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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, November 22, 2013

Legal Group to 13,000 School Districts: Christmas IS Constitutional

by Bethany Monk, CitizenLink: A Christian legal group sent a letter Wednesday to more than 13,000 school districts across the country reminding officials that students are allowed to celebrate Christmas.

This comes just after a small charter school in South Carolina cancelled its Operation Christmas Child project after a group sent a threatening letter.

“Schools shouldn’t have to think twice about whether they can celebrate Christmas,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “School districts can and should allow religious Christmas carols to be part of their school productions, and they can lawfully help impoverished children through community service projects such as Operation Christmas Child.”

Renee Mathews, principal of East Point Academy in Columbia, S.C., told Fox News she had no choice but to halt the project. The American Humanist Association, in its letter, claims the academy’s involvement with Operation Christmas Child is unconstitutional.

ADF’s memo underscores the rights of schools and students to participate in community service projects sponsored by faith-based organizations.

“Public schools’ confusion about this issue and the legalities of celebrating Christmas in other ways has been largely caused by inaccurate information about the Establishment Clause,” according to the ADF letter.

It cites examples of school districts in Wisconsin and New Jersey that wrongly censored Christmas carols, but then changed their positions in response to public outcry and letters

ADF has available on its website a Christmas and Public Schools Myth/ Fact sheet. It outlines the religious freedom protections of students and teachers.

“The Constitution both allows and protects the celebration of Christmas in public schools,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope the materials we are providing to school districts will help clear up the misinformation.” . . . [More Info Links]

Tags: Christmas is Constitutional, School Districts, Alliance Defending Freedom, Citizen Link, Bethany Monk To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Myth and Reality Surround Kennedy

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I was in the Miami, Florida office of a human relations organization when someone burst in to say that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. The date was November 22, 1963, fifty years ago.

I was age 26, had graduated from the University of Miami, served in the Army until my discharge in 1962. My first job took me back to Miami, but at the time Kennedy was killed, my enthusiasm for it had departed and I took the occasion to let my boss know that I too was departing. I returned home to New Jersey where I would pursue a career in journalism for several years.

There are moments that mark one’s progress through life. For anyone alive at the time, most can tell you where they were. The Kennedy assassination didn’t just come as a shock to the nation; the world felt the loss as well. He was handsome, articulate, married to a beautiful wife, Jacqueline or Jackie as she was more often called. He had two cute children.

It was a time of considerable turmoil at home and abroad. The civil rights movement was gaining momentum. The women's rights movement began in earnest. Indeed, the entire decade left its mark on history. Just five years later in 1968 Kennedy’s brother, Robert, was assassinated during his campaign to become President. Two months earlier, in April, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis.

No one wants to live such turmoil, but the 1960s bequeathed its values to our culture—sex, drugs and rock’n roll—and our politics. Without that decade’s civil rights movement, it is unlikely Americans would have elected a black President in 2008. Two generations have been born since the 1960s.

For those of us in our twenties, fifty years ago, the optimism we felt with Kennedy in office was replaced with a growing sense of pessimism as the Vietnam War lingered through Johnson’s administration and into Nixon’s. Watergate severed most feelings of confidence in whoever was the nation’s chief executive until Ronald Reagan came on the scene. I am known these days as a conservative commentator, but back then I was a Democrat and a liberal.

Countless books have been written about Kennedy’s life and death. There have been films and television programs devoted to him. He wasn’t in office long, serving from 1961 to 1963, but his youth, his personality, his love of the arts, and other pleasing attributes made him very different from his older predecessors.

America loves youth. It indulges the young, makes “idols” of some, and devotes most of its entertainment to them. They bring energy to the passing scene, but they are unwittingly and unknowingly the passing scene. Fifty years after the assassination is already “ancient” history to new generations.

Lost in the story of that fateful day is the fact that Kennedy was assassinated by a Communist.

That was my thought as I address the fact that fifty years have passed since JFK was killed. It is my generation who lived through the event. To think that a half-century has gone by since that day takes a moment to contemplate; to ask what I have done with my life since then. It is a question others of my generation will ask as well. In the past fifty years, with the exception of the 1980s, the nation has moved inexorably to the left.

History turns on such events. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914 triggered World War One. The assassination of JFK led to the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson who dragged the nation into a distant civil war in Vietnam and included a fruitless domestic “war on poverty”, a liberal program that was doomed to failure in the same way Obamacare is.

As the French say, Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes — the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In retrospect many observers have concluded that Kennedy was in many respects a conservative. He was a religious man. He opposed Communism. He increased spending to the military. He cut taxes. One can go on, but it is obvious now that he was not the liberal many would have us believe. That is a myth.

As I think back, I realize how little I knew of the politics of the years in which I was attending university, serving in the Army, or working that first job in Miami. My political education began when I was a young journalist, but my political maturity did not begin until the 1980s when Ronald Reagan served his two terms.

It was nice being young when Kennedy was President. Being old, as Barack Obama - a Marxist uses the presidency to destroy the nation, is a nightmare.
Alan Caruba 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: myth, realty, John F. Kennedy, cultural changes, Alan Caruba To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Government Turkeys Ruining Thanksgiving

By William Warren

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

The Doctor Is Out

Patients Across The Country Are Losing Their Doctors Because Of Obamacare
OBAMA PROMISE: “…we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.” (President Obama, 6/15/09)

SEBELIUS PROMISE: “The bottom line is that under the Affordable Care Act, if you like your doctor and plan, you can keep them.” (Sec. Sebelius, 6/14/10)

‘They’re Doing Away With My Doctor… That’s Not Right’
“As Americans have begun shopping for health plans on the insurance exchanges, they are discovering that insurers are restricting their choice of doctors and hospitals in order to keep costs low, and that many of the plans exclude top-rated hospitals.” (“Insurers Restricting Choice Of Doctors And Hospitals To Keep Costs Down,” Washington Post, 11/20/13)
FL Senior: “The AARP managed care network [George Smith] had relied on for years will drop all eight of his and his wife's doctors as of Jan. 1. ‘I couldn't believe it. I have my house and car and everything insured through AARP,’ said Smith, 73. ‘I thought, “They are not going to drop me. I've been a member for years.”’ … Patients have received letters telling them to seek new physicians if they want to stay on the plan. Doctors … have learned that AARP plans will stop paying for their services next year.” (“Patients Scramble After AARP Medicare Advantage Plans Drop Providers,” Tampa Bay Times, 10/21/13)

