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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 24, 2015
Bibi Better Have The Cojones To Take On A White House Proudly Abandoning Israel
by Caroline Glick: In testimony last week before the House committee in charge of State Department funding, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power acknowledged that the Obama administration intends to abandon the US's 50 year policy of supporting Israel at the United Nations.
After going through the tired motions of pledging support for Israel, "when it matters," Power refused to rule out the possibility that the US would support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council to limit Israeli sovereignty and control to the lands within the 1949 armistice lines — lines that are indefensible.
Such a move will be taken, she indicated, in order to midwife the establishment of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state whose supposedly moderate leadership does not recognize Israel's right to exist, calls daily for its destruction, and uses the UN to delegitimize the Jewish state.
In other words, the Obama administration intends to pin Israel into indefensible borders while establishing a state committed to its destruction.
In about a week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government will be sworn in. The new government will have no grace period before it will be called upon to forge and implement policies to lead Israel through perhaps the most trying time in its history.
Clearly, developing the means to cope with our deteriorating relations with the US is one of the most urgent issues on the agenda. But it is not the only issue requiring the attention of our leaders.
Israel must quickly determine clear strategies for contending with the consequence of US's strategic shift away from its allies, Iran's nuclear project. It must also determine the principles that will guide its moves in contending with the regional instability engulfing or threatening to engulf our Arab neighbors.
As tempting as it may be to believe that all we need to do is wait out Obama, the fact is that we have no way of knowing how the US will behave once he has left office.
The Democratic Party has become far more radical under Obama's leadership than it was before he came into office. Hillary Clinton may very well become the next president, particularly if Jeb Bush is the Republican nominee. And she has evinced no significant interest in moving the party back to the center.
As secretary of state during Obama's first term in office, Clinton was a full partner in his foreign policy.
Although she appears less ideologically driven than Obama, there are many indications that her basic world view is the same as his.
Moreover, the world has changed since 2009. The Middle East is far more volatile and lethal. The US military is far less capable than it was before Obama slashed its budgets, removed its most successful commanders and subjected its troops to morale-destroying mantras of diversity and apologetics for Islamic terrorism.
In light of these changed circumstances, there are in essence two major principles that should guide our leaders today. First, we need to reduce our strategic dependence on the US. Second, we need to expand our policy of openly and unapologetically making the case for our positions to the American public.
On the first score, the need to limit our dependence on US security guarantees became painfully obvious during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
Obama's interference in military-to-military cooperation between the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon, and his decision to implement an unofficial arms embargo on Israel in the middle of a war, was a shocking rebuke to the powerful voices inside the IDF General Staff and in policy circles that Israel can and must continue to trust the US to back it up in crises.
Our need to limit our dependence on the US to the greatest practicable degree will have consequences on everything from our domestic military production and development industries to intelligence and operational cooperation with the US and other governments.
It is imperative as well that we develop a plan to wean ourselves off of US military aid within the next three-five years.
Netanyahu's critics continue to attack him for his decision to abandon the longstanding policy of settling disputes with the US administration through quiet diplomacy. They blame Netanyahu's decision to publicly air Israel's opposition to Obama's nuclear diplomacy for the crisis in relations. But they are confusing cause and effect. Netanyahu had no choice.
Obama has made clear through both word and deed that he is completely committed to a policy of reaching a détente with Iran by enabling Iran to join the nuclear club. He will not voluntarily abandon this policy, which his closest aides have acknowledged is the signature policy of his second term.
Under these circumstances, it has long been clear that quiet diplomacy gets Israel nowhere. Open confrontation with the administration is the only way that Israel can hope to limit the damage the administration's policies can cause. By publicly laying out its positions on issues in dispute, Israel can provide administration critics with legitimacy and maneuver room in their own critiques of Obama's policies.
The public debate in the US regarding Obama's policy of appeasing Iran was transformed by Netanyahu's speech before the joint houses of Congress last month.
Before he came to town, most of the voices in the US warning against Obama's nuclear diplomacy were dismissed as alarmist. Netanyahu's speech changed the discourse in the US in a fundamental way.
Today, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is highly controversial and unpopular.
And this brings us to the second burning issue the next government will need to contend with immediately upon entering office: Iran.
Since word of Iran's nuclear weapons program got out more than a decade ago, Israel has operated under the assumption that a sufficient number of members of the policy community in Washington were committed to a policy of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons to make the abandonment of that policy politically impossible. Netanyahu's strategy for dealing with Iran's nuclear program has centered on convincing those policy-makers to take action, whether through sanctions on Iran or through other means that would make it impossible for Obama to conclude a deal with Iran that would give the nuclear program an American seal of approval.
In recent weeks, we have seen the collapse of that assumption. The Senate's feckless handling of Obama's nuclear accommodation of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism exposed Israel's operating assumption as overly optimistic. So the policy must be updated.
An updated policy must be based on two understandings.
First, the US will not stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Second, due to Obama's commitment to nuclear accommodation of Iran, at this point unless Iran's nuclear installations are destroyed through military force, it will become a nuclear power. Israel's survival will be compromised and a nuclear arms race throughout the region will ensue.
Given this reality, Israel's public diplomacy should no longer be viewed as a means to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Rather, Israel should view it as a means to empower American lawmakers and others to stand with Israel in the event that it carries out military strikes against Iran's nuclear weapons.
Open support for Israel by the US public and by politicians and media organs will make it more difficult for the administration to harm Israel in retribution for such action.
As for the strike itself, both the operational and diplomatic aspects of a military action must be calculated to make the most of the changing regional dynamics.
Last summer, in fighting Hamas in Gaza, Israel found itself acting in alliance with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates against Hamas, Qatar, Turkey and the US. The Arab states served as Israel's blocking backs. They enabled Israel to withstand massive pressure from the administration that sought to coerce Israel into ending the fighting on Hamas's terms.
In recent weeks, the media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have expressed support for an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations. This support will be helpful in the aftermath of any such strike as well, and will again make it difficult for Obama to take revenge on Israel. Moreover, Israel must capitalize on these states' opposition to Iran's nuclear weapons program in order to convince them to provide operational support for Israeli forces attacking Iran.
