Important Reforms that Can Make America Safer

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In Heritage Work

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Photo: Newscom

To more effectively defend the country, lawmakers and military leaders should change the way the Pentagon manages personnel, property and equipment, Heritage Foundation expert Jim Carafano explains.

Making defense operations more efficient is a natural common cause for Congress and the Pentagon. Increased efficiency would save money—freeing up dollars that the Pentagon could plow back into rebuilding the capacity and capabilities needed to defend the country.

One change, known as Performance Based Logistics, could help the Pentagon work better with the resources it has. Other changes would improve how the Pentagon acquires equipment. This requires leadership changes, real accountability for major weapons acquisitions, cutting red tape, and ensuring the Pentagon gets the equipment it actually needs.

These reforms address a real challenge, as outlined in Heritage’s 2014 Defense Reform Handbook:

The armed forces are already inadequate to protect all the nation’s vital national interests because of shortfalls in training and maintenance. By the end of his second term, the shortfalls in readiness will be compounded by reductions in military capabilities. It is not an overstatement to conclude that the capabilities-requirements mismatch will rival the hollow forces of the 1970s under President Jimmy Carter.

How would you ensure America is properly defended?

Why Did Japan Just Unexpectedly Slide into Recession? The Answer Won’t Surprise You

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In Heritage Work

The Japanese economy experienced negative growth for two quarters in a row, technically meaning it has entered a recession. (Photo: Natsuki Sakai/Newscom)

Japan unexpectedly announced this week that its economy is hurting, with negative growth reported for both the second and third quarters of 2014. Why? Stephen Moore, The Heritage Foundation’s resident economist, gives us the answer — and it probably won’t surprise you.

Japan raised taxes, in particular its sales tax.

It was supposed to be a way to help lower the national debt after massive government spending on infrastructure. Liberals also persuaded the Japanese Central Bank to flood the country with printed money in an effort to stimulate the economy. The result was a negative economic recovery as well as a devalued yen that makes it harder for the Japanese to buy imported goods – and all in just over six months.

Moore concludes:

It’s all a tragic story of economic playmaking that has gone all wrong.  But don’t tell that to Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who predicted Japan “may end up showing the rest of us the way out” of stagnation.

Should the United States follow the Japanese example?

Amnesty Would ‘Shred the Rule of Law’

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In Heritage Work

President Obama hopes to shield as many as 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation and give many of them work permits. (Photo: Oliver Douliery/Newscom)

Less than two weeks removed from a pummeling at the polls, an unbowed and unrepentant President Obama is preparing to move ahead with an executive order granting amnesty to more than 5 million illegal immigrants.

Heritage Foundation immigration expert David Inserra has written about the widespread negative effects of such a plan. Offering amnesty will further incentivize illegal immigration, make it harder for the Department of Homeland Security to do its job, and “shred the rule of law.”

Do you think granting unilaterally amnesty is legal?

President Obama’s Climate Capitulation

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In Heritage Work

President Obama’s “historic” agreement  with China on climate change will cost you more money. Not only will it raise energy costs for all Americans, it will weaken our economy and decrease our nation’s competitive advantage.

Heritage Foundation expert Nick Loris explains the absurd logic of the deal:

China’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is akin to a pledge from a broke, addicted gambler to his bookie to pay later.  China is telling the United States to make the economic sacrifices and restrict its energy use now, and China will start reducing its emissions beginning in 2030. 

Read more about why this is a raw deal.

What do you think of President Obama’s climate deal?

Iran as an Ally Against ISIS? Bad Idea

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In Heritage Work

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has ruled out any cooperation with the United States against the Islamic State. (Photo: Newscom)

Many in the foreign policy community are arguing that the United States should cooperate with Iran against the Islamic State. Especially worrisome, President Obama seems to have bought into the idea as well, given rumors of a secret letter by President Obama to the Ayatollah. This is a very bad idea, The Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips explains.

For one thing, Ayatollah Khamenei himself has publicly ruled out any cooperation with the United States in fighting the Islamic State. He even went so far as to blame America for its creation. Iran is not the kind of ally we want, or need, in this fight.

Iran is a state-sponsor of terrorism and opposes American aims in Iraq. Tehran openly supports and funds groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Jihad. Their support of Shia militias in Iraq helped kill hundreds of American troops.

