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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Women Who Work

by Newt Gingrich: Just last week I wrote that I rarely review books, yet this week, with Mother’s Day approaching, I find myself once again inspired to share another exceptional read with you. This one happens to be written by a member of our nation’s first family, who is a mother of three herself.

Ivanka Trump’s Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success was released last week and is already a New York Times Best Seller. It is a truly inspiring book that I encourage all Americans to read.

The book aims to help women everywhere find success by leading “one life” and prioritizing their goals and passions in a way that works best for them. However, much of Ivanka’s advice about focusing on the things we care about most, keeping an optimistic outlook, building strong professional relationships, learning to communicate more effectively, and working hard in all of our endeavors is useful to both men and women.

At its core, Women Who Work is a guidebook to achieving the American dream written by a forward-thinking, innovative woman and business leader. Before joining her father in the White House, Ivanka was Executive Vice-President of Development and Acquisitions at the Trump Organization, where she oversaw the development of numerous Trump Hotels and the Scion brand. She also founded her own successful lifestyle and fashion brand.

The pages of Women Who Work are filled with ideas that any American could embrace to become more successful. The full scope is too great to detail here, so I will present it in a framework with which I’m familiar.

Much of Ivanka’s advice echoes a leadership model that I have followed my entire career — “Listen, Learn, Help, Lead.” I picked it up from the Army’s leadership doctrine in 1979, but it seems that Ivanka intuited its principles on her own. That’s no surprise, given the tremendous success of both her and her family.

Here is an example Ivanka gives about the value of listening and learning:
“You can ask intelligent questions all day long, but if you’re not listening — really listening and processing the information someone is sharing — you can’t learn.

“As a generation, we’ve stopped listening. We tend to rush to speak first or make our own point without truly hearing what the other party has to say. We have two ears and one mouth — use them in that proportion!”
,/dir>This is really the foundation for being successful. If we fail to slow down and absorb knowledge, then we can’t build on that knowledge. The next step is determining how to apply this knowledge in order to achieve our goals. Invariably, this often means working with other people.
Ivanka rightly points out that by narrowing in on the skills in which we each excel, we can more effectively look for and create opportunities to apply these skills in team settings, improving the team’s productivity, effectiveness, and results.“At the beginning of my career, I believed that success was an individual pursuit. Since my parents had instilled such a solid work ethic in my brothers and me, I just assumed that that meant taking on as much as I could and doing it all well.

“Now I know that success it a team sport. I soon figured out that you can’t be an expert at everything, and even if you think you are, you’re likely spreading yourself too thin to effectively capitalize on the highest and best use of your skills—-those areas where you add unique value.”
Finally, Ivanka provides an entire chapter on leadership, which I found very insightful. The foundation of her leadership model is built on creating an environment that empowers creativity, honesty, unity, and action.“I have extremely high expectations for myself and for my team. I want my employees to think of the greater organization; to support the smartest, most innovative ideas, no matter whose they are; and to help their colleagues, even when it isn’t convenient to do so. I expect my team to be known for its honesty and directness, even—or especially—if that means admitting a mistake. I have seen us all grow, in our jobs and as people, by inspiring one another and celebrating team and individual accomplishments, big and small. I trust that everyone will face hard problems and big challenges with equal parts optimism and practicality; that they’ll challenge the ‘it’s what’s always been done’ attitude when they see a better way; that they’ll continue to deliver world-class results even as the bar is set higher and higher.”Citing an enormous, diverse group of experts in corporate training, psychology, entrepreneurship, communications, and other fields throughout the book, Ivanka set out with the goal of helping women find ways to improve their lives and careers in the world as it existed.

Now that Ivanka is a senior advisor in the White House, she will be able to expand the reach of her mission even further and help to enact policies that will have a profound effect on women, men, and families across America.

And since she is now in service to the country, a portion of the proceeds from book sales are being donated to charity.

I found the book especially interesting, because Ivanka began writing it before her father was elected president — around the time he won the Republican nomination. During that same period, I began conceptualizing my own book about the president called Understanding Trump, which will be released June 13.

