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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, April 26, 2014
No, We Don't Need to 'Fix' the Second Amendment
Damon Root, Reason.com: John Paul Stevens is not going quietly into that good night. Since retiring from the Supreme Court in 2010, the former justice has written a memoir, delivered numerous speeches, and even found time to spar with various critics of his jurisprudence, including yours truly.
Now Stevens is back with a second book, Six Amendments. This time around his subject is how to "fix" those parts of the Constitution he does not like. Given his dissenting votes in the landmark gun rights cases District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), it should come as no surprise to find him setting his sights on the Second Amendment. Writing in The Washington Post, the retired justice explains his line of attack: As a result of the rulings in Heller and McDonald, the Second Amendment, which was adopted to protect the states from federal interference with their power to ensure that their militias were "well regulated," has given federal judges the ultimate power to determine the validity of state regulations of both civilian and militia-related uses of arms. That anomalous result can be avoided by adding five words to the text of the Second Amendment to make it unambiguously conform to the original intent of its draftsmen. As so amended, it would read:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed."In effect, Stevens would rewrite the Constitution in order to give lawmakers free rein to enact prohibitory gun control measures. And he's quite open about his goal. "It is those legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used," he writes. "Constitutional provisions that curtail the legislative power to govern in this area unquestionably do more harm than good."
In fact, it's highly questionable if gun control laws actually serve the beneficial purposes that Stevens imagines they do. But regardless of that, the whole point of the Bill of Rights is to place certain liberties beyond the reach of lawmakers. That means the judiciary often has no choice but to “curtail the legislative power” and strike down overreaching statutes. This is true in Second Amendment cases just as it is true in First Amendment cases. The government is simply not allowed to do some things to the citizenry. Stevens apparently sees that as a bug; but in fact it's a feature of our system.
Finally, take a moment to consider the practical implications of Stevens' approach. As he sees it, the Second Amendment should not — indeed, must not — be read to protect the right to own guns for purposes of hunting, sport shooting, or self-defense. Unless you are serving in a state militia, in other words, you have no right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. To say the least, that view is profoundly at odds with constitutional text and history, as the extensive arguments and briefing in Heller and McDonaldmade plain.
Justice was served in those two cases when Stevens lost on the Second Amendment.
------------------- Damon Root is a senior editor of Reason magazine and Reason.com. Follow Damon on Twitter. Tags:Second Amendment, Former Supreme Court, Justice Stevens, gun control, Damon Root, ReasonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn — and that this is because of discrimination.
It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.
Constantly repeating the “77 percent” statistic does not make them the same. It simply takes advantage of many people’s ignorance — something that Barack Obama has been very good at doing on many other issues.
What if you compare women and men who are the same on all the relevant characteristics?
First of all, you can seldom do that, because the statistics you would need are not always available for the whole range of occupations and the whole range of differences between women’s patterns and men’s patterns in the labor market.
Even where relevant statistics are available, careful judgment is required to pick samples of women and men who are truly comparable.
For example, some women are mothers and some men are fathers. But does the fact that they are both parents make them comparable in the labor market? Actually the biggest disparity in incomes is between fathers and mothers. Nor is there anything mysterious about this, when you stop and think about it.
How surprising is it that women with children do not earn as much as women who do not have children? If you don’t think children take up a mother’s time, you just haven’t raised any children.
How surprising is it that men with children earn more than men without children, just the opposite of the situation with women? Is it surprising that a man who has more mouths to feed is more likely to work longer hours? Or take on harder or more dangerous jobs, in order to earn more money?
More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men. There is no point pretending that there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don’t affect income.
During my research on male-female differences for my book Economic Facts and Fallacies, I was amazed to learn that young male doctors earned much higher incomes than young female doctors. But it wasn’t so amazing after I discovered that young male doctors worked over 500 hours more per year than young female doctors.
Even when women and men work at jobs that have the same title — whether doctors, lawyers, economists, or whatever — people do not get paid for what their job title is, but for what they actually do.
Women lawyers who are pregnant, or who have young children, may have good reasons to prefer a 9-to-5 job in a government agency to working 60 hours a week in a high-powered law firm. But there is no point comparing male lawyers as a group with female lawyers as a group, if you don’t look any deeper than job titles.
Unless, of course, you are not looking for the truth, but for political talking points to excite the gullible.
Even when you compare women and men with the “same” education, as measured by college or university degrees, the women usually specialize in a very different mix of subjects, with very different income-earning potentials.
Although comparing women and men who are in fact comparable is not easy to do, when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. In some categories, women earn more than men with the same range of characteristics.
