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] Follow @arra Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Friday, May 22, 2015
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Monday marks Memorial Day, a national observance first known as Decoration Day. The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Initially meant as a time to remember those who fell during the bloody battles of our brutal Civil War, the holiday's significance has been extended to honor all those who paid the ultimate price for our nation. As they have done every year since 1948, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment will place flags at more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They will remain at Arlington National Cemetery throughout the holiday weekend making sure that the flags remain upright.
Of all the dangers facing our country, perhaps the greatest is the one that doesn't make many headlines -- our collective national amnesia. According to the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress, just 18% of 8th grade students were proficient in U.S. history.
Our history textbooks are sanitized to be politically correct and give our children little sense of the greatness of the nation they live in. The Founders are seldom mentioned unless it is part of a controversy about slavery or some other scandal.
I am often struck by how often decent American kids have nothing good to say about their own country. Their knowledge of the sacrifices made to establish and preserve their freedom is virtually non-existent. They are the recipients of the greatest freedom and opportunity that any society has ever produced, yet they are unaware of the price that was paid for it.
At my father's table, I learned love of country in a way that only a Marine could teach it. Dad taught me that patriotism wasn't a theory -- it was flesh and blood, real sacrifice and pain.
You are your children's most important teacher. They are listening.
Tell your children about the sacrifices that had to be made to stop the march of fascism and the cancer of communism. Tell them about the beaches of Normandy and the Bataan Death March. Tell them about why there was a Berlin Wall and how free men brought it down.
Remind them about 9/11, what happened at the Pentagon and over the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Teach them to love the things we love and honor the things we honor.
Given recent headlines, this is undoubtedly a difficult Memorial Day for many families who have lost loved ones in Iraq. This is not a political statement, but a comment about national will. It is important that our leaders not make a mockery of the sacrifice made by so many.
Even military leaders in our increasingly politicized Pentagon recently suggested that the fall of Ramadi was "not symbolic in any way." It certainly was to Debbie Lee, whose son died in Ramadi in 2006. Marc Lee was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq.
While Memorial Day is dedicated to those in uniform who died defending us, let's not forget those in uniform who protect us here at home. There has been another tragic killing of a police officer in Omaha, Nebraska, which you can read about here.
I'd like to leave you with a few excerpts from Ronald Reagan's 1982 Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery. While the adversary Reagan spoke of was Soviet communism, his words apply to radical Islam today.
"In America's cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor. . . .
"Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves. . . .
"It's not just strength or courage that we need, but understanding and a measure of wisdom as well. We must understand enough about our world to see the value of our alliances. We must be wise enough about ourselves to listen to our allies, to work with them, to build and strengthen the bonds between us.
"Our understanding must also extend to potential adversaries. . . . we must never fail to note, as frequently as necessary, the wide gulf between our codes of morality. . . .Nor must we ever underestimate the seriousness of their aspirations to global expansion. The risk is the very freedom that has been so dearly won. . . .
"Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, 'just the best darn kids in the world.' Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life.
"Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. . . .
"I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask."------------- 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, Patriot Games, Memorial Day, Ronald Reagan, 1982To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
What Will America Look Like If The Environmentalists Win?
Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
by Marita Noon: In every war, there are winners and losers. Whether the war is ideological or physical, or even if a truce is declared — there are still battles that end in victory or defeat.
In the United States, and most of the Western world, there is an ideological war with dire physical consequences. It is the war on fossil fuels. But, even if you understand (as I hope my readers do) that energy is central to everything in modern society, the war is much bigger than energy. It is about freedom. It is about control. It is about global governance.
In my book Energy Freedom, I make a case for why energy is so important; and, therefore, why it is under attack. I posit, “What would the world be like if we could suddenly wave a magic wand and give the environmentalists everything they want?” I then detail how our lives would change and how it would not be the utopia one might first think.
While we all know we can’t wave that magic wand, we are headed toward the same result. It is just happening a little at a time — one regulation after another, slowly, with some people, in the name of the planet, willingly giving up freedoms in favor of a promise of security. It comes in the form of the Endangered Species Act, Corporate Average Fuel Economy, and the Clean Power Plan — though the list could go on and on.
Others are not so gullible. They see the bigger plan and are willing to bear the brunt of scoffing, or even persecution. They fight for the principles upon which this great nation was founded.
This past week, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of expats in Mexico. Repeatedly, I heard, “If everything goes to hell in the U.S., this is where I am hiding out.”
While I was South of the Border, I read a novel cover-to-cover: Mountain Whispers, Days without Sun. It was sent to me by the author, who reads my column. It is his debut novel and not the usual light, fluffy stuff I like to read around the pool. I didn’t expect to like it. But I promised I’d read it. I am glad I did.
Mountain Whispers, Days without Sun picks up where Energy Freedom leaves off. Coleman Alderson, using a fiction format, carefully weaves the green narrative into a spellbinding thriller set just slightly more than 25 years from now — when all of the green policies have taken force — and paints a gripping picture of how the Global Energy Enforcement Organization (GEEO) takes control of every aspect of our lives, leaving people struggling to survive a bleak existence.
But not everyone is willing to abandon freedom for the neat and tidy life promised in “Progress City.” They resist being “registered” and moved to work on an organic farm or serve in “the administration.” Even many of those who accepted the move are beginning to realize the mistake they made. The friction creates the story as the “retros” — Appalachian Mountain folks, many of whom worked in the now-closed coal mines — resist registration and citification.
I chatted with Alderson about his book. I asked, “Why are cities important?” He explained the view that cities are “manageable regions,” that it is more efficient to have people in cities where they don’t use the resources. They don’t need cars. Instead they use public transportation or bicycles.
