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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 29, 2012

WATCH D.O.G.S.

In light of the shooting tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut, many reactions have been speculated on. Some reactions being proposed actually violate the freedoms of Americans protected by the U.S. Constitution. Setting aside this discussion, today we share an article about successful program that was created in the aftermath of a previous school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1998. tragedy.

Following the tragic school shootings in Jonesboro in 1998, a concerned father from Springdale, AR founded an incredibly successful program that’s put dads and grandfathers in more than 2,600 schools in 42 states.

by Curtis Coleman, Contributing Author: It’s called WATCH D.O.G.S, and the “D.O.G.S.” stands for “Dads of Great Students.”  The now national program was founded in one Springdale, AR school by Jim Moore, a concerned father who chose to take action in response to the 1998 middle-school shootings in Jonesboro.

WATCH D.O.G.S. has two main purposes: To provide positive male role models for the students, and to provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.  Because of its phenomenal effectiveness, the program has been adopted by more than 5,253 registered WATCH D.O.G.S. schools in 47 states along with schools in the following countries: Canada, China, Mexico, Barbados and Puerto Rico.

The program invites fathers, grandfathers or uncles to volunteer at least one day all day at their student’s school during the school year.  Volunteers perform a variety of tasks during their volunteer day including monitoring the school entrance, assisting with unloading and loading of buses and cars, monitoring the lunch room, or helping in the classroom with a teacher’s guidance by working with small groups of students on homework, flashcards, or spelling.

And students and schools aren’t the only ones to benefit.  Fathers get a glimpse of their students’ everyday world and learn about the increasingly complex challenges and decisions today’s youth are facing. They gain a greater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student’s life in the critical areas of academic performance, self-esteem and social behavior.

There’s everything right about this program.
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Curtis Coleman is the President, Curtis Coleman's Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: bullying, Jim Moore, Jonesboro AR, male role model, school security, school shooting, Springdale, Arkansas, WATCH D.O.G.S., Curtis Coleman, Coleman Commentary, Second Amendment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Regulating the Militia

Kevin D. Williamson
The Second Amendment is about protecting ourselves from the state.

By Kevin D. Williamson, NRO: My friend Brett Joshpe has published an uncharacteristically soft-headed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook, conservatives and Republicans should support what he calls “sensible” gun-control laws. It begins with a subtext of self-congratulation (“As a conservative and a Republican, I can no longer remain silent. Some will consider it heresy,” etc.), casts aspersions of intellectual dishonesty (arguments for preserving our traditional rights are “disingenuous”), advances into ex homine (noting he has family in Sandy Hook, as though that confers special status on his preferences), fundamentally misunderstands the argument for the right to keep and bear arms, deputizes the electorate, and cites the presence of teddy bears as evidence for his case.

Brett, like practically every other person seeking to diminish our constitutional rights, either does not understand the purpose of the Second Amendment or refuses to address it, writing, “Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes.” The answer to this question is straightforward: The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars — whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person — let alone a Harvard Law graduate — believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity.

There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story — who was, it bears noting, appointed to the Court by the guy who wrote the Constitution:
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.“Usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers” — not Bambi, not burglars. While your granddad’s .30-06 is a good deal more powerful than the .223 rifles that give blue-state types the howling fantods, that is not what we have a constitutional provision to protect. Liberals are forever asking: “Why would anybody need a gun like that?” And the answer is: because we are not serfs. We are a free people living under a republic of our own construction. We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled.

The right to keep and bear arms is a civil right. If you doubt that, consider the history of arms control in England, where members of the Catholic minority (and non-Protestants generally) were prohibited from bearing arms as part of the campaign of general political oppression against them. The Act of Disenfranchisement was still in effect when our Constitution was being written, a fact that surely was on the mind of such Founding Fathers as Daniel Carroll, to say nothing of his brother, Archbishop John Carroll.

The Second Amendment speaks to the nature of the relationship between citizen and state. Brett may think that such a notion is an antiquated relic of the 18th century, but then he should be arguing for wholesale repeal of the Second Amendment rather than presenting — what’s the word? — disingenuous arguments about what it means and the purpose behind it.

If we want to reduce the level of criminal violence in our society, we should start by demanding that the police and criminal-justice bureaucracies do their job. Massacres such as Sandy Hook catch our attention because they are so unusual. But a great deal of the commonplace violence in our society is preventable. Brett here might look to his hometown: There were 1,662 murders in New York City from 2003 to 2005, and a New York Times analysis of the data found that in 90 percent of the cases, the killer had a prior criminal record. (About half the victims did, too.) Events such as Sandy Hook may come out of nowhere, but the great majority of murders do not. The police function in essence as a janitorial service, cleaning up the mess created in part by our dysfunctional criminal-justice system.

We probably would get more out of our criminal-justice system if it were not so heavily populated by criminals. As I note in my upcoming book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, it can be hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys:
For more than twenty years, NYPD detectives worked as enforcers and assassins for the Gambino crime family; in 2006 two detectives were convicted not only of murder and conspiracy to commit murder but also on charges related to such traditional mob activity as labor racketeering, running illegal gambling rings, extortion, narcotics trafficking, obstruction of justice, and the like. This was hardly an isolated incident; only a few years prior to the NYPD convictions more than 70 LAPD officers associated with the city’s anti-gang unit were found to have been deeply involved in gang-affiliated criminal enterprises connected to the Bloods street gang. Their crimes ranged from the familiar police transgressions of falsifying evidence, obstructing justice, and selling drugs seized in arrests to such traditional outlaw fare as bank robbery — they were cops and robbers. More than 100 criminal convictions were overturned because of evidence planted or falsified by officers of the LAPD. One scholarly account of the scandal concluded that such activity is not atypical but rather systemic — and largely immune to attempts at reform: “The current institution of law enforcement in America does appear to reproduce itself according [to] counter-legal norms . . . attempts to counteract this reproduction via the training one receives in police academies, the imposition of citizen review boards, departments of Internal Affairs, etc. do not appear to mitigate against this structural continuity between law enforcement and crime.”

