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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, January 04, 2014

Christmas is Year Round in Washington D.C.

BankRupting America: In Washington, it’s like Christmas year-round—and the budget is unlimited! Check out a few of the many great gifts that Washington has given itself (on the taxpayers’ dime, of course)!

200 Nerf footballs We’d say that these were perhaps purchased as a way to relieve stress after counting all of our tax dollars and verifying our Social Security numbers, but they were unused in a cabinet. Pricetag: $119

U.S. Marshals Service bought $800,000 in swag using taxpayer funds over the course of 5 years. Some of the items included:

400-500 neckties and silk scarves (bearing the USMS seal). Pricetag: $11,338
USMS-themed Christmas ornaments. Pricetag: $13,605
485 USMS-themed blankets and throws. Pricetag: $16,084
USMS lapel pins. Pricetag: $36,596
64 crystal statues. Pricetag: $4,992.69
Free haircuts forever! (If you’re a member of the U.S. Senate). Price tag: $5,250,000
The Senate barbershop, Senate Hair Care Services, opened in 1859 to allow lawmakers a place to “groom themselves before appearing on the Senate floor.” The Senate barbershop provided free services to Senate members until 1979 when the shop started charging a $3.50 fee in response to public pressure. The barbershop ran deficits of around $350,000 per year for the last 15 years, which means it cost taxpayers $5.25 million over that time period. In 2012, Senate Hair Care Services received a $300,000 bailout in order to keep its doors open.

No Laughing allowed! Smoke-detecting underwear. Pricetag: $402,721

Tags: Washington, D.C. spending, gifts, government waste, Bankrupting America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS): Senate Must Act to Put #KidsFirst

In this week's Republican address, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) called on the U.S. Senate to pass the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, bipartisan legislation that boosts funding for pediatric medical research by ending taxpayer subsidies for political party conventions. “In this season of sweeping resolutions,” Harper says, “here’s a chance to show how one small change can make a big difference.”
Full transcript follows:
Rep. Gregg Harper
Good morning and Happy New Year from the Capitol.

Kids are always saying something isn’t fair, but sometimes they’ve got a point. Did you know that today in America, only four percent of all federal funding for cancer research goes to childhood cancer? That’s right, four percent for all pediatric cancers combined.

This doesn’t just set us back in the race for cutting-edge cures and treatments. It places a ceiling on a child’s ability to overcome obstacles and do great things.

I’m sure this issue hits home for many of you. It certainly does for our family. Livingston, our oldest, was 4 when he was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome, a disorder that is often misdiagnosed as autism. Today, he’s making his way through college in a program for students with intellectual disabilities.

Many families, of course, are not as fortunate. They’re out there waiting for hope and answers that often never come.

No, we can’t fix everything. But that doesn’t mean we should accept things as they are. After all, don’t we teach our kids never to settle for less?

That’s why I was proud to introduce H.R. 2019, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.

This bipartisan legislation directs much-needed resources to pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health. We do this using taxpayer dollars currently set aside for political party conventions.

Instead of funding these conventions once every four years, we’ll make it a daily priority to explore the full potential of clinical trials and advancements. Not only for childhood cancer, but for all pediatric conditions – even the most rare genetic diseases.

Last month, the House passed H.R. 2019 with strong support from both sides of the aisle. Now it's the Senate's turn to step up so we can send this bill to the president’s desk.

The good news is, these same Senate leaders have already voted to end the taxpayer subsidy for party conventions. Here’s a way to cut this unnecessary spending and put it towards building a better future for our kids.

Peter Welch, my Democratic co-sponsor for this bill, had it right when he asked: “Can we just put the battle axes down for a while and take a step forward?”

I know we can. And if we do, it just might inspire us to come together and do what the American people sent us here to do. Jobs, health care, energy, education, and innovation are all areas in which the House has started work that Washington needs to finish this year.

But first, we need your help to get this done.

Don’t take it from me. Gabriella Miller, this bill’s namesake – was … well, she was something special.

She was 9 when she found out that she had a brain tumor the size of a walnut. And she was 10 when brain cancer took her life. In that time, Gabriella – never at a loss for words or wisdom – became the leader of this movement.

And she was awfully good at it. “If I go,” Gabriella said, “If I lose my battle I’m going to want all the people to carry on with the war, and we're going to win this war."

Let’s go out and prove her right. Join us in urging our senators to put kids first and pass this bill.

In this season of sweeping resolutions, here’s a chance to show how one small change can make a big difference.

Thank you for listening.

Tags: Rep. Gregg Harper, Mississippi, Weekly Republican Address, Senate, H.R. 2019, Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, #KidsFirst To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Unbridled Lawlessness in America

NSA, Utah
by Gene McVay, Op-Ed: If you discovered unbridled lawlessness and unconstitutional activity within a government agency, what would you do? Every government employee and member of the Armed Forces knows what will happen to them if they blow the whistle. Only the most courageous patriots who love America more than themselves will ever dare. If you blow the whistle on an agency, with a corrupt Agency Director, his or her Inspector General will inspect the allegations. The IG works for the Agency Director. Even if the Fraud, Waste & Abuse (FW&A) involves a low ranking individual and is substantiated by the IG, your career is over, O-V-E-R, done, finished! YOU will be investigated, harassed, isolated and totally destroyed. That’s why waste in the government is LEGENDARY!

If your allegations point to a high ranking individual or the Agency itself, they will NEVER be substantiated! Yes, the IG system cannot work and is itself FW&A. Only the Government Accountability Office (GAO) can be depended on the get the truth. The GAO works for Congress.

Unless you get your news from Good Morning America, Today, CNN or MSNBC, you realize that most of the Cabinet Members and Agency Directors are corrupt. The Attorney General sets in Criminal and Civil Contempt of Congress while the National Director of Intelligence and the Director of NSA have both lied to Congress.

Inexplicably many Americans actually think spying on them makes them safer, can you explain that to me? A fifth grader can read and understand the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NSA stand for “No Such Amendment?” For the first time in American History all three branches of government are complicit in violating the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

NSA is suppose to focus on foreign intelligence but I believe they have become obsessed with learning what size underwear you have on, what inside information CEO’s know, what horse will win the 5th race at Belmont, how Judges will rule in specific cases or where the next shopping center will be built? NSA has a dismal record when it comes to stopping the Boston Bombing, the USS Cole attack, the Khobar Towers bombing, the Benghazi Attack, 911, the Time Square Bombing and countless other catastrophes that cost countless American Lives. They spied on our allies instead of spying on our enemies. Maybe if they had put some effort into finding Osama bin Laden 12 years ago the war in Afghanistan would never have happened?

