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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
The Fourth of July is a day that is usually a time when families get together for sunshine hot dogs, fun, and fireworks. Every American regardless of race, gender, income, and political party celebrates the day that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, spurring the start of the American Revolution. Like many other national holidays, the meaning can often be lost in the festivities. And so it is up to each of us to, in the words of Jefferson, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
The American system of government, with the Founding Father's emphasis on "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," has inspired almost every country in the world to rise up and take control of their own destiny. Constitutional Republics have spread throughout Europe, and just this year fellow freedom fighters as far away as Iran and as near to us as Honduras are standing up for their own independence much like our Founding Fathers did more than two centuries ago.
This is America's lasting legacy. Before 1776, only two Constitutional Republics even attempted to bring any form of freedom and liberty to mankind: The Greek and Roman Empires. But the people of these great nations became apathetic, not realizing, as John F. Kennedy wisely warned, "Complacency is the jailer of freedom."
So, while the Fourth of July has become a day of festivities (celebrating if nothing else, a day by the pool or at the beach), what Americans really are observing is the fact that a relative handful of courageous citizens lit a flame of liberty and installed a form of government that has governed over unprecedented prosperity and individual liberty. And even today, "the glow from that fire can truly light the world." [Americans for Limited Government (2009).] Tags:2015, 4th of July, July 4, ARRA News Service, Bill Smith, Independence Day, editorial cartoons, Tony Branco, William Warren, Glenn Foden, America's Birthday, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Unlike the Iraqi military, the Kurds are a competent fighting force. But the report notes that they are fighting ISIS, which has captured a lot of modern U.S. military equipment, with old Soviet-era weaponry. They need help.
President Obama insists he does not want to put boots on the ground in Iraq. Fine. But at least give those willing to fight these barbarians the weapons they need to win!
Not surprisingly, our Arab allies are furious. One senior Arab official told The Telegraph:"If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating ISIL, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat. With ISIL making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face."By refusing to arm the Kurds with heavy weapons, Obama is increasing the odds that ISIS will prevail, thereby increasing the odds that a future American president may have no choice but to commit massive numbers of soldiers in order to prevent the entire region from falling to these butchers.
And while Obama refuses to aggressively fight ISIS, the enemy is growing stronger. Egypt is now fighting a fierce battle with ISIS militants in the Sinai Peninsula -- about 40 miles from the Israeli border. Responding to yesterday's attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:"ISIS is not just opposite the Golan Heights. At the moment it is also in Egypt, opposite Rafah, facing our borders, and we are joined with Egypt and with many other countries in the Middle East and the world in the struggle against the extremist Islamic terrorism that is guided by two elements -- Iran and the Shiite extremists, and ISIS and the Sunni extremists -- as well as other factions such as Hamas."By the way, ISIS warned Christians in Jerusalem this week to leave the holy city or die. Meanwhile here in America, we are facing perhaps our highest terrorist threat level ever from ISIS sympathizers eager to attack July 4th celebrations.
No matter where they are -- Jerusalem or America -- Christians are in danger of being murdered by radical Islamists right now, and it just happens to be Ramadan, the holiest time of the Islamic calendar.
I'm sure that is just a coincidence. The Islamic State and its radical followers have nothing to do with Islam -- at least that is what our political and cultural elites tell us.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, President Obama, abandons ally, Kirds, Arab allies, Middle East, ISIS, executes childrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Newt Gingrich: Greece will hold a referendum on Sunday to decide whether it will stay in the Eurozone or leave it. Staying in the Eurozone will require Greeks to accept very harsh austerity cutbacks and reforms. Dropping out of the Eurozone would lead to a radically devalued Greek drachma.
Other countries that have accepted devaluation have seen their currency decline in value by as much as 84 percent. That means everything they import costs dramatically more and everything they export brings in less. For American and European customers, it would be a huge benefit, since staying in Greek hotels, eating in Greek restaurants, and buying Greek goods would be drastically cheaper.
Greece has forced itself into this position after years of living beyond its means. The country has too many bureaucrats, pensions that are unsustainable, regulations that kill jobs, and people who want to spend more than they earn.
Generations of irresponsible politicians have encouraged this habit of living beyond their incomes and spending more than they earn.
The Greek crisis has been building for years. Now it is being paralleled by a Puerto Rican crisis.
The Governor of Puerto Rico has announced that his island government owes $70 billion and can’t possibly repay its debt. He would like Washington to bail him out.
All of the bondholders who foolishly lent money to an insolvent government agree on the need for the bailout. After all, why should they have to pay for their lack of due diligence?
Congress and the President should work together to pass a federal bankruptcy law for the states and territories. The best next step for Puerto Rico is to accept that it has borrowed more than it can possibly repay and then to go through a systematic bankruptcy. This will force all of the stakeholders, government employees, pensioners and bondholders to lose some money to solve the problem.
The Greek and Puerto Rican problems, like the Illinois problem before them, are symptoms of an era in which people and governments have self-indulgently spent more money than they have earned.
Our student loan disaster is another symptom of this same habit.
Once upon a time, students worked, lived frugally, and studied hard to get through school as quickly as possible.
Universities, students, and politicians all found it mutually useful to make school last longer and cost more money–it was easier to borrow from the future to pay for a softer, more carefree present. Now, just as in Greece and Puerto Rico, the results of these bad choices are beginning to crop up as overburdened graduates find themselves drowning in debt. It’s a tragedy for the students, just as it’s a tragedy for the Greeks, who will now live poorer lives because of a government and a culture that promised them it would all be okay.
It is time to get back to a balanced budget for our government and our society.
