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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
Friday, May 03, 2013
Bankrupting America: Line By Line
Bankrupting America: In 2008, President Obama said he would go "line by line, page by page" through the federal budget to eliminate waste and inefficiency, but now that he has that opportunity he says "there's no smart way" to do it. Learn more at BankruptingAmerica.org.
Tags:President Obama, Bankrupting America, Line by Line,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Fractured US Intelligence Rules out Greater Cooperation with Russia
Following the recent bombing in Boston there has been a great deal of talk in the mainstream media about the U.S. and Russia working closer on intelligence sharing – but this optimism really is unfounded and such a partnership will not happen. James Stafford, Editor, Oilprice.comshared the following very interesting analysis with the ARRA News Service. by Jen Alic, Oilprice.com: The US intelligence community is in a state of disarray—most recently illustrated by the Boston Marathon Bombings—and the idea of a more structured cooperation with Russian intelligence as a direct result of this incident is a paper tiger.
The mainstream US media has latched on to the idea of a new era of US-Russian intelligence cooperation as a result of the Chechen connection to the Boston bombing because this is an attractive post-Cold War idea that makes for good headlines.
The reality is clearly less dramatic. The mounting US intelligence failures since 9/11 can in large part be contributed to a lack of cooperation among US agencies themselves. Adding increased cooperation on a clearly structured level with external agencies simply isn’t feasible.
This idea is even trumping the blame game over Boston that will seek to determine whose intelligence failure this really was and who was responsible for the root causes of the incident: Russia or the US?
Last week, police arrested 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (of Chechen origins) after a shootout that left the other suspect, his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan, dead. There are, however, varying versions of this story, some of which say the shootout was against an unarmed man. According to investigators, Dzhokhar has admitted under interrogation that he and his brother were on route to New York to conduct a second attack when they were stopped by police. They blame the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for their radicalization. But there are plenty of unanswered questions here.
Both brothers were on Russian and US watch lists, and a six-month trip a year ago to Dagestan, a hotbed of Islamic radicalism in Russia’s North Caucasus, was on everyone’s radar.
Russia says it didn’t have any substantive evidence to hand over to US intelligence agencies on the two brothers; likewise, US agencies had nothing conclusive prior to the attack. Indeed, Dzhokhar, by all accounts, was nothing more than a student studying marine biology at a Boston University, on an academic scholarship.
Try as it might to get the US to become more fully engaged in what the Kremlin calls the “international terrorist threat” emanating from its North Caucasus, the US is not positioned to take the bait.
US intelligence services remain only partially reformed and budgetary warfare among other things keeps agencies from sharing their intelligence to prevent incidents such as the Boston Marathon Bombing.
A brief look at the intelligence failures from 9/11 onwards illustrates this predicament clearly. The 9/11 attack itself represented the failure of the US intelligence community to determine the wider threat posed by transnational terrorism, but the 9/11 Commission also strongly noted the prevailing problems of bureaucratic rivalries. The information was there, but politics and inter-agency rivalry kept it from being spread.
Likewise, the 2009 Christmas Day “underwear” bombing attempt by a Nigerian on board a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was only thwarted because of the passengers. US intelligence played no role in the event, and a Senate Select Committee noted 14 intelligence failures over this incident. Among those failures were competing intelligence priorities. The suspect, after all, was on the US database of suspected terrorists, but his name was not on a “no-fly” list or other lists that would have subjected him to more security scrutiny. None of these lists is synchronized.
That same year, we have the Fort Hood shooting, when US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at the Texas military base, killing 13 people. Information that Hasan was actually being monitored by US intelligence prior to this shooting was never shared with Army counterintelligence which could have prevented the incident.
Then we have the Arab Spring, which snuck up on the US intelligence community. It went viral on the internet before US intelligence caught on.
The bottom line is that there are too many turf wars among US intelligence agencies to boost cooperation between US and Russian intelligence in any structured manner. The two countries already share intelligence to some extent in relation to the “war on terror”, but this will remain limited for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the US intelligence community itself is not cohesive.
And in terms of “competing intelligence,” it would be wise to keep in mind that the FBI was monitoring Tsnaraev for five years, and still asked the US public to help them identify the suspects.
There are also a number of reports that will never been truly confirmed that a counter-terrorist drill that included bomb-sniffing dogs was actually taking place during the Boston Marathon.
Infographic: Here’s What’s Wrong with the ‘Gang of Eight’ Immigration Bill
by Katie Nielsen, My Heritage Foundation: Next week Senators will begin to debate the “Gang of Eight’s” comprehensive immigration bill. Heritage President Jim DeMint has said the bill is “unfair, it costs too much, and it’s going to make the problem worse.”
Below is an infographic that explains some of the major problems with a “comprehensive” approach to immigration reform. Forward this to a friend to share these concerns.
Do you think a comprehensive approach to immigration reform plan is best for the American taxpayer? Tags:infographic, what's wrong, Gang of Eight, Immigration BillTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Reuters: "Big U.S. Insurers Wary Of Entering New Obamacare Markets"
In the past weeks, almost every day has brought a new story about the consequences of Obamacare and Democrats fretting about the problems it’s facing as the Obama administration struggles to implement it. Of course, today is no exception.
Reuters writes today, “The nation's largest health insurers are far from leaping at the chance to join new state health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama's reform law, making it likely that some markets will have little or no competition next year. . . . A key principle of Obama's health reform is that individuals will have a robust offering of insurance plans to choose from, and that competition for new customers in each state will help keep prices down for consumers. But health insurers, some of whom fought the law before it was passed and continue to lobby to reverse parts of it, are wary. In recent days, executives at the four largest U.S. health insurers say they are likely to sell insurance plans on less than a third of the exchanges, reluctant to venture out beyond the states where they already offer coverage. . . . There are a number of reasons for caution, company executives say. These include a lack of clarity about the kind of prices they can charge and the number of plans they can sell on each exchange, the expectation that the program is only expected to reach about 7 million people nationwide in its first year and uncertainty over whether all of the exchanges will be ready in time.”
According to Reuters, “UnitedHealth , the largest U.S. insurer, said it would end up in as few as 10 exchanges and only up to 25 maximum. Aetna on Tuesday said that it was not planning a ‘land grab’ when it comes to expanding through the exchanges and has submitted applications to offer plans in 14 states. WellPoint , which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield licenses in 14 states, said it plans to enter exchanges in those states, but that there is uncertainty around timing of the overall rollout of exchanges. Humana Inc. said it is participating in 14 states. Cigna said it will participate in a ‘limited’ number of markets that it has already zeroed in on for growth. . . . Caroline Pearson, vice president for health reform at consulting firm Avalere Health, said the barriers for insurers are high to break into a new insurance market. ‘To come in as a new carrier, do marketing to build your brand name, and build a provider network from scratch is very, very hard,’ she said.”
