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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Obamacare Gutted In Halbig Ruling
Fairfax, Va.— Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement praising the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Halbig v. Burwell, finding that Obamcare exchange subsidies cannot be given in states that set up their own exchanges under an IRS regulation:
"Now, the wisdom of 36 states that have refused to implement state exchanges comes into full view with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to strike down any Obamacare subsidies given through the federally run exchanges. The law only ever authorized that the subsidies to private insurers—some $800 billion a year—be paid through the state exchanges. By not setting up state exchanges, and with the court's ruling, the basic premise of Obamacare has been gutted.
"Not only are the subsidies illegal per the court's ruling, because those subsidies would not be distributed under the decision, the enforceability of both the individual and employer mandates' tax penalties—which depend on those subsidies—has been kneecapped. Meaning, should the ruling stand, the IRS will have no way of penalizing employers and millions of Americans for failing to purchase health insurance in the 36 states.
"Should this ruling withstand scrutiny all the way through the Supreme Court, it will be the end of Obamacare in those 36 states. It will be such a mess that perhaps the only solution will be for Congress to repeal the law. The 36 state legislatures and governors that refused to implement the exchanges are to be praised—as they may have enabled the nation to dodge the Obamacare bullet."Attachment: Courts must stop Obamacare's 'taxation without representation, By Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens, Nov. 25, 2013 Tags:Americans for Limited Government, Nathan Mehrens, statement, U.S. Court of Appeals, the District of Columbia, Halbig v. Burwell, decision, Obamacare, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Obamacare Still Hurting Americans | Has Insurance But Can’t Find A Doctor | Limited Choices For Doctors And Hospitals
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 22, 2014 The House reconvened at Noon. Bills anticipated to be considered today: H.R. 1022 — "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. 3716 — "To ratify a water settlement agreement affecting the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and for other purposes." H.R. 4508 — "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 — "To authorize early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska." H.R. 4572 — "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. 4803 — "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 — "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 — "To reauthorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and for other purposes." H.R. 5120 — "To improve management of the National Laboratories, enhance technology commercialization, facilitate public-private partnerships, and for other purposes."
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today. Following 45 minutes, of morning business, the Senate then voted on cloture on 3 district judge nominees for California, Florida, and Louisiana. Yet again, Democrats used their nuclear option to break Senate rules an allow cloture votes on nominees to succeed with fewer than 60 votes. All three of today’s nominations did so.
At 2:15 PM, senators will vote on confirmation of the 3 district court nominees considered this morning.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 94-0 to confirm Julie Carnes to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit. Update 4::00 PM - If you wonder why the liberal progressive Democrats are using the nuclear option to pack the court system note that these confirmations will affect every case heard by them once they are sworn in. Note the following decisions today over the controversial Affordable Care Act unilateral addon by the Obama administration.
A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled (2-1) that subsidies may not be offered in the federal health exchange. The decision overturned a lower court ruling. Hours later. the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld (3-0) the Obama administration's arguments that subsidies can be applied in the federal exchange. As a result these cases will be appealed and heard by the Supreme Court.While courts try to sort out the sloppy legislation Democrats used to enact Obamacare, the real life consequences of the law continue to harm Americans. Another of the notorious promises made by the president and Democrats in Congress about Obamacare was, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.” But the predictable result of the regulations and mandates in the law was to prove that pledge false and to frustrate Americans with narrower networks of health care providers.
The Tampa Bay Times wrote yesterday, “Charlene Lake thought she got a decent deal through the Affordable Care Act marketplace: a Humana HMO that included a family doctor a few miles from her home. Five months later, Lake wonders if she can even use the insurance she bought. Her plan's dominant health care provider, JSA Medical Group, recently announced that it would take no new patients covered by Humana's exchange HMOs at least until fall. That leaves Lake no choice but to use the community health centers left in her plan's network, rather than the traditional physician's practice on which she planned. . . . [T]he case also shows the downside of limiting consumer choice of physicians through what is known as narrow networks. Or, in Lake's case, a network so narrow it barely exists. ‘You can't make people sign up for a health care plan and then not have a doctor,’ said Lake, a St. Petersburg antiques dealer who is in her 50s. . . . [F]or now, Lake, the St. Petersburg resident, is stuck. She wonders why she's even considered a new patient since she saw a JSA doctor in May. When she called his office recently, the staff told her it was JSA's decision to drop her, not the doctor's. She tried four times one day last week to reach a health center in her network on the campus of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. No one answered the phone. ‘This is a complete mess,’ she said. ‘They took away my doctor who I had gotten in to see within a few days because they claimed the patient load was too much and replaced him with an office that doesn't even answer their phone.’ Other Humana exchange customers say they've noticed cancellations by JSA physicians. James Trizis, a 52-year-old Clearwater diner owner, said JSA recently rescheduled a September checkup for April. Trizis, who has a heart condition, said he worries that preventative care — a key part of the ACA — will get short shrift. ‘My primary care for me and my family is going to be the emergency room,’ he said.”
The Times noted, “Nationwide, about 70 percent of the lowest-priced plans sold on the exchanges are considered to have narrow networks, according to a study by industry consultant McKinsey & Co. And they've caused problems. In California, for instance, insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross faces multiple consumer lawsuits over its use of narrow networks, with some policyholders saying the company had misled people with inaccurate provider lists. Humana isn't the only Florida provider with network issues; Florida Blue consumers in South Florida told the Miami Herald they had problems getting doctors listed in their directories to accept their plans. . . . In the Tampa Bay area, Humana put most of its primary care business into the hands of JSA, a major physicians group that has long handled the insurer's Medicare Advantage customers. JSA has nearly 165 affiliated and employed physicians in the region. . . . Humana's online directory appears to offer plenty of choices. Last week, HMO customers in St. Petersburg had their choice of around 120 primary-care doctors within a 15-mile radius of downtown. But nearly all of those listings are JSA doctors . . . . JSA, which is owned by Denver health giant DaVita, confirmed it will not see new Humana HMO patients at least until fall. JSA president Lorie Glisson said it had served almost twice as many Humana exchange patients as it had expected in the Tampa Bay area.”
