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: Dr. Bill Smith [OzarkGuru] - firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas 2010
To all Patriots and Friends,
Tags:ARRA News Service, Christmas, 2010, Merry ChristmasTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Wishing you a very joyous Christmas Eve. May take a few days off with activities and family in Florida. Not so cold here in Florida as compared to the Ozark Mountains.
Enjoy this wonderful day as we look forward to tomorrow - Christmas Day. Silvio Canto Jr. provided his radio fans with the following information on the song "Holy Night" which captures this night better than any other song.
Check out the following video with a beautiful version of "Holy Night" by Celtic Woman:
"O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!" Tags: holiday message, Christmas, Christmas eve, Holy NightTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
By Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News: When the Obama administration first went to the Supreme Court in March 2009 to explain its understanding of the First Amendment, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart said the administration believed the government could prohibit a corporation from bouncing a book off a satellite into someone's Kindle if that communication took place within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election and if the book included words advocating the election or defeat of a candidate for federal office.
"Your position is that under the Constitution, the advertising for this book or the sale for the book itself could be prohibited within ... the 60/30-day period?" asked Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"If the book contained the functional equivalent of express advocacy," said Stewart.
"And I suppose," said Kennedy, "it could even -- is it the Kindle where you can read a book? I take it that's from a satellite. So the existing statute would probably prohibit that under your view?"
"Well, the statute applies to cable, satellite and broadcast communications," said Stewart.
"Just to make it clear," said Kennedy, "it's the government's position that under the statute, if this Kindle device where you can read a book which is campaign advocacy, within the 60/30-day period, if it comes from a satellite ... it can be prohibited under the Constitution and perhaps under this statute?
"It can't be prohibited, but a corporation could be barred from using its general treasury funds to publish the book and could be required ... to raise funds to publish the book using its PAC," said Stewart.
In other words, the Obama administration believes it can bar a publisher from electronically selling a book via satellite, cable or broadcast media in an election year if the book advocates throwing someone out of Congress or the White House.
To electronically publish such a book in Barack Obama's America, a publishing house would need to start a political action committee and get political contributors to donate money to fund the operation. No capitalism would be allowed in the business of publishing books that call for the defeat of federal officeholders.
As Stewart dug deeper into his explanation of the administration's understanding of the First Amendment, he was eventually interrupted by the ever-sardonic Justice Antonin Scalia.
"I'm a little disoriented here, Mr. Stewart," said Scalia. "We are dealing with a constitutional provision, are we not, the one that I remember which says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press? That's what we're interpreting here?
"That's correct," said Stewart.
In this case -- Citizens United v. FEC -- a 5-4 Supreme Court ruled against the administration, which sought to enforce a rule that said a corporation could not sell a pay-per-view movie to a cable television customer if the movie mentioned a candidate in an election season.
"The government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech," Chief Justice John Roberts correctly observed in his concurring opinion in the case.
On Tuesday, led by Obama-appointed Chairman Julius Genachowski, the Federal Communications Commission for the first time issued regulations that would arrogate to the FCC the authority to regulate Internet traffic. The regulations come as wolves in sheeps' clothing, purporting to protect consumers from big businesses that would restrict their access to the Web.
But there are two problems with what the FCC is doing: Congress has never given it authority to regulate Internet traffic, and if it is allowed to usurp that authority it will eventually use it to restrict freedom of speech.
When Congress created the Federal Radio Commission in 1927, then converted it into the Federal Communications Commission in 1934, it expressly denied this agency the authority to control speech on the radio.
Henry Bellows, one of the original FRC commissioners, accurately explained its authority in a speech to the League of Women Voters in the year the agency was born.
"Very rightly, Congress has held that the broadcaster shall not be subject to governmental dictation as to the character of the material he sends out, the Federal Radio Commission under present law cannot and will not interfere with any broadcaster's right to control and censor his own programs," said Bellows.
"In that matter, his relations are not with the government, not with the commission, but with you," said Bellows. "It is for you, the listeners, not for us, to censor his programs. It is for you to tell him when he is rendering, or failing to render, real service to the public, and you may be sure that he will listen to your voices."
Thirteen years later, in 1940, in reviewing the broadcast license of the Yankee Network for the Massachusetts radio station WAAB, the FCC ruled that radio stations were forbidden from advocating.
"A truly free radio cannot be used to advocate the causes of the licensee," said the FCC in that case. "It cannot be used to support the candidacies of his friends. It cannot be devoted to the support of principles he happens to regard most favorably. In brief, the broadcaster cannot be an advocate."
What happened between 1927 and 1940? Did Congress increase the authority of federal radio commissioners? No. An all-Democratic government had come into power and had held it for eight years. 1940 was yet another election year, and freedom of speech was not a priority for the incumbent party. Tags:free speech, FCC, Internet, SCOTUS, Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News, Political Pistachio. UNTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Mark Tapscott, The Washington Examiner: Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, says Federal Communications Commission should be renamed the "Fabricating a Crisis Commission," following a vote by the panel's three Democrats to approve proposed rules that amount to a hostile takeover of the Internet by a government agency acting illegally.
The proposal - misleadingly described by proponents as an attempt to insure "net neutrality" by guaranteeing equal access to the Internet - was introduced a year ago by Julius Genachowski, President Obama's appointee as FCC chairman.
A federal court has ruled that the commission has no authority to regulate the Internet, and a bipartisan group of senators and representives warned Genechowski not to attempt to impose a regulatory regime on the Internet earlier this year.
The move's legality was even questioned by FCC Commissioner Michael Copp, one of the Democrats who voted today with Genachowski, saying he considered voting against the proposal because it lacks a sufficiently defensible legal basis to survive a court challenge promised by major Internet Service Providers like Verizon, Microsoft, and AT & T.
But legal challenges by industry are likely to be much less of a problem for the Genachowski-led takeover than efforts in Congress to stop the FCC in its tracks.
That's clearly what DeMint has in mind, as he said in his statement released today following the FCC action:
“The Obama Administration has ignored evidence that this federal takeover will hang a millstone of regulatory and legal uncertainty around the neck of a vibrant sector of our economy.
