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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
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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, June 27, 2014

Hillary's Book Tour, aka, Foot in Mouth Tour

Editorial Cartoon, AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Hillary Clinton, book tour, Foot in Mouth Tour, 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!

IRS Emails Show Lois Lerner Suggested Audit of GOP Senator

by Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal, Heritage Foundation: New emails obtained by Congress show IRS official Lois Lerner, acting on misdirected correspondence, suggested auditing a Republican senator who has been critical of the Obama administration on a range of issues.

The House Ways and Means Committee yesterday obtained emails discussing Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, between Lerner, then head of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt organizations division, and several colleagues.

The emails indicate Lerner received an invitation that was intended for Grassley. The event’s organizers offered to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend, which drew Lerner’s attention.

A message Lerner sent to several other IRS officials shows she suggested the agency audit Grassley because of the proposed compensation.

“Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife,” she wrote. “Perhaps we should refer to Exam?”

“Exam” is IRS jargon for considering an audit.

Matthew Giuliano, an IRS manager at the time, shot down Lerner’s suggestion. He said the organization’s offer to pay for Grassley’s wife was “not prohibited on its face.” Instead, he suggested the IRS wait for “(i) Grassley to accept and attend the speaking arrangement, and (ii) then determine whether [name redacted] issues him a 1099.”

A 1099 is a form taxpayers must file with the IRS if they receive income from a source other than their employer.

>>> IRS Violated Law With Missing Emails, Top Archivist Says

Attention to Lerner’s obtainable emails come as the House Ways and Means Committee continues to investigate her involvement with inappropriate IRS targeting of tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., called Lerner’s attention to Grassley another example of her using her position at the IRS to target conservatives.

“We’ve seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States senator is shocking,” Camp said in a statement. “At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights”

According to Grassley’s office, the senator declined the unnamed organization’s invitation to attend the event. Grassley said of Lerner’s emails:
This kind of thing fuels the deep concerns many people have about political targeting by the IRS and by the officials at the highest levels. It’s very troubling that a simple clerical mix-up could get a taxpayer immediately referred for an IRS exam without any due diligence from agency officials.Grassley is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is among congressional panels probing the IRS targeting scandal.

>>> IRS Admits Wrongdoing, to Pay $50,000 in Leaking of Marriage Group’s Tax Return

In a statement to Fox News, the IRS said it does not conduct audits based on the recommendations of one person:
As a general matter, the IRS has checks and balances in place to ensure the fairness and integrity of the audit process. Audits cannot be initiated solely by personal requests or suggestions by any one individual inside the IRS.Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated with the tax agency after it notified Congress two weeks ago that it had lost two years of emails from Lerner and several other officials. The agency blamed the missing correspondence on a hard drive crashes.

The time period of the lost emails — from January 2009 to April 2011 — covers the months when Lerner and the IRS are accused of targeting tea party groups.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress last week the crashed hard drives were destroyed after computer experts were unable to retrieve the contents.

Tags: Irs, emails, Lois Learner, suggested audit, GOP Senator, Sen. Vharles Grassley, Republican Iowa To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

James Madison: The Indispensible Founder

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. … If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one. … The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. … The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. … There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” ~ James Madison
 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: When people are asked to name the Founding Fathers of the nation, they usually reel off Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, the first, second and third Presidents in addition to their earlier role in guiding the Revolution to success.

Occasionally, someone who, like myself, loves history will add Madison, the fourth President, but Lynne Cheney’s new biography of Madison rightly identifies him as the man most responsible “for creating the United States of America in the form we know it today.” It was Madison who guided the process by which the Founders arrived at the Constitution, contributing the fundamental principles it incorporated and writing the Bill of Rights, amendments that ensured its ratification by the original states.

Cheney’s biography, “James Madison: A Life Considered” ($36.00, Viking) benefits not only from her scholarship, but from her facility with the written word, making it a continual pleasure to read for a book of 563 pages, including its notes, bibliography, and index. If you were to set aside the summer to read just one book, this would be the one I would recommend.

If Cheney’s name rings a bell, it is because she is the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, but she is also a Ph.D. who has been studying Madison since 1987 when she was a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution. These days she is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Cheney’s reside in Wilson, Wyoming. She is making the rounds of radio and television shows to promote her book and, most notably, interviewers tend to ignore her book in order to pry an opinion out of her about current events and politics. One gets the feeling that most did not read her book.

Those short in stature and, compared to the other Founders, quite young, all who came to know him swiftly developed a profound respect for his intellect and his knowledge of how governments were structured with some succeeding while others failed. When Madison spoke, they listened. There were in those days “factions” (which today we call political parties) that opposed his and the other Founder’s views.

“Jefferson,” wrote Cheney, “would later say that it was a wonder that Madison accomplished so much as he had, given that he faced ‘the endless quibbles, chicaneries, perversions, vexations, and delays of lawyers and demi-lawyers’” and Madison himself was often struck “by the way that ‘important bills prepared at leisure by skillful hands’ were treated to ‘crudeness and tedious discussion’, and he had seen legislative tricks of the most blatant sort.” So the politics of Madison’s time was not unlike much of today’s.

After the Constitution was written to replace the failed Articles of Confederation it needed to be vigorously defended. America benefited greatly from the fact that its population was highly literate and it was the Federalist papers, a series of essays mostly written by Madison was the way its principles and protections were explained to the public. Chaney notes that the Federalist essay that would eventually become most famous was the first one Madison wrote.

“In Federalist 10, published November 22,1787, he set forth the failures of ‘our governments’ (rather than ‘our states’ where, after all, the Constitution would be ratified), noting the instability and injustices that had caused good citizens across the country to increasingly distrust those governments and feel ‘alarm for private rights.’”

These alarms are reflected in our times by concerns that the President is bypassing Congress to govern by executive orders, is failing to enforce laws with which he disagrees, and that we have a Department of Justice and an IRS that cannot be trusted to apply laws fairly, acting against groups and individuals with whom they disagree such as the Tea Party movement and other conservative organizations. A rogue agency such as the Environmental Protection Agency is so out of control that Congress must at some point exert powerful restraints on it.

What is remarkable about Madison’s time was the fact that he, Jefferson is lifelong friend, and Adams, all lived long lives unlike the bulk of the population. Madison would devote his life to the creation of our extraordinary government and, throughout the early presidencies including his own, to ensuring the existence of the new nation, challenged as it was by Great Britain, first during the Revolution and then in the War of 1812.

On his last day as President, Madison vetoed an improvements bill, “arguing as he had since the days of The Federalist that the general government did not have general powers. It had specified powers, and recognizing its limits was essential to ‘the permanent success of the Constitution.’”

