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] Follow @arra Contact: email@example.com (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
Thursday, January 07, 2010
DailyKos Says Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln Should Retire
Rasmussen Reports reveals that Arkansas Blanche Lincoln's popularity has not improved. In fact, "Lincoln are pretty much the same as last year’s while she prepares to face Arkansas voters in November." A new Rasmussen Reports survey shows that "Lincoln’s support for reelection at 38% or 39% no matter which of four potential Republican challengers she is matched against. . . . The two-term senator, who was reelected with 54% of the vote in 2004, appears more vulnerable because of her visible and pivotal role in the Senate debate over health care. Lincoln was the last Democrat to vote for allowing the debate to formally begin . . ."
Daily Kos, a liberal democrat progressive Obama site, responds, "The closer those incumbents were to 50 percent, the more likely they were to survive. Lincoln, stuck at around 40 percent, is in dire straits. No incumbent dipping into the 30s survived in '06 or '08. Quite simply, she is unelectable. Democrats have a thick bench in Arkansas, and could make a serious bid to hold the seat. But Lincoln won't pull it off. She's toast. If Lincoln cares about her state and her party, she'll do the honorable thing like Chris Dodd and retire. Otherwise, let's hope Lt. Gov. Bill Halter forcefully retires her in a primary."
It looks like Democrats and Republicans can agree that it is time to Dump Blanch Lincoln. Tags:Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln, DailyKos, Rasmussen Reports, SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
ARRA Editor: The people's voice has been ignored and now the press is suffering the same fate. The following Examiner editorial is a welcome breath for freedom. Indeed, "It's time for a sit-down protest by journalists whose first job is to uphold the public's right to know what its government is doing."
Examiner Editorial, Washington Examiner: For decades, among the first thing cub reporters learned when covering local government was that the words "executive session" meant public officials were going behind closed doors to conduct business they wanted to keep out of the public eye. More often than not, the journalists barred from the meeting passed influential developers and other special interest lobbyists on their way in to confer with the decision makers. Thanks to public meetings laws requiring city councils, county boards of supervisors, and other local and state officials to meet and vote in public, it's much tougher for them to hold such clandestine gatherings.
Judging by the silence of the hundreds of professional journalists covering Congress for the mainstream media, however, it appears this lesson from Covering Government 101 has been forgotten. President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- all of whom have in recent years promised unprecedented levels of transparency in government -- are flouting their own words by meeting in secret to write the final version of Obamacare. They are doing this to avoid the public meetings of a bipartisan conference committee representing the Senate and House and the multiple, on-the-record roll call votes required in both chambers on a conference committee report.
The most radical expansion of central government power in American history is happening right under these journalists' noses, and yet they raise not a peep of protest when the doors close, effectively barring them from doing their jobs at a critical juncture. Where are the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Radio and Television News Directors Association? These august organizations vigorously and rightfully protested former Vice President Richard Cheney's secret meetings with oil company executives in the early days of the Bush administration. They also wailed loud and long about the Bush administration's abuses, many real and some imagined, of the Freedom of Information Act.
To be sure, many of the reporters on the Hill gripe and complain to each other and to their editors about these closed-door meetings. And many of them stand keeping vigil outside the doors, waiting for Reid or Pelosi to come out and offer them a morsel of information. But that's not good enough. It's time for a sit-down protest by journalists whose first job is to uphold the public's right to know what its government is doing. Invite readers to come join them in demanding open meetings. The last thing Reid and Pelosi want is the spectacle of the Capitol Hill Police dragging protesting journalists away from the closed doors. It's time to show some cojones, people. Tags:Capitol Hill, government transparency, protests, reporterTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Byron Dorgan, Chris Dodd, Democrats, Obama administration, rats jumping ship, Barack Obama, walk on water, political cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
AARP Dirty Secrets - Part 2: AARP “Kickbacks” Fund Donations to Liberal Causes
Seniors’ Advocacy Organization Gives Millions to…High Schools?
“Our focus is on issues….Here, policy trumps everything.” — Associated Press story quoting AARP Executive Vice President for Social Impact Nancy LeaMond,who in 2008 received $385,598 in salary and $36,081 in other compensation from the organization.
ARRA News Service - While AARP claims to serve as a seniors’ advocacy organization, its operations charge elderly beneficiaries above-market rates for insurance policies in order to fund entities and causes that seemingly have little to do with its stated purpose:
• A review of its financial statements finds that in 2008, AARP received $652.7 million in direct “royalties and fees” from selling products like Medigap supplemental insurance policies. Royalty revenues now comprise more than half — 60.3% — of all AARP revenues; in 2008, fully 38% of AARP’s $1.1 billion in revenue came directly from United Healthcare.
• A similar review of AARP’s most recent Form 990 filing with the Internal Revenue Service reveals that these royalty fees helped fund millions of dollars in donations to organizations whose purposes appear to stray far from AARP’s stated goal of helping seniors:
o More than $1 million to 56 school districts and high schools under the rubric of the “Ethel Percy Andrus Legacy Award;”
o $10,000 to the Center for American Progress Action Fund for a “half in ten campaign to cut poverty in half in ten years;”
o $10,000 to the Consumers Union for “general support;”
o $100,000 each to the host committees for the 2008 Republican and Democratic National Conventions;
o $1,897,159 to the AARP-controlled Legal Counsel for the Elderly;
o $200,000 to the Make it Right Foundation to “build affordable green housing;”
o $2,050,000 to WETA—the Public Broadcasting Service affiliate in Washington, DC—“to support the production and national television distribution of Washington Week with Gwen Ifill;” and
o $21,624,619 to the AARP Foundation.
