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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, December 18, 2015
Hillary’s Latest Big Lie: She Never Took Money From Oil & Gas Interests
When asked by an Iowa voter whether she would pledge to refuse campaign contributions from energy interests, Hillary Clinton said she didn’t think she ever took money from the oil and gas industry.
That’s a lie and she knows it.
The fact is that she’s benefited from almost $400 MILLION that came from the energy industry.
The total of her payments from oil, gas, and mining interests to her Senate and Presidential campaigns, along with the speaking fees paid to her and Bill, and donations to the Clinton Foundation have netted the Clintons over $325 MILLION. If you add on speaking fees and donations by oil-producing Middle Eastern countries, the total is between $368 – $398 MILLION. (Those countries include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, and Kuwait) That’s almost $400 million.
She says that if she did get money from the energy industry, she doesn’t remember.
That’s a lot to forget. Especially since at least $20 million of it went directly into Bill and Hillary’s joint bank accounts and was reported as joint income. But who’s counting?
Hillary received almost $2 million in direct campaign contributions from individuals who work for oil and gas companies. And, of course, as she knows, corporations are not permitted to make campaign contributions. That’s why they get their employees to do it.
She says she won’t take money from oil and gas companies, but she knows she can’t — that’s illegal. But she sanctimoniously promises not to do it. She says she’ll take money from individuals who work for energy companies.
EARTH TO HILLARY: That’s how corporations make campaign contributions.
She says she’s not a favorite of the energy companies. That’s not true, wither.
In her current presidential campaign, she’s already received about $365,000 from the oil and gas folks. That makes her the third top recipient of all 22 presidential candidates. Only Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush — both with ties to Texas oil companies, raked in more than she did.
And energy industry lobbyists have jumped on the Hillary Bandwagon. Her own campaign released the names of 159 registered lobbyists who are bundlers for Hillary. Forty of them have worked against climate control, supported offshore drilling or promoted the Keystone Pipeline and other energy issues. Bundlers raise over $100,000 each for her campaign.
She says that if she did get money from the energy industry, she doesn’t remember.
Either she’s dumber than we think, or she thinks we’re really dumb.
The Keystone pipeline was a windfall for Bill and Hillary. The Clintons cleaned up on Pipeline investors. Hillary was personally paid $1.5 million by two Canadian banks that are investors in the Keystone Pipeline — right after she left the State Department, where she subtly endorsed the Pipeline that she now opposes.
And Bill Clinton was paid over $10 million by TD Bank, a major Pipeline investor. He also received another $1 million in speaking fees from other energy sources.
It didn’t stop there. The Clinton Foundation benefitted from the kindness of energy companies. Duke Energy, Cheniere Energy, Entergy. ExxonMobil, and NRG Energy all gave from $1 to $5 million.
Chevron and Energy Development gave between $500,000 – $1 million and Hess, Noble Energy, and Inter-Energy gave between $250,000 to $500,000.
Chevron and ExxonMobil also chipped in $5 million each for one of Hillary’s pet projects: the U.S. Pavilion at the China Expo. After that, both companies were featured at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Hillary must have been out of the room — or she certainly would have remembered.
And, finally, mega-donor Canadian mining billionaire Frank Giustra — who has investments in the Keystone Pipeline, has pledged over $300 million. Giustra also owns the Colombian oil company Pacific Rubiales and other international energy companies.
So, Hillary’s latest $400 million lie is easy to see through. It’s staring her right in the face.
------------- Richard "Dick" Morris is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant. He has worked on both sides of politics for candidates. Eileen McGann is an attorney who, with her husband, Dick, write columns and his articles can be found at DickMorris.com and HillaryDaily.com. Tags:Hillary Clinton, big lie, never took money, oil, gas interests, Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, Commentary, HillaryDaily.comTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
It seems like only yesterday we feared industrial nations would need more oil than could be produced, and that we might even run out of oil. The price of oil spiked upward, motivating scientists and entrepreneurs to search for new sources and methods for meeting the world’s growing need for affordable energy.
Pressed by our federal government, and rewarded with huge taxpayer-funded subsidies, domestic energy providers tried wind power, but that was a bust. It quickly became evident that windmill farms are horribly inefficient, difficult and expensive to maintain, and damaging to birds. Not to mention they are an eyesore. Now thousands of rusting, inoperative windmills blot the American landscape, and the ones that still work require ongoing federal cash infusions.
Solar power didn’t work either. The cost per unit of power produced was even worse than wind, requiring financial support from taxpayers to bring it to market. Solar panels take up too much real estate, are subject to weather, and could only provide a small part of our electrical needs even in the best of circumstances. In the scramble for easy government money, corruption in the solar power industry was rampant.
But while the federal government (like always) failed miserably to solve the problem, the free market (like always) came through with flying colors, finding a way to affordably meet our current and future energy demands. Guess what? It’s still oil and natural gas. Thanks to new high-tech methods of finding and tapping oil and natural gas reserves with a small and ecologically benign footprint, we now have an overabundance of available energy.
So now we can get rid of the expensive, corrupt, and unproductive taxpayer subsidies for solar power, wind generators, electric cars and ethanol plants, right?
a five-year extension of the solar investment tax credit (ITC)
a five-year extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC)
an increased allocation to the Department of Energy, most of which gets used for subsidies and contracts to politically-connected cronies
a three-year extension of the land and water conservation fund (LWCF), which will result in even more government ownership of resource-rich land
The uber-rich will still get $7500 from taxpayers for each $100,000 Tesla electric car they buy. The owner of Tesla will rake in millions more in subsidies. Meanwhile your own ten-year old Chevy will die prematurely from burning 10% ethanol while the prohibitive price of beef erases steaks and roasts from your grocery list. And the pure gas you buy for your boat, which can’t use ethanol, costs 70 cents per gallon more than the stuff with ethanol added. Huh?
I think I know who is in charge of our energy policy. Larry, Curly, and Moe.
--------------- 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:The Three Stooges, Energy Policy, Wind Mills, Tom Balek, Rockin' On The Right Side 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 Dr. Michael McDonald: Every year around the world, hundreds of millions of children wait anxiously for Santa Claus to arrive and bring presents and good cheer. But what if Santa never came? What if this year the reindeer all fall ill, perhaps due to Crazy Reindeer disease (the analog to Mad Cow) and Santa is forced to cancel Christmas? The result would be devastating.
Fortunately, for any children reading, official word from the North Pole is that Santa's sleigh has some new upgrades this year that allow it to run on good old fashioned jet fuel if the reindeer fail. And with the current glut of oil around the world, fuel prices are so affordable that even if the reindeer are feeling up to their usual task, Old Saint Nick might just give them the night off and choose to fly with fuel nonetheless.
So how much oil does Santa need for his rounds on the night of the 24th?
Well the answer is complicated by a number of factors most importantly, we just don't know a lot of about Santa's rounds, the shape of the sleigh, the air speed of the craft, or the weight of all those presents. But, we can take some educated guesses.
One 42 gallon barrel of oil is typically used to make a variety of different products. About 51 percent of the average barrel ends up being used for gasoline, while 12 percent ends up being used for jet fuel. Let's assume then that Santa's going to use standard jet fuel, and that 12 percent ratio holds – so for each gallon of jet fuel, we need around 8 gallons of oil. Recognizing that the byproducts of a processed barrel of oil are greater than the original 42 gallons, this 2:1 ratio is still a good place to start as a rough rule of thumb.
Next we need to get a rough idea of Santa's fuel economy. How many miles does he go on a gallon of jet fuel? It's not clear how much Santa's sleigh weighs, or what it is shaped like, but we can probably envision it as something like a cross between a Suburban, a C-5 Galaxy fright aircraft, and an F-22 Raptor fighter jet. The sleigh looks blocky like a Suburban, carries about the same level of cargo as much as C-5 might, yet has the speed of a fighter jet. The fighter jet and c-5 achieve a fuel economy around the range of 0.1 miles per gallon to 0.5 miles per gallon. A 747 for instance burns around 5 gallons of fuel per mile.