Chaney wrote that Madison understood that “if the limits the Constitution imposed on government were unrecognized, ‘the parchment had better be thrown into the fire at once.”, but Madison was all about protecting the Constitution and the new nation. For that he is owed the gratitude of all the generations that have followed him.

It is now our responsibility to protect it because freedom and liberty always have domestic and foreign enemies
------------
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: Lynne Cheney, new book, biography, James Madison, The Indispensible Founder, 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!

Mainstream Press Struck By Unanimous Court Rebuke Of Obama's Unconstitutional Overreach


On Monday, the Supreme Court will release their decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. This decision affecting religious freedom and government overreach is one of the most anticipated ruling of this session of the SCOTUS.

Today, the Senate is not in session. It will return on Monday, July 7 for a Pro forma sessions at noon and again on Thursday at 1:30 PM.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 57-39 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Cheryl Krause to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit. Democrats once again used the precedent of the nuclear option to break Senate rules and allow cloture on nominations with fewer than 60 votes. Later in the day the Senate voted 93-0 to confirm Stuart Jones to be Ambassador to Iraq. Robert Beecroft was confirmed to be Ambassador to Egypt by voice vote, and four other executive branch nominations were also confirmed by voice vote.

The House is not in session. It will reconvene at 11:30 AM on Monday, June 30, for a pro-forma session. The House members are back in their districts for "constituents work week" and will not be back in full session until July 8th.

The Washington Post writes today, “The Supreme Court decision invalidating President Obama’s use of recess appointments laid bare the legal and political risks the president faces as he makes the aggressive use of executive power a core tenet of his second term. With Congress refusing to embrace his agenda, Obama has turned to his presidential powers to take unilateral action on several controversial issues. He has postponed requirements of the Affordable Care Act. He has authorized tough new rules limiting power plant emissions. And he is seeking to impose new regulations to require companies to pay their employees more in overtime. But as the Supreme Court case underscored Thursday, Obama’s high-profile assertions of executive power — part of a so-called ‘year of action’ — are often the start of the story, not the end. Beyond Thursday’s ruling, Obama faces a new challenge in the form of a lawsuit against his executive actions that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) plans to file, as well as lingering ­cases in the courts that could put other initiatives at risk. ‘The president is saying that he’s tired of gridlock. So he’s going to solve it on his terms. That’s not how the system works,’ said George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley, an Obama supporter. ‘There’s a reason why things are not getting done in Congress. The reason Congress is divided is the voters are divided.’”

And yet, the AP notes, “Before a unanimous Supreme Court weighed in, the White House had brushed off claims that President Barack Obama was exceeding his executive authority as just so much grousing from frustrated partisans.”

The White House’s arrogant dismissal received a sharp rebuke form the unanimous Court. In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal discusses just how out of bounds the president’s move was. “The Supreme Court handed President Obama his 13th unanimous loss in two years on Thursday, and this one may be the most consequential. All nine Justices voted to overturn Mr. Obama's non-recess recess appointments as an unconstitutional abuse of power. Over nearly 238 years of American history, the Supreme Court has never had to review the President's authority to temporarily fill vacant executive offices when Congress is adjourned. Mr. Obama's 2012 maneuver to void the Senate's advice and consent role triggered a judicial intercession, and defeats at the High Court are seldom as total as this one. . . . [The President] simply assumed the power to define on his own when a coequal branch of government is at work. . . . ‘I refuse to take no for an answer,’ he justified his behavior at a campaign event the day after the appointments. Democrats ran the Senate then and run it now. Mr. Obama merely thought the normal confirmation checks and balances too frustrating and preferred to install his union appointees without a debate. He should have read the Recess Appointments Clause before Justice Stephen Breyer did it for him.”

The WSJ editors emphasize, “The Framers did not vest the executive with the unilateral appointment authority that Mr. Obama thinks he is entitled to. They wanted to diffuse power across the federal government to protect individual liberty. Wilfully bypassing advice and consent also subverts political accountability, which a former constitutional law professor ought to know. Mr. Obama has thus strengthened the Senate, now armed with a judicial guide to preventing recess appointments: Presidents must take no for an answer. . . . But the true import of Noel Canning is that even liberal Justices are alarmed that Mr. Obama's executive law-making is visiting real damage on the Constitution. This will not be the last legal torpedo aimed at the hull of his increasingly willful Presidency.”

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt last night, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell discussed the importance of the Supreme Court’s ruling but expressed his skepticism that the president will actually learn a lesson about the limits of his powers. “[I]t’s pretty clear this President’s behavior with regard to recess appointments was so egregious that it produced a 9-0 Supreme Court decision, Justice Breyer, of all people, writing, in which the Court basically said the Senate gets to decide when it’s in session, not the President. The President had, in really an audacious move, decided that he got to determine when the Senate was in session when we were in fact following a procedure that we had followed for many years of coming in every three days in order to prevent recess appointments. And he, the imperial President Obama, decided he knew more than we did, and just, he tried to establish that he got to decide when we were in session.”

Hewitt asked, “Do you think this will humble him a little bit going into the last two years of his presidency?” Leader McConnell responded, “I wouldn’t bet on it. I think the only thing that’ll humble Barack Obama is the American people giving us a Republican Senate so we can, for the first time, actually challenge him. You know, he’s not vetoed a single bill in six years, and the reason for it is he never gets anything he doesn’t like, because of the United States Senate and Harry Reid and the Democratic majority. So I think the best way to push back against this president is for the American people to change the Senate . . . give us an opportunity to pass a budget, to pass appropriation bills, to actually restrict the funding of some of this outrageous behavior not only on his part, but on the part of the various agencies, EPA, for example, that are causing this persistent joblessness in the country.”


Tags: commentary, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, decision, rebuke, President Obama, illegal appointments 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, June 26, 2014

Obama's Shrink Wrapper

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: AF Branco, editorial cartoon, President Obama, Shrink wrap 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!

More Common Core Pushback: Tennessee Quits Common Core Aligned Test

by Jillian Frost, The Daily Signal - The Heritage Foundation: Tennessee has removed itself from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing consortium aligned to the Common Core national education standards, joining the ranks of 18 other states pushing back against Common Core.

Gov. Bill Haslam, Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman and the chair of the state board of education, Fielding Rolston, sent a letter to PARCC CEO Laura Slover announcing the state’s decision to exit PARCC and re-adopt the old state exam, the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. This letter follows legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Haslam in May.