Politico also examines the problem of narrow networks incentivized by Obamacare in a piece today. “Anger over limited choice of doctors and hospitals in Obamacare plans is prompting some states to require broader networks — and boiling up as yet another election year headache for the health law. . . . It’s not just a political problem. It’s a policy conundrum. Narrow networks help contain health care costs. If state or federal regulators — or politicians — force insurers to expand the range of providers, premiums could spike. And that could create a whole new wave of political and affordability problems that can shape perceptions of Obamacare. . . . Obamacare didn’t create the trend, but it did highlight it, as insurers sought to make premiums as attractive as possible in the new market. About 70 percent of the lowest-cost exchange plans were built on narrow networks this year, according to the consulting firm McKinsey . . . . In New Hampshire, for instance, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield was the only insurer on the market, and it cut 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals out of its network. That left residents in some rural areas with long commutes to the nearest hospital in their network, and the issue has become a political football in the congressional races there. . . . Incomplete or inaccurate provider directories were rampant in this year’s plans on both the federal and state exchanges, leading consumers to buy plans thinking they cover their doctors only to find out later they do not. . . . Another complication: Even if a patient goes to an in-network hospital, not all the doctors are necessarily part of the plan. For instance, patients can get stuck with thousands of dollars in bills for anesthesia, even if surgery is covered. ‘What we’re seeing is consumers not knowing and getting stuck with high out-of-network bills,’ said Stephanie Mohl, government relations manager at the American Heart Association.”
As Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said last week, “Obamacare has caused countless women to lose the health care plans they had and liked. When these women first spoke out about the betrayal they felt when they lost their plans, many of the law’s supporters waved their concerns away. They said they were lying, or that their plans were ‘junk’ because, of course, they knew better. It’s a pattern that seems to have continued ever since. American women also now have fewer choices of doctors and hospitals under Obamacare. The bill’s supporters have continually waved those concerns aside too. . . . We kept warning [Democrats] that Obamacare would hurt jobs and increase costs. They had to know that Obamacare was going to reduce choices for women and limit their access to certain doctors and hospitals. But Washington Democrats voted for Obamacare anyway. They created these problems. And that’s why they should be working with Republicans now to start over with real, patient-centered reform that lowers costs and that women and men in this country actually want. But they refuse. They’re just doubling down on Obamacare.” Tags:Obamacare, hrting Americans, have insurance, can't find a doctor, limited choicesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Steyer and Sandler: The Biggest Hypocrites in America
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: Liberal megadonor Tom Steyer, failing to raise any significant outside money for his global warming Super PAC, turned to one of his San Francisco neighbors for a million dollar check. It was Herb Sandler, the subprime mortgage lender at the heart of the housing crisis, and like Steyer a huge hypocrite.
That’s a hard record of hypocrisy to top, but bringing in Herb Sandler does it.
Sandler made his fortune destroying the housing market in the United States and plunging the country into the Great Recession.
He invented a mortgage product called “Pick-a-Pay,” which allowed lenders to pay less than an interest-only payment each month, increasing their outstanding principal. In 2008 the New York Timesreported it was “seen by an array of housing analysts and regulators as the Typhoid Mary of the mortgage industry.
The Times quoted California housing lawyer William J. Purdy III: “This product is the most destructive financial weapon ever deployed against the American middle class.”
Sandler didn’t just invent the product. He aggressively and deceptively marketed it. According to Time, Sandler “pushed the mortgage, which offered several ways to back-load your loan and thereby reduce your early payments, with increasing zeal and misleading advertisements.” He pocketed $2.3 billion in 2006 when he sold his toxic loan portfolio to Wachovia Bank, which caused the bank to implode.
Yet Sandler has the astonishing nerve to use his ill-gotten subprime billions to become a major political player, funding a wide array of liberal organizations that purport to stand up for regular Americans. Sandler is the principal donor of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, the liberal faux journalism outfit ProPublica, and the obscenely misnamed Center for Responsible Lending.
Center for American Progress (CAP) has for years attacked billionaires for political giving. They do it with money from a billionaire who actually caused the subprime crisis. I was invited to CAP once to talk about their attacks on conservative donors and it didn’t go well – for them. I’ve never been invited back, but the staffer who moderated the event now works for Harry Reid.
We’ve since learned that CAP is also heavily funded by the health insurance industry while they lobby for Obamacare, which lavishly subsidizes insurers and forces Americans to buy their products.
Yet that arouses no concern from the “reporters” working for Herb Sandler at ProPublica, who are supposedly nonpartisan but spend a lot of time and effort attacking conservative donors and operatives. Newspapers frequently run their stories without any explanation of who ProPublica is or that its founder is a subprime kingpin.
Worst of all is the so-called Center for Responsible Lending, a group Sandler started with another subprime lender, Martin Eakes. That group is the principal cheerleader for the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point.
According to former FDIC chairman William Isaac: “Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and bank board member. Operating without legal authority and guided by a political agenda, unelected officials at the DOJ are discouraging banks from providing basic banking services -- deposit accounts, payments processing services, and payroll accounts – to lawful businesses simply because they don’t like them. Bankers are being cowed into submission by an oppressive regulatory regime.”
Could anything be more hypocritical than using money from Herb Sandler to shut off financing from lawful businesses deemed undesirable?
Tags:editorial cartoon, Gary Varvel, mixed messages, border securityTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Watching left-wing organizations lose their wits denouncing conservatives is always fun and particularly if you know one of their targets. In my case, that would be Tom DeWeese, the founder and president of the American Policy Center; the most expert and outspoken opponent of Agenda21 in the nation.
In the early 1990s I sent him a commentary and he published it in The DeWeese Report, a publication of the Center, and thereafter I served as the Center’s communications director for a while. These days I am on its board of advisors.
He is a patriot and he lives his love for America by devoting himself to educating people to the dangers of the United Nations Agenda 21 with its emphasis on “sustainable development” and a range of issues involving ill-conceived environmental policies and programs, the importance of private property rights, the threat of federal computer banks to individual privacy rights, as well as issues such as federal education policies in our nation’s schools.
At the heart of Agenda21 is “sustainable development” which is justified by the global warming hoax that is based on reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called greenhouse gases. The Earth’s temperature and climate is determined by the sun. The gases of its atmosphere are in flux as oceans absorb and release CO2, and clouds come and go in a constant dynamic of change. What mankind does has virtually no impact on the weather short-term or the climate long-term.
“Sustainable Development”, Tom wrote in “How Global Policy Becomes Local”, “is truly stunning in its magnitude to transform the world into feudal-like governance by make nature the central organizing principle for our economy and society. It is a scheme fueled by unsound science and discredited economics that can only lead modern society down the road to a new Dark Age.”
“It is systematically implemented through the creation of non-elected visioning boards and planning commissions. There is no place in the Sustainable world for individual thought, private property or free enterprise. It is the exact opposite of the free society envisioned by this nation’s founders.”
I told you he was a patriot, didn’t I? Because only patriots feel that passionately about individual freedom, property rights, free enterprise, and all those concepts that make Leftists break out in a cold sweat.
