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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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, December 12, 2014

There is NO “Senate Report” On Torture

by Newt Gingrich: There is NO Senate Report on torture.

Two big lies have been perpetrated on the American people.

The first lie is the partisan, dishonest, irresponsible, and destructive left-wing attack disguised as an Intelligence Committee report.

The second lie is the elite media deliberately overlooking the partisan, divisive and deeply disputed report and pretending it represents the verdict of the U.S. Senate.

First, lets look at just how dishonest and deceitful this report is.

There is a 528 page “Executive Summary” of a 6,000 page classified report based on more than a million documents turned over by the Central Intelligence Agency.

These numbers tell you several things.

First, you can make money betting that no Senator has read all 6,500 pages. This is a staff-written and staff-driven document in which left-wing employees got to smear the American intelligence community without serious supervision.

Second, it is astonishing that with all those pages, the Democratic staff asked no one at the CIA about the topic.

As President Obama’s Director of Central Intelligence said in yesterday’s press conference, “Unfortunately, the committee could not agree on a bipartisan way forward and no CIA personnel were interviewed by the committee during the course of the investigation.”

Let me repeat this to drive it home. According to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, “NO CIA PERSONNEL WERE INTERVIEWED BY THE COMMITTEE.”

If the elite media had reported on a narrowly partisan report written with no meetings with intelligence personnel people would have had a very different reaction.

The failure to proceed professionally and responsibly is highlighted in a devastating response in the Wall Street Journal from former CIA Directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden (a retired Air Force general), and former CIA Deputy Directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes:"The excuse given by majority senators is that CIA officers were under investigation by the Justice Department and therefore could not be made available. This is nonsense. The investigations referred to were completed in 2011 and 2012 and applied only to certain officers. They never applied to six former CIA directors and deputy directors, all of whom could have added firsthand truth to the study. Yet a press account indicates that the committee staff did see fit to interview at least one attorney for a terrorist at Guantanamo Bay.

"We can only conclude that the committee members or staff did not want to risk having to deal with data that did not fit their construct. Which is another reason why the study is so flawed. What went on in preparing the report is clear: The staff picked up the signal at the outset that this study was to have a certain outcome, especially with respect to the question of whether the interrogation program produced intelligence that helped stop terrorists. The staff members then “cherry picked” their way through six million pages of documents, ignoring some data and highlighting others, to construct their argument against the program’s effectiveness.

"In the intelligence profession, that is called politicization."
If the elite media had accurately reported that the liberal staff refused to learn from any of the people involved the public’s impression would have been very different.

The Republicans on the Intelligence Committee gave the elite media an opportunity to provide accurate and thorough reporting on this partisan travesty. Led by Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss of Georgia (an old and dear friend) the Republicans issued a dissenting report. This is 106 pages of devastating and factual rebuttal of both the process and the conclusions of the liberal Democratic report.

Trying to understand why the liberal Democrats would be so destructive and so willing to weaken America, risk American lives, help America’s enemies and frighten America’s allies, I was reminded of the brilliant speech given by Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick at the 1984 Republican Convention.

Ambassador Kirkpatrick was a lifelong Democrat. She had been driven to support President Reagan by the increasingly radical, destructive and dangerous foreign and national security policies. Her speech is worth reading in full but for now a few excerpts drive home the point.

Kirkpatrick describes the “San Francisco Democrats” because that is where their convention was. Ironically the chair of the committee that issued this destructive report is Senator Feinstein from San Francisco. So the term fits.

Kirkpatrick asserted left wing Democrats were neither hawks nor doves; they were “like an ostrich–convinced it would shut out the world by hiding its head in the sand.”

Kirkpatrick warned, in a phrase which applies today as much as it ever has, that “foreign policy is central to the security, to the freedom, to the prosperity, even to the survival of the United States.”

She outlined a series of threats and warned, “these are questions the San Francisco Democrats have not answered. These are questions they haven’t even asked.”

In a phrase which could apply directly to the anti-American tone of both the news media and the Democrats’ report, Kirkpatrick insisted that “they always blame America first….the ‘blame America first crowd’ didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.”

This partisan attack document is simply another product of the blame-America-first ostriches who dominate the Democratic Party.

Inexcusably, the elite news media piled on with false repeating and gleefully blamed the Americans who risk their lives protecting the first amendment the media is supposed to cherish.

When your friends ask you about this report, remind them there is no Senate report. There is a dishonest Democrat staff report given too much credence by the media.

It is a sad week for America and for those who risk their lives defending our nation.
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Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: No Senate Report, on Torture, Democrat, partisan attack document, no CIA personnel interviewed, partisan, Newt Gingrich, Gingrich Productions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obama's Unpopular Agenda | Iranian General: "Obama's Bluffing"

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Obama's Unpopular Agenda - Here's why Democrats will continue to struggle: President Obama and his agenda remain deeply unpopular. The latest Fox News poll finds that Obama's approval rating stands at 42%. That's not bad compared to some of his key initiatives. For example:
  • 38% of registered voters approve of Obama's handling of health care, while 58% would repeal Obamacare if they could.
  • 37% approve of Obama's handling of foreign policy, and only 32% of voters support Obama's plans to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Fifty-six percent support keeping Gitmo open.
  • 36% approve of Obama's handling of immigration. Sixty percent of voters disapprove of Obama bypassing Congress and issuing an executive order granting amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.
Moreover, 68% are concerned that Obama's abuse of power "may be permanently altering" our system of checks and balances, while 74% believe his executive amnesty will encourage more illegal immigration.

Just before the 2014 elections, Obama tried to rally voters by reminding them that his agenda was on the ballot and that Senate Democrats up for reelection were "all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress." Republicans ran the tables in 2014, picking up nine Senate seats, expanding their majority in the House and reaching historic majorities across the states.

Iranian General: "Obama's Bluffing" - The world becomes a very dangerous place when America's enemies conclude we are no longer a serious nation. The atrocities of 9/11 happened after Osama bin Laden watched the Clinton Administration and determined that U.S. troops were "paper tigers" who "after a few blows, ran away in defeat."

Our enemies have watched Obama draw redlines and then back away from them. Putin decided to test the limits of Obama's promised "flexibility" by seizing Crimea. Now he's sending tanks into Ukraine and bombers into the Caribbean.

And if the latest comments of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander are any indication, things could get much worse in the year ahead. During a recent interview, Hossein Salami said, "The enemy can no longer even think about a military option. When senior U.S. officials use the term 'military option,' it is only for psychology purposes. It is an outdated bluff."

