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] - firstname.lastname@example.org (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah 2008 to Conservatives & Note to Liberals
To All Liberal Friends: Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To Our Conservative / Republican Friends:Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year!We may or may not post much before the New Year. The Arkansas legislature returns in 2009 and the New Obama administration takes control of the Executive branch in 2009. We are resting up over the holidays and will return prepared to report on National issues, on treats to liberty, and on the political assaults on individual rights and traditional family values anticipated to occure under a Democratic controlled Congress and Arkansas Legislature, the Obama administration and the Little Rock Constitutional offices. Tags:Democrat, Hanukkah, Happy New Years, 2008, liberal, Merry Christmas, political humor, RepublicanTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Birth Of Christ And The Birth Of America Are Linked
by Dr. Chuck Baldwin: As we approach the celebration of Christ's birth, I am reminded of the words of John Quincy Adams. On July 4, 1837, he spoke these words:
"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? ... Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth. That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?"
Adams was exactly right: America's birth is directly linked to the birth of our Savior. In fact, the United States of America is the only nation established by Christian people, upon Biblical principles, and dedicated to the purpose of religious liberty. This truth is easily observed within America's earliest history.
America's forebears first established a written covenant with God as early as November 11, 1620, when they penned The Mayflower Compact. It states in part:
"In the name of God, Amen. ... Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience."
The sentiments and statements of America's founders make it clear that this nation has enjoyed a love and appreciation for the rights and freedoms recognized in Natural Law that is unique in the annals of human history. No other people have such a heritage. One thing America's founders could not envision was--after they had paid so terrible a price to purchase our liberties--that the time would come when their posterity would be denied the basic freedoms to publicly express their reverence for God. Never could they have imagined that the day would come when citizens of the sovereign states (each with a state constitution protecting religious liberty) would be denied their right to pray in school, or place Nativity scenes on public property, or hang copies of the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls.
I am also confident that America's founders would be completely repulsed by the way the United States has jumped headlong into corporatism, socialism, and globalism. Democrats and Republicans alike have created a central government so large that it would be unrecognizable by any Founding Father. In addition, both Big Business and Big Religion have sold our great country down the proverbial river, as surely as there is a sun in the sky. Truly, our Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves.
Therefore, at this Christmas season, let us remember well the founding principles of these United States of America. Furthermore, let us renew with vigor the fight for freedom before our liberties and our heritage are gone altogether. Merry Christmas! Tags:Christmas, 2008, Chuck Baldwin, founding principles, John Quincy AdamsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
And Congress just ended the year by giving itself a 2.8 percent pay raise. The $4700/member raise would go into effect in January of 2009, raising the average congressional salary to $174,000. The raise is part of an automated process incorporated in a bill Congress passed in 1989. While some members of Congress sponsored legislation to stop the pay raise, it failed to gain enough support for passage. Concerned citizens of diverse organizations are decrying the raise, given the state of the nation’s economy and the performance (or lack thereof) of the members of Congress. The Senior Citizen League’s Daniel O’Connell spoke out against the hypocrisy of the raise. “As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain,” he stated in a press release by the organization.
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) president Tom Schatzhad even harsher criticism. "If Congressional leaders believe that the taxpayers should gives pay raises to this rogue's gallery of ineptitude and venality, they ought to step away from the spiked egg nog,” he stated, after saying that Congress didn’t deserve “one additional dime of taxpayer money in 2009.”
Both the Senior Citizen’s League and CAGW—among others—have called for Congress to freeze its pay. And there’s actually some (limited) precedence for such an act of conscience. Under intense pressure, lawmakers froze pay in 2000, and again (temporarily) in 2006.
Beyond the pay raise issue, however, this controversy reveals something deeper about Congress—their attempts to go out of the way to avoid blame for unpopular measures. In other words, unwillingness to take responsibility. If Congress truly wanted to be held accountable, they would vote each time they wanted a pay raise. If the people thought they performed well—a good source might be approval ratings—then they could consider a small raise. But if their performance is unpopular—and ineffective, as it is now—they have no business lining their own pockets after picking the nation’s.
Yet in spite of—or rather because of—this fact, Congress has attempted to shirk much of the blame that would arise had they actually voted on the pay raise. Vacationing members of Congress, besieged by enraged constituents, will be able to honestly say that they “did not vote for the pay raise.” While technically true, it would also true that they did nothing to stop it, but rather allowed it to happen unopposed. The few who attempted to repeal the 2008 raise should be commended, as well as those under the table and who voluntarily decline the pay raise. But the remainder—the majority—of Congress must know that it will be held responsible for its actions.