While grants to schools, “affordable green housing,” and public broadcasting may be worthwhile efforts, many may question their relationship to AARP’s stated mission as a seniors advocacy organization. Moreover, a Bloomberg news analysis published in December found that seniors have been charged hundreds of dollars above market rates for AARP-branded coverage—a practice which several of the organization’s own members called “unconscionable.” Given these facts, many may question: Whom does AARP serve — its members, or its executives’ political wishes? And is AARP a seniors’ advocacy group, or a billion-dollar insurance company masquerading as a “charity” organization?AARP Dirty Secrets - Part 1: Helping Seniors or Helping ItselfTags:AARP, dirty secret, government healthcare, kickbacks, liberals, medicare, royalties, seniorsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Mark Alexander, The Patriot Post:"All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. ... Have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without His notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?" -- Benjamin Franklin
I have been asked on occasion what most defines the difference between conservatives and liberals. There are, of course, many clear delineations between our diametrically opposed philosophies, but there is one that is defining.
Conservatives, The Patriot variety, serve a higher calling -- First Principles -- a calling superior to their own self-interest -- with the objective of enhancing individual and national liberty for the benefit of all.
Ideological liberals, on the other hand, no matter what the cause, tend to be motivated by pathological egocentrism, which generally correlates with the acquisition of power and the suppression of liberty.
The opposition between these competing philosophies is an expression of the light and dark sides of humanity. The struggle between liberty and tyranny is as old as mankind, and though our nation was founded on constitutional Rule of Law -- republican government in support of liberty -- the assault on freedom has been constant since our founding. However, while this attack is more vigorous today than at anytime in our history, liberty will prevail. . . . [Full Story] Tags:Benjamin Franklin, conservative, first principles, founding principles, liberals, liberty, Mark Alexander, The Patriot PostTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
AARP Dirty Secrets - Part 1: Helping Seniors or Helping Itself
Administration Silences Medicare Advantage Critics—So AARP Can Collect More “Kickbacks”
“There’s an inherent conflict of interest….They’re ending up becoming very dependent on sources of income.” — Former AARP Executive Marilyn Moon, quoted in Bloomberg article
ARRA News Service - This week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it was investigating Humana for providing “misleading” information regarding the Administration’s proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage policies—and prohibited other Medicare Advantage plans from providing similar information on how Democrat health “reform” could take away their current coverage.
Yet the Administration’s edict prohibiting plans from communicating with their beneficiaries failed to include AARP, which sponsors a Medicare Advantage plan but has been a prime advocate of Democrats’ government takeover of health care—quite possibly because AARP has been supporting a health care overhaul from which it stands to gain overall handsomely. Even as AARP advocates for cutting Medicare Advantage plans by more than $150 billion, an analysis of the organization’s operations reveals that it stands to receive tens of millions of dollars at the expense of seniors’ medical care—with Democrats’ full approval:
• The Congressional Budget Office has previously estimated that the cuts to Medicare Advantage plans proposed in Democrats’ government takeover of health care (H.R. 3200) would cause millions of seniors to lose their current plan and enroll in government-run Medicare.
• Because the government-run Medicare benefit is less generous than most private health plans, the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found in June that more than nine in ten seniors not in nursing home settings utilize some form of Medicare supplemental insurance. While many of these individuals currently rely on Medicare Advantage plans for the extra benefits they provide to seniors, many would be forced to purchase supplemental Medigap policies should their existing Medicare Advantage plans be taken away from them due to Democrats’ government takeover of health care.
• A review of its financial statements finds that in 2008, AARP received more than half a billion dollars in revenue from selling products like Medigap supplemental insurance policies—$652.7 million in direct “royalties and fees,” and an increase of more than 31 percent from the $497.6 million in similar revenue AARP generated in 2007.
• Royalty revenues now comprise more than half — 60.3% - of all AARP revenues; a Bloomberg news analysis published in December found that in 1999, royalties comprised only 11% of the organization’s total revenues.
• The Bloomberg article—which highlighted what one observer called AARP’s “dirty little secret”— profiled seniors who felt betrayed after paying hundreds of dollars above market price for AARP branded coverage. One noted that “AARP has great buying power, and people should be able to get the best deal….This is unconscionable, what AARP has allowed to happen.” Another disillusioned senior wrote to the organization’s leadership asking whether AARP had a “‘special relationship’ with [insurance carriers] by which it receives commissions, incentives, rebates, or dare I say ‘kickbacks?’”—and when he arrived at AARP headquarters for a tour, was promptly escorted out of the marble-covered atrium.
• While H.R. 3200 would place strict price controls on Medicare Advantage plans—requiring them to pay out 85% of premium revenues in medical claims — Medigap policies face a far less strict 65% requirement. In other words, under the Democrat bill, seniors could pay as much as 20 cents more out of every premium dollar to fund “kickbacks” to AARP-sponsored Medigap plans than Medicare Advantage plans.
The higher prices charged by AARP plans, and the organization’s increasing dependence upon revenue from “royalties,” provide tangible evidence why AARP would support cuts to Medicare Advantage that would likely increase their “kickbacks” from Medigap plans. However, it does not answer several key questions:
• Given the myriad new layers of insurance regulation included in Democrats’ government takeover of health care, why does the legislation not include a single provision attempting to impose any new restrictions on Medigap policies?
