Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Government Spending Hurts People

by Phil Kerpen, - ARRA News Service: We should not accept the statist premise that most government spending helps people. Government spending is not just wasteful or inefficient, but all too often serves to crush the private economy and individual freedom.

In the coming days the media will provide a constant stream of purported victims of spending cuts. But for every victim of cuts there are victims of government spending itself. There are people who lost their businesses because of overzealous federal bureaucrats, who were trapped in dependency and despair by welfare programs, who were forced to pay higher bills to enrich the crony friends of politicians, and who lost their jobs because the government favored a competitor.

Consider Mike and Chantell Sackett, who purchased three quarters of an acre in Idaho to build a home, only to be told by federal bureaucrats that they would be fined $75,000 a day if they proceeded and were entitled to no due process. "Bullying — that's what the EPA does," said Mrs. Sackett. "They came into our lives, took our property, put us in limbo, told us we can't do anything with it, and then threatened us with fines." They had to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court just for the right to appeal the arbitrary decision by federal bureaucrats.

Or Dan and Rachel Allgyer, the Amish couple who were forced to close their small Pennsylvania dairy, Rainbow Acres Farm. The Allgyers sold unpasteurized milk, which is apparently such a serious crime that federal agents at the Food and Drug Administration conducted a sting operation, then an armed raid, and eventually sued the Allgyers into oblivion after they tried to reorganize as a cooperative.

Or consider all the farmers suffering in California's Central Valley because just a few weeks into the year, federal bureaucrats at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided that too many Delta Smelt have been pulled into water pumps. The current water restriction was enough to grow about $1 billion of fresh fruits and vegetables. This year is already shaping up to be a lot like 2009, when Delta Smelt-related water restrictions devastated the fertile region economically and drove up produce prices nationally.

Every day Americans from all walks of life deal with petty tyrannies and worse from federal bureaucrats. And the economic costs of complying with all the rules and regulations are staggering. Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimated than in 2012 federal regulation imposed economic costs on the U.S. economy in excess of $1.8 trillion.

An econometric analysis conducted by the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies found that the average employee in a federal regulatory agency destroys about 98 private sector jobs per year. So furloughs or layoffs of federal workers as spending is cut are almost certainly saving a much larger number of private sector jobs from regulatory mischief.

It's not just spending on the regulatory bureaucracy that hurts people. For decades prior to the landmark 1996 welfare reform the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children entitlement served to prevent economic mobility and foster a culture of dependency. That landmark reform did cut spending, but its greatest benefit went not to the taxpayers who saved money but to the citizens given opportunities to move off of welfare, into the workforce, and onto the ladder of upward economic and social mobility.

But AFDC was just one of 80 federal means-tested welfare programs, which now cost federal taxpayers about a trillion dollars per year while deepening the dependency trap. For too many Americans, living on the public dole indefinitely is tragically a way of life. They are victims, not beneficiaries, of government spending.

Properly conceived, spending cuts are not just about saving taxpayers and future generations from the burden of financing big government. They are also about protecting the American people from the predations of a federal government whose expansion into every aspect of our lives is causing direct economic and personal damage.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment  and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: government spending, government waste, hurts, people, family, small business, U.S. economy, the economy, Phil Kerpen, American Commitment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chinese Cyber-attacks | Presidential Executive Order

Editor, ARRA News Service: A wave of cyber-attacks originating from China have been revealed and a new Presidential executive order pertaining to network security standards is in the works. What does that mean to you?  TechRepublic's Patrick Lambert provides a perspective not shared on FoxNews or the Lame Stream media.

By Patrick Lambert, TechRepublic: At the beginning of the month, the New York Times revealed that it had been under a systematic and sophisticated attack by hackers for the past four months, and that they believed it was coming from China. Then, just a day later, the Wall Street Journal came out saying that they, too, were under constant attack by very similar hackers, again coming from China. Of course the Chinese government denied the allegations, but this is hardly the first time that U.S. corporations have suspected Chinese hackers from breaching in their systems. In 2010 Google had the first high profile attack, and more companies came out in the following years also claiming having been attacked or breached.

In this case the attack was fairly typical. After finding a hole in one of the NYT’s edge servers in mid-September, they went in and snooped around until the hackers found a domain controller. From there, they could gain access to the usernames and passwords of every employee, and they then proceeded to infiltrate the personal computers of over 50 different employees. According to their investigation, the security experts realized that the hackers were after very specific information, namely the sources used in the investigation that the Times did of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, and how he managed to accumulate a large amount of money. It seems likely that the hackers were motivated by this story and wanted to get back at the Times.

