News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles.Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year] Follow @arra Contact: email@example.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, June 15, 2013
The Miracle of Freedom
In 2012, Ted Cruz was elected as the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas. Prior to that, he served for five years as Solicitor General of Texas and was for five years a partner at one of the nation’s largest law firms. He has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also served as Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission and as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. Senator Cruz graduated with honors from Princeton University and with high honors from Harvard Law School, and served as a law clerk to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist.
The following Imprimis article was adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College’s 161st Commencement on May 11, 2013.
Senator Ted Cruz, Hillsdale College 2013 Commencement: Today is a day of celebration. For you graduates, it’s a day to celebrate your hard work, your commitment, time, energy, passion, and prayers that you have put in to graduate from Hillsdale College. It’s also a day to celebrate the sacrifice and dedication your family has put in to get you here. I am honored to join you today—but let me say I fully recognize that the most forgettable part of this important day is going to be the politician delivering your commencement speech.
This morning I had the opportunity to tour your wonderful campus, and one of the highlights for me was the statue of Margaret Thatcher. I understand that when the statue was unveiled, she sent a letter of praise that read: “Hillsdale College symbolizes everything that is good and true in America. You uphold the principles and cherish the values which have made your country a beacon of hope.” I couldn’t agree more.
There are commencements being held on campuses all over the country this spring, but this one is different. Hillsdale, it is known across the country, is in a class by itself. Those graduating from other colleges are being told to go out and make something of themselves. But for the men and women receiving their degrees here today, expectations are higher. Because of the education you received here, you are uniquely prepared to provide desperately needed, principled leadership to your families, your churches, your communities, your country, and your fellow man. While other graduates have been exposed to college courses such as “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame,” you have been grounded in an understanding of our Constitution and of the freedom it was designed to preserve.
* * *
Last month the world lost Baroness Thatcher, and in her honor I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing with you the miracle of freedom.
In the history of mankind, freedom has been the exception. Governed by kings and queens, human beings were told that power starts at the top and flows down; that their rights emanate from a monarch and may be taken away at the monarch’s whim. The British began a revolution against this way of thinking in a meadow called Runnymede in 1215. It was embodied in the Magna Carta, which read: “To all free men of our kingdom we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs . . . .” That revolution reached full flower in Philadelphia in 1787, in a Constitution that began from two radical premises.
The first is that our rights come not from kings or queens—or even from presidents—but from God. As the Declaration of Independence put it, “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, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Second, in the Constitution, America’s Founders inverted the understanding of sovereignty. Power comes not from the top down, but up, from “We the People,” and governing authority for those in political office is limited to set periods subject to elections. As James Madison explained in Federalist 51: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary . . . . In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
Even from my short time in elected office, I can assure you there are no angels in Washington, D.C. And that is why Thomas Jefferson said the “chains of the Constitution” should bind the mischief of government. Only when government is limited are rights protected, the rule of law honored, and freedom allowed to flourish.
You who are graduating from Hillsdale are familiar with these ideas. As the late conservative writer and educator Russell Kirk observed, “Hillsdale does not subscribe to the notion that all books published before 1900 are obsolete. Against all odds, the College speaks up—as it did during the nineteenth century—for ‘permanent things.’ ” And with those as our foundation, what has freedom wrought?
* * *
Simply put, the American free market system is the greatest engine for prosperity and opportunity that the world has ever seen. Freedom works. No other nation on Earth has allowed so many millions to come with nothing and achieve so much. In the centuries before the American Revolution, the average human lived on between one and three dollars a day, no matter whether one lived in Europe, Asia, Africa, or North or South America. But from that point on—from the beginning of the American experiment—for the first time in human history, per capita income in a few countries began to grow rapidly, and nowhere more so than in the United States.
Over the last two centuries, U.S. growth rates have far outpaced growth rates throughout the world, producing per capita incomes about six times greater than the world average and 50 percent higher than those in Europe. Put another way, the United States holds 4.5 percent of the world’s population, and produces a staggering 22 percent of the world’s output—a fraction that has remained stable for two decades, despite growing competition from around the world.
This predominance isn’t new. The late British economist Angus Maddison observed that American per capita income was already the highest in the world in the 1830s. This is a result of America’s economic freedom, which enables entrepreneurs and small businesses to flourish.
Today the U.S. dollar is the international reserve currency. English is the world’s standard language for commerce. The strength of our economy allows us to maintain the mightiest military in the world. And U.S. culture—film, TV, the Internet—is preeminent in the world (although for many of our TV shows and movies, perhaps we owe the world an apology). A disproportionate number of the world’s great inventions in medicine, pharmaceuticals, electronics, the Internet, and other technology come from America, improving, expanding, and saving lives. America was where the telephone, the automobile, the airplane, and the iPhone were invented. Americans were the first to walk on the moon.
But most importantly, freedom produces opportunity. And I would encourage each of you to embrace what I call opportunity conservatism, which means that we should look at and judge every proposed domestic policy with a laser focus on how it impacts the least among us—how it helps the most vulnerable Americans climb the economic ladder.
The political left in our country seeks to reach down the hand of government and move people up the economic ladder. This attempt is almost always driven by noble intentions. And yet it never, ever works. Conservatives, in contrast, understand from experience that the only way to help people climb the economic ladder is to provide them the opportunity to pull themselves up one rung at a time.
As President Reagan said, “How can we love our country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they’re sick, and provide opportunity to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory?”
Historically, our nation has enjoyed remarkable economic mobility. About 60 percent of the households that were in the lowest income quintile in 1999 were in a higher quintile ten years later. During the same decade, almost 40 percent of the richest households fell to a lower quintile. This is a nation where you can rise or fall. It is a nation where you can climb the economic ladder based not on who you are born to, or what class you are born into, but based on your talents, your passion, your perseverance, and the content of your character.
Economic freedom and the prosperity it generates reduce poverty like nothing else. Studies consistently confirm that countries with higher levels of economic freedom have poverty levels as much as 75 percent lower than countries that are less free.
Thanks to America’s free market system, the average poor American has more living space than the typical non‑poor person in Sweden, France, or the United Kingdom. In 1970, the year I was born, only 36 percent of the U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning. Today, 80 percent of poor households in America have air conditioning; and 96 percent of poor parents say that their children were never hungry at any time in the preceding year because they could not afford food.
Now, of course, there is still need in America and throughout the world, and all of us should act to help our fellow man. But more and more government is not the way to do this. To insist otherwise is to ignore the fact that all major European nations have higher levels of public spending than the United States, and that all of them are poorer.
Nor are human beings happiest when they’re taken care of by the state. Indeed, areas under the yoke of dependency on government are among the least joyous parts of our society. The story of Julia that we saw depicted in last year’s election—the story of cradle-to-grave dependency on government—is not an attractive utopia. Men and women flourish, instead, when afforded the equal opportunity to work and create and accomplish.
I remember some time ago when former Texas Senator Phil Gramm was participating in a Senate hearing on socialized medicine, and the witness there explained that government would best take care of people. Senator Gramm gently demurred and said, “I care more about my family than anyone else does.” And this wide-eyed witness said, “Oh no, Senator. I care as much about your children.” Senator Gramm smiled and said, “Really? What are their names?”