Among the left-wing groups that do not like Tom is the Southern Poverty Law Center and it devotes a lot of time denouncing him. On their website, the SPLC reveals its own agenda and why Tom is the enemy. “For 20 years now, Tom DeWeese has been on a jihad against global plans for sustainable development.” The key word here is “global” as in U.N., not U.S.
Imagine my surprise as I read the SPLC post that said, “Serving on the board of DeWeese’s American Policy Center (is) Alan Caruba” and noting that I blog for the Tea Party Nation. I contribute to their blog section, but I do not blog for the group. It should come as no surprise that the SPLC identifies Tea Party Nation as “a hate group.” It’s a pretty good description of the SPLC!
“DeWeese’s outfit,” says the SPLC denunciation, “is only one of several obsessed with what has become one of the main conspiracy theories of the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement.” What’s amusing is the backhanded way SPLC acknowledged his success. “The effect of the fear-mongering fairy tale offered up by DeWeese and other conspiracy theorists have been almost unbelievable. Not only have some counties passed resolutions opposing Agenda21” including the Republican National Committee” in 2012.
If “fear-mongering” includes pointing out that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for the last seventeen years and that wind and solar power is an illusion costing far more than the value of the electricity it produces, then the SPLC has plenty to worry about.
America is fortunate to have patriots like Tom DeWeese who take its Constitution and its values so seriously that they devote their lives to protecting them.
----------------- Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Agenda 21, New World Order, Nemisis of Agenda 21, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
The Senate will reconvene at 2 PM today and be in a period of morning business. At 5:30, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the nominations of Julie Carnes to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit and Eunice Reddick to be U.S. Ambassador to Niger. Tomorrow, cloture votes on three district court judges are scheduled for 10:45 AM.
Democrat Disarray On Border Crisis: Politico reports today, “President Barack Obama’s response to the southern border crisis is under fire from an unlikely source: fellow Democrats. Republicans have seized on the ballooning number of unaccompanied children crossing into Texas as proof of Obama’s failed immigration policies. But Democrats are also frustrated and are increasingly blaming the White House for bungling the response to the situation on the border. As Congress struggles to agree on emergency funding in response to the crisis, Democrats are taking the White House to task any chance they get. They are giving floor speeches, arguing the administration doesn’t understand the root cause of the crisis. They are sparring with administration officials in closed-door discussions. And they say Obama should have better consulted lawmakers before backing a policy change deeply opposed by their party.”
The Hill adds, “Centrist and liberal Democrats are battling one another over the emergency spending package for child immigrants at the southern border. Worried about voter anger over illegal immigration in a midterm election year, centrists want Congress to examine changes to special legal protections granted to immigrants from Central America. But the changes are hotly opposed by powerful liberals, including Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who worry they could put children from Central America in jeopardy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has sided with the liberals and senior members of his caucus, agreeing that the $3.7 billion in emergency spending should not include policy changes empowering the administration to deport unaccompanied minors more quickly. But centrist Democrats are pressing Reid to give ground.”
So on one side are Democrats who say the law needs to be changed, and on the other side are Democrats who reject that, and Democrats on both sides seem to be venting their frustrations at the White House.
Among those looking for changes to the law are Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Angus King (I-ME), according to The Hill.“‘Just a clean 3.7 [billion]? No, I think we have to make sure we have the direction we’re going to spend that,’ said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), when asked if he would vote for a spending bill that did not make policy changes. . . . Sen. Tom Carper (D) said the funding and the policy changes should move together. ‘I think they go together,’ he said. . . . ‘I’m interested in seeing some of the other proposals around policy changes. I do think there may be some things we can change that help expedite proceedings for some of the people who are here,’ said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), who is in the midst of a competitive race in New Hampshire. ‘It seems to me we ought to be able to find some middle ground here that everybody can agree to.’ . . . Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), another Democratic centrist, said, ‘I think we should have the same law on the books for Central America as we have for Canada and Mexico.’ . . . Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, said . . . ‘I think I could certainly support what the administration is proposing. That’s simply giving the kids who have the discretion to make this kind of decision an option.’” Politico notes Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) making similar comments: “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who wrote the 2008 law, said she was not upset with the White House, saying: ‘Our country has never before faced these kinds of circumstances.’ And she seemed open to changes in the statute to ensure that kids from other countries — such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — are treated the same as Mexicans. ‘Do we want to? No,’ Feinstein said when asked if Congress would have to change the law. ‘But we may need to because this isn’t something that’s just going to be with us for the next month.’”
But, The Hill writes, “Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who is putting the Senate bill together, told colleagues in a floor speech last week that policy changes were not necessary. . . . Reid has sided with Mikulski, Durbin and Leahy. ‘There's leeway there [so] that the executive branch of the government doesn't need new legislation,’ the Senate leader said this week in response to calls for changing the 2008 trafficking law. . . . [Sen. Bob] Menendez [D-NJ] on Friday argued that is not necessary because the administration already has the power to offer voluntary return trips. ‘I believe if you read the law as it is today a Central American child can seek voluntary departure,’ he said.”
And Politico documents Democrats unloading their disagreements and frustrations on the White House. “Democrats argue the administration has complicated the issue. White House officials are open to changing the 2008 law and initially signaled that it would ask Congress for revisions so Obama could have ‘additional authority to exercise discretion’ in deportation cases. But immigration advocates were furious over the plan. And Obama did not send along any suggested policy changes when he submitted a $3.7 billion emergency spending request earlier this month, though officials stills say they are considering revisions. Congressional Democrats are left perplexed.” In addition, “Tension between the administration and congressional Democrats is becoming more common,” Politico writes. “Many Democrats are still fuming about last year’s troubled rollout of Obamacare. The party has been on the defensive over the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner trade swap. The recent veterans health care scandal left many angry. And with Obama’s poll numbers tanking, many plainly fear that all the bad news will make it harder to maintain control of the Senate in the fall elections.”
The result being annoyed responses like that of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). “‘They sure didn’t check with me,’ said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I don’t know who they checked with, but I just think it was kind of a quick reaction without really thinking about the humanitarian aspects of this.’ . . . The issue came to a head at a closed-door briefing for senators Wednesday evening with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and other senior administration officials. At the meeting, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) pressed Johnson on the matter, saying that the administration did not need change the law to deal with children from countries other than Mexico, sources said. Johnson, however, stood his ground and said the law needed a modification, something that prompted Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to side with Leahy, attendees said. . . . [T]he disagreements with the White House extend to House Democrats, too. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) indicated that the White House should not have initially signaled it was willing to accept changes to the 2008 trafficking law. ‘I try never to negotiate against myself,’ Gutierrez said. . . . The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been working overtime to persuade fellow Democrats against changes to the trafficking statute – even as one of their own, moderate Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), introduced legislation with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to revise the 2008 law. . . . Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who attended a meeting between Obama and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus at the White House on Wednesday, said Democrats ‘had to scramble’ to lobby against changes to the 2008 law once they were publicly floated.”
