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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, May 11, 2013

Other Red Lines - Grab a Mop!

Editorial by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: AF Branco, editorial cartoon, Barack Obama, Other Red Lines, Grab a Mop To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Federal Reserve Blows More Bubbles

by Ron Paul: [A Week ago] at its regular policy-setting meeting, the Federal Reserve announced it would double down on the policies that have failed to produce anything but a stagnant economy. It was a disappointing, but not surprising, move.

The Fed affirmed that it is prepared to increase its monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities if things don’t start looking up. But actually the Fed has already been buying more than the announced $85 billion per month. Between February and March, the Fed’s securities holdings increased $95 billion. From March to April, they increased $100 billion. In all, the Fed has pumped more than a half trillion dollars into the economy since announcing its latest round of “quantitative easing” (QE3) in September 2012.

Although many were up in arms when the Fed said it would buy $600 billion in government debt outright for the previous round, QE2, all seems quiet about the magnitude of QE3 because it doesn’t come with huge up-front total price tag. But by year’s end the Fed’s balance sheet could hit $4 trillion.

With no recovery in sight, where’s all this money going? It is creating bubbles. Bubbles in the housing sector, the stock market, and government debt. The national debt is fast approaching $17 trillion, with the Fed monetizing most of the newly issued debt. The stock market has been hitting record highs for the past two months as investors seek to capitalize on the Fed’s easy money. After all, as long as the Fed keeps the spigot open, nominal profits are there for the taking. But this is a house of cards. Eventually, just like in 2008-2009, the market will discipline the bad actions of the Fed and seek to find the real normal.

In the meantime, real families are suffering. While Wall Street and the government take advantage of access to the Fed’s new “free” money, the Fed claims there is no inflation. But who hasn’t paid higher prices at the grocery store, the gas pump, for tuition, for insurance? It’s bad enough that household incomes have stagnated, but real purchasing power has declined so much that one in seven Americans, 47.3 million people, are on food stamps. Five million are collecting unemployment insurance with 21.5 million afflicted by unemployment according to the government’s own figures. That’s 13.9 percent -- close to double the 7.5 percent unemployment number reported last week.

We are certainly not in a recovery. We don’t see the long unemployment and soup kitchen lines like in the Great Depression, but that’s just because the lines are electronic now.

It is not surprising the Fed has decided to hand the American people more of the same failed policies. But it is disappointing. We know what the real solution is: allow the marketplace to work. Allow entrepreneurs the chance to create instead of stifling innovation with arbitrary regulations. Allow interest rates to rise to equal the risks in the economy. Allow bad debts to be liquidated so we can build on a firm foundation. Stop printing money to benefit the government and big banks. Restore sound money to the economy and the American people. Sound money is the bedrock for prosperity and the best check on big government and crony capitalism.
Dr. Ron Paul is a former U.S.Congressman who represented Texas for 21 years. He twice sought the Republican Party presidential nomination and ran once for President under the Libertarian Party. He is medical doctor who served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force and has delivered over 4000 babies. Paul is an active writer on political and economic theory. He is known for his criticism of American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, and the Federal Reserve. He is also known for his love of country, government complying with the U.S. Constitution, and the protection of citizen's rights under that Constitution.

Tags: Ron Paul, Federal Reserve, failed policies To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) on Helping Americans Balance Work And Family

In this week's Republican address, Rep. Martha Roby speaks about the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013, which the House passed this week. This common-sense legislation modernizes outdated government regulations by giving hourly wage workers in the private sector the freedom to receive time off instead of cash wages for overtime work as they choose. Meeting the demands of both work and family is never easy, but because of this bill, hardworking Americans will have more flexibility to better balance their time between both. House Republicans are committed to helping you make the most of your time as we work to grow our economy and create more jobs for all Americans.
A full transcript follows:
Rep. Martha Roby
“Hello everyone, I’m Martha Roby. I’m proud to represent Alabama’s Second Congressional District, where my husband Riley and I live and raise our two children, Margaret and George.

“Allow me to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, and to all the moms out there.

“It is such a blessing to be a mother. Raising children is an immeasurable joy, but as all moms know, it comes with unique challenges. And it can be especially tough for moms who work outside the home.

“Talk to just about any mom or dad and they’ll tell you they wish they had more time. They wish they had just one more hour in the day to make life work. Moms and dads need to find time to take their child to the doctor, attend a PTA meeting or make it to the tee ball game.

“Think about those caring for elderly parents or military families where one of the parents is about to deploy.

“While we may not be able to legislate another hour into the day, we can help working Americans better balance life’s demands by offering more flexibility for time away from work.

“This week the House passed my bill, the Working Families Flexibility Act, which will remove an outdated and unnecessary restriction on private sector employees accruing comp time, or paid time off, in exchange for overtime.

“This bill provides options for working moms and dads who need more time to take care of family responsibilities. It also demonstrates how applying conservative principles can help working Americans in their everyday lives.

“What this bill doesn’t do is change the 40-hour work week or how overtime pay is calculated. The same protections that have been a part of labor law for decades remain, and we’ve added additional protections against coercion or unfair treatment. This bill also doesn’t add government regulation to the workplace - we have enough red tape as is.

“A more flexible workplace isn’t a new concept. In fact, many employees in the public sector enjoy this benefit right now. That’s because in 1985 Congress passed a law allowing local and state governments to offer their employees the option of comp time.

“So, why should the rules be different for employees in the private sector? Why should government workers have more freedom in the workplace than everybody else? And why is Washington restricting employers from offering certain benefits that government itself is free to offer?

“Our message to the American people is this: we want to get Washington out of the way of how you use your time. I am proud to champion the Working Families Flexibility Act on behalf of working moms and dads throughout the country.

“I join my fellow House Republicans in urging the Democratic-run Senate to take up this bill and pass it soon. And I urge the president to listen to the working parents of our country and promise them he’ll sign this bill into law when it reaches his desk. Let’s come together to empower Americans with more freedom and more flexibility with their time.

“There are big challenges facing this country. Though we’ve seen some improvement, slow economic growth and job creation is in danger of becoming a new normal.

“This bill won’t solve the debt crisis, or fix the president’s health care law, or simplify the tax code. But the fact that we can’t solve the big, overarching problems overnight shouldn’t stop us from doing what we can right now to help make life a little easier for working moms and dads.

“The Working Families Flexibility Act does that by helping Americans better balance the demands of family and work.

“Thank you, and may God bless our mothers, and God bless the United States of America.”

Tags: Rep. Martha Robym, Alabama, Weekly Republican Address, Helping Americans, Balancing, Work And Family, Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, May 10, 2013

McConnell Calls on Obama Administration to Conduct Government-wide Review in Wake of IRS Admission of Harassment

‘Today, I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell today called on the Obama administration to do a government-wide review in the wake of the IRS’ acknowledgement that they targeted conservative groups during last year’s national election:

“Today’s acknowledgement by the Obama administration that the IRS did in fact target conservative groups in the heat of last year’s national election is not enough. Today, I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views. Last year, amid reports that the Obama administration was using the levers of executive power to harass conservative political groups in Kentucky and elsewhere, I issued a very public warning to the administration that the targeting of private citizens on the basis of their political views would not be tolerated. Today’s apology by the IRS is proof that those concerns were well founded. But make no mistake, an apology won’t put this issue to rest. Now more than ever we need to send a clear message to the Obama Administration that the First Amendment is non-negotiable, and that apologies after an election year are not an sufficient response to what we now know took place at the IRS. This kind of political thuggery has absolutely no place in our politics.”

