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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
Friday, November 07, 2014
Tom Steyer: Empty Handed . . .
. . . It turns out, $85 million just isn’t enough to buy an election. Tom Steyer and his group NextGen Climate Action lost nearly every race they played in. As the Wall Street Journalreported: This year’s environmental debate boiled down to Democratic support for Mr. Obama’s climate rules and green subsidies against full-throated Republican support for energy production of all sorts, including coal, oil and natural-gas fracking, more pipelines and greater fossil-fuel exports. These GOP candidates won nearly everywhere.Future candidates and the newly elected class Congressman would do well to remember these results. Those who choose to block domestic energy production, increase electricity prices via mandates, and drown expensive and unreliable sources of energy in subsidies and tax credits will be held accountable for their choices.
Tags:Tom Steyer, billionaire, NextGen, democrat, funds liberals, candidates, 2014 Election, looses, nearly all races, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
School Choice Wins, Common Core Loses in Election 2014
by Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation: The 2014 election results have seismic implications for education policy at both the state and federal levels. Voters sent a message that school choice and local control are important to them.
Scott’s victory is a victory for supporters of school choice in the Sunshine State.
Similarly, in Wisconsin, Republican Scott Walker won his re-election bid for governor running, in part, on a platform of expanding school choice. His goals were in sharp contrast to that of challenger Mary Burke, who opposed school choice. It also appears Wisconsin voters approve of Walker’s efforts over the years to limiting collective bargaining for public employees and give teachers a choice in whether they join a union.
There also are more school choice supporters in state legislatures in places such as Tennessee and also Nevada, where Republicans took control of the state senate and house for the first time in decades. As the Reno Gazette Journal reported: “Some legislation that was not seriously considered by a Democratic majority—like construction defects, private-school vouchers, ending prevailing wage standards on public building contracts and reforms to the state’s Public Employee Retirement System—would probably be considered.”In Illinois, school choice also was a major plank in the platform of Bruce Rauner, the Republican who upset Pat Quinn in the state’s gubernatorial race. Rauner is interested in establishing innovative education savings accounts.
Common Core Widely Rejected
Voters resoundingly sided with candidates who both rejected Common Core national standards and tests and promised to restore state and local control of education.
Two races for state superintendent were particularly notable in this regard: In Arizona, Diane Douglas, who ran explicitly on an anti-Common Core platform, appears to have clinched the position. As Politico noted, “Her victory would be a huge win for the anti-Common Core movement.”
Richard Woods, who will become Georgia’s new state superintendent, also campaigned on an anti-Common Core platform and has pledged to work to create Georgia-based curriculum standards.
And in South Carolina, which withdrew from Common Core earlier this year and already has planned to write its own standards, Molly Spearman, an anti-Common Core candidate, won her bid for state superintendent.
The potential for Arizona and Georgia to reject Common Core and forge a new path forward is particularly notable.
The Arizona Republic acknowledged that “voters were voicing their opposition to Common Core standards, [Douglas’] key issue in the campaign.” And Doug Ducey, who was elected governor of Arizona yesterday, has said the state can do better than federally funded standards, which should not be imposed from the top down.
Momentum against Common Core has been mounting. Already this year, four states—Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Louisiana—withdrew from the national standards and tests, and more than a dozen others either have exited or downgraded their involvement with the assessment component.
New Opportunities for Federal Policy
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will take the helm of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and is likely to work to reauthorize No Child Left Behind. Although Congress should pursue policies that would allow states to completely opt out of No Child Left Behind, as the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success, or APLUS Act, does, a potential reauthorization of NCLB would provide an opportunity to move the nation’s largest K-12 education law in a more student-centered direction.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., already has introduced the CHOICE Act, which would allow states to have Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds follow children to the private schools of their parents’ choice. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., has introduced a companion measure in the House. A similar approach to Title I funding for low-income school districts also has been advanced in the House by Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind.
Options such as allowing Title I portability—letting the money follow students in low-income schools to schools of choice—would be an important component of any potential No Child reauthorization, and IDEA portability is something Congress could tackle separately.
Finally, Congress now has the opportunity to actually address the college cost crisis through reforms to accreditation. This is one of the biggest opportunities conservatives have to advance transformational education policy in the coming year.
The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act—or HERO Act— introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., would empower states to allow any entity to credential courses, which could pave the way for a more flexible college experience for students and make possible a dramatic reduction in college costs.
The proposal would allow states to establish flexible accreditation models that would infuse a level of customization in higher education not possible under the existing accreditation system.
Accreditation reform is long overdue. By enabling states to take the lead on accreditation, the HERO Act creates a promising way to drive down costs and increase customization and opportunity in higher education.
------------------ Lindsey M. Burke (@lindseymburke) researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Tags:2014 election, school choice wins, school choice, common core loses, common core, Lindsey Burke, Heritage FoundationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Mia Love: ‘I Wasn’t Elected Because of the Color of My Skin’
HotNews: Mia Love, became the first female African American Republican elected to Congress, disputed what she felt was the implication from CNN hosts Michaela Pereira and John Berman that race and gender factored into her election.
“This has nothing do with race,” Love said. “Understand that Utahans have made a statement that they’re not interested in dividing Americans based on race or gender, that they want to make sure that they are electing people who are honest and who have integrity. …That’s really what made history here. Race, gender, had nothing to do with it.”
Pereira reiterated that their question was about why it had taken the GOP so long to elect a black woman, and what might need to happen for it to occur more often.
“In Saratoga Springs there are very few black residents,” Love replied. “I wasn’t elected because of the color of my skin, I wasn’t elected because of my gender. I was elected because of the solutions that I put at the table because I promised I would run a positive issues-oriented campaign and that’s what resonated.” Tags:Mia Love, female African American, elected to congressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Yesterday the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that states have the right to preserve the meaning of normal marriage and that thousands of years of tradition and basic biology should not be tossed aside lightly.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton's opinion should be required reading in the Oval Office and every law school across the country. He comes down squarely on the side of the people and, most notably, against the notion of judicial activism. Sutton's opinion exposes how the left has perverted our justice system.
Rejecting Judicial Activism. Sutton refused to engage in judicial activism and clearly understood that it was not his role to impose his morals on the people:"Marriage has long been a social institution defined by relationships between men and women. So long defined, the tradition is measured in millennia, not centuries or decades. So widely shared, the tradition until recently had been adopted by all governments and major religions of the world. . . .