• Did Democrats “forget” to protect seniors—or were they informed that AARP could not support legislation that would limit its lucrative revenue source?
• Similarly, did CMS “forget” to include AARP among the organizations whose First Amendment rights to inform seniors of harmful Medicare provisions were restricted—or did the Administration only wish to silence its critics, and not outside organizations using “kickbacks” to fund advertising in support of the Democrat agenda?
These questions hint at a more fundamental query: With seniors believing that AARP is “making money on the backs of old people,” who should believe that the organization is looking out for seniors’ interests and not its own?Tags:AARP, dirty secret, government healthcare, kickbacks, medicare, royalties, seniorsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Government Run Healthcare Just Beyond Your Fingertips
A Government takeover of Healthcare is knocking on America's door. Unfortunately for Americans, Nancy Pelosi and her Liberals allies aren't opening up their door to let anyone in on the process.
[Source] Tags:closed doors, government healthcare, government transparency, NRCC, Obama administrationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Democrats Behind Closed Doors - What Are They Trying to Hide?
While the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats are planning to negotiate a government takeover of health care behind closed doors, House Republicans reissued their video to ask, "what are they trying to hide?"
[Source] Tags:closed doors, Democrats, government healthcare, House RepublicansTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author, Ken Klukowski, and Sen. Orrin Hatch: President Obama's health-care bill is now moving toward final passage. The policy issues may be coming to an end, but the legal issues are certain to continue because key provisions of this dangerous legislation are unconstitutional. Legally speaking, this legislation creates a target-rich environment. We will focus on three of its more glaring constitutional defects.
First, the Constitution does not give Congress the power to require that Americans purchase health insurance. Congress must be able to point to at least one of its powers listed in the Constitution as the basis of any legislation it passes. None of those powers justifies the individual insurance mandate. Congress's powers to tax and spend do not apply because the mandate neither taxes nor spends. The only other option is Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.
Congress has many times stretched this power to the breaking point, exceeding even the expanded version of the commerce power established by the Supreme Court since the Great Depression. It is one thing, however, for Congress to regulate economic activity in which individuals choose to engage; it is another to require that individuals engage in such activity. That is not a difference in degree, but instead a difference in kind. It is a line that Congress has never crossed and the courts have never sanctioned.
In fact, the Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez (1995) rejected a version of the commerce power so expansive that it would leave virtually no activities by individuals that Congress could not regulate. By requiring Americans to use their own money to purchase a particular good or service, Congress would be doing exactly what the court said it could not do.
Some have argued that Congress may pass any legislation that it believes will serve the "general welfare." Those words appear in Article I of the Constitution, but they do not create a free-floating power for Congress simply to go forth and legislate well. Rather, the general welfare clause identifies the purpose for which Congress may spend money. The individual mandate tells Americans how they must spend the money Congress has not taken from them and has nothing to do with congressional spending.
A second constitutional defect of the Reid bill passed in the Senate involves the deals he cut to secure the votes of individual senators. Some of those deals do involve spending programs because they waive certain states' obligation to contribute to the Medicaid program. This selective spending targeted at certain states runs afoul of the general welfare clause. The welfare it serves is instead very specific and has been dubbed "cash for cloture" because it secured the 60 votes the majority needed to end debate and pass this legislation.
A third constitutional defect in this ObamaCare legislation is its command that states establish such things as benefit exchanges, which will require state legislation and regulations. This is not a condition for receiving federal funds, which would still leave some kind of choice to the states. No, this legislation requires states to establish these exchanges or says that the Secretary of Health and Human Services will step in and do it for them. It renders states little more than subdivisions of the federal government.
This violates the letter, the spirit, and the interpretation of our federal-state form of government. Some may have come to consider federalism an archaic annoyance, perhaps an amusing topic for law-school seminars but certainly not a substantive rule for structuring government. But in New York v. United States (1992) and Printz v. United States (1997), the Supreme Court struck down two laws on the grounds that the Constitution forbids the federal government from commandeering any branch of state government to administer a federal program. That is, by drafting and by deliberate design, exactly what this legislation would do.
The federal government may exercise only the powers granted to it or denied to the states. The states may do everything else. This is why, for example, states may have authority to require individuals to purchase health insurance but the federal government does not. It is also the reason states may require that individuals purchase car insurance before choosing to drive a car, but the federal government may not require all individuals to purchase health insurance.
This hardly exhausts the list of constitutional problems with this legislation, which would take the federal government into uncharted political and legal territory. Analysts, scholars and litigators are just beginning to examine the issues we have raised and other issues that may well lead to future litigation.
America's founders intended the federal government to have limited powers and that the states have an independent sovereign place in our system of government. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi legislation to take control of the American health-care system is the most sweeping and intrusive federal program ever devised. If the federal government can do this, then it can do anything, and the limits on government power that our liberty requires will be more myth than reality. ----------------- Mr. Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. He submitted this article to the ARRA News Service Editor which also appears in his Opinion Editorial, Wall Street Journal. 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. Mr. Ken Klukowski is a fellow and senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union. Mr. Hatch, a Republican senator from Utah, is a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Tags:government healthcare, heath care, Ken Blackwell, Ken Klukowski, Obamacare, Orrin Hatch, unconstitutional, US ConstitutionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Politicians we elect are by no means the best and brightest people
By Ernest S. Christian and Gary A Robbins, IBD Editorials: No matter who he is, the president of the United States has far too many powers over our lives and livelihoods. So do members of Congress. Even if the holders of these public offices were capable of correctly performing such a vast multiplicity of complex tasks, which they aren't, and even if their intentions were always honorable, which they often aren't, it is absurd that a handful of exceedingly ordinary, highly fallible people should be telling 300 million Americans what to do, say and think — and even more ridiculous that we let them.
