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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, October 11, 2013

(Extra) Win Some, Lose Some

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Here are some of the links on the Friday, October 11 Drudge Report:
In politics you win some and you lose some. If the Drudge Report links cited above are any indication, the White House, the Congress, the Republicans and the Democrats are all on the losing side of public opinion. They have lost the confidence of the people no matter what side of the public spectrum they're on.

As the Wall Street Journal's sagacious columnist, Kim Strassel, noted in the Friday edition “For months now, the GOP has been held hostage by a faction of its party that deluded itself into believing President Obama might be rolled on his signature health-care law. Witness now an equally grand delusion on the Democratic side, one that President Obama nurtures at his peril”

“According to Democrats, their steadfast refusal to negotiate on the government shutdown or the debt ceiling is rooted in a belief that now is the moment to "break" the GOP "fever." Democrats are furious that Republicans today use every Washington deadline to extract a spending concession—and insist they must be broken of that habit.”

What we are witnessing is the collision of two different political delusions, one held by the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party that President Obama could be moved to accept any changes—other than those he arbitrarily and unilaterally makes—to Obamacare and the other by the Far Left of the Democrat Party that Obamacare, the Valhalla of its decades-long dream of universal healthcare can work without destroying the finest healthcare system and taking the economy down with it.

Those who lived through the Great Depression often refer to those times as “feeling tired all the time.” That’s a good description of the psychological condition of depression as well. After five years of President Obama, a lot of people just feel too tired to fight. By mid-afternoon on Friday it was clear that the trucker protest was not going to be the big event that its organizers anticipated. “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” may or may not pick up some more participants, but it will be far less than the 10,000 hoped for.

One has to wonder how many veterans will show up for the October 13 protest that is planned. The ones who tossed the barricades aside at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall may have done more to express the public’s exasperation with the government shutdown as any mass protest.

The curious aspect of the shutdown is how the blame keeps shifting back and forth between the President and the Republicans in the House. The shutdown has come about from the demand of the Republican leadership that the White House make some concessions to reduce the spending and borrowing that has produced a $17 trillion debt. This has been tied to the looming October 17 deadline that the Treasury says the debt ceiling must be raised or the nation will default.

That claim is bogus. The government takes in billions every week, enough to meet its obligation to pay the interest on the treasury notes it has sold by way of borrowing to pay to maintain programs that are astonishingly wasteful, either from fraud or the compulsion to give taxpayer’s money away. The Republicans know this. The Democrats know this.

The President has been insisting for days that he would not negotiate. Well, we all knew he would not negotiate anything regarding Obamacare, including something sensible like delaying its implementation for a year. He already gave a delay to Big Business. How about the rest of the population?

So, both have played a role in the shutdown given the fact that negotiation, compromise, is the way our government is designed to function.

This isn't “politics as usual.” This is one part of the government, the House of Representatives, doing what the Constitution says it must, overseeing the expenditure of every last penny the government spends. And it is two other parts, the Senate and the White House, controlled by the Democratic Party, refusing to compromise.

It is the American people waking up to discover that (1) President Obama is content to inflict as much pain as possible on them and (2) that a frayed and divided Republican Party cannot, will not hold firm to secure some protection against Obamacare and a reduction in government spending.

At this writing, the biggest losers will be the American people. Well, at least those who do not work for the government and live outside the Beltway.
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: Washington, D.C., win some, lose some, American people, Alan Caruba, Warning SignsTAGS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The ‘Soup Nazi’ Administration

by Marta H. Mossburg: For the Obama administration, the shutdown is just one more political crisis it won’t let go to waste.

Take the park rangers who last week locked under armed guard a group of senior citizens that included visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the U.S. inside Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. Gordon Hodgson, the guide of the 41-person tour group, told the Livingston, Montana Enterprise that officials told him they could stay at the hotel but could not do anything.

“All we could do was eat dinner in the dining room. It was like a ghost town,” he said.

A member of Hodgson’s group, Pat Vaillancourt, told her hometown paper the Newburyport News that, “They (the rangers) looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside.” She added that some of the foreign visitors with limited English were afraid and thought they were being arrested and that “A lot of people who were foreign said they wouldn’t come back (to America).”

Barricades surrounded Old Faithful and the group was not even allowed to photograph bison as “recreating” was not allowed, according to an armed ranger who ordered the tour back onto their bus. Hodgson, the guide, called the behavior of the rangers “Gestapo tactics.” He added, “We paid a lot to get in. All these people wanted to do was take some pictures.”

And then there is the widely reported story about the National Parks Service barricading the open air monuments at the National Mall in Washington. That decision forced elderly World War II veterans who had traveled hundreds of miles to visit the memorial honoring their service to find a way around them.

Employees of the Parks Service even removed handles on well pumps along the C&O Canal towpath that runs 184 miles from Washington to Cumberland, Maryland preventing bikers from getting water, according to a report last week in The Cumberland Times-News.

Despite the shutdown, the Obama administration found a way to help political allies access the National Mall the rest of America is not allowed to visit, however. On Tuesday a march for amnesty for illegal immigrants sponsored in part by Service Employees International Union and Casa de Maryland was allowed to take place with the imprimatur of the National Parks Service on “First Amendment grounds.” Labor Secretary Tom Perez, coincidentally, is the former head of Casa de Maryland’s board of directors.

One of the highlights of the rally was a concert by the band Los Tigres del Norte, so apparently attendees were allowed to “recreate.”

According to a report in USA Today, the parks service is now allowing veterans to visit memorials, but “non-veterans not practicing free speech are still barred from the memorials and mall.”

Who gets to decide who is practicing free speech or not? Are there “essential” federal employees assigned to the task?

Not everyone who works for the Parks Service is happy about the way the shutdown is being handled. As one ranger told The Washington Times following the World War II veterans’ incident, “It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation. …We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

It is disgusting. Especially because the Obama administration’s directives are geared to inflict as much pain as possible with no point other than to make life difficult for Americans. Barricading open air monuments? Preventing sightseeing at gunpoint? Taking well pumps? Who are these thugs – and who are the extremists here?

The ironic thing is that being mean is not helping the administration politically.  epublicans are taking the most blame for the government shutdown according to polls, but President Barack Obama’s approval rating is only 37 percent, hardly a PR victory for him.

