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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)

Friday, May 09, 2014

FEC Chair Warns Conservative Media Like Drudge Report And Sean Hannity Face Regulation - Like PACs

by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner: Government officials, reacting to the growing voice of conservative news outlets, especially on the internet, are angling to curtail the media's exemption from federal election laws governing political organizations, a potentially chilling intervention that the chairman of the Federal Election Commission is vowing to fight.

“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” warned Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman in an interview.

“The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications,” he added.

Noting the success of sites like the Drudge Report, Goodman said that protecting conservative media, especially those on the internet, “matters to me because I see the future going to the democratization of media largely through the internet. They can compete with the big boys now, and I have seen storm clouds that the second you start to regulate them, there is at least the possibility or indeed proclivity for selective enforcement, so we need to keep the media free and the internet free.”

All media has long benefited from an exemption from FEC rules, thereby allowing outlets to pick favorites in elections and promote them without any limits or disclosure requirements like political action committees.

But Goodman cited several examples where the FEC has considered regulating conservative media, including Sean Hannity's radio show and Citizens United's movie division. Those efforts to lift the media exemption died in split votes at the politically evenly divided board, often with Democrats seeking regulation.

Liberals over the years have also pushed for a change in the Federal Communications Commission's "fairness doctrine" to cut of conservative voices, and retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has delighted Democrats recently with a proposed Constitutional amendment that some say could force the media to stop endorsing candidates or promoting issues.

“The picking and choosing has started to occur,” said Goodman. “There are some in this building that think we can actually regulate” media, added Goodman, a Republican whose chairmanship lasts through December. And if that occurs, he said, “then I am concerned about disparate treatment of conservative media.”

He added, “Truth be told, I want conservative media to have the same exemption as all other media.”
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Paul Bedard writes "Washington Secrets" for the Washington Examiner.

Tags: Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner,  FEC Chair, warns, Drudge Report, Sean Hannity, face regulations To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Rushing to Regulate: Dem. Rosenworcel is Right - So She Should Vote ‘No’ on Net Neutrality

Seton Motley, Contributing Author:: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Democrat Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel yesterday made a very good point.

Rosenworcel: Delay Vote on Net Neutrality Rules

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to delay his planned May 15 vote on a draft of new network neutrality rules by at least a month….

"His proposal has unleashed a torrent of public response. Tens of thousands of e-mails, hundreds of calls, commentary all across the Internet….

"We need to respect that input and we need time for that input. So while I recognize the urgency to move ahead and develop rules with dispatch, I think the greater urgency comes in giving the American public opportunity to speak right now, before we head down this road.

"I believe that rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his proposal.”

She pointed out that the seven-day quiet period before the vote begins May 8. "That means we no longer accept public comment. I think it’s a mistake to cut off public debate right now as we head into consideration of the Chairman’s proposal. So again, at a minimum, we should delay the onset of our Sunshine rules.”
So as of today, the FCC stops listening to what we have to say. And Commissioner Rosenworcel thankfully wants to continue listening.

Chairman Wheeler, sadly, remains impervious.

An FCC source speaking on background said the vote would go on as planned….Commissioner Rosenworcel’s impression and instincts are exactly right. And there’s a way she can get the appropriate delay - by voting “No” next Thursday.

Her Nay - combined with the likely Nays of the two Republican Commissioners - would be a majority three and stave off Net Neutrality’s imposition.

Would that mean Net Neutrality is dead and gone? Of course not - its proponents are relentless.

Government Taking Third Stab at Net Neutrality Power Grab

Why Can’t the Government Take No for an Answer?
What it would mean is We the People would have more time to weigh in on this huge government infliction on 1/6th of our nation’s economy.

Which is just what Commissioner Rosenworcel rightly wants.

Her No vote would give us that.
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Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. RedState  also published this article. Please feel free to follow him on  Twitter /  Facebook.

Tags: net neutrality, reshing to regulate, Seton Motley, Less 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!

Rep. Tom Cotton Slams Dems Over Phony Benghazi Fundraising Outrage

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) took to the floor of the House on Thursday during a debate over the establishment of a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack where he strongly criticized Democrats for condemning Republican committee fundraising solicitations relating to the investigation. Cotton said their outrage was hypocritical, and asked where their indignation was when he was serving in Iraq in the armed forces and Democratic committees were pitching donors by citing American deaths in that theater of war.

Daily Caller reported: Arkansas Republican Rep. Tom Cotton excoriated his Democratic colleagues for attacking a GOP fundraising effort around the Benghazi cover-up, asking “Where was the outrage as Democrats fundraised endlessly off the Iraq War?”

Cotton took to the House floor minutes before a vote to convene a select committee to investigate alleged wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the aftermath of the September 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Democrats had been railing against a National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) email referencing the cover-up and asking for political donations. They argument was that it is disgraceful for a political party to raise money on a tragedy that killed four Americans.

As a former Army veteran with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cotton was having none of it. Democrats, he said, “express great outrage at politicizing this manner. When I was leading troops in Iraq in 2006 — men and women who were being shot at and blown up by al-Qaeda — where was the outrage as they fundraised endlessly off the Iraq War?”

“Where was the outrage as they viciously attacked our commanders?” Cotton continued, his voice quavering with anger. “Where was the outrage when they said that soldiers were war criminals? Where was the outrage when they said the war was lost? Where was the outrage when they said that only high school dropouts join the army?”

“Forgive me if I don’t join my Democratic colleagues in sharing in their fake outrage,” the congressman spat. “Four Americans lost their lives that night in Benghazi. They deserve justice. The American people deserve the truth.”

“One lesson I learned in the Army is we leave no man behind,” Cotton concluded. “And we will not leave these four men behind.”

CSPAN video Via the Washington Free Beacon (FreeBeacon.com):
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Congressman Tom Cotton (R) represents the citizens of the 4th District of Arkansas. He is also running for U.S. Senate in 2014 against liberal progressive Sen. Mark Pryor (D). To learn more about Tom Cotton visit tomcotton.com

Tags: Tom Cotton, veteran, US Army, Ranger, US Congressman, Arkansas, AR-04, slams democrats, phony outrage, Benghazi fundraising, Iraq War, House floor, video,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

George Will Demolishes Arguments for Common Core

George Will
ARRA News Service - Conservative pundit George Will delivered a fierce attack on Common Core last night, characterizing the educational standards as a way for progressives to further promote their political views.

“This is a thin end of an enormous wedge of federal power that will be wielded for the constant progressive purpose of concentrating power in Washington so that it can impose continental solutions to problems nationwide,” Will said on Fox News’ “Special Report.”

He also warned Americans that the federal standards posed a significant threat to local autonomy.

“The advocates of the Common Core say, if you like local control of your schools, you can keep it, period. If you like your local curriculum you can keep it, period, and people don’t believe them for very good reasons,” Will remarked.

