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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. Content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

U.S. Military to Rescind Policy Banning Bibles at Hospital

11/5/2011: Comment on this situation by Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Center, "While we're glad that hospital officials are working on changing the policy, the change has yet to be implemented. Given the recent track record of the Obama Administration's disrespect for religious liberty in the military, nothing is certain. We need your help to show military leaders that the American people will not stand for Bible bans such as the one at Walter Reed. Our brave wounded warriors are worthy of the same religious freedom that they themselves fought for.  Sign our petition today to help ensure that Bibles and other religious materials are not banned from Walter Reed Medical Center."
Pix Via Cristi Li
ICYMI: The Obama Administration Was At It Again Ordering Families Not To Share Christian Bibles, Literature, and Artifacts With Their Wounded Veterans! However, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has now rescinded it's policy that prohibited family members of the wounded from bringing Bibles or any religious reading materials to their loved ones.

Thank the Lord for Rep. Steven King (R-IA) for speaking out and for those who were affected and spoke-out. The decision by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was made one day after Congressman Steve King denounced the policy on the floor of the U.S. House and demanded President Obama change it at once. Excerpts are below.

Even with this reversal of position detailed below, it is hard to rejoice when we see the blatant continuous actions by the Obama Administration and liberals to remove all displays, acts or aspects of Christianity.

There have been other situations like a Texan Veteran Administration's official banning Christian prayers at the funerals of veterans - fortunately reversed. Then there is the new  Pagan Shrine (Circle) at the Air Force Academy with hopes for more at the other military academies (of course this is covered by the Constitution*).  In the past, we noted secular  liberalism moving through the military and even the Navy court-marshal and dismissal of Chaplain Gordon Klingensmith for "Praying in Jesus' Name". Christians need to wake up, pray, repent and stand forth and tell the government,  "enough is enough."

The First Amendment to the U.S. *Constitution says "Congress shall not make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ." It appears, that under the leadership of Constitutional expert Barack Obama, the members of the Obama administration have determined that since they are not part of Congress, they do not have to comply with the 1st Amendment and may do and regulate anything they wish. As Rep. King says in the following article, "Americans must 'take a very strong stand.'”

By Todd Starnes: U.S. Military to Rescind Policy Banning Bibles at Hospital - Excerpts Below - Click For Full Story
King spoke from the House floor Thursday blasting a policy memorandum from the commander of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center written by Chief of Staff C.W. Callahan. The September 14th memo covers guidelines for “wounded, ill, and injured partners in care.”

“No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit,” the policy states.

“That means you can’t bring in a Bible and read from it when you visit your son or your daughter, perhaps – or your wife or husband,” King said. “It means a priest that might be coming in to visit someone on their death bed couldn’t bring in the Eucharist, couldn’t offer Last Rites. This is the most outrageous affront.”

... Dean said the instruction was “in no way meant to prohibit family members from providing religious items to their loved ones at all.” If that’s the case, why is the policy being rescinded? . . .

“I don’t think there’s any excuse for it and there’s no talking it away,” King told Fox News. “The very existence of this, whether it’s enforced or not, tells you what kind of a mindset is there.”

“The idea that these soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that have fought to defend our Constitution, and that includes our First Amendment rights to religious liberty – would be denied that religious liberty when they are lying in a hospital bed recovering from wounds incurred while defending that liberty is the most bitter and offensive type of an irony that I can think of,” he said. . . .

“It flies in the face of not only the Bill of Rights, but 200 years of federal law,” said Ken Klukwoski, of the Family Research Council. “This current administration is showing unprecedented hostility towards those practicing the Christian faith.” “But beyond that,” he told Fox News, “We’ve also seen a militantly secular attitude of trying to sterilize the Defense Department of all references to faith.” . . .

King said Americans must “take a very strong stand.” “Christians are generally nice people and for that reason they can victimize the Christians in this country,” he said. “There was a reason that Christ gave us the demonstration of righteous anger when he threw the money changers out of the temple. It gives us some license to throw these kinds of people out of the military.”

King said he’s been alarmed at a trend he’s seen to scrub Christianity from the military – most recently the decision to remove a cross from an Army chapel in northern Afghanistan because it violated Army regulations.

He placed the blame on the Obama Administration.

“This is Orwellian,” he said. “Who would have believed even two or five years ago that the Executive branch of government led by our Commander in Chief Barack Obama would produce some kind of document that would prohibit family members coming into our military hospitals

Klukwoski said he’s noticed a similar trend in what he called “anti-faith measures.” “We are seeing a shocking level of hostility towards religious faith but beyond that – we’ve also seen a militantly secular attitude of trying to sterilize the defense department of all references to faith and references,” he said.

Tags: Obama administration, secularism, antiChristian, banning prayers, banning Bibles, VA Hospitals, VA Cemeteries, veterans, funerals To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Unemployment Numbers: A Closer Look

  • The total number of people without a job is now 13.3 million. Additionally, 2.5 million people wanted and were available for work—more than this time last year—but were not included in the overall unemployment rate
  • The unemployment rate dropped from 9.0 percent to 8.6 percent, but 315,000 Americans left the labor force.
    o    This means that the percentage of Americans unemployed dropped because fewer were looking for jobs, thus exaggerating the trend downward.
    o    Had labor force participation remained steady, the jobless rate would have dropped to 8.8 percent, according to Citigroup calculations. If the labor force had followed trend growth, unemployment would be at 8.9 percent.
  • 120,000 non-farm jobs is weaker—and more temporary—than hoped.
    o    This is less than the 125,000 that most economists predicted.
    o    50,000 of the new private sector jobs are retail and related to the holiday season, thus primarily temporary.
    o    Since President Obama took office, the economy has lost more than 2 million jobs. More than half of those job losses have been in manufacturing.
  • The jobless rate has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch of such levels of unemployment since monthly records began in 1948.
  • The labor participation rate now stands at 64 percent, down from 64.2 percent last month.  Since the president has taken office, the labor force participation rate has dropped almost two percentage points, one of the largest three-year drops on record. The labor force participation rate has not been this low since January 1984.
  • The number of discouraged workers—those who are not in the labor force but want a job—increased by 129,000 to 1.1 million.
  • At this pace of job growth, it will be more than two decades before we get back down to the pre-recession unemployment rate. “Moreover, a shrinking labor force is not the way we want to see unemployment drop,” said Heidi Shierholz, economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

Tags: United States, unemployment, unemployment numbers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The U.S. In Fiscal Denial

by I.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions: Recent reports assert that the federal government has entered a new era of austerity. For instance, an article in Politico claimed “2011 was a year that saw spending trends break heavily in favor of deficit hawks.”[1]  In fact, federal spending continues to increase at a rate well above inflation, despite the country having amassed $15 trillion debt—an amount larger than our entire economy.

