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News Blog 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 "Blog" - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use Doctrine is posted & used.
Blogger/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, March 02, 2013

Time To Register Books And Put Reasonable Restrictions On The 1st Amendment

David Huntwork
By David M. Huntwork, Op-Ed: President Obama and his progressive allies have recently told us that even the most draconian of gun laws must be passed because “If we save even one life from gun violence, it’s worth it.” While that’s an amazingly ignorant, infantile, and even downright silly statement, it does neatly sum up a nanny-state philosophy that is fueling a nationwide assault on the second “shall not be infringed” amendment as well as law-abiding gun owners across the nation.

By such simplistic liberal logic, the printed word is far too dangerous to be allowed outside the hands of a privileged few or the auspices of government control. In fact, entire cultures, nations, and peoples have been persuaded to commit atrocious acts of aggression and even genocide by simple concepts spread by the printed word and other mass message distribution devices. If you are going to start banning guns, then you better start banning ideas and the ways they are disseminated. And remember, if only one life is saved by such extreme actions “at least we did something.”

Simple words printed on pieces of paper have indeed shown themselves to be far more dangerous than the mere possession of firearms by a certain percentage of a population.

The advent of the printing press, and the technologies that evolved from it, facilitated the widespread distribution of controversial, violent, and often hateful concepts and ideologies. In the last century alone approximately 170 million people were killed because of the ideas outlined within just three books. The contents of Mao’s Little Red Book, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and Marx and Engel’s The Communist Manifesto have been responsible for more repression, massacres, genocide, and cataclysmic warfare than all other theologies and ideologies from the beginning of time until now.

In addition to the poison spread by the likes of Marx and Hitler, many other books and writings have also contributed to the deaths of countless human beings and to the rise of myriads of twisted cults and movements. The plethora of gullible, uneducated, mentally ill, opportunistic, and extremists among the general population has shown us that average citizens cannot be trusted with the often dangerous ideas that a book can provide without strict government regulation and control.

One has to wonder if the time has come to call for the registration of books deemed potentially dangerous and perhaps even the banning of exceptional powerful ones like the Bible that, when misused, could theoretically cause harm to innocents. Book buybacks, book-free zones, waiting periods, restrictions on internet book purchases, and requiring doctors to report to authorities the existence of such possibly mind-damaging materials in the home should all be explored. The safety of the public at large, no matter what the cost, must trump any outdated notions of personal liberty or constitutional “rights.”

Book registration and book-free zones make about as much sense as gun registration and gun-free zones. Both are equally ineffective deterrents when it comes to stopping psychopaths, violent criminals, and mass murderers. But such policies have shown themselves to be powerful weapons for governments to use against civilian populations. Especially when a government decides to start massively increasing its own power and control while at the same time restricting previously protected natural and constitutional rights. Registration inevitably leads to confiscation and that formula has been played out time after time in nation after nation. To pretend otherwise is mere historical ignorance or purposeful misdirection.

For, in the end, if it’s truly just about “saving lives” with no consideration for liberty and individual rights then you might as well start by banning books as well as guns. For the 1st and 2nd amendments go hand in hand. The contents of each are equally potentially dangerous, and at the same time equally precious and important. And each relies upon the other for its existence in a truly free society. Such was the design incorporated into the foundation of our nation by the Founding Fathers.

It is absolutely no business of the government what constitutionally protected rights a citizen chooses to engage in. That’s part of the beauty of being a free and sovereign citizen in a Constitutional Republic. You have the right to be left alone and to live your life free from undue government interference and regulation. Infringing on those rights is not the proper role of government. Instead, it is the government’s role to protect and preserve those rights.“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” ~ Noah Webster ----------------
David Huntwork is a conservative activist, blogger, and columnist in Northern Colorado. He believes that Faith, Family, and Freedom is the formula for success and the key to a good life and a healthy nation. David blogs and is the editor for

Tags: liberal thinking, books, liberal logic, registering books, satire, truth, Constitutional Republic, Constitution, protected rights, op-ed, David Huntwork To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

With Over 40,000 Jobs Waiting, Time To Approve Keystone

by AF Branco
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve Scalise has issued the following statement after the U.S. State Department released its draft environmental study for the Keystone XL pipeline.“If President Obama was serious about creating jobs and fixing this weak economy, he would stand up to the extremist radicals in his party and finally approve the Keystone Pipeline today,” Scalise said. “With just one stroke of his pen, President Obama could create more than 40,000 middle class jobs here in America, reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil from countries who don’t like us, and lower gas prices at the pump. For 1,600 days this project has languished, waiting for approval while Americans have struggled with skyrocketing unemployment and higher gas prices. It’s long past time for the president to stop failing American families and finally approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.”
The State Department has released a draft environmental impact statement and found (again) that the Keystone XL pipeline is environmentally sound. Sean Hackbarth with the US. Chamber of Commerce noted,"The report also destroys a key talking point by anti-energy groups who argue that stopping the pipeline would stop crude from Canadian oil sands from coming to market. “[A]pproval or denial of the proposed Project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area,” it reads. It goes on to state that, “If all pipeline capacity were restricted, oil sands production could decrease by approximately 2 to 4 percent by 2030.” Alternative methods of moving oil would be used."Bill Smith, ARRA News, commented: "President Obama said he wanted more infrastructure projects available to create more jobs. Here is a real infrastructure project, adding over 20,000 direct high paying jobs and 100, 000 indirect jobs which will not cost the U.S. taxpayers a dime. In fact the program will via income taxes add funds to the treasury. The only thing standing in the way of the XL Pipeline is President Obama's green energy agenda and his activist appointed leadership in the EPA."

Tags: jobs, XL Pipeline, lower gas prices, stimulated economy, reduced dependence on the Middle East To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Weekly GOP Address: Spending Is The Problem

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
by Michael Ricci: In this week’s Republican address, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) says that our children’s future depends on our ability to tackle the nation’s spending problem, which is why it is disappointing that President Obama and his Democratic-run Senate failed to act to replace his sequester and instead insisted on more tax hikes to fund more government. This week’s address comes as new figures show the national debt has risen more than $6 trillion on the president’s watch.
“DEBATE OVER THE SEQUESTER IS ABOUT ‘THE KIND OF FUTURE WE WANT FOR OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN’”: “The battle over across-the-board federal spending cuts is about of the future of America's children, a Republican congresswoman said Saturday. Delivering the GOP's weekly media address, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said the debate over the sequester is about ‘the kind of future we want for our children and grandchildren.’ … Rodgers said the debate over the sequester was being used by the president to raise taxes. She said it was time for the Democrats to ‘get serious’ about dealing with the deficit.” (UPI, 3/2/13)