If the 77 percent statistic were for real, employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to every time they hired a man to do a job that a woman could do just as well. Would employers be such fools with their own money? If you think employers don’t care about paying 30 percent more than they have to, just go ask your boss for a 30 percent raise!
-------------- Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University. He is a retired professor of Economic and presently is a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Visit his website with list of other articles. Tags:Thomas Sowell, commentary, the left, statistical fraud, War on WomenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Wednesday that he would be circulating a draft of the FCC’s new network neutrality rules to the other commissioners Thursday (April 24).This is their third attempt at this particular power garb. It’s becoming fetishistic.
To all of which I say: It’s disappointing – but not surprising – that the Obama Administration is yet again going to impose the Internet power grab that is Network Neutrality.
The federal government is twice bitten – and not shy. Having twice had their Net Neutrality impositions unanimously rejected by the courts – they remain undaunted in their desire to over-regulate the Web.
And it’s always a pleasure to watch the Leftist likes of Free Press and Public Knowledge preemptively freak out – over an order they haven’t even yet seen.
They are as always the perfect tool. The Leftist screeching visual aides that allow an overreaching government to pretend “See, we’re finding middle ground – both sides are angry with us” as they grab even more Leviathan-sized hands-full of the once-private sector.Don’t drive angry.
------------- Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. The PJ Tatler also published this article. Please feel free to follow him on Twitter / Facebook Tags:Seton Motley, government resources, Net Neutrality, less governmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: That was the deliciously appropriate subject line of a fundraising email Harry Reid sent out, complaining about our American Commitment ads that expose how corrupt Democrats like Reid and Mark Udall have accepted a sickening quid pro quo with San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer -- they kill the Keystone XL pipeline, and he spends $100 million on their reelection campaigns.
Here's Reid's email:
Of course, his claim is false -- we're running these ads out our own general treasury funds, raised from generous donors. But the even more amazing thing is that Reid would characterize our ad as an "attack ad," considering it actually starts with the line "Harry Reid is on the attack," and is told entirely by Harry Reid using his own words. If Reid has any concerns about unfair attacks, he should look in the mirror. Judge for yourself:
Interestingly, Reid's unhinged floor attacks on Charles and David Koch began just days after the infamous fundraiser and strategy session Senate Democrats attended at liberal billionaire Tom Steyer's house. Could the Koch attacks have been designed from the beginning to create cover for the monstrously corrupt quid pro quo arranged to kill the Keystone XL pipeline?
It certainly did help create a smokescreen that prevented this otherwise astonishing March 19 public threat from being a major national story:
Will House Republicans Move The Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization In 2014?
"We help small businesses." It's a common phrase used by Washington bureaucrats and politicians. But if they knew how the economy actually worked, the bureaucrats and politicians would understand free markets, not New Deal-era manipulation, are what helps small businesses grow. While the Export-Import Bank tries to present itself as a champion for small business it really enables big business to defer risk to American taxpayers. The most prominent beneficiaries of Ex-Im’s subsidies are not small business. It’s time the Export-Import Bank stopped acting as an engine for corporate welfare. ~ Michael A. Needham, CEO, Heritage Action for America
It is doing nothing of the sort. In total, Ex-Im Bank authorizations only covered 1.2 percent of U.S. exports. What do exporters even need the bank for if 98.8 percent of exports seem to move just fine without federal financing?
The truth is, Congress could fail the reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, and almost nobody would notice.
That is, except for Boeing, a company whose customers received $7.9 billion of loans to purchase planes and other equipment. That constitutes nearly a third of the bank’s total authorizations, earning it the moniker, the Bank of Boeing.
Boeing’s Vice President of Communications, Sean McCormack spuriously claimed on April 9 that the bank helps “keep U.S. companies competitive in the global economy and sustain jobs in the U.S. The Export-Import Bank is an important competitive tool for U.S. exporters, large and small, to facilitate the sale of U.S. goods and services. It is imperative that the Bank be reauthorized in a timely manner. With over 60 export credit agencies around the world actively supporting their exporters, allowing Ex-Im to lapse would be akin to unilateral disarmament.”
Yeah, right. If Congress pulled the plug on the bank, either the company could set up its own financing or work with a financial institution to provide credit on favorable terms to Boeing customers.
Even if the deal would not be at as low of an interest rate as what the feds provide, who cares? What does the government have to do it for? Why can’t the market determine lending rates?
Moreover, only covering 1.2 percent of exports, this has almost nothing to do with the overall competitive posture of U.S. exporters.
The only question is why the heck are House Republicans led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) even considering reauthorizing such an unnecessary program?
In 2012, the House had an opportunity to put a stop to the corporate welfare. They blew it, by not only reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank, but by adding $40 billion to its lending capacity.