Tags:Obamacare, Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, Max Baucus, Big Insurers, Obamacare Markets, news reportsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Today, May 2, is a day to be especially watchful. Jihadists are particularly fond of celebrating anniversaries and on that day in 2011 Seal Team Six found and killed Osama bin Laden. September 11. 2001 is now an indelible part of U.S. history and on September 11, 2012, jihadists attacked and killed an American ambassador and three others.
The threat that Islam presents to America in particular and the world in general is beginning to influence what non-Muslims think of this death cult.
In a recent commentary, the Dr. Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, referred to the process by which opinion in democratic nations turns against Islam as “education by murder.”
Dr. Pipes was sanguine regarding the American response to the Boston Marathon attack. He did not foresee any increase in security measures or a greater preparedness for what he called “sudden jihad syndrome” violence. Even so, he said “High profile terrorism in the West—9/11, Bali, Madrid, Beslan, London—moves opinion more than anything else.”
A new report about the Islamist terrorist threat, “Al Qaeda in the United States”, issued by the Henry Jackson Society, a British-based think tank, noted that, of the 171 al Qaeda related or inspired acts of terrorism from 1997 to 2011, 54% were by American citizens, some naturalized, but more than a third (36%) were born in the U.S., concluding that this statistic dispels the myth that the terrorist threat is primarily external.”
I keep wondering how long it will be before Americans will begin to take seriously the threat that Islam represents. The list of attacks is a long one such as the 1982 attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut and the 1983 attack on the U.S. Marine Barracks after Reagan sent them there as peacekeepers. The first attack on the World Trade Center was in 1993. In October 2000, the USS Cole was attacked. On September 11, 2001, the second attack killed 3,000 Americans. When George W. Bush came into office, he told his national security advisor, Condoleeza Rice, that he was “tired of swatting flies.”
President Obama’s approach to Islam was initially one of outreach and accommodation. The fact that his father was a Muslim and that he had spent his youth in Indonesia as the adopted son of a Muslim no doubt influenced this and many believe he remains a Muslim despite his denials.
Despite the fact that the search for bin laden began following 9/11, Obama took credit for the having found and killed him. No credit was publicly given to Bush who he had relentlessly criticized for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
My friend, Amil Amani, has labored long and hard to educate Americans about Islam. At one point, responding to a critic who defended Islam, he said “Islam is a culture of death. Islam is a comprehensive totalitarian form of slavery. It is the opposite of freedom. Its very name, Islam means submission or surrender. True to its name, Islam strives for nothing short of enslavement of the body of humanity as well as the bondage of its mind. This non-negotiable surrender to Islam requires the individual, as well as the society, to disenfranchise themselves of many of the fundamental and deeply cherished human rights.”
In 1998 the founder of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, issued a World Islamic Front statement, “Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders”, meaning Christians. He quoted Mohammed. “I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped, Allah who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders.”
Bin Laden issued “the ruling to kill Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa mosque (Mecca) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.”
President Obama labored through his first term to remove American troops from Iraq and has sent 2014 as the year they leave Afghanistan.
Bin Laden’s call and the instructions of Mohammed are the driving force behind the efforts of Muslims in nations throughout the world to wage war and we are witnessing that effort. So long as President Obama remains in office the effort to thwart that war will be muted.
His closest advisors and those in his cabinet such as Janet Napolitano, in charge of the Department of Homeland Security, will continue to tell Americans that a successful effort is being waged. It is not.
Immigration Alert: Waivers And Exemptions In Gang Of Eight Plan Would Permanently Hamstring Enforcement
Rather than enhance border security and ensure future enforcement of the law, S. 744 rewards illegal aliens with criminal records, and creates an incentive for people to illegally enter the United States in the future.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL): Not only does the Gang of Eight’s bill allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to decide for herself whether weak, undefined enforcement measures (“triggers”) are met, but it grants her unprecedented discretion in determining whether an alien is allowed to enter the country, whether future illegal aliens can be removed from the country, and who is eligible for amnesty in the bill. The net effect of these waivers and discretionary authority is to permanently hamstring and undermine law enforcement and create a new, endless bureaucracy surrounding immigration proceedings.These provisions, carefully crafted by special interest immigration attorneys, serve only one purpose: to weaken current law and make future enforcement impossible.
For instance, this bill would allow the Secretary to overlook convictions for crimes related to gang activity, child abuse, domestic violence, and drunk driving in determining whether an individual is eligible for admission to the country if the person’s admission serves “humanitarian purposes,” “ensure[s] family unity,” or is in the “public interest.” These standards are so broad as to render most current legal restrictions meaningless.
S. 744 would also grant the Secretary of Homeland Security and Immigration Judges enormously broad discretion to block the removal of any future legal and illegal aliens—including convicted criminals—where such a removal is not in the “public interest” or would result in mere “hardship” to the alien’s U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent of a child, spouse or child.
The bill would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security, when determining whether an individual is eligible for amnesty, to overlook that individual’s convictions for the following types of offenses that would otherwise render the alien inadmissible to the United States: a crime involving moral turpitude (which could include theft, child abuse, domestic violence, and a variety of other serious crimes); a controlled substance (non-trafficking) offense; and multiple drunk driving offenses (which, interestingly, is added as a ground of inadmissibility elsewhere in the bill), if the Secretary determines that granting the individual amnesty would serve “humanitarian purposes,” “ensure family unity,” or is in the “public interest.”
In reviewing an application for the amnesty provided in the bill, the Secretary is explicitly barred from considering: document forgery, skipping court-ordered removal hearings, making false statements to authorities, multiple illegal re-entries, or felony arrests that did not result in convictions.
Even those who have been deported are eligible to apply for amnesty under the bill. Current law requires the Attorney General to automatically remove an alien who re-enters the U.S. after being deported. Under S. 744, however, this would no longer apply to future deportees who re-enter the U.S. before reaching 18 years of age. It would also no longer apply to any deportee—regardless of age—whose removal the Secretary determines would not be in the “public interest” or would result in “hardship” to the alien’s U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent, spouse, or child. For instance, under this bill, an alien who was removed after committing a deportable offense—such as assault or a crime involving moral turpitude—and returns before the age of 18 is no longer deportable, as he would be under current law.
S. 744 provides that an alien is ineligible for amnesty if he has been convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses on different dates, other than minor traffic offenses (a term which is not defined). That means that an alien is eligible for amnesty even if he or she has been convicted of two misdemeanor criminal convictions, or even a theoretically unlimited number of misdemeanor criminal convictions, as long as the convictions occurred on the same date. That also means that an alien who committed a serious felony offense but had his charges reduced to a misdemeanor as the result of a plea bargain is eligible for amnesty. Despite these already lax requirements, the Secretary is given authority to waive the bar for even those with multiple convictions.
S. 744 also provides that Immigration Judges have the authority to appoint attorneys to illegal aliens at government expense. The appointment of an attorney at government expense is unprecedented outside of the criminal court context.
