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Saturday, October 13, 2012
Obamacare: Medical & Political Malpractice
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: The health care reform law known as Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is Barack Obama's signature first-term accomplishment. Given the size and importance of America's health care industries, taking over our health care system has long been a major goal of the American left. Rep. John Dingell, Jr., (D-MI) introduced nationalized health care legislation every year for over fifty years. His father, Rep. John Dingell, Sr., began fighting for universal health care coverage in 1935.
Health care spending accounted for more than 17% of America's economy in 2009. Trillions of dollars are at stake. Control of our health care and all it entails -- our lives -- is at stake. And Rep. Dingell even said as much when he acknowledged that "...it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people."
In March 2009, Barack Obama and congressional Democrats began their latest attempt to socialize our health care system. They did so to the neglect of all else, including jobs and the economy. With the unemployment rate soaring to a 25-year high, health care "reform" was Barack Obama's top priority.
On Christmas Eve 2009, the Senate passed health care reform legislation on a party-line vote of 60 to 39. In March 2010, the House of Representatives passed Obamacare on a vote of 219 to 212. The most bipartisan aspect of the bill was the opposition to it. Not a single Republican voted for the bill in either chamber of Congress, and 34 House Democrats voted against it too. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on March 23, 2010.
To keep this report as brief as possible, we will focus on just a few of Obamacare's most obvious failures: Massive Tax Hikes, Rationing, Assaults On Liberty and Broken Promises.
Obamacare is loaded with tax increases. In fact, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare based on Congress' ability to impose taxes. According to the Heritage Foundation, there are at least 18 different tax increases contained in Obamacare totaling more than $830 billion over the next decade. That's $830 billion taken out of the private sector to fund a massive, new entitlement program at a time when the country is already trillions in debt.
These taxes will devastate job growth as those resources will be in the hands not of job creators, but rather government bureaucrats. In fact, Darden Restaurants (owners of Olive Garden and Red Lobster) recently announced that it was cutting back the time its hourly workers could be on the job. In a statement Darden said that the reduced hours were "one of many things we are evaluating to help us address the cost implications health care reform will have on our business." In this case, Obamacare means less work and less pay for hourly workers.
Five new tax increases take effect next year:
A new tax on medical devices ($20 billion)
Caps on Flexible Spending Accounts ($13 billion) -- This tax will hit families with children with special needs particularly hard.
3.8% tax on investment income ($113 billion)
Reduced Medical Itemized Deductions ($15 billion)
31% increase in Medicare Payroll Tax ($87 billion)
Obamacare will lead to rationing. The law establishes a 15-member board of unelected bureaucrats known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Dr. Donald Palmisano, former president of the American Medical Association, wrote an op-ed in March calling for the repeal of IPAB, referring to it as "one of the most egregious aspects of the law." Here's how Dr. Palmisano described the board: "IPAB will essentially mean rationed care for our nation's seniors. The 15 officials who will make up the board will not only be empowered to make what is expected to be billions of dollars' worth of cuts to Medicare every year, but will be required to do so when spending exceeds targeted rates.
"IPAB's recommended cuts will become law unless a supermajority in Congress vetoes the board's proposal and creates its own cost-cutting proposal of equal size -- an unlikely scenario even in the most harmonious of political times. …
"Now, years later, more seniors are beginning to understand that IPAB's creation and the $500 billion in cuts to the Medicare program meant to help pay for the law were anything but helpful to them."The IPAB was a way for Democrats to avoid taking responsibility for creating entitlements we can't afford. Rather than make tough choices, they passed the buck to an unelected board. In England, there is a similar board known as the National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness (NICE). This board routinely denies coverage of life-saving or pain-relieving drugs it determines are too expensive.
On March 22nd, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted 223-to-181 to repeal IPAB. Seven Democrats voted with the overwhelming majority of House Republicans to kill Obama's rationing board, proving once again that the only bi-partisan aspect of Obamacare is the opposition to it.
III. Assaults On Liberty
Obamacare represents an unprecedented assault on individual liberty. The law largely hinges on the individual mandate, and, as previously noted, the Supreme Court only upheld the mandate under Congress' power to impose taxes. The court rejected the constitutionality of every other argument for Obamacare, such as the regulation of interstate commerce. Obamacare is a tax, and it is a very unusual tax in that it is imposed on those who do not buy a specific product.
This is a dangerous precedent and a dangerous expansion of government power. It is not hard to argue that it would be in the national interest to protect and preserve the jobs associated with the domestic auto industry. Indeed, the government saw fit to invest tens of billions of dollars in the auto bailout. In the interest of securing that taxpayers' investment, could Congress impose taxes on individuals who fail to buy domestically produced automobiles? There seems to be few limits to this new authority.
Worse, Obamacare is now being enforced in ways that demand that churches, religious institutions and Christian-owned businesses violate their core values. In January 2012, the Obama Administration finalized an Obamacare mandate requiring almost all employers, including religious institutions and charities, to cover contraception, sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and other products or services that many faith-based organizations find morally objectionable. In response, Archbishop Timothy Dolan said: "To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. …The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs."Dolan was joined in his criticism of the mandate by leaders of evangelical, Protestant and Jewish organizations. Below are excerpts of statements by other religious organizations:
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: "This action by HHS will have the effect of forcing many religious organizations to choose between following the letter of the law and operating within the framework of their religious tenets."The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America: "In declining to expand the religious exemption within the healthcare reform law, the Obama Administration has disappointingly failed to respect the needs of religious organizations such as hospitals, social welfare organizations and more."The National Association of Evangelicals: "No government has the right to compel its citizens to violate their conscience. The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent."
An open letter from leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention:"The federal government's decision is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment's free exercise clause protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. … In the draft of the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779), [Thomas] Jefferson wrote, 'To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.' The Obama administration's mandate on contraception coverage is a blatant and outrageous encroachment on religious freedom."In May, scores of Catholic dioceses and other institutions filed a dozen federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the mandate. The lawsuits were joined by evangelical institutions such as Wheaton College, Biola University and Grace College. Potentially facing fines of more than $1 million a day, the Christian-owned-and-operated company Hobby Lobby joined the law suits in September. In Obama's America, health care reform comes with a very steep price in terms of taxes and freedom.
IV. OBAMA'S BROKEN PROMISES
In selling Obamacare to a skeptical public, Barack Obama and congressional Democrats made a lot of dubious promises. The worst were Obama's promise not to raise taxes on the middle class and his oft-repeated claim that if you like your current health insurance, you will be able to keep it.
