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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, December 22, 2012
The Deceitful Exploitation of a Nation’s Grief
27 wooden angels for the 20 students & 6 adults
killed at Sandy Hook Elem. School on Dec. 14, 2012.
This past Sunday evening as I listened to our church choir sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth, “ I was once again overwhelmed with grief for the families who lost their precious children in an unimaginable act of terror and insanity last Friday. But that grief turned to anger when I picked up the Monday morning newspaper.
by Curtis Coleman, Contributing Author: Yesterday’s morning newspaper featured the top-of-the-front-page headline, “Gunman was ready for war.” That wasn’t news; that was propaganda. And the second headline, “Lawmakers say gun ban needed” confirmed it.
Make no mistake; this is a disgusting exploitation of the unfathomable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. The folks who want to destroy your constitutional right to keep and bear arms in the name of protecting innocent children are, to a great extent, the same hypocritical people who support the murder of tens of thousands of innocent children every year – for no other reasons than that they are inconvenient and haven’t been born yet.
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer and a rented box truck to kill 168 innocent people, including 19 children under the age of 6. But we haven’t heard cries to outlaw fertilizer or box trucks
Economists John Lott and William Landes conducted a groundbreaking study in 1999, and found that a common theme of mass shootings is that they occur in places where guns are banned and killers know everyone will be unarmed, such as shopping malls and schools.
The Obama Administration has never wanted to waste a crisis, but this deceitful exploitation of the grief of a nation is beyond endurance.
-------------- Curtis Coleman is the President, Curtis Coleman's Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Newtown, CT, John Lott, Let There Be Peace on Earth, mass shootings, Richard, gun ban, school shooting, Second Amendment, Timothy McVeigh, William Landes, American Culture, Curtis Coleman, Coleman Commentary, Constitution, Second AmendmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
In the 1971's, he testified against his fellow Vietnam War veterans before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He charged that they were violating the Geneva Conventions every day in Vietnam. Some POWs were outraged at Kerry's disloyal statements. They said they had been tortured by their Communist captors trying to force them to make such untrue statements.
Worse, Kerry went to Paris in 1970. There, he met with North Vietnamese Communists. We need to see all his notes from those meetings. Any negotiation between a private U.S. citizen and a foreign power is illegal. It violates the Logan Act of 1798. Did Kerry demand of the North Vietnamese Communists that they abide by the Geneva Convention? Or is that only a demand he made of his fellow Americans?
We do not charge Kerry with treason in the statements and actions he engaged in then. Treason consists of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But this country has set a very high bar for conviction for treason--ever since the Burr Treason Trial of 1807. Nonetheless, we do say Kerry's actions and statements then were not those to which America's top diplomat should be linked. What was he thinking?
In the 1980s, Kerry campaigned for the Nuclear Freeze. The Soviet KGB, we now know, was a major funder and promoter of this disastrous idea. The Freezeniks believed that President Carter's promise to send Pershing and Cruise missiles to our NATO allies in Western Europe should be dishonored.
Freezeniks thought that the only thing we should do in response to aggressive Soviet placement of SS-19 and SS-20 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) in Eastern Europe was to freeze the West into no response. By freezing in terror, we could morally pressure the Soviets into withdrawing their missiles, the naive Freezeniks argued. Harvard's Polish-born Adam Ulam famously punctured this pink balloon: "An' wot will you doo iff they dun't?"
Ulam's common sense response was followed by President Ronald Reagan. Reagan agreed with the democratically elected Socialist President of France, Francois Mitterrand, that NATO would fall apart if we failed to meet this Soviet thrust. The Cruise and Pershing Missiles went forward. And, in good time, Reagan and Mitterand's policy of peace through strength brought the greatest arms reduction treaty in history and it helped bring down the Iron Curtain.
Has John Kerry learned anything from that experience? We need to know.
Then, there is his appalling joke when President George H.W. Bush was elected. He said the Secret Service has instructions, if anything happens to President Bush--"to shoot Dan Quayle."
He got a lot of yuks from the media on that one.
Question 1: Does Sen. Kerry think assassination of the President and Vice President is funny?
Question 2: If John Q. or Jane Q Public makes a joke about murder of the President and Vice President, they get a visit from the Secret Service; why does a United States Senator like Kerry get away with it?
For these and a host of other reasons, John Kerry should be grilled with tough questions. He has been wrong about every major foreign policy issue since 1972. Aren't his failures over four decades something his colleagues should worry about?
------------------------- Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service.
Original cover of John Kerry's book THE NEW SOLDIER.
"But,unlike veterans of other wars and some of this one, the New Soldier does not accept the old myths. We will not quickly join those who march on Veteran's Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the "greater glory of the United States." "We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars...." "We will not uphold traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim." ~ John KerryEditor's Note: Images added by editor. Suggested additional articles:
1. Kerry and the Paris Peace Talksby Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D., Oct 24, 2004
2. John Kerry meeting North Vietnamese in Parisby Marc Morano, CNSNews, May 20, 2004 Tags:John Kerry, Vietnam War, Paris, 1970, Senate hearings, 1971, Secretary of Defense, Ken Blackwell and Bob MorrisonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
ARRA News Service Editor: Some have claimed that the Mayans predicted the "End of the World, let me see, a few days ago, today or even this coming Sunday. While mankind sure can screw up this world, only God knows when the world will end and and God hasn't told any Mayans, Republicans, Democrats, survivalist, progressive anarchist or any other group of people.
CNN reports, "[N]ot even modern-day Mayans bought into the coming apocalypse. They view the calendar as portending the end of one era and heralding the start of a new one, not the death of all the world's species. "It's an era. We are lucky to see how it ends," said wood carver Santos Esteban in Yaxuna, Mexico, a sleepy village of fewer than 700 Mayans." They also added, "It will happen!" a CNN.com commenter using the handle Robert Lawless predicted cheekily. "All credible Mayan historians will agree, the Mayans predicted the World would end the same year Twinkies went extinct! HOW DID THEY KNOW????"
As we end this day, the following cartoon by Tony Branco provides us an insight into how a Mayan (Or, was it the first Republican pollster) determined the date for the "end of the world."
Tags:End of the World, Mayans, commentary, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: There is not a majority in the House of Representatives to support a tax plan that would raise taxes on any taxpayers – not even the much-maligned “millionaires and billionaires.” But that does not mean the House has acquiesced to the automatic tax hikes on every taxpayer slated for January 1. In stark contrast to the failure of “Plan B,” the House already succeeded in passing its “Plan A” back in August: H.R. 8. That bill would extend all current tax rates for one year, while committing to comprehensive tax reform in 2013. It passed the House on a rock solid 256-171 vote, with 19 Democrats joining 237 Republicans.