One of the lead characters is a young man named Agent Candler Greaves, who is sent to round up the rebellious “retros.” Having been raised with the “save the planet” mantra, he genuinely wants to “help guide humanity toward a harmonious existence with the planet.” But, as Mountain Whispers, Days without Sun makes vividly clear, the result of the GEEO’s efforts is a decrease in various public services, more land restrictions, limited availability of food, electricity, and medical treatments—while the leadership thrives in spite of it all.
Alderson explains, “You can tell a story and capture people’s emotions more effectively than with facts and statistics. I really tried to dial back on the exposition and instead work it into the fabric of these people’s lives. My main goal is to show the impact of these mandates that result in control of people.”
The idea of citizens being willingly chipped and tracked may seem extreme to some. But as I returned to the U.S. and scanned my passport while the kiosk took my picture and printed out a report that allowed me back into the country, I realized it is closer than we think. If you’ve seen advertising pop up on your computer based on websites you’ve visited, or as you pull out of your driveway on Monday morning, your phone, without your asking it to, tells you how long it will take you to get to work, you know the scenario Alderson presents, while fiction, is totally possible. Unless, like the Appalachian Mountain folks, we get what is going on and fight it while it is still an ideological war.
You will never again receive any meaningful interest for the money you have saved. There are 18 trillion reasons why, according to Forbes. The Federal Reserve has held interest rates to near-zero for over ten years now, enabling our government to borrow and spend sums that it will likely never be able to repay, with or without interest. This has certainly done no favor for Americans who earned and saved money. Consider this: if the interest rate on our $18 trillion national debt increased to the normal historical level of five percent, it would cost our government almost a trillion dollars a year – about a quarter our current annual budget!
Do you think anybody in Washington, DC will allow that to happen? You might want to look for an investment alternative to that savings account or certificate of deposit.
The Affordable Care Act is not making health care more affordable. This year’s Milliman Medical Index, which tracks health care costs for employer-provided plans, shows an increase of 43% for employees and 32% for employers since the ACA took effect. A dramatic increase is expected in 2018 when the “Cadillac Tax” provision kicks in. And while the total cost of health care by traditional measurement has not increased as rapidly as many ACA critics predicted, a hidden cost is the 21 new and higher taxes that were implemented as part of the ACA. Medicare is now partially funded by transfers from the general fund, and that amount will increase in upcoming years.
Just the facts, ma’am. Nothing but the facts.
--------------- Tom Balek is a fellow conservative activist, blogger, musician and contributes to the ARRA News Service. Tom resides in South Carolina and between playing in weekend bands, he seeks to educate those too busy with their work and families to notice how close to the precipice our economy has come. He blogs at Rockin' On the Right Side Tags:Tom Balek, Rockin' On The Right Side, It's Economy Stupid, Just the facts, facts, media IgnoresTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Americans For Prosperity: The U.S. is the only country on earth that imposes a tax on the sale of medical devices like insulin pumps and heart valves. As a result, the businesses that make these products are subjected to one of the highest effective tax rates of any industry in the world, crippling medical innovation and increasing the cost of life-saving devices. The government often levies similar excise taxes on products deemed harmful -- such as alcohol and tobacco to discourage.
Should we really be using the same type of tax on medical devices?
The medical-device tax threatens thousands of jobs as a result of this tax, disproportionately harms small businesses, and should be repealed.
Tags:Obamacare, repeal, medical device tax, 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 Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: The EPA proposal to impose a de facto ban on new coal-fired power plants received more than two million comments from the public – but it looks like it was just one five-page comment from the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) that sent EPA scrambling back to the drawing board.
The draft rule mandated the use of so-called carbon capture and storage, a technology that would inject carbon dioxide underground but which has so far proved to be little more than a white elephant experiment. To mandate this technology, the law required the EPA to prove it was “adequately demonstrated” and “commercially available.” Thanks to E&E Legal, they failed.
Dawn Reeves at Inside EPA broke the story that carbon capture and storage has apparently been dropped from the agency’s final rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions. She also, curiously, reports that the White House may not allow the EPA to back down, instead forcing the agency to defend the legally indefensible in court.
But whether they win now or not until the issue is litigated, E&E Legal has scored a huge victory for the rule of law and economic common sense.
I reached out to Chris Horner, their lead author on the comment that carried the day.
“We submitted comments for the record explaining that EPA had made a mockery of the interagency review process, ignoring the government's own experts in order to push an ideological agenda,” Horner said.
That’s a crucial point because if the EPA is demonstrably not serving as an expert but an ideological actor, it would not warrant deference in court, making its whole global warming agenda vulnerable.
E&E Legal obtained information proving that expert analysis from the Department of Energy actually concluded the opposite of what the EPA claimed when they asserted that carbon capture and storage had been “adequately demonstrated.”
“The truth is that the experts had persuasively argued the opposite, in effect, that carbon capture and storage has been demonstrated to be not viable,” Horner said. “Making this more egregious, the Department of Energy had paid a quarter of a billion taxpayer dollars to learn this information and lesson that EPA ignored and even misrepresented.”
The EPA was caught red-handed faking science and ignoring expert opinion, in effect requiring a technology that they knew did not practically exist. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that their actual intended purpose was indeed to impose a de facto ban on coal-fired power plants. And they might have gotten away with it if E&E Legal hadn’t busted them.
