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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 25, 2014

Should the Government Tell You What to Eat?

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Given the successive scandals and monster laws like Obamacare that have been imposed on Americans, the federal government’s efforts to control and determine what you eat doesn't receive the attention that it should. The ultimate question is whether the government should tell you what to eat and then seek to enforce their views about it? The answer is no.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is one of those federal entities that should have no role in determining what is on your plate, but among its recommendations is the promotion of “a plant-based diet, reduced meat consumption, and only eating fish after reading up on which are good for you.” Meanwhile the food police have been warning against the natural element of mercury in fish even though it is so small as to constitute no health threat.

Hanns Kuttner, a senior research fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington, D.C. domestic and foreign policy think tank, says that the working premise of the committee is that a “good diet would increase consumer’s costs and imply the end of entire sectors of American agriculture—all in an effort to regulate behavior that has nothing to do with nutrition.” The committee, since 2010, “has not included a member who has any knowledge of food production and food regulation.”

The committee reflects the United Nations global campaign to encourage the consumption of insects. If you love dining on bugs, the UN wants this to be a part of everyone’s diet. According to Eva Muller, the director of Food and Agricultural Organizations Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division, bugs “are nutritious, they have a lot of protein and are considered a delicacy in many countries.”

It should come as no surprise that Michelle Obama is leading the food police at this point. A program of the U.S. Agriculture Department announced new rules in 2013 to remove high caloric food and drink items from cafeterias and campuses of schools around the country. As of this year, sodas, sports drinks, and candy bars are banned. Only diet drinks, granola bars, and fruit are acceptable.

This is Big Government at work, but no one expects that kids will go along, nor are shoppers likely to embrace a U.S. Department of Agriculture report that wants to steer them toward more fruits and vegetables and away from sugar and fat-laden items. The new guide was written for the 47 million Americans who participate in the food stamp program. Yes, 47 million!

Michelle Obama also favors costly--$30,000 each—grocery carts that are color-coded to “help” consumers selected approved food items. This kind of intrusiveness is obnoxious.

Victor Skinner of the Education Action Group noted in early July that “The federal government’s attempt to force public school students to eat ‘healthier’ lunches is falling apart at the seams.” The New York Times News Service reported that the School Nutrition Association (SNA) which initially welcomed the bans is now lobbying Congress to dial back on the “overly prescriptive” and expensive changes.

“Congress is listening,” reported the Times, “and is considering legislation to delay the nutrition regulations for a year, some of which have already gone into effect.” The SNA is pointing out that many students are throwing away the additional fruits and vegetables included in their lunches, amounting to $684 million in food waste every year—or roughly “enough to serve complete reimbursable school lunches to more than 228 million students.” Moreover, the “nutritious” federal lunch menu is also proving costly for many school districts that are now forced to purchase more expensive foods to comply with the regulations.

We have reached the point where some schools are banning birthday cakes or cupcakes in classrooms where such celebrations have gone on for decades. Meanwhile many parents have noticed that their children just skip lunch at school and wait to come home to eat instead.

For as long as I can remember Americans have been told that something they eat or drink is dangerous to their health, even though Americans now enjoy the highest life expectancy since such data has been studied. Almost everything we have been warned against has turned out to have some beneficial aspect to it.

In March, the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine published a study that concluded that “Saturated fat does not cause heart disease.” Nina Teicholz, writing in the Wall Street Journal in May noted that “One consequence is that in cutting back on fats, we are now eating a lot more carbohydrates—at least 25% more since the early 1970s…instead of meat, eggs and cheese, we’re eating more pasta, grains, fruit and starchy vegetables such as potatoes.”

“The problem is that carbohydrates break down into glucose, which causes the body to release insulin, a hormone that is fantastically efficient at storing fat…excessive carbohydrates lead not only to obesity, but also, over time, to Type 2 diabetes and, very likely, heart disease.” Thanks to Big Government dietary guidelines and regulations, “the U.S. population (is) growing sicker and fatter while adhering to official dietary guidelines has put nutrition authorities in an awkward position.”

The latest group to join the Food Police are those opposed to food grown with genetically modified organisms (GMO), calling for the labeling of them. This is intended to boost the sales of “organically” grown crops that allegedly do not use pesticides or herbicides. It is pure propaganda because, as Mishcha Popoff, a former organic farmer and USDA-contract organic inspector, and the author of “Is It Organic?” recently noted in a Daily Caller article that “A whopping 43% of all certified-organic food sold in America now test positive for prohibited pesticides.” And, of course, “organic” food items cost more.

Simply put, crops need to be protected against insects and weeds. Always have and always will. There is no evidence that the proper use of insecticides and herbicides pose a health hazard. As one farmer told me, “My family eats what I grow. Do you think I would do anything to harm them?” Popoff notes that “The GMO industry is now well-established, with 35 years of science and over 20 years of commercial success behind it.”

The government has no business telling Americans what they should eat. It too frequently offers bad science and almost always propaganda. In the home of the brave and land of the free this is yet another intrusion in the lives of Americans. What you eat and even how much is an individual freedom and choice.
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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: Government, new rules, what you can eat, Department of Agriculture, 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!

Property Rights at Stake in EPA’s Water Power Grab

The American Farm Bureau Federation launched a national
 campaign to inform people why the Clean Water Act should be
 ‘ditched.’ (Photo: American Farm Bureau Fed. Facebook)
by Daren Bakst, Heritage Foundation: Thanks to the federal government, it soon may become far more difficult to use and enjoy private property. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers want to make a water—and land—grab that should scare everyone.

Under the Clean Water Act, the federal government has jurisdiction over “navigable waters,” which the statute further defines as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” Property owners often need to get permits if waters covered under the law will be impacted. Therefore, a critical question is what types of “waters” are covered under the CWA. That’s what the EPA and Corps seek to address with a new proposed rule that would define “the waters of the United States.” As expected, the EPA and the Corps are seeking to expand their authority to cover waters never imagined when the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972.

For example, the new proposed rule would regulate all ditches, except in narrow circumstances. This even includes man-made ditches. The rule would apply to tributaries that have ephemeral flow. This would include depressions in land that are dry most of the year except when there’s heavy rain.

There’s widespread opposition to the proposed rule. Farmers and ranchers are concerned that the rule could affect normal agricultural practices. Homebuilders could face additional development costs that would likely be passed on to buyers. Counties are concerned because of costly new requirements that could impact municipal storm sewer systems, roadside ditches, among other things.

This broad overreach could have significant costs and delays for permit applicants. In Rapanos v. United States (2006), a major CWA case, Justice Antonin Scalia cited a study highlighting the following costs and delays for one of the major types of permits (Section 404 permits), “The average applicant for an individual permit spends 788 days and $271,596 in completing the process, and the average applicant for a nationwide permit spends 313 days and $28,915—not counting costs of mitigation or design changes.”

If the EPA and Corps expand their authority over more waters, property owners will have to secure additional permits. They will have to get permission from federal bureaucrats to enjoy and use their property because of waters that were never intended to be regulated under the CWA. If property owners don’t comply with the law, they could face civil penalties as high as $37,500 per day per violation, or even criminal penalties.

