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

Friday, January 29, 2016

OPEC and the Saudis Cannot Defeat US Shale

by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Hedge funds and private equity groups armed with $60 billion of ready cash are ready to snap up the assets of bankrupt US shale drillers, almost guaranteeing that America’s tight oil production will rebound once prices start to recover.

Daniel Yergin, founder of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, says it is impossible for OPEC to knock out the US shale industry though a war of attrition even if it wants to, and even if large numbers of frackers fall by the wayside over coming months.

Mr. Yergin says groups with deep pockets such as Blackstone and Carlyle will take over the infrastructure when the distressed assets are cheap enough, and bide their time until the oil cycle turns.

“The management may change and the companies may change but the resources will still be there,” he told me here at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The great unknown is how quickly the industry can revive once the global glut starts to clear – perhaps in the second half of the year – but it will clearly be much faster than for the conventional oil.

“It takes $10 billion and five to ten years to launch a deep-water project. It takes $10 million and just 20 days to drill for shale,” he notes.

In the meantime, the oil slump is pushing a string of exporting countries into deep social and economic crises. “Venezuela is beyond the precipice. It is completely broke,” says Mr. Yergin.

Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, says in Davos that his country is selling its crude for $22 a barrel, and half of this covers production costs. “It’s impossible to run the country, to be honest, to sustain the military, to sustain jobs, to sustain the economy,” he says.

This is greatly complicating the battle against ISIS, now at a critical juncture after the recapture of Ramadi by government forces. Mr. al-Albadi warned that ISIS remains “extremely dangerous”, yet he has run out of money to pay the wages of crucial militia forces.

It is understood that KKR, Warburg Pincus, and Apollo are all waiting on the sidelines, looking for worthwhile US shale targets. Major oil companies such as ExxonMobil have vast sums in reserve, and even Saudi Arabia’s chemical giant SABIC is already nibbling at US shale assets through joint ventures.

Mr. Yergin is author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power”, and is widely regarded as the guru of energy analysis.

He says shale companies have put up a much tougher fight than originally expected and are only now succumbing to the violence of the oil price crash, fifteen months after Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states began to flood the global market to flush out rivals.

“Shale has proven much more resilient than people thought. They imagined that if prices fell below $70 a barrel, these drillers would go out of business. They didn’t realize that shale is mid-cost, and not high cost,” he says.
Right now, however, US frackers are in the eye of the storm. Some 45 listed shale companies are already insolvent or in talks with creditors. The fate of many more will be decided over the spring when an estimated 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) of extra Iranian crude hits an already saturated global market.

Shale hedges on the futures markets – a life-saver in the early months of the price collapse – are largely exhausted. IHS estimates that hedges covered 28% of output in the second half of last year for the companies it covers. This will fall to 11% in 2016.

The buccaneering growth of the shale industry was driven by cheap and abundant credit. The guillotine came down even before the US Federal Reserve raised rates in December, leaving frackers struggling to roll over loans. Many shale bonds are trading at distress level below 50 cents on the dollar, even for mid-risk companies.

Banks are being careful not to push them into receivership but they themselves are under pressure. Regulators fear that the energy industry may be the next financial bomb to blow up on a systemic scale. The Fed and the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have threatened to impose tougher rules on leverage and asset coverage for loans to fossil fuel companies.

Yet even if scores of US drillers go bust, the industry will live on, and a quantum leap in technology has changed the cost structure irreversibly. Output per rig has soared fourfold since 2009. It is now standard to drill multiples wells from the same site, and data analytics promise yet another leap forward in yields.

“$60 is the new $90. If the price of oil returns to a range between $50 and $60, this will bring back a lot of production. The Permian Basin in West Texas may be the second biggest field in the world after Ghawar in Saudi Arabia,” he says.

Zhu Min, the deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, says US shale has entirely changed the balance of power in the global oil market and there is little OPEC can do about it.

“Shale has become the swing producer. OPEC has clearly lost its monopoly power and can only set a bottom for prices. As soon as the price rises, shale will come back on and push it down again,” he says.

The question is whether even US shale can ever be big enough to compensate for the coming shortage of oil as global investment collapses. “There has been a $1.8 trillion reduction in spending planned for 2015 to 2020 compared to what was expected in 2014,” says Mr. Yergin.

Yet oil demand is still growing briskly. The world economy will need 7mb/d (million barrels a day) more by 2020. Natural depletion on existing fields implies a loss of another 13mb/d by then.

Adding to the witches’ brew, global spare capacity is at wafer-thin levels – perhaps as low 1.5mb/d – as the Saudis, Russians, and others, produce at full tilt.

“If there is any shock the market will turn on a dime,” he says. The oil market will certainly feel entirely different before the end of this decade.

The warnings were widely echoed in Davos by luminaries of the energy industry. Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, says the suspension of new projects is setting the stage for a powerful spike in prices.

Investment fell 20% last year worldwide, and is expected to fall a further 16% this year. “This is unprecedented: we have never seen two years in a row of falling investment. Don’t be misled, anybody who thinks low oil prices are the ‘new normal’ is going to be surprised,” he says.

Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria oil minister and the outgoing chief of OPEC, says the ground is being set for wild volatility.
“The bottom line is that production no longer makes any sense for many, and at this point we’re going to see a lot of barrels leave the market. Ultimately, prices will shoot back up in a topsy-turvy movement,” he says.

Mr. Kachikwu says OPEC needs to call an emergency meeting to sort out what the purpose of the cartel now is.

Saudi Arabia has made it clear that there can be no OPEC deal to cut output and stabilize prices until the Russians are on board, and that is very difficult since Russian companies are listed and supposedly answerable to shareholders.

Besides, the Gulf states are convinced that Russia cheated last time there was an accord in 1998.

Mr. Yergin says those hoping for a quick rescue from OPEC are likely to be disappointed. “This is only going to happen if the crisis gets even worse,” he says.
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This article was shared by Rod D. Martin, writes at RodMartn.org, and is founder and CEO of The Martin Organization, a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author and conservative activist. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Council for National Policy, a Past President of the National Federation Republican Assemblies. and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. He also parters with To The Point News where this article was originally published.

Tags: OPEC, Saudis, Cannot Defeat, US Shale, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, To The Point News, Rod Martin, RodMartin.org To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Supreme Court Justice Obama?

by Newt Gingrich: As the Republican primaries have become increasingly contentious in recent weeks, various factions have threatened not to support the others should their preferred candidate fail to win the nomination. But if the prospect of Hillary Clinton as president is not frightening enough to unite Republicans behind their eventual nominee, perhaps something Secretary Clinton said in Iowa this week will be.