If the Iranians have concluded that Obama is bluffing, that there is no credible threat of military force from the United States, then the nuclear negotiations are a complete waste of time. All they have produced so far is an agreement to talk for another seven months -- giving the mullahs seven more months to advance their nuclear ambitions.
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Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, President Obama, agenda, unpopular, Iran, Iranian General, Obama'a bluffing To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

EPA Torture Report . . .

Whether it’s the costliest regulation in history or the coal-killing power plant rules (that Obama’s law professor says raise “constitutional questions”), it’s clear that the CIA isn't the only government agency engaged in torture. At least the CIA isn't torturing Americans.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: EPA Torture Report, raising energy costs, crushing small business, killing jobs, killing coal industry, harassing property claims, 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!

Elder: Selling Children Racism

Larry Elder
Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: I can not say that racism in the heart of men does not exist. Where sin reigns, hatred reigns. Consider many of today's self-appointed civil rights activists most of whom support the agenda of a political party that historically was the party of both slavery and later actions of hatred of all people not like them. I lived during the days of Martin Luther King and my wife and I have vivid memories of when we were told that King had been murdered. I was in the military and understood that the man on my right and left were my brothers and all bled red regardless of pigmentation. Larry Elder's article addresses today's "so-called" civil rights leaders selling children racism and is shared for educational purposes.
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by Larry Elder: The recent "rash" of police officers killing blacks is prompting "civil rights activists" to describe America -- despite the election and re-election of a black president -- as still a simmering caldron of racism. Never mind that according to the CDC, in 2012 (the most recent year with available data) 140 blacks were killed by cops -- versus 386 whites killed by cops.

This dreary movie scene comes from a film about inner-city black teens called "Menace II Society." A black high school teacher speaks to two former students: "Being a black man in America isn't easy. The hunt is on, and you're the prey! All I'm saying is ... all I'm saying is -- survive! Alright?" In case the identity of the alleged "hunter" is unclear, we hear a police siren in the background. Cops are out to get young black men.

Ridiculous.

But that gloomy narrative tracks closely with Attorney General Eric Holder's assertion that America suffers from "pernicious racism." And a few weeks after the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting happened, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, "Blacks are under attack."

Absurd.

In 1997, CNN and Time conducted a poll that asked white and black teens about "racism." Question: Is racism a major problem in America? Both black and white teens said, "yes." But when black teens were asked if racism is a "big problem," a "small problem" or "no a problem at all" -- in their own lives -- 89 percent called racism a "small problem" or "not a problem at all" for themselves.

In fact, 17 years ago, not only did black teens see racism as an insignificant problem in their own lives, but nearly twice as many black teens than white teens called "failure to take advantage of available opportunities" a bigger problem than racism.

What damage do "activists" inflict by convincing young black men that cops -- or, for that matter, Republicans, tea party members and black conservatives -- are out to get them? This emotion-based paranoia has real-world consequences. Fear and paranoia hurt potential and careers.

In the '60s, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman developed the theory of "learned helplessness" -- when a person learns to believe and act helpless when, in fact, they do have control over their own negative circumstances but fail to exercise it. He then devoted most of his studies to "positive psychology" and the effect of happiness and optimism in people's lives. He produced an equation, H=S+C+V, where a person's genetic capacity for happiness (S), plus their circumstances (C) and factors under their voluntary control (V) equal their happiness (H).

His extensive research discovered that a low "C" -- adverse circumstances like poor health or poverty -- matters very little if a person has a high "V," a positive, optimistic outlook and a belief in himself. For example, he found that an upbeat wheelchair-bound factory worker often leads a happier life than a robust, wealthy CEO.

Psychologists called this the "emotional quotient" factor, or EQ: a measurement of a person's ability to monitor his or her emotions, cope with pressures and demands, control his or her thoughts and actions, and one's ability to assess and affect situations and relationships with other people. Salesmen, for example, with "high EQ" for a strong positive outlook outsold those with higher traditional aptitude, but with lower EQ. High EQ people engage in positive behavior, which leads to positive results.

George Foreman, the former heavyweight boxing champion, is one of the most successful pitchmen of our generation. A spokesperson for products ranging from Meineke mufflers and Doritos to his own low-fat indoor grill, which earned him $138 million when he sold the grill's naming rights in 1999, Foreman has an estimated net worth of $250 million. A high school dropout, Foreman recently wrote this about the value of optimism:

"This life, this country, is about HOPE.

"My first two jobs were about selling: Four hours of putting out sale papers, on doors, cars and handed out. Then at a fruit stand. Texas watermelon season was the best. Competition was great -- we had to (as boys) have a variety of melons and a lot of charm.

"The ability to sell is about the best asset one can pass on to a generation to come. And the most critical and influential product anyone can deal or trade is 'Hope.'

"No matter who we lose, every young doctor is optimistic we will win this one. And many a time we do. Not a whole lot is new, just the same old Hope. ... When things go wrong in this life our sole obligation to our children is to sell them on Hope. Sure, beating our head against the wall is an option. But time and life must proceed. Anger and disappointment bring more dark clouds. Oh, but HOPE is the sunshine that every child needs for play. ... Teach them Hope. And BELIEVE there is Hope.

"It's our duty."
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Laurence Allen "Larry" Elder is an American lawyer, writer and radio and television personality who calls himself the "Sage of South Central" and the "Prince of Pico Yoon", both districts of Los Angeles, California. Learn more at his website LarryElder.com and follow his Twitter.

Tags: Larry Elder, civil rights leaders, selling children,  racism,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

CNNMoney: Cheap Gas Is Like A $60 Billion Tax Cut

by Jesse Solomon, CNNMoney: Americans are getting quite the gift this year: Cheap gas. A gallon of regular now costs $2.64 on average, according to AAA. In some places, it's fallen below $2 a gallon.

The dramatic drop in the price at the pump is giving a big boost to the U.S. economy. It's akin to a tax cut or stimulus program, economists say.

Every penny that gas prices decline puts about a billion dollars into Americans' pockets, according to Stephen Stanley, Chief Economist of Amherst Pierpont.

Gas prices were 62 cents higher this time last year, so the U.S. is basically getting a $62 billion stimulus injection. To put it another way, each household is saving roughly $500. That's money people can use to buy other things or to save.