Other debt-ridden governments have cut spending by more than five percent in one year and, in at least one case (Greece), by more than ten percent—even in the face of growing evidence that the European debt crisis requires much greater spending control. But in the United States, non-stimulus federal spending increased by almost seven percent in fiscal year 2011. This is on top of an overall increase of 8 percent in the previous two years.
Those that claim we are starting to make the hard decisions and are turning the corner are in denial. We continue to spend more, go deeper into debt, and put our country in great peril—at a time when the debt crisis in the Eurozone should be calling us to take swift and strong steps to bring our spending under control.

[1] “Cuts-only approach at odds with data,” Politico, November 8, 2011

Tags: United States, fiscal denial, federal spending, European countries, Jeff Sessions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Democrats: ‘America Needs’ Keystone XL

Democrats Argue That The Pipeline ‘Cannot Afford Further Delays,’ Say It’s ‘Critical That This Country Move Forward With This Project’
DEMS: ‘Mr. President, America Needs The Keystone XL Pipeline’

“America truly cannot afford to say ‘no’ to this privately funded, $20 billion, jobs-creating infrastructure project, which would bolster our economic, energy and national security. To that end, we respectfully urge you to ensure that the Presidential Permit is issued for Keystone XL.” (22 House Democrats, Letter To President Obama, 10/19/11)

· “…Mr. President, America needs the Keystone XL Pipeline. It is in our national interest to have a Presidential Permit issued for Keystone XL as soon as possible.” Ibid

· “The Department of State's Final Environmental Impact Statement reaffirmed the findings of the two previous environmental impact statements, namely, that the Keystone XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.” Ibid

· “…not only would the Keystone XL Pipeline bolster America's economy, but it also would help strengthen our country's energy and national security…” Ibid

· “With job growth an ongoing struggle for our country, the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline represents a true shovel-ready project that would directly create 20,000 high quality domestic manufacturing and construction jobs for Americans who are desperately seeking employment. The project would also create an additional 118,000 spin-off jobs.” Ibid

Signed By: Rep. Jason Altmire, (D-PA), Rep. Joe Baca, (D-CA), Rep. John Barrow, (D-GA), Rep. Dan Boren, (D-OK), Rep. Leonard Boswell, (D-IA), Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA), Rep. Jim Costa, (D-CA), Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA), Rep. Henry Cuellar, (D-TX), Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, (D-TX), Rep. Al Green, (D-TX), Rep. Gene Green, (D-TX), Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, (D-TX), Rep. Tim Holden, (D-PA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D-TX), Rep. Daniel Lipinski, (D-IL), Rep. Tim Matheson, (D-UT), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, (D-NY), Rep. Bill Owens, (D-NY), Rep. Collin Peterson, (D-MN), Rep. Mike Ross, (D-AR), Rep. Peter Visclosky, (D-IN)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): "We need to put Montanans back to work and cannot afford further delays to the Keystone XL pipeline…” (“Baucus, Tester Support Keystone XL, But Not GOP Bill,” KTVQ News, 11/30/11)

SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): "The Keystone pipeline will create Montana jobs and it should not have to wait 14 months for an up-or-down decision…” (“Baucus, Tester Support Keystone XL, But Not GOP Bill,” KTVQ News, 11/30/11)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “It’s truly a godsend for America to have that supply from a neighbor that is friendly… I can assure you (the Canadian oil) is going to be used somewhere in the world, if it’s not used in the U.S.” (“Democratic Senator Blasts Obama Energy Policy, Says It’s ‘Bouncing Around Like A Ping Pong Bill’,” The Houston Chronicle, 6/8/11)

SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): “The pipeline will be built, bringing jobs to Nebraska.” (“TransCanada To Alter Keystone Route,” The Hill, 11/14/11)

SENS. MARK BEGICH (D-AK), MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA) & MAX BAUCUS (D-MT) “…we write today in support of the Keystone XL Gulf Coast Expansion Pipeline, a project that the Department of State has been considering under a Presidential Permit application since 2008. Now more than ever, it is critical that this country move forward with this project.” (“Media Advisory - Fourteen U.S. Senators Urge Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline,” TransCanada, 3/16/11)

Tags: Democrats, America Needs, Keystone X, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Arkansas GOP Calls on Arkansas Democrats to Take Public Stand on Obamacare

“If Commissioner Bradford’s boss Gov. Beebe wants Obamacare in Arkansas, then he can have it – nothing stands in his way.”

Arkansas Voters Said NO
To Obama in 2008
Today, We Say
NO To ObamaCare
Little Rock, Ark. – Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos released the following statement in response to Arkansas Insurance Department Commissioner Jay Bradford announcing Friday that Arkansas will not move forward with implementing a health insurance exchange – a key component of Obamacare – despite support from the state Democratic Party:

“The reason we are faced with Obama care in the first place is because Arkansas Democrats supported the failed policies of President Barack Obama. It’s irresponsible for the Democratic Party of Arkansas to advocate a key component to Obamacare when the law is pending before the Supreme Court and could be declared unconstitutional this summer. We simply do not need to spend taxpayer money establishing Obamacare when there is still a question to whether it is legal.

“By refusing to join the lawsuit challenging Obamacare’s constitutionality, Governor Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel have already given the nod of approval to President Barack Obama. If Commissioner Bradford’s boss Gov. Beebe wants Obamacare in Arkansas, then he can have it – nothing stands in his way.

“Today, the state Republican Party calls on every Democratic legislator to take a position on Obamacare. Legislative Republicans are clear in their opposition to the President’s job-killing health care law. The Democratic Party of Arkansas needs to stop hiding, and start telling the people of Arkansas exactly how they stand.”

Tags: Arkansas, GOP, Democratic Party, No To Onamacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama Absent While Others Focus on Jobs And Job Creators

Today in Washington, D.C. - December 2, 2011:
The Senate is in recess until Monday, when it will take up four district judge nominees.

Last night, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed for their payroll tax cut extension that included an “anti-growth” surtax job creators said “would seriously impair our ability” “to put our unemployed back to work.” Following that vote, a Republican payroll tax cut extension that also would have reduced the deficit by $111 billion and trimmed the size of the federal government failed to get 60 votes as well.

Also last night, the Senate voted 93-7 to pass S. 1867, the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization bill. Prior to final passage, senators rejected two amendments from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have stripped language requiring captured terror suspects affiliated with al Qaeda to be held in military custody. The Senate then voted 99-1 to adopt a different amendment from Feinstein clarifying that the detainee language wouldn’t apply to U.S. citizens.

In addition, an amendment to the Defense bill offered by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to impose stricter sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran was adopted 100-0 and an amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to clarify that the president retains the option to use military detention for suspects captured in Afghanistan was rejected by a vote of 41-59.

Yesterday, the House passed (263-159) the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (H.R. 527) which give more weight to the impact of federal regulations on small businesses and closes the loopholes in present law that has permitted federal agencies to ignore the effects new regulations have on job creators.  Agencies would be required to look for alternatives where analysis shows a proposed rule would have a significantly harmful economic impact and the indirect impact the proposed rule on job creators especially small businesses.

