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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, August 03, 2013

Benghazi Scandal Update: When will we hear from David Ubben?

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News - In addition to my introductory comments, the following article includes a Fox News Interview of David Ubben (via video) and two current articles addressing questions on the night of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th, 2012. This attack resulted in multiple deaths including the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Congress and the American people have been denied the truth of why the Obama Administration failed to respond quickly when notified of the attack and also its failure to provide prior adequate security and protection for the U.S. Ambassador. What we do know is that President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of Defense, the Generals, and others were negligent in providing timely response to save American lives. It is now almost a year later and neither Congress nor the American people know the truth of what their leaders were doing and why they did not appropriately react to this terrorist attack.

Obviously, the attack did not play well with President Obama's narrative that the War on Terrorism was to be declared over. In addition, immediately after the results of the attack became known, a massive cover-up by the Obama administration was initiated regarding the reason for the attack on the "U.S. facility."

Quickly the administration launched a false narrative to be presented on the Sunday Morning TV Shows by then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice who proceeded to state that the attack was the result of a anti-Islamic video. This false narrative was swiftly debunked and became itself its own detracting news story yet again masking the primary story.

Normally, an attack on an American diplomatic facility, the murder and defilement of a U.S. Ambassador Christopher Steven, and the killing of three other Americans would normally have occupied the headlines for weeks - potentially months. However, the story, the unanswered questions, and more were quickly replaced by other news in what appears to have been a blatant effort by the liberal media to aid the President and thus his administration in the re-election efforts in less than two months.

Miraculously, there was a survivor, David Ubben. And both Congress and America public want to know exactly what happened that night. They also want to know why it took 20 hours to finally place a rescue team on the ground in Benghazi. The military have contingency plans in place which if followed would have had eyes on the target very quickly, had air cover shortly thereafter, and had combat rescue teams, be they U.S., Allied, or contractor, on the ground in a much shorter time period than occurred.

Fox News did managed to access and interview the Benghazi hero David Ubben who fought alongside the Navy SEALS who were killed at Benghazi. Video follows:
Kyle Becker at Independent Journal on Thursday claimed that While Obama and Hillary Slept, Injured Benghazi Hero David Ubben Left on Rooftop for 20 HoursThe Benghazi terrorist attack resulted not only in the death of four American servicemen, but the injury of diplomatic security specialist David Ubben.

The previously unnamed hero attempted to rescue slain diplomat Sean Smith, and had his leg shredded by mortar fire assisting the CIA annex detachment of Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. David Ubben then lay on a rooftop for 20 hours, waiting in vain for the State Department or the Commander-in-Chief to send an emergency in extremist force. From the Inquistr:Diplomatic Security agent David Ubben was in Benghazi during the attack. David Ubben sustained injuries at Benghazi so severe he’s still being treated at Walter Reed medical center to this day. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has attempted to interview David Ubben as part of their Benghazi scandal investigation, but the State Department has not allowed the meeting according to Representative Jason Chaffetz: “While initially they said they would be helpful, pretty quickly they turned that off. And I had a meeting scheduled to go visit this… young man and then I was denied.”If the deadly terrorist overrun of a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya on the anniversary of September 11th last year fit the mainstream media narrative of President Obama and pre-ordained President Hillary Clinton taking the famous “3 a.m. phone call,” there would have already been three made-for-TV movies, an Oscar Award-winning documentary, and a Broadway musical on tour proclaiming their triumph.

Instead we hear… silence. Not only silence from the White House, but silence from the mainstream media, whose “journalists” are more interested in polishing off their progressive bona fides than informing the American people about a significant matter of national security that is still being covered up.

Lest it be forgotten, the Abu Ghraib story visited the front pages of the New York Times for weeks. (And did you know there was recently a massive jail break of al Qaeda terrorists at Abu Ghraib?)

The prime duty of the President of the United States is to act as Commander-in-Chief, not act as campaigner-in-chief. Instead of providing guidance and oversight in the rescue operation of American servicemen in a recent warzone, by all reports Obama decided to rest up before jetting off to a Vegas fundraiser. Hillary Clinton’s State Department had refused security at Benghazi, but at this point, what difference does it make?

After being correctly informed that President Obama did not ensure troops were expeditiously dispatched to Benghazi, an overwhelming 62% thinks the president should have. As if to demonstrate the utter futility of arguing with a certain segment of this country (that shall remain nameless), 24% think the servicemen in Benghazi should have been left there to die.
Yesterday, an Investor's Business Daily editorial asked Will David Ubben Blow Roof Off 'Phony' Benghazi Scandal?The former commander of special operations in North Africa says he, like our president, was incommunicado during the Benghazi attack. We may soon hear from the hero who survived 20 hours waiting for help.

During the second wave of attacks on Benghazi, diplomatic security agent David Ubben was on the roof of the CIA annex with two former Navy SEALS. Eventually, several rounds of mortar attacks found their mark, killing Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty while shredding Ubben's right leg.

Ubben was stuck on that rooftop for 20 hours before help finally arrived. He can tell us and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "what difference does it make"that help was not sent — at least two American lives. Ubben sustained injuries at Benghazi so severe he's still being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Rep. Darrel Issa's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has tried to interview Ubben as part of its Benghazi scandal investigation, but the State Department has not allowed the meeting, according to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
"While initially they said they would be helpful, pretty quickly they turned that off," Chaffetz reported. "And I had a meeting scheduled to go visit this ... young man and then I was denied." State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denies Chaffetz's claim, saying State has been fully cooperative.

Another Republican congressman, Frank Wolf of Virginia, who has gathered a majority of Republicans in the House in support of a select committee to investigate Benghazi, recently sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry complaining that the State Department has refused for months to provide Congress with the names and contact information of the survivors.

Ubben entered the smoke- and flame-filled Benghazi consulate several times in an attempt to rescue his fellow Americans. First, he recovered the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. He also went searching for Ambassador Chris Stevens but couldn't find him.

With more hearings scheduled on Benghazi this fall, some lawmakers hope Ubben will feel he's well enough to publicly testify, because he's one of the few survivors to witness both waves of the attack.

It was hoped that Col. George H. Bristol, former commander of Marine Corps special forces in Africa, could help explain to Ubben and to us why he had to wait on a roof in Benghazi for 20 hours for help to finally arrive.

Bristol was in charge of special operations forces in Northern Africa on the night of the Benghazi terrorist attack. He gave closed-door congressional testimony on Wednesday in which he said he was traveling in Africa at the time of the Benghazi attack and unreliable communications kept him from participating in the attack response, or lack of one.

These lines of inquiry are reserved for the dreaded warmongering "neoconservatives" of Team Bush.

Obama isn't the only Democrat who is being awarded with feigned ignorance by the Times. The "newspaper of record" looked ridiculous when disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner was forced to admit he kept right on "sexting" strange women who were not Mrs. Weiner after he resigned and promised to end his creepy online sexual misbehavior with strange women.

In April, they published a gooey cover story in the New York Times Magazine titled "Huma and Anthony: The private life of a former power couple."

All three networks picked up that soon-to-unravel Happy News. The author of that cover story, Jonathan Van Meter, sympathetically recalled on NBC that Weiner was "still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and — and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."

