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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, July 18, 2014

The Bear Is Loose

 Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: We've been hearing that phrase a lot lately. White House staffers refer to Obama as "the Bear" when he is sneaking burgers behind Michelle's back or cutting loose on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, there is a very different bear loose on the international scene -- the Russian bear.

The evidence is overwhelming that Russian forces or highly trained Moscow-aligned separatists in Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. They have routinely shot down Ukrainian fighter jets and helicopters.

Yesterday there were several ominous online messages posted by pro-Russian separatists. One claimed to have seized a Buk surface-to-air missile launcher. Another said they had just shot down a military transport. A third, posted around the time MH17 went down, said, "We warned you, do not fly in our sky." That last tweet was deleted once it became clear that it was not a military transport but a civilian jetliner that had been shot out of the sky.

The Ukrainian government has also released what seems to be intercepted phone calls between Russian military officers and separatists in the area discussing the wreckage.

Meanwhile, the president once again embarrassed himself and our country yesterday. Treating everything like a random accident, Obama's first reaction was a brief 40-second statement in which he said, "It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy."

May be a terrible tragedy? That much was obvious, even at that early stage. Obama then launched into series of jokes and continued with his pre-planned stump speech.

Ronald Reagan was dealt a similar situation in 1983. Here's how a real leader responds to such an atrocity.

No doubt many on the left and some on the right will say, "Well, what do you want to do? Go to war with Russia?" They have it backwards. Continued U.S. weakness makes war more likely.

Far be it from me to offer advice to the Obama White House, but here are a few suggestions:

Stop sending pink slips to our veteran officers and announce that America is going to rebuild its military might and morale.

Stop gutting the defense budget to get money for income redistribution schemes.

A lot of Russians love to vacation in the United States. Cancel all visas until further notice.

Call an emergency meeting with European leaders, apologize for canceling the missile defense system and announce that construction will begin immediately.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: President Obama, the Bear is Loose, international scene, the Russian bear, Ukraine, separatist, shooting down, airline, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post plane, ws Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

More Obamacare Consequences | Members of Congress Visiting Home Districts This Weekend

Today In Washington, D.C. - July 18, 2014
The Senate is not in session today and will reconvene at 2 PM on Monday. On Monday, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the nominations of Julie Carnes to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit and Eunice Reddick to be U.S. Ambassador to Niger.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 93-4 to pass S. 2244, the Terrorism Risk Insurance reauthorization bill. Later in the day, the Senate voted 68-23 to invoke cloture on the Carnes nomination.

The House reconvened proforma at 11 AM for 3 minutes. The next scheduled meeting is at 12:00 PM on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Most members of Congress are visiting home districts with most campaigning for re-election. Please let them know what you feel or wish about various issues.

And with all the issues on the news surrounding Ukraine and Russia, remember Congress (both the US House and Senate) has already passed in April, 2014 the Ukraine aid, Russian sanctions bill.

Hardly a week goes by without some new negative, but frustratingly predictable, consequence of Obamacare coming to light.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, “A billing dispute has cost enrollees in the state’s health insurance exchange access to Southern Nevada’s largest oncology practice. Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada has left the provider network of Nevada Health CO-OP, a nonprofit insurer created to sell coverage through the Nevada Health Link exchange. Because Nevada Health CO-OP was the only carrier on the exchange to contract with Comprehensive Cancer Centers, patients who want to visit the practice must now buy a plan off of the exchange or pay out of pocket. . . . Comprehensive Cancer Centers has abandoned the CO-OP’s network because it was taking as long as 60 to 90 days to get reimbursed for services, said medical oncologist and practice President Dr. James Sanchez. The industry norm is 32 to 33 days, he said. ‘It was long enough that it was just not something that was conceivable for our business to survive on,’ Sanchez said. . . . The change could affect thousands. Comprehensive Cancer Centers is the city’s largest oncology practice by far, with 33 doctors. . . . What’s more, Nevada Health CO-OP enrolled 37 percent of the 38,000 Nevadans who bought coverage through Nevada Health Link. Based on those numbers, more than 14,000 people have exchange coverage with the CO-OP.”

So once again, Obamacare is resulting in narrower networks of health care providers, showing that for thousands of Nevadans, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” is yet another broken Obamacare promise.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to create uncertainty in the business community with its selective enforcement of the employer mandate. According to The Hill, “The White House needs to make a decision soon on whether ObamaCare's controversial employer mandate will take effect in 2015. With the mandate set to take effect in January, businesses are awaiting final world from the administration on whether they will be required to track and report how many of their employees are receiving coverage. Federal officials are late in delivering the final forms and technical guidance necessary for firms to comply, raising suspicions the mandate could once again be delayed. The mandate has been pushed back twice before, the first time in late summer. . . . Another delay to the mandate would be sure to create a political firestorm and draw charges that the administration is playing politics with ObamaCare ahead of the midterm elections. But support for the mandate on the left has begun to soften in recent months, with influential figures and former Obama administration officials questioning whether it’s needed to make the law work. . . . Almost one year ago, the Obama administration announced it would postpone enforcement of the mandate until 2015. The move was denounced as politically driven, given that businesses were warning they were likely to layoff and cut hours for workers once they were required to either provide healthcare coverage or pay a fine.”

... “[D]elayed or not, the mandate poses a variety of challenges for businesses. Interest groups say they're in a holding pattern until the Treasury Department releases two more forms and a set of specific enforcement guidelines. Those materials, expected prior to July 4, are considered necessary to constructing databases that will help fulfill the mandate's complex requirements.”

And even some Democrats are beginning to question the mandate itself. “[A] growing number of Democrats have muddied the waters by questioning how much the mandate really matters to the healthcare law. Skeptics include the party’s likely 2016 standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton, and former Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs,” The Hill writes.

These stories follow another week’s worth of news of insurers announcing premium increases in states including Tennessee, Delaware, and Louisiana.

As Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has said, "no wonder ‘Obamacare’ has “become a byword for broken promises and almost-cartoonish inefficiency. . . . ‘You can keep your plan.’ ‘You can keep your doctor.’ ‘Premiums will go down.’ ‘The law will create millions of jobs.’ We knew the promises wouldn’t hold up.”

Tags: Congress, visiting home districts, Obamacare consequences, Ukraine, Russia To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Does the Constitution contain Stem Cells?

by Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Contributing Authors: Our esteemed Family Research Council (FRC) colleague, Dr. David Prentice has lectured around the world on the wonders of ethical stem cell research. Dr. Prentice has catalogued the more than seventy treatments that bring needed relief to more than 60,000 persons a year. The great thing about Adult Stem Cells is that they are most often taken from the patient’s own body, thus overcoming the problem of rejection by the patient’s immune system.

