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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Rethinking General Election Debates

by Newt Gingrich: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus showed real leadership after the CNBC debate last month when he announced the party was putting NBC’s future debates under review.

The moderators at CNBC were so transparently biased and hostile to Republicans that normal Americans were appalled. Even left-wing observers were embarrassed. The media’s usual role as an antagonist to Republican candidates was so blatant it could not be ignored even by Democrat partisans.

The RNC’s threat to take away further debates from NBC served as a useful warning to anyone who will conduct Republican primary debates in the future. Networks are on notice that they won’t get away with treating Republican presidential candidates like gladiators in the Colosseum. The moderators are not lions with whom Republicans can be forced to battle.

Fox Business provided the perfect contrast to CNBC’s overreach by demonstrating how moderators can run a neutral debate raising fair questions and helping voters learn about real differences between candidates. It was exactly the kind of discussion the party should expect from moderators who have the privilege to host a debate between candidates for the country’s highest office.

Hopefully the RNC’s action will mean Republican primary voters can look forward to more fair and productive debates before they cast their ballots early next year.

Unfortunately, once the party chooses a nominee, it runs the risk of sending him or her straight back to a slanted, anti-Republican debate with the Democrat candidate in the fall.

That’s because general election debates aren’t run by the parties themselves, but instead by a board of self-appointed elites – former party operatives, elected officials, journalists and wealthy Americans – that determines who gets into the debates, the rules of the debate and, most importantly, the moderators of the debate. This group’s designated moderators alone choose the topics.

This is an extraordinary amount of influence in the hands of people who are often just as hostile to Republican candidates as the CNBC crew, even if they are somewhat more subtle in their approach.

The consequences of allowing a panel of establishment figures to pick biased moderators who in turn pick all the questions asked of our presidential candidates has the potential to be disastrous for Republicans.

In 2012, Candy Crowley injected herself into the debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about the President’s response to the Benghazi attack. Romney charged that President Obama had refused to characterize Benghazi as a terrorist attack for at least two weeks after it occurred. Crowley insisted that the President “did in fact” call it terrorism. Crowley was wrong, but as the moderator she had the last word on the issue. The exchange proved pivotal in muddying the sensitive issue in the run-up to the election.

Other debates have been moderated by journalists who are openly partial to Democrats. In 2008, PBS’s Gwen Ifill moderated the vice-presidential debate. Three months later she published a book characterizing the election of President Obama as a “breakthrough” and a “pivotal moment in American history”– which in a certain obvious sense was true (the nation having just inaugurated its first black president) but still, it was not exactly the neutral perspective Americans should demand from a debate moderator in a presidential election.

The RNC has rightly established that it will not remain silent while left-wing debate moderators beat up on Republican presidential candidates in the primaries. The same principle should hold true for the general election. The American people deserve an honest and impartial conversation about our country’s future. Especially in a year in which we are seeing the rise of political outsiders. For a balanced debate, we need the parties and the campaigns themselves to take control – not the Washington-media establishment.
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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, Rethinking, General Election, Debates To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Generation Gap . . .

. . . Bernie at Mizzou ( University of Missouri ) finds a conflict of interest.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Bernie at Mizzou, conflict of interest, generation gap, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sold Out: Myth of H-1B Job Creation

by Michelle Malkin: Every day brings new headlines, ignored by the Washington press corps, of U.S. workers losing their livelihoods to cheap H1-B visa replacements.

Just this week, Computerworld reported: “Fury and fear in Ohio as IT jobs go to India.”

Yet, it remains an article of faith among Big Business flacks and Beltway hacks that H-1B not only protects American jobs, but also fuels miraculous job growth.

The myths are recycled and regurgitated by the likes of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who claims that “foreign-born STEM workers complement the American workforce, they don’t take American jobs.”

Bill Gates, citing the National Foundation for American Policy, which is run by one-man Beltway advocacy research shop operative Stuart Anderson, testified before Congress that “a recent study shows for every H-1B holder that technology companies hire, five additional jobs are created around that person.”

Citing another NFAP study by economics professor Madeline Zavodny of Agnes Scott College, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce asserted: “2.62 MORE JOBS are created for U.S.-born workers for each foreign-born worker in the U.S. with a U.S. STEM graduate degree.”

But even the reliably pro-immigration expansionist Wall Street Journal had to call out Bill Gates on his misleading testimony to Congress regarding oft-cited NFAP job-creation figures. First off, the data set was confined to S&P 500 technology companies, which “excludes the leading users” of H-1B visas — offshore outsourcing companies from India such as Infosys, Wipro and Tata.

Moreover, Carl Bialik, the newspaper’s “Numbers Guy,” reported that the study Gates cited to claim amazing H-1B job generation “shows nothing of the kind. Instead, it finds a positive correlation between these visas and job growth. These visas could be an indicator of broader hiring at the company, rather than the cause.”

University of California, Davis professor Norm Matloff explained that Gates’ false conclusion is a common analytical error known as Simpson’s Paradox, “in which the relation between two variables is very misleading, due to their mutual relation to a third variable.”

NFAP’s Zavodny study was published by the American Enterprise Institute, sponsored by open-borders billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy and touted by the open-borders U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the pro-H-1B FWD.us.

Zavodny’s study initially examined data from the years 2000 to 2010. She hypothesized that states with more foreign-born workers would have higher rates of employment among native-born Americans. Initially, she was unable to find a significant effect of foreign-born workers on U.S. jobs.

So what changed? In correspondence with John Miano, co-author of our new book “Sold Out” on the foreign guest-worker racket, and I, Zavodny revealed that when she showed her initial results to the study sponsor, the backers came up with the idea of discarding the last three years of data — ostensibly to eliminate the effects of the economic recession — and trying again.

Voila! After re-crunching the numbers at the sponsor’s request, Zavodny found the effect the study sponsor was hoping to find.

Standard research practice is to formulate a research hypothesis and specify a study sample before the analysis has been completed. The practice of “data dredging” — that is, tweaking the sample data until one gets rid of “anomalous results” — is frowned upon.

To her credit, Zavodny provided her data to a curious software developer in Silicon Valley who was interested in immigration policy. The blogger, R. Davis, discovered a number of serious methodological deficiencies in Zavodny’s work.

Most importantly, he documented that Zavodny’s results are highly sensitive to the date range selected. When she studied the years 2000-2007, she found 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from U.S. universities were associated with 262 additional jobs for native-born Americans. But change the date range a little bit to 2002-2008, and the exact same regression model shows the destruction of 110 jobs for natives, according to the independent researcher.