Yesterday, the House also passed (235-190)  H.R. 3463 a bill to end public financing of presidential campaigns and the political party conventions.  The Congressional Budget Office has said eliminating public financing would save $617 million over 10 years.  President Obama did not use any of these funds in his 2008 race and none of the present candidates are using these funds. 

Today, the House passed ( 253-167) the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 3010 which would amend current law in several ways. Most notably, it requires federal agencies to examine the costs and benefits of proposed rules, ensure more transparency in the regulation proposal process, and give stakeholders greater voice when major rules are being considered. While the Obama administration opposes this bill, President Obama’s said in one of his executive orders earlier this year that the regulatory process should promote economic growth. Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) said on the bill, “Republicans in Congress took the president’s words to heart. We said, ‘Hey, you’re right, Mr. President. We’re going to do something about it.’”

The New York Times reports today, “The American unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to its lowest level in two and a half years in November, despite the many global crises batting against the economy. . . . Still, serious concerns remain about the economy’s ability to weather a potential meltdown in Europe. . . . And the decline in the unemployment rate had a down side: It fell partly because more workers got jobs, but also because about 315,000 workers dropped out of the labor force. That left the share of Americans actively participating in the work force at a historically depressed 64 percent, down from 64.2 percent in October.”

Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Alan Krueger acknowledged on the White House blog this morning that “the pace of improvement is still not fast enough given the large job losses from the recession that began in December 2007.”

Today’s economic news underscores the need to create more jobs in the United States. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, “The Keystone XL Pipeline is the single-largest shovel-ready project in the entire country. It would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. It’s privately funded, so it wouldn’t cost a dime in taxpayer dollars. And we’re told that its approval would lead to the creation of 20,000 jobs immediately. This project is enormous. It’s a huge job-creator. And it’s ready to go.”

>And American labor unions are demanding the pipeline, saying, as the AFL-CIO’s Mark Ayers did, “it is America's workers who are clamoring for the expedited approval of this important project. As President Obama has rightfully declared when it comes to the creation of jobs, ‘WE CAN’T WAIT.’” Teamsters President James Hoffa said, “The Keystone Pipeline project will offer working men and women a real chance to earn a good wage and support their families in this difficult economic climate. . . . Investment projects like Keystone Pipeline will go a long way toward helping our country down the road to economic recovery.” International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers president said, “At a time when jobs are the top global priority, the Keystone project will put thousands back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the North American economy.” And Terry Sullivan, General President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said the Keystone XL project is “not just a pipeline, but is a lifeline for thousands of desperate working men and women.”

As Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said on Wednesday, “The reason it’s not moving forward is because the president has put his political agenda, and his job ahead of jobs for American workers. . . . There is no other rational reason why this project should not be advancing given all the work that's already been put into it. . . . So it's a no-brainer. I mean, you sit back, and you look at this thing. And the only conclusion you can draw is that the president has concluded that this is not in his own political best interest. But it's clearly in the best interests of the American people. Clearly in the best interest of the American economy. Clearly in the best interest of our energy security needs.”

Tags: Barack Obama, no jobs, jobs, job creators, Keystone XL Pipeline, Regulatory Accountability, Regulatory Flexibility Improvements To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Logistics Nightmare Developing In Support of Troops in Afghanistan

"There is nothing more common than to find considerations of supply
affecting the strategic lines of a campaign and a war." - Carl von Clausevitz
Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, Former Military Logistics Officer: A story on addresses a disastrous NATO friendly-fire event in Pakistan which has unleashed a "perfect storm" as re-supply routes for Afghanistan have been closed permanently.

The Pentagon and Washington are putting the best public relations spin possible and keeping their fingers crossed. Obviously, we need to know more about resolving this incident. And the "lame street" media may be abetting the silence on this issue.

According to the below referenced article, Pakistan officials are not being placated and the consequences of this event may have a massive impact on the region and NATO's efforts in Afghanistan. In fact, the impact is already being felt as Pakistan has closed all its border crossing into Afghanistan used by roughly 50 percent of ISAF troops' and where logistics flow through, carrying everything from bullets to fuel to food.

Historically, both the French and German's military learned from their wars with Russia that the military cannot operate and survive without a continuous supply line. In the present situation, the logistics needed to resupply NATO troops, predominately American troops, in the Afghanistan mountains is almost beyond calculations. Alexander The Great who suffered through mountains in his attempt to conquer India, said, "My logisticians are a humorless lot ... they know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay."

So far, I have been able to confirmed the actions being taken by the Pentagon to resolve this critical situation or by the U.S. Transportation Command to adjust and adapt to meet this major logistical challenge. The article mentions that "NATO and the Pentagon have a backup plan – since 2009 they have been shifting their logistics to the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a railway link running from Latvia’s Riga Baltic port through Russia and Kazakhstan terminating in Uzbekistan’s Termez on the Afghan border." History has shown that those and other logistic lines did not fare well with the Russians attempted to take over Afghanistan. While the American / NATO's forces are there tto defeat the Taliban terrorist forces hiding in and operating out of Afghanistan, many Afghans do not see things that way and after years they see the foreign military forces as invaders of their country.

I encourage you to read the full report on the current situation on the Afghanistan Pakastan borders and the logistical nightmare that is developing in support of our troops and allied troops and contractors in Afghanistan: Furious at Latest U.S. Attack, Pakistan Shuts Down Resupply Routes to Afghanistan "Permanently." To better understand the developing logistical situation, below are excerpts from the detailed article by Chief Analyst John Daly:
NATO recently literally shot itself in the foot, imperiling the resupply of International Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan by shooting up two Pakistani border posts in a “hot pursuit’ raid.

Given that roughly 100 fuel tanker trucks along with 200 other trucks loaded with NATO supplies cross into Afghanistan each day from Pakistan, Pakistan’s closure of the border has ominous long-term consequences for the logistical resupply of ISAF forces, even as Pentagon officials downplay the issue and scramble for alternative resupply routes.

Pakistan, long angry about ISAF/NATO cross border raids, has apparently reached the end of its tether. Following the 26 November NATO aerial assault on two border posts in Mohmand Agency in Pakistan’s turbulent NorthWest Frontier Province, Islamabad promptly sealed its border with Afghanistan to NATO supplies after the allied strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The U.S. military insists a joint patrol with Afghan forces was fired upon first and only responded with return fire and calling in airstrikes on the posts, which a commander mistakenly identified as Taliban training camps, after reportedly checking that there were no Pakistani military forces nearby. Pakistan Major General Ishfaq Nadeem, director general of military operations, rebutted Washington’s assertions one by one, commenting, "The positions of the posts were already conveyed to the ISAF through map references and it was impossible that they did not know these to be our posts."