Retailers are rejoicing. In recent earnings reports, Walmart and other stores specifically singled out low gas prices as a likely driver of sales this year.

"This is obviously a critical time for them, and any extra money households have to spend is in their mind money that will flow to their register," said Stanley.

Overall, he estimates that depressed gas prices will add about half a percent to annual GDP.

Double Edged Sword: However, there's a dark side to falling oil prices.

The American shale energy boom, which has been a huge driver of the economy since the recession, is expected to take a breather as a result.

On Monday, ConocoPhillips revealed that it is slashing spending for 2015. BP made a similar announcement Wednesday. Thousands of employees are expected to lose their jobs. The pain will be especially harsh for smaller energy firms that have taken on heavy debt to finance their operations. [Also see: Low Oil Prices Hurting U.S. Shale Operations]

Steven Wieting, Global Chief Investment Strategist at Citi Private Bank, thinks the impact of oil's slump on the economy is being underestimated, since people who work to service the oil sector in such areas as marketing, sales, and finance will also be affected, even though they're not always counted as part of the energy field.

"There is a big growing energy industry that's going to see investment and employment slow sharply," he said.

Still, Wieting believes the benefits of low gas prices for the consumer outweigh the costs of a shale deceleration.

"This is a double edged sword," he noted. "You'll see stress in the energy industry, but you'll also get a consumer windfall."

How low is too low? There's some fear out there among investors that should oil fall too far, it could signal that the global economy is in dire shape. [Also See: Early Signs Of A Pullback In Drilling Activity]

If oil tanks to $40 per barrel, "something is very wrong with the world," claimed DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach in a webcast Tuesday (It's currently trading around $61).

But Wieting disputes the notion that overly weak demand is sending oil tumbling.

Rather, he points to the dramatic increase in supply in recent years, mainly coming from the U.S.

And if history is any guide, plummeting oil prices won't lead to a recession, he said. He mentioned that oil fell 60% over the course of a year in 1986, and the economy still chugged along just fine.

Ultimately, the benefit to consumers wins out. "Even people who work in the energy industry don't get free gasoline," he quipped
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Jesse Solomon is a reporter for CNNMoney’s markets and investing section. He covers stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, alternative investments.

Tags: CNNMoney, cheap gas, United States, $60 billion tax cut, oil, shale To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sec. John Kerry Confirms Obama Admin War On Coal: "We’re Going To Take A Bunch Of Them [Coal Plants] Out Of Commission

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 12, 2014
The House will reconvene at 3 PM today for 10 to 15 minutes in hopes of wrapping up the second session of the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress.

Yesterday, The House had a long day finishing at 10:27 PM. They passed the following bills:
S. 2519 (Voice Vote) — "To codify an existing operations center for cybersecurity."
S. 1474 (Passed w/o objection) — "To encourage the State of Alaska to enter into intergovernmental agreements with Indian tribes in the State relating to the enforcement of certain State laws by Indian tribes, to improve the quality of life in rural Alaska, to reduce alcohol and drug abuse, and for other purposes."
S. 1353 (Passed w/o objection) — "To provide for an ongoing, voluntary public-private partnership to improve cybersecurity, and to strengthen cybersecurity research and development, workforce development and education, and public awareness and preparedness, and for other purposes."
H.R. 83 - $1.1 trillion Federal Spending bill - House agreed (219-206) with an amendment to the Senate amendment.
H.R. 5859 (Passed w/o objection) — "To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5803 (Passed w/o objection) — "To require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to affordable, reliable energy, including increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5742 (Voice Vote) — "To provide to the Secretary of the Interior a mechanism to cancel contracts for the sale of materials CA-20139 and CA-22901, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5699 (361-39 ) — "To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire approximately 44 acres of land in Martinez, California, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2952 (Voice Vote) - Senate amendments to H.R. 2952
H.R. 2591 (Passed w/o objection) — "To amend certain provisions of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012."
H.J. Res. 130 (Passed w/o objection) — "Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2015, and for other purposes."
H. Res. 776 (214-212) — "Providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 83) to require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to affordable, reliable energy, including increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes; waiving a requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII with respect to consideration of certain resolutions reported from the Committee on Rules; and for other purposes." H. Res. 776, H. Con. Res. 122 is considered passed House.

Failed: H.R. 5806 (275-149) [2/3 votes required — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify and make permanent certain expiring provisions related to charitable contributions." [Discussion on this on yesterdays's report.]

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed responsible legislation to keep the government running:

“With a bipartisan vote, the House has passed a responsible bill to keep the government running and address the American people’s priorities. This measure puts us on track to save taxpayers more than $2.1 trillion while protecting jobs and supporting our national defense. In addition, by the House’s action, we are setting up a direct challenge to the president’s unilateral actions on immigration next month, when there will be new Republican majorities in both chambers. The Senate should act on this bipartisan legislation in short order.”Gary Bauer, Contributing Author, offered his review of House passing the Cromnibus - H.R. 83.After a day of drama, the House of Representatives passed the so-called "cromnibus" spending bill last night by a margin of 219 to 206, thus narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. Sixty-seven Republicans voted against it, while 57 Democrats voted for it.

Few conservatives are happy with this bill. Rep. Jim Moran, a left-wing Virginia Democrat, rallied support for the bill, saying, "We got virtually everything that the Democrats tried to get." That doesn't exactly leave me with warm and fuzzy feelings. But then Moran conceded, "What's going to happen next year is that we're going to lose all of the money that was put into Democratic priorities." Moran's point was that Democrats should take what they could get while they still could. Yesterday's hodgepodge represented the dying breath of a divided Congress -- the last time that Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid could make demands.

If you're among the many conservatives upset with John Boehner, here's an early Christmas gift: Nancy Pelosi was furious that this bill passed. She went to the House floor and blasted the bill as "blackmail," saying she was "heartbroken" by it.

But it wasn't Speaker Boehner or Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who broke Nancy Pelosi's heart. No, Pelosi was "enormously disappointed" in Barack Obama.

The media love to obsess over splits in the Republican Party. But there are deep divisions among Democrats and there is every reason to believe they will only get worse over the next two years.
The Washington Times noted last night. "A last-minute plea from President Obama and fatigued GOP leaders overcame rebellions from both conservatives and liberals, clearing the $1.1 trillion spending bill through the House on Thursday in a dramatic late-night vote. Democrats huddled for more than three hours, and were visited by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, who defended the deal just hours after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had publicly trashed it, accusing Mr. Obama and the Senate Democrats who negotiated it of caving to 'blackmail.'

