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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
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Former Exxon President On Mission To Clean Up Oil Sands
by James Stafford, Contributing Author: Canada has given oil sands a dirty reputation, but a breakthrough, commercially viable technology has caught the eye of a former Exxon Mobil president who is putting it to use to clean up Utah's billions of barrels of oil sands.
Imagine extracting high-quality oil out of the estimated 32 billion barrels buried in Utah's oil sands, without creating the toxic wastelands that have resulted from oil sands projects in Western Canada. And imagine doing it at a cost that can still turn a profit in today's oil price slump.
That would be highly enticing to some of the large operators in the Uinta Basin, Utah's emerging tight oil play. As shale production has soared across the country, operators have moved to Utah to try to coax oil and gas from shale rock in ways that have been done on such a large scale elsewhere. Major players such as Marathon Oil, EP Energy Corporation and Newfield Exploration Co.have significant exposure in Utah.
But Utah's oil sands are suddenly attracting a lot more attention because of their vast potential. The poor environmental reputation and high cost has kept companies away up until now, but armed with a new, clean oil sands technology, there is even talk that Utah could shift its focus away from expensive shale.
Protecting the environment and still profiting from oil has long been a major challenge, particularly when it comes to dirty oil sands, but that could all change if a new technology designed specifically to extract these oil sands in the most environmentally friendly way possible proves successful.
For five decades, companies have been trying to replicate Alberta's oil sands success in Utah, but without turning the state into a toxic wasteland. A former Exxon president of Arabian Gulf operations, Dr. R Gerald Bailey, is one of several to take up the challenge, where today he is CEO of a small oil services technology company called MCW Energy Group.
"It is really simple," Dr. Bailey told Oilprice.com. "In the same way that soap washes grease from plates, with the grease adhering to the soap and pulling it off, so new technology in the form of an innovative solvent can pull the oil out of oil sands." Oil sands are typically black and dirty looking. However, once washed with the solvent, the sand comes out 99.9 percent clean before it is returned to the Earth, according to Dr. Bailey. "If we throw it back on the Earth, it is no longer contaminated with oil and you can grow plants on it."
This is not just about making oil, Dr. Bailey opines. It's about remediation. "After the tragic Deepwater Horizon disaster, we could have gone over there and cleaned that beach up with this new technology." The company is focusing on Utah, but sees future potential abroad in places like Russia, China, Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic, Namibia, Jordan and Trinidad.
Other companies are working on similar technologies as environmental groups and governments turn increasingly hostile to dirty oil sands. Marathon Oil is developing a proprietary solvent technology, in which wet tailings are dried and deposited back into a mine site as back-fill. Imperial Oil, a Canadian oil company, is doing something similar.
The focus of any new oil extraction technology must be on the environment—both Canada's toxic wastelands and the fallout from hydraulic fracturing have ensured that new technologies can no longer push full speed ahead towards profit while ignoring the longer-term consequences.
While shale producers are taking a nose-dive in this market, experts estimate that production using new solvent technologies in Utah can be more profitable than shale oil currently being produced, and more profitable than any other oil sands project in North America.
It costs about $55 per barrel to produce oil sands in Alberta. But independent research has shown that MCW Energy Group can produce oil from Utah oil sands at approximately $30 for clean oil sands.
From an environmental standpoint, it would seem that the goals are also being achieved. The process employed does not use any water, which is a significant selling point in the dry state of Utah, and produces no waste or pollutants, including no more tailing ponds.
Can it apply Canada's oil sands as well?
According to Dr. Bailey of MCW Energy, the Utah sands differ as they are oil-wet and not water-wet, and because they can simply be scooped up with a front loader and then processed with the solvent. The oil separates out and the clean sand is returned to the ground. In Canada, however, the sand must be mined because it is several hundred feet underground and requires extraction with steam and subsequent hot water, which becomes highly contaminated. "The huge acres of tailing ponds can be seen from space."
But while it may seem a daunting task, the new technology can tackle even Alberta's oil sands waste problem—after the process, according to Dr. Bailey, without using any water. "We would just use a de-watering process and then treat the raw sludge with our solvent."
The much-maligned oil sands may yet have a viable future in a world increasingly concerned about the environment.
----------------- James Stafford is Editor, OilPrice.com contributed this article to the ARRA News Service. OilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site. Tags:James Stafford, Oilprice.com, Dr. R Gerald Bailey, oil sands, cleaning oil sands, research and development, oil production, MCI Energy, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Since college campuses have become very concerned with “microaggressions” being committed on their campuses, UNH decided to help their students understand which words might offend others.
But, according to Campus Reform: The university website encourages readers to understand that the guide “is not a means to censor but rather to create dialogues of inclusion where all of us feel comfortable and welcomed.”A few of the words which are deemed “problematic” are:
For each category, the University makes recommendations that, for the most part, are much longer and contain multiple words.
Instead of “poor person,” for instance, the student should say “person who lacks advantages that others have.” Mothering and fathering are frowned upon because they advance gender stereotypes. Instead, one should use “parenting” or “nurturing” because they describe the behavior.
“European-American individuals” is the favored term over “Caucasian.” And instead of “healthy,” use “non-disabled individual.”
