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 "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, 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 & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year] Follow @arra Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Andrew Klavan SHUT UP! [Video]
Andrew Klavan reveals the strategy used to silence the criticism and ideas of conservative thinkers. Now that you've seen this
- Don't Shut Up -
Click the "COMMENTS" link below!
Tags:Andrew Klavan, anti-conservatives, conservatives, culture, news politics, socialism, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one "makes" them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted -- and you create a nation of law-breakers-and then you cash in on the guilt." (Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged")
To quote Stephen Banta, "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." If we have your attention, read The Battle for Your Mind by David Ruben:We are at war. The battlefield is your mind. There is one objective: Gain access to, convert, and control your thinking. Everyday, in the name of diversity and tolerance humanists, anti-religious fanatics, Immoral, psychopathic and God hating change-agents erode and systematically undermine the moral fabric of America. . . . Tags:Ayn Rand, David Ruben, Edward Hunter, mind control, Neo-Commies, neo-liberalism, Soviet Union, Stephen BantaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Just too good to excerpt! Bobby Eberle, GOPUSA: America is a great nation, not by luck or chance or geography, but because of the American spirit... the belief that we can accomplish anything if we work hard. Those who fought to create this new country believed in limited government with unlimited potential for its citizens. Capitalism was the key. By letting free markets work and keeping government out of the way, Americans have the opportunity to grow as much as their drive, determination, and intellect will take them. That is the American way.
As we all know, the American way is under attack. It is under attack not from organizations like Al Qaeda or the Taliban and not from countries like Russia or China. It is under attack from within... from those elements that seek to bring America down through socialist policies. With the combination of liberal bombardment at most of America's universities, a left-wing media, and a federal government led by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, we face a challenge like never before. It is socialism vs. capitalism, and socialism is gaining ground...
In a stunning new poll released by Scott Rasmussen, the pollster asked a simple question, "Which is a better system -- capitalism or socialism?" In response, only 53% of American adults said capitalism. Yes, that's a majority, but this is America, right? The number should be much higher. Twenty percent of the respondents said socialism is better, while 27% were not sure. Not sure? Do these people have no grasp of the countries that have turned to socialism? Check out this classic video by economist Milton Freidman:
What is really scary is to look at poll results below the surface. As Rasmussen tells us in his report, adults under 30 are "essentially divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided." This is truly frightening. For those under 30, it's basically a toss up? Capitalism, socialism... socialism, capitalism... who cares? That is the attitude, and it's one that will drive this country to ruin.
When looking at the poll results from a partisan perspective the differences are clear. As Rasmussen notes, "Republicans -- by an 11-to-1 margin -- favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism."
In a well-written piece published in 1999 by the Heritage Foundation, author Balint Vazsonyi does a terrific job explaining the American way and the path to socialism. Vazsonyi describes the "Constitutional compass" which has the following four points: Rule of Law, Individual Rights, Guarantee of Property, and Common Identity.
Here is how it works. Every time somebody proposes a new law, a new statute, or an executive order, you ask whether it passes muster when held against the standard of the Four Points. The answers are easy, because either they do or they don't. If they don't, then they have no place in the United States of America. Without that compass, what would make us American?
Vazsonyi goes on to describe "the other compass," one that is being seen more and more in American society. It is one in which the four points of the Constitutional compass give way to four others: "the pursuit of social justice; instead of individual rights, it promotes group rights; instead of the guarantee of property, it advocates redistribution through entitlements; and in place of our common American identity, it favors what it calls multiculturalism." The new compass, comprised of social justice, group rights, redistribution, and multiculturalism has a name, and that name is socialism.
Socialism, I believe, is the appropriate, scholarly, utterly unemotional designation of a grand philosophical idea in Western civilization. Ever since Descartes started thinking about thinking, and other French philosophers followed in the 18th century, and then Germans picked it up where the French had left off, socialism has been in the making. For a long time, then, socialism has been with us as "the other grand idea" of Western civilization, and it will remain with us as long as there is an "us." It deserves to be taken seriously, and it needs to be engaged on philosophical grounds. In every sense of the word, it holds the opposite view of everything this country was built on.
Investors Business Daily also recently put out a poll showing the numbers of Americans who embrace a socialistic agenda. With the government and the media bombarding Americans on the virtue of income redistribution, government-run health care, and on and on, it's now wonder this mindset is starting to sink in. We have to do a better job of letting America know what the "American way" really is and reveal the true agenda of Obama and his cohorts. As Vazsonyi notes in his report, "Millions of ordinary Americans appear to have accepted, and to be promoting, the socialist agenda. There is every reason to believe that many minds would be changed if they were brought face-to-face with socialism as the doctrine they are following and advocating."
I can't help but be sad and frustrated that the Republicans helped contribute to the state we are in now. People are turning to socialism simply because they wanted "change." Yet, they have no idea what that change really means. The Republicans were in control and had the opportunity to really set forward a conservative agenda that is based on the principle of capitalism. Yet the lure of big government and power stalled the movement. Policies that gave us even more spending and more government were the result.
We are at a crossroads, and we must fight to get America back on track. The American way is not an easy way. No one ever said it was. It's not about what the government can give you. The government can't give a person ANYTHING that it does not first take away from someone else. The American way is about respecting the rights of the individual and promoting an economic and political system that has opportunity for all. Obama may be ashamed of that America, but it's the America I believe in. Don't you? Tags:Bobby Eberle, capitalism, GOPUSA, Milton Friedman, socialismTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On April 15, Tax Day, those of us who believe in free markets and limited government have an enormous opportunity. This opportunity is the Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party. Hundreds of thousands of Americans of all political stripes will be hitting the streets to protest high taxes and fiscal irresponsibility. To find a Tea Party in your area go to http://taxdayteaparty.com/
The American people are tired of working hard for their families only to see politicians with the same failed answers of more spending, more government, and more debt for future generations. We must not tolerate it any longer. This is our chance to communicate our anger and opposition to the irresponsible policies of politicians in Washington who have failed to solve problems. More importantly however, this is our opportunity to clearly define a bold, new agenda and to tell our elected officials that they can either work with us, or find new jobs.
American Solutions has put forth 12 American Solutions for Jobs & Prosperitywhich are built upon the principle that we as Americans do not work for Washington, but rather we work for ourselves and our families. Tags:American Solutions, April 15, tea partyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tony Perkins, FRC: Today is Good Friday. How can the worst day in human history be described as good? This is the day that Our Lord was crucified. It is the day he hung on the cross for all our sins. It is the day of darkness at noon.
The story of the last days of Jesus' ministry should be familiar to all. Knowing he would be killed, our Lord entered Jerusalem on the back of a colt. He was hailed by the multitudes, who lay their cloaks in his path, who spread palm fronds before him. "Hosanna to the Son of David," they cried. How quickly that would all change.
When Jesus was betrayed by a kiss, violent men took hold of him. He would not allow his disciples to respond in kind. Taken before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus said "I have come to bear witness to the truth."
