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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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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gov. Mike Pence Calls For Peace Through Strength

Gov. Mike Pence
 Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: The 2016 presidential race continues to get a lot of coverage, even though we are still months away from the 2014 election. While most of the spilled ink is about Hillary and Jeb, Indiana Governor Mike Pence is a potential dark horse candidate who could emerge as a serious contender.

Governor Pence insists he has not made any decisions about 2016, but I am glad to see him speaking out on critical issues confronting our country. Today he delivered a speech in Berlin, Germany, challenging President Obama to restore the missile defense shield to our European allies that he cancelled in 2009.

One might expect the governor of Indiana to highlight agricultural exports. And I am sure that was one of the focuses of his trip. But having served a decade on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gov. Pence knows what he is talking about when it comes to foreign policy and national security. Here are some excerpts of his remarks today:
"With Russian aggression on the rise, clearly conciliatory diplomacy has failed. While sanctions are of some value, in the interest of our alliance, I believe the United States and the [European Union] must respond with deeds more than words to strengthen our economic and strategic defenses. …

"And, with continued instability in the Middle East, Iran's ongoing effort to develop long-range missiles and nuclear technology, and Putin's annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine, I believe we must take immediate steps to deploy a robust missile defense in Europe -- especially Poland and the Czech Republic -- to protect the interests of our NATO allies and the United States in the region.
I believe Governor Pence is correct. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher didn't bring down the Soviet Union with press releases or socks. It took action -- rebuilding our military, deploying missiles in Europe and launching the Strategic Defense Initiative. The Soviet Union collapsed because America and its allies demonstrated resolve, not flexibility.
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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, Mike Pence, Governor, Indiana, Peace Through Strength, Berlin, Germany, Russian aggression To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Declaring War on Americans

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: You have to be extremely stupid to send a couple of hundred armed government agents to confiscate some bullheaded rancher’s cattle without contemplating how the rest of the nation will interpret your actions.

What was obvious to voters who rejected Barack Obama’s run for the presidency the first and second time was the fact that he lacked any record of competency to be President. The rest voted for him because they wanted to say they helped elect the first black President of the United States and because they believed what this pathological liar said then and since.

The assertion that Obama’s and Eric Holder’s actions and policies are opposed because they are black is absurd. It is an insult to everyone who voted for Obama and to the rest of us.

I love the notion that Cliven Bundy lives in Bunkerville. It reminded me of Bunker Hill and you know how badly that eventually turned out for the British in 1775. What ensued was a guerrilla war led by George Washington that defeated the most powerful nation of its time. There is no way a militia with small arms can defeat the kind of arms the U.S. government can bring to bear on such a battle, but one has to admire the courage of those people who showed up to confront them. That’s quintessentially American!

Bundy should have paid his grazing rights fees. Other ranchers do. What he has done, however, is bring greater awareness the amount of land that the federal government owns in Nevada and elsewhere, particularly west of the Mississippi, and expose a regime that wants to intimidate Americans with force.

According to Wikipedia, “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers America's public lands, totaling approximately 247.3 million acres, or one-eighth of the landmass of the country. The BLM also manages 700 million acres (2,800,000 km) of subsurface mineral estate underlying federal, state, and private lands. Most public lands are located in western states, especially Alaska. With approximately 10,000 permanent employees and close to 2,000 seasonal employees, this works out to over 21,000 acres (85 km) per employee. The agency's budget was $960,000,000 for 2010 ($3.79 per surface acre, $9.38 per hectare)”

I can understand the need for national forests and reserves, but I have concerns that those reserves are used as an excuse to deny access to massive energy sources that lie beneath their surface. If the U.S. didn’t own most of Nevada, Bundy would not need to pay grazing fees. Most certainly, his ancestors didn’t. The other excuse, that the government is trying to protect an endangered tortoise, is just part of the environmental movement’s efforts to keep energy sources from being available to all of us. Endangered species is pure fiction.

What worries me and many of my blogger colleagues is the prospect of a renewed effort by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding what is essentially a fairly minor dispute between it and Bundy. Showing some common sense, the BLM backed off its initial effort.

I don’t think the BLM response to Bundy was exclusive to the agency. That decision needed to be sent up the line as far as the White House. Indeed, it was likely initiated by the White House.

Even more scary is the fact that only Fox News channel had reporters on the scene. No other major television news outlet set journalists to record the event. How much in league with the White House does the media have to be to ignore two hundred armed government agents descending on a ranch in Nevada?

I suspect that a lot of Americans and most certainly those who live in the rural areas of the nation are going to remember the Bundy face-off with the BLM come the November midterm elections. While most voters are crowded into the cities on the East and West Coasts, there are a lot of others in “flyover country.’

When you add in all the folks who lost their healthcare insurance and others who have discovered they can’t even buy a policy until next January, that’s going to be a voting bloc that could decimate Democratic Party candidates.

All tyrannies over-reach at some point and we are seeing that occur in the White House. The nation is fortunate to have the House controlled by Republicans and now needs a Senate as well in order to dispense some much needed justice on behalf of Americans.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the White House responds to the May 16 “Operation American Spring” being organized to bring a million or more to Washington, D.C. to participate in an event that will demonstrate the breadth of the unhappiness that has spread since Obama’s first election and is gaining momentum since his second.

The White House response will tell us all a lot about its current state of mind. Whatever it has in mind is likely to leak. The best thing about Washington, D.C. is its inability to keep a secret. The worst thing is the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: declaring war, on Americans, BLM, Nevada, rancher, tyrannies, Obama administration, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

2014 Tax Day Chart: Who Pays the Most?

Michael Sargent, Heritage Foundation: Which taxpayers experience the greatest tax burden—and who pays the most in taxes?
As Americans navigated the labyrinthine tax code ahead of tax day, many felt the sting of the President’s myriad tax increases.

Despite calls for more taxes on the rich, the Heritage chart shown above reveals that the recent tax increases disproportionately affect the working wealthy. The top 10 percent of all income earners paid 71 percent of federal income taxes in 2010, yet they earned 45 percent of all federal income. Compare that to the bottom 50 percent of earners, who earn 12 percent of income yet pay only 2 percent of federal income taxes.

So when Obama and advocates of higher federal taxes opine that the rich do not pay their “fair share,” they are correct—affluent income-earners pay a whole lot more than they would pay if we had a proportional tax code instead of the highly progressive one we have today.

While taxes have increased for most taxpayers, the wealthy are—relative to the rest of the population—increasingly shouldering the federal tax burden. The Wall Street Journal’s John McKinnon notes that this burden has shifted largely as a result of the tax changes passed at the start of 2013 during the fiscal cliff debates. These changes include a “bump in the top ordinary income rate to 39.6% from 35%, a limit on itemized deductions and an increase in the top rate on investment income.”

But the tax misery is not limited only to the well-to-do. All taxpayers faced an average tax increase of 1.8 percent in 2013. Indeed, Heritage tax expert Curtis Dubay uncovered no less than 13 tax increases that kicked in at the beginning of the year, six of which came on the coattails of Obamacare. Taxpayers also face state and local tax burdens that remain high in much of the country, as well as the prospect of rising payroll taxes in the future.

