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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)

Friday, September 13, 2013

A "Savage Nation" of Loonies

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Red Line
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: On Monday evening I tuned to ABC Radio’s “Savage Nation” starring Michael Savage. I rarely listen to him, but I was looking for some diversion. What I heard was a succession of loonies who responded to his question of who was behind the original intention of the U.S. to bomb Syria.

I don’t know who does the call screening for Savage, but even he was annoyed that the first caller got through. He was babbling incoherently and was cut off. What followed was someone who insisted it was “the bankers” who needed the U.S. to bomb Syria because they needed “collateral.” Savage was annoyed and he too was cut short.

The next caller said it was the “generals” who wanted to go to war when even casual observers have noted that the Chief of Staff and others have made it clear they don’t want any part of it.

Finally Savage found a caller that allowed him the opportunity to blame—wait for it—Israel.

When you cannot find a logical explanation for anything, the universal fallback position is always the Jews and/or Israel.

According the Savage, Israel has been behind the scenes manipulating, maybe even ordering Obama to launch an attack on Syria in order to draw the U.S. into a larger attack on Iran. This President has avoided any confrontations with Iran and is so risk-averse that even an itty-bitty attack on Syria was quickly avoided with a decision to ask for congressional authorization.

All of Obama’s current national security advisors are anti-Israel. They include Valerie Jarrett, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice. The current CIA Director, John Brennan, is a big fan of Islam. Add in Obama’s formative years spent in Indonesia, the fact that his father and step-father were both Muslims, and his many friends and associations with people involved with Palestinian and other Muslim organizations, and the picture is clear to see.

True, a number of Jewish organizations came out to support the U.S. attack, but such groups not only do not speak for “all” Jews, they frequently have serious disagreements with each other. The likely reason for this was fear of a Syrian attack on Israel if the U.S. attacked. No need to worry about that. It is far more likely that Bashar al-Assad is more afraid of the punishment the Israeli Defense Force would inflict than even the various Islamic rebels.

On Monday, September 9, the Jerusalem Post published an article that provides a more accurate judgment about the actual state of affairs in the Middle East these days. Major General Amos Gilad, the director of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at the Defense Ministry addressed a counter-terrorism summit, saying that “A powerful Middle Eastern axis of Sunni states has taken form in the region which ‘does not view Israel as a sworn enemy’ and has successfully kept extremist jihadi terrorism at bay.”

According to the Post, Gilad told the gathering that Israel “won’t ever be accepted as a formal member’ of the Sunni axis, but that the states that make it up all view the U.S. as the sole superpower and that their regional policies are indirectly beneficial for Israel. This has a huge importance…and gives us many opportunities.”

It is instructive that, throughout the latest Syrian crisis, Israel maintained virtual silence, saying nothing about events unfolding in the U.S. as Obama stumbled through a series of decisions and indecisions. It is doubtful that Obama has fooled Israel with his protestations that “we’ve got your back” and retreating from his earlier call that Israel return to its 1967 borders and agree to a two-state status with the Palestinians. The Obama administration is so delusional that Secretary of State John Kerry devoted a lot of effort to getting Israel and the Palestinians to sit down for discussions, but Israel is not suicidal or stupid. For sixty-plus years, the Palestinians have called for its destruction.

Indeed, it is noteworthy that, while Iran has ignored Obama’s outreach and failed diplomatic efforts to get it to stop enriching fuel for nuclear weapons, it was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s September 27, 2012 speech to the UN in which he set a “red line” that has had the most impact on its enrichment activities. International sanctions have had an impact as well.

Moreover, the capacity of Israel to defend itself and to inflict serious damage if attacked has played a major role during which, since the 1967 war when Israel took control of Syria’s Golan Heights, neither his father, nor Bashar al-Assad have taken any steps to regain the area. Syria did not respond when in 2007 Israel destroyed a nuclear facility under construction. Gilad reminded the gathering that Hezbollah, in control of Lebanon, has also been deterred from launching any attacks on Israel, noting that the threat has not vanished.

Israel has made it clear that it will not permit an Iran with nuclear weapons and is joined in this by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states. While the U.S. sided with the Muslim Brotherhood when it took political control of Egypt, both Iran and the Brotherhood are regarded as the two greatest threats to Saudi Arabia. When Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the Egyptian military following protests by millions of Egyptians, Saudi Arabia came to the aid of Egypt with billions of dollars.

Obama’s Middle East policies have seriously reduced his credibility and support in Congress and around the world. An off-hand remark by Secretary Kerry about turning over Syria’s chemical weapons to international monitors has been seized upon by the Russians as a means to defuse the prospect of a U.S. attack. Syria quickly embraced the idea. And now the U.S. is on board as well.

Michael Savage will continue to rant about Israel, but the real power affecting the outcome of events in the Middle East has become the Sunni Axis, not Israel and only tangentially the U.S.
© 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: Syria, Middle East Savage nation, Israel, Sunni Axis, commentary, Alan Caruba To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Citizens United Obsession Motivated Lois Lerner to Shut Out Cincy

The below article helps focus the motive behind Lois Learner claiming her 5th Amendment right and refusing to testify before House Oversight Hearings and addresses the Smoking Gun email that has been identified.

Lois Learner 
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: When Lois Lerner tried to inoculate herself from scandal by planting a question at a Friday afternoon conference, her excuse was to pass the blame to "low-level employees" in Cincinnati. The official IRS statement was:

"Between 2010 and 2012, the IRS saw the number of applications for section 501(c)(4) status double. As a result, local career employees in Cincinnati sought to centralize work and assign cases to designated employees in an effort to promote consistency and quality. This approach has worked in other areas. However, the IRS recognizes we should have done a better job of handling the influx of advocacy applications."

It's important to note that the centerpiece of the "flood" fairy tale was that Citizens United created a huge influx of new tax exempt organizations. The New York Times telling was typical:

"But after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision on campaign financing freed corporations and unions to spend money on elections, hundreds of new applications began to arrive from Tea Party and other organizations."

We've already exposed the "flood of applications" excuse as a flat lie; in fact, applications were down when the targeting began. And it has been widely covered that "blame Cincy" was inconsistent with the reality that targeting was run out of Washington.