Reading Ivanka’s book provided me with further confirmation about how and why the Trump family is so successful. President Trump has instilled in his children an unfailing work ethic and a profound love for the country and the American dream. Women Who Work perfectly illustrates all of these qualities and would make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day.
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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, commentarym women who work, Ivank Trump To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Geologist Ready to Rock Park Service

by Tony Perkin, Washington Update: If you've been to the Grand Canyon, you know there isn't exactly a shortage of stones. The 227-mile natural wonder is a geologist's paradise -- unless, apparently, you're a Christian. Dr. Andrew Snelling found that out three years ago when he applied for a routine permit to study the area. As a published scientist with years of experience, Snelling never dreamed his request would be an unusual one. That all changed when the National Park Service did a little digging of their own: into Snelling's faith.

Once they learned the University of Sydney graduate's views on the earth's formation, they were the ones casting stones of religious intolerance. To everyone's surprise, government officials denied the request for a handful of rock and soil samples. They insisted that Snelling could find what he was looking for outside of Grand Canyon National Park. That seemed unfair, since the government rarely -- if ever -- turned down applications from esteemed researchers like this one.

Attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) explained that "when he persisted, additional challenges came and Dr. Snelling methodically answered or rebutted each bureaucratic complaint. Then Park officials changed their story, and issued a permit which required Dr. Snelling to traverse the Canyon in a separate trip and locate every proposed sampling site with GPS coordinates and photographs -- without any assurance of ever being authorized to actually collect the samples needed. No other scientist has been subjected to such a demand."

After a three-year wild goose chase for permission that should have come automatically, Snelling filed a public records request. He was stunned to find out that Park officials were specifically discriminating because of his Christian beliefs. So, Snelling did what too many victims of this kind of religious hostility have been forced to do: he filed suit. Obviously, park officials weren't concerned that he'd disturb the area -- but the scientific debate.

Unfortunately, this is the Left's typical response when their positions are so indefensible. They silence their opponents. As most experts will tell you, it takes a whole lot more faith to believe in evolution than creation. The evidence just isn't there. In fact, liberals are so afraid of an honest-to-goodness debate that they try to hide the truth by sidelining the truth-tellers. And they accuse us of being anti-science? Conservatives embrace the facts on everything from child development in the womb to gender -- which puts us light years ahead of the party pushing the goo to zoo theory or phony climate change.

Either way, as ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb points out, "Such disagreement is how science works. But when the government starts refusing access to even collect the information because it dislikes one scientist's views, it undercuts science and violates the law. And this case perfectly illustrates why President Trump had to order executive agencies to affirm religious freedom, because Park officials specifically targeted Dr. Snelling's religious faith as the reason to stop his research... Using someone's views to screen them for a government benefit is unconstitutional."

Although this case started under President Obama's administration, let's hope it's resolved quickly under President Trump's. There's no room for government-sponsored persecution like this, even if the two sides are separated by a bigger ideological gap than this canyon!
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Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update an written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, Geologist, Dr. Andrew Snelling, Ready to Rock, Grank Canyon, Park Service To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sessions' Directive to Throw the Book at Suspects Called 'Dumb on Crime' by Holder

by Bridget Johnson: Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new memo for federal prosecutors to pursue harsher mandatory minimum sentences drew a quick rebuke from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who accused the administration of underscoring "injustice" against minority communities.

"It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense. This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency. This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us. By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences," states the memo in part.

"There will be circumstances in which good judgment would lead a prosecutor to conclude that a strict application of the above charging policy is not warranted. In that case, prosecutors should carefully consider whether an exception may be justified. Consistent with longstanding Department of Justice policy, any decision to vary from the policy must be approved by a United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, or a supervisor designated by the United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, and the reasons must be documented in the file."

In a morning press conference, Sessions said prosecutors "deserve to be unhandcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington -- rather, they must be permitted to apply the law to the facts of each investigation."

"Going forward, I have empowered our prosecutors to charge and pursue the most serious offense, as I believe the law requires -- most serious readily provable offense. It means that we're going to meet our responsibility to enforce the law with judgment and fairness. It is simply the right and moral thing to do," he said.

"But it is important to note that unlike previous charging memoranda, I have given our prosecutors discretion to avoid sentences that would result in an injustice."

The attorney general added that "we know that drugs and crime go hand in hand. They just do. The facts prove that so."