Ultimately the only thing he is proving through his nasty tactics is that he governs like the “Soup Nazi” of “Seinfeld” dispenses soup – arbitrarily and rudely. Shutdown or no shutdown, “No soup for you!” is not a way to run a country.
Marta H. Mossburg writes frequently about national affairs and about Maryland, where she lives. Follow her on Twitter at @mmossburg This article was first shared by Americans for Limited Government on their NetRightDaily blog.

Tags: Obama administration, shutting down, National Parks, monuments, government shutdown To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Obama Monument - The Government Shutdown

by William Warren

Tags: Government Shutdown, Obama Monument, editorial cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Train Wreck: Obamacare Computer Sytem / Website A Complete Mess

Today in Washington, D.C. - Oct. 11, 2013 Day 11 of Government Shutdown!

The Senate reconvened at 10:30 AM.  Republican senators to attend a meeting at the White House.

Yesterday, Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) asked unanimous consent to pass H.J. Res. 91, a House-passed bill ensuring the military pays survivor benefits during the government shutdown. No senator objected and the bill was passed.

Also yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1569, Democrats’ clean debt ceiling bill that would add over $1 trillion to the debt limit with no reforms. A vote on cloture on the motion to proceed (i.e. whether to take up the bill) is scheduled for tomorrow, but could be held this afternoon if an agreement is reached.

The House reconvened at 9:00 AM.

The House today considered and passed this morning H.J. Res. 76 (226 - 195)— the Nuclear Weapon Security and Non-Proliferation Act - "Making continuing appropriations for the National Nuclear Security Administration for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes."
Also, the House may based on a response from the Senate readdress H.R. 2642, the Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Yesterday, The House passed H.J. Res. 79 (249-175) — "Making continuing appropriations for certain components of the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes."

Speaker John Boehner commented on the passage of the of H.J. Res. 76: “Ensuring the safety of our nuclear weapons arsenal and preventing the spread of nuclear technology to hostile regimes and terrorists are critical to America’s security. Senate Democrats shouldn’t let a disagreement over whether Americans should be treated fairly under ObamaCare jeopardize our national security. They should pass this bill immediately - as well as legislation funding other priorities like veterans benefits and cancer research - while we work to find a way to reopen the government and tackle the drivers of our debt that threaten our economy and our children’s future.”

After meeting with the President, House Republicans and Senate Democrats may move forward to establish a short term Continuing Resolution to fund the reopen all of the Government.

At the end of a bad week for the rollout of Obamacare, the Washington Free Beacon notes, “NBC’s Nightly News reported on the disastrous rollout of Obamacare Thursday night, with correspondent Tom Costello calling the website ‘the focus of ridicule’ and quoting experts who could hardly fathom a ‘worse launch of a nationwide site.’” Costello reported, “Week 2 of the Obamacare rollout and the ‘Please Wait’ sign at remains the focus of ridicule . . . from Capitol Hill to late night TV. . . . By most accounts the website has been a complete mess: locking up, crashing, and kicking off potential customers. Of the 260 people who tried to sign up at this Miami clinic in the first week, only a single person got through. in online discussion groups, computer experts talk of major coding and software problems that could take weeks or months to fix. ‘It’s tough to have a worse launch of a nationwide site,’ said one. . . . For months, experts say they tried to warn the White House wasn’t ready to go live, but the administration decided to go with it anyway.” Robert Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates told NBC, “I think everybody is shocked who’s been watching this from the inside at how bad it really is, and how bad the computer programming and software and code and architecture is.”

The Wall Street Journal adds today, “Government officials are considering rebuilding some parts of the federally run health-insurance marketplace that have been identified as the key flaws that blocked many consumers from getting coverage. Much of the problem stems from a design element that requires users of the federal site, which serves 36 states, to create accounts before shopping for insurance, according to policy and technology experts. The site,, was initially going to include an option to browse before registering, but that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said. The decision to move ahead without that feature proved crucial because, before users can begin shopping for coverage, they must cross a busy digital junction in which data are swapped among separate computer systems built or run by contractors including CGI Group Inc., the developer; Quality Software Services Inc., a UnitedHealth Group Inc. unit; and credit-checker Experian PLC. If any part of the web of systems fails to work properly, it could lead to a traffic jam blocking most users from the marketplace. That's just what happened . . . . The series of decisions and technical stumbles came together like a perfect storm amid political pressure to open the marketplaces on the health-overhaul law's deadline of Oct. 1, according to the accounts of multiple people involved in the exchange and experts following the developments. . . . The problems haven't yet been resolved, but people familiar with the situation said officials are debating whether to replace parts of the registration system this weekend. . . . Outside technology experts and people close to the situation say the first week and half of exchange operations has revealed a half-finished product. ‘The fatal mistake they made is bringing up everything at once,’ making debugging the sprawling system a challenge, said David Starr, a former chief information officer for 3Com Corp., ITT Corp. and other large companies. But, ‘it's almost always better to postpone things than bring them up broken,’ said Mr. Starr, who is not involved in the exchange development.”

Meanwhile, reporting on an event to promote Obamacare in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes, “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had a front-row view of the problems plaguing the website that the government established to allow people to shop for health insurance under Obamacare. Sebelius and Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney were at an enrollment and education event on Thursday at Heinz Field to promote, but people who showed up encountered problems in signing up for coverage on the website. Unable to handle heavy online traffic and riddled with technical glitches, the website has been a source of criticism of the Obama administration and the new Affordable Care Act since its start on Oct. 1. . . . About 20 people armed with laptops and certified by the government to sign up people for coverage were meeting with uninsured people, answering questions and fruitlessly trying to access the website.”

This rollout has been such a disaster that NBC News is calling it “a complete mess” and “the focus of ridicule,” and people at an event put on by the HHS Secretary couldn’t even use the website to sign up. It’s been so bad that software experts have been blasting the launch all week, saying things like, “I would be ashamed and embarrassed if my organization delivered something like that,” “[D]id the people doing the work know what they were doing?,” and “It’s tough to have a worse launch of a nationwide site.”

And as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The rollout of this thing made a trip to the DMV look like a good time.”

