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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Defending American Dream Attendees Not Supportive Of President Obama's Desire to Bomb Syria
Today in Orlando, Florida, hundreds of economic freedom and liberty activists at the Americans for Prosperity's Defending the American Dream Summit stopped between workshops and crowded around a live feed set up by The Blaze for the pending comments by President Obama about Syria.
After an extended delay, President Barack Obama arrived with Vice President Joe Biden and issued the following statement:Good afternoon, everybody. Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.
Our intelligence shows the Assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of Damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place. And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see – hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead. All told, well over 1,000 people were murdered. Several hundred of them were children – young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.
This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.
In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.
Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. But I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behaviour, and degrade their capacity to carry it out. [Again not evidence of such an assertion.]
Our military has positioned assets in the region. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now. And I'm prepared to give that order.
But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I'm also mindful that I'm the President of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that's why I've made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress.
Over the last several days, we've heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they've agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session.
In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America's national security. And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote.
I'm confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U.N. inspectors.I'm comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralysed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable. As a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to Congress, and undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the United Kingdom this week when the Parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even as the Prime Minister supported taking action.
Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective. We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual. And this morning, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy.
A country faces few decisions as grave as using military force, even when that force is limited. I respect the views of those who call for caution, particularly as our country emerges from a time of war that I was elected in part to end. But if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we must acknowledge the costs of doing nothing.
Here's my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price? What's the purpose of the international system that we've built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98 per cent of the world's people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United States is not enforced?
Make no mistake – this has implications beyond chemical warfare. If we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules? To governments who would choose to build nuclear arms? To terrorist who would spread biological weapons? To armies who carry out genocide?We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.
So just as I will take this case to Congress, I will also deliver this message to the world. While the U.N. investigation has some time to report on its findings, we will insist that an atrocity committed with chemical weapons is not simply investigated, it must be confronted.
I don't expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made. Privately we’ve heard many expressions of support from our friends. But I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action.
And finally, let me say this to the American people: I know well that we are weary of war. We’ve ended one war in Iraq. We're ending another in Afghanistan. And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military. In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. And that's why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.
Instead, we’ll continue to support the Syrian people through our pressure on the Assad regime, our commitment to the opposition, our care for the displaced, and our pursuit of a political resolution that achieves a government that respects the dignity of its people.But we are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus. Out of the ashes of world war, we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning. And we did so because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations. We aren’t perfect, but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities.
So to all members of Congress of both parties, I ask you to take this vote for our national security. I am looking forward to the debate. And in doing so, I ask you, members of Congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment.
Ultimately, this is not about who occupies this office at any given time; it’s about who we are as a country. I believe that the people’s representatives must be invested in what America does abroad, and now is the time to show the world that America keeps our commitments. We do what we say. And we lead with the belief that right makes might – not the other way around.
We all know there are no easy options. But I wasn’t elected to avoid hard decisions. And neither were the members of the House and the Senate. I’ve told you what I believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons. And our democracy is stronger when the President and the people’s representatives stand together.
I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage. Today, I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation. Thanks very much.Please note the underlined words. President Obama identified that he plans to deliver his message to the world. He leaves little consideration that Congress will say no. It appears, that the president is more than optimistic that he will soon be ordering our military to bomb or to strike Syria with drowns. May it never be!
The British Parliament has already denied a similar request by Prime Minister David Cameron to get the UK involved in military action in Syria.
A wind-chill survey of the Defending the Dream attendees reveled they were not in favor of attacking Syria. They believe that United States should not take sides in the internal conflict in Syria. They also did not see any way for the United States to accurately determine which side or group carried out the chemical attacks within Syria. While not agreeing with the President's assumptions, positions, or his claiming that he had unilateral authority, they were pleased that Mr. Obama was not presently acting unilaterally and that ;Congress will consider this issue.
With the truthfulness of numerous Obama agencies in question, who will Congress trust in their information or testimony on this issue? Summit attendees also expressed concern that this military issue may detract from the upcoming continuing resolution debate and other critical issues. Tags:Syria, President Obama, speech, reactions, Defending the American Dream, attendees.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:AF Branco, editorial cartoon, Barack Obama, red lines, foot-in-mouth, operation save faceTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Editor's Note: Later today, President Obama is expected to hold a press conference on the use of force in Syria. The White House must see themselves as omniscient as even UN investigators have not determined which side in the internal Syrian conflict used chemical weapons. In addition, what is the United States' constitutional authority for intervening in Syria as the U.S. has not threatened the United States? Also, with whom would we be allying in Syria to support our use of death creating weapons in Syria?
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I don’t know why the White House doesn't just send Syria’s Bashar al-Assad a map of where it intends to attack with Tomahawk and other missiles. The bottom line, however, is that this much heralded military adventure is unconstitutional. The President has no authority to initiate the use of the military against Syria.
This has not stopped presidents from engaging the nation in wars, but the last declaration of war, as specified in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11, occurred on December 11, 1941 against Germany as a response to its formal declaration of war against the United States. Three days earlier Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor initiating a state of war.
As the Tenth Amendment Center points out, “Unless fending off a physical invasion or attack, the president is required to get a Congressional declaration of war before engaging in military hostilities in another country.”
Let us be clear about this. Syria has not declared war on the United States and, while the use of gas goes against an international convention against it, the Assad regime has already killed 100,000 Syrians in a civil war. Nor is Syria the only nation in the Middle East known to have used gas. Saddam Hussein gassed several thousand Kurds in Halabja, Iraq in 1988 and used it in his eight-year war against Iran. The West’s response was to do nothing except to condemn it.
As Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, points out, “Warfare is a very serious business whose first imperative is to deploy forces to win—rather than to punish, make a statement, establish a symbolic point, or preen about one’s morality.”
President Obama’s first mode of governance is to make a speech and then to assume the problem is solved. From his very first speech in Cairo in 2009, those in charge in the Middle East interpreted his policies as weakness.
When President Clinton lobbed a few missiles by way of retaliation for al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, Osama bin Laden concluded the U.S. was weak and set about planning the two attacks on the Twin Towers.