NH Doctor: ‘pretty shocking not be able to come to your own hospital’ “…in New Hampshire… a rude awakening for Dr. Jocelyn Caple, who works at one of the excluded hospitals, Frisbie Memorial in Rochester, N.H., where she's president of the medical staff. … ‘We all use Frisbie physicians,’ she said. Although there's another facility she could go to next year, ‘it's pretty shocking not be able to come to your own hospital.’ As an Obama supporter, Caple is troubled.” (“Limited Patient Choice Next Health Overhaul Issue,” AP, 11/20/13)

NM Resident: “I am one of the previously happy insured who is going to lose my existing policy at the end of the year, lose my primary care physician and pay substantially more for comparable coverage.” (“Losing Policy, Longtime Doctor, Cancer Specialists,” Albuquerque Journal, 11/22/13)

NY Senior: ‘Obama had said I could keep my doctor. Now they’re doing away with my doctor. They kicked him out! After 20 years, that’s not right.’ “ObamaCare is making seniors sick. Elderly New Yorkers are in a panic after getting notices that insurance companies are booting their doctors from the Medicare Advantage program as a result of the shifting medical landscape under ObamaCare… [Dr. Jonathan] Leibowitz’s patients are furious. Alfred Gargiulio, who has cerebral palsy with a seizure disorder, has been seeing Leibowitz since 1993. ‘Obama had said I could keep my doctor. Now they’re doing away with my doctor. They kicked him out! After 20 years, that’s not right. We love Dr. Leibowitz,’ said Gargiulio.” (“Elderly Patients Sick Over Losing Doctors Under Obamacare,” New York Post, 10/25/13)

TX Artist: ‘I am one of those Democrats who wanted it to be better… I wouldn’t be able to go to the doctor I’ve been going to for years’ “Marlys Dietrick, a 60-year-old artist from San Antonio, said she had high hopes... But she said they have been turned off by high premiums and deductibles and would rather pay the fine. ‘I am one of those Democrats who wanted it to be better than this,’ she said. … ‘I wouldn’t be able to go to the doctor I’ve been going to for years,’ she said. ‘That is not a deal.’” (“For Consumers Whose Health Premiums Will Go Up Under New Law, Sticker Shock Leads To Anger,” Washington Post, 11/3/13)

AZ Resident: “My son is 1-1/2 and he has a preexisting condition. It's a heart defect. My wife and I received a letter this week that his cardiologist group is getting dropped from our health care provider on November 1st … being forced upon them by Obamacare.” (“Victim of Obamacare Loses His Doctor,” The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/31/13)

FL Senior: “A Medicare Advantage plan that covers 35,000 beneficiaries in Southwest Florida is dropping at least 300 doctors and hard-to-find medical specialists from its Southwest Florida network… Cape Coral resident Joseph Ryan said his 92-year-old mother will lose access to her regular dermatologist, orthopedist and gastroenterologist, among others. He's heard similar stories involving scores of doctors from others. ‘That's an awful lot of doctors and an awful lot of people who are going to have to figure out what to do in January,’ Ryan said. ‘It's not just one or two doctors.’” (“United Healthcare Dumps Doctors,” The News-Press, 10/18/13)

NY Senior: “It hurts, it hurts inside and it’s a terrible feeling to think that you can’t get what you want” “Doctors are getting bumped off plans and their patients are getting worried, Brennan reported. ‘I just can’t believe it because this is the man you rely on,’ heart patient Leonard Goldberg, 82, said. ‘It hurts, it hurts inside and it’s a terrible feeling to think that you can’t get what you want,’ Tony Molesphini, 83, said. ‘Nobody wants to die, me above all people,’ 79-year-old Jim Heffernan said. The three men with heart trouble say their biggest problem is losing the doctor they’ve had for decades, and they fear for their future. … They claim that they that this is a way of cutting costs which they have to do because they are getting a reduction in their reimbursement for the Medicare Advantage plans due to the Affordable Care Act,” [Dr. David Hess] told Brennan.” (“Doctors Dropped By Insurers As Affordable Care Act Rollout Continues,” CBS New York, 11/1/13)

Patient: ‘I don't want to change my doctor’ “MEGYN KELLY: ‘…we get a chance to sit down today with a few people from a growing group of Americans now losing their plans and their doctors. We don't know all of the reasons yet. We know that these patients and their positions believe it is due to ObamaCare and they are not happy.’ CATHY YAPOUZIS, PATIENT: ‘I don't want to change my doctor, I don't want to go to another office. I like my doctor. I'm happy.’ CARMINE REGINA MINICHINO, PATIENT: ‘We got a letter in the mail. A very cold letter.’ ROB DZODZO, PATIENT: ‘All of a sudden, you get a letter in the mail? You know, stating that the doctor is no longer in the plan. They don't give you any reason why.’ WALMOTH STRAKER, PATIENT: ‘With your specialist, you have to find somebody different, too. So, there is a phone number in here. This letter that I can also call. I'm saying, gee, what am I doing? Shopping for groceries or what? This is a serious situation here. It's a health problem.’” (Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” 10/28/13)

Tags: The Doctor is Out, Obamacare, letter in the mail To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Congress Recessed for Thanksgiving Break | Replaying The Democrats Reshaping The Senate

As President Obama said, they got away with it.
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 22, 2013
The House had adjourned for Thanksgiving recess and will reconvene on Monday, December 2 at 2 PM.

The Senate has adjourned for Thanksgiving recess and will reconvene on Monday, December 9. That evening, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the nomination of Patricia Millett to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the DC Circuit.

Yesterday, despite their vehement opposition to this maneuver when Republicans had a majority in the Senate, majority Democrats voted use the nuclear option and break the Senate rules to change those rules. Democrats violated the traditions of the Senate that protect minority rights in a power grab designed to allow confirmation of judicial and executive nominees designed to rubberstamp the Obama agenda.

After breaking the rules of the Senate to change the rules, Democrats then proceeded with their court-packing plan, and used the new threshold of only 51 votes to invoke cloture on a nomination to cut off debate on the nomination of Patricia Millett to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Democrats then tried to cut off debate on S. 1197, the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense authorization bill, but Republicans blocked the move.

Today, in an op-ed for USA Today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained what Senate Democrats did yesterday in using the nuclear option to strip the minority of its ability to check and balance on nominations. “After the election of George W. Bush, Democrats in the Senate decided to change the way presidential nominees had been considered for more than two centuries. They embarked on an unprecedented, years-long filibustering frenzy — going so far as to filibuster one judicial nominee seven times, while blocking many other qualified nominees, too. The Republican majority considered deploying the ‘nuclear option’ at the time to end Democrats' filibustering, but ultimately (and wisely, in my opinion) declined to do so. Then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., made this plea: ‘I pray God when the Democrats take back control, we don't make the (same) kind of naked power grab.’ Well, Thursday they did. . . . This ‘naked power grab,’ as Biden put it, is dangerous for our democracy. Rather than learn from past precedents, Democrats have set yet another one; they will one day regret this one, too, when the Senate majority inevitably changes — as it always does.”