The Senate has taken no action on the bill.. Harry Reid did, for show, pass a Senate bill to raise taxes above $200,000 only, as favored by President Obama. But that bill, S. 3412, violated the Constitution’s requirement that revenue bills originate in the House. It would be legally void even if it did pass the House, which it won’t.
So now the ball is in Harry Reid’s court. H.R. 8 is the bill that passed the House. It’s the only duly-enacted bill to pass either chamber. He should call it up, amend it – if he can – and appoint conferees to reach a final agreement. President Obama will almost certainly sign any deal that can pass the House and Senate.
The economic stakes are huge. Boehner’s Plan B millionaire tax would have done significant damage to the U.S. economy. The Tax Foundation estimated the long-run impact of Plan B and found it would knock 0.92 percent off of GDP. That’s less than a third of the 2.88 percent that Obama’s plan would shave off the U.S. economy, but it’s still considerable. The do nothing option? That’s really ugly. Allowing taxes to rise on all Americans as contemplated under current law would mean a 9.61 percent hit to GDP, along with a 7.35 percent decline in wages and a 23 percent drop in private business stocks.
Now the insistence of House Republicans to make this all-or-nothing must infuriate Democrats, especially President Obama, who famously explained he would support higher taxes on capital even if they hurt the economy so much that they resulted in lower revenues. He said “fairness” was more important.
But like it or not, the American people elected a House of Representatives that is committed to stopping all tax hikes. They are so committed that they refuse to put their fingerprints on a deal to raise taxes on some even if it means risking automatic tax increases on all. Speaker Boehner tried his best to alter this reality for the sake of compromise. He couldn’t. So this is the reality Obama and Reid must deal with.
"I have an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, arguing that former Senator Chuck Hagel is not the right man to lead our Armed Forces as Secretary of Defense. I've followed this story with growing alarm over the last week and felt compelled to speak. Mr. Hagel served our country admirably in Vietnam, but he broke faith with the very soldiers he voted to send to war in Iraq. In my opinion, this record alone disqualifies him from leading our fighting men and women in a time of war. When combined with his antipathy toward the US-Israel alliance, his longstanding dovish positions on Iran, his indifference to devastating cuts to the defense budget, and other views outside the bipartisan national-security mainstream, Mr. Hagel's record cannot inspire confidence in our troops and he should not be Secretary of Defense." ~ Tom Cotton*
Senator Chuck Hagel, (R-NE)
By Representative-Elect Tom Cotton (R-AR): Chuck Hagel, who is reportedly on the White House’s shortlist of nominees for secretary of defense, served our country admirably in Vietnam. But, he is not the right person for the Pentagon.
Our fighting men and women deserve a leader who will not only honor their service, but also advocate for them and honor their accomplishments. Regrettably, the former senator’s dismal record on Iraq suggests that he will do none of those things—for he abandoned the very troops he once voted to send to war. I would know, because I was one of them
Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2006, two years before his retirement as the Republican senator from Nebraska, Mr. Hagel penned a column for the Washington Post entitled “Leaving Iraq, Honorably.” He asserted that “there will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq,” and “the time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed.” Rather, Mr. Hagel argued, we “must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal.
Imagine my surprise at the senator’s assertions, having just returned that week from combat in Baghdad as an infantry platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division. My soldiers had fought bravely to stabilize that city, protect innocent civilians and defeat al Qaeda. Those soldiers were proud of their accomplishments.
No one had told us during our time in Baghdad that we would achieve “no victory.” Readers might have shared my surprise at Mr. Hagel’s words if he had mentioned his earlier vote supporting the war.
The troops recognized the folly of Mr. Hagel’s proposed withdrawal. The fighting in Baghdad that year had certainly been hard, with progress slow and frustrating. Yet the solution to those of us on the front lines was plain. We needed more troops and a new strategy focused on securing the civilian population. That counterinsurgency strategy would help win the support of Iraqis, who would then help flush out terrorists and militias and allow for political reconciliation.
We needed, in other words, the “surge.” In his lowest political moment, President George W. Bush had his finest hour. He kept faith with the troops he had sent to war. Mr. Hagel, on the other hand, called the surge “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam” and broke faith with those troops. In the Senate, he helped in early 2007 to delay emergency funding for the war. He then voted for a measure to force withdrawal from Iraq.
Perhaps most astonishing, Mr. Hagel voted in 2007 against designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. The IRGC was directly responsible for the deaths of numerous American soldiers in Iraq. In addition to its terrorist attacks around the world, the IRGC smuggled a particularly lethal kind of roadside bomb into Iraq known as an explosively formed projectile, or EFP.
An EFP consists of a tube packed with explosives and topped by a metal plate. The heat from the explosion inside the tube turns the plate into a molten slug, which could penetrate not just the Humvees in which my soldiers and I rode, but even an M1A1 Abrams tank.
The use of EFPs in Iraq more than doubled in 2006, making them among the most feared enemy weapon during our tour. For example, two new soldiers arrived in my platoon and received the usual on-boarding brief. One soldier asked about roadside bombs. I told the two new men to stay alert for indicators and to trust their armor; my platoon had hit numerous bombs, but we had all survived to that point. The other soldier then asked, “What about EFPs?” I paused and could only respond: “Just hope it’s not your day.”
The Iranians continued smuggling explosively formed projectiles into Iraq well after my platoon departed in 2006, but apparently Mr. Hagel deemed these acts of war insufficient to call the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps exactly what it is—a terrorist organization. (Though his vote, it must be said, is of a piece with his long-standing dovish views toward Iran.)
Even after the surge had succeeded, Mr. Hagel could not bring himself to celebrate our military’s accomplishment. In late 2008, with casualties down by 85%, Mr. Hagel still questioned the surge’s success. He credited the Anbar Awakening of Sunni tribal leaders against al Qaeda (as if the surge didn’t encourage them), Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s stand-down (as if the surge didn’t scare him) and improved intelligence systems (as if the surge didn’t introduce them).
Though his record on Iraq alone should disqualify Mr. Hagel from leading our troops in a time of war, his views on current issues are no less alarming and show he has not learned from his errors. Unlike the current secretary of defense, Mr. Hagel seems willing to accept devastating cuts to defense spending, calling the U.S. military “bloated” and in need of being “pared down.” He also has expressed a desire to accelerate the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan (a war for which he also voted).
This is not the record of a leader who can be counted on to stand by our armed forces. While Mr. Obama has every right to choose his secretary of defense, I urge him not to nominate Mr. Hagel. If he is nominated, I urge the Senate not to confirm him. Our fighting men and women deserve so much better.
