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, September 26, 2009
Saturday Night Video - Remembering John Wayne - A Great American
Bill Smith, Editor: Hey - I am tired of all the Washington D.C. abuse and their B.S. I bet readers are too. So let's all relax and watch a wide screen Pictorial Tribute to John Wayne with relaxing music and some words from The Duke about America. The tribute was put together by Rob Mason, who lives in the UK. Mason recognizes a great American when he sees one and said, "Mr. John Wayne, the true measure of a man, was possibly the most decent human being to ever set foot on planet earth [or at least America]. John's character roles always allowed his own character to shine through and to be an inspiration to his audience. God bless You John Wayne." [Video]
Tags:America, American, cowboy, John Wayne, tribute, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The House Takes Action to Keep Government Running - Really?
Bill Smith, Editor: On Friday, the same Government that keeps passing bills that place us further in debt and insist on passing a major health care bill, had to "again" take action to keep the government afloat. The government was headed for a shutdown due to lack of government funding. So the House passed a "one month" bill which was approved by a 217-to-190 vote.
Imagine a family running up a massive debt. Let's assume the family like Congress is to busy doing ever thing else except planning and managing their money and now they are way over budget, out of money and about to go bankrupt. So, what do they do? They call a family meeting and draw-up a new extended budget - oops were are broke -- but based on this budget they just keep spending money (they don't have). Sounds nuts? It is! And so is Congress for not stopping its excessive spending and launching new bills full of new spending, earmarks and pork. And, allowing the Treasury to either print more money or sell more debt.
Congress is in fact doing the very thing for which "We the People (American citizens) would go to jail. And to add to the insult, Congress also increased the budgets for their own offices by over 8%. Maybe this increase is to pay for speed readers they need to help them read all the bills they are passing without reading them.
While the House was at it, they helped the struggling Postal Service by allowing it to delay required payments of $4 billion that are due next month to a health care fund for retirees. They even provided another months financing to cover expiring highway funds. And where did they attach this spending continuation bill? They attached it to a $4.7 billion House-Senate compromise bill to finance Congress’s own budget. They did not forget the rest of the government; they also extended the financing for the operating budgets of Cabinet departments and other agencies at their current levels (no 8% increase for them) through Oct. 31.
Can we trust Congress? After all, while the Democrat leadership is not doing their required business, they are moving forward to in-debt future generations, to pass nationalized health care, cap-and trade and other inane legislation and even asking the executive branch to gag the free speech of Americans so they don't talk about their proposed bills. Right now, the answer is a resounding "No we do not trust the leadership of Congress." Tags:Democrats, federal spending, government funding, US House, 2009To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
From the Washington Examiner: Corporations that have given ACORN millions of dollars over the years are now canceling their donations in the wake of videotape revelations of employees of the infamous community organization giving advice on mortgage fraud, tax evasion, prostitution, and child sex slavery.
Bank of America is reviewing its grant program, while CitiGroup is waiting for results of official investigations in the scandal. JP Morgan Chase had previously ended its relationship with ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Banks and other financial institutions have given millions of dollars and other forms of support to ACORN for decades in response to boycott threats from the organization, as well as accusations of racism and other forms of discrimination in granting personal loans and mortgages.
The ACORN campaigns followed passage of the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which was designed to pressure financial institutions to loosen lending standards in order to increase home ownership among poor and minority communities. Legislation strengthening CRA during the Clinton administration greatly encouraged such ACORN activities.
Bank of America has given 28 grants totaling almost $3 million to ACORN Housing Corporation (AHC) since 2005, financial records show. A company spokesman said the activity exposed on videotape prompted the present review. “We do not condone the actions of ACORN Housing employees exposed in recently released videotapes,” Bank of America spokesman Richard Simon told The Examiner. “We have begun a review of ACORN Housing’s governance to ensure if these were individual incidents rather than a systemic breakdown before we make decisions on future actions.”
JP Morgan Chase contributed over $5 million in grants to the housing affiliate, over a five-year period. But this program is no longer active, Jennifer Zuccarelli, a spokeswoman said. “JP Morgan Chase provided a five-year community development grant to fund affordable housing and foreclosure prevention initiatives across the country,” Zuccarelli said. “The commitment ended a year ago in 2008 and no further grants will be considered.”
Undercover videos made by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles posing as a pimp and prostitute, respectively, feature ACORN workers offering advice in Baltimore, Md. Brooklyn, N.Y. and San Bernardino, Calif. The ACORN staffers in Baltimore told O’Keefe and Giles how to falsify documents and obtain benefits for “very young girls” from El Salvador. ACORN is suing O’Keefe and Giles, as well as Andrew Breitbart, owner of the BigGovernment.com blog that published the videos, claiming the audio portion from Baltimore was obtained illegally under a Maryland law that bars tape recording individuals on the telephone without their consent.
Citigroup donated $5,000 to the Baltimore office in 2003. “We are deeply concerned about the recently released videos of frontline ACORN staff, and we look forward to the findings of the independent auditor and a timely conclusion to this matter,” said Citicorp's Andrea Hurst.
Dissident current and former officials of ACORN claim that donations made to AHC and other affiliates are often misappropriated. The organization’s finances are handled through the Citizens Consulting Inc. (CCI), according to the ACORN 8, a whistleblower group. “There’s no guarantee that any donations are going where they are supposed to be going,” said Ron Sykes, treasurer of the Washington D.C. ACORN and a member of the ACORN 8.
Bret Jacobson, president and founder of Maverick Strategies, said banks could risk legal action from unhappy shareholders if managers do not sever financial ties with ACORN. “It would be gross negligence for banks to continue paying public relations protection money to an organization that is so radioactive,” said Jacobson, whose firm specializes in political-public relations efforts. “ACORN has finally been exposed for its deep-seeded corruption and now bankers have to do a serious cost-benefit analysis of whether they want to be financially linked to a group willing to support child prostitution rings.” Source: NetRight NationTags:ACORN, Bank of America, Citigroup, Community Reinvestment Act, donors, Stop AcornTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
-------------- by Jim Meyers: Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said President Barack Obama's address to the U.N. was "unprecedented" and "unpresidential" as he sought to distance himself from the previous administration. . . .
"I have never seen an American president give a speech at the United Nations that spent so much time contrasting his administration with the previous administration," Bolton observed. ". . . I was struck by how personal it was, and I must say how unpresidential."
Obama also stated: "Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside...America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy." Bolton commented: ". . . these repeated efforts by the president in this speech to say implicitly, I am not George Bush, is I think unprecedented. "And I think it’s carrying an American political debate, which is legitimate to have, into the international arena. That is particularly what I find unpresidential."
Bolton also said that in his address Obama "put Israel on the chopping block. I don’t think there’s ever been a speech by an American president, let alone one at the United Nations, that was so critical of Israel." [Full Story: "Bolton: Obama Speech Puts Israel on 'Chopping Block'"]
-------------- Gary Bauer:Jew Bashing At The U.N. - What a disgusting spectacle. For 96 minutes yesterday, Libya’s Muammar Qadhafi delivered an insane tirade to the U.N. General Assembly, blaming Israel for the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the U.S. military for producing flu viruses to help drug companies get rich. Qadhafi also called Obama “my son” and expressed his hope that Obama would be president forever. National Review is reporting that the Obama Administration has notified Congress that the State Department intends to contribute $400,000 of your tax money to foundations run by Qadhafi’s two children.