The purpose is to: “…not stereotype or demean people based on personal characteristics.”Students will be able to access the university’s 4,750-word web page to easily understand which words they are supposed to use when conversing with their peers. Tags:university of New Hampshire, controlling vocabulary, words, bias-free 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 reported by The Federalist: Planned Parenthood Begs Media: Stop Covering Our Scandal. In summary:How bad is the baby organ trafficking story for Planned Parenthood? So bad that the nation’s largest abortion provider has hired a pricey PR firm to bully media outlets into not covering the scandal. According to Politico, Planned Parenthood hired Democratic megafirm SKDKnickerbocker to handle its public relations effort surrounding the widening organ trafficking scandal. In a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, multiple top Planned Parenthood executives are captured haggling over the prices of aborted baby body parts and discussing ways to maximize money earned through the harvesting and sale of human organs. Unsurprisingly, preventing coverage of the videos is apparently key to Planned Parenthood’s survival strategy: "The group circulated a memo to reporters and producers late Monday that discouraged them from airing the undercover videos, arguing that they were obtained under false identification and violated patient privacy." BREAKING: New Undercover Video Reveals Planned Parenthood Willing to Sell Organs From Delivered BabiesKatie Pavlich reports, "The Center For Medical Progress has released a fourth undercover video showing Planned Parenthood Vice President of the Rocky Mountains and Medical Director Dr. Savita Ginde discussing how babies that are "delivered before procedure," aka born alive, are used to harvest "intact" organs. . . .
"Further, the video reveals Planned Parenthood officials want to be contact with each other at different abortion clinics throughout the country in order to coverup organ harvesting and to make sure everyone is "on the same page" should anything come under scrutiny. Ginde also talks multiple times about how to evade the law and says they have a good attorney to deal with any legal issues. . . ."Tags:Simba-lism, Cecil the Loin, Planned Parenthood, harvesting, selling, baby parts, Editorial cartoon, AF Branco, The Federalist, Planned Parenthood' hires, pricey PR firm, bully media outlets, to not cover, the scandal, Katie Pavlich, video, born live, babies, selling parts,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Newt Gingrich: Last month marked the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the Great Charter. At Runnymede on the banks of the Themes, the barons compelled England’s king to acknowledge for the first time that he was subject to the rule of law. By the time the American founders set out to establish constitutional limited government on this continent five centuries later, the rule of law was assumed, as it has continued to be throughout most of American history.
This 800-year heritage is a reminder of just how radical the administrative state we have today is — regulatory bureaucracies so powerful, so unchecked, and so unaccountable that they often behave as though they govern by divine right.
If that sounds like an exaggeration, consider the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which acts as judge, jury and executioner in administering laws it has invented through an interpretation of its authority that appears unlimited.
The CFPB has discovered that the mere threat of its regulatory authority allows it to pronounce and enforce new rules it has no legal right to create. And since the CFPB’s regulatory authority covers much of the country’s financial system — services on which everyone depends — the agency has found it can issue, in effect, new laws applying to dozens of industries beyond its normal purview. It simply has to sever access to financial services for those who don’t comply.
The chilling name for this project is “Operation Choke Point.” In short, it involves the CFPB conspiring with officials at the Justice Department and FDIC to put law-abiding American companies out of business.
They do so by pressuring banks and payment processors to deny service to entire categories of perfectly legal businesses — effectively crippling those industries’ ability to function. A 2011 document from the FDIC names 30 industries of focus, including “ammunition sales,” “firearms sales,” “pay day loans,” “coin dealers,” “online gambling,” “tobacco sales,” “racist materials,” “pornography” and “telemarketing,” among others.
Banks are intimidated into telling these legal businesses that they can no longer serve them. The bankers explain apologetically to their former clients that it’s not personal; regulators have insisted they drop clients in specific industries. In one typical notice, obtained by The Washington Post, a banker advised a business that “based on your performance, there’s no way we shouldn’t be a credit provider. Our only issue is, and it has always been, the space in which you operate. It is the scrutiny that you, and now that we, are under.”
In many cases, according to a report published last year by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, regulators have targeted these legal industries out of “personal animus,” and “effectively ordered banks to terminate all relationships” with an industry that senior officials said in emails they “literally cannot stand.”
President Obama explained recently that he is “most frustrated” by his inability to pass gun control laws through the Congress, so perhaps it is no surprise that the gun industry has been singled out for targeting under Operation Choke Point. As The Washington Timesreported, banks and payment processors have been terminating the accounts of law-abiding gun dealers across the country.
The U.S. Consumer Coalition obtained recordings made by a Wisconsin firearms dealer, Mike Schuetz, in which his banker tells him flatly that federal regulators instructed the credit union on specific accounts it should drop. As Breitbartreports:
“[Federal] examiners…came in and looked at our accounts…looked at our books,” one official of Heritage Credit Union is heard telling Schuetz on one of the tapes. “Here’s some accounts that we feel that we’re going to regulate you on…and kinda put the screws to us as far as what we could and couldn’t do. The regulatory and compliance issues that we said earlier are true. We never used to have to do that stuff…and our hands are tied by it.”
