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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, April 10, 2015
Ayatollah Says Obama Is Lying, 2016 Update
BREAKING NEWS: Federal authorities arrested a 20 year-old man today for plotting a suicide bombing of the U.S. Army base at Fort Riley, Kansas. The arrest of John T. Booker, who goes by the name of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, is just the latest in a string of foiled plots by ISIS sympathizers inside the U.S. In addition, the FBI arrested Alexander E. Blair. age 28, who they said shared Mr. Booker’s extremist views, knew about his plot and gave him money to rent a storage locker. Mr. Blair was charged with failing to report a felony.
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Ayatollah To Obama: You're Lying! Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, lashed out at the Obama White House yesterday. "The White House published a factsheet which was wrong on most of the issues. It distorted reality," Khamenei said.
He later issued a series of tweets that continued to contradict remarks from President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. In one tweet, the ayatollah said, "[The Americans] always deceive & breach promises."
Khamenei's comments are causing a media firestorm. The deal that isn't a deal but a framework may not even be that. Either there are two completely separate versions of what has been agreed to or somebody is lying. Or perhaps both sides are lying.
I have zero trust in the Iranian regime, which is why I think negotiations were a bad idea to begin with. But given Obama's history, it's hard to trust him either. Remember his promise, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period."? Remember the Bergdahl deal -- five Taliban leaders for one deserter?
Can we really trust that Obama's deal over Iranian nuclear weapons will be any better?
There is a growing consensus in Washington that, while we are battling with Iran over this framework and fighting over whether the administration will permit a co-equal branch of government to have a say, another deal with Iran has already been made.
It has not been announced. It is not being reviewed by Congress. But it boils down to this: the president has signaled to Iran that he is prepared to accept the Islamic Republic as the dominant power in the Middle East. He is ready to align our interests with Iran's, while jettisoning historic allies like Israel and allies of convenience like Saudi Arabia.
That is an earth-shattering agreement. And it is resulting in the deaths of thousands of people who are bearing the brunt of Iran's aggression in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and any place else the new Persian empire chooses to put under its thumb.
2016 Update: The 2016 race for the White House really took off this week.
On the GOP side:
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum took the first official step toward exploring another run.
Allies of Senator Ted Cruz announced that they have raised more than $30 million.
Senator Rand Paul jumped in.
Polling shows the GOP nomination is up for grabs. Averaging the results of the five most recent polls finds Jeb Bush leading with 17%. He's followed by Scott Walker at 16%. Cruz, Paul, Huckabee and Carson are all at 9%.
On the Democratic side:
Hillary Clinton is expected to officially declare her candidacy this Sunday. Clinton was dogged this week by a series of potentially damaging reports about her private email server and questionable donations to the Clinton Foundation. Polling continues to show that Hillary is the prohibitive frontrunner for her party's nomination. But she will have to fight for it.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee surprised many political observers yesterday when he announced the formation of an exploratory committee. In his statement Chafee took a shot at Clinton by highlighting his opposition to the Iraq War, which Clinton voted for. Like Barack Obama in 2007, Chafee is hoping to rally the anti-war left.
Equally surprising were remarks by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. For weeks, Warren has resisted calls to run and insisted that she would not. Most assumed that she was deferring to Clinton.
But during an interview yesterday with CBS, Warren seemed to question Clinton's commitment on various issues and said, "I think there needs to be a vigorous debate in the whole question of running for president."
A poll released by Quinnipiac University highlights the challenges facing both frontrunners.
Voters in three key swing states -- Colorado, Iowa and Virginia -- did not believe Clinton is "honest and trustworthy." Only 38% of Colorado voters felt Clinton was honest and trustworthy, while 56% said she was not.
The bad news for Jeb Bush was that his favorability ratings with voters in all three states were negative. Keep in mind that his ratings are underwater now -- BEFORE the media and left-wing smear machine have started to attack him.
What’s Working: A Second Chance for Young Offenders
by Newt Gingrich: Last month, I was honored to co-host an amazing and genuinely bipartisan summit on criminal justice reform, along with my friends Van Jones, Donna Brazile, and Pat Nolan. Nearly 600 citizens from both parties came together to discuss real solutions for our country’s failing incarceration system. The day surfaced an extraordinary range of good ideas, but one in particular stuck out for me because it highlighted the very attitude that has caused us to spend so many billions of dollars on corrections each year without doing much to actually correct offenders.
It is that failure of the corrections system to correct that has led us to an injustice we can and should remedy--the practice of sentencing young people, not yet full-grown adults, to life in prison without a chance of parole.
There are good reasons, in everyday life, that we don’t give teenagers all of the privileges of full-grown American adults: teenage minds are not yet fully developed, so young people are generally less mature, have a harder time understanding the consequences of their actions, and are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure. As a result, we recognize that teenagers have a tendency to do foolish things.
For these reasons and more--all of which add up to common sense--teenagers have to wait until they’re 18 to vote, to own a gun, to be legally independent from their parents, and even to get an unrestricted drivers’ license in many states. Some privileges come at an even older age--young adults need to be 21 to buy alcohol, for instance.
Despite recognizing the big differences between a teenager and an adult in our laws, however, many states have done a poor job of taking this gap into account in their sentencing codes. They might condemning teenagers to life in prison without the opportunity for parole, for instance, for crimes they committed when they were 14 or 15 years old.
Two years ago, California passed a simple reform based on a simple idea: if our laws recognize young people are still developing cognitively and psychologically, our penal code should too. SB 260, sponsored by California Senator Loni Hancock, allowed that once juveniles have served many years of a long sentence—between 15 and 25 depending on the offense—they should have the opportunity to demonstrate personal growth and rehabilitation to a parole board. Passing this reform in 2013 was a significant achievement.
This year Senator Hancock has introduced SB 261, building on the same principle to give similar consideration to people serving long sentences for crimes committed as young adults (ages 18 to 23). The latest scientific research shows that young adult brains, like those of juveniles, are not yet fully matured. In fact, young adults’ capacities for judgement, decision-making, and appreciating the consequences of their actions are not fully developed until their early twenties. This makes juveniles and young adults uniquely capable of change, personal growth, and rehabilitation.
It’s only fair to recognize the difference between young- and full-grown adults in sentencing, just as we draw a distinction between juveniles and adults. People who commit offenses before their capacities are fully formed deserve a second chance--an opportunity for a parole hearing if they mature, rehabilitate, and pay serious restitution to their victims and to the community.
SB 261 is compassionate, fair, and backed up by the latest scientific understanding of brain development. But it is also by no means lenient. To be eligible for a hearing, the bill would require that a young person must have served at least 15 years of his or her sentence, and even longer for more serious crimes. This is no small amount of time for young adult—it means spending a period of potentially more than half their lives at sentencing behind bars.
If young adults demonstrate real personal growth, rehabilitation, and remorse, they should have the opportunity to be eligible for a parole hearing after spending a very long period of time in prison. The California legislature should pass SB 261 to give them this opportunity--and other states across country should look to it as a model for making the criminal justice system more fair as well as more efficient.