We have to learn once again to earn more than we spend, put some aside for a rainy day, and invest in our future, our children’s future and our country’s future.
Remember those principles as you watch the Greek and Puerto Rican dramas unfold.
---------------------- 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, Greece, Puerto Rico, bankrupt, lessons for Americans, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Nelson Hultberg, Contributing Author: Greece defaults. The Dow plummets 350 points in one day. Ugly, ominous DEBT builds up like a giant snow cliff hanging over the economic valleys of the West. Is this the end of the Great Keynesian Charade brought to us by the collectivists with the advent of 1913 and the Roosevelt revolution of 1933? Not quite; but the end is near. It sits just beyond the "fiscal can kicking" that our government banking oligarchs have fashioned for us from Milhouse Nixon to Hussein Obama. A few more years of such illusory "policy making" will be all that is needed. The DEBT avalanche that we have contained far longer than wise men ever thought possible will begin its descent and crash into our lives. It won't be a slow form of destruction either; it will be a huge and horrific crash that will wipe out much of the quality of our way of life overnight.
It will begin as the marketplace reasserts its control in the bond market, and interest rates begin to climb in defiance of the Fed's massive rate suppression over the past decade. China and the world's buyers of U.S. Treasuries are not going to continue ponying up in the Treasury auctions like they have been doing for so many decades. In fact they are now beginning to get rid of U.S. Treasuries, and this means they will surely be buying far less of them in future auctions. This will mean interest rates must go higher. The days of Washington borrowing its way to power and phony prosperity are numbered.
With higher interest rates will come more pressure for the Fed to simply print money in order to fund the egregious prodigality of the welfare state that FDR and LBJ gave to us. With such blatant printing will come price inflation and a fall of the dollar's value throughout the world, which will then spur further rises in interest rates. The Keynesian chickens of "pseudo prosperity" that we have been enjoying for 80 years will come home to roost in a devastating decline for America. The boom will be replaced by the bust, and it will be massive.
If the Chinese Yuan is admitted into the IMF's club for reserve currencies this October (which is a serious possibility), the dollar will lose huge amounts of its attractiveness around the world. It will sell off steadily and disastrously over the next decade. Prices will scream in America. Standards of living will plummet. Such an event combined with the past 80 years of Keynesian monetary illusion cannot end well for America. We have broken the natural laws of economics for so long that we will have to now pay for our sins like all prodigals do. And it will not be a pretty sight.
The Charlatanry of Keynes
The question is, can our authorities grasp the fundamental flaw underlying the Keynesian ideology that lies behind the boom-bust nature of our modern economy? This flaw is that Say's Law is valid, and that Keynes was a charlatan to try and convince us that it was no longer applicable to modern times. As Jean Baptiste Say (the famous 19th century French economist) told us, "supply creates its own demand," and no amount of credit expansion by government bankers is going to increase demand beyond what can be created by the productiveness of our people. At least there can be no "increased demand" that is genuine and stable. Keynesian demand is equivalent to the high that a dope addict experiences. There must come a total destruction and crash to balance out the high that the credit expansion created. Therefore government juicing up of demand by "priming the pump" with liquidity injections of credit to the people will not make us all richer in the long run. And that is what is important - the long run. [For a detailed explanation of why this crash must take place, see my article,Keynesianism's Ugly Secret.]
Can our authorities grasp all this? Very doubtful. Thus America's crash will drag Europe, China, Japan, Australia, and the rest of the world into a protracted depression that will be more devastating than anything in history. Calls for renunciation of American sovereignty will be heard everywhere. A world bank will be championed. Capitalism will be blamed even though we haven't had capitalism since the 19th century. What we have is economic fascism, the merging of corporate power and state power. But all of this will elude our authorities. They will be in full panic mode and looking for a way to cling to power and climb back to some semblance of prosperity.
All of this will bring so much disorder, so much suffering, so much outrage among the people (who will not understand the Keynesian sources of the problem) that they will tolerate massive government centralization and martial law. They will scorn what is left of the Constitution. They will kowtow to demagogues preaching the need to nationalize the banking system and enact a massive redistribution of wealth through punitive progressive tax rates. They will agree with the Marxian mindset more and more. They will tolerate Marx's "new kind of freedom."
Can this disaster be averted? No, the crash cannot be averted. But what's important is can America be revived after the inevitable crash that is coming? Can the revival be genuine, i.e., a restoration of the Founders' vision of limited government? That is the paramount question that we now face. Is there enough patriotic desire for the real America among the people for them to want to restore it? Or will we succumb to Orwell's nightmare and become Oceania (North and South America), while the rest of the world becomes Eurasia (Europe and Russia) and Eastasia (China, Japan, Australia, Korea, the Philippines, etc.). Three regional governments to dominate the world.
This is the direction that we are headed. This is what is in store for our children. This is the price we paid when, 155 years ago, we began the nationalization of our government under Abraham Lincoln and the mercantilists of his day. It was with Lincoln that the Hamiltonian political philosophy finally gained power in our country. Till then we were Jefferson's "Republic of States" relying on free enterprise, gold money, and a strict separation of powers, i.e., "federalism." With Lincoln we shifted into mercantilism and political nationalization culminating with the Federal Reserve and the federal income tax in 1913, which led to the Great Depression, which led to Keynes in 1936, LBJ in 1966, and the Nixon to Obama government banking oligarchy.
[See Thomas J. DiLorenzo's, The Real Lincoln and Hamilton's Curse for two brilliant expositions of this treasonous departure from the original purpose of America.]
