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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, December 14, 2013

Ukraine's Two New Energy Deals

Bill Smith, Editor: Events around the globe signal changes, strengths, weaknesses, and events which may impact our lives. They also signal potential compromises and agreements that our country could be forced to address in the future in the light of our debt crisis and the failure of our current administration to permit the U.S. to become totally energy independent or at least energy independent in partnership with our North American allies.

This article addresses the Ukraine. The Ukraine has a powerful neighbor, Russia, which has controlled their country in its past. Russia is also a rival with the U.S. on the global stage. A rival whom the USA has much in common with and with whom we have partnered with in science and in the "space station." Digressing, imagine what it would be like if Russia and the U.S were again allies on the global stage.

As for Ukraine, its national debt has placed it at risk to the point that they have to make hard choices. As cited by the author, "Two recent energy deals that Ukraine has reportedly made, one with Russia and the other with Slovakia, however, show that the reality of the situation is slightly more complex."

 by Scott Belinksi: If one was to believe the picture that most Western media outlets are painting, Ukraine has been lost to Russia. Though the country fought valiantly to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union in Vilnius, Lithuania last month, President Viktor Yanukovych suspended negotiations with the EU at the last possible moment, betraying Ukrainians everywhere. Two recent energy deals that Ukraine has reportedly made, one with Russia and the other with Slovakia, however, show that the reality of the situation is slightly more complex.

Claiming that Yanukovych had always wanted negotiations with the EU to fail would arguably be giving him and his advisors too little credit as political strategists. In terms of public opinion, signing the Association Agreement would have all but secured Yanukovych's re-election in 2015, whereas his step down from the deal has visibly shaken his legitimacy as President to its core. Rather, too little attention is given to the very real economic pressure Russia has placed on Ukraine and the EU's reluctance or inability to offset Putin's ‘trade war'. Furthermore, while Yanukovych did not sign the Association Agreement in Vilnius, he did not commit his country to Putin's rival ‘Eurasian Union' either.

Prior to the Vilnius Summit in November, the Ukrainian government found itself between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, Russia was imposing exorbitant gas prices and devastating economic sanctions on Ukraine's already fragile economy. By October 10th, 2013, trade between the two countries had fallen by 25% and prices for Russian gas, on which Ukraine remains dependent, stood at $420/1000 m3, $50 more than the European average. On the other hand, EU leaders refused to hold tripartite negotiations with Russia and Ukraine, instead using all their leverage to insist that jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, convicted of abuse of office and embezzlement in 2011, be freed.

All of this comes on top of Ukraine's dire situation. The country faces $10 billion in principal and interest payments next year and has the third-highest default probability in the world. In an address following his decision to suspend negotiations with the EU, Yanukovych stated, "I would have been wrong if I hadn't done everything necessary for people not to lose their jobs, receive salaries, pensions and scholarships.” While many Ukrainians and outside observers may not take the President's words at face value, it is no lie that, had Ukraine signed the agreement, economic disaster would have been imminent.

Two energy deals
As there was little the EU could/would offer to offset the immediate Russian reprisals on Ukraine's economy, the government renounced signing the Association Agreement. However, two gas deals currently in the works show that, far from being sucked forever into Russia's orbit, Ukraine will continue to flirt with both East and West and, most of all, move towards energy independence.

While the exact details of the deal Yanukovych has hammered out with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi last Saturday remain unknown, Edward Lucas, the international editor of The Economist claims that gas prices for Ukraine will be brought down to $200/1000m3 while $5 billion cherry payment on top. Lucas also claims that Yanukovych has promised that Ukraine will join Russia's customs union as part of the deal, though this has been virulently denied by the Russian administration. At the same time, payments for Russian gas transferred from Gazprom to Naftogaz between October and December 2013 have been deferred until the Spring of 2014, all of which gives Ukraine some much-needed breathing room.

On the Western front, however, Ukraine agreed on the conditions for a gas deal with Slovakia for importing European Union gas through Slovak pipelines. These new flows, including gas from Poland and Hungary, could exceed 10 billion cubic meters annually, enough to meet Ukraine's entire import needs. The move, which has long been heralded as a strategy to curb Ukraine's energy dependence on Russia, comes less than two weeks after negotiations with the EU broke down, questioning the dominant narrative that the Ukrainian government is content to sign itself away to Moscow.
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© 2013 OilPrice.com. This article by Scott Belinksi was contributed to the ARRA News Service by James Stafford, the Editor of OilPrice.com - the leading online energy news site, Its news and analysis covers all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and hydro.

Tags: Ukraine, Russia, Energy deals, analysis, OilPrice To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Scandal: Arkansas Legislators Hide Longer Term Limits in "Ethics" Amendment

Arkansas Politicians are Hoping to Trick the Voters Again
by Philip Blumel, President, U.S. Term Limits: As I write this email, Arkansas legislators are plotting to weaken their own term limits in the sneakiest way possible. The General Assembly has referred an anti-term limits amendment to the Nov. 2014 ballot. If passed by the voters, it would lengthen House term limits from 6 years to 16 and Senate term limits from 8 years to 16. But here's what's really unthinkable...

The amendment's title doesn't mention term limits at all. That's right. It's called the "Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency, and Financial Reform" amendment. If you ask me, there's nothing ethical or transparent about using such a deceptive title to swindle the voters.


TERM LIMITS QUOTES
"This proposition is a prime nominee for the next Shame of Arkansas.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Editorial, 10/27/13

"Arkansans are not interested in continuing 'plantation politics' or 'tricks by politicians' be they republicans or democrats."
Bill Smith, ARRA News Service


The amendment summary also claims to be "establishing term limits," an obvious trick intended to fool voters who don't know that term limits were established in Arkansas with 60 percent of the vote in 1992, and defended changing them with 70 percent in 2004.

Knowing these facts, it's really no surprise that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, in an October 27th editorial, named this amendment its "Outrage of the Year."

Here's the good news: We / YOU still have time to stop this unethical bill from becoming an unethical law.

There's no sense in forcing Arkansans to spend time and money to defeat it at the ballot box, so we're calling for the General Assembly to recall it from the ballot when the new session begins in February.

Join the effort by calling your State Senator and House member personally to request that they help remove this scam from the ballot.

Only a true grassroots movement will get it done.
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On Facebook: LIKE Save AR Term Limits -- On Twitter: Follow @ARTermLimits
This article previously published on BootBerrism, an outreach of the ARRA News Service

Tags: scandal, Arkansas, Legislators, hidden longer term limits, Ethics bill, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey Weekly Republican Address - Flaws And Consequences Of Obamacare

‘The problem with Obamacare isn’t just a glitch. It’s fundamental and it’s taking away our freedom. At the heart of the program is the idea that the government should decide your health coverage – what you require and how much you should pay. Never mind what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.’ ~ Sen. Pat Toomey
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the Weekly Republican Address, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania talks about how the President’s deeply flawed health care law is causing millions of Americans to lose the insurance plans they liked and pay higher premiums and deductibles under new Obamacare plans. He tells of a constituent with multiple sclerosis who was recently kicked off of her insurance plan because of Obamacare. The woman now has a choice of two plans – one that will allow her to keep her doctor and the other that will pay for her medication. “Neither plan will do both,” says Toomey. “These are the kinds of painful and unfair choices millions of people now face” thanks to Obamacare.
Transcript:“I’m Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.

