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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)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Principle and Compromise

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Last Friday, Tim Eyman — the Evergreen State’s best-known ballot initiative practitioner — won an important court case.

But he also scuttled an amazingly impressive compromise between state legislators, police, and the proponents of Initiative 940.

The measure was written and promoted by De-Escalate Washington, a group that includes several relatives of deceased victims of recent controversial police shootings. I-940 would implement violence de-escalation and mental health training for police, and require law enforcement personnel to provide first-aid to save lives. Most likely Washington voters tell pollsters they approve.

De-Escalate Washington got the required signatures, sending this “indirect initiative” to Olympia. The Legislature was faced with three choices:
  • approve the initiative as written;
  • not act, letting the measure go to the ballot; or
  • approve an alternative and place both proposals on the ballot.
The Legislature tried to “create a fourth option”: it passed the measure with amendments.

And that’s what Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller found unconstitutional. She sent the measure, un-amended, to the ballot for a vote of the people.

Interestingly, those amendments were the result of negotiations among the measure’s advocates, the police, and the Legislature. There had been many congratulations all around on the “historic” compromise. But, “historic” or no, legislatures must follow the law.

Tim Eyman is pleased that the court defended the constitutionally defined initiative process by definitively siding against the backroom compromise.

And voters will still get the chance to vote on the proposal.

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. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Principle and Compromise To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Did The DNC Destroy The Evidence Of The ‘Hack’ On Their Servers?

. . . Court filing says 140 servers decommissioned, 180 computers erased and 11 servers ‘rebuilt.’
by Robert Romano: On Twitter on April 20, President Donald Trump has said if there’s an upside to the DNC lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Wikileaks and Russia, he said “we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI…”

But according to the DNC’s filing, the committee may have destroyed all the evidence of the alleged hack by Russia of the DNC emails: “As a result of the persistence of the Russian state-sponsored infiltration, in order to remove the unauthorized users from its network, the DNC was required to decommission more than 140 servers, remove and reinstall all software, including the operating systems, for more than 180 computers, and rebuild at least 11 servers.”

Which sounds familiar. Anyway, 18 U.S.C. 1519 states, for anyone who still cares, “Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

So here the DNC is alleging in federal court that crimes were committed on its servers, they never let the FBI investigate and they deleted the operating systems on all the affected computers, totaling 180, decommissioned 140 servers and “rebuilt” 11 servers.

And we’re all supposed to just, what? Take their words for it?

What is incredible is that for almost two years, the Justice Department has just been a-okay with that. In testimony on Jan. 10, 2017 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey stated that “Ultimately what was agreed to is the private company [Crowdstrike] would share with us what they saw… Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that’s involved, so it’s the best evidence.”

Crowdstrike, which was hired by the same law firm that tasked Fusion GPS to commission the Christopher Steele dossier, Perkins Coie, got the task of investigating the servers in 2016. As an aside, and very interestingly, none of the major allegations by Steele, which the DNC paid for, appear in the DNC lawsuit. Some of the top alleged colluders from the Steele dossier, Trump himself, his lawyer Michael Cohen or one-time foreign policy advisor Carter Page are not named as defendants.

Crowdstrike Co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch in the Washington Post published June 14, 2016 spoke of the lack of evidence as to how it was that somebody got onto the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers to get the emails that were ultimately published on Wikileaks in July 2016. According to the Washington Post, “CrowdStrike is not sure how the hackers got in. The firm suspects they may have targeted DNC employees with ‘spearphishing’ emails… ‘But we don’t have hard evidence,’ Alperovitch said,” the report stated. Nor was Alperovitch really sure who had hacked the DNC emails: “CrowdStrike is less sure of whom Cozy Bear works for but thinks it might be the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the country’s powerful security agency, which was once headed by Putin.” Not exactly air tight.

On Nov. 17, 2016 former National Intelligence Director James Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee: “As far as the WikiLeaks connection, the evidence there is not as strong and we don’t have good insight into the sequencing of the releases or when the data may have been provided,” adding, “We don’t have as good of insight into that.” Perhaps because they had no idea. Because they never looked at the servers.

In fact, because all the servers have now been decommissioned or rebuilt, and the affected computers erased over, we may never know what really happened. But there should still be an attempt made to find out. Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning in a statement agreed with President Trump about investigating the servers still, saying, “The President should immediately demand the DNC servers be turned over to his legal team’s own forensic analysis team in order to determine the origins any hack. Given that the DNC failed to provide this basic piece of evidence to the FBI in the past, it will provide the people of the United States the first independent look at what really happened with their servers.”

That is, if there is even any data left.
--------------------
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Robert Romano, DNC, Destroy, Evidence, Hillary Clinton, ‘Hack’ On Their Servers 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 Will Weapons Inspectors Find in Syria…And Does it Matter?

Dr. Ron Paul
by Dr. Ron Paul: Inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have finally arrived in Douma, Syria, to assess whether a gas attack took place earlier this month. It has taken a week for the inspectors to begin their work, as charges were thrown back and forth about who was causing the delay.

Proponents of the US and UK position that Assad used gas in Douma have argued that the Syrian and Russian governments are preventing the OPCW inspectors from doing their work. That, they claim, is all the evidence needed to demonstrate that Assad and Putin have something to hide. But it seems strange that if Syria and Russia wanted to prevent an OPCW inspection of the alleged sites they would have been the ones to request the inspection in the first place.

The dispute was solved just days ago, as the OPCW Director-General released a statement explaining that the delay was due to UN security office concerns for the safety of the inspectors.

We are told that even after the OPCW inspectors collect samples from the alleged attack sites, it will take weeks to determine whether there was any gas or other chemicals released. That means there is very little chance President Trump had “slam dunk” evidence that Assad used gas in Douma earlier this month when he decided to launch a military attack on Syria. To date, the US has presented no evidence of who was responsible or even whether an attack took place at all. Even right up to the US missile strike, Defense Secretary Mattis said he was still looking for evidence.

In a Tweet just days ago, Rep. Thomas Massie expressed frustration that in a briefing to Congress last week the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense “provided zero real evidence” that Assad carried out the attack. Either they have it and won’t share it with Congress, he wrote, or they have nothing. Either way, he added, it’s not good.

We should share Rep. Massie's concerns.

US and French authorities have suggested that videos shared on the Internet by the US-funded White Helmets organization were sufficient proof of the attack. If social media postings are these days considered definitive intelligence, why are we still spending $100 billion a year on our massive intelligence community? Maybe it would be cheaper to just hire a few teenagers to scour YouTube?