Dr. Pipes warns that “Bashar al-Assad’s notorious incompetence means his response cannot be anticipated. Western strikes could, among other possibilities, inadvertently lead to increased regime attacks on civilians, violence against Israel, an activation of sleeper cells in Western countries, or heightened dependence on Tehran. Surviving the strikes also permits Assad to boast that he defeated the United States.”
The Wall Street Journal opined that “there is no good outcome in Syria until Assad and his regime are gone. Military strikes that advance that goal—either by targeting Assad directly or crippling his army’s ability to fight—deserve the support of the American people and our international partners. That’s not what the Administration has in mind.”
What Obama has in mind is a symbolic attack in much the same way killing bin Laden was both necessary and symbolic. In making the announcement Obama declared “Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad,” adding that ”As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.”
Islam, however, is at war with the United States and the West. That is the declared aim of both al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The war in Syria is a civil war. There is no good outcome no matter whether the Assad regime wins or is overthrown. There is no strategic or tactical victory to be achieved by the United States in either case. Simply punishing the regime for using gas achieves nothing except to expend several million dollars’ worth of missiles.
The Tenth Amendment Center points out that “As they did in the war against Libya, those violating these strict constitutional limitations will like refer to an attack on Syria as something other than ‘war.’ But, changing the words they use to describe their actions doesn’t change the constitutional ramifications. Under the Constitution, a war is a war whether you call it a war or something else.”
The time is long past when America must address whether our military interventions in the Middle East have demonstrated any success. To date, they have not. The majority of Americans are opposed to an attack on Syria and both the Constitution and the collected wisdom of the public argue strongly against it.
We are, however, too far down the road thanks to the administration’s declared intention to do so. War it has been said is to be an extension of politics. We will witness a political gesture and one that is intended to demonstrate Obama is a leader internationally and domestically. He is neither.
. . . It's Time To Read The Wisdom of Federalist No 4: "But the safety of the people of America against dangers from foreign force depends not only on their forbearing to give just causes of war to other nations, but also on their placing and continuing themselves in such a situation as not to invite hostility or insult; for it need not be observed that there are pretended as well as just causes of war." ~ John Jay, Federalist No. 4, 1787 Tags:war, Syria, loose talk, President Obama, Federalist No 4, John Jay, James Madison, continuous warfareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Dick Durbin is at it again. As you may know, Senator Dick Durbin improperly used his position as a U.S. Senator to pressure the IRS into investigating and harassing conservative non-profit groups.
Now Durbin is at it again - targeting the conservative public policy group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and trying to intimidate and harass the group's donors. Fortunately some in Congress are calling Durbin out, including Senator Ted Cruz:
Here's an excerpt from Ted Cruz's statement:
"...in my view this effort represents an inappropriate governmental intrusion into the personal and political views of American citizens and businesses. In light of the current IRS targeting scandal, this action raises concerns about retaliation against those who may disagree with the Chairman and the Obama Administration."
Dick Durbin is the #2-ranking Democrat in the Senate after Harry Reid. Unlike Harry Reid, Dick Durbin is up for re-election, and we have the chance to defeat him and oust him from the Senate. It sure would be nice to defeat this smug 'jerk' and replace him with a true public servant who understands that they work for "We The People.
Below you'll find a litany of the various misdeeds committed by liberal Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, and if you agree that it's time for Durbin to be voted out of the Senate, then visit the campaign to Defeat Dick Durbin
IRS ATTACKS ON CONSERVATIVES: It was Senator Dick Durbin who formerly called on the IRS to investigate conservatives.
OBAMACARE:When a federal judge ruled ObamaCare was unconstitutional, Dick Durbin was so determined to force ObamaCare on the American people that he told the Obama administration to ignore the judges ruling and go forward with the enforcement of ObamaCare anyways:
ATTACKED U.S. MILITARY: Durbin made headlines when he attacked our U.S. military personnel. You probably remember the scandal - he likened the behavior of our troops at the GITMO terrorist detention facility to the behavior of the Nazis, Soviet gulags and the murderous Pol Pot regime:
GUN CONTROL:Dick Durbin has been one of the worst offenders in trying to eliminate American's 2nd Amendment rights. Durbin has attacked the NRA mercilessly and pledged to do all he can to impose more restrictions, regulations and bans on guns.
AMNESTY:Durbin is a Democrat leader of the "Gang of Eight." Durbin and his liberal Democrat colleague, Chuck Schumer, have the job of making sure any "immigration reform" is a win for liberals that ends up being nothing more than an amnesty-on-steroids program ensuring the Democrat Party gains millions of new voters.
Above: Dick Durbin at "Gang of Eight" press conference
There are so many other votes and actions undertaken by liberal Dick Durbin that would surely offend you, but by now you should get the point - we must Defeat Dick Durbin Tags:Ted Cruz, Dick DurbinTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Train Wreck: Aetna Pulls Out Of NY Obamacare Exchange | Small Biz Squeezed By Health Costs - Mandates | Labor's ObamaCare Woes
All across the country, Obamacare is squeezing small business and sowing confusion at every level from Main Street to insurance companies to even the federal government.
The Weekly Standard noticed a report from WTVY in Alabama about a restaurant owner concerned that Obamacare could put him out of business. The anchor introduces the segment by pointing out, “The Affordable Care Act — it goes into effect in 2014 — people have described it as confusing and it’s expected to have a dramatic impact on small businesses.” According to the report, “Pofolks restaurant owner Ron Jones employs anywhere from 30- to-40 area residents on a full or part-time basis. Jones will cut down on full staff and hours to avoid paying employee health insurance. Jones says employee insurance implementation would put him out of business.” In an interview, Jones says, “We had 30 people and 15 or 16 of them were full time. Now I can only have four of the full time positions.”Taylor Davis, a 22-year-old employee at Jones’ restaurant, told the reporter that “She needs the job and worries that the new health care law will put her on the unemployment line.”