But it turns out that Citizens United was central to the genesis of IRS tea party targeting. Not because of the mythical flood of applications, but rather because Lois Lerner micromanaged tea party applications because she was trying to set up a challenge to Citizens United and didn't trust the career civil servants in Cincinnati to play along. Here is the key email that was released yesterday:
Remind me again why we're still paying this woman's salary?
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Lois Learner, smoking gun, email, Supreme Court, 2010 decision, Citizens United, IRS, attacks on conservative groups To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Polls: Support For Obamacare Continues To Fall | Considering Rep. Graves' H.J. Res. 62

Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 13, 2013
The Senate and House are not in session today. Both will reconvene at 2 PM on Monday. The Senate will then resume consideration of S. 1392, an energy efficiency bill. At 5 PM, the Senate will take up two nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 2775 (235-191) — "To condition the provision of premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upon a certification that a program to verify household income and other qualifications for such subsidies is operational, and for other purposes."

For those interested in Defense, The House received a message from the President transmitting principles for modernizing the military compensation and retirement systems requested by section 674(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. It was referred to the Committee on Armed Services and ordered to be printed (H. Doc. 113-60).

More and more, stories are coming from universities where Obamacare mandates are forcing colleges to cut hours of part time workers and professors as well as students. Last week, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that “several colleges, universities, towns and townships in Ohio are already limiting part-time employee hours well in advance of the Affordable Care Act's part-time worker provisions, according to interviews conducted by The Plain Dealer.” The Plain Dealer noted “schools including Bowling Green, Youngstown State, Akron and Baldwin-Wallace say that they have started limiting the number of courses that any adjunct faculty member may teach” and that restrictions “affected student employees as well, according to Bowling Green officials, including those who work part-time during the school year but picked up extra tuition money by working full-time for the university during the summer and over the winter break.”

Yesterday, National Review Online highlighted a report from WRTV in Indianapolis that because of Obamacare Indiana University is cutting 50 employees to avoid having to pay for health care for them. In addition, the report notes that the school is also limiting the number of hours graduate students may work.

And according to The Southern Illinoisan, “[Southern Illinois University] Carbondale is enforcing limits on graduate assistant hours in advance of federal health care reform, which would require the university to pay out insurance benefits otherwise. Graduate assistants will only be approved to work up to 20 hours per week, starting Jan. 1, according to a recent memo from the graduate school. The move is a response to the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, which dictates organizations must provide health benefits to any employee working 30 hours or more.”

Meanwhile, Aetna, one of the largest insurers in the country, has pulled out of another Obamacare exchange, this time in New Jersey. The Star-Ledger reports, “Aetna announced today that it no longer plans to offer health insurance on the new health care exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. The announcement comes just weeks before hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans will begin enrolling.”

With Americans seeing these kinds of news reports almost every day now, it’s easy to see why support for Obamacare continues to fall in polls. CNN writes, “Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they opposed most or all of the proposals in the law, while just 39 percent favored most or all of the law, according to a CNN/ORC International poll.” Politico added, “More than half of Americans oppose most or all of the proposals in Obamacare, a sharp increase in opposition to the healthcare law from earlier this year, according to a new poll Wednesday.” In particular, CNN notes, “Support has dropped in virtually all demographic categories, but it has fallen the farthest among two core Democratic groups - women and Americans who make less than $50,000.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, “We need to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare for everyone. That’s what the amendment I’ve filed will do. And then enact what Kentuckians and Americans really need: a full repeal of this job-killing mess of a law. . . .  
union members that pushed for this bill are now turning against it in droves. So are businesses. And so are our constituents — I don’t care what party you’re in. So, let’s take this first step together. Let’s delay Obamacare mandates for families right now, just like the White House did for businesses, while there’s still time to do it. And then let’s work together – Democrat and Republicans – to repeal the law for good, and replace it with the kind of common-sense, step-by-step reforms that will actually lower costs.”

Previously, the ARRA News Service identified that Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) introduced H.J.Res. 62  which would fund the government and defund and delay implementation of Obamacare until 2015. Today, Robert Romano at Americans For Limited Government addressed this legislation:House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) would do well to embrace new legislation introduced by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) that funds the government, and defunds and delays implementation of Obamacare until 2015. It is the only continuing resolution on the table at the moment that achieves the simultaneous goals of avoiding a government shutdown while giving the American people a reprieve from being funneled into government-run, taxpayer-funded health care.

. . . It is a good deal, and an honest and fair attempt at a compromise by Graves and his 42 original legislation cosponsors. They deserve the praise of the American people for their leadership on this issue.

For members who have taken the position that they cannot support a continuing resolution that allows Obamacare to be funded, this offers an opportunity to make their voices and that of their constituents heard. But they must be clear, postponement is not the end goal — repeal is.

Politically, the one-year delay will allow voters to render their verdict on the health care law via the 2014 midterm elections. Republicans can run on repeal, Democrats can run on keeping the law. With the employer mandate already delayed by Obama, and the state exchanges not yet ready for primetime, for all parties involved, this outcome is the best that could be hoped for considering the circumstances.

The alternative facing Boehner and Cantor is to present a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare that will tear the House Republican Conference apart, and could very well result in a government shutdown. Conservatives who have staked out a position that they cannot support a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare would be left in a tight spot.

Tags: polls, Obamacare, H.J.Res. 62 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Who Killed the American Family?

Phyllis Schlafly
by Phyllis Schlafly: Political support for traditional marriage seemed to evaporate in the summer of 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but the homosexuals are behaving as though it did and filing lawsuits in many states to expand the Court’s decision, while the advocates of traditional marriage have retreated into silence.

It wasn’t just that the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. It was the way that the 5-to-4 majority issued what Justice Scalia called a “jaw-dropping … assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s Representatives.”

Republicans in the House of Representatives had hired top legal talent to defend DOMA in court. After the Supreme Court decision, they quietly canceled their legal support for defending marriage and have said nothing since.

We hardly hear anyone standing up for the proposition that traditional civil marriage is essential. Marriage provides the legal construct that supports family autonomy for the benefit of the next generation and also for the kind of free America most of us want to live in.

Village is the progressives’ metaphor for the theory that the government, speaking through judges, psychologists, school personnel, and social workers, should supervise child rearing rather than parents. These government busybodies have co-opted the centuries-old concept of “the best interest of the child,” changing its meaning to justify a judge (rather than parents) making all decisions about children.

Millions of divorced dads have discovered that a judge on his own can decide that fathers have no right to see their kids, but must pay child support anyway. Many of our social ills are attributable to children being cut off from a relationship with their dads.

You might think that the court intervenes only when there is a nasty divorce conflict, or when a parent has some serious fault such as being a drug addict, but that is not true. No family is safe from a judge’s unilateral decisions.

When the popularly elected San Francisco sheriff had an argument with his wife, the authorities decided to bust up his marriage. Neither husband nor wife complained, and both wondered why it was anybody’s business.