Dr. Prentice’s pioneering efforts got us thinking: Does the Body Politic also have mechanisms within our ancient Constitution designed to cure our partisan illnesses? Is it possible that the Founding Fathers anticipated the current seemingly intractable clash of political ambition and gave us a way out?

Speaker John Boehner has gone into federal court seeking a ruling that would compel the President of the United States to abide by his Oath of Office. The Speaker has said that he “disagrees” with the calls of some advocating impeachment of the president. As long as he holds the Speaker’s gavel, he can effectively take that option off the table.

President Obama is required by the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Every day, President Obama is violating his oath. So Speaker Boehner is asking the Judiciary to act as referee in this contest.

It may be that there is yet another way to compel the president to do his duty. The Constitution gives the Legislature “the power of the purse.” This means that if both branches of the legislature agree on a series of Appropriations Bills, they can provide money to keep the government functioning and still take away the money for such things as implementing the ObamaCare individual mandate.

Won’t the president simply veto such bills? Won’t he claim that his opponents are “closing down the government?” That is exactly what happened in 1995, when Speaker Newt Gingrich boasted of having closed down the government. In truth, both the House and the Senate in those days provided the money to keep the government running. It was President Bill Clinton who vetoed those Continuing Resolutions (CRs) that would have kept the government functioning. Then, as was typical of him, Clinton pointed his finger at Capitol Hill and blamed his political opponents for shutting down the government.

The public opinion polls soon forced the legislative branch to give way. But as we look to 2015, there may be a way of using the Constitution’s own provisions to heal the partisan divisions and still take a stand for principle.

We need an Appropriations Pledge for candidates this fall. We need to see members of all parties commit themselves to their voters to pass and send to the White House a series of Appropriations Bills. These bills will keep the government functioning.

Instead of wrapping all appropriations into one of these huge, unwieldy CRs, we need to return to regular order and pass one after another of the bills required to fund various departments of our federal government.

Then, we need to use a constitutionalist majority to promise voters they will get the same delays and exemptions from ObamaCare’s individual mandate that this president has given to congressional staffers, to his labor union supporters, and to his pet corporate backers.

More than simply pledge to do this, we need a constitutionalist majority on Capitol Hill that will pass these Appropriations Bills through both houses, sign and engross these bills, and then send them in a motorcade down Pennsylvania Avenue from Congress to the White House.

When these Appropriations Parades reach the White House gates, we will need the Speaker and the President pro Tem of the Senate to formally present these bills to the Executive Branch for signature.

With ten of these Appropriations Parades providing all the funds necessary to keep the U.S. Government running, we can emphasize again and again and again that only you, Mr. President, can keep this government from shutting down. Our elected representatives can say: We call upon you, Sir, to sign these bills.

We should have our elected lawmakers speak respectfully to the Chief Executive and urge him to sign the Appropriations Bills that alone can resolve the crisis we see in Washington.

Thus, the American people will be able properly to assess who is responsible for any shutdowns, or any gridlock. The “consent of the governed” is essential for any free republic. To be effective, that consent must be an informed consent. We cannot rely on a hopelessly biased media to report accurately who is responsible for a stalemate.

But even that biased media will have a hard time ignoring a Parade of Appropriations Bills from Capitol Hill down Pennsylvania Avenue to the very gates of the White House.

In this fashion, we may resolve the continuing crises of Continuing Resolutions. They are oddly named, if you think about it, because they are actually continuing the un-resolution of our difficulties. These CRs merely kick the can down the road.

We need a new idea. We need a return to Regular Order, a re-establishment of the proper system of Checks and Balances that the Framers of our Constitution so wisely provided. This can be a way for the Body Politic to heal itself.

We Americans are a famously practical people. When we see a machine that isn’t working properly, we often say: Check out the owner’s manual. Well, this government belongs to We the People. And the Constitution is our owner’s manual.
Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.  Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.  He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. They are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: stem cells, ethical use, continuing resolutions, regular order, checks and balances,  the Constitution, Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Moral Difference Between Israel and Hamas

by Steven Bucci: What most Americans—and the world—hear about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas goes something like this: “125 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed by Israel’s relentless assault on Gaza. No Israelis have yet been killed.” This may be true, but there is absolutely no context to it. One must look at the methodologies of the two sides.

Hamas sets up rocket launchers—as well as supply dumps and command-and-control sites—in the midst of apartment buildings, mosques and schools. From these sites, its fighters launch dozens of rockets in salvos, targeting population centers with no discrimination at all. They have been firing almost continuously of late. But normally, they fire when Israeli school children move from their homes, which have safe shelters, to their schools, which also have shelters. They do this deliberately to try and catch the kids in the open. They don’t seek to minimize collateral damage – they seek to maximize it.

Israel, on the other hand, fires only at specific, intelligence-derived military targets. Since these targets are deliberately intermixed with the civilian population by Hamas, Israel must take steps to minimize the collateral casualties.

Before the Israelis strike a building, every home in it gets a call on its landline phone, as do all the cell phones associated with the inhabitants of the building—the cells additionally get text messages—telling them that in a few minutes the building will be targeted. Finally, to make sure everyone gets the message, Israel drops a dud bomb—one containing no explosives—onto the roof of the structure. Minutes later, the building is destroyed. There is no instance in modern military history where a force has taken greater measures to give the innocents as much chance to get out of the way. It is as “discriminant” as a modern military can be.

Additionally, Israel has developed its much-touted—and rightly so—Iron Dome rocket defense system, which renders most of Hamas’ efforts of no effect. Between the Iron Dome shooting down the rockets that might otherwise do damage, and the “Red Alert” app that alerts civilians on their cell phones in real time when a terrorist rocket attack is launched, and where it is headed, the civilian casualties in Israel have been negligible.

Israel just wants to be left alone; Hamas wants the destruction of Israel. There is no moral equivalence there, and the tactics of the two sides prove the point.
Steven P. Bucci, who served America for three decades as an Army Special Forces officer and top Pentagon official, is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Article shared on The Daily Signal. His twitter account is @SBucci

Tags: Israel, Hamas, Gaza, moral difference, Steve Bucci, Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Blumenthal “Kill Them Later And Later” Bill

Ken Blackwell
by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: Connecticut’s liberal Sen. Richard Blumenthal wants no one to have to worry about aborting unborn children late in pregnancy, very late. He favors abortion at any time prior to birth. It’s not clear yet whether he would vote to deny federal protection to newborns who survive an attempted abortion. Blumenthal was not in the Senate when that bill passed. Barack Obama was in the Illinois Senate when that state’s Infant Born-Alive Bill was killed. Then-Sen. Obama made sure that bill never got to the Governor’s desk.

