid out a series of actions he would take during his first 90 days in office to “deliver the needed reforms our veterans deserve. The Washington Post details the nine initiatives the new VA secretary will undertake.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted on the House-passed highway trust fund bill, H.R. 5021. The Senate voted 71-26 to adopt an amendment to the bill offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) that changed offsets in the bill and then voted 66-31 to adopt an amendment from Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) that changed the duration of the bill from funding the trust fund through May to funding it until this December. The Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), which would have streamlined environmental and permit requirements for reconstruction of roads and bridges damaged in emergencies by a vote of 47-50. Also rejected, by a vote of 28-69, was an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) which would have devolved most transportation responsibilities to the states and lowered the gas tax. Following those votes, the Senate voted 79-18 to pass H.R. 5021, as amended.

The Hill reports, “Republicans slammed President Obama for regulations on carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants on Tuesday, telling him to take ‘his golf cap off and get his hard hat on.’ The presser led by Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) featured former coal miner and ‘America's Got Talent’ contestant Jimmy Rose, who sang his song ‘Coal Keeps the Lights On.’ . . . The GOP has rallied in opposition to the rules this week as the EPA launches the second phase of its engagement plan. To bulk up support, the administration started a major public relations push this week to strengthen the president's hand just as the battle over the regulations reached a fever-pitch. On Wednesday, Republicans struck back. ‘I want him to get off the back nine and come into the mines,’ Kelly said. ‘I want him to get his golf cap off and get his hard hat on. I want him to walk the streets and I want him to look in face of moms and dads that rely every day on this precious product.’”

Before the press conference Leader McConnell and Jimmy Rose took the concerns of coal country to the EPA Headquarters in Washington, testifying at the agency’s hearing on its regulation for existing power plants and the negative impact it will have on Kentucky’s economy and coal jobs. Leader McConnell has repeatedly invited the EPA to come to Kentucky to hear first-hand from Kentucky miners and families impacted by the agency’s regulations, but the EPA has ignored the requests from him and coal country Americans.

Rose, a former Kentucky coal miner, veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and star of America’s Got Talent, spoke to National Journal about the harmful effects of the EPA’s rules and regulations on coal-producing communities in Kentucky and other states. He said, “I want to put a face on what [the EPA is] doing and the restrictions they're putting in place. This war on coal, it's different if you're not from around here in coal country. I want to show them in some way what they're doing to us. It's a real honor to be a part of this with [McConnell]. We've done several events with him. He's fighting this battle, and it's an honor to be with Mitch and to represent coal country as a whole. . . . It's a sad thing they won't drive through the towns and communities and look at the schools. This is a war on coal, I feel strong about that. I think they should have to come around and listen to the people they're affecting. Any opportunity I get, I'll jump on it to be heard, but it's sad they won't come to the combat zone.”

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning Leader McConnell explained the problems with the Obama administration’s inflexible and cynical approach to its regulations. “The Obama White House likes to pretend that its War on Coal is about protecting the planet. And yet, his newest regulations would hardly do a thing to impact global carbon emissions. The President’s own EPA Administrator basically admitted it when she said a few years back that U.S. action alone won’t meaningfully impact global CO2 levels. Truth is, these regulations could end up actually hurting the environment by outsourcing energy production to countries like India and China with poor environmental records, all while shipping more well-paying Kentucky jobs overseas. So, the President’s energy policy has little to do with improving the planet and everything to do with boosting the self-regard of far Left extremists and boosting party turnout in November. The political fixers in the White House know this.

Yet they persist with their deeply cynical regulations — no matter the human cost. They don’t seem to care that their regulations would devastate the lives of coal families in my state — working-class Kentuckians who just want to put food on the table and give their children a better life. They don’t seem to care that their regulations threaten to undermine Kentucky’s traditionally low utility rates, splinter our manufacturing base, and ship well-paying jobs overseas. And they don’t seem to care that the people who stand to be hurt most by their regressive policies are those who can afford it least. As a candidate, President Obama wasn’t just open about his plan to make Americans’ energy bills ‘skyrocket.’ He was pretty cavalier about it too. For him, it was a necessary sacrifice to achieve an ideological aim. But for a working mom in Ashland, Kentucky, a ‘skyrocketing’ utility bill can mean the difference between an annual trip to Lake Cumberland and a tearful apology to her kids. It can mean choosing which bills to pay this month and which to put off just a little longer. It can mean birthday disappointments. And missed credit card payments. These types of consequences may not be a big deal to the President. But for many people in this country, and many in Kentucky, they are.”

Tags: EPA, War on Coal, lost jobs, hurting families, No Comprehensive Immigration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Special Israel Alert -- 7/29/14

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: This is a special Israel alert.

Hamas Tunnel Horror
With each passing day, Israel is discovering how close Hamas came to striking a terrible and deadly blow. As many as 40 complex, fortified tunnels have been discovered by the Israeli Defense Forces leading from Gaza into Israel. The tunnels, in many cases, extend right into the middle of Israeli communities.