In addition to stifling economic growth, many of these new taxes—especially those on income—penalize success and discourage work. As Dubay has written, it is imperative to reform the tax code because families would be able to earn more, “but would not pay higher marginal tax rates on their higher earnings. The tax code would not punish families as it does today for being more successful and for earning higher compensation because they are more productive.”

Reform represents a pro-growth agenda that would encourage work and savings to a far greater extent than the current system, which rewards those who can best exploit the arbitrary breaks in the tax code. If President Obama and Congress were serious about creating a more just and efficient tax code—in which everyone paid his “fair share”—they would reform the tax code, rather than levying more taxes on Americans and further complicating the system with additional rules.

Tags: Economics, taxpayers, tax burden, Tax Day, chart, Michael Sargent, Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

IRS Sticker Shock

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: IRS, Sticker Shock, audit, agent, bias, 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!

WaPo: "Conservatives Not Swayed By IRS Plan To Revise Proposed Nonprofit Rule"

The Washington Post reports today, “The head of the Internal Revenue Service this week signaled that his agency will re-write proposed new limits on the political activities of nonprofit advocacy groups . . . . Lawmakers and policy analysts on both sides of the political spectrum have voiced opposition to the draft guidelines, which would prohibit tax-exempt organizations from engaging in certain election-related activities including voter-registration and get-out-the-vote drives. Conservatives have argued that the proposals are part of an Obama administration plot to silence criticism from the right. Liberals have said the plans go too far and need reworking.”

The Post notes that the IRS Commissioner’s comments have “fail[ed] to win over conservatives.” “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), one of the staunchest opponents of the limits, responded with backhanded approval to the IRS walking back its initial proposals. He has said that the Obama administration should drop its plans for new regulations affecting nonprofit advocacy groups. ‘The commissioner has the ability to stop the IRS from stepping on the First Amendment altogether, and that’s exactly what he should do,’ McConnell said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Cleta Mitchell, a conservative election-law expert, said in an interview on Tuesday that the Obama administration has been working ‘behind closed doors’ and ‘in secret’ to develop new rules that would hinder nonprofit advocacy groups with right-leaning policy positions. ‘It doesn’t give me comfort that [Koskinen] says he’s re-writing the draft regulations,’ Mitchell said. ‘This is a flawed process that is going to continue to produce a flawed product.’”


Mitchell is quite right. The IRS needs to get out of the business of regulating political speech altogether.

Remember, this proposal was so poorly conceived that the ACLU warned it would “impermissibly chill political speech that should receive the highest level of protection under the First Amendment” and the NRA agreed that it “appears like a blatant abuse of the tax code designed to muzzle the American people's free speech rights.” The League of Women Voters called it “a terrible mistake, both for voters and for our democracy.” And an Americans for Prosperity spokesman said, “Because the proposed rules are so sweeping, categorical, and prohibitive, they will almost certainly affect organizations both large and small with equally draconian effects.”

As Leader McConnell said, the message from both liberals and conservatives to the IRS was, “Leave. The First Amendment. Alone. Get out of the censorship and harassment business. Stick to the job you’re actually supposed to be doing. . . . So Left, Right, or Center — folks understand what a threat this rule poses to our most cherished of civil liberties. . . . [W]hat unites us is our love of the liberties that have allowed Americans to disagree civilly for centuries. Commissioner Koskinen: Do the right thing. Stop this regulation.”

Tags: IRS Plan, revise nonprofit rule, limiting free speech To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Syvia Burwell Draws The Rath of Veterans - SOS Lunches Barricade Burwell From HHS Confirmation

This time, it's our turn to erect the barricades!
Special Operations Speaks is demanding the Senate stop the appointment of Sylvia Burwell to Secretary of HHS. "She showed us first hand how she feels about veterans when she locked down the WWII Memorial bakc in October. Her 'Barycades' left veterans standing in the freezing cold for hours -- we can only imagine what she'll do with control of our healthcare.

"But with the help of thousands of you, active and retired men and women from all branches of the military, we tore down those insults to our sacrifice and service and left them on Obama's front doorstep. It seems he has a very short memory -- but no matter -- we're going to remind him what a group of pissed-off veterans sounds like.

"Join us in stopping Sylvia Burwell from receiving the Senate's confirmation on her appointment to Secretary of HHS. Demand the Senate stand up to Obama and his system of rewarding his yes-men for their blind obedience and betrayal of the American people. They walked us into this Obamacare-nightmare and now they owe it to the people they represent to stop the confirmation of Sylvia Burwell.

"Because who knows where her Barycades would end up next."  SOS Petition

Tags: Syvia Burwell, President Obama, nomination, Secretary HHS, Burwell, locked down, WWII Memorial, Barricades, SOS, petition, Special Operations Speaks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Ukraine Falling to Economic Warfare and Its Own Missteps

As violence overtakes Ukraine in the east and Russian soldiers amass on the borders, it might be time to take a serious look at what Moscow's stated grievances are and why Ukraine's new leaders need to look east for unity and how they missed the boat on energy. ~ James Stafford, Editor OilPrice.com

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco
 by Robert Bensh, OilPrice.com: As protests in Ukraine's eastern region turned violent on Sunday leading to the death of a Ukrainian security officer in a shootout with pro-Russian militia, Kiev threatens military action while Moscow flexes its geo-economic warfare muscles.

Pro-Russian militia groups have seized government buildings and police headquarters in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk and Slovyanks -- where the shoot-out took place--and despite a Monday morning ultimatum by the Ukrainian government, these groups have shown no sign of giving in.

There has been no movement by the Ukrainian military to make good on its ultimatum; indeed, the messages have been unclear and contradictory.

Acting president Oleksander Turchinov has dangled the idea of a referendum that would seek to address the demands of the region's Russian-speaking population for more autonomy. In the same breath, Turchinov on Sunday promised a "large-scale anti-terrorist operation" to prevent another incident such as Crimea, which was annexed by Russia last month.

On Sunday, Moscow requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), while NATO came out with estimations that Russia had amassed up to 40,000 troops in more than 100 locations along its border with Ukraine.

This is the atmosphere that leads us up to 25 May presidential elections in Ukraine, which will be shaped by metamorphosing relations with Russia-and by energy.

Over the past few years, Ukraine's relationship with Russia has become increasingly adversarial, in tandem with Russian President Vladimir Putin's desire to increase his status and dominion.

But it is through the spectrum of energy that we have seen the more poignant phases of this change. The current controversial gas supply agreement Ukraine has with Russia was put in place less because of Putin's negotiating skills and more because of a concerted effort by former prime minister and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko to destroy the Ukrainian gas lobby run by oligarch Dmitry Firtash.

While Ukraine has always struggled with gas supply issues, this really changed the dynamic. Yuri Boyko - former energy minister and another current presidential candidate--has gone from a close working relationship to a very strained one with Russia as he sought to both keep the population supplied with cheap gas and to increase the country's independent energy supply.

