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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)

Monday, September 22, 2014

New Warnings, ISIS Mocks Obama, ISIS Here, Homeland InSecurity

Update 9:43 PM: The Washington Times reports: U.S. military starts bombing Islamic State targets in Syria - The Pentagon began dropping bombs on Islamic State targets in Syria on Monday night. -- Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby made the announcement in an statement, noting that the U.S. was not acting alone. "I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against [Islamic State] terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles. Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time," he said.

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:  ISIS Issues New Warning - ISIS thugs released more jihadist videos in recent days. Late Friday, a propaganda video, titled "Flames of War," appeared showing a mass execution of prisoners. CNN notes that toward the end of the nearly hour-long film, the Arabic speaker "seamlessly switches to English." But this time the speaker didn't sound British. His accent was either American or Canadian. He also takes part in the execution of unarmed prisoners.

A second video appeared Sunday featuring ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani, who urges Muslims in America and in nations allied with us to kill the infidels:"O America, O allies of America, and O crusaders, know that the matter is more dangerous than you have imagined and greater than you have envisioned. We have warned you that today we are in a new era. …If you can kill a disbelieving American or European … kill him in any manner or way however it may be."ISIS Mocks Obama - Much of al Adnani's message was devoted to mocking Barack Obama, including his supposed war strategy. But he also lashed out at the oft-repeated statements by Obama and Kerry that there is nothing Islamic about the Islamic State.

We have pointed out before the oddity of Western liberals lecturing the world on the "true" nature of Islam and why the Islamic State doesn't represent the "religion of peace." How do Kerry and Obama credibly claim to know more about Islam than the Islamists?

I had suggested that Obama and Kerry sounded like "Muslim missionaries." Now even ISIS says they sound like muftis and sheikhs standing up for Islam. Noting that Obama had defended Islam "during six different addresses he made in the span of a single month," Al Adnani said:"They [Obama and Kerry] turned into Islamic jurists, muftis, sheikhs, and preachers, standing up for Islam and the Muslims, so it appears that they no longer have confidence in the ability or sincerity of their sorcerers…"The unwillingness of Obama and his (in)security team to define the enemy -- as the enemy defines itself -- projects weakness, not only to our enemies but also here at home. Recent polls have found that a majority of voters believe Obama is "weak" and that they have no confidence in his ability to defeat ISIS.

Border Security IS National Security - One of the most serious threats posed by ISIS is the danger of radicalized Muslims going overseas to train and fight, and then returning home as battle-hardened jihadists to commit acts of terrorism here. Intelligence officials estimate that perhaps as many as 300 Americans may be fighting with radical Islamists overseas. What has been less clear -- until now -- is how many, if any, may have returned to the United States.

Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-NY) told a shocked audience that as many as 40 radicalized Americans who went overseas to wage jihad are now back in the country. According to Bishop, they are currently under FBI surveillance. These 40 individuals could well be part of sleeper cells who may be activated by remarks like those from Abu Muhammad al Adnani.

Meanwhile the U.S. Border Patrol reports that so far this year more than 470 illegal immigrants from nations linked to terrorism have been caught trying to enter the country. We know that for every illegal captured many others get through. If we captured 474, it is plausible that 1,000 individuals from such countries got in.

The rumor mill in Washington is abuzz with reports that Obama will soon grant refugee status to tens of thousands of Syrians and bring them into the U.S. More than 130,000 Syrians have applied for refugee status, and earlier this year, Obama relaxed immigration rules intended to keep terrorists out in order to let more Syrians in. If we're having trouble sorting the good rebels from the bad rebels, I have little confidence we can sort out those refugees who may in fact be jihadists.

Shouldn't this be a matter of urgent public debate? Even if these individuals are not card-carrying members of Al Qaeda or ISIS, polling has shown that many individuals in majority-Muslim nations have a deep-seated hatred of Judeo-Christian values.

Our elites continue to demand immigration reform. But common sense dictates that we have a right and an obligation to make sure those coming to this country are here for the right reasons.

Homeland InSecurity? - If these reports were not disturbing enough, there is news today that morale is collapsing among those charged with protecting our homeland security. Morale may be sky high among the bureaucrats at the EPA or Department of Education, where billions of tax dollars are being funneled to favorite left-wing causes. But morale is "abysmal" at the Department of Homeland Security.

We have heard from friends at the Pentagon that morale there has been at rock bottom for some time. We told you Friday about the growing rift between Obama and our top military commanders.

Today's Washington Post reports that senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security are leaving at "a rate nearly twice as fast as in the federal government overall." As a result, the department is struggling to "to stay ahead of a range of emerging threats."

Some of the terms used to describe the department created to keep us safe after 9/11 include: "dysfunctional work environment," "abysmal morale," "a toxic culture," "unstable leadership."

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that border security and immigration also fall under the purview of this dysfunctional, toxic and unstable department.

Tags: New Warnings, ISIS Mocks Obama, ISIS Here, Homeland InSecurity, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Update, U.S., Allies, bomb, ISIS targets To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Syrian Moderate Rebels

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Syrian moderated, blood and treasure, killing, Christians, 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!

It’s the Debt, Stupid!

by Robert Romano: Household debt has outpaced household median income for almost 40 years, and we’re paying the price, the latest figures from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Census show.

While median income for households grew by $929 to $51,939 in 2013, the amount of debt per household remained elevated at $106,921.

A positive sign is that household debt is dropping from the financial crisis days. It is down from its 2007 peak of $119,213.

As a result, the household debt per household to median income ratio has dropped from 237.4 percent in 2007 to its current level of 205.9 percent.

The problem is that is still really, really high by historical standards. In 1975, as far back as Census and Fed data correspond, the debt to income ratio was just 90.1 percent.
There is no getting around it. Debt grew far faster than income. The question is why.

The answer is home prices. From 1976-2006, right before the bubble popped, home values accelerated at an average 6.17 percent a year, according to the Freddie Mac Home Price Index.

Comparatively, median income only grew at a 4.61 percent average nominal rate during those years.

The result? Household debt per household grew at a whopping 8.11 percent a year.
The rest, as they say, is history. But the story is not over yet.

Debt remains far too high, and income far too low, for far too many Americans.

Yet, this is not a story about the minimum wage. Americans who live on the minimum wage are not buying houses and taking on mountains of debt, they are technically in poverty. Their impact upon home prices approaches nil.

Instead, this is a story about the Americans who are not impoverished, but are nonetheless being pulverized by debt dynamics that today make it next to impossible to get ahead.