But of course, those aircraft are all much larger than Santa's sleigh. (Imagine poor Rudolph trying to pull a Dreamliner!) A Lear Jet uses around 1 gallon of fuel per 2.75 miles (based on a speed of 465 knots or 535 miles per hour). A Piper Cub uses about 1 gallon per 15 miles. Santa's fuel economy is going to fall off the faster he goes, and to get to all the children of the world in one night, he is going to need to go a lot more than the Piper cub's 65 knots per hour. Just to take off, Santa is going to need to hit about 180 miles an hour, and probably more than that given the sleigh designer's seem to have a weak grasp on Bernoulli's principle. Thus the Suburban is probably a good size comparison for Santa's sleigh, and one might estimate the sleigh gets about 5 miles to 1 gallon of jet fuel (8 gallons of oil).
Now how far does Santa need to go? There are around 7.3 billion people in the world, which works out to around 1.5 billion households around the planet based on around 5 people per household. Now not everyone celebrates Christmas of course, but many Christians and non-Christians alike do. By some estimates, perhaps 45% of the world's population celebrates Christmas. That means that Santa needs to visit about 675 million households. With about 7 households per square mile, and assuming that households celebrating Christmas are clustered (which seems logical given religious clustering), that means that Santa has to cover around 94 million square miles of households.
The most efficient mechanism for Santa to cover these households is a very complex mathematical problem. But assuming Santa wants to fly diagonally over each square mile (for a distance of 1.41 miles based on the Pythagorean Theorem), and households are on average distributed proportionally across this each 1 mile block, then Santa will have to fly over 2.41 miles of ground to cover each square mile as efficiently as possible. (You can use a variety of mathematical algorithms to model the most efficient flight path depending on population dispersion – this is just a reasonable approximation based on the assumptions outlined above).
As a result, Santa needs to travel around 226 million miles to deliver all of the presents to the world's children. This assumes minimal idle time on each rooftop (he's got to scarf down those cookies quickly), and abstracts away from the extra fuel needed for each takeoff.
Given our 5 miles per gallon of jet fuel efficiency calculated above, that means Santa needs around 45 million gallons of jet fuel for his annual voyage. With jet fuel going for around $1.20 a gallon right now on the spot market, and prices looking historically low, this puts the total fuel cost of Santa's journey at a bit less than $54 million for one night. On second thought, maybe it's time to break out the hay for those 8 reindeer.
----------------- Michael McDonald, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. His article was contributed by James Stafford the editor of OilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site, to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Michael McDonald, oil, Santa's Sleigh, James Stafford, Oilprice.comTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Security Gap, President Obama, political correctness, crushing, National SecurityTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
This is the final reporting on the meetings and actions of the First session of the 114th Congress (2015). The Second regular session of the 114th Congress begins at Noon on January 4, 2016. Congress is heading home for the Holidays for the remainder of December.
They passed: H. Con. Res. 104 (Agreed to without objection) — "Providing for the sine die adjournment of the first session of the One Hundred Fourteenth Congress. Motion to concur in the Senate amendment with an amendment specified in section 3(a) of H. Res. 566 (316-113). H.R. 2241 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to submit to Congress a report on the development and use of global health innovations in the programs, projects, and activities of the Agency." S. 2425 (Unanimous Consent) — "To amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to improve payments for complex rehabilitation technology and certain radiation therapy services, to ensure flexibility in applying the hardship exception for meaningful use for the 2015 EHR reporting period for 2017 payment adjustments, and for other purposes."
Yesterday, Dec. 17, 2015, the House passed: Senate amendment to H.R. 3594 (Agreed to without objection)
On Dec. 16, 2015, the House passed: H. Res. 536 (399-2) — "Supporting freedom of the press in Latin America and the Caribbean and condemning violations of press freedom and violence against journalists, bloggers, and individuals exercising their right to freedom of speech." H.J. Res. 76 — "Appointing the day for convening of the second session of the One Hundred Fourteenth Congress." H.R.3654 - Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2015
Senate amendment to H.R. 2029 (318-109) with a further amendment containing the bill making permanent tax relief for families and businesses.
At 1:07 PM, The House adjourned Sine Die the first session of the One Hundred Fourteenth Congress after the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2029, the 'omnibus' Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations and stand adjourned Sine Die for the first session of the One Hundred Fourteenth Congress."
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after House passage of the one-year spending bill to fund the government: “Today, the House came together to ensure our government is open and working for the American people. This bipartisan compromise secures meaningful wins for Republicans and the American people, such as the repeal of the outdated, anti-growth ban on oil exports. The legislation strengthens our military and protects Americans from terrorist threats, while limiting the overreach of intrusive government bureaucracies like the IRS and the EPA. I appreciate Chairman Rogers’s leadership and the entire Appropriations Committee for their work in shaping this bill. Congress can now move into 2016 with a fresh start and a plan to return to regular order in order to better protect taxpayer dollars."
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. At 10:30, the Senate received the House message to accompany H.R. 2029, the vehicle for the omnibus Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations bill and the bill making permanent extension of tax relief for families and businesses.
Senators then began a series of votes on the package: they first voted 72-26 to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendments to the Senate amendments to H.R. 2029; they then rejected by a vote of 31-67 a motion to table the first House amendment, which contained the omnibus bill; senators then voted 73-25 to waive a budget point of order against the House amendments.
Finally, at noon, the Senate voted 65-33 to concur in the House amendments to the Senate amendments to H.R. 2029, which sent the package of appropriations and tax relief legislation to the president for his signature.
Yesterday, the Senate agreed by voice vote to pass H.R. 3594, which extends the federal Perkins Loan program for two years. In addition, all senators agreed by unanimous consent to truncate debate time and time for consideration for H.R. 2029, allowing the series of votes this morning.
Speaking on the floor this morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the case for supporting the bill the Senate voted on today to fund the government and give permanent tax relief to families and businesses. “We know our constituents are deeply concerned about America’s struggling economy. So let’s take steps — as the legislation we’ll consider proposes — to support more jobs, more opportunity, and more economic growth.
“Let’s enact permanent tax relief for American families and small businesses. Let’s set the table for pro-growth tax reform. Let’s permanently eliminate an energy policy from the 1970s that not only costs American jobs, but also strengthens American adversaries like Iran and Russia.
“Because here’s something else. We know our constituents are deeply concerned about America’s national security. So let’s take steps — as the legislation we’ll consider proposes — to strengthen our national security in a dangerous world.
“Let’s help ensure our military has more of the funding it needs to train, equip, and confront the threats that face us from every corner of the globe. Let’s bolster the FBI’s ability to confront terror within our borders. Let’s bring badly needed reform to the Visa Waiver Program. Let’s prevent the transfer of dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo’s secure detention center into American communities. Let’s provide the people we represent with some long-overdue protection from cyberattacks. Let’s honor our veterans and enact critical reforms to help address the crises we’ve seen at the V.A.
“The legislation . . . would take steps to strengthen our economy and strengthen our national security. It would bolster the First Amendment. It would attack key pillars of Obamacare and prevent a taxpayer bailout of this partisan law. That last provision is especially important. Protecting the Middle Class from financing a bailout of Obamacare means we’re likely to speed up America’s day of liberation from Obamacare too.
“So here’s my view: This legislation helps our economy, helps our national security, and strikes more blows to a partisan health law that hurts the Middle Class. I think its legislation worth supporting.”
News & Organization's Comments:
One aspect not receivingd much attention was looked at by The Washington Post: “There is no love lost between Republicans in Congress and the Internal Revenue Service, whether it’s their dislike for the tax code, the current tax commissioner or their fury at the agency’s treatment a few years ago of conservative groups. With many lawmakers still smarting over that controversy, the GOP used the budget deal reached by House and Senate negotiators this week to tighten the reins on the IRS . . .
