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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
Standing in front is Barack Obama, the President of the United States.
Seated behind him is Paul Ryan, the youngest Speaker of the House since 1869.
Historically, political scientists have said that “the president proposes and Congress disposes.” The assumption in Washington has been that the center of activism, ideas and policy initiatives would always be the White House.
For a few years after the Contract with America led to the first Republican House in 40 years (and the first re-elected Republican House in 68 years) the center of action and initiative clearly resided with the House Republicans. We reformed welfare, balanced the budget, cut the capital gains tax, reduced regulations, increased competition in the telecommunications industry, improved the Food and Drug Administration, and more.
Then the initiative shifted back toward the White House under Presidents Bush and Obama.
The failure of the stimulus plan to grow the economy, the failure of Obamacare to work, and the President’s disastrous foreign and national security policies have all undermined the Obama program and virtually guaranteed that his policies and executive orders will be reversed by the next Republican president.
As his second term winds down, President Obama will find it increasingly difficult to build a legacy.
Meanwhile, Speaker Ryan is as fresh and new as Obama is tired and old. Obama’s ideas represent the end of 80-plus years of left-wing thought combined with a new, anti-religious social radicalism that seeks to undermine the basic beliefs on which America was founded.
As Americans grow increasingly tired of the combined failures and radicalism of Obamaism, they look for positive alternative ideas.
At a time when the Democrats are collapsing at the state and national level, the emerging majority party cannot remain the opposition party.
As Speaker Ryan keeps saying, “Republicans have to be the proposition party and not merely the opposition party.” This is a lesson Ryan learned from his years working with Jack Kemp.
Kemp, like President Reagan, believed that America needed a positive, solution oriented conservatism. As a young staffer, Ryan worked for Kemp and Bill Bennett at Empower America. He also saw firsthand the power of the Contract with America as a positive set of reforms the American people wanted to vote for.
Today, Speaker Ryan sees it as his mission to lead House Republicans in developing the kind of conservative reforms the American people will support and which will lead to a prosperous, safer and more productive America.
Speaker Ryan’s recent cosponsorship (with Senator Tim Scott) of an AEI-Kemp Foundation conference on meeting the challenge of poverty in America is an example of his effort to break loose from purely negative, opposition party thinking. In precisely the Reagan-Kemp tradition, Ryan is advocating that Republicans find a better way forward for the poor rather than simply attacking the failures of the welfare state.
Over the next six months, Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans will be developing and announcing a wide series of bold reforms. It will be increasingly clear that it is the Ryan Republicans–not the Obama Democrats–who represent the future.
---------------------- 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:Obama Past, Paul Ryan Future, Newt Gingrich,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Will Next Investigation Be: Who Let Islamic State In?
SIS, some of whose fighters are shown here,
has promised to be "in direct confrontation"
with Americans. (AP File Photo)
by Terence Jeffrey: "Our last message is to the Americans," Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said in an audio recording released on Jan. 21, 2014. "Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day. So watch, for we are with you, watching."
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk quoted these words from Baghdadi in written testimony he submitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Feb. 5, 2014.
Baghdadi leads the terrorist movement that then called itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and now calls itself simply the Islamic State.
This week, testifying in the House Armed Services Committee, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell gave his assessment of whether the United States should take seriously the Islamic State's threats to attack this country.
"The head of the U.K.'s domestic security agency has warned that ISIS is planning mass casualty attacks in Britain," Morell told the committee. "ISIS has said that it wants to conduct similar attacks on the United States.
"One of the things I learned in 33 years in the CIA is sometimes it is really important to listen to what your adversary tells you," he said. "Sometimes they tell you exactly what they are going to do."
"ISIS has told us they are going to attack us here," he said. "Now that they have the attack capability in Europe, they are almost certainly working to do the same thing here, and unless they are degraded, they will succeed here.
"I don't have any doubt about that," Morell said.
In his written testimony, Morell distinguished between two types of attacks ISIS could perpetrate here — "indirect" attacks and "directed" attacks.
"In mid-2015, that threat was largely indirect — ISIS's ability to radicalize young American men and women to conduct lone wolf attacks here," he said. "That indirect threat remains today."
"Such attacks have already occurred in the U.S., including the attack in San Bernardino last month, which in terms of fatalities was the largest terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11," he said.
"Today," Morell said, "we face an additional threat from ISIS — a direct threat — an ISIS capability to plan and direct attacks in the homeland from the group's safe haven in Iraq and Syria. Just like the group did in Paris in November."
"Nearly 30,000 individuals from over 100 countries have traveled to Syria and Iraq," he said. "Some are homesteading there to help create the caliphate, others will die on the battlefield, but still others will return home — carrying with them the potential to conduct attacks. This has already happened in Europe."
While the federal government may not be able stop native U.S. citizens living here from becoming radicalized Islamic State sympathizers, it has a duty to stop Islamic State sympathizers and other radical Islamists who are foreign nationals from entering the United States.
After 9/11, Congress created The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States to investigate how that attack unfolded. Among its discoveries: The government did not adequately enforce the existing immigration and border-security laws.
"It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country," said the 9/11 Commission staff report on "Terrorist Travel."
"Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal," said this report. "Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy."
This report was published Aug. 21, 2004 — three years after 9/11.
The report said of the hijackers: "we endeavor to dispel the myth that their entry into the United States was 'clean and legal.' It was not."
"Three hijackers carried passports with indicators of Islamic extremism linked to al Qaeda; two others carried passports manipulated in a fraudulent manner," said the report. "It is likely that several more hijackers carried passports with similar fraudulent manipulation.
"Two hijackers lied on their visa applications," it said. "Once in the United States, two hijacker violated the terms of their visas. One overstayed his visa. And all but one obtained some form of state identification.
"We know that six of the hijackers used these state identifications to check in for their flights on September 11," said the report. "Three of them were fraudulently obtained."
And the presence of illegal immigrants in the United States helped the hijackers.
"Three Salvadoran immigrants living in Virginia, two illegally and one as a lawful permanent resident, were found guilty of helping four September 11 operatives use fraudulent documentation to obtain Virginia identification documents," said this 9/11 Commission staff report.