Boyko's plans to further diversify the industry were halted when he was promoted to the position of vice-prime minister and Eduard Stavitsky, a member of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych's inner circle, was given the energy portfolio. At that point, all efforts towards energy independence abruptly ceased.

What's going on now is geopolitical and geoeconomic battle for the region, driven by loss of Russian credibility and Moscow's control of the Ukrainian presidency when Yanukovych was ousted in February.

But it's important in all of this to pay close attention to what Russia is airing as its grievances, which included: an illegitimate Ukrainian government led by radicals; unprotected Russian speakers in the eastern regions; and $11 billion in unpaid Ukrainian gas debt.

What Moscow is saying, then, is that the current administration has zero representation from the eastern portion of the country. It is important to remember that over 40% of the Ukrainian population-all from the east-was against signing the economic cooperation agreement with the European Union, which was carried out immediately after the annexation of the Crimea in late March.

Russia can realistically argue that the Maidan protest movement drove the political section process, and that the current government is not representative of the country as a whole. The current administration was interested in placating the Maidan and moving towards Europe, not necessarily in united the country.

And what have they accomplished? Nothing. There are still people protesting in the Maidan; Crimea is gone; and eastern Ukraine is under threat of attack from Russia.

The current leadership should also take responsibility for its role in provoking the current situation. They refused to speak with Russia once they assumed leadership, stating they had support from Europe and the United States. At the same time, some politicians and ministers are busy conducting their own brand of justice, accusing anyone that is of the former government of crimes with little to no justification and trying to take advantage of their few remaining weeks in office to position themselves for future power.

What Russia wants is an integrated representative government. If this is realized, Moscow will no longer be able to play the legitimacy card. If Petro Poroshenko, who is leading in the polls right now, wins the , then Ukraine will need a prime minister that is accepted in the east in order to have an integrated government.

This new government will also need to find an effective way to pay the country's gas debt to Russia, because that will not disappear. The only way to do that is to start selling off energy assets and privatizing the energy infrastructure.

Russia has been able to manipulate Ukraine's energy dependency to the benefit and pursuit of its foreign policy goals. We're seeing this very clearly today as Putin has called for the payment of $38 billion from Ukraine, the result of unpaid gas sales and the removal of the discount for the Black Sea port in Crimea.

Ukraine's economic crisis had been transformed into geoeconomic warfare caused by Russia's control of supply to Europe and Ukraine's failure to develop its own internal energy resources. And it cannot be coincidental that Russian troops are building up close to Ukraine's gas pipelines.

Ukraine presents the most powerful example of Russia's use of the energy weapon as a means to influence the foreign policy orientation of a post-Soviet state, and as "testing ground" for Russia's possible use of energy as a foreign policy weapon elsewhere in the former USSR and beyond.

However, Ukraine's new leadership has to take responsibility here as well. The current situation is not as black and white as our Cold War mentalities tempt us to believe. The onus is now on Kiev, and there are diplomatic and economic ways to halt the violent progression and render Moscow's arguments moot.
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© OilPrice.com - This article was contributed to the ARRA News Service by James Stafford, Editor, OilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site. Its news and analysis covers all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and hydro.

Tags: Ukraine, fractions, divisions, Russia, energy assets, natural gas, pipeline, Ukraine's gas pipelines, OilPrice.com, Robert Bensh , editorial cartoon, AF BrancoS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

America Loves Booze and Pot

Americans love booze and love pot. What the long term effects on our society will be are unknown, but there will be effects. ~ Alan Caruba
 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: In 1919 the eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of “intoxicating liquors” in the United States and by 1933 the era of prohibition was over when the twenty-first Amendment rescinded it. Alcohol consumption was and is a social problem, but sometimes the government is not the right vehicle for dealing with them.

The United States is a huge market for what are deemed illegal drugs and, for many years, marijuana has been among them. That prohibition is now going the way of the earlier effort to make alcohol consumption illegal. Questions remain as to whether this is a good thing or not.

A study by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health whose results were released in February examined automobile deaths resulting from marijuana use while driving. The data was gathered from six states that perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal accidents. It found that drugs played an increasing role in such accidents, accounting for more than 28% in 2010, 16% more than in 1999 and marijuana was the main drug involved in the increase, contributing to 12%, compared to only 4% in 1999.

“Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana,” said Dr. Guohua Le, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia. “If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of a driver who is not, but the driver under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana then increased to 24 times that of a sober person.”

Those numbers will rise in the years ahead because two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational use of marijuana and twenty states allow medical use. Observers of the trend predict that a dozen more states are expected to legalize marijuana in some form over the next several years. One study has projected a $10 billion legal marijuana industry by 2018.

More than a dozen members of Congress have sponsored legislation aimed at reforming federal marijuana laws and the federal government allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s laws to take effect last year. Medical use has gained public acceptance and the Federal Drug Administration recently gave the green light to a clinical study in its efficacy in children with severe epilepsy. The Department of Health and Human Services has approved a study that will examine its effect on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

President Obama recently signed a Farm Bill that legalized “industrialized hemp production” for research purposes in the twelve states that permit it after a decades-long war on cannabis that is clearly winding down.

The use of marijuana took off in a big way in the 1960s, a decade famed for many liberal causes and a generation of young people that rejected opposition to it. In many ways, legalizing marijuana has been a liberal cause.

In early April, the Washington Times reported that “Billionaire philanthropist George Soros hopes the U.S. is going to pot, and he is using his money to drive it there. With a cadre of like-minded, wealthy donors, Mr. Soros is dominating the pro-legalization side of the marijuana debate by funding grass-roots initiatives that begin in New York City and end up affecting local politics elsewhere. Through a network of nonprofit groups, Mr. Soros has spent at least $80 million on the legalization effort since 1994.” The American Civil Liberties Union has been a leading advocate of marijuana legalization efforts.

The legalization can be seen as a liberal versus conservative political issue, but I think it is more an issue of public opinion regarding the use of marijuana, particularly as regards the fines and jail terms that have been imposed. We do this for those who abuse alcohol and logic suggests such laws will be applied to pot users as well, reducing the more aggressive fines and jail terms.

A new Time magazine polls found that 75% of Americans believe that the sale of marijuana will eventually become legal across the nation whether they supported legalization or not. The Pew Research Center conducted the polls in mid-February among 1,821 adults, finding that the number of people in favor of legalizing pot continues to grow. Four years ago 52% percent said they thought marijuana use should not be legal, but now 54% are in favor of legalization.

Most believe that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. While 69% believe that alcohol was more harmful to society, a large majority, 76%, believe that people convicted of possession of small amounts of pot should not have to serve jail time. I concur with that. I also support its use for medical purposes.

For better or worse, all societies evolve and change. The Prohibition era gave rise to organized crime to provide the booze Americans wanted to drink and the efforts to decriminalize marijuana now reflect a growing acceptance of its use for either medical or recreational use.

More drivers will die as a result, either from its use or from being in fatal accidents with those who do. Its use in the work environment will cause accidents that range from minor to fatal. It is extraordinarily curious that, while Americans have been subjected to a huge campaign to restrict smoking, the restrictions on marijuana use are being eliminated. I am not sure I see any difference here.

