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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, May 01, 2015

Again, Government Screws Up – And Tries to Blame the Private Sector

The Government Approach…
To Every Problem They Cause
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: Government is terrible at…well, pretty much everything. The examples are legion – and myriad.

In large part because government doing anything violates the Wallet Rule.You go out on a Friday night with your wallet. You then go out the following Friday night with my wallet. On which Friday night will you have more fun?If it’s money you’ve earned, you’ll be a lot more wise and frugal with it. If you have it handed to you – earned by and taken from others – these human nature restraints on how you spend it are out the window.

Government is always operating on other peoples’ money – so titanic amounts of waste, fraud and abuse are going to happen. It’s inherent – it’s human nature.

Which is why government is terrible at…well, just about everything.

It’s so elementary, even (some) Ivy League professors get it.Peter Schuck is an emeritus professor at Yale Law School and the author of the provocative new book “Why Government Fails So Often, and How It Can Do Better.”…Professor Schuck gets most of it. Government can’t do better – because the Wallet Rule is immutable.“Essentially, I use a criterion of cost-effectiveness, arguing that no other criterion is workable and makes sense.”When you hear “government program” – I’m sure you immediately think “cost-effectiveness.” The federal government is already over $18 trillion in debt – and that’s peanuts compared to what’s coming down the pike.Federal Unfunded Liabilities Total $84 TrillionNot exactly cost-effective. And that tally was from 2012 – before ObamaCare really kicks in.

Speaking of ObamaCare – there was a bit of a blowup regarding Oregon’s version.Oregon (Democrat) Gov. Kitzhaber Announces His Resignation Amid Scandal

Kitzhaber’s Resignation Invites New Scrutiny Over Oregon’s Disastrous Health Care Exchange
Scandal? Disastrous health care exchange?Ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber Put His Top Political Consultant in Charge of Cover OregonNo cronyism there.Cover Oregon Director Still Getting Paid $14K a Month After “Resignation”No cronyism there.

With all of this government going on – I can’t imagine why Cover Oregon was a disastrous mess.

Is government taking responsibility? Of course not – it’s not what government does.

Despite all of the (inherent) government fail, despite all of the cronyism – Oregon is blaming the private sector.Oregon Blames Oracle for Health Exchange Failure

Oregon…hired Silicon Valley giant Oracle to lead its state health insurance exchange - a project that received nearly $250 million in federal funds.

Oregon Sues Oracle Over Failed Health Care Website
Oracle is obviously a very successful company. Oregon’s choosing them was not the foolish notion the federal government had for ObamaCare.Feds Reviewed Only One Bid for ObamaCare Website Design

Rather than open the contracting process to a competitive public solicitation with multiple bidders, officials in the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid accepted a sole bidder, CGI Federal, the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian company with an uneven record of IT pricing and contract performance.

CMS officials are tight-lipped about why CGI was chosen or how it happened. They also refuse to say if other firms competed with CGI, or if there was ever a public solicitation for building Healthcare.gov, the backbone of Obamacare’s problem-plagued web portal.
(At least) one problem with Oregon blaming Oracle - it appears Oracle did what they were supposed to do. The fail began when they delivered to government.Cover Oregon did manage to sign several hundred thousand people up for Obamacare and Medicaid before making the decision to dump everyone into the federal exchange. How did it do that?…(T)hese centers were registering people using the backend of that never-launched (Oracle-built) website.

Further, we know from February 2014 emails from Cover Oregon boss Bruce Goldberg to Kitzhaber — emails that Kitzhaber tried to get the state to purge, by the way — that his agency thought the system could “function with a 90+ percent of accuracy for 90-95 percent of the population”; that the beta reviews were “more positive than negative”; and that many problems “can be overcome with training.” On the last point, he explained, “You need to use your mouse to click the ‘next’ button.… using your return key sends you back a page.”

These quibbles sound like typical beta testing concerns, not the stuff of lawsuits and dramatically failed exchanges. And yet, here we are.

Oracle contends that the site was ready to launch in February of 2014. The head of Cover Oregon basically agreed with that assessment when he was being candid with the governor. Instead, the state chose in April to fold the project and funnel all Oregonians into the federal exchange. Why?

If you think Oracle is basically right, then there is no sane answer to that question.
Anyone tethered to Reality knows looking for sanity from government is a fool’s errand.

And deciding whether Oregon or Oracle is right in all of this mess is a variation of a Hobson’s choice.A Hobson's choice is a free choice in which only one option is offered.Given the history of government, the history of failures of government - and Oracle’s history of private sector success - whom are you going to choose is to blame here?

Hobson would know. A Yale Law professor knows. We should too.
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Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter   /   Facebook.

Tags: Seton Motley, Less Government, government, screws up, again, blames private sector  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Bond With the Wind . . .

. . . Windmills Kill birds. According to a study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin, wind turbines kill 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats every year. To add insult to injury, the Obama Administration finalized a regulation that allows wind energy companies and others to obtain 30-year permits to kill eagles . . . 
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco
. . . Read More

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Barack Obama, Obama Administration windmills, killing birds,, bats, Eagles To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

GOP Must Investigate Clinton Uranium Deal

by Dick Morris And Eileen McGann, The Hillary Daily: A week ago, The New York Times broke a front page, lead article story that detailed how Russia, led by Dictator Vladimir Putin, took over Uranium One, a major uranium mining concern. The article noted that as the transactions unfolded, “a flow of cash” totaling $2.35 million “made its way to the Clinton Foundation” from a foundation controlled by the Uranium One company CEO.

The paper also revealed that right after the Russians said they would buy a majority of Uranium One stock, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech “from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”

Finally, the newspaper pointed out that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton — also the recipient of these funds deposited in the joint account she shares with her husband — approved Russia’s acquisition of Uranium One.

The NY Times noted that it did not know if “the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal.” But, it said, the episode underscores the “special ethical challenges” presented by the Clinton Foundation.

And that’s where the paper left it.

Tens of millions of Americans, reading the story, doubtless assumed that the Republican led Congress would get to the bottom of the affair and find out what role each of the Clintons played in the transaction. But since the story, there has been little or no action from Senator or House Republicans to investigate further.

Where is the GOP? Where is Congress?

The appropriate investigating committees of the House and Senate should convene a full investigation. They should subpoena the former president, Guistra, and the others involved in the transaction. They should ask national security experts to enlighten us about the risks of a large Russian presence in our domestic uranium market. We should hear from utility executives on how they would be impacted by Russian control of a fifth of our uranium.

Where are the defense hawks? McCain? Lindsay Graham? They should be out front denouncing Clinton’s actions and demanding a full explanation. The NY Times story raised key questions about conflicts of interest but also begs the question of whether or not a former president and his wife — a serving Secretary of State running for president — worked with Russians and Canadian mining interests to approve a deal that might prove injurious to the United States.

Bill Clinton did not disclose donations to his foundation from Uranium One — the go between in the deal. And, according to The New York Times, his aides “helped start a Canadian charity that effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million that went to his foundation.”