More than 14 years have passed since 9/11. Yet our borders are still open and our immigration laws are not enforced.
---------------------- Terence P. Jeffrey is editor-in-chief of the conservative CNSNews.com. Previously, he served for more than a decade as editor of Human Events, where he is now an editor at large. Tags:next investigation, Who let the Islamic State, In, Terence P. Jeffrey, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Wayne LaPierre says that President Obama has chosen to attack what he misunderstands most about America—the Second Amendment, gun owners and the NRA. Obama even announced a federal gun force that will be four times the size of the Special Forces units he deployed against ISIS terrorists. LaPierre concludes by challenging the president to a one-on-one, one-hour fair debate.There’s no way Obama will take LaPierre’s challenge. The NRA’s Executive Vice President and CEO would dismantle the President’s lies one after another and leave him sputtering incoherently.
--------------- Bob Owens is the Editor of BearingArms.com. Tags:NRA, Wayne LaPierre, challenges, Barack Obama, To Televised DebateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
"Democrats are motivated by specific policy deliverables while Republicans are motivated by broader philosophical principles";
"Democrats rely on more interest groups than Republicans" do;
"Democrats prefer politicians who compromise, and Republicans prefer politicians who stick to their principles";
"Policymaking has a liberal bias -- even when Republicans do it."
Klein also draws on research by political scientists Matthew Grossmann and David Hopkins, who in their paper, "Policymaking in Red and Blue," conclude that "the Republican Party is dominated by ideologues who are committed to small-government principles, while Democrats represent a coalition of social groups seeking public policies that favor their particular interests."
Interest groups demanding that their "particular interests" be addressed with more "deliverables" from government would certainly explain a strong Democratic Party bias in favor of more government. Klein seems to be saying that Democrats are led, as if by an invisible hand, in the socialistic direction.
But why does a Republican Party supposedly "dominated" by those with "small-government principles" also advance policies that grow big government? "New policies usually expand the scope of government responsibility, funding, or regulation," Grossmann and Hopkins point out.
Perhaps Republican politicians are more influenced by their own position in government than by the views of their base voters.
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:Great Ideological Divide, Ezra Klein, Paul Jacob, Common SenseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: The Obama Administration must be disconnected from reality. Consider these statements regarding the same event -- Iran's seizure of our patrol boats and sailors.Secretary of State John Kerry: "I want to underscore how pleased I am that our sailors were safely returned into the United States' hands this morning. . . I also want to thank the Iranian authorities for their cooperation and quick response. . . And, in fact, it is clear that today this kind of issue was able to be peacefully resolved and officially resolved, and that is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure and strong."
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Arachi: "This shows Iran's internal power as we powerfully seized the military vessel of the world's big military power. . . This is a sign of our might."In addition, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy committee, wrote a letter to Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the head of Iran's navy, congratulating him for the "brave" actions of Iranian Navy. According to Iran's Tasnim news agency, Boroujerdi added that the encounter sent a clear message to regional countries "that the Islamic Republic of Iran feels responsible for the security of the Persian Gulf."
The Iranians think they forced the U.S. Navy to back down and retreat. They are telling the entire Middle East that they are in charge of the region. And we are thanking them and patting ourselves on the back for a great diplomatic success.
By the way, a lot of questions are being asked about how our sailors were treated, why they didn't resist and whether they were ordered to comply with the Iranians. We notified the Iranians that a search and rescue operation was underway, yet they seized our sailors anyway.
An Iranian official said that they had targeted the USS Harry Truman with radar systems and were prepared to fire. If true, that would be an extraordinarily hostile act that would ordinarily justify taking out those radar instillations.
Some pundits are suggesting that we stepped back from the brink of war. I disagree completely. Based on the Iranian reaction and their interpretation of events, I think war is more likely. Read more in my opinion piece at the Washington Examiner.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Tale of Two NationsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
The back-and-forth escalation quickly turned the simmering tension into an overt struggle for power in the Middle East. First, the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric prompted protestors to set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations and kicked out Iranian diplomatic personnel. Tehran banned Saudi goods from entering Iran. Worst of all, Iran blames Saudi Arabia for an airstrike that landed near its embassy in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia's Sunni allies in the Arabian Peninsula largely followed suit by downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran. However, recognizing the dire implications of a major conflict in the region, most of Saudi Arabia's Gulf State allies did not go as far as to entirely sever diplomatic relations, as Saudi Arabia did. Bahrain, the one nation most closely allied with Riyadh, was the only one to take such a step.
Many of them are concerned about a descent to further instability. Nations like Kuwait and Qatar have trade links with Iran, plus Shiite populations of their own. Crucially, Qatar also shares a maritime border with Iran as well as access to massive natural gas reserves in the Persian Gulf. These countries are trying to split the difference between the two belligerent nations in the Middle East. "The Saudis are on the phone lobbying countries very hard to break off ties with Iran but most Gulf states are trying to find some common ground," a diplomat from an Arab country told Reuters. "The problem is, common ground between everyone in this region is shrinking."
The effect from the brewing conflict on oil is murky, but for now it is not having a bullish impact. In the past, geopolitical tension in the Middle East, especially involving large oil producers, would add a few dollars to the price of oil. This risk premium captured the possibility of a supply disruption into the price of a barrel of crude. However, recent events barely registered in oil trading. That is because the global glut in oil supplies loom larger than any potential for a supply disruption. Oil dropped to nearly $30 per barrel on January 12 and oil speculators are not paying any attention to the tension in the Middle East. Also, the conflict could simply manifest itself in an intensified battle for oil market share. Iran has put forth aggressive goals to ramp up oil production in the near-term. And Saudi Arabia continues to produce well in excess of 10 million barr els per day while discounting its crude in several key markets, particularly in Europe in order to box out Iran.
But what if the current "Cold War" between Saudi Arabia and Iran turned hot?
Saudi Arabia has a variety of reasons to not back down, not the least of which is the very real sense of being besieged on multiple fronts. An article in The New Statesman by former British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Jenkins, clearly laid out the threats that Saudi Arabia sees around every corner: extremists at home; a growing Iran; toppled allies from the Arab Spring; low oil prices; and a fractured relationship with the United States. The nuclear deal between Iran and the West was confirmation on the feeling in Riyadh that it is becoming increasingly insecure.