Yesterday, The Washington Post reported, “Health insurance costs for small business owners have been rising for more than a decade, and some are concerned the health care law will drive their premiums higher at an even faster clip. Many appear to be coping by passing some of the costs along to their employees. . . . In York, Pa., Fred Callahan’s small business is facing the same challenges. He was looking at paying about 30 percent more this year to maintain the same plan his small business had in 2012. He says his insurance carrier informed him that ‘they’re protecting themselves by increasing rates now in anticipation of certain requirements that they’ll have to meet under Obamacare.’ In order to protect his bottom line, Callahan says he could not afford another steep jump in his rates, which had already spiked in the previous two years. His company, Colony Papers, which provides packaging products, switched to a less expensive plan earlier this year, which came with a significantly higher employee deductible. ‘Obviously, it’s not been popular with our employees, but we’re trying to maintain as much coverage as we can afford,’ he said in an interview, adding that his healthcare plan has traditionally been useful in hiring a holding onto talented workers. Critics of the health care law say costs are rising for employers largely because costs are rising for insurers, who face new coverage requirements, limits on certain premiums, as well as a new tax on insurers — all of which they expect to be passed along, at least in part, to small firms in the form of higher premiums. ‘We keep hearing that from small businesses, that they’re premiums keep going up, keep going up, and now this thing’s coming along, and they’re going to go up even more,’ House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said earlier this summer in an interview.”
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports on insurers struggling with the requirements of the new law. “The first people to buy in are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of the subsidies—among them, older customers—says Jim Whisler of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.'s U.S. health actuarial practice. An insurer would likely call that a ‘worse risk pool,’ he says. But because the marketplace created by the law is new, he says, there is no previous pricing or demographic information to help calculate rates. ‘There is no experience,’ Mr. Whisler says. . . . ‘Commercial insurers are taking a very cautious position,’ says Gail Wilensky, a former Medicare director and UnitedHealth board member. ‘They are very concerned the first-in population is much more likely to be the sickest’ and that next year's rates will prove to have been set too low, she says.” The WSJ also notes, “In one sign of the uncertainties, large insurers such as Aetna Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. are limiting their participation in the new marketplaces.”
Just yesterday, Reuters reported, “Aetna Inc, the No. 3 U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday it has decided not to sell insurance on New York's individual health insurance exchange, part of the country's healthcare reform. New York is the fifth state where Aetna has pulled its application to sell the plans that go on sale on Oct. 1 and into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. It has also reversed course in Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, and Connecticut, where it is based.”
And it’s not just small businesses and insurers struggling with Obamacare. According to The Washington Post, the Office of Personnel Management is warning federal employees about the consequences of joining an Obamacare exchange. Noting “continued confusion and concerns about how the so-called Obamacare legislation will affect health-benefits for federal employees,” The Post writes, “OPM noted a few drawbacks for those who join the healthcare exchanges voluntarily, saying they would be ending their participation in the federal-worker life insurance and retirement programs. The agency also said the government will not contribute toward health coverage for executive-branch employees who join the insurance exchanges voluntarily.”
And then of course there are the big unions, who cheered on Democrats to push through the law back in 2009 and 2010. In a story headlined, “Labor Leader Admits ObamaCare Woes,” Time reported yesterday, “The head of the nation’s largest federation of unions admitted ‘we made some mistakes’ in writing ObamaCare Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in downtown DC. The head of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, said he was surprised that employers have reduced workers’ hours below 30-a-week to avoid an employer penalty scheduled to go into effect in 2015.”
To quote Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell“This law is a disaster waiting to happen. . . . Instead of encouraging [business owners] to create jobs and grow the economy, we’re hitting them with a brick of regulations. . . . [U]nion leaders are even expressing fears about the law driving up costs for their own health-care plans, making unionized workers less competitive. This is the worst time to be imposing tens of thousands of pages of new regulations and onerous taxes on the very families and businesses that can least afford them. We owe our constituents better, particularly those who are struggling the most. Look: Obamacare is just too expensive, and it’s not working the way Washington Democrats promised. That’s why Obamacare needs to be repealed. And that’s why I will continue to push for its repeal.” Tags: ;Obamacare, trainwreckTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Fundamental Things Don't Change As Time Goes By
by Ralph J. Benko: Historian Pierre Vilar's A History of Gold and Money: 1450 - 1920 (NLB, 1976, Verso edition 1984) observes, in his concluding section (p. 344 - 345): "Historical reality is again and again caricatured by saying that gold is the currency of a former age; that it has nothing to do with modern money. Historically speaking, nothing is further from the truth, as neither gold nor silver was ever the only form of 'money'. If in the course of history there have been changes, devaluations, attempts at currency deflation and the like, this is because the ratio of circulating currency to the internationally valid currency of standard weight, has constantly been in flux. Most circulating currency has been virtually 'fiduciary' (its stability vis-a-vis gold and commodities in general depending on the confidence of the public had in it). Such money, which depended on the domestic conditions of the country where it circulated could never be confused with the international currency. This often created problems similar to those of modern inflation.
"Credit and 'book money' are not recent developments either. In the 16th century more transactions were paid for in the account books of the great fairs than were paid in gold and silver: only the balances were paid in precious metals. It would therefore be quite wrong to counterpose some imagined age of metal currency, presumed to cover the whole of previous history, to a period of modern currency which began at some point in the 1920s."The fundamental things don't change as time goes by.
------------ Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service.
Tags:fundamental things, Ralph Benko, Historian, Pierre Vilar, A History of Gold and MoneyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
IBD Editorial: Now even ZIP codes are racist, and according to this race-obsessed administration, you're racist for living in a suburban area with little public housing. And it plans to change that.
In what may be the most ambitious social-engineering project undertaken by the federal government, the administration is mapping every neighborhood in America by race. The stated purpose is to use the data to compel local officials to loosen zoning laws and build more public housing, thereby offering more poor inner-city minorities better opportunities for housing and education.
But the unstated purpose is forced racial integration. The suburbs are just too white for Obama and his race-mongering social engineers. They think they "geospatially discriminate" against minorities, never mind that more and more middle-class blacks are flocking to them on their own.
The ham-handed government project is led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last week it proposed new rules requiring counties and other entities receiving federal grant dollars to "affirmatively further fair housing" in the suburbs for minorities. Grantees who fail to comply will be denied federal funding.
At the same time, HUD is pressuring suburban landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers.
The proposed regulation was issued just days after HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan addressed the NAACP at its annual convention in Florida, near the Orlando suburb where a neighborhood crime-watch captain fatally shot a black teen visiting the complex.
In his speech, Donovan vowed to help urban blacks relocate to suburban neighborhoods, where they can have access to "good schools, safe streets, jobs, grocery stores," among other things. He claimed suburban realtors and landlords still discriminate against blacks.