"Proceeding on its own liberal whims rather than facts, this FCC has chosen to grant itself broad authority to limit how businesses can bring the internet to consumers in faster and more innovative ways.
“Americans loudly demanded a more limited federal government this November, but the Obama Administration has dedicated itself to expanding centralized government planning. Today, unelected bureaucrats rammed through an internet takeover, even after Congress and courts warned them not to.
“To keep the internet economy thriving, this decision must be reversed. Regulatory reform will be a top priority for Republicans in the next Congress, and I intend to prevent the FCC or any government agency from unilaterally burdening our recovering economy with baseless regulation.
"In order to provide the stability businesses need to grow, I will work with my fellow senators to see passage of my FCC Act, which would ensure that the FCC can only use its rulemaking powers where there is clear evidence of a harmful market failure, as well as the REINS Act, which would add the accountability of a Congressional vote before any government agency’s proposed major regulations may be finalized.”
If the FCC plan somehow manages to survive, it will almost certainly do for First Amendment liberties and the Internet what it did for them in regulating broadcast television and radio. Former CBS News president Fred Friendly's landmark book, "The Good Guys, the Bad Guys and the First Amendment," describes in great detail how the Kennedy and Johnson administrations used the FCC to silence conservative critics. Tags:FCC, federal communications commission, first amendment, Freedom of Speech, free speech, Internet, Internet Freedom, Julius Genachowski, Sen. Jim. DeMintTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The following article represents the view of the authors and not necessarily the view of the ARRA News Service or its editor. However, the viewpoint shows that elections have consequences and failing to listen to those elections could have consequences in 2012.
by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann : With the new Republican power in Washington, it is doubly important to keep a close eye on the doings of GOP Senators and Congressmen to spot those who are straying from orthodoxy, seduced by power and the insider clubiness that characterizes Washington.
In the Lame Duck session, we want to draw attention to six Republican U.S. Senators who voted with the Democrats on a key issue. We should all bear their apostasy in mind and, in particular, make them mindful of the possibility of primary challenges to their re-nomination.
Two Senators, in particular, deserve to have primary challengers take them on in 2012 -- Tennessee's Bob Corker and Mississippi's Thad Cochran. Both men voted for the START treaty which conceded a permanent edge in nuclear weaponry to Russia. While the Treaty provided for equal and reduced stockpiles of strategic warheads, it did nothing to address the vast piles of tactical nuclear warheads held by the Russians. The Russians have 10,000 of these battlefield nuclear weapons piled up in the stockpile while we have only a few hundred.
In addition, START's preamble blocks the U.S. from developing missile defenses, now especially important in light of North Korea's and Iran's expanding capacities. Both Corker and Cochran face re-election in 2012. They should both be challenged for the nomination by men who put our need for national security above appeasing the Russians. Having suppressed democracy, wiped out free speech, taken over all the media, nationalized their oil and energy industry, invaded Georgia, enabled the Iranian nuclear program, and tried to establish a natural gas monopoly in Europe, what else does Putin need to do before Corker and Cochran realize that appeasement won't work?
Bob Corker's vote for START probably stems from the insider-old boy network on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on which he sits. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who also voted for START, sits alongside him on the Republican minority on the committee. Led by Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking GOP member on the panel, all three voted for START. Unfortunately, Isakson is not up for re-election until 2016. When he does come up for re-election, we hope that the citizens of Georgia's Republican Party hold him to account.
Lamar Alexander, also of Tennessee, backed START and faces re-election in 2014.
In a previous column, we called attention to the defections of Republican Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Crapo of Idaho from the ranks of fiscal conservatives. Both Coburn and Crapo voted for the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission which recommended cutting the deductions for home mortgages and charitable contributions by two-thirds for most taxpayers and urged the enactment of almost $1 trillion in new taxes.
Coburn and Crapo only announced their intention to endorse the Commission report after they had been re-elected on November 2, 2010. Now they are safe in their seats until 2016. But we hope to be still writing columns by then and will remind the voters of those two conservative states how ill-served they were by their Republican senators.
So who sold out?
Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Bob Corker, Tennessee
Mike Crapo, Idaho
Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
Johnny Isakson, Georgia
Let's remember. Tags:Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, Republican, sold out, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Republican Lawmakers Immediately Promised To Work To Stop FCC Internet Rules
Update 2:10 PM CST: U.S. Senate voted 71 to 26 to ratify the New START treaty with Russia. Also, the Senate using a voice vote approved a bill to provide $4.2 billion in compensation and long-term health-care benefits to first responders who became ill from working at Ground Zero in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks. The House is expected to immediately consider bill.
The Senate reconvened at 9 AM and resumed post-cloture consideration of the New START treaty, Treaty Doc. 111-5. The Senate may consider a pending amendment to the treaty from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and amendments to the resolution of ratification to accompany the treaty from Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jim Risch (R-ID), and John McCain (R-AZ). If all post-cloture time is not used, a vote on ratification of the START Treaty could come this afternoon.
Senate may take up a 9/11 responders health bill and several nominations, including that of James Cole to be Deputy Attorney General, before the Senate finishes its work in the lame duck session.
This morning, the Senate passed by unanimous consent H.R. 6523, the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Authorization bill, which had been stripped of controversial provisions Democrats included that had prevented its passage earlier this year.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 79-16 to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through March 4th. Prior to that vote, the Senate voted 82-14 to invoke cloture on the vehicle for the CR.
This morning, President Obama signed the bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Policy in the military.
Today’s Washington Post headline gives a good summary of the reaction to the FCC’s vote yesterday: “FCC approves net-neutrality rules; criticism is immediate.” The Post notes, “The regulations passed the Federal Communications Commission along party lines, with two Democratic commissioners reluctantly siding with agency Chairman Julius Genachowski in a 3-2 vote. The rules seek to uphold a principle called net neutrality, under which Internet service providers are supposed to give equal treatment to all legal Web content on their networks. But the measure met with swift opposition Tuesday. Republican lawmakers immediately promised to work to overthrow the rules, while analysts predicted that cable and telecom giants will file lawsuits challenging the FCC's authority to regulate the broadband market.”