Members like Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who opposed the measure, were the exception. That is significant because the House Financial Services Committee is the one committee that is supposed to consider the legislation.
But perhaps House leaders will just do what they did with flood insurance and skip Financial Services over Hensarling’s objections, setting the basis for another floor vote.
Only this time, the political costs of reauthorization are perceived to be higher. For now, Cantor spokeswoman Megan Whittemore has said, “The majority leader defers to the committee to review the program and take the legislative steps that they believe are appropriate based on their review.”
Meaning, there is actually an opportunity to defeat a federal program for once. The only step that should be taken in this case is to defeat reauthorization. Rep. Hensarling is going to need all the help he can get.
---------------- Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's NetRight Daily blog. Tags:House Republicans, Ex-IM bank, Reauthoriztion, Why?, Eric Cantor, Jeb Hensarling, defeat reauthorizationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
When he wrote, ‘Mein Kampf’, Adolf Hitler said “whoever has the youth has the future.” In his vision for the Nazi Party, education would be the key that ensured that he had ‘the youth’ of Germany fully indoctrinated.
All dictators and authoritarian regimes know that what is taught in their schools offers the greatest opportunity to maintain control over their societies.
That is what has been occurring since the introduction of the Common Core standards that the Obama regime has imposed on our national education system and the good news is that protests against it from concerned parents and others are beginning to increase and gain momentum.
Teachers will tell you that “one size fits all” does not apply in the classroom and never has. Children learn at a different pace with some doing so rapidly while others need extra help and attention. Learning that is entirely dependent on ceaseless testing puts stress on every child and that is the most common complaint about Common Core.
Education in America has been in decline since the 1960s when the teachers unions gained control over the process, putting themselves between the local boards of education and parents. Would it surprise anyone to learn that the Department of Education was established by President Jimmy Carter who signed it into law in 1979? It began operation on May 4, 1980. You will find no reference, no mention of education in the U.S. Constitution and it should not be a function of the federal government.
In a recent commentary by Joy Pullmann in The Daily Caller, she said, “The latest scheme is the field testing of Common Core assessments. This spring more than four million kids will be required to spend hours on tests that have little connection to what they learned in class this year and will provide their teachers and schools no information about what the kids know.”
“Parents who object to this scheme,” said Pullman, “face bullying and harassment from public officials. From New York to Denver to California, some schools are responding by forcing kids who opt out to sit at their desks and do nothing during the several-hour tests. Normal people call that a ‘time out’ and it is a punishment.”
Wyoming has become the first State to block a new set of national science standards that address climate change. In Michigan last year a group of protesters stopped the State from adopting the science standards.
“The impacts of climate change may affect the security of nations. Reduced availability of water, food, and land can lead to competition and conflict among humans, potentially resulting in large groups of climate refugees.”
“Humans may be able to mitigate climate change or lessens its severity by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations through processes that move carbon out of the atmosphere or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources.”
From “A Framework for K-12 Science Education” children are to be taught that “If Earth’s global mean temperature continues to rise, the lives of humans and other organisms will be affected in many different ways.” Only the Earth’s mean temperature is not rising! The planet is in a natural cooling cycle that is now seventeen years old, meaning that none of the students in today’s schools have ever experienced a single day of “global warming.”
By the end of grade 8, the Framework teaches that “Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of many other species.” This, too, is untrue. The U.S. Endangered Species Act, despite listing thousands of species, has not officially “saved” more than a handful at best and this assertion is questionable.
By the end of grade 12, students are expected to believe that “Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.” While it is true that there has been an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide this is a good thing because it is an essential factor in the increase of all vegetation that includes food crops and healthier forests. Moreover, this increase does not play any role in the Earth’s climate.
The central theme of these “science standards” is to teach that we should be reducing our use of fossil fuels, the primary energy sources our nation and the world requires. What these standards do in reality is repeat and reinforce federal government laws and regulations to justify its CO2 emissions regulations based on the current method of computing the Social Cost of Carbon, but these "costs" are pure fiction.
None of the computer models that have predicted global warming over the past four decades have been accurate. None are capable of representing the state of the Earth’s vastly complex climate.
The sooner Common Core is removed from the nation’s education system, the better.
To learn more or follow the debate on Common Core, visit The Heartland Institute's "Education Weekly" newsletter that provides data via Common Core Watch.
-------------------- 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:common core, communism, Alan Caruba, warning signsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
And Vermont, the tiny state with giant ambitions to use Obamacare as a stepping stone to single-payer, government-run health care is still facing enormous problems dealing with its tiny population. They are using CGI, the same vendor that failed on the federal healthcare.gov, and have given them a deadline of July 2 to get the site working. It is unclear what Vermont will do if they fail to deliver by that date.
