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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, September 30, 2016

Clinton's Gutter Campaign

by Newt Gingrich: The last minutes of the first presidential debate on Monday night were marked by a startling shift to a 20-year-old story as Hillary Clinton ambushed Donald Trump with an accusation designed to make him unacceptable to women.

Despite Lester Holt’s efforts to help her, Clinton had lost the early parts of the debate on big issues–jobs, trade, taxes, law and order, etc.

She had regained ground with a series of one-sided questions by Holt about birther issues, releasing tax returns, and other similar issues.

Oddly, Holt did not ask Clinton any comparable questions about Benghazi, her emails, the Clinton Foundation, etc.

So nearing the end of the debate, the Holt-Clinton tag-team had drawn even with Trump. And then the ambush hit.

At the time I thought it was a predictable hit, but nothing special.

Then I noticed that it became the defining event of the debate for media commentators.

Virtually everyone in the elite media reacted to the debate by focusing in on that 20-year-old story as represented by Clinton and the left.

The story’s subject, Alicia Machado, was on the surface the perfect victim for Hillary’s campaign – a female Hispanic — picked on by a bullying, insensitive man.

Wrestling with a weight problem is something that virtually everyone (including me) can identify with.

This was perfect casting for the morality play of Mean Trump versus Victimized Women.

And then, thanks to a remarkable Washington Post story (amazing that they would print it), we learned that it was indeed a “casting.”

Although Machado claimed to the LA Times that “she was surprised to hear the Democratic nominee tell her story Monday night,” we now know that the Clinton campaign had been working with Machado for months. The campaign set up news media coverage including a magazine story featuring Machado and the American flag. The left-wing media (the Clinton campaign’s offensive arm) was ready and leaning forward.

The whole story was embargoed until after the debate.

Think about that.

Everyone in the news media who had the story knew something was going to happen in the debate to give them an excuse to pile on in discrediting Trump and creating the newest American victim-heroine.

Hillary must have almost panicked when she realized that she had not mentioned Machado in the debate and that time was running out. So she did her job and simply inserted it totally out of the flow of conversation. Read the transcript and note how she swerves away from the line of debate to insert a new hit that she had to get in.

So Machado got two sentences from Hillary in the debate, and three days of saturation coverage from the elite media.

Of course, as we learn more about the story, everything has gradually gotten weirder and weirder (as it often does with the left).

A Venezuelan prosecutor says that Machado threatened to kill him if he prosecuted her boyfriend for murder.

Machado was accused of driving the getaway car for the murder.

Machado was identified as the mistress of a major Mexican drug lord. The witness who testified about the murder went into witness protection and was later killed in Mexico City.

So the Clinton version of Machado was as false as her lies about Benghazi or her lies about being under fire in Bosnia or her lies about the email server or her lies about deleting only non-work emails or her lies about favors for the Clinton Foundation. The list of Clinton lies goes on and on.

Finally, the tapes of Trump discussing Machado back in 1998 are much more positive, pleasant and nuanced than the Clinton version.

So why was there such a media failure to try to get the true story before rushing to judgement?

The elite media IS Hillary Clinton. They identify with her. They are terrified of Trump.

They don’t want the truth. They want a symbolic story that they can use emotionally.

For four or five days, this manufactured story will drive down Trump’s numbers and then as the truth comes out, the race will get out of the gutter and back to big issues and his numbers will rebound.

By the next Presidential debate, the race will again be neck and neck.

Clinton has to look for manufactured gutter issues because she can’t win on any of the big issues.

Clinton wants to raise taxes, Trump wants to lower them. In 1984, Walter Mondale carried one state as the tax increaser.

Clinton will continue a foreign policy that has been failing. Trump will change it.

At a time when Gallup reports that 75 percent of Americans believe there is “widespread corruption” in government, Clinton personifies the corrupt system that she and Bill created.

Clinton is for bigger bureaucracy and more red tape. Trump is for moving power out of Washington.

The list can go on and on.

If this is a big issue campaign, Clinton can’t win.

Her only hope is to keep the campaign in the gutter and to raise phony issue after phony issue.

Her allies in the media will do everything they can to drag the debate into the gutter with Hillary’s campaign.

If Trump keeps pulling the conversation back to the big questions and the big themes, he will win decisively.

The American people want change.

Trump is the only candidate who offers real change.

It will be interesting to see how rapidly the Trump campaign gets back to the big issues and how the left tries to drag it back into the gutter.

The next debate will be fascinating.
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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: Hillary Clinton, Gutter campaign, Alicia Machado, Donald Trump, presidential debate, the media, Newt Gingrich, commentary To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

BUSTED: GAO Calls Out Great Obamacare Heist

House Energy & Commerce Committee:  A legal opinion issued by the nonpartisan government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), yesterday concluded that “HHS may not use amounts collected for the Treasury to make reinsurance payments.” The ruling is a blow to the administration, which has been using taxpayer dollars to make the unlawful payments to insurers for the last two years in an attempt to prop up the president’s failing health care law.

Committee leaders issued a subpoena this summer after continued stonewalling for the most basic information about the payments. And after multiple nonpartisan groups called out the administration’s new interpretation of the plain language of the law, they are doubling down on the legitimacy of the payments.

The committee has called on the administration to stop the illegal payments and pay back the American taxpayer.



Special Report with Bret Baier

September 29, 2016


Click HERE to watch the clip


Report says Obama administration failed to follow health law
September 29, 2016

The Obama administration failed to follow the president's health care law in a $5 billion dispute over compensating insurers for high costs from seriously ill patients, Congress' investigative arm said Thursday.

The opinion from the Government Accountability Office is a setback for the White House and bolsters Republican complaints that administration officials bent the law as problems arose carrying out its complex provisions. The finding may complicate efforts to stabilize premiums in the law's insurance marketplaces, where about 11 million people get coverage. …

Read the full story online HERE.


Watchdog knocks administration for misusing Obamacare funds
September 29, 2016

The Obama administration is illegally sending payments to health insurers instead of to the federal Treasury as Obamacare requires, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The congressional auditor's report focuses on how the government handles fees paid by insurers for Obamacare's reinsurance program, which collects money from all health plans to help insurers cover the cost of sicker patients in the health care law's exchanges.

In 2014, the industry-funded reinsurance program was supposed to provide $10 billion to insurers and $2 billion to the federal Treasury. But when total collections from insurers amounted to only $9.7 billion, the Department of Health and Human Services opted to funnel all of the money toward insurers. The agency paid insurers $7.9 billion in claims for 2014, the first year of exchange coverage, and held over the remaining $1.7 billion for future payments. …

Read the full story online HERE.


GAO Sides With GOP, Saying HHS Owes Treasury an ACA Deposit
September 29, 2016

The Obama administration is illegally refusing to make payments to the U.S. Treasury and instead giving funds collected under Obamacare to insurers, according to a new report from an independent government watchdog.

The administration disagrees with the findings.

The funds in question were collected as part of Obamacare’s reinsurance program, one of three programs included in the health care law to reduce risk for insurers participating on exchanges. Siding with Republicans who have been investigating the program, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday that the law mandates that some of the money collected must be deposited into federal coffers.

“We expect the administration to comply with the independent watchdog’s opinion, halt the billions of dollars in illegal Obamacare payments to insurers, and pay back the American taxpayers what they are owed,” said a spokeswoman for the Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans. …

Read the full story online HERE.

Tags: BUSTED, GAO, Calls Out, Great Obamacare Heist To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Hillary Hall o’ Fame

Hillary Clinton Hall O’ Fame Cartoons:
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Tags: Hillary Clinton, Hall O’ Fame, cartoons, SF Branco, editorial cartoons: To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Trump Ready To Lead, Dems Target Fox News, More Concessions, Hillary's Big Idea

Gov. Mike Pence at the Reagan Library
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:  Trump Ready To Lead -  There is a great opinion piece by Indiana Governor Mike Pence in USA Today highlighting the strong leadership qualities of Donald Trump. He stresses the similarities between Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan, as well as how the political establishment reacted to each candidate. Here are a few excerpts:
"In 1980, Ronald Reagan was regarded by the Washington political establishment as little more than a cowboy or a celebrity who entered politics late in life. He even made some Republicans uneasy. Along the way, people heard his vision of a renewed America. Americans from all walks of life flocked to a man who was so clearly unbound by Washington niceties and political correctness.