* * *
It is precisely because economic freedom and opportunity outperform centralized planning and regulation that so many millions have risked everything for a chance at the American dream.
Fifty-five years ago, my father fled Cuba, where he had been imprisoned and tortured—including having his teeth kicked out—as a teenager. Today my father is a pastor in Dallas. When he landed in Austin, Texas, in 1957, he was 18. He couldn’t speak a word of English. He had $100 sewn into his underwear. He went and got a job washing dishes and made 50 cents an hour. He worked seven days a week and paid his way through the University of Texas, and then he got a job, and then he went on to start a small business.
Now imagine if, at that time, the minimum wage had been two dollars an hour. He might never have had the opportunity to get that dishwashing job and work his way through school and work his way up from there. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thanked God that some well-meaning liberal didn’t greet him when he landed in Austin and put his arm around him and say: “Let me take care of you. Let me make you dependent on government. Let me sap your self-respect—and by the way, don’t bother learning English.”
When I was a kid, my father used to say to me: “When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to. If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?” For my entire life, my dad has been my hero. But what I find most incredible about his story is how commonplace it is. Every one of us here today has a story like that. We could line up at this podium and each of us tell the story of our parents or grandparents or our great, great, great grandparents. We are all children of those who risked everything for liberty. That’s the DNA of what it means to be an American—to value freedom and opportunity above all.
In 1976, Margaret Thatcher delivered her “Britain Awake” speech. In it, she said: “There are moments in our history when we have to make a fundamental choice. This is one such moment, a moment when our choice will determine the life or death of our kind of society and the future of our children. Let’s ensure that our children will have cause to rejoice that we did not forsake their freedom.”
If we don’t fight to preserve our liberty, we will lose it. The men and women graduating here today, blessed with a world-class liberal arts education and a Hillsdale love of learning, are perfectly situated to lead the fight, to tell and retell the story of the miracle of freedom to so many Americans—so many young Americans in particular—who’ve never heard that story from the media, or in their schools, and certainly not from Hollywood.
Mrs. Thatcher continued: “Of course, this places a burden on us, but it is one that we must be willing to bear if we want our freedom to survive.”
Throughout history, we have carried the torch for freedom. At Hillsdale, you have been prepared to continue to do so, that together we may ensure that America remains a shining city on a hill, a beacon to the world of hope and freedom and opportunity.
Thank you and God bless you. Tags:Senator, Ted Cruz, Commencement, speech, Miracle of Freedom, Hillsdale College, 2013To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Americans for Prosperity: Many members of congress who call themselves conservative Republicans are considering voting for the largest expansion of food stamp spending and corporate cronyism in American history. If they do this, how could they ever expect support from primary voters next election season?
This massive spending bill is misleadingly called the “Farm Bill,” though it has very little to do with helping actual small farmers.This coming week House members are expected to vote on this disaster;it’s nearly a trillion dollars of spending on welfare and corporate cronyism.
We need to send a message to lawmakers that voting for this bloated boondoggle is simply not acceptable. Tell your Congressman hard working taxpayers can't afford billions of handouts. Vote NO on the Farm Bill.
Below is a great new ad that tells politicians to vote NO on the Farm Bill. Take a look at the new ad and SHARE on your social media places.
Tags:AFP, Americans for Prosperity, farmers, Farm Bill, billions, handouts, food stamps, ad, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
These are only a few of the shocking incidents The Heritage Foundation chronicles in our new project, USA vs. YOU. Experts at Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies reveal the stories of 22 people from all backgrounds, races, and income levels victimized by carelessly written laws.
When criminal laws are created to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake, and compel the “right” behaviors, this troubling trend is known as overcriminalization. Ultimately, it leads to injustice for honest, hard-working Americans at every level of society.
Public interest groups from across the political spectrum recognize how this flood of criminal laws violates our basic liberties. Diverse organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the American Center for Law and Justice, and Right on Crime, among others, have joined with Heritage to reaffirm the true purpose of America’s justice system: to ensure public safety and protect the innocent.
When was the last time you saw the ACLU work together with a faith-based group like Justice Fellowship? With USA vs. YOU, the problem is grave enough to bring together unlikely allies. And we’re delivering this bipartisan message just as the House of Representatives has launched a task force aimed at correcting this issue.
This morning, Heritage Senior Legal Fellow John Malcolm will testify at the first hearing of the Overcriminalization Task Force — shining a spotlight on the scope and severity of this threat to our liberties. Ending the practice of trapping our citizens with unnecessary laws will be no easy task, with an estimated 4,500 criminal law offenses and 300,000 criminal regulations on the books.
Over the next six months, Members of Congress from both parties will study this issue in depth, hold hearings, and—with the right encouragement—take steps to enact real reform.
This new effort includes tools for you to raise your voice and make a difference in defending our liberties. So explore the documented stories in USA vs. YOU, follow the links, and take real action today to help turn the tide. Tags: ACLU, American Center for Law and Justice, American Civil Liberties Union, Americans, big government, bipartisan, civil liberties, Clean Water Act, crime, faith-based, justice system, law enforcement, Morning Bell, overcriminalization, USA vs You, Heritage Foundation, VideoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Chris Chocola: This week, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate joined together to pass a 1,102-page “Farm Bill” costing $963 billion. A few days later, House Speaker John Boehner publicly announced his support for the more “conservative” House version…costing the taxpayers “only” $950 billion. Worse yet, both chambers claim they are saving taxpayers billions of dollars despite the unavoidable fact that the cost of the “Farm bill” has increased 60% in just the last five years.
So, why did the Senate version pass by a 66-27 margin, with 18 Republicans in favor? (See the Roll Call Vote) And, why am I using “quotes” to describe the “Farm Bill”?
Because agricultural subsidies account for only about 20 percent of the farm bill. The remaining 80% can be roughly attributed to the massive food stamp program. These two completely separate issues are united in an unholy marriage so that rural legislators from Agriculture states will vote for their subsidies and urban legislators representing districts hooked on the Obama-entitlement state receive their food stamps. And taxpayers are left holding the bag.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
As liberal Republican Senator and Ranking Senate Agriculture Committee member Thad Cochran recently said “[Food stamps] should continue to be included purely from a political perspective. It helps get the farm bill passed.” Well, at least he’s honest.
At a minimum, these two programs should be voted on as separate, stand-alone bills. True reform would also include implementing a plan to devolve the food stamp program to the states and eventually eliminate federal agricultural subsidies. With our national debt quickly approaching $17 trillion, we need to stop spending billions on wasteful and anti-growth federal programs if we want to grow the economy and get our fiscal house in order. Some fiscal conservatives in the House are fighting passage of the Farm Bill, and we’ll let you know if their efforts are successful. You can rest assured that the Club for Growth will be behind them 100%.
Rep Matt Salmon (R-AZ)
Speaking of fiscal conservatives in the House, we want to let you know about a group led by pro-growth champion Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) that is seeking to codify the so-called “Hastert Rule” in the Republican Conference. As you may recall, Rep. Salmon was elected to Congress in 2012 with the help of Club members and we couldn't be more pleased with the leadership role he has taken on pro-growth issues.