Asked at one of her town hall meetings if she would consider appointing Barack Obama to the Supreme Court after his term as president, Hillary appeared as if she had just heard the best idea of her life.

“Wow, what a great idea!” she gushed. “Nobody has ever SUGGESTED that to me! WOW. I love that! Wow.”

For the full, chilling effect, you will have to watch the video. It must be seen to be believed. It’s uncanny.

If–despite our history with her–we are to take Hillary at her word, it seems there is a chance she would appoint the most anti-Constitutional president in American history to the Supreme Court of the United States, where he could remain for decades as the most anti-Constitutional Supreme Court justice in American history.

From the point of view of Democrat primary voters (if not from Clinton’s), the idea isn’t insane.

The party openly celebrates President Obama’s illegal actions–from suspending immigration law by executive fiat, to modifying Obamacare (“the law of the land”) at whim, to using the IRS to target conservative opponents, to making “recess appointments” when the Senate was not in recess. Democrats would like to protect as many such overreaches as they can. Undoubtedly, they could trust President Obama to give his illegal innovations–and the many others sure to be committed by a Clinton administration–the stamp of Constitutionality.

The idea of appointing a former chief executive to the bench is not without precedent. In 1921, Warren Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice of the Supreme Court. Taft went on to hold the position for more than eight years, and regarded it as the greatest honor of his life.

Somewhat like Taft, President Obama has exactly the “right” background for the job. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where six out of the nine current justices went to school. And before he ran for office, Obama was a Constitutional law professor, which is all the experience that many other justices required to begin pronouncing law from nation’s highest court. (Obama has certainly had plenty of practice pronouncing it from the presidency.)

If the thought of Justice Obama is not frightening enough by itself, consider that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. served on the Court until he was 90 years old. By that measure, President Obama, who is 54 today, could be on the bench until 2052–or even longer, if the miracles of medicine are able to keep him issuing opinions into his ninth decade.

Imagine the damage he might do from a perch of 30 or 40 years on the Supreme Court. Or consider just a few of the questions that today hang by a 5-4 majority of the conservatives: whether the free speech clause of the First Amendment protects speech about political matters (Citizens United v. FEC), whether the religious liberty protections in the Constitution apply to Americans who own businesses (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby), and whether there are any limits at all to what the federal government can justify under the Commerce Clause (NFIB V. Sebelius).

Whether or not President Hillary would in fact appoint Barack Obama to a retirement job on the Supreme Court, we can be absolutely certain about one thing: she would surely appoint justices who would eagerly overturn all of those 5-4 cases, and sanction almost any abuses of power she could think up.

In other words, no matter whom she nominated, Hillary’s lifetime appointees would decide cases as if they were Justice Barack Obama. That specter alone should be terrifying enough to end any talk within the GOP about not supporting the eventual Republican nominee.
----------------------
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, Supreme Court, Justice Obama, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sen. Cornyn Endorses Mass Criminal Release As 'Empathy'

"What happened to John Cornyn?"

Fairfax, Va. — Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) endorsement of legislation that will result in the early release of thousands of federal prison inmates, telling the New York Times, "It doesn't hurt to show that you actually care. This is a statement that is not just symbolic, but actually shows that you care about people. It doesn't hurt to show some empathy.":

"Senator John Cornyn, whose sense of empathy must have developed at Washington, D.C. cocktail parties, should prove he truly cares for people whose neighborhoods have been ravaged by drugs and violent crimes by moving to those one of those neighborhoods so he can see for himself the impact of releasing early thousands of hardened drug kingpins and violent criminals back on to the streets of America. Senator Cornyn's 'empathetic' conscience needs to meet the reality of the street, where a 77 percent recidivism rate amongst released prisoners is the norm, with 25 percent of those crimes being violent and nature.

"This is something Cornyn would have been acutely aware of when he was a judge in Texas as well as the state's Attorney General who once famously argued that Texas' death penalty law should be the model for the nation.

"A truly empathetic response is to protect neighborhoods and not to release criminals en masse. And the best action that Congress can take is to reject any legislation that releases thousands of criminals early.

"What is truly remarkable is that while in the Senate minority, Cornyn argued vociferously against early criminal release in 2011 when the sentencing commission implemented retroactive sentencing reductions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.

"And again in 2014 when the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014 was proposed, the precursor of the current legislation, Cornyn objected citing the nation's 'historic heroin epidemic' and warning of tens of thousands of 'additional murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, and incidents of arson.' If anything, the rise of the use of heroin has become more endemic since 2014, and the streets more dangerous. What's more in that same letter, Cornyn wrote this about these same drug traffickers that he would release early today, 'The notion that drug traffickers are non-violent is simply incorrect.' Cornyn continued, 'Among other factors disputes over money cannot be settled with a lawsuit. Violence and threats are the norm.'

"It is impossible to reconcile Senator Cornyn's new-found empathy for hardened criminals with the clear facts of his 2010 and 2014 letters where he took exactly the opposite stance against early criminal release. An enterprising reporter might ask about his newfound faith in the good will of violent drug kingpins who he apparently now thinks should be put back on the streets of America. When did John Cornyn's empathy switch from the victims of the destruction of families, friends and communities to the the purveyors of death resting safely in federal prison?

"What happened to John Cornyn?"
---------------
Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

Tags: Americans for Limited Government, President Rick Manning, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, endorsement of legislation, early release, thousands of federal prison inmates To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Media Bias | Americans Demand Action

FOX News Moderators Des Moines Presidential Debate
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Media Bias - There is a reason Fox News has been so successful. After decades of domination by left-wing networks, Fox burst onto the scene offering viewers something very different -- fair and balanced coverage of the news and current events.

Yet I must confess that, in spite of everything Fox News has done for the conservative movement, I was deeply disappointed by some of last night's questioning. For example, let's examine the way the moderators approached two of the most important issues in this campaign: Terrorism and immigration.

These issues top the list of voter concerns and intersected in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks. After the attacks, the candidates reacted in varying ways, with Donald Trump getting the most attention for demanding a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration.

Some, including Ted Cruz, argued for a more focused approach -- restricting immigration from countries where there is significant support for militant Islam. Other candidates, like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich, aggressively objected to such proposals.

You know my view -- terrorism aside, anti-Semitism is rampant in the Muslim world. That is reason enough for not bringing in 250,000 Muslims a year, especially when no effort is made to ascertain what they believe.

What Fox News did last night with the question from Nabela Noor was to pick the "Muslim success story" -- the child of an immigrant family, living the American Dream as an up and coming entrepreneur -- to shame the candidates who favor limiting Muslim immigration.