And CBS reported on the rollout and took the following computer screen shot of the crash on the first day Obamacare was to be operational:
CBS: Screen grab of the main web site for Obamacare,,
 which crashed on the first day of enrollment for health care coverage

Tags: NDay 11, Government shutdown, House, funds, Nuclear Weapon Security and Non-Proliferation Act, Obamacare website, train wreck, computer crashes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Free Event: Dana Perino in Little Rock, Arkansas - October 14, 2013

Come Hear

Dana Perino

MONDAY, OCT 14, 2013

Former White House Spokesperson and Current Fox News co-host of

The Five

Dana Perino

in Little Rock, AR!

Please reserve your FREE ticket

The Event will Center Around How ObamaCare will affect Your Family and Your Budget

We'll also Welcome

Concerned Women for America President
Penny Nance
Americans for Prosperity Vice President

Teresa Oelke
(Former AFP-Arkansas Director)

Monday, October 14th at 6:30 PM
Statehouse Convention Center

101 East Markham Street, Little Rock, AR

Tags: Free Event, Dana Perino, Little Rock, Arkansas, Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America, Teresa Oelke, Americans for Prosperity, October 14, 2013 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama Disobeys the Law of the Land

by Phyllis Schlafly: The Democrats are chanting that Republicans must fully fund Obamacare because it is the law of the land, passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. Therefore, they say, it must be obeyed and can’t be altered by Republicans who want to defund it.

That argument is both wrong and hypocritical. Any federal law can be changed, repealed, amended or defunded by our legislative branch of government, Congress.

The Republican House wants to deal with the controversial huge “continuing resolution” bill in separate pieces, giving the OK to worthwhile federal spending purposes while leaving others (like Obamacare) without funds. Obama refuses to negotiate and demands a “clean” (blank-check) bill; his position is all-or-nothing-at-all.

Actually, the Supreme Court decision did not give a “clean” upholding of Obamacare. The Court effectively rewrote the law by allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, and other pieces of Obamacare are still being litigated in federal courts, such as the mandate that employer-required insurance must include objectionable abortifacient drugs.

Obama’s hypocrisy about the issue of considering Obamacare in pieces is obvious from the many times he has unilaterally messed with other matters that are clearly the law of the land. He has frequently refused to enforce other laws of the land he doesn’t like, and he pretends to legislate laws that Congress declined to pass.

Welfare reform is truly the law of the land; it was passed by Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton to “end welfare as we know it.” But in violation of the law’s explicit language, Obama unilaterally carved out (in effect, repealed) the “work” (or training for work) requirement for persons receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Obama’s use of waivers from various laws of the land is notorious. He has given waivers from the No Child Left Behind law of the land to more than half of the states.

Obama has even picked pieces out of Obamacare. He gave a one-year deferral of its insurance employer mandate to large employers, and he exempted Congress and government staff from the requirement on individuals to buy compulsory insurance or pay a significant penalty.

Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, admits that a federal law of the land prohibits the federal government from interfering with or dictating public school curriculum. But Obama used carrot-and-stick tactics to bribe or threaten a majority of states to adopt Common Core, and Duncan pretends it is OK for the feds to require states to be aligned with federally approved Common Core standards and Common Core tests, which will effectively dictate school curriculum.

Obama has repeatedly taken away from other branches of government powers that are specifically granted in the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution makes an undiluted grant of power to Congress “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.” Obama is trying to coopt that power for himself by demanding that Congress pass “Fast Track,” an enormous unconstitutional shift that would give Obama the authority to write our trade treaties in secret and then let Congress vote on them under rules that limit Congress’s power to debate or amend them, all within in a short preset time period.

All these foreign trade treaties are encrusted with promises about how they will create U.S. jobs. Those are all lies; every single month since Congress accepted the Korea trade agreement in March 2012, our exports to Korea have declined, and the agreement has already cost us 40,000 U.S. jobs.

The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power of the purse in the Origination Clause in Article I. But Obamacare’s taxing and spending sections actually originated in the Senate, a maneuver not yet ruled on by the Supreme Court.

The Constitution starts with the powerful words, “All legislative powers” are vested in Congress, consisting of a Senate and House. Paying no attention to the Constitution, Obama has done his own legislating.

Congress declined to pass the Dream Act, but Obama is legislating it anyway through regulations. In defiance of the law of the land, Obama has allowed millions of aliens to stay and work illegally in the United States.

Congress declined to pass Cap and Trade, but Obama is legislating it anyway through regulations. His regulations are designed to bankrupt coal plants, skyrocket our electricity costs so we can’t “keep our homes on 72 degrees,” and spend our tax dollars to subsidize inefficient, costly solar and wind energy.

In April 2012, nine state Attorneys General issued a Memo listing 21 violations of law by the Obama Administration, and now we have so many more examples. Obama is the one who doesn’t obey the law of the land.
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, and family issues.

Tags: President Obama. disobeys, Law of the Land Us Constitution, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

National Debt Set to Double Before Obama Leaves Office

by Courtney Coren, Newsmax: The national debt is set to double by the time President Barack Obama leaves office, if it continues to increase at the current rate.

In January 2009, when Obama began his first term, the federal debt was $10.6 trillion. As of this week it has increased 57 percent to $16.7 trillion, The Washington Times reported.

As Congress is faced with raising the debt ceiling by Oct. 17 or letting the government default on its bills, Obama has argued that doing so "won't add a dime" the federal debt.

"It does not increase our debt," Obama said. "It does not grow our deficits. All it does is allow the Treasury Department to pay for what Congress has already spent."

These claims by the president gloss over the growing total debt, according to Alex Brill, a budget specialist of the American Enterprise Institute.

"It's certainly not the whole story," Brill told the Times. "We've seen a dramatic increase in the debt held by the public in the last four or five years, and it's projected to only get worse."

According to, the amount that the federal government owes the public is set to double as well. The government currently owes the Treasury $11.94 trillion, which is an 89.3 percent increase from the day Obama took office.

"The Obama administration has projected an annual deficit of $750 billion in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, and $626 billion the year after," FactCheck wrote in its third quarter update. "At that rate, the debt owed to the public will more than double during the Obama presidency."