In September 2009, Barack Obama was interviewed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos about the developing health care reform law. Consider this exchange: STEPHANOPOULOS: You were against the individual mandate during the campaign. Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don't. How is that not a tax?
OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. … If … you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's…
STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it's still a tax increase.
OBAMA: No. That's not true, George. For us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. …Right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy…
OBAMA: No, but -- but, George, you -- you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase. Any…
STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."
OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what…
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it's a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.Obama may have rejected the notion that his individual mandate was a tax increase, but it was the only notion that the Supreme Court accepted in order to uphold Obamacare's constitutionality. Moreover, Obamacare's honest defenders knew it was a tax increase and, unlike Barack Obama, they did not deny it.
In July 2010, the New York Times reported that one of the primary legal arguments used by the Obama Administration in defending the individual mandate in court was its constitutionality as a tax. Consider this excerpt:
"When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government's 'power to lay and collect taxes.' And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce."
In the same report, the New York Times quotes Professor Jack Balkin of Yale Law School, a strong supporter of ObamaCare who filed a brief defending the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Dr. Balkin put it bluntly, saying that President Obama "has not been honest with the American people about the nature of this bill. This bill is a tax. Because it's a tax, it's completely constitutional."
So what should we conclude? Did the president and congressional Democrats not know what was in the bill they were pushing? Or, as Professor Balkin suggests, did Obama know but choose to deceive George Stephanopoulos and the American people in order to win by any means necessary?
In 2014, Obamacare's individual mandate tax kicks in. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that six million Americans -- 50% more than initially estimated -- will be forced to pay this new tax for not purchasing health insurance. By 2016, the penalty will average $1,200, and 80% of those impacted will be individuals making less than $56,000 or families making less than $115,000 -- a clear violation of Obama's promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.
What about Obama's promise that you can keep the health insurance you have now? That too was a lie. Last month David Barr addressed a convention of franchisee owners in Washington, D.C., and told them how Obamacare would impact his business.
Barr has 421 employees, 109 are full-time. He currently pays $129,000 a year to provide health insurance. Under Obamacare, he estimates his costs will skyrocket to $440,000 -- "over half his annual profit." But Barr has another option. If he cancels his insurance policies and simply pays the fine, he's out $158,000 -- a savings of $282,000. What do you think most businesses faced with such a choice would do?
Major corporations like John Deere, Verizon and AT&T have crunched the numbers and determined that they are better off paying the fines rather than providing health insurance to their employees. For example, AT&T spends $2.4 billion a year on health insurance 300,000 employees. Obamacare's fines for not providing health insurance would amount to only $600 million if the company dropped its health insurance and dumped its employees into Obamacare's state exchanges. Thanks to Obamacare, AT&T estimated it could save nearly $1.8 billion a year by cancelling its health coverage.
Former Democrat Governor Philip Bredesen of Tennessee opposed Obamacare for the reasons outlined above. In an October 2010 editorial, Gov. Bredesen warned that Obamacare created perverse incentives for businesses and state governments to cancel their employee health insurance: "…we'll also have to pay a federal penalty of $2,000 for each employee because we no longer offer health insurance; that's another $86 million. … But if we keep our existing insurance plan, our cost will be $346 million. We can reduce our annual costs by over $146 million using the legislated mechanics of health reform to transfer them to the federal government. … Our thought experiment shows how the economics of dropping existing coverage is about to become very attractive to many employers, both public and private."According to a February 2011 survey by a management consultancy firm, 30% of employers were likely to drop health insurance coverage by 2014 due to Obamacare regulations. The survey found that "the number rises to 50 percent among employers who are highly aware of the health care law." No, you won't be able to keep your current health insurance.
This is not an accidental side effect. Barack Obama supports the socialist single-payer model and has spoken openly about phasing out employer-provided health insurance coverage. Obamacare was designed to destroy private health insurance and lead to a socialist, big government takeover of health care.
Lastly, Barack Obama repeatedly promised that his healthcare reform law would lower costs for the typical family by $2,500 per year. That has not happened. In fact, from 2008 to 2012 health care premiums have gone up $3,000.
Note: The 40 identified references are all linked to the source.
------------- Gary Baueris 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, Special Report, Obamacare, Medical Malpractice, political malpracticeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity:For the past eight weeks, three Americans for Prosperity buses have been on the road crisscrossing the nation on Obama's Failing Agenda Bus Tour. The mission of this 400+ city tour is to educate the American people on President Obama's failing economic policies, get citizens to sign our petition to the President, and send a message to Washington that it’s time to turn away from policies that have led to more debt, less opportunity, and fewer jobs.
All across the country, AFP has met thousands of amazing activists and seen firsthand how Obama’s big-government policies are impacting their communities. We’re proud to give you a first look at some of the highlights from the road so far. View our highlights Real.
It has been an amazing experience meeting many of our activists and hearing personal stories of how President Obama's economic agenda is hurting local communities and businesses. We’re finding that all across the country, American families still have to cut back on expenses and worry about employment. It’s troubling that so many are being directly impacted by these disastrous economic policies, which is why we’re more committed than ever to pushing for an end to Obama’s Failing Agenda.
It’s important that we all keep working hard to support economic freedom, and we need your help! AFP volunteers use our powerful Freedom Phones technology to make calls to their friends and neighbors, and go door-to-door sharing information and educating fellow citizens through our Prosperity Knocks program. If you’d like to make a difference and help preserve liberty, just click here to get involved! Tags:Obama's Failing Agenda, Tour, Americans For ProsperityTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Debate Between Obama’s Promises and His Record
Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: The usual spin from both sides declaring victory in the vice presidential debate underscores just how stunning and unusual Romney's blowout win in the first presidential debate was. That win up-ended the race and catapulted Romney into the lead in most national polls. President Obama, in turn, has reacted by shifting his campaign's central theme from the implausible claim that Romney is an extreme conservative to an accusation that he's a flip-flopper. But it is Obama who has a head-spinning record of, on issue after issue, doing the opposite of what he promised on the campaign trail in 2008.
Start with his signature domestic policy achievement: a law requiring all Americans to purchase government-defined health insurance or pay a penalty tax. In 2008, Obama said: "The main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton's plan is that she'd require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she'd 'go after' your wages if you don't." He said it over and over again, beating Hillary Clinton on his opposition to the mandate tax in the primary debates and using it against her in attack ads. Then as president he signed into law precisely what he won the election opposing.
