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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)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How Obama Questions Your Patriotism

by David Harsanyi: So Barack Obama is again using one of the most contemptible phrases in American politics — “economic patriotism.”

There are many credible reasons to despise this rhetorical construct. Patriotism, after all, is the attachment to one’s homeland, a nationalistic devotion to one’s country and the values that make it great. If a person not only resists things that are “patriotic,” but opposes them, then logic dictates that person is being unpatriotic. So the president is really asking one question: Why do you hate America?

Obama has been dropping the phrase for years, though it’s nothing new. In recent history, Paul Tsongas, preparing to run in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1991, demanded that people demonstrate “economic loyalty” to the United States. He argued that “many of those who lament the decline in our standard of living are driving foreign cars” and that this kind of consumer choice would “benefit another country’s team” and hurt the economy. In 1993, the right’s leading isolationist/protectionist Patrick Buchanan used the exact term “economic patriotism” to describe his vision for the future, and these days we have people like Richard Trumka or Katrina Vanden Heuvel arguing that limiting innovation and free trade are forms of patriotism.

Obama takes the idea in a different direction, arguing that when profits go overseas we not only (supposedly) lose jobs here at home, but we damage our future because government can’t expand at the rate he prefers:Instead of protecting tax loopholes that let corporations keep their profits overseas, let’s put some of that money to work right here in the United States rebuilding America. We can rebuild our airports, create the next generation of good manufacturing jobs, make sure those are made in America.A politician may rally millions of economic illiterates to his cause with this sort speechifying, but these are not “loopholes,” they are “business decisions” that companies make when they face high regulatory burdens or high corporate taxes. Since the goal of a business is not to become a more effective tax collector or health-care provider, as this administration seems to believe, moving off-shore or tax-inversion — which might mean $20 billion less for the Treasury over a decade — is becoming more popular. But, either way, a lack of new tariffs and taxes does not “reward companies for moving profits overseas” as much as U.S. tax and regulatory policy is a punishment for them staying. Besides, where we stand on the issue of corporate taxation is no way to measure a person’s loyalty to his country.

Actually, logic would also dictate – and Tsongas was far more honest on this front — that if you’re texting on your Samsung phone while driving your Honda or BMW you are also complicit in unpatriotic behavior. You are, in most cases, sending your cash to companies that aren’t pitching in enough to rebuild our airports. Plenty of companies that normally suck up to the administration — General Electric, IBM, Merck and Microsoft, to name a few –believe that punishing foreign companies for doing business in the United States is a bad idea. Are all these companies unpatriotic, as well? Someone should ask the president.

But let’s not forget, for Obama the idea of “economic patriotism” is elastic. The contours of its philosophy are now identical to the president’s own policy proposals. Which is curious, considering we’re supposed to set aside “politics” to achieve our communal goal. Then again, while you may be knee-deep in politics, our president is guided solely by common sense. Here’s how Obama explained economic patriotism on July 4th:It’s a sort of economic patriotism where you say to yourself, how is it that we can start rebuilding this country to make sure that all of the young people who are here but their kids and their grandkids are going to be able to enjoy the same incredible opportunities that this country offers as we have. That’s our job. That’s what we should be focused on. And it’s worth remembering as we go into Independence Day.Yes, thinking up new ways to create reliance on government is exactly what the Founders had in mind in 1776. How do we achieve this? A few years ago, Obama released a 22-page campaign stunt called “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security.” Thin on details, it was big on advocating for new stimulus to fund a slew of liberal hobbyhorses. The title, “New Economic Patriotism” oozed an authoritarian scent, and, fittingly enough, anyone who disagreed was “betting against America.” This is just one of the accusations regularly thrown around these days to chill speech.

And as the president lets it rip, perhaps we should take his definition of patriotism seriously. Though the idea can be somewhat amorphous, patriotism and nationalism, especially in this country, is driven by idealism rather than chauvinism or ethnic and religious considerations. The kind of idealism that soldiers go and die for. So if you believe that left-wing economic policies are synonymous with “patriotism” but religious freedom, freedom of speech and economic freedom are antiquated notions in need of fixing, maybe it’s your idea of American nationalism that is warped.
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David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of “The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy.” Follow him on Twitter.

Tags: Barack Obama, patriotism, questions patriotism, economic patriotism, David Harsanyi, The Federalist To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

“Nobody Said No” - Fox News: FEC May Ban Books

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
Background: FEC chairman warns book publishers at risk of regulation at heated meeting -    by Judson Berger, Fox News: The Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission warned Wednesday that his agency colleagues could try to regulate book publishers, during a heated session over a forthcoming book by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan.

During the meeting, the FEC declined to definitively spare book publishers from the reach of campaign finance rules.

This triggered a clash between Republican and Democratic members, with Chairman Lee Goodman warning that the deadlock could represent a "chill" for constitutional free-press rights.

"That is a shame. ... We have wounded the free-press clause of the First Amendment," Goodman told FoxNews.com after the tense meeting. Goodman previously has warned that the commission wants to start regulating media.

At issue during the meeting was a book by Rep. Ryan, R-Wis., being published by Grand Central Publishing. Goodman and other GOP members of the commission wanted the FEC to affirm that the book and its publisher are exempt from FEC regulation under what's known as the "media exemption" -- the same exemption that typically lets newspaper editorials, television channels and other outlets say what they want about political figures without worrying about campaign finance laws.

Goodman argues that book publishers are entitled to the same rights.

The commission did clear the Ryan book under a separate, more limited exemption. But they could not muster the four votes necessary to do what Goodman and other Republican members wanted.

"I think that's unfortunate," Goodman said during the meeting, even raising the specter of book-banning. "We have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher."

He and two other members of the commission subsequently released a six-page, highly annotated statement detailing their concerns.

Democratic members of the committee, though, were quick to downplay Goodman's complaints as a technical quibble.

Commissioner Ellen Weintraub noted that the Ryan book was still going forward unencumbered by FEC regulations. She said the public probably doesn't care "which exemption we use," and accused Goodman of using "overheated language."