Rather than enhance border security and ensure future enforcement of the law, S. 744 rewards illegal aliens with criminal records, and creates an incentive for people to illegally enter the United States in the future. In essence, if S. 744 passes as currently drafted, the following scenario is not at all unlikely: An individual who has previously been convicted of a crime and subsequently removed from the United States illegally crosses the border at one of the six sectors not addressed by S. 744. The United States Border Patrol apprehends that individual, and rather than simply expediently removing him from the United States, places that individual into removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge. The Immigration Judge appoints an attorney for the alien at taxpayer expense. The attorney assists the alien in demonstrating that any future removal would cause mere “hardship” to a qualifying relative. The Immigration Judge terminates the case and permits the individual to stay in the United States—presumably indefinitely.
Quite opposite from creating the “toughest” enforcement in history as the proposal sponsors’ promised, this legislation would devastate enforcement and officer morale and disastrously undermine the rule of law for years to come.
-------------- U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) serves on four Senate committees: Armed Services, Judiciary, Environment and Public Works, and as Ranking Member of the Budget Committee. Tags:Action Alert, Gang of 8, Immigration Bill, S.744, waivers, extensions, permanently hamstrings, Law Enforcement, undermine rule of lawTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
John Fund, National Review Online: The he Department of Health and Human Services has just handed out a $3.1 million PR contract to improve the public image of Obamacare. Advertising Age reports that the firm Weber Shandwick will help “roll out a campaign to convince skeptical — or simply confused — Americans the Affordable Care Act is good for them and convince them to enroll in a health plan.”
Obama officials insist the ads won’t be political, but critics recall that just before the 2010 midterm election, HHS spent $3.2 million on “educational” TV ads praising Obamacare. The spots featured the late actor Andy Griffith, a favorite of seniors, who told his fellow retirees that “more good things are coming” from Medicare. But FactCheck, a nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, noted that the ads made no mention of the dramatic cuts to 10 million Medicare Advantage recipients, who are likely to see their privately managed care scaled back. “The words in this ad ring hollow, and the promise that ‘benefits will remain the same’ is just as fictional as the town of Mayberry was when Griffith played the local sheriff,” FactCheck concluded in July 2010.
Indeed, the facts today are that Obamacare remains as unpopular now as when it was passed in 2010, and Democrats are increasingly worried it will return to haunt them in the midterm election next year, the first to take place after the stepped-up implementation of the law. Reporters at the Cook Political Report, a respected Washington watcher of election trends, noted this month that “almost all” of the Democratic insiders they talked to “voiced concern about the potential for the issue to hurt Democrats in 2014.” At no point since its passage has Obamacare been viewed favorably by more than 45 percent of voters, and the latest Kaiser Family Health Foundation poll pegs its nationwide support at only 37 percent.
The administration is already preparing its excuses if insurance premiums skyrocket next year and parts of Obamacare miss key start dates. HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius complained this month that “no one fully anticipated” the difficulties involved in setting up Obamacare. She blamed obstructionist Republicans for engaging in “state-by-state political battles” to slow down the creation of health-care exchanges.
But many of her fellow Democrats aren’t exactly following her line. West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller, one of the main architects of Obamacare, calls the bill “probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress.” Referring to the implementation of the bill, he says, “If it isn’t done right the first time, it will just simply get worse.”
Senate Finance chairman Max Baucus of Montana has an even gloomier assessment. “I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” he told Sebelius in a hearing last week. “When I’m home, small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect, they don’t know what affordability rules are, they don’t know what penalties may apply. They just don’t know.”
Some backers of Obamacare are even jumping ship completely. Kinsey Robinson, the president of the 22,000-member United Union of Roofers, issued a public statement last week calling for “repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.” He explained that his union’s “concerns over certain provisions in the ACA have not been addressed, or in some instances, [have been] totally ignored.” Many of the bill’s quickly drafted provisions, he added, “are inconsistent with the promise that those who were satisfied with their employer-sponsored coverage could keep it.”
The train wreck that Senator Baucus foresees could push young people into “rate shock” as their premiums increase to subsidize care for older Americans. Obamacare’s “community rating” rules and benefit mandates might prompt employers to drop coverage or avoid hiring new employees. “I talk with a lot of businesses that are thinking of self-insuring or finding any loophole they can to avoid the most onerous parts of Obamacare,” says pollster Scott Rasmussen. A study last month by the Society of Actuaries predicted that medical claims per policyholder will rise by 32 percent in the individual plans offered by Obamacare’s health-care exchanges. In some states, the increase could be as much as 80 percent.
The Obama administration is preparing for the worst. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute reports that it is getting ready to spend $600 billion that Congress never authorized on federally run state exchanges in order to ease any sticker shock for consumers. But that may not be nearly enough.
Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, admitted his doubts to a group of health-care executives recently. “We are under 200 days from open enrollment [in Obamacare], and I’m pretty nervous,” he said. “The time for debating . . . is it a world-class experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago. Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”
Such comments must send spasms of fear down the spines of several red-state Democratic senators who will be up for reelection for the first time since they voted for Obamacare in 2010 — Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas among them. They and other Democrats in the Senate have already voted to repeal key portions of Obamacare, such as the CLASS Act long-term-care program, and the Senate also passed a nonbinding resolution to oppose the tax on medical devices.
Don’t be surprised if many Democrats in Congress join with Republicans later this year in calling for a one-year moratorium on the implementation of Obamacare. There’s even a chance the Obama administration will join them if the behind-the-scenes chaos at HHS gets bad enough. That wouldn’t be the kind of bipartisanship deal the establishment media has been calling for lately, but it might just be one of the most popular moves Washington could make.
---------------- John Fund is national-affairs columnist for National Review Online. Tags:Lipstick on a Pig, Obamacare, Obamacare Pig, HHS, National Review Online, John FundTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: Congress rammed Obamacare through without many Members even reading the bill. Now it’s applying that same frantic, complex, pie-in-the-sky legislating to immigration. The similarities are frightening.
1. Extreme Costs
The Government Accountability Office now projects that under the most realistic scenario, Obamacare will add $6.2 trillion to the primary deficit over the next 75 years. That’s a staggering figure, especially considering the fact that President Obama pledged in 2009, “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits—either now or in the future.”
The Gang of Eight’s immigration plan granting amnesty to those unlawfully in the U.S. will cost already burdened American taxpayers more than they can bear. When he last crunched the numbers during the 2007 amnesty debate, Heritage’s Robert Rector calculated that a general amnesty would cost some $2.5 trillion—after considering what legalized immigrants would likely pay in taxes and receive in government benefits and services. His updated research on the latest proposal, due out soon, is likely to find a higher price tag in 2013.
2. False Promises
Remember President Obama’s promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”? That’s just one of the most famous (or infamous) broken promises of Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office projects 7 million people will lose their employer-sponsored coverage by 2022 because of the law.