All this just adds fuel to the fire. In fact, the former president even lied to the media about meeting with Guistra in the first place. But where are the flames? Is the GOP asleep at the switch?

Tags: GOP, investigate, Clinton Uranium deal, Dick Morris, Eileen McGann 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 Clinton Foundations and Profound Dishonesty

by Newt Gingrich: Just this morning I learned that there was a small Clinton Foundation in Great Britain, the
William J. Clinton Foundation UK.

This has to be added to the dozen, literally 12, other Clinton Foundations that have now emerged. They are:Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation
Clinton Global Initiative
Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership
Clinton Health Access Initiative
Clinton Foundation Sweden
Alliance For A Healthier Generation
Clinton Climate Initiative
Clinton Development Initiative
Clinton Foundation in Haiti
Clinton Health Matters Initiative
Too Small To Fail
No Ceilings Partnership
Note that Too Small to Fail is a joint venture with Tom Steyer, the left wing environmentalist billionaire who is focused in defeating the Keystone Pipeline. Of course approving the Keystone Pipeline has to come through the State Department and has still not happened.

With 13 foundations already surfacing it will be interesting to see if there are any more.
A number of them did not report anything about the sources of their money.

The Clintons have developed an empire of corruption and dishonesty on a scale never before seen in America.

This afternoon I did a Facebook Q and A with Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash. It was absolutely fascinating. You can view the entire Q&A here.
----------------------
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, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, William J. Clinton Foundation UK, profound dishonesty To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Mike Huckabee Campaign Announcement Video: "Nailed Shut"

"Any drunken redneck can walk into a bar and start a fight. A leader only starts a fight that he's prepared to finish." ~ Mike Huckabee

Bill Smith, ARRA News Service: Today, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee released a video titled "Nailed Shut." It will be used to introduce him at his official announcement in Hope, Arkansas on May 5. The video highlights Gov. Huckabee's political record, which includes defeating the Clinton machine in Arkansas and governing effectively in an overwhelmingly Democratic environment. "Nailed Shut" also reinforces Gov. Huckabee's commitment to defending Social Security and Medicare for seniors, helping every American earn his or her maximum wage, and leading with moral clarity.
Transcript of video is as follows:
Rex Nelson, Arkansas Democrat Gazette:


"On his first day in office, Governor Huckabee's door was nailed shut."

"It was in Bill Clinton's Arkansas."

"You had huge Democratic majorities in the House, in the Senate..."

"You had all the apparatus of the Democratic party aligned against Mike Huckabee."

"And all of a sudden this Republican comes out of nowhere and wins."
Gov. Mike Huckabee:"Every day of my life in politics was a fight and sometimes it was an intense one. But any drunken redneck can walk into a bar and start a fight. A leader only starts a fight that he's prepared to finish."

"As governor of Arkansas - I cut taxes and welfare, balanced the budget every year for ten years, and raised average family income by 50%."

"We didn't slash, burn, hurt people, leave people impoverished. We empowered people to live a better life."

"I'm not a Republican because I grew up rich, I'm a Republican because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me."

"One thing that has to happen in America is moving the power away from Washington, where people are so disconnected from the way that so many ordinary Americans live. It's a disaster. Power needs to be local and limited, because the closer government is to the people, the more accountable it is to the people who are being governed."

"Instead of fighting over the minimum wage, I'm going to focus on solutions to help every American earn his or her maximum wage."

"I'll protect Social Security and Medicare. Washington has done enough lying and stealing. I'll never rob seniors of what our government promised them and even forced them to pay for."

"And I'll lead with moral clarity in a dangerous world."

"There's a difference between right and wrong. There's a difference between good and evil."

"I'll keep all the options on the table in order to defeat the evil forces of radical Islam."

"We believe in some things. We stand for those things. We live or die by those things!"

"Let's win the fight for what matters most."


Tags: Mike Huckabee, announcement video, Nailed Shut,  candidate, Republican, President, 2016 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

US Immigration Exam Replaces ‘Freedom of Religion’ With ‘Freedom of Worship’

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
by Kelsey Harkness: A Republican senator from Oklahoma pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson at a hearing Wednesday about why the U.S. is “misrepresenting” Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion to immigrants who are applying to become U.S. citizens.

“We in the United States actually have freedom of religion, not freedom of worship,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told Johnson yesterday during a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing.

Lankford was referring to the department’s decision to include “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion” as a basic American right listed in the civics test that all immigrants must take to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
“The [U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services’] questionnaire civics test has in it one of these things, ‘What are two rights of everyone living in the United States, and it listed out six different things: freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government, freedom of worship, the right to bear arms,” Lankford said. “I’d love to see ‘freedom of worship’ switched to ‘freedom of religion.’”
The Daily Signal reached out to U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services inside the Department of Homeland Security for comment on the civics test’s wording and they did not immediately respond.

Sarah Torre, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation who focuses on issues related to religious liberty, argued the difference between “freedom of worship” and “freedom of religion” is significant.

“This incorrect view of religious liberty argues that faith should remain a private affair—relegated to personal activities or weekend worship services,” she said. “Step outside the four walls of a home or house of worship and robust protection of religious freedom ends.”

Lankford, co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, said the phrasing has been that way for “over 10 years,” and that he'd “love” for Johnson to take a look at changing it.
--------------
Kelsey Harkness / (@kelseyjharkness) is a news producer at The Daily Signal where this article was first shared.

Tags: US Immigration Exam, Replaces, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Worship, Sen. James Lankford, Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

April 2015: Porker of the Month - VA Secretary Robert McDonald

VA Sec. Robert MCDonald
Porker of the Month
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald its April Porker of the Month for his further bungling of a massively mismanaged agency.

It is not easy to turn around a department in as much disarray as the VA. However, that effort should start by adopting commonsense business practices that are used in every company. Secretary McDonald appears to have run Proctor & Gamble (P&G) well enough that consumers can still brush their teeth with Crest rather than just Colgate and wash their dishes with Joy instead of just Palmolive. But the secretary has so far done a poor job of managing the VA within the very limited confines of competency for a government agency, let alone a private-sector company.

Secretary McDonald should be front and center with a response to every report of mismanagement at the VA. He should present Congress, taxpayers, and most of all veterans, with a clear, concise, and comprehensive plan to cut the waste, fraud, and abuse and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the VA. Instead, he has not exactly elicited the kind of empathy on Capitol Hill that would help him acquire the necessary tools to fix the agency’s problems.

During a February 11, 2015 House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on the VA’s fiscal year 2016 budget request, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) charged Sec. McDonald with “glossing over the extraordinary problems confronted by your department.” The secretary lashed back indignantly bragging, “I ran a company, sir, what have you done?” He shifted blame from the VA to Congress by telling Rep. Coffman, “You’ve been here longer than I have… If there’s a problem in Denver, you own it more than I do.” One would imagine that a response such as that to the P&G board when Mr. McDonald was CEO could have led to a vote on whether he should be fired for insubordination.

