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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, November 06, 2015

Comeback Kid

. . . Jeb Bush's campaign on life support as he tries to revive it with a “I’ll Fix It” push.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: comeback kid, Jeb Bush, campaign, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Collapse of the Democratic Party

Matt Blevin & Jenean Hampton
by Newt Gingrich: At least since the election of President Obama in 2008, Republicans have been hearing that their party is on the verge of extinction. The only thing the media pundits haven’t seemed able to agree on is what will be the cause of death.

Some of the eulogies have claimed that the Republican Party is dying of old age, “literally.”

Other commentators predicted endlessly that the GOP is doomed because it supposedly cannot appeal to hispanic Americans and other minorities.

Still others smeared Republicans as anti-women and claimed ridiculously that the party has destroyed its chances with the sex that makes up half the population.

Most pundits seemed to agree that younger voters--“millennials”--would never support Republicans because of their supposedly prehistoric views about things like the Constitution and the rule of law.

Jonathan Chait summed up the left-wing establishment’s view of Republicans’ inevitable demise when he wrote in 2012 in the New York Magazine: “The modern GOP—the party of Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes—is staring down its own demographic extinction... [C]onservative America will soon come to be dominated, in a semi-permanent fashion, by an ascendant Democratic coalition hostile to its outlook and interests.”

What a disappointment all of these commentators were in for! Since President Obama’s election in 2008, the Republican Party steadily gained strength. By almost every metric, the party is at historic high-water marks. In the House, Republicans have the largest majority since 1928. They have a majority in the Senate. They have 32 governorships. They have the greatest number of state legislators and greatest number of state legislative bodies in their history.

The results of this week’s elections further grew the Republican Party’s historic strength.

In Kentucky, Matt Bevin won the governorship in an upset that makes him the state’s second Republican chief executive in four decades. He did it by running against Obamacare and national Democrats. Kentucky also elected Republican Jenean Hampton to the lieutenant governorship. She will be the first African American elected statewide in Kentucky’s history.

In Virginia, Republicans held the state Senate despite an outside group funded by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg spending millions of dollars to turn the chamber to Democrat control.

In Houston, Texas, voters defeated the left-wing mayor’s attempt to let biological males use women’s restrooms, and vice versa. The measure went down with 61 percent of voters opposing the bathroom ordinance--a significant blow to the left in a city that is by no means conservative.

In addition, Republicans won a number of other state legislative and statewide elections to continue to build on the trend of winning in areas previously won by President Obama.

Finally, after this week’s elections, the Washington-media establishment may be starting to show signs of recognition that, far from 2010 and 2014 being anomalies on the way to Republican extinction, it is the Democrats who are facing historic challenges in their nationwide appeal.

Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, noted on Twitter this week that “outside of Obama's campaigns in 2008 and 2012, the Dem track record everywhere else is, well, abysmal since his election.”

In fact it may turn out to be President Obama’s two campaigns that were the anomaly: extraordinarily well-run, with an exceptional candidate in favorable political environment. Everywhere else, as Todd points out, has been disastrous for Democrats.

You have to wonder: if in 2016 Republicans win the presidency, hold the Senate, keep the House and maintain their historic strength at the state level, will the same pundits in the news media be calling on the Democrats to compromise their core principles and change their views, as so many were eager for Republicans to do following President Obama’s reelection? I’m not holding my breath.
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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, Collapse, Democratic Party, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

President Obama’s Absurd Reasons for Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline

President Obama Kills Keystone Pipeline & Jobs
by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: resident Obama tossed economics and science out the window and onto the White House lawn when he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline.

After leaving it in bureaucratic limbo for seven years, the president claimed the project - -which would safely transport Canadian and American crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries -- would have little economic effect and would hurt U.S. leadership in reducing carbon emissions.

Both claims are bunk, as the State Department’s analysis shows.

Let’s first take up President Obama’s economic argument.

“The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy," President Obama said at a White House event.

The State Department’s analysis disagrees:
  • 42,000 jobs would be created.
  • $3.4 billion would be added to the U.S. economy.
  • $405 million would be earned by workers building the pipeline in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
  • $55 million in property tax revenue would go to local communities.
Not only did President Obama tossed aside the Keystone XL pipeline’s economic benefits, he also ignored the science showing that the project’s environmental effects will be minimal.

"America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change," President Obama said. "And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership."

The only thing the Keystone XL pipeline would undercut it America’s reliance on oil from unfriendly countries. It certainly wouldn’t undercut efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

In fact, the State Department found that not building the pipeline would result in higher greenhouse gas emissions, increases ranging anywhere from 28%-42%.
But as Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment, tweeted, the administration is more concerned about perception than real science.
The truth is, our president--a “science geek” according to his top science advisor--rejected science and instead chose to side with anti-energy opponents of the pipeline.

The reaction to President Obama’s decision was strong and swift.

“In rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama has put politics before the best interests of the country,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue. “Rejecting Keystone breaks two promises the president made—to put jobs and growth first and to seek bipartisan solutions.”

President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute Jack Gerard said: “This decision will cost thousands of jobs and is an assault to American workers. It’s politics at its worst.”

Labor union leaders were beyond disappointed.

Terry O’Sullivan, general president for Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), said President Obama threw “hard-working, blue-collar workers under the bus.”

On a press call, Sean McGarvey, president of the North America's Building Trades Unions, called the Keystone XL pipeline, “a victim of the radical environmental movement.” The jobs lost by President Obama’s decision “are real jobs for real people supporting real families.”

Before he flies off to Paris, President Obama should order Air Force One to head west. He himself should visit people living along the pipeline’s route and explain why they can’t have the jobs, the economic growth, and the local tax revenue that would come from the pipeline. As I wrote in 2014:Bonnie Davidson of the Glasgow Courier said that local residents were scratching their head as to what the controversy is with the pipeline. She told me she hopes that if the Obama administration denies the permit someone should come to Glasgow and tell them why.Those people deserve to be told why he took those opportunities away from them.
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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, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President Obama, rejecting, Keystone XL Pipeline 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 Know Why Government Officials Pay For Patriotic Pregame Shows!

by Tom Balek, Contributing Author: This week the poo hit the fan when Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain complained about the millions of taxpayer dollars going to owners of professional sports teams for the privilege of having patriotic, pro-military programs at their games.

Sports fans assumed, naturally, that team owners were providing the patriotic tributes to veterans and active-duty servicemen and women at their own expense, because they love the country that made them wealthy. A few owners do provide prime-time for free, but many don’t. These owners are the same uber-wealthy team owners who make taxpayers build or renovate stadiums every few years, threatening to move their teams out of town if the taxpayers don’t build them more high-rent corporate luxury boxes. Would a guy who sells your kid a half-sized crappy hot dog for eight bucks give away five minutes of high-visibility pre-game for free?