So here's the billion dollar question - how much of your federal taxpayer money went to these states for their failed and failing Obamacare exchanges?
Here are all the gory details:
Federal Grants for Hawaii's State Obamacare Exchange
Federal Grants for Massachusetts's State Obamacare Exchange
State Planning Grant
Early Innovator Grant*
Establishment Grant Level One
Early Innovator Grant Supplement
Establishment Grant Level One
Establishment Grant Level Two
* "a multi-state consortia proposal led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and will benefit individuals and small businesses in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont...The proposed project approach will be to create and build a flexible Exchange information technology framework in Massachusetts and share those products with other New England states."
by Daniel J. Graeber, OilPrice.com: Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn't think the European community can do without the natural gas it gets from energy monopoly Gazprom. With a Russian economy starting to decline, however, it may be Gazprom that's too strongly interconnected to the European market to break free.
The narrative over European energy security reaches at least back to 2006 when Gazprom first cut gas supplies through Ukraine. The fallout from the latest disruption in 2009 put opposition darling and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in prison, but now the tables have turned for a Ukraine tilting more strongly toward the European Union.
Last week, Putin warned European leaders that gas supplies through Ukraine may be cut if Kiev didn't settle its $2.2 billion gas debt to Gazprom. With European allies mulling the best way to break Russia's grip on the region's energy sector, Putin said there are few alternatives to Russian natural gas.
"Can they stop buying Russian gas?" he asked in a question-and-answer session this week. "In my opinion it is impossible."
Russia sends about 15 percent of its natural gas supplies bound for the European community through the Soviet-era transit network in Ukraine. The European energy market has options in Caspian gas waiting in the wings, and potentially liquefied natural gas deliveries, though those alternatives provide little short-term relief.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf warned Putin against using energy as a geopolitical tool in a crisis that's re-opened old Cold War wounds.
"We've said very clearly that Russia should not use this as a weapon and that, actually, Russia has a lot to lose if they try to do so," she said.
Before the situation erupted into one of the most severe Eastern European crises since the 1990s, the Kremlin had expected 2.5 percent growth in gross domestic product. Now, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said GDP growth should be "near zero" and the Ukrainian row may be to blame.
Trade in oil and natural gas nets Russia about 70 percent of the estimated $515 billion in export revenue and accounts for more than half its federal budget. Though Gazprom has sought entry to a growing Asian economy, most of its natural gas heads to the European market, meaning Putin's Russia may be as strongly linked to the EU as the EU is linked to the Kremlin.
Tags:Keystone XL Pipeline, President Obama, more flexibility, RussiaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Last Friday afternoon, the time when officials make announcements they hope no one will notice, the State Department declared that it is putting off a decision on Keystone XL indefinitely — or at least, it seems, well past November’s midterm elections. This time, the excuse is litigation in Nebraska over the proposed route, because that might lead to a change in the project that various federal agencies will want to consider. The State Department might even decide to substantially restart the environmental review process. This is yet another laughable reason to delay a project that the federal government has been scrutinizing for more than five years. . . .
As for the pipeline’s routing, planners and regulators have already considered all sorts of options through Nebraska, and they already shifted the route once. Neither route posed environmental concerns of a sort that would justify concluding that Keystone XL is outside the national interest. It is bizarre to imagine that a new route from an even more careful process in Nebraska would significantly increase environmental concerns.
The administration’s latest decision is not responsible; it is embarrassing. The United States continues to insult its Canadian allies by holding up what should have been a routine permitting decision amid a funhouse-mirror environmental debate that got way out of hand. The president should end this national psychodrama now, bow to reason, approve the pipeline and go do something more productive for the climate.That will leave a mark.
------------------- Sean Hackbarth is a policy advocate and blogger at U.S Chamber of Commerce. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. Tags:Washington Post, Keystone XL Pipeline, delay, embarrassing, Sean Hackbarth, U.S. Chamber of CommerceTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Dr. Bobby Eberle, The Loft: It's sad to see what's been happening with our government in recent years. Slowly, but surely, our rights and freedoms are being taken away. We thought our Constitution would protect us. After all, it was written to shield Americans from the abuses of government. But believe it or not, there are places in this country where the Constitution doesn't apply.
As reported by Fox News, a federal judge has put forward a decision upholding the federal government's practice of "'suspicion-less' searches of laptops, cameras and cell phones at the border." There are two things wrong with this statement. First, that a federal judge would support these types of searches. And second, that this is an ongoing practice of our federal government!