It would make just as much sense, if not more, to have someone ask this question:
"I lost my son, not in Afghanistan, but at Fort Hood, Texas. He was killed by a Muslim doctor serving in our military. There were warning signs, but we did nothing because of political correctness. What would you do, Governor Bush or Christie, to prevent Islamists from acting on their radicalism? Why should I vote for a candidate who wants to bring more Muslims into the country, especially when the FBI Director admits they cannot be fully vetted?"Or they could have had a rabbi ask, "German Chancellor Angela Merkel is warning about a surge in anti-Semitism driven by the massive influx of Muslim immigration. Gov. Kasich, would you support efforts to prevent importing more hate against Christians and Jews?"

Why didn't Fox News ask those questions? Perhaps Fox has its own agenda. And why on earth is a supposedly fair and balanced news channel allowing a Bernie Sanders supporter to ambush the GOP candidates?

Americans Demand Action - While we're on the subject of immigration, the government admitted last week that more than half a million foreigners overstayed their visas in 2015.

Who are these people? Where are they now? What are they doing here? These are serious questions that deserve serious attention. Thankfully, some members of Congress are demanding answers.

And while the Obama Administration and its open borders allies might not be interested in enforcing our immigration laws, the American people are demanding action.

A new Rasmussen poll finds that only 15% of Americans approve of current visa enforcement efforts. But 68% of Americans view visa overstays as a "serious national security risk" and 72% of Americans want those who overstay their visas found and deported.
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Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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West Virginia Turns to Prayer as Obama’s ‘Clean Power’ Looms

Coal miners boots rest atop lockers
as many face layoffs due to
President Obama & his EPA’s war on coal.
by Philip Wegmann: CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There’s little separation between church and the fossil fuel industry in West Virginia’s coal country. Still reeling from recent mine shutdowns, the state legislature has set aside Jan. 31 as a “day of prayer for coal miners.”

On Sunday, a congregation of pastors, businessmen, and lawmakers will seek divine intervention in one of the nation’s hardest-hit coal economies. Doubtless, though, many will ask for deliverance from what they consider a man-made crisis.

“West Virginia’s absolutely in dire straits,” Roger Horton, president of Citizens for Coal, the organization that spearheaded the prayer effort, said in an interview Wednesday with The Daily Signal. “The point we’re trying to stress is that we need a higher power to change the hearts and minds of those who want to destroy Appalachia.”

The legislators and businessmen who gathered at the 43rd annual West Virginia Coal Symposium here seem to agree and likely will pray that God change Washington.

“The vast majority of the problem comes from President Obama and his EPA’s war on coal,” state Senate President Bill Cole, a Republican, told The Daily Signal.

Cole, who also serves as lieutenant governor and is running for governor, argues that the increased cost of new regulations has priced coal out of the market, persuading consumers to use other energy sources and pushing miners out of their jobs.

An Avalanche of Layoffs
Whether he’s right or not, there’s plenty to pray about in the Mountain State.

The first three weeks of January witnessed an avalanche of layoffs, leaving almost 2,000 coal miners permanently out of work by some estimates. And just recently, one of the largest producers in the state, the now bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources, announced its own bad news. In July, the company will cut another 900 jobs.

But even as the boom in natural gas continues to put new pressure on coal, many West Virginians blame government regulation, not the market, for the downturn.

Under the Obama administration, the past seven years have brought new regulations on coal mining and, critics say, a host of new costs. Now the industry is bracing for the latest and most sweeping regulation issued unilaterally by the EPA: the Clean Power Plan.

The rule requires states to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent before 2030 and gives them until Sept. 6 to submit their plans to do it.

The Clean Power Plan is a key component of Obama’s effort to execute the global climate agenda struck last month in Paris. Proponents say the international compact will substantially clean up the environment by encouraging renewable fuels. Opponents say it will bankrupt the coal industry by imposing new regulations.

On Wednesday, Cole told The Daily Signal that communities in his district are still recovering from existing rules.

“We’ve closed down power plant after power plant and destroyed our own market for coal,” the Senate president and lieutenant governor said. “When you get into those southern coal communities, when coal goes away, it’s devastation and poverty in the worst form.”

Fates Intertwined
Cole points to the “ghost towns” in West Virginia’s McDowell County. Once the leading coal-producing region in the nation, the county ranks as one of the poorest in the country. Without mining, the median household income peaks just above $22,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But it’s not just individual counties that are hurting. The coal market is tightly intertwined with West Virginia’s financial health. Fossil fuel provides more than half of the government’s business income tax and adds billions to the state’s bottom line.

In recent years, as the coal market shifted, West Virginia lost its footing further. The Associated Press reports that the state expects a budget deficit of $284 million for 2016 and another $466 million in 2017.

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead, a Republican, attributes part of that funding gap to “the devastating ripple effect” of every mine shutdown.

“Every time we see a mine close,” Armstead told The Daily Signal, “our men and women are put out of work. That not only impacts them and their families, but it influences all the businesses in that community.”

And although both of the state’s top lawmakers credit their congressional delegation to Washington for bringing attention to the issue, they say the Obama administration has turned a deaf ear.

“It’s very clear that this over-regulation has stifled production [and] has put our people out of work. They recognize that,” Armstead said of the administration.

Rather than attending the Paris climate summit last year, the House speaker said, he wished “Obama would visit West Virginia instead.”

‘Get Out of the Lord’s Way’
Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said Obama is making good on promises.

“He’s simply done what he’s wanted to do,” Raney said Wednesday, referring to remarks Obama made as a presidential candidate in 2008. “He said he was going to bankrupt the industry when he was running [for president], and that’s what he’s set out to do.”

The administration continues to “circumvent Congress” with executive action and an unaccountable Environmental Protection Agency, the coal association president said.

Congress last month tried to halt the EPA’s Clean Power Plan using the Congressional Review Act. They failed when Obama vetoed their resolution of disapproval aimed at voiding the new rule.

West Virginia is among 27 states that have mounted a legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan, arguing that without congressional approval, the rule amounts to “a power grab.”

Now before the District of Columbia Circuit Court, that case will be decided this summer but is expected to come before the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in 2017.

Although Raney said “going to court is now our only recourse,” he also sees another last option for coal producers fearful of new regulation: prayer.

“If we have enough sense to get out of the Lord’s way, he often provides a path for us,” Raney said. “Certainly he must be aware of the suffering that’s going on and of how deeply its cutting in the coal fields.”
----------------
Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) is the congressional correspondent for The Daily Signal.