"That doesn't mean that we're banning books, that doesn't mean that we're regulating books," she said.

Weintraub also noted that the exemption used for Ryan's book is the same used for one by liberal documentarian Michael Moore.

Goodman for months has been warning that some in the FEC are keen to start regulating the media, despite a longstanding congressional ban on doing so.

He points in part to a case that was considered in 2013 involving Boston TV station WCVB. The station had invited a Democratic and Republican congressional candidate for a debate-style program during the election a year earlier, but another third-party candidate complained he was illegally excluded. The FEC looked at the case, because of allegations the treatment of the other candidates was tantamount to a contribution.

Ultimately, the FEC dismissed the complaint. But Goodman voiced concern that it was seriously considered at all.

Goodman told FoxNews.com that in the latest case, the FEC should have affirmed that book publishers are exempt from commission regulations as part of the press. He said the failure to do so represents "an effort to constrict the media exemption within the commission."

Reached for comment, a Ryan spokesperson declined to speak to the dispute before the commission, but said: "We appreciate the Commission's diligence and welcome the guidance provided in their advisory opinion concerning the publication and promotion of Paul Ryan's upcoming book, The Way Forward."

Tags: editorial cartoon, William Warren, Federal Government, Nobody said no, FEC, Federal Election Commission, regulate books, banning books, democrats, FoxNews, Judson Berger  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

A Great Plan to Replace the EPA

By Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: For years now I have been saying that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be eliminated and its powers given to the fifty states, all of which,have their own departments of environmental protection. Until now, however, there has been no plan put forth to do so.

Dr. Jay Lehr has done just that and his plan no doubt will be sent to the members of Congress and the state governors. Titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency” it should be read by everyone who, like Dr. Lehr, has concluded that the EPA was a good idea when it was introduced in 1971, but has since evolved into a rogue agency threatening the U.S. economy, attacking the fundamental concept of private property, and the lives of all Americans in countless and costly ways.

Dr. Lehr is the Science Director and Senior Fellow of The Heartland Institute, for whom I am a policy advisor. He is a leading authority on groundwater hydrology and the author of more than 500 magazine and journal articles, and 30 books. He has testified before Congress on more than three dozen occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. The Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organizations supported by voluntary contributions.

Ironically, he was among the scientists who called for the creation of the EPA and served on many of the then-new agency’s advisory councils. Over the course of its first ten years, he helped write a significant number of legislative bills to create a safety net for the environment.

As he notes in his plan, “Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has passed that benefited either the environment or society.”

“The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S. President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to ‘skyrocket.’ It is a rogue agency.”

Dr. Lehr says that “Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option.” He's right.

“I have come to believe that the national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight.”

Looking back over the years, Dr. Lehr notes that “The initial laws I helped write have become increasingly draconian, yet they have not benefited our environment or the health of our citizens. Instead they suppress our economy and the right of our citizens to make an honest living. It seems to me, and to others, that this is actually the intention of those in EPA and in Congress who want to see government power expanded without regard to whether it is needed to protect the environment or public health.”

Eliminating the EPA would provide a major savings by eliminating 80% of its budget. The remaining 20% could be used to run its research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. “The Committee would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval.”

Dr. Lehr estimates the EPA’s federal budget would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300 and that staff would serve in a new national EPA headquarters he recommends be “located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states.” The staff would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states.”

“Most states,” says Dr. Lehr, “will enthusiastically embrace this plan, as their opposition to EPA’s ‘regulatory train wreck’ grows and since it gives them the autonomy and authority they were promised when EPA was first created and the funding to carry it out.”

The EPA was a good idea when it was created, the nation’s air and water needed to be cleaned, but they have been at this point. Since then, the utterly bogus “global warming”, now called “climate change”, has been used to justify a torrent of EPA regulations. The science the EPA cites as justification is equally tainted and often kept secret from the public.

“It’s time for the national EPA to go,” says Dr. Lehr and I most emphatically agree. “All that is missing is the political will.”
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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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Obamacare Train Wreck: GAO Report | Over 60,000 Louisanans Face ‘Double-Digit Rate Increases’ | Oregon Medicaid Patients ‘Suffer From "Widespread Physician Shortage’

Toon by William Warren
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 24, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM today. The will be considering the following bills today:
H.R. 4984 — "To amend the loan counseling requirements under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5111 — "To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking."
H.R. 3393 — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to consolidate certain tax benefits for educational expenses, and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 2283 (Voice Vote) — "To prioritize the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 without increasing the size of the Federal Government, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3136 (414-0) — "To establish a demonstration program for competency-based education."
H.R. 4449 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to expand the training for Federal Government personnel related to trafficking in persons, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4980 (Voice Vote) — "To prevent and address sex trafficking of children in foster care, to extend and improve adoption incentives, and to improve international child support recovery."
H.R. 4983 (Voice Vote) — "To simplify and streamline the information regarding institutions of higher education made publicly available by the Secretary of Education, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5076 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to increase knowledge concerning, and improve services for, runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking."
H.R. 5116 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5134 (Voice Vote) — "To extend the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for one year."
H.R. 5135 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to identify strategies to prevent children from becoming victims of trafficking and review trafficking prevention efforts, to protect and assist in the recovery of victims of trafficking, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2569, a bill that would change the tax code concerning tax breaks for moving expenses for certain corporations.

At 1:45 PM, the Senate agreed to the motion to proceed to S. 2569 by voice vote and then began voting on cloture on the nomination of Pamela Harris, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.  Following that vote, voice votes are scheduled for nominees for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

Another Bad Week For Obamacare Train Wreck with the news about Americans struggling with the narrow networks Obamacare imposes and the GAO investigation finding it easy to create fraudulent accounts to get subsidized insurance. Today features more problematic news for Democrats’ unpopular health care law.

