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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]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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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 (429-347 BC)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Supreme Court Marriage Decisions

Phyllis Schlafly
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: The Supreme Court decision on marriage, as Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent, “is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s Representatives in Congress and the Executive. It envisions a Supreme Court standing (or rather enthroned) at the apex of government, empowered to decide all constitutional questions, always and everywhere ‘primary’ in its role.”

Scalia said this role would have been unrecognizable to those who wrote our Constitution. They knew the dangers of “primary” power and that’s why they divided power into three branches of government.

The New York Times headlined its report with the bald-faced lie that the Court “Follows the Nation’s Lead.” Au contraire: the Court ignored the Nation’s lead. The Court rejected the majority vote of the people of 31 states, including our nation’s bluest state, California, and ignored the fact that the traditional definition of marriage is enshrined, either by statute or state constitution, in 38 states.

Not only were the Court’s decisions wrong but, as Scalia wrote, the Supreme Court had no power under the Constitution to invalidate those two democratically adopted laws, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Prop 8. California passed Prop 8 in a ballot initiative procedure designed to enable the people to correct public officials’ actions that are not acceptable to the people.

The California Attorney General refused to defend the law, so the Prop 8 sponsors joined the case to defend their properly enacted initiative. After the California state supreme court upheld Prop 8, the same-sex-marriage advocates ran to supremacist federal judges to overturn the voters’ wishes.

They succeeded by getting the Supreme Court to reject the “standing” of the Prop 8 sponsors to defend their victory. That ruling defeated the whole democratic process of a citizen initiative because it enables public officials to overrule the will of the voters (expressed by winning a ballot initiative) by simply refusing to defend the law in court. The 27 other states that use initiatives will now be worried about their validity.

The other marriage case decided by the Supreme Court declared DOMA unconstitutional, thereby substituting a judicial edict for the will of our elected representatives. DOMA was passed by Congress in 1996 by large bipartisan majorities and signed by President Bill Clinton.

Justice Scalia was scathing in describing the failure of the Court to identify any basis in the Constitution for its conclusion that DOMA is unconstitutional. Scalia criticized Justice Kennedy’s “nonspecific hand-waving” about equal protection, substantive due process, and federalism, but appeared to say that the principal basis for Congress enacting DOMA was its supporters’ “desire to harm a politically unpopular group.”

Speaking for the Court’s majority, Justice Kennedy accused DOMA supporters of acting with malice, with the purpose “to disparage and to injure” same-sex couples, to “impose … a stigma,” to deny them “equal dignity,” to brand them as “unworthy” and to “humiliate” their children. All of which is obviously false.

Scalia expressed shock about the way Kennedy bolstered his argument with malicious slurs on the Members of Congress who voted for DOMA. As summed up by Scalia, Kennedy laid down his edict, “Hate your neighbor or come along with us,” and that kind of insulting argument should be out of bounds for the Supreme Court.

These two decisions about marriage by a divided Supreme Court do not end the debate about whether America must or will accept same-sex marriage. As one of the same-sex-marriage advocates boasted, Let the litigation begin.

It’s easy to see dozens of lawsuits coming down the pike to address questions the Supremes did not answer. For example, must a state that forbids same-sex marriage recognize the marriage of a couple who gets married in a state where that is legal?

Let’s recall how Abe Lincoln responded in his First Inaugural Address to the Supreme Court’s historic mistake, the Dred Scott decision. The Court had ruled that a man must be protected in his alleged constitutional property right of owning his slave, Dred Scott, even when they traveled to Illinois, a free state.

Lincoln said that the Court’s erroneous decision should be limited to that particular case and never allowed to become a precedent for other cases, with the hope that it may one day be overruled. Then Lincoln warned that if we allow policy on vital questions to be irrevocably fixed by the Supreme Court, we will no longer be a self-governing people but merely subject to “that eminent tribunal.”

As Scalia said about the Court’s decisions, “We might have let the People decide.” But the Supreme Court justices acted like supremacists who used their power to dictate public policy, overturn what has been our marriage law for centuries, and insult anyone who disagrees.
--------------------
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: marriage, Supreme Court, supremacists, decisions, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Did Personal Data Aid Obama Campaign?

The question proposed by Carol Platt Liebau in her article below is important?  But even more important is the threat to the Republic of the United States.  If a person or agency, be they left, right or independent minded, and/or  the people behind or  supporting a person can access and use data collected on U.S. citizens by government agencies to aid them their agenda --  be that agenda retaining their office, influencing others on a desired change, or attacking, controlling, disenfranchising, or punishing Americans whom they uncharacteristically see as their enemy or standing in the way of their agenda -- then the citizens of  America have a very critical problem on its hands.  For what is used by either a tyrant or alleged  benevolent person to influence or to control a free people tramples on the both the Constitution and presents a clear and present danger to our Republic.

by Carol Platt Liebau, TownHall : The IRS has been credibly accused of targeting conservatives as a way to minimize their participation in the 2014 elections.  But there is a mirror image to their suppression in the last cycle; the Obama campaign's utilization of Big Data to bring liberal partisans to the polls.

It was something that the press writing of admiringly both before and after the election, for example:
TimeHow Obama's number-crunchers helped him win
BusinessweekGoogle's Eric Schmidt Invests in Obama's Big-Data Brains

Other outlets have confessed to some trepidation:
GizmodoHow the Obama Campaign Uses Your Personal Information to Get Your Money and Your Vote

In the aftermath of the kerfuffle about metadata being used for national security purposes, it's worth asking whether (and what kind of) personal information somehow found its way into the hands of political people for the President's political benefit -- because there is significant benefit to any political campaign that can "mine" such data.  Note that the companies involved in the NSA data-collection collection matter were huge Obama supporters.

Although some kinds of metadata collection is necessary for national security purposes, is there any assurance that personal information collected by these companies (and others) didn't find flow to the Obama campaign, either known or unbeknownst to the company's leaders? Those who are outraged by personal information (or even metadata) being collected and used for national security without people's consent should be even angrier if intrusions occurred -- not for a public benefit -- but for the President's partisan gain.

Tags: metadata, data mining, government agencies, NSA, data-collection, IRS, Google, Obama Campaign, threat to the Republic, clear and present danger To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Hollywood Promoting 'One Man's Treasure' - Stinks!

by AF Branco

Tags: editorial cartoon, AF Branco, One Man's Treasure, Obamacare, stinks,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Market Celebrates Egypt’s Coup, But It’s Not Over Yet

With the situation in Egypt changing by the hour, readers be interested in an update on events in Egypt. The following article provides an analysis and looks at what the next moves for the Muslim Brotherhood and especially Qatar who have been pulling the strings of late.
Egypt - July 3, 2012; Photo Source Unknown
by Jen Alic: The situation in Egypt has not been tenable since the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi took over, post-revolution, but now that the military has stepped in, ousted Morsi and placed him in detention, foreign investors are celebrating.