But lest you think the owners are the only villains in this smelly episode, there’s more to the story.

Some years ago when I lived in Montana, I noticed that all of the college sports broadcasts were sponsored by the state Worker’s Comp fund. I thought that was strange. Why does the Worker’s Comp Fund buy advertising? Viewers of their TV ads can’t buy anything from Worker’s Comp. Employers only buy worker’s comp insurance because they have to.

Then one day at a minor league baseball game in Helena I noticed the huge Worker’s Comp advertisement on the outfield fence. And when the announcer welcomed the several hundred Worker’s Comp employees who were attending the game on free tickets that day, the little light bulb over my head lit up. All advertisers get free tickets . . .

Free tickets! THAT’S why government officials buy advertisements with taxpayer money for sports teams!

I wonder how many seats the Montana state agencies own at Grizzly Stadium? And how many NFL tickets at Fedex Stadium were bought by the taxpayers? The Pentagon lamely defends their top-tier sports-venue expenditures as recruiting expense. But the other mid-level government desk-jockeys who write checks to sports teams all over the country sure can’t use that excuse.

It’s not enough that bureaucrats at every level of government make more money, work fewer hours, and have less responsibility than the people whose money they throw around. It’s no coincidence that career politicians like Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid become ridiculously wealthy while working as “public servants”. No, this is worse:

They all get to sit at the 50-yard line while we are in the nose-bleed section, if we can go to the game at all!

Living large on somebody else’s money is a good gig if you can get it.
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Tom Balek is a fellow conservative activist, blogger, musician and contributes to the ARRA News Service. Tom resides in South Carolina and 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, MLB pregame, Montana Worker's Comp Fund, NBA pregame, NFL pregame, patriotic pregame shows, patriotic shows, Senator Flake, Senator McCain To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

One, Two or Free?

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: The vast majority of Chinese people are celebrating. Last week, the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party decreed that it will cease enforcing the one-child-only policy this coming March — after 35 years — as part of its 13th Five Year Plan.

Just speaking for myself, infanticide, coerced abortions and forced sterilizations seem . . . well, not good. Bad, even. Really bad. Or more precisely, evil, tyrannical and totalitarian . . . you know, if we want to use such “extreme” language.

But not everyone sees it my way.

Back in 1990, Molly Yard claimed that “[t]he Chinese government doesn’t coerce people.” Why, according to this former head of the National Organization of Woman, “the only responsible policy [China] can have is to control family planning.” She went all the way: “I consider the Chinese government’s policy among the most intelligent in the world.”

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2012 that China’s “population control efforts have helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and contributed to China’s spectacular economic growth.”

That has not only been disputed — many economists point to policy changes that allowed entrepreneurship and private property — but overturned by reality. The one-child policy has been a disaster. There are now 117 young men for every 100 young women in China, and an aging population without enough youngsters to provide for them.

Alas, the one child policy is not being replaced with reproductive freedom. The government will still limit couples to two kids. That’s better than one, sure. But I have three children. If I were Chinese, I wouldn’t want to give up one of them.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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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, China, child policy,   To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Criticism Pours In As Obama Rejects Keystone XL Jobs After 7 Years Of Stalling

Jobs & Keystone Killed
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov 6, 2015:
The White House: this morning, President Obama Officially Killed the Keystone XL Pipeline! (ARRA News Service 11/6/2015) In addition, to this previous article, a few additional comments by other sources are reported below.

The House The House is not in session. The next meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on November 16, 2015.

The Senate is not in session today and will reconvene on Monday at 3 PM when it will resume consideration of H.R. 2029, the Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats filibustered the Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 2685, for the third time. Later, though, the Senate finally voted 93-0 to agree to the motion to proceed to H.R. 2029.

Additional News and Comments on President Obama killing the Keystone Pipeline:

The New York Times writes, “President Obama on Friday announced that he had rejected the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending a seven-year review that had become a flash point in the debate over his climate policies.

“Mr. Obama’s denial of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, comes as he is seeking to build an ambitious legacy on climate change. ...

“The move was made ahead of a major United Nations summit meeting on climate change in Paris in December, when Mr. Obama hopes to help broker a historic agreement committing the world’s nations to enacting new policies to counter global warming. While the rejection of the pipeline is largely symbolic, Mr. Obama has sought to telegraph to other world leaders that the United States is serious about acting on climate change.”

Of course, it’s worth remembering that the State Department concluded last year, in its own environmental assessment, that “the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be unlikely to alter global greenhouse gas emissions,” as The Washington Post put it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined many other Republicans in blasting the president’s decision. “I wish I were surprised by the President’s decision to reject this jobs and infrastructure project,” he said. “But it’s become painfully clear that the President is more interested in appeasing deep-pocketed special interests and extremists than helping tens of thousands of Americans who could have benefited from Keystone’s good jobs. Given this project’s importance to North American energy independence, the question still remains not if but when Keystone will be built. Republicans have no intention of giving up on common-sense jobs ideas like Keystone. Our nation’s long-term need for the energy and jobs Keystone would provide will certainly outlast the little over a year remaining in the term of the current Administration.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “This decision isn’t surprising, but it is sickening. By rejecting this pipeline, the president is rejecting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. He is rejecting our largest trading partner and energy supplier. He is rejecting the will of the American people and a bipartisan majority of the Congress. If the president wants to spend the rest of his time in office catering to special interests, that’s his choice to make. But it’s just wrong.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) noted how long the Obama administration stalled this project before finally rejecting it. He said, “It has taken more than seven years for President Obama to come clean with the American people and admit his anti-energy and anti-American jobs agenda. President Obama had an opportunity to help create good-paying jobs with the construction of the Keystone pipeline, but instead he chose to blatantly disregard the economic needs of this nation, the need for good-paying jobs, like union jobs, energy costs for Montana families and the will of the American people. The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline by President Obama is an affront to the American people.”

But support for Keystone XL has always been bipartisan, and several Senate Democrats also criticized President Obama’s rejection of this job-creating infrastructure project. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said, “Unfortunately, [the Obama Admininstration] made a decision purely driven by politics that ignored the facts.” And Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said, “In my opinion, this decision was based purely on political desires and not policy facts.”

And unions from the Teamsters to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to the Plumbers & Pipefitters to even AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka supported Keystone XL for the jobs it would have created.

Former Arkansas Governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee released the following statement: "Why is President Obama so obsessed with worshiping the gods of green energy and rejecting the Keystone pipeline? Why is Obama more interested in satisfying radical liberals than creating tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs? Building the Keystone Pipeline is an absolute no-brainer, too bad Obama has lost his mind. Radical Islamic terrorism is a greater threat than a sunburn."