In their craving for more power, the EPA and Corps are ignoring a critical aspect of the CWA: cooperative federalism. Both the states and federal government are supposed to play a role in implementation of the law. Yet, this power grab is an attempt by the federal government to push out state and local governments.
Wisconsin farmers fight against the Environmental Protection Agency’s and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ‘waters of the U.S.’ proposed rule. (Photo: Am. Farm Bureau Fed. via Facebook)
At the start of the CWA it states, “It is the policy of the Congress to recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use (including restoration, preservation, and enhancement) of land and water resources…” The EPA and Corps are pretending that this important policy doesn’t exist.

The EPA also had to ignore sound science and proper rulemaking to move forward with its power play. The agency developed a draft report entitled Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence. A Scientific Advisory Board was convened to peer review the study, which when finalized would provide the scientific foundation for implementation of the rule.

However, the EPA finalized the proposed rule before the Scientific Advisory Board even met. The EPA defends this action by claiming that the final study will still help inform the final rule. But this is putting the cart before the horse (or the rule before the science). The scientific foundation should inform the proposed rule so that the public can provide informed comments and have a meaningful voice in the process.

The public may be commenting on a proposed rule that seems to be a mere placeholder rather than a real policy proposal, or more likely, a proposal that already reflects the final conclusions of the EPA. The EPA has a strong incentive to avoid making major changes to the draft scientific report and, as a result, the final rule. If major changes are made, the EPA might be forced by law to restart the rulemaking process over.

Congress is taking notice. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a bill (H.R. 5078) that would prohibit implementation of the proposed rule, and legislation (S. 2496) has been introduced in the Senate to prohibit implementation as well. In addition, the FY 2015 House Interior and Environment appropriations bill that passed out of the appropriations committee includes a provision that withholds funds for implementation of the rule.

Ultimately though, it is the responsibility of Congress to define the term “navigable waters” instead of deferring to the EPA and the Corps. History shows these agencies will continue to seek to expand their authority. As with other laws, Congress needs to reassert its authority and rein in agency overreach. Private property rights are at stake.
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Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow in agricultural policy. He tweets at @darenbakst

Tags: property rights, at stake, EPE Water Grab, Ditch the Rule, Daren Bakst, 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!

They’re Coming to America

by Tom Balek, Contributing Author: Standing in the checkout line at Costco, I watched and listened to the family in front of me chattering in a language that I couldn't identify. Was it Flemish? Behind me a mother and her daughter spoke what I think was Hindi. Another group of Indians near us was speaking English in their distinctive clipped dialect, and then a passel of giggling little Chinese kids ran by, with Mom and Dad sternly attempting discipline in their home language. Then the pretty young Caribbean woman began checking out our groceries as two young Hispanic men worked the merchandise and carts and shared a joke in Spanish.

And it hit me like a brick. The United States I had known all my life is no more.

I know, it sounds cliched, but I (conservative, Tea Party, mature white male) am not a racist. I have no ill will or condescension toward any kind of people. I have said I am an "economic bigot" - I expect capable people to work, and don't particularly care for those who won't, regardless of ethnicity. But I enjoy the uniqueness of people from different places and cultures, especially the flavors of family interactions that are so universal - devoted parents raising their fun-loving kids.

No, I'm not a racist, but I couldn't help but notice that American-born, English-speaking whites and blacks were outnumbered on that Saturday afternoon in that Costco store in a relatively affluent Charlotte neighborhood.

I was flooded with questions and emotions. Do these foreigners also speak English? Where do they work? They seem to have plenty of money - were they wealthy in their native countries? Are there here legally? How did they get drivers licenses? Do they vote? Are their kids in the neighborhood schools, and how the heck do the schools deal with so many languages and customs?

Of course, no broad-brush answers apply. Some speak English, some don't. Some have jobs, others are on government benefits. Some are legal. Some have drivers licenses. Some vote. One thing is for sure, suddenly there are a lot of them, as both legal and illegal immigration rates are exploding, compared to our earlier history. Many states are importing more people than are being born to natives.

The United States will never again look and sound like it did during our lifetimes. It is a done deal.

But we, as a nation, are still at a tipping point: Will the values, social structure, and laws that made this country the most prosperous and powerful in the world survive? Will our new immigrants become Americans who share the love of Mom, baseball, apple pie and Chevrolets, like earlier generations of immigrants? Or will our great nation be split into hundreds of tribes, each clinging to their native habits, and suspicious of all the others?

It is a time in our history when leadership is critical. Now, more than ever, we need leaders who care about the well-being of the nation, not just their own or their party's political success. We need honest men and women with an understanding of the importance of time-tested rules and practices. America was built on laws that we could all agree upon, and that were proven to work. And America was once a "melting pot", where newcomers assimilated into our culture while preserving their own heritages. Now is not the time to get fuzzy about our American laws, Constitution, or values. Our immigrants need order and stability, too - in fact that's what many seek by moving here.

My wife often complained that our home state of Montana changed radically as more and more people moved there from the west coast. "They move to Montana because it's better than California, and then they try to change it into California!"

In addition to accelerating legal immigration rates, our government has decided to erase our southern border and pretty much accept all comers. They claim their motivations are humanitarian; some of us believe they are political. But even if the border could be sealed like a Tupperware bowl tomorrow, the United States will never be the same as it was. So now what?

Many of the newcomers don't really know what made America great. They and their families weren't here. It's up to us remaining native Americans (by that I mean those of us born here) to stand up for American traditions. values, and laws. We must make sure that our history is accurately and broadly taught, and expect our leaders to proudly defend our national identity and solidarity.
---------------
Rockin' On the Right Side Tom Balek is a fellow conservative activist and musician. He blogs Rockin'; On the Right Side. Between playing in a couple weekend bands, he seeks "to educate fellow Americans who have been too busy with their work and families to notice how close to the precipice our economy has come. He is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service. He tweets  @TomBalek

On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again
They're coming to America

Neil Diamond - Coming to America

Tags: American values, diversity, immigration, Neil Diamond, U.S. Constitution, Tom Balek To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

House Move On Numerous Bills ! McConnell Blasts Dems For Their Assaults On The First Amendment

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 25, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM. As of this article the House has taken up and passed:
H.R. 4935 (237-173)— "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make improvements to the child tax credit."
H. Con. Res. 105 (370-40)— "Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove United States Armed Forces, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel, from Iraq."

Other issues / bills being considered today:
H.R. 5081 — "To amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to enable State child protective services systems to improve the identification and assessment of child victims of sex trafficking, and for other purposes."
S. 517 — "To promote consumer choice and wireless competition by permitting consumers to unlock mobile wireless devices, and for other purposes."
H. Res. 562 — "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to enhanced relations with the Republic of Moldova and support for Moldova's territorial integrity."
S. 653 — "To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia."
S. 1104 — "To measure the progress of recovery and development efforts in Haiti following the earthquake of January 12, 2010, and for other purposes."

Yesterday, the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 3393 (227-187) — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to consolidate certain tax benefits for educational expenses, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4984 (405-11 )— "To amend the loan counseling requirements under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5111 (409 0) — "To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking."