And while this was happening in the Senate yesterday, Americans continued to struggle with the consequences of the last time Senate Democrats made a power grab and passed Obamacare with absolutely no check from the minority.

As Sen. McConnell said yesterday, the nuclear option “doesn’t distract people from Obamacare. It reminds them of it. It reminds them of all the broken promises. It reminds them of the power grab. It reminds them of the way Democrats set up one set of rules for themselves and another for everybody else. It’s basically the same debate. And rather than distract people from Obamacare, it only reinforces the narrative of a party that is willing to do and say just about anything to get its way. Because that’s just what they’re doing all over again. . . .  the parallels between this latest skirmish and the original Obamacare push are just too obvious to ignore. Think about it: The Majority Leader promised over and over again that he wouldn’t break the rules of the Senate in order to change them. On July 14, he went on ‘Meet the Press’ and he said: ‘We’re not touching judges.’ He may as well just have said ‘If you like the rules of the Senate you can keep them.’”

And just like Reid’s promise that “We’re not touching judges,” he also broke his promise to Americans that “if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” And so did Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), one of the principle authors of Obamacare, who said that “for all Americans - all Americans - premiums will be lower,” and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of Democrat leadership, who said in 2009 that Obamacare “will reduce costs for people.”

Both Baucus and Murray voted for the nuclear option yesterday, too ) USA Today reports, “Sweeping differences in health care exchange pricing among states and counties is leading to sticker shock for some middle-class consumers and others who aren't eligible for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. . . . The premiums for bronze-level plans are generally the least expensive, but ‘the deductibles are simply not affordable,’ says Laura Stack, a former financial analyst looking for full-time work and using her 401k to pay for health insurance. ‘Many will not be able to afford the per person deductibles before insurance begins to pay. What are you really paying for?’”

As Americans see more and more of these promises broken (as Republicans warned), support for Obamacare keeps dropping. “Nearly half of Americans now hold an unfavorable view of the law and only a third like it, according to the poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. . . . The 16-percentage point gap between positive and negative views is almost the largest it has been since the foundation began its monthly tracking poll in April 2010. . . . Support among Democrats plunged from 70% last month to 55%. Women, who were split over the merits of the law month, have turned against it, with views mirroring the overall public view this month. . . . With 49% of people opposing the law and 33% favoring it.

A Washington Post-ABC poll found a 57% majority against the law, with 40% favoring it.  Gallup found that 55% of people disapprove of the law while 40% like it.” It’s worth noting that the Kaiser poll has traditionally been the poll showing higher support for Obamacare than other polls.

As Leader McConnell said yesterday, “Let me be clear: the Democrat playbook of broken promises, double standards, and raw power…the same playbook that got us Obamacare…it has to end. That’s why Republicans are going to keep their focus where it belongs: on the concerns of the American people. It means we’re going to keep pushing to get back to the drawing board on health care – to replace Obamacare with real reforms that do not punish the middle class.”

Tags: Congress, recessed, Democrats breaking rules, Changing the rules To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sinking Fast

by William Warren

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

Reflecting On The Ash Heap of History . . .

. . . Provides Hope For the Future.

by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: history, ash heap, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Dems Go Nuclear, Revenge Comes Iin November

photo via Mother Jones
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: Senate Democrats, in a desperate attempt to change the subject from their willful destruction of health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, decided to destroy the basic principles of the Senate that have served the country well for over 200 years. We can look forward to a new era of even more divisive, bare-knuckled partisan politics in Washington. Less of American life will be insulated from politics. There is no going back.

Senate Democrats broke Senate rules in order to change the rules, eliminating the filibuster and paving the way for the Senate to become a majoritarian body, like the House, rather than a consensus-driven body consistent with the design of the founders. Moreover, they did so in order to stack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals with liberal Democrats who are expected to rubber-stamp nearly everything President Obama does – lawful or otherwise.

In 2005, when Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist first proposed this nuclear option, Harry Reid let the fight to stop him. He went to extraordinary lengths to defend his party’s use of the filibuster.

In 2008, Reid said “In all my years in government, that was the most important thing I ever worked on.” Reid succeeded and Frist failed because at least seven Republicans refused to go along with their leader’s call to break the rules. Asked if the Senate would ever consider such a move again, Reid said: “As long as I’m the leader, the answer is no.”

But in July of this year, Reid was set go nuclear with his own rule-breaking rule-change on executive branch nominees. Only executive branch, he insisted, saying: “We're not talking about changing the filibuster rules that relates to nominations for judges.”

Republicans backed down and let the executive branch nominees sail through. But Reid was only emboldened.

Now Reid has done what Frist did not. He destroyed the Senate’s tradition of filibuster and unlike the Frist attempt in 2005, Reid’s rule-breaking power grab had enough party discipline to get passed the finish line. All but three Democrats (Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas) went along with the scheme.

With a quick four month slippage from executive branch only to judges, it won’t likely long before the filibuster is also gutted for legislation and the Senate, like the House, becomes a simple majoritarian body.

As Reid himself noted on the Senate floor during the Frist attempt in 2005, this is a major change in American governance:

“For 200 years, we’ve had the right to extended debate. It’s not some ‘procedural gimmick.’ It’s within the vision of the Founding Fathers of our country. They established a government so that no one person – and no single party – could have total control.”

He didn’t know then that total control – which until now required 60 Senate votes – would soon be within his own grasp and would result in the health care debacle the country now faces. Now such total control will be far more routine, requiring only 50 Senate votes. It’s entirely possible Republicans will enjoy it after the next presidential election.

The upside is that fundamental tax reform, sweeping regulatory reform, and other pro-growth ideas that have long been sidelined would become possible. But any major legislative accomplishment would also become far more likely to be washed away in the next swing of the political pendulum. Public policy will be less stable and long-term business planning will be confounded.

American life just became far more political, far more subject to shifting political whims and less subject to bipartisan consensus building.

This is what Harry Reid and the Democrats have wrought.

The only response now is to make the Democrats regret gutting the rights of the minority party by making them that party. The stakes are higher than ever. Just win.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America .... Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

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

Democrat Senators Go Nuclear To Help Obama Pack The Courts To Support His EPA And Obamacare Agenda

Today in Washington, D.C. Senate Democrats Go Nuclear - Nov. 12, 2014:
The Senate reconvened at 10:30 AM today and resumed consideration of S. 1197, the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense authorization bill

Today, despite their vehement opposition to this maneuver when Republicans had a majority in the Senate, majority Democrats voted use the nuclear option and break the Senate rules to change those rules. Democrats violated the traditions of the Senate that protect minority rights in a power grab designed to allow confirmation of judicial and executive nominees designed to rubberstamp the Obama agenda.

