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] - firstname.lastname@example.org (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Poisonous Gas Prices - Intentional Gas Price Increases
William Warren: Gas prices are rising and domestic energy restrictions are still in place…
Tags:Big Government, Domestic Energy, Energy Restrictions, Gas Prices, Middle East Turmoil, Political Cartoons, William Warren, eGOPNews, Rush Limbaugh, Erick Erickson, high gas prices, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Missouri McCaskill Opposes House GOP Efforts To Rein-In Spending
Missouri US Senator Claire McCaskill (D) plays "old time Democrat politics" and wants to cut defense and continues her "liberal speak."On MSNBC, McCaskill says she opposes House GOP efforts to rein-in spending. While avoiding the specific cuts that the citizens want immediately, she plays politics and proves again she has been both a failure as a US Senator and in representing the people of Missouri.
Last year, McCaskill told reporters today, “I am loyal to Obama.” As Jim Hoft note then, "McCaskill has ALWAYS been a dependable vote for the Obama-Pelosi regime." Now in 2011, when confronted by government big spending McCaskill continue to be the "water girl" for the liberals, the Reid-Obama Regime and the Obama agenda.
Tags:MO, Missouri, MSNBC, Claire McCaskill, Barack Obama, big spender, liberalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
A.F. Branco Joins ARRA News Service As Contributor
A.F. Branco: Self Portrait
Bill Smith, Editor: As regular readers know, I love to feature the art of William Warren who pokes fun at liberals progressives. But do you know what is even better? It is having more than one favorite cartoonist poking fun at liberals! One of my "other" favorites is Antonio F. (A. F., aka Tony) Branco who hails from Mount Vernon, Washington. He is a Christian conservative friend who has agreed to contribute his cartoons to the ARRA News Service.
Tony is like many of my "right-minded" friends. He wears the independent conservative label which affords him more freedom to lampoon moderate conservatives who wimp out on their responsibilities. It also allows him to carry conservative message to his more liberal friends in the art and music communities.
A.F. has been an artist most of his life principally working in graphic design. On Christmas of 2008, his wife, April, bought him an easel and acrylic paints and he started painting. He has continued painting what he likes and feels. Fortunately for us, as a conservative, he also shares his opinion on today's issues via political cartoons.
Branco is the epitome of the grassroots underground starving artist. As a young aspirant in the art world, the teacher kicked him out of his high school classroom because the blossoming artist didn't like drawing fruit. Readers may have had a similar experience as Branco. I for one found myself booted out of art classes as early as junior high for drawing - should I say it - "girls." Hey, if they had nurtured me, I might have been tempted away by the dark side (liberals) from my budding Christian beliefs and become a world class illustrator of "sex ed" textbooks. I digress, back to aka Tony, our newest contributor.
Branco, a veteran, attended college on the GI Bill and says that he "made it through a couple years of college before thinking better of it." Today, his liberal art and music friends don't quite know what to make of him. He hopes that everyone can find some facet of his work to enjoy. And yes, like most artists and "real" bloggers [those not working for the lame street press and being paid to act like bloggers], he appreciates donations / complements to sustain his work.
Bronco admits that he can't be "pigeon holed" and that he mentally resides somewhere between the Far Side and the Right Side of every issue. He sits at his desk, crafting the Comically Incorrect. After years of listening to the squeaky wheel of the left (or the worst wheel of the cart, as Benjamin Franklin put it) advance the cause of radicalism, he decided that he would use the power of his bully palette to advance the conservative movement. Since the dawn of the Republic, the art and humor of the political cartoon has been a way to sway those who might not otherwise be persuaded.
In April, 2010, he decided to do cartoons. He said that he was tired of "screaming at the TV set." He asked himself questions that many of today's conservative activists have or hopefully will ask themselves, "What can I do? What do I have to offer?" His conclusion, "Well, because I could draw since I was able to change my own dippers, I thought maybe that's an area where I could advance our cause."
Tony and the Tigers
Today, our newest contributor, A.F. Branco, now has over 9000 fans on his FaceBook Fan Page: "Freedom's Battle." If you are a conservative on facebook and have not "liked" his fan page, well just do it! His Cartoon website is "Comically Incorrect."
Before creating political cartoons, he was covering canvases with paint. To view photos of his paintings, visit his Art Gallery website. His paintings are registered with the Library of Congress. If you like his art, become a patron and order one of his prints.
Well this article would not be complete if we didn't mention Branco's musical talent. Before potential presidential contender Mike Huckabee had his band called the "Little Rockers", A.F. (Tony) was playing and still plays with "Tony and the Tigers." Mike and Tony even both play the bass guitar. Maybe Mike should invite Tony to the "Huckabee" show!
In closing, we hope you will enjoy A. F. [Anthony - aka Tony] Branco's political cartoons featured on the ARRA News Service. And, if you are still a conservative sitting on the sidelines, please follow Branco's wisdom: "Ask Yourself: What Can I Do With What I Got? Then Just Do It!" Tags:A.F. Branco, Tony Branco, Antonio Branco, artist, cartoons, political cartoons, conservative, Freedom's Battle, paintings, music, base guitar, Tony and The Tigers, Mike Huckabee, Little Rockers, ARRA News Service, Bill SmithTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
By Karin McQuillan, American Thinker: President Obama and the left wing of the Democratic Party think they are entitled to win. From our narcissistic President to screaming union organizers, they are puffed up with self-righteous zeal. They must have health care to save the sick, they must shut down Louisiana oil rigs to save the planet, they must defend government unions to save the middle class.