"Process and structure matter greatly in American government. Indeed, they may be the most reliable, liberty-assuring guarantees of our system of government, requiring us to take seriously the route the United States Constitution contemplates for making such a fundamental change to such a fundamental social institution.
"Of all the ways to resolve this question, one option is not available: a poll of the three judges on this panel, or for that matter all federal judges, about whether gay marriage is a good idea. Our judicial commissions did not come with such a sweeping grant of authority . . . to make such a vital policy call for the thirty-two million citizens who live within the four States of the Sixth Circuit: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee."
Respecting Precedent. Sutton acknowledged what virtually every other federal court has so far chosen to ignore -- that there is precedent binding on the federal courts against same-sex marriage. Forty-two years ago, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal challenging the Minnesota Supreme Court's ruling in Baker v. Nelson upholding the normal meaning of marriage. Sutton wrote, "we have no license to engage in a guessing game about whether the [Supreme] Court will change its mind or, more aggressively, to assume authority to overrule Baker ourselves."
What about the Supreme Court's Windsor decision overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act? Judge Sutton correctly notes that Windsor "never mentions Baker, much less overrules it. . . . Windsor invalidated a federal law that refused to respect state laws permitting gay marriage, while Baker upheld the right of the people of a State to define marriage as they see it."
Sutton suggests that Windsor actually reinforces Baker by saying that the federal government was out of bounds for trying to limit the state's ability to define marriage -- even if that included same-sex couples.
Rejecting Irrational Arguments. Pointing to the Supreme Court's ruling against bans on interracial marriages, some liberal judges have declared that traditional marriage laws are "irrational." Of that specious argument, Sutton wrote:"A dose of humility makes us hesitant to condemn as unconstitutionally irrational a view of marriage shared not long ago by every society in the world, shared by most, if not all, of our ancestors, and shared still today by a significant number of the States. . . . It is not society's laws or for that matter any one religion's laws, but nature's laws (that men and women complement each other biologically), that created the policy imperative [of marriage law]."
Basic biology is not irrational -- one man + one woman = marriage. (Suddenly liberals are looking like anti-science zealots!)
Sutton also warns that by declaring the biological definition of marriage irrational, we are opening the door to polygamy. "If it is constitutionally irrational to stand by the man-woman definition of marriage, it must be constitutionally irrational to stand by the monogamous definition of marriage." The left, as Sutton notes, has no legal or logical answer for how marriage, once expanded, could also be limited to just two people. Polygamy must follow same-sex marriage.
With this decision upholding traditional marriage laws, we now have a conflict between appellate courts that can only be resolved by the Supreme Court. I have no doubt that the four liberals on the high court would impose same-sex marriage on every state in the union.
But Sutton's reasoning is impeccable. We can only hope and pray that his argument in favor of states' rights might persuade Justice Anthony Kennedy to allow the democratic process to prevail - to let the people decide. While I believe the prospect of 50 different definitions of marriage is unwise, the best outcome we're likely to get at this point is a decision permitting every state to define marriage for itself.
Obama, ISIS and Iran's Nukes - Two disturbing reports have emerged in recent days regarding Obama's handling of the most pressing national security concerns facing America and the world: ISIS and Iran's nuclear weapons program.
With a November 24th deadline looming for a deal, the Los Angeles Times reported that Obama had made additional concessions to Iran, allowing the mullah's to expand their operational centrifuges by 50%.
Then word came yesterday that Obama wrote a secret letter to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in October reportedly linking efforts to fight ISIS to Iran's nuclear weapons program.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement . . . on the future of Tehran's nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline."
In other words, Obama is so desperate to cut a deal with Iran, it appears as though he is offering to save its ally in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, from ISIS. Not surprisingly, the White House tried to keep this letter secret from our Israeli allies and the Saudis. Once again, Obama is undermining old alliances, while reaching out to our enemies.
This doesn't make any sense. ISIS and Iran's nukes are totally unrelated, or at least they should be. There is no deal Iran can make that we can trust.
When news of this letter hit Capitol Hill, Republicans were furious. Speaker John Boehner said, "I don't trust the Iranians, I don't think we need to bring them into this."
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham released a statement blasting Obama's "outrageous" offer of cooperation, saying, "The consequences of this ill-conceived bargain would destroy the Syrians' last, best chance to live in freedom from the brutal Assad regime." Tags:Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Marriage, President Obama, ISIS, Iran, Gary Bauer, Contributing AuthorTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Sam Youngman, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained that one of his priorities for the next Congress will be to combat the Obama administration’s war on coal.
“[T]he senator said his top priority is ‘to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.’
“‘It will be hard because the only good tool to do that ... is through the spending process, and if (President Barack Obama) feels strongly enough about it, he can veto the bill,’ McConnell said. ‘But I view it as a complete outrage that he could not get cap and trade through the Congress when he owned the place — owned the place — and decided to do it anyway.’
“As he rattled off the coal-producing counties he won Tuesday for the first time in his career, McConnell said he feels a ‘deep responsibility’ to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions at coal-burning power plants.
“‘I'm absolutely convinced from the people I talk to around the country, not just here but around the country, that coal has a future,’ McConnell said. ‘The question is whether or not coal is going to have a future here. It's got a future in Europe. It's got a future in China, India, Australia. But not here?’“He added: ‘It makes me very angry, and I'm going to do everything I can to try to stop them.’”
It’s worth noting that in this week’s elections liberal environmentalists who poured tens of millions of dollars into races to defeat candidates opposed to the president’s costly EPA regulations on coal plants came up short. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Billionaire activist Tom Steyer’s drive to make climate change a winning issue in this year’s midterm election fell short as several Democratic candidates he supported lost amid the Republican sweep in Congress and state races. NextGen Climate Action Committee, the PAC that Mr. Steyer created in 2013 to press climate change as a political issue, spent $65 million in the current election cycle, with the bulk of the money going to support four Senate races and three governor races where there was a distinction between candidates on climate and energy issues. . . .
“Democrats lost in four out of the seven races Mr. Steyer supported, including the Colorado Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall lost to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, and the Florida governor’s race, where former Democratic Gov. Charlie Crist failed to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Scott. . . . Among the other races Mr. Steyer poured money into that didn’t go his way: Republican Joni Ernst beat Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in the Iowa Senate race and incumbent Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage fended off a challenge by Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler.”