Pontius Pilate answered: "What is truth?" How many governors to this day, rulers of the earth, ask that same question? They act as if truth is all relative, a matter of perspective, if it exists at all.
Jesus feared not. When Pilate told him he had the authority to put him to death, Jesus answered. "You have no authority except that it is given to you from above."
Surely, this was the greatest political statement in history. All authority exercised by the rulers of this world comes from above. And they are responsible to God in heaven for their exercise of it, whether they know it or not. Nothing that happens on Capitol Hill is as important as what happened two thousand years ago on that hill of Calvary.
We hear much of death with dignity these days. Our Lord's death was anything but dignified. He was beaten, mocked, spat upon. They stuck out their lips as they cursed him. When he cried out in thirst, they gave him only vinegar on a sponge. Roman soldiers cast lots--they actually gambled--for his garments.
I hear that some people today prefer not to be called Christians. They tell reporters that this word has too much "baggage." Imagine the baggage--the weight of all the sins of the world--that Jesus carried along with that rugged cross.
We strive, knowing we are unworthy, but we strive nonetheless to be His followers. Being called Christian is our greatest hope. Being despised for His sake is our greatest honor. Perhaps the best words for this most sorrowful day are to be found in that timeless hymn, "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded."
O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!
What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.
What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.
I thank you, my Lord and my God, for every breath I take. I thank you for bearing my sins and the sins of this fallen world. Make us yours forever, Lord, and let us never outlive our love for you. Tags:FRC, Jesus Christ, Tony PerkinsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Buckle Up for Government Run on the Insurance Industry
by Americans for Limited Government (ALG Admin): There is no doubt that the bank bailout was mismanaged. Now it's time to buckle up for a government run on the insurance industry. That's the signal the White House is sending by nominating Neal S. Wolin, a former senior executive with the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., as deputy secretary of the Treasury. The department already has the power to take over stakes in life-insurance companies through the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) but has yet to do so. With Mr. Wolin coming aboard, it appears that the Obama administration is putting the team in place to expand government's control of private companies one step further.
Treasury has confirmed that insurers are among the institutions that are being considered for TARP funds and, thus, the government control that comes with the cash. It hardly seems like a coincidence that Mr. Wolin is about to join Treasury as the Hartford, his old firm, is expected to be among the first to join the soup line. While many large life insurers, such as New York Life Insurance Co., MassMutual and Northwestern Mutual Life, continue to manage their core insurance lines successfully, others such as the Hartford and Genworth Financial Inc. rushed to buy regulated savings and loans just so they could call themselves banks and qualify for government TARP funds.
There is little chance that Congress will step in and stop this power grab. The Hartford and other potential recipients have been very generous to members of Congress. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, received $1.4 million from the insurance industry last year, including more than $762,000 for his short-lived presidential campaign.
This is a bailout too far. The life-insurance industry is not facing a systemic collapse. TARP should not become a bottomless piggy bank used to provide unsuccessful businesses with less expensive alternatives to capital markets. As for the politics of the matter, the idea that President Obama and the Democrats would bring new, cleaner politics to Washington can be put to rest. Revolving doors between industry and the administration and fat-cat political contributors getting bailed out at taxpayer expense sound like business as usual. This certainly isn't change we can believe in. See Prior Post:Sen. Chris Dodd Porker of the Month Tags:ALG, Americans for Limited Government, bailout, Chris Dodd, Financial crisis, insurance industry, Neal Wolin, Obama administration, TARPTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
A New Low Point for the Media: Couric Wins Award for Palin Interview
By John Ziegler, Documentary Filmmaker, The Fox Forum: On April 15th, the “prestigious” (and apparently now openly liberal) USC Annenberg School for Communication will be presenting CBS “Evening News” anchor Katie Couric with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Journalism.
Now, for there to even be such a thing as an prize for “Excellence in Television Journalism,” in an age where a desperate thirst for ratings has caused most TV “news” to become little more than glorified infotainment, is a bit like passing out awards for fiscal responsibility to members of Congress. But for Katie Couric, the poster child of news as “infotainment,” to be the recipient of such an “honor” is like giving John Murtha or Barney Frank a trophy for frugal spending in Congress.
But what makes this situation so particularly galling is the specific reason why Couric is being honored for her “excellence in journalism.” Couric is being presented with the award for “Special Achievement for National Impact on the 2008 Campaign.” What was it that Couric did that was so “special”? The judges singled her out solely for “her extraordinary, persistent and detailed multi-part interviews with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.” . . . It is obvious that Couric is being rewarded for the political result of her interview –the shooting down of a conservative superstar just in time to save the Obama campaign. It’s not about the “journalism” at all. But even that truth is not the most outrageous aspect of this absurdity. What’s even more absurd is that not only shouldn’t Couric be getting rewarded for her Palin interview, if we lived in a world where journalistic standards still mattered at all, she would have been roundly condemned for it. . . . [Full Article] Tags:CBS, John Ziegler, Katie Couric, Sarah PalinTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alex Rosenwald, Liberty Features Syndicate: As I am sure you are aware, this week President Barack Obama bowed to Saudi King Abdullah, although later reports have the White House denying that it was a bow. A curious denial, since the President clearly leans over with his left arm tucked across his waist. So alarmed by this apparent prostration of a sitting President to a foreign leader was ALG's award-winning cartoonist William Warren that he put together the following cartoon:
Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News: While various states fight it out as liberals introduce state versions of the Dream Act, "The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors," or DREAM, Act was introduced on March 26, 2009, as S. 729 by Senators Durbin (D-IL.) and Lugar (R-IN) and as H.R. 1751 by Rep. Berman (D-CA). In Arkansas, people rallied against SB799, in-state tuition for illegal aliens and the bill was significantly defeated in Senate committee and then through a maneuver the vote was expunged. However, this week with the clocking running out on a vote in the Arkansas Senate, the bill was pulled by the author and placed before the Interim Committee on Education for further study. It may well be back in the next Arkansas legislative session. It is important to focus on the new Dream Act proposal in Congress which would grant amnesty to illegals up to age 35. Please read the following review by Roy Beck of an comprehensive study by Rosemary Jenks and her staff on the proposed federal legislation. -------------------- by Roy Beck, NumbersUSA:Read "A Dose of Reality Turns DREAMs into Nightmares*" by Rosemary Jenks.It will make your blood boil. Every supporter (and even many opponents) of the DREAM Act will say that it is about unfortunate illegal-alien kids caught in a dilemma because their parents broke the law. In fact, kids are a minor part of this bill. Rosemary and her Hill Team have analyzed every line of the DREAM Act, and she tells you how:
The DREAM Act offers immediate provisional amnesty to virtually every illegal alien up to the age of 35.
All a person has to do is file an application that CLAIMS to meet the criteria. That gives the illegal aliens an immediate provisional amnesty.
Although the feds may eventually require some papers to back up the CLAIMS, you can be sure that the fraudulent document industry is already preparing the counterfeit plates to turn out these false documents at a good profit (they have done so for every other amnesty).