Are they smarter than we are? Are they morally superior? Are they better able to run our affairs than we are? Are their intentions toward us better than our own? Do they make us better or better off? Of course not. Just the opposite. Their record of failure is manifest. Why should we pay them exorbitant salaries to ruin the economy and abridge our liberties? The current incumbents should be fired. Their jobs should be downgraded in power and scope. The staff of nearly 3 million civilian bureaucrats should be redeployed.
Those of us who add value to the national balance sheet should not be ruled over by those who don't. We should not have to stand in line and ask permission to enjoy the inalienable rights given us by our Creator. Civil governance in America is not supposed to be intrusive, much less oppressive. Left alone, all we really need is for government to perform a few simple jobs under our close supervision and on a strict budget. Yet we are painfully bound from head to foot in reams of expensive federal red tape that our captors in Washington pull ever tighter.
With tens of millions of federal interventions occurring every minute, the machinery of government is so vast and complex that it can no longer be operated safely — especially not by politicians inured to the daily process of destroying lives, jobs and wealth. The politicians we put in charge of our lives and livelihoods are by no means the best and brightest people among us. Typically they are meddlesome by nature and given to high-risk experimentation, using us like guinea pigs. Most are inveterate spendthrifts.
America's presidents and members of Congress are selected by election — but elections are not divine rites that make the unqualified qualified or convert ordinary individuals into paragons of virtue and superior intellect. Tags:elected officials, politicians, not the best, not the brightest, Ernest S. Christian, Gary A Robbins, EditorialTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
“The Next Phase in the Democrats’ Health Care Push Will Be Waged in the Privacy of the Senate Leadership Office, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will attempt to do something that has eluded him all year: negotiate a compromise on the public insurance option that can garner 60 votes and win over a public still leery of reform.” (“Dems Seek Deal As Sen. Debate Begins,” Politico, 11/30/09)
In October Senate Negotiations Were an “Invitation-Only Affair . . . Behind Closed Doors”
“But Now, As A Senate Vote On Health-Care Legislation Nears, Those Negotiations Are Occurring In A Setting That Is Anything But Revolutionary In Washington: Three Senators Are Working On The Bill Behind Closed Doors. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV) sits at the head of a wooden table at his office as he and Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CN) and Max Baucus (D-MT) work to merge two competing versions of health-care legislation into one bill. The three men will be joined by top aides as well as by members of President Obama's health-care team, led by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The sessions started on Wednesday and could be completed this week.” (“Small Group Now Leads Closed Negotiations On Health-Care Bill,” The Washington Post, 10/18/09)
·Senate Negotiations Were “An Invitation-Only Affair In Reid's Office.” “But after weeks of Senate Finance Committee public hearings, the Senate negotiations are now an invitation-only affair in Reid's office. The majority leader is unlikely to expand his group, even as some senators unhappy with parts of the legislation, such as John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), have asked to be in the room.” (“Small Group Now Leads Closed Negotiations On Health-Care Bill,” The Washington Post, 10/18/09)
Health Care Discussions Began Last Spring With An “Undisclosed Meeting” Of Corporate Lobbyists
· The “Previously Undisclosed Meeting” Led To The Creation Of Two Groups That Have Done Millions In Advertising Supporting Health Care Reform. “The previously undisclosed meeting April 15 at the offices of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee led to the creation of two groups — Americans for Stable Quality Care and a now-defunct predecessor group called Healthy Economy Now — that have spent tens of millions of dollars on TV advertising supporting health reform efforts.” (“Exclusive: How Dems Set Stage For Corporate-Backed Health Care Campaign,” Politico, 10/16/09)
· “One Ethics Expert, However, Said The Meeting Still Raises Issues. No Matter How Careful Messina And Selib Were To Avoid Conversation About Healthy Economy Now, Their Mere Presence At What Proved To Be The Coalition’s Creation Raises Questions, according to Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that advocates for greater transparency and ethics in government.” (“Exclusive: How Dems Set Stage For Corporate-Backed Health Care Campaign,” Politico, 10/16/09)
Tags:Democrats, government healthcare, government transparency, Nancy Pelosi, US House, US SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Barack Obama, on vacation, isolated extremist, Islamic terrorist, political cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Passing of Bob Howard - Medal of Honor - Most Heavily Decorated Veteran of the Modern Era
Update: Learn more by listening to Col. Bob Howard's own words at A Hero Among Heroes – Col. Robert L Howard
------------- Bill Smith, Editor: Having been traveling and preparing for Christmas, I delayed posting about a great American "mustang" who reported for duty with his former comrades. A "mustang" is an enlisted person who goes on to be commissioned an officer. As a staff sergeant, Robert "Bob" Howard served his country in the jungles of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Howard was a Green Beret, Special Forces. His heroic efforts in three individual actions during thirteen months spanning 1967–1968 resulted in his being nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, since the government had used him and other in places and situations being kept secret from those back home, the initial two nominations were downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.