Americans love booze and love pot. What the long term effects on our society will be are unknown, but there will be effects.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: America, booze, pot, marijuana, society, op-ed, 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!

You Just Paid Your Taxes - Here Is A Sampling Of What You Bought

By Andrew Collins and Dustin Hurst: Uncle Sam thanks you.

An $876,752 study on snail sex
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You Bought
Img via tumblr.com
A University of Iowa study is trying to figure out if it’s better for snails to reproduce sexually or asexually.

A $16 million tropical vacation
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You Bought
Img via chicka-chicka-gifs.tumblr.com
That was the final price tag on President Obama’s most recent holiday vacations to Hawaii and Africa.

A $750,000 study on how kid cartoons contribute to obesity
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You BoughtImg viamedia.giphy.com
The National Science Foundation awarded two grants totaling $750,000 to find out if cartoon characters are making children overweight.

A $2.4 million program to develop “origami condoms”
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You Bought
Img via img3.wikia.nocookie.net
If you must know, it includes male and female versions, and the “first of its kind anal condom.”

A $30,410 “beauty salon” in a federal prison
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You Bought
aimg via strawberrylicorice.tumblr.com
At least it’s a women’s federal prison.

Millions in drugs for prisoners
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You BoughtImg via cheezburger.com
Medicare sent millions in improper payments to incarcerated persons.

A $98,670 outhouse
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You Bought
Img via media.giphy.comThe Federal Bureau of Land Management may have just built the most expensive outhouse ever at the Swede Park Trail Head in Alaska.

$700 million of Obamacare promotion
You Just Paid Your Taxes America... This Is What You Bought
Img via anodtothegods.com
The big doozy. Despite President Obama’s claim that the government did not “make a hard sell” for Obamacare, his administration spent nearly $700 million to promote the law.

Tags: Your taxes, at work, sampling, of what you bought, snail sex, tropical vacation for POTUS, kids cartoon. obesity, origami condoms, federal prison beauty salon, drugs for prisoners, outhouse, Obamacare promotion, WatchDog.org, 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, April 15, 2014

Fairly Taxing - Time for the #FairTax

Americans deserve a tax system that is simple and fair – one that incentivizes economic growth as opposed to assaulting our productivity, our prosperity and our liberties. ~ Nathan Mehrens, President of Americans for Limited Government
by Augusta Chronicle (GA): Today is Tax Day, the deadline for Americans to file and send their federal income tax forms. For all the headaches it causes, it might as well be called National Aspirin Day, too.

It all could be so much simpler and fairer.

Imagine this scenario:

Imagine that America always has had a national sales tax. The amount of your paycheck is the money you actually take home, with no deductions. To offset your sales-tax spending, the government sends you a monthly "prebate" check. Everybody gets that check, but it's geared to offer relief to lower-income families.

Oh, and in this scenario, the Internal Revenue Service doesn't exist.

Now imagine that a politician comes forward with a new approach to paying and collecting taxes. Instead of paying just one tax, this plan calls for paying several. There will be taxes on Social Security, Medicare, capital gains, estates of the deceased and, of course, personal income. And that's just for openers.

That all sounds like a lot of work. It is, this politician says -- which is why we need to grow the federal government to make this new system operate. To support this new taxation system, America will have to hire almost 90,000 employees and give them a budget of more than $11 billion. It also will require thousands of pages of laws and rules to anticipate and accommodate every conceivable scenario for levying taxes.

And since our nation is changing every day, the rule book for this new tax agency will keep growing bigger each year, making it more difficult to keep track of all the rules.

Former radio show host Neal Boortz once posed a similar version of this scenario to listeners, then basically asked: Why on Earth would anyone choose the bigger, more complicated tax system?

Indeed.

Would it shock you if we told you that the U.S. Internal Revenue Code was 14,000 pages long? Well, here's the real shocking part -- we say "was" because that figure actually is from 1954. The most recent page count, by one estimate, is a sprawling 73,954 pages -- cluttered with loopholes, adjustments, exclusions, exemptions and miscellaneous bureaucratic chicanery.

And headaches.

The national sales tax idea has been floated for a number of years as the Fair Tax. It's worth taking a look at. But even a flat tax would be preferable to the red-tape nightmare Americans have to relive every April 15.

Tags: fairly taxing, Fair Tax, tax day, April 15 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Tax Blues: “Progressive” Mike Ross Wanted You To Pay More In Taxes, A Lot More

"It's tax day, and Arkansans would do well to remember who is advocating on their behalf. It certainly isn’t Congressman Mike Ross, a self-described ‘progressive.’ In Washington, D.C., Ross voted with liberal Nancy Pelosi at least 91 times in favor of higher taxes. If Ross and Pelosi had their way, Arkansans would be paying a lot more in taxes. With all of those poor votes, it’s no wonder Ross got ‘burnt out.’" – RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho

Ross A Self-Described “Progressive”
As Ross Took His Seat In The State Senate In 1991, He Called Himself A “Progressive.” “Ross, 29, calls himself a ‘progressive’ who would prefer to plan ahead rather than react to problems after they have developed.”  (“Ross Takes Seat With Bills In Hand,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/13/91)

“Ross Positioned Himself With The Progressive Wing Of The Democratic Party…” “He said that as a state senator and then during his first congressional campaign, Ross positioned himself with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But his district, like many areas of the South, began to lean more heavily Republican over the past decade, and Ross began to take a more conservative stance, Barth said. ‘He has been a very ambidextrous politician,’ Barth said.”  (“Ross Wrapping Up 12-Year D.C. Stint,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 12/30/12)