In February 2012, Tea Party organizations reportedly received letters from the regional IRS office in Cincinnati, demanding hundreds of pages of documents with little indication of the criteria being applied.

On March 14, 2012, Sen. McConnell joined ten other GOP senators in sending a letter to IRS Commissioner Shulman  seeking assurance that “this recent string of inquiries has a sound basis in law and is consistent with IRS’s treatment of tax-exempt organizations across the spectrum.”

“We have received reports and reviewed information from nonprofit civic organizations in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas concerning recent IRS inquiries perceived to be excessive.  It is critical that the public have confidence that federal tax compliance efforts are pursued in a fair, even-handed, and transparent manner—without regard to politics of any kind.  To that end, we write today to seek your assurance that this recent string of inquiries has a sound basis in law and is consistent with the IRS’s treatment of tax-exempt organizations across the spectrum. … It is imperative that organizations applying for tax-exempt status are able to rely on a consistent and foreseeable review structure from the IRS.” (Twelve Republican Senators, Letter To IRS Commissioner Shulman, 3/14/12)

“Given the potentially serious implications of selective or discriminatory enforcement, we request that you hold further IRS-initiated demands for information from 501(c)(4) applicants beyond the extensive information already required of all applicants (in Form 1024 and Schedule B...” Ibid)

On June 15, 2012, Sen. McConnell spoke on the issue at the American Enterprise Institute ( video here), singling out the IRS actions for special criticism.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “the tactics I’m describing extend well beyond the campaign headquarters in Chicago. To an extent not seen since the Nixon administration, they extend deep into the administration itself. … Earlier this year, dozens of Tea Party-affiliated groups across the country learned what it was like to draw the attention of the speech police when they received a lengthy questionnaire from the IRS demanding attendance lists, meeting transcripts, and donor information. One of the group’s leaders described the situation this way: ‘[groups like ours] either drown … in unnecessary paper work … or you survive, and give them everything they want, only to be hung.’ The head of one national advocacy group has released documents which show that his group’s confidential IRS information found its way into the hands of a staunch critic on the Left who also happens to be a co-chairman of President Obama’s re-election committee. The only way this information could have been made public is if someone leaked it from inside the IRS. And just last week we learned of an IRS decision revoking the tax-exempt status of small political nonprofit groups that undoubtedly foreshadows an effort to do the same to bigger groups on the Right that the Obama Administration regards as a threat to its campaign. ... let’s be very clear: no individual or group in this country should have to face harassment or intimidation, or incur crippling expenses, defending themselves against their own government, simply because that government doesn’t like the message they’re advocating.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks At AEI, 6/15/12); (Video Here At Minute 11:15)

On June 15, 2012, Sen. McConnell published an op-ed in POLITICO.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “One thing that has always distinguished America is the enthusiasm with which its citizens have organized around issues they believe in. Alexis de Tocqueville observed this more than 175 years ago, ‘In no country in the world,’ De Tocqueville wrote, ‘has the principle of association been more successfully used or applied to a greater multitude of objects than in America.’ Recent events, however, suggest that this principle is under serious threat — not only from some left-wing groups, which have resorted to intimidation to grind their critics into submission, but by an administration that has used the tools of government to do the same.” (“Fighting For The First Amendment,”Politico, 6/15/12)

McConnell: “Dozens of tea party-affiliated groups across the country learned earlier this year what it was like to draw the attention of the speech police when they received a lengthy questionnaire from the Internal Revenue Service, demanding attendance lists, meeting transcripts and donor information. As the leader of one organization described it: ‘[Groups like ours] either drown … in unnecessary paperwork … or you survive, and give them everything they want, only to be hung.’” (“Fighting For The First Amendment,” Politico, 6/15/12)

On June 18, 2012, Sen. McConnell joined a letter with ten other GOP senators to IRS Commissioner Shulman, reiterating their concerns with the IRS’s inquiries and stressing that Congress has made privacy the rule not the exception.

“‘Congress has made privacy the rule, and not the exception,’ wrote the Senators. ‘A list of donors who have given money to specific charitable organizations is something that carries great value to certain interested parties, as trading of personal information about private citizens has become common practice. Unfortunately, the public release of private donor information exposes citizens to possible harassment and intimidation by those who oppose the goals of the charitable organization.’” (Ten Republican Senators, Letter To IRS Commissioner Shulman, 6/18/12)

“… the IRS is requesting the names of donors and contributors to organizations that apply for tax exempt status.  In doing so, the IRS appears to be circumventing the statutory privacy protections that Congress has long provided donors.” Ibid

Tags: Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Obama administration, government review, IRS, harrassing, conservative organizations, election 2012 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

IRS Apologizes for Targeting Conservative Groups

Via Friends of the Chamber
The Associated Press - by STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.

Organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.

"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

"The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.

Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. After her talk, she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice.

Agency officials found out about the practice last year and moved to correct it, the IRS said in a statement. The statement did not specify when officials found out.

About 75 groups were inappropriately targeted. None had their tax-exempt status revoked, Lerner said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called on the White House to investigate.

"Today's acknowledgement by the Obama administration that the IRS did in fact target conservative groups in the heat of last year's national election is not enough," McConnell said. "I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not under way at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views."
Many conservative groups complained during the election that they were being harassed by the IRS. They accused the agency of frustrating their attempts to become tax exempt by sending them lengthy, intrusive questionnaires.

The forms, which the groups made available at the time, sought information about group members' political activities, including details of their postings on social networking websites and about family members.

Certain tax-exempt charitable groups can conduct political activities but it cannot be their primary activity.

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told Congress in March 2012 that the IRS was not targeting groups based on their political views.

"There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman told a House Ways and Means subcommittee.

Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush. His 6-year term ended in November. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate a successor. The agency is now being run by acting Commissioner Steven Miller.

"The Ways and Means Committee has persistently pushed the IRS to explain why it appeared to be unfairly targeting some political groups over others — a charge they repeatedly denied," said Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

"The IRS's 'too little too late' response is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to ensure there are protections in place so no American, regardless of political affiliation, has their right to free speech threatened by the IRS," Boustany said.

Tea Party groups were livid on Friday.

"I don't think there's any question we were unfairly targeted," said Tom Zawistowski, who until recently was president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, an alliance of tea party groups in the state.

Zawistowski's group was among many conservative organizations that battled the IRS over what they saw as its discriminatory treatment of their effort to gain non-profit status. The group first applied for non-profit status in June 2009, and it was finally granted on Dec. 7, 2012, he said — one month after Election Day.

