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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Crash of Civilization

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco
Editor's Note: As a veteran, I recall that in 1970 John Kerry met with North Vietnamese Communists in violation of U.S. Law. Do you really believe today that he has the best wishes are for America or our democratic ally Israel? Links to a few background articles involving John Kerry.

Tags: crash of civilization, anti-Israel, John Kerry, Hamas, Israel, articles To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

#GruberGate: ObamaCare Architect’s “Tale of the Tapes”

American Commitment, a national advocacy organization, is launching a hard-hitting campaign to expose ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber’s historic deception regarding the subsidies that were at the center of the recent Halbig decision. The campaign includes a new video detailing Gruber’s apparent dishonesty.

“Jonathan Gruber and the other ObamaCare apologists’ dishonest attacks on conservatives who are asserting the lawful statutory right of states to opt out of Obamacare subsidies and penalties are shameful, willful, and disgusting,” said Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment. “It was always crystal clear that subsidy eligibility required ‘residing in a state that established an exchange.’ Jonathan Gruber stated this fact unequivocally until after the Halbig decision posed a major threat to ObamaCare. His dishonest attempts to now depict this universally understood provision of the law as a mere ‘typo’ is disgraceful.”

In Halbig, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that people purchasing health insurance under ObamaCare are only entitled to the “affordability tax credit” (subsidies) if they purchase their insurance through a health exchange established by a state, as the law itself says. This decision is a major blow to President Obama’s signature legislation—because only 14 states and the District of Columbia have decided to create exchanges while 36 have refused.

Since Halbig, ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber and his liberal allies have attempted to rewrite the law and history with blatant dishonesty. In contrast to his previous remarks, Gruber is deceitfully claiming that the law’s unambiguous requirement that individuals are only eligible for subsides if they purchase health insurance through an exchange established by a state was just a “typo.”

American Commitment’s “Gruber Gate: Tale of the Tapes” video juxtaposes clips of Jonathan Gruber talking out of both sides of his mouth with contradictory remarks. As the video shows, Jonathan Gruber now claims: “…It is unambiguous this is a typo.”

But in two different speeches in January 2012, Gruber repeatedly acknowledged that subsidy eligibility required residing in a state that established an exchange.

Gruber in 2012: “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”

Gruber in 2012: “If your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens. So that’s the other threat, is will states do what they need to set it up.”

Gruber in 2012: “I guess I’m enough of a believer in democracy, to think that when the voters and states see that by not setting up an exchange the politicians in the state are costing state residents hundreds of millions and billions of dollars that they’ll eventually throw the guys out. But, I don’t know that for sure, and that is really the ultimate threat.”

These remarks were consistent five other comments from Gruber (March 2010, May 2011, November 2011, September 2012, and November 2012) included in the video showing that he believed all 50 states had to establish exchanges for Obamacare to succeed, and states failing to do so constituted “a threat to its effective existence.”

When confronted with Gruber’s previous remarks, the White House could only characterize them as a “mistake.”

The following video can also be viewed online:
 The campaign is using the hashtag #GruberGate on Twitter.
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Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Kerpen is also a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: #GruberGate, Gruber Tapes, ObamaCare Architect. Obamacare, Tale of the Tapes, Jonathan Gruber, other ObamaCare apologists, dishonest attacks on conservatives, Phil Kerpen, American Commitment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Not a Lame Duck - Destroying America

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren

Tags: President Obama, no lame duck, destroying America, Editorial Cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Study Finds EPA's Carbon Regs Will Cost 1 Million Jobs & Raise Electricity Costs

Photographer: Kevin Dooley/Flickr. Licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: Both my grandmother and my financial adviser told me, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This aphorism helps me manage life’s inherent risk and uncertainty. Unfortunately, Washington policymakers aren’t heeding this advice when it comes to energy policy.

EPA’s proposed carbon regulations would make coal an energy “loser” and drive it out of America’s fuel mix. This would make electricity production more reliant on natural gas for baseload power and more reliant on wind and solar for intermittent power.

