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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

John Kasich Threatens To Veto New Bill Banning Abortions On Babies With Heartbeats

by Calvin Freiburger: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a past and potentially-future Republican presidential candidate who bills himself as “pro-life,” has renewed his opposition to pending legislation that would protect almost all pre-born babies in his state.

On Thursday, the Ohio House voted 60 to 35 to pass House Bill 258, which bans abortions on any pre-born baby with a detectable heartbeat, except in cases of a “substantial and irreversible” physical threat to the mother. Any physician who violates the statute would face up to a year in prison. Pre-born babies’ hearts finish forming around seven or eight weeks into pregnancy.​​

“Establishing human heartbeat protections in Ohio is a historic opportunity for those committed to the cause of life,” Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati declared last week.

Kasich confirmed he remains opposed to the heartbeat bill during a meeting with reporters at the statehouse Monday, the Toledo Blade reports. “I see nothing that’s coming that would make me change my position,” he claimed.

Kasich vetoed a similar measure in 2016, claiming that while he’s pro-life he was unwilling to provoke a court battle over the bill’s constitutionality he deemed certain to fail. Pro-lifers argue the bill’s chances have improved thanks to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. Pro-lifers also note that virtually every pro-life law, from ones protecting babies from being aborted because they have Down Syndrome to measures requiring abortion centers to meet basic health and safety standards, ends up being challenged in court anyway.

Several pro-life leaders have denounced Kasich’s resistance, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Faith2Action president Janet Porter, a longtime advocate of the legislation and its federal counterpart, declared that pro-lifers would “override him and he can never run again as a ‘pro-lifer.’”

“Kasich should be ashamed of himself,” Citizens for Community Values president Aaron Baer said. “He has the opportunity to save upwards of 10,000 lives per year, but is choosing to veto a law that Ohio clearly wants. Where’s the compassion in that?”

The bill’s fate appears beyond Kasich’s control, however. The Ohio House passed it with a large enough margin to override a veto, and Republicans outnumber Democrats 23 to 9 in the state Senate. Senate President Larry Obhof said he believes the bill has the votes to pass, but was unsure whether it will receive the 20 needed for a veto override.

“My anticipation is we’ll pass both and see how things unfold after that,” he said.

Another factor is that incoming Gov. Mike DeWine has previously said he supports the bill, making it likely to pass next year even if Kasich kills it in the coming weeks.

“There’s also a question of, does Mike DeWine want to work with us on those issues in January,” Obhof told the Dispatch. “Are these things better dealt with right now, even though we will have to push back on the governor, or could they just as easily be done on Jan. 20?”

Kasich is a former Congressman who ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 Republican primary for president, and has hinted at challenging Trump in 2020. Though a nominally “pro-life” governor (and one supportive of exceptions for babies conceived in rape and incest) who signed some pro-life laws, he has also claimed that Republicans “focus too much” on abortion, that Roe v. Wade is “the law of the land now and we live with the law of the land,” and that Republicans shouldn’t risk a government shutdown fight to defund Planned Parenthood.

In 2016, pro-lifers faulted Kasich’s administration for issuing a waiver that let a Cincinnati Planned Parenthood location continue committing abortions despite failing to have a state-mandated transfer agreement with a nearby hospital in case of emergencies.
Calvin Freiburger is a Wisconsin-based conservative writer at LifeSiteNews and a 2011 graduate of Hillsdale College.

Tags: Calvin Freiburger, John Kasich, Threatens To Veto, New Bill, Banning Abortions, Babies With Heartbeats To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

What Congress Can Do Now to Fix Immigration Enforcement

by David Inserra : With just a month and a half remaining in the 115th Congress, members face a number of issues that require action. Immigration policy is one of those areas that will likely be a focal point of congressional debate and jockeying.

President Donald Trump is demanding funds for a border wall, and while congressional leaders have promised there will not be a government shutdown over such funding, the president has not taken this off the table.

But lawmakers should step back and consider this question: What is the most important, meaningful action they can take on immigration policy before passing the baton to a politically divided 116th Congress?

The answer is quite simple: Fix the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

Border security is an important part of this, but the biggest problem the U.S. faces at the border isn’t catching illegal immigrants—it’s repatriating them. Of all non-Mexican family units and children that were caught at the U.S. border in fiscal year 2017, less than 2 percent have been removed from the U.S.

And the number of those staying here is only increasing due to loopholes in our laws and a weak asylum system. Well-meaning laws like the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and court cases such as the Flores Settlement Agreement have limited our ability to detain and quickly remove unaccompanied alien children and those families with children—especially when they have claimed asylum. Those cases have to be adjudicated in court.

The result shouldn’t surprise us: In fiscal year 2018, over 157,000 children and members of family units were caught at the southern border—up from less than 55,000 in fiscal year 2013. Asylum claims have also exploded. The number of hearings held for those claiming a “credible fear” in their home country has risen from around 5,100 in 2008 to 92,000 in 2016.

Yet despite this surge of asylum claims, fewer people have actually been granted asylum in recent years—a trend that began during the Obama years.

Today, our immigration court system is completely overwhelmed. It now takes an average of nearly two years to receive an immigration court hearing, whereas a decade ago the average wait time was just over a year.

These glaring loopholes and failures to enforce the law are unsustainable, and are only encouraging more illegal immigration. A wall cannot stop these glaring problems of enforcement.

The president recently took executive action to toughen up asylum rules, but this action will certainly be challenged in the courts and can always be undone by a future administration. Legislative reforms are needed to fix this situation in a more comprehensive and permanent manner.

Congress has a great opportunity to pursue these reforms in the lame-duck period. Two major steps in particular would have a big impact on security at the U.S. southern border:

1. Adjust the asylum claim process.

There are multiple ways Congress could improve the asylum system. Rather than applying for asylum at the U.S. border, asylum-seekers traveling to the U.S. southern border should be required to have their asylum claims heard by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officer at a U.S. consulate in Mexico.

Interviewers should also ask the asylum-seekers why they did not assert asylum in other countries, such as Mexico. If they fail to explain why, this should be considered as a factor in the decisions made by immigration officials.

Similarly, Congress could make it much harder for those crossing the border illegally to claim asylum.

2. Close the loopholes.

The Flores settlement, reached in a federal court case in 1997, limits the length of time and the conditions under which alien children can be detained. Congress should reject this settlement in order to allow accompanied children to remain with their parents while they await adjudication of their asylum claims or prosecution for having violated immigration law.

Congress should also reform the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to allow unaccompanied children from countries that are noncontiguous with the U.S. to be quickly repatriated to their home countries.
While other enforcement reforms are needed for immigration courts, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and getting rid of sanctuary city policies, the above fixes to immigration loopholes would go a long way toward securing the border and stopping illegal immigration.
David Inserra (@dr_inserra) in cyber and homeland security policy, including protection of critical infrastructure, as policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Article shared by The Daily Signal.