After breaking the rules of the Senate to change the rules, Democrats then proceeded with their court-packing plan, and used the new threshold of only 51 votes to invoke cloture on a nomination to cut off debate on the nomination of Patricia Millett to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

The House convened at 9 AM and have already passed H.R. 1900 (252-165) — "To provide for the timely consideration of all licenses, permits, and approvals required under Federal law with respect to the siting, construction, expansion, or operation of any natural gas pipeline projects." No addition bill will be considered today. Prior to the final passage of H.R. 1900, the House rejected by recorded votes five additional democrat proposed amendments.

Yesterday the House passed he following bills:
H.R. 1965 (228-192) — "To streamline and ensure onshore energy permitting, provide for onshore leasing certainty, and give certainty to oil shale development for American energy security, economic development, and job creation, and for other purposes." Five additional Democrat proposed amendments to the bill were rejected before passage.
H.R. 2728 (235-187)— "To recognize States' authority to regulate oil and gas operations and promote American energy security, development, and job creation." The following Amendments were approved by voice vote before the bill passed:
Flores (R-TX) – Amendment No. 2 to H.R. 2728 – Requires states to submit a copy of their hydraulic fracturing regulations and chemical disclosure requirements to the BLM for public disclosure and provides other technical/clarifying changes.
Reed (R-NY), Costa (D-CA) – Amendment No. 3 to H.R. 2728 – Directs the GAO to conduct a study on the economic benefits of domestic oil and gas production as result of hydraulic fracturing including job creation, energy prices and State and Federal revenues - as modified.
Jackson Lee (D-TX) – Amendment No. 5 to H.R. 2728 – The Secretary shall conduct an massive new completely undefined annual review of all state hydraulic fracturing activity (including everything from drilling and contacts to regulation and oversight) and submit a report to Congress.
While two additional radical Amendments by Democrats were rejected by recorded votes:
Holt (D-NJ), Peters, Scott (D-CA), Polis (D-CO) – Amendment No. 1 to H.R. 2728 – Allows the Secretary of the Interior to continue to regulate fracturing if done through regulations to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations on public lands. - REJECTED 190 – 230
DeFazio (D-OR) – Amendment No. 4 to H.R. 2728 – Prohibits the export of natural gas produced from public lands. – REJECTED 142 – 276

After years of threats, Senate Democrats, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid finally pulled the trigger on the nuclear option today, eliminating the minority’s right to use the filibuster on judges and executive branch nominations.

Democrats lined up to support what they deemed “an outrageous abuse of power” in 2005. At that time, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) called the tactic “an outrageous abuse of power that would pack the courts with out-of-the-mainstream judges.” Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), now the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said a majority that did so is “willing to sacrifice the role of the Senate as a check and balance in order to aid a President determined to pack the Federal courts.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said senators supporting the nuclear option “are willing to break the rules of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate” and “are willing to use the nuclear option to destroy the filibuster and to really destroy our system of checks and balances.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said it would be “stripping the Senate of its constitutional role” and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) warned, “It is important that we do not let another President try to pack the courts. The Senate cannot become merely a rubberstamp for any President.”

Reid, Leahy, Durbin, Murray, Reed, and 47 other Senate Democrats all voted against their prior warnings when they filibustered President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees and voted to strip the ability to filibuster President Obama’s nominees so they can pack the D.C. Circuit Court with liberal nominees who will rubberstamp the president’s agenda.

Outraged, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the Democrats’ power grab and explained that this was a desperate attempt to distract from the failures of Obamacare. “The President and his Democrat allies were so determined to force their vision of health care on the public that they assured them up and down that they wouldn’t lose the plans they had, that they’d save money instead of losing it, and that they’d be able to keep using the doctors and hospitals they were already using. But of course now we know that rhetoric just doesn’t match reality.
And the stories we’re hearing on a near-daily basis now range from heartbreaking to comic. Just yesterday I saw a story about a guy getting a letter in the mail saying his dog had qualified for insurance under Obamacare. So yeah, I’d probably be running for the exits too if I had supported this law. I’d be looking to change the subject just as Senate Democrats have been doing with their threats of going nuclear and changing the Senate rules on nominations. If I were a senator from Oregon, which hasn’t enrolled a single person yet for its Obamacare exchange, I would probably want to shift the focus too.”

He continued, “[H]ere’s the problem with this latest distraction. It doesn’t distract people from Obamacare. It reminds them of it. It reminds them of all the broken promises. It reminds them of the power grab. It reminds them of the way Democrats set up one set of rules for themselves and another for everybody else. It’s basically the same debate. And rather than distract people from Obamacare, it only reinforces the narrative of a party that is willing to do and say just about anything to get its way. Because that’s just what they’re doing all over again. Once again, Senate Democrats are threatening to break the rules of the Senate in order to change the rules of the Senate. And over what? Over a court that doesn’t even have enough work to do. Millions of Americans are hurting because of a law Washington Democrats forced upon them – and what do they do about it? . . . the parallels between this latest skirmish and the original Obamacare push are just too obvious to ignore. Think about it: The Majority Leader promised over and over again that he wouldn’t break the rules of the Senate in order to change them. On July 14 he went on ‘Meet the Press’ and he said: ‘We’re not touching judges.’ He may as well just have said ‘If you like the rules of the Senate you can keep them.’”

“And let’s not forget about the raw power at play here. On this point, the similarities between the Obamacare debate and the Democrat threat to go nuclear on nominations are inescapable. They muscled through Obamacare on a party-line vote and didn’t care about the views of the minority. And that’s just what they’re doing here too. The American people decided not to give Democrats the House or to restore the filibuster-proof majority they had in the Senate back in 2009, and our Democrat colleagues don’t like that one bit. So they’re trying to change the rules of the game to get their way. They’ve said so themselves. Earlier this year the Senior Senator from New York said they want to ‘fill up the D.C. Circuit one way or another.’ And the reason is clear. As one liberal activist put it earlier this year, President Obama’s agenda ‘runs through the D.C. Circuit.’ In short, unlike the first two years of the Obama Administration, there’s now a legislative check on the President. And the Administration doesn’t much like checks and balances. So it wants to circumvent the people’s representatives with an aggressive regulatory agenda, and our Democrat colleagues want to facilitate that by ‘filling up’ a court that will rule on his agenda — a court that doesn’t even have enough work to do. Especially if it means changing the subject from Obamacare for a few days.” “Let me be clear,” he concluded, “the Democrat playbook of broken promises, double standards, and raw power…the same playbook that got us Obamacare…it has to end.”