The Senate is not in session today and will reconvene on Monday at 2 PM and will resume consideration of the nomination of Pamela Harris to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit. At 5:30 on Monday, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the Harris nomination, three nominees to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and on a nominee for Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.

Yesterday, Democrats again used the democrat established nuclear option to break Senate rules and allow cloture votes on nominees to succeed with fewer than 60 votes. This time, it was used to invoke cloture on the Harris nomination by a vote of 54-41.

On Wednesday, NPR wrote, “Senate Democrats have rolled out this year's model of the DISCLOSE Act. . . . It's the third version of DISCLOSE since 2010. Broadly speaking, it would force donor disclosure on the big-money, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that are flourishing in post-Citizens United politics. . . . A Senate rules committee hearing on DISCLOSE on Wednesday made one thing clear: Republicans despise the bill. Previous versions of DISCLOSE all failed due to united opposition by GOP lawmakers. . . . Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't a member of the rules committee, but ... he said. ‘This proposal is little more than a crude intimidation tactic masquerading as good government.’”

At the hearing, Leader McConnell explained his dogged opposition to the Democrats’ partisan bill: “This proposal is not new. This is the third time we’ve seen it. But it is precisely because of the doggedness of the proponents of this bill that I have come here before you today. For more than two centuries, we’ve had a regularly scheduled election in this country. . . . And yet every two years now, with near metronomic regularity, our friends on the other side can now be expected to propose some new attempt to silence their critics. Or, in the case of the DISCLOSE Act, an old one. Sadly, it has now come to the point where you can set your clock to the Democrats’ attempts to stifle the free speech rights of the American people. . . . Collectively and individually, these continual efforts to weaken voter participation in our elections poses a real threat to the right of free speech in this country, something which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights and which has ensured the integrity of the political process in this country for more than two centuries.”

Leader McConnell admonished majority Democrats that “no one should be tampering with” the First Amendment. He pointed out, “Yet again and again, in recent years, that’s just what we’ve seen. We saw it on shameful display at the IRS, as detailed in the IG report on the agency’s activities leading up to the 2012 election — and in the administration’s subsequent efforts to codify through regulation the kind of targeting that took place there. We saw it in the recent efforts by Democrats to empower Congress through constitutional amendment to limit the free speech rights of individuals and groups — a truly radical proposal that should end all arguments about what little regard . . .  the other side have for the rights of free citizens to set the direction of our country. And we’ve seen it, three times now, in the biennial revival of the DISCLOSE Act.”

He continued, making the case against the bill, “... we need to be ready to respond in kind. And in this case, the first part of that response should be to point out the obvious: at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to find work, small businesses are sputtering under the weight of an increasingly brazen regulatory state, our VA system is failing our veterans, and tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have been flowing across the border without any clear policy solution from either the White House or Democrat Leaders in Congress, Democrat leaders should not be focused on a bill the primary purpose of which is to silence their critics. Their persistence at this particular moment is eloquent testimony of where their priorities lie.

“The second thing I would say about this proposal is that the entire premise for it is baseless. The supposed justification of this bill is the need to, quote, ‘do something’ about certain people and voluntary associations participating in the political process. But this gets it exactly backwards. We shouldn’t be trying to think of ways to keep people from participating in the political process. We should be encouraging more of it. . . . If the supporters of this proposal can’t suppress individuals or groups, the thinking on the Left goes, then they should just go after the funding that amplifies the message. And they’ll do it the old fashioned way: through donor harassment and intimidation. . . . So we’ve seen what the loudest proponents of disclosure have intended in the past, and it’s not good government. . . . The sad fact is, this kind of government-led intimidation is part of a much broader effort that’s been underway within the Obama administration for years. We’ve seen parallel efforts at suppressing speech at the FCC, the SEC, the IRS, DOJ, and at HHS. And the tactics we saw during the 2012 campaign speak for themselves — from the enemies list of conservative donors on the Obama campaign’s Web site, to the strategic name-dropping of conservative targets by the President’s political advisors. And that’s what this proposal is about. It’s about harvesting the names of donors in the hopes of driving them off the playing field. We’ve seen it before. We’re seeing it now.”

In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner yesterday, McConnell added, “In recent weeks, congressional Democrats have also sought to empower Congress through a constitutional amendment to limit the free speech rights of individuals and groups. And all Americans have gotten an education over the past two years in the ways government can be used to suppress free speech, as details of the IRS scandal have continued to unfold. When it comes to disclosure, President Obama likes to say that the only people who oppose it are people who have something to hide. Yet history tells us otherwise. Back in the 1950s, the state of Alabama tried to get its hands on the donor list of the NAACP. The Supreme Court correctly ruled against forced disclosure then because it knew that if people had reason to fear that their names and reputations would be attacked because of the causes they support, then they would be far less likely to support them. They knew disclosure would have a chilling effect on free association and free speech.”

He concluded, “The First Amendment has been a consuming passion of mine for years. I have fought hard to defend it on the Senate floor and in the highest court of the land. It has pitted me at times against members of my own party, including a Republican president. It's also led to some unlikely alliances, as I've repeatedly stood with both the American Civil Liberties Union and the liberal First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams for help in this fight. That’s just as it should be. Some causes should transcend party politics. The right to speak freely and without fear of harassment or intimidation from one’s government is one of them. It would be nice to think that both major political parties in this country still believed that. Tragically, the evidence increasingly says otherwise. So the fight for free speech continues. I, for one, don’t intend to let up on it.”

Tags: House bills, Sen Mitch McConnell, defending, free speech,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Scalise & Collins Introduces Bill to Cap Regulatory Spending And Control Un-elected Bureaucrats

 Bill makes un-elected bureaucrats think twice before proposing job-killing rules and regulations
Yesterday, U.S. Congressmen Steve Scalise (R-LA-01) and Doug Collins (R-GA-09) introduced legislation, the National Regulatory Budget Act of 2014, which establishes a new process for the estimation and reporting of the economic costs of existing and new federal regulations.  The bill also provides for a regulatory budget process where Congress would establish caps for each federal agency.

“Radical regulations strangle small business and increase the costs for hard-working taxpayers,” said Congressman Scalise.  “This much-needed legislation makes unelected bureaucrats think twice before proposing job-killing rules and regulations by increasing transparency and accountability.  If our economy is ever to recover from six years of the president’s failed economic policies, we must rein in the out of control costs of this Administration’s radical regulations.  I applaud Congressman Collins for joining me in introducing this bill and for being a leader in the House on holding this Administration accountable.”

“Our federal budget tells Americans how much money the government spends.  The national Regulatory Budget would tell them how much the government is really costing them,” Congressman Collins said.  “Too many regulations, however they were intended, cost hardworking Americans in money and in opportunity.  We can’t bring about reform and relief if we can’t identify the roots of the regulatory burden, and this is a straightforward and transparent way to do that.  Congressman Scalise is a trusted leader on regulatory reform and I know with his leadership, we can get this moving.”

