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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, August 09, 2013

While Considering School Choice, What About Teacher And Tutor Choice?

Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: Readers will have noted a number of article promoting School Choice. However, my elementary and post secondary education was in the public school system eons ago when things were different. It was during the post WWII era when teachers were professional and student were expected to both perform and to behave.  Homework was both required and relevant. Also, even a poor child had  access to the teachers who focused on getting you educated and not being concerned about the clothes you wore, or the lunch or non-lunch that you had. Teachers understood the times having lived during or fairly close to the depression era and all had lived during WWII. They understood that the best thing they could offer every child was the solid fundamentals needed to both survive and to get a job. There were no discussions on certain future jobs being better than others. And at least my teachers pushed all their children to their maximum ability in English, Math and Science.

Even though I was from a low income family, I  received the same quality education as the other students and it prepared for transitions in life and for college. My parents dropped out of high school. My dad enlisted during WWII, fought in the South Pacific. After the war, he worked hard at anything available. As a teenager, I was expected to work to help supplement the family income. No shame here; lots of others did the same.  The key point: teachers of my era did not permit excuses for not getting homework done. They expected assignments to be completed. Like many others of my era, I was the first high school graduate in my family.

I married and was drafted at age 19 during the Vietnam War. However, I was prepared by the quality education I received. When opportunity knocked, I was ready as were many of my fellow classmates. After a career in the military, I became a university professor. And, before retiring, I taught teachers instructional methods and ' test preparation and measurement' for evaluating students.

Unfortunately, over the last 50 years. I noted that the professionalism of teachers dwindled. The standards of school were lowered. Class sizes grew. Non-traditional material crept into the education system stealing away critical time needed for core fundamentals. Focus on sports became more important than academics. Progressive ideas crept in replacing truth, reality and standards of excellence.Sex education arrived.  Deficient teachers were retained. And a few years ago, I noted that over 50% of recent high school graduates at a local university were being remediated in English and mathematics.

That's when I became very interested in alternative school options, charter schools, and parents right to information on school performance, and eventually in school choice.

But today, I noted the following article about teachers working as "free agents" - "private tutors." But the attention getter was that one person was making $4 million a year for an after-school tutoring academies. Is this happening in America? - No! It is happening in South Korea.

A South Korean teacher makes $4 million a year! The U.S. could learn some lessons here about pay based on performance and accountability. The author points outIn South Korea, students truly are the customers. If you are a highly-respected teacher . . . countless numbers of students will pay for your services, which . . . can become quite lucrative. Most importantly, they are getting results.

South Korean students routinely outperform students in the United States on international tests. However, this wasn't always the case. “Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.”
Obviously, This is a far cry from American teachers unions striking and doing everything they can to stop their members from being held to high standards and simply wanting more money poured into our public schools.

We are missing the boat on this one in America - free enterprise, tutoring, high academic performance, and $4 million for a year's work. 그 빨! That's Korean! And my emotional response to or current situation. The following article by U.S. Chamber’s Mark D’Alessio.

by Mark D’Alessio: In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, journalist and author Amanda Ripley, profiled a teacher in South Korea who makes $4 million a year. Yes … $4 million. His name is Kim Ki-Hoon and he teaches in one of South Korea’s private, after-school tutoring academies called "hagwons" where his lectures are videotaped then available for purchase on the Internet. Mr. Ki-Hoon is paid according to his demand (which, evidently, is pretty high) in what Ms. Ripley calls “a free market for teaching talent.”

These private tutors are essentially "free agents", meaning they don’t receive a base salary—their pay is based on performance. So, how is their performance evaluated?

Ripley writes, “Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students’ test-score growth, and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents.”

In South Korea, students truly are the customers. If you are a highly-respected teacher in a hagwon, countless numbers of students will pay for your services, which, as Mr. Ki-Hoon has demonstrated, can become quite lucrative. Most importantly, they are getting results.

South Korean students routinely outperform students in the United States on international tests. However, this wasn't always the case. Ripley writes, “Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.”

A startling statistic that Ripley uncovers is that South Korean parents spend $17 billion a year on tutoring services similar to Ki-Hoon’s, while American parents spend approximately $15 billion a year on video games. According to Ripley, in South Korea, “if parents aren't engaged, that is considered a failure of the educators, not the family.”

So, what can the United States learn from high-performing countries like South Korea when it comes to educating our kids? Ripley has embarked on finding the answer to this question in her upcoming book, The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way, which will be released on August 13. Ripley will be providing keynote remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s upcoming education summit on September 17. . . . [More Conference Info]

Tags: education, free enterprise, South Korea, tutoring, smart kids free enterprise, choice, school choice, Us Chamber of Commerce To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Why Cory Booker's Cozy Relationship With Silicon Valley Is Bad For New Jersey

A Record of Failure
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: The bulk of Senate candidate and Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s personal wealth, according to a blockbuster New York Times expose, comes from a previously unknown company called Waywire, which styles itself as a “socially conscious” alternative to YouTube.

Waywire counts Oprah Winfrey, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter among its investors, but the tiny company (2,207 total visitors in June compared to YouTube’s 160 million) looks more like a multimillion dollar gift to Cory Booker than a real business.

The Charade Is Over
Booker claimed last year he would have no role in directing the site’s content, which makes it odd that so many of the videos on Waywire feature Booker.

It’s almost like the whole thing is a backdoor vehicle to promote Booker’s campaign for the U.S. Senate and funnel money to him personally. And until Thursday, the 15 year-old son of CNN president Jeff Zucker was on the company’s advisory board (complete with stock options), perhaps to ensure favorable coverage from that network.

You have to wonder how, if elected, Booker could possibly make important decisions about privacy and technology policy in an unbiased fashion in the United States Senate.

Given Schmidt’s involvement, it’s reasonable to speculate the plan was for Google, the parent company of YouTube, to buy out Waywire and provide Booker with a massive windfall at some point in the future.

You have to wonder how, if elected, Booker could possibly make important decisions about privacy and technology policy in an unbiased fashion in the United States Senate, knowing his financial future depends on his Waywire stake and a potential payday from Google.

For now the low-traffic website serves principally to bring together Booker and his big money backers at headquarters located just a block from Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.

That’s right: would-be Jersey senator Cory Booker put his company in New York City – even though he once told the Times that he sees Newark as “the Silicon Valley of social entrepreneurship.”

Other than videos of Cory Booker, the only notable niche tiny Waywire has developed is extreme anti-Semitic videos. When the Washington Free Beacon broke that story back in March, Waywire responded: “We are now evaluating the videos in question. We take these matters very seriously.” Five months later, anti-Semitic videos are still rampant on the site.

The New York Times, whose editorial page writers seem intent on ignoring the excellent investigative reporting from their colleagues on the news side, endorsed Booker and touted his close ties to big money from Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street. The Times actually called “his coziness with the moneyed class” an asset.