"We're returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress. Plain and simple, if you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way. We will not be willfully blind to your misconduct," he said. "We are talking about, for example, a kilogram of heroin -- that's 10,000 doses of heroin on the streets. Five kilograms of cocaine, 10,000 kilograms of marijuana. These are not low-level drug offenders we in the federal courts are focusing on. These are drug dealers, and you drug dealers are going to prison."

Sessions did not take any questions from the media.

Paul, a longtime advocate for criminal justice reform in Congress, released a statement noting that mandatory minimum sentences "have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long."

“Attorney General Sessions’ new policy will accentuate that injustice," the senator said. "Instead, we should treat our nation’s drug epidemic as a health crisis and less as a ‘lock 'em up and throw away the key’ problem.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement slamming Sessions' announcement: "The policy announced today is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime."

"It is an ideologically motivated, cookie-cutter approach that has only been proven to generate unfairly long sentences that are often applied indiscriminately and do little to achieve long-term public safety," Holder added.
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ARRA News Service Editor's note: Does  anyone care what "former AG" Eric Holder has to say?
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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill. She is the Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Tags: Bridget Johnson, PJMedia, Attorney General, Jeff Session,  Eric Holder To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Democrat Icon Convicted on 18 Counts of Fraud and Theft from Charity

Bill Smith, Editor: It is not considered nice to celebrate one's downfall, but I and my extended family can't help but finally smile because of for years Corrine Brown (D) served as our congresswoman, and we and many others complained about her ineptness and corruption surrounding her. She was elected year after year based on the gerrymandering of her congressional district. It took a court-ordered redistricting to changed her district, for Brown to be defeated in the 2016 by Alfred Lawson, Jr. (D) who was sworn in Jan. 3, 2017.

In 2015, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the congressional redistricting plan was a partisan gerrymander in violation of the Fair Districts Amendment, and ordered the 5th district to be substantially redrawn. Brown challenged the new court-ordered map in federal court, arguing that the new plan violated the federal Voting Rights Act. In April 2016, the court ruled against Brown.
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Corrine Brown 2017
GOPUSA / Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL): Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, the diminutive and flamboyant woman who held tight control of Jacksonville Democratic politics for a quarter century, exerting influence over city agencies and the school board, was convicted Thursday on 18 counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and tax charges.

Brown couldn’t overcome a mountain of evidence from federal prosecutors that showed she was deeply involved in a sham charity that was really a secret pool of cash used to finance elaborate parties, vacation getaways and shopping sprees. Twelve jurors unanimously convicted her on 18 of 22 counts, a raft of crimes that also includes filing false tax returns from 2012 through 2014 and making false claims on income disclosure forms reported to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Those financial crimes could put her in prison for years or potentially the rest of her life.

After the verdict, Brown exited the federal courthouse in unusual silence and in locked arms with Bishop Rudolph McKissick Sr. — who presides over one of the city’s most prominent black churches and one of Brown’s closest friends — while a mob of reporters shouted questions and a news helicopter chopped overhead. She got in the back seat of a Mercedes

James Smith III, Brown’s defense lawyer, said he will file motions in the coming weeks requesting a new trial.

“This is just part one,” he said.

The remarkable unraveling of the 12-term former congresswoman — who in 1992 became one of the first black candidates elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction — was aided in large part by her former chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, who set his 30-year relationship with Brown on fire after he decided in February to plead guilty and become the government’s star witness.

The verdict came three days after closing arguments in a trial where Brown was painted as living the high life on cash that aides secretly deposited in her bank account after passing it through other accounts.

Brown remained free after the verdict was announced. She is expected to be sentenced within 120 days.

The jury convicted Brown of 18 of the 22 separate criminal counts a grand jury indicted her for in July. The convictions involve conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax crimes and hiding income she should have publicly reported.

She was found not guilty of two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud.

Brown could in theory be sentenced to decades in prison, but that decision is likely more than three months away. No sentencing date was immediately set.

Each fraud or conspiracy conviction carries a potential 20-year sentence, and each tax conviction three years. Hiding income could lead to another five-year sentence.

The convictions affirm parts of a narrative prosecutors told of Brown breaking laws while she lived an unsustainable expensive lifestyle that left her desperate for cash.