Even if Assad had gassed his people earlier this month there still would have been no legal justification for the US to fire 100 or so missiles into the country. Of course such a deed would deserve condemnation from all civilized people, but Washington’s outrage is very selective and often politically motivated. Where is the outrage over Saudi Arabia’s horrific three-year war against Yemen? Those horrors are ignored because Saudi Arabia is considered an ally and thus above reproach.

We are not the policemen of the world. Bad leaders do bad things to their people all the time. That’s true even in the US, where our own government steadily chips away at our Constitution by setting up a surveillance state.

We have neither the money nor the authority to launch bombs when we suspect someone has done something wrong overseas. A hasty decision to use force is foolish and dangerous. As Western journalists reporting from Douma are raising big questions about the official US story of the so-called gas attack, Trump’s inclination to shoot first and ask questions later may prove to be his downfall.
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Dr. Ron Paul, Chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, is a former U.S.Congressman (R-TX) for 21 years. He twice sought the Republican Party nomination for President. As a MD, he was an Air Force flight surgeon and has delivered over 4000 babies. Paul writes on political and economic theory, American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, the Federal Reserve, and compliance with the U.S. Constitution.

Tags: Ron Paul, Ron Paul Institute, Weapons Inspectors, Find in Syria, And Does it Matter? To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Connection Between Russia and 2 Green Groups Fighting Fracking in US

NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces
renewed a ban on fracking for natural gas
in NY.  Two environmental groups that
favored the ban received millions from
Russian-financed entities.
by Kevin Mooney: New Yorkers who are missing out on the natural gas revolution could be victims of Russian spy operations that fund popular environmental groups, current and former U.S. government officials and experts on Russia worry.

Natural gas development of the celebrated Marcellus Shale deposits has spurred jobs and other economic growth in neighboring Pennsylvania. But not in New York, which nearly 10 years ago banned the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, to produce natural gas.

Two environmental advocacy groups that successfully lobbied against fracking in New York each received more than $10 million in grants from a foundation in California that got financial support from a Bermuda company congressional investigators linked to the Russians, public documents show.

The environmental groups Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club Foundation received millions of dollars in grants from the San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation.

“Follow the money trail, and this [New York] ban on fracking could be viewed as an example of successful Russian espionage,” Ken Stiles, a CIA veteran of 29 years who now teaches at Virginia Tech, told The Daily Signal.

To Stiles and other knowledgeable observers, this looks like an actual case of knowing or unknowing collusion with Russia.

Both Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club Foundation also accepted tens of millions from the Energy Foundation, the top recipient of grants from Sea Change, according to foundation and tax records.

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, renewed his state’s ban on fracking three years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council issued a statement supporting the ban. So did the Sierra Club, the primary recipient of grants from its sister organization, the Sierra Club Foundation.

Environmental activists associated with the groups receiving Sea Change Foundation grants continued to pressure Cuomo and other public officials to maintain and expand New York’s fracking ban.

Most recently, the two environmental groups scored another victory when the Delaware River Basin Commission, an interstate regulatory agency that includes the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, proposed a ban on fracking within the Delaware River Basin cutting across all four states.

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council have pressed the regional commission to impose the ban, issuing statements (here and here) calling for restrictions that are tighter than what the commission proposed.

PennEast Pipeline Co. is set to begin construction on a 120-mile-long pipeline to transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale across Eastern Pennsylvania into New Jersey. In a new public relations campaign, PennEast asks New Jersey residents if they would rather obtain their energy from Pennsylvania or Russia.

PennEast cites media reports describing how anti-pipeline policies in Massachusetts forced the state into a position where it had to rely on Russian imports of liquified natural gas during peak cold periods this past winter.

The Russian Money Trail
Government officials and environmental leaders have a responsibility to track the money, Stiles, the former CIA officer, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“The Russians are very adept and skilled at making long-term investments,” Stiles said. “They sit back very patiently to see how their funding can pay off over a period of many years.”

Stiles added:
Whether these environmental groups realize it or not, they could be operating as what we [in the CIA] call ‘agents of influence.’ By working to block natural gas production, environmental activists are advancing policies that work to the advantage of Russia and to the disadvantage of America and America’s allies.
New Yorkers who are missing out on the natural gas revolution could be victims of Russian spy operations that fund popular environmental groups, current and former U.S. government officials and experts on Russia worry.

Natural gas development of the celebrated Marcellus Shale deposits has spurred jobs and other economic growth in neighboring Pennsylvania. But not in New York, which nearly 10 years ago banned the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, to produce natural gas.

Two environmental advocacy groups that successfully lobbied against fracking in New York each received more than $10 million in grants from a foundation in California that got financial support from a Bermuda company congressional investigators linked to the Russians, public documents show.

The environmental groups Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club Foundation received millions of dollars in grants from the San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

“Follow the money trail, and this [New York] ban on fracking could be viewed as an example of successful Russian espionage,” Ken Stiles, a CIA veteran of 29 years who now teaches at Virginia Tech, told The Daily Signal.

To Stiles and other knowledgeable observers, this looks like an actual case of knowing or unknowing collusion with Russia.

Both Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club Foundation also accepted tens of millions from the Energy Foundation, the top recipient of grants from Sea Change, according to foundation and tax records.

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, renewed his state’s ban on fracking three years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council issued a statement supporting the ban. So did the Sierra Club, the primary recipient of grants from its sister organization, the Sierra Club Foundation.

Environmental activists associated with the groups receiving Sea Change Foundation grants continued to pressure Cuomo and other public officials to maintain and expand New York’s fracking ban.

Most recently, the two environmental groups scored another victory when the Delaware River Basin Commission, an interstate regulatory agency that includes the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, proposed a ban on fracking within the Delaware River Basin cutting across all four states.

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council have pressed the regional commission to impose the ban, issuing statements (here and here) calling for restrictions that are tighter than what the commission proposed.

PennEast Pipeline Co. is set to begin construction on a 120-mile-long pipeline to transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale across Eastern Pennsylvania into New Jersey. In a new public relations campaign, PennEast asks New Jersey residents if they would rather obtain their energy from Pennsylvania or Russia.

>>> Related: PennEast Pipeline Backers Tout Lower Energy Prices in Fighting Well-Funded Green Groups

PennEast cites media reports describing how anti-pipeline policies in Massachusetts forced the state into a position where it had to rely on Russian imports of liquified natural gas during peak cold periods this past winter.