It has been estimated that there are at least 20,000 illegal aliens from terrorist countries in the United States. Where are they, what are they up to and when will they do their reprehensible mission? Suitcase Nukes and thousands of surface to air missiles cannot be accounted for. Where are they, who has them and what will they do with them? They could all be in the United States because our 92,000 miles of shoreline and our borders are porous.

So what is the focus of the once mighty United States? Silencing Edward Snowden! Even usually rational citizens have lost sight of the crooks and focused on the messenger. Nobody at NSA or IRS has been arrested. Witnesses to the Benghazi attack have been threatened. The Doctor who found bin Laden has now been charged with murder while America refuses to lift a finger to help him. Are there any Americans left with enough discernment to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys?

While you have been obsessed with Snowden and Duck Dynasty, your government spent $98,670.00 on an outhouse in Alaska, a million to heat the pavement at a bus stop, a $10,000 grant for a Pole Dancing Performance, $5,400,000.00 for booze and crystal for the State Department, $82,000 to monitor depression on Twitter and $562,000 for artwork for offices. Oh, did I mention the 1.5 million square foot billion dollar NSA Building in Utah?

Time to go back to Good Morning America, you might miss a great recipe for rattlesnake chili?
---------------
Gene McVay is a veteran of the US Air Force and Air National Guard who rose through the ranks to command a six billion dollar provisional wing. He flew 50 combat missions in Vietnam. He retired as a command pilot and colonel. In 1998 Gene sought the Republican nomination for governor of Arkansas against Mike Huckabee. He is active in local, state and national organizations. He is author of “Top Gun Management,” and blogs at Gene McVey On Guard where he fist shared this article. Follow him on Twitter @GeneMcVay and Facebook.

Tags: Gene McVay, 9/11, congress, Constitution, FW&A, IRS, NSA, lawlessness, National Security Administration, Snowden, America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obama Administration’s Two Quiet New Executive Actions On Who Can Buy A Gun

by Fred Lucas, The Blaze: After failing to strengthen background checks on gun buyers through Congress, the Obama administration on Friday announced pending executive action on the matter focused mainly on mental health issues that would allow the government to get around certain privacy laws on the books in order to obtain more information.

The new restrictions would take the form of regulations from the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the regulations would seek to gain information previously withheld because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, which protects medical privacy.

“Too many Americans have been severely injured or lost their lives as a result of gun violence,” a White House release said Friday. “While the vast majority of Americans who experience a mental illness are not violent, in some cases when persons with a mental illness do not receive the treatment they need, the result can be tragedies such as homicide or suicide.”

The administration’s Friday post-holiday announcement came while President Barack Obama was still on vacation in Hawaii, in stark contrast to Obama’s first executive actions on guns, which were announced in a White House ceremony. “Friday news dump” announcements have also traditionally been used to try to avoid media scrutiny.

Federal regulations do not require congressional authorization, but must go through a period of public comment and review before being enacted.

The Justice Department regulation would clarify who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law for reasons of mental health. The White House says that terminology in federal law is ambiguous.

Examples given by the Justice Department are the statutory terms “committed to a mental institution” and “adjudicated as a mental defective” to include involuntary inpatient and outpatient commitments, anyone found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, someone lacking mental responsibility or deemed insane, and persons found guilty but mentally ill.

“We are taking an important, commonsense step to clarify the federal firearms regulations, which will strengthen our ability to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “This step will provide clear guidance on who is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law for reasons related to mental health, enabling America’s brave law enforcement and public safety officials to better protect the American people and ensure the safety of our homes and communities.”

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to ensure states are submitting more information on individuals through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Thus far, the health privacy laws have gotten in the way, so the HHS wants to “eliminate this barrier by giving certain HIPAA covered entities an express permission to submit to the background check system the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands.”

The Government Accountability Office found in 2012 that 17 states had submitted fewer than 10 records of individuals to the federal background check system who were prohibited from buying guns for mental health reasons.

“There is a strong public safety need for this information to be accessible to the NICS, and some states are currently under-reporting or not reporting certain information to the NICS at all,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “This proposed rulemaking is carefully balanced to protect and preserve individuals’ privacy interests, the patient-provider relationship, and the public’s health and safety.”

HHS began looking at the matter last April. The regulation would not prohibit someone seeking help for metal illness from buying a firearm. Further, the White House says, the rule wouldn’t require reporting routine mental health visits.

Last year, the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected a proposal backed by Obama to expand background checks. The legislative push came in response to the December 2012 elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. A shooting occurred earlier that year at a movie theater in Colorado. In both of cases, and in others, the accused shooters have had mental health problems.

Tags: Obama administration, executive actions, regulations, limits on gun owners, 2nd Amendment,  gun, guns,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Guardian Slams Funding of Anti-Global Warming Groups

"Global Warming" written in the Snow
 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: The Guardian, a London-based daily newspaper, has been a leading advocate of the global warming theory—now called climate change—and its December 20 edition published an article by Susanne Goldenberg, “Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change.”

The article focused on a study by Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle that had been published in the journal Climate Change asserting that “The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires, often working through secretive funding networks. They have displaced corporations as the prime supporters of 91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change.”

What action these organizations or even entire governments could take to have any affect whatever on “climate change” defies common sense. Nothing they could do, for example, would have any effect on the action of the Sun, the primary determinant of climate. For the past seventeen years the Sun has been in a natural cycle of reduced radiation, less warmth for the Earth. The result has been a cooling cycle on Earth that has crushed decades of lies about “global warming.”

It’s not that the Earth hasn’t had previous cycles of warmer climate, but they had nothing to do with anything humans do. There was warming before the Industrial Revolution introduced the use of coal, oil and natural gas to provide the energy that has marked the development and use of technologies that have improved human life in countless ways. “Global warming” is blamed on the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called greenhouse gases. The most prominent of these gases in the Earth’s atmosphere is nothing more than water vapor.