But in retrospect, Van Meter claimed when challenged on whether he asked Weiner about a relapse: "Never even occurred to me to ask!"

Was Van Meter that clueless? Even Politico media reporter Dylan Byers, nobody's idea of a right-winger, wrote at the time that Van Meter "seems not only sympathetic to Weiner, but uncritical and unquestioning."

But it's also very likely that the Times editors ordered and expected a Weiner-on-the-rebound piece, and it made no sense to resist that template. The face-omelet of embarrassment should be theirs, as well.

Both of these story lines reveal that just as the Times tried to move mountains to ruin President Bush, they are also rabidly partisan in seeing themselves as life preservers for Democrats. Why anyone would see this as a "prestige" newspaper while its news coverage careens wildly from abuse to neglect is a mystery.

Tags: Benghazi, scandal questions, survivor, David Ubben, commentary, video, articles, editorial cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Summary Review: The DOL BLS Report On July, 2013 Unemployment Rate

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest jobs numbers, reporting 162,000 jobs added and an unemployment rate of 7.4%, down from June’s rate of 7.6%.

The decrease in unemployment is partly attributed to more people dropping out of the workforce. Revisions to the previous two months meant that 26,000 fewer jobs were added in May and June than previously reported.

It’s time for Washington to be honest: the economy is struggling and continues to spiral downward. A dropping unemployment rate simply does not tell the whole story of an economy where the labor participation rate has barely grown since 2008, wages are falling and the average work week is shrinking. These negative consequences can be linked directly to the big government policies from this administration including higher taxes and Obamacare. After 56 months of unemployment above 7.0% it is obvious that years of failed, big government policies have produced a nation where economic uncertainty is the new normal. It shouldn't have to be that way. We can’t afford to allow Washington to put off fiscal responsibility any longer or use the failure of the policies Americans have endured for the last five years to justify more wasteful spending. The millions of Americans still out of work need it now. It’s time for action.

Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens responded today to the BLS job numbers:"The job report serves as a continuing indictment of the Obama economy showing that a lower percentage of Americans are participating in the workforce than at any time since 1981.

"At a time when Obama has attacked the value of construction jobs generated by energy projects like the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, our nation lost 6,000 construction jobs in July, a loss that would have been completely offset if the pipeline was being built based upon State Department estimates.

"Our nation's economy continues to stumble along, held aloft by a private sector that refuses to fail in spite of the inordinate burdens placed upon it by the federal government through its environmental, employment and health care policies.

"It is time for Congress to act by defunding the job killing Obamacare law, grabbing the EPA by the purse strings to prevent it from implementing its global warming, job killing agenda and keeping the radical Labor Department and NLRB from targeting job producers to suit the needs of their masters at Big Labor.

"The almost 20 million Americans who are either unemployed and want a job or in a part time job for economic reasons deserve to have a chance at achieving the American dream. It is a crime that the Obama Administration religiously continues down a path that is guaranteed to deny them this basic hope."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement on today's Department of Labor’s unemployment report:“Three years after the Obama administration proclaimed ‘welcome to the recovery,’ we’re still seeing the same thing month after month: not enough new jobs and an unemployment rate far higher than promised. Nearly five years of aggressive intervention by Washington - the ‘stimulus’ era of excessive spending, excessive red tape, and abuse by agencies like the IRS – has left our economy treading water with slow growth, high unemployment, and stagnant wages. The Republican jobs plan will shake us out of this ‘new normal’ with pro-growth policies designed to expand energy production, simplify our tax code for everyone, and restore our nation of builders to give the American people the robust growth and opportunity they deserve.”Evan Feinberg, President of Generation Opportunity which tracks the impact of government on 18-29 year olds, noted:“Looks like another bad month for young people. Last week we learned from Gallup that only 43.6% of 18-29 year olds are employed full-time and now we have another Millennial Jobs Report showing roughly 1 in 6 18-29 year olds are out of work entirely.
"This jobs report shows that Obamacare and other 'solutions' coming from Washington are scaring off employers from hiring, and as a result my generation is getting stuck in a cycle of part-time, temporary jobs – not the meaningful careers for which they studied. It's tragic to see a generation as talented and innovative as mine go to waste.

"Young people deserve better than to pick up the tab for the irresponsible policies coming out of Washington, and we deserve better than part-time work flipping burgers. Politicians need to acknowledge that their efforts to "help" are relegating us to second-class citizens."
The effective (U6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 16.1 percent (NSA). The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.8 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. Of special note is that the (U3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 20.9 percent.

Over the past five years, we've seen a concerted attempt by Washington to spend and borrow the economy back into recovery. But putting millions of Americans back to work will not happen by increasing government spending. It hasn't worked yet, and it won’t work in the foreseeable future.

Washington promised that increased federal spending would stimulate the economy, grow jobs and get America back on track. It has failed to deliver on that promise and failed to succeed by the administration’s own standards.
  • A positive long-term trend in the unemployment rate can be attributed almost entirely to a reduction in the labor force participation rate, not more people finding jobs.
  • The hardest hit are young people, who are not achieving traditional milestones, and the middle class, which has seen little, if any, boost financially. Treading water is unacceptable.
  • And burdensome regulations, such as Obamacare, are hurting small businesses, contributing to the creation of a part-time economy with a reduction in average hourly wages and hours in the workweek.
For far too long, Washington has, through spending, regulations, taxes and healthcare, made it difficult for businesses to thrive. Delays of certain portions of Obamacare may have seemed like relief, but delays simply leave individuals and businesses unable to plan. Employers have already been forced to cut hours or freeze hiring as a result of new regulations and the burden of Obamacare.

It’s time for Washington to take responsibility for its overspending, get out of the way and allow small businesses and the American worker drive a recovery. Our economy deserves better. We deserve better.

With unemployment edging down in July, it is important to take a closer look at the numbers to reveal just how damaging the last four years have been.
  • The 162,000 jobs added in July are far below what an economy in full recovery should be producing.
  • Today, over 22 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or are no longer looking for work.
  • Another, broader unemployment figure reported by the Department of Labor includes the traditional unemployed, those who have given up looking for work, and those who are working a part-time job but want full-time work. This figure fell to 14 percent in July.
  • In January 2009, the average amount of time spent unemployed was 19.8 weeks. Today, the amount of time has nearly doubled, rising to 36.6 weeks.
July unemployment report: a closer look
  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 162,000.
  • Unemployment rate: 7.4 percent.
  • Total unemployed: 11.5 million.
  • Total underemployed (unemployed, underemployed, or stopped looking): 14 percent.
  • Total underemployed: 22.2 million.
  • Total stopped looking (discouraged workers): 988,000.
  • Decrease in the civilian labor force: 37,000.
  • Long-term unemployed: 4.2 million.
  • The adult male unemployment rate of 7 percent did not change.
  • The adult women unemployment rate decreased to 6.5 percent in July.
  • The unemployment rate for Hispanics increased to 9.4 percent in July.
  • Teens continued to experience the highest unemployment at 23.7 percent.
  • The unemployment rate for individuals with a high school diploma and no college stayed the same at 7.6 percent in July.
  • The unemployment rate for individuals with a bachelor's degree remained essentially the same at 3.8 percent.
  • The number of unemployed individuals decreased in July to 11.5 million.
  • Of the 11.8 million Americans unemployed, 4.2 million have been looking for work for over six months, a decrease of 82,000 from June.