Credible sources in Israel are reporting that Hamas was planning a major attack on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which falls on September 24th this year. Hundreds of Hamas commandos, dressed in IDF uniforms, would have emerged in the middle of the night in dozens of Israeli communities. The chaos and death toll would have been catastrophic.

As the reality of this potential catastrophe sunk in, Israelis have united as never before. They are in no mood to be told by the U.N., "Euroweenies" or the Obama Administration that there must be a ceasefire.

Does "Morality" Require Equal Casualties?
Over the last several weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, a bizarre narrative has emerged in the media. It can be summarized as this: Since the fighting began, more than 1,000 Palestinians have died, most of them civilians, while around 50 Israelis have died, most of them IDF soldiers. The critics contend this is disproportionate and undermines the morality of Israel's actions.

As Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal points out, this is pure nonsense.

First, every death in Gaza is quickly described by Hamas propaganda as a civilian death. But more importantly, when did the object of war become striving to suffer as many casualties as your enemy?

Stephens points out that in World War II, 67,000 British civilians and 12,000 American civilians were killed. Genocidal Nazi Germany lost more than one million civilians. Many were women and children. Presumably, quite a few did not support Hitler. Nonetheless, the ultimate responsibility for their deaths rested on the Nazis who started the war.

The moral thing to do was to bring Germany and Japan to their knees. A German/Japanese victory in World War II or a ceasefire that allowed both regimes to survive would have been evil to the nth degree.

What about urban warfare? Stephens cites the battle for Fallujah in Iraq -- a hellhole of jihadists similar to Gaza. The U.S. went into Fallujah in 2004, and by most estimates 800 civilians perished and 9,000 homes were destroyed.

When U.N. busybodies and the "American is always wrong" crowd lashed out at the U.S. military, most Americans rejected the carping. It was war. And by the way, losing the war in Iraq would not have resulted in the end of America.

Fast-forward to Gaza today. Hamas, which was voted into power by the Palestinians in Gaza, is genocidal. Just like Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, ISIS and the mullahs of Iran, it yearns for another Holocaust of Jews -- and Christians. If the enemies of Israel ever get the power, they would not hesitate to kill every Israeli Jew. Israel is doing its best to defeat the jihadists -- an effort in which our leaders appear to be AWOL.

Hamas -- Not Israel -- Struck Hospital
Evidence is growing that the "hit" on the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City this week was not an Israeli bomb but instead a misguided rocket fired by Islamic Jihad. Radar and sensors detected the paths of four rockets fired by Islamic Jihad at the time and Israel has released aerial photographs tracing their paths. The Israeli Defense Forces confirm they did not carry out any strikes in that area.

Of course this information will not stop the Israel-bashers at the U.N. and in the media. In addition, the radical Islamic world will not accept the facts either. From the earliest ages, children raised in radical Islamic cultures are taught that Jews/Israelis are the source of all suffering and must be destroyed.

Iranian General Promises End of America and Israel
The Daily Caller reports that Iranian Brigadier General Hossein Salami has promised that Iran will seek revenge for the deaths of the Gaza "martyrs." Iran is currently negotiating with the Obama Administration on its "right" to have a nuclear weapons program.

General Salami said, "We are confident that Allah's promise will come true and in the end the Islamic world will be the graveyard of America and the Zionist regime's policies. The flag of Islam will be raised."

I feel confident that General Salami is in for a big disappointment and that the God of Abraham will prevail!
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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 where his articles are also shared.

Tags: Israel, Hamas, special Israeli alert, 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!

Jim Crow and The Donkey: A True History The Left Loves To Ignore

Ken Blackwell
by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: You know you’ve hit a sore spot when the Left starts screeching.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s producer, Steve Benen, just took a whack at the American Civil Rights Union’s new booklet, “The Truth About Jim Crow,” (TTAJC) which National Review Online writer John Fund wrote about in a recent column.

Benen cites a critique from the Atlanta Journal Constitution blogger Jay Bookman: “Jay Bookman took a closer look at the pamphlet Fund’s piece was promoting, highlighting some of its more glaring errors of fact and judgment.”

And what errors of fact would those be, Steve? Bookman did not point out a single factual error. Instead, regarding TTAJC’s three main points, that Jim Crow was “dehumanizing, deadly and Democratic,” he painfully admitted the paper’s accuracy: “that is true as far as it goes.” Apparently, Benen believes if you can’t find a factual error yourself, it’s okay to claim falsely that somebody else did.

Benen also suggests Fund is a hypocrite because he dares to write about civil rights for NRO. In 1957, you see, William F. Buckley of National Review wrote an article supporting segregation. But Buckley wasn’t by himself in 1957. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Baines Johnson was busy gutting GOP President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1957 Civil Rights Act, and John F. Kennedy, then a senator from Massachusetts, was voting against it. If Fund is responsible for Buckley, aren’t Barack Obama and Harry Reid responsible for Kennedy and Johnson as well?