The city liberals all said that his family was everyone’s business, so he was hit with a one-year restraining order preventing him from seeing his wife and child. He had to call on all his political friends to avoid losing his job.

Even if you are a libertarian who believes in writing your own marriage contract, the law makes it impossible to make a binding agreement for the custody and support of your own children. Any such contract can be voided and replaced with the biased ruling of some judge.

The nuclear family is the essential building block of a free society with limited government. The nuclear family is essential to have an economic structure of limited government because, without it, the government moves in to provide what the family would have done for itself. There are now 79 separate programs handing out taxpayers’ cash and valuable benefits totaling nearly a trillion dollars annually.

A combination of forces abolished the American family as we knew it. The many factors include changes in the law such as unilateral divorce, court decisions especially abuses by the family courts, the culture, curricula and customs from elementary grades through college, taxpayer financial incentives for illegitimacy, and pronouncements of self-appointed experts who think they know how to manage children better than parents.

We must shame and cut off taxpayers’ money from the groups that killed the American family, including feminists, judges, legislators, public school teachers and administrators, so-called child protection agencies, professors, psychologists, college courses, government handouts, and Democratic politicians who want big government spending in order to win votes. The problem cannot be remedied by prohibiting same-sex marriage (even by a constitutional amendment) or by telling men to “man up.”

Feminists demand that we abolish the patriarchy, and they argue that its worst offense is expecting mothers to care for their own children, so the taxpayers should pay for daycare for all children. Feminists are still whining on television in 2013 about President Nixon’s veto of the comprehensive Mondale daycare bill back in 1971.

All those who care about preserving religious and economic freedom that is the hallmark of America should realize that we cannot reassert constitutional rights, private enterprise, balanced budgets, reduction of government spending, and freedom from government management of our lives, without the traditional intact, self-supporting nuclear family functioning as the foundation of our society.
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, education and family issues.

Tags: American Family, changes, laws, unilateral divorce, court decisions, family courts, the culture, curricula, taxpayer financial incentives, illegitimacy, self-appointed experts, taxpayer daycares, feminist agenda, same-sex marriage, feminists, judges, legislators, public school teachers, public school administrators, so-called child protection agencies, professors, psychologists, college courses, government handouts, Democratic politicians, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

How Republicans Will Win The U.S. Senate in 2014

by Ward Baker, Political Director, NRSC The 2014 election will be a showdown for control of the Senate and Republicans are in a strong position to win. Please watch this two-minute video on how we will take back the Senate Majority.

We have great candidates, strong grassroots organizations and the issues are on our side.

Please watch this two-minute video to see how we will take back the Senate Majority in 2014.

Tags: Winning, US Senate, 2014, NRSC, 2014 elections,

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

Post 9/11: How Safe Are We?

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Two recent polls suggest that Americans are still well aware of the threats to the nation’s security. A Fox News poll found that four out of ten Americans think that the nation is less safe today than before 9/11. Overall, however, 51% thought it was safer. A Rasmussen poll found that respondents thought that an attack on the scale of 9/11 was entirely possible. At least 69% felt that way.

Twelve years past 9/11, it’s a good time to ask or at least conjecture about how safe we are from another attack by Islamic extremists.

On May 1, 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen attempted to pull off a terrorist car bombing in New York’s Times Square. Two street venders spotted smoke coming from the vehicle and alerted police. The bomb had been ignited but had failed to explode and was disarmed.

On August 28, 2013, Nidal Malik Hasan, formerly a psychiatrist with the United States Army Medical Corps, was sentenced to death at the conclusion of his court-martial. Four years earlier on November 5, 2009 he had fatally shot 13 soldiers and injured more than thirty other at Fort Hood. Hasan’s behavior and comments had given so many signals that, in retrospect, it raises the question of why he was not booted out of the Army for the risk he posed. The Obama administration called it “workplace violence”, not an act of terrorism.

On April 15, 2014, in Boston, we learned that not only could terrorists strike at will, but could do so even though Russian intelligence authorities had warned U.S. law enforcement that the Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarnaev were a threat. The FBI concluded they could not tap their phones or conduct a more thorough investigation.

These three post-9/11 examples of the threat that fanatical Islam represents are mercifully few. We are told that our intelligence and law enforcement services have been able to thwart other threats. When asked recently how much a part luck played in thwarting terrorist attacks in New York, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that luck is always a welcome factor. Diligent police work, however, remains the reason the city has not suffered a major attack since 9/11. Its anti-terrorism budget is $200 million.

Eleven days after September 11, 2001, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was appointed the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security in the White House. With the passage of the Homeland Security Act in November 2002, DHS became a Cabinet-level department, combining twenty-two departments and agencies with a mandate to improve the security of the United States.

The Department's work includes customs, border, and immigration enforcement; as well as emergency response to natural and manmade disasters; antiterrorism work; and cybersecurity. Since the creation of the DHS, Congress has passed other legislation to improve security at our ports and has transferred the Radiological Preparedness Program and Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program to FEMA, the federal emergency response agency.

Anyone who has ever been to an airport knows the rigors of getting on one’s flight now years passed the failed December 22, 2001 attempt by Richard Reid, a Muslim convert, to blow up an American Airlines flight wearing shoes filled with explosives. Eight years later, a Nigerian Muslim gained fame as the “underwear bomber” when he tried to detonate a bomb on December 25, 2009 to bring down another airliner.

We should remain mindful that, while deterring what could have been many more terrorist threats, we really don’t know if it is because fewer have been planned, whether terror cells exist in the nation, or whether the Islamists are taking a far longer view of their war than we are. How likely is it that they have concluded that, having driven the U.S. military presence from Iraq and soon from Afghanistan, they would prefer to impose their grip on the Middle East and then expand their jihad from there?

Clearly the government has gone overboard in its effort to surveil all communications, presumably to detect a potential attack. It is a price that most Americans seem prepared to make. In the wrong hands, however, this could mark the end of privacy in America and a tyranny as bad as our enemies would impose.

There is a further problem that is rarely noted and this is the way the Obama administration has fostered a view regarding terrorism that has infected all elements of the military and law enforcement agencies. It is why the FBI failed to more aggressively follow up on the warnings regarding Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers and why it removed content from its training manuals that might be offensive to Muslims.

The Obama administration has rendered the government culturally blind to the obvious threat that radical Islam represents.

Are we safer from terrorist attacks such as 9/11? One would think so. Are there a lot of Department of Homeland Security personnel and those in our National Security Agency, our Central Intelligence Agency, and in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, intent on protecting us? Yes, there are, but the degree to which they are permitted to do so is unknown. The larger a bureaucracy gets, the more risk-averse it becomes.