In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal today, John Fund elaborates on just why the FCC’s decision is so troublesome. “The Federal Communications Commission's new ‘net neutrality’ rules, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote yesterday, represent a huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activist groups and foundations. The losers are likely to be consumers who will see innovation and investment chilled by regulations that treat the Internet like a public utility. There's little evidence the public is demanding these rules, which purport to stop the non-problem of phone and cable companies blocking access to websites and interfering with Internet traffic. Over 300 House and Senate members have signed a letter opposing FCC Internet regulation, and there will undoubtedly be even less support in the next Congress. Yet President Obama, long an ardent backer of net neutrality, is ignoring both Congress and adverse court rulings, especially by a federal appeals court in April that the agency doesn't have the power to enforce net neutrality. He is seeking to impose his will on the Internet through the executive branch.”
Indeed, as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, explained in a floor speech following the vote, “The FCC pursuit of net neutrality regulations involves claiming authority under the Communications Act that they do not have. Congress did not provide the FCC authority to regulate how Internet service providers manage their network, not anywhere in the Communications Act nor any other statute administered by the Commission.”
Sen. Hutchison urged her fellow members of Congress to oppose the FCC’s new rules, saying, “This is a time for Congress to take a stand. These regulations will raise uncertainty about the methods and practices communications companies may use to manage their networks. Heavy-handed regulation threatens investment and innovation in broadband services, placing valuable American jobs at risk. . . . We will have a resolution of disapproval at the appropriate time in the next session of Congress.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a video responding to the ruling yesterday, “Our economy has benefited from the rapid growth of the Internet, and that’s due in large part to the lack of government involvement. . . . I, along with several of my colleagues, have urged the FCC Chairman to abandon this flawed approach. . . . The Internet is a valuable resource and it must be left alone.” Tags:US Senate, Start Treaty, FCC, Internet, free speechTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by William Warren: Cartoon comments on the outrageous spending in Washington–and recaps some of the year’s worst natural disasters.
Tags:2010 Disaster Recap, Big Goverment, Democrats, Government Spending, Natural Disaster, Political Cartoons, Republicans, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Santa, Santa Clause, the economy, Christmas, Merry Christmas, government spending, spending, North Pole, Kris Kringle, Bankrupting AmericaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The first day of the conference featured an address from Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, who spoke with much concern about global warming and the damage that humans are perpetrating on the planet. He cited the deaths of 60 people in Mexico because of weather extremes, but didn't mention Mexico's 22,000 deaths caused by the illegal drug trade.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that "We need to fundamentally transform the global economy, based on low-carbon, clean energy resources." Barack Obama's announced goal of fundamentally transforming the United States has morphed into transforming the world.
This 16th annual conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), called COP 16 (Conference of the Parties 16), attracted some 20,000 delegates from 194 countries. It had little to do with any science about climate change, and everything to do with trying to get the United States and other industrialized nations to redistribute their wealth to the poorer nations under the supervision of eager United Nations bureaucrats.
Like previous climate change conferences, COP 16 deliberately pitted the poor countries against the rich countries, encouraging the poor countries to demand what the rich countries have without earning or paying for it. This is the internationalist version of the basic Marxist tactic called the class war.
COP 16 propagandists blame every human tragedy on the high standard of living enjoyed (and earned) by the rich countries. Our over-consumption is alleged to cause global warming. We are guilty because we are prosperous, so we supposedly owe reparations to the poor nations.
At COP 15 in Copenhagen a year ago, the poor countries ganged up on us and agreed that the United States should create a $30 billion "Fast Start" global climate fund by 2012 and reduce U.S. greenhouse gases by 17 percent below the 2005 levels. This Fast Start climate fund would be committed to grow to $100 billion by 2020.
Fortunately, the Copenhagen proposals were never formally adopted. President Obama came and left empty handed, Communist China refused to limit its emissions, and the Third World dictators didn't get the $100 billion handouts they expected.
The poor countries now say they want cash handouts, not loans, because they don't want to take on any debt. They also floated a scheme to force 37 industrialized nations to transfer their technologies along with huge financial bonuses to the poorer 155 nations.
Donations to the Fast Start Fund are not coming in as rapidly as the avaricious countries want, so COP 16 participants decided it's time to call for a global tax. They want it to be unlimited in scope and unlinked to national treasuries so that tax receipts can flow without the nuisance of having to be approved by the rich countries' legislatures.
The UN Secretary General's High Level Advisory Group confirmed that the goal is to impose taxes on international shipping, aviation, and financial transactions involving stocks, bonds and foreign exchanges, as well as a carbon tax. Those taxes could raise at least $100 billion annually, and the International Maritime Organization is ready to be the assessor-collector.
COP 16 agitators consider all these payments compensatory for damages caused by the rich nations. The World Wildlife Foundation estimates that the amounts needed to protect against climate change will run to $160 billion to $200 billion yearly by 2020.
COP 16's bag of tricks also includes plans for global governance. The new UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, said that COP 16 "is a litmus test for global governance capacity," and that "Cancun will be successful if governments compromise" by launching "a new era."
The poor nations at COP 16 presented a document called "Declaration from the South-South Summit on Climate Justice and Finance." It claimed that climate change is "an economic and social crisis, a political crisis, a food and energy crisis, and an ecological crisis."
This diatribe called for "climate justice, ecological justice, economic justice, gender justice and historical justice." Its presenters concluded by chanting, "Let's globalize the struggle!"
The main cause of poverty in other countries is the lack of enough energy. We should be increasing the use of energy rather than expanding government powers to restrict energy.
Tell your newly elected members of Congress that we reject all COP 16 demands as well as the insulting proposition that our successful economic system caused the world's poverty. If poor countries want to be rich, the way to go is to follow our American model for success, freedom and prosperity. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, cold weather, global warming, cop 16, Cancun, Mexico, United Nations, Framework Convention, Climate Change To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday lashed out at Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for suggesting that Congress hold hearings on radical Islam. Mayor Bloomberg is hailed by some as a possible "moderate alternative" presidential candidate in 2012. But when asked by reporters yesterday about King's planned hearings on Islamic radicalization, the mayor responded, "I think we probably part company quite severely. I don't happen to agree with him that that's necessary."