No one knows what’s going to happen next, but the general consensus—at least for investors—is that things couldn’t get any worse, only better. (Unless you’re Qatari, but more about that later.)

On 3 July, at the tail end of a 48-hour ultimatum for Morsi to heed protesters’ demands for his resignation or face the consequences, the military launched a coup, forcing Morsi off the stage and issuing arrest warrants for some 250 members of the Muslim Brotherhood for inciting violence and killing protesters.

Morsi and 35 other top Brotherhood figures are now the target of a military investigation and barred from leaving the country. In the meantime, an interim president—Aldy Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court—has been sworn in, and the military has cut off all communication outlets for the Muslim Brotherhood.

It doesn’t look good for Morsi, especially since Egypt’s new prosecutor general—General Abdel Maquid Mahmoud--is a figure that Morsi personally had deposed in his quest to get rid of any high-level dissent. So he’s got a big axe to grind.

The Muslim Brotherhood has remained defiant, calling for their supporters to take to the streets in protest. The market has remained jubilant—if not a bit shortsighted, because it’s not over yet.

Still, Egypt’s EGX-30 (the country’s main index) rose 7.3% on the news of the coup, with the much-beleaguered Egyptian pound strengthening to 7.0264 to the dollar. It had reached a new low the day before the coup. The cost of insuring Egyptian debt against default also declined.

US crude oil futures rose to 14-month highs as oil bulls saw the chaos in Egypt raise the risk for oil and gas transit via pipeline through the Suez Canal. That risk appears considerably lower now that the military has acted decisively. (While oil production in Egypt is negligible at present, the country controls the Suez Canal.)

But what happens next will determine the security situation, and how long it takes to get a new, functional government in place will determine how long foreign oil and gas investors in Egypt will have to be nervous.

The central venue for protests—Tahrir Square—was quiet until today, when Egyptian security forces clashed with Morsi’s supporters in Cairo and across the country. While the military said it would allow protests if they were not violent, it opened fire today on demonstrators attempting to march on the Republican Guards headquarters in Cairo. Three people were killed.

In the longer term, we should be worried less about threats of Muslim Brotherhood protests—which the military could easily quash if they turned violent—than about reprisals from fringe Islamist groups, which would be doubly empowered should Qatar decide to support them as they have been doing in Syria.

On the political scene, watch the potential rise of Mohamed ElBaradei—former head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). ElBaradei is an opposition leader who has been waiting for the right opportunity, and he’s already been nominated by the Tamarod movement to become prime minister.

The US, which has been extremely generous with military aid for Egypt—both before the revolution and after—has refrained from calling the military’s 3 July intervention a “coup”. If Washington used the word “coup”, that would effectively make it impossible to continue to provide the Egyptian military with aid, and it’s not sure it wants to close that door just yet. The military itself likes to refer to the move as a “correction” of the 2011 revolution.

Qatar, of course, will call it a “coup” in no uncertain terms—at least in the backrooms. Publicly, it’s congratulated Egypt, but this tiny petro-monarchy which has been throwing cash at the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (and more recently Syria) is nervous. Qatar stands to lose the most without the Muslim Brotherhood in power. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Morsi had openly encouraged Islamists in Egypt to take up arms in Syria to fight the Assad regime, certainly at the prompting of its benefactor, Qatar.
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© 2013 OilPrice.com. This article was contributed to the ARRA News Service by James Stafford, the Editor of OilPrice.com - the leading online energy news site, Its news and analysis covers all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and hydro.

Tags: Markets, Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi, Coup, interim president, Aldy Mansou. Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, EGX-30, oil, gas, Suez canal,
Oilprice.com, James Stafford
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Freedom Is Not Free | A Soldier's Pledge

The following video features a powerful message given by President Ronald Reagan during his first Inaugural Address on January 20, 1981. 1st: It honors the American people. 2nd: It honored the men and women who have selflessly defended our nation. 3rd: It sends a chilling final message. Don't miss the final words. 4th: It reminds us what it is like to have a president who esteems America and its citizens.

The producer has provided quality integration of graphics and video footage to the President Reagan's message. Enjoy! Expand the video to full screen for the full effect.

HyperPixelsMedia:

Tags: Ronald Reagan, inaugral address, Jan 20. 1981, freedom, freedom is not free, a soldier's pledge, we are Americans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

June 2013 Jobs Numbers

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest jobs numbers, reporting that after adding 195,000 jobs, the unemployment rate remained unchanged in June from May’s rate of 7.6%.

Even One Year Later
Still Sucks!
Editor's Comment: The Department of Labor report released this morning showed U.S. unemployment rate was at 7.6% and that the economy added 195,000 jobs in June. Reaction to the news was mixed.

 I cannot see how anyone can say that 7.6% unemployment is good when exactly one year ago almost everyone, except a few liberals, considered 8.2% unemployment as bad. The improvement over a twelve month period of .oo6 is marginal and not worthy of rejoicing. With nearly $17 trillion in debt and millions of Americans still looking for work, this report underlines just how much work is left to be done to revive a stagnant economy and how the uncertainty of looming regulations is holding us back. So, I am again rolling out the"Economy Sucks" image   - because folks, that is the reality!

Washington, led by the Obama Administration, has done little to ease our economic problems. Instead of taking substantive steps to put our economy back on a firm foundation, Washington has driven us deeper into debt in addition to increasing taxes and burdensome new regulations at the expense of job-creating businesses.

Despite the scramble to delay some harmful portions of Obamacare, the uncertainty and chaos surrounding its implementation will only continue to loom over the heads of small business owners across the country. In fact, many businesses have already been forced to cut hours or freeze hiring as a result of the new regulations.

The reality is that there is wasteful spending that should be cut, and all it takes is for lawmakers to set priorities and make the tough decisions they claimed were impossible. It is time for Washington to take responsibility for its overspending, give the keys to the economy back to businesses and hardworking Americans, and remove the uncertainty that is plaguing our country. Our economy deserves better. We deserve better.

However before sharing the reactions, a closer look at the June Unemployment numbers:
  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 195,000.
  • Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent
  • Total unemployed: 11.8 million
  • Total underemployed (unemployed, underemployed, or stopped looking): 14.3 percent
  • Total underemployed: 22.6 million
  • Total stopped looking (discouraged workers): 1 million
  • Increase in the civilian labor force: 177,000
  • Long-term unemployed: 4.3 million
  • The adult male unemployment rate of 7 percent showed little change.
  • Adult women unemployment rate increased to 6.8 percent for June.
  • The unemployment rate for Hispanics stayed the same at 9.1 percent.
  • Teens continued to experience the highest unemployment at 24 percent.
  • The unemployment rate for individuals with a high school diploma and no college is 7.6 percent, increasing from 7.4 percent in May.
  • The unemployment rate for individuals with a bachelor's degree remained essentially the same at 3.9 percent.
  • The number of unemployed increased in June to 11.8 million.
  • Of the 11.8 million Americans unemployed, 4.3 million have been looking for work for over six months, a decrease of 29,000 from May.
Mixed:  Nathan Mehrens, President of Americans for Limited Government, noted a light in the midst of the report: "Today's unemployment report is clear proof that doomsayers who predicted that the federal government spending cuts contained in the sequester would harm economic growth were spectacularly wrong. The report shows that the private sector gained 202,000 jobs, and taxpayer funded employment continues to fall. This is great news, and an affirmation that the size and scope of government has been a drag on economic growth.