The upshot of this mess is that Democrats are in disarray and can’t agree on a solution while the Obama administration’s notoriously bad relationship with both parties in Congress hasn’t helped matters. But instead of President Obama working on a solution to the crisis on the border, both within his party and with Republicans, he’s got more campaign speeches and fundraisers scheduled this week. And Democrat leaders in the Senate are readying yet more show votes on bills that are designed to fail.
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said recently, “[M]uch more needs to be done, and the President knows it. His original letter to Congress called for reforms we all know are needed to address this crisis. Under pressure from the Left, he has since backed away from those critical reforms, but lawmakers in both parties have not. So he needs to work with us to get the right policy into effect. And he needs to halt his endless campaigning.” Tags:democrats, disarray, border crisis, Harry Reid, Obama border billTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Their response to these clear demonstrations of their lack of juice? President Obama’s appointee, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering power grabbing the entire orchard — to then squeeze net neutrality (and all private investment) out of it.
The grove in question is the entire World Wide Web — to be infected by the government’s imposition of Title II Reclassification:Title II is the uber-regulatory superstructure with which we have strangled landline phones – you know, that bastion of technological and economic innovation. Which do you find more impressive – your desktop dialer or your smartphone?
Title II regulations date back to at least the 1930s – so you know they’ll be a perfect fit for the ultra-modern, incredibly dynamic, expanding-like-the-universe World Wide Web.
This would be the most detrimental of all Information Superhighway road blocks. Rather than the omni-directional, on-the-fly innovation that now constantly occurs, Title II is a Mother-May-I-Innovate, top-down traffic congest-er. Imagine taking a 16 lane Autobahn down to just a grass shoulder.The FCC has begun a rulemaking process on this ginormous usurpation, which includes a just-concluded (first) comment period, during which the FCC’s website crashed — not once, but twice.
Get that? The commission that is looking to yet again defy the law, multiple court rulings, and rationality to commandeer control of the Internet, is serially unable to keep its own website operational and online.
The first time their website went down, it was hacked. The FCC denied the hack, instead trying to blame an influx of commenters generated by a cable TV show. That airs at 10pm. On Sunday night. Two days before the site actually collapsed:An FCC spokesperson contacted us to say its statement to Vice about the recent site crash was misconstrued. The commission says it has no evidence of a malicious attack; if anything, a high volume of traffic caused the collapse.…The FCC spokesperson was in fact telling a fib. Sound familiar?
The truth eventually outed.Vice says it confirmed with a "high-level FCC source" that the FCC site suffered a database denial-of-service attack.The FCC website crashed again coming down the Comment Period home stretch. This time it in fact appeared to be the result of too much traffic. Which is hardly any more heartening to their uber-regulating the Internet.
So they had to extend the Comment Period. Sound familiar?ObamaCare Deadline Extended After Website's Technical TroubleYet another reminder that government is the only entity that complains about having too many customers.
The FCC is now blaming their incessant website failures on a lack of money. They asked this year for $375 million. The Republican-led House of Representatives wants to give them $358 billion. The FCC’s 2012 budget was $340 million. Methinks they can make do.
All of this Internet professionalism emanates from a Commission that describes itself thus:(T)he United States' primary authority for communications law, regulation and technological innovation.The FCC wantonly ignores and flouts communications law - which courts have again and again asserted doesn’t give it any authority over the Internet.
And I would posit that the private sector - which built the World Wide Web into the free speech-free market Xanadu we all know and love - is “the United States’ primary authority for…technological innovation.” Not a government bureaucracy that can’t even keep it’s own website going.
The FCC certainly is a “primary authority for…regulation.” Whether they have the authority to impose it or not. Even when regulation clearly is not needed. The Internet isn’t broken - why is the perpetually-broken government trying to “fix” it?
So the FCC is trying to commandeer control of the entire World Wide Web. Yet has zero authority to do so. Yet is incapable of keeping a website online - or telling the truth about why. Yet is pressing forward anyway.
How very Obama Administration of them.
------------- Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Follow him on TwitterFacebook. Tags:FCC, Internet, Seton Motley, Less GovernmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Contributing Authors:: Beau Bergdahl has been returned to “active duty.” Apparently, that means a desk job while the Army considers what should be done with this young enlisted soldier. Bergdahl was held for five years by the Taliban since walking away from his post one night in 2009.
President Obama greeted Bergdahl’s relieved parents in Rose Garden at the White House in a move widely criticized. And that was even before Americans learned that the Obama administration had traded young Bergdahl for five of the most murderous Taliban detainees from our facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Duty. There seems to be much confusion about the word today. The fifth general order that recruits are required to memorize in Boot Camp defines it as a military duty “to quit my post only when properly relieved.” It is not yet clear that Beau Bergdahl committed any disloyal act in walking off his post in Afghanistan. We may find upon a probing investigation that he was dazed, depressed, drunk, or drugged. A full and fair inquiry is required.
But this much is already clear: Beau Bergdahl quit his post in Afghanistan without being properly relieved. He did not do his duty. A number of his fellow soldiers have been outspoken in describing Bergdahl’s dereliction of duty. They did their duty in Afghanistan and we should be forever grateful to them for putting their own lives on the line.
A number of Bergdahl’s platoon members have said that other U.S. soldiers died in an attempt to find this AWOL soldier. We don’t know that yet. We do know, however, how many U.S. soldiers have died trying to capture, kill, or suppress the Taliban: 2,194. Salon, the liberal website, keeps an updated tally of the costs of this U.S. effort.
As past American wars have gone, this is not a huge number. We lost more than that number of Americans on D-Day. Still, for those brave warriors, and for their families, the loss of any American life is a serious matter. That’s why the deaths of four Americans at Benghazi continues to roil the waters in Washington, as it should.
Part of the duty of this administration, or of any administration, is to keep faith with all the troops that the Commander-in-Chief orders into harm’s way. This is what President Obama failed to do in bringing the Bergdahl parents to the White House for a celebration. This is what he failed to do in releasing the five killers from Gitmo. Michael Dukakis, it should be remembered, only let a convicted killer have a furlough on weekends — and that was enough to contribute to his overwhelming defeat for president in 1988.