---------------------- 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:Newt Gingrich, prison reform, youthful offenders, second chance, 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 first “great wave” of U.S. immigration took place from roughly 1880 to 1930. During this time, according to the Census Bureau, the foreign-born population doubled from about 6.7 million to 14.2 million people. Changes were then made to immigration law to reduce admissions, decreasing the foreign-born population until it fell to about 9.6 million by 1970. Meanwhile, during this low-immigration period, real median compensation for U.S. workers surged, increasing more than 90 percent from 1948 to 1973, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
In the 1960s, Congress lifted immigration caps and ushered in a “second great wave.” The foreign-born population more than quadrupled, to more than 40 million today.
This ongoing wave coincides with a period of middle-class contraction. The Pew Research Center reports: “The share of adults who live in middle-income households has eroded over time, from 61% in 1970 to 51% in 2013.” Harvard economist George Borjas has estimated that high immigration from 1980 to 2000 reduced the wages of lower-skilled U.S. workers by 7.4 percent — a stunning drop — with particularly painful reductions for African American workers. Weekly earnings today are lower than they were in 1973.
Yet each year, the United States adds another million mostly low-wage permanent legal immigrants who can work, draw benefits and become voting citizens. Legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States. In other words, as a matter of federal policy — which can be adjusted at any time — millions of low-wage foreign workers are legally made available to substitute for higher-paid Americans.
This federal policy continues at a time when robotics and computerization are slashing demand for workers. One Oxford University professor estimates that as many as half of all jobs will be automated in 20 years. We don’t have enough jobs for our lower-skilled workers now. What sense does it make to bring in millions more?
If no immigration curbs are enacted, the Census Bureau estimates that another 14 million immigrants will come to the United States between now and 2025. That means we will introduce a new population almost four times larger than that of Los Angeles in just 10 years’ time.
The percentage of the country that is foreign-born is on track to rapidly eclipse any previous historical peak and to continue rising. Imagine the pressure this will put on wages, as well as schools, hospitals and many other community resources.
It is not mainstream, but extreme, to continue surging immigration beyond any historical precedent and to do so at a time when almost 1 in 4 Americans age 25 to 54 does not have a job. What we need now is immigration moderation: slowing the pace of new arrivals so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together.
But high immigration rates help the financial elite (and the political elite who receive their contributions) by keeping wages down and profits up. For them, what’s not to like? That is why they have tried to enforce silence in the face of public desire for immigration reductions. They have sought to intimidate good and decent Americans into avoiding honest discussion of how uncontrolled immigration impacts their lives.
But that dam is breaking. The elite consensus is crumbling — and the enforced silence on this critical issue will end.
------------ U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) serves on four Senate committees: Armed Services, Budget, Environment and Public Works, and Judiciary, where he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. This article was also run on the The Washington Post and was furnished by Sen. Sessions office to the ARRA News Service Editor to share with readers. Tags:Jeff Sessions, America, curb immigration, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
"It's abysmal," admits IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, discussing his agency's help for Americans trying to decipher a byzantine, ever-changing tax code.
It seems only four of ten citizens ever succeed in getting through to the IRS on the phone, even after waiting multiple hours. Over days. There have been over 5 million "courtesy disconnects" - that's IRS lingo for its phone system hanging up on you.
To boot, once you get to a real person, that employee can't tell you much.
Bemoaning this supposed "era of shrinking government," the Post assails conservatives in Congress, citing the "cuts" as "punishment for a string of missteps: an extravagant conference for employees in Anaheim, Calif., the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exemptions, $1 million in bonuses given to agency employees who didn't pay their federal taxes."
Punishment seems in order.
But another story puts in perspective this crocodile cry for more money. The Daily Caller recently reported: "The Obama administration has quietly killed an IRS tax preparation program designed to help low-income and disadvantaged citizens, choosing instead to give millions of dollars to liberal groups for the same purpose."
Look on the bright side, a review of these help-groups found their advice to have a mere 49 percent error rate.
This is Common sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
------------------ Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America — and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Paul Jacob, Common Sense, IRA, reaching IRS for help, IRS Tax Preparation Program, killed by Obama Administration, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Obama to Remove Cuba From State Sponsors of Terrorism List. Why That’s Bad
Cuban dictator Raul Castro
by Ana Quintana: Later this week at the Summit of the Americas, President Obama is expected to announce Cuba’s removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List. The State Department has made the recommendation that Cuba be removed and it is expected that Secretary of State John Kerry will recommend Cuba’s removal to the president.
This comes to the surprise of no one as Obama already declared his intention to do so when he announced his new Cuba policy on Dec. 17th.
Cuban dictator Raul Castro responded to the announcement by saying:
There would be no democracy in Cuba;
Cuba will remain a single party state;
There would be no change in governmental leadership;
Communism will continue;
Political prisoners would not be released;
There was no hint of allowing greater Internet access
No discussion of more Cubans visiting the United States;
No liberalization of the media;
There was no suggestion of restitution for the $8 billion in stolen American property; and, by-the-way
Cuba wants the naval base at Guantanamo Bay returned.
This is also the same dictator who, only days after Obama’s announcement, ordered the murder of 35 Cubans, by sinking a ship they were on. He followed that up by ordering the arrest of over 600 dissidents in the first three months of 2015.
Mind you, Obama now refers to Raul Castro as president and his equal.
To remove the Castro regime’s Cuba from the list would be to ignore both the Cuban government’s inherently malicious nature and the utility of terrorist designations.
Removing Cuba from the list would also remove restrictions that preclude their receipt of preferential foreign aid and trade benefits. Repealing the designation combined with further weakening of sanctions will not bode well for U.S. taxpayers.
The regime routinely defaults on foreign loans and is guilty of the largest uncompensated theft of U.S. assets in recorded history, valued at $7 billion. Also, removing Cuba from the list could potentially be in violation of the Export Administration Act (EAA), the law by which Cuba was added to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
Obama needs to understand one simple fact. Giving a dictator everything does not satisfy the ambition, the greed, the lust for power, and the sense of destiny.
The dictator is only emboldened and will continue demanding much more.
----------- Ana Quintana is a policy analyst for Latin America and the Western Hemisphere in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Tags:Cuba, dictator, Raul Castro, murder of 35 Cubans, arrest of over 600 dissidents, Summit of the Americas, President Obama, Cuba’s removal, State Sponsors of Terrorism ListTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Dan Doyle, Op-Ed: The upstream oil and gas industry is not a black hole. There's no mystery wrapped in an enigma here.
There are a lot of meetings with engineers, chemists and geologists. There's a constantly evolving learning curve. And then there's all the regulations and compliance. But all-in-all it's pretty straight forward, that is, until the media gets a hold of it. That's when it becomes complicated. It's as though we are getting reports from the mysteries of the deep ocean or life in the great galaxies beyond. There is so much hyperbole and unsupported guesswork that investors don't have a chance. So, in a small effort to set the record straight, let's see if we can't dispel some of the misinformation.
