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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, January 16, 2015

7 Questions About Radical Islamism

by New Gingrich: The United States has been at war with radical Islamist terrorism for at least 35 years, starting with the November 1979 Iranian seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and taking of 52 American hostages. President Jimmy Carter , in his State of the Union address two months later, declared the American captives “innocent victims of terrorism.”

For the next two decades, radical Islamist terrorism grew more powerful and more sophisticated. On Sept. 11, 2001, a remarkably sophisticated effort by Islamist terrorists killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York City, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania.

In response to the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor, President George W. Bush told a joint session of Congress: “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

We have clearly failed to meet that goal. After more than 13 years of war, with thousands of Americans dead, tens of thousands of Americans wounded, and several trillion dollars spent, the U.S. and its allies are losing the war with radical Islamism. The terrorists of Islamic State are ravaging Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram is widening its bloody swath through Nigeria, al Qaeda and its affiliates are killing with impunity in Somalia, Yemen and beyond, and the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan. The killings in Paris at Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket are only the most recent evidence of the widening menace of radical Islamism.

Confronted with the atrocities in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told his people on Jan. 10 that they were at war: “It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.”

Yet France, like the U.S. government, doesn’t have a strategy for victory in this war. Ad hoc responses to attacks have failed to stop the growing threat. We remain vulnerable to a catastrophic attack (or series of smaller attacks) that would have dark and profound consequences for the American people and for freedom around the world.

The U.S. and its allies must now design a strategy to match a global movement of radical Islamists who sincerely want to destroy Western civilization.

Congress should lead the way, first by convening hearings that outline the scale and nature of the threat. Additional hearings should seek advice from a wide range of experts on strategies to defeat radical Islamists.

Understanding the global threat, outlining strategies that might lead to its defeat, identifying the laws and systems that need to be changed to implement those strategies—all are complex problems that will require months to sort out. But the American people will rise to the challenge if they are given the facts about the real dangers we face.
Here is an outline of the sequence of topics that Congress should investigate:1. The current strength and growth rate of radical Islamists around the world. We need a detailed sense of the total picture. The scale of the threat from this nihilistic global movement, I suspect, will be stunning.

2. The country-by-country danger. Americans simply don’t realize how dire the situation is in specific areas. Boko Haram has killed thousands more people in Nigeria alone than Ebola has in all of Africa, according to data compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Centers for Disease Control. One or more hearings should focus on each center of radical Islamism, including Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

3. The role of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group is vital to the global radical Islamist movement, yet so little understood by Washington elites that it deserves its own set of hearings.

4. The primary sources of radical Islamist funding, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran.

5. The Arab countries—including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria—that have successfully contained and minimized radical Islamists. We must learn how this was accomplished and what aspects should be replicated.

6. Radicalization in mosques and on social media. How are young Muslims being drawn into terrorism? What can be done to counter a seductive message that has reached deep into Europe and the U.S. and inspired jihadists by the thousands to travel to the Middle East for terrorist training that can be exported back home?

7. The Islamist cyberthreat. The hacking of the U.S. Central Command’s social-media accounts this week apparently didn’t inflict serious damage, but the episode was evidence of a new front in the fight against terrorism.
Once congressional hearings have outlined the scale of the challenge, it is essential to turn to the sources of our enemies’ strategic thinking and doctrine. Doing so will be controversial, but it is vital to understand the motivations and assumptions of the radical Islamist movement.

On Feb. 22, 1946, U.S. attaché to Moscow George Kennan sent what became known as the “Long Telegram.” In 8,000 words, he outlined the nature of Soviet Union communism with clarity and force. His analysis shaped much of the American transition to a policy of containing the Soviet Union. It is a tragedy, if not a scandal, that nearly 14 years after 9/11, we are still in need of an equivalent “Long Telegram” about the nature of radical Islamism.

The terrorists are immersed in Islamic history and doctrine. It is extraordinary that the political correctness of Western elites has discouraged the study of what inspires those who dream of slaughtering us. Congress should hold hearings on the historic patterns, doctrines and principles that drive the radical Islamists. No doubt these facts will make some of our elites uncomfortable. They should. We must understand the deep roots of Islamist beliefs, like the practice of beheading, if we are going to combat them.

Finally, having held hearings on the enemy and its thinking, Congress must hold hearings on strategies for achieving victory. Once the hearings are complete, preferably this year, Congress should form a commission of the wisest witnesses it heard and charge them with designing a national strategy for winning the global war against radical Islamists. If the current administration doesn’t embrace the strategy, then it can become part of the 2016 presidential campaign: Who wants to get America on offense, with a coherent and intelligible strategy, against those who would destroy us?
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, President Obama, why, losing to, Radical Islam, radical Islamists, Congress, topics, investigate, hearings, strategy for victory, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

RNC Announces Debate Schedule Sanctions 9 Debates

Editor's Note: RNC today announced the re-election of Reince Priebus to his third two-year stint as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
WASHINGTON –  (RNC Press Release) Today, at the Republican National Committee (RNC) Winter Meeting in San Diego, California, the RNC announced that it has sanctioned nine debates from August 2015 through March 1, 2016. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus presented a clear vision for the debate process, including the dates, locations and sponsors.

The RNC previously appointed a standing committee for presidential primary debates to sanction debates on behalf of the RNC. The committee chose to limit the number of debates, spread the debates across the country by sanctioning no more than one debate per state, allocate the debates over the course of seven months, include a larger conservative media presence and allow campaigns to know and plan for the debate schedule early. All of the sanctioned debates listed are contingent on further negotiations with the media partners and any future violation of RNC could result in the debate being unsanctioned.

“The 2016 cycle is underway, and I can tell you it will be a landmark election for Republicans,” Chairman Priebus said. “By constructing and instituting a sound debate process, it will allow candidates to bring their ideas and vision to Americans in a timely and efficient way. This schedule ensures we will have a robust discussion among our candidates while also allowing the candidates to focus their time engaging with Republican voters. It is exciting that Republicans will have such a large bench of candidates to choose from, and the sanctioned debate process ensures voters will have a chance to gain a chance to hear from them. The American people are tired of President Obama’s policies, and I am confident the debate process will enable candidates to communicate their ideas and ultimately help us elect a Republican president in 2016 to get our country back on track.”

In the coming weeks and months the RNC and the broadcast partners will make additional announcements of conservative media partners and panelists.