So, if you read stories about how the housing market has quieted or that the economy is still sluggish or spending is flat, now you know why. A combination of three interrelated factors:1) Americans are still deleveraging from the last financial crisis and getting their balance sheets in order, and are still too much in debt.

2) Incomes have never kept up with the growth of home prices, resulting in an extreme and growing affordability gap.

3) As a result, home prices are still too high, thanks to artificial demand created by government easy lending policies by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Fed.
All of which means, there may be more pain to come. Stay tuned.
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Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's NetRight Daily blog.

Tags: debt, it's the debt, stupid, household debt, household median income, Robert Romano, 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!

Political Report: Election Countdown: The Mood, Measurements, And Mechanics

by Karlyn Bowman and Jennifer K. Marsico, AEI Report: As the countdown to the 2014 midterm elections continues, the October issue of AEI’s Political Report looks at public opinion on key electoral measures. This issue features the most recent polls on conventional election indicators and exit poll data from significant demographic groups in national House elections since 1986. We also include eight interesting indicators about the 2014 contests.

A sour mood: Sixty-seven percent of registered voters think things in the nation are on the wrong track (NBC/Wall Street Journal). One-third of registered voters think their representative deserves to be reelected, while 57 percent think it is time to give a new person a chance (NBC/Wall Street Journal).

Gauging the gaps: The gender and marriage gaps are permanent features of our politics. Fifty-three percent of men voted Republican in the 2012 House elections, while 55 percent of women voted Democrat. But the marriage gap is even larger than the gender gap. In the 2012 House elections, 56 percent of married voters voted Republican, and 62 percent of unmarried voters voted Democrat.

Punching below their demographic weight? While Hispanics are a fast-growing share of the population, they are not voting heavily yet. They were 17 percent of the US population in 2012, for example, but 10 percent of the electorate.

Party loyalty is real: In the 2012 House races, 94 percent of self-identified Republicans voted for Republican candidates, and 94 percent of Democrats remained loyal to their party. In the 2010 House races, 55 percent of Independents voted for Republican House candidates; 51 percent did in 2012.

What about the state-level scene? It looks more promising for the GOP, which currently controls both legislative chambers in 27 states compared to the Democrats’ 19. In addition to capitalizing on President Obama’s unpopularity, the Republican Party also recruited 588 new female candidates for state-level races, far exceeding its goal of 300, according to a report from ABC.

It’s anyone’s guess . . .: The results in Louisiana and Georgia may be too close to call on Election Night. Louisiana’s runoff would be December 6, and Georgia’s runoff would be January 6, 2015, if no candidate in either state gets above 50 percent. It’s also anyone’s guess which candidate will win each of 10 gubernatorial races the Cook Political Report rates as toss-ups.

[Full report and charts (pdf)]

Tags: AEI, American Enterprise Institute, political report, 2014 election, election countdown, mood, measurements, nechanics To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Blathering Eco-Intellectuals

Editorial Cartoon by Glenn McCoy via Warning Signs
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I confess I have always been wary of intellectuals. They love arcane theories that often have little to do with real life and this is particularly true of eco-intellectuals who have embraced a panoply of lies and claims about the “environment”, “fossil fuels”, “sustainability”, and other notions that permit them to bloviate without once addressing reality.

This has been a week of eco-propaganda on a global scale. On Sunday there were “Climate Marches.” On Tuesday there will be a UN “Climate Summit”, and there will likely be an avalanche of nonsense in the media intended to make us believe we have control, influence, or impact on the climate when it is obvious to the rest of us that we—the human race—have none.

In the past nearly two decades we have all be experiencing not a warning, but a cooling of planet Earth. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the Sun that has been in a low cycle of radiation—less heat!

A friend alerted me to an article in the August 22nd edition of the New Republic, a famously liberal magazine. “Global Warming Is Just One of Many Environmental Threats That Demand Our Attention” is the title of Amartya Sen’s article. He is a Nobel laureate in economics, a winner of the National Humanities Medal, an author, and teaches at Harvard University.

There were two immediate red flags that caught my attention. First was that he is an economist and the second was that he was writing about “global warming” as of it was happening.

In early September I had written about another economist who had an opinion published in The Wall Street Journal. It was ludicrous in terms of his complete lack of even the most basic science he was either addressing or ignoring as he too warned of horrid environmental portents to come. Economists should stick to economics.

If you suffer from insomnia or have a fondness for reading sentences filled with words rarely used in common communication, you will find that Sen’s article will either put you to sleep or, more likely, give you a migraine headache. The article is an insufferable platform for him to demonstrate his Nobel certified intellectual brilliance, while possessing very little understanding of science or what we ordinary people call common sense.

“Our global environment has many problems. If the high volume of carbon emission is one, the low level of intellectual engagement with some of the major environmental challenges is surely another.” That’s how Sen began his article and, in the very first sentence, he reveals his ignorance by referring to “carbon emissions” instead of “carbon dioxide” (CO2) emissions.

The latter is a so-called “greenhouse” gas that the Greens keep telling us is trapping huge amounts of heat in the Earth’s atmosphere that will surely kill us all. CO2 is about 0.04% of the entire atmosphere, the least of the gases of which it is composed. It doesn’t trap heat, but it does provide the “food” that all vegetation requires to grow. We carbon-based humans exhale CO2 after we breathe in oxygen. It is part of the natural cycle of life between animals and the vegetation that releases oxygen; a perfect balance of nature.

Suffice to say that Sen’s very lengthy article is typical of the eco-intellectual disdain for virtually any form of energy to serve humanity except for the two least reliable, wind and solar energy. There’s a reason why mankind turned to coal, oil and natural gas. It was vastly abundant and released large amounts of energy for transportation and other benefits that include the production of electricity.

There was a time not that long ago when people used whale oil to light their homes. And wood was used to heat them. Walt Whitman, a famed poet who lived in Lincoln’s time, never turned on an electrical switch in his life. It didn’t exist 150 years ago. There were no autos, no telephones, et cetera. If you define a generation as 25 years, that’s only six generations ago. And Sen wants us to abandon “fossil fuels” because he fears “the dangers of global pollution from fossil fuels…”

He’s no fan of nuclear power either. (I guess we should all go back to whale oil, only we won’t because we love the whales.) “There are at least five different kinds of externalities that add significantly to the social costs of nuclear power” writes Sen, but who else refers to “externalities” of nuclear power? Okay, why not just say there have been two bad accidents, Chernobyl and Fukushima, and leave it at that. That still leaves a lot of safely performing nuclear plants here and worldwide.