Jurors were told the brash 70-year-old Democratic icon, who spent 24 years in Congress before losing reelection last year, received $141,000 in untraceable cash over several years through sources including the sham charity One Door for Education and her Friends of Corrine Brown campaign committee.

An FBI accountant testified Brown, who earned around $175,000 a year as a member of Congress with a pension from the Florida Legislature, spent an average of $1,438 per month more than her reported income.

“Former Congresswoman Brown took an oath year after year to serve others, but instead she exploited the needs of children and deceived her constituents to advance her own personal and political agendas,” said FBI Jacksonville Division Special Agent in Charge Charles Spencer in a prepared statement.

“Corrupt public officials undermine the integrity of our government and violate the public’s trust, and that is why investigating public corruption remains the FBI’s top criminal priority,” Spencer said. “I am proud of our special agents, analysts and support personnel who spent countless hours following the money trail in this case, and thank our law enforcement partners at the IRS-CI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts to hold Brown and her associates accountable for their inexcusable actions.”
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GOPUSA shared this report from the Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL) with the editor, ARRA News Service.

Tags: Corrine Brown, democrat icon, convicted, 16 counts, fraud, theft from charity To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Insurers Saying ‘Goodbye To Obamacare’

Dem Senator: ‘Our Hardworking Families Will Have Fewer Options And Harder Choices’

SEN. TOM CARPER (D-DE): “Today, we learned that Aetna is pulling out of all ACA marketplaces in 2018, leaving Delaware with only one insurer in its individual health insurance market. This will mean that more than 12,000 Delawareans will have to find a new insurance plan and our hardworking families will have fewer options and harder choices to make about their health insurance coverage.” (Sen. Carper, Press Release, 5/10/2017)

SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NE): “Today’s news on Aetna means fewer choices and likely higher costs for families across Nebraska. It’s further proof that Obamacare is simply unsustainable. It also underscores the importance of Congress continuing its work to ensure all Americans can access the compassionate, patient-centered, and affordable health care they deserve.” (Sen. Fischer, Pres Release, 5/10/2017)

“With the latest departures, more than 40 percent of U.S. counties would have only one insurer selling coverage on their marketplaces for next year, according to data compiled by The Associated Press and the consulting firm Avalere.” (“More Price Hikes Likely For Government Insurance Markets,” AP, 5/11/2017)

‘Aetna Is Saying Goodbye To Obamacare. … [Will] Not Offer Policies In Nebraska Or Delaware Next Year’

“Aetna is saying goodbye to Obamacare. The insurance giant announced Wednesday that it would not offer policies in Nebraska or Delaware next year, completing its exit from the exchanges.” (“Aetna To Obamacare: We're Outta Here,” CNN Money, 5/10/2017)
“The white flag is especially notable because Aetna led ObamaCare’s industry cheering section in 2009 and 2010 and was once inclined to accept the exchanges as temporary loss leaders to support the mission of universal coverage.” (Editorial, “Aetna Says Sayonara To ObamaCare,” Wall Street Journal, 5/11/2017)

“Aetna's withdrawal is the latest in a series of insurers leaving Obamacare. The exodus began last year, when several carriers announced they were exiting or downsizing in 2017 after suffering large losses. Humana already announced it is completely abandoning the individual market in 2018. UnitedHealthcare pulled out of Virginia, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield said it would stop selling individual policies in Iowa in 2018.” (“Aetna To Obamacare: We're Outta Here,” CNN Money, 5/10/2017)

“Aetna's exit leaves Medica as the only insurer on the Nebraska exchange and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield as the sole carrier on the Delaware exchange.” (“Aetna To Obamacare: We're Outta Here,” CNN Money, 5/10/2017)

Tags: Insurers, Goodbye To Obamacare, Obama failed, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Media Malfeasance, The Resistance

by Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:   Media Malfeasance - The media frenzy over FBI Director James Comey's firing continues. Left-wing reporters have devoted incredible amounts of time and energy to figuring out exactly when President Trump decided to fire Comey and whether his surrogates described every detail with precise accuracy.

The timing is a tempest in a teapot. No matter what day Trump decided to fire Comey, the "resistance" (as the left likes to call itself) would have, well, resisted. As the president explained in his interview with Lester Holt, there was no good time to dismiss Comey.