This stunning reversal means millions of Americans will be forced to buy a product from giant private insurance companies, who presumably supported the bill for that reason. But it's hard to tell which special interests supported or opposed the health care bill, because contrary to the president's famous 2008 promise that "these negotiations will be on C-SPAN, and so the public will be part of the conversation," the health care bill was the product of corrupt backroom deals.
The mandate tax also broke Obama's famous campaign promise that "Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax, not any of your taxes." But that promise was already broken in Obama's first week in office, when he signed a $1 per pack cigarette tax hike — a tax paid overwhelmingly by people making less than $250,000.
In 2008 Obama also promised to eliminate capital gains taxes on investments in smaller businesses — instead he has slated capital gains taxes for investments in all businesses to jump from 15 percent this year to 23.8 percent on January 1.
In 2008 Obama promised to put Americans to work with "shovel-ready projects, rebuilding our roads, our bridges." Yet President Obama later acknowledged that "Shovel-ready was not as... uh... shovel-ready as we expected."
In 2008 Obama told us he opposed corporate welfare. He said we need to "cut back" a program called "the Export-Import Bank," or Ex-Im Bank, that he said had "become little more than a fund for corporate welfare." When Congress instead increased its funding by $40 billion, Obama signed the bill and said "congratulations on reauthorizing Ex-Im Bank to continue upon its extraordinary mission." Under Obama, that mission including a $2 billion loan guarantee to Brazilian oil giant Petrobras to drill off the coast of Brazil.
Offshore drilling here in America might be Obama's flippiest flop of all. He started the 2008 campaign against drilling, but flipped when the public outrage was crystallized during the summer's "Drill Here! Drill Now!" protests. Then he flopped back to opposing drilling, and his Interior Department set-aside an already-approved leasing plan immediately upon Obama taking office. Then he flipped again, in March 2010 announcing an offshore drilling plan. The New York Times headline was "Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for the First Time." That plan never was implemented, and by December 2010 the New York Times ran the headline: "White House rescinds plan to expand drilling." Virginians were especially outraged, because the canceled lease sale off the Virginia coast would have created 10,000 jobs and had strong bipartisan support in the state.
RSC Chairman Jim Jordan: Sequester Better Than Nothing
Rep. Jim Jordan
By Jonathan Strong, Roll Call: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the Republican Study Committee and a leading House conservative, is drawing a firm line over looming automatic spending cuts, saying that while slashing the defense budget is undesirable, it is better than nothing.
“I would say the only thing that’s worse than cutting national defense is not having any scheduled cuts at all take place,” the Ohio lawmaker said in a C-SPAN “Newsmakers” interview scheduled to air Sunday. Jordan separately noted he remains adamantly opposed to raising tax rates.
Jordan’s remarks stand in contrast to the warnings from Republican hawks, mostly in the Senate, who have been sounding the alarm that the cuts would be too “devastating” to the Defense Department, in the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
But there is no serious movement afoot among Republicans, either in the House or Senate, to simply suspend the cuts in sequestration, which was part of last year’s bipartisan debt ceiling deal and is scheduled to go into effect because last year’s debt-cutting super committee failed to produce a plan.
One senior GOP aide said even senior GOP hawks concede a “straight punt” isn’t on the table. A second aide said only a “small minority” of House Republicans would vote to suspend the cuts without corresponding replacement cuts.
Claude Chafin, a spokesman for House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), said McKeon “has long since lost patience with hypothetical situations, hypothetical solutions, hypothetical cuts and hypothetical revenue raisers. It’s time for someone to put something on paper like the House has,” referring to legislation the chamber passed to replace the defense cuts with deeper cuts to domestic spending.
McKeon, Chafin said, has been pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to pass “anything” he can out of the Senate, saying differences could be hammered out in a conference committee.
Though most Republicans are aghast at the defense cuts that are scheduled to begin going into effect Jan. 2, suspending them would mean sacrificing most of the progress they made on spending cuts from a drawn-out, polarizing standoff over the debt ceiling last summer.
“Remember what took place last summer in this debt ceiling bill,” Jordan said in the C-SPAN interview. “The day after the debt ceiling agreement passed, the [stock] market dropped over 500 points. Two days later, we got downgraded. A week later, the market had dropped a total of 13,00 points. The super committee that was supposed to solve everything completely fell apart, like many of us figured it would.”
If the sequestration cuts were suspended, “then think about this: The only thing the taxpayers will have really gotten out of that deal last summer is $2.4 trillion more in debt,” Jordan said.
Although suspending the defense cuts by themselves is not an option under serious consideration, defense hawks such as McKeon will likely be much more flexible on what they would trade to eliminate the cuts, leading to tension within the Republican Conference.
In particular, as Jordan said, the right flank of the party didn’t vote for the debt ceiling deal or believe the super committee would work to keep the sequestration cuts from happening.
Some of those conservatives are “baffled at how some of the Members most vocal in calling for a turnoff of the sequester are ones who voted to put the sequester into law in the first place,” the second GOP aide said.
------------------- This article was provided to the ARRA News Service on behalf of Rep. Jim Jordan by the Communications Director, The House Republican Study Committee. Tags:Roll Call, Jim Jordan, House Republican Study Committee, Sequester, Defense, Lack of spending cuts, spending reductions, more debt, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
"If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. . . Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone."
While Westgate has never been more profitable, the company has 5,000 fewer workers than in 2007. Siegel said that if Obama is re-elected and imposes Obamacare and higher taxes, he may just have to let more of his remaining 7,000 workers go. He said he might even shut down the company.
"I want my employees to be educated on what could happen to their future . . .
"The combination of Obamacare and taxes would be a disaster; I would probably just call it a day and that would be a disaster." . . .
Tags:the economy, high taxes, business costs, jobs, Obama administration, David Siegel, CEO, Westgate Resorts, notice to employees, potential layoffs, NFRA, National Federation Republican AssembliesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:William Warren, editorial cartoon, President Obama, man behind the narrative, the real Obama, liberal media To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Vice Presidential Debate: Paul Ryan addressed the facts.
"One Heartbeat From the Presidency" Joe Biden Played Joker.
25 DAYS TO THE 2012 ELECTIONS -- 79 DAYS TO TAXMAGEDDON
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Biden's Big Lie - There's a lot I could write about last night's debate -- Biden's defense of big government, his refusal to offer specifics on entitlement reform, his false statement about Obamacare not harming religious liberty, etc. But here is what I believe could be the most important development: Vice President Biden made a serious mistake right out of the gate with his response to the very first question regarding the Benghazi attack.