This of course brings us to the third major issue on the next government's agenda: formulating principles to govern our relations with the Arab world.
One thing is obvious. The goal that informed all previous governments in the past — that Israel's top goal should be to sign peace deals with our neighbors — is irrelevant.
Our neighbors are all engulfed in wars or crises spurred by domestic opponents. These opponents have embraced al-Qaida and Islamic State and consequently, their domestic disputes with their leaders have been transformed into existential struggles between Islamic totalitarianism and regular authoritarianism.
Israel's policy to date for handling these affairs has been to support the Egyptian military government and the Jordanians and to prevent Iranian proxies in Syria from directly attacking Israel. This policy is correct and should remain in place. But Israel also needs to adopt policies that will enable it to protect itself in the absence of friendly regimes in Amman and Cairo.
To this end, Israel must stabilize the situation with the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. Israel must ensure that it has complete military control over these areas to prevent a spillover from Syria and to withstand the effect of a potential rise of jihadist forces in Jordan. As for Gaza, Israel must stop viewing Gaza, which behaves as a separate body politic from Judea and Samaria, as related to Judea and Samaria.
Gaza is a base for the global jihad and is a threat to Israel and Egypt alike. It has to be understood and treated as such.
In short, under the current circumstances, just as the notion of sitting down and signing a peace deal with Syria or Saudi Arabia is absurd, so the notion of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians is a throwback to an entirely different time. Today the only way to keep the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria separated from the chaos and jihad in neighboring states is to make them part of Israel. As a preparatory step toward that goal, the next government must act to more fully integrate Arab Israelis into Israeli society.
To this end, Netanyahu would do well to appoint a Muslim Arab minister to his government charged with integrating the Arabs more fully into Israeli society.
The world has changed since 2009. America has changed. The Middle East has changed. Israel faces an array of challenges and threats it has never faced before. The next government must understand the dynamics of the situation and quickly forge policies based on the world as it is, not as it was or as we would like for it to be.
------------------ Caroline Glick is the Director of the Israeli Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Los Angeles and the senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post where this article first appeared. This article was received via Jewish World Review Tags:Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi, Israel, UN, Samantha Power, White House, abandoning Israel, United Nations, Caroline Glick, FrontPage MagTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:your taxes, at work, Export-Import Bank Ex-IM Bank, corporate cronies, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Think You’re Finished Paying Your Taxes? Not So Fast.
by Andrew Collins: “A century ago, the income tax form was a single page,” writes Watchdog Arena contributor Peter Ingemi, but “today the tax code has become increasingly complex to the point where very few people actually do their own taxes.” In fact, a recent survey found that most Americans get an “F” in their understanding of income tax basics, scoring an average of 51 percent on a ten-question quiz.
We may have solved the problem of taxation without representation in 1776, but “it has been replaced by something almost as bad and nearly as destructive: taxation without understanding,” Ingemi quipped.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mess that is the American tax system. Granted, it may not seem like that big of deal that most people don’t really understand the tax code when they can use a computer program like TurboTax or hire an accountant. But to send your taxes off to an expert or computer is to concede that you don’t understand precisely how much you’re paying Uncle Sam – and why. It also means sacrificing a substantial amount of time (or money) to work your way through all the forms. Estimates of how long it takes to do an average individual return range from eight to almost 12 hours, and total tax compliance costs for the country are estimated to be as high as $182 billion. If you are “fortunate” enough to get a refund, don’t celebrate too much; it just means the government has been taking your money all year as an interest-free loan.
In the end, this widespread public ignorance makes it all the easier for government to collect and spend ever more money in ways unbeknownst to the typical taxpayer.
What can the average citizen do to start making sense of it all? The journalists and citizen contributors at Watchdog believe the first step toward understanding the present situation of our tax system is to realize just how much Americans are taxed. Every year the Tax Foundation releases a report that calculates America’s Tax Freedom Day, the point in the year at which the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its tax bill for the year. This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 24th, which is 114 days – or 31 percent – into the work year. It’s also a day later than last year. When all federal, state, and local coffers have been filled, Americans will have paid a grand total of $4.85 trillion in taxes, according to the Tax Foundation report. That’s more than they will spend on food, clothing, and housing combined.
But that’s not all; it gets worse. As Watchdog Opinion contributor Kathryn Hickok pointed out, when you include annual federal borrowing in that calculation (which we will eventually have to repay anyways), Tax Freedom Day falls back another two weeks to May 8th.
You can find where your state ranks on this map. If you live in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Oregon, or Virginia, Watchdog writers and contributors have written a more in-depth analysis of their state’s ranking and what it means for you.
----------------- Andrew Collins (@ACwords) when not writing an article, spearheads Franklin Center’s social media campaigns, promoting journalism through Franklin Center, Watchdog.org, and Watchdog Wire-branded accounts on various social media platforms. Previously, Andrew worked in campaign communications and television news. Tags:paying your taxes, tax freedom day, Andrew Collins, Franklin CenterTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Judicial Watch: In the latest scandal to rock President Obama’s controversial executive amnesty initiative, a known gang member charged with murder and drug-related crimes was shielded from deportation under the administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The illegal immigrant’s name is Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez and he was in the process of being deported when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shielded him from removal under DACA, even though the agency knew he was a member of a violent street gang. USCIS was also aware that Rangel-Hernandez had been arrested in 2012 for possession of drugs but rubber-stamped his amnesty petition anyways last August.
Earlier this year, months after our commander-in-chief granted him amnesty, the 19-year-old gangbanger was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with a three-day shooting spree in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the victims was a model who appeared in a popular reality television show, according to a local news report that confirms authorities knew Rangel-Hernandez was listed in a federal database as a gang member when they approved his amnesty. Under DACA illegal immigrants are also rewarded with work permits.
This month the Homeland Security agency implementing Obama’s massive amnesty program admitted that the gangbanger’s “DACA request and related employment authorization should not have been approved.” Americans would never know about this egregious case if it weren’t made public by a federal lawmaker who demanded answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The legislator, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and has long expressed concern about how individuals who are allowed to remain in the U.S. under Obama’s deferred action are vetted. Earlier this year the senator pressed USCIS for information related to the process and, specifically, about Rangel-Hernandez.