Tags: West Virginia, prayer, President Obama. EPA, President Obama, EPA, War on Coal, Philip Wegmann, The Daily Signal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sen. Dick Durbin - January 2016 Porker of the Month

Porker of the Month Sen. Dick Durbin
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) its January Porker of the Month for leading the effort to block a permanent ban on Internet access taxes.

In 1998, the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) placed a moratorium on Internet access taxes. With widespread bipartisan support, the Internet tax ban has been extended seven times. For 18 years, the ban on Internet taxes has benefited millions of Americans by empowering them to conduct transactions on the Internet free from the fear of additional tax burdens. The deadline for expiration of the current ban is October 1, 2016.

In order to both bring more certainty to Internet transactions and the overall economy, Congress has taken steps to pass a permanent ban on Internet access taxes for the past two years. The House passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA) in both July 2014 and June 2015. PITFA language was included in H.R. 644, The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (Customs bill), which passed the House on December 11, 2015. The Senate is currently considering the Customs bill.

Despite affirming that a permanent ban is “sound policy,” Sen. Durbin is attempting to block its inclusion in the Customs bill unless the misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) is also passed. Supporters of MFA claim it would bring “equity” between the taxation of tangible goods sold in brick-and-mortar stores and items sold online. On December 15, 2015, Sen. Durbin declared, “we will oppose any long-term extension of legislation that would take away a State’s right to collect taxes on accessing the Internet unless we give States the ability to collect taxes on Internet sales that are already owed.”

Besides the obvious fact that PITFA reduces and prevents taxation while MFA would cause taxes to increase, Sen. Durbin apparently forgot that a solution already exists to collect taxes for online sales. Forty-five states have “use taxes” on their books requiring individuals to remit the amount of the taxes they should have been charged to purchase items online. So, in essence, Sen. Durbin is holding PITFA hostage to a non-issue.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “Making the Internet tax ban permanent is critical for the long-term health of the economy. For the first time since the ban was instituted in 1998, PITFA would provide a much higher degree of certainty to individuals and business conducting transactions over the Internet. Sen. Durbin’s ill-fated efforts to block this vital legislation are shortsighted and unfounded.”

For leading the effort to block a permanent ban on Internet access taxes, CAGW names Sen. Dick Durbin its January Porker of the Month.
------------
Citizens Against Government Waste CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

Tags: Sen. Dick Durbin, January, 2016, CAGW, Porker of the Month To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Faces Veiled, Fallacies Unveiled

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: A real-life politician has admitted to having been wrong, even going so far as to dismiss his own previous comment as "stupid."

He wasn't abject about it -- didn't "apologize." He simply explained how and why he had erred.

This . . . from a presidential contender.

No, it wasn't Hillary Clinton, she of many errors and untruths. It wasn't Bernie Sanders, whose love of Big, Intrusive Government is an error in and of itself. And it wasn't Trump, known hyperbolist.

The erring politician? Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico.

Johnson, who is currently running for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, told Reason last year that banning the burqa would be a reasonable step in protecting the rights of women. Here in America.

Sound sort of Trumpian?

Earlier this month, Johnson retracted his statement. Last week on Fox Business Network's Kennedy, he explained why prohibiting the face-veil wouldn't work.

"We need to differentiate between religious freedom, which is [sic] Islam, and Sharia law, which is politics," he said -- and I add a "sic" there because he is obviously driving at this point: religious freedom means we cannot prohibit the religion of Islam, but Sharia law amounts to a religious intrusion into the legal and political realm. And thus must be opposed as "contrary to the U. S. Constitution."

The reason Johnson had earlier floated the banning of the Islamic face-veil was to save women from Islamofascist enforcement of Sharia's mandate to go around in public only when completely covered.

"We cannot allow Sharia Law to, in any way, be a part of our lives."

I'm with him. Let's hold tight to both religious and political freedom. And how refreshing for a politician to admit an error.

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.

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Congress Needs to Fix FDA Vapor Rule

by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: After a lengthy and heavily contested regulatory process, a final rule deeming vapor products to be subject to pervasive FDA regulation is currently in the White House Office of Management and Budget for a final review before it is published and takes effect this year. Leaks of the purported final rule suggest it remains deeply flawed and will impose a draconian, one-size-fits-all model that risks disrupting the fast-growing vapor industry and denying access to products that pose vastly less health danger than conventional tobacco cigarettes. Unfortunately, in the final negotiations over last year’s omnibus bill a provision addressing this issue was dropped, but that should not be the last word on the issue from Congress.

Mitch Zeller, the FDA’s top tobacco regulator, told Congress “If we could get all of those people [who smoke] to completely switch all of their cigarettes to noncombustible cigarettes, it would be good for public health.”

Indeed, vapor products are displacing regular cigarettes. The most recent data from the CDC show the percentage of the adult population that smokes has dropped six consecutive years, from 20.6 percent in 2009 to 14.9 percent in the first half of 2015. An estimated two million ex-smokers are using vapor products.

So we’re on the right track, and Zeller warned: “Let’s not lose our focus on what the primary cause is for those 480,000 avoidable deaths each year — it’s primarily burning, combusting cigarettes.”

Unfortunately, his agency is poised to do precisely that with its deeming rule.

“This is not really regulation. It’s prohibition,” says Boston University community health sciences professor Dr. Michael Siegel.

He’s referring to a feature of the rule that sets a grandfather date of February 15, 2007 – effectively denying grandfather status to nearly every vapor product on the market and forcing each to go through a lengthy approval process or be pulled from the market within 24 months.

That date and timeline were established by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, passed by Congress in 2009 – and it grandfathered all but the very newest cigarette products. By now deeming vapor products subject to regulation seven years later, the FDA is subjecting these safer products to more draconian regulation.

Jan Verleur, co-founder and CEO of VMR Products, a major manufacturer of vapor devices, said: “It’s essentially a death sentence for industry. It could be held up in litigation for many years.”

That’s only slight hyperbole.

Once the rule is final, manufacturers would be required to submit to the FDA, for each product, a Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) or a Substantial Equivalence (SE) report. The PMTA process is complex and expensive and would be challenging for all but the largest manufacturers – the major tobacco companies – to navigate. The SE choice depends upon showing that a predicate product is already approved, but vapor technology is new and rapidly evolving, ruling this option out. The investment driving that innovation would be chilled by time and expense of submitting every product for regulatory approval – and the agency already has a substantial backlog.