------------ Tom Cotton is a Republican and Representative-elect, Arkansas 4th Congressional District. His Op-ed also appeared in the Wall Street Journal. His opposition to a fellow Republican and U.S. Senator to head the Department of Defense evidences Cotton's sincere concern for the leadership charges with the lives of military troops.
*Tom Cotton's military service: He felt called to serve his country in uniform, and left his law practice to join the Army. Tom declined offers for a direct commission as an Army JAG, volunteering instead to serve as an infantryman. Tom spent five years on active duty. He deployed to Baghdad in 2006 as a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne. In Baghdad, Tom was responsible for a 41-man air-assault infantry platoon and planned and led daily combat patrols.Following his Iraq deployment, Tom was assigned as a platoon leader at The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was responsible for conducting military honors funerals for veterans from World War II to today’s war. In 2008, Tom volunteered to return to the front lines and deployed to eastern Afghanistan as the operations officer of a provincial reconstruction team, where he planned and resourced daily counterinsurgency and reconstruction operations for an 83-member joint and interagency team. Tags:Tom Cotton, Congressman-elect, Arkansas, 4th Congressional District, Soldier's View, Op-Ed, President Obama, appointment, Short list of candidates, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, U.S. Senator, NebraskaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obama Picks Anti-Vietnam War Activist John Kerry To Run State Department
GINGPAC: Leftist President Barack Hussein Obama has just insulted every American soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine who ever served in Vietnam. He’s picked Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to head up the U.S. State Department when Hillary Clinton leaves that post in January.
John Kerry is a radical leftist who served little more than four months in Vietnam but came back to the U.S. and became a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against The War. Kerry testified before the Senate in 1971 and accused American combat veterans of being involved in a series of war crimes.
Kerry had close ties with anti-Vietnam War traitor Jane Fonda, who sat on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun emplacement and smiled as she pretended to be shooting down American planes. Kerry was also buddies with Ramsey Clark, Lyndon Johnson’s Attorney General. Clark has a long record of supporting anti-American causes – including our planned defeat in Vietnam – with the tragic loss of nearly 60,000 Americans.
Kerry’s actions were applauded by Vietnamese Communist leaders and were used by them to persecute our prisoners of war in Vietnam hellhole prisons. The word “treason” aptly describes Kerry’s actions against his fellow Vietnam veterans and his nation.
In 2004, he ran for president of the United States and a group of his former colleagues in Vietnam formed SwiftVets to expose Kerry’s actions in Vietnam and his far left ideology.
Has Kerry mellowed since then? Not really. During the Bush Administration, Kerry was one of the most loyal supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad – the man Obama is now trying to eject from office. Kerry did whatever he could to block George Bush’s efforts to isolate the dictator. Since Obama took office, Kerry has visited Assad five times!
Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is also a far left activist, who inherited millions from her former husband John Heinz, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. Teresa funds all sorts of left-wing, anti-life, pro-gay, pro-global warming, pro-open borders, and anti-American groups such as ACORN. She funds these groups through the Heinz Family Philanthropies. Teresa Heinz Kerry is a female version of atheist billionaire George Soros.
Clearly, John Kerry is the perfect pick for Barack Obama to run the State Department. They both share the same loathing for America’s Judeo-Christian roots and our heritage of freedom based on the U.S. Constitution. They favor Big Government and despise the free enterprise system. They both want to cut America down by limiting its influence for good in the world.
In the recent presidential election, Americans voted for their own destruction. They’re going to get it with Obama and Kerry.
-------------- Read more:
Tags:Exploiter-in-Chief, Barack Obama. Sandy Hook Massacre, editorial cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Dems Grinch American With Pork & Failure To Address Fiscal Cliff
Update 6:18 PM. -Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Budget Committee release the following statement this evening after President Obama's mini-speech before leaving Washington, D.C. for Christmas: "President Obama today gave yet another speech about the fiscal cliff. No plan, nothing that can be scored or analyzed, just another speech. If President Obama wishes to avoid the fiscal cliff then he, with all the power and influence he holds as the leader of this nation, must submit to Congress – in legislative form – a plan that he believes can pass both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. No more secret meetings and pointless press conferences. Certainly this is not too much to ask. So we await his action: will he move from an unscorable speech to scorable legislation? If he is unwilling to submit such a plan then we may be left with only one persuasive conclusion: that he has used two years of secret meetings with Republican leaders not as an opportunity to achieve fiscal reform, but as a political exercise to defeat his opposition and preserve the expansion of federal spending."
Reid Returning to Normal
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec 21, 2012
Today, President Obama is scheduled to announce his appointment of Sen John Kerry as Secretary of State in his new administration. Senate reconvened at 1 PM today so senators could attend a memorial service for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii at Washington National Cathedral.
The Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 1, the vehicle for a supplemental appropriations bill for relief from Hurricane Sandy which is laden with Democrat pork projects in other parts of the country. At 2 PM, the Senate will turn to the conference report for the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense authorization bill, H.R. 4310 and vote on passage of the conference report.
Following that vote, the Senate will return the Sandy supplemental and vote on cloture (to cut off debate) on the Reid substitute amendment to the bill. Votes on amendments to the Sandy bill and other legislation are possible this afternoon and evening.
The House will be in session at 2 PM for a few minutes to decide on adornment.
Last night,House Republican leaders withdrew a planned vote on Speaker Boehner's fiscal cliff "Plan B" measure. Speaker Boehner said last night, "The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt. The Senate must now act."
Yesterday, the House passed the following bills(not listed are 9 bills naming federal properties in the U.S: H.R. 6684 (215-209) — SEQUESTER REPLACEMENT of Military cuts by designated departmental spending cuts; Bill known as Spending Reduction Act of 2012 providing for spending reduction. H.R. 1509 (Voice vote) — "To amend title II of the Social Security Act to prohibit the inclusion of Social Security account numbers on Medicare cards."
This morning, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out the need for the President and Senate Democrats to finally take action to prevent a massive tax hike next month: "It’s the President’s job to find a solution that can pass Congress. He’s the only one who can do it. This isn’t John Boehner’s problem to solve. He’s done his part. He’s bent over backwards. How about rallying your party around a solution? How about getting Democrats to support something? I’ve said it many times before: We simply cannot solve the problems we face unless and until the President of the United States either finds the will or develops the ability to lead. This is a moment that calls for presidential leadership. That’s the way out of this. It’s that simple.’"
McConnell rightfully pointed out that there is no reason for Democrat Harry Reid to block the previous House passed bill from discussions and amendment. Reid has been sitting on the bill for months. McConnell displaying more leadership than Harry Reid detailed the process to resolve the issue:“With ten days to go, we have an obligation to act on something that can pass the House and the Senate. And if the President won’t propose it, if Democrats won’t propose it, I will.