A few days ago the agency responded by admitting that it erroneously shielded Rangel-Hernandez from deportation considering his criminal history and gang ties. In a letter to Senator Grassley, USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez writes that “based upon the derogatory information in the background check, the outcome of the resolution process and final decision did not comply with USCIS policy.” The agency’s Background Check Unit (BCU) should deny consideration of DACA for a known street gang member, the letter confirms, further stating that “given the fact that the individual was identified as a known gang member, his request should have been denied by the adjudicator.”
But it wasn't denied and that creates many questions about the process. It’s bad enough that the administration is rewarding millions who have entered the country illegally with all sorts of benefits, but now we must wonder how many dangerous criminals are benefitting from this broad amnesty. The newspaper report cited above says that federal authorities have since found 13 other cases in the same crime database of people who were approved for protection from deportation. This means that, more than likely, there are a lot more. Unfortunately, the public may never hear about them until they commit a serious crime. Tags:Judicial Watch, illegal aliens, Gangbanger, charged with, murder, drug-related crimes, Obama Amnesty, Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez, Obama Amnesty 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 Nelson Hultberg, Contributing Author: Our government bankers print money today like loons in an asylum spew absurdity. Glib media shills lure us every night into a disgraceful indolence. And our corporations lust like spoiled children after mega-billions of illicit lucre. Cataclysm is coming.
No one with a minimal awareness of history, politics, and proper economics today has faith that our society can continue much longer at its present level of govenment privilege and debt accumulation. There is a Grand Piper that must be paid, and he will manifest in any number of scenarios, none of which will be pleasant.
One thing is for sure; the next two decades are going to be tumultuous and tragic. The events that unfold will be far more radical than we dare envision today. Paradigms in banking, politics, and philosophy will be overturned. Wrenching lifestyle shifts will be forced upon millions. Something akin to what happened in the Soviet Union after the fall of Communism in 1991 will take place in America. Our ruling regime will collapse and bring Russian style economic hardship to us all.
How exactly things unfold will depend upon whether the nation's intelligentsia bring themselves to seriously question the shams of statism, or whether the government-media-academy triad is able to continue bamboozling them. What is extremely unnerving is that whoever wins this battle to control the destiny of our country will determine the fate of freedom on the planet for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. A monumental clash of ideology and propriety looms up ahead.
Why We Are Disintegrating as a Society America's dilemma is this: we are being propelled toward an Orwellian style despotism that's purpose is to centralize government power in Washington, phase out American sovereignty, and move our country as much as possible into subordination to the United Nations and eventually alignment with Canada, Mexico, and Central America into a regional government. The world is moving toward the nightmare of Oceana, Eurasia, and East Asia in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which will extinguish freedom and merge mankind into a tyrannical egalitarianism.
Why is this happening? Such is the influential force of ideology. We are being destroyed because of what historian Clarence Carson called a "collectivist curvature of the mind" that took over our intellectuals back in the early twentieth century. This curvature of the mind functions as the grand fueling mechanism for the goals of government centralization and ending our national sovereignty.
It's horrifying, but every year our schools form the "best and the brightest minds" into collectivist apparatchiks to go out in the world and work their way into the power centers of society. The schools do this via false teachings in philosophy, economics, political science and history. This "ideological indoctrination" teaches every new generation that capitalism is an evil, exploitative, racist, warmongering system and must be phased out of modern societies. It teaches that national sovereignty is anachronistic and must be given up. Such indoctrination is being done very subtly and sophisticatedly, but it is a powerful, pervasive theme instilled into all our children from the first grade on.
This is why we have so many bankers, corporate moguls, political statesmen, authors, pundits, artists, publishers and priests working today to undercut the country. Being "the best and the brightest," they were taught in their youth that capitalist America is an evil nation. They, thus, have gone out and risen to positions of power with a globalist worldview that believes economic freedom can't work in the modern day, that American sovereignty is an anachronism belonging to the nineteenth century. Since they are the nation's intelligentsia, they are immensely influential. Their socialist-collectivist worldview is spread to the masses who then elect legislators sympathetic to such irrationality to Congress and the White House.
Making a Difference
All quite clear and horrifying. But how are we, as mere laymen with no access to national media or huge fortunes, to confront this destruction of freedom and sanity in America and throughout the West?
We must take a page from the story of the old man and the starfish. After a huge storm had brought a mini-tidal wave to his beach community one night, there were tens of thousands of starfish washed up on the shore that next morning. Amidst the masses of starfish the old man could be seen patiently picking them up and tossing them back into the sea. Along came a young lad in his twenties with green hair, eyebrow rings and a scornful face. He started laughing and mocked the old man with cynical derision. "You have to be crazy, old timer. You can't possibly save those starfish; there's thousands of them. You're wasting your time you fool. YOU CAN'T MAKE A DIFFERENCE!"
The old man looked up at the insolent youth and smiled. He then reached down and picked up one of the struggling starfish and winged it far out into the water, replying to his tormentor, "Made a difference with that one, didn't I?"
Everyone of us has to choose whether we will try to make a difference or give in to indifference. Will we fight to inform our neighbors or succumb to the easy road of apathy? Will we opt for principle or popularity? Will we succumb to the statist thugs on the far left, or fall for the anarchic screwballs on the far right? The "mean" of Constitutional sanity beckons to the percipient among us. Will it survive the tumult ahead?
Not everyone, naturally, has the time and mental wherewithall to forcefully fight the "ideological indoctrination" destroying our country today. But many of us do. Our power lies in our minds and the strength of our personalities. We who possess this inner strength feel compelled to spread the word in any way we can for as long as we live. We feel compelled to wing as many starfish back to life as we can.
The apathetic and cynical will scorn all this as senseless, just as the green haired youth did. They will choose to remain wards of the state and sanction their enslavers. This has always been the nature of most humans. When such wards see others fighting valiantly against seemingly insurmountable odds for the freedom they have scorned, they are subconsciously humiliated because they are not deep in the thick of the fight themselves. They have chosen to avoid the fight and sanction the tyrants who are destroying our way of life. Thus they must find a way to salve their consciences. That way is to caustically mock the Davids who go up against the Goliaths, to smear the Rolands of Roncesvalles that history hands down to us as heroic exemplars.