The WSJ editors offer a harsh assessment of Steyer and his allies’ tactics today: “If you want proof that money doesn’t buy elections, Mr. Steyer and his fellow green comrades are it. The San Francisco investor gave most of his money to his NextGen Climate Action Super Pac, which spent almost exclusively for Democrats. Environmental groups including NextGen spent $85 million to support President Obama’s green agenda, especially his regulations targeting coal for extinction. They didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt, and they aren’t taking it well. . . .
“Voters in Pacific Heights or Manhattan may not mind paying more for their self-styled political virtue, but the average Debbie in Dubuque would rather not. The mistake too many Democrats made was listening to Mr. Steyer instead of Debbie.
“This year’s environmental debate boiled down to Democratic support for Mr. Obama’s climate rules and green subsidies against full-throated Republican support for energy production of all sorts, including coal, oil and natural-gas fracking, more pipelines and greater fossil-fuel exports. These GOP candidates won nearly everywhere.
“In Kentucky Mitch McConnell made opposition to the ‘war on coal’ the centerpiece of his campaign. He won what was expected to be a close election by 15 points. Coal-supporting Shelley Moore Capito became the first GOP Senator in 55 years from West Virginia, where voters also ended the 38-year career of Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, who couldn’t separate himself from Mr. Obama’s energy policies. Nearly every one of Mr. Steyer’s favored candidates — in Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin and Maine — lost.”
The Journal editors conclude, “Republicans are promising to push pro-fossil-fuel energy policy in Congress, including support for Keystone XL, fast-track approval for liquid natural-gas export terminals, opening more federal land and offshore areas to drilling, and reining in anti-coal regulations. Democrats who want to help create jobs, and perhaps save their own, may want to rethink their fealty to Tom Steyer’s checkbook.” Tags:Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate, top priority, reign in, War on CoalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Republicans now control 52 seats and counting in the Senate, and expanded their majority in the House. Importantly, these majorities were won by committing to repealing Obamacare and standing for conservative priorities. Republicans also gained at the state level, picking off governorships in liberal-leaning states and strengthening conservative legislatures.
Election results bode well for conservative ideas and the conservative movement.
The Republican victories we saw last night demonstrate three key lessons:
1. Candidates win when they campaign on conservative principles. In race after race, Republicans who won campaigned on repealing Obamacare, stopping amnesty, and restoring limited, constitutional government. Remember: just a year ago, the Establishment told us that fighting Obamacare would cost Republicans in the election.
2. The American people are frustrated with the status quo in Washington. But the Establishment is already trying to claim victory. That makes it all the more important that we fight to rein in big government and end business-as-usual cronyism in Washington, where the well-connected get favors from those in power.
3. The hard work starts now. Winning elections is important. But what you do when you win is more important still, since it enables legislative victories and future political success. We have to ensure this new crop of lawmakers sticks to their conservative campaign promises. In less than a week, Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action staff will meet with every newly-elected representative and senator to start building relationships. Over the coming weeks and months, we will start educating them on the issues, reinforcing them in their home districts and pushing them to vote on principle.
So much of the credit for these successes goes to men and women across the country who have made the future of our great country their business.
A year ago, we chose to make 2014 a “year of Action” . . . Heritage Action. We pushed for a conservative policy agenda to define the conservative effort as not only about stopping President Obama but standing for Americans who feel unheard — and are right to feel unheard. Just compare where our movement is today to where it was the day before our Conservative Policy Summit in February, or before Americans tired of the status quo stood up and took action
Heritage Action and our many activists across the country will continue to fight for the principles that have made America great: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense.
------------- Mike Needham is CEO of Heritage Action for America. Tags:Mike Needam, Heritage Action for America, 2014 elections, three important takeawaysTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Main Stream, media, post election blues, media election bias, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by James Stafford, Contributing Author: The shale revolution’s sweet spot is oilfield services, the lower-risk backbone of the American oil and gas boom that pays off regardless of a play’s economics.
Behind the stardom of the explorers and producers who have put themselves on the revolutionary shale map and absorb most of the risk—are the service providers who make up a highly lucrative market segment.
The US land-based rig count rose 3% over the last quarter, reaching a two-year high of 1,870 active rigs. A major factor in this growth has been an uptick in horizontal drilling in the Permian Basin, Texas’ revived giant, where the rig count was up 21% year-on-year.
And while oil prices slumped in October, drilling activity continues to rise, according to Baker Hughes, the third-largest oil services company. Baker Hughes’ rig count is up 3.8% in the fourth quarter of this year, compared to the third quarter.
RBC Capital Markets estimates that 20,061 horizontal wells will be drilled in the United States alone this year, with that number increasing by well over 1,000 in 2015. Overall, analysts are projecting a 5% increase in the US land rig count next year, with horizontal drilling rigs—already up 24% over last year--being the real movers here.
Oil prices are “no longer the only driver of that bus because continued efficiencies from pad drilling, hydraulic fracturing and increased stages per well continue to increase recoveries and lower costs per unit of oil and gas produced”, Natural Gas Intel quoted analysts as saying.
All the drilling poises the oil and gas services industry for big gains. For potential investors, it’s a good time, too, because the past couple of weeks have seen oil services oversold after West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude prices took a dive coming off their summer highs.
The Q3 conference calls from industry giants Baker Hughes Inc. and Schlumberger Ltd. were very positive—they see no changes in overall spending outlook from their customers.
At over $100 million revenue, Aveda is the largest pure-play drill rig mover in the United States. Today its footprint covers over 80% of the rig-moving market, from Alberta all the way down to Texas.
“With over 2,000 active rigs operating across North America today, and an average rig being moved approximately 17 times per year, the rig-moving industry is set for phenomenal gains,” Dave Werklund, Executive Chairman of Calgary-based Aveda Transportation and Energy Services told Oilprice.com.
This little known segment is actually a $2-billion niche in the services sector.
Once horizontal wells are drilled from a pad, the fully constructed rig has to be dismantled, moved to the next location using hydraulic walking or skidding systems, and then put back together.
Producers are demanding this work be done faster and safer than ever before. It’s a service that continues to be in high demand.