The collectivists have held power ever since Lincoln. Sometimes it's Republican collectivists, and sometimes it's Democratic collectivists who win at the polls. But always it's collectivism. Always it's more centralization of power. Each domestic economic crisis has brought us more centralization of government in Washington. And this next economic crisis, being a world crisis, will bring us world centralization of power. Regional government will be the beginning. We already have the forces set in motion with all the modern fervor for the North American Union (NAU) in which America, Canada, and Mexico are merged, first economically, which, of course, will eventually require political union in order to be workable.
Orwell's world is coming. It will take a miracle to stop it. Americans will have to rebel and demand the restoration of what they know deep in their souls is their birthright - freedom in both the political and economic realms. Political leaders who grasp the Orwellian-Keynesian source of our problems will have to appear after the crash to galvanize the people. Americans still have a love of freedom inside them; but they will need both intellectual and political leaders to clarify this and inspire them to be true to the country once again.
We live in epic times. A high-tech Dark Ages of Orwellian-Keynesian slavery to government banking oligarchs looms ahead. Where will you, the reader, stand in response? Will you fight such ignominy, or will you stay with the collectivist herd to enjoy the fruits of redistributed wealth and government privilege? If you are a true patriot, you already know where you will stand.
--------------- Nelson Hultberg is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. He is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic and author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values. Tags:Nelson Hultberg, Americans for Free Republic, Keynes, The Charlatanry of Keynes, Lincoln's Nationalization, Orwell's World, Orwellian-Keynesian slavery, government banking oligarchsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
The social safety net is buoyant and provides a solid working-class standard of living. People who are injured can rely on disability insurance to maintain their income.
Student-to-teacher ratios are very low so that every child gets the very best.
The flagship research institution is a well-funded public university. Just ten years ago, the university was linked to downtown and the suburbs by a new light rail line.
Best of all, richer people living far away pay most of the taxes. This little paradise has open access to large export markets and is part of a major currency union.
The government borrows at low interest rates and runs large deficits when output is below trend and does not give up on stimulus after a few years.
But economic output, oddly, is always below trend.
Puerto Ricans have lived through decades of this left-wing utopia, and they are fleeing it.
The island’s working-age population declined by 100,000 since 2005, as the economy shifted from stagnation to depression.
In a parallel universe with free markets and low regulation, Puerto Rico could have become the Singapore of the Caribbean.
It has a sizable educated, bilingual workforce, is a natural hub for regional commerce, and has free access to U.S. markets.
Credit must be given to left-wing Gov. Alejandro García Padilla for commissioning an independent economic report on Puerto Rico’s economy, and his administration did not repudiate the economists’ blistering critique of the commonwealth’s progressive policies and shabby governance.
In the report, economists Anne Krueger, Ranjit Teja, and Andrew Wolfe call for spending cuts, tax reforms, and structural reforms—necessities if Puerto Rico is to resume economic growth.
“Solving Puerto Rico’s problems through fiscal expansion has not worked,” she writes, “and will not work.”
Instead, spending cuts that reduce the footprint of government can return the commonwealth to solvency and allow economic growth. Their suggestions include:
Cutting subsidies to the University of Puerto Rico to save $500 million per year (throughout, annual savings are estimated as of 2020).
Cutting extra Medicaid spending to save $150 million per year.
Gradual cuts in public school employment and closure of some rural schools to reflect the shrinking number of students and save over $400 million a year
Renewing a law that freezes the real value of certain transfer-spending formulas to save $1 billion a year.
Staffing cuts at bloated public utilities.
The economists advocate comprehensive tax reform. Replacing a 35 percent corporate tax rate riddled with exemptions with a 10 to 15 percent, broad-based corporate tax would increase annual revenues by $250 million.
Governor Padilla’s administration has called for a new sales tax, which the authors estimate would raise $1 billion annually.
The largest potential revenue gains come from reforms to the labor market and business sector rather than from tax increases.
By spurring economic growth, Puerto Rico could add $1.35 billion in revenues without a tax increase.
Labor and Social Reforms
Tax reforms and spending policies will not be sufficient without reforms to Puerto Rico’s social safety net.
By using a welfare system designed for the mainland U.S., where average wages are much higher, both federal and Puerto Rican policies discourage work.
The U.S. minimum wage of $7.25 is only slightly lower than the median wage in Puerto Rico, $9.42. Contrary to the claims of some progressives, a higher minimum wage destroys jobs.
Puerto Rico cannot compete with similar regional economies at mainland-U.S. wage rates.
But only the U.S. Congress can grant Puerto Rico a minimum wage exemption.
The economists recommend Puerto Rico repeal its European-style labor laws, which make it difficult to lay workers off, expensive to employ them, and thus risky to hire them.
Reforms of the benefits Puerto Ricans receive when they are not at work are important as well.
The economists show in one estimate that “a household of three eligible for food stamps, AFDC, Medicaid and utilities subsidies could receive $1,743 per month—as compared to a minimum wage earner’s take-home earnings of $1,159.”
Since the minimum and median wages are so close, the welfare income would also exceed a median wage earner’s income by about $240 a month.
The authors conclude that the “federal government should therefore give the Commonwealth more latitude to adjust welfare requirements and benefits.”
It would then be up to Puerto Rico’s lawmakers to administer transfer payments in less distortionary ways.
The World Bank’s “Doing Business” survey ranks Puerto Rico significantly below the mainland U.S. in its “Ease of doing business” rankings.
One barrier to business is the Merchant Marine Jones Act, which gives a monopoly on trade between Puerto Rico and the U.S. to a small fleet of old, inefficient vessels.
This partial embargo raises prices of all sorts of consumer goods, making Puerto Rican residents poorer.
In particular, Puerto Rico has been shut out of the energy boom on the mainland.
But lack of access to mainland gas and oil is not the only reason energy prices are so high in Puerto Rico.