“Earlier this year, the House passed a bill that extends current rates on everybody for one year, with instructions for expedited comprehensive tax reform by next year.
“We can bring this House-passed bill up. If Senator Reid has a plan that can get 60 votes in the Senate, break through the disarray in his own caucus and build bipartisan support, offer that as an amendment and then let’s vote. Let’s vote on amendments from all sides.
“And then let’s go to conference with the House of Representatives. They’ve already passed a bill, one that I support, to prevent a tax hike on all Americans and reform the tax code. Let’s take it up here and get this done.
“It's called legislating folks. It's what Congress used to do."Then we have the "Sandy Relif" bill fiasco in the Senate. In a must-read editorial today, The Wall Street Journal writes, “Only Congress could do something like this. All eyes are on the fiscal-cliff negotiations to trim the $1 trillion-plus budget deficit. Running alongside but largely out of public view is a $60.4 billion emergency spending bill to provide relief to the victims of superstorm Sandy. Trouble is, the ‘Sandy’ bill is laden with billions of dollars of spending stowaways wholly unrelated to the hurricane. . . . There's $150 million in there for Alaskan fisheries. We knew Sandy made it to the Midwest, but Alaska? Marine projects from New England to Mississippi also made the cut. Also along for the joyride is $8 million for new cars and other equipment for the Justice Department and Homeland Security, $2 million for roof repair at the Smithsonian in Washington, $4 million for the Kennedy Space Center, $3 million for oil-spill research and $348 million for the National Park Service. Nearly $17 billion is in the bill for the Community Development Fund and social service grants, two long-running initiatives to fund liberal activists. Amtrak would get $188 million, including funds for two new train tunnels in New York unrelated to Sandy. . . . And of course some $600 million is directed to the Environmental Protection Agency to support climate change adaptation. The rationale is to spread the pork far and wide across the country to assemble the 60 votes in the Senate necessary to secure the bill's passage.”
The WSJ editors point out, “This is supposed to be an ‘emergency’ funding bill. But only about $9 billion of the $60 billion would be spent in the next nine months. The Congressional Budget Office reports that $38 billion would be spent in fiscal 2015 or beyond. Some emergency. And for all the recent talk of offsetting such commitments with reductions elsewhere, there are no spending cuts here.”
They reveal, “Our sources say Senator Schumer is rushing for immediate passage and is telling his colleagues ‘there is no Plan B.’ In other words, the only way people pummeled by Sandy will get relief is if Congress whoops through billions for pork and various non-germane wish lists.”
Not only that, according to The Hill, Schumer is “threaten[ing] Sandy bill naysayers.” “The number three Democrat in the Senate had a warning for Republicans from disaster-prone regions like the Gulf on Thursday: fully pay for Hurricane Sandy or don’t come looking for help when your turn comes. ‘New York and New Jersey, whenever other areas had disasters, billions of our tax dollars went there to help people,’ Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned, adding that opponents of a $60.4 billion Sandy spending bill could see their vote ‘boomerang on them’ in the future. ‘It’s a very slippery slope if people from other regions, particularly disaster-prone regions, go along with putting new barriers in the way,’ the senator from hard-hit New York said.”
“There's a better way,” The Journal editors write. “Pass a stripped-down bill that would provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with funding for the continuing clean-up effort and money for flood insurance for those who lost homes and stores. That bill would provide emergency help to those who need it, at about half the $60 billion cost.”
And as Politico notes, Senate Republicans have done just that. “Senate Republicans outlined a scaled-back $23.8 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster aid package Wednesday, but it was met with a cool reception from Northeast DemocratsThe Real Harry Reid Out of Disguise
Sadly, it seems that Democrats think what “New York and New Jersey need” are billions of dollars in extra spending that the country can’t afford and is threatening to hold up relief got families and communities in the Northeast. And the Democrats have deliberately ignored the Fiscal Cliff situation. No wonder Sen. Harry Reid wants to change the Senate Rules so that only the Democrats control all Senate votes. Dictatorships work well that way.
On Dec 16, 2010, we noted Harry Reid as the Grinch. Based on his present actions, attitudes and utter failure, we have again identified his true image. Tags:Washington, D.C., Harry Reid, Sandy Bill, pork spending, fiscal cliff, Grinch, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The below letter to the editor is by Robert "Bob" McDowell, Jr. He is a Professional Engineer and Geologist with over 50 years experience in creating drilling prospects, supervising drilling, well completion, production operation, and pipeline design for oil and gas including repair of problem wells. McDowell is a conservative and active in the Oklahoma Republican Assembly.
By Bob McDowell: As was postulated early last year, this was expected to be one of the most vicious and nasty election campaign periods in memory. All the while President Obama (D-IL), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Leader "Queen" Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would use their respective pulpits to call for more 'civil' discourse. It seems that their remarks were directed only to those in the Republican and conservative side of the political spectrum, since not one word has been heard from them, or their spokespersons, against the continual diatribes coming from their supporters and colleagues.
Experience and history has clearly taught me that is the course of action to be expected from those in the Communist/Socialist movements in the World. We have also seen that come out of the clergy and 'elected officials' of the Muslim nations. Decent thinking people are, or should be, deeply offended by the words and phrases used by those who would seek to arouse hatred in the uninformed so as to instigate riots and other nefarious actions.
This was made clear earlier last year when the Wisconsin Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law what was termed "right to work" legislation that ended the requirement that ALL employees of the State be members of a union and that the State MUST deduct the union dues from their pay checks and remit the collected dues to the unions. The same requirement was in the former law in respect to private companies and their employees. During the raucous 'debate' in the Legislature the members of the Democrat Caucus even fled the State in hopes that the vote could not be held due to the lack of a quorum. The unions organized 'invasion' protests and occupied the Capitol Building for days. Failing that, they presented petitions calling for a "Recall" election of the governor and some legislators, which then was unsuccessful.
Then late in the year, the same thing happened in Michigan and the unions bussed in from out of state thugs to protest, tear down a tent with people inside, and even physically attack a FOX reporter, which was captured on camera. Going along with the administration, the broadcast networks and CNN declined to show any of this misconduct, and some even denied it happened and accused the opposition of being the instigators of the uproar.
A member of the Democrat caucus in the Michigan Legislation even stated from the floor words to the effect that 'if this passed there would be blood'. And where were the Nation's leaders in the Democrat Party in criticizing this conduct and speaking? As of mid-January, not one word of criticism has been heard from any of them. So it would seem that they are in complete approval of this 'uncivilized' conduct. Further, they are quick to accuse the opposition of 'obstruction' and 'non-cooperation' in the fiscal negotiations that have become necessary because of the failure of the Congress to address the budget problems they, and their predecessors, have brought about.
