Friday, June 03, 2011
House Rebukes President Obama For Military Action In Libya
Update on yesterday's story Speaker Boehner Responds To President Obama's Failure To Obtain Congressional authorization For Use of Military in Libya - President Obama who goes around the country rebuking Americans, their elected officials, and the former administration was himself rebuked today by the US House. By a vote of 268-145, the resolution by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was past; 45 Democrats joining 223 Republicans in rebuking Democrat President Obama. The Washington Post said, "he House harshly scolded President Barack Obama on Friday for launching U.S. military forces against Libya without congressional approval, fiercely disputing constitutional powers and flashing bipartisan frustration over a nearly three-month-old conflict with no end in sight. . . .
Over White House objections, the House did adopt a resolution chastising Obama for failing to provide a “compelling rationale” for the Libyan mission and demanding answers in the next 14 days on the operation’s objective, its costs and its impact on the nation’s two other wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resolution, though non-binding, says U.S. ground forces must not be used in the conflict except to rescue an American service member."
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest who needs to read a copy of the Constitution responded, “It is the view of this administration that we’ve acted in accordance with the war powers act because of these regular consultations,”
Tags: US House, Speaker John Boehner, War Powers Act, Libya, President Obam, resolution To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
2012 Candidate Update & Jobs Report
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: 2012 Update
Worse yet, the government revised downward its job creation figures for March and April, so there were actually 40,000 fewer jobs created in those months than previously thought. This is bad news for job seekers, and bad news for America.
But it is potentially devastating news for President Obama. Liberal elites in Washington are in panic mode -- and with good reason. On Wednesday the New York Times sounded the alarm, writing, "No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent."
President Obama will no doubt blame the current state of the economy on George W. Bush. But Obama has been president for 864 days now, and it is hard to think of a single day of good economic news since Obama took office.
When Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.6%. Obama's stimulus bill was supposed to prevent the unemployment rate from exceeding 8%. We can see how well that has turned out.
Defeating an incumbent president is never easy. But do not despair, my friends. It is very difficult to make the case that Obama deserves reelection when his campaign cannot point to a single good day for the economy during his presidency. Everything he has done has failed.
Personnel Is Policy There is an old saying in Washington: "Personnel is policy." One explanation for why the economy is struggling is to look at the people Obama has appointed and the philosophy they bring with them into government. Consider the president's pick this week for Commerce Secretary, John Bryson.
Bryson is a co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a radical left-wing environmental group, and a big believer in Big Government mandates. Last year, he told an audience at the University of California at Berkeley, "Greenhouse gas legislation, either with a tax or with cap and trade … has the advantage of politically sort of hiding the fact that you have a tax -- but that's what you're trying to do." By the way, Obama's cap and trade bill would have amounted to a tax of nearly $1,800 a year on every American family.
But there's an even better way than taxes to get results. According to Bryson, government mandates force businesses to act immediately, rather than waiting for "market signals."
It is very telling with gas prices near record highs that Obama would appoint a radical environmentalist as Commerce Secretary. This may increase your pain at the pump.
But there's more. Several weeks ago, I provided a link to a video of Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), one of CWF's endorsed House freshmen, desperately trying to get a straight answer out of a top EPA official as to whether his agency even considers jobs when it conducts an economic analysis. Now we know why the EPA administrator was so evasive.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), another of our endorsed House freshmen, got a letter this week from the EPA claiming that it "is prohibited from considering costs" when it sets regulatory policies.
Wait a minute… Didn't President Obama issue an executive order requiring federal agencies to reevaluate anti-business regulations? If Obama were really concerned about job-killing regulations, he would not appoint someone like Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce! . . . [More Info]
Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.
Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, 2012 campaign, candidates, potential candidates GOP, jobs, jobs Report, personnel, policy, Obama administration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Speaker Boehner Responds To President Obama's Failure To Obtain Congressional authorization For Use of Military in Libya
"The American people and members on both sides of the aisle are concerned about questions that have gone unanswered regarding our mission in Libya. The President has failed to explain to the nation how this military action is consistent with U.S. national security goals and policy. In fact, this Administration has committed American resources to enforcing a U.N. resolution that is inconsistent with our stated policy goals and national interests when it comes to removing Muammar Qadafi from power. The resolution we will vote on tomorrow will enable members to clearly express the will of our constituents -- in a responsible way that reflects our commitments to our allies and our troops.