Also, Zavodny’s “262 additional jobs” factoid deals not with H-1B visa holders but with foreign-born workers in so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) who have advanced degrees (that is, a master’s or doctorate) from U.S. universities. About 45 percent of H-1B visa holders do not have advanced degrees (as noted above), let alone advanced degrees from U.S. universities.

According to public policy professor Ron Hira of Howard University, only 1 in 206 of H-1B workers at offshore outsourcing giant Infosys holds an advanced degree from a U.S. university. Even fewer of Tata Consultancy Services H-1B workers do — just 1 in 222. So there is almost no overlap between the highly educated workers in Zavodny’s “262 additional jobs” analysis and the mostly entry-level workers who actually come to the U.S. on H-1B visas.

While industry lobbyists have to employ dubious and convoluted means to show H-1B creates jobs, it is brutally simple to show that H-1B workers take American jobs. Just ask the folks who trained their H-1B replacements at Disney, Southern California Edison, Toys R Us, Fossil and countless other companies across the nation.
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Michelle Malkin is mother, wife, blogger, conservative syndicated columnist, and author. She shares many of her articles and thoughts at MichelleMalkin.com. Checkout her new book: Sold Out

Tags: Michelle Malkin, Myth of H-1B Job Creation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Police Officer Charged With Voter Fraud

by Hans von Spakovsky: Call the cops! It looks as though someone is committing voter fraud in Indiana again! Ironically, in this case, however, the alleged fraudster who has been arrested by the Indiana State Police was a cop.

Unfortunately, even officers who graduate from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy are capable of violating the public trust by allegedly trying to steal an election.

That is the case with Officer Lowell Ross Colen of the Rising Sun Police Department, situated in a small Indiana town of around 2,300 people on the Ohio River across from Kentucky.

Colen was apparently an average guy at the police department. According to his chief, Dave Hewitt, Colen was “fairly well liked and very loyal.” Hewitt described Colen as the “kind of guy that would come in and put his time in.” However, it seems Colen was doing more than providing for the public safety while on duty at the Rising Sun Police Department.

Colen wanted individuals to vote for his father, Francis “Swede” Colen, in the 2015 May primary for city council. So he allegedly proceeded to fill out absentee ballot applications for people who were not even eligible to vote in the election, and then voted with these ballots after he received them from election officials.

According to the Indiana State Police Department, he forged the signatures of the supposed voters on some of the documents before turning them into the Ohio County, Ind., clerk’s office.

In some cases, Officer Colen is even believed to have been in uniform and on duty while committing the acts.

In a twist of fate, the voting scofflaw was arrested in his home on charges of official misconduct, forgery, voter fraud, and ghost employment. He has been charged with 13 felony counts and is, of course, entitled to a presumption of innocence, so it remains to be seen what the final disposition will be.

Nonetheless, this goes to show that, contrary to what some skeptics say, voting fraud does occur in this country. In local elections with small margins of victory, fraud is especially able to be the deciding factor.

In this case, Colen’s father won the primary by a count of 273 to 161 votes and is currently a candidate for one of five council seats in the general election.

Voter ID Laws Can Prevent Fraud

Unfortunately, Indiana’s voter identification law, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, does not currently cover absentee voting. Such a requirement might have prevented this type of abuse from occurring.

An excellent model would be Kansas’ voter identification law. Under the Kansas SAFE Act, voters must provide photographic identification to vote at the polls. A few of the accepted forms of identification include driver’s licenses, state identification cards, U.S. passports, student IDs, and concealed handgun licenses.

To vote absentee, one must include a copy of an accepted form of photo identification, or provide a full Kansas driver’s license or non-driver ID number when requesting the absentee ballot or returning the voted ballot.

As the Colen indictment and numerous other cases show, voter fraud is not limited to the physical polls. Often it involves absentee ballots, which have been called the “tool of choice” of vote thieves.

Indiana should address voter fraud more comprehensively, as Kansas has done, by extending its voter ID law to cover absentee ballots as well as in-person voting.

Voter Fraud Does Happen

Unfortunately, as the U.S. Supreme Court said in the Indiana voter ID case, the United States has a long history of voter fraud that has been documented by journalists and historians.

The Heritage Foundation has catalogued many recent instances of voter fraud across the nation in a new voter fraud database. Notorious examples include former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, who listed his ex-wife’s home address as his primary home in order to vote and be paid as a councilman in a district he did not reside in.

Or Butch Morgan Jr., who received a year in prison after forging over 200 signatures of registered voters with co-conspirators on the petition to place Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the Indiana Democratic Primary ballot in 2008.

Our right to vote is the most basic right we have because it protects all our other rights. It is sad to think that a uniformed officer of the law may have violated the public trust to steal votes.

It is fortunate that this particular fraud was detected, but it would have been even better if it had not occurred. Indiana needs to improve its voter integrity procedures, so abuses like this don’t happen again.
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Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. More ARRA News Service articles by or about Hans con Spakovsky

Tags: Indiana, Police Officer, Lowell Ross Colen, Rising Sun Police Department, Charged, With Voter Fraud, Hans von Spakovsky, Heritage Action 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 Reign of Trickery

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Arkansas State Sen. Jon Woods’s reign of trickery is ending. As reported Monday, he has chosen not to seek another term in the legislature.

It’s ironic. Woods defrauded Arkansas voters with a deceptively worded 2014 ballot measure. His successful scam weakening term limits allows him to stay in the Senate for 16 years, instead of just eight. But now, angry voters won’t allow Woods another term.

At least, that sure appears to be the case.

If voters in next year’s March primary could possibly be as uninformed about Woods’s record as they were about last November’s Issue 3, he would have gotten away with it. But Woods has made enemies: term limits supporters and Conduit for Action, a group sharply critical of him for gutting the Arkansas Ethics Commission, to identify two. He not unreasonably fears they would communicate with his constituents.

In effect, “tell on him.”

Fool the voters once, shame on Woods. Fool the voters twice . . . well . . . ’tain’t going to happen. That’s not to say the sly schemer didn’t have another unethical, underhanded, anti-democratic trick up his sleeve. Of course he did.

“I’ve had serious conversations with my family about leaving . . . since April,” Woods told reporters. Yet, the incumbent didn’t bother to announce publicly that he was vacating the seat until the November weekend before a Monday filing deadline.

Seeking to pick his replacement, Woods informed insiders of his intentions, while leaving the rest of his district in the dark until it was too late.