A Diplomatic Nuisance
You the reader have a paramount decision to make regarding all this. It is High Noon for the cause of freedom. Will you fight with the heroic exemplars? If you choose to fight, then your first necessity is to become aware of WHAT is happening and WHY it is happening. That awareness can only be found via fervent curiosity and a committment to the study of libertarian and conservative literature.
Your second duty is to emulate Paul Revere and warn all those in your sphere of influence. You do this by making a diplomatic nuisance of yourself, by pleasantly pestering your comrades to wake up to the elite's usurpations growing by leaps and bounds in our lives. You do it by convincing them that there are grander values in life than shiny new SUVs and country club memberships. There is something called the American way of life that requires personal independence.
Time is short. Collectivism steals over us like crack cocaine filters into a ghetto. It devastates everything of worth in its path. All the stoic traditions of strength, all the great lessons of logic, all the revered truths of Nature that have been handed down to us throughout the centuries are being assailed. The weasel-tyrants and their unctuous lackeys have gained control of the intellectual, political and banking power centers of our country, but they can't control the ultimate factor - the truth - because they can't control our minds unless we let them. They can't prohibit defiance. Solzhenitsyn showed us this. They can't extend their enslavement UNLESS WE SANCTION IT!
What the elites fear is a populace with the strength of William Wallace fighting King Edward at Sterling Bridge in 1297, the daring of Washington's band crossing the Delaware in the dead of winter. They fear those willing to fight for the original America. Up against such heady citizens, our collectivist tyrants will scatter like feeding jackals in face of approaching hunters. Our job is to build an army of such heady citizens.
You can help by joining the cause. Read the books of freedom and sound money, and pass them on as the early Americans did with Common Sense. Bring people to the website where you are reading this essay. Bring them to AFR's website. Bring them to a state of urgency. Bring them to the truth of our Constitution and to the laws of Nature and Nature's God. Nothing other than this kind of effort will suffice.
You cannot help truth and freedom by watching moronic TV shows at night. That is how the elites control you. They flood the airwaves with mindless entertainment. It's today's version of Brave New World's "soma for the masses." Today's TV is for zombies and dullards. The same applies to our movies. Next time you're in the theater, look around you at all the hoi polloi stuffing their faces with popcorn and their psyches with over-the-top violence and trashy sex.
Aldous Huxley was the first to point out that modern totalitarian regimes leave the "activities of sex" alone, but regiment the "activities of production." This allows those who are servile to think they are still free as they vote away their REAL freedom - their freedom to acquire and keep wealth, to associate with whom they please, to speak and worship as they please. Look around you. There are far more servile people in this human race than there are independent people. This is the reason why dictatorships dominate the history of man; the majority of humans want to be ruled. They want to relinquish their meaningful freedom; it requires too much self-assurance and grit.
Logic and History
The cause of America is the cause of REAL freedom. It won't be found with the malefic forces of statism on the left, nor with the eccentric cults of anarchism on the right. Both are living death, a fool's game for those devoid of the capacity to see the big picture, i.e., to see that the spectrum of reality is not two-poled, but three-poled with multifarious gradations and a golden mean of truth in between. The nature of human existence is complexity, wrapped up in mystery, contained in inconceivability, subsumed under the power of Truth. We will never create a free society by denying this and ignoring the results of logic and the record of history. This is what statists and anarchists do.
REAL freedom is impossible without a grasp of logic and a deep knowledge of history, which teach us that the cornerstones of freedom are: equal rights, strictly limited government, gold money and self-reliant people. The statists violate logic and ignore history because they are callous brutes who place power above all and simply don't care. The anarchists violate logic and ignore history because logic and history show their political system to be unworkable.
The truths we learn from logic and history are the disinfectants we must hurl into Washington's swamp of political leeches who are sucking all verity from our lives. When the Washington leeches have so stultified our nation that ghastly ruin prevails throughout, then is when the crackup will commence. All readers should take note. A meltdown is coming; a revolution will follow.
We must make sure this revolution goes in the direction of the Founding Fathers, not in the direction of the statist left, nor in the direction of the anarchistic right. Statism and anarchism are like Aids viruses; they will always be deadly to life. It is to Aristotle, Locke and Jefferson that we must turn. They will always be sustaining to life.
--------------- Nelson Hultberg is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. He is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic and author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values. Tags:America, Coming Crackup, Nelson Hultberg, Americans for Free RepublicTo 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: Iran Surrounding Israel - One of the most illogical positions held by President Obama is his insistence on not conditioning the Iranian nuclear negotiations on changes in the regime's behavior. Recognizing Israel's right to exist, for example, ought to be the starting point for any talks with Iran.
Does anyone lose sleep at night over the fact that France and Great Britain have nuclear weapons? Of course not. Those nations are stable, peaceful democracies.
But past behavior is often the best predictor of future behavior. And there is nothing in Iran's behavior to suggest that the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism can be trusted with the world's most destructive weapons. Iran is fomenting chaos throughout the Middle East, and it is moving aggressively to surround Israel.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Iran was "rekindling its relationship with Hamas." At first glance, that might seem unlikely given the Shiite (Iran) / Sunni (Hamas) Muslim divide.
But Western intelligence reports indicate that in recent months tens of millions of dollars have been transferred from Iran to Hamas "on the direct orders of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force." Hamas is using the money not for schools, hospitals or job training programs, but to rebuild its terror-tunnel network.
What is this all about? Consider this excerpt from the Journal's report:
"The Revolutionary Guards are eager to revive their relationship with Hamas because it gives them access to Israel's southern border, in addition to the northern border with Lebanon, where Iran funds Hezbollah militants. Tehran is also willing to set aside its sectarian differences with Hamas because its Palestinian militants share the same long-term objectives as the ayatollahs: the complete destruction of the state of Israel."
Suicide Bomber Suspect Arrested
Vatican Attack Foiled - Italian authorities launched a massive counterterrorism sweep this morning. Arrest warrants were issued for 18 members of an Al Qaeda cell that was operating mainly on the island of Sardinia. Nine suspects are in custody, while another six are thought to be in Pakistan.