What would a reduction in power supply diversity mean for electricity costs and our economy? The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Nuclear Energy Institute asked research firm IHS to study this question. After looking at data from 2010-2012, the report found that, compared to a less diverse case with no meaningful contributions from coal and nuclear, our current mix of energy sources has lowered electricity generating costs by $93 billion per year while also reducing price volatility. With less diversity wholesale electricity prices would have been 75% higher and retail prices would have been 25% higher.

Since many industries buy electricity on the wholesale market, higher prices would mean fewer resources available to invest and hire workers. IHS estimates that the economic pain from less energy diversity would be over one million jobs lost and annual household disposable income reduced by around $2,100.

“The federal push to eliminate coal and favor some technologies over others could turn a major strength of our nation—a diverse supply of electricity resources—into a big vulnerability,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute

IHS explains why energy diversity is best for electricity consumers:
Engineering and economic analyses consistently show that an integration of different fuels and technologies produces the least-cost power production mix. Power production costs change because the input fuel costs—including for natural gas, oil, coal, and uranium—change over time. The inherent uncertainty around the future prices of these fuels translates into uncertainty regarding the cost to produce electricity, known as production cost risk. A diversified portfolio is the most cost-effective tool available to manage the inherent production cost risk involved in transforming primary energy fuels into electricity. In addition, a diverse power generation technology mix is essential to cost-effectively integrate intermittent renewable power resources into the power supply mix.We’ve lived so long with a diverse energy portfolio that we take it for granted. This past winter during the polar vortex, many Americans benefited from our diverse energy mix as Heath Knakmuhs, senior director of policy at the U.S. Chamber’s Energy Institute explains:The colder temperatures in some parts of the country stretched natural gas demand, and utilities turned to coal to provide power. While increasing natural gas production is a very good thing for our economy and our security, it should not be at the expense of other sources.If EPA’s greenhouse gas policies were already in effect, many Americans would have been shivering, sitting in the dark, or both. Energy policies that drive abundant fuels like coal out of the market will result in higher electricity costs, jobs lost, and families hurt.
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Sean Hackbarth is a policy advocate and blogger at U.S Chamber of Commerce. He twitters at @seanhackbarth and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.

Tags: IHS, study, EPA Carbon Regulations, losing 1 Million Jobs, Raise Electricity Costs, Sean Hackbarth, U.S. Chamber of Commerce To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

GAO Reports On Obamacare Website Train Wreck: Ongoing Problems, Management Failures, Cost Overruns | House Votes To Sue President

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 31, 2014
The House reconvened at 9:00 AM today.
On their agenda today is H.R. 5230 — "Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes."

Yesterday, the House passed the foillowing:
H. Con. Res. 107 (Voice Vote) — "Denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law."
H. Res. 676 (225-201)"Providing for authority to initiate litigation for actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States."
House voted (420 - 5) on the conference report to accompany H.R. 3230.
H.R. 5195 (Voice Vote) — "To provide additional visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program, and for other purposes."

Yesterday, newly discovered emails from the House Ways and Means committee from Lois Lerner show her hostility towards conservatives — who she refers to as “crazies” and “assholes.” May not come as a surprise that she’s not a fan. These were included in a letter from Rep. Dave Camp to Eric Holder today.

As mentioned above the House along party lines voted in support of H. Res. 676 allowing the House to sue the President or other executive branch officials for taking action inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution. Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urged House members to Defend the Constitution and to support of H. Res. 676, authorizes the House to enter into litigation in opposition to President Obama’s attempts to make his own laws, actions that challenge the constitutional separation of powers. He said, “Let me thank my colleague for yielding, and I also want thank the whole House for its work to address the people’s concerns about jobs and our economy. All told, we have sent the Senate now more than 40 jobs bills, almost all of them in a bipartisan way. From the first day of this Congress, I’ve said our focus would be on jobs, and it has been.

“But also on that first day, you may recall that I addressed the House about the importance of our oath of office. I noted that it’s the same oath we all take, it makes no mention of party, makes no mention of faction, or agenda. The oath only refers to the Constitution – and our obligation to defend it. I said that with moments like this in mind…I said that knowing there would be times when we would have to do things we didn’t come here to do, we didn’t plan to do, things that require us to consider interests greater than our own interests.