During the 2012 election, many tea party groups applied for tax-exempt status under section 501 (c) (4) of the federal tax code, which grants tax-exempt status to social welfare groups. Unlike other charitable groups, these organizations are allowed to participate in political activities but their primary activity must be social welfare.

That determination is up to the IRS.

Lerner said the number of groups filing for this tax-exempt status more than doubled from 2010 to 2012, to more than 3,400. To handle the influx, the IRS centralized its review of these applications in an office in Cincinnati.

Lerner said this was done to develop expertise among staffers and consistency in their reviews. As part of the review, staffers look for signs that groups are participating in political activity. If so, IRS agents take a closer look to make sure that politics isn't the group's primary activity, Lerner said.

As part of this process, agents in Cincinnati came up with a list of things to look for in an application. As part of the list, they included the words, "tea party" and "patriot," Lerner said.

"It's the line people that did it without talking to managers," Lerner. "They're IRS workers, they're revenue agents."

In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review, Lerner said. Of those, about a quarter were singled out because they had "tea party" or "patriot" somewhere in their applications.

The IRS statement said that once applications were chosen for review, they all "received the same, even-handed treatment."

Lerner said 150 of the cases have been closed and no group had its tax-exempt status revoked, though some withdrew their applications.

"Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale," the IRS said in a statement. "We fixed the situation last year and have made significant progress in moving the centralized cases through our system."

Marcus S. Owens, who spent a decade leading the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, said Friday that it made sense that the problem arose among workers in Cincinnati because the agency "really has delegated a lot of authority" to local offices to make decisions about handling their workload.

But Tea Party groups weren't buying the idea that the decision to target them was solely the responsibility of low-level IRS workers.

"It is suspicious that the activity of these 'low-level workers' was unknown to IRS leadership at the time it occurred," said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, which describes itself as the nation's largest tea party organization.

"President Obama must also apologize for his administration ignoring repeated complaints by these broad grassroots organizations of harassment by the IRS in 2012, and make concrete and transparent steps today to ensure this never happens again."

Tags: IRS, admits, targeting, conservative groups, 2012 elections To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

American Crossroads: Benghazi

American Crossroads: Benghazi

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

Thursday, May 09, 2013

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Overturns NLRB Poster Ruling

Americans for Limited Government General Counsel Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement praising a ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for overturning a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that had compelled employers to hang a Board-mandated poster not explicitly provided for under law:"The court made the right decision here, finding the Board cannot make the failure to post a Board-mandated poster an unfair labor practice because, among other reasons, the Board could not make an employer's speech advising employees that they do not have to join a union an unfair labor practice. Also, because the poster requirement had no basis in the statute itself, the court ruled the Board cannot just make up what it deems to be an unfair labor practice and then compel employers to abide by their arbitrary definition.

"The court also tossed the tolling provision in the rule and held that because the Board wouldn't have promulgated the rule without those provisions that the rest falls also. Two judges would have gone even further to hold that the Board lacks the statutory jurisdiction to promulgate the rule in the first place.

"Interestingly, the court in dicta called into question whether the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the Board was legitimate, assuming without deciding it was constitutionally invalid. But since even without Becker, there was still a Senate-confirmed quorum of Board members, his recess appointment was not at issue in this case. For other cases, however, that likely will not be so.

"All of which underscores the foolishness and arrogance of the White House in making these so-called recess appointments to the Board in the first place — as well as to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — when Congress was not even in recess. We expect more rulings will come down in this direction and never again will a president be able to imagine a congressional recess into existence."
ALG General Counsel Nathan Mehrens is also a former Labor Department attorney.

Tags: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Overturns, NLRB, Poster Ruling, unfair labor practice, no basis in statute, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Media Runs Defense

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: On May 8th as the House committee hearing about the Benghazi attack occurred, you could have tuned through every major network with the notable exception of Fox News and (a) not found any coverage or (b) found so little coverage that you would not even have known it was occurring. Even C-SPAN dropped the ball, devoting that time period to the blathering in the Senate.
In a chart put forth by the Media Research Center, the disparity should be an embarrassment to MSNBC and CNN, but it clearly is not. In their view, Americans should not be informed of the way the U.S. ambassador in Libya and three defenders were completely abandoned by the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, and the CIA. One could have sat in the White House situation room and watched the attack as it took place.

The response of the liberal media to the hearing was captured in the following May 8th excerpt from Atlantic Online’s post by Elspeth Reeve:

“House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa knows how to put on a show. Issa teased his Wednesday congressional hearing on Benghazi like a movie, tweeting movie poster-style photos with the hearing date and his face, as if he were an action star (right). The hearing was packed with emotional testimony from former State Department officials who were there the night the American consulate was attacked. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz even started crying (below left) late in the afternoon as he questioned the witnesses, who, at that moment, were not crying. The Washington Post’s Ernesto Londofio describes it as "a riveting account of that frantic night." Politico’s Ginger Gibson said the "dramatic and personal stories… injected real emotion" into the hearing. "Do you hear the pain and the sadness?" Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday. However, the hearing offered little to prove a cover-up of nefarious acts by the Obama administration. We already knew an anti-Islam movie did not inspire the attack. We already knew the consulate had requested more security.”

Such reporting is an insult to journalism, to those who lost their lives, to the men who were attached to the Libyan embassy and spent hours calling the White House and the State Department begging for some intervention, including a Special Forces team in Tripoli who were ultimately told to “stand down” and were “furious” that the very rescue mission they trained for had been thwarted.

The witnesses were at times emotional. They were career diplomats and security professionals. They had lost friends and colleagues, and then they had to watch as the President, the Secretary of State, and others in the Obama administration went about spreading a horrid, squalid lie that a “video” was the reason a force of terrorists affiliated with al Qaeda staged the attack on the anniversary of 9/11.

Those of us who watched the hearing on television learned that:
  • High-level staffers removed vital pieces of information tying terrorist organizations to attacks. They knew early on that radical Islamic terrorists participated in the attack.
  • The former Deputy Chief of Mission to Libya, Gregory Hicks, said in the hearing, “none of us should ever again experience what we went through in Tripoli and Benghazi on 9/11/2012.” He went on to say he had personally told former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at 2 a.m. the night of the attack that it was a terrorist attack.
  • Gregory Hicks also testified that Secretary Clinton's claiming the attack was incited by a YouTube video caused Libyan officials to hinder the FBI's arrival to the scene.
The Atlantic reporter dismissed their testimony saying “we already knew” the facts. That is true, but only for those Americans paying attention. On May 8th, the “real” news of the day was the verdict in the Jodi Arias trial and the coverage of the arrest of the sexual predator who had kidnapped and held three girls prisoner for ten years. These news stories were an unfortunate convergence, obscuring the real story, just as the Atlantic reporter and other liberal news personnel did their best to ignore or disparage it.

Anyone paying attention these past years knows that the President lies about everything. His minions in the White House and elsewhere in the federal government repeat his lies.