"Ronald Reagan spoke the truth in 1980 to the American people. . . Donald Trump is a candidate who speaks honestly and frankly about the challenges we face. . . Donald Trump believes in the greatness of this country and the boundless potential of the American people. . .

"The American people once again stand at a time for choosing. . . On Election Day, the choice is clear. To Make America Great Again, we must elect Donald Trump the 45th president of the United States."
You can read Gov. Pence's entire op-ed Read Gov. Pence's entire op-ed!

Earlier this month, Gov. Pence addressed a packed audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. In his remarks, he further elaborated on the similarities between Trump and the man I was honored to serve for eight years. He said then:

"The most straight-talking candidate since Ronald Reagan is running against one of the most dishonest candidates ever. Let me say as I stand in this hallowed place, the American people picked a bold truth-teller in 1980 and I know they're going to elect a bold truth-teller in 2016. . . The spirit of 1980 that propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House is alive and kicking again."
You can watch the governor's speech at the Reagan Library below:

Democrats Target Fox News - Any conservative toying with the idea of casting a protest vote this November should think again.

Democrats on the Federal Election Commission have proposed new regulations that would prohibit companies "from funding expenditures, independent expenditures, or electioneering communications" if five percent or more of the company was owned by foreign sources. The liberals on the Commission claim they are worried about foreign intervention in U.S. elections.

At first glance, that might not seem like a bad idea. But the proposal would have major implications for conservatives: Fox News and the Wall Street Journal would be effectively muzzled when it comes to political reporting and commentary. Both media outlets are owned by Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The left is constantly trying to come up with new and creative ways of re-imposing the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" in order to silence conservatives and shut down debate. If Hillary Clinton and her allies prevail on November 8th, the left will be fully empowered to ram through every bizarre idea it can think of.

More Concessions? The Wall Street Journal has been persistent in exposing Obama's repeated concessions to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Perhaps that is one reason why Democrats are trying to shut it down. Well, here's the latest Iranian nuclear deal outrage, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

The Obama Administration signed a secret deal with Iran lifting sanctions on two Iranian banks that were supposed to remain in place until 2023. The reason the banks were under sanction is that they had supported Iran's ballistic missile program.

These additional concessions to Iran are bad enough, but what makes them even more outrageous is that this secret deal was agreed to on the same day that Iran agreed to release four American hostages.

By the way, Obama also agreed to drop charges against 21 Iranians as part of the hostage release.

What else did he give Tehran that we don't know about yet?

The Wall Street Journal reports that critics of the Iranian nuclear deal and many members of Congress are furious at this latest revelation, believing that "the move broke the commitments the administration made to Congress about the deal."

Mark Dubowitz, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, "By agreeing to remove U.N. and EU sanctions eight years early on Iran's main missile financing bank, the administration effectively greenlighted their nuclear warhead-capable ballistic missile program."

Speaker Paul Ryan blasted the White House today, saying:

"This story grows more disturbing with each passing day. It now appears that on the same day American hostages were freed from Iran, the administration not only agreed to the $1.7 billion cash ransom payment, but violated a key term of the nuclear deal by prematurely lifting ballistic missile sanctions. These additional secret concessions directly jeopardize our national security, and cast further doubt on this flimsy agreement. President Obama owes the American people an immediate explanation."
Don't forget, my friends, that this terrible nuclear deal with Iran is not Obama's alone. Hillary Clinton started these negotiations and she fully supports this disastrous deal negotiated with one of the world's worst regimes.

Hillary's "Big" Idea - When Monday night's presidential debate shifted to the economy, do you recall what Hillary Clinton's big idea for economic growth was? She said, "We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels."

That's a lot of solar panels. But Hillary's big idea -- like so much of big government -- could end up being very expensive (here and here) while accomplishing very little.

One recent report suggested her solar panel plan could cost more than $200 billion to implement. And according to the latest government data, solar power provided "less than one percent of the total electricity generated in the U.S. during the first six months of 2016."
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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, Mike Pence, Trump Ready To Lead, Dems Target Fox News, More Concessions to Iran, Hillary's Big Idea, more solar panels To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

September 2016: Porker of the Month - Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

Massachusetts Gov, Charlie Baker (R)
September 2016 Porker of the Month 
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) its September Porker of the Month for signing into law a destructive and foolish tax on citizens who use ride-sharing apps in order to bailout the stalled taxi industry.

On August 5, 2016, Gov. Baker signed into law a “first of its kind” tax on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. The five-cent tax will be added onto each ride and is required by law to be hidden from invoices so as to minimize political backlash. The money raised from the new tax will be used to help the taxi industry develop “new technologies and advanced service.”

Gov. Baker’s attempt to prop up the politically powerful taxi cartel by taxing its competition is the worst kind of government cronyism. The state should not be picking winners and losers, or worse, aiding one industry at the expense of another.

The alarming nature of this scheme is best exemplified by Mark Sternman, the spokesman for the MassDevelopment agency, which will be in charge of the funds. He admitted that plans for how to spend the influx of cash “still need to be drawn up.” The fact that a tax is set to be levied with an amorphous and unwritten goal sets a dangerous precedent for Massachusetts taxpayers, as well as other jurisdictions that may be considering similar action. As CAGW has detailed for decades, when taxpayer dollars are funneled through a system with minimal oversight and nebulous objectives, that money will always be squandered.

For setting up a wasteful scheme that picks winners and losers by taxing innovative businesses in order to bailout a failed cartel, CAGW names Gov. Charlie Baker its September Porker of the Month.
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Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

Tags: Citizens Against Government Waste, CAGW, porker of the month, September 2016, Massachusetts, Governor. Charlie Baker, signing into law, destructive and foolish, tax on citizens, who use ride-sharing apps, Uber, Lyft, to bail out, stalled taxi industry To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Fake News Sites

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Don’t believe everything you read. That has always been true, but it is especially important to remember now that there are so many fake news sites. A number of left-leaning bloggers have been planting fake news in order to trick conservatives into sharing it so they can then ridicule them.

One fake news site admitted to especially targeting Tea Party types since they can sometimes be fairly gullible. People who land on the site think it is legitimate since it often has a picture of Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz. The goal is to get a reporter or just a person surfing the net to fall for one of their hoaxes. They have been able to fool a Fox New host, a radio talk show host, and many other journalists.

By the way, there are also attempts to fool Christians These fake news bloggers take some comment in the news and make it many times worse. That is why it is worth having some discernment when you find something on the Internet. By the way, it is funny that sometimes the tactics of these liberal fake news sites backfire on liberals. One MSNBC host apparently fell for a story that said Sarah Palin wanted to invade Egypt.

There are ways to check the veracity of a story. Over the years, I have tried to address some of the perennial rumors that are spread by Christians on the Internet. You can type my name and the words “Christian rumors” to read the transcript of a week of radio programs that I have done to address many of these.

You should also check a story you read by comparing it to other legitimate news sources. If you only see the story that makes some outrageous claims on one blog and nowhere else, it is probably not true. Be careful. There are fake news sites being used to undermine your credibility.
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Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

Tags: Kerby Anderson, Viewpoints, Point of View, Fake News Sites To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Crybaby

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: I’m not a crybaby. “Believe me” . . . as one fellow running for president is fond of saying.

Yesterday, however, at the San Francisco Freedom Forum, I was admittedly glad that the ballroom was dimly lit. Listening to speakers from across the globe tell their stories of struggling for freedom, I became . . . well, verklempt.

The event, organized by the Human Rights Foundation, is an expansion of the long-running Oslo Freedom Forum. It featured speakers such as:
  • Hyeonseo Lee, who not only escaped from North Korea, the world’s most totalitarian regime, but later returned to help her family get out as well.
  • Yulia Marushevska, the Ukrainian anti-corruption crusader, whose powerful YouTube video, entitled “I Am a Ukrainian,” helped the world see the Euromaidan protests.
  • Anjan Sundaram, the journalist with chilling tales of the totalitarian regime of Rwanda’s President Kagame, who recently overcame term limits through a referendum wherein 98 percent of the country supposedly voted to allow him to stay in power until 2034. Embarrassingly, Kagame spoke at Harvard and Yale on democracy and human rights. Sundaram recalled a Rwandan who explained, “We don’t know where the state ends and we begin.”
  • Zineb El Rhazoui, who co-authored the comic book The Life of Mohamed with slain Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier, and now lives facing an ISIS death sentence.
And many more.