Luckily, Justice of the Peace Sharon Lloyd, had already stepped up to challenge Woods — and his insider political games.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

P.S. Circumventing meaningful elections to provide a leg-up to a crony by waiting until the last moment to announce a retirement, as Sen. Woods did, happens far too often. It’s another good argument for term limits.
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Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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The Battle to Militarize Space Has Begun

by Stratfor via Rod Martin, Contributing Author:
Forecast
  • As existing technologies proliferate and new developments provide greater access to space, Cold War frameworks for the peaceful sharing of Earth’s near orbit will erode.
  • The reliance on space-based systems, such as satellites, and the deterioration of existing regulations make the militarization of space inevitable.
  • The U.S. reliance on electronic networking for military and intelligence operations is a key vulnerability that countries such as China could exploit.
  • Competition for resources in the solar system will inevitably lead to conflict and military posturing.
Analysis
For most strategic planners, space represents the ultimate high ground. In the same way that control of the skies added a new dimension to combat in the great wars of the 20th century, the military exploitation of space will be a defining characteristic of the 21st century. German rocket technology propelled the first unmanned systems into space during the latter stages of World War II. These systems traveled beyond the Karman line — the commonly accepted boundary between Earth and space, at around 100 kilometers altitude (62 miles). From the late 1950s onward, the ability to routinely launch manned and unmanned systems into orbit heralded a new era of competition between the Soviet bloc and the West, led by the United States. As the Cold War progressed, the utilization of the near-Earth environment shaped a new strategic aspect to the conflict and added another battlefield in which the world’s superpowers could compete.

In the standoff between the post-war powers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were the only weapons to enter space. They were projected on an arc that took them beyond the Earth’s atmosphere before deploying warheads carried by re-entry vehicles to their targets. There were no existing defensive systems that could be stationed in space or close enough to ensure the destruction of the ballistic missiles themselves or of their deadly payloads. The development, staging and maintenance of space-based weapons and bases was untenable at the time, so treaties limiting what could be done in Earth’s immediate vicinity were relatively uncontroversial and easy to pass.

These pacts also hoped to address some of the prevalent fears of the time, including concerns about nuclear explosions in space and about debris descending back to Earth. U.N.-brokered regulations were based on existing Cold War technologies, capabilities and expectations, influenced by the fact that emerging space law was particularly ambiguous. Therefore, existing international law considers the lowest perigee attainable by an orbiting craft: Anything in orbit is taken to be in international space, and anything not orbiting is accepted to be in national airspace. The problem with legal ambiguity, however, is the extent to which gray areas can be exploited for gain.

Yet, as technology improved and countries’ strategic imperatives evolved, so did the consideration given to the domination of space. The announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1983 was heavily criticized, but it proved that the logical evolution of missile defense involved orbital platforms as well as ground-based systems. Although the initiative — known by its more popular moniker Star Wars — did not reach fruition, the United States still achieved global military superiority in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In achieving military dominance, the United States came to increasingly rely on space-based infrastructure to wage war. While Washington adhered to the prohibition on placing offensive weapons — including kinetic kill systems, directed energy weapons platforms and missile-carrying satellites — in space permanently, the United States installed a huge portion of its electronic networking capability in orbit, enabling it to intervene in conflicts around the globe. Military satellites were the lynchpin of a network-centric approach to operations, comprising command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance structures, better known as C4ISR. The evolution of C4ISR coincided with the advent of precision-guided munitions and the drone revolution, enabling the free movement of near real-time data. Everything from GPS, early warning monitoring, weather tracking, tactical and strategic communications, and full-spectrum intelligence gathering is facilitated through the United States’ expansive network of military satellites.

However, the U.S. military is not the sole operator of space-based infrastructure. Countries with advanced space programs, such as China, Russia, Israel, Japan and some NATO alliance members, all rely on some military space-based capability. And the trend is only increasing. As much as the United States leads the field, however, it is increasingly reliant on its space-based systems — of which a significant percentage are highly vulnerable and largely indefensible. This vulnerability has not escaped the notice of the United States’ biggest competitors. By finding a way to disable space-based systems, a potential antagonist could disconnect the multiple interlocking U.S. military systems, plunging it into information darkness and delivering a critical blow ahead of any physical strike — and to do so would not violate any existing space treaty.

Emerging Threats
The single biggest example of this threat to U.S. military orbital systems comes from China. A progression of Chinese anti-satellite missile tests carried out over the past few years has alarmed the Pentagon. Though there are still limitations to the effectiveness of ground-based anti-satellite weapons — namely the tracking and accuracy requirements, given the speed, size and altitude of satellites — the technology is rapidly advancing. For countries that are still developing militarily, there is a strong incentive to pursue anti-satellite technology in the hope it could neutralize or disrupt one of the greatest advantages that the United States has: its C4ISR infrastructure.
Most other countries do not have the same vulnerabilities as the United States, which makes it difficult for Washington to impose the kind of retaliatory deterrence structure that worked so well during the nuclear arms race. In other words, the United States cannot use the threat of disabling other countries’ space-based communications infrastructure to prevent attacks because other countries do not rely as heavily on the technology. So U.S. Space Command faces a conundrum: How does it cover what is a largely exposed and defenseless flank?

Perhaps partly because of concerns over Chinese anti-satellite tests — the most recent of which was conducted Oct. 30 — the Pentagon has recently started to talk about “space control.” And the shift in language could indicate a change to the U.S. defense approach. Washington knows that to be proactive may mean stepping beyond the boundaries of the Outer Space Treaty, and the move would not be without precedent: Reagan showed a willingness to overstep the treaty with his Star Wars program, though he was ultimately stalled because of a lack of political will and technological capability.

The Space Race
As Washington works to secure its orbital technology, it also realizes that competitors are catching up. This is not to say that the U.S. military has been negligent in developing and expanding its capabilities. The United States leads the field in ballistic missile defense (BMD), and many of its maturing systems are designed to operate outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. The United States also dominates space-tracking infrastructure: Being able to see other countries’ space-based systems is beneficial from both a defensive and offensive perspective.

The U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system has the ability to reach into space and to attack ICBMs in the middle of their flight trajectory. A key component of GMD is something known as an exoatmospheric kill vehicle, which separates from its boost vehicle in space and collides with an incoming projectile. This technology does not violate existing space treaties but is revealing of the way military planners — and the defense industries that serve them — are thinking.

Regulation and enforcement is not clear, but the trend is. As militaries around the globe expand their capabilities, so will they increase their reliance on space-based systems. Thus space will become increasingly militarized. The push to expand, occupy and dominate space will eventually erode the efficacy of the current treaty structures set in place decades ago. Currently, all space-based military infrastructure supports terrestrial operations. But long-term considerations about the eventual exploitation of resources in the broader solar system factor into current debates. When space exploration and the collection and refinement of resources become economically feasible, competition will inevitably ensue.