“The budget now prohibits the agency from producing videos at conferences unless they are approved in advance by a special board, punishment for a Star Trek parody made for a lavish training conference in Anaheim, Calif., in 2010 . . . .
“The IRS cannot give a bonus or award to any employee — or one who’s been rehired — if they owe a cent in back federal taxes, punishment for watchdog reports showing that some employees owe back taxes and are not penalized. . . .
“Its employees must not use personal email accounts for work communications, a practice that got both Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the scandal over tax-exempt groups in trouble.
“The IRS must now report to Congress on how much it spends on salaries of full-time union officials, who are paid by taxpayers.
“And it cannot target groups for scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs, new language repeated in three separate provisions of the bill.”
The editors write, “The budget and tax bills moving this week usefully block the IRS and other agencies from restricting political speech.
“In 2014 opposition from the left and right forced the IRS to back down on its rule limiting political activities by tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups. But director John Koskinen, the most tone-deaf man in Washington, says he wants to try again, and the spending bill includes a provision that shuts that down.
“The tax bill also blocks the practice of IRS employees using personal email for official business. The use of personal email by Lois Lerner, then head of the tax-exempt division, became a stumbling block for investigators trying to discover what happened. A provision in the tax bill also bans the IRS from imposing the gift tax on donations to 501(c) groups, an idea the agency considered in 2011 when it audited several conservative donors.
“Also helpful is a measure in the omnibus that would prevent the Securities and Exchange Commission from writing a regulation to require publicly traded corporations to disclose contributions to tax-exempt groups, trade associations or other political causes. . . . The spending bill also prevents the Obama Administration from issuing an executive order to require federal contractors to disclose their political contributions.”
On the Obamacare taxes, The WSJ editors argue, “The Congressional Budget Office estimates the insurance tax is passed through to consumers and raises premiums by 2% to 2.5%. The device tax is a drag on jobs and innovation. . .
“The Cadillac tax is already causing vast disruptions across the businesses that sponsor health coverage for about half of Americans, or 147 million people. The IRS interpretation of the law—a 40% excise tax applies to the cost of a health plan over a certain amount—is complex nearly beyond human comprehension, and not all companies can afford HR departments. Roughly half of businesses were expected to pay the tax in 2018, according to Towers Watson, and in some cases they couldn’t avoid it without violating a separate regulation about the minimum value of benefits they must offer.”
Importantly, they also point out, “[T]he omnibus retains language preventing the Administration from using extra funds to prop up insurers that lose money on the exchanges. The exchanges will continue to malfunction, and their failures will be exposed to the public.”
Further, the editors contend, “The larger story is the political attitude adjustment in the Democratic Party. Supporting any change to ObamaCare was once apostasy. Yet in a test vote this month 90 Senators voted to kill the Cadillac tax, and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have denounced it. This isn’t a change of heart so much as a cardiac transplant. Harry Reid’s opposition to this cornerstone of ObamaCare is good news. The omnibus shows the entitlement is more vulnerable than the political class claims to believe.”
While one part of this legislation, “take[s] an ax to the economic underpinnings of the [health care] law and create new headaches for Democrats as they try to protect Obamacare after 2016,”As Politico put it yesterday, another section finally gives some certainty to families and businesses on tax relief.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday, “The tax bill would permanently extend nearly two dozen tax breaks for businesses and individuals while temporarily extending others. The credits being permanently extended include:
An expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income earners;
The Child Tax Credit for low and moderate income workers;
The American Opportunity Tax Credit to help students under age 40 pay college tuition and expenses;
Low income housing credits;
An expanded research and experimentation credit;
Section 179 business expensing, which allows businesses to fully deduct the price of equipment and software investments;
State and local sales tax deduction;
Tax deductions for food inventory donated to food banks;
A deduction for land donated for conservation; and
A tax break for individuals to donate to charity from qualified retirement accounts.”
Employers were vocal about the importance to the economy of pro-growth tax relief. The National Federation of Independent Business, an association of 325,000 small business owners, declared, “Making small business expensing permanent is the single most critical action you can take to help small businesses in 2015.” NFIB explained, “The current temporary nature of small business expensing fuels greater doubt regarding the economy and prevents small business owners from enacting long-term growth plans, making purchasing decisions, and expanding their businesses. By making Section 179 expensing levels permanent, predictable and at sufficient levels, Congress can take a vital step in boosting our economy and helping the true engine of our economy, small businesses, grow.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation said, “Farmers and ranchers need tax deductions that they can count on to effectively operate their businesses. Providing certainty to the tax code makes the difficult business of running a farm more manageable.”
A member of the National Association of Manufacturers representing small and medium manufacturers said, “Permanent and multiyear extensions of the expired investment incentives will help manufacturers of all sizes, producing a positive ripple effect throughout the economy. ... The agreement will encourage businesses to invest in the capital equipment and machinery that will increase efficiency, productivity and growth . . . .”
“It doesn’t mean this is the legislation I would’ve written on my own. It doesn’t mean this is the legislation Speaker Ryan would’ve written on his own either. It’s not perfect and we certainly didn’t get everything that we wanted.
“But it makes strides in defending our nation at a time of global unrest.
“It advances conservative priorities in several areas and enacts significant reform in several areas, on everything from tax relief to energy policy to cybersecurity.”
Americans of Limited Government President Rick Manning today blasted the passage of the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill: "House Speaker Paul Ryan has reacted to passage of the omnibus spending bill by saying it 'advances Republican priorities.' Which ones?
"We agree with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley who has said it will help terrorist travel and economic espionage in the U.S. It leaves our borders wide open, and fails to stop Obama's executive amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children. It increases spending $112 billion over the next two years, busting the spending caps. It does nothing to defund Planned Parenthood. It reinstates the Wind Production Tax Credit. It funds Obamacare. It quardruples H2-B visas for low-skilled workers at the expense of American workers. It fails use the power of the purse to rein in a single one of Obama's economy crippling regulations. It funds the Department of Housing and Urban Development racial and income zoning quotas being imposed on 1,200 counties and cities that accept any portion of $3 billion of annual community development block grants.
"The omnibus does not advance Republican priorities, or even the American people's priorities, it advances the priorities of the power elite in Washington, D.C. that continues to operate within a vacuum."
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author noted: "Planned Parenthood gets full funding. So, too, does the Syrian refugee program, even as the administration continues to insist that no changes are needed to ensure that there are no jihadists among the refugees."
Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service noted when posting of this article, "Congress has 'jumped the shark' with this Omnibus Bill. Let hope America is not eaten alive by our own government and by terrorists. No wonder Congress and the Obama administration have an extremely low approval rating. It appears that they are out to take everything they can from the American people.
"As of this moment in time, the U.S. Gross National Debt exceeds $18,801,230,000,000. We are plagued by terrorists and trials abroad. We have extreme growing poverty in our nation. American atheist may not like what I am about to say; but they can stuff it. God please save America because surely our Government cannot!" Tags:Congress, Omnibus bill, Governments Spending, Jumped the Shark, terrorists, trials abroad, national debt, growing povertyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
House Conservatives Deride Spending Bill for Not Including Conservative Priorities
House conservatives are no fans of the budget deal.
by Philip Wegmann: Conservative House lawmakers aren’t happy about the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill released early Wednesday morning.
“Sadly, this bill does not adequately address the security issue, nor does it have the common sense, widely-supported pro-life riders that we suggested,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, in a statement.
Jordan was referring to two top conservative policy rider priorities: establishing stricter security protocols for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to the U.S. and defunding Planned Parenthood.
Without a rider to curb Syrian refugees, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., called the omnibus “a total disaster from a national security perspective.”