The “Denver” reference was to the medical complex in suburban Aurora, which has been a black eye for the VA for the past decade. The cost was originally slated to be $328 million in 2005. It ballooned to $621 million by 2006, and was estimated in March 2015 to cost $1.73 billion. The project was dubbed the “biggest construction failure” in the history of the VA. Despite his apparent abdication of responsibility for the project, it was on Sec. McDonald’s watch that the VA begged Congress to lift the $880 million spending cap imposed on the project. One rationale for the need to throw more good money after bad was to avoid another construction shutdown (the first of which happened on his watch in December). Indeed, Sec. McDonald forced one top official to take the fall for the VA’s continued financial negligence.

Sec. McDonald should also not escape blame for the failure to fix problems at the infamous Phoenix VA hospital, where the denial of benefits to veterans due to a combination of negligence and a flawed claims system has continued unabated. An October 2014 investigation found that a VA facility in Shreveport, Louisiana lacked “toothbrushes, toothpaste, pajamas, sheets and blankets” for veterans as the facility bought solar panels, new televisions, and new furniture. There so much mismanagement that the VA Committee could hold a hearing every week; indeed, there is another one on April 22, “Philadelphia and Oakland: Systemic Failures and Mismanagement.” The toxic culture at the VA has even fostered a chilling effect on employees who blow the whistle on this waste, fraud, and abuse.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “After decades of mismanagement, abuse, and waste, Sec. McDonald should at least show a little contrition. In his short time as secretary, he has failed to demonstrate sufficient willingness to reform the bureaucracy; instead, he has been arrogant. It is time for the secretary to take charge and give veterans confidence that he will provide them with the services they need, without delay and without excuses.”

For further bungling the management of a department ravaged by scandal, abdicating responsibility for its condition, and failing to provide a clear plan for resolving the problems and moving forward, CAGW names VA Secretary Robert McDonald its April Porker of the Month.
----------------
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

Tags: Citizens Against Government Waste, CAGW, porker of the month, Verterans Administration, Secretary, Robert McDonald, mismanagement  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

‘We Will Not Obey’: Christian Leaders Threaten Civil Disobedience If Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

Todd Starnes, Fox News: “We will not obey.”

That’s the blunt warning a group of prominent religious leaders is sending to the Supreme Court of the United States as they consider same-sex marriage.

“We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross that line,” read a document titled, Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage. “We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve.”

“While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross,” the pledge states.

The signees are a who’s who of religious leaders including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, National Religious Broadcasters president Jerry Johnson, Pastor John Hagee, and Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

The pledge was co-drafted by Deacon Keith Fournier, a Catholic deacon, and Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel. Also involved in the document were Rick Scarborough, the president of Vision America Action and James Dobson, the founder of Family Talk Radio.

“We’re sending a warning to the Supreme Court and frankly any court that crosses the line on the issue of marriage,” Staver told me.

He said that once same-sex marriage is elevated to the level of protected status – it will transform the face of society and will result in the “beginning of the end of Western Civilization.”

“You are essentially saying that boys and girls don’t need moms and dads – that moms and dads are irrelevant,” Staver said. “Gender becomes pointless when government adopts same-sex marriage. It creates a genderless relationship out of a very gender-specific relationship. It says that it doesn’t matter and that two moms or two dads are absolutely equivalent to a mom and a dad.”

WATCH: Todd Starnes talks about religious freedom victory in Ky.

Dobson said the legalization of same-sex marriage could fracture the nation.

“The institution of marriage is fundamental and it must be defended,” he told me. “It’s the foundation for the entire culture. It’s been in existence for 5,000 years. If you weaken it or if you undermine it – the entire superstructure can come down. We see it as that important.”

And that means the possibility of Christians – people of faith – engaging in acts of civil disobedience.

“Yes, I’m talking about civil disobedience,” Staver said. “I’m talking about resistance and I’m talking about peaceful resistance against unjust laws and unjust rulings.”

That’s quite a shocking statement. So I asked Mr. Staver to clarify his remarks.

“I’m calling for people to not recognize the legitimacy of that ruling because it’s not grounded in the Rule of Law,” he told me. “They need to resist that ruling in every way possible. In a peaceful way – they need to resist it as much as Martin Luther King, Jr. resisted unjust laws in his time.”

Scarborough said the pledge was meant to be forthright and clear.

“We’re facing a real Constitutional crisis if the Supreme Court rules adversely from our perspective on same-sex marriage,” he told me. For me there’s no option. I’m going to choose to serve the Lord. And I think that thousands of other pastors will take that position and hundreds of thousands – if not millions of Christians.”

Scarborough is urging pastors across the nation to sign the pledge.

He referenced the “outrageous penalties” being assessed against people of faith simply because they don’t want to participate in a same-sex union.

An Oregon bakery is facing a $135,000 fine for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian wedding and a Washington State florist faces fines for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.

“Christians are being declared the lawbreakers when we are simply living by what we have always believed, and by a set of laws that the culture historically has agreed to,” he said. “Right now the courts are changing the playing field and declaring that what the natural eye can see and natural law reveals is not truth. ... What will we do, and how will we respond?”

Dobson said there’s no doubt that LGBT activists are targeting Christian business owners.

“For about 50 years the homosexual community has had as its goal to change the culture, to change the ideology and if necessary – to force people who don’t agree by use of the courts,” Dobson told me. “I think there’s a collision here and we can all see it and where it’s going to go is anybody’s guess – but it is serious.”

To be clear – the men and women who courageously signed this pledge did so knowing the hell storm that is about to be unleashed on them – and their families.

“We have no choice,” Staver told me. “We cannot compromise our clear biblical convictions, our religious convictions."
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Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America."

Tags: Todd Starnes, Christian Leaders, threaten civil disobedience, Supreme Court, traditional Marriage, gay marriage, Biblical convictions, religious convictions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obamacare Exchanges Are Struggling - Millions Of Americans Faced A Tax Shock

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 1, 2015:
The House convened at 9 AM today. They immediately moved to H.R. 2028 — "Making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes." The then approved 5 amendments and defeated one amendment and moved to vote on the bill. The bill passed 240 - 177.

The House adjourned at 12:01 PM and will reconvene on at 11:30 Am on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 2029 (255-163) — "Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes."
H.J. Res. 43 (228-192) — "Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014."

The Senate is not in session today and will reconvene at 3 PM on Monday, MAy 4, 2015. At that time, it will resume consideration of the president’s veto message of S.J. Res. 8, a congressional resolution disapproving of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new rule allowing ambush union elections. A vote on overriding that veto is expected at 5:30 on Monday.

Liberals continue to insist loudly that Obamacare has been an unqualified success, perhaps in the hope that if they say it often enough, it will become true. On Monday, Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid declared, “ObamaCare is a smashing success.” (Part of his evidence was an opinion column by The New York Times’ Paul Krugman.)