The report notes that only in insolvency is the Puerto Rican electrical utility beginning to address its “over-staffing and inefficiency,” which have kept electricity prices high.
They recommend assigning a “high-level official” in the Puerto Rican government to improving the island’s “ease of doing business ranking.”
Their hope is that someone whose reputation is on the line will have the willpower to break through the bureaucratic inertia and enact reforms on registering property and permitting new businesses.
Beyond the content of Puerto Rico’s policies, Krueger and her team were clearly troubled by the opacity of the commonwealth’s civil service.
Their immediate problem was a lack of accurate, up-to-date economic data. But the data deficiencies reflected generally chaotic record-keeping and poor coordination throughout the central bureaucracy.
The Stricken Land
Puerto Rico’s progressive policies are not a coincidence. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Rexford Tugwell, one of his most progressive lieutenants, governor of Puerto Rico in 1941.
Tugwell created a unique stream of tax revenue and used it to experiment with a centrally planned economy, extending the reach of the government of Puerto Rico into every sector of the economy.
Stricken and stunted by the plans of Tugwell and his successors, Puerto Rico has never lived up to its promise as an American commonwealth.
Now in a depression and a debt crisis, Puerto Rico serves as a warning against the very policies that Tugwell championed.
-------------- Salim Furth, Ph.D., (@salimfurth) researches and explains how public policy affects economic growth as a research fellow in macroeconomics at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. His economic research has covered fiscal policy, international economics, labor market trends, and economic mobility. Tags:Puerto Rico, Progressive, Paradise Lost, analysis, economy, fiscal policy, Salim Furth, Heritage FoundationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
She stopped buying sugary cereals, for instance. Well! We could not supinely accept this. My younger brother hid Cap'n Crunch and other stuff like that under his bed; and when we wanted a bedtime snack, we'd find him and barter on the black market.
I cite those halcyon days of determined resistance as a relatively benign example of adults regulating kids. Parents have that job. Mom was certainly within her rights. Yet children, although they should gladly obey all reasonable parental injunctions, can only be expected to resist when parental prerogatives stray into sugary-cereal-banning territory.
How much more enthusiastically, then, must we cheer kids who valiantly evade not the proper authority of parents but the improper, pushy, Puritanical programs of joy-stomping institutional busybodies?
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Are you by any chance referring to the efforts of Michelle Obama and snivelingly acquiescent educrats to expel anything tasty from school lunchrooms across the land, as if innocuous condiments were the equivalent of strychnine?" Correct!
I'm also talking about kids "caught bringing -- and even selling[!!] -- salt, pepper, and sugar" to rescue their taste buds from the arbitrarily bland fare.
Good going, guys! And if moms and dads want to take this Declaration of Independence even further, let them yank their kids out of these places and find another way to teach them the ABCs.
This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
------------------ Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Paul Jacob, Common Sense, The Pushers, school, lunchrooms To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Generation Opportunity Releases Monthly Millennial Jobs Report
(WASHINGTON) – Generation Opportunity, a national, non-partisan youth advocacy organization, is announcing its Millennial Jobs Report for June 2015. The data is non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) and is specific to 18-29 year-olds:
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 13.5 percent (NSA). The (U-3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 9.6 percent (NSA).
The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.771 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 18.7 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 17 percent (NSA).
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics is 13.8 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 10.9 percent (NSA).
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old women is 11.4 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 9.2 percent (NSA).
Generation Opportunity President Andrew Clark issued the following statement:"Young people should be driving our country's economic growth, but thanks to government policies that favor entrenched interests over dynamic innovators, we're struggling disproportionately. Generation Opportunity's Millennial Jobs Report shows that 13.5 percent of 18-29 year-olds, nearly one in seven, are out of work.
“Today's disappointing jobs numbers are yet another reminder that the unemployment rate is going down for all the wrong reasons. Over 1.7 million young people are no longer counted as unemployed by the Labor Department because they've simply given up looking. The labor force participation rate is now at its lowest point since 1977.< “More debt-fueled government spending will not solve this problem. We need to unleash our creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial generation to invent new products and pioneer new industries that don't even exist yet. When we let Washington manipulate our economy, we know what happens. When we let freedom drive progress, there's no limit to what's possible."---------------- Generation Opportunity is a national, non-partisan organization advocating for economic opportunity for young people through less government and more freedom. Tags:Millennial Jobs Report, young people, Unemployment, Generation OpportunityTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
That represents more than 26 percent of all IMF lending, which totals $85.3 billion. Since the money there is fungible, that means the U.S. has more than a 26 percent stake in every loan that the IMF undertakes — including more than 26 percent of all losses booked by the institution.
So that missed $1.7 billion payment? That amounts to a $452 million potential loss for the U.S. Treasury. To pay us back, the IMF will have to draw assets from elsewhere, for example, by selling gold.
What if Greece were to default on all of its $23.6 billion debt to the IMF? Then the tab rises to $6.27 billion of U.S. funds at risk.
All of which leads Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning to call on Congress to get U.S. funds out of the IMF.
“Not one more penny should go to bailing out European socialist governments and the banks that lent them the money. Congress should prohibit the use of any funds created by the $100 billion New Arrangements to Borrow credit line, a 2009 expansion initiated by the Obama administration from being used for any purpose. In addition, it is the duty of Congress to prohibit the use of quota funds to cover any obligations owed by Greece to the IMF,” Manning said in a statement.
Then, Manning said, “if the Obama administration wants to support Greece or any other bankrupt government financially, the President should have to go to Congress to request the funds as the Constitution mandates.”
Manning blasted the IMF for biting off more than it could chew, even as it was clear a Greek default was inevitable.