On immigration, Heritage President Jim DeMint told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow this week: “I’ve heard a lot of promises about bills that have gone through Congress. …The only thing that I know about this bill is that it’s going to give legal status and eventual citizenship to those who came here unlawfully. The rest are just promises.” One of those promises is border security—as Heritage’s James Jay Carafano explains, the bill would not actually secure the border.
3. Have to Pass It to See What’s In It
Nancy Pelosi wasn’t kidding when she said Congress would have to pass Obamacare “to see what’s in it.” That’s because the bill gave federal agencies free rein to write regulations that would become the real-world version of the law—and even though it passed in 2010, the regulations are still being written today.
The immigration bill does the same thing—it gives over congressional authority to federal agencies, allowing unelected bureaucrats to think up all the details later.
4. Piles on Already Broken—and Broke—Entitlement Programs
Obamacare plans to add millions of people to the Medicaid rolls — the largest expansion ever to this problematic program, which is already unsustainable and needs vital reforms.
Likewise, the immigration bill would add millions to the number of people on various taxpayer-funded benefits, from Medicare and Social Security to welfare. As DeMint said, “These programs are already broke. Our country is already $17 trillion in debt. This will be a net loss, a huge cost to taxpayers.”
5. Perks for Special Interests
Whenever the legislative process turns fast and furious, Members of Congress start loading on special-interest deals that are less likely to be noticed in the chaos. Obamacare was full of favors for Big Labor. Now, the immigration bill is carrying all sorts of special-interest goodies — not to mention a bonanza for immigration lawyers.
This isn’t the way Congress should make laws. It’s only making the same mistakes all over again—and we’ll be paying for them. Tags:amnesty, border security, broken promises, budget, costs, debt, deficit, Entitlements, Taxes & Spending, Health Care, immigrants, immigration, Obama administration, Obamacare, social security, special interests, Taxes & Spending, taxpayers, Heritage Foundation, Morning BellTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
U.S. House Gets Another Clean Financial Bill of Health
For the second year running, the House of Representatives has received a clean financial bill of health, marking another milestone in Republicans’ efforts to lead by example and protect taxpayer dollars.
In her announcement touting the audit, which was conducted by the independent Office of Inspector General, House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI) praised the efforts of House officials and noted the strides taken under Republican leadership to restore financial transparency and accountability: “Prior to 2009, the House had received clean opinions for eleven consecutive years. However in 2009 and 2010, due to a lack of internal controls, the House took a step backwards and received two years of adverse opinions. The commitment by Chief Administrative Officer Dan Strodel and his team to take the necessary actions to restore the House’s good financial standing is to be commended.”This news comes less than a week after Speaker Boehner, Chairman Miller, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced that after three years of Republican leadership, the House is on track to save taxpayers more than $400 million in House operations. In a report on the cost-cutting effort, USA Today noted that “when Republicans took control of the House in January 2011, Boehner, the new speaker, said cutting House spending would be a priority.” Cutting the cost of Congress was a plank in the Pledge to America.
Cleaning up Congress’s books has been a long-time priority for Speaker Boehner, a former small business owner. Here’s a snapshot from his release applauding last year’s clean audit: “Speaker Boehner first called for independent audits of the House in 1992 when he was part of the ‘Gang of Seven.’ And in September 1999, as Vice Chairman of the House Administration Committee, Boehner joined House leaders to announce the first-ever ‘clean’ audit of the House books. Boehner praised the House for holding itself ‘as accountable as anyone in the private sector would do.’ . . .”Tags:U.S House, audit, saving operation costs, Pledge to AmericaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
McConnell Op-Ed: Democrats Must "Prepare Their Constituents For The Consequences" Of Obamacare
By Mitch McConnell, Philadelphia Inquirer Op-Ed[ (Subscription required - article provided to ARRA News Service by Sen. McConnell's office]: At a recent closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats are reported to have deluged White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough with a litany of concerns about Obamacare. It was a puzzling report for those of us who have been warning about the consequences of this bill since the day it was first proposed.
Higher premiums, lost jobs, burdensome compliance costs - all these things were entirely predictable and widely expected, which is why not a single Republican in Congress voted for the law and public support hasn't risen above 50 percent in the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for the health-care "train wreck" that's about to be inflicted upon hardworking Americans.
The fact is, Obamacare needs to be repealed.
Those who wrote this law in private now have an obligation to own up to its consequences in a very public fashion. Rather than look for scapegoats at the White House or blame bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services, the men and women who argued so loudly in favor of this bill in the face of overwhelming evidence of its dangers should now either explain what's coming or join Republicans in repealing it.
For more than a year, President Obama and his allies in Congress tried to sell the idea of a government takeover of health care. When that failed, they realized the only way they would ever get a bill passed was by ignoring public opinion, sidelining Republicans, rejecting transparency, and ramming it through Congress by hook or by crook. Wavering Democrat senators were bought off with legislative favors and other promises of support. Others were strong-armed into voting "yes" in the early hours of Christmas Eve morning in 2009.
In short, Washington Democrats made a willful choice to charge ahead with this law despite public opposition, and despite the warnings of not just Republicans, but independent experts across the country. It's long past time they took responsibility for the law they devised behind closed doors by admitting its flaws publicly.
Taking responsibility, however, is just a first step. More importantly, those responsible for enacting this bill need to prepare their constituents for the consequences they're now fretting about in private. According to a survey released this week, 49 percent of Americans do not understand how the law will affect their families, and I'm sure many have questions like "What will happen to my health coverage?" and "How will I be able to navigate this new government bureaucracy?"
Democrats need to answer these types of questions. They also need to help prepare families and younger Americans for the skyrocketing premiums many of them will soon see. They need to prepare part-time workers for shrinking paychecks as employers cut back hours to comply with the law's mandates. They need to publicly own up to the fact that small-business owners have no idea how to comply with the law's nearly 20,000 pages of rules and regulations.
In short, Democrats owe it to their constituents to be as open and honest about the consequences of this law as they are with White House officials in private. They need to be as loud in outlining its consequences as they were in touting its purported benefits. Maybe that way they'll finally realize it's OK to oppose Obamacare, and that the days of writing massive bills in private and rushing them through Congress with little input from the public are over.
The president has refused repeated Republican calls to take concerns about Obamacare public and prepare the American people for the changes ahead. In fact, on Tuesday, he actually chose to do the exact opposite, saying that "this thing's already happened" for most Americans. "Full stop, that's it . . . they don't have to worry about anything else."
Well, that's simply untrue, and that kind of misleading statement is only going to cause more Americans to be blindsided when more pieces of the law start to take effect.
The president may believe that support for Obamacare will fall further if Americans learn more about it. And he's right. But that's no excuse to avoid the responsibility that comes with preparing the public for a law that even some of its most ardent supporters are now describing as a "train wreck" waiting to happen.
Meanwhile, Republicans will continue our fight to repeal this law. In recent weeks, we've seen more and more of the president's allies join us in raising the alarm. That's a great sign. Americans deserve better than to see elected leaders, who championed this law and then rushed it through Congress, now cowering behind closed doors, fretting about its consequences.