“YESTERDAY, ACROSS-THE-BOARD SPENDING CUTS TOOK EFFECT BECAUSE PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SENATE DEMOCRATS FAILED TO ACT”: “House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the GOP address this week and called for President Obama and Senate Democrats to negotiate a solution to the devastating spending cuts, known as the sequester. ‘Yesterday across the board spending cuts took effect because President Obama and the Senate Democrats failed to act. These devastating across the board cuts were proposed by the president [and] will affect the lives of so many hard working Americans,’ Rodgers laments. ‘The president should lead an effort to begin addressing our nation’s spending problem. All it will take is for the president and his party to get serious and lead,’ Rodgers concludes.” (ABC News Radio, 3/2/13)

“DEMOCRATS’ DESIRE FOR MORE TAX REVENUE IS A PLOY TO ENDLESSLY SPEND MORE MONEY”: “GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) said on Saturday that the sequester debate revolves around ‘the kind of future we want for our children and grandchildren.’ … Rodgers picked up where the House’s top Republican left off. ‘So we urge President Obama and Senate Democrats to put country ahead of party and pass a responsible plan to replace his sequester.’ … The Democrats’ desire for more tax revenue is a ploy to endlessly spend more money, Rodgers said. … To fix the problem, Rodgers argued, Democrats have to look to the future and “get serious.’” (The Hill, 3/2/13)

“SAID THAT REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE WOULD NOT YIELD ON THE ISSUE OF TAXES”: “In the Republican radio response, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State, the chairwoman of the Republican conference … said that Republicans in the House would not yield on the issue of taxes. ‘Spending is the problem, which means cutting spending is the solution,’ she said. ‘It’s that simple.’” (The New York Times, 3/2/13)

“REPUBLICANS SAID OBAMA GOT HIGHER INCOME TAX RATES AS PART OF THE JANUARY AGREEMENT”: “Republicans returned the favor, saying Obama would rather raise taxes than cut major spending programs. ‘The American people know full well that if they give this White House more tax revenue, it will be spent on new stimulus projects and government programs,’ said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., in the GOP radio address. Republicans said Obama got higher income tax rates as part of the January agreement to end the last budget impasse, the so-called fiscal cliff. ‘Instead of campaigning for higher taxes, the president should lead an effort to begin addressing our nation's spending problem,’ said Rodgers, who chairs the House Republican Conference.” (USA TODAY, 3/2/13)

“REPUBLICANS HAVE PUT FORWARD PLANS WITH TARGETED CUTS”: “Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington state, countered, ‘This week, the president traveled 180 miles to Newport News, Virginia, instead of traveling one and a half miles to Senator Harry Reid’s office on Capitol Hill to negotiate a replacement of smarter spending cuts.’ … ‘We can’t let Washington continue spending money it doesn’t have, especially when it’s taking that money straight from your wallets.’ McMorris Rodgers said. … House Republicans have put forward plans with targeted cuts, as opposed to the broad cuts of the sequester.” (CNN, 3/2/13)

“WE’VE DONE THE WORK AND SHOWN THAT THESE CHOICES CAN BE MADE IN A RESPONSIBLE, THOUGHTFUL WAY”: “In the GOP address, Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers says ‘We've done the work and shown that these choices can be made in a responsible, thoughtful way.’ Republicans are refusing any deal with more tax revenue and Democrats are snubbing any deal without it.” (AP, 3/2/13)

Tags: Representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Weekly Address, spending is the problem, government spending, cutting spending To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Lame Duck Agenda

by AF Branco, Editorial Cartoon

Tags: Barack Obama, agenda, Lame-Duck Tape, 2nd Term, golf, lie, amnesty, tax, spend, vactions, cut military, blame GOP, ban guns, vacations, energy policy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Some Sobering Statistics

According to OMB, the average federal worker makes an annual salary of $76,353. Given the million-dollar price tag of President Obama’s recent golf trip with Tiger Woods, this amount would have been enough to prevent what is likely to be two weeks of furlough for 341 federal workers.
ARRA News Service - In discussing the Sequester, President Obama said that Republicans are “cutting vital services for children” in order to “benefit the well-off and well-connected.” U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, replied to that charge:

“While the White House operatives may think this attack is clever, it betrays an astonishing elitism: the federal government is perfect and requires no reform…our massive federal government is, right now, creating poverty and hurting families. Look at cities like Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit. Raising taxes—instead of reforming government—denies struggling Americans the help they need. There is nothing just or virtuous about protecting a stale welfare state that is failing the people it is supposed to help. President Obama is defending the bureaucracy at the expense of the people.”
Some sobering statistics for consideration:

Children living in single-parent homes
  • 71 percent in Detroit
  • 73 percent in Cleveland
  • 64 percent in Washington, DC
Chicago crime statistics for 2011 (FBI)
  • 609 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters
  • 18,100 robberies
  • 56,203 burglaries
  • 27,138 vehicle thefts
Illinois’ 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th congressional district
  • 58.5 percent of households with children under 18 using SNAP
Michigan’s 13th congressional district food stamp usage (September 2011 USDA report)
  • 59,942 households using SNAP
  • 53.2 percent of households with children under 18 using SNAP
  • 62.3 percent live below the poverty level
Michigan’s 14th congressional district (September 2011 USDA report)
  • 50,750 households using SNAP
  • 58.6 percent of households with children under 18 using SNAP
  • 58.3 percent live below the poverty level
  • Note: 57 percent of Detroit children live below the poverty line (source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau)

Detroit Crime Data (FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2011)
  • 1,052 violent crimes per 100,000 people
  • 4,112 property crimes per 100,000 people

Tags: Some sobering statistics To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Sequester and Wasteful Spending

Public Notice: Out-of-control government spending has driven our country deeper into debt. Washington has been unable or unwilling to make the necessary spending cuts our country needs.

Now, with sequestration spending cuts went into effect today, both parties are still calling foul. Some Democrats warn across the board cuts could put a fragile recovery in jeopardy. Some Republicans say the cuts to the Defense Department put the country’s security in jeopardy.

How big are the sequester spending cuts? Based on the government’s spending from last year, the sequester represents the government cutting just three cents for every dollar it spends. The sequester isn’t perfect because it cuts spending by a formula, and a formula isn’t able to respond to changing circumstances. But it’s a start because it finally cuts spending. Until Washington takes out the red pencil to make the hard choices by making specific and equal cuts to spending, the sequester should remain in place.

We all recognize fiscal responsibility isn’t about gutting the essential services the government provides. It’s about finding and cutting inefficient, unnecessary, or duplicative programs. And there is plenty of waste in Washington.

Background Info
Sequestration was not intended to be the solution to our economic problems. It was put in place to incentivize the super committee to produce a substantive, actionable, bipartisan plan to reduce our long-term deficits as part of a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in August 2011. Since then, we’ve had to raise the debt ceiling again. But we are still waiting for the cuts we were promised in August 2011. The cuts have been delayed once (the cuts were supposed to take effect on January 2, 2013) by Washington, and they shouldn’t be delayed again.

Bottom Line
Ultimately, the inability to prioritize and trim back just three percent of the federal government's annual budget is why we're still in this situation. Is cutting three cents on the dollar really as difficult as Washington says it is? It shouldn't be.