With this unjustified release, President Obama has yet to explain what he expects of our remaining forces in Afghanistan. Why should any American soldier risk his or her life, or the lives of those he or she commands, in pursuing, capturing, or suppressing the Taliban?
This is the war, candidate Barack Obama told us, that President Bush had failed to prosecute with all seriousness. “He took his eye off the ball,” then-Sen. Obama charged. We had a right to assume he would not give away the ball to the enemy.
“England expects every man will do his duty.” That was the once-famous signal that Admiral Horatio Nelson’s flags spelled out from the mast of his warship, HMS Victory. Lord Nelson’s victory was gained in the epochal Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. With this lopsided triumph, the Royal Navy ended forever the threat to Britain of an invasion by the Emperor Napoleon. Lord Nelson himself was among the 449 British sailors killed that day. Another 1241 were wounded. All had done their duty and in so doing, the British Isles were secure from invasion for more than a century.
Lord Nelson could speak with confidence about what England expected then. And we Americans used to understand what duty required of us. Many Americans can criticize George W. Bush for his actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, but few can doubt his sincerity. And fewer still can doubt that he has done his duty with respect to our wounded warriors. Both as president and since leaving the White House, Mr. Bush has regularly visited our soldiers in hospitals and ridden with them as they recovered from their injuries.
How can President Obama ever again say: America expects everyone will do his duty? With Benghazi, with now this shameful release of dangerous terrorists from Gitmo, Barack Obama has most flagrantly failed to do his duty. It is our duty to note this dereliction.
---------------------- Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. They are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Beu Bergdahl, President Obama, Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison, five killers, Gitmo, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
President Obama said last week that his "big motto" for the Congress was "Do Something." It's tempting to say that the conservative response should be: "Do Nothing." In our latest essay, we argue that that isn't enough. Gridlock in Congress doesn't stop the administrative state from legislating by other means, as the march of Progressivism goes on. Republicans should remind voters of the dangers of the Democratic Congressional majority this fall and refrain from becoming the more efficient do something party. Congress, may need to "Do Something" -- but not what the president has in mind: rein in the Progressive leviathan with legislation that empowers citizens, not regulators. ~ Matt Parks & David Corbin
Not what the President has in mind.
What prevents red state Senate Democrats from distancing themselves from the President?
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks: President Barack Obama announced last week that his “big motto” for the United States Congress is “do something.” After winning the presidency with some other “big” slogans, all the president is asking the Congress to do six years later is to “hope” again. Not just in his ability to bring about real “change” in Washington, but for Congress to believe in its. Congress too can be the one we’ve been waiting for. It can give us “change we can believe in” and take us “forward”–and it can show the folks in America that change doesn’t happen here from the top down, but from the bottom up–like all good things, except the ones that happen from the middle out.
House Democrats also love their slogans and responded in lock step a day later, with an “action plan” meant to counter Republican inaction, gridlock, and petty constitutional lawsuits against the executive branch. The Democratic House leadership promised that if they become the majority party after the 2014 midterm elections, they would spend the first 100 days of the 114th Congress working to: (a) increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; (b) “jumpstart” the middle class by passing the Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, the CEO-Employee Pay Fairness Act, and the Build American Bonds Act, and (c) help women (and presumably families) by strengthening the Violence Against Women Act, and passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, and the Healthy Families Act.
Two ‘fairnesses,’ a ‘healthy,’ and a ‘strong start;’ better ‘bonds,’ less ‘violence,’ lower payments, and more pay: it may not be another New Deal, but “do something” is certainly a nice complement to FDR’s “try something,” which jumpstarted Progressive demagoguery in the 1930s.
The rub for the contemporary Republican party is that if it’s not willing to act on its own set of euphonious proposals–or, better yet, endorse all the Democrats’ “common sense” ones–it’s charged with being the do-nothing party of no. This has led some Republicans angling for the White House (like Chris Christie) to suggest that Republicans ought to run as the more efficient do-somethings, while others applaud do-nothing as no failure at all, but rather the genuinely conservative alternative.
Nothing certainly beats something if something is just about anything on the Congressional Democrats’ list. And, Republicans should remind voters this fall, nothing would also have beaten the signature laws of the last Democratic Congress, Obamacare (“The Affordable Care Act”) and the stimulus boondoggle (“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”). First, do no harm–as good advice for legislators as doctors.
Our understanding of both medical and social pathologies is limited–and rather more so in the case of the latter than the former. Complex systems are prone to unintended consequences that often overwhelm the benefits of even treatments administered with the best of intentions–and no system is more complex than civil life.
Legislating is an intermittent, piecemeal, cautious work, however, for reasons deeper than information theory posits. Most fundamentally, as James Madison suggests in Federalist 53, it is because, since human nature is fixed, the general objects of legislation are fixed, and, therefore, the laws need only be occasionally accommodated to new circumstances–and that by analogy from old ones.
In making the case for the usefulness of two-year terms for members of the House (in a context in which twelve of the thirteen states held elections for legislators at least annually), Madison argues that the “knowledge” necessary to legislate well (resulting from a combination of “information” and “experience”) cannot be acquired so quickly as a one-year term would require.
All four of the “principal objects of federal legislation”–foreign trade, interstate trade, taxation, and “uniform regulations for the militia”–require at least some familiarity with the “affairs, and even…the laws of all the states.” Note that Madison was concerned legislators wouldn’t have enough knowledge to make wise laws even when the “principal objects” of legislation were well-defined and limited in number. How much more would his concern apply to the infinitely more ambitious Progressive legislative agenda today–determined to rid the nation (and ultimately the world) of age-old pathologies like poverty, crime, and conflict?
Nevertheless, Madison acknowledged that, in absolute terms, the knowledge necessary to legislate well will diminish over time:The most laborious task will be the proper inauguration of the government and the primeval formation of a federal code. Improvements on the first draughts will every year become both easier and fewer. Past transactions of the government will be a ready and accurate source of information to new members. The affairs of the Union will become more and more objects of curiosity and conversation among the citizens at large. And the increased intercourse among those of different States will contribute not a little to diffuse a mutual knowledge of their affairs, as this again will contribute to a general assimilation of their manners and laws.For Madison, there is little new under the sun. The great work is that of founding–establishing the right constitution and the initial federal code (a work that Madison devoted himself to for ten years, from the Constitutional Convention through the first four Congresses). After that, occasional improvements might be accomplished with relative ease, as the experience, familiarity, and homogenization of Americans across the Union grows–and the fundamentals of political life remain the same.