While today's action pitted two Ohio Representatives against each other on an issue that they were closer together than on most issues these days between Democrats and Republicans. While I seldom agreeing with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D, OH), he made some major points regarding the President's use of American Blood, Sweat and Resources in Libya where the U.S. did not have to intervene. The War Powers Act requires that when the President authorizes military action without approval from Congress, the President must stop the action within 60 days unless Congress approves the action or unless there was an a national emergency due to an attack on the U.S. Libya did not attack the U.S. And the 60 days have come and gone and the President seems to be taking the Jackson approach to ignoring both Congress and the Constitution.
Below is the full text of the proposed House resolution:
Declaring that the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya, and for other purposes.
SECTION 1. STATEMENTS OF POLICY.
The House of Representatives makes the following statements of policy:
(1) The United States Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the United States.
(2) The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya.
(3) The President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces in imminent danger.
SEC. 2. TRANSMITTAL OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH INFORMATION RELATING TO OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN AND OPERATION UNIFIED PROTECTOR.
The House of Representatives directs the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General, respectively, to transmit to the House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution, copies of any official document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication in the possession of each officer that was created on or after February 15, 2011, and refers or relates to—
(1) consultation or communication with Congress regarding the employment or deployment of the United States Armed Forces for Operation Odyssey Dawn or NATO Operation Unified Protector; or
(2) the War Powers Resolution and Operation Odyssey Dawn or Operation Unified Protector.
SEC. 3. REPORT TO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 3
(a) CONTENTS.—Not later than ___, 2011, the President shall transmit to Congress a report describing in detail United States security interests and objectives, and the activities of United States Armed Forces, in Libya since March 19, 2011, including a description of the following:
(1) The President’s justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force in Libya.
(2) United States political and military objectives regarding Libya, including the relationship between the intended objectives and the operational means being employed to achieve them.
(3) Changes in United States political and military objectives following the assumption of command by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
(4) Differences between United States political and military objectives regarding Libya and those of other NATO member states engaged in military activities.
(5) The specific commitments by the United States to ongoing NATO activities regarding Libya.
(6) The anticipated scope and duration of continued United States military involvement in support of NATO activities regarding Libya.
(7) The costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya as of June 3, 2011.
(8) The total projected costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya.
(9) The impact on United States activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(10) The role of the United States in the establishment of a political structure to succeed the current Libyan regime.
(11) An assessment of the current military capacity of opposition forces in Libya.
(12) An assessment of the ability of opposition forces in Libya to establish effective military and political control of Libya and a practicable timetable for accomplishing these objectives.
(13) An assessment of the consequences of a cessation of United States military activities on the viability of continued NATO operations regarding Libya and on the continued viability of groups opposing the Libyan regime.
(14) The composition and political agenda of the Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) and its representation of the views of the Libyan people as a whole.
(15) The criteria to be used to determine United States recognition of the ITNC as the representative of the Libyan people, including the role of current and former members of the existing regime.
(16) Financial resources currently available to opposition groups and United States plans to facilitate their access to seized assets of the Libyan regime and proceeds from the sale of Libyan petroleum.
(17) The relationship between the ITNC and the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests.
(18) Weapons acquired for use, and operations initiated, in Libya by the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests.
(19) The status of the 20,000 MANPADS cited by the Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, as well as Libya’s SCUD–Bs and chemical munitions, including mustard gas.
(20) Material, communication, coordination, financing and other forms of support between and among al-Qaeda operatives, its affiliates, and supporters in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa.
(21) Contributions by Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and other regional states in support of NATO activities in Libya.
(b) TRANSMITTAL.—The report required by this section shall be submitted in unclassified form, with a classified annex, as deemed necessary.
SEC. 4. FINDINGS.
The President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya. Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.