The AP reports on more premium increases being sought in Louisiana. “Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent. More than 60,000 people who get health insurance through the individual marketplace — which was expanded by the federal Affordable Care Act — are in line for double-digit rate increases on Jan. 1 if they keep their current policies. The companies filed paperwork with Louisiana's insurance department outlining those planned rate increases for 2015. Lower rate hikes falling below 10 percent next year will hit individual market policies covering another 27,000 people. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said the average health insurance rate increase planned in the state's individual market next year is 12 percent to 13 percent. ‘We are seeing a negative trend in that we are seeing increases instead of decreases as a result of this new system of health insurance,’ Donelon, a Republican who opposed the federal law, said this week. . . . [I]nsurance officials say the increases are larger than the price hikes enacted annually before the federal law was put in place. ‘Prior to the implementation of the law, increases mirrored health care trend, which was in single digit increases,’ said John Maginnis, spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, the largest provider of insurance offerings on the federal marketplace for Louisiana. . . . The highest rate hikes proposed for the individual marketplace are from Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in Louisiana. The company's double-digit planned increases top 18 percent and involve policies covering 52,000 people. . . . The Louisiana Health Cooperative is raising rates by more than 10 percent for policies that cover about 2,000 people. Humana, which offers coverage through the marketplace only in Jefferson Parish, is planning to increase prices by more than 15 percent for individual market policies that cover more than 4,900 people.”

Of course, Americans remember President Obama pledged that “[t]his law will lower premiums,” one of a string of broken promises about his health care law.

Meanwhile, in Oregon, the troubles brought on by Obamacare continue. According to another AP report, “Low-income Oregon residents were supposed to be big winners after the state expanded Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul and created a new system to improve the care they received. But an Associated Press review shows that an unexpected rush of enrollees has strained the capacity of the revamped network that was endorsed as a potential national model, locking out some patients, forcing others to wait months for medical appointments and prompting a spike in emergency room visits, which state officials had been actively seeking to avoid. The problems come amid nationwide growing pains associated with the unprecedented restructuring of the U.S. health care system, and they show the effects of a widespread physician shortage on a state that has embraced Medicaid expansion. . . . [E]arly indications show clear challenges associated with expanding Medicaid and establishing coordinated care networks, the centerpiece of Gov. John Kitzhaber's plan to reduce costs and improve care by focusing on primary care and keeping patients out of emergency rooms. ‘As soon as people got insured, they all showed up at once, wanting to deal with the problems they couldn't deal with for years,’ said John Guerreiro, a primary care doctor in northwestern Oregon.”

The AP details just some of the problems Oregon patients and doctors are experiencing. “Timothy McDaniel, a self-employed computer programmer from Springfield, gained Medicaid coverage in January and said it took him six months to find a doctor. He even went to an urgent care clinic seeking a wellness exam but was turned away, because the facility didn't provide such evaluations. ‘It was rather frustrating because I'm getting older, I'm in my late 50s,’ McDaniel said. ‘I thought I had this health insurance. I wanted to use it. I wanted to get checked out, and I couldn't.’ The flood of new enrollees like McDaniel has hit hardest in rural parts of the state, where the physician shortage is most severe. But problems have been reported from every corner, the AP has learned after contacting each of 15 regional coordinated care organizations, regional networks of doctors and nurses intended to see patients more often for treatment of small and chronic problems. The coordinated care model has been championed by the state's Democratic governor, an early supporter of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, and is unique to Oregon. . . . Two regions have stopped accepting new patients, locking out more than 16,000 new enrollees in western and southern Oregon, state data shows. The new patients are still insured, but without a coordinated care network, they're on their own to find a doctor. Eight regions saw some practices, clinics and individual doctors close to new Medicaid enrollees. . . . Seven regions report that new patients are facing long waits for primary care visits, delays that can last months. . . . Seven regions report an increase in ER visits, up to 30 percent, in a statistic that has been particularly troubling for supporters of Oregon's efforts.”

Obamacare is a mess. It’s exacerbating many health care problems, costing a great deal of money, hurting patients, straining medical practices and facilities, raising premiums, narrowing provider networks, and failing to live up to the promises Democrats made when they passed the law. It needs to be repealed and replaced with real commonsense health care solutions, not a one-size-fits-all government centered approach.

Tags: Obamacare, Trainwreck GAO, Rate increases, no doctors taking plan, Washington, D.C., House, Senate, bills, nominations, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

In The Trenches Fighting The Good Fight Defending Liberty

David M. Huntwork, Contributing Author: We exist in a vast sea of ignorance and lack of understanding in regards to history, politics, and ideology. Not to mention the implications of each upon our nation and civilization. Perhaps we should not be surprised that large segments of society can’t put the Civil War in the correct century or begin to find major countries on a map. There are entire political ideologies that rely on that mind-numbing, and sometimes frightening, misunderstanding and basic ignorance that a significant portion of society manifests as a source for their power and strength.

I find liberalism / progressivism to be little more than a mental poison, an ideological and philosophical cancer on society that is malicious and destructive to everything that it touches from the sanctity of human life, to the traditional family structure (the basic foundation of all civilization), to national security, to free enterprise and beyond. It is the bane of Western Civilization, the concept of personal liberty, and a threat to all I hold dear. And it too often shares the mentality (and dare I say even goals?) of some of the nastiest political philosophies that have ever marred the face of the planet. It must be opposed however and whenever it can.

I don’t live in an ideological vacuum; instead I actively have an ideology and world view.   Liberalism is a dangerous, vicious, corrupting and deceptive ideology that hates everything I believe to be true, right and correct. It is as much a religion or mental defect as a political philosophy and I will fight it however, whenever, and wherever I can. I’m proud to be on the front line in the culture and ideological wars for the heart and soul of this nation. No apologies are offered.

We are now engaged in a great struggle for the heart, soul, and future of a nation, a great people, and perhaps even Western Civilization itself. Progressivism destroys everything that is good and just and wages unrelenting war on everything I believe to be sacred, right, and true. They have no pity and are not constrained by the mores of tradition, values, honesty, or rule of law. They dismantle free enterprise, flood our nation with foreign immigrants both legal and illegal, dismantle and redefine the family, mock our traditions, slaughter the unborn, ignore our history, mock Christianity, and shred morals and values at every turn. There are not two equally valid ideologies to choose from. All paths do not lead to truth.

