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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Friday, October 16, 2015
How Obama Is Planning to Bypass Congress on International Climate Change Regulations
It looks like President Obama is going to
ignore Congress and try to forge ahead with new
climate regulations. (Photo: EdStock/iStock)
by Rachel Bovard: It’s almost winter in Paris, and soon the City of Lights will be blanketed beneath a heavy layer of foreign bureaucrats and climate change negotiators. On November 30, hundreds of unelected representatives of international powers will descend under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
This is no trifling issue of executive-legislative disagreement. Rather, it’s the latest salvo from an executive intent on centralizing power in the White House.
When Congress refuses to enact policies he desires, President Obama takes “executive action,” putting those policies in place unilaterally. This continued executive overreach—and Congress’ failure to respond to it—is a grave threat to the fundamental nature of the separation of powers that guides our government.
In Federalist No. 51, James Madison wrote on the necessity of separated powers: “The accumulation of powers legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” His solution was to endow the three branches of government with co-equal power, thus ensuring that “ambition counteracts ambition.” That is, each branch would jealously guard its power from being usurped by the others, thereby keeping the three branches distinct and America free from tyranny.
Under this president, the slow accumulation of power in the executive branch has gone unchecked by a bumbling and ineffective Congress. That once powerful body has raised nary a whisper over the steady dilution of its authorities.
When Congress refused to pass his amnesty legislation, Obama moved ahead with it on his own, effectively implementing the DREAM Act. When he decided he didn’t like the Defense of Marriage Act, he unilaterally decreed it unconstitutional and directed his Justice Department to simply stop enforcing it. More recently, he flat-out ignored Congress and struck a deal with the terrorist state of Iran, opting to seek approval from the United Nationsrather than from the lawmakers of his own country.
The administration’s intention to bypass Congress yet again when it comes to the Paris Protocol demonstrates how bold this president has become in dismissing the checks ascribed to his office. When asked if the protocol constituted a document worthy of review by the Senate, the president’s spokesman flippantly dismissed Congress as a body “hard to take seriously” and suggested that, by holding a different opinion on climate change, Congress somehow forfeits its right to approve new climate regulations—costing Americans billions upon billions of dollars—that the administration is expected to try to impose.
This abject dismissal of the role of the people’s representatives in constitutional governance should deeply unsettle anyone with even a passing concern for the rule of law.
The Paris Protocol represents a crucial test for Congress, which has continuously responded ineffectually to Obama’s executive ambitions. How lawmakers use the powers of their branch—particularly the power of the purse—in response to this agreement will in many ways determine the relationship between the executive and the legislature for years to come.
In terms of constitutional governance, this is perhaps the most consequential circumstance to confront Congress in decades—one that gets to the nature of liberty and to what it means to be American. If Congress willingly cedes its power, it becomes habitual. Should future Congresses wish to reclaim their rightful role, they will have to go to extraordinary lengths to restore balance among the branches.
It is incumbent upon this Congress to use this opportunity to right what has become a very lopsided ship of state. If lawmakers once again abdicate the authorities granted to them by the Constitution, America could quickly find itself in a democracy that has begun to resemble, in the words of the Founders, “the very definition of tyranny.”
--------------- Originally published in Real Clear Policy and shared by The Daily Signal. Tags:President Obama, bypass Congress, International Climate Change Regulations, United Nations, Rachel Bovard, Real Clear Politics, The Daily SignalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
A Dangerous Precedent, An Act of Desperation in the Ex-Im Bank Saga
by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: Advocates of cronyism just won’t give up. Last Friday, a large block of House Republicans joined Democrats in signing a discharge petition to force revival of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) to the House floor.
42 Republicans joined 176 Democrats in signing on to the discharge petition, circumventing the authority of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling – whose committee has rightfully opposed the bank as corporate welfare. Hensarling responded to the move by urging Republicans to consider the ramifications of setting a dangerous precedent in using the discharge petition and reminding members that “Ex-Im supporters have so far failed to convince a majority of Republicans on the Financial Services Committee to support a vote on reauthorizing the bank.”
A discharge petition is generally a tool used by the minority to usurp control of the House floor from the majority. This is a pretty brazen move for the Republicans who signed on, as it essentially cedes control of the House floor to the Democrats. It’s also a historical move -- in the past decade and a half, only two bills have been successfully discharged from committee, despite 107 attempts.
The desperation of this move gets to the crux of the issue – 218 lawmakers, now unable to dole out taxpayer handouts to massive corporations, are so determined to hold on to their campaign donations from corporations like Boeing and GE and organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that they upended normal House rules and used procedural ploys to get their way.
After years of mismanagement, Congress allowed Ex-Im’s charter to expire on June 30. Over the past three plus months, Ex-Im has been carrying out its obligations while undergoing liquidation – and life has been moving along just fine.
The Ex-Im Bank didn’t exist to help small businesses – at least not in recent years. Over three-fourths of Ex-Im’s financial assistance went to just ten massive corporations, the top three recipients of which were Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar. According to a study done by Veronique de Rugy of George Mason’s Mercatus Center, Ex-Im provided support for less than one percent—0.28 percent, to be exact—of small businesses. Furthermore, in past years Ex-Im has been found doctoring their stats and mischaracterizing businesses with as many as 1,500 employees as a “small business.” Aside from manipulating data, Ex-Im has been plagued with scandal and corruption – with 31 open fraud investigations on bank employees.
Is this mismanaged, scandal-plagued institution really what these 218 representatives are fighting so hard to resurrect?
Sad to have lost their government golden goose, Boeing and GE have been spinning story after story in the media about the “detrimental” effects of the closure of the Bank, blaming its expiration for mass outsourcing and American job loss. These claims are grossly untrue.
While headlines screamed that GE was moving jobs to France because of the loss of Ex-Im, reputable journalists failed to do their homework. GE has been moving American jobs overseas for years, while still utilizing taxpayer money through Ex-Im. They already employed 10,000 workers in France, and the supposed “lost” jobs reporters clamored on about were already scheduled to be moved to France as part of a merger deal with the French manufacturing company Alstom. Clearly CEO Jeff Immelt thought using Ex-Im’s expiration as a scapegoat was a more PR-friendly move than shedding light on the fact that GE has reduced its American work force by 17.6 percent in the past decade, while increasing the number of GE employees abroad by 19 percent. Ex-Im had nothing to do with it.