In a press conference following Democrats’ vote to break the rules, Leader McConnell reminded reporters that the American people will have the final say here. “The American people are deeply disturbed by this administration and this Senate. And as Senator Alexander ended his remarks by saying the solution to this problem is an election. The solution to this problem's at the ballot box.”

Tags: Democrats, Go nuclear, change senate rules, packing the courts, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

‘We’re Not Touching Judges’

Senate Democrats Once Opposed Using The Nuclear Option To Pack The Courts

July ‘13 – Dems Promised ‘We're Not Touching Judges’
QUESTION: “In 2005, you said that changing these rules would be a black chapter in the history of the country. It would ruin our country and that you should not be able to willy-nilly change the rules of the Senate. Isn't this being a little hypocritical about changing the rules now?” SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “...I -- I wasn't talking about changing the rules for nominees. I was talking about changing the rules for judges. OK?”(Sen. Reid, Remarks At The Center For American Progress Action Fund, 7/15/13)
  • SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “We’re not touching judges. That's what they were talking about. This is not judges.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 7/14/13)
  • SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “We're not talking about changing the filibuster rules that relates to nominations for judges. …this is not about judges.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 7/14/13)
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): “…I think any president should have the ability to put people in place for the -- at the pleasure of the president. These are not judges. That's a whole another issue.” (MSNBC, 7/9/13)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): “…I don't understand why for these nominees, I'm not talking about judges here, I'm talking about the president's team, of which there are currently over 180 people that are just pending right now before the Senate for the Executive Office nominations. Why we can't just do 51 votes is beyond me.” (ABC’s “This Week,” 7/14/13)

Dems Called It ‘An Outrageous Abuse Of Power’
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “…the so-called nuclear option… attempt to rewrite Senate rules so we would be another House of Representatives; that we would throw away the Constitution of the United States so the Federal courts could be packed.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8911, 9/5/06)
  • REID: “We stand united against an outrageous abuse of power that would pack the courts with out-of-the-mainstream judges.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5198, 5/16/05)
SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “…on the brink of a terrible moment in the United States Senate when the majority leader would break the rules to change the rules in order to achieve the President's goal of packing the courts.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.6288, 6/9/05)
  • LEAHY: “The American people deserve better than what we have seen with the destruction of rule after rule by a majority willing to sacrifice the role of the Senate as a check and balance in order to aid a President determined to pack the Federal courts. It is the courts themselves that serve as the check on the political branches. Their independence is critical and must be preserved.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.5387, 5/18/05)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “Sadly, they have many allies in high places--allies in the Senate who are willing to break the rules of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate … pack the Federal courts with judges more of their liking, judges who are not activist by their definition. Today their allies in the Senate are willing to use the nuclear option to destroy the filibuster and to really destroy our system of checks and balances.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.5288, 5/17/05)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “By stripping the Senate of its constitutional role, we are seeing the effort to pack the courts with radical judges, push an extreme agenda, and leave millions of Americans behind.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.5420, 5/18/05)

SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): “It is important that we do not let another President try to pack the courts. The Senate cannot become merely a rubberstamp for any President. The independence of the courts is critical to protecting the Constitution and the rights of individuals.” (Sen. Reed, Congressional Record, S.4468, 4/28/05)

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): “We are not going to do this. We are not going to see a packing of the courts. We are going to preserve the filibuster.” (Sen. Boxer, Congressional Record, S.6198, 6/8/05)

Tags: Democrat, U.S. Senators, History, we're not touching judges, 2005, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Dems Past Statement: If You Like Your Senate Rules, You Can Keep Them

They Broke Their Promises On Obamacare, Now They’re Breaking Their Word On The Nuclear Option

Dem Leader Said They Wouldn’t Go Nuclear, Especially On Judges
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “We're not talking about changing the filibuster rules that relates to nominations for judges.” (Sen. Reid, Press Briefing, 7/11/13)

>SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “We're not touching judges.
That's what they were talking about. This is not judges.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 7/14/13)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “…I will oppose any effort in this Congress or the next to change the Senate's rules other than through the regular order” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.325, 1/27/11)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “Resolutions related to Senate procedure would be subject to a regular order process” (Sens. Reid & McConnell, Congressional Record, S.272-3, 1/24/13)

Dem Broken Promises On Obamacare Are Famous
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “…if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8642, 8/3/09)

SEC. SEBELIUS: “We are very much on track to be ready Oct. 1” (The Kansas City Star, 9/20/13)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “…my proposal would bring down the cost of health care…” (President Obama, Remarks, 3/3/10)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “This law will lower premiums.” (President Obama, Remarks To ‘Families USA,’ 1/28/11)

Tags: Democrat, past statements, current statements, Senate Rules To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

While Obama Remakes The Courts, Harry Reid Pushes To Remake the Senate To Accommodate Obama

by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: Every few months, it seems, Harry Reid (D-NV) threatens to upend the Senate so that he can push something through without following the rules.

This time, it’s the President’s judicial nominees.

President Obama is already well on his way to remaking federal courts in the liberal image, but Reid insists this isn’t happening fast enough. The Senate Majority Leader is threatening again that he will break Senate rules to change the rules—so he can do anything he wants with the bare minimum number of votes (51).

This would mean effectively ending the use of the filibuster, Senators’ ability to speak at length against measures they oppose. That would be bad news, as this Senator explained:
"Everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster—if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate—then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse."That Senator was Barack Obama, in 2005, when his party was in the Senate minority.

But when you’re on top—as the Democrats are now in the Senate—the filibuster looks different. It looks like a speed bump. In fact, the filibuster actually protects the rights of all Senators — and of the American people they represent.

There’s a reason the Senate confirms nominees for judicial appointments and other appointed positions. As Heritage legal analyst Elizabeth Slattery wrote yesterday:
"The Constitution divides the power of appointing judges (and certain other executive branch officials) between the President and the Senate. The President may have a right to nominate whomever he chooses, but the Senate need not rubber-stamp those nominations. Indeed, for those given lifetime appointments (such as federal judges), the need for careful consideration is essential. The proposed rules change would constrain Senators’ ability to deliberate on nominations through the vital debate function as long as one party retained a bare majority."President Obama is already far outpacing President George W. Bush in judicial confirmations for his nominees during his second term. And as Slattery and Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky have pointed out, the latest push is focused on packing a crucial circuit court that often serves as a stepping stone toward the Supreme Court.
If longstanding Senate rules are broken and changed, the majority party—whichever it happens to be—would have unprecedented power. Right now, Harry Reid wants that power.