Video via Mike Rodgers at Graniote Grok: Fox News: Special Report with Bret Baier. Juan Williams sets it up, and George Will makes a clean sweep!

Tags: George Will, demolishes, arguments, Common Core To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

More Bad News On The Employment Front

Big picture: Working age population way up. Actual number of people working down.
 by Herman Cain: Applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell this week to 319,000. Last week the number was 344,000. Now you might think that’s good news, but it’s not. What matters when you look at this number is the rolling four-week average, which the Labor Department says is up 4,500. That means we’re still looking at about 325,000 people a week filing for unemployment claims.

When you’re supposed to be in a recovery, you don’t have anywhere near that number filing for unemployment. But a real recovery doesn’t see quarters of 0.1 GDP growth like the one we just had.

Now the Obama Administration is trying to blame the snow, which is a curious thing to say in the same week when they also tried to tell us global warming is lurking at our door.

But it also doesn’t wash because they trend far predates the one harsh winter we just had. Since 2007, the U.S. population has added more than 8 million people to the working age population. But in that same period, the total number of people working is down by a half million.

You can’t blame the snow for that. Maybe they could blame . . . George W. Bush!

Or maybe they could realize that their own policies – from taxes to regulation to ObamaCare to massive deficit spending – are hindering economic growth and hampering the process of job creation. Then again, if your agenda is the expansion of government and not private sector wealth creation, why would you care?

Tags: Herman Cain, U.S. unemployment, jobs report, Obama administration, failed policies To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

What A Difference It Made

Editorial Cartoon By AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, Boko Haram, not terrorists, potential candidate Hillary Clinton, terrorists, kidnapping, murder, rape, child slavery, bring back our girls, 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!

Downsizing Australia's Government and Repealing Green Laws

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Try to imagine a commission of the U.S. government recommending that it get rid of the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, countless agencies, and, for good measure, restructure Medicare so it doesn’t go broke. There are few Americans who will argue that our federal government isn’t big enough and many who trace our present problems to Big Government.

That is why what has been occurring in Australia caught my attention because its voters rid themselves of a political party that imposed both a carbon tax and renewable energy tax on them. The purpose of the latter was to fund the building of wind turbines and solar farms to provide electricity.

Taxing carbon emissions—greenhouse gases—said to be heating the Earth has happily died in the U.S. Senate, but in Australia the taxes were a major reason that the Liberal Party (which is actually politically conservative despite its name) took power after a former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pushed it and the renewable energy tax through its parliament.

Gillard became the first woman PM after she challenged then PM Kevin Rudd to lead the Labor Party (which is politically liberal.) Like John Kerry, Gillard was against the taxes before she was for them. How liberal is Rudd? In February he was named a senior fellow of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Like Obama, Rudd came out in favor of same-sex marriage when he was the PM.

Bjorn Lomborg, writing in The Australian in late April, noted that both of the taxes “have contributed to household electricity costs rising 110 percent in the past five years, hitting the poor the hardest.” I repeat—110 percent!

It didn’t take Australians long to discover what a disaster taxing carbon emissions was and how useless renewable energy is. In both cases the taxes were based on the notion that “fossil fuels”, coal, oil and natural gas, are a threat to the environment. Despite an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the Earth has been cooling for the last seventeen years. Mother Nature always has the last word.

As of this writing, the repeal of the two Green laws is in the Parliament’s Senate after having won assent in the lower House. A September 2013 election provided enough new Senate lawmakers to ensure the repeal.

The Commonwealth of Australia is the sixth largest nation by total area. It was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and New South Wales was used as a penal colony initially. As the general population grew and the continent was explored, five more self-governing crown colonies were established. On January 1, 1901, the six colonies and several territories federated to form the Commonwealth. The population is approximately 23 million is highly urbanized and lives primarily in the eastern states.

Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy making it one of the wealthiest in the world, but the environmentally-inspired taxes had a deleterious impact on its economy, particularly the mining of coal and iron. As noted, the cost of electricity skyrocketed.

The present Prime Minister is Anthony John “Tony” Abbott. He has held the office since 2013 and has been the leader of the Liberal Party since 2009. A Member of Parliament, he was first elected in 1994 as the representative of Warringah. He made a lot of news when he protested a proposed Emissions Trade Scheme and forced a leadership ballot that defeated it, becoming in the process the Liberal Party leader and leader of the opposition to Rudd and Gillard’s Labor Party.

As reported in the April 30 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, Abbott’s Commission of Audit “has recommended massive cuts to the size of government, with whole agencies to be abolished, privatized, or devolved to the states, in what would be the biggest reworking of the federation ever undertaken.”

The Commission, the Herald reported, has 86 recommendations, among which are “calls for the axing of multiple agencies and the surrender of huge swathes of responsibility back to the states in education, health, and other services.”

The Australian reported that Joseph Benedict “Joe” Hockey, Australia’s Treasurer as part of the Abbott government, said that the proposed budget would axe “the vast number of (environmental) agencies that are involved in doing the same thing.” Hockey is no fan of wind power, saying “If I can be a little indulgent, I drive to Canberra to go to parliament and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive. I think they are a blight on the landscape.” That kind of candid talk, if he was an American politician, would be considered astonishing.

The best “transformation” America could undergo is not President Obama’s version, but a return to the limits set forth in the U.S. Constitution, a document that reflected the Founder’s distinct distrust of a large central government and its allocation of civic responsibilities to the individual states to the greatest degree possible, and to "the people."

Australia is way ahead of the U.S. in that regard, learning from the errors of environment laws and the expansion of its government into areas of health and education. We would do well to follow its example.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column,  "Warning Signs"  disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

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House Select Committee on 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi |WaPo Fact Checker Slams Obama, Dems For Claims Of "500 GOP Filibusters"

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 9, 2014
The House reconvened at 9 AM today. At 9:59 AM the passed by a vote of 274 to 131 H.R. 4438 — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to simplify and make permanent the research credit." The House then took up for debate H.R. 10 — "To amend the charter school program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965."

Yesterday the House passed:
Hillary's response to H.Res.567
Editorial Cartoon by by Glenn Foden
H. Res. 567 (232-186) — "Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi."
H. Res. 575 (224-192) — "Providing for consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 567) providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi."
H.R. 2548 (297-117) — "To establish a comprehensive United States government policy to assist countries in sub-Saharan Africa to develop an appropriate mix of power solutions for more broadly distributed electricity access in order to support poverty alleviation and drive economic growth, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4366 (Voice Vote) — "To strengthen the Federal education research system to make research and evaluations more timely and relevant to State and local needs in order to increase student achievement."