Other audio recordings are equally chilling. “You wouldn’t believe the regulations we have and when they came in and nailed us on that [accounts] there were about a dozen of them crawling around the building,” a Heritage Credit Union official is heard on the tapes telling Schuetz.This is a sign of a bureaucracy that has discovered how to quietly and informally leverage its statutory power for its own ends, unconstrained by Congress and fearless of any consequences.
The bureaucrats’ behavior sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent. And worse: it takes a sledgehammer to the rule of law, the foundation of our civilization for 800 years.
---------------------- 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 Gingrich Productions. Tags:Newt Gingrich, divine right, Bureaucrats, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB, threats, regulatory authority, new rules, no legal right, to createTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Federal Judge Threatens To Hold IRS Commissioner, DOJ Lawyers in Contempt of Court
Things are not going well for IRS Commissioner over the past week. First the House Republicans threaten to impeach him, now District Court Judge Sullivan has threatened to hold him, along with DOJ attorneys in contempt.
(Washington, D.C.) - Judicial Watch announced that U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan today threatened to hold the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and newly recovered emails of Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.
During the a status hearing today, Sullivan warned that the failure to follow his order was serious and the IRS and Justice Department’s excuses for not following his July 1 order were “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.” He asked the IRS’ Justice Department lawyer Geoffrey Klimas, “Why didn’t the IRS comply” with his court order and “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt.” Judge Sullivan referenced his contempt findings against Justice Department prosecutors in the prosecution of late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and reminded the Justice Department attorney he had the ability to detain him for contempt. Warning he would tolerate no further disregard of his orders, Judge Sullivan said, “I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally in contempt.”
After the hearing, Judge Sullivan issued the following “minute order”:At the July 29, 2015 status hearing, the Government agreed that the Court’s July 1, 2015 oral order from the bench was clear and enforceable. Nonetheless, the Government reasoned it inappropriate to file a motion for reconsideration until a written order was issued. As expressed at the hearing, the Government’s reasoning is nonsensical. Officers of the Court who fail to comply with Court orders will be held in contempt. Also, in the event of non-compliance with future Court orders, the Commissioner of the IRS and others shall be directed to show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt of Court. The Court’s July 1, 2015 ruling from the bench stands: (1) the Government shall produce relevant documents every Monday; (2) the Government’s document production shall be accompanied by a status report that indicates (a) whether TIGTA has turned over any new documents to the IRS, (b) if so, the number of documents, and (c) a timeframe for the IRSs production of those documents. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on July 29, 2015.At a July 1, 2015, status conference, Sullivan ordered the IRS to begin producing, every week, the nearly 1,800 newly recovered Lerner emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Despite the court order, the IRS did not produce any Lerner emails until July 15. The IRS also failed to provide Judicial Watch a status report of the Lerner email production issues, as also ordered by Sullivan. Last week, Judge Sullivan orderedsua sponte the parties to appear for a status hearing today after Judicial Watch raised concerns about the IRS’ failure to comply with his orders to release the newly discovered Lerner emails and status updates on its production of previously “missing” documents.
The developments come in Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit seeking documents about the Obama IRS’ targeting and harassment of Tea Party and conservative opponents of President Obama (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)). Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to admit that Lerner’s emails were supposedly missing and, then, that the emails were on IRS’ back-up systems.
Yesterday, Judicial Watch released the first batch believed to be newly recovered emails of Lerner. The new documents show that Lerner and other top officials in the IRS, including soon-to-be Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller, closely monitored and approved the controversial handling of tax-exempt applications by Tea Party organizations. The documents also show that at least one group received an inquiry from the IRS in order to buy time and keep the organization from contacting Congress.
“In a dramatic court hearing today, Judge Sullivan made it clear he would personally hold accountable the IRS Commissioner Koskinen and Justice Department attorneys for any further contempt of his court orders in Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The missing and-then-not missing Lois Lerner saga is a stark example of the Obama administration’s contempt for a federal court and the rule of law. That Obama administration officials would risk jail rather than disclose these Lerner documents shows that the IRS scandal has just gotten a whole lot worse.” Tags:Federal Judge, threatens IRS Commissioner, DOJ Lawyers, Contempt of Court, Judicial WatchTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 30 2015 The House is scheduled to reconvene today at 1 PM on Friday. This may be only a pro-forma meeting as the House schedule says there will be no votes on Friday and the House members are not in session and are in their Home Districts for all of August and not in session again until Sept 8th, 2015 (no recorded votes until 6:30 PM). What a job!
Yesterday, the House passed: H.R. 1300 (424-0) — "To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to make anthrax vaccines and antimicrobials available to emergency response providers, and for other purposes." H.R. 1994 (256-170) — VA Accountability Act: "To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the removal or demotion of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs based on performance or misconduct, and for other purposes." Editor Rant:90% - (167) Democrats opposed to the demotion and removal for misconduct or poor performance of VA employees. They are so beyond liberal they make idiots look good. These democrats were elected to represent their constituents and not big government workers who are not doing their jobs properly. No wonder veterans are suffering. Time for all vets to not support or vote for any democrat who voted NO on this bill because they like your vote but don't give a damn when veterans need of care! There were 16 democrats who voted for veterans. Visit this link to the vote, to see your Congress person vote. Note also that over a year ago, Senate Democrats blocked the VA Accountability Act. H.R. 3236 (385-34) — "To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, to provide resource flexibility to the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care services, and for other purposes." The extension is for 3 months.
Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called for lifting the oil export ban – a move he says will help create jobs, lower energy prices, and support our allies. He said, "Until recently, our nation’s energy policy was rooted in a scarcity mindset that went back to the 1970s. But now, America is experiencing an energy boom, and our policy needs to follow suit. That’s why the Energy & Commerce Committee is working on legislation to ensure that we fulfill our energy potential. Chairman Upton will mark up a bill this fall, and it’s a top priority here in the House. By embracing our resources, we’ll keep energy prices affordable, help create jobs, and boost our economy.
"But there’s another important energy issue that would provide a big boost to our economy, and that is lifting the ban on exporting crude oil. Lifting the ban would create an estimated one million jobs here at home – jobs that would frankly get created in every state. It would help bring down prices at the pump for consumers. And it would be good for our allies. If the administration wants to lift the ban for Iran, certainly the United States should not be the only country left in the world with such a ban in place.
“I would support lifting the ban, and I hope that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to bring our energy policies into this century.”
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of H.R. 22, as amended.
At noon, the Senate Will begin voting on final passage of H.R. 22, the 3 year paid-for highway bill.
At 1:45, the Senate will vote on passage of H.R. 3236, the House-passed 3 month extension of the current highway authorization.
In the News: The Hill writes, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) slammed President Obama on Thursday, suggesting that it's unacceptable that the administration hasn't turned over agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“McConnell, as well as Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), wrote to Obama earlier this month demanding that the administration hand over the two so-called ‘side’ deals.
‘That was more than a week ago, but we still have yet to receive them,’ the Republican leader said. ‘Without this critical information, Republicans and Democrats in Congress may not be able to properly assess such a highly consequential deal with Iran. That simply is not acceptable.’
“He added that the administration ‘needs to turn over side agreements without delays.’”
Leader McConnell explained, “The purpose of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act is to ensure Congress has a fully informed understanding of any comprehensive agreement reached between the Administration and Iran.
“These are principles both parties endorsed when they voted overwhelmingly to pass the measure.
“These are principles President Obama endorsed when he signed it into law.
"These are principles that need to be upheld."
“That’s why I recently joined Speaker Boehner, Senator Cotton, and Congressman Pompeo in calling on the administration to comply with the terms of this law by providing the Senate with the text of two side agreements reached between Iran and the IAEA.”
Yet the Obama administration keeps claiming they either don’t have the full text these agreements or can’t share them with Congress.
At a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked both Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz if they’d read these agreements. Both said they had not. Neither was even sure if anyone on their teams had read them. Kerry said wasn’t sure if anyone in the U.S. government had read them.The Weekly Standard posted a video of the exchange.
Sen. Cotton pressed Kerry, “Why can't we confirm or deny the content of these agreements in public? Why is this classified? It's not a sensitive U.S. government document. The ayatollahs know what they agreed to.”
Kerry responded, “Because we respect the process of the IAEA and we don't have their authorization to reveal what is a confidential agreement between them and another country.”
Sen. Cotton summarized, “So the ayatollahs will know what they agreed to but not the American people?”
Kerry claimed, “No, not exactly, because we will share with you, in the classified briefing, what we understand the contents to be.”
But just minutes earlier Kerry was saying he wasn’t sure anyone in the administration had even read the full document. Will Congress only get a briefing based on a summary of another briefing?
As Sen. Cotton pointed out yesterday, and Leader McConnell did today, the law President Obama signed requires that Congress be presented with the text of these agreements.
Leader McConnell concluded his remarks today, “As the review moves forward, we’ll continue working to assess the relative threat posed to the greater Middle East and to the United States by an Iranian regime empowered with a threshold nuclear program and billions of dollars in additional resources.
“I know this worries a lot of members in both parties. Consider what the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said just this week: ‘I’m troubled that what this essentially does is after fifteen years it legitimatizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state. After fifteen years Iran can produce weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium without limitations and that is disturbing because what that means to me is it really doesn’t prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. It just postpones it.’"
“He’s not the only Democrat or Republican with these types of concerns. . . . So we’ll continue working hard to assess this agreement on behalf of the American people, who absolutely deserve a say in a deal of this magnitude.
“And at the end, Congress will take a vote and answer a simple but powerful question: Will this agreement actually make America and its allies safer?” Tags:U.S., House, Senate, VA Accountability Act, Iran Side Deals 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 reported by CBN, “Seven hundred Kenyan evangelical pastors have written an open letter asking the president not to come to their country and talk about the gay agenda. Mark Kariuki is the key architect of that letter. He leads an alliance representing 38,000 churches and 10 million Kenyan Christians. ‘We do not want him to come and talk on homosexuality in Kenya or push us to accepting that which is against our faith and culture,’ Kariuki said.”
As he has done with many Christian leaders in his own country, Mr. Obama ignored the pleas of Christian leaders in Kenya, as well.
The Kenyans are not alone. Other African leaders share the Kenyans’ rightful indignation at the Administration’s cultural imperialism. The New York Times reports that “On his last trip to Africa in 2013, Mr. Obama was seen as wagging his finger at Africans on gay rights during a news conference with Senegal’s president, Macky Sall. Mr. Sall swung back, saying that laws governing gay rights were Senegal’s alone to decide. The United States should respect that choice, he added, just as Senegal, which had long abolished the death penalty, respected America’s position on that matter. The comments quickly established the script for other African leaders.”
