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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Terror In Tennessee, Obama's Reaction, Obama's Bad Deal

Update (7/18/2015): An injured sailor has become the fifth victim of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, shootings after dying early Saturday, the U.S. Navy said. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26, succumbed to wounds received in Thursday's gun rampage.

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Age 40
The Kuwaiti-born killer, Mohammed Yousuf Abdulazeez – who viciously took the lives of four Marines (pictured) and a police officer and injuring 2 others before ending his own – was an adherent of Radical Islam.

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Terror In Tennessee How many times are we going to watch this play out?

Once again, unarmed U.S. servicemen were gunned down by a radical Islamist, this time in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We have seen this tragedy too many times -- Fort Hood and the Little Rock recruiting center (Did you forgot about that one?). We have seen attacks on soldiers in Canada and in the streets of London, where a soldier was beheaded. Other planned attacks were thwarted.

Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, Age 21
We have learned that one of the Marines murdered yesterday fought twice in Iraq and was decorated for his service. Because this Marine had been betrayed by the left's radical anti-Second Amendment agenda, one inexperienced jihadist succeeded in doing in Chattanooga what trained Islamists could not do in Iraq.

But if you need a reminder of how committed the Obama Administration is to doing everything it can to prevent us from understanding the dangers we face, ponder this: It's the last day of Ramadan. We were told to expect attacks over the July 4th holiday. Alerts went out warning soldiers and police officers to be careful.

The jihadist is 24 years old. His name is Muhammad. He's from Kuwait. He is a Muslim. His father was once on the terrorism watch list. As a high school student he complained about being discriminated against. He became increasingly devout.

Yet, this morning there were streaming headlines on every channel saying that the FBI is still searching for a motive and can't find a link to terrorism.

Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Age 25
Over the years, I have had the greatest respect for the brave men and women in the FBI. There is no way the FBI I have known my entire life would put out public statements suggesting that they have no clue what this is all about. If the FBI is so clueless, we should shut it down because it would be worthless.

I'll make the same observation I have made many times over the last seven years: Why aren't more good Americans resigning their government positions rather than becoming tools of this administration's propaganda machine?

Obama's Reaction
In recent years when young African Americans have been killed in confrontations with police, the president has rarely hesitated to cite the death as an example of the racism that still exists in American society and law enforcement.

SSgt. David A. Wyatt, Age 35
When a thug in North Carolina shot members of a Muslim family, the president said it was a likely hate crime and evidence that some people in this country still do not accept their fellow Muslim citizens.

The president yesterday seemed simply to be going through the motions. He could have easily said, "We are still investigating, but this was a young Muslim man, and it is the end of Ramadan. Common sense tells us that there is a major problem within Islam that must be addressed."

But the words "Muslim" or "Islam" were never mentioned during his measured and halting response.

Think about this: One demonic bigot who posed for a picture with a Confederate battle flag kills nine God-fearing black Americans in a church and Obama and the entire left-wing establishment use that act to wage war on Southern culture.

Beyond removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds, there is now talk of tearing down statues, sandblasting mountains and literally digging up graves.

The same president tells us time and again that the Muslims killing us are not Muslims, are not speaking for Muslims and have nothing to do with Muslims.

I saw a photo of a Marine handing a folded American flag to a Chattanooga police officer yesterday as a gesture of thanks for coming to the rescue of our Marines. I don't think the left has any idea what that symbolism means to most Americans.

If only we could get the left to wage war on the radical Islamists who want us all dead with the same vengeance they deploy against conservatives, ISIS wouldn't stand a chance!

>From a public policy standpoint, let's at least do the easy thing: Let the young men and women we send to fight on foreign battlefields have their weapons! One Islamist thug can kill four Marines in the heartland of America because not one of them had a way to fight back.

By the way, if Republicans are wondering why Donald Trump keeps gaining traction, he immediately responded to yesterday's news with a tough statement demanding we reverse Bill Clinton's anti-Second Amendment policy and allow soldiers to carry weapons again.

Obama's Bad Deal
A new Associated Press poll finds that most Americans disapprove of Obama's approach to dealing with Iran. According to the poll:

77% of Americans want sanctions against the Iranian regime to remain in place or be strengthened. Only 19% believe the sanctions against Iran should be reduced or eliminated, which is exactly what Obama's nuclear deal does.

86% of Americans consider Iran to be an enemy or unfriendly.

60% of Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of Iran.

With that in mind, here are some brief talking points, prepared by Christians United for Israel Action Fund, regarding the Iranian nuclear deal that I hope you will find useful in the days ahead as you talk with friends and family members.

10 Quick Reasons to Oppose the Iran Deal
1. Iran has a long history of cheating.
2. The inspections allowed are not adequate to catch their cheating.
3. Iran receives $100 billion as soon as the deal is implemented.
4. Iran keeps its nuclear facilities and equipment.
5. Iran can continue its nuclear research and we even promise to help them.
6. Sanctions are lifted on the Iranian military, including forces who killed U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
7. Iran is not restricted from funding terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah, who hate Israel and the U.S.
8. The deal will set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and a make war more likely.
9. The deal abandons Israel and our other allies while we embrace Iran.
10. The fate of Americans held in Iranian jails on false charges were not included in the deal.
-------------
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, Terror In Tennessee, Obama's Reaction, Obama's Bad Iran Deal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

What is the Legal Case Against EPA’s Water Rule?

Holstein cow grazes by a pond in Lancaster, NH.
Photo credit: Bloomberg.
by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: Now more than ever, every time it rains, one Indiana farmer fears his land will be declared a federally-regulated body of water:After a recent rainfall, Charlie Houin looked out over one of his cornfields in Marshall County as a clear stream of water flowed beneath him. With the summer's high rain levels flooding fields, drainage systems and the streams that carry excess water away are crucial for farmers to maintain healthy crops.

But Houin, and farmers across the country, are now in a fight for control over these small waterways -- battling a new rule in the Clean Water Act opponents say will be overly burdensome and costly to the agriculture industry.

... Houin said he not only sees this as one of the EPA's biggest land grabs in history, but he's worried the permit process is going to be crippling when he needs to repair ditches, waterways and drainage systems for his farm. When you have only one chance a year at the planting season, he said, having farmland and waterways tied up in an approval process will be costly.
Worry about federal overreach isn't limited to farmers and ranchers. Many other businesses also oppose the agencies' regulatory overreach.

This has driven business groups to take EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to federal court.