The Department of Homeland Security has existed for only a few years but it already has been partly transformed into an organized-crime syndicate. According to a federal report, in 2011 alone more than 300 DHS employees and contractors were charged with crimes ranging from smuggling drugs and child pornography to selling sensitive intelligence to drug cartels. That’s not a few bad apples — that’s an arrest every weekday and many weekends. Given the usual low ratio of arrests to crimes committed, it is probable that DHS employees are responsible for not hundreds but thousands of crimes. And these are not minor infractions: Agents in the department’s immigration division were caught selling forged immigrant documents, and DHS vehicles have been used to transport hundreds (and possibly thousands) of pounds of illegal drugs. A “standover” crew — that is, a criminal enterprise that specializes in robbing other criminals — was found being run by a DHS agent in Arizona, who was apprehended while hijacking a truckload of cocaine.
Power corrupts. Madison knew that, and the other Founders did, too, which is why we have a Second Amendment.
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Kevin D. Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review and also writes for National Review Online. He is the author of the 2011 book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. ARRA News Service editor's comment: This article has been shared in whole because Williams' summation of the situation which can not be summarized any furher and is  shared for "educational purposes" under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Tags: Regulating, militia, 2nd Amendment, gun rights, Kevin D. Williamson, National Review To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

2013: It's Going To Be A Rough Year

Dr. Chuck Baldwin
By Dr. Chuck Baldwin: I candidly confess that I am not very superstitious. I don’t care how many cracks I step on on a sidewalk; I don’t care how many cracked mirrors I look at; I’ve never thrown salt over my shoulder; I’ve never rubbed a red-headed boy’s head for luck; I don’t carry four-leaf clovers or rabbit’s feet in my pocket; and the number 13 doesn’t scare me a bit. All of that notwithstanding, however, I can’t help but believe that 2013 is going to be a rough year.

One thing is certainly clear: the last year that ended in 13 was a horrific year for the people of the United States. In fact, 1913 was one of the worst years of the Twentieth Century. Consider the following:

February 3, 1913
This is the date when the 16th Amendment was ratified, and the direct income tax and IRS were instituted. This was a flagrant repudiation of freedom principles. What began as a temporary measure to support the War of Northern Aggression became a permanent income revenue stream for an unconstitutional--and ever-growing--central government.

April 8, 1913
This is the date when the 17th Amendment was ratified. This amendment overturned the power of the State legislatures to elect their own senators and replaced it with a direct, popular vote. This was another serious blow against State sovereignty. The framers of the Constitution desired that the influence and power in Washington, D.C., be kept as close to the people and states as possible. For example, the number of representatives in the House of Representatives was to be decided by a limited number of voters. In the original Constitution, the ratio of “people of the several States” deciding their House member could not exceed “one for every thirty thousand.” (Article. I. Section. 2. Paragraph. 3.) And when it came to the US Senate, the framers also recognized the authority of each State legislature to select its own senators, thereby keeping power and influence from aggregating in Washington, D.C. The 17th Amendment seriously damaged the influence and power of the states by forcing them to elect their US senators by popular vote. The bigger the State, the less influence the State legislature has in determining its US senator. Senators who answered to State legislators, each answering to a limited number of voters, were much more accountable to the “citizens of the several States” than those who were elected by a large number (many times numbering into the millions) of people. For all intents and purposes (at least in the larger states), US Senators are more like “mini-Presidents” than they are representatives of sovereign states.

December 23, 1913
This is the date when the Federal Reserve Act was passed. This Act placed oversight of America’s financial matters into the hands of a cabal of private international bankers, who have completely destroyed the constitutional principles of sound money and (for the most part) free enterprise. No longer would the marketplace (private consumption, thrift, growth, etc.) be the determinant of the US economy (which is what freedom is all about), but now a private, unaccountable international banking cartel would have total power and authority to micromanage (for their own private, parochial purposes) America’s financial sector. Virtually every recession, depression, and downturn (including the one we are now experiencing) has been the direct result of the Fed’s manipulation (again, for its own purposes and with Washington’s cooperation) of the market.

Already, 2013 is shaping up to rival the monstrous year of 1913. Here are some of the reasons why:

Health Care
The elements of Obamacare will begin to be felt this year in earnest. The American people can expect the cost of everything associated with health care to quadruple or more. Physicians will begin leaving their practices or significantly scaling back their services. Hospitals will start dispensing assembly line-type care. The quality of health care will plummet. But, of course, welfare recipients (including illegal aliens) will see a dramatic increase in benefits.

Taxes
Don’t expect the Republican-led House of Representatives to hold the line on taxes. John Boehner and the RINOs in the GOP will give Obama the vast majority of what he wants on taxes. The result is our taxes are going up. Big time! This also means that the cost of everything else is going up. Real inflation is on its way, folks.

Gun Control
This is the big issue! Barack Obama and his gun-control fanatics in the Democrat Party have already declared war on the Second Amendment. They are going to attempt to outlaw semi-automatic rifles, high capacity magazines in both rifles and handguns, and make the private sale of firearms illegal. It will be the biggest assault on the Second Amendment since 1968--and maybe in US history!