"African-Americans," Donovan said, "are being denied their freedom of choice."
He said the HUD database will detail by neighborhood what "access African-American families have to community assets — including jobs, schools and transit," which he added "is something the NAACP has long called for."
Once the data are collected, his diversity police will use it as a "tool" to ensure that "every American has the opportunity to live in the community of their choice without facing discrimination."
Earlier this year, HUD broadened the authority of two anti-discrimination laws — the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act — making illegal any housing or credit policy that results in disproportionately fewer blacks or Latinos receiving housing or home loans than whites, even if those policies are race-neutral and evenly applied across all groups. Tags:HUD, sheme, Suburbs, racial diversityTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: It’s going to be a long weekend and I am not referring to Labor Day. Depending on how events unfold, the President may order an attack on Syria in the wake of the use of poison gas. Not one military expert interviewed on Fox News Channel has said that the use of Tomahawk missiles will achieve anything likely to deter the Syrians from using poison gas again and—worse—possibly using it against Israel as an act of defiance.
Or he may not. There has been considerable pushback from Congress, specifically a letter to the President signed by both Republican and Democratic members warning that he must consult with Congress, as the Constitution requires (as well as the War Powers Act) before taking any action. Internationally, Germany’s Angela Markel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin joined together to advise against a U.S. attack. As this is being written, the British are having a debate in Parliament. They and the French may likely conclude an attack is a bad idea.
If Obama decides not to proceed, he will confirm what everyone in diplomatic and military circles worldwide already knows. He is a moron. Because only a moron would do nothing for two years while 100,000 Syrians are killed and then have a snit when a few hundred more die by another means.
The secrecy surrounding U.S. policy regarding the Syrian civil war produced the Benghazi scandal in which our ambassador to Libya and three others were killed. Not just killed, but dying for lack of any effort whatever to dispatch any assets to defend or extract them. This week the President awarded a Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ty Carter who displayed the kind of courage no one expects from Obama, the Commander-in-Chief.
The President has participated in a very cautious PBS interview that leaves everyone wondering what he will do. Welcome to the last Labor Day weekend before World War Three breaks out. That could happen because history is filled with such monumental miscalculations. The First World War broke out over the assassination of an Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand.
Other than the moral outrage regarding Assad’s use of poison gas, there is no compelling reason for the U.S. or any other nation to get involved in actual combat in or against Syria. That civil war could drag on for years and, assuming that Assad eventually gets assassinated or retreats to an Alawite stronghold, those who replace him might be just as bad.
What worries me as the Labor Day weekend beckons is that Barack Obama has demonstrated (excuse the mixed metaphor) a genius for bad judgment and bad policies.
Obamacare looms for most Americans, requiring them to purchase health insurance whether they want or need it; fining them if they do not. The Supreme Court deemed it a tax. It is much more than that. It marks an era in which Americans can be compelled to buy anything the government tells them to. It marks an era in which the world’s best health system will be destroyed.
As children return to school, it is worth keeping in mind that the liberal establishment that Obama leads has ruined the nation’s educational system and recently imposed a “common core” program that essentially is one-size-fits-all when any teacher will tell you that children learn at different rates and teaching-to-the-test is an educational straight jacket.
Labor Day will also be a good time to contemplate that Americans are still in the midst of the slowest recovery from a recession in our history, one that is replete with millions out of work, who have given up looking for work, or are barely earning enough to meet their family’s needs. One in five families is signed up for food stamps. Recent college grads are moving back in with the parents and many are burdened with thousands in federal loans to repay. Obama just proposed higher education reforms tied to federal rules for receiving funding. It is a version of Obamacare for the nation’s diverse 4,495 degree-granting institutions.
Rasmussen reports that “Voters think America’s a better place since Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech 50 years ago this week, but nearly nine-out-of-10 say race relations have gotten worse or remained about the same since the election of the nation’s first black president.” And those suffering the most over the past five years have been African-Americans. They voted twice (96%) for Obama.
After five years in the White House, the national debt is over $17 trillion! The Treasury Department has run out of accounting tricks to keep the national deficit at its current level. When Congress returns, it will plead to raise the borrowing limits so the nation can pay what it owes, plus interest, and borrow more. Under Obama, the nation had its credit rating lowered for the first time in its history.
And this is the President who was given a Nobel Peace Prize before he had demonstrated anything to earn it. Since then he has yielded to Iraq’s demand that our military be removed, plunging that nation into a chaos of daily bombings. In 2011 Obama announced he was putting additional military into Afghanistan and in the next breath he announced we would be leaving in 2014.
. . . Premiums Higher As Employers Drop Coverage - No More Health Benefits For Spouses - Higher Deductibles For Employees - More Cost-Sharing
The Train Wreck Continues
In a must-read article today, National Journal writes, “Republicans have long blamed President Obama's signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the ‘Unaffordable Care Act.’ Turns out, they might be right.
“For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they're currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers' monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act. Health law proponents have excused the rate hikes by saying the prices in the exchange won't apply to the millions receiving coverage from their employers. But that's only if employers continue to offer that coverage--something that's looking increasingly uncertain. Already, UPS, for example, cited Obamacare as its reason for nixing spousal coverage. And while a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of the U.S. population now receives employer-sponsored coverage, more companies are debating whether they will continue to be in the business of providing such benefits at all.” But, National Journal writes ,“The trap is that the exchanges also present a savings for some employers but a rate hike for their employees. And shifting employees to the exchanges also is just logistically easier than trying to meet the law's employer mandate.”
The article explains, “Whether the quality of care in the new market is comparable to private offerings remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: The cost of care in the new market doesn't stack up. A single wage earner must make less than $20,000 to see his or her current premiums drop or stay the same under Obamacare, an independent review by National Journal found. That's equivalent to approximately 34 percent of all single workers in the U.S. seeing any benefit in the new system. For those seeking family-of-four coverage under the ACA, about 43 percent will see cost savings. Families must earn less than or equal to $62,300, or they, too, will be looking at a bigger bill. Those numbers include the generous tax subsidies designed to make the new system more attractive to consumers. . . . On average, a worker paid between $862 and $1,065 per year for single coverage in 2013, according to Kaiser's numbers. For the average family plan, defined as a family of four, insurance cost between $4,226 and $5,284. Fewer than half of all families and only a third of single workers would qualify for enough Obamacare tax subsidies to pay within or below those averages next year.”