Mr. Obama is the first U.S. President of African descent. His election thrilled millions of Americans and especially those among us whose ancestors were brought here in chains. But he has carried an unwelcome message to his ancestral homeland.
His joke about searching for his birth certificate in Kenya has a more somber side, too. He sent Vice President Joe Biden to in 2010 to pressure that pro-life country to adopt a new constitution that would open the door to abortion.
The ever-voluble Biden brazenly told Kenyans they needed to back abortion in order to allow “money to flow” from foreign aid treasuries. Talk about bribery.
Such shameless methods, such extortionate demands, have always accompanied Planned Parenthood efforts in the Third World. It is deplorable for Vice President Biden to employ them against needy Africans. It is even more tragic for President Obama, this son of an African father, to have been the most ungrateful of favorite sons.
The President joke about finding his birth certificate in Kenya rings hollow. Given his insistent pushing of abortion-on-demand, numberless thousands of Kenyans will never live to experience their own births, let alone have birth certificates.
------------------ Ken Blackwell, Senior Fellow at the Family Research Council, is the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. . He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Rob Schwarzwalder, Family Research Council Vice-President, formerly worked at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Tags:President Obama, cultural imperialism, abortion, LGBT agenda, Out of (Touch with) Africa, Kenya, Ken Blackwell, Rob SchwarzwalderTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Kerry responded that the agreement wasn’t treated as a treaty “because you can’t pass a treaty anymore.”
So a historically important nonproliferation agreement was created as a measly executive agreement not based on principle or standard practice—but solely for reasons of expedience.
This is not a good reason to avoid Senate scrutiny on important international agreements, particularly deeply flawed agreements such as the Iran nuclear deal.
Indeed, if the Iran nuclear deal was palatable, it may have sailed through the Senate since most senators, including the chairman and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, prefer diplomatic solutions to war.
Indeed, during his own tenure as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then-Senator Kerry ushered through a major arms control treaty with Russia—the so called “New START” nuclear arms reduction treaty.
Therefore, the Senate is clearly capable of passing treaties, just not unpopular ones like the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or apparently the Iran nuclear deal.
-------------------- Steven Groves is the Bernard and Barbara Lomas Senior Research Fellow in Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. He advocates American leadership on issues involving international political and religious freedom, human rights and democratic institutions. Tags:John Kerry, what he gets wrong, about the Senate, treaties, Iran Deal, Steven Groves, Heritage FoundationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Tom Balek, Contributing Author: As a democratic republic, it is our duty to know what's going on in the world and to direct our government to protect our interests. Unfortunately, these days our leaders only give us the "mushroom management" treatment, and the news media follows in tow. If you don't know what "mushroom management" is, check here.
While we gnash our teeth over the latest headlines - who Donald Trump offended today, what flag is flying where, and whether we will be sued if our barbecue smoke wafts over the neighbor's fence - there is real international news taking place about which we are kept clueless. Here's a sampling of news items you did not hear about today:
In a recent three-week period the Shanghai composite stock market lost a third of its value, and after a short reprieve, it dropped another 8.5% yesterday, as China's economy shudders through a slowdown and a crisis of investor confidence. The 21-day loss in value exceeded four trillion dollars. Meanwhile, we are fixated on Greece, whose entire annual GDP is around $200 billion. If China's economy craters, it could have a profound effect on our own economy. Wouldn't it be nice if somebody told us what's going on? Do we even have diplomatic relations with China?
Russia's arms manufacturers are enjoying rapidly growing revenues despite western sanctions and a weak economy. President Vladimir Putin's drive to modernize his military and the booming trade in arms exports has provided a double-digit annual growth windfall for Russia's defense industry. Simultaneously, China continues to build military facilities and claim ever-greater chunks of the South China Sea for economic and military purposes. While our adversaries expand their forces, the Obama administration announces further cuts in US military power.We know that the news business is not what it used to be. It is naive to think that anything other than the most salacious and shallow headlines will ever appear above the fold. Nor can we expect our government to keep us enlightened. A few of us are blessed with representatives who go out of their way to keep constituents informed and involved. Most federal officials are only concerned with their re-election and power, and our money. So it's all the more crucial that we make the extra effort, as citizens of the still-greatest nation on earth, to be informed about what's happening in the world.
--------------- Tom Balek is a fellow conservative activist, blogger, musician and contributes to the ARRA News Service. Tom resides in North Carolina and between playing in bands including his family band Caution! Blind Driver, he seeks to educate those too busy with their work and families to notice how close to the precipice our economy has come. He blogs at Rockin' On the Right Side Tags:Tom Balek, Rockin' On The Right Side, Today’s News, You Didn’t Get, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Scandal-Less: States With Term Limits Vs. Those With Entrenched Politicians
by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: In the 15 states voters have enacted term limits for their state representatives and senators, those politicians and the lobbyists and heads of powerful interest groups constantly complain that the limits are a problem.
I know. That's why I like term limits.