Presidential executive order
This report obviously made the news worldwide, and even President Obama spoke last week of the increasing need for cybersecurity protection. In his State of the Union address, he told Congress that the time had come to pass legislation giving the government a greater capacity to secure networks and deter attacks. This is not just a symbolic statement; he was actually referring to a project that has been progressing for several months now. This new Executive Order issues a mandate to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create a set of standards that would guide organizations considered to be part of the country’s “critical infrastructure” to secure their networks, along with incentives for them to meet these standards.

What does this mean for you?
These voluntary standards and best practices might mean that, if a company does not meet these standards, they may find themselves barred from getting government contracts, for example. The targeted organizations include public utilities and companies in the financial and defense sectors. So what does this mean for businesses, or even for IT pros who may be looking at this? Well in the immediate future, not much. Like any legislation, this will not happen overnight. It will take months, if not years, before this new set of standards is drafted. However, once the process starts, it will likely be in your interest to keep a close eye on what gets included.

Just like standards created by the W3C for web developers, or IANA for network engineers, security professionals will likely have to start working with these upcoming NIST standards soon enough, and you can thank China for it. But with that said, security should not be something that is forced upon you. Any network that lacks basic security measures is a potential target, and these attacks prove that the risks are too high to be ignored. There are many standard practices everyone should take without having to wait on government standards.

Phishing emails remain one of the most popular way for hackers to start targeted attacks. While basic malware will look at known vulnerabilities in an unsophisticated way, someone who wants to get into your organization can go to great lengths to do it. There are countless examples of a secretary receiving a payroll document that seems to be coming from a colleague, but instead contains a specially crafted document with malware in it. Or a phone call sent to an employee claiming to be from the helpdesk and requesting the user’s password. Or simply a server getting scanned repeatedly until a hole can be found, even if you were late by just a day in applying a critical patch.

The point is that targeted attacks are very effective, and standards are not going to change that. Vigilance is needed, along with several layers of protection.  . . . Despite all the standards and security measures in the world, networks will still get hacked . . . [Read Full Article]

Tags: cyber attacks, Chinese, attackers, Presidential Executive Order, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, February 18, 2013

We Have An Idiot Problem . . .

by William Warren:

Tags: William Warren, editorial cartoon, idiot problem, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Obama v. JFK: What a Difference 50 Years Makes

John F. Kennedy
by Phil Kerpen - ARRA News Service: President Obama opened his State of the Union address with a quote from President John F. Kennedy: “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.” But Obama’s speech that followed and the agenda it advocated indicate he failed to study JFK’s famous 1963 State of the Union and its ambitious program of tax cuts and tax reform that successfully shifted the U.S. economy into high gear.
“The mere absence of recession is not growth,” Kennedy said. Words that ring even more true now, with the U.S. economy mired in the weakest recovery of the post-war era. Obama’s response to the challenge of slow growth? More taxes and more spending. A replay of the first term agenda that so spectacularly failed. “Broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, Obama said, with “revenue” being Washington-code for another round of tax hikes.

Kennedy knew better. “One step, above all, is essential--the enactment this year of a substantial reduction and revision in Federal income taxes,” he said. “Our obsolete tax system exerts too heavy a drag on private purchasing power, profits, and employment.” He went on to highlight a program of genuine tax reform, lowering rates across the board “with selected structural changes, beginning in 1964, which will broaden the tax base, end unfair or unnecessary preferences, remove or lighten certain hardships.”

Kennedy knew that to spur economic growth, tax reform would cause a short-term drop in tax revenue to the government, but that “increasing the amount of our national income, will in time result in still higher Federal revenues. It is a fiscally responsible program--the surest and the soundest way of achieving in time a balanced budget in a balanced full employment economy.”

Obama, in stark contrast, uses the words “tax reform,” but what he really means is simply a massive tax hike. “To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target,” i.e., to collect more tax revenue for government, Obama advocated what we “save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected.” Real tax reform uses simplification to offset some of the short-term revenue losses from lower rates. Obama’s plan is a tax hike, which will damage the economy and make genuine reform more difficult by using simplification to pay for more spending instead of lower tax rates.

There is no question that the tax system is holding us back economically, especially the 35 percent corporate income tax which is the highest in the developed world. The average state corporate tax brings the rate up to 39.2 percent, versus an average in other developed countries of just 25 percent. Obama committed to bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., but his government research centers will do far less to encourage that than making our tax system more competitive.

President Obama was absolutely right when he said “It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.” One of the top priorities, therefore, should be real tax reform – not as Obama described it, but as Kennedy did – designed to boost the long-term growth path of the economy.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment  and a Fox News contributor where he first shared this article, and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: 50 years, JFK, John F. Kennedy, State of the Union, SOTU, Barack H, Obama, tax reform, Phil Kerpen, American Commitment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Unbelievable - Rouge NRLB Illegal Appointees

by Phil Kerpen, ARRA News Service: Two weeks ago, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals emphatically smacked down the crazy idea that the president has the power to make "recess appointments" while the Senate is not in recess. 