Glenn Kessler, of The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, writes today, “In addressing a dinner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Los Angeles, President Obama made a rather striking claim—that Senate Republicans have filibustered ‘500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class.’ Regular readers knows that The Fact Checker has objected to the way that Senate Democrats tally these figures, but the president’s claim makes little sense no matter how you do the numbers. . . . Since 2007, there have been 527 cloture motions that have been filed, according to Senate statistics. This is apparently where Obama got his figure. But this tells only part of the story as many of those cloture motions were simply dropped, never actually voted on, or ‘vitiated’ in the senatorial nomenclature. Obama is assuming every cloture motion can be counted as a filibuster.”

The president is not alone in making this misleading claim. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) declared, “I’ve had to overcome over 500 filibusters. 500!”

But no matter who is saying it, equating cloture motions with filibusters is absurd. As Kessler explains, “[T]he Congressional Research Service . . . warned in a 2013 report that ‘it would be erroneous, however, to treat this table as a list of filibusters on nominations.’ Indeed, when you go through the numbers, there have just been 133 successful filibusters—meaning a final vote could not take place–since 2007. But, even if you accept the way Senate Democrats like the frame the issue, the president is still wrong. He referred to ‘legislation’—and most of these cloture motions concerned judicial and executive branch nominations. In the 113th Congress, for instance, 83 of the 136 cloture motions so far have concerned nominations, not legislation.”

Of course many of these cloture motions are for nominations that were confirmed. Further, after Democrats unleashed the nuclear option, breaking Senate rules to change how many votes were required to invoke cloture on nominees, there have been numerous cloture motions that Reid filed on nominees who were certain to be confirmed, since Democrats are all voting for cloture. That either of these instances could be considered a “Republican filibuster” is ridiculous

Kessler continues, “Even then, while Obama referred to ‘500 pieces of legislation,’ the same bill can be subject to as many as three cloture motions, further inflating the numbers. For instance, there may be cloture to get on the bill, cloture on the substitute bill (if lawmakers are simply using an unrelated bill as a vehicle for passage), and cloture on the underlying bill. All of these votes might take place on the same day, but it creates the illusion of the same bill being ‘filibustered’ three times. It certainly does not mean there were three pieces of legislation. So far in the 113th Congress, 36 pieces of legislation were subject to a cloture motion—and 12 were actually filibustered. That’s a far cry from the 136 that Obama is counting in order to tally up 500.

“Obama’s count also includes at least a half-dozen instances when Republicans were blocked by Democrats through use of the filibuster. In fact, in the biggest oddity, the president reached back to 2007 in making his claim, so he includes two years when he was still a senator. On eight occasions, he voted against ending debate—the very thing he decried in his remarks.” Among Obama’s votes against cloture were the amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 and his vote for a filibuster of Judge Leslie Southwick in 2007.

Something else important to consider is Reid’s penchant for filing for cloture on a bill as soon as the Senate begins consideration of it. Is it really “obstruction” when the majority leader decides to cut off debate and amendments before a bill is even considered?< Kessler concludes, “On just about every level, this claim is ridiculous. We realize that Senate rules are complex and difficult to understand, but the president did serve in the Senate and should be familiar with its terms and procedures. . . . [H]e inflated the numbers to such an extent that he even included votes in which he, as senator, supported a filibuster. Four Pinocchios.”

Democrats continue to throw around inflated numbers and charges of “obstructionism” when it is the way they’ve run the Senate that has resulted in these problems.
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Tags:  House, Benghazi, select committee, Senate, Democrats, false claimsINSERT TAGS 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, May 08, 2014

Who Owns One-Third of American Land -- And How It's Holding Us Back

by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: Did you know that the federal government owns nearly one-third of U.S. land?

What are they doing with it, you might ask. And the answer is certainly not making the most of it.

In fact, true to form, the federal government is getting in the way of domestic energy and American jobs.

“Inaccessibility and unnecessary regulations inhibit economic growth in various parts of the country,” says Heritage expert Nicolas Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow. He points to a recent study showing that “opening up offshore areas for drilling in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf — just one region where offshore drilling is possible but not permitted — would create 280,000 jobs in that region alone.”

While U.S. oil production has gone gangbusters in recent years, most of that production has been on privately owned land.


Loris says that “a major reason that production on federal land has lagged behind is not a matter of economic viability or location but rather inefficiencies on the part of the federal government.”

It only makes sense that areas where the states have more control are far more productive. When the oil is in your backyard, you have the most to gain from an economic boom – and you have the incentive to make sure energy production is done in an environmentally sound way.

To see how federal lands lag behind, take this example: Total daily federal onshore oil production is only about one-third of what is produced every day at North Dakota’s Bakken formation alone.

>>> See what happens when a state takes charge of its own energy resources: The economic boom in North Dakota

Federal land management holds Americans back. Loris explains:

In some cases, waiting for a federal permit can take 10 times longer than it does at the state level. In 2013, the average wait for the federal government to approve a request was 194 days, compared to 27 days in North Dakota, 11 days in Texas, and 45 in Pennsylvania.Congress should consider privatizing some of the federal government’s land, Loris says, but in the meantime, free the states to join in this economic boom – and provide homegrown energy for their neighbors while they’re at it.

Tags: domestic oil production, U.S. land, America, Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Breakout Versus Breakdown at the Veterans Administration

by Newt Gingrich and Ali Meshkin: When the American Legion calls for Secretary of Veterans Affairs General Eric Shinseki to resign, you know something is profoundly wrong.

In a statement entitled, “Shinseki Must Go,"' Daniel Dellinger, National Commander of the American Legion, said, "His record as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs…tells a story of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership.”

“The disturbing reports coming from the Phoenix VA Medical Center are just one of what appears to be a pattern of scandals that have infected the entire system,” Dellinger continued. “It has been more than 20 years since the American Legion has called for the resignation of a public official. It’s not something we do lightly. We do this because of people who have been failed by the system.”

Note the key charge: "a pattern of scandals that have infected the entire system."

This is an historic opportunity for Congress to look beyond personality and scapegoating and to take seriously the potential for a “breakout” that would replace the current breakdown with a new Veterans Administration capable of serving today's veterans with modern technologies and standards.

Congress should start by looking at institutions that handle people and information effectively, accurately and with great accountability.

The next time you make an airline or hotel reservation ask why the Veterans Administration can't be that customer-friendly.

The next time you use your smartphone ask why there isn't a "veterans app" that makes it easier for our veterans to keep track of their VA appointments, records, diagnoses, etc.

The next time you use an ATM machine to get cash in less than eleven seconds, ask why it can take 175 days to transfer a veteran from the Defense Department to the Veterans Administration.


Click here to view map of VA scandals
In contrast to the modern systems we deal with on a daily basis, the VA bureaucracy is a disaster.

A former Chief of Staff of the Army, General Edward “Shy” Meyer, used to have a saying about large organizations: ”They are all lakes of mediocrity dotted by islands of excellence.” Today even this is too generous a description of what modern bureaucracy has become. In many federal agencies we have islands of corruption rising from a sea of incompetence.