Conservative opposition to the spending bill wasn’t inevitable. Rep. John Fleming, R-La., told The Daily Signal that the right combination of policy riders may have induced conservative support.
“I think the more riders that could have been added, the more you would’ve peeled Freedom Caucus members to support the bill,” he speculated.
At a Wednesday press conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., tried to soothe frustration, saying that “in a divided government, no one gets exactly what they want.” But the speaker trumpeted the deal as “a big win for our manufacturers and for our foreign policy.”
Across the aisle in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the deal “isn’t perfect” but called the legislation “a good product for the American people.”
Democrats are celebrating increased government spending—free of what they consider “poison pill” policy riders.
Democrats were able to cite the absence of more than 150 proposed policy riders they opposed, including provisions to restrict the Syrian refugee program, cut funding for President Barack Obama’s executive immigration action, and defund Planned Parenthood.
Conservative members of the House say they’re likely to split their vote—backing the tax extenders package,which renews billions of tax breaks for both businesses and lower-income Americans, and opposing the omnibus.
Many voiced support for the extenders bill, characterizing the extenders as necessary and growth-oriented. They balk, though, at an omnibus bill that increases spending and doesn’t include any of their proposed policy riders.
But Brat and Fleming, like many members of the House Freedom Caucus, don’t blame Ryan for a bill that doesn’t live up to their expectations.
“Overall on process, Ryan get high marks,” Brat said, “but the product here is an F.”
After just six weeks on the job as speaker, Ryan had to hammer out a deal to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. As budget deadlines loomed, the speaker sought and fielded input from rank-and-file members.
And Brat says his colleagues understand that “this deal is not Paul Ryan’s baby.”
“This was a disaster that accumulated over a full year of not following regular order. Ryan just came in 6 weeks ago and had to be the coach while we cleaned the barn.”
Pointing to next year’s schedule, Brat says Ryan “has kept his word” by taking steps to begin the process earlier next year.
“The evidence for that is that next year, he’s already put the calendar on the table. He’s serious about regular order and getting our House product complete.”
----------------------- Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) is the congressional correspondent for The Daily Signal. Tags:House Conservative, not happy, Spending Bill, not including, conservative priorities, policy rider priorities, stricter security protocols, Syrian and Iraqi refugees, defunding Planned Parenthood, Philip Wegmann, 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!
But I didn’t really need to — and not just because it failed to receive critical or popular acclaim.
This is the age of the Internet, and — Spoiler Alert! — many cats get let out of many a bag. Facebook, Twitter, water coolers . . . we all hear things outside the designated venues.
Of course, many people knew the plot line of SyFy’s miniseries — simply because it’s based on a 1953 novel by Arthur C. Clarke.
So, when we notice that one of the show’s creators interprets the story’s stark ending as being more personal than cosmic, that it is about accepting the inevitability of death, we are not going to go into a snit about “spoilers.” We can all can handle it like . . . grown-ups.
Yes, the tale is in the “out there” branch of science fiction. Aliens come. They bring mankind a Golden Age, an era of plenty, curing disease and ending the need to work. And then, after a long stretch, they reveal themselves, in full-frontal corporeality: they look like devils, with huge horns, red gnarly skin, cloven hooves, wings and a tail. But finally the big truth dawns: the last generation of children becomes clairvoyant, ascend into the air, and, while destroying the planet, become “as one” in the universal Overmind.
Accepting death? Why not this interpretation: sure, socialism can work — but only by stripping us of our individuality and destroying humanity along with all life on the planet.
The devil, you say.
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, socialism, destroying humanity, stripping us of indivuality To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Why Don't Republicans Identify What They Are Fighting?
Time to name the enemy.
by Dennis Prager: American conservatives are rightfully annoyed with the Obama administration, and Democrats generally, for refusing to name radical Islam or Islamism as the major source of terror.
When Nidal Hasan murdered 13 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, the administration refused to label the mass murder — committed by a Muslim in the name of Islam — an act of Islamist terror, or even terror at all. Instead it was officially declared a "workplace shooting."
And when President Obama convened an international conference on terror, he refused to include the word "terror" or any form of the word "Islamist" in the title. Instead the conference — which took place a month after the Islamists' massacre of the Charlie Hebdo writers and editors and Jews at a Paris shop — was ridiculously named "The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism."
But conservatives and Republicans do the same thing. They, too, almost never identify what they are fighting — namely, leftism and the left. (Note to left-wing websites that monitor conservative writings: This is not a comparison of the left with Islamic terrorists; it is about not naming an ideological foe.)
Republicans — from the highest ranking politicians to rank and file members of the party — fight Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and all other Democrats. But they don't fight the left and leftism.
The implication is that if only we could defeat this or that Democrat, we would be on our way to a much better America.
But it's not true. If extraterrestrials came to our planet and absconded with every Democrat holding office from Barack Obama down to every Democratic city councilman in America, nothing would change. Other Democrats with the same left-wing views would take their place.
Leftism is ruining America. But almost no Republican ever — let alone repeatedly — says this.
The universities of this country have become a laughingstock. They have degenerated into anti-intellectual, anti-Western, anti-rational institutions with their ludicrous "safe spaces," trigger warnings that infantilize students, and all the lies about the racism and a rape culture that allegedly pervade the campuses and American society.
What is responsible for that? Leftism.
According to Pew Research, 40 percent of millennials do not believe in the principle of freedom of speech if the speech might hurt the feelings of a member of a minority group.
What is responsible for that? Leftism.
Why did Islamic State rise in Iraq after that country had been pacified by American troops and the Sunni uprising? Because a leftist president, the left-wing Democratic Party, and the left-wing media demanded a complete American withdrawal from Iraq.
Why are race relations worse than in living memory despite the election and re-election of black president? Because of the left-wing lies about "systemic" racism. Because of the left-wing "Ferguson" lie, repeated regularly by the president of the United States, as if an innocent "unarmed black teenager" was killed by a white policeman because the teen was black and not because he was threatening the life of the officer. Because of the absurdity of "microaggressions," those lists of often noble statements — such as "there is only one race, the human race" — that the left characterizes as racist.
Why is it harder to open and sustain a small business than at any time in American history? Because of the left and their endless regulations.
Why do we have the highest national debt in American history? Because the left keeps expanding the size of the government.
Why are more Americans on public assistance than ever before? Because left-wing policies are designed to get more and more Americans dependent on government.
Why are Americans increasingly separated into ethnic, racial and religious identities? Because of the left-wing belief in multiculturalism and the left's neo-fascist emphasis on the importance of race.
Why are more Americans born to women without husbands than ever before? Because, ideologically, the left has determined that children do not need fathers, and because, policy-wise, the left has enabled mothers to depend on the state rather than the man who fathered her children.
Why is the American military weaker and less feared than at anytime in the last 50 years? Because the left doesn't want America to be the strongest country in the world.
In addition to criticizing Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, Republicans need to tell the American people over and over that the only thing that can stop the further degradation of the United States of America is conservatism and the Republican Party. Because only conservatism and the Republican Party can stop the left.
----------------------- Dennis Prager is a conservative best-selling author, radio talk show host, columnist and public speaker. He appears regularly on conservative TV shows. He is President of Prager University which offers on-line free five-minute videos on various subjects addressed by noted conservatives. He shared this article on FrontPageMag via the David Horowitz Freedom Center Tags:Conservatism, Leftists, Republican, Dennis PragerTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Arkansas Policy Foundation To Conduct An Efficiency Review of Arkansas State Government
Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: Yesterday, ARRA News Service reporting was reduced due to my traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas to attend attending a special reception and media event for the Arkansas Policy Foundation. APF is a cost-efficient nonpartisan, non-profit organization that analyzes the impact of public policy on Arkansas and makes recommendations. There findings are independent and are directed at promoting more efficient government at lower cost to the taxpayers. As an educational organization, it also regularly submits its research to scholarly journals that use a peer review process.