------------- U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, is the Senate Republican leader. Tags:Obamacare, consequences, Democrats, constituents, Mitch McConnell, Republicans, repeal Obamacare, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today is the National Day of Prayer. The first call to prayer happened before the American Revolution. In 1775, the Continental Congress called on the colonists to pray for wisdom as they considered how they would respond to the King of England.
Perhaps one of the most powerful calls to prayer came from President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. In 1863, he issued a proclamation for a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer.” Part of that proclamation:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”In 1952, Congress passed and President Harry Truman signed a resolution which declared an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, President Reagan signed into law a bill that designated the first Thursday of May as the time for the National Day of Prayer. That is why various celebrations throughout this country are taking place today.
It is estimated that there have been more than 130 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting, and thanksgiving by presidents of the United States. There have been 60 Presidential Proclamations for a National Day of Prayer because every president has signed these proclamations. And there have been almost 1,000 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775.
On this National Day of Prayer, please pray for this nation and its leaders.
----------- H/T Kerby Anderson Tags:May 2, 2013, National Day of PrayerTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Public support for Obamacare has fallen to its lowest level in years, according to a new Kaiser Health poll. Just 35% of Americans approve of the law.
Unbelievably, 42% of Americans did not know that Obamacare was on the books as the law of the land. Seven percent thought the Supreme Court struck it down, and 12% of Americans thought Congress had repealed it!
It's no surprise that support for Obamacare has tanked. It is hurting economic growth. Moody's economist Mark Zandi said today, "Nearly every industry has seen slower growth since the beginning of the year. Smaller businesses are experiencing much weaker growth." Why might that be? Zandi added, "The data seems to be suggesting healthcare is having an impact."
It's beyond "suggesting." As we have often documented, major companies have explicitly stated that they are cutting back on hours and investment because of Obamacare. And the worst is yet to come. As this column suggests, tens of millions of Americans have yet to experience the coming price shock that will accompany Obamacare's formal rollout.
Even liberal Democrats are calling it "beyond comprehension" and warning of a "train wreck." Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Obamacare, On Life Support, Train WreckTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The below Heritage Foundation article headlined their article "Remember the Economy? It’s Still Bad." Heritage is more sophisticated and presents some convincing facts but in truth the average American sums up the economy in two words: It Sucks!
It might just be because they are not listening. In poll after poll, the American people continue to tell Washington that their top priority is the economy. A recent Fox News poll asked participants what is the most important issue facing the nation. The results: the economy got 42 percent, deficit 17 percent, guns 5 percent, and immigration 4 percent.
President Obama inherited a weak economy, to be sure, but his policies, including Obamacare with its costly expected mandates on businesses and the Dodd-Frank financial services regulations have made the situation worse. Even when we see some economic growth, the jobs growth has been feeble. People have been leaving the workforce. Heritage’s James Sherk noted recently, “Labor force participation dropped to 63.3 percent, the lowest rate since 1979..” America needs to get its people back to productive work, not recruit Americans to start taking food stamps.
Instead of working on bills that would help the economy, right now the politicians are working on an Internet sales tax bill and a comprehensive immigration bill offering amnesty.
The liberals’ push on each of these issues will be destructive to our liberties. The Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action have been fighting liberal policy each step of the way.
Liberals effectively control the agenda in Washington. Harry Reid (D-NV) has the gavel in the Senate, and President Obama has the bully pulpit. Washington is focused on what they want to talk about and what they are pushing. A compliant press corps certainly amplifies their message.
But conservatives in the House of Representatives are not helpless. They should try to set the agenda on the economy. Last session, they passed some 40 bills that they said would be good for the economy, all of which died in the Senate. But in this Congress, they seem to have given up.
In some ways, who can blame them since liberals reject their ideas out of hand? It would be far better for America, though, if they would set forth their own agenda and make clear that distractions like comprehensive immigration reform with amnesty, and the Internet sales tax are going nowhere in the House.
Instead, House leadership is almost inviting the divisive and distracting issues by saying nothing, or worse, saying the House will take up similar legislation (in the case of immigration reform).
Washington could do a number of things to improve the economy. Here are three especially relevant now: (1) reverse the New Year’s tax hikes that are already hurting economic growth, (2) take steps, even modest ones supported by both parties, to reduce the unfunded long-term obligations of entitlement programs and get us on a path to balance the budget in 10 years (because adding debt slows the economy), and (3) repeal, or at least delay, Obamacare, whose crushing mandates and costs are destroying jobs and trampling on the religious liberty of employers from Hobby Lobby to social service ministries to homeless shelters.
If those sound too partisan, why not take an easy first step and approve the Keystone XL pipeline? It would create thousands of well-paid jobs. The President could act, but if he does not, then Congress should approve the pipeline and force the President to veto it. During the Senate budget debate, an amendment from Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) supporting Keystone passed 62-37.
We know that America’s economy won’t be helped when liberals are waging ideological battles. Conservatives in states like Wisconsin, Texas, and South Carolina are showing they have real solutions that benefit all their citizens. They are fighting for limited government, lower taxes, balanced budgets, and more economic freedom.
Conservatives in Washington should take notice. Washington politicians will continue to be unpopular with the American people if they focus on the wrong issues and do so in a way that divides the American people. Wake up, Washington—our economy is hurting. Tags: economy sucks, Americans, amnesty, balanced budget, businesses, comprehensive immigration reform, congress, Dodd-Frank, economic growth, economy, food stamps, Harry Reid, Hobby Lobby, immigration, immigration reform, internet, internet regulation, Internet sales tax, jobs, keystone XL pipeline, Labor Force, Morning Bell, Obamacare, President Obama, religious liberty, sales tax, taxes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
FHA Commissioner Carol Galante - April 2013 Porker of the Month
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Carol Galante its April 2013 Porker of the Month for her agency’s apparent desire to rekindle the financial crisis of 2008 by developing new ways to interfere with mortgage markets. Undeterred by the lessons of the housing collapse and the spectacular failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Commissioner Galante made clear on April 2 in The Washington Post her view that the federal government knows which borrowers should or should not be approved for a mortgage: “There are lots of creditworthy borrowers that are below 720 or 700 – all the way down the credit-score spectrum,” said Galante, adding, “It’s important you look at the totality of that borrower’s ability to pay.”
In a staggering display of short-term memory loss, housing officials within the Obama administration like Commissioner Galante are bending over backwards to push banks to make bad loans again. Specifically, Commissioner Galante’s FHA has, according to the Post, been “urging the Justice Department to provide assurance to banks … that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default,” while encouraging the same banks to utilize home loan programs that insure banks against losses. In the event of default, taxpayers would be on the hook.