Tags: Congress, Fix Immigration Enforcement, David Inserra, The Daily Signal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Arkansas House of Representatives Changed Forever

by David Ferguson: I’m feeling nostalgic this morning.

Having worked for the Arkansas General Assembly for nearly thirty-two years I have a lot of respect for the legislative process, the legislators I worked with, legislative staff, and the people who go to the state Capitol to express their opinions. In particular, this morning I am thinking about the drastic changes in the House of Representatives which give the Speaker of the House huge power.

The Speaker of the House has always been a powerful officer. The Speaker was powerful, even though the position was largely an honor based on seniority, even in the 1980’s and most of the 1990’s. The Speaker had few appointments, primarily to the powerful Rules committee and the House Management Committee and to some other positions.

With only a few Representatives owing allegiance to the Speaker, power was distributed among the committee chairs who obtained their positions based on seniority. This meant the House was much harder to control by one person or group.

Once in the 1990’s, freshmen joined by others were able to pull a coup and block all budget bills until they got a seat at the table to decide how the budget would be made. That couldn’t happen under the current power structure.

Often the House was referred to as a body of 100 equals. I liked that notion because my role as a legislative employee was to give equal assistance to every legislator – the powerful and the least powerful.

Some of my counterparts in legislatures in other states, were envious of how the Arkansas legislature worked, because in their own states they worked under heavy handed restrictions of a powerful Speaker or committee chair. A staffer in one state (can’t remember which state) told me he could not even draft a bill for a legislator unless the proposed bill was first approved by leadership. Ugh!

With the House rules changes over the last several years, you can’t call the House a body of 100 equals anymore. It is a body made up of a Speaker and 99 legislators who owe favors to the Speaker.

The first change in the 1990’s was to give the Speaker the power to appoint all committee chairs, vice chairs, and subcommittee chairs. This rules change gave the Speaker more appointments to pass out than there were Representatives. Two excuses were used for this move. First, was the existence of short term-limits. It was said seniority was no longer a good system because a person could only serve three two-year terms. (Now they can serve sixteen years.) Second, the House was overwhelmingly Democrat but Governor Mike Huckabee was Republican, and this division of power between the parties was used as an excuse to say you need a strong Speaker to fight for the legislature against governors. In reality, House speakers and governors have been strong allies and this relationship has served to help governors overcome dissent in the House. For example, it was House Speaker Davy Carter who called an unprecedented number of votes to eventually get approval for funding of Governor Mike Beebe’s version of Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Eventually, Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillum proposed giving the Speaker the power to to appoint every membership of every House committee instead of letting Representatives pick. I knew the change would pass, they couldn’t buck the Speaker because the Speaker already had so many Representatives who owed him allegiance for appointments to leadership positions. Speaker Matthew Shepherd will be the first speaker to have the power to make all committee assignments.

Imagine you are a lobbyist for a large Medicaid provider and there have been rumblings that some legislators plan to pass restrictions on your industry. How do you fight it? The first step is to work with the Speaker to make sure the House Committee Public Health, Welfare, & Labor is stacked with your friends.

Or imagine you are the governor and want to get a gas tax passed. You would work with the speaker to make sure the committee membership is such that it will rubber stamp the proposal and send it to the House floor, and secondly you would get the Speaker to put pressure on his many appointees to vote “the right way.”

I read with interest some text messages in a court document in the trial of Senator Jon Woods. It appears to be the reflections of Representative Micah Neal, also convicted, as passed on to the FBI by his attorney. The message is from Neal’s attorney to a special agent on January 13, 2017:

With the new rules the House passed this week,, you will see future Speakers of the House go down in corruption charges… they placed all committee placement totally in the hands of the Speaker…

I find it interesting the first thought of a legislator caught in corruption was that the new power given to Speakers would be a corruption trap.

Big lobbyists have always paid a lot of attention to whoever was in line to be speaker. Now, especially with the Speaker being so powerful, big lobbyists would be stupid not to focus tremendous resources to get the speaker they want.

I like most of the lobbyists I knew but am mindful there will be others like Rusty Cranford who use bribery as a political tool.

I have no reason to think Speaker Matthew Shepherd will do anything other than serve without blemish. But if ANY Representative comes under suspicion of corruption, whoever is speaker will be investigated because of the appointments and assignments made by the Speaker. Perhaps that is a small price to pay for so much power.

I don’t see a way back to the notion of 100 equals in the Arkansas House of Representatives. The system has changed forever… barring some huge scandal in the future.

I’m being nostalgic because of the really great times I had working for both powerful and not so powerful legislators. I feel sorry for the less powerful legislators who have their own opinions and who will be run over by the machine. Also feel sorry for their voters.

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain

Beatles – In My Life

David Ferguson is a former Director of Arkansas’ Bureau of Legislative Research, having a thirty-two-year career as an attorney for the Arkansas legislature. After retirement from state service his primary focus has been beef cattle farming. He is also a former officer of Conduit for Action. Article shared by Conduit News.

Tags: David Ferguson, Conduit News, Arkansas, House of Representatives, Changed Forever To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Kevin Jackson At Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend

. . . The Left's absurd fantasies about "white privilege".

FrontPage Mag: Below are the video and transcript of remarks given by Kevin Jackson at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 2018 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 15th-18th at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

Kevin Jackson
What's up white people, all you nationalists. I know it's not cool to recognize your whiteness, but it's okay. I'm black, and so are many of you if you check your ancestry. I'm not going to call out any of you, but I did some mingling at the cocktail party and some of you are indeed black. So hello my brothers and sisters. Happy to see all of you beautiful, unique, multi-colored, multi-faceted human beings, not a single one of you the same color, not a single one of you white, by the way, and for the sake of this presentation, I'm going to make you all honorary black people. Melissa, my bride here, will give you certificates of forgiveness in the back, and you can embrace your blackness. First, I want to pay tribute to some of the white people that made this possible, like David Horowitz. He's no Abe Lincoln, but I do like his plantation.

How about this hotel. Jeez, talk about white privilege, which I will. Many of you here are part of the anti-slavery party. That would be the Republican Party, the same Republican Party of today, just with less wavos rancheros, I'll keep it nice. 386,000 Republicans, your ancestors, died to free black people. 284,000 white Democrats died to keep black people in slavery. So put that little thought in your mind when you're talking to these radicals. Republicans set records in Congress that remain to this day. The Republican Party during Reconstruction elected over 66 black senators, and they brag about Barack Obama and Kamala Harris and Spartacus. So fast forward today, November 8, 2016, into the past, but what was our future while back when Trump saved the Republican Party. Nobody thought a man named Donald Trump would ever be present, and they conspired against him. I just want to remind you what they look like. Doesn't that just make you smile. Holly cow, look at them.