At the same time, many employers are facing higher costs, leading them to drop benefits or pay for less health care for employees. CNNMoney writes today, “No more health benefits for spouses. Higher deductibles for employees. More cost-sharing. Employers are citing increased costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act -- as Obamacare is formally known -- as part of the reason they are pulling back on benefits. President Obama said this spring that little will change for the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have coverage, only that ‘their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before.’ But that's actually not the case at a growing number of companies. [UPS], for instance, recently told employees that health reform is contributing a 4% increase to the cost of coverage for 2014, while health care inflation adds another 7.25%. And Delta Air Lines said that Obamacare and inflation would increase costs by $100 million, though it only identifies $38 million as due to health reform. The University of Virginia, meanwhile, said it will have to pay more than $7 million in Obamacare fees and taxes in 2014, which would result in a ‘double digit premium increase’ if it didn't implement savings measures. As a result, UPS and UVa said they are dropping coverage for employees' spouses that have access to benefits elsewhere. Delta said in a letter to administration officials that it will have to pass along some of the rising costs to its employees.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said this year on the third anniversary of Democrats passing their unpopular health care law, “Republicans have long warned that Obamacare would have a devastating impact on our country. I’ve spoken about 100 times on the Senate floor against Obamacare, and I’ve warned about its consequences: increased premiums, lost jobs, higher taxes. Unfortunately, many of those things have already started happening – and the federal government has only just begun implementing this law. . . . Members of the President’s own party have begun sounding the alarm about the law’s tax hikes, including its tax on medical devices. His union allies are concerned the law will make them less competitive too. Well of course it will. Perhaps some of those union bosses should have more thoroughly considered the wellbeing of their members before supporting Obamacare’s passage in the first place. . . . In my view, Obamacare is a colossal mistake for our country. There’s just no way to fix it. It needs to be pulled out by its roots and we need to start over. This bill needs to be repealed and replaced – not with another unreadable law or another 20,000 pages of regulations – but with common-sense reforms that actually lower health care costs.”
Fox News's "Happening Now" this morning reported on another Obamacare delay, quoting U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said, "I've been warning that a train wreck is coming with this law, but the truth is that no train wreck has ever had this many warning signs."
It is obvious to all but the desperate acolytes of Mr. Obama that the wheels are coming off Obamacare and we are watching a major Train Wreck occurring in slow-motion. The questions now become, why isn't President Obama pulling the emergency cord to stop this destructive event? Doesn't he care about the USA? Does he believe America will be better with a third world healthcare system? Tags:Obamacare, train wreck, Higher premiums, employers dropping coverage, - no health benefits,, spouses, higher deductibles, more cost-sharingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obamacare Complexity Confuses Americans | Deadline Delayed For Finalizing Obamacare Health Plans | More Restaurants Cut Work Hours
Despite assurances from Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius that “[w]e are on target and ready to flip the switch” on Obamacare , Reuters reports today, “The Obama administration has delayed a step crucial to the launch of the new healthcare law, the signing of final agreements with insurance plans to be sold on federal health insurance exchanges starting October 1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified insurance companies on Tuesday that it would not sign final agreements with the plans between September 5 and 9, as originally anticipated, but would wait until mid-September instead, according to insurance industry sources. . . . The reason for the hold-up was unclear. Sources attributed it to technology problems involving the display of insurance products within the federal information technology system.
Reuters adds “Coming at a time when state and federal officials are still working to overcome challenges to the information technology systems necessary to make the exchanges work, some experts say that even a small delay could jeopardize the start of the six-month open enrollment period. U.S. officials have said repeatedly that the marketplaces, which are the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law, would begin on time. But the October 1 deadline has already begun to falter at the state level, with Oregon announcing plans to scale back the launch of its own marketplace and California saying it would consider a similar move. Tuesday's notification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the HHS agency spearheading marketplace development, affects insurance plans that would be sold in federal exchanges that the administration is setting up in 34 of the 50 U.S. states. . . . ‘It makes me wonder if open enrollment can start on October 1,’ said a former administration official who worked to implement Obama's healthcare reform.”
And while the administration is delaying yet another Obamacare plan, there’s been no slowdown in the harm it’s inflicting on businesses and employees.According to WDKY-TV in Kentucky (via the Washington Free Beacon), “With major overhauls in health insurance taking effect in the coming months, the owner of a well-known Lexington restaurant says he is having to cut back his hours. Joe Bologna says he has kept his restaurant on West Maxwell closed on Mondays since back in April. He says he is trying to save money because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare . . . If the Obamacare went in effect for us, we’d have to pass whatever that cost would be – it could be as much as $20,000 a month for us – which we’d have to pass onto customers, and that’s going to hurt business.” WDKY noted “Joe Bologna says he has also had to reduce the number of employees at his restaurant.”
And Yahoo Finance blogger Rick Newman wrote yesterday, “On tap for restaurants next year: price increases and fewer full-time workers, as many chains seek to offset rising costs likely to be brought on by President Obama’s health care reforms.” Though Newman said, “critics of the Affordable Care Act should resist the urge to say ‘I told you so,’” he made points throughout his piece that suggest Obamacare critics should continue to say, “We told you so.” Newman noted, “Fatburger and other chains have started to experiment with work-sharing deals in which employees work part-time at two different franchises, so they never hit the 30-hour threshold at one establishment that would allow them to qualify for benefits under Obamacare — even if they work 50 or 60 total hours in a week. . . . People Report's 2014 forecast. . . says the cost of providing health care for employees could rise by as much as 25% per year under Obamacare. Nearly 60% of chains surveyed said they’d have to raise menu prices to help cover cost increases. And 80% of the companies said they planned to substitute part-time workers for full-timers. Such developments seem to vindicate claims that Obamacare will put people out of work and make it harder for lower-earning workers to get ahead.”
Everywhere one looks confusion over the complexity and rules of Obamacare is rampant. Newman pointed out that “[t]he biggest headache for employers, in fact, may be the law’s complexity” and The Wall Street Journal reports, “Two big numbers to think about today: There are 33 days until open-enrollment season for insurance coverage under the new health law begins, and 51% of Americans say they don’t understand how it will affect them or their family, according to the latest tracking poll from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. That proportion is higher among the uninsured, the mid-August poll found. Some 62% of the uninsured say they don’t have enough information about the health law . . . .”