Few parts of the federal government exemplify both types of terrain so well as the Department of Veterans Affairs. As Daniel Dellinger’s call for Shinseki to resign indicates, stories of incompetence and corruption—potentially criminal conduct—at the VA have become so common that they outrage but no longer surprise.

Several weeks ago I wrote about the VA employees in Los Angeles who intentionally destroyed veterans’ medical records in order to eliminate the shameful backlog of patients waiting for appointments--many of them for months or even years.

CNN recently followed that report of fraud with an infuriating story of its own, the story the American Legion commander referred to about the misconduct of VA officials in Phoenix. According to the report, these bureaucrats conspired to hide their backlog from superiors in Washington by maintaining a secret waiting list of hundreds or even thousands of veterans who waited months for care before the VA entered those patients into its computer system once it was able to schedule an appointment.

And in March, the Daily Caller reported that top-level managers in Mississippi remained in their positions despite prescribing narcotics without actually seeing patients.

Note that in each of these cases, the general incompetence and mismanagement at the VA is so severe that engaging in potentially criminal conduct appears to all involved to be a preferable system--until someone finds out about it, that is.

Some of the corrupt officials engage in outright theft. In February, a former VA director in Ohio pled guilty to 64 charges--crimes, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that included “money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiring to defraud the VA through bribery and kickback schemes in which he accepted tens of thousands of dollars from contractors in exchange for inside information.”

In fact, if you want to see how bad the corruption at the VA is, just take a look at the list of press releases on the VA Inspector General’s website. There are many headlines like, "Former VA Employee Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Funds," "Former VA Claims Examiner Pleads Guilty to Theft, Mail Fraud and Money Laundering," and "Veterans’ Benefit Fiduciary and Former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Employee plead Guilty to Embezzling Nearly $900,000."

The VA doesn’t need to employ criminals to lose large sums of money, however. It’s capable of losing taxpayer funds all on its own through sheer incompetence.

As of February 2014 there were 400,000 disability claims considered “backlogged”--that is, they’ve been in processing for more than 125 days. As one veteran of combat in Afghanistan told us, “Appointments are so far back it's ridiculous and claims are even further behind… You can definitely get an appointment--it's just going to be 3-6 months down the road.”

To fix this mess, the VA created a new program, the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). But as the Washington Examiner describes a new report by the Department’s inspector general, “Poor planning, slow software and cost overruns raise the spectre that the $500 million electronic document system being deployed by the Department of Veterans Affairs will not break the months-long delays to process disability compensation claims.”

The computer system started out flawed as millions of dollars were spent to scan files “without a clear plan,” the result being that users had to “wade through hundreds of pages of electronic documents, sometimes for hours, to find the information they needed.” And it still takes employees longer to create a claim in the new system--which reportedly crashes on a regular basis--than it did in the old one.

We probably should not be surprised at this money being spent to build systems that work just as poorly as the ones they replace. The VA and DoD have spent $1.3 billion over the last four years attempting unsuccessfully to develop a single system for electronic health records.

This record of corruption and incompetence is nothing to be proud of, and certainly nothing to reward. In fact, it’s intolerable.

Senior VA officials, however, are not only keeping their jobs but are receiving bonuses. Between 2007 and 2011, the bureaucrats in charge of the VA distributed nearly $17 million in “extra compensation” to senior officials at a time when hundreds of thousands of veterans’ claims were backlogged. At a facility in Pittsburgh, employees were given bonuses despite the fact that 26 veterans contracted Legionnaires Disease, five of whom died.

With thirteen years of continuous war behind us and an aging population of veterans from previous wars, the workload at the VA is only going to increase. This is not a temporary problem, and our veterans are not just going to disappear. In fact, as time goes on there will likely be more of a demand for care since issues such as PTSD sometimes do not manifest themselves until years later.

In a big bureaucracy, people are promised comfortable jobs; it’s difficult to fire them and they are typically not held to any real performance standards. This breeds an environment favoring incompetence and corruption.

We cannot allow this kind of behavior to undermine those VA employees, some of whom are veterans themselves, who are working hard to help. And we cannot allow employees who are trying to do the right thing to be dominated and corrupted by incompetent leadership.

We have to fix it, and that has to start by holding officials responsible for doing their jobs. As House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller has said, “What’s missing from the equation is not money or manpower, it’s accountability.”

Chairman Miller has proposed a bill that would make it easier to fire employees for poor performance, and Senator Marco Rubio has offered a companion bill that would eliminate some of the red tape designed to make it impossible to fire public employees.

Replacing the Department’s senior leadership would be a start. But in fact the entire VA model needs to be replaced. The current system is an obsolete, paper-based bureaucracy incapable of serving America’s veterans. A truly modern VA would be digital, mobile, virtual, and personal. We owe it to our veterans to get the replacement right.
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Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via his  Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Veterans Administration, failures, breakdown, scandals, replace senior leadership, VA, Newt Gingrich, Ali Meshkin To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Podesta’s Challenge Puts EPA Funding On Hot Seat

John Podesta
A unit called Office of Homeland Security  run by President Barack Obama's political staff inside the Environmental Protection Agency operates illegally as a "rogue law enforcement agency"  and has blocked independent investigations by the EPA's inspector general for years... ~  EPA Inspector General Patrick Sullivan (Various AP  Sources)

 by Rick Manning: White House senior adviser John Podesta threw down the gauntlet to congressional Republicans on attempts to minimize damage being done to the economy by President Obama’s environmental regulations. “All I would say is that those have zero percent chance of working. We’re committed to moving forward with those rules,” he said. “We’re committed to maintaining the authority and the president’s authority to ensure that the Clean Air Act is fully implemented.”

Beyond the audacity and inappropriateness of a presidential adviser weighing in on an agency’s regulatory work before the finalization of any regulation, at its core the statement by the former head of the far-left Center for American Progress demonstrates a complete disregard for congressional prerogative.

Since Podesta seems to feel that the executive branch holds a magic power wand, exempt from the legislative branch’s oversight, I thought I’d remind him of the way the Constitution is supposed to work in the hopes that those in the legislative branch take their responsibilities to heart.

Congress has the power of the purse, and can defund any aspect of the federal government that they choose, which includes Podesta’s unelected, unconfirmed position, as well as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation-writers and enforcement activity on any regulation. All they need is the will to do it.

Perhaps Podesta’s hubris-laden contempt for Congress will finally force the legislative branch to target Obama’s elitist environmental policies that are destroying America’s middle class. The president cannot force Congress to fund anything. He can veto legislation that does not contain funding he desires, shutting down the government in a green tantrum, but he cannot spend a dime that Congress does not appropriate. This is why, if the Senate swings Republican after the 2014 election, Congress should make Podesta eat his words.