Apparently, if Brulle and The Guardian are to be believed, anyone or any organization that donates to any group that doubts the claims of Big Green are the enemies of “global warming”, but this conveniently ignored estimates that the U.S. government, according to an October article in The New American “will spend more money on fighting global warming than it will on tightening border security.” The spending is estimated to cost approximately $22.2 billion this year, twice as much as the $12 billion estimated for customs and border enforcement.”

There are, according to the White House, “currently 18 federal agencies engaged in activities related to global warming. These agencies fund programs that include scientific research, international climate assistance, renewable energy technology, and subsidies for renewable energy producers.”

The Guardian article caught my eye because, among the organizations that have been active in debunking the “global warming” theory has been The Heartland Institute. I have been an advisor to the Institute which, since 2008, has organized eight international conferences on global warming that have featured some of the world’s leading skeptics.

If you want to know how the Institute is funded, you can go to their website where you will find, for example, that it does not solicit or accept grants from any of those government agencies using billions of taxpayer dollars to convince Americans that “global warming” is real or that anything the government does about “climate change” can have any effect on it. In 2012, Heartland received 50% of its income from foundations, 28% from individuals, and 18% from corporations. No corporate donor contributes more than 5% of its annual budget.

In contrast, a recent article by Ron Arnold, a Washington Examiner columnist and executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, noted that over the past decade environmental organizations received 345,052 foundation grants totaling $20,826,664,000—over twenty billion dollars—largely from a 200-plus member Environmental Grantmakers Association and the smaller, farther-left National Network of Grantmakers. Arnold said that “Today, foundations are the backbone of Big Green.”

On a recent CNN television program, Marc Morano, the communications director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) took on the Sierra Club director, noting that this major environmental organization has received $26 million from natural gas corporations to support its attacks on the coal industry. So “fossil fuels” industries are okay if they are giving the Sierra Club money.

“So record cold,” said Morano, “is now evidence of man-made global warming.”

While the Koch-affiliated foundations that provide grants to conservative groups were singled out, along with Exxon Mobil, in The Guardian article, no mention was made of multi-billionaire George Soros who is famed for funding all manner of liberal groups and who reportedly has invested heavily in “clean energy” companies—solar and wind—whose products do not produce the so-called greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the more recent articles in The Guardian was titled “Global warming will intensify drought, says new study.” The problem, of course, is that there is NO global warming.

By contrast, a July Fox News article, “Billions spent in Obama climate plan may be virtually useless, study says” was not also reported in the mainstream media. Suffice to say that those billions came from taxpayer’s pockets.

I am happy to know that the Heartland Institute, a 29 year old non-profit research organization, CFACT, and other free market research and activist groups receive foundation and other support. Without them, the lies about “climate change” from the Obama administration and the many environmental organizations would not be debunked.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signsdisseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: The Gardian, funding, global warming, climate change, the environment, anti-global warming, global cooling, CFACT, Heartland Institute, Alan Caruba, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Eleven State Attorneys General Stand For The Rule Of Law

by Rick Manning: Eleven states are now challenging the legal ability of the Obama administration to unilaterally change and delay portions of the Affordable Care Act without the consent of Congress. As The Hill reported:“Eleven GOP attorneys general say the Obama administration is breaking the law by constantly making changes to ObamaCare without going through Congress.

The attorneys general specifically criticize President Obama’s executive action that allowed insurance companies to keep offering health plans that had been cancelled for not meeting ObamaCare’s more rigorous standards.

They also add that congressional races, whether for the House or Senate, could swing as easily on local priorities as on broader questions of the national economy. And in some cases, the local economic story is different from the emerging national trend.”
Americans for Limited Government applauds the decision by these eleven state attorneys general to challenge the administration’s notion that it can change the law of the land by executive fiat.

The United States is a nation of laws and the actions of 11 state attorneys general to uphold the law should not be noteworthy. However, in today’s environment, where the president believes he can wave a magic wand and dispense with the letter of the law, it is praiseworthy that the following attorneys general are doing what’s right and taking a stand:

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (Author) — West Virginia
Attorney General Luther Strange – Alabama
Attorney General Sam Olens – Georgia
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden – Idaho
Attorney General Derek Schmidt – Kansas
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell – Louisiana
Attorney General Bill Schuette – Michigan
Attorney General Jon Bruning – Nebraska
Attorney General Scott Pruitt – Oklahoma
Attorney General Greg Abbott – Texas
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – Virginia

The only question that remains, then, is where are the other 39?
----------------
Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government. This article was also shared on the ALG blog: NetRightDaily.

Tags: eleven state, Attorney General, rule of Law, Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Congress Defends Religious Freedom for the Troops

 Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: It was a rare and welcome victory for religious freedom for our all-volunteer military. Congress approved — and President Obama the day after Christmas signed — the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This new law contains stronger language than ever before that assures our service members do not have to give up their own freedoms while protecting ours.

This new law contains some of Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) provisions to assure better implementation of freedom guarantees. In the past, the Obama administration has largely ignored protections for service members. This law provides clear deadlines for the Defense Department to issue new regulations. Military commanders should no longer be in doubt about America’s historic commitment to religious freedom in the ranks.

This underscoring of basic freedoms by our Congress should never have been necessary.

We have seen under this administration an unprecedented looking away as the basic rights of service members have been infringed. Political correctness seems to be the Order of the Day. This administration has been more interested in using the military as a laboratory for radical social experimentation than as the sword and shield of the republic.

The need to protect such freedom goes all the way back to Gen. George Washington in the Continental Army. When he assumed command of the Army in Massachusetts in 1775, he soon learned there would be an anti-Catholic demonstration by some zealots among the largely Protestant force. “Pope’s Day” had been observed for more than a century among New England Puritans. It featured sports and games, but it ended with a spectacle. An effigy of the Pope was stuffed with straw and live cats. Set ablaze, the screaming of the cats was said to be the screaming of the Popes in hell.

His Excellency put a quick end to such overt religious bigotry. He reminded his officers that the cause of America needed help, maybe from Catholic Quebec, surely from Catholic France. And he sternly forbade such a “childish” and “ridiculous” display. Washington put an end to Pope’s Day, not only in the Army, but in the nation at large.