The nine debates sanctioned between schedule is listed below:

1. Fox News
August 2015

2. CNN
September 2015

October 2015

4. Fox Business
November 2015

5. CNN
December 2015

6. Fox News
January 2016

7. ABC News
February 2016
New Hampshire

8. CBS News
February 2016
South Carolina

9. NBC/Telemundo
February 2016


Fox News
March 2016

March 2016

Conservative Media Debate
Date TBD
Locations TBD

Tags: RNC, Chairman, Reince Priebus, re-elected as RNC Chairman,  announced, 2016 Elections, Republican, Presidential Debates, schedule To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Wind Energy is Failing . . .

. . . But Guess Who's Paying For It?  You - The Taxpayers!

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: editorial cartoon, AF Branco, wind energy failing, taxpayers paying To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Arkansas: Adressing a Clinton Legacy

Arkansas State Capitol
by Greg Kaza, Contributing Author: Arkansas Republicans control the state Legislature, governor’s mansion and constitutional offices for the first time since Reconstruction. The reversal provides an opportunity to address a Clinton legacy: the idea that taxing the poor and middle class to fund public schools leads to income growth.

One of the biggest issues to address is tax reform. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson vows to press ahead with a middle-class income tax cut, reducing top rates from 6.9 percent to 6.0 percent for those earning between $34,000 and $75,000 annually. The working poor would also benefit. Hutchinson wants to cut the rate from 6.0 percent to 5.0 percent for those earning between $20,400 and $34,000. The cuts, like reductions in the state grocery tax since 2007, are likely to boost Arkansas incomes.

But they are unlikely to create new jobs at rates greater than the U.S. average because they ignore higher income groups and the capital gains tax. Arkansas jobs growth (3.5 percent) trails the U.S. (7.0 percent) in the current expansion, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state will still have the second-highest top income tax rate in the southeast.

The Clinton’s, by contrast, raised the sales tax, including the regressive grocery tax to fund public schools, a legacy of Hillary’s Education Standards Committee. They vowed income growth but Arkansas’ per capita income rank barely budged, from 48th (1983) to 47th (1992) on their watch.
Gov.Bill Clinton and Former Gov.Orval Faubus (1/23/1991) / Img via the Arkansas Traveler

Proponents claimed it would “take time” for the Clinton’s tax-and-spend policies to work, i.e., students had to proceed through 13 years of K-12 education. Arkansas’ rank actually dropped to 48th (2006) before the grocery tax cut. (Today it is 42nd in the U.S.) Arkansans are still waiting for Hillary to acknowledge it was a mistake to tax the poor and middle class on their groceries.

Beyond commonsense tax reform, however, Arkansas also needs to fix its education system. State school board members are pursuing some of the most ambitious reforms to the education system in decades, including a pending proposal to take over the Little Rock School District, the state’s largest. Last year, the state Department of Education found 26 public schools in academic distress including six in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Policy Foundation identified numerous failing (‘F’ grade) Arkansas public schools in four studies (2005-2008), and recommended private school choice as a solution. Arkansas’ public school establishment opposes the idea, despite other southeastern states embracing choice programs such as tax credits or vouchers. Three states bordering Arkansas (Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma) have also advanced the reform.

The response to Little Rock’s failing schools should not be a Clinton-style tax-and-spend policy. Instead, educational markets should be allowed to work by giving parents or guardians of students in failing public schools a tax credit or voucher to attend a private school. More than 20,000 students attend private Arkansas schools, a number much larger than groups opposed to the reform.

Taxing Arkansas’ poor and middle class to fund public schools did not generate income growth. Respond to this Clinton legacy with tax cuts and private school choice.
Greg Kaza is executive director of the Arkansas Policy Foundation and  ARRA News Service contributing author.

Tags: Arkansas, addressing, Clinton Legacy, Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy 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!

Conservatives' ‘Citizens Mandate Seeks to Hold Congress Accountable

Click To Read Full Mandate!
by Kate Scanlon: A group of conservative leaders has a message for Congress: Remember what voters told you in November.

The “Citizens Mandate From the November 2014 Election” provides Congress with marching orders and vows to hold lawmakers accountable if they fail to heed the will of the American people.

A group of 53 conservative leaders and organizations released the mandate Thursday. They argue President Obama’s policies were on the ballot last fall—and he lost.

“The message from voters was an emphatic rejection of President Obama’s policies, which he said were on the ballot,” Richard Viguerie, chairman and founder of Conservative HQ, and one of the signers of the mandate said in a statement.

“The Republican Party’s Capitol Hill leaders have an obligation to the voters who entrusted them with this historic majority to stop Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, repeal Obamacare and return health care choices to doctors and patients, and, most importantly, to end the culture of lies, lawlessness and corruption with which Barack Obama has infected our government,” Viguerie said.

Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs for the American Family Association, added: “The ‘Citizens Mandate’ should remove all ambiguity. The people spoke … and make no mistake … THIS is what they said.”

The 53 signatories also included conservative leaders such as Phyllis Schlafly, Dan Bongino, James Dobson and Brad Thor.

According to the signers, the 114th Congress has a golden opportunity to reverse years of business-as-usual in Washington.

The Citizens Mandate declares that lawmakers should:1) Fight for our founding principles, smaller government and constitutional rights: The new Congress should fight for constitutional, limited government. They should prevent the corrosive practice of “using the law to artificially create winners and losers.”

2) Shine the light of oversight on abuse of power: Congress should conduct hearings to hold government officials responsible for law-breaking, the misuse of taxpayer funds and political targeting.

3) Promote and fight for limited, accountable government: Members of Congress should fight efforts on gun control, amnesty, bailouts and other “lawless” initiatives. They should work to uncover the truth about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.

4) Return to Regular Order: Legislation should begin in subcommittees, not the White House. Lawmakers should be given “adequate time” to carefully and thoughtfully consider each individual bill. More decision making should fall to “members, senators and the public,” rather than congressional leadership.
The group also issued recommendations on which issues should receive attention and focus from Congress first. They include working to prevent a nuclear Iran and overturning the president’s executive action on immigration.

Failure to stop Obama’s agenda, the signatories say, would be a “base betrayal of both the principles Congress swore to defend and those who entrusted them to do just that.” They warn that they will “take stock of Congress’ progress annually.”

Read the mandate here.
Kate Scanlon is a news reporter for The Daily Signal and graduate of The Heritage Foundation's Young Leaders Program.