When there are so many important issues for Congress to address this fall, using a procedural trick to bring an institution plagued with corruption back from the dead is inherently wrong. Republicans have got to stop talking out of both sides of their mouth on the promotion of free market principles. Ex-Im was on track to cost taxpayers $2 billion over the next ten years. It favors politically connected corporations over similarly situated small businesses. It distorts the free market in the worst way possible. It was time for it to go.
------------------ Ken Blackwell is a former ambassador to the U.N., Ohio Secretary of State and mayor of Cincinnati. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, dangerous president, act of desperation, Export-Import Bank, Ex-Im BankTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
As I discussed on my radio show, I had the honor of addressing a wonderful group of law enforcement officers. These were Atlanta-area traffic enforcement officers, so it made sense that I was accompanied by Ashley Frasca, who does traffic reporting for WSB in addition to being the associate producer of my show.
My message to them was pretty simple and actually fairly obvious, but you can understand why they appreciated it given the tenor of the times. I just told them how much their work is appreciated, and that the vast majority of Americans know they are our friends - not the enemy a few high-profile knuckleheads have made them out to be.
This seemed to matter a lot given the media narratives that have made them out to be racist thugs, and the political rhetoric we've heard from everyone from the president to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who is now throwing his own police officers under the bus and trying to blame them for the increase in crime the city has experienced.
I can't imagine what it must be like these days to be a police officer and know that every split-second decision you have to make could bring the news media out to accuse you of being some sort of lawless, racist abuser of the citizenry. These are such good people, and they chose this profession precisely because they care about protecting and helping people. Any profession can have its bad apples, of course, but there are methods to deal with that and the bad apples are not necessarily who the media wants you to think they are.
They're also so rare that it's completely unfair to tar a whole profession by constantly talking about them. The bottom line is that, if you have a problem with police in general, it's probably because you've spent too much of your life doing things you shouldn't have been doing - and they're the ones holding you to an accountability you don't want.
But the rest of us thank God that police officers are there, and of course we thank the officers themselves. We would be in huge trouble without them, and these days we need them more than ever.
Thank you, friends. You make us all proud.
------------ Herman Cain is a conservative radio host of CainTV, a 2012 GOP presidential primary candidate with over 40 years of experience in the private sector as an analyst for Coca-Cola, an executive at Pillsbury, a regional Vice President for Burger King, and CEO of Godfather's Pizza. Cain served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a supervisory mathematician for the Dept. of the Navy. Tags:Herman Cain, conservative commentator, CainTV, Law Enforcement, thank youTo 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: Back in June 2013, when Pete Earley, Joe Desantis and I began considering writing a novel about terrorism and a presidential campaign, we could not have imagined how much fact and fiction would blend together.
Twenty-eight months ago we had no idea that our novel, Duplicity, would come out in the very same month that a presidential candidate and former senior government official would be testifying before Congress about issues of deception and dishonesty involving terrorism, the killing of Americans, and the American government deliberately misleading the public during a presidential election.
We started writing before ISIS was in the news every day and before the arrests in Minneapolis of several Somali-Americans for terrorism. Both of these developments have clear analogs in our story.
We were not prescient enough to include a private email server, thousands of deleted emails, and a disregard for national security laws verging on the outrageous. But we did have high-ranking government officials attempting to withhold information from Congressional oversight. (Readers will have to find out how far the fictional officials are willing to go…)
We did include a private contractor manipulating government systems in a disastrous way. But in all fairness to Sidney Blumenthal, our fictional contractor is meaner, more directly destructive and more conniving. Of course, we may want to revisit that judgment after all of the hearings are done.
Our novel, Duplicity, was based on three very simple observations about the world.
First, terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon and much more purposeful and technologically advanced than we give it credit for. One of the key terrorists in our novel is an American who has rejected Western civilization in favor of the radical Islamist effort to impose an alternative system of belief by force and terror tactics.
Second, there are millions of American Muslims who embrace our values and are deeply patriotic. One character in Duplicity is a Somali American who is running for Congress in Minneapolis while his brother is the number two leader in Al Shabaab in Mogadishu. The tension between the two is like a civil war in a single family.
Third, politicians come under enormous pressure to subordinate national security to political considerations. Duplicity is dedicated in part to the idea that national security is a matter of life and death for the country and for individuals. We need a much higher standard of dealing with the safety of the American people than some of our real-life officials have met.
The events in Duplicity are fiction. But as you watch the Benghazi hearings later this month you may conclude that reality is more devious, twisted, and corrupt than those in our novel.
Both Pete Earley, my co-author, and I are amazed at how much our two years of effort actually fits the dangerous world in which we find ourselves today. You can read one of our chapters for free here.
You may find that reading Duplicity helps you better understand the all-too-real duplicity being exposed by the Benghazi hearings and news reports.
---------------------- 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, Pete Earley, Duplicity, 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 Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Every time there is a shooting, we hear lots of debate about guns and gun control. Then we all face the reality that not much will change. The debate subsides and we turn to other topics until the next shooting.
The shooting in Oregon brought two new topics to the table that hadn’t been voiced in the past. This time, for example, we heard about the need to implement “common sense gun-safety laws.” Some of us are waiting for what those laws might be. We already have significant background checks in Oregon. That did not stop the Roseburg shooter. His mother obtained the guns legally. So did the mother of the shooter in Sandy Hook.
Common sense laws certainly couldn’t mean another so-called “assault weapons ban.” We tried that in 1994 and ten years later it ended. Every study done on the impact of the ban concluded that it did not reduce gun violence.
Another new topic on the gun control table was Australia. President Obama cited the laws in Australia as a model for America. When he said that, I mentioned on radio that this could be a code for something more than extensive background checks. Most news outlets merely mention that Australia had a gun buyback and fail to mention it was mandatory. In other words, when the president made a reference to Australia, he was talking about gun confiscation.