Why? Because Newark supposedly benefited from it when Booker’s buddy Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark schools. The Times neglected to mention that on Christmas Eve, when he thought nobody was looking, Booker finally complied with a court order and released documents showing that none of the Zuckerberg money is being spent in the classroom. And Newark schools continue to fail

And while Booker used his connections to get himself fancy offices in the heart of New York’s financial district, his “economic development” approach – corporate welfare to lure in big corporations – has failed in Newark.

When Booker took office, 20 years of Sharpe James and his cronies running the city had unemployment at an unacceptably elevated 8.5 percent; after seven years of Cory Booker, it now stands at 14.4 percent. The number of unemployed Newarkers jumped over that period from 8,892 to 15,744 – a shocking 77% increase.

While Panasonic and others got property tax abatements, small businesses around Newark were being shocked with massive property tax appraisal increases.

If the editorial page writers at the Times had read their own paper back in March, they would have known that companies like Ivo Fernandes’s mechanic shop and Pedro Nogueira’s Portuguese restaurant saw their property tax appraisals double and triple. Jose Breda, who owns a 6-unit apartment building whose valuation more than doubled told the Times: “They are robbing the people.”

This from a mayor who in 2011 was delinquent on his own taxes to the tune of $2,820, while gearing up with his rich friends for the multimillion-dollar launch of Waywire.

In 2010, Booker laid off 167 police officers (despite a 20 percent increase in property taxes) and triggered a spike in violent crime, which is up 24 percent from 2009 to 2012.

Newark schools are still failing.

Unemployment in his city is a tragic 14.4 percent.

Yet Newark Councilman Ras Baraka famously said “the only way you can see the mayor is if you turn on 'Meet the Press'" – because Booker is off running for higher office with the financial help of his Waywire buddies and a complicit liberal media that cares more about image – and “coziness” – than reality.
------------------
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and at BookerFail.com. He first shared this article at FoxNews. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Phil Kerpen, Cory Booker, Newark, New Jersey, Silicon Valley, #BookerFAIL To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

News Update: Arkansas School District Moves Ahead With Arming Teachers And Staff

Less than 24 hours ago, ARRA News Service reported that a recent Rasmussen Poll revealed that "most Americans with school-age children continue to say they would feel safer if their child attended a school with an armed guard and think the decision to put armed guards in the schools should be made by local government officials."

Then we shared an extract from an article by Robby Soave at The Daily Caller who addressed a situation in Arkansas where . . .

"Clarksville School District planned to let teachers carry guns in school starting in the fall. Administrators even hosted a two-day training session for staff members who planned to act as unofficial security guards for the schools.

School Superintendent David Hopkins said the plan was a response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last year. “We lock the door, and we hide and hope for the best,” he said in a statement. “Well that’s not a plan.”

But Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wants to kill the idea. “Simply put, the code in my opinion does not authorize either licensing a school district as a guard company or classifying it as a private business authorized to employ its own teachers as armed guards,” he wrote in a statement.

Today, Robby Soave has provided an update headlined -Arkansas school district will arm teachers, AG opinion be damned. He reported:

An Arkansas school district that was advised against arming its staff by the state attorney general has decided to let teachers carry guns anyway.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel recently issued an advisory opinion to Clarksville schools instructing them to abandon plans to let teachers and staff volunteer to carry weapons on school grounds. The teachers and staff had already completed a two-day gun training program that district administrators believed would ultimately make their schools safer in the event of a mass shooting.

Clarksville Superintendent David Hopkins initially interpreted McDaniel’s ruling to mean that the district could not deputize staff members. But after consulting with his own attorneys, Hopkins concluded that McDaniel’s opinion was neither correct nor binding.

Unless the Arkansas State Police shut down the program, Clarksville schools are set to allow teachers and staff to carry weapons when the fall semester begins on Aug. 19.

“We’re sitting on go,” Hopkins said in a statement.

Hopkins also criticized McDaniel’s conduct in the process.

“The only thing that’s detracting from this process is the attorney general’s erroneous opinion,” he said.

Clarksville administrators are still waiting for roughly one-third of the deputized staff members to receive their carry permits. If the state does not issue the rest of the permits, Clarksville will consider legal action, Hopkins said.
It is indeed great news when citizens stand up to the bullying done by the likes of Democrat Attorney General Dustin McDaniel who has issued his numerous past non-binding opinions with the presumption that of course everyone would agree and do as he says.

Following his non-binding opinions began to change, when he failed to represent the people of Arkansas on several critical issues including defending Arkansans against the implementation of Obamacare. In addition, McDaniel has on previous occasions delayed the approval of ballot tiles for petitions by the people thus reduced the allotted time for collections of signatures thus dooming Arkansans being able to vote on critical issues.

By the 2012 elections, the people of Arkansas shifted politics in Arkansas by electing Republicans for the first time since the Civil War to control the Arkansas State Senate and House. And that new legislature passed new gun rights laws including the right for schools to arm their staff and teachers to protect their students from school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last year.

Arkansas has previously suffered the painful experience of school shooting incidents:

In the early afternoon of March 24, 1998, two students from Westside Middle School, located approximately two miles west of Jonesboro (Craighead County), conducted an armed ambush on teachers and students, which resulted in five dead and ten others injured. The shooters, Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson, were arrested and prosecuted for the crime. The incident was one of two school shootings in Arkansas and one of several school shootings across the nation that adjusted school administrators’ and law enforcement officers’ concepts on school security and response plans to violent incidents at schools. . . .

The incident at Westside Middle School was not the first school shooting to occur in the state. On December 15, 1997, a fifteen-year-old student in Stamps (Lafayette County) conducted a similar ambush-style attack, firing upon students from a nearby wooded area. It is unknown whether Johnson or Golden had any knowledge of the details of this attack, but the similarity and timing is remarkable. The Westside School Shooting is also similar to the massacre at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, near Littleton, Colorado.

However, instead of qualifying and arming teachers or staff, the Arkansas liberal democratic controlled legislature retreated behind gun free zone signs and stripped everyone of their rights to protect themselves and the students even though the shooters may have been stopped if the teachers and or staff had been armed. The legislature at that time followed the liberal "Mary Poppins" neon sign idea that gun free zones signs would equate to no one  ever entering the schools with guns with the intent to harm or to kill the adults or the children. However, that same legislature  passed a law to charge teenagers as adults for school shootings. Neither actions focused on providing on-site protection to the faculty or students.  Thus children, teachers, and administrators have continued to be placed at risk.