Rep. Peter King: We'll Investigate Muslim Radicalization Mayor Bloomberg might not think the hearings are necessary, but Islamic radicalization is keeping Attorney General Eric Holder awake at night. Holder gave a chilling interview with ABC News warning about the increasing threat we face from homegrown Islamic radicals.
Noting that 50 of 126 people indicted on terror charges in the past two years are American citizens, Holder told ABC: "It is one of the things that keeps me up at night. You didn't worry about this even two years ago -- about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And that is of great concern. The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States -- American citizens -- raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born."As I wrote yesterday, Rep. King's hearings on Islamic radicalization are long overdue. Attorney General Holder should be among the first to testify so we can find out exactly what the Obama Administration is doing to prevent Islamic radicalization in America.
Speaking of things radical, our friends at the Media Research Center gave their "Ground Zeroes Award" to Christiane Amanpour for "impugning Americans as Islamophobic." She earned this dubious distinction during an exchange with yours truly on an episode of This Week entitled, "Should Americans Fear Islam?” Below is the exchange: [video] /dir>Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, New York, Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, Representative, Peter King, radical IslamTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Cut The CRAP - Upkeep of Unused VA Monkey House - $175 Million
Bill Smith, Editor: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released his annual “Wastebook” Monday, discussing 100 spending projects that squandered $11.5 billion of public money this year. The following is part of series of articles where that will be run drawing on Coburn's 2010 Wastebook and other sources to identify government funded waste. We are going to call the series Cut the CRAP which represents depending on the situation (Congress' Reckless Addiction to Pork) or (Congress' Reckless Allowance of Piss-Poor-Performance).
If you are angry with the waste, leave a comment, but most of all forward the example to your congressional representative and Senators and tell them to Cut the CRAP. Let your friends know about the waste. And get involved with organizations opposing government fraud, waste, and abuse. However, if you are happy with the pork project, share with us why you believe the government should be taxing others and in-debting our even grandchildren for the project.
Upkeep for Unused Monkey House and Other Buildings -
(Department of Veterans Affairs) $175 Million
Many of the buildings are in severe disrepair, but the VA does not have the funds
to improve them. Complex federal laws make it difficult for the agency to sell the
buildings. So instead they sit unused, except for the vermin, birds, and insects
that use them for shelter.
The VA disputes the $175 million figure, saying it spent only $34 million last year on unused buildings. Moreover, the agency says it has made progress in shedding properties it no longer needs, selling off 266 buildings in the last three years. Meanwhile, some veterans‘ advocates are calling on the VA to use the buildings to house homeless vets.
It is time for the Veterans Administration to better serve Veterans and to stop the waste and abuse in its department.
Congress: Cut The CRAP - No more funds to the VA or any other government or non-government agency to "upkeep Unused / Un-Needed Buildings. Hold these agencies accountable and stop funding recurring fraudulent budget line items. Tags:US Congress, CRAP, Cut the Crap, Veterans Administration, monkey, monkey house, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
OPEN LETTER TO THE U.S. SENATE on the New START Treaty
The U.S. Senate likely will vote on the New START agreement today. Presently, it appears they will secure enough votes rather than resolving issues before the treaty is ratified. Certain aspects of this treaty are dangerous treaty that should not be ratified. Below is am "open letter" signed by 30 leading generals, diplomats and national security experts outlining these dangers.
OPEN LETTER TO THE U.S. SENATE on the New START Treaty
As you know, President Obama insists that the United States Senate advise and consent during the present lame-duck session to the bilateral U.S.-Russian strategic arms control treaty known as "New START" that he signed earlier this year in Prague. It is our considered professional judgment that this treaty and the larger disarmament agenda which its ratification would endorse are not consistent with the national security interests of the United States, and that both should be rejected by the Senate.
Administration efforts to compel the Senate to vote under circumstances in which an informed and full debate are effectively precluded is inconsistent with your institution's precedents, its constitutionally mandated quality-control responsibilities with respect to treaties and, in particular, the critical deliberation New START requires in light of that accord's myriad defects, of which the following are especially problematic:
It is unnecessary and ill-advised for the United States to make these sorts of deep reductions in its strategic forces in order to achieve sharp cuts in those of the Russian Federation. After all, the Kremlin's strategic systems have not been designed for long service lives. Consequently, the number of deployed Russian strategic intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and long-range, nuclear-capable bombers will drop dramatically, with or without a new arms control agreement.
Russian sources indicate that, within eight-to-nine years, Russian Federation's inventory of strategic launchers will have shrunk from approximately 680 launchers today (some of which already are no longer operational) to approximately 270 launchers, simply as a result of the aging of their systems and the pace of their modernization program. By contrast, the service life of existing U.S. systems extends several decades. In other words, the Russians are going to undergo a substantial contraction in the size of its strategic nuclear arsenal, whether we do or not.
There are serious downsides for the United States in moving to the sorts of low numbers of strategic launchers called for in the New START Treaty. These include:
New START would encourage placing more warheads on the remaining launchers, i.e., "MIRVing" — which is precisely what the Russians are doing. Moving away from heavily MIRVed strategic launchers has long been considered a highly stabilizing approach to the deployment of strategic forces — and a key U.S. START goal.
New START would reduce the survivability and flexibility of our forces — which is exactly the wrong posture to be adopting in the uncertain and dynamic post-Cold War strategic environment. The bipartisan Congressional Strategic Posture Commission concluded that "preserving the resilience and survivability of U.S. forces" is essential. The very low launcher levels required by New START are at odds with both of those necessary conditions.
New START's low ceilings on launchers and warheads can only create concerns about America's extended deterrent. Allied nations have privately warned that the United States must not reduce its strategic force levels to numbers so low that they call into question the credibility of the U.S. nuclear umbrella or encourage China to see an opportunity to achieve strategic parity with the United States. Some of those who have long looked to us for security may feel constrained to develop and field their own deterrents — a formula for intensified proliferation.
New START's limitations could result in the destruction of U.S. multi-purpose strategic bombers, affecting not only the robustness of our nuclear deterrent but cutting into our conventional capabilities, as well.