Just look at this map which was produced by the ACLU:
"I think Americans are justifiably becoming increasingly surprised and even outraged by the extent to which the national security state seems to be monitoring and collecting information about us all," said ACLU Attorney Catherine Crump. "We think that having a purely suspicion-less policy is wrong, because it leaves border agents with no standards at all to follow. That opens the door that people will be [targeted] for inappropriate reasons."
The ACLU sued, claiming the broad expansion of search powers under President Obama posed a danger to the lives of ordinary Americans -- especially since the administration claims it has the right to inspect items not just at ports of entry, but checkpoints hundreds of miles away. The ACLU calls these "Constitution-free zones."In the video below, we learn some interesting facts about the so-called Constitution Free Zone:
As Anthony Gucciardi points out, this zone around the United States "expands 100 miles and includes 197 million people." We aren't talking about Russia or China or Iran. We are talking about the United States of America under Barack Obama.
Gucciardi asks a basic question in his report: why isn't the media reporting this? These zones, where anything of yours can be searched for any reason without having to have "cause," is an ongoing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy. This is just outrageous! And the media don't find this newsworthy? Why not? Why would they simply turn a blind eye to what's happening to our freedoms?
Here's how the 4th Amendment to the Constitution reads: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.Donald Quinn, writing for Digital Journal, takes issue with what the federal government is doing:For all those people who have been fighting tooth and nail against new gun control laws, in order to uphold the 2nd Amendment, the bad news is apparently it is already a lost cause. If your home, vehicle, or person has a gun within 100 miles of an international border, to include all land and sea borders, ports, and airports, then the law enforcement agent of any stripe can seize that gun on the simple premise that they believe you could be about to commit a crime. Without being called an alarmist, we need to understand that with the stripping of the 4th Amendment under this "constitution free zone" we have already lost the ability to defend ourselves against any other violations of the Bill of Rights. Think I am being a panic monger?
In the story reported in The Tampa Tribune, John Filippidis and his family were pulled over, searched, and detained on the side of the road for up to 90 minutes in Maryland recently. The officer, from the Transportation Authority Police, pulled over the family (kids and all) for a supposed traffic violation despite the fact that they were not speeding. What followed was an ordeal where a police officer tried to get Filippidis to disclose the location of his handgun. How did the officer know that the man had a weapon? Filippidis had a concealed weapons permit for the State of Florida, however, had chosen not to carry his gun on a family road trip this December. Despite being told this repeatedly, the officer searched Filippidis and interrogated him in front of his wife and kids. To add insult to injury, they searched the entire car -- under the guise of reasonable suspicion. No due process and certainly no probable cause considering that not even a speeding ticket was awarded, and the department has since issued an apology. My question is, what would the officer have done had Filippidis been carrying his weapon under his 2nd Amendment rights, and what good did the 4th Amendment do a family that had done nothing to attract suspicion other than being legal registered gun owners in a different state?This is really going on in America. I'm not usually on the side of the ACLU, but if we lose our protections under "probable cause," then what's next? The federal government is supposed to serve the people... not the other way around. If we keep forfeiting our freedoms all in the name of "security," pretty soon we'll have neither.
-------------- Dr. Bobby Eberle is a conservative political analyst, writer, commentator and founder of GOPUSA.com. Dr. Eberle has served in conservative, Republican leadership roles at the county, state, and national levels. He was a delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention and covered the 2004 Republican National Convention as a member of the Internet media. He served as the State Chairman for the Texas Young Republican Federation and as the Vice Chairman at Large for their National Federation. As a fellow conservative activists, and noted online author, the ARRA News Service occasionally promotes his articles. Tags:living in, ACLU, Constitution Free Zone, Bobby Eberle, The Loft, GOPUSATo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Editorial cartoon, AF Branco, Monster of Disaster, killing energy production, coal, oil, natural gas, Unnecessary flatulence, cows methane, regulation, Obama administration, big governmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote on a massive proposal to overhaul the nation’s mortgage finance market. Yet the draft language released by the authors – Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) -- has raised concerns across the political spectrum.
Organizations and individuals at polar ends of the political landscape, from Ralph Nader on the left to the Independent Community Bankers Association on the right, and from the right-leaning 60 Plus to the left-leaning NAACP, have all voiced objection to parts of this mammoth legislation. Others, such as HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and the National Association of Realtors have been more supportive of the bill. Who is right and what should Senators do?
There is surprising consensus throughout the political spectrum on the goals of housing finance. The system needs to be reformed to attract more private capital, reduce the direct role of government involvement, and avoid any instability that would threaten the nascent housing recovery. The best element of the current system, the widespread availability of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for families with sound credit and some ability to put money down, should be maintained. The question is not only how to get there, but also what are the risks of setting up the wrong system.