"Most Democrats stuck with Mrs. Pelosi, but GOP leaders managed to cobble together a centrist coalition that held, passing the bill on a 219-206 vote, with Democrats and Republicans believing they got something important out of the bill, even as they had to accept less than they’d wanted."

The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to concur in the House amendment to H.R. 3979, the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Authorization bill.

At 3 PM, the Senate will vote on a motion by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to refer H.R. 3979 back to committee to be reported back with an amendment striking a package of lands provisions in the bill, which will require 60 votes to succeed. The Senate will then vote on another motion from Sen. Coburn related to an amendment to the bill.

Following those votes, the Senate will vote on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Defense authorization bill. 60 votes will be required.

A fourth vote will then be held on confirmation of the nomination of David Saperstein to be Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

A series of voice votes will then be held on nominees to be ambassadors to New Zealand and Samoa, Iceland, Palau, Malawi, and Cape Verde. In addition, there will be voice votes on a nominee to be the Director General of the Foreign Service and on two nominees to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

If a unanimous consent agreement is reached, votes are also possible today on the bill to fund the government through the 2015 fiscal year (H.R. 83), on terrorism risk insurance, and on a package extending popular tax credits.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 85-14 to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to H.R. 3979. They also Senators approved a two-day extension of current funding in order to give them more time to work through arcane procedural rules, pass the bill and cap the least productive congressional session in modern history.

According to a New York Times story from a climate conference in Peru, Secretary of State John Kerry told the foreign audience, “‘We’re going straight to the largest source of emissions.’ He even cited the most contentious impact of the Obama administration’s new rules — they are expected to shutter hundreds of coal-fired power plants. ‘We’re going to take a bunch of them out of commission,’ he said.”

Once again, here is a high-ranking Obama administration official confirming that they are pursuing a war on coal. Last year, a White House climate advisor proclaimed that “a war on coal is exactly what's needed.” And of course, President Obama said, when he was a candidate, “Under my plan . . . electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket . . . .” He explained, “[C]oal powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money.”

The Times notes, “In Washington, Mr. Obama’s opponents are preparing a full-on assault of the regulation. Leading the charge is Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the incoming Senate majority leader. For Mr. McConnell, whose home state is a major coal producer and relies on coal-fired power plants for more than 90 percent of its electricity, the fight against Mr. Obama’s climate change rules is personal. ‘This unrealistic plan, that the president would dump on his successor, would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs,’ Mr. McConnell said in an emailed statement. ‘It’s time for more listening, and less job-destroying red tape. Easing the burden already created by E.P.A. regulations will continue to be a priority for me in the new Congress.’”

This war on coal has cost many people their jobs in Kentucky already. About a year ago, Fox News reported, “Nowhere has been hit harder than eastern Kentucky, where more than 6,000 miners have lost their jobs since January 2012. For each mining job, there are estimated to be at least three directly related jobs, like trucking, that also disappear.” Miners have lamented, “you just never know from day to day if you are going to have a job or not,” saying things like, “Our biggest worries now are just trying to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, telling your family that this was all caused by the EPA, directed by our President for his political agenda.”

As a railroad worker in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, queried an AP reporter over the summer, “Why keep chopping the legs out of your own economy to try to fight a world problem? You are going to destroy your country trying to set an example.”

In a speech on the Senate floor this past summer blasting the new regulations that Secretary Kerry was just touting to applause in Peru, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Earlier this year, the president’s EPA announced new regulations it wanted to enact on existing power plants that would be a dagger to the heart of my State’s middle class and constitute the single worst blow to Kentucky’s economy in modern times. The proposed EPA regulations on existing power plants would kill jobs and raise utility rates across the state while making the transmission of electricity less reliable. The regulations would adversely affect Kentucky power plants that account for thousands of Kentucky jobs. . . . [A]s the EPA uses administrative fiat to terminate existing and future coal-fired power plants, there will be less coal when we need it the most—when we need a source of affordable power. Families throughout the country that rely on coal for electricity could find themselves in a tough spot in the near future with the current Administration in office.”

Tags: Secretary of State, John Kerry, War on Coal, House appropriation bill, NSERT TAGS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Harry Reid's Last Hurrah | Cheney Chimes In On Feinstein CIA Report

Spending: One Big Lighting Rod
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Harry Reid's Last Hurrah - If you've heard about the omnibus spending agreement reached in the last few days between Speaker John Boehner and Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid, I'm sure you're shaking your head, too. This last-minute spending bill is Exhibit A for everything that is wrong in Washington.

If the system were working properly, these appropriations bills would have been passed months ago rather than in the closing days of the year. But as you know, everything the House tried to pass, Reid killed in the Senate. Reid and his liberal allies have control of the Senate until January, and the continuing resolution/omnibus funding bill/"cromnibus," as some are calling it, reflects that reality.

So with the deadline for another government shutdown just hours away, Washington is once again in crisis management mode, attempting to cobble together something -- anything -- just to get it done. The bill is 1,600 pages long. It authorizes $1.1 trillion of spending. That's about $690 million per page! As you can imagine, there is plenty for the right and the left to hate.

The left is furious because it rolls back certain Dodd-Frank restrictions on the financial industry, which some argue are hampering economic growth. The left is also upset because funding for Obama's executive amnesty is limited through February.

And that's one reason why conservatives don't like it -- the bill doesn't even attempt to stop Obama's executive amnesty. In fact, there is at least $2 billion to "Accommodate Illegal Immigrants and Refugees." And I am particularly furious that a deal with Democrats blocked a provision intended to prevent churches from being forced to pay for abortion coverage in their health insurance policies.

There are some things to applaud. Thanks to efforts by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MA), Republicans were able to block legalization of marijuana in Washington, D.C. Trust me -- the last thing D.C. needs is more stoned people. There is a provision blocking Obamacare's taxpayer-funded bailout of the insurance industry.

The budget for the IRS has been cut by $350 million and the EPA's budget is being cut by $60 million. The Wall Street Journal reports that EPA's budget "is 21% below 2010 levels" and that the rogue agency "will soon have as many employees as it did in 1989."