Tags: Washington, D.C., President Obama, Keystone XL Pipeline, lost jobs,   To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

President Obama Kills Keystone Pipeline & Jobs - Blames John Kerry

President Obama Officially Killed the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Intro Summary: Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: The move came days after TransCanada, the company sponsoring the project, asked for a suspension of its consideration, mainly due to economic considerations. The price of oil right now is relatively cheap. (But for how long?) So, Obama took the chance to score cheap political points.

The Keystone fiasco is a monument to government bureaucracy and left-wing nonsense. TransCanada first applied for the necessary permits when George W. Bush was still in office -- more than seven years ago.

In April 2010, the Clinton State Department initially approved the project, but the Obama Administration caved in to demands from the radical environmental movement. The project then got bogged down in lawsuits and red tape.

In January, a large bi-partisan coalition of 62 senators voted to allow construction of the pipeline. Polls found that the vast majority of Americans supported the pipeline -- a chance to access a large energy supply from a friendly neighbor.

PRESIDENT OBAMA in principle blamed Sec of State John Kerry: "'This morning, Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive public outreach and consultation with other cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the national interests of the United States,' Obama said, appearing with Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden. 'I agree with that decision.'" ("Obama Just Announced That the Keystone XL Pipeline Is Dead," PolicyMic 11/6/14)

But once again, Barack Obama has sided with a loud radical minority against the common sense of most Americans.

American Public & Unions Support ‘The Creation Of Good Paying Jobs’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “I wish I were surprised by the President’s decision to reject this jobs and infrastructure project. But it’s become painfully clear that the President is more interested in appeasing deep-pocketed special interests and extremists than helping tens of thousands of Americans who could have benefited from Keystone’ s good jobs.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 11/6/15)

‘The Party's Liberal Financiers … Have Made Killing Keystone A Non-Negotiable Demand’

“…the billionaire getting the most political bang for his buck is Tom Steyer. The hedge-fund politico has pledged to raise $100 million to help Democrats… Mr. Steyer and the party's liberal financiers … have made killing Keystone a non-negotiable demand.” (“Tom Steyer's Keystone Victory,” Wall Street Journal, 4/20/14)

“Now that the Oscars are over, Hollywood is turning its attention to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. A slate of actors and musicians, including Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Robert Redford, Willie Nelson and Neil Young called on President Obama on Tuesday to put an end to the oil-sands project once and for all. ‘Rejecting Keystone XL is the kind of the principled choice leaders need to make…” (“Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin And Robert Redford Push Obama To Reject Keystone,” National Journal, 2/24/15)

AMERICANS: ‘By Nearly Two-To-One … Public Favors Building The Pipeline’

FOX NEWS: “Most Americans of all political stripes support construction of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline, and want President Obama to sign legislation approving it… A 65-percent majority says Obama should sign the Keystone legislation, according to the poll.” (“Voters Want Obama To Sign Bill Approving Keystone Pipeline,” Fox News, 1/14/15)

PEW: “By nearly two-to-one (59% to 31%), the public favors building the pipeline, which would carry crude from Canadian oil sands to ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast…” (“How Americans view the top energy and environmental issues,” Pew Research, 1/15/15)

CNN: “The 1,179-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline is backed by 57% of the 1,011 Americans surveyed on Dec. 18-21” (“Poll: Majority Of Americans Back Keystone Pipeline,” CNN, 1/15/15)

UNIONS: ‘Strong Support’ For ‘The Creation Of Good Paying Jobs’

TEAMSTERS: ‘Good paying jobs’ “I am writing to express the strong support of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for the Keystone XL Pipeline… The Teamsters Union continues to believe that the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline will contribute to enhanced energy security, economic prosperity and, of critical importance, the creation of good paying jobs.” (James Hoffa, Teamsters President, Letter To Congress, 1/7/15)
ELECTRICAL WORKERS: “At a time when job creation should be a top priority, the Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL) project will put Americans back-to-work and have ripple benefits throughout the economy. During construction the project is expected to support at least 42,000 jobs and contribute $3.4 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.” (Edwin Hill, IBEW President, Letter To Congress, 1/8/15)

OPERATING ENGINEERS: “The project is expected to generate approximately 3,000 job-years for Operating Engineers alone. With congressional approval of the pipeline, you can unleash this massive economic activity at no cost to taxpayers.” (James Callahan, IUEOE President, Letter To Reps. Boehner & Pelosi, 1/7/15)

PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS: ‘This shovel-ready project will put thousands of hardworking men and women to work at zero cost to taxpayers’ “On behalf of the 370,000 members of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the Unites States, Canada, and Australia (UA), I urge you to support H.R. 3, a bill to approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This shovel-ready project will put thousands of hardworking men and women to work at zero cost to taxpayers.” (William Hite, UA President, Letter To Congress, 1/8/15)

NORTH AMERICA’S BUILDING TRADES UNIONS: “This vote is, pure and simple, a vote for American jobs… The livelihood of thousands of Building Trades members depend on the construction of Keystone XL.” (Sean McGarvey, BCTD President, Letter To Congress, 1/7/15)

LiUNA: “…this legislation is a jobs bill for the thousands of union construction workers that will build this Pipeline.  If Members… want to oppose the Pipeline for partisan political reasons, they should at least have the guts to say so.  To try to justify their pandering to environmental extremists and their billionaire backers by attacking the jobs that the Pipeline would create is cowardly. … Enough is enough!”” (Terry O’Sullivan, LiUNA! President, Letter To Congress, 1/8/15)
    “To be relevant with the working class, Democratic leaders in Washington should put job creation and the livelihoods of working men and women ahead of the ravings of environmental wing-nuts and their deep pocketed billionaire funders. They should get out and meet the men and women who need real jobs and stop putting politics before people.” (“Senate Democrats Assault On The Working Class,” LiUNA! 11/18/14)
TRUMKA: “AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka urged the new Republican-controlled Congress and the White House to get together and approve the controversial, long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project, saying it would boost the economy. ‘There are a number of economic issues and job issues that we want them to get done. That happens to be one of them. So the answer is “yes.” We want to get every jobs issue that we can out and as many jobs created as we can to get the economy going,’ Trumka said…” (“AFL-CIO Urges Approval Of Keystone XL Pipeline,” Washington Examiner, 11/5/14)

Tags: President Barack Obama, kills keystone pipeline, John Kerry, Unions, Gary Bauer, Mitch McConnell,  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, November 05, 2015

Clinton/Bloomberg “Background Checks” Would Outlaw Shooting With Friends On Private Property

The Washington Post confirms that this angry elderly
woman routinely lies about gun sales & background checks.
by Bob Owens: The 2016 presidential election is just a year out, and it’s clear that the Democrat frontrunner (and FBI espionage investigation suspect) Hillary Clinton has decided to bizarrely focus on gun control and confiscation as one of her main campaign issues.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton, the next 12 months will give Americans plenty of time to dissect the radical nature of what she is actually proposing, including the “universal background checks” scheme being pushed by the Mrs. Clinton, her billionaire ally Michael Bloomberg, and the various gun control groups that the latter funds.