The likelihood of any illegal alien losing the amnesty because of fraud is unlikely because DREAM is written so that nobody can lose the amnesty unless the feds do the expensive investigation to PROVE that the illegal alien isn't qualified.
Rosemary also shows that the DREAM Act opens the way for a pathway to citizenship for most of the illegal aliens who are OVER the age of 35 if they are related to illegal aliens under 35. Unless an amnesty eliminates Chain Migration categories, it will always open the way for millions upon millions more relatives, including those who are illegally already in this country.
If you encounter Members of Congress who argue for amnesty "for the kids," tell them to write a bill that narrowly does that -- not support a bill that offers the chance of citizenship to MILLIONS of illegal aliens. Tell them that a bill that was serious about helping illegal-alien kids would:
include mandatory workplace E-Verify for every employer to ensure there was no jobs magnet for millions of people who otherwise would be enticed by the amnesty to become illegal aliens;
include an elimination of chain migration categories so the criminal parents who put the kids into this predicament can't get citizenship, and so this moderate-sized amnesty for the kids doesn't end up bringing giant numbers of relatives to compete with unemployed Americans;
include requirements that applicants PROVE they meet narrowly drawn criteria.
The DREAM Act does none of those. If you call a congressional office or talk directly to a Senator (even one of our allies), there is a good chance that they won't know what Rosemary told you in those bullet points above.It is up to all of you to be an army of truth to get the word out because the open-borders people have spent millions of dollars to market the lie.
--------------- *A Dose of Reality Turns DREAMs into Nightmares is a line-by-line analysis of the DREAM Act (as introduced in the U.S. Senate) reveals no end to the nightmares. (1) The amnesty applies to illegal-alien "kids" up to age 35; (2) aliens merely need to make a "claim" that they are qualified for the amnesty -- they don't have to provide any proof that the claims are true; (3) but the feds have to perform costly, time-consuming investigations to prove the claims are false in order to deny an amnesty to anybody; (4) the parents who broke the law to bring these "kids" here can get U.S. citizenship; (5) DREAM would remove the federal ban on in-state tuition for future illegal aliens.
Tags:amnesty, Dream Act, illegal aliens, NumbersUSA, Rosemary Jenks, Roy BeckTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The winner of the Golden Sammies are . . . #sammies
Sam Adams Alliance proudly announces the winners of the 2nd Annual Sammies Awards by Paul Miller, The Sam Adams Alliance (Chicago): The Sam Adams Alliance is proud to announce that the winners for the 2nd Annual Sammies Awards have been selected. With nearly 200 entries later, the Sammies Awards committee had their work cut out for them. Nic Hall, Sammies contest coordinator said, “We originally intended to choose the winners within a week of the contest ending, but that quickly became an impossible task. The Sammies committee had a difficult task not just selecting winners, but limiting each of the categories to a few finalists. The Sammies prove without a doubt that citizen activism is alive and well in America.”
The Sam Adams Alliance will be honoring and presenting a total of $40,000 in cash prizes to the winners at a red carpet ceremony the evening of April 18 at the Marriott Renaissance North Shore in Northbrook, Illinois. Winners are being flown to Chicago from all over the country, so they can receive their recognition in an appropriate manner.
The Sam Adams Alliance believes the winners should receive their awards from distinguished individuals whose own work merits presenting such high honors We are proud to have so many champions of individual liberty and economic freedom presenting Golden Sammies to the winners. Guest presenters include best-selling author Michelle Malkin, Stephen Moore and John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, Fox News contributors Jonathan Hoenig and Mary Katharine Ham and Joe Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber.
The winner of the Golden Sammies are . . . - Fred Baldwin, Seth Cooper, and John Wynne Jr. each won the Wikiteer Awardand a $1000 prize for their thorough contributions to Ballotpedia, Judgepedia, and Sunshine Review--all wikis of the Sam Adams Alliance. - Melissa Clouthier, of The Woodlands, Texas, won theBest Microblogger of the Year Award and the $2,000 prize for her use of social media in promoting liberty at the state and federal level. - Ruth Bendl, of Portland Oregon, wonthe Voter Watchdog Awardand the $2,500 prize for her work in monitoring the 2008 election. In her efforts she identified 44 deceased Oregonian voters. She has been instrumental in getting the Vote-By-Mail state to enact new rules about how ballots are transported and counted. - Elizabeth Crum of Las Vegas, Nevada, wonthe $2,500 Blogivist of the Year Award for successfully embodying the “Say Something, Do Something” spirit of Blogivists.com. Having started blogging a t E!! The True Conservative Story last June, in 10 short months she has received recognition from Politico, Instapundit, and National Review Online, as well as been published in Liberty-Watch, and featured on local news stations. - Chad Everson, of Princeton, Minnesota, wonthe$5,000 Best State Blogger Award for his efforts in building a network of over 150 bloggers and 16 radio personalities on GrizzlyGroundswell.com. - Caleb Brown and Austin Bragg, of Arlington, Virginia, won the Best Video Awardand the $5,000 prize for their research and analysis of Virginia’s asinine, anti-competitive—and unconstitutional—liquor laws. - James Bell, of Lithia Springs, Georgia, won the $5,000 Tea Party Award for his work in defeating two sales tax increases and proposing a bill, which in 2008 became Georgia law, restricting local government from holding tax votes on special elections. - William Carlin Walker, of Liberty, Missouri, won the $5,000 Sunshine Award for his work in exposing illegal retirement benefits and rampant credit card abuse by top administrators in the Liberty School District—including thousands on alcohol and parties—along with leading a successful petition drive that resulted in a state audit of the district. William’s whistle-blowing led to the resignation of two administrators, and the Missouri General Assembly has introduced four pieces of legislation in response to his investigative labor.
- Ari Armstrong, of Westminster, Colorado, wonthe Modern-Day Sam Adams Award along with the $10,000 prize for his relentless — and ubiquitous — defense of free markets and individual liberty in the state of Colorado. He is author of FreeColorado.com and a columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press. In the last year, Ari’s work has been published in the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post Online, and featured on numerous radio and television news programs.
The Sam Adams Alliance congratulates all the winners as well as everyone who entered the Sammies contest. Your hard work and dedication to liberty and freedom is greatly appreciated! Defending the ideals of our Founding Fathers is a never-ending battle. Join us at the Sammies to honor these winners.
----------------------- Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service, thanks The Sam Adams Alliance for its encouragement and supporting activities and is proud to have been a participating member of SamSphere Chicago 2008. Congratulations to all the winners of 2nd Annual Sammies. Tags:Chicago, Sam Adams Alliance, Sammies, SamSphereTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Hate Crimes (Anti - Christian & Anti - Free Speech) Bill Back In Congress
The Traditional Values Coalition: The re-introduction in Congress of the so-called hate crimes bill a thinly veiled attempt at silencing Christians. TVC warned that it is yet another attack on Christians by this Congress and the next step toward the prosecution of pastors and others by seeking to criminalize speech and thought. On April 2, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) quietly introduced HR 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Crimes Prevention Act (LLECPA). TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty issued the following statement on the LLECPA:
The so-called hate crimes bill is on the fast track. A vote is expected in the House Judiciary Committee in a matter of weeks. We have been told it will be the week of April 20th! Your pastor could be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit a hate crime” if it passes.