Tags: Department of Labor, DOL, Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2013, unemployment rate, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Politicians Alone Cannot Defund Obamacare

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
by Katie Nielsen, The Heritage Foundation: Speaking at The Heritage Foundation Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) explained his push to defund Obamacare.

The time is ripe, Cruz announced at Heritage’s Bloggers Briefing, for Obamacare to be shut down once and for all. There’s bipartisan agreement that its wheels are coming off, he said. One Democrat even went so far as to say Obamacare is fast becoming a “train wreck.”

To ensure the public doesn’t become addicted to Obamacare’s subsidies, Cruz said, lawmakers have to act fast before they begin in fiscal 2014.

But Cruz warned that defunding Obamacare is not just up to the politicians. “No politician can win this,” he said. “Americans can.” If a grassroots surge against Obamacare is effective, he explained, then their representatives in Washington will have to listen.

Cruz sat down after his talk for an exclusive interview with Heritage’s Jackie Anderson. Watch a video of that interview below:

Tags: Senator, Ted Cruz, R-TX, Defund Obamacare, Heritage Foundation, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

House Passes Reasonable Constraints on Government | Obamacare Rate Shock: Premiums Going Up In Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Maryland

Today in Washington, D.C. - August 2, 2013
The Senate reconvened at 11:45 AM today for a pro forma session and will officially adjourn for August if the House approves an adjournment resolution today. Senators are spending the month working in their states.  The Senate will return for legislative business on Monday, September 9th.

Yesterday, Senate Republicans voted to block Democrats from advancing a spending bill, S. 1243, the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, which exceeded agreed-on spending limits in the 2011 agreement.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted 87-10 to confirm Samantha Power to be Ambassador to the United Nations and 97-0 to confirm Raymond Chen to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit.

The House convened today at 9:00 AM and took up and passed 232 - 183 H.R. 367 - "To amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law." Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise’s anti-carbon tax amendment was included and passed by a vote of 237 to 176. Passage of the amendment marks the first time the House has gone on record opposing a carbon tax. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), a strong supporter of the Scalise amendment, noted that the amendment prevents the President and the EPA from bypassing Congress and imposing a devastating national energy tax that would affect every American. While the House is laying out reasonable constraints on run-away rules and regulations by government agencies, we can only hope the Senate will consider and pass this bill

The House also considered and quickly passed (232 - 185) H.R. 2009 — "To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010." Four Democrats joined the Republicans in passing the bill. It is expected that Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid will refuse to take up the bill.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) commended House passage of the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act (H.R. 2009), another part of the Republican Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs: “The IRS has shown it cannot be trusted to implement the president’s train wreck of a health care law, and Dr. Tom Price’s legislation stops the agency from doing so. This is only right in light of the IRS’s abusive conduct, and I hope President Obama will support it just as he has the seven bills he signed that repeal or defund parts of his health care law. In the meantime, we will continue with a series of targeted votes in the House aimed at ending this law – because patients and doctors should be in charge of health care decisions, not Washington and certainly not the IRS.”

Yesterday the Senate Passed the following bills:
H.R. 1897 (405-3) — "To promote freedom and democracy in Vietnam."
H.R. 2879 (239-176) - Stop Government Abuse Act - "To provide limitations on bonuses for Federal employees during sequestration, to provide for investigative leave requirements for members of the Senior Executive Service, to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1582 (232-181) - Energy Consumers Relief Act - "To protect consumers by prohibiting the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating as final certain energy-related rules that are estimated to cost more than $1 billion and will cause significant adverse effects to the economy."
Amendments Approved before passage of H.R. 1582:
Woodall (R-GA) (Voice Vote) Amendment No. 4 – Requires EPA to make publicly available all data and documents relied upon by the Agency to develop estimates under the bill.
Murphy (R-PA) (234-178) Amendment No. 6 – Prohibits the EPA from using the "social cost of carbon" valuation for any energy-related rule covered by this bill.

Yesterday the House began consideration of H.R. 367 - Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2013 with the following amendments approved:
Davis (R-IL), Peterson (D-MN) (Voice Vote) Amendment No.2 - Adds a to the definition of what constitutes a “major rule” to include any interim final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would have a significant impact on a substantial amount of agricultural entities (as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture).
Sessions (R-TX), Davis (R-IL), Barr, (R-KY), Wenstrup (R-OH), Coffman (R-CO) (Voice Vote) Amendment No.5 -Requires the agency submitting the report on a proposed Federal rule to include an assessment, as part of the cost-benefit analysis submitted to the Comptroller General and each House of Congress, of anticipated jobs gained or lost as a result of implementation, and to specify whether those jobs will come from the public or private sector.
McKinley (R-WV) (voice Vote) Amendment No.9 - Reduces the annual effect on the economy of the term ‘major rule’ from $100 million or more to $50 million or more.
Webster (R-FL) (Voice Vote) Amendment No.11 - Prevents federal agencies from implementing significant policy changes without appropriate congressional review. Brings administrative rules having an economic impact of $100 million or more as scored by the Office of Management and Budget before Congress for a vote.

Today, the The Washington Times addressed the House Oversight Committee subpoenas of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew for IRS documents. "House Republicans on Friday accused Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew of obstructing their investigation into the IRS’s targeting of tea party and conservative groups, and issued subpoenas for more agency documents. Oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, sent a scathing latter to Mr. Lew blasting him and President Obama for dismissing the GOP’s claims about IRS targeting as a “phony” scandal, saying that Mr. Lew has “attempted to thwart” his investigation. . . . 'Over two months since the committee first requested documents, the IRS has produced only a small fraction of responsive documents,' Mr. Issa said. The IRS is an agency within the Treasury Department."

When President Obama was first selling his now unpopular health care law, he promised a number of times that because of the law, “Families will save on their premiums,” as he said in December 2009. Later, Obama claimed, “All this is going to lower premiums. It's going to make healthcare more affordable.” And in 2011 he declared, “This law will lower premiums.”

Of course, very much the opposite is happening across the country as the administration races to implement the law. In an editorial today, the Savannah Morning News writes, “Georgians who will be forced to buy health insurance under Obamacare later this year should be prepared to dig deeply into their wallets — then hold on for dear life. That’s because of heart attack-inducing sticker shock. The premiums for the five health insurers that will be offering policies in Georgia’s federally run insurance exchange are ‘massive,’ according to Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. ‘Insurance companies in Georgia have filed rate plans increasing health insurance rates up to 198 percent for some individuals,’ Mr. Hudgens wrote in a July 29 letter to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the president’s point person on Obamacare. The commissioner correctly said that Georgians cannot afford these steep hikes. For their protection, he asked for an emergency, 30-day delay on the July 31 deadline for his department’s approval of the increases. Predictably, Ms. Sebelius gave the commissioner — an open foe of Obamacare — the cold shoulder. That left Mr. Hudgens no choice but to approve these rates Wednesday. . . . Interestingly, Mr. Hudgens said the premiums that these companies are charging aren’t excessive — if you look at the ground rules that Obamacare established. Put simply, insurers had to flatten premiums if they wanted to be players. Younger people, who are healthier and file fewer claims, would be forced to pay a lot more for an insurance policy than they do now. Older people, who tend to have more illnesses and require more services, would still pay more — but the percentage increase would be less than their younger counterparts.”