The nation has been down this road before. The housing crisis that precipitated the latest recession was complicated, but it was undoubtedly made worse by the fact that the two federal housing giants with a federal “implicit guarantee,” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were sucking up bad loans originated by private lenders at an alarming rate. Thanks to that strategy, taxpayers have paid $187 billion to Fannie and Freddie since they were brought under conservatorship in September of 2008. Last year, the White House announced the creation of a mortgage-related arm of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dedicated to punishing lenders that gave money to people without the means to pay it back. Now, with banks behaving more cautiously, the Obama administration would like them to lend to borrowers with compromised credit.
“Commissioner Galante’s Goldilocks complex makes it awfully hard to discern just what banks are supposed to do,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Five years ago they loaned too much, now they loan too little. First they would be punished for making risky loans, now they are being told to hand money out to everyone. Unless Commissioner Galante has been handed tablets from on high with lists of responsible borrowers – and, if the FHA’s $16.3 billion net worth deficit is any indication, she hasn’t – she should stop endangering taxpayers.”
For attempting to resurrect the types of bad lending that capsized the economy a few years ago, and for attempting to institutionalize the federal government’s micromanagement of housing well into the future, FHA Commissioner Carol Galante is CAGW’s April 2013 Porker of the Month. CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. Tags:FHA,Commissioner, Carol Galante, CAGW, April 2013, Porker of the MonthTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Asked at President Obama's news conference this morning about Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) saying “I just see a huge train wreck coming down” on the implementation of Obamacare, President Obama didn’t give a very convincing defense of his unpopular health care law. “Well, I think that any time you’re implementing something big there’s gonna be people who are nervous, anxious about is it gonna get done until it’s actually done,” he said. The president added, “For the average American out there, for the 85 and 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened. And their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better and more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. They don’t have to worry about anything else.”
That’s hard to believe for numerous reasons, starting with a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, which finds that only 35% of Americans have a favorable view of Obamacare. Politico writes that “just 35 percent of Americans view Obamacare ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ favorably, down 8 points since Election Day. Only once since the law passed has support run lower, when 34 percent took a favorable view of the law in October 2011.” Indeed, “Obamacare’s popularity has plunged steadily since November, according to monthly polling released this morning by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In fact, it’s statistically tied with its lowest level of support since it passed in March 2010.”
Meanwhile, more and more problems with the law continue to be reported on. Reuters reports today, “State and local governments can expect ever-widening budget gaps through 2060, as rising healthcare costs for both citizens and public employees surpass recent improvements in their revenue, the Government Accountability Office said on Monday. . . . [R]ising medical costs will consume more of states’ dollars, through the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and public employees and retirees, GAO said. . . . The office has warned before that rising medical costs will bust state and local budgets, but this year it noted that the healthcare reform law known as Obamacare - which includes extra funds for Medicaid - has primarily created uncertainty for the state and local fiscal outlook.”
At The Washington Examiner, Philip Klein notes, “After receiving an avalanche of criticism for the complexity of its original 21-page application for individuals to purchase health insurance on new exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services has released a new, simplified, three page form. HHS has also streamlined the family application, which is now between seven and 11 pages (depending on the specific situation of the applicant).”
In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal today, the Hoover Institution’s Daniel Kessler explains the price shocks many Americans can expect due to the mandates and regulations in Obamacare. He writes, “Start with people who have individual and small-group health insurance. These policies are most affected by ObamaCare’s community-rating regulations, which require insurers to accept everyone but limit or ban them from varying premiums based on age or health. The law also mandates ‘essential’ benefits that are far more generous than those currently offered. According to consultants from Oliver Wyman (who wrote on the issue in the January issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries), around six million of the 19 million people with individual health policies are going to have to pay more—and this even after accounting for the government subsidies offered under the law. . . . In addition, according to Congressional Budget Office projections in July and September 2012, three million people will lose their insurance altogether in 2014 due to the law, and six million will have to pay the individual-mandate tax penalty in 2016 because they don’t want or won’t be able to afford coverage, even with the subsidies. None of this counts the people whose employment opportunities will suffer because of disincentives under ObamaCare. Some, whose employers have to pay a tax penalty because their policies do not carry sufficiently generous insurance, will see their wages fall. Others will lose their jobs or see their hours reduced.” Tags:Poll, Obamacare, newsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
“…just 35 percent of Americans view Obamacare ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ favorably, down 8 points since Election Day. Only once since the law passed has support run lower, when 34 percent took a favorable view of the law in October 2011.” (“Health Law Still Dropping In Popularity, Kaiser Poll Finds,” Politico, 4/30/13)
“Obamacare’s popularity has plunged steadily since November, according to monthly polling released this morning by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In fact, it’s statistically tied with its lowest level of support since it passed in March 2010.”(“Health Law Still Dropping In Popularity, Kaiser Poll Finds,” Politico, 4/30/13)
“… Democrats who soured on the law drove its nosedive in the polls, the latest survey suggests Democrats are shrugging their shoulders, unsure of what the law means for them and their families and are more likely to have no opinion on the law.” (“Health Law Still Dropping In Popularity, Kaiser Poll Finds,” Politico, 4/30/13)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): ‘I just see a huge train wreck coming down’ “People are going to be really confused. And maybe give some thought to one-stop shopping somehow, so you go to one location -- a business person -- one location, get the answers. I just tell you, I just see a huge train wreck coming down.” (Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 4/17/13)
Tags:Obamacare, nosedive, pollsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Phyllis Schlafly Report, Eagle Forum: Republicans are getting a lot of unsolicited advice about how to recover from last year’s defeat, and most of it is either ignorant or coming from people who don’t have Republican Party victories in their game plan. One of the worst of these bits of advice is that Republicans should join a bipartisan push for immigration amnesty.
Amnesty advocates shrink from using the word amnesty and try hard to shroud their message in deceptive words. So let’s understand their vocabulary: reform, comprehensive, earned legal status, and path to citizenship are all code words for amnesty. Conservatives agree with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) that the essence of amnesty is to “reward them with the objective of their crime,” and agree with Ann Coulter who told CPAC that amnesty is “suicidal” for Republicans.
Promises by the amnesty advocates to secure the border after the illegals are granted residency, or even simultaneously, are unbelievable. In the famous words of Yogi Berra, an oral agreement is not worth the paper it is written on.
Rules for Addressing Amnesty First, we want and expect a border fence to be built like the efficient, successful fence that protects the border near San Diego. That means a 12-foot-high double fence with a road in between. A fence on our southern border was required by a 2006 federal law, and signed by President George W. Bush in a well-publicized photo op. The government spent $2 billion on what was called a virtual fence; it didn’t work, and now is being dismantled at great expense.
Second, we want enforcement of the entry-exit system, whereby people admitted on visas are tracked to make sure they leave the U.S. when their temporary visa expires. That’s another federal law that has never been enforced.
Third, we want a law that requires employers to use E-Verify for new and current employees. This is as simple as having retailers check your credit card when you make a purchase; just put your credit card or your Social Security number in a machine and you get an immediate answer as to whether it’s valid. Americans must provide our Social Security number when we apply for a job, and immigrants should not be exempt from laws the rest of us must obey. This simple procedure would identify the illegals and thereby make many jobs available to unemployed Americans.