The solutions are simple but will require Congress to act quickly, because the rule currently sits at OMB and could be published any day. On the next appropriate must pass vehicle Congress should include language that either delays the rule completely or fixes its most egregious flaws – the imposition of an inappropriate grandfather date and an insufficient approval period. Failure to do so will result in regulating vapor more strictly than cigarettes, destroying thousands of small businesses, and, tragically, likely increasing tobacco-related sickness and death.
---------------------
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Follow him at (@kerpen) and on Facebook. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, FDA, failed, fix, FDA Vapor Rule. Congress, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

How Michigan and Ohio Made It Harder to Accidentally Break the Law

Proponents of mens rea say a "criminal intent"
requirement serves as a guard against
overcriminalization by protecting people from
accidentally breaking the law.
(Photo: istockphoto, edited)
by Josh Siegel: The Criminal Justice Committee was always an odd fit for Rep. Ed McBroom, a state lawmaker and dairy farmer representing a rural area of Michigan.

During his last term on the committee, McBroom, a Republican, was schooled on a criminal justice topic he had never heard of before, but on this one, few could blame him.

Rep. Rose Mary Robinson, a Democratic lawmaker and defense attorney from Detroit, would frequently want to know what the “mens rea” standards were for the state’s thousands of criminal laws and regulations.

“One day I said, ‘Rep. Robinson, I am not an attorney. I am a farmer. What on earth is mens rea?’” McBroom recalled.

Last month, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a bill written by McBroom, and supported by Robinson, that requires prosecutors—unless a law explicitly states otherwise—to prove that a defendant intended to commit a crime.
The willful intent standard, known as mens rea—which is Latin for “guilty mind,” as McBroom can now tell you—has suddenly become of central concern on Capitol Hill, as division over the issue threatens Congress’ efforts to pass a broader criminal justice reform bill.

At the federal level, opponents of requiring more laws to have a willful requirement standard argue that it would make it more difficult to prosecute corporations that commit fraud, taint food, or pollute the environment, because these violators could allege they didn’t intend to break the law.

Others fret over why Congress would risk ruining bipartisan momentum toward reducing harsh prison sentences from the nation’s war on drugs by injecting a seemingly unrelated, harder to understand issue—mens rea—into the same debate.

As federal legislators try to work out their differences, Michigan recently became the second Midwestern state, after Ohio in late 2014, to implement laws reforming how the mens rea standard is applied.

Proponents of mens rea, who call such requirements a necessary guard against overcriminalization by protecting people from accidentally breaking the law, say the states’ efforts prove that there’s a bipartisan way forward on the issue.

‘Common Sense’ in Michigan
“It was pretty commonsense around here,” McBroom told The Daily Signal of the effort he led to reform mens rea in Michigan, which he began at the end of 2014 and saw through until the legislation passed last month.

“After learning about it, I quickly realized that this word, this mens rea, is exactly describing the problem so many of us have been after. People can’t follow or keep up with all these regulatory burdens.”

McBroom, who was tending the cows on his farm in Dickinson County as he remembered this, added: “I happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank that advocates for “free market” policies, reports there are more than 3,100 criminal offenses in state statutes, along with other penalties created by regulatory agencies without legislative approval.

Mackinac, which testified in favor of McBroom’s bill alongside the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, says that 26 percent of felonies and 59 percent of misdemeanors in the state lack an “adequate” mens rea provision, meaning a judge or jury doesn’t necessarily need to be convinced that the accused knew he was committing a crime.
In making its case, McBroom and Mackinac point to real-life examples where people were prosecuted, or threatened, for breaking laws they didn’t know existed. In a highly publicized case from 2009, Lisa Snyder, a stay-at-home mother who would routinely watch her neighbors’ kids before the school bus arrived, was warned by the Michigan Department of Human Services that she was engaging in illegal child care because she didn’t have a daycare provider’s license to supervise the children.

That law has since been changed. In another case, this one from 2003, a man named Kenneth Schumacher delivered scrap tires to what he believed to be a legal depository. But the facility lacked a license, and though he didn’t intend to break the state’s “strict liability” offense of unlawfully disposing of scrap tires, Schumacher was sentenced to 270 days in jail and a fine of $10,000.

Proponents of mens rea standards contend that judges sometimes interpret laws that are “silent” or weak on criminal intent as being a strict liability crime like this one, where a person can be convicted regardless of his or her state of mind.

Rather than go back and look at each criminal offense to see if it has a mens rea requirement, McBroom decided to require a default standard that would automatically apply to statutes that do not say anything about intent.

In order to win a conviction, prosecutors looking to punish people for such offenses must show that the defendant committed the crime with intent, knowledge, or recklessness.

The legislature still can make law that does not include a mens rea standard—making it a strict liability crime—by specifically saying that it intends for there to be no such requirement.

“This really goes to the fundamental tenets of criminal law,” said Mark P. Fancher, an attorney with the ACLU of Michigan’s Racial Justice Project.

“Law students are taught there is no crime if there is no concurrence between an act and their mental state,” Fancher told The Daily Signal. “In the absence of one of those things, then there is no crime. There is a reason why there is a heavy burden on the state to prove that someone has committed a crime. If someone is going to be held criminally liable, we want as a society for the state to provide sufficient evidence that proves people are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
McBroom says that he was able to win over skeptical prosecutors by not including the criminal, motor vehicle, or public health codes in the legislation. For example, crimes like drunk driving and selling cigarettes or alcohol to a minor do not have an intent standard and were never a part of the discussion.

And prosecutors already must prove that defendants intended to commit crimes such as murder, robbery, and assault.

So McBroom’s legislation deals almost exclusively with laws related to regulatory actions.

“The message that resonated here, and is really missing at the federal level, is that we are not trying to get someone out of being guilty,” McBroom said. “We are just saying that unless otherwise stipulated, you can’t accidentally be a criminal. You can still face some civil penalties, but you are not a criminal. This mens rea issue is so critical to all of us just trying to live every day.”

‘Rescue’ Effort in Ohio
Bill Seitz, the state senator who made Ohio the first in the nation to adopt a default mens rea standard, approached the reform effort from a more familiar place.

A practicing lawyer since 1978 who’s serving the last of his 15 years in the Ohio General Assembly because of term limits, Seitz felt as though he was running out of time to address an issue that’s always irked him.

“Prosecutors are wed to the idea of making things as easy to prove as possible, so they like to have loose standards for mens rea; basically, it makes their jobs easier,” Seitz, a Republican, told The Daily Signal. “I would try to rescue these bills and put a standard in there, but I am not going to be there forever. So whether I am there or not, I figured it would probably be a good idea to have a clear call-out in the criminal code that you must specify the degree of mens rea.”

Similar to Michigan’s bill, Ohio’s legislation, passed in December 2014, says that for people who are prosecuted under existing laws that contain unclear or nonexistent mens rea requirements, those defendants, to be found guilty, must have acted “recklessly.”