It should be remembered that since the election of 2006, when the Democrats gained majority status in both houses, not one budget has been passed. It is Constitutionally mandated that one must be passed each year but they have passed "continuing resolutions" to operate the Federal Government. The House, since the 2010 election returned a Republican majority, has passed a number of budgets but Democrat Senate Majority Leader Reid has refused to even assign them to a committee, so no vote ever occurred.
We will not have a chance to change this until 2014, but it all should be remembered, and we should be seeking candidates to replace those who are so obnoxious. Tags:Bob McDowell, democrat, mean-mouthingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Breaking: House GOP Leaders Scrap Vote On 'Plan B'
"The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt. The Senate must now act." ~ House Speaker John Boehner The Washington Post Alert: House Republican leaders on Thursday night scrapped a planned vote on Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) fiscal cliff "Plan B" measure as it became clear they did not have enough support from members of their own party.
In a statement, Boehner said that the House did not take up the measure "because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass."
"Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff," he said. "The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt. The Senate must now act."
The move leaves unclear the next step in the negotiations over the fiscal cliff. Read More Tags:US House, Plan B, vote cancelled, fiscal cliffTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Speaker Boehner - Today Addressing
"Fiscal Cliff" House Solution Bills
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 20, 2012:
This morning, senators gathered in the Capitol rotunda for a memorial ceremony for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.
The Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1, the vehicle for a supplemental pork laden appropriations bill for relief Hurricane Sandy as well as other project NOT related to relief for Hurricane Sandy victims. Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) decided to cut off the amendment process, filed a substitute amendment to the bill, and filled the amendment tree. Reid then filed for cloture (to cut off debate) on his amendment. If an agreement can be reached on amendments, votes are possible today.
According to The Hill today, Sen. John Kerry, a senior Democrat, is saying that one of the most controversial provisions in the Hurricane Sandy relief bill that seems to have the least to do with recovery for the Northeast, $150 million for fisheries, apparently must be included for the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass the bill.
The Hill reports, “Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said the emergency-spending bill for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts won’t pass unless money for fisheries is included. ‘This legislation is not going to pass without the inclusion of this money, point blank,’ Kerry said on the floor Wednesday. . . . The bill includes $150 million for fisheries in states that have disaster declarations, including Mississippi and Alaska — states not hit by Hurricane Sandy.”
Democrats who back this extra spending have been insisting to reporters that it’s not pork. “Kerry, along with Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has introduced an amendment to the bill that would jeopardize the funding for those fisheries that have been hit by bad weather and reduced stocks this year. The Democratic senators said this $150 million wasn’t pork, but disaster relief that has been ‘thoroughly vetted.’ ‘I like earmarks, but this is not an earmark,’ Begich said. ‘This takes nothing away from Superstorm Sandy … but this was also a disaster in a different making.’”
Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, a member of Democrat leadership, was claiming to the New York Post that “Everything in this package is disaster related.” “Schumer also defended the spending, which includes $150 million for Alaska fisheries, as a way for the federal government to fund disaster relief. Also included in the package is $125 million designated for a watershed program to combat wildfires and droughts, $50 million for tree-planting on private properties, and $20 million for a national water study. "
Democrats sure seem wedded to all the spending they’ve stuffed in the Sandy bill. After Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and other Republican senators filed amendments to strip some of this unpaid for spending, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked amendments to the bill. While it is imperative to get help to families and communities in the Northeast struggling to recover from a devastating hurricane, Senate Democrats seem to be signaling that their priority is to push through billions in extra pet spending verses getting financial assistance quickly to those who need it. In fact this is another example of Democrat bullying, reverting back to the old ways of of supporting big government spending by inserting thing into bills unrelated to the topic at hand.
The House is in session but the leadership is focused on efforts to resolve going over the "fiscal cliff." Speaker Boehner said this morning that: “The House Will Act Today & It Will Be Up to Senate Democrats & the White House to Act”
The Speaker highlighted two bills the House will pass today to cut spending and protect American families and small businesses from President Obama’s fiscal cliff tax hikes. Speaker Boehner made clear that, following passage of these bills, the onus will be on the president and Senate Democrats to take action – or take responsibility for the largest tax increase in American history.
This morning, Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson urged the House of Representatives to support an amendment to the Speaker's Plan B bill. He said, "Republicans must not fall into the trap of increasing taxes and doing nothing to cut spending. The Jordan-Scalise-Mulvaney amendment to the House bill will make tax relief permanent for all Americans, averting the fiscal cliff, and address the dire state of the nation's finances through real spending reductions. The Senate is going to reject the so-called Plan B anyway. The House might as well give them something that actually solves the real problem—which is spending—instead of a tax increase on job creators that will wreck the economy and drive investment overseas. Even if Plan B passes the House, everyone's taxes are still going to go up at the end of the year, and Republicans will still get blamed if we go over the cliff."
"Republicans are missing an opportunity to lead the nation on real fiscal reform. There should not be a single tax increase on any American when the government will be borrowing $1 trillion every year for the rest of our lifetimes until we can no longer afford to service it. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, conservatives and Republicans need to raise the banner of bold colors, not pale pastels."
Also, today, the House will take up consideration of conference reports on variations between the Senate and House versions of the Senate amendment to the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 66) approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 6684) to provide for spending reduction. And, "Providing for consideration of the conference report to accompany the bill (H.R. 4310) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes. Most members want the DOD and DOE appropriations resolved before recessing for Christmas.