“Regulations are another impediment to investment.  For free enterprise to work, it needs a reasonable regulatory system that ensures safety, protects consumers and achieves fair competition,” said U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Putting the federal government on a National Regulatory Budget will help restrain the job-killing impulses of regulators and reduce obstacles to innovation that creates jobs.  I appreciate the leadership of Representatives Scalise and Collins for leading the effort in the House.  I hope this doesn’t ultimately turn into another example of the House acting on commonsense, pro-jobs legislation only to see Harry Reid’s Senate fail to act on it.”

Specifically, the National Regulatory Budget Act would establish the Office of Regulatory Analysis (OAR), which would be required to provide an annual regulatory analysis of federal rules for the upcoming fiscal year and their estimated cost on the economy.  The legislation also creates a National Regulatory Budget, which allows Congress to set a cap on the total economic cost of new federal regulations to be implemented in the coming fiscal year.  Congress would also set caps on the regulatory cost allowed by individual agencies.

The legislation requires that all newly proposed regulations receive an OAR estimate before being implemented.  Agencies that fail to comply with the OAR will be subject to a 0.5 percent reduction in their appropriation based on their previous budget amount.

Competitive Enterprise Institute, federal regulations cost businesses $1.8 trillion in 2013 – more than the Gross Domestic Product of Canada.  Federal regulations cost the average American family $14,974 annually.  The 2013 Federal Register contained nearly 3,500 regulations totaling 79,000 pages – the fourth largest Federal Register in history.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the National Regulatory Budget Act of 2014 (S. 2153) in March of this year.  It has the support of 12 Senate cosponsors. The bill has been endorsed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, National Small Business Association, and Center for Freedom and Prosperity.

Tags: proposed bill, National Repulatory Budget Act, estimation and reporting, economic costs, existing and new federal regulations, caps for each federal agency, oversight, un-elected bureaucrats 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 24, 2014

How Obama Questions Your Patriotism

by David Harsanyi: So Barack Obama is again using one of the most contemptible phrases in American politics — “economic patriotism.”

There are many credible reasons to despise this rhetorical construct. Patriotism, after all, is the attachment to one’s homeland, a nationalistic devotion to one’s country and the values that make it great. If a person not only resists things that are “patriotic,” but opposes them, then logic dictates that person is being unpatriotic. So the president is really asking one question: Why do you hate America?

Obama has been dropping the phrase for years, though it’s nothing new. In recent history, Paul Tsongas, preparing to run in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1991, demanded that people demonstrate “economic loyalty” to the United States. He argued that “many of those who lament the decline in our standard of living are driving foreign cars” and that this kind of consumer choice would “benefit another country’s team” and hurt the economy. In 1993, the right’s leading isolationist/protectionist Patrick Buchanan used the exact term “economic patriotism” to describe his vision for the future, and these days we have people like Richard Trumka or Katrina Vanden Heuvel arguing that limiting innovation and free trade are forms of patriotism.

Obama takes the idea in a different direction, arguing that when profits go overseas we not only (supposedly) lose jobs here at home, but we damage our future because government can’t expand at the rate he prefers:Instead of protecting tax loopholes that let corporations keep their profits overseas, let’s put some of that money to work right here in the United States rebuilding America. We can rebuild our airports, create the next generation of good manufacturing jobs, make sure those are made in America.A politician may rally millions of economic illiterates to his cause with this sort speechifying, but these are not “loopholes,” they are “business decisions” that companies make when they face high regulatory burdens or high corporate taxes. Since the goal of a business is not to become a more effective tax collector or health-care provider, as this administration seems to believe, moving off-shore or tax-inversion — which might mean $20 billion less for the Treasury over a decade — is becoming more popular. But, either way, a lack of new tariffs and taxes does not “reward companies for moving profits overseas” as much as U.S. tax and regulatory policy is a punishment for them staying. Besides, where we stand on the issue of corporate taxation is no way to measure a person’s loyalty to his country.

Actually, logic would also dictate – and Tsongas was far more honest on this front — that if you’re texting on your Samsung phone while driving your Honda or BMW you are also complicit in unpatriotic behavior. You are, in most cases, sending your cash to companies that aren’t pitching in enough to rebuild our airports. Plenty of companies that normally suck up to the administration — General Electric, IBM, Merck and Microsoft, to name a few –believe that punishing foreign companies for doing business in the United States is a bad idea. Are all these companies unpatriotic, as well? Someone should ask the president.

But let’s not forget, for Obama the idea of “economic patriotism” is elastic. The contours of its philosophy are now identical to the president’s own policy proposals. Which is curious, considering we’re supposed to set aside “politics” to achieve our communal goal. Then again, while you may be knee-deep in politics, our president is guided solely by common sense. Here’s how Obama explained economic patriotism on July 4th:It’s a sort of economic patriotism where you say to yourself, how is it that we can start rebuilding this country to make sure that all of the young people who are here but their kids and their grandkids are going to be able to enjoy the same incredible opportunities that this country offers as we have. That’s our job. That’s what we should be focused on. And it’s worth remembering as we go into Independence Day.Yes, thinking up new ways to create reliance on government is exactly what the Founders had in mind in 1776. How do we achieve this? A few years ago, Obama released a 22-page campaign stunt called “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security.” Thin on details, it was big on advocating for new stimulus to fund a slew of liberal hobbyhorses. The title, “New Economic Patriotism” oozed an authoritarian scent, and, fittingly enough, anyone who disagreed was “betting against America.” This is just one of the accusations regularly thrown around these days to chill speech.

And as the president lets it rip, perhaps we should take his definition of patriotism seriously. Though the idea can be somewhat amorphous, patriotism and nationalism, especially in this country, is driven by idealism rather than chauvinism or ethnic and religious considerations. The kind of idealism that soldiers go and die for. So if you believe that left-wing economic policies are synonymous with “patriotism” but religious freedom, freedom of speech and economic freedom are antiquated notions in need of fixing, maybe it’s your idea of American nationalism that is warped.
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David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of “The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy.” Follow him on Twitter.

Tags: Barack Obama, patriotism, questions patriotism, economic patriotism, David Harsanyi, The Federalist To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

“Nobody Said No” - Fox News: FEC May Ban Books

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren
Background: FEC chairman warns book publishers at risk of regulation at heated meeting -    by Judson Berger, Fox News: The Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission warned Wednesday that his agency colleagues could try to regulate book publishers, during a heated session over a forthcoming book by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan.

During the meeting, the FEC declined to definitively spare book publishers from the reach of campaign finance rules.

This triggered a clash between Republican and Democratic members, with Chairman Lee Goodman warning that the deadlock could represent a "chill" for constitutional free-press rights.

"That is a shame. ... We have wounded the free-press clause of the First Amendment," Goodman told FoxNews.com after the tense meeting. Goodman previously has warned that the commission wants to start regulating media.

At issue during the meeting was a book by Rep. Ryan, R-Wis., being published by Grand Central Publishing. Goodman and other GOP members of the commission wanted the FEC to affirm that the book and its publisher are exempt from FEC regulation under what's known as the "media exemption" -- the same exemption that typically lets newspaper editorials, television channels and other outlets say what they want about political figures without worrying about campaign finance laws.

Goodman argues that book publishers are entitled to the same rights.

The commission did clear the Ryan book under a separate, more limited exemption. But they could not muster the four votes necessary to do what Goodman and other Republican members wanted.