It is reasonable to conclude that the nation is “safer”, but that does not preclude the potential for future attacks from individual jihadists or a far larger one from al Qaeda. It waited from its first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 until 2001 to finish the job.
© 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: Post 9/11, Unites States, How Safe Are We, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

U.S. President Obama On Syria | Russian President Putin Offers to Clean-Up

by AF "Tony" Branco
by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: A.F. Branco, editorial cartoons, United States, President Obama, Syria, Russia, President Putin To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

More Americans Lose Health Plans

Obamacare Is Taking Health Plans Away From Grocery Workers, Amusement Park Personnel & More Spouses

OBAMA PROMISE: “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)

Worker Losing Coverage Due To Obamacare: ‘My Reaction Was Pure Panic’
“After extending health care coverage to many of its part-time employees for years, Trader Joe's has told workers who log fewer than 30 hours a week that they will need to find insurance on the Obamacare exchanges next year, according to a confidential memo from the grocer's chief executive. …the company has apparently calculated that offering medical coverage to part-timers who work 18 hours or more is no longer worth the cost.” (“Trader Joe's To Drop Health Coverage For Part-Time Workers Under Obamacare: Memo,” The Huffington Post, 9/11/13)
“Wegmans, a beloved northeastern grocery chain with a reputation for treating its workers well, announced on Thursday that it would cut health-care benefits for some part-time employees in 2015, a year after Obamacare goes into full effect.” (“Wegmans Cuts Some Part-Time Workers' Health Benefits As Obamacare Looms,” The Huffington Post, 7/11/13)
“SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is the latest major employer to tell its part-time and seasonal workers that their current health-insurance plan will be eliminated, beginning in January.” (“Theme Parks Ponder Health Insurance For Part-Time Workers," Orlando Sentinel, 9/1/13)
Coverage For Spouses Being Slashed
“…millions will likely lose the coverage they have, even if they want to keep it, once ObamaCare goes into effect. … A Towers Watson survey found that next year 12% of employers plan to exclude coverage for spouses who can get benefits from their own jobs, up from 4% this year.” (“Spouses, Unions Risk Losing Health Plans,” Investor's Business Daily, 8/29/13)

‘UPS to drop 15,000 spouses from insurance, cites Obamacare’ “United Parcel Service Inc. plans to remove thousands of spouses from its medical plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere. The Atlanta-based logistics company points to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as a big reason for the decision, reports Kaiser Health News.” (“UPS To Drop 15,000 Spouses From Insurance, Cites Obamacare,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, 8/21/13)
University Of Virginia: “Starting Jan. 1, spouses who have access to coverage through their own employer will no longer be eligible for coverage… Provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act are projected to add $7.3 million to the cost of the University health plan in 2014 alone… Spouses who have access to ‘affordable health care that provides minimum value,’ as defined by the Affordable Care Act, through another employer will no longer be eligible for the U.Va. plan.” (“University Employees Will See Significant Changes to Health Plan This Year,” University of Virginia, 8/21/13)

“Excela Health will … drop coverage for employees' spouses’… Excela spokeswoman Robin Jennings said the cuts are necessary because of requirements under the Obama administration's health care legislation.” (“Excela Health Dropping Benefits For Part-Timers, Spouses,” Tribune-Review, 8/13/13)

Tags: President Obama, Obamacare, Americans, lose health plans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Harry Reid is Scared - Time To End Washington's Exemption From Obamacare

by Phil Kerpen: Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) running scared. For the past two days, Vitter has been objecting to all Senate business unless Reid allows a vote on Vitter's amendment to end Washington's exemption from Obamacare.

This is probably the most popular measure ever introduced in Congress.  But because it ends a special privilege the president is attempting to corruptly give Congress and their staff, Reid refuses to allow a vote.

Instead, Harry Reid whined:

“People who don’t believe in government — and that’s what the Tea Party is all about — are winning, and that’s a shame.”
Got that?  We are winning. We must keep the pressure on.

David Vitter needs our help.

Can you please Click Here NOW to demand your members of Congress stand with him and support the No Washington Exemption from Obamacare? We should all have to live under this terrible law until we can all get rid of it.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Harry Reid, US Senate, David Vitter, Vitter's amendment, end Washington's exemption from Obamacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Sen. McConnell Pushes ObamaCare Delay | Unions Have Misgivings On Obamacare Which Confuses Medicare Beneficiaries | Lois Learner "Smoking Gun" Email

Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 12, 2013:
Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate resumed consideration of S. 1392, an energy efficiency bill.

Yesterday, the Senate agreed to the motion to proceed to S. 1392 by unanimous consent.

The House convened at 9 AM and is scheduled to take up H.R. 2775 — "To condition the provision of premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upon a certification that a program to verify household income and other qualifications for such subsidies is operational, and for other purposes. Yesterday, the House passed H. Res. 339 (228-195) to consider H.R. 2775.

Discussions continue as to when and what to include or exclude in a Continuing Resolution bill. The primary issue continues to be the deference between the GOP leadership and more conservative representatives who wish to include defunding Obamacare in the Continuing Resolution verses voting on a separate defunding bill which would not even be considered by Senate Leaders Harry Reid.

Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued a statement in support of H.J.Res. 62 introduced by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) that would fund the government and defund and delay implementation of Obamacare until 2015. He also said, "We urge all members to cosponsor this legislation and stand firm behind Rep. Graves' effort. Continuing to fund Obamacare and allowing its implementation next year would be a disaster for the nation, and dangerous for the health and well being of the people."

House Speaker Boehner did mention the need "to  repeal, dismantle and defund ObamaCare."  in his weekly press briefing today.  He also addressed the other critical topics of the day, "out of Control Spending as part of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations and Stopping Chemical Weapons in Syria." Boehner said on the three topics:
On GOP Action to Protect Americans from ObamaCare & Help Strengthen the Economy:
“Last week yet another report showing our economy continues to struggle - this ‘new normal’ of slow growth, high unemployment, and stagnant wages.  We’ve got more Americans leaving the workforce than we have finding jobs.  And frankly, I think that’s unacceptable.  That’s why Republicans continue to be focused on jobs, strengthening our economy with our Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs.  This week we’re again taking steps to dismantle the president’s health care law, which is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.  Today we passed Congresswoman Black’s bill – a proposal that’s received bipartisan support – to protect taxpayers and prevent massive fraud in the health care law.  For the sake of our economy, we’ll continue to do everything we can to repeal, dismantle and defund ObamaCare.” 