"Even with this good news, it is clear that business hiring is still in a wait and see mode as employment increases largely centered on temporary workforce hiring. Private sector hiring is clearly still in a wait and see mode with Obamacare implementation and a promised regulatory explosion slowing job opportunity creation.

"It cannot be lost that the damage done by Obama's $14 trillion four year spending spree is not easily fixed. It is unacceptable that after all the promises, deficit spending, and massive Federal Reserve money printing, the unemployment rate remains at 7.6 percent, with 16.9 million Americans either unemployed or underemployed.

"These 16.9 million who have been left on the sidelines of economic recovery need Congress to act aggressively in defunding those agencies that are killing jobs through Obama's misguided regulatory agenda. This is a battle worth fighting, because every American deserves a shot at the American dream, and no one should be robbed of hope by the job destroying Obama regulatory state."

Mixed:  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said "There’s some good news in this report, but economic growth is still tepid, the unemployment rate is far too high, and the president continues to promote policies that undermine robust job creation. Just look at the last few weeks: the president admits that his health care law is a drag on businesses; he threatens to veto a bill based on his own plan to make paying for college easier, then watches quietly as Senate Democrats let interest rates double; and he makes up new reasons to delay the Keystone pipeline in a speech about imposing a national energy tax. Imagine how many jobs would be created if the president stopped trying to expand government and started working with Republicans on policies that create sustained economic growth and expand opportunity for all Americans.”

Negative: Evan Feinberg, President of Generation Opportunity, responded: “The White House will undoubtedly try to spin this morning’s jobs report as evidence that their policies of higher taxes and unsustainable deficits are actually creating more opportunities – young people know better.

“Young people are finding fewer opportunities and are being saddled with the costs of our country's unsustainable deficits.

“This week, Washington leaders failed once again to reach an agreement on student loan interest rates – never mind the fact that they never even bothered to address the underlying issue – skyrocketing tuition costs.

“Next we can look forward to a whole slew of new environmental regulations that will further inhibit job creation and screw over a generation that nobody seems to realize is suffering.”

Generation Opportunity addresses the concerns of specific to 18-29 year olds. They note that while the effective (U6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 16.1% (NSA). However, the declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs. Note that the (U3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 23.7% (NSA)!

Tags: Labor Department, June 2013, Unemployment, Jobs Report, reactions, economy, economy sucks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Chopping Block | Delayed Press Comments

by William Warren
Following the announcement on Wednesday that the Obama administration would be delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate past the 2014 elections, the press has used the last couple of days to survey the broken and battered landscape of the president’s unpopular health care law.

The AP writes today, “Nothing's ever easy with President Barack Obama's health care law. The latest hitch gives employers an additional year before they must offer medical coverage to their workers or pay a fine. . . . Is this a downward spiral? The delay adds to an appearance of disarray surrounding the law.”

In a story headlined, “Blows to Health-Care Law Pile Up, Cutting Its Sweep,” The Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday, “The big expansion of health insurance envisioned under the 2010 Affordable Care Act is now looking less sweeping. The latest indication that the coverage net won't be as wide as initially expected came this week when the Obama administration delayed for a year a requirement that larger employers offer health insurance to workers or pay a penalty. . . . While the unexpected move received attention, it is at least the third time that a development since the law's passage has potentially limited the expansion of insurance. The two earlier snags involve Medicaid, a federal-state program for the poor, and the new health-insurance exchanges where individuals can buy coverage. The law was supposed to expand Medicaid to include more of the poorest Americans, but a Supreme Court ruling last year allowed states to opt out of that expansion; at least half are poised to do so. At the same time, analysts warn that hiccups are possible in implementing the exchanges after more than 30 states refused to set up their own versions, forcing the federal government to operate them on states' behalf. ‘You've got three body blows toward expansion of coverage,’ said Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, a research unit of Deloitte LLP. ‘It's three punches in a row.’”

And at Ezra Klein’s left-wing blog at The Washington Post, Sarah Kliff reports, “Facing tight deadlines and daunting workloads, states across the country are scaling back ambitions for implementing the Affordable Care Act. At a monthly board meeting of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, members of the standing-room-only crowd got a reminder that they, too, were behind schedule. The insurance marketplace they were working on nights and weekends won’t be completely ready on time. ‘It is highly complex, it’s unprecedented and it’s not going to be smooth,’ Kevin Counihan, chief executive of the state’s exchange, Access Health CT, told the group. . . . Although the states are promising to provide new marketplaces for individuals to compare and buy health insurance plans, the Web portals will be a bare-bones version of what was initially envisioned. . . . ‘We were beginning to slip in timing,” Counihan said. “We were getting these messages that we weren’t going to be able to hit our timelines because of the complexity. Some things were either requiring more time or coding than we had expected.’ . . . Across the country, other states report similar problems. . . . The federal government has faced multiple delays on health-care provisions affecting employers. . . . The Government Accountability Office recently questioned the federal government’s ability to launch the federal exchange, which will serve the majority of states in 2014 next year.”

Meanwhile, according to another WSJ report, “The Obama administration's surprise decision to delay penalties for some employers who don't offer health insurance led to a new debate Wednesday over whether the move could undermine efforts to expand access to health insurance for individuals. Supporters of the 2010 Affordable Care Act characterized the delay as a hiccup and said new health-insurance exchanges for individuals will likely go ahead as planned. But other observers said that by declining to enforce the rules on employers, the Obama administration might find it harder to carry out the individual mandate under which people must carry health insurance or pay a tax penalty. . . . [Q]uestions were raised Wednesday about how the new exchanges would operate in the absence of information from employers about whether they were offering coverage. To get subsidized coverage on exchanges, people are supposed to show they can't get employer-backed coverage. But without information from employers on their health-insurance offerings—or lack thereof—it isn't clear how the Internal Revenue Service would determine an individual's eligibility. ‘It is going to be very difficult to implement the exchange when you don't know,’ said Timothy Finnell, president of Group Benefits LLC, a Memphis health-care brokerage and consultancy.”