We do not live in a world without risk or trade-offs. For lack of enough pipelines, a lot of oil is being transported by rail and there have been accidents. Around the world there are coal mining accidents. Even solar farms literally sizzle birds to death that fly over them and wind turbines chop them into little pieces.

Mother Nature does not care what happens to us when she conjures up a volcanic eruption, a flood, a wildfire, a hurricane or blizzard.

Humans have learned to either flee these things or wait them out in the safety of their homes. That’s what modern life is all about and it is a hundred times better than in the past when people were lucky to live to the age of sixty. Many died much younger from plagues of disease and we are watching that occur with Ebola in Africa. Even simple injuries caused death a scant time ago.

“There are empirical gaps in our knowledge as well as analytical difficulties in dealing with the evaluation of uncertainty.” Huh? What? This is intellectual gobbledygook, a substitute for saying that much of the time we don’t know what the future holds.

What we do know is that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and that we humans have developed what we call civilization over the past 5,000 years, a blink of time in eternity.

We should know by now to accept the Earth, the Sun and the galaxy in which we live for what it is and stop bothering to embrace idiotic notions that we have any control or that we are causing so much “pollution” the Earth cannot exist much longer.

You know what we do with the mess of stuff we produce and throw away? We burn it or we bury it. We even recycle some of it.

This keeps archeologists busy as they examine the garbage our not-too-distant ancestors left behind in their caves. Thankfully, none of them were economists.
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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: Global warming, blathering eco-Intellectuals, Alan Caruba, warning signs, editorial cartoon, Glenn McCoy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Khorasan, the Terrorist Group That Might Be Scarier Than ISIS

by Josh Siegel, Hertitage Foundation: As the Islamic State terrorist organization commands attention with its cold-blooded tactics of rape and murder, another group of violent extremists in Syria considers itself tougher — and actually may have more ambition to attack the United States.

The group, known as Khorasan, was acknowledged and named publicly for the first time Thursday by National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

Clapper confirmed that Khorasan may pose as great a threat to the U.S. as the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL. “There is potentially yet another threat to the homeland, yes,” he said at an intelligence conference in Washington.

In an interview, James Phillips, an expert on the Middle East at The Heritage Foundation, breaks down the basics of the Khorasan group, explains their ambition and discusses the threat they pose to Americans.

Josh Siegel: What exactly is the Khorasan group and what is their aim?

Phillips: The Khorasan group is a cell of veteran terrorists belonging to the al-Qaeda core group — the high command of the al-Qaeda network that relocated to Pakistan after the 2001 defeat of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Osama bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, reportedly dispatched the Khorasan group to Syria to link up with al-Qaeda’s official franchise in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra — which means “the Victory Front.”

U.S. intelligence officials believe their mission is to recruit European and American Muslim militants who have traveled to Syria to fight alongside Islamist extremist groups that form part of the rebel coalition fighting Syria’s Assad regime.

The Khorasan group hopes to train and deploy these recruits, who hold American and European passports, for attacks against western targets.

Q: How long has the group been around? Did they only recently get on America’s radar?

A: Al-Qaeda has sought to attack America, the “far enemy,” for more than two decades and the Khorasan group is its most recent vehicle for launching such attacks.

U.S. intelligence agencies have been aware of its efforts for many months, but did not publicly acknowledge it by name until Thursday, when Director of Intelligence James Clapper confirmed its existence at an intelligence conference in Washington.

Jabhat al-Nusra proclaimed its formation in 2012, and the Khorasan group probably was deployed in Syria some time after that.

Q: What is their main goal in Syria?

A: The Khorasan group is focused on launching terrorist attacks on western targets outside Syria, while cooperating with the al-Nusra Front, which focuses on overthrowing the Assad regime and eventually establishing an Islamic state in Syria.

ISIS is an al-Qaeda offshoot that broke away from the leadership of Zawahiri and proclaimed that it already has established an Islamic state in Syria and Iraq.

The brash and ambitious ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghadi, belongs to a new generation of al-Qaeda leaders and sees himself as Osama bin Laden’s true successor.

The al-Nusra Front has clashed violently with ISIS inside Syria, but the Khorasan group as far as I know has focused exclusively on organizing attacks on western targets rather than on rival Islamist extremist groups or the Assad regime.

Q: Is it true that the Khorasan group is working with al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate on making bombs? How sophisticated are the bombs? Could they get past airport security?

A: U.S. intelligence officials report that the Khorasan group has cooperated closely with AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), one of the most dangerous al-Qaeda franchises. AQAP’s innovative bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has developed sophisticated explosive devices that have been placed on at least three aircraft bound for the United States.

He has pioneered new techniques for making bombs that are extremely difficult to detect, including the one worn by the “underwear bomber” who sought to destroy an American airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

Now the Khorasan group is seeking to match up Western recruits developed by al-Nusra with bombs developed by AQAP. This threat has prompted heightened security precautions at airports.

Q: The Khorasan group has been described as being more of a threat to the U.S. than ISIS. Is that true?

A: I think each group presents a diverse set of threats to the United States and its allies. ISIS now poses primarily a regional threat, but could soon pose a threat to the U.S. homeland by inspiring “lone wolf” terrorist attacks or more complex terrorist operations.

The Khorasan group currently poses more of a threat to the U.S. homeland, because of its greater experience in transnational terrorist operations and access to more sophisticated bombs.

Q: Has the Khorasan group been subject to American military action? If not, why not?

A: The Khorasan group is much smaller and harder to target with conventional military attacks than ISIS, which has mushroomed into a quasi-state with a hybrid army that is more visible and vulnerable to attack.

As far as I know, Khorasan has not been singled out for attack, but it may have been hit in attacks targeted at its al-Qaeda fraternal partners.

But since it operates in areas controlled by al-Nusra, which apparently is not included in the Obama administration’s strategy for combatting terrorism in Syria, the Khorasan group may be relatively free from worrying about immediate U.S. military action.

Q: How would you characterize the threat that the Khorasan group poses to the U.S., especially compared with core al-Qaeda or ISIS?

A: The Khorasan threat is part of the al-Qaeda network’s war against America. ISIS has drifted away from its al-Qaeda parent organization, but continues to mount terrorist threats, primarily in the Middle East region. All of the groups are poison fruit from the same Islamist extremist ideological tree, but they have different priorities in launching their attacks.
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Josh Siegel (@JoshDailySignal) is a news reporter for Heritage Foundation's The Daily Signal.