“I have to think this is why, on several occasions, members of the minority party have taken a similar step. In 2011, some of them filed litigation against the vice president. They took similar steps in 2006, 2002, 2001, and so forth.

“Because this isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. It is about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold, and acting decisively when it may be compromised.

“No member of this body needs to be reminded of what the Constitution states about the president’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation. No member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed, of the damage that’s already been done to our economy and to our people. Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our Founders have built?

“Think not only about the specifics of the oath you took, but think about how you took it: as one body, standing together. That is all I am asking you to do today: to act as one institution, to defend the Constitution on behalf of the people we serve.”

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed post cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2648, Senate Democrats’ emergency supplemental appropriations bill which includes money requested by the White House for the border crisis, Israel’s Iron Dome system, and western wildfires. Votes are likely today on the bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 63-33 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. take up and debate) S. 2648. Earlier in the day, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance their designed to fail campaign bill on outsourcing, S. 2569, by a vote of 54-42.

A devastating report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the failures of the Obamacare website once again demonstrates the expensive bureaucratic mess that Democrats’ unpopular health care law is, just as Republicans warned it would be.

The AP reports, “Management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for computer woes that paralyzed the president's new health care program last fall, nonpartisan investigators said in a report released Wednesday. While the administration was publicly assuring consumers that they would soon have seamless online access to health insurance, a chaotic procurement process was about to deliver a stumbling start. After a months-long investigation, the Government Accountability Office found that the administration lacked ‘effective planning or oversight practices’ for the development of HealthCare.gov, the portal for millions of uninsured Americans. As a result the government incurred ‘significant cost increases, schedule slips and delayed system functionality,’ William Woods, a GAO contracting expert, said in testimony prepared for a hearing Thursday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress.”

Reuters writes, “Ten months after the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, Obamacare's federal health insurance exchange is still dogged by cost overruns and technology delays that could hamper enrollment when it resumes in November, a U.S. watchdog said. The total cost of HealthCare.gov and its supporting systems hit $840 million in March, according to a forthcoming report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO). Excerpts of the report were released on Wednesday by a U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee. . . . The GAO report blamed cost increases on lax oversight, the complexity of the system and the need to rework technology. . . . The overall cost of developing the federal marketplace, which helps consumers in 36 states sign up for subsidized private health insurance, nearly quadrupled to $209 million by last February from $56 million in September 2011, GAO said. The cost of developing a related federal data hub jumped from $30 million to $85 million. Meanwhile, large segments of the marketplace system still remain unbuilt, including a financial management system to automate payments of federal subsidies to health insurers that is due to be completed in December.”

According to The Washington Post, “Such management failures are the central conclusion of the first report issued by the Government Accountability Office as part of a wide-ranging appraisal of the reasons the computer system was not ready when the marketplace opened in October. . . . Building ‘a first-of-its-kind marketplace’ was certain to be a complex undertaking, the investigators conclude in the report, made public on Wednesday. But agency officials aggravated the situation by allowing too little time for the work; changing the directions it gave the main contractor, CGI Federal; and not scrutinizing the contractor’s progress, the investigators found. The results, the GAO says, were ‘significant cost increases, schedule slips’ and delays. . . . Overall, the GAO concludes, the efforts of federal health officials ‘were plagued by undefined requirements, the absence [of] a required acquisition strategy, confusion in contract administration responsibilities, and ineffective use of oversight tools.’ . . . Once officials belatedly realized that CGI was running far behind, the report says, they ‘“increasingly faced a choice of whether to stop progress and pursue holding the contractor accountable for poor performance or devote all its efforts to making the October deadline.’ Staffers chose the latter, the GAO says, noting that they considered but rejected withholding fees from CGI last August, two months before the marketplace opened. Ultimately, the agency withheld just 2 percent of the contractor’s fees.”

