News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year] 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, October 03, 2009
The Obama Jobs Gap Grows Again
Heritage Foundation: Another month, another 263,000 jobs lost under the Obama administration. According to Bureau of Labor and Statistics data, the United States economy has lost 3.6 million net jobs since President Barack Obama was sworn into office and the unemployment rate has risen from 7.6 % to 9.8%. It was not supposed to be this way. The experts in the Obama administration promised the American people that the President’s $787 billion stimulus package would create 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. According to the Obama administration’s expert plan, the stimulus was supposed to create or save enough jobs that the unemployment rate would only be 7.8% by this time. Instead unemployment rose last month and is now at a 26-year record high of 9.8%.
When the Obama administration first unveiled their stimulus plan in November they claimed it would create 2.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. At the time BLS reported that U.S. economy employed about 136.1 million jobs. But by January that number fell to 134.6 million jobs. Not so coincidentally, the Obama administration upped the job-creating magic of the stimulus to 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. Putting these numbers together, we can create an objective standard to judge both the President and his stimulus by: 136.1 million plus 2.5 million equals 138.6 million; and 134.6 million plus 4 million equals 138.6 million. So the objective, Obama administration created, BLS data verifiable, jobs accountability number is 138.6 million. Today’s BLS report shows that President Obama is 7.6 million jobs short of his promise to the American people.
To close the Obama Jobs Gap, the U.S. economy would have to go through the greatest 16-month average increase in employment in modern American history. During the peak of the Reagan boom in December of 1984, the U.S. economy added 373,000 jobs a month. Obama would need to create 477,000 jobs a month. That is not going to happen.
So what went wrong? Simply put, Obama’s experts relied on some fundamentally unsound assumptions and now our nation is paying the price in lost jobs and record deficits. . . . The Federal government can stimulate the economy in the short term, not by shuffling demand across the economy through wasteful deficit spending, but by improving incentives and the general economic environment. Individuals and businesses across the nation already see tremendous opportunities for starting new businesses, for investment, for hiring new workers, for expanding into new markets. However many are holding back due to existing excessive tax and regulatory burdens. Instead of making this situation better, the Obama administration and Congress seem intent on making it worse by enacting new taxes and regulations on energy and passing health care legislation that will tax businesses for creating jobs and encourage lower wages. . . [Full Article]
Tags:American jobs, jobs, Barack Obama, Heritage Foundation, unemploymentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Great day meeting with numerous great bloggers while reporting live from bloggers row at the Americans for Prosperity Defending the American Dream Summit at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Va. We have been following the great speakers and posting tweets on twitters. Glad that we have our own room with a large screen. We can getup an move around whereas two thousand people who have been enjoying the speakers are more restricted by the events.
One of the young men who has been blogging the event is Steven Allen Adams, an investigative reporter from West Virginia. The following are Steve's comments an photos:
UPDATE (9:46 p.m.): Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., is up to speak first. Gingrich led the last big Republican revolution in 1994, thanks to the Contract with America (the revolution got a bump also from President Bill Clinton and his bumbling ways).
Gingrich talked about the conservative revolutions in other countries, such as France, and predicts that conservatives will have control again. Comparing today’s situation to that of former President Jimmy Carter, Gingrich sees a shift over the next 3 1/2 years towards conservative principles.
Three things Gingrich says we need to do:
Have candidates at every level dedicated to new principles. “If an incumbent isn’t doing their job, we need to recruit someone new. In our system, real power comes from the ballot box.”
We have to learn how to campaign effectively. “There is no neighborhood in American we should write off, there is no person we should write off.”
We have to win the argument. “The President is helping us educate the American people and we should encourage him to go on every talk show in town. Good advertising kills a product faster.”
UPDATE (10:21 a.m.): Next up to speak is Shona Holmes, a Canadian citizen who was highlighted in an AFP television ad telling her story about being denied care when she had a brain tumor. She and her husband mortgaged their home and came to the U.S. to get the care that saved her life.
“I had no options, I had more choices,” said Holmes of her situation. Canadian-style health care is a “slippery slope.” “Rationing, without question, happens in Canada. We wait anyone from a eight months to a year and a half.”
“It’s such a battles that I never never believe that I could experience it first hand. If I couldn’t resolve those problems for myself, then I don’t know who is speaking up for the others.”
“I feel an obligation that we need to help each other. My biggest embarrassment is Canada hasn’t been able to open the door and help Americans. You have tremendous health care. I apologize for my fellow Canadians that are trying to shut me up.”
UPDATE (10:29 a.m.): Wall Street Journal writer Steve Moore is next. “This is the next American Revolution.”
“Since we passed the economic stimulus bill we’ve lost $3 million jobs,” said Moore, who spoke mostly on health and economic issues.
Cap-and-trade “may be the more dangerous than the health care bill. Even if you believe in global warming, the cap-and-trade bill won’t have any affect in lowering temperatures. It is, in my opinion, unpatriotic.”
“What in the world are we doing with this national debt; this $11 trillion national debit. The numbers are so big, we can’t even fathom a trillion-dollar debt.
“If the choice is between a flat tax or a Fair Tax…it’s like being asked to choose between a Ferrari and a Porsche. We have to stop the Obama tax increase.” Three things to fix health care:
“We need medical malpractice reform.”
“We have to move towards a system of health savings accounts. You can drive insurance premiums down.”
“We have to allow people to purchase insurance in every state in this country. Let people in Maine and Massachusetts buy insurance in New Jersey.”
UPDATE (10:42 a.m.): Sen Jim. Demint, R-S.C., has just been honored with an the Washington Award by AFP Chairman David Koch.
“When the people here in Washington are more afraid of the people than special interests, then we can win. Look at every race at every level. Get behind those candidates. We’ve got great candidates in this country, but the people up here aren’t going to elect them: you are.”
Go to http://www.conservativecandiates.com/ to find conservatives running for office all over the country.
“We need to remind Americans who have been too busy doing other things what’s at stake.”
UPDATE (11:02 a.m.): Radio host and Fox News contributer Herman Cain is addressing the crowd.
Liberal S.I.N. Principles:
They SHIFT the subject.
They IGNORE the facts.
They NAMECALL. “I found out I’m racist. Maybe I missed something. Maybe what they’re trying to say is I have a perfect tan.
“We are crazy about liberty, we are crazy about freedom, and we’re crazy about the United States of America. That’s what we’re crazy about. We’ll show you some crazy; all these crazy people are going to show up at the polls.”
“Never give up on taking back this country. We must never give up.”
UPDATE (11:14 a.m.): Radio host Hugh Hewitt is up now. He gave a list of six things to do:
“Wait until November of 2009. Every single person in the room can make a difference. If know anyone, call them up and make sure they get to the polls.”
“We have to remain active and adamant, especially with our senior friends. We need to encourage them to be in the game.”