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Muslim Mishmash: Failed Paris Response, Duke Backs Down, Radical Islam Quickens In U.S., Stand With Israel

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author, Muslim Mishmash:
Failed Paris Response - The Obama Administration is still reeling from criticism over its failure to march in Paris with other world leaders in the aftermath of the jihadist attacks. Today, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris with singer James Taylor in tow. Taylor serenaded his French audience with one of his 1970s hits, "You've Got A Friend." Get it? This is foreign policy in the Obama years.

Carol and I dated to that song, and both of us inevitably think back to those years when we hear its lyrics. "You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I'll come running to see you again. . . .you've got a friend."

Of course the song doesn't work as a courting vehicle if you don't actually be a friend to whom you are singing. And there's the rub.

In the Obama years, the promise of friendship has been extended to some folks you don't want to bring home to meet Mom -- the ayatollah of Iran, the communists of Cuba and Putin's Russia. Meanwhile, old friends like Israel, Canada and Great Britain have been stood up.

Eventually word spreads that you can't be counted on, and you end up singing to yourself on a Saturday night.

Duke Backs Down - Congratulations, my friends! Duke University backed down late yesterday amid a tremendous backlash to its plans to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from the university's chapel bell tower. Thank you to everyone who took the time to call and email Duke, and to Reverend Franklin Graham for speaking out so forcefully.

Of course, as it is with every victory by our side, we can't take anything for granted. Political correctness prevails in our elite institutions, especially in academia, and I fully expect Duke administrators to revisit the issue again.

Sadly, the reactions of some indoctrinated students demonstrate the struggle we are in. One Duke student angry with the reversal told a reporter, "We should have gotten over these things a long time ago. Prejudice and bigotry and Islamophobia should not exist now. . . . People can't separate Islam from terrorism."

She just doesn't get it. Radical Islamists are still living in the Dark Ages. They have no concept of equality, treat women as cattle and still practice slavery.

Go lecture the Taliban about prejudice. Go to the West Bank and Gaza and preach against bigotry. Tell the jihadists who scream "Allahu Akbar!" as they decapitate journalists, fly planes into buildings and slaughter Christians and Jews to separate Islam from terrorism.

As one reader emailed me, "When Christians and Jews can work and worship freely in the Mecca, then Duke can broadcast the Muslim call to prayer."

Yesterday, I noted prior to Dukes reversal of their decision to allow a Muslim call to prayer from the university's chapel bell tower the reaction of the Reverend Franklin Graham. Graham said: "Reverend Franklin Graham. Reacting to this announcement, Graham said: "As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering and beheading Christians, Jews and anyone who doesn't submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism."
Graham urged donors and alumni to withhold their support.

I know some might say, "Gary, this is America. We let a thousand flowers bloom." Well that's the point. We're not letting a thousand flowers bloom.

There is growing intolerance of Christianity at our institutions of higher learning. Last year, the California State University system "derecognized" InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Why? Because it required its officers to abide by Christian values that were deemed discriminatory by left-wing bureaucrats.

It's not happening just in California. Vanderbilt University, in the heart of the Bible Belt, is among the worst offenders.

Judeo-Christian values are being ground under foot and too many educational elites are promoting only Islam. I remind you again of the now ubiquitous use of the phrase "the Prophet Muhammad." It is spoken by self-righteous commentators who would never say "Jesus, the son of God."

Radical Islam Quickens In U.S. - Yesterday a recent convert to Islam was arrested outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. According to ABC News, Christopher Lee Cornell, "allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs at the [U.S. Capitol] and open fire on any employees and officials fleeing after the explosions."

NBC News reported that a Delaware Air National Guard Base "raised its security level . . . two steps higher than normal" after "Mideastern" suspects attempted to "probe the base for security weaknesses."

Over the weekend, Abdalah Mohamed was arrested in Portland, Oregon, for threatening to blow up a kosher deli. According to one store employee, Mohamed yelled, "You Israeli . . . I'll blow up your store in the name of Allah!"

And a local news station in Washington, D.C., reported that a Jewish business in the nation's capital has received "a barrage of phone calls and internet postings" from self-described ISIS militants threatening mass murder.

These events are just more evidence of the times in which we live and the dangers we face. Taken individually, they may seem random and unrelated. But there is an obvious common thread.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham isn't likely to win any popularity contests among conservative activists. But when it comes to radical Islam, he gets it.

During an interview on Fox News this week, Graham said:

"We are in a religious war with radical Islamists who've embraced a religious doctrine that requires them, compelled by [Allah], to purify their religion, to kill all moderate Muslims or people who don't agree with them within the faith, to destroy every other religion.

"And here are our choices: We can fight them over there, or we can fight them at home. We can fight them by ourselves, or we can fight them with partners. I choose to fight them over there with partners. And when our president doesn't acknowledge that this is a religious-driven war, it's going to be very hard to win it."

Stand With Israel - Congratulations to Pastor John Hagee and Christians United for Israel! Last week, CUFI announced that its membership has swelled to more than two million people. That is incredible for a group that is not even ten years old.

I am honored to be a member of CUFI's Executive Board, and I whole-heartedly support its unyielding work in defense of the Jewish state. CUFI and I have some exciting announcements coming in the days ahead.

And Israel needs our support now more than ever. Radical Islam is on the march. Journalists are being beheaded in the Middle East and gunned down in Paris. Israel's enemies -- Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, ISIS -- are America's enemies.

The next 24 months may be the most dangerous time for Israel. America's president is the most anti-Israel U.S. leader to ever occupy the Oval Office. The mullahs in Tehran don't take him seriously.

That's why I launched a new effort this weekend urging policy makers to stand with Israel. More than 10,000 people have already signed on, urging Barack Obama to honor America's alliance with Israel.

If you believe, as I do, that America must stand with Israel, sign our online petition at
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Weekend Review, Muslim Mishmash, Failed Paris Response, Duke Backs Down, Radical Islam Quickens In U.S., Stand With Israel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

CNN Poll Shows Majorities Of Americans Support Keystone

In 2011, we asked: Is Obama
Putting His Job Over American Jobs?
Today in Washington, D.C. - Jan. 16, 2014
On Tuesday night, President Obama will deliver his speech on the State of the Union to a Joint Session of Congress.

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of S.1, the bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Debate on the bill will continue today as senators file amendments. The first votes on amendments are expected on Tuesday afternoon.

The House is actually not in session today. It will ill reconvene at 4 PM, possibly announce committee memberships and then recess. They will reconvene on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2014.