An AP story from Wednesday highlights the same problem: “Democrats have always been dogged by the fact that few Americans understand the law and many fear its effect. In the most recent polling, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that more Americans view the law unfavorably than favorably, a negative tilt that has remained steady since Obama signed it in March 2010. The foundation's survey this spring found 43 percent with an unfavorable opinion of the law, 35 percent with a favorable view and 23 percent undecided. The poll also found more people saying the nation will be worse off under the law than better off, a switch from public opinion immediately following its passage.”

Tags: press reports, William Warren, editorial cartoon, Obamacare, delayed, small business, choping block To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

ACORN & Taxpayer Funding | Cost of Selling Out

The lesson for policymakers is that pet groups of the left and right should never be subsidized with tax dollars. The lesson for welfare lobbies and their camp followers is that playing the insiders’ game also exacts a cost.
ACORN Historical Articles
Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation: Three decades before Congress voted to defund 1 a welfare lobby founded in Arkansas, congressional auditors found the group disregarded federal guidelines by using trainees in a taxpayer-funded program for political activity. The episode illustrates the peril of legislators creating bias in the policy arena by subsidizing pet groups with tax dollars.

Originally Relied on Private Funds
The irony is that Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) originally relied on private donations, while avoiding taxpayer funding after it was established in Pulaski County in 1970. Steven Wade Rathke, then a 21-year-old organizer for the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), arrived in Arkansas in 1970 to organize new chapters to aid welfare recipients. Rathke, a New Orleans native, decided to form ACORN, “an agency that would serve as a catalyst for the operation of all of the chapters.” ACORN “served as coordinating body” for NWRO chapters until April 1971,” when it severed ties with the group.2

ACORN originally relied on private funds. The Arkansas Gazette noted:

ACORN is funded almost solely from membership dues. A family is counted as one member, and pays $1 to join and $1 a month for dues. “We get a couple of dollars here and there from churches and individuals, but we don’t get any money from foundations and the government,” Rathke said. The (ACORN) Board refuses to accept federal funds. “They are 100 percent against it because it doesn’t want our flexibility curtailed,” Rathke said. “We have the right to do what we want.”3But the group’s approach to fundraising later devolved.

Government as Community Activist, Not Umpire
Legislators create bias in the public policy arena when they use tax dollars to subsidize pet groups whose policies they support. Government, in such circumstances, devolves from neutral umpire to partisan community activist.

ACORN is an example. The group evolved from Rathke’s 1973 proclamation of independence to a 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report illustrating the group’s state of dependence on government. The GAO found ACORN received more than $48 million in taxpayer-funding in fiscal years 2005 through 2009 alone. According to the report:

GAO identified awards to ACORN or potentially related organizations by 31 federal agencies and audits of such awards; documentation of related investigations and cases; and actions to implement funding restrictions by the 27 agencies in our review subject to them. Seventeen of the 31 agencies identified more than $48 million--$44.6 million in federal grants and at least $3.8 million in subawards (grants and contracts awarded by federal grantees)--to ACORN or potentially related organizations, primarily for housing-related purposes, during fiscal years 2005 through 2009. Agencies were not required to collect data on subawards; consequently, agencies were limited in their ability to identify all funding they provided to ACORN or potentially related organizations through subawards.”4

The GAO report was not the first to note taxpayer funding for ACORN. Government auditors told a 1979 House panel the group “violated federal guidelines for the Volunteers in Service to America contract by using VISTA trainees in political activity in 1977 and 1978.” Auditors said officials canceled the federal grant to ACORN after Rathke “refused to change political language in manuals used to train Vista workers.”5

Conclusion: The Cost of Selling Out
The lesson for policymakers is that pet groups of the left and right should never be subsidized with tax dollars. The lesson for welfare lobbies and their camp followers is that playing the insiders’ game also exacts a cost.6

1 Congress voted to eliminate federal funding to ACORN after undercover videos produced by youth activist James O’Keefe received widespread media coverage. O’Keefe’s 2013 book, Breakthrough (Threshold Editions) discusses the episode.
2 Arkansas Gazette, July 22, 1973
3 Ibid.
4 GAO, “ACORN-Federal Funding and Monitoring,” June 17, 2011, http://gao.gov/products/GAO-11-484
5 Arkansas Gazette, June 22, 1979
6 ACORN filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in November 2010

Tags: ACORN, lessons learned, taxpayer funding, cost of selling out, history, GAO, Arkansas Policy Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Conservative Founding Fathers Who Saved America

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: On the Fourth of July it is traditional and proper that we pay tribute to the nation’s Founding Fathers. The names of Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison are well known to Americans, but far less of the names of the conservative founders who, in many ways, saved and created the nation through their efforts and sacrifices.

They include Robert Morris, Gouveneur Morris, John and Edward Routledge, James Wilson, Philip Schuyler, and John Dickerson. Their achievements have been mentioned in passing by many historians, but it took David Lefer to do them the full justice they deserve in his new book, “The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution.”

For conservatives today, it is testimony to the tenacity, fortitude, and sacrifice these men demonstrated during the long years of the Revolution and it is also the story of the way the colonies, later states, often failed to meet their obligations to fund the soldiers who fought for freedom from England, often suffering horribly at Valley Forge and elsewhere. When the fighting ceased, they just as often found themselves without pay or pension.

From the Declaration of Independence in 1776, to the peace treaty in 1783, to the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, and the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in 1791, Lever notes that “The Revolution was a time of war without end; of real estate crashes, rampant speculation, and mounting public debt; of popular outrage at bankers and merchants who grew rich while the rest of the nation struggled; of bitter disputes over taxation; and of such animosity between left and right that it left Congress paralyzed for months on end.”

In short, times not unlike our own today.

In the years following World War II, historians of that time “made a conscious decision to downplay any hint of strife among the Founding Fathers”, but the reality can be found in Lefer’s book and it is far from what a generation or two of Americans were taught. America’s economy was based largely on agriculture, but it was the conservative Founders who were the first advocates of a banking system, corporations, and large-scale industry. It was the conservatives who set in motion the rise of America.

Today it is fashionable among liberals to depict the Founding Fathers as slave-owners and many were in an era where their labor was needed, but many of the conservatives chose to free their slaves after the nation was established.

Of the men mentioned above, all could be considered the “elite”, wealthy men who nonetheless risked their wealth and their lives in the cause of establishing a new nation and, indeed, many lost everything as they risked the investments in a wide range of land speculation and other enterprises.

At the heart of their endeavors was the 17th and 18th century concept of virtue which was very different from how we interpret it today. “It implied manliness as well as selflessness, an ability to fight for the state, and a willingness to place its interests about one’s own.” None perhaps exemplified this better than George Washington whose tenacity kept together the ill-clothed and fed army that ultimately defeated the most powerful empire of its time.