The proposal requires that “the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program tests, inclusive of achievement, end-of-course and the comprehensive writing assessments, shall be administered in the subjects of English language arts and math in grades three through eleven (3-11) during the 2014-15 school year”—which will begin this fall. The proposal also requires the state department of education to craft a new state test that will be implemented by the 2015-16 school year.

The letter states:,dir>Tennessee is hereby withdrawing from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and will no longer be a governing state or a participating state.Shortly after Common Core’s inception in 2009, the national standards “common to a significant number of states” were immediately incentivized by the administration with $4.35 billion in Race to the Top competitive grants and No Child Left Behind waivers. Forty-six states signed on to the standards with the agreement that they implement them by the 2014-15 school year.

But to add to the bureaucratic boondoggle, the administration also directly financed two national testing consortia, the PARCC exam and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and created a technical review panel, housed at the Department of Education.

Tennessee’s move leaves only 16 states and the District of Columbia remaining in the PARCC testing consortium — down from the original 25 states.

SBAC also is seeing a decline in membership. Of the 31 original states that adopted the assessments, 25 remain.

In total, 19 states have now pushed back against the Common Core—including four that have now exited the standards completely. As the fall implementation deadline looms near, states are taking the chance to reclaim their standard-setting autonomy.

Tags: common core, push back, Tennessee, quits common core, The Daily Signal, The 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!

Incompetent or Corrupt

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren

Tags: editorial cartoon, William Warren, IRS, lost emails, incompetent, corrupt, rule of law To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Furor About Plan for Illegal Kids

Mary Taylor, Lawrenceville, Va., asks question during
presentation by the feds on placing illegal alien children at St.
Paul's College. Lawrenceville, Va. - photo by Steve Helber / AP
 by Phyllis Schlafly: Officials of the Obama Administration trekked out to a tiny rural community in southern Virginia to teach the local yokels a thing about immigration policy. Yet the lessons learned were not by the local farmers, but by the bureaucrats who got more than an earful in protests against placing illegal aliens in their small town of Lawrenceville.

“We will not be strong-armed by federal officials,” bellowed one resident at the town hall, a 32-year-old former Marine named Aaron Smith. “We will not be pushed around,” he exclaimed against the federal officials, as the crowd of townspeople gave him rousing applause.

Lawrenceville has only about 1,400 residents, and the town hall was held on June 19th in a spacious auditorium that seats 900. But even that large facility was not big enough to hold the outrage, as more than 1,000 angry people – nearly everyone in the town – showed up to express opposition to the Obama Administration plan to relocate illegal immigrant children there.

The Obama Administration thought it could quietly house 500 children, who had illegally crossed our Mexican border, in a vacant college that had recently closed in this small town, but the politicians badly misread the depth of public opposition. Numerous federal officials were then sent by the Obama Administration to appease the locals, but in the face of the uproar the officials felt compelled to apologize, one after another, for what they had done.

The apologies rang hollow. In typical government-speak, one official attributed the problem to “communication challenges,” and acted like the miscommunication could be overcome with a bunch of talk. But there was no “communication challenge” in the numerous signs brought by town residents which shouted “no illegal immigrants.”

Residents expressed concern about public safety and a possible increase in crime if so many kids were bought into the community without parental supervision. “The No. 1 concern we have is the potential for shenanigans and the potential for crime,” observed townsman Derek Lewis at a local pizza parlor.

Brunswick County Sheriff Brian Roberts was also candid, describing “fear” among locals about the way the government was handling this, adding that “500 kids unaccounted for – illegal alien children in my little sleepy town – I just don’t think it’s the right fit for this community.”

Another harebrained response by the Obama Administration to the massive influx of illegal immigrant kids, roughly 100,000 in this year alone, is to promise to send more money to the Central American nations that are dumping their kids on us. Obama wants to send $161.5 million to the so-called Central American Regional Security Initiative, and nearly $100 million to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, payments that will be additional incentives for them to permit more kids to show up at our southern border.

Instead of the United States rewarding nations for demanding that we provide free daycare and medical care for their kids, shouldn’t we instead be sending those countries a big bill for the cost of return bus tickets to transport the kids back?

Only one person amid the numerous presidential hopefuls seems to be getting the message. That candidate is, lo and behold, Hillary Clinton, who is seizing the day and outflanking Republicans on this issue, by being the first to call for a return of the tens of thousands of children back to their homes in Central America. The only other prominent leader to call for sending them back to where they came from is, surprise, surprise, John McCain.

The anemic reaction by Republican Party leadership is almost as pathetic as the swarming of children across our southern border. Euphemistically called unaccompanied children (UACs) rather than illegal aliens, they are overwhelming Homeland Security and turning border patrol agents into nannies with diaper-changing responsibilities.

Back in Lawrenceville, Virginia, the Obama Administration officials promised that the 500 young illegal aliens would not be dumped on the small community without their approval. Really? Thousands of other young illegal aliens have already been relocated to Arizona and Oklahoma despite criticisms by their governors.

Nobody seems to know who or where the parents of these children are, but we do know what the cause of the surge in illegal border crossings is. Promises of so-called “immigration reform,” with its allure of amnesty, inevitably bring more illegals wanting more of the same.

The tens of thousands of kids surging across our southern border are not unaccompanied; they may be carrying staph infections, chickenpox, and scabies, which is a highly contagious skin disease that causes massive itching due to burrowing mites, plus diseases that the U.S. eradicated in our country years ago, such as tuberculosis, Chagas disease, dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, and measles.
--------------------
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, Furor over, plans for Illegal kids, Lawrenceville, VA 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 Obama Presidency Implodes

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: The first time I heard the term “military advisors” it was being used by John F. Kennedy and they were being sent to South Vietnam. A strong anti-communist, in 1961 Kennedy approved financing an increase in the size of the South Vietnamese army from 150,000 to 170,000 along with sending a thousand U.S. military advisors to help train them. We all know how the Vietnam War ended.

Earlier, the North Korean attack on the South had ended in a stalemate. Technically a state of war still exists. Since 1953, the U.S. has maintained a military force in South Korea. In the wake of World War II, we still have a military presence in Europe and Japan to aid in their defense.

Obama’s announcement that 300 military advisors are being sent to Iraq is too little, too late.

As of this writing Americans are witnessing what happened when Obama withdrew from Iraq and are anticipating the same result when we withdraw from Afghanistan. Yes, we were and are war-weary, but we do not like what we’re seeing in Iraq and the President’s foreign policy failures are compounding by the day.

We are weary, too, after six and a half years of the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. It has taken this long for all the predictions regarding his lack of experience and competence to come true.