Summing up some of the problems Obamacare has run into, Reuters writes, “The new timetable for qualified plan agreements is the latest in a series of delays for Obamacare. The most significant came in early July when the White House and the Treasury Department announced a one-year delay in a major Obamacare provision that would have required employers with at least 50 full-time workers to provide health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014. Legal and political opposition from Republicans and their conservative allies have already fragmented Obamacare's original vision. Only about half the states have opted to expand Medicaid program for the poor to uninsured families living below the poverty level, and Republicans in Congress have denied nearly $1 billion in new implementation funding this year alone. The Government Accountability Office cautioned in June that the law known as Obamacare could miss the October 1 enrollment deadline because of missed deadlines and delays in several areas including the certification of health plans for sale on the exchanges. Another U.S. watchdog, the HHS Office of the Inspector General, warned earlier this month that the government was months behind testing data security for the federal data hub that represents the information technology backbone of the new marketplaces.”
After hearing of the Obama administration’s delay of the employer mandate, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “If the folks in D.C. are to be believed, its implementation is going just swimmingly. The Democrat Leader in the House of Representatives called it ‘fabulous.’ The President said that the law is ‘working the way it’s supposed to.’ . . . Fabulous…Wonderful…these aren’t the kind of words one normally associates with a deeply unpopular law, or one that media reports suggest is already having a painful impact on Americans we represent. . . . The President was so worried about some of this law turning into a disaster that he selectively delayed a big chunk of it. But he only did that for businesses. . . . We can argue about whether the President even had the power to do what he did, but here’s the point today: if businesses deserve a reprieve because the law is a disaster, then families and workers do too. Because if this law is ‘working the way it’s supposed to,’ then it’s a terrible law. And if it’s not working as planned, then it’s not right to foist it upon the middle class while exempting business.”
So far, though, Senate Democrats have blocked Republicans’ attempts to vote on a exemption from the individual mandate. With new Obamacare delays being announced every week, will Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) finally allow a vote on exempting Americans from the individual mandate when the Senate returns in September? Tags:Obamacare, complexities, delays, workeers losing hoursTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly: Attacks on the U.S. Constitution are coming from all sides. The New York Times opened its op-ed page to several liberal professors of government: one calls our Constitution “imbecilic,” another claims it contains “archaic” and “evil provisions,” and a third urges us to “rewrite the Second Amendment.”
Out of exasperation with the flouting of the Constitution by Barack Obama and his acolytes, and the way Congress is letting them get by with these violations, several conservative authors and pundits are promoting the calling of a national convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. They believe a series of amendments can put our country on a wiser path.
The authority for such a procedure is Article V of our Constitution, so they are calling their plan of action an Article V convention. However, they are fooling themselves when they suggest that Article V creates a path to bypass Congress with a “convention of states.”
The only power the states have under Article V is the opportunity to submit an “application” (petition) humbly beseeching Congress to call a convention. Hundreds of such applications have been submitted over the years, with widely different purposes and wording, many applications were later rescinded, and some purport to make the application valid for only a particular amendment such as a federal balanced budget or congressional term limits.
Article V states that Congress “shall” call a convention on the application of two-thirds of state legislatures (34), but how will Congress count valid applications? We don’t know, and so far Congress has ignored them anyway.
If Congress ever decides to act, Article V gives Congress exclusive power to issue the “Call” for a convention to propose “amendments” (note the plural). The Call is the governing document which determines all the basic rules such as where and when a convention will be held, who is eligible to be a delegate (will current office-holders be eligible?), how delegates will be apportioned, how expenses will be paid, and who will be the chairman.
Article V also gives Congress the power to determine whether the three-fourths of the states required for ratification of amendments can ratify by the state legislature’s action or by state conventions.
The most important question to which there is no answer is how will convention delegates be apportioned? Will each state have one vote (no matter how many delegates it sends), which was the rule in the 1787 Philadelphia convention, or will the convention be apportioned according to population (like Congress or the Electoral College)?
Nothing in Article V gives the states any power to make this fundamental decision. If apportionment is by population, the big states will control the outcome.
Article V doesn’t give any power to the states to propose constitutional amendments, or to decide which amendments will be considered by the convention. Article V doesn’t give any power to the courts to correct what does or does not happen.
Now imagine Democratic and Republican conventions meeting in the same hall and trying to agree on constitutional changes. Imagine the gridlock in drafting a constitutional plank by caucuses led by Sarah Palin and Al Sharpton.
Everything else about how an Article V Convention would function, including its agenda, is anybody’s guess. Advocates of an Article V convention can hope and predict, but they cannot assure us that any of their plans will come true.
If we follow the model of the 1787 Convention, will the deliberations be secret? Are you kidding? Nothing is secret any more. What are the plans to deal with protesters: the gun-control lobby, the gay lobby, the abortion lobby, the green lobby, plus experienced protestors trained by Obama’s Organizing for Action, at what would surely be the biggest media event of the year, if not of the century.
There is no proof that the VIPs promoting an Article V convention have any first-hand knowledge of the politics or procedures of a contested national convention. Don’t they realize that the convention will set its own agenda and that states will have no sayso over which amendments are considered?
A recent example of how a convention chairman wielding the gavel can manipulate what happens is the way the 2012 Democratic National Convention chairman ruthlessly called the vote wrong when a delegate tried to add a reference to God in the party platform. The chairman got by with declaring the amendment passed even though we all saw on television that the “Noes” won the vote.
The whole process is a prescription for political chaos, controversy and confrontation. Alas, I don’t see any George Washingtons, James Madisons, Ben Franklins or Alexander Hamiltons around today who could do as good a job as the Founding Fathers, and I’m worried about the men who think they can.
-------------------- Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, Article V, convention, constitutionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:President Obama, economic policies, the economy, attacks on business, no pipeline, no drilling permits, Obamacare, no jobs, unemployment, black on black, crimeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Current private sector unemployment is nearly 4 million jobs short of an average recovery at this stage. If the labor force participation rate — people who are working or seeking to work — had not collapsed the unemployment rate would be 10.6% rather than 7.4%.