“The IMF was never supposed to fund developed countries like Greece, Ireland, or Portugal, yet in the financial crisis these three countries have borrowed a whopping $54 billion from it, accounting for 55 percent of all its current outstanding loans,” Manning explained.
“All that time the American people were assured that there was zero risk of default, a façade that has now been exposed as pure vapor with Greece’s $1.7 billion missed payment to the IMF,” Manning said, urging Congress to get out while the getting’s good.
In the great scheme of things, a $6.27 billion potential loss may not seem like a lot to lawmakers, but it could just be the tip of the iceberg should the IMF begin bailing out much larger economies like Italy or Spain, or if Greece’s default encourages other countries to renege on their debts, too.
The combined debts of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain totaled more than $4.3 trillion in 2014, according to Eurostat. The IMF was never intended to bail out advanced economies in the first place. It couldn’t save all of Europe if it wanted to.
And in Greece’s case, with more than 25 percent unemployment and an economic depression without end, the loans do not even seem particularly helpful. So why bother?
---------------- Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's NetRight Daily blog. Tags:Robert Romano, Americans For Limited Government, Greece, Bankrupt, IMF bail out, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
10 Things Progressives Owe to Western Civilization
by Steve Balch: Among academics, the term “Western civilization,” once totemic, has grown impolite. To use it without sneer or smirk can rouse suspicions of Eurocentrism or even bigotry. Many academics who think themselves “Progressive” today equate Western civilization with racism, sexism, imperialism, homophobia, greed, plutocracy, and almost everything bad. They prefer to think of themselves as “global citizens,” believing the prideful invocation of Western civilization is best avoided.
Yet if Progressives were to reflect more deeply, they would see that in all these attitudes, and just about everything that goes with them, they themselves are quintessentially Western. Let us count the ways, shall we?
#1 As “Progressives,” they believe in progress, indeed equate themselves with it, and progress is a concept first explicated during the period of Western history known as the Enlightenment—though it was prefigured in earlier strands of Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian thought. Most other cultures had static or cyclic conceptions of history, or imagined their “golden ages” as belonging to an unrecoverable past. Forward-looking secular improvement is a Western idea.
#2 “Globalism,” in any practical sense, was made possible by the West, whose voyages of discovery and distance-annihilating technologies first knit the world together in a way that makes what happens in each of its parts significant for the rest. Globalism would be inconceivable without the West.
#3 Equally inconceivable would be “citizenship,” an ideal whose roots are wholly Western. Other civilizations had subjects and rulers, the former more or less the chattel of the latter. Only in the West, beginning with the city-states of ancient Greece and Italy, were hoi polloi considered to have a rightful role in public affairs. Applying this principle worldwide has been an act of Western proselytism.
#4 In wanting to design a new global order, Progressives reject the take-it-for-granted outlook that non-Western cultures have had toward politics and society, one in which ways of life are pretty much fixed by changeless traditions. Because they think them fully amenable to rational understanding, Progressives believe that political and social institutions can be systematically “de and re” constructed. Even foundational notions like gender can be readily redefined, they imagine, through public policy. To be sure, Progressivism, especially in its academic guise, has lately become somewhat uncertain about reason, itself now subject to deconstruction. Plato, the first great Western social engineer, would hardly have approved. But as social architects of various brave new worlds, Progressives can still be said to march in his footsteps.
#5 Also like Plato, and many Westerners after him, Progressives frequently tout utopias. Utopias combine the ideas of reason and progress and extend them to the nth degree. While the dream of a perfected hereafter isn’t exclusively Western, one entirely realized by human effort is. Secular perfection is pursued in a variety of forms, sometimes hierarchical with everyone assigned to a prescribed role or caste (as with Plato), others severely egalitarian—“from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” (as with Marx and kindred). What these all have in common is the suppression of genuine individuality, which is inevitably too messy for any perfectionist scheme. In utopia everyone labors for the good of all, a situation the atheoretical non-West has been, until we started reeducating them, too commonsensical to accept.
#6 The peddling of utopias is best done among those whose day-to-day wants have been abundantly satisfied. When much has already been given, unlimited satisfaction seems more plausible. Capitalism created the cornucopia at whose mouth we all now sit, with the mass plausibility of utopias flowing from its success. Nineteenth-century radicals were chagrined to discover that proletarians preferred a 10 percent pay raise to pie-in-the-revolutionary sky. The school of hard knocks inclined them to settle for half a loaf. Twenty-first century “consumatarians” can be easier marks.
#7 Most of the specific utopias current among Progressives are altogether Western in origin. Marxism not only was Western but also saw the West as the driving force behind worldwide revolutionary change. Feminism is an ideology that only expansive Western notions of meritocracy and civil rights could have spawned. Environmentalism would be unthinkable in the agrarian, largely subsistence economies that the West’s industrial and scientific revolutions displaced. Pacifism and the panoply of international institutions ostensibly devoted to conflict resolution are the natural outgrowths of market economies productive enough to do without conquest, as well as political systems where the soldier in the trench is also a man with a vote.
#8 At the heart of Progressivism is redistributive public policy. Whatever the degree to which such policies may be thought demagoguery or social justice, they would make no practical political sense absent democratic electorates in which those with less outnumber those with more. In addition, their advocacy requires a system of civil liberties that allows—particularly when the redistributive process first begins—the advocates of the less to escape suppression by those with more. Majoritarian free-speech regimes arose solely in the West and until the spread of Western influence could be found nowhere else.