The advent of pad drilling, which allows the drilling of multiple wells from a single pad, is also transforming the services industry from equipment design and leasing to the task of moving the larger loads from pad to pad.
“With the conversion to pad drilling in the US, the size and weight of the rigs have increased exponentially,” says Werklund. That was a lucky break for Aveda, as they already had much bigger trucks in their fleet because of the bigger rigs their original Canadian customers used. As soon as they came down to the US, producers began using their services.
The general consensus is that American producers will not stop drilling even with an oil price of $80 per barrel. Instead, they’re digging in.
In an important op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell write, “Americans have entrusted Republicans with control of both the House and Senate. We are humbled by this opportunity to help struggling middle-class Americans who are clearly frustrated by an increasing lack of opportunity, the stagnation of wages, and a government that seems incapable of performing even basic tasks.
“Looking ahead to the next Congress, we will honor the voters’ trust by focusing, first, on jobs and the economy. Among other things, that means a renewed effort to debate and vote on the many bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support, but were never even brought to a vote by the Democratic Senate majority. It also means renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.”
And when it comes to Obamacare, Leader McConnell has made clear that he’s willing to try many different strategies to reverse the damage that unpopular law is doing. Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner reported last week, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he would be willing to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority if he takes over as majority leader in January, his spokesman told the Washington Examiner on Thursday. . . .
“‘Leader McConnell is and has always been committed to the full repeal of Obamacare, and he'll continue to lead efforts to repeal and replace it with patient-centered reforms that enable greater choice at lower costs. He knows it won't be easy, but he also believes that if Republicans are fortunate enough to take back the majority we’ll owe it to the American people to try through votes on full repeal, the bill’s most onerous provisions, and reconciliation,’ McConnell spokesman Brian McGuire wrote in an emailed statement.”
In their op-ed Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell listed some of their priorities for the next Congress: “For years, the House did its job and produced a steady stream of bills that would remove barriers to job creation and lower energy costs for families. Many passed with bipartisan support—only to gather dust in a Democratic-controlled Senate that kept them from ever reaching the president’s desk. Senate Republicans also offered legislation that was denied consideration despite bipartisan support and benefits for American families and jobs.
“These bills provide an obvious and potentially bipartisan starting point for the new Congress—and, for President Obama , a chance to begin the final years of his presidency by taking some steps toward a stronger economy.
“These bills include measures authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will mean lower energy costs for families and more jobs for American workers; the Hire More Heroes Act, legislation encouraging employers to hire more of our nation’s veterans; and a proposal to restore the traditional 40-hour definition of full-time employment, removing an arbitrary and destructive government barrier to more hours and better pay created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.”
They conclude, “January will bring the opportunity to begin anew. Republicans will return the focus to the issues at the top of your priority list. Your concerns will be our concerns. That’s our pledge. The skeptics say nothing will be accomplished in the next two years. As elected servants of the people, we will make it our job to prove the skeptics wrong.” Tags:Sen Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate, Rep. John Boehner, U.S. House, priorities, jobs, economy, repealing Obamacare, Keystone XL PipelineTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Let’s just say it up front and avoid tip-toeing around with politically correct language. President Obama and his administration are the most anti-Israel to have held office and likely the most anti-Semitic. Forget about his public declarations of friendship and support for Israel. For six years Obama has demonstrated his antipathy toward the only democratic nation in the Middle East, the Jewish state.
That’s why an anonymous administration official felt free to call Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a “chickenshit” and “a coward” while being interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg for an article in The Atlantic.
He or she had to know the comment would go public. Netanyahu was accused of only being interested in his political survival and afraid to launch an attack on Iran to slow or end its nuclear armament program. In an effort to comply with U.S. demands, Netanyahu actually had put himself at political risk at home. None of Obama’s demands were rewarded or acknowledged and, for now, those days are over.
It is, of course, the Obama administration that has led the most servile negotiations to date with Iran, granting all manner of concessions in order to get an agreement that would put that terror-sponsoring nation within three or four months of having a nuclear warhead for its missiles or bomb for its aircraft.
Speaking to the Israeli Knesset, Netanyahu responded to the insulting name-calling saying, “I am under attack simply because I am defending the State of Israel. If I didn’t stand firm on our national interests, I would not be under attack.” And then, typical of the diplomatic dance, he said, “I respect and cherish the deep connection with the United States.”
If he was speaking in an historic context, he is right, but the six years of Obama’s terms in office have been a succession of insults and demands that would make Israel vulnerable to the constant presence of its enemies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, two terror organizations that are proxies for their sponsor, Iran. During the recent military operations to end months of continued rocketing from Gaza, the U.S. repeatedly called on Israel to stop. When it was over, countless tunnels whose sole purpose was for Palestinian terrorists to attack Israelis were found.
Tunnels have also been a problem for Egypt and they are the ones that run from the Sinai area into Gaza. Following the Camp David Accords in 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty. Until then no Middle East Arab nation had any intention of acknowledging Israel’s sovereignty. The treaty has held firm since then, but the new Egyptian leadership came to power after the people demanded that the Muslim Brotherhood be removed from office. It was; first by military coup and then by an election. It is the same Muslim Brotherhood some of whose members have been part of the Obama administration.
For Egypt, the Sinai has been the scene of dozens of attacks against its military and security forces since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 during the so-called “Arab spring.” As Oren Kessler, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Deputy Director for Research, recently noted, “Egypt has waged a sustained military campaign against Sinai extremists since August 2012, including air strikes and ground operations, as well as the destruction of at least 1,600 smuggling tunnels to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.”
“Despite the fact that at least 20 attacks have targeted Israel since Mubarak’s ouster, the Jewish state has not engaged in military operations in Egyptian territory” but “the recent Sinai security challenges have prompted the Israelis and Egyptians to cooperate in others ways…”
A response to its own security needs led the Israelis to build a fortified fence along its Egyptian border, its longest frontier, “in a bid to control the flow of asylum seekers and economic migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.” You read that correctly, migrants want to live in Israel, perhaps knowing that, only there, are those who are Christian will not be killed for their faith and those who are Muslim will not be harassed. The fence, of course, has the added benefit of addressing the threat of Sinai terrorism.
So, Egypt ranks high among Israel’s allies in very real ways. The same can be said of Saudi Arabia, the Muslim holy land where Mecca and Medina are located. As Bret Stephens, a Wall Street Journal columnist, noted in late October, “The real problem for the administration is that the Israelis—along with all the other disappointed allies—are learning how little it pays to be on Barack Obama’s good side.”