Yet even though I realize Harry Reid still controls the Senate, I'm having a hard time excusing the GOP's lack of fight over Obama's outrageous abuse of power. The editors of National Review summed it up well today, writing:"Republican members ought to vote against the cromnibus, and many of them surely will. If Democrats defect over their displeasure with some other elements of the bill, the measure could fail. The alternative then may be a short-term funding bill into the next year, which would be better than the current plan. In any case, it's important that the nascent GOP majority's first act not be surrender."Cheney Chimes In On Feinstein CIA Report - The blowback against Senator Dianne Feinstein's report on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques continues. Former Vice President Dick Cheney chimed in yesterday, characteristically as blunt as ever.

During an interview on Fox News, Cheney defended the CIA saying the agency was asked to "catch the bastards who killed 3,000 of us on 9/11 and make sure it never happened again. And that's exactly what they did."

Referring to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Cheney added: "What are we supposed to do, kiss him on both cheeks and say, 'Please, please tell us what you know?' Of course not. We did exactly what needed to be done."

And what of the report's conclusion that the interrogation methods were ineffective? "The report's full of crap," Cheney said.

Even President Obama's current intelligence chief agrees with Cheney. CIA Director John Brennan released a statement which read in part:"Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom [enhanced interrogation techniques] were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa'ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day."A new Rasmussen poll finds that voters have not been swayed by the Democrats' so-called "torture report." Only 33% of likely voters oppose the use of "waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques" on suspected terrorists, while 47% support their use.

By the way, if you need a reminder of the evil we are confronting, ISIS -- in what it claims is an act of mercy -- is offering to sell the body of beheaded journalist James Foley to his parents for $1 million. Those who think we can afford to leave the Middle East to the tender mercies of radical Islam had better think again.
-------------
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Harry Reid, John Boener, omnibus spending agreement, Dick Cheney, Feinstein, CIA Report To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Why Aren't Republicans Trying Harder To Reach School Choice Voters?

GOT SCHOOL CHOICE: There are 116,000
children in the U.S. that attend private schools
 with the help of taxpayer-funded vouchers.
by Michael Brickman, Thomas B. Fordham Institute : Republicans are still gleeful after their 2014 victories in the U.S. Senate and statehouses across the nation. They should be, but they should also take heed.

A CNN exit poll shows that despite historic wins, Republicans still lost with women voters, voters under forty, non-white voters, low-income voters, and more.

On top of it, as many commentators have noted, the U.S. Senate map is much tougher for Republicans in 2016 than it was in 2014, and Democratic enthusiasm and turnout are sure to be substantially higher in a presidential election year than they were on Nov. 4.

To win in two years, Republicans simply must develop new coalitions of voters. As Woody Allen said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life,” and the Republican Party is beginning to do just that by starting conversations with traditionally Democratic voters. The efforts have yielded some results, too, with positive signs in Florida, Texas, Colorado, and elsewhere.

Conservatives surely need to continue the getting-to-know-you phase, but they must then move the conversation with persuadable voters to concrete policy proposals that can help reduce poverty and open paths to the American Dream.

As I’ve argued before, one obvious policy on which conservatives already have a degree of credibility is school choice. While conservatives are generally very supportive of these policies (rural Republican state legislators are sometimes an exception), they have not seemed to fully grasp their potential as a way to build new Republican coalitions.

Consider the following:
  • 5.2 million children attend private schools.
    • This includes 116,000 who do so with the help of taxpayer-funded vouchers and another 192,000 who attend with the help of a tax-credit scholarship.
    • Of those students in private school-choice programs (many of which are targeted to students with special needs), 86,714 are in the key swing state of Florida, 60,619 are in North Carolina, more than 31,000 are in Ohio, and 26,618 are in Wisconsin.
    • Only 761 students are so far enrolled in new education savings account programs in Florida and Arizona, but they have very compelling stories to tell.
  • Another 2.2 million children are homeschooled.
  • 2.6 million attend charter schools, but another 1 million are on waiting lists.
  • Roughly 8 million attend a more traditional public school they were able to choose, including 2.8 million who attend magnet schools.
  • As school choice becomes more granular, students will be able to take advantage of new course access laws. Last year, 2.2 million students took advantage of an early version of course-based school choice in the form of Advanced Placement tests. Students are also estimated to have enrolled in another roughly 2 million online and other distance-education courses.
Of course, the vast majority of these K–12 students don’t vote, but their parents, grandparents, guardians and members of extended support networks certainly do.

Some Democrats (especially those in cities) express some support for some of these options some of the time. However, when push comes to shove and they are forced to either stand with families who want greater educational choice or with the public unions encouraging them to reduce it, they all too often choose the latter. After all, the National Education Association says it spent between $34 million and $40 million in the midterm elections (and that number is almost certainly higher).

When it comes to securing a brighter future for the children of those who are struggling — or who simply want the freedom to chart their own educational path — there is simply nothing more attractive than the promise of a better education. Republicans already have made this issue part of their agenda and, though they certainly cannot expect to attract many new voters with a single issue alone, their continued fight for these policies will help. But in order to win, they must emphatically make the case to voters that one side is fighting for disadvantaged children, and one side is fighting for well-funded special-interest groups.
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Michael Brickman is the national policy director at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where he furthers educational excellence as a commentator on education-reform issues. He served in communications roles on state and national political campaigns before being tapped by Gov. Scott Walker to lead his education-reform efforts in Wisconsin. While in the governor’s office, he worked to support collective-bargaining reforms, increase standards and accountability, expand school choice, and keep college affordable through innovative reforms. He shared this article via WatchDog.org an outreach of the Franklin Institute for Government & Public Integrity which is recommended by the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Republicans,  school choice, voters, Michael Brickman, Thomas B. Fordham Institute To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Arkansans Voted To Repeal a Bad ‘Civil Rights’ Law

by Dr. Ryan T. Anderson: One way to prevent the government from violating your rights is to stop bad legislation in its tracks. Citizens in Fayetteville, Ark., did just that Tuesday. After the city council of the college town passed a “civil rights” ordinance that undermined basic civil liberties back in August, voters took to the polls to repeal the law, ordinance 119.

Among other things, the law made it a crime for citizens to engage in what the government deemed to be “discrimination” based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Concerns were raised about wedding vendors and “discrimination” based on sexual orientation, as well as bathroom policies and “discrimination” based on gender identity (particularly transgender individuals—which bathrooms must biological males who identify as women, and biological females who identify as men, be allowed to use).