This is a far cry from today, when Bibles have been banned at Walter Reed military hospital near Washington, D.C. Family Research Council (FRC) quickly sought congressional support to have those Bibles restored to our wounded warriors.

We have regrettably seen the U.S. Air Force Academy whipsawed by zealous atheizers. These people claim to be for religious freedom, but they jump at every opportunity to impose atheism in the ranks.

Prodded by Mikey Weinstein and his mirfs from the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Superintendant the Air Force Academy suddenly dropped “So Help Me God” from the Cadet oath. Too bad.

But with this new law, every Cadet and every Midshipman at every service academy should know: “So Help Me God” is protected speech. No one can take it away.

For assurance, these young military trainees can consult the National Park Service’s Mount Rushmore. Each of these Commanders-in-Chief took the Oath of Office as president. Each one placed his hand on the Bible and said:
So Help Me God

With the passage and signature of the 2014 NDAA, the right of each member of the military to say “So Help Me God” in enlistment, in promotion, and in taking their initial oaths, has been written, so to speak, in stone.

My FRC colleague, Tony Perkins, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Tony commended the brave stand of Coast Guard Admiral William Lee. The admiral boldly said if he knew one of his young men had attempted suicide, he would not hesitate to offer that suffering sailor a Bible.

Tony said of Congress’ passage of the 2014 NDAA: “Defending America’s freedom shouldn’t mean surrendering theirs.” This is especially the case when the Constitution they swear to defend guarantees the first freedom of all Americans.
----------------------
Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Ken Blackwell, Congress, defending Religious Freedom, religious freedom, military, National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Make Obamacare Voluntary

by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: Just before Christmas, the Obama administration issued a blanket waiver for millions of Americans from the individual mandate requiring purchase of government-approved health insurance. The waiver, whose announcement was choreographed to give political credit to Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, was limited to individuals and families whose health plans were canceled by Obamacare. As Washington Post liberal blogger Ezra Klein put it: “Obamacare itself is the hardship” that qualifies cancelees for a hardship exemption.

So far so good. Among Obamacare’s many moral outrages, punishing people with a penalty tax for being uninsured when it was your own lousy law that canceled their coverage would have been beyond the pale. But how much better is it to punish people for being uninsured who were already uninsured?

Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination in 2008 by attacking Hillary Clinton on precisely this issue, saying: “It’s not a mandate on government to provide health insurance; it’s a mandate on individuals to purchase it… In some cases, there are people who are paying fines and still can’t afford it, so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance and they’re paying a fine. In order for you to force people to get health insurance, you’ve got to have a very harsh penalty.”

He flipped under pressure from the health insurance industry.

It was recently revealed that nearly every major insurance company funds liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress, closely aligned with the Obama administration and one of the leading supporters of the individual mandate. Its founder, John Podesta, chaired Obama’s transition team and recently joined the official White House staff.

It’s clear why insurance companies want mandated customers, but if Obamacare really offers quality, affordable health insurance, there should be no need to accede to their demand. At least one liberal Democrat, Howard Dean, is now openly calling for the mandate to be repealed on that basis.

In an interview on CNBC, Dean said: “The individual mandate was not necessary and it's probably a big political thing. And that is going to hurt the Democrats because people don't like to be told what to do by the government no matter what party they're in.”

Do other Democrats have the courage of Howard Dean’s convictions? Don’t they honestly believe that Obamacare’s plans and prices – with their billions of dollars of lavish subsidies from taxpayers – are attractive enough to succeed without the hammer of the individual mandate forcing people to buy them or pay a stiff penalty tax? Would they rather tell people who were previously uninsured they will be punished, while wealthier neighbors who had their insurance canceled are exempt?

It has been almost six months since House Republicans were joined by 22 Democrats to pass the Fairness for American Families Act, HR 2668, a bill written by Indiana’s Todd Young that would give all Americans a one-year reprieve from the individual mandate–while reducing the deficit $35 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office.

During the floor debate, Nancy Pelosi claimed it was an attempt to undermine the whole law. She lacked Howard Dean’s confidence that people would buy into Obamacare without being forced.

Harry Reid has not brought the bill up. Not even for debate or amendment. And only one Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has expressed support for delaying the mandate. That needs to change.

The best way to find out if Obamacare is really a good deal is to delay the mandate and see if enough people willingly buy the new exchange plans to make them viable. That starts with Senate Democrats ending their shameful stalling of the Fairness for American Families Act.
------------------
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America .... Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Make Obamacare Voluntary, Obamacare, Fairness for American Families Act, Phil Kerpen, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obama's 2014 Big Lie: Income Inequality

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: As the liberal disaster called Obamacare unfolds, President Barack Obama is already embarked on his next Big Lie: income inequality.

It’s useful to visit some of the planks of Karl Marx’s 1848 Communist Manifesto. They included abolition of private property—the keystone of capitalism—and the application of all rents of land to a public purpose. Marx advocated a heavy progressive or graduated income tax whereas a fair tax that treats all Americans fairly by taxing what you spend instead of what you earn. The current tax code is more than 73,000 pages! Marx wanted to eliminate all rights of inheritance and centralize credit by means of a national bank.

What Obama is talking about is socialism/communism when he claims that income inequality must be altered by more government intrusion into our lives and his claims are false. He said that “a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility” is “the defining challenge of our time”

His objective is to further divide Americans by promising what government cannot and should not deliver. This is now the Democratic Party theme leading up to the midterm elections in November. He is right about one thing, only economic growth can provide the opportunity for Americans to increase their personal incomes, provide a choice of investments, and save more for the future. In his first five years in office, economic growth has been historically slow.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion commentary by Robert A. Grady he cites a 2011 study by Lee Ohanian and Kip Hagopian, “The Mismeasure of Inequality”, that concluded that “inequality actually declined 1.8% during the 16-year period between 1993 and 2009.” According to studies by the U.S. Treasury, the capitalist system in America, providing mobility (up or down), found that “considerable income mobility” in the decades 1987-1996 and 1996-2005, found that approximately half of those in the bottom income quintile in 1996 had moved to a higher quintile by 2005. They were decades, the 1980s and 1990s, in which the vast majority of Americans gained higher incomes.