“Since coming to office in 2009,” noted Stephens, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed, against his own inclination and over the objections of his political bases, to (1) recognize the Palestinian state, (2) enforce an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze, (3) release scores of Palestinian prisoners held on murder charges, (4) embark on an ill-starred effort to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians, (5) refrain from taking overt military steps against Iran, and (6) agree to every possible cease-fire during the summer’s war with Hamas.”
That, however, has not been enough for the Obama administration. Not only did it hold up “the delivery of munitions at the height of the Gaza war”, but Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel for the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians when history confirms their long resistance and refusal to any peace deal. Kerry even managed to attribute the rise of the Islamic State to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is delusional and deeply offensive.
Largely unreported because the two nations want it that way, Saudi Arabia and Israel have long been in discussions of what to do if the U.S. sells out both of them by concluding a deal with Iran regarding its nuclear arms program. Such a deal would leave both nations and all others in the Middle East and beyond vulnerable to Iran.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Sunni nations also have concerns about the rise of the Sunni Islamic State. If Obama is indifferent to Israel’s security, he gives plenty of evidence he feels the same about the Sunni nations. Both Iran and the Islamic State are Shiites.
If anyone, some years ago, had predicted that two leading Muslim nations would find ample reason to ally with Israel, they would likely have been laughed out of the room, but it is today’s reality. It may make Obama angry, but the Israelis don’t care. Despite the usual diplomatic charades, until Obama is out of office they and their Arab allies will act to protect themselves as he continues to betray them.
----------------- Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs". He is a contributor to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Israel, new friends, Alan Caruba, Warning SignsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:President Obama, reacts, 2014 Elections, Editorial Cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Is the GOP Ready For The Fight To Replace Eric Holder?
Michelle Malkin & Dr. Bill Smith, Editor
by Michelle Malkin: Gird your loins, Beltway Republicans. Election Day is barely over, but the progressive left is locked and loaded for battle over President Obama's next U.S. attorney general.
Liberals unhappy with the administration's failure to deliver a mass illegal alien amnesty fast enough want a consolation prize. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent Obama a demand letter last week promoting Labor Secretary Tom Perez as Eric Holder's replacement. Mother Jones ran with "Why Picking Tom Perez for Attorney General Would Be a Smart Move for Obama."
California Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez gushed to Politico: "Being around him makes me a little bit giddy. ... He cares about the stuff that I care about, and he's so articulate about it." The "stuff" Perez cares about is the bread and butter of radical leftwing identity politics. It's "social justice"-crusading on steroids.
Just this week, a federal judge rebuked Perez's ambitious campaign to pervert housing discrimination laws and exploit racially disparate outcomes in order to prove manufactured bias.
"Disparate-impact" studies serve as high-octane fuel for a greedy fleet of civil-rights lawsuits. Once the numbers are cooked and disparate impact is shown, the heavy legal burden of disproving racial discrimination falls on the defendant. Lenders and insurers have forked over tens of millions of dollars in these social engineering shakedowns.
Neither Congress nor the federal Fair Housing Act embraces disparate impact theory or practice. But Perez plowed ahead anyway. Judge Richard Leon on Monday blasted Perez's legal overreach as "hutzpah (bordering on desperation)" and described Perez's backroom maneuvering to prevent the Supreme Court from weighing in on the scheme as "troubling."
A congressional investigation last year found that Perez -- then serving as an assistant attorney general in the Obama Justice Department -- cut a deal with the city of St. Paul, Minn., to withdraw a SCOTUS appeal that could have limited Perez's use of disparate impact tools. In exchange, the DOJ declined to intervene in two unrelated legal complaints against the city.
The quid pro quo wasn't just full of hutzpah. It reeked of the very kind of justice-sabotaging corruption that Holder trademarked at DOJ.
Leon isn't the only one who smells a rat. Last year, the DOJ Inspector General's office spotlighted racialist foul play at Perez's bureau, where "polarization and mistrust" reigned. Perez was explicitly hostile to race-neutral law enforcement and as Virginia GOP Rep. Frank Wolf summed up: The "report makes clear that the division has become a rat's nest of unacceptable and unprofessional actions, and even outright threats against career attorneys and systemic mismanagement."
Perez has used his power to conduct vengeful witch-hunts against police departments and advocates of strict immigration enforcement. The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and former special counsel for the late illegal alien amnesty champion Sen. Ted Kennedy made a career putting illegal aliens above law-abiding citizens. He is a selective enforcer of the nation's laws. A leader of the George Soros-funded Casa de Maryland illegal alien advocacy group, Perez lobbied for in-state tuition discounts for illegal alien students, driver's licenses and tax-subsidized day labor centers.
As I've reported previously, Casa de Maryland pushed for Obama's 800,000 illegal alien deportation waivers through administrative fiat. The group opposes enforcement of deportation orders, protested post-9/11 coordination of local, state and national criminal databases, and produced a "know your rights" propaganda pamphlet for illegal aliens that depicted federal immigration agents as armed bullies making babies cry.
A post-election fight over Perez "would rally Democrats -- and put Republicans on the defensive," Mother Jones writer David Corn advised his fellow leftists, as well as "yield the extra benefit of reinforcing the negative attitudes Latinos have toward the Republican Party."
This looks to be the new Senate Republicans' first test of spinal fortitude. Will they fight for equal justice under the law or crumble under pressure from ethnic special interests? Will they reject the open-borders lobby or cave to race-card politics as usual? After an entire election cycle of GOP promises to buck Obama, will Senate Republican newbies deliver the goods or capitulate to craven political correctness?
Get ready. Get set. Don't fail.
----------------------- Michelle Malkin is mother, wife, blogger, conservative syndicated columnist, and author. She shares many of her articles and thoughts at MichelleMalkin.com. Tags:Michelle Malkin, GOP, fight, replace Eric Holder, Eric HolderTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Newt Gingrich: For much of last night many analysts insisted on talking about an “anti-incumbent” mood. Yet that analysis was a desperate denial of reality.
When Senator Pat Roberts won a convincing victory against an “independent” but clearly liberal Democrat candidate, this “anti-incumbent” story evaporated. This election was purely and simply an anti-Obama wave.