Earlier this week,House Resources Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) named Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) to be the Chairman of the House Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government, called the the decision:  "[W}elcome news for the country. Not only will the position allow Gohmert to utilize his immense talent to hold bureaucracies like the Bureau of Land Management accountable, but it demonstrates a coming together of the Republican Conference in the 114th Congress around a new, more limited government agenda. Speaker John Boehner and Chairman Rob Bishop are to be commended for choosing Rep. Gohmert to lead the Committee's oversight efforts."

With respect to President Obama treats on passage of the Keystone XL Pipleline bill, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week said, “Democrats and Republicans cooperated . . . to bring the Keystone Pipeline another step closer to construction. Thanks to that bipartisan cloture vote, the Senate can finally begin an open floor debate on this committee-vetted-and-approved legislation.

“It’s a debate many of us have been looking forward to. And not just because of the substance of what we’re considering. We’ve been waiting a long time to see a debate where individual senators matter again. A debate where senators can offer amendments. A debate where senators can actually make the voices of their constituents heard.

“That’s just the kind of serious legislating many of us have been waiting for. The fact that we’re finally seeing it today — it’s a direct consequence of our constituents’ calls for a functioning Congress. . . .

“Getting Congress back to work means working to pass legislation that’s good for jobs and the middle class. That’s why we’re focused on getting measures like this bipartisan infrastructure bill over to the president’s desk.”

It’s worth considering just how broad the support for this pipeline project is. A closer look at this week’s CNN poll on Keystone is instructive. A majority of 57% of those polled favor building the pipeline---that includes 63% of men and 51% of women.

Every age group favors building the pipeline. Keystone is favored by majorities of those who attended college (59%) as well as those who didn’t (54%) and by majorities of Americans who live in urban areas (52%), suburban areas (57%), and rural areas (66%).

Independents favor building the pipeline by a 56% majority, and 80% of Republicans favor it. But even 39% of Democrats support building it, as do 36% of self-described liberals. Fifty-two percent of those who consider themselves moderates favor building the pipeline, as do 80% of conservatives.

Support for Keystone is broad and bipartisan. It unites urban and rural Americans, young and old, and men and women. Allowing this pipeline to finally be built after 6 years of studies will create jobs, enhance North American energy independence, build American infrastructure, and won’t cost the government money.

As Leader McConnell has said for years, this project is the very definition of “no-brainer.” The majority of Americans recognize this. And yet President Obama is still threatening to veto this bill. He would do well to listen to the vast majority of the American public on this issue.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Obama Snubbed France & World Leaders Because . . .

. . . He was just to busy with more important matters of authorizing more releases of terrorists from GITMO.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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In 2010, Seventy-Four House Dems Opposed Obama’s Internet Power Grab. Now? Not So Much

The Cheshire Democrats
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: November’s election was an overwhelming, historic rebuke of what President Barack Obama and his Democrats are doing – and how they’re doing it.

But if you think the newly-minted major Republican majorities should serve as a roadblock to the Democrat agenda – well, that’s yet another thing you don’t have in common with the Democrat Party.

President Obama has been unilaterally rewriting law in Executive-Order-fiat-fashion since about fifty-seven seconds into his Administration. Last November’s election launched him into power grab overdrive.

Are Congressional Democrats protecting their purview? And asking - nay demanding - President Obama leave the law writing to the lawmakers? Of course not.Sheila Jackson Lee: Writing Executive Orders for Obama to Sign ‘Our Number One Agenda’Why would Democrats do their jobs – where they’ll have to deal with all those pesky Republicans the American people keep electing in ever-greater numbers?

Better to help President Obama render Congress ever more irrelevant. Democrats get the undiluted-by-compromise Huge Government they want – and invited to all the President’s fancy Fiat Signing Ceremonies.

President Obama has nearly unlimited flexibility now that there are no more elections between him and the end of his regime. But the clock is ticking – so he is really moving.

Just after the election he basically demanded that the allegedly independent Federal Communications Commission (FCC):(R)eclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act….The President wants his FCC to pretend to be Congress. To yank the Internet out of 1996 law – and shove it into 1934 law. He wants the omni-dynamic World Wide Web to be over-regulated like a Depression-era land line telephone.

Shocker - it looks like Obama-campaign-cash-bundling FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is going to give the President what he wants.

Meanwhile, Republicans still cling to the quaint Constitutional notion that elected legislators should be the ones legislating.Republicans in Congress appear likely to introduce legislation next month aimed at preventing Internet providers from speeding up some Web sites over others.…

But those new powers would come with a trade-off… (T)he FCC would refrain from regulating net neutrality using Title II of the Communications Act….
Congressional Democrats?“The FCC can and should take strong action… We would forcefully oppose any (Congressional) reforms that would undermine the FCC’s authority….”Get that? Democrats say Congress shouldn’t do Congress’ job - because that would prohibit the FCC from illegally doing Congress’ job.

Remember - the FCC doesn’t have any authority over anything unless and until Congress first writes law giving it to them. (I’m reminding Democrats - not you, Gentle Readers.)

In 2010, many Democrats were singing a very different tune. (Brace yourselves - else you might get whiplash.):74 House Democrats Not Happy With FCC Broadband Plan Either

The lawmakers signed (Rep. Gene Green of Texas’) letter…expressing their opposition to the FCC’s…plan to reclassify broadband from a Type I information service to a Type II telecom service….

"The significant regulatory impact of reclassifying broadband services is not something that should be taken lightly and should not be done without additional direction from Congress.”…

Green said “This letter clearly shows it is not a partisan issue.….”
And now?Congressman Gene Green and 19 other Democratic Members of Congress sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC)…in response to recent reports that the FCC will consider regulating broadband Internet as a Title II, common carrier service under the Communications Act of 1934….

“A strict, utility-type regulation under Title II-created to regulate telephone services in the 1930’s-simply won’t work for this new, innovative, ever-evolving technology.”
74 dwindles to 20. Profiles in Discouraging. What happened to the rest? Some lost intervening elections. Some returned to the Democrat Huge Government fold.Rep. Peters Flips for Net Neutrality

Back in 2010, Michigan Rep. Gary Peters was one of 73 House Democrats who signed fellow Rep. Gene Green’s letter urging the FCC not to adopt strong Net Neutrality rules….

This week Peters, who’s running for Senate, wrote a letter pushing the agency to protect the open Internet in the best way possible: by reclassifying Internet service providers as common carriers.
He’s now Senator Peters. He was running for a promotion as a lawmaker - in part on refusing to make law. And was apparently unhindered by his newfound preference for unilateral government power grabs and his own irrelevancy.