. . . After “Muammar the Mad” left the stage, along came the Iranian Shiite fanatic Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, who accused Israel of trying to dominate the world politically and economically. He accused Israel of “crimes” against defenseless Palestinian women and children, when of course it is radical Palestinians who strap explosives on to their children and use them as human bombs. Ahmadinejad continues his march toward nuclear weapons. The day he obtains them, Israel, America and any other nation that believes in the Judeo/Christian values of Western Civilization will be in danger. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke today and called out the U.N. cowards. . . .
And what about President Obama? He mentioned Iran and North Korea a couple of times, but mentioned Israel more than a dozen. He called Israeli homes in established Israeli cities “illegitimate.” And he pointedly said the Israeli “occupation that began in 1967” must end. On both points, he sadly parrots the views of Qadhafi and Ahmadinejad. No wonder that for the first time since its founding in 1947, Israelis see a U.S. president as overtly hostile to their security.
Obama’s Biggest Fan: Himself - Dan Gainor, a weekly columnist in the Fox Forum on Fox News, produced a study finding that Big Media is not Barack Obama’s biggest fan. That honor goes to Barack Obama himself. Gainor says that in 41 speeches this year, not including the disastrous one he gave yesterday at the U.N., Obama used the word “I” or “me” an astonishing 1,200 times. That includes only his 34 weekly addresses and seven major speeches. If we were to count every interview and speech Obama has given since he was inaugurated, the numbers would be off the charts.
Moreover, from his inauguration in January to the seven-month mark in August, Obama conducted 114 interviews. To put that in perspective, in their first seven months in office, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did 37 and 41 interviews respectively. If Obama continues at this rate, he will exceed all the interviews by former presidents combined! The man is truly in love with himself. I long for the days when the president spoke to the American people about “us,” not about himself. . . . It appears this president thinks the presidency is all about him when it is suppose to be all about America. [Gary Bauer is Chairman of the Campaign for Working Families] Tags:anti-Israel, apology, Barack Obama, Gary Bauer, John Bolton, political cartoon, UN, United Nations, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Pelosi Shameful & Senior Tsunami Coming To Congress
Jim Martin (President: 60 Plus Association) in the following two videos points out that seniors are not happy with House Speaker Pelosi or the proposed health care bills [Videos]:
They would like to get this bill through now cause I'm telling you this right now, there is a senior citizen tsunami headed towards the halls of Congress. It's a veritable flood if you will and unless it subsides between now and 2010, there is going to be some intense paying at the polls." [video]
"I've got a message for the [Speaker Nancy Pelosi]. These seniors have served...And for her to say they're un-American, that is one of the most shameful statements I've ever heard coming out of an elected representatives mouth. And on the Nazism charge, my heavens, these folks fought Nazism!" [video]
Tags:2010, 60 Plus, health care, Jim Martin, Nancy Pelosi, videosTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Washington, DC - U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, made the following statement after Vice President Joe Biden declared, with regards to the Democrats' so-called stimulus plan, "In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would work this well":
"Unless the Vice President's measure of stimulus success is the highest unemployment rate in 26 years, then it is hard to fit his wildest dreams with reality. The reality is the Obama Administration promised that borrowing $787 billion would keep our nation's unemployment below 8 percent. Now, after eight months of stimulus spending, more than two million jobs have been lost and unemployment is quickly approaching 10 percent.
"Never in our wildest dreams did we expect the Administration's forecasts to be so far off. Let's give the American people back their hard-earned money, and work together on a real economic recovery plan based on tax relief for working families and fiscal discipline in Washington." Tags:economic stimulus, Joe Biden, Mike PenceTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - Sept 25, 2009 - More Polls & Democrats Condescending Attitude Towards the Public
Update:Members of the U.S. Senate Financial Services Committee will be voting NEXT TUESDAY on amendments to keep abortion coverage out of Sen. Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) health care bill. Sen. Baucus's health care bill explicitly includes abortion and would subsidize health plans that cover all elective abortions. Such subsidies for abortion goes well beyond the status quo of preventing federal funds either from paying for abortion or subsidizing plans that covers abortion as is prevented under current laws governing Medicaid, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, and the State Children's Health Insurance Plan. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has introduced several amendments that would prevent government funding for abortion and would protect current conscience laws for health workers.
Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of the fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 3326. No votes are scheduled Today. At 3:30 PM, Paul Kirk is scheduled to be sworn in as the "temporary" junior senator from Massachusetts. [Another liberal democrat maneuver.]
Yesterday the Senate voted 77-21 to pass H.R. 2996, the fiscal 2010 Interior-Environment appropriations bill. Prior to passage, Democrats were successful in tabling two Republican amendments and a motion to recommit the bill to committee. The Senate voted to table an amendment from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) the defund the administration’s climate czar. Also tabled was a motion from Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) to recommit the bill to committee and have its funding reduced by $4.3 billion.
Another poll today shows that after an unprecedented media blitz, a speech to a joint session of Congress, town halls and rallies and innumerable media interviews, President Obama’s health care proposals still lack majority support from Americans. According to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll less than half of the respondents approve of the President’s handling of health care, 47%, which has remained below 50% since the poll began asking about this in July.
The CBS/NYT poll follows Tuesday’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which found that more Americans think “Barack Obama’s health care plan” is a “bad idea,” 41% than think it’s a “good idea,” 39%. That’s statistically unchanged since August when 42% thought it was a bad idea and 36% said it was a good idea. For the first time, less than 20% believe the president’s health care plan will improve the quality of their care. And 36% think their care will get worse. And a plurality, 48%, oppose “creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies.” In August 47% opposed. And a plurality, 48%, say they’re more concerned about health reform efforts “[g]oing too far and making the health care system worse than it is now. . . .”
Prior to this week's NBC/WSJ poll was a Gallup poll that found by nearly two to one, more believe the health care proposals before Congress will make costs worse (42%) than better (22%). By 38%-22%, a plurality believes the “insurance company requirements” for coverage will get worse under the Democrats’ proposals. If Democrat proposals pass, a third think quality will suffer while only 18% think it will improve and a third think their overall coverage will get worse with only 22% saying it will improve.
Note that all these polls were taken after President Obama’s heralded appearance before a joint session of Congress, his Sunday show blitz, and numerous speeches and town hall events touting his health care plan. Perhaps this continued skepticism from Americans explains why the administration seems so determined to prevent people from learning more about the troubling aspects of the bills in Congress, such as cuts to Medicare advantage, which could lead to reduced benefits.
When the insurer Humana tried to inform its customers about these potential cuts, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus complained to the Department of Health and Human Services, where a former staffer of his was able to preside over the department ordering an investigation of Humana and instituting a gag order on insurers discussing these cuts. The order came despite the fact that CBO Director Doug Elmendorf confirmed the cuts would result in benefit cuts, just as Humana warned.