“We need to educate people on our broken legal system. This is killing our economy; killing it dead.”
“We’ve got to relentlessly expose the left-wing in the way the left-wing have learned to mock us. We’ve got to tell everyone about biggovernment.com, tell them about Americans for Prosperity.”
Work with young people. “Our young people need to look to you to learn about our system.”
“When Israel strikes Iran, we must stand with Israel. There is going to be, there will be a chorus of hate unleashed by our media.
UPDATE (11:37 a.m.): Hot Air contributer Ed Morrissey is talking now.
We need a “tax code overhaul that is decades overdue.”
“Congress likes the tax code. The tax code allows congress to conduct social engineering…and limit the choices in our life. It is sapping our liberty. The more deductions they put in there, the more people thing they benefit from them. Congress is the biggest obstacle to real reform.”
“The existing tax code gives Congress far too much power in a free society. When our opponents talk about making the tax code more fair, we need to tell them we don’t need their help to make choices.”
UPDATE (11:46 a.m.): Wall Street Journal writer John Fund is up next.
“Never again should we have bills the size of telephone books. No more. We want them to read the bill. Here is where you come in.”
Fund commented on the Reagan and Gingrich revolutions, telling activists to learn from the lessons of the Carter and Clinton administrations.
“Here we are again. Every 16 years it seems the American forget what happens when a liberal Congress and a liberal President get together. We won the first two rounds of this; I saw we win round three.”
“You, the new American Patriots, won in 1977. You won again in 1993. You can win again in 2009. Let’s finish the job.”
UPDATE (12:00 p.m.): Up next is Tracy Walsh, spokeswoman for Patients First. Walsh is a breast cancer survivor from South Carolina and has been featured in an Independent Women’s Forum ad and thePatients First “Hands Off My Health Care” bus tour.
“What’s important to me is the ability to keep my choices. I had to speak up. We’ve got to defeat this health care legislation.”
…and that’s all folks. We’ll have a video up later of all the great things that happened here in DC.Tags:AFP, Americans for Prosperity, Newt Gingrich, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Blogging & New Media Emphasized at AFP Summit - #DAD09
By Steven Allen Adams: Emily Zanotti (American Princess) is giving one of her acclaimed talks on blogging. There is probably no one better at explaining blogging to those who, even a decade later, are still clueless about the power of blogging to get information to the masses. I’ve been blogging, off an on, since 2001. I remember when people looked at you odd when you said “I blog.” Then I remember the explosion of blogs around 2004-2005 when it became a fad. Finally the blogging market has evened out to where many people blog and keep their sites updated regularly. [Full Story] Tags:AFP, Americans for Prosperity, bloggersTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
AFP Hosts National Town Hall at the U.S. Capitol - #DAD09
Americans for Prosperity hosted a National Health Care Town Hall this afternoon in front of the U.S. Capitol with over 2,000 activists telling Congress to keep their hands off our health care.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Congressman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina stayed in Washington, DC a day after the House of Representatives left for vacation to speak to our activists about the potential government take over of health care. Congressman Goodlatte rattled off a few facts about HR 3200, all of which received a rousing disapproval from the crowd, including the fact that the bill would create 53 new government agencies and programs. Congressman McHenry stuck around after the town hall to speak to hundreds of constituents from North Carolina. The rest of our AFP activists went into the Senate office building to request a meeting with their respective senators.
Tags:AFP, Americans for Prosperity, Town HallTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Dem Health Plans Fail To Deal Effectively with Cost
Health care reform is yet to substantively deal with 'gorilla in the room' - Cost. This is one of the fundamental reason why health care reform is needed. Yet no plan truly deals with this problem adequately. With the federal deficit shooting upwards and the country in the middle of a recession this only makes the need to deal with cost that much more pointed, but it does not seem to be a legislative priority.
Mort Kondracke of Roll Call explains in his article Will Reform Cut Health Care Costs? Don't Bet on It that the health care reform plans have no enforceable cost reducing measures. Cost cutting measures that are attempted rely on insurance companies, drug companies, and other health groups to keep their word and cut costs. This is at best a gamble, and not a very good one at that.
There's reason to fear that, even with reform, the nation's total outlays for health care - currently 17 percent of gross domestic product - will continue to soar, and so will federal health spending and insurance premiums.
The Obama White House promised reform would "bend the curve" of health spending - now growing 3 percent a year faster than the economy - but bills pending in Congress contain no guaranteed cost-containment measures such as a global budget, or national lid, on health spending.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, total U.S. health spending is scheduled to rise to 20 percent of the GDP by 2018, 25 percent by 2025 and 38 percent by 2050.
In May, health care stakeholder groups, including hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, drug companies and device makers, promised President Barack Obama they'd institute measures shaving 1.5 percent per year from the current 7 percent growth rate of health spending, saving $2 trillion over 10 years.
But as the journal Health Affairs observed in an issue brief in August, "these agreements are not enforceable" and, indeed, House "reform" legislation would free doctors from any reductions in Medicare reimbursements.
It's no wonder the American Medical Association supports the House bill, H.R. 3200. The Senate Finance Committee bill gives doctors just a one-year break from scheduled fee reductions, but past patterns are that Congress annually saves doctors from any cut.
Another group promising cuts - and now supporting Obamacare - is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Its contribution to controlling health care costs? Just $80 billion over 10 years - out of total U.S. pharmaceutical outlays of $3.3 trillion.
And, as Fortune magazine pointed out, part of PhRMA's cuts are designed to get more Medicare recipients to use brand-name drugs when generics actually would be cheaper.
According to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer, "bending the curve" of health cost growth depends upon "a lot of floating magic asterisks" in the Senate legislation, including the transformation of several pilot projects into actual policies that alter health spending patterns.
Purple People Vote Tags:Democrats, government healthcare, Max Baucus, Purple People VoteTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - Oct 2, 2009 - Senate Dems Have Pattern Of Trying To Keep Public InThe Dark
The Senate is in recess until 2 p.m. on Monday when it will take up the fiscal year 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, H.R. 2847. On Tuesday, the Senate will resume consideration of the $636 billion fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 3326.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 40-59 against an amendment from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that called on Generals Petraeus and McChrystal to come to Congress and testify about their recommendations on Afghanistan. The Senate instead passed an amendment from Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the Armed Services Committee chairman, calling for testimony only after President Obama has made a decision which may be a long time in coming. If you have been keeping count, most of McCain's proposed amendments on any bills have been defeated. Seems that McCain would wake-up and pass his proposed ideas to others to offer. His old Democrat "friends" do not seem too friendly. And, McCain's perdiction that voters have nothing to fear if Sen Barack Obama becomes president, has also proven to be questionable.
Last night, the Senate Finance Committee (Democrats) completed work on amendments to chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care bill. A vote on the bill is not expected until next week after a preliminary CBO score is released.