The polls taken during the past week provide evidence of this. Gallup’s job approval poll of June 9-15 showed that 42% of “national adults” approved. Over at Rasmussen Reports, Obama’s job approval on June 21 was 48%. Asked by Rasmussen if the nation is headed in the right direction or not, 67% of likely voters said it was not. Reacting to the immigration invasion crisis a Gallup found that 69% thought he was doing a poor job.

Depending on events, polls rise and fall, but the numbers indicate a growing loss of confidence in Obama’s decisions and actions to date. I suspect that what they do not show is a growing sense of the man as utterly untrustworthy and increasingly distant from the demands of the office.

We are witnessing the implosion of the Obama presidency.

All presidencies have a scandal or two, usually relatively minor in the grand scheme of national management. Watergate was considered minor initially and took two years to materialize into the scandal that forced Nixon to resign. Obama, however, has generated directly and indirectly enough scandals for their combined weight to begin being noticed even by those who pay little attention to Washington, D.C.

The worst of the latests has been the revelation of how the Internal Revenue Service was politicized to attack organizations that were deemed to be affiliated with the Tea Party movement and patriotic objectives. The “loss” of Lois Lerner's emails and others smells of the destruction of evidence Congress has demanded. The one element of the government that virtually all Americans interact with is the IRS.

Other scandals like Solyndra, representing the waste of billions on wind and solar companies, many of which went bankrupt after receiving all manner of grants and loans, did not registered in a similar fashion. The wiretapping of Associated Press reporters’ phone calls likewise did not evoke widespread concern. The failure of the “stimulus” that spent billions without producing an uptick in the economy was seen as just another way the government wastes our money. Even “Fast and Furious” in which thousands of weapons were purchased and transferred to Mexican drug cartels did not evoke more than a short expression of dismay.

Benghazi, however, in which a U.S. ambassador died along with three others, remains an unresolved scandal as much for the lies about a video as its cause as for the tragedy of the abandonment of those killed. The release of five leaders of the Taliban from Guantanamo without letting Congress know has piled on the previous scandals to a point where serious concerns about both Obama’s judgment have arisen.

What remains now is a combination of the President’s increasing use of Executive Orders to create as much mischief as possible along with the perception that he simply does not care what Americans in general and Congress in particular thinks about what he is doing. There is talk in the House of bringing a legal suit against the President regarding his heavy use of Executive Orders to bypass Congress while initiating policies that require congressional inclusion and oversight.

Those of us who pay close attention to what the President is doing know that the ultimate aim of his actions in office has been to harm the nation in a variety of ways from reducing our military to pre-World War Two levels to destroying a large element of the nation’s electrical energy supply by forcing coal-fired plants out of business.

Ultimately, the implosion of the Obama presidency has been the realization that he has put the nation at risk of the world’s bad actors by causing America’s global leadership position to erode. Americans have been accustomed to being a leading military and economic power since the end of World War Two and he has been undermining that in every way possible.

Voter payback is likely to see a major shift of political power in Congress away from the Democratic Party in the forthcoming midterm elections and would enable Republicans to slow or stop further damage to the nation. Failing that, the fate of the nation will be a great risk.
------------
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: Obama Presidency, implodes, 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!

Nobody Believes Lois Lerner’s Emails Went Missing

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco
 by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: Everybody knows computer crashes don’t typically result in permanent destruction of emails, which is probably why a poll from Fox News found that just 12 percent of Americans believe Lois Lerner’s emails were accidentally destroyed. Only 11 percent of independents and just 20 percent of Democrats are buying the accident story. As the Department of Justice keeps playing along with this charade, it’s time for a special prosecutor.

The most feared and hated federal agency targeted political opponents of the current administration, at one point going so far as to demand from pro-lifers the content of their prayers. Now they claim to have lost critical evidence by accident, but the timeline suggests otherwise.

The first publicly reported evidence of the IRS inappropriately targeting conservatives came in the spring of 2011, when five donors to the conservative group Freedom’s Watch received letters indicating the IRS intended for the first time in history to assess gift taxes for contributions to a nonprofit group, and they intended to audit the five donors to do so. According to the Wall Street Journal, Lois Lerner’s unit led the audits and was the only entity within IRS that had access to the names of the conservative donors who were targeted.

On June 3, 2011 House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp sent a letter about the gift tax issue to then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, inquiring more broadly: “the IRS appears to have selectively targeted certain taxpayers who are engaged in political speech. Not only does this threaten political speech, it casts doubt on the IRS’s credibility as an impartial enforcer of the nation’s tax law.”

Ten days later, on June 13, 2011, Lois Lerner claimed that her hard drive crashed, destroying what she described as “documents in the files that are irreplaceable.”

The IRS claims that the only backups were intentionally destroyed in accordance with an IRS policy that only retains backups for six months (which the national archivist has indicated is not compliant with federal records laws).

As purported evidence of good faith, the IRS observes that Lerner went to the “extraordinary length” of sending her hard drive to criminal investigations specialists to determine if any data could be recovered. But in a recent hearing, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah asked why they didn’t at least restore the six months they had backed up at the time of the alleged crash.

Chaffetz asked: “You got a forensic team to try to extract this but they were backed up on tape and you didn’t do it?”

Current IRS honcho John Koskinen claimed it would have been difficult and expensive to do a backup restoration before confessing: “I don’t know why they didn’t do it.”

In this context, it looks more like Lerner shipped her hard drive off to the criminal investigators to be absolutely certain the incriminating documents could never be recovered than in a good-faith attempt to restore them.

At a minimum, she should explain herself – but of course she is refusing to testify on the grounds that doing so would be incriminating.

There was a lot happening inside the IRS when Camp’s letter hit. The targeting of tea party groups had begun the previous April, and had placed hundreds of applications improperly in limbo. According to the audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, on June 2, 2011 – one day before Camp’s letter – the agents implementing the tea party targeting scheme sent a report on their criteria they were using up to management.

Did Camp’s letter cause Lerner to panic and permanently destroy incriminating documents?

Some of the specifics in the Camp letter certainly suggest it’s possible, including:
  • “How are tax-exempt organizations generally selected for audit?”;
  • “How did employees in the Exempt Organizations Division [run by Lois Lerner] assist in the sharing of the Form 990 information with other IRS employees?”
  • and the request for all relevant records, which an appendix clarified “means any written, recorded, or graphic matter of any nature whatsoever … including but not limited to …  electronic mail (e-mail).”
The reply came from Deputy Commissioner Stephen Miller on July 1, 2011. “The IRS is apolitical and non-partisan,” Miller told Camp. “All decisions made and actions taken with respect to the matter were performed by career employees in the normal course of their duties.”