On the Need to Address Out-of-Control Spending as Part of Debt Ceiling Negotiations, As Has Been Done for Decades:
“Another important part of our Plan for Jobs is reining in the massive deficits and debts that’s hurting our economy and jeopardizing the American Dream for our kids and grandkids.   Yesterday I met with Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary, and this morning met with Leaders Reid and Pelosi, and Leader McConnell.  And my message to them was the same at both meetings.  I reminded them that for decades, the White House, the Congress have used the debt limit to find bipartisan solutions on the deficit and the debt.  These types of changes were signed into law by Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and President Obama himself two years ago.  So, President Obama is going to have to deal with this as well.  It’s really no different.

“You can’t talk about increasing the debt limit unless you’re willing to make changes and reforms that begin to solve the spending problem that Washington has.  And unless we deal with our spending problem honestly and forthrightly, the American Dream’s going to be out of reach for our kids and grandkids.  I think our members are ready to solve this problem.  We’ve shown leadership and we've passed a balanced budget.  It’s time for the president and his party to show the courage to work with us to truly solve the spending problem.”

On Stopping the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria:
“Lastly, on the issue of Syria, I believe that we have national security interests in stopping the use of chemical weapons – in Syria and around the world.  As I said earlier this week, I’ve got real doubts about the motives of the Russians and President Assad in offering this current path.  But now that the president has made the decision to delay any authorization vote, I hope a diplomatic solution can be found.”

The Hill reported last night, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to transform debate on energy efficiency legislation that launched Wednesday into a battle over ObamaCare. McConnell filed an amendment Wednesday to delay the individual health insurance mandate for one year, and codify the Obama administration's one-year delay of requirements that employers provide insurance.”

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Leader McConnell said, “I did a lot of listening over the past several weeks at meetings and events across Kentucky. Last week, I participated in my 51st hospital town hall since 2011. And I’ll tell you: one theme kept emerging over and over and over. Kentuckians are really worried about Obamacare. They've read the same stories we have: about businesses being forced to cut hours and eliminate healthcare; about people being laid off. They've read about how the rollout of this massive law is becoming a massive mess, and how their personal information could become compromised by scam artists. . . . [T]he fact is, the more my constituents seem to know about Obamacare, the more worried about it they tend to be.”

Just look at some of today’s stories. According to The New York Times, at the AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles “labor’s renewed anger over Mr. Obama’s health care law and decisions surrounding it” became apparent. “Despite overtures on both sides . . . labor leaders criticized the administration and Congress on Wednesday at their convention. While praising the overall legislation, the delegates overwhelmingly passed a sharply worded resolution that demanded changes to some of its regulations, although [AFL-CIO leader Richard] Trumka made sure to strip out some proposals that called for repealing the legislation. At the convention, though, several labor leaders spoke their minds. ‘If the Affordable Care Act is not fixed and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed,’ said Terence M. O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.”

Meanwhile, the AP has a trio of stories with headlines, “Health overhaul confuses Medicare beneficiaries,” “Health costs likely rising for many self-employed,” and “Health care law perplexing to business owners.”

To anyone who’s read the torrent of stories (or even just the headlines on most of them) about the problems with, confusion about, and negative consequences of Obamacare over the summer, it should come as no surprise to find that opposition to Obamacare among Americans remains high. Politico writes, “More than half of Americans oppose most or all of the proposals in Obamacare, a sharp increase in opposition to the healthcare law from earlier this year, according to a new poll Wednesday. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they opposed most or all of the proposals in the law, while just 39 percent favored most or all of the law, according to a CNN/ORC International poll. The opposition rose from 44 percent in similar survey in January, while the support for President Obama’s signature healthcare law dropped from 51 percent.”

As Leader McConnell said, “[W]e know Big Labor is leaning on the President. We know they want him to let them rewrite the same law they helped ram through. And, apparently, he’s listening. But what about everybody else? What about the single Mom in Bowling Green who won’t be able to cover rent if her hours are cut? What about the recent college grad in Louisville who’s barely scraping by as it is, and won’t be able to afford a premium increase? What about the families from Covington to Paducah who are worried sick about this law? Doesn’t the Administration think these folks deserve some relief too? The same kind of delay, at least, that businesses will get? Well, Republicans do. That’s why the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a bill on a bipartisan basis before the August recess to do just that. Last month, I tried to pass that same bill in the Senate. But the Washington Democrat leadership blocked me. I don’t know why. This legislation is just common-sense – it’s the fair thing, the right thing, to do. So today I’m going to try again. Yesterday, I – along with a number of my colleagues – filed an amendment to the Portman-Shaheen bill that would provide the same reprieve for individuals that the administration has already offered to businesses. This time, I hope my colleagues on the other side will join me in supporting it.”

He concluded, “We need to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare for everyone. That’s what the amendment I’ve filed will do. And then enact what Kentuckians and Americans really need: a full repeal of this job-killing mess of a law. And that’s just what I intend to keep fighting for.”

Today, the focus refocused momentarily again on IRS employeee Lois Learner when a "smoking gun" email was uncovered in which Learner stated "The Tea Party Matter is very dangerous. This could be the issue to go to court on the issue of whether Citizen's United overturning the ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rules. . . . " Slate has the full document.

The question is when will President Obama actually practice what he preached in the past: his administration being transparent.

Tags: The Senate, The House, Obamacare, defundin Obamacare, continuing resolution, IRS, Lois Learner, smoking gun, email To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Obamacare Poised To Pick Your Pocket

Picking Your Pocket
Americans Face Premium Hikes Up To 198%
“For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they're currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data.” (“Obama's Affordable Care Act Looking a Bit Unaffordable,” National Journal, 8/29/13)

GEORGIA: “Health insurance rates in Georgia are rising by up to 198 percent under Obamacare, the Georgia Insurance Commissioner said in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday. … For an average 25 year-old male, premiums are set to rise 85 to 198 percent within the exchanges, while for a 45 year-old male, premiums will rise 40 to 100 percent, [insurance department official Jay] Florence said. A 64 year-old male will pay 18 to 48 percent more under Obamacare’s regime.” (“Georgia Insurance Rates Spike Under Obamacare,” Free Beacon, 7/30/13)

NEBRASKA: Premium increases of up to 143 percent “The Nebraska Department of Insurance on Thursday released proposed premium rates of all health plans submitted under the federal Affordable Care Act in Nebraska for 2014. … In the example, the cost of a Blue Cross Blue Shield ‘silver’ plan covering 70 percent of health costs was $245 a month for a 30-year-old single man living in Lincoln, up 82 percent from a year ago, and for Coventry, $271.65, up 143 percent.” (“State Posts Proposed Rates For Uninsured,” Lincoln Journal Star, 8/30/13)