As the organizer of the Repeal 119 campaign explained, this is bad public policy:It was called the Civil Rights Ordinance, but it was misnamed. It was an ordinance that actually took away civil rights and freedom from people. It criminalized civil behavior. It didn’t accomplish the stated purpose of the ordinance, and it was crafted by an outside group. It wasn’t something Fayetteville residents put together.That’s entirely right. Laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. They tend to be vague and overly broad without clear definitions of what conduct can and cannot be penalized. And they create new, subjective protected classes that expose citizens to unimaginable liability.

Indeed, bad state and local SOGI laws are frequently the measures that allow the government to penalize and punish people for their beliefs about marriage. SOGI laws have been at the center of the cases involving photographers, bakers and florists, as well as farmers, and even ordained ministers.

Traditional civil rights include protections for the rights to free speech, religious liberty and free association, as well as the right to vote, own property and enter into contracts. All Americans stand equally before the law and have their civil rights equally protected.

But no one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss, or a baker to bake the wedding cake. Declining to perform these services doesn’t violate anyone’s rights. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in a same-sex ceremony, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. The government should not force them to choose between their religious beliefs and their livelihood.

Ordinary Americans—both those in favor of gay marriage and those who oppose gay marriage—agree the government should not penalize those who hold the historic view of marriage. So the citizens of Fayetteville were acting for social justice and the common good when they voted to repeal this onerous law. Citizens must work to prevent or repeal laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We also must insist on laws that protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience.
Citizens must do this because there are some ideologues who want SOGI laws to trump basic civil liberties. There are some activists who are working to pass laws that would allow the government to coerce individuals to violate their beliefs about marriage. And, as the organizer of Repeal 119 noted, they frequently are coming from out of town.

Indeed, SOGI laws are being pushed on unsuspecting citizens at the federal, state and local level by the Human Rights Campaign. HRC just launched a new project for 2015 it dubs “Beyond Marriage Equality.”

Not content merely to redefine marriage throughout America, the activists at HRC want to use government coercion to impose their agenda on Americans.

Citizens do two things to prevent government from violating basic civil liberties. First, citizens should argue against SOGI policies at the federal, state and local level.

Second, policy should prevent the government from violating the civil rights of citizens. At the federal level, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act — sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, in the House (H.R. 3133) with more than 100 co-sponsors of both parties, and sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in the Senate (S. 1808) with 17 co-sponsors—would prevent the federal government from taking such adverse actions.

States need similar policy protections, including broad protections provided by state-level versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and specific protections for beliefs and actions about marriage.

Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience is the embodiment of a principled pluralism that fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement. In a nation founded on limited government and religious freedom, government should not attempt to coerce any citizen, association or business into celebrating same-sex relationships.
----------------
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., (@RyanT_Anderson), researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He also focuses on justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education, and has expertise in bioethics and natural law theory. He first released this Heritage Foundation article as "Why These Citizens Voted to Repeal a Bad ‘Civil Rights’ Law".

Tags: voters, Fayetteville, AR, Repeal, bad, civil Rights, 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!

A Global Carbon Tax?

by Cathie Adams: Will the United Nations wield its unproven claim that greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change to require each of its 193 member nations to measure and report GHG emissions, a prerequisite for a global carbon tax? Does it really matter whether next year’s meeting in Paris, France, produces a treaty or a “soft law” document or both?

Todd Stern, head of the American delegation at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Lima, Peru, says the U.S. is “perfectly happy to have an assessment process.” for “clear and understandable” Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), “so that everybody knows what others are doing,” adding that all American actions are to “transform our economy.”

Measuring and reporting GHG emissions would indeed “transform our economy” by providing the UN with criteria needed to create a carbon taxing scheme to amass trillions of dollars to redistribute wealth around the globe. After all, a carbon tax was a recommendation to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from the High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing.

The UN wants a carbon tax to implement sustainable development, which is environmental, social and economic equity, sometimes called justice. Social justice, climate/environmental justice and economic justice are alluring terms that promise absolute equity to the masses. Politically speaking, it is green on the outside and Marxist red on the inside like a watermelon. And it would literally kill the geese that lay golden eggs by deconstructing national economies by phasing out the use of all fossil fuels by 2050 at the latest, a provision currently in the Lima draft.

The UN’s non-governmental organizations refuse to acknowledge that the earth has not warmed since 1998 as they relentlessly rabble-rouse for global governance/global government. The NGOs expect the INDCs to do more than mitigate GHG emissions, they are calling for “adequate and fair contributions with a science based equity review.”

The key word is “equity” as they complain that nations have only given about $10 billion to the Green Climate Fund established by the UNFCCC in 2009 to redistribute $100 billion annually by 2020 from rich to poor nations and increase to $500 billion annually by 2050.

The NGOs also refuse to acknowledge that renewable energy sources like wind and solar would be equivalent to rubbing two sticks together to start a fire, since they are wholly inadequate replacements for fossil fuels that create abundant, clean energy so that ALL people can attain a healthy standard of living.

Americans started down this road in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro when President George H.W. Bush signed both the “soft law” document called Agenda 21 and the UNFCCC treaty that was ratified by the Senate the same year.

It may be déjà vu in Paris that the UN produces not only a new treaty, but also a “soft law” document. The danger of “soft law” documents is that they do NOT require Senate approval. Agenda 21 was implemented by Clinton’s 1993 Executive Order that created the “President’s Council on Sustainable Development” and continues today to wreak havoc in communities across America.

Stern explained that, “Some agreements do and some agreements don’t [require Senate approval]…. So it’s going to depend entirely on how this agreement is written, how it is framed, what is or isn’t legally binding and so on…. We don’t know yet.”

As the UNFCCC concludes its work in Lima on December 12, we will learn whether the Obama administration commits to measuring and reporting GHG emissions, the necessary measurements to create a carbon taxing scheme. At next year’s meeting in Paris, we will learn whether the UNFCCC will produce either or both a treaty and “soft law” document, understanding the immeasurable impact of both on our liberties.
---------------
Cathie Adams is President, Texas Eagle Forum and Eagle Forum UN Issues Chairman.

Tags: global carbon tax, UN, UNFCCC, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Expert's Cloudy Crystal Balls

by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: In late October I wrote a commentary “Is America in Decline?” based on a book by James MacDonald, “When Globalism Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana”, due for sale in January from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Within days I received “The Accidental Super Power: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and The Coming Global Disorder” by Peter Zeihan.

Both authors have good credentials, but the former concludes our position as a super power will recede in the decades ahead and the latter says we will be the only one left as the rest of the world runs into problems that the U.S. will be able to ignore.