And Georgia is by no means the only state suffering sticker shock. It’s not even the only one this week. According to The Columbus Dispatch yesterday, “Ohioans purchasing health insurance on a new online federally run marketplace will spend 41 percent more for individual coverage than they would have this year, according to the state Department of Insurance.” On Wednesday the AP reported, “Florida's insurance officials are predicting that health insurance rates will rise 5 to 20 percent for small businesses and 30 to 40 percent in the individual market through the state's new exchange.” And last weekend The Baltimore Sun wrote, “Marylanders who buy health insurance on a state exchange under health reform could see their premiums jump as much as 25 percent under rates approved by state regulators . . . .” And prior to this past week, there were reports of rate shock at premium increases due to Obamacare coming from Indiana, Idaho, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Higher premiums aren’t the only consequence of Obamacare we’ve seen on display this week. The Savannah Morning News reported, “Two insurance companies told the state today they decided not to offer plans in Georgia’s health exchange next year as part of Obamacare. That still leaves five plans participating, but the withdrawal of Aetna — one of the state’s largest insurers — will leave residents of some parts of the state with limited choice. The other company pulling out is Coventry Health Insurance.” And in Midland, Texas, at a meeting of county commissioners about how to implement a fee mandated by Obamacare, County Judge Mike Bradford sighed, “Not trying to put politics in it, but this piece of legislation is anything near what we were led to believe it was. It is costs, costs and more costs.”

Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Last month, the Administration announced it would delay Obamacare’s employer mandate on businesses. It’s not hard to see why. We keep reading about how businesses large and small will have little option but to cut employee hours and paychecks as Obamacare comes online. About how restaurants like White Castle are considering hiring only part-time workers moving forward. About how small businesses are citing Obamacare as a top worry.”

He continued, “Here’s the thing though: Don’t families and individuals deserve the same kind of relief? I believe they do. I don’t believe it’s fair to give a break to business and leave Americans out in the cold. I mean, just recently, we learned that Ohioans buying health insurance next year can expect about a 40 percent premium increase. For Indianans, costs could rise by more than 70 percent. Some Georgians could face a nearly 200 percent premium spike. In my home state of Kentucky, actuaries are predicting cost increases that could exceed 30 percent. Remember, the President said costs would go down – that Obamacare was the ‘Affordable’ Care Act. And millions face the prospect of losing the insurance they like and want to keep. Which, again, is not what the President promised. That’s why I’ll be asking for the Senate to pass H.R. 2668 in just a moment. This legislation passed the House on a strong bipartisan vote – nearly two dozen Democrats supported it – and it would delay some of Obamacare’s most burdensome mandates for everyone. Shortly after its passage in the House, my colleagues and I called on Leader Reid to bring it to the floor for a vote. Those calls went unheeded.”

Leader McConnell then asked unanimous consent to pass H.R. 2668. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) objected, choosing to allow the mandates to stay in place while more states announce the law resulting in higher premiums every week.

Tags: House, economic growth, jobs plan, responsible government, Obamacare, Rate Shock To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Dangerous Strain of Libertarianism?

By William Warren

Tags: Chris Christie, libertarianism, Rand Paul, Dangerous, editorial cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obamacare’s Pocketbook Problem

Thanks To Obamacare, ‘Premiums … Will Increase In Most States,’ Costs Could ‘More Than Double’
‘Rate Will Rise Under Obamacare’
GEORGIA: ‘Insurance companies in Georgia have filed rate plans increasing health insurance rates up to 198 percent’ “Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has filed an ‘emergency request’ with the Obama administration to delay approval of rates for individual health plans that he said will cost some consumers more than double what they are paying today. ‘In complete contradiction to every promise made by the President with regard to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, insurance companies in Georgia have filed rate plans increasing health insurance rates up to 198 percent for some individuals,’ Hudgens said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.” (“Insurance Chief’s Claim: Health Care Law Will Inflate Rates,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/30/13)
OHIO: “Ohioans purchasing health insurance on a new online federally run marketplace will spend 41 percent more for individual coverage than they would have this year, according to the state Department of Insurance.” (Insurance To Cost 41% More On Health Exchange, State Says,” Columbus Dispatch, 8/1/13)
FLORIDA: “Rates will rise under Obamacare… Florida's insurance officials are predicting that health insurance rates will rise 5 to 20 percent for small businesses and 30 to 40 percent in the individual market through the state's new exchange.”(“Florida Insurance Officials: Rates Will Rise Under Obamacare,” AP, 7/30/13)

MARYLAND: “Marylanders who buy health insurance on a state exchange under health reform could see their premiums jump as much as 25 percent under rates approved by state regulators…Insurers said they were seeking the increases to cover the uncertainty of new costs associated with health care reform.” (“Premiums To Go Up As Much As 25 Percent Under Health Reform,” The Baltimore Sun, 7/26/13)

INDIANA: “Insurance rates in Indiana will increase 72 percent for those with individual plans and 8 percent for small group plans under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, according to the state’s insurance department. The spike in costs is due primarily to new mandates under the law… Costs for individual plans is expected to increase from an average of $255 per member per month in 2012 to $570 in 2014, when the most aspects of the law go into effect.” (“State Says Obamacare Will Force 78 Percent Increase In Individual Insurance Plan Rates,” Indianapolis Star, 7/19/13)

“…study finds that insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. What does that mean for you? It could increase premiums…” (“Study: Health Law To Raise Claims Cost 32 Percent,” AP, 3/27/13)
  • “…the overwhelming majority [of states] will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers. The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland.” (“Study: Health Law To Raise Claims Cost 32 Percent,” AP, 3/27/13)
IDAHO: ‘Percentage change, per-person, per-month … Idaho 62.2%.’  “Medical claims costs are the main driver of health insurance premiums. A study by the Society of Actuaries estimates the new federal health care law will raise claims costs nationally by an average of 32 percent per person in the individual health insurance market by 2017. ... STATE Percentage change, per-person, per-month … Idaho 62.2%.” (“States Change In Claims Cost In Health Overhaul,” AP, 3/27/13)

MISSOURI: “Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said. In Missouri, the rate is 59 percent; in Illinois, 51.” (“Health Overhaul Will Raise Claims Cost 32 Percent, Study Says,” AP, 3/26/13)

KENTUCKY: “A new study says costs of medical claims would rise an average of 34 percent for individuals in Kentucky next year under the Affordable Care Act. … The cost of medical claims is the biggest driver of health insurance premiums.” (“Report: Under ACA, Ky. Claims To Go Up 34 Percent,” AP, 3/27/13)

“…experts predict that premiums on individual plans will increase in most states because of the new consumer protections the sweeping legislation requires. The impact on premiums will vary across states…” (“Obama Boasts Of Health Care Savings, But Costs Likely To Rise For Many,” McClatchy, 7/19/13)

Tags: Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, costs, pocketbook, higher claims cost, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Cotton Responds To Pryor's Desperate Criticism

by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: Andrew DeMillo addressed Senator Mark Pryor's recent criticism of Rep. Tom Cotton's vote against the Student Loan Bill.