The stakes are enormous because the rule on new power plants is also the legal predicate for the EPA’s proposed rule regulating existing power plants. That rule establishes numerical emissions reduction targets for the states and coerces states to meet those targets by adopting cap-and-trade tax schemes and other policies that EPA cannot impose itself. All to achieve President Obama’s goal of fighting global warming by making electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
If the EPA cannot, because of this now-exposed legal vulnerability, rely on carbon capture and storage, then the new source numerical targets will have to be revised up significantly, a major victory.
Unfortunately, the political activists who control the EPA see this as only a necessarily tactical retreat, with retooled rules still certain to impose steeply higher prices on consumers for emissions reductions that will have no impact on global carbon dioxide levels or global average temperatures.
That’s why Horner hopes that the biggest impact of E&E Legal’s depantsing of the EPA on carbon capture and storage, through a transparency campaign that continues regardless of EPA’s rumored move, will be to discredit the EPA enough that Congress will step in to put a stop to the misuse of the 1970 Clean Air Act to do all of this. I couldn’t agree more.
------------------ Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Follow him at (@kerpen) and on Facebook. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. Tags:Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, EPA, plan, Ban Coal, Hits Major Roadblock, Urge Congress, Stop War on CoalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Democrats Oppose the Space Act Over Not Being Able to Sue
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 22, 2015
The House will reconvene this afternoon at 2:30 Pm for a few minutes and then adjourn until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday May 26, 2015.
Yesterday the House passed: H.R. 2496 (Unanimous Consent) — "To extend the authorization for the replacement of the existing Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, to make certain improvements in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, and for other purposes." H.R. 2262 (284 - 133)— The Space Act: "To facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing commercial space industry by encouraging private sector investment and creating more stable and predictable regulatory conditions, and for other purposes."
The ARRA News Service yesterday addressed the passage of the Space Acy but not the particulars concerning the opposition vote. While 48 Democrats joined the majority of Republicans in passing this bill, 130 Democrats led by minority leaders Nancy Pelosi opposed the bill. Summarising Pelosi objections to the Space Act presented in the Congressional Record. Pelosi focus was on attorneys not being able to sue over deaths and injuries resulting in initial development and establishment of commercial space flights. The ARRA News editor, Dr. Bill Smith, having been involved with the manufacture of jet aircraft, noted a parallel to the space industry. "When one voluntarily elects to strap their body to a rocket, they do so with full knowledge that they may not return safely to earth. Thus, the pioneers electing to pilot or to travel commercially in space, must head the words Caveat Emptor: 'Let the buyer beware.' No one is forcing anyone to travel in Space! And no one at this time can initially guarantee you a 100% safe return to Earth. Russia and the United States were "self" immune from law suits and successfully launched people into space and returned them successfully. However, there also were tragic deaths. Development of commercial space travel is now possible and its developers will be motivated, unlike the government, to reap the rewards of their success. Developers in the United States should not be denied the ability to develop, test and implement this new potential form of travel. The government can join the in their usual negative efforts of regulating and taxing such ventures one they are successful."
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of H.R. 1314, the vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill. Senators continue to work on an agreement to vote on more amendments to the TPA bill and to consider bills on surveillance (H.R. 2048 and S. 1357) and a two-month extension of highway funding.
Votes on amendments to H.R. 1314, final passage of H.R. 1314, cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2048 and on the motion to proceed to S. 1357 are all possible today are tomorrow.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 62-38 to invoke cloture on the Hatch substitute amendment to H.R. 1314, which contains the TPA language. Also yesterday, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm district judge nominees for Utah and southern Texas. Tags:House, Space Act, Democrats objections, immunity from lawsuits, commercial space travel, Bill Smith, editor, Senate, TPATo 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: Misplaced Priorities - Here's a perfect example of Obama's misplaced priorities. While delivering the commencement address to the Coast Guard Academy today, the president's remarks were dominated by one subject -- climate change. He said:"I'm here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act -- and we need to act now."The words "radical Islam" did not pass his lips.
Confronting Reality - The fall of Ramadi to ISIS militants and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is bringing President Obama's foreign policy failures into sharp focus. Here's the reality that the next president will inherit the day he walks into the Oval Office.
First is a nuclear-armed Iran. The Iranian regime is led by Shiite Muslims with an apocalyptic vision. Christians often say, "Please come, Jesus." Radical Shiites say, "Please come, Mahdi." That's a reference to the 12th imam, an Islamic messiah.
They believe they can cause the Mahdi to come to Earth by bringing about the apocalypse, by waging war against infidels -- Christians, Jews and even other Muslims.
Tehran has proxies in Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen. Dealing with the radical Shiites in the future will be more costly than it would have been at any time in the past six years.
The other great threat comes from radical Sunnis. ISIS is the public face of that Islamic movement. The Shiites already have their caliphate. It's called Iran. ISIS is trying to build its caliphate based on the teachings of Sunni Islam, and it is metastasizing all over the world.
Authorities in Malaysia have arrested more than 100 people for being part of an ISIS cell. Dozens of Malaysian military officers are believed to be ISIS sympathizers. Police arrested ten people in Canada who were trying to join ISIS. The movement is thriving throughout Africa.
It rejects every concept of decency. There are credible reports from all over ISIS controlled territories that aid workers seldom see girls over the age of nine. Why? Because ISIS takes the girls at 10 and hands them over to their "soldiers" who do to them whatever they want.
ISIS is in Syria. ISIS is in Iraq. ISIS is in Libya. ISIS is in Malaysia. How about ISIS in Michigan, Ohio and Texas?
Our own government is tracking ISIS sympathizers in every state of the union. At this very moment a radical Sunni Muslim infrastructure is being built within our own country.