Even though Clarksville School District is taking a stand to protect their students and faculty, many other school districts and the Arkansas University system have opted to ban faculty and faculty staff from having guns on their campus. Obviously, the liberal mindset is alive and well in the higher academic community influenced by liberal leadership of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education appointed by the Arkansas Democrat Governor Mike Beebe. Unfortunately, the abject stupidity of the "Gun Free Zones signs" goes beyond any "Here's Your Sign Jokes." After all, people can be seriously injured and killed because of policies behind these signs.

Tags: Dustin McDaniel, Attorney General, Arkansas, non-binding opinions, Clarksville School District, arms teachers, staff, gun free zones, signs, prior school shootings To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Perkins: Obamacare Threatens Very Life of Republic

Tony Perkins, FRC : WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Capitol Hill today, a coalition of organizations including the Family Research Council (FRC) held a news conference calling on Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to add conscience protections to must-pass legislation and to defund Obamacare. In addition, a large coalition sent a letter to House leadership calling for religious freedom protections.

At the news conference Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said:
"Obamacare is not the typical political virus that spreads from Washington,D.C.infecting the body politic. This is a rare strain of 'flesh-eating bacteria' that if not stopped and stopped now threatens the very life of our Republic.

"We need to defund Obamacare but also need to add conscience protections. Obamacare will subsidize abortion and lead to health care rationing, and defunding would stop that. But defunding alone will not stop legal mandates like the HHS mandate against religious ... []


Tags: Tony Perkins, FRC, Obamacare, threatens life of the Republic To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

What One Of The Founders’ Key Warnings On Standing Armies Can Teach Us About Obamacare

Keeping Our Republic
by Corbin & Parks
by Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks, Contributing Authors: The founders’ many warnings about standing armies may seem rather quaint in an age of supersonic jets and ICBMs — or not, when we consider the legions of new bureaucrats about to enlist indefinitely in Obamacare’s army.

Despite the increasing unpopularity of Obamacare and the headlines announcing exploding health insurance premiums in one state after another, the GOP’s smooth operators are counseling conservatives to simply get out of the way. They’re promising to translate the Obamacare “train wreck” into a big 2014 mid-term election victory if the Senate’s “wacko birds” don’t alienate moderate voters by attempting to defund Obamacare. Having been around many a DC block, Republican political professionals suggest, once again, that the prudent fight is just after the next election.

But the Tea Party’s rise and political success suggests that many Americans have had enough of fiddling while Rome burns — and enough of a Republican establishment that talks about our founding principles but seems more interested in leading the next congressional majority that mocks them. Just in time, too. For while success by reformers in states like Wisconsin, Indiana, and Texas suggests that it is not too late for action, Detroit’s bankruptcy (and Chicago’s looming fiscal catastrophe) shows that the clock is ticking.

Today, Detroit is a war zone – it has the highest violent crime rate of any large city, but the damage runs deeper, the consequence of a half-century of Progressive governance: almost a million “missing” citizens, thousands of abandoned buildings, and the general collapse of community life.

This nightmare ought to discredit the ruling class approach to urban development, centered on a massive system of social welfare programs managed by a large, generously-compensated bureaucracy. Of course, that should have happened already, since the same formula has failed wherever it has been tried. And yet here we are on the eve of implementing our largest entitlement program ever.

Federalist 8 helps to explain why such programs come into existence — and why the effort to defund Obamacare is worth the fight. Early Anti-Federalist writings repeatedly cited the lack of a bill of rights, worries about a too-powerful national government, and the danger of a (constitutionally-permitted) standing army among their principal objections to the Constitution.

In Federalist 8, Alexander Hamilton turns the concerns about a standing army around. He, too, believes that a large, idle military can become a dangerous tool in the hands of would-be despots, but he argues that we are much more likely to have a standing army if the Constitution is not ratified. This isn't because the Articles of Confederation was more friendly to standing armies than the Constitution–it wasn’t. And it isn't because Hamilton assumes the confederacies that might arise with the breakup of the Union would be eager to establish large peacetime militaries — they wouldn’t.

But as our experience of a century of Progressive government has demonstrated, nations often act beyond constitutional limits and against the intentions of their founders. Thus, Hamilton considers American liberty secure only when it has been protected, as much as may be, against “the natural and necessary progress of human affairs.”

Under what conditions, Hamilton therefore asks, would a dangerous standing army be formed? He answers: whenever the people were worried enough to tolerate one — a circumstance much more likely to occur in a group of small, rival confederacies than in a single nation united under the Constitution: “The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.”

Hamilton’s general point is that people who are scared look to government to deliver them from their fear. This is why the GOP establishment’s calculus is wrong. Obamacare, when implemented, will generate more fear and insecurity, not less. More individuals will find that only part-time work is available, as businesses protect themselves against the employer mandate. More individuals will find that no work at all is available, as business profits mutate into compliance costs. But, the establishment responds, this will make Obamacare and its advocates less popular.

Don’t be so sure.

It won’t, after all, be the president who announces that the deli counter workers at the local grocery store will have their hours cut, as happened recently in a nearby Queens neighborhood. Protests and boycotts certainly did follow: against the store and its owners, not the Obama administration. Corporate greed, rather than government overreach, was the accepted storyline. And if the general dissatisfaction with a bad economy makes its way back to its source in a government entitlement program it will surely be for the first time.

It is much more likely that we will hear about the need to extend unemployment benefits, add to the food stamp rolls, and the like — and that many people, apparently out of other options, will, here too, “run the risk of being less free.” In other words, one economy-killing, dependency-creating program begets (or expands) another. Or, we might say, big government wins when anyone loses — and it guarantees that plenty will lose.

The Progressive promise of social and economic renewal, then, ends in bitter irony. The moral equivalent of war turns out to be only the bureaucratic equivalent of war, leaving behind a new standing army quartered, at least metaphorically, in every home–and a plausible pretext for the next battle.

Even if this can’t go on forever, as Detroit at home and Greece abroad amply demonstrate, it is much better to meet this enemy at the frontiers than to suffer their fate. That begins with understanding the sort of security the government can actually provide. The preamble to the Constitution guides us well: “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity….”

Nothing produces a greater number or variety of blessings than liberty. But they don’t come easy, leaving plenty of room for our native greed, jealousy, and laziness to look for ways to take what we can from our neighbor. Our Constitution was ordained and established to check our worst impulses and to secure to each his own pursuit of happiness. Its framers hoped to ensure that the shortest way to individual and societal happiness would be the virtuous way.

Over the last century, American government has progressively gone beyond this, relieving the burdens of a few and increasing the burdens of many, while in every case tending to its own advantage. Along the way, it has encouraged us to angle for our own free lunch, if only to compensate for the ones we’ve been forced to buy for others.

The effort to defund Obamacare carries with it political risk–and, of course, the votes may not be there in the end. But it is not “nuts,” as even a leading conservative columnist has called it, or mere grandstanding, as many others have suggested. Political prudence teaches us to seek the most viable rightful path to a just end. What does that mean in this context?