If gun owners, and freedom lovers of all types, expect to pass any freedom on to their posterity, they are going to have to fight, AND FIGHT HARD, to preserve their liberties. The same GOP-led House that is going to cave-in on taxes will also have a propensity to cave-in on more gun control. Only the biggest outcry of opposition that they have ever seen from their constituents will come close to helping them stay the line. Freedomists all over America had better take the gloves off come January and rally support against these assaults against the Second Amendment or our liberties will be gone FOREVER!

In addition, State legislators, governors, etc., must also rise up in massive opposition to this tyrannical assault against the Second Amendment by Washington, D.C. In short, states need to tell Washington to go to hell! That they are not going to comply with Washington’s attempt to outlaw the most fundamental right in American history: the right to keep and bear arms.

Thomas Jefferson correctly stated, “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

George Washington said, “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence... From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable... The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference. When firearms go, all goes.”

Remember, too, semi-automatic rifles are not “assault rifles,” no matter what media propagandists say. Assault rifles are capable of fully automatic fire. These guns are already illegal without jumping through a myriad bureaucratic hoops in order to obtain a special permit to possess them. That assault rifles are illegal is bad enough. To take away the citizen’s right to bear a semi-automatic rifle is to, in effect, completely disarm him. Such an act must be regarded as an act of war against the life and liberties of the American people!

The semi-automatic rifle is the backbone of freedom; it is the single most significant protection against tyranny and oppression in modern times. Is it mere coincidence that the Bloody Butchers of Beijing are calling for the American citizenry to surrender their semi-automatic rifles? US troops won World War II because of the semi-automatic rifle. Switzerland maintained its peaceful neutrality even when the entire continent was soaked in war because of the semi-automatic rifle. The only reason that would-be tyrants in the US government have been kept at bay is because of an American citizenry fully armed with semi-automatic rifles. Foreign enemy-states such as Communist China are more intimidated by an American nation filled with citizens who bear semi-automatic rifles than they are our nuclear arsenal--and that is a fact!

Furthermore, semi-automatic rifles have been around since before World War II, and they are used by millions of hunters every year. Predator hunters, especially, need a semi-automatic rifle. In 1990, one hundred thousand police officers delivered a report to Congress that only 2-3% of crimes were committed using semi-automatic rifles. In 1993, a Bureau of Justice report noted that, nationwide, “military-type” guns are only used in about 1% of crimes. These statistics would not vary much today.

In fact, a person is much more likely to be killed with a knife than with a gun. According to FBI reports, a person in Chicago (for example) is 67 times more likely to be knifed or beaten to death than killed with a so called “assault weapon,” meaning a military-looking semi-automatic rifle.

To view a fully-documented gun control fact sheet containing these facts and much more, go to: GunOwnersOf America.org.

Beyond that, high capacity magazines are essential to self-defense. Bad guys who commit violent crimes are normally “high” on chemicals, drugs, alcohol, etc. Such people are often impervious to pain. Throw in a high level of adrenaline, and many violent attackers cannot be stopped with one or two bullets. Plus, such miscreants often attack like wolves: in packs.

Police Captain Massad Ayoob: “The likelihood of multiple opponents who move fast, often wear body armor, know how to take cover, and tend to ingest chemicals that make them resistant to pain and shock, are all good reasons for carrying guns that throw a whole lot more bullets than six-shooters do.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the semi-automatic rifle is the vanguard of our liberty; it is the surest and most trustworthy means of our self-defense; and it is the primary companion of any man who would both protect and feed his family.

Make no mistake about it: to take away an American’s right to a semi-automatic rifle is to FULLY DISARM HIM. There is no Second Amendment; there is no right to keep and bear arms; there is no citizen militia; there is no liberty without the semi-automatic rifle! This is a line in the sand that is so important that no man or woman who believes in liberty should be willing to comply with any attempt by government to take away his or her semi-automatic rifle. There are some 50-75 million (a very conservative number) owners of semi-automatic rifles all across America. Each of us needs to make up our minds about this RIGHT NOW! What say you?

As with 1913, it looks like 2013 is shaping up to be a rough year. And it has nothing to do with bad luck and everything to do with bad government. But with God’s help, the enemies of freedom will not prevail! With God’s help, you and I will be free to pass down to our children and grandchildren both our freedom and our semi-automatic rifles come 2014 and beyond!
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© Copyright 2012 Dr. Chuck Baldwin,  He is the Pastor of Liberty Fellowship in Kalispell, Montana. Dr. Baldwin is Talk Radio Show Host for "Chuck Baldwin Live.” He addresses current event topics from a conservative Christian point of view. Chuck Baldwin is a writer/columnist whose articles and political commentaries are carried by a host of Internet sites, newspapers, news magazines and the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Chuck Baldwin, 1913, 2012, bad government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The WaPo Kerry Endorsement: Curious and Curiouser

Original cover of John Kerry's book
THE NEW SOLDIER.
Kerry Liked by Liberal WaPo, but
Despised by Vets / Others who know him.
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Contributing Authors: The editorial staff of the Washington Post, surely meant well. They wanted readers to think that Sen. John Kerry’s vast experience in foreign policy over four decades equips him to serve as Secretary of State in the second Obama administration.

The editorial, titled “John Kerry: Well-suited to be Secretary of State,” gets that part right. The natty Mr. Kerry certainly looks the part of a globe-trotting senior U.S. diplomat.

As to his qualifications for that role, we’re reminded of Frederick the Great’s response when he was urged to make a less than stellar general a field marshal. Reminded the only occasionally victorious general had been in every battle for years, Frederick pointed to his mount: “So has my mule. Must I make him a field marshal, too?”