#9 The many policy successes of American and Western Progressives have depended on the heavy support they’ve received from intellectuals, and only in the West have intellectuals grown so numerous and powerful as to carry the day in debate after debate. A surfeit of intellectuals is partly the result of the West’s material superabundance. Not being makers of things, intellectuals (not counting scientists and engineers) are something of a luxury product. Poorer societies generally can’t afford to maintain them in the profusion with which they’re found, for example, on contemporary American campuses. And in earlier unfree societies, such intellectuals as existed were, like most everyone else, severely restricted in what they could do and say. Western liberty broke those shackles.
#10 The power of intellectuals has also been greatly augmented by their influence over modern mass media—both in its journalistic and entertainment forms. These media depend, in turn, upon technologies that are the products of Western science and engineering. Without modern technology, Progressive ideas would have had much greater difficulty overcoming the force of tradition and influence of primary institutions like the family, or, for that matter, of common sense.
Of course Progressives aren’t the only beneficiaries of Western civilization. At the heart of Western exceptionalism are freedom and reason, and it is not the Progressives but the more genuine champions of liberty who make the most honest use of these. Progressives slip stream their currents that the more classically liberal (i.e., contemporary conservatives) directly ride. Nonetheless, Progressives would do themselves and the world a favor by waking up to all they owe the West. If the West goes down, it’s likely to take Progressivism with it.
------------------- Steve Balch is founder of the National Association of Scholars. He currently serves as director of the Texas Tech Institute for the Study of Western Civilization. His opinions are entirely his own. H/T Intercollegiate Review who shared this article with the editor. Tags:Steve Balch, Things, progressives, western civilization, 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 Supreme Court’s outrageous decisions in the Obamacare and same-sex marriage cases, in which the Court simply ignored the plain meanings of words and the Constitution, and thumbed its nose at the most basic facts of life, are only the latest examples of our nation turning its back on truth and common sense.
Under the influence of “progressive” fanatics, we’re suffering from a progressive pathology that’s tearing our nation apart.
In their quest to redefine “normal,” they are tearing up America’s morality by the roots. They’re forcing America to abandon God’s standards of right and wrong, and in consequence our society is becoming increasingly unmoored from reality.
The progressive war on truth
When did lying become accepted practice in public life? Not too long after kids started coming home from college — and high school — prattling about “my truth” and “your truth.”
Truth is, by definition, objective and universal. Rejecting this fundamental principle leads people to do “what is right in their own eyes,” as the Bible puts it, and enables them to play fast and loose with the rules.
Craig Livingstone, keeper of the illegally obtained FBI files during the Clinton administration, reportedly told a colleague, “Haven’t you heard? Truth is whatever you want it to be.”
The Clintons didn’t invent political lying, but they surely brought it to new lows. Nevertheless, there was still some expectation back in the 90s that politicians ought to tell the truth.
Not so much nowadays. The nation placidly goes about its business as revelations emerge about the Obama administration lying continuously, almost compulsively, about virtually anything, in pursuit of political advantage. Here is a handful of examples that represent the Obama administration’s line on many of the leading public policy issues:
The Benghazi massacre was a spontaneous event triggered by an obscure video, not a carefully planned Muslim terrorist attack of which we had advance warning.
If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
“Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
The fence between the U.S. and Mexico is “practically complete.”
Common sense voter ID laws constitute “suppression” of minority voters.
It’s clear that the present administration views lying as an essential hammer in their political tool chest.
The progressive war on reality
The war on truth is rapidly devolving into a war on reality itself. Perhaps it’s inevitable that when you abandon the plain black and white of truth and falsehood, you lose the ability to discern what is real and what is not. Never have I seen an administration pursue so many policies that fly in the face of common sense, and even demand that we deny reality that’s as plain as the nose on your face:
The Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence,” not Muslim terrorism.
We offend our allies deliberately, and kowtow to enemies who intend to destroy us.President Obama just announced that families of hostages will no longer be prosecuted for paying ransom, increasing the odds that more Americans will be kidnapped by terrorists.
We help Iran obtain nuclear weapons, putting Israel and the rest of the world at risk.
We withdraw prematurely from Iran and Afghanistan, effectively giving those countries back to the Muslim jihadists.
We protect Muslims around the world, while allowing Muslims to slaughter Christians throughout the Islamic world.
At home, police are vilified, and criminals are exalted.
The government spending spree continues, even as our towering debt promises to deliver us into fiscal Armageddon.Social Security Disability is about to go broke, and Medicare and Social Security are not far behind.
We pander to troubled people trying to change their sex through hormones and mutilating surgery.In reality, transgender “women” are still men, and “men” are still women. At best, sex reassignment surgery turns men into eunuchs, and women into God knows what. Facebook now recognizes more than 50 “genders,” as if people can declare their sex to be whatever they imagine.
We virtually eliminate our southern border, handcuff our border agents, and actively foster illegal immigration, when the nation is facing suffocating unemployment.Illegals have become a de facto protected class.
And we lie about unemployment statistics, concealing half or more of the actual unemployment.
The progressive war on resisters
You’d better think twice before you tell the truth about the emperor’s new clothes. Progressives are using the power of government to force society to go along with the insanity.
This goes on wherever progressives hold power. Politically correct speech codes have been enforced on American college campuses for decades, where conservative and Christian students and faculty are routinely discriminated against and decried as “haters.”
------------------ Ken Blackwell is a Senior Fellow with the American Civil Rights Union(ACRU) and former ambassador to the U.N., and Ohio Secretary of State and mayor of Cincinnati. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags: Ken Blackwell, Supreme Court, progressive disease, war on truth, war on reality. war on resisters, insanity, political correct speech, Supreme Court, The Looking Spoon, Image. Emperor has no clothes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Last weekend on Fox News Sunday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Tx.) expressed his extreme concern that "Syrian and ISIS recruiters can use the Internet at lightning speeds to recruit followers in the United States . . . and then activate them to do whatever they want to do. Whether it's military installations, law enforcement or possibly a Fourth of July event parade."
Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director, told CBS This Morning, "I wouldn't be surprised if we're sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States. That's how serious this is."
In the last three weeks, the FBI has arrested ten U.S. citizens allegedly plotting attacks here -- in solidarity with the Islamic State.
Just a week ago, I suggested we dump the Department of Homeland Security and start anew, because the DHS bureaucracy is hardly the best way to organize government to stop terrorist attacks.
Yet, no matter how well organized, government cannot possibly stop every act of violence.
While contemplating the Independence Day prospect of lone-wolf lunatics or homicidal decapitators and suicide bombers organized "at lightning speeds," a thought came to mind: We had better depend on ourselves.
If those who will heed "the siren calls" of the Islamic State do get past Homeland Security and our alphabet quilt of security agencies, let's do everything we can to make certain they still have to face us, armed Americans.
This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
------------------ Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Armed Americans, terrorist threats, one-wolf lunatics, homicidal decapitators, suicide bombers. American soil, Americans, Independence Day, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Proverbial Camel, LGBT Agenda, forcing Christians, perform weddings, lawsuits, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly: Justice Kennedy’s opinion for a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court has rightly been condemned for its lack of grounding in the Constitutional text he is sworn to uphold. Unable to find gay marriage in either the due process clause or the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Kennedy ultimately rests his case on what Justice Clarence Thomas sarcastically called the “dignity clause” of the Constitution.
There is no such clause, of course, although Kennedy’s majority opinion mentioned “dignity” nine times. But if dignity can be conferred by decisions of the Supreme Court, then Congress can do so, too.
Therein lies a first response: Congress should formally recognize the dignity of opposite-sex married couples and resolve to protect that dignity in our laws. A joint resolution should recite the many reasons why the special union of husband and wife has been honored for “millennia,” as Justice Kennedy admitted.
Only the union of husband and wife was recognized in the foundational texts of Western Civilization, including the Book of Genesis as well as the classical writers of ancient Greece and Rome. The union of husband and wife was singled out for special recognition in the words of Jesus, as recorded in the gospels of the New Testament.
Only the union of husband and wife is honored in our cultural heritage – depicted in thousands of works of art and chronicled in thousands of works of literature – which have inspired and ennobled people over millennia. Only the union of husband and wife can provide the biological connection that attaches a child to its parents and, through them, to other members of the human family.
The union of husband and wife is the only means of tracing history over generations. Royal dynasties, such as the family that has ruled Great Britain since 1066 – the same family that chartered the North American colonies beginning in 1607 — would have been impossible without it.
Only the union of husband and wife can provide a stable home, as a self-supporting economic unit suitable for rearing and educating children. That is why Karl Marx, in his Communist Manifesto of 1848, called for “abolition of the family” as a necessary step towards a revolutionary communist utopia.
Only the union of husband and wife has the potential to address concerns about increasing inequality, which is driven primarily by the collapse of the family among persons of low income and low education. Those people are often called “under-privileged,” but the most important privilege they lack is the privilege of a stable home formed by a husband and wife who are legally married to each other and jointly responsible for rearing the children they bring into the world.
A crash program to rebuild the traditional American nuclear family is urgently necessary for continuing our nation’s political and economic success in this century. This won’t happen if we transform marriage into a means of giving “dignity” to mostly childless homosexuals.
Once Congress is on a roll to confer dignity, it should confer an extra measure of dignity on the single-earner family, where a provider-husband is the principal breadwinner and his wife is dedicated to the job of homemaker, a role more socially beneficial than working in the paid labor force.
Congress should affirm the many studies that report the singular advantages of husband-wife marriage for all measures of social and economic success. It should reject the politicized studies purporting to show that family structures make no difference in child outcomes.
Congress should reaffirm the factual foundation of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which Justice Kennedy knocked out two years ago in the Windsor case. It is simply a fact, which cannot be reasonably denied, that the 1,138 federal laws that refer to marriage (such as the joint income tax return, tax deductions and credits, homemaker and other dependent benefits in Social Security, and veterans’ benefits) were intended by Congress to apply only to the union of husband and wife.
After reciting the foregoing reasons and many others, Congress should conclude its resolution by formally resolving that the traditional family, founded on a married husband and wife, carries special dignity and deserves special recognition because it provides unique benefits to society.
This is not to deny that every human person has value and dignity, or that other domestic relationships may have some value in limited circumstances. But Congress should respond to Justice Kennedy with a ringing affirmation of the unique dignity that should be accorded to society’s foundational unit, the marriage of husband and wife.
Naysayers will scoff that the foregoing resolution doesn’t change the Supreme Court decision, and you can imagine a late-night comedian comparing it to the medal of courage which the Wizard of Oz presented to the Cowardly Lion. But movie fans will recall how that gesture inspired Dorothy and her companions toward achieving their goal.
-------------------- Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, Congress, respond to, Justice KennedyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
IRS Awards Millions in Contracts to Tax-Delinquent Companies - But It's Even Worse! #FairTax Anyone?
Well, this is embarrassing... During a two-year period the IRS awarded 57 contracts worth nearly $19 million to 17 corporations that owed federal taxes during that period, according to a report released recently by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). In doing this, the IRS actually violated a 2012 federal law called the Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibiting government agencies from using appropriated funds to enter into a contract with a company that has certain federal tax debt or felony convictions.
Is anyone surprised by the IRS' disregard for the law or taxpayers? It is time to abolish the IRS. FairTax and No More IRS anyone?