Of course, each side thinks they are right. Being right is no excuse. You have to abide by the law, you have to abide by elections, you have to respect the courts and constitutional separation of power, or else we no longer live in a democratic country. In our democracy, no one is entitled to win. If you won't lose, you cannot have democracy.
What you have are the Wisconsin Democrat senators who are unwilling to abide by the election results that put them in a minority. What you have is Reid and Pelosi, ramming Obamacare through by breaking rules of procedure, in order to flout the 2010 election results. What you have is the Obama White House, blocking Congress's right to confirm appointees, and openly ignoring federal courts. What you have is the Justice Department announcing it will no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in court, as if Obama gets to decide which laws are constitutional. What you have is a Democratic Party run amok, undercutting our democracy in the service of their own power.
The complacency, nay, the vociferous support, from Democrat leaders and the legacy media for this disregard for the rule of law reminds me of the old joke about the psychiatrist. A man is sent by his family to see a shrink because he thinks he's a chicken. After months of treatment, he is still clucking. The family asks the psychiatrist if he's told his patient he is not a chicken. "No," the psychiatrist admits. "Why not!" "Because I like the eggs."
The Democrats like the eggs. They like imposing their will, whether it be ObamaCare, or the off-shore drilling moratorium, or the blockage of Wisconsin's elected government. Are they really this short-sighted? Don't they understand the damage to our democratic system by these anti-democratic precedents? Do they really want to change congressional rules so that the House and the Senate version of bills no longer have to be reconciled, as they did to jam ObamaCare through by the fiction it was a finance bill? Do they really want the Interior Department ignoring federal court orders? Do they really want state senators refusing to accept that when you lose an election, the other side gets to pass their agenda?
Obama appointed extremists for important administrative positions, controversial and even creepy people, like Van Jones, whom he knew would not get past Congressional confirmation. The checks and balances between executive and legislative branch were instituted by our founders for this exact purpose. The executive nominates but Congress must confirm -- bedrock principles of American democracy. Obama's answer: flout the law. Call his appointees 'czars' and bypass confirmation. This is not legal and it is not democracy. Do the liberal legacy media and Obama's fellow Democrats want presidents to have this unlimited power? Do they really want to give up the safeguards of congressional confirmation by calling appointees czars? Czars indeed.
The White House is not only ignoring elections and subverting the power of Congress, it is also willing to disobey federal courts. When the health care bill was challenged in court and the administration lost, Obama ignored the ruling of Justice Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Florida. Judge Vinson declared the entire ObamaCare bill unconstitutional in a ruling that the judge stated was the equivalent of an injunction. The White House has not halted implementation. The White house has not followed normal rules to fast-track the appeal process so the Supreme Court can decide. Our White House seems entirely comfortable to show contempt of court.
In Louisiana, the administration didn't like a court ruling lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling, so what did the Obama administration do? It ignored the court. In response, on February 2, the U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman held the Department of Interior in contempt. The Administration then adopted a go slow policy and did not issue a single permit. So on February 21, Judge Feldman ordered the Obama administration to act on five deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days, calling the delays in issuing new decisions "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified." We have a White House that places its anti-energy policy above the rule of law. This is unacceptable in a democracy.
Democracy is a complex system based on cultural norms and principles as much as institutions. As we see governments topple in the context of resurgent jihadi movements in the Arab world, we are keenly aware that elections alone rarely lead to democracy. George Washington was an almost unique figure in the history of the world, in that he relinquished power. Our founding fathers were political geniuses who gave us a system of checks and balances to curb misuse of power by those who govern. As Americans, we are privileged to witness the recurring, orderly transfer of power from one administration to the next, through which voters get to determine the direction of their government and correct mistakes and imbalances.
We are seeing in both the Obama White House and the Wisconsin Senate that the Democratic Party is unwilling to lose. Over and over in the past two years, we have seen a Democrat administration willing to flout the courts, flout rules and regulations, and flout the voice of the people as expressed in elections.
Disregard for the democratic limits on power is as important as the administration's fiscal irresponsibility that threatens our prosperity, as important as the explosive growth of bureaucracy that threatens our liberties.
Our democracy cannot survive if only the Republican Party cares about it. It is time for centrist Democrats to throw off the power grab by the radical wing of their party and start defending the Constitution, as they have sworn to do. Tags:entitled part, democrats, Barack Obama, Wisconsin Democrats, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, blocking confirmation process, czars, ignoring Federal courts, DOJ, DOMA, violating US Constitution, Constitution, American ThinkerTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Dems Dally As People Lose Jobs; House Moves To Force POTUS and DOJ To Enforce DOMA
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 4, 2011:
No votes in the Senate. On Monday, the Senate will consider 3 district court judge nominations and then vote on cloture on S. 23, the patent reform bill. Yesterday, the Senate voted 87-13 to table an amendment to S. 23 from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have removed provisions transitioning the U.S. patent system from a “first to invent” system to a “first-to-file” a patent system.
Before addressing the gamesmanship by Sen, Harry Reid which continues to place America at risk, over in the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued a bold statement regarding the status of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the President's failure to uphold the laws of the United States.