Ross Voted With Pelosi Over 90 Times In Favor Of Higher Taxes
While Serving In Congress, Mike Ross Voted With Nancy Pelosi Voted At Least 91 Times In Favor Of Higher Taxes. (H. Res. 83, Vote #37: Motion agreed to 220-204: R 215-0; D 4-203; I 1-1, 3/8/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 83, Vote #38: Motion agreed to 217-205: R 214-0; D 2-204; I 1-1, 3/8/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 83, Vote #39: Adopted 220-204: R 216-0; D 3-203; I 1-1, 3/8/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 83, Vote #40: Motion agreed to 221-197: R 215-0; D 5-196; I 1-1, 3/8/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 3, Vote #43: Motion agreed to 228-197: R 216-0; D 11-196; I 1-1, 3/8/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 3, Vote #44: Motion rejected 204-221: R 0-218; D 203-2; I 1-1, 3/8/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 3, Vote #45: Passed 230-198: R 219-0; D 10-197; I 1-1, 3/8/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 83, Vote #70: Adopted 222-205: R 218-2; D 3-202; I 1-1, 3/28/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 83, Vote #104: Adopted 221-207: R 214-3; D 6-203; I 1-1, 5/9/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 1836, Vote #116: Adopted 220-207: R 217-0; D 2-206; I 1-1, 5/16/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 1836, Vote #118: Passed 230-197: R 216-0; D 13-196; I 1-1, 5/16/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 1836, Vote #146: Motion rejected 198-210: R 1-205; D 196-4; I 1-1, 5/23/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 1836, Vote #148: Adopted 213-177: R 209-0; D 3-176; I 1-1, 5/26/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 270, Vote #400: Motion agreed to 219-207: R 216-0; D 2-206; I 1-1, 10/24/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 270, Vote #401: Adopted 225-199: R 214-0; D 10-198; I 1-1, 10/24/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 3090, Vote #403: Motion rejected 199-230: R 0-218; D 198-11; I 1-1, 10/24/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 3090, Vote #404: Passed 216-214: R 212-7; D 3-206; I 1-1, 10/24/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 319, Vote #506: Adopted 214-206: R 210-7; D 3-198; I 1-1, 12/19/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 320, Vote #507: Adopted 219-198: R 215-0; D 3-197; I 1-1, 12/20/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 3529, Vote #508: Motion rejected 177-238: R 0-215; D 176-22; I 1-1, 12/20/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 3529, Vote #509: Passed 224-193: R 214-2; D 9-190; I 1-1, 12/20/01, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 622, Vote #36: Motion agreed to 216-207: R 215-0; D 0-206; I 1-1, 2/14/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 622, Vote #37: Adopted 213-206: R 212-0; D 0-205; I 1-1, 2/14/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 622, Vote #38: Motion agreed to 225-199: R 214-1; D 10-197; I 1-1, 2/14/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 390, Vote #101: Motion agreed to 219-206: R 218-0; D 0-205; I 1-1, 4/18/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 586, Vote #102: Adopted 218-205: R 217-0; D 0-204; I 1-1, 4/18/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 586, Vote #103: Motion agreed to 229-198: R 219-1; D 9-196; I 1-1, 4/18/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2143, Vote #215: Motion agreed to 223-201: R 216-0; D 6-200; I 1-1, 6/6/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2143, Vote #216: Adopted 227-195: R 216-0; D 10-194; I 1-1, 6/6/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2143, Vote #217: Rejected 197-231: R 6-212; D 190-18; I 1-1, 6/6/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 2143, Vote #218: Motion rejected 205-223: R 1-217; D 203-5; I 1-1, 6/6/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H. Res. 527, Vote #398: Adopted 213-200: R 212-0; D 1-199; I 0-1, 9/19/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 547, Vote #413: Motion agreed to 217-200: R 216-0; D 1-199; I 0-1, 9/25/02, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 95, Vote #82: Adopted 215-212: R 214-12; D 1-199; I 0-1, 3/21/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 95, Vote #141: Adopted (thus sent to the Senate) 216-211: R 216-7; D 0-203; I 0-1, 4/11/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #178: Motion agreed to 219-203: R 219-0; D 0-202; I 0-1, 5/9/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #179: Adopted 220-203: R 220-0; D 0-202; I 0-1, 5/9/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #180: Motion agreed to 222-202: R 222-0; D 0-201; I 0-1, 5/9/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #181: Motion rejected 202-218: R 0-217; D 201-1; I 1-0, 5/9/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 2, Vote #182: Passed 222-203: R 218-3; D 4-199; I 0-1, 5/9/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #211: Motion agreed to 221-202: R 220-0; D 1-201; I 0-1, 5/22/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #212: Adopted 218-202: R 218-0; D 0-201; I 0-1, 5/22/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #224: Motion agreed to 221-205: R 221-0; D 0-204; I 0-1, 5/23/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2, Vote #225: Adopted (thus sent to the Senate) 231-200: R 224-1; D 7-198; I 0-1, 5/23/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 8, Vote #284: Motion agreed to 227-200: R 227-0; D 0-199; I 0-1, 6/18/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 8, Vote #285: Adopted 230-199: R 227-1; D 3-197; I 0-1, 6/18/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2555, Vote #305: Motion agreed to 222-200: R 221-0; D 1-199; I 0-1, 6/24/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 2660, Vote #347: Motion rejected 199-222: R 0-221; D 198-1; I 1-0, 7/10/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 2660, Vote #348: Motion rejected 197-224: R 0-223; D 196-1; I 1-0, 7/10/03, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H. Con. Res. 393, Vote #92: Adopted 215-212: R 215-10; D 0-201; I 0-1, 3/25/04, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 637, Vote #156: Motion agreed to 221-203: R 221-2; D 0-200; I 0-1, 5/12/04, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 4275, Vote #169: Rejected 190-227: R 1-216; D 188-11; I 1-0, 5/13/04, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H. Res. 685, Vote #301: Rejected 184-230: R 2-217; D 181-13; I 1-0, 6/24/04, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H. Con. Res. 95, Vote #82: Rejected 180-242: R 3-218; D 176-24; I 1-0, 3/17/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H. Con. Res. 95, Vote #83: Rejected 102-320: R 101-122; D 1-197; I 0-1, 3/17/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 95, Vote #88: Adopted 218-214: R 218-12; D 0-201; I 0-1, 3/17/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 8, Vote #100: Motion agreed to 237-195: R 230-0; D 7-194; I 0-1, 4/13/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 95, Vote #149: Adopted (thus sent to the Senate) 214-211: R 214-15; D 0-195; I 0-1, 4/28/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 4297, Vote #619: Rejected 192-239: R 2-226; D 189-13; I 1-0, 12/8/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #620: Motion rejected 193-235: R 0-226; D 192-9; I 1-0, 12/8/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #621: Passed 234-197: R 225-3; D 9-193; I 0-1, 12/8/05, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 4297, Vote #7: Motion rejected 185-207: R 8-204; D 176-3; I 1-0, 2/8/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #74: Motion rejected 192-229: R 4-222; D 187-7; I 1-0, 3/29/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #94: Motion rejected 196-232: R 5-225; D 190-7; I 1-0, 4/6/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #109: Motion rejected 190-232: R 4-223; D 185-9; I 1-0, 4/27/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #121: Motion rejected 197-224: R 6-219; D 190-5; I 1-0, 5/3/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #132: Adopted 228-194: R 227-0; D 1-193; I 0-1, 5/10/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 4297, Vote #134: Motion rejected 190-239: R 3-228; D 186-11; I 1-0, 5/10/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4297, Vote #135: Adopted (thus sent to the Senate) 244-185: R 229-2; D 15-182; I 0-1, 5/10/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 376, Vote #156: Rejected 94-331: R 94-134; D 0-196; I 0-1, 5/18/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Con. Res. 376, Vote #158: Adopted 218-210: R 218-12; D 0-197; I 0-1, 5/18/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H. Res. 885, Vote #309: Adopted 228-194: R 227-0; D 1-193; I 0-1, 6/22/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 5638, Vote #312: Agreed to consider 238-188: R 228-0; D 10-187; I 0-1, 6/22/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 5638, Vote #314: Motion rejected 182-236: R 0-225; D 182-10; I 0-1, 6/22/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 5970, Vote #419: Adopted 217-194: R 217-1; D 0-192; I 0-1, 7/28/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; H.R. 5970, Vote #424: Motion rejected 190-220: R 2-214; D 187-6; I 1-0, 7/29/06, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 6, Vote #40: Passed 264-163: R 36-159; D 228-4, 1/18/07, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 3162, Vote #787: Passed 225-204: R 5-194; D 220-10; I 0-0, 8/1/07, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 976, Vote #906: Motion agreed to 265-159: R 45-151; D 220-8; I 0-0, 9/25/07, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 976, Vote #982: Rejected 273-156: R 44-154; D 229-2; I 0-0, 10/18/07, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 3693, Vote #1009: Passed 265-142: R 43-141; D 222-1; I 0-0, 10/25/07, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 3996, Vote #1081: Passed 216-193: R 0-185; D 216-8; I 0-0; 11/9/07, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4351, Vote #1153: Passed 226-193: R 0-190; D 226-3; I 0-0; 12/12/07, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 3363, Vote #22: Rejected 260-152: R 42-151; D 218-1; I 0-0, 1/23/08, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 5351, Vote #84: Passed 236-182: R 17-174; D 219-8; I 0-0, 2/27/08, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; S. Con. Res. 70, Vote #382: Adopted 214-210: R 0-196; D 214-14, 6/5/08, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 2, Vote #16: Passed 289-139: R 40-137; D 249-2; I 0-0, 1/14/09, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 2, Vote #50: Motion agreed to 290-135: R 40-133; D 250-2; I 0-0, 2/4/09, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H.R. 4853, Vote #604: Motion agreed to, thus sent to the Senate, 234-188: D 231-20; R 3-168; I 0-0; 12/2/10, Ross and Pelosi voted Yea; H. Con. Res. 34, Vote #277: Adopted 235-193: R 235-4; D 0-189; I 0-0, 4/15/11, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay; and H. Con. Res. 112, Vote #149: Rejected in Committee of the Whole 136-285: R 136-104; D 0-181; I 0-0, 3/29/12, Ross and Pelosi voted Nay)