"I think that's unfortunate," Goodman said during the meeting, even raising the specter of book-banning. "We have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher."

He and two other members of the commission subsequently released a six-page, highly annotated statement detailing their concerns.

Democratic members of the committee, though, were quick to downplay Goodman's complaints as a technical quibble.

Commissioner Ellen Weintraub noted that the Ryan book was still going forward unencumbered by FEC regulations. She said the public probably doesn't care "which exemption we use," and accused Goodman of using "overheated language."

"That doesn't mean that we're banning books, that doesn't mean that we're regulating books," she said.

Weintraub also noted that the exemption used for Ryan's book is the same used for one by liberal documentarian Michael Moore.

Goodman for months has been warning that some in the FEC are keen to start regulating the media, despite a longstanding congressional ban on doing so.

He points in part to a case that was considered in 2013 involving Boston TV station WCVB. The station had invited a Democratic and Republican congressional candidate for a debate-style program during the election a year earlier, but another third-party candidate complained he was illegally excluded. The FEC looked at the case, because of allegations the treatment of the other candidates was tantamount to a contribution.

Ultimately, the FEC dismissed the complaint. But Goodman voiced concern that it was seriously considered at all.

Goodman told FoxNews.com that in the latest case, the FEC should have affirmed that book publishers are exempt from commission regulations as part of the press. He said the failure to do so represents "an effort to constrict the media exemption within the commission."

Reached for comment, a Ryan spokesperson declined to speak to the dispute before the commission, but said: "We appreciate the Commission's diligence and welcome the guidance provided in their advisory opinion concerning the publication and promotion of Paul Ryan's upcoming book, The Way Forward."

Tags: editorial cartoon, William Warren, Federal Government, Nobody said no, FEC, Federal Election Commission, regulate books, banning books, democrats, FoxNews, Judson Berger  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

A Great Plan to Replace the EPA

By Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: For years now I have been saying that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be eliminated and its powers given to the fifty states, all of which,have their own departments of environmental protection. Until now, however, there has been no plan put forth to do so.

Dr. Jay Lehr has done just that and his plan no doubt will be sent to the members of Congress and the state governors. Titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency” it should be read by everyone who, like Dr. Lehr, has concluded that the EPA was a good idea when it was introduced in 1971, but has since evolved into a rogue agency threatening the U.S. economy, attacking the fundamental concept of private property, and the lives of all Americans in countless and costly ways.

Dr. Lehr is the Science Director and Senior Fellow of The Heartland Institute, for whom I am a policy advisor. He is a leading authority on groundwater hydrology and the author of more than 500 magazine and journal articles, and 30 books. He has testified before Congress on more than three dozen occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. The Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organizations supported by voluntary contributions.

Ironically, he was among the scientists who called for the creation of the EPA and served on many of the then-new agency’s advisory councils. Over the course of its first ten years, he helped write a significant number of legislative bills to create a safety net for the environment.

As he notes in his plan, “Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has passed that benefited either the environment or society.”

“The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S. President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to ‘skyrocket.’ It is a rogue agency.”

Dr. Lehr says that “Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option.” He's right.

“I have come to believe that the national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight.”

Looking back over the years, Dr. Lehr notes that “The initial laws I helped write have become increasingly draconian, yet they have not benefited our environment or the health of our citizens. Instead they suppress our economy and the right of our citizens to make an honest living. It seems to me, and to others, that this is actually the intention of those in EPA and in Congress who want to see government power expanded without regard to whether it is needed to protect the environment or public health.”

Eliminating the EPA would provide a major savings by eliminating 80% of its budget. The remaining 20% could be used to run its research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. “The Committee would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval.”

Dr. Lehr estimates the EPA’s federal budget would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300 and that staff would serve in a new national EPA headquarters he recommends be “located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states.” The staff would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states.”

“Most states,” says Dr. Lehr, “will enthusiastically embrace this plan, as their opposition to EPA’s ‘regulatory train wreck’ grows and since it gives them the autonomy and authority they were promised when EPA was first created and the funding to carry it out.”

The EPA was a good idea when it was created, the nation’s air and water needed to be cleaned, but they have been at this point. Since then, the utterly bogus “global warming”, now called “climate change”, has been used to justify a torrent of EPA regulations. The science the EPA cites as justification is equally tainted and often kept secret from the public.

“It’s time for the national EPA to go,” says Dr. Lehr and I most emphatically agree. “All that is missing is the political will.”
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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.

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Obamacare Train Wreck: GAO Report | Over 60,000 Louisanans Face ‘Double-Digit Rate Increases’ | Oregon Medicaid Patients ‘Suffer From "Widespread Physician Shortage’

Toon by William Warren
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 24, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM today. The will be considering the following bills today:
H.R. 4984 — "To amend the loan counseling requirements under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5111 — "To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking."
H.R. 3393 — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to consolidate certain tax benefits for educational expenses, and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 2283 (Voice Vote) — "To prioritize the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 without increasing the size of the Federal Government, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3136 (414-0) — "To establish a demonstration program for competency-based education."
H.R. 4449 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to expand the training for Federal Government personnel related to trafficking in persons, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4980 (Voice Vote) — "To prevent and address sex trafficking of children in foster care, to extend and improve adoption incentives, and to improve international child support recovery."
H.R. 4983 (Voice Vote) — "To simplify and streamline the information regarding institutions of higher education made publicly available by the Secretary of Education, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5076 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to increase knowledge concerning, and improve services for, runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking."
H.R. 5116 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5134 (Voice Vote) — "To extend the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for one year."
H.R. 5135 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to identify strategies to prevent children from becoming victims of trafficking and review trafficking prevention efforts, to protect and assist in the recovery of victims of trafficking, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2569, a bill that would change the tax code concerning tax breaks for moving expenses for certain corporations.

At 1:45 PM, the Senate agreed to the motion to proceed to S. 2569 by voice vote and then began voting on cloture on the nomination of Pamela Harris, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.  Following that vote, voice votes are scheduled for nominees for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

Another Bad Week For Obamacare Train Wreck with the news about Americans struggling with the narrow networks Obamacare imposes and the GAO investigation finding it easy to create fraudulent accounts to get subsidized insurance. Today features more problematic news for Democrats’ unpopular health care law.

The AP reports on more premium increases being sought in Louisiana. “Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent. More than 60,000 people who get health insurance through the individual marketplace — which was expanded by the federal Affordable Care Act — are in line for double-digit rate increases on Jan. 1 if they keep their current policies. The companies filed paperwork with Louisiana's insurance department outlining those planned rate increases for 2015. Lower rate hikes falling below 10 percent next year will hit individual market policies covering another 27,000 people. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said the average health insurance rate increase planned in the state's individual market next year is 12 percent to 13 percent. ‘We are seeing a negative trend in that we are seeing increases instead of decreases as a result of this new system of health insurance,’ Donelon, a Republican who opposed the federal law, said this week. . . . [I]nsurance officials say the increases are larger than the price hikes enacted annually before the federal law was put in place. ‘Prior to the implementation of the law, increases mirrored health care trend, which was in single digit increases,’ said John Maginnis, spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, the largest provider of insurance offerings on the federal marketplace for Louisiana. . . . The highest rate hikes proposed for the individual marketplace are from Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in Louisiana. The company's double-digit planned increases top 18 percent and involve policies covering 52,000 people. . . . The Louisiana Health Cooperative is raising rates by more than 10 percent for policies that cover about 2,000 people. Humana, which offers coverage through the marketplace only in Jefferson Parish, is planning to increase prices by more than 15 percent for individual market policies that cover more than 4,900 people.”