Relying on automatic fixes like the sequester to seriously address budget problems is our leaders shrinking from generating real solutions. But we have to agree cuts must be made. Spending cuts are the only way to spur a sustained recovery and get the economy back on track.

Waste is waste
While the government can’t seem to find three percent of the budget to cut based on last year’s spending, we have found plenty examples of waste in many government programs. These programs, funded through the taxes of hardworking Americans, are further instances of government overspending and inefficiency.

Here are a few examples:
While the Immigration and Customs Enforcement has recently released hundreds of people held in detention, allegedly because of the upcoming sequester spending cuts, the Border Patrol has wasted millions. Since 2008, the Border Patrol has wasted over $69 million, according to an independent Inspector General report released in March of last year.Where was there waste? One example is the agency bought more steel than was needed to build physical barriers along the border so it wasted millions in additional costs to store the steel in storage facilities.Amtrak, the government’s subsidized rail line, has wasted over $800 million on food and beverages over the last decade “largely because of waste, employee theft and lack of proper oversight.”

Waste and fraud in the healthcare system? Well, it’s true. The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced charges in 2012 for healthcare fraud that cost the federal government $450 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. In this instance, 107 people around the country were charged for their efforts to defraud Medicare, wasting millions of government funds in fraudulent payments.

These are only a few examples of waste in the federal government, waste that needs to be cut, because the reality is we have to cut spending. Americans know this. But up until now, Washington has been unwilling to make these necessary cuts.

Tags: public notice, sequester, government, wasteful spending To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Congratulations, You Survived The Sequester!

Robert Romano: Despite sequestration, the sun rose and will set.

Schools opened as scheduled. Children were still picked up and dropped off by buses.

Hospitals, police, and firefighters all remained on call should the need arise.

Planes did not fall out of the sky.

The roads we travel did not disintegrate.

Trash continued to be collected.

The mail was delivered.

No nuclear accidents occurred.

We were not invaded.

The borders and coasts were still patrolled.

There was no massive prison breakout.

The courts still functioned.

Criminals were still prosecuted.

Agencies all opened and closed on time.

Overseas, military operations proceeded as planned.

Seniors’ Social Security and Medicare benefits continued without interruption. So did food stamps, unemployment and Medicaid.

Remarkable . . .  on March 1, the government cut a mere 1.5% of the $3.538 trillion budget.

To hear Obama tell it, March 1 was judgment day. The seas should have boiled. The skies should have fallen. They didn’t!
by Adam Bitely: If you are reading this, you have survived sequestration.

The world didn’t end. Food is still safe to eat. Planes are landing safely on runways. Invading armies are not storming our shores. And life is continuing on normally just as it was yesterday.

This fact must be making the heads of Washington, D.C. politicians explode. For all the rhetoric that had been thrown around about the impending doom that the nation faced, nothing disastrous has happened.

As Obama put it, the sequester would “imperil our economy, our national security (and) vital programs that middle class families depend on.” Further, it would be a “a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole.”

The sequester was simply a reduction of one dollar from every six dollars of spending increases to discretionary spending since 2008. The government will spend more money next year than it does this year. The sequester was merely a microscopic reduction in spending growth rates.

But the facts never mattered to the politicians. In fact, many of them forgot their own statements from the times when they supported the sequester.

That’s right. Many of the people bemoaning the sequester previously supported it.

In the aftermath of the passage of the debt ceiling increase in August of 2011 that resulted in the sequestration, House Speaker John Boehner told CBS news that he got 98 percent of what he wanted in the debt deal.

In November 2011, Obama told the media that he would veto efforts to stop the sequester.

Clearly the sequester is not as bad as these people advertised in the run-up to today.

For too long politicians have been able to get away with making absurd claims to the media about the impending doom of a cut to government spending. The fact that we are all alive and well today proves that you can cut government and that it will not result in the end of the world.

The theatrical renditions of Chicken Little that we have all been subjected to by John Boehner and Barack Obama have proven to be exactly what they were—theatrical performances.
Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily where he first posted this article and works for Americans For Limited Government.

Tags: Survived the sequester, sequester, Adam Bitely To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Red Tide Rising | The Reid Insanity

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony Branco
Embarrassing: Senate Democrats Fail to Pass a Single Sequester Replacement Bill in 15 Months
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today after the Democratic-controlled Senate failed to pass legislation replacing President Obama’s sequester:“It’s embarrassing that after 15 months Senate Democrats still haven’t passed a single sequester replacement bill. The American people deserve better. Republicans in the House passed legislation almost a year ago in May, and again in December, to avert the president’s sequester and help put us on a path to a balanced budget. Now that today’s political stunt to raise taxes has failed, it’s time for the president and Senate Democrats to do the hard work that is necessary to pass a bill in the Senate so we can begin to resolve this issue.”And today, democrat leaders continue to promote the Rising Red Tide by arguing that cutting spending and wasteful programs, i.e., stopping the rising of the red tide, will not solve the government's problem. Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wants more revenue to spend. The Reid Insanity continues.

Tags: debt, government spending, Red Tide Rising, Harry Reid, The Reid Insanity, Editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Jobs Groups: Don’t Trade Sequester For Tax Hikes

Employer Groups Call The Democrat Sequester Alternative A ‘Bad Idea,’ Say Raising Taxes ‘Would Move Us In The Wrong Direction’
Dem Proposal ‘Worse Than Even The Sequester,’ A ‘Bad Idea,’ Just ‘Political Rhetoric’
U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce… strongly opposes the motion to proceed to S. 388, the ‘American Family Economic Protection Act.’ This legislation would fail to address the federal government’s spending problems and would, instead, replace spending cuts with tax increases.” (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, Letter To U.S. Senators, 2/27/13)
  • “…this legislation would be worse than even the sequester. It would not prioritize less spending; rather, it would impose new taxes on businesses in specific industries. … S. 388 employs political rhetoric rather than seeking to implement good policy.” (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, Letter To U.S. Senators, 2/27/13)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS: “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)… strongly oppose the American Family Economic Protection Act (S. 388) that would temporarily replace the sequester with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.” (National Association Of Manufacturers, Letter To U.S. Senators, 2/27/13)
  • “…we oppose the tax increases in the bill, including a proposal that would impose a permanent minimum tax on small businesses and other taxpayers. This provision would make a bad system worse by adding a new tax to an already complex and anti-growth tax code, costing even more manufacturing jobs. … Manufacturers believe that replacing the sequester with tax increases is substituting one bad idea for another.” (National Association Of Manufacturers, Letter To U.S. Senators, 2/27/13)
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS: ‘fix our dangerous fiscal situation without … raising taxes on job creators’ “Small business owners want their government to address our spending and debt problems with the same focus and seriousness as the private sector. Unsustainable government growth crowds out the private sector and leads to negative economic consequences… Our nation’s small businesses are calling on Congress to fix our dangerous fiscal situation without damaging economic growth or raising taxes on job creators. If our long-term fiscal outlook is not addressed by lawmakers now, then future generations will continue to be faced with higher debt and interest payments, increased tax rates and fewer investment opportunities.” (National Federation Of Independent Business, Letter To Sen. Cornyn, 2/13/13)

BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE: ‘Hiking taxes … would move us in the wrong direction’ “‘Hiking taxes and foregoing improvements in our nation’s long-term competitiveness in favor of short term budget choices would move us in the wrong direction,’ said BRT President John Engler. ‘The 4th Quarter contraction of U.S. GDP and persistently high unemployment underscore the urgency for action. America needs a growth strategy, not additional tax increases that will further worsen our already uncompetitive tax system. One-off tax proposals targeting specific industries cannot substitute for comprehensive reform of the nation’s century-old tax system.” (Business Roundtable, Press Release, 2/5/13)

NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: “NRF is concerned by the Administration’s proposal to fund short-term spending needs by eliminating certain corporate tax provisions. NRF supports the type of corporate tax reform many Democrat and Republican policymakers have been advocating, which would eliminate corporate tax benefits in exchange for substantially reducing tax rates for all businesses. …piecemeal efforts to eliminate corporate tax benefits outside the context of corporate tax reform would make it very difficult to achieve the type of changes required to provide much-needed growth in the U.S. economy.” (National Retail Federation, Press Release, 2/5/13)

Tags: job groups, sequester, tax hikes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Is Sequestration As Bad As President Obama Would Have You Believe?

Editor's note: I agree with the following article. However, it does not consider the intentions of warped minded leadership. If the leadership of our country is willing to deliberately defy reality or  even to op for crashing the system for their own personal agenda, we are in deep trouble. Currently, reports are coming out of the DOD organizations by civilians that they have been told they will be going to a 4 day week and will be paid only for 4 days. Thus they will be faced with a 20 percent reduction in pay and benefits which is far more than expected from sequestration.  The same is  expected to happen in other agencies.

It appears that the "community organizer" president would rather shut down needed services like defense, border security, etc. rather than to defund Acorn like projects, PBS, abortions with federal money, grants to slanderous projects, airport groping of children and grandmas, slanderous sensitivity training, etc. He has already evidence a willingness to politicize the process, slander other elected officials, and endanger critically needed government services verses the elimination government fraud, waste, abuse and unneeded programs. If concerned government spending and about America, he would lead by example in getting spending under control.  He could begin by reducing his own White House staff and various appointed advisors used to pressure appointed officials and government  employees.  He could reduce self-aggrandized trips and vacations.

America did not elect a king, nor do we need one. We expect to have a citizen president who serves America and not his own agenda or those of other countries or organizations.  At the moment, our American constitutional expectations may be in conflict with the reality of the agenda and personality of the current president.

by Vincent Zafonte, Heritage Foundation: The debate in Washington this week has focused on the mandatory spending cuts, known as sequestration, that go into effect Friday. To hear the media and the White House describe it, the cuts will be “massive.” But are these cuts really that massive?

No. “Federal spending will explode from $3.6 trillion to $6 trillion over the next 10 years, but the much-maligned sequester will cut only 2.4 percent of this spending,” The Heritage Foundation’s T. Elliot Gaiser explains.

The sequester doesn’t gut key social programs
The Obama administration would have you believe it’s coming from “vital” social programs. But, as Gaiser explains,
sequestration leaves the largest component of federal spending—entitlements—nearly untouched. Instead, it falls most heavily on national defense, with 50 percent of sequestration cuts impacting national security. Thirty-five percent would impact non-defense discretionary spending. Less than 15 percent would fall on mandatory spending, which consumes 62 percent of the federal budget.
The sequester won’t force airport delays
Liberals also claim that the sequester will lead to massive inconvenience as budgets are slashed at agencies like the TSA and FAA, Gaiser explains with Heritage’s Jason Lloyd:
President Obama claims that unless Congress raises taxes to undo the imminent automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would be forced to reduce security measures, leaving travelers and the airways vulnerable and increasing wait times at airports.
But there are ways to economize that don’t involve core responsibilities, for example trimming non-essential budget items. Gaiser and Lloyd point out, for example, that the TSA has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars: “The TSA has a warehouse in Dallas, Texas, where 5,700 pieces of unused security equipment sit in storage. The dormant equipment is worth $184 million.”

The sequester won’t lay off teachers
President Obama has also claimed that our nation’s children will be at risk of a poor education if the cuts go through:
“[o]ur ability to teach our kids the skills they’ll need for the jobs of the future would be put at risk…70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk, and funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut.”
This is simply incorrect, Gaiser and Lloyd explain:
No federal education program operated by the Department of Education directly funds teacher salaries—this is a state and local responsibility. Further, there are a multitude of ineffective and duplicative programs that could—and should—be cut, saving billions of dollars annually and restoring state and local education decision-making authority…

Washington has not spent federal taxpayer money judiciously on education. Real education reform would save billions of dollars, while improving children’s educational opportunities by empowering states and parents.
But the sequester will affect national defense
The sequester will affect our nation’s ability to protect itself, however:
National defense, unlike most other discretionary programs, is a central constitutional duty and today represents only 17 percent of the budget. Yet nearly half of the Congress-mandated sequestration cuts—$492 billion—would come from defense. These across-the-board cuts threaten our nation’s defense capability.
Congress should follow through with the sequester
The United States needs to cut spending. And as Heritage’s Amy Payne notes, the sequester is better than many of the alternatives:
It would be better to replace them with smarter cuts, but the reality is that Washington has to start cutting spending now. Real program reforms and a balanced budget are the only way to solve our continuing fiscal crises. So it is critical that Congress keep its word and follow through on these spending cuts to prove it is serious about bringing our budget into balance over the next 10 years.

Tags: President Obama, sequester, shutdowns, the reality To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Why Are Gas Prices So High?

by Learn Liberty : The common explanation for rising gas prices makes an exciting news story: Villainous oil companies are taking advantage of helpless consumers. Prof. Art Carden explains that this popular story is inaccurate. Gas prices go up and down based on the laws of supply and demand. Political problems, such as barriers to the development of new sources and new energy sources, also contribute to rising prices. Gas prices would be lower if we didn't have such barriers. Prices would also be lower if demand were not artificially increased through war and other wasteful expenditures.

Tags: Gas Prices, supply and demand, supply, demand. basic economics, government interference, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

To Bring True Peace To The Middle East, Women In Palestine And Israel Must Take Center Stage

(From Left) Rima M. Zeid Al-Keilani,
Sharon Sullivan, Benyamim Tsedaka
Author's permission by Daniel Estrin
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Recently, in the offices of the Mayor of the city of Nablus, Palestine, the missing pieces that would permit a just and lasting peace in the Middle East to flourish may have been presented. If harmony can be restored (as it can) within the social fabric that underlies the political fabric, peace finally becomes a possibility. If women, who are respected, not marginalized, in Palestinian and Israeli society will take center stage a fundamental rapprochement can be effected. Might this happen?