We should know what Sen. Blumenthal wants. He wants no protections at all for mothers or their unborn children. No waiting periods. No ultra-sound images, especially no ultra-sound. Why?

As liberal columnist Joe Klein has written in TIME Magazine, “ultra-sound has made it impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being.” Easy for you to say, Joe Klein! You are not running for public office and seeking campaign cash from liberal donors. Liberal politicians do the impossible every day. Richard Blumenthal denies that “that thing” is a human being. His bill treats that thing as nothing. It simply does not exist in his vocabulary. It is a choice, nothing more.

Warren Hern is not so squeamish about acknowledging what it is he does when he kills unborn children. He is pretty open about it. He famously told the newspaper of record, The New York Times, how he feels about what he does when he ends the life of unborn children late, very late, in pregnancy.

Here’s that memorable passage from the Times.
Boulder Abortion Clinic in Colorado, said abortion doctors "are treated as a pariah by the medical community," adding, "At best, we are tolerated."

He said a recent incident illustrated "the fundamental rejection of what I do by what passes for the sympathetic medical community." Dr. Hern said he called an old friend the day before New Year's Eve, wanting to bring the friend a gift.

"He is one of my best friends, a medical colleague, who is strongly pro-choice and who has done abortions himself," Dr. Hern said. "I called him late Saturday afternoon and said I wanted to come over. He asked me where I was and I told him I at that point." Dr. Hern said, his friend quipped, "Still killing babies this late in the afternoon?"

"It was like a knife in my gut," Dr. Hern said. "It really upset me. What it conveys is that no matter how supportive people may be, there still is a horror.
This long-ago story did not upset Warren Hern enough to make him stop killing unborn children. He has been targeting these defenseless human beings for more than a quarter of a century. Those insensitive comments by his fellow abortionist may have felt like a knife in the gut, but Hern has actually used his knife to slay thousands of innocents. And it has all been legal.

The horror that Hern says even fellow abortionists feel about what he does every day is called humanity. Even in the hardest of hearts, there is a remnant of humanity. It is that still small voice of conscience that Warren Hern has learned never to heed.

That Times article, from as long ago as 1990, shows that people continue to view the slaughter of innocents with horror. In the last four years, some 216 pro-life laws have been passed in the states. These pro-life laws are not “restrictions” as the media keeps saying, but protections. They are efforts by Americans’ elected representatives—women and men—to do what can be done for life under the unjust restrictions of Roe v. Wade.

These laws afford a measure of protection to unborn children and to their mothers and fathers. Overturning these laws—as Blumenthal’s bill would do—is another way of bringing us more Kermit Gosnell cases.

Gosnell ran a filthy abortion center in Philadelphia. Bloody, dirty, and dark, this facility victimized women and thousands of their unborn children. Gosnell was tried and convicted for “snipping” the spinal cords of children who were born alive and screaming after he had failed to end their life within their mothers’ wombs.

Pennsylvania has stronger protective laws on the books, but a succession of “pro-choice” governors—Tom Ridge (R) and Ed Rendell (D)—made sure that there would be no serious effort at enforcing even the most elementary standards of clinic cleanliness.

In Gosnell’s center, it was said to be “raining fetuses” and blood was all around. Women died because of his failure to take adequate care of them. Did the media call this a “war on women”? Not likely. They stayed away from the Gosnell trial in droves. Viewers of FOX were perhaps the only people in America to see on TV the rows of empty seats reserved for the press. “Nothing to see here, folks, just move on.”

So, now Richard Blumenthal wants to overturn hundreds of pro-life laws, protective laws, and open the way to more Herns and eventually to more Gosnells. The Blumenthal abortion-on-demand bill should be defeated in this Senate — and in any Senate.

The Blumenthal bill would have an especially damaging effect on minority mothers. Most of Gosnell's victims were black and Hispanic. We have learned how Planned Barrenhood (Parenthood) targets minority communities. And in Harlem, 61% of black women's pregnancies end in abortion. Blumenthal thinks that 61% is not enough.

Joe Klein was right: “That thing in the womb is a human being.” Or, more to the point, that thing in the womb is a child.
Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.  He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Connecticut, liberal, Senator, Richard Blumenthal, kill them later, bill, abortion on demand, abortion, death after birth, Gosnell, Planned Parenthood, Ken Blackwell To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

DOJ Reality TV

. . . House of Race Cards starring Eric Holder and Barack Obama.
Editorial Cartoon by A.F. "Tony" Branco
Will Eric Holder Ever Run Out of Race Cards? - "Attorney General Eric Holder, in a recent interview, reiterates the theme heard from the very beginning of President Barack Obama's administration: opposition to Obama's agenda equals racism. "There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me (and) directed at the president." What is Holder's proof -- to the extent that any is required?" ~ Larry Elder [Read More]

Tags: DOJ Realty TV, House of Race Cards, playing the race cards, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, editorial cartoon, AF Branco, Larry Elder To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

VA Disaster Predicts Obamacare Catastrophe

 Iris Stevens, Letter to the Editor: Single-payer disaster - "It's a slippery slope we're headed down, and it only further solidifies my belief that the Affordable Care Act should have been designed and implemented as a single-payer system. Health decisions should be made by the patient and his or her family and physicians."

This was the remarkable statement toward the end of Waylon Harris's column telling us how tragic the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision was. Does Mr. Harris even read his own newspaper? Has he not heard about the Veterans Administration scandals? You can't get any closer to a single-payer government health-care system than the VA. Those stories are the real tragedies, the abdication of responsibility toward our national heroes.

While not all VA hospitals are disasters, one former Marine veteran now serving on the organizing committee at Concerned Veterans for America estimates that when all the facts are in, we'll find that hundreds, if not thousands of veterans have died waiting for care from heartless government bureaucrats.

I was able to get a perspective on single-payer systems visiting with patients from several countries while staying with a relative in treatment at a major medical center. Despite their single-payer systems, every patient had come to America to receive treatment they couldn't get in their own country. Some came because they were older than allowed for their particular treatment, some because their needed treatment was not available.

In too many cases, Mr. Harris, their health care decisions were made not by the patient, but by the system. Some of those countries, like Canada and Great Britain, have experienced such problems with their single-payer systems, some mirroring VA problems, that many now purchase private health insurance rather than settle for long wait times and explicit rationing.

I know there'll be those coming out of the woodwork claiming their Aunt Harriet's first cousin once broke her toe in Estonia and received excellent, free emergency medical care. And Mr. Harris might even believe that. But some of us who have been around a little longer than he realize that even with its problems, we have, or did until 2010, the kind of health care system that thousands of people from across the globe come to take advantage of.