“These days, lots of Americans think Members of Congress are out of touch, and you know, at times there’s some truth to that.

“But there’s at least one instance in which many Members of Congress are feeling the very same pain that the rest of America is feeling. And that’s with this new health care law.

“Now, I don’t think anyone should be forced onto Obamacare. But as a Senator, Obamacare forced me and my family onto an exchange for health coverage.

“Just last week, my wife, Kris, tried to sign up on the health exchange website that’s available to us.

“Now, my wife is a very sharp woman, she’s a former computer software consultant.

“She’s also an amazing person and a great mom, but that’s another story.

“When Kris went onto the website, she typed in all our personal information and that of all our three children.

“And then, when she tried to browse the various plans, the website denied her. She tried again, and it still didn’t work. When she called someone and asked for help, she was told the system just wasn’t working right now and it was best to try again later.

“Well, I’ll tell you, I really wish this were a case of a Member of Congress just out of touch. Unfortunately, it’s not.

“The fiasco my wife just faced with the health care website is being experienced by Americans across the country when they try to sign up for health insurance.

“If this were just a matter of a slow-moving computer glitch, well then maybe that would be excusable. But it’s much more than that.

“It’s been reported that that perhaps as many as one-third of those who have been able to complete the online enrollment process might not actually have insurance coverage at all. Apparently, the enrollment information isn’t always being transmitted to the insurers in a large number of cases.

“Can you imagine going to your doctor or to a hospital in January only to find out you’re not actually insured?

“Well, the President says his team is working out the kinks in the website. Now, I hope that’s true

“It sure seems like there’s a long way to go. But let’s assume that the website problems eventually get fixed. Sadly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“Before Obamacare became law, the President often told everyone that, and I quote, ‘if you like the health insurance you have, you can keep it, period.’ End quote.

“Well, millions of Americans are now finding out that was never true. The fact is, Obamacare was designed to cancel many plans that people had and people liked – the President now admits as much.

“But this is creating excruciating choices. I recently heard from a woman from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. She has multiple sclerosis – has for years – and Obamacare kicked her off an insurance plan that worked for her for many years.

“Yes, she can get a plan in the new health care exchange. In fact, it turns out there are two options available to her. One of the options would let her keep her doctor. The other would pay for her medication. And neither plan will do both.

“These are the kinds of painful and unfair choices millions of people now face.

“Now, if you have not yet been directly harmed by Obamacare, consider yourself fortunate.

“But take the time to listen to your friends, family, and neighbors. They’ll tell you stories of lost coverage, higher costs, enrollment errors, not to mention lost jobs and fewer hours working. It’s a disaster for our country, and it’s only going to get worse.

“But this is the holiday season, and we should offer some hope and good cheer. The truth is, there are good reasons for hope, if we can just change direction.

“There are common-sense, bipartisan solutions to our health care problems that don’t require Obamacare’s wholesale government take-over of the system.

“Now, in a nutshell, we can make insurance more accessible, more affordable, and more responsive to individuals and families. And put patients and their doctors in charge of health care decisions, instead of politicians and government bureaucrats.

“We can help those with preexisting conditions purchase affordable insurance.

“I’d like to give individuals the same tax benefits enjoyed by employers buying insurance for their employees.

“We can make it easier to carry health insurance from job to job or to purchase it across state lines.

“We can help small businesses pool together to get quality coverage for their workers at lower prices.

“We can rein in frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits that drive up medical costs for everyone.

“The problem with Obamacare isn’t just a glitch. It’s fundamental and it’s taking away our freedom. At the heart of the program is the idea that the government should decide your health coverage – what you require and how much you should pay. Never mind what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.

“But working together, we can put an end to the dropped coverage and higher costs that the Obamacare law is forcing on so many.

“I think Americans should be free to choose the insurance coverage that’s right for them. That choice should not be in the hands of the Obama Administration or at the mercy of malfunctioning government websites.

“Thanks for listening. And Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season to everyone.”


Tags: Senator. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania, Obamacare, flaws, consequences To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, December 13, 2013

House Passes Compromise Budget Deal | Obamacare Cheerleaders Ezra Klein: “Why Hasn’t Anyone Been Fired Over Healthcare.Gov?’

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 13, 2013
The Senate continued in session again all night last night as Democrats use the nuclear option to push through liberal nominees designed to rubberstamp President Obama’s agenda. Republicans are using Senate procedure to slow these votes to a crawl, but majority Democrats have the votes to jam these nominations through, now that they broke Senate rules to change them.

At noon, the Senate began voting on confirmation of Heather Higginbottom to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and cloture on the nomination of Anne Patterson to be Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

On Monday, votes are scheduled on the confirmation of the Patterson nomination, on cloture (to cut off debate) on the nomination of Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of Homeland Security, and confirmation of the Johnson nomination.

Last night, the Senate voted 57-41 to confirm Patricia Wald to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, 57-40 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Brian Morris to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Montana, 75-20 to confirm the Morris nomination and 58-39 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Susan P. Watters to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Montana, 77-19 to confirm the Watters nomination, and 58-39 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Deborah Lee James to be Secretary of the Air Force.

This morning, the Senate voted 79-6 to confirm the James nomination and 51-34 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Heather Higginbottom to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

The House was not in session today.  They are schedules to resume On Monday, Dec. 15, at 11 AM.  Yesterday the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 3695 (Voice Vote)— "To provide a temporary extension of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 and amendments made by that Act, as previously extended and amended and with certain additional modifications and exceptions, to suspend permanent price support authorities, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1447 (Voice Vote) — "To encourage States to report to the Attorney General certain information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of law enforcement agencies, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3509 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Secretary of State to submit to Congress a report on the status of post-earthquake recovery and development efforts in Haiti."
H J RES 59 (332-94-7) On Motion to Recede and Concur in the Senate amendment to H.J.Res. 59 (Bipartisan Budget Act FY 2014), with a House Amendment. Sixty-two Republicans and 32 Democrats votes in the House against the Budget Resolution. Within the Republicans, principled conservatives voted against the bill. Votes were often divided in their respective state Delgations. For example in the Arkansas House delegation, Reps. Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Tom Cotton (AR-04) voted against the bill while Reps. Tim Griffin (AR-02) and Steve Womack (AR-03) voted for the bill.
H. Res. 441 (350-69) — "Providing for the concurrence by the House in the Senate amendments to H.R. 3304, with an amendment."

While the budget deal allows for 1% a cost-of-living increase next year for Federal workers it reduces the Cost of Living pay adjustment for military retirees (who were never paid as much as civilians) under age 62 to less than one percent of the normal adjustment. Which in recent years could have resulted in zero or very minimum pay increases. In addition for DOD civilian pensions, the deal requires new civilian employees to contribute a greater share to their pensions. Question, why are the rest of the Nation's civil service and Congressional and White House staffers not required to have their pensions revised and cost of living reduced for retirees?