If Benen and Bookman can’t find any factual errors in TTAJC, then what are they complaining about? The goring of their sacred ox. Benen and Bookman devote their columns to reaffirming the Left’s standard dogma about Jim Crow, which TTAJC contradicts. Such heresy cannot be tolerated.

According to Bookman,I read the entire pamphlet, and there's a single word that is notable by its absence from a document put out by such a highly conservative organization. That word is "conservative", and there's a very good reason for its absence:

Conservatives -- conservatives in the Democratic Party, and conservatives in the Republican Party -- fought against civil rights. They fought hard, they fought bitterly, and in end they lost. The very magazine in which Fund's piece appears, National Review, is a conservative publication that stridently defended segregation.

Liberals and moderates -- again, liberals and moderates from both parties, Republicans and Democrats alike -- fought FOR civil rights.

That is the plain, unvarnished, uncontestable truth. It was never a fight between Democrats and Republicans, it was a fight between liberals and conservatives. Fund knows it. The authors of the ACRU pamphlet know it. And the whole purpose of the pamphlet and similar efforts to rewrite history is to make that truth go away.
Benen adds that the Democrats “dispatched the racists to the GOP,” and “segregationists made a new home in the Republican Party in the latter half of the 20th century.”

That’s the Left’s narrative on Jim Crow, and it’s dead wrong in both fact and analysis. Here is the heart of the issue, where the left has hijacked the true history of Jim Crow. The dividing line over Jim Crow was never liberals vs. conservatives; it’s far more accurate to describe it as Democrats versus Republicans. Not only in the 1800s, when the KKK served as the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party, but right into the 1950s and 1960s. Bookman’s assertion that “conservatives in the Republican Party … fought against civil rights” is utterly false. As historian Dr. John Fonte noted on NRO in 2003, staunchly conservative Republicans led the fight for civil rights in the Senate, including Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, Ohio Senator Robert Taft, and California Senator Bill Knowland. In contrast, liberal Democrats remained divided, and liberal senators like William Fulbright and Al Gore, Sr. continued to fight for Jim Crow and white supremacy until the bitter end. One of those incontestably liberal Democrats who fought civil rights tooth and nail was Lyndon Baines Johnson, who switched sides only because he believed supporting civil rights for blacks would cement black support for the Democratic Party. And, how many of the people reading this column knew that the greatest icon of the Democratic Party, liberal John F. Kennedy, voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act?

Further contradicting the Left’s narrative, there was no sudden shift of segregationists from Democrat to Republican after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The truth is, white Southerners continued to vote in large numbers for the Democratic Party until the advent of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The Democrats never “dispatched” segregationists from their party, as Benen claims. It’s more accurate to say Southern Democratic segregationists died off than that they switched parties. In any case, no Southerners shifted from the Democrats to the GOP because the GOP offered shelter to racism. Republicans never adopted racist policies, as Democrats had for more than a century; they did oppose dubious progressive notions like racial quotas as affirmative action. Democrats to this day accuse Republicans of racism for opposing racial preferences, even though, as Fonte notes, liberals including Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Edmund Muskie, and Adam Clayton Powell all spoke against racial preferences during the Congressional debate on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Now there’s true hypocrisy.

Certainly the most rabid segregationist politicians remained in the Democratic Party. Only one Southern Democratic senator who filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act switched to the GOP, and that was ironic, considering that a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the Act than Democrats. The rest of the segregationists remained comfortably at home in the Democratic Party, which, in 1977, elected former Ku Klux Klan officer Robert Byrd to be its Senate Majority Leader.

Finally, the Leftist narrative about civil rights overlooks the fact that race is not the only issue in America. There are many reasons Southern voters rejected the Democratic Party, which lurched sharply to the left in 1968 and has never come back. Here are a few examples: its blame-America-first foreign policy, its hostility toward business, its promotion of welfare dependency, its hostility to God and religion, its sexual radicalism, and, last but not least, its ongoing identity politics and fanning of the flames of racial division.

Bookman whines, “I'm not sure that ‘Jim Crow was Democratic’ is really one of the three most important things that we should know about that era.”

Actually, it is. There is a reason why Jim Crow, which ended fifty years ago, continues to elicit such strong emotions today, and it’s all about partisan politics.

In the 1950s and 1960s, political ideology cut across party lines far more so than it does nowadays. Liberals and conservatives were found in both parties. Today’s Democrats range from liberal to far left, while Republicans range from moderate to conservative. The Left benefits from rewriting the history of Jim Crow as a liberal vs. conservative struggle so that it can tar the contemporary, moderately conservative GOP as racist, at least in the eyes of black Democrats.