In 2009, Barack Obama took an oath--witnessed in person by more than two million people--to defend the Constitution. Last week, he shrugged off that vow in plain sight of the country he swore to lead. The President unilaterally decided that America 's marriage law is unconstitutional and ordered his administration to stop defending at all costs.Then Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that DOJ Would abdicate its responsibility to fight for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by abandoning it in the courts. According to the DOJ's statement, "After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation... the Department has declined to defend a statute in cases, . . . where the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional ... "
The Speaker said: “I will convene a meeting of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group for the purpose of initiating action by the House to defend this law of the United States, which was enacted by a bipartisan vote in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. It is regrettable that the Obama Administration has opened this divisive issue at a time when Americans want their leaders to focus on jobs and the challenges facing our economy. The constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts -- not by the president unilaterally -- and this action by the House will ensure the matter is addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution.”
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group is a five-member panel consisting of the Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Leader, and Minority Whip. Under House rules, the advisory group has the authority to instruct the non-partisan office of the House General Counsel to take legal action on behalf of the House of Representatives.
Now back to the budget, The New York Times reports today, “As they opened negotiations with Republicans over budget cuts, the White House and Congressional Democrats on Thursday offered to trim an additional $6.5 billion from current spending, a figure far short of the Republican goal of cutting agency budgets by $61 billion.”
Indeed, the press widely acknowledged how far the White House proposal fell short of the cuts House Republicans passed. The Washington Post writes, “The White House proposal falls far short of the $61 billion the House voted last month to slash from current funding levels.” The Wall Street Journal says, “The White House proposal was a step in the direction of Republican budget-cutters, but a fraction of the $57 billion difference between the parties.” Politico notes, “This remains the heart of the standoff, and even with the added cuts the administration and congressional Democrats are still about $51 billion short of the reductions approved by the House for the remainder of the fiscal year.” And the AP writes, “The White House cuts fell well short of what resurgent Republicans are demanding but were seen by Democrats as an attempt to meet Republicans in the middle.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was less than impressed by the White House plan, calling it “unserious” in a floor speech this morning. “House Republicans have proposed a plan. It would reduce spending by $61 billion in this year’s budget. Earlier this week, we voted on a two-week piece of that bill that reduces spending by $4 billion. The White House’s proposal, as outlined by the President’s economic advisor yesterday, is to cut another $6 billion and call it a day. Even more outrageous, they say that this proposal meets us ‘halfway.’ I won’t get into their tortured justification. Suffice it to say that Politico says it requires Americans to ‘suspend disbelief.’”
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog wrote a whole piece on how “Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts.’” They went so far as to say, “Democrats are being disingenuous by suggesting they have already worked hard to reduce spending or to reach out to Republicans.” The blog explains, “When Democrats say they are meeting Republicans halfway, they are talking about ‘cuts’ from Obama's never-enacted 2011 budget. By the White House's math, they have proposed $41 billion in cuts from the 2011 budget, plus $4 billion in the latest stopgap measure, plus $6.5 billion in unspecified cuts announced Thursday, for a total of $51 billion. But there was no heavy lifting involved, and certainly little discrete examination of which programs to preserve and which ones to cut. It's lot like saying you are running a 100-yard dash, but starting on the 50-yard line.”
In fact, The Fact Checker blog writes, “Democrats have offered just over $10 billion -- the $4 billion in the stop gap measure and the $6.5 billion announced late Thursday. Republicans have proposed $61 billion, so the gap between the two parties remains wide indeed.”
As Leader McConnell said, “[A]mid all the fanfare yesterday, what the White House is proposing is little more than one more proposal to maintain the status quo — to give the appearance of action where there is none. This latest proposal is unacceptable, and it’s indefensible. The American people are tired of hearing the same tired talking points from ... Democrats. They want action. They want to cut spending to help create a better environment for job creation. It’s time for Washington Democrats to get serious.” Tags:US House, US Senate, White House, Washington, D.C., DOMA, DOJ, Federal Budget, Democrats, continuing resolutionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
As the following article notes, Newt Gingrich is "exploring" - seeking funding. With his record of arrogance, he is more than exploring. In all honesty, he may be better than Barack Obama, but can't “We the People” do better? I recall the Republican Revolution and how Newt let us down as House Speaker by his not staying focused and his pursuing his own agendas. He is a great guest speaker and the author of many books. He may challenge Obama well in debates. But to date, he has written books, asked piecing questions, formulated concepts, but he has only dabbled with solutions. As I remember, his last "elected" experience as Speaker of the House went from good to bad. Can he be the inspired leader that leads us back from the abyss?
Well those who have formally announced their intentions are trickling in… who do you think will pull the trigger next? . . . [Full Story] Tags:Hewt Gigrich, exploritory committee, presidential candidate, Republican, 2012To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by William Warren Today’s cartoon is about the Wisconsin Democrats (and those from other states, for that matter) that think Democracy means running away and hiding when things don’t go your way. Absolutely absurd.
According To The President, A $1 Trillion Stimulus Boondoggle And A Budget That Grows Debt To Over $20 Trillion Is ‘Living Within Our Means’
The Senate resumed consideration of S. 23, the patent reform bill. Votes on amendments are possible today. Yesterday evening, an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) expressing the senate of the Senate that Congress should pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution failed to get the 60 votes needed to be adopted. The vote was 58-40.
Today the House passed H.R. 4 - The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act - by a vote of 314- 112 (76 Democrats supporting). This act repealed the job-killing 1099 reporting mandate which required businesses to report to the IRS most business-to-business transactions totaling over $600 in a year from a business. This included all small businesses having to report even purchases from Wal-Mart, Staples, gas stations, etc.