Senate Republicans find this order outrageous and completely unacceptable. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP Senate leadership sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday saying, “Until your department rescinds its gag order and allows seniors to receive information about matters before Congress, we will not consent to time agreements on the confirmation of any nominees to your department or associated agencies.” Unfortunately, Roll Call reported last night that the administration this rejected this demand and will continue its outrageous investigation.
Sen. McConnell said on the floor this morning, “Supporters of this bill are watching the clock. They know the longer it sits out there, the more Americans will oppose this trillion dollar experiment that cuts Medicare, raises taxes, and threatens the health care choices that millions of Americans now enjoy. . . . More and more, it seems like supporters of this legislation just don’t believe that the American people know what’s best for themselves, so they want to keep them in the dark about the details. But that’s not the way Democracy works. . . . This is precisely the kind of condescending attitude from lawmakers in Washington that ordinary Americans are tired of. This is the kind of thing they’re protesting and speaking out against across the country. And over the last few months, Congress hasn’t given them any reason to believe that their concerns aren’t exactly right.” Tags:banning free speech, condescending attitude, Democrats, DHHS, exit polls, government healthcare, US Congress, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Was Free Speech Protected? Not realy - Review of the Lay case
Editor's Note: the following "excerpt" from the article is long but it identifies a sinister effort to limit free speech (which should be of concern to all), especially the free speech of Christians exercised since the foundations of the United States. And this situation exists in the "heart of the Bible belt" in Alabama. A radical Federal Judge imposes her will on the citizen's of Alabama.
---------------- by Timothy Baldwin*: September 17, 2009 not only marked the celebrated day of the approval of our Constitution by the Constitutional Congress in 1787 . . ., it also marked another, what I call, LAY case, reflecting the power and control of the federal government over individual, local and state affairs, and the submission of its lowly subjects, We the People.
Some of you may have learned of the principal of Pace High School in Pace, Florida, Frank Lay, who was charged with violation of an order entered by Federal Judge Margaret C. "Casey" Rodgers, prohibiting him, the teachers and the staff of Pace High from praying or holding any religious ceremonies at school or at school functions, which originated out of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU. As you have likely already guessed, sometime after the order entered (and was actually consented to by Lay), Lay had a prayer conducted at a Pace High staff function (a building dedication with no students present). This was deemed a violation of the court's order and Lay was charged with contempt of court.
Lay had a hearing on the contempt charges on Constitution Day, September 17, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. (CDT). Hundreds of people stood outside the federal courthouse in Pensacola, Florida, showing their support for Lay, their disgust with the federal government, or just their interest to see what would happen. (A few even showed their protest against Lay.) It appeared as though it was a pep rally of sorts with high-school kids chanting, "We Love Jesus, Yes We Do, We Love Jesus, How 'Bout You!" and other similar chants. Around 11:30 a.m., much of the crowd began marching around the federal courthouse (which sits downtown Pensacola) seven times, to sort of re-enact and metaphorically demonstrate the judgment of God falling on the city of Jericho in the book of Joshua, as if to suggest that they wanted God to condemn Judge Rodgers, or that Judge Rodgers was attacking Lay and she was the sole evil presented in this case, or other similar theories to that effect.
It was obvious that most people present deemed the matter against Lay to be what they would classify as spiritual in nature; and by spiritual, I mean to say that the issue to them did not regard constitutional government, federalism, the evils of centralized power over State power, the true meaning and sense of the Constitution, etc. Rather, it had almost a tone of "We believe in God, and you, Judge Rodgers, do not . . . We believe in prayer, and you, Judge Rodgers, do not . . . We love Jesus, and you, Judge Rodgers, do not . . . Lay should be allowed to pray in school, and you, Judge Rodgers, should let him." It had very similar qualities to an "evolution verses creation" debate you would see at a college or university.
What most of these people fail to understand is that the matters of constitutional government, federalism, the evils of centralized power over State power, the true meaning and sense of the Constitution, etc., are just as spiritual in nature as the matters of praying in public and loving Jesus.
Do these people at the rally, most of whom would likely claim to be Christian, not understand that God created Natural Law (Thomas Jefferson called it "Nature and Nature's God" in the Declaration of Independence) upon His creation of the world, a Law that God Himself binds Himself to for His glory and for man's benefit? Do these people not recognize that binding our government (State and federal) to their respective constitutions conforms to God's Natural Law, that men adhere to their agreements (i.e., compacts/constitutions)? Are these people still ignorant of the principles of limited power, jurisdiction and self-government created by God and expressed by Him in His Word--and that these principles apply even when their favorite political party is in office?
After several hours of waiting outside (even during serious downpour of rain), Frank Lay and his entourage exited the courthouse, with Lay's wife giving the "peace sign" with both hands and the rest of the group with smiles on their faces, anticipatorily revealing that Judge Rodgers had found Lay "not guilty" of the contempt charges. It was as if a major victory had been won for Lay, his family, all those who were supporting him outside of the courthouse and for all "public-prayer-supporting" Americans. You can be certain that many felt this was a victory.
The crux of the "not guilty" verdict, in fact, demonstrates just how Lay lost, how America lost, how tyrannical our federal government is, and how far gone and ignorant we are. It showed just how the citizens of this country willingly LAY down when actual confrontation arises. Consider how Lay was found "not guilty" and supposedly victory was won in this case:
First. The Prayer Was "Unintentional": "Freeman was asked why he gave the prayer when Lay asked. 'It was just out of reflex,' he answered." (Source: The Pensacola News Journal) In other words, in order for Lay to "win" at this hearing, he essentially had to say, "Oops, Judge, I'm sorry; I didn't mean to do it; it won't happen again." You call that a victory?
Second. The Judge's Order, Which Lay Consented To, Is "Constitutional": "Both sides also agreed that the constitutionality of Rodgers' temporary injunction will not be up for debate, meaning today's proceeding will focus on whether Lay and Freeman violated the order." (Source: Ibid.) Not only did Lay have to metaphorically bow at the feet of Judge Rodgers to keep from going to jail, but Lay also had to literally admit that the order prohibiting him from praying at school or at school functions was constitutional and that he is bound to follow it. Again, how is this a victory?
Third. From Now On, He Will Comply With the Order Not to Pray: In a 10:00 p.m. interview with WEAR, Channel 3 News, Lay admitted on live television that he will comply with the "Consent Order" not to pray and that "changes will be made at Pace High School" to reflect this compliance. Just like a little child who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar and knows he is in trouble with his parents, Lay had to promise to be a good little boy and to do exactly what he was told by the federal government to get off the hook of punishment.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not victory! It shows every sign of defeat! This is, once again, precedent to reaffirm and reestablish that the federal government is America's god. We will do what it says, when it says, and how it says. We will not challenge the issue on philosophical and foundational merits, because to do so would require us to reconsider the power of the federal government over jurisdiction that originally belonged to the states and the people.