The road to serfdom is a path we would rather not take, and warning people what can eventually happen when you give up liberty, control, and decision-making to a monolithic, increasingly powerful, and rapidly growing government that seeks to dictate, regulate, or control nearly every aspect of your personal, business, and daily life is not paranoia, but reality. The face of modern fascism is far more deceitful in the modern age. Progressivism is fascism with a compassionate face.

Perhaps I take a larger view of “the struggle.” People who are out to destroy everything I believe in and undermine the traditions, culture, language and institutions of Western Civilization certainly are an “enemy,” at least the ideology they believe in is. Have you been paying attention? Are you aware of the agendas being enacted and the ones that are planned? Statism is alive and well my friend, and liberty and freedom are on life support.

The corrupt cabal who rule us now would have kissed the feet of King George and embraced his tyranny for the sake of “the common good.” To the brave founders of this nation liberty was not just some obscure concept to give lip service to, but something worth fighting and dying for. It was real. We have lost that as a society and we must be willing to do what is necessary to regain it. Liberty is worth sacrificing everything for. It is at the core of what makes us free men.

The threat we face is not a fantasy, but a reality that is growing everyday. Defending the Founder’s vision and the Republic they created with vigor and even their own words and passion is a great thing, not something to be avoided. We are defending their vision and their dream. We are the heirs to their gift and it deserves to be defended every way possible. They earned it and they deserve it. The era of ‘decorum’ and polite political discourse is no longer with us and has been moldering in the grave for some time. That bridge has not only been crossed (by both sides) but has been burned down behind us.

Righteous anger and indignation is a fire that should be stoked, not extinguished. Even Christ drove the money changers out of the temple. There is no shame in that but we all must do what we can to defeat the ideological barbarians in our midst.

If the Founders saw the state of the country they would be aghast at what we have allowed to happen to their bold experiment. Conservatives see themselves as the spiritual descendants of the Founding Fathers and the keeper of the flame of freedom handed down to us from them. What we see now is a protest characterized not by a roar for revolution, but by a call for restoration — repair of our Constitution’s authority and return to its standard for Rule of Law.

“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.” –Thomas Jefferson

It is interesting to see some factions of the Right not embracing guerrilla conservatism. The Left firmly trampled to death the last rules of civility and the argument of ‘we need to be nice, because if we aren’t they might be mean to the next Republican president’ is bologna (ask President Bush about that). If you show up to a gun fight with cardboard swords you are going to lose.

I advocate ideological warfare and an energized, confrontational conservative movement. The Left is completely dominating in every arena and it is not by “playing nice.” There are some who wring their hands about civility and propriety while the shining city on the hill is being looted and pillaged by the barbarian followers of an evil ideology. Let me know how “playing nice” works out. The rest of us will be in the trenches fighting the good fight defending liberty.
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David Huntwork is a conservative blogger, columnist, and the proud father of three daughters. The son, grandson, and great-grandson of Ministers of the Gospel he brings a unique blended background of theology and ideology to the great debates of the day. He believes that Faith, Family, and Freedom is the formula for success and the key to a good life and a healthy nation. David blogs at TheConservativeCitizen.com and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. You can contact him at Davehuntwork@juno.com.

Tags: defending liberty, in the trenches, ideological warfare, David Huntwork,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Politics and the Fundamentals of Sound Religion

Benjamin Franklin and John Locke
by Patrick L Booth, Contributing Author: Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Yale University his ideas about religion. It was widely circulated and its tenets widely shared by our political founders. “I believe in one GOD, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to Him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.”

The fundamental points widely taught in schools until recent times were: 1. There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him. 2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong. 3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat one another. 4. All mankind live beyond this life. 5. In the next life men are judged for their conduct in this one.

These same points are still widely held and taught in many other countries throughout the world whether as specific religions or not. Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and other founders thought these were the basic tenets on which American Civilization was founded (and upon which English Common Laws were also founded and became the basis for our common laws.) English Common Law was taught as being structured on God’s revealed law constituting a moral code clearly distinguishing right from wrong.

One of the most influential philosophers of our founders was John Locke who wrote a number of essays including, “ Concerning Human Understanding.” Locke said it defies the most elementary aspects of reason and experience to presuppose that everything in existence developed as a result of fortuitous circumstance. No mind can accept the forces of nature could produce such a work as a wristwatch or even basic tools, let alone the marvelous intricacies of life, the simplest organisms found in nature. All appear to be the products of intelligent design and precision engineering. To Locke, an “atheist” confesses merely never having dealt with the Creator’s existence so would be to that extent, “irrational”, out of touch with the most important and fundamental reality.

Everyone can know there is a divine Creator. To begin with, each person knows of his own existence. Further, each knows he is “something”. We all know “something” cannot be brought into existence by “nothing”. Therefore, whatever brought man and everything else into existence, had to be “something”. It follows that “something” doing all this organizing and arranging must be all-knowing to the extent required for such organization and arrangements. This “something” must also be superior to everything resulting form its efforts. This superiority makes the “something” the ultimate good for all of its organization and arrangements. In our language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is simply, “GOD.” Since man is a creation and is capable of “knowing” (cognitive) then the Creator must also be a cognitive or reasoning and thinking entity. Certainly something non-cognitive, like a rock, could not have produced something as cognitive as man. We also know the Creator must have compassion, love, a fine sense of right and wrong and justice, even a sense of humor for mankind has all these sublime qualities. He must be a fine artist with so much beauty of form, color, and contrasts for all to behold for even animals possess some sense satisfaction of sensory perceptions we call beauty.