Heritage’s James Carafano agrees. He said Iran and the United States have a common interest in Iraq “much in the way a robber and a customer have a common interest in a bank.”

Should the United States enlist the help of Iran to help defeat ISIS?

Jim DeMint Warns of a Dangerous ‘Zombie Congress’

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In Heritage Work

Congress returned to Washington this week for its post-election lame duck session. Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint urges all Americans to stay vigilant through the end of the year, since lame duck sessions are when some of the worst laws are passed.

While the natural tendency is to tune out after elections, a lame duck session, or what Jim colorfully calls a “zombie Congress,” is one of the most dangerous periods in the legislative cycle:

With no electorate to appease, the newly politically ‘deceased’ members have no incentive to restrain their more base urges to feast upon the hard-earned tax dollars of the living.

Outgoing liberals could try to push through bad legislation between now and the end of the year, including a massive omnibus spending bill, new taxes, and corporate welfare for “green” companies. Liberals may also try to stymie opposition to President Obama’s unilateral grant of amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Do you think liberals should be able to push through their radical legislation in a lame duck session of Congress?

Why Heritage Action’s Sentinels Are Our ‘Third Punch’

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In Heritage Work

In order to change Washington, you need support from the people outside the Beltway. That’s why The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization, Heritage Action for America, started its Sentinel program.

“In order to really change Washington, you have to go over the heads of the elected officials and go directly to the people,” Sentinel coordinator Jessica Anderson told Heritage members last week at the President’s Club Meeting.

The Sentinels organize local conservatives in their hometowns and hold elected officials’ feet to the fire. They help ensure The Heritage Foundation’s conservative policy ideas are enacted into law.

“I see Action as the watchman on the wall,” one Georgia Sentinel said, “ready to sound the alarm.”

Heritage Action, Heritage Jim DeMint explained, it integral to Heritage’s mission:

We’ve got the research, we’ve got the communication, and now we’ve got what we call the third punch — Heritage Action . . .  they’re the tip of the spear providing advocacy and accountability to our elected officials.

Do you think accountability is important?

How Heritage Turns Your Conservative Policy Ideas into Reality

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In Heritage Work

A core mission of The Heritage Foundation is to generate ideas for policies based on your conservative principles. But ideas don’t change the world on their own.

If we want to make this country free, safe, and prosperous, then we need to make conservative ideas part of everyday life, Heritage experts Jen Marshall, Derrick Morgan, and Jim Carafano said last week at Heritage’s President’s Club Meeting.

The process of making your principles a reality involves three steps: Continue Reading »

This Is a Russian Propaganda Tool You Should Know About

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In Heritage Work

Russian state-owned and funded news source RT openly advertising in Washington, DC.

Russian state-owned news outlet RT is openly advertising in Washington, DC. (Photo: Tyler McArthur)

It’s not just Russian tanks and guns that NATO countries should be worried about — Russia is waging a full-scale propaganda campaign outside of its borders, Heritage Foundation expert Daniel Kochis warns us.

The best known of these propaganda tools is Russia Today, or RT. RT is an English-language 24-hour news network available in the United States. Russian president Vladimir Putin has directed $400 million in state funds to RT in 2015 to help expand its operations abroad — including here in America.

RT often distorts the truth. For example, RT put forth outlandish ideas about the shooting down of Malaysia Flight MH17 in order to cover Russian involvement in the disaster. They promulgated the disreputable theory that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian jet. Russian propaganda also seeks to undermine the NATO alliance by driving wedges between America and its allies.

RT and its radio partner stations are especially popular, and hence dangerous, in the Baltic states, all of which have significant Russian populations. Over a quarter of the populations of Latvia and Estonia are ethnically Russian, and both are NATO countries. RT also broadcasts in Arabic and Spanish, while Russian propaganda outlets operate in France and (shortly) Germany.

What can be done to counter Russian aggression in the information war? Kochis suggests a few ideas: Continue Reading »

10 Ways the Obama Administration Can (Legally) Fix Our Broken Immigration System

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In Heritage Work

Photo: Newscom

Enforcing America’s existing immigration laws should be among the Obama administration’s top priorities. Unfortunately, the administration is expected to ignore these laws and enact its own policies–without Congress.

Heritage Foundation expert David Inserra outlines a ten-step checklist that the President must follow instead: Continue Reading »

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