The sponsor of the act Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA) said: “I am thrilled that H.R. 4 passed with such strong bipartisan support. It is my hope that the Senate will pass this bill without delay. We need to finally provide assurance to small business owners that they will not be subject to this unfair and unnecessary tax reporting burden. The small business community is the backbone of our nation’s economy and our country’s job making machine. Let’s stop imposing obstacles on those who make this country work.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), a former small business owner, praised the passage of this Pledge to America legislation "repealing ObamaCare’s job-destroying 1099 paperwork mandate. . . . Two hundred economists and experts have said ObamaCare’s maze of tax hikes, penalties, mandates, and deficit spending are ‘barriers to job growth.’ To help end some of the uncertainty that’s making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers, the House has already voted to repeal the full job-destroying health care law. We have also voted to defund it. By repealing the 1099 mandate, we are continuing to listen to the American people and taking another step towards creating a better environment for job creation in America.”
Yesterday, President Obama signed a bill keeping the government funding for two weeks that cuts spending by $4 billion after it passed both the House and Senate with large bipartisan majorities. Speaking on the Senate floor today, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell observed, “We’ve insisted on shrinking the size of government. And yesterday we delivered, by forcing the first actual cut in government spending in recent memory. While it was just a small, first step, yesterday we showed it’s possible to change the status quo in Washington. Not bad.”
Of course, this is only the beginning, and now it’s time to begin work on a bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, since Democrats failed to do so last year. But Republicans don’t run the government, and eyes naturally fell on the president to see if he would lead. Leader McConnell hasn’t seen much initiative from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue yet. He said today, “The White House responded to all this by announcing they wanted to have a meeting. And Republicans are happy to go. But putting a meeting on the schedule doesn’t change the fact that neither the White House nor a single Democrat in Congress has proposed a plan that would allow the government to remain open and that would respond to the voters by reining in spending.”
After he signed the short-term bill yesterday, President Obama said in a statement, “I’m calling on Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to begin meeting immediately with the Vice President, my Chief of Staff, and Budget Director so we can find common ground on a budget that makes sure we are living within our means.”
Meanwhile, Democrats, who control the Senate, still have not put forward a budget to deal with the rest of the current fiscal year, while they complain about the budget the House has produced. The New York Times writes today, “Republican leaders said they were already in talks with Democrats and the White House but would take part in budget meetings if they were invited. They noted that the Republican-led House had passed a $61 billion package of cuts covering the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year while the Democratic-controlled Senate had not produced any legislation beyond passing the temporary budget measure drafted by the House. ‘The House’s position is: We passed a bill. It’s out there,’ Speaker John A. Boehner said. ‘And I think it’s time for them to outline for us what’s their position to keep the government funded. We’ve done our work in the House.’”
The Times notes, “Contending with sharp internal splits about how far to go in cutting spending and a reluctance to show their hand, Senate Democrats have not made public any specifics on their ideas for cuts, frustrating Republicans who see themselves as making hard, substantive proposals with no corresponding effort in the Senate.”
As Leader McConnell pointed out, “The fact is, if Democrats had a plan of their own that would cut one dollar in spending I think we would have seen it by now. But we haven’t. Democrats have abdicated all responsibility for their own recklessness over the past two years. They’ve left it to us to do something about it. We made a step in the right direction yesterday after months of resistance on their part. Now we look forward to their plan. It’s time for Democrats to present a serious plan of their own that addresses this crisis. It’s time for Democrats to take the concerns of the American people seriously.”
In Conclusion, lets review the Presidents "Living Within Our Means" statement. And, I will not even revisit the extravagant waste on White House parties, entertainment, vacations, and global trips bowing before world leaders. Lets review:
PRESIDENT OBAMA YESTERDAY: “A Budget That Makes Sure We Are Living Within Our Means.” “That’s why I’m calling on Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to begin meeting immediately with the Vice President, my Chief of Staff, and Budget Director so we can find common ground on a budget that makes sure we are living within our means.” (The White House, Press Release, 3/2/11)
President Obama During Stimulus Roll Out: ‘We’ve Got To Get Serious About Living Within Our Means’
WHITE HOUSE BUDGET: Grows Debt To Over $20 Trillion Within 5 Years Table S-14. Federal Government Financing And Debt; Total, Gross Federal Debt Actual 2010:13,529 [Billion Dollars] 2011 Estimate:15,476 [Billion Dollars] 2012 Estimate:16,654 [Billion Dollars] 2013 Estimate:17,750 [Billion Dollars] 2014 Estimate:18,761 [Billion Dollars] 2015 Estimate:19,776 [Billion Dollars] 2016 Estimate:20,825 [Billion Dollars] 2017 Estimate:21,867 [Billion Dollars] 2018 Estimate:22,924 [Billion Dollars] 2019 Estimate:24,023 [Billion Dollars] 2020 Estimate:25,165 [Billion Dollars] 2021 Estimate:26,346 [Billion Dollars] (Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Of The U.S. Government Summary Tables, The White House, 2/14/10, P.203)
USA TODAY: “Obama’s Budget Ducks Tough Choices… He Whiffed." "President Obama likes to talk about those ‘Sputnik moments’ when the nation rises to difficult challenges like the one posed by the Soviet space program in the 1950s. On Monday, he had a chance to turn his federal budget proposal into his own such moment. He whiffed. … It's becoming hard not to conclude that Obama doesn't much care about the debt threat or has decided to wait until after the 2012 elections. Either would be a shame, and economically risky.” (Editorial, “Our View: Obama's Budget Ducks Tough Choices,” USA Today, 2/15/11)
To The Shores Of Tripoli: Empires Fell; Dictators Arose; Republicanism Prevails
Image by Getty Images Europe via @daylife
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: When my father was born, in 1910, 80% of the world was ruled by emperors. Only 13 years later four empires had been toppled and the British Empire’s descent became inevitable. Less than 100 years ago Lenin overthrew the Czar (a title derived from Caesar). Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand, precipitating World War I and leading to the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The great Atatürk transformed the Ottoman Empire into modern republican Turkey.