Because this is the Democrat Party. As much government as possible - by any means necessary.
Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter   /   Facebook.

Tags: 2010, 74 House Democrats, opposed Obama, Internet poer grab, now, not so muchSeton Motley, Less 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!

Freed Gitmo Captive Opens ISIS Base in Afghanistan

Mullah Abdul Rauf
by Judicial Watch: As President Obama frees droves of terrorists—including five Yemenis this week—from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo news reports confirm that a Gitmo alum who once led a Taliban unit has established the first Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) base in Afghanistan.

His name is Mullah Abdul Rauf and international and domestic media reports say he’s operating in Helmand province, actively recruiting fighters for ISIS. Citing local sources, a British newspaper writes that Rauf set up a base and is offering good wages to anyone willing to fight for the Islamic State. Rauf was a corps commander during the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule of Afghanistan, according to intelligence reports. After getting captured by U.S. forces, he was sent to Gitmo in southeast Cuba but was released in 2007.

Rauf’s Department of Defense Joint Task Force Guantanamo file describes him as being closely associated with several senior level Taliban commanders and leaders. It also says that Rauf admitted involvement in the production and sales of opium as well as associations with criminal elements within the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. From the file: “Due to recent findings that detainee may have had a more important role within the Taliban than previously thought detainee’s intelligence value has been updated from low to medium due to his possible knowledge of: (1) Taliban leadership, (2) Taliban command and control.”

Rauf is one of a number of Gitmo terrorists who have returned to the fight after getting released, yet Obama continues freeing captives to keep his campaign promise of closing the prison. Just this week he let four Yemenis go, despite the risk that they will likely join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based terror group that claimed responsibility for last week’s attack in France. In fact, dozens of freed Gitmo detainees have rejoined Al Qaeda in Yemen, the country where the 2009 Christmas Day airline bomber proudly trained. In 2010 Judicial Watch reported that a number of high-ranking Al Qaeda militants in Yemen—once held at Gitmo—may have been involved in a sophisticated scheme to send bombs on a U.S.-bound cargo plane.

Just a few weeks ago JW uncovered an embarrassing gaffe involving an Al Qaeda operative liberated from Gitmo years ago. Turns out the U.S. government has now put him on a global terrorist list and offered $5 million for information on his whereabouts! That disturbing news came during a week when Obama freed four more longtime Gitmo captives to Afghanistan. Shutting the compound down will be tough because it still houses about 120 of the world’s most dangerous jihadists, including 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi as well as USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Since the Guantanamo military tribunals commenced in 2008, JW has traveled regularly to the Naval base in Cuba to monitor and report them to the public. Over the last few years JW has covered various hearings and proceedings involving al-Nashiri, KSM, Binalshibh, Ali, and Hawsawi. Each time JW representatives have witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military lawyers and judges as well as the topnotch civilian attorneys (financed by American taxpayers) vigorously defending every one of the terrorists being tried.

Tags: Judicial Watch, freed GITMO captive, GITMO, ISIS Base, Afghanistan To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Three Reasons Why Raising The Gas Tax Is A Bad Idea

by Jay Caruso | Watchdog Arena : Gas prices have been falling rapidly as of late, giving some economic relief to those who have seen their wages remain stagnant despite recent job growth. But that relief could come to an end if the federal gas tax is raised.

According to the Energy Department, the average price of gasoline the week of Jan. 5 was $2.21 per gallon, which is over one dollar less than it was a year ago. With as much driving as Americans do, that can be pretty significant savings for families.

In the face of flat wages, it makes little sense to increase taxes. That’s why it is puzzling for some Republicans to advocate raising the gas tax. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has led the way, championing a 12 cent increase:“Congress should be embarrassed that it has played chicken with the Highway Trust Fund and allowed it to become one of the largest budgeting failures in the federal government. If Americans feel that having modern roads and bridges is important then Congress should have the courage to pay for it.”Even Charles Krauthammer advocates raising the gas tax, but his plan is worse than Corker. He advocates raising the tax by $1.00, though he says it should be coupled with a reduction in Social Security taxes. Corker too says Congress should reduce other taxes. This gives both of them the opportunity to claim their ideas are “revenue neutral.”

Initially it may seem as though reasonable people would not disagree. But there are several reasons why raising the federal gas tax is a bad idea. Here are three of them:

1) The Highway Trust Fund was established by President Eisenhower for one purpose: to build and repair interstate highways. Nothing more.

These days, the HTF is often used for boondoggle projects that include hiking trails on old rail lines and mass transit projects. It was even used for the infamous Boston “Big Dig,” a project that finished at a cost five times its projection and nine years behind schedule.

2) Raising the gasoline tax doesn’t address the larger problem as it relates to transportation: spending.

Rather than increasing taxes on Americans, Corker and the rest of Congress should get down to the business of reforming all of our federal transportation spending. Congress can privatize airports and air traffic control, looking to Australia, Canada, the UK and Germany as models. Amtrak should be privatized as well, as it can be managed more effectively in the private sector. Congress can save money by eliminating high speed rail projects that are far too localized and don’t provide the necessary routes to keep people from driving less.

3) Despite dire warnings about “structurally deficient” bridges, the number of such bridges has actually declined overall in recent years.

States can more effectively deal with the issue of bridges in those states. If states such as Florida, Oklahoma and Texas (two of which–Florida and Texas–have no income tax) can repair their bridges with already existing funds, other states can do the same. It’s a matter of budget priorities, and states are better equipped to understand that and budget accordingly.

Raising taxes in general is not a solution that should be dismissed completely. However, it should be a last resort as it relates to dealing with issues of budgeting and spending. The United States is currently $18 trillion in debt, and it was climbing even as the government was taking in record revenues.

Senator Bob Corker’s “solution” takes the easy way out. Instead of putting pencil to paper and making tough decisions that will benefit the country in the long run, Corker instead seeks a short term “fix” that will do nothing to solve transportation issues, but instead continue to provide an outlet for members of Congress to divert funds for pet projects in their states and districts.

It’s never good politics for Republicans to raise taxes. In this case, it is bad politics and bad policy.
Jay Caruso is a contributor of the Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.

Tags: raising gas taxes, bad, reasons, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sen. Tom Cotton: U.S. Has ‘Surrendered Repeatedly to Iran’s Demands’

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is concerned about what he calls the Obama administration’s “all carrot and no stick” approach to Iranian nuclear power.