Of course, Americans remember President Obama pledged that “[t]his law will lower premiums,” one of a string of broken promises about his health care law.

Meanwhile, in Oregon, the troubles brought on by Obamacare continue. According to another AP report, “Low-income Oregon residents were supposed to be big winners after the state expanded Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul and created a new system to improve the care they received. But an Associated Press review shows that an unexpected rush of enrollees has strained the capacity of the revamped network that was endorsed as a potential national model, locking out some patients, forcing others to wait months for medical appointments and prompting a spike in emergency room visits, which state officials had been actively seeking to avoid. The problems come amid nationwide growing pains associated with the unprecedented restructuring of the U.S. health care system, and they show the effects of a widespread physician shortage on a state that has embraced Medicaid expansion. . . . [E]arly indications show clear challenges associated with expanding Medicaid and establishing coordinated care networks, the centerpiece of Gov. John Kitzhaber's plan to reduce costs and improve care by focusing on primary care and keeping patients out of emergency rooms. ‘As soon as people got insured, they all showed up at once, wanting to deal with the problems they couldn't deal with for years,’ said John Guerreiro, a primary care doctor in northwestern Oregon.”

The AP details just some of the problems Oregon patients and doctors are experiencing. “Timothy McDaniel, a self-employed computer programmer from Springfield, gained Medicaid coverage in January and said it took him six months to find a doctor. He even went to an urgent care clinic seeking a wellness exam but was turned away, because the facility didn't provide such evaluations. ‘It was rather frustrating because I'm getting older, I'm in my late 50s,’ McDaniel said. ‘I thought I had this health insurance. I wanted to use it. I wanted to get checked out, and I couldn't.’ The flood of new enrollees like McDaniel has hit hardest in rural parts of the state, where the physician shortage is most severe. But problems have been reported from every corner, the AP has learned after contacting each of 15 regional coordinated care organizations, regional networks of doctors and nurses intended to see patients more often for treatment of small and chronic problems. The coordinated care model has been championed by the state's Democratic governor, an early supporter of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, and is unique to Oregon. . . . Two regions have stopped accepting new patients, locking out more than 16,000 new enrollees in western and southern Oregon, state data shows. The new patients are still insured, but without a coordinated care network, they're on their own to find a doctor. Eight regions saw some practices, clinics and individual doctors close to new Medicaid enrollees. . . . Seven regions report that new patients are facing long waits for primary care visits, delays that can last months. . . . Seven regions report an increase in ER visits, up to 30 percent, in a statistic that has been particularly troubling for supporters of Oregon's efforts.”

Obamacare is a mess. It’s exacerbating many health care problems, costing a great deal of money, hurting patients, straining medical practices and facilities, raising premiums, narrowing provider networks, and failing to live up to the promises Democrats made when they passed the law. It needs to be repealed and replaced with real commonsense health care solutions, not a one-size-fits-all government centered approach.

Tags: Obamacare, Trainwreck GAO, Rate increases, no doctors taking plan, Washington, D.C., House, Senate, bills, nominations, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

In The Trenches Fighting The Good Fight Defending Liberty

David M. Huntwork, Contributing Author: We exist in a vast sea of ignorance and lack of understanding in regards to history, politics, and ideology. Not to mention the implications of each upon our nation and civilization. Perhaps we should not be surprised that large segments of society can’t put the Civil War in the correct century or begin to find major countries on a map. There are entire political ideologies that rely on that mind-numbing, and sometimes frightening, misunderstanding and basic ignorance that a significant portion of society manifests as a source for their power and strength.

I find liberalism / progressivism to be little more than a mental poison, an ideological and philosophical cancer on society that is malicious and destructive to everything that it touches from the sanctity of human life, to the traditional family structure (the basic foundation of all civilization), to national security, to free enterprise and beyond. It is the bane of Western Civilization, the concept of personal liberty, and a threat to all I hold dear. And it too often shares the mentality (and dare I say even goals?) of some of the nastiest political philosophies that have ever marred the face of the planet. It must be opposed however and whenever it can.

I don’t live in an ideological vacuum; instead I actively have an ideology and world view.   Liberalism is a dangerous, vicious, corrupting and deceptive ideology that hates everything I believe to be true, right and correct. It is as much a religion or mental defect as a political philosophy and I will fight it however, whenever, and wherever I can. I’m proud to be on the front line in the culture and ideological wars for the heart and soul of this nation. No apologies are offered.

We are now engaged in a great struggle for the heart, soul, and future of a nation, a great people, and perhaps even Western Civilization itself. Progressivism destroys everything that is good and just and wages unrelenting war on everything I believe to be sacred, right, and true. They have no pity and are not constrained by the mores of tradition, values, honesty, or rule of law. They dismantle free enterprise, flood our nation with foreign immigrants both legal and illegal, dismantle and redefine the family, mock our traditions, slaughter the unborn, ignore our history, mock Christianity, and shred morals and values at every turn. There are not two equally valid ideologies to choose from. All paths do not lead to truth.

The road to serfdom is a path we would rather not take, and warning people what can eventually happen when you give up liberty, control, and decision-making to a monolithic, increasingly powerful, and rapidly growing government that seeks to dictate, regulate, or control nearly every aspect of your personal, business, and daily life is not paranoia, but reality. The face of modern fascism is far more deceitful in the modern age. Progressivism is fascism with a compassionate face.

Perhaps I take a larger view of “the struggle.” People who are out to destroy everything I believe in and undermine the traditions, culture, language and institutions of Western Civilization certainly are an “enemy,” at least the ideology they believe in is. Have you been paying attention? Are you aware of the agendas being enacted and the ones that are planned? Statism is alive and well my friend, and liberty and freedom are on life support.

The corrupt cabal who rule us now would have kissed the feet of King George and embraced his tyranny for the sake of “the common good.” To the brave founders of this nation liberty was not just some obscure concept to give lip service to, but something worth fighting and dying for. It was real. We have lost that as a society and we must be willing to do what is necessary to regain it. Liberty is worth sacrificing everything for. It is at the core of what makes us free men.

The threat we face is not a fantasy, but a reality that is growing everyday. Defending the Founder’s vision and the Republic they created with vigor and even their own words and passion is a great thing, not something to be avoided. We are defending their vision and their dream. We are the heirs to their gift and it deserves to be defended every way possible. They earned it and they deserve it. The era of ‘decorum’ and polite political discourse is no longer with us and has been moldering in the grave for some time. That bridge has not only been crossed (by both sides) but has been burned down behind us.

Righteous anger and indignation is a fire that should be stoked, not extinguished. Even Christ drove the money changers out of the temple. There is no shame in that but we all must do what we can to defeat the ideological barbarians in our midst.