In addition, the budget deal added a hidden  tax increase in the deal which will affect most Americans one way or another. Travelers are currently charged $2.50 per flight under the Transportation Security Administration’s airline security “fee.” Under the budget deal, that would increase to $5.60 per flight or $11.20 for a round-trip ticket. This will be in addition to the Domestic Transportation Tax (7.5 percent), Travel Facilities Tax ($8.40), and U.S. International Transportation Tax ($17.20). Note that in the case of this airline security fee increase, the money isn’t even going back to the TSA to fund or improve security. Instead, as Heritage’s Cassandra Lucaccioni explained, “it will be deposited annually into a general fund of the Treasury.” And, we all know how that money is easily wasted. So expect to pay more when you fly. And to also pay more for goods and services as businesses recoop this cost in the prices of goods and services.

Speaker Boehner expressed frustration even though he won what he wanted by the requested house vote. He railed against “outside groups” like Tea Party members and other conservatives saying “they’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals.” Mr. Speaker Boehner momentarily forgot that these members of Congress are not his members but the the Representatives of their constituents who elected them.

In a must-read story titled “Obamacare: One punt after another,” Politico writes, “On Thursday, the Obama administration gave customers permission to pay their premiums as late as Dec. 31 for coverage that starts Jan. 1, and officially gave customers an extra week — until Dec. 23 — to sign up for January coverage. The move was just the latest in a long list of extensions, delays and punts that have plagued the health care law. . . . [P]iece by piece, the Obama administration keeps giving itself extensions on smaller parts of the law, because there’s always some piece that isn’t quite ready. It’s an attempt to put out fires — but it’s also a painful admission that, yes, there are fires. The administration is also extending a critical program — the temporary high-risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions — through the end of January, to make sure none of them suddenly lose their health coverage because they can’t sign up for new Obamacare insurance by Jan. 1. That’s after it postponed the employer coverage requirements for a year, delayed the online enrollment for the federal health insurance exchanges for small businesses, and told health insurers they can extend people’s coverage for an extra year — a last-minute attempt to un-cancel millions of canceled policies. It also delayed the Spanish-language website . . . . It even postponed next year’s enrollment period, pushing it conveniently past the November elections. ‘This is the least shocking thing since the sun came up in the east. This is what they do,’ said Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum. ‘They’ve essentially established that there’s going to be a rolling start to this thing.’ There was also a tone to Thursday’s announcement that was close to pleading for help, as the administration urged insurers to cut the new customers a bit of slack — looking the other way if they sign up a few days late, and making their coverage retroactive if they pay a bit late. . . . And, of course, the one deadline that probably should have been delayed — the Oct. 1 of HealthCare.gov — wasn’t delayed, and the administration has been paying the price ever since. But it may be hard for the administration to hold the line when it keeps moving so many other deadlines for the law — always a subtle admission that some component of Obamacare wasn’t quite ready when it was supposed to be.”

It’s hard to identify any parts of Obamacare that were ready when they were supposed to be. Problems are evident everywhere. The Los Angeles Times reports, “Thousands of Californians have overcome long waits and website glitches to sign up for Obamacare insurance, but now enrollment snags may prevent some of them from actually having coverage starting Jan. 1. Some people who picked a health plan as far back as October through the Covered California exchange say insurers are telling them they still have no record of their enrollment. As a result, bills haven't gone out and consumers can't pay their initial premium to ensure coverage takes effect in less than three weeks.” And in New Jersey, the Bergen County Record reports, “With just 12 days to go before the first deadline to enroll in health plans under the Affordable Care Act, New Jersey residents are still having trouble getting on the federal website to purchase medical coverage. Technical glitches with the website continue to stymie efforts by both individuals and the application counselors who are trying to help them. They have until Dec. 23 to enroll if they want coverage to begin on Jan. 1. . . . Joe Porzio, a 57-year-old construction worker in Wayne, has bought his own insurance through Aetna for years. When he received a letter saying his plan was being canceled by Dec. 31, he began looking at the federal marketplace for new options soon after it went live Oct. 1. He was eventually able to fill out an application, but the website locked him out and he has not been able to access it. He finally completed a new application last week by phone but, as of Wednesday, was unable to access that one also. ‘The deadline is approaching, and I’m still in limbo,’ Porzio said. ‘I also found out that my doctors, who I have been seeing for years, will now only accept the highest offered plans. So, it’s true, you have to pay to keep your doctors.’”

And according to USA Today, “Insurers struggling with garbled and missing information on applications from the federal healthcare site report the quality of the information is improving, but they're still grappling with missing and duplicate applications that could hamper their ability to enroll people by Jan. 1. . . . Insurers for the first time Wednesday got an accounting from HHS on everyone who enrolled for their plans on HealthCare.gov from Oct. 1 to Dec. 10. This data is the government's attempt to reconcile the files it has on consumers who have signed up with the files received by insurers in the daily feeds from HealthCare.gov. Industry officials refer to it as a ‘mini-reconciliation’ because the system that would automatically reconcile files is, perhaps not surprisingly, down. . . . While insurers all agree the information flow from HealthCare.gov has improved, at least one said it's not by enough. ‘The data, while it has improved, is not where it needs to be to get us where we need to be on Jan. 1,’ said one official with a major insurer, who asked to remain anonymous so he could be more candid. ‘We are still seeing errors. The ones that trouble us the most are the orphan ones.’ So-called orphans are described by industry officials as people who think they have signed up for insurance, but the insurer, HHS — or both — don't have a record of the application. . . . Problems seem most common on files involving couples or families with dependents, insurers say. Insurance brokers have told USA TODAY applications for dependents and couples have tended to be the ones most likely to be inaccurately qualified for Medicaid. ‘It's a mess with the files, period,’ says health care consultant Kip Piper, a former insurance company official and state regulator. ‘With anyone applying for more than one person at a time, this reconciliation process is unable to give a clean and correct file for every individual.’”

At this point even Obamacare cheerleaders like Ezra Klein are asking the obvious question: “Obama clearly decided that the people nominally in charge of his signature legislative achievement weren’t up to their jobs. The rescue effort wasn’t led by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, or Marilynn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The legislative outreach isn’t being managed by Rob Nabors, the White House's former director of legislative affairs who is now a deputy chief of staff, or by Miguel Rodriguez, the current director of legislative affairs (who appears to be mostly unknown on Capitol Hill). All of which raises a question: If these people aren’t up to the most important tasks of Obama’s second term, why haven’t they been fired and replaced by people who are? . . . Though the health insurance Web site is working vastly better today than it was two months ago, the debut of HealthCare.gov was a genuine disaster. Specifically, it was a management disaster. The CMS IT department botched its job as systems integrator for HealthCare.gov. The management of CMS botched the job of recognizing the CMS IT department was botching its job. The management of HHS botched the job of recognizing that the management of CMS was botching the job of recognizing that the CMS IT department was botching its job. The management of the White House botched the job of recognizing that the management of HHS was botching the job of recognizing that the management of CMS was botching the job of recognizing that the CMS IT department was botching the job of building HealthCare.gov. It wasn’t just the technical challenges of HealthCare.gov that the administration managed poorly. The White House was completely unprepared for the furor over canceled insurance plans; that’s a political problem that Sebelius, a former insurance regulator, should’ve seen coming. . . . Somewhere in this chain of colossal, consequential screwups, there are surely a few people who deserve to be fired.”