If you err in one direction, you can create a system that simply doesn’t attract private capital. Let’s face it, in a world with global competition for the best returns to housing capital, U.S. residential mortgages are not very attractive. The overhang of the recent financial crisis, sparked by a mortgage market gone haywire, looms large.
Further, the government’s attempt to wipe out existing private capital invested in the publicly traded stock of housing finance companies serves as a strong disincentive to other private investors. As consumer advocate Ralph Nader put it, “Taxpayers, consumers and shareholders should have serious reservations about this proposal for housing finance reform… It sets an objectionable precedent for shareholder rights and treatment in this country.” The key point is that by abridging property rights for existing private capital, the legislation cannot succeed in bringing private capital back into the housing market.
Bernard L. Weinstein, a professor at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University and a fellow with the George W. Bush Institute also adds, “[t]he Johnson-Crapo bill is the wrong approach to a Fannie and Freddie wind-down. It is tantamount to an uncompensated government taking that violates the “rule of law” and ignores private property rights.”
Without private capital engaged, taxpayers will be on the hook for irresponsible lending similar to what happened in the financial crisis. The Independent Community Bankers Association, along with Credit Union trade associations, raised the concern that the current proposal will overly concentrate mortgage lending with large financial institutions. They told senators in a letter that “Any housing reform proposal must ensure equal and competitive access for community banks and credit unions, while avoiding further concentration of the primary and secondary mortgage markets to the largest lenders and Wall Street firms.” The current proposal fails to meet that test, in their opinion.
The Senate proposal may well eliminate the ability for millions of American families, particularly those in communities of color, to even be able to afford a home. The NAACP, joined by the National Council of La Raza, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, the Center for Responsible Lending, and other civil rights groups, wrote, “The new Senate proposal to reform the housing finance system would needlessly make mortgages more expensive and less available….[and] would widen the existing wealth gap and lock out the very borrowers the market needs to operate in a healthy manner.”
Restricting the ability of first time homebuyers, who historically make up 40 percent of the market, to obtain mortgages would substantially decrease home prices. The result would be to roil the housing market for current homeowners as well as future borrowers.
Jim Martin, chairman of 60 Plus, an organization that advocates for older Americans, said, “Millions of retirees and others will lose their savings from this broad government overreach built into the Johnson-Crapo legislation.”
With stakes as large as the ability to buy a home for millions of families and the retirement security for millions more, it is critical that we get housing finance reform right. If that takes more time to work out these complicated issues, then that is time well spent.
What the U.S. cannot afford is to adopt the current draft of the Crapo-Johnson bill before the Senate Banking Committee. It leaves too many questions unanswered and puts at risk the small gains homeowners and shareholders have made since the housing crisis in 2008.
Moving forward without addressing the underlying problems in the legislation would be a disaster for the future of housing finance in America. Most importantly, it’s imperative that leaders in Washington take the necessary time to get this issue right. The fate of millions of families depends on it.
---------------------- 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:objection, Housing, housing finance reform, U.S. Senate, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, mortgage finance market, real Estate, market, homeowners, shareholders, buyers, sellers, Ken BlackwellTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
It might be good for everyone to take time to watch the "WHAT YOU ARE IS WHERE YOU WERE WHEN" videos (1986) by Dr. Morris Massey. Massey investigated the role of the past by explaining the three self-programming periods each young individual goes through in developing a value system which affects their later communications and viewpoints. These gut-level feelings guide an adult's behavior, determine their worldview, and influence how they feel about what is normal and abnormal. The communications of an 80 year old life experiences and communications are not going to match up with the communications of a 25-30 or 31-40, etc. year olds, etc. The liberal speak of today's biased media is tragic and often dishonest in their portrayal of events. ~ Bill Smith, Editor
Bundy said that Obama was "light-skinned" and spoke with no "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." I'm sorry -- that was Harry Reid.
He used the "n" word, right? Well, not that "n" word, but the late West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd used to use it.
Yesterday, the New York Times broke a story that implied Bundy was a racist. "I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," Bundy said. After lamenting the condition of many poor blacks today, he asks rhetorically, "And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life … or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."
Armed with these insensitive and racist statements, liberal reporters rushed to put Republicans on the record. Predictably, the politicians ran for the tall grass.
Bundy's statement is inartful and ignorant . . . but that has nothing to do with the dispute he has with the federal government. He also said a lot more (here and here) than what the Times printed.
By the way, this is the same New York Times that for months could not find one hateful word worth reporting from racist and anti-Semite Jeremiah Wright's sermons, even though Barack Obama described him as a mentor and dedicated a book to him. This is the same New York Times that only reluctantly covered the violent extremists in the Occupy Wall Street movement once they could no longer ignore it.