Misperception #1: Goldman Sachs knows what is going on. This is incorrect. Goldman Sachs should not be quoted extensively. They are notoriously wrong when forecasting tops and bottoms. What they are good at is jumping on the band wagon and stoking fires. Their forecasting always seems to be done through a rear view mirror and their calls for peaks and troughs are always overdone. Back in July 2014 when WTI was peaking, they were calling for more, even as the dollar was showing signs of strength (and we know what happened there) and as oil inventories were beginning to wash up over our ankles. And then when we are forming a bottom in January and retesting it in March, they were calling for a deeper bottom. And then there was 2008. Remember the calls for $150 and $200 oil from Goldman and Morgan Stanley? That was right before we went to $40 and then some. (To be fair, Ed Morse from Citi called the top but he overshot the bottom. We're not going into the 20s).
Misperception #2: The "non-productive rigs" are the first to go. This statement is a little baffling because all drilling rigs are productive, some are just more efficient. H&P's Flex 4 and Flex 5 rigs are state of the art. But these rigs are stacking up just as fast as the less efficient rigs that require more man hours but are not as expensive to contract. Have a drive past H&P's Odessa yard. It's stocked full of these Flex 4s. Rigs are enormous which makes them costly to move around. You're not going to bring in a dozen or so tractor trailers and a few cranes for a rig move back to Texas or Oklahoma, and hire the same sized fleet to bring in the newest generation rig. The closer truth is that the ones that are running in particular areas—that have not been let go—will continue running in those areas. And what the oil companies are going to do is put pricing pressure on their driller for not having supplied the cat's ass in the first place.
Misperception #3: Supply keeps coming on because of innovations in fracking. Yes, fracking has gotten much better in shale formations but the real advances are already baked in. What has been occurring over the last 24 months or so is that more sand is being run per stage and stage intervals are more densely packed. Other than some new chemistry and a few software updates, that is the bulk of it. There really is no smoking gun between well completions in July 2014 when oil was at $100 and now--9 months later--when oil has been cut in half.
Misperception #4: Fracking has not gotten exponentially more efficient resulting in outsized cost reductions. Yes and no, but more "no" than "yes." The 600 lb gorilla in the room is competition. Fracking has gotten competitive, damned competitive. Five years ago fleet sizes were smaller and there were nowhere near as many players. But then came the boom and service companies did what they do best. They overbuilt. They were also cheered on by cheap and plentiful money because everyone, especially bankers and private equity, wanted in on this one. To get an idea of just how competitive the shale landscape has become, a stage in a 2012 Marcellus well fetched almost twice the same stage today. There have been multiple improvements in both design and implementation, but the heavy lifting on cheaper frack pricing has been competition.
Misperception #5: The Baker Hughes rig count has become irrelevant. Incorrect. The Baker Hughes rig count is always relevant. Remember, this was the weekly number that allowed us to hold a bottom at $43 in March. But because supply didn't immediately go lockstep with the falling count, analysts lost patience. They are now theorizing that rigs are so "productive" that the count no longer carries the weight that it once did. That's a tough position to take. We were at 1,600 rigs drilling for oil in October and we're now at 800. There is some truth that E&Ps are now favoring sweet spots but that won't make up for the 50% collapse in the count. Shale extraction resembles an industrial process more than it does wildcatting. There aren't many dry holes with shale. Microseismic advances have put an end to that as have data rooms stuffed full of old well logs that chart the potential of shales. Thus, most shale wells drilled today have a much better chance of being economic than step out and exploratory wells of the past. There is no legitimate model for 800 rigs growing US production past 8.9 mm BOPD in the Lower 48. And because its shale, and because shale is "tight", drilling must continue at a breakneck pace to grow production. Analysts looking for a more ‘spot on' number should start following the activity of fuel distributors who run nonstop between depots and frack jobs. Watch their sales for a more immediate indication of future production.
Misperception #6: We are running out of storage space for crude. We're not. We're going to be OK. Volumes have increased, especially at the oft mentioned Cushing, but Cushing accounts for only about 10% of US storage. Other storage areas are up but nowhere near as much. The reason is that physical traders like to park their inventory close to market and Cushing gives them that proximity. Also, Cushing is not a dead end. There are large pipelines that connect it to the Gulf Coast where storage is more plentiful and not nearly as full. Additionally, large inventory draws will be coming shortly with the advent of warmer weather.
Misperception #7: Shale wells have a productive life of only a few years. The truth on this one is slowly being sorted out and commentators are finally getting it right. Shale lacks permeability. Which means it's very "tight". It requires a frack job to free up the oil and gas trapped in its pore space. Fracking creates and sustains permeability and permeability is the pathway to the wellbore. Like any tight formation, oil and gas production is front loaded, meaning that most production will come right after stimulation. This results in excellent up front results but production tails off quickly, maybe even falling as much as 75% in year one and settling into something less for the next 10 or 20 years. This is called the tail and the tail is profitable, but only if the flush pays for most of the well.
Misperception #8: You can turn shale on and off. That's wrong. Shale takes time like any other industrial activity. Slowing down its progress is a bit like stopping a supertanker. You can do it, but you need a lot of room. Most drillers require contracts and breaking them can be painful. Sand can pile up at rail sidings and result in demurrages. Layoffs can take time. Regulatory penalties may force an operator into activity whether he wants activity or not. All this takes time to work out. And then there's always the stronger balance sheets that will drill regardless of price or that will drill and create a "fracklog" which is a newly minted MBA speak for a backlog of wells to frack. There is no switch you can flip.
Misperception #9: Oil is inversely related to the dollar. It is. This was a head fake. It's not a misperception. Match the DXY to Brent and WTI over the last 12 months. It's a perfect divergence. You want to bet on oil, then bet on the Euro.
Misperception #10: OPEC is done. Maybe, but the Gulf Cooperation Council is not. Collectively, the 4 GCC members pump more than half of all OPEC production. They also have very low lifting costs and enormous cash reserves. Additionally, they have stamina and are going to maintain OPECs position of no cuts. There's a long history of Russia or Venezuela filling reduced quotas. This time around the GCC is not going to let that happen. If Russia concedes there may be a cut in June. But it is looking unlikely even if they do. Look for Saudi Arabia to pick up market share.
Misperception #11: American shale producers are the new swing producers. No, their banks are.
Misperception #12: A deal with Iran will lower prices. Sort of. It will take Iran a year or two to add anything meaningful to our 93 MMBOPD global market but the fear of a nuclear Iran will create enough tension to offset the supply addition. Worries over a nuclear Iran, whether real or perceived, will create enough fear in the markets to more than counter balance the additional million barrels a day of supply that may come on.
In short, oil prices will increase as weekly EIA production numbers begin posting declines as we saw last week. Demand will increase. Inventories will start getting eaten into by midyear. Europe will contribute as will Asia and the Middle East. A shrinking Chinese market is still growing at 7% a year, and that market is much bigger now than when it was posting 10% yearly growth five years ago. Rich Kinder was right in calling the bottom in the low 40s and John Hofmeiser (former President of Shell Oil) and T. Boone Pickens are probably pretty close to being right with their call of $80 as the top in the next year or so. A solid $65 to $70 by year end is the more reasonable number and is just enough to hold off development of some offshore projects, oil sands work and a good amount of the non-core shale plays. A stronger dollar will also do its work here as will a Saudi Arabia hell bent on market share. There will be less and less for shorts to hold onto and very few will want to be stuck on the same side of the trade as the big investment banks.