As Joint Economic Committee chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) observed: “[S]ince [President Obama’s] taking office only two million more Americans have found a job while 15 ½ million have gone on food stamps. Putting seven people on food stamps for every person that finds a job isn’t the way to strengthen the middle class.”
Such a punk recovery is disheartening, even shocking. Most of all it’s bewildering. Most elements of macroeconomic policy have not changed much (although there has been serious erosion recently) since the days of Reagan through Clinton. That was a policy mix that created millions of good new jobs and sustained a growth rate sufficient to create a federal budget surplus. Still, no growth. Yet while most policy variables have remained constant, one — monetary policy — has changed, and dramatically.
America’s thought leaders, of both parties, are beginning to wonder. Could monetary policy be the primary culprit behind the growth gap?
The latest entrant to this search for the culprit (and the solution) is the Conservative Action Project (to which this columnist belongs). It is expected to call, as early as today, for a national monetary commission to get to the bottom of this. The Conservative Action Project (CAP) is an influential coalition of conservative thought leaders chaired by President Reagan’s counselor, and Attorney General, Edwin Meese III, and by former Congressman and Bradley Foundation genius award winner David McIntosh. “Participants include the CEO’s of over 100 organizations representing all major elements of the conservative movement—economic, social and national security.”
The Center for American Progress — the left’s CAP — sets the Democratic Party’s social democratic policy agenda. The Conservative Action Project — the right’s CAP — sets the Republican Party’s free market, classical liberal, policy agenda. And the Conservative Action Project is expected to release today one of its occasional Memos for the Movement. It is expected to declare: "Among the critical agenda items that the Conservative Action Project has identified for the 113th Congress is a call to 'establish a national monetary commission to review the likely outcomes of principled monetary policy prescriptions.' This directly tracks a plank in the 2012 national GOP Platform calling for a ‘commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.’ The Constitution, in Article I Section 8, gives the power exclusively to the Congress to 'coin money, (and) regulate the value thereof.'"It is worth noting that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), co-chair of the Republican National Platform Committee, widely is considered the godmother of the monetary commission plank, a plank which memorably resonated throughout the world media."The CAP is expected to call upon Congress to “pass legislation to create a monetary commission to examine how our monetary policy effects economic growth. … Conservative leaders and organizations should support monetary policy reform that is consistent with free-market, limited-government, constitutional principles."The draft Memo — which is more of a Manifesto — describes the issue this way:"A century after the creation of the Federal Reserve, and decades after Congress gave the Fed their ‘dual mandate’ for both price stability and full employment, many policy makers have rightly called for a re-examination of our monetary policy. Especially in light of the extraordinary actions of the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis since 2008, there is strong need for such a review.
“On March 14th, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, together with 12 original co-sponsors, introduced legislation, which calls for establishing a commission to ‘examine how United States monetary policy since creation of the Federal Reserve has affected the performance of the U.S. economy in terms of output, employment, prices, and financial stability over time.’
“Such a commission would provide an invaluable opportunity to examine the role that monetary policy under Presidents Bush and Obama has played and continues to play in historically low economic growth and historically high unemployment, as well as in in Washington’s failure to facilitate an economic climate in which abundant money is available at affordable rates to working and middle class families with good credit. As demonstrated by President Reagan, good monetary policy is as crucial to economic growth as is good tax, spending, trade, energy, and regulatory policy."Notably signing this memo are some of the most influential and respected movement conservative leaders. The list is far too long to include in full but includes heavyweights such as Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, Brent Bozell, Chariman of ForAmerica, the Honorable Becky Norton Dunlap, former Reagan White House advisor, the Honorable Jim Miller, former Reagan OMB Director, the Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, former Reagan domestic policy advisor, the Honorable Alfred Regnery, the Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, Al Cardenas, president of the American Conservative Union, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Amy Kremer, president of the Tea Party Express EXPR -1.1%, philanthropist Bill Walton, Gary Bauer, present of American Values, Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, Jim Ryun, chairman of the Madison Project, Myron Ebell, president of Freedom Action, Ron Robinson, president of Young America’s Foundation, Chuck Cooper, Mallory Factor, Peter Ferrara, Mario Lopez, Andy Blom, and Dan Oliver. (And this columnist as well.)
Rep. Brady’s legislation to assemble a bipartisan, bicameral, commission to study the impact of monetary policy, under various past and proposed policy regimes, is not, in and of itself, a “conservative” proposal. It’s simply good governance. 25 co-sponsors have enlisted, including a first Democratic co-sponsor, Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), a truly significant Democratic Party thought leader.
According to a poll of over 1,000 voters by Scott Rasmussen conducted about two years ago, the most enthusiastic constituencies for good money (at least the version represented by the gold standard per Rasmussen’s formulation) are not conservatives, Tea Partiers, or even libertarians (who registered strong plurality support). They are African-Americans and labor union members — two core Democratic constituencies.
Good money is not a partisan issue. Empirically studying what makes money good is not an ideological exercise. The members of the right’s CAP, the Conservative Action Project, should, in this context, properly be seen as civic rather than ideological thought leaders. This columnist hopes that the left’s CAP, the Center for American Progress, will show the statesmanship to pause from the inevitable skirmishing over the debt ceiling to join in the call for co-sponsorships for the legislation constituting a bipartisan Monetary Commission introduced by Chairman Brady.
Millions of good new jobs, trillions in new national wealth, and the ensuing plummeting deficit that good money can provide is worth putting aside partisan differences. Passing legislation to permit a drilling down to bedrock facts is the highest and best use of the 113th Congress’s time. And it is a “critical agenda item” of the Conservative Action Project for the 113th Congress.
Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Progressive: good money is good policy and good politics. Time to charter a serious commission.
----------- Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service.. This article first appeared in Forbes. Tags:Ralph Benko, growth gap, bipartisan, bicameral, commission, study, impact of monetary policy, Rep. Kevin Brady, Conservative Action Project, CAPTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference and declared that the Assad regime had in fact used chemical weapons, crossing Barack Obama's "red line." Kerry called the use of such weapons "a moral obscenity" that was "inexcusable and undeniable."
According to the Washington Post, U.S. naval assets in the eastern Mediterranean Sea are "already positioned" for cruise missile attacks. British jets are scrambling on Cyprus. Reuters reports that Syrian rebel groups have been told to "expect a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's forces within days."