NEW MEXICO: ‘a huge spike in their premium costs … 130 percent’ “A national study of the Affordable Care Act shows people in New Mexico who buy health insurance on their own could face a huge spike in their premium costs. … The study says that New Mexico, at 130 percent, will see the steepest rate hike, followed by Vermont (97 percent), South Dakota (83 percent) and Connecticut (50 percent).” (“Study Says NM Will See Highest Increase Under Obamacare: 130 Percent,” Fox News, 9/5/13)

WISCONSIN: Premiums increase up to 124.85 percent “The chart below compares the cost increases for a $2,000 deductible that included drug coverage in the individual insurance market. We examined plans for a 21-year-old, a 40-year-old, and a 63-year-old. … Percent Increase From Pre to Post 2014, Average Per Area: Age 21: Madison – 124.85; Age 40: 73.43; Age 63: 70.4.” (“Wisconsin Releases Information On Rate Filings,” Wisconsin Commissioner Of Insurance, 9/3/13)

OKLAHOMA: ‘rates could increase by 100%’ “Prepare for big increases in health insurance costs. That's the message from insurance commissioner John Doak. He says some rates could increase by 100%. … Commissioner Doak says he's done his research and information he has received from insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield and AETNA says rates will skyrocket. ‘Oklahomans are going to see an increase in the range of 30-100%.’” (“Obamacare Causes Oklahoma Insurance Rates To Skyrocket,” Fox25, 9/10/13)

OHIO: ‘average to cover those costs in 2014 is $420 representing an increase of 88 percent’ “Health Insurance Costs to Increase Significantly Under Affordable Care Act… Based on the proposals submitted to the Department, the average to cover those costs in 2014 is $420 representing an increase of 88 percent when compared to the Society of Actuaries study.” (Ohio Department Of Insurance, Press Release, 6/6/13)

INDIANA: “Insurance rates in Indiana will increase 72 percent for those with individual plans and 8 percent for small group plans under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, according to the state’s insurance department. The spike in costs is due primarily to new mandates under the law… Costs for individual plans is expected to increase from an average of $255 per member per month in 2012 to $570 in 2014, when the most aspects of the law go into effect.” (“State Says Obamacare Will Force 78 Percent Increase In Individual Insurance Plan Rates,” Indianapolis Star, 7/19/13)

Tags: Obamacare, picking your pocket, increased insurance costs, higher premiums, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

President Obama Is Not Cool and Collected. He’s Clueless and Has No Plan B!

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: J.R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, wrote that “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”

The current live dragon is Syria and its dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Despite two years in which he killed over a hundred thousand Syrians and made a million more refugees, no one anticipated that he would use also poison gas against them, but that’s what dictators do.

One of the reasons given for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein had gassed several thousand Kurds. At the time, the world said and did nothing. Saddam had also waged war against Iran for eight fruitless years. Iran was our enemy, so at the time we did nothing.

When jihadi fighters fought the Soviet Union to drive it out of Afghanistan, the U.S. provided covert assistance. Then In 1993 the first attack on the World Trade Center occurred. In 1998, Osama bin Laden announced a declaration of war on the U.S. Until September 11, 2001, we mostly ignored him.

Now the U.S. must confront a civil war in Syria, an element of which includes al Qaeda, and the primary criticism of President Barack Obama is that he has no Plan B.

Despite the live dragon in Syria, he mostly dithered for the last two years. Obama gained office by opposing our wars in the Middle East and seeking to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq. He has spent the last five years cutting the U.S. defense budget.

He has had no success choosing winners and losers in either Libya or Egypt. He initially demanded that Assad step down.

He delivered a very polished speech the evening of September 10th, but it mostly depended on his contention that, if we don’t stop any further use of poison gas by Assad, he said, it could lead to unknown and unknowable larger consequences.

Left unsaid was that, when he decided to go to Congress to seek authorization for military action, he discovered that neither the majority of Americans, nor those in Congress wanted to choose that option.

He has no coalition of nations—the international community—supporting him and he is equally besieged by both the left and right of political opinion. He is a man who is running out of options and what he needs is enough time, enough delay, to let this crisis go away. Congress has been asked to “pause” and the United Nations has been asked for a resolution. In short, do nothing.

One reason for a strong military is to deter aggression. Military action should be undertaken to fight and win a war. It is used when diplomacy has failed. “Tonight I give thanks for our incredible military” said Obama, but he has done everything he can to hollow out its capacity to fight.

Russia has stepped in with a plan for the Syrian dictator to relinquish his arsenal of poison gas and allow it to be removed and demolished. That will take time if, in fact, it ever occurs. Russia gains because Syria, a satellite of Iran, is an ally. The bad guys win this round.

America looks weak. The President looks weak.

“We should act,” said Obama. “That’s what makes us exceptional.” That’s what formerly made us exceptional, but Obama has spent five years trying to transform America into a European socialist economy with an isolationist outlook. In that he has succeeded.

America has some forty more months with Obama as President. His incompetence is fully on display. His failures can be seen in a languishing economy and a nation filling up with millions of unemployed and millions of part-time employees thanks to an unaffordable and unworkable Obamacare.

The world’s leaders have taken his measure and found him wanting.

On the twelfth anniversary of 9/11, Obama gives little indication he has learned from it or any of the nation’s history, either in peace or in war.

He’s not cool and collected. He’s clueless.
© 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: President Obama, speech, J.R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, live dragon, Syria, 9/11, clueless To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Islamist Threat Remains Real on 9/11

Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition issued the following statement on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington:"On September 11th, 2001 the United States fell victim to yet another attack inspired by Islam. It was not the first, nor would it be the last attempt by Islamists seeking to cause direct harm to the people and to the institutions that have been a beacon of liberty for millions across the globe.

"Today the threat from Islamist terror is perhaps more real and evident in America’s communities than ever before. 80% of the mosques in the United States have been built since 9/11. Of those mosques, 4 out of 5 believe that violence in some form is an acceptable means of spreading the Islamic faith. These mosques are actively bullying local governments to approve of mosques that no ordinary church or business would be able to receive. Even our own State Department is pledging to use the “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to coerce Americans into accepting the new normal, preventing any critical assessment of Islam at all.