With a single-payer system, which is what the president ultimately wants, we'll get a system with the incompetence of the Phoenix VA and the tender loving care of the IRS. Way to go Mr. Harris.
Iris Stevens is a retired Arkansas teacher of 31 years and concerned American living in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  She often send letters to the editor of her local paper.

Tags: VA Disaster, predicts, Obamacare Catastrophe, single payer, letter to editor, Iris Stevens To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

How "Normal" is Bowe Bergdahl?

Bowe Bergdahl (on left) and a Taliban friend
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: There are few military crimes worse than desertion to the enemy short of outright treason by giving them aid and comfort.

So why is the U.S. Army declaring Sgt. Berghdal (he received a promotion from private first class while being either a Taliban captive or guest) a “normal soldier now”? When one’s entire unit declares him a deserter for leaving their Afghanistan based on June 30, 2009—as they did on a show with Fox’s Megyn Kelly—by what stretch of the imagination is he just a normal soldier stationed at the headquarters of Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston?

Fox News reported that former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow who served with Bergdahl as saying “I think it’s very clear he deserted his post. He thought about what he was doing, he mailed some things home, he walked away and we have witnesses who saw him walking away. And if you’re walking away in one of the worst, most dangerous areas of Afghanistan without your weapon and gear, I don’t believe you’re planning on coming back.”

Taliban That Were Released
If he is found to be a deserter, the release of five high level Taliban generals to get him back is one more Obama obscenity since it is well known that he has wanted to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center for enemy combatants captured on the field. Having already investigated the circumstances surrounding his having left his unit, the U.S. Army surely knew whether Bergdahl was a deserter at the time the decision was made to swap for him. I suspect, too, that a major ransom was paid the Taliban for his release.

This is, however, a different Army than the past. It, like the other elements of our military has become highly politicized by the Obama administration; one that continues to reduce its size under the cover of sequestration. Many of the military’s top officers have been relieved of command or pushed into retirement. Even officers in the field in Afghanistan are being fired. The effect on the troop’s morale is incalculable.

Fox News reported on July 14 that “Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could have a tax-free $350,000 dropped into his bank account if the current investigation into his disappearance from his base in Afghanistan was not desertion, and if he is deemed to have been a prisoner of war for the five years he was held by Islamic militants.”

Given the circumstances of his decision to leave his unit, immediately becoming liable to capture, and the reported statements, letters, and other views he held about his deployment and about the U.S. Army, Berghdal is most certainly not “a normal soldier.”

One must ask why Obama thought the announcement of his release merited a White House presentation that included his parents; his father uttered an Islamic phrase that drew a presidential smile. The phrase “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” is a common Arabic phrase, considered by some to be a major pillar of Islam and featured prominently in the Koran.

To date, however, Bergdahl has reportedly not spoken to his parents. Why? And how “normal” is that?

If Bergdahl went AWOL in Afghanistan, why are we being told he is free to move around at will? One has to wonder if he doesn’t have some military “minders” with him at all times to avoid a problem that would cause a big scandal. What we do know is that this Army sergeant has hired a Yale University legal scholar to represent him.

I suspect that a major cover-up is going on and that the official Army decision will be that he was a prisoner of war after leaving his unit. A soldier whose return was celebrated in the White House rose garden by the President is not likely to see a day in the brig. At most he might receive a dishonorable discharge for going AWOL. After that both the White House and the Army will hope he sinks into anonymity.

Everything surrounding Bergdahl’s “disappearance” from his unit and his return shouts cover-up. One element is likely to be a very lengthy “investigation”, one that surely will not come to a conclusion before the forthcoming November midterm elections.

Given the honor, loyalty and sacrifice of thousands of U.S. soldiers on duty today, as veterans and as fallen heroes, the Bergdahl story is an offence to them and to all Americans. It is one more chapter in the legacy of a President who has been far more sympathetic to our nation’s enemies than our military.
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column,  Warning Signs  He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Bowie Bergdahl, released for 5 Taliban, back on active duty, military investigation,  How Normal is Berdahl, Alan Caruba, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Can Military Force Solve The Border Crisis?

Q & A With James Carafano.
Dr. James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, Heritage Foundation’s Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, E. W. Richardson Fellow, and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies. He is also a 25-year Army veteran, a graduate of and former professor at West Point, and a leading expert on military strategy, including border issues. In his decade at The Heritage Foundation, he has conducted extensive research on border issues, including making frequent trips to the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico. He twitters at @JJCarafano

Question: Have we sent the military to the border before?

Carafano: Sure. Many times over the country’s history troops have been dispatched to help restore stability and sovereignty on the border, particularly on the boundary with Mexico. U.S. military patrols on the southern border continued through 1929.

More recently, in 2006, President Bush sent more than 6,000 troops to the border to assist in the build-up of the Border Patrol. In 2010, President Obama dispatched 1,200 troops to help bolster border security missions. Some National Guard units routinely deploy to the border in support of state and federal authorities as part of annual training duties.

Question: Doesn’t Posse Comitatus prohibit the use of troops on the border?

Carafano: The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act (amended many times) limits the use of the armed forces in conducting law enforcement activities. Federal military forces can do many activities on the border that are not restricted under the act.

Further, National Guard forces can be mobilized in one of three statuses. They can serve as “State Duty,” where they operate under the direction of the governor.In addition, they can be mobilized under “Title 32,” where they remain under the command of the governor, but the federal government funds training and operations. They also can be mobilized as “Title 10” forces, where they are, from a legal standpoint, indistinguishable from active-duty military.

If National Guard troops are deployed to border areas either under State Duty or Title 32 status, Posse Comitatus does not apply.

Question: What should troops do on the border?

Carafano: Military manpower is not a cost-effective solution to fulfilling long-term manpower needs for border security. Military manpower does have utility as a stopgap or supplementary measure. In crisis situations, they serve best at freeing up or supplementing Border Patrol and CBP officials to focus on critical tasks by providing additional situational awareness on the border as well as logistical and engineer support.

Question: Can military force solve the border crisis?

Carafano: The short answer is no. They key is reducing significantly the numbers trying to cross the border. That has to start with reversing disastrous immigration and foreign policies that have precipitated the current crisis.

Tags: Q & A, questions, answers, Military, U.S., borders, border crisis, history, Posse Comitatus Act, military manpower, immigration policies, foreign policies, James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Look Who's Arriving on the NAFTA Train

The infamous Mexican “Death Train” – called 'La Bestia"
["The Beast'] – on which tens of thousands of illegal alien
 children from Central America are traveling through Mexico
to the United States
[Read More]
by Phyllis Schlafly: Do you remember when President George W. Bush, in 2005, held a summit meeting with the “three amigos” to promote the free movement of people and goods across our borders with Canada and Mexico? The Council on Foreign Relations then spoke of “building a North American community” with a common “security perimeter” and “labor mobility” among our three countries.