As Locke said and our founding fathers agreed, there are many things Man can know about God. Because any thoughtful person can gain appreciation and conviction of these many attributes of the Creator, atheists fail to apply their capacity for observation, reason, and understanding. This belief was the fundamental premise underlying all self-evident truths as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and elsewhere in our founding documents. Modern progressives, socialists, and atheists think they are simply smarter and wiser than our founders despite all the evidences against their philosophical failures.
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Patrick L Booth is conservative writer and retired from the FAA. He blogs at The Blue Eye View. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

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Layoffs Prove the Deceit of Amnesty

by Phyllis Schlafly: The shocking announcement that Microsoft is cutting 18,000 jobs is still sinking in. Most of those employees do not have a realistic chance of obtaining as good a job as the one they are losing.

In the United States, the number of engineering jobs has been sharply declining. In 2002 the number of electrical engineering jobs in the United States was 385,000, but despite increased demand for technology, the job total dropped to only 300,000 last year.

And that number is not even for American workers, because thousands of these jobs are soaked up by the H-1B visa racket, whereby companies like Microsoft can import and pay foreign workers less than it costs to hire an American. High-tech companies have thousands of foreign employees working on H-1B visas, who are almost like indentured servants to the company because they lose their right to be in our country if they leave their job.

Microsoft’s massive layoff makes downright ridiculous the op-ed recently published by Bill Gates and his billionaire pals, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson. They and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who financed the lobby group FWD.us, demand immediate amnesty disguised as immigration reform in order to bring in more cheap labor.

The real shortage is in good jobs, but these visas flood the labor market and hold wages down, when wages should be climbing for American workers. Fewer Americans have a job today than just six years ago, even though the potential workforce has expanded during that time. One reason is the overuse of foreign labor by large companies.

Microsoft is highly profitable, breaking its own records for revenue and profits as recently as last year, with an effective tax rate of less than 20 percent. One of its directors has agreed to pay $2 billion for a basketball team, and Bill Gates is often listed as the wealthiest man in the world.

In 2007, at a U.S. Senate committee hearing, Gates asked for permission to import “an infinite number” of foreign workers. “I don’t think there should be any limit,” he continued, but at any rate the cap should be “dramatically increased.”

In 2008, before the Science and Technology Committee of the U.S. House, Gates claimed he had jobs “going begging” that no American could be found to do, so he had no choice but to import workers from India. When Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) suggested he might consider raising the pay for those jobs, Gates impatiently dismissed that option, saying, “No, it’s not an issue of raising wages. These jobs are very, very high paying jobs.”

Economics 101 teaches that wages are a function of supply and demand. When the supply of labor is increased, such as by expanding immigration, then wages can and do decrease, despite increased productivity.

Recently a reporter caught up with the laid-off semiconductor engineer whose wife publicly challenged President Obama in January 2012, “Why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?” Darin Wedel eventually found a job in the health care industry, earning $40,000-a-year less than before.

President Obama is still deceiving the American public about the economy, bragging that 288,000 jobs were created last month. As Mort Zuckerman explained in the Wall Street Journal, “Most people will have the impression that the 288,000 jobs created last month were full-time. Not so.” They were part-time jobs, which pay lower wages than the full-time jobs that have disappeared.

There are several reasons for this, such as employers’ desire to avoid the Obamacare mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 or more hours a week. Another is women’s willingness to accept lower pay in exchange for a flexible schedule with fewer hours per day, per week, and per year.

But now many breadwinners, including men, have been forced to take these jobs. Of men aged 25 to 54, one in six does not work; fifty years ago, only one in 20 was not working.

When we first brought the transformation of the American economy into a part-time worker society in 2010, many scoffed and suggested that when the ‘recovery’ really gets going the temp jobs will all be morphed into high-paying full-time jobs. Instead, Zuckerman writes, “more than 24 million Americans remain jobless, working part-time involuntarily or having left the workforce.”

Zuckerman hits us with the depressing conclusion: “Faith in the American dream is eroding fast. The feeling is that the rules aren’t fair and the system has been rigged in favor of business and against the average person.”

One Senator who always speaks up for Americans, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said, “I don’t think you can make the argument that we have a labor shortage.” The answer should be: close the border; absolutely no amnesty masquerading as “immigration reform.”
--------------------
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president ofEagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: H-1B visa racket, H-1B, visas, jobs, layoffs, deceit, amnesty, no amnesty, immigration reform, 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!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Veteran Bypass

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: illegal aliens, bused , Veterans left on the street, 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!

As Russia's Isolation Grows, Oil Companies Caught in Middle

by Nick Cunningham: The confrontation between Russia and the West took a turn for the worse with the downing of a Malaysian airliner on July 17, and that could spell trouble for several major oil companies operating in Russia.

Just one day earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on Russia over its ongoing role in the destabilization of Ukraine. The sanctions prohibited American banks from issuing loans with a maturity of over 90 days to four key Russian companies – Rosneft, Novatek, Gazprombank, and VEB.

"Because Russia has failed to meet the basic standards of international conduct, we are acting today to open Russia's financial services and energy sectors to sanctions," U.S. Treasury Official David S. Cohen said in a press release describing the agency's actions.

The sanctions tightened the economic noose on the Russian economy by targeting companies in Russia's energy sector. Up until now, western sanctions largely targeted individuals in the Russian elite, freezing their assets or issuing bans on American companies from doing business with them. But with oil and gas accounting for over 50 percent of revenues for the Russian state, if Obama wanted sanctions to have any bite, he had to escalate the campaign by going after Russia's energy sector.

Until the July 16 announcement, the major western oil companies operating in Russia shrugged off their effects. Companies like BP, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell defied White House pressure to avoid doing business with Russia.

They made a big bet on the likelihood that their billion-dollar projects would not be affected by the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West.

But the markets took the latest round of sanctions much more seriously than their previous iterations. Rosneft saw its share price decline by 6.2 percent the day of the announcement, and Novatek was off 11.5 percent.

And western companies were not safe either. BP lost $4.4 billion in its market value on July 17. BP owns a 19.8 percent share of Rosneft, Russia's state-owned oil company that was singled out by Obama's sanctions. Nearly one-third of BP's global oil production – or 1 million barrels per day – comes from its investment in Rosneft.