Tags: Khorasan, Terrorist Group, Scarier Than ISIS, ISIS, Josh Siegel, Middle East, expert, Heritage Foundation, interview, Josh Siegel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Stop-Gap Statesmanship

Last week, Congress approved a “stop-gap” bill to fund the government through the election and pay for a part of President Obama's plan to defeat ISIS with hardly a moment's debate. In this latest essay, we discuss in particular the foreign policy side of this failure to deliberate and the role the Congress should have in helping define and achieve our goals abroad--all the more important in a context where the Administration follows the dictates of a liberal internationalism several degrees removed from reality. ~ Matt Parks

(Congressional) lawyers sending guns and money
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks: The United States went to war again some time around Constitution Day, looking nothing like the constitutional republic the framers of the Constitution hoped they had created when they attached their names to that document on September 17, 1787.

The reasons for this are perhaps as numerous as the possible starting dates for the war, but all are grounded in a disregard for deliberative government and the rule of law–the essential hallmarks of a republic.

The distribution of the Constitution’s powers and the explanation of that distribution in The Federalist suggest that there are four key steps in a republic going to war:
  • a case for war presented by the president to the Congress and, by extension, the American people;
  • an expression of popular support in the approval of the House of Representatives as the (most) democratic part of the government;
  • wise deliberation on war ends and means, especially in the Senate, whose structure and powers (like approving treaties) were meant to promote careful and reasonable reflection;
  • secrecy and dispatch in executing the resolution approved, led by the president, relevant cabinet members, and the military chain of command.
The president is the key figure at the beginning and the end, but in between, the legislative branch is meant to add “reflection” and express “choice,” in the famous words of the first Federalist essay–that is, to make the most solemn decision for the regime in a way consistent with the principles of the regime.

What we’ve seen in the last two weeks is a parody of this process. The president did speak, but he spoke to the American people, not the Congress, whose approval he claimed he did not need. Then the Administration spent two days publicly debating itself over what exactly he didn’t need approval to do–before deciding that “of course” it was war we’ve been talking about all along. Members of the House, eager to get back “home” to campaign and not at all eager to cast a controversial vote on their way to the airport, tacked a resolution supporting the arming and training of “moderate” Syrians onto a stopgap spending bill last Wednesday.

The next day, the Senate approved the House package, pushing any real deliberation on peace or war (not to mention federal spending) off for three months–until after the elections are over and the President has already made (his) war a fait accompli. All along the way, there’s been plenty of grandstanding, but no deliberating; lots of words, but few arguments.

This is the way of a hollowed-out democratic empire, not a healthy republic–where demagogues engage in political theater, while clear-sighted enemies impose on them new realities.

Last week, the former senators in the three highest positions in the US government provided an instructive if unintentional lesson in why this difference matters.

Ivy League-educated former US Senator from Massachusetts, under-the-radar adjunct professor of theology, and current Secretary of State John Kerry, offered to help Islamic peoples redefine their religion, making it more palatable to themselves and the West.

It really is that simple, isn’t it? Once we’ve got a bead on the Syrian moderates, we’ll get some Sunni and Shiite Muslims in a room, get that whole “religious foundation” thing squared away, and then “put the real Islam out there and draw lines throughout the region.”

Not to be outdone, teacher and knower of all things good, former community organizer and US Senator from Illinois, and current POTUS Barack Obama, in the spirit of Woodrow Wilson’s “I am going to teach the South American republics to elect good men,” offered ISIS a lesson on terrorism.

Whereas Machiavelli counseled, “Never do any enemy a small injury for they are like a snake which is half beaten and it will strike back the first chance,” Mr. Obama, perhaps auditioning for a future role on the TED Talk circuit, advised ISIS to insitute progressive best practices by kidnapping, releasing, and pinning notes on one’s released hostages saying “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.”

Meanwhile Vice-President Joe Biden, the Clouseau-like truth teller of the group, in perfect Joe Biden form, suggested in a meet-and-greet with nuns that our business in the region will not include “boots on the ground” until strategic failure requires “boots on the ground.” In other words, “overseas contingency operations” are made for winning only after missteps have produced predictable losses, with the caveat that one define “winning” as mutually assured stalemate.

In each of these instances, we see liberal internationalist fantasies at play, with no political course correction on the near horizon.

For John Kerry, the moral and ideational differences that divide peoples merely amount to delusional misinterpretations of religious and political principles that can be cast aside. Every religion is a Bahá’í faith waiting to be revealed, and every city of man is a city of peace waiting to be made. For Barack Obama, one overcomes the defect of better motives by conjuring up shared interests wherever imaginable. And for Joe Biden, a toothless dog is better than a dead lion.

Can anyone deliver us from this folly? Not easily, if the Senate persists in its role as the world’s least deliberative body. If it won’t debate budgets and war measures, what is it there for?

As the leading American diplomat of the day, John Jay wrote the Federalist essay on the Senate’s role in approving treaties (no. 64). He argued that because of its close connection with “war, peace, and commerce,” the power to make treaties should be delegated to those “who best understand our national interests . . . who are best able to promote those interests, and whose reputation for integrity inspires and merits confidence.”

The Senate should be filled with such leaders, Jay argued, based upon its qualifications for office, the (state legislature-based) mode by which its members are chosen, the length of their term, and their rotating system of elections. If this is the case today, the Senate is much too diffident of displaying its virtues. Let us see a chamber of presidents-in-waiting debate the why and how of our new war.

Here’s how: our mentor, distinguished scholar of foreign affairs and one-time Senate aide Dr. Angelo Codevilla, has prepared a war resolution in the sort of plain declaratives that refuse to shelter sloppy thinking or calculated equivocations. Any Senator might propose it to the body. Not one, perhaps, would wish to vote for it as written. Then let them change it, explaining their reasons why. Let us see how they understand “our national interests” and how best “to promote those interests.”

Last year, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz both reminded Americans that the Senate can be more than an elegant setting for Harry Reid’s Koch-induced temper tantrums. Senator Paul’s filibuster concerning the domestic use of drones and Senator Cruz’s speech against Obamacare drew national attention–to arguments on important policy questions.

Today, we very much need a real debate on the war with ISIS, because we very much need to win that war–in the real world.
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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: Congress, Constitution Day, House Of Representatives, Joe Biden, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, 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!

End the Fed's War on Paychecks

by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: The Democratic Party has made “income inequality” a signature issue for the 2014 (and, presumably, 2016) election cycle. Democrats, en masse, shout “J’accuse!” at Republicans. There is a very different story to tell.