In the past four and a half years since the recession officially ended, poor people and the middle class were hurt the most and opportunity slowed. Under Obama millions of Americans are out of work and dependent on government programs such as food stamps and unemployment compensation. The later ended for many on December 31. The inequality that Obama cites is the direct result of the failure of his economic programs as well as a dramatic surge in federal regulations that harm economic growth.

The Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—is discouraging full-time employment. According to Gallup’s payroll-to-population ratio, the proportion of the American population working full-time, has dropped almost two percentage points in the last year to 43.8%. Wall Street Journal columnist noted that Obama spent 2013 fund-raising for the Democratic Party “making 30 separate visits to wealthy donors” at “more than twice the rate of the President’s two-term predecessors. On the day following the September 11, 2012 attack that killed an American ambassador and three others in Benghazi, Obama flew to Las Vegas on a fund-raising trip.

In the year ahead you will hear him cite figures based on 1979 income rates to justify his call for more opportunity, but in 1979 the mean (average) household income of the bottom 20% of wage earners was $4,000. By 2012, it was $11.499, an increase of 186%. For the middle class, the increase was 211%. Despite the 2008 financial crisis, it still rose.

Did the rich get richer? Yes. But the rich earn their money from inheritance, from business development (jobs) and investment. Under communism there is no inheritance; the state gets it all. And the state owns the factories and instruments of production, as well as collectivizing agriculture. It maintains a “progressive” or graduated income tax.

Does the political theme of income inequality work? Bill de Blasio, New York’s new mayor, ran on an income inequality platform and will be sworn in by former President Bill Clinton who will be accompanied by his wife, Hillary.

Income inequality will be the theme of Obama’s forthcoming State of the Union speech, but like everything else he says it will be a Big Lie.
------------
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: President Obama, 2014, big lie, income inequality, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Trouble For Obama At The Supreme Court?

Justice Sotomayor, Jan 1, 2014
 Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: As many people were getting ready to celebrate the New Year, more than a few eyebrows were raised when news broke that Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an order blocking enforcement of Obamacare's contraception mandate. The order came as the result of an emergency appeal from the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, a charity run by Catholic nuns in Denver, Colorado.

It's always dangerous to try to predict how the justices will rule on any given issue. But the fact that Sotomayor -- Barack Obama's first appointee to the Supreme Court -- granted the injunction suggests that Obamacare's contraception mandate could be in trouble when the high court takes up the issue later this year.

Justice Sotomayor gave the Obama Administration until tomorrow morning to respond to her order. Predictably, the White House is digging in its heels and defending the mandate. A White House spokesman insisted the administration was confident that its rules strike the right balance between "providing women with free contraceptive coverage" and the religious objections of non-profit religious employers.

A lot of faith-based institutions disagree. The Washington Times reports that 91 cases have been filed against Obamacare's contraception mandate. An attorney representing the Little Sisters said, "The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people -- it doesn't need to force nuns to participate."

It's ironic that one of the biggest challenges facing Obamacare today stems from its assaults on the sanctity of life and religious liberty -- issues many in the Beltway establishment are urging candidates to avoid talking about. Yet as Fox News notes, "Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has put religion at the forefront of the ObamaCare debate…"

If conservatives want to win, they should embrace traditional values and force Democrats to defend their extreme positions on matters of faith and family.

Obamacare's Assault On The Middle Class
Throughout Barack Obama's campaigns for the White House, he repeatedly infused his speeches with rhetoric about protecting the middle class. For example, Obama promised over and over again that he would not raise taxes on the middle class. But that turned out to be a false promise.

The only way the Supreme Court agreed to uphold Obamacare's individual mandate was under Congress' power to tax. But Obamacare is taxing the middle class in more ways than one.

Barack Obama also promised that Obamacare would lower health insurance premiums by $2,500. Instead, as The Fiscal Times notes, "Obamacare has delivered another sucker punch to the middle class. This time it's sticker shock. …And when the family budget gets hit in the solar plexus, guess what happens to consumer spending and the economy?"

Obamacare is hitting the middle class hard in order to provide subsidized healthcare to key liberal constituencies. As many feared, the costs of Obamacare are likely to be a drag on the economy.

Meanwhile, as the law kicks into high gear, many people are finding out that they aren't actually covered. Last week, 16,000 Iowans who enrolled through the glitchy federal exchange website were told to start over again.
-------------
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags:  Obamacare, assult on middle class, Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor, blocks contraception mandate,  Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

IRS Disclosure Rule Agenda

by AF "Tony" Branco
 by Kerby Anderson: Now that we are beginning our new year, I want to alert you to some proposed IRS regulations that could have a negative effect on political activity. And I might add that all of this is happening just months after the inspector general of the IRS revealed that the tax collection agency had been targeting conservative political groups.

The proposed regulations from the IRS would place various restrictions on what nonprofit groups could discuss before an election. More significantly, the regulations would force these 501(c)(4) organizations to disclose private information about donors to political candidates and parties.

A little history is in order. In previous decades, the Supreme Court ruled that people have a right to engage in anonymous political activity. Those rulings protected citizens who donated to civil-rights organizations and other similar organizations from harassment. It did rule in one 1976 case that in very unusual and narrow circumstances that the government could compel the disclosure of information.

Until the 1990s, liberal groups dominated most of the 501(c)(4) organizations. That has changed, and these new rules appear to be an attempt to silence conservative groups, such as pro-life, pro-family, and tea party groups.

In a world where all citizens respect the right of other citizens to donate to political causes, financial disclosure would be a good idea. But that is not the world in which we live. After voters in California passed the Proposition 8 initiative, gay activists began to target anyone who donated to the campaign to define marriage as one man and one woman. In previous commentaries, I've talked about the threats, harassment, and even vandalism aimed at pro-family people who donated to the campaign to define marriage.

Less than a year ago, we learned that bureaucrats in the IRS targeted conservative groups. We should be suspicious of IRS regulations that would expose people who might have donated to those groups. These are rules we can do without.
-------------------------
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous Christian Stations via the Point of View Network.

Tags: IRA disclosure rule, non-profits, agenda, abuse, Kerby Anderson, Point of View, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Magic Words: Credible Fear

 by Phyllis Schlafly: Those who seek to enter the United States illegally are resourceful in selecting their route. They climb over fences, scramble through underground tunnels, swim through waterways, and claw their way through the heat of the Arizona desert.