For me, Rosa María Payá, with the Cuba Decides campaign, was the biggest tear-jerker. She spoke about the murder of her activist father, Oswaldo Payá, at the bloody hands of the Castro regime.

As a father, it made me . . . (give me a moment) . . . think about how important freedom is.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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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.

Tags: Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Cybaby, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Military Drills Obama at Fort Lee

President Obama defends refusal
to say "Radical Islamic Terrorism"
atTownHall Meeting at Ft. Lee, VA

(screen grab from event video)
by Tony Perkins:  After more than seven and a half years on the job, the commander-in-chief finally decided to check in with his military. Demoralized and depleted, the president's troops had plenty to say about the last eight years -- not many of them flattering. The townhall-style meeting, held at Fort Lee, Virginia, was surprisingly frank, as active-duty service members unloaded on the administration after two terms of social experimentation, antiquated equipment, abysmal health care, and political correctness.

A lot of service members took issue with Obama's refusal -- not just to destroy radical Islam, but label it. One mom whose son was killed in Iraq in 2007 demanded to know "Why do you still refuse to use the term 'Islamic terrorism?'" Obama replied that he didn't want to compare the terrorists to "the billion Muslims... who are peaceful, who are responsible, who in this country are our fellow troops." It didn't get any easier after that, as questioners pushed him on the disgraceful treatment of our veterans, calling it "inexcusable" for the VA. The widow a veteran who died after waiting a year for a colonoscopy didn't pull any punches when she asked, "So when are we going to actually start holding these contracted doctors and the VA employees accountable? ...[I]t's a difference between life and death. And families like mine, they're tired of waiting. And the only true change that's come since we began talking was that I am now a widow. And my family, we will never be the same."

The president tried to explain that the issue was being taken care of, a claim which rings hollow years after the problem was first discovered. "We were using old systems where somebody would answer the phone, they'd write down, try to schedule it, then they'd hand it off to somebody who then would input it into some old, rickety computer ... So we're having to rebuild information systems, intake systems." The aggressive questioning continued from a female Marine, who objects to sending women into combat after studies showed that women were more injury prone and units performed worse as a result. "Why were these tangible, negative consequences disregarded?" Obama quickly dismissed political correctness as the reason, then insisted, "I want to make sure our starting assumption is that if you can do the job, you should be able to get the job."

For the military, the townhall was a unique opportunity to get some things off their chests. The real shame, however, is that the president didn't start listening to his troops sooner. If there's one thing we can all agree on: the next president is inheriting a huge mess on military readiness and national defense. FRC's Lt. General Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.) spent 36 years in the military and says, "Morale is lower than I have ever seen it due to the social experiments and the assault on religious liberty. Good people are leaving and quality young men and women are discouraged from entering the services as they see what our armed forces have become and how they would be treated." For these reasons, he writes, "I have very grave concerns about Hillary Clinton as the next commander-in-chief." Read what those are in his new op-ed for Charisma.
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Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update an written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: President Obama, townhall meeting, Ft. Lee, Virginia, Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, reports To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

How Journalists Purge Peers Who Don’t Lick Hillary Clinton’s Boots

Media members use group-shaming tactics to either cow ideological defectors into submission, or expel them from their ranks.

Brad Slager
by Brad Slager: This election year has been so perpetually obtuse, we’re no longer shocked by anything. In 2008, journalists abdicated their investigative roles to usher in the “inevitable” Obama presidency. Today, they’re evolving further away from objectivity, and it’s no surprise to see national press outlets morphing into outright fan clubs for one candidate.

To display this new position they have staked in support of Hillary Clinton, I will endeavor a common media practice: creating a neologism.

A few years back at a party, I met the journalist who created the term “racial profiling.” That I cannot recall his name is a testament to the glory achieved when one makes a successful contribution into the cultural lexicon. There are several such media-made glossary entries, such as “Yuppie” and Stephen Colbert’s “Truthiness,” which is a snarky variant of Norman Mailer’s “Factoid,” and meant to describe questionable media information.

How the Media Purges Apostates
My sure-to-be-glossed-over entry is “Buffalo Purge.” It describes an increasingly popular act among media members, wherein they use group-shaming tactics to either cow an ideological defector into submission, or expel the individual from their ranks.

The term’s source — my pre-fab etymology, if you will — comes from a nature documentary. In footage shot in Yellowstone Park, a pack of wolves pursue a large group of bison. The chase is lengthy, as the wolves size up weaker herd members as targets. Then, from the back of the stampede, a larger bull takes action. He lowers his head and delivers a blow to the haunches of a slower runner impeding his path. The herd then thunders off, leaving the forsaken bison for canine fodder.

This is thick with metaphors for today’s Hillary-besotted media. As the alt-right wolves nip at their heels, the Clinton press needs everyone in lock-step to achieve her election. Anyone seen as impeding the pack will be tossed aside, for the sake of preserving the herd mentality. Examples of this practice are recent, and mounting.

On August 17, famed medic Doctor Drew Pinski made a guest appearance on the KABC talk show “McIntyre In The Morning.” Pinski dared express deep concerns over Hillary’s health and the care she was receiving. Hardly of the conspiratorial vein, Pinski’s comments sound rational and thoughtful, derived from a physician’s experience and empirical knowledge.

A week later, Pinski’s own TV show flatlined. CNN suddenly cancelled the six-year-old show, with a final broadcast on September 22. Of course, the official statement from the network called the cancellation a mutual decision and other balloon gas. But the abrupt mid-season cancellation transpired within a week of Pinski’s KABC appearance. KABC also pulled the interview from their website.

These rash repercussions now look ridiculously reactionary following the medical debacle that was Hillary’s September 11 “episode.” (Who even knows how else to describe what happened to her, given her campaign’s various explanations?)

Days after the good doctor was transformed from practitioner to pariah, The Huffington Post dispatched one of its own in similar fashion—and for similar reasons. Writer David Seaman also reported on the subject of Hillary’s health, discussing (and linking to) a YouTube post that detailed some of Hillary’s physical issues and garnered millions of views. Shortly thereafter, as he details in his own video message, Seaman found his credentialed access to HuffPo revoked and his articles erased from the site.
These could easily be dismissed as isolated (albeit similar) incidents. They are independent decisions from segregated outlets, true enough. But the Buffalo Purge manifests not only in recurring episodes, but also with targets of increasing stature, as ever more journalistic players join in.

Survival Of The Sycophants
On September 7, Matt Lauer presided over NBC’s Commander-In-Chief Forum. Afterwards numerous journalistic sources accused Lauer either of asking tough questions of Hillary (something the evasive candidate is surely not used to), not being tough enough on Trump, or of being guilty of both. The Daily Beast, for instance, declared Lauer guilty of “Firing fastballs at Hillary, and lobbying softballs at Donald Trump.”

The media’s unified uproar seemed more than just criticism. It felt more like signaling, a warning shot to all tasked with interrogating the candidates. Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, you have been served.

This campaign season, journalists have moved beyond biased broadcasts, massaging off “official” reports, and selective candidate coverage. This time, they are more than comfortable staking out territory firmly on one side, calling out those who stray from the pack. Clinton must be treated with respect, and Trump must be dealt with.

This month, Jimmy Fallon invited Trump to appear on “The Tonight Show.” It was pretty much what you’d expect: The canned jovial atmosphere was spiced with a few choice barbs, but overall it was a harmless and forgettable interlude. The next day, however, Fallon came under fire from all sides of the media spectrum. What had the host done to raise such scorn?

The answer: nothing. He was demonized for not attacking The Donald, or even for simply having him on his program. Fallon—the man who “slow-jams the news” with President Obama—became a bison without a herd because he did what late-night hosts do: treat a politician kindly with lighthearted banter. What’s more, all this outcry took place after Hillary received fawning national coverage for appearing on Kimmel’s program and opening a pickle jar.

All the proof you need that the response was rigged? Consider the uniformity of the hysteria. The media often exposes its reliance on spoon-fed talking points via repetition. Friday outlets from The Atlantic, New Republic, New York Magazine, and even Samantha Bee echoed dismay at Fallon by criticizing how the segment “normalized Trump.”