"An interpretation of 'the Recess' that permits the President to decide when the Senate is in recess would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the President free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction," Chief Judge Judge David B. Sentelle wrote. "This cannot be the law."

Clear enough? Not for Obama. His Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted the decision "does not have any impact, as I think the NLRB has already put out, on their operations or functions, or on the board itself."

Congress has only funded the NLRB through March 27. They should not send a single penny in additional funding until the NLRB's members are appointed in a legally and constitutionally valid manner. If you agree, please sign our petition to Congress now.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment where he  shared this article, and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: NLRB, illegal appointees, court decisions, NLRB, action item, Congress, defund NLRB, Stop the NLRB To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reminder: Sequester ‘Originated In The White House’

White House Operatives Are Hoping You’ll Forget That They Were Actually For The Sequester Before They Were Against It
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up to compromise -- not turn off the pressure.” (President Obama, Remarks, 11/21/11)

‘Idea For The Draconian Spending Cuts Originated In The White House’
“The book ‘The Price of Politics,’ by Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward, makes it clear the idea for the draconian spending cuts originated in the White House – and not in Congress … Woodward describes the behind-the-scenes haggling last year that laid the groundwork for sequestration.” (“Bob Woodward Book Could Bolster Republican Attack On W.H.,” Politico, 9/7/12)
  • WOODWARD: “Lew, Nabors, Sperling and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had finally decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger.” (Bob Woodward, “The Price Of Politics,” Pgs. 339-340, 2012)
  • WOODWARD: “At 2:30 p.m. [on July 27] Lew and Nabors went to the Senate to meet with Reid and his chief of staff, David Krone. ‘We have an idea for the trigger,’ Lew said. ‘What’s the idea?’ Reid asked skeptically. ‘Sequestration.’ … Well, it could work, Lew and Nabors explained.” (Bob Woodward, “The Price Of Politics," Pg. 326, 2012)
WH Plan: Cut Half From The Defense Department
WOODWARD: “Well, it could work, Lew and Nabors explained. What would the impact be? They would design it so that half the threatened cuts would be from the Defense Department. ‘I like that,’ Reid said. ‘That’s good.’” (Bob Woodward, “The Price Of Politics,” Pg. 326, 2012)

“Big cuts would hit the military.” (“White House Report Details Effects Of Automatic Budget Cuts,” The New York Times, 9/14/12)

“Top defense officials have warned that further cuts to defense could hurt national security. And defense contractors have been saying for months that the cuts could result in significant layoffs in their industry.” (“White House Details Fiscal Cliff Spending Cuts,” CNN Money, 9/14/12)

Tags: Washington, D.C. Sequester, Originated In The White House, The White House, President Obama, Bob Woodward As shared on the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

by Glenn Gallas, Op-Ed: If you have ever experienced the feelings that come with being lost you know just how strange being lost makes you feel. A whole gamut of emotions swirl around you, fear, doubt, apprehension, as you try to find your way, and nothing feels better than the moment you recognize a familiar place or landmark. It is at the point when you no longer feel lost that you can begin the process of finding your way back home.

We have become lost as a nation. We have lost our way and many Americans right now are feeling the same emotions that come with being lost in the forest and they are looking for a way to get back home. Finding our way back home is not difficult if we follow some of the simple principles of land navigation. A principle of land navigation is that you must have at least one known point in order to find a destination. The known point can be either where you are, where you are going or direction. In land navigation there is one certainty that never changes and that is direction. Finding direction on the ground requires finding True North. True North is north as it actually exists on earth. It never changes and knowing it guarantees we will find our way home. Once you find True North you then need to have a map so you can orient it to True North. We used to do this all the time when maps were used instead of GPS Systems to find our way. I can still remember when drivers would unfold their maps and turn it every which way until it was properly oriented then they could followed the map to get to their destination.

So the first step in finding our way as a nation is to recapture our True North. True North for the American is the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence is the True North our founders charted for our country, it doesn’t change. Once they chose our nations direction they then created the map called the US Constitution, so we could never get lost as so many other civilizations have done over the course of history. If we are ever to find our way again as a nation we must first find and follow our True North.
Glenn Gallas is a former Republican candidate for US Congress. Gallas is noted for inspiring excellence in leadership. As a conservative he has become active in many venues including being on the Dave Elswick Show Little Rock - KARN 102.9 FM and his On The Right Road Internet Radio Show where he fist shared the op-ed.

Tags: Glenn Galas, On the right Road, True North, Declaration of Independence, map, US Constitution To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Leon Panetta’s Cowardly Decision

Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: In a newsworthy act of political cowardice, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ran through the Pentagon’s exit door as he announced he is striking down the 1994 Combat Exclusion Law. His timing means his successor, presumably Chuck Hagel, will inherit the task of defending the order to assign women to front-line military combat.