So, what does this mean for logistical support of ISAF forces? According to Nesar Ahmad Nasery, the deputy head of Torkham Customs, around 1,000 trucks cross into Afghanistan on a daily basis, nearly 300 of which are NATO contractors carrying NATO supplies in sealed containers. Khyber Transport Association chief Shakir Afridi said that each oil tanker has a capacity of 13,000-15,000 gallons. In October 2010 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said that fossil fuels are the number one import to Afghanistan.

Noting the obvious, as Afghanistan has no indigenous hydrocarbon supplies, every drop must be brought in, with transit greatly increasing the eventual cost. For 2001-2008, almost all U.S. and NATO supplies were trucked overland to Afghanistan through parts of Pakistan effectively controlled by the Taliban.

. . . The major issue at stake here for ISAF and U.S. forces is fuel, all of which must be brought in from abroad at high cost. In October 2009 Pentagon officials testified before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee that the "Fully Burdened Cost of Fuel" (FBCF) translates to about $400 per gallon by the time it arrives at a remote Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Afghanistan. Last year, the FBCF reached $800 in some FOBs following supply route bombings in Pakistan, while others have claimed the FBCF may be as high as $1,000 per gallon in some remote locations. For many remote locations, fuel supplies can only be provided by air - one of the most expensive ways being in helicopter fuel bladders.

The majority of U.S. tonnage transported into Afghanistan is fuel - 70 percent, according to Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Alan Haggerty. The Marines' calculate that 39 percent of their tonnage is fuel, and 90 percent is either fuel or water.

. . . According to ISAF spokesman Colonel Wayne Shanks, there are currently nearly 400 U.S. and coalition bases in Afghanistan, ranging from the massive Bagram airbase outside Kabul down to camps, forward operating bases and combat outposts.

The Pakistani supply lines have come under increasing attack by militants. Baluchistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durani noted that last year, 136 NATO tankers were destroyed in 56 attacks in the province, with 34 people killed and 23 wounded in the assaults.

But NATO and the Pentagon have a backup plan – since 2009 they have been shifting their logistics to the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a railway link running from Latvia’s Riga Baltic port through Russia and Kazakhstan terminating in Uzbekistan’s Termez on the Afghan border. . . .

According to ISAF spokesman Lieutenant Gregory Keeley in Kabul, the NDN now accounts for 52 percent of coalition cargo transport and 40 percent for the U.S., which also receives around 30 percent of its supplies by air. . . . in January Russian Railways increased rail tariffs for freight by 10 percent and is suggesting an additional increase of 11.7 percent in 2011 to cover “operating costs.” Further east, Uzbekistan increased rail tariffs twice last year.

Bringing supplies overland on the NDN costs two or three times as much as shipping them by sea and moving them up through Pakistan. And the NDN is not without problems of its own. On 16 November, Uzbek media reported an explosion on an NDN railway line on a railway bridge on the Galaba-Amuzang section of track on Uzbekistan’s border with Afghanistan. . . .

The U.S. military's Transportation Command deputy commander Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek said of resupplying Afghanistan, "This is the logistics challenge of our generation." If the Pentagon does not issue an apology, then the U.S. military had better expect “the logistics challenge of our generation” to continue. . . . [The Full Article"]
"Clearly, logistics is the hard part of fighting a war." - Lt. Gen. E. T. Cook, USMC, November 1990
------------- is an online energy news site addressing news and analysis of all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and hydro. Publisher James Stafford shared by email the above referenced article and authorized extracting content from the article.

Tags: Afghanistan, Pakistan, border, incident, NATO troops, American military, logistics, nightmare,, ARRA News Service To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Keystone XL: ‘WE CAN’T WAIT’

American Labor Unions Are Demanding The Pipeline, Saying It ‘Will Unequivocally Help Remedy The Struggles Of Our Country's Working Families’
AFL-CIO: “…it is America's workers who are clamoring for the expedited approval of this important project. As President Obama has rightfully declared when it comes to the creation of jobs, ‘WE CAN'T WAIT.’” (Mark H. Ayers, President, Building And Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, “For The 99% Of Americans, Keystone = JOBS,” Huffington Post, 11/3/11)

UNION SUPPORT: It’s ‘Not Just A Pipeline,’ But ‘A Lifeline For Thousands’
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS: “‘The Keystone Pipeline project will offer working men and women a real chance to earn a good wage and support their families in this difficult economic climate,’ said… James P. Hoffa. ‘Our country was built by the hard-working men and women of the middle class - when they prosper so does America. Investment projects like Keystone Pipeline will go a long way toward helping our country down the road to economic recovery.’” (TransCanada, “U.S. Pipeline Contractors Association and Unions Pledge their Support for Keystone XL Project,” 9/14/10)

AFL-CIO: “For America's skilled craft construction professionals, any discussion of the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: JOBS… Throughout America's Heartland, the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs, and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs via a strong economic multiplier effect… without one single dollar of government assistance.” (Mark H. Ayers, President, Building And Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO,  “For The 99% Of Americans, Keystone = JOBS,” Huffington Post, 11/3/11)

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS: “Says International President Edwin D. Hill: ‘We welcome the opportunity to work in cooperation with TransCanada to provide the skilled work force needed on this vital project. At a time when jobs are the top global priority, the Keystone project will put thousands back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the North American economy. Our members look forward to being part of this historic project and pledge to deliver the highest quality work to make it a success.’” (International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers, “TransCanada Pipeline PLA Could Mean Construction Boon,” 10/20/11)

LABORERS’ INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA: “…not just a pipeline, but is a lifeline for thousands of desperate working men and women.” (“Unions Furious At Obama For Killing Pipeline Jobs,” Fox News, 11/10/11)

· “‘…a win-win for employers, for working men and women and for our communities and our countries,’ said Terry O'Sullivan, General President of LIUNA. ‘The partnership between TransCanada and workers and their unions will create good family-supporting jobs, while helping business and our countries compete.’ (TransCanada, “U.S. Pipeline Contractors Association and Unions Pledge their Support for Keystone XL Project,” 9/14/10)

UNITED ASSOCIATION: “My name is Stephen Kelly, and I am the Assistant General President of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters, which represents over 340,000 members in the plumbing and pipe fitting industry in the United States and Canada… The United Association strongly supports the Keystone XL project and the draft legislation under consideration by the Subcommittee to expedite its approval for several good reasons. First, this project would provide a tremendous and needed boost to the U.S. construction industry, generating thousands of high-quality jobs at a time when the industry is wrestling with nearly 20 percent unemployment.” (U.S. House Of Representatives, Committee On Energy And Commerce, Subcommittee On Energy And Power, Hearing, 5/23/11)

· “‘The United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinklerfitters (UA) is proud to be a part of this collaboration and looks forward to adding thousands of well-paying construction jobs to this country,’ said UA General President William P. Hite. ‘Our highly-skilled workforce is ready to begin work and help boost our local and state economies.’” (“$7 Billion Keystone XL Labor Agreement Announced,” Pipeline & Gas Journal, 9/10)

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS: “‘An ambitious project of this scope, spanning over five states and employing thousands of American construction workers, will unequivocally help remedy the struggles of our country's working families,’ said International Union of Operating Engineers General President Vincent J. Giblin. ‘History has proven time and time again that infrastructure projects, such as this, lead to the resurgence of our nation's economy and the ripple effects are far-reaching. The IUOE is proud to be part of the Keystone XL pipeline and our operating engineers throughout the Midwest are ready to provide TransCanada with the skill, professionalism and pride this project requires.’” (TransCanada, “U.S. Pipeline Contractors Association and Unions Pledge their Support for Keystone XL Project,” 9/14/10)

Tags: Keystone XL, Labor Unions, TransCanada, U.S. Pipeline Contractors Association, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Keystone XL Pipeline: Is Obama Putting His Job Over Jobs In The Heartland?