In addition, any new criminal offense created by the legislature will be void if it does not contain some type of mens rea standard. So that means prosecutors who prefer that certain crimes not contain any intent requirement can still lobby the legislature to make that so, as long as lawmakers explicitly specify that simply committing the illegal act, regardless of whether the offender intended to do so, is sufficient to be found guilty.

“That’s why accusations of this being something that makes it easier for businesses to be bad actors rings hollow,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, an Ohio think tank that testified in favor of Seitz’s bill. “We were able to build a coalition in Ohio by sitting down with prosecutors and saying, if it’s important for you to have no criminal intent, you can make that argument for the legislature, but the legislature needs to actively act upon that. Legislation crafted properly leaves prosecutors with ample tools to prosecute wrongdoers while still protecting the rights of the innocent.”

John Murphy, the executive director of the Ohio Prosecutors Association, told The Daily Signal in a brief interview that while “it’s early to make a final judgment” on the state’s mens rea reforms, “we haven’t seen any major problems yet.”

Federal Debate
Seitz says he closely follows the mens rea debate occurring at the federal level. Thus far, the White House and Senate have resisted a House Judiciary Committee proposal that would require federal criminal laws without a clear requirement of intent to adopt a default standard saying the defendant had to knowingly commit a crime to be found guilty.

Those opposed to the House’s measure say it distracts from the bigger priority of undoing unfair mandatory sentencing laws and allege that proponents have failed to show how the mens rea reform would impact many people.

“The criminal justice reform debate is aimed at addressing the legacy of the war on drugs, and these proposals are not focused on that,” said Todd Cox, a criminal justice expert at the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C. “The crimes being talked about impact 0.08 percent of the federal prison population, and we believe they would make it difficult to enforce bedrock regulatory safeguards in areas of environmental, health, and consumer safety.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, believes that the mens rea issue is too important not to be included as part of the criminal justice reform package.

“One of the biggest problems facing the criminal justice system is the erosion of mens rea requirements,” Goodlatte, R-Va., told The Daily Signal in a statement. “As Congress focuses on criminal justice reform in the months ahead, it is imperative we address this issue so that honest Americans are not prosecuted for breaking laws when they had no intent to do so.”

While the debate is incomparable to outcomes in the states, Seitz wants people to know what Ohio accomplished.

“Simply making crimes easier to prove by prosecutors threatens us all, so we sought to undo that,” Seitz said. “What we did is really a blow to those who believe it should be as easy as shooting fish out of a barrel to commit crimes.”
-----------------
Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe) is the news editor for Heritage Foundation's The Daily Signal.

Tags: Michigan, Ohio, Made It Harder to Accidentally Break the Law, josh Siegal, The Daily Signal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Useless U.N. | Khamenei Does It Again

Join the Reject the UN Facebook Group
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: The Useless U.N. - If you needed more evidence of the utter uselessness of the United Nations, you got it during Tuesday's session of the U.N. Security Council. The session was supposed to discuss "The Situation In The Middle East."

There is certainly a lot to talk about regarding the Middle East -- the Syrian civil war, the genocide against Christians being committed by ISIS, Iran's increasing aggression, the mass migration of Muslims now destabilizing Europe, etc.

Instead, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon used his time to launch into a tirade against Israel.

Adopting the language of Islamic terrorists, Ban Ki-moon suggested it was only natural that Palestinians are killing Israeli civilians, saying, "it is human nature to react to occupation." He went on to demand more concessions from Israel in pursuit of a two-state solution, and he blamed settlement activities -- homes of Jews in Judea and Samaria -- for much of the violence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shot back, saying the U.N. had "lost its neutrality and moral force." Netanyahu said, "There is no justification for terrorism. The Palestinian terrorists don't want to build a state; they want to destroy a state, and they say that proudly. They want to murder Jews everywhere and they state that proudly."

Prime Minister Netanyahu is right. The Palestinians have rejected multiple Israeli peace offers. In fact, even the leader of Israel's main opposition party now concedes that a two-state solution is unrealistic because of Palestinian terrorism.

Khamenei Does It Again - In yesterday's report, I noted that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had previously denied the Holocaust. Well, he did it again yesterday -- on International Holocaust Remembrance Day!

In a video posted yesterday, the ayatollah blamed Israel -- the "fake Zionist regime" as he put it -- for the tremendous suffering in the Muslim world.

He then asked, "Who supports them? Who clears the road for them? Who stands behind them?" Answering his own question, the ayatollah states, "It is western powers -- headed by America."

Addressing the Holocaust, Khamenei said, "No one in European countries dares to speak about [the] Holocaust. While it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not, even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened."

Khamenei's video was ironically entitled, "Are The Dark Ages Over?" The title is ironic because it is Khamenei's brand of radical Islam that is stuck in the dark ages and seeks to plunge the entire world into another dark age.
-------------
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Useless U.N., Ayatollah Khamenei, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Fed: ‘Economic Growth Slowed Late Last Year’

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
by Robert Romano: “[E]conomic growth slowed late last year.”

That was the Federal Reserve in its most recent statement, published Jan. 27 at 2 PM.

At that point in the day, markets had been relatively unchanged. After that, the great sell-off of 2016 continued, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 shedding another 1 percent.

We suppose fundamentals do actually matter after all. That is, once the irrational exuberance has been taken out of the equation.

The truth is, economic growth was already slow for 2015 through the first three quarters of data recorded by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, averaging just 2.17 percent for the year.

On Jan. 29, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will be publishing its number for the fourth quarter. If the Fed is right, and the economy really did slow down at the end of the year, then this may not be a very good number at all.

Which would be pretty bad news all around.

After all the economy has not grown above 3 percent since 2005. And not above 4 percent since 2000.

Another lackluster number like that again, and 2006 to 2015 could very well end up being the slowest 10-year period of economic growth since 1930 to 1939, which clocked in at an average annual 1.33 percent growth rate. 2006 to 2014 is actually weaker at 1.29 percent, the worst readings since the GDP was invented as a measure in 1934.

Given the Fed’s gloomy forecast, the only question may be which was worse, and that’s saying something.

8 years after the financial crisis, and the economy still has not really recovered. Or if there was a recovery, it was a hollow one. There was no boom that really followed the previous bust.

Oh sure, equities got a really nice spike off its 2009 lows. Bonds have technically rallied as interest rates have plunged. Housing prices have largely recovered much of their losses.

Even unemployment is technically lower, but one of the major reasons for that is lower labor participation.

