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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
Friday, March 24, 2017
Rasmea Odeh, Convicted Terrorist, Agrees To Leave US
Odeh plans to plead guilty to unlawful procurement of naturalization in a deal that will allow her to leave the US rather than face the possibility of an 18-month prison-sentence.
The Washington Times reports that Odeh is scheduled to undergo “another trial after a U.S. appeals court vacated her 2014 conviction, saying an expert witness should have been allowed to testify that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from allegedly being tortured in prison when she gave false answers.”
A statement made on the websites Justice for Rasmea and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network read: “The prosecution team is now under the regime of racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a new superseding indictment re-frames this as a case about ‘terrorism’ rather than immigration… There is the great likelihood that a jury would be prejudiced by hearing the Zionist assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel call Rasmea a ‘terrorist’ and her supports ‘mobs and hordes,’ as he has done many times before.”
She is scheduled to appear in court April 25 in Detroit.
------------------ Report via Religious Freedom Coalition Tags:Religious Freedom Coalition, Rasmea Odeh, Convicted Terrorist, Agrees To Leave USTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Trump Tried, Trump Wins, Crisis Coming, Russia's Trump Problem
House Bill Withdrawn
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Trump Tried - After seven long, hard, grueling years, this was supposed to be a moment of victory for the GOP. This was supposed to be the beginning of the end of Obamacare.
I realize the legislation under consideration is far from ideal. But the circumstances we are facing are far from ideal. Repealing a major entitlement, and reforming an issue as complex as health care, is never going to be an easy process.
But the legislation, which went too far for moderates and not far enough for some conservatives, was at least a chance to start the process, an opportunity to move the ball down the field. Instead, the House leadership fumbled the ball.
Just before 4:00, a Washington Post reporter tweeted that President Trump called him to say the bill was being pulled from the floor, and that he did not blame Speaker Paul Ryan.
Whatever happens going forward, this much is clear: President Trump tried his best to end Obamacare. The most important thing he did was to defeat Hillary Clinton on November 8th. Without that victory, there would have been no chance of ever repealing Obamacare.
The president threw himself into this fight and was intimately involved in the details, personally lobbying 120 members of Congress on the issue. At his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump "left everything on the field."
Vice President Mike Pence was also key player in the process, cancelling a number of trips so he could remain in Washington for last-minute negotiations. Pence was on Capitol Hill this afternoon making one last pitch.
I hope Republicans on Capitol Hill can get their act together and get this done at some point. If they fail, Obamacare will survive and they will have to live with the consequences, along with the American people.
Trump Wins - The administration did score some victories today: A federal court in Virginia upheld President Trump's executive order limiting immigration from several Muslim nations. The judge rejected arguments by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and ruled that the measures contained in the order were well within the president's constitutional authority.
President Trump also officially approved the Keystone XL pipeline, ending years of Obama stonewalling and capitulation to the radical environmentalist movement. Trump declared, "It's a great day for jobs and energy independence."
Crisis Coming? Brace yourselves, my friends. The latest revelations of possible spying against President Trump and his associates could be leading us toward a constitutional crisis.
News broke late yesterday of potential "smoking gun" evidence proving that the Obama Administration spied on the Trump transition team and perhaps even Donald Trump himself. Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he has reviewed intelligence reports that he found "alarming."
These reports included information about the Trump transition team and inappropriately disclosed the identities of U.S. citizens. This monitoring had nothing to do with Russia. So why was the transition team being monitored?
Today, Rep. Nunes announced that he was delaying a scheduled Intelligence Committee hearing with top former Obama Administration officials. Instead, he was calling back FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers to appear before a closed session of the Intelligence Committee on Monday in order to get clear answers to questions that cannot be addressed in a public session.
Rep. Nunes also said that Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager who has been the target of much speculation, has volunteered to testify before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in order to clear his name.
While Democrats and their left-wing media allies want this investigation to be about Trump and Russia and nothing else, it is not difficult to imagine that the Obama Administration may have been spying on Trump. Obama has a well-documented history of spying on U.S. allies and on American citizens, such as:
Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who served as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, writes in today's Wall Street Journal, "I cannot recall how many times I asked to see raw intelligence reporting and was refused because that stuff is just not made available to policy makers." Finding its way to the White House, Hoekstra writes, "is very likely unprecedented." He adds that Directors Comey and Rogers should be fired.
Famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, who knows a thing or two about presidential abuses of power, said if the allegations are true, it would be "a gross violation" that "could be criminal on the part of people who decided, 'Oh, let's name these people.'"