The Founding Fathers were extremely distrustful of the concentration of power as was seen in the concept of monarchy and today Americans are distrustful of a government whose powers of surveillance and thus control are seen in the revelations about the role of the National Security Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Homeland Security. Most particularly, Americans fear a presidency that ignores the Constitution and Congress, preferring to rule by executive orders.

By April 19, 1775, “the stench of gunpowder and dead men filled the air between Boston and Concord” and soon enough the Second Continental Congress “which met for the first time three weeks later, found itself in charge of a war it had not authorized and did not know how to run.” Their job was made easier by an arrogant George III who refused any efforts at compromise.

“By the end of the Revolution, writes Lefer “Americans were toppling old patterns of deference as relentlessly as gilded statues of King George. A new world of greater social mobility and political participation was rapidly coming into being. And while hostility to the rich continued to exist, the changes taking place in American society were far more democratic than radical. It wasn’t that the lower classes wanted to limit wealth. It was that they too now demanded the right to earn it.”

It was the belief among the conservative Founders that large-scale capitalism would be the engine that drove America to greatness. They were right.

Of those who met in private and in secrecy to draft a Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation, “thirty-nine were lawyers and judges. Two were college presidents, and three were or had been professors. Almost half had served in the Continental Army or the militia…American conservatives were well represented at the convention.”

The threats to the new republic were not so different then as they are today and the future of the United States of America was no more in question then as now.
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© 2013 Alan Caruba. Alan is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs" disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: conservative, founding fathers, Robert Morris, Gouveneur Morris, John Routledge, Edward Routledge, James Wilson, Philip Schuyler, John Dickerson, America, Fourth of July, Alan Caruba To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Happy 4th of July! - Independence Day 2013!

The ARRA News Service joins you in celebrating our nation's 237th Independence Day Celebration. God Bless America, our modern say Patriots and our armed service men and women.

Below are two of the editor's former favorite Independence Day Editorial Cartoons and a few brief words. Enjoy!

"Hey Grandpa, What Are We Celebrating" by AF Branco (2012)
"We Hold These Truths" by William Warren (2011)
The Fourth of July is a day that is usually a time when families get together for sunshine hot dogs, fun, and fireworks. Every American regardless of race, gender, income, and political party celebrates the day that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, spurring the start of the American Revolution. Like many other national holidays, the meaning can often be lost in the festivities. And so it is up to each of us to, in the words of Jefferson, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

The American system of government, with the Founding Father's emphasis on "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," has inspired almost every country in the world to rise up and take control of their own destiny. Constitutional Republics have spread throughout Europe, and just this year fellow freedom fighters as far away as Iran and as near to us as Honduras are standing up for their own independence much like our Founding Fathers did more than two centuries ago.

This is America's lasting legacy. Before 1776, only two Constitutional Republics even attempted to bring any form of freedom and liberty to mankind: The Greek and Roman Empires. But the people of these great nations became apathetic, not realizing, as John F. Kennedy wisely warned, "Complacency is the jailer of freedom."

So, while the Fourth of July has become a day of festivities (celebrating if nothing else, a day by the pool or at the beach), what Americans really are observing is the fact that a relative handful of courageous citizens lit a flame of liberty and installed a form of government that has governed over unprecedented prosperity and individual liberty. And even today, "the glow from that fire can truly light the world." [ Americans for Limited Government (2009) - Link for Get Liberty blog no longer available.]

Tags: 2013, 4th of July, July 4, ARRA News Service, Independence Day, editorial cartoons, Tony Branco, Hey Grandpa, What Are We Celebrating, William Warren, America's Birthday, We Hold These Truths To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

If You Like The Surveillance State, You’ll Love E-Verify

by Ron Paul: From massive NSA spying, to IRS targeting of the administration's political opponents, to collection and sharing of our health care information as part of Obamacare, it seems every day we learn of another assault on our privacy. Sadly, this week the Senate took another significant, if little-noticed, step toward creating an authoritarian surveillance state. Buried in the immigration bill is a national identification system called mandatory E-Verify.

The Senate did not spend much time discussing E-Verify, and what little discussion took place was mostly bipartisan praise for its effectiveness as a tool for preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining employment. It is a tragedy that mandatory E-Verify is not receiving more attention, as it will impact nearly every American’s privacy and liberty.

The mandatory E-Verify system requires Americans to carry a “tamper-proof” social security card. Before they can legally begin a job, American citizens will have to show the card to their prospective employer, who will then have to verify their identity and eligibility to hold a job in the US by running the information through the newly-created federal E-Verify database. The database will contain photographs taken from passport files and state driver's licenses. The law gives federal bureaucrats broad discretion in adding other “biometric” identifiers to the database. It also gives the bureaucracy broad authority to determine what features the “tamper proof” card should contain.

Regardless of one’s views on immigration, the idea that we should have to ask permission from the federal government before taking a job ought to be offensive to all Americans. Under this system, many Americans will be denied the opportunity for work. The E-Verify database will falsely identify thousands as "ineligible," forcing many to lose job opportunities while challenging government computer inaccuracies. E-Verify will also impose additional compliance costs on American businesses, at a time when they are struggling with Obamacare implementation and other regulations.

According to David Bier of Competitive Enterprise Institute, there is nothing stopping the use of E-Verify for purposes unrelated to work verification, and these expanded uses could be authorized by agency rule-making or executive order. So it is not inconceivable that, should this bill pass, the day may come when you are not be able to board an airplane or exercise your second amendment rights without being run through the E-Verify database. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the personal health care information that will soon be collected by the IRS and shared with other federal agencies as part of Obamacare will also be linked to the E-Verify system.

Those who dismiss these concerns as paranoid should consider that the same charges were leveled at those who warned that the PATRIOT Act could lead to the government collecting our phone records and spying on our Internet usage. Just as the PATRIOT Act was only supposed to be used against terrorists but is now used to bypass constitutional protections in matters having noting to do with terrorism or national security, the national ID/mandatory E-Verify database will not only be used to prevent illegal immigrants from gaining employment. Instead, it will eventually be used as another tool to monitor and control the American people.

The recent revelations of the extent of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans, plus recent stories of IRS targeting Tea Party and similar groups for special scrutiny, demonstrates the dangers of trusting government with this type of power. Creation of a federal database with photos and possibly other “biometric” information about American citizens is a great leap forward for the surveillance state. All Americans who still care about limited government and individual liberty should strongly oppose E-Verify.
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Dr. Ron Paul is a former U.S.Congressman who represented Texas for 21 years. He twice sought the Republican Party presidential nomination and ran once for President under the Libertarian Party. He is medical doctor who served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force and has delivered over 4000 babies. Paul is an active writer on political and economic theory. He is known for his criticism of American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, and the Federal Reserve. He is also known for his love of country, government complying with the U.S. Constitution, and the protection of citizen's rights under that Constitution.