The so-called hate crimes bill will be used to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute and persecute pastors, business owners, Bible teachers, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, Christian counselors, religious broadcasters and anyone else whose actions are based upon and reflect the truths found in the Bible.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has pointed out that this legislation, H.R. 1913 Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, will be used to intimidate and prosecute pastors who may preach Biblical sermons concerning the homosexual agenda and lifestyle. The legislation broadly defines “intimidation. A pastor’s sermon could be considered “hate speech” under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on any “sexual orientation.” The pastor could be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit a hate crime.” Rep. Gohmert explained this danger for the previously defeated bill H.R. 1592 in the following video.
This legislation is based on exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims of an epidemic of hate against homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders. The latest FBI statistics from 2007 show that out of 1,521 victims of sexual orientation bias crimes, only 242 resulted in actual bodily harm. The rest were incidents of intimidation -- name-calling or shoving. This is hardly an epidemic of hate against homosexuals.
This hate crime bill defines “sexual orientation” as actual or perceived. This means that all 30 sexual orientationsdefined by the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV could be considered protected minorities under federal law. Do we really want voyeurists, incestuous fathers, pedophiles or diaper fetishists claiming federal minority status under this law?
The real goal of this legislation is to target speech and expression not to help local law enforcement officials deal with crime. The second goal is to criminalize any criticism of bizarre sexual behaviors as “hate speech” or a “hate crime” to be prosecuted by federal officials.
Urge Members of Congress to soundly reject this attack upon free speech and freedom of religion.Contact your representatives!Contact your senators! Tags:anti-religious, Christians, freedom of speech, Hate Crime Bill, hate crimes, hate speech, Louie Gohmert, pastor, Tradional Values Coalition, TVATo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Rasmussen Reports: A new survey finds that 64% of voters see taxation as very important; it’s highest level in nearly two years. Last month, 61% said taxes were very important to them. Prior to that survey, that number never rose above 60%. Another 26% now see taxes as a somewhat important issue, while only 8% say taxes are not very or not at all important in terms of how they will vote.
Nationwide 81% of voters say it is important to keep the promised middle class tax cuts in President Obama’s budget; 75% of Republicans see taxes as very important, compared to 58% of Democrats and 62% of unaffiliated voters. The economy remains at the top of the list of voter concerns; 85% consider them very important with 86% a month ago. The number who consider national security a very important issue rose from 60% to 64%. Health care is a very important issue to 62%, its highest level since last February. But only 24% say health care reform is the goal the president is most likely to achieve. . . . [View supporting data and other polled issue results] Tags:capital gains taxes, economy, health care, Issues, national security, Rasmussen Poll, Rasmussen Reports, United StatesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
There's a reason he refuses to accept repayment of TARP money.by Stuart Varney, Opinion Journal: I must be naive. I really thought the administration would welcome the return of bank bailout money. Some $340 million in TARP cash flowed back this week from four small banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California. This isn't much when we routinely talk in trillions, but clearly that money has not been wasted or otherwise sunk down Wall Street's black hole. So why no cheering as the cash comes back?
My answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell 'em what to do. Control. Direct. Command.
It is not for nothing that rage has been turned on those wicked financiers. The banks are at the core of the administration's thrust: By managing the money, government can steer the whole economy even more firmly down the left fork in the road. If the banks are forced to keep TARP cash -- which was often forced on them in the first place -- the Obama team can work its will on the financial system to unprecedented degree. That's what's happening right now.
Here's a true story first reported by my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano (with the names and some details obscured to prevent retaliation). Under the Bush team a prominent and profitable bank, under threat of a damaging public audit, was forced to accept less than $1 billion of TARP money. The government insisted on buying a new class of preferred stock which gave it a tiny, minority position. The money flowed to the bank. Arguably, back then, the Bush administration was acting for purely economic reasons. It wanted to recapitalize the banks to halt a financial panic.
Fast forward to today, and that same bank is begging to give the money back. The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest. He's been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with "adverse" consequences if its chairman persists. That's politics talking, not economics.
Think about it: If Rick Wagoner can be fired and compact cars can be mandated, why can't a bank with a vault full of TARP money be told where to lend? And since politics drives this administration, why can't special loans and terms be offered to favored constituents, favored industries, or even favored regions? Our prosperity has never been based on the political allocation of credit -- until now.
Which brings me to the Pay for Performance Act, just passed by the House. This is an outstanding example of class warfare. I'm an Englishman. We invented class warfare, and I know it when I see it. This legislation allows the administration to dictate pay for anyone working in any company that takes a dime of TARP money. This is a whip with which to thrash the unpopular bankers, a tool to advance the Obama administration's goal of controlling the financial system.
After 35 years in America, I never thought I would see this. I still can't quite believe we will sit by as this crisis is used to hand control of our economy over to government. But here we are, on the brink. Clearly, I have been naive.
----------------- Stuart Varney is a host on the Fox Business Network. Tags:banking, banks, class warfare, government control, Pay for Performance Act, socialism, Stuart Varney, TARP
ALERT: Health & Human Services Wants to Rescind Doctors' & Nurses' Rights!
ALERT: The Obama Administration via the Department of Health and Human Services is moving quickly to overturn important federal regulations that protect health care professionals who act according to their deeply held personal convictions. The 2008 regulation implements and enforces three federal laws protecting the conscience rights of health care providers, especially those at risk of being discriminated against because of their moral or religious objection to abortion.
Thus the current regulations make sure doctors, nurses, and pharmacists can uphold their personal beliefs while practicing medicine—without facing discrimination or retribution in the workplace. This problem is a serious one, as real health care providers have been fired and denied opportunities because of their desire to not participate in procedures, such as abortions, that violate their consciences. No matter how you feel about specific medical procedures, we can all agree that the freedom to work in accord with one's conscience must be protected.
As they did when the conscience regulation was first proposed, pro-abortion groups are again trying to flood HHS with comments attacking conscience rights. Their chief message: Rescind the regulation because conscience clauses (which they call “refusal” or “denial” clauses) interfere with women’s “access” to health care. These groups want to force doctors, nurses and hospitals to violate their consciences or leave the profession.
Although the rescission proposal was published in theFederal Register on March 10, most of the general public outside of the health care profession did not notice this was being proposed. The public only has until close of business on April 9 (two more days) to submit comments!
URGENT: Send your comment to HHS in one of the following ways & Share this with your friends and family: - Online through A Doctor's Right.
- Online through Regulations.gov(check “Select to find documents” and then enter “Rescission Proposal”).
- E-mail to email@example.com (not necessarily the best option)
Suggested Message: “Please retain the conscience regulation, and enforce the laws protecting the right of health care providers to serve patients without violating their moral and religious convictions. The government has a special responsibility to ensure that the conscience rights of health care providers are fully protected.”