Already the two rivals have engaged in proxy battles in Yemen and Syria, supporting opposite sides in those wars. A full on direct military confrontation would be something entirely different, however. It would have catastrophic consequences for oil markets, even when taking into account the current supply overhang. Dr. Hossein Askari, a professor at The George Washington University, told Oil & Gas 360 that a war between the two countries could lead to supply disruptions, with predictable impacts on prices.
"If there is a war confronting Iran and Saudi Arabia, oil could overnight go to above $250, but decline [back] down to the $100 level," said Askari. "If they attack each other's loading facilities, then we could see oil spike to over $500 and stay around there for some time depending on the extent of the damage."
While not impossible, war is speculative at this point. Also, $250 and $500 per barrel are numbers pulled out of thin air, and may seem a bit sensationalist. But despite the glut in global oil production – somewhere around 1 mb/d – the margin from excess to shortage is thinner than most people think. OPEC is producing flat out and spare capacity is actually remarkably low right now. The EIA estimated that OPEC spare capacity stood at just 1.25 mb/d in the third quarter of 2015, the lowest level since 2008.
As a result, even though it remains a remote possibility, direct military confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran could well put oil back into triple-digit territory in short order.
---------------------- James Stafford is Editor, OilPrice.com the leading online energy news site and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service Tags:Saudia Arabia, Iran, war, oil prices, 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!
by Robert Nisbet: Nowhere is the concern with the problem of community in Western society more intense than with respect to the family. The contemporary family, as countless books, articles, college courses, and marital clinics make plain, has become an obsessive problem. The family inspires a curious dualism of thought. We tend to regard it uneasily as a final manifestation of tribal society, somehow inappropriate to a democratic, industrial age, but, at the same time, we have become ever more aware of its possibilities as an instrument of social reconstruction.
The intensity of theoretical interest in the family has curiously enough risen in direct proportion to the decline of the family’s basic institutional importance to our culture. The present “problem” of the family is dramatized by the fact that its abstract importance to the moralist or psychologist has grown all the while that its tangible institutional significance to the layman and its functional importance to economy and State have diminished.
It is doubtless one more manifestation of the contemporary quest for security that students of the family increasingly see its main “function” to be that of conferring “adjustment” upon the individual, and, for the most part, they find no difficulty at all in supposing that this psychological function can be carried on by the family in what is otherwise a functional vacuum. Contemporary social psychology has become so singlemindedly aware of the psychological gratification provided by the group for individual needs of security and recognition that there is an increasing tendency to suppose that such a function is primary and can maintain itself autonomously, impervious to changes in institutional functions which normally give a group importance in culture. For many reasons the contemporary family is made to carry a conscious symbolic importance that is greater than ever, but it must do this with a structure much smaller in size and of manifestly diminishing relevance to the larger economic, religious, and political ends of contemporary society.
Historically the family’s importance has come from the fact of intimate social cohesion united with institutional significance in society, not from its sex or blood relationships. In earlier ages, kinship was inextricably involved in the processes of getting a living, providing education, supporting the infirm, caring for the aged, and maintaining religious values. In vast rural areas, until quite recently, the family was the actual agency of economic production, distribution, and consumption. Even in towns and cities, the family long retained its close relation to these obviously crucial activities. Organized living was simply inconceivable, for the most part, outside of the context provided by kinship. Few individuals were either too young or too old to find a place of importance within the group, a fact which enhanced immeasurably the family’s capacity for winning allegiance and providing symbolic integration for the individual.
The interpersonal and psychological aspects of kinship were never made to rest upon personal romance alone or even upon pure standards of individual rectitude. Doubtless, deviations from the moral code and disillusionment with romance were as common then as now. But they did not interfere with the cultural significance of the family simply because the family was far more than an interpersonal relationship based upon affection and moral probity. It was an indispensable institution.
But in ever-enlarging areas of population in modern times, the economic, legal, educational, religious, and recreational functions of the family have declined or diminished. Politically, membership in the family is superfluous; economically, it is regarded by many as an outright hindrance to success. The family, as someone has put it, is now the accident of the worker rather than his essence. His competitive position may be more favorable without it. Our systems of law and education and all the manifold recreational activities of individuals engaged in their pursuit of happiness have come to rest upon, and to be directed to, the individual, not the family. On all sides we continue to celebrate from pulpit and rostrum the indispensability to economy and the State of the family. But, in plain fact, the family is indispensable to neither of these at the present time. The major processes of economy and political administration have become increasingly independent of the symbolism and integrative activities of kinship.
There is an optimistic apologetics that sees in this waning of the family’s institutional importance only the beneficent hand of Progress. We are told by certain psychologists and sociologists that, with its loss of economic and legal functions, the family has been freed of all that is basically irrelevant to its “real” nature; that the true function of the family—the cultivation of affection, the shaping of personality, above all, the manufacture of “adjustment”—is now in a position to flourish illimitably, to the greater glory of man and society. In a highly popular statement, we are told that the family has progressed from institution to companionship.
But, as Ortega y Gasset has written, “people do not live together merely to be together. They live together to do something together.” To suppose that the present family, or any other group, can perpetually vitalize itself through some indwelling affectional tie, in the absence of concrete, perceived functions, is like supposing that the comradely ties of mutual aid which grow up incidentally in a military unit will long outlast a condition in which war is plainly and irrevocably banished. Applied to the family, the argument suggests that affection and personality cultivation can somehow exist in a social vacuum, unsupported by the determining goals and ideals of economic and political society. But in hard fact no social group will long survive the disappearance of its chief reasons for being, and these reasons are not, primarily, biological but institutional. Unless new institutional functions are performed by a group—family, trade union, or church—its psychological influence will become minimal.
No amount of veneration for the psychological functions of a social group, for the capacity of the group to gratify cravings for security and recognition, will offset the fact that, however important these functions may be in any given individual’s life, he does not join the group essentially for them. He joins the group if and when its larger institutional or intellectual functions have relevance both to his own life organization and to what he can see of the group’s relation to the larger society. The individual may indeed derive vast psychic support and integration from the pure fact of group membership, but he will not long derive this when he becomes in some way aware of the gulf between the moral claims of a group and its actual institutional importance in the social order.