Several in the GOP say that increasing the debt ceiling should be coupled with spending cuts.

House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that Republicans will not agree to raise the debt ceiling without addressing deficit spending.  "We're not going down that path," he told George Stephanopoulos while appearing on "This Week" on ABC. "It's about time to deal with America's problems. How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem?"

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma expressed a similar sentiment Tuesday.  "We are in trouble financially," Coburn said. "We are $30 trillion in the hole, plus another $17 trillion in debt. Wouldn't it be smart if we started addressing that problem before we blankly allow an increase in the level of the credit card?"

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

IRS Discussed Confidential Information with White House Officials

by Bethany Monk, CitizenLink: A congressional committee revealed this week the IRS discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior White House officials.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held its hearing Thursday on the tax agency’s alleged harassment of conservative groups. It was revealed Top IRS Obamacare official Sarah Hall Ingram exchanged confidential information via 2012 emails.

Lois Lerner, who was head of IRS Tax Exempt Organizations, was among those cc’d in the email exchanges between the agency and the White House.

Before providing the emails to the committee, IRS officials redacted private information and replaced it with the code “6103.” The code suggests the emails contained information that should not have been shared with the people to whom they were sent.

In one of the emails, Ingram asks for clarifications of certain organizations. The email is addressed to Ellen Montz, White House health policy advisor, and Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy:

“Would a free standing groups of schools like the [6103] file 990′s?” Ingram asks. In another paragraph, she asks: “The [6103] refers to ‘[6103] ….’ What does that mean? Can you give an example of this type of organization?”

The agency admitted in May that it targeted nonprofit organizations with words “Tea Party” and “patriot” during the 2012 election season. Shortly after, other groups — including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse and the Biblical Recorder — said they, too, have been targeted.

And just last week, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) filed a lawsuit against the IRS over the release of the group’s 2008 confidential tax return.

All Americans should be concerned about the privacy of tax return data, said Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union.

“Taxpayer privacy is a cornerstone of our self-reporting system,” Sepp explained. “The IRS is already an intrusive agency, and has powers to watch over many of our financial transactions. Payrolls are already monitored through withholding, while certain financial activities such as stock sales are reported to the agency on 1099 forms. If taxpayers lose confidence that details of their private lives will remain confidential with the agency, there will be implications for voluntary compliance with the entire system.” . . . More Information

Tags: IRS, Internal Revenue Service, confidential information, White House officials, National Organization for Marriage To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

US Debt Has Grown 2X As Much As Economy Since Last Debt Limit Increase

President Obama said that increasing the debt limit does not increase the debt. But when the Treasury department started using so-called extraordinary measures to avoid a breach of the debt ceiling in May, 2011, the debt limit stood at $14,294 billion. Today it stands at $16,699 billion, which was reached when Treasury started using extraordinary measures in May of this year. That's a $2,405 billion increase in 2 years. Meanwhile, the economy, as measured by GDP only increased by $1,199 billion between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of this year. So the debt increased twice as much as the economy over the last two years, the very definition of unsustainable. The growth of a nation’s debt cannot for long exceed the growth of its economy – which is precisely what is happening now.

Tags: debt GDP, Debt Increase, GDP Increase, last two years, Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions, chart To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Mr. President: Keystone XL Approval Would Be 'Powerful Signal'

by AF "Tony" Branco
by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is an “inflection point in our economic recovery,” say business leaders. In a letter to the President, they argue that approving the pipeline that will transport Canadian oil sands crude to U.S. refineries will “send a powerful signal of this Administration’s commitment to getting America back to work.” The letter reads:Investor confidence is shaped heavily by perceptions of business climate – whether governments take actions that enable capital investment and job growth. Studies by your administration have demonstrated that construction of Keystone XL will directly result in the investment of $3.3 billion in the U.S. and support tens of thousands of American jobs, across diversified sectors, which will in turn add billions of dollars to the national and regional economies.The letter goes on to state that the pipeline “would also enhance America’s competitiveness by helping to realize the long-standing goal of increased North American energy security.” The economy would be helped by “creating efficiencies and reducing overall energy prices for households and businesses.” All this would be done with minimal environmental impact, according to a State Department analysis.

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, added in a statement:The American business community and an overwhelming majority of citizens support the Keystone XL pipeline. Hundreds of thousands of miles of pipeline carrying oil, gas and other materials already exist, so there is no reason to further delay Keystone. Businesses understand that it will create jobs and reduce our dependence on oil from unfriendly nations. President Obama should act now.The letter was signed by the U.S. Chamber’s Energy Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable along with a diverse array of companies including GE, Wyndham Worldwide, Arch Coal, AT&T, and Boeing.

In related news, anti-energy environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, lost their federal court appeal arguing that the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline running from Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast shouldn't have been approved. The nearly-completed Gulf Coast Pipeline Project could begin transporting oil by the end of 2013.
Sean Hackbarth is a blogger at Free Enterprise and does policy advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: Sean Hackbarth, XL Pipeline, business leaders, US. Chamber of Commerce, letter to president President Obama, approve, pipeline To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Don’t Be Fooled By Libya — This Is A Failed State

by James Stafford, Gunmen today seized Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan from a hotel in central Tripoli, releasing him shortly afterwards, but making it clear that post-Gaddafi Libya is a failed state and that the government is incapable of taking full control over its oilfields and export terminals.

While the markets have been responding lately with unfounded optimism over Libya, anyone who has been privy to the intelligence briefings and executive reports from Oil & Energy Insider would know that announcements of progress emanating from the capital Tripoli are hot air. There are too many roving militias who want their piece of Libya’s fossil fuels largesse — and the government is impotent.

Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the seizure of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on 10 October from the Corinthia hotel in central Tripoli.

More to the point, the prime minister was apparently seized by militias linked to Libya’s Interior and Defense Ministries, which makes one ask whether he was kidnapped or arrested, or indeed whether it is even worth getting into the semantics.

His arrest was not about oil, specifically, it was in retaliation for the US special forces capture of a Libyan al-Qaeda suspect in Tripoli over the weekend. Militant groups — many of whom control various branches of the impotent government — were angered at the US capture of Abu Anas al-Libi, wanted for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in which more than 220 people were killed.