Texas planned to build a massive NAFTA superhighway that would begin at its southern border with Mexico and eventually reach northern U.S. cities. The Kansas City Southern Railway bought a Mexican railroad and began branding it as the NAFTA railroad, with the goal of carrying Chinese products from Mexico’s Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas all the way to Kaimmnsas City.

The prospect of an economic union with Mexico, which could eventually become a North American Union modeled on the European Union, rightly alarmed many Americans. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was forced to abandon his NAFTA Superhighway, and President Obama quietly removed Bush’s Security and Prosperity Partnership from the White House website.

But the NAFTA railroad, now called the Kansas City Southern de Mexico, is up and running. Thanks to the exclusive reporting of Dr. Jerome Corsi at WorldNetDaily, we learn that this train is now playing a major role in bringing tens of thousands of young Central American illegal aliens into our country.

Americans have been aghast at the sight of unending waves of people, ranging in age from babes in arms to tough tattooed teenage young men. The trip north is no joyride, riding on the top of moving freight cars for hundreds of miles, preyed on by bandits. Those who take this harrowing trip call it La Bestia (the Beast) or the Train of Death.

How were these desperately poor people able to travel the distance of over a thousand miles from their homes in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to the U.S. border? The answer, apparently, is that they were allowed to hitch a ride on the NAFTA train that is owned and operated by an American company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Kansas City Southern Inc.

President Obama, predictably, is demanding that American taxpayers foot the monstrous bill. A mere billion dollars or two won’t be enough; Obama’s first demand is for $3.7 billion, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Considering all the entitlement programs that these kids will eventually soak up, from public school education to medical care, this is easily a trillion-dollar problem. American taxpayers will again be the ones left holding the bag.

This is the background for an astonishing article recently published by three of our most famous billionaires: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson. The three men, whose combined worth approaches $200 billion, say they are putting aside their political differences (Adelson is a Republican; Gates and Buffett are Democrats) to demand immediate so-called “immigration reform.”

The billionaire advice-givers tell us that the immigration “impasse certainly depresses the three of us,” but a vacation trip to sunny Murrieta, California, might have lifted their spirits. The Administration sent agents dressed in riot gear there to confront residents opposed to the busloads of illegal immigrants being driven there.

The three amateur political wannabes of Adelson, Buffett and Gates could have offered to provide some of their own luxury real estate to welcome the many busloads of illegal kids. That would provide much-needed relief for average Americans from the very depressing news that hundreds or thousands of illegal teenagers who cannot speak English might soon be dumped in their small town.

Instead of explaining how these illegal kids will find jobs at a time when so many Americans are unemployed, the three billionaires instead focus on their own desire to expand a cheap supply of college graduates who are foreigners. Misnamed “talented graduates,” these immigrants are no more talented or entrepreneurial than American-born graduates.

This racket of giving visas to foreign students (sometimes falsely labeled “the best and the brightest”) has enabled Bill Gates and the ultra-rich to hire foreigners at less cost, with less risk of competition, than fully qualified Americans. The oversupply of foreigners willing to work for lower wages has made it impossible for average American wages to increase in more than a decade, and our middle class has even fallen below Canada’s.

Fortunately, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions pulled the curtain down on the amateur hour by observing, “It is clear that three of the richest billionaires in the world have no clue what Congress owes” to the American people. Senator Sessions could have added that the trio of politically clueless businessmen should first tell us what they are willing to fund, before demanding phony immigration reform at the expense of American workers and taxpayers.
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: illegal aliens, NAFTRA Train, Jerome Corsi, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Tennessee, Louisiana, Delaware Citizens Face Obamacare Rate Increases

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 17, 2014
The House reconvened at 9:00 AM today and moved immediately to consider taking up H.R. 4719 — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permanently extend and expand the charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory."

No other action expected except for continued discussion over instructing conferees meeting with Senate conferees over H.R. 3230 and the House is expected to adjourn early today after having been in session until 7:12 PM yesterday.

Yesterday the House sent the majority of their time on debate and amendments on H.R. 5016 — "Making appropriations for financial services and general government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes." The bill passed by a vote of 228 - 195.

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and began consideration of S. 2244, the Terrorism Risk Insurance reauthorization bill.

At noon, the Senate rejected a motion to waive the budget resolution with respect to an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) by a vote of 47-49. Senators then voted 97-0 to adopt an amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and agreed to amendments from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Se. Jon Tester (D-MT) by voice vote.

The Senate then voted 93-4 to pass S. 2244.

At 1:45 PM, the Senate began voting on cloture on the nomination of Julie Carnes to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.

Yesterday, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to take up their partisan bill that would overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and erode religious freedom (S. 2578). The vote was 56-43. It would have forced all employee health plans to include possible abortion-inducing drugs — even if doing so violates business owners’ deeply held religious beliefs.

The Nashville Business Journal features a headline Americans are finding all-too-familiar this summer: “Here come higher premiums: Tennessee's insurance providers request rate increases.” The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports on the details. “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee — the state's dominant health insurance provider — is asking to raise rates by an average of 19 percent for its exchange plans in 2015, according to documents filed with the state of Tennessee. Meanwhile, Cigna is requesting an average rate increase of 7.5 percent in 2015, while Kentucky-based Humana would like to boost marketplace rates by an average of 14.4 percent. BlueCross has the majority of Marketplace members in Tennessee by far -- 88 percent. ‘We're in a very competitive business, so we don't want to charge any more than is absolutely necessary,’ said BCBST spokesman Roy Vaughn. The requested rate increases, he said, will allow the company to ‘break even’ for its plans on the federal exchange. ‘Based on our claims experience through the first half of this year, we're paying out more than we expected,’ he said. ‘In fact, we're in a loss position that will be in the tens of millions of dollars.’ That loss is due, in part, to the fact that more patients who signed up for health care on the exchange were sicker than insurance companies had expected. They tended to use more health services than the company predicted they would, too.”

Today’s announcement of rate hikes in Tennessee follows news yesterday that “Some Louisiana private health insurers filed for double-digit percentage increases in 2015 for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act's health exchange, according to filings this week with the Louisiana Department of Insurance,” as the New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote. And the AP reported earlier this week, “Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers.”

In recent weeks, reports of premium increases for 2015 have come from New York, Oregon, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont, Washington, and Virginial. Many of these, like in Tennessee and Louisiana are double-digit percentage increases.