Once the American people see through their duplicity, they will reward their actions with something less flattering than a pay raise. Perhaps, if fairness ever asserts itself, Congress could even reduce its pay by the same percentage it exceeds its budgets. And, perhaps, pigs will one day fly. Tags:ALG, Americans for Limited Government, pigs fly, US CongressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
To the delight of FredHeads everywhere and to conservatives, Former US Senator (R-TN), actor and 2008 presidential candidate Fred Thompson will replace Bill O'Reilly on the radio airwaves. Thompson’s new talk radio show will replace The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly on March 2, 2009. O’Reilly’s show has had a six-year run. O'Reilly opted to focus more on The O'Reilly Show on Fox News TV.
The Fred Thompson Show will feature Thompson sharing his views on politics, pop culture and water cooler stories about the issues of the day. The show will feature guest interviews and take listener calls. The show is scheduled to air live from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST Monday on various Talk Radio stations across the nation. However, time slots may vary. Tags:Bill O'Reilly, Fred Thompson, talk radioTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Air America Founder Publicly Opposes Un-Fairness Doctrine - - #protectfairness
Protect Fairness reports today that Jon Sinton, founding president of liberal talk radio enterprise Air America, pens a column in this morning’s Wall Street Journal in which he …. opposes the Fairness Doctrine. While he takes his shots at Rush and conservative talk radio hosts, he agrees with our premise that restoration of the Fairness ("Un-Fairness") Doctrine is unnecessary and wrong:
As the founding president of Air America Radio, I believe that for the last eight years Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have been cheerleaders for everything wrong with our economic, foreign and domestic policies. But when it comes to the Fairness Doctrine, I couldn’t agree with them more. The Fairness Doctrine is an anachronistic policy that, with the abundance of choices on radio today, is entirely unnecessary.
Tags:Censorship Doctrine, fairness doctrine, free speech, Protect Fairness Doctrine, unfairness, UnFairness DoctrineTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: We are in transition in Washington these days. The sitting President isn't sitting much. George W. Bush is determined to "finish sprinting." We wish him well and we thank him and his family for what he has accomplished and what he has been willing to endure to keep our nation safe and free. These days most people are focused, understandably, on the words and deeds of the incoming President. As the new administration of Barack Obama takes shape, we will certainly have much to say.
Political power has always attracted attention. The people's eyes naturally go to the wielder of the sword and the scepter. It was so in Biblical times. The Gospel of Luke tells us that "a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." The Roman Empire was vast in those days. It stretched from Britain in the north, to Spain and Portugal in the west, deep into Africa and Egypt in the south, and as far east as modern-day Syria. Caesar Augustus ruled all of this territory and the teeming millions who inhabited it. Rome needed increased revenues, and Caesar knew how to get it. He first ordered that a census be conducted. He wanted a head count in order to apportion the amounts of money each provincial governor-like Cyrenius, governor of Syria-would be required to raise.
We can envision Caesar's imperial decree being inscribed by hand on vellum, a material made from the scraped-clean hide of an unborn calf. From the Emperor's residence in the House of Hortensius on Rome's Palatine Hill, runners would have carried the document to waiting horsemen, the imperial couriers. From Rome, these horsemen would likely have proceeded in relay, changing horse and rider as each messenger reached the border of one of Roman Italy's 11 administrative regions. Passing through Latium and Campania to Samnium, to Apulia along the Appian Way, the riders would make for Brundisium, a port city on the east coast of Italy.
There, Caesar's decree probably would have been received aboard a Roman warship. It might have been a quinquereme, propelled by galley slaves who rowed in banks of five. On board this red cedar-built craft, Caesar's order would cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Roman province of Palestine. Palestine was a distant outpost of the Empire, far from the most important of Rome's imperial holdings. All this ordering and obeying, this saluting and receiving of salutes, this "hail caesaring" was necessary to bring millions of people together in their ancestral villages. And so Joseph, who was of the House and Lineage of David, also complied with Caesar's decree.