Now, some illegals have learned two magic words that let them in legally. They can walk up to a border agent and say: “credible fear.”

These may be the only words they can speak in English, but they are sufficient to unlock the gates of our borders. Credible fear applications have increased from 5,000 to more than 36,000, with the biggest numbers coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

If a credible fear application passes an initial screening interview, the applicant is allowed to live and work in the U.S. until his case is resolved. That might take years.

The House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing to examine reports that the asylum system is being exploited by drug traffickers. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) accused some asylum seekers of “gaming the system”; they “get free education, free healthcare.”

Such a loose system invites fraud. Last year in New York, 26 people including six attorneys were indicted on charges that they manufactured asylum claims and coached Chinese clients on how to lie to immigration officials. In 2012, more than 10,000 people from China were granted asylum.

The House Judiciary Committee discovered a woman in the U.S. on an asylum claim who three months later was caught at a Border Patrol checkpoint with more than $1 million worth of cocaine. According to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), “dangerous criminals are gaming the system by claiming they have a ‘credible fear’ of persecution when often they’ve been the perpetrators of violence themselves.”

According to Rep. Goodlatte, the law requires most people claiming “credible fear” to be put in mandatory detention until their case is resolved. But, surprise, surprise, the Obama Administration argues that they should be released rather than detained unless there is a demonstrable danger to the community.

Among the 70,000 Iraqis admitted to the U.S. as war refugees were several dozen suspected terrorist bomb-makers, including some believed to have targeted U.S. troops, according to the FBI agents investigating the roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan. An Iraqi named Waad Ramadan Alwan, who claimed to be a refugee, was allowed to settle in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he moved into public housing and collected public assistance handouts.

The FBI secretly taped Alwan, which recorded him bragging that he had built a dozen bombs in Iraq and used sniper rifles to target American soldiers near Baghdad. Bowling Green residents are asking why this criminal was allowed to move to their town.

The FBI now admits that dozens of terrorist bomb-makers were allowed to move to the U.S. as war refugees. Don’t forget the Boston Marathon Bombers who were admitted to the U.S. using the asylum racket and then received welfare handouts.

Asylum requests from Mexico soared to 36,000 in fiscal 2013, and 2,000 recent applicants carried a bleeding-heart letter describing their alleged need for asylum. A local official named C. Ramon Contreras Orozco has been busy providing these letters, which have been copied, resold or forged for a going rate of $75 each.

The U.S. Border Patrol reported a “surge of unaccompanied minors coming across our border,” some used by drug smugglers. Border statistics released this December show that 24,668 “unaccompanied alien children” were housed in federally funded U.S. care centers last year, double the 2012 number, and quadruple the number in previous years.

Our Border Patrol arrested a 12-year-old boy illegally smuggling 80 pounds of marijuana on his back from Mexico into Texas. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) commented that some of the so-called Dreamers, portrayed as having been innocently brought into the U.S. as children by their parents, actually were “hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas accused the Department of Homeland Security of hand-delivering children smuggled into the U.S. to their illegal alien parents. The judge said that Customs and Border Protection agents helped to locate and deliver the kids to their parents, and U.S. taxpayers paid the bill for flights to multiple locations to find the parents.

One of those children was delivered to the person who paid the smuggler. The judge accused the government of “completing the criminal mission” of human traffickers “who are violating the border security of the United States” and assisting a “criminal conspiracy in achieving its illegal goals.”

Judge Hanen called the Administration’s behavior “dangerous and unconscionable” and said that “DHS should cease telling the citizens of the United States that it is enforcing our border security laws because it is clearly not. Even worse, it is helping those who violate these laws.”
--------------------
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: DHS, border security, U.S., Border Patrol, illegals, Magic Words, Credible Fear, drug cartels,  smuggled children, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Did You Feel The 13 Tax Increases In 2013 | Two More New Taxes For 2014

Editor Update: Here is a new tax not identified in the following article but also identified by the Heritage Foundation: Reinsurance Fee. It’s another one that will impact the cost of insurance. Health insurers will have to pay the temporary fee on group health plans to help spread the cost of the covering those in the individual market, inside and outside Obamacare’s exchanges. The fee begins in 2014, costing $63 per covered person and decreasing in 2015 and 2016. Like most taxes and fees, the result will likely be higher insurance premiums.
-------------------
by Curtis Dubay, Heritage Foundation: It’s about time for us to uncover our eyes and take a hard look at what 2013 did to our finances.

Did you feel the pinch of the 13 tax hikes that hit Americans this year?

Before you review the list below, put these two on your watch list for 2014:
  • Obamacare’s individual mandate. Beginning in 2014, it’s mandatory to purchase health insurance. If you don’t, you’ll pay a penalty that dramatically increases over time. It starts at $95 or 1 percent of your income (whichever is greater). It rises to $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016.
  • Obamacare tax on insurance companies. If you liked seeing your premiums go up, you’ll love this new tax on health insurers—which they are most likely to pass on to you.
As you start reviewing your tax information for 2013, here’s what you’re contending with.

The 13 Tax Increases of 2013
1. Payroll Tax: increase in the Social Security portion of the payroll tax from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent for workers. This hit all Americans earning a paycheck—not just the “wealthy.” For example, The Wall Street Journal calculated that the “typical U.S. family earning $50,000 a year” would lose “an annual income boost of $1,000.”

2. Top marginal tax rate: increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for taxable incomes over $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers).

3. Phase out of personal exemptions for adjusted gross income (AGI) over $300,000 ($250,000 for single filers).

4. Phase down of itemized deductions for AGI over $300,000 ($250,000 for single filers).

5. Tax rates on investment: increase in the rate on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent for taxable incomes over $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers).

6. Death tax: increase in the rate (on estates larger than $5 million) from 35 percent to 40 percent.

7. Taxes on business investment: expiration of full expensing — the immediate deduction of capital purchases by businesses.

Obamacare tax increases that took effect:
8. Another investment tax increase: 3.8 percent surtax on investment income for taxpayers with taxable income exceeding $250,000 ($200,000 for singles).

9. Another payroll tax hike: 0.9 percent increase in the Hospital Insurance portion of the payroll tax for incomes over $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers).