“Income inequality” is a crude, and twisted, heuristic for stagnant median family income. “Income inequality” does not really resonate with voters, as noted by the Washington Post‘s own Catherine Rampell, with a mountain of evidence showing that Americans don’t begrudge the wealthy their wealth, just are frustrated at the lack of widespread economic opportunity.

So let’s get down to cases. Stagnant median family income is not the GOP’s fault. It’s the Fed who done it.

The Atlantic Media Company’s Quartz recently claimed that the Fed has been intentionally keeping a lid on wages. This has potentially major political implications. Among other things, this view would allow the Republicans to push the discourse back toward the real problem, wage stagnation. It can serve to refocus the Congress on the real solution, restoring real, rule-based, integrity to monetary policy as a way to get America moving again.

A culpable Fed gives irony to the fact that it is the Democrats that protect the Fed as if it were the Holy of Holies of the Temple. What if, as asserted in Quartz, the Fed, by policy, and not the GOP, is the source of wage stagnation? This opens an opportunity for the GOP to parry the political narrative of “income inequality” and feature the real issue on the mind of the voters and forthrightly to address its core cause, poor monetary policy.

This has been slow to happen because Federal Reserve has exalted prestige. The elite media has a propensity to canonize the Chair of the Fed. Media adulation has obscured the prime source of the stagnation besetting American wage earners for the past 43 years.

Paul Volcker’s life was exalted (with some real justification), for instance by New York Times prize-winning journalist Joseph B. Treaster as The Making of a Financial Legend. Downhill from there…

Chairman Greenspan was featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s February 15, 1999 issue as the most prominent member of “The Committee To Save The World.” One of the greatest investigative journalists of our era, Bob Woodward, wrote a deeply in-the-tank hagiography of Alan Greenspan, entitled Maestro. In retrospect, the halo the media bestowed was faux.

The Atlantic Monthly, in its February 12, 2012 issue, featured Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on its cover as The Hero. (Hedging its bets, The Atlantic ran a duplicate inside cover referencing him as The Villain.) Author Roger Lowenstein wrote: “Ben Bernanke saved the economy—and has navigated masterfully through the most trying of times.” The adulation for Chairman Bernanke, in retrospect, seems overdone. Even President Obama, at the end of Bernanke’s final term, gave him a not-so-subtle push out the door, as reported by CNN: “He’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted, or he was supposed to….”

Chair of the Board of Governors,
Federal Reserve System
It’s Janet Yellen’s turn for media canonization. This is premature.

Madame Yellen’s institutional loyalty and obvious decency command this columnist’s respect. Her intentions present as — profoundly — good. That said, the road to a well-known, notorious, destination is said to be paved with good intentions. Moreover, canonization demands that a miracle be proven. None yet is in evidence.

The canonization of Madame Yellen began in earnest with an August 24 article in Politico by Michael Hirsch, The Mystery Woman Who Runs Our Economy. The process was taken up to the next level the very next day in an article by Matt Phillips in Quartz, Janet Yellen’s Fed is more revolutionary than Ben Bernanke’s ever was.

Hirsch tees it up in Politico nicely:As has been written, Yellen is clearly passionate about the employment problem. It was no accident that the theme of this year’s Jackson Hole meeting was “labor market dynamics,” and the AFL-CIO’s chief economist, Bill Spriggs, was invited while Wall Street economists were not.

… Yellen is also very cagey about whether that’s happening or not: She’s playing her own private game of chicken with inflation, indicating that she wants to see more wage growth for workers (another thing that’s hard to track ahead of time) before she raises rates. Beneath the careful analysis and the caveat-freighted sentences, the bottom line seems to be: “We’re making this up as we go along.”
Phillips, in Quartz, observes that it has been Fed policy to suppress wages for two generations. Phillips:From her position as the world’s single most powerful economic voice, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, is forcing the financial markets to rethink assumptions that have dominated economic thinking for nearly 40 years. Essentially, Yellen is arguing that fast-rising wages, viewed for decades as an inflationary red flag and a reason to hike rates, should instead be welcomed, at least for now.

… It might sound surprising to most people who work for a living, but for decades the most powerful people in economics have seen strong real wage growth—that is, growth above and beyond the rate of inflation—as a big problem.
Phillips then gets to the point, providing what passes for economic wisdom among the enablers of the Fed’s growth-sapping (including wage-enervating) interventions.Since the end of the Great Inflation, the Fed—and most of the world’s important central banks—have gone out of their way to avoid a replay of the wage-price spiral. They’ve done this by tapping on the economic brakes—raising interest rates to make borrowing more expensive and discourage companies from hiring—as wages started to show strong growth.Phillips provides this exaltation of Janet Yellen:If she’s right, and American paychecks can improve without setting off an inflationary spiral, it could upend the clubby world of monetary policy, reshape financial markets, and have profound implications for everything ….Higher real wages, without exacerbating inflation, indeed would be something to cheer. That, demonstrably, is possible. The devil is in the details.

There’s persuasive, even compelling, evidence that the international monetary system is better governed by, and working people benefit from, a smart rule rather than the discretion of career civil servants, however elite. An important Bank of England paper in 2011, Financial Stability Paper No. 13, contrasts the poor performance, since 1971, of the freelancing Fed with the precursor Bretton Woods, and with classical gold standard, rules. This paper materially advances the proposition of exploring “a move towards an explicit rules-based framework.”

A rule-based system would represent a profound transformation of how the Fed currently does its business. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tx) said, in a recent hearing, that “The overwhelming weight of evidence is that monetary policy is at its best in maintaining stable prices and maximum employment when it follows a clear, predictable monetary policy rule.”

Madame Yellen stated that “It would be a grave mistake for the Fed to commit to conduct monetary policy according to a mathematical rule.” Contrast Madame Yellen’s protest with a recent speech by Paul Volcker in which he forthrightly stated: “By now I think we can agree that the absence of an official, rules-based cooperatively managed, monetary system has not been a great success. In fact, international financial crises seem at least as frequent and more destructive in impeding economic stability and growth. … Not a pretty picture.”

Madame Yellen’s ability to achieve her (postulated) goal of rising real wages in a non-inflationary environment likely depends on who is right here, Yellen or Volcker. It is a key issue of the day. The threshold issue currently is framed as between “a clear, predictable monetary policy rule” and the discretion of the Federal Open Market Committee. The available rules are not limited to mathematical ones but, to achieve real wage growth and equitable prosperity, the evidence fully supports the proposition that a rule is imperative.