In the past week a troubling pattern has emerged of Senate Democrats doing their best to prevent the public from learning about serious concerns with the Obama administration’s policies in several areas.
The Washington Post reports today, “A simmering feud over U.S. policy toward Latin America burst into the open Thursday when Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) tried to prevent a fact-finding trip to Honduras by a Republican senator who is blocking two important diplomatic appointments. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) denounced Kerry's move on the Senate floor and sought the intervention of the minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Republican leader appealed to the Defense Department to provide an aircraft for DeMint's trip and the Pentagon agreed to do so, according to the South Carolina senator's office.”
The attempt by Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, follows two other moves by powerful Democrat committee chairman to keep the public in the dark about the strategy for Afghanistan and the effects of Democrats’ health reform proposals.
Yesterday, Senate Democrats followed the lead of Senate Armed Services Committee chair Carl Levin (D-MI) and voted down an amendment from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), calling on Generals Petraeus and McChrystal to come to Congress and testify about their recommendations on Afghanistan. Levin took exception to the amendment arguing that it was improper to hear from the generals before President Obama has made a decision. Of course, in 2007, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had bragged, “We forced General Petraeus to testify [on Iraq].”
As previously reported, last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) intervened with the Department of Health and Human Services, to prevent the insurer Humana from telling its customers that Democrats’ health care proposals would likely result in cuts to Medicare benefits.
From a gag order against insurance companies designed to hide uncomfortable Medicare cuts, to refusing to let our generals inform the public about the situation in Afghanistan, and now an attempt to prevent Republicans from visiting Honduras to get to the bottom of the Obama administration’s odd policy there, Senate Democrats seem determined to keep Americans in the dark! Tags:Afghanistan, gag order, health care, 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!
Olympics Committee Kicks the Obamas & Opra to the curb
Today, the Olympic Committee did not choose Chicago for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Not only did they not select them, the rejected Chicao in the first round of decisions. Chicago was in a race with Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and Madrid for the 2016 games. Although this is not a victory for the Michelle and Barack Obama's and Opra Winfrey, it was in reality a victory for Chicago. As previously reported, "... a staggering 84% of the city opposes bringing the Games to Chicago ...." It also showed that there are people (the IOC) in the world who were not willing to be rolled by Chicago style politcs or influenced by the star power of Opra or the politcal pressure of Obama.
Update (4:20 p.m.): Comments by Gary Bauer:
An Olympic-Size Failure - As a true blue American patriot, I really wanted Chicago to win the right to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Nonetheless, I was astonished that President Obama and his White House advisors made the decision to send the overexposed president and first lady to Copenhagen to lobby the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the bid. He is the president of the United States – not the head of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce.
An American president has a great deal of power, much of it granted by the Constitution and by statute. But a significant portion of his power derives from the sense of the office itself and the history written by the men who have occupied the Oval Office. When an American president speaks on major issues or in a crisis, his words carry great weight. This president took office with friend and foe acknowledging that he was an effective orator able to mobilize the masses, some even to the point of swooning. Eight months into his infant presidency, that asset has been eroded due to his narcissism and hubris.
Two weeks ago, President Obama brought his rhetoric to a joint session of Congress to advocate for socialized medicine. Support for his plan went up after that speech, but the “bounce” was gone within a week. This week the media were in full adoration mode as they breathlessly reported on the first lady’s and the president’s emotional appeals to the IOC.
This was not the “cowboy from Crawford.” This was “O,” “The One.” Surely Chicago would prevail. Then, the IOC voted, and apparently the Obama charm was not enough. (No doubt Jimmy Carter will be condemning the members of International Olympic Committee as racists any moment now.)
This was a humiliating defeat for the president, who had vested the prestige of his office into a “small” issue. He lost. Chicago lost. And on the same day, we found out that 267,000 Americans lost their jobs last month. The president is shrinking before our eyes.
Tags:Barack Obama, Gary Bauer, Michelle Obama, Olympics, Oprah WinfreyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bll Smith, Comments On trip to Washington, D.C.: 1. An Opinion from Memphis, TN. Arrived safely in Washington, D.C. to cover Americans for Prosperity Defending the American Dream Summit. One interesting event happened on the shuttle from the private airport parking to the Memphis airport terminal. ; My wife and I were the only passengers. I asked the driver (a male about age 50) about the local Memphis economy. To our amazement, shared about local job situations and businesses closings. He then mentioned how the Government was trying to take over everything and that Congress was ruining our country with debt -- and that the Obama administration was ruining America. My wife and I sat there amazed. We said we were going to D.C. and would attend a rally at the Capitol tomorrow and that we would be representing him an other Americans. By the way, do you suppose his negative comments about the Obama administration were racist? Very doubtful - the driver happened to be black. It was nice meeting and hearing from a fellow American.
2. What a View. Being career military, I had flown many times into National -- now Reagan International. Barring bad weather, you could always catch glimpses of the Capitol and parts of Washington, D.C. However, on this trip and with clear visibility, the airplane approached close to the Pentagon and then made its landing turn right near the WWII Memorial and we followed the Potomac River into the landing strip. We were seated on the left side and had a wonderful view straight down the Mall from the WWII Memorial to the Washington Monument and then to the the U.S. Capitol. The view was stunning!
3. A New Domain. While http://arkansasgopwing.blogspot.com/ remains the domain hosted with Google, after waiting many months for its availability, we now also have the domain http://ARRANewsService.com/. Both will get you to the ARRA News Service but the new domain is easier to remember and to share with friends. Tags:domain name, ARRA News Service, Opinion from Memphis, trip, Washington, D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Sarah Palin may no longer be governor of Alaska, but she's certainly destined to become a best-selling author. HarperCollins, her publisher, has announced the print-run of her memoir will be a staggering 1.5 million copies -- equal to the print-run of Senator Ted Kennedy's posthumous autobiography published this month. Publishing sources tell me that such a giant run is only ordered up when there is clear evidence from booksellers and surveys of massive interest in a book.
The book, which will be published on November 17, was a crash project. Ms. Palin actually moved temporarily to San Diego after she resigned the governorship in July so she could be close to her collaborator, Lynn Vincent. I bumped into Ms. Vincent, a former editor at the Christian-oriented World magazine, in New York a few weeks ago, where she had parked herself in a hotel close to the offices of HarperCollins while working on the book's final edits.
-------------- H/T/Isn't It Rich Tags:book review, Sarah Palin, WSJTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senator Grassley’s position, and the logical position, is that if one is not asked to show identification before taking advantage of a taxpayer funded health care program like medicaid, the program can be accessed by anyone under the sun, including people who are not supposed to take advantage of the program, like illegal aliens.
It’s common sense. But not to Senate Democrats, including Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who back home takes a tough stance against illegal immigration.