Meanwhile, Americans continue to feel the negative consequences of the health care law beyond the website and IT screw-ups. The New York Times writes, “Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it. They are part of an unusual informal health insurance system that has developed in New York in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country. But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage. . . . The people affected include not just writers, artists, doctors and the like, they said, but also independent tradespeople, like home builders or carpenters, who work on their own. . . . But many professionals make too much money to qualify for the subsidies, and even if they are able to find comparably priced insurance, the new policies do not have the coverage they are accustomed to. . . . It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people – liberal, concerned with social justice – who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. . . . It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in. “We are the Obama people,” said Camille Sweeney, a New York writer and member of the Authors Guild. Her insurance is being canceled, and she is dismayed that neither her pediatrician nor her general practitioner appears to be on the exchange plans. ‘I’m for it,’ she said. ‘But what is the reality of it?’”

Tags: IHouse, Budget deal, Senate, Nuclear Option,  confirmations  Obamacare, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Importance of Self-Limited Government

Last week, the president tried to regain the political high ground with a major speech on the problems of economic inequality, a concern central to Progressivism for more than a century -- a century, ironically, defined in domestic politics by the rise of the welfare state to combat it, funded by a redistributionist income tax. In this essay, we take up Federalist 21, where we see that the founders had a different agenda when it comes to taxation. Hamilton praised consumption taxes, for example, because they are self-limiting: make the rate too high and you lose revenue. The taxes raised to protect a free people, he argues, should be raised in a way that protects that freedom. ~ Matt Parks

The regime of a free and equal people
 Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks, Contributing Authors: President Obama turned to the first play in the pragmatic progressive playbook this week in an attempt to redirect attention away from the failure of the Affordable Care Act. Rather than discuss a law that has as many devils as details, he dialed up “Hope and Change, 2008” with a cause so big joined to policies so vague that none could object: “the defining challenge of our time” is “making sure our economy works for every working American.”

This narrative is as old as American Progressivism itself (see Herbert Croly’s The Promise of American Life). It goes something like this. The Founders’ combination of political equality and economic liberty had run its course by the end of the 19th century because industrialization had undermined social mobility. The rich and poor lived completely separate lives, creating differences at the starting line in the race of life than made meaningless the legal right to compete with one another on equal terms. The Federal government, therefore, was duty bound to discriminate against advantages of talent and circumstance in an effort to more fully realize the promise of American democracy.

Of course, many a political and economic fortune would be made in the enterprise. But this is the rightful price that we pay for government action, which like the president’s health care reform, in his words, “can make an enormous difference in increasing opportunity and bolstering ladders into the middle class.”

But what of the opening premise of the president’s address, namely that economic inequality is more problematic now than ever? Has a century of progressive governance–and five years of the president’s own leadership–helped make the American people less rather than more equal, and all the while led us toward bankruptcy?

Consider, for example, the IMF’s latest debt statistics (go ahead, indulge yourself!), revealing the sobering realities of America’s march to insolvency. In 2008, the United States and the advanced economies of the Eurozone (combined) had almost identical levels of debt (73.3% and 70.3% of GDP, respectively). In the last five years, Europe, led by headline-grabbing basket cases like Ireland, Greece, Portugal, and Spain, has increased its debt rate by 25%–and the U.S. by 33%.

Still ahead for the U.S., of course: absorbing almost the entire Baby Boomer generation into Social Security and Medicare–and the fiscal impact of Obamacare, all the greater because of the massive growth in Medicaid enrollment it has inspired, even in states that have not chosen to expand eligibility.

All this will only add to the pressure for tax increases. Yet who and how much to tax? No worries, the IMF suggests that the top income tax rate in the United States is 10-25% lower than the rate likely to maximize income tax revenue. What is more interesting still is the fact that this calculation is based on the (IMF: “contentious to say the least”) assumption that “changes in welfare of those with the top incomes are not valued by policymakers.” Governments, in other words, want the money of the rich not happiness for the rich. Yet pursuing wealth redistribution through taxation has made neither rich nor poor happy.

We need not look far to see what the regime of a free and equal people looks like.

However much he is regarded as the “big government” founder today, Alexander Hamilton showed in Federalist 21 that his views on taxation were very far removed from the progressive ideology captured perfectly in the IMF’s calculations.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the national government had no taxing power at all. Instead, it issued requisitions to state governments, which were to raise the funds through local taxation. Although obliged by their own consent to supply the funds requested, the states very often did not. The results were nearly disastrous. Only the character and calming words of George Washington prevented soldiers from marching on Congress to demand their unpaid wages. Only the dextrous diplomacy of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, among others, prevented national insolvency when foreign loans came due.

As a result, nearly everyone agreed during the debate over the Constitution that the federal government needed a power to tax. But many sensibly feared that this necessary tool of government might become the tool of government oppression it had so recently been in the hands of the British Parliament. In response, Hamilton outlined principles of taxation for a free people that we would do well to heed today.

In the economic circumstances of his day (and before the income tax-authorizing 16th Amendment), Hamilton projected that most government revenue would come from taxes on consumption. These sorts of taxes had two noteworthy advantages. First, they were at least partially voluntary: “The amount to be contributed by each citizen will in a degree be at his own option, and can be regulated by an attention to his resources.” All consumption taxes, of course, can be avoided by saving, rather than spending money. But, as Hamilton notes, if the tax is confined to non-essential items, it can be voluntary in another way–anyone wishing to avoid the tax can simply avoid the items taxed.

Moreover, as Hamilton further argues, consumption taxes are naturally self-limiting: “If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption, the collection is eluded, and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.” If you put a high tax on boats, some people will decide they don’t need a boat. Tax newspapers and the demand for magazines will rise.

There is a sense, of course, in which all taxes are self-limiting: people change their behavior when tax laws change. That’s why, for example, the revenue-maximizing top income tax rate calculated by the IMF is not 100 percent. But not all taxes are equally self-limiting. Those that are less obvious can only be minimized with careful attention. Those that touch necessary goods and income can only be minimized with pain. Insofar as the Progressive pragmatist recognizes these limits (and the track record of Democratic politicians on this point is not good), he does so reluctantly, with unmistakable moral judgment against the tax “dodger” and every effort to maximize the trouble and pain necessary to dodge. He naturally advocates an income tax system in which the government quietly keeps your first dollar.

On the other hand, Hamilton considers the (legal) tax “dodger” a guardian of liberty, protecting himself and his fellow citizens from oppression. He lauds consumption taxes precisely because they are so obvious and easily avoided.

Applied to present-day politics, Hamilton’s discussion of taxation would represent a complete rejection of the Administration’s attempt to persuade young Americans to enroll in Obamacare. Rather than lecture young Americans for choosing to pay a $95/month non-enrollment penalty in order to avoid a worse economic fate, Hamilton would praise their appropriate response to what amounts to an unfair, impractical, and unreasonable tax. Instead of reminding millenials of their vulnerability, Hamilton would remind the Administration that a government that asks too much of its citizenry makes itself vulnerable to just criticism.