Dave Kopel took a look at the difference between how the Clinton/Bloomberg campaign is marketing their background checks plan versus what it actually contains, and the scheme may shock you.
Here are two things that a person might do with a firearm: 1. Sell the firearm to a complete stranger in a parking lot. 2. Share the firearm with a friend, while target shooting on one’s own property. Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown” lobby is promoting “universal background checks” as a means of addressing activity No. 1. But the Bloomberg laws also outlaw activity No. 2. In a previous post, I detailed how the unusual Bloomberg laws about “background checks” for “private sales” constrict safety training and self-defense; and also obstruct safe storage. This post addresses another non-sales activity, firearms sharing.

We know from Heller that “to bear arms implies something more than the mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; … it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order.” D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 617-18 (2008); see also United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203, 236 (5th Cir. 2001) (both cases quoting Thomas Cooley’s 19th-century constitutional law treatise). Thus, “the right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right to … maintain proficiency in their use; the core right wouldn’t mean much without the training and practice that make it effective.” Ezell v. City of Chicago, 651 F.3d 684, 704 (7th Cir. 2011). Just as the First Amendment includes the right to learn how to read and to practice reading skills, the Second Amendment includes the right to learn how to use arms and to practice. This includes formal classroom instruction and practice at established ranges. But the right is not limited only to those structured settings; as historically practiced in the United States, the right also includes instruction from, and practice with, friends and family in informal settings in private locations.

Even if there were no Second Amendment, any sensible firearms policy would encourage firearms practice and training to build and improve safe proficiency. Yet the Bloomberg system does the opposite.

One very common activity of gun owners is sharing their firearms on their own property. A person who owns 30 acres might have a small target range set up. He invites friends over for the afternoon, shoots at targets with rifles or handguns, and lets the friends use the family’s guns. Or a farm family might have a skeet or trap thrower, which flings clay disks into the air. Informal shooting events like this are at the heart of the American gun culture. They promote friendship, community and practice in the safe handling of firearms.

They are also criminalized by some versions of the Bloomberg laws. For example, the Bloomberg law enacted in Washington state in 2014 has no exemption for sharing a firearm on one’s property.

Sharing does not have to involve firing a gun. Inside the home, an owner might allow a visitor to handle his unloaded gun. Perhaps the visitor is interested in buying a new gun like the gun the owner owns. Or the visitor is just interested in guns. Perhaps the gun needs an adjustment that the visitor knows how to perform well, but the owner does not. Or the visitor might teach a new owner how to clean a gun. Under the new Washington law, sharing may take place at a corporate target range, but not on one’s property.

Instead, the owner and the friend are supposed to travel to a gun store to get permission, fill out all the paperwork as if the store were selling a firearm out of inventory, and pay various fees. Only then may the gun be loaned for a few minutes. When the friend is done with the gun, everyone must revisit the gun store and repeat the process, before the gun can be returned to its owner.

The federal version of the Bloomberg law, Sen. Charles Schumer’s Fix Gun Checks Act, does allow sharing a firearm within one’s own home or curtilage. (113th Cong., S.374, § 202(2)(C)). This takes care of letting a friend examine one’s new firearm. But if the gun owner brings his new gun to someone else’s house (because the friend has the gunsmithing or cleaning equipment, for example), it is a federal felony if the friend handles that gun for a few minutes.
Put bluntly, the claimed purpose of the Clinton/Bloomberg “background checks” is far more than a background check system, it is an attack on the part of the Second Amendment that liberals claim to value above all others, the “well-regulated” component.

Anyone with a decent grasp of the language knows that “well-regulated” means in proper working order, and for the militia (defined by the Founders as the people) to be in proper working order, they need to be able to train and become skilled with arms.

Far from that, this scheme is designed to make it illegal to train and use arms in the most common of American manners, with the obvious goal of undermining and infringing upon the use of firearms by law-abiding citizens.

Hillary Clinton has promised an all-out war on the right to bear arms.

It appears she’s very serious about it, consequences be damned.
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Bob Owens is the Editor of BearingArms.com. A long-time shooting enthusiast, he began blogging as a North Carolina native in New York. His personal blog is bob-owens.com, and he can be found on Twitter at @bob_owens.

Tags: Bob Owens, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, background checks, outlaw shooting with friends, on provate property To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Foreign Policy And The Constitution

by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR): In the last week, President Obama moved ahead with a nuclear-arms control agreement with a mortal and unrepentant enemy, having the support only of a rump, partisan minority in Congress. This dangerous turn of events offers an occasion to reflect on the state of American foreign policy today and on the Constitution’s place in our foreign policy.

Over the past 25 years, a major preoccupation of foreign-policy elites has been to forge a new grand strategy for the United States. Scholars and practitioners tend to see a foreign policy adrift after the fall of the Soviet Union, when containment of Soviet expansion became obsolete overnight. Seeing no major ideological or military rival, some believed the Owl of Minerva had taken flight, and that the end of history had reduced the need for strategic thinking. Alas, that fantasy came crashing down along with two big towers 14 years ago this month. Again, foreign-policy elites searched for a new strategy, this time for the age of Islamic terror.

Circumstances do change, and foreign policy, often a matter of prudence, must change with them to achieve the same ends. Too often, however, the search for a new strategy simply becomes the search for something new. This way of thinking carries a hint of disdain for the principles and foreign-policy traditions of our past—and disdaining those principles and traditions is a mistake. When the makers of breakfast cereals roll out a new product, after all, they say it’s “new and improved,” because the former doesn’t necessarily imply the latter.

Likewise, every new and fashionable idea in foreign policy isn’t necessarily an improvement. To the contrary, we ought to pay some respect to older foreign policy ideas—the ideas that took us from a small and weak colonial outpost to the greatest superpower in history in just 170 years. With that track record, common sense would suggest there’s something special we can learn from the Constitution—and the strategies that arose from it—to help us chart our way in the world.

Our Founders gave us a constitutional democracy, a system of government that informs our foreign policy just as it does our domestic policy. For many foreign-policy elites, especially those abroad, this is a serious problem for U.S. foreign policy. The Constitution empowers the people, these critics say, and the people, they believe, can be ignorant, emotional, and fickle, swinging wildly from war mongering to isolationism, from moralism to callousness. Far better, they say, is what Walter Mead has called the “auteur theory of foreign policy”—a foreign policy guided by a brilliant strategist, insulated from the unruly masses.