While I speak in irritation, I am pleased, of course, that Lay was not found guilty and that he was not sentenced to jail and fined. I do not wish that on any person of any faith for simply praying. But what has to be recognized is that Lay did not win, LAY LAID DOWN: the federal government showed its force, and the people submitted. Lay can go home, but the "law" remains the same and tyranny is triumphant. I am also pleased that there is a legal attempt underway to challenge Judge Rodgers' order as being "too broad" and, yes, unconstitutional (for indeed it is). For, in fact, this is the kind of challenge that is needed in cases such as this. The American people simply cannot sit by and let these rogue federal judges continue to trample our religious liberties!
In the meantime, people -- and particularly Christian people -- repeatedly complain about the federal government when issues like this arise, proclaiming that their "freedom of religion" is being denied. But do these same people stop to think about the reasons why? . . . Do they not stop to realize that the people they have been electing and reelecting to public office are the very ones who make the laws and appoint the judges and bureaucrats who continue to make war against our liberties?
To start with, the only way to become victorious in these matters (on a national level) is for the people to retake power usurped by the federal government through the constitutional amendment process. . . . We must support State representatives, governors, and sheriffs who will stand on the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to defend their citizens against federal encroachment. We must re-educate the masses into principles that founded our federal republic. We must begin taking responsibility for our own actions, and teaching our children the fundamental tenets of liberty. Only then will we be able to kick the federal government out of the affairs in which they do not belong.
The reality is, this federal takeover did not happen overnight, and if things keep going the way they are, and people keep acting the way they do, you will never be free from the tyranny in your lifetime and your children will never be free from it in their lifetime. What is worse, the vast majority of people's ignorance seems to be at a pinnacle, thus perpetuating the death grip of federal control over freedom. The result: LAY case after LAY case after LAY case; one person LAYing down after the other. Consequently, these cases are never victories for the principles of freedom in America. They serve only to remind us that the principles of tyranny prevail in this country. Yes, individuals like Frank Lay may be let go from time to time -- at least for now. But the time will inevitably come when EVERYONE will be forced to submit and lay down. [Full Article]
---------- *Tim Baldwin is the son of Dr. Chuck Baldwin. He is an attorney who graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama. He is a former felony prosecutor for the Florida State Attorney's Office and now owns his own private law practice. Tags:Alabama, banning free speech, Chuck Baldwin, federal government, free speech, National Day of Prayer, Tim BaldwinTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Carter Clews, Executive Editor of ALG News: . . . [AP] Havana bureau feed early on the morning of September 23, 2009: “HAVANA - Barack Obama's call for action on climate change and his admission that rich nations have a particular responsibility to lead has received strong praise from an unusual source - U.S. nemesis Fidel Castro.”
Now, here’s the problem with that lead: we now have a President of the United States whose most avid plaudits come from two-bit, tin-horn Marxist dictators who have spent their entire adult lives imprisoning, murdering, and maiming their enslaved minions. And to make matters worse, that President – Barack “Sorry-to-be-an-American” Obama – is in lockstep agreement with all of what Castro says and much of what Castro does. . . .
[T]hen, Obama felt compelled to warmly embrace the Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez at the same Latin America Despots Dance at which he cuddled up to Danny and Fidel. In return, Chavez lauded Obama as “more of a Marxist than Fidel and me.” He enthused that “the changes that started in Venezuela in the last decade of the 20th century have begun to reach North America.” And he warned his compadre Barack not to go too fast in socializing the US lest he create a backlash.
Obama, for his part – ever the faithful amigo intimo ¬– repaid Chavez loyalty first by appointing Arturo Valenzuela as the Obama Administration’s “Western Hemisphere Czar.” Sr. Valenzuela, it should be noted, considers Chavez one of the history’s greatest Latin American leaders. He has even gone so far as to praise Chavez’ crackdown on Venezuela’s formerly free press.
Not content with putting Hugo’s good buddy in charge of everything Latino, Obama added injury to insult by appointing Chavez’ lickspittle Mark Lloyd as the Federal Communications Commission’s “Diversity Officer.” Not only does Mr. Lloyd agree with Mr. Valenzuela that Venezuela’s free press was an anathema, he has even gone so far as to praise Chavez for his “incredible revolution” that gutted the country’s democratic institutions top to bottom.
So, it’s little wonder that we now have “a President of the United States whose most avid plaudits come from two-bit, tin-horn Marxist dictators who have spent their entire adult lives imprisoning, murdering, and maiming their own people” kowtowing to like-minded despots at every opportunity. And creating opportunities where none exist.
Which, of course, is exactly what he did in the UN speech that won Castro’s praise. In essentially apologizing (once again) for all things American and declaring that “rich nations have a particular responsibility to lead” in de-industrializing the world, Obama has shown (once again) that he can tout Marxist dogma with the best (no, make that the worst) of them. . . . During the 2008 presidential campaign, a posturing, preening Barack Obama piously advised the American people to “Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself.” We are, Mr. Obama. Yes, sadly, we finally are. [ Full Story] Tags:Americans for Limited Government, Barack Obama, despots, political cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
John Allison, III: "I wish I could say this was unbelievable. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to believe." (America, You Asked for It!) Tags:Barack Obama, education, John Allison, Obama, propaganda, Public SchoolsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
For the second time this year the Democrats have voted against transparency and by voting against posting a bill online 72 hours before it the vote. Transparency was a huge theme in the last election, this administration claimed it would be the most transparent in history, and while this vote is not President Obama fault, it shows that the Democrats, as a whole, are not living up to the promises of last election. Posting bills online prior to a vote was specifically mentioned during the 2008 race, and now that it is no longer politically convenient, transparency has been thrown overboard.H/T Purple People Vote
Tags:Democrats, Fox News, government healthcare, Purple People Vote, transparency, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senate GOP Calls For Secretary Sebelius to Recind "Gag Order"
Senate Republican Leaders released the following letter calling on Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to rescind the “gag order” issued by CMS this week.
September 24, 2009
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
America’s 11 million seniors enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program deserve to be informed of any potential actions that could be taken by the federal government that could have broad implications on the Medicare program. Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans that provide services through the Medicare program have a constitutional right to provide information about these Medicare programs to their customers. Therefore, we hope you understand our grave concern with the recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services directive barring all such providers from any and all communications of this kind with America’s seniors. This gag order must be immediately lifted.
As the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, our constitutional tradition is one of “a profound commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” Health plans, of course, have the right to speak on matters of public concern, a fundamental principle that your department, until recently, recognized and respected. Specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had previously noted that there was no legal authority to justify prohibiting a health plan “from informing its members of proposed legislation and exhorting them to express their opinions” about it. In fact, HHS had previously determined that shutting down communication of this sort “would violate basic freedom of speech and other constitutional rights of the Medicare beneficiary as a citizen.”
Now, the Obama administration has reversed this longstanding HHS decision – in the midst of a critical debate about the future of health care services in our country – to shut down communication between private companies and America’s seniors on an issue that has a direct impact on their health care. Your department has done this by imposing an industry-wide gag order without apparent justification or basis in law, contradicting your past public guidance and the plain language and spirit of the First Amendment, among the most sacred tenets of our democracy.
America’s seniors and the health plans that serve them deserve to have their free speech rights respected. Their rights should not be subject to the whims of any administration, and the health plans that serve them should not be threatened with punishment if they speak out on a matter of public concern simply because the administration disagrees with their position.