One Italian official said that today's operation was "one of the most important ever conducted" in that country. Some of the suspects were reportedly very close to Osama bin Laden. Two are believed to have been bodyguards for bin Laden, and one "boasted that Bin Laden sent him personally to Italy."
The terror cell is believed to be responsible for an attack in Pakistan that killed more than 100 people and for a failed plot to attack the Vatican in 2010. The cell was also involved in smuggling individuals out of Pakistan by "helping them fool immigration officers into thinking they were political refugees."
I hope U.S. authorities are paying attention. It would be foolish to assume that radical Islamists are not attempting to exploit our own lax immigration policies.
------------- 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, Iran, Hamas, Vatican AttackTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Neither the Senate or House are in Session today. The House will return at 8 PM on Monday, April 27, 2015. The Senate will return on Monday at 3 PM and resume consideration of resume consideration of H.R.1191, Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act.
Yesterday, David H. Petraeus, former CIA Director and retired general, plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials. Petraeus admitted he provided the materials to his former mistress and biographer. He will face a two-year probationary period and must pay a $100,000 fine.
A new report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service suggests that high levels of immigration could be having a negative impact on the wages earned by American workers.
Immigration Up, Wages Down?
According to the report, which was requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the foreign-born population in the United States increased by 325% from 1970 to 2013. During that same 43-year period, tax data indicate the income of the bottom 90% of Americans fell 8%, while at the same time the share of income held by the bottom 90% of Americans fell by 16 percentage points.
Currently, the U.S. admits one million legal immigrants each year, plus 700,000 guest workers, 500,000 foreign students and 70,000 refugees. Meanwhile, many families have yet to recover from the Great Recession and the economy remains relatively weak.
Adding insult to injury, we know current immigration policies are costing some American workers their jobs. Not surprisingly, a January Gallup survey found that 60% of Americans were dissatisfied with current levels of immigration. By a nearly 3-to-1 margin, frustrated Americans said we should decrease immigration levels.
Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, has exposed the Senate Small Business Committee votes to hide Congress's Obamacare exemption! "Senator David Vitter pleaded with the Senate Small Business Committee, which he chairs, to subpoena the secret documents in which the House and Senate each claimed to be a “small business” with less than 50 employees -- to avoid going into the regular Obamacare exchanges.
"The same Obamacare exchanges they had the nerve to force millions of others Americans into. Now 13,700 House and Senate members and their staff have signed up as a “small business” under this false declaration.
"Senator David Vitter’s effort to expose these fraudulent documents failed because his committee voted against the subpoena 5 to 14.
"Five Republican Senators who voted YES on the subpoena:
Chairman David Vitter (LA)
Marco Rubio (FL)
Tim Scott (SC)
Cory Gardner (CO)
Joni Ernst (IA)
"Five Republicans and 9 Democrats who shamefully voted NO:
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Jim Risch (R-ID)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Mazie Hirono (D-HA)
Gary Peters (D-MI)
"It’s sickening that Congress got away with this in the first place, but to double down and conceal these documents from the public is simply unacceptable. . . . too many members of Congress of both parties are happy enjoying a special exemption for themselves and their staff. Even if it is based on the obscene fraud that Congress is a 'small business.'" Tags:Congress Obamacare Exemption, claims to be small businessTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
David Ray, Arkansas, Director, Americans for Prosperity: The Export-Import Bank interferes with the economy by providing billions of dollars in loans to politically-connected companies overseas in places like Russia and China --. with your hard-earned tax dollars! ARRA News Service Editor: Why are the "damn" Communists" and America's enemies getting our tax dollars? And, Saudi Arabia is rich; they do not need our money.
Time for the Export-Import Bank to die. All Congress has to do is to do "Nothing" and thus not authorizing the continuance of this "so-called" bank giving our money to other countries. The future of the Export-Import Bank -- and whether or not part of your paycheck is going to prop up companies overseas -- sits with Congress. Your lawmakers have a choice: they can either let the Export-Import Bank expire this June and put an end to this out-of-control corporate welfare, or they can reauthorize the bank and continue sending your hard-earned tax dollars overseas.
Tags:Export-Import Bank, your tax-dollars, take action, Americans for ProsperityTo 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: I'm not predicting that Hillary Clinton will lose the Democratic nomination or the White House next year. But if she does, historians may look back and say that this was the day it all started to unravel. A tip of the hat to Jonathan Chait for summarizing the headlines: "The New York Times has a report about the State Department's decision to approve the sale of Uranium mines to a Russian company that donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, and that a Russian investment bank promoting the deal paid Bill $500,000 for a speech in Moscow.
"The Washington Post reports that Bill Clinton has received $26 million in speaking fees from entities that also donated to the Clinton Global Initiative.
"The Washington Examiner reports, 'Twenty-two of the 37 corporations nominated for a prestigious State Department award -- and six of the eight ultimate winners -- while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State were also donors to the Clinton family foundation.'
"And Reuters reports, 'Hillary Clinton's family's charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.'"The first story is by far the most damning and it demands a thorough congressional investigation. It is also the most difficult to explain.
What the summary above leaves out is this: The Clintons gained much more than just a couple million dollars -- $100 million was pledged to a Clinton Foundation initiative by the man at the center of this uranium deal. Far worse, the New York Times reports that "the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States."
Ask yourself this: Would such a deal have happened without a former president greasing the skids and his secretary of state wife signing off on the deal? Watch this Fox News report to get a better understanding of this emerging scandal.
The New York Times reports that a soon-to-be released book entitled "Clinton Cash," by Peter Schweizer, may be the "most anticipated and feared book" of the presidential campaign cycle. Last month, a source close to Bill Clinton told a respected political reporter that Hillary's email server was a "secondary" scandal. He said, "Follow the foundation money."
That is exactly what Schweizer has done. He contends that there is "a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions [by the Clinton State Department] benefiting those providing the funds."
The Times also notes, "Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee . . . have been briefed on the book's findings." That suggests additional congressional investigations of Mrs. Clinton's tenure -- beyond lingering questions about her handling of Benghazi -- may be in the works.