The U.S. Chamber, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Portland Cement Association, the Tulsa Regional Chamber, and the State Chamber of Oklahoma filed suit to stop the new Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) which dramatically expands the definition of federally-regulated "navigable waters" covered by the Clean Water Act.

They make the case that the water rule gives the federal government unprecedented and unconstitutional regulatory authority over nearly every body of water in the United States and undercuts state and local government sovereignty.

Here's a breakdown of their argument.

Violates the Clean Water Act
The plaintiff's argue that the new waters definition goes beyond its authority under the Constitution and the Clean Water Act, because it "confers jurisdiction to the Agencies over waters that are not 'navigable waters.'"

Under the Clean Water Act the federal government has jurisdiction over only "navigable waters."

Initially that was defined as bodies of water where interstate transportation or commerce could take place. However, over the decades, the regulatory creep set in and that definition broadened from lakes and rivers bordering states (literally interstate waters) to include tributaries and wetlands that abut regulated water bodies. WOTUS is the latest expansion.

Through the water rule, "thousands of miles of intrastate waters that have no substantial effect on interstate commerce" are now under federal regulation, the plaintiffs note. This includes wetlands, streams, ditches, ponds, and bodies that only occasionally hold water.

This broad federal jurisdiction is what has farmers, ranchers, home developers, other businesses upset.

To understand the plaintiffs' legal argument, you need to know about a 2006 Supreme Court case, Rapanos vs. United States. In it, the court established two tests for determining if a body of water falls under federal jurisdiction.

The first is "continuous surface connection." In his plurality decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the Clean Water Act requires that a body of water have a "continuous surface connection" to another federally-regulated body for federal regulators to have jurisdiction.

The second is "significant nexus," found in Justice Anthony Kennedy's concurring opinion. In order to be considered a navigable water, a body of water must "significantly affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity" of "waters that are or were navigable in fact or that could reasonably be so made."

The water rule fails both tests, the plaintiffs explain:[C]ountless waters, wetlands, and normally dry lands will be classified as 'waters of the United States' despite their complete detachment--both on a surface level and on a chemical, physical, and biological level--to any navigable water.
The Matrix Defense
One example of how EPA fails to meet these tests is by employing something I call the "Matrix Defense." EPA claims it can determine a federally-regulated tributary to a body of water simply with the use of computer "desktop tools that provide for the hydrologic estimation of a discharge sufficient to create an ordinary high water mark." Virtual reality trumps physical reality, as the filing explains:"In other words, if a computer model suggests that a feature has enough flow to create a bed and bank and ordinary high water mark, the Agencies can determine that that feature is a 'tributary,' even if the physical indicators have not been observed in the field."Neo could stop bullets, but he didn't have that this kind of power.

Unfortunately for EPA, this tactic doesn't satisfy either Justice Scalia's continuous surface test or Justice Kennedy's significant nexus test.

WOTUS is Unconstitutional
The water rule doesn't just violate the Clean Water Act. The plaintiffs argue it also violates the 10th Amendment, which states:The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.State governments have the authority to regulate land and water in their states. The Clean Water Act affirms that states have "the primary responsibilities and rights ... to plan the development and use ... of land and water resources."

However, with the water rule, the federal government claims regulatory authority over nearly every body of water in America. Waters, including ditches, canals, ponds, and wetlands, as far as 4,000 feet from a navigable water can be regulated by the federal government.

This violates the 10th Amendment. As the plaintiffs state:The Supreme Court requires a 'clear and manifest' statement from Congress to authorize [such] an unprecedented intrusion into traditional state authority.State and local government sovereignty gets squeezed as the federal government expands its reach.

EPA Avoided Looking at the Economic Effects on Small Businesses
Not only does the water rule conflict with the Constitution and the Clean Water Act, regulators didn't follow the proper rulemaking process.

The plaintiffs point out that EPA ignored the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) which requires federal agencies to analyze the effects of proposed regulations on small businesses, organizations, and governments.

EPA claims it didn't have to do this because the water rule "will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities," and it "will not affect small entities to a greater extent than the existing regulations."

The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy disagreed:[T]he Clean Water Act and the revised definition proposed in this rule directly determine permitting requirements and other obligations. It is unquestionable that small businesses will continue to seek permits under the Clean Water Act. Therefore they will be subject to the application of the proposed definition and the impacts arising from its application.The "fundamentally flawed" rulemaking process drove SBA to ask EPA to "withdraw the rule and that the EPA conduct a Small Business Advocacy Review panel before proceeding any further with this rulemaking."

EPA ignored the SBA along with similar comments from the U.S. Chamber and other business groups and went ahead with finalizing the new definition.

It's Hard to Know How to Obey the Law
Finally, the water rule is too vague. If people can't understand the regulation, how are they supposed to behave lawfully? The water rule "fails to provide fair notice of what conduct is prohibited by the civil and criminal provision of the Clean Water Act and grants overly broad enforcement discretion to" federal regulators, writes the plaintiffs.

To see how this applies in the real world, let's go back to Charlie Houin's story:The water rule states that a "tributary must show physical features of flowing water -- a bed, bank and ordinary high water mark -- to warrant protection," as well as connecting to a larger body of water.

Discussing the rules with The Tribune, Houin stood near one of his small waterways that, he said, he has always thought of as a ditch and has never had regulatory issues with. But based on the EPA's definition, Houin's small "ditch" could be considered as a tributary because it has continually flowing water that empties into the nearby Yellow River.

This is a major problem, [Justin Schneider, senior policy adviser for the Indiana Farm Bureau] said, because no matter what a farmer may think a waterway is, it comes down to the EPA's interpretation. A farmer could be in violation and not realize it, he said, calling it "an issue with potential for big repercussions." Beyond having to obtain expensive federal permits, the Indiana Attorney General's Office said farmers could face civil penalties up to $37,500 a day for violating the new rule.
Citizens "cannot reasonably determine based on the face of the relevant statutes and regulations what is required of them," plaintiffs state.

Let's step beyond how the water rule violates the Constitution and ignores federal law. It also will shower uncertainty over every property owner.

An economy can't function effectively if people fear that taking some ordinary action like filling in a ditch will require costly permits or unleash the fury of federal regulators.

The easier path to take is to not invest in and improve one's business. Don't build an addition to a factory that could employ more people. Don't build a housing development and increase the housing supply for families. Don't touch that gully the rain cut in the corn field. Instead, let it go fallow.