As David Marcus reported earlier on this site, I had a lengthy Twitter discussion with TV producer David Simon (creator of “The Wire”) about Fallon’s crime. Simon used the leftist-approved accusation, saying Fallon “normalized a racist demagogue with pop currency.” In response, I asked how Fallon could have made Trump socially acceptable during a late-night, 10-minute interview. Surely Trump’s cultural relevance would have taken effect during his own television show—which lasted an hour, in prime time, during a 14-year run. Simon subsequently blocked me.

Homogenizing the Narrative
On September 16, we saw what it looks like when the media runs as one unit. Following a New York City explosion, news outlets blasted Trump for daring to describe the blast as the result of a “bomb,” before authorities classified it as such. At the same time, Hillary was asked for a statement on her plane—and referenced the New York “bombings” in her opening sentence.

A reporter immediately asked how it could be irresponsible of Trump to use the exact same term she had just used. In generations past, this would have been the stuff to distinguish an intrepid reporter and earn them notice. But once this niggling contradictory detail was revealed, CNN edited out Hillary’s use of “bomb” in its video and articles. All simply nod and repeat the approved narrative. Edit as needed.

This is 2016. Some candidates do not receive the interrogations of the past. Some candidates are not permitted to engage in comedic skits following the local news. And all media members are expected to behave accordingly—lest they be driven from the herd.
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Brad Slager (@martinishark) has written for a number of publications, such as Movieline, Breitbart's Big Hollywood, Pocket Full of Liberty, and ComicBookMovie.com. For more social commentary, and the occasional buzz-tweeting of bad DVDs, you can follow him on Twitter @martinishark. This article was shared on The Federalist.

Tags: How Journalists Purge Peers, Who Don’t Lick Hillary Clinton’s Boots, Journalists, Hillary Clinton, Brad Slager To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

A Black Woman ... Disappointed in NAACP’s War on #SchoolChoice.

Now the NAACP, which fought so hard for us to get the education we
deserved in the '60s, is trying to make it harder for parents to make
the same decisions our parents did then on behalf of their children.
 (Photo: Everett Collection/Newscom via The Daily Signal)
by Virginia Walden Ford: Thanks to a lawsuit, over 92,000 kids, many of them children of color, from low-income families are at risk to lose their privately funded scholarships to attend the private schools of their choice.

And to add insult to injury, the NAACP is one of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

Last week, the Florida Education Association—the state’s largest teachers’ union—along with the Florida NAACP and other plaintiffs made a third attempt to challenge Florida’s tuition tax credit scholarship program, which allows individuals and companies to receive tax credits if they donate to a scholarship fund that helps low-income students attend the school of their choice.

After losing in trial court and then again in the 1st District Court of Appeals, the Florida Education Association and NAACP, along with other parties, appealed to the state Supreme Court on Sept. 14. Their lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the 15-year-old education choice program.

In January, over 10,000 people rallied in Tallahassee, Florida, in support of the scholarship program and heard Martin Luther King III declare that this fight “is about freedom—the freedom to choose for your family and your child.”

The NAACP, which was started to support the rights of black people, is now taking a position that, in my opinion, only hurts black children and other children of color’s chance of getting a quality education in this country through access to school choice. Involving itself in lawsuits against the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program seems counter to their mission.

I have been involved in advocating for school choice for the last 20 years and I still don’t understand why anyone, especially the NAACP, would oppose families having a choice in education.

As a young mother raising kids in Washington, D.C., when I found my son failing in school and honestly needing to be in a different kind of educational environment, I had no choice but to continue sending him to a public school that was not in his best interest. Had it not been for the generosity of a neighbor who saw something special in my son and provided a scholarship for him to attend a school that better met his needs, I shudder to think where my son would be now.

Because of that scholarship, he was able to be successful and graduate and move forward with his life. This is what I’ve seen over the years with the children who have had access to school choice, including public charter schools and private and public scholarship programs like the tuition tax credit scholarship program in Florida.

I’ve watched them succeed when most people expected them to fail. I’ve seen children go on to college when this possibility had never even been discussed with them. I’ve seen entire communities come out and support the families whose children were thriving in schools that their parents chose. It’s been incredible seeing low-income families obtaining the American dream because their children were able to obtain a quality education.

My cousin Rev. Joseph C. Crenchaw was a civil rights leader with the NAACP and the president of the Little Rock, Arkansas, chapter during the Little Rock Central High School crisis in the ’60s—a crisis about children of color having access to equal, quality education. My father, William Harry Fowler, was the first black assistant superintendent of the Little Rock School District and a member of the NAACP.

Both my cousin and my father were adamant about making sure black children were able to receive the best education possible. I was a beneficiary of that fight and attended Little Rock Central High School myself and know that it made a difference in my life and the lives of my classmates.

But now the NAACP, who fought so hard for us to get the education we deserved in the ’60s, is trying to make it harder for parents to make the same decisions our parents did then on behalf of their children.

Threats to school choice options like the Florida tuition tax credit scholarship program create unnecessary limitations for families who can’t get access to quality education simply because they live in the “wrong ZIP code” or don’t have resources to attend quality private schools.

This is exactly why I, and so many others, continue to fight for school choice options. When I look at the changes in the lives of the families I serve, I know that I will continue to do whatever I can do to empower them to determine the direction of their children’s future.

My hope is that the NAACP and other leaders in the African-American community who support these lawsuits in Florida will spend a moment talking to the parents and children who have been touched by school choice.
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Virginia Walden Ford is a national board member and a founding member of The Black Alliance for Educational Options, Inc. She also serves on the D.C. Advisory Committee of the US Civil Rights Commission, and serves as executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, Inc. which she founded in 1998. Article via The Daily Signal.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trump Hones Messages, Obama Disses Gold Star Mother, Follow-Up

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Trump Hones Message - As the campaign heads into its final weeks, Donald Trump appears to be honing his populist message. According to Breitbart, Trump focused on a handful of themes in a series of post-debate campaign events.

IMMIGRATION - Immigration and border security helped Trump prevail in the GOP primaries and he is not backing down now. But he is smartly allowing others, such as Angel Mom Michelle Root, whose daughter Sarah was murdered by an illegal immigrant, to make the commonsense case for him.

Root appeared on stage with Trump at an Iowa rally yesterday. She said:


"Hillary called me deplorable and irredeemable. She is not a friend to women. . . The Obama-Clinton policies released the man that killed my daughter after he showed up at the borders. Then after he killed my daughter, they released him again. Now where is he? Nobody knows. . . If Hillary wins, how many more girls are going to die? How many more women will die at the hands of their policies?"It is impossible to portray Mrs. Root as a racist, a bigot or a xenophobe. She is a grieving mother who, like many other Americans, has suffered as a result of the left's open borders policies.

CORRUPTION - When Mrs. Root finished speaking, Trump opened up on Hillary with both barrels. "We are going to end the Clinton Corruption -- total corruption," Trump said, which set off chants of "LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!"

Trump said, "Hillary Clinton is an insider fighting for her donors and her insiders. . . I am an outsider fighting for you. . . Everything you need to know about Hillary Clinton can be understood with this simple phrase: Follow The Money."

I have been saying for many months now that fighting corruption should be a major GOP theme. There is so much ammunition here: the IRS scandal, Hillary's mishandling of national security secrets, the Clinton Foundation, the VA scandal, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, etc.

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM - A lot of people say that they want something to vote for rather than against. When Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again, that's exactly what he is offering these voters -- a positive vision of a strong America, a thriving economy, good schools and safe streets.

Trump told a massive Florida rally on Tuesday, "Our country is filled with so many amazing people, people who lift us up and inspire us. . . Ours is truly a special country. . . And we must never stop fighting to keep the American Dream alive. Never! Never!"

Obama Disses Gold Star Mother - President Obama held a military town hall event yesterday at Fort Lee, Virginia. One of the questions posed to the president came from a Gold Star Mother who asked why the president refuses to say the words "radical Islamic terrorism."

Obama thanked her for her son's service and sacrifice, but then launched into a long-winded explanation, saying in part:


"The truth of the matter is that this is an issue that has been sort of manufactured. . . terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda or ISIL, they have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse, for basically barbarism and death.

"But . . . when you start calling these organizations Islamic terrorists, the way it's heard, the way it's received by our friends and allies around the world is that somehow Islam is terroristic. . ."
Obama's response was incredibly disrespectful to this Gold Star Mother. Her son's death wasn't the result of a "manufactured" or contrived controversy. He was killed by a radical Islamic terrorist, and our leaders should not be afraid to say that!