Humanity has experienced thousands of years of Empire but less than a century without emperors. Civilizations are massive. Culture changes slowly. The collapse of the imperial world led first to the rise of dictators rather than republicans. If World War I was the war to make the world “safe for democracy” it was, like so much President Wilson did, well meant but ineffectual.
America, its allies, and other anti-imperial forces, did bring about the collapse of empire. Emperors were however succeeded by dictators, not republicans: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao and others. It took World War II to bring democracy and human rights to Western Europe, and to Japan and to the world’s largest democracy, India. America was the force, intellectual and military, that brought this about.
It took American victory in the Cold War, World War III, led by Reagan and proclaimed by him at Moscow State University, to bring basic democracy and human rights to the former constituent republics of the USSR and to Eastern Europe. Victory brought republicanism to Latin America, no longer a venue of proxy wars dominated by military dictatorships, ruling juntas, and corporals’ coups. Latin America, in the wake of American victory in the Cold war, is a continent full, the atavistic despot Hugo “Huey Long” Chavez, aside, full of vibrant republics.
After the Cold War China, beginning with Deng Xiaoping, liberalized. China embraced capitalism and was moving toward democracy when the USSR broke up. China too is vulnerable to break up, which would be bad for China and for the world. China is far more fragile than it might seem. Moving from within a 6,000 year history China moves far more deliberately than the impetuous West. Yet China reveres Sun Yat-sen. Dr. Sun left an unambiguously republican testament. China leans toward reform.
Left behind, so far, is Africa, still struggling through its post-colonial period, shamefully neglected by the wealthy nations of the world. And left behind, of course, was the Middle East. The Middle East, except for our ally Israel, is the world’s last major refuge of kings and dictators.
It looked as if America went to Iraq to wage World War IV — removing its monstrous dictator in our epochal revolutionary spread of democracy and human rights, militantly bringing republicanism to the world’s last bastion of monarchs and dictators. Our effort to spread democracy and human rights throughout the region faltered. Many find it unsettling to watch an American president, Barack Obama, bowing low before monarchs like the King of Saudi Arabia.
World War IV seemed, as an advance for democracy and human rights, thwarted. Yet perhaps it is premature to say so. People inherently fear the motives of outsiders, particularly those of the world’s hyperpower, America. Now, exactly as it becomes clear that America is disengaging, rather than staying on as an occupying power, the citizens of the Middle East are taking a stand in, and for, their dignity. The “Arab Street” is demanding principled republican self-government.
There are no guarantees that the peoples of the Middle East will not end up either crushed or trading in authoritarian regimes for tyrannical ones. The Iranians went from the frying pan to the fire in trading the Shah for the Ayatollahs. But let’s put the ferment into its century-long trend. Empires fell; dictators arose; republicanism emerged and prevails. The people of the Middle East yearn to join the rest of the world in what my colleague, Jeffrey Bell, astutely termed “the age of equality.”
Americans almost take republican government and civil liberties for granted. These manifested only 232 years ago with the creation of the United States. It took America 75 years to grant the vote to African Americans. It took another 50 years to grant the vote to women. Today we still deny unborn children personhood and, marginalized as African Americans and women before them, still deprive them of the constitutional right to life. Yet America, exceptionally if imperfectly, has led and still leads the world.
America stands for a few simple principles: that all … are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
America’s creed defines the trend of history. The principles of the Declaration have transformed the world. This vision continues to transform the world toward unalienable rights, toward governments drawing legitimacy from securing these rights, and that governments draw their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Americans hold the people of Tunisia, of Egypt, of Bahrain, of Libya, as it holds people everywhere, firmly within our vision of unalienable rights and human dignity.
We hold these truths to be self evident that all … are created equal.
------------ Ralph Benko is a senior economics advisor to The American Principles Project and author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World. He is working on a new book, called "A Golden Age: the political consequences of the peace."The article which first appeared in the Forbes - Blogs was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko Tags:Ralph Benko, Tripoli, empires, dictators, history, world history, Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Americans, Republicanism, unalienable rightsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Conn Carroll, Heritage Foundation: Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a 345-page report detailing 34 major areas of wasteful government spending that Sen. Tom Coburn (R–OK) says could save the federal government $100 billion or more every year. Conservatives jumped on the news, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R–VA) office releasing a statement:“That is why House Republicans are hard at work cutting spending and getting our fiscal house in order – we need to prevent taxpayer dollars from being wasted and put Washington on a budget so we begin to live within our means and get people back to work”
Liberals, however, greeted the report with polite applause but then predicted nothing would come of it. Why is the left so uninterested in eliminating wasteful government spending? Why can’t progressive politicians agree to cut programs that even the GAO identifies as duplicative or ineffective? The answer can be found in the left’s reaction to two reports issued in the last weeks, one by bailed-out Goldman Sachs and the other by failed stimulus architect Mark Zandi.
On February 23, Goldman Sachs released a report purporting to show that the $61 billion in cuts in the House fiscal year 2011 spending bill would reduce economic spending by up to 2 percent this year. Not to be out done, Zandi released a report on February 28 purporting to show that the same $61 billion in cuts would cost 700,000 jobs through 2012. In stark contrast to the GAO report on wasteful government spending, liberals on Capitol Hill broadly promoted the findings of these two studies as proof that the House budget would harm the economic recovery.