Yet American politics took a very different turn in the 20th century, as progressives challenged Madison’s understanding and the laws that resulted from it. Consider the jarring contrast between Madison’s observations and the opening lines of Woodrow Wilson’s The New Freedom (1913):There is one great basic fact which underlies all the questions that are discussed on the political platform at the present moment. That singular fact is that nothing is done in this country as it was done twenty years ago.
We are in the presence of a new organization of society. Our life has broken away from the past. The life of America is not the life that it was twenty years ago; it is not the life that it was ten years ago. We have changed our economic conditions, absolutely, from top to bottom; and, with our economic society, the organization of our life. The old political formulas do not fit the present problems; they read now like documents taken out of a forgotten age.For Wilson, it wasn’t merely the work of the American founders that was hopelessly antiquated–it was any political principle more than a decade old. Progressivism requires permanent revolution and perpetual refounding–and, in the president-driven administrative state, it has established the means necessary to accomplish this. As a result, even when Congress does nothing, legislating by other (executive and regulatory) means continues. If there is nothing new to be done, there is always more to be undone.
Congressional Republicans would do well to remind voters of the dangers of a Democratic Congressional majority and avoid all temptations to formulate a me-too Progressive-lite agenda for the fall campaign. But they’ll need to do more in order to stop, much less reverse, the advance of the Progressive leviathan.
A good example of what this type of action looks like is found in Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee’s Conservative Reform Agenda, a set of action items that aim to tackle systemic societal problems by empowering individuals and families. Lee’s policy formula (from employment to education to transportation matters) is simple: encourage individual and familial liberty by creating the greatest amount of flexibility in every important life decision Americans make.
Lee’s approach embodies two simple precepts that Republican officeholders and candidates would do well to adopt in designing an action plan of their own.
First: addition begins with subtraction. Renovating a structure that has been plagued by careless craftsmanship is not an easy task when people are living in the building–as is always the case in politics. Wrecking balls, while rhetorically appealing, can’t be the usual tool of choice. As Lee’s agenda suggests, a limited-government majority should begin with multiple and targeted steps to remove the political debris that has made such a mess of American politics before moving on to more substantial renovations.
Second: follow the original blueprint (as closely as you can). The Constitution remains a reliable guide for American statesmen. It provides a ‘do-something’ Congress with all the tools that it needs to do its part–and, in Madison’s “principal objects,” a good place to start.
In sum, neither Rome nor America (nor any other great regime) was built or destroyed in a day. Renewing our liberty necessitates people employing their rational and moral faculties to a greater degree. The re-emergence of societal flourishing built upon political liberty will require both a regime that wants the people, more and more, to “do something”–and a people eager to act.
---------------- 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, march of Progressivism, Democratic Congressional majority, rein in the Progressive leviathan, legislation, empower citizens, not regulators David Corbin, Matthew ParksTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Dr. Ron Paul: Just days after the tragic crash of a Malaysian Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, Western politicians and media joined together to gain the maximum propaganda value from the disaster. It had to be Russia; it had to be Putin, they said. President Obama held a press conference to claim – even before an investigation – that it was pro-Russian rebels in the region who were responsible. His ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, did the same at the UN Security Council – just one day after the crash!
While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report.
They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when EU and US-supported protesters plotted the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Without US-sponsored “regime change,” it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened.
The media has reported that the plane must have been shot down by Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists, because the missile that reportedly brought down the plane was Russian made. But they will not report that the Ukrainian government also uses the exact same Russian-made weapons.
They will not report that the post-coup government in Kiev has, according to OSCE monitors, killed 250 people in the breakaway Lugansk region since June, including 20 killed as government forces bombed the city center the day after the plane crash! Most of these are civilians and together they roughly equal the number killed in the plane crash. By contrast, Russia has killed no one in Ukraine, and the separatists have struck largely military, not civilian, targets.
They will not report that the US has strongly backed the Ukrainian government in these attacks on civilians, which a State Department spokeswoman called “measured and moderate.”
They will not report that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain but everything to lose by shooting down a passenger liner full of civilians.
They will not report that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia, and that the Ukrainian prime minister has already expressed his pleasure that Russia is being blamed for the attack.
They will not report that the missile that apparently shot down the plane was from a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system that requires a good deal of training that the separatists do not have.
They will not report that the separatists in eastern Ukraine have inflicted considerable losses on the Ukrainian government in the week before the plane was downed.
They will not report how similar this is to last summer’s US claim that the Assad government in Syria had used poison gas against civilians in Ghouta. Assad was also gaining the upper hand in his struggle with US-backed rebels and the US claimed that the attack came from Syrian government positions. Then, US claims led us to the brink of another war in the Middle East. At the last minute public opposition forced Obama to back down – and we have learned since then that US claims about the gas attack were false.
Of course it is entirely possible that the Obama administration and the US media has it right this time, and Russia or the separatists in eastern Ukraine either purposely or inadvertently shot down this aircraft. The real point is, it's very difficult to get accurate information so everybody engages in propaganda. At this point it would be unwise to say the Russians did it, the Ukrainian government did it, or the rebels did it. Is it so hard to simply demand a real investigation?
-------------- Dr. Ron Paul, Chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, is a former U.S.Congressman (R-TX) for 21 years. He twice sought the Republican Party presidential nomination for President. As a MD, he was an Air Force flight surgeon and has delivered over 4000 babies. Paul is an active writer on political and economic theory. He is known for his criticism of American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, and the Federal Reserve. He is also known for his love of country, government complying with the U.S. Constitution. Tags:media, reporting, bias, media won't report, Ukraine, Russia, United States, Malaysian Airlines, Flight MH17, Ron PaulTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
By Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Barack Obama has managed to do something one would hardly imagine a President could achieve by the midpoint of his second term. He has managed to anger most segments of the American populace, including those to the far Left who constitute a significant part of his base. It has taken time for most people to reach this point.
Americans are amazingly patient with their presidents, but Obama has pushed them beyond scandal fatigue. The “final straw” appears to be the illegal alien invasion masterminded by Obama.
What they are seeing and hearing is not what they were sold; a charming man of allegedly extraordinary intelligence. Friday’s press conference regarding the shoot down of the Malaysian commercial aircraft showed us a man utterly lacking any moral outrage and, as always, “leading from behind” by insisting this was Europe’s problem, not one that would be addressed by an America doing anything more than applying a few economic sanctions.
He looked and sounded bored, annoyed that he had to utter a bunch of empty platitudes about Russia; the same Russia with which he and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had declared a “reset” from previous administrations’ relations. Putin took his measure and saw weakness.