Jim Crow is also a useful tool for tarring conservative efforts to root out voter fraud as “racist.” Both Benen and Bookman take aim at photo ID measures, Benen describing them as “discriminatory.” What, exactly, is discriminatory about requiring every American to produce a photo ID before voting? As a longtime international election observer, I can report that virtually every country in the industrialized world requires photo ID for voting. Also, the argument that photo IDs deny people the right to vote is long since disproven. In fact, the UN and the State Department both recommend use of photo IDs to forestall vote fraud in both developed nations and the Third World. The Left’s claims that voter ID laws are racist are nothing more than efforts to cloud the real issue, vote fraud, while stirring up racial division and motivating their base.

It all comes down to identity politics, which the Democrats have been practicing since the end of the Civil War, especially when they created Jim Crow. All by themselves.
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Ken Blackwell  is a member of the Policy Board of the American Civil Rights Union and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

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Climate Alarmists Never Quit!

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: In the same way Americans are discovering that the Cold War that was waged from the end of World War Two until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 is not over, Americans continue to be subjected to the endless, massive, global campaign to foist the hoax of global warming--now called climate change—on everyone.

The campaign’s purpose to convince everyone that it is humans, not the sun, oceans, and other natural phenomenon, and that requires abandoning fossil fuels in favor of “renewable” wind and solar energy.

“It is not surprising that climate alarmists, who desire above all else blind allegiance to their cause, would demand all school teachers toe the ‘official party line’ and quash any dissent on the subject of man-made global warming in their classroom,” says Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of co-founder of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). “What is absurd is that any teacher or free-thinking person for that matter would listen to them.”

These days when I am challenged regarding my views about global warming, climate change or energy I send the individual to ClimateDepot.com and EnergyDepot.us, two constantly updated websites filled with links to information on these topics. Both are maintained by CFACT.

It’s not just our classrooms where Green indoctrination goes on. It is also our news media that continue to distort every weather event to advance the hoax. Guiding and feeding them is a massive complex of organizations led by the United Nations—the International Panel on Climate Change—that maintains the hoax to frighten people worldwide in order to achieve “one world order.”

On September 23, heads of state, including President Obama, will gather in New York City for what the Sierra Club calls “a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history” to save the world from “the ravages of climate change.” This is absurd. Suggesting that humans can alter the climate in any way defies centuries of proof they do not.

One of the leading Leftist organizations, the Center for American Progress, focused on the July 14 Major Economics Forum in Paris, offered four items for its agenda. Claiming that “the Arctic is warming two times faster than any other region on earth”, they wanted policy changes based on this falsehood. They blamed climate change for “global poverty” and wanted further reductions in so-called greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. The enemy, as far as they were concerned was energy use.

Mary Hutzler, a senior research fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, testified before a July 22nd meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, that due to Europe’s green energy (wind and solar) policies, industrial electricity prices are two-to-five times higher than in the U.S. and that, by 2020, 1.4 million European households will be added to those experiencing energy poverty.

There are lessons to be learned, for example, from Spain’s investment in wind energy that caused the loss of four jobs for the electricity it produced and 13 jobs for every megawatt of solar energy. In Germany, the cost of electricity is three times higher than average U.S. residential prices. Little wonder that European nations are now slashing wind and solar programs.

Billions Wasted to Combat Global Warming

In the U.S., the Obama administration used its “stimulus” to fund Solyndra—$500 million dollars—and fifty other Green energy projects that have failed or are on their way to failure. Undeterred with this appalling record, on July 3 the Energy Department announced $4 billion for “projects that fight global warming.”

But there is no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for seventeen years and it shows no indication of ending anytime soon. This is the same administration that has waged a war on coal, forcing the closure of many plants that produced electricity efficiently and affordably, and had throughout the last century.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2014 weather highlights showed that, from January to June, the temperature in the U.S. has risen by a miniscule 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the average temperature for the 20th century. NOAA also noted that recorded temperatures for the first half of 2014 are the coldest since 1993 when the cooling cycle began. The exception to this has been California.

Brainwashed for decades about global warming, 20% of likely voters, according to a July Rasmussen poll, still believe that global warming is not over, colder weather or not, 17% were not sure, but fully 63% disagreed!

The results of a Pew Research Center poll in June revealed that 35% of Americans say there is not enough solid evidence to suggest mankind is warming the Earth while another 18% says the world has warmed due to “natural patterns”, not human activity. Pew found that liberals remain convinced that humans are to blame, but the bottom line is that 53% disputed the President’s claims.

That means that a growing number of Americans are now skeptics.

In the months to come we will see marches and meetings intended to further the global warming lies. The good news is that fewer Americans are being influenced by such efforts.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs. He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service.

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Republicans Call For ‘Clean Iron Dome Funding' & 'Unit In Support Of Israel’s Defense'

Update 3:25 PM: The Senate unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as  Secretary of the Veterans Affairs.  Here is hoping, he will be able to turn VA services and behavior around so that veterans are served timely and properly  by the VA..