The fall of Ramadi triggered a wave of refugees into Baghdad. Iraqi officials shut the roads into the capital. Why? Because they couldn't distinguish the refugees from potential ISIS fighters. As callous as that may sound, at least the Iraqi officials had the common sense to control Baghdad's borders!
How will our next commander-in-chief handle these challenges? Given Hillary Clinton's record at the State Department, there is no reason to think that she will be any more adept than Obama at confronting radical Islam.
As for the Republicans, we want a candidate who shares our values and who will shrink government. But reality demands our attention. The next Republican president's legacy, whether we like it or not, may well be decided on the world stage. And I didn't even mention a resurgent Russia or an increasingly aggressive China.
------------- 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, ISIS, Confronting Reality, Obama's Misplaced Priorities, Editorial Cartoon, Rick McKeeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
“The top ObamaCare exchange insurers in six states where 2016 rate requests have already been filed are seeking to raise rates an average 18.6% next year. Early reports range from an alarming 36% hike sought by the dominant insurer in Tennessee, to a hefty 23% average increase requested by Oregon insurers, to a moderate 7.7% average rise proposed in Connecticut.” (“ObamaCare Premium Increases Next Year May Shock You,” Investor’s Business Daily, 5/18/15)
“BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which is the state's dominant health insurance provider, is asking for an overall average premium increase of 36.3 percent, according to filings with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. … Cigna has filed with a 0.4 percent average increase; Humana has filed for a 15.8 percent average increase.” (“BlueCross Health Premiums Could Grow Sharply In 2016,” The Tennessean, 5/15/15)
‘An average 32.6 percent increase for 2016 plans’ “Community Health Alliance, a Knoxville-based health insurance cooperative, is looking to increase monthly premiums by double digits in 2016 for those who enroll in plans on the federally run exchange as the newly established company tries to find an equilibrium. … The co-op is asking the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance for an average 32.6 percent increase for 2016 plans.” (“Health Co-Op Looks For Premium Hike As It Seeks Balance,” The Tennessean, 5/20/15)
VERMONT:‘8.4 percent increase’ “The two health insurance providers offering individual and business plans on Vermont Health Connect have submitted rate increase requests to the state for next year. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont wants an 8.4 percent increase in rates, while MVP Health Care is asking for a 3 percent average rate increase, according to the Green Mountain Care Board, the state’s regulatory body for health care. … Actual rate increases, depending on health plans, would range between 4.7 percent and 14.3 percent for BCBS. … Rate changes requested by MVP, meanwhile, range between a decrease of 1.8 percent and an increase of 27.3 percent.” (“Health Insurers File Rate Increase Requests,” Rutland Herald, 5/19/15)
2015: ‘Double-Digit Increases’ For Obamacare Policies
“Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.” (Politico, 7/7/14)
INDIANA:2015 premiums increases ‘as high as ... 46-percent’ “Initial 2015 premiums filed for the Obamacare exchanges in Indiana ranged from as high as a 46-percent hike to as low as a 9-percent cut.” (Indianapolis Business Journal, 5/19/14)
MARYLAND:2015 premiums could increase up to 30% “Maryland’s dominant insurance company, CareFirst, is proposing hefty premium increases of 23 to 30 percent for consumers buying individual plans next year under the federal health-care law, according to filings released Friday.” (The Washington Post, 6/6/14)
WASHINGTON:2015 premiums could increase ‘up to 26%’ “If approved, rate increases for 2015 individual health plans proposed by 12 insurance companies may affect most policyholders... [up] to an increase of 26 percent...”(The Seattle Times, 5/13/14)
ARIZONA:2015 premium increases up to 25.5 percent “New filings trickling into the Arizona Department of Insurance show at least two health insurers plan to increase rates more than 10 percent. Cigna Wants To Increase Rates An Average Of 14.4 Percent And Humana, 25.5 Percent.” (The Arizona Republic, 6/2/14)
LOUISIANA:‘Double-digit increases’ up to 24% possible “Some Louisiana private health insurers filed for double-digit percentage increases in 2015 for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act's health exchange, according to filings this week with the Louisiana Department of Insurance.” (New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)
“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the state's largest provider, is proposing rate increases of between 18.3 percent and 19.7 percent for policyholders in its Blue Saver, Blue Max and its Multi-State individual health plans. The plans cover 52,638 people. ... The 4,947 people who signed up with Human Louisiana face a hike of 15.7 percent, while the 966 insured residents with Time Insurance Company face a hike of 24 percent, according to the filings made public this week.” (New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)
TENNESSEE:2015 Premiums Could Increase up to 21.7% “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee — the state's dominant health insurance provider — is asking to raise rates by an average of 19 percent for its exchange plans in 2015, according to documents filed with the state of Tennessee. ...the consumer will experience a rate increase between 6.1 percent and 21.7 percent, depending on the product he or she has bought.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)
“Meanwhile, Cigna is requesting an average rate increase of 7.5 percent in 2015, while Kentucky-based Humana would like to boost marketplace rates by an average of 14.4 percent.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)
NEW YORK:2015 premiums could increase up to 19.7% “Insurance firms participating in New York’s ObamaCare health exchange are seeking double-digit hikes for patient medical premiums in 2015, new figures reviewed by The Post reveal. The average hike sought by insurers for individual plans is 12 percent—but a number of firms serving large numbers of patients want to boost individual premiums by nearly 20 percent. Leading the charge is Excellus Health Plan, which is seeking to sock more than 24,000 customers with a 19.7 percent hike.” (New York Post, 7/3/14)