There have been many times when the public has disagreed with the policies of previous presidents, but we now live in an era when Obama and the government he leads has lost all credibility among those who pay attention while the bulk of the print and broadcast media do everything in their capacity to engage in their own cover-up of the facts and, if that doesn’t work, they impugn the integrity of those who seek to expose the truth or report it.

We even have a term for those who pay little or no attention. We call them “low information” voters. They are aided in their ignorance by the mainstream media.

Compare the current deplorable state of journalism in America with what is occurring in Iran. “The Iranian government has launched a pre-emptive crackdown ahead of presidential elections next month, Iranians say,” Farnaz Fassihi reported in the May 9th Wall Street Journal. “including disrupting the Internet, creating a cyber-surveillance unit for social media, arresting a prominent editor and canceling university classes.”

Can’t happen here? Don’t bet on it. By declaring a national emergency, the federal government has the power to shut down the Internet, arrest and detain anyone without due process, and literally take over every aspect of commerce in the nation.

“The coming election,” reported Fassihi, “is the first presidential vote since the contested polls in 2009 ignited massive protests against the government and fraud allegations.” President Obama not only did not support the protesters, he said it was unseemly for the U.S. to “meddle” in the internal affairs of Iran.

Be glad you’re not an Iranian. If our current political and media pose a threat to our ability to learn the truth about Benghazigate and other outrages, at least they are not engaging in the kind of repression occurring in Iran. Yet.
© 2013 Alan Caruba. Alan is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs" disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: media bias, liberal media, Benghazi, Benghazi hearings, House Oversight Committee, op-ed, Alan Caruba To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Speaker Boehner Highlights GOP Jobs Plan as President Obama “Pivots to Jobs” Again

WASHINGTON, DC - At his press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighted the House GOP plan for economic growth and job creation, contrasting it with President Obama’s latest pivot back to jobs with his event in Austin, Texas today:

“Today the president’s on another jobs tour -- or as the media described it this morning -- his latest ‘pivot back to jobs.’

“Listen, the Obama administration promised that if its ‘stimulus’ plan was enacted, the unemployment rate today would be approximately five percent. But the unemployment rate is at 7.5 percent. What the president doesn’t seem to understand is that it’s his policies that are undermining economic growth and job creation.

“Listen, I’ve run a small business, it’s no surprise to me that the economy is struggling. We’ve had four years of slow, anemic economic growth and job growth. And frankly, it’s unacceptable.

“America desperately needs robust economic growth and job creation. Republicans have a plan for getting our economy moving again. You don’t see us ‘pivoting’ back to it every few months; it’s been our focus long before I became Speaker. And whether it’s making our tax code simpler and fairer; expanding American energy production; reining in red tape; repealing the health care law that’s making it harder for small businesses to hire, economic growth has been and will remain our biggest focus.

“These are just some of the common-sense solutions that we would deliver that we really do believe would create more economic growth and jobs in our country. Slow growth can’t become the new normal.”

Tags: Speaker John Boehner, Libya, Economy, Jobs, ObamaCare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

What Difference ... Does It Make?

Editorial Cartoon by Gary Varvel

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

McConnell, Boehner Refuse Appointments To Obamacare Rationing Board

Today In Washington, D.C. - May 9, 2013
Yesterday, the House Benghazi hearing was extraordinary, but as Gary Bauer noted "that you wouldn't know it if you depended on Big Media. Major networks like CNN and MSNBC did not cover yesterday's whistle-blower testimony on the Benghazi scandal. Instead they chose to follow Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who were held captive in an Ohio home for ten years, as they returned to their families. Fox News covered the vast majority of Benghazi hearing. Also today's Washington Post had a relatively balanced story, noting that the witnesses "provided a riveting, emotional account of last year's fatal attack" and 'accused senior government officials of withholding embarrassing facts.' Are Obama and Hillary in real trouble? It's too early to know for sure. The fact that some of the witnesses appeared to contradict Hillary Clinton's testimony does not by itself prove that Hillary committed perjury. You have to prove that she intentionally lied using sources other than someone else's statements."

At a press conference today House Speaker John Boehner called on the Obama White House to release more information on Benghazi. Referring specifically to an email to the Libyan ambassador, Boehner said:"I hope you all tuned in to yesterday's hearing on the tragedy in Benghazi. We learned that on September 12 -- the day after the attacks and four days before Susan Rice's TV appearances -- a senior State Department official emailed her superiors to relay that … she had told the Libyan Ambassador that the attack was conducted by Islamic terrorists.

"The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this email when it was reviewed. And I would call on the president to order the State Department to release this email so that the American people can see it."

Today, the Senate will vote on two district judge nominees. The Senate will then return to consideration of S. 601 with possible votes on amendments. Yesterday, the Senate voted >to adopt an amendment to S. 601 from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) directing the Fish and Wildlife Service to coordinate a program to prevent the spread of invasive Asian carp. Prior to that vote, two amendments failed to get the 60 votes agreed upon for adoption: an amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would have permitted lawful gun owners to possess their firearms on property managed by the Army Corps of Engineers andan amendment from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)which would have created a National Endowment for the Oceans.

Today, the House passed H.R. 807, The Full Faith and Credit Act (221 - 207) which prevents default should the debt ceiling be reached. This proactive step was to prevent default, provide certainty to seniors, and preserve America’s credit rating. Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Scalise said, “Under President Obama’s watch, the American credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history, and our economy simply cannot afford for that to happen again. Without this bill, America’s credit rating will be further jeopardized by President Obama as he continues threatening default during each debt ceiling debate. Hitting the debt ceiling is a symptom of Washington’s spending problem. By taking the threat of default off the table, this bill allows Washington to focus on actually solving the spending problem so we can create a healthy economy.

“This legislation serves as an insurance policy, protecting America's economic security from the harm of President Obama's reckless and irresponsible posturing. House Republicans have laid out a real roadmap for budgeting responsibly and, by taking default off the table, this bill provides certainty for our economy while we work to implement real solutions to the spending problem that continues forcing Washington to max out its credit card.”

Specifically, the Full Faith and Credit Act:
  • Prevents default by requiring that the Treasury Department prioritize debt-service payments, including to the Social Security Trust Fund, in the event the debt ceiling is hit.
  • Preserves our status as an economic leader.
  • Protects the U.S. Credit Rating.
  • Provides certainty to seniors and our economy.
Today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent the following letter to President Obama informing him that they will be declining to recommend appointments to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). “We believe Congress should repeal IPAB,” they wrote, “just as we believe we ought to repeal the entire health care law” which is driving up costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers. In their letter, they state:Dear Mr. President,

We write to respond to your March 29, 2013 letter requesting that we submit the names of individuals to serve on the Individual Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was created in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148). Because the law will give IPAB’s 15 unelected, unaccountable individuals the ability to deny seniors access to innovative care, we respectfully decline to recommend appointments.