---------------- James Stafford is Editor of OilPrice.com and contributes articles to the ARRA News Service. Dan Doyle is president of Reliance Well Services, a hydraulic fracturing company based in Pennsylvania. Tags:12 Miths, oil prices, Dan Doyle, OilPrice.comTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
April 13, 2015 will mark TEN YEARS since the U.S. House of Representatives last voted on repealing the death tax. Ten years since our elected officials have even attempted to help farms and family businesses avoid a tax that punishes them for wanting to leave their legacy with their children.
The House bill that can end the death tax, HR 1105, has been approved by the Ways & Means committee. We need to keep the pressure on to get the first floor vote in a decade.
Politicians constantly use “repeal the death tax” as part of their platform when running for office, yet they do nothing once elected. The longer Congress waits to do something about this unfair tax, the more damage it will do to families and to our economy.
Though President Obama and fellow liberals spend a lot of time these days trying to claim that Obamacare is a success, ordinary Americans still struggle with the bureaucracy and red tape the unpopular health care law has created.
Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Review-Journaldocumented the frustrations of Nevadans who have to navigate the problems Obamacare has added to tax season.
“How did a Reno collections agent end up in collections himself? He bought coverage in 2014 through the state’s health insurance exchange.
“Rick Furst is still ironing out wrinkles in a plan purchased in May through Nevada Health Link and its contractor, Xerox. His cascade of issues has included bad coverage dates, unpaid medical bills and an incorrect tax-credit form. ‘My credit was excellent, and now my credit is shot,’ he said.
“Furst is one of many Nevadans still struggling with Nevada Health Link’s woes. It’s hard to know how many others have coverage or tax-credit hiccups because exchange officials say the way they track unresolved cases makes it difficult to put a number to the problem. Nor do they trust Xerox’s reports on how many unreconciled cases remain.
“What’s clear is some fixes are moving at a glacial pace with a week left until Tax Day, and some consumers will run out of time.
“Karen, a Southern Nevadan who asked that we use only her first name, said representatives in Xerox’s Henderson call center advised her to request an IRS filing extension after her premium tax-credit statement, or 1095-A form, showed mistakes. That’s a problem because she needs her $1,000 refund to ‘juggle bills and get caught up.’”
Nevada insurance broker Pat Casale summed things up for the Review-Journal: “The average person has to work so hard to undo mistakes made on their behalf.”
The LVRJ writes, “Consider Casale’s client Dave Benardino of Las Vegas, who made only two premium payments for coverage that essentially ran from April through June of 2014. The 1095-A form the exchange sent him said he had insurance from April through December. It also stated that the federal government covered $3,700 in tax credits to help pay his premiums,
“It’s not clear whether the exchange or the insurer ever received the $3,700, Casale said, but Benardino is now looking at a tax bill of $1,800. ‘All of a sudden, they’re telling me I owe thousands of dollars in subsidies. I never got subsidies,’ he said. Casale said Benardino is ‘getting bills for services never rendered. How many people is this happening to?’
“At one point last spring, there were about 10,000 problem cases with exchange-based coverage, Casale noted. ‘Does that mean there are 10,000 1095 errors?’ he asked. Other states and the federal government had to reissue 10 percent to 12 percent of their customers’ 1095-A forms."
The Review-Journal continues, “Karen said that for her it’s been slow-going.
“She took the 1095-A form she received in January to her tax-preparer on Feb. 7. The two determined the form quoted the wrong coverage dates. She made nearly a half-dozen calls to Xerox’s customer-service center in February. On March 5, call-center reps told her they had finally ‘gotten authorization to review’ her problem.
“‘I was shocked, and said the problem has supposedly (been) getting worked on for weeks,’ Karen said. ‘And now I’m told they didn't even have authorization yet?’
“She added that call-center employees told her they print corrected forms only every two weeks and send out mailings just once a month. They said her form would be mailed on March 20. . . . As of Tuesday, Karen still had a bad form.
“The exchange’s policies call for Xerox to send corrected forms ‘in a time-frame that allows for an extensive review and correction period’ that can take a ‘number of days’ to complete, agency spokesman Tyler Klimas said. Klimas said the exchange is also advising consumers to visit licensed professionals for tax advice, and that Nevada Health Link is unable to provide walk-in service for 1095-A inquiries.”
And tax issues are only part of the Obamacare problems Silver State residents are dealing with.
The Review Journal notes, “Furst, at least, received his corrected form on March 31. Not all of the Reno man’s problems are fixed, though.
“He paid his premium on May 23 for a July 1 policy start date. On July 3, excruciating abdominal pain sent him to an urgent-care center. But he never received member ID cards and couldn’t prove coverage. He paid $120 out-of-pocket for his care and a referral for diagnosis. On July 6, he entered a Reno-area hospital, where a test found stomach ulcers. Furst said he spent two days in the hospital on pain medicine. He couldn’t pay the $10,000 tab.
“He’s personally out the $600 or so he could afford out of pocket. He’s in collections on much of the rest. He said he hopes the bills will be paid now that his 1095-A form reflects his actual July 1 start date.
“What Furst won’t get is a do-over on the aggravation his experience put him through. ‘I had a hole in my stomach,” he said. “I don’t need this frigging stress.’”
As difficult as Nevada's are having with Obamacare, hope they are contacting one of the bills major proponents, their own Sen. Harry Reid. Do they believe he even cares? Maybe, itwas things like Obamacare glitches that sent a clear picture to Reid that his days were numbered, Thus, his decision to nor run for re-election in 2016. Tags:Nevada, Obamacare glitches, Harry Reid, Las Vegas Review, editorial cartoon, Henry PayneTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Federal Judge Delivers Blistering Rebuke of Obama Administration Immigration Lawyers’ Misbehavior
by Hans von Spakovsky: In an order issued late Tuesday, federal district court Judge Andrew Hanen refused to lift the preliminary injunction he had previously issued stopping the implementation of the immigration amnesty plan announced by President Obama last November.
And in a second order, an obviously infuriated Judge Hanen said that the “attorneys for the Government misrepresented the facts” to the court.
Judge Hanen issued his injunction on Feb. 16 in the lawsuit filed by 26 states in a Texas federal court. On Feb. 23, the Justice Department filed a motion asking Hanen to stay his injunction pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On March 3, the Justice Department filed an “Advisory” with Hanen, informing him that between Nov. 20, when the president announced his new plan, and Feb. 16, when the injunction was issued, the Department of Homeland Security had begun implementing part of the president’s plan by issuing three-year deferrals to over 100,000 illegal aliens.
Justice Department Had Said Obama’s Immigration Plan Hadn’t Been Implemented
This despite the fact that the Justice Department had assured Judge Hanen on numerous occasions—both in court and in written pleadings—that no part of the president’s plan would be implemented until late February. In the Advisory, the Justice Department did not admit it had misled the court; it was just trying to clear up any “confusion” that might have occurred.