Returning America to consistently higher real wage growth is a Holy Grail for this columnist. Equitable prosperity, very much including the end of wage stagnation, is a driving objective for most advocates of a rule-based system, very much including advocates of “the golden rule.”

Getting real wages growing is a laudable, and virtuous, proposition. Premature canonization, however, is a flattering injustice to Madame Yellen … and to the Fed itself. The Federal Reserve is lost in a wilderness — “uncharted territory” — partly, perhaps mainly, of its own (well-intended) concoction.

The road to the declaration of sainthood requires, according to this writer’s Catholic friends, documentation of miracles. If this writer may be permitted to play the role of advocatus diaboli for a moment … no American Economic Miracle — akin to the Ludwig Erhard’s German “Economic Miracle,” the Wirtschaftswunder, driven by currency reform — yet appears in evidence.

Expertise, which Chair Yellen certainly possesses in abundance, can lead to hubris … and hubris in disaster as it did in 2008. Good technique is necessary but not sufficient.

As this writer elsewhere has noted,Journalist Edwin Hartrich tells the following story about Erhard …. In July 1948, after Erhard, on his own initiative, abolished rationing of food and ended all price controls, Clay confronted him:

Clay: “Herr Erhard, my advisers tell me what you have done is a terrible mistake. What do you say to that?”

Erhard: “Herr General, pay no attention to them! My advisers tell me the same thing.”
Erhard, famously, proved right, his experts, wrong.

Madame Yellen by dint of her decency and intellect may yet prove capable of restoring the Great Moderation … and the real wage growth, with low inflation, that went with that. Yet, at best, Great Moderation 2.0 would be, as was its predecessor, a temporary, rather than sustainable, solution. “Making it up as you go along” is a proposition fraught with peril.

At worst, if Madam Yellen has, as observers such as Forbes.com‘s John Tamny detect, a proclivity for cheapening the dollar as a path to real wage growth she easily could throw working people out of the frying pan and into the fires of inflation. Moreover, the Fed’s proclivities toward central planning may be one of the most atavistic relics of a bygone era. Central planning, by its very nature, even if well meant, always suppresses prosperity. As the sardonic statement from the Soviet Union went, “So long as the bosses continue to pretend to pay us we will pretend to work.”

Some who should know better ignorantly, and passionately, still are stuck in William Jennings Bryan’s rhetorically stirring but intellectually vacuous 1896 declaration, “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” This is a plank that won Bryan his party’s nomination and cost him the presidency… three times. The electorate knows that cheapening the money is the problem, not the solution.

The Fed, not the gold standard, pressed down the crown of thorns upon labor’s brow. The GOP, rather than playing rope-a-dope on “income inequality,” would do well to dig down to find the monetary rule with which to restore a climate of equitable prosperity and real wage growth. Results, not intentions, are what counts.

There is abundant evidence that the right rule-based system would not be a “grave mistake” but a smart exit ramp back to growth of real wages. Anything the Fed does that departs from a dollar price rule is anti-equitable-prosperity. Anything else hurts all, labor and capital. The Congress, under the leadership of Chairmen Garrett (R-NJ) and Hensarling (R-Tx), whose committee has in front of it the Federal Reserve Accountability and Transparency Act and Joint Economic Committee Chairman Kevin Brady’s (R-Tx) Centennial Monetary Commission, at long last, is bestirring itself. Now is the right time to amp up the crucial debate over monetary policy … by enacting both of these pieces of legislation.
------------
Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Ralph Benko, end Fed's War on Paychecks, Fed's War, paychecks, Janet Yellen, Fed, The Fed, 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 Prepares ‘Climate Change Push At UN Summit’ | McConnell: ‘Obama's Energy Policy ... Ideological Crusade’

Editorial Cartoon By William Warren
Editor's Note: "Today in Washington, D.C." articles will not be posted daily until Congress returns on November 12, 2014. Intermittent articles may be shared.
Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept 22, 2014
The Senate is scheduled to hold a pro forma session at 4 PM today. The House and Senate will return for legislative business on November 12th.

AFP reports today, “President Barack Obama will seek to galvanize international support in the fight against climate change on Tuesday when he addresses the United Nations, with time running out on his hopes of leaving a lasting environmental legacy. Obama has warned that failure to act on climate change would be a ‘betrayal’ of future generations, but faced with a Congress reluctant to even limit greenhouse gas emissions -- let alone ratify an international agreement -- his options appear limited. . . . In June, Obama unveiled new standards aimed at achieving a drastic reduction in carbon emissions from all existing power plants -- a 30 percent reduction of 2005 levels by 2030.”

But those regulations are doing little to address climate concerns while they devastate the economies of places like Eastern Kentucky, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell writes in the Washington Examiner today. “Not unlike its approach to Obamacare, the administration has used a regulatory sledgehammer when a mere scalpel would have done the job. Here’s why: For those in the Obama administration, it is less about balancing environmental concerns with economic growth than it is about crushing forms of energy they don’t like — like coal. Thanks in no small part to this administration’s endless regulations and threats, Eastern Kentucky is today suffering through an economic depression. Thousands of jobs have been lost, and thousands more are in jeopardy. . . . The great tragedy in all this is that the administration’s job-killing regulations won’t do much of anything to meaningfully improve the environment or to curb global carbon emissions, since our overseas competitors will inevitably provide whatever coal we can’t.”

And, as The Hill notes, “A number of world leaders will be absent from the event, however, notably Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.” Of course, China and India happen to be “the No. 1 and No. 3 emitters of greenhouse gases in the world,” according to The Hill.

AFP points out another problem with the president’s plans, writing, “[T]he White House has delayed addressing the difficult debate surrounding the legal nature of the agreement that 195 nations in the UN Convention on Climate Change will hope to reach in Paris at the end of next year. The US Constitution states that all legally binding treaties must be ratified by two thirds of the US Senate, an unthinkable prospect in the current political climate. Memories of the Kyoto Protocol, negotiated and signed in 1997 but never ratified by the United States, also loom large. . . . Obama's climate team is reportedly working to put together a ‘politically binding’ deal which would combine voluntary pledges with legally binding conditions from already existing treaties. Any such pact would avoid the need to seek ratification from the US Senate. ‘Unfortunately, this would be just another of many examples of the Obama administration’s tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard laws it doesn't like -- and to ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree,’ US Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in response to reports outlining the administration's strategy.”

Once again, the president is proposing to circumvent the Constitution because it’s inconvenient for the achievement of his ideological goals.