Of course, the reality is that Democrats’ unpopular health care law continues to struggle, to complicate Americans’ relationship with their doctors and health care, to contribute to higher premiums and higher costs, and fails to live up to the promises made about it by its supporters.

According to The Washington Post, “Nearly half of the 17 insurance marketplaces set up by the states and the District [of Columbia] under President Obama’s health law are struggling financially, presenting state officials with an unexpected and serious challenge five years after the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act.

“Many of the online exchanges are wrestling with surging costs, especially for balky technology and expensive customer-call centers — and tepid enrollment numbers. To ease the fiscal distress, officials are considering raising fees on insurers, sharing costs with other states and pressing state lawmakers for cash infusions. Some are weighing turning over part or all of their troubled marketplaces to the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov . . . .

States have received nearly $5 billion in federal grants to establish the online marketplaces used by consumers to enroll in health plans under the ACA. The federal funding ended at the beginning of the year, and exchanges now are required to cover their operating costs. Most exchanges are independent or quasi-independent entities. For most of them, the main source of income is fees imposed on insurers, which typically are passed on to consumers. . . .

“Most exchanges have operating budgets of $28 million to $32 million. One of the biggest cost drivers is call centers, where operators answer questions and can sign people up. Enrollment can be a lengthy process — and in several states, contractors are paid by the minute. An even bigger cost involves IT work to correct defective software that might, for example, make mistakes in calculating subsidies. . . . ‘A lot of people are going to want to know: What happened to all those taxpayer dollars that went to these IT vendors?’ said Sabrina Corlette, project director of Georgetown University’s Center for Health Insurance Reforms. . . .

In Minnesota and Vermont, officials are so fed up with costly technical problems in their exchanges that they are considering handing over some or all of their functions to the state or federal governments. Lawmakers in Oregon abolished the state exchange in March, long after it was essentially turned into a gateway to HealthCare.gov. In Rhode Island, the legislature is considering a fee on health plans that would go up or down based on the exchange’s operating costs. In Hawaii, which has one of the most problem-plagued marketplaces, the exchange needs $28 million to fund operations until 2022, when it is projected to become self-sustaining, officials say. Without the money, ‘it’s going to be very difficult to keep the doors open,’ said Jeff Kissel, executive director of Hawaii Health Connector. As a backup plan, officials are talking to the Obama administration about a possible federal takeover of the marketplace, said an administration official who declined to be named because of ongoing talks. . . .

Some state lawmakers express frustration that exchange officials either don’t know whether their marketplaces will eventually be self-sufficient or are reluctant to say. ‘Basically, the exchange is teetering and the question is, “Can this be shored up?”’ said Republican Sen. Ellen Roberts, who chairs the committee with oversight of Colorado’s exchange board. The cost of running the exchange’s call center is expected to reach $21.3 million for this year, well above a previous estimate of $13.6 million. . . .

“Some critics say the states’ problems show that supporters of the law underestimated the practical difficulties of setting up the exchanges. The states are facing ‘execution problems more than political resistance problems,’ said Thomas Miller, a health-care policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute.

In Vermont, where the system’s cost is projected to balloon to almost $200 million by the end of the year, officials are eyeing a move to the federal marketplace if things don’t improve. Officials from Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut met recently to explore banding together in some sort of regional effort. In Maryland, where the exchange’s technology problems were so daunting that officials turned to Connecticut for help, officials expect to have enough revenue to cover operations for the fiscal year that begins July 1. If not, the exchange would need to ask the governor for more funds. . . .

Even if some state exchanges wind up handing the reins to HealthCare.gov, doing so is not free. Each exchange would have to be made compatible with the federal marketplace at a cost of about $10 million per exchange, Wadleigh said.”

Meanwhile, as the recent tax season it was discovered that 5.5 million Americans owed the IRS money thanks to Obamacare. The editors at Investors Business Daily wrote earlier this week, “Providing still more evidence of how ObamaCare is ‘working,’ most enrollees learned this year that they had to pay back a huge chunk of their insurance subsidies. . . . So much for ‘affordability.’ H&R Block now figures that two-thirds of ObamaCare enrollees who got subsidies had to pay at least some of it back. And the average payback was $729. So roughly 5.5 million ObamaCare enrollees had to return, on average, almost a quarter of their premium subsidies. Given that these subsidies are available only to families with modest incomes, that's got to hurt.”

H&R Block found that “[a]lmost two-thirds of tax filers who received insurance via the state or federal insurance Marketplaces had to pay back an average of $729 of the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC), cutting their potential refund by almost one-third, according to analysis of filing data . . . . With current Marketplace enrollment figures at 11-plus million there is potential for more taxpayers to have to repay a large portion of the APTC during next year’s tax filing season, according to Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president of H&R Block health care and tax services. ‘There was quite a bit of new ACA-related complexity for taxpayers to deal with this tax season,’ Ciaramitaro said. . . . ‘This season saw general ACA-related confusion, incorrect or delayed 1095-A information documents, and overall anxiety regarding refund impacts,’ Ciaramitaro said. ‘With many taxpayers now receiving coverage documentation, more taxpayers who will experience APTC reconciliation and the doubling of penalties, unfortunately we should expect taxpayer anxiety and confusion to continue next year.’

The IBD editors add, “Why all the subsidy mistakes? Because ObamaCare uses a Rube Goldberg subsidy scheme that requires enrollees to predict next year's income. If they guess too low, their insurance subsidies will be too high. Overestimate their income and the subsidies will be too low. H&R Block also found that the average penalty paid by the uninsured last year was $178. That no doubt was also a surprise to many who thought it would be just $95.”

Discussing the Republican Congress’ budget yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out that the budget “provides a tool for the Senate majority to repeal a failed policy of the past — Obamacare — so we can start over with real, patient-centered health reform.”

Tags: Obamacare, exchanges struggling, Tax Shock,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Anti-Trust Law and Lawlessness

Dr. Thomas Sowell
by Dr. Thomas Sowell: We all make mistakes and some of us learn from them. What is even better is to learn from other people's mistakes, where they pay for those mistakes while we learn free of charge.

Many Americans who say that we should learn from other people, especially Europeans, mean that we should imitate what they did. That may make those who talk this way feel superior to other Americans. But let us never forget that the most disastrous ideologies of the 20th century — Communism, Fascism and Nazism — all originated in Europe. So did both World Wars.

More recently, Europe has been belatedly discovering how unbelievably stupid it was to import millions of people from cultures that despise Western values, and which often promote hatred toward Western people.

Maybe that is a mistake that we can think about when Congress finally decides to do something about our open borders and our immigration laws that we refuse to enforce.

European anti-trust regulators are giving us another free lesson in confused thinking by filing anti-trust charges against Google, on grounds that its searching facilities give preferential treatment to Google's own searching services over other competing searching services.

The European Union's commissioner for competition explained the basis for the complaint against Google: "We have a focus on a certain conduct, a certain behavior which, if our doubts are going to be proven, we would like to change because we believe that it hampers competition."