Despite her tough claims, her vote yesterday proves she is full of it. According to the Senate, Senator Grassley’s amendment “amends Title 19 of the Social Security Act to require an applicant (or the parent or guardian in the case of a child under the age of 18) to present at the time of application for Medicaid or CHIP benefits government-issued photo identification and that identification must be authenticated with the issuing agency.”
Blanche Lincoln voted against this, opting instead to support illegal aliens using the program with no verification of their eligibility. She joined John Kerry and Chuck Schumer, two men who do not exactly have Arkansas’s values at heart. Tags:Blanche Lincoln, illegal aliens, illegal immigration, Red StateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Senate resumed consideration of the $636 billion fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 3326. Later today, a vote is expected on an amendment to the bill from Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee that calls on Generals Petraeus and McChrystal to come to Congress and testify about their recommendations on Afghanistan. The Senate Finance Committee also resumed its markup of chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care bill this morning, and is expected to finish voting on amendments.
Last night, after senators voted to waive two budget points of order against it, the Senate voted 62-38 to pass H.R. 2918, the fiscal year 2010 Legislative Branch appropriations bill, which includes a 30-day continuing resolution to fund the government, since Democrats once again failed to complete work on appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year yesterday.
A Senate source reflects that "Before yesterday’s video conference with General Stanley McChrystal, it seemed that the commander in Afghanistan had less opportunity to speak with President Obama than he did with CBS’ “60 Minutes” crew. This White House has a history of arranging events to rebut criticism, such as holding a fiscal responsibility summit days after singing the $787 billion stimulus bill which ballooned the deficit. Hopefully, this was not another event in that series and was the beginning of Obama moving more towards the example that former president George W. Bush set in speaking frequently with his military commanders."
But the president isn’t the only one who would benefit from hearing from Gen. McChrystal, and the commander of Central Command, General David Petraeus. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor, “Later today, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator McCain, will offer an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that calls on our top commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, and the Centcom Commander, General David Petraeus, to come to Washington to explain to Congress and the American people why they believe the situation in Afghanistan is so perilous, what they believe is necessary for our success, and why.”
Sen. McConnell explained, “There’s recent precedent for this. Many Americans will recall that two years ago, in accordance with a requirement contained in another Defense Appropriations bill, General David Petraeus came to Washington to explain what had gone wrong in Iraq and what he and the rest of our forces were doing to turn things around.”
At that time in 2007, support among Democrats for doing what was necessary to achieve victory in Iraq was absent. There are signs that as things get tough in Afghanistan, support from Democrats for the mission there is also wavering. The Washington Post writes today, “With much of his party largely opposed to expanding military operations in Afghanistan, President Obama could be forced into the awkward political position of turning to congressional Republicans for support if he follows the recommendations of the commanding U.S. general there. . . . The emerging Democratic consensus is likely to constrain the president as he considers how best to proceed with an increasingly unpopular war.” Indeed, according to The Post, “Last week, a Senate panel stripped $900 million from the administration's $6.6 billion request to train and equip Afghan security forces.” But the White House issued a statement opposing the move.
Politico adds, “[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi has privately and publicly warned the White House that there isn’t ‘a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan, in the country or in Congress.’ . . . Most House Democrats, according to party sources, are opposed to a U.S. escalation in Afghanistan, with maybe 40 to 60 ‘in play,’ meaning they would be open to White House appeals for more time, more money and more troops.” Politico also notes, “Recent polling shows the American public is ‘war weary,’ and the Democratic base is pushing for withdrawal, with groups like MoveOn.org leading that charge.”
Hopefully, Democrats will not prematurely give in to such pressure from their base and will support the McCain amendment to hear from Gen. McChrystal what is going wrong in Afghanistan and what he thinks needs to be done to ensure American success.
As Sen. McConnell said, “Congress, for its part, has a responsibility to fund and to oversee our armed forces. Part of that is ensuring that we have the best information possible, and that we make that information available to the American people. And that’s why it’s crucial that we have an opportunity to hear General McChrystal’s personal assessment of the mission that we confirmed him for, and that we give him an opportunity to explain why he’s concluded that more troops are needed to avoid failure in Afghanistan. General Petraeus’s testimony served a necessary purpose during an earlier debate over strategy. General McChrystal’s will do the same in this one.” Tags:Afghanistan, Continuing Resolution, General Stanley McChrystal, health care, President Barack Obama, 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!
Bill Smith, Editor: I am on my way this morning to join thousands of grassroots activists at Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s 3rd annual Defending the American Dream Summit on Friday and Saturday. I will be blogging right from the Summit except for the Capitol Hill Rally. This will be my second year and I am looking forward to seeing both long term conservative friends and those whom I met last year.
Some of the confirmed speakers and guests will be:
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives
Laura Ingraham, Radio Host and Best Selling Author
Rep. Mike Pence
Rep. Michelle Bachmann
Rep. John Shadegg
Rep. Paul Ryan
Dr. Jim Miller, former Reagan Budget Director
Senator Jim DeMint, Washington Award Recipient
Larry Kudlow, CNBC & CEO of Kudlow and Co.
Hugh Hewitt, Radio Host and Best Selling Author
Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal
John Fund, The Wall Street Journal
Herman Cain, Radio Host and FoxNews Contributor
Ed Morrissey, HotAir.com
Tracy Walsh, Breast Cancer Survivor and Spokeswoman for Patients United Now
David H. Koch, Chairman, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Tim Phillips, President, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Phil Kerpen, Director of Policy, Americans for Prosperity Foundation
One the biggest events is Friday nights "Tribute to Ronald Reagan" Dinner. After the dinner, attendees will be able to attend a Film Screening of: "Not Evil, Just Wrong" after a brief intro by Producer/Director, Phelim McAleer
There area also numerous workshops including grassroots training. It is not too late to show up and register at the event. So, Join Us on Friday for the Rally and for the Summit events. [More information] Tags:AFP, G8 Summit, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senate panel rejects government-run health insurance plan
FOX NEWS — In a decisive vote that could forecast the demise of a proposed government health insurance plan, the Senate Finance Committee voted twice Tuesday against creating a "public option" that would compete with private companies... (Read More)
Empire State Building Lit Up Red And Yellow to "Honor" The 60th Anniversary Of Communist China. First the Communist Flag flown in Washington D.C. and now this. True the Empire State Building management company can do anything they wish to do. But "thanks for nothing!" Celebrating a country whose founder, Moa Tse-Tung, said "Communism is the hammer which we will use to crush the enemy" and who slaughtered as many as 70 million of his own people is an insult to the memories of the American workers that built this symbol of American free enterprise and to the American people! Tags:China, communism, New York, political cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) in an rare move opted to pick not one but seven U.S. Senators for Proker of the Month. The have labeled them the "nutty senators for being the only Senators to vote on September 14 to continue sending tax dollars for housing and community development programs to ACORN [the Association of Community Organizations for Reform].