The New York Times adds, “The administration ‘launched HealthCare.gov without verification that it met performance requirements,’ Mr. Woods said, and federal officials did not have a ‘quality assurance surveillance plan’ to monitor the work of contractors like CGI Federal, which had the main responsibility for building the marketplace, or exchange. Despite close supervision by the White House, ‘there was confusion about who had the authority to approve contractor requests to expend funds for additional work,’ Mr. Woods said. In 40 instances, he said, the staff members of the federal exchange ‘inappropriately authorized contractors to expend funds, totaling over $30 million.’”

USA Today summarizes the GAO’s findings: “A new report finds that the government did not plan well or properly provide oversight for the new federal health exchange launched last October. And the website faces new headaches for open enrollment in the fall if officials don't control spending, increase oversight and ensure back-end issues are properly fixed. . . . The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services went ahead with the exchange ‘despite facing a number of challenges that increased both the level of risk and the need for effective oversight,’ according to the report. . . . GAO investigators found that contractors building the exchange had too little time to do the job, and faced too many changes from the government as they tried to build. The report states:

  • Contractors had to build the data hub without knowing how many states would participate;
  • Contracting officials had to finalize new contracts without knowing exactly what the requirements would be, leading to more money spent than was originally expected;
  • Contracts with unusual amounts of flexibility because of changing requirements should have had more oversight to prevent overspending;
  • The federal marketplace was originally expected to cost $30 million, but increased to $85 million;
  • The site was launched without verification that it met performance requirements;
  • Because of inconsistent contractor oversight, there was confusion about who had the authority to approve contractor extensions. $40 million worth of work, though it may have been necessary, was improperly approved;
  • The government almost decided to withhold the fee for CGI Federal last summer but instead decided to try to meet the October deadline for launch with CGI as the contractor.”

Looking ahead to this fall’s enrollment process, the NYT writes, “The federal health insurance marketplace, a centerpiece of President Obama’s health care overhaul, still suffers from serious problems, raising questions about whether it will be ready to enroll millions more people this fall, federal investigators said Wednesday. . . . In testimony prepared for a House hearing on Thursday, William T. Woods, a senior official at the auditing agency, warned of ‘significant risks’ in the next open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15. His comments were striking because the White House has said that the problems were mostly solved with the help of a new team of professionals led now by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month, “Obamacare may not have existed in the English language just a few years ago. But in short order, it’s become a byword for broken promises and almost-cartoonish inefficiency. . . . Computer systems that should have been ready to go last October still have not been built yet. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to see in a Leslie Nielsen movie – not in real life. . . . Many of us predicted that these kinds of problems would be the likely outcome of giving government such expansive power over such a huge segment of our economy. Of course you’re going to have massive inefficiency. And probable fraud. And migraines for middle-class families that already have enough to deal with. Of course you’re going to see all this. It seems inevitable. That’s why Republicans say we need to start over with actual health care reform – reform that can actually lower costs and increase the quality of care without resorting to this tired government-centric approach. Obamacare is built upon the intellectually lazy idea that we can simply legislate a desirable outcome into existence; that we can tell a hulking federal bureaucracy to simply bureaucratize affordable healthcare into being. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Reality always intervenes, just as we’ve been seeing with the pain of Obamacare these past few years — pain that will only continue until Washington Democrats join with us to enact a serious, bipartisan approach that actually addresses many of our health care challenges and dispenses with the failed policies of this Administration.”


Tags: GAO. Obamacare, problems, House resolution, suing the president 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 Obamacare ‘Difference’

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
 After Months Of Reported Premium Hikes, ‘Cost Overruns And Technology Delays’ A Key Obamacare Official Confirms The Law Is ‘Working As Intended’

OBAMACARE OFFICIAL: “…the Affordable Care Act is working as intended, making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans.” (U.S. House Of Representatives, Energy & Commerce Committee, Hearing, 7/31/14)

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

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

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

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

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

LOUISIANA: ‘Double-digit increases’ up to 24% possible “Some Louisiana private health insurers filed for double-digit percentage increases in 2015 for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act's health exchange, according to filings this week with the Louisiana Department of Insurance.” (New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)