That may satisfy a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., but it means frustration for Americans having to live under those rules.
---------------
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, Chamber of Commerce, legal case, against, EPA's Water Rule To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Committee Leaders Seek Briefing From Doctor In “Abhorrent” Planned Parenthood Video

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today requested available to brief the committee. Dr. Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, appeared in a recently released video discussing the sale of fetal body parts. Committee leaders launched an investigation on Wednesday.

“Dr. Nucatola’s statements raise most troubling questions with regard to your organization’s practices when performing abortions and whether those practices are consistent with federal law, including those laws restricting partial birth abortions and the sale of human fetal tissue,” wrote the members.

The members continued, “Given your statement that this video falsely portrays Planned Parenthood and the questions raised by the video, we respectfully request that Dr. Nucatola provide a briefing to committee staff no later than July 31, 2015, to explain specifically the context and meaning of her statements on the video, what comments were edited or not portrayed accurately, and to provide information so that we may better understand your organization’s practices and standards relating to the collection and sale of fetal tissue.”

The leaders also requested that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates “preserve and retain all documents relating or referring to the collection, sale, and/or donation of fetal tissue.”

The letter was signed by the following Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee:
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI)
  • Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (PA)
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (TN)
  • Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Vice Chairman David McKinley (WV)
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (TX)
  • Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (PA)
  • Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX)
  • Morgan Griffith (VA)
  • Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN)
  • Bill Flores (TX)
  • Susan Brooks (IN)
  • Markwayne Mullin (OK)
  • Richard Hudson (NC)
  • Chris Collins (NY)
  • Kevin Cramer (ND)
The House Judiciary Committee today also sent a related letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Tags: U.S. House, Energy and Commerce Committee, hearing, invites, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, House Judiciary Committee To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Senate Amendment Could Destroy Your Car’s Trade-In Value

by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: The Senate may vote soon on an amendment by Democratic senator Dick Blumenthal that would make it illegal for dealers to sell any car with an open recall. That might sound good, but there’s a huge problem: many recalls are for items as trivial as a printing error in the owner’s manual, and when a part is simply unavailable, there’s nothing you can do about it. The Blumenthal proposal would therefore effectively make it impossible for millions of Americans – finding their cars suddenly with little or no trade-in value – to buy a new car.

In his press release for the so-called Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, Blumenthal says: “There are now more than 46 million cars and trucks on our nation’s roads with unrepaired safety recalls.” The proposal, which would prohibit the sale of those vehicles, could be considered imminently as an amendment to the highway bill on the Senate floor.

But are there really 46 million unsafe vehicles on the roads? Of course not.

Many recalls have almost nothing to do with vehicle safety. General Motors recalled Camaros because “the air bag warning label on the sun visor may peel off.” Mercedes recalled a vehicle because “if the driver buckles his seat belt prior to starting the vehicle, the chime will not sound.” Volkswagen recalled Routans because the owner’s manual forgot to warn consumers not to place objects on or near the air bag on the instrument panel. Honda recalled vehicles because of incorrect contact information for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (NHTSA, the guys in charge of the recall process. Have you ever had to call them?)

There is also the big problem of parts availability. Recall notices often go out despite the fact there is nothing an owner or dealer can do to resolve the problem. Sometimes, the engineers don’t know what’s wrong or don’t have a fix. Sometimes, like with the GM ignition switch problem, there is an obvious but cost-prohibitive fix – replacing the entire ignition switch – so there is a need to develop a less expensive interim solution. Very often though, the problem and solution are both identified, but the parts aren’t available because they are in production.

Consider the largest recall in history, Takata airbags that are in Chrysler, Ford, GM, BMW, Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota vehicles numbering an estimated 33.8 million. In May, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind said there was no estimate of how long it would take to produce replacement parts, but stated the obvious: “there is no question it could be some years.”

Blumenthal’s amendment would effectively slash the resale value of all of those vehicles to zero – for years. And that means dealers could offer – at best – only pennies on the dollar for trade-ins, because they would have to hold the cars indefinitely until the parts became available. That would be a disaster for consumers, for dealers, and for automakers.

A better approach would be to differentiate between truly dangerous defects for which vehicles should be immediately taken off the road and the more typical day-to-day issues that result in so many recall notices that many drivers become numb to them and leave them in the pile of junk mail. It would also be worth considering adopting the approach used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which does not send recall information to consumers until parts are available, making compliance more likely.

Another alternative Congress could consider would be to require dealers to notify buyers of open recalls at the time of purchase. That would let consumers make informed decisions without causing the major economic problems of the Blumenthal proposal.

The federal government has made motor vehicles the most regulated consumer products in America, and the current recall system has room for significant improvement. But the heavy-handed Blumenthal approach could destroy the value of your trade-in. The Senate should vote no.
------------------
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, Democratic Senator, Dick Blumenthal, Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Shocking! . . .

. . . A high electric bill is shocking consumers across America. Disastrous Obama energy policies coming home to roost.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Why Iran Nuke Deal Is Not A Treaty (But Should Be)

McCain As Gollum
“Curse us and crush us, my precious is lost!” 
by Robert Romano: When is a treaty not a treaty?

Apparently, whenever the president says so, according to Sen. John McCain (R-AR).

In an interview with the Daily Caller asking why the Senate was not treating the Iran nuclear deal as a treaty and defeating it, McCain responded, “It’s not a treaty, though. That’s the problem. They’re calling it an agreement. If it were a treaty, then it would require two-thirds vote of the Senate in a positive fashion… [But] [n]ot when the administration doesn’t call it a treaty — okay? They’re the ones that label it. It is not a treaty. We can’t designate it. They have the ability to call it an agreement. We do not. Those are the facts.”

And just like that, a prominent U.S. senator — whose job it would otherwise be to ratify or reject treaties — ceded one of the most important checks on presidential power in the Constitution.

Never mind that Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution requires treaties to be adopted by a two-thirds majority of those present in the Senate. If a president does not want to bother with that onerous process, he can apparently just skip it.
But, in truth, this is nothing new.

Presidents have been entering into legally-binding executive agreements with foreign nations for decades. And, apparently, the Senate can no longer be bothered to do anything about it, per McCain.

In United States v. Belmont (1937), the Supreme Court found that international compacts, even ones that are not treaties (i.e. executive agreements) are not only legally binding, but the supreme law of the land.