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 29, 2014
The House reconvened a t 10 AM today.
Today they will consder:
H.R. 3896 — "To amend the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act to provide a definition of recreational vessel for purposes of such Act."
H.R. 4315 — "To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require publication on the Internet of the basis for determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4626 — "To ensure access to certain information for financial services industry regulators, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4709 — "To improve enforcement efforts related to prescription drug diversion and abuse, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4809 — "To reauthorize the Defense Production Act, to improve the Defense Production Act Committee, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5062 — "To amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to specify that privilege is maintained when information is shared by certain nondepository covered persons with Federal and State financial regulators, and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 3896 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act to provide a definition of recreational vessel for purposes of such Act."
H.R. 4315 (233-190) — "To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require publication on the Internet of the basis for determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4626 (Voice Vote) — "To ensure access to certain information for financial services industry regulators, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4709 (Voice Vote) — "To improve enforcement efforts related to prescription drug diversion and abuse, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4809 (386-32) — "To reauthorize the Defense Production Act, to improve the Defense Production Act Committee, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5062 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to specify that privilege is maintained when information is shared by certain nondepository covered persons with Federal and State financial regulators, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today. Following two hours of morning business, the Senate will begin consideration of the nomination of Robert McDonald, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs. At 2:45 PM, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the McDonald nomination, followed by votes on nominees to be US ambassador to Mauritania, Cameroon, and Algeria.

Following the votes, the Senate will begin consideration of H.R. 5021, the highway trust fund bill. During consideration of the bill, the Senate is scheduled to vote on 4 amendments to the bill before a vote on final passage, all of which will require 60 votes for approval.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 50-43 to confirm the nomination of Pamela Harris to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.

The Hill reports, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lead a group of Republicans on Tuesday in discussing Israel’s security efforts against Hamas. ‘Republicans are united in our support of Israel’s defense, and this morning my colleagues will explain our opposition to any effort to force a ceasefire on Israel that does not further its security objectives,’ McConnell said. ‘Israel’s right to defend itself should be affirmed.’ The Pentagon has asked for $225 million in emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Senate Democrats are trying to pass a bill with that funding, but it has been lumped in with border security funding as well. McConnell has criticized Democrats for not bringing up a ‘clean’ funding bill just for Israel since it has broad bipartisan support. ‘Secretary Hagel wrote to the Majority Leader seeking urgent funding for components of the Iron Dome missile defense system,’ McConnell said. ‘I support this request, as Iron Dome has afforded Israel some protection from indiscriminate rockets.’ Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined McConnell on the Senate floor Tuesday, saying a bill to help protect Israel would pass in a matter of minutes. ‘We don’t need to marry it up with controversial topics,’ Graham said. ‘Pass war appropriations for Iron Dome because it’s the right thing to do.’”

The AP notes, “Democratic and Republican members of Congress scrambled Tuesday to seal a $225 million boost to Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system before they break this week for a month-long recess. As the Gaza war escalates, Israel is proving to be among the few subjects uniting lawmakers. Members of both parties have introduced legislation backing the Jewish state, condemning the Palestinian militant group Hamas and seeking a tougher Iran policy. Iron Dome is the priority, but the House and Senate are at odds over process. . . . The GOP-led House's approach is at odds with the Democratic-controlled Senate, which wants the Iron Dome money approved with border security and wildfire assistance in a single package before lawmakers take their break on Thursday or Friday. . . . Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he supported Hagel's request because Iron Dome ‘has afforded Israel some protection from indiscriminate rockets.’ He has proposed a separate measure, which Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., signaled he might be open to. . . . House Republican aides said the Senate could deal with the issue as a freestanding bill that the House would easily approve. ‘They'll be strong bipartisan support for Iron Dome. There always has been in situation like this,’ said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.”

“But,” the AP wrote, “McConnell criticized efforts that he said would impose a cease-fire on Israel that doesn't meet its military objectives and rewards Hamas for a ‘campaign of terror.’ ‘I support any effort which brings this campaign to an end in a manner that increases Israel's security,’ McConnell said Tuesday. ‘That means that Hamas cannot be left with a large stockpile of missiles and rockets, cannot be left with infiltration tunnels — they must be destroyed. Hamas cannot be allowed to aggressively rest, refit and build up weapons stockpiles.’ . . . In a letter last week to Obama, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said a cease-fire must eliminate Hamas' ability to fire rockets and place no restrictions on the Jewish state. ‘Israel must be allowed to take any actions necessary to remove those threats,’ the senators wrote, stating a position that presaged by two days the Israeli government's unanimous rejection of Secretary of State John Kerry's cease-fire proposal.”

Republican senators who spoke on the Senate floor this morning agreed. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “I would encourage this body to stand together united as one, Republicans and Democrats. There may be issues on which we disagree. There may be a great many issues. But we ought to be able to stand together as one and speak in unison that we support the nation of Israel and that we will work with the nation of Israel, immediately, to replenish their Iron Dome supplies so that they can protect the citizens there and they can do what is necessary to eradicate the Hamas rockets and terror tunnels . . . . That should be a unified bipartisan voice in this body and it is my hope by the end of this week that’s exactly what it will be.”