Of course we now know the principal career employee involved was Lois Lerner, whose records had already been destroyed by that time – or so she thought.

An email IRS did provide to Congress from the “lost” period was one of the most revealing of the whole investigation to date. In it, Lerner said: “Tea Party Matter very dangerous. This could be the vehicle to go to court on the issue of whether Citizen’s United overturning the ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rules… Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”

Lerner probably thought that email had been successfully destroyed when she offered the lie that the whole targeting scheme was run by a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati.  Fortunately that email still existed in the account of one of its recipients.

But how many others, similar or worse, were sent to email addresses outside of the IRS?

More than a year ago President Obama told the country: “Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.” But his anger has since dissipated. He also said: “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable,” but Lois Lerner has retired to her beautiful Bethesda home with a full pension.

When a person destroys evidence, lawyers up and takes the Fifth, it’s reasonable to believe she committed a crime. Yet the Department of Justice refuses to act on a criminal referral from Congress. It’s long past time for President Obama to appoint a special prosecutor to hold Lois Lerner accountable.
------------------
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment  and shared this article on the Daily Caller. He is on  Twitter  and on  Facebook and is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Nobody, believes, Lois Learner, emails went missing, Phil Kerpen, American Commitment,  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!

Supreme Court Unanimously Strikes Down Obama's Unconstitutional "Recess" Appointments

Today in Washington, D.C. - June 26, 2014
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and began a period of morning business.

At noon, the Senate voted 57-39 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Cheryl Krause to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit. Democrats once again used the precedent they set after they used the nuclear option to break Senate rules and allow cloture on nominations with fewer than 60 votes.

At 1:45 PM, the Senate will hold up to 6 confirmation votes on the nominations of Stuart Jones to be Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft to be Ambassador to Egypt, Karen Dynan to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Esther Kia’aina to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Vincent G. Logan to be Special Trustee, Office of Special Trustee for American Indians, and Jo Handlesman to be an Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 95-3 to pass H.R. 803, the Workforce Investment Act. Prior to final passage, the Senate rejected amendments to the bill offered by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

The House reconvened at 9 AM. Today the House continued debate and voted to pass H.R. 4899 (229-185) — "To lower gasoline prices for the American family by increasing domestic onshore and offshore energy exploration and production, to streamline and improve onshore and offshore energy permitting and administration, and for other purposes." The next meeting is scheduled for 11:30 AM on Monday, June 30, 2014.

Yesterday. the House passed H.R. 6 (266-150) — "To provide for expedited approval of exportation of natural gas to World Trade Organization countries, and for other purposes."

Supreme Court Decisions.
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. The court's 5-to-4 decision means that the federal government will now have to provide the same benefits to gay couples as to heterosexual couples.

Today, the Supreme Court issued its 9-0 decision ruled that President Obama's recess NLRB appointments in 2012 were unconstitutional. Business Insider writes, “The unanimous opinion, written by liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, said that Congress, and only Congress, decides when it is in session and when it is in recess. It ruled the Senate was not in a formal recess when Obama made the 2012 appointments — therefore, they were illegal. Obama had said in 2012 he was forced to appoint the three NLRB members, arguing Senate Republicans sought to stop the board from functioning. The administration argued the pro forma sessions held by the Senate every three days were only a sham designed to keep him from filling the posts. But the Supreme Court ruled the technicality Obama used to try to fill the slots did not constitute a formal recess. ‘Because the Senate was in session during its pro forma sessions, the President made the recess appointments at issue during a 3-day recess,’ the opinion read. ‘Three days is too short a time to bring a recess within the scope of the Clause, so the President lacked the authority to make those appointments.’ The case, National Labor Relations Board v. Canning, was a challenge to limit the president's ability to make appointments of federal officials while the Senate is in recess. It specifically challenged three of Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an independent government agency that conducts elections for labor-union representation and investigates allegations of unfair labor practices.”

Business Insider points out, “The ruling is a victory for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who filed an amicus briefing with other Senate Republicans in the case. McConnell said Thursday the Supreme Court acted decisively to curb Obama's power. ‘I welcome the Supreme Court’s important decision today that the President’s so-called 'recess' appointments to the National Labor Relations Board two and one-half years ago were unconstitutional,’ McConnell said. ‘This administration has a tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard those it doesn’t. In this case, that disturbing and dangerous tendency extended to the Constitution itself.’”

Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today hailed a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court overturning the 2012 false recess appointments by President Barack Obama to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) when Congress was not even in recess. The Supreme Court affirmed the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had broadly overturned the decisions made by the illegitimate appointments because the "recess" appointments that had provided the Board its quorum were never constitutionally made.

"No president can imagine a Congressional recess into existence," Mehrens said. "All of the acts of the unconstitutionally appointed NLRB back to the beginning of 2012 have been struck down. The Court was unanimous in upholding the Circuit Court of Appeals ruling vacating the unconstitutional decisions of the NLRB."

According to the Circuit Court's unanimous ruling which the Supreme Court affirmed, "Because none of the three appointments were valid, the Board lacked a quorum and its decision must be vacated," upholding the 2010 New Process Steel 2010 case.

"This is a great victory for constitutional government and reaffirms the advice and consent process. Never again will a president be able to just say Congress is in recess whenever he wants. This outcome was predictable," Mehrens concluded.

In this case decided by the Supreme Court, Leader McConnell joined with 44 other Republican senators in an amicus brief in the case, defending the Senate against the president’s unconstitutional appointments. The senators retained Miguel Estrada as counsel, and he argued their case to the Supreme Court. In the amicus brief, the senators wrote, “By purporting to appoint principal officers without the Senate’s approval, the President contravened the advice-and-consent protocol. As the court of appeals held, those appointments cannot be justified by the Recess Appointments Clause without distorting that provision’s text and purpose beyond recognition.” Not only that, they said, “The Executive’s claim that the President could disregard [pro forma] sessions and draw his own ‘conclusion’ whether the Senate really convened is a naked assault on Senate self-governance. The President has no power to declare a House of Congress adjourned when it says otherwise—least of all when it is, as here, demonstrably capable of exercising its constitutional authority.”

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing the opinion of the Court, agreed: “In our view, however, the pro forma sessions count as sessions, not as periods of recess. We hold that, for pur­poses of the Recess Appointments Clause, the Senate is in session when it says it is, provided that, under its own rules, it retains the capacity to transact Senate business. The Senate met that standard here.”