ExxonMobil also has massive business plans with Rosneft. The two companies are drilling a $300 million well in Siberia, and next month they plan on drilling a $700 million well in the Russian Arctic, the country's most expensive in history. ExxonMobil and Rosneft have also agreed to jointly develop an LNG export terminal on Russia's Pacific coast. The Houston-based ExxonMobil has thus far maintained that the projects will be unaffected by sanctions, but that has been thrown into doubt after the U.S. Treasury Department's latest move.

On July 18, Zacks.com, a market research firm, warned investors Russian President Vladimir Putin scoffed at the sanctions, saying that they will merely hurt American energy companies. "This means that U.S. companies willing to work in Russia will lose their competitiveness next to other global energy companies," Putin said. "So, do they not want it to work here? They are causing damage to their major energy companies."

With financing likely to be increasingly hard to come by for Russia's major oil and gas companies, several of them are looking east for access to lending. As The New York Times notes, Russian energy companies are becoming more dependent on Chinese finance to pay for their capital-intensive projects. Partly, this is due to China looking for more Russian energy, but it is also because Russia sees the door slowly closing on access to western banks.

The rift between Russia and the West is bound to worsen after in the aftermath of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 being shot down by a surface-to-air missile in pro-Russian rebel territory. And the cumulative effect of recent sanctions could be minor compared to what may be coming. The U.S. could issue far-reaching sanctions, and the incident could help European Union leaders overcome their hesitation over inflicting damage on the Russian economy.

The international community has called for a full investigation, but right now, all roads appear to be leading to Moscow. Perhaps fearing the fallout from the incident, Putin called for a cease fire in Ukraine.

Swept up in the international crisis are the major oil companies – BP and ExxonMobil – who fear their bottom line taking a big hit from Russia's growing isolation.
-----------------------
James Stafford, Editor, OilPrice.com contributed this article to the ARRA News ServiceOilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site. Nicholas Cunningham is a Washington DC-based writer on energy and environmental issues. You can follow him on twitter at @nickcunningham1.

Tags: U.S., sanctions, Russia, isolation, Oil Companies, BP, ExxonMobil, Malaysia Airliner To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Bordering on Madness

Dr. Thomas Sowell
By Thomas Sowell, Commentary, GOPUSA: In a recent confrontation between protesters against the illegal flood of unaccompanied children into the United States and counter-protests by some Hispanic group, one man from the latter group said angrily, "We are as good as you are!"

One of the things that make the history of clashes over race or ethnicity such a history of tragedies around the world is that -- regardless of whatever particular issue sets off these clashes -- many people see the ultimate stakes as their worth as human beings. On that, there is no room for compromise, but only polarization. That is why playing "the race card" is such an irresponsible and dangerous political game.

The real issue when it comes to immigration is not simply what particular immigration policy America should have, but whether America can have any immigration policy at all.

A country that does not control its own borders does not have any immigration policy. There may be laws on the books, but such laws are just meaningless words if people from other countries can cross the borders whenever they choose.

One of the reasons why many Americans are reluctant to keep out illegal immigrants -- or even to call them "illegal immigrants," instead of using the mealy-mouthed word "undocumented" -- is that most Hispanics they encounter seem to be decent, hard-working people.

This column has pointed out, more than once, that I have never seen Mexicans standing on a street corner begging, though I have seen both whites and blacks doing so.

But such impressions are no basis for deciding serious issues about immigration and citizenship. When we do not control our own borders, we have no way of knowing how many of those coming across those borders are criminals or even terrorists.

We have no way of knowing how many of those children are carrying what diseases that will spread to our children. And we already know, from studies of American children, that those who are raised without fathers in the home have a high probability of becoming huge, expensive problems for taxpayers in the years ahead, and a mortal danger to others.

A hundred years ago, when there was a huge influx of immigrants from Europe, there were extensive government studies of what those immigrants did in the United States. There were data on how many, from what countries, ended up in jail, diseased or on the dole. There were data on how well their children did in school.

As with most things, some immigrant groups did very well and others did not do nearly as well. But today, even to ask such questions is to be considered mean-spirited.

Such information as we have today shows that immigrants from some countries have far more education than immigrants from some other countries, and do not end up being supported by the taxpayers nearly as often as immigrants from other countries. But such information is seldom mentioned in discussions of immigrants, as if they were abstract people in an abstract world.

Questions about immigration and citizenship are questions about irreversible decisions that can permanently change the composition of the American population and the very culture of the country -- perhaps in the direction of the cultures of the countries from which illegal immigrants have fled.

During the era of epidemics that swept across Europe in centuries past, people fleeing from those epidemics often spread the diseases to the places to which they fled. Counterproductive and dangerous cultures can be spread to America the same way.

Willful ignorance is not the way to make immigration decisions or any other decisions. Yet the Obama administration is keeping secret even where they are dumping illegal immigrants by the thousands, in communities far from the border states.

Looking before we leap is not racism -- except in the sense that anything the Obama administration doesn't like is subject to being called racist.

Americans who gather to protest the high-handed way this administration has sneaked illegal immigrants into their communities can expect the race card to be played against them. The time is long overdue to stop being intimidated by such cheap -- and dangerous -- political tactics.
--------------
Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University. He is a retired professor of Economic and presently is a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Visit his website with list of other articles.

Tags: Thomas Sowell, commentary, illegal immigration, Obama administration, calling opponents racist   To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Why Does Anyone Defend Hamas And The Palestinian Culture Of Death?

“Why in God’s name does anyone show sympathy, and support for a terrorist organization?” ~ Former Congressman Allen West, Lt. Col., USA-Retired

by David M. Huntwork, Contributing Author: And that is the question that should be asked. It boggles the mind and offends the senses that there is EVEN ONE MEMBER OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION who is upset that Israel is pummeling the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Under Ariel Sharon, Israel forcibly removed its citizens from Gaza and turned the land over to the Arabs. Israel has been rewarded for that gesture of conciliation with the abduction and killing of its citizens and the launching of hundreds of rockets into its territory.