Yesterday, the Arkansas Policy Foundation celebrated 20 years of service to the public. In the past, the Foundation has emphasized the importance of tax policy and education reform: Principles of tax policy: Arkansas would benefit from comprehensive, pro-growth reform; Arkansans are not under-taxed; taxes and rates do matter to entrepreneurs; dynamic scoring of tax changes and effects provides benefits. It also had conducted an efficiency review of Arkansas government in the mid-1990s that called for performance-based budgeting among other recommendations. Education reform: The Foundation seeks intellectual honesty and complete openness in reporting the lack of academic progress in Arkansas' school system. It had previously completed a n of state education which became known as the Murphy Commission which resulted in many changes especially in educational under Gov. Mike Huckabee's administration.Various speakers addressed the past success and influences of APF. Then, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Giffin addressed the future potential impact that APF could have on more efficient government as a prelude to Gov. Asa Hutchinson arriving to share his decision and prior announcement at the State Capitol.
When Gov. Hutchinson arrived, he shared his prior announcement at the State Capitol with the other heads of the government present. Hutchinson had issued a memorandum ordering “mandatory compliance” by state agencies in an efficiency review to be conducted by Arkansas Policy Foundation.
Hutchinson said, "The policy foundation came to me and said they would like to engage in that. Of course, I remember the Murphy Commission that was so helpful a decade or so ago and we’re not finished yet. We need new ideas and we hope a private sector approach taking a look at it can generate those ideas."
Governor Hutchinson also identified, "I’ve specifically asked Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin to take one aspect of that, not the whole project but the Department of Human Services. To look at the organizational structure of DHS and it’s really a good time when we’re in transition with a new director coming in."
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin said, "I am honored to assist the governor in his review of the Department of Human Services so that we can all better serve the people of Arkansas and be better stewards of taxpayer dollars."
APF will not be tasked to "[R]eview of the IT structure or contracts. Those areas will be reviewed separately by the Governor’s Office and the legislature." Previously, both legislators and the governor have criticized a Medicaid enrollment and eligibility IT contract that more than doubled in cost from $108 million to $220 million.
Gov. Hutchinson has instructed all agency directors to cooperate with the foundation and has asked his deputy counsel, Andrew “Vu” Ritchie, to be a liaison between the foundation and the agencies.
At the end of the Hutchinson announcement at AFP, Greg Kaza, executive director, said that APF hopes to have its report completed by next fall. And ended the event with, "As volunteers ,we’re ready to go to work, and we will!" Tags:Arkansas, &Governor, Asa Hutchinson, Lt. Governor, Tim Griffin, Arkansas Policy Foundation, efficiency review, Arkansas State Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
The House reconvened at 9 AM today and continued discussion on a Budget Bill.
Today the House took up and passed this morning H.R. 2029 (240-185) - making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes; providing for proceedings during the period from December 19, 2015, through January 4, 2016; and for other purposes."
Speaker Ryan said in a statement concerning passage of H.R. 2029, “Today, the House took a pivotal step towards rewriting our broken tax code by ending Washington's days of extending tax policies one year at a time. This package of permanent extenders will shield families from a tax hike and provide businesses with greater economic certainty to grow and prosper, which means higher wages and more full-time jobs for American workers. It also includes several bipartisan reforms to rein in the IRS, such as firing employees who target taxpayers based on their personal religious or political beliefs. As I’ve said before, comprehensive tax reform is essential to restoring a more confident America, and that’s why it will be central to our bold, pro-growth agenda in 2016. I commend Chairman Brady and the entire Ways and Means Committee for their work on this important measure.”
Yesterday the House passed: H.R.2297 (425-0) - Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 H.R. 2820 Concurred 421-0 with Senate amendment. - H.R.2820 - Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015 H.R. 3654 (w/o objection - "To require a report on United States strategy to combat terrorist use of social media, and for other purposes." H.R. 3750 (421-2) — "To waive the passport fees for first responders proceeding abroad to aid a foreign country suffering from a natural disaster." H.R. 3878 (Voice Vote as amended) — "To enhance cybersecurity information sharing and coordination at ports in the United States, and for other purposes." H.R. 4239 (423-0 — "To require intelligence community reporting on foreign fighter flows to and from terrorist safe havens abroad, and for other purposes." H.R. 4246 (419-1) — "To exempt for an additional 4-year period, from the application of the means-test presumption of abuse under chapter 7, qualifying members of reserve components of the Armed Forces and members of the National Guard who, after September 11, 2001, are called to active duty or to perform a homeland defense activity for not less than 90 days." S. 1090 (420-1) — "To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide eligibility for broadcasting facilities to receive certain disaster assistance, and for other purposes."
The Senate reconvened at 11 AM today.
The Senate is expected today to pass H.R. 3594 which extends the federal Perkins Loan program for two years.
Republican senators met this morning to discuss the agreements reached on appropriations for Fiscal Year 2016 and on a package of tax relief provisions.
The House is expected to vote on the tax relief measure on Thursday and the appropriations package on Friday. If both are passed, the Senate could consider them on Friday.
Americans for Limited Government is calling attention to a provision in the omnibus spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2016 that will quadruple the number of H2-B visas for low-skilled workers ALG President Rick Manning said, "At a time of heightened security concerns over terrorism and immigration in the wake of Paris and San Bernardino, Congress is considering an omnibus spending bill that includes as a provision quadrupling the number of H2-B visas for low-skilled workers. This is as irresponsible on the security front as it is politically deaf, dumb, and blind. House Republicans cannot possibly vote to keep the gates wide open, in the process making America less secure, while also throwing Americans workers under the bus. Now is the time for House members to stand up for sanity, and reject the special interests who are selling America's future down the river."
"Paul Ryan may not have the votes to pass the omnibus, with Nancy Pelosi and Democrats balking over the lifting of the oil export ban. It is ironic that Republicans' one major concession from Democrats is the reason why Ryan's first deal as Speaker is now falling apart at the seams.
"Republican leaders in both houses of Congress should pass a six-week continuing resolution, and this time work with Republicans to put a government funding bill on the President's desk that reflects the majority's priorities. With Democrats balking at a bill that in actuality gave them the most concessions, rank and file Republicans should refuse to bail out President Obama by funding the remainder of his radical agenda.
"A six-week continuing resolution that extends well past Christmas will provide the time necessary to have a sober and honest conversation about the direction of our nation. Speaker Ryan has made a big deal out of talking up restoring Congress' Article One prerogatives. Now, by rejecting this one-sided funding bill, House Republicans will give their new Speaker a mulligan after his first attempt went way out of bounds."
Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discussed the agreement on a final appropriations bill to fund the government through next year. He explained that while it’s not the one most conservative Republicans would have written on their own, given that has to be signed by President Obama, it contains many positive provisions worth supporting.
McConnell said, “It would enact permanent tax relief for American families and small businesses. That will lead to more jobs, more opportunity, and more economic growth here in America.
“Another way this legislation will help support jobs and grow the economy is by permanently eliminating a relic from the 1970s. This 40-year energy ban has cost our economy jobs and it strengthens oil exporters like Iran and Russia.
“It’s no secret that Russia views its energy resources as a foreign policy tool. It’s no secret that Iran views its energy resources as a component of national power — nor is it a secret that President Obama recently granted the Iranian regime permission to export those resources. Many think it’s time the American people were treated at least as fairly as Iran.
“This critical energy reform would help strengthen America’s jobs and America’s safety. But it’s only a small part of how the overall bill would support our national security. . . .
“We know this legislation would, at a time of new and evolving terror threats, bring badly needed reform to the Visa Waiver Program. We know it would bolster the FBI’s ability to confront terror within our borders.
“We know this legislation would prevent the transfer of dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo’s secure detention center into our communities.”