Thus were Joseph and Mary brought into Bethlehem. Caesar thought he knew what he was doing. He had never heard of Bethlehem. He had never heard of the Hebrew Prophet Micah. Micah had written: For out of you Bethlehem-Ephrata...shall come one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is of old...his greatness shall reach the ends of the earth; he shall be peace. (Micah: 5:2, 3, 5) God knew what He was doing in Palestine. Today, we know that the birth of Jesus in that little town of Bethlehem was, is, and ever shall be more important than all the Caesars, all the kings, all the presidents who ever ruled. In Bethlehem's dark streets there appeared an everlasting light. It shines for us still. Tags:Ceasar, Christmas, Family Research Council, FRC, Politics, taxes, Tony PerkinsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Robert Romano, Editor of ALG News Bureau: . . . When President Bush says he has abandoned free market principles, he means it. He believes with apparent sincerity that, by doing so, he is saving the free market system: but the truth is, that he—through de facto nationalization of the mortgage, insurance, financial, and now the auto industries—has set back the cause of free markets and limited government by at least thirty years. Speaking last week to the American Enterprise Institute, he outlined, with some candor, his rationale. He says the nation is averting a depression—perhaps the greatest depression ever—by using the public treasury to prop up financial institutions that he says were on the brink of failure. His essential case is that a failure to act would have resulted in the collapse of the global economic system.
In a nutshell, this system had become far too overleveraged. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan admits to as much last week in his commentary, writing that banks will require greater capital cushions moving forward in order to lend freely. It is this basic, critical failure of a system designed to create easy credit that precipitated the current crisis. And that, say the central planners, is what necessitates perpetuating that failure. So addicted to credit is the economy that even when too much credit causes a catastrophic failure, the only solution is yet more credit. Yet more debt. That’s what President Bush means by abandoning free market principles to save the free market system. It’s a lot like abandoning common sense to save one’s sanity.
Both the President and Mr. Greenspan believe that this direct, command-and-control approach to the economy must only be temporary. As if that is any relief. Mr. Bush says he does not want to leave the incoming President, Barack Obama, with a crisis. And yet he has.And to make matters worse, this dramatic, unprecedented expansion of government under an Obama administration will be anything but temporary. The incentive for there to be private investment to capitalize mortgage, insurance, and financial markets has been removed. Instead, government has created a monopoly over these industries, a trend not easily reversed, and certainly not by a political party that supports nationalization on its face.
The bailout, in a single year, has topped $8.7 trillion, reports Politico. Unlike private investors, government can just print more money, and the private sector simply cannot compete with that. Nor can it afford to finance it via the tax burden, because government is dramatically expanding the nation’s financial obligations far beyond anything the private sector can produce on its own. Government, in the process, paralyzes the economy from being able to meet this artificial demand for services. In short, the nation is being bankrupted. And the American taxpayer is being shackled to a mountain of debt. That is not a temporary fixture. That is slavery. The die is cast, and things may never be the same. [Full Article] Tags:Americans for Limited Government, bailout, economy, lender bailout, President George Bush, socialism, the economyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Stephen Clark, Fox News: As Americans across the country grapple with one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression, members of Congress quietly are getting a pay raise. Each lawmaker's annual salary is due for a $4,700 cost-of-living increase starting in January, which will amount to a cost to taxpayers of $2.5 million in 2009, infuriating watchdog groups.
"Members of Congress don't deserve one additional dime of taxpayer money in 2009," said Tom Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. "While thousands of Americans are facing layoffs and downsizing, Congress should be mortified to accept a raise," he said in a written statement.
Members of Congress make an average of $169,300 a year, with Congressional leaders making slightly more. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Cailf., makes $217,400, while the majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate each make $188,100. The raise will increase the average salary to about $174,000, up 2.8%. Pelosi's and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's offices did not respond to FOXNews.com's requests for comment. Pay raises for public officials, whether at the federal, state or local level, usually spark outrage among taxpayer advocates. But the deepening financial crisis has led even a few lawmakers to object.
Earlier this year, Rep. Harry Mitchell, a first-term Democrat from Arizona, introduced legislation that would have stopped the automatic pay adjustments from kicking in for members next year. But the bill, which drew 34 cosponsors, died in committee. Two other members of Congress, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind, and Rep. Gresham Barrett, R-SC, also tried to block the wages but didn't get very far. Burton plans to return his pay increase to the Treasury Department. "As we face the most challenging economic crisis in our history, and with many Americans and Hoosiers enduring personal financial hardships, I am opposed to any pay increase for members of Congress in 2009," he said in a written statement. He said he'll try again next year.
Lawmakers have received automatic raises since 1989. As part of an ethics bill, Congress gave up its ability to accept pay for speeches and made annual cost-of-living pay increases automatic unless lawmakers voted otherwise. Lawmakers have rejected pay raises six times since then, most recently last year, when Democrats, newly elected to the majority, had vowed to block an increase in their paychecks until Congress raised the minimum wage.