The Hastert Rule basically says that the Republicans will not bring bills to the House floor that do not have the support of a majority of House Republicans. Believe it or not, Speaker Boehner has routinely violated this rule, allowing Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to work with a small minority of liberal Republicans who will vote like they do to pass legislation such as the “fiscal cliff” tax increase (151 Republicans against, 85 Republicans in favor) or Hurricane Sandy disaster relief that contained billions in pork and wasn’t offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget (179 Republicans against, 49 Republicans in favor).
Codifying the Hastert Rule, will give fiscal conservatives in the House a powerful tool to hold their leadership accountable and to stop bad policy from passing the House. After all, what’s the point of having a Republican Majority if Republican leaders are going to give Nancy Pelosi everything she wants? Along with 46 other conservative groups and activists, the Club for Growth is strongly supporting the efforts of fiscal conservatives to get this done, and we’ll let you know the progress in the weeks and months ahead. If you want your Republican congressman to support this effort, please let them know. The Capitol Hill switchboard telephone number is (202) 224-3121.
--------------- Chris Chocola is President, Club for Growth. Tags:Chris Chocola, Club for Growth, Farm Bill, farmers, Food Stamps, Hastert RuleTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senator Mark Pryor Could Have 'Stopped' ObamaCare; His Deciding Vote Was 'Irresponsible'
With top democrats claiming that the implementation of Obamacare is heading for a "train wreck," people are taking notice of who could have stopped this train before it left the proverbial station - Congress.
Several Senators had that opportunity. One of them was former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln who was sent packing by Arkansas voters for casting a deciding vote to advance the bill out of committee and on to the Senate floor for a vote. As a consequence, Lincoln lost her re-election overwhelmingly in 2010.
Two years prior, in 2008, U.S Senator Pryor sold himself as a blue dog democrat and avoided being involved in the Obama campaign. As a result, he was allowed a pass without an opponent in 2008. However, Obama who was on the same ticket in 2008 went down by over 60% of the votes in Arkansas. However, Mark Pryor after being re-election, turned tail and failed to represent his constituents. Pryor cast a deciding vote for Obamacare and then in 2012 campaigned for President Obama who lost again but by an even larger margin in Arkansas.
Well its shaping up as payback time for Pryor's continued votes against the majority wishes of Arkansas voters.
Senate Conservatives Action (SCA) launched a new 30-second television commercial, which features several Arkansas voters who express disappointment in U.S. Senator Mark Pryor's vote for ObamaCare and say it's time to change senators.
SCA's new ad ("Change") is the third in a three-part series running in the Little Rock and Ft. Smith media markets, which reach approximately 75% of the electorate. The full, three-week media buy is for 2,000 gross rating points and costs approximately $320,000.
The new ad comes after Senator Pryor made comments defending his vote for the health care law. Pryor called it the "right vote" and said ObamaCare was "good for Arkansas" in an interview on KARK Channel 4's Capitol View despite the fact that 58% of likely Arkansas voters oppose ObamaCare.
Pryor also claimed that voters "are mad at Congress, but they are not mad at me" in a story published this past weekend by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. SCA's new ad suggests otherwise.
ANNOUNCER: Mark Pryor was the deciding vote for ObamaCare.
Instead of listening to us, Pryor says he still supports ObamaCare, and won’t vote to repeal it.
JOANNA CURTIS (Benton): “Pryor voted for ObamaCare.”
GLENN GALLAS (Hot Springs): “He could have stopped ObamaCare.”
JANET CROW (Conway): “Pryor votes like a liberal.”
DR. EARL PEEPLES (Little Rock): “He is a liberal.”
DALE CUSTER (Little Rock): “He says one thing in Arkansas, he does another in Washington.”
CATHERINE JONES (N. Little Rock): “More spending, more debt.”
LIZ EDWARDS (Sherwood): “It’s irresponsible.”
NIC HORTON (Searcy): “Mark Pryor left us.”
DALE CUSTER (Little Rock): “Pryor left us.”
JOANNA CURTIS (Benton): “Arkansas, we can do better.”
ANNOUNCER: Mark Pryor has changed.
Now it’s time to change Senators.
Senate Conservatives Action is responsible for the content of this message.
In addition to "Change", SCA has also sponsored two other TV ads ("Deciding Vote" and "Better") as well as two radio ads informing voters of Senator Pryor's record ("Liberal" and "95 Percent"). Tags:Change, Arkansas Voters, Senator, Mark Pryor, vote, ObamacareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
ICYMI: Government Approves Plan B for Children - Over The Counter - Girls Any Age
by Bethany Monk, CitizenLink: The Justice Department (DOJ) decided Monday to comply with a judge’s ruling that allows anyone to buy a drug that may cause early abortions. The ruling says no one needs a prescription and minors do not require parental notification or consent to purchase the drug.
The drug, marketed as Plan B and also referred to as the “morning after pill,” contains high levels of hormones, which have not been tested on pre-teens and teenage girls. The Obama administration previously argued that age limits were “common sense” for those wanting to buy Plan B without prescriptions. Plan B activist groups claim, however, that unrestricted access to the drug is a form of “reproductive justice.”
“The DOJ’s decision comes at the same time a bill is pending in the U.S. Senate to prohibit the sale of some cough syrups to minors due to fear of abuse,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of issue analysis for CitizenLink. “So, teenage girls can be trusted with a powerful hormone drug available over the counter without medical supervision but not with cough syrup. This is yet another example of the politics of abortion above common sense.”
A district judge in April ordered the Obama Administration to drop its age requirement for buying Plan B. The Obama administration announced its appeal of the order in May, then reversed course.
“President Obama has yet again sided with Planned Parenthood, his favorite political ally and the single largest distributor of Plan B drugs — drugs that can destroy a life,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster. “Whatever guides this administration in its decisions, it is apparently not the health and well-being of our daughters and granddaughters. The administration’s decision is nothing short of shameful.”
In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved over-the-counter access to Plan B for women 18 and older, according to court documents. Those under 18 were required to have a prescription. The FDA was later ordered to make it available without a prescription to 17-year-olds.
“It is irresponsible to advocate over-the-counter use of these high-potency drugs, which would make them available to anyone — including those predators who exploit young girls,” said Janice Shaw Crouse, director and senior fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute. “Mark my words, it will not be long before we see girls and women forced to purchase Plan B for their abuser to keep them and others enslaved. This is a pimp, predator and pedophile’s dream — unlimited access to Plan B.”
CBS Confirms Benghazi Reporter's Computer Tampered With
Anyone surprised about the below revelation? Wonder how mild mannered left leaning Scott Pelly will be covering this news? Dang - when needed where is another "Walter Cronkite"? CBS evening news has been "down hill" since the Dan Rather screw-ups. The CBS investigative reporters like Sharyl Attkisson deserve better. A Free Press is only as good as its unbiased tenacious reporting. And we have seen little of that from the networks for many years.
GOPUSA: NEW YORK (AP) -- Private investigators found that CBS News Washington reporter Sharyl Attkisson's computer was tampered with multiple times late last year, the network said Friday.