He continued, “Its provisions will help advance other important conservative priorities too, like strengthening the First Amendment and helping protect families from a health law that attacks the Middle Class.”
Indeed, The New York Times reports, “In a big package of tax and spending legislation that Congress is likely to approve this week, Republicans have forced President Obama to swallow three changes that undermine his signature health care law< including a two-year delay of a tax on high-cost insurance plans provided by employers to workers.. . .
“The legislation will also suspend a tax on medical devices for two years. The device tax, which took effect in 2013, will be suspended through 2017. Congress also agreed to suspend for one year a tax on health insurance providers. The tax applies to insurance purchased by individuals, families and many businesses, as well as to private plans that manage care for millions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.”
Politico adds, “The year-end budget deal didn’t repeal the Cadillac tax but delayed it for two years, raising doubt about whether it will ever take effect since every major presidential candidate opposes it. That change, along with several others that eliminate or delay Obamacare financing, constitute the biggest legislative changes yet to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement since its 2010 passage.
“The changes take an ax to the economic underpinnings of the law and create new headaches for Democrats as they try to protect Obamacare after 2016. Republicans, meanwhile, can brag about how they shut off the spigots that pay for the law.”
And according to The Hill, “ObamaCare advocates are growing fearful that several key taxes frozen in Wednesday’s budget deal will never go into effect. The pair of budget deals negotiated by congressional leaders would halt or delay three ObamaCare taxes, forcing the president to make his biggest concession yet since his healthcare law was passed. . . .
“‘The fear for advocates of the tax is that once Congress starts delaying it, it won’t last,’ said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation and former Clinton administration health adviser.
“Most significantly, the legislation would again push back the Cadillac tax on employer healthcare benefits — a measure at the center of the Obama administration's efforts to contain healthcare costs.
“In total, those changes would take a $35 billion bite out of the law’s revenue stream, according to analyses released by congressional budget scorekeepers on Wednesday.”
Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner discussed another important provision in the bill: “The spending bill released by Congress overnight dealt a victory to Obamacare opponents, blocking a bailout of insurers reporting losses through the healthcare program.
“Payments to insurers through a once-obscure provision within the law known as the risk corridors have become a major issue as insurers have been losing money by participating in President Obama's healthcare law, forcing some to contemplate exiting the market.
“In plain English, the text means that HHS cannot use money from its general funds to subsidize insurer losses. The only money available will be whatever gets collected from insurers beating expectations. Without being able to depend on the federal backstop, insurers are more likely to respond to losses by proposing higher insurance premiums.”
On some other key provisions of the legislation, Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon, writes, “First Amendment advocates are heaping praise on a tentative spending deal agreed to by congressional leaders this week, saying it heads off Obama administration attempts to restrict spending on political speech through administrative or executive action.
The ‘omnibus’ spending bill, hammered out in negotiations between congressional leaders this week, would block proposals to restrict political speech by nonprofit groups and to force companies to disclose more information about their political spending.
“It would also prevent the implementation of new taxes on contributions to charities and other tax-exempt groups, prevent the federal government from forcing political spending disclosure by federal contractors, and explicitly prohibit IRS employees from conducting business using private email accounts. . . .
“If the legislation passes, it will mark a major victory for political free speech advocates, according to Phil Kerpen, president of the group American Commitment, which has organized grassroots campaigns to prevent federal restrictions on free speech by nonprofit groups. ‘The deal is phenomenal on First Amendment issues," Kerpen said in an email. >Nobody got everything they wanted on economic policy in this deal, but these First Amendment victories will allow advocates to keep fighting without the government limiting political speech.’
The Washington Post elaborates, “The omnibus legislation would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from using any federal funds in the coming fiscal year to revise or issue new rules governing the political spending of tax-exempt advocacy groups. The measure would effectively halt a two-year-long attempt by the IRS to set a clear limit on how much money such nonprofit groups, set up under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, can spend on politics. . . .
“This week’s budget deal also includes language that would prevent the Securities and Exchange Commission from advancing a regulation that would require public corporations to disclose their political donations, a rule Democrats have been prodding the agency to implement.”
On Second Amendment concerns, The Hill writes, “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has come up empty in her efforts to eliminate a budget rider that has halted nearly all government research into gun violence for 17 years. The . . . spending bill unveiled early Wednesday morning keeps in place the controversial amendment, which Pelosi had told gun control groups was a priority in the budget talks. . . . The top House Democrat added the gun research ban to her list of demands for GOP leaders during budget negotiations — the only gun-related provision that she made part of the budget talks . . . .”
Leader McConnell concluded today, “[H]ere’s the bottom line in my view. This is legislation worth supporting.
“It doesn’t mean this is the legislation I would’ve written on my own. It doesn’t mean this is the legislation Speaker Ryan would’ve written on his own either. It’s not perfect and we certainly didn’t get everything that we wanted.
“But it makes strides in defending our nation at a time of global unrest. It advances conservative priorities in several areas and enacts significant reform in several areas, on everything from tax relief to energy policy to cybersecurity.” Tags:Budget Bill, Big Compromise, Omnibus, Ronald Reagon, Government is the problem,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Republicans Leaders Should Worry About Themselves, Not Trump
by Newt Gingrich: The latest polls showing Donald Trump with his biggest lead yet–38 percent in the new Washington Post-ABC poll–have Republican leaders fussing about what the party will do if “the Donald” becomes their nominee. Two of the next most popular candidates, Ted Cruz at 15 percent and Ben Carson at 12 percent, don’t give them much comfort, either.
Instead of worrying about what they’re going to do about Trump, or about what they consider an only slightly less nightmarish scenario, Cruz or Carson, the Republican establishment needs to start worrying what they’re going to do about themselves.
Sixty-five percent of Republican voters–their voters–are trying to tell them they’re no good.
Sixty-five percent of their voters say they support somebody–anybody–else. Whether that is Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Ben Carson, the one thing Republican voters seem sure about this year is that they don’t want anyone who their party’s leadership could find acceptable.
It says as much about the leadership as it does about the candidates.
The more these figures beat up the Republican establishment and ignore the news media’s outrage, the more popular they become. The issues and the candidates themselves seem practically to be secondary concerns.
It’s not hard to figure out why. People are frustrated that the worse things in Washington get, the less things change.
This is a government so intent on maintaining its myths no matter how glaring the realities that it can’t even bring itself to speak honestly about an ideology that wants desperately to end our civilization through violence.
It is a government so incompetent and openly corrupt that it can spend $43 million on an Afghan gas station that should have cost $500,000–and no one can tell us where the money went.
And it is a government so arrogant that it endeavors to reengineer the entire U.S. health care system, promising lower costs, better health, and more choice, and it ends up producing the opposite in spectacular fashion.
Far too many members of the Republican establishment want to tell us–to tell themselves–not to worry, that things will be fine, for us…and for them. They want to believe that Trump and the other outsiders are an aberration, an unpredictable and temporary phenomenon that will flame out before the party returns to its boring, predictable norm.
Believing this requires an almost clinical degree of self-delusion. What is happening in the presidential race this year is part of a steadily increasing and not at all random wave of anger at a government that doesn’t work and a party that isn’t fixing it. You would think the fact that former Majority Leader Eric Cantor and former Speaker John Boehner are no longer in Congress, and the circumstances of their departures, would have served as a clue.
Republican leaders need to listen to the people they’re supposed to be leading — or they won’t be the leaders for long.
---------------------- 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, Republican, leaders, Donald Trump 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 Raymond Ibrahim: Throughout September, as more Christians were slaughtered and persecuted for their religion—not just by the Islamic State but by “every day” Muslims from all around the world—increasing numbers of people and organizations called for action, while those best placed to respond—chief among them U.S. President Obama and Pope Francis—did nothing.
“Why, we ask the western world, why not raise one’s voice over so much ferocity and injustice?” asked Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference.