Am I a broken record on the subject? Perhaps. But let me tell you about a different type of record . . . criminal.
"Are term limits good ideas for Pa. elected officials?" asked a Newsworks.org headline, after Steve Reed, the former 28-year mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, "was arrested on nearly 500 criminal charges that included corruption, theft, bribery and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity."
"Top N.Y. lawmaker arrested on corruption charges," read a January USA Today headline. Sheldon Silver, after more than 20 years as Assembly Speaker was "arrested on federal corruption charges alleging he was involved in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme for more than a decade."
In 2009, after Massachusetts saw its third House Speaker in a row indicted, I ranked New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts as the three most corrupt states. The top contenders all have one thing in common: a lack of term limits.
A couple years ago, I joined Greg Upchurch, a St. Louis patent attorney and entrepreneur at a conference on term limits in Missouri. Greg (the driving force behind the state's 1992 initiative) told the audience, mostly opposed to term limits, that the limits are here to stay.
Before term limits, Upchurch pointed out, legislative leaders were going to prison for corruption. With term limits, there simply haven't been such scandals.
This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
------------------ Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Scandal-Less, states, term limits To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
We are naturally left to wonder if the move is genuine. Are they are saying what they think – or what they think we want to hear?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has rocketed to to the top of the sixteen-candidate heap – in large part because of his anti-illegal immigration stance. Which is from all appearances a relatively new position for him. Here’s November 2012 Trump: “(Mitt Romney) had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump says. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,” Trump notes. “He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”Trump’s current illegal immigration stance is…slightly more staunch. And it appears to be working for him.
(Of course, Trump is by no means the only 2016 candidate to radically reconfigure his immigration position – Hello, Senator Marco “Gang of Eight” Rubio.)
If a pol flip-flops to the right side of an issue – we shouldn’t mindlessly attack. Because we can not with any certitude know why they did it. What we can do is hail their correction – and hold them to it.
So it is with the awful Innovation Act. The Innovation Act is fundamental transformation of the Constitutionally-protected patent process – without benefit of the Constitutional amendment process. All under the (intentional or accidental) false flags of “litigation reform” – to deal with “patent trolls.”
But “patent trolls” are almost always nothing more than people with patents – defending them against patent thieves. The patent holders usually have to sue to do that – this “litigation reform” makes it exponentially more difficult for them to do so.An Innovation Act House vote is expected after the August recess. Except:Patent Reform Defectors Emerge in House
The House Judiciary Committee’s lopsided approval of patent reform legislation last month would not have looked as overwhelming if every member showed up.
Six of the seven members of the committee who were absent told The Hill they are leaning toward opposing the measure in its current form. Five of those opponents supported a similar bill last Congress….Flip-floppers all, potentially. Hopefully.House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had put it on the July schedule and it appeared to be heading toward quick approval after a similar bill passed the full House last Congress 325-91.
But after a series of meetings, which opponents say did not go well, the bill was taken off the July calendar. McCarthy said last week that “there is more work to be done on it.”But why waste any more lipstick on this pig? When there are actual attractive bills to be had?TROL Act
This is not fundamental transformation. It specifically reforms demand letter abuse – without total system disruption.
It gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to deal with bad demand letter writers – on an a la carte basis. The FTC examines each case as it comes – rather then preemptive, all-encompassing legislation where every single patent holder trying to protect their intellectual property is assumed to be acting in bad faith.
And that’s about it. With DC – less is almost always more….
This isn’t fundamental transformation either. It reforms demand letter abuse – and cleans up some previous DC mistakes.
The last patent reform bill – the America Invents Act – established overly broad standards for when and how patents can be challenged at the patent office. This bill tightens them.
And it uses the TROL Act language that ends abusive demand letters.As Ronald Reagan said of his treaty dealings with the Soviet Union – “Trust, but verify.”
We should (almost always) give flip-floppers to correct positions the benefit of the doubt – and thereafter the totality of our scrutiny.
If actually elected, Trump should absolutely be held to his new anti-illegal immigration stance – which will have helped deliver him to the White House.
And to these new tentatively anti-Innovation Act Republicans and Democrats – we say “Welcome (almost) home. Do the right thing – and vote No.”
Better still, House Leadership should take further note – and not waste any more makeup on this swine.
Let’s permanently leave it in the legislative pen. And move on to much better looking bills.
---------------- Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter / Facebook. Tags:Seton Motley, Less Government, Donald Trump, flipflopping, to the right sideTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Sen. Ernst's Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood | House Members Concerned About HUD's Move to Social Engineer Neigborhoods
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 29, 2015 The House reconvened at 10 AM today. They began to take up bills for consideration at 12:43 PM.
Bills that may be considered: H.R. 1994 - "To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the removal or demotion of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs based on performance or misconduct, and for other purposes." H.R. 3236 - "To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, to provide resource flexibility to the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care services, and for other purposes." H.R. 1300 — "To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to make anthrax vaccines and antimicrobials available to emergency response providers, and for other purposes."