Until your department rescinds its gag order and allows seniors to receive information about matters before Congress, we will not consent to time agreements on the confirmation of any nominees to your department or associated agencies.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter of such great importance to America’s seniors.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Republican Whip Jon Kyl
Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander
Republican Policy Chairman John Thune
Vice Conference Chair Lisa Murkowski
NRSC Chairman John Cornyn
Ranking Member on Senate Finance Committee Charles Grassley
Ranking Member on Senate HELP Committee Mike Enzi
Bill Smith, Editor: While I appreciate the GOP leadership sending this letter; I would have preferred even stronger letter with less niceties. Sen. Mitch McConnell in his prior speech yesterday said, “Over the past several months, we’ve seen a pattern of intimidation by supporters of the administration’s health care proposal — including efforts to demonize serious-minded critics at town hall meetings across the country. Now we’re seeing something even worse: the full power of the federal government being brought to bear on businesses by the very people writing the legislation.” This mafia style intimidation must cease! Tags:DHHS, free speech, gag order, GOP, government healthcare, intimidation, Kathleen Sebelius, letter, mafia, US SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - Sept 24, 2009 - DHHS Banning Free Speech Issue Continues
Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 2996, the fiscal 2010 Interior-Environment appropriations bill. The bill provides $32.1 billion in discretionary spending, a $4.5 billion increase from last year. Votes on amendments are expected throughout the day. Yesterday, the Senate voted to table a motion from Sen. David Vitter (D-LA) to return the Interior appropriations bill to committee and have it immediately reported back with an amendment to bar funding from being used to delay leases for offshore drilling for oil and gas.
The latest developments in the uproar over the Department of Health and Human Services issuing what amounts to a gag order to Humana and other insurance companies over communications with customers about potential cuts to Medicare Advantage focuses again on Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).
The Wall Street Journal editors write today, “Maybe Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus should put a gag order on Douglas Elmendorf too. On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office director told Mr. Baucus's committee that its plan to cut $123 billion from Medicare Advantage—the program that gives almost one-fourth of seniors private health-insurance options—will result in lower benefits and some 2.7 million people losing this coverage. Imagine that. Last week Mr. Baucus ordered Medicare regulators to investigate and likely punish Humana Inc. for trying to educate enrollees in its Advantage plans about precisely this fact.”
The new revelation is just which Medicare regulator went after Humana at Baucus’ urging. Roll Call reported yesterday afternoon, “Jonathan Blum, the administration official at the center of a growing flap over alleged efforts to ‘muzzle’ insurance companies critical of Democratic health care reform efforts, is a former senior aide to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) — who originally asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to investigate the companies critical of his bill. Blum, who worked on the Finance Committee on Medicare and Medicaid issues, was appointed by President Barack Obama as acting director of CMS’ Center for Drug and Health Plan Choices this spring.”
As Red State’s Brian Faughnan points out, it’s worth recalling that Baucus and his allies seem to be involved in a number of press reports on pressure tactics during the health care debate. On June 30, Roll Call reported, “After pressure from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) senior committee staff, the Laborers’ International Union of North America has done an about-face and will pull its television ad buy targeting Baucus and Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) starting Wednesday.” In an article titled, “Baucus ups pressure on health groups,” Politico reported a few days earlier, “The Senate Finance Committee is pressuring hospitals and insurers to follow the lead of the pharmaceutical industry and pony up to help pay for health reform, industry insiders say.” And on June 11, Roll Call reported, “Top aides to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called a last-minute, pre-emptive strike on Wednesday with a group of prominent Democratic lobbyists, warning them to advise their clients not to attend a meeting with Senate Republicans set for Thursday.”
Do Democrats find any of this troubling? Pressed during debate in the Senate Finance Committee over the Humana issue, Baucus seemed to shift his rhetoric a bit, saying “maybe CMS overstepped,” according to Politico. The Wall Street Journal editors are clearly incensed about this whole episode and blast Baucus today, saying that neither administration allies like the AARP nor insurers “should be muzzled in a political debate . . . especially by an influential Senator getting favors from his crony in a supposedly impartial regulatory agency that has enormous power to harm or destroy private companies. Seniors have a right to know how they may be affected by Washington's health-care planning.”
To repeat from yesterday, Sen McConnell said, “Over the past several months, we’ve seen a pattern of intimidation by supporters of the administration’s health care proposal — including efforts to demonize serious-minded critics at town hall meetings across the country. Now we’re seeing something even worse: the full power of the federal government being brought to bear on businesses by the very people writing the legislation. This was troubling enough in itself. It’s even more troubling now that we’re told that Humana was exactly right in what it was telling clients. Americans were already skeptical about the administration’s plan. They should be even more skeptical now.” Tags:banning free speech, US Congress, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Let's Talk About Race - Opposing the President Doesn't Make You a Racist
Commissioner Michael Williams: Let’s talk about race. As an African-American son of the south, I grew up in a time and place where you didn’t have to divine intent or deconstruct code words to find racism. When it raised its ugly head it was like a blunt instrument waved in your face to keep you in your place. It was as unmistakable as it was demeaning
Unfortunately, with political waters getting rough for the first time for our president, his supporters are quick to latch on to the actions of a fringe element, and ignore the racial transformation this country has made to take us back to a past era where opposition to a black man was about the color of his skin and not the content of his ideas.
Recently former president Jimmy Carter asserted there is a “belief among many white people, not just in the south but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.” Absurd on its face – after all, Mr. Obama wouldn’t have been elected without tremendous support from white voters. This statement is not damaging because it is a false observation, but it stigmatizes the discussion about race relations.
When someone of public prominence carelessly and callously demeans the motives of millions of honest Americans as racists when they are simply concerned about policy ramifications of the President’s agenda, we stop hearing each other. How can the President win over critics when critics are so unfairly stigmatized by such a personal attack on their character? You can hear the conversation around dinner tables and social gatherings: ”If we disagree with Obama, the liberals think we are a bunch of racists.” This truly hampers the effort to find common ground.
Furthermore, stigmatizing honest opposition as “racist” appears to be a way of not answering legitimate questions about policy reform. I, for one, oppose the President’s healthcare plan because it will explode the deficit, allow further government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, and continue to insulate healthcare consumers from the true cost of their care. The President and his allies should explain why my concerns are misplaced. But by attacking the character of their critics, they don’t have to answer their charges or win the debate over policy differences, because the charge of “racist” is the nuclear option. Once it is launched there is no need for conventional warfare in the political sense: winning and losing on the merit of policy.
What grieves me most, however, is not that false cries of racism short circuit our debate, but that it makes legitimate concern about pockets of racism impossible to hear among the majority of Americans where it truly exists. Racism does still exist in America today – on both sides of the political spectrum. Now it will be that much harder to expose because the real cry will be impossible to distinguish from the false one, much like the boy who cried, “wolf.” Racism exists, but so does opportunity, and I can personally attest to the fact that there is far more opportunity than racism.
We have rid our institutions of government of the practice of discrimination; if only we could rid our political discourse of the ugliness that ensues when we ascribe discriminatory motive to statements with no obvious discriminatory aspect. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd couldn’t help hearing a missing word in Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech to Congress. The Congressman yelled, “You lie.” Ms. Dowd couldn’t help hearing, “you lie, boy.”