Some other general points to consider besides the facts above:
- Religious liberty and freedom of conscience have been building blocks of our society since its founding. We respect conscientious objection for those opposed to war, physicians opposed to taking part in capital punishment, and others who object to involvement in the taking of life. We can do no less in the context of abortion.
- Conscience protection does not threaten access to health care. Allowing health care providers to serve the public without violating their consciences protects and enhances access to health care, by ensuring continued participation by some of our most dedicated health professionals. Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran and other faith-based providers are specially called to serve the poorest and most vulnerable, from the inner city to remote rural areas – if they are driven away, who will replace them?
Sen. Blanche Lincoln Against Employee Free Choice Act
Bill Smith, ARRA News: After months of joining others in calling for a clear position from Sen. Blanche Lincoln on "Card Check" and asking her to stand with her Arkansas constituents who overwhelmingly oppose the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), she has responded. The EFCA also called "Card Check" would have taken away union employees right to a secret ballot and would have forced binding Federal arbitration on businesses. Steve Forbes said today on a conference call that EFCA should really be called the Employee "Forced" Choice Act. Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last month, "To put it simply, the Employee ‘No Choice’ Act is undemocratic. To approve it would be to subvert the right to bargain freely over working terms and conditions. It would also strip members of a newly recognized union of their right to accept or reject a contract."
Yesterday, Lincoln speaking before a Little Rock group said that she will oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. Lincoln released a statement which said: " While I may not have been clear about my position in the past, I am stating today that I cannot support Employee Free Choice Act in its current form and I can’t support efforts to bring it to Senate consideration in its current form." Interesting what one will do when a primary is pending in the future. However, she did hedge her response by stating "I will consider alternatives that have the support of both business and labor but my pledge today is to focus my full attention on the priorities I have mentioned that affect every working family in Arkansas."
According to the Arkansas Business, Ricky Belk, secretary-treasurer of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, the The Employee Free Choice Act would allow power to shift from corporations to workers, a shift that is needed considering the current economy. His comment makes it clear that unions are seeking to take control of corporations owned by investors. Wow, it is the unions actions at the "Big 3" automotive manufacturers in Detroit which have aided in that industries failures. The AFL-CIO's agenda is fairly clear. Theft of the control of decision making; replacing the rights of owners and investors of businesses to not be the determiners of the fate of their businesses. It is also clear that the unions were not interested in the workers rights as much as the power the unions would accumulate. If they were for workers rights, they would not be pressuring for the elimination of the rights of employees (workers) to have a secret ballot with respect to organizing a union.
Unions under socialism have been used as an arm of abuse by the government. Based on large union political donations, principally to democrats, it has been evident for some time that the union's management seeks to gain more control of private property. It is also interesting that Sen. Lincoln, while failing previously to respond on this issue and waffling now by leaving the door open to this egregious bill in any form, took time to inform the union of her decision early Monday before she made her position public.
Politico speculates that Lincoln's announcement could be a “death blow” for card check after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) also said he would oppose this bill. It’s likely too early to declare such a thing, given that this is the top priority for deep-pocketed unions. Still, it is a positive sign that senators on both sides of the aisle seem to agree that it’s a bad idea to eliminate the secret ballot in labor negotiations. Tags:Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln, business, Card Check, corporations, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, labor unions, Senator, unions, voting rightsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Below are two presentations which help explain the difficult position in which President Obama and others have placed the United States and the European countries. One presentation is today's comments by Gary Bauer, Director of Americans for Working Families, and the other is an article by Martel Sobieskey who has 36 years research experience in the field of religious conditioning and its relationship to warfare.
Obama claims that Islam is a religion just like any other religion. This is a false premise that true believers in both Islam or Christianity know to be untrue. This false premise is leading to the growth and expansion of the religion of Islam and Muslims in Europe, the United States, and eventually remaining North America. In considering Obama's recent comments and actions, one has to wonders if he has a conflicted psychic. He was born Barack Hussein Obama and in his early childhood raised in a Muslim country to follow Islam and thus to be a Muslim. Then in his later elementary years, after being transferred to his white grandparents in the U.S., he is reintegrated into the American culture with his white grandparents and eventually cast off his former identity, as explained in his own biography. Eventually he does the unthinkable in the Muslim world. He rejected Islam and adopted the Christian religion.
With this background and his current statements, President Obama is confused or misleading regarding the goal of Islam. Whether confused or not, he is sending a confused message to both the countries ruled by Muslims and to our citizens and allies. He claims that Christianity and Islam are just both equivalent religions and rejects that the United States is or has been a Christian nation. His previous exercise of this belief has lead his Administration to force our National Defense and Homeland Security to deny that the United States is in a war against Islamic lead terrorism.
by Gary Bauer, comments titled America’s Muslim Heritage?: President Obama is wrapping up his eight-day European tour with a stop in Turkey. A Muslim nation and member of NATO, Turkey is a geographic, economic and cultural bridge between Europe and the Middle East. Speaking in Turkey today, President Obama once again “reached out” to the Muslim world. His speech was broadcast live throughout the Middle East by Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyia. Here is an excerpt: “Let me say this as clearly as I can. The United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. …America’s relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to Al Qaeda. We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. …We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country -- I know, because I am one of them.”
There was a lot in his remarks about what America will do and little in the way of the president’s expectations of the Muslim world. The president clearly placed the burden of reform on the United States, not the world’s Islamic states. Does this president have “mutual respect” for regimes that seek a second Holocaust and which persecute religious and other minorities? How many Muslim nations allow women to vote and hold public office? It’s ludicrous to suggest that our only problem with Islam is Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is a big problem, but isn’t the only problem. Has the president heard of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Is the president aware of the madrasses and mosques all over the world that preach the jihadist philosophy telling Muslims that their duty to Allah requires them to kill the infidel?
I assume the president is familiar with the 2007 Pew Global Survey of Muslim attitudes, which found significant levels of support of homicide bombings among Muslims throughout the world – 70% in the Palestinian territories (Why create another terrorist state?), 23% in Jordan (a supposedly moderate Muslim nation), 16% in Turkey and 10% in Indonesia (the world’s most populous Muslim nation). The common denominator is radical Islam.
Thankfully, not every Muslim is a terrorist. But virtually every terrorist that the United States has to worry about today is a Muslim. For the president to downplay that is not only irresponsible, it confuses our own citizens and makes it more likely that there will be another 9/11 in our future.
President Obama also told his Muslim audience, “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.” That’s odd. For a politician who claims to speak for the “common man” he doesn’t seem to know much about the common man. According to a recent Newsweek poll, 62% of the nation does consider America a Christian nation. I suspect the average viewer watching on Al Jazeera was thoroughly unimpressed by the president’s tolerance as he spoke to a nation that is 99.8% Muslim.