As you know, we opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because we knew it would increase health costs, impose costly burdens on job creators, and raid Medicare to pay for a massive new entitlement. In order to allow supporters to claim that the law’s Medicare cuts would be realized in the future, it tasked IPAB with reducing payments to providers or eliminating payments for certain treatments and procedures altogether. These reduced payments will force providers to stop seeing Medicare patients, the same way an increased number of doctors have stopped taking Medicaid patients. This will lead to access problems, waiting lists and denied care for seniors.

The unfortunate result is that decisions which impact America’s seniors will be made in the absence of the democratic process, without the system of checks and balances that would normally apply to important matters of public policy. Yet your recent budget called for expanding IPAB by tasking it with making even larger cuts to Medicare than those called for in the health law, even though the trustees of the Medicare program have told us that IPAB’s provider cuts would be “difficult to achieve in practice,” because of the denied care that seniors would experience.

We believe Congress should repeal IPAB, just as we believe we ought to repeal the entire health care law. In its place, we should work in a bipartisan manner to develop the long-term structural changes that are needed to strengthen and protect Medicare for today’s seniors, their children, and their grandchildren. We hope establishing this board never becomes a reality, which is why full repeal of the Affordable Care Act remains our goal.

On the Senate floor this morning, Leader McConnell added, “This morning, Speaker Boehner and I informed the President that we will not be recommending individuals to serve on the Individual Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB, as some call it, is a commission set up by Obamacare that is charged with reducing Medicare payments to health care providers and determining what services should be available to seniors. Of course, we know that will lead to access problems, waiting lists, and denied care for seniors – what most people would call rationing. . . . [W]e want to know that [health care] decisions will be made between patients, their families and their physician, not an unaccountable board of bureaucrats like the IPAB – one that even has the power to overrule payment decisions made by Congress and signed into law by the President.”

Yet despite this latest challenge and weeks of news reports of serious problems arising from implementing his unpopular health care law, President Obama is apparently determined to charge ahead with it, according to Bloomberg News. “Just weeks after his re-election, President Barack Obama summoned about 20 senior administration officials to the White House’s Roosevelt Room for an hour-long meeting on the implementation of his health-care law. Obama began by reminding his staff that the Affordable Care Act would be one of his major legacies and its execution among the highest priorities of his second term, according to a Democrat familiar with the gathering. The session, which has been followed by regular presidential briefings, led to a two-track campaign to defend the measure against united Republican opposition declaring it a failure and to motivate uninsured Americans to sign up for health-care coverage.”

The Bloomberg story notes many of the problems the president is facing: “Only 16 states have agreed to set up the health-insurance exchanges at which millions will begin shopping on Oct. 1, forcing the federal government to step in and do it. Republican lawmakers have blocked funding. And a poll shows 42 percent of Americans don’t even know the law was enacted. Senator Max Baucus, an architect of the statute, said he sees ‘a huge train wreck’ coming. . . . [T]he issues facing the startup of Obama’s health-care law are formidable. Sebelius said in an April 24 congressional hearing that the federal government wasn’t sure until this year how many exchanges it would have to build for states. . . . Congressional Republicans opposed a request from the Office of Management and Budget for $949 million in additional funding for implementation, and the money wasn’t included in a continuing resolution passed in March to fund the federal government through Sept. 30.”

Leader McConnell said this morning, “I hear that the President plans to hold another event tomorrow where he will claim that Obamacare is helping women . . . . There are many other small businesswomen who will see their dreams crushed under the weight of Obamacare’s nearly 20,000 pages of regulations. There are many women in their 20s and 30s who will be unable to afford the law’s massive premium increases. And there are many mothers who won’t be able to get by if their employers cut their hours due to Obamacare. Or if they lose their jobs because of it. . . . So, the President should rethink the purpose of this event. I hope he will use it instead as a platform to prepare women for the actual consequences many of them will soon face under Obamacare. More broadly, the President needs to get out in front of this ‘train wreck’ before Americans – men and women alike – are completely blindsided by it. . . . And, if the President is truly concerned about jobs, then it’s time for him to admit that Obamacare was a mistake and work with Congress to repeal it.”

Tags: Washington, D.C. Independent Advisory Board, Obamacare, Benghazi hearing, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Rising Job Numbers - Removing The Part Time Numbers

Editorial Toon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: editorial cartoon, AF "Tony" Branco, job numbers, Obama Administration, May 2013 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

President Park Geun-hye | The Bengazi Stink - Whistle-Blowers Testify | Controversial Nominee Thomas Perez

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 8, 2013:
At 10:30 AM, Her Excellency Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea, gave an address to a Joint Meeting of Congress. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding South Korean president Park Geun-hye’s address to a joint meeting of Congress: “What a powerful and inspiring address by President Park, who reminded us that we will only live in peace and freedom if we truly celebrate these values and defend them when they are tested. Fittingly, she spoke to Congress on the birthday of President Harry Truman, who planted the seeds of this friendship and whose commitment to defending South Korea is one the United States always has kept and will keep. It was a great honor to welcome President Park to the Capitol, discuss shared economic and security priorities, and thank her and her people for their steadfastness and friendship.”

The Senate reconvened at 11:30 AM and resumed consideration of S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013. At 2 PM, the Senate will hold a series of three amendment votes: on two amendments offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and one offered by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Each amendment will require 60 votes for adoption. Following these votes, by unanimous consent, the Boxer-Vitter substitute amendment to S. 601 will be agreed to.

In a close vote, today, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act - H.R. 1406 (223-204) — "To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector." Prior to the final vote, the bill was amended (384-42) to requires the GAO to submit a report to Congress on the usage of compensatory time allowed under the Act and detail any complaints filed or enforcement actions taken for alleged violations of the Act. The report will ensure Congress can monitor any potential abuse of the Act. House Speaker Boehner said, "“By reforming an outdated law, this bill gives private-sector workers the same flexibility public-sector workers have enjoyed for decades. And whether someone chooses to take time off to care for a sick parent or attend a child’s ballgame, or takes the extra pay, it ensures they get to make the choice – not their boss, and not the bureaucrats in Washington."

The House has a new Republican representative. Mark Sanford won the special election in Charleston, South Carolina last night. It was an election in which Sanford was supposedly ten points behind the Democratic Nominee, Elizabeth Colbert Busch (Stephen Colbert's sister), just a week ago. It was an election in which Sanford's personal problems had turned him into an underdog in a district which gave Romney an 18 point margin. But, equally important, Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama lost a special election in South Carolina last night.

by AF "Tony" Branco
Also in the House today, three brave whistle-blowers stepped forward to tell the truth about the horrific terrorist attacks against our U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including our U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens. For months the Obama administration, with significant backing from the liberal media, have attempted to hide the truth about what happened. To cover their failures in combating terrorism, they told lies saying it was not a preplanned terrorist attack, even when they knew that to be an absolute falsehood. Read more here. Former Bill Clinton advisor, Dick Morris said today, "Americans can stand pretty much anything, but not being lied to by their president. When Bill Clinton lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, his personal favorability ratings dropped 20 points and never recovered for the duration of his presidency. As the Benghazi hearings unfold, it will become more and more clear that President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knowingly lied to the American people when they both pretended that the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were just a demonstration against the anti-Muslim video gone violent -- even as the State Department wrote an intelligence assessment that said "we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda" were involved in the attack."