During his remarks at Heritage Action’s 2015 Conservative Policy Summit, Cotton said that what began as an “unwise policy” of appeasement has morphed into a “dangerous farce.” Nuclear proliferation in Iran could result in the “rogue state” carrying out strikes on nations it views as the “Little Satan” [Israel] and the “Great Satan” [the United States].

According to Cotton, Iran obtaining nuclear capabilities would be “quite literally apocalyptic.”

But despite the risks of a nuclear Iran, Cotton says the Obama administration continues to appease Iran:U.S. negotiators have surrendered repeatedly to Iran’s demands; conceding a right to enrich uranium, allowing Iran to keep its plutonium-producing reactor – asking only that its centrifuges be disconnected instead of dismantled – permitting research and development into advanced centrifuges, excluding the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and its ballistic-missile program from the scope of the negotiations, and even agreeing to an expiration date for any final deal. In return for these concessions to Iran, the U.S. has given and will give Iran billions of dollars more in sanctions relief.“What’s wrong with this picture?” he asked.

He advocated courses of action the United States could take to shift our Iranian policy; including supporting a regime change, ceasing approaching Iran with “appeasement” and “concessions,” instituting “crippling new sanctions” and not shying away from the threat of force.

He called for complete nuclear disarmament in Iran, including mandating on-site checks by officials from Western nations.

Cotton said that the current administration is “risking national security” to “secure a presidential legacy:”One can only suspect an unspoken entente between the Obama administration and Iran: The U.S. won’t impose new sanctions on Iran and will allow it to develop threshold nuclear capabilities, while Iran won’t assemble a bomb till 2017.Cotton concluded by telling the audience that despite the president’s wishes, only Congress has the constitutional authority to lift sanctions on Iran.
U.S. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), age 37, was elected to U.S.Senate in 2014. He previously served as U.S. Representative for Arkansas 4th District.

He is is a sixth generation Arkansan who was born and raised on his family’s cattle farm in Yell County. After attending Dardanelle high school Tom went on to graduate from Harvard and Harvard Law School. Tom and his wife Anna live in Dardanelle.

The tragic attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred during Tom’s final year of law school, and he began to reconsider his future plans. He ultimately left law after clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals and short time in a private law practice to join the United States Army. Tom declined a commission as a JAG attorney and opted to serve as an Infantry Officer.

Tom Cotton served as an active duty Infantry Officer and completed combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq Tom served with the 101st Airborne where he led an infantry platoon in daily combat patrols. While in Afghanistan he served as the operations officer for a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Between his two combat tours he served as a platoon leader with the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, the unit responsible for military honors funerals.

Tags: Tom Cotton, Iran demands, U.S., unilateral actions, President Obama, speech, Heritage Action Summit, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The EPA's Methane Madness

EPA Thinks Cow Flatulence
Is Serious Problem
by Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: The Obama administration’s attack on America’s energy sector is insane. They might as well tell us what to eat. Oh, wait, Michelle Obama is doing that. Or that the Islamic State is not Islamic. Oh, wait, Barack Obama said that.

Or that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about protecting the environment. It used to be decades ago, but not these days.

There was a time when the EPA was devoted to cleaning up the nation’s air and water. It did a very good job and we now all breathe cleaner air and have cleaner water. At some point, though, it went from a science-based government agency to one for which science is whatever they say it is and its agenda is the single minded reduction of all sources of energy, coal, oil and natural gas, by telling huge lies, citing junk science, and generating a torrent of regulation.

Americans have been so blitzed with global warming and climate change propaganda for so long one can understand why many just assume that these pose a hazard even though there hasn’t been any warming for 19 years and climate change is something that has been going on for 4.5 billion years. When the EPA says that it’s protecting everyone’s health, one can understand why that is an assumption many automatically accept.

The problem is that the so-called “science” behind virtually all of the EPA pronouncements and regulations cannot even be accessed by the public that paid for it. The problem is so bad that, in November 2014, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced a bill, HR 4012, the Secret Science Reform Act, to address it. It would force the EPA to disclose all scientific and technical information before proposing or finalizing any regulation.

As often as not, those conducting taxpayer funded science studies refuse to release the raw data they obtained and the methods they used to interpret it. Moreover, agency “science” isn’t always about empirical data collection, but as Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, noted in 2013, it is “a ‘literature search’ with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports by others that merely summarize results and give opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field.”

The syndicated columnist, Larry Bell, recently noted that “Such misleading and downright deceptive practices openly violate the Information Quality Act, Executive Order 12688, and related Office of Management and Budget guidelines requiring that regulatory agencies provide for full, independent, peer review of all ‘influential scientific information.’” It isn’t that there are laws to protect us from the use of junk science. It’s more like they are not enforced.

These days the EPA is on a tear to regulate mercury and methane. It claims that its mercury air and toxics rule would produce $53 billion to $140 billion in annual health and environmental benefits. That is so absurd it defies the imagination. It is based on the EPA’s estimated benefits from reducing particulates that are—wait for it—already covered by existing regulations!

Regarding the methane reduction crusade the EPA has launched, Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, says “EPA’s methane regulation is redundant, costly, and unnecessary. Energy producers are already reducing methane emissions because methane is a valuable commodity. It would be like issue regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream.”

“The Obama administration’s latest attack on American energy,” said Pyle, “reaffirms that their agenda is not about the climate at all—it’s about driving up the cost of producing and using natural gas, oil, and coal in America. The proof is the EPA’s own research on methane which shows that this rule will have no discernible impact on the climate.”

S. Fred Singer, founder and Director of the Science and Environmental Policy Project as well as a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institute says “Contrary to radical environmentalists’ claims, methane is NOT an important greenhouse gas; it has a totally negligible impact on climate. Attempts to control methane emissions make little sense. A Heartland colleague, Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, says “Obama is again avoiding Congress, relying on regulations to effectively create new laws he couldn’t legally pass.”

As Larry Bell noted, even by the EPA’s own calculations and estimates, the methane emissions limits, along with other limits on so called greenhouse gases “will prevent less than two-hundredths of a degree Celsius of warming by the end of this century.”

That’s a high price to pay for the loss of countless plants that generate the electricity on which the entire nation depends for its existence. That is where the EPA is taking us.

Nothing the government does can have any effect on the climate. You don’t need a PhD in meteorology or climatology to know that.
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Alan Caruba, warning signs  He is a contribution author on the  ARRA News Service.

Tags: EPA, Methane Madness, cow flatulence, 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!