Judge Hanen obviously saw things differently.
In Tuesday night’s order on the injunction, Hanen said that he remained “convinced” that his original findings and rulings were correct and that for a number of reasons, “the decisions reached previously by this Court have been reinforced.”
For example, Hanen had based his injunction in part on the “abdication” by the administration of its duty to enforce federal immigration law. Hanen pointed out that “recent actions taken by the Government confirm that it has abdicated enforcement.”
One of those actions cited by Hanen was Obama’s reaction at a town hall meeting held after the injunction was issued to an individual upset over a deportation order. Obama said that any Border Patrol agents or Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who didn’t follow his new immigration plan that halts deportations against those who qualify under his new plan would be punished: if “they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it.”
According to Hanen, Obama’s message to federal law enforcement officials and the nation “is clear.” First, federal immigration laws that “officials are charged with enforcing, are not to be enforced when those laws conflict” with the president’s plan. Second, “the criteria set out in [the president’s plan] are mandatory.” Third, if Department of Homeland Security officials “fail to follow the specified criteria, there will be consequences for this failure—just as there would be consequences if they were in the military and disobeyed an order from the Commander in Chief.”
In summary, “the chief executive has ordered that the laws requiring removal of illegal immigrants that conflict with [the president’s plan] are not to be enforced, and that anyone who attempts to do so will be punished.”
Hanen also dismissed the government’s claim that it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not lifted. He concluded that “there is no pressing, emergent need for this program” and “the scales of justice greatly favor the States.”
Justice Department Lawyers Showed ‘Distinct Lack of Candor’
In the second order over the Advisory filed with the court, Judge Hanen presented a scathing analysis of the Justice Department’s misbehavior in misleading him over the implementation of the president’s amnesty plan: This Court expects all parties, including the Government of the United States, to act in a forthright manner and not hide behind deceptive representations and half-truths. That is why, whatever the motive for the Government’s actions in this matter, the Court is extremely troubled by the multiple representations made by the Government’s counsel—both in writing and orally—that no action would be taken … until February 18, 2015.Hanen said the representations made by the Justice Department lawyers “indicates a distinct lack of candor.”
The Justice Department lawyers may even be in trouble for their delay in telling Hanen about this problem: “the explanation by Defendants’ counsel for their conduct after the fact is even more troublesome for the Court.”
The Department told Hanen they were unaware there was a problem until they read his Feb. 16 injunction order, and that they then took “prompt” remedial action to inform the court, but Hanen said that “assertion is belied by the facts.” The Advisory was not filed until March 3, so for two weeks after the Feb. 16 injunction order, “the Government did nothing to inform the Court of the 108,081” deferrals that had been issued.
Instead, on Feb. 23, the government filed its “Motion to Stay” the injunction with Hanen, saying absolutely nothing in that motion about this problem. Instead, “mysteriously, what was included” in the Justice Department’s motion was a request that Hanen issue a decision by Feb. 25, within two days: If this Court had ruled according to the Government’s requested schedule, it would have ruled without the Court or the States knowing that the Government had granted 108,081 applications … despite its multiple representations to the contrary … Yet they stood silent. Even worse, they urged this Court to rule before disclosing that the Government had already issued 108,081 three-year renewals … despite their statement to the contrary.Hanen goes after the Justice Department lawyers even harder, especially their claims that they acted “promptly” to clear up any “confusion” they may have caused: “But the facts clearly show these statements to be disingenuous. The Government did anything but act ‘promptly’ to clarify the Government-created ‘confusion.’”
Judge: Justice Department Lawyers Didn’t Follow Professional Ethics
Hanen cites Section 3.3 of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the corresponding section of the Texas Rules, which require complete candor by a lawyer in his or her dealings with a court: Fabrications, misstatements, half-truths, artful omissions, and the failure to correct misstatements may be acceptable, albeit lamentable, in other aspects of life; but in the courtroom, when an attorney knows that both the Court and the other side are relying on complete frankness, such conduct is unacceptable.Because of the government’s misconduct, Judge Hanen considered striking their pleadings, and indicated that “under different circumstances,” he might “very well do so.” But he didn’t because, he said, that would effectively end the case.
Because the issues at stake “have national significance and deserve to be fully considered on the merits,” Hanen concluded that “the ends of justice would not be served by striking pleadings in this case.” He warned the Justice Department, though, that his decision “does not bar such a sanction in the future should the facts and law warrant that action” and that his decision does not leave him “impotent to fashion an appropriate remedy” for the government’s misconduct.
In addition to granting the states’ request for early discovery, Hanen ordered the Justice Department to produce “any and all drafts of the March 3, 2015 Advisory” including all “metadata and all other tangible items that indicate when each draft of the document was written and/or edited or revised” as well as the names of any person who knew about the Advisory or the Department of Homeland Security activity, or reviewed it, and the date that occurred. He ordered that no documents, emails, computer records, hard drives or servers that have any information about this Advisory be “destroyed or erased.” And he gave the Justice Department only until April 21 to supply all of this information.
That is a tall order, but Judge Hanen is clearly determined to find out who knew about this deception, and may well consider personally sanctioning those lawyers or other officials who were involved once he gets that information.
This is another big loss for the government and gives the states the ability to question the credibility of the government in the appeal now pending. The Justice Department will go into the upcoming hearing before the Fifth Circuit with what the legal profession calls “unclean hands,” which is when lawyers engage in professional and ethical misconduct. That certainly will not help the government win its case.
------------- Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. More ARRA News Service articles by or about Hans con Spakovsky Tags:Hans von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation, Judge Hanen, Federal District Judge, blistering rebuke, Obama administration, immigration lawyers misbehavior,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
U.S. Court: DHS Must Say Why Emergency Plan to Shut Down Cellphone Service Is Legal
by Colleen Conley, TPNN: The Department of Homeland Security will soon have to disclose why it should be allowed to shut down cellphone service in the event of a “critical emergency,” while keeping any such plans to do so a secret, a judge ordered on Friday.
Standard Operating Procedure 303, which allows the government to render your phone useless under extraordinary circumstances, is documented as a “unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies.”
Such an emergency could include the “threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.” SOP 303 was put in place shortly after a cellphone was used to blow up a portion of London’s subway system.
DHS is currently the only agency that has the authority to pull the cellular service plug. Specifically, the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee determines when cellular networks are to be shut down ”within a localized area, such as a tunnel or bridge, and within an entire metropolitan area.”
Until now, the NSTAC’s plan has gone largely unchallenged in the courts.
The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Friday demanded the government respond to requests from groups, such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center. EPIC originally asked the court for the more government documentation about SOP 303 in 2011, when officials tried to stop a protest by shutting down service near a San Francisco subway station.
EPIC subsequently submitted a Freedom of Information Act request asking to see the federal document granting DHS the authority. The government approved the request but heavily redacted much of the document. EPIC then sued the government for allegedly violating FOIA laws.