10. Medical device tax: 2.3 percent excise tax paid by medical device manufacturers and importers on all their sales.

11. Reducing the income tax deduction for individuals’ medical expenses.

12. Elimination of the corporate income tax deduction for expenses related to the Medicare Part D subsidy.

13. Limitation of the corporate income tax deduction for compensation that health insurance companies pay to their executives.

President Obama demanded these higher taxes, but they did nothing to address the actual cause of our deficit and debt problem: too much spending. The proper way to address this problem is through reforms to entitlement programs.

President Obama promised the American people a “balanced approach” of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce deficits and debt. He achieved the tax increase portion of that approach. Now Congress needs to force him to follow through on the spending cuts.

Tags: capital gains, death tax, deductions, individual mandate, Heritage Foundation, payroll tax, tax hikes, tax increases, taxes, taxpayers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year: 2014

Forgetting the disappointments of 2013 but not ignoring the continual hardships levied on the American people by oppressive and burdensome government,

the ARRA News Service editor and writers wish our readers and friends a very Happy New Year for 2014! In the year of 2014, may we see the decline of progressive socialism!  May conservatives garner the wit, wisdom and tenacity to persevere in the battle of ideals to gain enough elected offices at all levels so as to facilitate the return to both moral and fiscal responsibility!  May we again see our God given liberty and individual freedoms blossom!  May God grant the United States mercy and protection from our enemies who wish to see America tarnished, damaged and destroyed!
Righteousness exalts a nation,  but sin is a disgrace to any people. ~ Prov. 14:34

 Tags: Happy New Year, 2014 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Democratic Party Panic

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: On December 28th, the Democratic National Committee sent an email to “Obama for America” supporters. The subject line was “Impeachment.”

“What do these people have in common?” asked the text as it quoted Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Rep. Michele Bachman of Minnesota, Rep. Kerry Bentivivolio of Michigan, and Rep. Blake Farenhold of Texas, all of whom discussed the possibility of impeaching Obama, citing instances of official misconduct. The DNC said, “Republicans are actually excited about the idea.”

Ten days earlier, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC, had sent an email to supporters updating them on the party’s strategy to win elections in 2014. “What you need is good strategy, smart people, and ideas you’re proud to stand behind…” The one thing missing from the email was the mention of a single idea. No mention of Obamacare, amnesty, or any other Democratic policies.

When I visited Democrats.org on December 29, the website was telling members that “The economy could face a credit downgrade if Republicans continue to threaten to default on our loans.” No mention of the first such downgrade in the history of the nation which occurred during Obama’s first term and was a response to the nearly six trillion dollars he had added to the nation’s debt.

Under the headline “Dirtier”, the DNC claimed that “All the gains we’ve made for our environment, like two million acres of preserved land and rivers will be on the line.” That’s right, Republicans want dirtier air and water, and the way to protect the nation is to ensure that millions of acres cannot be used by Americans, especially if there is lots of coal or oil is under those acres. According to Wikipedia, “As of March 2012, out of the 2.27 billion acres in the country, about 28% of the total was owned by American citizens represented by the National Federal government according to the Interior Department.” That’s right, more than a quarter of all the landmass of the nation is owned by the federal government.

The headline “Less Fair” was followed by “Our voter protection efforts and workplace equality work will be undone” but it is Democrats who oppose any state effort to pass laws that require proof of citizenship or even residency. And, under “Less Healthy” it accused all who want to “’Repeal Obamacare’. Need we say more?” Apparently a law that deprives you of your personal physician and imposes higher costs on government-approved healthcare insurance plans is a good thing.

Not only are we witnessing a full scale panic in the Democratic National Committee, we can read just how devoid of any truth and any sense any of their policies are. If a few Republicans in Congress had a passing comment on impeaching President Obama, it comes as no surprise whatever.

In late December, Forbes magazine published an article by Ira Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. The title was “President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013.” Shapiro didn’t even have to go back any further to include others during his first term.

Among those cited was Obama’s delay of out-of-pocket caps, a change that requires actual legislation. Similarly, the delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate was cited because, if Obamacare is the “law of the land”, such changes require action by Congress. Several other changes to Obamacare by the President were cited for the same reason.

Political profiling by the IRS was cited such as an internal BOLO, “Be on the lookout”. for organizations engaged in political activities, citing “Tea Party”, “Patriots” and “Israel” as words to identify them. The targeting continued through May 2013 until it was exposed.

What Republicans and independents know and Democrats do not want to acknowledge is that Obamacare is, to use its most frequent description, “a disaster.” Many suspect that Obama was and is ineligible to be President. The birth certificate put forward by the White House has been declared a forgery. His Social Security number is suspect. It is common knowledge that his college records are all sealed even though he may have applied for admission as a “foreign student.”

So, yes, the Democratic National Committee has a lot to hide about the President and its support for legislation and regulations based on “climate change” and other liberal notions that lack the knowledge of science and warp its practice. It continues to advocate spending billions, if not trillions, the U.S. does not have. And, finally, the President’s foreign policies—not mentioned in its emails or on its website—have been a dismal failure, making the world more dangerous.

The Democratic Party has one thing going for it---the mainstream media. In the Sunday before the New Year, the New York Times published a 7,000-word article claiming that the attack on the Benghazi consulate where our ambassador and three others were killed was not related to al Qaeda. In the words of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make?” Answer: A lot. This “newspaper” is the U.S. equivalent of Pravda during the days of Stalin.

In November, Americans have the opportunity to remove Democratic Senators and Representatives who voted for Obamacare and replace them with candidates who believe the Constitution means what it says.
------------
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: Democratic Party, Panic, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Should Americans Read Other Americans’ Mail?

We remember 2013 as a year that revealed the inherent dangers of big government--from the IRS scandal to Obamacare and the NSA. Our last essay of the year applies Hamilton's Federalist 24 reflections on standing armies to the problems of NSA-style "metadata" gathering today. Too often lost in the debate over Snowden's actions and revelations is any consideration of how all that data is supposed to protect us. If you like it, you should definitely check out the work of our (far wiser) mentor, Angelo Codevilla, over at the Law and Liberty website. ~ Matt Parks

The president’s panel on NSA reform gives us the worst of both of these worlds.
Img via PatriotPost.us
 Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks, Contributing Authors: During the 1920s, the American government secretly funded the “black chamber” to crack codes used by foreign governments. Upon hearing of the program, President Hoover’s new Secretary of State Henry Stimson famously proclaimed, “Gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail”–and ended it. Stimson was not the only leader of his era determined to pretend the international arena was the domain of gentlemen: just one year earlier representatives from 62 nations (including the United States) signed the Kellogg-Briand pact, agreeing not use war to settle “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them.”