Tags: Senate, Republicans, iron Dome Funding, united in support, Israel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Border Crisis - Duplicity In American Leadership

Editorial Cartoon by AF Tony Branco

Tags: Border Crisis, editorial cartoon, AF Branco, duplicity, American leadership, President Obama To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obamacare Premiums Rising Again

Double-Digit Increases’ For Obamacare Policies

More States Unveil Steep 2015 Obamacare Premium Increases

“Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.” (Politico, 7/7/14)

INDIANA: 2015 premiums increases ‘as high as ... 46-percent’ “Initial 2015 premiums filed for the Obamacare exchanges in Indiana ranged from as high as a 46-percent hike to as low as a 9-percent cut.” (Indianapolis Business Journal, 5/19/14)

MARYLAND: 2015 premiums could increase up to 30% “Maryland’s dominant insurance company, CareFirst, is proposing hefty premium increases of 23 to 30 percent for consumers buying individual plans next year under the federal health-care law, according to filings released Friday.” (The Washington Post, 6/6/14)

WASHINGTON: 2015 premiums could increase ‘up to 26%’ “If approved, rate increases for 2015 individual health plans proposed by 12 insurance companies may affect most policyholders... [up] to an increase of 26 percent...” (The Seattle Times, 5/13/14)

ARIZONA: 2015 premium increases up to 25.5 percent “New filings trickling into the Arizona Department of Insurance show at least two health insurers plan to increase rates more than 10 percent. Cigna Wants To Increase Rates An Average Of 14.4 Percent And Humana, 25.5 Percent.” (The Arizona Republic, 6/2/14)

LOUISIANA: ‘Double-digit increases’ up to 24% possible “Some Louisiana private health insurers filed for double-digit percentage increases in 2015 for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act's health exchange, according to filings this week with the Louisiana Department of Insurance.” (New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)
  • “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the state's largest provider, is proposing rate increases of between 18.3 percent and 19.7 percent for policyholders in its Blue Saver, Blue Max and its Multi-State individual health plans. The plans cover 52,638 people. ... The 4,947 people who signed up with Human Louisiana face a hike of 15.7 percent, while the 966 insured residents with Time Insurance Company face a hike of 24 percent, according to the filings made public this week.” (New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)
TENNESSEE: 2015 Premiums Could Increase up to 21.7% “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee — the state's dominant health insurance provider — is asking to raise rates by an average of 19 percent for its exchange plans in 2015, according to documents filed with the state of Tennessee. ...the consumer will experience a rate increase between 6.1 percent and 21.7 percent, depending on the product he or she has bought.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)
  • “Meanwhile, Cigna is requesting an average rate increase of 7.5 percent in 2015, while Kentucky-based Humana would like to boost marketplace rates by an average of 14.4 percent.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)
NEW YORK: 2015 premiums could increase up to 19.7% “Insurance firms participating in New York’s ObamaCare health exchange are seeking double-digit hikes for patient medical premiums in 2015, new figures reviewed by The Post reveal. The average hike sought by insurers for individual plans is 12 percent—but a number of firms serving large numbers of patients want to boost individual premiums by nearly 20 percent. Leading the charge is Excellus Health Plan, which is seeking to sock more than 24,000 customers with a 19.7 percent hike.” (New York Post, 7/3/14)

VERMONT: 2015 premiums could increase up to 18.3% “The two companies that sell policies on the state’s online health insurance marketplace — Vermont Health Connect — have filed requests with state regulators for big rate increases for 2015. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has asked for an average increase for its plans of 9.8 percent. … the increases would have averaged 3.3 percent if not for federal and state mandates. ... MVP Health Care proposed an even bigger rate increase — an average 15.4 percent, with a range starting at 10.7 percent and rising to 18.3 percent.” (Burlington Free Press, 6/3/14)

MICHIGAN: 2015 premium increases up to 18 percent “Most people buying their own health insurance in Michigan could see near double-digit premium increases next year. State insurance regulators said Wednesday that dominant insurers Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield want to raise rates by an average of 9.3 percent or 9.7 percent in 2015. ... Humana is the insurer with the third most customers in Michigan's individual market and seeks an average 18 percent rate increase affecting 16,600 customers.” (The Associated Press, 6/26/14)

VIRGINIA: 2015 premiums could increase up to 14.9% “…the Anthem HealthKeepers Inc. plan offered by a unit of WellPoint Inc. said it would raise premiums by an average of 8.5% across its individual plans in Virginia, which cover about 110,000 people and are sold on the online insurance exchange set up by the health law, as well as directly to consumers. ... The Virginia filings show other health plans proposing rate increases ranging from 3.3% for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., with around 10,000 members in the state, to 14.9% for CareFirst BlueChoice Inc., which said it had about 32,000 members.” (The Wall Street Journal, 5/11/14)