CBS said an intruder, working remotely using Attkisson's accounts, executed commands involving the search and filtering of data. The network said it is taking further steps to identify the intruder and how that person gained access to her computer.
CBS hired a cybersecurity firm to conduct the analysis. Attkisson, an investigative reporter who has worked at CBS since 1995, said three weeks ago that she thought someone had tampered with her computers.
In an interview with Philadelphia's WPHT radio on May 21, Attkisson said "there could be some relationship" between what has happened to her and to James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News Channel. In what appeared to be a leak investigation, law enforcement officials obtained a search warrant to obtain some of Rosen's private emails and tracked his comings and goings from the State Department.
Attkisson said she had been having problems with a computer in her house since at least February 2011. At that time, she said, she was investigating the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling sting operation and stimulus spending on clean-energy projects. Attkisson won an Emmy award for her "Fast and Furious" investigation.
In another leak probe, prosecutors secretly subpoenaed phone records from The Associated Press.
In its analysis, the cybersecurity firm said that whoever tampered with Attkisson's computer "used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion." Tags:CBS, Benghazi reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, computer tampered with, previously investigating, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Fast and Furious, DOJ, subpoenaed, phone records, Associated PressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, Editor: Over two years ago on March 4, 2011, the ARRA News Serviceproudly announced that that AF "Tony"Branco was joining us as a contributing cartoonist. Recommend reading about his background in the original article which offers some personal insights which may surprise you.
Just a taste :) "In April, 2010, he decided to do cartoons. He said that he was tired of "screaming at the TV set." He asked himself questions that many of today's conservative activists have or hopefully will ask themselves, "What can I do? What do I have to offer?" His conclusion, "Well, because I could draw since I was able to change my own dippers, I thought maybe that's an area where I could advance our cause."
Shortly after his initial cartoons, numerous conservatives quickly fell in love with his work. Eventually his work was contracted for by Americans for Limited Government. Presently, he draws principally for three different conservative organizations. However, Tony has faithfully sent all his cartoons to the ARRA News Service.
Tony success has led to him being interviewed on Fox News (video follows). John Scott on Fox News Watch called AF "Tony" Branco "one of our favorite artists."
Tags:A.F. Branco, Fox News, cortoonist, ARRA News ServiceTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
House Passes Military 2014 Appropriations Bill | AP: Obamacare May Turn Out To Be Unaffordable For Many
DOD 2014 House Appropriation Bill Is Passed
Today in Washington, DC - June 14, 2013
The Senate Was not in session today. It will reconvene on Monday at 2 PM. At 5 PM, the Senate will vote on two district judge nominees and then resume consideration of S. 744, the immigration reform bill.
The House finished and passed (315-108) H.R. 1960 — "To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the Department of Defense and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes."
Yesterday, the ARRA News Serviceidentified various Amendments which were voted on in regard to H.R. 1960. In addition there were numerous amendments were passed by block voice vote with the number only identified with other numbers. The same is true for today. The only way you will know what they include is to do detailed research on each Amendment. Below are a few of the additional votes today: Approved Amendments: Walz (D–MN): Amendment No. 53 – Requires the Government Accountability office to submit a report to Congress regarding the Department of Defense's use of Personality/Adjustment disorders as a basis to separate members from the Armed Forces. – ADOPTED BY VOICE Turner (R–OH): Amendment No. 21 – Requires the President of the United States to convey to Congress the details of any proposed deals with the Russian Federation concerning the missile defense or nuclear arms of the United States. – ADOPTED 239 – 182 Walorski (R-IN): Amendment No. 19 - Prohibits the Secretary of Defense from using any funds authorized to the department for the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. – ADOPTED 236 – 188 Blumenauer (D–OR), Kinzinger (R–IL), Gabbard (D–HI), and Stivers (R–OH): Amendment No. 123 – Strengthens and reform the Iraq and Afghanistan Special Immigration Visa programs, and expressing the sense of the House that these programs are of significant importance to the US mission, and should be extended and reformed before their expiration. – ADOPTED 420 – 3 DeLauro (D–CT), Granger (R–TX), Moran (D–VA), Kingston (R–GA), Ellison (D–MN), Wolf (R–VA), and Connolly (D–VA): Amendment No. 137 – Prohibits the Defense Department from continuing to purchase equipment from the Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport unless the Secretary of Defense certifies that the firm is cooperating with a Defense Contract Audit Agency audit, not delivering S–300 missile defense batteries to Syria, and that no new contracts have been signed by the firm with Syria since January 1, 2013. Provides a national security waiver with a requirement that the Secretary justify the waiver in a report to Congress 30 days prior to the purchase of any equipment from Rosoboronexport. – ADOPTED 423 – 0
Disapproved Amendments: Holt (D–NJ): Amendment No. 22 – Strikes all of subtitle C (Missile Defense Programs) of Title II except section 237 (Iron Dome program). – REJECTED 61 – 362 McCollum (D–MN): Amendment No. 25 – Prohibits any funds authorized in the bill from being used to sponsor Army National Guard professional wrestling sports sponsorships or motor sports sponsorships. The amendment does not prohibit recruiters from making direct, personal contact with secondary school students and other prospective recruits. – REJECTED 134 – 289 Nolan (D–MN): Amendment No. 32 – Reduces total funds authorized in this Act by $60 Billion. – REJECTED 71 – 353 Cooper (D–TN): Amendment No. 33 – Reinstates the New START funding. – REJECTED 195 – 229 Gibson (R–NY), Garamendi (D–CA): Amendment No. 36 – Strikes section 1251, Sense of Congress on the Conflict in Syria. – REJECTED 123 – 301 Coffman (R–CO), Griffith (R–VA), Polis (D–CO), Blumenauer (D–OR): Amendment No.37 – Directs the President of the United States to end the permanent basing of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2CR) in Vilseck, Germany and return the Brigade Combat Team currently stationed in Europe to the United States, without permanent replacement, leaving one Brigade Combat Team and one Combat Aviation Brigade––nothing in this amendment should be construed as directing the removal of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, nor certain quick–reaction forces. – REJECTED 110 – 313 Smith (D-WA), Moran (D-VA), Nadler (D-NY): Amendment No. 20 - Mandates closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by December 1, 2014 and strikes all prohibitions on transfers of detainees to the U.S. and overseas. – REJECTED 174 – 249 Polis (D-CO): Amendment No. 14 - Allows those certified by recognized nontheistic organizations to be appointed as officers in the chaplain core in order to fully serve nontheistic or nonreligious service members. – REJECTED 150 – 274 Polis (D–CO): Amendment No. 23 – Limits funding for advanced procurement of inefficient ground–based interceptor rocket motor sets, and the costly refurbishment of Missile Field 1 at Fort Greely, Alaska, until the Secretary of Defense makes certain certifications to Congress, including that the Commander of the United States Northern Command has full confidence in the homeland missile defense system. – REJECTED 146 – 278 Van Hollen (D–MD) , Moran (D–VA), Mulvaney (R–SC), Woodall (R–GA): Amendment No. 39 – Cuts OCO funding by $5.04 billion from the Ryan Budget level down to the President's Budget Request. – REJECTED 191 – 232
After passage of FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1960), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) praised the bipartisan House passage of the bill. He said, "This bipartisan bill underscores our commitment to supporting our men and women in uniform and making sure they have the resources and tools they need to keep America safe. I am pleased the bill maintains the bipartisan prohibition against transferring terrorist detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States. I am also pleased that the bill takes significant steps to address the rampant number of sexual assault cases in the military. As I’ve said, the rising number of sexual assault cases in the military is a national disgrace and Chairman McKeon and Rep. Turner deserve credit for their work on this issue, and the entire bill. We owe our service men and women, and their families, a debt of gratitude for the courage and sacrifices they have made on behalf of the American people.”