While Pryor is desperate for any opportunity to ward off Tom Cotton who will be his most likely opponent in 2014, Cotton was clearly prepared to respond why he voted no. It was not because he agreed with the high interest rates being charged to students but how the the problem of where and what caused the problem - ObamaCare.

DeMillo reported on the response by the Pryor campaign: "'Tom Cotton is once again positioning himself far outside the mainstream of most Arkansans, choosing the side of reckless Washington special interests while ignoring the needs of families of our state, Jeff Weaver, Pryor's campaign manager, said in a statement issued by the campaign."

"The bill passed Wednesday and awaits President Barack Obama's signature. The bill links student loan interest rates to the financial markets. It would offer lower rates for most students now but higher rates down the line if the economy were to improve as expected."

DeMillo rightly sought response from Rep. Cotton: "In a statement from Cotton's office he defended his vote and criticized an overhaul of the student loan program that was attached to the federal health care law in 2010. The overhaul cut banks out of the process and made the government the primary lender to students.

"'A better path is to repeal Obamacare, which nationalized the student loan business, and let Arkansas' hometown banks work with students and families to finance education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses and other loans,' Cotton said."

Arkansas State Representative David Meeks responded to the above reference article on Facebook: "I love Congressman Tom Cotton's response to Senator Pryor on the student loan vote that happened today: "A better path is to repeal Obamacare, which nationalized the student loan business, and let Arkansas' hometown banks work with students and families to finance education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses and other loans.'"

In Summary: The Democrats messed up the Student Loan Rates. The House republicans reacted in support of their constituents in an effort to mitigated this situation, calling attention to the doubling of student loan interest rates and in reality forcing the Senate Democrats to come toan agreement to fix the problem.

Out of desperation, Mark Pryor and his campaign responded to Cotton's vote.  Pryor has receivied a pounding in the polls even before Cotton expressed he would indeed be announcing that he is running for the Republican nomination and hopefully opposing Mark Pryor in 2014.

However, knowing the House bill would pass and student interest rates would be reduced, Tom Cotton smartly moved to make his vote a teachable moment. He voted no on conservative principles and stated his conservative position.

If Scoring, Cotton wins on principal. Pryor looses because he was responsible for this overall fiasco by voting and supporting the continuance of ObamaCare against the wishes of the majority of Arkansans. Also, why is the student loan program tied to Obamacare which nationalized student loans and which created a whole lot of other destructive crap for Americans? Senators Pryor and Lincoln voted for Obamacare. Lincoln has paid the price in 2010. Now it is Pryor's turn to receive the wrath of Arkansans who already twice defeated the election of Barack Obama by over 60 percent.

Pryor's desperation is not going to distract most Arkansas voters. They give him a pass without an opponent in 2008 and then watched him support a cesspool of legislation against the the will of the most Arkansans. Now he is running with the likes of Senator Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi in other states trying to raise campaign funds.

I normally do not share my voting. But to be clear, If Tom Cotton were not running and instead my river guide, Bubba, were to step out of his boat to oppose Pryor, Bubba would get my support and vote. No Bubba is no politician, not a lawyer, not even a college graduate, but he is conservative, loves his wife, kids and neighbors, served in the military, knows and loves the Natural State, and will vote no and yes and then honestly tell you why in plain English. I guess I kind of cotton to Bubba. Regardless, for the good of Arkansas, Pryor is going down in 2014!
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Article was previously posted on Boot Berryism: Arkansas Conservative Grassroots Opposing Democrats, & Others Supporting The Progressive - Liberal Agenda

Tags: Mark Pryor, Tom Cotton, US Senate, 2014 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

We Will Repeal ObamaCare

Tim Phillips, President, Americans for Prosperity: Trust me when I tell you this: we are going to repeal ObamaCare. It may take a while, or not. But either way, we’re going to take this terrible law off the books.

Just yesterday we released another multi-state TV ad introducing a family doctor who is worried about her patients and the state of health care throughout our country because of the impact of ObamaCare. It's part of a massive ad blitz that will continue straight through the Fall as we tell younger Americans that ObamaCare will cost them more money, limit their health care options and throw them into a big, one-size-fits-all Medicaid-like morass IF they sign up for it.
Earlier today, we kicked off the first of over 60 AFP grassroots healthcare events we're holding around the country this August, starting with a picnic and rally against ObamaCare on the State House lawn in New Hampshire.

Today we have a full-page ad in the Washington Post showcasing that even union bosses are now complaining bitterly about the devastating impact of ObamaCare on their members and businesses.

We're using social media and, in coming weeks, face-to-face conversations at sporting and community events to ask millions of our fellow Americans -- especially those under the age of 35 -- to check their risk factors for ObamaCare. You can see how ObamaCare will impact you directly by visiting ObamaCareRiskFactors.com.

Some politicians and pundits are trying to make it seem that efforts to repeal ObamaCare are fruitless and that the law is here to stay. You and I know better.

We were there in the spring of 2009 when President Obama (riding high in the polls) and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 60 Democrats in the Senate all confidently predicted that the nation was ready for Washington, D.C.-run, national health care. From that moment, we knew this would be a long-term fight. AFP’s Hands Off My Health Care Tour crisscrossed the nation in 2009 hosting over 300 events and rallies. Later that year, over 5,000 activists gathered for AFP’s Code Red Rally in Washington. We didn’t let up for a second. When ObamaCare went to the courts, AFP was there with another major rally to protest the unconstitutional individual mandate, and we followed up with a TV campaign criticizing President Obama for the massive tax increases in the law.
In an effort to warn the public about the dangers of government-run health care, we introduced the world to Shona Holmes, a Canadian whose life was put in jeopardy by the “free” yet inaccessible healthcare system in her own country, forcing her to seek life-saving treatment in the United States.
Since then, the left changed tactics and started focusing on coercing states to implement ObamaCare through state exchanges and tempting governors with “free money” for the massive Medicaid expansion, a cornerstone of ObamaCare. We’ve been focusing all summer long on states throughout the nation, and with your help we’ve led the fight to rein in government waste and urge reforms, instead of expanding this broken system. Activists like you have been instrumental in stopping exchanges and Medicaid expansion in 22 states.

Through the hundreds of rallies and events, along with long, hot days of phone calls and door knocking, we have persevered.

Today, the majority of Americans agree with us that ObamaCare is a bad law that needs to be repealed. The fight is far from over, but we’re pushing ahead every day.

Thank you for all you do in the fight for healthcare freedom. We wouldn't be winning with the American people on this issue without you.

Let's just make sure we keep the faith by continuing to spread the word that we will win this long battle to repeal ObamaCare!

Tags: Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity, Obamacare, Repeal Obamacare, videos, ad, ObamaCareRiskFactors.com To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Scalise: Time for DC liberals to ditch the Carbon Tax

Steve Scalise
Rep. Steve Scalise, Chairman, Republican Study Committee: Hard work, grit, and determination built America. Those values remain at the core of what makes our nation the greatest country in the history of the world. That same spirit lives on today in states like Louisiana where the domestic energy industry creates high-paying American jobs for middle class families and helps lead our march towards energy independence. But Washington liberals, with their heads in the sand, want to change all that. They ignore common sense and unbiased facts, in a mad rush to pursue their radical agenda of restricting American energy development at any cost.