Yesterday, as predicted the House passed a lot of bills in an effort to clear many before Christmas and knowing the Senate will most likely not take up most of these bills unless they happen to be embedded in other bills considered by the Senate during these final days of the current session of Congress. Below is a summary of yesterdays passed items -- minus Eleven passed bills designating or naming Federal facilities and Mt. Andrea Lawrence: S. 1440 (Voice Vote) — "To reduce preterm labor and delivery and the risk of pregnancy-related deaths and complications due to pregnancy, and to reduce infant mortality caused by prematurity." H.R. 6672 (383-16) — "To reauthorize certain programs under the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to public health security and all-hazards preparedness and response, and for other purposes." H.R. 1845 (401-3) — "To provide for a study on issues relating to access to intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) for Medicare beneficiaries in all care settings and a demonstration project to examine the benefits of providing coverage and payment for items and services necessary to administer IVIG in the home." H. Res. 668 (398-5) — "To refer H.R. 5862, a bill making congressional reference to the United States Court of Federal Claims pursuant to sections 1492 and 2509 of title 28, United States Code, the Indian trust-related claims of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (O-Gah-Pah) as well as its individual members." S. 2170 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, which are commonly referred to as the "Hatch Act" to eliminate the provision preventing certain State and local employees from seeking elective office, clarify the application of certain provisions to the District of Columbia, and modify the penalties which may be imposed for certain violations under subchapter III of chapter 73 of that title." H.R. 1509 (Voice Vote) — "To amend title II of the Social Security Act to prohibit the inclusion of Social Security account numbers on Medicare cards." H.R. 6655 (330-77) — "To establish a commission to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect." S. 3564 (409-1) — "To extend the Public Interest Declassification Act of 2000 until 2018 and for other purposes." and S. 2170 — "To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, which are commonly referred to as the "Hatch Act" to eliminate the provision preventing certain State and local employees from seeking elective office, clarify the application of certain provisions to the District of Columbia, and modify the penalties which may be imposed for certain violations under subchapter III of chapter 73 of that title." H.R. 6016 (402-2) — "To amend title 5, United States Code, to provide for administrative leave requirements with respect to Senior Executive Service employees, and for other purposes." and S. 2170 — "To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, which are commonly referred to as the "Hatch Act" to eliminate the provision preventing certain State and local employees from seeking elective office, clarify the application of certain provisions to the District of Columbia, and modify the penalties which may be imposed for certain violations under subchapter III of chapter 73 of that title." H. Res. 839 (Voice Vote) — "Relating to the death of the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, a Senator from the State of Hawaii." Tags:Senate, Sandy Bill, pork, Us House, Speakers bill, fiscal cliff, end of session, legislation, Military appropriations, taxes, government spendingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Schlafly and Smith (ARRA News Service) discuss "UN Threats to USA"
Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: While President Obama and Speaker John Boehner are wrestling with whether or not they will agree to raise taxes, United Nations delegates partying in Doha, Qatar are planning to impose a new kind of tax on Americans. UN conferees have been discussing how they can start a global tax that would hit Americans hard.
The UN bureaucrats are not deterred by the fact that Americans should be protected by our U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 7, which specifies that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” The greedy globalist UN bureaucrats have been conniving for about 20 years to bypass Congress and tax individual Americans, and now they think they have devised a formula to do this.
Their vehicle for this travesty is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UN convention delegates dream they can transform the economic structure of the world by a new global treaty using global warming fears (even though the globe has not warmed for the past 16 years).
UNFCCC’s executive secretary Christiana Figueres will call a “significant number of meetings and workshops” next year to prepare the new document. The plan is for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2014 to “convene leaders to mobilize the political will to ensure that the 2015 deadline is met” to start this global tax.
This new UN document will cap greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, and replace our use of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Government will be expected to subsidize green energy because plenty of evidence proves that alternate energy sources are far more expensive and cannot compete in the marketplace.
Obama gave a half-billion U.S. tax dollars to the solar-panel company Solyndra, which promptly went bankrupt and now is arguing about who will pay the $600-per-hour lawyers who worked on the deal. After Obama gave $133 million of a $249 million grant to a firm named A123 to make batteries for electric cars, that company went bankrupt, too, and now is auctioned to a Chinese company, Wanxiang Group.
The Doha delegates are salivating at the thought of creating a new $100-billion-a-year fund by imposing a first-ever global tax on the right to cause carbon dioxide emissions. This fund is to be headquartered in South Korea and sweetened by a gigantic flow of taxes on international monetary transactions, international shipping, and airline travel.
Agenda 21 is a document called the Declaration on Environment and Development and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests, which was signed by 178 governments including President George H.W. Bush in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. In 1995 President Bill Clinton followed up by an executive order that established a Presidential Council on Sustainable Development, giving globalist busybodies the excuse to work on it ever since.
Agenda 21′s goal is to “save the planet” and “sustain” life on Earth regardless of its adverse effect on human life and our standard of living. It is based on the very un-American notion that private property is “a social injustice since not everyone can build wealth from it.”
We certainly hope our Congress will reject any UN proposal to tax Americans or control our property rights. Farsighted Republicans adopted a Party Platform in Tampa Bay this year stating “We strongly reject the U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of American sovereignty, and we oppose any form of U.N. global tax.”
To understand the relationship of Agenda 21 to taxes and property rights, you have to learn a new vocabulary of words and expressions. A basic dictionary of about a hundred words and phrases has been assembled by a group called Democrats Against Agenda 21, and here are just a few of their favorite words: climate change, Common Core curriculum, environmental impact, New World Order, outcome-based education, public/private partnership, quality of life, smart growth, social justice, growth management, high speed rail, land use policies, multi-use dwellings, sustainable development, and wildlands.
Agenda 21 lays down the rule that “Land … cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.” The UN hopes to require every decision about property use to be based on environmental impact, global land use, and global population control and reduction, which means by the government, not by property owners.
The purpose of this UN attack on property rights is to reduce the U.S. standard of living to that of the rest of the world because the UN bureaucrats resent our prosperity using abundant energy. Agenda 21 was never approved by Congress or ratified as a treaty by the U.S. Senate, so Congress should have no trouble saying No to all UN tax or property restriction proposals.
-------------------- Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, United Nations, UN, tax, attack on property rights, Agenda 21, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCCTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Benghazi Report Critical Of Clinton State Department
In the aftermath of the September 11th attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the State Department launched an internal investigation to determine what went wrong. The findings were made public yesterday and I suspect Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got an advanced copy of the report. Perhaps that is why she fainted and suffered a concussion this weekend.
According to the Accountability Review Board, our ambassador and three other Americans died as the result of "systemic failures" and "leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels" within the State Department. Fox News writes that the report also found "a pervasive realization among personnel who served in Benghazi that the Special Mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security-related requests."
Furthermore, the report also rejected claims by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and others in the Obama Administration, including the president himself, that the attack was the result of a protest against an anti-Islamic film.
The Associated Press reports that three top State Department officials resigned this morning as a result of Review Board's findings.
Hillary Clinton is also resigning next month, amid widespread speculation that she will run for president in four years. This report will not look good on her resume.
Obama Announces Commission On Gun Control
During a White House press conference today, President Obama announced that he is forming a commission, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to draft policy proposals on gun control. Obama said that the Biden-led commission will develop "concrete proposals" by January, which he "intend[s] to push without delay."
I hope that the commission will be mindful of public opinion. An ABC/Washington Post poll released this week found that 52% of the public thinks the shooting "reflects broader problems in American society." I would submit that the breakdown of the family and reliable standards of right and wrong should be at the top of any list of "broader problems in society," but I doubt Biden's commission will see it that way.
When asked what was the best way to reduce gun violence, only 32% said "passing stricter gun-control laws," while 49% said "stricter enforcement of existing laws." And 71% said they opposed a nationwide ban on handguns.
More importantly, I hope Obama and Biden are respectful of the Constitution. This administration has repeatedly circumvented the constitutional process and stretched the limits of its authority. Some on the left are urging Obama to use executive orders to limit our Second Amendment rights if he is unable to get any legislation through the divided Congress.