Also, today, Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-LA) addressed the DOL May Jobs Report. He said, "May’s jobs report is yet another example of the failed Obama economy. The American people want to see the President focused on supporting legislation that will help create jobs and promote a healthy economy. The numerous recent scandals, like the IRS, AP and Benghazi, clearly show that President Obama has lost the trust of the American people and control of his Administration.
"President Obama should put an end to the political thuggery that we have exposed, and start working with Republicans to enact legislation to create jobs and get the economy back on track. With over 11 million Americans out of work, it is long past time for this Administration to realize that big government, higher taxes, and more federal spending are not the answers to revitalizing our economy. The out-of-control Obama administration continues to abuse power and violate the rights of hard working American families."
Again - another day brings yet another news story showing that the sales pitches Democrats used on Obamacare are turning to simply not be accurate.
The AP reported yesterday, “It’s called the Affordable Care Act, but President Barack Obama’s health care law may turn out to be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels. That might seem strange since the law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer ‘affordable’ coverage or face fines. . . . The law is complicated, but essentially companies with 50 or more full-time workers are required to offer coverage that meets certain basic standards and costs no more than 9.5 percent of an employee’s income. Failure to do so means fines for the employer. (Full-time work is defined as 30 or more hours a week, on average.) But do the math from the worker’s side: For an employee making $21,000 a year, 9.5 percent of their income could mean premiums as high as $1,995 and the insurance would still be considered affordable. Even a premium of $1,000 — close to the current average for employee-only coverage — could be unaffordable for someone stretching earnings in the low $20,000’s. With such a small income, ‘there is just not any left over for health insurance,’ said Shannon Demaree, head of actuarial services for the Lockton Benefit Group. ‘What the government is requiring employers to do isn’t really something their low-paid employees want.’ . . . Another thing to keep in mind: premiums wouldn’t be the only expense for employees. For a basic plan, they could also face an annual deductible amounting to $3,000 or so, before insurance starts paying. ‘If you make $20,000, are you really going to buy that?’ asked Tracy Watts, health care reform leader at Mercer, a major benefits consulting firm.”
And, the AP points out, “Many are expected to remain uninsured, possibly risking fines. That’s due to another provision: the law says workers with an offer of ‘affordable’ workplace coverage aren’t entitled to new tax credits for private insurance, which could be a better deal for those on the lower rungs of the middle class.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell put it yesterday, explaining the impact of Obamacare, “[I]f you’re lucky enough to find a job, your hours get cut. Maybe your job gets cut altogether. You get a letter in the mail that says, ‘Sorry, your premium’s going up by double-digits.’ Can’t pay the higher premium? Too bad. If you don’t, Uncle Sam slaps you with a penalty tax (and for all the talk of ‘subsidies,’ studies indicate that those payments from taxpayers might not even make up for the higher costs).”
Meanwhile, in California, “For many businesses Obamacare is downright intimidating. The requirement to provide coverage to full-time employees or potentially face thousands of dollars in fines is what’s really worrying some large companies,”KQED’s California Report writes. “Some health care advocates are concerned there will be even more employees . . . applying for [the government health insurance program for low-income Californians] once Obamacare kicks in next year. They fear companies will limit hours for workers just to avoid having to pay for their health insurance.” (A California Democrat’s proposed solution for this? More mandates and fines for employers, of course.)
Little wonder, then, that a new survey of employers finds them particularly concerned with the costs Obamacare imposes on them. As The Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday, “Companies have grown more pessimistic about their ability to avoid higher health-care costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act as the time draws near when all individuals will be required to have health insurance, according to a survey released on Wednesday by benefits consultant Mercer. Just 9% of companies feel the ACA will add less than 1% to their costs next year, compared to 25% that felt in 2011 they would see little or no impact come 2014, Mercer said. Beth Umland, director of research for health and benefits in Mercer’s health and benefits business, said 20% felt so sanguine last year. Further, 19% now expect costs to jump by 5% or more, compared with 15% in 2011.”
Leader McConnell summed up the situation yesterday, saying, “I’m sure the Washington Democrats who drafted Obamacare thought they were striking some blow for quote-unquote ‘fairness’ with these job-crushing ideas. Well, now the youth in our country are finding out what Democrats’ so-called ‘fairness’ means for them: smaller paychecks, or no paychecks at all.” Tags:House Appropriations bill, AP, ObamacareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
“This chilling suppression of religious freedom is driving faith underground in our military and will eventually drive it out. This not only deprives those who serve of the benefits that flow from religious participation, but it undermines the moral foundation of the world’s most powerful military and the country they serve.” ~ Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Tony Perkins' FRC Washington Update: President Obama can't veto the First Amendment, so he's doing the next best thing: refusing to let his troops exercise it. In his most combative move yet, the administration warned Congress yesterday that it strongly opposes Rep. John Fleming's religious freedom amendment, which sailed through the House Armed Services Committee with bipartisan
Nothing about Fleming's measure is controversial, unless you object to Americans' rights as outlined by the U.S. Constitution. The President, who isn't exactly a big proponent of conscience rights (in case you missed the health care debate), thinks his troops should have to swallow their religious beliefs to serve. And to the delight of anti-Christian extremists, Obama's Pentagon has spent the last several months muzzling -- or worse, punishing -- men and women of faith. From stripping Bibles off desks to crashing private parties, religion -- and in particular Christianity -- have become dirty words in the ranks.
Now, the administration is taking its spite to new heights by threatening to withhold a year's worth of defense funding over a simple amendment protecting the same rights our troops fight for every day. In a statement, the White House sent a chilling message to all Americans about their basic liberties: "The administration strongly objects to section 530, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, 'actions and speech' reflecting the 'conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member.' By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment."
The administration, which had been content to drive faith underground in the military, is moving to its next phase: driving faith out. Welcome to Obama's military, where open homosexuality is encouraged but open belief is not. Congressman Fleming -- like most members -- was stunned at the commander-in-chief's open hostility toward the proud tradition of faith in our fighting force. "That is an outrageous position," he told Fox News, "but it's what I've come to expect from an administration that is aggressively hostile toward religious beliefs that it deems politically incorrect."
The Pentagon, which insisted there was no conspiracy against Christians (despite a growing crackdown), will have a difficult time convincing people of that now. Imagine how our troops must feel, knowing that their own commander-in-chief would block an entire budget just to deprive them of the benefits and comforts of religion. Unfortunately, the President is not only denying our service members the consolation of faith, but he is undermining the moral foundation of the world's most powerful military. That should concern everyone -- including Congress.