I didn’t hear many commentators pick up on that point, and I began to wonder if I had made a mistake. So I was glad to see that columnist, Charles Krauthammer did focus on that in his op-ed, What Gun-Control Advocates Mean but Dare Not Say: Guns Should be Confiscated.
This is something you might want to remember the next time you hear someone calling for “common sense gun-safety laws.” If they say we should model our laws on Australia, they are probably talking about gun confiscation. If so, then we need some straight talk from them about what they propose.
----------- Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service
by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: President Barack Obama pledged we’d be out of Afghanistan by 2016, but yesterday announced a “modest but meaningful extension of our presence” — keeping the 10,000 troops currently stationed there for all of 2016, and then, in perpetuity, maintaining a force five times larger than previously planned.
Why? Because, after 14 years of conflict and nation-building, Afghanistan is still neck-deep in violence. Last month, the Taliban briefly captured Kunduz, a city of over 250,000 people. Going forward, Obama admitted, “There will continue to be contested areas.”
The Afghan government is not self-sustainable and nobody seems to know how many years or decades or centuries that might take to achieve.
Meanwhile, over in Syria, the U.S. cannot train more than four or five moderate soldiers after much bluster and promise — and splurging a cool $500 million.
The U.S. invaded and “regime-changed” Iraq, helping shape a new government and national army. With all that effort — a cost of thousands of lives — once our soldiers weren’t doing the daily fighting to tamp down the bloody sectarian chasm, ISIS formed, the Iraqi army ran away and the country soon collapsed into civil war.
The Iraq Conquest put southern Iraq into Iranian orbit. How many lives was that worth?
The problem? Not military incompetence. The mission is the problem. Has any politician or military leader plausibly put forth a plan whereby our country’s intervention actually creates an improved and sustainable political order in any of these nations?
If so, let’s see it.
If not, why are our soldiers still in harm’s way?
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, Obama's Quagmire, Tunnel with No Light, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iraq Conquest 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:Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Democrat Debate, angry white people, debateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Some of us are sick of the vilification of political adversaries, whether right-wingers insinuating scandalous conduct by Hillary Clinton or left-wing agitprop against the Koch brothers. We can disagree with our adversaries, even passionately, without attributing sinister motives or magical powers to them.
Having "I'm right and you're wrong" factions is hardly a new thing. Remember Buffalo Springfield's great 1967 anthem, For What It's Worth (by the great Steven Stills)? "There's battle lines being drawn/ Nobody's right if everybody's wrong ... Singing songs and carrying signs/ Mostly say, hooray for our side."
Almost 50 years later our signs still "Mostly say hooray for our side." Yet there are two sides to most everyone's two cents. (OK, not Donald Trump. Just in general.) As Stills suggested polarization really doesn't work out so well.
There is another, starker, description of polarization: Paranoid Style. In 1964 Richard Hofstadter wrote a now-classic article in Harper's Magazine entitled The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Hofstadter begins this essay:American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing.He goes on:I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.Hofstadter inventories many instances, from Joseph McCarthy's rabid anti-communism, to an 1895 Populist Party manifesto against the gold standard, to an 1855 anti-Catholic movement, followed by a litany of other examples:In the anti-Masonic movement, the nativist and anti-Catholic movement, in certain spokesmen of abolitionism who regarded the United States as being in the grip of a slaveholders' conspiracy, in many alarmists about the Mormons, in some Greenback and Populist writers who constructed a great conspiracy of international bankers, in the exposure of a munitions makers' conspiracy of World War I, in the popular left-wing press, in the contemporary American right wing....The Paranoid Style leads to many problems in our ability to seize opportunities, many of which are only available if most of us participate ... together. (The Paranoid Style, humorless, also is just a drag.)
Looking for an Exit Ramp? Exit here to Post-Paranoid Politics.
There are a number of great people and groups seeking an end to the Paranoid Style in Politics. I myself -- a certified member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, nobody to the right of me! -- am intimately involved with arch-progressive Joan Blades's LivingRoomConversations.org.
Another member of its leadership, Debilyn Molineaux, also is national head of the Coffee Party that propounds a civility pledge "to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process."
There are other groups, some calling themselves "transpartisan," many constituting themselves into a "Bridge Alliance" committed to "come together in civility, respect, and goodwill to solve problems together. Together, we can become a powerful and positive voice in the American political landscape advocating 'Country Before Party.'"
Is this news to you? It should be!
The News Business thrives on reporting conflict. Joan Blades calls LivingRoomConversations.org a "domestic peace initiative." Peace is really bad for newspaper circulation so ... don't be shocked if this is the first you have heard of this.
Might not be the last. Thanks to, between this news outlet (and the Huffington Post) we've chipped a tiny hole in the Big Media Blackout.
Yes, peace makes for boring blogs ... like this very one. Yet Peace is Healthy For Children And Other Living Things. We're unrepentant.
If you love being in an "arena of angry minds," if "animosities and passions" are your idea of a good time, congratulations! Look around. The media is glutted with animosities. Feast on!
If, rather, you're curious about the rumored secret Exit Ramp from the Pain Lane of Paranoid Style Politics Freeway ... you just found it. Now you are in on the secret of this Very Underground Movement for Post-Paranoid Style Politics.
Secret stuff. Powerful stuff. Now you know.
Take the Exit Ramp. Find us. Welcome home.
----------------- Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. Founder of The Prosperity Caucus, he was a member of the Jack Kemp supply-side team, served in an unrelated area as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House. The article also appeared in Huffington Post. Tags:Ralph Benko, post-paranoid politics, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Failure To Provide Financial & Employment Info Required By Law
Judicial Watch announced today that on October 13, 2015, it received new documents from the Department of State, including an email from the agency’s top financial disclosure official revealing that then-Secretary Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin failed to produce important financial transaction records of her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, as required by law before obtaining her position as a special government employee (SGE) in 2012. Abedin also failed to provide any information on future employment. The records also show that . . .
Abedin received a Top Secret clearance renewal in anticipation of her SGE position.