One hears an echo of this viewpoint in the praise for what these critics see as the coherent and decisive strategic thinking of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. Putin is praised as a brilliant strategist who is redefining 21st-century warfare. Xi has been called a game-changer in China’s rise, one whose ambitions and power rival those of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

I’ll admit that Putin and Xi may have stolen a march on our president here and there. But that’s an indictment of President Obama’s particular abilities and policies, not of our system. By the traditional measures of international influence—economic might, per capita measures of well-being, military and trade cooperation agreements, cultural weight—the United States far outpaces both Russia and China, as well as the rest of the world.

And while a brooding auteur may in fact have strategic foresight, intellect, and prudence, no man is infallible, no matter how talented. Napoleon, brilliant general that he was, still marched the Grand Armée across the Nieman River into Russia. Otto von Bismarck toiled for decades to unify the German states, only to see his fragile work undone a few years later by Wilhelm II’s militarism and adventurism. In the same way, I believe that over time Putin and Xi—to say nothing of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un or the ayatollahs in Tehran—will also miscalculate and suffer strategic setbacks.

But the United States is different from these regimes. Our constitutional system doesn’t depend on brilliant leaders. “Enlightened statesmen,” as Madison wrote in Federalist 10, “will not always be at the helm.” Our system is based on individual rights, safeguarded by well crafted, ultimately democratic institutions. While we always hope for wise leaders, our Constitution works in their absence by filtering the wisdom of the people through those institutions.

This approach couldn’t be more at odds with the auteur theory of foreign policy. From that perspective, our system looks like some kind of policy-making Frankenstein. Authority is divided between the executive and the legislature, and the executive itself is divided among competing departments. The president and secretary of state serve short tenures compared to the kings and ministers of the Old World. Equal representation of states in the Senate gives considerable influence to regional interests. The arcane rules of the Senate, along with the separation of powers itself, slow the whole process down. How could this ever work?

Yet it does, again and again. The talent of a single leader or a small group with outsized control over foreign policy can never match the moderation, prudence, and self-correcting capability of our constitutional democracy over the long term. And in international relations, it’s the long term that counts.

In the realm of domestic policy, these ideas are familiar. Our constitutional system works to ensure that all the individuals, interests, factions, lobbies, and others who influence and are influenced by domestic policy are more or less satisfied—or perhaps minimally dissatisfied. And the same thing plays out in foreign policy. America’s foreign policy tradition is flexible, agile, and multifaceted, and it therefore tends to produce positive results for us in a complicated world.

Again, I cannot stress enough how alien and unfashionable this way of thinking is in Foggy Bottom and in the West Wing, not to mention European ministries. Among many foreign-policy elites, these democratic influences are something to be suffered and overcome—as we’ve seen most recently in the debate about the Iran nuclear deal.

In the end, though, we usually survive mistakes by particular leaders because leaders are not the foundation of our system. The foundation of U.S. foreign policy is the views and values of the American people, filtered by elected representatives through democratic institutions, proven by time.

This foreign policy tradition is not an accident. When designing the Constitution, the Founders were very conscious of the need to invest the federal government with strong foreign-affairs powers, while accounting for the interests of the states and the people.

A driving force behind the Constitutional Convention was the failure of the Continental Congress to manage the foreign affairs of the young republic. This imperative was clear in the ratification debates. The first five papers of The Federalist are devoted to the necessity of blunting the influence of foreign powers and to the organization of U.S. military power. Fifteen additional papers focus on international relations and civilian control of the military.

Against this background, the Constitution could be understood not only as a national charter, but also as a strategic document. The institutions established by the Constitution to channel the conduct of foreign policy imply certain principles of foreign policy. We ought to keep these timeless principles in mind as we craft strategy for today’s world.

One principle we find in the Constitution is so simple it’s usually overlooked: the states are stronger as a Union than as separate powers. A Union of the states overcame divisions of culture, economic interest, and military capacity—divisions that would have been exploited by foreign powers to turn one state against another, and to weaken and cow the American continent into submitting to their designs.

A Union strengthened the collective power of the states in their foreign relations. It allowed them to pool their various resources to create advantages of scale and scope in military and economic power. As Federalist 4 states, “The people of America . . . consider union and a good national government as necessary to put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it.” Further, “If [foreign powers] see that our national government is efficient . . . our trade prudently regulated, our militia properly organized and disciplined, our resources and finances discreetly managed, our credit re-established, our people free, contented, and united, they will be much more disposed to cultivate our friendship than provoke our resentment.” Conversely, if the states remained divided, the U.S. would earn not only the “contempt” of foreign nations, but their “outrage.”

This principle came under threat—but survived—during the Civil War. In his First Annual Message to Congress, President Lincoln sent a clear warning to foreign powers to refrain from interfering in the war. At the same time, he acknowledged that “factious domestic division” exposed the nation to “disrespect abroad.”

We may take this principle for granted today, but it’s very much in play around the world. The European Union, for example, has a greater combined population and economy than the U.S. But political division greatly reduces the EU’s role in world affairs. The smaller nation-states of Central and Eastern Europe, in particular, find themselves at risk from—or perhaps at the mercy of—Russia. Likewise, the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, from South Korea to India, worry about China’s aggressive drive for regional hegemony. Yet they struggle, due to their own enmity and rivalries, to form a united strategy to counter China.

The primacy of Union gives rise to a second, subsidiary principle: treaties with foreign powers are very serious business, ought not be entered into lightly, and must be widely supported across the country.

The Founders believed the violation of major foreign commitments was a chief source of friction and war in international relations. In fact, Federalist 3 recognized only two sources of war: direct violence and the breach of treaties. Thus the Constitution requires that a major foreign commitment that binds our nation have a broad consensus among the people, and not result from the parochial interests of a minority or even a narrow majority. As matters of war and peace, treaties should reflect a strong Union, not a divided nation.

This principle led to the Treaty Clause, which empowers the president to negotiate treaties, but requires two-thirds of the Senate to approve them and—if necessary—to demand changes. This extraordinary requirement is really just an ongoing expression of the original decision to form a Union. And it has produced a system in which treaties routinely go through many iterations and rounds of negotiations, even after initial signature by the president. Treaties throughout our history carry scores of conditions, reservations, and amendments added by Congress, precisely to ensure widespread acceptance among the people.

This was in fact how the first treaty ratified under the Treaty Clause played out. The Jay Treaty with Britain—negotiated by a co-author of The Federalist—only gained Senate approval on the condition that Jay rework the treaty to add a clause regarding trade between the United States and the British West Indies.