Where's the next ones, oh there they are. Don't you love that look. God. When I see pictures like that it reminds me of an old country song, Ain't Never Gone to Bed With an Ugly Woman, But I Sure Woke Up With a Few. Yep. Democrats schemed against Donald Trump with every trick in the book. In the past, Democrats intimidated blacks and Republications with the White League, the Red Shirts, ultimately the Ku Klux Klan, and after the election, Democrats use Antifa, Black Lives Matter and the biggest intimidation group of all: the media, to name just a few. And when they lose, these knuckleheads demand compromise as if they won. They challenged our choices for the Supreme Court, and recently for this acting Attorney General Whittaker. Their complaints are that people are just too conservative.

I don't know about you, but on November 8, 2016, I was delighted to slap the smug face off of those anti-Americans. Now on that day, I called it Emancipation 2, and this time even the white folks are freed. So if you're in this room, you are a trailblazer, and you come from a long line of trailblazers. Men, you are of the ilk of Booker T. Washington, the ilk of Frederick Douglas. Ladies, you hail from the likes of Maggie Walker, the first black woman to charter a bank, Sara Breedlove a/a Madam C. J. Walker who was the first female black millionaire. I'm sorry, Sojourer Truth who was an abolitionist and a women's rights activist.

Black Republican women were freeing women before Hillary Clinton or Gloria Steinem ever thought about burning a bra, and truth be told, all these leftist femi-nazis, all their contributions to society combined wouldn't fill a cup of Maggie Walker's bra, and why all these black women fought to humanize women in the eyes of the law, they weren't male-hating shrews hell-bent on an androgynous genderless society, a society where women look like lumberjacks and men look like Victoria Secret runway models. So when you see a real man, and there are many in this room, thank a conservative woman.

When it comes to these feminists, I paraphrase an old country song, She Got the Ring and America Got the Finger. And what about modern day black heroes, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Clarence Thomas, one of my idols. I got the pleasure of meeting him. Larry Elder, Mason Weaver, Star Parker, Allen West, I could go on. What about that Kevin Jackson? The countless others who have fought for decades to allow Americans the privilege of free thoughts. I can't tell you how it feels folks to be a free range negro. For a black person to be a Democrat is confusing to me as an 80‑year old with a belly button ring. It just makes no sense, and you see so many black people still voting Democrat, and I'll tell you, I get madder than a midget with a yoyo when I think about it.

So we live in a world of created victims. The Left speak of their good intentions, and they do nothing but create victims. If you're fat, blame the restaurant. If you're ugly, blame your plastic surgeon. If you're white, well blame your parents. I recently told a leftist, when it comes to thought you stop at nothing. Some of you will get that later.

Democrats intentionally make their black supporters stupid. That's the education system that they have weaponized against blacks. Democrats call it Affirmative Action when they allow blacks into college with substandard grades, so what happens when they find out they can't compete?

So I have a friend, he teaches at Princeton, but he went to Princeton, and his brother is a surgeon who worked for Ben Carson, and he shared a story with me. He says, Kevin, my brother went to Princeton and he says his first test in physics he flunked out, he flunked the test, and he could not recover. He was going to flunk the class because of the way the grading system worked. But he went to his professor and he says, professor, if I make A's on the next test and I ace the final, will you give me an A in this class? And the professor said sure. He's like you're not going to do it, young black guy in Princeton on Affirmative Action. You got no chance, but he says the thing I want you to do is you have work with me every time I come to you to tutor me and so on and so forth, so the professor agreed.

So what happened? He aced his next text, he aced the final, and he's a professor that teaches physics at Princeton. Now I'm going to tell you something. A story like that could not happen today, because somebody would have passed him along and he would eventually not learn physics and flunk out of Princeton. He would probably been working some menial job somewhere. So in the words of an old an old country song, I say to Democrats, I'm so Miserable Without You it's Like Having You Here.

Despite what Democrats tell black people, we can be anything we want to be, and my grandmother would say to me if you find yourself in horse poop, get up and look for the pony. The Left does not want blacks to know how powerful we are. Thus, the slave blood that pumps through our veins is not a malady but a source of strength. The blood that pumps through black veins proves that we can overcome anything. Black conservatives want to share this powerful feeling. That's why I say to Democrats, if you can't live without me, why haven't you killed yourselves yet? Oh what blacks could have been without Democrats meddling, trying to make us part of their social engineering experiments.

So I want to talk a little bit about diversity. I think that's my next slide because I was having a conversation with some people at dinner, and I wanted to prove to them what I said which is, they always talk about the browning of America. You folks are afraid of the browning of America. You're afraid there's too many black and brown people that are going to come here, so you need to be diversified, you bunch of white people. I wanted to give you some stats. That's the top 20 least diverse countries in the world. You see America on there? No, but you see a whole lot of African countries. Some of you guys might not know that because that's the motherland. You're officially black now.

You got to learn this. Alright, so that's 1 through 20. Here's 21 through 40, a bunch of other African countries. They got Indonesia in there, Soviet Union, but only through 1991, still bad for them though. Sudan, Kuwait. I want to show you guys the Soviet Union right there. Alright? Here's the next list. Finally, we got Canada down here right? And there's the United States, No. 85. So that's all this diversity they talk about and they guilt you into believing we're such a racist country. You're No. 85 in a list of 190 countries, so you're in practically the middle of this, nowhere near being racist, but do they ever ask Somalia when are you going to be bringing in a bunch of white folks? Or when are they going bring some Latinos over? Of course not.

I want to shift gears and move to white privilege for a bit because just like there is no such term as African-American, there is no such term as white privilege. Watch basketball, football, baseball, whatever sport, tell me what you see. You see a bunch of black multimillionaires whining, got a ham under each arm and begging for bread. To hear the Left though, now is it possible that black people can achieve in America? Well I have an answer for you. Hard work, just like everybody else. With all this white privilege going around, how did so many black people manage to get some? Is there a store for it? I was thinking about if there was a store for it, would black people have to steal it, and I can imagine Barack Obama going in there and some salesmen following him around, and he finally steals him some white privilege, and he goes out and says, "Take that Hillary, ha ha ha!" You get the same privilege in academics as you get in sports if you're willing to work hard for it. By figuring out what gifts the good Lord gives you, and you work your butt off.

So let me give you a couple things for white privilege. If you believe in it, then you must believe in the equal and opposite which is black under-privilege, and that is racist. So to believe in white privilege, when you see black people, do you automatically see a person that needs help? Is that the under-privilege? And if you don't see that, then you must question your belief in white privilege. If you believe in white privilege, how do you explain black privilege? If you believe in white privilege, when you see a successful black person, $20.00 for that call by the way. The only conclusion you can draw is that that black person is successful because of whites. So I ask white privilege believers, can blacks be successful without whites and if so, are these anecdotes, or are they anomalies?