History tells us that such opportunities for resources rarely go smoothly or unchallenged, though deep-sea mining shows us that peaceful competition is possible. Still, generally, competition on Earth has led to perpetual conflict and military posturing, so it is logical that competition for resources elsewhere could inevitably lead to more conflict and could necessitate the ability to project military power there in one form or another. Closer to home, we can look to the opening of the Arctic for comparison: There is no clear precedent for ownership, there are mineral resources present, and only certain countries have the technological know-how to explore and exploit such an inhospitable environment. Countries have already staked their claims and military posturing has begun. As the ability to capture the riches of the solar system becomes more viable, it is highly likely that similar disputes will emerge in the more forbidding environment of space.
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Rod D. Martin, writes at RodMartn.org, and is founder and CEO of The Martin Organization, a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author and conservative activist. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Council for National Policy, a Past President of the National Federation Republican Assemblies. and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.The Battle to Militarize Space Has Begun is republished with permission of Stratfor with Rod Martin.

Tags: Military Space, Space Race, Stratfor, Rod Martin To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Paul Ryan Cleaning House - Changes in Committee Chairs Expected

Speaker Paul Ryan
ARRA News Service: Speaker Paul Ryan promised to rework the House Republican Steering Committee before Thanksgiving. To do that committee will face changes in leadership.

Politico reports, "This week, the lawmakers have discussed a two-part overhaul to the committee that would drastically change its membership.

"During the current Congress, top committee chairmen would be removed from the panel and replaced with members elected by the House Republican Conference, according to multiple sources involved in and familiar with the talks. In the next Congress, the GOP would add additional regional representatives to the committee so it better reflects the makeup of the Republican Conference.

"The plans have not been finalized, and likely will not be until next week when the House returns from recess. Additional reforms are possible to the panel, and any change would have to be ratified by a vote of the GOP conference." ...

"The steering committee has become the target of much anger from conservatives, who see it as emblematic of the strong arm of the House speaker. For example, the panel can be used to strip troublemaking lawmakers of their committee assignments.

"The panel is currently under the firm control of leadership. The speaker’s five votes give him outsize representation, and combined with his influence, the top Republican is able to sway the outcome of most decisions in front of the panel."

... "Under the plan being discussed, several powerful chairmen — otherwise known as “A Committee” chairmen — would lose their slots." . . .

The steering committee changes are among other internal reforms Ryan is planning. He has said he plans a broad overhaul of how the House works by the end of this year.

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Legal Expert On Obama Proposal To Move GITMO Detainees

A must-read piece in The Hill today explains, “President Obama would be stretching the limits of the Constitution if he moved unilaterally to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, experts say.

"The White House has not ruled out executive action to empty the prison camp, now that Republicans in Congress are poised to reject a plan from the Defense Department for moving detainees to the United States. But if Obama goes it alone, he would do so in defiance of laws passed by Congress that explicitly bar him from transferring Guantánamo detainees into the country. . . .

"Obama supporters argue that Article II gives the president the legal authority to decide not only where to put troops, but also where to hold prisoners.

"Republicans reject that argument out of hand. ‘That's not my interpretation of the Constitution nor any constitutional expert that I know that doesn't work in the White House,’ said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who supports closing Guantanamo, adding, ‘of course it's not in his authority.’ If the president uses executive action, McCain told The Hill, ‘I would want to go to court.’

“Republicans said the executive action would violate the letter of the law just like the controversial deal for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, which involved Obama releasing five detainees from Guantánamo. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) later found that Obama broke the law by not informing lawmakers of that transfer 30 days in advance.

Deborah Pearlstein, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law, said there would be ‘no doubt’ that the president would have the authority to move the Guantánamo detainees if Congress hadn’t passed a law against it. ‘The problem here is that Congress has acted,’ she said.

“Under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the president is expected to sign sometime soon, detainees can’t be transferred into the United States, or to Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen.”

The Hill notes that even some Senate Democrats acknowledge that Congress has made its position clear in law, prohibiting the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States. “Democrats are also in no hurry to support executive action on Guantanamo. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that he couldn't say if he would back executive action, adding, ‘we have not heard of any proposal by the administration — I haven't — to circumvent the policy we just voted on, in the authorization.’

“Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) had more direct advice for the administration, saying that while he supports closing Guantanamo ‘there's some restrictions in the NDAA concerning that. He's going to have to comply with the legal restrictions.’”

Aside from the fact that the president is barred by statute from transferring these detainees, there are also many practical reasons not to do so, as Republicans have long argued.

The Hill writes, “Some legal experts warn a transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the U.S. could create another headache for the administration by giving the prisoners access to the court system.

“Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, an attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP who has represented Guantanamo prisoners, said one could argue a heightened standard exists when you are talking about detention on sovereign U.S. soil as opposed to a naval station that’s under U.S. jurisdiction. ‘There's certainly a strong argument that one has better legal protection against indefinite detention on U.S. soil than at Guantánamo,’ he said.”

The AP adds, “Groups like Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that moving the terror suspects to U.S. soil doesn't end the policy of indefinite detention.

“Republican lawmakers who want the detainees to stay at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, agree. They argue that extremists will use the detention without any filing of charges as a recruiting tool whether the terror suspects are in Cuba or at a U.S. prison some have dubbed ‘Gitmo North.’ . . .

“Tina Foster, a New York lawyer who represents Guantanamo Bay detainees, said closing the prison is nothing more than a public relations measure. ‘It does absolutely nothing to address the continued detention of men who have now been detained for 15 years without trial,’ she said. ‘The real danger posed by bringing detainees to U.S. soil is that it opens the door to indefinite detention without trial on U.S. soil.’ . . .

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that moving detainees to the U.S. would not remove the terrorists' recruitment tool. ‘President Obama's pledge to shutter the detention facility at Guantanamo was always based on the notion that softening America's image abroad would somehow soften our enemies' resolve,’ Grassley said. ‘The headlines every day remind us that that's not the way it is.’

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., agreed, saying moving detainees to U.S. lockups won't end the extremists' propaganda campaign against America. ‘The propaganda war will simply shift to whatever facility these terrorists are brought to in the United States, allowing them to engage in a whole new propaganda campaign against “GITMO North,” ‘ Inhofe said on the Senate floor this week.”

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in January 2010, “[W]e already have a place to put these detainees. Why would we want to create a new one?

“The administration’s answer to this question is that by closing Guantanamo we’d quiet our critics at home and in Europe who view it as an affront. They also say that we’d be removing it as a propaganda tool for Al Qaeda. But both arguments are absurd, since the policy that’s most offensive to our critics is the policy of indefinite detention, something the administration has already indicated it will continue either way. And the notion that Al Qaeda would be satisfied if we simply moved Guantanamo to the Midwest is laughable.

“Al Qaeda terrorists were at war with us long before we started putting them in Gitmo. They won’t lay down their arms or run out of grievances if we move it . . . . If it’s not Guantanamo, it’s something else.