As has been documented over and over again, there is a problem with violence within Islam. Our Muslims friends and allies know this. The radical Islamic terrorists kill plenty of Muslims they also consider to be infidels or insufficiently Islamic.

There is a reason:
  • That the Islamic State calls itself the "Islamic State."
  • That the world's leading state-sponsor of terrorism calls itself the "Islamic Republic of Iran."
  • That the vast majority of terrorist attacks taking place throughout the world today are carried out by Muslims.
That disturbing percentages of Muslims living in Islamic nations support Sharia law and suicide bombings.

Islam has a problem with violence! By the way, Obama also doubled down in his opposition to the idea of "extreme vetting" for refugees as a "religious test" that is somehow contrary to our values. The public overwhelmingly supports extreme vetting. Only 23% of voters oppose it, just like Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Follow-Up - I want to follow-up on several news stories from the past week.

Guess whose vote cancelled out yours in the last election? Arcen Cetin. That's right -- the Turkish immigrant who murdered five Americans at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, last week. He is a permanent resident, not a citizen, which means that he should not be voting.

However, records indicate that Cetin "registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary."

Democrats insist that voter fraud is a non-issue and that voter IDs laws, supported by 80% of Americans, are "a solution in search of a problem." Really? Non-citizens are voting in Washington and the dead are voting in California and Colorado. Yet Democrats fight tooth-and-nail whenever someone tries to stop it.

Radicals in Charlotte are demanding that the black police chief resign. This demand comes in the wake of a black man, Keith Scott, being shot by a black police officer.

When Scott was shot, police insisted he was armed with a gun. His family insisted he didn't own a gun. Well, here's the latest twist: The Associated Press reports that Scott's wife took out a restraining order last year because Scott "threatened to kill his wife and her son with a gun." Mrs. Scott said her husband "said he is a 'killer' and we should know that," and she warned police "he 'carries a 9mm black' gun."

Protests against the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem continue to grow. Eight members of the New York City Council are now refusing to stand for the Pledge.

These are not political independents or conservatives protesting the flag. The people doing this represent the left-wing of America's increasingly left-leaning political party.

It demonstrates the mindset of the people Obama brought into office and the people who will be empowered by Hillary Clinton if she wins this November.

The stakes in this election could not be greater.
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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, Donald Trump, Hones Messages, Obama Disses Gold Star Mother, Follow-Up To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Why Aren’t Politicians Acknowledging America’s Domestic Violence Epidemic?

by Jenn Jacques: If we sincerely want to decrease violence against children in our country, it’s time we stop talking about AR-15s and start talking about real threats that millions of our children face every year.

The scope of domestic violence is difficult to measure because it occurs in private and victims are often reluctant to report it because of shame or fear of reprisal.

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Human Services data, Child Protective Services agencies investigated reports of abuse or neglect towards three million children in 2011. Of those reports, approximately 676,000 were substantiated. That’s 676,000 children who were abused or neglected in one year. Further, in 2011 there were 1,570 confirmed fatalities of children who died from abuse or neglect at the hand of a parent or caretaker. Eighty-one percent of those children were under four years old.

Watch NRA News commentator Billy Johnson ask why our politicians refuse to acknowledge or offer solutions to America’s domestic violence epidemic.
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Jenn Jacques (@JennJacques) is a conservative blogger and blogs at Guns and Curves. H/T BearingArms.com for sharing this article.

Tags: Jenn Jacques, Domestic Violence, NRA, NRA News, Self Defense, Women To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

86 House Republicans in Call to Stop Internet Transfer

Bill Smith, ARRA News Service: Today, Arkansas Congressman French Hill (AR-02) and 85 other House Republicans wrote to Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urging her to reconsider the administration’s decision to relinquish America’s authority i
n promoting free speech and open discourse on the Internet.

The Department of Commerce recently issued an assurance that the United States will not lose control over the .mil, .gov, .edu, and .us domains after it relinquishes control of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The U.S. Government has no statutory authority over ICANN or the domain name system; however the U.S. Government does maintain a limited authority over these entities, which experts describe as administrative and clerical.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the Internet community sees the U.S. Government’s role as a “backstop,” which reassures stakeholders that the U.S Government can be a check on ICANN in the event of a crisis. Further, others have also raised concerns as to whether ICANN is capable of operating on its own following the transition.

“America’s current role with respect to the domain name system serves as an important security blanket, and I believe the U.S Government should continue its current role as a guardian of Internet integrity,” said Hill. “This is why I cosponsored H.R. 5418, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, because we need to keep the U.S. Department of Commerce in its current role over ICANN.”

“At the very least, this transition should be delayed until any concerns regarding potential foreign influence are answered and the administration can ensure definitively ICANN has the ability to protect and manage Internet domains without government oversight,” said Hill.

In the letter to Secretary Pritzker, the Members stated:“As you may be aware, the Senate did not include language clarifying the intent of section 539 of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (Division B of P.L. 114-113), in the short-term continuing resolution that they released on September 22.

Despite the lack of clarifying language in the Senate’s proposed short-term continuing resolution, we believe that Congressional intent with regards to section 539 (in last year’s Omnibus) is clear. As Members of Congress, we expect the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to maintain its current role with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions.

“We urge you to take all appropriate action to ensure the continuation of NTIA’s current responsibilities before the existing contract expires on October 1. While we appreciate your assurances regarding the .mil, .gov, .edu, and .us domains, we urge you to take action this week to maintain NTIA’s current responsibilities over all Internet domain name functions.

“We strongly disagree with President Obama’s plans to move forward with the IANA stewardship transition. Numerous concerns remain regarding ICANN’s readiness to enforce its own policies, address concerns raised by the Internet’s stakeholders, and resist pressure from foreign governments intent on limiting speech and the flow of information on the Internet.

“The United States has always maintained responsibility for administrating the critical functions of the Internet. Maintaining this responsibility for IANA functions at NTIA will help ensure that we continue to protect the Internet from foreign governments, international organizations and bad actors.

“If you had complied with the spirit of section 539 -- which President Obama signed into law – there would be no transition on October 1. Therefore, we urge you in the strongest terms to not allow the IANA functions contract to expire on October 1.”

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Obamacare Transparency . . .

. . . Obamacare is failing badly as major insurance companies are opting out.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Significant Bipartisan Accomplishments

Stack Of Major Legislation Passed By The Republican Senate: Fighting Zika, Combatting Opioids, Water Resources Development Act, FAA Legislation, Infrastructure Improvements, Biotech Labeling, Puerto Rico Restructuring, Modernizing The Toxic Substances Control Act, Trade Secrets, FOIA Updates, North Korean Sanctions & Much More

2016 ACCOMPLISHMENTS PILE UP
CR: Includes ‘Funding To Fight The Zika Virus, Combat The Opioid Overdose Crisis’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “It is a fair proposal. It funds all current government operations through December 9, while also providing funding for the new legislation we have just passed overwhelmingly and that the President has signed. That is legislation to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as well as the TSCA bill.” (Sen. McConnell, Congressional Record, S.5969, 9/22/16)
  • “Senators voted 72-26 on the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Dec. 9. … The Senate CR also includes funding to fight the Zika virus, combat the opioid overdose crisis and provide emergency funding for floods in three states.” (The Hill, 9/28/16)
WRDA: Will ‘Boost U.S. Ports, Waterways And Clean Water Infrastructure’

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): “With strong bipartisan support, the Republican-led Senate has once again moved an economy-boosting infrastructure bill with the passage of WRDA 2016.” (U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, Press Release, 9/15/2016)
“Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved, in a 95-3 vote, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to boost U.S. ports, waterways and clean water infrastructure. The amended measure authorizes dozens of water-related infrastructure projects...” (“Senate Passes Water Bill With Flint Aid,” The Hill, 9/15/2016)
  • “A $10.6 billion water projects authorization bill ... passed the Senate Thursday, 95-3. The legislation to renew the Water Resources Development Act authorizes 30 water projects, including watershed restoration efforts, repairs and improvements to waterways and flood-control systems, and EPA drinking-water infrastructure programs.” (“Water Bill With Flint Aid Passes Senate,” Roll Call, 9/15/2016)
  • “The Flint package would provide $100 million in grants to assist states with drinking water emergencies and $70 million to subsidize loans for water infrastructure projects. It would provide $50 million in grants to help small and disadvantaged communities comply with drinking water standards, $30 million in grants to reduce lead exposure among children, and $20 million to develop a national lead exposure registry.” (“Senate Approves Funding for Flint Water Crisis,” The New York Times, 9/15/2016)
  • “Among other projects, the bill would authorize $1.9 billion to help restore Florida’s Everglades and combat algae blooms that have fouled the state’s beaches and rivers. It also would bolster flood-prevention projects in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where torrential rains last month damaged more than 84,000 homes in the state, many in the Baton Rouge area. The bill would continue a project to deepen Charleston Harbor in South Carolina; speed up reimbursements to tribal, local and state governments for costs incurred in a toxic-waste spill at Colorado’s Gold King Mine; and continue a project to improve Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. (“Senate Approves Bill For Water Projects, Millions For Flint,” The Associated Press, 9/15/2016)
CARA: ‘A Bill To Tackle The Nation’s Opioid Crisis’