All of this has special relevance to the family, with its major function now generally reduced by psychologists to that of conferring adjustment upon individuals. Yet in any objective view the family is probably now less effective in this regard than it has ever been. It is plain that the family is no longer the main object of personal loyalty in ever larger sections of our population, and it is an overstrain on the imagination to suppose that it will regain a position of psychological importance through pamphlets, clinics, and high-school courses on courtship and marriage. How quaint now seems that whole literature on sexual adjustment in marriage with its implicit argument that sexual incompatibility is the basic cause of the reduced significance of marriage. Some of the solemn preoccupations with “family tensions” which now hold the field of clinical practice will one day no doubt seem equally quaint.
the quest for communityThe current problem of the family, like the problem of any social group, cannot be reduced to simple sets of psychological complexes which exist universally in man’s nature, or to an ignorance of sexual techniques, or to a lack of Christian morality. The family is a major problem in our culture simply because we are attempting to make it perform psychological and symbolic functions with a structure that has become fragile and an institutional importance that is almost totally unrelated to the economic and political realities of our society. Moreover, the growing impersonality and the accumulating demands of ever larger sections of our world of business and government tend to throw an extraordinary psychological strain upon the family. In this now small and fragile group we seek the security and affection denied everywhere else. It is hardly strange that timeless incompatibilities and emotional strains should, in the present age, assume an unwonted importance—their meaning has changed with respect to the larger context of men’s lives. We thus find ourselves increasingly in the position of attempting to correct, through psychiatric or spiritual techniques, problems which, although assuredly emotional, derive basically from a set of historically given institutional circumstances.
------------ Robert Nisbet (1913-1996) was a professor at Columbia University and the author of The Sociological Tradition, The Social Bond, The Present Age, and other books. The above was shared with the ARRA News Service by Intercollegiant Studies Institute Tags:family isn't working, Robert Nisbet, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Sanctions Relief Will Only Aid Iran’s Network Of Terror
IRGC seizure of two U.S. ships & ten sailors
by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: Just as President Obama is about to revoke the economic sanctions on Iran’s years-long illegal nuclear projects, the fundamentalist mullahs once again showed their true colors. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) detained 10 of our sailors at gun point and Tehran’s state-television broadcast images of them with their hands above their heads being involuntarily taken to the Iranian island of Farsi.
While Iran’s aggressive posturing doesn’t surprise me in the least, I find it a national embarrassment that Obama’s policy of appeasing the murderous mullahs led Secretary of State John Kerry to even thank Iran’s regime for eventually releasing the sailors. This kind of response only encourages the mullahs to further act like an outlaw bully, without fear of repercussion.
This will also be the effect of releasing billions of dollars of Iran's frozen assets, which will surely go straight into the coffers of the IRGC, the very people whose images were broadcast on Iranian state TV parading our sailors as captives.
Critics of the deal rightly worry that sanctions relief will only reinvigorate Iran's war machine in Syria and elsewhere at a time when pressure could have limited Iran's regional influence.
Whatever benefits the West hopes to achieve from new investments in the Islamic Republic, they don't justify the blood that will stain our hands when we feed such a narrow and dangerous segment of the Iranian economy.
Some Western companies are eager to invest in Iran, as evidenced by President Hassan Rouhani's forthcoming, trade-oriented trip to Italy and France. But for Iranians, the prospects seem dim, since three years under Rouhani have led to no improvement in economic conditions.
According to the Paris-based Middle East Studies Foundation, more than 50% of Iran's gross domestic product is controlled by 14 entities, all of which are affiliated with the military and security apparatus and controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Virtually all Western businesses that invest in Iran will be dealing with these entities and contributing to the expenses of the Revolutionary Guards, including financial aid to the Assad regime in Syria.
In September, the French Accor hotel chain signed a contract with the Iranian company Aria Ziggurat on the management of two 4- and 5-star hotels, Ibis and Novotel. Aria Ziggurat is 100% owned by the Segma tourism investment group, the Persian abbreviation for Iran Cultural Heritage & Tourism Investment Group, a branch of the Revolutionary Guards' companies.
The deferral of Iranian wealth to the Syrian and Iraqi battlefields is obligatory for the Iranian government. The supreme leader has outlined his "6th Economic Plan," which will be implemented on March 21, calling for a portion of the country's oil income to be placed on deposit to provide support for "revolutionary entities," i.e. the Guards and foreign militias.
Any such siphoning of Iran's new revenue streams is sure to have a negative impact on the domestic economy, since the prospective recovery is already severely limited.
zzzAccording to Arab Oil Capital Co., Iran can be expected to add only 400,000 barrels per day to its production by the end of 2016 from a starting point of 2.8 million bpd. It will then gain only an additional 300,000 bpd in 2017, falling well short of its pre-sanction levels of 4 million bpd.
The Iranian Oil Ministry's assessment of the past five years indicates recovery of the oil and gas sector requires more than $100 billion in investment. But Iranian officials have not designed a plan for attracting this capital or overcoming the financial and technical problems that might cause international companies to delay their return to Iran for over a decade.
Furthermore, those initial assessments didn't take into account the steep decline in the price of oil, which dipped below $30 a barrel this week.
All these factors point to the persistence of the recession that has been suffocating Iran's economy. On Oct. 7, the International Monetary Fund forecast Iran's economic growth at 0%. Iranian economists believe the economy will emerge from its crisis only when it has an annual growth of at least 6%.
The money to be released from sanctions won't seriously boost that economy or improve the lives of everyday Iranians. It will be at the disposal of the Guards and other entities that dominate Iran's economic infrastructure.
Its real effect will be to provide for the expenses of this regime's terrorism, export of fundamentalism and suppression of the Iranian people, including dissidents, many of whom are members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK). This group is the principal organized opposition movement to the clerical dictatorship, and the key component of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. The MEK has seen some 120,000 of its members and supporters executed for daring to demand freedom and democracy.
The Iranians’ ambitions have been frustrated by every Iranian administration since the 1979 revolution. And this has not changed one bit under the tenure of the so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani. In fact, he has broken every campaign promise for a freer and more open Iran.