Tags: US, House, Speaker John Boehner, War Powers Act, Libya, President Obama, Dennis Kucinich, resolution To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Rep. Allen West Examines the 21st Century Battlefield
“We have the best soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen the world has ever known…but if they don’t have the right type of strategic goals and objectives, the right type of operational goals and direction that then filter down to the tactical level, it’s like a hamster—no matter how much exertion you are putting into that wheel, you are just not going anywhere.” Allen West
In the below speech, West identified four strategic goals he said should be the military’s focus:
Deny the enemy sanctuary.
Cut off the enemy’s flow of men, materials, and resources.
Win the information war.
Reduce the enemy’s sphere of influence.
by Bethany S. Murphy, Heritage Foundation: This week Rep. Allen West (R-FL) addressed a packed crowd at The Heritage Foundation to discuss how the battlefield in the 21st century has necessitated a change in military strategy. The speech was the closing event for Protect America Month, an annual series of events highlighting the importance of funding our military.
The Washington Post immediately posted their coverage of Rep. West’s remarks, noting:
In making the case for increased military spending, West, a retired Army veteran, drew upon several anecdotes from his 22 years of military service, telling the audience that at times, “my friends who were in tank units had to use golf carts to practice tank tactics.”Watch West’s full speech below.
Tags: Allen West, Florida, Representative. Retired Officer, US Army, Heritage Foundation, National Security and Defense, Protect America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Weiner Gate - Making Much Ado About Tweeted Appendage
by A.F. Branco:
Related News Stories on Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) alleged but denied Twitter of a suggestive photo. Why is Anthony Weienr so enamored with all things Anthony Weiner? Check out his twitter and who he follows; maybe you know someone who want to join his "lib squad": (Hat Tip eGOPNews for the following links.)
WaPo: Anthony Weiner’s plan to cool Twitter furor backfires
NYT: Lawmaker Denies Sending Suggestive Photo but Doesn’t Rule Out It’s of Him
NYT: Weiner Can’t Rule Out That Twitter Photo Is of Him
Wash Times: Rep. Weiner won’t deny Twitter photo isn’t him
WSJ: Weiner Fails to Quell Controversy Over Photo
NY Post: Rep. Weiner's just a bad liar - and that's the truth
DC: Wolf bites Weiner in interview: ‘You would know if this is your underpants, for example?’
NatJ: A Republican Surge In Weiner's District
Human Events: Weiner’s Mayoral Ambitions Twittering Away?
Ann Coulter: Weiner's Penis Photo Dispute To Be Settled In Small Claims Court
Dana Milbank: @RepWeiner beats a hasty retweet
Tags: A.F. Branco, political cartoon, Weiner Gate, Anthony Weiner, Twitter, photo, NY, Congressman To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Let Republican Voters Pick Their Nominee
Supporters of Ron Paul are counting, in part, on anti-war Democrats to secure the GOP nomination. At least seventeen contests, including the delegate-rich states of Michigan and Texas, and the all-important South Carolina, provide some sort of open-primary option for voters (Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee are among the others).
While crossing over to stir chaos and help nominate the weakest candidate on the other side has been employed by both major parties, as well as third parties, the fact remains that any Democrat who wants to vote in my party’s primary does not have our best interests at heart. In 2000, Democrats and independents elevated John McCain over the perceived more conservative George W. Bush, arguably costing resources that could have been banked for the general election.
Sadly, also, name recognition factors too highly in any party’s nominating process, though Democrats seem more likely to choose an up-and-comer (Carter, Clinton, Obama). Republicans, notoriously, pick the ‘next in line’ (namely Bob Dole and John McCain).
Professional prognosticators and bloviators color public perception, thus voters believe that Michele Bachmann is unelectable before the first votes have even been cast. It must be true because George Will and Charles Krauthammer say so. Bill O’Reilly, furthermore, has publicly declared Herman Cain not worthy of consideration in his near-nightly analyses, despite the fact that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO was declared the winner of the recent South Carolina debate by the Frank Luntz focus group and won an American Policy Summit straw poll (22 percent of 1600 votes cast) and an Iowa straw poll (42 votes to 16 for Newt Gingrich).
That is not to imply that GOP voters are incapable of independent thought, but the top-heavy nomination process leaves too many citizens without a voice. By the time North Carolina held its 2008 primary in early May, John McCain had already secured the nomination in March, leaving our votes not even worthy of a footnote, which means we must speak even louder, both verbally and with our contribution dollars.