Tags: Ron Paul, NSA spying, IRS targeting, Surveillance State, E-Verify, PATRIOT Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Economy Stagnant Because Obama Is Hostile To Business

by Herman Cain, CainTV: Cause And Effect.

It turns out, since the government tends to go back and revise these things, that economic growth in the first quarter of this year [2013] was even worse than the paltry 2.4 percent they originally announced. It was only 1.8 percent.

How bad is that? We would need to consistently exceed 3 percent to make any progress at all on bringing down unemployment from its current level of 7.6 percent. (This time in 2008, when the media was howling for George W. Bush’s scalp because of the economy, unemployment was 5.7 percent.) We would need to consistently exceed 4 percent in order to see economic growth play any role whatsoever in bringing down our budget deficits.

And we’re stuck at 1.8 percent. But it’s just one quarter, right? Let’s look at the trend. What have we done since the beginning of last year? Here you go:
  • 1Q 2012: 2.0 percent
  • 2Q 2012: 1.3 percent
  • 3Q 2012: 3.1 percent
  • 4Q 2012: 0.4 percent
  • 1Q 2013: 1.8 percent
Folks, this is horrendous. One of my most pressing concerns for our country right now is not merely that the economy is so weak, but that much of the American public does not even realize how weak it is because the news media – through a combination of ideological bias and sheer economic ignorance – isn’t telling them.

It’s not hard to see why this is happening. First, Obama came into office with the economy already hampered by an anti-growth tax code, including the highest corporate tax in the world (35 percent), a counter-productive tax on repatriated profits, job-choking regulations and mounting debt. All of this usurps capital that could be used by the private sector to invest in activity that leads to growth.

On top of that, Obama’s rise to the presidency brought uncertainty that prompted business owners to hold back on decisions like hiring, facility expansion and the launch of new product lines. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this: Business hates uncertainty. If they don’t feel confident about what is coming tomorrow, they will retreat, play it safe and wait.

And nothing has made business owners less confident about the future than ObamaCare, which punishes hiring by imposing massive new costs for mandatory health benefits. When you pull back on hiring to avoid these costs, Obama and his media allies attack you as an unpatriotic jerk, but at least it’s better than knowingly purchasing a one-way ticket to bankruptcy.

But even that wasn’t enough for Obama, who last week announced that he plans to issue executive orders that will essentially end traditional coal-fired energy in this country. Now businesses will have to pay more for energy and have a harder time getting it – on top of everything else Obama has done to war against their success and prosperity.

The economy is not growing because we have a president who is hostile to business, and doesn’t know the first thing about how it works, what makes it succeed or what it needs to remain successful over the long term. He tries to combat unemployment in a typical Washington way – by offering tax credits for hiring, as if a business will hire a person they don’t otherwise need to get a tax break that covers a tiny percentage of that person’s cost to them.

When America’s economy is strong, it’s because a strong business sector is driving growth. When it’s weak, it’s because the business sector is being kept from doing that. In this case, it’s being kept from driving growth by an openly hostile president of the United States.

The fruits of his efforts are now quantified for all to see. The economy is not growing, and it will not grow as long as Obama’s policies are in place.
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Herman Cain an American author, business executive, radio host, syndicated columnist, and Tea Party activist from Georgia. He was a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination.

Tags: The Economy, 2013, economy, not growing, President Obama, hostile to business To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Declaration of Dependence

by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Nancy Pelosi, 4th of July, Obamacare, Declaration of Dependence, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obamacare: Admin Delays Employer Mandate | Costs Too Much | Train Wreck Happening

by William Warren
Bloomberg News first reported last night, “The Obama administration will delay a crucial provision of its signature health-care law, giving businesses an extra year to comply with a requirement that they provide their workers with insurance. The government will postpone enforcement of the so-called employer mandate until 2015, after the congressional elections, the administration said yesterday. Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer affordable insurance. It’s the latest setback for a health-care law that has met resistance from Republicans, who have sought to make the plan a symbol of government overreach.”

CBS News writes, “After months of complaints and backlash, the administration is delaying what's called the ‘employer mandate’ under the Affordable Care Act. The mandate requires companies with more than 50 full-time employees to offer health insurance or pay a $2,000 penalty - but that rule is being suspended for a year until January of 2015. Most U.S. businesses with more than 50 employees already offer insurance, but the smaller, often startup, companies that do not complained loudly about the 21-page application required.”

The AP adds, “Tuesday's action — announced while Obama was traveling back to Washington from his trip to Africa — is sure to anger liberals and labor groups. But it could provide cover for Democratic candidates in next year's congressional elections.”

According to The Washington Post, “The newly delayed mandate has been a major point of contention for small business owners and lobbyists since it was approved as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Many warned that it would cause administrative nightmares for small employers and discourage those near the cutline from expanding beyond 50 workers. Meanwhile, some firms have started scaling back their payrolls to get underneath the cap. . . . This latest delay is the most consequential in a series of setbacks for the president’s signature law, which has shown signs of fragility as the initial deadline for full implementation approaches at the end of the year.”

Of course, Bloomberg points out that while the administration is apparently hearing the complaints of businesses, “[t]he individual mandate, a linchpin of the law that requires most Americans to carry health insurance, remains in effect.”

Reacting to the news, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Obamacare costs too much and it isn’t working the way the administration promised. And while the White House seems to slowly be admitting what Americans already know, and what I hear consistently in my travels around Kentucky regarding the regulatory burden on employers, the fact remains that Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced with common-sense reforms that actually lower costs for Americans."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) responded to the Obama administration announced the delay implementation of ObamaCare: "The president's health care law is already raising costs and costing jobs. This announcement means even the Obama administration knows the 'train wreck' will only get worse. I hope the administration recognizes the need to release American families from the mandates of this law as well. This is a clear acknowledgment that the law is unworkable, and it underscores the need to repeal the law and replace it with effective, patient-centered reforms."

At The Weekly Standard, Daniel Halper catches a brutal bit of analysis from CBS political director John Dickerson. He said, “As a political matter, this is not good. . . . It sort of contributes to the feeling that the Affordable Care Act is a jalopy they're trying to roll out of the driveway at barely operational for the president. So that's not good. The White House made the decision, though, take the pain now before the July 4th weekend rather than have all of these stories over the next year of companies that were laying off workers or having such a hard time implementing this.” Of course there have already been months of stories upon stories of companies cutting hours or laying off employees because of the mandates in Obamacare.

Writing in ABC News’ The Note this morning, Rick Klein observes, “Who would have guessed that the most damaging blow to the Obama health care law would come from inside the Obama administration? The pre-holiday announcement undercuts cavalier assurances that the law is ready to be implemented; one announcement that three years haven’t been enough to get a piece of it done within another six months takes care of that. Yes, this is listening to business concerns, and yes, it conveniently means any electoral fallout from an implemented law will be delayed for another president to deal with. But this is a blow in every conceivable way to the Obama administration – an admission that its signature legislative accomplishment isn’t ready for prime time, just as the law’s critics have been arguing, and arguing.”