The logic thread offers another query. If you believe in white privilege, how do you explain unsuccessful whites? Do they squander their privilege and if there is, is there a limit on it? Can white people re-up their privilege? I'm just giving you some food for thought here white people. If people believe in white privilege, then why don't they believe those who believe in it ever give it up? I got a long list of family members that are waiting in line to get some if you're ready to do it. Generally those who believe in white privilege go on to explain how much they help black folks, right? You know who they don't help? They don't help Will Smith's kids. Why is it you always want to help Umbuku from Africa or some little kid in the ghetto? Why won't you help Will Smith's kids? He's black. He obviously needs privilege too. Do you understand how stupid this concept is? It's ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm about out of time here and so I got to wrap up, but I want to say a couple things. 1) I'm going to show a trailer so I'm going to go a minute into this. I'm going to do what these white guys did and go longer. I will take advantage of my white privilege right now, and I'm not hesitant to pull the race card either if you mess with me. I want to talk about a movie that Melissa and I did. It's called Bleeding Blue.

Oh, this is the displacement numbers. This is the number of people displaced in the world. These are the updated statistics. Those are the top five countries. You see the United States on there? Is anybody running from this country? No. Those are the top five countries where they're running from. They have a lot in common and it isn't being a Democratic Republic. It isn't being a Judeo-Christian nation, just to give you a couple of hints.

Let me go onto my movie. Melissa and I did this movie because some people wanted us to bridge the gap between the black community and the police, so we made a spectacular film. It's not just good, it's spectacular. It's called Bleeding Blue. It debuted September 7 and I have a short trailer. It's about a minute.

America's trigger-happy policing is back to the fore after an 18‑year-old was shot. A suspect dying at the hands of police officers. Two police officers accused of beating to death a homeless man. Beaten and pepper sprayed, the officers used excessive force. The troublemakers carried pepper spray and guns and were wearing badges. We are not having an honest conversation around why this type of thing is occurring. Why does the media push these few incidents to make it look like it's happening all the time? They have created a narrative that is very destructive. Whiteness doesn't only show up as enslavement and lynching. I've always worked minority community areas, and I wondered: Why is everybody angry at me? I'm here to help. You can see the amount of damage being done just by putting information out before too much is known about it. The street situation is extremely volatile. It's dangerous. We know what we're up against. We know it could cost us our lives. We want safe neighborhoods for our kids and for ourselves. Somebody's got to be on the front line of defending that and that's the American police officer.

Thank you. In America today, an adherent racism occurs, and it's not a secret where people wear white sheets and disguise their identities. The racists are open, they're in your face. They openly discuss their disdain for white people, particularly men, for conservatives, for Christians, for Jews. Michelle Obama said recently that she didn't trust Barack Obama because too many white people fawned all over him. Now you tell me what first lady could get away with saying something like that except that ****? And I'm going to leave it there. If you have questions, love to talk to you in the lobby. Thank you very much.
Kevin Jackson is a highly sought national speaker, and he has graced the stage with luminaries as Sarah Palin, Neal Boortz, Herman Cain, Judge Napolitano, and Andrew Breitbart. He founded and contributes to The Black Sphere and The Kevin Jackson Show. Kevin is unapologetically American, Christian, Conservative and a proud Capitalist! He is also friend of the editor of the ARRA News Service editor. FrontPage Mag, a publication of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, shared Kevin's presentation.

Tags: Kevin Jackson, speech, Hororwitz's Resoration Weekend,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Yes, George Soros is a Gun Grabber

by NRA-ILA: In 2015, billionaire gun control financier and potential 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg financed the creation of the anti-gun propaganda outlet The Trace. Ever grateful for their wealthy benefactor’s unfettered largesse, the Bloomberg advocacy group now views less-profligate anti-gun tycoons as irrelevant to gun control lobby’s efforts.

In a piece titled, “George Soros Is Not the Gun Grabber the NRA Says He Is,” The Trace sets out to rehabilitate the anti-gun image of the Hungarian-born billionaire and his political apparatus, Open Society Foundations.

According to Bloomberg’s press agents, Soros is a small fry in the gun control debate and “has not sunk much into gun control causes in nearly 20 years.” The flacks acknowledge, but brush aside, the fact that “over the past 20 years, Open Society has spent $3 million total on efforts to reduce gun violence.” Moreover, the advocates discount more recent Open Society contributions to the gun control effort following the shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Parkland, Fla.

In 2017, Soros announced his plans to gift $18 billion to Open Society Foundations. At the time NRA-ILA explained why that gift should trouble gun owners, detailing Soros’s lengthy record on gun control.

For more on Soros’s record of support for gun control read: Anti-Gun Billionaire George Soros Pumps $18 Billion into His Political Apparatus (2017)

In glossing over Soros’s history of support for gun control, The Trace neglected to mention that Open Society Foundations has advocated for bans on commonly-owned semiautomatic firearms, gun rationing, and the “licensing of firearm owners and registration of guns.” The gun control group also failed to note that Open Society funded anti-gun organizations like the Million Mom March, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, and Women Against Gun Violence. There was also no mention of Open Society’s support for frivolous lawsuits aimed at bankrupting the firearms industry.

The main thrust of The Trace item is that while Soros engaged in some gun control efforts 20 years ago, his recent and ongoing efforts aren’t worthy of NRA’s criticism.

As NRA-ILA’s 2017 piece explained, some of Open Society Foundations’ more recent actions should trouble gun owners:

Open Society has worked closely with the Joyce Foundation and given grant money to their projects. The Joyce Foundation funds a host of anti-gun initiatives and is a chief financier of the handgun prohibitionist organization the Violence Policy Center. In 2013 Open Society granted $150,000 to the Joyce Foundation’s Fund for a Safer Future. According to the initiative’s materials, their goals include “background checks on all gun sales; [and] bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.”

A 2016 interview with one of Open Society’s grantees, Marlon Peterson, provides an idea of Open Society’s current position on the Second Amendment. Peterson said that NRA and the “firearms industrial complex” had, “bastardized the Second Amendment for capital gain at the expense of thousands of American lives every year.” The grantee went on to add, “This nation needs to be bold enough to reconsider our relationship to the Second Amendment.”

Concerning Open Society’s global efforts, the group has a close relationship with international gun control activist Rebecca Peters. An Australian, Peters came to international prominence in 1996 as a campaigner for her country’s gun ban and confiscation regime. Peters went on to be the program director for the Funder’s Collaborative for Gun Violence Prevention, which received funding from Open Society, and then direct the International Action Network on Small Arms. IANSA is a gun control umbrella organization whose members include U.S. gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign and States United to Prevent Gun Violence along with foreign groups like Gun Control Australia.

Beyond Peters, Director of the Control Arms Secretariat Anna Macdonald holds an Open Society fellowship. Control Arms was a leading backer of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Further, Open Society Director of Learning and Grant Making Natalie Jaynes is an alumnus of both the Small Arms Survey and Gun Free South Africa.
With at least $50 Million pledged to for Everytown for Gun Safety, $1.1 billion to Johns Hopkins University (which included cash for the anti-gun Bloomberg School of Public Health), and wild spending on political campaigns (which included $100 million for Democrats during the 2018 election cycle for the express purpose of enacting gun control), Michael Bloomberg is the reigning king of the anti-gun oligarchs. However, that does not mean gun owners should ignore the other wealthy elites that attack their rights.