First Biden tried to blame Paul Ryan, saying, "The congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million." The Ryan budget never became law, so whatever cuts Paul Ryan proposed to the State Department's budget had no impact on the situation in Libya. What did affect the situation there were the decisions made by the Obama/Biden Administration.
When pressed about the facts of the attack, Biden threw the intelligence community under the bus and added, "We weren't told they wanted more security again. We did not know they wanted more security again." Obviously, the vice president wasn't paying attention to the hearings on Capitol Hill yesterday. The embassy repeatedly begged for more security. And as for the intelligence, there were reports that the administration knew within 24 hours that the attack had nothing to do with a video -- a lie Obama, Biden and others continued to push for days!
This morning, liberal reporters for CBS and TIME expressed concern that Biden's remarks last night "could spell trouble for the administration." Even commentators on CNBC, a financial network, were talking about Biden's bizarre answers on Libya.
Yesterday's hearings on Capitol Hill focused on the lack of security at the Benghazi consulate. Given Vice President Biden's statements last night, I think we need additional hearings to find out exactly what the president knew and when he knew it. Members of the intelligence community should be given the opportunity to set the record straight. The American people deserve answers, and we are not getting them from the Obama/Biden Administration.
Ryan Wins - Politico reports that two of three post-debate polls -- CNBC and CNN -- declared Rep. Paul Ryan the winner of last night's vice presidential debate. A CBS poll gave the advantage to Vice President Joe Biden. But the vice president is getting a lot of flak for his demeanor. Consider some of these remarks:
CNN's Gloria Borger: "He was condescending at times to Paul Ryan. I think I could have done with a lot less eye-rolling and chuckling on the part of Joe Biden."
Fox's Chris Wallace: "I don't believe I've ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight. It was openly contemptuous and disrespectful."
Fox's Brit Hume: "It looked like a cranky old man to some extent debating a polite young man."
NBC's David Gregory: "The smile, the laugh. I think a lot of people maybe view that and think that he was a little too hot, too aggressive, maybe condescending."
The Republican National Committee seized on Biden's over-the-top antics and released a web ad titled, "Laughing At The Issues." The tag line is great: "Vice President Biden is laughing … are you?" And when Biden wasn't laughing at Paul Ryan, he was interrupting him. Biden interrupted Ryan 82 times during a 90-minute debate!
A number of our loyal readers have shared a verse from Proverbs with me, which sums up last night's debate well, "If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet."
Romney And The Grahams - Governor Mitt Romney met with legendary evangelist Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham yesterday. The men discussed religious freedom issues at home and religious persecution abroad. At the end of their time together, Reverend Billy Graham told Governor Romney, "I'll do all I can to help you."
This meeting, four weeks away from the election, sends a clear signal to America's evangelical community. While the Grahams and Gov. Romney disagree on theology, they share much when it comes to values and public policy, especially compared to the current occupant of the Oval Office, who is trying to redefine marriage, promoting abortion-on-demand and using the power of big government to force religious institutions and Christian businesses to violate their values. -------------
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, Vice Presidential Debate, election 2012, Joe Biden, big lie, PAul Ryan win, Bill Graham, endorses Mitt Romney, editorial cartoon, A.F. Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
VP Debate: Joe Biden’s Three Most Misleading Foreign Policy Statements
Heritage Investigates: During Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden made numerous misleading or outright inaccurate claims regarding American foreign policy and the Obama administration’s performance on that front.
Attacks against Americans and American diplomatic facilities in North Africa – most notably Libya, where U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed – have thrust foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential contest. Biden’s claims on that front, then, merit particular attention.
Here are Biden’s three most factually-challenged foreign policy claims from Thursday’s debate.
Biden falsely claims he did not vote to invade Afghanistan or Iraq
In what was at best a serious misstatement and at worst a flat out lie, Biden claimed that he voted against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Senator. In fact, he voted for both.
“I was there, I voted against them,” Biden said of the wars. “I said, ‘no, we can’t afford that.’” In reality, Biden voted for the congressional resolutions authorizing the use of force in Afghanistan – on September 14, 2001 – and Iraq – on October 11, 2002.
Biden contradicts State, blames intelligence community for Libya misinformation
Biden flatly contradicted his own State Department in claiming that initial intelligence after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi indicated that the violence was a response to an obscure YouTube video.
State Department officials say that they never concluded the attack was a spontaneous protest against the video. They made that clear in a late-night conference call with reporters on Tuesday, and reiterated the point the following day at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.
But Biden attributed the White House’s false statements (it has since retracted its initial characterizations of the attacks) to unnamed intelligence sources. “The intelligence community told us that,” he told debate moderator Martha Raddatz.
So who’s right, Biden or State? According to a report from the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake, who cited three sources in the intelligence community, “U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers” within 24 hours of the Benghazi attacks.
Biden claims the administration didn’t know the Benghazi consulate requested greater security, again contradicting State
“Anyone who paid attention to a hearing in Congress this week knew that the administration had been implored to beef up security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya before the deadly terrorist attack there,” wrote the Associated Press on Friday. “But in the vice presidential debate Thursday night, Joe Biden seemed unaware.”
Indeed, the day before the debate, Eric Nordstrom, the former chief security officer in Libya, told Oversight that his entire team was “in sync that we wanted these resources.”
What’s more, State has admitted that they received – and denied – requests for additional security. “Senior State Department officials acknowledged to Congress on Wednesday that they had turned down requests to send more U.S. military personnel to guard diplomatic facilities in Libya shortly before the Sept. 11 attack,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
On Friday, a White House national security official was forced to state that Biden does not speak for the administration on this issue. Tags:Afghanistan, Beghazi, debate 2012, fact check, foreign policy, iraq, Joe Biden, Libya, State DepartmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Letter to the Editor - by Norm Beznoska Jr, Strongsville, OH : Remember November 5, 2009, when Major Nidal Hasan murdered 13 brave American soldiers, one who was pregnant, and wounded another thirty at Fort Hood,Texas, while screaming "Allahu Akbar"? According to President Obama and his hireling, Eric "The Contemptible" Holder, it wasn't an "act of terrorism", but "workplace violence". Workplace violence? When an avowed Islamic fanatic and coward shoots 43 Americans down in cold blood?
To add insult to injury, Obama told the victims families, he would VETO any bill passed by the Republicans to grant Purple Hearts and combat benefits to these American soldiers who died, or were wounded defending their country at home at the hands of a Muslim madman.