Burned Out, Ross Retired From Congress To Become A Lobbyist
Ross Said He Had Become “Burnt Out” On Politics. “U.S. Rep. Mike Ross said Tuesday that he fully intended to run for Arkansas governor when he left Congress but that he had become ‘burnt out’ after 22 years in politics and wanted to spend more time with his family. ‘I’m just burnt out.’” (“Ross: Would Have Had ‘Decent’ Shot At Ark. Gov.,” The Associated Press, 5/15/12)

Ross: “Maybe 22 Years In Elected Office Is Enough … I Feel Like A Huge Burden Has Been Lifted. … I Just Don’t Want To Be On The Ballot Anymore.” “U.S. Rep. Mike Ross is bowing out of politics because ‘it wasn’t any fun anymore,’ he said Tuesday. He rejected speculation that he decided not to run for governor in 2014 because some political observers maintained it would have been difficult for him to win a Democratic primary. … ‘It was more of a personal decision that maybe 22 years in elected office is enough,’ the 50-year-old Prescott Democrat said in a telephone interview … ‘It was not a political decision for me,’ Ross maintained. ‘It was a personal family decision for me. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted.’ … ‘I just don’t want to be on the ballot anymore,’ Ross said.” (“Politics No Fun Anymore, Ross Says Of Departure,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/16/12)

In May 2012, Ross Announced He Would Manage Government Affairs At An Arkansas-Based Electric Reliability Council. “Departing U.S. Rep. Mike Ross on Monday ruled out running for governor in 2014, nearly 10 months after he announced that he wouldn’t seek a seventh term in the House this year because he was considering a governor’s office bid. Instead, the 50-year-old Prescott Democrat said he will become senior vice president for government affairs and public relations for Little Rock-based Southwest Power Pool after his current term in the House ends Jan. 3. … In his new job, Ross will develop and lead Southwest Power Pool’s governmental affairs at the federal government level and the nine-state region it serves, and manage public relations for the company, according to Southwest Power Pool.” (“Ross: No Race For Governor For Him,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/15/12)

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s John Brummett: “Ross Told Me I Could Call Him A Lobbyist If I Insisted…” “‘I’m 51. I’ve got to do something for a living,’ Ross said. ‘My Social Security retirement age is not until 67.’ So he accepted, effective next year, the overture of the Southwest Power Pool in Little Rock. It’s for a new position of vice president for government and public relations. This power pool, which manages the electricity grid for power companies in nine states, is actually organized as a nonprofit, though the power companies themselves are utility corporations, by and large. Ross told me I could call him a lobbyist if I insisted, but that federal rules prohibit his lobbying the U.S. House for a year. … If he needs to lobby in Washington after a year, he’ll register and do so, but rather doubts that will happen, he said.” (John Brummett, Op-Ed, “Mike In The Middle,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/17/12)

Tags: Tax Blues, pay more taxes, Mike Ross, Arkansans, pay more taxes, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

New York, New York: What A Progressive City Looks Like

We've reached Federalist 39 in our series, which includes James Madison's famous defense of the republicanism of the Constitution (with much more to come in the essays that follow). Madison agrees with the Anti-Federalists that if the Constitution isn't republican, it shouldn’t be approved, in part because of "that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government." In this essay, we contrast this with the very different determination that animated last week’s major address by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, outlining his vision for the “progressive city,” at the heart of which is a universal (city hall) call center ready to respond to every individual’s every need. There are lots of people in Mayor de Blasio’s New York City, but no citizens exercising political and moral self-government alongside their neighbors. ~ Matt Parks

 Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks, Contributing Authors: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the city’s famed Cooper Union last week to outline his vision for a “progressive city.” Celebrating 100 days on the job, he lauded his administration’s efforts, from the most mundane (nearly tripling pothole repairs from last year) to the most fundamental (making progress toward universal pre-K education and afterschool programs). In between were extended meditations on public housing, crime, and health care policy.

On every subject, the Mayor had a team on the job, the money in the bank, and the energy to get things done. If you want to know what a “progressive city” looks like, look no further than Mayor de Blasio’s New York, New York, a universal call center where help–on every front–is just a (subsidized) phone call away.

To understand the Mayor’s vision of political life aright, one must note his constant emphasis on the efforts of city public employees. From police officers and firefighters to teachers and sanitation workers, de Blasio praised a “grassroots, people-powered government”—that is, rightly employed, the administrative extension of the progressive political movement.

And how could any resident complain? Anyone who spends a significant amount of time in NYC wants police officers and firefighters who protect and serve, teachers who educate, and sanitation workers who pick up trash–and appreciates the efforts of the many who do their job well. The problem with the mayor’s vision is that it leaves little for the rest of us to do. Just as the Progressive politician plays the hero of the political campaign, it is the Progressive mayor and public employees who play the heroes of everyday life.

As always, there’s more heroic work to be done. Create jobs. Build housing. Fix things. Engage parents in their children’s education. Hire more talented public employees. Be inclusive. And secure more state and federal funding to help pay for it all.

If you wonder what drives those engaged in this unending labor, you’re not alone. Playing the political psychologist, the Mayor asked, “Why do we do this work? Why are we so involved in our communities? Why do we engage the political process?”