Seventy-five years later, the starry-eyed are still among us, albeit mugged by competing unrealities.

Edward Snowden and his sympathizers want to transcend the modern “Orwellian” nation-state and establish a hyper-individualistic new world order made up of billions of peaceful cosmopolitans. As Snowden put it in his Thoreau-like Christmas message: “Privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.” Christmas itself, of course, belies such a claim to radical autonomy. But leaving that aside, the most oppressive impositions on privacy do not come from government surveillance programs, at least as we’ve experienced them, but from enemies of peace, foreign and domestic–the very enemies such programs are meant to stop.

Snowden’s most vocal critics know this and strenuously defend the NSA’s actions, claiming that no (documented) harm has been done by the American government’s domestic surveillance. While they may be critical of abuses like the recent IRS-Tea Party scandal, they see no evil in metadata gathering or the metadata gatherers. Most of them would agree with Madison’s Federalist 51 observation that “government itself” is “the greatest of all reflections on human nature.”

Why then should we exempt NSA analysts from liability to the same faults and failings that make government necessary for the rest of us? Surely we know enough not to fall for the Hobbesian noble lie that a sovereign bureaucratic class can be educated to protect and serve the people–all the more if it is as little of and by the people as possible.

The president’s panel on NSA reform gives us the worst of both of these worlds. Consisting of three progressive professors and two high level national security careerists, the panel made forty-six recommendations.

The headline-grabber was its proposal to end NSA cell phone metadata collection. However, they recommended that the same data be stored for the same period by the phone companies or (more probably) a new agency–one (short) arm length away. If the data is useful, this makes it less so; if it is dangerous, putting it in different hands makes it no less so.

But, as with most presidential panels, the real point is to get the headline that cuts the administration’s political losses and make the issue go away. Meanwhile, the story at the bottom of page B17 will be continued dysfunction, bureaucratic recycling, and collateral damage to American national security and the American citizenry alike.

One non-careerist, non-progressive, non-invitee to the panel (and former teacher of the authors of this essay), Angelo Codevilla, has summed up this year’s NSA controversy in this way:Intelligence, by its very nature, is information that you can do something with or about. It is not about reveling in secrets. Trying to learn about secrets apart from plans for action amounts to voyeurism. Worse, intelligence as a giant “fishing expedition” for secrets detracts from focusing on getting information, regardless of source, to accomplish specific objectives. Unfortunately, the very reason why US intelligence in general and NSA’s COMINT in particular gather all they can is that US officials don’t really know what they are doing and foolishly expect intelligence to prompt them.As Codevilla has argued in more than one book, intelligence gathering is valuable only to the degree that it is administered intelligently. Success usually requires that one has a keen idea of what one is looking for. Failure usually amounts to an inability to see things for what they are. Minus political acuity, men are rarely able to translate sight properly into intelligibility.

Intelligent renderings of intelligence gathering are of greater value than reading 300-page Blue Ribbon Commission for Dummies reports to identify what ails our national security regime.

The first mention of espionage in the Bible occurs when Joseph calls his brothers, who had sold him into slavery, spies. He knew who he was looking at, and what he was looking for; his brothers, who could not imagine Joseph as Pharaoh’s second-in-command, had no clue. The difference mattered.

Intelligence gathering also requires being able to overcome one’s own blind spots. This is well illustrated by the folly of the Persian emperor Xerxes prior to the Battle of Thermopylae, who believed a few thousand free Greeks could never defeat his enormous (and enslaved) army.

As both ancient examples and our contemporary troubles indicate, intelligence gathering, like the use of all instruments of politics, requires that statesmen have the ability to connect means and ends. More than most other political instruments, however, intelligence gathering is conducted along the razor’s edge: an essential element of national security at its best and a grave threat to that same security (as well as liberty) at its worst, whether from incompetence or nefarious competence.

Not surprisingly, then, Americans since the founding era have prudently (and sometimes not) sought to ensure that the nation’s military was a menace to the enemies of American freedom and security rather than themselves. One of the most common and violent objections to the Constitution was that it allowed for a standing army in time of peace. Alexander Hamilton responded to this objection in several essays, most sardonically in Federalist 24.

Contrary to the impression one might gather from the anti-federalist press, the Constitution does not establish, but only allows, a peacetime military–and that under the strict control of a Congress (not the arbitrary control of the executive) empowered “to raise and support Armies” with the stipulation that “no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.”

Since these provisions also conformed to the principles of all but two of the state constitutions and were at least as strict as the parallel passages in the Articles of Confederation, Hamilton’s concludes his reflections with a “sigh for the frailty of human nature” and a wish for a more rational debate.

Hamilton initiates such a debate by showing why a modest standing army, under the controls enumerated above, was necessary for the security of early Americans, with a British (Canadian) empire to the north and northwest, a Spanish (Floridian and Mexican) empire to the south and southwest and Indian tribes all about, each of which was more likely to be an enemy than a friend. Hamilton, in other words, sought to connect the specific threats to American security in his day with instruments rationally adapted to counter those threats.

A rational debate over the role of the NSA should begin the same way: with a clear-eyed, realistic assessment of the most significant threats to our security and a reasonable enumeration of the means necessary and available to address those threats. The indiscriminate gathering of Big Data is no more such a means than random invasive searches of air travelers. But neither will the indiscriminate transpolitical disavowal of Big Government encourage citizens of one of the world’s best political hopes to demand better of its regime.

Today’s concerns about the NSA, then, should not lead us to “sigh for the frailty of human nature,” so much as to desire for greater transparency, accountability, and congressional oversight for the programs involved. Getting the best from the concerns of both Snowden and his critics means understanding human nature better than each–and requires a different sort of intelligence from an American public that in turn demands the same of its elected leaders.
----------------
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: American's mail, mail, NSA, National Security Agency, Edward Snowden, snooping, David Corbin, Matthew Parks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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