------------- 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 FamiliesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house.
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called an American was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!
I still like the old paths the best!
--------------------------- Norm Beznoska Jr., aka Navyman Norm, is a Strongsville, OH resident . He contributes to the ARRA News Service via articles and Letters to the Editor. Tags:Norm Beznoska, Navyman Norm, paths, Old Paths, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Rep. Jim Jordan: Export-Import Bank Is Today’s ‘Bridge to Nowhere’
by Melissa Quinn: Comparing it to a decade-old example of wasteful spending benefiting special interest groups, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, today criticized the controversial Export-Import Bank by calling it today’s “bridge to nowhere.”
“I would argue that special interest spending today is not earmarks. Special interest spending today is these cozy deals that big companies get with the government like the Export-Import Bank,” Jordan said at the monthly Capitol Hill gathering Conversations with Conservatives. “I would argue that the Export-Import Bank is the ‘bridge to nowhere’ example of special interest spending going on today.”
Those against the Export-Import Bank—including Jordan, a leading opponent—believe the bank helps a handful of large, politically connected corporations such as Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric. Additionally, according to the bank’s records, approximately 40 percent of Ex-Im’s support benefits Boeing.
Specifically, those against the 80-year-old agency believe Ex-Im serves as an engine of corporate welfare and cronyism.
Supporters of the bank believe it creates jobs in the U.S. and helps small businesses compete in the global market.
Ex-Im provides taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign companies and countries for the purchase of U.S. products.
The “Bridge to Nowhere” was an earmark included in a 2005 highway funding bill that allocated more than $300 million for a bridge connecting Ketchikan, Alaska, to an airport on Gravina Island, home to just 50 people. The project cost taxpayers more than $300 million and later served as a prime example of wasteful earmarks used by lawmakers to benefit special interests.
In addition to Jordan, a number of top Republicans in the House have come out against the bank, including House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas—whose committee has jurisdiction over Ex-Im—and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Additionally, most of the 2016 Republican presidential contenders have signaled their opposition to its reauthorization.
“The chairman of the [Financial Services] Committee doesn’t want to reauthorize, the chairman of the Ways and Means committee doesn’t want it reauthorized. The Majority Leader [Kevin McCarthy] has said the same, the Majority Whip [Steve Scalise] has said the same,” Jordan said.
“Every outside conservative organization that I know of is opposed to it, and every presidential candidate is on record as saying it shouldn’t be reauthorized,” he continued. “And all we have to do is nothing. You tell me, when are the stars going to align up better for that position than now?”
Republicans are expected to gather for a meeting in the coming weeks to determine whether a majority of the party supports extending the bank’s life.
Hensarling hasn’t yet said if he will allow a bill reauthorizing Ex-Im to move through his committee, and Speaker Boehner’s office said the Texas Republican is leading discussions with members on the bank’s future.
Boehner and his fellow members of leadership could bring a bill reauthorizing the bank directly to the floor—bypassing Hensarling completely—but conservatives are warning against such action.
“It’s incumbent upon our leadership to allow the appropriate committees to work on this process, and if they decide as a committee that they’re not going to reauthorize, then they just need to let it go,” Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, said today.
For the embattled agency to end, which would lead to a winding down of its existing loans, Congress simply doesn’t have to act at all.
“It doesn't get any easier than this,” Jordan said. “If we can’t do that much, then for goodness sake what good are we?”
------------------- Melissa Quinn (@MelissaQuinn97 ) is a news reporter for The Daily Signal. Tags:Jim Jordan, Representative, Export-Import Bank, Bridge to Nowhere, Melissa Quinn, Heritage FoundationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Hillary Clinton, Blood Money, Foreign Donations, human rights abuse, AF Branco, editorial cartoonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Wyoming just made it legal for farmers to sell directly to local customers, in such venues as farmers' markets - without government inspection and conformity to the usual, clunky set of regulations that apply when selling to other businesses for resale.
The bill, recently signed into law by the governor, also allows neighbors to sell homemade foods to one another informally and at special community events like bake sales.
An obvious win for freedom. Who can argue against a free market in foodstuffs at the community level, where normal transactions tend to be customary and casual, and also obviously subject to regulation by reputation?
But government regulations still apply maximally to farmers and supermarkets and grocery chains. And yet, many of the arguments for local free markets apply equally to these currently controlled ones. Free competition would likely lead to the re-introduction of reputation economies into big agribiz markets. Could very well be transformative.
For our health.
After all, it's not as if government has really helped us in this realm. We are right now working our way out of a government-sponsored health and diet paradigm that we are learning was exactly wrong.
The official "anti-fat" hysteria made us fat.
A more competitive approach, allowing for different philosophies to operate - as they can at the community level, with old recipes co-existing with the new-agey ones, as well as with non-pasteurized milk and organic farms and local cheese and everything else - would encourage new ways of meeting old food fears as well as accommodating new food fads.
Extend freedom. (Not waistlines.)
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, a new, freer sector, Wyoming, legal, farmers, sell directly to local customersTo 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: In April 1999, we were all stunned by the news that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had attacked and killed students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and, more recently, in December 2012, that Adam Lanza, after killing his mother at home, then massacred twenty-six staff and students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. These events evoke dread of potential events, a quest to understand why they occurred, and ways to avoid further comparable killings.
Peter Langman has authored “School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators.” It offers very little comfort, but only because this psychologist, widely recognized for his expertise, is refreshingly honest.
“Many people seek to reduce school shootings to a bite-sized explanatory chunk, but the phenomenon defies easy analysis,” says Langman. “There is no one cause of school shootings, there is no one intervention that will prevent school shootings, and there is no one profile of a school shooter.”
He offers a wealth of information about forty-eight shooters He divides them into “Psychopathic shooters” whom he describes as “profoundly narcissistic, arrogant, and entitled; they lacked empathy, and met their needs at other’s expense” and ”psychotic shooters” who “suffered from schizophrenia or a related disorder. They were out of touch with reality to varying degrees, experiencing hallucinations or delusions.”