Fourth, eliminate all schemes for the admittance of guest workers, both the uneducated who take entry-level jobs away from our own high-school dropouts, and the H-1B and other special-purpose visas (a system rife with fraud) who take jobs away from our own college graduates because the big companies prefer to hire lower-paid foreigners.
Fifth, enforce cooperation between federal and state immigration authorities, so when a state picks up an illegal he can be immediately turned over to the feds. This cooperation should also eliminate the so-called Sanctuary Cities, where federal immigration law is ignored.
Sixth, reinstate the rule that was in effect for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came through Ellis Island. If they had a major disease or failed to provide proof that they would not become a public charge, they were sent back to their home country.
Seventh, develop a constructive plan to assimilate the legal immigrants who have come to our country over the last 25 years. This includes using the major way earlier immigrants were assimilated: having their children in public schools taught only in English, and abolishing the unpopular, expensive hiring of teachers of dozens of foreign languages to supervise immigrant kids speaking their native language year after year, never learning English.
Eighth, stop lying to Republicans, falsely telling them that amnesty is the key to increasing their Hispanic vote. There isn’t a shred of evidence to support that notion, and there’s plenty of evidence that amnesty delivers votes to Obama Democrats because, as reported by the Washington Post-Kaiser survey, 67% of Hispanics favor a “larger federal government with many services.”
Ninth, stop peddling the false notion that amnesty is the “Christian” thing to do. Amnesty will betray Hispanics because it will encourage the entry of new illegals, mostly below the poverty line, making it impossible for legal or assimilated immigrants to achieve the American dream.
Hypocrisy of Amnesty Advocates
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. The Ronald Reagan amnesty of 1986 was a conspicuous failure, and a virtually identical plan failed in 2007 when it was pushed by John McCain, Ted Kennedy and George W. Bush.
Now the establishment has lined up eight Senators plus a media chorus to resurrect the Reagan amnesty. That may make sense if you are seeking leftwing Democratic votes, but it is insanity for conservatives and suicide for Republicans.
The Reagan amnesty admitted twice as many illegals as expected and was riddled with fraud and cheating. It started a gigantic stream of illegal aliens to walk, swim, or bribe their way across the border into the U.S. that has continued to this day.
The amnesty pushers are counting on Americans not to remember the Reagan failure, and counting on the American people’s ignorance of arithmetic and politics. They are also hoping to make Republicans believe amnesty is the key to getting the Hispanic vote plus the key to conning religious citizens into believing amnesty is the way to practice Christian compassion.
The amnesty proposal cooked up by six Senators who claim to be bipartisan is essentially the same plan that aroused the fury of the grassroots in 2007 and covered Congressmen with a tsunami of messages. However, this time we know the cost, and that’s truly scary. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation estimates that this amnesty plan will cost the U.S. taxpayers “$2.5 Trillion above any taxes paid in” because the majority of illegal aliens who would eventually be legalized by the proposal are uneducated and poor. At least 60% are high school dropouts so they live below the poverty level and will be eligible to receive many of our 79 varieties of welfare handouts. What they may pay in income taxes will be nullified by the cash refunds known as Earned Income Tax Credit.
The entire plan should be illegal because it violates a federal law that anyone granted entry into the U.S. must be financially self-supporting and not likely to become a public charge.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) pointed out that “We know already that the Administration refuses to enforce existing law restricting immigrant welfare use, and in fact promotes expanded welfare use to immigrants, including food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid. . . . What good are promises of future enforcement when the Administration covertly undermines those laws now in place?”
There is no evidence that supporting amnesty will give Republicans a greater share of the Hispanic vote, and amnesty advocates are plainly dishonest when they assert the contrary. In the election following the Reagan amnesty, George H.W. Bush got only 30% of the Hispanic vote in 1988, and only 25% when he ran for reelection in 1992. We’ve been told that George W. Bush was well-liked by the Hispanics, but he got only 35% of the vote when he was elected in 2000.
When Hispanics are asked what issues they care most about, immigration usually ranks only fifth. Hispanics who come from countries where big government is a permanent fact of life and where the economic systems are based on bribery are unlikely prospects for the Republican message of limited government and restraints on government spending.
John McCain, the loudest advocate of amnesty in 2006 and 2007, got only 31% of the Hispanic vote when he ran for president in 2008. Any amnesty plan, no matter how it is dressed up, is a formula for more Democratic votes and big-government, big-spending policies.
A couple of coalitions have formed to try to convince religious groups that amnesty is a manifestation of Christian compassion to welcome the stranger. In fact, amnesty betrays the immigrants by forcing them to compete with a steady stream of new immigrants and guest workers, thereby insuring that they will never be able to rise out of poverty and achieve the American dream.
This was well understood by the famous advocate for the rights of Hispanic immigrants, Cesar Chavez. Long deceased, he is still such a Hispanic icon that the National Education Association (NEA), year after year, passes a resolution calling for a national holiday to honor Cesar Chavez, and it’s already a state holiday in California.
Chavez was vehemently opposed to illegals coming across the Mexican border because they took jobs from legal immigrants. He ordered union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report illegals working in the fields so our government could deport them. Chavez got his supporters to picket INS offices to demand a crackdown on illegals, and he offered staff to the INS to serve as volunteer border guards to keep Mexicans from sneaking into the U.S.
Tremendous Costs of Amnesty
The Senate Budget Committee reports that amnesty advocates plan to ignore Section 212 of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that any immigrant is “inadmissible” who is “likely at any time to become a public charge.” After those who illegally entered the U.S. obtain legal residence and get a green card, they can access the 79 federal welfare benefits and anti-poverty programs.
The Senate Budget Committee staff estimates that costs to the U.S. taxpayers could be $40 billion a year just for Medicaid and ObamaCare. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation believes that the net cost of amnesty would eventually top $2 trillion. One in three immigrant-headed households already participates in at least one major welfare program. Green card holders are already eligible for Medicaid, TANF, Supplemental Security Income, child care assistance, food stamps, and a variety of other welfare benefits and public aid programs.
Who will protect the taxpayers against this gigantic raid on our money and our children’s future?
The American people are demanding real border security in order to prevent the entry of a new flood of illegals. But Homeland Security officials just told Congress that they still don’t have any way to effectively measure border security. Three years ago, the Obama Administration scrapped the yardstick that was supposed to measure how many miles of the border are under “operational control.” Top Customs and Border Protection officials told Congress in March that the new system they are now working on won’t be ready for use any time in the near future.
Another setback for the Gang of Eight’s amnesty scheme was April newspaper headlines stating “A sharp drop in job growth sows new concerns.” The average Joe in America can’t support the idea of giving permanent residency to 11 million foreign job-seekers when our own labor-force participation is lower than it’s been in 25 years.