SEN. GRASSLEY (R-IA): “I want to thank the authors of CARA for their leadership in crafting the legislation… Real lives will be saved … that's not something that we can say every day around this Senate.” (Sen. Grassley, Floor Remarks, 3/10/16)

“The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to tackle the nation’s opioid crisis, sending to the president’s desk the most sweeping drug legislation in years in a rare instance of consensus in Congress.” (“Senate Approves Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction Crisis,” The New York Times, 7/13/2016)
“The measure, which passed, 92 to 2, would strengthen prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, largely by empowering medical professionals and law enforcement officials with more tools to help drug addicts.” (“Senate Approves Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction Crisis,” The New York Times, 7/13/2016)

“Public health advocates have lauded the bill as a crucial policy shift, recognizing addiction as a disease rather than a law enforcement problem.” (“Congress Sends First Major Opioids Bill To Obama's Desk,” The Hill, 7/13/2016)
FAA: ‘The Most Significant Airport Security Reform Bill In A Decade’

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD), Commerce Committee Chairman: “Today, Congress passed the most significant airport security reform bill in a decade… Reforms in our bill will help protect air travelers in South Dakota and around the country, and it will help ensure that attacks like those in Brussels and Istanbul do not happen in American airports. I’m proud of the Commerce Committee’s work in leading this effort, and I look forward to seeing the president sign this bill into law before the end of the week.” (Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, Press Release, 7/13/16)

“The Senate on Wednesday approved a bipartisan bill to extend the mandate of the Federal Aviation Administration… The legislation, which the Senate passed by a vote of 89-4, now must go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. The compromise short-term extension includes many of the provisions Senate leaders had pushed for.” (“Senate Passes FAA Reauthorization Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/13/16)

‘Ramp Up Airport Security’ “Senators backed a package of amendments to the long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that would ramp up airport security…” (“Senate Adopts Airport Security Amendments In FAA Bill,” The Hill, 4/7/16)

BIOTECH: ‘A National Standard For Labeling Will Put An End To A Fight That Has Roiled The Food Industry For Years’.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS): “Tonight’s vote is the most important vote for agriculture in the last 20 years. We worked hard to ensure the marketplace works for everyone. I mean everyone. Our legislation allows farmers to continue using sound science to produce more food with less resources, gives flexibility to food manufacturers in disclosing information, and gives access to more food information that consumers demand.” (Sen. Roberts, Press Release, 7/8/16)

“A federal bill that would require labeling of foods made with genetically engineered ingredients passed a major hurdle in the Senate… significantly raising the odds that a national standard for labeling will put an end to a fight that has roiled the food industry for years.” (“G.M.O. Labeling Bill Clears First Hurdle in Senate,” The New York Times, 7/6/16)

“The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved legislation that would for the first time require food to carry labels listing genetically-modified ingredients... The Senate voted 63-30 for the bill that would display GMO contents with words, pictures or a bar code that can be scanned with smartphones. The U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) would decide which ingredients would be considered genetically modified. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass.” (“U.S. GMO Food Labeling Bill Passes Senate,” Reuters, 7/8/16)

“A bill to create a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients and block states from issuing their own laws sailed through the House on Thursday. The bill, which passed by a 306 to 117 vote…” (“House Passes GMO Labeling Bill,” The Hill, 7/14/16)

“The White House plans to support legislation creating a national labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms … White House spokeswoman Katie Hill said in an e-mail. ‘We look forward to tracking its progress in the House and anticipate the president would sign it in its current form.’” (“Obama Ready To Sign Food-Label Bill Consumer Groups Dislike,” Bloomberg, 7/13/16)

PUERTO RICO: PROMESA ‘An Example Of Conservative Reform In Action’

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): ‘With PROMESA, not a single taxpayer dime will be spent on paying Puerto Rico’s debt’ “The Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) is an appropriate first step by Congress to deal with this calamity. The bill would create a fiscal oversight board to help fix the mess. …most importantly, with PROMESA, not a single taxpayer dime will be spent on paying Puerto Rico’s debt.” (Sen. Rubio, Op-Ed, “Helping Puerto Rico Without A Bailout,” Florida Today, 6/28/16)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “[T]he Republican Congress is using conservative principles to solve an urgent problem caused by progressive government... [T]he overall bill steers the commonwealth in the direction of free-market reforms and fiscal discipline after years of welfare-state politics.” (Editorial, “Puerto Rico Breakthrough,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/23/2016)
THE WASHINGTON POST: “[The bill] would put a temporary halt to lawsuits by creditors and put an oversight board, appointed on a bipartisan basis by Congress and the president, in charge of Puerto Rico’s finances. . . [N]ow the referee will be an impartial panel of experts armed with a reliable audit of the island’s obligations.” (Editorial, “Much-Needed Relief For Debt-Ridden Puerto Rico,” The Washington Post, 5/19/2016)

AMERICAN MANUFACTURING COMPETITIVENESS ACT: ‘Helping U.S. Manufacturers Save Billions In Costs’

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): “This legislation helps American manufacturers level the playing field through tariff relief which lowers production costs on parts that simply can’t be found here at home. While long-overdue, this legislation represents a true bipartisan, bicameral commitment to helping our economy with more jobs, bigger paychecks, and a stronger American manufacturing base.” (Senate Finance Committee, Press Release, 5/10/2016)

“President Obama on Friday signed a long-delayed tariff relief bill aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers save billions in costs. . . The bill will overhaul the process for reducing or eliminating tariffs on imported inputs and products not available or in short supply domestically. . . Without a measure in place, manufacturers said that companies have faced an annual $748 million tax hike on manufacturing in the United States, representing a $1.85 billion loss to the U.S. economy.” (“Obama Signs Tariff-Relief Bill,” The Hill, 5/20/2016)

“Business groups have been urging Congress to renew the legislation since the last measure expired at the end of 2012.” (“Obama Signs Tariff-Relief Bill,” The Hill, 5/20/2016)
ENERGY POLICY MODERNIZATION ACT: ‘Vast,’ ‘Comprehensive’ Energy Bill Has ‘Many Very, Very Positive Elements’

SEN. MURKOWSKI (R-AK): “We have not taken up energy reform or any real energy legislation in over 8 years now, and in those intervening 8 years, much has happened in the energy space. Our policies as they relate to energy, whether it is LNG exports or renewables, haven’t advanced. …to the point where we are today with an agreement to move forward to final passage on a very significant energy bill for the country.” (Sen. Murkowski, Congressional Record, S. 2017, 4/13/2016)

“…comprehensive energy bill… represents the first major energy bill to come to the Senate floor since the Bush administration.” (“Senators Reach Deal To Act On Comprehensive Energy Bill,” The New York Times, 4/16/16)