The Russian Money Trail

Government officials and environmental leaders have a responsibility to track the money, Stiles, the former CIA officer, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“The Russians are very adept and skilled at making long-term investments,” Stiles said. “They sit back very patiently to see how their funding can pay off over a period of many years.”

Stiles added:
Whether these environmental groups realize it or not, they could be operating as what we [in the CIA] call ‘agents of influence.’ By working to block natural gas production, environmental activists are advancing policies that work to the advantage of Russia and to the disadvantage of America and America’s allies.Karen Moreau, who is in charge of the New York office of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for gas and oil companies, argues that the resulting policy hurts state residents and businesses.

“New York remains at a disadvantage because other states are not just more pro-energy, they are more pro-business and therefore pipelines that could have been constructed in New York taking gas from the Marcellus Shale are instead moving south, not north,” Moreau told The Daily Signal.

“The manufacturing renaissance that is taking place in this country thanks to the president’s policies is not happening in states like New York,” she said.

A senior adviser to the State Department told a recent conference that Trump administration policies supporting energy dominance could help the U.S. eclipse the amount of natural gas Russia exports to the European Union.

The Daily Signal unsuccessfully sought comment from the Sierra Club Foundation and its affiliate the Sierra Club, as well as Natural Resources Defense Council and Sea Change Foundation, on the allegations of Russian financial support for environmentalists’ anti-fracking and anti-pipeline campaigns.

The Marcellus Shale is a geological formation of sedimentary rock with large deposits of natural gas that cuts across southwestern New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, western Ohio, most of West Virginia, and small portions of Kentucky and Tennessee.

The U.S. Geological Survey determined that the Marcellus Shale contains “about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids.”

Since the U.S. is now the top producer of natural gas in the world, and well positioned to export liquefied natural gas across the globe, Russia recognizes it gradually could lose influence in parts of the world where Moscow has been the dominant supplier of oil and gas, Stiles said in a phone interview.

“America’s natural gas revolution has huge geopolitical ramifications, so Russia’s motivation to try to block our natural gas development is easy to understand,” the CIA veteran said. “If you are worried about the Russian bear rearing its ugly head in the next several years, the way to stop that and put it back into its cage is to cut it off at the knees financially.”

“That’s what natural gas pipelines are all about and that’s what fracking is all about. We are providing affordable energy to average Americans at home and our allies overseas.”

US Gains in Market
In the fracking technique applied to shale formations, engineers inject water mixed with sand and chemicals into a well at high pressure, producing a fluid that fractures the rock and releases trapped oil or natural gas.

Environmentalists continue to challenge fracking, arguing among other things that it contaminates well water.

The natural gas import-export equation has changed radically in the past few years, with trends pointing to the U.S. becoming a net exporter.

Richard Westerdale, the senior adviser with the State Department, made this point in November during the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference in Houston, Texas.

“By 2020, the U.S. will be approaching nearly 100 billion cubic meters in [liquefied natural gas] exports,” Westerdale said in a presentation. “It’s simply amazing to me to think that back in 2010, we were building [liquefied natural gas] import terminals.”

As natural gas markets become increasingly competitive, the “world wins,” he added, since “well-functioning markets reinforce global energy security, foster economic growth and commercial interests abroad, and, depending upon how host countries choose to use [natural gas resources], it can in fact enhance environmental stewardship.”

In three of the first five months of 2017, U.S. natural gas exports were greater than imports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The most recent available data shows that U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas increased for the duration of 2017 as new facilities went operational.

What Consumers Know
Stiles, who teaches espionage and national security issues in Virginia Tech’s geography department, defines espionage, or spying, as “an operation that is planned and executed as to conceal the identity of, or permit plausible denial by, the sponsor.”

One way for Moscow to conceal its sponsorship of anti-fracking campaigns in New York or elsewhere in the U.S. is to move its funding indirectly and anonymously through various entities, the former CIA analyst told The Daily Signal.

“I think the groups and individuals on both sides of the debate over fracking and pipelines have a tendency to just look in their own back yards, without looking at the larger geopolitical picture,” Stiles said. “If it was more widely known that anti-fracking, anti-pipeline operations may be benefitting from a foreign source of funding, this would certainly impact the debate.”

The agents of influence described by Stiles range from “controlled agents” and “trusted contacts” who know they’re working for a foreign government to “manipulated sources” who have no idea that they’re doing the bidding of a foreign power.

The former CIA analyst said he is inclined to characterize environmental activists who received Russian funding through indirect channels, such as Sea Change or the Energy Foundation, as manipulated sources.

Stiles calls on the leadership of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, which accepted large amounts through such channels, to start asking hard questions.

“It’s either a lack of due diligence or incompetence, or they may actually know something about a particular donor, but they don’t want to ask that question,” Stiles said. “I tend to think the issue is more that they are just not looking the gift horse in the mouth, and they are just taking the money.”

Paperless Money Trail
Sea Change Foundation, a family charity, is identified in congressional reports and correspondence as a major incubator of funding from foreign sources, including Russia. That money ends up in the coffers of U.S. environmental groups opposed to natural gas development and drilling techniques such as fracking that make that development possible.

Nathaniel Simons and his wife, Laura Baxter-Simons, established Sea Change Foundation in 2006. Simons is the son of James Simons, founder of the New York-based Renaissance Technologies hedge fund firm.

Sea Change, according to its website, works to “address the serious threats posed by global climate change,” focusing on “climate change mitigation and clean energy policy in the United States and internationally.”

In July 2014, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a report describing how a Bermuda-based company, Klein Ltd., “was set up for the sole purpose of funneling anonymous donations to Sea Change.”

Bermuda law permits Klein Ltd. to conceal foreign sources of funding, the report explains.

“It appears that Klein exists on paper only, as it does not have an internet presence, and was set up for the sole purpose of funneling anonymous donations to Sea Change,” the report says.

Subsequent investigations building on the findings of the Senate committee—including that of the Washington-based Environmental Policy Alliance—established a connection between Wakefield Quin, the law firm that set up Klein, and top Kremlin officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lawyers and others at Wakefield Quin have been associated with Russian energy companies and worked with Leonid Reiman, a former Russian minister of telecommunications and longtime Putin ally, these investigations found.

Environmental Policy Alliance, which opposes the agenda of liberal green groups, is affiliated with Washington lobbyist Rick Berman and his Berman & Co. public affairs firm.