I pray Governor Romney asks Obama "why" in their next debate he, Obama, and the Department of Defense, have no problem paying the murderer, Major Hasan, $6,000 in military pay per month, AND an annual bonus of $15,000, but refuses to sign a Republican bill authorizing combat benefits and Purple Hearts to our own American soldiers, victims of another Islamic Act of Terror. As despicable as this act of cowardice was, Obama's and the Defense Department's classification of it as "workplace violence" is even MORE DESPICABLE! Tags:Letter to the Editor, Fort Hood, murder, workplace violence, President Obama, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today, The AP reports, “The U.S. trade deficit widened in August as exports fell to the lowest level in six months, a worrisome sign that a slowing global economy is cutting into demand for U.S. goods. The deficit increased to $44.2 billion in August, the biggest gap since May and a 4.1 percent increase from July, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Exports dropped 1 percent to $181.3 billion. Demand for American-made cars and farm goods declined. Imports edged down a slight 0.1 percent to $225.5 billion as purchases of foreign-made autos, aircraft and heavy machinery fell. The cost of oil imports rose sharply.”
The story notes, “A wider trade deficit acts as a drag on growth because it means the U.S. is earning less on overseas sales of American-produced goods while spending more on foreign products. . . . U.S. economic growth slowed to an annual rate of just 1.3 percent in the April-June quarter. Most economists don't expect the economy to grow much more than 2 percent for the rest of the year.”
With the economy continuing to limp along, now is not the time to raise taxes. Yet, once again a top Senate Democrat has signaled his insistence on tax increases at the end of the year.
Politico explained, “Lawmakers from both parties are approaching a tax code overhaul in remarkably similar ways: tossing out or limiting current tax provisions to help bring down marginal rates for everyone. Not Chuck Schumer. The New York Democrat outlined a very different path Tuesday when he argued that lawmakers should use the lame-duck session to raise tax rates on top earners, end some deductions, [and] increase taxes on investments . . . . If embraced by other Democrats, Schumer’s approach would represent a hardening of the party’s position on taxes and could complicate the prospects for a bipartisan deal before year’s end to avoid the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and the start of automatic budget cuts.”
Back in 2010, when the President Obama signed an extension of all current tax rates, he said tax hikes “would have been a blow to our economy.” But the economy remains weaker than when the president agreed that it would be a bad time to raise taxes. And. now Senate Democrat leaders remain committed to a political strategy of doubling down on their demands for tax increases. It is as if we have an insane asylum run by the insane seeking the economic destruction of America.
ICYMI: White House Disinformation Campaign on Libya
Update 10/11/2012 — Krauthammer On Libya Cover Up: "There are two scandals going on. The first is the coverup. We now know, and they knew earlier there was no mob, there was no demonstration, there was no incentive about the video. It was all a completely false story. This was simply an attack of our men who infiltrated and killed our people. . . . The second scandal is the lack of security at the site . . . . It was under the theory which starts with Obama at the beginning; we don't want to be intruders in the area, we don't want to be oppositional, we don't want to have a fortress in America, we don't want to look imperialist. We want to blend in with the people and help them build. That's a noble aspiration and that was the motive for having very light security, but it was a catastrophically wrong decision to do it in Benghazi in a no man's land in Dodge City and it cost us the lives of the Ambassador and three other Americans." -------------------
Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false. ~ Wikepedia
Disinformation Specialist: Susan Rice
An Incriminating Timeline: New evidence shows there were security threats in Benghazi, Libya, in the months prior to the deadly September 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Despite these threats, the Obama Administration and State Department left its personnel there to fend for themselves.
And then the White House carried out a Disinformation Campaign. Why did they see the need for these lies? Reminds those that lived during the Nixon administration of the Nixon scandal but this time the coverup also attempted to transfer blame for four dead Americans to anywhere but the White House and the State Department. At least President Nixon stepped down from office.
The below video isn't filled innuendos. It instead displays public false statements by our present leaders and a vast amount of disinformation delivered to the American people from the Obama Administration. Major public officials participating in this disinformation verses easily dismissible staffers displays a breakdown in the Obama administration and a willingness by the Obama administration at the highest levels to attempt to deceive the American public demeans the republic and its citizens. As a result of these clear false statements, several members of Congress returned to start Congressional hearing on Libya today
Tags:Benghazi, Libya, security threats, dead Americans, Obama administration, coverup, leaders, Obama administration, falsehoods, disinformation, congressional hearingsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The New York Times reported yesterday, “Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat, threw cold water on Tuesday on one emerging approach for striking a bipartisan deficit-reduction deal — an overhaul of the tax code that lowers top income tax rates but raises more revenue. Mr. Schumer’s position complicates efforts to seal a deal before January, when the ‘fiscal cliff’ of tax increases and automatic spending cuts goes into effect.”
ABC News added, “In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Schumer shot down the plan that is currently being negotiated by small groups of lawmakers behind closed doors. That plan embraces the tax reform model of lowering tax rates for all and closing loopholes. . . . Everyone from the president’s fiscal commission – more commonly known as the Bowle’s Simpson commission to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney have championed some version of this type of ‘lower the rates, broaden the base’ reform. But Schumer said today the version being negotiated on Capitol Hill needs to be flat-out scrapped.”
And Politico points out, “It’s a dramatic departure from the 1986 rate-lowering method of tax reform that congressional tax writers have spent the past several years trying to replicate. It’s also a rejection of the type of tax code overhaul endorsed by groups such as the Simpson-Bowles commission and the Gang of Six. If embraced by other Democrats, Schumer’s approach would represent a hardening of the party’s position on taxes and could complicate the prospects for a bipartisan deal before year’s end to avoid the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and the start of automatic budget cuts.”
So once again, a top Senate Democrat has taken the position that raising taxes is apparently the most important thing to the majority party in the Senate. Senate Democrats are so determined to raise taxes, they’re putting it ahead of economic considerations and bipartisan tax reform ideas.
Responding to Schumer’s retrenchment on tax increases, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Sen. Schumer is now the second member of the Senate Democrat leadership to endorse ‘Thelma and Louise economics.’ Senior Democrats are now openly acknowledging their plan to hold the economy hostage to massive, job-killing tax hikes, and espousing the fiscally irresponsible view that says the country should be driven off the fiscal cliff rather than Congress working toward bipartisan solutions to reform and strengthen entitlements without killing jobs. And he admits that Democrats don’t intend to reform entitlements or our tax code as a means to restore fiscal sanity, create jobs, or protect our seniors, but rather to use the effort as a lure to entice support for even more job-killing tax hikes. The Speaker and I have called for extending all the income tax rates for a year, ensuring that no one sees an income tax hike in January and preventing the economic harm and massive job loss that will come if Sen. Schumer and Washington Democrats follow through on their threats to drive us off the fiscal cliff. This uncertainty needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. We need to find a way to deal with the sequester not by cutting a penny less, but by intelligently making the decisions that are necessary to keep our promise to reduce the debt by $2.1 trillion and to get our economy back on track.”