Their latest proposal is nothing new really, just the same repackaged and renamed initiative – a nationwide carbon tax. Regardless of the name, and it has had many over the years, the effect of a carbon tax will always be the same - higher energy costs on families and fewer jobs here at home. Make no mistake - implementing a carbon-tax under the guise of environmental regulations is just the latest salvo in the liberals’ pursuit of their radical agenda, and yet another attempt to feed their unquenchable thirst for job-killing tax hikes.

Fortunately, the American people and the House GOP refuse to be steamrolled by Washington liberals seeking to implement radical polices behind closed doors. A recent survey by the Institute for Energy Research shows that a strong majority of American voters oppose a carbon tax. I’m proud to lead the effort to oppose a national carbon tax in Congress. With more than 145 cosponsors to our bill, a powerful group of carbon tax opponents is organized and ready to act swiftly to defend our nation from the threat of yet another liberal job-killing tax.

When it comes to America’s energy reserves, the paradigm has shifted from the threat of energy scarcity to the new blessing of energy abundance. We must continue this positive trend toward American energy security if we hope to control our own destiny. Simply put, a carbon tax is a step in the wrong direction, and will just be used as another source to fund more bloated wasteful Washington spending.We need only look abroad to see the real-world effects of such radical proposals. Just last week, high energy prices and diminished competitiveness in the global marketplace forced Australia to announce they would ditch their version of a carbon tax.

It’s been proven that a carbon tax will lead to more American jobs forced overseas, and will increase the cost of virtually every manufactured good that families purchase. A study by the National Association of Manufacturers recently found that a carbon tax would drop output by as much as 15 percent in energy-intensive sectors of our economy and 7.7 percent in non-energy intensive sectors. It would also force the cost of natural gas to increase by more than 40 percent and cause the price of gas to spike by more than 20 cents per gallon.

American families are already struggling to stay afloat in the failed Obama economy. More than four and a half years of failed big-government laws and regulations (See: Obamacare) threaten to devastate millions more families and small businesses. Americans need solutions from Washington, not more job-killing regulations and taxes.

The penchant for Washington liberals to seek new ways to implement radical policies in the pursuit of their extreme agenda has pushed our nation to the brink. Two distinct paths are laid out before our nation. The future holds endless potential if we choose the free-market path towards energy independence with less government intrusion and common-sense regulations. Diverging from that path leads down a road choked with radical government regulations, big government overreach, and the slow dissolve of the American Dream as we know it.

Washington cannot continue handcuffing hardworking American families and small businesses to a stagnant economy and a bleak future. It’s time for the liberals in Washington to abandon their push for a carbon tax, admit the devastating impact of their reckless big government policies, and work with House Republicans to achieve American energy independence and finally get our economy back on track.
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Steve Scalise represents Louisiana’s First Congressional District. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 170 conservative members in the House.

Tags: Steve Scalise, Representative,  Lousiana, Chairman, Republican Study Committee, carbon tax, DC liberals, energy, energy independence  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Speaker Boehner Addresses 41% Increase in Ohio Health Premiums And POTUS Mocking Job Policies That Increase Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today seized on an announcement that health insurance premiums in Ohio will increase by an average of 41 percent over last year as a result of disruptions in the state’s competitive insurance market caused by President Obama’s health care law, challenging President Obama’s assertion that the law is “working fine.”  Yesterday, Boehner announced the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a series of votes this fall aimed at ending the president’s health care law through a series of targeted legislative votes building on two bipartisan votes in the House this month to delay the law’s employer and individual mandates.

“The announcement today in Ohio by Lt. Governor Taylor is irrefutable evidence that the president’s health care law is not ‘working fine.’  To the contrary, it is hurting our economy, driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers,” Boehner said. “It’s time to repeal the law and take a step-by-step approach to health care reform that begins with lowering costs and protecting jobs.”

“President Obama and congressional Democrats rammed this law through Congress three years ago.  Since then they’ve been relying on a shaky coalition of Democrats to keep this unworkable law in place.  But in recent weeks, we’ve seen what could be the beginning of the end for the coalition and the law,” Boehner noted. “Earlier this month, nearly two dozen of our Democratic colleagues broke with the president and joined Republicans in voting to delay the individual mandate at the heart of the president’s law.  We will continue to have votes in the House that chip away at the legislative coalition the president and his allies have relied upon to keep this train wreck of a law on the books.  While the president would like to pretend such votes are ‘meaningless,’ the reality is that he has already signed seven such bills into law.”

In the coming weeks and months, Boehner said, the House plans to vote on:
  • A bill by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to get the IRS out of the president’s health care law;
  • A bill to protect taxpayers by requiring verification for Obamacare subsidies;
  • Legislation to stop IPAB, the Obama administration's health care rationing board, which even former DNC chairman Howard Dean says is a major problem;
  • Legislation to get rid of the slush funds the president is using to implement the law;
  • Other targeted bills aimed at fracturing the coalition of support that President Obama has used to keep the health care law in place.
Boehner also called on President Obama to "Stop Mocking Policies that Will Create Jobs, Start Leading on Addressing Spending Crisis."

Tags: Speaker, John Boehner, Ohio, 41% increase, healthcare premiums, Obama, mocking policies that create jobs,spending crisis To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Democrat Seek To Spend Over Bipartisan Budget Agreement | Republicans Stand By Their Commitment To The American People

Today in Washington, D.C.:
The Senate convened at 9:30 AM today. The Senate then took up the nomination of Raymond Chen to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit. Following an hour of debate, the Senate voted 97-0 to confirm the Chen nomination.

Senators then began voting on cloture (to cut off debate and amendments) on S. 1243, the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill.

Following the vote, the Senate will recess until 2 PM for caucus meetings. When senators return, the Senate will take up the nomination of Samantha Power to be Ambassador to the United Nations. After up to two hours of debate, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the Power nomination.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 60-40 to invoke cloture (cut off debate) on the nomination of Todd Jones to be Director of the ATF Bureau. Senators then voted 53-42 to confirm his nomination.

Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens reacted to the Senate invoking cloture and voting for the nomination of Byron Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: "The Senate should not confirm any nominee that has an open investigation by the Office of Special Counsel complaint for whistleblower retaliation. If the allegations are true, Jones fits right in with the Obama Administration.  This is the same administration that slow walks Freedom of Information Act requests, targets news reporters with sweeping search warrants and baseless charges of espionage, and throws the books at whistleblowers exposing the government for what it is. But that does not mean the U.S. Senate needs to be a party to it. Jones should have been made the poster child for the most opaque administration since Richard Nixon. Jones should have been delayed in committee until the whistleblower retaliation investigation was concluded. Senate Democrats think they can get anyone confirmed now ever since Senate Republicans took the filibuster off the table against executive nominees. Already we can see what a mistake that was. Republicans had the votes to defeat Jones and then Sen. Lisa Murkowski switched her vote at the last minute to honor the 'no filibuster' rule. Advice and consent is dead. Jones is only the beginning of the rubber stamp Senate."