Some of us think laws should be clear-cut statements of what you can and cannot do. Indicting people under laws that can lead to fines in the billions of dollars over what "we believe" or what international bureaucrats have "doubts" about is not really law. It is an exercise of arbitrary power, based on whatever subjective notions are in vogue among government bureaucrats.

The history of American anti-trust law shows too many similar vague and confused notions masquerading as law. The idea that the accused must prove their innocence, under the "rebuttable presumptions" of the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, was a forerunner of the same mindset under later "disparate impact" theories in civil rights law.

What such fancy words boil down to is that very little evidence is required to shift the burden of proof to the accused, in defiance of centuries-old legal traditions that the accuser has the burden of proof in criminal cases and the plaintiffs have the burden of proof in civil cases. Otherwise, any fact or theory that sounds plausible to legal authorities is enough to force the accused to prove a negative or lose the case.

Such violations of the legal standards used in most other cases are usually inflicted on those who have already been demonized and whose guilt has been assumed and punishment is fervently desired, such as big business, employers accused of discrimination or men accused of rape.

Google is accused of running its Internet search programs in such a way that they are more accessible to the public than other search programs available through Google. Since people can search through other sources besides Google, it is not at all clear why Google cannot run its own operation for its own benefit, while others run their operations for their own benefit.

The whole point of competition in the market is to create economic efficiency which, by its very nature, means eliminating the less efficient producers. Confusion about the difference between maintaining competition and maintaining competitors has long plagued anti-trust law on both sides of the Atlantic. But Americans seem in recent years to be recognizing the difference.

In Europe, there still seems to be a notion that big companies with many customers should help their smaller competitors survive — especially if the big companies are American and the smaller companies are European. In other words, Google should be run in such a way that competing search programs are as prominently featured as Google's own search program.

Whatever the case that could be made for this argument, as a matter of manners, noblesse oblige or whatever, people in charge of anti-trust law are not in charge of manners or noblesse oblige. Law is too serious to be subordinated to fashionable notions or political expediency.
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Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University. He is a retired professor of Economic and presently is a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Visit his website: tsowell.com and view a list of other articles.

Tags: Thomas Sowell, commentary, anti-trust law, lawlessness, Europe, European anti-trust, regulators, illegal 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!

50 Years of Democrat Destructive Policies . . .

. . . oppressing the inner cities like Baltimore, Maryland.
Editorial Cartoon by Rick McKee

Tags: 50 Years, Democrat Destructive Policies, oppressing the inner cities, Baltimore, Maryland, editorial cartoon, Rick MCKee To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Donald Trump Slams Pacific Free Trade Deal

by Alanna Petroff, CNN Money: Donald Trump has lashed out against President Obama's plans to create a free trade area across the Pacific.

The outspoken businessman, who is known to start brawls on Twitter, sent out a series of tweets explaining his opposition.
"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an attack on America's business. It does not stop Japan's currency manipulation. This is a bad deal," he said.

The U.S. government has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) since 2009 with 11 other nations, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Chile, Canada and Mexico.

It hopes to wipe out trade tariffs to bring down the cost of importing and exporting, which would help make U.S. businesses more competitive overseas. It would also make it easier for businesses to invest in other countries.

The U.S. government estimates a TPP agreement would add $223 billion per year to the global economy by 2025.
Related: This country has zero income tax for most workers

But Trump believes the deal would hurt U.S. businesses, particularly manufacturers, and put people out of work.

Trump's line of thinking goes like this: U.S. firms would be hurt if the free trade deal makes foreign products cheaper for Americans to buy.

He notes Japan's recent record of devaluing its currency, which makes it easier for Japanese exporters to compete for U.S. business.

According to data from 2012, America's trade with the 11 other nations was worth roughly $1.8 trillion, up 46% over the previous three years.

The government estimates that trade with these countries has helped support four million American jobs.

The U.S. government is also working on a similar deal with the European Union, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
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Alanna Petroff (@AlannaPetroff) is a business reporter based in CNN's London bureau.

Tags: Donal Trump, slams, Trans-Pacific Partnership, attack on American business, CNN Money, Alanna Petroff To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

GOP Can Get Swing Voters

Dick Morris
Img by Bill Smith, Editor
by Dick Morris: A false choice dominates current Republican thinking: You have to move to the center to get independents, even though it offends your base and your principles, or you must run to the right, lose swing voters and pray that higher turnout will help you win.
But that dichotomy applies only to social issues like abortion or gay marriage, where the extremes of both sides distrust the middle.

There are a great number of ways to capture swing voters without compromising the conservative base, issues that animate and motivate the base but also attract independent voters.

These are the issues that Republicans can use to win.

Immigration and income inequality: Swing voters oppose President Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants and are appalled by his open border that lets in hundreds of thousands of Central American kids who show up on our doorstep.
But while Republicans see immigration as a law and order or cultural values issue, swing voters see it as an economic challenge. For them, immigration and income inequality merge as political issues.

The essence of triangulation is to use your tools to fix their car. Use the tool of opposition to illegal immigration to fix the economic inequality car. Republicans should oppose illegal immigration because of its economic impact on American workers. The millions who come here and settle on the bottom of the economic ladder block the upward progress of those already on the lower rungs who want to move up.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that Census data show the proportion of native-born Americans who have full-time jobs has risen by only 0.1 percent since 2000, while among other groups (legal and illegal immigrants and naturalized citizens) it has risen by 5.7 percent in the same period. Virtually all jobs created since 2000 have gone to people who were not born in the United States.

Blue-collar Americans have always been threatened by immigration and remain so today. Republicans can win their votes.

ObamaCare: From the beginning, Americans have opposed ObamaCare. The latest Rasmussen poll (April 27), like so many others, shows 54 percent disapprove of the program, compared to 42 percent who view it favorably. Republicans can attract swing voters by pounding away at the healthcare reform law. It was Mitt Romney’s handicap in 2012 that his record in Massachusetts made him unable to do so.

But while Republicans should attack the law’s mandates, taxes, lack of choice, quality of care and every other aspect, they should take care to support its ban on rejecting pre-existing conditions and on terminating coverage or raising rates during illness. Otherwise, have at it!

Wall Street: Republicans must reject the Wall Street wing of the party and go after the small-business owner and entrepreneur instead. These voters — and almost all swing voters — share the view that Wall Street is predatory, self-interested, fraudulent and deceitful. They blanch at the fact that none of the miscreants who caused the sub-prime crisis is in jail or every likely to go there. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) arguments cater to voters of all types, and Republicans should pick up her lines of attack.

Guns: There has been an important change in popular attitudes toward guns. In 1990, Gallup reported that 78 percent of Americans favored stricter gun controls while 19 percent wanted looser controls or supported the current law. Now it’s reversed. Only 47 percent want stricter controls and 52 percent support current law or want less regulation. In 1993, Americans said that having a gun in the house makes it a more dangerous place, 52 percent to 42 percent. Now they say it makes home a safer place, 63 percent to 30 percent. Swings like this offer enormous political opportunities to use guns to pick up swing voters (not necessarily AK-47 assault rifles, but handguns).