Soros has built the anti-gun Open Society Foundations into one of the largest philanthropic organizations and the New York Times reported that the billionaire’s gift to the group was “one of the largest transfers of wealth ever made by a private donor to a single foundation.” With an ever-growing anti-gun record, gun rights supporters should keep a careful eye on Soros and his burgeoning advocacy network; NRA-ILA certainly will.
NRA-ILA article.

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Charting the Danger of the Modern Left

Stephen Moore, Economist
by Stephen Moore: No one understands the dysfunctions and debilitating impact of America's political system in the swamp better than Mark Melcher and Steve Soukup. For decades between them, they followed Washington for Wall Street at one of America's largest brokerage houses. For the last 16 years, the two have run their own, independent research shop, delivering political commentary and forecasting to the investment community, studying the intersection between politics and economics. This pushed them into a relentless pursuit of the new left -- measuring its deleterious impact on everything it touches -- most especially Western civilization.

To this end, Melcher and Soukup have put the fruits of their study into print. "Know Thine Enemy: A History of the Left," is nearly 1,000 pages long. It has been divided into two volumes, the first of which is available from Amazon (and Barnes & Noble). The purpose of this effort is to teach readers everything they can about the left, its origins and its many forms. They also identify the men and women who pushed back against the left, including the conservative icon Russell Kirk, to whom their book is dedicated.

The authors start their story at the Enlightenment, one of mankind's greatest achievements, but also one of its most dangerous moments, or as they write in the introduction:

"(The left) emerged in the eighteenth century during the so-called Enlightenment period, and was based on the belief that science and reason should replace religion as the foundation of a modern society. The purveyors of his new ideology had trouble agreeing on details of this new belief system, and this resulted in the wide proliferation of leftist prototypes, among the best-known of which are communism, socialism, Marxism, fascism, and, in the United States, progressivism and liberalism.

"While different from each other in many important ways, all of these models originally shared several important philosophical ideas. These include an aversion to Christianity and religion generally, to capitalism, and to the concept of private property; a belief in the perfectibility of mankind; a belief in the superiority of reason over faith; a claim to an affinity with the working classes; and the promise of a world of peace, equality, and prosperity, free from the evils that religion had foisted on the mankind."

In volume one, the two political historians trace the left from Voltaire and Rousseau, through the French Revolution, to Kant and Marx, to Great Britain with its Utopian Socialists and Bloomsburies, back to the Continent for the anarchists and proto-fascists, and then to the United States and its "progressives." Most people think of the left only as Marx and his murderous acolytes, but Melcher and Soukup demonstrate that the left has been a consistent feature of Western civilization since the French Revolution, each scheme dedicated to undermining the existing order and creating a "new" man -- whether he likes it or not.

The book allows the left to indict itself by citing the words of leftists themselves -- most of which were written by dense and arrogant men in dense and arrogant prose. Fortunately, the authors' narrative and their collection of easy-to-understand and highly respected secondary sources provide the reader with more than enough information to see just how dangerous and how similar various leftist movements have been.

I have spent my entire career advocating for free-market economic policies, trying to convince the leaders of this country that unnecessary government interference in the marketplace -- and let's face it, most government is totally unnecessary -- destroys liberty and inhibits prosperity. The authors help to explain why this effort is absolutely necessary. The authors document the inevitable destruction unleashed by the left wherever it has reared its ugly head. They show how the ideas of leftism played a huge role in the creation of our administrative state, the bureaucratic apparatus that defies the Founders' instructions that the government exists to secure our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

"Know Thine Enemy" is a comprehensive takedown of the left and it should be read by those who want good to triumph over evil. (No, I'm not inciting violence here, but those who have abused political power for their own self-aggrandizement are not just misguided intellects.) Too often, we say that the left is wrong but well-intentioned. Some are. But most simply want government to control other people's lives and they believe in Stalinistic methods to achieve that goal.

Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Mao, Pol Pot, Antifa, Castro, Che Guevara and the like use power to reduce the sanctity of the individual for the common good of the collective. It is a kind of enslavement that degrades the human spirit and makes us poorer over time. But the real villains here are not the leftists of yesteryear who set back the quest for human freedom and material progress, but the modern left -- the academics, the politicians, the media mavens -- who know, or should know, full well the destruction and retardation of statism, but still selfishly pursue it.

The underlying message of this book is that the modern left must be stopped and thoroughly discredited before they do society real and irrevocable harm.
Stephen Moore, (@StephenMoore) is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with Freedom Works. He is the co-author of "Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy." Moore encouraged the ARRA News Service editor at SamSphere Chicago 2008 to blog his articles. His article was in Rasmussen Reports

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Will Democratic Rebels Dethrone Nancy?

Pelosi's Outlook - Rough Times Ahead
by Patrick Buchanan: After adding at least 37 seats and taking control of the House by running on change, congressional Democrats appear to be about to elect as their future leaders three of the oldest faces in the party.

Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny Hoyer of Maryland have led the House Democrats for 16 years. For 12 years, they have been joined in the leadership triumvirate by Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

If these three emerge as speaker, majority leader and majority whip, all three Democratic leaders will be older than our oldest president, Ronald Reagan, was when he went home after two terms.

By 2020’s election, all three House leaders would be over 80.

Was this gerontocracy what America voted for when it awarded Democrats control of the U.S. House?

Hardly. Some Democrats won in 2018 by pledging not to vote for Pelosi as speaker, so unpopular is she in their districts. And if all who said they want new leadership were to vote for new leaders on the House floor Jan. 3 — when the speaker will be chosen — Pelosi would fall short. The race for speaker could then break wide-open.

Some 16 Democrats vowed Monday to oppose Pelosi on the House floor, one shy of being enough to block her return to the speakership after eight years.

In a letter that went public, the 16 declared: “Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington. We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise.”

The likelihood of the rebellion succeeding, however, remains slim, for no credible challenger to Pelosi has yet announced.

What explains the timidity in the Democratic caucus?

Pelosi punishes enemies. Democrats calling for new leaders have already been branded as sexists with the hashtag “#FiveWhiteGuys.”

Yet evidence is mounting that a Pelosi speakership would prove to be an unhappy close to her remarkable career.

One week after the election, 150 protesters from the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats blocked Pelosi’s House office to demand action on climate change. They were joined by the youngest member of the incoming Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Pelosi declared herself “inspired” by the protesters, 51 of whom were arrested. She urged police to let them exercise their democratic rights and pledged to revive the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which Republicans abolished.

Dismissing the committee as “toothless,” the protesters demanded that Pelosi’s party commit to bringing an end to the use of all fossil fuels and to accepting no more campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.

Not going to happen with Pelosi as speaker. For when it comes to the leftist agenda of liberal Democrats from safe districts — Medicare for all, abolish ICE, impeach Trump — Pelosi would pigeonhole such measures to avoid the party’s being dragged too far to the left for 2020.

And if the House were to pass radical measures, the bills would die in the Senate or be vetoed by the president.