So when Rouhani visits Italy and France later this month, he'll try to entice European entities into doing more business with Iran. But even if he's successful, Iran's economy will remain engulfed in crises that require serious political alterations in order to be resolved. And these reforms are as far away as ever. So enriching Rouhani’s Iran will do no good for either the political or the economic future of the people of Iran.
Instead of helping to replenish the IRGC’s terror funds, our allies in Europe who share our democratic values, particularly in France and Italy, should be called upon to forcefully take Rouhani to task over Tehran’s abysmal track record of terrorism and human rights abuses. Notwithstanding Rouhani’s façade, Tehran today is no different from any time during the past 36 years. It only understands the language of firmness, and it is only through that language that we will achieve anything of value.
------------------ Ken Blackwell is a former ambassador to the U.N., Ohio Secretary of State and mayor of Cincinnati. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, Sanctions Relief, Will Only, Aid, Iran’s Network Of TerrorTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: On Tuesday, former (and perhaps soon to be again) First Daughter Chelsea Clinton attacked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her mother’s chief rival in the presidential primaries.
“Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the [Children’s Health Insurance Program], dismantle Medicare, dismantle private insurance,” Chelsea charged, telling an Iowa audience that he “would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance.”
The Sanders campaign quickly fired back that the young Clinton was “wrong” and disingenuously ignoring the fact that Sanders would bestow government-paid healthcare coverage on every American. For free! (Unless you happen to pay taxes, that is. Then, it’d be very expensive.)
“It wasn’t an honest attack,” declared Democratic strategist David Axelrod on CNN.
But on ABC, Hillary defended her daughter, doubling-down by arguing, “that’s exactly what he’s proposed. To take everything we currently know as health care, Medicare, Medicaid, the CHIP Program, private insurance, now the Affordable Care Act, and roll it together.”
Strange, in 2008, when Hillary was promoting a single-payer system and Barack Obama took issue, Mrs. Clinton decried “tactics right out of Karl Rove’s playbook,” asking, “Since when do Democrats attack one another on universal healthcare?”
“This is wrong and every Democrat should be outraged,” the 2008 Hillary declared. “So shame on you, Barack Obama!”
Now it’s Hillary Clinton who knows no shame.
“More striking perhaps,” lamented Mark Halperin, a senior political analyst for MSNBC and Bloomberg News, “was a lack of interest that most of the news world had to [Chelsea’s] remarks.”
Maybe when Clintons “dismantle” the truth, it just isn’t news anymore.
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, Shameless, The Next Generation, Chelsea ClintonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
There actually is abundant evidence that Ted Cruz’s proposal of the gold standard is the very best idea in the presidential debate so far and that Cruz is to be commended for it. There’s far more evidence for the goodness of gold than for considering it a bad idea. It certainly is not ridiculous. Let’s take a closer look.
Mr. Hiltzik, after his prerequisite preliminary orgy of ridicule, writes:The gold standard is one of the few economic nostrums on which progressives and conservatives agree. Neither side likes it. Here, for example, is James Pethokoukis of the conservative American Enterprise Institute: “When GOP presidential candidates talk about the gold standard, I’m not sure if they’re serious or just signaling a certain segment of voters obsessed about inflation and the dangers of ‘fiat money.’ I sure hope they’re not serious and this is just campaign season silliness.”The proposition is flat, factually, wrong that “The gold standard is one of the few economic nostrums on which progressives and conservatives agree.” Mr. Hiltzik cherry picked one — James Pethokoukis — of very, very, few conservatives who have been consistently hostile to the gold standard.
A few others have written occasional criticism of the gold standard but none have crusaded against it comparably to Pethokoukis. Pethokoukis is a conservative outlier in manning the anti-gold barricades along with left wing polemicists such as Paul Krugman.
The right predominantly supports, or at least appreciates, the gold standard. In addition to Ted Cruz’s direct advocacy presidential contenders Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee have made sympathetic statements. Jeb Bush has professed open-mindedness.
Among conservative and libertarian public intellectuals proponents include such greatly respected figures as Reagan Gold Commissioner Lewis E. Lehrman (founder and chairman of The Lehrman Institute, with which I once had a professional association), publisher and former presidential contender Steve Forbes, and financier/philanthropist Sean Fieler (who chairs the American Principles Project, which I professionally advise).
Journalists William Kristol, George Melloan, James Grant, Nathan Lewis, John Tamny and Peter Ferrara, among many, many, others have praised the gold standard. Dr. Norbert Michel of Heritage Foundation and Dr. George Selgin of the Cato Institute, both monetary policy thought leaders, have expressed astute sympathy toward, although not advocacy of, the gold standard.
Mr. Hiltzik states that “economic historians concluded long ago, however, the idea that the gold standard provided stability is a myth.” While this is a correct as to prevailing sentiment such views by no means are unanimous. In addition to economic historian Prof. Brian Domitrovic, Prof. Richard Timberlake, particularly in his excellent 2013 Constitutional Money: A Review of the Supreme Court’s Monetary Decisions, do not support Hiltzik’s overgeneralized conclusion. Nor does monetary economist Prof. Lawrence White of George Mason University.
Prof. Robert Mundell, in his magisterial 1999 Nobel Prize in Economics acceptance speech offers a far more appreciative and wide-ranging view of the history of the gold standard than that stated by Mr. Hiltzik. While Mundell can not be counted an outright gold standard proponent he clearly is a sympathizer.
“Economic stability” (which ostensibly economic historians concluded “long ago” that the gold standard lacks) is relative. The current epoch of fiduciary monetary policy is much less stable than the precursor gold standard. Fed Chair Paul Volcker, himself not an advocate of the gold standard, definitively nailed the instability of the current fiduciary dollar standard in a speech at the Bretton Woods Committee in 2014. Volcker:In fact, international financial crises seem at least as frequent and more destructive in impeding economic stability and growth. The United States, in particular, had in the 1970’s an unhappy decade of inflation ending in stagflation. The major Latin American debt crisis followed in the 1980’s. There was a serious banking crisis late in that decade, followed by a new Mexican crisis, and then the really big and damaging Asian crisis. Less than a decade later, it was capped by the financial crisis of the 2007-2009 period and the great Recession. Not a pretty picture.As I have noted, "Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan recently, in Foreign Affairs, while not discerning gold on the horizon, recently celebrated the 'universal acceptability of gold' while raising a quizzical avuncular eyebrow, or two, at what he describes as 'fiat' currency. He repeated his assessment before the Council of Foreign Relations.