By the way, FBI Director James Comey was spotted at the White House this afternoon, supposedly for a "routine interagency meeting." Maybe so. But there is very little going on in Washington these days that is "routine."
Russia's Trump Problem - Since well before Donald Trump was elected president, the media have been obsessed with his supposed Russia problem -- stemming from the Putin regime's alleged interference in the 2016 election and its purported ties to key members of Trump's campaign.
But the real issue surrounding Trump and Russia has nothing to do with collusion between Trump and Russia. Rather, it has to do with the problems Trump will create for Russia and its interests.
Read more in my latest opinion piece "Russia Trump Problem".
---------------- 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, Trump Tried, Trump Wins, Crisis Coming, Russia's Trump ProblemTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
OBAMACARE REPEAL: Congress Pauses To Get Repeal Right
by Michael A. Needham: The American Health Care Act (AHCA) has been pulled from the House floor because it did not have the votes to pass. This means the House needs to revise the legislation so it reduces premiums, repeals ObamaCare and truly makes life better for Americans suffering under ObamaCare.
This is a victory for conservatives.
The AHCA would have kept Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in place, ensuring premiums remained high. The bill’s defeat was essential -- but now the hard work begins.
Conservatives, lead by Rep. Mark Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan, deserve tremendous credit for fighting for you and your family. They recognized that the AHCA didn’t repeal the fundamental structure of Obamacare. And rather than giving in to political pressure from leadership and the White House, they stood strong.
Those conservative members -- those who opposed the bill because it did not repeal Obamacare -- should be applauded for their courage and leadership.
So what’s next? It is now clear that the House cannot pass a bill that does not repeal Obamacare’s core regulatory architecture. Congressional leaders and the administration need to go back to the negotiating table and draft a bill that repeals Obamacare’s regulatory regime and ultimately drives down premiums.
What should conservatives be doing?
1. Thanking the conservative leaders who stood firm against the bill like Rep. Mark Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan.
2. Reach out to your Representative and ask them to ensure that a repeal of Obamacare’s Title I regulatory provisions is included in any plan moving forward.We now have an opportunity to get Obamacare repeal right, but that only happened because of the conservatives stood their ground and grassroots America rose up in opposition.
---------------------- Michael A. Needham is Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America Tags:Michale needham, Heritage Action for America, Obamacare Repeal, Congress, pulls bill, to get it rightTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
GRAHAM:“If my Democratic colleagues choose to filibuster this guy, then they will be telling me that they don't accept the election results -- 306 electoral votes -- that they're trying to delegitimize President Trump…”(CNN, 3/23/17)
‘So Much For Senate Deliberation,’ Sen. ‘Chuck Schumer Came Out Swinging.’ He’s ‘Really Saying That No One Nominated By President Trump Can Be Confirmed’
KIM STRASSEL: “New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer made history this week, in formally declaring his intention to break the U.S. Senate. … That’s the best way to process the minority leader’s announcement Thursday that he will vote to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and urge his fellow Democrats to join him. Not even Mr. Schumer denies Judge Gorsuch possesses a singularly gifted legal mind and is eminently qualified for the court. His objection, instead, is that the nominee is ‘conservative.’ This is apparently now a disqualifying attribute for any Supreme Court justice.”(Kim Strassel, “Chuck Schumer Breaks The Senate,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/23/17)
STRASSEL: “Democrats were always going to oppose anyone Mr. Trump picked. The president could have named Mr. Schumer himself to the high court, and Mr. Schumer would have filibustered — on principle. The slow-rolling nature of the process has nonetheless masked the extraordinary new standard Mr. Schumer is setting, and the damage to the Constitution.” (Kim Strassel, “Chuck Schumer Breaks The Senate,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/23/17)
JAMES ROBERTSON, Retired U.S. District Judge & Former Bork Opposition Researcher: “Judge Neil Gorsuch is superbly well-prepared and well-qualified to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. There is no real dispute about that. Nevertheless, it seems that anti-Gorsuch forces are girding their loins for battle. ‘Poor Gorsuch,’ they will say. ‘We’re going to do the best we can to defeat your nomination — but it’s not about you.’ Just what is it about, then? … [one] common reason to oppose Gorsuch: ‘The Democratic base demands it.’ That answer gives new meaning to the term ‘leading from behind.’ It assumes that this ‘base’ is a rabid, unthinking multitude of sans-culottes who must be obeyed. ... Democrats should want leadership from the front, not mindless obedience to those whose only position is opposition.” (James Robertson, “The Judicial Nomination War Started With Bork. Let’s End It With Gorsuch,” The Washington Post, 3/15/17)
Sen. Schumer Is Following The Lead Of ‘Rabid, Unthinking’ Left Wingers Who ‘Demand Nothing Less Than Total Warfare’
JANUARY FLASHBACK Before Judge Gorsuch Was Even Nominated
SEN. SCHUMER (D-NY): ‘It's Hard For Me To Imagine A Nominee… That We Could Support’
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “It's hard for me to imagine a nominee [for the Supreme Court] that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support. So you're right.” RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: “So you will do your best to hold the seat open.” SCHUMER: “Absolutely.”(The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 1/3/2017)
Tags:Sen. Chuck Schumer, filbuster, SCOTUS, nominee, Judge Neil GosuchTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
North Dakota Latest State To Adopt Constitutional Carry Of Handguns
by Bob Owens: I’ll be honest: so many states are adopting constitutional carry at such a fast rate, with so many state-specific variations, that I simply can’t keep up with them all. North Dakota, for example, just managed to pass a version of “constitutional carry” before I even realized a bill had been introduced.