Obama Kills Thousands of Energy Jobs
by Delaying Keystone Pipeline
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec.1, 2011:
Yesterday, the Senate voted 88-12 to invoke cloture on S. 1867, the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense authorization bill.

Today, the Senate resumed post-cloture consideration of S. 1867. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said he expects to complete work on the bill today. Votes on amendments are likely later in the day. Among those will be an amendment offered by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to impose stricter sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.

Yesterday, Reid also filed for cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1917, Democrats’ payroll tax cut extension which includes an “anti-growth” surtax job creators warn “would seriously impair our ability” “to put our unemployed back to work.”

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced a Republican alternative yesterday which would extend current payroll tax relief, reduce the deficit by $111 billion, and trim the size of the federal government. If an agreement is reached, votes on the payroll tax cut proposals could be held tonight. Otherwise, a vote on the Democrat plan would happen tomorrow morning.

Yesterday, the House passed (235-188) HR 3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act. However, the NLRB met yesterday and voted to move forward toward finalizing the "ambush elections rule by Unions." Passage of H.R. 3094 is critical to halting that ill-advised NLRB rule in its tracks. However, Senate Democrats and the White House are supporting the actions of the Obama Administration's influenced actions by the NLRB.

Today and the remainer of the week, the House is expected to consider:
HR 3463 — Financing of presidential election campaigns
HR 527 — Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011
HR 3010 — Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011

The AP reported yesterday, “Angered by President Barack Obama’s delay of a proposed oil pipeline from Canada, Senate Republicans are moving to force him to act. A bill introduced Wednesday by 37 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, would require the administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days, unless the president declares the project is not in the national interest. The State Department decided on Nov. 10 to delay the project until 2013, after the presidential election . . . . McConnell, R-Ky., called the $7 billion pipeline the ultimate ‘shovel-ready’ project and said it could create as many as 20,000 jobs.”

Mark Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO’s building and Construction Trades Department, even  agreed in a piece for The Huffington Post last month. Ayers wrote, “For America’s skilled craft construction professionals, any discussion of the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: JOBS. . . . Throughout America's Heartland, the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs, and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs via a strong economic multiplier effect. . . .”

Yet, as the AP notes, “The pipeline project has divided labor groups eager for the jobs it would create from environmentalists and other traditional Democratic allies who oppose the pipeline as an ecological disaster waiting to happen.”

Environmentalists have been vocal opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline. McClatchy reported in early November, “Thousands of protesters encircled the White House Sunday in a show of numbers intended to persuade President Barack Obama to stop a proposed oil pipeline from being built. . . . Environmentalists say the project is a key test of Obama’s environmental credentials. Protesters first heard from prominent environmentalists, a preacher, a Nobel laureate, and a movie star, and then gathered to hold hands in a ring that stretched in front of the White House and several blocks down sidestreets before joining behind the White House lawn. Organizers estimated that the crowd exceeded 10,000 people.”

Politico noted at the time, “Activists fighting a proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline brought their message to the White House on Sunday: Their support for President Barack Obama next year is not a foregone conclusion. . . . And they said at the protest that no matter the decision that Obama makes, the pipeline will not disappear during the election. Rather than turning out to support Obama, activists would continue to push the president; instead of knocking on doors,, student and retired activists will continue challenging the campaign and interrupting fundraisers, organizers said. . . . No doubt the administration faces a party divided on the pipeline.”

So when President Obama decided to delay a decision until after the election, the Houston Chronicle editorialized, “The Obama administration's decision to postpone a ruling on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline till 2013 is a poorly disguised political punt. The ruling has 2012 presidential politics written all over it, despite the environmental reasons given. By delaying a decision on the $7 billion project, which is ‘shovel-ready’ and would immediately produce an estimated 20,000 well-paying jobs in this country, Obama has avoided offending environmentalists on his party's left, a key fund-raising and voting bloc.”

The Hill pointed out today, “The pipeline delay was a victory for environmentalists that had said approval would sap their energy to mobilize on Obama’s behalf in next year's election.” And the AP adds, “[McConnell] and other Republicans called Obama’s decision to delay the project transparently political and said Obama had put his reelection above job creation. ‘This is politics, pure and simple,’ said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.”

Leader McConnell explained this morning, “Labor unions love this project. Folks in the heartland love this project. The Chamber of Commerce loves this project. But here’s the problem: President Obama’s getting heat from his base over this project — especially from the very young and very liberal voters he’ll need knocking on doors before November. So the State Department now says they’re going to delay its approval — even though previously they were seemingly ready to approve it after a three-year review, including two exhaustive environmental evaluations.

Here’s the bottom line: the President has said time and again that his top priority is jobs. Yet here we’ve got the single largest shovel-ready project in the country, ready to go, and he’s delaying its approval until after the election. He’s saying he doesn’t care so much about jobs in states like Nebraska that he doesn’t think he’ll carry next year so he can keep the enthusiasm up in states he hopes to carry. So I think it’s pretty clear the President cares less about this particular boon for job creation than in his own job preservation. And it’s wrong. “There is no reason whatsoever to delay this project and these jobs by another day!"