More broadly speaking, America is a Judeo-Christian nation, built upon the values in the Ten Commandments. If you asked Americans, “Do you consider America to be a Judeo-Christian nation,” I believe the percentage of folks agreeing with statement would skyrocket. If you asked, “Is America a Judeo-Christian-Muslim nation,” I suspect the number of affirmative responses would plummet. Because, with all due respect to moderate Muslims, Islam has contributed very little to the history of the United States. The last time I checked, the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock were Christians, not Muslims. Our Founding Fathers were inspired by the Bible, not the Koran.
And here’s a historical footnote worth remembering: The first time America sent troops into combat overseas was when Thomas Jefferson ordered the Navy and the Marines to Libya to fight the Barbary Pirates. Still in its infancy, America was forced to confront militant Islam. Our Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves. President Obama literally bowed to a Muslim king, downplayed America’s sovereignty and denied its religious and cultural heritage. President Obama’s apologies for America and his attempts to be inoffensive to our Islamofascist enemies should offend millions of Americans.
Martel Sobieskey, article Demoting Islam’s Religion Status: One thing is certain, Islam is not a religion by anything Americans believe one to be - not even close. In fact, Islam is the antithesis of what we deem to be religious. Above all, Islam is a totalitarian political machine of blood thirsty conquest which zealously advocates the downfall of the U.S. government. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world…” because he was 100% non-political. In extreme contrast, Mohammed and the Koran bellicosely command your kingdom is my kingdom, surrender or die! Let’s be to the point. It is sheer madness, exceedingly irresponsible, criminally negligent, and strategically suicidal to continue granting religion status to an absolutely aggressive and implacable ideology that demands the destruction of our government and all other religions.
It is well past time, the truthful facts be told about Islam. Our leadership and intelligence community have lied and lied again, referring to Islam as a religion of peace. If Islam is to be categorized as a religion - then it must be called what it truthfully is - a religion of war. Unfortunately our leadership has become so inept, they have chosen to be in denial of this obvious fact, and entertain fanciful notions - that by calling a “blood thirsty tiger” a “bunny rabbit” it will magically transform into one.
The purpose of this article is to introduce that Islam’s religion status is undeserving, that it should never have been granted in the first place, and that its religion status should be immediately rescinded.
Why? Because Islam whether you call it moderate, militant, main stream, traditional or radical is a relentless foe inherently programmed to conqueror its host nation. Fail to understand this point and Islam will continue “trashing” civil liberties, shedding bloody pandemonium, wreaking havoc, litigating as warfare, demanding special privileges, and instigating anarchy until its host country suffers irreparable harm if not outright defeat. Such is the virulent modus operandi being used by Islam in England, Spain, India, France, Thailand, Holland, Bali, Lebanon, Denmark, Sweden, Philippines, Russia, America and elsewhere.
Perhaps, this is why Dr. Paul Williams author of “The Dunes of Doomsday” so truthfully and valiantly states in Chapter 1 “Refusing to Identify the Enemy”: “The enemy is Islam. Not a fringe group within the body of believers...Not radical Islam as if a faction can be separated from the “mainstream” Islam. But Islam itself, as expressed by the life and teachings of Muhammad...”
An Imposter Religion: To put it bluntly Islam’s religion status should be rescinded because it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a Trojan horse, an imposter religion that has arrived on our shore with malicious intent, deathly determined to replace our constitution with the Koran, and turn America into an Islamic nation controlled by Sharia law. Robert Spencer in his excellent book, “Stealth Jihad” (How Radical Islam Is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs), explains how so-called moderate Islam is having greater success at invading America than its counterpart militant Islam. Shockingly, one may rightly conclude that America is now being conquered without Islam even having to fire a shot. Have we really become that docile, self complacent and pathetic? The answer is Yes!
The Sham of Moderate Islam: Does this mean that even so-called moderate Muslims are hostile to America? It certainly does. Moderate Muslims support the conquest of America with fervor equal to that of the militant Muslims. They cunningly play the role of the “good cop” in their good cop, bad cop charade deceiving we gullible Americans. In fact, the “two hands” of Islam aspire to choke the life out of America. One hand is called militant Muslims; the other hand is called moderate Muslims. These “two hands” work together, in their Koranically mandated asphyxiation pogrom, of strangling America into submission. This point cannot be overemphasized.
In 1974 Algerian President Boumendienne made a prophetic statement to the United Nations General Assembly: “One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere of this planet to burst into the northern one. But not as friends. Because they will burst in to conquer, and they will conquer by populating it with their children. Victory will come to us from the wombs of our women.”
How accurately prophetic he was. Today, one can see no assimilation by Muslims in their host nations and they frequently exhibit open hostility turning entire cities into Moslem enclaves which the police are reluctant to enter. In addition, their birthrate is four times the European average creating a large cash deficient within the social welfare system. It is hardly an exaggeration to say, the Moslem immigration is like a “swarm of invading locusts” devouring everything in their path.
Dutch Politician Geert Wilders, having suffered firsthand the “devouring” of his nation by so-called moderate Islam, unflinchingly states in his article, “The Islamization of Europe”…“There is no Moderate Islam”. The United States, like all besieged western democracies, must heed Geert Wilders warning if they wish to protect themselves. Clearly, the safe harbor of religion status enables the “two hands” of Islam to launch clandestine raids upon their host nation, sapping at its vitals from within.
A Road to Hell: The severity of the moderate Islam invasion is thoroughly understood by Islamic experts like Amil Amani. In his article, “A Bridge to ‘Moderate’ Islam Is In Fact a Road to Hell.” He emphatically warns there is no such thing as moderate Islam and to call it so is an oxymoron, a contradiction. Specifically he states: “Since moderate Islam is oxymoronic, any moderacy in Islam is in fact incompatible and in conflict with essential Islam, its power structure and its controlling proponents...Islam is not personally or spiritually relevant. It is political, which is why it may never separate itself from government. Adherence is not a matter of voluntary devotion, but of the law, and violators are severely punished, including capital punishment...”
Another enlightened expert who has personally witnessed that moderate Islam is a road to hell is Brigitte Gabriel. In her book, “Because They Hate” she gives a clarion call describing how the ruse of moderate Islam turned her home country of Lebanon into a “living nightmare.” She states: “We were renowned for our hospitality, good heartedness, and generosity, just as America is known for the same qualities today. Sadly, those same qualities were the cause of our destruction...We did not realize that the intolerant Islamic side of our culture was gaining strength on the back of our western openness and pride in diversity.”
Most likely, Brigitte Gabriel would agree that providing religion status to Islam, believing main stream Islam to be moderate, was a major contributor to the destruction of Lebanon. The key point is that so-called moderate Muslims are as fiercely intolerant as militant Muslims, but are more skillful at concealing their agenda and deceiving their host nation until the time is right for them to strike. Brigitte Gabriel tells how usually peaceful Muslim neighbors who had befriended them for decades all of a sudden rose up to kill non-Muslims.