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to consider President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez to be Secretary of Labor. Writing at National Review Online,Katrina Trinko has outlined why Perez is such a controversial nominee: “Back in 2009, Perez established himself as a controversial figure when 22 Republicans voted against his confirmation to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Four years later, with his tenure there under fire from Republicans, he’ll face an even more hostile reception. Former GOP senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, who voted to confirm Perez in 2009, predicts Republican senators will be more wary of Perez this go-around. ‘Since then, he has gathered a lot of barnacles, at least among Republicans, because of things he’s done at DOJ,’ Kyl observes.”

 “According to a GOP Senate source, Perez’s hearing is expected to center on several concerns, including that he’s under congressional investigation regarding his involvement with an alleged quid pro quo deal between the Justice Department and St. Paul, Minn. The deal was that the Justice Department would cease prosecuting a case against St. Paul (which could have net around $180 million for the federal government) if the city dropped a case that could have led to a Supreme Court decision to change the definition of ‘disparate impact’ in housing-discrimination cases. Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who voted to confirm Perez in 2009, has already spoken out about Perez and threatened to block his nomination if he doesn’t get answers regarding this issue. Other topics under consideration for the hearing include Perez’s handling of a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panthers and the question of whether his actions at the Civil Rights division were unnecessarily politicized. Last month Senator David Vitter (R., La.) issued a statement saying, ‘Perez’s record should be met with great suspicion by my colleagues for his spotty work related to the New Black Panther case.’ According to a reported issued by the Justice Department inspector general in March, Perez’s 2010 testimony to the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights ‘did not reflect the entire story regarding the involvement of political appointees’ in the decision to drop charges against three of the four defendants, although the commission said there was no evidence suggesting Perez intentionally misled it. Perez’s record on labor and immigration is also controversial, thanks to his work as a board member of CASA de Maryland, an organization known for helping illegal immigrants, and to his tenure at the Montgomery County Council, where he promoted spending taxpayer dollars on day-laborer sites to facilitate off-the-books work by illegal immigrants.”

Today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell epressed his serious concerns about Perez. “Mr. Perez’s nomination has generated a fair amount of controversy. ...  [Tom Perez] is a committed ideologue who appears willing, quite frankly, to say or do anything to achieve his ideological ends."

“Take, for instance, his efforts, while on the Montgomery County Council, to get Canadian drugs imported to the U.S. According to The Washington Post, Perez tried to get the county to import these drugs even after a top FDA official said doing so would be, in his words, ‘undeniably illegal.’ What was Perez’s response? ‘Federal law is muddled,’ he said at the time. ‘Sometimes you have to push the envelope.’ Think about that statement: ‘Sometimes you have to push the envelope.’ Is that the kind of approach to federal law we want in those we confirm to run federal agencies? Folks who think that if federal law is inconvenient to their ends they can simply characterize it as unclear and use that as an excuse to do what they want? If that’s not a red flag for those of us who have to review a presidential nominee, I don’t know what is.”

McConnell continued, “Mr. Perez, however, does not merely push the envelope; all too often, he circumvents or ignores a law with which he disagrees. As a member of the Montgomery County Council, Mr. Perez pushed through a county policy that encouraged the circumvention of federal immigration law. Later, as head of the federal government’s top voting-rights watchdog, he refused to protect the right to vote for Americans of all races, in violation of the very law he was charged to enforce. In the same post at the Department of Justice, Mr. Perez directed the federal government to sue against the advice of career attorneys at his own office. In another case involving a Florida woman who was lawfully exercising her First Amendment right to protest an abortion clinic, the federal judge who threw out Mr. Perez’s lawsuit said he was ‘at a loss as to why the government chose to prosecute this particular case’ in the first place. This is what pushing the envelope means in the case of Mr. Perez: a flippant and dismissive attitude about the boundaries that everybody else has to follow for the sake of the liberal causes he believes in. In short, it means a lack of respect for the rule of law – and a lack of respect for the need of those in positions of power to follow it.”

“Taken together, all of this paints the picture, ... [of]  a crusading ideologue whose conviction about his own rightness on the issues leads him to believe the law does not apply to him. Unbound by the rules that apply to everyone else, Mr. Perez seems to view himself as free to employ whatever means at his disposal, legal or otherwise, to achieve his ideological goals. To say this is problematic would be an understatement. . . . Americans of all political persuasions have a right to expect that the head of such a sensitive federal department, whether appointed by a Republican or a Democrat, will implement and follow the law in a fair and reasonable way. But I do not believe they could expect as much from Mr. Perez.”

Tags: Republic of Korea, President Park Geun-hye, Bengaski hearings, whistle blowers, Working Families Flexibility Act, DOL nominee, Thomas Perez, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Benghazi Whistle-Blowers Testify

Gary Bauer, Contributing Author Three State Department whistle-blowers testified under oath today before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about their knowledge of the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012. They were emotional, breaking down on several occasions. They witnessed a gross wrong, had friends die and watched a cover-up unfold from the inside.

The star witness was Gregory Hicks, a career foreign service officer. Fluent in Arabic, he has served throughout the Middle East and was the second-highest-ranking official at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, just beneath Ambassador Stevens, on the night of the attacks. Here are some brief highlights of his testimony:

Hicks began by saying, "I am a career public servant. Until the aftermath of Benghazi, I loved every day of my job." He provided the committee a detailed account of what transpired the night of the attack, describing the call he received from Ambassador Stevens in which he said, "Greg! We're under attack!" and the call he took from the Libyan prime minister informing him that Stevens was dead.

Hicks recounted under oath how a Special Operations team from Tripoli was directed by its superiors not to board a plane bound for Benghazi to save U.S. personnel. The officer in command of the team told Hicks, "I have never been so embarrassed in my life that a State Department officer has bigger balls than somebody in the military."

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked Mr. Hicks if U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice ever called to speak to him. (As you may recall, the Obama White House sent Rice on all the Sunday talk shows to repeat a false narrative about protests over a film.) He said she never called him. Asked his response to Rice's claims about the protests being caused by an anti-Islamic video, Hicks responded, "I was stunned. My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed."

Rep. Gowdy then read an email from a State Department official sent the day after the attack to the Libyan ambassador. The message encouraged him and other Libyan officials to make it clear that the attack was committed by Islamic extremists.

So Rice never talked to the top embassy official, yet her statements contradicted Hicks' on the ground knowledge of events, contradicted statements of the president of Libya and contradicted statements from the State Department to Libyan officials.

Under questioning from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Hicks revealed that State Department lawyers told him not to speak to members of Congress who were coming to Libya to conduct an investigation of the attack. Hicks told Rep. Jordan that was the first time in his decades-long career he had ever been told not to cooperate with or speak to members of Congress.

After he did meet with them, he got an angry call from Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to the then-secretary of state. Clearly, Hillary was paying very close attention to the investigation and must have been annoyed that efforts to obstruct it had failed. Why else would Mills be calling?