The thousands of Americans who rallied to Cliven Bundy did not do so because of his views on race relations or slavery. They rallied against an out-of-control government that was pointing military-grade weapons at American citizens and setting up so-called "free speech zones" over a dispute involving cattle grazing.
The left lost that PR war. Now, sadly, Cliven Bundy's rhetoric has given the left the opportunity to do to conservatives what it always does -- not defeat our ideas, but instead smear us all as bigots, extremists and Neanderthals. It is worth remembering that they did the very same thing to Rep. Paul Ryan just a few weeks ago when his words were free of any racial insensitivity.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:inarticulate rancher, big bad government, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working FamiliesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Train Wreck: Oregon Prepares To Abandon Failed State Obamacare Exchange for the Federal System | Survey: Small Biz Owners Most Concerned About Health Care Suggestions
Today in Washington, D.C. - April 25, 2014
The Senate will reconvene on Monday and at 5:30 PM there are a series of votes is scheduled: on confirmation of Michelle Friedland to be a United States Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit, on cloture on the controversial nomination of David Weil to be the administrator of the wage and hour division at the Department of Labor, on confirmation of the Weil nomination if cloture is invoked, and on confirmation of the nomination of Katherine O’Regan to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The House will also reconvene on April 28, 2014 at 2:00 P.M.
The Los Angeles Times reports, “Oregon officials will vote Friday on whether to become the first state to scrap its troubled insurance exchange and switch to the federal system, after spending an estimated $248 million on an ambitious exchange that failed in spectacular fashion. Not a single insurance seeker was able to enroll online in a private plan under the Affordable Care Act in this high-tech state, which has long prided itself on healthcare innovation and whose governor is a former emergency room doctor. Cover Oregon instead was forced to resort to paper applications. . . . At a Thursday meeting, Cover Oregon's technology advisory committee recommended that the agency scrap its local exchange because there is neither the time nor the money to fix it. . . . James D. Moore, a professor of political science at Pacific University who has followed the Obamacare rollout, said Oregon was probably the biggest failure of the 14 states that chose to run their own insurance exchanges. ‘Oregon, especially with the current governor, has prided itself on being a trailblazer in lots of healthcare things,’ Moore said. ‘This says, “Not only can we not do it, but we were an abject failure at it in this particular round.” It's going to damage Oregon's national reputation. It may have an impact on Kitzhaber's reelection campaign.’”
The Hill adds, “The decision is a significant shift for an exchange that was expected to run well. Oregon is mostly run by Democratic supporters of the healthcare law and known for its innovations in healthcare policy, signs that initially boded well for its ObamaCare enrollment system. But the website has become an embarrassment for the state, and improving it before the next enrollment period would have been challenging and expensive.” And the LA Times notes, “When President Obama's healthcare law was in the planning phases, Oregon was expected to lead the way in expanding coverage. Kitzhaber made the program a priority, and the state was already viewed as a national model by demanding better coordination among healthcare providers to improve the care of Medicaid patients. Oregon received one of the federal government's early innovator grants and ultimately got nearly $315 million in federal funding to develop a system that could help enroll the state's estimated 560,000 uninsured people, about 15% of its population. . . . But the website where Oregonians were supposed to enroll in private plans, built by Cover Oregon's main contractor, Oracle, was a disaster from the start. After discovering a series of technical problems the weekend before the Oct. 1 launch — including inaccurate calculations of the tax subsidies that consumers would be eligible for — Cover Oregon decided to scratch its plans to go live with the rest of the country and never managed to get online enrollment started.”
The Wall Street Journal editors put this debacle in perspective: “‘This thing is working,’ President Obama instructed the other day, and liberals got the message to ignore ObamaCare's ongoing dysfunctions. The reality is different, especially in states like Oregon, which pulled the plug on its insurance exchange on Thursday. Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber promised to lead the nation on ObamaCare and he did—from behind. The worst-in-America launch collapsed even harder than Healthcare.gov. The exchange website known as Cover Oregon still hasn't enrolled one person, and the state has spent about $7 million signing up merely 69,000 people manually using paper applications. An internal audit ordered by Mr. Kitzhaber concludes that Cover Oregon's architects were doomed by multi-agency bureaucratic confusion with no quality control or accountability for results. Investigators at the KATU news station uncovered evidence suggesting that Cover Oregon officials created a fake website to create the illusion of progress for the feds, who made ObamaCare grants that totalled $303 million.”
With stories like Oregon’s combined with the disruptions and problems Obamacare has created in the health care system throughout the country, liberals’ recent triumphalism about the still unpopular law is out of touch.