“The vast bill, more than 350 pages ... contains all kinds of measures on some of the less storied aspects of energy: cyber-security, liquefied natural gas exports, energy efficiency in buildings, modernizing the grid. …the bottom line is that the Senate can, apparently, agree on a lot of things related to energy – or at least, we’ll be able to say that if the bill does indeed pass.” (“The Surprising Things Democrats And Republicans Agree On When It Comes To Energy,” Washington Post, 4/19/16)
  • “Energy storage. The bill would spend half a billion dollars, over 10 years, for a Department of Energy ‘research, development, and demonstration’ program on adding energy storage to the electric grid. This is wonky but extremely important, because the more the grid features large batteries, which could be charged up by renewable sources and then switch on in a flash when there is more demand for electricity, then the less it will need to ramp up so-called ‘peaker’ plants fired by natural gas.” (“The Surprising Things Democrats And Republicans Agree On When It Comes To Energy,” Washington Post, 4/19/16)
  • “A better grid. The bill would spend even more — $ 2 billion — on technologies to improve and modernize the electric grid, including significant investments in micro-grids, or smaller grids that are not necessarily connected to a larger transmission system. This, too, is an important step because the grid of the future is going to have to combine battery or storage features with an advanced ability to integrate intermittent, renewable sources of generation, especially wind and solar, to make sure that nobody experiences outages.” (“The Surprising Things Democrats And Republicans Agree On When It Comes To Energy,” Washington Post, 4/19/16)
  • “More with less. The bill has earned huge praise from groups like the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance to Save Energy for its provisions to greatly increase the energy efficiency of buildings, through efforts like weatherization and a “smart buildings” program. Energy efficiency is pretty bipartisan — nobody likes waste, or using more energy than we need to (and paying more than we need to).” (“The Surprising Things Democrats And Republicans Agree On When It Comes To Energy,” Washington Post, 4/19/16)
TSCA: ‘A Major Overhaul Of The Nation’s Primary Chemical Safety Law’

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): “This historic piece of environmental regulatory reform is a great example of the Republican-led Congress working for the American people by enacting meaningful and commonsense legislation... This soon-to-be law will protect and support millions of domestic jobs and spur economic growth for decades to come by providing regulatory certainty to encourage new manufacturing investment here at home, on American soil. It will safeguard interstate commerce while also protecting public health; it will strengthen transparency and oversight – holding EPA accountable to Congress and the American people – while also protecting small business from bureaucratic hurdles and burdensome mandates. The Lautenberg Act is long overdue, as it is the first major environmental reform to be enacted in over a quarter century.” (U.S. Senate Committee On Environment & Public Works, Press Release, 6/07/2016)

“The Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to an overhaul of the nation’s 40-year-old law governing the use of toxic chemicals in homes and businesses, sending the bill to President Obama for his expected signature. The Senate passed the measure on a voice vote; the House approved it last month, 403 to 12.” (“Senate Approves Update of Toxic-Chemical Regulations,” The New York Times, 6/7/16)

“The bipartisan accord represents the most sweeping environmental measure to pass Congress in a quarter-century. The bill, which drew support from the chemical industry, trial lawyers and many public health and environmental groups, updates a 40-year-old law long criticized as ineffective.” (“Sweeping Overhaul Of Nation’s Chemical-Safety Laws Clears Final Legislative Hurdle,” The Washington Post, 6/7/16)

“The measure—H.R. 2576… the most far-reaching and influential environmental statute passed by Congress since the body updated the Clean Air Act in 1990.” (“United States Poised To Approve Major Chemical Safety Overhaul,” Science Magazine, 5/25/16)

TRADE SECRETS: ‘Defending The Processes, Blueprints, And Recipes That Underpin Hundreds Of Billions Of Annual Revenues And Millions Of Jobs’

“The Senate on Monday passed legislation to authorize companies to go directly to federal court to fight trade-secret theft, an avenue that has been unavailable when defending the processes, blueprints, and recipes that underpin hundreds of billions of annual revenues and millions of jobs.” (“Senate Passes Trade-Secrets Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/4/16)
“After languishing for more than three years... The Defend Trade Secrets Act sailed through the Senate this past week with no opposition.” (“Lawyers Ready to Reap Work From Federal Trade Secrets Act,” The Recorder, 4/8/16)
INTERNET TAX FREEDOM: ‘For Years, The Drive In Congress To Permanently Bar Taxes On Internet Service Has Languished’

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “For successful 21st century innovators and entrepreneurs, the Internet is their lifeblood… We should be celebrating their success, not taxing the tools they use to achieve it. Our bill… would permanently ban Internet taxation…” (Sen. Thune, Press Release, 2/10/15)

“State and local governments would be permanently barred from taxing access to the Internet under a bipartisan compromise that Congress is a step away from sending to President Barack Obama. The Senate was expected to vote Thursday to approve the language, part of a wide-ranging measure that would also revamp trade laws.” (“Congress Likely To Give Final Ok To Local Internet Tax Ban,” AP, 2/11/16)
  • “Since 1998, in the Internet's early days, Congress has passed a series of bills temporarily prohibiting state and local governments from imposing the types of monthly levies for online access that are common for telephone service. … For years, the drive in Congress to permanently bar taxes on Internet service has languished…” (“Congress Likely To Give Final Ok To Local Internet Tax Ban,” AP, 2/11/16)
NORTH KOREA: ‘Legislation That Would Impose Tighter Sanctions Against North Korea’ Now Law

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): “The new sanctions against North Korea represent a positive first step toward putting serious pressure on this belligerent regime, and I am encouraged that the Administration has acted swiftly to implement portions of my North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act.”< (Sen. Gardner, Press Release, 3/16/16)

“President Obama on Thursday signed into law legislation that would impose tighter sanctions against North Korea after that country's recent nuclear and missile tests.” (“Obama Signs North Korea Sanctions Bill Into Law,” Washington Examiner, 2/18/16)

“The legislation comes in response to frustration on both sides of the aisle that President Barack Obama's policies toward North Korea have failed to stop its outlaw behavior. The bill passed 96-0.” (“Senate Approves New North Korea Sanctions,” CNN, 2/10/16)

“Most of the bill’s new sanctions on North Korea are mandatory, forcing the president to freeze the assets and impose travel bans on anyone engaging in trade or financial transactions that support the country’s nuclear, weapons, precious metals and raw materials industries, human rights abuses, and cyber threats.” (“Senate Passes North Korea Sanctions Bill As Nuclear Worries Grow,” The Washington Post, 2/10/16)


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT:
‘Obama Signs FOIA Reform Bill’

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “An open and transparent government is paramount to a healthy democracy… This legislation will update and strengthen existing law to ensure the American people can better access information from their government…” (Sen. Cornyn, Press Release, 3/15/16)

“President Barack Obama signed a bill Thursday aimed at improving the government's often-sluggish responses to Freedom of Information Act requests.” (“Obama Signs FOIA Reform Bill,” Politico, 6/30/16)

“When it comes to providing government records the public is asking to see, the Obama administration is having a hard time finding them. In the final figures released during President Barack Obama's presidency, the U.S. government set a record last year for the number of times federal employees told disappointed citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn't find a single page of files requested under the Freedom of Information Act. In more than one in six cases, or 129,825 times, government searchers said they came up empty-handed, according to a new Associated Press analysis.” (“US Gov’t Sets Record for Failures to Find Files When Asked,” AP, 3/18/16)

CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:
The Most Comprehensive Overhaul Of Customs Law In Decades’

SEN. HATCH (R-UT): “Years of stagnation had enabled countless trade problems to accumulate, many of them crying for legislative resolution. Today, Congress responded and moved to enact legislation that will strengthen and modernize U.S. international trade institutions and policies for generations to come. This is a big win for American job creators and the future of trade policy in our country. Even more, it further underscores that through bipartisan persistence and hard work Congress can accomplish great things.” (Senate Finance Committee, Press Release, 2/11/2016)

“The Senate gave overwhelming final approval Thursday to the most comprehensive overhaul of customs law in decades, giving presidents new tools to combat unfair trade . . .” (“Senate Sends Sweeping Trade Enforcement Bill to Obama,” The New York Times, 2/11/2016)
  • “The 10-year customs bill includes an overhaul of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, streamlines trade rules that aim to keep importers from skirting U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties, adds new protections for intellectual property rights and provides more tools to identify and crack down on currency manipulation.” (“Customs Bill Expected To Clear Senate On Thursday,” The Hill, 2/09/2016)
2015: ‘In Its First Year, The 114th Congress Solved Big, Entrenched Problems…’
(“Beneath The Battles, A Congress That Worked,” National Journal, 12/18/15)

“…Senate Republicans racked up a series of legislative accomplishments last year, including a transportation infrastructure bill, a major education bill and the two-year budget deal…” (“For Reid, Supreme Court Vacancy Offers A Final Fight Before Retirement,” The New York Times, 3/14/16)