VERMONT:2015 premiums could increase up to 18.3% “The two companies that sell policies on the state’s online health insurance marketplace — Vermont Health Connect — have filed requests with state regulators for big rate increases for 2015. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has asked for an average increase for its plans of 9.8 percent. … the increases would have averaged 3.3 percent if not for federal and state mandates. ... MVP Health Care proposed an even bigger rate increase — an average 15.4 percent, with a range starting at 10.7 percent and rising to 18.3 percent.” (Burlington FreePress, 6/3/14)
MICHIGAN:2015 premium increases up to 18 percent “Most people buying their own health insurance in Michigan could see near double-digit premium increases next year. State insurance regulators said Wednesday that dominant insurers Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield want to raise rates by an average of 9.3 percent or 9.7 percent in 2015. ... Humana is the insurer with the third most customers in Michigan's individual market and seeks an average 18 percent rate increase affecting 16,600 customers.” (The Associated Press, 6/26/14)
VIRGINIA:2015 premiums could increase up to 14.9% “…the Anthem HealthKeepers Inc. plan offered by a unit of WellPoint Inc. said it would raise premiums by an average of 8.5% across its individual plans in Virginia, which cover about 110,000 people and are sold on the online insurance exchange set up by the health law, as well as directly to consumers. ... The Virginia filings show other health plansproposing rate increases ranging from 3.3% for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., with around 10,000 members in the state, to 14.9% for CareFirst BlueChoice Inc., which said it had about 32,000 members.” (The Wall Street Journal, 5/11/14)
IOWA:2015 premium increases up to 14.5 percent “About a quarter of a million Iowans would see their insurance rates rise next year should the state approve a request from Iowa's dominant health insurer. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced Friday that it is seeking to raise premium rates for 253,000 policyholders in Iowa. Those rate increases would affect individual policyholders and small businesses. Most — 92 percent — of the proposed rate increases would be less than 5.9 percent, according to numbers provided by Wellmark. ... For the remaining 7.5 percent of policyholders — those who have post-Affordable Care Act plans for individuals under 65 — Wellmark is asking for a rate increase between 11.9 percent and 14.5 percent.” (Des Moines Register, 6/20/14)
OHIO:“Premiums would increase 13 percent next year for Ohioans who buy health coverage through the federally run insurance exchange, the Ohio Department of Insurance said yesterday.” (The Columbus Dispatch, 5/30/14)
OREGON:2015 premiums could increase up to 12.5% “Moda Health captured more than 40 percent of the state's exchange enrollees this year, with about 95,000 people covered under its plans. The company is proposing to increase prices by an average of 12.5 percent. Only one other carrier proposed a double-digit price increase.” (The Hill, 6/11/14)
RHODE ISLAND:2015 premium increases ‘averaging 12 percent’ Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is proposing 2015 premium increases averaging 12 percent for individuals and families, and 8 percent for small groups.” (Providence Journal, 5/19/14)
DELAWARE:2015 premiums could increase 5% “Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is seeking average premium increases of 5 percent for individuals who bought insurance through Delaware's exchange.” (The Associated Press, 7/15/14) Tags:Obamacare, Premium Increases, Next Year, May Shock You, editorial cartoon, Rick McKeeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
DC Gets Slapped Again By a Federal Court Over Its Restrictive Gun Laws
by Hans von Spakovsky: The District of Columbia has lost the latest round in the seemingly never-ending litigation over the rules it keeps implementing to restrict Second Amendment rights.
In Wrenn v. District of Columbia, federal District Court Judge Frederick Scullin issued an injunction prohibiting the District from requiring that anyone seeking a concealed carry permit demonstrate a “good reason” for needing one.
D.C. had a virtual ban on the ownership of firearms until 2008. That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court threw it out as a violation of the Second Amendment. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court affirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees individual Americans—not just members of a state militia—the right to bear arms.
Since then, however, the city council has tried to impose restrictive registration and licensing rules clearly intended to make it as difficult as possible to own and carry a handgun. The result has been one lawsuit after another filed against the city.
The latest iteration was over a revised carry rule that went into effect on Oct. 9, 2014. It stipulated that the chief of police could issue a carry permit only when an applicant had:
“Demonstrated a good reason to fear injury to his or her person, which shall at a minimum require a showing of a special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or previous attacks that demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life … [or] [d]emonstrated any other proper reasons for carrying a concealed pistol, which shall at a minimum include types of employment that require the handling of cash or other valuable objects … ”
Only a handful of individuals applying for a permit have been able to receive one since the rule took effect. In fact, as the court pointed out, this provision prevents the plaintiffs “as well as the vast majority of law-abiding citizens” of the District from being able to obtain a permit because they can’t meet the “good reason/proper reason” requirement.
In his 23-page opinion, Judge Scullin systematically dismantles all of the arguments advanced by the District, noting that it leaves residents “unable to exercise their fundamental right to bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment.”
For example, the District cited the report of a self-serving “Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety,” set up by the city council, that claimed the empirical evidence shows that “‘right-to-carry’ laws were associated with substantially higher rates of aggravated assault, rape, robbery and murder.” But as Scullin pointed out, that evidence is “contradicted by, among other things, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s” own crime statistics.
The District also argued that the restrictions on concealed carry were necessary to prevent crime and protect public safety. Scullin dismissed this argument as unproved: “Is the Court to conclude that people who do not have a heightened need for self-protection are more likely to commit violent crimes?”
The judge noted that whether an individual meets the “good reason/proper reason” requirement “does not indicate, in any way, whether that person is less likely to misuse handguns or may be less dangerous.”