We’re always hearing that Democrats are yearning for an Obama-Palin showdown because he would supposedly mop the floor with her in a debate, or that they long to see Gingrich nominated because he could be nailed for racism and hypocrisy.
Other liberals (and even some on the right) are advising that social conservatives should not compete for the nomination if the GOP is to stand a chance. Honestly, too much air time is wasted with whom liberals (be they commentators or ‘objective’ journalists) opine that the Republicans should nominate. Speaking as a lowly foot soldier in the conservative movement, just give me the facts. Give me the voting records. Give me the candidates themselves. I want political commentary to enhance my judgment, not to speak for me.
Whatever benefits one can derive from open primaries, the left still largely molds our nation’s political culture. “My party, my choice” makes a great rallying cry for Primary Season 2012. So, to liberals, keep your near hegemonic control of news dissemination and political thought, we’ll keep our ideological purity, thank you, and see who really connects with the American people.
*David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman in North Carolina, is a political Liberty Features Syndicated writer. He has been into politics his whole life as he ran for the State Legislator as both a Libertarian and a Republican. He currently resides and works in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Tags: 2012 GOP Nominee, GOP, primaries, Bill OReilly, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Main Stream Media, Ron Paul, republicans, democrats, liberals, progressives, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
End Run Around the Arkansas State Constitution on Apportionment
The following article was posted by Arkansas Watch Moderator Mike Moore. For Concerned Arkansans drop by their site and leave a comment. For other readers, What is going on in your state?
The April 7th edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette contained a quote about the redistricting process that did not get enough attention at the time...
"After voting to hire former secretary of state’s office attorney Joe Woodson Jr. of Little Rock as the board’s redistricting coordinator, the board voted 2-to-1 to give Woodson autonomy from any of the elected officials involved."The vote put Woodson in charge of most spending, along with the board website, scheduling, staff and the apportionment office.
What was behind the vote? Well the language of Article 8 of the Constitution gives the Secretary of State the most authority in the apportionment process, and the Secretary of State is a Republican (Mark Martin). So in a blatantly partisan move Beebe and McDaniel voted to not only hire as redistricting coordinator a man that Martin choose not to retain when he entered the Secretary of State's office, but voted over Martin's objection to give him "autonomy" from the redistricting board as well.
I see lots of problems with their partisan actions, not the least of which is that the language of State Constitution does not permit it. To whit, section 1 of article 8...
A Board to be known as "The Board of Apportionment," consisting of the Governor (who shall be Chairman), the Secretary of State and the Attorney General is hereby created and it shall be its imperative duty to make apportionment of representatives in accordance with the provisions hereof; the action of a majority in each instance shall be deemed the action of said boardThe Constitution specifies that the Board of Apportionment has an "imperative duty" to make the apportionment of representatives (the state legislative districts). By voting to give the "redistricting coordinator" - a position created by fiat and not even listed in the constitution, "autonomy from any of the elected officials involved" Beebe and McDaniel undo the clear intent of the article that the Board itself is to do these things. They cannot delegate this power to another authority and then declare it "autonomous" from members of the very board the article empowers to control the process!
Example: Our federal Congress has the power of the purse strings. All funding bills are to originate in the House by the letter of the Constitution. Congress does not have the authority to delegate its power to originate funding bills to the Senate, to the President, or to any "funding coordinator" which they might choose to name. They don't have the authority to delegate duties which the Constitution expressly gives to them. The same principle applies to the state constitution and the Board of Apportionment. Their constitutional authority does not give them the power to violate their constitutional authority.
This is a time-honored legal principle. Unfortunately Beebe and McDaniel are ignoring it and acting in an unprincipled manner. What is especially galling is their claim that they are doing this to "take the politics out of it" when in reality their actions simply serve to insulate the politics they are putting into it from the sterilizing force of daylight. And this violation is not a mere academic point. Your family will be living with the results of this process for a decade. We all see what they tried to do with the Fayetteville Finger. Will the people of this state be subjected to 135 such maps, drawn up in secrecy, rammed through without oversight, all in violation of the law?