Murderous Intolerance: Such murderous intolerance is fully entrenched within Islam. The so-called moderates fully support these murderous attacks in their “hidden hearts”, rarely paying even lip service to the contrary. Their silence has been “deafening.” Why? Because they dare not challenge the inviolate precedents set by their prophet which would be a capital offense. For example, in 623 A.D. Mohammed was infuriated with the female poet Asma Bint Marwan for criticizing him, and sent his henchman to kill her and her five children. They ripped the infant from her breast and hacked it to pieces before her very eyes. They then made her watch the murder of her other four children, before raping and stabbing her repeatedly to death. After the butchery Mohammed told his henchman, “You have done a service to Allah and his Messenger.”
The killing of persons who criticize Islam has never abated and perhaps is even more alive today than in the 7th century. A few years ago in the U.S. an Egyptian Christian, his wife and two children had their throats cut for challenging Islam, mistakenly believing our free speech laws would protect them. Nearly every day one hears of some gruesome murder, decapitation, or other violent crime committed by contemporary Muslims who are emulating the example of their prophet.
The Heart War: 99.9% of all Muslims have a deeply held secret agenda (wish) that Islam will conquer their host country and turn it into an Islamic nation such is their indelible religious conditioning. This obvious fact has been completely neglected, ignored, avoided and shunned by the leadership of western democracies to their great detriment, including America.
Fortunately we have one Islamic expert who is trying to awaken our leadership and his sleeping counterparts in the defense department and intelligence community. He is truly a “shinning star” and a person of insightful wisdom who should be promoted to the highest positions. Major Stephen Collins Coughlin has written a 333 page thesis entitled, “To Our Great Detriment”. On pages 171-175 he provides a quote that reveals the concealed heart of so-called moderate Muslims. The Caliph (Pope) of the Ottoman empire spelled out what has always been the irrefutable law for all Muslims without exception: “The heart war - and that is the lowest form of the war. And it is that the Muslim should believe in his heart that the infidels are enemies to him and to his religion, and that he should desire their disappearance and the destruction of their power, And no Muslim can be imagined who is not under obligation to this degree of war. Verily, all the people of the faith are under obligation to this amount without any question whatever, in whatever place they may be...”
Prediction: Permit me to make a grim prediction: Any country that continues to provide religion status to Islam believing that moderate Muslims will save the day has been “sucker punched” and is guaranteed to suffer great havoc and disruptive chaos. The proof is undeniable, look at the mayhem Islam has inflicted upon all western democracies over the past 20 years. The self destructive formula is simple: provide religion status to the sham of moderate Islam and your country will suffer great devastation.
Never before in human history has a nation’s leadership and intelligence community been so easily duped, confounded, played for fools, infiltrated and manipulated by enemy propagandists and apologists. Our leadership has become so pusillanimous in the face of Islamic bullying and brow beating, they have become their lackeys, aiding and abetting the invasion of the very nation they are suppose to protect. The situation is critical. The demoting of Islam’s religion status will turn the tide and send a clear-cut message to Islam that the dust of Allah is no longer befogging our vision enabling them to conqueror us. Tags:Barack Obama, Christianity, Europe, Gary Bauer, Islam, Martel Sobieskey, National Defense, terrorism, United StatesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
While President Obama globe trots (today in Turkey and facing protests), many Senators and Representatives have returned home. Congress will reconvene on April 20th. Washington D.C. is experiencing some relative peace with their absences. After weeks of wrangling over the $3.55 trillion budget, many members are back in their states either avoiding their constituents or discuss the budget and its consequences for future generations. On April 15, many of them have the opportunity to either avoid, observe or to join in a TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party in their local area. It is doubtful, that any Democrats who voted for the budget plan to appear.
There are a couple good stories looking back at lessons learned. Yesterday, The Washington Post returned to the subject of gimmickry in the House and Senate budgets that make them look only slightly less debt-ridden than the original Obama proposal. “The president's original framework, even relying on some budgetary sleights of hand, added $9 trillion to the debt over 10 years. Rather than change policy to brighten the fiscal picture, the House and Senate chose to add more gimmicks and dishonesty. They jettisoned the $250 billion placeholder the administration responsibly included to provide the banking system with more capital, and they skimped (in the House version) and outright ignored (in the Senate's) the White House plan to better prepare for budget emergencies and natural disasters. They also assume that the president's Making Work Pay tax credit will expire after 2010 (House) or 2012 (Senate).” The Post also notes that the Congressional budgets assume the return of the alternative minimum tax, all to try to mask the fact that the Democrats’ budget plans double the debt in five years and nearly triple it in ten.
Today, The Post discussesthe attempt by the successor to the Obama campaign, Organizing for America, to engage activists around the country to pressure Congress to pass the Obama budget. However, The Post finds that “in its first big test, the group dubbed Organizing for America (OFA) had little obvious impact on the debate over President Obama's budget . . . . The capstone of the campaign was the delivery of 214,000 signatures to Capitol Hill, which swayed few, if any, members of Congress, according to legislative aides from both parties.” And “Kristen Hawn, a press aide to Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) who acts as a spokeswoman for the Blue Dogs, said the OFA campaign had little impact on lawmakers' decisions on how to vote.”
The following excerpt from The WS Journal shows that Dirbin, Duncan and Obama are more concerned about yeilding to unions and supporting failing schools than in helping poor children have access to a quality education. H/T to Derrell Bradford at E3for calling this to our attention. Review & Outlook, The Wall Street Journal: Education Secretary Arne Duncan did a public service last week when he visited New York City and spoke up for charter schools and mayoral control of education. That was the reformer talking. The status quo Mr. Duncan was on display last month when he let Congress kill a District of Columbia voucher program even as he was sitting on evidence of its success.
In New York City with its 1.1 million students, mayoral control has resulted in better test scores and graduation rates, while expanding charter schools, which means more and better education choices for low-income families. But mayoral control expires in June unless state lawmakers renew it, and the United Federation of Teachers is working with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to weaken or kill it.
President Obama's stimulus is sending some $100 billion to the nation's school districts. What will he demand in return? The state budget passed by the New York legislature last week freezes funding for charters but increases it by more that $400 million for other public schools. Perhaps a visit to a charter school in Harlem would help Mr. Obama honor his reform pledge. "I'm looking at the data here in front of me," Mr. Duncan told the New York Post. "Graduation rates are up. Test scores are up. Teacher salaries are up. Social promotion was eliminated. Dramatically increasing parental choice. That's real progress."
Mr. Duncan's help in New York is in stark contrast to his department's decision to sit on a performance review of the D.C. voucher program while Congress debated its future in March. The latest annual evaluation was finally released Friday, and it shows measurable academic gains. . . . It's bad enough that Democrats are killing a program that parents love and is closing the achievement gap between poor minorities and whites. But as scandalous is that the Education Department almost certainly knew the results of this evaluation for months. . . . Since Education officials are intimately involved in this process, they had to know what was in this evaluation even as Democrats passed (and Mr. Obama signed) language that ends the program after next year. . . . While running for President last year, Mr. Obama told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that if he saw more proof that they were successful, he would "not allow my predisposition to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn . . . You do what works for the kids." Except, apparently, when what works is opposed by unions.