President Obama needs to respect the limits of his authority. If the left has a problem with the Second Amendment, then launch an effort to repeal it. But ruling by emergency degree is unacceptable. We will be watching the Biden commission very carefully.
Here's some tentative good news in the fight against Obamacare's assault on religious liberty. Yesterday the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against Obamacare's contraception mandate filed by Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College.
A lower court had dismissed the case on the grounds that the government was reportedly revising the mandate. That wasn't good enough for the Court of Appeals. The appellate court did not overturn the mandate, but it did demand evidence from the Department of Health and Human Services that serious revisions to accommodate religious institutions were in fact being made.
This decision is similar to an opinion two weeks ago by a federal judge in New York, who also rejected the government's argument that cases should be dismissed because the bureaucrats were tweaking the regulations. In his opinion, Judge Brian Cogan wrote, "There is no, 'Trust us, changes are coming' clause in the Constitution. To the contrary, the Bill of Rights itself, and the First Amendment in particular, reflect a degree of skepticism towards governmental self-restraint and self-correction."
Mourning Robert Bork
It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Judge Robert Bork this morning. Bork was an intellectual giant and one of America's finest constitutional scholars. It was a great loss for America that he was denied the opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court.
But while praising Bork, let me remind you why he never got that opportunity. He was smeared so badly that his vicious confirmation battle gave rise to a new term -- "to Bork someone," meaning to assassinate their character.
The man who led that lynching was Ted Kennedy, who went to the Senate floor and lied. Here's what he said:"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of Americans."At the time even many on the left thought Kennedy was over-the-top in his vitriol. But Kennedy set the template for how the left deals with its political opponents. Do you see the "war on women" theme? The "conservatives are racists" theme? And "religious conservatives are extremists and anti-science" theme? It was outrageous then, but it has become commonplace now. Sadly, some Republicans are still taken by surprise when it happens today.
Robert Bork was a good man. I will miss his leadership and wisdom. Please pray for his wife, Mary Ellen, and the Bork family.
------------- Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families where his articles are also shared. Tags:Benghazi, report, State Department, Robert Bork, conservative leader, judge, Obama, Gun Control Commission, gun control, Obamacare mandateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Sandy Bill Delayed by Pork | POTUS Demands His Way or The "Fiscal Cliff"
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 19, 2012:
Speaker Boehner and President Obama continue to struggle over a deal. The Senate Democrats have surrendered everything to the president Obama say he won the election and Republicans should get over it and do what he wants. Hey, does a president or a dictator talk this way?
The Democrats want want more taxes and no spending cuts. The National Journal reported that some Democrat lawmakers (Sen. Dick Durbin) are literally running down the hall to avoid talking about spending cuts. Despite widespread agreement that entitlement programs are the major drivers of our debt and deficits, liberal special interest groups have maintained a stranglehold on any efforts towards real reform. With pressure mounting in Washington, DC to act, the question becomes whether Democrats will ultimately face reality and deal with these unsustainable programs or once again cave to the union bosses who helped get them elected.
As for Republican support for the Speaker, a large number of conservatives are clearly not happy with the Speakers leadership in these talks. And, the grassroots appear extremely unhappy. However, reality is most of the grassroots members including small business owners have incomes under $1 million a year and if the "fiscal cliff" occurs everyone will be paying more taxes.
FLASHBACK: In 2009, Obama Pledged To Reform Social Security And Medicare. “President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare ‘bargain’ with the American people, saying that the nation's long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs.” (Michael D. Shear, “Obama Pledges Reform Of Social Security, Medicare Programs,” The Washington Post, 1/16/09)
Obama: “What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further … We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.” (Michael D. Shear, “Obama Pledges Reform Of Social Security, Medicare Programs,” The Washington Post, 1/16/09)
The Washington Post: “Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs.” (Editorial, “Mr. Obama’s time to lead on entitlements,” The Washington Post, 11/27/12)
And to quote Former Clinton Chief Of Staff Erskine Bowles: “First of all, most important thing is if we're going to raise revenue and if we're going to raise it in any form, then we darn well better cut spending because spending is the biggest part of this problem, and the biggest part of that problem is the fact that health care is growing at a faster rate than GDP.” (Erskine Bowles, CBS's Face The Nation, 12/9/12)
Today, the Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 1, the vehicle for a supplemental appropriations bill for relief from Hurricane Sandy. Votes on amendments are possible today. At issue is Democrats seeking "pok spending" on other issues that the recovery assistance for the North East directly hit by the Hurricane Sandy. Even Alaska's representation has slipping pork for Alaska into the bill as detailed below.
Two New York papers today wrote about the increasing concerns over extraneous spending Democrats have inserted in the bill that’s supposed to be aimed at relief and recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
The New York Daily News writes, “New York’s senators dug in Tuesday to defend a $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy aid package that conservatives say smells fishy. The bill includes millions for projects like support of salmon fisheries in Alaska, New England and the Gulf Coast Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted the Commerce Department declared disasters for the regions’ fish stocks well before Sandy made landfall. Emergency spending bills typically cover all unfunded federally declared disasters, he argued. ‘So it’s germane to the package,’ Schumer said.”
And in a story with the headline, “Don’t diss piggy! NY pols defend pork in Sandy aid,” the New York Post writes, “Gov. Cuomo and Sen. Charles Shumer yesterday scrambled to blunt criticism of the $60.4 billion federal Hurricane Sandy bill by Republicans who have blasted some of the spending as pork. Conservative groups and two prominent Republicans have criticized the inclusion of items not designated for relief to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, such as $2 million for Smithsonian institution roofs and $15 million for NASA damage. Cuomo called the inclusion of the projects part of the legislative process. . . . Schumer also defended the spending, which includes $150 million for Alaska fisheries, as a way for the federal government to fund disaster relief. Also included in the package is $125 million designated for a watershed program to combat wildfires and droughts, $50 million for tree-planting on private properties, and $20 million for a national water study. ‘If they can find something that is not disaster related, we’ll take it out,’ Schumer said. ‘Everything in this package is disaster related.’”
With millions for Alaska fisheries, tree-planting, and water studies stuffed in the bill, it’s hard to believe claims that “[e]verything in this package is disaster related.”
As Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on the Senate floor last night, “Let’s be clear about this. Every one of my colleagues on this side of the aisle wants to act quickly to provide much needed relief for the people who have been impacted by the horrible effects of Hurricane Sandy. But we cannot consider this legislation in a vacuum. We are looking at a $17 trillion debt--somewhere between $16 and $17 trillion.” He pointed out, “[T]here are many provisions in this bill that both have nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy and many of the programs in this bill will not even take effect before the year 2015. . . . There is no justification to include these projects in this emergency spending bill.”