Wrote Justice George Sutherland in the court’s majority opinion: “[W]hile this rule in respect of treaties is established by the express language of clause 2, article 6, of the Constitution, the same rule would result in the case of all international compacts and agreements from the very fact that complete power over international affairs is in the national government and is not and cannot be subject to any curtailment or interference on the part of the several states.”

The question was whether an executive agreement with the Soviet Union that was never ratified by the Senate trumped state law, invoking the supremacy clause. In that case, remarkably, it did.

Fast forward 78 years, and the Senate hardly ratifies treaties any more. But there have been more than 17,000 executive agreements with foreign nations.

Interestingly, more than 93 percent of executive agreements with foreign nations have been concluded since 1939, according to data compiled by the Congressional Research Service. Comparatively fewer occurred prior to the New Deal.

So, not only are these foreign agreements binding, they are the supreme law of the land, and like so many other post-constitutional abominations, depend on the New Deal Supreme Court for their existence.

That is why Obama does not feel like he needs to go to the Senate to ratify his Iran nuclear deal — even though it imposes legal requirements on the U.S., like lifting economic sanctions and repealing certain executive orders.

The real mystery is why the Senate continues to put up with it.

The least members could do is try to wage the battle, deem the Iran nuclear deal to be a treaty, take it up, and defeat it. Even if it was a battle that would ultimately fail. Let the Supreme Court rule that the treaty clause is optional once again.

What has the Senate got to lose that the presidency and the Supreme Court has not already taken away?

What we know for certain is that if Congress does not fight for its own prerogatives, then the battle is already lost. And members who refuse to fight are little more than dead weight. If they don’t see their jobs as defending the Constitution, what are they good for?

Clearly, and the Iran nuclear deal is a perfect example — it is touching off an arms race in the Middle East and risking war — U.S. interests are no longer served by the presidential system we have now. And at every turn, for the sake of our liberty, it must be combated until Congress’ rightful powers are restored, starting with the Senate’s treaty ratification power.

Because, at this point, it seems the only reason to submit a treaty to the Senate is if a president wants it to fail.
----------------
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's NetRight Daily blog.

Tags: Iran Nuke Deal, Not  a Treaty, Should Be, John McCain, Gollum. Robert Romano, Americans For Limited Government, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

CA U.S. House Democrats Vote Against Water Relief for CA | 'Congress Balks At Obama's UN Move On Iran Deal'

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 17, 2015:

The House adjourned yesterday at 1:23 PM. It will reconvene at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, July 20, 2015. Yesterday the passed H.R. 2898 (245-176) — The Western Water and American Food Security Act - "To provide drought relief in the State of California, and for other purposes." 240 Republicans voted to aide California, whereas 175 Democrats voted against the bill. California has 38 Democrats and 15 Republicans Representatives. All 15 Republicans and 1 Democrat (Jim Costa, District 16) voted for for drought Relief. However, 37 Democrat Representatives from CA voted NO for drought relief and property rights for Californians. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other well know liberal activists like Xavier Becerra and Maxine Waters were on the "No Lift.". While the U.S. House voted to aid California part of America's "Bread basket", all of California's House Democrat save one were crying "we don't need no stinkin' water" relief.

Editor Snark: If all of California's "Democrat" U.S. Representative and the "criminally active" illegals were deported, would California return to being an economic and farming success for America?

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) addressed the attack on U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee: “Today’s cowardly attack is a reminder that our men and women in uniform are under constant threat, no matter where they serve. I’m deeply saddened by this loss of life, and on behalf of the whole House, offer condolences to the families who lost loved ones today. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, the people of Tennessee, and all of our troops.”

The Senate reconvened at 10:40 AM today for a pro forma session. On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate will vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 22, the vehicle for the highways bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 81-17 to pass S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. Prior to that vote, the Senate voted 79-18 to invoke cloture on the bill.

The Senate voted on at least 23 amendments to the bill, more votes than the Senate held in all of 2014 under a Democrat majority. The Washington Post says of S. 1177, “The Senate bill would significantly reduce the authority of the U.S. Department of Education…”

Congressional frustration with the Obama administration is boiling over with its latest attempt at an end run, taking the agreement negotiated with Iran to the United Nations Security Council before Congress has even held a hearing on it.

CNN writes , “In what could be a serious problem for White House, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday blasted an Obama administration decision to bring the Iran nuclear agreement for action in the United Nations Security Council next week before Congress weighs in on it.

“Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, called the move ‘highly problematic’ and said it was ‘an affront to the American people’ and to Congress.

“‘The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, a bill which 98 Senators and 400 Representatives supported and you signed, established a 60-day period for Congress to consider the nuclear agreement. We are deeply concerned that your administration plans to enable the United Nations Security Council to vote on the agreement before the United States Congress can do the same,’ Corker and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama. . . .

“Cardin raised his concerns directly with Vice President Joe Biden, who was on the Hill selling the Iran deal in a closed-door session with Democrats on the committee. ‘I think it is somewhat presumptuous to take it to the UN for a vote before the Congressional review is over,’ Cardin told reporters after the meeting. ‘That's why I think it would be better for them not to do it that way.’

The chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees, Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) also sent a letter to the White House protesting this plan of action.

They write, “[T]he United States Congress should be given the opportunity to consider the final text of this hugely consequential agreement before action at the United Nations. . . . Any U.S.-supported effort to lift UN sanctions before Congress has weighed-in on the terms of the agreement would undermine our oversight responsibilities and violate the spirit of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which you signed into law.  It is distressing that your Administration would afford Russia and China the opportunity to vote on the final agreement before the American people’s representatives do. The full 60 day review period and parliamentary procedures prescribed by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act should be allowed to play out before action at the Security Council.”

Politico adds, “President Barack Obama has a new hurdle to selling his Iran deal on Capitol Hill: Bipartisan opposition to his decision to submit the nuclear accord to the United Nations before Congress votes on the agreement.

“Cardin, the top Democrat on the committee, questioned Vice President Joe Biden about the matter during a closed door meeting with committee Democrats on Thursday. He said Biden responded with an explanation of the ‘differences between the executive and legislative branches.’ That didn’t satisfy Cardin, who said Obama should put the brakes on UN consideration until Congress has 60 days to review the bill, a period that technically hasn’t even started yet because the agreement has not been formally submitted to Capitol Hill.

“‘There was nothing to be lost by waiting until after the review period was over,’ Cardin said in an interview. ‘It could be inconsistent [with how Congress votes] and therefore it would have been better if that had been deferred until after the 60-day period.’ . . .