For the past eight years, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has been trying to end the automatic salary hike for House members, arguing that spending priorities in a time of war and economic crisis do not include pay raises for lawmakers. Matheson wants to put the automatic pay raises to a vote. "At a time when people are losing their jobs, their homes and their retirement, I think the least we could do is openly debate whether we should take the pay increase this year or do some belt-tightening," he said in a written statement. As he has done for the past eight years, Matheson plans to donate his pay raise to charity, his spokeswoman said.
The Senior Citizens League asserted the pay raise would rank each lawmaker in the top six percent of American households. "As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain," the group's chairman, Daniel O'Connell, said in a written statement. "This money would be much better spent helping the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling to keep their heat on this winter." The group estimates that a senior receiving average benefits will get a $63 monthly increase to just $1,153 per month next year, increasing their annual total to $13,836. The pay raises come as the economic recession deepens. The economy lost 533,000 jobs in November, bringing the unemployment rate to 6.7%. Tags:Congressional pay, pay increasesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: The following guest article by Paul Jacob, a friend, a supporter of limited responsible government, and a fellow member of Sam Adams Alliance is available on Townhall. by Paul Jacob: We've had our fun sniping about how corrupt the state of Illinois can be, how Gov. Rod Blagojevich is just the latest from a state noted for its smoke-filled rooms, payola, and double-dealing. But we risk overlooking the real issue: It's not that Illinois is especially corrupt. It's that power tends to corrupt and every governor faces temptation. Many succumb.
It may be that, in Illinois, the state's reputation encourages a certain bravado. Blagojevich used the f-word to accentuate his animate insistence on getting a return from doing his constitutional duty. Governors elsewhere, perhaps just as corrupt, practice a little more suavity, and thus don't hit the newspapers. We don't see headlines like this:
Journalists report news, and news amounts to a politician getting caught. A politician raising money in the ways politicians usually raise money is definitely not news, even if politics as usual has all the ethical uprightness of the Tower of Pisa. The truth is, it's hard to raise money in politics . . . if you are out of power. I know. I have been involved in fundraising for ballot measures or lobbying efforts around the country. It's not easy. All I can offer is a chance to change public policy.
Sitting politicians, on the other hand, have huge advantages. Their duties include passing legislation and handing out lucrative government contracts that pack quite a wallop to the wallet. Incumbent politicians are positioned perfectly to say, "You have to pay to play." Government has powers for which some folks will pay a lot. A politician could make a lot of money for providing such private services attached to public goods. It's understandable. Renting a politician's services can go a long way to increasing one's own wealth. And, moreover, the politician's wealth.
Most ways of paying are legal, though often ethically questionable. Some ways -- more blatant and obvious -- can be illegal while remaining hard to catch. Politicians know which words to use in avoiding a literal quid pro quo statement. Blagojevich suffers, now, from his bluntness, his gruff, vulgar corruption. But every politician is tempted with similar activity. Blagojevich serves as the tip of a much larger iceberg. Most just play it more subtly. So, Americans outside Illinois have no reason to gloat. The fact that their governors haven't been arrested does not mean their governors are not also dirty. Just, perhaps, more clever.
Of course, some politicians are honest. Most people don't get into politics for the money. They get into it to "do good." Inevitably, politics is run on money, and money often becomes the only gauge some people can find for "goodness." And, my goodness, does this standard have awful repercussions. The longer a person stays in strategic loci of power -- that is, in office, or in bureaucracy -- the more that person will see funneling money through government as the solution to every problem. If all you have is a hammer, everything soon looks like a nail.
Some folks are more resistant to this education in nail-pounding than others. This is a matter of personal psychology, I suppose, as well as personal morality. It helps if you make a public stand to resist the process. Self-term-limiters like Dr. Tom Coburn come to mind (as does the fact that public support for congressional term limits is at an all-time high). It also may help to know something of economics, for instance -- that is, the economics that recognizes limits to knowledge. To understand the complexity of that fabled beast, "the economy," and then to realize that no prediction can be certain helps inoculate oneself from schemes to control it all with varying amounts of power fueled by increasing amounts of money.
Governor Blagojevich surely deserves the hammering he's received in recent days. But it is important to hammer home a much broader point. Power corrupts. Politicians (being human, only more so) are susceptible to this corruption. Good government requires that citizens have practical ways to nail down the power of politicians. I bet there are politicians who worry that Bagojevich's latest bit of corruption might cause citizens to look more closely at all the rest. Tags:corruption, iceberg, Paul Jacob, politicians, Rod Blagojevich, corruption, IllinoisTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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