Mills, by the way, is a long-time Clinton loyalist. She was a deputy White House counsel during the Clinton Administration and one of Bill Clinton's defense lawyers during his Senate impeachment trial. Now here is someone who might know a thing or two about obstructing investigations!

Please share this report with friends and family members. Not many folks are glued to C-SPAN during the middle of the day, and Big Media is not inclined to say anything that hurts Obama. Sharing these reports can make a big difference.

I have heard from numerous sources that yesterday's "End of Day" was widely read on Capitol Hill. I've taken calls from the Washington Post and other media outlets in response to our reports.

Of course, many in Big Media are interested only in spinning the investigation as a political witch-hunt. But I am enjoying every opportunity I get to shame them into doing their jobs, reminding them that a free press should care about exposing corruption at the highest levels!

Smear Campaign Next
We don't know what will ultimately come of today's hearings. But we can safely predict that if the accusations made by the whistle-blowers today get any traction, the left-wing, Soros-funded smear machine will go after the witnesses with an unbelievable degree of vengeance.

They should expect the worst. Michelle Malkin looks at the experience of previous whistle-blowers who dared to cross the left, and it's not pretty.

Mother Blames Hillary
One of the men killed during the Benghazi attacks was Sean Smith. His mother has been dogged in demanding answers from the Obama Administration, supporting Rep. Frank Wolf's call for a select committee, and speaking publicly about her loss. During an interview on CNN this week, Mrs. Smith had harsh words for the Obama Administration and for Hillary Clinton in particular.

Smith said that Obama, Biden, Hillary and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta all personally promised her that they would get answers for her about her son's death and find those responsible. She said, "I got one telephone call from a clerk… He was reading to me from the time line, which I already had. And that was it."

Asked if she blamed Hillary Clinton, Smith said, "Yes. Because that's her department. She is supposed to be on top of it. Yet she claims she knows nothing. It wasn't told to her. Well, who is running the place?"
Gary Bauer 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: Benghazi, Whistle-Blowers, testify, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Alexander tells Corps he won't approve funding requests if Corps won't stop fishing restrictions

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander: During today's Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee hearing regarding funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R.-Tenn.) said, "We don't need a big brother holding our hand while we're fishing down in Tennessee. If you aren't going to pay attention to the elected representatives of the people of Tennessee and Kentucky and other states, I'm not going to pay attention to your judgment...You're going to find it very hard to get my approval for any reprogramming request for the Corps of Engineers anywhere in the country until I get the Corps' attention on this issue."

Tags: Lamar Alexander, Army Corps of Engineers, Corps, restricting fishing, below dams, dams, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Rear Admiral Lee Addresses Restrictive Regulations on Religious Liberty

Family Research Council: Admiral: "I'm not Backing Down"

Over the last several days we've watched the Pentagon double timing in their efforts to get ahead of the fallout from the April 23rd meeting between anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein and senior Air Force officials. In the meeting, discussion surrounded a forthcoming Air Force policy on religious expression that Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding said "will be a panacea to all religious issues." Many in the Christian community have sought to make sense of the Pentagon's confusing statements this past week -- particularly the most troubling line: that "religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense." Coercion has always been prohibited. But another Air Force statement said "members are free to express their personal beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable." Uncomfortable is obviously subjective. The Pentagon later claimed that evangelism is not included in their definition of proselytization.

However, a well-respected Rear Admiral as well as an avalanche of recent attacks on religious liberty in the uniformed services completely contradict the official line put out by the Pentagon. Yesterday, video was released of the speech given by Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee at the National Day of Prayer service on Capitol Hill. The Admiral boldly declared that he had disregarded the rules and gave a Bible to a service member who had attempted suicide. He went further and pledged not to abide by the restrictive regulations. To a standing ovation, Admiral Lee promised not to back down from "my right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope."

After listening to his speech and reading the steady stream of reports about suppression of religious expression, I don't see how one can dismiss these concerns as rising from some kind of conspiracy theory being pushed by Christian groups. In reality, the concerns stated by Christians in the military are the result of an environment of increasing religious hostility that has been created by restrictive regulations at the behest of activists like Mikey Weinstein. Several weeks ago, Defense Secretary Hagel was grilled about them in a Congressional hearing -- but said he knew nothing about it. A conspiracy? No. An environment created by Mikey Weinstein's influence over military regulations and compliant leaders? Yes.

Urge Pentagon to scrub plan to court-martial Christians. Sign the Petition!

Video courtesy of GOD TV & the National Day of Prayer:

Tags: Rear Admiral William Lee, Coast Guard, National Day of Prayer, Restrictive Regulations, Religious Liberty, court-martial, Christians, Family Research Center To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Barack & Benghazi - --Presidential Second Terms Often Seem Cursed.

Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: There is an odd coincidence in American politics -- presidential second terms often seem cursed. For Ronald Reagan it was the Iran/Contra scandal. For Bill Clinton it was Monica Lewinsky and impeachment. For George W. Bush it was the financial collapse. For Barack Obama it could well be Benghazi.

Whistle-blowers are scheduled to testify before Congress tomorrow. We hope that this cover-up, which began more than six months ago, will be fully exposed and that those responsible will be held accountable. The families of four dead, brave Americans deserve at least that.

Exposing corruption and demanding honesty from our leaders is what a real opposition party and a free press are supposed to do. Amazingly, the New York Times continues to ignore Benghazi, refusing even to report the fact that blockbuster hearings are taking place tomorrow.

On the eve of the hearings, I want to remind you of what was happening in the days leading up to the attacks and immediately following.

The attacks on the Benghazi consulate took place on the anniversary of 9/11 -- September 11, 2012. Seven days prior, Democrats gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, for their national convention.

At that convention, Obama "spiked the ball in the end zone" -- reminding everyone listening that he had taken out Osama bin Laden. (You would have thought that he had personally escorted the Seal Team on its mission.)

But more importantly, Obama claimed Al Qaeda was on the ropes -- "defeated" or "decimated" as we were told over and over again. It was the theme of virtually every speech in Charlotte. Joe Biden hammered it home with his line, "Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive." That was all voters needed to know, according to Biden, to reelect Obama.

But just one week later that theme was in jeopardy as riots engulfed many Muslim capitals in the Middle East, allegedly in reaction to an anti-Islam movie trailer. The U.S. embassy in Cairo was assaulted. Egyptians stormed the walls and raised the black flag of the "dead" Al Qaeda movement. Then came the military-style attack on our consulate in Benghazi, an attack that lasted at least seven hours.

What happened next was a significant moment. On the anniversary of 9/11, as Islamist rioters surrounded the walls, embassy officials in Cairo released a statement condemning the American filmmakers for exercising their free speech rights rather than condemning Islamic extremism for the violence. Mitt Romney held a press conference criticizing the statement, citing it as an example of the administration's weakness.

Big Media, heavily vested in Obama's reelection, launched a full-throated assault, not on Obama, Biden and Clinton for their false bragging a week earlier, but on Mitt Romney! The line out of Washington was, "Mitt Romney doesn't have the demeanor and wisdom to be Commander-in-Chief. Now people are dead!"