“Corker called Obama’s move an ‘affront to the American people.’ He chastised U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power by telephone on Thursday morning and said because Congress has not yet voted on lifting sanctions that are crucial to the deal, the UN is moving forward on an international agreement they may not be able to implement.

“‘I question the judgment of our president,’ Corker told reporters, fuming into the microphones as Biden escaped a press scrum down a narrow flight of stairs. ‘This is exactly what we were trying to stop. We wanted the American people to understand this agreement before it went in place.’”

Tags: Iran deal, bad for America, California, Drought Relief, Opposed by House Democrats To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Art Of The Deal . . .

. . . Iran prison still holds 4 American hostages, revealing Obama and Kerry’s horrific (or devious) negotiating skills .
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Iran Nuke Deal, President Obama, John Kerry, leaves American hostages, in Iran, negotiating skills To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Congress Begins Investigation Into Planned Parenthood, But Lawmakers Shouldn’t Stop There

Planned Parenthood receives over half a billion
dollars in taxpayer funding.
(Photo: The Washington Times/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom)
by Sarah Torre, Commentary: On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee announced they will begin an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from unborn babies.

In an undercover video released yesterday, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, detailed with startling calmness how she chooses to perform abortion procedures in order to harvest particular organs from unborn children.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part,” she relays over a lunch meeting. “I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

Being able to obtain a child’s head, she admits, is a slightly more difficult task—often requiring a baby to be in breech position and a skilled technician to retrieve the desired body part. Each “specimen,” she notes, can go from around $30 to $100.

These alleged practices Planned Parenthood’s PR firm explains away as “humanitarian undertakings that hold the potential to cure disease, save lives, and ameliorate suffering.”

That such blatant brutality could be nonchalantly discussed over wine and salad has many on both sides of the abortion debate wondering how the slogan of “safe, legal and rare” can encompass the reported mutilation of unborn children with the intent to preserve their organs for sale.

It also has policymakers across the country asking whether these alleged practices are within the bounds of law.

Federal policy makes it unlawful for a person to “knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, prohibiting one of the more gruesome abortion procedures, limits abortions (similar to what Nucatola describes in the video) where the doctor begins delivery of the child before killing him or her.

Whether Planned Parenthood has violated those federal or similar state laws is unclear from the undercover video alone. In a statement responding to the video, Planned Parenthood states:At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does—with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood.That’s why investigations like those begun in the House today are a good and necessary response. Republican Govs. Bobby Jindal (LA) and Greg Abbott (TX) have already called for state-level investigations of the Planned Parenthood affiliates working in their states.

More governors should do the same. Americans United for Life has identified a list of specific legal questions the billion-dollar giant of the abortion industry should be forced to answer about their alleged selling of baby body parts.

National leaders owe it to all American taxpayers who help bankroll Planned Parenthood’s bottom line to find out whether the organization is flouting common sense law and regulations.

Regardless of the outcome of those necessary investigations, this week’s glimpse into what could be one of the darkest corners of the abortion industry should also renew efforts to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. There is no reason to continue entangling federal money with an organization whose near single-minded focus is performing one out of every three abortions in the United States, even as it has decreased other preventative services like cancers screenings. In the last reporting year alone, Planned Parenthood performed over 327,000 abortions, while continuing to receive over half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding.

Allegations of callous disregard for the lives and dignity of women, and certainly the unborn children, who enter the organization’s clinics are hardly new. Planned Parenthood has also purportedly turned a blind eye to the unsafe and unsanitary conditions of some of its affiliates and has been repeatedly accused of fraud. Along with its many lawsuits challenging common sense regulations of abortion clinics and doctors, Planned Parenthood opposes legislation that would protect infants born alive after failed abortions.

This is hardly an organization that deserves or needs the hard-earned dollars of American taxpayers.

After watching this week’s explosive video, we have to ask some honest questions: Is it just the reported selling of tiny human organs and heads that makes us uneasy? Or is it that the intentional dismemberment of a baby old enough to have a heart and a lung and a liver capable of studying for research is legal at all?

Abortion is a ruthless business that has harmed countless women and taken the lives of more than 56 million unborn children. For more than 40 years, we’ve excluded the youngest and most vulnerable children in our society from the right to life—simply because they’re small, dependent, disabled or just plain inconvenient.

Having continually denied the inherent worth and dignity of the smallest among us, should we now be surprised that the alleged selling of an unborn child’s body parts is brushed away as a “humanitarian undertaking?”

Beyond investigating this week’s claims and ending funding to the abortion industry, Congress also has the opportunity to limit gruesome and dangerous late-term abortions, including some that allow for the procurement of tiny organs. That’s a policy the American people overwhelmingly support and one our commitment to protecting basic rights increasingly demands.
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Sarah Torre / (@sarahtorre) focuses on policy issues related to religious liberty, marriage and family as policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.

Tags: Congress, investigation, Planned Parenthood, selling baby body parts, abortions, Sarah Torre, heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Donald Trump: American Patriot

Donald J. Trump
by Nelson Hultberg, Contributing Author: The members of the U.S. political establishment are in full panic. A colorful, renegade patriot has just stood up to the ideological perversity that they have used for decades to exploit the lives of Americans and the meaning of our country. GOP leaders are writhing in paroxysms of fear at thought of The Donald on stage to compete with mega-state sycophants such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Mike Huckabee. Thus all stops are being pulled out to smear this brazen interloper who refuses to bow and scrape to the egregious perfidy that marks their careers.

What embarrassments our corporate, political, and media honchos are with their rush to cancel all contracts they have with Mr. Trump as punishment for his chutzpah. Because they have throughout their adult lives scorned “love of country” as a disease afflicting right wing bubbas, these quislings can’t conceive of a man who doesn’t care that million dollar contracts have just been withdrawn from his future. They can’t grasp that there are grander things in this world than wealth and power, that there are such a things as “love of country” and “adherence to the principles of liberty,” and that these virtues transcend their pusillanimous visions of the good life.

What Donald Trump has is what the Founders of America had and what T.R. Fehrenbach wrote about in 1968 in Greatness to Spare: The Heroic Sacrifices of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence. Trump has the strength of will to sacrifice wealth and power for freedom and honor.