“So it’s hard to see how moving Guantanamo would make any difference to our critics either at home or abroad. But it’s easy to see how it would make America less safe — starting with the fact that the moment terrorists set foot on U.S. soil they would likely gain many of the same rights and privileges of U.S. citizens, including possibly the right to sue their way to freedom. This alone should be reason enough to keep them off our shores and far away from our communities.

“Terrorists don’t deserve the same legal rights that the Americans they’re targeting enjoy. We should be focused on stopping them, not defending them. And Americans would rather their tax dollars be spent preventing attacks from terrorists than providing them with government lawyers. . . . The fact is, as long as we remain at war with Al Qaeda and until we hear a better option, Guantanamo is the perfect place for terrorists.”

Tags: President Obama, Gitmo Detainees, Move to U.S., Guantanamo, NDAA  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, November 12, 2015

Govt to Spend $1.7 Mil to Ease Prison Transition - Public Housing Told Not To Reject Criminals . . .

. . . including a Drug Kingpin formerly on "America’s Most Wanted" list!

Judicial Watch - Coinciding with the mass release of federal inmates, the Obama administration is spending $1.7 million on a “re-entry program” to ease the transition from prison and ordering public housing facilities not to reject tenants with criminal records.

The goal is to reduce barriers to public housing, employment and educational opportunities by promoting rehabilitation and reintegration for the formerly incarcerated, the feds explain in an announcement. A key component of the program is a joint venture between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help public housing residents expunge or seal their criminal records. The administration considers these “Americans who’ve paid their debt to society” and need the government’s help to “rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities.”

A criminal record severely limits a person’s ability to seek higher education, find good employment, qualify for credit and secure affordable housing, the administration states in its announcement. This creates unnecessary barriers to economic opportunity and productivity for the convicts after they leave jail and President Obama is determined to ensure those returning from prison become “productive, law-abiding citizens.” His Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, says the DOJ is “committed to giving formerly incarcerated individuals the tools they need to become productive members of society.”

For starters, the cons must find a place to live after getting released from jail so the administration has issued updated rules for taxpayer-subsidized housing essentially prohibiting the exclusion of tenants who have been arrested or criminally convicted. “…arrest records may not be the basis for denying admission, terminating assistance or evicting tenants…,” the new rules say, adding that HUD does not require the adoption or enforcement of “one-strike rules that deny admission to anyone with a criminal record or that require automatic eviction any time a household member engages in criminal activity in violation of their lease.” The message from the administration to federally-assisted housing facilities appears to be to condone criminal behavior.

This is part of Obama’s broader effort to reform the nation’s criminal justice system as a way of ending racial discrimination. Back in 2010 the president signed a measure that for the first time in decades relaxed drug-crime sentences he claimed discriminated against poor and minority offenders. This severely weakened a decades-old law enacted during the infamous crack cocaine epidemic that ravaged urban communities nationwide in the 1980s. As part of the movement the U.S. Sentencing Commission lowered maximum sentences for drug offenders and made it retroactive.

This month the administration began releasing 6,000 drug convicts it claims are “non-violent” offenders whose sentences were too long under the old guidelines. News reports have already surfaced contradicting the administration’s assessment that the newly released convicts are not violent. Among them is the leader of a multi-million dollar operation that smuggled drugs from Canada to Maine. Prosecutors refer to the 29-year-old con as a “drug kingpin” who was one of “America’s Most Wanted.”

Shortly before the administration’s mass release of drug convicts, federal prosecutors warned that drug trafficking is inherently violent and therefore the phrase “non-violent drug offenders” is a misnomer. The nation’s prosecutors also cautioned that reducing prison sentences for drug offenders will weaken their ability to bring dangerous drug traffickers to justice.

Tags: Judicial Watch, President Obama, DOJ, early release, prisoners, establish new rules, Drug Kingpin, America;s Most Wanted, released To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

On Our Knees . . .

. . . Trans-Pacific Partnership deal cedes sovereignty to multinational commission.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Trans-Pacific Partnership, United States, on our knees, 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 Million Student March

Million Student March: UC Davis, CA 2014
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: You've heard of the Million Man March and the Million Mom March. Well today we have the Million Student March expanding from last year's efforts.

College students across the country are marching to protest the rising cost of college tuition and excessive student loan debt. They're calling for tuition-free public colleges and a cancellation of all student debt. They're also demanding a minimum wage increase for campus workers, to $15 an hour.

The movement's organizers released a statement saying, "Education should be free. The United States is the richest country in the world, yet students have to take on crippling debt in order to get a college education."

But contrary to what the movement's organizers believe, education can't be free. In fact, it's been said of health care that if you think it's expensive now, wait until it's free. The same could be said about higher education. Making it "free" for students will make it more expensive for taxpayers by, for instance, incentivizing schools to raise tuition.

It's not a coincidence that this is happening one year from the presidential election. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been stressing this issue for months in an effort to galvanize young voters to go to the polls next November.

Socialist Sen. Sanders has pledged to make tuition "free" at public universities and to cut interest rates on student loans. Clinton has promised to increase access to tuition grants and give graduates the option to refinance their loans

I agree that too many students are saddled with too much debt when they leave college. According to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, total U.S. student loan debt has more than doubled, to $1.2 trillion, in less than a decade. Many young people struggle or fail to make their student loan payments. Millions have gone into default.

Perhaps worst of all, too often students learn little while at college. In fact, at least one study has shown that college can make students less knowledgeable after four years. Clearly many students aren't getting their money's worth.

There's a good debate to be had over what to do about soaring college tuition and student debt. But the answer is not "free" tuition. Rather, part of the answer is to encourage vocational training for those who may not be suited for college. It would also help to steer those who do go to college into majors that will help them get a decent job when they leave.

As for the Million Student March participants, a few classes in rudimentary economics wouldn't hurt either.
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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, million student march, college, university, students, tuition, debt To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Despite Obama Signing Another Law Barring GITMO Detainee Transfers To US, . . .

. . . His Admin Says "We're Going To Die Trying" To Close GITMO.

Today in Washington, D.C.:
Congress is not in session.

The House is not in session today and will reconvene on Monday, November 16th with no recorded voted until 6:30 PM

The Senate is not in session today and will reconvene on Monday, November 16th at 3 PM.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 91-3 to concur in the House amendment to S. 1356, the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (Defense authorization bill), thus passing the bill and sending it to the president for his signature. The three no votes were by Merkley (D-OR). socialist Democrat Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Wyden (D-OR). Note voting were 6 Republicans which included four candidates for the Republican nomination: Senators Cruz (R-TX), Graham (R-SC), Heller (R-NV), Paul (R-KY), Rubio (R-FL), and Vitter (R-LA).