These issues are the real way to win elections. Keep your base but reach out to the center on the issues over which you find common ground.
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Richard "Dick" Morris is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant. He has worked on both sides of politics for candidates and his articles can be found at DickMorris.com.

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Run, Hillary, Run!

. . . Hillary Scandals has her on the run from the press.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Hillary Clinton, Run, Hillary, scnadals, Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Senate Majority Leader Grills EPA Chief On Climate Rules | Seeks To Thwart Obama's Climate Agenda

Today in Washington, D.C. - April 30, 2015:
The House reconvened at 10 AM today.
The House is today may take up:
H.R. 1732 - "To preserve existing rights and responsibilities with respect to waters of the United States, and for other purposes."
The conference report to accompany the concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 11) setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025.
H.J. Res. 43 - Joint resolution disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014."
H.R. 2029 — "Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of H.R. 1191, the vehicle for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

At noon, the Senate began consideration of the president’s veto message of S.J. Res. 8, a congressional resolution disapproving of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new rule allowing ambush union elections.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 45-54 to reject an amendment to the bill from Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) which would have required the president to certify that Iran hasn’t directly supported terrorism against the US in the last 90 days, or else legislation reinstating sanctions would be expedited.


The Hill reports, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took advantage of a rare opportunity Wednesday to attack the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over her agency's main climate change rule.

“McConnell grilled Gina McCarthy during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subpanel in charge of the EPA’s budget. McConnell is one of the Senate's most vocal opponents of the EPA’s carbon limits for power plants. He argues the rules would destroy Kentucky’s coal sector

“My constituents want their dignity restored, they want to be able to work, they want to be able to provide for their families,” McConnell said after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the panel’s chairwoman, let him have the first round of questions. ‘You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t cost my constituents jobs,’ he said. ‘You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t raise their utility bills.’

“The EPA’s climate rule has been one of McConnell’s top targets as leader of the Senate. He pledged the day after last year’s election that he would make it a top priority to ‘get the EPA reined in.’”

At the hearing, Leader McConnell told McCarthy, “Administrator McCarthy, as you know, things are not well in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have a depression in eastern Kentucky. Your agency’s proposed budget request, if approved, would facilitate the EPA’s plan to shutter coal plants in my state and put countless more of my constituents out of work—all at the service of a regulatory agenda. The actual benefits of which neither you or anyone else can seem to explain. My constituents want their dignity restored. They want to be able to work and they want to be able to provide for their families. You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t cost my constituents jobs. You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t raise their utility bills. You refused my multiple invitations to come to our state and discuss these regulations with my constituents…”

National Journal adds, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell launched a new push to thwart President Obama's climate agenda on Wednesday, suggesting that Congress may be able to block regulations to curb power-plant emissions using an obscure provision of the Clean Air Act. So far, McConnell's most high-profile effort to sink the regulatory regime that stands as the centerpiece of the president's climate agenda has been a campaign urging states not to comply with the rule.

“But during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday, McConnell suggested that section 102(c) of the Clean Air Act could allow Congress to check the administration's authority to enact the regulation. The provision applies to multi-state pacts that derive from the Clean Air Act.

“‘The law reads: 'No such agreement or compact shall be binding or obligatory upon any state unless and until it has been approved by Congress, . . . Doesn't seem ambivalent to me.’ McConnell continued: ‘I can assure you that as long as I'm majority leader of the Senate, this body is not going to be signing off on any backdoor energy tax.’”

Tags: Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, grills, EPA Chief, Climate Change Rules, War On Coal, EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator Gina McCarthy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Jonathan Cahn: 'Follow Baal And Go To Hell'

by Bob Unruh: Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Harbinger” and the inspiration behind the “Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” movie, on Wednesday smacked down the Supreme Court’s assumption that it has the authority to redefine marriage.

Cahn’s comments followed by only about 24 hours the hearing in the august courtroom where the justices heard arguments on whether the U.S. government would mandate recognition of homosexual “marriage” across the country.

Or not.

“The justices of the Supreme Court took up their seats [in a hearing] on whether they should strike down the biblical and historic definition of marriage,” he said. “That the event should even take place is a sign this is America of [George] Washington’s warning … a nation at war against its own foundation.”

Washington’s warning was the smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation “that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself hath ordained.”

He noted the Supreme Court opens sessions with the words, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

“If this court should overrule the word of God and strike down the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself ordained, how then will God save it?” he asked. “Justices, can you judge the ways of God? There is another court and there another judge, where all men and all judges will give account.

“If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised God will pass judgment on the court and that nation? We are doing that which Israel did on the altars of Baal,” he said.

“We are exchanging our light for darkness.”

The comments came at the 2015 “Washington: A Man of Prayer” service at the U.S. Capitol, an event that was livestreamed online.

The service is an effort by Rev. Dan Cummins to return prayer to the Capitol building, where generations of Washingtonians worshiped God under an open-doors policy.

“Washington: A Man of Prayer” commemorates the events of April 30, 1789, when, after being sworn in at Federal Hall, President Washington, accompanied by Congress, proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel where they “offered dedicatory prayers to God in divine services on America’s behalf.”

Honorary hosts for this year’s event were Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla, and Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va.

Many members of Congress participated, but when Cahn took the speaker’s podium the warnings were loud and clear.

He said America’s biblical foundation was affirmed throughout history and the nation came into existence “solely for the glory and purposes of God.”

“No historian can rewrite that. No president can expunge that,” he warned. “If a thousand angels swore on a thousand Bibles that this was not the case, it would in no way alter the fact. … America was brought into existence for the will and purposes of God.”

He explained ancient Israel turned away from God.

“They drove God out of the government. They worshiped idols and served other gods. They celebrated immorality and they persecuted righteousness. The blessings of God were removed and replaced with judgments,” he said.

Now, he said, “America has made the same mistakes.”

He cited the deaths of 55 million through abortion.

“What we were warned never to do we now have done,” he thundered.

Moving to directly confront President Obama, whose pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agenda has been unparalleled in American history, he questioned what happens when a leader places his left hand on the Bible to assume to highest office in the land but with his right hand “enacts laws that violate the laws of God.”

“Mr. President, when you address the House, look up above the senators and the representatives, above the Supreme Court justices, you’ll see a face, the only full visage in that wall. It is the face of Moses. … It would say this, ‘No man can overrule the laws of God. No judgment of man can stand against the judgment of God’.”

Many members of Congress participated, but when Cahn took the speaker’s podium the warnings were loud and clear.

He said America’s biblical foundation was affirmed throughout history and the nation came into existence “solely for the glory and purposes of God.”

“No historian can rewrite that. No president can expunge that,” he warned. “If a thousand angels swore on a thousand Bibles that this was not the case, it would in no way alter the fact. … America was brought into existence for the will and purposes of God.”