Robert Howard as a Sergeant First Class risked his life during a rescue mission in Cambodia on December 30, 1968, while second in command of a platoon-sized Hornet force that was searching for missing American soldier Robert Scherdin, and he was finally awarded the Medal of Honor. He served five tours of duty in Vietnam and was wounded 14 times during one 54-month period during the Vietnam Conflict. He received two Masters degrees during his government career which spanned almost 50 years. Howard retired as a full Colonel in 2006.
According to NBC News, "Howard may be the most highly-decorated American soldier since World War II. His residence was in Texas and he spent much of his free time working with veterans at the time of his death. He also took periodic trips to Iraq to visit active duty troops."
Colonel Robert Howard was awarded many honors for his heroic service, including the Medal of Honor, eight Purple Hearts, four Bronze Stars with Valor, and two Distinguished Service Crosses. Other medals and ribbons and devices were: Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legion of Merits, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Medals (one for heroism), Joint Service Commendation, seven Army Commendation Medal(4 for valor), Joint Service Achievement, Army Achievement, Good Conduct Medal with four Good Conduct Loops, National Defense Service Medal, three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, Vietnam Service Medal 3 service stars, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, three NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon, two Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Navy Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Unit Citation with Palm, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, Silver Star (Division and Bronze Star, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, Republic of Vietnam Wound Medal, Republic of Vietnam Staff Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman's Badge, Aircrew Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge, Vietnamese Ranger Badge, Vietnamese Master Parachute Badge, Thai Master Parachute Wings, Korean Master Parachute Badge, Thai Balloonist Badge, French Parachutist Badge. [Source]
Howard died in Waco, Texas on December 23, 2009. He was survived by three children and four grandchildren.
In any other time or era, Bob Howard would have been the recognized hero of the times. As potentially the most decorated hero since WWII, Bob earned his place in history through sacrifice and risking his life for others. It was the anti-war sentiment of the 60's and 70's that blamed the the military and not their government for the American involvement in Vietnam. It was a disgraceful period of time in American history when traitors like Jane Fonda, draft dodgers like Bill Clinton and self aggrandizement seekers like John Kerry would get more credit and fame than those who served their country with honor when called for by their country. Thank you Col. Bob Howard for your service. I pray you have now found a peaceful rest.
Family Security Matters rightly states: "If America does not honor men like Bob Howard, then we have no heart, no soul, no brains left." Watch the following tribute by Brian Williams, a member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. Tags:American Heroes, Congressional Medal of Honor, Bob Howard, Robert Howard, US Army, Vietnam War, deceased, hero, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
More People Questioning Legality of Senate Healthcare Bill
by Jim Brown, OneNewsNow: A constitutional historian says American courts would have to overturn their last 80 years of jurisprudence to uphold the constitutionality of the healthcare bill in Congress.
Thirteen Republican attorneys general are threatening to file a lawsuit against the Democrats' healthcare bill if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) refuse to remove a provision being called the "Cornhusker Kickback" -- the nearly $100 million Medicaid deal Democratic Senator Ben Nelson secured for his home state of Nebraska. Ostensibly, the deal was in exchange for Nelson's vote -- the 60th of 60 needed -- favoring the legislation. As reported earlier, the senator's decision has angered many Nebraskans.
In a letter sent last week, the 13 attorneys general argue the provision is "constitutionally flawed" and violates the U.S. Constitution's protection against "arbitrary" legislation. Constitutional historian David Barton, the president of WallBuilders , also believes the provision is unconstitutional.
"I think there's huge constitutional problems with this thing," exclaims Barton, "and it may be that we see the power of Congress limited constitutionally through a number of different venues by these various lawsuits that are out there." Barton notes that court challenges are looming over the bill's individual mandate, as well as its anti-trust provision that forces a government monopoly. Texas Governor Rick Perry has also threatened to file a lawsuit, arguing the bill violates states' rights outlined in the Tenth Amendment.
Just before Christmas, The Heritage Foundation also questioned the constitutional legality of the healthcare legislation, publishing a legal memorandum charging that the individual mandate "takes congressional power and control to a striking new level."
The letter to Senator Reid and Congresswoman Pelosi was signed by top prosecutors in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington state. Four of the Republican attorneys general are running for governor in their respective states. It should not only be Republican Attorney Generals challenging the Federal government. Every Attorney General should be stepping forward to protect their state from unfunded mandates of the federal government which will force their states into further indebtedness (even if it was their US Senator who was bribed with special exemptions or funding for their state for a period of time). Also the AGs (worth their salt) should be seeking to protect their residents from the infringement by the federal government on individual choice to pursue life, liberty and happiness as so determined by the individual and not by the US Government mandating individuals to either buy health care insurance that the Fed's approve or to be subject to fines and / or imprisonment. Where are our Attorney Generals when we need them? [Possibly, they are accepting campaign funds from the sources that seek to enslave the people in their state.] Tags:Attorney General, constitution, government run, health careTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
UFO's More Likely than Health Bill Reducing Deficit
by Robert Romano, ALG Senior News Editor: Which is the greater likelihood? That Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's) are visiting Earth, or that Barack Obama's proposed $2.5 trillion health bill will actually reduce the deficit as promised? Believe it or not, more Americans believe in UFO's than think legislation taking over the nation's health care system will do anything but add to the nation's insurmountable $12 trillion debt.