The Declaration of Independence ends with the following words: “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Fifty-six patriots signed on to this bold and revolutionary act of defiance in 1776. In doing so, they enshrined themselves into history’s hallowed halls that only the salient and the brave are able to enter. All of these fifty-six were well aware that what they were doing was “high treason” under every law accepted in that day, and as a consequence they could be hanged by the British as criminals. Yet none of them recanted – though almost everyone of them met with misery, hardship, persecution, torture, loss of reputation, the burning of their homes, and even death for fourteen of them. Despite this, they were steadfast in pledging their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor.

This is the mindset that stirs in the brain of Donald Trump. This is the mindset that is so foreign to the political left in this country, and unfortunately also to many so called conservatives on the right. This mindset of the patriot. It transcends all the shallow materialism and amorality that establishment figures revel in so compulsively. It is the sterling stuff that built America, and it is what must be recaptured if we are to restore America.

Unpopular Truths
George Orwell wrote that, “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” This is what Trump has signed onto; and he is fully aware of it. He knows that he is destined to be blistered by the media sycophants and corporate quislings who have been selling the country out over the past 50 years on the issue of immigration and amnesty for the hordes of illegals that are flooding into our country.

But like the fifty-six who signed America’s Declaration of Independence, Trump knows that there is something more profound and monumental to commit one’s life substance to. It is “adherence to principle.” It is the vision of freedom and limited government that the Founders bequeathed to us. So all of you in the media and corporate world, smear Donald Trump all you wish. You are now up against a man who is not afraid of the “unpopular truths” of life. He will be standing on that stage with your puppet candidates who have built their pedestrian careers mouthing platitudes of obedience to the mega-state. Donald Trump represents a powerful threat to the pseudo-conservatism of the political right; and its representatives know it.

Trump is willing to touch the third rails of today’s politically correct arena – illegal immigration and multiculturalism and the grievous damage they are doing to our culture. He speaks truth to power because he has lived a life of power and is not afraid of its treasonous holders on both the right and the left.

Trump may or may not win the nomination, but no matter how the race unfolds, his presence will be extraordinary. He will open up the campaign to a much needed airing of the ugly ideology of mega-statism and how RINO sycophants perpetuate it. He will rally millions of patriots out there in the heartland who don’t care that The Donald is a bit over the top and hyperbolic. They forgive him because, despite all his wealth, he is one of them. He is a man’s man and a full blooded patriot who is willing to pledge his life, his property and his sacred honor to the American cause.

No man’s life can be meaningful unless he is willing to commit his intellectual and physical energies to a cause that is bigger than himself. Our corporate moguls, banker elites, and institute heads have never understood this. They are lost in the swamps of collectivism, materialism and narcissism. They are what is wrong with America. The patriots of the conservative and libertarian movements are what is right about America.

Immigration Truths and Fallacies
Trump understands that America has always been a nation of immigrants. But never has she been a nation of “unrestricted” immigration. From the beginning of their formation of America into a nation, the Founders were acutely aware of the need to lay down rules for entrance into the country and the acquiring of citizenship.

The Founders realized that the eternal verities such as our inalienable rights do not change from the past to the future, but immigration rules are not eternal verities; and they have little to do with individual rights. They are basically matters of public policy that will always be subject to both quantitative and qualitative revision with the passage of time.

In other words, entrance into a country is not a "right." It is a "privilege" granted by the citizens of the country involved. If those citizens decide that their country would be better off with a small, selective stream of immigrants instead of a large and indiscriminate stream, then it is their right to bring about such a border policy. There is no such thing as a right to enter any country one chooses.

As the Supreme Court rightly ruled in the latter 19th century, "It is an accepted maxim of international law, that every sovereign nation has the power, as inherent in sovereignty, and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within its dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe." 1

Those libertarians of America who oppose a tough stand on immigration must rethink their reasoning. Tight borders are based upon one of the most libertarian of all principles – the “right to freedom of association.” This means humans have the right to form into groups and establish rules for entrance into their groups, whether it’s a family with a fence around its yard, or a country club with a gate at its entrance, or a labor union with closed doors and by laws, or a country with tight borders and a Constitution. There is no such thing as a “right” to go wherever we please as Judge Napolitano and the Libertarian Party maintain. Immigration is not a fundamental “right.” It is a conditional “privilege” conveyed by the members of the group one is seeking to enter.

This was the view of Washington, Jefferson, and the Founders in 1787.2 It was, as we just saw, the view of the Supreme Court in 1892. And it must become America’s view again. No individual has the right to enter a country uninvited.

All property in the world is owned either individually by persons or collectively by groups. The owners of a house and yard decide who can enter their house. The members of a country club decide who can enter their club. And the citizens of a country decide who can enter their country. The government is not destroying rights by denying entrance to certain people to the country it governs. It is merely expressing the rightful will of the owners of the country.

Donald Trump is going to be appealing to the “owners of America,” i.e., the people, not the corporate, political, and media elites who are today’s destroyers of America. The campaign of 2016 might just become a huge turning point in our history.

1. Nishimura Ekiu v. U.S., 142 U.S. 651, 659 (1892).
2. Writings of George Washington, Government Printing Office, 1931-44, 27: 254. See also Erler, West, and Marini, The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration, 2007, pp. 18-22, and Thomas G. West, Vindicating the Founders,1997, pp. 150-151.
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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. Donald Trump, American Patriot To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

I’m About To Give You All My Money, Give Me Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

by Tom Balek, Contributing Author: What does government do? What CAN government do?

In a nutshell, the only thing government can do is spend our money. Period. That's all, folks.

Our governments - city, county, state, federal - pass bills that spend our money. Whatever they do, it involves spending our money. If they are doing more, that means they are spending more money. The more they do, the more they spend. If we criticize them for not doing enough, that means we think they are not spending enough of our money.

Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Greenie Meanie Weenie, it doesn't matter. The only reason any politician exists is to spend our money.

The longer a politician is in office, the more money he/she has spent. In fact, those elected officials who rise to the top of the food chain find themselves in position to spend even more money than everybody else. They get re-elected by promising to spend more of our money. Two of the most powerful people in Congress are the heads of the Appropriations Committees. In the Senate, that would be Thad Cochran (R-MS) - whose last election is legendary in the annals of dirty and criminal political maneuvers. In the House, it would be Hal Rogers (R-KY), known as the "Prince of Pork".

Thinking Americans have come to realize that more government, bigger government, more spending has not solved our problems as a nation. Big government has only funneled money from some of us to others of us, but has not improved the standard of living for all of us. Those with government connections continue to thrive while the middle class has all but disappeared and the growing underclass has become hopelessly dependent on government programs.