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III also said: “I do not understand why the world does not raise its voice against such acts of brutality.”
As one report put it: “Human rights activists see it. Foreign leaders see it. And more than 80 members of the U.S. Congress see it. Together, they are pressuring the leader of the free world [U.S. President Obama] to declare there is a Christian genocide going on in the Middle East.”
In response, the White House said it was preparing to release a statement accusing the Islamic State of committing genocide against religious minorities, naming and recognizing various groups, such as the Yazidis, as victims. However, Christians are apparently not going to be included as victims, as Obama officials argue that Christians “do not appear to meet the high bar set out in the genocide treaty.”
Meanwhile, Father Behnam Benoka, an Iraqi priest, explained in a detailed letter to Pope Francis the horrors Mideast Christians are experiencing. To his joy, the pope called the Middle Eastern priest and told him that “I will never leave you.” As Benoka put it, “He called me. He told me certainly, sure I am with you, I will [not] forget you, I will [do] all possible to help you.”
However, later in September, when Pope Francis stood before the world at the United Nations, his energy was, once again, spent on defending the environment. In his entire speech, which lasted nearly 50 minutes, only once did Francis make reference to persecuted Christians—and even then they did not receive special attention but, in the same breath, their sufferings were merged in the same sentence with the supposedly equal sufferings of “members of the majority religion,” that is, Sunni Muslims (the only group not to be attacked by the Islamic State, a Sunni organization):I must renew my repeated appeals regarding to the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement.Yet, as the following roundup from September shows, “members of the majority religion”—Sunnis—are not being slaughtered, beheaded, and raped for their faith; are not having their mosques bombed and burned; are not being jailed or killed for apostasy, blasphemy, or proselytization.
Savagery and Slaughter
Uganda: Three Muslim men beat and raped a 19-year-old Christian woman (name withheld). The young student was returning home from St. Mary’s Teachers College in Bukedea when she was ambushed by three masked men. “I tried to scream, but one blocked my mouth and another slapped me as they forcefully dragged me off the footpath,” said the victim. “I heard one of them telling the others that I should be killed because my parents deserted Islam. But another said, ‘But we are not sure whether this girl is a Christian.’” Instead of killing her, they raped and beat her so severely that she is still receiving hospital treatment for her injuries.
United States: Freddy Akoa, a 49-year-old Christian healthcare worker in Portland, Maine, was savagely beaten to death in his own home by three Muslims. Found next to Akoa’s body was his blood-splattered Bible. The slain had cuts and bruises all over his body and a fatal head trauma. Internally, he suffered 22 rib fractures and a lacerated liver. The police affidavit stated that Akoa “had been beaten and kicked in the head, and bashed in the head with a piece of furniture in an assault that continued relentlessly for hours.” Akoa was apparently throwing a party before or during the attack. The three assailants were all Muslim refugees of Somali origin. In recent times, both in America and Europe, several “refugees” have turned out to be Islamic terrorists, some with direct ties to ISIS. (A faction of Al Shabaab, Somalia’s premiere jihadi organization, recently pledged allegiance to ISIS.)
Syria: A Christian from the Qaryatin village in the province of Homs was executed by the Islamic State for refusing to obey the dhimmi [second-class, “tolerated”] conditions imposed on Christian villagers. ISIS also killed a Christian priest, chopped his body into pieces, and sent the pieces back to his family in a box. Earlier ISIS had kidnapped the priest and demanded a ransom of $120,000 from his family, which finally managed to raise the ransom money after two months. But after paying it, ISIS reneged on their word and brutally killed the Catholic priest anyway.
Pakistan: The Muslim family of a woman who converted to Christianity and married a Christian murdered her husband and wounded the young woman. Aleem Masih, 28, married Nadia, 23, last year after she put her faith in Christ. The couple then fled their village as the woman’s family sought “to avenge the shame their daughter had brought upon them by recanting Islam and marrying a Christian,” said a lawyer involved in the case. Eventually Nadia’s father, Muhammad Din Meo, and his henchmen managed to abduct the couple and took them to a nearby farm. “The Muslim men first brutally tortured the couple with fists and kicks and then thrice shot Aleem Masih – one bullet hit him in his ankle, the second in the ribs while the third targeted his face,” the attorney said. “Nadia was shot in the abdomen.” The Muslim relatives left believing they had killed the couple. “The attackers returned to their village and publicly proclaimed that they had avenged their humiliation and restored the pride of the Muslims by killing the couple in cold blood.” Police, however, found Nadia still breathing when they arrived at the farm. “She was shifted to the General Hospital in Lahore, where she is fighting for her life after a major operation in which two bullets were removed from her abdomen.” A large number of Muslims were gathered at the hospital when the critically wounded woman arrived. “The mob, some of them armed with weapons, was shouting furious anti-Christian slogans…. They were also praising Azhar for restoring the pride of the Muslim Ummah [community] and saying that he had earned his place in paradise for killing an infidel.”
Philippines: Islamic terrorists from the jihadi group Abu Sayyaf were suspected in the bombing of a passenger bus in the predominantly Christian city of Zamboanga on September 18 that killed a 14-year-old girl and wounded 33 others. Intelligence sources had warned that Abu Sayyaf would be targeting cities and communities with heavy Christian populations. Only 20 % of Zamboanga is Muslim, and the rest almost entirely Christian (mostly Catholic).
United States: On Sunday, September 13, 40-year-old Rasheed Abdul Aziz was arrested for threatening the Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Bullard, Texas. The Muslim-American had a gun and was dressed for combat—complete with camouflage helmet, camouflage pants, tactical vest and boots—when he entered the church around 1 p.m. According to Pastor John Johnson, Aziz said that Allah had told him to “slay infidels” and that “people are going to die today.” Added the pastor: I believe that his intent was when he came to our church was to actually kill somebody.”
Tanzania: During the course of one week, six Christian churches were burned down. On September 23, the Living Waters International Church, Buyekera Pentecostal Assemblies of God, and Evangelical Assemblies of God Tanzania Church—three churches—were set ablaze. Three days later, on September 26, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kitundu Roman Catholic Church, and Katoro Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church—another three churches—were also set ablaze. According to a local source, “The people woke up on 27th Sep to find their sanctuaries burnt down… The scenarios are the same; unknown people broke in, piled things onto the altar, poured petrol over it and set it alight. They fled before anyone could respond and so remain unknown.” The east African nation is mostly comprised of Christians and Muslims, though the ratio is disputed.
Bethlehem: Muslims set fire to the St. Charbel Monastery. Sobhy Makhoul, the chancellor of the Maronite Patriarchate in Jerusalem, said, “It was an act of arson, not a fire caused by an electrical problem [as local authorities had claimed], an act of sectarian vandalism by radical Muslims.” The fire caused no casualties or injuries -- fortunately the building was unoccupied and under renovation -- but the damage is evident, and the local Christian community feared further violence. The Maronite leader added that, “The attack is… anti-Christian, like many other incidents across the Middle East. Extremist groups operate in the area, including some Hamas cells.”
Iraq: A report that discusses how one Christian is slaughtered every five minutes in Iraq, adds that, “Islamic State Militants in Iraq are using Christian churches as torture chambers where they force Christians to either convert to Islam or die.”
Syria: Within days of capturing the city of Qaryatain, the Islamic State destroyed an ancient Catholic church and threw away the remains of a revered saint. The Sunni terror group then gave an ultimatum to the Christians in Qaryatain to either pay jizya (extortion money), convert to Islam, or leave.
Yemen: A day after a Catholic church in Aden was vandalized, another group of unidentified assailants set the Christian building “in flames,” in the words of a witness. Of the 22 churches that operated in Aden before 1967, when the city was a British colony, only a few remain open, used rarely by foreign workers and African refugees. The now-torched St. Joseph Church was one of those few.