He explained ancient Israel turned away from God.

“They drove God out of the government. They worshiped idols and served other gods. They celebrated immorality and they persecuted righteousness. The blessings of God were removed and replaced with judgments,” he said.

Now, he said, “America has made the same mistakes.”

He cited the deaths of 55 million through abortion.

“What we were warned never to do we now have done,” he thundered.

Moving to directly confront President Obama, whose pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agenda has been unparalleled in American history, he questioned what happens when a leader places his left hand on the Bible to assume to highest office in the land but with his right hand “enacts laws that violate the laws of God.”

“Mr. President, when you address the House, look up above the senators and the representatives, above the Supreme Court justices, you’ll see a face, the only full visage in that wall. It is the face of Moses. … It would say this, ‘No man can overrule the laws of God. No judgment of man can stand against the judgment of God’.”

Historically, as many as 2,000 people were in attendance for worship services in the Capitol after President Thomas Jefferson approved the events.

Services were held in the chamber where the House of Representatives met from 1807 to 1857, now called Statuary Hall.

Cummins, recalling Washington’s first inauguration, said “the world saw more than just the inauguration of the president of a new nation; it witnessed a watershed moment in history when the ideals penned in ink on parchment at Philadelphia’s Continental Congress would preserve what sword and patriots’ blood had inscribed on the field of battle.”

Cummins is founding pastor of Bridlewood Church in Bullard, Texas, and the director of church relations for Renewing American Leadership in Washington, D.C.

Pastor Sergio De La More, founder of Cornerstone Church of San Diego, who spoke at the prayer event in 2013, said it’s important to understand America’s foundation.

“I am certain the framework of our country, built not on economic status, race, or political standing, but rather on the foundation of faith and prayer, still stands as a monument of strength for all people everywhere. We, as a multi-ethnic nation have a rare and historical opportunity to unify ourselves as one church and rally to represent one culture-kingdom culture.”

Kenda Bartlett, executive director of Concerned Women for America in Washington, said, “Over 32 years ago Mrs. Beverly LaHaye, wife of Dr. Tim LaHaye, and a small group of Christian women gathered around a kitchen table to answer God’s calling to start a women’s public policy organization dedicated to putting faith and prayer back into the public square.

“Today that organization is Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with over 500,000 members. So we know first-hand the huge impact a small gathering of believers can make when God is at the center of their work. Likewise, CWA was honored be among the small group of Christian leaders and organizations to gather in Statuary Hall for the first annual ‘Washington: A Man of Prayer’ event observing George Washington’s inauguration address, which boldly called ‘We the People’ to a time of prayer.”
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Bob Unruh writes for World New Daily. He previously had three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers.

Tags: Bob Unruh, Jonathan Cahn, fool Baal and go to hell, Supreme Court, defining marriage, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Circumstantial Evidence

Update 6/27/2016: The Washington Post: Supreme Court unanimously rules for former Va. governor McDonnell
The decision was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. “If the court below determines that there is sufficient evidence for a jury to convict Governor McDonnell of committing or agreeing to commit an ‘official act,’ his case may be set for a new trial,” Roberts wrote. “If the court instead determines that the evidence is insufficient, the charges against him must be dismissed. We express no view on that question.” Roberts added: “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.” Read more »
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by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Imagine that you are the former Governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, both sitting in jail after having been found guilty last year of public corruption for accepting golf outings, lavish vacations and $120,000 in “sweetheart” loans. Compared to the Clintons they are just two failed bit players.

Writing in the May issue of Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin, a senior editor, noted the lack of a “smoking gun” in the case of just the latest Clinton scandals. “But what Democrats and all Americans should be asking about this argument is why some people get prosecuted for corruption on such circumstantial evidence while others are considered likely to be elected president.”

“Just because a prosecutor isn't likely to haul the Clintons into court over all these astonishing coincidences (or at least not so long as the Democrats control the Department of Justice), that doesn't mean their behavior doesn't smell to high heaven,” said Tobin. “The court in which the Clintons deserve to be condemned is that of public opinion.”

The Clintons have conspired and sometimes acted in direct contradiction of the law to rely on the concept of circumstantial evidence. Hillary’s use of her own private email server and her later destruction of that server is a classic example of this behavior. The high-paid speeches which Bill gave put him into a gray area of collusion, benefitting from the influence Hillary had as Secretary of State. Ultimately, the donations to their foundation by foreign governments rank far above a mere misdemeanor. It was too often just blatant bribery.

I fear that far too many Americans do not realize that our nation and its system of justice are on the cusp of encountering serious damage. Merely condemning the Clintons for what we know at this point is simply not enough.

What is needed is a widespread denunciation of their actions over recent years.

What is really needed is a decision by the Democratic Party to withhold the right to run in its primaries for the office of president, based on her actions deleting emails and accepting donation to the foundation.

The U.S. media needs to be more vocal that Hillary withdraw her candidacy.

Why would a media mute its criticism and a political party ignore the obvious revelations, even if deemed circumstantial evidence, of the corruption demonstrated by the Clintons? The Clintons have been given a free pass from the day they entered politics.

As Peggy Noonan, a Wall Street Journal columnist, has said, “We are defining political deviancy down.” That degrades the process by which we select and elect the men and women who are given the role and responsibility of lawmakers.

As Noonan notes of Hillary, “The story is that this is what she does, and always has. The rules apply to others, not her.” As recently as 2012, the State Department forced the resignation of a U.S. ambassador for “in part setting up an unsanctioned private email system.”

“In 1992 the Clintons were new and golden. Now, so many years later, their reputation for rule breaking and corruption is so deep, so assumed that it really has become old news. And old news isn't news.”

Except when it is. When old news is an unbroken succession of wrong-doing it is incumbent on everyone involved with the present “campaign” by Hillary Clinton to be the next President to not avoid the stink that arises from both the earlier and most recent revelations.

A generation or two ago,” said Noonan, “a person so encrusted in a reputation for scandal would not be considered a possible presidential contender. She would be ineligible. Now she is inevitable.”

Those earlier generations have been replaced by those more intent on celebrity than substance. They have the attention span of fungus. They lack any vision for America, having never really learned about or absorbed the lessons that the Greatest Generation and others passed onto us.