Yesterday the House passed the following bills: H.R. 675 (409-0) — "To increase, effective as of December 1, 2015, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, and for other purposes." This act requires, "Requires each such increase to be the same percentage as the increase in benefits provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act, on the same effective date.Editor's Comment: It's about "damn" time for fair treatment of disabled vets. However, for those that don't know it, this bill does not correct the unfairness that disabled retired military have to pay for their own disability out of their retirement pay. H.R. 427 (243-165) — Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015 -"To amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law." Editor's Comment: Only two democrats joined Republicans in passing this bill. 165 Democrats appear to agree with President Obama and future presidents using his pen, phone and Executive Department heads modifying regulation to oppress the citizens of the United States without asking Congress. This bill will probably hve trouble passing cloture in the Senate.
Today Speaker John Boehner addressed that the House will vote on measures to increase VA accountability and make it easier for small businesses to hire more veterans. He said, “We’ve got a lot more to do. That’s why today we’ll pass more reforms to help the nation’s veterans. That includes the Hire More Heroes Act, which makes it easier for veterans to find good-paying jobs. And we’ll pass a bill to give the VA the authority to fire any bureaucrat who is failing our veterans. We’ll continue to pass reforms, but only the president can change the culture over at the VA.”
House Republicans have requested a hearing on H.R. 1995 to prohibit Obama HUD neighborhood rezoning rule. Eighteen House Republicans in a letter urged the House Judiciary Committee to commence hearings on H.R. 1995, "The Local Zoning and Property Rights Protection Act of 2015," which would prohibit the Department of Housing and Urban Development from implementing a rule, "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" The stated:
On July 8, 2015, the Obama Administration through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new regulation known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). The final rule was subsequently published in the federal register on July 16, 2015, and will take effect 30 days after this publication. We write to respectfully request that you consider holding a hearing on H.R. 1995, the Local Zoning and Property Rights Protection Act.
"The AFFH rule seeks to use the disparate impact legal theory to justify social engineering of local neighborhoods. It would do so by withholding Community Development Block Grant funds from towns and cities unless they meet Utopian standards of integration based on sex, income, religion race and other federally protected demographics. HUD is essentially creating a set of rules and regulations by which communities must conform, or face losing out on tens of millions of dollars in grant money annually. Further, the rule will result in increased local taxes, depress property values, and cause further harm to impoverished communities that actually need these funds.
"The Local Zoning and Property Rights Protect Act blocks the new AFFH regulation, as well as the accompanying "Assessment Tool" meant to guide grant applicants and measure compliance. It also contains an important federalism provision that requires HUD to consult with local governments and communities for the purposes of furthering the Fair Housing Act of 1968, rather than through executive mandate.
"This new Washington mandate has nothing to do with race, as housing discrimination has been illegal for more than 40 years. This overreaching new regulation is an attempt to extort communities into giving up control of local zoning decisions and re-engineer the makeup of our neighborhoods. . . ."Yesterday, Americans for Limited Government board member Bill Wilson expressed support for their position: "The radical HUD plan to condition federal funding on rezoning neighborhoods to achieve a subjective and punitive set of quotas is a Utopian pipe dream, and a federal attempt to usurp local zoning authority. We urge the House Judiciary Committee to take up H.R. 1995, and to require political partisans at HUD to justify this raw power grab. This has nothing to do with individual cases of housing discrimination, which have been illegal for over 40 years. Like the IRS abuse of power targeting people who disagree with them, the Obama appointees are using the power of government to harm communities that do not vote or act as Obama and his allies think they should. It is social engineering, nothing more."
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of H.R. 22, the vehicle for the highway bill.
At 10 AM, the Senate voted 62-38 to approve the substitute amendment containing the negotiated text of the 3 year paid-for highway bill. The Senate then voted 65-35 to invoke cloture on the bill.
A vote on final passage of H.R. 22, as amended, is expected tomorrow.
In the News: The Hill reports, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is fast-tracking a bill to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, after senators huddled in his office Tuesday to work out the details of a bill.
“Speaking on the Senate floor, the Republican leader started the process, known as Rule 14, which allows the bill to skip over being sent to a committee and go directly to the Senate floor for a vote. ‘The horrendous videos of senior executives from Planned Parenthood discussing in callous tones and shocking detail their role in a national scandal requires a congressional response,’ the Republican leader said in a statement. ‘This legislation would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are actually spent on women’s health — not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant.’
“McConnell is expected to finish the fast-track process Wednesday. . . . The Republican leader told reporters earlier Tuesday that Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) would be leading a working group of senators, which also included Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), to come up with a new bill. The group huddled in McConnell's office Tuesday afternoon.”
... Leader McConnell joined Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Lankford (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Thune (R-SD), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) at a press conference to introduce the legislation, S. 1881.
All are cosponsors of the bill, as are Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), David Perdue (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Ben Sasse (R-NE).
At the press conference, Leader McConnell said, “By now we’ve all seen those Planned Parenthood videos that absolutely shock the conscience. I want to thank Senator Joni Ernst, Senator Rand Paul, Senator James Lankford, and others you see behind me for leading the effort to put together legislation we’ll vote on next week to address the issue.
“But before I turn it over to Senator Ernst, I want to make the point that I’m sure others will make repeatedly, this bill would ensure tax payer dollars for women’s health are spent on women’s health. This will ensure tax payer dollars that are supposed to be spent on women’s health are in fact spent on women’s health. It would ensure we’re funding that and not subsidizing some scandal-plagued organization.”