Mr. Duncan's office spurned our repeated calls and emails asking what and when he and his aides knew about these results. We do know the Administration prohibited anyone involved with the evaluation from discussing it publicly. . . . A reasonable conclusion is that Mr. Duncan's department didn't want proof of voucher success to interfere with Senator Dick Durbin's campaign to kill vouchers at the behest of the teachers unions.
The decision to let 1,700 poor kids get tossed from private schools is a moral disgrace. It also exposes the ugly politics that lies beneath union and liberal efforts across the country to undermine mayoral control, charter schools, vouchers or any reform that threatens their monopoly over public education dollars and jobs. The Sheldon Silver-Dick Durbin Democrats aren't worried that school choice doesn't work. They're worried that it does . . . . [Full Story] Tags:Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, Dick Durbin, education, government transparency, New York City, public education, school choice, school vouchers, transparency, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
As April 15 approaches for the deadline to pay income taxes, consider the Obama Plan: Tags:Barack Obama, capital gains taxes, Obama planTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Update: Rep. Garner related to ARRA News that he had met 5 times with the Governor's Office and that they have been very open to talk about this. Governor Beebe had indicated that he agrees that the capital gains tax is a barrier to recruiting new businesses to Arkansas. The primary holdup is the projection of tax revenue to be lost as estimated by the Department of Finance and Administration. Garner hopes that business leaders will contact the Gov. and Senate Tax Committee members and will encourage the Governor to sign this bill.
On Friday, the House passed HB1947, to Create the Arkansas Capital Gains Reduction Act of 2009, with strong bipartisan support (56-14). The bill authored by Rep. Ed Garner (R- Dist 41) is now going to the Senate Committee on Revenue and Tax. This act would eliminate Capital Gains Tax on in-state Arkansas investments made after July 1, 2009 and owned by the taxpayer for more than one year prior to the sale. State finance officials say the state can’t afford the bill’s cut in state revenues -- $42.8 million in fiscal 2011 and $65.9 million in fiscal 2012. However, the state’s estimates don’t take in account the investments businesses would make because of the tax cut.
The other taxes this will generate will more than make up for what Capital Gains Taxes we might lose and this bill has the potential to be the biggest job creating bill of the session as it would eliminate a major barrier to company's locating their headquarters here in Arkansas and provide for more of Arkansan's investment monies to remain in our state. Arkansas has a 4.9% Capital Gains Tax. Tennessee and Texas have no income taxes and therefore no Capital Gains Tax. Oklahoma and Mississippi have eliminated their in-state Capital Gains Taxes. Arkansas Capital Gains Tax is a bad tax which hurts economic development more than sales or income taxes. Arkansas needs to end this to be competitive and allow our other incentives for job growth to have full effect.
Rep, Garner will present the bill to Senate Committee on Revenue and Tax on Monday afternoon or Tuesday. Arkansas citizens need to contact the Governor's office and the Senators who sit on the Revenue and Tax Committee right away to encourage them to adopt this bill: - Governor Mike Beebe (501) 682-2345Email info.
Senate Revenue and Tax Committee:
- Sen. Denny Altes 479-646-8981 Email
- Sen. John Paul Capps 501-268-8117 Email - Sen. Steve Faris 501-337-7307 No Email
- Sen. Bobby Glover 870-552-7150 Email
- Sen. Paul Miller 870-368-7329 No email - Sen. Terry Smith 501-321-0066 Email - Sen. Larry Teague8 70-845-5303 Email
- Sen. Sharon Trusty 479-880-9576 Email
Tags:Arkansas, business, Capital Gains Tax, Ed Garner, House, Representative, SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Rep. Dan Greenberg: I didn’t have much hope for the final bill that I introduced this legislative session before our tax committee. It tried to solve a big problem – and my experience in the legislature is that the larger the problem you try to solve, the smaller the chance that your bill will pass.
My bill tried to accomplish two things. One wasn’t controversial. Was the other controversial? Well, maybe a little bit. The uncontroversial goal was to require our state’s tax bureaucracy to calculate how much revenue was lost through income tax exemptions, credits, and incentives aimed at benefiting particular groups. I’d like to know how much that comes to, and the information isn’t readily obtainable.
The more controversial goal was that the bill would eliminate every single one of those special tax privileges about eight years from the date of passage – and in exchange for their elimination, everyone’s tax rates would drop proportionally. In short, the bill wouldn’t cost anything; it would just shift lower taxes from the favored few to everyone else.
Why do this? Well, we all know that every time the legislature approves a special tax privilege for one group, we’re shrinking the tax base. In my opinion, we ought to work towards lower tax rates for everyone, as opposed to having a higher tax rate for the general public with special privileges for a few.
Furthermore, things go so fast during the legislative session that it’s hard for us to set aside time to go over every single credit, exemption, and incentive and see whether we still need it. It is simple human nature to pay more attention to immediate and urgent needs, even if we ignore the important job of an overall review of our tax system. If we have a deadline, it will force a review.
We all know that there are plenty of worthwhile tax adjustments that are worthwhile and that would have universal support. We also know that if we actually passed something that forced elimination of special tax privileges with a deadline far in the future, the first thing that would happen is that we’d move to protect and preserve about half the measures that we’d otherwise strike away eight years from now. That’s fine with me: what that means is that we’d look at the other half later on and see if we still needed them.
Most importantly, here’s the upside of what would happen if we actually passed this. Most people’s income taxes would drop. That’s good not just for obvious reasons, but also for reasons of interstate business competitiveness. When Texas, Tennessee, and Florida have no income tax at all, we need to be as competitive as we can in order to attract new business investment. Furthermore, every time we got rid of some special tax privilege, everyone’s income tax would drop more, and lawmakers would have an additional incentive to pay attention to the cost of salting special-interest privileges into the tax code.
Some members of the tax committee thought this was a great idea. The first question I got was from Rep. Allen Maxwell, who asked me why I hadn’t included sales tax privileges in the bill along with income taxes. I answered back: “Are you suggesting that this bill isn’t ambitious enough? That it does too little?” This provoked guffaws from several committee members, who clearly thought that an 8-year deadline for tax privileges was a dangerous and radical idea that shouldn’t receive serious consideration. Rep. Maxwell was kind enough to make a motion to send the bill to the full House. The vote was anticlimactic: the NOs were a little louder than the YEAs, and the chairman ruled that the bill had failed to pass the committee. (In committee, the chairman typically decides whether a bill passes or fails depending on what I call “voice volume.” As you can imagine, this provides some opportunities for gamesmanship.)
If the voters send me back to the legislature again, I will try again to achieve the lower taxes that this bill would deliver. I think it is the only way we will ever have a broad review of whether our array of special tax privileges for special interest groups are all worthwhile.
---------------- Dan Greenberg is an Attorney-at-Law and State Representative (District 31), Arkansas General Assembly. Although he directly represents northern Saline County, he also represents all Arkansans with public stands for limited, transparent and responsible government. Tags:Arkansas, Dan Greenberg, House, legislatureTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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