Such provocations have finally goaded the state of Israel into launching a ground invasion of Gaza to take on the infamous Hamas, a terrorist group famous for hiding behind women and children even as they target the same. Death and destruction is a deserving end to all those who purposefully target, kidnap, and murder young, innocent civilians. That’s the tragic event that triggered this latest round of the current conflict. May all those in Gaza who support such practices pay a very severe price for doing so.

In reality, Hamas has constructed a terror state on the border of Israel which, at its core, seeks to fulfill the vision of Hitler and “drive the Jews into the sea.” And now, right on cue, the Left, and the Muslims it has allowed into the West, are now marching, protesting, and rioting outside synagogues shouting “Death to the Jews” and “Hitler was right.” It is disgusting for any member of the supposedly civilized West to embrace the cult of the belly-bombers and they should be roundly condemned at every opportunity. It seems that every generation forgets the lessons of history.

The terrorist society that inhabits the Gaza strip teaches its children to hate and kill the Jew from birth. It is a culture of death and destruction that celebrates the concept of genocide and the massacre of innocents. How can we consider such a society to be worth defending or sympathizing with? It’s hard to attain any sort of peace agreement when you up against a culture that teaches blind hate from such a young age.

The enemies that Israel faces have a long history of hostage taking, targeted killings of children, the slaughter of innocents for political purposes, airline and ship hijackings, machine gunning at airports, suicide bombings and civilian massacres. Couched in the language of liberation and the struggle for a homeland, is always a thinly - veiled crusade to slaughter Jews at every opportunity and orchestrate the destruction of the state of Israel.
Perhaps Zahir Muhsein, a former PLO executive committee member, stated it best in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw on March 31, 1977."The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism."Encouraging and highlighting the deaths of civilians in a crowded war zone is part and parcel of the Hamas propaganda strategy and that there are those who willingly play that game and promote the Hamas storyline is sickening and disgraceful. The fact that the Left falls for this gambit is simply embarrassing and all their hand-wringing over collateral damage purposefully orchestrated by Hamas hiding itself and its arms among the civilian population is either willful ignorance or dangerous complicity.

In fact Hamas, purposefully and as a matter or policy and strategy, welcomes the death of the civilians it hides behind during these periods of conflict (for propaganda purposes) while the Israelis themselves are sallying forth in an effort to protect civilians from acts of terrorism. There is a stark difference and no moral equivalency between the two.


"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children
more than they hate us." - Golda Meir
In the end, maybe the lesson will be learned by the people living in the Gaza strip that abducting and killing helpless Israeli teenagers just for the heck of it and lobbing rockets at civilian targets carries a very high price indeed and perhaps should not be repeated in the future. I know they want to take a turn at playing "exterminate the Jew", but they seem to be discovering that the Jews are putting up a bit more of a fight this time around. I respect the Israelis; they at least have learned a lesson from history. “Never again.”

The Bible tells us that Ishmael will be “a wild one, and that he will be against everyone, and everyone will feel the same towards him, but that he will live near the rest of his relatives.” Israel is an island of civilization in a sea of barbarism and Islamic fanaticism. The struggle of the Israeli people to preserve their state and their existence continues to this day and they deserve the support of the civilized world against the barbarians of the modern age.

Whether one likes it or not, the physical state of Israel exists and is here to stay. Israel's Arab neighbors can either choose to accept the reality of the situation and peacefully coexist with the Jewish state, or accept the sometimes tough consequences of waging war upon it. If you kick a hornet’s nest, you might just get stung. As any homeowner will tell you, you may not get to choose your neighbors but how you treat them can make a huge difference in the end. You can choose to get along with them as best you can, or you can set yourself up for a lifetime of misery. That is the choice the people of Gaza and all those that border Israel must make, and the right decision will put them on a path to peace.

Video Reference on Hamas: Hezbollah With Hamas Brothers In Arms Will Destroy The Zionist Disease Israel
----------------
David Huntwork is a conservative activist, blogger, and columnist, and the proud father of three daughters. The son, grandson, and great-grandson of Ministers of the Gospel he brings a unique blended background of theology and ideology to the great debates of the day. He believes that Faith, Family, and Freedom is the formula for success and the key to a good life and a healthy nation. David blogs at TheConservativeCitizen.com and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. You can contact him at davehuntwork@juno.com.

Tags: Hamas, Palestinian culture of death, David Huntwork To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

GAO Sting Finds It Easy to Fake It & Get Obamacare Subsidized Premiums

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 23, 2014
The House reconvened today at 10 AM. The House will consider today:
H.R. 3136 — "To establish a demonstration program for competency-based education."
H.R. 4984 - to amend the loan counseling requirements under Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4983 — "To simplify and streamline the information regarding institutions of higher education made publicly available by the Secretary of Education, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5134 — "To extend the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for one year."

Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 1022 (260-143) — "To develop an energy critical elements program, to amend the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2430 (Voice Vote) — "To adjust the boundaries of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to include Hinchliffe Stadium, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3716 (Voice Vote) — "To ratify a water settlement agreement affecting the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3802 (Voice Vote) — "To extend the legislative authority of the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams and his legacy, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4411(404-0) — "To prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4450 (347-57) — "To extend the Travel Promotion Act of 2009, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4508 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the East Bench Irrigation District Water Contract Extension Act to permit the Secretary of the Interior to extend the contract for certain water services."
H.R. 4562 (Voice Vote) — "To authorize early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska."
H.R. 4572 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to extend expiring provisions relating to the retransmission of signals of television broadcast stations, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4802 (Voice Vote) — "To improve intergovernmental planning for and communication during security incidents at domestic airports, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4803 (Voice Vote) — "To require the Transportation Security Administration to conform to existing Federal law and regulations regarding criminal investigator positions, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4812 (Voice Vote) — "To amend title 49, United States Code, to require the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration to establish a process for providing expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans traveling to visit war memorials built and dedicated to honor their service, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5035 (Voice Vote) — "To reauthorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5120 (Voice Vote) — "To improve management of the National Laboratories, enhance technology commercialization, facilitate public-private partnerships, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2569, a bill that would change the tax code concerning tax breaks for moving expenses for certain corporations.