The group won the lawsuit but the government later appealed the court’s decision and the judge eventually sided with the government. The latest ruling states that the DHS must now provide its rationale for keeping the information secret from the public.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security refused to comment on the case. Tags:U.S. District Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, DHS, emergency plan, Standard Operating Procedure 303, shut down, cellphone serviceTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:editorial cartoon, AF Branco, Wall Street, to Main Street, President Obama's, crony policy, hurting, middle class, little guyTo 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: Imagine you wanted to get in your electric car and drive a considerable distance. It wouldn’t take long for your car to run out of power, so you would have to have another car, one using gasoline, to drive behind you to make sure you reached your destination.
That’s a description of “renewable energy”, wind and solar, in America today because they both require backup from traditional energy sources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear. And “renewable energy” based on “free” sun and wind power costs more to produce and purchase. Need it be said that the sun does not always shine consistently everywhere or at night and that the wind does not always blow?
Within twenty-four hours of one another I received a news release from the Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition celebrating the election of a new chairman and vice chairman, and read a CNN news article saying that “The White House wants to put more returning servicemen and women to work manufacturing and installing solar panels” as part of “his growing list of climate actions meant to combat global warming.”
That list was a twelve-page long, single-spaced White House fact sheet. The White House seems to think that the states can do something about “climate change”, but the climate is measured in decades and centuries, not whether it is going to rain next Monday which is something we call “the weather.” And just as you can do nothing about the rain, neither can you do anything to affect the climate decades from now.
The White House has a problem. There is no “global warming.” Even if you change the name to “climate change”, the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle for the last eighteen years.
For the past 5,000 years humans have, as often as not, “done something” about the climate by moving somewhere else it was less of a bother and threat or found ways to adapt. Other than prayer, there was and is nothing humans can do about Mother Nature.
Most surely, getting veterans to manufacture solar panels is about as lame and stupid an idea as the President has proposed in the last 24 hours. Does the name “Solyndra” ring a bell? It was one of several solar farms that, along with wind farms went belly-up, leaving investors and consumers with nothing but the sunlight and passing breezes.
Indeed, the best news of late has been that the U.S. Senate has rejected a proposal to extend the federal wind Production Tax Credit (PCT) for another five years. The wind producers have benefitted from it for three decades. The federal subsidy to wind-energy producers expired along with other tax breaks at the end of 2013, but was retroactively extended through 2014 as part of the Cromnibus budget bill passed last December.
The PCT was intended to provide what was a then-new energy industry a helping hand, but it kept being extended and the industry benefitted as well from renewable energy mandates (REM) in 29 states and the District of Columbia. They require that a specific amount of electricity be purchased from renewable energy, wind or solar, producers. All that managed to do was drive up the cost of electricity to consumers. This is what happens when politicians get involved.
That’s a good reason to wonder why there is a Governors Wind Power Coalition in the first place. It consists of 23 Democratic and Republican governors from every region of the nation “working together to develop the nation’s wind energy resources”, but the nation doesn't need wind energy which produces an unpredictable amount as opposed to traditional resources such as coal.
At the same time the President is talking about solar and wind power, his administration is pursuing a relentless “war” on coal that is forcing the primary source of electricity in America, coal-fired plants, to shut down. If that doesn’t sound like treason, then consider too that the U.S. is the greatest producer of oil and natural gas in the world and we have at least two century’s worth of known coal reserves. We have absolutely no need for wind or solar energy.
When Obama gave his State of the Union speech in 2014, solar power represented a pathetic 0.2 percent of the U.S. electricity supply according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. According to the Energy Research Institute, in 2013 wind power provided 1.6% of all the energy consumed in the U.S.
There isn't a single good reason for either wind or solar power in an energy powerhouse like the United States. They are both costly, unpredictable, and a threat to a number of animal species. Neither the science, the cost, nor the recent history of “renewable energy” provides a single good reason to force Americans to pay for this “green” failure.
----------------- Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, President Obama, telling Renewable energy lies, lies, wind power, solar power, To 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: Since President Obama’s first year in office, the federal government has been illegally using your federal tax dollars to pay lobbyists at the state and local level to lobby for tax hikes, zoning restrictions, and other nanny state policies that pick your pockets and limit your freedom. Every time a scandal breaks or Congress tries to crack down on abuses, the grant-making program changes its name and keeps on going.
The initial Centers for Disease Control (CDC) program under the stimulus bill, Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), was caught red-handed breaking the law. A report issued by government watchdog group Cause of Action found that “the CDC permitted and even encouraged… grantees in Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and California to violate federal law and use… funds to lobby state and local governments. Internal emails, applications to the CDC outlining plans for the funds, and meeting notes blatantly show systemic corruption and use of taxpayer dollars for lobbying.”
When the stimulus money ran out, it morphed into a permanent program under Obamacare called the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program.
Congressional Republicans responded by strengthening the ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying and enacting detailed reporting requirements for grants and subgrants on a searchable public website. But then-Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the architect of all of these programs, managed to slip a separate $80 million appropriation for a new program, Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) into a 2014 appropriations bill, and he got it renewed for another $80 million in December’s so-called Cromnibus before retiring last year.
Two thirds of grants under the new PICH program have gone to grantees who also received funds from the old, scandal-plagued programs. The big difference is that the new program evades the reporting requirements that allowed us to identify abuses.
All of these programs use your federal tax dollars to raise your taxes and limit your freedom at the local levels. Specifically, they provide taxpayer-funded grants for television advertising, lobbying campaigns, and other activities aimed at raising taxes on soft drinks, imposing zoning restrictions on fast food restaurants, imposing smoking bans, and other nanny-state favorites.
In Philadelphia, the city spent millions of federal taxpayer dollars on advertising to promote a tax hike on soft drinks. The tax was defeated by a remarkable coalition of tea party and union activists, but Mayor Nutter has vowed to continue to pursue it. And why not, with federal taxpayers picking up the tab?
In California, federal taxpayers paid for an effort that resulted in a ban on fast food restaurants in West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Lemert, South Los Angeles, and Southeast Los Angeles. That's right; a state with 11 percent unemployment used taxpayer dollars to intentionally prevent restaurants from opening that could employ thousands. And the health benefits? Zero, according to a major new study from the Rand Corporation.
In New York, then-Mayor Bloomberg — enemy of trans fats, sugar, salt, and pretty much anything else that tastes good — tapped CDC grants for flashy advertising attacking the soft drink industry and urging customers to “drink water, fat-free milk, seltzer, or unsweetened tea instead.”
When the original CPPW program ended in disgrace, the CDC advisory committee recommended the director take steps to “avoid the Congressional inquiries that focused on CPPW.” When Republicans tightened lobbying restrictions and reporting requirements, Harkin shifted the grantmaking to the new PICH program to put it back in the shadows. And the same liberal activists and lobbyists are still getting our tax dollars to raise our taxes and limit our freedom at the local level.
President Obama’s response to this lawbreaking? Make it legal. His budget again this year proposed repealing the ban on using tax dollars to lobby for tax hikes, restrictions on legal products, and gun control. It also proposed completely ending the reporting requirements. Wonder why.