Tags: Washington, D.C., U.s House, Us. Senate, President Obama, stopping jobs, Keystone pipeline, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Jobs Coalition Blasts Employer Surtax

Major Jobs Groups Urge Senators To Oppose The Democrats’ ‘Anti-Growth Surtax’ On ‘America’s Job Creators,’ Employers

‘Would Seriously Impair Our Ability’ ‘To Put Our Unemployed Back To Work’

“America’s job creators… are critical to the effort to rebuild our economy and create the jobs necessary to put our unemployed back to work. Unfortunately, the Senate is expected to take up yet another bill that, if enacted, would seriously impair our ability to accomplish that goal.” (Tax Relief Coalition, Letter To Congress, 11/30/11)

· “… the proposal before the Senate is a job killing punitive tax hike that moves our tax code in the exact opposite direction from where we should be going if we want to see job creation and economic growth. Thank you in advance for opposing this job-killing tax increase.” Ibid

National Association Of Manufacturers: “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) … strongly oppose a proposal under consideration that would impose a permanent surtax on individual taxpayers with income over $1 million. Specifically, the proposal before the Senate would impose a permanent anti-growth surtax on top of an already outdated tax code.” (National Association Of Manufacturers, Letter To Senators, 11/30/11)

‘4 Out Of 5 Of The Taxpayers Who Will Face This Surtax Are Business Owners’

“Most importantly, the burden of the proposed tax increases would fall disproportionately on the income of America’s small and mid-sized businesses who pay taxes at individual rates.” (Tax Relief Coalition, Letter To Congress, 11/30/11)

· “According to a recently-released Treasury Department study, 392,000 taxpayers reported incomes exceeding $1 million in 2007, 331,000 of those returns included business income, and 311,000 were ‘business owners’ under the Treasury Department’s narrow definition. In short, the Obama Administration’s own data demonstrates that 4 out of 5 of the taxpayers who will face this surtax are business owners – and thus, increasing the tax burden on these business owners will reduce the amount of capital that they would otherwise have available to invest in their company or hire additional workers. In sum, the Senate legislation would raise tax rates on hundreds of thousands of business owners, a job killing tax hike to pay for a bill purported to strive for job creation.” Ibid

“The Tax Relief Coalition (TRC), an organization of more than 1,000 trade associations, corporations and advocacy groups ...” Ibid

“TRC members represent 1.8 million businesses of all sizes, from every state and from every industry sector – businesses that invest in our economy and create jobs.” Ibid

US Chamber Of Commerce
National Federation Of Independent Businesses
National Association Of Manufacturers
National Association Of Wholesaler-Distributors
Associated General Contractors
International Foodservice Distributors Association

Tags: Jobs Coalition, Blasts Employer Surtax, Employer surtax, surtax To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Republican Payroll Proposal

The Republican Proposal Extends Current Payroll Tax Relief, Reduces The Deficit By $111 Billion And Trims The Size Of The Federal Government

Prevents A Tax Increase, Protects Social Security:
Provides a one year extension of the temporary Social Security tax holiday that passed in 2010, protecting all individuals from tax increases, including the job creators targeted by the Democrat plan. Ensures that the Social Security Trust Fund is not harmed by this temporary tax holiday.

Reduces The Deficit, Trims The Size Of Government:
Reduces the deficit by $111 Billion. Uses The Simpson-Bowles model to freeze federal civilian salaries and reduce the size of the civilian federal work force.

· Simpson-Bowles Plan: “Impose a three-year pay freeze on federal workers and Defense Department civilians. Out of duty and patriotism, hardworking federal employees provide a great service to this country. But in a time of budget shortfalls, all levels of government must trim back.” (Simpson-Bowles Commission, “The Moment Of Truth,” P.26, 12/10)

· Simpson-Bowles Plan: “Over time, the Commission recommends cutting the government workforce – including civilian defense – by 10 percent, or by 200,000.” Ibid

· President Obama: “The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require broad sacrifice. And that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government.” (President Obama, Remarks By The President On The Federal Employee Pay Freeze, 11/29/10)

· CBO Table: “Budgetary Effects for… the Temporary Tax Holiday and Government Reduction Act” $111.5 Billion. (“Budgetary Effects For A Senate Proposal, The Temporary Tax Holiday And Government Reduction Act,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/30/11)

Means Tests Government Benefits For Millionaires and Billionaires:
Adds a new means test to government health benefits, unemployment compensation and food stamps so that millionaires aren’t receiving federal benefits that are better targeted elsewhere.

· President Obama: “I’ve said that means testing on Medicare… would be appropriate.” (President Obama, Press Conference, 7/15/11)

· Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “If you don't need them, if you are millionaire, why should you have these benefits?” (Sen. Feinstein, Floor Remarks, 1/25/10)

· Jack Welch, Former GE Chairman: “I shouldn’t be getting Medicare benefits at the level I’m getting.” (Jack Welch, CNBC, 10/7/11)

Gives Millionaires & Billionaires Another Opportunity To Help With The Deficit:
Includes Sen. John Thune’s ‘Buffet Rule Act of 2011,’ which makes it easy for millionaires like Warren Buffet who want to pay more taxes to reduce the federal deficit with a voluntary contribution via their tax returns.

· Warren Buffet: “I think that people at the high end, people like myself, should be paying a lot more...” (ABC News’ “This Week,” 11/21/10)

No Tax Hike On Job Creators:
Does not include a single dollar of new taxes on job creators.

· President Obama: “The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up -- take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole.” (NBC, 8/5/09)

· President Obama: “You don't raise taxes in a recession.” (NBC, 8/5/09)

Tags: Us Senate, Republican Payroll Proposal, payroll To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Barney Frank’s Negative Impact

by William Warren:

Tags: Barney Frank, Congress, Housing Market, Political Cartoons, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Malazy? How About No More Bailouts

The NRSC: Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter. Same problems. Same excuses.

Also read: Bobby Eberle: Wow... There really IS someone worse than Jimmy Carter
When asked to choose the worst president in the history of America, a familiar name comes to mind. Even Democrats will remember the years of gas lines, energy shortages, inflation, unemployment, and hostages. I'm talking about the 39th president of the United States: Jimmy Carter. But now, a new report by Gallup reveals that Barack Obama has journeyed into Carter-like territory. In the history of their polling, no one has had a lower approval rating at this point in a presidential term than Obama.

Tags: Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Malaise, Lazy, Soft, Hope, Change, Inflation, Stagnation, Stagflation, Misery Index, Unemployment, GDP, Growth, Economy, Failure, Crisis of Confidence, Speeches, 1979, 2012, Bobby Eberle, article To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Former Sec. of State Colen Powell Called to Account For Comments Against Tea Party

Bill Smith, Editor: General Colen Powell, who still claims to be a Republican, continues to evidence that he envisions a different Republican Party than the majority of conservatives. Powell served as Secretary of State under Republican President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Then Republican General Colen Powell shifted political positions and failed to support Republican War Hero John McCain. In stead, Powell aligned with and endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008.

Colin Powell - RINO- Any Doubt?
Powell has again aligned with a position supported by Barack Obama - an extreme distaste for the TEA Party whom they see as too conservative and thus divisive to the liberals agenda. Powell is one of the Republicans the liberal media finds useful on their networks. Powell commented on ABC This Week that the Tea Party is the cause of the divisive and unproductive tone in Washington.

And I used to think VP Joe Biden made the greatest gaffes. Powell doesn't seem to see the radical progressive agenda of President Barack Obama as the problem.

Being a military officer, I find myself at odds the General's statements and opinions. We both took the same Oath of Office. But it is very evident that somewhere along his career in Washington, D.C., he lost tract of reality. Of course, few Generals sees the battlefield as clearly as those on the battle.