Were the United States to slash its strategic nuclear forces to match those the Russians can afford, it would ironically ensure that it has far fewer nuclear weapons — not parity with the Kremlin — when the latter's ten-to-one advantage in tactical weapons is taken into account. The Russians have consistently refused to limit their tactical nuclear arms, and will surely continue to do so in the future, especially since Moscow has little incentive to negotiate limitations on such weapons when the numbers are so asymmetrical.
This stance should not be surprising since it is this category of weaponry that makes up the bulk of Moscow's nuclear stockpile. Russian doctrine emphasizes the war-fighting utility of such weapons and their modernization and exercising remain a priority for the Kremlin. In fact, some of those weapons with an explosive power comparable to, if not greatly in excess of, that of the Hiroshima bomb are believed to be aboard submarines and routinely targeted at the United States. Others are targeted against our allies. These were among the reasons that prompted the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission to identify the Russian tactical nuclear arsenal as an "urgent" problem.
Such capabilities constitute a real asymmetric advantage for Moscow. What is more, given that these Russian tactical nuclear weapons are of greatest concern with regard to the potential for nuclear war and proliferation, we cannot safely ignore their presence in large numbers in Russia's arsenal. It is certainly ill-advised to make agreements reducing our nuclear deterrent that fail to take them into account.
New START imposes de facto or de jure limitations on such important U.S. non-nuclear capabilities as prompt global strike and missile defenses. In the future, the nation is likely to need the flexibility to field both in quantity. It would be folly to limit, let alone effectively preclude, available options to do so.
New START is simply not adequately verifiable. Lest assurances that the treaty will be "effectively" verifiable obscure that reality, the truth is that the Russians could engage in militarily significant violations with little fear of detection by the United States. And, for reasons discussed below, it could take years before we could respond appropriately.
These and other deficiencies of the New START treaty are seriously exacerbated by the context in which Senators are being asked to consent to its ratification. Specifically, the Senate's endorsement of this accord would amount to an affirmation of the disarmament agenda for which it is explicitly said to be a building block — namely, Mr. Obama's stated goal of "ridding the world of nuclear weapons."
This goal has shaped the administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and would, if left unchanged, condemn the United States to a posture of unilateral nuclear disarmament. (See, in this regard, the attached essay by Vice Admiral Robert Monroe, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 25, 2010.) By precluding the development and production of new nuclear weapons and the realistic testing of those currently in the stockpile and by "devaluing" the role played by these weapons and the mission of those responsible for maintaining our deterrent, the NPR sets the stage for the continued obsolescence and atrophying of our arsenal. No other nuclear power is engaged in such behavior. And, given our global security responsibilities and the growing dangers from various quarters, neither should we.
For all these reasons, we urge you to resist pressure to consider the New START Treaty during the lame-duck session. The Senate should reject this accord and begin instead a long-overdue and vitally needed process of modernization of the nuclear stockpile and refurbishment of the weapons complex that supports it. Only by taking such steps can we ensure that we will, in fact, have the "safe, secure and effective deterrent" that even President Obama says we will need for the foreseeable future.
Sincerely, Judge William P. Clark, former national security advisor to the president Hon. Edwin Meese III, former counselor the president; former U.S. attorney general Hon. Kathleen Bailey, former assistant director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Norman Bailey, former senior director of International Economic Affairs Hon. Robert B. Barker, former assistant to the secretary of Defense (atomic energy) Amb. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN, former undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, former assistant Sec. of State for international organization affairs Brig. Gen. Jimmy L. Cash, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), former vice commander, 7th Air Force Hon. Fred S. Celec, former assistant to Sec. of Defense for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs Amb. Henry F. Cooper, former director, Strategic Defense Initiative, former chief U.S. negotiator, defense and space talks with the Soviet Union Hon. Paula DeSutter, former assistant Sec. of State for verification, compliance, and implementation Hon. Fritz W. Ermarth, former chairman and national intelligence officer, National Intelligence Council; former member of the National Security Council staff Frank J. Gaffney Jr., former assistant Sec. of Defense for international security policy (acting) Daniel J. Gallington, former Sec. of Defense representative, defense and space talks; former general counsel, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and former special assistant to the Sec. of Defense for policy Hon. Bruce S. Gelb, former director, U.S. Information Agency, former ambassador to Belgium Hon. William Graham, former chairman, General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, former science adviser to the president, former deputy administrator, NASA Amb. Read Hammer, former U.S. chief START negotiator; former deputy director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Hon. Fred Iklé, former undersecretary of Defense for policy Sven F. Kraemer, former arms control director, National Security Council Dr. John Lenczowksi, former director of European and Soviet affairs, National Security Council Amb. James Lyons Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), former commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet Tidal W. McCoy, former secretary of the Air Force (acting) Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), former deputy chief of staff Hon. J. William Middendorf II, former Sec. of the Navy, former ambassador to the European Union, the Netherlands, and the Organization of American States Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, U.S. Navy (Ret.), former director, Defense Nuclear Agency Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, former senior staff, Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States; former senior staff, Commission to Assess the Threat to the U.S. from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack Roger W. Robinson Jr., former senior director of International Economic Affairs at the National Security Council, former executive secretary of the Cabinet-level Senior Inter-Governmental Group for International Economic Policy Amb. Ed Rowny, former U.S. chief START negotiator; former special adviser to President Reagan on arms control Michael S. Swetnam, former program monitor, intelligence community staff with liaison responsibilities to INF and START Interagency Groups, and former member of the Technical Advisory Group to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, U.S. Army (Ret.), former deputy commander, U.S. Army Pacific Hon. Michelle Van Cleave, former national counterintelligence executive Dr. William Van Cleave, former director, Department of Defense Transition Team Hon. Troy Wade, former director, Defense Programs, U.S. Department of Energy. Tags:US Senate, Start Treaty, Open letter, opposition to TreatyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
It's Time to Stop the FCC Internet Czars From Silencing Voices of Internet Dissent
(Update 12:16 CST)Phil Kerpen, Vice President for Policy, Americans For Prosperity, responded to FCC decision."The FCC has fittingly chosen the darkest day in 372 years to impose potentially devastating regulations on the up-to-now free-market Internet. As the moon was eclipsed earlier today, Congress and the American people [are] eclipsed by this regulatory coup d'état -- orchestrated by the White House -- that will substitute the judgment of three Democrats at the FCC for the legitimate democratic process.