Starting in August, North Dakota residents can carry a concealed handgun without a special permit.
Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill Thursday that allows people to conceal carry as long as they have had a valid North Dakota driver’s license or state ID card for at least a year.
The new law applies to people only within the state. Residents will still not be able to conceal carry outside of North Dakota without the proper permit.
The bill does not change the places you are allowed to conceal carry like schools and other public buildings.
No law enforcement agencies or groups testified against HB 1169. A representative of the North Dakota Peace Officers Association testified the bill is more enforceable because of the provision restricting it only to North Dakota residents and the requirement that those carrying a concealed weapon must inform a peace officer upon contact.You’ll note the bill only applies to in-state residents of North Dakota. Residents of other states who conceal carry will have to have a concealed carry permit from a state that has reciprocity with North Dakota.
North Dakota’s “residents only” legislation is similar to that of Idaho.
------------------ Bob Owens is the Editor of BearingArms.com. A long-time shooting enthusiast, he began blogging as a North Carolina native in New York. His personal blog is bob-owens.com, and he can be found on Twitter at @bob_owens. Tags:North Dakota, adopts, Constitutional Carry, handguns, Bob Owens, BearingArms.comTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Tom Balek, Contributing Author: With all eyes on the middle of the swamp, riveted on the battle over the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, a little drama has been percolating, unwatched, over in the far corner under the cypress trees.
Not long ago, General James Mattis rode President Trump’s full-throated endorsement to the lofty post of Secretary of Defense, past eminently qualified candidates like Sen. Jeff Sessions, Rep. Mike Rogers, and veteran security advisor Stephen Hadley. The men overlooked for the job had several things in common – all are Republicans, are loyal Trump supporters, and are broadly respected in conservative circles.
President Trump was so impressed with old Mad Dog he slam-dunked him right into one of his most critical cabinet posts. Congress didn’t hesitate to give Mattis a waiver allowing the recently-retired general to bypass the required 10-year waiting period between active military service and SecDef. Why, Leon Panetta himself personally campaigned for Mattis. What’s not to like?
Wait a minute, Leon Panetta? The guy who viscerally hates Donald Trump? The far-left, Obama insider, Democrat apparatchik who was one of the biggest moving parts of the Clinton Machine? That Leon Panetta?
It gets weirder. Old Mad Dog’s first big recruit was Anne Patterson for undersecretary of defense for policy. Patterson gained notoriety as a honcho on Hillary Clinton’s team for her support of the Muslim Brotherhood regime that failed so spectacularly in Egypt.
General Mattis also flirted with Democrat Michele Flournoy, founder of the far-left Center for New American Security and former Obama undersecretary of defense for policy, for a sub-cab post. Flournoy ultimately turned him down because Mad Dog is not quite leftist enough to suit her taste.
Mattis’ latest pick is Rudy DeLeon for undersecretary of personnel and readiness. DeLeon is a senior fellow at the Center for America Progress, whose current stated mission is to undermine the Trump presidency. CAP was created and developed by John Podesta (there’s that name again) and is funded by George Soros. According to Jordan Schactel in Conservative Review, DeLeon signed on to a letter that calls Trump’s national security order restricting immigration “beneath the dignity of our great nation” and advised government workers to apply “discretion,” in an attempt to essentially undermine the president’s initiative. DeLeon is a big proponent of Obama’s nuclear giveaway program to Iran.