The Senate also voted 93-0 to pass H.R. 2029, the Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, as amended. Even Sanders(I-VT) voted yes. Not Voting were Cruz (R-TX), Gardner (R-CO), Graham (R-SC), Heller (R-NV), Paul (R-KY), Rubio (R-FL), and Vitter (R-LA)

In addition the Senate voted 82-7 to invoke cloture on the motion to go to conference with the House on H.R. 22, the highways bill. Senators then voted 56-31 to instruct conferees to allow the Transportation Secretary to issue a rule on the lengths of semi-trucks with double trailers. The no votes were all by Republicans.

Both of the above bills included provisions prohibiting the president from moving Guantanamo terror detainees to the United States. Thus an overwhelming majorities of Congress have agreed that these detainees should not be moved to the U.S. In fact the votes would have been higher if all Republicans had voted.

The Wall Street Journal noted Tuesday, “The White House said that President Barack Obama would sign the annual defense policy bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday, despite his objections to its provisions keeping open the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. . . . [T]he new defense policy bill retains other provisions opposed by Mr. Obama, chiefly a prohibition on transferring detainees at Guantanamo to the U.S. through 2016. . . . ‘We have long expressed our disappointment at the repeated effort by Congress to impede the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The president believes closing that prison is a national security priority,’ White House press secretary Josh Earnest said . . . .”

Yet President Obama has signed legislation into law that contains this prohibition, going all the way back to 2009. This year’s Defense authorization bill will mark the sixth one in a row that includes the prohibition on moving Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. that the president has signed into law.

Unfortunately, President Obama has demonstrated time and again that he’s willing to simply disregard the law when it’s inconvenient to his political goals. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out, “Mr. Obama’s decision not to veto the $607 billion defense bill for a second time makes it more likely that he will decide to go around Congress to fulfill his longstanding pledge to close the prison, setting up an election-year fight with Republicans that could end up in court.”

Indeed, CNN reported last week, “White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, asked about the possibility that President Barack Obama could take unilateral moves to transfer detainees to the United States, said all options remain in play. ‘At this point, I would not take anything off the table in terms of the President doing everything that he can to achieve this critically important national security objective,’ Earnest said.”

And National Security Advisor Susan Rice told Reuters about administration efforts to close the Guantanamo detention facility, “I can't say with certainty that we're 100 percent going to get there, but I can tell you we're going to die trying.” This is the same Susan Rice that spread the false lie that the attack on Bendhazi was because of a video.

It’s worth recalling that President Obama once acknowledged Congress’ ability to limit the president’s actions. As a candidate in 2008, Obama said, “Congress's job is to pass legislation. The president can veto it or he can sign it. … I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We're not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.”

And, he spent two years insisting that “this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true.” He also said, “I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books … Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. . . . But that's not how our system works. That's not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.” And “I am president, I am not king. I can't do these things just by myself.” As recently as 2013, President Obama was reminding people, “I'm not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I'm required to follow the law.”

Even the editorial board of The Denver Post is warning the president not to attempt to move terror detainees from Guantanamo Bay in defiance of Congress: “One of Barack Obama's consistent pledges as a candidate for president and after his election was to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. . . . [I]t is one he should abandon after the U.S. Senate on Tuesday joined the House in passing a 2016 national defense act that bars transfers of prisoners to the mainland. He should abide by the restriction rather than defy Congress and claim authority to act on his own.”

The Post editors write, “Alarmingly, though, there are reports the president could act unilaterally to transfer prisoners. . . . He shouldn't. We say that having supported all along his goal of closing Guantanamo as well as the policy of finding countries willing to accept enemy combatants. . . . But Congress does have the power of the purse. If it decides, however unwisely, to bar ‘the use of funds provided to any department or agency ... for the transfer or release of individuals’ detained at Guantanamo to or within the U.S., then Obama should abide by the prohibition rather than resort to a clever legal rationale that claims he can act on his own.”
-----------------
The issue should not be closing GITMO because of its location on U.S territory in Cuba. The issue should be what War Crimes and other illegal actions have foreign (not American) combatants taken against the U.S., our allies, and  noncombatants. Why have they not been tried before an established military tribunal with senior oversight of experienced Federal judges? Based on the sentence determined they should either executed for any "high" war crimes, or the remaining period of incarceration determined for crimes committed, or released to their former country from which they were captured.

No legal resident Americans should ever be threaten with transport to GITMO or any location outside of the USA.


Tags: President Obama. GITMO, NDAA, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Stopping Bad Bills Is As Important As Passing So-called Good Bill ...

In an iconic scene from the classic film
"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart as
freshman Senator Jefferson Smith uses the filibuster
to block and influence a vote. (Photo credit)
. . . 12 Bills That The Filibuster Stopped From Becoming Law

by Philip Wegmann: Frustrated by an entrenched Democratic minority in the Senate, some of the Republicans who control both houses of Congress have renewed calls for filibuster reform.

House Republicans penned a letter to Senate leadership in September, asking that it lower the threshold of votes needed to achieve “cloture” and overcome a filibuster blocking action in certain circumstances. A total of 56 of 246 Republican members signed.

And in the upper chamber itself, where Republicans hold 54 seats to Democrats’ 45 (and one Independent), more senators have begun to talk openly about rule changes.

“I think it’s appropriate to be able to debate a bill without having to have a 60-vote margin,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told Politico. “I think when they originally put the rules in place, it was a mistake not to have made that change in the first place.”

Although the House tightly regulates speaking time, by comparison deliberation is almost unlimited in the Senate. One senator can combat legislation by deploying a filibuster to slow the process down and run out the clock.

A filibuster may be overcome only when the Senate votes to reach cloture, when 60 of the 100 senators vote to end debate. If some Republicans get their way and reform the centuries-old filibuster, the political landscape could look very different.

Here are a dozen bills that could’ve become law in recent years if it weren’t for the filibuster:

1. American Jobs Act. In the minority, Republicans still shut down President Obama’s 2011 jobs plan. It would have imposed a 5.6-percent tax on all income over $1 million to pay for new “stimulus” spending by the government. The Democrats’ majority couldn’t pass the measure, which failed 50-49.

2. Buffett Rule. Championed by Senate Democrats and the White House in 2012, the “Buffett Rule” sought to levy a minimum 30 percent tax on wealthier Americans. Forty-five Republicans voted not to end debate, keeping the legislation from the floor and from becoming law.