The judge also pointed out that individuals who can’t show a greater need for self-protection “are just as likely to be victims of violent crimes.” In fact, the District’s requirement “will neither make it less likely that those who meet this requirement will present a risk to other members of the public or commit violent crimes than those who cannot meet this requirement.”
Even without this restrictive provision, Scullin noted that the plaintiffs had shown that D.C. will still have one of “the most stringent handgun licensing requirements in the country, requiring not just extensive training and background checks for applicants and registration of carried guns, but the full panoply of extreme (and dubious) restrictions upon licensed handgun carriers.”
It is time for the District of Columbia’s city council, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Police Chief Cathy Lanier to stop wasting taxpayer money in endless rounds of litigation seeking to get around the Heller decision and prevent their residents from exercising their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and their families.
Perhaps if the city instead focused on improving the effectiveness of its law enforcement, residents might not feel such a need to protect themselves in a crime-ridden city by asserting their Second Amendment rights.
------------- Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. More ARRA News Service articles by or about Hans con Spakovsky Tags:gun rights, Constitution, Second Amendment, Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, restrictive registration and licensing rules, Wrenn v. District of Columbia, Federal Judge, injunction, Hans von SpakovskyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:AF Branco, editorial cartoons, Looney Tune Strategy, PResident Obama, ISIS, new Iraq legacy Bush Legacy, Obama LegacyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
A variety of different improvements in production are starting to show up at all levels across the industry from small firms to oil majors. Statoil for example recently noted that it is experimenting with different types of sand and chemicals to improve production. And a number of companies have noted that they are moving from drilling wells one at a time, on an ad hoc basis, to drilling multiple wells at once. GE Oil & Gas has produced variable-use pumps that can be turned on and off in order to save energy versus the previous 24-hour a day operation cycle.
The end result of these actions is that per-barrel costs of oil have fallen to around $60 today versus $75 a year ago according to Citi analysts. And executives from oil companies are now forecasting that per barrel prices could fall to $50 or less before long. America has not yet lost the price war.
Now, one small Denver-based oil company has come up with a whole new model for producing in order to further drive down costs. Described as an "oil factory," Liberty Resources LLC and its CEO Chris Wright have developed a novel method for extracting oil. The firm is starting out by doing everything it can to eliminate the need for trucks traveling to and from its site. The company notes that trucks are often an irritant with local residents and more importantly, they add significantly to the cost of producing oil.
To do that Liberty will build a series of pipelines to its massive 10,000 acre Bakken site. The firm has pipelines that carry water and gas produced by wells, as well as other pipelines to carry oil. This technique is called ‘centralized resources’ and while other firms like Continental have explored it to some extent, Liberty is pioneering the process. In essence, the firm is trying to bring the efficiency focus of industrial engineering to the production focus of petroleum engineering.
In addition, like Statoil and a few other larger oil firms, Liberty is also focused on creating a production process than can be stopped and started based on optimal production times, costs, and oil prices. This could be an invaluable capability. Take Russia for example. Russian oil wells will freeze if they are shut down, and the country lacks significant storage capacity. As a result, Russian oil producers cannot respond to price downturns.
Moreover, Liberty is developing the entire 10,000-acre site to be fracked at once with nearly a 100 oil wells operating simultaneously. By drilling multiple wells at once and controlling inputs and output supply, the firm has significant cost advantages versus traditional ad hoc production methods. Even employee costs are lower, with Liberty citing the use of a third less workers than a conventional production process.
So what is the combined result of all these efficiency improvements? Liberty says it will still make money even with oil at $50 a barrel. And the firm expects costs to keep falling as oil service companies become more efficient and lower their own prices. At these prices and efficiency levels, US production becomes competitive with virtually any other oil source. And if efficiency gains continue at this pace, the US may weather the onslaught of Saudi oil much better than many expected.
---------------- James Stafford is Editor of OilPrice.com and contributes articles to the ARRA News Service. Michael McDonald Michael is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. He holds a PhD in finance and his research has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and by Bloomberg. Tags:sand and chemicals, drilling multiple wells at once, variable-use pumps, oil factory, innovation, winning, oil price war ,Michael McDonald, OilPrice.comTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
As Thomas J. Christensen, the author of his recently published “The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power”, reminds us, “For millennia China was arguably the greatest civilization on the planet and for many previous centuries its most powerful empire.”
China is no longer an empire, but it remains a huge nation geographically and huge in terms of its population.
54% of the population is urban (756,300,115 people in 2014).
The median age in China is 35.7 years.
Christensen is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Currently he is the William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics and director of the China and World Program at Princeton University. After reading his book, you might well conclude that there is little about China and Asia he does not know.
We are mostly dependent on various news stories about China to have any idea what is occurring, but the fact remains that just as the U.S. has its optimists and pessimists, conservatives and liberals who influence policy the same exists for China, so a lot depends on who is being quoted. Generally, though, it is only the top leaders who are. That means we are getting the Chinese “party line” and the occasional general or admiral warning against any aggression.
China did not begin to awaken as a modern nation until after the death of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, a Communist with a capital “C.” Christensen notes that, while keeping its political ideology, the leader that followed him made a “peaceful transformation launched under CCP leader Deng Xiaopping in 1978 and the collapse of the superpower Soviet Union thirteen years later that made China appear to stand tall again among the great powers.” The transition was to a capitalist-based economy.
These days the Chinese and the Russians are making efforts to achieve areas of cooperation and, in particular, their militaries. They hold drills together for common defense strategies.