Tags: Arkansas Watch, Arkansas, politics, Constitution, Apportionment, redistricting To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Liberal Media - Barkin' At The Bus
by A.F. Branco: Cartoon Commentary on the liberal media reaction to the Sarah Palin, and family, bus tour of patriot historical places.
Tags: A.F. Branco, Sarah Palin, bus trip, liberal media, political cartoon, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Majority Favor State Laws That Would Shut Down Repeat Offenders Who Hire Illegal Immigrants
- 61% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a law in their state that would shut down companies that knowingly and repeatedly hire illegal immigrants.
- 21% oppose such a law, and another 18% are undecided.
- 82% think businesses should be required to use the federal government’s E-Verify system to determine if a potential employee is in the country legally.
- 12% disagree and oppose such a requirement.
- 63% of voters also feel that landlords should be required to check and make sure a potential renter is in the country legally before renting them an apartment.
- 28% do not believe landlords should be required to make such checks.
Separate recent polling shows:
- 66% favor strict government sanctions against employees who hire illegal immigrants
- 51% support sanctions against those who rent or sell property to those who are in this country illegally. This is consistent with surveys for years.
Tags: Rasmussen Reports, illegal aliens, illegals, e-verify, renters To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
People's House Rejects Raising Debt Ceiling Without Real Spending Cuts
The US Government hit its debt ceiling on May 16 ($14.3 Trillion). That does not mean the government must stop operating but it does mean no more borrowing from foreign countries. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has other means of borrowing which does not count against the debt ceiling and has said he can keep the U.S. until August 2nd.
President Obama said he wanted a vote on the debt ceiling and he got it. Senate Democrat leaders wanted their members to vote for the increase but the Demcrat members knew the wishes of their voters. They also knew that a required 2/3 vote was required to pass this bill. So it remains unknown without their public statements why the voted no -- was it playing politics because they knew the bill would not pass with the Republicans holding form or were they also concerned about the National debt.
The key will be in future votes, when they are required to make cuts in spending to get the Republicans to vote yes on raising the debt ceiling. The Washington Post reports: "The vote came one day before the entire House GOP caucus is due to meet with Obama at the White House, the first such meeting since Republicans seized control of the House in the midterm elections last fall. Carney said Obama plans to listen to their concerns but will also underscore their duty to the nation by citing a letter that President Ronald Reagan sent to Capitol Hill demanding a debt limit increase in 1983." WPO added, "Meanwhile, debt-reduction talks between the White House and congressional leaders are already underway, led by Vice President Biden. Last week, Biden said the group is on track to produce an agreement that would trim at least $1 trillion from projected budget deficits over the next 10 to 12 years. That would be the biggest debt-reduction package since at least the start of the Clinton administration, when a Democratic Congress approved spending cuts and tax increases estimated to reduce deficits by $433 billion over five years."
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-01) said, "It is time for both parties to address how Washington spends taxpayer dollars,” said Congressman Rick Crawford. “I will not consider a vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we enact structural spending reforms to ensure we are not put in this position again. For decades, both parties voted to raise the debt ceiling unconditionally without a sense of consequence. It is time we change how Washington does business. Addressing our debt crisis by simply adding more debt is not the solution. I will not consider a vote to increase the debt ceiling unless we enact permanent structural reforms."
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-02) said, “Tonight, I voted ‘No’ to raising the national debt limit and will remain opposed to raising it without serious structural spending reform. Neither the President nor Senator Reid has a plan to deal with the federal government’s out-of-control spending, but the House does. They should adopt the House’s reforms to save Medicare, reduce spending and encourage private-sector job creation. I understand the gravity of what is at stake and addressing the root cause of the debt—out-of-control spending—is the only way forward.”
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR-03) said, "“I have said all along that the fiscal situation facing our nation is among our highest priorities in Congress. It is unconscionable to consider an increase in the debt ceiling without significant and guaranteed limits on federal spending. We cannot continue to add to the burden of future generations by ignoring our obligation to control spending.”
Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR-04) said, “I voted against raising the nation’s debt ceiling today because we’ve got to send a strong message that it’s past time to stop the out-of-control spending in Washington. Before I can support any increase in the debt ceiling, it must include meaningful spending cuts that will actually reduce our deficits without punishing America’s working families and seniors."