The Post editorial lists offer a tour d’horizon of world hot spots and suggests Kerry has already been helpful in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Sudan.

Can anyone point to  improvements in U.S. policy toward any of those benighted lands under this administration? Do we really need Kerry’s help to persuade Hamid Karzai  take more U.S. gold to hold more dubious elections?

The millions of Christian refugees who have fled Sudan will find cold comfort in the thought that John Kerry has helped smooth their flight.

Pakistan? Only two percent of Pakistani citizens pay taxes, NPR tells us, but now Americans will face tax hikes in part so we can continue lavishing money on a country that hates us.

The Post editorial helpfully reminds us that Kerry was “convinced by” Syria’s cynical Bashir al-Assad that the Damascus butcher was actually a reformer. And this is evidence of his fitness for office?

Perhaps the most curious part of the Post endorsement of Kerry is the notion that defeated presidential candidates have something special to offer as Secretary of State. Nice thought, if it doesn’t collide with the test of history.

Consider William Seward, Lincoln’s defeated rival and hand-picked Sec. of State. Seward gave Lincoln shrewd advice on the Emancipation Proclamation, to be sure, and on shepherding the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery through a lame-duck Congress (as the movie Lincoln memorably records).

But Seward’s foreign policy ideas were positively dangerous. In the midst of Civil War, he welcomed a war with Great Britain. That could have proven fatal for the embattled Union. Lincoln wisely leashed the wily New Yorker, saying: “One war at a time, Seward.”

Another presidential loser, William Jennings Bryan, was Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s disastrous choice for Sec. of State. Pacifist Bryan busied himself concluding binding arbitration treaties with scores of foreign states — like Uruguay and Switzerland.

When Germany sank the Lusitania in 1915, killing thousands of civilians, Bryan quit in a huff. Despite the deaths of hundreds of Americans, including infants, Bryan thought Wilson’s stiff note—typed on his own typewriter--was too “one-sided” against the Germans. It seems Bryan thought the doomed Lusitania had put herself right in the path of those German torpedoes.

Republican Charles Evans Hughes lost to President Wilson by a whisker in 1916. Former President Theodore Roosevelt, frustrated with Hughes, who hailed from T.R.’s native New York. He dismissed the wishy-washy Hughes as “Wilson with whiskers.”

A poor campaigner, Hughes was even worse as Warren Harding’s Sec. of State. Hughes pursued naval disarmament after World War I. That antagonized Japan. And stripped U.S. defenses in the Pacific. Thousands of the nearly 80,000 U.S. and Filipino troops taken prisoner died on the infamous Bataan Death March of 1942. The crosses over their makeshift graves bear mute testimony to unwise foreign policies heedlessly pursued.

Speaking of New Yorkers who failed to catch the presidential gold ring, we come to former senator, now Sec. of State, Hillary Clinton. We sincerely hope Madame Secretary recovers from her concussion soon. But while her widely anticipated congressional testimony on the Benghazi debacle will grab headlines, the totality of her tenure should not be passed over.

She badgered Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper,most diplomatically in public, in Ottawa for not pushing abortion in pro-life East African nations. She helped Vice President Biden force abortion into the new Kenya constitution, threatening these African Christians with a cutoff of U.S. aid. This, from a Secretary of State who once admitted abortion is "wrong."[Newsweek, Oct. 31, 1994]

While claiming to champion women worldwide, Hillary Clinton has been mum about the global war on unborn baby girls. Estimates range in the hundreds of millions of unborn children killed because they were female.

But, we digress!

Given the record of defeated presidential candidates trying to make a comeback as Secretary of State, the Post’s endorsement becomes curious and curiouser. Senators should press Sen. Kerry hard before taking the Post’s advice on this nomination.
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Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law.   Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service.
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Editor's Note: Image added by editor.  Suggested additional articles:
1. Kerry and the Paris Peace Talks by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D., Oct 24, 2004
2. John Kerry meeting North Vietnamese in Paris by Marc Morano, CNSNews, May 20, 2004
3. Obama Picks Anti-Vietnam War Activist John Kerry To Run State Department by GINGPAC, Dec 21, 2012
4. Question John Kerry Long and Hard! by Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Dec 22, 2012

Tags: Washington Post, WaPo, John Kerry, endorsement, Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Goodbye, General Schwarzkopf

General Norman Shwartzkopf
(1934-2012)
Commander Coalition Forces,
Persian Gulf War.
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: General Norman Schwarzkopf passed away yesterday at the age of 78. General Schwarzkopf commanded the U.S.-led coalition that defeated Saddam Hussein's forces and liberated Kuwait in the First Gulf War, known as Operation Desert Storm.

While much of the credit for winning that war often goes to then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell, Schwarzkopf was the battlefield commander. So brilliant were his tactics and so decisive was the victory that the ground war lasted all of 100 hours.

Schwarzkopf was a genuine patriot with a distinguished military career. A graduate of West Point, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and earned three Silver Stars for valor, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. He was described by one reporter as having "a John Wayne swagger and a growl like a grizzly."

Former President George H. W. Bush released the following statement from the hospital where he is recovering from a stubborn fever:

"General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the 'duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man -- and a dear friend."

Please pray for his wife, Brenda, and their three children.
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Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families where his articles are also shared.

Tags: General Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Army, dies, Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senate Voting On Sandy Relief Bill Stuffed With "Pork"

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec 28, 2012
The Senate reconvened at 9 AM today and resumed consideration of H.R. 5949, the FISA reauthorization bill.  Senators voted down a final amendment to the FISA bill from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and then voted 73-23 to pass H.R. 5949. The bill now goes to the president for his signature.