Moreover, within Pelosi’s party in the House, the various factions are going to be demanding a new distribution of the seats of power, of which there are only so many to go around.

Democratic women, who won more seats than ever, will want more, as will the Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanics. It will most likely be white male Democrats, that shrinking cohort, who will be the principal losers in the new House.

That adage about Democrats being a collection of warring tribes gathered together in anticipation of common plunder has never seemed truer.

What, then, does the new year promise?

As it becomes apparent that there is little common ground for bipartisan legislation on Capitol Hill — except perhaps on infrastructure, and that would take a long time to enact — the cable news channels will look elsewhere for the type of action that causes ratings to soar. That action will inevitably come in the clashes between Trump and his enemies and the media that sustain them.

Out of the House — with Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, Maxine Waters and Jerrold Nadler as new chairs — will come a blizzard of subpoenas and a series of confrontations with witnesses.

From special counsel Robert Mueller’s office will almost surely come new indictments, trials and the long-anticipated report, which will go to the Justice Department, where Matthew Whitaker is acting attorney general.

Then there is the presidential race of 2020, where the Democratic Party has yet another gerontocracy problem.

By spring, there could be 20 Democrats who will have announced for president. And five of the most prominent mentioned — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg — are also over 70, with Elizabeth Warren turning 70 in June.

While some candidates will be granted airtime because they are famous, the lesser-known will follow the single sure path to the cable studios and the weekend TV shows — the trashing of Trump.

Trading barbs is not Nancy Pelosi’s kind of fight.
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.

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Surviving the Holidays . . .

. . . Happy Thanksgiving 2018. Surviving the Holidays can be hard for some this year without a pardon from President Trump.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: The term “incitement” is being thrown around in order to blame violent actions on something said by an elected official. For example, Judicial Watch filed an ethics complaint against Representative Maxine Waters for “inciting violence and assaults on the Trump Cabinet.” Lots of commentators have accused President Donald Trump of inciting violence with his harsh comments. In fact, three protesters who were roughed up at a Trump rally filed a federal suit two years ago against the president, accusing him of inciting violence.

Of course the Bible warns us to watch what we say. Proverbs 12:18 compares “rash words” to “sword thrusts.” Proverbs 15:1 warns that “a harsh word stirs up anger” and thus recommends a “soft answer” because it “turns away wrath.” The Apostle Paul encourages us to put away “bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander.” Our political class would be wise to dial back all of their harsh rhetoric.

But let’s ask an important question: Is harsh speech related to violent action? In our legal system, we have what can be called a “reasonable person standard.” Try these examples. If I hear the president say that CNN is the enemy of the people, does that mean a reasonable person would then go out and blow up CNN headquarters? I don’t see how that is an incitement to violence. You may even think it is crass and irresponsible, but it isn’t calling for an action.

However, if a member of Congress calls for people to “get out and create a crowd and push back” on “anybody from that cabinet,” that is more of a call to action. It may not be an attempt to incite violence, but it certainly qualifies as an encouragement for activists to harass cabinet members in public. Let’s pray that those interactions don’t lead to violence, but the call for action is certainly much closer to the line.
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.

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No-Study Politics

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: The 200-plus “youth activists” who stormed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s offices (see yesterday’s Common Sense) were protesting Pelosi’s leadership on climate issues. Soon-to-be Representative Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was there to encourage Pelosi to listen to them.

“We need a Green New Deal,” Ocasio-Cortez informed her natural constituency, journalists, “and we need to get to 100 percent renewables because our lives depend on it.”

An impossible task, of course. Which means activists would always possess a reason to protest — forever and ever without end.

Still, Ocasio-Cortez and her friends seem earnest. The Representative-Elect insists “we have 10 years left and I — not just as an elected member, but as a 29-year-old woman — am thinking not just about what we are going to accomplish in the next two years but the America that we’re going to live in in the next 30 years.”

A little skepticism is in order. Prophecies to the effect that we have only “ten or 12 years left” after which “global warming will be irreversible” are made repeatedly . . . every ten years or so. Rinse.

“I think in 2018, when fires, floods, storms are getting worse,” another Pelosi protester reiterated, “and when the U.N. climate report says we have 12 years to radically transform our entire economy at a scale that’s unprecedented in human history, I think studying climate change is absolutely the wrong thing to do.”

What pearls of wisdom to conclude the coverage. Of course “studying climate change is absolutely the wrong thing to do” to “fix” climate change! Who needs information?

To fight climate change . . . or “radically transform our entire economy.”

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Paul Jacob 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. Jacob is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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Bill Nelson Won the Florida Recount’s of ‘Found’ Votes 74% to 26%

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Robert Romano: Talk about disparate impact.

Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) beat out Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) for the Florida Senate seat, but looking back on the recount totals, 25 percent of Bill Nelson’s gained votes in Florida recount were in Broward County alone, even though Broward County only made up 8 percent of the state’s total vote count. Was it fraud?

Looking at the county data from election night to what happened in the Florida recount for the U.S. Senate seat, and Broward County and a few other counties do stand out as anomalous. That is to say, these few counties chalked up a disproportionate share of recount votes in favor of soon to be former Sen. Nelson compared to their shares of the population: Broward, Orange, Miami-Dade, Alachua, Suwannee, Leon, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hamilton.

What you might expect would happen is that there would be a certain change in the vote tally between the initial count from election night, which includes early voting, and a manual recount, and that those differences would be roughly distributed evenly throughout the counties based on their overall percentage of the population, accounting for machine error and the like.

Instead, in the recount, 5,325 new votes were recorded, which Nelson won 74 percent to 26 percent statewide, about the same as Broward County. In Orange County, Nelson won the new recount votes 84 percent to 16 percent, 91 percent to 9 percent in Alachua County and an absurd 98 percent to 2 percent in Miami-Dade County.

Overall, Broward County accounted for 24.8 percent of the entire state’s recount net votes in favor of Nelson even though it only accounted for 8.3 percent of the state’s total vote count, Orange County accounted for 12.3 percent even though statewide it only accounted for 5.8 percent of total votes, Miami-Dade was 11.7 percent versus 9.8 percent, Alachua was 3.2 percent versus 1.4 percent, Suwannee was 0.8 percent versus 0.2 percent, Leon was 2.3 percent versus 1.7 percent, Hillsborough was 6.6 percent versus 6.4 percent and Pinellas was 5.6 percent to 5.3 percent.

Nelson picked up about 2,529 votes in the recount, cutting the victor Gov. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) lead to a little more than 10,000 votes. Of the 2,529 votes Nelson picked up in the recount, 67.3 percent of those were in these 10 counties even though overall they only made up 41.5 percent of votes cast statewide.

Meaning the recount itself for whatever reason is what produced the irregularity. Only two of the 10 counties that produced anomalies in favor of Nelson were ones that Scott won, but being so much smaller they can more or less be discounted as they only produced 29 out of the 2,529 net votes in favor of Nelson, or just 1 percent.

Also interestingly, the recount statewide only resulted in net gains for Scott in eight out of 67 counties. Four had no net gain or loss. 55 counties produced gains for Nelson.