I wrote recently about rising tides versus tidal waves. I said there was clearly going to be a rising Republican tide but we didn’t know if it would grow into a tidal wave.
On Friday, I made my predictions. They hold up pretty well now that the American people have spoken.
What does the tidal wave of 2014 mean?
The President told us himself, just one month ago.
“Make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot….Every single one of them,” he said in prepared remarks at Northwestern University just last month.
Well then, what did voters say to those policies on the ballot…every single one of them?
The voters gave Republicans control of the United States Senate. In two midterms, the President may have cost the Democrats more seats in the U.S. Senate than any president since Harry Truman.
The voters gave Republicans what appears to be the largest majority in the United States House of Representatives in 86 years, since 1928.
The voters gave Republicans governorships in a year when the GOP was expected to lose ground. The President’s home state of Illinois elected a Republican governor.
The voters gave Republicans more state legislators than ever in the history of the Republican Party—more than any time in 160 years.
The voters gave Republicans what appears to be control of more state legislative bodies than ever before in history. Combined with the large number of Republican governors, this will create a dramatic opportunity for conservative reform at the state level.
The President told voters to make no mistake. His policies were on the ballot. Every single one of them.
The President was right.
And the American people decisively repudiated Obamaism.
The implications for the Clinton-Obama presidential campaign (as many Americans will undoubtedly see it) in 2016 are stunning.
The choice the President faces in the next few weeks is enormous.
The American people took him at his word and gave him a decisive answer.
Is he capable of hearing their answer?
It will be fascinating to watch.
---------------- 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 Gingrich Productions. Tags:Anti-Obama, Tidal Wave, 2014 Elections, Obamaism,Newt Gingrich, Gingrich ProductionsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
ICYMI: Wednesday Morning in the White House Bedroom . . .
. . . Gives new meaning to the old adage, "Having one's head handed to them on a platter."
Editor's Comment: Gary McCoy created this editorial cartoon to be shared on Nov. 5th in reasoned expectation of the defeat of Democrats at the polls. However, McCoy opted to share it at 7:52 pm on Nov 4, 2014 on his Facebook page. McCoy commented. "I was going to hold off posting this till tomorrow. But I live life on the edge (On the edge of a barcalounger, but on the edge nonetheless.)..."
Tags:editorial cartoon, Gary McCoy, Wednesday Morning, President Obama, White House Bedroom, Democrats, 2014 ElectionsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: GOP Makes History - Last night's Republican victory was historic -- and that's not hyperbole. It is exceedingly rare for the country to experience two wave elections in a decade. Many pundits presumed that the GOP got its wave election in 2010, so it just couldn't happen again in 2014. But it did.
Republicans picked up eight Senate seats last night: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. In the process, they defeated four incumbent Democrats (Begich, Pryor, Udall and Hagan), something they haven't done since Ronald Reagan's 1980 landslide. And the Senate elections are not over yet. Louisiana is headed to a December 6th runoff.
In the House, several races are still too close to call, but it is clear that the GOP succeeded in expanding its majority by more than a dozen seats. Speaker John Boehner will now control the largest Republican House majority in more than 60 years.
Across the country, at least 31 states now have Republican governors. GOP gubernatorial candidates prevailed in surprising places like Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts, while Governors Sam Brownback, Scott Walker and Rick Scott were reelected.
Republicans also added to their tremendous 2010 state legislative victories. According to one analysis, "state legislative chambers now stand at 65 Republican, 23 Democrat, 1 tie, and 4 undecided," leaving Democrats "at their weakest point in state legislatures since the 1920s."
Lessons Of 2014 - There's going to be a lot of spin in the days ahead. For example, Barack Obama is refusing to take any responsibility for his second "shellacking." Instead, he's blaming the bad results on the map.
But these same states went blue in 2008. What changed between now and then? Barack Obama. He campaigned as a moderate, but governed as a leftist. He promised hope and change, but delivered the same old, failed big government agenda.
Let me offer a few thoughts about the lessons of 2014.
Some liberal apologists in the media are trying to explain away the results on an anti-incumbency, anti-Washington mood. They're nuts! It wasn't just an anti-incumbency mood. It was clearly an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat mood. Exit polls found that only 11% of voters were "enthusiastic" about Obama, while 58% were "dissatisfied" or "angry" with Obama. The biggest example of incumbency and the Washington establishment on the ballot last night -- Senator Mitch McConnell (R) -- crushed his Democrat opponent. Senator Pat Roberts (R), with all his incumbent troubles, won by 10 points. Obama couldn't even save Democrats in Illinois and Maryland. 2014 was an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat election.
Barack Obama recently said that while he wasn't on the ballot, his policies were. Well, 2014 was also an anti-Obamacare election. Every single newly-elected Republican senator campaigned against Obama's signature policy initiative -- Obamacare. While a full repeal bill won't pass Obama's desk, the debate over Obamacare is far from settled. Republicans can chip away at it. More importantly, they must keep the issue front and center in the minds of the American people and force Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, to defend that albatross.
Speaking of Hillary, she and Bill were big losers last night. The Clintons were heavily invested in the 2014 campaigns, going where Obama was too politically toxic -- which was just about everywhere. It didn't matter. For all their star power, they couldn't even bring Arkansas their way. For the first time in 141 years, the state's entire congressional delegation is Republican and a Republican was elected governor last night. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but I think there's a chance that Hillary will look at last night's catastrophic results and rethink her future plans. After all, Obama still has two more years to destroy what's left of the Democrat Party.
The left's fake "war on women" theme failed miserably. You can read more about that in my latest opinion piece at The Daily Caller.
The race card failed too. Democrats tried to drive black voters to the polls by exploiting the death of Michael Brown. Michelle Obama even had the audacity to suggest that blacks simply because they were black had to vote for Democrats no matter what. For all the Democrats' talk about America's racist history, the black candidates making history last night were not Democrats, but Republicans Tim Scott and Mia Love. South Carolina, the state where the Civil War began, has a black senator and an Indian-American governor, both of whom are Republicans. And I am proud to note that of all our Facebook posts commenting on the election results, the one with the most "likes" was about South Carolina's Tim Scott.