“Unlike the psychopathic and psychotic shooters, who generally came from well-functioning, intact families, traumatized shooters endured chronic abuse as children. They grew up in violent, severely dysfunctional homes.” Most fell into the first two categories.
I would like to offer the reader some comfort that school shooters can be “spotted” in advance, but in most the cases that Langman cites, they looked like everyone else in any school. Only if one of them was to confide his plan was there any opportunity to intervene and then only if he was reported.
Among the psychopathic category “at least 75 percent (nine out of twelve) had body issues. Many of these physical characteristics had a direct bearing on perceived manliness, including short stature, thin build, chest deformity, and fear of sterility” leading Langham to suggest a link between feeling weak or damaged and extreme narcissism. It is widely believed that bullying is linked to these events, but Langham notes that while about forty percent were harassed only one targeted a bully. While there is concern these days about bullying in schools, it is mostly due to a heightened awareness, not because there is more or less of it than has ever existed.
One thing does stand out, however, “nearly all shooters had bad educational experiences, including academic difficulties (failing classes, repeated grades, not graduating) or disciplinary problems…at least 92 percent had negative academic or disciplinary experiences.” And then there’s this: “At least 38 percent of shooters had relatives who worked or volunteered in schools.”
Another common factor was that “at least half of the perpetrators engaged in substance abuse (illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol.) In addition, “at least 42 percent of the shooters had a history of legal troubles, including arrests, contempt of court, and loss of a driver’s license.”
“Many shooters had trouble getting or holding jobs.” This was particularly true of the older shooters. Charles Whitman, an American engineering student at the University of Texas, gained infamy when in August 1966 he killed his wife and mother in their homes and later that day went to the Austin campus where he killed sixteen people and wounded 32 others over the course of ninety minutes, firing from the observation deck of the main building before being killed by an Austin police officer.
To academic and employment problems, add romantic failures. “Most shooters either failed to establish any romantic or sexual relationships or else suffered breakups or rejections that contributed to their anguish and anger.”
It should surprise no one that a number of the shooters “had specific role models for violence, including serial killers, mass murders, and other school shooters.” Most of them were psychotic, whereas the psychopaths “felt no need to attach themselves to a source of power; they were the source of power.”
Out of this densely documented book Langham concludes “There is no one way to prevent school shootings.” What also emerges is the fact that “Most school shooters leave a trail of warning signs that are either not noticed or not responded to.”
What the shootings are not about is gun ownership. Many of the shooters came from families that owned guns and used them for hunting or sport shooting. They had little reason to regard them as instruments with which to kill people other than their own twisted psychological interpretation.
What I came away with was the conclusion that the shooters are people we would all easily identify as “losers.” Beyond that, there is no specific way of identifying them, only suspicions of their capability to do the unthinkable.
----------------- 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, School Shooters, Peter LangmanTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Loretta Lynch New AG | Senate Passes Amended Victims of Trafficking Act | President Hot To Close GITMO.
Loretta Lynch New Attorney General
Today in Washington, D.C. - April 23, 2015 The House reconvened today at 9 AM EDT. The are expected to address only one bill before recessing this afternoon until 8 PM on Monday, April 27, 2015. That bill is H.R. 1731 — "To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to enhance multi-directional sharing of information related to cybersecurity risks and strengthen privacy and civil liberties protections, and for other purposes."
Yesterday the House passed: H.R. 1195 (235-183) — "To amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to establish advisory boards, and for other purposes." H.R. 1560 (307-116) — "To improve cybersecurity in the United States through enhanced sharing of information about cybersecurity threats, and for other purposes."
Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg issued the following statement prior to passage in opposition to H.R. 1560, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, and H.R. 1731, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015:
“If passed, H.R. 1560 and H.R. 1731 would severely compromise the privacy of young Americans. In the name of cybersecurity, these flawed pieces of legislation contain loopholes which would increase the government’s ability to engage in domestic mass surveillance – something our generation adamantly opposes.
“Just as bad: both bills hinder our generation’s ability to hold private companies accountable for protecting our digital information from government surveillance. Digitally-driven young Americans deeply value their Internet freedom. We’re watching both of these bills closely, and hope our elected officials vote in favor of protecting our generation’s privacy this week.” The Senate reconvened today at 9:30 AM EDT and resumed consideration of the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General. Following two hours of debate, the Senate voted 66-34 to invoke cloture on the Lynch nomination. After two more hours of debate time, the Senate voted 56-43 to confirm Lynch to be Attorney General. The following Republicans votes with Democrats to confirm Lynch: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Orrin Hatch (UT), Lindsey Graham (SC), Jeff Flake (AZ), Thad Cochran (MS), Susan Collins (ME), Mark Kirk (IL), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Ron Johnson (WI) and Rob Portman (OH). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke against Lynch's confirmation and listed the reasons he believed she should not be confirmed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that this afternoon the Senate will begin consideration of H.R. 1191, the vehicle for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. The Corker-Cardin bill that unanimously passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be offered as a substitute amendment.
Yesterday, after weeks of delay due to filibusters from Democrats, the senate voted 99-0 to pass S. 178, the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
Prior to passage, the Senate voted 43-55 to reject an amendment from Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) which would have stripped the Hyde amendment language from the bill and then voted 98-0 to adopt the amendment from Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) which changed funding details but still prevents funds collected by this legislation from being spent on abortions.
The Senate rejected two amendments to reauthorize certain runaway and homeless youth programs. One, offered, by Sen. Cornyn would have offset the cost of the amendment by repealing another health fund, was rejected by a vote of 45-53. The other, offered by Sen. Leahy, which would have expanded non-discrimination provisions failed to get the 60 votes needed by a 56-43 vote. Senators then agreed to interesting amendments to the bill
by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) - To direct the Attorney General to increase the amount provided under certain formula grants to States that have in place laws that terminate the parental rights of men who father children through rape.
Richard Burr (R-NC) - To require the Secretary of Defense to inform the Attorney General of persons required to register as sex offenders.
Mark Kirk (R-IL) - To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a penalty for knowingly selling advertising that offers certain commercial sex acts.
Eleven more amendments were adopted by voice votes.
Again, the Obama administration is pushing to close the facility for terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and is even considering an end run around Congress to import some of these detainees into the United States.