This year, the House needs to spend time identifying areas within the EPA and Departments of Interior and Energy that should be stripped of funding in preparation for possible Republican control of the Senate in 2015. If Republicans win the Senate, the job is easier, but even if they only still control the House, the job is not impossible if the House majority decides to assert its authority and refuses to give funding to Obama’s pet programs without specific regulatory changes.

It can be done, and if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were Speaker and the shoe were on the other foot, she would do it.

The only question is whether congressional Republicans will collectively muster the testosterone that runs through her veins and stand up for our nation’s workers against those who sacrifice good-paying middle class, blue-collar jobs in an attempt to redistribute our nation’s wealth to the rest of the world.

Podesta has called out congressional Republicans, and he is betting that they will curl up in a ball and tepidly accept the new post-constitutional reality being imposed by Obama. For the sake of the future of our nation’s constitutional separation of powers, let’s hope he is wrong.
----------------
Rick Manning  (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for  Americans for Limited Government. This article was also on the ALG NetRightDaily blog.

Tags: John Podesta, White Houseadvisor, EPA, regulations, 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!

Why Hasn't The U.S. Gone After Russia's Gazprom?

 by John C.K. Daly, CEO, U.S.-Central Asia Biofuels Ltd: Amidst the deepening war of words over Moscow's annexation of Crimea, U.S. President Barack Obama on April 28 added more Russian individuals and companies to a sanctions list that already included influential members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and Bank Rossiya, which has close ties to the Russian leadership. The new list freezes the assets of Igor Sechin, head of Russia's major oil company, Rosneft, six other individuals and 17 companies.

Significantly, the new U.S. list does not include Alexei Miller, CEO of the Russian natural gas state monopoly, Gazprom.

Although the European Union has imposed its own tough sanctions on 48 Russian individuals, Gazprom is arguably where daylight exists between the Obama administration and the EU on the issue of penalizing Moscow for its actions in Ukraine.

The numbers make it clear why. Russia is the EU's third-biggest trading partner, after the U.S. and China; in 2012, bilateral EU-Russian trade amounted to almost $370 billion. The same year, U.S. trade with Russia amounted to just $26 billion.

More than half of Russia's exports go to Europe, and 45 percent of its imports come from Europe, according to the EU EUROSTAT agency. Out of 485 billion cubic meters of gas consumed by the EU annually, Russia supplies about 160 billion cubic meters, or almost one-third the total volume.

Germany, the EU's economic powerhouse, has been explicit about the costs for the German economy from increased sanctions. Anton Borner, the president of Germany's main trade group, BGA, warned that more than 6,000 German businesses with $105 billion of turnover are interlinked with Russia and stand to lose if sanctions are ratcheted up.

U.S. Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL), who recently visited Ukraine with a Congressional delegation, has offered the likeliest official explanation for why the White House left Gazprom and CEO Miller untouched in the most recent round of sanctions.

In an April 28 appearance on MSNBC, Frankel said, "I think our president is taking a cautious approach warranted because our European allies are...trade partners with Russia, they depend on Russia's energy. And so we have [to] be careful because sanctions against Russia also have the good probability of hurting our allies."

Other members of Congress have shown less willingness to accommodate the EU's delicate economic position. In recent days, senior members of the U.S. Senate have increased their calls for the White House to move against Gazprom. Carl Levin (D -MI), John McCain (R-AZ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) want Obama to use an executive order that allows him to punish broad sectors of the Russian economy in response to Russia's actions in Crimea.

The lawmakers' statements on the issue have been widely covered in the Ukrainian and Russian press.

In an April 12 letter to Obama, Corker, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "Unless Russia ends its destabilization of eastern Ukraine and drastically reduces troop levels on the Ukrainian border immediately, further sanctions against strategic sectors of the Russian economy, particularly targeting Gazprom and additional important financial institutions, should be imposed within days."

After the latest round of U.S. sanctions this week, Corker repeated that call in a joint statement with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, in which they said, "Until Putin feels the real pain of sanctions targeting entities like Gazprom, which the Kremlin uses to coerce Ukraine and other neighbors, as well as some significant financial institutions, I don't think diplomacy will change Russian behavior and de-escalate this crisis."

During an April 25 visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, Levin told reporters, "The existing authority is sufficient to take very strong sanctioning action against Russian banks that have correspondent accounts in the United States. The authority exists. It should be used, and that includes Gazprom."

McCain advocated in an April 25 press release, "The United States needs to expand sanctions to major Russian banks, energy companies, and sectors of its economy, such as the arms industry, which serve as instruments of Putin's foreign policy. NATO needs to move toward a robust and persistent military presence in central Europe and the Baltic countries, including increased missile defense capabilities. We need a transatlantic energy strategy to break Europe's dependence on Russian oil and gas," which would include sanctions against Gazprom, according to his office.

McCain recently suggested he has a broader agenda in mind when he said, "The strategy of the U.S. for saving Ukraine must be built in opposition to Russia's gas strategy, as this will be the end of Putin and his empire."

Given Gazprom's centrality to the Russian economy, it's unlikely that Putin won't react if and when the company comes in for Western sanctions. In preparation for that possibility, Gazprom's subsidiary, Gazprombank, Russia's third largest, last month transferred nearly $7 billion to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.

Gazprom has already warned that further Western sanctions could disrupt gas exports to Europe.

And Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi has made it explicit that there will be consequences for Western energy firms that comply with sanctions. Speaking on April 24 to journalists in Russia's far eastern city of Birobidzhan, onskoi said, "It is obvious that they won't return in the near future if they sever investment agreements with us, I mean there are consequences as well. Russia is one of the most promising countries in terms of hydrocarbons production. If some contracts are severed here, then, colleagues, you lose a serious lump of your future pie."

Donskoi also expressed the certainty that if Western firms leave Russia, other foreign energy companies would take their place.

That kind of threatening rhetoric will only make it harder for U.S. officials to sell an already nervous Brussels on the idea of more sanctions, if it comes to that, and on targeting Gazprom, in particular.
----------------
This © article was contributed to the ARRA News Service by James Stafford, Editor, OilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site. Its news and analysis covers all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and hydro.

Tags: U.S. Obama administration, sanctions, Russia, Gazprom, OilPrice.com, John C.K. Daly 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 Worst of Times, the Best of Times

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I suppose that throughout history men and women have asked themselves if they were living through either the worst or best of times. The times between wars are most surely the best of times and the times leading up to and during a war qualify as the worst. They are, however, rather quickly forgotten. It only takes about two generations—sometimes less—to move on from such events.

May 8, is “VE Day” celebrating the U.S. victory in Europe in World War Two. I suspect that most of our younger generations, including some of the Boomers, have no idea what the “VE” stands for.

World War Two ended seven decades ago, but not only have most Americans moved on from the horror of September 11, 2001, but it would appear that even the killing of an American ambassador and three security personnel in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 doesn’t arouse much anger even as we learn of a White House cover-up that utterly debases their sacrifice and loss. “Dude, that was two years ago,” said one White House staff member; as crass and crude a dismissal as one can imagine.