White House Threaten Veto of DHS Bill If Amnesty Defunded | Majority of Americans Support Keystone Pipeline

Today in Washington, D.C. - Jan. 15, 2015:
The Supreme Court is in session and hearing several cases. Their orders or opinions are expected according to their calendar to be released on Jan 26, 2015.

The House and Senate are not in session today. Both will be in session tomorrow, Jan. 16, 2014.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told a press conference Wednesday that President Obama will “properly” veto a Republican bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which expressly denies funding for Obama’s recent executive actions granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Obviously the Democrats are all in on the progressive agenda and are not willing to recognize the voice of the people in the 2014 election.

The White House treated that President Obama is expected to veto the bill to keep his amnesty initiatives going. But a presidential veto could mean that funding for the Department of Homeland Security will run out after Feb. 27, effectively shutting down DHS.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) will deliver the Republican Address to the Nation following the State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. Ernst said, “I am truly honored to deliver the Republican address. It’s a long way from Red Oak, Iowa, to Washington, D.C. But now that I am here, I am excited to get to work in order to craft and implement real solutions as we chart a new path forward for our great nation. During this Congress, we must help grow a vibrant economy, see to it that our veterans receive promised quality care and that our military has the tools to defend our nation's security, and ensure the federal government begins to run more effectively and efficiently,”

“Sen. Ernst brings a unique perspective to the Senate. She is a mother, a soldier, and an independent leader who serves in Washington because Americans voted for change in the last election, and Joni understands that middle-class Americans want Congress to get back to work and that they want Washington to get refocused on their concerns, instead of those of the political class,” Majority Leader McConnell said.

“Sen. Ernst’s life is a quintessential ‘only-in-America’ story. She built a campaign by listening to the people of Iowa and focusing on their priorities, especially jobs and our still-struggling economy. She knows that our federal government is too big, our spending is too high, and our tax code is broken. And, she knows first-hand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make to keep us all safe in a dangerous world,” Speaker Boehner said.

In November 2014, Ernst became the first woman elected to federal office from Iowa, and the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate. She will now be the first first-year freshman senator to give the Republican Address to the Nation. Born and raised on a farm in Southwest Iowa, Ernst’s parents instilled in her the values that have been important to generations of Iowans: hard work, service and sacrifice — values she is committed to bringing to Washington, D.C.

Ernst graduated from Iowa State University and joined the Army National Guard in 2001. In 2003, she served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ernst continues to serve as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard.

The Washington Post reports that The Obama administration said new rules to significantly loosen the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and open up the communist island to greater American travel will go into effect Friday. "The U.S. is now “one step closer to replacing out-of-date policies,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Thursday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the new rules 'immediately enable the American people to provide more resources to empower the Cuban population to become less dependent upon the state-driven economy.' . . .

"They also allow U.S. citizens to start bringing home small amounts of Cuban cigars, long adored by aficionados but banned under U.S. law. The limit is $100 for alcohol and tobacco products and $400 in total goods.

"Only Congress can fully end the 54-year embargo. Obama announced last month he would soften the restrictions, arguing that 'these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked.' The new spirit of cooperation emerged after 18 months of secret talks that culminated in the exchange of imprisoned spies and the release of Alan Gross, a U.S. government contractor who had been imprisoned in Cuba for five years."

CNN reports, “A majority of Americans favor the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline -- a result that could give Republicans a boost as they move toward a showdown with President Barack Obama over the project -- a CNN/ORC poll has found. The 1,179-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline is backed by 57% of the 1,011 Americans surveyed on Dec. 18-21. Just 28% oppose it, while 15% say they are unsure. . . .

“President Barack Obama has threatened to veto a measure that the Senate is set to vote on as soon as next week, which would end the State Department's six-year-old review of the project and authorize its construction immediately. Obama has said he objects to the decision-making process being removed from the executive branch. The poll found that support for the pipeline is strongest in the South, where it's backed by 65% of those polled, and in the Midwest, where it has 63% support.”

In his column for The Washington Post today, George Will takes President Obama and Democrats to task for their constant delays and unconvincing arguments against the pipeline. He writes, “America built the Empire State Building, then the world’s tallest office building, in 410 days during the Depression. We built the Pentagon, still the world’s largest low-rise office building, in 16 months while waging a war across two oceans. Keystone has been studied for more than six years. And Obama considers this insufficient? Actually, there no longer is any reason to think he has ever reasoned about this. He said he would not make up his mind until the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled. It ruled to permit construction, so he promptly vowed to veto authorization of construction.”

Will continues his criticism of the president’s reasoning: “The more Obama has talked about Keystone, the less economic understanding he has demonstrated. On Nov. 14, he said Keystone is merely about ‘providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. That doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.’ By Dec. 19, someone with remarkable patience had explained to him that there is a world market price for oil, so he said, correctly, that Keystone would have a ‘nominal’ impact on oil prices but then went on to disparage job creation by Keystone. He said it would create ‘a couple thousand’ jobs (the State Department study says approximately 42,100 ‘direct, indirect, and induced’) and said, unintelligibly, ‘Those are temporary jobs until the construction actually happens.’ Well. . . . He does not understand that, outside of government, which is all that he knows or respects, all jobs are ‘temporary.’”

It’s clear that the American public overwhelmingly supports building the Keystone XL pipeline. Bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress have demonstrated support for it. Labor unions have spent years calling on the Obama administration to stop blocking construction of the pipeline.

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Keystone has been studied endlessly, from almost every possible angle, and the same basic conclusion seems to keep coming back: build it. Keystone’s construction could support thousands of jobs. It could invest billions in our economy.

“That’s why Democrats say ‘build it.’ Republicans say ‘build it.’ Prominent labor unions say ‘build it, ’and, most importantly, the American people say ‘build it.’

“The president has called for Congress to send him infrastructure projects to sign. Keystone is the largest shovel-ready infrastructure project in the country that makes sense. So we’re going to send it to him. We hope he’ll sign it.”

Tags: News Reports, Veto threat, DHS, amnesty, Keystone XL Pipeline, Washington, D.C. 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, January 14, 2015

Donohue: 13 Ways to Stronger and Deeper Economic Growth

by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: 2015 is “no time to be complacent” about the economy, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue warned in the 2015 State of American Business Address.
We’ve had a few good quarters of economic growth. But we’re not out of the woods. There are many risks and challenges facing our economy that have the potential to send us right back to the doldrums—or worse.For instance, we still have a troubled labor market:We can’t forget that 17.7 million Americans are still unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for work. Participation in the workforce stands at 62.7%, the lowest since 1978, reflecting a significant level of discouragement.“Current policies have eroded our economy’s long-term potential rate of growth,” said Donohue:It would be a serious mistake to think that higher taxes, a bigger debt, and more regulations can deliver more growth, jobs, and prosperity. They will deliver less.However, national leaders have an opportunity to advance a growth agenda. A new year brings a new Congress, Donohue said, that “has something to prove to the voters who elected them.” He added, "They need to legislate. The president needs to engage. Together, they need to govern."