The Senate then resumed consideration of H.R. 1, the vehicle for a supplemental appropriations bill for relief from Hurricane Sandy, and began voting on a series of amendments to the bill. All amendments will require 60 votes for adoption.

Among those amendments are several being offered by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom  Coburn (R-OK) to strike various provisions in the bill not related to emergency hurricane relief, such as money for fisheries in Alaska.  Once all pending amendments are worked through, the Senate will vote on the Reid substitute amendment to H.R. 1, as amended, and then on final passage of H.R. 1.

At 3 PM, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will meet with President Obama at the White House for discussions on the fiscal cliff.

Yesterday, the Senate rejected three amendments to the FISA bill: a substitute amendment from Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) that would have required an inspector general review of surveillance authorities, an amendment from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) that would have required government disclosure of decisions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and an excellent amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that would have expanded government warrant requirements when seeking information from third parties.

Today, the Senate is voting on amendments to the bill that is supposed to offer aid for families and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately, Democrats have stuffed it full of extra spending, including things like $150 million for fisheries in Alaska and $13 billion for storms that haven’t even happened yet.

The New York Post blasted the bill last week, writing, “President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned. The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC. An eye-popping $13 billion would go to ‘mitigation’ projects to prepare for future storms. . . . Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill ‘Sandy Scam.’”

And The Wall Street Journal ripped the bill in an editorial: “Only Congress could do something like this. All eyes are on the fiscal-cliff negotiations to trim the $1 trillion-plus budget deficit. Running alongside but largely out of public view is a $60.4 billion emergency spending bill to provide relief to the victims of superstorm Sandy. Trouble is, the ‘Sandy’ bill is laden with billions of dollars of spending stowaways wholly unrelated to the hurricane. . . . “This is supposed to be an ‘emergency’ funding bill. But only about $9 billion of the $60 billion would be spent in the next nine months. The Congressional Budget Office reports that $38 billion would be spent in fiscal 2015 or beyond. Some emergency. And for all the recent talk of offsetting such commitments with reductions elsewhere, there are no spending cuts here.”

A key vote to watch this morning will be an amendment being offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to strip larded-on spending like the money for Alaska fisheries. Will Democrats vote to focus on the needs for recovery from this hurricane or will they vote once again for endless spending and endless deficits?

Harry Reid - Senate Thug
Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government, made some appropriate remarks regarding Sen. Harry Reid today:Nothing is more infuriating than hearing a politician who has failed to act in six months on a single piece of legislation to end a crisis complaining about someone who has strenuously worked to produce a solution to the problem.

Harry Reid, also known as the Duke of Do-Nothing, is just such a whiny specimen.

The Senate majority leader’s pronouncement that there is not time for Congress to act to avoid the “fiscal cliff” is both arrogant and absurd.

His finger-pointing at the Republicans is even more infuriating.

Memo to Harry: the House of Representatives passed legislation to prevent going over the cliff — it simply extends the Bush tax cuts. The House also passed legislation replacing the sequestration cuts that were part of Harry’s only accomplishment of the past two years, with alternative cuts.

Reid has failed to act on either bill.

In fairness, while Reid hasn’t bothered to produce a budget for more than three years out of fear of creating a political issue that might depose him from his Lordship over DumDumville, his Senate did pass legislation this summer that dramatically raised taxes on everyone making more than $250,000 a year.

Of course now, Reid is refusing to compromise off that position, which coincidentally isn’t far removed from Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” solution — a plan Reid summarily dismissed.

By refusing to reach a compromise with House Republicans, Reid is playing a dangerous game aiming for complete victory through the political neutering of his foes. His plan depends upon a complicit media to blame the Republicans, while not mentioning the ramifications of his rejection of the white-flag-waving Boehner’s Plan B offer.

When we go over the fiscal cliff, it will not be because House Republicans failed to pass legislation that prevented it. It will be because Harry Reid chose to pursue a course that guaranteed that outcome.

The truth is that Democrats want higher taxes, not just on the wealthy, but on the rest of us who are not yet part of the dependency state they have built. The fiscal cliff just gives them the ideal opportunity to impose them, while blaming the Republicans.

The truth is that the Democrats want defense cuts imposed, and they love to see the House Republicans getting the blame.

The truth is that every American who pays taxes is likely to see their paychecks shrink next year because Reid would rather play politics in the expectation that he can affix the blame to his political foes.

That’s the sad situation in Washington, D.C., where politics trumps everything else. And if you think this “fight” has been tough, wait until you see what happens with the upcoming debt ceiling and Continuing Resolution wars.

Those who are faint of heart need to turn away, because you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Tags: fiscal cliff, Sandy Bill, pork, Harry Reid, Senate Thug, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Is there Income Mobility in America?

Learn Liberty: Are the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer? Prof. Sean Mulholland uses several statistical measures and finds that this common perception may not be accurate. A surface-level examination of statistics may indicate that the poor are getting poorer, but a more thorough study shows that there is more income mobility in the United States than many might think. Prof. Mulholland highlights data showing household income by quintile adjusted for inflation and even uses data that follows specific households over time. For example, if we look at households in the bottom quintile in 1987 and follow those individual households until 1996, about 45 percent of them have moved up to a higher quintile. In the next 10-year period, about 40 percent of households move up. Watch the video to see Prof. Mulholland's findings about income mobility for the top 20 percent of income earners over time and for U.S. households across generations, too. Prof. Mulholland says this data provides "evidence that the possibility of upward mobility in the United States is still very real."

Learn More:
- Steve Horwitz explains that, contrary to popular belief, the poor are getting richer.
- Thomas Sowell argues that the economy has grown faster than most people realize.