On February 14th, an American resident of Israel, Sharon Sullivan, who leads a gallant, if tiny, new group called “the Fellowship of Mothers” met with nine Palestinian women leaders under the generous auspices of Ghassan W. Shakaa, Mayor of Nablus, and Benyamim and Yefet Tsedaka, two social leaders of the Israelite-Samaritan community, and three members of the Samaritan Committee of the Mount Gerizim Community over Nablus. The meeting was led by Third Deputy Mayor Rima M. Zeid Al-Keilani.

This is not just one more story of an admirable but marginal “women for peace” movement. This is “women for harmony,” a subtle but profound distinction. The Fellowship of Mothers, while tiny, is possessed of an extraordinarily powerful narrative.

Its narrative was formulated with the key guidance of an internationally admired USC management professor, a paradigm shifter, Dave Logan, co-author of Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization:
God had a plan for the descendants of both Sarah (the Hebrew matriarch of the Israelites) and Hagar (the Egyptian matriarch of the Arabs). To not allow Hagar’s offspring [the Ishmaelites] to be a great nation goes against God’s will. To not allow Sarah’s children to live in peace is also a violation of God’s will. There were promises made, and hope given, by the same God to both women. So God bridges the divide between “us” and “them.”As Sullivan trenchantly observes: “We are outraged at the idea that the family relationship is denied by claims of Israelis being Western implants and of Palestinians not being accorded equal rights in the land that was, and under conditions of harmony, soon again would be, flowing with milk and honey. We focus on this as a ‘lie of men’ with indignation, rejecting it.”

The essence of the genius of the tiny Fellowship of Mothers is that peace is an outcome, not an input. Peace is the natural state resulting from social harmony. And social harmony comes from a high social rapport … which can be established.

While not implying that any political changes are in order — assuredly that would be premature, political structures typically following, rather than leading, the social consensus — it should be obvious by now that it is impossible to impose peace diplomatically — whether from the United Nations, or Washington, London, Moscow, or Oslo — or politically … from Jerusalem (known by the Arab branch of this family as Al Quds) — the capital both of Israel and Palestine. We now have not peace but an uneasy truce.

Peace can no more be forced to flower than a flower can be forced to blossom. Peace only can be, yet will be, an outcome of social harmony. Men, intrinsically more bellicose than women, have failed to deliver it. People who authentically like and respect one another can work through any problem. Antagonists, however, always will find a pretext for fighting. Only women, and, especially, mothers (such as Sullivan), have the discernment and innate authority to create, indeed insist upon, mutual respect and, with it, social harmony.

So the missing piece for Peace: resolve the underlying cause of strife rather than tussling with the symptoms. This calls for effecting a “family reconciliation” leading to vibrant social harmony. To accomplish this requires the formal recognition of the unique, and necessary, exercise of authority by women. Men have failed, for almost 4,000 years, to effect harmony between the descendants of two of the sons of the same great-grandfather, their mutual Patriarch, Abraham. Time for the daughters of Abraham to take on the responsibility and assert their authority.

Mayor Shakaa, himself a holder of the Samaritan Medal of Peace (2006), courageously organized for Sullivan the opportunity to meet with nine social lionesses of Nablus, among them Miriam Altif, an Israelite Samaritan. It took courage for Sullivan to accept this invitation. The trip from Jerusalem to Nablus is not for the faint of heart. Sullivan was accompanied only by her doughty Israeli fiancée, Haimon Eretz, and by Daniel Estrin, an AP reporter and Sullivan’s friend. She was received in Nablus by, in addition to her Palestinian hosts, a delegation of Israelite-Samaritans from their nearby Mountain of Blessings community, Kiryat Luza.

There is authentic historic significance to the presence of the Samaritans, the descendants of the northern Israelite tribes. Few are unfamiliar with the parable, told by Jesus, of the “Good Samaritan.” Far fewer know who the Samaritans are: the authentic representatives of the famed legendary “Lost Tribes of Israel” … who staged a tax revolt upon the death of Solomon.

Solomon’s son, as recorded in the Biblical books of Kings and Chronicles, ascending to power, confronted a very Tea-Party-like revolt by the ten northern tribes of the Kingdom against the crushing taxes imposed by King Solomon. Solomon’s successor to the throne contemptuously ignored pleas for a tax cut and, instead, raised taxes. This precipitated secession by the ten northern tribes, who created the Kingdom of Israel centered in the land of Samaria. When, later, this nation fell to invaders its people became known as “Samaritans,” or, more accurately, the Israelite Samaritans.

Fewer still are aware that a modest, fascinating, community of Samaritans lives on to this day. Mark Twain meeting a Samaritan elder wrote of the experience, in The Innocents Abroad, as to have been “just as one would stare at a living mastodon.” There are, as of this writing, 754 Israelite Samaritans. Almost half reside in Palestine and the balance live in Israel. The Israelite Samaritans live meticulously according to millennia-old Biblical traditions. Their High Priest Aaron b. Ab-Hisda b. High Priest Jacob, is the 132nd lineal descendent of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Yes, Moses’s blood great-grandnephew is alive and well.

Of key importance, this tiny noble community lives on terms of harmony and mutual respect with both the Arabs and the Israelis — possessing dual citizenship. The Mountain of Blessings, of Biblical fame, has given the world not just a “Good Samaritan” but four clans who might be called great Samaritans: Cohen, Tsedaka, Danfi, and Marhib.

The Samaritans, as thoughtfully described by writer Benjamin Balint in Tablet Magazine, tend toward insularity. One of their social leaders, the scholarly Benyamim Tsedaka, publisher of the A-B Samaritan News, translator and editor, with co-editor Ms. Sullivan, of the first English translation of the Israelite Samaritan version of the Holy Scriptures, however, is internationally celebrated. This Great Israelite Samaritan, Tsedaka, over the last three decades, has made an annual international goodwill tour to many of the capitals, and leading cities, of the world.

During one of his goodwill tours, seven years ago, this columnist established an enduring personal friendship with Tsedaka and, later, was given the honor of serving, along with Sullivan, among others, on the board of the Samaritan Medal Foundation that Tsedaka founded and chairs. This body grants medals for Peace, humanitarian achievement, and scholarly studies. The Fellowship works inside the halo of moral authority of the only authentic Biblical Samaritans. Tsedaka, thus, is the moral godfather of the Fellowship of Mothers.

It is early in the process. But the tea party in the office of the Nablus Mayor reportedly was electric. Sullivan:“Each woman introduced herself and told a bit of her background in business, mothering, peacemaking (and in one case – prison). Yes, we had among us a Palestinian woman who had been released in a prisoner exchange between Israelis and Palestinians.