This is not what Democrats promised when they passed their unpopular health care law. The president claimed, “Families will save on their premiums,” as he was urging the Senate to pass the bill in 2009. In March the following year, he said, “Your employer, it's estimated, would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent … which means they could give you a raise.” And the Democrats’ Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), assured, “Bringing down costs of health insurance and making it more affordable is job one for this health care reform.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Obamacare may not have existed in the English language just a few years ago. But in short order, it’s become a byword for broken promises and almost-cartoonish inefficiency.
It’s no wonder why: ‘You can keep your plan.’ ‘You can keep your doctor.’ ‘Premiums will go down.’ ‘The law will create millions of jobs.’ We knew the promises wouldn’t hold up. Many of us said so. One even earned the dubious distinction of being declared the ‘Lie of Year.’ . . . . Reality always intervenes, just as we’ve been seeing with the pain of Obamacare these past few years — pain that will only continue until Washington Democrats join with us to enact a serious, bipartisan approach that actually addresses many of our health care challenges and dispenses with the failed policies of this Administration.”

Tags: Obamacare, healthcare insurance, rate increases To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Not A Peep

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren

Tags: President Obama, tranquility, global community, editorial cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Dennis Prager: The Middle East Problem Explained | #defundhamas

Dennis Prager @PragerUniversity explains that the Middle East conflict is framed as one of the most complex problems in the world. But, in reality, it's very simple. Israelis want to live in peace and are willing to accept a neighboring Palestinian state. And most Palestinians do not want Israel to exist. In less than 6 minutes, understand how Israel was founded, and how, since that auspicious day in 1948, its neighbors have tried to destroy it, again and again.

Editor's Note:  It should be very clear why the United States and in particular the Obama Administration should NOT be funding Hamas. As Prager identifies, the Motto of Hamas is "We love death as much as the Jews love life."  The time is overdue for the United States to  #defundhamas !  It is time for our Congress to say "No to any more funds" to Hamas or any other group that continues to attack our only democratic "free state" ally in the Middle East.

Tags: Dennis Prager, Prager University, Middle East Problem, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon,  Syria, Iraq, Trans Jordan, Jordan, Palestinians, terrorists, Hamas, #defundhamas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1980′s Calling

. . . Dang! Why didn't America elect Romney. He was right about everything.
Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco

Tags: editorial cartoon, AF Branco, looking back, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Romney was right To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obamacare Must Be Repealed

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: While the issue of immigration is uppermost in people’s minds right now, it is likely at this point halfway through his second term that President Obama will be identified by historians most closely with his signature, namesake legislation, the Affordable Patient Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

They will do so for two reasons; that he lied to everyone about it and it has been a failure in countless ways from the moment its website was introduced.

In April PolitiFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times, announced the “most significant falsehood of the year” and it came as no surprise it was “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” An April Fox News poll revealed that 61% of respondents said the Obama lies at least some of the time on important issues. Only 15% thought he was completely truthful.

By July 2 a Quinnipiac University poll announced that its survey had determined that 33% of the respondents believed Obama was the “Worst President Since WWII.” The poll also revealed that between 54% and 44% believed the Obama administration was not competent to run the government.

If you want proof of that, you need only follow the horror story of Obamacare.

In September 2013, prior to Obamacare’s implementation the following month, Daniel Henninger, a Wall Street Journal columnist, wisely noted that “Obamacare is the biggest bet that American liberalism has made in 80 years on its fundamental beliefs. This thing called ‘Obamacare’ carries on its back all the justifications, hopes and dreams of the entitlement state.”

“If Obamacare fails, or seriously falters, the entitlement state will suffer a historic loss of credibility with the American people” adding that “only the American people can kill Obamacare.”

The great Prohibition experiment was killed by the American people and it took a Constitutional amendment to do it. It was a monumental failure.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that no Republican voted for Obamacare. It was entirely a Democratic Party creation, one it has wanted going back to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid.

What Americans have learned in the short time since Obamacare has been implemented is that virtually everything they were told about it was and is a lie.

People who were insured lost their health plan—six million had been cancelled by May, nor could they keep their doctor because many health care plans sold on federal and state exchanges have a limited number of in-network physicians from whom to choose. The costs of Obamacare plans costs are frequently in excess of those from the previous free market and include elements that do not fit the age or sex of those who sign up, such as maternity coverage for women beyond childbearing age.

Obamacare exists because the Supreme Court deemed it to be a “tax”, but it is demonstrably unconstitutional insofar as it represents the mandate of the federal government that everyone buy something that they may not want and, more importantly, cannot afford. When the government can tell you what you must buy, you are no longer living in a free society.

Sharyl Attkisson, writing in Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, reported one source as saying, “In general healthy people are paying more and unhealthy people are paying less.” There isn’t even a “smidgen” of fairness in this.

At no point before or since its inception has the Obama administration told the truth about any aspect of Obamacare, particularly how many legitimate enrollments there have been thus far. In April the number cited was eight million. Attkisson reported that observers immediately pointed out that “the figure is overstated because it counted people who weren’t actually covered because they hadn’t paid their premiums. That actual enrollment was likely closer to between 6.4 and 6.8 million, both below the eight million figure and the stated target of seven million.”

Arnold Ahlert, writing for, noted in early July that “A pair of reports released by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General reveal ‘internal’ controls for evaluating healthcare applications are ineffective, and 85% of 2.9 million data ‘inconsistencies’ on Obamacare applications cannot be resolved, even after nine months of attempting to do so.” Not only did many of the 39 state exchanges fail to work, but the enrollments are plagued with evidence of both data errors and fraud.

Obamacare is so flawed that the President has had to unilaterally and unconstitutionally step in to alter the terms of the law thus far. That is an impeachable offense.

Obamacare is a massive travesty and, hidden below the headlines is the fact that the failures inherent in its implementation are causing some to die because of bureaucratic delays encountered while waiting to receive the care their plans are supposed to provide, if they were even able to secure a plan.

The election in November of enough Republicans to control the Senate and an increase in the House would permit them to act upon the numerous bills the House has passed to end Obamacare and which are blocked in the Senate by Harry Reid, its Majority Leader. Ending Obamacare would truly be a blessing for all Americans.
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column,  Warning Signs"  He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: repeal, Obamacare, Lip Stick on a Pig, 2014 elections, Alan Caruba, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Courts Should End Lerner’s Illegal Instant Message Trick

Editorial Cartoon by Gary Varvel
 by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: It was so brazen. Right there, over email, Lois Lerner warned her colleagues “Congress has asked for emails… so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.” Then she asked whether the IRS’s instant messaging application was being archived, and was told that – contrary to law – archiving had been disabled. She responded: “Perfect.”