We applaud Rep. Fleming for giving our troops the attention and protection they deserve. More than 167,000 Americans signed FRC's petitions agreeing with Congressman Fleming that service members deserve the right to freely practice and express their faith.
Recent religious liberty violations in the military include:
* When a serviceman expressed his religious position about homosexuality on a personal blog, he received a "severe and possibly career-ending reprimand."
* An enlisted service member was given a negative efficiency report for sending personal invitations to his promotion party, in which he said he would be serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches "in honor of the Defense of Marriage Act."
* A senior military official at Fort Campbell sent out a lengthy email instructing officers to recognize "the religious right in America" as a "domestic hate group," (akin to the KKK and Neo-Nazis) because of its opposition to homosexual behavior.
* An Air Force officer was told to remove a Bible from his desk because "it might offend someone." The officer had kept the Bible on the desk for 18 years.
* A chaplain was relieved of his command over a military chapel because he refused to deviate from federal marriage law and allow same-sex "weddings" on base.
* An enlisted service member was threatened and denied promotion by a senior NCO for expressing – during a personal conversation – his support of natural marriage.
* Last month, Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee told a National Day of Prayer audience that religious liberty was being threatened by Pentagon lawyers and service members are being told to hide their faith in Christ.
Unfortunately, service members aren't the only ones in the President's crosshairs. The rights of health care workers, individuals, and businesses are also at stake as ObamaCare moves closer to full implementation. On August 1st, just weeks from today, religious and nonprofit groups will be the next targets for compliance under the President's birth control-abortion pill insurance mandate. Unless organizations like faith-based hospitals, charities, and schools agree to cover these drugs, the government will start fining them -- hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a day.
[On Wednesday (June 12th], a group of 11 bipartisan congressmen -- including Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), John Fleming (R-La.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kans.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Diane Black (R-Tenn.) -- took to the House floor protest the approaching storm for charitable organizations. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who organized the special order, talked about the new culture of religious oppression in America -- and the importance of passing Rep. Black's Health Care Conscience Rights Act:
"We have lost our collective sense of respect for divergent views. We have lost our sense that the government must protect that sacred right of conscience and not coerce her citizens into doing something that they fundamentally believe is unjust or wrong. [Like the IRS targeting,] the HHS mandate is also a form of discrimination. It primarily targets people in faith communities, the very people who have been the backstop of compassionate care for the poor, the vulnerable, and the marginalized in our society today... Mr. Speaker, no American should be forced to choose between their conscience and their livelihood. No American should be forced to choose between their faith and their job. No American should be forced to choose between their deeply held, reasoned beliefs and the law. That's a false choice. It's un-American, and it's wrong." Tags:To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
George Gilder, Supply Side Intellectual Titan, Returns Bearing Knowledge And Power
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author:“The most important human resource, the only true natural resource, is the human mind.” — John Allison (now Cato Institute president), quoted in Knowledge and Power, by George GilderGeorge Gilder, whose new book publishes today, is one of the original pillars of Supply Side economics. As stated by Discovery Institute, which he co-founded, “Mr. Gilder pioneered the formulation of supply-side economics when he served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute’s Economic Roundtable, as Program Director for the Manhattan Institute….”
He was the living writer most quoted by President Reagan. And he is back with his most brilliant work yet — one of potentially explosive importance if taken to heart by our political and policy thought leaders. It is a radical guide, with surprising insights on almost every page, to the creation of a new era of vibrant prosperity.
After writing his best-selling Wealth and Poverty Gilder most notably spent decades traveling down various rabbit holes into, and thoroughly exploring, technological Wonderlands. He has been an essential guide to the technological cornucopias that immensely enrich our lives. He personally surfed the tech bubble and experienced, very up close and personally, its pop. Gilder is a veteran of the ecstasy and agony of entrepreneurship: a player, not a spectator. Gilder’s Knowledge and Power: the Information Theory of Capitalism and How It Is Revolutionizing our World is his finest work, which is saying a lot.
Gilder — who, full disclosure, many years ago, invested in an ill-fated nanotechnology processes start-up involving this writer and, later, generously blurbed this writer’s small cult classic, The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World — has returned to the intellectual fray in a very big, quite possibly revolutionary, way. He provides an extraordinary rethinking of economics by way of information theory. In it he brings the argument for capitalism … as a humanitarian, and ecological, force … into the 21st century. In the process he makes trenchant comments on the economic shibboleths of both right and left (with more than glancing blows to both but much more devastation to the doctrines of statism and socialism).
Knowledge and Power is not a book for the faint of heart or the closed of mind. Its early chapters drive the reader up a challenging learning curve.
Gilder takes the bull by the horns:“From Adam Smith’s day to ours, economics has focused on the nature of economic order. …. Smith and his successors followed in the footsteps of Newton and Leibniz, constructing a science of systems. What they lacked was a science of disorder and randomness, a mathematics of innovation, a rigorous measure and mandate for freedom of choice. For economics, the relevant science has arrived just in time. The great economic crisis of our day, a crisis of theory as well as practice, is a crisis of information. It can be grasped and resolved only by an economics of information. … [T]he mathematical structure for this new economics was completed by one of the preeminent minds of the twentieth century, Claude Elwood Shannon.” (p. 16)Gilder is one of the most sophisticated analysts of how technology, as an expression of human creativity, benefits the mass of humanity and the planetary ecology. He takes the reader through a highly technical, fascinating, tour of Shannon’s information theory and draws out many implications. For non-techie Earthlings (such as this reader) he summarizes the essence of information theory in what he calls “the ‘capstone’ of the ‘theory’ section,” the chapter “Mind Over Matter.”“The power in capitalism must not be mindless. Unless it is combined with knowledge, more economic power or money is fruitless. Enterprise involves memory of the past and anticipation of the future, and it is creative. It is not a simple incentive system of rewards and punishments, of carrots and sticks. It is an information system, and it is governed less by economic theory as we know it than by information theory. The beautiful congruence of information theory with a capitalist economy, the creative convergence of knowledge with power, has been the main subject of this book.” (p. 108)This is not mere soaring rhetoric.
Gilder provides a radical take on many of the confounded issues of the day, including energy policy, Wall Street, banking, financial markets, tax policy, Israel, and, this columnist’s favorite, monetary policy. He imports the fruits of a vividly fresh worldview from the intellectually vibrant Discovery Institute, based in Washington State, to the too-often stagnant Washington, DC.
Once we, of DC, get done rethinking economic policy along Gilderian lines the world likely never will be the same. It will be better. Information theory laps classical economics and, perhaps at long last, drives the wooden stake into the heart of undead Keynesian dogma haunting the capital. Gilderianism eats Keynesianism for breakfast.