"Congress must make it a top priority to overturn these regulations early in 2011, preferably with a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval that can avoid filibuster and cleanly invalidate the order. Not only is the imposition of government's heavy hand on the economy's most vibrant sector at stake, but so are the basic principles of our democratic republic. If these principles are discarded, the door will be open for a breathtaking series of executive branch power grabs that will leave our society and its constitutional system of government unrecognizable." (Update 12:16 CST)FCC passes first net neutrality rules - The Federal Communications Commission has passed controversial new rules that prevent Internet providers from playing favorites or blocking access to Web sites that offer rival services. Three of the panel's five members voted in favor of the plan. [The Washington Post Alert]
by Phil Kerpen, The Washington Times: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apparently is headed for a 3-2 party-line vote to regulate the Internet on Dec. 21, which Commissioner Robert M. McDowell (a stalwart free-market champion who opposes the regulations) points out is the darkest day of the year. In doing so, the FCC is putting the new Congress to a key first test of whether it can muster the will to overturn the Obama administration's backdoor efforts to push a far-left agenda through regulation.
Regulating the Internet under the banner of so-called network neutrality has been a far-left cause celebre for about eight years. The scare story has always been that if government doesn't step in immediately, the phone and cable companies will block access to websites, interfere with traffic and otherwise ruin the Internet. It hasn't happened, and it won't happen, because of competition. It works. A company that messed with its customers would lose them to a competitor. And competition is only increasing as next-generation wireless becomes an increasingly viable option for home broadband Internet.
But the "problem" the left has been trying to solve is something much bigger than the network-management practices of the phone and cable companies. The left is trying to strike a blow against the free-market system itself, as the leading proponent of these regulations, Robert W. McChesney, founder of the lobbying group Free Press, made clear when he said: "You will never, ever, in any circumstance, win any struggle at any time. That being said, we have a long way to go. At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's press secretary, Jen Howard, came to the FCC from Mr. McChesney's Free Press, where she served in the same capacity. The FCC's chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, co-authored a Free Press report calling for severe regulation of political talk radio. Mr. McChesney's big-picture strategy looms large at the commission, and the new network-neutrality regulations will move us toward his goal by chilling innovation in network practices and business arrangements by adding unnecessary regulatory interference.
While the FCC is legally an independent agency, under Mr. Genachowski it is a clear extension of the White House. President Obama himself said: "I will take a back seat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality," and the White House has endorsed the FCC's latest power grab. Mr. Genachowski, a Harvard Law School friend of Mr. Obama's and one of his top fundraisers, is one of the most frequent visitors to the White House. Official visitor logs show 78 visits, including at least 11 personal meetings with the president.
These Obama-FCC regulations have been rejected already by Congress and the American people. More than 300 members of Congress signed letters of opposition to FCC Internet regulation, and just 27 have sponsored Rep. Edward J. Markey's bill to impose network-neutrality rules. The bill has not even been introduced in the Senate this Congress. Last Congress, there were just 11 Senate co-sponsors. (Mr. Obama was one of them.) During the recent election, the issue proved an embarrassment for Democrats. A group called the Progressive Change Campaign Committee touted a net-neutrality pledge signed by 95 candidates. All 95 lost.
This sets up a crystal-clear test case of whether the Obama administration can get away with ignoring the election, Congress, the legitimate legislative process and the American people to force a big-government power grab through a regulatory back door. To pass the test, the House should pass a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, overturning the network-neutrality order. Senate Republicans then can force a Senate vote with a petition of just 30 senators and force a floor vote that would require just 51 votes to pass. The Congressional Review Act would protect the privileged resolution from filibuster. The Senate has 60 legislative days from when the order is issued on Dec. 21 before the privileged status is lost.
Using the Congressional Review Act would require just four Democratic senators to join Republicans in saying the FCC should not be permitted to create for itself vast new regulatory powers. If it succeeds, it will dare Mr. Obama to concede and suffer a political loss as Congress asserts its power, or veto it and take full ownership of completely disregarding this election to keep pushing left with ever more government control. Either way, it would be a huge statement from Congress that regulatory power grabs will not go unnoticed.
Congress must assert itself now before the Obama administration uses regulatory back doors to thwart the electorate and continue shoving the country hard to the left. If the FCC can get away with this, expect the Environmental Protection Agency to be emboldened in its backdoor "cap-and-trade" efforts and the National Labor Relations Board in its backdoor card-check efforts. Expect the vast new regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the health care and financial regulation laws to be extremely aggressive.
Stopping the FCC is critical to remind President Obama and all the bureaucrats that Congress is elected by the American people to make the laws in this country. by Mike Brownfield, Morning Bell, Heritage Foundation: Imagine a future where the Internet is governed by unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC, who rule at their own whim, regardless of legislators’ demands or judicial rule. Sadly, that future is now. Today, the Federal Communications Commission is poised to make an unprecedented power grab and assert the authority to regulate the Internet, despite opposition from Congress and a contrary federal court ruling. And while it’s a story that has gone largely unnoticed amid Congress’ big-ticket lame duck decisions, it’s a tale of unchecked government expansion that must be told.
Meet FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a political appointee and Harvard Law classmate of President Barack Obama. Genachowski is leading the FCC’s charge for new powers over the Internet so it can enact a policy known as “net neutrality,” which would allow the commission to regulate how Internet providers like Comcast or Verizon offer their services. If you’re someone who is suspicious of big corporations, that sounds like a great idea. If you’re someone who is fearful of big government, take heed. In reality, the policy will limit consumer choice while granting the federal government unprecedented power over the Internet. As Heritage’s James Gattuso describes:
The net result [of net neutrality]— a slower and more congested Internet, and more frustration for users. Even worse, investment in expanding the Internet will be chilled, as FCC control of network management makes investment less inviting. The amounts at stake aren’t trivial, with tens of billions invested each year in Internet expansion.