Tags:Chuck Schumer, Senate Democrats, the economy, hostage, new taxes, tax hikes, fiscal cliffTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: When we list the areas that Barack Obama wants to “fundamentally transform” as he promised before his 2008 election, let’s not overlook his plans for education. They are as fundamentally transformational, costly and dictatorial as ObamaCare.
It’s well known that public schools are not graduating students as well-educated as before, that Americans score poorly on international tests, and that billions of federal dollars showered on public schools have not achieved any of the designated goals, which were to raise test scores and to eliminate the gap between higher income and lower income students. The Obama progressives want us to believe that the remedy is to turn over total control to the federal government.
That’s illogical and unacceptable, but it fits right in with Obama’s attitude that there is no higher power than the federal government. If Obama is reelected, he will be able to accomplish this task with help from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a graduate of Chicago politics.
So the Obama Administration has latched onto a national education curriculum called Common Core that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009. Those organizations have very official names as though they are government agencies, but they are actually private groups financed by foundations such as Gates and various corporations.
Their plan is to induce all elementary and secondary schools to accept a comprehensive national education system that will enforce a national curriculum. National standards will be locked in by the tests students must take called assessments, which in turn are tied to teacher evaluation. The standards instruct the teachers what to teach so their pupils can pass the tests and teachers can get positive evaluations.
This process bypasses parents and state and local school boards, and will fundamentally transform education by dictating what every child will learn and not learn. Of course, the Obama crowd loves this because a takeover of the education system could be as consequential as the takeover of banks “too big to fail,” or of General Motors, or of the health care industry with ObamaCare.
No Child Left Behind was a step in this direction, but it allowed the states to set their own standards. Common Core, on the other hand, requires all states to adopt the same federally endorsed standards.
This will be achieved by carrot-and-stick methodology. The carrot is the offer of federal money, such as Race to the Top money granted if, and only if, the states first adopt the Common Core standards. The stick is the threat to withhold federal funds from states that don’t obey.
Cato Institute researchers have concluded that despite the claim that the adoption of Common Core standards is technically voluntary, “adoption will almost certainly be de facto involuntary, and the standards themselves ultimately federal.”
What some opponents are now calling “Obama Core” ought to be held unconstitutional because the federal government has no power over education under the Constitution. Furthermore, Obama Core is unlawful since it violates federal laws that specifically prohibit the federal government from having any sayso over curriculum or tests.
The essence of Obama Core is control of curriculum because that is where minds are molded and stimulated to higher levels of learning, and character is formed. The standards for Math and English Literature are the only two subjects that have so far been released, and even those were made public only after the majority of states had signed up to use Obama Core.
Many parents will recognize the Math standards as what is called Fuzzy Math, i.e., teaching very little arithmetic or standard algorithms, and class time wasted in having kids describe how they got their answers instead of teaching them the best way to get correct answers. The English and Literature standards are worse because they omit traditional and classical literature, confine kids to boring informational readings such as instruction manuals, and fail to teach cursive writing.
The so-called standards are set low enough for most students to pass the tests. Education commentators say that the graduation standards do not prepare students for college work, and some admit that the goal is only to move kids to two-year community colleges with open admission.
The Obama Core advocates are even planning to impose their standards on private schools. As the school choice movement grows, the attempt will be made to force any private or charter school that accepts public funds to adopt Common Core standards and have their students take the national tests.
Obama Core is a comprehensive plan to dumb down schoolchildren so they will be obedient servants of the government and probably to indoctrinate them to accept the leftwing view of America and its history. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, President Obama, Obama administration, power grab, Obama Core, government money, Race To The Top, education, standards, public schools private schools, charter schools, public funds, government standards, federal government control, replacing state's rights, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
NRO continues, "The Obama campaign apparently is being run by a humor-deficient would-be Jon Stewart: On Tuesday, it launched an ill-advised attempt at snark in an advertisement featuring Big Bird. How bad was the ad? Even the yellow fellow himself was embarrassed, and Sesame Workshop, the multimillion-dollar enterprise with the $1 million–a–year president behind Sesame Street, asked that the ad be taken down. Even President Obama’s amen corner in the media was aghast: ABC News’ Terry Moran pronounced it the work of a campaign “in panic mode.” Somebody should remind Barack Obama that he is, for the moment, president of the United States of America, and not auditioning for whichever MSNBC time slot Chris Hayes turned down."
Rick Manning in a NetRightDaily article explains, "The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides partial support for PBS and National Public Radio (NPR), receives about $450 million a year in taxpayer dollars. . . . Congressman Doug Lamborn, in an exclusive 2011 interview with Americans for Limited Government’s Frank McCaffrey pointed out, 'Why should taxpayers, when we are running trillion dollar deficits have to pay for something like this that could pay for itself, it doesn’t make any sense at all.' Yet, two years later the Big Bird subsidy remains."
Manning adds, "More than just symbolically, Big Bird has become the major dividing line in the election. Will America vote to continue spending $3.60 for every $2.50 our nation takes into our treasury unconcerned about how our government covers the bills and unaware that the trillion a year results in devastating our economic growth and overall job creation."
NRO points out, "Controlling the deficit will entail some difficult decisions. Getting Big Bird off of welfare is not one of them. Caroll Spinney, the actor who has played Big Bird since the dawn of time, earns a comfortable 1-percenter income and nests in a gated estate in tony Woodstock, Conn. Rich-old-hippie welfare is an idea whose time has gone. Public-broadcasting executives earn incomes well into the six figures and sometimes into the seven figures. Sesame Workshop takes in hundreds of millions of dollars from Tickle Me Elmo and other merchandise. Big Bird is beak-deep in birdseed and does not require a half-billion dollars a year from taxpayers."
NRO noted, "And while PBS and NPR give very little offense beyond their bland, conventional liberalism, the United States is not the sort of country that should have government-run media — or even media that is only 6 percent government run. Public broadcasting, like so much associated with the progressive heyday, is fundamentally un-republican. We welcome this debate. The Democrats will, as usual, cry that this is about “the children,” but l’affair Big Bird shows us precisely who the children really are."