Another principle of foreign policy rooted in the Constitution is that the Union must have a strong military, but one that is at the same time restrained and subject to the control of the people.

At the time of the Founding, a powerful and restrained military was something of an oxymoron. Federalist 11, for instance, states that a strong military—and in particular a strong navy—is vital not only to deter aggression, but also to secure and expand international trade. Yet Federalist 26 recognizes that military might has historically posed a grave threat to individual liberty. This presented what seemed to be a Hobson’s choice between a strong military and a weak military, both of which would threaten liberty over time.

But our Founders charted a way out of this dilemma. The Constitution empowered the president, as commander-in-chief, to defend against attack and take decisive military action where necessary. At the same time, it entrusted the people’s representatives in Congress with a wide range of foreign affairs powers as a means of fostering prudence, democratic control, and protection against tyranny. Thus only Congress can raise and support armies; only Congress may declare war and invoke the legal obligations and protections that this state of international relations confers; only Congress regulates foreign commerce, and with it control over important levers of influence with foreign nations in order to better relations, exact costs, and prevent war.

Under President Obama, there has been considerable drift away from all three of these principles. And that drift has contributed to the general drift of U.S. foreign policy. Even former President Carter has said, “I can’t think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than when he took over.” Our interests are threatened, our alliances are stressed, our honor is stained, and our adversaries are increasingly tempted into new episodes of adventurism and aggression.

The most recent example of this drift is the Iran nuclear deal. This is a major arms-control agreement with a mortal enemy—an enemy with the blood of thousands of Americans on its hands, and for whom “death to America” is a foreign-policy bedrock. And the agreement goes to the heart of the gravest threat facing the world: a terror-sponsoring state armed with nuclear weapons. It is precisely the type of agreement that the Founders intended to be tested and refined by the treaty process. It is precisely the type of agreement implicating matters of war and peace that must be supported by a widespread consensus of the American people.

But the President didn’t submit the Iran nuclear deal as a treaty. From the beginning, his intention was to circumvent the people’s representatives and obligate the U.S. to the ayatollahs by a mere executive agreement. Instead of rallying two-thirds of the Senate to support the deal, he relied on a tiny, partisan minority to protect his executive agreement from the judgment of the American people.

This is dangerous and nearly unprecedented. Executive agreements are and should be reserved for technical matters. Among the first executive agreements in our history were the 1792 agreements between the United States and other nations to coordinate mail delivery. Executive agreements have also traditionally been used to assign claims and debts between nations. These issues are low-stakes, and are not breeding grounds for armed conflict. They are akin to deciding whether cars will drive on the right or left side of the road. That’s why they do not need to be tested by a supermajority vote.

Nuclear weapons agreements are different. The dividing line between subjects reserved for treaties and subjects reserved for less formal scrutiny is not precise at the margins. But this isn’t anywhere near the margins. Historically, major arms control agreements that bind the U.S. have almost invariably been reached through treaty. One notable exception was the Agreed Framework with North Korea negotiated under President Clinton in 1994, which aimed at keeping North Korea from becoming a nuclear power. I doubt President Obama would like to cite the North Korea case as precedent—although it surely is a precedent in its contempt for Congress, and likely in its failure as well.

Why did President Obama ignore the Treaty Clause? The answer is stunning. Secretary of State Kerry lamented in testimony to Congress that it is “physically impossible” to get a treaty through the Senate in these polarized times. Of course, this logic could apply to any politically inconvenient part of the Constitution. Moreover, Secretary Kerry must have forgotten that, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he guided a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia to ratification less than five years ago.

The simple fact is that the President ignored the Constitution because he knew the Senate would reject his deal. This disregard for the Treaty Clause is the height of hubris. It mistakes tunnel vision for principle, closed-mindedness for superior wisdom, and personal legacy for the vital national interest. The nuclear deal with Iran is a travesty, one that betrays our close friend Israel, provides billions for Iran’s campaign of terror, and paves the way for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons capability.

Besides the immediate damage to our national security, the deal also damages the foundational principle that major foreign commitments should be backed by a broad consensus of the people as reflected by Congress. This episode, added to the North Korea example, will make it extremely tempting for future presidents to avoid the expenditure of political capital required to pass a treaty. Presidents will be tempted to reach expedient deals on momentous issues, deals that divide rather than unite the nation.

While the Iran deal is the latest blow to our foreign policy tradition, a long-festering wound is the decline of our military might. Our military has endured 15 years of war and six years of repeated budget cuts. It is now breaking under the burden of a mindless sequestration that indiscriminately cuts across the board and treats every dollar of federal spending equally—whether for defense or for pork. As a consequence, our military is facing a crisis. The Navy has 260 ships—the smallest number since the end of the Cold War. Our Air Force is the smallest and oldest force in our history. The Army and the Marine Corps are on track to drop below 450,000 and 190,000 personnel, respectively—the bare minimum levels our commanders say we need to fulfill our missions.

These unwise cuts to our military call into question U.S. resolve and security commitments. It’s not a coincidence that, in the span of a few years, we have seen a revisionist Russia exert its will in Ukraine and in the Middle East, radical Jihadism metastasize across the Middle East and North Africa, China project power over more and more aerial and maritime territories, and Iran out-negotiate us while it spreads chaos across the Middle East through its proxies and clients.

This picture isn’t pretty, but as I said earlier, the American foreign policy tradition has a knack for self-correction, for turning the ship around and reversing past mistakes. To make that happen, however, we need to look back to the foundational principles of our Constitution. To restore respect for the Treaty Clause, we must make every effort over the next year to isolate and impugn the President’s nuclear deal with Iran as a singular, one-off agreement that ought never to be repeated. We must put every nation and every business on notice that this deal is temporary and unique. They must understand that U.S. sanctions on Iran—either through new legislation or through a new president—will return. We must work to elect a new president who will rescind the Iran nuclear deal—and who will restore the credible threat of force.

Put simply, our allies and our adversaries must understand that this nuclear arms control deal reached by executive agreement is not secure. They have to understand that it is in our interest and in their interest to conclude stable and long-lasting agreements by way of treaties. And all future presidents should see that building consensus through the constitutionally mandated advice and consent of the Senate will afford them a genuine, lasting legacy.

A restoration of the Treaty Clause must be accompanied by a restoration of our military might. Frederick the Great said, “Diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments”—in other words, inert, inaudible, and ineffective. If we want our diplomacy to be effective and our agreements to be strong, we must rebuild our military.

The American tradition has never been to seek war, or to seek it first in a dispute. Lincoln, again in his First Annual Message to Congress, prized diplomacy as a means of defusing tensions with foreign powers and maintaining our “rights and honor.” But he also called for a military build-up. “Aggressions,” said his Secretary of War Simon Cameron, “are seldom made upon a nation ever ready to defend its honor and to repel insults.”