Tags: Income mobility, America, Sean Mulholland, education To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senate Dems Still Won't Offer Serious Fiscal Cliff Solutions, But Point Fingers At GOP

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 27, 2012
Lisa Jackson, the head of the EPA, will resign her post, none too soon, ending a 4-year stint of creating burdensome regulations. Jackson is stepping down in the wake of a secret email account that she used and kept secret from government oversight. Jackson will step down after the State of the Union address in January.

The AP is reporting that President Obama is expected in Washington today. The President left his vacation in Hawaii so he could return to negotiations over the impending “fiscal cliff.”  US Today reported, "House Republican leaders told lawmakers to return to Washington on Sunday, setting the stage for a dramatic final act in this Congress to avert the year-end "fiscal cliff."

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., offered a pessimistic outlook for the chances of sending President Obama legislation before Dec. 31 to avert the budgetary collision of tax hikes and spending cuts that threaten the U.S. economic recovery." . . . ""I actually think there's still a chance to get something done," Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told MSNBC. Asked why he was optimistic, Cole said, "Well, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there's so much manure around here there's got to be a pony someplace."

However, the House met for 9 minutes today and then adorned until Dec. 31. The House received a notice from the Senate that the Senate passed H.R. 1339, without amendment; passed H.R. 4212, with an amendment; passed H.R. 5859, without amendment; passed H.R. 6364, with an amendment; passed S. 3709; and passed H.R. 1845, without amendment.

The Senate reconvened this morning and began consideration of H.R. 5949, the FISA reauthorization bill. Following up to 7 hours of debate, the Senate will consider and vote on four amendments to the bill, with each requiring a 60-vote threshold for adoption. The Senate will then vote on final passage of H.R. 5949.  It’s likely votes won’t begin until 5:30 PM. Also, the Senate could also return today to H.R. 1, the pork filled vehicle for a supplemental appropriations bill for relief from Hurricane Sandy.

Last Friday, The Wall Street Journal editors looked at the state of the fiscal cliff negotiations and called out President “Obama's failure to negotiate seriously.” They wrote that the “failure to govern also owes much to President Obama's failure to negotiate with any degree of seriousness. If Washington now goes off the tax cliff, Mr. Obama may not enjoy the plunge as much as some of his partisans believe.”

Noting the problems House Speaker John Boehner has had getting the president and Democrats to make serious offers, the WSJ editors write, “The Speaker's miscalculation was that, just as in 2011, he thought he could get into a room with the President and negotiate a grand bargain. His intentions were good but he misjudged the all-or-nothing ideological nature of this Presidency. After the debacle of 2011, Mr. Obama could have treated the negotiations as the art of the bipartisan deal that could set the stage for immigration reform and other second-term achievements. Flush with victory, he could have at least made a gesture on entitlements. Instead, he has treated the talks as an extension of the election campaign, traveling around the country at rally-style events at which he berates Republicans for not accepting his terms of surrender.”

Democrats have spent a lot of time claiming that it’s up to the House to produce a bill, but of course it takes both houses of Congress to pass a law and Senate Democrats have been happy to do nothing and point fingers instead.

The Hill reported yesterday, “House Republican leaders promised Wednesday that the lower chamber would consider any measures to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff,’ but first the Senate must pass something for their consideration. . . . The Republican leaders pointed to a pair of bills passed by the House earlier this year, which would extend all the Bush-era tax rates across income levels as well as replace immediate defense cuts with cuts elsewhere, as options for the Senate to consider. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Senate Democrats have already ruled out this approach.”

But with Democrats offering nothing, it’s hard to take seriously Reid’s speech this morning where he “bluntly predicted the country was most likely headed over the fiscal cliff as he began to pointedly blame Republicans,” as Politico noted.

The president is the only person who can sign a fix to then fiscal cliff into law, and yet he hasn’t lead on this issue. Meanwhile, Democrats control the Senate and it’s long past time for them to put forward a plan if they don’t like the ones the House has offered. But blaming Republicans for this situation is far-fetched.

Tags: fiscal cliff, Barack Obama, Senate, House, Democrats, Republicans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Lefty's Bar

Editorial Cartoon by A.F. "Tony" Branco:

Tags: Lefty's Bar and Grill, Democrats, gun ban, tax the rich, Obamacare, Cap and Trade, editorial cartoon, A.F. Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

U.S. House Leaders on Fiscal Cliff: Senate First Must Act

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today issued the following joint statement regarding the fiscal cliff:"The House has acted on two bills which collectively would avert the entire fiscal cliff if enacted. Those bills await action by the Senate. If the Senate will not approve and send them to the president to be signed into law in their current form, they must be amended and returned to the House. Once this has occurred, the House will then consider whether to accept the bills as amended, or to send them back to the Senate with additional amendments. The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act. The lines of communication remain open, and we will continue to work with our colleagues to avert the largest tax hike in American history, and to address the underlying problem, which is spending."
Tags: House Leaders statement, US Senate, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Fiscal Cliff To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Safe Six Shooter But Unsafe Victims

by AF "Tony" Branco:
Government Laws & Regulations: Ineffective When Used As Directed. Increased Gun Crime!

Tags: AF Branco, editorial cartoon, guns, government regulations, mor violent crime To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Government Security is Just Another Kind of Violence

In the closing days of his time in office, U.S. Representative Dr. Ron Paul shares the following commentary addressing "warrantless physical searches" and growing loss of freedom and liberty.

Rep. Ron Paul
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14): The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place. Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called “assault” rifles and gun-free zones.

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control. This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned. Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented. But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don't obey laws.