It’s time to end the shell game; Congress should fully de-fund these programs. If Democratic obstinacy makes that impossible, then at a minimum Congress should impose uniform reporting requirements that cannot be evaded and conduct aggressive oversight to end illegal lobbying.
------------------ Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Follow him at (@kerpen) and on Facebook. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. Tags:Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, government pickpocket, taxpayers, end taxpayer-funded, lobby, scam, Centers for Disease Control, Communities Putting Prevention, Community Transformation Grant programTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Iranian Leaders Demand Immediate Sanctions Relief In Nuclear Deal
Editorial Cartoon by Michael Ramirez
USA Today reports, “Tehran will not sign a final nuclear deal unless world powers simultaneously lift economic sanctions imposed on Iran, the nation's president said Thursday. . . .
“In a televised address Thursday at a ceremony marking Iran's nuclear technology day, President Hassan Rouhani appeared to rule out a gradual removal of the sanctions, which have hit the nation's energy and financial sectors hard — and devastated its economy.
“‘We will not sign any agreement, unless all economic sanctions are totally lifted on the first day of the implementation of the deal,’ he said. ‘We want a win-win deal for all parties involved in the nuclear talks.’ ‘The Iranian nation has been and will be the victor in the negotiations,’ he added.”
This is in contrast to what President Obama has been saying about the agreement, as USA Today notes. “‘It has never been our position that all of the sanctions against Iran should be removed from Day One,’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.”
But it’s not just Rouhani saying this. According to Reuters, “Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday demanded that all sanctions on Iran be lifted at the same time as any final agreement with world powers on curbing Tehran's nuclear program is concluded.
“Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's most powerful figure and who has the last say on all state matters, was making his first comments on the interim deal reached between Iran and the powers last week in the Swiss city of Lausanne. . . .
“His stand on the lifting of sanctions matched earlier comments by Rouhani, who said Iran would only sign a final nuclear accord if all measures imposed over its disputed atomic work are lifted on the same day. These include nuclear-related United Nations resolutions as well as U.S. and EU nuclear-related economic sanctions. ‘All sanctions should be removed when the deal is signed. If the sanctions removal depends on other processes, then why did we start the negotiations?’ Khamenei said.”
As The Washington Post editors said earlier this week, the gap between what the Obama administration about lifting sanctions and what the Iranian leaders are saying is a significant problem. “Worryingly, the fact sheets issued by the U.S. and Iranian governments differ sharply on this point: While the U.S. version says that “sanctions will be suspended after” the International Atomic Energy Agency ‘has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps,’ Tehran’s account is that ‘at the same time as the start of Iran’s nuclear-related implementation work, all of the sanctions will be automatically annulled on a single specified day.’
“The gulf between those two scenarios is extremely important. Unless sanctions relief is conditioned on Iranian performance, the United States and its partners will lose their leverage.”
Gary L. Bauer, President of Campaign for Working Families, today noted, "The Obama Administration has got the "pedal to the metal" selling the Iran nuclear deal to a skeptical public and Congress. It may as well be trying to sell disappearing ink because in reality there is no deal. After two years of negotiations, there is only a "framework" to serve as the basis for three or six more months of negotiations.
While Obama does a hard sell, Iran is not dismantling its nukes but instead is taking apart the framework of the elusive deal. Last night Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country "will not sign any deal unless all sanctions are lifted on the same day" they sign it.
But once sanctions are lifted the U.S. will have little leverage. Once European, Russian and even U.S. companies invest in Iran, sanctions will never get through the U.N. again.
Rouhani also spiked the football, bragging that "The Iranian nation has been and will be the victor in the negotiations."
What about the "tough" and "unprecedented" inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities that Obama has trumpeted as a "win" in the talks for the U.S.? Brigadier General Hossein Dehgan, Iran's defense minister, asserted yesterday that no inspections will be allowed at military centers. Seems basic doesn't it? How can there be any assurance Iran is not developing a military nuclear program if inspections can only take place at "civilian" power plant sites?
Several weeks ago, an Iranian dissident group accused the regime of operating a secret nuclear facility at a military base in the Tehran suburbs. This group has considerable credibility as it exposed other secret sites in the past.
Obama said yesterday that "Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on my watch." But Obama's concessions will allow Iran to get nuclear weapons after he leaves office Jan. 20, 2017. (In fact, he even admits it.) At that point another U.S. president may have to take military action against a regime that will be more powerful.
Yesterday, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George P. Shultzlaid out all the seriously troubling aspects of the deal with Iran that the president is touting. Tags:Iran, Iranian leaders, demand, immediate relief, Nuclear deal,nuclear weapons, Obama administration, diplomacy, To 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: Obama's "Fundamental Misjudgment" - Yesterday, during an interview with National Public Radio, President Obama attempted to explain why he opposes linking the Iranian nuclear deal to formal recognition of Israel's right to exist. See if you can follow his logic: "The notion that we could condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons . . . on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won't sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms. And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment. . . . We want Iran not to have nuclear weapons precisely because we can't bank on the nature of the regime changing."Obama just admitted that the Iranian regime is so radical there is no chance it would ever concede the right of Israel to exist. He is right, of course. This regime promises another Holocaust after all.
Given that, how can Obama or anyone else trust that regime to keep its promises in a nuclear deal, even if the deal were good, which it isn't? In what world does this make any sense?
Iran Vows To Break Deal - Today, reports demonstrate the futility of Obama's outreach to Iran. According to the Iranian FARS news agency, the Iranian foreign minister and the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization told the Iranian parliament yesterday that Iran would begin using its most advanced centrifuges "as soon as a final nuclear deal goes into effect."
Iran's IR-8 centrifuges are capable of enriching uranium 20 times faster than the ones it reportedly agreed to use.
The Times of Israel warns, "If accurate, the reports makes a mockery of the world powers' much-hailed framework agreement with Iran, since such a move clearly breaches the U.S.-published terms of the deal, and would dramatically accelerate Iran's potential progress to the bomb."
In today's Wall Street Journal, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz write that the Islamic regime has mixed "shrewd diplomacy with open defiance of U.N. resolutions" turning "the negotiation on its head." They note that since negotiations over Iran's nuclear program began, Tehran has exponentially increased its centrifuges from 100 to nearly 20,000.
Any regime that has the blood of American soldiers and civilians on its hands, calls for the destruction of Israel and calls us "the great Satan" cannot be trusted.
Why Hezbollah & Hamas Are Happy - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is downright jubilant over the Obama/Iran nuclear deal. Why should Hezbollah care?
Among the many concessions Obama made in the talks was an agreement to immediately lift certain sanctions. According to various reports, that means releasing as much as $150 billion in frozen Iranian foreign assets. Nasrallah knows exactly what that means: More money for Hezbollah and Hamas.
During an interview Monday, Nasrallah said, "Iran will become richer and wealthier and will also become more influential. A stronger and wealthier Iran . . . will be able to stand by its allies, and especially the Palestinian resistance, more than at any other time in history."
This reality flatly contradicts Obama's rhetoric. He has repeatedly insisted that these nuclear negotiations are completely separate from every other issue -- whether its Iran's miserable human rights record, its refusal to recognize Israel or its aggression throughout the Middle East. But they are inextricably connected.