Manning remarked, "As strange as it might seem, Big Bird just might be the perfect symbol for this election. Will America behave like grown-ups with an out-of-control budget and start cutting back on the luxuries in an attempt to bring it somewhat under control, or will they behave like children (or Baby Boomers) who have little regard or comprehension of the consequences of spending a week’s worth of lunch money on Monday because mommy is just going to give them more on Tuesday?"
NRO adds, "Those who point out that eliminating mere small-fry outlays like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting won’t balance the budget are undeniably correct — but it is also undeniably correct that we will not balance the budget without eliminating a lot of small-fry outlays like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. We have to do the big-ticket items and the little ones as well, lest we spare the taxpayer the guillotine only to abandon him to a death by a thousand forgone cuts."
Manning warns, "If Team Obama gets its way, Big Bird will remain on the public dole enslaving the generation that watches him today to those who lent America the money to subsidize him."
It seems very clear that the Sesame Workshop and Caroll Spinney are not interested in Big Bird being pimped and controlled by the Big Government. If the Obama campaign or its liberal supportive commentators continues to pimp the Big Bird, it wouldn't be too surprising if the Sesame Workshop dump PBS /NPR and give Big Government the "bird" by establishing its own online or cable channel or by partnering with another television network.
------------------- Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government.
National Review Online (NRO) provides conservative commentary on politics, news, and culture.
Big Bird is Big Bird! Any kid knows that! Tags:Big Bird, NPR, PBS, Obama campaign, the economy, government subsidiesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Wrong Way Down On a One-Way-Street - Looking Presidential?
From the heart of the The Ozarks,the following letter to the editor is by aka"Buck Angler." Buck is a mainstream, voting, middle class, God-fearing citizen concerned about America. This letter is from his reflections titled: Wrong Way Down On a One-Way-Street. Buck will be sharing in the ARRA News Service more of his reflections via a series of open letters.
WRONG WAY: Looking presidential? Now, who is the greatest charmer?
Likeability is a personality trait that doesn’t necessarily guarantee leadership potential. Actually, likability is one of a con-artist’s greatest tools which he uses to lures his prey; it is an ingredient for manipulating and controlling unsuspecting victims.
My wife and I were victimized by a con-artist during the mid-1970’s — cost us a home, my job, rejection by many in our community, and eventually displacement. The trauma was intense. The ability to make lies sound like the truth, cunning strategy, and a convincing manner with the personality to pull it off was the formula. Our openness with the public probably helped to set the stage for his demise two years later.
If only we had done a little more homework and paid attention to "red flags," we may never have signed on the dotted line. Just like when you cast your ,you can’t retract it.
Of course when the outcomes are not going Obama's way, it is still for him to blame others: George Bush’s fault, big business’ fault, wealthy people’s fault, Wall Street’s fault, or Congress’ fault. Obama is never at fault; he seems to always have scapegoats. Is he--in-a-sense, a con-artist??? Or, could it be that he is only just plain narcissistic? RESEARCH, RELATE and THINK!
WRONG WAY: “Social experimentation”…or who is appeasing their constituents? Social issues: Pres. Obama made the claim that he was not a gay marriage advocate; but, following that declaration, he verbally expressed that he would not enforce the Marriage Protection Amendment (which was passed during the Clinton reign). Add to that, part of his personal and DNC platform this upcoming election cycle is promoting recognition of gay unions (marriage). This one really gets me: this year President Obama has implemented an openly gay military. From my point of view it doesn’t take a 130+ IQ to figure out the potential social, moral, and emotionally disruptive implications of this experiment. What do you think about this kind of social experimentation with our military? At least with the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy of the Clinton era, the military solder, sailor, marine, airman was not focused on who is watching them in the shower or when changing clothes in the barracks. Personally, I would be extremely intimidated! Also, what right does Obama have to NOT enforce the Constitution or its amendments? RESEARCH, RELATE and THINK
---------------- The above is second part of a series of Open Letters presenting Buck Angler's reflections titled Wrong Way Down A One-Way-Street.Former article:Part 1 Tags:Letter to the editor, Buck Angler, Wrong Way, Barack Obama, Election 2012To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Barack Obama, presidential candidate debate, 1st debate, 2012 election, debate aftermath, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
VIDEO: The White House’s Disinformation Campaign on Libya
New evidence shows there were security threats in Libya in the months prior to the deadly September 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Despite these threats, the State Department left its personnel there to fend for themselves.
Lachlan Markay, Heritage Investigates:After American diplomatic facilities in Libya came under sustained assault by militia forces, the Obama administration – including the president and Secretary of State themselves – spent days insisting that the attacks were a spontaneous reaction to an obscure YouTube video that insulted the Muslim prophet Mohammed.
The intelligence community was incensed at what some called a “cover up” of the administration’s mishandling of the situation.
As more information trickled out, the administration was eventually forced to admit that the attacks that claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were acts of terrorism.
But the “cover up” hasn’t stopped there. Information continues to emerge suggesting poor preparation for the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and potential disregard for the safety of personnel there. Stevens requested a prolonged stay for a 16-member security detail there, for instance, but that request was denied.
The Obama administration owes the American people a full, honest explanation for its actions in Libya. Its rhetoric does not match reality, as Heritage’s new video indisputably shows. Tags:Benghazi, Chris Stevens, murdered, Libya, Video, Heritage investigatesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
James Bond, 007 -- And How the Gold Standard Got Contaminated
Goldfinger during "Operation Grand Slam
Photo credit: Wikepedia
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: In the iconic movie Goldfinger the villain, Auric Goldfinger, pursues a nefarious scheme, code-named “Operation Grand Slam,” to contaminate America’s gold horde at Fort Knox, thereby leveraging the value of his own, uncontaminated, holdings.
Bond: Yes, well, I’ve worked out a few statistics of my own. 15 billion dollars in gold bullion weighs 10,500 tons. Sixty men would take twelve days to load it onto 200 trucks. Now, at the most, you’re going to have two hours before the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines move in and make you put it back. Goldfinger: Who mentioned anything about removing it?