The number of people aged 16-64 with jobs averaged 140.43 million in 2007, and in 2015, it averaged 140.37 million, even though the population of 16-64 year olds increased 8.9 million, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, the employment population ratio of 16-64 year olds — those in the prime working years of their lives — has dropped from an average 71.8 percent in 2007 to 68.7 percent in 2015.

If that ratio had stayed where it was, or even just recovered to where it was, 6.3 million 16-64 year olds would have had jobs in 2015.

Instead, 6.5 million fewer 16 to 64 year olds were included in the labor force — those working or looking for work — and so have not counted toward the unemployment rate.

If labor participation for 16 to 64 year olds had remained the same — at 75.8 percent instead of 72.6 percent — the overall unemployment rate would be 9.5 percent, rather than the reported number of 5.3 percent average in 2015.

Note, we’ve removed Baby Boomer 65 years and older from the equation. So the problem is not retirees.

It casts a lot of doubt on the Fed’s proclamation that “labor market conditions improved further” a lot of context. Sounds more like happy talk.

In truth, the economy’s so bad more than 6.5 million working age adults have given up looking for work all together the past 9 years.

And if another recession is on the horizon, then one should expect these numbers to get worse, not better, over the near-term. More pain then should be expected on the horizon.
----------------
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's NetRight Daily blog.

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Why Americans Feel Like Strangers In Their Own Country. . .

... Obama’s Calculated And Deliberate Takedown Of America

Barack Obama: Feb. 5, 2008 Speech
by Jim Mullen, Contributing Author: If one had to use one word to describe the entire Obama administration it would be anarchy; a word by which fascists live.

Much of traditional America recoils in horror at the utter chaos and devastation befalling this nation in the last seven years. We are fast becoming a country cowering in fear of an uncontrollable, oppressive government.

How did this happen? It makes no sense to people that leftists like Obama crave the exact opposite of a free, traditional, Constitutionalist America. We rationalize that these radicals are ignorant and mistakenly chose this dangerous path of governance.

However, once we comprehend that they are deliberately following their Socialist/Marxist scheme; their actions make perfect sense.

Nearly all wannabe dictators derive their treacherous, tyrannical philosophy from the Manifesto of the Communist Party, the 1848 pamphlet by German Philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

As you read Obama’s agenda below, remember his pledge to “…fundamentally transform the United States of America.” This was his Marxist pledge and a calculated and deliberate take-down of America.

Barack Obama, a devout and leftist-trained, slick-talking revolutionary makes it clear that he despises this country and everything for which it stands.

Obama’s Muslim father hated the entire Western World, and Obama had more than a few Communistic influences in his youth. When watching and listening to this President, it’s good to bear in mind that Communists, Marxists, Muslims, and radical leftists, dominate his ideology and poison his judgment. American Nazis of the thirties preached incessantly that to rule this country; they must first destroy the Constitution. Our Commander-in-Chief follows that doctrine - he stretches, bends, and violates nearly every element of the Constitution and whimsically repudiates established laws as minor inconveniences.

Understanding the background, goals, and motives of Barack Obama, his minions, and his New Democrat Socialist Party is essential if we hope to glean an understanding of why they relentlessly lay siege to our American way of life.

Obama’s and the left’s Marxist agenda and blueprint:
  • Use the power of bureaucratic politician-created offices and departments to target, isolate, and then destroy any citizen or group of citizens resisting government bondage. Obama uses all the numerous bureaucracies to lay siege on Americans. The IRS, Education, Justice, Labor, Homeland Security, Interior, and Energy, are just a few of the departmental weapons he uses to attack and terrorize citizens.
  • Expand illegal Executive power to grow central authority and subject the masses to his whims and dictates.
  • Redistribute income and wealth. Obamacare was the epitome of a Marxist scheme not only reallocating peoples’ money, but in controlling who lives and who dies; the ultimate power.
  • Maneuver the United States deeper into the United Nations and cede our national identity. We surrender our Constitution, security, culture, religion, and liberty to the New World Order.
  • Employ anti-business economic policies designed to restrict people from employment and snare them in a massive web of dependency. These schemes work well reducing the once-powerful middle class into a new malleable voting block of welfare class.
  • Relax rules and qualifications that allow more people to qualify for disability. Government reliance skyrocketed under this administration. Creates more dependency.
  • Eliminate Charter Schools, home schooling, and all private education programs for easier indoctrination and grooming of children into total acceptance of federal power.
  • The second fatality of this administration was the Welfare to Work legislation enacted during the Clinton presidency. Obama wanted no restrictions on welfare. He guaranteed the welfare class would remain on the Democrat Socialist Party’s federal government plantation.
  • Continue hammering the ‘Big Lie of Climate Change.’ This shameful scam is an effort by Obama-leftists to impose their dream of world-wide American income and wealth redistribution and global governance. The plot is a massive tax hike on the American people.
  • Bestow citizenship to every person in the country.
  • Maintain our open border policy and crowd our country with legal and illegal aliens, Islamic immigrants from countries rife with terrorists, and then emptying prisons of violent convicted felons. Subsequently, placing them surreptitiously and strategically around the country to counter balance and/or replace white Christian voting blocks. Expand sanctuary cities.
  • Enact voter ID laws that encourage fraudulent voting by granting voting rights to every person in the country - including felons and illegal aliens.
  • Accept the staggering debt of Puerto Rico and bring them into the fold of statehood, counting on the added votes of another blue state.
  • Destroy the Electoral College process for determining the President of the United States. Leftists know this Constitutional protection of states and national rights stand in the way of large Democrat-controlled states deciding nearly all presidential elections.
  • Further weaken our Military through monetary cuts and purging the leadership of commanders not toeing the line of leftwing loons. It includes social engineering to undermine and debilitate the American Armed Forces.
  • Criminalizing and encumbering police officers from doing their job; especially in minority neighborhoods. Leftist revolutionaries use the streets for riots and demonstrations - therefore, they must demonize police.
  • Eliminate tax deduction credits for charity. It’s more difficult getting people enslaved to government if private charities help people.
  • Disarm law-abiding citizens and leave them unprotected or create substantial gun-free zones that leave us defenseless wherever lawful Americans may roam.
  • Pack our U.S. Federal and Supreme Courts with left-wing radicals who redefine the Constitution as a living document subject to modern-day “modifications” or mores.
  • Create divisive strife between classes, genders, religions, races, national origins, and all others Obama rubs together to generate friction and discord.
  • Carry on Obama’s policies of laying waste to the middle class. Unemployment and falling wages effectively create additional plantations over which the slaveholder, centralized government, assumes absolute control. Also, it builds another enormous, guaranteed voting bloc of dependents.
  • Persist with the assault on our monetary, Capitalist, and free-enterprise systems with stifling regulations, fees, and demonization. Mucking up capitalism brings us nearer to the government offering centralized power as the only logical, conclusive alternative. Marxism mandates complete control of all commerce, business, finance, and the citizenry. That is why it always fails so miserably. Government can never compete with liberty; therefore, it must destroy liberty.
  • Continue releasing the world’s most dangerous terrorists and unilaterally making deals with terrorist states. Press on with “Rules for Radicals,” Saul Alinsky’s blueprint for fascist control. Likewise, employing politically correct speech to silence the voices of dissent and liberty.
  • Maintain the practice of using the U.S. Federal Treasury for bribing people, state and local bodies, businesses and schools into accepting money in return for relinquishing control to the feds. This federal policy led to the present-day catastrophe we now call education.
  • Increase Muslim rights. Shariah Law practiced by most Muslims is a complete violation of our Constitution. However, we continue to bring them here. Most are violently intolerant of American ideals, culture, and religion, and the clashing with our values will end in a Holy War and extreme violence. Europe is finally realizing its Muslim folly - far too late.
It is a simple concept; well-educated, employed, and self-sufficient people have little need for an all-powerful entity controlling their lives and robbing them of their income, liberty, and wealth.