While Congressman Wilson started a fire, Ms. Dowd poured fuel on it. The greater ugliness is not the inappropriate outburst, but Ms. Dowd intentionally injecting a word loaded with a history of racial condescension to label a whole movement of opposition.
I have a suggestion for future discourse. Let’s leave race out of the debate unless someone clearly raises it as the rationale for their position on an issue. Instead, let’s stick to the substance of the argument for the good of the American people.
The fact is I can disagree with my president based on the politics of ideas instead of the politics of identity, and so can millions of Americans. When liberals seek to change the debate from the content of reforms to the character of their opposition, it smacks of desperation. And it makes me wonder if they have forgotten what real racism is like. While I appreciate President Obama’s response to this controversy in real days, he has missed an opportunity to disavow his supporters. They are taking this country back to an uglier time and place, when so many of us want to move forward.
------------- Michael Williams, 56, has been elected three times statewide in Texas as a Texas Railroad Commissioner, and is a Candidate for the U.S. Senate.As a federal prosecutor he successfully fought against the klan and other white supremacists groups. As high-level aide in the U.S. Department of Education under President George H. W. Bush, he made a controversial stand against the use of race in college admissions. Tags:Barack Obama, candidate, Jimmy Carter, Michael Williams, racism, Texas, US SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Rumblings Confirmed: China Allowed to Fly Communist Flag Over Washington D.C.
Reference prior Sept 6th post about "Rumblings on China's National Flag and the White House." This provocative flag situation has occured. The Obama administration did roll over, as expected, on this issue and gave the Chinese another propaganda story for their newspapers back home! The Obama administration made history on Sunday September 20, 2009 by allowing the communist government of China to raise their national flag to celebrate the 60 year anniversary of the birth of the totalitarian communist regime that enslaves over 1 billion people in China. Below is a video of the event provided by ALIPAC:
Tags:ALIPAC, China, Chinese flag, federal property, Obama administration, RPC, The White House, U.S. Property, video, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Breitbart: Former US vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin said the US government was wasting taxpayers' money and could aggravate poverty, said delegates at her first speech outside North America on Wednesday. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, gave hundreds of financial big-hitters at the CLSA Investors' Forum in Hong Kong a wide-ranging speech that covered Alaska, international terrorism, US economic policy and trade with China.
Her performance, which was closed to the media, divided opinion. Some . . . praised her forthright views on government social and economic intervention and others walked out early in disgust. "She was brilliant," said a European delegate, on condition of anonymity "She said America was spending a lot of money and it was a temporary solution. Normal people are having to pay more and more but things don't get better. The rich will leave the country and the poor will get poorer. Two US delegates left early, with one saying "it was awful, we couldn't stand it any longer". He declined to be identified . . .
In the CLSA speech, which lasted about 75 minutes, Palin also tackled the recent US trade spat with China, a country she said the United States should have the best possible relationship with. According to delegates, she said US President Barack Obama's administration worsened an already difficult situation when earlier this month he slapped duties on Chinese tire imports blamed for costing American jobs.
. . . [S] praised the economic policies of former US President Ronald Reagan and criticised the current administration for intervening too much during the recent financial crisis. Although she touched on the threat posed to the United States by terrorism and talked about links with traditional US allies in Asia such as Japan, Australia and South Korea, one Asian delegate complained she devoted too much time to her home state of Alaska. . . .
Several delegates saw the speech as a sign of her ambitions to run as a presidential candidate in 2012 and a useful indication of the potential direction of US politics in the future. "It was fairly right-wing populist stuff,' one US delegate said. Palin blasted Obama's proposals on healthcare, reiterating a previous statement made to the press that the plan would include a bureaucratic "death panel" that would decide who gets assistance, he said. Another from the United States said: "She frightens me because she strikes a chord with a certain segment of the population and I don't like it." . . . [Full Article] ; [Breitbart. tv Video of Speech] Editorial comment: Wonder what "segment of the population" this "un-named U.S. delegate is afraid of? Palin "strikes a chord with "Middle America." Tags:acceptance speech, Asia, Sarah PalinTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - Sept 23, 2009 - Mafia Style Thug Politics in Washington, D.C.
Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 2996, the fiscal 2010 Interior-Environment appropriations bill. The bill provides $32.1 billion in discretionary spending, a $4.5 billion increase from last year. Votes on amendments are expected throughout the day. Yesterday, the Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to strip an earmark for the Des Moines Art Center and tabled a motion from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) concerning Interior Department water restrictions based on endangered species rulings.
Speaking on the Senate floor today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell again highlighted the issue of free speech which he raised yesterday [video here] about how Democrats reacted to a health insurance company trying to inform its customers about how proposed health reform legislation in Congress could affect Medicare benefits.
Sen. McConnell said today, “Let’s review: at the instigation of the Chairman of the Finance Committee, the author of the health care legislation now working its way through Congress, the Executive Branch, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has launched an investigation into Humana for explaining to seniors how this legislation might affect their coverage. One more time: a private health care provider told its elderly clients how health care legislation might affect their lives. And now the federal government is putting its full weight into investigating that company at the request of the senator who wrote the legislation in question.”
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported on “World News Tonight” last night, “But Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus says it is misleading to say his bill cuts Medicare benefits and ordered the HHS to investigate, prompting the gag order. Some legal experts say the order is unconstitutional. Senator McConnell agrees. . . . And even some Democratic senators are concerned that the bill now before the Senate Finance Committee reduces spending on Medicare Advantage by $123 billion.”
In fact, McConnell noted this morning, “Yesterday, we saw how legitimate those concerns were, when the director of the non-partisan independent Congressional Budget Office said that the administration’s proposed Medicare cuts would indeed lead to significant cuts in benefits to seniors.” The AP reports, “Despite Obama’s repeated claims that Medicare benefits will not be cut, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told senators Tuesday that the elderly in the private Medicare Advantage plans could see reduced benefits under Baucus’ bill.” AndEd Morrissey notes that a staffer for the Senate Finance Committee admitted that Medicare Advantage benefits would be cut during a Finance Committee hearing yesterday.
As Sen. McConnell said, “[W]e now find out that the concerns that this company was raising to its clients were perfectly legitimate, according to the director of the CBO. This is so clearly an outrage it’s hard to believe anyone thought it would go unnoticed. For explaining to seniors how legislation might affect them, the federal government has now issued a gag order on that company, and any other company that communicates with clients on the issue, telling them to shut up — or else.”
But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of heavy-handed reaction from Democrats to skepticism of their health care plans. Sen. McConnell warned “Over the past several months, we’ve seen a pattern of intimidation by supporters of the administration’s health care proposal — including efforts to demonize serious-minded critics at town hall meetings across the country.” Today, Brian Faughnan in a posted on Red State: "The Thugs are Back in Town" examines the various intimidation tactics employed over health care reform in the past few months. After reading his post, one wonders if a Chicago style political mafia is at work in Washington, D.C. Faughnan is right: "The Thugs are Back in Washington D.C.!"