"Islamist groups are assiduously campaigning to ensure that shariah is allowed the widest possible authority within Islamic communities. Organizations such as CAIR are encouraging their members not to speak with the FBI. The halal foods industry – estimated to be an $8 billion trade in France alone – is taking root in American supermarkets (to include meats sacrificed to Allah), all of which funnels into shariah finance and provides increasing latitude for other resources to go towards Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"9/11 is slowly being forgotten by Americans. It is receding from memory to historical footnote, and that is a shame. Islamists have not forgotten the lessons of 9/11. They are waiting, watching, building towards the next attack. Yet vigilance still remains the price of liberty.

"Today we remember the victims of Islam. Today we remember the fruits of a geopolitical military system wrapped in the cloak of faith that embraces violence and has no concept of a development of doctrine. Rather than buckling to Islam, defenders of religious liberty should be insisting Islamic scholarship have an urgent conversation within itself as to whether or not violence in a free society can be tolerated as a means of religious or political expression, and recapture the role of reason as a mitigating force to temper such inherent violence.

"Today we remember those who have placed their lives upon the altar of freedom to ensure that we may learn the lessons of 9/11, and pledge today and again that we shall never forget their sacrifice or our loved ones lost."
Andrea Lafferty is President of Traditional Values Coalition. TVC is a grassroots lobby that educates and speaks on behalf of over 43,000 churches nationwide on issues of pro-family concern including promoting religious liberty, traditional Judeo-Christian value, the Constitution, economic security of future generations of Americans, snd opposition to the threat of Islam and Shariah law.

Tags: Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition, he Islamist Threat, 9/11 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Sympathy, Solidarity, and Resolve’ on 9/11 | Obamacare Issues

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco
Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 11, 2013
The Senate and House bot reconvened at 10 AM today and observed a moment of silence to pay tribute to Americans killed by the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  At 11 AM, members of the House and Senate gathered on the Capitol steps for a bipartisan ceremony to remember and honor the victims of 9/11.

Still pending in the Senate is the motion to proceed to S. J. Res. 21, the Syria resolution.  At a time to be determined by the two Senate leaders, the motion to proceed to S. 1392, an energy efficiency bill, will be agreed to by unanimous consent.

The House will considering taking up H.R. 2775 - to condition the provision of premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upon a certification that a program to verify household income and other qualifications for such subsidies is operational, and for other purposes.

Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 1155 (397-6)— "To reform the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2747 (396-10) — "To amend title 40, United States Code, to transfer certain functions from the Government Accountability Office to the Department of Labor relating to the processing of claims for the payment of workers who were not paid appropriate wages under certain provisions of such title."
S. 130 (408-1) — "To require the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain Federal land to the Powell Recreation District in the State of Wyoming."
S. 157 (Voice Vote) — "To provide for certain improvements to the Denali National Park and Preserve in the State of Alaska, and for other purposes."
S. 304(419-1) — "To direct the Secretary of the Interior to convey to the State of Mississippi 2 parcels of surplus land within the boundary of the Natchez Trace Parkway, and for other purposes."
S. 256 (415-1) — "To amend Public Law 93-435 with respect to the Northern Mariana Islands, providing parity with Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa."
S. 459 (414-5) — "To modify the boundary of the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in the State of South Dakota, and for other purposes."

Republicans have said from the very beginning that Democrats’ unpopular health care law would hurt jobs and every week there seems to be a new story sadly proving GOP warnings correct.

The  The Weekly Standard reported that WWMT-TV, cited that  because of Obamacare, “There are also new taxes affecting West Michigan industry, which took effect this year. There's a new 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers. According to some reports, Kalamazoo-based Stryker has laid off more than 1,000 people because of it, and owes the federal government upwards of $100 million this year alone. . . .  a Stryker spokesperson told Newschannel 3 that the Affordable Care Act will cost the company 20 percent of its total research and development investments.”

Yesterday, the Orlando Sentinel reported, “SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is reducing hours for thousands of part-time workers, a move that would allow the Orlando-based theme-park owner to avoid offering those employees medical insurance under the federal government's health-care overhaul. SeaWorld confirmed the move Monday in a brief written statement to the Orlando Sentinel. The company operates 11 theme parks across the United States and has about 22,000 employees — nearly 18,000 of whom are part-time or seasonal workers. It has more than 4,000 part-time and seasonal workers in Central Florida. Under a new corporate policy, SeaWorld will schedule part-time workers for no more than 28 hours a week, down from a previous limit of 32 hours a week. The new cap is expected to go into effect by November. . . . With the reduced hours, those employees would not be classified as full-time workers under the Affordable Care Act, the health-care overhaul championed by President Barack Obama and signed into law in 2010. . . . SeaWorld is by no means alone in cutting employee hours. With the new insurance requirements looming, more companies are opting to reduce part-timers' hours. A recent survey by the human-resources consulting company Mercer found that 12 percent of U.S. employers — and 20 percent of retail and hospitality companies — say they plan to reduce workers' hours specifically because of the Affordable Care Act. . . . ‘There is no other reason to change your cap from 32 hours to 28 other than’ the Affordable Care Act, said Duncan Dickson, a former human-resources executive at Walt Disney World who is now an associate professor in the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management. ‘I hear my kids [students] talking about getting their hours cut. Everybody's very attuned to the 30-hour thing,’ he added. The UCF professor said some of his students who used to work 10-hour shifts three or four times each week have seen their shifts cut to just two a week.”

And in another breach of President Obama’s promise that under his healthcare law, “If you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it,” The Huffington Post reports today, “After extending health care coverage to many of its part-time employees for years, Trader Joe's has told workers who log fewer than 30 hours a week that they will need to find insurance on the Obamacare exchanges next year, according to a confidential memo from the grocer's chief executive. In the memo to staff dated Aug. 30, Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane said the company will cut part-timers a check for $500 in January and help guide them toward finding a new plan under the Affordable Care Act. . . . A current Trader Joe's worker described the coverage she'll likely lose as ‘one of the best parts about the job.’ . . . She said she pays only $35 per paycheck, or $70 per month, for a plan that generally covers 80 percent of her medical costs, carries a reasonable $500 deductible and includes prescription drug coverage. ‘There are several folks I work with who are there for the insurance as much as anything, mostly folks with young families,’ she said. ‘I can say that when I opened and read the letter yesterday my reaction was pure panic, followed quickly by anger.’”

As Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said on Saturday in the Weekly Republican Address, “Even some of President Obama’s biggest supporters have been warning about the damage that his health care law is doing to hardworking American taxpayers. The leaders of the Teamsters and other major labor unions have said that the health care law will -- quote – ‘destroy the foundation of the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the American middle class.’ And even though the President promised that if you liked what you had, you could keep it, for many families that’s just not true. Workers are losing coverage for their spouses, while paying higher premiums and deductibles.” He concluded, “We know what the law does -- and in just a few weeks, we know it’s going to start hitting middle class Americans even harder. The American people have a choice. We can embrace the status quo of Obamacare for four more years. Or we can repeal the law, and quickly move to help people get the care they need, from a doctor they choose, at lower cost. That’s what Republicans are fighting for. It’s time for Democrats to join us.”