Obama’s response to the Middle East was to pull out all our troops from Iraq and a muddled series of actions in Afghanistan topped by the announcement of when troops there would leave, always a very bad idea when the enemy is still in the field. The “Arab Spring” became another Obama nightmare of bad decisions.
Lies, Lies, and More Lies
It took years, but it eventually became clear to most paying any attention that Obama has told so many lies that whatever he says now is deemed worthless. Then, too, his administration is now subject to congressional investigations that include the Internal Revenue Service and the Veterans Administration.
The Attorney General was slapped with contempt of Congress. A key figure in the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner, has pled the Fifth.
The House of Representatives is getting ready to sue Obama for failing to obey the Constitution’s separation of powers. The President’s efforts to ignore the Constitution have been met with an extraordinary number of Supreme Court rebuffs, many of which were unanimous.
How bad is Obama’s situation at present? One indication is the way the news media has been slowly, but steadily falling out of love with him. As Paul Bedard noted recently in the Washington Examiner, “In unprecedented criticism of the White House 38 journalism groups have assailed the president’s team for censoring media coverage, limiting access to top officials, and overall ‘politically-driven suppression of the news.”
David Cuiller, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, said, “It is up to journalists—and citizens—to push back against this force. Hard!” As a member of the SPJ since the 1970s this is a welcome expression of indignation, but it is also been occurring across a full spectrum of Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters as various Obama policies have negatively affected them.
No President has ever much liked the news media. This one, though, took them from adoration to distrust. With the exception of the network news shows and steadfast liberal newspapers, Obama’s news coverage is going to become increasingly harsh. Or should we say “accurate”?
The illegal alien immigration issue has enraged average Americans and Obama is not helped when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims that “the borders are secure” or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi makes some equally absurd and moronic claim.
In the six years since Obama took office in 2009, Americans have encountered a succession of scandals that began with Operation Fast and Furious when a scheme to transfer arms to Mexican cartels was covered up by the assertion of executive privilege. The Obamacare lies were followed by administration efforts to force corporations and religious organizations to forego their faith-based beliefs. Millions of Americans lost their healthcare insurance plans, only to have them replaced for far more expensive ones.
On top of the problems Americans encountered with the implementation of Obamacare, along came revelations that the Department of Veterans Affairs was letting some veterans seeking healthcare die by falsifying treatment records.
While this was occurring the nation’s debt rose to a historic high of $17 trillion, causing its credit rating to be reduced for the first time. There has been no budget during his first and second terms. There are still more than 90 million Americans out of work and the prices of food and gasoline are rising.
Following the Benghazi attack, the scandal was the lies told by Obama and Hillary Clinton, then the Secretary of State, describing it as a random attack despite the fact it occurred on the anniversary of 9/11. When the administration released five high ranking Taliban leaders at the same time we continue to be engaged in a war against them in Afghanistan, the public really began to take notice. It angered veterans and others.
No one in Congress believes a word Obama says and the House of Representatives is getting ready to sue him for his failure to enforce the laws Congress has passed and his usurpation of unconstitutional power to alter laws whenever he wants. This is unprecedented in the history of the nation.
And the scandals noted are only a small number of the actions Obama and his administration have taken that have finally combined to create a body of evidence that he has been acting against the interest and welfare of Americans he took an oath to protect. How does he expect to do that as he reduces the nation’s military strength to pre-WWII levels?
Obama’s response to the growing level of anger has been to concentrate on fund raising for the Democratic Party, but even those benefitting from it do not want to be seen with him.
In August he will take a long vacation in the ultra-rich environs of Martha’s Vineyard while thousands of illegal aliens continue to stream in and his only “solution” is to ask Congress for billions to care for them. And to blame Congress—Republicans—for failing to pass an immigration bill that amounts to an amnesty no one wants.
The anger that has been building is likely to be expressed on November 4 when Americans go to the polls to clean house and, by that, I mean ridding Congress of as many Democrats as possible and replacing them with openly avowed conservatives. That’s just over a hundred days from now.
The cliché is that “the fish stinks from the head” and it is clear now that the Obama administration reflects the corruption and incompetence of Barack Obama, a Chicago politician who leapt to power despite not even having served a full term as a U.S. Senator. He was elected to be the first black President of the United States and it is no small irony that even African-Americans know he has done little or nothing to address their needs and concerns.
He will not be impeached as he should be, but he will increasingly lack any power other than executive orders. The constitutional system will work, but it will take decades to repair the damage.
----------------- Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Barack Obama, Apex of anger, Lame Duck, actions, Alan Caruba, warning signsINSERT TAGSTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Whip-Elect Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) Delivers Weekly GOP Address On Jobs And The Economy
WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) talks about Republicans’ focus on jobs, the importance of hard work, and standing ready to work with the president to break the gridlock that has left dozens of House-passed jobs bills stalled in the Democratic-run Senate. Scalise, who represents Louisiana’s First District, is the incoming House Majority Whip. Video and transcript below:
Rep. Steve Scalise
Full transcript of the address follows:Good morning, I’m Steve Scalise, representative of Louisiana’s First Congressional District and incoming House Majority Whip.
I’m speaking to you from the Old House Chamber, the same room where Abraham Lincoln once served as a member of Congress.
I’m just steps from where House Republicans are working to build a stronger economy and a better future.
This is certainly a long way from Jefferson, Louisiana -- a town on the banks of the Mississippi where my wife Jennifer and I are raising our two young children.
I’d like to talk to you today about something near and dear to me, and that’s hard work.
Only in America, can a boy born in a single-room cabin in rural Kentucky work hard and become the 16th President of the United States.
And only in America, can the great-grandson of an Italian immigrant who came to the United States as an indentured servant, work hard and be elected by his colleagues to serve as the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives.
Because of my great-grandparents’ sacrifices, I was born into a middle-class family in New Orleans.
Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work.
I worked at Home Depot to pay my way through LSU, where I became the first in my family to graduate college.
From an early age, I was taught that this is just what you do – work hard, play by the rules and never give up.
It’s what’s made America the greatest country on Earth.
That’s a lesson Democrats in Washington don’t seem to understand.
They think every problem can be solved by raising taxes and borrowing money we don’t have to grow an already bloated federal government.
And where has this gotten us?
On the president’s watch, the number of Americans age 16 and over who are not working has jumped to a record 92 million.
That’s about 10 million more Americans not working than when President Obama took the oath of office.
Hard-working taxpayers know we can do better.
Because when Americans work hard, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.
Here’s an example.
If you look at the regions in the country with the lowest unemployment rates, many have energy-based economies.