Tags: appointments, Barack Obama, constitution, federal judges, filibuster, George W. Bush, Harry Reid, judicial nominees, Senate, Senate Rules< Heritage Foundation, Amy Payne To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Presidental Freedom Awards | Obamacare Website Won't Be Fixed Nov. 30 | Security Experts Recommend Shutting Obamacare Site

Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 20, 2013
This morning, President Obama awarded presenting Medal of Freedom awards to to 16 people. Honorees were Ernie Banks, Ben Bradlee, former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Daniel Inouye (posthumous), Dr. Daniel Kahneman, Sen. Richard Lugar, Loretta Lynn, Dr. Mario Molina, Dr. Sally Ride (posthumous), Bayard Rustin (posthumous), Arturo Sandoval, Dean Smith, Gloria Steinem, Dr. Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian, Patricia Wald, and Oprah Winfrey.

The President and first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton then participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

This morning, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate honored Native American code talkers in a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony held in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The medal – Congress’s highest expression of appreciation – was awarded in recognition of the valor and dedication of these code talkers as members of our Armed Forces during World War I and World War II.

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate resumed consideration of S. 1197, the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense authorization bill.

The Senate then began up to 6 hours of debate on two amendments dealing with sexual assault in the military, one offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and another offered by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Senators are working on a unanimous consent agreement on the timing of those votes.

Yesterday, the Senate rejected two amendments to the bill concerning movement of detainees at Guantanamo Bay offered by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ayotte. Both required 60 votes for adoption.

The House reconvened at 10 AM today.  They then recessed until Noon. They will be addressing the following bills today:
H.R. 1965 - Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act
H.R. 2728 - Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act - "to regulate oil and gas operations and promote American energy security, development, and job creation."

Yesterday, the House passed S. 1545 (Voice Vote) — "To extend authorities related to global HIV/AIDS and to promote oversight of United States programs." The House also addressed amendments to H.R. 1965 and passed by Voice Vote:
Hastings (R-WA) - Amendment No. 1 - Adjusts the amount of funds authorized to be made available to BLM field offices for energy permitting to ensure bill has a positive (deficit reducing) score.
Hanabusa (D-HI) - Amendment No. 5 - Requires the Secretary of Interior in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture to include in their Quadrennial Federal Onshore Energy Production Strategy, the best estimate, based upon commercial and scientific data, of the expected increase in domestic production of geothermal, solar, wind, or other renewable energy sources on lands designated as Hawaiian Home Lands that the state agency or department responsible for the administration of these lands selects to be used for energy production.
Marino (R-PA) - Amendment No. 6 - Requires the Secretary of Interior to include transmission and pipelines across Federal lands as a part of its plan to address new energy supplies for America.

Another day brings another raft of stories about problems with the Obamacare website as Obama administration officials walk back their prior claims that the website would be working by the end of November.

The AP reports today, “The website will still be a work in progress beyond the end of the month, Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday, appearing to soften a promise that the site will be working by then for the vast majority of users. ‘The 30th of November is not a magic go, no go date. It is a work of constant improvement. We have some very specific things we know we need to complete by the 30th and that punch list is getting knocked out every week,’ Sebelius told The Associated Press. . . . The Obama administration has staked its credibility on turning around by the end of this month. From the president on down, officials have said the website will be running smoothly for the ‘vast majority of users’ by Nov. 30, but have been vague about what that actually means. The definition has morphed in the past few weeks. At an Oct. 30 congressional hearing, Sebelius projected ‘an optimally functioning website’ by the end of November. On Nov. 5, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testified that the site would be ‘fully functioning’ by that date. Last week, President Barack Obama said the ‘the improvement will be marked and noticeable.’ On Tuesday, Sebelius told the AP it would work for most users by the end of the month, but would still require fixes because of the magnitude of the first-of-its-kind project. . . . When asked why officials pushed ahead with the Oct. 1 launch date despite warnings the site hadn't been properly tested, Sebelius said they were hoping to give consumers as much time as possible to enroll before coverage begins in January. ‘We were hoping to maximize that,’ she said. ‘Clearly that was a bad call.’”

The AP story notes, “On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, a panel of computer security experts raised another fear — that the website is vulnerable to hacking. . . . Asked about those concerns, Sebelius said: ‘I feel like it's safe. Absolutely,’ adding, ‘when there have been issues identified or flagged, it's immediately fixed.’” But Reuters writes, “President Barack Obama's site is riddled with security flaws that put user data of millions of people at risk and it should be shut down until fixed, several technology experts warned lawmakers on Tuesday. The testimony at a congressional hearing could increase concerns among many Americans about Obama's healthcare overhaul, popularly known as Obamacare. . . . In a rapid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question-and-answer session during a Republican-sponsored hearing by the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee, Republican Representative Chris Collins of New York asked four experts about the security of the site: ‘Do any of you think today that the site is secure?’ The answer from the experts, which included two academics and two private sector technical researchers, was a unanimous ‘no.’ ‘Would you recommend today that this site be shut down until it is?’ asked Collins . . . . Three of the experts said ‘yes,’ while a fourth said he did not have enough information to make the call. . . . The experts said the site needed to be completely rebuilt to run more efficiently, making it easier to protect. They said runs on 500 million lines of code, or 25 times the size of Facebook, one of the world's busiest sites. ‘When your code base is that large it's going to be indefensible,’ Morgan Wright, CEO of a firm known as Crowd Sourced Investigations, said in an interview after testifying at the hearing.”

And another Reuters piece points out, “President Barack Obama, who has portrayed himself as surprised by technical problems with the government's new health care website, was briefed earlier this year on a consultant's report that warned of possible widespread site failures, the White House said on Tuesday. There have been weeks of questions about whether Obama understood the depth of the site's problems and let it open anyway, or simply ‘did not have enough awareness’ of them, as the president stated at a November 14 news conference. . . . Even as the administration fended off criticism of the so-called ‘front end’ of the system, officials revealed Tuesday that they had not completed development of the ‘back end,’ the financial management component needed to finalize federal subsidies for consumers who buy health plans. A spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the lead agency for the website, said it would not be completed until mid-January, weeks after the first enrollees are scheduled to begin receiving benefits under the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 as Obama's signature domestic policy.”

One would hope then that at least the administration wouldn’t claim surprise at today’s Gallup poll, which finds, “Uninsured Americans who have visited a federal or state health insurance exchange website generally have been unhappy with their experience. Sixty-three percent of those who have visited say their experience using the health exchange was negative, including 30% who say it was ‘very negative.’”