Below is an Open Letter to Colin Powell from Ned Ryun, President of American Majority. It addresses Powell’s comments on ABC’s This Week regarding the Tea Party:
November 28, 2011
Secretary Powell:

As someone who works closely with thousands of tea party members and conservative grassroots activists across America, I disagreed with your recent comments on ABC’s This Week suggesting the Tea Party was a cause of the divisive and unproductive tone in Washington. You further stated that the Tea Party’s reluctance to compromise would not produce a winning Presidential candidate.

On the contrary, Tea Party members would agree that compromise is part of the legislative process. They know how the system works. However, when government spending is spiraling out of control and the nation is $15 trillion in debt, in no small part due to President Obama, there comes a time when Americans must say enough. There comes a time when people must make tough choices to turn America back from its course toward statism.

The Tea Party and conservative grassroots are simply advocating what most Americans want – lower taxes, less spending, smaller government and an environment that will create jobs. There is little room for compromise given how dire the situation is. No more new programs. No more new bureaucracies. No additional spending needed. No more taxes. As someone who worked for Ronald Reagan, you should appreciate that government is the problem, not the solution. That is far from an extremist point of view. It is a rational, common sense one.

In 2008, you endorsed Barack Obama, calling him a “transformational figure.” Today while criticizing the Tea Party you conveniently ignore the divisive and dangerous behavior of the Obama Administration over the last three years. While trying to save face in light of your misguided decision to back Obama, you are unfortunately blinded to the reality that the Tea Party is the only force in American politics that is steadfast in its commitment to save the nation you once fought for. Our government is on an unsustainable course of borrow, tax, spend and grow that will ultimately reduce the financial, political and religious freedom of every American.

It appears you believe that fiscal conservatives should again buckle to liberal demands of raising taxes, playing the class warfare game and increasing spending. You cite our Founders’ willingness to compromise as an example of what we can achieve when we come together, but your analogy has little merit in these times. Our Founders never compromised on the fundamental ideal of a government that was limited in its scope and power. Today, the cost and size of our government goes far beyond what our Founders envisioned and it places an undue burden on every American.

In the end, Mr. Secretary, America needs leaders and movements that actually stand for something. The majority of Americans aren’t getting it from the President you support. They aren’t getting it from either political party. The Occupy Wall Street crowd is a band of miscreants who advocate more government intervention in our lives and income distribution. The only movement in America that has demonstrated it can be effective at driving a message about what really needs to be done to save this country is the Tea Party.

You make for a compelling interview precisely because no one knows exactly which side of the debate you are on. That is truly unfortunate. One thing seems to be for certain, though, whether it’s Obama’s version of the status quo or Washington’s broken system, you are not in favor of materially changing the way our government does business.

One would hope that your long experience would lead you to embrace rather than attack a movement that has captured the attention of millions of Americans who agree that government must actually live within its means. I hope you take time to understand just how important ending the status quo in Washington is for the future of America and who is really talking about the kind of change we need.


Ned Ryun
American Majority
Thank You Ned Ryun, and No Thank You Colin Powell.

Tags: American Majority, Ned Ryun, Open Letter, Colin Powell, attack, Tea Party To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

GOP Senators Demand Obama Set Politics Aside And Decide On Keystone Pipeline & More Jobs

Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 30, 2011:
The Senate resumed consideration of S. 1867, the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization bill and will begin voting on cloture oat 11AM.  Yesterday, according to The NY Times  by a vote of 61 to 37, the Senate turned back an effort to strip a major military bill of a set of disputed provisions affecting the handling of terrorism cases. The most disputed provision would require the government to place into military custody any suspected member of Al Qaeda or one of its allies connected to a plot against the United States or its allies. The provision would exempt American citizens, but would otherwise extend to arrests on United States soil. The executive branch could issue a waiver and keep such a prisoner in the civilian system.

Yesterday the House approved: H.R. 1801, (404-0), Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act; H.R. 3012, (395-15), which lifts the per country cap on employment-related visas; H.R. 2192, (407-1), which eases bankruptcy rules for members of the National Guard and Reserves, and H.R. 1801, ( 404-0), which requires a program easing airport screening rules for members of the Armed Services.

The House also approved by unanimous consent HR 2465, the Federal Workers' Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act. This bill would give the DOL more power to identify employees who illegally work elsewhere while receiving federal workers' compensation. DOL would be able to check Social Security Administration earnings data to make sure a workers' comp recipient isn't double dipping.  The House bill differs from a Senate workers' comp bill sponsored  by Sen. Susan Collin (R-ME). That bill would require federal and postal employees on workers' comp to retire when they turn 65, which the House bill does not require.

Today, the House, is scheduled to consider under suspension (super majority needed to pass)
H Res 364 — Capitol Visitor Center meeting room designation. Also, HR 3094 — National Labor Relations Bill is pending.

At a press conference this this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, joined by Sens. Dick Lugar (R-IN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), David Vitter (R-LA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), called on President Obama to make a final decision on whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline project go forward.

The Keystone XL pipeline would transport oil extracted from oil sands in Western Canada to American refineries in Texas. The project would create tens of thousands of jobs and allow the United States to get more energy from its friendly northern ally instead of from the Middle East. The pipeline has been described as a “lifeline” for jobs and “the largest shovel-ready project out there” by labor unions and energy interests alike.

According to Bloomberg News, “At a time when almost one in 10 Americans is unemployed, TransCanada Corp. (TRP) expects to create 20,000 jobs to build the pipeline, Chief Executive Officer Russell Girling told reporters on Oct. 7.” Writing in The Huffington Post earlier this month, even the AFL-CIO’s president of the union’s Building and Construction Trades Department says, “For America's skilled craft construction professionals, any discussion of the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: JOBS. Today, roughly 14% of the American construction workforce is unemployed -- which is significantly higher than the overall national unemployment rate of 9%.” He adds, “Throughout America's Heartland, the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs, and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs via a strong economic multiplier effect. . . . The privately-financed Keystone XL pipeline project is projected to create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs in construction and manufacturing, and without one single dollar of government assistance.” CNBC reported in September, ‘We're building what is the largest infrastructure project in North America,’ said TransCanada spokesman James Miller, expressing confidence the pipeline will be approved. ‘We're putting a lot of people to work.’”

During the press conference, Sen. Lugar announced his bill (cosponsored by 37 senators) which would require the Secretary of State to issue a permit within 60 days that allows the Keystone XL project to move forward, unless the president determines the pipeline is not in the national interest. The bill also established Congressional affirmation that the project is good for job creation, economic growth, and national security. Further, it contains environmental and states’ rights protections, especially for Nebraska.

So why is President Obama delaying a decision on a project Sen. Thune called a “no-brainer” today? A Houston Chronicle editorial laid bare the answer: “The Obama administration's decision to postpone a ruling on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline till 2013 is a poorly disguised political punt. . . . The ruling has 2012 presidential politics written all over it . . . .” Rolling Stone added, “Big campaign donors… pressured the president to deny the permit.” And Reuters wrote last month, “Reeling from months of protests, President Barack Obama's advisers are worried that administration approval for a planned oil pipeline from Canada could cost him political support from Democrats in 2012.”