Tags: remembering 9/11, Obamacare, Washington, D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Colorado Democratic lawmakers Ousted in Recall | Second Amendment Rights Prevail in Colorado

Colorado Sen. Dems Angela Giron and John Morse,
 who voted for stricter gun laws, were recalled!
The Washington Post: DENVER — Two Democratic state lawmakers who backed tighter gun laws in the aftermath of mass shootings have been kicked out of office in a recall election promoted by both grassroots activists and the National Rifle Association.

Senate President John Morse lost by just 343 votes Tuesday in a swing district in the Republican stronghold of Colorado Springs but Sen. Angela Giron lost by a bigger margin in a largely blue-collar district that favors Democrats.

The NRA said the election sent a clear message to lawmakers that they should protect gun rights and be accountable to their constituents, not to “anti-gun billionaires” — a swipe against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supported Giron and Morse.

Democrats will still maintain control of the state Legislature and the laws are expected to remain in place. . . . Morse ... will be replaced by Republican Bernie Herpin. Giron will be replaced by former Pueblo police officer {Republican] George Rivera. . . . Read More

NRA-ILA: Fairfax, Va. – A historic grassroots effort by voters in Colorado’s Senate Districts 11 and 3 has resulted in the recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse (D) and Senator Angela Giron (D). The people of Colorado Springs and Pueblo sent a clear message to their elected officials that their primary job is to defend our rights and freedoms and that they are accountable to their constituents – not the dollars or social engineering agendas of anti-gun billionaires.

Recall proceedings began earlier this year after Sens. Morse and Giron voted for anti-gun legislation that restricted the ability of law-abiding residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights, including their inherent right to self-defense. This effort was driven by concerned citizens, who made phone calls, knocked on doors, and worked diligently to turn voters out in this historic effort.

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to have stood with the men and women in these legislative districts who sent a clear message that their Second Amendment rights are not for sale in Colorado. We look forward to working with NRA-PVF “A” rated and endorsed Bernie Herpin (R) from Colorado Springs and NRA-PVF “AQ” rated and endorsed George Rivera (R) from Pueblo in the Colorado State Senate.

Tags: Colorado, recall, democrats  State Senators, recalled, gun right, NRA-ILA To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Stop The Fiscal Year Spending Orgy

3 ways to bring accountability to federal agencies.
by Gretchen Hamel: Call it "Christmas in September." Just as children eagerly count down the days until the holiday, government contractors are counting the days until the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30.

While America debates a war in Syria and the federal debt limit, government agencies are putting the final touches on a year-end spending spree. That means big paydays for those who supply information technology, computer equipment and other pricey items. But those big paydays also mean squandered taxpayer dollars as agencies rush to buy what they might not need.

The operative phrase is "spend it or lose it." Here's how it works: In the final weeks of the fiscal year (which runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30) Washington bureaucrats hastily make purchases and execute contracts to burn through excess funds.

Why? Because if they don't spend their entire budget allotment, congressional appropriators might slash their budgets in subsequent years.

And for every government buyer, plenty of contractors and lobbyists stand ready to help with the spending splurge. Washington trade publications are filled with articles offering advice to businesses that want to hop on the federal spending gravy train by taking advantage of the year-end spending spree.

Spread across hundreds of government agencies, the waste adds up to billions. Big spenders such as the Pentagon drive the annual rush to beat the fiscal deadline.

This summer, as furloughs were set to begin, officials at a Defense Department agency sent an e-mail to colleagues urging them to burn through their budgets. Meeting spending deadlines was "critical in our efforts to (spend) 100% of our available resources this fiscal year," the e-mail said.

The companies that feed on the gusher of cash that still flows from our government are quite open about their activities. "We believe it's going to be a feeding frenzy," Chris Romani, president of Integrity Management Consulting, told Federal News Radio. "We looked at the funding profiles of our target agencies ... and we see that they have a lot of mission needs and a lot of unobligated funds."

The radio station reported in July that "vendors may be rethinking August vacations in order to handle what many expect to be one of the busiest end-of-the-federal fiscal year buying sprees in recent memory."

Though it might be tempting to blame the profligacy of the Bush and Obama administrations, the practice has been common in government spending for decades, earning bipartisan critiques. In fact, "spend it or lose it" came under critical attention from the Government Accountability Office in a 1980 report, 33 years ago. Since then, the problem has grown.

If we are to have any hope of curbing Washington's spending addiction, our elected officials need to reform this wasteful practice. How do we bring accountability to federal agencies? As a starting point, Congress and President Obama should take the following three actions:

Roll it over. Allowing agencies to roll over uncommitted budget funds to the next fiscal year, without losing the funds, would eliminate the incentive to spend before the Sept. 30 deadline. In fact, the Obama administration offered just such a proposal in 2010, suggesting that agencies be allowed to roll over a portion of their unused budgets, with the remaining portion being committed to deficit reduction. This is a worthy reform that Congress should take up.

Make it transparent. When it comes to tracking federal agency spending, the reality can be murky. Developing government-wide standards for online reporting would allow taxpayers and watchdogs to track agency budgets and foster greater accountability. The House of Representatives passed legislation in the last Congress to do just that, but the White House and Senate opposed it. That leaves online reporting at without the high quality, consistent data that would expose spending problems.

Increase oversight. Inspectors general in federal agencies are important guarantors of accountability. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has been slow to fill these crucial watchdog positions. In at least five federal departments — including some of the largest Cabinet agencies — the IG post was vacant 18 months to more than five years. Despite recent nominations to oversee State and Defense, other agencies still lack a permanent IG or even a pending nominee to fill the post. The president should make a priority of filling these posts.

With a national debt of $17 trillion and sluggish economic growth, the fiscal picture for the United States looks grim. And as the administration and federal agencies raise the alarm over sequester-related worker furloughs, they turn a blind eye to the wasteful spending right in front of them — or worse, encourage it. That's why it's important that Washington act to restore a sense of accountability and responsibility to the stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

Putting a stop to this broken way of budgeting by ending "spend it or lose it" is an excellent place to start.
Gretchen Hamel is executive director of Public Notice. She shared this article with the ARRA News Service. It was first published on US Today.

Tags: Istop, fiscal year, spending, orgy, Public Notice, Gretchen Hamel,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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