There's going to be a lot of chattering in the days ahead about the need for Republicans to avoid values issues and to stick to economics. If they mean addressing pro-family tax cuts, that's great. But parts of the GOP economic agenda are deeply unpopular. For example, increasing the minimum wage, something establishment Republicans vociferously oppose, was on the ballot in four conservative states. It prevailed by an average of 62%.
Likewise Republicans shouldn't fall into the trap of trying to resuscitate so-called comprehensive immigration reform. Voters in liberal Oregon defeated a ballot measure authorizing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants by a 67% to 33% margin. Republicans need to pay less attention to Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce and more attention to Main Street and Sam's Club.
Last night's results were clear: Americans want commonsense conservative solutions, not liberal-lite. If there is going to be any talk about compromise and cooperation in Washington, let Obama make the first move by dropping his plans for a mass executive amnesty.
But I'm not holding my breath. Obama just finished a press conference addressing last night's results. He was described by reporters as "defiant" and "anything but rebuked or chastened."
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:GOP, Republicans, History, 2014 Elections, Lessons of 2014, America, conservative solutions, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Independent Women's Voice Congratulates 61 Repeal Pledge Signers on Victory in US House Races
by Victoria Coley: Independent Women's Voice (IWV) would like to congratulate the 61 Repeal Pledge signers who were elected to the US House of Representatives last evening.
Each candidate signed Independent Women's Voice ObamaCare Repeal Pledge, making a clear and unequivocal statement to voters that he or she will fight at every opportunity for full repeal of ObamaCare.
IWV engaged voters on behalf of pledge signers with a series of targeted phone calls about the damage caused by ObamaCare.
The campaign was part of a comprehensive program mobilizing voters in 22 districts, in 14 states, on behalf of our pledge signers.
IWV made calls on behalf of the following 10 signers and congratulate them on their victories:
Bruce Westerman (AR-4)
Rep. Steve King (IA-4)
Dave Benishek MD (MI-1)
Rep. Fred Upton (MI-6)
Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC-2)
Frank Guinta (NH-1)
Lee Zeldin (NY-1)
Dave Brat (VA-7)
Barbara Comstock (VA-10)
Alex Mooney (WV-2)
IWV would also like to congratulate the following 51 winners and Repeal Pledge signers:
Gary Palmer (AL-6)
Rep. Paul Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-4)
Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-5)
Rep. Dave Schweikert (AZ-6)
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-8)
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-1)
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-4)
Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-5)
Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-6)
Rep. Bill Posey (FL-8)
Rep. Mark Bircher (FL-13)
Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15)
Rep. Curt Clawson (FL-19)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3)
Rep. Tom Graves (GA-14)
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS-1)
Rep. Tom Massie (KY-4)
Rep. Andy Barr (KY-6)
Rep. Charles Boustany M.D. (LA-3)
Rep. John Fleming M.D. (LA-4)
Rep. Andy Harris M.D. (MD-1)
Rep. Bill Huzienga (MI-2)
John Moolenaar (MI-4)
Rep. Alan Nunnelee (MS-1)
Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8)
Rep. Kevin Cramer (ND-at large)
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-4)
Rep. Bob Latta (OH-5)
Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-6)
Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16)
Rep. Mark Sanford (SC-1)
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5)
Rep. Phil Roe M.D. (TN-1)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-7)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1)
John Ratcliffe (TX-4)
Rep. John Culberson (TX-7)
Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12)
Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14)
Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17)
Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX-24)
Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25)
Rep. Michael Burgess M.D. (TX-26)
Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-1)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-3)
Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-2)
Rep. Robert Hurt (VA-5)
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (WA-5)
Responding to last night's victories Independent Women's Voice CEO Heather Higgins issued the following statement:
“Three weeks ago, President Obama said even though he was not on the ballot, his policies were – and the policy that bears his name cost him the Senate, and contributed to further losses in the House of Representatives.
“Obviously, this election was very much about ObamaCare, and the obstructionism of Senate Democrats to real reform. The message of this election? Keep your doctor, fire Harry Reid.
“Those who said ObamaCare no longer matters are self-deluded. The more people experience it, the more they hate it, and rightly so. Imagine what’s going to happen when ALL the mandates kick in.
“The American people are tired of candidates who say one thing on the stump, then do something else when they get to DC. That’s why the Repeal Pledge matters to voters, and why smart candidates who are serious about real reform, sign the Repeal Pledge.”
IWV advocates not just repeal, but defunding, deauthorizing, and dismantling the misleadingly-titled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted in early 2010. This victory this evening moves us one step closer to better health care in this country.
For more information on The Repeal Pledge, including a complete list of signers, please visit TheRepealPledge.com.
---------------- Independent Women's Voice is a 501(c)(4) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization for mainstream women, men and families dedicated to promoting limited government, free markets, and personal responsibility. IWV is an affiliate organization of the Independent Women's Forum. Tags:Independent Women's Voice, 2014 Elections, U.S. Congress, winners, signed the pledge, Obamacare Repeal PledgeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by David Pasch, Generation Opportunity: Republicans made historic Congressional gains last night – regaining a majority in the U.S. Senate, winning gubernatorial contests in several states, and adding to their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pundits and pollsters will spend the next few days and weeks sifting through election returns and exit polling data, but one thing is abundantly clear: young voters sent a loud and clear message to Washington that we’re not going to be ignored any longer.
According to current exitpollingdata from CNN and The New York Times, 18-29 year olds were more likely to show up at the polls and more likely to cast their ballots for Republicans than they were in 2010.
The youth vote was decisive in closely-watched races including:
North Carolina’s U.S. Senate contest, where Senator Kay Hagan saw young voters swing 33 points away from her compared to her last election
Arkansas’s U.S. Senate contest, where Rep. Tom Cotton won the youth vote outright, edging his opponent by 4 points among 18-29 year olds
Florida’s gubernatorial contest, where Governor Rick Scott saw 18-29 year olds swing 10 points in his favor compared to his last election
Ohio’s gubernatorial contest, where Governor John Kasich won an incredible 57% of 18-29 year olds, swinging the youth vote 26 points in his favor compared to his last election
Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg issued the following statement:
“Young people made a statement yesterday and this time Washington can’t afford not to listen.
“Young voters chose less government and more freedom up and down the ballot, and it’s not hard to see why. We are suffering a 15% unemployment rate and are being forced to delay major life decisions and defer our dreams because of the big government policies that have stifled our economy.