Zeihan, a geopolitical analyst, offers the scenario of an America, blessed by its location and ability to provide its own energy and agriculture, that will be largely untouched by a future in which most other nations will suffer various unpleasant levels of decline.

Both Zeihan and MacDonald see the U.S. abandoning its role since the end of World War II in 1945 as the generator and protector of free trade.

Our naval capability has kept the world’s sea lanes open and free of predators, a boon to all nations. A system for free trade set up at Breton Woods in 1944 has served the world well, including former enemies, Germany and Japan. Other nations, depending on their location, resources, and population, have had varying degrees of success.

“The conventional wisdom that the United States’ best days are behind it” says Zeihan, “isn’t simply wrong. It’s laughably so. In 2014 we’re not witnessing the beginning of the end of American power, but the end of the beginning. In fact, we’re on the cusp of a shift in the international order just as profound as those delegates back in 1944 experienced.”

While MacDonald sees the role of the U.S. as Pax Americana waning, Zeihan sees a national withdrawal from the international scene based on the wealth the shale oil and natural gas technology is generating and the productivity of our huge agricultural sector to keep us fed while other nations struggle to grow and find food sources.

I disagree with Zeihan. Americans don’t like having to be involved in the problems that other nations create, but they also see themselves as the solution whether it is deterring rogue nations that threaten their neighbors or aiding when a natural disaster occurs.

Zeihan focuses on the role of maritime power on the oceans that gave rise to Great Britain and other nations that could field a navy that could trade at great distances from their homelands. The history of colonization reflects that power. Internally, he points out how blessed the U.S. has been with a waterway system of numerous navigable rivers that made it possible, for example, to grow wheat in the midland but ship it anywhere. This ability to transport food crops as well as people opened America to fairly rapid expansion and growth.

Unlike other nations, its population came from everywhere and reproduced at rates to meet its need for labor, while its free market system, along with the industrial revolution, stimulated innovation and growth. The oldest constitutional government in the world generated confidence in an “idea” called freedom and liberty instead of relying on blind nationalism.

While I may disagree with some of Zeihan’s predictions about the future, his book provides a wealth of information about the individual advantages and disadvantages of the nations whom we regard as either friendly toward or threatening our nation. Their locations are critical to their future and always have been. Their ability to transport people and goods within and beyond those locations are also critical factors.

Overlaying that is demographics, the statistics of population, identifying which nations whose people are “getting older” and which have enough younger people to generate wealth while the older generation retires and lives off their own savings and/or government programs such as our Social Security and Medicare.

Zeihan points out that “The United States is far and away the world’s largest consumer market and has been since shortly after the Civil War. As of 2014, that consumer base amounts to roughly $1.5 trillion. That’s triple anyone else, larger than the consumer bases of the next six countries — Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Italy — combined, and double that of the combined BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).”

Zeihan believes that “the free trade era is closing (and) demography tell us that the era of consumption-driven growth that has been the economic norm for seventy years is coming to an unceremonious end.” He believes that the “global financial wave will crest at some point between 2020 and 2024” and predicts that “Poland and Russia will be among the nations whose populations will not keep up with their need for labor.”

“Between 2020 and 2024, thirteen of the world’s top twenty-five economies will be in the ranks of the financially distressed. The new arrivals will include Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and of course the United States. With 90 percent of the developed world in that unfortunate basket, the availability of capital and credit for all will plummet.”

That Ziehan’s scenario and he blames it on “aging demographies”, but he does not factor in the ability for various elements of the world’s population, the younger ones in particular, to move around the planet and respond to occupational opportunities.

A current example is the exodus from Mexico and some Latin American nations to the United States for jobs and better lives. Can we absorb the current numbers of illegal aliens? I think yes and I also believe being able to impose “security” along a two thousand mile southern border is probably a fantasy. If we actually enforced our immigration laws this problem would be reduced.

Mexico is our third largest trading partner. To the north Canada ranks second. Together we make up a continent, as Zeihan predicts, that will not be negatively affected as other nations.

So, while we worry about Russia, Zeihan sees it in rapid decline. While pundits tell us of China’s rise to financial preeminence, he reminds us that we felt the same about Japan not that long ago. And China has massive demographic problems, not the least of which is an aging population. He doesn’t hold out much hope for the European Union. Et cetera.

I do not possess Zeihan’s or MacDonald’s credentials, but my instinct tells me that a sudden, rapid international decline is unlikely to occur. It’s a different world in which we all live and far more connected in many ways. Adjustments and changes will be made as they always have, but we are not likely to see a century like the last one that was dominated by wars. They are just too expensive.
-----------------
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: Peter Zeihan, book review, Experts, cloudy Crystal ball, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obama As A Boy: Dear Santa . . .

. . . Last Year I didn't get what I wanted.
THIS year by Executive order I DEMAND . . .
Editorial Cartoon by William Warren

Tags: Obama, as a boy, Dear Santa, executive orders, editorial cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

House GOP Survives Spending Bill Debate | Dem’s Obamacare Off The Tracks For Primary Care Doctors

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 11, 2014
The House reconvened at 9 AM today As of this report, the House today has passed the following bills by Voice Vote:
S. 2519 — "To codify an existing operations center for cybersecurity."
H.R. 5742 — "To provide to the Secretary of the Interior a mechanism to cancel contracts for the sale of materials CA-20139 and CA-22901, and for other purposes."
Senate amendment to H.R. 4007 (Voice Vote)
Senate amendments to H.R. 2952 (Voice Vote)

The following bill failed: H.R. 5806 (275-149 / Required 2/3 vote) — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify and make permanent certain expiring provisions related to charitable contributions." Even though 47 Democrats voted with Republicans, 149 Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi voted against the bill. Democrats love higher taxes and opposed making permanent expiring charitable contributions.

Bill under consideration: H.R. 83 - To require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to affordable, reliable energy, including increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes; waiving a requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII with respect to consideration of certain resolutions reported from the Committee on Rules; and for other purposes."

The Washington Times reports that "The $1.1 trillion spending bill narrowly survived its first test Thursday when the House approved rules for debate, bringing the bill to the floor and setting up an afternoon showdown that will expose just how deep the divisions run within the Democratic Party. Senate Democrats were pleading for the bill’s passage, saying it was the best deal possible in divided government, but a House Democratic leader said the bill was so bad it would “fundamentally change our republic” because it altered campaign finance laws and made changes to how banks can trade derivatives. . . . Republicans said they wrote the compromise with Senate Democrats, and said if it didn’t pass, Democrats would be sending the government toward its second shutdown in 15 months."