“Haimon talked (as the only Israeli there — non-Samaritan — which was a big deal to the group of women there). Haimon’s opening line was ‘I look around and I see family. Look at us. We all look alike. One is no different than the other.’ It was sweet. He spoke of his Grandfather who was born in Gaza, long before this conflict began, to which women from Palestine exclaimed ‘You’re Palestinian!’”
The Fellowship of Mothers, like the Samaritan people, is a small group with a powerful narrative and a big commitment. And as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” May the women of Palestine and Israel now assert, under the auspices of the noble Israelite Samaritans, their authority, bring about this family reconciliation, restore social harmony, and, with harmony firmly established, show the whole world how a just and lasting peace really blossoms.
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: Israel, Middle East, true peace, women, must take center stage To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Showman Obama To Meet With Congressional Leaders Friday

Today in Washington - Feb. 27, 2013:
This morning the Senate began debate on the nomination of Jack Lew to be Secretary of the Treasury. They then confirmed Lew 71-26. Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 388, Democrats’ bill to replace the sequester that’s loaded with tax hikes. A vote on cloture on the motion to proceed is expected tomorrow.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 58-41 to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to be Secretary of Defense.

The House is in session but reportable votes are nil.  House leaders have been busy trying to get the public to understand that it is the President and the Senate Democrat leaders who are blocking reasoned meaningful spending cuts verses the sequester originally promoted by President Obama.  They were also promoting the following infographic addressing that --
Spending Is The Problem:
What Could You Do With Your $52K Share of the National Debt?
Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his exasperation with Democrats’ approach to sequestration: “For months now, I’ve been coming to the floor to urge my colleagues on the other side to help us replace the President’s sequester proposal. Yet here we are, with just two days to go until the cuts hit, and the Democrats who control Washington still haven’t put forward a serious bipartisan plan; not the President and not his allies in Congress. They’ve preferred to keep it alive as a political issue instead. Now, less than 48 hours before the clock runs out, all they’ve offered is a gimmicky tax hike that’s designed to fail. I hope they’re not expecting a round of applause for this particular act of political bravery. Is it any wonder the American people are so fed up with Washington?”

The Washington Post now reports, “President Barack Obama will meet Friday with the top leaders in the House and Senate, several hours past the deadline for averting automatic budget cuts, to discuss how to proceed on divisive tax-and-spend issues. Because the meeting is set to take place well after Friday's deadline for the so-called sequester to kick in, it appears both sides are operating under an assumption that a deal to avert the cuts ahead of the deadline is now out of the question.”

In other words, despite their rhetoric, the president and Senate Democrats have done nothing about the sequester for over a year, have proposed no ideas to cut the same amount of money in a smarter way, and are now asking to meet only after the cuts they say they dislike so much will have begun.

Quoting McConnell again, “It’s absurd to think that the government cannot get by with a little more than a 2 percent reduction in spending when every working American had to figure out how to make due with 2 percent less in their paychecks last month. . . . [M]ost Americans think Washington’s spending problem should be addressed by cutting spending. So when the President goes off to campaign for higher taxes instead of working with Republicans to replace the sequester with smarter cuts and when Senate Democrats put forward tax-hike gimmicks instead of negotiating serious spending-cut solutions, Americans feel like they’re not being listened to. And they have reason to be upset.”

Tags: spending, government waste, sequestration, the economy, President Obama, Senate Democrats, confirmation, Chuck Hagel, Secretary of DOD, Jack Lew, Secretary of Treasury To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Is the sequester a big deal?

Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: In full disclosure, I have financially supported Point of View for many years. With all the my activist activities,  political efforts, helping conservatives, and seeking to help keep others informed on the critical issues, I seldom if ever relax and listen to the Point Of View radio show. However, because they established trust with me many years ago when my wife and I, like many of you, were not caught up in the discussions and battles for liberty and freedom and the concerns of expanding government, I continue to trust them.

Therefore, I was most pleased to receive the following from Warren Kelley. His sharing truth about the sequester and government spending with their many Point of View listeners and readers was worth sharing with you. The citizens of America do not need to be stampeded into supporting the continuance of growing spending and continuing programs or adding more programs, agencies etc. which we neither need nor should we in-debt our grandchildren and their children. And your representatives and senators need to know how you feel about this. No threats - just truth. Thank you Warren Kelley for allowing the Point of View Ministries to go where many ministries will not go and to speak out on this and many other issues that affect not only Christian families but all Americans.

Warren Kelley, President, Point of View Ministries: On February 19th, President Obama spoke about the sequester standing in front of more than a dozen emergency responders in crisp blue uniforms. He announced, "Emergency responders like the ones who are here today, their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded. Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go."

As if that weren’t enough to terrify his audience, the President continued, "Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country," he said. "Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings."

Sequester by the NumbersHe then leveled a stiff accusation at Republican lawmakers, "Are you willing to see a bunch of first responders lose their job because you want to protect some special interest tax loophole?"

So, will the sequester, as President Obama has said, “eviscerate” government programs? As the graph on the right shows, these cuts represent a tiny amount compared to total government spending, 2.3% to be precise.

If the company you work for announced that business was down because of the current state of the economy and was implementing an across the board cut of 2.3% of everyone’s salary, would that “eviscerate” your ability to pay your bills? Would it have “devastating” consequences for your family?

Yesterday, just three days before the scheduled start of the sequester, President Obama chose not to meet with lawmakers to find a solution to what he has painted as a monumental problem. Instead he traveled to a Virginia shipyard where he told a crowd, “I'm not interested in spin. I'm not interested in playing a blame game. At this point, all I'm interested in is solving problems."

He told the crowd the coming cuts known as the sequester are a “dumb way to do things,” neglecting to mention that the idea came from his administration in the first place.

The President warned the crowd that the effects of the sequester won’t be felt overnight, but will become more real the longer they are allowed to stay in place, referencing the total $1.2 trillion in cuts that will be implemented over a ten year period.

The chart below shows that the cuts continue to be a small percentage of the overall budget and that spending will continue to increase at a much faster rate than it will be cut. The cuts are not cuts in spending but rather are cuts in the increase in spending.
Find the Sequester Cuts
At the same time the administration is complaining about the damage $85 billion in cuts will do to the government, a government report came out with the finding that $115 billion was spent in improper overpayments. Congress has begun hearings to look into this waste and believes that the number could actually be much higher. Perhaps more effort should be going into making sure the dollars our government spends aren’t wasted due to poor oversight.

A recent Rasmussen poll of voters found that 46% want the government to cut spending and another 41% want the government to cut spending in conjunction with tax increases. That means, in one form or fashion, 87% of voters want the government to cut spending.

Please contact your representative and both of your senators and urge them to deal with our financial problems by cutting spending. You can easily email all three at the same time through our Take Action Central page online. It will only take a few minutes of your time and will make an impact on this national debate.

Once you have emailed your elected official, encourage your friends to do the same. It’s a quick easy process that can make a real difference for the future of our nation.

Tags: the sequester, facts, reality, truth, action item, contact your senators and representative, Point of View To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Obama Sequester Fear-Mongering Tour

 Spending cuts must happen, President Obama is forcing them to be in the form of a sequester
Rep. Steve Scalise, Chairman, Republican Study Committee: President Obama's Sequester Fear-Mongering Tour is in full swing as the president and his cabinet secretaries barnstorm around the country trying to scare and mislead American families into thinking that it's somehow going to devastate our nation if we finally start controlling Washington spending. While the President flies thousands of miles around the country on Air Force One trying to fear-monger about the 'devastation' of a 2.4% cut in spending, he refuses to work with us in Congress (less than 2 miles away from the White House) on specific cuts in actual waste of taxpayer dollars that we have outlined.