I can’t see any reason why a person with DeLeon’s pedigree wouldn’t fit perfectly into Trump’s administration, can you?
General Mattis’ appears determined to load up the administration with as many Trump-haters as he can find, as if there aren’t enough enemies left over from the Obama regime already.
------------------ Tom Balek is a fellow conservative activist, blogger, musician and contributes to the ARRA News Service. Tom resides in South Carolina and seeks to educate those too busy with their work and families to notice how close to the precipice our economy has come. He blogs at Rockin' On the Right Side Tags:Tom Balek, Rockin' On The Right Side, General James Mattis, Mad Dog, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Map: First Detainer Report Shows 206 Ice Detainers Were Declined
by Numbers USA: More than 200 ICE detainer requests were declined during the week of Jan. 28 – Feb. 3, according to the first Weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This weekly report was mandated by Pres. Trump in his Jan. 25 interior enforcement executive order.
The weekly report includes all current sanctuary jurisdictions that decline ICE detainer requests and lists the type of crimes each illegal alien was charged or convicted with in those jurisdictions. It also includes a table that shows why each county, city, or agency does not cooperate with ICE, whether it is a law, regulation, or policy.
This report is important since Pres. Trump has said he will cut off federal funding to sanctuary jurisdictions who refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.
The report notes that they only include the detainer once it has been confirmed declined, despite when it was issued. Some of the 206 declined detainers were issued before Pres. Trump became president. In the report, ICE notes that in some cases ICE officers had stopped issuing detainers in known uncooperative jurisdictions so they expect this number to increase as the requests resume in those areas.
The report shows that ICE issued a total of 3,083 detainers that week though they will not know exactly how many of those were honored or declined yet. According to the report the types of crimes committed by illegal aliens, who were then released back into the local community, included domestic violence, assault and sexual assault, burglary, DUI, drugs, forgery, and traffic offenses.
During this week the top ten non-cooperating counties are Clark County, Nevada; Nassau County, New York; Cook County, Illinois; Montgomery County, Iowa; Snohomish County, Washington; Franklin County, New York; Washington County, Oregon; Alachua County, Florida; Franklin County, Iowa; and Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a press release.
“Our goal is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners. We will continue collaborating with them to help ensure that illegal aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially harm individuals living within our communities,” he said.
We have created a map below that shows which jurisdictions declined detainers and what crimes were committed by the illegal alien who was released based on the information found in the ICE report.
*To view the type of crimes committed by the illegal aliens click on this image on the map below.
You can view the full ICE report here.
Tags:ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Map, First Detainer Report, Shows 206, Ice Detainers, declined, NumbersUSATo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Why pro-illegal politicians should register as foreign agents.
by Lloyd Billingsley: Henry Sanchez-Milian, 18, is a Guatemalan national who entered the United States illegally but was allowed to remain in the county. Jose O. Montano, 17, is a Salvadoran national who likely entered the United States illegally and was not deported. Both made their way to Montgomery County, Maryland, some 20 miles from the White House, where many members of Congress and federal officials live. There Rockville High School performed no background check, did not ask about immigration status, and enrolled the pair as freshmen in classes with fourteen-year-olds.
That, as they say, is a news story but not a word appeared in the Sacramento Bee, the paper of record in California’s capital, and that comes as no surprise. The default position of the old-line establishment media is that illegal immigrants, always described as “undocumented,” are an unalloyed blessing for the United States, which is of course a “nation of immigrants.”
To report about two illegals charged with raping a 14-year-old high-school student would cast doubt on that notion. It would also suggest that President Donald Trump might have been correct about the need to deport violent criminals illegals and not let them return. So the establishment media suppresses the news and ignores the back story.
That’s why incredibly irresponsible parents broke up their families and sent their own children away, with no opposition from the various Central American governments, nor from Mexico, which allowed their transport to the border. Many surrendered to the U.S. Border Patrol immediately and remained in the country pending a hearing with immigration judges. Sanchez and Montano are likely among the ranks of these “dreamers,” another default description.
If any person in a Central American country suffers from gang violence, it does not follow that they should move to the United States. In reality, Central American countries, and Mexico in particular, encourage the mass movement of their citizens to the United States for the jobs and benefits the USA offers.