To ensure that we are ready to defend our national honor today, we will need significantly more defense spending than Congress and the President have managed to agree upon in recent years. Our current defense budget is little more than a political compromise, which may be appropriate for highway funding or tax policy, but which is no way to fund a military or to counter rising threats. Congress and the President must return to the foundational principle that our military edge must not be challenged. We must give our fighting men and women the resources they need to deter, fight, and win wars.

The Founders and generations of statesmen since have recognized the unique advantages with which the United States is blessed. We are a continental nation, and we enjoy the protection of two oceans that separate us from the historic cauldrons of conflict in Europe and Asia. We have abundant natural resources and an industrious society, making us a powerful trading partner. Ours is a people slow to anger, but imbued with a martial tradition and a fighting spirit. Our democratic culture is vigorous, resilient, and cherished by the people. These strengths are channeled by the Constitution into our foreign policy tradition. U.S. strategy abroad—while not successful in every instance—has brought us from being a world-affairs backwater to being the world’s superpower.

As we think about our future and new strategies, it would serve us well to look back at old truths. We must hold fast to foundational principles. We must continue our rich foreign policy tradition, and vigorously fight any efforts to undermine it. While each Congress and president will have particular differences, we should all share the same goal: a world of peace and freedom, of prosperity and opportunity, of hope. We have a duty to be true to our beliefs, to use our great power wisely on behalf of freedom, guided by constitutional principle. As Ronald Reagan admonished in his speech to the British Parliament in 1982, “Let us go to our strength. Let us offer hope. Let us tell the world that a new age is not only possible but probable.”
-----------------
Tom Cotton an Arkansas native was elected to the U.S. Senate from Arkansas in 2014, following one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the Senate Banking Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the Senate Armed Services Committee. A graduate of Harvard College, he studied government at the Claremont Graduate School and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He volunteered and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, rose to 1st Lieutenant with combat deployments as a Ranger in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team. The above  is adapted from a speech delivered on September 15, 2015, at Hillsdale College’s Sixth Annual Constitution Day Celebration in Washington, D.C. and was published in Imprimis.

Tags: U.S. Senator, Tom Cotton, Speech, Hillsdale College, Foreign Policy, The Constitution To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Asia Will Build 500 Coal-Fired Power Plants This Year No Matter What the U.S. Does

Coal-fired electric power plan in Datong, China. Photo credit:
Stefen Chow/Bloomberg via Chamber of Commerce.
by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: Two stories about coal use in Asia highlight the futility of EPA’s efforts to reduce global carbon emissions by straightjacketing the U.S. economy with draconian carbon regulations.

First, there’s The New York Times story that China has been using more coal than anyone thought:
China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, has been burning up to 17 percent more coal a year than the government previously disclosed, according to newly released data. The finding could complicate the already difficult efforts to limit global warming.

Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense. The sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide — almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations — than previously estimated.

The increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.

. . . The new data, which appeared recently in an energy statistics yearbook published without fanfare by China’s statistical agency, show that coal consumption has been underestimated since 2000, and particularly in recent years. The revisions were based on a census of the economy in 2013 that exposed gaps in data collection, especially from small companies and factories.

Illustrating the scale of the revision, the new figures add about 600 million tons to China’s coal consumption in 2012 — an amount equivalent to more than 70 percent of the total coal used annually by the United States.
To borrow from the management mantra, "You can't manage what you can't measure."

China has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions from a peak level “around” 2030--assuming anyone knows how much is being produced by then. However, this pledge isn’t anything exceptional. It’s “little more than business as usual,” writes the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s Stephen Eule. “In other words, the Chinese have committed to doing what they are doing already.”

The second story is that Asia’s appetite coal for it isn’t letting up [h/t GWPF]:
While much attention has been given to a potential peak in China's coal demand and worries about emissions, in Asia alone this year power companies are building more than 500 coal-fired plants, with at least a thousand more on planning boards. Coal is not only cheaper than natural gas, it is often available locally and has no heavy import costs.

. . . "Electricity is increasing its share in total energy consumption and coal is increasing its share in power generation," said Laszlo Varro, head of the gas, coal and power markets division for the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Some of the biggest growth in coal use is in India, where it meets 45 percent of total energy demand, compared with just over 20 percent each for petroleum products and biomass/waste.

"We're absolutely sure India's coal demand will continue to grow," Varro said.
Coal will continue to be used in developing countries because it’s a cheap source of electricity. To think U.S. negotiators at upcoming climate talks in Paris will be able to convince China and India to abstain from using cheap energy to better the lives of their citizens is living in a fantasy world.

These facts won't stop the Obama administration from touting EPA's Clean Power Plan as the United States' key contribution to the Paris talks. For them it's full speed ahead to push aside cheap and abundant coal as a source of electricity no matter the costs to our economy.

As Eule writes:
What’s more of a mystery is why the administration is content to throw away the United States’ energy edge in favor of an agreement that will put us at a competitive disadvantage for no discernible environmental impact. In fact, when other nations choose not to impose carbon restrictions as stringent as those in the U.S., we will be likely to see “carbon leakage,” where emissions are not reduced at all, and instead simply moved (along with the jobs that come with them) to our global competitors.---------------
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, Asa, China, India, coal-fired power plants, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Pass/Fail/Pass

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: While the Ohio measure to legalize marijuana did not pass, this week, the Washington State measure to wrest tax limitations out of a recalcitrant legislature did indeed succeed, with a 54 percent win.

Win some, lose some.

But in both these cases, there is some evidence for a general smartening up of the voting public.

With Ohio’s Measure 103, the support for cannabis legalization, a few weeks before Election Day, seemed strong. But the more voters looked at the measure, the more they caught a whiff of stink — and it wasn’t skunk weed. It was crony capitalism and insider favoritism. So, while a solid majority reasonably favors legalization — even in Ohio — it strikes most reasonable people that the measure’s secondary provision of setting up a monopolistic/oligopolistic production cartel is as anti-freedom as the legalizations is pro.

Smart folks saw through the proposal. Cannabis legalization is proceeding, state by state. Better results for legalization next time?

Perhaps, provided a better measure is offered.

Washington’s I-1366, on the other hand, had several levels to it, too, but they worked together. Voters seeking a constitutional tax limit, got it — or, if the legislature balks at delivering it as a future referendum (as the measure instructs) then the initiative’s main feature would kick in and the sales tax would be lowered. Low-tax voters get low taxes either way, legislature cooperating or resisting.

As I’ve explained some time back, repeated legislative betrayal had forced Evergreen State super-activist Tim Eyman to concoct this rather clever ploy.