1. Don’t wait too long. Obamacare will be two years further entrenched before a new Congress begins and at least four years so before a Republican is even possibly president again. It may never be more unpopular than it is now. Or by the time it is, the American people may be too insecure to turn to anyone but the government for their relief.

2. Don’t mistake quantity for quality. The limited progress we've made toward limiting government over the past generation has generally occurred when Republicans didn't have complete control of the presidency and the Congress–and right now, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul are moving the national political conversation in the right direction like no members of Congress have since the early days of Newt Gingrich’s speakership.

3. Don’t go back on existing obligations. The threat to defund Obamacare cannot mean defaulting on obligations we’ve already taken on. Nothing in Senator Lee’s new defund proposal, which calls for Congress to pass a continuing resolution that “funds all the functions of government except ObamaCare,” suggests this. If President Obama vetoes the bill, Congress should continue to pass similar bills until he is willing to exempt all Americans, not just a chosen few (members of Congress, big business), from this terrible piece of legislation.

Americans should stand with the courageous group of senators attempting to spare them the establishment of the largest, most intrusive standing army yet. Perhaps these efforts might postpone the day, hopefully forever, when every American must say, “I am a Detroiter.”
----------------
Dr. David Corbin is a Professor of Politics and Dr. Matthew Parks is Asst Professor of Politics at The Kings College (NYC). Both earned their Ph.D.s in Political Science at Boston University. In addition to numerous publications they are the co-authors of The Federalists Today (Facebook - Twitterand a contributed this article to the ARRA News Service. The article first appeared in The Blaze.

Tags: Founders, Our Republic, warnings, Federalist 8, standing Armies, Obamacare, David Corbin, Matthew Parks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Al-Qaida Is On The Run - Two Great Editorial Cartoons

by Gary Varvel

by AF "Tony" Banco

Tags: Al-Qaida, on the run, President Obama, editorial cartoon, Gary Varvel, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

DOD Forecasts Cuts to Troop Numbers, Carrier Fleet & Bombers

Richard Sisk at Military.com reports:

The Army would shrink to 380,000 troops, the Marines Corps to 150,000. The Navy would lose three carriers, and the Air Force would begin mothballing its B-52 bomber fleet under a worst-case budget scenario outlined Wednesday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

In addition, Tricare fees would go up, housing allowances would be slashed, pay raises would be scaled back, and commissary subsidies would be reduced, Hagel said -- unless Congress and the White House can agree to lift the sequestration deficit-reduction process that is projected to take $500 billion out of defense budgets over the next 10 years. . . .

For more than a year, as the Iraq war ended and Afghanistan was winding down, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, has been warning that sequester might force him to cut troop strength below the cut from 570,00 soldiers to 490,000, which was already underway.

The review said that the number of soldiers in the Army could fall as low as 380,000, but a senior Pentagon official said later that the troop strength would more likely fall in the range of about 450,00.

The Marine Corps, which now has slightly more than 200,000 troops, had been projected to come down to about 182,000, but the defense leaders outlining the review said the number could be as low as 150,000.

Hagel said the number of aircraft carriers in the Navy might have to drop from the current 11 to eight, and he also said that the Air Force would have to retire older bombers and slash the number of tactical squadrons. . . . Read Full Story

Tags: DOD, military, Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, reductions, Troop Cuts, Army, Marines, Carrier Fleet, bombers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Phony Scandals . . .

. . . On Whose Part? The public or the Obama White House?  With regard to the Middle East, the Obama Administration appears to be "running scared" verses "standing tall" in the face of the so called non-war on terror.

The current situation reminds us of the appropriate comment made by Ben Shapiro regarding President Obama's declaration that the "war on terror was over":
"In a hallmark speech last week, President Obama unilaterally declared the war on terror over. The end of that war, Obama stated, meant we could return to the halcyon days of the Clinton-era law enforcement, during which America experienced a spate of terrorist attacks ranging from the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 to the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996 to the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 to the USS Cole bombing in 2000. What justified Obama's announcement?

Nothing, except his need to pacify his leftist base."

by William Warren

Tags: President Obama, evacuating embassies, Middle East, terror chatter, phony scandals, William Warren, editorial cartoon, Ben Shapiro To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

62% Would Feel Safer If Their Child Attended A School With An Armed Guard

Armed Teacher Responding to Threat
Rasmussen Reports: Arkansas’ state attorney general [Dustin McDaniel] last week limited the ability of local school districts to have armed guards. But most Americans with school-age children continue to say they would feel safer if their child attended a school with an armed guard and think the decision to put armed guards in the schools should be made by local government officials.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Americans with children of elementary or secondary school age would feel safer if their child attended a school with an armed security guard. Just 24% say they would feel safer if their child went to a school where no adults were allowed to own a gun. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure. . . . [Read More]

Robby Soave at The Daily Caller reported on the McDaniel's decision:
An attorney for the state of Arkansas advised a school district against implementing a plan to arm its teachers with guns — drawing the ire of gun rights supporters.

The Clarksville School District planned to let teachers carry guns in school starting in the fall. Administrators even hosted a two-day training session for staff members who planned to act as unofficial security guards for the schools.

School Superintendent David Hopkins said the plan was a response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last year. “We lock the door, and we hide and hope for the best,” he said in a statement. “Well that’s not a plan.”

But Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wants to kill the idea. “Simply put, the code in my opinion does not authorize either licensing a school district as a guard company or classifying it as a private business authorized to employ its own teachers as armed guards,” he wrote in a statement.

McDaniel’s opinion isn’t binding, however — something proponents of gun rights were quick to point out.

“I think the Attorney General’s opinion (which isn’t legally binding, by the way) is a well-timed political ploy meant to distract from his party’s candidate for governor, former [Democratic] Rep. Mike Ross, who made anti-gun comments after the Sandy Hook tragedy,” wrote Nicholas Stehle, a member of the board of Arkansas Carry, in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The legislature previously passed a law allowing local government entities to deputize individuals. Under this law, schools are allowed to arm teachers who volunteer for the responsibility, wrote Stehle. “Ultimately, the Attorney General is probably wrong,” he wrote. . . . [Read More]


Tags: Rasmussen Reports, Arkansas, schools, armed guards, guns, protecting children, opposed by, Dustin McDaniel, democrat, Attorney General To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obamacare: ‘Family Insurance In Jeopardy’

Small Businesses ‘May Be Forced To Reduce Dependent Coverage,’ ‘Premiums Could Rise 20 Percent Or More in 2014’