The seven senators are Roland Burris (D-IL), Robert Casey (D-PA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
The 83-7 vote to cut off funding for the group in the fiscal year 2010 Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act came on the heels of the release of explosive video footage of ACORN’s employees in Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, N.Y., and San Bernardino, Calif. giving questionable legal and tax advice to filmmaker James O'Keefe and a female friend posing as a pimp and a prostitute. ACORN’s employees gave guidance on how to shelter income illegally, mislead the Internal Revenue Service, and obfuscate the ages and immigration status of underage girls who were going to be used as prostitutes in a make-believe brothel. All of the videos can be viewed at BigGovernment.com.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said, "“Cutting off funds to ACORN should have been the easiest vote of the year, yet these senators could not bring themselves to do it." For voting to keep the spigot open to this seedy group in the face of pervasive unethical, if not outright crooked, behavior and trying to enable ACORN to fund its dysfunctional deeds with the taxes of hard-working Americans, CAGW names these seven senators its September Porkers of the Month. Read more about the Porker of the MonthTags:ACORN, CAGW, porker of the monthTo 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 30, 2009 - Obama Resonds to Public Outcry: Will Talk with Gen. McChrystal About Afghanistan Before Meeting with Olympics Committee in Denmark
Senate will address a conference report on the fiscal year 2010 Legislative Branch appropriations bill, H.R. 2918. The bill includes a 30-day continuing resolution to fund the government, as the current fiscal year ends Thursday (Tomorrow!) and Democrats have once again failed to complete work on appropriations bills prior to the deadline. It is questionable on whether the Senate will ever shut down the government so expect a vote in favor of the conference report. A prior ARRA News Service editorial addressed the House's questionable actions while obviously also trying to keep the Government running. Many members of Congress appear to have severe cases of ADD (attention deficit disorder) and / or APD (auditory processing disorder). Only, cure for America, replace them in 2010.
Around 4:30, the Senate will begin a series of votes on the Legislative Branch appropriations conference report. After that, it will resume consideration of the $636 billion fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 3326. The Defense bill provides
On Tuesday the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to resume its markup of chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care bill. The majority of Americans are opposed to this bill in one form or fashion.
After much national criticism of President Obama flying off Copenhagen to lobby the International Olympic Committee to select Chicago as the site of the 2016 games without even having talked with the General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander in Afghanistan, Obama is making a call to the General. According to The New York Times, President Obama will speak with General Stanley McChrystal today via a secure video link. This comes after McChrysal told David Martin in a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday that he’s only met with Obama once since assuming command over seventy days ago.
The NYT writes, “When President Obama looks at the screen in the Situation Room on Wednesday, he will find a face he has not seen lately except in newspapers. There, via secure video from Kabul, will be Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, his commander in Afghanistan, explaining directly to the president for the first time why more troops are needed. General McChrystal has not spoken with Mr. Obama since submitting his grim assessment of the war a month ago and has spoken with him only once in the 100 days since he took command of all American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The lack of direct communication has generated criticism and fueled suspicions of strains between the White House and Kabul.”
Indeed, there have been questions following the revelation that Obama has met with Gen. McChrystal only once, especially about the White House’s priorities. A Los Angeles Times story identified the influence of SEIU president Andy Stern at the White House which reports that “Stern estimates he visits the White House once a week.” President Obama has time to meet with the head of a powerful union once a week, but is only now having a second sit-down (albeit over video) with his commander in Afghanistan?
Certainly, the discussion with Gen. McChrystal is a positive development. But memories of past Obama administration actions do raise the question of whether this is designed more for media consumption than anything else. Recall that back in February, just days after Obama signed the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, he hosted a “fiscal responsibility summit” to discuss the long-term budget situation, despite his recent exacerbation of it. And in March, the same day Obama signed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill stuffed with earmarks, he declared that the bill “must mark an end to the old way of doing business,” despite breaking a campaign pledge in doing so.
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said today, “The situation in Afghanistan is urgent, and we’re told that action is necessary soon.” Yet, as today’s Washington Posteditorial laments there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of decision-making going on at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue: “President Obama's very public wavering over whether to stick with the strategy for Afghanistan that he adopted six months ago is producing some unusual spectacles. One is the awkward gap that has opened between the president and the military commander he appointed in June, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who drew up a plan to implement the strategy -- only to learn he had been left out on a limb that might be sawn off. Another is the lobbying of the president by NATO allies who find themselves trying to keep the United States from abandoning the mission they joined.”
Sen. McConnell said yesterday, “Timing is important. A failure to act decisively in response to General McChrystal’s strategy, and his anticipated request for additional forces, could serve to undermine some of the good decisions the President has made on national security.” As one Senate staffer laments, "Hopefully today’s video conference will assist his decision-making, and isn’t designed simply to paper over a criticism of where the Obama administration’s priorities are at the moment." Tags:Afghanistan, Continuing Resolution, General Stanley McChrystal, health care, Olympics, President Barack Obama, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.CTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR): “Let’s end the diplomatic excesses that these people enjoy,” he said. “Let any country that is willing to spend the money that the United States is hosting–let them have it. Give it to the Saudis and let these diplomats suck the sand out of the Saudi desert for a few summers and see if that’s where they’d like to go, and make their ridiculous speeches.” [video]
Tags:Mike Huckabee, UN, United NationsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Rasmussen Reports (9/29/09): . . . at-risk in 2010. Arkansas' Blanche Lambert Lincoln trails all four of her leading Republican challengers . . . Lincoln fails to get 50% of the vote in any of the match-ups, and any incumbent who falls short of that level is considered vulnerable. In three of the match-ups, however, she is virtually tied with the challengers at this time:
State Senator Gilbert Baker leads Lincoln 47% to 39%, with 5% like some other candidate & 8% undecided.
State Senator Minority Leader Kim Hendren leads Lincoln 44% to 41%, with 5% favoring another candidate & 10% undecided.
Curtis Coleman, a private businessman with ties to former Arkansas governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, leads Lincoln 43% to 41%, with 5% favoring another candidate & 11% undecided.
Tom Cox, head of the Arkansas T.E.A. Party, leads Lincoln 43% to 40%, with 6% favoring another candidate & 11% undecided.
Arkansas voters; view of Sen. Lincoln: 26% very favorable; 28% very unfavorably; 4% no opinion.
President Obama's health care plan: 30% favor; 67% oppose it; 20% strongly favor the plan, 52% strongly oppose it. Cost of Health care if plan becomes law: 56% will go up; 16% will go down; 20% no change.