But wait: How can the Zandi and Goldman studies claim that the spending cuts in the House budget will harm the economy if they came out before the GAO study identifying wasteful government spending? What if all, half, or just some of the spending cuts in the House budget are simply cuts to government waste? Surely these facts would change the outcome of Goldman’s and Zandi’s computer simulations, right? Wrong. The Goldman and Zandi reports have absolutely zero relationship to the real world. They both assume that all government spending, no matter how wasteful or duplicative, not only helps the economy grow but does so by large multipliers. This is the exact same thinking that led the Obama Administration to claim that their $1 trillion stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent when in fact unemployment rose to 10.1 percent. The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Riedl explains why government spending does not stimulate economic growth:
Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed. Every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.
Congress cannot create new purchasing power out of thin air. If it funds new spending with taxes, it is simply redistributing existing purchasing power (while decreasing incentives to produce income and output). If Congress instead borrows the money from domestic investors, those investors will have that much less to invest or to spend in the private economy. If they borrow the money from foreigners, the balance of payments will adjust by equally raising net imports, leaving total demand and output unchanged. Every dollar Congress spends must first come from somewhere else.
Conservatives believe that the federal government should have limited powers and that—beyond providing for the common defense and enforcing contracts— government should stay out of economic affairs as much as possible. Conservatives believe most federal spending is suspect and should be cut if it has not proven to be effective (such as on programs like COPS, FEMA fire grants, and Head Start). Progressives, on the other hand, see the federal government as a giant jobs program so that any cut to any federal program, no matter how ineffective or wasteful, would be a harm to the economy. If we are ever going to tackle our nation’s true budgetary problems—spending on the entitlement programs Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—we must first defeat the misguided idea that all government spending cuts are bad for the economy. Tags:GAO, government Waste, liberals, progressives,continuing resolution, federal spending, Morning Bell, Heritage Foundation, Conn CarrollTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Will Democrats join Republicans In Putting Our Fiscal House In Order?
Speaker Boehner's short-term plan to cut spending:
"If they [The Dems] won't eat the whole loaf at one
time, we'll make them eat it one slice at a time."
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 2, 2011:
Yesterday, the House voted 335-91 to pass H. J. Res. 44, a continuing resolution which funds the government through March 18th, with 104 Democrats voting with the Republican majority to cut $4 billion in spending. This morning, the Senate voted 91-9 to pass H. J. Res. 44. Following the vote, the Senate resumed consideration of S. 23, the patent reform bill.
Yesterday, 52 Democrats voted to kill an amendment attaching Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) Full Faith and Credit Act to the patent bill. The amendment would have prioritized payments to creditors in the event the debt ceiling was raised. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) added a provision to the amendment requiring Social Security payments also be prioritized, but Democrats voted the amendment down anyway. Earlier, the Senate voted 97-2 to approve a manager’s amendment to the patent bill.
ABC News reports, “The Senate today passed a stop-gap spending bill to avert a government shutdown at week’s end and buy lawmakers two more weeks to reach a long-term funding deal . . . . The Senate voted 91-9 to pass the two-week extension that would cut $4 billion in funding. The bill now goes to the White House for President Obama’s signature.
“Republicans touted the bill’s passage as a victory after Democrats ultimately relented in their efforts to pass a short-term bill with no cuts at all. ‘This is a long-awaited acknowledgment by Democrats in Congress that we have a spending problem around here,’ the Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell said on the chamber floor this morning. ‘It’s hard to believe when we’re spending $1.6 trillion more than we’re taking in a single year, that it would take this long to cut a penny in spending, but it’s progress nonetheless.’”
Indeed, today’s vote is certainly progress from last week, when Senate Democrat leaders trashed the very CR the Senate passed this morning, as the Washington Examiner’s Mark Tapscott points out today. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman called the bill cutting $4 billion “reckless,” and Majority Whip Dick Durbin said the proposal contained “irresponsible cuts” and that House Republicans “seem more interested in shutting down the government.” However, both Reid and Durbin voted to pass the bill today.
Passage of this short-term CR is a step in the right direction and a shift from spending ever more money that we don’t have to expand the size of government. We may see several short term Continuing Resolutions as long as Senate Democrats will not vote for the House Budget and spending cuts. But as Senator Boehner previously said," We have a moral responsibility to address the problems we face. That means working together to cut spending and rein in government—not shutting it down." Boehner said the shorter-term plan is a piecemeal approach to future cutting spending. "If they won't eat the whole loaf at one time, we'll make them eat it one slice at a time."
Unfortunately, in their press conference following passage of the short-term bill, Senate Democrats doubled down in their opposition to House Republicans’ bill to keep the government running for the rest of this fiscal year while cutting $61 billion in spending. Democrats just don’t seem to want to make the serious cuts needed to get government spending under control. According to The Washington Post, “Durbin told reporters after the vote that he was so personally opposed to some of the cuts that he planned to filibuster them if they reached the Senate, although he did elaborate on which specific cuts he would try to block. ‘I will tell you something. It's only going to speak personally, not for the caucus: some of the cuts that they have put in this budget I will never vote for; I will filibuster,’ Durbin said. ‘I just think they're an outrage, some of the things that they're doing with education and in research and science, I just think are awful. I mean, they literally took a hacksaw for brain surgery, as far as I'm concerned.’”