----------------- Judicial Watch Reports: Just when you thought the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) couldn’t sink any lower, an embarrassing federal audit exposes the scandal-plagued agency for awarding dozens of tax-delinquent companies with millions of dollars in government contracts.
It may seem like a bad joke, that the nation’s feared tax agency does business with companies that cheat it and violate its mission. At the very least it’s ironic, though the IRS has been embroiled in so many scandals recently that this may seem unworthy of coverage. Judicial Watch still believes it’s worth noting however, that the colossal agency responsible for collecting taxes lets its business pals slide. Whether its incompetence or special treatment, it’s outrageous and unacceptable.
During a two-year period the IRS awarded 57 contracts worth nearly $19 million to 17 corporations that owed federal taxes during that period, according to a report released recently by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). In doing this, the IRS actually violated a 2012 federal law called the Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibiting government agencies from using appropriated funds to enter into a contract with a company that has certain federal tax debt or felony convictions.
It’s bad enough that other government agencies reward tax scofflaws with coveted federal contracts, but in the case of the IRS it’s downright shameful. “When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducts business with contractors that do not pay their Federal taxes, it conveys a conflicting message in relation to its mission to ensure compliance with tax laws,” The TIGTA report states. The IRS watchdog further points out that the Consolidated Appropriations Act requires federal agencies to determine whether a prospective contractor has federal tax debt prior to the award of contract actions. Certainly, the IRS has the ability, not to mention resources, to do this.
Perhaps the IRS has been preoccupied conducting its witch hunt of conservative groups. JW has been a leader in uncovering the sordid details of that major scandal and has obtained damaging government records that show the IRS illegally colluded with another federal agency to crack down on conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election cycle. The IRS director at the center of the scheme, Lois Lerner, not only broke agency rules—as well as the law—to target conservative organizations, she also lied to Congress in an effort to cover up the wrongdoing.
Bill Smith, ARRA News Service - Yesterday, The Washington Post reported, “The deadline for an agreement in the Iran nuclear talks was officially pushed back by a week on Tuesday . . . . By announcing a new timeline with just a few hours to spare, the negotiators made official what they have acknowledged privately for days — they could not make the June 30 deadline. . . .
“The negotiators are believed to be discussing the timetable for removing sanctions and how to manage access to sensitive sites in Iran for international inspectors so they can monitor compliance.
“Iran has balked at providing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors entry to military bases, which is problematic because most of Iran’s nuclear and nuclear-related facilities are at such sites.”
The Hill notes, “Congressional Republicans are pressuring the Obama administration to take a firm line with Iran in the final stretch of the nuclear talks. The Obama administration announced Tuesday that the negotiations would be extended for a week past the initial June 30 deadline.
“Republicans say the extension is a sign the talks aren't going well and argue President Obama should consider walking away from the negotiating table before he gets forced into a ‘bad deal’ that doesn't do enough to dismantle Iran's nuclear capabilities.”
“The Obama Administration recently announced another extension of nuclear negotiations with Iran after failing to abide by its own, already-extended June 30 deadline,” Leader McConnell writes. “President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry should use the opportunity to pause negotiations, take a step back and re-examine the point of the talks in the first place. Because, as a senior Democrat Senator recently put it, ‘the trend lines of the Iran talks are deeply worrying’ and ‘our red lines have turned into green lights.’ This pause should allow time for the P5+1 to agree on the basic objectives of a deal: to establish complete agreement on ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections, to complete the disclosure of previous Iranian military-related nuclear research (including access to Iranian documents, facilities, scientists and officials), and to agree on the phased relief of sanctions tied to Iranian compliance.”
He warns, “Reaching the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than actually furthering our goal of ending Iran's nuclear program, is a flawed premise. Establishing an internationally recognized Iranian nuclear program is not in the interest of the American people. But it now seems to be the premise upon which the Obama Administration is approaching these talks.”
Further, “nearly every day since seems to bring news of a further weakening of an already-weakened Obama Administration position, encouraging hardliners in Tehran to insist upon additional concessions.
“This, as Iran pursues a full-spectrum campaign to expand its sphere of influence and undermine America’s standing in the region. Beyond its nuclear program, Tehran is also working overtime to expand its ballistic missile and conventional military capabilities and to support terrorist proxies like Hezbollah, the Assad regime and Houthi insurgents in Yemen.
“Iran’s aggressive behavior poses grave challenges to the world, to the region, to allies like Israel and to our own country. It also presents a host of problems for President Obama’s successor in the Oval Office. Entering into a bad agreement with Iran now would only make those problems worse.”
“... Leader McConnell laments, “that seems exactly what the Obama Administration intends to do. It seems intent on muddling toward an unacceptable deal with Iran instead of pausing for a thoughtful reexamination of the P5+1’s bottom line. Their current course would only grant Iran additional legitimacy as it seeks to blame the West for anything short of instantaneous sanctions relief. It would also allow Iran to continue to press for additional concessions on verification and disclosures on the possible military dimensions of its nuclear research. Until we know more about Iran’s previous research, no nation can be sure of what Iran may have developed covertly already. " But we can be sure of one thing: Iran would use funding derived from any sanctions relief to support proxy forces and advance its stockpile of missiles.
“I hope the Obama Administration will make the right decision now and press pause before heading further toward a bad deal with Iran; I hope the administration will have the courage to explain why a deal that undermines international security is worse than no deal at all. . . .
“The test of the agreement should be whether it leaves our country and our allies safer.” Tags:President Obama, Iran Nuke Deal, Iran, dangerous for US, Mitch McConnell, Pause NegotiationsTo 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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