U.S. economy: 10% good or excellent; 46% poor; 31% economy is getting better; 45% getting worse; 18% no change. Tags:Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln, economy, government healthcare, poll, Rasmussen Reports, U.S. SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Muting the search for truth - Protecting religious ideas but not people
Bill Smith, Editor: As many of you know, Ken Blackwell is on my favorites writers list and I hear from Ken occasionally. Four days ago, he delivered a speech at The Lay State and Religious Liberty Symposium in Mexico City. Mexico. The title of his speech "Muting the Search for Truth: An Overview of the “Defamation of Religions.” His single spaced typed speech was over four pages long and had footnotes. Although I recommend his speech, it was too long to reprint and I was just too busy to try and summarize it.
On Friday, WORLDmag.com columnist Ken Blackwell, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, delivered a speech in Mexico City on the issue of “Defamation of Religions” and the UN’s efforts to enforce the protection of ideas and beliefs instead of protecting the people who hold those ideas and beliefs.
In his remarks, Ken pointed out:
The [Organization of the Islamic Conference, a collection of 56 Muslim-majority countries that first proposed a "Defamation of Islam" UN resolution in 1999,] has stated its main complaint is the stereotyping of Muslims around the world, especially post-9/11. Although the grievance of harmful stereotyping of Muslims as ideological extremists is sincere and factual, the current effort by the OIC to alleviate religious stereotyping with an international legal protection against the “defamation of religions” is misplaced and counter-productive. Conceptually, the claim of “defamation of religions” is inadequate as a legal cause of action. Traditional defamation laws are meant to protect individuals from false truth claims and do not extend to the protection of ideas, philosophies, or religions. Therefore, “defamation of religions” turns the purpose of defamation laws on its head. Human rights are also meant to protect individual persons only. Not only do “defamation of religions” laws fail to protect individuals, but they are also used to harass individuals. Unfortunately, the vague notion of “defamation of religions” laws allows government to use such laws to suppress minority religious individuals and voices of dissent.
Recommend reading all of Ken’s speeches.
---------- Mr. Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and American Civil Rights Union. Tags:defamation of religions, Islam, Ken Blackwell, Mickey McLean, Muslims, Religious Freedom, UNTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
American Taxpayers Need Congress to Have a 72-Hour Waiting Period
Title Modified! H/T NetRight Nation - From the WSJ article by John Fund: Polls show overwhelming agreement outside the Beltway that it's more important for Congress to get health-care reform done right than done quickly. A Polling Company survey conducted last month found 95% agreeing that members of Congress shouldn't vote on any bill they haven't read in full.
That's why the bipartisan duo of Rep. Brian Baird, a Washington Democrat, and Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, came up with the "72-hour resolution," which would require all non-emergency legislation to be posted online, in final form, for at least 72 hours prior to a floor vote. "Members of Congress are too often asked to make decisions on bills that can be longer than telephone books and are only given a few hours to actually read them," says Rep. Baird. "Both parties are guilty, and both should stop doing it."
Although Barack Obama campaigned last year for transparency and openness in government, their idea has languished in committee since June. It has 67 Republican and 31 Democratic co-sponsors—a rare show of bipartisanship. Normally, bills can't be considered for a floor vote until House leadership schedules them. That's why Messrs. Baird and Walden filed a discharge petition to dislodge their bill from committee this week. If a majority of members (218) sign it, their proposal can be voted on over the objections of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
But the notion of a 72-hour waiting period is anathema to Democrats who fear that they are running out of time to pass a sweeping health-care bill. This week, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told Bloomberg News that "the goal" is to finish the entire health-care debate "over the next six weeks or so, maybe sooner." The six-week deadline is critical because it would mean a health-care bill would pass into law just before voters in Virginia and New Jersey go to the polls on Nov. 3 to elect a governor and state legislators. Right now, the GOP leads in both states and nervous Democrats see that as a measure of their stalled health-care reform plans.
So it appears Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress have decided to ram a bill through as quickly as possible. On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee voted 12 to 11 to reject a proposal to require a 72-hour waiting period and a full scoring of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office before the committee casts any final vote. Only one Democrat, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, voted for the waiting period. Chairman Max Baucus said the idea would delay a vote on the final bill for two weeks and he didn't want to waste another moment.
On the House side, Mrs. Pelosi has told reporters that members will have "a period of time that is sufficient" to consider the final health-care language. But she clearly doesn't want her hands tied. House leadership aides were stationed on the House floor where members must go to sign the 72-hour discharge petition. Mr. Baird acknowledged that leadership aides were strongly discouraging his fellow Democrats from signing. As of yesterday, 173 members had affixed their names, but they included only five of the 31 Democratic co-sponsors.
Mr. Baird isn't phased. "If Americans contact their representative and encourage him or her to sign this discharge petition, I'm confident it will become law," he told me. Mr. Baird, a six-term incumbent, isn't a natural rebel against his party's leadership. He supports health-care reform that expands coverage to the uninsured and would ban insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. As a licensed clinical psychologist, he has 23 years of experience treating patients suffering from brain injuries as well as victims of strokes and cancer.
But Mr. Baird says health care is one of many issues that's simply too important to be rushed through. He notes that when Republicans ran the House in 2003 they jammed through a giant prescription drug entitlement in a late-night session when clearly many members didn't understand the bill. More recently, this year the final language of the stimulus bill appeared at midnight one night, giving members only 12 hours to review it before a final vote. Then in June, Mrs. Pelosi brought a global-warming bill to the floor only 16 hours after a 316-page amendment rewriting much of it was introduced.
It's time for Congress to change its ways. Haste can make for more than waste and lead to populist outrage that often takes on a life of its own. That happened after this year's stimulus bill included the infamous provision authorizing executives of bailed-out AIG to get retroactive bonuses.
But despite such train wrecks, there are still members who dismiss calls for calm deliberation. Sen. Kent Conrad, (D., N.D.) who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, claims that go-slow proposals wouldn't make any difference because only 5% of Americans will be able to understand the legalese in bills. Politico.com reports him as saying: "Anybody who thinks that is going to be transparent to the American people is really not telling it like it is."
Mr. Baird admits to being irked by such arguments. "It's nonsense," he told me. "One of the reasons voters are so upset today is that they get the sense they aren't being trusted to make their own judgment about what goes on in Washington."
------ John Fund is is a columnist for WSJ.com, a conservative friend of the taxpayers, noted guest on Fox News and author of "Stealing Elections."Tags:72 Hour, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, John Fund, Nancy Pelosi, read the bill, Wall Street Journal. CongressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Little Rock – Today RPA Chairman Doyle Webb announced that the State Party Executive Committee has hired Chase Dugger to be its new Executive Director, effective October 1. Dugger currently serves as Political Director.
“Chase has deep roots in Arkansas” said Webb. “His love of this state and his desire to advance the two party system are great qualities. When you add these to his exceptional work and experience in the past, it is no wonder that he was selected our Executive Director.”