[Bond is stunned into silence] Goldfinger: The julep tart enough for you? Bond: You plan to break into the world’s largest bank, but not to steal anything. Why? Goldfinger: Go on, Mr. Bond. Bond: [thinking] Mr. Ling, the Red Chinese at the factory, he’s a specialist in nuclear fission… but of course! His government’s given you a bomb. Goldfinger: I prefer to call it an “atomic device.” It’s small, but particularly dirty. Bond: A dirty bomb? Cobalt and iodine? Goldfinger: Precisely. Bond: Well, if you explode it in Fort Knox, the… the entire gold supply of the United States would be radioactive for… fifty-seven years. Goldfinger: Fifty-eight, to be exact. Bond: I apologize, Goldfinger. It’s an inspired deal! They get what they want, economic chaos in the West. And the value of your gold increases many times. Goldfinger: I conservatively estimate, ten times. Bond: Brilliant.
Goldfinger is a superb metaphor for what really occurred to contaminate the gold standard’s reputation, keeping it off the policy table for 80 years — longer than even Goldfinger’s ambitions. The contaminating events produced an intellectual trauma that brings economists such as Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee totweet such nonsensical doggerel as “Roses are red. Violets are pink. Don’t listen to goldbugs. No one cares what they think.”
Goolsbee, along with dogmatic reactionaries such as Paul Krugman, studiously ignore the implications of the utterly damning critique of the fiduciary currency system by The Bank of England last December in its paper titled Reform of the International Financial System. Meanwhile, outside the self-referential Cult of Neo-Keynesianism, in the past two years a dramatic shift in the international elite opinion stream is bringing the gold option back into consideration.
From Latin America, Manuel Hinds, twice Finance Minister of El Salvador, is on record in The Wall Street Journal advocating the classical gold standard. The “Sage of Mexico,” Hugo Salinas-Price, has kept the torch lit both for gold and silver at Plata.com to increasing worldwide respectful attention. Three weeks ago this column noted an elegant work extolling the gold standard emerging from Chile, Axel Kaiser’s Intervention and Misery: 1929-2008.
Emerging from Europe, two weeks ago a column delineated how the Deutsche Bank and the Bundesbank have come to the fore in rehabilitating gold’s reputation. Emerging from Asia, last week reprised handsome praise for the gold standard from one of China’s most respected and influential monetary authorities.
Since then, from the world’s largest democracy, India’s leading advocate of monetary integrity, S.S. Tarapore, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (and chairman of the iconic Tarapore Committee which, during his tenure, laid the roadmap for India’s capital account convertibility) published a significant piece in The Hindu Business Line entitled High Time RBI bought more gold, reprising some of the evidence of the rehabilitation of gold as the appropriate reserve asset for central banks and urging its bulk acquisition by the RBI.
Meanwhile, with worldwide implications, Basel III, supported by the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, moves gold to a Tier I asset. As the influential Daily Reckoning from Agora Capital put it, in a remarkable essay by analyst Doug Hornig entitled Gold Just Became Money Again, recently:
On June 18, the Federal Reserve and FDIC circulated a letter to banks that proposes to harmonize US regulatory capital rules with Basel III. BASEL III is an accord that tells a bank how much capital it must hold to safeguard its solvency and overall economic stability.
Here’s the important bit: At the top of the proposed changes is the new list of “zero-percent risk weighted items,” which now includes “gold bullion,” right after “cash.”
In addition, this vote of confidence from the highest monetary authorities gives further impetus to the remonetization of gold.
Back in the good old USA, the Republcan Party, with a dramatic nod to the gold standard, adopted a platform plank calling for a monetary reform commission, with a broad nod to gold, causing a worldwide buzz. The Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, already had been calling for monetary reform as one of his five major economic growth planks. The Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady, is readying his Sound Dollar Act, redirecting the Fed from its discretionary activism — not calling for the gold standard but with a heavy deference to the price of gold — for a fast start in the next Congress.
To better comprehend this worldwide reputational rehabilitation it is useful briefly to understand the circumstances in which the gold standard’s good name originally became contaminated. What was the original “Operation Grand Slam,” as it were? As it happens gold was, as they say in detective stories, “framed” for a crime it did not commit.
The crime: The Great Depression. The Depression was the most traumatic event in modern economic history. The gold standard, which had been out of commission for over a decade before Black Monday hit, got blamed. How? According to France’s great monetary statesman Jacques Rueff the panic and Depression occurred because the gold standard had been replaced by its grotesque caricature, the “gold-exchange” standard, which Rueff characterized as “an unbelievable collective mistake which, when people become aware of it, will be viewed by history as an object of astonishment and scandal.”
But the intellectual distinction between the true gold standard and its, well, Evil Twin had been lost. The gold standard took the fall. That planted the seed of the “unbelievable collective mistake” that caused the gold standard to move from being recognized as an elegant policy tool to what Keynes termed a “barbarous relic.” Keynes’s indictment, written in 1923 right after official adoption of the first gold-exchange standard, was, of course, correct. But only under the peculiar circumstances of this “object of astonishment and scandal.”
The popular (and elite) confusion, and misattribution, was compounded by FDR’s confiscation, and prohibition of the ownership of gold in 1933. Gold remained a contraband substance until the prohibition was lifted in 1974. That prohibition gave gold’s reputation a somewhat sinister aspect from which it only now is emerging fully.
Alison Fraser, head of the Economic Policy Studies department at Heritage Foundation, referenced, to the Washington Post, a “hardy band” of gold standard advocates active during the long period where gold’s reputation was contaminated. Prominent among these are the great Reagan Gold Commissioners Rep. Ron Paul, the eminence grise of the Austrian gold standard, and Lewis E. Lehrman (whose Institute this columnist professionally advises), the eminence grise of the principled American gold standard.
Other important figures include Forbes publisher Steve Forbes and Forbes.com opinion editor John Tamny, American Principles Project (which this columnist also professionally advises) chairman Sean Fieler, Cato’s now president John Allison, Atlas Foundation’s Judy Shelton, journalist and author James Grant, fellow Forbes.com columnists Prof. Brian Domitrovic, Charles Kadlec, and Nathan Lewis, and Tea Party leaders like Herman Cain and his advisors such as Richard Lowrie. Internationally, the Cobden Centre and the Gold Standard Institute are making a distinguished mark.
The “hardy band” is beginning to get a lot of new, elite, recruits. “Operation Reverse Grand Slam” — the decontamination of gold — is advancing, both domestically and internationally, at a dizzying rate. The hardy band of gold standard advocates appear on the verge of epitomizing anthropologist Margaret Mead’s famous observation, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
The julep tart enough for you, Mr. Bond?
------------ Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to he ARRA News Service. The article which first appeared in Forbes was submitted for reprint by the author. Tags:James Bond, 007, Goldfinger, Gold Standard, contaminated, Ralph BenkoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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