Look no further than Libya’s National Congress, which was adamant that the US return the captor, which it labeled as a kidnapping and a violation of Libya’s national sovereignty.

Upon his release, Prime Minister Zeidan took to the international media, calling on Western powers to step in — again. In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Zeidan said the country was being used as a base to export weapons across the Sahel and that “the movement of these weapons endangers neighboring countries too, so there must be international cooperation to stop it.”

Regardless, the situation should be clear even for those Libyan enthusiasts who are under the impression that this is a functioning state. Ali Zeidan’s days are numbered without another direct Western intervention.

This is the same reason the oil cannot flow as planned.

As we noted in a September executive report on Libya in Oil & Energy Insider, the crisis began two years ago with the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi, but in August things took a definitive turn for the worse, with armed groups seizing major oil export terminals and demanding autonomy for the eastern region. Now the crisis has reached the west where other militant formations ominously charged with guarding the country’s pipelines and oil fields are seeking to profit on the momentum of the strikers and protesters in the east.

The interim government cannot manage this crisis. It’s already been forced to compromise, agreeing earlier in September to a 20% wage hike across the board for civil servants, and including oil security forces in this mix. At the same time, the government has issued warrants for the arrest of strike organizers in the east.

While the government will not be able to enforce these warrants, the blowback for this still will be severe and will result in a violent upheaval unlike anything else in the past two years. This will reverberate throughout the already volatile Sahel region, threatening security in Tunisia and Algeria most immediately. It is also leading to a tightening of world oil supplies.
---------------- - This article was contributed to the ARRA News Service by James Stafford, Editor,, the leading online energy news site. Its news and analysis covers all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and hydro.

Tags: Libya, failed state, Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, terorist, Abu Anas al-Libi,, James Stafford To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Is Obama lying about a default?

Oct. 10, 2013, Fairfax, VA —Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement calling attention to a Moody’s report that the U.S. will not in fact default if the debt ceiling is reached, which states, “We believe the government would continue to pay interest and principal on its debt even in the event that the debt limit is not raised, leaving its creditworthiness intact”:“This bombshell from Moody’s suggests that the Obama administration is bluffing about a default on the $16.7 trillion national debt should the borrowing limit be reached. Jack Lew has testified the opposite to a Senate committee that debt payments cannot be guaranteed and a default is likely if the debt ceiling is reached. Is he bluffing? The single question that Lew should be forced to answer is why the Treasury has not reformed its bill payment system that the Inspector General revealed in 2012 is on a first in, first out basis rather than prioritizing default-stopping interest payments on the debt in the event the borrowing limit is reached.

“After the 2011 debt ceiling confrontation, the fact this has not been fixed is beyond belief. It is gross mismanagement at best or a deliberate attempt to put the default gun to the head of the U.S. economy to prevent spending cuts.”
Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.

Tags: Americans for Limited Government, Nathan Mehrens, press release, President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, Moody, report, debt ceiling, debt, false statements To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obamacare Rollout: ‘Wasn't Designed Well, Wasn't Implemented Well, Looks Like Nobody Tested It’

Today in Washington - Oct. 10, 2013 - Day 10 of Government Shutdown.

The Senate reconvened at 10:30 AM. The Senate has recessed subject to the call of the Chair for Democrats to attend a meeting with President Obama. Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) has failed to take up the bill set over yesterday by the House to fund the survivor benefits of military.

The House reconvened today at 10 AM. They will be taking up H.J. Res. 79 — "Making continuing appropriations for certain components of the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed the House unanimously passed (425-0) H.J. Res. 91, the Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act, which ensures that death benefits to families of fallen troops will continue to be disbursed during the government shutdown. They also passed H.J. Res. 90 (254-172) — "Making continuing appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal year 2014."

Besides continuing to pass bills to fund the government which are pocketed by Senator Harry Reid, the House Republican leadership has continued to reach out to the Obama administration. This morning at a press conference House Speaker Boehner discussed the opportunity House Republicans will offer to President Obama today to move a short-term increase in the debt limit – a good-faith offer on the part of Republicans to meet the president halfway. As Boehner noted, it is now up to President Obama to come to the table to negotiate long-term solutions to reduce our debt and deficits, fund the government, and provide fairness for all Americans under his health care law. Following are Boehner’s remarks:“You know, the president is fond of saying that no one gets everything they want in a negotiation. And frankly, I agree with that. Nobody gets everything they want.

“But over the course of the last 10 days we’ve been trying to have conversations with our Democrat colleagues. They don’t want to talk. The president doesn’t want to talk. We tried to offer bills that would re-open parts of the government only to have them rejected by our counterparts over in the United States Senate.

“So what we want to do is to offer the president today the ability to move a temporary increase in the debt ceiling, an agreement to go to conference on the budget, for his willingness to sit down and discuss with us a way forward to re-open the government, and to start to deal with America’s pressing problems.

“Listen, it’s time for leadership. It's time for these negotiations and this conversation to begin. And I would hope that the president would look at this as an opportunity and a good-faith effort on our part to move halfway – halfway to what he’s demanded in order to have these conversations begin.”
As for Obamacare, stories continue to roll in today detailing the disastrous launch of the Obamacare exchange websites. The Washington Post noted that despite being warned that there were significant problems, the Obama administration decided to launch last week anyway.

Ed Morrissey posts a report from CBS News describing the Obamacare launch as “nothing short of disastrous.” Correspondent Jan Crawford reported, “In the past week, the president’s signature achievement has become the butt of late night jokes. . . . No one knows how many people have managed to enroll. The administration refuses to release those numbers, but the website’s launch has been nothing short of disastrous. Media outlets have struggled to find anyone who’s actually been successful. The Washington Post even illustrated that sought-after person as a unicorn. USA Today called the launch an ‘inexcusable mess’ and a ‘nightmare.’ White House officials initially blamed the problem on unexpectedly high volume . . . . But after the website went offline over the weekend for repairs, officials now are acknowledging other problems. . . . [C]omputer experts say the website has major flaws.” Crawford interviewed Luke Chung, a supporter of the law whose company builds online database programs. Chung did not hold back, saying, “It wasn’t designed well, it wasn’t implemented well, and it looks like nobody tested it. . . . It’s not even close. It’s not even ready for beta testing from my book. I would be ashamed and embarrassed if my organization delivered something like that.”