Sea Change has not responded directly to The Daily Signal in the past, and did not respond for this report.

In an email to Salon, however, the foundation in July 2017 acknowledged receiving financial support from Klein, saying it accepted the company’s grant money as “general support” with no proviso that it be used for specific programs.

Response From Klein Ltd.
In an email to The Daily Signal, Roderick M. Forrest, a Wakefield Quin lawyer representing Klein Ltd., described allegations against his Bermuda-based client as “completely false and irresponsible.” Klein, he said, “has no Russian connection whatsoever.”

Forrest made similar assertions in an email to The Washington Times in July 2017.

The Daily Signal had sought the law firm’s comment on allegations of Russian funding of U.S. environmental groups and Klein’s alleged role in easing movement of Russian funds to the Sea Change Foundation.

“Our firm has represented Klein since its inception,” Forrest said in the email, “and we can state categorically that at no point did this philanthropic organization receive or expend funds from Russian sources or Russian-connected sources and Klein has no Russian connection whatsoever.”

The lawyer for Klein added:
Attorneys, law firms, financial institutions and all other companies based in Bermuda operate under a regulatory and anti-money laundering regime which applies standards which are amongst the highest in the world. Illicit movement of funds falls well below such standards and any informed party would understand that, not only is there no substance or truth to such allegations in this case, the allegations appear to be intended to damage the reputation of the Bermuda-based individuals and businesses named.

Bermuda and the U.S. have in place an information exchange framework under which the U.S. government, its regulators and law enforcement agencies have access to all information concerning financial transactions in Bermuda and by Bermuda entities. Through this framework, information is available to such proper authorities, enabling them to be satisfied as to the probity of any alleged payments.
Julie Hill, a professor at University of Alabama School of Law with expertise in regulation of financial institutions, told The Daily Signal that it is not “as easy as it was at one time to engage in money laundering” in places such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

That’s because monetary authorities now collect more information from companies than they did previously, Hill said.

“This information is not made public, but it can be given to foreign governments,” Hill said in an interview, adding:
The advantage in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands now would be more in terms of tax neutrality rather than anonymity. But it’s certainly true that various entities have in the past engaged in money laundering schemes in these locations, and the Russians would be part of this history. Today there are more barriers than in the past. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just means it’s harder.‘Ripe for Investigation’
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, sent a letter in June to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying allegations of Russian financial support for U.S. environmental groups “are ripe for an investigation” by the Treasury Department.

In the letter, previously reported by The Daily Signal, Smith noted that Klein Ltd. and Wakefield Quin share the same Bermuda address “with more than 20 other companies” apparently run through the law firm.

A review of IRS 990 Forms shows that Klein contributed $23 million to Sea Change in 2010 and 2011, almost half of what the California foundation received in that time. The 990 forms indicate Sea Change then made grants concentrated on environmental advocacy groups.

From 2010 through 2015, the Sierra Club Foundation received more than $18 million from Sea Change and Natural Resources Defense Council received more than $15 million.

Both groups are on record opposing natural gas development in New York, and both are among the top 10 recipients of Sea Change grants, according to an analysis of foundation records.

The Energy Foundation, at $64 million, was the top recipient of Sea Change grants from 2010 through 2015, the most recent year for which 990s are available.

The 2014 Senate report describes the Energy Foundation as a “pass through” public charity that donates to environmental activist groups such as the Sierra Club Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council.

The idea behind a “pass through” organization, according to the Senate report, is “to create the appearance of a more diversified base of support” and to “shield” donors from accountability.

Between 1998 and 2015, the Energy Foundation paid 30,178 grants to 12,058 recipients totaling more than $1.2 billion, records show. Grantees included environmental groups active in opposing natural gas development of the Marcellus Shale.

The top recipient was Natural Resources Defense Council, with more than $35 million. The Sierra Club Foundation received more than $16 million. (The council has $236.5 million in net assets, while the foundation has $113.2 million in net assets.)

Recalling Cold War History
Paul Kengor, a Grove City College political science professor who has researched the history of Moscow’s manipulation of U.S. political figures, told The Daily Signal that he sees an “old Cold War powder keg that went dry suddenly being reignited.”

“What makes the current situation more nefarious today is the possibility—if this is indeed accurate—of Russian manipulation of domestic groups inside the United States and the willful cooperation of those domestic environmentalists,” Kengor, a biographer of Ronald Reagan, said in an email, adding:
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan had one heck of a time trying to enlist the support of our Western allies in blocking the Siberian gas pipeline in Russia. Even [British Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher balked; in fact, that’s an understatement: Thatcher was vehemently opposed because she wanted Britain to have the cheap Russian gas and wanted some British firms to have some of the construction contracts. The same was true for the West Germans and the French.

Ronald Reagan boldly proceeded almost alone in this effort in the 1980s. But here today … we have the extremely troubling possibility of our own U.S. citizens being targeted by the Russians for manipulation in undercutting our own domestic energy industry, our workers, and our citizens.
What stands out in terms of Cold War history and its relevance to contemporary questions of espionage is the role of Putin, warns Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington-based think tank that supports free market solutions to policy challenges.

“Putin, let’s not forget, is an old hand at using Western pressure groups to serve the Kremlin’s purposes,” Cohen said in an email.

“When, in the 1980s, the old Soviet Union was manipulating self-styled ‘peace groups’ in Western Europe and the U.S. in an effort to divide NATO and isolate the U.S., Putin was a mid-level KGB agent in East Germany.”

Cohen added:
Though that effort ultimately failed, Putin learned his lesson well. Then it was U.S. missiles to defend Western Europe that had to be demonized; today, it is U.S. oil and natural gas that are portrayed as a threat. In both cases, money changed hands, and scare tactics were the order of the day.New Yorkers and High Energy Costs
New York residents continue to pay the price for Cuomo’s ban on drilling techniques that make it possible to access natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, laments Moreau, executive director of the American Petroleum Institute’s New York office.
“People who could have had inexpensive natural gas instead have had to pay very high electricity prices due to the cold snap this winter,” Moreau told The Daily Signal, “and many power generators were actually forced to burn oil instead of natural gas due to the constraints on natural gas.”

The 625 members of API, a national trade association, include major energy companies in the oil and gas industry.

Although New York is the fourth-largest consumer of natural gas in the nation, that natural gas primarily is imported from other states, Moreau said.

“If not for the pro-energy development policies of other states, New Yorkers would be bitterly freezing this winter,” she said.