Obamacare Train Wreck for People, Families,
Hospitals, Small Businesses, etc. Continues
‘Family Coverage Is Particularly In Jeopardy,’ Another Obamacare ‘Casualty’
“One casualty of the new health care law may be paid coverage for families of people who work for small businesses. Insurance companies have already warned small business customers that premiums could rise 20 percent or more in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. That's making some owners consider not paying for coverage for workers' families…” (“Family Insurance In Jeopardy At Small Companies,” AP, 8/8/13)

‘Family coverage is particularly in jeopardy at small companies’ “The ACA is accelerating a trend toward reducing family coverage that has been in place for a number of years at companies of all sizes as employers try to cut costs, according to health insurance brokers. But family coverage is particularly in jeopardy at small companies.” Ibid
  • “Mike Shoop got a taste of what buying insurance will be like under the ACA when he shopped for a policy that will take effect Sept. 1. His insurer quoted premiums 8 percent higher than his current policy, and warned Shoop that he'd get an even larger increase a year from now. Shoop, who owns a debt collection company in Greeley, Colo., said he may have to cut back on insurance for his employees' families if rates keep soaring. …says Shoop, the owner of Professional Finance Co. ‘But like most companies, we're about at our maximum of the total dollars that we can spend on health care.’” Ibid
  • “…owners like Butch Yamali believe they may be forced to reduce dependent coverage. ‘You'd probably have to do that for survival,’ says Yamali, owner of Dover Group, a Freeport, N.Y.-based caterer and food service provider. … He's worried that his costs will soar if more of his staffers want to join his plan. ‘It scares me to think about it. If I had to buy insurance for everyone who works for us. We wouldn't be able to be in business anymore.’”Ibid
In 2014, plans sold on the individual and small group markets will have to meet new standards for coverage and cost sharing, among other things. . . . Plans with $10,000 deductibles won’t make the cut, say experts, nor will many other plans that require high cost sharing or provide limited benefits . . . . Many policyholders don't realize their plans won't meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act next year, say experts.” (“Many Consumers With High-Deductible Plans Are Concerned About Health Law Changes,” Kaiser Health News, 8/6/13)

Since 2000, 19 hospitals across the [New York] city have closed due to financial pressures, and nos. 20 and 21 are underway. . . . Kenneth Raske, the president and CEO of the Greater New York Hospital Association, which keeps a tally of the closings, said the struggling hospitals tend to serve mostly people who have no insurance or those in the federal Medicaid or Medicare programs. Starting on Oct. 1, many U.S. hospitals will see reimbursement rates decline because of provisions of the Affordable Care Act. ‘That could literally be the final nail in the coffin, not just in New York but in other institutions around the country...” (“NYC losing small hospitals as money woes mount,” AP, 8/6/13)

Broken Obama Promise: ‘If You Like Your Plan, You'll Be Able To Keep It’
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “If you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it.  Let me repeat that: if you like your plan, you'll be able to keep it.” (President Obama, Remarks At The White House, Washington, D.C., 7/21/09)
  • OBAMA: “If you have health insurance and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period. And I won’t sign a bill that somehow would make it tougher for people to keep their health insurance. … We certainly would not be signing a bill that somehow prevented somebody from getting, from keeping insurance that they've already got or allow private insurers to sign up new folks if they’re providing good service.” (President Obama, Conference Call With Liberal Bloggers, 7/20/09)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “In fact, one of our core principles is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8642, 8/3/09)
  • REID: “If you like what you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Press Briefing, 10/20/09)

Tags: Obamacare, small business, family insurance, in jeopardy, premium increases, hospitals closing Obamacare, Train Wreck To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Netroots Nation Comes Home To Bankrupt Detroit

by AF "Tony" Branco
Bill Smith, ARRA News Editor: As the former Director of New Media at Americans For Prosperity, Eric Telford was the genius behind  the creation of  RightOnline which showcased conservative bloggers and activists against the backdrop of the progressive NetRoots Nation events.  Telford, now the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Communications at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, has an excellent article in the Detroit News on NetRoots Nation holding its 2013 gathering in in the bankrupt city of Detroit?  Wonder who the the NetRoots 2013 attendees will rage against since they are heavily financed by the unions this year?   As a juxtaposition, I and other liberty loving conservative free market bloggers will be enjoying RightOnline 2013 which will be meeting over 1000 miles south of Detroit in the prospering city of Orlando, Florida.

Eric Telford, Op-Ed, Detroit News: Detroit’s bankruptcy has shed light on the ugly face of progressive governance, and is a haunting indicator of what can happen when government lets public-sector unions bleed taxpayers dry.

As the city faces difficult decisions about its financial future, one would expect progressives and labor interests to divert attention from the fallout.

But instead, they’re bringing Netroots Nation, a conference of progressive activists, to Detroit next year to promote the same model of government at the national level.

Silicon Valley seemed like the perfect setting for the recently concluded 2013 edition of Netroots Nation, which purports to be a gathering of young, idealistic, tech-oriented activists, driving hybrids and using Tumblr to promote social progressivism. But beneath this hipster-centric veneer, Netroots is nothing more than a massive organizing and coalitions event staged by Big Labor, the conference’s primary sponsor.

However it may bill itself, Netroots Nation is at its core a labor showcase, bankrolled by the most powerful unions in America.

In fact, of the 2013 conference’s 19 high-dollar “Premier Sponsors,” 11 are unions, including eight of the 10 largest by membership in the country. Unions also filled the program with nine full pages of advertisements, and sponsored seemingly every panel and social event in sight.

Labor’s domination of Netroots speaks to its broader stranglehold on the progressive movement. Each of the other progressive groups at the conference spoke lovingly of labor, which provides these groups with manpower and organizational infrastructure. It was as if the unions had put on the entire conference to send a message — anything that happens on the left side of the aisle has to happen through us.

It was in this same spirit that the unions have conquered Detroit.

Once the Motor City, Labor City may now be the better moniker, as unions have a stranglehold on the city’s government and economy.

Detroit’s public departments employ up to twice as many union workers as other major cities, and its public employees are among the most generously compensated in America.

Since 1937, when the United Auto Workers labor union rose to power, Detroit has gracelessly fallen from the ranks of the world’s leading cities into crippling depression.

Over the seven decades since it became Labor City, Detroit’s population has been cut in half, and those who remain haven’t had much success. Over one-third of Detroiters live in poverty, and the city’s unemployment (18.6 percent) and violent crime rates are each the worst of any large American city.

The rise of the UAW and fall of Detroit are hardly unrelated. As the UAW’s demands placed a greater strain on the Big Three every year, foreign automakers set up shop in right-to-work states, bypassing unions to build vehicles at lower costs.

As Detroit’s automakers fell behind, a pipeline of jobs and capital flowed out of the city, leaving behind shuttered factories.

It’s no wonder that the Big Three, which once dominated the auto industry, have seen their market share fall to 46 percent, with foreign automakers now controlling a majority of the market and American union membership at an all-time low.