Do we really need more high-school dropouts looking for U.S. jobs? Don’t we have enough Americans trying to support their families who can’t find full-time jobs? Why should available jobs go to aliens who broke our laws instead of to American citizens?
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) gave a chilly brushoff of Senator Marco Rubio’s call for thorough legislative consideration of any immigration bill, with time for public comment and consideration of amendments. Leahy plans to bypass the usual committee process, hold only a single hearing, and push the bill through the Senate “with all deliberate speed.” Everyone recognizes those as woefully inadequate to deal with dozens of amnesty issues such as how legalization of millions of illegals will impact unemployed Americans, the short- and long-term cost to the taxpayers, and metrics for establishing border security.
Leahy appears to be planning to imitate the Nancy Pelosi model of dealing with legislation, namely, the procedure she used to pass ObamaCare: first pass the bill, and after that, “you can find out what’s in it.”
Another roadblock that no one is yet discussing is that, according to a new Rasmussen survey, the majority of American voters (54%) do not think that potential U.S. citizens should be allowed to maintain any dual citizenship. If you listen to what illegal aliens are saying, it’s rather clear that most plan to retain significant loyalty to their homeland, and some even claim that Mexico rightfully owns our southwest states. We should remind all illegal aliens that U.S. citizenship requires applicants to swear this solemn oath, which is a good way to sort out the ones who really want to be Americans.
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.”
Autopsy for the Republican Party?
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus recently issued a 97-page political opus telling Republicans what they should do now. The document was quickly dubbed the Autopsy, which means the dissection of a body after death. Some people are hoping the Republican Party is dead, but the grassroots are raring to rise up and fight. Support for the Republican Party is down, but the number of people who call themselves conservative is holding steady. They face the same old choice-not-an-echo battle: grassroots conservative Republicans vs. the liberal, globalist Establishment RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).
The Priebus manifesto was written by Party insiders who are very Establishment so they avoided taking any blame for their disastrous election loss in 2012. They predicted their victory right up to and including Election Day.
The Autopsy included a lot of chatter about “growth” and “opportunity,” plus 30 mentions of the need to be more “inclusive,” but that warm and fuzzy invitational language doesn’t extend to those who want to do something so daring as to nominate conservative candidates who aren’t afraid to talk about the right to life and traditional marriage. The Autopsy pompously declared, “You have to have candidates who don’t make tragic mistakes.” But the worst mistakes were made by the Establishment’s own candidate, Mitt Romney, who failed to use so many issues that connect with the American people. The dozen losses of Establishment-selected candidates for President and Senate show that the people writing the Autopsy have a worse record of picking candidates than the grassroots, who have been picking winners such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee.
Democratic Party strategist Pat Caddell summed up the Republican Party’s principal problem in a hard-hitting speech at CPAC. He said, “The Republican Party is in the grips of what I call the CLEC — the Consultant, Lobbyist, and Establishment Complex,” which he defined as a “self-serving interconnected network of individuals interested in preserving their own power far more than in winning elections.” “Just follow the money,” Caddell reminded us, commenting on the hundreds of millions of dollars this group spent while losing most of their so-called “moderate” candidates. Despite their shocking losing record, and despite being so well-paid for zero results, the same Establishment strategists now have the impudence to tell us we should hire them to reform the Republican Party.
The Autopsy stated solemnly that a “healthy debate of ideas is fundamentally good for the Republican Party.” Agreed. But the Establishment is always determined to suppress all debate or discussion of social, moral, or national security ideas by Republican candidates.
The Autopsy even gave the back of its hand to Republican hero Ronald Reagan, implying that he is now ancient history. But Reagan gave us a model of defeating the Establishment candidate, George H. W. Bush, in 1980, and then going on to win two spectacular national elections.
The most insufferable part of the Autopsy is the way these Republican losers presume to tell us that the way to attract new voters is to embrace comprehensive immigration of Hispanics. All available evidence shows that endorsing any form of amnesty will produce votes for Democrats, not Republicans.
The Autopsy recommends a bunch of changes in Party rules, all of which would enhance the power of Establishment candidates, and freeze out grassroots candidates who are authentic conservatives. The Autopsy fails to encourage a commitment to traditional Republican principles, such as marriage and military superiority, which are clearly enunciated in the national Republican Platform adopted in Tampa last year. Some have forgotten that Ronald Reagan advised us to run on a platform of “bold colors with no pastel shades.”
Battle for Control of the Republican Party
Karl Rove has declared war on grassroots conservatives and Tea Parties. Rove, who had the richest Super PAC in 2012 (American Crossroads, which reportedly spent $300 million in the 2012 election cycle) has started a new fund called Conservative Victory Project to spend big bucks in the 2014 Republican primaries to defeat Republican candidates not approved by the Establishment.
Rove’s big-money spending last year, which was similarly designed to help only Establishment candidates, especially if they had defeated a real conservative in the primary, was notoriously unsuccessful. Of the 31 races in which Rove aired TV ads, Republicans won only 9, so his donors got little return on their investment.
Establishment losers included Rick Berg who lost in North Dakota and Denny Rehberg who lost in Montana, even while Romney was carrying both those states. Other Establishment losers were George Allen in Virginia, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Connie Mack in Florida, and Heather Wilson in New Mexico.
Meanwhile, Rove was helping Harry Reid to keep control of the Senate by trying to defeat real conservatives nominated by grassroots Republicans. Rove made nasty and hurtful remarks about conservative candidates he didn’t like.
There are two reasons why Rove and his rich donors don’t like grassroots Republicans and Tea Partiers. The Establishment can’t order them how to vote, and the Establishment wants candidates to talk only about economic issues, never about social, moral, or national-security issues.
Rove is supposed to be so savvy about politics, but let’s test that. On election morning, he released his final predictions that “Romney will win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado.” Obama carried all but one of those states.
Establishment candidates should be called “me-too” Republicans, a label coined to describe two-time presidential loser Tom Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller who said “me too” to liberal and internationalist Democratic programs. Me-too can also be applied to recent Establishment losers: Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. We should revive the famous words of the late Senator Everett Dirksen rebuking the Establishment: “We followed you before, and you led us down the road to defeat.”
Fortunately, we are seeing an emergence of a new Reagan Republican Party. In 2010 and 2012, Republicans elected some real conservatives to the Senate after defeating Establishment candidates in the primaries: Rand Paul in Kentucky (who defeated Mitch McConnell’s choice), Ted Cruz in Texas (who defeated a very wealthy Establishment candidate), and Marco Rubio in Florida (who defeated Establishment candidate Florida Governor Crist, who then showed his true colors and became a Democrat).
Jim DeMint (now with Heritage) was another successful non-Establishment Republican Senator. It’s time for the grassroots to take control of the Republican Party away from the elitists who want to choose our candidates, tell them what to say, and how to vote. Next time, we want a real choice, not an Establishment echo. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly Report, Eagle Forum, Amnesty, suicide, Republican PartyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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