And in this light, it’s instructive to look at some recent statements about this unpopular law by its supporters. Just a few weeks ago, referring to Obamacare, President Obama declared, “I think it's important for us to recognize and acknowledge this is working the way it's supposed to.” Politico reported last week that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “told lawmakers not to worry when they read media accounts about people losing their health coverage” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who strong-armed the bill through Congress as speaker, insisted, “The implementation of this is fabulous.”

But yesterday’s decision makes clear that none of this is the case. As ABC’s Jeff Zeleny put it, “The administration’s decision to delay until 2015 the mandate for big employers validates an argument critics have been making for years: Obamacare was misguided and is collapsing under its own weight.”

Tags: Obamacare, delayed mandate, costs, train wreck To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

ICYMI: Medicaid Expansion & Economic Shortages

Policymakers, taxpayers and citizens in other states considering Medicaid expansion should be aware of this issue which has occurred in Arkansas.
Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation: Economists and medical professionals have understood for some time that shortages exist within Arkansas’ health care system. But the bipartisan group of state lawmakers -- in the 2013 legislative session -- that expanded Arkansas’ Medicaid rolls by an estimated quarter-million recipients (250,000) ignored this issue in three public acts 1 that expanded the program. The unintended economic consequence 2 is that existing Arkansas medical shortages will worsen.

Policymakers in other states considering Medicaid expansion should be aware of this issue.

Arkansas Medical Shortages: A Long-Term Problem
A 2009 Foundation public forum on increasing access to medical insurance in Arkansas featured state officials who acknowledged shortages, especially in rural areas. Medical professional distributed literature identifying Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA)3 in Arkansas. Forum participants also discussed “alternative systems of delivering medical care”4 as a response to the long-term problem of shortages.

The issue of shortages has gained greater visibility in recent years:
  • A 2011 study by the Univ. of Arkansas Medical Services Center for Rural Health found a shortage of more than 500 primary-care physicians, with the number expected to grow.
  • A 2013 study by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement also notes the state has a shortage of primary-care physicians.
Arkansas Policymakers Silent on Shortages
Under the expansion, uninsured Arkansans will obtain insurance through the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and federal Medicaid funds, which will allow them to purchase insurance from non-profit and private insurers. The three acts that expand Arkansas’ Medicaid rolls total nearly 50 pages, including amendments. But they do not include an explicit statement of intent that the purpose is to reduce medical shortages. Rather, the “purpose” of the Arkansas legislation was defined as follows:

(1) Improve access to quality health care;
(2) Attract insurance carriers and enhance competition in the Arkansas insurance marketplace;
(3) Promote individually-owned health insurance;
(4) Strengthen personal responsibility through cost-sharing;
(5) Improve continuity of coverage;
(6) Reduce the size of the state-administered Medicaid program;
(7) Encourage appropriate care, including early intervention, prevention, and wellness;
(8) Increase quality and delivery system efficiencies;
(9) Facilitate Arkansas's continued payment innovation, delivery system reform, and market-driven improvements;
(10) Discourage over-utilization; and
(11) Reduce waste, fraud, and abuse.

Conclusion: Addressing the Problem of Shortages
An economic shortage exists when the supply of a good or service is less than demand at the existing price. The demand curve for Arkansas medical services will shift to the right as a result of Medicaid expansion. Expanding the number of primary-care physicians and other medical professionals, would cause the supply curve to shift, ceteris parabus as would measures that increase productivity. The 2009 Foundation forum examined several proposals to shift the supply curve, i.e., expand supply. One proposal would expand the use of advanced nurse practitioners and midwives in Arkansas.

The proposal was tabled for further study in the recently-concluded -- 2013 -- Arkansas legislative session.

1 PA 1496, 1497 and 1498 of 2013. Arkansas Republicans controlled the state General Assembly for the first time since Reconstruction in the late 19th century, and sponsored the latter two measures.
2 Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), a French economist and federal legislator is among those noting the relationship between the short-term “seen” and long-term “unseen” in economics.
3 HPSAs are designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as having shortages of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers and may be geographic (a county or service area), demographic (low income population) or institutional (comprehensive health center, federally qualified health center or other public facility). Recent data (January 2013) shows shortages have increased in Arkansas since the 2009 Foundation forum. HHS, Health Resources and Services Administration
4 A 2008 Foundation study noted two alternative systems are advanced nurse practitioners and midwives.

Tags:  Medicaid expansion, economic shortages, economic facts, economics,  Arkansas, 2013 Legislative session, Arkansas Policy Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Illinois Pension Ills Is A Warning for All States

The following article on "Illinois Pension Ills" is a warning for all states. Illinois is the progressive home state of President Barack Obama and the liberal democrat progressives who have made promises without regard for taxpayers and then failed to fund the pension plans or  "misused" the funds collected for other activities.

Paul Jacob, Common Sense: When it comes to the full faith and credit of the Great State of Illinois, three major credit rating companies judge it the lowest in the union. The problem is that state politicians made pension promises they didn’t pay for and still aren’t.

How bad is it? Illinois’s total unfunded pension liability now tops $200 billion dollars – that’s roughly 250 percent of the state’s annual revenue. And growing.

But take, heart!

Gov. Pat Quinn just said that the massive pension shortfall will grow at a slower pace than previously thought, $5 million (instead of $17 million) a day.

Whoopee!

Folks at the Illinois Policy Institute are a little mystified by this pronouncement, though. The projection seems based more on wishes and hope than the straight dope. Besides, “this isn’t the first time the state has predicted that the growth in the state’s unfunded liability would slow,” Institute Senior Fellow Jonathan Ingram writes, noting that “the exact same prediction was made last year based on the actuarial projections made in fiscal year 2011. The systems predicted that the unfunded liability would grow by ‘only’ $5.3 billion in fiscal year 2012.”

The conventional wisdom blames too many years of the legislature shorting the annual payments to the five public-employee retirement funds.

Another way to look at it is simply that politicians are a whole lot better at promising than delivering, and defined benefit (rather than defined contribution) pensions are too tempting to trust to any politician.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Tags: state, pension plans, Illinois, Paul Jacob, Common Sense To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The State Of Our Union

Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:  As the country prepares to celebrate Independence Day, I'd like to take a look at the state of our union as measured through a series of recent polls.

A Rasmussen poll released yesterday found that the public's approval of the Supreme Court has "fallen to the lowest level ever recorded." Only 28% of voters feel the court is doing a good job, while 30% say it is doing a poor job.

That also marked the first time in Rasmussen's polling that more voters gave the court a negative rating. The poll was conducted two days after the court issued its ill-considered opinions on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. It seems many voters do not care for the court's left-wing judicial activism.