As Detroit’s industry crumbled and its tax base disintegrated, public sector unions continued to command lavish benefits and pensions that the city simply couldn’t afford to pay.

Detroit’s teachers pay only 10 percent of their insurance premiums and have a pension contract so unassailable that it is immune from cuts even during bankruptcy negotiations.

With the damage labor’s unreasonable demands have done to Detroit, you’d expect that unions would dissociate themselves from the barren city.

Yet, they’re doing the opposite — bringing their bought-and-paid-for convention to the scene of their worst crime.

Tags: Detroit, Michigan, NetRoots Nation, 2013, progressives, unions, Bankrupt Detroit, Eric Telford, op-ed, RightOnline, 2013, Orlando, Florida To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Five Immigration Questions for Your Congressman

by Gerren McHam, Heritage Foundation: During the August congressional recess, a pro-amnesty coalition of business and union interests is putting the squeeze on members of the House of Representatives to pass a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill similar to the Senate-passed monstrosity. But hard-working Americans also have a voice and can speak up in town halls with House members while they’re in the districts. Here are five questions to remind them of the wisdom and importance of taking a step-by-step approach to immigration reform.

1. How can we afford an amnesty for illegal immigrants?
We can’t. Over their lifetimes, the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants would cost federal, state, and local taxpayers trillions of dollars, because they will consume significantly more in government benefits and services than they pay in taxes. Amnesty for millions of predominantly low-skilled illegal immigrants also will depress wages for low-skilled Americans and make a tough job market more difficult.

2. If illegal immigrants win amnesty, how is that fair to the 4.5 million who are waiting to enter the United States legally?
It isn't fair. America prides itself on the rule of law. As Americans, we should not allow those who break our laws to be rewarded—especially at the expense of those who are abiding by the rules. Rather than adequately streamlining our legalization system, some in Congress are pushing a new “path to citizenship” that grants amnesty to those who broke the law.

3. Can we ensure that a House-passed immigration bill doesn’t become a vehicle, in a deal with the Senate, for blanket amnesty?
No, we can’t. With massive costs to taxpayers and carve-outs for special interests, the Senate-passed bill eerily resembles Obamacare in its unnecessary complexity. Even House members who correctly view the Senate’s “comprehensive” bill as a failed approach must be cognizant of the push to use any House-passed measure as a means to enact the Senate provisions. If conversations begin between the House and Senate on a compromise, major sections of the Senate bill—including amnesty—will be part of that deal.

4. Does Congress need to pass new legislation to secure the border and strengthen interior enforcement?
No. Current laws can be used to settle our border security and interior enforcement problems. The reason those laws aren’t working is simple: We aren’t enforcing them. By way of executive orders and selective enforcement, the Obama Administration has undermined efforts to fix our system and placed unwarranted burdens on the agents in charge of carrying out these laws.

5. Is there any guarantee that we won’t face this problem again with millions of new illegal immigrants in the future?
No. We should keep a close eye on all proposals. In 1986, proponents of “reform” promised the American people that if Congress passed an amnesty-first immigration bill, we wouldn’t have to go through this debate again. We were told to trust Congress to put together an amnesty bill that would be fair and prevent illegal immigration once and for all. Fast forward to now, and we’re experiencing the same problems but on a larger scale. If Congress doesn’t secure the border first to stop the flow of illegal immigration and also enforce our laws, we will find ourselves back in the same situation. The Congressional Budget Office projected that if it the Senate bill became law, millions of new illegal immigrants would be here within a few decades.

Tags: amnesty, border security, House, House of Representatives, illegal immigrants, illegal immigration, immigration reform, path to citizenship, Senate, special interests, taxpayers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Parody: Shotguns, Flying Robots And The NSA

With Congress on their August break, I had some time to check out a few  fellow conservatives bloggers' sites.  Viewed the below today on Conservative Hideout 2.0. Ron said said he "caught this video over at Chicks on the Right. They were loving this video."  I can see why. Catchy and well scripted parody.

The credits identify the video as the third edition of the Gregory Brothers' "Songify The News" series. The video "deals with some of the biggest political stories to come out of Washington over the last several months. From Vice President Joe Biden extolling the virtues of the simple 'shotgun,' to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) epic filibuster on flying robots (drones), to Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly throwing down over the NSA on Fox. ,What news story can't be improved with a little auto-tune? Oh and you can throw in Glee's Darren Criss for good measure. So for all you kids out there who want to know what all the fuss is over guns, drones and spies, this one's for you."

Tags: video, parody, humor, news, Vice President, Joe Biden, shotgun, Sen. Rand Paul, drones, flying robots, Bill O'Reilly, Megyn Kelly, NSA, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Global Warming consensus obliterated — by facts

Exposed Again!
by Rick Manning: What if everything you think you know about something turns out to be wrong?

Does it force you to evaluate everything else, or do you just shrug your shoulders figuring that it is impossible to know everything, so you have to pick your experts and take your chances?

When it comes to following baseball teams, if the Angels General Manager (GM) Jerry DiPoto or Yankees GM Brian Cashman spend hundreds of millions of someone else’s money and end up with a subpar product, it may hurt your heart as a fan of those respective teams, but it doesn't impact your life.

However, when the government either gets duped or more insidiously, is a co-conspirator in what could be a big lie, suddenly it is taxpayer money being spent and that should get people’s attention.

A new, peer reviewed study published in “Energy & Environment” comes to the stunning conclusion that global temperatures have actually been dropping since 1986. This conclusion, at best, obliterates the claims that there is a global warming consensus.

The “Meteosat Derived Planetary Temperature Trend – 1982-2006” study took satellite derived temperature data from 1986-2006 that was collected using a European satellite system which measures thermal infrared radiation (similar to those red to blue heat maps that weather.com uses.)

Incredibly, here are the key excerpts from the study’s conclusion which reveals the scientist’s bias going into doing the research:
“The amazing finding of the present study is that we do not observe global warming in the period 1982-2006, but significant cooling. What could be the cause?”After recapping methodology and some key findings that support the conclusion, the study ends by bluntly stating what they believe was the cause of the cooling trend:“[C]loudiness changes could be the mechanism behind the observed global cooling since 1982: an increase in cloudiness would decrease global radiation and increase rainfall and evapotranspiration. Both effects tend to decrease the surface temperature.”After all these years, will the global warming disciples have their collectives legs cut out from under them because it was more cloudy than usual during the very years they claimed it was supposed to be getting warmer?

We already know that even the staunchest global warmists concede that warming hasn't occurred in the past fifteen years, but this study forces us to re-think everything we have been told.

The study is particularly troubling when combined with Russian weather scientists who contend we are heading for a new cooling period, the startling fact that this year Antarctic (South Pole) ice is increasing at record levels, and that the North Pole has hit freezing temperatures about a month earlier than the norm.