Here the Mayor turned to Democratic icon Robert F. Kennedy for an answer. In making the case for universal human rights, then-Senator Kennedy argued before a South African audience:
Everything that makes man’s life worthwhile-family, work, education, a place to rear one’s children and a place to rest one’s head -all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people. Therefore, the essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer-not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all its people. (emphasis added)In Kennedy’s construction, government must be accountable to–“must answer” to–the whole people because of the power it wields over the most fundamental elements of the good life.

It turns out, though, that the old-fashioned liberal Senator Kennedy was not Progressive enough. Mayor de Blasio’s understanding of what it means for a government to “answer . . . to all its people” is fundamentally different from the original. First, he left out the clause in bold. We are not to be distracted by meditations on the dangers of despotic government. This striking (unnoted) omission is a clear window into the contemporary Progressive mind.

Moreover he reinterprets Kennedy, equating the duty to “answer” with the duty to “respond”: “That simple concept–that we must answer, we must respond, that it’s our obligation to see clearly what people are experiencing and to do something to make their lives better. That’s what we believe in.” Government, according to the Mayor, is not responsible to the people unless it is responding to the people, abuzz with efforts “to make their lives better”–that it, unless it is a universal call center ready to turn every inquiry into a governmental requisition.

Mayor de Blasio’s idea of a responsive government is very different from the founders’ original. Building upon the Declaration of Independence’s understanding of the proper scope of government (“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”), James Madison defends the Constitution in Federalist 39 against what he acknowledges to be a potentially decisive charge: that it is not “strictly republican.”

Madison readily admits that if this were true, “its advocates must abandon it [the Constitution] as no longer defensible.” Why? In the place where one might expect him to claim that a republic is the best form of government, he instead meditates upon the character of the American people:
It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the people of America; with the fundamental principles of the Revolution; or with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.Americans, Madison argues, are natural republicans–republicans in their heads and in their hearts, determined to show the world that “self-government” is possible. The republican principle, as Madison defines it later in the essay, requires “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior.” That is to say, republican government is responsible to the people, from whom it ultimately “derives all its power” and to whom it must directly or indirectly give an account of its stewardship of those powers.

On this point, at least, there is no daylight between the positions of the 1960s-style liberal Robert Kennedy and the 1780s-style liberal James Madison. In both accounts, the people are primary; the government is secondary–a necessary help supporting self-governing citizens, in both the political and moral senses of the term.

Today, the Progressives leap from responsible government to a responsive government in which government is the main actor in the American play. Their efforts obstruct if not eliminate opportunities for moral self-government, leaving the citizenry playing the role of a supporting cast at best, and a prop at worst. Or rather leaving some citizens–the allies of the Progressive city managers–to be the nursemaids and taskmasters of their less enlightened neighbors, while others, feeding at the crony capitalist trough, can afford to be above it all.

Thus Mayor’s de Blasio’s charge to NYC residents at the end of his speech was predictable:
And to continue this mission, we need your help. Now, more than ever, we need your help. We need you to go out in your communities and make sure families sign up for pre-K and after school. We need you to keep leading the way, keep showing the leaders the path, holding your elected officials accountable. We need you to keep this momentum of these last 100 days growing all the time.The people are to show “the leaders the path.” But, it turns out, there is only one, progressive path, already marked out with thick hedges on each side. All we’ve really got to do is make sure everybody’s in the lane–get’em all signed up. The means has become the end–“universal” enrollment, not universal achievement–and the work of the good neighbor a matter of paperwork, not particular care or love.

So cue the band!

Start spreading the news. . .

we’re offering pre-K.

Let’s make your neighbor part of it—

New York, New York. . . .

Of course, Frank Sinatra sang of becoming “king of the hill, top of the list, head of the heap”–a troubling ambition in a progressive city. But don’t worry. In Mayor de Blasio’s NYC,

If you can’t make it there

no cause for grief or care

just grab a phone

New York, New York.
----------------
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks are Professors of Politics at The Kings College (NYC). They are contributors to the ARRA News Service. They edit and write for The Federalist and are on Facebook and Twitter.

Tags: New York, New York, progressive city, liberalism, Federalist 39, David Corbin, Matthew Park To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Tax-Exempt Delays

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: editorial cartoon, AF Branco, IRS, organization, free speech, advocay, abolish IRS, tax-exempt, satire,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

#TaxDay: Governments Absolutely Do Not Need - More of Our Money

Toon by Eric Allie via PatriotPost.US
 Seton Motley, Contributing Author: It's Tuesday - April 15 - Tax Day! The official day that represents governments’ year-round, omni-directional shearing of We the People.

Looking to get filing help from our federal fleecers is at best a crapshoot.
IRS Can't Do The Math

IRS Help Line Has Error Rate of 30.8%

Busy Signal Awaits IRS Help Line Callers
How very ObamaCare of them.

We self-employed have to every quarter guess what we owe and send it in.

Salaried people get skinned every paycheck - “withholding” that hides governments’ multiple, monstrous bites. And tricks people into getting excited about an annual “refund” - which is really just a return of the interest-free loan they involuntarily made to the Leviathan.

But if any of us under pay - our mistake isn’t interest-free. Nor is it penalty-free. For governments, it’s forgiveness for me - not for thee.

Taxes - already obscenely multitudinous and high - have grown exorbitantly upward and outward in the last five years.
Full List of Obama Tax Hikes

Even the Poorest of the Poor Pay More Taxes Under Obama’s Budget

How Obama's Tax Hikes Would Hit the Rich and Middle Class

Full List of Obamacare Tax Hikes: Listed by Size
Is the Leviathan slaked? Of course not.Obama's Budget Packed with New Spending and Tax HikesMore of just the same ticket for a five-plus year foundering, floundering economy.

The government’s cash drain is historic.

U.S. State Government Tax Revenue Rises Third Year to Record

U.S. states took in 6.1 percent more revenue in fiscal 2013 than they did the year before for a record $846.2 billion, according to the Census Bureau.

It was the third consecutive increase, the agency said in a statement today. Revenue rose 4.7 percent from 2011 to 2012, and 7.3 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Yet we’ve added during this time $7+ TRILLION to the federal debt. So it’s clearly a spending problem - not a revenue one.

And that’s just the federal government. Many of the many states are also digging ever-deeper into our wallets.

The absolute last thing we should do is open another vein for these governments to drain. Yet looming before us is the October 31, 2014 end of the Internet tax moratorium.
Since 1998, the Internet Tax Moratorium has protected everyone from the average Internet surfer to small and large businesses from multiple and discriminatory taxes on Internet usage.

This moratorium was extended in 2001 and 2004, both times with bipartisan votes in the House and Senate.
And in 2007.Senate Passes Internet Tax Moratorium Extension: 7 More Years Tax-FreeWhich brings us to now. Thankfully, the desire to preempt this new rash of taxes is again bipartisan.Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and others introduced HR 3086, the "Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act".

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and 16 other Senators introduced S 1431, the "Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act”....
And even better - both sides are looking to make the tax ban permanent. Which means we won’t ever again have to play the brinksmanship games for which governments are notorious.