The Daily Signal sought comment from Cuomo’s office to ask if the New York governor had concerns about allegations of Russian support for environmental groups active in his state. His office has not responded.

Cohen, of the National Center for Public Policy Research, said he sees a connection between Putin’s government in Moscow and influential U.S. environmental groups that is difficult to deny.

“The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and other advocacy groups may have their own ‘green’ reasons for opposing America’s realizing the energy potential of its abundant fossil fuels,” Cohen said in an email to The Daily Signal. “At the same time, these groups know full well that they receive funding from the Sea Change Foundation and the Energy Foundation, both of which, according to a congressional report, are funded by Russian interests via a Bermuda-based shell company.”

Some green groups and Russia under Putin “have a common interest in demonizing fracking and related technologies that have tilted global energy markets in America’s favor,” Cohen said.

“Just as the shale revolution has been an economic godsend to millions of Americans, providing them with affordable electricity and transportation fuel, it has been a nightmare for Russia and environmental activists.”
---------------------
Kevin Mooney (@KevinMooneyDC is an investigative reporter for The Daily Signal.

Tags: Kevin Mooney, The Daily Signal, Connection Between, Russia and 2 Green Groups, Fighting, U.S. Fracking/b> To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Effingham, IL Declares Itself ‘Sanctuary County’ – for Gun Owners

Effingham County officials
"take a stand" against attacks on
Second Amendment. (Screenshot)
by Craig Bannister: By an 8-1 vote, the Effingham County (Illinois) Board has approved a resolution declaring the county a sanctuary for gun owners.

In a move mocking so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, the resolution directs employees not to enforce laws that “unconstitutionally restrict the Second Amendment.”

Appearing on "Fox & Friends First," Effingham County board member David Campbell and Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler explained the move modeled after a similar one previously adopted by Iroquois County, Illinois and is an effort to “take a hard stand” against attacks on the Second Amendment – while appropriating the “sanctuary city” mantra:
"‘So we thought ... why don't we just make this a sanctuary county like they would for undocumented immigrants. So we did flip the script on it,’ Kibler said, revealing that they've received an outpouring of support, along with some pushback.

“The vote in southern Illinois came after a town near Chicago voted recently to ban assault weapons, such as the AR-15 rifle, along with high-capacity magazines.”

-----------------
Craig Bannister is MRCTV-Blog Editor and is responsible for all CNSNews.com media relations, public relations, and marketing programs.

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This Earth Day Resolve to Tell Your Members of Congress that Immigration is an Environmental Issue

by Rob Harding: I recently met with the staff of two of my three representatives here in Virginia. I'd like to briefly describe my experience with the hope that it might inspire you to pursue a similar conversation with your own representatives.

On this Earth Day, the clear ecological arguments for limiting immigration into the U.S. continue to be sidelined, or worse ignored, by those elected to represent us in Congress.

For those of us who understand that the health of our communities and the economy is dependent upon the health of the environment, it's imperative that we continue to communicate this message to our fellow Americans as well as our Congressional representatives and their staff.

Unfortunately, my recent experience suggested that the staff of the two Democratic offices I visited may not have much education in environmental sustainability. Do you think yours do?

CAVEAT: In those discussions with the staffs, I was speaking as a private citizen and not officially representing NumbersUSA. This allowed me talk about a broad range of my sustainability concerns. NumbersUSA, on the other hand, is a single-issue organization that deals with only the immigration part of environmental and population concerns.

In advance of each meeting, I submitted a few questions to serve as an agenda:(1) Why does it appear that [Congressman/Senator] considers aggregate economic growth (as measured by GDP) to be an unmitigated good? He appears to be using this to broadly support his position on immigration -- perhaps also viewing all immigration as an unmitigated good. I'd like to hear what you think, and whether you've considered the concept of a steady state economy (like that advocated by the organization CASSE) which doesn't have an underlying dependency on Ponzi demography.

(2) Assuming you are aware of America's rate of population growth, and assuming that you believe this continued population growth is acceptable, can you let me know why? How long do you believe we can sustain such growth? We are already facing undesirable consequences of such unsustainable population growth (e.g. biodiversity loss due to habitat loss/fragmentation, continued increases in GHG emissions contributing to further global climate disruption, wage suppression & increasing income/wealth inequality, dilution of democracy, etc.) Do you disagree with the 1972 Rockefeller Commission's recommendation that we pursue U.S. population stabilization? And more broadly, do you disagree with pursuing global population stabilization? If so, why?

(3) Are you aware that immigration (primarily legal immigration) is already the largest driver of continued population growth in the U.S.? And that recent projections from Pew Research Center show that under existing policies immigration is projected to account for 88% of all population growth -- over 100 million more people -- between 2015 and 2065? To be clear, I value immigration and have no issue with immigrants. I have an issue with this amount of rapid population growth which has proven to be an unsustainable net harm in its impact to the country and the planet, no matter the source (i.e. births or immigration). Why is your office not leading on openly discussing this in Congress and with your constituents? We can't grow forever.
From my congressman's staff I heard that more immigration "is what businesses are telling us they need."

In other words, businesses are telling Congress that they "need" more people -- more workers and more consumers to purchase their goods and services -- and Congress is prioritizing that "need" above all else. I responded by telling her this is the same thing we hear from the Cato Institute and the Chamber of Commerce!

The staff member of one of my Senators, whose responsibilities include environmental and energy policy, was less familiar with immigration policy and the consequences of unsustainable population growth generally. I informed him about the Rockefeller Commission as well as the President's Council on Sustainable Development, whose recommendations included population stabilization, and explained that GDP was never intended to measure the health of the economy but simply the size of the economy. I also requested that he share my questions with his colleague who covers immigration policy for the Senator.

Please consider making your voice heard by contacting your Congressional representatives, and feel free to leverage the questions I shared if you'd like.
-----------------
Rob Harding shared this article via NumbersUSA.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

President Trump Can Counter OPEC and Achieve Energy Dominance

by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: President Trump, in a recent tweet, has drawn attention to a pernicious threat against American interests that has persisted for decades: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its alliance with other petrostates as they seek to control the price and supply of oil.
With its stated goal of reducing the world’s oil glut in sight, the cartel and its unofficial members should have spent their meeting in Jeddah discussing an exit plan for this pact. However, with oil at three-year highs and rising, the group has moved the goalpost yet again, with discussions on extending the cuts even further as well as indefinite coordination on oil production with Russia.