If the president really wants “shovel-ready” projects that will enhance American infrastructure and create jobs, there’s clearly no reason to delay or block the Keystone XL pipeline, unless politics are more important to this White House.

Tags: Keystone pipeline, jobs, US Senate, US House, Washington, D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Barney Reads the Wall

A.F. "Tony" Branco:
The announcement by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) to retire
made for a gay (def: "merry - cheerful - joyful") day.

Tags: Massachusetts, Republican, Barney Frank, Barney Frank retires, Democrats Anonymous, democrats dump Obama, A.F. Branco, political cartoon, a gay day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

November 2011: Porker of the Month - Energy Secretary Steven Chu

By CAGW President Tom Schatz: Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu Porker of the Month for his weak oversight of DOE’s loan guarantee program (LGP), which resulted in huge losses to taxpayers when solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, the recipient of a $535 million loan guarantee, filed for bankruptcy in September.

The LGP program, which received a massive increase in funding in the 2009 stimulus package, has been the subject of three Government Accountability Office reports since its inception, all detailing its management weaknesses, arbitrary selection process, and vulnerabilities to manipulation and politicization.

The collapse of Solyndra was quickly followed by the bankruptcies of three other LGP recipients – Massachusetts-based Beacon Power and Evergreen, Inc. and Oregon-based SpectraWatt. CAGW President Tom Schatz commented, “Sec. Chu and his colleagues dismissed numerous warning signs that the LGP was a ticking time bomb…If this is the Obama administration’s idea of how America can ‘invest’ in its economic recovery, taxpayers would much rather keep the money and do it themselves.”  For trying to pick winners and losers in a volatile sector, for acting as if winning a Nobel Prize in physics also magically confers the title of venture capitalist, and for frittering away taxpayers’ hard-earned money, Sec. Chu is CAGW’s November 2011 Porker of the Month. Read more about the Porker of the Month.
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: CAGW, November, 2011, Porker of the Month, Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, DOE, loan guarantee program, LGP, solar panel manufacturer, Solyndra, bankruptcy, Massachusetts, Beacon Power, Evergreen, Inc., Oregon, SpectraWatt To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Chuck Woolery on Budget Cuts

Legendary game show host Chuck Woolery discusses ways to cut the federal budget in this humorous fireside chat-style video. So easy a game show host could do it. The Congressional Supercommittee was charged to cut $1.2 Trillion (over 10 years). Results: Failed! Chuck takes a few minutes and cuts over $1.5 Trillion. He may be a comedian but this is "no joke."

Tags: Chuck Woolery, Budget Cuts, Supercommittee, domestic spending,
us deficit, cut spending, national debt, government spending
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Fundamental Question to Harry Reid and President Obama: "Where's The Leadership?"

No Recovery! No Leadership!
Img by Chrissy
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 29, 2011:
According to American Research Group, 60% of adults think the economy is in a recession; 24% say the economy is not in a recession.

Dismal Economic Snapshot:
Current Deficit: $98.5 billion
Current National Debt: $15.04 trillion
Debt Per Household: $133,521
Debt Per Individual: $48,086
Unemployment Rate: 9%
Consecutive Months of Budget Deficit: 37

Both the Senate and House will be in session today. The Senate resumed consideration of S. 1867, the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization bill. Votes on amendments are likely today.

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on the Defense authorization bill, setting up a cloture vote for Wednesday. We identified yesterday that Defense Authorization Bill Has A Hidden Provision Threatening American Citizens. Another source on this issue - Battlefield US: Americans face arrest as war criminals under Army state law.

Also, an amendment /  provision  was added  by voice vote to the Defense Authorization Bill that would add the National Guard chief to sit with the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines ― none of whom have ever served in the Guard ― and provide the Guard, for the first time, permanent representation among the nation's senior military officers.  Interesting since the NG belong individually to the States and are under the control of State Governors.  However, in the last 25 years the US Military suffered draw downs and then subsequent reliance on on activating National Guard units to fill military units.  The response by the senators is to grant the NG chief a voice on the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are responsible for logistical operations, training and support of the US Military.

Yesterday the Senate voted 88-0 to confirm Christopher Droney to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit.

The House today may take consider the following bills which are under
suspension (super majority needed to pass):
HR 1801 — Armed forces security screening
HR 2465 — Workers’ compensation (Federal Workers' Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act)
HR 3012 — Immigrants (Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act)
HR 2192 — National Guard debt relief

Yesterday, MarketWatch reported, “Senate Democrats said Monday they’ll seek a tax of 3.25% on incomes of more than $1 million to pay for a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut, setting up a fresh clash over tax policy with Republicans. ‘Americans want us to cut taxes on the middle class, and ask millionaires to pay their fair share,’ Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Monday.”

And according to Roll Call today, “Reassured by recent polling data on the public's anger over rising income inequality, Senate Democrats will continue to push for tax increases on the wealthy to offset aid to the middle class — an issue they believe will help define the 2012 elections.”

Democrats are so focused on pushing this surtax, they’ve been proposing measures that include it for months now. Yet they seem untroubled that it would hit small business owners at a time they’re already struggling to create jobs. A month ago, the Chamber of Commerce warned Democrats that the tax increase “would significantly impair the ability of small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs and grow the U.S. economy.” The Chamber singled out the tax hike as “a burdensome and onerous tax increase on America’s small businesses, entrepreneurs and other job creators.”

Around the same time, a coalition of jobs groups wrote of Senate Democrats’ favorite tax, “the Obama Administration's own data demonstrates that 4 out of 5 of the taxpayers who will face this surtax are business owners” and pointed out that “the burden of the proposed tax increases would fall disproportionately on the income of America's small and mid-sized businesses.”

Americans have seen enough of the status quo when “Democrats decide they’d prefer to have a political issue to run on than solutions to vote on,” as Sen. GOP Leader McConnell put it. It’s time to drop the political posturing and for Democrats to work with Republicans on bipartisan legislation that can address our economic problems. Democrats’ singular focus on raising taxes on job creators and political gamesmanship is not going to help our economy.

Rob Jesmer, NRSC Executive Director, has hit the nail on the head: "After the Supercommittee failed to reach a deal, Harry Reid proclaimed, 'Republicans never found the courage.' But, what have the Democrats in the Senate done other than fight tooth and nail to defeat every spending cut our party's proposed? They've worked hand-in-glove to support President Obama's drive to spend, spend, spend!

"Despite the political blame games here in Washington, they're not fooling the American people. It's Harry Reid and Barack Obama who continue to fail the country. They've chosen time and again to reject Republicans' bold solutions to reduce our country's staggering $15 trillion debt. Instead, they've opted to kick the can down the road again."

And so my fundamental question to Harry Reid and President Obama is "Where's the leadership?"

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