Gilder takes it down to the rivets (and sometimes the quantum level), time after time, on too many critical issues of the day to do justice here. Two superb soupcons:
On Dodd-Frank:“The goal of financial reform should be to end this divorce between knowledge and power and ensure that most capital flows to the people who can wield it best, the entrepreneurs. By contrast, the reform that was enacted, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, with 2,323 pages of bromides and legalese enhancing the power of regulators, moves in the opposite direction. It increases the distance between the people in authority and the people with entrepreneurial knowledge. It concentrates yet more power in the leviathans and their Treasury sponsors and Federal Reserve supervisors, and it imposes hundreds of new regulations on entrepreneurial finance. Dodd-Frank sacrifices information on the altar of ignorant power.” (P. 132)On monetary policy:“Could it be that the fundamental cause of the [2008 financial] crisis was that the monetary system, alone among the structures of capitalism, lacks a low-entropy physical layer?
“Over the centuries of monetary history, the remedy for unstable money has always been gold. Critics who say the gold standard has been eclipsed by an information standard based on the Internet do not grasp the essence of information theory, which measures the information content by its ‘news’ (expressed in digital form as unexpected bits or entropy). It takes a low-entropy carrier to bear a high-entropy newsworthy message.
“The 130,000 metric tons of gold that has been mined in all of human history constitutes the supreme low-entropy carrier for the upside surprises of capitalism. Without guidance from gold, currency markets are subject to political high entropy. They resemble a communications system without a predictable carrier that enables the information to be distinguished from the noise in the line.
“…Without a baseline of gold, entrepreneurship in the world economy degenerates into the manipulation of currencies for the interests of profiteers and government insiders. This is a pathology of capitalism ….” (p. 122)It is bewildering that Gilder then posits “It may not be feasible, under current circumstances, to implement a real gold standard.” This speculation easily is falsified. The gold standard, demonstrably, is highly feasible. For political and geopolitical reasons, circumstances have never, in our lifetimes, made it more feasible than now. This is but a small false note in a virtually pitch-perfect book.
Gilder sums up his overarching argument:“Information theory comprehends and subsumes game theory, computer theory, cybernetics, genetics, network theory, demography, and strategy. … From its roots… it knows its limitations—its inexorable incompleteness, its dependence on mental processes that it cannot subdue. From its constant tests in engineering, it knows its authenticity and authority. Governed by entropy (measuring freedom of choice), it is a science of human liberty, knowledge and power. And it is generating a golden age of unexpected new technology. (p. 271)And in a coda by no means gratuitous he presents capitalism, honestly understood, as a magnificent, noble, humanitarian force. He thereby places it on the commanding heights of an unassailable moral high ground too often lacking from its more pedestrian defenders:“When faith dies, so does enterprise. It is impossible to create a system of collective regulation, insurance, and safety that does not finally deaden the moral source of the willingness to face danger and fight, that does not dampen the spontaneous flow of gifts and experiments, that extends the dimensions of the world and the circles of human sympathy.
“The ultimate strength and crucial weakness of both capitalism and democracy are their reliance on individual creation. But there is no alternative except mediocrity and stagnation. Demand-based systems can never flourish in a world where events are shaped by millions of human beings, acting unknowably, in fathomless interplay and complexity, in the darkness of time.”Into our own dark time now returns George Gilder. An intellectual Titan, in fact a modern Prometheus, Gilder heroically brings to humanity the fire of Knowledge… and Power.
----------- Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. This article first appeared in Forbes. Tags:Ralph Benko, George Gilder, supply side, intellectual, new Book, Knowledge and Power, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: NSA leaker Edward Snowden is answering that headline question on his own. And the answer is less than zero -- he is, broadly speaking, a traitor. Whatever comfort can be taken from Snowden's exposure of the Obama Administration's overreaching data collection efforts on law-abiding Americans is negated by what he is "exposing" now.
Yesterday Snowden gave an another interview, this time with the South China Morning Post. He claimed that the U.S. was monitoring people in Hong Kong and China and was engaged in cyber-warfare. Here's a news flash for Mr. Snowden: That is what our intelligence agencies are supposed to do!
It would be a scandal if we discovered the opposite were true: That while the Obama Administration was conducting massive surveillance in the U.S. it was not engaging our adversaries and enemies around the world. And, yes, I do include China as an adversary.
That Snowden thinks this is troubling removes any doubt about what his worldview is. Like so much of the left, he sees America as the bad guy. Snowden told the Guardian that he doesn't see China as an enemy, adding, "We trade with each other freely, you know. We're not at war. We are not in armed conflict. …We are the largest trading partners out there for each other."
I pointed out Monday that Snowden has a "globalist" worldview. In describing his motivations for leaking the NSA program, Snowden said, "…I hope this will trigger [a debate] among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in."
How many of your conservative, Tea Party friends would describe themselves as citizens of the world? Would a patriotic American concerned about civil liberties really flee to China? I don't think so. Snowden is not Patrick Henry and he is not a Reaganaut. He is a disgruntled Obama supporter.
Here's something else to consider: Because Snowden has run into the arms of our adversary and is now doing damage to us abroad, because he is so naïve that he actually believes U.S. intelligence agencies disrupting our enemies is a violation of our principles, he has likely damaged the cause of reining in the Obama Administration's spying on American citizens.
Edward Snowden is a grossly flawed messenger for the cause of liberty. I hope in the days ahead that these two issues can be separated in the mind of the general public -- and in the minds of conservatives.
What Obama Is NOT Doing
Let's put Snowden aside for now and revisit what the Obama Administration is failing to do in the fight against racial Islamic terrorism. Columnist Mark Steyn joked a few days ago that we may learn the Obama Administration was monitoring everyone's calls except those from the Middle East because that would be profiling. Unfortunately, there is some truth to his joke.
Investor's Business Daily reminds readers that while the government is collecting massive amounts of phone data from law-abiding citizens and while the IRS is harassing "Patriot" groups and organizations wanting to educate the public about the Constitution, Obama's snoopers have been ordered not to look in mosques.
The FBI had conducted many successful sting operations by placing operatives inside mosques suspected of promoting jihad. But the Obama Administration stopped the program. Referring to the Boston Marathon bombing, the IBD editorial noted, "The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks."
Why would the FBI want to monitor mosques? According to a survey of 100 mosques around the country, 81% had materials that promoted violent jihad in some manner.
Call it profiling if you want. But if you are trying to stop radical Islamists, you don't go to Episcopalian or Presbyterian churches. You go where the radical Islamists are. Unless of course you are a left-wing ideologue more committed to political correctness than America's national security. Obama is too busying profiling conservatives to have time to profile jihadists.