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence. If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence. Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets. We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

Let’s not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life, and encourage immorality. The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home. U.S. drone strikes kill thousands, but nobody in America holds vigils or devotes much news coverage to those victims, many of which are children, albeit, of a different color.

Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.  This is the world of government provided "security," a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.  School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

Do we really believe government can provide total security?  Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence?  Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place.  Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.

Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.

Tags: Representative, Ron Paul, Government security, violence, freedom, gun control, liberty, warrantless physical searches To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

As 2012 Comes To An End, The World Has Never Been Better

by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: There’s an urban legend besetting the urbane that capitalism is a system of privilege designed for the Ebenezer Scrooges of the world. Not so. Capitalism works at least as well for us Bob Cratchits as it does for misers, probably better. Capitalism is the only proven mechanism by which the workers of the world may unite to lose their chains.

The big picture is set out in a recent article in the UK’s The Spectator . . . It's Why 2012 was the best year ever observes:“It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world. That sounds like an extravagant claim, but it is borne out by evidence. Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity. The West remains in the economic doldrums, but most developing countries are charging ahead, and people are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded. The death toll inflicted by war and natural disasters is also mercifully low. We are living in a golden age.”This world scoop lays out paragraph after paragraph of impressive evidence for its thesis. One of the most compelling points:In 1990, the UN announced Millennium Development Goals, the first of which was to halve the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015. It emerged this year that the target was met in 2008. Yet the achievement did not merit an official announcement, presumably because it was not achieved by any government scheme but by the pace of global capitalism. Buying cheap plastic toys made in China really is helping to make poverty history. And global inequality? This, too, is lower now than any point in modern times. Globalisation means the world’s not just getting richer, but fairer too.As this columnist has pointed out here before, in The End of Politics, World Peace is breaking out. This is obscured by media reportage focusing on carnage. And yet the peace, which is real, represents a brisk tailwind for the forces of small “l” liberal small “r” republican governance — and a headwind for the Big Government/Dark Side of the Force crowd. As The Spectator puts it, bringing billions of souls out of extreme poverty “did not merit an official announcement, presumably because it was not achieved by any government scheme but by the pace of global capitalism.” World Prosperity, as well as Peace, is emerging: “a golden age.”

Real capitalism is a humanitarian force. Making capitalism synonymous with miserliness is what Marxists call false consciousness. A great example of capitalism with a human face — with a beard, even! — is Garry Kvistad, founder and proprietor of Woodstock Chimes®.

Whenever you hear a wind chime, or see one in a gift shop, chances are that it’s a Woodstock Chime. Woodstock is — by far — the market leader. It earned its market leadership by providing a superb quality product at a competitive price, reliable service, and good management. It began, as so many companies do, with its founder’s passion. From Chimes.com:“Being a recent college graduate, Garry found the materials for his metallophone at the local landfill – it was made from the aluminum tubes of discarded lawn chairs! Garry was fascinated by the Scales of Olympos, a 7th century Greek pentatonic scale that can’t be played on a modern piano. His metallophone experiment was so successful that he had the idea to cut and tune lawn chair tubes to the exact frequency of the scale and create a windchime from the tubes. … The Chime of Olympos® was the first Woodstock Chime….”Kvistad, a Grammy® Award winning musician, also is a founder and participant of the most highly regarded percussion ensemble working today, NEXUS. And as he said, over craft beer, to this columnist, “It’s clear that if you wish to pursue a career in New Music — performing works by extraordinary composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage — you’d better have a supplementary source of income.”

In addition to freeing Garry to play the music that delights him (and audiences worldwide) the Kvistads have distributed millions of dollars of profits philanthropically. Many who have earned wealth are generous givers. (Actually… Republicans, very well advertised as, to a man, rich, mean, and miserly, have a well-documented track record, as noted by George Will, of charitableness consistently far in excess of that of the equally well advertised sweet, generous, wealthy Democrats. Go figure. No implication intended that the Kvistads might be sinister Republicans. Perish the thought.)

Let it not be thought, however, that the laws governing Hippie Capitalism are somehow kinder, gentler, or more renewable, than that of Republican Square Capitalism. To most everyone’s surprise it turns out that the laws of economics, being laws of nature, apply to all equally. The law of supply and demand, like the law of gravity, applies to Progressives as well as conservatives. (This is a fact mostly unnoticed, or at least unforgiven, by Progressive policy makers.)

Some years ago, Kvistad noticed that international suppliers were beginning to sell chimes almost as good as Woodstock’s, and more cheaply. The necessary response, as it turned out, did not involve redeploying to the city dump in search of more discarded lawn chairs. “We had always manufactured our chimes right here, near Woodstock,” Kvistad told me. “It was very gratifying to be able to provide work to skilled artisans here in my home town. Yet it was clear to me that if we continued to make them here we soon would be out of business and providing no jobs at all. So I sought out and found reliable, high quality, ethical suppliers — in China and Indonesia — and… between natural workforce attrition, people moving on or moving away, and retraining my team to handle the complexities of managing an inventory built abroad, I was able not only to keep jobs here in America but to generate more highly skilled, better paying, jobs right here. It was a positive, not a negative, sum game. (Emphasis added.) We also sell in Europe, Canada, and are opening up a distribution center in the UK. All of that goes to create more American jobs.”

Kvistad’s action provides empirical proof, as if more were needed, of Tamny’s Law . . .: “Technology erases unnecessary work so that we can constantly migrate toward more productive pursuits. We destroy jobs to create better ones.”