McConnell expressed it in softer terms, "This is precisely the kind of thing Americans are worried about with the administration’s health care plan. They’re worried that handing government the reins over their health care will lead to just this kind of intimidation. They’re worried that government agencies which were created to enforce violations even-handedly will instead be used against those who voice a different point of view. That’s apparently what’s happening here, and to many Americans, it’s a preview of what’s in store for everyone under the administration’s health care plan.” Tags:banning free speech, Democrats, Mitch McConnell, politcs, thugs, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
See Prior Post:The Race Card Tags:Barack Obama, political cartoon, political humor, presidency, race card, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Bobby Eberle, GOPUSA: A tax by any other name still leaves a hole in the wallet. Call it a fee, a penalty, a surcharge, an "I'm going to play the race card" levy, or an "I'm worse than Jimmy Carter" payment; in any case, a tax is a tax is a tax. The problem is that Barack Obama promised not to raise taxes on most Americans, and now he's doing it. He just won't admit it.
When pressed in an interview that his health care mandate amounts to a tax on the American people, he did his usual teleprompterless umms and errs, and said the "fee" or "penalty" was anything but a tax. Guess what the actual health care bill calls it? Yep... it's a tax.
We all know that Obama is quite capable of raising taxes on the American people. He wants to do it directly to those who already pay the vast majority of the taxes by raising upper income tax rates. He has already done it to all Americans with cap and trade proposals that will raise energy prices for all Americans. Yet, even though he can raise taxes on all Americans, he just can't say the word. Well, unlike the first President Bush, we don't need to read his lips.... we know what Obama is doing.
The issue of whether a tax is a tax started this past Sunday when Obama made the rounds of all the Sunday talk shows. This media blitz was designed to bolster his position on health care. Then, on ABC's "This Week," Obama and host George Stephanopoulos had this exchange:
Stephanopoulos - But Mr. President, if you make the people pay the government money isn't that at tax?
Barack Obama - I don't see how you can say that George.
Stephanopoulos - But Mr. President, when governments make people pay money that is a tax.
Barack Obama - George, you don't seem to be hearing me.
Stephanopoulos - But Mr. President how is it not a tax.
Barack Obama - George, it's not a tax because I say it isn't a tax.
I love the fact that Stephanopoulos broke out the dictionary. Obama, of course, used that to somehow justify that the host was off base. In reality, the dictionary was the perfect tool because Obama is trying once again to pull one over on the American people, but it's just not happening.
If the government issues a policy, mandate, high order, or proclamation by King Obama that results in the government collecting more money from the American people, it's a tax. You know it, and I know it. I just wanted to state it again in case his people are reading this. (After all, it's a fishy message about health care, right?)
Here's the good part. As noted in a story by FOXNews.com, "A proposed requirement that all Americans buy health insurance does in fact include a 'tax' increase, according to the Senate -- even though President Obama insisted Sunday that it 'absolutely' does not."
But the language of the health care reform plan proposed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., explicitly labels the penalty attached to the mandate as an "excise tax."
Penalties for failing to obtain coverage would range from $750 to $3,800 under the plan. This is addressed in a section labeled: "Excise Tax."
"The excise tax would apply for any period for which the individual is not covered by a health insurance plan with the minimum required benefit," the Baucus plan says.
An Associated Press story on GOPUSA points out that the House version "uses a complex formula to calculate the penalties, calling them a 'tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage.'" Oh... and guess where people would report their insurance coverage? That's right... on their tax returns.
And so Obama is calling this tax by a new name: personal responsibilty. If he really believed in personal responsibility, then he wouldn't be advocating left wing policies that take more power from the people and put it in the hands of government. People can decide if they want to save money by driving a more fuel efficient car. If the demand is there, car companies will make them. People can take even more responsibility for their own lives if they had more of their own money in their pockets so they could save, spend, and invest.
Obama may "absolutely reject that notion" that the health care mandate is a tax, but it is. We all know it. The bill says so. It's just nice to see him called on it... for once. Tags:Barack Obama, Bobby Eberle, excise tax, George Stephanopoulos, GOPUSA, health care tax, TaxTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
McConnell Defends Free Speech: Demands End of Federal Gag Order on Medicare Cuts
Below are the remarks that Sen. McConnell delivered on the Senate floor a few minutes ago addressing the controversy over a Democrat senator requesting the Dept. of Health and Human Services investigate health insurers for alerting their customers about cuts in Medicare Advantage under Democrats’ health care reform proposals. In effect, limiting free speech! See prior post and today’s Wall Street Journal editorial for the background.
“I rise to call my colleagues’ attention to a disturbing development in the health care debate.
“A colleague of ours has called for an investigation into a major health care company because this company informed its customers of its concerns about health care legislation that this colleague of ours introduced.
“As a result, the federal government has now told all companies that provide Medicare Advantage to seniors to stop communicating with their clients about the effects of that legislation — even telling them what they can and cannot post on their websites. This gag order, enforced through an agency of the federal government at the request of a Senator, is wrong.
“It started when a company based in my hometown of Louisville — Humana — had the temerity, in the eyes of some of our colleagues, to explain to its customers that if Medicare Advantage is cut, as the chairman’s mark requires, it may have to reduce benefits, which, of course, is a common sense conclusion.
“Mr. President, this is America: Citizens, either as individuals or grouped together in companies, have a fundamental right to talk about legislation they favor or oppose. That is the core of the First Amendment’s protections on speech. Unfortunately, this is part of a troubling trend of efforts to dismiss the concerns raised by the American people over the past few months.
“Over the summer, we saw American citizens who raised concerns about the health care proposals before Congress dismissed as ‘un-American’ by leaders in Congress. That’s bad enough, but using the full weight of the federal government’s enforcement powers to stifle free speech should trouble all Americans — and all of us — even more.
“We cannot allow government officials to target individuals or companies because they do not like what they have to say.
“This latest effort to squelch free speech raises several serious questions:
“Is this what we have come to as a country — that an individual or company can no longer factually advocate their position on an incredibly important public policy issue?
“Shouldn’t customers have a right to know the potential impact of a Congressional action?
“Is this what we believe as a Senate — that this body should debate a trillion-dollar health care bill that affects every American while using the powerful arm of government to shut down speech?
“Is this how citizens and companies can expect to be treated if health reform passes? That any health provider that disagrees with a powerful Senator will be subject to an investigation and a gag order?
“How is this any different than what the Washington Post and New York Times have done in lobbying for a reporter shield law? Would we stand by if the Judiciary Committee asked the FBI to investigate the media for taking positions on pending legislation we don’t agree with? Of course not.
“Humana is headquartered in my hometown of Louisville, and yes, I care deeply about its 8,000 employees in Kentucky. But this gag order now applies to all Medicare Advantage providers.
“I would remind my colleagues that I have spent my career defending the First Amendment rights of people to criticize their elected officials, including me. I would make the same argument if this were a company based in San Francisco or Helena or Chicago.
“The right to free speech is at the core of our democracy. Free citizens have a First Amendment right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. This gag order on companies like Humana and those in all our states, in my view, is a clear violation of that right. It’s wrong.