As for former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, as I noted in an op-ed in Roll Call, “Chairman Bernanke’s statement that ‘if you look at actual history the gold standard didn’t work well’ was in direct contradiction of Governor Bernanke’s 2004 speech at Washington and Lee University in which he stated:The gold standard appeared to be highly successful from about 1870 to the beginning of World War I in 1914. During the so-called ‘classical gold standard period,’ international trade and capital flows expanded markedly, and central banks experienced relatively few problems ensuring that their currencies retained their legal value.Going offshore, Dr. Jens Weidmann, president of the Bundesbank, called the gold standard “in a sense, a timeless classic” in a 2012 notable speech, Money creation and responsibility at the Institute for Bank-Historical Research. Former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India S.S. Tarapore has written extensively and favorably on the gold standard. So too has written former finance minister of El Salvador Manuel Hinds (who dollarized the Salvadoran economy to its great benefit).
The Bank of England’s 2011 Financial Stability Paper No. 13 assessed the Federal Reserve Note standard and its real outcomes — in every category reviewed, including job creation, economic growth, and inflation -- has demonstrated itself, over 40 years, as inferior to the gold and gold-exchange standards. Further research since that time supports the assessment of this paper.
And reaching into history, as I here wrote:Gold advocates and sympathizers from the deep past include Copernicus and Newton, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Witherspoon, John Marshall and Tom Paine, among many other American founders; and, from the less distant past, such important thinkers as Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises and Jacques Rueff, as well as revered political leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp.There is a very respectable body of opinion in support of the gold standard. The record of this is by no means obscure. Mr. Hiltzik’s excluding respected proponents of the gold standard in reaching his conclusion does not do his readers justice.
So why the hostility (and snark) directed at the gold standard? If I believed as does Mr. Hiltzik that … the ‘stability’ provided by linking currencies and exchange rates to a fixed value of gold benefited only one economic class — creditors, who desired the returns on their assets to be protected from inflation and to take primacy over every other interest group … then I too — as a worker (AFL-CIO member) not an oligarch — would be as hostile to the gold standard as is Mr. Hiltzik. That said, characterizing the gold standard as a way to privilege Scrooge and prejudice Bob Cratchit is contradicted by the facts.
Under the post-war Bretton Woods dilute form of the gold standard, for example, workers and median income families thrived, and dramatically so. Soon after Nixon “temporarily” closed the gold window, in 1971, median family income flat-lined … while the rich got much richer. The ending of the gold standard correlates directly with median family wage stagnation. Meanwhile Scrooge did much better than ever.
Empirical evidence is persuasive that the gold standard, properly done (an important caveat — with the parity point set neutrally or even slightly favorably toward labor and debtors) is far more beneficial to working people than has been the fiduciary dollar management of the Nixonian monetary regime under which we still labor today.
It seems that Mr. Hiltzik, along many others in the cultural elite (including all of the 40 — not 51 — academic economists, few of whom were monetary economists) sloppily surveyed by the Booth School in 2012, has fallen prey to the “Eichengreen Fallacy.” The Eichengreen Fallacy is the attribution of the Great Depression to the gold standard. The gold standard had ceased operation over a decade before the Great Depression hit. It was not the causative factor.
I once described the Eichengreen Fallacy here:Prof. Eichengreen, author of lGolden Fetters, was and remains non-cognizant of a subtle but crucial aspect of world monetary history — and, apparently, of the works of Profs. Jacques Rueff and Robert Triffin elucidating the implications. Eichengreen blundered by attributing the Great Depression to the gold standard. This, demonstrably, is untrue. That claim has led the discourse astray.
The classical gold standard … collapsed under the pressure of the first World War, long before the Great Depression. The classical gold standard was suspended when the Depression hit.
An attempt was made to resuscitate the gold standard in Genoa, in 1922, putting in place what that great French classical liberal economist Jacques Rueff called “a grotesque caricature” of the gold standard: the gold-exchange standard. Genoa authorized a deformed pastiche of gold and paper currency as official central bank reserve assets.The Economist recently, and aptly, referred to the Interwar gold-exchange standard as “a mess.” Mr. Hiltzik, following Eichengreen, collapses a critical distinction.
Cruz is on strong ground — economically, historically, and politically — in his advocacy of the gold standard. The claim “The worst idea in the presidential debate: a return to the gold standard” is, simply, unsupported by the facts. While the gold standard is not, nor is it claimed to be, perfect — no system is perfect — it has an impressive track record. Readers deserve to have the evidence objectively reviewed rather than the topic ridiculed.
The gold standard correlates with the American Dream of achieving decent middle class affluence through hard work far better than middle class affluence correlates with the Federal Reserve Note standard. Sen. Cruz’s advocacy of the gold standard is impeccably respectable.The gold standard is the best idea in the 2016 presidential debate.
----------------- Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to theARRA News Service. Founder of The Prosperity Caucus, he was a member of the Jack Kemp supply-side team, served in an unrelated area as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House. The article which first appeared in Forbes was submitted for reprint by the author. Tags:Ted Cruz, best idea, return to, Gold Standard, Ralph BenkoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Hillary Clinton, front Runner problems, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Melissa Quinn:: President Barack Obama looked to the future Tuesday night in his final State of the Union address, touching on issues ranging from health care and the economy to climate change, terrorism, and military strength.
Obama touted the achievements of his seven years in office and outlined how he thought his policies will help Americans for years to come.
The president delivered the nationally televised speech to a joint session of Congress as well as members of his Cabinet, U.S. Supreme Court justices, military officers, and dozens of special guests.
Here, The Daily Signal provides more context for some of Obama’s claims.
Obama:“Nearly 18 million have gained [health] coverage so far. Health care inflation has slowed. And our businesses have created jobs every single month since it became law.”