“In races across the country young people made the difference and, in the process, taught Washington a lesson about our generation: we will fight for a better future for ourselves and we won't wait for anyone else to do it for us.”
------------ Generation Opportunity is a national, non-partisan organization advocating for economic opportunity for young people through less government and more freedom. Tags:Generation Opportunity, 2014 Elections, young voters, voting conservative, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Instead, he wound up in Florida Federal District Court and now in the Supreme Court of the United States, where he is the latest poster child for overcriminalization. His story would make for a good episode of “South Park” or “The Simpsons” but for one fact: It’s true.
In 2007, Yates captained a commercial fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico. A Florida Fish and Game Wildlife Commission officer deputized to assist the federal government spotted Yates’ boat and went aboard to conduct a safety inspection. The officer saw red grouper that appeared undersized under federal regulations, measured them and found six dozen to be too small.
Possession of undersized fish is not a crime; it is only a civil violation punishable by a fine or fishing license suspension. So the officer told Yates to put the undersized fish aside so they could be re-examined on shore.
Yates, according to the jury, dumped the undersized fish into the sea and substituted others in their place—although 69 out of the 72 replacements were still undersized, according to the government.
Unfortunately for Yates, the government didn’t see his conduct as a laughing matter and charged him with destruction of “tangible objects” in violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Yes, that Sarbanes-Oxley Act—the one designed to prevent accountants and senior corporate officers from fleecing Fortune 500 companies and deep-sixing the evidence. The government also charged Yates with violating a statute that actually does apply to his conduct. Yates was convicted of that crime, and he does not challenge that conviction.
If you’re scratching your head as to how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act applies to Yates’ conduct, you are not alone. The Supreme Court probably had the same reaction because it decided to hear Yates’ case, which will be argued on Wednesday.
Cases like this one exemplify the problems caused by overcriminalization—that is, the overuse, misuse or abuse of the criminal law. No one who reads the text of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act—or who paid attention to the problems it was intended to fix—would have thought the statute has anything to do with fish.
Yates therefore typifies one of the problems of overcriminalization. Criminal statutes must give the average person—that is, the average fisherman, not the average lawyer, judge or law professor—the ability to know precisely what the law defines as a crime.
Stretching the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to include Yates’ novel catch-and-release program may sound morally justified because Yates did something “bad,” but that’s not how criminal law works. If the law is not clear, the defendant should receive the benefit of the doubt.
The Constitution also does not permit the courts to make up for shortcomings in a statute. That is Congress’ job alone to fulfill. The result is that people should not wind up in prison for conduct that a statute does not precisely outlaw, however too-cute-by-half their conduct may seem.
It would be a mistake to disregard the Yates case as an odd duck case that has little importance for the criminal law. Over the past few decades, the Justice Department and the lower federal courts have combined to produce a goodly number of cases like Yates.
It’s time for the Supreme Court to act like Popeye, put its foot down, and tell the lower federal courts, “That’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more.” If the Court does that, then there will be justice for Yates and for all the other people who should not be charged with a crime. Will the Court do that? Hope springs eternal.
-------------- Paul J. Larkin Jr is a senior legal research fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and directs The Heritage Foundation’s project to counter abuse of the criminal law, particularly at the federal level. Tags:Supreme Court, John Yates, commercial fishing boat, Gulf of Mexico, fish, fishing, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, abuse by government, Paul J. Larkin, analysisTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: The filibuster is dead for nominees and is living-dead for legislation; it exists, but under the precedent set by Harry Reid and Senate Democrats last year, it could be eliminated any time the majority wishes. Democrats are almost certain to do so next time they control the House of Representatives, so Republicans should go ahead and kill off the filibuster for good on day one.
When Harry Reid broke the Senate rules to torpedo the filibuster for appointees last year, Republicans howled in protest. Both sides made arguments that sounded principled, but really advanced their own partisan interests – we know that because less than a decade earlier an almost identical debate occurred, and in the interim is appeared Republicans and Democrats had traded scripts.
Harry Reid said winning that fight was “the most important thing I ever worked on” about the 2005 fight, when Reid was the filibuster’s most vocal defender with florid praise about the Founders and the Constitution. When he was asked if the Senate would ever consider such a move again, Reid said: “As long as I’m the leader, the answer is no.” But as soon as he had a Democratic president and a Democratic majority he did a backflip on the issue.
The result? The federal judiciary is now stacked with liberal activist judges who have seized control of ever larger areas of public policy. Reid’s power grab means there is a vestigial filibuster for Supreme Court nominees and for legislation, but it now exists solely at the pleasure of the majority, which can at any time invoke Reid’s procedure to change the rules and end the filibuster completely.
Therefore every bill that is “blocked” by filibuster fails only with the tacit agreement of the majority not to change the rule. Thus the Senate has already been transformed into a simple majority-rule body. Retiring Democrat Carl Levin, one of just three Democrats who voted against Reid’s rules change, said this at the time:“Let us not kid ourselves. The fact that we changed the rules today just to apply to judges and executive nominations does not mean the same precedent won't be used tomorrow or the next year or the year after to provide for the end of a filibuster on legislation, on bills that are before us, and on amendments.”He was exactly right. It is inevitable. So do it now.
Kill the filibuster and pass serious bills to repeal Obamacare, unlock American energy resources, cut and reform taxes, cut spending, reform entitlement programs, and limit intrusive federal regulations. Put new bills on President Obama’s desk every day, bills that show real vision and that can be sold to the American public.
Bills that land on the president’s desk will command the attention of media and the people – even if vetoed – in a way bills that die a quiet death by filibuster will not. And many will be so popular that President Obama will feel compelled to sign them, as President Clinton signed welfare reform only after vetoing it twice.
If Republicans do not kill the filibuster, on the other hand, they may quickly retreat from even attempting major legislation using Democratic obstructionism as an excuse for continued gridlock.
It’s a bad excuse. The filibuster is already dead, even if not yet officially. So put it out of its misery on day one and get busy with the serious work of shrinking government.
------------------ Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and a contributing author for the ARRA News Service. He is on Twitter and on Facebook. Tags:Kill the filibuster, pass serious bills, repeal Obamacare, unlock American energy resources, cut and reform taxes, cut spending, reform entitlement programs, limit intrusive federal regulations, . put new bills on President Obama’s desk, every day, bills that show real vision, Phil Kerpen, American CommitmentTo 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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