To sum it up, after hearing about global warming ad nauseum for a decade, and having various government agencies around the world spend billions of dollars promoting alternative, non-carbon producing energy alternatives as a solution, the global warming consensus no longer exists, and global warming itself may have been nothing more than an error in data collection.

In short, everything we have been told, may just be nothing more than hot air.

It may just be that Newsweek inadvertently stumbled onto a closer version of the truth when they printed their apocalyptic 1975 cover story, “The Coming Ice Age,” which concluded with these very familiar sounding words:
“Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.

“They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”
But even these worldwide renewed doubts cannot stop the intrepid United States’ Environmental Protection Agency, which continues to plunge headlong into attacking a global warming carbon problem that may not even exist. People’s lives destroyed, the economy shackled, and billions of tax dollars wasted on the altar of a global warming god who doesn't even have the decency to make the climate warmer.

It certainly is enough to make one wonder if they are really concerned about global warming, or if this climate fad is nothing more than an excuse to grab power.

And it should be enough to force thinking Americans to question everything they have been told. Of course, few of us are climate scientists so we have to pick our sources and take our chances.

But with the breakdown of the “climate consensus” so obvious around the world, and with the globe fooling the warmist computer models so completely by refusing to warm, it is time to step away from the EPA’s regulatory machine gun that threatens not only our nation, but the world’s economy, until someone figures out what really is going on.
----------------
Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government. This article was also shared on NetRightDaily.

Tags: Global Warming, hoax, climate consensus, obliterated,  EPA, regulations, Rick Manning, Al Gore, cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Medicare And Social Security’s Cloudy Future

by Public Notice Learn: This year, there are expected to be nearly 58 million Social Security beneficiaries and nearly 52 million enrollees in Medicare Part A . Even with those numbers growing every year, though, Americans just aren't sure that they can count on Social Security and Medicare. They've got reason to worry: without real reform, the two programs are on track to face serious financial issues within the next 20 years when their respective trust funds become depleted. If that were to happen, benefits and claims could face substantial reductions, putting the wellbeing of Americans who rely on the programs at risk.

AMERICANS ARE NOT CONFIDENT THAT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WILL BE THERE FOR THEM
* 46 Percent Think Social Security Probably Or Definitely Will Not Be There For Them When They Retire. (“Bloomberg News National Poll,” Bloomberg, 6/5/13)

* 42 Percent Think Medicare Probably Or Definitely Will Not Be There For Them When They Retire. (“Bloomberg News National Poll,” Bloomberg, 6/5/13)

NOR ARE THEY CONFIDENT THAT THE PROGRAMS WILL BE ENOUGH TO HELP TO HELP COVER THEIR EXPENSES
* 70 Percent Are Just Somewhat Confident Or Not Confident That Social Security Will Be Enough To Help Cover Their Expenses. (“Bloomberg News National Poll,” Bloomberg, 6/5/13)

* 68 Percent Are Just Somewhat Confident Or Not Confident That Medicare Will Be Enough To Help Cover Their Expenses. (“Bloomberg News National Poll,” Bloomberg, 6/5/13)

ANNUAL SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE COSTS ARE EXPECTED TO GROW EVEN FASTER THAN THE BURGEONING FEDERAL BUDGET
* Compound Annual Growth Rate Of The Federal Budget (2012-2022): 4.74%. (“Updated Budget Projections: Fiscal Years 2013 To 2023,” Congressional Budget Office, 5/14/13)

* Compound Annual Growth Rate Of Social Security Costs (2012-2022): 6.16%. (“The 2013 OASDI Trustees Report,” OASDI Trustees, 5/31/13)

* Compound Annual Growth Rate Of Medicare Costs (2012-2022): 7.10%. (“The 2013 Medicare Trustees Report,” CMS, 5/31/13)

WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE IF THE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE TRUST FUNDS WERE DEPLETED?
* The Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund Would Only Be Sufficient To Pay 80 Percent Of Benefits In 2016. “Legislative action is needed as soon as possible to prevent depletion of the DI Trust Fund reserves in 2016, at which time continuing income to the DI Trust Fund would be sufficient to pay 80 percent of DI benefits.” (“The 2013 OASDI Trustees Report,” OASDI Trustees, 5/31/13)

* The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund Would Only Be Sufficient To Pay 87 Percent Of Claims In 2026. “Under current law, scheduled HI tax income would cover only 87 percent of estimated expenditures in 2026 and 71 percent in 2050.” (“The 2013 Medicare Trustees Report,” CMS, 5/31/13)

* The Combined Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, And Disability Insurance Trust Fund Would Only Be Sufficient To Pay 77 Percent Of Benefits In 2033. “Alternatively, solvency could be maintained if benefits were reduced to the level that would be payable with scheduled tax rates and earnings subject to tax in each year beginning in 2033. At the point of trust fund reserve depletion in 2033, this would be equivalent to a reduction in all scheduled benefits of 23 percent, with reductions reaching 28 percent in 2087.” (“The 2013 OASDI Trustees Report,” OASDI Trustees, 5/31/13)

Tags: Medicare, Social Security, Cloudy Future, Public Notice Learn To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Candidates Who Embrace Late-term Abortion At Their Peril

By John Mccormack: The national limit on late-term abortion passed by the House of Representatives in June is a losing issue for Republicans, according to the conventional wisdom in the press and the Republican donor class. But there are two compelling reasons why the conventional wisdom is wrong.

First, nationwide polls indicate that Americans support a ban on late-term abortions. A Washington Post/ABC survey shows that by 64 percent to 28 percent, Americans favor limiting abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or earlier. A Huffington Post/YouGov poll similarly found that by 2-to-1 (59 percent to 30 percent) Americans support banning almost all abortions after the twentieth week of gestation. “One of the clearest messages from Gallup trends is that Americans oppose late-term abortion,” according to a report by the polling firm in May. A National Journal survey found a smaller majority of women (50 percent to 44 percent) and independents (53 percent to 39 percent) support the late-term ban. But the measure still garnered “plurality support across all income levels and even fared well in the suburbs.”

Second, the 10 most competitive 2014 Senate races are almost all in red states that are more conservative than the country as a whole. Of these 10 seats, 2 are held by Republicans (Kentucky and Georgia), 4 are held by retiring Democrats (West Virginia, South Dakota, Iowa, and Montana), and 4 are held by Democrats seeking reelection (Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska, and North Carolina). Backing late-term abortion could be toxic for candidates in some of these states.

While walking between meetings and votes on July 16 and July 18 in the Capitol, the four red-state Democratic senators seeking reelection in 2014 commented on the proposed national late-term abortion limit for the first time, to The Weekly Standard. Both Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Begich of Alaska said they would vote against the House bill if it comes up for a vote in the Senate.