“You Can’t Call It A Do Nothing Congress… Congress has struck deals on major highway and education bills. ... Don’t look now, but Congress is actually about to get a lot done.” (“You Can’t Call It A Do Nothing Congress Anymore,” Fortune, 12/2/15)
  • “…Senate Republicans Look to Rack Up More Wins: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate is on a roll — and he wants to make sure it stays that way. After reviving Trade Promotion Authority, the Kentucky Republican opted to move next to a bipartisan rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law in a bid to maintain the chamber’s legislative momentum.” (“After Trade Triumph, Senate Republicans Look To Rack Up More Wins,” Roll Call, 7/7/15)
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: First Significant Reforms To Social Security Since 1983
‘Senators … Clamoring For Entitlement Reform Should Welcome These Changes’

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY REFORMS: “In a political era more known for conflict than compromise, the two-year budget deal that emerged the following Monday came as something of a surprise. The $80 billion package reverses sequester cuts to the Pentagon and other domestic accounts. The agreement also prevents an increase in premiums for seniors on Medicare and halts looming cuts to Social Security Disability recipients. And it raises the debt limit through March 2017 -- well after Obama will have left the White House.” (“In Getting A Budget Deal Passed, Boehner And McConnell Faced A Pivotal Choice,” LA Times, 10/31/15)
MEDICARE REFORMS: “The annual charade of blocking Clinton-era cuts to Medicare has officially ended.” (“The ‘F’ Word: Could Congress Become Functional?,” Fox News, 4/15/15)
  • “President Obama on Thursday signed a $200 billion Medicare reform package, hailing it as a ‘significant bipartisan achievement.’” (“Obama Signs $200 Billion 'Doc Fix' Bill,” The Hill, 4/16/15)
  • SEN. HATCH (R-UT): “The bill also represents a step forward in the effort to reform our nation's entitlement programs. The bill contains bipartisan reforms to the Medicare program - and it's not limited to fixing the broken SGR system. To go along with the permanent SGR fix, the bill includes a meaningful down payment on Medicare reform, without any accompanying tax hikes. These reforms include a limitation on so-called Medigap first-dollar coverage, more robust means testing for Medicare Parts B and D, and program integrity provisions that will strengthen Medicare's ability to fight fraud. …any Senators who, like me, have been clamoring for entitlement reform should welcome these changes.” (Sen. Hatch, Press Release, 4/13/15)
  • “Could this city actually be working? The past week has witnessed several developments… [Congress] ended the annual congressional can-kicking known as the ‘doc fix,’ the result of overambitious cost-cutting targets for payments to physicians.” (Ruth Marcus, Op-Ed, “A Break In Congress's Gridlock?” The Washington Post, 4/19/15)
  • “No more ‘doc fix.’ Gone is an arcane Medicare fee system that has been widely criticized almost since its creation in 1997.” (“Senate Overhauls Doctors' Medicare Payments In Groundbreaking Vote,'” LA Times, 4/16/15)
TAX RELIEF: Breaking ‘Congress’ Habit Of Extending Lapsed Tax Breaks Retroactively’

“…on track to win permanent renewal of tax breaks for individuals and businesses.” (“Winners, Losers In Congress' Year-End Budget And Tax Endgame,” AP, 12/16/15)
“The tax bill would permanently extend nearly two dozen tax breaks for businesses and individuals while temporarily extending others. … The credits being permanently extended include:
  • An expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income earners;
  • The Child Tax Credit for low and moderate income workers;
  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit to help students under age 40 pay college tuition and expenses;
  • Low income housing credits;
  • An expanded research and experimentation credit;
  • Section 179 business expensing, which allows businesses to fully deduct the price of equipment and software investments;
  • State and local sales tax deduction;
  • Tax deductions for food inventory donated to food banks;
  • A deduction for land donated for conservation; and
  • A tax break for individuals to donate to charity from qualified retirement accounts.”
    (“Congress Reaches Year-End Deal On Taxes And Spending,” Washington Post, 12/15/15)
HIGHWAY Bill: First Long-Term Bill Since 2005, Longest Since 1998
‘A Legislative Coup A Decade In The Making’

“Congress reaches deal on 5-year highway bill …a legislative coup a decade in the making… delivering a long-term, fully funded highway and transit bill to the White House would be a major coup — the first time Congress has accomplished the feat since George W. Bush was in the White House.” (“Congress Reaches Deal On 5-Year Highway Bill,” Politico, 12/1/15)
  • “…legislative feat that lawmakers and President Barack Obama have struggled throughout his administration to achieve.
The bill, unveiled Tuesday, would also put an end to the cycle of temporary extensions and threatened shutdowns of transportation programs that have bedeviled Congress for the past seven years, making it difficult for states to plan long-term projects.” (“Congress Reaches Deal On 5-Year Transportation Bill,” AP, 12/1/15)
  • “Congress has not passed a transportation funding bill that last longer than two years since 2005, much to the chagrin of infrastructure advocates in Washington.”
(“House Passes Short-Term Highway Patch,” The Hill, 11/16/15)

EDUCATION: First Significant Reforms Since 2001
‘The Largest Devolution Of Federal Control To The States In A Quarter-Century’

EDUCATION REFORMS: “A bipartisan compromise has emerged from the Senate and House that ... would represent the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century. It’s far better than the status quo that would continue if nothing passes.” (Editorial, “No Child Left Behind’s Successor,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/2015)
TRADE: First Broad TPA Bill Since 2002
‘TPA-2015 Expands On Administration Transparency And Consultation Obligations’

TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY: “The Republican-controlled Congress delivered… passing a six-year renewal of trade promotion authority intended to advance one of the largest trade pacts in history later this year. ‘This is a critical day for our country. In fact, I'd call it an historic day,’ said Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who co-authored the bill the Senate approved on Wednesday, 60 to 38. ‘This is perhaps the most important bill we'll pass in the Senate this year.’” (“‘Fast Track’ Trade Bill Renews,” USA Today, 6/25/15)
VETERANS ‘The Senate Put Our Veterans First’

HOLDING THE VA ACCOUNTABLE:“A sweeping independent review of the Department of Veterans Affairs health-care system made public Friday shows the multibillion-dollar agency has significant flaws, including a bloated bureaucracy, problems with leadership and a potentially unsustainable capital budget. … The assessments, weighing in at more than 4,000 pages total, were mandated by the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, commonly known as the Veterans Choice Act, a more than $16 billion emergency funding measure passed last summer in the wake of a system wide scandal at the VA.” (“A Needs ‘Systemwide Reworking,’ Independent Report Finds,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/18/15) CLAY HUNT SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR AMERICAN VETERANS ACT: “The bill requires independent reviews of VA and Department of Defense programs aimed at preventing suicide, creates peer support and community outreach pilot programs, and forms a program to repay loan debt for psychiatry students to incentivize them to work in the VA health system. It also creates a website to provide veterans with information about mental health services and allows the VA to collaborate with nonprofit mental health organizations on suicide prevention.” (“Obama Signs Suicide Prevention Bill To Aid Veterans,” U.S. News, 2/12/15)
VETERANS CHOICE ACT: “What is the Veterans Choice Act? This federal program sets aside $10 billion throughout three years for veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or who find themselves waiting more than 30 days for an appointment. The program allows them to be seen at a participating community health center.” (“VA Opens More Doors To Rural Veterans In Virginia,” Daily Press, 12/7/15)

DEFENSE NDAA: ‘Contains Hundreds Of Provisions To Assist The Military’

DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT: “The Senate overwhelmingly passed a revised annual defense policy bill, sending the measure to President Obama's desk for a second time. The Senate voted 91-3 on the $607-billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which lays out broad defense policy requirements and restrictions. … The legislation, which passed the House by a 370-58 vote last week, includes restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, adding roadblocks to a long-standing campaign pledge from Obama to close the facility.” (“Senate Sends Revised Defense Bill To Obama's Desk,” The Hill, 11/10/15)
HOMELAND SECURITY
'Senate … Passed A Major Piece Of Cybersecurity Legislation’

MAJOR CYBER SECURITY REFORM: “The Senate on Tuesday passed a major piece of cybersecurity legislation intended to stem the flood of cyberattacks on both government agencies and private companies. The so-called Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a piece of legislation years in the making, passed 74-21. The House approved companion legislation in April, so the cybersecurity measure is now on track to reach President Obama’s desk and be signed into law...” (“Senate Passes First Major Cyber Bill In Years,” The Hill, 10/27/15)

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