Washington Times: Huma on hot seat: Hillary’s aide Abedin grilled by House Benghazi panel. Photo by: Charles Dharapak
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on October 13, 2015, it received new documents from the Department of State, including an email from the agency’s top financial disclosure official revealing that then-Secretary Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin failed to produce important financial transaction records of her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, as required by law before obtaining her position as a special government employee (SGE) in 2012. Abedin also failed to provide any information on future employment. The records also show that Abedin received a Top Secret clearance renewal in anticipation of her SGE position.
In February 2014, the State Department assured Judicial Watch that it had searched several individual offices of the department, including the office of the Executive Secretariat, which would have included the Office of the Secretary of State. Relying upon the State Department’s representation that the agency conducted a reasonable search – which Judicial Watch later learned to be untrue, Judicial Watch agreed to dismiss its lawsuit on March 14, 2014. Judge Emmet Sullivan reopened the lawsuit on June 19, 2015, in response to revelations about Clinton’s separate email system. (Judicial Watch will be requesting that discovery take place to determine whether all emails from the clintonemail.com sever have been returned to the State Department and have been reviewed to determine whether they are responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.)
Abedin had been repeatedly reminded of the need for the records to be included in the OGE Form 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report as part of her termination agreement with DOS. But, according to a June 5, 2012, email from State Department Financial Disclosures Chief Sarah Taylor, Abedin failed to produce key sections of the records even after her appointment as a SGE had been approved on June 3.
On June 5, 2012, Taylor sent the following email to Heather Samuelson and Marcela Green, both of the State Department’s Financial Disclosures Division, concerning Abedin’s failure to complete the OGE 278 form with the subject line “RE: disclosure questions:” Her termination report is Incomplete, Schedule B, Part I and II were left blank. Schedule C, Part II was left blank. I hope she provided all of her spouse’s assets. Marcella I believe told him, either Huma or her husband called her yesterday indicating there were more assets. The documents I have do not have the income information, only the value information. What was her date of termination? She needs to be aware her termination report will be going up on a DOS website for the public to view and it must be accurate.The sections of the OGE 278 financial disclosures form that Abedin and Weiner failed to complete were:
Schedule B, Part 1 – Transactions. Report any purchase, sale, or exchange by you, your spouse, or dependent children during the reporting period of any real property, stocks, bonds, commodity futures, and other securities when the amount of the transaction exceeded $1,000. Include transactions that resulted in a loss
Schedule B, Part 2 – Gifts, Reimbursements, and Travel Expenses. For you, your spouse and dependent children, report the source, a brief description, and the value of: (1) gifts (such as tangible items, transportation, lodging, food, or entertainment) received from one source totaling more than $350 and (2) travel-related cash reimbursements received from one source totaling more than $350.
Schedule C, Part 2 – Agreements or Arrangements. Report your agreements or arrangements for: (1) continuing participation in an employee benefit plan (e.g. pension, 401k, deferred compensation); continuation of payment by a former employer (including severance payments); (3) leaves of absence; and (4) future employment.
The records show that Abedin had a pre-approved Top Secret (Critical Sensitive) clearance for her special government employment position on March 20, 2012. The “revalidation” of her security clearance was directly tied to her pending SGE status. (The clearance document shows that Abedin’s original security clearance investigation and approval took place on the same day – February 4, 2009.)
On September 24, Judicial Watch released new records indicating that Abedin had failed to provide Weiner’s full financial disclosure records as required by law, despite repeated requests from State’s Human Resources and Financial Disclosures divisions. The records also indicate Clinton personally signed the authorization for Huma Abedin, her then-deputy chief of staff, to become a special government employee. The documents also raised questions about whether Abedin’s position complied with federal law that prevents special government positions created for work already performed by current employees.
The State Department produced these records after performing a second search of State Department offices. The first search, conducted in early 2014, produced only eight pages.
“Huma Abedin, with the direct help of Hillary Clinton, obtained a sweetheart government job in violation of the law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama State Department tells us it has given us all the documents they have concerning the Abedin employment controversy, which means that Abedin obtained her “special” job despite her refusal to provide her basic financial information and her “agreements and arrangements’ for future employment. None of this prevented Abedin from getting a scam position and – disturbingly – a coveted Top Secret clearance.”
Politico reported that, since June 2012, Abedin had been double-dipping, working as a consultant to outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant to Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 SGE compensation. The New York Times reported, “It is not clear how much Ms. Abedin was paid by Mrs. Clinton privately, or from the Clinton Foundation and Teneo."
Teneo describes its activities as providing “the leaders of the world’s most respected companies, nonprofit institutions and governments with a full suite of advisory solutions.” Outside of the U.S., it maintains offices in Dubai, London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Brussels, Washington, and Beijing. Teneo was also the subject of various investigative reports, including by the New York Times, which raise questions about its relationship with the Clinton Foundation. Today, Politico reports that other State Department documents show Abedin was asked to help both the Foundation and Teneo in April 2012. Tags:Hillary Clinton, State Department, Huma Abedin, Teneo, Failed disclosures, required by law, Judicial Watch, 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:Bracing for Peace, President Obama, John Kerry, foreign policy position,weakness, enemies, editorial cartoon, AF BranxoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Jonah Goldberg: The following is adapted from Jonah Goldberg’s foreword to the brand-new edition of What Is Conservatism? This classic 1964 book, featuring essays by F. A. Hayek, William F. Buckley Jr., Russell Kirk, and other giants, is as relevant today as ever. Here’s why.
What Is Conservatism? is one of my favorite books, despite being what you might call a successful failure. I don’t mean commercially. Frankly, I have no idea how well this book sold, but going by the history of philosophical anthologies, I think it’s safe to assume that it never threatened to hit the bestseller lists. On the other hand, more than a half century later it remains an oft-cited and significant book in its field. Given that most anthologies aren’t read even by their contributors, you could argue that it’s a giant of the genre.
But what I mean by success and failure is something different altogether. First, it succeeds because it is a wonderful book. More important, it served a high purpose. It is The Federalist Papers of American conservatism. Like the patriots who convened in Philadelphia to hammer out a new charter for a new nation, the contributors to this book laid out a new consensus for a new movement. That effort was led intellectually by Frank Meyer and politically by my old boss William F. Buckley Jr. (whose intellectual contributions to the effort were prodigious as well).