IOWA: 2015 premium increases up to 14.5 percent “About a quarter of a million Iowans would see their insurance rates rise next year should the state approve a request from Iowa's dominant health insurer. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced Friday that it is seeking to raise premium rates for 253,000 policyholders in Iowa. Those rate increases would affect individual policyholders and small businesses. Most — 92 percent — of the proposed rate increases would be less than 5.9 percent, according to numbers provided by Wellmark. ... For the remaining 7.5 percent of policyholders — those who have post-Affordable Care Act plans for individuals under 65 — Wellmark is asking for a rate increase between 11.9 percent and 14.5 percent.” (Des Moines Register, 6/20/14)

OHIO: “Premiums would increase 13 percent next year for Ohioans who buy health coverage through the federally run insurance exchange, the Ohio Department of Insurance said yesterday.” (The Columbus Dispatch, 5/30/14)

OREGON: 2015 premiums could increase up to 12.5% “Moda Health captured more than 40 percent of the state's exchange enrollees this year, with about 95,000 people covered under its plans. The company is proposing to increase prices by an average of 12.5 percent. Only one other carrier proposed a double-digit price increase.” (The Hill, 6/11/14)

RHODE ISLAND: 2015 premium increases ‘averaging 12 percent’ Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is proposing 2015 premium increases averaging 12 percent for individuals and families, and 8 percent for small groups.” (Providence Journal, 5/19/14)

DELAWARE: 2015 premiums could increase 5% “Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is seeking average premium increases of 5 percent for individuals who bought insurance through Delaware's exchange.” (The Associated Press, 7/15/14)
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Ref: SENATE REPUBLICAN COMMUNICATIONS CENTER

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Cease and Desist

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: cease, resist, Barack Obama, John Carry, Benjamin Netanyahu, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Israel's "Disproportionate" Self-Defense

Target in Gaza is hit.
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: On Sunday, July 27, Eleanor Cliff, a member of The McLaughlin Group panel, referred to Israel’s “disproportionate” response to the thousands of rockets and missiles that Hamas has been firing at its citizens for months, if not years.

This is a common criticism of Israel, but it is far easier to make if you are living safely somewhere other than Israel and not being awakened by alarm sirens at 5 A.M. with just a little time to make it to a bomb shelter.

Ms. Cliff was hardly alone. In Great Britain, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, in contrast to Prime Minister David Cameron, also declared Israel’s response to Hamas as a “disproportionate form of collective punishment” on the citizens of Gaza.

On July 26, The Times of Israel reported that “Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched in London and Paris on Saturday, calling out against Israel’s military operation in the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave.

In London, the second Saturday in a row, the protest was estimated to have drawn more than 10,000 participants. “Demonstrators held placards reading ‘Stop Israeli State Terror’. ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and ‘Gaza—End the Siege.’ They also chanted ‘Shame on you David Cameron’ as they filed past the British prime minister’s Downing Street office.” By contrast, Paris cracked down on pro-Palestinian demonstrations and, along with Germany and Italy, denounced expressions of anti-Semitism.

No doubt the expressions of support were welcome in Israel, but when it strikes back against its enemies it tends to run out of friends rather swiftly. In Scandinavia, Denmark, Finland and Norway backed the Palestinians but the European Union did condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas, as well as its use of human shields.

Departing from President Obama’s pro-forma statement on Israel’s right to defend itself, South American nations condemned Israel in tune with their general acceptance of the view that Israel is an aggressor and occupier despite the fact that in relinquished control of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005. Joining in the chorus of condemnations were Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The hypocrisy of those who raise the issue of “proportionate response” is breathtaking.

Consider Israel’s history. In 1948 prior to and following its declaration of independence, Israel fought several Arab armies. In 1949 armistice agreements established lines between Israel and its neighbors. In the 1950s and 60s the Israelis had to respond to constant Fedayeen — Arab guerillas--incursions from Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. In June 1967 Israel fought the Six-Day War with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, with troops contributed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Algeria. When it was over, Israel had increased its landmass and are now called “occupiers” for having defended itself and won!

From 1967 to 1970, Israel fought a war of attrition as the Egyptians, aided by Jordan, Syria, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, sought to recapture the Sinai. In October 1973, the Israelis fought the Yom Kippur War against Egypt and Syria. It began with a surprise attack on one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.

Are you getting tired of reading about the many wars waged against Israel?

Well, let’s just include the Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon (1971-1982); the 1982 Lebanon War in 1982; the South Lebanon conflict (1982-2000); the first Intifada (1987-1993); the second Intifada (2000-2005); the 2006 Lebanon War; the Gaza War (December 2008 to January 2009); and Operation Pillar of Defense against the Gaza Strip in November 2012. Which brings us to Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

One might assume that after being continually defeated, the Arabs would conclude that peace is a good option, but that is not the mentality that Israelis have been dealing with for the past 66 years and earlier when the first Zionists moved there to escape the anti-Semitism they encountered in Europe.