Politico reported on another potential problem yesterday: “Once you finally make it into, it’s not clear how you get out. For those who’ve busted through glitches on the federal Obamacare insurance website to create an account, there’s no clear, obvious way for consumers to delete the accounts if they choose — at least not in the current incarnation. A POLITICO reporter used’s customer support chat to request that an account be removed, but the support agent said the request would have to be referred to an ‘advanced’ customer service system. The option to delete account information has become a staple of online services, from Facebook to Amazon. But isn’t a private-sector business transaction. And on the federal health insurance portal, people for at least the next few weeks will have to create a basic account even to browse health plan options. . . . Privacy and tech experts had mixed reactions to the ‘delete’ gap. ‘You don’t want that information persisting on the website, especially when it’s clear you’re no longer interested in creating the account,’ said Chris Rasmussen, policy analyst at the Center for Democracy & Technology.”

It’s not just the federal exchange having problems, though. According to the AP, “Hawaii’s health insurance marketplace is hoping to turn around a stalled start by providing plans and pricing to consumers by Oct. 15 — but there are no guarantees, its executive director said Wednesday. . . . The insurance exchange — a key component of President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul — hasn’t been able to sell any insurance in Hawaii because of problems with the software at the heart of the marketplace. Consumers can’t see plans, even though a variety of options from two insurers have been approved to be sold by the state’s insurance division. The problems have meant consumers can only submit basic information using a web form, with the promise they’ll be contacted in a few weeks.”

And in Iowa, after the state insurance commissioner told the Des Moines Register that he didn’t know if any Hawkeye State residents had managed to sign up, The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper notices today that one TV station was told by an insurance provider that a total of five people had signed up. The reporter explained that the “system doesn't seem to be working for most who log-on” and that his station “tried multiple times on Wednesday to see how long it would take to set up an account to try to shop the rates from the plans. Each time we logged in, within 5 minutes, the system was down.”

Seeing all this obvious dysfunction, Americans are clearly not impressed. The AP writes today, “The debut of the government's health insurance marketplaces drew a huge audience - and underwhelming reviews. Just 7 percent of Americans say the rollout of the health exchanges has gone extremely well or very well, according to an AP-GfK poll. The reaction was somewhat better among supporters of the new health care law, but still middling: 19 percent said the rollout went extremely well or very well. . . . Three-fourths of those who tried to sign up reported problems, though, and that's reflected in the poor reviews. . . . Overall, 40 percent of Americans said the launch of the insurance markets hasn't gone well, 20 percent said it's gone somewhat well and 30 percent didn't know what to say. Just 7 percent said the launch had gone ‘very well’ or ‘somewhat well.’”

As Republicans have said from the beginning, this unpopular law was poorly designed, passed on a partisan basis in a slapdash fashion, was stuff full of regulations that are resulting in people losing their health care or paying a lot more for it, and the implementation of it is proving to be a complete mess. Yet Democrats still refuse to join Republicans to repeal and replace it or even delay its implementation.

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

Open Letter to President Obama

Jim DeMint
Jim DeMint, President of the Heritage Foundation released the following October 10, 2013 'open letter' to President Barack Obama.Dear Mr. President,
As the temporary slowdown in government operations enters its second week, I write to explain why conservatives have insisted on making the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act the prime source of contention. Speaking for our organization, I can tell you we’re in this fight because of the harm the law is inflicting on Americans across the country.

We are fighting for people like Michael Cerpok, a leukemia patient in Arizona, who recently learned he will lose his current health insurance due to this misguided law. He notes that “my $4,500 out-of-pocket [expense] is going to turn into a minimum of $26,000 out-of-pocket to see the doctor that I’ve been seeing the last seven years,” and he worries that he and his wife might need to take second jobs to stay afloat.

We are fighting for people like California resident Tom Waschura, who voted for you twice, yet was shocked by the higher premium bill he recently received in the mail. Tom’s insurance rates will go up by almost $10,000 for him and his family. He fears that these higher premiums will harm his family, and jobs in his area: “When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

We are fighting for people like Rod Coons and Florence Peace, a retired Indiana couple satisfied with their current coverage. “I’d prefer to stay with our current plan because it meets our needs,” says Rod. But their plan isn’t government-approved under Obamacare’s new rules, so Rod and Florence are losing their health insurance plan at the end of this year.

You have claimed that Obamacare has nothing to do with the budget. But over the next decade, this widely unpopular program will add nearly $1.8 trillion in new federal spending—and will cost taxpayers trillions more beyond that, making it nearly impossible to balance the federal budget. What’s more, for millions of struggling Americans, the law will crush their family budgets due to fewer work hours, lost jobs, and higher premiums. With the economy still mired in a scattered and sluggish recovery, these people deserve relief from Obamacare—and they deserve it now.

Your Administration has already granted numerous waivers and exemptions during the three years since the law was passed. Millions of union members received temporary waivers from the law’s costly benefit requirements. Big businesses have received a one-year delay from the onerous employer mandate—a delay your Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, struggled to defend in an interview earlier this week. And Members of Congress have obtained special treatment for themselves and their staffs—illegally—that allows them to continue to receive taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies.

At a time when so many Americans are suffering because of the rollout of this new law, I remain puzzled by your failure to acknowledge the faults caused by this unfair, unworkable, and unpopular measure. We believe the law should be fully repealed, but at minimum, both sides should agree not to fund the law for one year—a “time-out” that would halt the law’s most harmful effects before they start.

Even though Democrats have thus far refused to negotiate on anything related to the current government slowdown, millions of citizens need relief from this law. I encourage you and your Administration to work with Congress on ways to stop Obamacare from harming the American people and the American economy.
All the best,

Senator Jim DeMint
Heritage Foundation

Tags: Jim Demint, Heritage Foundation, Open Letter, Government shutdown, President Barack Obama To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Gingrich Responds 'I Was There" To Obama's 'False History' of the Clinton-Gingrich Shutdowns

Rep, Newt Gingrich Sworn in as House Speaker
Newt Gingrich, Newt Productions: In his press conference yesterday, President Obama added another item to his growing list of historical misrepresentations about spending and debt ceiling negotiations.