There are those, too, who argue that those regulations are not even necessary. FCC commissioner Robert McDowell (who opposes the net neutrality policy) wrote in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal:
Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist.
And while the threat of unnecessary and harmful government regulation is worrisome, the way in which the FCC is pursuing its expanded powers is flat out alarming. Federal agencies like the FCC only have power as granted to them by Congress under the law. In this case, the FCC is charging forward full steam ahead, ignoring both Congress and the courts in order to act as it pleases — in effect, making the FCC commissioners self-proclaimed Internet Czars. But it wouldn’t be the first time the Commission has pushed the envelope of its power.
In 2008, the FCC tried to enlarge its authority when it ruled that Comcast violated net neutrality rules. The Commission based its decision on a broad reading of its powers. In April of this year, a federal court smacked down the FCC’s actions, ruling that the Commission had no authority under the law. Then in May, when the FCC flirted with another set of net neutrality rules, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle stepped in and told the FCC to cease and desist until Congress took action. And now, after a failed attempt by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) to muster-up net neutrality legislation in the House, the FCC is back for another bite at the apple and is ready to grant itself the power to rule. Apparently neither courts nor Congress matters to the FCC Internet Czars.
So what can America say about it? Very little. For starters, FCC commissioners are, by their nature, unelected appointees not subject to the democratic process. And over the weekend, just before the FCC decision, visitors to the commission’s website couldn’t even access the 1,900 pages of documents pertaining to the net neutrality ruling. Ironically enough, the very Commission seeking to regulate the Internet saw its website go down due to “scheduled maintenance.” As galling as that is, it’s no more shocking than what Commissioner McDowell says we will witness today:
On this winter solstice, we will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.
For the time being, it looks like the FCC will succeed in sinking its regulatory claws into the Internet. Now it’s up to Congress and the courts to put the FCC monster back in its cage and remind the self-proclaimed Internet Czars that the only powers it has are those granted to them by law. Tags:FCC, Federal Communications Commission, internet, Julius Genachowski, Heritage Foundation, Morning Bell, net neutrality, network neutrality, Phil KerpenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Herman Cain's Hat is Almost in the Ring For President 2012
Like 'em all!
Bill Smith, Editor: Herman Cain appeared on Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" last Friday and talked about why he is 70% ready to run for President in 2012. He called himself and unconventional candidate because he has not held office but was a successful in business. He is going to decide after the 1st of the year.
He has formed an exploratory committee and launched a Draft Herman Cain President 2012 (more later). Gretta like others want candidates to announce on their shows but Cain will most like announce on one of Neil Cavudo shows on Fox News.
As many know, I have for some time been supporting the Draft Sarah Palin 2012 Committee. Will I continue to do so? Yes. Will I support the Draft Herman Cain for President 2012? You betcha! I liked watching and supporting Sarah Palin in 2008. I voted for her and that other guy she was running with. She is dynamic and it is amazing watching her communicate with a crowd. She also leads in being nationally known. She is a classy conservative lady who the liberals hate above all other candidates. I will keep my Veterans for Sarah hat on my rack whether she runs or not! Palin has learned the national debate game since 2008. If she wins the Republican nomination, she will shred Obama and his policies.
Only, former governor Fox News host Mike Huckabee has more TV time and experience governing. He also has been a candidate for president. Even though he and I have not always agreed on fiscal issues in the past, we have both supported other candidates for state offices and with age, we are both a couple years older and wiser in our experiences; although he is the young guy. Huckabee has been carrying the campaign banner the longest and communicates well. For those who any of our past history, Mike and I have mended fences and so there is absolutely no confusion in the future, if Mike runs for President and is the chosen Republican candidate against Barack Obama in 2012, I will be wearing an "I Like Mike" hat and supporting him.
Another potential is Rep. Mike Pence. Although I but do not have any personal experience with other than listening to him , reporting on him and following his actions as leader of the republican house caucus, I like the prospects for Rep. Mike Pence. Obviously, I like his willingness to talk directly with new media bloggers and his staff arrange discussions with other House members. Pence has walked the conservative walk and taken stands agreeable to most Tea Party conservatives while also being well received by traditional values conservatives. Last year, he received the last years National Right To Life award. Mike Pence also carries himself in a stately mature manner that is an antithesis of the present resident of the White House. He understanding the needs of America and if president would represent America to the world without bowing to other nations and their leaders. As an aside, I served in the military from the Johnson through the Reagan administration. I have noted that Pence reminds me of Reagan's good-natured humor, and calmness in addressing people and events. Having said all this, depending on his decision next year, there may another hat hung on a peg for Mike Pence.
But folks, unlike others, I do not mind having lots of hats while others often prefer just a favorite hat. I am happy to see numerous viable quality conservative candidates available to run for office. We need someone to bring the ship of state back into a safe harbor and reversing the threat of national bankruptcy.
And this brings me to Herman Cain, a man who makes others feel better just being around him. While we have walked different career paths, we respect each others method of service to our county. Cain has been successful business man and later has been a motivational conservative speaker who unlike our current president knows what he is talking about when it comes to the economy.
What impresses me most about Herman Cain is his ability to reach out and to connect with others both intellectually and emotionally. When I see him with news reporter on TV, he isn't as comfortable being with commentators, but then again we know commentators. But, when you see Herman with people, he electrifies them and connects and excites them and moves their reasoning along to the right conclusions. I have noted that people regardless of age, race or sex seem to mentally adopt him as a wise father figure.
I have had many opportunities in the last two years to be at events with Herman and to join him on the Spending Revolt Bus Tour and at American For Prosperity events. When attending events, if Herman Cain was to speak, I would skip watching him on the live feed provided the press room, and would go to the convention floor. I liked observing the reaction of the attendees. In every situation from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, to Las Vegas, to Little Rock, to Tea Party events, when Herman Cain spoke, the people not only listened but were on their feet in minutes cheering him on and agreeing with every word he spoke. Besides explaining things as they should be, he would also share great stories and practical advice and ideas like his Bumble Bee story or his SIN principles for determining unreachable liberals.