President Donald Trump, before the recounts were underway, noted that recounts always favor Democrats. On Nov. 9, he tweeted, “Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they ‘found’ many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. ‘The Broward Effect.’ How come they never find Republican votes?”

Trump has got a point. In some of these counties almost all of the new votes “found” after Election Day favored Democrats, and statewide three-quarters of the new votes favored Democrats.

Now, I’m not saying there was fraud. What I am saying is that the difference between what these particular counties initially reported and what they reported in the recount stand out as anomalies, particularly considering their shares of the state’s population. Where did all these new votes come from? Someone should find out.

It could be that the new votes simply were not delivered in time to make the machine count, but then turned up in the manual count, including provisional ballots. But isn’t that why there are state-imposed deadlines?

Voter suppression does not appear to have been at play as a reason for the votes to have not been initially counted, unless anybody believes Democrats were suppressing their own votes in the initial count in counties they overwhelmingly control.

The fact is, Broward County and other Democrat-heavy counties in Florida produced disproportionate shares of recount votes in favor of Bill Nelson that, on the surface, appear irregular. In order to rule out any potential fraud and to make sure this doesn’t happen again, the state Attorney General and the Justice Department Civil Rights Division should look into it — before 2020.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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Senate Democrats Cite Problems at HUD, but Block Trump’s Nominees for Key Posts

"Ultimately, we all need to start working together," 
HUD Sec, Ben Carson responded to a critical
NBC News report.  Carson addressed the
2018 Young Black Leadership Summit.
 (Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom)
by Fred Lucas: Senate Democrats have stalled nominees to fill key posts in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, even while complaining about the agency’s performance.

An NBC News report last week alleged that HUD’s staffing problems were the fault of President Donald Trump and HUD Secretary Ben Carson. HUD’s enforcement office is at its lowest level since 1999 of moving against bad landlords who get federal subsidies, according to NBC.

But the network’s story didn’t address the the high-level nominees that Senate Democrats have stalled from taking office through procedural tactics.

Four top-level HUD nominees await Senate action more than 22 months into Trump’s four-year term.

Chief among these is Robert Hunter Kurtz, who Trump initially nominated to be HUD’s assistant secretary for public and Indian housing on Sept. 15, 2017.

As has been the case with many other stalled nominations throughout the federal government, Kurtz isn’t particularly political, but rather has a career with HUD and public housing.

Kurtz served at HUD under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He was deputy director of Detroit’s Department of Housing and Revitalization under Mayor Mike Duggan, a Democrat.

The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee sent Kurtz’s nomination to the Senate floor with a bipartisan voice vote. However, the Senate did not take up his nomination before the end of 2017.

So on Jan. 8, Trump renominated Kurtz. The committee again approved Kurtz, but he awaits confirmation by a vote of the entire Senate.

Democrats in the Senate minority use a procedural tactic to stall Trump’s nominees. Cloture is the process of forcing the maximum 30 hours of debate for each presidential nominee—even noncontroversial ones—to clog the Senate calendar.

By October, Democrats had forced 117 cloture votes, far in excess of the number forced on previous presidents.

By contrast, the Senate held just 12 clotures on nominees during Obama’s first two years, and four during George W. Bush’s first two years.

Unlike a filibuster, which allows a minority to block a floor vote, cloture uses procedural tactics to prolong the confirmation process so much that it limits the number of nominees who may reach the floor for a simple majority vote.

Cloture is the only formidable weapon for a Senate minority since the decline of the filibuster, which required 60 votes to allow a nominee to come to the floor of the Senate. Now, nominees can pass with a 51-vote majority.

Now, getting a vote to the floor in a timely manner is the problem. The cloture rule that requires 30 hours of debate before a vote may occur has become the new delaying tactic. Trump administration officials have accused Democrats of “weaponizing” the cloture rule.

Another example is Seth Appleton, nominated Feb. 5 as HUD’s assistant secretary for policy development and research. The banking committee on May 15 approved Appleton, who has been a senior staff member in the House of Representatives.

From 2009 to 2017, Appleton was chief of staff to Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo.

When Luetkemeyer was chairman of the House Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, Appleton was involved in passage of legislation, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, designed to reform rental assistance programs. The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously before being signed into law by Obama in 2016.

In another example, Trump nominated Michael Bright on June 7 to be president of HUD’s Government National Mortgage Association. The Senate banking committee approved Bright by a bipartisan voice vote Aug. 23.

Bright previously served as director for financial markets at the Milken Institute, and as a senior financial policy adviser to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

While the NBC story asserted that HUD isn’t operating properly, it didn’t mention that Trump nominated Rae Oliver Davis to be HUD’s inspector general on June 25. Although Davis was unanimously approved by the committee Aug. 23, her status has been in limbo because of cloture votes.

Davis, now acting assistant inspector general for HUD’s Office of Special Inquiry, worked for about 10 years in inspectors general offices. She was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee and an assistant attorney general for Tennessee. She also worked on Capitol Hill as a staffer for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

The NBC News story asserted:Under the Trump administration, the number of HUD apartments cited for unsafe, unhealthy, and physically deteriorating living conditions has been on the rise.

An NBC News investigation has found that more than 1,000 out of HUD’s nearly 28,000 federally subsidized multifamily properties failed their most recent inspection—a failure rate that is more than 30 percent higher than in 2016, according to an analysis of HUD records.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was critical of the administration.

“Whether it’s indifference or incompetence, the Trump administration’s failures in Connecticut and around the country cannot be excused,” Murphy told NBC News. “Someone must be held accountable. Secretary Carson owes it to these families to present a concrete plan for how he will make this better, and how he’ll make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”

The NBC story should prompt the Senate to move to confirm the HUD nominees, said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government.

“Incredibly, Senate Democrats have blocked the Trump administration nominee for assistant secretary of public housing, Hunter Kurtz, who would oversee this critical public safety and health area within HUD,” Manning said in a public statement.

“If anything, the NBC report highlights the importance of confirming the president’s nominees to put the Trump agenda into place and enforce housing law,” Manning said. “The Democrats think it’s funny when they play politics with Trump’s nominees, when in reality hamstringing attempts to improve the lives of those who need housing assistance is anything but.”

Carson, in charge of HUD since March 2, 2017, said he is “deeply concerned” about conditions in federaly subsidized housing properties. But he notes the problem isn’t new.

“This is a long-term problem that needs a long-term solution, and one we are very committed to fixing,” Carson said in a statement regarding the NBC News report, adding:Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was critical of the administration.

“Whether it’s indifference or incompetence, the Trump administration’s failures in Connecticut and around the country cannot be excused,” Murphy told NBC News. “Someone must be held accountable. Secretary Carson owes it to these families to present a concrete plan for how he will make this better, and how he’ll make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”

The NBC story should prompt the Senate to move to confirm the HUD nominees, said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government.