I’m proud to represent one of them -- the Houma-Thibodaux area, which boasts a 3.7 percent unemployment rate.
In Southeast Louisiana, someone can graduate high-school and get an entry-level job making over $60,000 a year producing American energy.
American energy brings billions into our economy, increases our nation’s energy security, and helps lower gas prices at the pump.
The American people know energy is the best way to jumpstart our economy.
But Democrats running Washington don’t seem to get it.
They block bill after bill that would expand energy production, would lower gas prices, and create jobs.
As a matter of fact, there are nearly 300 House-passed bills collecting dust in the Senate today – more than 40 of them specifically focused on creating jobs.
These include popular bipartisan projects like the Keystone XL pipeline – something the president’s own administration says will create 40,000 jobs.
Washington Democrats have said no to legislation to rein in the size of government, no to fix our broken tax code, and no to lower health care costs…
Every time they say no – every time they pick their interests over yours – they hold our economy hostage, and with it, our chance to make sure our kids will have that same shot at the American Dream.
The president likes to say he can makes things happen with a pen and a phone.
Well, what will it be, Mr. President?
Will you put down the pen and stop trying to rewrite laws you don’t like, and instead pick up the phone and call on Senate Democrats to get to work passing those good bipartisan jobs bills?
Will you help us make real progress, or will you sit by and encourage more gridlock and more politics as usual?
It’s your call.
We stand ready to work with you to solve our nation’s problems.
In the meantime, we’ll be here in the House continuing to work hard for the American people.
Thank you for listening.Tags:U.S., Representative, Steve Scalise, Weekly Republican Address, Jobs, The EconomyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Congratulations on your nomination to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a good citizen you have agreed to take on one of the most demanding and important jobs in Washington.
As a veteran yourself you can appreciate how shaken veterans and their families are by the scandals and corruption that has been exposed throughout the Veterans Administration. I know you will agree that we owe our veterans the best care and we have failed to deliver.
Given the scale of the challenge, I hope you will not mind if, as someone who has spent nearly five decades in politics and government and has seen scores of cabinet secretaries come and go, I share a few thoughts on the position to which you’ve been nominated.
Should the Senate confirm you to this post, you will take command of the VA at the most troubled time in its history. The reports of corruption, incompetence, and corruption to hide incompetence have drawn the nation's outrage and caused your predecessor to resign. How might you succeed at reform where so many others before you have failed?
Given your lifetime spent in business, probably you are familiar with W. Edwards Deming’s famous “Red Bead Experiment.” Deming used to carry around a bin full of red beads and white beads mixed together. He would describe to audiences his intention to gather up just the white beads, and then he would blindly plunge a scoop into the bin. To his ostensible frustration, the scoop would always emerge with a mix of both kinds of beads. Feigning disbelief, he would appoint a new person to wield the scoop. Invariably, he or she would fail as well. Then Deming would proceed to the next candidate, and so on.
The point of the Deming demonstration was to illustrate that a systems problem couldn't be solved with new people, new slogans, and new speeches. When the system is broken, the personalities don’t matter. People will fail one after the next until the system is changed.
The range and scale of the misconduct at the VA shows that the corruption there, like the doomed attempt to isolate white beads, is not just a problem of personalities but more importantly of systems, and it goes to the very core of the bureaucracy. We developed a map at Gingrich Productions which shows 55 VA sites with major problems. We are certain this number will grow as more parts of the VA are investigated and audited.
When you have that many places in trouble simultaneously you are not dealing with a few bad apples, a failure of a few leaders, or a need for better inspections. With that many places simultaneously in trouble, you have a system and a culture that have been corrupted and are collapsing.
The agency’s own audit found that 70 percent of VA medical facilities were using improper scheduling practices to hide long wait times by falsifying data. The wait times persist despite (or more likely because of) the fact that VA doctors see less than half as many patients as doctors in the private sector.
This is a department that has 40 percent more employees and costs 90 percent more money than it did in 2006. Operating rooms close at 3:00 pm so the union cleaning staff can leave by 5:00. Officials get bonuses no matter what their performance, apparently (though 100 percent of them were given “fully successful” performance reviews or better last year--a remarkable achievement in light of the agency’s widespread mismanagement).
It takes 175 days to transfer a veteran’s medical records from the Department of Defense to the VA. The DoD and the VA spent $1.3 billion and four years trying to build software to solve this issue before announcing in February that they had given up.
Failure this thorough points to a system--the giant, fossilized bureaucracy--that is hopelessly broken and must be replaced rather than repaired. Unfortunately, the entrenched bureaucrats, the unions, and the President, along with many others in Congress who are ideologically committed to a failed model of delivering health care, all oppose the systemic changes that could actually work.
Mr. McDonald, you are about to become the next guy holding the scoop at the VA. The prison guards of the past might write legislation to give you a bigger scoop, and then they will call the problem solved. Your job, as the new champion of our nation's veterans, will be to focus the public's outrage and to marshal support for real change.
Opportunities to force the kind of transformation the VA needs come along once or twice in a generation. It would be a tragic mistake if, after the enormous human pain that led to your appointment, you allowed the moment to pass.
What would systemic change look like? It would begin with enforcing the right metrics, with measuring success not by how well the Department serves the bureaucrats but by how well it serves our veterans. This would mean insisting the VA meet the standards our veterans are accustomed to as consumers in every other aspect of their lives--the world where services work and are increasingly digital, mobile, virtual, and personal.
The VA is a long way from that today, and to get there it will have to become a radically different agency with many fewer bureaucrats operating under a new set of assumptions. The fight to change the VA will be big. But the ramifications could extend well beyond your single department. The whole federal bureaucracy is broken, swollen into an unrestrained fourth branch of government. If you can harness public support to transform the current VA into a system based on choice, accountability, and efficiency, you could be setting the pattern for replacing the entire bureaucratic state with a government for the modern world.
It would be a fitting conclusion to a century plagued by bureaucracy if the renewal of American governance were to begin at the VA, a department which exemplified the system's worst tendencies from the start. Charles Forbes, the first person to hold the position to which you have been nominated, stole tens of thousands of dollars from the bureau after World War I, as did many of his cronies. The corruption is not new, but nearly 100 years of it is enough.
I hope you will be the Secretary with the courage to demand the fundamental change our veterans need. The American people will be with you, even if many in Washington are not.
---------------- Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via his Gingrich Productions. Tags:VA Scandals, failures, Open Letter, Newt Gingrich, VA Sectretary, Robert McDonald, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Personal Tweets by the editor: Dr. Bill - OzarkGuru
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