Meanwhile, Obamacare continues to have problems at a state level. Another Reuters story today is headlined, “Oregon healthcare exchange website never worked, has no subscribers,” which basically says it all. And in North Carolina, the News & Observer reports, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said Tuesday that it will raise rates as much as 24 percent on 2013 individual health insurance plans that are being extended next year. The increase is double the price inflation for the same health plans just a year ago . . . . The health plans in question were slated for elimination under the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s health care law, but Blue Cross said last week it would offer the plans next year. President Barack Obama urged insurers to extend the individual plans for one year amid a public outcry over forced cancellations and steep price increases for replacement plans. . . . In recent months, Blue Cross had mailed out more than 151,000 plan cancellations, affecting more than 230,000 customers on those individual policies. The letters listed 2014 premiums under new individual plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act. Some customers saw rate decreases, but many were shaken by increases that doubled and tripled their costs.”

In a speech on the Senate floor today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell reminded Democrats that Republicans warned about all of this when they and the president were first trying to jam this unpopular law through Congress. “[T]he problems we’re seeing shouldn’t come as news to anyone – least of all our Democrat friends. Because what we’ve seen are the utterly predictable consequences of Obamacare. And the fact is, a lot of folks warned about these kinds of consequences coming to pass. But the President’s political machine just steamrolled anybody who spoke up. They laughed it all off. Dismissed everyone else as naysayers and cynics. When all the while they basically knew we were right. Countless independent experts, health-care professionals, and insurance authorities across the country all warned about what we’re seeing now. And so did many of us. If only the Democrats who run Washington had listened. But the President needed their votes for a bill he hoped would define his legacy, so they gambled that their constituents would just learn to live with Obamacare and forget the false promises. In other words, Washington Democrats were specifically warned about the kinds of consequences we’re seeing and they voted for Obamacare anyway. Republicans repeatedly warned about Americans losing their health plans. Repeatedly. We repeatedly warned about Americans losing access to their doctors and hospitals. We repeatedly warned about rising costs and skyrocketing premiums. Check the Congressional Record. We warned and we warned and we warned about each of these things. Frankly, we shouldn’t have had to. It doesn’t take an actuary to figure this stuff out. And the things my constituents now have to put up with as a result of this law are simply unacceptable.”

He concluded, “One of our colleagues on the other side was asked in 2009 if she’d accept ‘100% responsibility’ and ‘100% accountability’ for the failure or success of any legislation she voted for. She said she would. So she and her colleagues now have a choice. They can keep trying to distance themselves from Obamacare in public while simultaneously protecting it from meaningful change in private – to keep standing by as this trainwreck unloads on the middle class. Or they can simply accept that they were wrong to ignore all the warnings, then work with Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare with real, bipartisan health care reform. If Washington Democrats are looking for a political exit, that’s the only meaningful one available.”

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

Every Dog Has His Day

Rare Obamacare ‘Success Story’: Dog In Colorado Is Now Insured

Owner Jokes: ‘As Long As Baxter’s Covered That’s All That Counts’
“It had to happen: ObamaCare is literally going to the dogs. One dog, at least; Shane Smith, of Fort Collins, says his dog Baxter now has a health insurance account in his name through Connect for Health Colorado. Smith registered with Connect for Health Colorado because, guess what? His insurance was cancelled by Obamacare. The next thing he knew … he got a letter informing him Baxter had a plan.” (“CO Man's Dog Gets Insurance Via Obamacare,” Breitbart, 11/20/13)
“He’s not sure exactly how the confirmation letter went to his dog, but he says he thinks it’s because of a series of security questions a representative asked him over the phone. ‘There was some kind of code or something, so I gave them my dog’s name,’ Smith said. ‘They must have just put it in the wrong slot or something.’” (“Colo. Man Signs Up For His Insurance, His Dog Gets Covered Instead,” KDVR, 11/15/13)

DOG OWNER: “There’s been a lot of headaches that’s come from all of this. All the phone calls. All the nonsense… As long as Baxter’s covered that’s all that counts.” (“Man Signs Up For His Insurance; His Dog Gets Covered Instead,” KDVR, 11/19/13)

Cold Reality: Millions Lose Coverage Across America
“A CBS News analysis found that nearly 5 million Americans will lose their current health plan due to Obamacare.” (“CBS News: 61 Percent Of Americans Disapprove Of Obamacare,” CBS, 11/20/13)

“Millions of Americans who buy their own health insurance are being informed that their policies will no longer be offered starting in the new year… This chart shows that at least 3.5 million Americans have received the notices so far.” (“State By State: 3.5 Million Insurance Policies Canceled,” AP, 11/2/13)

Tags: every dog has its day, losing healthcare,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Fix Is In The Obamacare Fixing

President Obama did not receive good reviews for his press conference last Thursday announcing the latest waiver and Obamacare "fix" and addressing mounting concerns over the rollout debacle. The following Federalist Today essay discusses the real problem the President was trying to fix: not the inability of Americans to keep their old healthcare plan, but their foolish persistence in wanting to keep it. With Progressives, it's always you, not them. Here's hoping we have what it takes for another "new birth of freedom." ~ Matt Parks

For Obama, the problem is never his policy,
only our perception of it
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks, Contributing Authors: President Barack Obama’s “fumbled” press conference, addressing the ongoing Obamacare (or, as he now prefers to call it, Affordable Care Act) debacle, produced at least one bipartisan consensus: that the one-year extension he imperiously granted to the life of non-(Obamacare)-compliant insurance plans will not actually help the people whose insurance has been canceled. But it might allow the president to return to his rhetorical sweet spot: attacking Big Whatever on behalf of the little guy.

The “Whatever” in this case is the insurance industry, which will be expected to adjust to this unanticipated change in the law in a moment. Any delinquency on their part will be seized upon as a sign of malicious intent, since it’s an article of progressive faith that people and institutions are infinitely and instantaneously malleable. So there is no good reason to resist whatever “necessary” improvement progressives are promoting at the moment.

Of course, one must occasionally (and temporarily) accommodate the weakness of the masses — never, of course, doubting one’s own superior wisdom and competency. Thus, according to the president’s new rule, insurance companies can’t just offer to keep their customers on a plan they like–which was all anyone was asking for when the cancellation notices started rolling in. Instead, the companies have to identify the inadequacies of that old plan to policyholders and point out all the free money and better options that may be available under Obamacare. According to the president, the problem then is not the government taking away a free choice, but the people persisting in a bad choice. Thus, the telling, and perfect, analogy from the president in his Thursday press conference:We made a decision as a society that every car has to have a seat belt or air bags. And so you pass a regulation. And there’s some additional cost, particularly at the start, of increasing the safety and protections, but we make a decision as a society that the costs are outweighed by the benefits of all the lives that are saved. So what we’re saying now is if you’re buying new — a new car, you got to have a seat belt. Well, the problem with the grandfather clause that we put in place is it’s almost like we said to folks, you got to buy a new car, even if you can’t afford it right now. And sooner or later folks are going to start trading in their old cars . . . if their life circumstance is such where, for now at least, they want to keep the old car, even if the new car is better, we should be able to give them that option, and that’s what we want to do.The president is willing to allow Americans to keep their old cars for another year, but after next year’s election (or whenever he’s no longer willing to allow us to suffer from our own poor judgment) we will have to buy a new car.