Despite the president’s claim that more than 18 million Americans now have health insurance—credited to Obamacare’s implementation—the majority of those who gained coverage qualified for Medicaid because of loosened eligibility.
Since the health care law went into effect in 2013, 31 states and the District of Columbia have opted to expand Medicaid, the federal health program for the poor.
From January 2014 to July 2014, more than 8 million Americans gained coverage under the president’s signature health care law. However, 71 percent of those signups were attributed to Medicaid expansion.
Additionally, an October 2015 report found that though more than 9 million Americans gained health insurance in all of 2014, the Medicaid rolls swelled. Of the 9.25 million Americans who enrolled in health coverage, 97 percent—8.99 million Americans—received insurance through Medicaid.
For Americans who receive coverage through their employer or the individual market, many have been faced with skyrocketing premiums and deductibles. Premiums increased in 49 of the 50 states for 2016 on the individual market, with many premiums growing by double digits.
Obama:“More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.”
Though the deficit fell during Obama’s presidency, Romina Boccia, a senior budget analyst at The Heritage Foundation, said this can be attributed to the recovery following the 2008 recession and tax hikes on Americans.
Boccia also noted that Congress has cut spending, largely because of the caps put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act. Still, in the years since they went into effect, Congress and the White House have weakened the caps.
Labor experts also argue that though the unemployment rate has fallen steadily, millions of Americans have left the workforce.
Obama:“We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.”
In 2014, the U.S. accounted for more than one-third of military spending worldwide, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
America spends several times more on its military than does second-place China.
Still, U.S. military spending as a percent of total government spending dropped from 10.4 percent in 2013 to 9.5 percent in 2014. And military spending declined from its 2010 peak, although it is higher than in 2001, just before 9/11.
In its 2016 Index of Military Strength, The Heritage Foundation reports that budget sequestration spending caps affected military readiness and capability. Though the U.S. military is able to engage in a single major regional conflict while tending to its normal presence in other countries, it would be “ill-equipped” to fight two significant wars at once, Heritage says.
Obama:“For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology. With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.”
Most of the airstrikes have occurred in Iraq, not in Syria, where the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has its home base. In Syria, the U.S. has to contend with an unfriendly dictatorship—which it wants neither to coordinate with nor to attack—and with Russian airstrikes, which began this fall.
Some critics have argued that the U.S. should send more ground troops to fight ISIS in Syria, but Obama has said Americans have no appetite for an enduring war, and that Sunni-Arab fighters must lead the effort to defeat the brutal Islamist terrorists.
In October, Obama ordered several dozen Special Operations troops into Syria, representing the first open-ended ground forces sent into that country.
Also in October, the Defense Department abandoned a $500 million program to train moderate Syrian rebels. It decided instead to use the money to provide ammunition and weapons for groups already succeeding in the fight against ISIS.
The decision to drop the training program came after the administration announced it graduated only a few recruits among the Syrian rebels.
Obama:“That’s why we built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.”
The United States and five other world powers last summer reached a deal with Iran that limits the Islamic regime’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
Iran agreed to reduce its stockpile of uranium by 98 percent. But the main provisions of the agreement expire in 10 to 15 years.
After that, Iran can produce uranium on an industrial scale.
When Iran meets its obligations—during what is known as “implementation day”—the international community will allow Tehran to access some $100 billion in frozen oil revenue. Iran has not yet reached implementation day, so technically its nuclear program has not been rolled back.
Iran completed an important step Monday when the regime reported it had removed the core of its plutonium-producing nuclear reactor, which limits the amount of plutonium to a level insufficient to make a bomb.
While the U.S. has said Iran is living up to its commitments under the nuclear deal so far, Tehran also has launched ballistic missile tests in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and continues to support unpopular proxies in the region.
The Obama administration argues that the nuclear deal with Iran is about only that issue, and that punishing Tehran for other actions could undermine the agreement.
Obama did not mention Tuesday’s news that Iran was holding 10 American sailors after two naval vessels traveled into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. U.S. officials said they expected the men to be released by Wednesday morning.
Obama:“But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record—until 2015 turned out even hotter…”
The president is right when he says last year was the warmest year on record, but that data point doesn’t necessarily translate into increased global warming.
In making this claim, Obama was referring to a 2015 study released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA). But there are serious questions about the data driving that study and the conclusions drawn from it by politicians.
Some of the weather stations that collect those measures are located in industrial areas, surrounded by buildings, parking lots, and other structures that retain heat and skew the data.
For instance, the official weather station in Washington, D.C., is located at Reagan National Airport. As Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute explains, that station produces an inaccurate weather report because it measures increased heat produced by “several hundred feet lower in elevation … the brick buildings [nearby], and the pavement of urban Washington.”
Geography could also play a significant role in some NOAA’s dramatic numbers. The weather stations that provide the data for the report are not spread out.
“These stations are not distributed in a regular, comprehensive geological pattern” notes David Kreutzer, a senior fellow in energy economics at The Heritage Foundation. As a result, he concludes that the data “doesn’t prove a climate crisis is evident.”
Obama:“In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal—in jobs that pay better than average."
Wind power isn’t just cheaper than fossil fuels, as the president said. Often, as in Texas last March, wind-generated electricity is sold for negative prices. Slate reports that companies actually were paying Texas public utilities to take their excess electricity.
Among many factors artificially driving the price down was a generous federal production tax credit that pays producers 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Nick Loris, an economist who is the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, explains that subsidies and regulation—like the Texas wind credit—govern and skew significant portions of the energy market.
And although, as the president says, the solar industry does employ more Americans than coal, Loris says, that’s because of an unfair playing field.
“Heavy-handed regulations,” he says, “are driving out coal as an important, reliable energy source and destroying jobs in the process.” Meanwhile, “solar benefits from generous taxpayer-funded subsidies.”
Loris notes further that increased oil drilling, not solar production, does more to push down electricity prices.
The Energy Information Administration reported that in 2015 that“wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs … were down 27 percent [to]37 percent across the nation” and that the price drop was “driven largely by lower natural gas prices.”