Key Facts on the U.S. Debt Limit
In the end, we are at greater risk to default under Washington’s charge card and excessive spending.
Tags: National, U.S. Debt Limit, US House, vote, debt facts To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Monday, May 30, 2011
We Can Never Say Thank You Enough
Remembering Our Veterans & Active Duty Military - Memorial Day 2011
ARRA News Service: Remembering Our Veterans & Active Duty Military
Please set it aside in reverence for all those who have served with honor and are now departed. And please join us for a moment of silence at 1500 hours your local time, for remembrance and prayer.
Revisit - Remembering Memorial Day 2009 [My Veteran Remembrance Story]
Thank You Soldiers - Veteran's Day/Memorial Day Song [Video 2010]
Tags: ARRA, ARRA News Service, veterans, Remembering, Memorial Day, 2011 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Obama Drives World Leaders to AAA meeting
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Monday marks Memorial Day, a national observance first known as Decoration Day. The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868, on the orders of General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Initially meant as a time to remember and honor our Civil War dead, the holiday's significance has been extended to honor all those who paid the ultimate price for our nation. This year, as they have done every year since 1948, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment will place flags at more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry will remain at Arlington National Cemetery throughout the holiday weekend making sure that the flags remain upright.
There will be similar observances at national cemeteries around the country. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will place candles at more than 15,000 graves at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Over time, Memorial Day weekend has become more of an occasion for relaxation than for reflection about our patriots' graves and the values for which they gave "the last full measure of devotion." This weekend, I hope that we can learn to do both -- relax and reflect.
Go the ballgame, have that picnic, hug your kids and have some fun at the beach. But let's also remind ourselves, and our children, about what happened at Concord Bridge, on the fields of Antietam and the beaches of Normandy. Let's explain to them why there was a Berlin Wall, what happened at Okinawa, at Ground Zero, over the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the price that was paid to stop fascism and Soviet communism.
Let's take a moment this weekend to teach our children and grandchildren to love the things we love, and honor the things we honor. Finally, let's remind ourselves as well as our children that all liberty is a gift from God, and that each generation has paid in flesh and blood to preserve it. As General George Patton said, "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
I invite you to tune in to the Patriot Channel on Sirius/XM Radio Monday. Throughout Memorial Day, the Patriot Channel will feature a tribute to our fallen heroes. A special Bauer & Rose Show will air from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM and re-air throughout the day. Tom and I will discuss Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Franklin Roosevelt's D-Day prayer and Ronald Reagan's Pointe du Hoc speech on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day.
Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.
Tags: Gary Bauer, Patriot Graves, memorial Day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Barack Obama: A Nixon, Not A Carter
The Obama administration is using the Labor Department to ram through something like Card Check (repeatedly failed to pass the Senate), the Environmental Protection Agency to impose something like Kyoto Treaty protocols (voted down by the Senate 95-0), the NLRB shutting down Boeing’s $2 billion Dreamliner factory in South Carolina and other initiatives, many of dubious constitutionality. It’s a lengthening list. My fellow columnist Charles Kadlec reviews a choice few “executive actions” this week here at Forbes.com. Don’t miss it!
Alarm bells really began sounding when the New York Times reported that the IRS is looking into reversing a 30-year-old policy to apply a gift tax to donors to social welfare organizations. There is almost no chance that this tax came from career staff alone.
Sen. Orin Hatch and five other members of the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to the IRS commissioner demanding an explanation. The IRS has a long and noble tradition of resisting White House efforts to politicize it. But politicians have, from time to time, misused the IRS.
President Nixon and his minions’ attempts to use the IRS against perceived political enemies is notorious. As noted by Stanley Kutler in The Wars of Watergate:
[White House Counsel John] Dean later prepared a memorandum.… The Service has been too “unresponsive and insensitive” to the White House. Commissioner Walters … appeared “oversensitive” in his concerns that IRS actions might be labeled political. That had to change, Dean said. … Walters “must be made to know that discreet political actions and investigations on behalf of the administration are a firm requirement and responsibility on his part. . . .” Finally, the inevitable rationale: the Democrats “used [IRS] most effectively. We have been unable.”The Democrats “used [the IRS] most effectively?” Of significance was the integrity shown by Treasury Secretary George Shultz, rebuffing White House pressure, and by IRS Commissioner Donald Alexander, whose obituary noted “… about 10 weeks into his job as commissioner, Mr. Alexander announced that he had shut down the Special Service Staff of the I.R.S., which had been investigating critics of Nixon and his Vietnam policies. That night Nixon made the first of several attempts to fire him. . . .”