If the Founders saw the state of the country they would be aghast at what we have allowed to happen to their bold experiment. Conservatives see themselves as the spiritual descendants of the Founding Fathers and the keeper of the flame of freedom handed down to us from them. What we see now is a protest characterized not by a roar for revolution, but by a call for restoration — repair of our Constitution’s authority and return to its standard for Rule of Law.

“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.” –Thomas Jefferson

It is interesting to see some factions of the Right not embracing guerrilla conservatism. The Left firmly trampled to death the last rules of civility and the argument of ‘we need to be nice, because if we aren’t they might be mean to the next Republican president’ is bologna (ask President Bush about that). If you show up to a gun fight with cardboard swords you are going to lose.

I advocate ideological warfare and an energized, confrontational conservative movement. The Left is completely dominating in every arena and it is not by “playing nice.” There are some who wring their hands about civility and propriety while the shining city on the hill is being looted and pillaged by the barbarian followers of an evil ideology. Let me know how “playing nice” works out. The rest of us will be in the trenches fighting the good fight defending liberty.
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David Huntwork is a conservative blogger, columnist, and the proud father of three daughters. The son, grandson, and great-grandson of Ministers of the Gospel he brings a unique blended background of theology and ideology to the great debates of the day. He believes that Faith, Family, and Freedom is the formula for success and the key to a good life and a healthy nation. David blogs at TheConservativeCitizen.com and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. You can contact him at Davehuntwork@juno.com.

Tags: defending liberty, in the trenches, ideological warfare, David Huntwork,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Politics and the Fundamentals of Sound Religion

Benjamin Franklin and John Locke
by Patrick L Booth, Contributing Author: Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Yale University his ideas about religion. It was widely circulated and its tenets widely shared by our political founders. “I believe in one GOD, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to Him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.”

The fundamental points widely taught in schools until recent times were: 1. There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him. 2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong. 3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat one another. 4. All mankind live beyond this life. 5. In the next life men are judged for their conduct in this one.

These same points are still widely held and taught in many other countries throughout the world whether as specific religions or not. Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and other founders thought these were the basic tenets on which American Civilization was founded (and upon which English Common Laws were also founded and became the basis for our common laws.) English Common Law was taught as being structured on God’s revealed law constituting a moral code clearly distinguishing right from wrong.

One of the most influential philosophers of our founders was John Locke who wrote a number of essays including, “ Concerning Human Understanding.” Locke said it defies the most elementary aspects of reason and experience to presuppose that everything in existence developed as a result of fortuitous circumstance. No mind can accept the forces of nature could produce such a work as a wristwatch or even basic tools, let alone the marvelous intricacies of life, the simplest organisms found in nature. All appear to be the products of intelligent design and precision engineering. To Locke, an “atheist” confesses merely never having dealt with the Creator’s existence so would be to that extent, “irrational”, out of touch with the most important and fundamental reality.

Everyone can know there is a divine Creator. To begin with, each person knows of his own existence. Further, each knows he is “something”. We all know “something” cannot be brought into existence by “nothing”. Therefore, whatever brought man and everything else into existence, had to be “something”. It follows that “something” doing all this organizing and arranging must be all-knowing to the extent required for such organization and arrangements. This “something” must also be superior to everything resulting form its efforts. This superiority makes the “something” the ultimate good for all of its organization and arrangements. In our language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is simply, “GOD.” Since man is a creation and is capable of “knowing” (cognitive) then the Creator must also be a cognitive or reasoning and thinking entity. Certainly something non-cognitive, like a rock, could not have produced something as cognitive as man. We also know the Creator must have compassion, love, a fine sense of right and wrong and justice, even a sense of humor for mankind has all these sublime qualities. He must be a fine artist with so much beauty of form, color, and contrasts for all to behold for even animals possess some sense satisfaction of sensory perceptions we call beauty.

As Locke said and our founding fathers agreed, there are many things Man can know about God. Because any thoughtful person can gain appreciation and conviction of these many attributes of the Creator, atheists fail to apply their capacity for observation, reason, and understanding. This belief was the fundamental premise underlying all self-evident truths as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and elsewhere in our founding documents. Modern progressives, socialists, and atheists think they are simply smarter and wiser than our founders despite all the evidences against their philosophical failures.
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Patrick L Booth is conservative writer and retired from the FAA. He blogs at The Blue Eye View. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

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Layoffs Prove the Deceit of Amnesty

by Phyllis Schlafly: The shocking announcement that Microsoft is cutting 18,000 jobs is still sinking in. Most of those employees do not have a realistic chance of obtaining as good a job as the one they are losing.

In the United States, the number of engineering jobs has been sharply declining. In 2002 the number of electrical engineering jobs in the United States was 385,000, but despite increased demand for technology, the job total dropped to only 300,000 last year.

And that number is not even for American workers, because thousands of these jobs are soaked up by the H-1B visa racket, whereby companies like Microsoft can import and pay foreign workers less than it costs to hire an American. High-tech companies have thousands of foreign employees working on H-1B visas, who are almost like indentured servants to the company because they lose their right to be in our country if they leave their job.

Microsoft’s massive layoff makes downright ridiculous the op-ed recently published by Bill Gates and his billionaire pals, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson. They and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who financed the lobby group FWD.us, demand immediate amnesty disguised as immigration reform in order to bring in more cheap labor.

The real shortage is in good jobs, but these visas flood the labor market and hold wages down, when wages should be climbing for American workers. Fewer Americans have a job today than just six years ago, even though the potential workforce has expanded during that time. One reason is the overuse of foreign labor by large companies.

Microsoft is highly profitable, breaking its own records for revenue and profits as recently as last year, with an effective tax rate of less than 20 percent. One of its directors has agreed to pay $2 billion for a basketball team, and Bill Gates is often listed as the wealthiest man in the world.

In 2007, at a U.S. Senate committee hearing, Gates asked for permission to import “an infinite number” of foreign workers. “I don’t think there should be any limit,” he continued, but at any rate the cap should be “dramatically increased.”

In 2008, before the Science and Technology Committee of the U.S. House, Gates claimed he had jobs “going begging” that no American could be found to do, so he had no choice but to import workers from India. When Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) suggested he might consider raising the pay for those jobs, Gates impatiently dismissed that option, saying, “No, it’s not an issue of raising wages. These jobs are very, very high paying jobs.”

Economics 101 teaches that wages are a function of supply and demand. When the supply of labor is increased, such as by expanding immigration, then wages can and do decrease, despite increased productivity.

Recently a reporter caught up with the laid-off semiconductor engineer whose wife publicly challenged President Obama in January 2012, “Why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?” Darin Wedel eventually found a job in the health care industry, earning $40,000-a-year less than before.

President Obama is still deceiving the American public about the economy, bragging that 288,000 jobs were created last month. As Mort Zuckerman explained in the Wall Street Journal, “Most people will have the impression that the 288,000 jobs created last month were full-time. Not so.” They were part-time jobs, which pay lower wages than the full-time jobs that have disappeared.