It took a few hundred years, but today's politicians have figured it out - election and re-election can be easily won by buying votes with somebody else's money.

If this sounds cynical, I'm sorry. Tell me where I'm wrong.

But there is good news. We can get out of this mess, and it's an easy fix. All we have to do is ask every candidate for public office one simple question: Will you reduce the size and cost of government?

If the answer is yes, give that person money and vote for him or her. If the answer is no, run like hell.
---------------
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 bands including his family band Caution! Blind Driver, 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, Government, spending OUR money, RESPECT, R_E_S_P_E_C_T,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Congressional Probe: Bogus Enrollees Kept Getting Obamacare" . . .

. . . Democrats Upset At The Probe, Not Its Findings
Today In Washington. D.C. - July 16, 2015
The House convened at 9 AM today.

Bills which will be considered today:
H.R. 2898 — "To provide drought relief in the State of California, and for other purposes."

The House will adjourn early today around 1:30 Pm and Reconvene on 2:00 p.m. on July 20, 2015.

Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 2722 (421-9) — "To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition of the fight against breast cancer."
H.R. 3038 (312-119) — "To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes."
S. 971 — "To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for an increase in the limit on the length of an agreement under the Medicare independence at home medical practice demonstration program."
The Senate (Voice Vote) - reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.
S. 984 (Voice Vote) — "To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide Medicare beneficiary access to eye tracking accessories for speech generating devices and to remove the rental cap for durable medical equipment under the Medicare Program with respect to speech generating devices."

At 10:45 began a series of roll call votes on 6 amendments to the bill, followed by voice votes on another 13 amendments. Senators voted 40-58   to reject one offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), 43-55 to reject one offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), 68-30 to adopt one offered by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), 59-39   to adopt one offered by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), 53-44 to adopt one offered by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and 45-52 to reject one offered by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

At 1:45 PM, the Senate will vote on final passage of S. 1177, as amended.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 86-12 to invoke cloture on the Alexander substitute amendment to S. 1177. Following that vote, the Senate voted to reject four amendments to the bill from Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

Yesterday, the AP reported, “Phony applicants that investigators signed up last year under President Barack Obama's health care law got automatically re-enrolled for 2015. Some were rewarded with even bigger taxpayer subsidies for their insurance premiums, a congressional probe has found.

“The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says 11 counterfeit characters that its investigators created last year were automatically re-enrolled by HealthCare.gov, even though most had unresolved documentation issues. In Obama's terms, they got to keep the coverage they had.

“Six of those later were flagged and sent termination notices. But GAO said it was able to get five of them reinstated by calling HealthCare.gov's consumer service center. That seemed to be a weak link in the system.

“The five bogus beneficiaries who were reinstated even got their monthly subsidies bumped up a bit, although GAO did not ask for it. The case of the sixth fake enrollee who appealed was under review.

“HealthCare.gov does not appear to be set up to detect fraud, GAO audits and investigations chief Seto Bagdoyan said in prepared testimony for a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday. A copy was provided to The Associated Press.

“HealthCare.gov's document-processing contractor ‘is not required to seek to detect fraud,’ said Bagdoyan. ‘The contractor personnel involved in the document-verification process are not trained as fraud experts and do not perform antifraud duties.’”

At the Senate Finance Committee hearing this morning, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, “For this investigation, GAO created fictitious identities to apply for premium tax subsidies through the federal health insurance exchange.  We learned last year that 11 out of 12 fake applications were approved. [The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)] accepted fabricated documentation with these applications without attempting to verify its authenticity and enrolled fake applicants while handing out thousands of dollars in premium tax subsidies.

“Now, a year later, GAO has reported that nothing has changed and that, if anything, there are more problems.  Worst of all, the administration has known about these problems for over a year now and has apparently not taken the necessary steps to rectify them. While CMS says that it is balancing consumer access to the system with program integrity concerns, I think it’s pretty clear just what’s going on here.

“Since the federal exchange was first implemented, success has been measured by the number of applicants that have signed up for insurance. Indeed, last year, when the administration reached its initial enrollment goal, critics of the law were told that we had been wrong all along and that the law was, despite all the evidence to the contrary, working just fine.

“However, with these findings from GAO, it seems obvious, at least to me, that the administration has been preoccupied with signing up as many applicants as possible, ignoring potential fraud and integrity issues along the way.”

According to a follow-up AP report today, Senate Democrats are upset--not at the lack of controls for fraud through Obamacare at CMS, nor at the failure of CMS to address this issue after knowing about it for at least a year. No, Senate Democrats are upset that the GAO launched the probe at all.

“Senior Democrats are pushing back against an undercover government probe of President Barack Obama's health care law. Investigators signed up bogus beneficiaries, then got their coverage renewed - with bigger taxpayer subsidies. Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said Thursday the probe did not uncover any real-world fraud . . . .

“But GAO's audits chief said the investigation exposed real concerns. He said it was relatively easy for GAO's fictitious characters to get and keep coverage. He added that HealthCare.gov seems to put a higher priority on getting people covered than on verifying they are entitled to benefits.”

Last week, President Obama put forth a nominee to be the new administrator at CMS. This was necessitated by the departure of the previous administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, earlier this year.

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said about the new nominee, Andy Slavitt, “The head of the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid should be focused on what the American people expect him to do: administer these important programs, not allow his attention to be diverted instead to the implementation of some gigantic, unworkable health care law that hurts hardworking Americans. While Andy Slavitt’s nomination will receive thorough consideration in the Senate, it has long been clear that no one can successfully manage a law as unworkable as Obamacare. The sole focus of CMS should be to look out for our nation’s seniors and the many vulnerable Americans who use these programs, without the distraction of Obamacare.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times noted the news of Tavenner’s new job yesterday. “Marilyn B. Tavenner, the former Obama administration official in charge of the rollout of HealthCare.gov, was chosen on Wednesday to be the top lobbyist for the nation’s health insurance industry.

“Ms. Tavenner, who stepped down from her federal job in February, will become president and chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade group whose members include Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and many Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. . . .

“On Aug. 24, she will succeed Karen M. Ignagni, a former health policy specialist at the A.F.L.-C.I.O., who has led the industry’s lobbying arm for 22 years. . . .

“Most recently, Ms. Tavenner was the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that insures one in three Americans and has an annual budget of more than $800 billion. As administrator, she was in charge of HealthCare.gov. . . .

“Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, described the selection in more negative terms. ‘While millions of Americans are still being hurt by Obamacare’s soaring costs and fewer choices,’ he said, ‘Ms. Tavenner’s appointment shows how the law has created a cozy and profitable relationship for some.’”

Tags: Congressional Probe, bogus employees, obamacare, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Perspective" Obama / Kerry Iranian Nuke Deal

Editorial Cartoon by Rick McKee
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Context Matters - Twenty-four hours later, the extent of Obama's nuclear sellout is becoming obvious. Keep in mind who we are dealing with.

On the one hand you have the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, whose leaders vow to wipe Israel off the map, refer to America as "the great Satan" and have repeatedly cheated on existing international agreements.

On the other hand, we have a president who traded five Taliban leaders for one deserter, who makes red lines and then erases them, who underestimated the threat from ISIS, calling it "junior varsity," and who has repeatedly misled the American people on issues like marriage, taxes and Obamacare.

Now we're being asked to accept a deal -- involving nuclear weapons -- that these two sides have negotiated!

I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere buried in the pages of this deal is an agreement to trade the Brooklyn Bridge for Aladdin's magic lamp. Used car dealers have more credibility.

Obama's Bad Deal - With that bit of context, let's back up a few months to the conclusion of the previous round of talks that gave us the "framework" for this deal. When the "framework" talks concluded at the beginning of April, the Washington Post editorial board wrote this:
"The 'key parameters' for an agreement on Iran's nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration."Let's be clear about that: The Washington Post told us months ago that the "key parameters" for the deal Obama announced yesterday were "well short" of his own goals. So we had plenty of warning that this would be a bad deal. That is what the Post was telling us in April.

And it is a bad deal. Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and expert on the Middle East, writes that "Obama and Kerry crossed every one of their own red lines."

For example, two years ago Secretary Kerry declared, "There is no right to enrich." But under the agreement Obama announced yesterday, Iran will have at least 5,000 centrifuges spinning away. Pakistan needed fewer than half that number to develop its nuclear weapons.

Two years ago, Obama said, "They don't need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful nuclear program." But this deal allows the Fordo facility to keep functioning.

According to another report, international inspectors must "come from nations that have diplomatic relations with Iran." That means there will be no American inspectors allowed into Iran. Why would we agree to that?

Speaking of inspections, we know that the Obama Administration's strategy in selling this deal will be to lie and to lie big. The idea that Iran can be trusted with a massive nuclear infrastructure is beyond absurd, but a number of left-wing politicians are already making the case.

For example, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) says he supports the deal because:
"Iran's nuclear program will be under lock, key and camera 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The eyes of the international community are on every centrifuge, every ounce of uranium, in all of Iran's nuclear facilities."Really? According to ABC News:"UN inspectors can demand access to nuclear facilities on Iran military sites, but they aren't immediate or even guaranteed. Any inspections at those sites would need to be approved by a joint commission. . . The process for approving those inspections could take as many as 24 days. . ."In other words, far from being under lock and key, we have to ask permission to inspect a site and then the Iranians have more than three weeks to scrub it. That's not exactly the "anywhere, anytime" inspections that the administration was demanding in April.

Israel Responds To Iran Deal - While we are delving into the details of President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, Israeli officials have been extraordinarily grave in their remarks. That is understandable given Israel's history and Iran's repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map. The Jewish state clearly has the most to lose from this deal.

Naftali Bennett, Israel's education minister, said, "Today a terrorist nuclear superpower is born, and it will go down as one of the darkest days in world history." Danny Danon, Israel's science minister, said the deal "is like providing a pyromaniac with matches," while another Israeli cabinet minister said the deal gives Iran "a license to kill."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the agreement as a "historic mistake for the world," adding that Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars that it will use to "fuel its terror machine."

He is right. At the Christians United for Israel Summit today, where six thousand pro-Israel activists have gathered to rally support for the Jewish state, a very well-connected Israeli said that based on his initial examination, this was not a nuclear deal but a sanctions relief deal for Iran.

Netanyahu summed up the frustration of many Americans when he said: "One cannot prevent an agreement when the negotiators are willing to make more and more concessions to those who, even during the talks, keep chanting: 'Death to America.'" Then he added this somber warning:
"We knew very well that the desire to sign an agreement was stronger than anything, and therefore we did not commit to preventing an agreement. We did commit to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and this commitment still stands."Reaction From Capitol Hill - Members of Congress are feeling the heat on Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. Today, thousands of pro-Israel activists in town for the Christians United for Israel Washington Summit took to Capitol Hill to meet with every House and Senate office. Their message was clear: Oppose this bad deal!

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) warned, "The bottom line is: The deal doesn't end Iran's nuclear program -- it preserves it. I'm concerned that the deal ultimately legitimizes Iran as a threshold-nuclear state. I'm concerned the redlines we drew have turned into green-lights."

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the nuclear agreement is "deeply troubling."

Here's one example. For the deal to be meaningful, it must be verifiable and that requires "anytime, anywhere" inspections of suspect Iranian sites by international monitors.

In his address this morning, President Obama said that inspectors "will have access where necessary, when necessary." But who decides what is necessary -- the inspectors or the mullahs? The Iranian regime has repeatedly blocked inspections under existing agreements.

Here's something else to keep in mind. This morning, President Obama triumphantly declared, "Today . . . we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons" in the Middle East. No, he hasn't. He probably just started a nuclear arms race.

Saudi Arabia has vowed to match Iran's nuclear abilities, and one Saudi official said this morning, "We have learned as Iran's neighbors in the last 40 years that goodwill only led us to harvest sour grapes."

It's understandable why some liberal politicians are hesitant to embrace Obama's deal. Iran has a well-established record of cheating on existing agreements. And a new poll by Monmouth University finds that 58% of registered voters do not trust Iran to honor its commitments under this new deal.

It remains to be seen whether our political elites will follow the common sense of the American people. But as Senator Tom Cotton explained on the Hugh Hewitt show this week:
"Any congressman or senator who votes for this deal is voting to put their political fate in the hands of the Ayatollah for the rest of his or her life in the public spotlight, because if Iran gets a nuclear weapon in a year, or five years, or 10 years, the American people will want to know who supported the deal that gave them that nuclear weapon."By the way, I'm waiting for Tehran to accuse President Obama of lying about the deal. It seems every time we have an "agreement," Iran disputes the details of what it supposedly agreed to.
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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, Obama / Kerry, Iranian Nuke Deal, perspective, Rick McKee, editorial cartoon 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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