Leader McConnell concludes his op-ed, “As usual, the Obama administration is presenting us with a false choice. The question isn’t whether we should protect the environment or help the economy. It’s whether we should continue to cling to an ideologically driven energy strategy or switch to a smarter, balanced approach that includes coal and nuclear, natural gas and biofuels, better technology and more home-grown North American energy. An all-of-the-above approach — rather than an all-but-coal approach — is the key to creating more jobs, keeping energy bills low, protecting our planet and promoting public health, all at once. It’s also the kind of strategy the American people expect. And it’s one we can get to work on in a bipartisan way once the Obama administration drops its my-way-or-the-highway mindset and its ineffective, politically driven regulatory agenda that threatens to do so much harm for so little environmental benefit.”

Tags: President Obama, Climate Change, UN Summit, Obama energy policy, ideological crusade, 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!

0%: New Data Shows Wages Stagnant Or Declining For All Income Group

0%
As President Obama Asks ‘Are You Better Off?’ New Data Shows Wages ‘Stagnant Or Declining’ For ‘Every Income Group’

Obama On Stump: ‘Are You Better Off?

“President Barack Obama, stumping for the Democrats ahead of November's congressional elections, has twice invoked Ronald Reagan's seminal campaign question: ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ … But a similar message has failed to resonate for Obama primarily for one reason: …average family incomes have slipped.” (Reuters, 9/22/14)

The Obama Economy: ‘US Wages Have Gone Precisely Nowhere’
Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Real average hourly earnings increased 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, from August 2013 to August 2014.” (“Real Earnings, August 2014,” Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 9/17/14)

“US wages have gone precisely nowhere over the past year. Inflation-adjusted US hourly earnings growth was 0% in July compared to the previous year, according to just released stats.”(Quartz, 8/19/14)
  • “…anemic wage growth is dampening price pressures. Average hourly earnings adjusted for inflation rose 0.4 percent in August. Even so, they have risen only by that same amount over the past year.”   (Reuters, 9/17/14)
Economic Policy Institute: “Inflation-adjusted wages have fallen for every income group in the past year except very low-paid workers, says an Economic Policy Institute study out Wednesday.” (USA Today, 8/27/14)
  • “Wages were stagnant or declining at all education levels, and those with the most schooling experienced the largest drops, according to the study. Hourly pay fell 2.7% for Americans with advanced degrees, 1.6% for college graduates, 1% for those with some college, 1.1% for high school graduates and 0.6% for people lacking a high school diploma.” (USA Today, 8/27/14)

Tags: wages, stagnant, declining, all Income Groups, Obama economy, Economic Policy Institute To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Canada’s Shale Boom: More To Come In Montney

by James Burgess: In the world of a constantly changing oil and gas environment, the Montney shale basin is the sleeping giant that holds the key to accelerating Canada’s shale oil and gas boom, but the real treasure within this giant is a tight liquids-rich zone (approximately 15-20 miles wide) that has big and small players alike narrowing their focus for the potential of a giant payout.

A pervasive hydrocarbon system in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) in Alberta and British Columbia, the Montney is estimated to hold 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas, almost 29 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and over 136 billion barrels of oil. But it is the tight liquids rich fairway (approximately 15-20 miles wide) that contains high concentrations of both free condensate and natural gas liquids that everyone is pursuing in what may very soon be one of the largest commercially viable plays in the world.

Investors aren’t exactly shying away from the challenge, and the overall trend within this large basin is a shift towards liquids-rich areas, which is what the Middle Montney (the middle portion of the Montney resource) is all about.

Initially, companies targeted the Upper Montney, and the entire formation was viewed more as a dry gas play with high productivity and immense gas in place. Through the technological advances that have begun to move up to Canada and a general de-risking of the play, the Middle Montney is proving that there is a very large liquids-rich fairway available with a potential for incredible returns and economics.

Canadian supermajor Encana (NYSE:ECA)—a Montney shale heavyweight—is focusing its drilling to the east of the formation. Last year, Encana announced it would spend over 25 percent of its capex for 2014 on the Montney, and the liquids-rich plays in the eastern area will get the lion’s share of this, with 80-85 new wells planned for this year alone.

There are also a number of growing mid-cap players and one micro-cap honing in on this liquids-rich scene and benefitting from supermajor drilling, including mid-cap NuVista (NVA.TO) and micro-cap Blackbird Energy (BBI.V).

Earlier this month, NuVista signed a deal to purchase another 12.5 gross sections of undeveloped land in the Montney’s liquids-rich zone, which puts its total at over 220 gross sections, while Blackbird has 117 sections of multi-zone Montney rights—again, with a focus on the liquids-rich zone.

It’s a very fast-paced game of follow the leader.

When Encana drilled a well in a previously unproven Middle Montney area and came up with two very economic middle Montney wells that both had condensate gas ratios of approximately 100 barrels of oil per million feet of gas, Navistar responded by immediately buying up land in the vicinity, driving prices up over $2.9 million per section. Blackbird followed suit, capturing a 36-section land position right between Shell and Encana and next to NuVista, which drilled a well with 2,195 boe/d.

And while there is still land available here, prices are rising fast, which makes the situation interesting for the small player like Blackbird Energy, which finds that its land value alone is higher than its current market cap.

Explorers and producers are surrounding the Middle Montney in a pincer movement, and liquids-rich sweet spots are shaping up to be the key to unlocking this next North American treasure chest. And the end of the day, the amount of shale gas under Montney’s surface would be enough to supply Canada’s needs for 145 years, making it one of the top basins in the world, outdone only by Qatar.
------------------------
James Stafford is Editor of OilPrice.com and he contributes to the ARRA News Service. James Burgess is Deputy Editor, OilPrice.com - "the most popular energy news site in the world."

Tags: James Burgess, James Stafford, OilPrice.com, Canada, Shale boom,  Montney, Canada,  oil, natural gas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

NRA Fakers

. . . Democrats During Election Season.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: NRA, gun rights, fakers, Democrats, election season, 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!

‘Local Choice’ - Let’s Roll Back Some Crony Socialism, Shall We?

Don’t Turn to This Clown 
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: Cronyism. Or Crony Capitalism. It’s actually Crony Socialism - because it actually has nothing to do with capitalism.

Crony Socialism is not an unfettered free market where the best ideas and companies win. It’s the government warping and distorting the market: favoring with absurdly tilted policies some ideas and companies - and thus inherently dis-favoring everyone else in said sector.