“I always wait to see legislation, to see exactly what it says, but I would oppose that,” Hagan told me. “Yes,” Begich replied when asked if he’d vote against the bill banning late-term abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or when a health problem endangers the mother’s life. “I’m pro-choice,” he said.

But Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, two Democrats who voted for the 2003 partial-birth abortion ban, said they didn’t know how they would vote. “I’ll have to look at it. I haven’t focused on it,” Pryor told me.

I’m going to look at it. I’ve voted to end late-term abortions,” Landrieu said, referring to her vote for the partial-birth abortion ban.

“I do support, you know, the current constitutional outline which provides for decisions to be made which are very private in, you know, the early stages of pregnancy,” Landrieu continued. “So I’m going to have to look at that bill and make a decision. I’ve opposed late-term abortion, but 20 weeks is midterm.

Self-identified pro-life Democratic senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Donnelly of Indiana didn’t say how they’d vote. North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp said during the 2012 campaign that she believes “late-term abortions should be illegal except when necessary to save the life of the mother,” but she too declined to take a position on the House bill.

Senate Democratic leaders have sent conflicting messages about whether they will allow a vote on a late-term abortion bill, and a Senate version of the House bill hasn’t been introduced yet. But if it does come up for a vote, it will force senators like Pryor and Landrieu to make a tough choice: Vote “yes” and anger the most powerful Democratic interest group or vote “no” and put themselves at odds with a clear majority of voters.

“You can’t get much more radical than opposing legislation that would protect women and babies from brutal late-term abortion beyond the fifth month of pregnancy,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “Not only is opposing this common-ground measure a moral mistake, it is a political one as well, especially for vulnerable senators in solid pro-life states.”

“That senators like Mary Landrieu would even hesitate to affirm this modest legislation shows just how beholden to the abortion industry many in the Senate have become,” adds Dannenfelser, whose organization spent $11 million on the 2010 midterm elections. “As the 2014 elections approach, we will be working to ensure that constituents understand just how outside the mainstream these four senators have become.”

If Landrieu decides to vote against the bill, she will have a very hard time arguing that abortions performed later than 20 weeks after conception are not late-term. At that point in pregnancy, a baby is physically developed enough to feel pain, and some can survive outside the womb.

“I’m here because it’s easy for me to imagine these babies at 20 to 24 weeks post-fertilization age, because they are my patients in the [neonatal intensive care unit],” Dr. Colleen Malloy of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine testified before Congress in 2012. “You can see the detail in the face,” she said, showing a picture of an ultrasound. “You can see the movements—the 4D ultrasound images that we have now are real time images of babies kicking, moving, sucking their thumb—doing all the things babies do.”

Contrary to Landrieu’s assertion, the partial-birth abortion ban didn’t actually ban abortions based on the gestational age of the baby, but rather its location. It banned a particular procedure used in some second- and third-trimester abortions in which the baby is first delivered breech past the navel before its skull is crushed by the abortionist. The late New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called it “too close to infanticide.” The bill passed in 2003 with the votes of 17 Democratic senators, including Joe Biden and Harry Reid, and was signed by President Bush. But the law did not prohibit other late-term abortion procedures, such as dismemberment and lethal injection.

In light of the trial of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell, pro-lifers and even some pro-choice writers like Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson and the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker have argued that there isn’t really a significant difference between killing a 23-week-old baby outside the womb, an act that constitutes murder under the law, and killing her inside the womb for any reason, which is perfectly legal in most states.

And some of the most prominent defenders of abortion rights, including Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, have been unable to explain why the acts committed by Dr. Gosnell constituted murder but killing the same babies moments before birth must remain legal. “This is sacred ground,” Pelosi said, dodging the question a third and final time at a press conference in June.

When asked about the difference between infanticide and late-term abortion, Richards pointed to cases in which the baby is suffering from severe disabilities, effectively making an argument for fetal euthanasia. But when asked about late-term abortions on healthy babies, she walked away without even trying to make an argument.

There are likely thousands, if not tens of thousands, of elective late-term abortions performed every year in the United States. “Diana Greene Foster, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology [at] the University of California, San Francisco, co-authored a forthcoming paper looking at more than 200 women who had abortions after 20 weeks for nonmedical reasons,” writes Michelle Goldberg in the Daily Beast. “According to Foster, two-thirds of them were delayed while they tried to raise money to pay for a termination. Twelve percent were teenagers, some of whom went months without realizing they were pregnant.”

Foster examined what happened to women who had wanted a late-term abortion but missed their clinic’s self-imposed deadline. “About 5 percent of the women, after they have had the baby, still wish they hadn’t. And the rest of them adjust,” Foster told the New York Times.

The abortion issue was not a winning issue for Republicans in 2012 because Democrats, the press, and Republican gaffes focused attention on abortion in the case of rape, which Americans overwhelmingly think should be legal. But when the debate was focused on taxpayer-funding of abortion under Obamacare, as it was in 2010, or partial-birth abortion, as it was in 2004, it was a winning issue for the pro-life side.

“Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies,” Democratic operative Donna Brazile told the New York Times after the 2004 election. Abortion was an issue that “put us into the extreme and not the mainstream.”

In every election from 1996 to 2012, Gallup found that the pro-life side has had a two-point advantage over the pro-choice side among voters who say “they would only vote for candidates who share their views on abortion.” The exception is 2004, the year after the partial-birth abortion ban became law, when the pro-life side had a seven-point advantage. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that 2004 was the only time in the past two decades when a Republican presidential candidate won the popular vote.

The extent to which the late-term abortion issue can reshape the abortion debate in favor of pro-lifers, as the partial-birth abortion debate did, depends in part on whether Republican candidates actually make an argument. In 1997, Gallup found that Americans backed a partial-birth abortion ban by a 15-point margin (55 percent to 40 percent). But in 2003, the margin of support had grown to 45 points (70 percent to 25 percent). Debate can and does change opinions.

In the wake of the damaging comments on abortion made by Missouri and Indiana Senate candidates in 2012, Republican consultants and aides privately say that many GOP politicians are still skittish and don’t want to talk about the issue at all. But silence is simply copying the Romney campaign’s unsuccessful playbook.

In 2012, roughly 10 percent of the Obama campaign’s TV ads were on abortion. Many of the ads falsely claimed Romney favored banning abortion in the case of rape, and the Romney campaign’s only response was to run a few ads informing voters that Romney did support that exception—without ever attacking Obama’s extremism on the issue. The real lesson of the 2012 election and the Romney campaign is that it’s hard to win an argument if you aren't willing to make an argument.
------------------------
John McCormack is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.  The above article was shared under the fairness doctrine to educate readers on candidates for Congress positions on late-term abortion.

Tags: democrats, republican, positions, late-term abortion To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
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  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
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  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
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