In both Ohio and Washington, what voters voted against was against politics-as-usual — and that is good, no?

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, election results, Ohio, Washington,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Environmental Protection Agency (Army) Spent $1.4 Million on Guns?

by Edwin Feulner: Even those of us who have worked in Washington for many years and become accustomed to the inner workings of government can still be amazed by what lurks behind the curtain sometimes. Case in point: the Environmental Protection Agency.

Most Americans have at least heard of the EPA, even if they have only a dim notion of what the agency actually does. It tends to skate along under the radar, unless something unusual happens, such as the toxic spill that turned the Colorado’s Animas River orange last August. Of course, what really made the spill unusual is that the EPA itself caused it.

Otherwise, Americans don’t hear much about the agency. So many of them would probably be as unpleasantly surprised as I was by a new report by Open the Books, a nonprofit group that promotes government transparency. Its look into the EPA’s spending habits is alarming, to put it mildly.

The first thing that strikes you is the EPA’s spendthrift ways. Even if times were flush and government coffers were overflowing (which is far from the case), the agency spends money like it’s expecting the Second Coming next week. The Open the Books audit covered tens of thousands of checks the EPA wrote from 2000 to 2014, with hundreds of millions going toward such things as luxury furnishings, sports equipment, and “environmental justice” grants to raise awareness of global warming.

The second thing that hits you is where the rest of the money goes. The headline of an op-ed by economist Stephen Moore in Investor’s Business Daily sums it up well: “Why Does the EPA Need Guns, Ammo, and Armor to Protect the Environment?”

And not just a few weapons. Open the Books found that the agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear, and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities.

“We were shocked ourselves to find these kinds of pervasive expenditures at an agency that is supposed to be involved in clean air and clean water,” said Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski. “Some of these weapons are for full-scale military operations.”

Among the EPA’s purchases:
  • $1.4 million for “guns up to 300mm.”
  • $380,000 for “ammunition.”
  • $210,000 for “camouflage and other deceptive equipment.”
  • $208,000 for “radar and night-vision equipment.”
  • $31,000 for “armament training devices.”
The list goes on. It’s filled with the kind of equipment you’d expect to be purchased by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not an agency ostensibly designed to protect the environment.

But as it turns out, armed, commando-style raids by the EPA are not unheard of. One such raid occurred in 2013, in a small Alaskan town where armed agents in full body armor reportedly confronted local miners accused of polluting local waters. Perhaps the agency is gearing up for more operations like that one?

If so, the EPA wouldn’t be all that unique. According to the Justice Department, there are now 40 federal agencies with more than 100,000 officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests. They include the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The EPA audit underscores the need for serious budget cuts at the agency. In July, before the Colorado spill and the Open the Books report, environmental policy expert Nicolas Loris called on Congress to shrink the EPA’s budget, outlining several specific cuts that could be done immediately and with no detrimental effect on the environment.

“The proposed cuts outlined here merely scratch the surface of a rogue agency that has wildly spent and regulated outside its purview,” Loris concluded. After reviewing the Open the Books report, who can disagree?
-------------------
Edwin J. Feulner is Founder, Chairman of the Asian Studies Center, and Chung Ju-yung Fellow, For 36 years, he was president of The Heritage Foundation and transformed the think tank from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas. Originally published in The Washington Times.

Tags: EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Army, $1.4 Million on Guns, Ed Feulner, 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!

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  • 5/17/15 - 5/24/15
  • 5/24/15 - 5/31/15
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  • 6/7/15 - 6/14/15
  • 6/14/15 - 6/21/15
  • 6/21/15 - 6/28/15
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  • 7/12/15 - 7/19/15
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  • 8/30/15 - 9/6/15
  • 9/6/15 - 9/13/15
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  • 9/20/15 - 9/27/15
  • 9/27/15 - 10/4/15
  • 10/4/15 - 10/11/15
  • 10/11/15 - 10/18/15
  • 10/18/15 - 10/25/15
  • 10/25/15 - 11/1/15
  • 11/1/15 - 11/8/15
  • 11/8/15 - 11/15/15
  • 11/15/15 - 11/22/15
  • 11/22/15 - 11/29/15
  • 11/29/15 - 12/6/15
  • 12/6/15 - 12/13/15
  • 12/13/15 - 12/20/15
  • 12/20/15 - 12/27/15
  • 12/27/15 - 1/3/16
  • 1/3/16 - 1/10/16
  • 1/10/16 - 1/17/16
  • 1/17/16 - 1/24/16
  • 1/24/16 - 1/31/16
  • 1/31/16 - 2/7/16
  • 2/7/16 - 2/14/16
  • 2/14/16 - 2/21/16
  • 2/21/16 - 2/28/16
  • 2/28/16 - 3/6/16
  • 3/6/16 - 3/13/16
  • 3/13/16 - 3/20/16
  • 3/20/16 - 3/27/16
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  • 4/3/16 - 4/10/16
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  • 4/17/16 - 4/24/16
  • 4/24/16 - 5/1/16
  • 5/1/16 - 5/8/16
  • 5/8/16 - 5/15/16
  • 5/15/16 - 5/22/16
  • 5/22/16 - 5/29/16
  • 5/29/16 - 6/5/16
  • 6/5/16 - 6/12/16
  • 6/12/16 - 6/19/16
  • 6/19/16 - 6/26/16
  • 6/26/16 - 7/3/16
  • 7/3/16 - 7/10/16
  • 7/10/16 - 7/17/16
  • 7/17/16 - 7/24/16
  • 7/24/16 - 7/31/16
  • 7/31/16 - 8/7/16
  • 8/7/16 - 8/14/16
  • 8/14/16 - 8/21/16
  • 8/21/16 - 8/28/16
  • 8/28/16 - 9/4/16
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  • 9/25/16 - 10/2/16
  • 10/2/16 - 10/9/16
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  • 10/16/16 - 10/23/16
  • 10/23/16 - 10/30/16
  • 10/30/16 - 11/6/16
  • 11/6/16 - 11/13/16
  • 11/13/16 - 11/20/16
  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
  • 11/27/16 - 12/4/16
  • 12/4/16 - 12/11/16
  • 12/11/16 - 12/18/16
  • 12/18/16 - 12/25/16
  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
  • 1/1/17 - 1/8/17
  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
  • 2/5/17 - 2/12/17
  • 2/12/17 - 2/19/17
  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
  • 2/26/17 - 3/5/17
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  • 3/12/17 - 3/19/17
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  • 4/2/17 - 4/9/17
  • 4/9/17 - 4/16/17
  • 4/16/17 - 4/23/17
  • 4/23/17 - 4/30/17