The project, commonly called “fusionism,” was laid out most forcefully in Meyer’s In Defense of Freedom: A Conservative Credo (1962). He argued that a love and respect for freedom must unite all factions on the right. To the traditionalists he argued that virtue not freely chosen isn’t virtuous. To the libertarians (or, to use an older word, “individualists”), he explained that individualism absent morality is an invitation to chaos, and chaos is, in turn, an invitation to oppression of one kind or another. Meyer writes in What Is Conservatism? that “truth withers when freedom dies, however righteous the authority that kills it; and free individualism uninformed by moral value rots at its core and soon brings about conditions that pave the way for surrender to tyranny.”
Meyer did not lack for critics. Murray Rothbard condescended that Meyer was a “libertarian manqué” who failed to unite the two camps. Meyer’s friend and colleague Brent Bozell, a Catholic traditionalist, found fusionism (a term Bozell coined) a failure as well, though for different reasons. Bozell argued that the purpose of politics is to promote not liberty but virtue. And when the two are in conflict, virtue must triumph. (Perhaps that’s why Bozell left National Review to found his own ultramontane Catholic magazine, called Triumph.)
Although I still consider myself a fusionist, I agree with the critics that, philosophically, fusionism has its flaws, or at least vulnerabilities. Taking his credo to its logical conclusion, the fusionist must always err on the side of permitting everything, or almost everything, in order to allow every individual to make a free—and therefore virtuous—choice. But is it really true that a virtuous society cannot consider some questions settled? Isn’t the whole point of conservatism to “pocket” the moral victories of the past and to conserve them, at least for as long as possible? Is it conservative to leave such victories like chips on the table to be wagered on a hunch that society will make the right choice with every new deal of the cards? Must we debate the “merits” of pedophilia, incest, bestiality, cruelty to animals, etc., every generation?
But Meyer is surely correct that freedom cannot be sustained in a society that abandons traditional morality—an argument that vexed many of his purer libertarian friends. Even the free market is heavily dependent on values, customs, and mores that are upstream from capitalism. As Friedrich Hayek said, “Capitalism presumes that apart from our rational insight we possess a traditional endowment of morals, which has been tested by evolution but not designed by our intelligence.” Social trust, respect for law, tolerance for delayed gratification: these things are all essential to a free economy, but they are not simply economic phenomena. In every generation, we see capitalism threatened not by dangerous economic arguments but by seductive moral claims. Left to defend themselves against strictly economic attacks, free-market economists would prevail. Proponents of the minimum wage cannot make a better case empirically or theoretically, but they can do so emotionally. As Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman learned, the true defender of free markets, and of liberty itself, must go outside the walled citadel of capitalism and fight on the muddier battlefields of morality.
Is ever more liberty the best tool for sustaining—never mind restoring—a virtuous and free moral order? A decent society can tolerate a fair number of moral free riders, people who reject the lessons of the past while enjoying the prosperity and order provided and sustained by others. But eventually the logic of the tragedy of the commons kicks in. Every civilization must take seriously how the next generation shall be civilized.
Children aren’t the only ones who need order and authority. “Civilized man,” Russell Kirk writes in What Is Conservatism?, “lives by authority.” He continues: “Without some reference to authority, indeed, no form of human existence is possible. . . . Without just authority and respected prescription, the pillars of any tolerable civil social order, true freedom is not possible.” One can think of countless scenarios where the last thing required to solve a problem or end a crisis is more freedom. During the Baltimore riots in the spring of 2015, for example, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake explained that, to “those who wished to destroy,” she gave “space to do that.”
On the other hand, the claim that order and virtue should always prevail has its own set of problems. These problems are probably more familiar to most readers, because our educational system and popular culture have been at war with nearly all forms of traditional authority for decades. We are taught to respond “who are you to judge?” at the slightest provocation. We distrust figures who lecture us about virtue and rebel against anyone who might impose order we find inconvenient, never mind morally undesirable. This instinct often takes on a partisan pigment—the left’s definitions of tyranny and the right’s drift further from each other by the day—but the arguments against government-imposed virtue still seem less necessary to rehearse, particularly when so many contributors to this volume make them better than I could.
Conservatism, Realism, and Gratitude
Which brings us back around to why this book was a successful failure. I likened What Is Conservatism? to The Federalist Papers earlier. Such analogies are like toupees; they do their best work so long as they don’t invite close inspection. Under scrutiny, the analogy’s flaws become apparent. The Federalist Papers were written to rally support for the new Constitution. The essays in this collection were commissioned to rally support for a new consensus around the question “What is conservatism?” The problem is that only the editor, Frank Meyer, was fully committed to the fusionist idea. The other contributors subscribed to their particular views of conservatism—and libertarianism—and only occasionally lined up with the agenda of the editor. The diversity of thought is so great at times, it is as if The Federalist Papers included essays not just from Anti-Federalists but even from an occasional monarchist and loyalist as well.
This diversity of thought illuminates one of the great glories of conservatism. Detractors and adherents alike tend to operate on the assumption that conservatism is a set of clearly defined principles, a set of First Things from which all other important Things derive their meaning and legitimacy. For some conservatives the American Founding is the foundation on which all principles are built. But that foundation rests upon other foundations, from John Locke, Adam Smith, and Montesquieu all the way down to the Bible and Aristotle.
Many Catholic conservatives will tell you that their philosophical commitments are extensions of natural law, as laid out by the Bible and the Church Doctors. That’s fine, but many titans of conservatism couldn’t tell you the first thing about Saint Augustine or Aquinas. And while many conservatives reverently identify the Judeo-Christian heritage as the wellspring of conservatism, it’s not hard to find atheists who stand as conservatives in full. (Is George Will really not a conservative?) Nor is it written anywhere that Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims cannot be conservatives.
As for the left, their views of conservatism tend to be caricatures, portraying conservatives as rigid ideologues, theocrats, or simply bigots. Even the most generous left-wing critics argue that conservatives are the dogmatists and liberals the pragmatists. Indeed, as a matter of ideological fixation, contemporary liberals have convinced themselves that they have no ideological fixations. The reality is that they are profoundly dogmatic—so dogmatic, in fact, that they are blind to their own dogma about the wisdom and efficacy of the state, and the incapacity of liberals to use the state to carry mankind to the sunny uplands of History.