From a perspective of more than seventy and a half years, my mind flashes back to the Watergate scandal that began in June 1972 and concluded with President Nixon’s resignation in August 1974. That was a long two years as the attending events unfolded.

Forty-three people in the Nixon administration went to jail for their participation in the cover-up. The current Attorney General received a Contempt of Congress citation for his failure to provide information about one of the administration’s many scandals and during a recent speech to the National Action Network, a group founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, asked “What Attorney General has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?” Does the name John Mitchell ring a bell? He was Nixon’s Attorney General.

Holder apparently believes that the charges hurled at him and President Obama are mostly based on the color of their skin. We live in a nation that has a black President, a black Attorney General, and a black member of the Supreme Court, to name just a few Afro-Americans who have made it to the topmost circles of power. There are 43 black members of the House and one in the Senate. I grew up in a nation where blacks could not eat in certain restaurants, get a room at a hotel, and even had separate drinking fountains. I witnessed the Civil Rights era and these, for black Americans, are the best of times in the long history of our nation.

For nearly all Americans, however, these are far from the best of times. In 1981 President Reagan pulled the nation out of a recession and set it on a path of prosperity that lasted well in the Clinton years. A financial crisis occurred in the last year of President Bush’s second term. If President Obama didn’t want to “inherit” that, he should not have run for office, but he spent his entire first term blaming the economy and everything else on Bush to the point where he made himself look foolish. And then he was reelected!

We are now two years into Obama’s second term and failed economic and national security policies that include the shrinking of our military power to the levels of pre-World War Two years. Domestic policies are having their effect on failed foreign policies. There are some 90 million Americans out of work or who ceased to look for it.

Peace, some say, is the period between wars and there is great truth in that. Most of my life was spent in the last century, starting in the latter years of the 1930s. There were thirty-two wars, large and small, somewhere in the world during the last century, including a Cold War from 1945 to 1991 between the U.S. and the then-Soviet Union.

So far as the U.S. was concerned, our military saw action in World War One (1914-1918), World War Two (begun in 1939, we entered in 1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (begun in 1959 with initial U.S. participation in 1961. We would abandon the conflict in 1973). In 1990 the U.S. led the Persian Gulf War to drive Iraq’s Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We would invade Iraq in 2003 to depose Hussein. In the wake of the 9/11/2001 attack, our forces were dispatched to Afghanistan and are in the process of withdrawing.

War is the way nations tend to settle their differences. Despite the creation of the United Nations after World War Two ended, the U.S. has been engaged in wars and their deterrence. The rest of the world during the last century pursued wars in places that included Mexico, Russia, China, Spain and the rest of Europe, the French Indochina War, the French-Algerian War, the Soviet-Afghan War, the Iran-Iraq War, the third Balkan War, the Rwandan genocide, and the wars that Israel has endured over the more than sixty years of its existence.

This is why many are inclined to think, not only in terms of the U.S. economy, but in response to events beyond our borders—once again in Europe—that the conflict in the Ukraine may metastasize into World War Three if NATO is forced to confront a Russia behaving like it did before its former government collapsed.

I would, however, suggest that the greatest threat of war is staring the entire world in the face and that is an Iran with nuclear weapons.

We have a President who has displayed virtually no knowledge, nor understanding of the history briefly detailed here. Instead, he has pursued a deal with an Iran that has hated the U.S. (and Israel) as the heart of its foreign policy since 1979, As one former senior intelligence official was recently quoted as saying, “The fear is that the Iranians are going to pretend to give up their nuclear weapons program—and we are going to pretend to believe them.”

The only outcome of that would be an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities by Israel for whom a nuclear Iran would be a second Holocaust. Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria in 2007.

In a broader context, we and the rest of the world are living in an era in which Islam is challenging Western, modern civilization with precepts that embrace beheading, amputation, stoning to death, and other forms of violence, often against women, that must be confronted and defeated.

So, if these are best of times, they could rapidly turn into the worst of times…again.
--------------------
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: history, VE Day, May 8th, victory in Europe, World War Two, 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!

Obama Rushing Job-Killing EPA Regulations; Reid And Senate Dems Block GOP From Making Amendments To Stop Them

Today in Washington. D.C. - March 8, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM today.
Today the House will consider:
H. Res. 567 - Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.
H.R. 10 - "to amend the charter school program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
H.R. 4438 "to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to simplify and make permanent the research credit; and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed
H. Res. 418 (Voice Vote) — "Urging the Government of Burma to end the persecution of the Rohingya people and respect internationally recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma."
H.R. 863 (383 - 33) — "To establish the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women's History Museum, and for other purposes."

In hotly contested issues addressing the IRS's abuse of authority and attempts to deceive Congress, the following resolutions were also passed.
H. Res. 565 (250 - 168) — "Calling on Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., to appoint a special counsel to investigate the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups by the Internal Revenue Service."
H. Res. 574 (231 - 187) — "Recommending that the House of Representatives find Lois G. Lerner, former Director, Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform." Six Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the Contempt citation.

While conservatives took a principles stand, it is doubtful that AG Eric Holder will do anything. Recall that AG Eric Holder has also been held in "contempt of Congress." Jay Sekulow ia Chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice and represented 41 TEA party groups targeted by the IRS scandle. Regarding AG Holder taking action, Sekulow said, “Sadly, he has put politics above the enforcement of the law on numerous occasions and unfortunately that is likely to occur again.”

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. At 11:15, the Senate began a series of votes on cloture on the nominations of 3 district judges: Indira Talwani, to be United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, James D. Peterson, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin, and Nancy J. Rosenstengel, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Illinois. Democrats are again using the precedent they broke Senate rules to establish last fall by using the nuclear option to allow cloture votes on nominations to succeed with only 51 votes.

Cloture was invoked on all three nominees and at 1:45, confirmation votes are scheduled on the three nominations.

Following those votes, the Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture on the nomination of Robin S. Rosenbaum, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and then on confirmation of the nomination of Theodore Mitchell to be Under Secretary of Education.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is again blocking Republicans from offering amendments to the energy efficiency bill, S. 2262.

Yesterday, Republicans tried twice to voted down the logjam amendments Reid is using to fill the amendment tree, but both times majority Democrats voted with Reid to keep blocking any amendments from being offered to the bill.

The AP reports today, “Within weeks, President Barack Obama's administration is set to unveil unprecedented emissions limits on power plants across the U.S., much to the dismay of many Democratic candidates who are running for election in energy-producing states. . . . Unlike the Keystone XL oil pipeline, whose review the administration has delayed, probably until after November's elections, the clock is ticking for the power plant rules — the cornerstone of Obama's campaign to curb climate change. Unless he starts now, the rules won't be in place before he leaves office, making it easier for his successor to stop them. . . . Obama's counselor on climate issues, John Podesta, affirmed that the proposal will be unveiled in early June — just as this year's general election is heating up. . . . Last year, the administration proposed the first-ever carbon dioxide limits on newly built power plants, drawing fierce criticism from energy advocates from both parties who say the technology to capture enough pollution to meet those standards isn't yet commercially viable. Climate activists say the next step — rules cracking down on existing plants — are even more critical to curbing the pollutants blamed for global warming.”