Christensen believes that “China’s return to great power status is perhaps the most important challenges in twenty-first century American diplomacy”, but to put that in context he points out that “China’s per capita income is only one fifth that of the United States” and “though a true trade superpower, many of its exporters are controlled at least in part by foreign investors.”
“Still, the pessimists do not give enough credit to the sustainability of U.S. leadership in Asia,” says Christensen. “For example, they often underestimate the value of American’s unparalleled network of allies and security partners.” You can be sure that the Chinese leadership does not.
They also have, as one would expect, concerns about U.S. military power in their area of the world, but they feel the same about Japan and South Korea as well. “China is not currently an enemy of the United States,” says Christensen, nor is it likely to be for a long time to come.
“It does not need to be contained like the (former) Soviet Union. Nor should China become the kind of regional or global adversary that we have faced in the past, although that outcome, unfortunately, is still a distinct possibility.” That possibility depends on China’s leadership now and in the future. For now they are concentrating on their economy and are likely to do so for many years to come.
“China’s economic clout is real and growing rapidly, especially since the 2008 financial crisis. China has been the main engine of growth for the world’s economy since that time and, by some measures, has become the world’s number one trading state.” There is only one reason why the U.S. has not yet recovered from the financial crisis and his name is Barack Obama.
I suspect that Obama is held in disdain by the Chinese leadership despite all the public handshakes. For one thing, China weathered the financial crisis far better than the U.S. “One of the burdens the new Obama administration inherited in early 2009 was a China bearing a mix of cockiness and insecurity that would negatively influence its policies in 2009-2010,” says Christensen and as the U.S. foundered in Afghanistan and Iraq “American power inspired less awe.”
“Sometime in 2012, the ‘Asia pivot’” of the Obama administration “would be jettisoned in Washington for the more subtle ‘Asia rebalance.’” If you get the feeling that the Obama administration has no real China policy or one that will have little influence, you are right.
With regard to China, It likely does not matter what the Obama administration does for its remaining one and a half years in office.
Various scholars and diplomats will continue to keep a watchful eye on China and most surely many corporate leaders and U.S. entrepreneurs will do so as well given its huge population as a marketplace. It’s already a great tourist destination.
Napoleon was right.
----------------- 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, ChinaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Space Act Passes | Obama’s Security & Foreign Policy Called Half-Measures, Ad Hoc, Piecemeal, Indecisive & Feckless
House passes Space Act.
Speaker Boehner noted, "Now the SPACE Act
boldly goes to the Senate, and we hope, the
president’s desk, where it can begin a long life
of helping our kids and grandkids prosper."
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 21, 2015:
The House convened at 10 AM today and began its legislative day.
The House took up consideration of H.R. 2262 (Space Act) — "To facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing commercial space industry by encouraging private sector investment and creating more stable and predictable regulatory conditions, and for other purposes." After debates and consideration of amendments, H.R. 2262 was passed (284-133) at 12:44 PM,
Other bills that may be considered today are: H.R. 1335 - "To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide flexibility for fishery managers and stability for fishermen, and for other purposes." H.R. 2496 — "To extend the authorization for the replacement of the existing Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, to make certain improvements in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, and for other purposes."
Yesterday, the House passed: H.R. 880 (274-145) — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to simplify and make permanent the research credit." H.R. 1806 (217-205) — "To provide for technological innovation through the prioritization of Federal investment in basic research, fundamental scientific discovery, and development to improve the competitiveness of the United States, and for other purposes."
The Senate reconvened at 9 AM today and resumed consideration of H.R. 1314, the vehicle for the Trade Promotion Authority bill.
At 10 AM, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) tried to get unanimous consent to vote on a group of amendments to the bill, but Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said that not enough amendments had been voted on and then objected.
The Senate then voted 62-38 to invoke cloture on the Hatch substitute amendment, which contains the TPA language.
Senators are now discussing further amendments to the bill and the timing of votes on cloture on the underlying bill, H.R. 1314, and on bills concerning expiring PATRIOT Act intelligence provisions.
This morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed for cloture on H.R. 2048, the House-passed surveillance bill, and on S. 1357, a bill extending the expiring PATRIOT Act provisions for two months.
The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberghas interviewed President Obama on security and foreign policy issues again and he writes, “I started the interview by asking Obama if—despite his previous assertion that ISIS was on the defensive—the United States was, in fact, losing the fight against the Islamic State terror group. When we spoke, the Iraqi city of Ramadi, in Anbar Province, had just fallen to ISIS; Palmyra, in Syria, would fall the day after the interview.”
“‘No, I don’t think we’re losing,’ he said. He went on to explain, ‘There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced. … [T]he training of Iraqi security forces, the fortifications, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.’”
The White House has been insistent that this is not as serious a setback for the campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorist forces as it appears.
However, as The Wall Street Journal editors write today, “In reality, the fall of Ramadi is a military humiliation and humanitarian disaster with large political consequences. The city is the provincial capital of Anbar province, Iraq’s Sunni heartland. U.S. forces waged a block-by-block battle to reclaim Ramadi from insurgents during the 2007 surge because it is crucial to the sectarian geography of Iraq. Winning there proved that the U.S. could prevail anywhere, and it provided the psychological momentum to swing the Sunnis to America’s side. So much for that.”