The across-the-board $85 billion in sequester cuts, the brainchild of Obama’s White House, could easily be shifted to specific and targeted programs. In fact, the House has passed legislation twice to do exactly that. Instead of cutting wasteful Washington spending, President Obama has reverted to using our military, first responders, food inspectors, and school teachers as shields to hide his continued wasteful government spending that has mushroomed over the last four years.

Today, Obama’s Sequester Fear-Mongering Tour stoped in Newport News, Virginia, where the president performed yet another doom and gloom sequester kabuki dance. President Obama needs to park Air Force One and return to his job in Washington to actually work with us to cut the waste and finally get Washington to start living within its means.

Each day leading up to the sequester, we will highlight real-life examples of wasteful Washington spending that President Obama refuses to cut. Instead of wasting taxpayer money flying Air Force One around the country (which costs taxpayers more than $180,000 an hour to operate, not to mention the cost of his security detail and advance team) on his Sequester Fear Mongering Tour, President Obama should agree to start cutting wasteful spending by:
  • Removing fraud in Food Stamps. While ensuring families receive food stamps who truly need it, we can save approximately $26 billion in Food Stamp fraud by simply requiring recipients prove their eligibility.
  • Eliminating the Public Health Slush Fund in ObamaCare, which Democrats have supported reducing, we could save approximately $10 billion.
  • $14.5 billion by repealing mandatory funding for Obamacare exchange grants.

Tags: Barack Obama, sequester, fear mongering, tour, RSC, Republican Study Committee To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Voting Rights at the Supreme Court Today

by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: To understand what’s going on in the Supreme Court today, we have to go back in time.

The year was 1965. Hundreds of people gathered in Selma, Alabama, to march for black Americans’ right to vote. Some states, especially in the South, had set up obstacles to voting, such as charging would-be voters money or making them take a test.

The marchers were beaten back by police with billy clubs and tear gas in what would become a historic outrage. But just a few months later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, making it illegal for towns to discriminate in any way in their voting practices. Johnson said that day:
Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote. The wrong is one which no American, in his heart, can justify. The right is one which no American, true to our principles, can deny.
Congress ensured that states could not get around the new law by coming up with more changes to local voting rules. For those areas that had historically discriminated against people, the law required that they check with the feds before making changes to their voting practices. This part of the law is called Section 5.

Section 5 was supposed to be temporary. It was supposed to transition the states into the new law and ensure that they were all implementing it correctly. As President Johnson said at the time, “if any county anywhere in this nation does not want federal intervention, it need only open its polling places to all of its people.”

The problem is, that federal intervention continues to this day. And that is what the Supreme Court is considering today—the outdated Section 5, not the whole Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act provides “broad and powerful protection against discrimination,” explains Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky, a former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s take on Section 5, the Voting Rights Act remains in effect to protect all Americans from voter discrimination.

But Section 5 outlived its purpose decades ago—and the federal government is still forcing some voting jurisdictions to justify all of their local rule changes. Von Spakovsky points out:
[Section 5] effectively presumes that all voting-related actions by certain states and jurisdictions are discriminatory and therefore requires that they obtain pre-approval from the federal government for otherwise ordinary and routine actions, such as moving a polling station from a school that is under renovation to another one down the street or drawing new redistricting plans. This is a major and unusual imposition on state sovereignty.
What was originally intended to safeguard individual liberty has become a way for the feds to attack state liberty. For the Department of Justice and many activists, Section 5 merely exists to bully local authorities.

Von Spakovsky says that if Section 5 were struck down, “The only change would be to curb the abuses of federal bureaucrats and check the power and influence of the liberal activist groups that rely on Section 5 to enforce their agendas.”

Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Shelby County (AL) v. Holder, the case raising the question of Section 5’s constitutionality. The case doesn’t threaten anyone’s right to vote; it deals with an outdated provision that is no longer necessary—and in fact has become an unwarranted federal intrusion into local practices.
Amy Payne is Assistant Director of Strategic Communications at The Heritage Foundation. In that capacity, Amy serves as Managing Editor of The Foundry.

Tags: Alabama, Civil Rights, constitution, constitutionality, Department of Justice, discrimination, Hans von Spakovsky, Lyndon B. Johnson, Morning Bell, states, supreme court, Video, voters, voting, voting rights, Voting Rights Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Republicans Mark 1,400 Days With #NoDemBudget

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Americans mark the 1,400th day since the Democrat-led Senate passed a federal budget, Senate Republicans launched a new website, “Pass A Senate Budget,” calling on the Senate Majority Leaders to do their job and propose a responsible economic blueprint. The new microsite features a number of resources for Americans to tell Senate Democrats we need a plan to rein in Washington’s reckless spending.

“They say failing to plan is planning to fail, but unfortunately, that’s been the Democrats’ approach to our budgetary challenges for nearly four years. Meanwhile, we’ve lurched from crisis to crisis as the national debt surpassed $16.6 trillion and federal spending skyrocketed by 19 percent since 2008,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.). “It’s time for the Democrat-led Senate to get serious about spending, and to get serious about passing a budget.”

Politico’s Scott Wong noted in today’s Huddle, “House and Senate Republicans will highlight the 1,400th day since the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a budget with a coordinated push online, including a new microsite featuring videos, news, op-eds, and other resources. The effort, spearheaded by Conference Chairman John Thune and Vice Chairman Roy Blunt, will include a Web video highlighting some of the events (creation of the iPad! Facebook surpasses MySpace!) that have taken place in the nearly 4 years since the Senate had a budget. GOP'ers will continue to highlight their efforts on Twitter today using #NoDemBudget.”

Tags: 1400 days, U.S. Senate, democrats, no budget To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Traveling To Anywhere But There

House Republicans: Over the past two weeks, President Obama has traveled more than 5,000 miles across the country on a campaign – a campaign to raise taxes. In his campaign-style speeches, he denounces his sequester – devastating, across the board cuts – that was his idea. The House passed two replacement plans with smarter spending cuts and reforms. Unfortunately, the President refuses to meet with idle Senate Democrats on a replacement plan, choosing to campaign instead for tax hikes. Watch our new video to find out how many miles the President has traveled to push tax increases instead of responsible cuts to replace his sequester
Instead of urging Senate Democrats to pass a smarter replacement for his sequester, President Obama is traveling everywhere but to the Senate. Just a few days before the President's devastating cuts go into effect, Washington Democrats refuse to pass a serious plan to avert them. Learn more: here

Tags: President Obama, traveling, not addressing problems, the sequester To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Scalise: Obama Needs To Park Air Force One And Work To Cut Spending

Mr. Obama: Park Air Force One
Washington, D.C. - House Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise today released the following statement after President Obama’s speech in Newport News, Virginia.“President Obama has reached a new low by using our military, first responders, food inspectors, and school teachers as shields to hide his continued wasteful government spending that has exploded over the last four years,” Scalise said. “The president needs to park Air Force One, abandon his sequester fear-mongering tour, and return to his job in Washington to actually work with us to cut the waste and finally get Washington to start living within its means.