With the Obama administration racing to write these new job-killing regulations, it’s more important than ever that the Senate weigh in and block these ill-conceived rules. But the Senate Democrat majority is determined to protect the president’s actions from scrutiny and prevent Americans from a check on the executive branch’s costly regulations through their representatives in the Senate.

Just yesterday afternoon, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to take up a measure that he, Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced to stop the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward with its anti-coal jobs carbon regulations. Their amendment would halt the Administration from moving forward with new regulations on coal-fired power plants — until the technology required to comply with the regulations is commercially viable — which it currently is not.

But of course Reid immediately blocked this attempt and continues to prevent any amendments to the energy bill currently on the floor. As Leader McConnell said yesterday, “... the Majority Leader is shutting down the voice of the people in the Senate. For seven long years, he’s refused to allow a truly comprehensive debate on energy in this chamber. . . . Apparently, he doesn’t think the American people deserve a vote on a single energy amendment. Apparently, he doesn’t think the American Middle Class — which is being squeezed by rising energy costs and over-the-top government regulations — needs the kind of relief Republicans are proposing. And he clearly must not think the people of Eastern Kentucky deserve our help either. Kentuckians in the eastern part of my state are experiencing a depression that the President’s energy policies are making worse. And now, the Administration has proposed new rules that would make life even harder for them – rules that would make it effectively impossible to build another coal plant anywhere in the country. Coal is a vital industry to our economy and to the livelihoods of thousands of people in my state. We should be allowed to help them. But the Majority Leader said no.”

And that’s not the only thing Democrats are obstructing. As the AP noted yesterday, “Senate Democrats are refusing to let supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to use an energy efficiency bill as a vehicle to attempt winning congressional approval for the controversial project. Majority Leader Harry Reid used a parliamentary move Wednesday to block a Republican amendment on the pipeline as well as a measure to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing new greenhouse gas regulations on coal-burning power plants.”

Fed up, Leader McConnell blasted Democrats for their unseriousness and elevation of political posturing over all else in the Senate that they control. “The American people send us to Washington to debate serious issues. They expect us to take our jobs seriously and to develop effective solutions to the issues that matter to them. . . . Instead of a forum for debate and resolution of the most pressing domestic and international issues facing our nation, [the Senate has] become fodder for late-night TV. When the American people turn on C-SPAN these days, they don’t often see a Majority Party driving serious debate on the issues of the day. They hear bizarre monologues about greased pigs and a couple of Kansans the Majority Leader seems to see around every corner. They see a daily display of absurd political theater that has almost no relevance at all to their daily lives. It’s disgraceful. But it’s no surprise either, since the Democrat Majority clearly ran out of ideas a long time ago. . . . Senate Democrats are afraid to expose their party’s empty playbook — so they play games instead. They fill the time with aimless diatribes against private citizens and legislative theatrics that are more about satisfying their liberal patrons than addressing the real concerns and anxieties of the American Middle Class. . . .

“[A]s Washington Democrats seek to preserve their hold on power, they’ve become increasingly untethered from the daily concerns of average Americans. That’s why you’re seeing the Senate lose its sense of purpose. And that’s why you’re not seeing any real debates. Instead of listening to the needs of the Middle Class, they dance to the tune of the Left. That’s why you see Senate Democrats pushing legislation that could cost up to a million jobs – at a time when the Middle Class is practically begging us to help create jobs. That’s why you see Senate Democrats basically boasting that their legislative agenda was drafted by campaign staffers with no shame at all. And that’s why you see Senate Democrats killing job creation bills the House sends us, without even so much as a vote. No wonder the American people are so disgusted with Washington. . . . The way the Senate operates these days is a travesty. No real debate, no amendments, and no respect for the millions of Americans represented by the minority party. It’s become an arm of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee. We owe the American people so much better than that.”

Tags: Obama Administration, Job-killing, EPA Regulations, House, Lois Learner, contempt of Congress To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

China Overtaking America

Why We’re No Longer Number One
 by Phyllis Schlafly: Financial Times sent shock waves through the U.S. business community last week when headlines announced that China will overtake the United States as the “world’s leading economic power this year,” a title we’ve held since we passed England in 1872. The previous date for this anticipated event was 2019.

The grim announcement was based on figures compiled by the International Comparison Program which is hosted by the World Bank. The awesome part of this fact, however, is that the Chinese are spending this big money to build their growing military arsenal.

While Obama has presided over hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts to our military, Communist China has been building dramatic new strategic military capabilities in every field of modern warfare. And it’s all been paid for with U.S. money that has flowed to China through the racket mislabeled “free trade.”

One of the world’s best national-security analysts, Bill Gertz, reported that the 2014 U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review includes a warning on page 80 of an 88-page document from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey that the risk of a conflict in Asia is dangerously increasing. The worst part of that prediction is that he says our coming conflict with China will probably be waged on United States territory because distance and the Pacific Ocean will no longer protect us against China’s new weapons.

Communist China is working hard to develop new niche weapons systems designed to attack us in space and in the so-called “cyber domain.” The speed of technology development and the building of increasingly sophisticated systems, Gertz reported, make our estimates unreliable about how and where we would fight a war or militarily intervene.

We face a new power relationship: a weakening American military versus a rising Communist Chinese power, and that has “dire implications for global peace and stability.” This isn’t any accident; Obama has made clear that his goal from the get-go has been to spread around world power internationally just as he told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to spread around our wealth.

Gertz reminds us that the notion that China is not a threat is a common propaganda theme based on ancient Chinese strategic teachings. Tai Kung taught: convince your enemy that you pose no threat and thereby lull him into complacency before advancing for the kill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in November 2011 that the centerpiece of Obama’s foreign and defense policies is a “pivot.” That was supposed to tell the world that the United States is pivoting its most serious attention away from Western Europe and Africa to Asia.

But this year, Assistant Secretary of Defense Katrina McFarland let the cat out of the bag, saying “the pivot is being looked at again because, candidly it can’t happen” — there simply isn’t enough money for it. McFarland was then ordered to issue a “clarification” of her unauthorized revelation.

When the Soviet Union was threatening the world with its awesome giant missile force, the Kremlin’s goal was straightforward: “We will bury you.” Communist China’s immediate goal is more limited but is just as determined: get the U.S. out of Asia and force all Asian states to bow to Beijing’s wishes.

We need a new leader like Ronald Reagan with determination not to let the Communists rule the world. Reagan’s Peace Through Strength maxim is still the best rule. Not only America but the whole world is safer when the United States has military superiority.