By giving the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism access to hundreds of billions of dollars, Obama is fueling Iran's aggression. Those funds will be unleashed against Israel and pro-Western Arab nations. Again, I have to ask, in what world does this make any sense?
------------- 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, misjudgment, President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran Vows To Break Deal, Hezbollah, Hamas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
What Our Founders Feared: Lawmakers Now Empower Non-Elected to Make Laws
by Sen. Mike Lee: At the close of the Constitutional Convention, when an elderly Benjamin Franklin hobbled out of the hall where delegates had debated the fate of the young nation for the length of the hottest Philadelphia summer in thirty-seven years, he was asked by a curious bystander, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin famously replied, “if you can keep it.”
The bystander’s question was a fair one, especially given that in 1787 monarchs held power in almost every corner of the world. King Louis XVI still reigned in France. King Carlos IV ruled Spain—and most of South America. Queen Maria sat on the throne of Portugal, and King Frederick Wilhelm III wore the crown of Prussia. Czarina Catherine the Great had recently expanded Russia’s border sat the expense of the Ottoman Empire, which was led by Sultan Abdülhamid I. Shogun Tokugawa Ienari presided over Japan, and in China the Qianlong Emperor was fifty-one years into his sixty-one-year reign. Meanwhile, in London, King George III was not yet halfway through his six decades on the throne of the United Kingdom.
America was unique. Its soldiers had fought from Lexington to Yorktown to defend their homes and their rights against monarchy. Its citizens were governed by state legislatures, elected governors, and representatives in Congress. And its most basic creed held that individuals should be subject only to the rules of lawmakers chosen by the people.
So it was no surprise that the government designed during that Philadelphia summer in 1787 would be ruled not by a prince but by the people — ”We the People” would be in charge. Radical as it was — in every other continent in the world—to propose that men could govern themselves, it was, in the United States, almost taken for granted. The issue in doubt was not, as Franklin’s questioner asked, whether the convention’s delegates would create a republic. The real question, as Franklin noted, was whether they could design one that would endure.
The convention’s delegates had been sent to Philadelphia to do exactly that, and at the heart of their design was Congress. That’s why the first section of the Constitution’s first article provides that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” That simple sentence captures, more than any other, the audacity of the American experiment and its break with millennia of pharaohs, despots, and divinely inspired potentates. It was no accident that the framers made it first in the structure of the new Constitution; they saw it as first in importance to the new republic.
The founders did not take their task lightly. Their revolutionary experiment in self-government might, they had to admit, not work. But it was worth the gamble because the alternatives were too terrible to contemplate. Freedom itself depended on an elected legislature of citizen lawmakers who would be accountable — directly in the House, indirectly in the Senate — for the people. They understood that “We the People” would never truly be free unless we retained control over the branch of government responsible for making laws. It was not enough that some of this legislative power be vested in a Congress whose members would stand accountable to the people at regular intervals. It was necessary to give Congress all legislative powers.
Of course, the Constitution also created an executive and a judiciary, but its drafters understood that keeping Congress’s powers separate from the other branches was necessary to preserve liberty. In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote that “no political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty” than the maxim that “the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments ought to be separate and distinct.” Liberty cannot long survive in a nation where the person or entity that enforces the laws is the same person or entity that writes the laws.
That ideal of separated powers, however, is far from the reality in which we live. The first line of the first article of the Constitution has become so distorted by successive Supreme Courts, Congresses, and power-hungry presidents that most laws are now written and promulgated by executive agencies, not by Congress. It is a system that is not just ripe for abuse but already being abused. Our federal regulatory system heavily burdens families, consumers, workers, small business owners, and vital American institutions, all of which are adversely affected by arbitrary regulations produced by unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board], the FCC [Federal Communications Commission], the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] and a host of other federal agencies that exercise rule-making authority largely unchecked by Congress and the courts. They echo one of the complaints against King George III, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence, which condemned the despised monarch for erecting “a multitude of New Offices” and sending “hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT
For nearly a century Washington has been sapping Congress of the legislative powers guaranteed by the first line of Article I and creating what Madison warned against: “a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department.” This chapter tells the story of how we got here—including the Constitutional Convention’s resounding rejection of the brilliant but misguided Alexander Hamilton’s proposal for an American king and ending with shortsighted choices by Congress, the courts, and even the citizenry that have combined to undermine the first article of the Constitution and produce something very much like a monarchy.
Since the advent of delegation to executive agencies, this cycle has repeated itself hundreds—perhaps thousands—of times. Congressmen claim credit for passing a statute with lofty promises, such as stabilizing the market for farmers. Then, in the face of their constituents’ criticism of an agency-made policy that harms them by fulfilling those promises, congressmen criticize the policy without having to actually vote against it.
Consider the costs of reducing air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency’s clean-air regulations cost Americans tens of billions of dollars every year. They result in higher electric bills; fewer jobs and lower wages for coal miners, car makers, and other workers; and less value for anyone who has invested (either directly or through a mutual fund or retirement plan) in a company that produces or uses energy—in other words, almost any company in America.
For good reason, we as a society have decided that this price (that is, the price of clean air) should be paid. But in imposing these billions of dollars of costs, there are countless difficult decisions to be made—decisions that inevitably involve a balancing of the costs and benefits of each possible restriction and culminate in a determination as to which costs are worth bearing and who will bear them. New power plants or old power plants? Car owners or electricity users? States that rely on coal or states that rely on natural gas?
While promising to reduce air pollution, the Clean Air Act answered almost none of these hard questions. It simply told the EPA to put whatever limits on pollutants the agency deemed “requisite to protect the public health” with an “adequate margin for safety.” Hardly anyone was against this law—until they became the ones who had to pay for it.
Among the most enthusiastic advocates for the law were New York’s liberal congressmen and their constituents. Opposing the bill before its passage would have been outright heresy at an Upper West Side cocktail party. But several years later, when the Clean Air Act was used to impose tolls on New York City’s bridges in order to increase funds for public transportation, city dwellers balked.
Sure, people in New York City wanted less pollution. Sure, improving mass transit would reduce automotive pollution. But tolls on bridges? That was going to hit New Yorkers right in their pocketbooks. After all, they lived on and around an island; how dare anyone charge them money to cross a bridge!
Of course, the tolls were the result of the law that New York City’s congressmen had championed. If liberal legislators had voted against the Clean Air Act, they might well have been voted out of office for opposing it. But by declining to make hard choices in the act, Congress had empowered others to make those choices. And when those choices were made in a way that hurt those legislators’ constituents, the congressmen feigned outrage. They even marched in protest across the Brooklyn Bridge. Only in the bizarre world of delegating legislative powers could members of Congress lead a march in protest against the consequences of a law they voted for.
----------------- Reprinted from “Our Lost Constitution“ by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) with permission of Sentinel, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright (c) Mike Lee, 2015. Tags:Senator, Mike Lee, Our Lost Constitution, founders feared, non-elected making laws, Congress, Constitution, Our Lost ConstitutionTo 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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