It begins to appear that the world is entering, as The Spectator noted in emulation of this columnist, “a golden age.” . . . A golden age may prove precursor, rather than the predicate, of a return to the classical gold standard. As the rest of the world honors, rather than attempts to override, the natural laws governing the production of goods and services the rest of the world becomes more prosperous … and fair. Will the political elites of the developed world continue to adopt policies calculated to induce “economic doldrums”? Perhaps the sight of equitable prosperity blossoming all around us will inspire our own policy makers toward capitalism.

To rephrase Keynes: no subtler, no surer means of restoring an equitable prosperity to society has been found than the classical gold standard. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of human flourishing and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose. Perhaps we will not have to wait the generation or two until Bangladesh, as observed by The Spectator, becomes as rich as England for America and the West to decide that a solid dose of small “l” liberal capitalism, as exemplified by the gold standard, is just what America, and the West, needs to thrive. If our own policy elites do not soon grasp this simple fact then it is high time to start a national conversation about offshoring our economic policy making, perhaps to the editorial board of the The Spectator.
------------
Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to he ARRA News Service. The article which first appeared in Forbes was submitted for reprint by the author.

Tags: 2012, end of 2012, capitalism, The Spectator, Ralph Benko, commentary, Forbes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Yeshiva Boy and Christmas

Handel - Messiah - Hallelujah Chorus
Sometimes Christians in America need to know that the Christmas is not only appreciated by them. It is also appreciated by non-Christians as well. Thank you to Dennis Prager for explaining this in his article shared below.

By Dennis Prager, Townhall: When I was 20, I spent my junior year in college in England. When classes let out for the last two weeks of December, I traveled to Morocco, where something life-changing occurred.

What happened was that I felt a longing, even an emptiness, I had never before experienced. Something was missing from my life, but I could not at first identify it. I knew it was not about being without friends or family -- after all, I hadn't been with family or friends for the previous three months. And it wasn't about being alone -- I had gotten used to traveling alone.

This sense of missing something kept gnawing at me, until one day I realized what it was: I missed the Christmas season. I missed that time of year in America.

At first I denied it. Growing up in an Orthodox Jewish home and in yeshivas (Orthodox religious schools where half the day was devoted to religious, and half the day to secular, studies), I had, of course, never celebrated Christmas. How, then, could I miss something that I never had? How could I, raised in an Orthodox Jewish world, miss the quintessential Christian holiday?

But I could not conjure up any other explanation: I was in a non-Christian country, and therefore I heard no Christmas songs, saw no Christmas decorations, and Dec. 25 was just another day.

I subsequently spent a lot of time reflecting on why this yeshiva boy would miss the Christmas season.

I came to two life-changing realizations. First, though my yeshiva world did everything possible to ignore Christmas -- we had school on Christmas Day, and we had a "midwinter vacation" at the end of January instead of a Christmas vacation -- I really liked the Christmas season.

And, second, this Jew, whose rather insulated Orthodox upbringing overwhelmingly emphasized Jewish identity, was in fact intensely American.

My youth in New York had consisted of an Orthodox home, Orthodox synagogue, Orthodox yeshiva, and Orthodox friends. In that world, one's American identity was never denigrated, but it was largely ignored. And Christianity was entirely ignored (though it was an annual ritual in my home to watch the midnight Mass from Rome).

Until I was in college, my contact with Christianity was almost nonexistent -- except for Christmas decorations and Christmas music. Morocco made me realize that I missed something Christian, and that I felt profoundly American.

As the years passed, I came to treasure this season and to fall in love with America and its distinct values (what I call the American Trinity: Liberty, In God We Trust and E Pluribus Unum). While director of a Jewish institution from 1978 to1983, I volunteered to be Santa Claus for the Simi Valley Rotary Club, of which I was a member. So, during the same week that I led Sabbath services and study for about a thousand Jews, I also went to my Rotary Club meeting -- what is more American than the Rotary Club? -- and was the Santa Claus for a local department store.

It is that season now, and I never fail to get goose bumps when I hear Burl Ives sing "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," let alone when I attend a performance of Handel's "Messiah," surely the greatest religious music ever composed. I love hearing people wish each other "Merry Christmas." When my Jewish day school-attending children were young, I used to take them to see homes that had particularly beautiful Christmas lights.

Those who wish to remove Christmas trees from banks and colleges and other places where Americans gather are not only attempting to rob the 90 percent of Americans who celebrate Christmas of their holiday, they are robbing this Jew, too.

And I first realized all this in a Muslim country.
-----------
Dennis Prager, one of America's most respected radio talk show hosts, has been broadcasting in Los Angeles since 1982. Dennis Prager's popular show became nationally syndicated in 1999 and airs live from his home station, KRLA. read more

Tags: Yeshiva boy, Dennis Prager, Jewish, Christmas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the original Townhall article and the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Merry Christmas 2012

Remembering the Reason For The Season.
Christ's Birth!
To: All Patriots and Friends,
Merry Christmas!
From: ARRA News Service

Tags: ARRA News Service, Christmas, 2012, Merry Christmas, Christ's Birth To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Very First King Size Bed

Thank God for that bed and the baby who slept there!

"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." ~ Thomas Aquinas

[Hat tip a reader, Mike, for sharing the above.]

Tags: King size bed, a manager, baby, Jesus Christ, Christmas, God, gift, Thomas Aquinas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Have A Wonderful Christmas Eve 2012

Wishing you a very joyous Christmas Eve.

As we shared last year, please enjoy the following video with a beautiful version of "Holy Night" by Celtic Woman [As of this post over [9,141, 323 views]:

"O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!

Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!"




Tags: holiday message, Christmas, 2012, Christmas eve, Holy Night, Celtic Woman, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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