------------- 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:NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, Obama administration, racial Islamic terrorism, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working FamiliesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
‘Could be unaffordable for many’ “The law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer what it calls ‘affordable’ coverage or face fines. But policy experts and corporate consultants say the definition of ‘affordable’ can mean premiums up to 9.5 percent of an employee's income. And that could be unaffordable for many people making around $20,000 a year or a few thousand more.” (“Coverage May Be Unaffordable For Low-Wage Workers,” AP, 6/13/13)
“…do the math from the worker's side: For an employee making $21,000 a year, 9.5 percent of their income could mean premiums as high as $1,995 and the insurance would still be considered affordable. …For a basic plan, they could also face an annual deductible amounting to $3,000 or so, before insurance starts paying.” Ibid
“Health Insurance Costs to Increase Significantly Under Affordable Care Act: The Department's preliminary analysis of the proposed plans for the individual market reveal that insurers expect the cost to cover health care expenses for consumers will significantly increase. Based on a report released by the Society of Actuaries earlier this year, the Department estimates this increase is an average of 88 percent.” (Ohio Department Of Insurance, Press Release, 6/6/13)
‘Average to cover those costs in 2014 is $420 representing an increase of 88 percent’ “Estimates from a Society of Actuaries study released in 2013 showed Ohio’s current average cost to cover medical expenses for an individual health insurance plan is $223. Based on the proposals submitted to the Department, the average to cover those costs in 2014 is $420 representing an increase of 88 percent when compared to the Society of Actuaries study.”Ibid</span
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): ‘Max said unless we implement this properly it’s going to be a train wreck, and I agree with him.’ “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he shares colleagues’ concerns that the Affordable Care Act could become a ‘train wreck’ if it’s not implemented properly. … ‘Max said unless we implement this properly it’s going to be a train wreck, and I agree with him,’ Reid said…” (“Reid: More Funding Needed To Prevent Obamacare From Becoming 'Train Wreck,'” The Hill, 5/1/13)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): “I just tell you, I just see a huge train wreck coming down.”(Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 4/17/13)
The House reconvened and took up (H.R. 1960) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the Department of Defense and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes." Numerous Amendments being considered. Some of the Approved Amendments: Pearce (R–NM): Amendment No. 4 – Provides the Department of Defense with final approval over any new land use project that utilizes covered research, development, test and evaluation lands within the continuous United States. – ADOPTED BY VOICE Turner (R–OH): Amendment No. 6 – Establishes mandatory minimum sentences of discharge or dismissal, and confinement required for certain sex–related offenses committed by members of the Armed Forces. – ADOPTED BY VOICE Radel (R-FL), Amash (R-MI), Massie (R-KY), Salmon (R-AZ): Amendment No. 12 - Requires the Department of Defense to submit to the Congress a report every year containing: (1) the names of any U.S. citizens subject to military detention, (2) the legal justification for their continued detention, and (3) the steps the Executive Branch is taking to either provide them some judicial process, or release them. Requires that an unclassified version of the report be made available, and in addition, that the report must be made available to all members of Congress. – ADOPTED BY VOICE Lummis (R–WY), Daines (R–MT), Cramer (R–ND): Amendment No.3 – Requires DOD to preserve currently active ICBM silos in warm status. – ADOPTED 235 – 189 McGovern (D–MA), Jones (R–NC), Smith (D–WA), Lee (D–CA), Garamendi (D–CA): Amendment No. 10 – Requires the President to complete the accelerated transition of combat operations from U.S. Armed Forces to the Government of Afghanistan no later than by the end of 2013; the accelerated transition of military and security operations by the end of 2014, including the redeployment of U.S. troops; and to pursue robust negotiations to address Afghanistan's and the region's security and stability. Establishes the sense of Congress that should the President determine the necessity for post–2014 deployment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Congress should vote to authorize such a presence and mission by no later than June 2014. – ADOPTED 305 – 121 Goodlatte (R–VA): Amendment No. 11 – Requires the government, in habeas proceedings for United States citizens apprehended in the United States pursuant to the AUMF, to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the citizen is an unprivileged enemy combatant and there is not presumption that the government's evidence is accurate and authentic. – ADOPTED 214 – 211 Some of the Rejected Amendments: Blumenauer (D–OR), Mulvaney (R–SC), Bentivolio (R–MI): Amendment No. 2 – Reduces from 11 to 10 the statutory requirement for the number of operational carriers that the U.S. Navy must have. – REJECTED 106 – 318 Coffman (R–CO): Amendment No. 5 – Cuts $250 million from the Defense Rapid Innovation Program (DRIP), and moves the money to alleviate training and readiness shortfalls. – REJECTED 206 – 220 Rigell (R–VA): Amendment No. 9 – Modifies the temporary suspension of public–private competitions for conversion of Department of Defense functions to contractor performance. Permits the Secretary of Defense to exempt existing public–private partnerships from the OMB Budget Circular A–76 process. – REJECTED 178 – 248 Smith (D-WA), Gibson (R-NY): Amendment No. 13 - Amends Section 1021 of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act to eliminate indefinite military detention of any person detained under AUMF authority in the United States, territories or possessions by providing immediate transfer to trial and proceedings by a court established under Article III of the Constitution or by an appropriate state court. Strikes section 1022 of the same Act (which provided for mandatory military custody of covered parties). – REJECTED 200 – 226
Numerous amendments were passed by block voice vote with the number only identified with other numbers. The only way you will know what they include is to do detailed research on each Amendment. One of the amendments passed in a block vote was Amendment 77 by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) that grants amnesty to illegal aliens who enroll in the military. The amendment says these illegals who join the military will get "conditional" lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. However, under current law, an LPR in the military is IMMEDIATELY eligible for naturalization, so the conditional thing made no sense. Once naturalize, these servicemen can immediately sponsor their illegal parents for LPR status, along with other relatives. As Roy Beck, NumbersUSA noted, "Enticing illegal aliens to join in order to obtain lawful permanent resident status, along with a path to legal status for their family members through chain migration, cheapens the commitment that millions of Americans have made to serve our nation."
Today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he now believes President Obama and his Democratic allies in Washington have decided to deliberately allow student loan rates to double on July 1, rather than work with Republicans to enact a fix, in an effort to create a distraction from their party’s current troubles. Boehner expressed dismay that the president appears to have resorted to picking a fake fight with Republicans to distract from divisions that are preventing a solution on student loans from advancing in the Senate. House Republicans have already passed a bill – mirroring a plan proposed in the president’s own budget – that prevents rates from doubling, and provides more certainty for students and families, but Senate Democrats have refused to send it to the president’s desk.
Today, Sean Hackbarth on the US Chamber of Commerce blog Free Enterprise noted "In describing the struggle over federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) quipped at a Washington, DC energy conference that it is the “Kim Kardashian of energy.” What should have been an easy decision by President Obama has turned into a drama worthy of an E! network reality show. The Keystone XL pipeline should have been approved years ago."
Hackbarth also highlighted that "approving the pipeline is a no-brainer" and then summarized six reasons why:
According to the State Department, more than 42,000 jobs would be created annually over the pipeline’s construction period.
State and local governments will collect more than $585 million in new taxes.
We’ll import more oil from a friendly neighbor and less from countries that aren't as friendly.
Canadian oil sands will be developed. It will either go south to the United States—creating jobs here--or elsewhere.
Majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents support the pipeline.
Both businesses and labor back Keystone XL.
The Heritage Foundation commented today on the Senate passed bloated Farm bill "which doesn't have much at all to do with farms." It now it moves on to the House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he will vote for it. Heritage noted, "Among other questionable provisions in the costly bill, more than 80 percent of the spending goes to food stamps, not farmers. It spends half again as much as the last farm bill, passed in 2008. It even taxes Christmas trees and rocks!" Heritage’s Amy Payne puts it plainly: “Let’s be honest. This isn't a ‘farm’ bill. It’s a food stamps and whatever else Congress can throw in the bill.” Tags:Massive Bills, Congress, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, Farm Bill, DOD Appropriations BillTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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