How much you pay to watch TV has been a Crony Socialist nightmare mess since basically the creation of cable TV. Thanks to government meddlesomely messing with the market.
The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (also known as the 1992 Cable Act) is a United States federal law which required cable systems to carry most local broadcast channels and prohibited cable operators from charging local broadcasters to carry their signal.Get that? Cable companies are required by law to deliver all local broadcast stations in every channel package. Cable companies must then sit down with broadcasters and pretend to negotiate a “free market” deal for how much they pay for those stations.

If you and I sat down to negotiate a price for my widgets - after the government has mandated that you purchase my widgets - don’t you think I’m going to inflate the price of my widgets?

And broadcasters are thanks to government a monopoly - in the sense that they alone carry the product cable companies are mandated by government to purchase. And thus their prices are perpetually on the rise.

Of course the more cable companies pay for these local stations - the more we pay for them.

And cable companies—and thus you—are required by government to pay rigged prices for a product that you used to get for free with a rooftop antenna or a pair of rabbit ears.

Government mandates rarely go well. Government is now mandating that everyone buy health insurance - how’s that going?
ObamaCare will increase average individual-market insurance premiums by 99% for men, 62% for women; ObamaCare will raise premiums for 65% of small firms; ObamaCare taxes add billion to rising premiums.And broadcasters know: when your cable bill goes up, you don’t get mad at the broadcasters for overcharging for their channels - you get mad at your cable company for having to pass those costs on to you.

As sweet as this broadcasters’ deal is - it ain’t anywhere near all.
The Broadcasters are actually the beneficiaries of decades of government good grace – well beyond the uber-tilted Cable Act.

They received free from government charge their spectrum - the airwaves they use to broadcast. Surely something the cellular phone companies have eyed as they’ve paid the government tens of billions of dollars for their spectrum.

And now we have the looming spectrum incentive auction. Where Broadcasters get to sell their spectrum – that they, again, received for free – to the cell phone companies (via the government middle man).

I’m sure a company like Verizon - a cell phone company who with Fios is also a television Provider – is thrilled to pay Broadcasters for spectrum the latter received for free, while also having the government tilt the Retransmission rules against them, in the Broadcasters’ favor.
The Broadcasters have a pretty sweet omni-directional Crony Socialist deal going. Little wonder they are fighting so hard against any changes to it.

If we can get an injection of Free Market (Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval-pending) anywhere into this Crony Socialist organism - we should absolutely take it. The “Local Choice” bill now before the Senate would do just that.
Taking a novel approach to broadcast retransmission consent, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) joined forces with ranking committee member John Thune (R-SD) in unveiling a proposal that would allow subscribers to multichannel video program distribution (MVPD) services to select the local broadcast channels they want while permitting MVPDs to bill subscribers directly for licensing fees connected with the broadcast channels of their choice.Any roll back of any Crony Socialism is a turn in the right direction.
-------------
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: local choice, roll back, crony socialism, government mandates, broadcasters, 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!

Jindal: How the ‘Radical Left’ Uses Energy Costs to Control Americans

The Daily Signal Producer Kelsey Harkness (@kelseyjharkness): Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday accused the Obama administration of making energy more expensive with the goal of making Americans more dependent on government.

“The Left, they like to tell us they are the ones [who] are following science and we’re the science deniers,” Jindal said to a small group of reporters after delivering a speech at The Heritage Foundation to debut his energy jobs plan. “But I think overall, their approach to energy is telling.”

The Republican governor said the “radical” Left wants energy to be scarce and expensive because it empowers the federal government to be more involved in Americans’ lives.

Doing so, the potential 2016 presidential candidate said, essentially allows the Obama administration to decide what kind of car you drive, what kind of home you live in, what kind of education your children receive, what kind of health care insurance is adequate for you, and what size soda you can drink.

Right now, Jindal said, America “is on the road to failure.” He said:
It’s war on coal today; it’s going to be a war on natural gas tomorrow—it’s a war on any natural energy source. [The Left] wants it to be scarce; they want it to be expensive. You can see it in their actions, you can see it in their policies.Jindal, elected governor of Lousiana in 2008 after two terms in Congress, has presided over a state hit by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico while still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

He cited what he called the Left’s “startling” views on natural gas.

“When [natural gas] was 13 dollars, boy they loved it. As soon as it became affordable, all of the sudden they decided they didn’t like it so much,” Jindal said.

Nicolas Loris, a Heritage economist who specializes in energy policy, agreed that some liberals initially supported natural gas “as a bridge fuel to take us to renewables.” But because the revolution in shale gas provided an abundance of cheap natural gas, he said, “that bridge became a lot longer than they anticipated.”

“While it may be bad news for other sources of energy,” Loris added, “the low-cost energy is great news for American families and businesses.”

Jindal also cited regulations on carbon dioxide as proof of an “ideologically extreme” agenda by President Obama and other liberals. He said:

“For much of the Left, the whole debate about [carbon dioxide] is really a Trojan horse because these are folks that never did want a free market. This was a group that was always looking for an excuse to impose more government regulation, more government oversight. … This is just their latest vehicle to do it.”

Jindal’s energy plan, co-authored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, is called “Organizing Around Abundance: Making America an Energy Superpower” and promises to usher in an “unprecedented” era of energy development and job growth.

Here are the main points:

1. Promote responsible development of domestic energy resources and construct infrastructure to transport it.

2. Encourage technological innovation of renewables and emerging energy without picking winners and losers. In other words:Stop giving taxpayer-funded handouts to politically preferred energy sources and technologies. Let the market work.

3. Unlock the economic potential of the manufacturing renaissance by putting America’s energy resources to work.

4. Eliminate burdensome regulations such as the Obama administration’s increased carbon dioxide restrictions on power plants.

5. Bolster national security by ending policies that ban the exporting of natural resources.

6. Pursue “no regrets” policies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions without punishing the U.S. economy by putting it at a disadvantage to those of other nations.

Loris gave points to the Jindal-Flores plan for building on “what we see and know to be successful” when it comes to American energy production.

“Free market policies that open access, remove handouts and peel back burdensome regulations will reward risk-taking, stimulate economic growth and provide Americans with affordable energy,” he said.

What the nation shouldn’t pursue, Loris added, is a policy of reducing carbon dioxide.

“That assumes carbon emissions are a problem,” he said. Instead, “we can recognize that free markets that reward technological innovation can fuel the economy and reduce emissions.”

Watch this video for Jindal’s complete public remarks at The Heritage Foundation.

Tags: Governor, Bobby Jindal, Louisiana, Heritage Foundation, radical left, Energy Costs, control, America, Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, Organizing Around Abundance, Making America an Energy Superpower 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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