Indonesia: On Sunday, September 27, the GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor held its 100th open-air service since 2008, when local Muslims had begun complaining that the church existed. Even though the church was fully registered, the authorities obligingly closed it. In December 2010, the Indonesian Supreme Court ordered the church to be reopened, but the mayor of Bogor refused to comply and kept it sealed off. Since then, the congregation has been holding Sunday services at the homes of members, and occasionally on the street, to the usual jeers and attacks by Muslim mobs.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom (Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Proselytization)
Uganda: A 36-year-old mother of eight requested prayer after area Muslims forced her to return to Islam, or lose her children and be killed. Although Madina (full name withheld) remained Christian after her husband abandoned her a decade ago for her apostasy from Islam, she returned to Islam in September: “The relatives of my husband threatened to kill me and take away the children if I refused to go back to Islam. They said, ‘We are not going to lose our children to Christianity. We better kill you and get back the children.’… I have nowhere to go with my children, so I have decided to return to Islam to save the children and myself. I know Issa [Jesus] will remember me one day.”
United Kingdom: A Pakistani man, his wife, and their six children are suffering “an appalling ordeal at the hands of neighbours who regard them as blasphemers.” Their “crime” is converting to Christianity—more than 20 years ago. Despite being “prisoners in their own home after being attacked in the street, having their car windscreens repeatedly smashed and eggs thrown at their windows” the Christian family said that both police and the Anglican church have failed to provide any meaningful support and are “reluctant to treat the problem as a religious hate crime.” Nissar Hussain, the father, said, “Our lives have been sabotaged and this shouldn’t happen in the United Kingdom. We live in a free democratic society and what they are doing to us is abhorrent.”
Turkey: Since August 27, as many as 15 churches received death threats for “denying Allah.” Even so, “Threats are not anything new for the Protestant community who live in this country and want to raise their children here,” said church leaders. As former Muslims, many of the congregation members, apostates from Islam, were threatened with beheading. The messages accuse the Christians of having “chosen the path that denies Allah” and “dragged others into believing as you do... As heretics you have increased your number with ignorant followers.” One of the messages depicted the Islamic State flag along with the words: “Perverted infidels, the time that we will strike your necks is soon. May Allah receive the glory and the praise.”
Pakistan: Police arrested a Christian brick kiln worker, Pervaiz Masih, in the Kasur District of Punjab province, after a Muslim business rival falsely accused him of insulting the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Pervaiz, a father of four, including a seven-month-old boy, fled his home after Muhammad Kahlid filed a report, which said that he had made derogatory remarks about Muhammad during a dispute. Police detained four of Pervaiz’s relatives; then officers dragged his wife into the streets and ripped off her clothing as they tried to get information about her husband’s whereabouts. Police also beat local Christians and raided Christian homes for information in Pervaiz’s town. Pervaiz eventually handed himself over to police in order that his relatives be released.
Ethiopia: A group of 15 young Christians were attacked and arrested for engaging in evangelism in eastern Ethiopia. Separately, six Christian leaders were found guilty of inciting public disturbance, destroying public trust in government officials, and spreading hatred. The six men, members of a church administrative committee, had written a letter to their national church leadership on March 11 describing the persecution they endured as Christians living in the Muslim-majority Silte zone. They complained of discrimination in employment opportunities, unfair dismissal from jobs, harsh job performance feedback, burned church buildings, physical attacks and death threats. The letter was leaked to local media and widely disseminated, prompting their arrest and conviction.
Germany: According to a report, “Many Christian refugees from Syria, Iraq or Kurdistan are being intimidated and attacked by Muslim refugees. In several refugee centers set up by the local authorities, Sharia law is being imposed and Christians—which are a minority—are the victims of bullying.” Gottfried Martens, pastor of a south Berlin church, said that “very religious Muslims are spreading the following idea throughout the refugee centers: Sharia law rules wherever we are.” Martens expressed especial concern for Muslims who convert to Christianity—apostates who, according to Islamic law, can be killed: “There is a 100% chance that these people will be attacked.”
Lebanon: Christians are being overrun by Muslim refugees from Syria and Iraq and are in danger of losing their place in their country, said Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil: “What is happening in Lebanon is an attempt to replace the people with [Muslim] Syrians and Palestinians.” Because Lebanon's Christian population is, and has historically been, a minority, Bassil said their rights are being threatened because “some are attempting to impose Muslims over Christians” (a situation also occurring in the U.S.) In an earlier interview, Bassil said that the Mideast Christian community as a whole has been eroded “in large chunks”: “In Iraq, it happened over 20 years, and we saw that 90 percent of the Christians have left Iraq. In Syria, we don't have actual numbers because of the chaos. We cannot tell. We know that there has been a lot of internal and external immigration and displacement…. But definitely churches have been destroyed and people have left already.”
United Kingdom: An Iranian, Noureden Mallaky-Soodmand, 41, was supposed to have been deported to Iran after he was arrested for hurling threats and brandishing knives on the streets of London. However, he was not deported, apparently because the Iranian Embassy was closed. He was, instead, re-housed 250 miles away in Stockton-on-Tees. Earlier, on April 2, holding a curved knife, he had run amok, screaming: “I’m a Muslim and I’ll chop your f***ing head, mother f***ers…. I’m Isis and my people will cut off your balls, Christians…. I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you all. I’m going to chop your head off and f*** you up.”
Muslim attacks on Christians erupted in two separate villages in Samalout, north of the Minya governorate. One attack apparently took place in “revenge” for the construction of a small church. In one village, five Copts were injured. In another village, Muslims packed into a number of cars attacked a Christian wedding ceremony. Three Copts were injured; throughout the area, young Christian girls were sexually harassed.
Separately, a group of Muslims in the village of al-Oula, near Alexandria, attacked Christian homes and a church on September 20, after police attempted to return land stolen by a Muslim to its rightful Christian owner. When the police arrived to implement the order, they were attacked and fled. “After the security forces fled,” said a church leader, “a large crowd surrounded [the] church and hurled stones at it. Then they attacked four homes owned by Christians.” At least two Christians were seriously injured, one had his spine fractured. “The El Houty family [Muslim family that stole Christian land] used microphones in the local mosque and in nearby villages to call out for the Muslims from everywhere around the village saying that the police have come to take the lands and give it to the Christians.”
A Coptic Christian female student, Mariam, who was discriminated against made headlines in major Egyptian media and created a scandal. Known as “Student Zero,” she was described by former teachers as a “brilliant student,” planning on becoming a doctor. She had scored 97% in her first two years and was expecting similar results in her final year—only to find that she had failed: her final grade was zero. She insisted on seeing the results for herself but was denied. When the issue made headlines, the results were shown to her. She and others—including handwriting experts—said that the handwriting on the test shown to her was not hers.
A Christian family was almost burned alive during a “land grab” attempt of their home by Muslims. Because Boota Masih, 38, and his wife and family refused to abandon their home and property to some Muslims, they were violently beaten. The Muslims next sprayed petrol over the house to set fire to it, and locked Boota and his family in a room. The Masihs managed to escape by breaking through a window. Despite the presence of eyewitnesses, the local police were reluctant to register a formal complaint, and instead, according to the lawyers, arrested Masih on spurious charges.
Most degrading jobs continue to be reserved for Christians and other minorities. The latest example comes from the Punjab Institute of Cardiology Lahore’s announcement of vacancies. In the list, all jobs are open to all applicants—except for “sanitary worker” positions, such as toilet cleaners: only non-Muslim applicants are eligible. According to labor lawyers, “this is a form of direct oppression, racism and bigotry against the nation’s religious minorities,” primarily Christians, Hindus, and non-Sunni Muslims.
------------------ Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. Originally published by the Gatestone Institute. Tags:Christian Persecution, Islam, Islamic extremism, David Horowitz, Raymond Ibrahim, Freedom CenterTo 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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