Those benefits are supposed to be reserved for those who come to the country legally, in the manner of past immigrants. The politically correct make no distinction between legals and illegals, and among illegals they make little if any distinction between criminals and non-criminals.
That’s why San Francisco released illegal immigrant felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a decision backed by California governor Jerry Brown and attorney general Kamala Harris, now a U.S. Senator. Lopez-Sanchez proceeded to gun down Kate Steinle but that prompted no challenge to policies that give sanctuary to violent felons after multiple deportations. In 2014, Brown approved $3 million in public funds to provide legal aid for the unaccompanied minors who crossed the border illegally.
Candidate Donald Trump promised to crack down on illegal immigration, giving priority to the deportation of violent criminal illegals. As the Los Angeles Times noted, last December, before Trump took office, the city “unveiled a $10-million fund to provide legal assistance for residents facing deportation.” The fund was “one of the first times local taxpayer money has been allocated to provide legal services for those without documentation.”
Those would be foreign nationals, whose own governments encourage and abet their flight to the United States, and who in some cases oppose the return of their own citizens. Those who allocate taxpayer money to aid illegals are putting the interests of those governments above the established U.S. law they swear to uphold. In effect, they are acting on behalf of those governments who do not want the United States to deport their citizens.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act includes those who act “in the interests” of a foreign government. For example, Gen. Michael Flynn, as the New York Times observed, “worked as a foreign agent last year representing the interests of the Turkish government in a dispute with the United States.”
The FARA also includes those who act as a “public relations counsel” for a foreign principal. The Act also regards a foreign agent as one who “solicits, collects, disburses, or dispenses contributions, loans, money, or other things of value for or in the interest of such foreign principal.”
Politicians who want to promote the cause of illegals and spend public funds on their legal bills should have to register with the Justice Department as agents of a foreign government, primarily Mexico. That will help curtain what amounts to an occupation.
If Judge Gorsuch Can't Achieve 60 Votes In The Senate, Could Any Judge Appointed By A Republican President’?
SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “If Judge Gorsuch can't achieve 60 votes in the Senate, could any judge appointed by a Republican president be approved with 60 or more votes in the Senate?”(Sen. McConnell, Press Conference, 3/21/17)
Sen. Schumer Decides To Follow The Lead Of Far Left Purity-For-Profit Groups Who Declared Even Speaking With Judge Gorsuch ‘Unacceptable’ ‘Collaboration’
JAMES ROBERTSON, Retired U.S. District Judge & Former Bork Opposition Researcher: “Judge Neil Gorsuch is superbly well-prepared and well-qualified to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. There is no real dispute about that. Nevertheless, it seems that anti-Gorsuch forces are girding their loins for battle. ‘Poor Gorsuch,’ they will say. ‘We’re going to do the best we can to defeat your nomination — but it’s not about you.’ Just what is it about, then? … [one] common reason to oppose Gorsuch: ‘The Democratic base demands it.’ That answer gives new meaning to the term ‘leading from behind.’ It assumes that this ‘base’ is a rabid, unthinking multitude of sans-culottes who must be obeyed. But the real base that Democrats need to find and cultivate is voters who can distinguish outrageous actions from responsible ones. Democrats should want leadership from the front, not mindless obedience to those whose only position is opposition. Responsible leaders should be explaining the function of the third branch in the U.S. constitutional system, the importance of judicial independence and the danger of a politicized judiciary. A base that understands those things will support the prompt and uncomplicated confirmation of Gorsuch.” (James Robertson, “The Judicial Nomination War Started With Bork. Let’s End It With Gorsuch,” The Washington Post, 3/15/17)
‘Rabid, Unthinking’ Left Wingers‘Demand Nothing Less Than Total Warfare’
“Liberal advocacy groups are issuing a sharp rebuke to Senate Democrats, who they say have failed to sufficiently fight President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick. In aletter to be delivered Monday and obtained by POLITICO, 11 progressive groups warn that the 48-member minority ‘must get out in front of this nomination process and refuse to be bullied by President Trump’… Since Neil Gorsuch was nominated on Jan. 31, ‘Democrats have failed to demonstrate a strong, unified resistance to this nominee’ …wrote the groups,led by the abortion-rights advocates at NARAL Pro-Choice America.”(“Liberals To Senate Democrats: Step Up The Gorsuch Fight,” Politico, 3/05/2017)
This Law Puts Homeowners at Risk of Property Rights Violations
by Pat Nolan & David Safavian: The owner of the resort didn’t ask his guests why they were there. He offered plush accommodations to those seeking to get away.