Think about that for a second. You've got to tip your hat to the naked shamelessness of the president, the secretary of state and others involved. They knew that Islamists had caused the attacks. They knew they refused to send help.

And what did they do? What leftists always do: Faced with huge exposure and tremendous vulnerability, they went on offense. They successfully turned the events to their advantage, damaging Mitt Romney in the process. And the sympathetic media fully cooperated. In politics and in war the best defense is often a good offense.

Meanwhile, as all of this is unfolding, we now know that the CIA had provided talking points blaming Islamists. But a top career official at the State Department, Victoria Nuland, sees a watered-down draft of the talking points and still insists that they failed to "resolve all my issues or those of my building [the State Department] leadership." Translation: Hillary Clinton is upset.

Just imagine being president of the United States or secretary of state and, while America doesn't know yet and the media show no interest in knowing, you know exactly what you did and did not do on the night four Americans died. So what do you do? If you are Barack Obama, you head to Las Vegas for a fundraiser the next day.

Three days later, on September 14th, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton welcome home the caskets carrying the bodies of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Glen Doherty. Family members of the dead Americans asked, "What happened? Why is our son dead? Who did this?"

Obama and Hillary looked Patricia Smith in the eye and promised to get to the bottom of it. But they already knew what happened. They scrubbed the talking points to make sure the family members did not know the truth, that members of Congress did not know the truth, that American voters did not know the truth.

Two weeks later, the FBI had not arrived in Benghazi to investigate. Why not? One of the whistle-blowers who will testify tomorrow believes that it was the result of fallout and bad relations with the Libyan government.

The president of Libya was reportedly furious with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's false statements to the Sunday talk shows denying that there was any connection between the attacks and Al Qaeda. He called Rice's remarks, "completely unfounded and preposterous." So when Obama sent the FBI, they parked in Tripoli for two weeks. News organizations were in Benghazi before the FBI got there.

>From that point on, anytime Obama or Clinton were confronted by Romney or any reporter about whether Benghazi was handled correctly, they wrapped themselves in the burial shrouds of the men who died. "I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews," Clinton said.

The whole time she and Obama knew they had abandoned their fellow Americans to fend for themselves. Chutzpah does not even begin to describe it!

In conclusion, this sorry chapter in American history demonstrates in so many ways all the problems that bedevil America's current debate and political process. Today's media are unwilling to do their job and are too often partisan players in the political process.

Today's Democratic Party is not the party of JFK, FDR and Harry Truman -- men who took responsibility for their actions and confronted tyranny. Instead it produces leaders whose first instinct when faced with terrorism is to tell the American people to pipe down. The left does have a "killer instinct," but only when "the enemy" is conservatives.

Against this formidable force is a Republican Party whose most recent presidential nominees were not tough enough to deal with people like Obama or Clinton or the liberal press corps. As a result, Mitt Romney is a private citizen while Barack Obama has three and half years to do even more damage to America.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Benghazi, Barack Obama, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

"Glitches and Bumps"

Republican Senators: ObamaCare's incentive to employ part-time workers means fewer hours and lower wages for American workers. Nearly 280,000 Americans involuntarily entered part-time employment in April.

Tags: glitches, bumps, Obamacare, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

NYT: "New Worries for Democrats on Health Law"

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 7, 2013:
The Senate reconvened  and  began consideration of the nomination of David Medine to be Chairman and Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The Senate then  confirmed Medine, 52-45

At 2:15, by unanimous consent, the Senate will agree to the motion to proceed to S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, and will begin consideration of the bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 69-27 to pass S. 743, the Internet sales tax bill. Prior to passage, senators voted& 70-24 to approve a manager’s amendment to the bill.

Today the House is in session and is debating whether to take up (H.R. 1406) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector. Yesterday the U.S. House passed:
H.R. 588 (398-2)  — "To provide for donor contribution acknowledgments to be displayed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center, and for other purposes."
H.R. 291 (390-2) — "To provide for the conveyance of certain cemeteries that are located on National Forest System land in Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota."
H.R. 507 (401-2) "To provide for the conveyance of certain land inholdings owned by the United States to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, and for other purposes."

Another day brings another story about Democrats publicly worrying about the problems coming to light from the implementation of Obamacare, an unpopular law they jammed through Congress on a partisan vote.

The New York Times writes today, “As the administration struggles to put in place the final, complex piece of President Obama’s signature health care law, an endeavor on a scale not seen since Medicare’s creation nearly a half-century ago, Democrats are worried that major snags will be exploited by Republicans in next year’s midterm elections. .  . .Democrats are worried about 2014 — a president’s party typically loses seats in midterm years — and some have gone public with concerns about the pace of carrying out the law. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, told an interviewer last week that he agreed with a recent comment by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, a Democratic architect of the law, who said ‘a train wreck’ could occur this fall if preparations fell short.”

The NYT explains, “The stakes for the president are high. The ultimate success of the law, and in turn his domestic legacy, depends on how well the insurance marketplaces operate, and whether enough young Americans enroll for coverage. . . . Without the participation of that generally healthy young population, insurance premiums for everyone else would increase — threatening support for a law already short of it. The Department of Health and Human Services is doing the nuts-and-bolts work of setting up the system. But essential regulations remain unresolved, leaving insurers, small businesses and health care providers unsure of how to proceed.”

Today’s story comes on the heels of a Reuters piece over the weekend pointing out, “[W]ith ‘Obamacare’ five months from show time, Democrats are worried about whether enough Americans will sign up to make the sweeping healthcare overhaul a success - and what failure might mean for Congress heading into the 2016 presidential race. Some of the law's main advocates fear that not enough of America's 49 million uninsured will know about health coverage offered in their own states. Even if they do, new insurance plans may not be attractive to young, healthy consumers needed to offset an expected influx of older and sicker patients.” Also this past weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported, “[E]mployers including cities, state agencies and charities have joined restaurants and retailers in paring workers' hours to avoid having to provide these workers insurance or pay a fee starting next year. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers must provide health insurance to employees working an average of 30 hours a week or more. If they don't, the employer faces fees starting at $2,000 per worker annually. . . . A large number of Americans already are working part-time (less than 34 hours a week) even though they'd prefer full-time jobs—7.92 million of them in April, the Labor Department reported Friday.”

All this has Democrats publicly airing their fears about Obamacare, saying things like “I just tell you, I just see a huge train wreck coming down” (Sen. Max Baucus [D-MT]), “There is reason to be very concerned about what's going to happen with young people” (Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR]), “We are hearing from a lot of small businesses in New Hampshire that do not know how to comply with the law...” (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH]), and “I’m of the belief that the ACA is probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by United States Congress… it worries me, because it is so complicated. And if it isn't done right the first time, it'll just simply get worse” (Sen. Jay Rockefeller [D-WV]). Of course every one of these Democrats voted for Obamacare (or against repealing it) and Sen. Baucus even helped write the bill.

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

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