TENNESSEE: 2015 Premiums Could Increase up to 21.7% “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee — the state's dominant health insurance provider — is asking to raise rates by an average of 19 percent for its exchange plans in 2015, according to documents filed with the state of Tennessee. ...the consumer will experience a rate increase between 6.1 percent and 21.7 percent...” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)

NEW YORK: 2015 premiums could increase up to 19.7% “Insurance firms participating in New York’s ObamaCare health exchange are seeking double-digit hikes for patient medical premiums in 2015, new figures reviewed by The Post reveal. The average hike sought by insurers for individual plans is 12 percent—but a number of firms serving large numbers of patients want to boost individual premiums by nearly 20 percent. Leading the charge is Excellus Health Plan, which is seeking to sock more than 24,000 customers with a 19.7 percent hike.” (New York Post, 7/3/14)

VERMONT: 2015 premiums could increase up to 18.3% “The two companies that sell policies on the state’s online health insurance marketplace — Vermont Health Connect — have filed requests with state regulators for big rate increases for 2015. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has asked for an average increase for its plans of 9.8 percent. ... MVP Health Care proposed an even bigger rate increase — an average 15.4 percent, with a range starting at 10.7 percent and rising to 18.3 percent.” (Burlington Free Press, 6/3/14)

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

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

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

FLORIDA: 2015 premium increases up to 14.1% “State insurance officials are preparing to release figures next week on how much health plans will cost under the Affordable Care Act for 2015, and rate increases seem inevitable as insurers say their new consumers are older and sicker than anticipated. ... Top executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Cigna said rate increases are likely, but declined specifics. Humana proposed an average 14.1 percent increase for its HMOs...” (AP, 7/30/14)

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA: 2014 premiums increased ‘between 22% and 88%’ “The cost of health insurance for individuals skyrocketed this year in California, with some paying almost twice what they did last year, the state's insurance commissioner said.... For 2014, consumers purchasing individual policies paid between 22% and 88% more for health insurance than they did last year.” (LA Times, 7/29/14)

‘Botched’ Obamacare Website ‘Still Unable To Perform Essential Functions’
“Ten months after the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, Obamacare's federal health insurance exchange is still dogged by cost overruns and technology delays that could hamper enrollment when it resumes in November, a U.S. watchdog said.” (Reuters, 7/30/14)
  • “The federal health insurance marketplace… still suffers from serious problems, raising questions about whether it will be ready to enroll millions more people this fall, federal investigators said Wednesday.” (The New York Times, 7/30/14)
  • “…the marketplace is still unable to perform essential functions needed to pay insurers and update information on consumers.” (The New York Times, 7/30/14)
“A new report finds that the government did not plan well or properly provide oversight for the new federal health exchange launched last October.” (USA Today, 7/30/14)
  •  “…agency officials aggravated the situation by allowing too little time for the work; changing the directions it gave the main contractor, CGI Federal; and not scrutinizing the contractor’s progress, the investigators found.” (The Washington Post, 7/30/14)
  • “In 40 instances, [GAO Official William Woods] said, the staff members of the federal exchange ‘inappropriately authorized contractors to expend funds, totaling over $30 million.’” (The New York Times, 7/30/14)

“The total cost of HealthCare.gov and its supporting systems hit $840 million in March, according to a forthcoming report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).” (Reuters, 7/30/14)
  • “Between September 2011 and February of this year, the cost for building the marketplace ballooned from $56 million to $209 million.” (The Washington Post, 7/30/14)
  • “The GAO report blamed cost increases on lax oversight, the complexity of the system and the need to rework technology. ... contract allowed for payment even when work was not completed.” (Reuters, 7/30/14)

Tags: Obamacare Difference, Premium Increases, Cost Overruns, Technology Delays, Obamacare website, GAO,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Carbon TAX Scam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Send in the Clown

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony Branco

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

Stunning Setback to Obamacare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The IRS Attacked Pro-Israel Groups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags:  IRS, attacks, pro-Israel groups, Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Special Israel Alert -- 7/29/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel confident that General Salami is in for a big disappointment and that the God of Abraham will prevail!
-------------
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families where his articles are also shared.

Tags: Israel, Hamas, special Israeli alert, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!


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