Russia, China and Iran warned against military action. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "the use of force without a sanction of the U.N. Security Council is a crude violation of the international law." So much for Hillary's famous "reset" of U.S./Russian relations.
One Iranian military commander predicted nothing would happen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi said, "[The Americans] are incapable of starting a new war in the region, because of their lacking economic capabilities and their lack of morale." Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran threatened Israel, warning that an attack on Syria would have "perilous consequences" that "will not be restricted to Syria."
The Israeli government is taking such threats seriously. It has begun distributing gas masks to the public, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "respond forcefully" to any attack against his country.
The American public and conservatives are deeply conflicted about the proper course of action. A Rasmussen poll released yesterday found that only 31% of voters supported increased military assistance, even "if it is confirmed that the Syrian government used chemical weapons." Part of it is war weariness.
Some is also due to the failure of Obama to regularly explain what our national interests are in the Middle East. And make no mistake about it -- we have significant interests in the Middle East.
Another problem is the difficulty in identifying the good guys in Syria's civil war. Israeli intelligence estimates there are as many as 90 groups battling the Assad regime. They range from a few pro-Western groups to Al Qaeda extremists. It is hard to see a good outcome in this mess.
But in the broader context of American power and credibility, here is our dilemma: Obama set a red line. Assad crossed it. Iran is egging him on, providing military assistance and watching to see if Washington has any credibility when it issues an ultimatum.
If the Middle East can't trust Obama to act against the Syrian government when it crosses a red line of chemical weapons, why would it believe him when he says he will not allow the mullahs in Tehran to have nuclear weapons?
Even the New York Times gets it. Yesterday, the Times editorial board wrote:"Mr. Obama put his credibility on the line when he declared last August that Mr. Assad's use of chemical weapons would constitute a 'red line' that would compel an American response. …Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through. Many countries (including Iran, which Mr. Obama has often said won't be permitted to have a nuclear weapon) will be watching."I doubt if anybody reading this report is an Obama fan. But America is stuck with him, and if he continues to be weak our national security will be in jeopardy long after he is gone.
That is why I joined with other conservative leaders yesterday in urging Obama to act, and asking for increased efforts to identify who, if anyone in the Syrian opposition, would be worthy of American assistance.
On that point, there is some division among conservatives. I believe the president, as commander-in-chief, has the authority to initiate military action in defense of U.S. interests in emergency situations. Surely the president has the authority to respond to an attack or to prevent an attack on U.S. citizens.
But while a military response to Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria may well be justified, it does not rise the level of an attack against America that would permit Obama to act on his own. There is no reason, as the world debates, why Congress should not be part of this discussion. George W. Bush sought and received congressional approval to take military action against Saddam Hussein. Barack Obama should seek congressional approval to act against Bashar al-Assad.
Beyond this immediate crisis, the larger question we face is: What will be left of our economy, our values and our foreign policy credibility after three more years of Obama's failures?
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of theCampaign for Working Families Tags:Syria, United States, Obama administration Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working FamiliesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Middle of the Road in Healthcare Leads to Socialism
by Ron Paul: The ever-expanding role of government in healthcare provides an excellent example of Ludwig Von Mises’ warning that “The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism.” Beginning in the 1940s, government policies distorted the health care market, causing prices to rise and denying many Americans access to quality care. Congress reacted to the problems caused by their prior interventions with new interventions, such as the HMO Act, ERISA, EMTLA, and various federal entitlement programs. Each new federal intervention not only failed to fix the problems it was supposedly created to solve, it created new problems, leading to calls for even more new federal interventions. This process culminated in 2010, when Congress passed Obamacare.
Contrary to the claims of some of its opponents, Obamacare is not socialized medicine. It is corporatized medicine. After all, the central feature of Obamacare is the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance from private health insurance companies. And, as with previous government interventions in the marketplace, Obamacare is not only failing to correct the problems caused by prior federal laws, it is creating new problems.
Consider the almost weekly stories about how Obamacare is causing health insurance premiums to rise, causing employees to lay off workers or reduce their workers' hours, and causing doctors to leave the profession. Also, consider the problems the administration is already having administering the federal exchanges and other parts of the health care law.
I fully expect the implosion of Obamacare to continue, and the supporters of nationalized health care to use Obamacare’s failures to push for a Canadian-style “single payer” health care system. Unfortunately, some Obamacare opponents fail to see that the problem is not just Obamacare, but all government interference with health care. These Obamacare opponents advocate replacing Obamacare with “Obamacare lite.” But economic law teaches us that “Obamacare lite” will be no more successful than Obamacare.
In order to win the battle for health freedom, those who oppose nationalized health care must have the courage to advocate for a complete free market in health care. Enhanced individual tax credits and enhanced use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are just two polices that could help restore a free-market in health care by putting control over the health care dollar back in the hands of the people. A good place to start would be to repeal Obamacare’s restrictions on HSAs.
Long-term group insurance contracts could ensure that those with pre-existing conditions could obtain coverage. Under such a contract, individuals could pool resources to purchase a group policy that would cover any and all problems any member might develop over time. Businesses, churches, community organizations, and even fraternities and sororities could offer these types of contracts.
Negative outcomes insurance, where patients waive the right to sue for medical errors in exchange for guaranteed payouts to those harmed, could reduce the burden of malpractice litigation.
Other free-market health care reforms that could make the health care market more competitive and lower the cost of health care include allowing individuals to purchase insurance from across state lines, removing restrictions on physician-owned hospitals, and reducing the regulatory power of the Food and Drug Administration.
Some will say it is unrealistic to advocate replacing Obamacare with a pure free-market system, but in fact it is unrealistic to expect anything less than a true free-market to provide quality health care for Americans at all income levels. Continuing on the “middle of the road” in health care by mixing free-markets with government spending and regulations will only continue to take us on the road to socialized health care.
-------------- Dr. Ron Paul, Chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is a former Texas U.S.Congressman for 21 years. He twice sought the Republican Party presidential nomination and was a former Libertarian Party candidate for President. As a medical doctor, he served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force and has delivered over 4000 babies. Paul writes on political and economic theory and a critic 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, the U.S. Constitution, and the protection of citizen's rights under that Constitution. Tags:Ron Paul, Healthcare, socialismTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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