Progressives expect equals to accept inequality as the starting point for what they deem moral and practical: for young people to embrace paying too much for health insurance so that others can pay too little. It should come as no surprise that millennials are not enrolling in Obamacare for the same reason they don’t fill their older model vehicles with super unleaded: they can’t afford to. Eventually we may all come to see such Progressive schemes as impractical. But of greater importance is that we all recognize the deeper, moral argument against Progressivism: that it is wrong to treat equals unequally – especially in the name of equality.
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Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks are Professors of Politics at The Kings College (NYC). They are contributors to the ARRA News Service. They edit and write for The Federalist and are on Facebook and Twitter.

Tags: self-limited, government, Alexander Hamilton, millennials, taxation, tax avoidance, Obamacare, Federalist 21, David Corbin, Matthew Parks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Politically Correct is Political Ignorance

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Americans are inclined to believe that, with the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the Cold War from 1945 to 1991 was over. In fact, that war of ideologies, communism versus capitalism, began in the 1920s after the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, initiated a covert program to undermine America. Today we call it “political correctness” and its impact on our society is sapping it of its true history and values.

Willing Accomplices: How KGB Covert Intelligence Agents Created Political Correctness, Obama’s Hate-America-First Political Platform, and Destroyed America” by Kent Clizbe, a former CIA espionage officer, reveals how active and covert agents of the KGB, the Soviet security and intelligence agency, has led inevitably to the election of a President who hates America and is seeking to undermine it in every way possible.

If that sounds implausible, keep in mind that Obama is the first President to shake the hand of Raul Castro, the brother and current president of Communist Cuba, at the recent Mandela memorial. He is the same President who told Dimity Medvev, the third president of the Russian Federation from 2008 to 2012, that he would have more “flexibility” in his second term to carry out its ideological war on America.

Clizbe’s book deserves far more notice, but in a nation in which its mainstream print and broadcast outlets are filled with Leftists, that is not going to happen. He details and documents how the messengers of the attacks “denigrated American patriotism, capitalism and individualism, and called into question American foreign policy.” He calls those messengers Russia’s “willing accomplices.”

“By the 1980s, full-blown politically correctness (had) infected academia, education, the media, Hollywood, and American society in general. Americans were constantly bombarded with reminders of their hatefulness, bigotry, racism, sexism, and imperialism. Confused by the message of hate and disgust, while their daily lives were filled with positive energy, normal Americans became wracked with guilt.”

“They were reminded daily that they were guilty of slavery, bigotry, killing babies in Vietnam, oppressing minorities and women around the globe, stealing the continent from the Indians, being arrogant in dealing with foreigners, killing the Earth with their hairspray, and various other sins.”

It took the imposition of Obamacare to awaken many Americans to the danger of a government intent on taking over one sixth of the nation’s economy, the movement called the Tea Party, and it is awakening millions more to the threat to their lives.

This is why, during his first campaign, Obama accused Midwesteners of getting “bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment…” This is why, during his first term, he launched a major effort to attack the Second Amendment and why American opposition to illegal aliens is characterized as wrong.

It explains why the Obama administration bailout of General Motors which should have been allowed to file for bankruptcy and reorganization has cost Americans ten billion dollars. It explains why billions were wasted on “investments” in solar and wind turbine manufacturers that went bankrupt shortly afterward, and why some six trillion dollars was added to our national debt in Obama’s first term.

It explains why Obamacare, a full-fledged disaster, was passed by Democratic Party votes by Senators who never read the bill. No Republican voted for this bill. And hundreds of thousands of Americans will die because they can no longer afford their medications, no longer have access to their personal physicians, and can no longer gain admittance to hospitals.

Political correctness has been advanced by a fundamental formula: Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter-accusations.”

Little wonder why conservative politicians and the Tea Party movement are constantly attacked as bigoted and evil.

Political correctness infuses all aspects of our culture today, but is most evident in our school systems and our institutions of higher learning. Glizbe warns that “Children exposed to this insidious self-hate are programed to hate themselves, their ancestors and predecessors, their country’s founders and leaders, past and present.” It explains why a massive effort was launched to ensure that neither the salute to the American flag, the pledge of allegiance, and prayer are no longer a part of the daily regime in our schools.

It is evident in Hollywood where one of its famed purveyors, film director Oliver Stone said “Nationalism and patriotism are the two most evil forces that I know of…” It explains why films like “Wall Street” denigrate capitalism.

It explains why so much of American culture, particularly what passes for entertainment, has fallen victim to the massive covert effort that was launched after the end of the Russian civil war to imposed communism. “The goal was to destroy the core moral fabric of American society.”

It explains why Christmas and the whole of Christianity is under attack in America.

It will take an equally massive effort by Americans, patriots, to fight against and reverse the harm that has been done to our society and our governance--check out the numbers and names of the Progressive Caucus in Congress—but it must be done in the face of President Obama’s campaign to reduce the influence of America on global affairs, to create class warfare against America’s “millionaires and billionaires”, and the vast expansion of the “social programs” that have millions of Americans on some form of government dole while we struggle to overcome the longest recession since World War Two.

It is the naked face of communism. Political correctness is political ignorance.

A vast re-education of generations of Americans will be needed to reverse its effect on our lives and the future of the nation.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: Politically Correct, Political Ignorance, Kent Clizbe, Willing Accomplices, Alan Caruba, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obamacare’s Coverage Gap

Because Of Obamacare, ‘An Estimated 15 Million People’ With Health Insurance Today Could Begin The New Year Without It!
 ‘Obamacare's Biggest Losers’ -- ‘People Who Have Coverage Now Uninsured In The New Year’

‘Those facing a potential coverage gap include an estimated 15 million people’ “…the law's insurance cancellations mixed with the Web site's problems might leave some people who have coverage now uninsured in the new year. These are Obamacare's biggest losers: People whose current plans have been canceled but who are having trouble getting through HealthCare.Gov to purchase coverage by Dec. 23 -- the deadline for buying insurance that begins Jan. 1. … Those facing a potential coverage gap include an estimated 15 million people…” (“Obamacare’s Biggest Losers,” Washington Post, 12/11/13)
  • “After three months and more than 50 phone calls, John Gisler gave up on buying coverage through HealthCare.gov. Gisler wanted to purchase a plan for his 45-year-old son, who has a rare degenerative condition affecting his coordination and speech. His current coverage through Utah’s high-risk insurance pool plan ends Dec. 31. …so far, Gisler hasn’t succeeded in purchasing coverage -- but not for a lack of effort. ‘We’ve had three separate applications that failed to make it through,’ Gisler says. ‘I have a notebook with all the calls I’ve made, maybe 50 or 100. It just goes on and on.’ Earlier this week, Gisler quit trying.” (“Obamacare’s Biggest Losers,” Washington Post, 12/11/13)
“Joe Porzio, a 57-year-old construction worker in Wayne … received a letter saying his plan was being canceled by Dec. 31… He was eventually able to fill out an application, but the website locked him out and he has not been able to access it. ‘The deadline is approaching, and I’m still in limbo,’ Porzio said.” (“Many New Jerseyans Stuck In Health Care Limbo As Dec. 23 Deadline Nears,” Bergen County Record, 12/12/13)
‘We Are Now… Being Forced Into A Lower Coverage Plan, For More Money’