And oh, does the president have just the car for us! Granted, his dealership’s car lot is currently under repair. But why fret? There’s no need to kick the tires, look under the hood, or test drive the car: he knows our old car’s no good and he has just the right (one-size-fits-all!) model for us.

At least we know from this analogy how progressives plan to make the electric car industry profitable.

To progressives, the problem is never their policy, but only others’ perception of it. As President Obama admitted, he knew that some miscellaneous millions of Americans would not be able to keep their old car/insurance plan when he told them otherwise, but since Obamacare would make their lives so much better, he was under-promising, not overpromising–taking, in fact, too little credit for his signature bill.

When many Americans missed the point, he adjusted with a waiver that seized more lawmaking power from Congress and imposed new regulations on insurance companies aimed principally at making sure that when the waiver expires, Americans would be better inclined to embrace Obamacare.

Few worry that President Obama lacks adequate self-esteem. But while some of his confidence is a matter of personality, much of it is ideological: the result of 100 years of being (supposedly) “on the right side of History” and never meeting a problem you can’t solve.

The Founders were much less confident in their own judgment or that of their governors. In Federalist 16, Hamilton outlines the consequence of a fundamental error national leaders of his own generation made in framing the Articles of Confederation–and how state leaders had exploited that error to the point that the Union itself was in danger.

The states had agreed in the Articles to tax their citizens to fund the budget of the national government. Nevertheless, they were perpetually delinquent, paying less than their share…when they got around to it. Thus, Hamilton argued that epthe government could directly protect the people’s rights only when the national government was able to tax them directly. The alternative was a union that would continue its descent into anarchy–perhaps culminating in a war between faithful and delinquent states.

But Hamilton meant no endorsement of tyranny in giving such advice. A law, Hamilton argued, without a sanction is not a law at all. But it exactly because when the government acts, it compels, that the government should be careful not to act outside of its legitimate bounds–or the boundaries of its competency.

There is something obviously absurd about a government that claims to know me (and 320 million other people very different from me) well enough to legislate the details of my medical care, but is overwhelmed by the complexity of putting together the website I’m supposed to use to benefit from its wisdom. The progressive mind, however, too often confounds being equal with being the same and therefore considers administrative challenges the chief impediment to solving social pathologies–not the infinite variety and moral complexity of human beings.

It’s been said that Americans have a love affair with their cars. At the heart of every love affair, of course, is the particular: that woman, that man, that car. Conservatives want to make room for that health care plan–to treat equals equally rather than make them the same. The president, meanwhile, continues to homogenize; if not to this version of Obamacare, then to that one and always with the same blithe confidence.

The American people, it appears, are not so sure. Whether they collect the full profit from this experience, however, will depend on whether they recognize its true source: not a failure of IT contractors, beleaguered bureaucrats, or even pass-it-before-they-read-it legislators, but a progressive ideology at war with human nature and the first principles of self-government.

Buckle up.
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks are Professors of Politics at The Kings College (NYC). They are contributors to the ARRA News Service. They edit and write for The Federalist and are on Facebook and Twitter.

Tags: The Fix, The Fixing, Obamacare Fixing, David Corbin, Matthew Parks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Uncle Sam a Global Sucker

by Phyllis Schlafly It should be clear that teaching Americans we are now part of a global economy and teaching schoolchildren they are citizens of the world is a deceitful message to con us into a plan to add the poor countries around the earth to our list of welfare handout recipients. The United Nations globalists have gathered in Warsaw, Poland for another conference to devise language to talk the United States into opening our treasury to the world.

This gang of globalists used to spread scare talk about global warming, but when the globe stopped warming 16 years ago, they changed their language to dealing with climate change. At their shindig last year in Doha, Qatar, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told the world that the real purpose of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a “complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.”

This year’s big climate news is Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines, but assessing liability is considered nearly impossible. Even the global warming advocates admit that it can take years for scientists to determine whether global warming contributed to that event or to its severity.

This bunch is still licking its wounds about the refusal of the United States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. UNFCCC is also at work to replace the Kyoto Protocol with a new legally binding treaty, which is set for completion and signing in 2015 in Paris, France to go into effect in 2020.

Of course the United States is paying for all the ongoing UN shenanigans. We pay nearly $567 million a year while two dozen of the 193 UN members pay only $1,000 or less, yet enjoy the same voting privileges.

Voting rarely occurs anyway. Decisions are instead made based on consensus which is unilaterally determined by a facilitator leading the meeting, who manipulates the group to achieve predetermined outcomes.

The predetermined outcomes expected from the Warsaw meeting are (a) expediting financing for the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund, which means a global tax scheme to transfer wealth from rich to poor countries, and (b) creation of a “loss and damage” fund to compensate poor nations that suffer climate-related tragedies such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Defining and developing a “loss and damage” mechanism is a top priority of this UN agency, and that means making developed countries responsible for insuring poor countries against natural disasters. Of course, the UN blames the U.S. for most natural disasters and asserts we should pay for the loss and damage.

These talks started with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. These pompous globalists have convinced themselves, and now want to convince the world, they can both predict and control the weather.

The UN persists in its goal to convince the world that human activity causes global warming, and that global warming will devastate the earth. Even though the earth has not warmed since 1998, UN agencies continue to issue reports claiming that global warming not only exists but is getting worse.

Their claims are based on pseudoscience and unreliable computer models used to predict weather patterns. China and India are two of the biggest carbon emitters but they refuse to contribute to the poor nations.

The UN talks are about blame. The UN has made the case that developed nations (i.e., the United States) are to blame because we enjoy the fruits of the industrial revolution in our lifestyles by polluting a finite atmosphere and that causes global warming.

Our standard of living is supposed to be cheating developing nations from achieving lifestyles like ours. The UN calls it our “historical responsibility” to pay reparations in money and technology.

On the first day of the Warsaw conference, the Philippine Climate Change Commissioner gave a speech blaming the Philippine typhoon on developed nations. Like our House Speaker John Boehner, Commissioner Naderev Sano embellished his remarks with real tears.

Another Philippine delegate made similar emotional remarks, saying “we have to get support from someone else’s pocket.” Nobody thanked the U.S. for our enormous support already sent: food, medicines, blankets, Marines bringing water, generators and other critical supplies, and U.S. military aircraft and manpower for search and rescue.

One bright light at the Warsaw conference is that the host, Poland, is trying to make coal less of a dirty word. Coal provides 88 percent of Poland’s electricity. Poland pointed out that forbidding coal is not the solution.
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.

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