“2010 is going to be a great year for the Republican Party” said Dugger. “We are going to pick up seats at the local, state, and national level. I am excited about being a part of that and look forward to seeing the Party grow in Arkansas.” Tags:Chase Dugger, Doyle Webb, Executive Director, Republican Party of Arkansas, RPATo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
In the background, behind all of the noise around the Baucus bill and the endless appearances by Obama, is another health care bill that has been given little attention. A flawed bill this worrisome legislation appears to be waiting in the wings. The Healthy Americans Act (HHA), or Wyden-Bennett, was re-introduced to Congress in February, 2009. Written by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) and Utah Senator Bob Bennett(R), it has a bi-partisan group of co-sponsors in the Senate.
Will Wyden-Bennett be trotted out as another "grand compromise" piece of legislation? A coalition of Senators from both sides of the aisle may very well intend to ride in on their white horses with a massive public relations campaign in hopes of convincing the American people they have listened to our outrage. They are already saying they have crafted a bipartisan solution to America's healthcare problems that offers universal coverage while preserving the free market. Sen. Wyden says his plan will be the one, speaking at a meeting with directors of the Pima County Medical Society in Oregon in May, 2009
The truth is Wyden-Bennett is a backdoor takeover by the Congress of the entire insurance marketplace. The result would lead to a complete nationalization of our health care system. It may well be the bill Obama and members of the United States Congress have intended to legislate all along. Wyden-Bennett is the most overreaching and dangerous threat to our liberties of any of the bills in existence. . . .
Under Wyden-Bennett, the insurance market is 100% regulated by the federal government. This plan mandates Congressional approval of all insurance plans including the premiums the insurance companies may charge. The government will approve or disapprove insurance claims. The insurance companies as we know them today will exist in name only to promote the façade of a free market. They will only exist as purveyors of nationalized health care. With only government improved plans and premiums, the incentive for innovation and competition in the insurance market will be crippled. . . .
Make no mistake, the private plan you enjoy now will be gone. The standard benefits package will be the BlueCross / BlueShield Plan in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). This plan is designed for older, financially secure federal employees. The average 2009 family premium is $13,440 per year. . . .
Michael F. Cannon, Director of the Health Policy Studies at the CATO Institute, states that 30-50% of Americans will be forced to pay more than they need or want for health care in order to subsidize others. Often those others may be people that have chosen unhealthy lifestyles.
The penalty for failure to comply will be the average monthly premium plus 15% for each uncovered month.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will expand further into our personal lives. The premium will be taken out of paychecks, thus removing any transparency from the system and diminishing the consumer's ability to make responsible choices. The IRS will be in charge of all collections, disbursements and the garnishing of wages for penalties. Checks for claims, payments for hospitals, clinics and health care providers will be written by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and administered through the sham insurance carriers. The IRS may collect the money for fines out of your bank account.
Widen-Bennett involves the taxation of your government controlled health insurance plans up to 25% and other taxes, including many deceptively hidden ones. Another attack on innovation will come from an exorbitant tax on device and drug companies doing research and development. . . .
American taxpayers will be subsidizing the premiums of those up to 400% above the poverty line. Already Americans are upset with the costs of the health care plans in the forefront of the debate. If amnesty is passed, as Congress intends, Americans will be forced to subsidize the 12-20 million predominantly low-skilled illegal aliens that are already in this country and the many millions more of their relatives that will enter this country through chain migration.
Enough of a teaser - it is a long article but well worth the read for those who are interested in what may unfold in the coming days as nationalized health care is pushed onto the American people. Read the article -- take down the names! Be prepared.! Tags:bill, nationalized health care, US SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Check out this RNC ad. Finally a home run! [Video]
BarackObamaExperiment.com Tags:Barack Obama, big government, government healthcare, health care, Obamacare, RNC, Tax, videoTo 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 28, 2009 - Olympics, Gag Orders and More
What does Globetrotting for the Olympics and a Gag order on Free Speech have in common? Well, I am sure you will discover the answer below.
Congress is observing Yom Kippur today. Tomorrow, the Senate will resume consideration of the fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 3326. Also, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to resume its markup of chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care bill.
The White House announced today that the President will travel Thursday night to Copenhagen (Denmark) to make a personal appearance before the International Olympic Committee with First Lady Michelle Obama Michelle Obama who is (or was) to make a presentation to promote Chicago as the host city for the 2016 Summer Games. This all smacks as a tribute to the Chicago and its political machine. A Huffington Postarticle expresses the lack of enthusiasm by Chicago residents for the Olympics: "Mayor Daley, rocking a 35% approval rating, says that the Games would be 'a huge boost to our economy, raising it to a new level. The Games will help us recover sooner from the recession that still grips our nation and enable us to better compete in the global economy.' There is only one problem with this argument: the history of the Olympic Games almost without exception brands it as a lie. . . . It's also difficult for Chicago residents to see how this will help their pocketbooks, given that Daley pledged to the International Olympic Committee that any cost overruns would be covered by taxpayers. This is why a staggering 84% of the city opposes bringing the Games to Chicago if it costs residents a solitary dime."
Wow, maybe the citizens of Chicago are waking up! Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), a ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said Obama's decision to go to Denmark to promote the Olympics is a sign that the president needs to "establish some priorities" -- the most pressing of which is the need to "respond to Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for more U.S. troops in Afghanistan." And Folks, guess who is paying for this globe trotting trip. The American taxpayers. Do you feel safer now?
As the health care debate continues, more and more Democrats and the Obama administration seem determined to obscure or muzzle the real facts about their health care reform plans.
However, last week the AP reported, “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.” And today, in a piece examining cuts to Medicare, The Washington Post acknowledges, “Many health policy analysts, along with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, agree that the Medicare Advantage cuts are likely to hurt, causing insurance companies to scale back popular extras such as dental coverage and gym memberships. They could also pull out of suddenly unprofitable markets, leaving seniors without a popular program and violating Obama's pledge that people who like their insurance can keep it.”
Even though major news outlets and the CBO director are saying it is true that seniors on Medicare Advantage could see benefit cuts under Democrats’ health care reform plans, the Department of Health and Human Services has refused to lift a gag order it imposed on insurance companies, prohibiting them from informing their customers of this very fact. The Obama administration on Thursday evening rejected Senate Republicans’ request that the Department of Health and Human Services lift a so-called gag order on insurance companies. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell summed up the situation to Fox’s Neil Cavuto last week: “I think the Democratic majority is undeterred by the facts. The facts are that they are trying to cut Medicare. They certainly are cutting Medicare Advantage as well. They are going to have a $500 billion—half a trillion—cut in Medicare over the next 10 years and they’re acting like they aren’t. No one believes that. The director of the CBO . . . has underscored what they are doing, and it’s astonishing.” Tags:banning free speech, Barack Obama, Chicago, condescending attitude, Democrats, DHHS, government healthcare, Olympics, 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!