3. Cap and Trade. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress in 2010, but their “cap-and-trade” legislation stalled in the Senate. Republicans filibustered sweeping restrictions on the use of fossil fuels aimed at cutting carbon emissions and the measure failed to reach Obama’s desk

4. DREAM Act. Cheered by President Obama and passed by the House, the DREAM Act was on its way to becoming law in 2010. The legislation would have blazed a path to citizenship for millions of children brought here by illegal immigrants. But a filibuster-wielding Republican minority delayed a final vote, killing the bill.

5. Card Check. The 2009 “card check” bill would have made it easier for labor unions to organize and stay in power by making union elections by secret ballot obsolete. Instead, employers would be forced to recognize a union once organizers collected a majority of employee signatures. After the Republican minority threatened to filibuster, Democrats scrapped the proposal.

6. Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act. Elder Americans would have collected an extra $250 in tax credits under the cost of living adjustment in Social Security, or COLA. A Republican filibuster took the fizz out of the proposal and the bill failed, 53 to 45.

7. Gun Control. The gun control legislation sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., backfired in the Senate after Republicans filibustered the measure. The bipartisan bill would have significantly expanded background checks in gun sales but fell shy of the 60-vote threshold to end debate, receiving only 54 votes.

8. Immigration Reform. Toward the end of his term, President George W. Bush pushed for a complete overhaul of the nation’s immigration system in 2007. The measure would have bolstered border security but granted citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants. Republican senators jumped ship and a motion to end debate failed, 53 to 46.

9. Minimum Wage. Republicans launched a filibuster in 2014 to derail a Democrat proposal that would have mandated an across-the-board federal minimum wage of $10.10.

10. The “Public Option.” Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., joined Republicans threatening to filibuster Majority Leader Harry Reid’s health care bill in 2009. The proposed legislation included a “public option” akin to Medicare but was defeated before it could come to a vote.

11. Prolonging Bush Tax Cuts. In 2010, Senate Democrats tried twice to extend George W. Bush’s tax cuts only to middle-class Americans. Higher tax brackets would have returned to Clinton-era rates under their plan. Republican filibusters slammed the door on anything short of across-the-board cuts.

12. Paycheck Fairness Act. Republicans blocked the 2014 Paycheck Fairness Act four separate times. The bill would have leveled harsher penalties for discrimination and required employers to account for any pay gap between male and female employees. The bill never made it to a final vote, though, failing 52 to 40.
---------------
Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) is the congressional correspondent for The Daily Signal.

Tags:  Philip Wegmann, The Daily Signal, 2 Bills, stopped, Filibuster, U.S Senate, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Free Markets, Competition and Health Insurance

Editorial Cartoon by Bob Gorrell
by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: At a recent Congressional hearing, Dr. Mandy Cohen of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services explained that almost 700,000 Americans have lost their health coverage because the insurance co-ops formed under ObamaCare to foster competition couldn’t compete with “big, experienced players” in the insurance marketplace.

Dr. Cohen was talking about the five major insurance companies that cover the vast majority of Americans: Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, and Humana. If the ObamaCare co-ops continue to fold (a virtual certainty) and the Aetna / Humana and Anthem / Cigna mergers take place (both probabilities), almost all Americans – and indeed America’s entire healthcare system – will rely on just three insurance companies.

“My guiding principle is, and always has been that consumers do better when there is choice and competition,” said President Barack Obama in 2009. “That’s how the market works. In Alabama, almost 90 percent of the market is controlled by just one company. And without competition, the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down.”

His analysis was quite right, of course. Unfortunately, his signature policy has exacerbated the very problem he identified. Does anyone believe the co-op collapse and big insurance mergers will save consumers money or expand their health care options? No chance.

It’s important to note that market-driven mergers and acquisitions are generally good for investors and consumers, relative to the alternatives. But the present insurance industry consolidation is being driven by government policy, not free markets.

Just as big a concern as the lack of competition, insurance industry consolidation will lead America down a path eerily similar to the financial collapse of 2007 with three insurance companies replacing “too big to fail” financial institutions and costly insurance payouts replacing subprime mortgages.

By 2007 big lenders had become vehicles for implementing a government policy promoting universal homeownership. Likewise, insurance companies are now the vehicles for implementing government policy that promotes universal health coverage. By 2007 millions of people had purchased homes they would not have otherwise been able to purchase. Likewise, insurance companies today cover 18 million people who might otherwise not have had insurance or even be insurable.

Making high quality health coverage affordable for all is a laudable policy objective. Reasonable people can disagree as to whether the coverage ObamaCare makes available is indeed high quality or affordable. Regardless, what happens if the ObamaCare model is unsustainable? Last month Anthem stated that its ObamaCare business is underperforming and that pressure for keeping premiums low is unrealistic. Meanwhile, the insurance industry lobby in Washington, DC is quietly advocating for prescription drug price controls to cushion their bottom line at the expense of patient health and well-being, while simultaneously seeking 20% - 40% premium rate increases in 2016.

As ObamaCare relies on a dwindling number of insurance companies to administer the U.S. healthcare system, would the federal government hesitate to prop them up if – perhaps when – things go pear-shaped? The federal government seems perfectly willing to pour money into its failed ObamaCare experiment. The co-op collapse alone will likely cost the American taxpayer over $2 trillion.

With health insurance co-ops dropping like flies and huge mergers in the offing, ObamaCare has created an environment in which the U.S. health system is beholden to a small number of “too-big-to-fail” insurance companies creating risks reminiscent of financial meltdown almost a decade ago.
------------------
Ken Blackwell is a former ambassador to the U.N., Ohio Secretary of State and mayor of Cincinnati. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

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GOP Plot Thickens

by Nelson Hultberg, Contributing Author: Two distinct groups have now formed among the eight top Republican Party candidates. The first group is the patriots made up of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul. The second group is the statists made up of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carley Fiorina, and John Kasich. On almost every issue in the FoxNews Business/ Wall Street Journal night's debate these two groups came down on either the side of less government and individualism (the patriots), or more government and collectivism (the statists). There were some deviations, but for the most part the patriots and statists answered true to their ideology.

The issues were covered in sophisticated style. The moderators, Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo, and Gerard Baker, conducted themselves in professional manner. After three circus-like debates with previous moderators vying for the title of most sensationalistic question asked, we finally got sanity. Substance was the result of this fourth GOP debate.

But even though the evening was enjoyable rather than egregious as with CNBC's previous display of hubris, there were numerous exasperations and errors that mere high school students would have avoided.

Immigration
Let's take immigration for starters. Right off the bat Trump was asked to explain the features of his stand regarding illegals. How, declared the moderators, did he propose to get rid of 12 million immigrants in a feasible manner?

Trump launched into his standard response on the issue by checking off his declarations that 1) a wall would be built, 2) the illegals would be sent packing, and 3) we as a country would return to a nation of rules regarding who was allowed to enter America.