After claiming that never “in the history of the United States” had elected officials used the debt ceiling as political leverage (false), and after insinuating that it’s somehow unusual to expect presidents to negotiate over spending bills (absurd), Obama yesterday mixed a false history of the Clinton-Gingrich shutdowns into his press room lecture.

“[B]ack in the '90s we had a government shutdown,” he said. “That happened one time, and then after that, the Republican Party and Mr. Gingrich realized this isn't a sensible way to do business. You know, we shouldn't engage in brinksmanship like this, and then they started having a serious conversation with President Clinton about a whole range of issues, and they got some things that they wanted. They had to give the Democrats some things that the Democrats wanted. But it took on, you know, a sense of normal democratic process."

As one of the principal negotiators in the 1995-1996 budget showdown between Republicans and President Clinton, it is clear to me the President has a number of very important things wrong.

First, there were two shutdowns, not one, and that was important. In mid-November of 1995, the government closed for several days after Clinton vetoed our Continuing Resolution which contained more spending cuts than he was willing to accept.

The public blamed Republicans for the first shutdown much more than they blamed Clinton. A CNN/Gallup poll released at the time found that Americans blamed the GOP over the President by 2-to-1, 49 percent to 26 percent. In part this was because the press was anti-Republican. But in part it was because we’d made so clear beforehand that we were willing to close the government if necessary.

The pressure on us to cave was enormous. Instead, we refused to give-in, and worked with President Clinton to pass a very short-term extension of government funding and increase in the debt ceiling as negotiations continued. A month later, no compromise had been reached, and despite the media pressure on us, we allowed the government to close again, this time for three weeks.

Which leads to President Obama’s second false claim: that it wasn’t until after the shutdowns that we began a “serious conversation” with President Clinton to advance our priorities.

This could not be more mistaken. Clinton and I spoke virtually every day during the shutdowns. We were constantly negotiating. And more importantly, although the shutdowns were in some ways a temporary PR setback for Republicans (they did no lasting damage), they were critical in convincing the President and the country that we were serious about doing what said we’d do in 1994--and that we were willing to be tough to get it done. That was of enormous strategic value going forward.

President Obama is right that the shutdowns of 1995 were a pivotal moment which cleared the way for the success Republicans had afterward. But he’s very wrong about the reason.

It was after the shutdowns and significantly because of them that we achieved some of the greatest growth and opportunity for all Americans in a generation.

In 1996, we passed welfare reform, and in the next several years two out of every three Americans on welfare either went to work or went to school.

The House Republican majority was reelected for the first time since 1928.

We passed four consecutive balanced budgets, the only ones in our lifetimes.

We cut taxes for the first time in 17 years, including the largest capital gains tax cut in American history.

These big victories very well might not have happened if not for the shutdowns in 1995-1996.

The policy changes helped power an economic boom so big that it produced a $5 trillion turnaround in the fiscal outlook of the United States between January 1995 and January 1999, from a $2.7 trillion deficit over ten years to a $2.3 trillion surplus. The nation’s ten-year debt outlook went from 56 percent of GDP to just 12 percent.

What President Obama calls “brinksmanship” and not a “sensible way to do business” may be one of the most successful negotiations ever for Americans.

Republicans today face a very similar challenge to the one we faced in 1995, and with similar pressure to cave. Yet just as in 1995, they are proving to the President that he must take the Congress seriously.

Americans should hope Obama learns that lesson as well as President Clinton did, and with such strong results.
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. Newt and his wife, Callista, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries. The above commentary was shared via his daily email via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, former Speaker, Clinton-Gingrich Shutdown, President Obama, revisionist history, false history,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Confused About the Debt Ceiling? Check Out Debt Ceiling Briefing Book

by Gretchen Hamel, Executive Director, Public Notice: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that the debt ceiling must be raised by October 17th, but do you know what happens after that? Most people don’t. That’s why we put together a Debt Ceiling Briefing Book to answer questions surrounding the current fiscal debate.

For instance, did you know that there are four “extraordinary measures” the Treasury Department can use to continue paying the nation's bills? What about the fact that we’re now using the final extraordinary measures available, after exhausting all other options? Or, that if we continue on our current spending path, our debt-to-GDP ratio will reach 100% in just 25 years?

Clearly, the upcoming debt ceiling vote will have a large impact on our fiscal future, and all the facts you need to know are in this briefing book.

Tags: debt ceiling, briefing book, Public Notice, Gretchen Hamel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Prognosis: A Divided GOP House Reunited

Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Open warfare has broken out inside the GOP between Tea Party Insurgents and the Republican Party Regulars. It revolves around tactics, more than policy. It’s an old-fashioned power struggle.

The Insurgents’ protagonist is charismatic freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Behind him are a handful of powerful Insurgent leaders. Insurgent leaders need political boots on the ground. They’ve got them. Their most important generalissimo is Jim DeMint, with his ability to direct Heritage Action. Also important is the Tea Party Patriots’ Jenny Beth Martin. On the equally important money side there is FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth. Together these command potentially huge sums on behalf of potential primary challengers.

The party Regulars — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner — are in command but not, at the moment, in control. But this fight isn’t about principle. Both factions oppose Obamacare, and seriously. It’s about power.

The Insurgents demand a head-on confrontation: “defunding.” Of course, the power to defund most of Obamacare is out of the Congress’s hands. The Regulars intend, primarily, to let it capsize of its own misshapen design (taking down the Democratic Senate with it).

The Regulars have the approval of many principled, rock-ribbed, strategically proficient conservatives … such as Grover Norquist. Norquist is Obama’s bête noire, in many ways as rock-ribbed as they come. Norquist recently provided an acid critique of Cruz, telling the Washington Post:“… Cruz stood on the side and confused people about the fact that every Republican agrees. He said if you don’t agree with my tactic and with the specific structure of my idea, you’re bad. … Cruz said he would deliver the votes and he didn’t deliver any Democratic votes. He pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away.”The Insurgents control vast sums of political money. They have platoons of hardened activists. They are willing (even prefer) to field — and back — primary challengers. This has the Regulars temporarily paralyzed… to the Democratic Party’s glee.