For those who have yet to meet Mr. Cain, here is brief bio we add to articles placed on articles posted on this site. However, he is far more than these few words.
Mr. Herman Cain is an American newspaper columnist, businessman, politician, noted speaker, and conservative radio talk-show host. He previously served as chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza and previously worked as a mathematician for the Department of the Navy, a business analyst for the Coca-Cola Company, and for the Pillsbury Company, where he became Vice-President of Corporate Systems and Services. In 2004, Cain ran for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. He is a contributor to the a ARRA News Service and heads The Hermanator PAC which is focused on "Taking Back Our Government."
While Barack Obama might beat Herman Cain in one-on-one basketball, Obama could not hold a candle to Herman Cain in a Presidential debate. And Herman Cain knows the heart of the American people and knows how to creat jobs and run a large business without the government. With Cain in the race, there will be an elevation of discussions. Also, the liberals race card would be mute. Although some liberals have already called Herman an Uncle Tom and not really black. I think we need to be doing a lot of "raising Cain" - causing trouble or creating an uproar over Obama's policies and the liberal agenda. So, I am enthusiastically hanging a hat on peg supporting Herman Cain for President 2012.
If you would like to know more about Herman Cain, join me and others in encourage Herman Cain to run for office, visit the following link. You will not be disappointed; Cain will mentor you in ways to take on liberals and to put American back on the right track.
Herman Cain is everything that Barack Obama is not–a seasoned man of faith, patriotic conviction, an experienced business executive, a natural communicator that doesn’t need a teleprompter, a guy that doesn’t need to hide what he truly believes about America, the Constitution, the rule of law and limited government. - Cristy Li
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec 20, 2010 - McConnell, Kyl, Announce Opposition To START Treaty: A Flawed, Mishandled Treaty
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM and resumed consideration of the New START treaty, Treaty Doc. 111-5. Votes on amendments are possible today. At 2 PM, the Senate will enter closed session in the Old Senate Chamber to consider sensitive security issues in the START Treaty. When that debate is finished, the Senate will resume open session in the main Senate chamber.
On Saturday, Democrats failed to get cloture on H.R. 5281, the House-passed version of the DREAM Act, by a vote of 55-41.
Also Saturday, the Senate voted 63-33 to invoke cloture on H.R. 2965, the standalone House-passed bill to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law. Later in the day, the Senate voted 65-31 to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2965, which sent the bill repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law to the president for his signature.
Finally, the Senate on Saturday rejected by a vote of 37-59 an amendment to the START Treaty from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) removing language from the preamble of the treaty that links missile defense with offensive strategic nuclear weapons.
Yesterday, the Senate rejected an amendment to the START Treaty from Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) concerning tactical nuclear weapons by a vote of 32-60. Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on the START Treaty and on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to accompany HR 3082, the vehicle for the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through early March. Those two cloture votes are expected to be held Tuesday.
CNN reported yesterday, “Senate Republicans mounted a counter-attack Sunday against ratifying a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia this year, trying to put off a vote that Democrats say they will win if it is held. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky led the way, telling CNN's ‘State of the Union’ that members of his party need more time to consider the START accord. ‘I’ve decided I cannot support the treaty,’ McConnell said in his first outright rejection of ratifying the treaty during the current lame-duck session of Congress.”
Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Sen. McConnell explained his problems with the treaty. “First and foremost, a decision of this magnitude should not be decided under the pressure of a deadline. The American people don’t want us to squeeze our most important work into the final days of a session. They want us to take the time we need to make informed, responsible decisions. The Senate can do better than to have the consideration of a treaty interrupted by a series of controversial political items. So leaving aside for a moment any substantive concerns, and we have many, this is reason enough to delay a vote. No senator should be forced to make decisions like this so we can tick off another item on someone's political check list before the end of the year.”
Sen. McConnell pointed out that this treaty is another example of “the same cart-before-the-horse approach” the Obama administration has used on security and defense issues, where they rush into a policy and only later study the problem. For examples, he listed the White House’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay without a plan for what to do with the terrorists held there, the “the President’s rush to remove the Intelligence Community from interrogating captured terrorists, without any consideration as to how to deal with them,” and the rush to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
On the substance of the treaty, Sen. McConnell said,“[T]he New START Treaty does nothing to significantly reduce the Russian Federation’s stockpile of strategic arms, ignores the thousands of tactical weapons in the Russian arsenal, and contains an important concession linking missile defense to the strategic arms. We had to rush this treaty, according to the logic of the administration, because it had become an important component in the effort to ‘reset’ the bilateral relationship with the Russian Federation. It was brought up for debate prematurely because it was the first step in a pre-determined arms control agenda. The Senate’s constitutional role of advice and consent became an inconvenient impediment.”
Other key Republicans have voiced serious concerns about the START Treaty and the process by which Democrats are considering it. The New York Times writes, “The top two Senate Republicans declared Sunday that they would vote against President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Russia as the bipartisan spirit of last week’s tax-cut deal devolved into a sharp battle over national security in the waning days of the session. With some prominent Republicans angry over passage of legislation ending the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, the mood in the Senate turned increasingly divisive and Mr. Obama and Democratic lawmakers scrambled to hold together a coalition to approve the treaty.”
According to the NYT, “One Republican who had previously signaled willingness to support the treaty, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, suggested Sunday that he would not. Mr. Graham cited the sour mood engendered by Democrats forcing votes on other topics in recent days . . . . ‘If you really want to have a chance of passing Start, you better start over and do it in the next Congress because this lame duck has been poisoned,” Mr. Graham said on “Face the Nation’ on CBS. . . . [Senate Republican Whip Jon] Kyl, on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ said he would vote against the treaty unless it was amended. ‘This treaty needs to be fixed,’ he said.”
As Sen. McConnell concluded today, “Our top concern should be the safety and security of our nation, not some politician’s desire to declare a political victory and host a press conference before the first of the year. Americans have had more than enough of artificial timelines set by politicians eager for attention. They want us to focus on their concerns, not ours, and never more so than on matters of National Security.” Tags:US Senate, Washington, D.C., Start treaty,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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