According to The Washington Post, “Facing a potential showdown with Congress, the Pentagon is racing to move dozens of detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in coming months before lawmakers can block future transfers and derail President Obama’s plan to shutter the U.S. military prison.
“As a first step, officials plan to send up to 10 prisoners overseas, possibly in June. In all, the Pentagon hopes that 57 inmates who are approved for transfer will be resettled by the end of 2015. That would require ‘large muscle movements’ by at least two countries, which officials hope will each agree to take in 10 to 20 Yemeni detainees who, because of security conditions in their war-torn homeland, cannot be repatriated. ‘I am aware of the clock ticking,’ a defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. ‘It’s going to take high-level leadership, and it’s going to take some big asks to some countries.’
“The issue of what to do with those remaining detainees on trial in military commissions or who are deemed too dangerous to release also looms over a White House that is facing the end of Obama’s second term in 2017.”
The Post adds, “Officials said that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who has not approved any transfers since he took office in February, will sign off in coming weeks on the repatriation of inmates to Morocco and Mauritania, and the transfer of six Yemeni prisoners to a third country. . . . In addition, another prisoner who may be resettled as early as this summer is Shaker Aamer, an alleged al-Qaeda plotter and former U.K. resident . . . . Debates about the safety of releasing detainees have held up transfers for years. One such detainee is Ahmed Ould Abdel al-Aziz, a Mauritanian who is expected to be repatriated as early as June. He was first scheduled for release in late 2009. . . . Another detainee expected to be repatriated in June is Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri, a Moroccan whom U.S. officials once described as a close associate of Osama bin Laden and a co-founder of the Moroccan Islamic Fighting Group, according to U.S. military files disclosed by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. . . . A decision to send Aamer, one of the highest-profile prisoners who could be moved out of Guantanamo Bay, to Britain would be an important signal that the White House is willing to go ahead with transfers despite some officials’ fears about detainees’ future actions. Some U.S. officials have worried about what Aamer, who was described in military files as an experienced al-Qaeda operative, might do once he is released.”
In a troubling passage,The Washington Post notes that the White House is contemplating another of its increasingly frequent and illegal end-runs around Congress. “In the event that Congress does pass legislation that would freeze Guantanamo Bay’s population, currently at 122, White House officials are exploring options for the unilateral closure of the prison and moving detainees into the United States, an action that Congress has opposed from the president’s first months in office.”
Not apparently content with executive actions of dubious legality that have bypassed Congress on everything from immigration to Obamacare deadlines and EPA regulations (not to mention outright unconstitutional recess appointments), the Obama White House is now contemplating defying Congress in another attempt to close Guantanamo Bay.
Indeed, according to the story, “The biggest challenge to Obama’s plan lies in Congress, where skeptical lawmakers are moving to tighten restrictions on sending prisoners overseas. In the Senate, Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is sponsoring a bill that would extend the ban on bringing detainees to the United States and would effectively bar future transfers to third countries.”
The Post article then reiterates, “In the event that Congress does pass legislation that would freeze Guantanamo Bay’s population at 122, White House officials are exploring options for the unilateral closure of the prison.”
Last month, as he has done since 2009, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell again chastised the Obama administrationfor “[t]he executive orders that attempted to close Guantanamo — without a credible plan for what to do with its detainees — and to essentially end our ability to capture, detain, and interrogate terrorists — regardless of the threats that remained for our country . . . .” Tags:Obama Administration, Gitmo, detainees, Loretta Lynch, confirmedTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:President Obama, Earth Day, Carbon footprint, Editorial Cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Dr. Bill Smith: It is with great pleasure to share the following announcement. Erik Telford has been both a friend and an encourager to me since I first met him in 2008 when we met at SamSphere 2008. He has proven to be both a uniter of conservative activists and a leader in the conservative movement. Here is wishing Erik the very best in his new position leading The Franklin Institute for Government & Public Integrity.
ALEXANDRIA, VA. –The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, publisher of Watchdog.org, has named Erik Telford as president, following a vote of the board of directors. Telford joined the organization in 2011, having previously served as Senior Vice President. Erik is a leading digital strategist, and has been recognized as a “Rising Star in American Politics” by Campaigns & Elections, as well as one of the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics” by Politics Online. A native of Connecticut, he holds a B.A. in Political Science and American Studies and an M.A. in Political Management, both from The George Washington University.
The Franklin Center was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state and local government. In addition to operating the Watchdog.org network of state-based investigative and political reporters, the organization provides professional training; research, editorial, multimedia and technical support; and assistance with marketing and promoting the work of allied reporters and affiliate news operations.
“We are proud to announce that Erik Telford is the new president of the Franklin Center,” said Franklin Center Chairman of the Board John Miller. “Under his leadership, the Franklin Center and its Watchdog.org websites will strive to keep citizens informed about their state and local governments at a time when the mainstream media continues to abandon its coverage. The Franklin Center has enjoyed much success in recent years, but with Erik now taking charge of a great team, we are convinced that its best and most influential days lie ahead.”
Jack Fowler, Publisher of National Review and Franklin Center board member said, “Erik is one of the top exceptional young talents in the pro-freedom movement. He is skilled, honest, wise, diplomatic, has a vision, has a winning personality — all of which, when combined, make for a great leader. And that is what Franklin and Watchdog now have at its helm. The board is excited to have this unique individual fulfill and expand Franklin’s important mission.”
Prior to joining the Franklin Center, Telford served as Director of Membership & Online Strategy at Americans for Prosperity, and is the founder of AFP Foundation’s RightOnline Conference, an event which brings together industry leaders in the fields of new media, information technology and advocacy communications.
“The Franklin Center’s mission to deliver political and investigative journalism in state capitals across the country has never been more important, I am honored and humbled that the board has given me the opportunity to lead this tremendous organization. I look forward to working with the board, the Franklin Center staff, and our Watchdog.org journalists to ensure that policymakers are held accountable to the voters, taxpayers, and citizens that they serve,” said Franklin Center President Telford.
-------------- The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government. Tags:The Franklin Center, Franklin Center, Eric Telford, named, PresidentTo 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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