Did the CIA Cherry-Pick Benghazi Intelligence for Political Reasons?

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In Heritage Work

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Heritage Foundation expert Helle Dale reports on compelling new details about the Obama administration’s manipulation of the facts about the attack on America’s consulate in Benghazi, Libya:

The original CIA talking points on Benghazi were quite comprehensive and included information on al-Qaeda activity in the Benghazi area. In the interagency vetting process, however, this paragraph raised red flags at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, which had failed miserably at providing adequate protection against terrorists for U.S. diplomats stationed in Libya. Morell took it upon himself to edit out any reference to al-Qaeda, and blamed the attack on an anti-American demonstration. The remainder of the talking points was toothless pabulum.

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The Number One Goal of America’s Foreign Policy

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In Heritage Work

The number one goal of America’s foreign policy is to defend and protect American interests, Heritage Foundation expert Ted Bromund said.

These interests include:

  1. American Sovereignty. This can be summarized as: no other nation can tell us what to do. The United States has established and maintained a system of law, diplomacy, virtue, and a respect for her citizens. These qualities allow America to thrive.
  2. Independence. This is our basic ability to maintain and sustain sovereignty. Independence is gained by producing natural resources, maintaining military security, and creating an environment in which citizens can thrive without dependence on another nation.
  3. Respectability. This is earned when sovereignty and independence are secured. The result is a people and a government that are noble and civilized, not just on the world stage but in the day-to-day interactions of the people and the government.

Without these three fundamental interests, America ceases to exist, Bromund argues. And that’s why we must always be willing to fight for them.

Bromund’s outline of America’s interests are not new. In his farewell address, George Washington listed similar themes:

Happy in the confirmation of our Independence and Sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable Nation, I resign with satisfaction the Appointment I accepted with diffidence.

Do you think the U.S. should protect our national interest?

5 Ways Tax Reform Would Help You and Every American

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In Heritage Work

Heritage Foundation expert Curtis Dubay explains how a principled, conservative tax reform would help you:

  1. Your annual income would grow
  2. Taxes would be simpler to file
  3. The tax code would be fairer
  4. Government’s role in the economy would be smaller
  5. The IRS would have less power

Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan outlines solutions on taxes, spending, and other issues.

Do you think Congress will act on tax reform this year?

Why Tax Day Is a Somber Reminder that Our Economic Freedom Is Slipping Away

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In Heritage Work

Tax day is less than a week away. To many Americans, this means surrendering a portion of their paycheck to a government that does not spend it wisely.

But that’s not the only problem with high taxes: they’re increasingly eroding our freedom.

According to The Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom the United States is the only country in the world whose economic freedom has declined for the past seven years. Much of the blame can be placed on big government and the high taxes that fund it.

“There is a real risk that the economic sclerosis we are currently suffering could turn into a full-blown permanent economic health crisis,” Heritage expert Anthony Kim warns.

Lawmakers should look to policies like Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan, which would reform the tax code by simplifying and reducing taxes.

“As Americans look to their future more than ever, 2014 should be the year of action to reverse the startling decline of America’s economic freedom and revitalize its entrepreneurial pulse,” Kim concludes.

Do you think our complicated and burdensome tax system strangles our economy and our freedom?

Heritage Experts Break Down Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal

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In Heritage Work

A budget proposal released yesterday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) would balance balance the budget and reduce the debt by cutting spending, reforming poverty programs, repealing Obamacare, and reforming health care entitlement programs, which are the largest drivers of deficit spending and debt.

Heritage Foundation expert Romina Boccia looked closely into Ryan’s budget and found many other good elements, including its tax reforms and proposals on defense, energy, education, and transporation policy. She did identify several areas for improvement, such as the long delay before critical Medicare reforms are implemented.

Read her full analysis of Ryan’s budget on the Foundry.

How would you improve Paul Ryan’s budget proposal?

This Costly Mandate Would Make Your Doctor Fill Out Oddly Specific Paperwork When You Get Sick

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In Heritage Work

Photo: Reuters

The “doc fix” bill sent to President Obama for his signature Tuesday contained an important provision to delay a costly new medical mandate from going into effect, Heritage Foundation expert Robert Moffit argues in a new report.

A federal rule would require many doctors to switch to a new method for classifying medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures by October 1. The new classification, known as ICD-10, would replace the existing 18,000 codes with 155,000 entries—creating headaches and costs for doctors.

Moffit explains the oddly specific nature of the new codes, which he urges Congress to delay or even scrap:

A number of [codes] have been highlighted in popular journalistic accounts, including codes for injuries sustained in a collision with a bicycle, while knitting and crocheting or gardening and landscaping, or in a collision with a balloon. Codes are also assigned to cases where a patient has been bitten by a parrot, injured in a spacecraft collision, or sucked into a jet engine.

There are even separate codes for injuries at museums, art galleries, music halls, theaters, and opera houses.

Doctors already spend 22 percent of their time on non-clinical paperwork. The switch to ICD-10 can only make matters worse.

Do you think the federal government should require doctors to use the new system?

How to Fix President Obama’s Misguided International Affairs Budget

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In Heritage Work

Photo: United Nations

Heritage Foundation expert Brett Schaefer has identified eleven critical ways Congress can fix President Obama’s unrealistic budget for foreign affairs.

Schaefer’s proposed fixes include: increased oversight over the United Nations; reversing the massive increase in spending on foreign affairs; trimming spending on climate change initiatives; prohibiting funding for U.N. organizations that grant full membership to the Palestinians; and capping U.S. contributions to United Nations peacekeeping.

Find out what else is on the list.

Do you think the President’s budget is misguided?

China’s Threat to Take Over a Democratic Ally Puts American Interests at Risk

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In Heritage Work

Marines of the People's Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) stand at attention as Commander, Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Gary Roughead greets them following a demonstration of the brigade's capabilities.

Photo: navy.mil

It may be too late to prevent Russia from taking over Crimea, but there is still plenty that can be done to protect one of the U.S.’s staunchest allies from being annexed by China.

How to defend Taiwan and promote America’s interests in Asia is the focus of a new report by Heritage Foundation expert Dean Cheng.

Taiwan is a strategically important bulwark to China’s expansionism in the Pacific. And the Chinese government hasn’t been shy in expressing a clear desire to conquer the island. Continue Reading »

4 Reasons to Be Pro-Choice When It Comes to Education

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In Heritage Work

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In a new report, Heritage Foundation expert Lindsey Burke reviews the academic research and finds clear benefits from school choice:

  1. More students graduate
  2. Public schools improve when faced with competition
  3. Special needs students have more options for services
  4. Parents are more involved and satisfied

“Instead of policies to increase spending on the public education system,” Burke argues, “states and local school districts would better serve students by empowering parents with control over their share of education funding.”

Read more about why empowering parents with control over their child’s education leads to better outcomes.

How Misleading Government Accounting Leaves Taxpayers on the Hook

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In Heritage Work

The federal government reports hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off the federal budget. In what might be considered creative accounting, Washington subtracts this revenue from spending and subsequently undereports federal spending. Even worse, trillions in taxpayer liabilities are completely off the books.

“Profits paid to the Treasury in 2013 alone have resulted in federal spending and deficits being underreported by more than $100 billion,” Heritage Foundation expert Romina Boccia explains.

Since they were taken over by the federal government in 2008, Fannie and Freddie have paid more than $203 billion in profits to the U.S. Treasury — all of which is the Treasury is keeping off the federal budget. Continue Reading »

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