“‘So, in a nutshell,’ Holroyd said in an e-mail, ‘we are now, once again, being forced into a lower coverage plan, for more money.’ …her situation has been miserable. ‘I'm losing faith in our administration.’” (“Four Stories: After Obamacare 'Fix,' Many Are Still Left Out,” CNN, 12/11/13)
  • “Holroyd supported the Affordable Care Act when it was passed in 2009. ... Everything changed in October, when Holroyd was notified by her insurer that her plan could not be renewed in 2014. The comparable plans offered to Holroyd featured a 29% increase in premiums and higher co-pays, as well as significantly higher prescription costs. Holroyd expected to pay more under the new law, but the new estimates exceeded her expectations. ‘We're savvy,’ she told CNN, ‘but we had no idea that the premiums were going to be what they are.’” (“Four Stories: After Obamacare 'Fix,' Many Are Still Left Out,” CNN, 12/11/13)
“Losing his insurance plan is a big financial blow for [Dr. Martin] Klein. … Klein says he would have to pay 50% more to get a plan that he deems comparable to the one he is losing. Klein says he cannot afford a comparable plan, so he has decided to purchase an HMO with a $12,700 deductible for himself and his family. What concerns him most about the plan is that it limits him to a narrow network of providers, all of which are in Connecticut. This prevents him from keeping some of his doctors in New York City. … The self-proclaimed ‘lifelong Democrat’ is frustrated with his insurance company, the president and the law itself." (“Four Stories: After Obamacare 'Fix,' Many Are Still Left Out,” CNN, 12/11/13)

‘Premiums Went Up 127 Percent’

Prestonburg, KY Man: “A policy that has similar coverage to what we had would cost us around 1100.00 a month. This is a 100 % increase for me and my wife.” (Sen. McConnell, Constituent Mail via Your Story)

Owensboro, KY Woman: “Our President lied to us. Not only are we going to lose our insurance but when go to a different policy-we have to pay more. We will never be able to retire-we are 58 & 56 years old-we will have to work the rest of our [lives] just to pay for our insurance.” (Sen. McConnell, Constituent Mail via Your Story)

OH Family: Premiums alone will increase by $5,000 per year, ‘When you’re trying to keep your house, pay car insurance and put your kid through college, it’s tough’ “Ed Anderson, a graphic designer from Columbus, Ohio, who was recently bumped from his wife’s insurance policy for reasons relating to the new law, discovered that his family’s monthly premiums will double even if he chooses the most inexpensive plan available to him through the new federal insurance exchange in his state. Anderson said he and his wife currently pay a monthly premium of $460 through Blue Cross Blue Shield. … The new insurance policy will cost the Andersons an extra $5,000 a year in premiums alone. ‘When you’re trying to keep your house, pay car insurance and put your kid through college, it’s tough,’ Anderson said. ‘Everything we do is going to be affected by this. Getting groceries, eating out. Going anywhere. It’s just crazy.’” (“The Many Disrupted Lives Under Obamacare,” The Fiscal Times, 12/12/13)

“Kim Greene warned her small-business clients that 2014 would be ugly. But not like this. … ‘Sixty-eight percent, 43 percent, 40 percent,’ Greene said as she read off the rate hikes that her small-employer clients are facing in 2014. ‘Wow, 70.33 percent.’ ‘I’ve never seen anything like this,’ she said.” (“Obamacare Leaves N.J. Small Employers Scrambling Around High Premiums, Hard Choices,” The Star-Ledger, 12/8/13)

Tags: Obamacare, coverage gap, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The 'Selfie' President

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
Comment Update: Received the following Cartoon response from cartoonist Dan Youra,  "Selfie from Helle"
Editorial Cartoon by Dan Youra

Tags: William Warren, editorial cartoon. President Obama, media, The Selfie President, funeral, Mandela,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senate Dems Use Nuclear Option To Confirm 'Most Left-Wing Judge In History Of The Republic'

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 12, 2013
The Senate has been in session all night and continues as Democrats use the nuclear option to push through liberal nominees designed to rubberstamp President Obama’s agenda. Republicans are using Senate procedure to slow these votes to a crawl, but majority Democrats have the votes to jam these nominations through, now that they broke Senate rules to change them.

At 12:45, the Senate voted 79-19 to confirm Landya McCafferty to be U.S. District Judge for the District of New Hampshire and then voted for cloture (to cut off debate) on the nomination of Patricia Wald to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

Last night, shortly after 1 AM, Democrats confirmed controversial liberal Georgetown Law professor Nina Pillard to a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 51-44.

The Senate then voted 57-39 to invoke cloture (cut off debate) on the controversial nomination of Chai Feldblum to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Around 9:30, the Senate voted 54-41 to confirm the Feldblum nomination and then voted 55-41 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Elizabeth Wolford to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York. After Republicans used all possible time, the Senate voted 70-29 to confirm the Wolford nomination and 58-40 to invoke cloture on the McCafferty nomination.

The House convened at 10 AM. Yesterday, the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 2019 (295-103) — "To eliminate taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns and party conventions and reprogram savings to provide for a 10-year pediatric research initiative through the Common Fund administered by the National Institutes of Health, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2319 (398-0) — "To clarify certain provisions of the Native American Veterans' Memorial Establishment Act of 1994."
S. 1471 (398-1) - "To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of the Army to reconsider decisions to inter or honor the memory of a person in a national cemetery, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3212 (398-0) — "To ensure compliance with the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by countries with which the United States enjoys reciprocal obligations, to establish procedures for the prompt return of children abducted to other countries, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1992 (399-0) — "To amend the requirements relating to assessment of Israel's qualitative military edge over military threats, and for other purposes."

Today the House will focus on the The Budget Conference Committee proposal presented yesterday. The House Speaker is going to violate the promised 72 Hour pledge for Representative to read and review bills.  In addition, the House will also consider the following bills:
H.R. 3695 — "To provide a temporary extension of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 and amendments made by that Act, as previously extended and amended and with certain additional modifications and exceptions, to suspend permanent price support authorities, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1447 — "To encourage States to report to the Attorney General certain information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of law enforcement agencies, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3509 — "To direct the Secretary of State to submit to Congress a report on the status of post-earthquake recovery and development efforts in Haiti."
H. Res. 441 — "Providing for the concurrence by the House in the Senate amendments to H.R. 3304, with an amendment."

Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens expressed criticism  for the speed with which the budget deal is being rushed through the House of Representatives. Meherns said, "In order to prevent anybody from even having an opportunity to analyze and comment on this budget deal, it is being rushed through the House in a day. This is how Nancy Pelosi ran the House, and Republicans swore up and down they would be different. How good does that promise look now?

"The Republican Pledge to America has again been broken. You get 72 hours to read a bill before it's voted on? No. They're going to cut $100 billion? Since 2010, outlays are only down by $3 billion, and that is only thanks to the sequester. Now, this budget deal will increase spending by $57 billion over the next two years, canceling roughly a third of the sequester in 2014 and 2015. It allows funding for Obamacare to continue. These are the types of policies Republicans opposed while in the minority. This continued breach of faith with those who entrusted them with power is wrong.