Let’s be clear: OPEC has wrapped its actions in rhetoric about stabilizing oil prices to help the global economy. Now that they’ve institutionalized their cooperation with Russia and other states—expanding the group’s market share to include countries that represent 55 percent of daily supply—and whittled down excess oil inventories, they can go about their real agenda: Juicing the books for Saudi Aramco’s pending IPO, and inflating government revenues to support everything from military spending to lavish lifestyles for their ruling elites. Is this how American motorists want to spend their money?

President Trump is right to say this market manipulation is unacceptable. Gasoline prices are also now at their highest in three years, and analysts see them wiping out the benefits of the president’s historic tax cuts as U.S. households will spend $400 more on average at the pump in 2018 alone. Endemic instability in key oil-producing regions—particularly the Middle East and Venezuela—combined with the reduction of global crude oil inventories from 400 to 43 million barrels mean that there is little to insulate Americans from an oil price spike.

Oil dependence is a global problem, but Americans are disproportionately affected. Every year, the United States spends $67.5 billion to ensure the worldwide free flow of oil, as we assume the burden of patrolling oil supply lines and engaging in unstable oil producing regions. Even though this commodity is the lifeblood of the world economy, it is priced on an unfree global market subject to OPEC’s collusion. No matter how much oil we drill at home, we will always be vulnerable to the price spikes and slumps brought about through the actions of countries that don’t share our democratic or free-market principles. As we know, an oil supply disruption anywhere impacts prices everywhere.

In addition to these geopolitical challenges, OPEC’s actions have a very real impact on household budgets. The last time Americans received tax cuts, the benefits were wiped out by oil price spikes. The cumulative impact of the Bush-era tax cuts from 2001 to 2008 increased household income by $1,900, yet household spending on gasoline increased by $2,000 in the same period. Similarly, in 2011, record gasoline prices cost American households an additional $104 billion compared to 2010, offsetting the $108 billion in additional take-home pay from the Obama-era payroll tax cut.

Will we let this happen again? Policy solutions are available, and President Trump can take clear and concrete steps to achieve his goal of energy dominance and mitigate our exposure to OPEC’s behavior.
  • First, we must continue to develop more of our oil resources here at home—the President has already taken steps to achieve this objective.
  • Second, Trump’s EPA must maintain strong fuel economy standards, and use the current rulemaking period to strengthen and modernize fuel efficiency rules that have been effective in saving consumers money for decades.
  • Third, we must encourage the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles running on diverse sources of domestic energy, including electricity, natural gas, and hydrogen.
  • Finally, we must have an honest assessment of our ability to respond to OPEC’s actions to influence oil prices.
President Trump can establish an OPEC commission that will investigate how the cartel’s actions undermine American interests and propose solutions to counter their influence.

Following these steps lays a clear path towards the energy dominance that Americans deserve.
------------------
Ken Blackwell (@kenblackwell) is a former ambassador to the U.N., a former Domestic Policy Advisor to the Trump Presidential Transition Team, a Senior Advisor to Securing America's Future Energy, and former Ohio State Treasurer and mayor of Cincinnati who currently serves on the board of numerous conservative policy organizations. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service

Tags: Ken Blackwell, President Trump,  Counter OPEC, Achieve Energy Dominance To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

America in Space 2024

by Newt Gingrich: Two historic events happened this week that will lay the groundwork for the future of space exploration in America. First, after a close vote in the Senate, Oklahoma Congressman and former Navy aviator Jim Bridenstine was confirmed as the new head of NASA. I am confident he will be a strong leader in the space industry as we foster in a new era of innovation, technological advancement, and limitless exploration.

Second, in Colorado, Vice President Mike Pence laid out a bold vision for America’s future in space exploration during his opening remarks at the Space Foundation’s 34th Annual Space Symposium in Colorado. The Vice President showed the Trump Administration’s commitment to restoring American leadership in space, rightly pointing out that, “we stand at the dawn of a new era of human activity in space; a turning point that will bring new opportunities and new challenges.”

This renewed interest in space has the potential to dramatically change our space program over the next several years, but in order to achieve this, we must be able to think big and set bold goals.

By the end of 2024, a very large American spacecraft should be on its way to Mars. We should have a working base on the Moon that’s producing rocket fuel from ice. The first asteroid mining project should be returning valuable minerals to the United States (thus rendering obsolete the Chinese effort to corner the supply of rare minerals on Earth). Between Earth and the Moon, there should be multiple low orbit systems assembling enormous structures and supporting commercial manufacturing, tourism, and other industries in space. If we acheive this before any other country, the United States will have undisputed economic superiority for decades.

At the same time, execution of this seemingly fantastic concept would leapfrog our national defense capabilities far into the 21st century. Having a squadron of reusable rockets (effectively a Mach 25 Air Force) would allow U.S. forces to overfly and outfly the myriad of foreign air and space weapons proliferating today. It would also allow us to have “eyes, ears, and presence” anywhere in the world in under an hour, while also protecting the peace in the global commons of space.

This vision could be made possible by three technological and entrepreneurial revolutions.

First, the advent of reusable rockets is going to lead to a crash in costs and a dramatic increase in frequency of launches. Ranges and regulatory procedures must be modernized as we move from a paradigm of ten heavy launches per year to a paradigm of 70 to 100 heavy launches per year. If the Trump-Pence team pushed it, Falcon Heavy rockets could have more than 100 launches through 2024. The New Glenn, which will lift almost as much as the Falcon Heavy and will be rated to carry humans from day one, could add another 20 flights between 2020 and 2024.

Together, these approximately 120 heavy commercial flights would lift as much payload as 60 of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) flights – however there will be at most four SLS flights by end of 2024, according to current plans. Each reusable commercial flight will also cost less than $100 million, while SLS flights will cost $700 million to $1 billion per launch.

On the other end of the payload spectrum, a single squadron of reusable military rockets – “space planes” – using these same technologies and updated with reusable upper stages could easily sort daily long-range flights akin to the SR-71 flight rates before it was retired. Moreover, at five miles per second, such vehicles are more survivable than stealth aircraft and far cheaper. Military space planes with their high flight rates could help to drive costs of operation down into the million-dollar range, potentially cheaper than the SR-71 in its era.

None of this takes into account SpaceX’s planned Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which may or may not be available for crew and cargo missions by 2024. If it starts flying by then, it will be so cheap the cost compared to SLS will become absurd.