Yet nothing, in the capital, ever is quite as it seems. The claim that the federal government has shut down is pure histrionics. Sen. Rand Paul pointed out to Sean Hannity that 85% of spending continues. The Weekly Standard (and practically nobody else) reported that 1,350,000 essential federal workers (almost two-thirds) continue to work.

This is misrepresented as a “government shutdown.” Nope.

By the Obama administration’s own admission, this is … a temporary modest reduction of inessential government services. How anticlimactic is that? The State-controlled media fears that if they were to tell it like it is we all would go back to watching reruns of Breaking Bad.

The very best report from the political front is that of Joshua Green in Bloomberg/BusinessWeek: Jim DeMint, Congressional Republicans’ Shadow Speaker:
“In mid-August, Jim DeMint … set off on a nine-city Defund Obamacare Town Hall Tour. … In each city, hundreds and sometimes thousands of true believers crammed into hotel ballrooms to hear him explain how, with enough pressure on legislators, Congress could be persuaded to withhold funding for the law and thereby halt it before public enrollment begins on Oct. 1. . . .

“Many Republicans looked on in horror as the defund movement gained steam. If the government shuts down, polls suggest blame will fall most heavily on the GOP. North Carolina Senator Richard Burr calls DeMint’s plan ‘the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.’ Representative Tom Cole, a veteran Oklahoma Republican, has likened the shutdown threat to ‘putting the gun to your own head. You’re basically saying, do what I want or I’ll shoot.’ DeMint doesn’t see why his ploy should hurt Republicans.

“…Heritage Action’s Sentinel program … trains activists in the manner of the Obama campaign. Only rather than solicit votes, the 5,000 Sentinels are rigorously briefed so they can parry politicians’ feints and dodges and pin them down on whatever issues Heritage deems urgent.”
Luckily for both GOP factions the shutdown is proving to be mostly a nonevent. 36 reasons why the “shutdown” is overblown may be found

The Obama administration barricading the World War II Memorial, and shutting down of such trivial-cost services like the US Census Bureau website, merely are petty acts of self-vandalism. They are intended to put some hurt, or at least ignominy, to the American people. They do so lest the American people tumble to the (correct) conclusion that a lot of what our grandiose federal government does either is inconsequential (Hello, GSA!) or mostly inimical to the public interest. (Yes, EPA, this means you.)

Still, the threat of primaries by activists, funded by deep-pocketed Insurgent SuperPACs, has paralyzed the ability of the Republican leadership to move the GOP caucus. Norquist divulged Leadership’s likely preferred strategy in his Washington Post interview:“[T]he leverage isn’t the debt ceiling. It’s not the CR. It’s the sequester. Democrats think this is desperate privation. It’s like the Kennedy kids with only one six-pack. They feel they’ve never been so mistreated. So there’s something they want. And there’s something Republicans want. So you could see a deal there. And the leverage was the sequester. That’s what struck me as what leadership was thinking about, and it made a great deal of sense.

“The second thought was to have a conversation over the one-year delay. A two-month conversation about delay would be healthy for the body politic. And maybe you’d get the delay. There’s no shame in the delay. Microsoft is always delaying Office. You could do it without humiliating the president.”
This is no counsel of defeatism or timidity. It’s… strategy

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and
enate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 
Meanwhile… the strategic efforts of McConnell and Boehner on another key front are paying off. The central Tea Party issue, prior to Obamacare, was cutting federal spending. This columnist participated in Tea Party protest rallies, and co-led one, against out of control spending.

Guess what? Spending’s plummeting.

Supply side icons Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore have some big news for the less observant. In the latest issue of the American Spectator, their Obamanomics RIP:“Washington is experiencing one of the biggest fiscal retrenchments in modern history, and almost no one is paying attention. In the wake of the Bush-Pelosi-Obama spending splurge from 2008-11, federal spending has fallen by 3.1 percentage points of GDP. … The turning point in spending from the binge years of 2009 and 2010 came when the Republicans took control of the House in 2011. . . .

“Not since the economic boom following World War II have we seen such a rapid decline in the federal government’s claim on the nation’s resources. … This is the first time in 50 years we’ve had two straight years of declining spending.”
It, of course, would be premature for the GOP to declare victory over spending. Deeper spending cuts are needed, and urgently. But the downtrend is dramatic. Hello my fellow Tea Partiers? This didn’t happen automatically or easily. The House and Senate Republican leadership deserves the credit. Mr. DeMint? Take a bow! And then send Boehner and McConnell each a bouquet for this signal victory in the war against Big Government.

The ability of the GOP decisively to roll back the Democrats’ social democratic jihad depends on the outcome of next year’s mid-term elections. And, as the founder of the Republican Party once famously observed, a House divided against itself cannot stand.

So how does the GOP reunite against the common foe, Big Government? The shrewdly calibrated efforts of Boehner to unwind the overblown “shutdown” likely will succeed. Moreover, the wily Boehner likely has vastly more leverage over his caucus to avert the threat of default. Boehner may use the absolute necessity — and his absolute commitment — to prevent default as a force majeure to get the Republican caucus to go along with sort-of-reopening the sort-of-slightly-closed government.

And if he can pull that off … the “McConnell Strategy” of turning the 2014 elections into a plebiscite on a practically and politically ruinous Obamacare may again be pushed to the fore. McConnell’s approach provides the very best chance for the Republicans to regain a Senate majority in 2014.

And it opens the door for a good across-the-board conservative to be positioned to enter the White House in 2016. Even the liberal Washington Post acknowledges that “Americans are more conservative than they have been in decades.”

Boehner and McConnell are likely, and likely sooner than later, to get their panicky caucus members under control. Then the question of how to repeal Obamacare — especially, by offering a tenable market-based solution to the health insurance mess, thereby regaining the moral high ground — will be rediscovered as something for heated, but civil, debate. The GOP then will reunite around its mission to continue downsizing Leviathan and restoring economic growth and job creation through good, free market, policy.
Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. This article first appeared in Forbes.

Tags: House divided, Congress, John Boehner, The Senate, Mitch McConnell, Obamacare, Ralph Benko<  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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