Are Nixon-like abuses recurring? The evidence is only circumstantial. But what is known is troubling. It demands a close look … if only to dispel the suspicion that is settling upon the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS’ credibility lies in its hard earned reputation for integrity. It deserves to have its reputation cleared or, if its integrity has been violated, have Commissioner Alexander’s axiom that “political or social views are irrelevant to taxation” promptly restored.
1. The Evidence
The Senators’ letter sums up much of the circumstantial evidence:
President Obama and his White House staff have made it clear that they view these organizations with deep hostility. The President himself, in a heated political context, referred to certain 501(c)(4) organizations as “a threat to our democracy.” His White House Communications Director, Dan Pfeiffer, charged that the “powerful interests” supporting some of these organizations “are literally buying elections” . . . .The Senators are right. This tax appears as almost certainly constitutionally defective under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
2. The stakes:
The majority opinion in Citizens United held that “political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it, whether by design or inadvertence. Laws that burden political speech are ‘subject to strict scrutiny….’ … Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people.”
At the dawn of the Republic, in one of the most fundamental interpretations of the Constitution, Chief Justice John Marshall observed that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.” What to make of a federal agency that brings the “power to destroy” against “an essential mechanism of democracy?”
The timing of the effort to tax political speech itself seems odd, even suspicious. Come what may this “power to destroy” will be effective during the Obama campaign’s billion dollar re-election effort, chilling individuals from funding opposition groups. Coincidence?
3. The Inquiry
Who will get to the bottom of this? First, of course, is the mainstream media. Katherine Graham showed courage by allowing Ben Bradlee to dispatch Woodward and Bernstein to go after the abuses of the Nixon White House. We can but hope that her successor, son Donald, will rise to his late mother’s stature. Perhaps the Post, or its investigative peers, The New York Times (who scooped the Post in its own back yard on this one) and the Wall Street Journal, already are on this.
Also, this matter falls under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, and of the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Dave Camp (and its Oversight Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Boustany). These have the power and duty to look into what’s going on.
Federal agencies pursuing a potentially controversial policy shift follow an elaborate process. Typically there is a set of memoranda in a file jacket, against the left side of which is stapled a “concurrence chain.” This is to be initialed by all civil servants, career and appointed, “in the loop.”
At the top of the chain are the relevant political appointees. Sen. Hatch and colleagues do well to address the Commissioner, Douglas Schulman. He was appointed by President Bush and is presumptively innocent of politicization. But the Commissioner is an administrator not a policy maker.
The relevant officials are in the Treasury Department itself. Secretary Geithner’s reputation is, at least vicariously, involved. He might wish to initiate an internal review … before Congress does. Logically, acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Michael Mundaca, would know the facts. Mundaca appears to be a recess appointment … without Senate confirmation. A breach in the process?
Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin also might know something. Wolin, briefly, served as deputy counsel for economic policy in the Obama White House and thus has direct White House ties. Did he discuss this with the White House? Having served as General Counsel at the Treasury Department from 1999 to 2001 he knows how to get things done. His CIA background, not inherently sinister, is, yes, unsettling.
The upshot? President Obama is no Jimmy Carter. He is proving himself to be effective and even ruthless. Likening him to Nixon in no way implies crimes or any impeachable offense. It does suggest a certain Machiavellian ethos.
Constitutionalists of all parties, Left and Right, find having what looks like a “soft despot” in the Oval Office alarming. Obama is on track to rival Richard Milhous Nixon for that dubious status.
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." This article which first appeared in the Forbes was submitted by contributing author Ralph Benko to the editor of the ARRA News Service for reprint.
Tags: Ralph Benko, op-ed, politics, Barack Obama, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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