It’s an election year. We the People aren’t too keen on DC’s denizens.
Congress Now Less Popular than Head Lice, CockroachesI guess they had to poll on cockroaches and head lice to have something proximate.

Here’s a potential Kumbayah moment. A way for Congress to help themselves politically - and also avoid another concussive blow to a feeble economy.

Let’s get it together and get it done - now, well before November 1.
-------------
Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Human Events  also published this article. Please feel free to follow him on Twitter / Facebook

Tags: Tax Day, Government, our money, Seton Motley, less government, cartoon, Eric Allie To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

IRS To Try Again On Free Speech Stifling Regulation | Our Lawless Administration

Our Lawless Administration
Today in Washington, D.C. - April 15, 2014 Congress is not in session!

USA Today reports, “The Internal Revenue Service is prepared to rewrite a proposed rule regulating the political activities of non-profit groups to address complaints from the right and left that it goes too far, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Monday. ‘In all likelihood we will re-propose a redefined rule and ask for more public comment,’ Koskinen told USA TODAY's Capital Download. It's a process he predicts will take ‘until the end of the year and beyond’ to complete. The proposed regulation of groups known as 501(c)(4)s drew a record 150,000 comments before the deadline in late February. He said the new rule would take into account backlash from conservative Tea Party groups as well as some liberal advocacy organizations that the agency's proposal – intended to address concerns that the tax-exempt groups were engaged in partisan warfare – would bar, even voter education and registration programs.”

The Hill elaborates, “The Internal Revenue Service is poised to take another stab at regulations governing political activities by the type of tax-exempt groups at the center of the agency’s year-old targeting scandal. The decision to revise a draft rule, unveiled in November, follows pressure from congressional Republicans to push the rule back and as the agency pores over an unprecedented number of comments submitted in response to the proposal. . . . The proposed rule, crafted as a response to the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups, would make clear that activities for or against a candidate would not count toward a nonprofit 501(c)(4) group’s stated goal of promoting social welfare. . . . The regulations have come under fire from Republicans, who argue the rules would serve to codify the same brand of targeting that led to the IRS scandal.

“‘It is our view that finalizing this proposed rule would make intimidation and harassment of the administration's political opponents the official policy of the IRS and would allow the Obama administration to use your agency as a partisan tool,’ Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other GOP lawmakers wrote in a February letter urging Koskinen to pull the rule back. Koskinen had previously signaled that the IRS would proceed cautiously with the rule. In a speech earlier this month at the National Press Club, Koskinen cited a record 150,000 submissions received during a public comment period.”

It sounds like the commissioner is suggesting that the IRS will go back and try to write this rule again. But the IRS doesn’t need to try again, it needs to stop trying to police free speech.

Speaking on the Senate floor last week, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell told Commissioner Koskinen what he needed to do: “[H]onestly, what he really needs to do is stop the IRS from stepping on the First Amendment altogether. He needs to stop this proposed regulation, just as the Secretary of the Treasury told us he could do if he wanted. In fact, the House of Representatives recently voted to halt it too. Remember: Tens of thousands of Americans made their opinions known directly to the IRS about this regulation. It was an unprecedented response, and nearly all of the comments I saw were opposed. The comments came from straight across the political spectrum too.”

Previously McConnell said “[I]t’s easy to see why Americans would be so united in opposition to this regulation. The First Amendment exists to protect political speech. And the government should be doing everything it can to protect that right, not hurt it. . . . [I]f the agency wants to regain trust and return to its true mission, then it’s simply got to get out of the speech regulation business altogether. And the Obama Administration can do that. Look: the Administration ran this idea up the flagpole. It decided in the midst of a historic crisis of public confidence at the IRS to upend more than a half century of practice and rewrite the rules on how Americans could exercise their right to be heard. They asked for comments. And the American people let them know what they thought. So this regulation needs to go. And it needs to go now.”

Yesterday, former presidential candidate and Chairman for the Campaign for Working Families  addressed the Lawlessness of the Administration. "The Obama Administration has a unique approach to law enforcement. Whether or not it enforces a law depends entirely on how it feels about that law. This is a dangerous precedent because it creates tremendous uncertainty for the public and effectively gives the executive branch near dictatorial powers – ignoring laws at a whim and essentially creating new law in the process.

"The evidence is undeniable: the Obama Administration has ignored laws regarding traditional marriage and immigration, and it has waived and changed Obamacare two dozen times. How would Democrats react if a future Republican president decided he disagreed with major portions of the tax code and chose not to enforce it?"

Here's the latest example of the Obama Administration's disrespect for the rule of law: Just as it has done with our immigration law, the Justice Department recently ordered U.S. attorneys to effectively ignore the nation’s drug laws and not object if defense attorneys seek reduced sentences.

As a result, two federal judges who sit on the U.S. Sentencing Commission blasted the administration’s arrogance and lawlessness.

During a commission meeting last week, Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, the commission's vice chair, said:"I have been surprised at the attorney general's steps taken to proceed with this reduction outside of the legal system set up and established by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.  As you all know, the commission in the act is given the authority to promulgate and amend guidelines on a yearly basis. And in the act itself, Congress has preserved its right to reject any potential promulgation of, or amendment to, any guidelines made by the commission itself after the commission has acted.  Meaning that if Congress does not reject a guideline amendment, it will not go into effect until November 1st of this year if we vote in favor of this amendment.

"When the attorney general testified before us, he failed to mention that the night  before, at around 11 pm, the department had ordered all of the assistant U.S. attorneys across the country to (and it's not clear to me whether it was supposed to be not oppose or to argue for, in fact the U.S. attorneys in front of my court have said they've been asked to argue for) the two-level reduction in all drug trafficking cases before the commission has acted and before Congress has had the opportunity to vote its disapproval of the commission's actions, if Congress is so inclined, which is certainly the right that they have preserved for themselves in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.

"It would have been nice for us to have known and been told beforehand that this action had been taken, so any of us who would have liked to have asked the attorney general under what basis under Title 18...the courts were being asked by the Justice Department to follow this request.  If it was because the attorney general had spoken in favor of this proposal, that is a dangerous precedent because attorney generals in the past have consistently expressed opinions to the commission on guideline promulgation and amendments, many times for an increase, and sometimes for a lowering of the penalties.  But none have ever then asked the courts to proceed with increases or decreases simply because the attorney general has spoken in support of them before the commission has acted and before the Congress has exercised its statutory right not to act."
Judge William Pryor of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Hinojosa, saying:"That unprecedented instruction disrespected our statutory role 'as an independent commission in the judicial branch' to establish sentencing policies and practices under the Sentencing Reform Act and the role of Congress, as the legislative branch, to decide whether to revise, modify, or disapprove our proposed amendment.  We do not discharge our statutory duty until we vote on a proposed amendment, and Congress, by law, has until November 1st to decide whether our proposed amendment should become effective. The law provides the executive no authority to establish national sentencing policies based on speculation about how we and Congress might vote on a proposed amendment."Whatever one thinks about the "war on drugs," a more important debate concerns whether America is going to follow the rule of law or the rule of men.

Tags: IRS, free speech, DOJ, rule of law, rule of men, lawless administration, 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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