Sometimes, guests would come to play golf at the private and very exclusive country club. Other times, they used the fabulous spa services down the road. Still others wanted to simply enjoy the nearby beach.
But people came and stayed at the resort, and it was profitable. Some would call it a huge success.
But not all of the guests were good people. A few brought their drug habits with them. And in 30 instances (over a period of 17 years in which the owner and his wife rented out rooms to guests 125,000 times), law enforcement got involved.
The local police knew that the owner wasn’t involved in drugs. He and his wife were model citizens who took pride in their establishment. They even cooperated with law enforcement when something suspicious was going on with their guests. But the police also knew that the resort was valuable, and that its millions in worth could add to the police department’s budget under forfeiture law. But under state law, the local cops didn’t have enough evidence of crimes to institute state forfeiture proceedings.
Undeterred by limits imposed by the Massachusetts Legislature, the police utilized a workaround. Federal law provided a lower threshold for seizing assets. The local police could circumvent state rules on forfeiture by turning the case over to the feds. Using a program called Equitable Sharing, if local law enforcement could convince the Justice Department to institute forfeiture proceedings, the locals would get a cut. So the police went to the Drug Enforcement Administration and convinced it that the resort should be forfeited. The Drug Enforcement Administration then convinced the Justice Department, which authorized the seizure.
Served with a federal notice of civil forfeiture, the resort owner was told that he had to prove he was innocent in all this. If he failed to do so, Uncle Sam could take the property, auction it off, and keep the proceeds—most of which would end up in the coffers of the local police department.
The owner and his wife, who built the business, would end up with nothing, despite not having been charged with any crime, let alone convicted of anything.
This property is not Mar-a-Lago, and the owner is not Donald Trump. But this is a real case involving the Caswell Inn in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, in 2009.
The owner was baffled by the seizure of his hotel because he had always had a good relationship with the local police department. He asked a police official why they targeted him rather than a nearby motel that was notorious for prostitution and drug dealing. The officer explained that they had looked up the other motel’s assessed value and found that it was heavily mortgaged.
The police would have gotten very little money if they seized that one. But seizing the unmortgaged Caswell Inn would net them millions of dollars.
This process is a clear conflict of interest. The local police department profits from these seizures, even if there is no conviction of a crime. The more that is seized, the more money goes back to the police for things like new equipment and retirement programs.
Civil asset forfeiture has turned many law enforcement agencies into modern “Sheriffs of Nottingham,” robbing from the so-called rich to give to the poor local police departments. Outraged citizens have taken to calling this nefarious process “policing for profit.”
Unfortunately, it’s not out of the ordinary. According to The Washington Post, more assets were seized under civil forfeiture proceedings than were stolen in all of the burglaries that took place in the United States in 2014.
The owner of the Tewksbury hotel was very fortunate. The Institute for Justice learned of his case, and undertook the legal fight to get his hotel back. They won.
But it is worth noting that there is no way that the owner could have paid for such top-notch lawyers out his own pocket. Few others can afford to fight the government.
Prosecutors argue that forfeiture is an important weapon in the war on drugs. That may be true, but only if it is tied to a crime for which there is an actual conviction.
Without a conviction, the current system turns our legal rights upside down. When assets are seized, the owners are presumed guilty until proven innocent. They have the burden of showing that their ownership of the asset was not the result of criminal activity. Otherwise, the government gets to keep the money.
Proving the negative is very hard to do, particularly when the government has seized all your assets and you have no funds to hire a lawyer. That isn’t just unfair. It’s un-American.
The abuse of asset forfeiture has prompted a growing number of states to restrict its use to when someone has been convicted of a crime.
To get around these restrictions, the federal government uses an equitable sharing law, which allows federal agencies to seize and launder proceeds, and then cut the local police in on the back end. It’s a pretty nifty way for the Justice Department and local police to conspire and get around limits imposed by state legislatures.
This issue arose just last month when Trump met with local law enforcement officials. During the meeting, a Texas sheriff complained that proposed reforms to civil asset forfeiture in the Lone Star State would hurt his ability to fight drug traffickers.
Without anyone to explain to him the unfairness of civil asset forfeiture, the president seemed to side with the sheriff and against state efforts to reform it.
Trump won his election by fighting for the “little guy” against an overbearing and dishonest government. Civil asset forfeiture is a prime example of just how overbearing and dishonest the government can be.