Speaking on the Senate floor following the Court’s decision, Leader McConnell said, “I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision in the Noel Canning case. It represents a clear rebuke to the President’s brazen power grab – a power grab I was proud to lead the effort against. Today’s decision was clear, and it was a unanimous rebuke of the President. Like my Republican colleagues and I have said all along, President Obama’s so-called ‘recess’ appointments to the NLRB in 2012 were a wholly unprecedented act of lawlessness. The President defied the Senate’s determination that it was meeting regularly, and the Supreme Court unanimously agreed with us. Today’s ruling is a victory for the Senate, for the American people, and for our Constitution. The Court reaffirmed the Senate’s clear constitutional authority to prescribe its own rules, including the right to determine for itself when it is in session.  And the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the President’s completely unprecedented assertion of a unilateral appointment power—a power that the Framers deliberately withheld from his office. Our counsel, Miguel Estrada, did an outstanding job defending the Senate, and its uniquely important place in our Constitutional system.  By contrast, our Democratic colleagues shirked their institutional duty to defend the Senate.  They failed, yet again, to stand up to the President. . . . In closing, the Administration’s tendency to abide only by the laws it likes represents a disturbing and dangerous threat to the rule of law. That’s true whether we’re talking about recess appointments or Obamacare. So I hope the Obama Administration will take away the appropriate lessons. Because the Court’s decision today is a clear rebuke of that behavior.”

Tags: ISupreme Court decisions, Strikes down DOMA, DOMA, Obama DOL recess appointments, unconstitutional 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, June 25, 2014

Meanwhile in Iran

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: meanwhile in Iran, nuclear deal, ignored, 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!

Report: Southern Leg of Keystone XL Has Been a Job Creator, Generated Economic Growth

Sections of pipe sit on the ground in Atoka, Oklahoma
Photographer: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg
Image via U.S. Chamber of Commerce
 by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: Critics like Tom Steyer’s Next Gen Climate operation wants you to believe that the Keystone XL pipeline will only create a few dozen jobs. However, after looking at the construction of the southern leg of the pipeline, the truth is far different.

A new report finds that construction of the 485-mile Gulf Coast Project, stretching from Cushing, Oklahoma to Nederland, Texas, created thousands of jobs and added billions to local economies. The Gulf Coast pipeline is the portion of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that was able to be built because it didn't require a Presidential Permit. It is helping improve the transportation of oil sands crude to Gulf Coast refiners - the same crude that Keystone XL will carry.

The report, prepared by Southern Methodist University's Maguire Energy Institute for the Consumer Energy Alliance, found that in Oklahoma and Texas, the project resulted in
  • Over $5.7 billion in new economic activity.
  • Over 42,000 person years of new employment.
  • Over $217 million in additional state and local taxes.
The authors write:[T]he Gulf Coast Project pipeline contributed substantially to the economic health of most of the counties along the alignment during the 2012-2014 construction period. In the years ahead, recurring expenditures for operations and maintenance of the pipeline will continue to support jobs while generating income and tax revenues for Oklahoma, Texas and the 24 affected counties.Counties in Oklahoma where the pipeline was construction saw an average per capita income increase of 78%. Three counties—Seminole, Hughes, and Coal—saw over 90% increases. For counties in Texas, the average per capita income increase was 58%.

On a press call, Bud Weinstein, an economics professor at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business and one of the reports’ authors noted that "most of these counties are comparatively low-income, rural counties.” Construction of the Gulf Coast Project has been a "tremendous economic tonic." For instance, the report finds “pipeline activities averaged 31 percent of personal income” in Oklahoma.

During construction, TransCanada spent about $6 million per month directly in the local community. Here are some examples of local entrepreneurs taking advantage of the business opportunities the pipeline's construction offered:For instance, Clifford Bryant, a local entrepreneur in Prague, Oklahoma, reports that construction of the pipeline “doubled our city sales tax receipts.” Clifford bought a mobile RV and trailer park when he heard that TransCanada would be bringing a construction yard to town for its Gulf Coast Pipeline Project. Previously, only 11 of the 57 spots in the park were occupied. Once construction began, all 57 were occupied. Clifford notes that a full RV park contributes as much as $8,000 a month in electricity fees alone to the municipal utility.

In the Southeast Texas town of Kountze, Jeremy Kunk’s Ready Ice Company sold approximately 30,000 pounds of ice per week to pipeline construction sites in its area. The ice improved safety by keeping workers cool and hydrated. Kunk expects that the economic boost supplied by pipeline projects will be long-lasting. “Pipeline construction such as TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Pipeline Project is going to feed our refineries more product and keep us hopping for the next five, 10 years at least.”

Joe Penland is another Texas business owner who benefited from TransCanada’s pipeline construction. Joe owns Quality Mat Company in Southeast Texas. His company partnered with TransCanada to make the Gulf Coast Project safer. With a patented concept, Penland fabricates more than 250,000 mats per year in his facility inside the Beaumont city limits. He leased the mats to TransCanada during construction of the Gulf Coast Pipeline in Oklahoma and Texas.
Positive benefits would extend to more states if the northern leg of the pipeline, linking Alberta to Nebraska, were approved by the Obama administration. “Similar state and local economic benefits can be anticipated should the United States give the go-ahead for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska,” the authors write.

"I would expect similar impacts" to those found in Oklahoma and Texas if the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, Weinstein said on the press call.
------------
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: southern leg, Keystone XL, job creator, economic growth, Sean Hackbarth, U.S. Chamber of Commerce To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sharyl Attkisson Calls Obama Administration ‘Worst Atmosphere’ for Journalists

Click To View Video
by Kelsey Harkness The Daily Signal: On a June 22nd C-SPAN Q&A interview series, Sharyl Attkisson said the Obama administration has created “the worst atmosphere” journalists have ever faced, and called the Freedom of Information Act “a joke.”

Attkisson is an award-winning investigative reporter who earlier this year made headlines for resigning from CBS News after a 20-year career at the TV network. Earlier this month, she became a senior independent contributor to The Daily Signal.

Following her departure from CBS News, Attkisson cited her inability to get her stories on the air. Now, she is revealing more details about her departure and explaining what changed from five years ago when she told C-SPAN her job at CBS News was “a dream come true.”

>>> Exclusive: Sharyl Attkisson on Journalism’s Dangerous Trend

While she admits to a declining appetite for her watchdog brand of investigative reporting, Attkisson more alarmingly argued that recently the government has co-opted the Freedom of Information Act, a law that grants citizens the right to access information from the federal government.

“[FOIA] is 96 percent broken,” she told C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb. “I’m still waiting since 2012 for responses for Benghazi.”

She attributes part of the delay to backlogs, but also believes that under President Obama, government bureaucrats intentionally delay damaging information from being released as a stall tactic. Waiting, argued Attkisson, softens the blow so that when information finally comes out, it’s old news.