Americans also do not like the court's perceived hostility toward religion. Last month a Rasmussen poll found that 41% felt that the Supreme Court was "too hostile" toward faith, while just 15% said the court was "too friendly."

Beltway elites routinely reflect the whims of the popular culture. Yet these polls strongly suggest that there is considerable support for conservative values. Unfortunately, all too often our side acts like we are the ones with just 15% support!

These polls also come on the heels of others by Fox News, Pew and CNN finding that large majorities feel that the federal government is out of control and a growing threat to our liberty.

If there is going to be real hope and change in America, the angst and frustration registered in these polls must find an outlet at the ballot box. The liberal justices who voted to redefine marriage will not have to face the voters next year. But many of the senators who voted to confirm them will! Remember that, my friends, when you cast your ballots.

The Best Defense…
A lot of conservatives are demoralized right now. We just lost a big battle and more fights are coming. It's time to pick ourselves up, regroup and attack!

Conservatives need to do a better job of putting the left on defense. As Ramesh Ponnuru points out, Wendy Davis may be the latest liberal hero, but Democrats are treading on thin ice politically when they champion late-term abortions. If this is a fight they want to have, the GOP should welcome it!

Take voter ID as another example. The left reacts vehemently against voter ID laws, labeling them modern reincarnations of Jim Crow bigotry. But minorities overwhelmingly support voter ID laws. In fact, a black Democrat sponsored Rhode Island's voter ID law.

The Supreme Court just struck down Arizona's law requiring individuals to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. The court declared that the state could not put additional requirements on the federal "motor-voter" law. Fine. But there is no reason why Congress can't amend it.

With states granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, House Republicans should pass an amendment to the "motor-voter" law requiring proof of citizenship when individuals register to vote. Let Senate Democrats filibuster it, and then runs ads that will connect with 70% of the public!
Ramesh Ponnuru points out, Wendy Davis may be the latest liberal hero, but Democrats are treading on thin ice politically when they champion late-term abortions. If this is a fight they want to have, the GOP should welcome it!

Take voter ID as another example. The left reacts vehemently against voter ID laws, labeling them modern reincarnations of Jim Crow bigotry. But minorities overwhelmingly support voter ID laws. In fact, a black Democrat sponsored Rhode Island's voter ID law.

The Supreme Court just struck down Arizona's law requiring individuals to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. The court declared that the state could not put additional requirements on the federal "motor-voter" law. Fine. But there is no reason why Congress can't amend it.

With states granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, House Republicans should pass an amendment to the "motor-voter" law requiring proof of citizenship when individuals register to vote. Let Senate Democrats filibuster it, and then runs ads that will connect with 70% of the public!
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Gary Bauer 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: State of the Union, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, big government, vot4er ID To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

It Can Happen Here

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: “How the Jews Defeated Hitler” is the title of a new book by Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg, Ph.D., subtitled “Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism.” The title is counter-intuitive because, as is well known, the Nazis murdered six million Jews in Europe during the course of a deliberate genocide that has since become known as the Holocaust.

The author is a professor of political science and is chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the book is more than just a history of that horrific period of history. It is not that long ago. I was a child at the time so, within the living memory of the survivors, their children and grandchildren, as well as others like myself around the world, it is living history.
The value of the book is the way it explains how many of the Jews of Europe, particularly those herded into ghettos, failed to grasp what was happening. “It was initially difficult for most Jews to believe that the Germans actually intended to kill them all.”

Another major factor was that the Nazis ensured that they were disarmed and unable to defend themselves, as were others who opposed the regime.

Where resistance fighters emerged, Ginsburg notes that “Germany relied, especially in Western Europe, on the help of local police forces to deal with partisans, and, especially in France and Holland, whose local police were quite helpful.” In occupied France, “The French police helpfully compiled a card index of all the Jews of Paris by name, street, occupation, and nationality.”

Therein lies the fears and concerns of Americans as they slowly come to realize that their government not only knows where they live, but a great deal of information about them courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, right on down to their local law enforcement authorities.

If or when Obamacare is fully implemented, anonymous bureaucrats will be able to “target” selected Americans who are seeking medical care for death simply by denying it. No need to set up concentration camps to kill them en mass. Just as the little girl who needed a lung transplant that was initially denied by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, individuals identified as “patriots” or other enemies of the state could simply be allowed to die.

So, yes, it can happen here.

The focus of the present day animus against Jews in general—extremely active throughout the Middle East and a major trend in Europe—is the nation of Israel. Zionism, the political movement that supports Israel, is a handy substitute for anti-Semitism.

Dr. Ginsberg, however, notes that “In actuality, Israel’s founding was very much the result of the West’s postwar unwillingness to accept Jewish refugees. Governments that felt that even one Jewish refugee was one too many had to find someplace to resettle several hundred thousand Jews.” The State of Israel, like the mythical phoenix, literally rose from the ashes of Europe’s murdered Jews.

“To the Americans and eventually even to the British, the State of Israel seemed the least undesirable alternative. Within two decades of Israel’s creation (in 1948) though, the reasons for its existence were forgotten or had become irrelevant, and new configurations of political forces gave rise to a renewed European anti-Semitic discourse taking the form of anti-Zionism…The European Left loudly proclaims its anti-Zionism by denouncing Israel as a racist and apartheid state and calling for boycotts of Israeli products, citizens, and ideas.” The United Nations is a hotbed of anti-Semitism.

During World War II, however, Jews played leading roles in the partisan efforts to disrupt German aggression, often held leadership positions in the allied military forces and served within them, were active throughout the FDR New Deal administrations, supported the U.S. bond drives to finance the war, and were instrumental in breaking the codes of the Nazis and Empire of Japan. Jews were also the core of physicists and engineers who developed the atomic bombs that speeded the end of the war in the Pacific.

The same authoritarian and leftist forces, whether it is the rise of Islamic ambitions to conquer the world or the efforts of the Left to impose a one-world government via the United Nations or just to undermine the former power and position of the United States as a defender of freedom, are at work today.

You need not be a Jew to fear the growing centralization of power in the federal government.

If you are a gun-owner, you know that the Obama administration and some in Congress seek to amend and erode the Second Amendment in an effort to take your arms away from you; a common goal of fascism.

If you are a member of the Tea Party or a patriot movement, you now know that the Internal Revenue Service sought to deny applications for tax-exempt status needed for fund-raising.

If you fear that your Fourth Amendment right to privacy is being eroded then you know that the Constitution is under attack.

If you are concerned about government by executive order, then yes, it can happen here.
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© 2013 Alan Caruba. Alan is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column,"Warning Signs" disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: Alan Caruba, It Can Happen Here, USA, Holocaust, Germany, Benjamin Ginsberg, book, Myth of Jewish Passivity, Face of Nazism, disbelief, disarmed, registered, government data mining, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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