Specifically, IRS staffer Maria Hooke told Lerner “messages are not set to automatically save as the standard; however the functionality exists within the software.”

I asked the leading force for government transparency in the country, Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, whether it was legal for the IRS to disable the archiving function. “It's unlawful to not enable it, and if it is default-enabled, it is unlawful to disable it,” he told me.

For support, he pointed me to a 2008 letter from EPA confessing to the National Archivist of “possible unauthorized destruction of computer files,” after discovering that former Administrator Carol Browner had her little-known secondary email account set on auto-delete.

So far, IRS has apparently made no such disclosure regarding Lerner’s instant messages, despite it being required under the Federal Records Act. They have offered no explanation for why the archiving function was disabled, deliberately and automatically destroying an entire class of records.

Even worse, this appears to be a standard practice across government agencies, especially at the EPA, who Horner is suing in CEI v. EPA, a Federal Records case seeking to compel EPA to stop destroying current Administrator Gina McCarthy’s text messages. Horner has obtained metadata showing texting was increasingly her medium of choice for conducting agency business, which she then illegally destroyed wholesale.

EPA replied to the court that Horner’s request is “intrusive,” and that if they choose to disregard the law, nobody should be able to force them to comply.

“These agencies have shown they are aware of and know how to perform the law’s requirement to notify the Archivist, which triggers remedial steps to reconstruct these records,” Horner says. “Yet the EPA is insisting it cannot be compelled to do so when it doesn’t want to.”

Besides stopping EPA’s cyber-bonfire, Horner hopes a court will ultimately put all of the regulations McCarthy was responsible for — the ‘war on coal’ — on hold until McCarthy’s delated correspondence is reconstructed.

If, on the other hand, the court accepts the EPA’s argument, not only will that agency be free to conduct its business in willful violation of the Federal Records Act and, by extension, the Freedom of Information Act (since there will never be any responsive documents), but so will every other agency. Including the IRS, which obviously already has a head start.

So CEI v. EPA is really the test case for whether illegal behavior like Lois Lerner’s and Gina McCarthy’s will be given the implicit sanction of federal courts, an effective death blow for accountability and transparency across the federal bureaucracy.

The wrong outcome would allow liberal activists in the government to conduct their official business in the dark. Congress would then have to step in and enact a law reaffirming that this is intolerable. What Lerner has already reminded us is that the creation and archiving of all public records should be automatic, permanent, and not subject to unilateral destruction by public officials.

“The Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act,” Horner says, “operate on an honor system, contingent upon the honor of those covered by them. So you see the problem.”

As the dishonorable Lois Lerner might say: “Perfect.”
Phil Kerpen  is president of  American Commitment.  He is on  Twitter  and on  Facebook and is a contributing author for the  ARRA News Service.

Tags: Courts, IRS, Lois Learner, illegal, instant message, trick Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, Gary Varvel, editorial cartoon, missing emails To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Are we due for another recession?

 by Robert Romano: One item that went largely unnoticed in June’s jobs report was a startling drop in the number of full-time jobs — a whopping 713,000 jobs were lost where the time of work is more than 34 hours a week.

In the meantime, the number of part-time jobs jumped by more than 1.1 million.

Meaning, the 0.2 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent was owed almost entirely to full-time workers taking on part-time work. Hardly a promising indicator.

Couple that with the 2.9 percent downturn in growth for the first quarter, and we’re on the cusp of another recession.

Which, in itself, would not be that surprising. The economy moves in cycles, averaging a recession once every 6 to 7 years since 1947.

Since the last recession was five years ago, we’re basically due for another one any time now.

Which is not good when you consider that since World War II, this has been by far the weakest recovery on record, in terms of growth, job creation, housing prices, and everything else.

That, despite the constant promises from the Federal Reserve that a robust recovery has always been right around the corner.

As recently as March 19, 2014, the Fed was projecting anywhere from 2.8 to 3 percent growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the year. Its December projection for 2014 was 2.8 to 3.2 percent growth.

Instead, the economy is shrinking, again, at an annualized 2.9 percent rate.

To get back to just the low end of its original forecast, the economy will need to grow an average of 4.7 percent each quarter for the next three quarters. Good luck with that.

Accordingly, the Fed has reduced its growth outlook. Now, it only sees 2.1 to 2.3 percent growth for the year. Still, to get there even, we still need to see 3.7 percent growth each quarter for the next three quarters. Is anyone the least bit skeptical of this rosy outlook?

The Fed has been off on almost everyone of its projections since 2008.

In January 2008, the Fed neither saw a recession nor a financial crisis on the horizon. It projected between 1.3 to 2.0 percent real growth in 2008, and between 2.1 to 2.7 percent growth in 2009.

Instead, the economy contracted by -0.3 and -2.8 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

By October 2008, as markets were crashing, the bank changed its tune. The economy was slowing down considerably, but likely would not shrink. 2008 would see between 0.0 to 0.3 percent growth, and 2009 between -0.2 to 1.1 percent. Wrong again.

In January 2009, in the midst of severe financial distress, the Fed finally thought a recession would happen, but would be mild, projecting a contraction between -1.3 to -0.5 percent that year. Still way off. Again, in 2009, it went down -2.8 percent.

Similarly, the Fed’s track record in projecting a recovery has been way off. That year, the Fed projected a V-shaped recovery after 2009. The economy would grow between 2.5 and 3.3 percent in 2010, and between 3.8 and 5.0 percent in 2011.

By January 2010, the Fed had changed its expectations slightly for 2010 — by raising them. Then, they said the economy would grow between 2.8 and 3.5 percent in 2010, although they lowered their expectations for 2011 to between 3.4 and 4.5 percent.

Instead the economy only grew by 2.5 percent in 2010, and by 1.8 percent in 2011. Wrong again.

Even as late as June 2011, the Fed was projecting between 2.7 and 2.9 percent growth for 2011. Way off. Again, the economy only grew by 1.8 percent in 2011.

In January 2012, the Fed said the economy would grow between 2.2 and 2.7 percent — just barely meeting its forecast that time when it came in at 2.2 percent for the year. Like the broken clock, it finally got one right.

In March 2013, the Fed predicted the economy for that year would be 2.3 to 2.8 percent. Wrong again. It only came in at 1.9 percent.

That’s not a good track record. Perhaps the central bank is asleep at the wheel. Or maybe, they lack perfect information about market conditions, and won’t know a recession is coming — until it does.
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's  NetRight Daily.