Sen. Ernst said, “The recent footage depicting Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting of organs . . . of unborn babies is morally reprehensible and vile. The American people—Republicans and Democrats alike—are horrified by the utter lack of compassion shown by Planned Parenthood for these women and their babies. In fact, now, Hillary Clinton is calling is calling these Planned Parenthood images, ‘disturbing,’ and I agree.”
And several Democrat senators have also said they find the videos troubling, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Politico adds,“The Senate GOP bill would strip the roughly $540 million in funding that Planned Parenthood is scheduled to receive and steer it toward other women’s health programs, a bid to undermine Democratic complaints about the measure. ‘Funds no longer available to Planned Parenthood will continue to be offered to other eligible entities to provide such women’s health care services,’ said a statement from Senate Republicans on the new legislation.”
And the AP notes, “The Senate will vote before its August recess on a Republican effort to bar federal aid to Planned Parenthood, GOP leaders said Tuesday, as anti-abortion groups clamored for action by lawmakers.
“The positioning came as an anti-abortion group released a third covertly recorded video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing procedures for obtaining tissue from aborted fetuses for research and showing stark close-ups of what it said was fetal tissue in a Planned Parenthood lab.”
As Sen. Tim Scott said, “To me, this is not a political issue, it is not a partisan issue, it’s not even if whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice. This is an issue about our humanity . . . . Without any question, I think the right thing for us to do is to defund Planned Parenthood and to make sure that we see that every single dollar goes to provide women’s health services.” Tags:Senate, bill to Defund Planned parenthood, House, concerned, HUD, re-engineering neighborhoods, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Times Record: U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry
argues "Scrapping Iran Deal Would Mean Path
To Nuclear Weapon" in testimony before the
U.S.House Foreign Affairs Comm. on the
Iran nuclear agreement, July 28, 2015.
Imgage via REUTERS/Carlos Barria
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Secretary of State John Kerry's testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday in defense of President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran did not ease the growing sense that the deal is a disaster. One former Clinton ambassador said that Kerry sounded like a "used car salesman who's not revealing what's underneath the chassis of the car, whether it's rusty or not."
That's a great analogy. Below are just three examples from Kerry's testimony that should cause any serious member of Congress to vote "No." The first is an exchange between Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Kerry.Mr. Brooks: Well, do you believe that Iran is the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism?
Secretary Kerry: Yes.
Mr. Brooks: And, that they will use the conventional weapons made available by the Iran nuclear treaty to kill Americans or Israelis?
Secretary Kerry: Well, they may. They may. . . .So the Obama Administration is making a deal with Iran that will result in the Islamic Republic getting weapons -- weapons which the administration admits Iran may use to kill Americans and Israelis. The deal makes the world more dangerous.
Iran's leaders repeatedly threaten to wipe Israel off the map. They routinely chant "Death to America, Death to Israel." The regime is financing the terrorists in Hamas and Hezbollah.
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) asked Secretary Kerry why, given the enormous stakes involved, the administration refused to consider this deal as a treaty. Kerry answered:"I spent quite a few years trying to get a lot of treaties through the United States Senate, and it has become physically impossible. That's why. Because you can't pass a treaty anymore."In other words, the Obama White House knew this extremely controversial deal could never pass constitutional muster, so it just decided to ignore the normal constitutional process.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) asked Secretary Kerry how the administration would respond if Congress rejected the deal and overrode Obama's veto of a resolution of disapproval.Rep. Sherman: Let's say Congress doesn't take your advice, we override a veto. And the law that's triggered then imposes certain sanctions. Will you follow the law even though you think it violates this agreement clearly and even if you think it's absolutely terrible policy?
Secretary Kerry: "I can't begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the president and determining what the circumstances are.
Rep. Sherman: "So, you're not committed to following the law if you think it's a bad law?"
Secretary Kerry: "No, I said I'm not going to deal with a hypothetical, that's all."We don't have to guess at this. This administration has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to ignore laws it doesn't like.
If the administration is determined to do whatever the heck it wants, why on earth would any member of Congress take the risk of trusting Iran by voting for this deal?
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Secretary of State, startling testimony, before Congressional Committee, Iran Nuke Deal, video, CSpanTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Dems: Planned Parenthood Videos ‘Extremely Troubling’ | Sen. Ernst: Bill To Defend Planned Parentthood
Sen. Ernst Introduced ‘Legislation, Which Will Defund Planned Parenthood And Redirect These Federal Funds To Other Women's Health Organizations’
‘There Are Laws Against Sale Of Fetal Tissue’
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV) and 49 Other Senators: “We are deeply disturbed by recent footage released by the Center for Medical Progress depicting senior Planned Parenthood Federation of America executives discussing in graphic detail the organization’s practice of harvesting the organs of unborn babies. The footage raises a number of questions about the practices of the organization, including whether they are in compliance with federal laws regulating both the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortions.”(50 Senators, Letter To HHS Sec. Burwell, 7/22/15)
Personal Tweets by the editor: Dr. Bill - OzarkGuru
Married 48yr #Conservative #Constitution #NRALife #GunRights #USAF 22yr #military #veteran #Christian #CCOT #ProLife #TEAParty #GOP #TCOT #SGP #schoolchoice
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