Conservatives have their dogma, to be sure, but we acknowledge it. We debate it. We are constantly grappling with the question of how to draw the line between virtue and freedom, order and liberty. And we don’t stop there. We debate whether conservatism is an ideology or a temperament, a time-bound political agenda or a timeless philosophical orientation. Does conservatism speak to the ends of man or simply the means? Is it a doctrine of government or a doctrine of personal conduct? Michael Oakeshott tells us, “It is not at all inconsistent to be conservative in respect of government and radical in respect of almost every other activity.” I have no doubt Russell Kirk would disagree.
These debates run straight through the conservative heart. Every thoughtful conservative I know recognizes a little bit of himself or herself in those who are more purely traditionalist and those more ardently libertarian. We all understand that libertarian arguments and traditionalist arguments have merit, which in turn requires us to apply reason to the question of which side is more right than the other for any particular circumstance.
One thing all conservatives believe is that utopias are impossible. The word itself means “no-place.” The best we can hope for is a eutopia—a “good place.” A perfect society requires perfect men, but conservatives understand that man is fallen—or, for the more secular, flawed. Moreover, while all men are flawed, they are not all flawed in the same way. There will always be inequality. There will always be hierarchies. Conservatism, which is a form of realism, recognizes this.
As a consequence, conservatism understands that life is about trade-offs between competing desires and preferences. In our personal affairs, we understand that career and family, friendship and duty, and a thousand other competing goods can be in conflict, and we do our best to balance them. Governing, likewise, is about choosing between competing preferences.
In short, at the very core of conservatism lies comfort with contradiction, acceptance of the fact that life is not fair; that ideals must forever be goals, not destinations; that the perfect is not the enemy of the good but one standard by which we understand what is good in the first place—though not the only standard. Conservatism also recognizes the authority of the past and the lessons it teaches. Nothing is ever good enough when measured solely against an ideal. Only when measured against the experience of the past can we truly understand what counts as progress. And with that understanding comes perhaps the most indispensable conservative orientation: gratitude.
The whole point of seeking to conserve that which is good and just must begin with a sense of gratitude. Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center offered one of my favorite meditations on conservatism when he said: “To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it, while liberals tend to begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it.”
Gratitude is the bedrock of patriotism. Without it, patriotism is nothing more than nationalism. We are lucky to be Americans, because America is special. The American Revolution was a successful revolution precisely because it was grounded in both realism and idealism. Written deep into the structure of our Constitution is a profound comfort with contradiction. It sets faction against faction, pits each branch of government against the other, dilutes the excesses of democracy, and holds the executive accountable to the people. By being so grounded in realism, it can hold the weight of our ideals.
Which brings me to Friedrich Hayek’s essay, “Why I Am Not a Conservative”—the only essay in this book that wasn’t commissioned by Meyer. It is one of Hayek’s most widely abused and misused works. Its proper title should be “Why I Am Not a European Conservative.” Hayek writes:Conservatism proper is a legitimate, probably necessary, and certainly widespread attitude of opposition to drastic change. It has, since the French Revolution, for a century and a half played an important role in European politics. Until the rise of socialism its opposite was liberalism. There is nothing corresponding to this conflict in the history of the United States, because what in Europe was called “liberalism” was here the common tradition on which the American polity had been built: thus the defender of the American tradition was a liberal in the European sense.In other words, America is the one place in the world where being a conservative has always meant being a liberal in the classical sense. (Hayek goes on in that essay to describe himself not as a “libertarian” or an “individualist” but as an “Old Whig”—precisely the term preferred by Edmund Burke, the founder of conservatism according to Russell Kirk.)
The American Founders were classical liberals. Modern American conservatives are dedicated to the task of defending that tradition of liberty. National Review’s Felix Morley made this point in his 1964 review of What Is Conservatism?, in which he concluded, “American conservatism, to this reviewer, is simply Constitutionalism, in a strict rather than pliable interpretation.”
Ultimately this book matters, and is a successful book, because it illuminates that American tradition of liberty. Fusionism as a political philosophy falls short (as do its modern analogues, such as “conservatarianism”) because, at the end of the day, liberty and order or freedom and virtue cannot be permanently reconciled. They are at once mutually dependent and at war, a bickering couple that cannot live without each other. At any given moment, one may have the better argument than the other, but tomorrow is another day. Life is full of contradictions and conflicts, and the story of Western civilization—the only true fundament of modern conservatism—is the story of these contradictions and conflicts being worked out over millennia. Fusionism is a failure if one looks to it as a source for what to think. But it is a shining success if one sees it as a guide for how to think. It tells us that we must always try to balance these conflicting principles—albeit with a thumb on the scales of liberty. That’s fine, because in the classical liberal tradition, the benefit of the doubt should always go to liberty, while the forces of coercion should meet an extra burden of proof.
--------------- Jonah Goldberg is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, Liberal Fascism and The Tyranny of Clichés. He is a nationally syndicated columnist, a Fox News contributor, a contributing editor to National Review, the founding editor of National Review Online, and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. This essay is adapted from Goldberg’s foreword to the new edition of the classic book What Is Conservatism? available at ISIbooks.org. H/T Intercollegiate Review (IR) who shared this article with the editor. IR is published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and is dedicated to advancing the principles that make America free, virtuous, and prosperous. Tags:Jonah Goldberg, What Is Conservatism?, Federalist Papers, Intercollegiate Review, Intercollegiate, Studies InstituteTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Natalie Johnson: The number of sanctuary cities in the United States has risen to 340, resulting in the release of roughly 1,000 detained illegal immigrants each month despite objections from the federal government, according to a new study.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit organization that advocates for decreased immigration, reported that local authorities acting in these sanctuary cities released more than 9,000 illegal immigrants whom the government was seeking to deport last year.
The majority of those shielded from ICE had prior felony charges or convictions, including rape, battery, and drug violations, the analysis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data from January to September 2014 found.
Jessica Vaughan, the center’s director of policy studies and the author of the report, said she was surprised by the “sheer number” of criminal offenders who are continuing to be released because of sanctuary policies.