All well and good. But Kasich, Bush, and Fiorina attacked this litany as lunacy, claiming that no humane nation was going to "deport" 12 million human beings. To think of sending 500,000 Mexicans out of the country every month, said Bush, was inconceivable. The statist group quickly piled on the Donald and attempted to bash him into capitulation. This, of course, is impossible to do with someone like Trump. But unfortunately in his response to his attackers, Trump couldn't get off his standard declarations. He would not bring up the subject of magnets and why they must be eliminated if we are ever going to solve the immigration problem. He handles them in his recently released immigration plan, but he needs to also articulate them in televised debates.

In other words, instead of talking about "walls" and "deporting," Trump needs to be talking about enacting E-Verify so illegals can be screened out in the application process for jobs. He needs to explain to America about how we have to end welfare services and free schooling for illegals. He must elaborate on the need for Congress to nullify the anchor baby loophole regarding the 14th Amendment. These are the four magnets that draw illegals to America; they must be eliminated, or we are playing a ludicrous game of make believe.

In addition Trump needs to explain that a new constitutional Amendment does not have to be passed to end the anchor baby loophole as Fiorina and her statist cronies maintain. So there is no need to round up and "deport 500,000 illegals per month" as Bush so preposterously claims. Simply enact E-Verify, eliminate the other three magnets, and millions of illegals will gradually "self-deport" over the next ten years peacefully all on their own. High school students can grasp this, but Bush, Rubio, Fiorina and Kasich cannot.

Taxation
On the subject of taxation each candidate had a basic tax reduction plan (when did a Republican not pay homage to "tax reduction"?). But none of the candidates put forth consistent rationality regarding taxes. On this issue patriot Trump joins the statists with a progressive rate plan. Only Carson, Cruz and Paul grasp the essence of taxation in America, i.e., that it must be proportional. In other words it must be comprised of "equal rates" in a country founded on "equal rights."

But Carson and Cruz put forth impossibly low 10% rate plans with Cruz offering that a family of four that makes under $36,000 would pay no taxes. This would increase the already staggering "zero-payers" and sabotage his 10% rate before such a tax plan could even make it out of committee in Congress because there would be no hope for revenue neutrality. Carson's 10% plan would encounter the same difficulties, but he says that his rate can be as high as 15% to avoid massive deficits. So there is more rationality here. Paul approached sanity with a flat tax of 14.5%. But both he and Cruz would eliminate all "payroll taxes," which would add billions to the deficit.

Unfortunately all the GOP candidates are engaged in making their wishes father to their facts on taxes. The patriots get the philosophical aspect right (i.e., proportionality), but fail to get the implementation aspect right (i.e., revenue neutrality). The statists don't accept proportionality and are vague on the implementation aspect, which is par for the course with statists. Vagueness is the foundation stone of their political careers. Never be specific. That way freedom can be avoided and bigger government can be smuggled into one's offerings under the guises of necessity and responsibility.

Foreign Policy
The issue of foreign policy did not split neatly into the statist and patriot camps. Trump and Paul were very much patriots here viewing the Iraqi war as an abomination and cautioning any kind of strong involvement in the Mideast. Carson was not as strong in this regard, but was skeptical of major intervention. Cruz attempted to carve out a middle ground in which America maintained a powerful military force but used it judiciously in the Mideast and around the world. Standard conservative boilerplate, which unfortunately gets talked about, but never implemented.

Patriots Trump and Paul overwhelmed Bush, Rubio and Fiorina on the issue of Russia. Never in our history have we refused to deal with the man in the Kremlin, and Fiorina's declaration that she would not deal with Putin was vehemently ridiculed for the imbecility that it is. Bush's attempt to declare a "no-fly" zone in the areas of Syria and Iraq was equally demolished by Trump and Paul. "Are we going to actually shoot down Russian planes," asked Paul? "Let Putin attack ISIS; I welcome it," said Trump.

In face of such apostasy the statists were outraged, and they responded to Trump and Paul with hysterical accusations of irresponsibility and naivety. Bush, Rubio, Fiorina and Kasich are strident neocons. They subscribe to the necessity of American hegemony in the Mideast and to a great extent throughout the rest of the world. Their espousals in foreign policy are filled with odes to military glory. The grim realities of their never-ending wars for world hegemony from a moral and financial standpoint are simply ignored, which, of course, is the tyrannical ploy of all dictatorships. Dwell on the alleged glories; ignore the inevitable realities.

The Verdict
What verdict can we derive from this gathering of Republicans? For starters the GOP is clearly the more rational party over Hillary's lugubrious gang of grafters. But there are several moral, philosophical, and economic discrepancies that prevail in the minds of both the patriot and statist camps of GOP candidates. Far more in the statist camp, but the patriots have some flaws that must be addressed.

Donald Trump and Ben Carson did themselves no harm; they will continue to lead. Though both are weak on details and explaining the finer more technical and factual points on each issue. Whether this translates into withdrawal of support from the voters remains to be seen.

Unfortunately Carson lacks the strength of personality to be president. He would be manipulated by the CFR and his principles sacrificed to the intimidatory presence of powerful operatives behind the scene. Trump, on the other hand, has the strength of personality to be president. He would stand up to the CFR, and perhaps stop the rush to the New World Order despite his lack of articulateness on the finer points of policy. Advisors can be gathered around him to furnish these.

Ted Cruz is a mixed bag, staunch patriot and constitutional conservative on all issues but foreign policy. He walks a tightrope when it comes to trying to balance his patriotism with his militarism in foreign policy. But he has a grasp of the finer factual aspects of policy and would be an imposing opponent to Hillary. Could he stand up to the CFR elites who dominate behind the scene? Very doubtful.

Rand Paul is a lost cause. Despite his strong constitutional stands and libertarian economics he simply lacks the big personality to command the stage and be presidential. We live in the media age, and big personalities are a requisite. The days when a Calvin Coolidge could gain the White House are long gone.

Marco Rubio again impressed with his assertive articulations and engaging debate style. But the man lacks presidential demeanor, and worst of all, he is a gushing New World Order advocate solidly in the neocon camp.

The other three statists - Jeb Bush, Carley Fiorina, and John Kasich - come to the process "stillborn." Bush radiates whimpiness and would be a craven puppet in face of the CFR bullies of Washington. Fiorina is the classical ice queen of neoconservatism who has memorized the New World Order play book and will dutifully implement it once in office. Kasich is a forlorn retread from the eighties. Hysterical and obtuse, he is, like his comrades, a dutiful puppet.

Stay tuned; it is going to be a contentious and exciting campaign.
---------------
Nelson Hultberg is a contributing author to the  ARRA News Service. He is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic which offers its own tax plan and author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values.

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