With regard to stopping the Obama Amnesty,WT added, "Conservative Republicans argue the spending bill doesn’t cut President Obama’s priorities enough, and it also doesn’t immediately halt the president’s new deportation amnesty. GOP leaders said they’ll have a chance to fight the amnesty early next year."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of the motion to concur in the House amendment to H.R. 3979, the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Authorization bill.

At 10:30, the Senate voted 85-14 to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to H.R. 3979. Votes are possible later today on final passage of the Defense authorization bill, on a bill to fund the government through the 2015 fiscal year, on terrorism risk insurance, and on a package extending popular tax credits.

The AP reports today, “Primary care doctors caring for low-income patients will face steep fee cuts next year as a temporary program in President Barack Obama's health care law expires. That could squeeze access just when millions of new patients are gaining Medicaid coverage.

“A study Wednesday from the nonpartisan Urban Institute estimated fee reductions will average about 40 percent nationwide. But they could reach 50 percent or more for primary care doctors in California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois — big states that have all expanded Medicaid under the health law.

“Meager pay for doctors has been a persistent problem for Medicaid, the safety-net health insurance program. Low-income people unable to find a family doctor instead flock to hospital emergency rooms, where treatment is more expensive and not usually focused on prevention. . . .

“Doctors probably won't dump their current Medicaid patients, but they'll take a hard look at accepting new ones, said Dr. Robert Wergin, a practitioner in rural Milford, Neb., and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. ‘You are going to be paid less, so you are going to have to look at your practice and find ways to eke it out,’ Wergin said.”

Once again, a poorly designed provision in Obama’s unpopular health care law is causing problems with patients getting access to care and with doctors getting compensated for their services.

On top of that, the AP writes, “Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell says expanding Medicaid in the remaining 23 states is one of her top priorities. But the fee cut could make that an even harder sell, since it may reinforce a perception that the federal government creates expensive new benefits only to pass the bill to states. In Pennsylvania, where the Medicaid expansion will take effect Jan. 1, doctors are facing a 52 percent fee reduction, according to the Urban Institute study. The fee boost has cost federal taxpayers at least $5.6 billion so far, but Stephen Zuckerman, one of the study's authors, said it's not clear whether access actually improved.”

In other words, Obamacare spent a lot of money and it’s unclear whether the goal set by the law was even achieved.

This news comes on the heels of a report in The New York Times that “[l]arge numbers of doctors who are listed as serving Medicaid patients are not available to treat them . . . .” The Times wrote, “Many of the doctors were not accepting new Medicaid patients or could not be found at their last known addresses, according to the report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. The study raises questions about access to care for people gaining Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.”

While Democrats who champion Obamacare have been declaring the importance of expanding Medicaid, reporting suggests that it may not be getting people access to health care. And as demand for doctors’ services is rising, their compensation is falling, meaning fewer doctors for more patients. It was on Monday that another AP story found that “nearly 1 in 5 Americans lives in a region designated as having a shortage of primary care physicians, and the number of doctors entering the field isn't expected to keep pace with demand.”

This is yet another example of the bad incentives and ill-conceived regulations created by Obamacare which exacerbate existing problems in the American health care system, while disrupting much of the rest of it, even the parts people were happy with.

This flawed, unpopular law needs to be repealed and replaced.

Tags: Obamacare, Primary Care doctors, House debate, spending bill,  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, December 10, 2014

Spies Slam Senate Report

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Yesterday's release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's so-called "torture report" certainly dominated the headlines. But one silver lining may be that former officials are now free to defend the controversial interrogation program. There has been surprising pushback to the report by former CIA officials, media commentators and even some Democrats. For example:
  • Six former CIA directors and deputy directors, who served during the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations, co-authored an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal defending the interrogation program. In their estimation, the committee's report amounted to "a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation -- essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks."
  • Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., lauded as one of the CIA's best agents, served as the director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service. When news broke in April that Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee were determined to publish a report, Rodriguez wrote in the Washington Post, "I ran the CIA interrogation program. No matter what the Senate report says, I know it worked."

    In a separate column last week, Rodriquez ripped into Democrat leaders for their "great hypocrisy," reminding us that these same anti-torture crusaders once essentially urged the CIA to "do all that it could" to destroy Al Qaeda. For example, in May 2002, Sen. Dianne Feinstein told the New York Times "we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves."
  • Even liberal journalists can see the duplicity of Senate Democrats. NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel told MSNBC last night:"I think this is really about changing the narrative of American history. This process went on, it was a brutal process, it was legal at the time... the CIA was asked to do it. The CIA was passing on its intelligence to the president. So, everyone in the world knew what was going on, including by the way, the Senate, which is pretending to be a bit of a babe in the woods. They knew what was going on at the time."
  • Former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE), a decorated Vietnam veteran who served on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the 9/11 Commission, blasted the "the partisan nature of this report." According to Kerrey, committee Democrats, "started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it."
To give you some indication of just how politically biased the report is, various left-wing groups, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), are using the report to call on the United Nations to prosecute former Bush Administration officials for war crimes.

The ACLU, realizing that such trials are unlikely to happen, is asking President Obama to pardon George W. Bush! But I doubt President Bush has any interest in being "pardoned" by Obama or anyone else for what he did to protect America after 9/11.
-------------
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Spies, Senate Report, CIA, Democrat, Diane Feinstein 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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  • 10/26/14 - 11/2/14
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  • 11/16/14 - 11/23/14
  • 11/23/14 - 11/30/14
  • 11/30/14 - 12/7/14
  • 12/7/14 - 12/14/14
  • 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
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  • 2/15/15 - 2/22/15
  • 2/22/15 - 3/1/15
  • 3/1/15 - 3/8/15
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  • 3/22/15 - 3/29/15
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  • 4/26/15 - 5/3/15
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  • 9/20/15 - 9/27/15
  • 9/27/15 - 10/4/15
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  • 10/25/15 - 11/1/15
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  • 11/15/15 - 11/22/15
  • 11/22/15 - 11/29/15
  • 11/29/15 - 12/6/15
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  • 12/20/15 - 12/27/15
  • 12/27/15 - 1/3/16
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  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
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  • 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
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