According to Rasmussen Reports, "The survey finds that 68% believe the legislation will increase the federal budget deficit. Only 11% say the program will achieve its stated goal of deficit reduction."
Astrology (29%), ghosts (34%), and witches (24%) all poll better than specious claims that providing health coverage to 30-45 million additional people will not cost anything. Which is really not that surprising. The Senate version of the bill — which allegedly removes the “public option” from the plan — will spend some $350 billion more than it takes in through revenues in its first ten years alone, as ALG News has previously reported.
None of which bodes well for Congressional Democrats, especially for some 18 Blue Dogs in the House who promised in a letter not to vote for a bill that was not deficit-neutral, and then did anyway. They were: Baron Hill (IN-CD9), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-CD8), Patrick Murphy (PA-CD8), Mike Michaud (ME-CD2), Leonard Boswell (IA-CD3), John Salazar (CO-CD3), Travis Childers (MS-CD1), Christopher Carney (PA-CD10, Jim Cooper (TN-CD5), Sanford Bishop (GA-CD2), Marion Berry (AR-CD1), David Scott (GA-CD13), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-CD3), Michael Arcuri (NY-CD24), Jim Costa (CA-CD20), Joe Baca (CA-CD43), Dennis Moore (KS-CD3), and Zack Space (OH-CD18).
They may, however, be able to boost their popularity by ordering an investigation of the Roswell “weather balloon” crash of 1947, or attending a few Star Trek conventions. Beam them up, Scotty. Tags:Blue Dog, health care, Rasmussen Poll, UFOTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The U.S. Treasury said today it will inject another $3.8 billion into troubled lender GMAC, part of a deal that will boost the federal government's stake to 56% and attempt to staunch the company's losses from bad mortgages. All of the money injected by the Treasury will essentially go to shoring up GMAC's ResCap unit, the arm best known for ditech.com and other housing-boom related mortgage offers that crashed as housing prices withered over the past couple of years. GMAC said the move, along with a $3.3 billion write-down in mortgages at ResCap and Ally Bank, should allow it to explore a sale or other action for ResCap.
"By protecting the financial performance and strength of our core automotive finance operations, we expect to increase the pace at which we can fully repay the U.S. taxpayer,” said GMAC Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Carpenter. The money comes on top of $12.5 billion that the U.S. Treasury had previously invested in GMAC to keep it afloat as the lender of choice for car buyers and dealers at General Motors and Chrysler.
GMAC will become the sixth company the U.S. has taken control of in the past two years. Public-private mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, auto manufacturers General Motors and Chrysler and the largest commercial insurer in the U.S., American International Group.
Isn't that just wonderful? Tags:auto bailout, federal spending, GMAC, National Debt, US TreasuryTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Countdownn To Victory: 302 Days Until the 2010 Elections!
"Just one of the reasons why 2010 could be a very bad year for Obama/Reid/Pelosi. They are way out of step with the American people. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that the public not only wants Abdulmutallab treated like a common criminal – it wants to WATERBOARD HIM! Rasmussen found that 58% of Americans surveyed want this done, 30% are opposed and 12% aren’t sure. The average American gets it, even if the Obamanites do not."
Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families: My friends, I want to start off the year with some good news. 2010 could be a very good year for conservatives and our values. Here are some things to keep in mind as the election season kicks into high gear:
Obama Collapsing: A year ago, Barack Obama’s approval rating was 65% or higher depending on the poll. He finished the year, according to Scott Rasmussen, at 46%.
Radical Agenda Exposed: Obama and the Democrats campaigned as fiscally responsible moderates who shared our values. Across the board, their centrist rhetoric has been betrayed by their radical record. The Obama agenda of socialized medicine, bigger government, wildly out-of-control spending, higher taxes and liberal values is undeniable. “Hope and change” was clearly a bait and switch.
Democrats In Decline: In the poll released yesterday, Rasmussen also noted that the number of Americans identifying as Democrats has declined “to the lowest level recorded in more than seven years of monthly tracking.” Total Democrat control of Washington is once again reminding voters why they fired Jimmy Carter in 1980 and countered Bill Clinton with a Republican Congress in 1994. The radical Left is calling the shots right now, and its lack of balance and common sense is alarming millions of Americans.
GOP Has Big Mo: The political landscape has changed dramatically in the past year, and Democrats are getting nervous. The momentum is on our side – even the liberal media admit it. Just consider these recent headlines: From the Los Angeles Times -- “GOP Poised for Comeback in Midterm Elections.” From the Associated Press -- “2010 Election Situation Grows More Difficult For Democrats.” From Bloomberg -- “Democrats Brace for Year of Living Dangerously.”
Incumbents In Peril: Across the country, Democrat incumbents are running scared. Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid is losing to three potential Republican opponents. Democrat Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is losing to four potential Republican opponents. In North Dakota, the incumbent Democrat senator is nearly 20 points behind the state’s Republican governor in a hypothetical match-up. Scandal-ridden Democrat Chris Dodd could lose re-election in Connecticut. And pro-life turncoat Ben Nelson (D-NE), the Senate’s 60th vote for the pro-abortion socialized medicine bill, is down 30 points in the polls and already running ads even though he isn’t up for re-election until 2012!