"At least going into the 2014 elections, the American people should not be deluded into believing that anyone who votes for this bill truly is seeking to cut the size and scope of government. Without this central promise, it is hard to imagine what incumbent Republicans have to offer in November besides a vague warning that it could have been worse.

"There will be those who point to the fact that government spending in real terms has been reduced since 2010 by about $3 billion. This good news is now being negated by a compromise enthusiastically embraced by Senate Democrats and President Obama, which now sets the stage for more of the sequester to be rolled back down the road.

"Is it any wonder why a president determined to grow government would herald the Ryan compromise that reverses a three year trend of cutting the size of government? Taxpayers would have been better off with a basic continuing resolution that changed nothing."

In the Senate, as soon as Democrats turned the key on the nuclear option, they started jamming through extreme liberal nominees. And of course they waited until 1 AM on Thursday night to force through one of the most out of the mainstream nominees, Georgetown law professor Nina Pillard. Pillard is so problematic that three Senate Democrats wouldn’t even vote to confirm her.

Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, pointed out just some of Pillard’s extreme positions. “The Obama Administration and its allies have done just about everything to get what they want, one way or the other – even fundamentally altering the contours of our democracy when they couldn’t get their way playing by the rules. We saw the culmination of that with the Majority Leader’s power grab in the Senate last month. The real-world consequences of that power-grab are most sharply illustrated by the nominee before us. Professor Pillard may be a fine person, but she is not someone who should receive a lifetime position on the second highest court in the land. She will be confirmed, however, because of the Democrat Majority’s power grab. A review of her legal views makes one thing clear: the nominee before us is a liberal ideologue — in other words, just the kind of person this administration was looking for to rubber stamp its most radical legislative and regulatory proposals on the D.C. Circuit Court.

“Take the so-called Hosanna Tabor case. Last year, the Supreme Court reinforced a core First Amendment principle when it ruled unanimously that churches, rather than the government, could select their own leaders. Every single justice sided with the church’s argument in that case — every single one. It just makes sense. Freedom of religion is a bedrock foundation of our democracy.  . . .  But Professor Pillard seems to have a different view. Prior to the court’s unanimous decision, she said the notion that ‘the Constitution requires deference to church decisions about who qualifies as a minister’ in the case before the court seemed ‘like a real stretch.’ And she went even further than that. The position of the church in the Hosanna Tabor case, she said, represented a ‘substantial threat to the American rule of law.’ A ‘substantial threat to the American rule of law’! On a case the Supreme Court decided 9-0. I mean, even the court’s most liberal justices as I mentioned, disagreed with Professor Pillard on this one. One of them characterized that kind of position as ‘amazing.’ In other words, Professor Pillard must think even the furthest-left Supreme Court justice isn’t far left enough for her.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Writing at National Review Online, Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center said of Pillard, “[F]olks who know Pillard well have described her to me . . . as someone who threatens to be ‘the most left-wing judge in the history of the Republic.’” Pillard has suggested American legal thinking needs to look to international law, writing that “the need for governments to collaborate to regulate increasingly mobile people, money and goods all point toward legal transnationalism.” She suggested that “[a] rights-based approach has normative and strategic benefits for progressive legal change” and noted “promise in international human rights as a potential source of social rights in the United States.”

Pillard wrote in 2007 that “the rights to… abortion, play a central role in freeing women from historically routine conscription into maternity.” And, she said, limiting abortion “reinforces broader patterns of discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders….”

Leader McConnell added, “Pillard has said that abortion, essentially without limits, is necessary to avoid ‘conscription into maternity,’ and that even common-sense laws many American men and women support serve to ‘enforce…incubation.’ She’s referred to the types of ultrasound images that are now available to so many proud moms and dads-to-be as ‘deceptive images’ perpetuated by the ‘anti-choice movement.’ In other words, she appears to think proud moms and dads-to-be shouldn’t believe their own eyes when they look at the images science has made increasingly available to us over the past few decades. It’s an understatement to say these sorts of views are worrying for someone the President wants to be one of our nation’s top judges.”

He summarized, “We rightly expect justices on our nation’s highest courts to evaluate cases before them with a judge’s even-handed mindset — not the absolutism of an ideologue. . . . In short, Professor Pillard does not seem like a person with the mindset or temperament of a judge. She seems like a person with the attitude and disposition of a left-wing academic, someone who seems to come to conclusions based on how well they support her own theories. Judges are charged with fairly evaluating the law that is before them, not the law as they wish it would be.”

Indeed, this is precisely the kind of view that Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have said should disqualify a judicial nominee. In March of this year, Schumer declared that “judges at the extremes, whichever extreme, tend to want to make law, not interpret law. The best judges are those who see things clearly and fairly, not through an ideological lens, whether that lens is colored red or blue.” But of course Schumer voted for the nuclear option to force Pillard’s nomination through and then voted to confirm Pillard.

As Leader McConnell said to Senate Democrats, “it’s important to keep this is mind as well: Nearly every single Democrat Senator voted to enable the Majority Leader’s power grab last month. Those senators are responsible for its consequences. That includes the confirmation of Ms. Pillard, regardless of how they vote on her nomination. So I’d urge you to rethink the kind of nominees you bring to the floor moving forward – because they’re now all yours.”

Tags: US Senate, Nina Pillard, federal court nominee, extreme liberal, US House, budget deal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Environmentalism's Endless Lies

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I am on the Friends of the Earth (FOE) email list and receive a steady stream of theirs and the Sierra Club’s lies about the environment. A recent FOE mailing stating that “Devastation from climate change has become all too frequent.”

This is simply an outright lie. Inherent in natural events such as hurricanes and typhoons, blizzards, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and forest fires is the damage they cause, but FOE asserted that “People in vulnerable communities are already struggling with dirty air, unsafe housing and increased cancer rates. So when extreme weather hits, its impacts are even more devastating.”

All communities, from small towns to major cities are by definition “vulnerable”, but the air has undergone significant clean-up over the years so this is not a common problem anywhere. As for cancer rates, they too have been in decline thanks to advances in medical care. It is doubtful that most Americans live in allegedly unsafe housing these days. Houses on both coastlines are vulnerable to ocean storms. Houses inland are vulnerable to floods and fires. There is nothing inherently "environmental" about this. It's about location.

All this is little more than blatant scare mongering and FOE was calling on its members and others who received its email to “Call on President Obama to ensure that all Americans are protected from climate disasters.”

No President has any control over weather events. To FOE, however, this is a call for “critical environmental justice.”

There is no such thing as “environmental justice.” It is an invention of environmental groups that are intent on convincing people that whatever they do or fail to do somehow has an impact on the weather.

Indeed, the entire global warming hoax, now called climate change, was based on the lie that humans were responsible for producing huge amounts of carbon dioxide via industry, driving, or making some toast for breakfast. The environmental enemy was and is the use of energy, but it is energy that has so vastly improved and protected everyone’s life.

In a recent article, Dr. Craig Idso, the founder and former president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a coeditor of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and James M. Taylor, a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and the managing editor of Environmental & Climate News, a monthly publication, examined how “Global Warming Alarmism Denies Sound Science.”