When asked why the public still cares about the four Americans who were killed in the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks, Attkisson said the lack of information being released “leads you as a journalist to assume they don’t want you to know something.”

>>> Attkisson: 9 Requests Lawmakers Should Make About Lois Learner’s Missing Emails

As an investigative reporter, she added, “I think it’s important to learn not to let go of something just because time passes.” In the cases of Benghazi and HealthCare.gov, Attkisson felt stonewalled by both the government and the TV network. “CBS was not willing to invest the time or money in filing suits [against the government].”

Attkisson is currently working on her upcoming book, “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

When asked in the interview whether she’d encourage her 19-year-old daughter to pursue a career in journalism, Attkisson responded, “I’m not sure I’d wish it on my kid.” She added, “It’s hard to have a happy job in journalism right now.”

Tags: Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS News, Obama Administration ‘Worst Atmosphere’ for Journalists, bias, obstruction, intimidation, harrassment, Obama Administration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Supreme Court Rulings | Four Years After ‘Recovery Summer’ "U.S. Economy Shrunk By Most In Five Years"

Today in Washington, D.C. - June 25, 2014:  Supreme Court Rulings: This morning the Supreme Court unanimously issued a ruling banning warrantless cell phone searches. The Washington Times reportes "The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police must obtain warrants before snooping through people’s cellphones, delivering a unanimous decision that begins to update legal understanding of privacy rules to accommodate 21st-century technology. Police agencies argued that searching through data on cellphones was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cellphone holds the most personal and intimate details of someone’s life and falls squarely within the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections. . . . The court did carve out exceptions for “exigencies” such as major security threats."

The Supreme Court also ruled 6-3 against Aereo determining they violated the Copyright Act. CNN Money reports. "Today's decision is a victory for consumers," Paul Clement, the attorney representing the broadcasters, said in a statement. "The Court has sent a clear message that it will uphold the letter and spirit of the law just as Congress intended. . . . The ruling essentially protects billions of dollars in retransmission fees that broadcasters collect for their signals. Media stocks rallied after the news was announced."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and began a period of morning business.

At noon, the Senate began consideration of H.R. 803, the Workforce Investment Act. At 2:30, the Senate will vote on 3 amendments to the bill: one offered by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), one offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and a managers’ amendment of technical corrections to the bill. Following those votes, the Senate will then vote on passage of the bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted to confirm four district court nominees, three for Florida, and one for Vermont.

Also yesterday, Democrats advanced the nomination of Leon Rodriguez to be Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services using the precedent they set after they used the nuclear option to break Senate rules and allow cloture on nominations with fewer than 60 votes. Cloture was thus invoked on the Rodriguez nomination by a vote of 52-44. The Senate later voted 52-44 to confirm his nomination.

The House reconvened at 10 AM.  The House is expected to take up the following bills:
H.R. 4899 - "To lower gasoline prices for the American family by increasing domestic onshore and offshore energy exploration and production, to streamline and improve onshore and offshore energy permitting and administration, and for other purposes; providing for consideration of the bill."
H.R. 4923 - Making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes; and for other purposes."
H.R. 6 — "To provide for expedited approval of exportation of natural gas to World Trade Organization countries, and for other purposes." (Unfinished business)

Yesterday the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 1098 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize certain programs relating to traumatic brain injury and to trauma research."
H.R. 1281 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize programs under part A of title XI of such Act."
H.R. 3301 (238-173) — "To require approval for the construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of oil or natural gas pipelines or electric transmission facilities at the national boundary of the United States for the import or export of oil, natural gas, or electricity to or from Canada or Mexico, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3548 (Voice Vote) — "To amend title XII of the Public Health Service Act to expand the definition of trauma to include thermal, electrical, chemical, radioactive, and other extrinsic agents."
H.R. 4080 (Voice Vote) — "To amend title XII of the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize certain trauma care programs, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4413 (265-144 ) — "To reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to better protect futures customers, to provide end users with market certainty, to make basic reforms to ensure transparency and accountability at the Commission, to help farmers, ranchers, and end users manage risks to help keep consumer costs low, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4631(Voice Vote) — "To reauthorize certain provisions of the Public Health Service Act relating to autism, and for other purposes."
S. 1681 (Voice Vote) — "To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes."

The Wall Street Journal reports, “The U.S. economy contracted at a worse pace than previously estimated in the first quarter, marking its sharpest pullback since the recession ended five years ago. Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, contracted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% in the first three months of the year, according to the Commerce Department's third reading released Wednesday. That was the fastest rate of decline since the first quarter of 2009, when output fell 5.9%. . . . In its third GDP reading, based on newly available data, Commerce said first-quarter consumer spending and exports were even weaker than previously estimated. . . . The economy's first-quarter stumble has once again dashed hopes the recovery was in the process of switching into a higher gear.”

Reuters adds, “While the economy's woes have been largely blamed on an unusually cold winter, the magnitude of the revisions suggest other factors at play beyond the weather. Growth has now been revised down by a total of 3.0 percentage points since the government's first estimate was published in April, which had the economy expanding at a 0.1 percent rate. The difference between the second and third estimates was the largest on records going back to 1976, the Commerce Department said.”

The WSJ notes, “Five years into the recovery, high unemployment and stagnant incomes continue to restrain consumer spending, which accounts for more than two thirds of U.S. economic output. Consumer spending grew by a 1% pace in the first quarter, revised down from the previous estimate of 3.1%. Commerce said the downward revision was primarily the result of weaker health-care spending, though it also revised lower its estimate of spending on goods.”

But wasn’t the Obama administration boating of health care spending when the original first quarter GDP estimates came out? White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at the time, “[T]he fact of the matter is, and the GDP report makes it clear, that it was consumer spending on health care that helped drive economic growth in the first quarter. And that is directly related to the increase in people who have insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.” (Never mind that Obamacare was initially sold by the Obama administration as slowing the growth of health care spending.)

Megan McArdle examines what’s going on here, writing, “How did this happen? The White House line is that this was driven mostly by health care and net exports. . . . Health-care spending is a major factor in the downward revision of Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates, because the BEA was overestimating it in prior reports. But it is not what is mainly driving the actual decline in GDP. That looks a lot more broad-based . . . . It’s still a mystery why health-care costs have fallen. One theory is that this was a transitional thing -- maybe people who were going to sign up for a health plan but procrastinated until the deadline put off a bunch of ordinary medical expenses until they had their new insurance. It’s also possible that the weather kept people at home; after all, the unusually hard winter is thought to have hurt first-quarter GDP. Though as an explanation, weather is a lot more convincing when you’re talking about a tiny decline than it is when you’re talking about a huge drop like this. Snow keeps people from shopping so much; it does not cause them to abandon all economic activity and hole up in their homes waiting for the final trump to sound. The most worrisome potential explanation is that health expenditures fell because, well, health expenditures fall when the economy is contracting. I’m not exactly ready to call recession yet . . . . But I’ll be crossing my fingers until the next report comes out.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said recently, “Four years after administration officials trumpeted ‘Recovery Summer’ in June 2010, working men and women in this country are more anxious about work, and family, and the high cost of living. And that’s to say nothing of the millions who can’t find work at all.”