Those protections vary across the U.S., but they generally bar local law enforcement from asking federal authorities the immigration status of criminal suspects, allowing those localities to sidestep ICE demands.
“You would think that these jurisdictions would recognize what a public safety hazard they’re creating with these policies, but clearly public safety is not the primary concern—it appears to be the political benefit that they think they’re getting from this,” Vaughan said.
David Inserra, a policy analyst in homeland security at The Heritage Foundation, said such policies encourage further illegal immigration, degrade state and local budgets, and, in some cases, harm U.S. citizens.
“Cities that actively work to shield illegal immigrants, especially those with a criminal record or those charged with a crime, do themselves no favors and only hurt their communities,” he said.
Because those jurisdictions are not going to “fix themselves” and the Obama administration remains inactive, Vaughan said, action falls on Congress.
The Senate is moving to vote on legislation next week that would withhold federal funds from cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials. The White House already threatened to veto legislation that cracks down on sanctuary cities after the House passed a similar bill in July.
Vaughan said the issue would be improved even if Congress can pass only narrowly focused sanctuary legislation, but she added that broader action is needed to “restore the enforcement that has been dismantled by the Obama administration.”
Sanctuary cities grabbed national attention last summer after Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman from San Francisco, was fatally shot by an illegal immigrant who had seven prior felony convictions in the U.S. and was previously deported to Mexico five times.
Given the string of “horrific” crimes committed by similar offenders last summer, Vaughan said she was “shocked” that the number of sanctuary jurisdictions had increased and not fallen off.
------------------------ Natalie Johnson (@nataliejohnsonn) is a news reporter for The Daily Signal and graduate of The Heritage Foundation's Young Leaders Program. Added Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco. Tags:Sanctuary Cities, on the Rise, Releasing, More Than 9,000 Criminals, in US, Illegally, Natalie Johnson, The Daily Signal, 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 Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: In Tuesday night’s debate, Democrats put all their egos in one ideological basket: progressivism. Even Jim Webb managed to sound progressive . . . until he identified his prime personal enemy — the man he shot in wartime.
Bernie Sanders once again insisted on lecturing Americans on what it means to be a “democratic socialist.” Martin O’Malley relentlessly pursued an impossible dream, 100 percent carbon-free electric production by 2050 — far enough off to avoid any possible accountability. And Hillary Clinton said that, sure, she’s a progressive, “a progressive who likes to get things done!”
But what has she “got done,” ever?
It was her secrecy regarding the initial health care reforms back in her husband’s first term that helped spark the firestorm of opposition that led to the Revolution of ’94, and to the triangulating successes of the master of manipulative compromise, Bill Clinton. His was not a “progressive era,” though Democrats still use the 1990s as proof that their (“our”) policies “work.”
With exception of Bernie on gun control and Hillary on foreign policy and spying (Snowden gave out secrets to the enemy: traitor; she gave out who-knows-what via her insecure email server: blankout), the spend-spend-spend mantra of progressivism, mixed with “fair taxes” (higher tax rates) on the top 1 percent, was not challenged on the stage.
How far would they go to close ranks? Bernie sided with her regarding “your damned e-mails.” That’s so ideological as to eschew any consideration of character or loyalty or trust.
Quite a revolution . . . in the party.
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, egos, progressivism To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Countries around the world are selling their U.S. government debt holdings this year by the largest amounts seen since at least 2000.
China has been selling U.S. debt but it's not alone. Lots of emerging markets like Brazil, India and Mexico are also selling U.S. Treasuries. Not that long ago all these countries were all huge buyers of U.S. debt, which is viewed as one of the safest places to park money.
"Five or six years ago, the big concern was that China was going to own the United States," says Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Bank. "Now the concern is that China is selling them."
Foreign governments have sold more U.S. Treasury bonds than they've bought in the 10 consecutive months through July 2015, the most recent month of available data from the Treasury Department.
Just in the first seven months of the year, foreign governments sold off $103 billion of U.S. debt, according to CNNMoney's analysis of Treasury Department data. Last year there was an overall increase of nearly $45 billion.
Countries don't have cash to buy Treasuries
It's a reality of the global economic slowdown.
When commodity prices boomed a decade ago, emerging market countries took their profits and invested them in U.S. Treasury bonds and other types of assets that are similar to cash.
Now that commodity prices are falling, countries that rely on commodities -- Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia -- just don't have the cash they once did to invest in safe assets like U.S. Treasury bonds.
"Slow growth means that they just don't have the same appetite for dollars because they don't have cash to put to work," says Lori Heinel, chief portfolio strategist at State Street Global Advisors. "The bigger issue is 'do they have the dollars flowing into the economies to keep investing in Treasuries?'"
They need the cash to support their economies
These countries are also under pressure provide support to their slowing economies.
Their currencies are losing value against the dollar. And some countries, like China, have stepped in to buy their local currencies to keep their values from sinking too low. China has also spent cash to support its stock market.
With foreign investors pulling their money out, many countries also want to make sure they have enough cash to balance that out.
Because these countries need the cash, they need to sell U.S. debt.
"In the past, [emerging markets] had been the buyer...now they're facing exactly the opposite pressure," says Binqi Liu, senior fund manager at HSBC Global Asset Management.
Cash hoarding has ended
It's a key reversal from over a decade of hoarding -- the "savings glut" that Bernanke was talking about 10 years ago.
Foreign-exchange cash reserves from all the world's central banks totaled $1.8 trillion in 2000. It swelled to nearly $12 trillion in the middle of 2014.
Now it's starting to unwind. Total cash reserves fell to $11.5 trillion by mid-2015, according to the IMF.
In fact, 2015 will be the first year of decline in worldwide reserves in over a decade, according to a report by Deutsche Bank.
The sell off by foreign governments raises questions about future demand for U.S. government debt. However, it appears foreign private investors, like banks and financial institutions have stepped in.
Still, the overall Treasury selloff shows that the air is finally coming out of the global savings glut.