Even though Americans sent a clear message to Washington that the status quo of more government spending and ever higher debt and deficits is no longer acceptable, Democrats in Congress continue to oppose deeper spending cuts. As Leader McConnell said this morning, “We’ve got to stop spending money that we don’t have on more government, and calling it progress. Democrats have tried that. They’ve borrowed three trillion dollars over the past two years to expand the size and scope of government, and what’s it gotten us? Three million more lost jobs. So we’ve made some progress this week — a very small step, perhaps, but one in the right direction.”
Will Democrats join Republicans in putting our fiscal house in order, or will they continue to support the status quo of the last two years of spending more and more money we don’t have? Tags:US House, US Senate, Washington, D.C., CR, Continuing Resolution, spending cutsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
America's Last Living WWI Veteran Frank Buckles Dies at Age 110
Frank Buckles died yesterday, February, 28, 2011. He was America's last living veteran of World War I. With his passing, there are only two documented surviving veterans of The Great War left - 109-year-old Claude Choules and 110-year-old Florence Green, both of whom are British. Below is a story posted by the US Naval Institute:
Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of the First World War, has died just weeks after his 110th birthday. Born 1 February 1901, Buckles had lied about his age to join the Ambulance Corps, where he served on the Western Front. He was one of nearly 5 million Americans who would serve in that war, a war in which 118,000 US servicemen would be killed in action in a little over seven months of combat.
Between the wars, Buckles found himself in the Philippines, where, in 1941, he was captured as a civilian by the Japanese. He spent three years as a prisoner of the Japanese before being freed. Read the rest of the story.
And so America,s participation in the Great War, the unprecedented slaughter which perhaps more than any event still shapes Western consciousness, passes from the vivid color of eyewitness recollections of her veterans, into the sepia-toned images that populate the pages of history.
God rest the soul of Frank Buckles. His comrades await his presence no longer.
Tags:US, WWI, World War I, veteran, Frank Buckles, diesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Reince Priebus, Chairman, Republican National Committee: Democrats and their Big Labor Union Bosses have been subverting the democratic process, intimidating taxpayers and walking out on the job in order to secure generous taxpayer-funded benefits for themselves at a time when everyone else is cutting back.
Classrooms have been left empty and Democrat lawmakers in Wisconsin and Indiana are literally running away from their responsibilities -- fleeing their states instead of making the tough choices required to move our country forward. Enough is enough . Now is the time to stop Barack Obama's Union Bosses and to show your support for Republicans who are standing up for the taxpayers and middle class families.
It's no secret Barack Obama and his Democrat allies are in the pocket of the Union Bosses who work to secure special benefits at the expense of taxpayers:
- In 2008, Unions spent over $400 million to elect Obama and other Democrats.
- In 2010, Unions spent $280 million to elect Democrats nationwide.
- In 2010, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) alone spent $87.5 million to help elect Democrats. The head of AFSCME's political operations, Larry Scanlon, said at the time, "We're the big dog."
These Union Bosses have sent thousands of out-of-state union jack booted thugs into Wisconsin and Indiana to try and intimidate lawmakers and thwart the will of the people. Right now, Barack Obama is busy readying the nation's first billion dollar presidential campaign. The left-wing Union leadership will once again be right behind him -- lining his pockets every step of the way.
As the only Republican organization permitted by law to provide direct financial support to our next Republican presidential nominee, the RNC must lay the early foundation now for defeating President Obama and his well-funded army of entrenched liberal special interests in 2012.
The Oscar for the Worst Performance Goes To . . . Barack Hussein Obama
by William Warren: Today’s cartoon is themed around the Academy Awards and is a general critique of Obama’s lack of leadership on the global scene given all the turmoil in the Middle East and elsewhere. Also referenced is his hilarious Nobel Peace Prize.
Tags:Academy Awards, Obama's Foreign Policy, Obama's Global Leadership, Oscars, Political Cartoons, William Warren, Worst Performance Award, Barack Hussein Obama To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
New GAO Report Shows Billions In Government Waste, ‘Could Serve As A Template’ For Reducing Spending
Today in Washington, D.C. - March 1, 2011:
The Senate resumed consideration of S. 23, a patent reform bill. Yesterday, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm two district judge nominees in Georgia.
The House today approved (335-91) a stopgap measure that would keep the federal government funded through March 18 and cut $4 billion in spending by targeting programs that President Obama has already marked for elimination. The bill now goes to the Senate
Reuters wrote yesterday, “As lawmakers returned from a weeklong break, budget-cutting Republicans pressured President Barack Obama's Democrats to accept a proposal to trim $4 billion over the next two weeks by eliminating programs that Obama has also targeted. ‘This week, Democrats will have an opportunity to show that they've gotten the message,’ Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. ‘They can show they agree the time has come to change the status quo.’”
And Roll Call reports, “Senate Democrats appear poised to swallow the House GOP’s $4 billion spending cut package to avert a government shutdown this week but are trying to figure out how to avoid getting squeezed again in two weeks.”
So while some Democrats have suggested they could support the two week continuing resolution, they continue to resist larger cuts in our current levels of unsustainable government spending. As Bloomberg News notes, “The House, prodded by Republican members elected last year with the support of the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement, passed legislation Feb. 19 that would cut $61 billion in spending this year. That measure called for double-digit reductions in hundreds of government programs, which Senate Democrats said were too extreme and would threaten the economic recovery.” And the AP pointed out last week, “The broader GOP measure is laden with $61 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid and has provoked a veto threat from the White House and is dead-on-arrival with Senate Democrats.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained yesterday, Democrats’ attitude on spending is in sharp contrast with that of the American people. “Americans have been telling lawmakers for two years that business as usual simply will not cut it anymore. They want us to get our fiscal house in order and to start to create the right conditions for private sector job growth. . . . The message from the November elections is clear: stop spending money we don't have. Yet Democrat leaders persist in defending budgets that do just that well into the future.”