The next time asset forfeiture comes up, the president should remember the case of the hotel in Tewksbury. Under current law, his prized resorts are just one Hollywood star with a coke habit away from being seized.
----------------- Pat Nolan is the director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform. David Safavian is deputy director of the American Conservative Union Foundation's Center for Criminal Justice Reform. Both are contributors to The Daily Signal. Tags:property confiscation, law, puts homeowners, at risk, property rights violations, Pat Nolan, David Safavian, The Daily SignalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
“If judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk. And those who came to court would live in fear, never sure exactly what governs them except the judge’s will.”
In other words, Judge Gorsuch embraces his role as a judge and does not want to be anything else. Contrary to the activist culture on the Court, his judicial philosophy is solidly grounded in following the rule of law, not twisting it to reach a pre-determined or desired result.
We also learned that Gorsuch’s character, temperament and style — much to the frustration of Senate Democrats – are unimpeachable; as a result, the liberals couldn’t land a single punch.
Judicial confirmation hearings used to be opportunities for the U.S. Senate to exercise its constitutional role of giving “advice and consent” for nominations to the federal bench. Then, in 1987, came the Joe Biden-Ted Kennedy ambush of Robert Borkto “bork.”
Gorsuch displayed time and again why he is considered a judge’s judge. And he skillfully maneuvered his way through the interrogation minefields — which is what drives Senate Democrats and their loony leftist base absolutely nuts.
Since we didn’t learn anything new about the unrepentant left on both the Judiciary Committee and in leadership, what exactly can we learn from the Gorsuch nomination?
First, we’ll learn something about the most endangered species in Washington: the Democrats running for reelection in Trump states. The Judiciary Committee Democrats comprise the Murderers Row of the loony left, all safely ensconced in states that did not vote for Trump (though Minnesota was razor-close, Senators Franken and Klobuchar).
But where will Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), or Bill Nelson (Fla.) come down on a filibuster (Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania is already a “no” on Gorsuch)? They know full well that the left-wing “resistance” that dominates the national Democratic Party does not vote (legally) in their states.
And what will Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell do? Will he be willing to trigger the so-called “nuclear option” to kill the filibuster? With the only reliable votes on the Supreme Court being Justices Thomas and Alito, he will have to if the Democrats refuse to relent – or face the fury of his own base scorned.
Out of these hearings, one thing remains nearly certain: Judge Neil Gorsuch will be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The only questions remaining are when and at what cost.
------------- Peter Hong is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government blog. Tags:Lessons From, Judge Gorsuch, Hearings, Americans for Limited Government, Peter HongTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Anyone listening to the confirmation hearings for the Secretary of Education would think that America’s public school system was in great shape. In fact, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus even warned that the new secretary “will have an incredibly harmful impact on public education and on black communities nationwide.”
Most people don’t agree with that assessment. The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune criticized the secretary’s critics. “Instead of lauding DeVos for trying to break a failing status quo in places like Detroit, a handful of U.S. senators tried their best to depict her as an out-of-touch nincompoop whose goal was to destroy public schools. Yet half of the Democrats on the committee either went to private school themselves or had children or grandchildren attending private schools.”
Let’s look at the status quo. According to the Nation’s Report Card, only a third (37%) of high school seniors were proficient in reading, and only one fourth (25%) were proficient in math. That is a disgrace, but the percentages are even worse for minority students. Only 17% of black students scored proficient in reading, and only 7% of them were proficient in math.
Here’s the dirty secret that is often ignored. These under-performing students are graduating in record numbers. The nation’s high school graduation rate increases a percentage or more every year. That means we are giving them a diploma even though they are not performing to high school standards.
That is why the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune lamented that it was so “disturbing that so many politicians can choose the best educational opportunities for their kids but refuse to allow underprivileged families the same benefit.”
Obviously the status quo is not working and it’s past time to consider alternatives that will improve student proficiency.
----------- 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, Education, Status QuoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Talk about a silly rite. Senators repeatedly fired questions about specific legal views that no High Court nominee ever answers.
Why not? Because to answer would be to pre-judge possible future cases.
That didn’t prevent displays of faux-outrage from committee Democrats, though. “You have been very much able to avoid any specificity,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) criticized, “like no one I have ever seen before.”
In Washington, isn’t that a compliment?
Into this kabuki theater, Republicans added their own inanity. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) inquired of Gorsuch, “What’s the largest trout you’ve ever caught?”
So that is how to determine whether to confirm someone for a lifetime position.