---------------- Melissa Quinn (@MelissaQuinn97 ) is a news reporter for The Daily Signal. Tags:Fact-Checking, President Obama, Final State of the Union, Melissa Quinn, 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!
by Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council: When he took office, Barack Obama promised hope. And with his final term almost over, Americans finally have it. For most of the country, the last seven years have been a tragic departure from the values that made America a great nation. But as far as the White House is concerned, that isn't cause for concern -- but celebration. It means that this president has accomplished exactly what he said he set out to do: fundamentally transform America.
The evidence of it is everywhere -- from the danger on our streets to the confusion in our classrooms; from the further fracturing of the family to the misuse of our military. And unfortunately, we'll be spending the better part of a generation trying to repair the damage of the Obama administration. But, as everyone watching this evening's State of the Union knows, there is light at the end of the lawless tunnel. We see it in the fresh face sitting in the Speaker's chair behind President Obama. We see it in the audience, where brave women like Kim Davis and the Little Sisters of the Poor will be sitting -- symbols of defiance in the president's war on religious liberty. And we see it in the speeches of the men and women vying to stand exactly where the president is next year.
We remember that for every outrageous ruling on marriage, there were brave county clerks. For each attack on faith and nature's law, there were cities like Houston. And for every atheist suing to take God out schools, there were godly principals. At last night's State of the Family address at FRC, we paid tribute to them all -- and called on the Church to pray and act for a spiritual, moral, and cultural renewal in our nation. That may not be the message the president brings to the American people tonight, but it's the message our country needs to hear. Surrounded by some of the survivors of the president's last seven years, I laid out our key concerns for the family and our broader culture.
Marriage, religious liberty, human sexuality, the church, race relations, and our core beliefs have all been devastated under this administration. But, as I told last night's crowd, this past year has shown us that we cannot and will not be permitted to separate ourselves from the social battles that are underway in the nation. As Christians, if we can't live according to our faith -- whether it's in the home, whether it's in the workplace, in the school -- then we really can't be the Americans that we have the right to be.
Our opponents try to limit our freedom of speech because they fear its power. And that power is exactly what Kim Davis, Texas Pastors Hernon Castano and Charles Flowers, and Principal Jason Rowland showed by standing up to the forces of political oppression. Whether they faced lawsuits like Jason, jail time like Kim, government hostility like Hernon and Charles, courage won the day. And as Pastor Castano knows from overturning Houston's bathroom bill, that courage is contagious. Brave Christians are sending a message to the country, he told the Washington Times, that it "should respect the people and the body of Christ."
Sadly, the man who stood before a joint session of Congress isn't heeding that message. That's why, I believe, it's time for America's religious leaders to come together and show our political leaders a way forward. If you missed my State of the Family Address speech explaining how, watch it below -- and then share it with your family and friends!
Tags:Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council, StATE OF THE fAMILYTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
The Obama Administration is on "spin overdrive" trying to downplay Iran's seizure of two U.S. ships and ten sailors. Secretary of State John Kerry literally thanked the Iranians for their help. Vice President Joe Biden brushed off the incident, saying, "This was just standard nautical practice."
Standard practice? Sorry, Joe, but we're not that dumb.
The front page of today's Washington Post features outrageous photos, provided by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRG), of Barack Obama's latest humiliation of America. See them here.
They show our sailors on their knees, hands behind their heads, as prisoners of the IRG. In another photo, the lone female sailor is seen wearing an Islamic headscarf. I'm fairly certain that is not standard issue in the U.S. Navy. Iran's theocratic thugs forced her to demonstrate her submission by putting it on.
The chief of staff of the Iranian Army said yesterday that the seizure of our patrol boats "should be a lesson to troublemakers in the U.S. Congress." (The House of Representatives yesterday voted to maintain certain sanctions against the Revolutionary Guard Corps.)
An Iranian admiral said that his missile forces had targeted the USS Harry Truman and that their communications with us made it clear that "the [Iranian] Navy has the first and the last word" in the Persian Gulf.
And Iranian state television broadcast what it said was a confession and apology from the commanding U.S. officer.
Does that sound like standard practice in a friendly rescue to you?
Human rights experts are pointing out that Iran's behavior likely violated the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of captured military personnel. And even if there was mechanical trouble, the Iranians had no right to seize and detain our sailors.
Yet they did, and pointedly humiliated them. And the always compliant Obama Administration says, "Thank you."
WWRD -- What Would Reagan Do?
Barack Obama is not the first president to run into trouble with the Iranians over free passage in the Persian Gulf. What would Ronald Reagan?
Well, we don't have to guess. Ronald Reagan demonstrated how an American president should respond to such aggression after an American ship struck an Iranian mine on April 14, 1988.
Reagan said, "They must know that we will protect our ships, and if they threaten us, they will pay a price." Indeed they did!
would Regan Do and within 24 hours the United States Navy had decimated Iran's naval forces.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:Iran, seizure, two U.S. ships, ten sailors, Obama's humiliation, WWRD, What Would Reagan DoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Monday’sNew York Times squib, “Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says,” is a grand case in point. The article is basically pre-release gossip about a book that hasn’t been published yet: Dark Money, by Jane Mayer, a New Yorker writer. The author focuses on the Kochs and other rich folks who, the article says, served as “the hidden and self-interested hands behind the rise and growth of the modern conservative movement.”
As usual with “progressive” minds, she just assumes that all the billionaires and foundations who have supported her causes over the years cannot also (or: better) be described as “self-interested.”
Her main charge, that the Koch brothers’ father had helped build “the third largest oil refinery in the Third Reich, a critical industrial cog in Hitler’s war machine,” is nothing more than guilt by association. As Dave Robertson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Koch Industries, notes in his official response, the plant in question was built before Hitler had proven himself a tyrant. It’s ridiculous to insinuate that the business deal demonstrates that a family of limited government proponents were somehow in favor of the big government tyrant, Adolf Hitler.
But once made, we may return volley.
Partisans often accuse their enemies of their own worst faults. I’m sure Ms. Mayer is not a Nazi, as such, but her economic ideas are a lot closer to the actual policies of the National Socialist Party than are the Kochs’.
Hence her need to smear first.
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 a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Nazi by Association, Jane Mayer, Dark Money, Kochs, Common Sense, Paul JacobTo 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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