------------------ Article shared under Fair Use Doctrine for education purposes about issues related to the U.S. Nation debt. Tags:CNN Money, foreign Countries, American Debt Selloff, cash hording, cash, foreign economies, U.S Treasury, U.S. TreasuriesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Joseph Klein: Vicious attacks by Palestinians, using knives, guns and vehicles as weapons of choice against Israeli civilians, are escalating to an alarming degree. In response, the so-called “international community” is siding with the Palestinian killers and blaming the Jewish victims, despite the clear source of the violence. Spurred on by hate-filled social media postings exhorting Palestinians to go out and kill as many Jews as possible, would-be Palestinian martyrs – including women and teenagers -- set out to do just that. In two dozen violent incidents since October 1st, at least seven Israelis have been killed and scores more have been wounded.
As just one example of the incitement to violence appearing on social media, the following tweet was posted last week under the hashtag “The Intifada Has Started”: "There is no greater reward in Islam than the one given for jihad, and there is no greater reward than the one given for #Slaughtering_the_Jews... Kill them wherever you find them." (Source: The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI))
There are also tutorials on how to most effectively stab Jews to death. For instance, in a tweet posted from an individual in Gaza under the hashtag " Poison The Knife Before You Stab," the following ghastly advice was offered: "Dip [your] knife in an active poison before carrying out [a stabbing], so that even if the knife does not manage [to kill], the poison will do the job." (Source: MEMRI)
Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon described in a communication to the United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon one recent horrific attack involving a 13-year-old Palestinian perpetrator and a 13-year-old Israeli victim. It may well have been the product of the call to kill Jews appearing on Palestinian social media:“On Monday, in a particularly shocking and horrific attack, two Palestinian teenagers, one of them merely 13 years old, stabbed a 13 year old boy riding his bicycle and an Israeli man who was walking down the street. This was just one of the four attacks that took place on that day alone, three of which were carried out by minors.”This disturbing account fell on deaf ears at the United Nations.
When Palestinian assailants die or are injured after Israeli security forces respond to quell the violence and take down the murderous aggressors, the Palestinians are hailed as martyrs in their own communities and are excused by the “international community” for simply acting on their “frustration.” Israeli security forces are accused of using “disproportionate” force even as they themselves are attacked.
The United Nations regularly issues statements condemning the violence by both sides and calling for restraint. However, when the UN does look to assign blame, inevitably the pro-Palestinian UN bureaucracy targets Israel.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a UN agency established back in 1949, originally as a temporary relief agency for displaced Palestinians with the objective of resettling them in communities willing to receive them. It has morphed into a permanent fixture. Its clientele today are some 5 million registered Palestine “refugees,” most of whom are descendants separated by several generations from the actual refugees who left their homes when Israel was created and who were supposed to have been resettled and integrated into their new communities. UNRWA intends to stay in business until as many of the 5 million so-called “refugees” can return “home” from Jordan where they are already citizens of that Palestinian majority country and from Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “Home” to UNRWA and its clientele is not limited to just a new state bordering Israel along essentially the pre-1967 lines. It also means the “refugees” claimed “right of return” to lands encompassing pre-1967 Israel.
Against that backdrop, consider UNRWA’s false rationalization for the recent spurt of Palestinian violence:“The root causes of the conflict, among them the Israeli occupation, must be addressed. Across the occupied Palestinian territory there is a pervasive sense of hopelessness and despair resulting from the denial of rights and dignity. In the West Bank communities living under occupation feel profoundly marginalized. While in Gaza the latest demonstrations are evidence of a generation that has lost hope in the future; not least because of the lack of economic prospects -- youth unemployment is one of the highest in the world – but also because of the lack of reconstruction more than a year after the conflict. An entire generation of Palestinians is at risk.”UNRWA condemned Israel’s response to the violence initiated by Palestinian killers. It claimed that “the high number of casualties, in particular those resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces raise serious concerns about the excessive use of force that may be contrary to international law enforcement standards.”
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are so very anxious to ingratiate themselves with the “international community,” as manifested by the United Nations. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Kerry is singing the same tune as UNRWA. At Harvard University this past Tuesday night, Kerry complained, as he does so frequently, about the failure to negotiate a definitive two-state solution and about Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace. This time he linked both to what he characterized as the Palestinians’ “frustration,” which he contended was what led to their resort to violence.
"What's happening is that, unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody," Kerry said. "And there's been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and now you have this violence because there's a frustration that is growing."
Kerry’s remarks were absurd on their face. Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. who has served in government as a specialist in Middle East policy, went further in criticizing Kerry. He called Kerry’s remarks “morally obtuse and factually wrong.”
First of all, the issue that social media has been using to fire up the Palestinian assailants to engage in their recent attacks is not so much focused on the settlements. It involves the false rumors about alleged Israeli plans to change the status quo at the Temple Mount or, as Muslims refer to it, Haram al-Sharif. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Israel is fully committed to maintaining the status quo at the compound. But that has not stopped exploitation of the false rumors by social media and by Palestinian leaders including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Secondly, when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and uprooted all of the settlers living there, the Palestinians failed completely to seize the opportunity to build a prototype model of a state. Their “frustration” before Israel’s pull-out from Gaza did not give way in the least to constructive action after all the settlers and Israeli forces had left. Instead, the Palestinians squandered the opportunity in Gaza and irresponsibly rejected offers by successive Israeli governments for a peace agreement that would have given them much of what they have asked for in the West Bank.
With regard to the settlements in the West Bank, good faith moratoriums on settlement building have been ignored by Palestinian leaders. Moreover, as Abrams pointed out, there has not been either a massive increase in the number of settlements or in settlement size. The growth in settlement population that has occurred, Abrams observed, has occurred largely “in the major blocs–such as Ma’ale Adumim–that Israel will clearly retain in any final agreement.”
Violence is not the Palestinians’ last resort, born of frustration after seeing that nothing else has worked. It is the Palestinians’ first reflexive action in dealing with their own self-inflicted plight. The Palestinians regularly lie to the world with their propaganda campaign aimed at exonerating themselves of all responsibility and at delegitimizing the Jewish State of Israel. For the Obama administration to parrot the propaganda and join the “international community” in blaming the Jewish victims of terrorism for defending themselves is tantamount to anti-Semitism.
-------------- Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam. His article was in FrontPage.Mag, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Tags:Israel, John Kerry, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations, Joseph Klein, 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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