One might also assume that, if Canada and Mexico had been making war and firing rockets and missiles into the U.S. for that amount of time, we might conclude that a “proportional” response did not work very well.

Israel’s leaders initially embraced a policy of strategic deterrence in which disproportionate force was utilized to reduce the potential for further attacks. This was the policy between 1948 and 1993. After it signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, its leaders shifted to a policy of restraint, but it didn’t work. In the Middle East restraint is interpreted as weakness. Between September 1993 and September 1998, terrorists based in the West Bank or Gaza struck Israel more than ninety times, killing 279 Israelis.

In 2005 then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon struck upon a bold plan to provide the Palestinians with territory of its own adjacent to Israel. He ordered some eight thousand or more Israelis out of the Gaza Strip and turned it over to the Palestinian Authority, Fatah.

Not long after, Hamas was elected the ruling party in Gaza and drove out Fatah. A proxy of Iran, Fatah began to receive missiles and build miles of tunnels on both its Israeli and Egyptian borders, the former to attack Israel and the latter to smuggle weapons and other items. Now both Israel and Egypt are destroying those tunnels.

Commentator Andrew McCarthy said it best: "Hamas did not suddenly become a terrorist organization after it was elected. Hamas was elected because it was a jihadist organization. It was elected because, by its own declaration, Hamas connects Palestinians to something they find attractive: the global Islamic-supremacist movement. Palestinians widely reject Israel’s right to exist.

They regard not just Gaza, Judea and Samaria but all of Israel as 'occupied Palestine.' Even those Palestinians who purport to accept the 'two-state solution' see it as a way-station on the march to a one-state solution in which the Jewish state eventually ceases to be. Palestinians chose Hamas precisely because Hamas was seen as more dedicated than Fatah to the achievement of that goal-not to mention, more brutally competent."

Those who talk of Israel’s “disproportionate” response to Hamas, in the context of its long history of having been under attack by neighboring nations and the so-called Palestinians, sound like the babbling idiots that they are.

The Israelis want peace. The only way they will obtain it is to make waging war against them too painful to sustain.
-----------------
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs. He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Israel, Gaza, Hamas, terrorists, Alan Caruba, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!


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  • 6/23/13 - 6/30/13
  • 6/30/13 - 7/7/13
  • 7/7/13 - 7/14/13
  • 7/14/13 - 7/21/13
  • 7/21/13 - 7/28/13
  • 7/28/13 - 8/4/13
  • 8/4/13 - 8/11/13
  • 8/11/13 - 8/18/13
  • 8/18/13 - 8/25/13
  • 8/25/13 - 9/1/13
  • 9/1/13 - 9/8/13
  • 9/8/13 - 9/15/13
  • 9/15/13 - 9/22/13
  • 9/22/13 - 9/29/13
  • 9/29/13 - 10/6/13
  • 10/6/13 - 10/13/13
  • 10/13/13 - 10/20/13
  • 10/20/13 - 10/27/13
  • 10/27/13 - 11/3/13
  • 11/3/13 - 11/10/13
  • 11/10/13 - 11/17/13
  • 11/17/13 - 11/24/13
  • 11/24/13 - 12/1/13
  • 12/1/13 - 12/8/13
  • 12/8/13 - 12/15/13
  • 12/15/13 - 12/22/13
  • 12/22/13 - 12/29/13
  • 12/29/13 - 1/5/14
  • 1/5/14 - 1/12/14
  • 1/12/14 - 1/19/14
  • 1/19/14 - 1/26/14
  • 1/26/14 - 2/2/14
  • 2/2/14 - 2/9/14
  • 2/9/14 - 2/16/14
  • 2/16/14 - 2/23/14
  • 2/23/14 - 3/2/14
  • 3/2/14 - 3/9/14
  • 3/9/14 - 3/16/14
  • 3/16/14 - 3/23/14
  • 3/23/14 - 3/30/14
  • 3/30/14 - 4/6/14
  • 4/6/14 - 4/13/14
  • 4/13/14 - 4/20/14
  • 4/20/14 - 4/27/14
  • 4/27/14 - 5/4/14
  • 5/4/14 - 5/11/14
  • 5/11/14 - 5/18/14
  • 5/18/14 - 5/25/14
  • 5/25/14 - 6/1/14
  • 6/1/14 - 6/8/14
  • 6/8/14 - 6/15/14
  • 6/15/14 - 6/22/14
  • 6/22/14 - 6/29/14
  • 6/29/14 - 7/6/14
  • 7/6/14 - 7/13/14
  • 7/13/14 - 7/20/14
  • 7/20/14 - 7/27/14
  • 7/27/14 - 8/3/14