According to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Healthcare Daily, “Healthcare is now the most significant national concern among small businesses, outpacing the federal budget deficit and taxes. The findings were revealed this week in the fifth annual U.S. Bank Small Business Survey. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the study found business owners are wary of its long-term impact. In the study’s words: ‘Slightly more than six in 10 owners now say the long-term impact of the Affordable Care Act will be negative on their business.’ ‘Small business owners want to provide health insurance as a benefit for their employees and for themselves,’ said Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business. ‘The challenge is to figure out how to afford it; it’s getting more and more expensive.’ At least three out of five owners who run a business that makes at least $1 million annually say the law resulted in higher premiums for their business, the study found.”
Meanwhile former Washington Post health care reporter, Sarah Kliff, Vox, writes, “The Obama administration is quietly trying to stamp out some of the skimpiest health plans, a decision that industry officials say could trigger yet another wave of cancellation notices. The administration is targeting a type of coverage called fixed benefit or indemnity insurance, which give patients a fixed sum of money whenever they visit the doctor or land in a hospital. These plans are less expensive than regular medical insurance because they are less robust. And new federal regulations would make it illegal for insurers to sell these plans as stand-alone insurance coverage. Instead, the Obama administration only wants to allow people to buy fixed-benefit plans as supplemental insurance to a more comprehensive medical plan.”
Obamacare is a disaster and it needs to be repealed and replaced. Tags:Obamacare, train wreck, Oregon, federal exchange, false claims, work like Amazon.com, lower premiums, you can keep your planTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by An American Veteran: I am a ‘Domestic Terrorist”. No, not like real domestic terrorists of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who tried to blow up the Cuyahoga River Valley Bridge in Ohio, ran amok in New York and Seattle, raping women, breaking windows, setting fires, urinating on police cars, and attacking military port facilities in Oakland. All with the endorsement and high praise (barking and clapping) by Obama’s trained seals, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and members of the print and electronic media.
But, I am a “Domestic Terrorist” in the mold of Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, George Washington, John Adams, John Paul Jones, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry who said “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death” and pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in the face of unrelenting persecution by a tyrannical government and king some 240 years ago, boldly declaring:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”. And,
“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” Sound familiar?
I am a “Domestic Terrorist” according to Harry Reid and an “anarchist” according to Nancy Pelosi, because this 70 year old Veteran, Father of an Iraq War veteran currently on deployment, refuses to bend a knee before a “wannabe king and dick-tator” who believe the American people are servants of the government, instead of our government serving the people.
I am a “Domestic Terrorist” because I believe “God, Country, and Family” are not just idle words, but a way of life. My life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. I am a “Domestic Terrorist” because I believe life begins at conception; and if life is not safe in a mother’s womb, it’s not safe on the streets of America, as evidenced by the weekly killings on the streets of Chicago. I am a “Domestic Terrorist” because I believe ALL Americans, should work for living, and not depend on government handouts to merely “exist”. I worked for the past 63 years, first as a newspaper delivery boy at age ten, now as President of my own company. I believe in the American dream, and that you don’t help the poor by government “redistributing” money from those of us WHO WORK. That is called “communism”.
I am a “Domestic Terrorist” because I believe the government or its’ leaders, should not encourage its citizens to “smoke pot’ or “gamble”, just to get more tax revenues to subsidize those who do.
I am a “Domestic Terrorist” because I believe the ATF, Bureau of Land Management and ICE should enforce our immigration laws and pursue illegal aliens and Mexican drug cartel members with the same ferocity and “storm trooper tactics” they use to pursue and harass American ranchers and citizens.
I am a “Domestic Terrorist” because I believe in that man was created in the “image and likeness of God”. The God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. And, I am thankful for His creation and His only begotten Son dying for my sins; for my very life, my parents; wife of 40 years, three children; four grandchildren; and all that I have. And, I believe it takes three to make a marriage: God, man, and woman. Period.
Finally, I am a “Domestic Terrorist” because I believe there is NO expiration date on the Oath I swore some 56 years ago when I enlisted in the United Sates Navy: “That I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to same…..so Help Me, God!”
And I believe now, more than ever, in the words of Samuel Adams, another “Domestic Terrorist” of 1776: “The liberties of our country, the Freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending against all hazards and it is OUR DUTY to defend them against all attacks”.
On November 4, 2014, I, along with my family and many, many other “Domestic Terrorists", will exercise ‘our right” to vote again to restore our government to one that will be once more: “Of the People, By the People, and For the People!”
--------------- An American Veteran is a "pen name" for a patriot. Tags:elections, voting, 2013 elections, domestic terrorist, patriot, an American veteranTo 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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