I can’t predict the future. I can’t promise you that 2010 will be another 1994. But I do promise to do everything I can to make sure it is! Your prayers and continued financial support are essential to our success. We are 302 days away from making history. Working together, we can stop Obama’s socialism!Tags:2010 Elections, Gary Bauer, Obama administration, socialismTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
William Warren has been working overtime this year providing excellent political cartoons for our times. Here are a few we missed posting during the year: [Note the following Toons were formerly provided by getliberty.org but are now linked directly to William Warren's site.]
Tags:2009, Political Cartoons, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Why Switzerland Has The Lowest Crime Rate In The World
The key to freedom is to be able to have the ability to defend yourself &, if you don't have the tools to do that, then you're going to be at the mercy of whomever wants to put you away. Guns are deeply rooted within Swiss culture - but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.
The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols. This is in a very large part due to Switzerland's unique system of national defense, developed over the centuries. Tags:gun ownership, gun rights, SwitzerlandTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gun Ownership is Up. Violent Crime is Down. Any Questions?
by Duane Lester, All American Blogger: In 2009, more and more Americans became licensed to carry a concealed weapon. According to the “National Instant Criminal Background Check statistics,” there was “an increase of 25 million background checks from a total of 75 million to 100 million initiated by Type 01 federally licensed firearms retailers between April 5, 2007, and April 4, 2009.” Bill Brassard at Buckeye Firearms Association notes, there was a decline in violent crime in 2009, leading a person to doubt the liberal argument that more guns equal more crime:
Preliminary statistics released by the FBI for the first half of 2009 show that violent crime continues a downward trend that began in 2006. The figures show crime falling in all categories–robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle thefts, etc.–with murders down a remarkable 10 percent from the previous year.
The FBI statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups and some mainstream media that “more guns equal more crime,” especially when you consider that the decrease in violent crime from late 2008 through the first half of 2009 occurred at the same time that firearm sales were surging.
The most popular firearms selling at that time were handguns and modern sporting rifles (AR-style rifles)–two types of firearms that anti-gunners never miss an opportunity to demonize.
An American uses a firearm defensively every 13 seconds. With more guns on the street in the hands of law abiding citizens, I wonder if that number isn’t lower now.
by Curtis Coleman: The death tax expired at midnight on December 31, 2009. But don't look for its obituary in today's newspaper, because it is not expected to stay dead. Since 1916, Americans have been subject to a blatant redistribution of wealth called the “federal estate tax.” Also called the “death tax”, this is a tax you are required to pay when you inherit an amount above certain limits from your parents or family. The tax rate can be as high as 55 percent. It is not uncommon for heirs to have to sell the inherited assets just to pay this tax. In other words, the federal government gets the majority of your inheritance – not you.
For instance, more than a dozen family-owned timber farms no longer exist in Arkansas because families had to sell their farms to big out-of-state corporations to pay death taxes. Hundreds of Arkansas jobs were lost because this tax targets the capital used by family business owners and farmers to create jobs.
The 2001 tax act began the phase-out of the estate tax. The amount of assets exempt from the tax went up over the years, while the tax rate on bigger amounts went down. At midnight on December 31, 2009, the death tax disappeared – for one year only. If nothing is done, the estate tax returns in 2011 under 2001 rules. Then you will be able to shelter $1 million from the estate tax, while larger amounts will be taxed at a maximum rate of 55 percent.
The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that nearly 600,000 families will be subject to the death tax over the following 10 years. With a tax rate as high as 55%, former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin estimates small businesses would be forced to reduce their payrolls by more than 500,000 workers . This would be a disaster for an economy still deep in recession.
Although this tax may be the most blatant example of the federal government’s intrusive efforts to redistribute the hard-earned wealth of its citizens, repeal of this tax is not about protecting the wealthy. This is about creating jobs and protecting working families. With our unemployment the highest it’s been in 26 years, Holtz-Eakin found that Congress could create more than a million new jobs just by acting now to permanently repeal the federal death tax.
The permanent repeal of this counterproductive and destructive tax would create thousands of new jobs in Arkansas and help Arkansas’ working families. And the federal government’s tax revenues would actually increase, because the taxes generated by the new jobs created will actually exceed the amounts that would have been collected from death taxes.
I appreciate Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s thus far unproductive efforts to moderate the impact of this onerous tax. If Sen. Lincoln really wants to protect Arkansas families and farms, she will forcefully support the permanent repeal of the death tax. The time for compromise on this immoral and counterproductive tax has passed. The death tax needs to be permanently put out of our misery.  Holtz-Eakin, Doug; “Changing Views of the Estate Tax: Implications for Legislative Options”; February 2009.  Entin, Stephen, “Economic Impact of the Estate Tax: Effects of Various Possible Reform Options,” American Family Business Foundation, June 2009, page 3, www.nodeathtax.org/files/AFBF_Entin_2009.pdf. Tags:Blanche Lincoln, Curtis Coleman, Death Tax, estate tax, family-owned businessTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Ron Russell, TOTUS: Who are those that would trample the Constitution in the name of social justice? Who are those that would tear down the borders of this nation in the name of multiculturalism? Who are those that would destroy American nationalism and replace it with a new world order? Who are those that turn a blind eye to the real enemies of America while pointing to the traditional American patriot as the enemy? Who are these people? They are those in the American Progressive movement. These liberals (progressives) have now found a home in the national Democratic party and in fact, have taken over that organization. And our new president now leads this un-patriotic band of traitors who are hell-bent on destroying the America of our fathers.