Tags: Supreme Court decisions, warrantless cell phone searches, Aereo copyright infringement, Senate confirmations, House passed bills, Economy Sunk To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Iran: The Existential Threat - Enemies Of All Mankind

Map highlights the countries of Iraq and Syria in yellow.
Areas under ISIS control as of June 16, 2014, are
marked in red, along with ISIS controlled cities. (Credit: CNN)
 by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: In the confusion that accompanies the surge of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), it is not surprising that many are deeply concerned. This extraordinarily savage group of terrorists has stormed out of Syria and is threatening many cities in Iraq—cities that Americans liberated with their blood and treasure. It’s not surprising that, faced with such a stunning development, even officials like Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) might consider working with Iran’s mullahs to stem the tide.

It was Churchill who decided to work with Stalin following Hitler’s betrayal of his ally some 73 years ago. He said if Hitler invaded hell, he would at least make favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.

But nothing could be more damaging to America’s long-term security interests than aligning with the murderous regime of Tehran in any way for any purpose. The phrase that best describes the theocratic regime in Tehran is hostis humani generis - enemies of all mankind. This Latin term is applied in international law to terrorists, pirates, and slave traders. It fits this regime's rule well.

Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. It is a major persecutor of religion. In today’s Iran, Christians, Jews, Baha’i, Zoroastrians, and minority Muslim sects are actively suppressed and terrorized. Pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to eight years in a filthy prison, beaten and abused for “threatening the national security of Iran.” His crime: He started an orphanage!

Our own State Department reports on the full range of human rights abuses in Iran. These include:disappearances; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including judicially sanctioned amputation and flogging; politically motivated violence and repression, such as beatings and rape; harsh and life-threatening conditions in detention and prison facilities, with instances of deaths in custody; arbitrary arrest and lengthy pretrial detention, sometimes incommunicado; continued impunity of security forces; denial of fair public trials, sometimes resulting in executions without due process…

[See more at: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper]
Nor should it be forgotten that Iran publicly hangs homosexuals. Add to this catalogue of abuses even more from the State Department:violence against women, children, ethnic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity;What other evidence is needed to label them justly “enemies of all mankind?”

The regime's savagery is real and growing. No other nation so regularly calls for the physical elimination of the United States or its neighbor, Israel. No other nation is so actively seeking nuclear weapons.

Do we dare to dismiss their genocidal threats as bluster?

In Paris this week, groups of Iranian exiles, U.S. and European parliamentarians, military experts, and diplomats will meet to discuss ways to neutralize or change the regime in Iran.

Event organizers have announced that American participants include Gen. George Casey, Amb. John Bolton, Marc Ginsberg,

Gov. Ed Rendell, and Frances Townsend. Topics will include: deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, Tehran's nuclear weapons proram, and the fate of Iranian refugees at Camp Liberty in Iraq.

If this conclave can reach consensus, and , if they can persuade the Western democracies to take concerted action, we may yet avert the most terrible conflict since the Second World War.

Every day the mullahs' regime spinning centrifuges bring them a step closer to having a nuclear weapon. Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly declared he could foresee “a world without the United States.” And he dismissed Israel as “a two-bomb country.”

The Washington Post earlier this month informed us of the stalling of nuclear talks with Iran.Iran says such experiments--detailed in documents obtained by Western spy agencies--never occurred, but it has refused to allow IAEA officials near the site since 2005. Satellite photos in recent weeks have shown major renovation underway at the site, with several buildings razed and soil removed near the place where the alleged test chamber once stood. Iran has consistently said that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, not making weapons.The Post’s story on this alarming development was consigned to Page A18.

The report, which was carried by the “nuclear watchdog” group, was seemingly muffled by this dismissive treatment. Who will hear a watchdog whose bark is so dangerously disregarded?

Iran’s regime must change or be changed. There is no peace, no safety possible with such a cohort of “enemies of all mankind.”This is why we must look to the Paris talks this week as a key indicator of Western resolve.

We will observe in July one hundred years since Europe’s leaders marched “like sleepwalkers”

That devastating world war left empires shattered, civilizations in ruins, and unleashed the forces of Arab nationalism and religious and ideological fury.

It cost the world twenty million dead.

But that is a lower estimate of what Iran might do if it obtains nuclear weapons. There is no crisis — not Ukraine, not Nigeria, not Sudan, not the Israeli-Arab conflict — that is more threatening than the Iranian mullahs with nuclear weapons.

The cause is mankind. Nothing less.
----------------------
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: Iran, The Existential Threat, enimies of all mankind, ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Iranian mullahs, nuclear weapons, Arab nationalism, Ken Blackwell, 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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  • 12/14/14 - 12/21/14
  • 12/21/14 - 12/28/14
  • 12/28/14 - 1/4/15
  • 1/4/15 - 1/11/15
  • 1/11/15 - 1/18/15
  • 1/18/15 - 1/25/15
  • 1/25/15 - 2/1/15
  • 2/1/15 - 2/8/15
  • 2/8/15 - 2/15/15
  • 2/15/15 - 2/22/15
  • 2/22/15 - 3/1/15
  • 3/1/15 - 3/8/15
  • 3/8/15 - 3/15/15
  • 3/15/15 - 3/22/15
  • 3/22/15 - 3/29/15
  • 3/29/15 - 4/5/15
  • 4/5/15 - 4/12/15
  • 4/12/15 - 4/19/15
  • 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
  • 6/26/16 - 7/3/16
  • 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
  • 9/4/16 - 9/11/16
  • 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
  • 4/2/17 - 4/9/17
  • 4/9/17 - 4/16/17
  • 4/16/17 - 4/23/17
  • 4/23/17 - 4/30/17
  • 4/30/17 - 5/7/17
  • 5/7/17 - 5/14/17
  • 5/14/17 - 5/21/17
  • 5/21/17 - 5/28/17
  • 5/28/17 - 6/4/17
  • 6/4/17 - 6/11/17
  • 6/11/17 - 6/18/17
  • 6/18/17 - 6/25/17