The House convened at 10 AM. They plan to take up:
H.R. 1582 — "To protect consumers by prohibiting the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating as final certain energy-related rules that are estimated to cost more than $1 billion and will cause significant adverse effects to the economy."
H.R. 367 - "To amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2009) to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; providing for proceedings during the period from August 3, 2013, through September 6, 2013; and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2879) to provide limitations on bonuses for Federal employees during sequestration, to provide for investigative leave requirements for members of the Senior Executive Service, to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2879 — "To provide limitations on bonuses for Federal employees during sequestration, to provide for investigative leave requirements for members of the Senior Executive Service, to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals, and for other purposes."
And Other Bills the Votes are pending on.

Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 313 (Voice Vote) — "To amend title 5, United States Code, to institute spending limits and transparency requirements for Federal conference and travel expenditures, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1660(Voice Vote) — "To require the establishment of Federal customer service standards and to improve the service provided by Federal agencies."
H.R. 2769 (Voice Vote) — "To impose a moratorium on conferences held by the Internal Revenue Service."
H.R. 2768 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that a duty of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is to ensure that Internal Revenue Service employees are familiar with and act in accord with certain taxpayer rights."
H.R. 2565 (Voice Vote) — "To provide for the termination of employment of employees of the Internal Revenue Service who take certain official actions for political purposes."
H.R. 1911 (392-31) — Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013.
H.R. 850 (400-20) — "To impose additional human rights and economic and financial sanctions with respect to Iran, and for other purposes."
H. Con. Res 41 (Voice Vote) - Encouraging peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, as amended.

The AP writes today, “A measure awarding generous funding to road and bridge projects, community development grants and housing help for the poor is running into stiff Republican opposition in the Senate. The bill appeared likely to fall prey Thursday to a filibuster by Republicans unhappy that the legislation breaks through budget limits required by automatic spending cuts known as budget sequestration. ‘Voting for appropriations legislation that blatantly violates budget reforms already agreed to by both parties moves our country in exactly, exactly the wrong direction,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.”

Of course, last year, Democrats howled when Republicans suggested spending less than the 2011 spending limits. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) urged Republicans to “come back to the deal that we made last August” and the White House complained that “would break the agreement on discretionary spending made in last summer's budget agreement” in a veto threat.

But now, Democrats are insisting on exceeding those spending levels. And The Hill notes that President Obama is encouraging Democrats to dig in. “Seeking party unity, Obama met with congressional Democrats in both chambers to prepare them for the budget battle that will greet them in the fall. His message was unequivocal: no negotiating with Republicans on a debt-ceiling increase and no reductions in the sequester cuts to defense unless domestic programs are spared as well. ‘He’s not going to accept sequestration restoration for the military any greater than in domestic. He’s not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling,’ Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, told reporters after Senate Democrats met with Obama in a room off the Senate floor. . . . Democrats said there is broad support within their caucuses for the president’s tough negotiating approach. ‘We’re not giving in on the debt-limit issue,’ Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said. Obama’s entrenched position sets up a bruising budget fight when Congress returns to work in September. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has worked hard this week to whip his colleagues to vote against the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill because its spending levels do not reflect the automatic cuts known as sequestration.”

As Senate GOP Leader McConnell said yesterday, “The Budget Control Act that was agreed upon two summers ago represents a commitment from Washington to America – a bipartisan promise to enact $2.1 trillion in spending control. Last year, the slightest hint of fiddling with spending caps led to a furious response from senior Washington Democrats. It even led to a veto threat from the White House. But now, Washington Democrats are tired of bipartisanship. The commitments they made have become an inconvenience to their special-interest agenda. So now, they’re threatening to shut down the government if they’re not allowed to break their word. That’s what this appropriations debate we’re having is all about. It’s about an attempt to blow up an important bipartisan achievement by busting the spending caps both parties already agreed to. Well, Republicans don’t believe we should be breaking our commitments to the American people. . . . Voting for appropriations legislation that blatantly violates budget reforms already agreed to by both parties moves our country in the exact wrong direction.”

Tags: confirmations. Democrat, Senators, Spend more federal money, above agreements, House Republicans, Government get out of the way, jobs, businesses To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

More Obamacare Pay Cuts

‘Obamacare Will Dig Into The Pocketbooks Of Part-Time Workers’
Due To Obamacare ‘Workers Are Getting Their Hours Cut’
‘Obamacare Forces Trigs To Limit Workers’ Hours.’(“Obamacare Forces Trig's To Limit Workers' Hours,” WJFW 12, 7/24/13)
“Some part-time Brevard County workers are getting their hours cut so the county would not be forced by federal law to pay for their health insurance.” (“Brevard Cuts Some Workers' Part-Time Hours To Avoid Obamacare Rules,” Florida Today, 7/23/13)
“The University of Alabama has capped student work hours at 20 per week during the school year as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to an email sent to graduate students on July 9. Graduate School Dean Dave Francko wrote that the act ‘will directly impact student employment here at UA — in particular, the definition of ‘employee’ as it relates to graduate student employees and assistants. In particular, the act places new limits on the number of hours which graduate students are allowed to work’ without their being considered UA employees entitled to health benefits.” (“Health Care Reform Prompts Cap On Hours Students Can Work,” Huntsville Times, 7/28/13)
  • “‘UA’s graduate school stood out to me as this place of opportunity and community, and I fear that is going away with this new policy,’ [20-hour assistantship Barry] Grass said.”< span style="font-size: 10pt;">(“Health Care Reform Prompts Cap On Hours Students Can Work,” Huntsville Times, 7/28/13)
“Local companies adjust to costs of Affordable Care Act … Santa Fe College has placed a cap on the hours part-time employees can work and the credit hours adjunct faculty can teach to limit its costs. … the board of trustees approved a budget at its June 18 meeting that includes a cap of 27.5 hours on part-time employees and a maximum of teaching 12 credit hours per term for adjunct faculty for the fiscal year that started July 1.” (“Local Companies Adjust To Costs Of Affordable Care Act,” The Gainesville Sun [Fl], 7/27/13) “… as White Castle looks into the future after the new law takes effect, Richardson says the company is considering hiring only part-time workers.” (“Full-Time Vs. Part-Time Workers: Restaurants Weigh Obamacare,” NPR, 7/24/3)
  • “The reason is simply cost, he says. ‘If we were to keep our health insurance program exactly like it is with no changes, every forecast we've looked at has indicated our costs will go up 24 percent,’ …  So, he says, adding health insurance as a benefit for all employees over 30 hours, as the health care law requires, isn't feasible.” (“Full-Time Vs. Part-Time Workers: Restaurants Weigh Obamacare,” NPR, 7/24/3)

Tags: Obamacare, pay cuts,  part-time workers, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

There Already is a Palestine

by Rod Martin: Forty-six years after the Six Day War, its memory invariably produces a deluge of propaganda attacking “the Zionist Entity” and promoting “an independent Palestine”, restricted to the territories Israel took in 1967 (for English-speaking audiences), or “driving the last Jew into the sea” (in Arabic and Persian). Lost in the din are some particularly “inconvenient truths”, both historical and contemporary, but none more so than this: there already is a Palestine, and it’s called Jordan.