“Employers that warn their customers about the effects of legislation aren’t the ones who should be getting warnings here. Senators who threaten Americans’ First Amendment rights are.”
Tags:America, banning free speech, medicare, medicare cuts, free speech, Mitch McConnell, US SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - Sept 21 & 22, 2009 - Afghanistan to Healt Care - Big Government Messes
Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 2996, the fiscal 2010 Interior-Environment appropriations bill. The bill provides $32.1 billion in discretionary spending, a $4.5 billion increase from last year. Senate is scheduled to vote on an amendment to the bill from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to provide money for the Smithsonian to participate in the Civil Rights History Project.
The New York Times is reporting that “Senators Lisa Mukowski of Alaska and John Thune of South Dakota, two members of the Republican leadership, have proposed an amendment to the spending bill for the Environmental Protection Agency that would prohibit the agency from writing regulations covering industrial emissions blamed for global warming.”
Later in the week, the Senate could move to Military Construction-VA appropriations, Defense appropriations, drug reimportation legislation, or a continuing resolution to fund the government until all appropriations bills are completed.
AFGHANISTAN:The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward reported, “The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict ‘will likely result in failure,’ according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post. “Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: ‘Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) -- while Afghan security capacity matures -- risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.’ . . . McChrystal concludes the document’s five-page Commander’s Summary on a note of muted optimism: ‘While the situation is serious, success is still achievable.’”
Another Washington Post piece adds, “A disputed presidential election, an erosion in support for the war effort among Democrats in Congress and the American public, and a sharp increase in U.S. casualties have prompted the president and his top advisers to reexamine their assumptions about the U.S. role in defeating the Taliban insurgency.”
Given that this is a critical juncture in American operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggested a good way for Congress and the American public to consider this report and strategy going forward: “We would like to see General McChrystal and General Petraeus come up to Congress, like they did during the Iraq surge and give us the information about what they’re recommending. We think the time for decision is now. As Senator McCain has pointed out, when you delay a decision like this, you, arguably, maybe unnecessarily, endanger the lives of our soldiers.”
Democrats in Congress were adamant that Gen. Petraeus come to the Hill to explain the surge strategy in Iraq two years ago, so one would hope they’d be similarly interested in hearing from him and Gen. McChrystal on a new strategy for Afghanistan.
In his report, Gen. McChrystal warned, “Failure to provide adequate resources also risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs, and ultimately, a critical loss of political support. Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure.” As Sen. McConnell said, “We’re looking forward to hearing publicly what General McChrystal has to say and what the president’s going to recommend. I think the sooner he can make that decision, the better.”
HEALTH CARE: It seems that Democrats just can’t deal with even mild criticism of their plans for massive overhauls of the health care industry, given reports today about Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’ apparent targeting of the health insurance company Humana for attempting to inform its customers about congressional health care proposals.
The Wall Street Journal editors explain the story behind this incident: “Earlier this month, Humana sent a one-page letter to its customers enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans, which offer private options to Medicare beneficiaries. Humana noted that, because of spending cuts proposed by Democrats, ‘millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable.’” Yesterday, though, the AP reported that “the Health and Human Services Department, which oversees [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], launched an investigation of Humana after getting a complaint from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a senior lawmaker usually viewed as a reliable ally of the insurance industry.”
The WSJ editors get right to the point, writing, “Max Baucus’s latest bullying tactics are hard to believe . . . as the Senate Finance Chairman has sicced federal regulators on the insurer Humana Inc. for daring to criticize one part of his health bill.” According to the AP, “In a warning letter to Humana, HHS said the government is concerned that the mailer ‘is misleading and confusing’ partly because the company’s lobbying campaign could be mistaken for an official communication about Medicare benefits. HHS ordered the company to immediately halt any such mailings, and remove any related materials from its Web site. In the letter, the government also said it may take other action against Humana.”
The warning seems conveniently timed, given that today is the beginning of Senate hearings to consider Baucus’ health reform plan. The Wall Street Journal points out, “In fact, the Baucus draft legislation slashes $123 billion over the next decade from Medicare Advantage . . . . Mr. Baucus doesn’t want seniors to be educated about these facts, and obviously he’s willing to use his enormous power to punish any private company that doesn’t affirm his, well, creative version of reality.”
“Humana merely made the mistake of trying to tell seniors the truth about what will happen to their coverage,” the WSJ editors conclude, “and now CEO Michael McCallister had better hire a good team of lawyers. Mr. Baucus and the Obama Administration are out to make him an object lesson to the rest of the business class, and that means they won’t stop until Humana cries uncle or is ruined.” Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey notes how troubling this is for those concerned about free speech, as well. “It seems to me that Humana is rightly and rationally warning these customers that big and unpleasant changes will be coming with ObamaCare in all its various forms at the moment, including the Baucus plan. . . . Maybe HHS and the White House should spend a little time re-reading the First Amendment instead of attempting to intimidate people out of the political debate, especially the stakeholders.” Tags:Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, General Stanley McChrystal, health care, health care rationing, Humana, medicade, Medicare Advantage, NATO, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Sen. Arlen Specter — the Pennsylvania Republican-turned-Democrat who’s been the linchpin of the controversy over the pro-union proposal, has unveiled his version of the legislation. He picked a likely locale: the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh.
Here are the highlights of Specter’s offering:
“Card check” discarded. This was the bill’s sorest spot — a provision that would allow unions to be formed through a simple majority of employees signing cards indicating their approval, a substantive shift from the current requirement that unions can only be formed after secret-ballot elections. The fact that the provision’s not included in Specter’s bill comes as no surprise. He swore he’d never vote for EFCA if card check was part of the package, and he was joined in that opinion by several right-leaning Democratic colleagues.
Strict time frames for elections. Labor groups have long complained that with no deadline, employers can extend the period before secret balloting is held to intimidate employees. Specter’s bill would set a specific time limit between the date organizers announce they have sufficient employee support and when the actual voting takes place.
Mandatory arbitration. Labor leaders have long complained that employers unfairly dig in their heels during the “first contract” process — to the point where many newly formed unions simply fall apart because the negotiations drag on for months, sometimes years. Specter’s proposal would require the parties to enter into mandatory arbitration after a specific negotiating period. But he adds a bone for employers who are wary of giving mediators the power to dictate contract terms.
The measure would require both union and management to submit their “last best offer” for arbitration. The mediator would then be required to pick one or the other; the arbiter would not have the power to come up with a compromise. Such a requirement would prevent unions from “asking for the moon” in the hope a mediator devises a deal that splits the difference between the two parties.
Equal time. Union organizers would be guaranteed equal access to workers, if the employer holds anti-union meetings during regular work hours.
Triple time. Under the Specter proposal, penalties for employers who violate labor laws during organizing efforts would be three times as harsh as they stand today.
Will this version of EFCA pass? At this point, it’s anybody’s guess. With the recent death of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the Democrats lack the required 60 votes to block a filibuster in the Senate. Nonetheless, Specter said he expected EFCA to pass “before the year is out.”
For a look at some of the political maneuvering around Specter’s move, go here.
Tags:Arlen Specter, Business Brief, Card Check, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, Senate, Tim Gould, unionsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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