Instead we learn that Admiral Samuel Locklear, whom Obama appointed to head the U.S. Pacific Command (a position once held by Senator John McCain’s father), declared in January that “Our historic dominance is diminishing. Let me say it again. Our historic dominance is diminishing.”

Our relationship with China has been dangerous to U.S. interests for years because of our tolerance of the dishonest slogan mislabeled free trade. There is nothing free about it; it’s terribly costly to Americans because the Chinese cheat us coming and going, steal our patents and copyrights, and use their ill-gotten gains to build up their military to eventually chase us out of Asia.

The Democrats have finally awakened to the high cost of so-called free trade, and we hope the Republicans will wake up, too. We hope Congress will defeat Obama’s new free-trade agreement called TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

The last such deal, called the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), cost 60,000 American jobs while increasing jobs in South Korea. That is exactly what most “free trade” treaties do.
--------------------
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: China, America, trans-Pacific Partnership, China Overtaking America, 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!

Could Bengahzi Scandal Exceed The Watergate Scandal?

 by Lucinda Friggins, Contributing Author: Wikipedia addressed the Watergate scandal as follow:The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s as a result of the June 17, 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement. The term Watergate has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included "dirty tricks" such as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides ordered harassment of activist groups and political figures, using the FBI, CIA, and the Internal Revenue Service. The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by the Nixon administration, articles of impeachment,  and the resignation of Republican Richard Nixon, the President of the United States, on August 9, 1974—the only resignation of a U.S. president to date. The scandal also resulted in the indictment, trial, conviction, and incarceration of 43 people, dozens of whom were Nixon's top administration officials.Now, I ask you, how does the illegal activities by the Obama Administration differ in any way? Four Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador, were killed in Benghazi among all the “dirty tricks and multiple abuses of power” during the Obama reign and still no one has been brought to justice! They differ because the Attorney General, Eric Holder, who has already been found in Contempt of Congress, participated in these activities and many others, so naturally no one will be prosecuted.

We have a government out of control and totally dysfunctional. The Select Committee being developed to more closely review the Benghazi tragedy is already being shot down by the upper echelon in Congress. Is that because they don’t believe there is a cover-up or is it because they fear that the number of indictments handed down as a result of this study could exceed those of the Nixon scandal? After all, no one died in Watergate. No one was ignored and abandoned in Watergate. But on the other hand, the press was not in bed with the administration during Watergate.
-------------
Lucinda Friggins  is the pen name of a widowed great-grandmother who is concerned about out of control big government and the effect it will have on her children and her grandchildren. “Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.” ~ Abigail Adams 

Tags: Benghazi, Watergate, scandals, Lucinda Friggins 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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  • 3/1/15 - 3/8/15
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  • 3/22/15 - 3/29/15
  • 3/29/15 - 4/5/15
  • 4/5/15 - 4/12/15
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  • 4/19/15 - 4/26/15
  • 4/26/15 - 5/3/15
  • 5/3/15 - 5/10/15
  • 5/10/15 - 5/17/15
  • 5/17/15 - 5/24/15
  • 5/24/15 - 5/31/15
  • 5/31/15 - 6/7/15
  • 6/7/15 - 6/14/15
  • 6/14/15 - 6/21/15
  • 6/21/15 - 6/28/15
  • 6/28/15 - 7/5/15
  • 7/5/15 - 7/12/15
  • 7/12/15 - 7/19/15
  • 7/19/15 - 7/26/15
  • 7/26/15 - 8/2/15
  • 8/2/15 - 8/9/15
  • 8/9/15 - 8/16/15
  • 8/16/15 - 8/23/15
  • 8/23/15 - 8/30/15
  • 8/30/15 - 9/6/15
  • 9/6/15 - 9/13/15
  • 9/13/15 - 9/20/15
  • 9/20/15 - 9/27/15
  • 9/27/15 - 10/4/15
  • 10/4/15 - 10/11/15
  • 10/11/15 - 10/18/15
  • 10/18/15 - 10/25/15
  • 10/25/15 - 11/1/15
  • 11/1/15 - 11/8/15
  • 11/8/15 - 11/15/15
  • 11/15/15 - 11/22/15
  • 11/22/15 - 11/29/15
  • 11/29/15 - 12/6/15
  • 12/6/15 - 12/13/15
  • 12/13/15 - 12/20/15
  • 12/20/15 - 12/27/15
  • 12/27/15 - 1/3/16
  • 1/3/16 - 1/10/16
  • 1/10/16 - 1/17/16
  • 1/17/16 - 1/24/16
  • 1/24/16 - 1/31/16
  • 1/31/16 - 2/7/16
  • 2/7/16 - 2/14/16
  • 2/14/16 - 2/21/16
  • 2/21/16 - 2/28/16
  • 2/28/16 - 3/6/16
  • 3/6/16 - 3/13/16
  • 3/13/16 - 3/20/16
  • 3/20/16 - 3/27/16
  • 3/27/16 - 4/3/16
  • 4/3/16 - 4/10/16
  • 4/10/16 - 4/17/16
  • 4/17/16 - 4/24/16
  • 4/24/16 - 5/1/16
  • 5/1/16 - 5/8/16
  • 5/8/16 - 5/15/16
  • 5/15/16 - 5/22/16
  • 5/22/16 - 5/29/16
  • 5/29/16 - 6/5/16
  • 6/5/16 - 6/12/16
  • 6/12/16 - 6/19/16
  • 6/19/16 - 6/26/16
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  • 7/3/16 - 7/10/16
  • 7/10/16 - 7/17/16
  • 7/17/16 - 7/24/16
  • 7/24/16 - 7/31/16
  • 7/31/16 - 8/7/16
  • 8/7/16 - 8/14/16
  • 8/14/16 - 8/21/16
  • 8/21/16 - 8/28/16
  • 8/28/16 - 9/4/16
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  • 9/11/16 - 9/18/16
  • 9/18/16 - 9/25/16
  • 9/25/16 - 10/2/16
  • 10/2/16 - 10/9/16
  • 10/9/16 - 10/16/16
  • 10/16/16 - 10/23/16
  • 10/23/16 - 10/30/16
  • 10/30/16 - 11/6/16
  • 11/6/16 - 11/13/16
  • 11/13/16 - 11/20/16
  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
  • 11/27/16 - 12/4/16
  • 12/4/16 - 12/11/16
  • 12/11/16 - 12/18/16
  • 12/18/16 - 12/25/16
  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
  • 1/1/17 - 1/8/17
  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
  • 2/5/17 - 2/12/17
  • 2/12/17 - 2/19/17
  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
  • 2/26/17 - 3/5/17
  • 3/5/17 - 3/12/17
  • 3/12/17 - 3/19/17
  • 3/19/17 - 3/26/17
  • 3/26/17 - 4/2/17