The U.S. Chamber’s Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity Agenda is a pro-growth blueprint. Here are 13 issues from Donohue's speech that Washington can address to encourage stronger and deeper economic growth:

1. Trade.
The administration is negotiating two historic trade agreements—the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The Chamber has supported these initiatives from the very beginning.

The president has said that he is committed to finishing the job on both pacts, but he’s going to need Trade Promotion Authority from the Congress to do it. He must really fight for it, especially before members of his own party. Enacting TPA so that we can finish these agreements is one of our top legislative priorities for this year.
2. Energy.Even with the recent decline in energy prices, abundant domestic energy still stands out as an extraordinary opportunity to generate millions of jobs, billions in revenues for government, and trillions in new investment while securing affordable energy for American consumers.

Congress and the administration should take the needed steps to unleash this energy revolution in an environmentally responsible way—and we should reform export rules so that we can sell this energy when appropriate around the world.
3. The Internet.We recognize that the issue of net neutrality divides the tech community, but there can be no neutrality as far as the Chamber is concerned. We oppose efforts to regulate the Internet as if it were a 20th century public utility.

The Internet is one of the greatest drivers of prosperity and innovation in our economy. We need to develop better and smarter frameworks for data security and sharing—but the system must remain open, flexible, and innovative—and excessive government regulation of the Internet would just kill that goose.
4. Infrastructure.We’re asking Congress to pass a long-term highway and mass transit bill with full funding—along with appropriate reforms. We must fully fund our aviation and water systems as well.5. Immigration Reform.We are renewing our call for commonsense measures that not only better secure our borders but also provide the American economy with the workers it needs at all skill levels, improve the employment verification system, and deal with undocumented immigrants.6. Regulatory Reform.Business recognizes the need for smart regulations. But with a $2 trillion price tag in compliance costs imposed by a virtual fourth branch of government, it’s time to bring the system into the 21st century.

The Chamber will launch an all-out effort to pass three regulatory reform bills that already enjoy significant bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. The bills would modernize the process by which new rules are considered and promulgated, bring transparency and accountability to the now abusive process known as “sue and settle,” and streamline the permitting process once regulations are in place.
7. EPA.While we strongly support technological solutions to address greenhouse gas emissions, we do not believe that regulation of these emissions through the Clean Air Act is appropriate or workable.8. Health Care.We support congressional efforts to restore the 40-hour workweek to define who must be covered under the employer health care mandate. We’ll work to repeal taxes such as the medical device tax, the Cadillac tax, and the health insurance tax.9. Financial Regulation.We need a modern regulatory system that both drives financial stability and encourages capital formation.

The Chamber has supported positive steps to strengthen corporate governance. However, we will continue to vigorously oppose using the proxy to advance special interest agendas. We will also continue to push for reform of secretive proxy advisory firms.

The Chamber will also seek further targeted fixes to Dodd-Frank. For example, the Financial Stability Oversight Council is considering overdue and necessary changes to its systemically important designation process.

In addition, both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research ought to be placed under the appropriations process.
10. Tax Reform.The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. We adhere to a system of “world-wide” taxation discarded by most other major countries. As a result, American businesses pay taxes twice, first to the foreign country in which they do business and then to Uncle Sam after they bring their profits home.

And since 28 million businesses pay their taxes as individuals, we also need reform at the same time on the individual side of the code. We need to end the bias against investment and spur small business startups, which have been lagging for a protracted period of time yet are absolutely critical to new job growth.

Republican leaders and the president all say that tax reform will be a priority in 2015. The Chamber plans to be at the table—on the theory that if you are not at the table, then you are on the menu. We will encourage genuine efforts to create a simpler, fairer, pro-growth tax system. We will not support an approach that uses tax reform as an excuse to engineer another big tax increase on the American business community.
11. Debt, Deficits, and Entitlement Reform.More than anything else, the nation’s massive debt is being driven by entitlement costs. By 2024, federal spending will be $5.8 trillion, and more than 76% of that will go to mandatory programs plus interest on the national debt. That leaves less than 24% for national defense, important domestic programs, and everything else. . . .

America’s leaders need to start telling the American people the truth. The entitlement crisis is an entirely predictable crisis. It demands action and leadership without further delay.
12. Legal Reform.America still has the costliest legal system in the world.

Even more disturbing, America’s enforcement system has turned into a shakedown operation. Enforcement officials find a company that may or may not have done something wrong, threaten its managers with commercial ruin, and then force them to pay an enormous fine to drop—or not file—the charges.

Our agenda includes curbing these excesses, plus reforming legal systems in key states and jurisdictions, preserving the availability of arbitration, passing the FACT Act to help prevent fraudulent asbestos claims, and challenging foreign governments that are foolishly considering the adoption of American-style class action lawsuits.
13. Education.We must ramp up efforts to reform public schools—to toughen the standards and measure them against prior years so that we know when students are falling behind. We also need to remove bad teachers and pay good teachers more, create more innovative charter schools, and ensure that parental choice is an option not just in wealthy communities but in all communities.Donohue said Washington can and must work for the people it serves:A governing center suggests you can be a committed conservative, a passionate progressive, or even one of a dwindling number of moderates, and still find a way to work together. Sometimes you can find common ground. But more often than not you acknowledge your differences and just make a deal.

That’s how governing is supposed to work in a democracy.
Common ground can be found. It's policies that create more jobs, higher wages, and a more robust economy. Let's get to work.
Sean Hackbarth is a policy advocate and blogger at U.S Chamber of Commerce. He twitters at @seanhackbarth and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.

Tags: U.S. Chamber Institute, U.S. Chamber President, CEO, Tom Donohue, 13 Ways, stronger and deeper economic growth, Economic growth, American economy, Trade, Energy, The Internet, Infrastructure, Immigration Reform, Regulatory Reform, EPA, healthcare, financial regulation, tax reform, Debt, Deficits, and Entitlement Reform, legal reform, education, Sean Hackbarth 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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