And yet every week there is a new story pointing out simply how much wasteful spending there is in the government, without even getting into deeper cuts. ABC News reports today, “With Congress currently embroiled in a contentious spending fight, a Congressional watchdog has found that a staggering level of duplication is plaguing the bloated federal budget – and chewing up billions of dollars in funding every year.” The Wall Street Journal adds, “A report from the nonpartisan [Government Accountability Office], to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending.” According to The Washington Post, the GAO writes, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.” And according to ABC, “‘Considering the amount of program dollars involved in the issues we have identified, even limited adjustments could result in significant savings,’ the GAO said.”
Americans sent a clear message to Washington: it’s time to stop spending money we don’t have. Democrats should support the short term House CR when it comes to a vote this week, but there’s so much more that can and must be cut.
‘A Staggering Level Of Duplication Is Plaguing The Bloated Federal Budget’
“The U.S. Government Has More Than 100 Programs Dealing With Surface Transportation Issues, 82 Monitoring Teacher Quality, 80 For Economic Development, 47 For Job Training, 20 Offices Or Programs Devoted To Homelessness And 17 Different Grant Programs For Disaster Preparedness.”Ibid
“Another 15 Agencies Or Offices Handle Food Safety, And Five Are Working To Ensure The Federal Government Uses Less Gasoline.”Ibid
“The Report Took Particular Aim At Government Funding For Surface Transportation, Including The Building Of Roads And Other Projects, Which The Administration Has Made A Major Part Of Its Push To Update The Country's Infrastructure.”Ibid
“The Report Said Five Divisions Within The Department Of Transportation Account For 100 Different Programs That Fund Things Like Highways, Rail Projects And Safety Programs.”Ibid
“The Report Says There Are 18 Federal Programs That Spent A Combined $62.5 Billion In 2008 On Food And Nutrition Assistance, But Little Is Known About The Effectiveness Of 11 Of These Programs Because They Haven't Been Well Studied.”Ibid
“The GAO Highlighted 80 Different Economic Development Programs At The Department Of Commerce, HUD, Department Of Agriculture And Small Business Administration, That Spent A Combined $6.5 Billion Last Year And Often Overlapped.”Ibid
GAO: Billions In Stimulus Relied On Distribution System That Is ‘Mired In The 1950s’
“Federal Transportation Issues Now Involve More Than 6,000 Workers At Five Agencies Within The Transportation Department, Running About 100 Separate Funding Streams For Highways, Transit Systems, Rail And Transportation Safety, The Report Said. The Overlap Costs An Estimated $58 Billion Annually.”Ibid
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) responded today previewing today’s House vote on yet another measure to keep the government running while cutting spending to help create a better environment for private-sector job growth: “In order to create a better environment for job creation, we must rein in out-of-control federal spending. Today, House Republicans will pass a responsible bill to keep the government open for two weeks while cutting $4 billion. After initially attacking this plan and opposing any spending cuts, Senator Reid and Senate Democrats have been forced to retreat. As Senator McConnell has said, there is now a clear path to finishing this short-term measure before Friday’s deadline."
It has been 10 days since the House passed H.R. 1 – legislation that makes common-sense spending cuts and keeps the government running through September – and the Senate still hasn’t passed a bill. Tags:Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, GAO, Harry Reid, spending cuts, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
‘Bunnies in a blender’ Anti-Planned Parenthood Ad Irks Pro-Abortion Advocates
A 30-second TV ad spot put out by American Life League features a cute bunny being plopped into a blender with the provocative tagline: “Imagine the government giving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year to a company that does this . . .
Consider that recent polls show that more than half of all Americans believe that abortion is murder so why would our government consider funding the top abortion provider in America in the first place? Planned Parenthood committed over 332,000 abortions in 2009. It's time to stop tax-payer funding of America's largest abortion chain.
Facts about Planned Parenthood:
1) Planned Parenthood runs the largest abortion chain in the nation. According to its annual reports, Planned Parenthood has ended each fiscal year since 1987 with a profit. In 2009, its profit was $63.4 million. That same year, it reported receiving $363.2 million from government grants and programs.
2) Planned Parenthood's business model is, indeed, abortion-centered—though it claims abortion is only 3 percent of its business. In reality, abortion generates 40.6 percent of Planned Parenthood's clinic income. According to Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who became pro-life, the organization imposes abortion quotason its clinics. Furthermore, over the next two years, Planned Parenthood will require every affiliate to have at least one clinic that offers abortions.
3) Planned Parenthood employees have been caught repeatedlyon video encouraging young people and their abusers to withhold information about their age and the age of their sexual partners so that it’s possible to avoid the mandatory reporting to law enforcement. Recently, Planned Parenthood staff members were caught on video collaborating with self-identified sex traffickers of young girls and coaching them on ways to profit off of these girls in the weeks following an abortion.
4) Planned Parenthood has been given billions in tax dollars, yet it lacks accountability for this money. A report from the Government Accountability Office gleaned from Planned Parenthood's Single Audit Act reports show that Planned Parenthood failed to account for $1.3 billion dollarsin government funding received between the years 2002-2008.
An organization capable of such atrocities and illegal activities should never receive funding from the government. It is imperative that you contact your Senators to tell them you will be watching their votes this week. Tags:abortion, planned parenthood, taxes, tax funded, stop funding planned parenthoodTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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