Understanding the goals and tactics of Barack Obama and his despotic band of New Socialist Democrats reveals how their ideas relate to the seemingly implausible actions we witness daily. The revolution we see is not a revolution for liberty, but an insurrection for tyranny. Common sense became lost in the fog of fascism.

The deadly extremists inhabiting the White House and their leftist comrades stand as sworn enemies of the United States of America, its Constitution, culture, religion, and entire way of life. They are, by careful design, transforming this country into a Marxist dictatorship. These fascists, abetted by the Main-Stream Media and leftwing Congressmen, embedded themselves into the fabric of government. Obama collectivists represent the greatest threat to the health, security, and freedom of this nation! They symbolize all that is diabolical in a world ablaze and an America facing imminent peril.
-----------------
Jim Mullen is a West Virginia conservative Republican activist writing articles at Freedom For US Now and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service

Tags: Jim Mullen, Freedom for US Now, Why, Americans, feel like strangers, America, Barack Obama, Socialist Democrats  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Hard Words, Soft Left

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: “The word ‘socialist’ is a really hard word,” warned former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

“Now, I love Bernie Sanders, really,” Granholm added, acknowledging she’s okay with his socialist policies — just not the term.

Not in mixed company.

The former governor of the Wolverine State was responding to a question — “How about the charges ‘he’s a socialist’?” — from Martha Raddatz, who was hosting ABC’s This Week that week.

“The socialist label is something that he applies to himself, right,” Granholm noted. “So the question is how does that play across America?”

Armed with a Gallup poll, Granholm answered that socialism doesn’t play very well at all. Voters are “even” less apt to vote for a “socialist” than for an “atheist.” In case you wondered.

So, what is the difference between a socialist and a Democrat?

“You’re the chairman of the Democratic Party, tell me the difference between you and a socialist,” Chris Matthews had implored Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on MSNBC months ago.

“The relevant debate we’ll be having over the course of this campaign,” dodged the DNC chair, “is what’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.”

Chuck Todd, noting that Bernie Sanders “is an unabashed socialist” who is always praising European social democracies, echoed the question on Meet the Press: “what is the difference?”

“It’s always fun to be interviewed by Chris Matthews and I know that he enjoys that banter,” bobbed an answer-less Wasserman Schultz. “The important distinction we’ll be discussing in this campaign [blah, blah, blah] . . .”

Earlier this month, Matthews likewise asked Hillary Clinton to state the difference. Mrs. Clinton said she wasn’t a socialist but, instead, “a progressive Democrat.”

“Debbie Wasserman Schultz wouldn’t answer the question either,” Matthews replied.

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, Hillary Clinton, capitalism, hard words, soft left, socialism, progressive democrat To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

25 States Have Asked Supreme Court to Halt This Costly EPA Regulation

by Katie Tubb: Twenty-five states (and four state agencies) are petitioning the Supreme Court to halt the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan, after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declined to stay the rule last week. The states described the Clean Power Plan “as the most far reaching and burdensome rule EPA has ever forced onto the states.”

Last week’s federal appeals court order was short on specifics as to why a stay was declined, simply saying that the states suing did not demonstrate the high legal burden for the court to block the EPA’s actions while litigation is pending.

The Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in Oct. 2015, is one of a set of EPA regulations targeting carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector. The regulation has nothing to do with regulating pollutants that have adverse impacts on human health and the environment; instead, it focuses strictly on attempting to combat global warming. The plan requires most states to meet individual carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals for existing power plants by 2022 and again in 2030.

It is impossible to know the exact impacts of the rule, given that states will have to develop their own approaches to meet their individual mandates from the EPA. Regardless of the court’s decision, analysis by the Heritage Foundation has found that the Clean Power Plan and other burdensome climate regulations would have significant harm, projecting:
  • An average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs, with a peak employment shortfall of more than 1 million jobs
  • 500,000 jobs lost in manufacturing, and more than 45 percent of coal-mining jobs
  • Aggregate GDP loss of more than $2.5 trillion
  • Lost income of more than $7,000 per person
  • Even the government’s Energy Information Administration has modeled negative economic impacts of the Clean Power Plan—along with many others, who have expressed similar concerns.
Even the government’s Energy Information Administration has modeled negative economic impacts of the Clean Power Plan—along with many others, who have expressed similar concerns.

In addition to a majority of states challenging the Clean Power Plan in court, dozens of groups across the spectrum have also filed suit against the Clean Power Plan—the American Wood Council, Brick Industry Association, Federation of Independent Businesses, American Iron and Steel Institute, and National Oilseed Processors Association, to name a few.

Lawsuits have also come from the groups that keep the lights on—American Public Power Association (representing public utilities serving 48 million people) and the Utility Air Regulatory Group. Collectively, they represent millions of Americans.

Regardless of the final decision in the courts, Congress should act.

A group of unelected bureaucrats in the EPA are attempting to completely re-engineer the nation’s electricity source based on one criterion—carbon dioxide emissions—rather than looking at safety, affordability, reliability, or other considerations.

Though it’s easily taken for granted, affordable, reliable electricity is invaluable to Americans’ jobs, homes, and well-being. Such an impactful decision at the very least belongs with the peoples’ representatives in Congress.
--------------
Katie Tubb is a research associate for the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Tags: States, Supreme Court, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Clean Power Plans, EPA Regulation, Katie Tubb, The Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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