“Incredibly, Senate Democrats have blocked the Trump administration nominee for assistant secretary of public housing, Hunter Kurtz, who would oversee this critical public safety and health area within HUD,” Manning said in a public statement.

“If anything, the NBC report highlights the importance of confirming the president’s nominees to put the Trump agenda into place and enforce housing law,” Manning said. “The Democrats think it’s funny when they play politics with Trump’s nominees, when in reality hamstringing attempts to improve the lives of those who need housing assistance is anything but.”

Carson, in charge of HUD since March 2, 2017, said he is “deeply concerned” about conditions in federaly subsidized housing properties. But he notes the problem isn’t new.

“This is a long-term problem that needs a long-term solution, and one we are very committed to fixing,” Carson said in a statement regarding the NBC News report, adding:

For decades, people have been applying Band-Aids instead of treating the wound. We are in discussions with our acting inspector general to address this problem. These families deserve an all-hands-on-deck approach across local, state, and federal government. …

We need Congress to eliminate the cap on RAD [Rental Assistance Demonstration] so we can expand this effort. We need support from all PHAs [public housing authorities] so we can work seamlessly to meet the needs of our fellow Americans, and we need the Senate to finally confirm our assistant secretary for public and indian housing. Ultimately, we all need to start working together.
HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center inspects whether taxpayer-subsidized housing units meet safety and sanitary standards for getting federal funding. Developments that score well get fewer inspections. Those that score poorly get more inspections.

After becoming HUD secretary, Carson directed a wholesale re-examination of how the department conducts inspections.

HUD asserted that NBC News left viewers with a “false narrative” on several fronts. The department noted that 96 percent of HUD-contracted multifamily properties meet current inspection standards.

Failing properties include those that are being rehabilitated, sold, or have rental assistance contracts in the process of being terminated.

Although NBC blamed most of the staffing problems on Carson and the Trump administration, HUD contends staff reductions and consolidations have been going on since 2010. The number of HUD employees decreased from 9,339 to less than 7,000 in the past eight years, the agency says.

The Obama administration reorganized HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing and closed 16 field offices in 2013 in New Jersey, New York, Florida, California, Texas, Washington state, and Michigan.
Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal

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Is Acosta Demanding Freedom, Or License To Disrupt?

Image sent by ARRA News Service reader.
by Dr. Alan Keyes: Jim Acosta's suit against President Trump alleges that Trump's decision to bar the reporter from White House press conferences violates the First Amendment's provision that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press." Mr. Acosta may or may not know how to report the news. But apparently, he and his lawyers don't know how to read. The constitutional language just cited refers to Congress, not the president. It, therefore, constrains the lawmaking power of the legislative, not the Executive, branch. It would make no sense to assert that an occupant of the White House who bans someone from his dinner table for using foul language has made a law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

Among the constitutional duties of the president, I find language that says, "He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union...." I also find language that says that "he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers" (Article II.3). I find no provision, however, requiring that he provide information to the media, or receive self-important members of the media for dinner, press conferences, or any other events. He is not even required to receive members of Congress.

According to the Constitution, Congress is the only branch of government constitutionally vested with the power to call the president of the United States to account for his actions. By placing this power in the hands of the national legislature, the framers showed due regard for the just imperative that the chief executive of the United States is not above the law. But they also cast doubt on the notion that the judicial power of the United States government, vested ultimately in the Supreme Court, may sit in judgment of the personal conduct of the chief executive.

For, it has for long ages been the common sense of humankind that, where there is no power to enforce, there is, in effect, no law. At the highest level, this is what made it necessary for the first generation of American patriots to appeal to God, and "the laws of nature and of Nature's God," to judge the rightness of their rebellion against the British sovereign. When it comes to challenging the chief executive power of the U.S. government, it also makes it doubtful that the Supreme Court of the United States has the power simply to impose its opinions about the laws, including the Constitution, upon the chief executive.

When in disagreement with the president, the federal judiciary must rely upon the people to call the chief executive to account. They can do so, through their congressional representatives, provided their political will is strong enough – i.e., whenever it produces the constitutionally required majorities, in both Houses respectively, to impeach and then remove a sitting president from office. In that event, the chief justice of the Supreme Court may, by refusing to preside when the president is tried, slow the implementation of the people's judgment, but only for so long as it takes to impeach and remove the chief justice.

Thus the Congress has the power to enforce constraints upon the president, but only when strong feeling prevails against some executive action or policy. The judiciary has no enforcement power at all. So Alexander Hamilton observed in Federalist 78, when he wrote:

"The Judiciary...has no influence over either the sword or the purse. No direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments."

Does the judiciary's power to render judgment in this or that individual case trump the president's responsibility to use, or refrain from using, the U.S. government's executive power to secure the safety, welfare, and tranquility of the nation? That question is precisely what, in any given circumstance, the Constitution requires the people's representatives in Congress to decide. Though it is these days carelessly asserted the SCOTUS "strikes down" this or that law, or becomes "the law of the land," neither expression is accurate. People tend to assume that the SCOTUS wields some force of law, when in fact, under the Constitution of the United States, federal law enforcement is the province of the Executive Branch, supervised by the judgment of the people's representatives in Congress.

However, even though Hamilton's observation holds true, along with the reasoning premised upon it, neither implies that the president is simply above the law. Both perspectives simply imply that, when the president concludes that conscientious respect for the constitutional duties of the office warrants it, the chief executive may forbear to implement the judiciary's opinion. This is, for example, what President Andrew Jackson did in the case of Worcester v. Georgia 31 U.S. 515 (1832). By contrast, the famous Brown v. Board of Education did come into effect when President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas. The president's decision to act or refrain from acting is the prudential judgment that decides whether SCOTUS decisions that require further action by the U.S. government have the force of law. Of course, prudence requires that the chief executive take into account the Congress's power to move against the president's tenure of office if and when enough members of Congress conclude that action or inaction represents dereliction, not duty.

In Mr. Acosta's case against President Trump, is there reasonable grounds to conclude that the president is guilty of some high crime or misdemeanor for maintaining order and decorum during press conferences over which he personally presides? Just as judges have the prerogative to maintain order in their courtrooms, so the president must maintain order in the White House. If federal judges forget their duty to honor the prerogative they themselves require, presidents may remind them that the disorder they inflict implies disorder they will have to endure.

Indeed, it would be best to remember that demanding respect for officials who represent the U.S. government's authority in all three branches is the prerogative of the people they are supposed to represent and serve. Disrespecting any such officials brings the sovereign self-government of the people into contempt. Those who demand the right to show such disrespect are not exercising their freedom. They are demanding license to degrade and overthrow our liberty.
Alan Keyes was Asst Secretary of State for International Organizations and an Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council under President Reagan. Keyes ran for president in 1996, 2000 and 2008, and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate for Maryland in 1988 and 1992 and for Illinois in 2004 against Barack Obama. He writes for Renew America where he first shared this article and blogs at

Tags: Alan Keyes, commentary, Jim Acosta, Demanding Freedom, Or License To Disrupt To 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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