Tags: , Unites States, recession, Robert Romano, Americans for Limited Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Immigration, Good Laws, and Liberty

The ongoing crisis at the southern border demonstrates, once again, the problems of government by executive action (or inaction). In this essay, inspired by Madison's Federalist 52, we consider the message sent by the President's words and deeds at home and abroad, in comparison to that of the founding era, when Benjamin Franklin warned would-be immigrants that only "good laws and liberty" awaited them in America, not special benefits or easy government jobs. ~ Matt Parks

You get the immigrants—and the nation—you ask for.
Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks, Contributing Authors: Two weeks ago, President Obama said he would act alone, if necessary, to alter immigration policy. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, for one, reacted enthusiastically, suggesting the president might “borrow” the Congressional power necessary to get it done.

But last week, the president suggested (while fundraising in Dallas) that nothing could be done about the current border crisis without the House acting to approve his plans for “comprehensive immigration reform”—and an immediate $3.7 billion down payment to stem the current crisis.

The president, in other words, is willing to do Congress’s job (rewrite the law) but not his own (enforce the ones already on the books). And why not? The point in all this is to use whatever means available to pass his bill—presented as always, as a simple distillation of common sense and provisions for fair dealing that none but the wicked and ignorant could oppose.

Who Cares About A Few Broken Immigrants
Ignoring the Constitution’s division of powers and leveraging the suffering of thousands of Latin American children for political gain are simply the broken eggs necessary to make this Progressive omelet, a much less healthy meal than a ladle of soup from the old-fashioned melting pot. The most important and least healthy ingredient of the Progressive omelet is large-scale government dependency, the natural result of an ever-expanding set of welfare state benefits, increasingly available to legal and illegal immigrants alike.

Predictably, our present debate (like so many others) focuses mostly on material considerations: the economic costs (for the unemployed or less-skilled American worker) and benefits (for tech firms, manufacturers, agribusinesses, and the like) of immigration reform and its probable fiscal impact. But there is a deeper question in view that helps to explain the president’s urgency in passing the bill. Rhetorical pretense aside, he knows that immigration policy is a political question of the highest order, ultimately defining the citizenry and, thereby, the electorate of the nation, its political culture, and its trajectory.

In short: you get the immigrants—and the nation—you ask for. The president’s words, (in)actions, and policies have sent a message, drawing tens of thousands of unaccompanied children to our southern border. If and when the message changes, the crisis will end.

Consider the Previous Immigration Message
Consider the effort of one eminent early American when misinformation suggested to would-be European immigrants that the United States might be just the place for distressed aristocrats seeking a government sinecure. In his essay, “Information to Those who would Remove to America,” Benjamin Franklin tried to correct the record:With regard to Encouragements for Strangers from Government, they are really only what are derived from good Laws and Liberty. Strangers are welcome, because there is room enough for them all, and therefore the old Inhabitants are not jealous of them; the Laws protect them sufficiently, so that they have no need of the Patronage of Great Men; and every one will enjoy securely the Profits of his Industry. But, if he does not bring a Fortune with him, he must work and be industrious to live.What inducement did 1784 America offer to would-be immigrants? “Good Laws and Liberty.” Not much to live on if you weren’t willing to “work and be industrious”; and that was all the distressed aristocrats needed to hear. This was not the place for them.

For tens of millions of others, however, that was just the deal they were looking for. As Alexis de Tocqueville notes, an important ingredient to the American success story was the physical configuration of North America that made it the ideal landing spot for those willing to mix their labor with a challenging yet rewarding natural environment. And springing from this great partnership of human effort and natural bounty was perhaps the greatest agricultural, industrial, and now high-tech economy in human history. The “tired…poor…huddled masses yearning to breathe free” became the prosperous, self-governing citizens of a great republic.

America maintained much of its original political culture during the 19th century, despite successive waves of immigration unprecedented in world history, in part by continuing to attract people who already embraced it. Unfortunately, her own laws unjustly prevented others who might have done likewise from coming to America by defining “undesirable” immigrants partially in ethnic terms (excluding all non-whites until 1870 and some Asians well into the 20th century, among other restrictions).

A mix of prejudice, self-serving jealousy, and sometimes more noble (if misguided) concerns compromised, in practice, the basic principle that otherwise served America so well into the 20th century: “equal rights for all, and special privileges for none”—all the more so because immigrants attracted by it are likely to be industrious in their pursuit of happiness, and thus less likely to give a native citizen any reasonable cause for jealousy.

While imperfectly implemented, the consistency of America’s “good Laws and Liberty” immigration policy across the first century of American national political history is aptly symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, who holds high the lamp of liberty while clutching the tablet of the law close to her chest.

Good Laws vs. Dependency
Federalist 52,” the first of seven essays on the House of Representatives, suggests the critical importance of such a policy in a republican government. James Madison opens the series with a defense of the Constitution’s requirements for the body’s electors and elected, and a preliminary discussion of the role that the Congress is to play in American government

The Constitution maximized voter participation in House elections within the cultural boundaries of the day by enfranchising all those eligible to vote for the members of the “most numerous” branch of each state legislature. Its minimal requirements to be a member of the House gave the widest possible scope for merit to define the membership of that body. Why?

Madison’s most important claim in “Federalist 52″ suggests the answer:As it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people.Madison’s argument (here and, one might say, throughout The Federalist Papers) presupposes a people eager to protect liberty, then, within the constraints of human nature, seeks the best way to accomplish this. That means ensuring that government leaders cannot violate the liberty of the people without violating their own—and it means, in this context, ensuring that, through “frequent elections,” members of the House have “an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people.”

Thus the Constitution’s provisions for the House of Representatives are perfectly suited for the people Madison was writing for and whom Franklin’s contemporaneous essay hoped to attract. The broadest suffrage on earth let (most of) the people guard their own liberty, and the minimal requirements for members of the House meant they were free to choose the best deputies to aid them in the task—without whose approval no law could be passed and without whose initiative no tax bill even proposed.

Today, however, instead of an immigration policy of good laws and liberty, we have one of flexible “laws” and dependency—perfectly suited for the president’s Progressive vision (and his party’s quest for a permanent majority), but not our founders’ republican one.

The liberty-loving are not defined by ethnicity, as our older policy supposed, but neither is everyone equally liberty-loving, as is often assumed by many a Progressive thinker today.

A new approach to immigration, no doubt, is needed, but it will be inadequate so long as we continue to project a Progressive message at home and abroad. Without comprehensive reform at the ballot box and that reins in dependency and promotes a culture of individual, familial, and civic responsibility, we will become, in the spirit of Emma Lazarus’s poem, more tired and poor, unable to welcome others to our shore, the political tempest at home having dimmed our lamp of liberty, and shut our golden door.
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: immigration, good laws, liberty, Federalist 52, constitution, David Corbin, Matthew Parks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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