Additionally, there will probably be a new generation of innovators like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos inventing even better ways to lower the cost of getting into space through dramatically simpler and less expensive manufacturing and new approaches to reusability.

No one in government today is really planning for the scale of change implicit in the rise of reusable rockets and the likelihood that the second generation will be even cheaper.

The second technological revolution underway is in 3D printing, robotics, and autonomous assembly. There are multiple small startups producing full size rocket engines made with 3D printing (e.g., Relativity Space in Los Angeles, Ursa Major Technologies in Berthoud, Colorado, and Additive Rocket Corporation in San Diego).

There are startups working on assembly in space through autonomous systems, such as Made In Space. If the collapse in cost of the reusable rockets is combined with the development of these autonomous distance capabilities, the potential exists for a totally new approach to space.

Instead of of designing very small capsules modeled on the Apollo program, we can begin to imagine robotically printing and assembling very large facilities in space. We can combine that with a refueling capability from launching specialized tanker ships and by mining the Moon for water and turning it into fuel at one-sixth Earth’s gravity. (This could help the next generation of innovators to create the first space elevator on the Moon, but that is still probably 30 years away). Now we begin to create real capabilities for exploring space.

We will be able to autonomously mine an asteroid by 2024 as part of this general wave of development. We will also be able to build the first Mars-bound ship on a scale that will be much safer for human passengers (big ships shield from solar radiation much more effectively than small ships). This large vessel would also provide far more exploration and science capabilities once the ship reaches Mars.

Third, beyond the immediate capabilities, there are breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and nanoscale science and technology, which will be coming into practical use long before 2024.
One of our great challenges is stepping away from the current static planning model, which assumes the currently available systems are the state of the art. If we want to plan for 2024, we have to ask what will be available six years from now. Given the rate of new innovations we are seeing, the pattern of greater capability at lower cost will continue to accelerate.

This enormous opportunity requires three things:

1. Planning must start now within this breakout framework, and every existing program must be assessed against the scale of change. We cannot keep building stagecoaches when the railroad is being built at the same time. Several long-existing bureaucratic programs should be cannibalized, so their money can be transferred to new, higher-value projects.

2. NASA and the Department of Defense must accept that most of the breakthroughs will come from small entrepreneurial companies that are not part of the traditional lobbyist-heavy, technologically slow, big company model we’ve relied on for the past few decades. Every time I turn around, I run into smart people (some still students) who are creating a better, cheaper, more capable future. Today, they are outside the planning and procurement systems of NASA and DoD. That must change immediately.

3. Laws must be created to empower lunar and asteroid developers. For example, a 30-year tax holiday for profits from space should be enacted to create a real incentive for investment and a real competitive alliance between billionaires willing to invest in space. The potential for an American breakout into the solar system has to be developed. There will not be enough tax-paid money to get all this done, but there will be plenty of private capital, if it is encouraged and rewarded.

President Trump must approach space the same way he approached the Wollman Rink in Central Park and the golf course on Ferry Point. In both cases, government had failed. In both cases, Citizen Trump got the job done in record time and for a very low cost by applying common sense and cutting through the bureaucracy.

NASA and DoD need the same direct reform approach that Citizen Trump brought to the New York City bureaucracy.

If President Trump and Vice President Pence take on an American breakout in space as a project to be managed and demand a review every month of the changes in the large bureaucracies, they will be astounded by how fast things develop – and how far we will have come by the end of Trump’s second term.

As a last observation, we cannot forget that this is a national security race with China for the industrialization of space. The winner will secure economic and military might for the next 100 years.

The British largely wrote maritime law because England controlled the sea trade. America wrote the rules of air travel because we had the largest commercial air sector. China intends to win the new space race, so it can write the rules of the road for space and make up for its bad decision in the late 1300s to ban sea trade (which led to China’s century of humiliation).

As Vice President Pence said at the Space Symposium, those brave Americans who helped us win the first space race “chose to lead in space, not just to propel our economy and ensure our national security, but above all because they knew that the rules and the values of space –- like every great frontier –- will be written by those who have the courage to get there first and the commitment to stay.”

It is vital that Americans – as a free people – focus our energy and resources toward leading the human race into space within the framework of freedom and the rule of law.

If America fails to capitalize on this opportunity and concedes space to other countries, we will likely see our own century of humiliation.

Instead, we should follow the Vice President’s words and have “the courage to dream bigger, the determination to work harder, the confidence to push farther than the trailblazers who showed us the way, [and] meet the future that awaits.”

This is how America will lead the world in the centuries to come.
----------------------
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, America in Space, 2024 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

DNC Delusions, Winning, Officers Down

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: DNC Delusions - In spite of all the evidence that the "Russia collusion" narrative is collapsing around them (see below), Democrats are doubling down on their delusions. The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the president, his campaign, members of his family and Russia.

The lawsuit claims that Russia hacked the DNC's server in order to harm Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump, "whose policies would benefit the Kremlin."

The idea that Trump's policies would benefit Russia is laughable. He is rebuilding our military and pushing our allies to rebuild their militaries. He has been far tougher on Putin than Obama and Clinton ever were.

The left has never been tough on Russia. If anything, Putin would have preferred another liberal Democrat in the White House.

Remember, my friends, Robert Mueller has already issued indictments against several Russians and Russian entities for their election-related meddling. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made it clear that no American "was a knowing participant in this illegal activity" and nothing the Russians did affected the result of the election.

What could the DNC possibly know that Mueller and Rosenstein don't know?

Speaking of things we don't know, the Trump campaign should countersue and demand access to the DNC's server. Perhaps then we could find out what the DNC was hiding from the FBI!

This lawsuit is an act of utter desperation. It seems to me that Democrats have concluded that Mueller and his team of liberal lawyers are likely to exonerate the president, so they are launching some kind of preemptive publicity stunt to keep their radical base fired up for the elections.

We cannot allow the extreme left to control Congress.

Winning! There were multiple breaking stories last night regarding the Mueller investigation, and virtually everything was breaking our away. Here's my analysis.


McCabe's Firing - When former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired, Big Media, the NeverTrumpers and the Schumer/Pelosi gang insisted that McCabe was purged due to the White House's meddling in the Russia investigation.

Some insisted that McCabe's firing was "evidence of obstruction of justice." Democrats felt so strongly that McCabe was a victim they even offered to hire him.

But yesterday's criminal referral against McCabe, by an Obama-appointed inspector general, is a big win for the White House.