They explain, “The larger problem is that Mr. Obama wants to wage a de minimis campaign against an enemy with maximalist ambitions. The Administration often insists that Iraqis must defend their own country, which is true. But after making the ouster of then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a condition of U.S. support, the least the U.S. can do is provide meaningful support to his successor, Haider al-Abadi. That hasn’t happened. . . . The White House and its military commanders have also grossly underestimated the resilience of Islamic State. . . . Ramadi’s fall has humiliated Mr. Abadi and discredited his strategy of trusting the U.S. Mr. Maliki and his Iranian backers are angling to return to power—and unleash Shiite militias armed and trained by Iran. The danger is that on present trend the country will soon be divided into a Shiite east dominated by Iran and a Sunni west controlled by Islamic State.”
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn criticized the Obama administration’s approachto the Middle East on the Senate floor yesterday, saying, “I'm frustrated by the President's lack of leadership and by the Obama Administration's failure to put together a strong and cohesive strategy to combat ISIL, but it's more serious than that. . . . Since ISIL began taking large swaths of territory last summer, this Administration has taken an approach of paralysis by analysis. In other words, doing nothing. When they do take action, it seems ad hoc and piecemeal, and not driven by overarching objectives or any strategy that is apparent to me. . . . Just a few months ago, President Obama claimed ISIL was on the defensive. Well, that's not exactly the case today, nor was it really then. And it's not exactly the picture of the kind of leadership that we need from our commander in chief. By giving our troops a difficult mission to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL but not providing them with a strategy and the resources they need to do so, the President is essentially making them operate with one more hand tied behind their back.”
The world remains a dangerous place and the Obama administration’s approach to the Islamic State with a “de minimis campaign” and “half-measures” while the president instead tells Coast Guard Academy graduates about the threat of climate change is not a formula for success. Tags:Space Act, Obama’s Security & Foreign Policy, Half-Measures, Ad Hoc, Piecemeal, Indecisive, FecklessTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy responds to Sean Hackbarth's article.
by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: In March, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy bragged to a Senate Committee about the outpouring of public support for its proposed water regulations: We have received over 1 million comments and 87.1 percent of those comments we have counted so far... are supportive of this rule.No wonder EPA received so many public comments on its draft Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation; it helped drum them up, the New York Times reports:In a campaign that tests the limits of federal lobbying law, the agency orchestrated a drive to counter political opposition from Republicans and enlist public support in concert with liberal environmental groups and a grass-roots organization aligned with President Obama.
The Obama administration is the first to give the E.P.A. a mandate to create broad public outreach campaigns, using the tactics of elections, in support of federal environmental regulations before they are final.EPA fired up its propaganda machine to defend WOTUS after a host of critics--farmers, ranchers, home builders, the golf industry, and other businesses pointed out how the rule will empower federal bureaucrats to regulate "wetlands, intermittent streams, ephemeral steams (those that only flow after a rainfall or snowmelt) , and man-made bodies of water like ditches, ponds, and canals." They worry that WOTUS will federalize local land use decisions, and make it even harder to build things in America.
The Times describes one of EPA's tactics: The most contentious part of the E.P.A.'s campaign was deploying Thunderclap, a social media tool that spread the agency's message to hundreds of thousands of people -- a "virtual flash mob," in the words of Travis Loop, the head of communications for E.P.A.'s water division.EPA's Thunderclap campaign said, "Clean water is important to me. I support EPA's efforts to protect it for my health, my family, and my community," and included a link to an EPA webpage (now unavailable) that directed the public to submit comments on the draft regulation. The effort reached 1.8 million people.
Whether what EPA did violated the Anti-Lobbying Act's ban on agencies lobbying Congress, it certainly skirted the spirit of the law. The Times writes: Federal law permits the president and political appointees, like the E.P.A. administrator, to promote government policy, or to support or oppose pending legislation.
But the Justice Department, in a series of legal opinions going back nearly three decades, has told federal agencies that they should not engage in substantial "grass-roots" lobbying, defined as "communications by executive officials directed to members of the public at large, or particular segments of the general public, intended to persuade them in turn to communicate with their elected representatives on some issue of concern to the executive."
... At minimum, the actions of the agency are highly unusual. "The agency is supposed to be more of an honest broker, not a partisan advocate in this process," said Jeffrey W. Lubbers, a professor of practice in administrative law at the American University Washington College of Law and the author of the book "A Guide to Federal Agency Rulemaking."
"I have not seen before from a federal agency this stark of an effort to generate endorsements of a proposal during the open comment period," he said.It appears the Thunderclap campaign violated the spirit of internal EPA policy. A 2010 memo on indirect lobbying from EPA's general counsel states:EPA employees may not explicitly or implicitly encourage the public to contact Congress in support of, or opposition to, a legislative proposal, nor explicitly encourage the public to contact state or local governments for that purpose.EPA didn't use the campaign to encourage the public to contact Congress. It instead asked the public to leave comments in support of WOTUS, which EPA Administrator McCarthy then referenced in testimony before Congress to claim overwhelming public support for the controversial rule.
EPA defends its actions. The Times quotes EPA's Director of Communications for Water Travis Loop: "We are just borrowing new methods that have proven themselves as being effective." In a blog post, Liz Purchia, Deputy Associate Administrator for EPA's Office of Public Affairs, writes, "A public outreach effort to increase awareness and support of EPA's proposed Clean Water Rule is well within the appropriate bounds of the agency's mission to educate and engage Americans."
It's bad enough that EPA is engaging in such unprecedented regulatory overreach by crafting WOTUS, but its aggressive advocacy--perhaps too aggressive--shows that it's an agency that's out of control on multiple levels.
----------------------- Sean Hackbarth is a policy advocate and Senior Editor at U.S Chamber of Commerce. He twitters at @seanhackbarth and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. Tags:Sean Hackbarth, EPA, actions, skited the law, EPA Water Rule, EPA 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!
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