Are there enough of them to plunge America into the Clinton cesspool by electing her President? One can only pray that the answer is no.
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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, Circumstantial Evidence, Hillary Clinton To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obamacare Tax Shock: ‘Far Worse Than Predicted’

5.5 Million Americans Owed the IRS Money Because of Obamacare,
Up Significantly From An Expected 3.4 Million

Editorial Cartoon by The Looking Spoon
Obamacare: A Tax Shock For Millions, More Confusion Expected Next Year

“So roughly 5.5 million ObamaCare enrollees had to return, on average, almost a quarter of their premium subsidies. Given that these subsidies are available only to families with modest incomes, that's got to hurt.” (“ObamaCare's Tax Shock Is Far Worse Than Predicted,” Investor’s Business Daily, 4/28/15)

“Most filers who received government subsidies to buy Obamacare plans had to pay money back to the IRS this year, according to an H&R Block analysis released Monday that looks at the health law’s first full tax season.” (“No Free Ride: Two-Thirds Of Obamacare Recipients Had To Repay Subsidies To IRS,” Washington Times, 4/27/15)

“Almost two-thirds of tax filers who received insurance via the state or federal insurance Marketplaces had to pay back an average of $729 of the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC), cutting their potential refund by almost one-third, according to analysis of filing data by H&R Block” >(“H&R Block’s Final ACA Stats: Refunds Impacted For Most Who Received Advance Tax Credit,” H.R. Block Press Release, 4/27/15)
·         “With current Marketplace enrollment figures at 11-plus million there is potential for more taxpayers to have to repay a large portion of the APTC during next year’s tax filing season, according to Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president of H&R Block health care and tax services. “There was quite a bit of new ACA-related complexity for taxpayers to deal with this tax season,” Ciaramitaro said” (“H&R Block’s Final ACA Stats: Refunds Impacted For Most Who Received Advance Tax Credit,” H.R. Block Press Release, 4/27/15)

“Back in January, H&R Block figured that about half of the 6.8 million people who were getting ObamaCare subsidies would owe some of the money back. Another expert reckoned the average payback at $208. That was enough to set off alarms about the "unpleasant tax surprise" these millions would face. The tax experts were too optimistic, however. H&R Block now figures that two-thirds of ObamaCare enrollees who got subsidies had to pay at least some of it back.” (“ObamaCare's Tax Shock Is Far Worse Than Predicted,” Investor’s Business Daily, 4/28/15)

“‘This season saw general ACA-related confusion, incorrect or delayed 1095-A information documents, and overall anxiety regarding refund impacts,’ Ciaramitaro said. ‘With many taxpayers now receiving coverage documentation, more taxpayers who will experience APTC reconciliation and the doubling of penalties, unfortunately we should expect taxpayer anxiety and confusion to continue next year.’” (“H&R Block’s Final ACA Stats: Refunds Impacted For Most Who Received Advance Tax Credit,” H.R. Block Press Release, 4/27/15)

Americans ‘Shocked’ & ‘Blindsided,’ ‘They’re Telling Me I Owe Thousands Of Dollars’

“‘All of those people reacted with “genuine surprise” when they were told they owed a repayment…’” (“Obamacare Sticks Some Enrollees With Unexpected Bill,” CNBC, 4/10/15)

‘Mike Highsmith… has to pay back every cent of the $6,624 in federal subsidies’ “‘I wasn't very happy,’ said Mike Highsmith, 61, a retired US Airways flight attendant who learned after having his taxes done that he has to pay back every cent of the $6,624 in federal subsidies that helped pay the lion's share of his HealthCare.gov-purchased plan. ‘This shocked me ... I didn't know this was coming.’” (“Obamacare Sticks Some Enrollees With Unexpected Bill,” CNBC, 4/10/15)
·         “…the ‘absolutely worst-case scenario’ is someone in Highsmith's position, who ends up earning more than 400 percent of the poverty level after receiving subsidies during the year… [Bradley] Heim noted that people who go over the 400 percent poverty threshold by even a dollar can end up owing several thousands of dollars back in subsidies. ‘All those subsidies go to zero once you hit 400 percent of poverty,’ Heim said. ‘You can go from a $10,000 [subsidy] to be eligible for nothing.’” (“Obamacare Sticks Some Enrollees With Unexpected Bill,” CNBC, 4/10/15)

‘Dave 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”’ “Consider Casale’s client Dave Benardino of Las Vegas…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.” (“Past State Obamacare Sign-Up Glitches Now Haunt Nevadans At Tax Time,” Las Vegas Review Journal, 4/7/15)

“Karen … [had] 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.’” “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.’” (“Past State Obamacare Sign-Up Glitches Now Haunt Nevadans At Tax Time,” Las Vegas Review Journal, 4/7/15)

‘Janice Riddle got a nasty surprise when she filled out her tax return this year. … she has to pay back the entire subsidy, which is forcing her to dip into her savings’ “Janice Riddle got a nasty surprise when she filled out her tax return this year. The Los Angeles resident had applied for Obamacare in late 2013, when she was unemployed. She qualified for a hefty subsidy of $470 a month, leaving her with a monthly premium of $1 for the cheapest plan available. Riddle landed a job in early 2014 at a life insurance agency, but since her new employer didn't offer health benefits, she kept her Obamacare plan. However, she didn't update her income with the California exchange, which she acknowledges was her mistake. Now, she has to pay back the entire subsidy, which is forcing her to dip into her savings.” (“I Have To Pay Back My Obamacare Subsidy,” CNN Money, 2/13/15)
·         ‘I was blindsided… I'm in shock’ “‘I was blindsided that the subsidy has to be paid back,’ said Riddle, adding she didn't even use the coverage, which she had until she qualified for Medicare in October. ‘I'm in shock...but I have no choice. Do I want to argue with the IRS or the Obama administration?’” (“I Have To Pay Back My Obamacare Subsidy,” CNN Money, 2/13/15)

‘Erica Cherington… has to pay back $600 of her subsidy’ “Erica Cherington, 32, was ‘very happy’ to enroll in Obamacare last year so she could address some health issues. She only had to pay $89 a month for a Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, thanks to a $284 monthly subsidy. She let herself be automatically re-enrolled for 2015. During 2014, however, the Newark, N.J., resident landed a new job with a higher salary. Now, she has to pay back $600 of her subsidy.” (“I Have To Pay Back My Obamacare Subsidy,” CNN Money, 2/13/15)
·         “Cherington is now considering dropping her coverage and paying the penalty instead. ‘It's not really affordable,’ she said of her new premium. ‘I don't know if I'll be able to keep it.’” (“I Have To Pay Back My Obamacare Subsidy,” CNN Money, 2/13/15)

“My client, age 64, was mandated to obtain health insurance. Unemployed and on Social Security, he went through the marketplace and was subsidized $677 per month out of the $822 total premium. So he thought his new health insurance would cost him $145 per month. He ended up picking up a part-time job to help him afford his living expenses. Unknowingly, in so doing, he had disqualified himself for his subsidy. Now he has to pay back to the IRS, in addition to his taxes, $5,416 that the Obama government paid directly to the private insurance company — $5,000 due and payable immediately!” (“Man Lost Obamacare Subsidy, Owes $5,000,” Watertown Daily Times, 4/7/15)
·         “The government wants its money back right now. Watch out people. So much for the promise of reduced health insurance costs.” (“Man Lost Obamacare Subsidy, Owes $5,000,” Watertown Daily Times, 4/7/15)

Tags: Obamacare Tax Shock, IRS, far worse than predicted, Editorial Cartoon, The Looking Spoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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