But even a lifetime doesn’t beat Congress. Elected every two years in the House or six years in the Senate, congresspersons often rack up longer tenure than do justices appointed for life.
The longest serving justice in our history was William O. Douglas, who spent nearly 37 years on the High Court. But if Douglas had spent that epoch in Congress, he wouldn’t place first, but 80th.
In fact, three Judiciary Committee members — Senators Patrick Leahy, Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch — have already served longer than any High Court justice in American history.
Interestingly, of the 20 longest serving justices, half served before 1900. Conversely, all of the 20 longest continuously serving members of Congress served after 1900.
Careerism in Congress beats lifetime tenure.
It’s time for term limits.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
------------------ 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, Trout in the MilkTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Two days after FBI Director James Comey assured us there was no truth to President Trump’s tweet about being wiretapped by Barack Obama, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Trump may have had more than just a small point.
The U.S. intelligence community, says Nunes, during surveillance of legitimate targets, picked up the names of Trump transition officials during surveillance of targets, “unmasked” their identity, and spread their names around, virtually assuring they would be leaked.
If true, this has the look and smell of a conspiracy to sabotage the Trump presidency, before it began.
Comey readily confirmed there was no evidence to back up the Trump tweet. But when it came to electronic surveillance of Trump and his campaign, Comey, somehow, could not comment on that.
Which raises the question: What is the real scandal here?
Is it that Russians hacked the DNC and John Podesta’s emails and handed them off to WikiLeaks? We have heard that since June.
Is it that Trump officials may have colluded with the Russians?
But former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and ex-CIA Director Mike Morrell have both said they saw no evidence of this.
This March, Sen. Chris Coons walked back his stunning declaration about transcripts showing a Russia-Trump collusion, confessing, “I have no hard evidence of collusion.”
But if Clapper and Morrell saw no Russia-Trump collusion, what were they looking at during all those months to make them so conclude?
Was it “FBI transcripts,” as Sen. Coons blurted out?
If so, who intercepted and transcribed the conversations? If it was intel agencies engaged in surveillance, who authorized that? How extensive was it? Against whom? Is it still going on?
And if today, after eight months, the intel agencies cannot tell us whether or not any member of the Trump team colluded with the Russians, what does that say of their competence?
The real scandal, which the media regard as a diversion from the primary target, Trump, is that a Deep State conspiracy to bring down his presidency seems to have been put in place by Obamaites, and perhaps approved by Obama himself.
Consider. On Jan. 12, David Ignatius of the Washington Post wrote, “According to a senior U.S. government official, (Gen. Michael) Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials … What did Flynn say?”
Now, on Dec. 29, Flynn, national security adviser-designate, was not only doing his job calling the ambassador, he was a private citizen.
Why was he unmasked by U.S. intelligence?
Who is this “senior official” who dropped the dime on him? Could this official have known how many times Flynn spoke to Kislyak, yet not known what was said on the calls?
That is hard to believe. This looks like a contract hit by an anti-Trump agent in the intel community, using Ignatius to do the wet work.
Flynn was taken down. Did Comey turn his FBI loose to ferret out the felon who had unmasked Flynn and done him in? If not, why not?
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Dan Henninger points anew to a story in The New York Times of March 1 that began: “In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Trump and Russians — across the government.”
“This is what they did,” wrote Henninger, quoting the Times: “At intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government — and, in some cases, among European allies.”
For what benign purpose would U.S. intelligence agents spread secrets damaging to their own president — to foreign regimes? Is this not disloyalty? Is this not sedition?
On Jan. 12, writes Henninger, the Times “reported that Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed rules that let the National Security Agency disseminate ‘raw signals intelligence information’ to 16 other intelligence agencies.”
Astounding. The Obamaites seeded the U.S. and allied intel communities with IEDs to be detonated on Trump’s arrival. This is the scandal, not Trump telling Vlad to go find Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails.
We need to know who colluded with the Russians, if anyone did. But more critically, we need to unearth the deep state conspiracy to sabotage a presidency.
So far, the Russia-connection investigation has proven a dry hole. But an investigation into who in the FBI, CIA or NSA is unmasking U.S. citizens and criminally leaking information to a Trump-hating press to destroy a president they are sworn to serve could prove to be a gusher.
As for the reports of Lynch-White House involvement in this unfolding plot to damage and destroy Trump the real question is: What did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it?
-------------------- Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan. Tags:Patrick Buchanan, conservative, commentary, Barack Obama, plot, sabotage, President TrumpTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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