The House yesterday passed the following bills: H.R. 6014 (Voice Vote) — "To authorize the Attorney General to award grants for States to implement minimum and enhanced DNA collection processes." H.R. 6671 (Voice Vote) — "To amend section 2710 of title 18, United States Code, to clarify that a video tape service provider may obtain a consumer's informed, written consent on an ongoing basis and that consent may be obtained through the Internet." H.R. 6504 (Vote 359-36) — "To amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to provide for increased limitations on leverage for multiple licenses under common control, and for other purposes." H.R. 3783 (Vote 386-6) — Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012." H.R. 6621 (Vote 308-89) — "To correct and improve certain provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and title 35, United States Code." S. 3642 (Vote 388-4) — "To clarify the scope of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996."
Today, Congress, excluding the Speaker, will consider a large number of bills as the House tries to clear several bills before the end of he year. However, all bills not passed both the House and the Senate and signed by the President will dead on arrival (DOA) at the beginning of the new Congressional session in January, 2013. Tags:Sandy Bill, fiscal cliff, Dems, more taxes, no spending cuts, Barack Obama, John BoehnerTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Even An Atrocity Does Not Justify Destroying The Bill Of Rights
by Contributing Author Ralph Benko: The murder of 20 innocent children and 7 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, horrifies all Americans. President Obama eloquently expressed our collective feelings of “overwhelming grief” and our response to “hug our children a little tighter, and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another.”
Progressives now are arguing for stricter gun control. America, however, is founded on the “consent of the governed.” Americans’ sympathy for gun control, when polled by Pew after the Aurora atrocity, was about equally split between the restrictionists and those favoring the protection of the right to bear arms.
Restrictionist sentiment is down from almost 2 – 1 in favor of gun control in 2000. This isn’t irrational. Empirically, at 12.1 victims per 100,000 the firearms death rate in ultra-restrictionist Maryland, home of this columnist, is higher than that of gun-friendly Texas’s 10.9 per 100,000.
Many conservatives have their own unfounded proclivities: “Lock every felon up and throw away the key.” Yet as noted last summer by The Economist, “America continues to lock up a scandalously large number of its people: around 1% of the adult population is behind bars at any time. But, says Mr Levin, ‘the relationship between the incarceration rate and the violent-crime rate is not very strong.’ New York has not followed the national mania for imprisonment, and yet the decline in its crime has been among the most impressive.”
At base the social consensus against institutionalizing the mentally ill makes it virtually impossible to remove potentially dangerous psychotics from society. Although it increases the possibility of tragedies such as Newtown, most feel that should not be reversed. Most psychotics are harmless.
Deinstitutionalization was a reaction to widespread, and egregious, abuses of the mentally ill and of inmates — including hideous violations of civil liberties. Most oppose, on humanitarian and civil liberties grounds, a return to the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest era. Newtown may force a change in this consensus as a more intelligent approach than gun control. If so, this absolutely must be handled with integrity and with impeccable safeguards for the mentally ill.
There is nothing wrong with Progressives making their case for restricting gun rights. They are passionate about it and, although America’s homicide rate (4.8 per 100,000 in 2010) has plunged by over half since its 1991 peak (9.8 per 100,000) — with no clear correlation with stricter gun control (and some evidence to the contrary) — America still has many more firearm homicides than other developed countries.
It’s a free country. Progressives rightly are free to make their case. Progressives, however, show shocking recklessness in their willingness to implement their policies by overriding popular will and the letter and spirit of the Constitution. There is a disconcerting trend in Progressive circles toward a willful disregard of the Declaration of Independence’s axiom that government legitimacy is based on the consent of the governed … and toward a perverse ignoring of key segments of the Bill of Rights.
The essence of the Declaration — one we were taught in grammar school and, most of us, consigned to the same trashcan as sentence diagrams — may be found here: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it ….”The original Constitution immediately received ten amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights. These set forth with great specificity what Americans consider their most cherished “unalienable rights.” They were designed to protect against the risk of what Tocqueville called the tyranny of the majority. In case you haven’t been “read your rights” lately … these , prominently, include:“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…
“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….”America, via the Tea Party and Occupiers, if rather inchoately, lately has been attempting to restore itself to a small “l” liberal (enumerated rights so sacrosanct as to be exempt from being taken away even by a majority), small “r” republic (officials elected by the citizens to act according to the consent of the governed). If America is to be “set to rights” it is crucial that the consent of the governed and the unalienable nature of our Constitutional rights be at the center of our civic discourse and politics.
“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is quite unequivocal. Progressives denigrate this and other rights at our, and their own, peril. Many Progressives also wish to muzzle the right to advocate political views (masquerading as “campaign finance reform”). They fall back on arguments such as “corporations aren’t persons.” The First Amendment doesn’t mention persons. It simply contains a plenary ban on government interference.
Progressives consider access to artificial contraception an important right. That’s a position with which this columnist sympathizes. Yet a government forcing those whose religion considers it a mortal sin to provide or subsidize this non-enumerated right obnoxiously violates the plenary Constitutional ban on the government’s “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. Government’s undermining the right of people of faith conscientiously to make a stand for their sexual mores to be reflected in law — such as the federal judge who abused his governmental power to negate California’s Proposition 8 — is a grotesque violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise of religion.
The majority of Americans (including this columnist) consider personhood to commence before birth. The Fifth Amendment requires that “No person shall be … deprived of life … without due process of law.” To ignore this Fifth Amendment guarantee undermines liberal republican governance and makes all, pro-choice as well as pro-life, constitutionally poorer.
It appears that many Progressives are determined to abridge guarantees of free speech, free press, and to prohibit the free exercise of religion, eviscerating the guarantees of the First Amendment. Many propose to infringe the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms and repeal other elements of the Bill of Rights. There are clear mechanisms for so doing, within the Constitution itself, by amendment if the requisite supermajorities can be persuaded. It is reprehensible for advocates to do violence to all of our civil liberties by, instead, disregarding unambiguous guarantees of some.
Those who wish to restrict gun rights — or any other right protected by the Constitution — are called upon to seek to amend, rather than disregard, the Constitution. America is, as Ben Franklin said after the Constitutional Convention, “a republic, if you can keep it.” If the bone-chilling violence at Newtown triggers violence against the Bill of Rights, safeguards for our vital civil liberties collapse. Events precipitating illiberalism are not historically unknown. Reaction must be resisted.
------------------ Ralph Benko, senior adviser for economics to American Principles in Action, served on detail as deputy general counsel to an Executive Office of the President agency under President Reagan and to a Reagan presidential commission. His article also appeared in the Forbes. Ralph is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. Tags:Atrocity, Bill of Rights, 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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