“Another doom and gloom sequester kabuki dance by the president won’t change the fact that the sequester was the brainchild of the Obama White House and that the president would rather engage in a fear-mongering campaign instead of working with Congress to find a real solution. Rather than travel just two miles from the White House to the Capitol, President Obama has decided to travel more than 5,000 miles on his sequester fear-mongering tour.”

Tags: Republican Study Committee ,Steve Scalise, President Obama, Park Air Force One To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Washington's Red Ink Express

by AF Branco
Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 26, 2013
The Senate voted to end debate (71-27) today on President Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the secretary of Defense. The vote for confirmation only requires a simple majority and is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. God help our military and the security of our country!

Yesterday, the Senate voted 93-0 to confirm Robert E. Bacharach to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit.

The House is in session and dealing with some internal House rules and committee issues. Yesterday the House voted 394-0 to To redesignate the Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.

At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on the president to stop using the military as a campaign prop to demand more tax hikes and start working with his own Democratic-controlled Senate to act on a credible plan to avert his sequester.

Instead of finding a way to replace his sequester with smarter spending cuts and reforms, CNN says President Obama is holding campaign-style rallies to “inspire public outrage.” Unfortunately for the White House, the gimmick isn’t playing well in Newport News, VA where the president will be today.

A civilian working for the military has confirmed to this editor that they have been advised that they will be reduced from 5 to 4 days a week with no pay or leave time allowed to cover the lost day of pay. This is a 20% pay cut. The President has not taken action to agree with the House to exercise smart cuts to achieve the reduction verses laying off civilians employees across the board. So far, the President while spending money flying around on Air Force One for dubious reasons has showed little effort to cooperate and reduce wasteful spending.

After weeks of dissembling from the White House, more reporters are beginning to call out President Obama for his misrepresentations and scare tactics involving the sequester.

Over the weekend, Bob Woodward wrote an op-ed, reaffirming his reporting that it was the White House that created and insisted on the sequestration mechanism. Woodward wrote, “[T]he automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of [White House chief of staff Jack] Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government. Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).”

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell added his own recollections: “[I]t’s time to put the record straight. And as someone who was personally involved in the 2011 budget talks, I think I’m uniquely qualified to do it. On the question of who came up with the idea in the first place, it originated, as I just noted, in the White House. I was less than 100 yards from this very spot when Vice President Biden called me at my desk to lay it out. He explained the sequester in exquisite detail, and then, as has been reported, the administration stubbornly stuck by those details throughout the negotiations, refusing any effort by Republicans to adjust its design in any way.”

Meanwhile, other reporters have been examining the parade of horribles that will supposedly be visited upon the country if the sequester goes through that the president and his cabinet secretaries have spent days warning about. In a lengthy fact-check piece today, the AP writes
, “Over the last week or so, administration officials have come forward with a grim compendium of jobs to be lost, services to be denied or delayed, military defenses to be let down and important operations to be disrupted. . . . For most Americans, though, it's far from certain they will have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day if the budget-shredder known as the sequester comes to pass. . . . For now, there's a whiff of the familiar in all the foreboding, harking back to the mid-1990s partial government shutdown, when officials said old people would go hungry, illegal immigrants would have the run of the of the land and veterans would go without drugs. It didn't happen.”

The fact-check points out, “[T]here is a lot of improbable precision in administration statements about what could happen: more than 373,000 seriously ill people losing mental health services, 600,000 low-income pregnant women and new mothers losing food aid and nutrition education, 1,200 fewer inspections of dangerous work sites, 125,000 poor households going without vouchers, and much more. ‘These numbers are just numbers thrown out into the thin air with no anchor, and I think they don't provoke the outrage or concern that the Obama administration seeks,’ said Paul Light, a New York University professor who specializes in the federal bureaucracy and budget. For all the dire warnings, he said, ‘It's not clear who gets hurt by this.’”

Indeed, the AP writes, “[I]n practice, through all the layers of bureaucracy and the everyday smoke and mirrors of the federal budget, there is rarely a direct and measurable correlation between a federal dollar and its effect on the ground. That has meant a lot of tenuous ‘could happen’ warnings by the administration, not so much ‘will happen’ evidence.”

More important than the administration’s hyperbolic rhetoric is the larger fiscal situation of this country, as McConnell explained. “For more than a year, [President Obama] resisted and dismissed every Republican attempt at a compromise. He refused to offer any kind of reasonable alternative, and he even threatened to veto other proposals aimed at averting the sequester. And now, here we are, with the President presenting the country with two options: Armageddon or a tax hike. Well, it’s a false choice, and he knows it. But then, the President’s a master at creating the impression of chaos as an excuse for government action. Do nothing. Fan the flames of catastrophe. Then claim the only way out is more government, in the form of higher taxes. Look: the choice we face isn’t between the sequester and tax hikes. Remember, we’re only talking about cutting 2 to 3 percent of the budget. Any business owner or middle-class parent will tell you it’s completely ridiculous to think Washington can’t find a better way to cut 2 to 3 percent of the federal budget at a time when we’re $16 trillion in debt.”  To illustrate this, Leader McConnell noted, “Every single working American had to figure out how to make ends meet with 2 percent less in their paychecks last month when the payroll tax holiday expired. Are you telling me Washington can’t do the same? It’s absurd.”

Just last week, The Wall Street Journal reported, “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday joined a parade of retailers, restaurants and consumer-goods companies worried about the economic impact of the recently restored federal payroll tax that has left Americans with less money to spend. The world's largest retailer, Burger King Worldwide Inc., Kraft Foods Group Inc. and others are lowering forecasts and adjusting sales and marketing strategies, expecting consumers with smaller paychecks to dine out less and trade down to less expensive purchases. The expiration of the payroll tax cuts that knocked 2% off consumers' take-home pay is having an impact, these companies say. It will ding a household with $65,000 in annual income $1,300 this year, and shift $110 billion overall out of consumers' hands, estimates Citigroup.”

As Leader McConnell sums it up, “I think there’s an even larger point to be made here. The President’s been going around warning of utter chaos if the sequester takes effect. And while I agree that those cuts could be made in a smarter way, and don’t like the fact that they fall disproportionately on defense, what does it say about the size of government that we can’t cut it by 2 to 3 percent without inviting disaster? Doesn’t that make our point? Hasn’t government gotten too big if just cutting the overall budget by a couple percentage points could have that kind of impact? Personally, I don’t believe the world will end if the President’s sequester takes effect. But our country would be much better served if the Democrats who run Washington would get off the campaign trail and work with us to trim the budget in a more rational way.”

Tags: US House, US Senate, Chuck Hagal, DOD, Sequester, President Obama, Washington, Red Ink Express To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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