At 11 AM, the Senate voted 93-7 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. agreed to take up and consider) S. 2569. The Senate then confirmed Andrew Shapiro to be Ambassador to the Czech Republic and two other nominees by voice votes.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 100-0 to confirm 3 district judge nominees for California, Florida, and Louisiana.

The AP reports, “Undercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law, congressional investigators said Wednesday. . . . The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office told a House committee that its investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts - even after HealthCare.gov's much maligned online system flagged some applications as problematic. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation. Those follow-up verification checks also appeared to need tightening; the GAO said parts of the fake documentation it submitted for two applications actually got through the process.”

The Washington Post adds, “In undercover tests of the new federal health insurance marketplace, government investigators have been able to procure health plans and federal subsidies for fake applicants with fictitious documents, according to findings that will be disclosed to lawmakers Wednesday. The results of the inquiry by the Government Accountability Office are evidence of still-imperfect work by specialists intended to assist new insurance customers as well as government contractors hired to verify that coverage and subsidies are legitimate. The GAO also pointed to flaws that linger in the marketplace’s Web site, HealthCare.gov. According to testimony to be delivered before a House Ways and Means subcommittee, undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants online or by phone, using invalid or missing Social Security numbers or inaccurate citizenship information. All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it. In one instance, an application was denied but then approved on a second try. In six other attempts to sign up fake applicants via in-person assisters, just one assister accurately told an investigator that the applicant’s income was too high for a subsidy. . . . The GAO investigation was requested before the marketplace opened in the fall, by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.); Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.), chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee; and Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).”

NBC News gives some more details of the investigation. “The GAO launched the sting to check to see how well the Obamacare process checks for counterfeit applications. The results were messy, GAO’s Seto Bagdoyan says in testimony prepared for a hearing Wednesday of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. . . . The GAO operatives made up 18 applications -– 12 applied online or by telephone, and six started out looking for in-person help. All were completely false, with fake incomes and counterfeit documentation. Only one of the group of 12 was correctly told he or she could not apply. . . . The other 11 got through and received federal subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. . . . ‘We are seeing a trend with Obamacare information systems: under every rock, there is incompetence, waste and the potential for fraud,’ committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, told NBC News. ‘Last month, we found that the administration was unable to verify income or eligibility for insurance subsidies. Now, we learn that in many cases, the exchange is unable to screen out fake identities or documents.’”

Of course, this investigation by the GAO highlights yet another broken promise from the Obama administration about Obamacare. In January, then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote, “I certify that the American Health Benefit Exchanges (Marketplaces) verify that applicants for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are eligible for such payments and reductions . . . .”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month, “We knew the promises wouldn’t hold up. Many of us said so.
One even earned the dubious distinction of being declared the ‘Lie of Year.’ And that’s why it’s so hard to trust much of what the Obama Administration claims about Obamacare these days. Like back in December, when Administration officials issued another promise — that they’d make sure that any taxpayer-funded Obamacare subsidies would only go to enrollees who’d actually qualified for them under the law. . . . [I]t turns out we were right to worry. The Inspector General concluded that the Administration was often ineffective at verifying such basic details about Obamacare enrollees as their citizenship status, their income, their Social Security number, and whether or not they were even eligible to purchase Obamacare in the first place.” And today’s news about the GAO’s investigation is just more evidence of this.

Tags: Washington, D.C., The Sting, GAO, fake it, Obamacare, subsidized premiums To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

GAO Undercover Investigators Expose Obamacare

  Undercover Investigation Signs Up Fake Applicants For ACA Coverage, Subsidies’

Obamacare Pays ‘Subsidies For Fake Applicants With Fictitious Documents’
“Undercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law.” (“Undercover Probe Finds Health Law Failings,” AP, 7/22/14)

“The GAO operatives made up 18 applications – 12 applied online or by telephone, and six started out looking for in-person help. All were completely false, with fake incomes and counterfeit documentation.” (“GAO Sting Finds It Easy to Fake It, Get Obamacare Premiums,” NBC News, 7/22/14)

“In undercover tests of the new federal health insurance marketplace, government investigators have been able to procure health plans and federal subsidies for fake applicants with fictitious documents, according to findings that will be disclosed to lawmakers Wednesday.” (“Federal Undercover Investigation Signs Up Fake Applicants For ACA Coverage, Subsidies,” The Washington Post, 7/22/14)</>
“The GAO tests revealed potential weaknesses in the nation's newest social program.” (“Undercover Probe Finds Health Law Failings,” AP, 7/22/14)

Wider Problem: “2.6 Million ‘Inconsistencies’” Among Obamacare Applicants
“The GAO testimony contains updates on that problem, saying that, as of mid-July, about 2.6 million ‘inconsistencies’ existed among applicants who had chosen a health plan...” (“Federal Undercover Investigation Signs Up Fake Applicants For ACA Coverage, Subsidies,” The Washington Post, 7/22/14)

Another Broken Promise
Former HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius: “I certify that the American Health Benefit Exchanges (Marketplaces) verify that applicants for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are eligible for such payments and reductions, consistent with the requirements of section 1411 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…” (Sec. Sebelius, Letter To Vice President Biden, 1/1/14)
  • Sebelius: ‘numerous systems and processes to carry out these verifications’ “...the Marketplace verifies application information provided by the consumer when making an eligibility determination. The Department of Health and Human Services has issued regulations that detail these procedures, and the Marketplaces have implemented numerous systems and processes to carry out these verifications...” (Sec. Sebelius, Letter To Vice President Biden, 1/1/14)

Tags: GAO, undercover investigators, Obamacare, failures, broken promises 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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