The list of crimes of these un-patriotic Americans is long and growing at an alarming rate, but at the same time many are beginning to see the ungodly goals of this bunch of traitors. And now the flames of the Revolution are being rekindled in today's patriot and the days of these American traitors are numbered. And unlike Benedict Arnold, these new traitors will meet justice in the end at the hands of the very Patriots they seek to destroy.
If the language in this piece seems strong it because the feelings run deep. This writer no longer sees the opposition party in America as the patriots they sometimes claim to be. They are viewed as those who are seeking to undermine the very principals laid down in the Constitution and at the same time destroy America's position in the world. They are viewed as those forces who would in the end destroy the economic system that has served us well and given us one of the highest standards of living in the world and replace it with a system that has failed in every part of the world where it has been tried. These progressives would replace American individualism with a new collectivism that would destroy the very fabric of American society. These people will not and cannot be allowed to succeed and they should be called what they are---Traitors! Tags:liberals, progressive, Ron Russell, TOTUS, Traitors, un-patrioticTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Lest We forget Why Why America is in Political Trouble . . .
Marcus Tullius Cicero (January 3, 106BC – December 7, 43BC): "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." -------------------- . . . And MANY more! Tags:America, Chicago politics, photos, PoliticsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Charles Krauthammer at Townhall: Janet Napolitano -- former Arizona governor, now overmatched secretary of homeland security -- will forever be remembered for having said of the attempt to bring down an airliner over Detroit: "The system worked." The attacker's concerned father had warned U.S. authorities about his son's jihadist tendencies. The would-be bomber paid cash and checked no luggage on a transoceanic flight. He was nonetheless allowed to fly, and would have killed 288 people in the air alone, save for a faulty detonator and quick actions by a few passengers. . . .
The reason the country is uneasy about the Obama administration's response to this attack is a distinct sense of not just incompetence but incomprehension. From the very beginning, President Obama has relentlessly tried to downplay and deny the nature of the terrorist threat we continue to face. Napolitano renames terrorism "man-caused disasters." Obama goes abroad and pledges to cleanse America of its post-9/11 counterterrorist sins. Hence, Guantanamo will close, CIA interrogators will face a special prosecutor, and Khalid Sheik Mohammed will bask in a civilian trial in New York -- a trifecta of political correctness and image management.
And just to make sure even the dimmest understand, Obama banishes the term "war on terror." It's over -- that is, if it ever existed. Obama may have declared the war over. Unfortunately al-Qaeda has not. Which gives new meaning to the term "asymmetric warfare."
And produces linguistic -- and logical -- oddities that littered Obama's public pronouncements following the Christmas Day attack. In his first statement, Obama referred to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as "an isolated extremist." This is the same president who, after the Ford Hood shooting, warned us "against jumping to conclusions" -- code for daring to associate Nidal Hasan's mass murder with his Islamist ideology. Yet, with Abdulmutallab, Obama jumped immediately to the conclusion, against all existing evidence, that the bomber acted alone.
More jarring still were Obama's references to the terrorist as a "suspect" who "allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device." You can hear the echo of FDR: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- Japanese naval and air force suspects allegedly bombed Pearl Harbor."
Obama reassured the nation that this "suspect" had been charged. Reassurance? The president should be saying: We have captured an enemy combatant -- an illegal combatant under the laws of war: no uniform, direct attack on civilians -- and now to prevent future attacks, he is being interrogated regarding information he may have about al-Qaeda in Yemen. Instead, Abdulmutallab is dispatched to some Detroit-area jail and immediately lawyered up. At which point -- surprise! -- he stops talking.
This absurdity renders hollow Obama's declaration that "we will not rest until we find all who were involved." Once we've given Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent, we have gratuitously forfeited our right to find out from him precisely who else was involved, namely those who trained, instructed, armed and sent him.
This is all quite mad even in Obama's terms. He sends 30,000 troops to fight terror overseas, yet if any terrorists come to attack us here, they are magically transformed from enemy into defendant.
The logic is perverse. If we find Abdulmutallab in an al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, where he is merely preparing for a terror attack, we snuff him out with a Predator -- no judge, no jury, no qualms. But if we catch him in the United States in the very act of mass murder, he instantly acquires protection not just from execution by drone but even from interrogation.
The president said that this incident highlights "the nature of those who threaten our homeland." But the president is constantly denying the nature of those who threaten our homeland. On Tuesday, he referred five times to Abdulmutallab (and his terrorist ilk) as "extremist(s)."
A man who shoots abortion doctors is an extremist. An eco-fanatic who torches logging sites is an extremist. Abdulmutallab is not one of these. He is a jihadist. And unlike the guys who shoot abortion doctors, jihadists have cells all over the world; they blow up trains in London, nightclubs in Bali and airplanes over Detroit (if they can); and are openly pledged to war on America. Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit that we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy -- jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon -- turns laxity into a governing philosophy. Tags:Barack Obama, Charles Krauthammer, Islamic terrorism, Janet Napolitano, Jihadist, warTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
H/T Conservative Hideout: The people have spoken, and, in fact, Nancy won quite a few times this year. Insuring her place in the history of useful idiocy. Congratulations Nancy, you deserve it. But just remember the fate of useful idiots! Once the socialists take over complete power, the useful idiots are no longer useful to them! [P.S., If you agree and are on FaceBook, have some fun and Join the Impeach Nancy Pelosi Fan Page]
Tags:2009, American Idol, Impeach Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi, idiotTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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