There are several reasons for this, such as employers’ desire to avoid the Obamacare mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 or more hours a week. Another is women’s willingness to accept lower pay in exchange for a flexible schedule with fewer hours per day, per week, and per year.

But now many breadwinners, including men, have been forced to take these jobs. Of men aged 25 to 54, one in six does not work; fifty years ago, only one in 20 was not working.

When we first brought the transformation of the American economy into a part-time worker society in 2010, many scoffed and suggested that when the ‘recovery’ really gets going the temp jobs will all be morphed into high-paying full-time jobs. Instead, Zuckerman writes, “more than 24 million Americans remain jobless, working part-time involuntarily or having left the workforce.”

Zuckerman hits us with the depressing conclusion: “Faith in the American dream is eroding fast. The feeling is that the rules aren’t fair and the system has been rigged in favor of business and against the average person.”

One Senator who always speaks up for Americans, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said, “I don’t think you can make the argument that we have a labor shortage.” The answer should be: close the border; absolutely no amnesty masquerading as “immigration reform.”
--------------------
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president ofEagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: H-1B visa racket, H-1B, visas, jobs, layoffs, deceit, amnesty, no amnesty, immigration reform, 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!

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  • 12/29/13 - 1/5/14
  • 1/5/14 - 1/12/14
  • 1/12/14 - 1/19/14
  • 1/19/14 - 1/26/14
  • 1/26/14 - 2/2/14
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  • 2/23/14 - 3/2/14
  • 3/2/14 - 3/9/14
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  • 3/23/14 - 3/30/14
  • 3/30/14 - 4/6/14
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  • 4/20/14 - 4/27/14
  • 4/27/14 - 5/4/14
  • 5/4/14 - 5/11/14
  • 5/11/14 - 5/18/14
  • 5/18/14 - 5/25/14
  • 5/25/14 - 6/1/14
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  • 6/8/14 - 6/15/14
  • 6/15/14 - 6/22/14
  • 6/22/14 - 6/29/14
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  • 7/20/14 - 7/27/14
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  • 8/10/14 - 8/17/14
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  • 8/31/14 - 9/7/14
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  • 9/14/14 - 9/21/14
  • 9/21/14 - 9/28/14
  • 9/28/14 - 10/5/14
  • 10/5/14 - 10/12/14
  • 10/12/14 - 10/19/14
  • 10/19/14 - 10/26/14
  • 10/26/14 - 11/2/14
  • 11/2/14 - 11/9/14
  • 11/9/14 - 11/16/14
  • 11/16/14 - 11/23/14
  • 11/23/14 - 11/30/14
  • 11/30/14 - 12/7/14
  • 12/7/14 - 12/14/14
  • 12/14/14 - 12/21/14
  • 12/21/14 - 12/28/14
  • 12/28/14 - 1/4/15
  • 1/4/15 - 1/11/15
  • 1/11/15 - 1/18/15
  • 1/18/15 - 1/25/15
  • 1/25/15 - 2/1/15
  • 2/1/15 - 2/8/15
  • 2/8/15 - 2/15/15
  • 2/15/15 - 2/22/15
  • 2/22/15 - 3/1/15
  • 3/1/15 - 3/8/15
  • 3/8/15 - 3/15/15
  • 3/15/15 - 3/22/15
  • 3/22/15 - 3/29/15
  • 3/29/15 - 4/5/15
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  • 4/12/15 - 4/19/15
  • 4/19/15 - 4/26/15
  • 4/26/15 - 5/3/15
  • 5/3/15 - 5/10/15
  • 5/10/15 - 5/17/15
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  • 5/24/15 - 5/31/15
  • 5/31/15 - 6/7/15
  • 6/7/15 - 6/14/15
  • 6/14/15 - 6/21/15
  • 6/21/15 - 6/28/15
  • 6/28/15 - 7/5/15
  • 7/5/15 - 7/12/15
  • 7/12/15 - 7/19/15
  • 7/19/15 - 7/26/15
  • 7/26/15 - 8/2/15
  • 8/2/15 - 8/9/15
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  • 8/23/15 - 8/30/15
  • 8/30/15 - 9/6/15
  • 9/6/15 - 9/13/15
  • 9/13/15 - 9/20/15
  • 9/20/15 - 9/27/15
  • 9/27/15 - 10/4/15
  • 10/4/15 - 10/11/15
  • 10/11/15 - 10/18/15
  • 10/18/15 - 10/25/15
  • 10/25/15 - 11/1/15
  • 11/1/15 - 11/8/15
  • 11/8/15 - 11/15/15
  • 11/15/15 - 11/22/15
  • 11/22/15 - 11/29/15
  • 11/29/15 - 12/6/15
  • 12/6/15 - 12/13/15
  • 12/13/15 - 12/20/15
  • 12/20/15 - 12/27/15
  • 12/27/15 - 1/3/16
  • 1/3/16 - 1/10/16
  • 1/10/16 - 1/17/16
  • 1/17/16 - 1/24/16
  • 1/24/16 - 1/31/16
  • 1/31/16 - 2/7/16
  • 2/7/16 - 2/14/16
  • 2/14/16 - 2/21/16
  • 2/21/16 - 2/28/16
  • 2/28/16 - 3/6/16
  • 3/6/16 - 3/13/16
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  • 3/20/16 - 3/27/16
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  • 4/24/16 - 5/1/16
  • 5/1/16 - 5/8/16
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  • 5/22/16 - 5/29/16
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  • 6/5/16 - 6/12/16
  • 6/12/16 - 6/19/16
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  • 9/25/16 - 10/2/16
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  • 10/16/16 - 10/23/16
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  • 10/30/16 - 11/6/16
  • 11/6/16 - 11/13/16
  • 11/13/16 - 11/20/16
  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
  • 11/27/16 - 12/4/16
  • 12/4/16 - 12/11/16
  • 12/11/16 - 12/18/16
  • 12/18/16 - 12/25/16
  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
  • 1/1/17 - 1/8/17
  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
  • 2/5/17 - 2/12/17
  • 2/12/17 - 2/19/17
  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
  • 2/26/17 - 3/5/17
  • 3/5/17 - 3/12/17
  • 3/12/17 - 3/19/17
  • 3/19/17 - 3/26/17
  • 3/26/17 - 4/2/17
  • 4/2/17 - 4/9/17
  • 4/9/17 - 4/16/17
  • 4/16/17 - 4/23/17
  • 4/23/17 - 4/30/17
  • 4/30/17 - 5/7/17
  • 5/7/17 - 5/14/17
  • 5/14/17 - 5/21/17
  • 5/21/17 - 5/28/17
  • 5/28/17 - 6/4/17
  • 6/4/17 - 6/11/17
  • 6/11/17 - 6/18/17
  • 6/18/17 - 6/25/17
  • 6/25/17 - 7/2/17
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  • 7/16/17 - 7/23/17
  • 7/23/17 - 7/30/17
  • 7/30/17 - 8/6/17
  • 8/6/17 - 8/13/17
  • 8/13/17 - 8/20/17
  • 8/20/17 - 8/27/17
  • 8/27/17 - 9/3/17
  • 9/3/17 - 9/10/17
  • 9/10/17 - 9/17/17
  • 9/17/17 - 9/24/17