ACORN and Its Political Seed SEIU - Graft & Corruption
by Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post: While everyone in Washington is suddenly pretending they've hardly ever heard of ACORN, they might want to pretend they've never heard of the SEIU, one of the nation's largest unions. . . . You also don't talk about either organization without mention of Wade Rathke, co-founder of ACORN and founder of SEIU Local 100 in New Orleans. Rathke, who resigned from ACORN last year as "chief organizer" after it became known that his brother embezzled almost $1 million from the association, continues to run Local 100, as well as ACORN International, recently renamed Community Organizations International.
Rathke's social justice empire is so vast that he is more hydra than man. Nine heads are surely better than one when you're organizing communities in at least 12 countries. While Rathke and ACORN undoubtedly have done much good for impoverished people here and abroad, it appears likely that American taxpayers indirectly have been helping to underwrite unionizing activities and advance political goals through the commingling of Rathke's various interests. . . .
Now picture a triangle. One point is ACORN; another point is the SEIU; the third point is the taxpayer. Now picture arrows flowing back and forth, representing the exchange of greenbacks and services. While various government agencies funded ACORN to help poor people become voters and homeowners, ACORN under Rathke created SEIU Local 100 (Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas) and SEIU Local 880 (Illinois, Indiana and Kansas). In turn, the SEIU wrote checks to ACORN for political activities and union organizing, according to ACORN whistle-blower affidavits. In 2008, the SEIU and Change to Win, a coalition of labor unions, gave ACORN $1,729,462, according to union financial reports filed with the Labor Department.
To break it down, ACORN and the SEIU are hand and glove. Rathke himself referred to the SEIU as "one of the pillars of the ACORN family of organizations" in a June 9, 2007, blog posting. This coziness has been long known among conservative watchdog groups, but Washington has paid little attention until now. . . .
Just last week, the Kansas City Star reported that two state agencies acting on an SEIU public records request sought to identify in-home health workers who care for the elderly and disabled. After complaints, the state acknowledged that it was under no legal obligation to provide the information and ceased helping the SEIU. Unionizing is not a state function, needless to say. And never mind the invasion of privacy.
One needn't be a mathematician to imagine what a national health-care option might mean to a union in search of new dues-paying recruits. The SEIU, which has promised "to fight tooth and nail" for a public option, is demonstrably persuasive. In Illinois, former governor Blagojevich (thank you for your patience) helped position the SEIU so that it could unionize health-care workers when he signed an executive order allowing collective bargaining. The SEIU showed its appreciation in advance by becoming Blagojevich's largest contributor, handing over $1.8 million for his two gubernatorial campaigns. Now that's community organization. . . . [Full Article: Not Far From the Tree] See Also:Illinois politicians' sordid ACORN/SEIU connectionsTags:ACORN, corruption, graft, SEIUTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: When Barack Obama told Joe the Plumber he planned to "spread the wealth around," many people didn't realize he was not talking about spreading the wealth only of the super-rich. Now that Obama is elected, he is moving rapidly to expand welfare handouts for non-taxpayers, running up a tremendous national debt that will inevitably lead to higher taxes on the Middle Class.
The enormity of this transfer of money away from working, taxpaying Americans to non-taxpayers (who voted overwhelmingly for Obama for President in 2008) has just been detailed in a sensational 53-page report by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to adequately describe the colossal amounts of money involved in the Obama Administration's shocking cash transfers. Most people don't realize that the federal budget has become a vast machine for transferring wealth from the upper third of Americans (who pay 90% of federal income taxes) to the lowest third who earn less than 200% of the government-stipulated "poverty" level and pay no income tax. The size of this massive annual transfer rose by 40% to $714 billion over the last ten years, and is projected to rise to $1 trillion per year by the end of Obama's first term.
The term "welfare" embraces much more than the single program formerly called AFDC that was "reformed" (and renamed TANF) in 1996. It includes 70 other programs that provide unearned cash and non-cash benefits to people living in low-income households (but does not include Social Security, Medicare and unemployment compensation, which are earned through work and available to almost everyone). Obama didn't invent these means-tested transfers; they mostly started with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society welfare programs. Like most government programs, the cost of these welfare and aid-to-poor-and-low-income persons has increased, and Obama demanded vast additional increases, which Congress passed in the Stimulus and Omnibus bills.
Welfare spending was 13 times greater in FY 2008 than it was when LBJ started the Great Society in 1964. Means-tested welfare spending then was 1.2% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and now has reached 5 percent. These programs are now the third most expensive government activity, ranking below Social Security and Medicare spending, and education spending. National Defense ranks only fourth.
The real cost of these programs is unknown to the American people (one could say, kept secret from them) because the spending is distributed by 14 departments and agencies though 71 different programs. We are fortunate that Rector, a numbers expert, has made a painstaking analysis and shone light upon these transfers. In fiscal year (FY) 2008, government spending on means-tested welfare or aid to the poor amounted to $714 billion, of which approximately three-fourths was federal spending and one-fourth came from state government funds. States are required to match a percentage of federal welfare outlays.
Of the total means-tested spending in FY 2008, 52% was spent on medical care for the poor and low-income persons, 37% was spent on cash, food, and housing aid, and 11% was spent on social services, training, child development, federal education aid, and community development for low-income persons and communities. Roughly half goes to disabled or elderly persons, and the other half to households with children mostly headed by single mothers. Rector ran an adding machine tape and concluded that means-tested handouts in FY 2008 amounted to about $16,800 for every poor person, defined as below 100% of the designated poverty level. When welfare spending is related to the larger group of persons who qualify for benefits below 200% of the "poverty" level, we are giving $28,000 per year to every lower-income four-person household.
Why are we told that we have so inequality in the United States? That's because the Census counts only 4% of these welfare gifts to low-income people as their income, and most government discussions of poverty do not even refer to the massive transfers of money taking place.
To get an idea of how big is the debt Obama is creating, which ultimately will have to be paid by the Middle Class, let's compare spending on welfare to spending on fighting wars. Since the beginning of LBJ's Great Society spending, our government has spent $15.9 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars) on means-tested welfare, which is more than twice the cost of all major fighting wars in U.S. history. We spent only $4.1 trillion (in 2008 dollars) on World War II, which was the most expensive single undertaking in U.S. history.
Under Obama's budget, which has already been passed by Congress, federal welfare spending will increase by $88 billion in 2009, plus an additional $175 billion in 2010. This two-year increase of $263 billion will bring total federal and state welfare handouts to $890 billion a year, which is more than 6% of GDP. Tags:Barack Obama, debt, Eagle Forum, Federal Welfare State, National Debt, Phyllis Schlafly, welfareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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