This may be news to you. It is certainly not news to the Jordanians (the vast majority of whom are actually Palestinians). It’s not news to the Israelis either, who having made peace with Jordan don’t care to raise the issue. It certainly isn’t news to the terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza: it just doesn't serve their purpose.

But truth is truth. And it might ultimately serve everyone’s interests to remember it.

“Palestine” (from the Greek for Philistine, the deadly enemies of ancient Israel) was a creation of the World War I Allies after they severed it from the Ottoman Empire, or Turkey. It was largely empty, and even then a large percentage of the people in the western portion (today’s Israel) were Jews.

In 1917 the British committed themselves in the Balfour Declaration to creating an independent Jewish homeland in Palestine, in much the same way that the Allies shortly carved Europe into independent homelands for the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Finns, Hungarians, Slovenes, Serbs, Bosnians, Montenegrins and Croats. This was based in large measure on Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the driving principle of which was the end of empire and the right of self-determination.

Hardly anyone opposed this. As Hussein ibn-Ali, the Hashemite Sharif of Mecca and leader of the Arab Revolt against the Turks, wrote in 1918, “The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. [The Arabs know] that the country [is] for its original sons, for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland.” Implicit in his statement was the emptiness of the land, largely depopulated for two millennia.

The next year, Hussein’s son Faisal, newly King of Syria and chief representative of the Arab nations at the Versailles Peace Conference, signed a treaty of friendship with Chaim Weizmann, leader of the Zionist Organization, jointly adopting the Balfour principles. It said: “All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible….” King Faisal further wrote: “We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our delegation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper.”

To implement this clearly enlightened position, Britain was given control over Palestine by the new League of Nations. But that “Palestine Mandate” covered neither what we think of as Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza, two concepts which did not yet exist) nor the PLO’s idea of Palestine (any territory currently held by a Jew). Oh no. “Palestine” meant what Weizmann, Faisal, Hussein, Churchill and all the powers at Versailles understood it to mean: Biblical Palestine, all of today’s Israel and Jordan. And the borders were drawn accordingly.

Hence, 80% of Palestine is today’s Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. And from this, things began to go off the tracks.

The problem began when France was granted Syria at the San Remo Conference the next year. It promptly invaded its new “mandate”, made it a French colony, and expelled Faisal. His brother Abdullah prepared to march on Damascus, but Churchill persuaded him not to attack Britain’s ally, and instead offered to make him Emir of a new British protectorate, “Transjordan” (literally, “the other side of the Jordan”). With the stroke of a pen, the Jews lost 80% of their land.

They didn’t complain that much. The Zionists understood that Jordan was filled with Palestinian Arabs, and there simply weren’t enough Jews to settle there anyway. They also hoped for continued peace and cooperation with the Hashemites: Hussein, Faisal and Abudullah, who had made peace with Weizmann and now ruled most of Arabia.

But of course the rest is history. The rising House of Saud drove Hussein’s Hashemites out of the Arabian Peninsula, which meant out of control of Mecca and Medina. Despite long-promised support, the British did nothing. They did make Faisal King of Iraq, but Iraq is not Mecca, or even Syria, and multiple broken promises by the European powers increasingly soured the Arabs on their deal with the (largely European) Jews.

Compounding stupidities, the British appointed the violent anti-Zionist Haj Amin al-Husseini (uncle of longtime PLO leader Yasser Arafat) Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. From this high post he not only incited ever-increasing hostility between Arab and Jew, but also, seeing the Germans as a superior alternative to the duplicitous British and French (like most Arab and Persian nationalists of the Thirties and Fourties), he openly collaborated with Adolf Hitler to bring the “Final Solution” to Palestine, adopting much of Nazi ideology in the process. Rabid anti-Semitism thus became the dominant sentiment of Arab leaders throughout the Middle East. It still is.

By 1947, the situation had deteriorated beyond repair. The UN attempted to resolve matters by partitioning the remaining 20% of Palestine into a Jewish half and an Arab half, leaving Jerusalem neutral and under international control. The Jews readily agreed to this 10% solution, and to peace. The Arabs instead chose war.

Failing to annihilate the Jews, Jordan instead annexed the West Bank. Egypt annexed Gaza. Even though these territories roughly corresponded with the UN’s planned Palestinian state – to which Israel had agreed – no Arab power even considered that an option. No Palestinian wanted it. And Jordan already existed: as King Hussein put it as late as 1981, “The truth is, Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan.”

No, the only thing the Arabs wanted was the extermination of the Jews. Which is still true of most of them, particularly the “Palestinians”, the ones on the west side of the Jordan River at least.

So is there a solution in all of this? Maybe.

The overwhelming majority of all Palestinians are today called Jordanians. Except for the Hashemite foreigners, they are the same people who live in the West Bank and Gaza.

But whereas Jordan is a functioning country, “the territories” are not. Gaza is a city-state with no commerce or industry occupied by 1.5 million largely unemployed and unemployable people whose primary skill is firing mortars at Jewish subdivisions. The largely rural West Bank is better, but not by much, and has no desire to be ruled by the city-dwellers in Gaza. There are virtually no jobs (other than “assassin” and “suicide bomber”) in either territory, and cannot be: who will invest in a country almost completely cut off by sea and air, that has a population whose chief skill is slitting throats, and is semi-permanently at war?

And then there’s Israel, just nine-miles across in its most populated region if the West Bank were independent. Which might be okay if the West Bank were populated by Canadians instead of Jew-hating suicide bombers.

Under the current diplomatic approach – the “two state solution” – Palestine can never be more than a seething economic and military dependency of Israel. Unless, of course, it achieves its sworn aim of actually destroying Israel.

But what if, instead of creating a dependent postage-stamp state with no future, “Palestine” was reattached to Jordan instead?

It would not be easy. Jordan doesn’t want the terrorists: it already fought a civil war in 1970 to drive the PLO (today’s Palestinian Authority) out of Jordan. And Israel would have to get some or all of the land, work out a permanent “neutral zone” under Jordanian authority but Israeli military and police, or somehow be able to trust the Jordanians with a border leaves Israel just nine miles across. Both sides would have to eradicate Hamas and the PLO, much easier said than done, but on the other hand, a boon to the entire world, most especially the Palestinian people.

Even so: recognition that Jordan is and always has been the promised Palestinian state restores the possibility of a meaningful solution instead of a violent stalemate. It permits geographic and security options now impossible for either side. It allows the possibility of peace based on equality with Israel, not dependence. And given today’s friendly ties and even free trade agreement between Jordan and Israel, it opens the door to genuine prosperity and freedom for all involved: a rolling back of the clock to a time when Arab and Jew lived confidently and cooperatively in mutual respect and peace.

For many, it is indeed an inconvenient truth. But it’s long past time someone pointed it out.
-------------
Rod D. Martin, founder and CEO of The Martin Organization, is a technology entrepreneur and conservative activist. Previously he served as policy director to Governor Mike Huckabee. He is currently President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), is a member of the Council for National Policy and shares his his writings are online at RodMartin.org. This article was original published on the Center for Security Policy.

Tags:  Middle East, History, Gaza Strip,  Terrorists, Hamas, PLO, Israel, Israeli Borders,  Palestine, Palestine authority, Jordan,  Palestinians, United Nations,  UN, Rod Martin To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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