They took note of the way the Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change moved away from its earlier predictions and assertions. “The IPCC report contradicts claims that global warming is causing more extreme weather” and “admits the lack of global warming this century defies nearly all computer models that predict rapid future warming.” The organization devoted to the global warming hoax has been forced to retreat from decades of lies about it.

While FOE tries to scare people with references to “extreme weather disasters”, Idso and Taylor pointed to the fact that “Global hurricane frequency is undergoing a long-term decline, with global hurricane and tropical storm activity at record lows during the past several years…The United States is benefitting from the longest period in recorded history without a major hurricane strike. Tornado activity is in long-term decline, with major tornado strikes (F3 or higher) showing a remarkable decline in recent decades.”

This is not to say that hurricanes like super storm Sandy or tornadoes have not occurred, but it is to say that there have been far less. These weather events affecting the United States have been in decline and that is the reality.

The FOE claim that any President can possibly “protect communities” is absurd. It is a lie.

The most worrisome aspect of environmental lies is that they are used to justify governmental policies.

The new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Gina McCarthy, ahead of a trip to China, told a liberal advocacy group in Washington that she has devoted her life to protecting the environment: “And I really see no greater issue and no more urgent threat to public health than climate change.”

There is NOTHING the EPA can do about CLIMATE CHANGE.

The present global climate is, in fact, in a lengthy cooling cycle, not caused by anything to do with human activity, but by a reduction in solar radiation due to its own diminished cycle of magnetic storms (sunspots).

Cleaning the nation’s air and water is a public health activity, but denying Americans access to the nation’s vast reservoirs of coal, oil, and natural gas is an attack on the nation’s economic growth and a denial of the energy it requires to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, providing jobs and keeping energy costs under control.

Environmentalism is based on lies and the lies reflect an agenda that regards humanity as the enemy of the Earth.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: environmentalism, lies, EPA, CO2, climate change, Alan Caruba, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Washington Wins, America Loses

D.C. - slight snow dusting
 Newt Gingrich, Newt Productions: Two things happened yesterday and both represented victories for Washington and defeats for America.

The smaller defeat was closing the federal government on account of an insignificant dusting of snow. The weather was so mild no one in Denver or Minneapolis would have noticed it.

Federal employees--who we had been told throughout the shutdown were eager to go to work--suddenly had another paid day off.

I went to an 8:00 am breakfast next to the White House. The roads were clear (and empty as everyone stayed home). We had 15 people on time at 8:00 am. There was no snow accumulating at the White House.

Then I drove out to Dulles Airport with no problems. There were 200 people at that meeting.

Everyone made it to our business meeting at work later in the day and one person even flew in that morning.

So the private sector kept moving through the light snow earning the tax money to pay the federal workers who couldn't manage to make their way through the flurries.

Washington had won and the country would pay for it.

The larger defeat came when the budget deal was announced.

You could tell how bad a deal it was when no one could describe it honestly.

The budget deal has tax increases but they can't be called tax increases or no Republican could vote for them, so they are simply described in misleading language. But if you fly you will pay a higher tax no matter what the politicians call it.

The sequester is broken and spending will go up.

Since no Republican can vote for spending increases there had to be offsetting out-year cuts.

Of course the immediate spending increases will be real and the out-year cuts will never happen.

It is sad that no one can tell the truth in plain language.

The real disappointment isn't just that the budget deal is so bad it cant be honestly described.

The real disappointment is the lack of imagination and lack of new thinking and creativity.

As I describe in my new book, Breakout, there are many new developments which could be used to shrink spending, cut out waste, improve services, increase competition, grow the economy and get back to a balanced federal budget.

Sadly the opportunities to break out are ignored while the opportunities to tax more and spend more dominate.
----------------
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via his Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Washington wins, America loses, snow, budget deal, Newt Gingrich, Gingrich Productions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Cornelia Thayer Livingston "Nina" Pillard, Post-Nuclear Nominee

 Extremist Dem Nominee Eyes ‘Global Orientation’ For American Law, Calls Basic Religious Freedoms A ‘Substantial Threat’ And Ultrasounds ‘Deceptive Images’

“…folks who know Pillard well have described her ... as someone who threatens to be ‘the most left-wing judge in the history of the Republic.’” (Ed Whelan, National Review Online’s ‘Bench Memos,’ 11/22/13)

PILLARD: American Legal Thinking Must Shift To ‘Transnational, Even Global, Orientation’

PILLARD: “…we need to make some shifts from nation- or region-centric to a more broadly transnational, even global, orientation.” (Introduction To Center For Transnational Legal Studies Symposium, “Why Transnational Legal Education?” P.5, 2011)

PILLARD: “…the need for governments to collaborate to regulate increasingly mobile people, money and goods all point toward legal transnationalism.” (Introduction To Center For Transnational Legal Studies Symposium, “Why Transnational Legal Education?” P.5, 2011)

PILLARD: “A rights-based approach has normative and strategic benefits for progressive legal change… [for example] Aleinikoff asserts that ‘for progressives… the rights tradition of the U.S. Constitution has just about run out’ but he sees promise in international human rights as a potential source of social rights in the United States.” (“The Human Right To Sex Equality At The Work-Family Fault Line,” Les Droits De L’Homme Au Centre—Human Rights Recentered, P.359, 2006)

PILLARD: Right To Choose Your Minister Is A ‘Substantial Threat To The American Rule Of Law’

“In a September 2011 press briefing for Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute, Pillard discussed the then-pending (and soon-to-be-argued) case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church ;v. EEOC.” (Ed Whelan, National Review’s ‘Bench Memos,’ 7/22/13)
  • PILLARD: “[The notion that] the Constitution requires deference to Church decisions about who qualifies as a minister… seems like a real stretch… the big news will be if the Court decides it for the Church.” (Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute, Supreme Court Press Briefing, P.2, 9/19/11)
PILLARD: “…the Lutheran Church’s position here is a substantial threat to the American rule of law – it would effectively empower any religion to create its own autonomous Vatican City-­style regime... It is hard to see the Supreme Court deciding that that is what the First Amendment law requires.” (Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute, Supreme Court Press Briefing, P.3-4, 9/19/11)

Supreme Court Ruled Against Pillard, 9-0: “The Court cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization’s freedom to select its own ministers.” (U.S. Supreme Court, “Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC,” 2011)

PILLARD: Abortion Plays ‘A Central Role In Freeing Women From… Conscription Into Maternity’

PILLARD: Baby ultrasounds are ‘deceptive images of fetus-as-autonomous-being’ “Casting reproductive rights in terms of equality holds promise to recenter the debate towards the real stakes for women… and away from the deceptive images of fetus-as-autonomous-being that the anti-choice movement has popularized since the advent of amniocentesis.”

PILLARD: Limiting abortion “reinforces broader patterns of discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders…”

PILLARD: “…the rights to… abortion, play a central role in freeing women from historically routine conscription into maternity.”

PILLARD: “Antiabortion laws… enforce women’s incubation of unwanted pregnancies…”

Tags: "Nina" Pillard, Post-Nuclear Nominee, radical, abortion, judicial nominee To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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