Of course, Panetta doesn’t want to be grilled about his order. It’s lacking in common sense and it is toadying to the feminist officers who yearn to be 3- and 4-star generals based on the feminist dogma of gender interchangeability and on their desire to force men into situations to be commanded by feminists.

Panetta’s order may be illegal or even unconstitutional because the authority to make such a radical change was specifically granted to Congress, according to former Defense Department Inspector General Joseph E. Schmitz. A constitutional expert, Schmitz held the position of the Defense Department’s top investigator from 2002 to 2005 after 27 years of service in the U.S. Navy, including 5 years of active duty.

Schmitz said the order will surely lead to a “degradation of good order and discipline.” Here are some of the questions Panetta can now avoid being asked.

Will the new policy of women in combat assignments be based on gender norming? That means giving women and men the same tests but scoring them differently; i.e., grading women “A” for the same performance that would give a man a “C,” but clearing both as passing the test on the pretense that equal effort equals equal results.

Please explain how your new women-in-combat policy will be impacted by your policy of “diversity metrics,” which is a fancy name for quotas. In order to create the illusion that your new feminist policy is a success, will men be required to pretend that women are qualified and entitled to career promotions?

Do you really believe that the assignment of women to combat infantry will improve combat readiness? What is your plan for non-deployability rates of women due to pregnancy and complications of sexual misconduct ranging from assault to fraternization?

In order to make the weight-lifting requirement for combat assignments gender neutral, how many pounds will be taken off the test? The gender differences in weight-lifting ability and upper-body strength are well documented.

Will men be expected to conceal female physical deficiencies in order to make the new policy “work”? Will men’s careers be harmed if they report the truth about women’s inability to do the “heavy lifting”?

Military women are already complaining about increased sexual assaults, and of course those problems will skyrocket. Only men will be deemed at fault because it is feminist ideology that men are innately batterers and women are victims.

The military is already plagued with reports of large sex scandals in our current coed army. At the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, 32 instructors allegedly took advantage of their power over 59 recruits, and at least two instructors allegedly had sexual encounters with 10 different recruits.

Do you recognize that the demand for the change in combat exclusion comes only from female officers who want higher rank and pay but not from enlisted women who will bear the burden of the really tough and dangerous work? Where are your surveys of enlisted women’s opinions?

Will assignment to combat jobs be voluntary for women but involuntary for men? Will the military ask women “do you want to go to combat?” but just assign men wherever bloody, fatal fighting is needed?

Will promotions for field commanders depend on their attainment of “diversity metrics” that can be achieved only by creating a “critical mass” of women in infantry battalions? Explain the test of Marines in last year’s tryouts for the Infantry Officer Course, where only two women volunteered, one washed out the first day, the other after one week?

How do you answer the fact that women do not have an equal opportunity to survive in combat situations, and did you consider the fact that women in the military get injured at least twice the rate of men? Please explain why the National Football League does not seek diversity or gender equality with female players.

Canada dealt with the problem of creating new standards for the gender integration of combat forces by renaming the process. Canada didn’t create “lower” or even “equal” standards, they just adopted “appropriate” standards. Will the U.S. play word games like that?

Retired Army Major General Robert H. Scales explained in the Washington Post that we know from experience with war that the intimate, deliberate, brutal killing of our country’s enemies is best done by small units or teams of men. Four solid buddy pairings of men led by a sergeant compose a nine-man battle-ready combat squad.

These squads are bound together by the “band of brothers” effect, a phrase borrowed from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Centuries of battlefield experience have taught us that this brotherhood is what causes a young man to risk and even sacrifice his life willingly so his buddies can survive, and that cohesion is a male-only relationship that would be irreparably compromised by including women in the squad.

Combat doesn’t mean merely firing a gun; of course women can do that. Combat doesn’t mean merely getting wounded and dying; of course women can do that. Combat means aggressively seeking out and killing the enemy.

A lot of people have a very sanitized view of what battlefield fighting is all about. They seem to think it means a quick gun fight and then returning to the base with separate shower and toilet facilities and a ready mess hall.

Let’s hear from men who have actually fought in close-combat situations. Ryan Smith, a Marine infantry squad leader in our 2003 invasion of Iraq, described the reality of spending 48 hours in scorching Middle Eastern heat, with 25 Marines stuffed in the back of a vehicle designed for 15, dressed in full gear, sitting on each other, without exiting the vehicles for any toilet needs.

I’ll spare you his description of the unsanitary conditions. They went a month without a shower and finally all stood naked to be sprayed off with pressure washers. What kind of men would put women through this?

Panetta won’t have to deal with any of these questions. He left them for his successor and more particularly for the field commanders whose careers will depend on compliance.
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, political cowardice, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, unconstitutional action, combat, battlefield fighting, 1994 Combat Exclusion Law, women in combat, feminist dogma, gender interchangeability To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!