It completely destroys the narrative that McCabe was fired because of pressure from the president. He was fired because he is a leaker and a liar -- not exactly the qualities we need at the FBI. (More on that below.)

McCabe now faces the same charge that Michael Flynn was accused of. It cannot be that Flynn committed a crime and McCabe did not. McCabe must be prosecuted.

Rosenstein's Visit - The second win last night was the news that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered to the president last week. When Rosenstein unexpectedly showed up at the White House last Thursday, it triggered a wave of reports that he was about to be fired. Again, fake news.

We now know Rosenstein told President Trump that he was not a target in the Cohen raid. This appears to be a win for the president too.

But something seems odd here. The amount of material seized from Cohen was enormous. It is doubtful investigators have been able to go through it all. So how could Rosenstein possibly know whether or not the president is or could become a target of the Cohen investigation?

I worry this may be another effort to tempt the president to sit down with Robert Mueller to "clear all this up." I still think that would be extremely ill-advised.

The Memos - The third win was the release of the memos James Comey wrote in order to memorialize his early conversations with President Trump. Two things jumped out at me.

In a March memo, Comey wrote, "I reminded [Trump] that I had told him we weren't investigating him and that I had told the Congressional leadership the same thing." Comey added that the president was pleased and said it would be "great if that could get out."

It is easy to understand the president's frustration. The director of the FBI says Trump is not under investigation, but he wouldn't tell the public that. Meanwhile, the media and the left were smearing Trump day after day.

In the same exchange, Comey wrote that Trump said, "if there was some satellite [a campaign staffer or other associate] that did something, it would be good to find that out."

Right there it is clear that President Trump was not trying to shut down the investigation. He simply wanted to get the truth out -- that he wasn't being investigated -- in order to end the left's non-stop lies and innuendo -- that Trump colluded with Russia and is an illegitimate president.

In another memo recounting a White House dinner Comey had with the president, Trump asked Comey if he wanted to stay on as director of the FBI. Comey replied that he did. "I don't do sneaky things," Comey assured the president. "I don't leak. I don't do weasel moves."

For a guy who presents himself as so honorable, this was breathtaking! We know now that he did sneaky things. He did leak. He did a lot of weasel moves.

And I am pleased to report that James Comey is now under investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general for leaking classified information.

Comey's memos prove Trump did not try to obstruct the investigation, that he was not under investigation and that Comey is a sneaky, leaking, lying weasel. That is a big win for the White House.

Rudy To The Rescue - Lastly, it was announced yesterday evening that former federal prosecutor and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was joining the president's legal team. Giuliani's appointment is being presented as a short-term assignment to wind down the Mueller investigation. For the good of the country, I certainly hope that is possible.

Meanwhile, the Huber investigation into the Deep State needs to massively ramp up. As political analyst Michael Barone observed:

"As the likelihood of the charges of Trump campaign 'collusion' with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of 'collusion' seems headed upward toward certainty."

Officers Down - While all of us were enjoying our lunches yesterday, two sheriff's deputies in Florida went into a restaurant to enjoy theirs. As they were sitting down, a man walked up to the window and assassinated them.

Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz described Deputies Noel Ramirez, 30, and Taylor Lindsay, 25, as "the best of the best." Schultz added, "What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent that it's been demonized?"

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials in New York are on high alert following a credible threat that MS-13 gang members are plotting to assassinate police officers in retaliation for "making too many arrests."

The gang wants to "take the streets back and take out a cop." Just one more reason why President Trump's tough border security policies are so needed.

Please keep the men and women serving and protecting us on the thin Blue Line in your prayers.
-------------------
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, DNC Delusions, Winning, Officers Down To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

New Bill Seeks To Push States To Require License To Buy Handgun

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.)
by Tom Knighton: It’s not enough that the anti-gunners are trying to take away our so-called assault rifles. No, that’s not nearly enough for them. Not that anyone thought it would be, mind you, but I didn’t expect them to ramp it up quite this soon.

The latest effort seeks to push states to establish handgun purchasing licenses in all 50 states. While it won’t require it, at least not yet, it’s still an effort to undermine our Second Amendment rights (emphasis mine).

Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), HR 5490 — otherwise known as the “Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act”—is framed as a means of reducing firearm homicide rates nationally.

...  HR 5490 calls for federal grants to be given to state, local and tribal governments. The governments would then develop and implement a handgun license scheme. To qualify, a state must have a law requiring that a handgun license applicant be at least 21. Furthermore, applicants would have to apply through enforcement agency. In addition, all applicants would be required to supply fingerprints and photographs, as well as pass a “background investigation” and a “criminal history check.”

Under HR 5490, a handgun license would be good for five years. After that, a person would have to go through the process all over again.

In addition, the measure is backed by numerous gun control organizations. The groups include the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; CT Against Gun Violence and the Newtown Action Alliance.
Time and time again, Etsy seems convinced that laws like this will actually work, and she presents supposed data that proves it.

But I don’t buy it.

The reason I don’t buy it is that we already know that criminals don’t buy their guns from gun stores. They simply don’t. Further, handgun purchasers–and every other kind of firearm purchaser–already go through a criminal history check and background check. They’re the same damn thing. And it’s because of these existing background checks that criminals tend to get guns through some other means.

Now, as bad as this bill is, it could be worse. It’s trying to provide a carrot rather than a stick to urge states to adopt this nonsense. I seriously doubt many states that don’t already use some kind of licensing scheme will adopt it just because the feds are offering money for it.

Then there’s the fact that the bill was first introduced a week ago and has a whopping two co-sponsors.

In the world of politics, the number of co-sponsors a bill has is a useful gauge as to how much support the bill has. Even in this rabidly anti-gun environment, liberal politicians don’t want any part of a bill like this.

While gun control activists love it, the average person doesn’t want their right to buy a handgun inhibited by this. Handguns are the preferred choice for self-defense weapons for most people, after all, and if they need a gun right away, licenses get in the way of them getting one.

“But why would anyone need to buy a gun in a hurry unless they have something bad planned?” an anti-gunner may ask.

To that, I simply point out that the moment you start getting death threats or you realize you have a stalker, you have a good reason to want a gun. The last thing you need to do is jump through hoops to get a license just so you can exercise your Second Amendment right to buy a pistol.

Luckily, I think this has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but it warrants keeping an eye on just in case.
---------------
Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger at Bearing Arms. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia and contributes to PJ Media.

Tags: Tom Knighton, Bearing Arms, New Bill, Seeks To Push States, To Require, License To Buy Handgun 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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