But since the media are demanding 100% accuracy from the White House about every jot and tittle, let's consider the accuracy of three major stories that have been repeated ad nauseam over the past 24 hours.
  • There was widespread reporting by the Washington Post, the New York Times and other leading outlets insinuating that Comey was fired because the Russia investigation was on the cusp of a breakthrough and he had requested more resources to get it over the finish line.

    Presumably, the professionals at the Washington Post would know that if a cabinet agency needs more money it first takes such a request to the appropriate cabinet secretary. In the case of the FBI, that would be the attorney general who leads the Department of Justice. But a Justice spokeswoman called the resources report "totally false."
  • As we noted yesterday, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified under oath that the FBI had "adequate resources."
  • Part and parcel with the resources story is the much-hyped claim by the "resistance" that the Trump White House is interfering with the Russia investigation. McCabe busted that myth too, telling senators, "There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date."

    Keep in mind, friends, that McCabe's family is very active in Democratic politics, and he just punctured two of the left's biggest lies.
  • You may have also heard yesterday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote the memo making the case for Comey's dismissal, was furious with the White House and threatened to resign. Again, it's fake news. Rosenstein told reporters yesterday, "No, I'm not quitting" and he denied threatening to do so.
For the past 48 hours, the media have relentlessly attempted to transform Donald Trump into Richard Nixon. And because of the media's malfeasance, millions of Americans were led to believe yesterday that their president feared the FBI was getting close to something, that he was meddling in the investigation and that top officials were furious with the president and threatening to expose him.

It was all fake news.  Who is holding the Washington Post accountable for its lies?

Are any of these so-called "journalists" calling out their "sources" for planting false stories and making them look like idiots?

And exactly who are these "sources"? Bill Clinton? James Carville?

Will the New York Times fire any of its reporters?

Will any media outlet issue an apology to President Trump or the American people?

There is collusion going on, my friends. But it's not between Trump and the Russians. It's between Obama operatives embedded within the deep state, the Democrat "resistance" and big media all colluding to overturn the election of Donald Trump.

Why The Resistance? It is interesting that the left has decided to call itself "the Resistance." The phrase was popularized in the 1940s by the men and women who fought against the Nazis in occupied Europe.

Get it? We are now living in "occupied America" and conservatives who support Trump are akin to Nazis. What did the resistance do? It blew things up and that is what the left is trying to do now -- blow up the election and, in the process, the country.

The resistance is also waging a cultural war against everything that half of America believes in. The battles are raging in small towns all across America.

For example, a lacrosse team in New York ran out on the field recently carrying an American flag to rather unique theme music -- a speech from President Trump, saying:
"In all of our cities and all of our towns, I make this promise. We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again. . . God bless you, and good night. I love you."I really have no idea what could possibly be wrong with that, but for whatever reason, the coach apologized.

A North Carolina high school is confiscating all year books after it found an offensive senior quote. Presumably it had to be really bad and full of profanity to deny an entire school their yearbooks. Alas, no. The offensive phrase was "Build that wall."

It is impossible for men and women of faith to watch TV without everything they believe in being mocked by the left. From "Modern Family" to "Transparent," there is plenty of left-wing propaganda.

But the one sitcom that provided a real alternative point of view -- appropriately titled "Last Man Standing" -- has been cancelled. The Resistance can't tolerate anything that does not conform to its politically correct dogma.

My friends, we did not dodge a bullet on Election Day. We dodged a thermonuclear bomb.  From open borders to the persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor, the left and its media allies were so close to finishing the fundamental transformation of America.

To their horror, Donald Trump and Mike Pence defeated Hillary Clinton. Now the left is out for revenge. It means to destroy them.

Every conservative voter needs to understand that. Every Republican in the House and Senate needs to understand exactly what is at stake.

Thankfully, we have a president who is willing to fight back! We must stand with him because we may not get a second chance to defend faith, family and freedom.
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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, Media Malfeasance, The Resistance To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Napolitarianism Under Fire . . .

. . . Even Democrats want to dump the University of California’s corrupt anti-conservative zealot.
by Lloyd Billingsley: From 2009-2013, Janet Napolitano headed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security but as president of the University of California she has been unable to prevent violent thugs from quashing free speech on UC campuses. Napolitano has also remained silent during the smear surge against UCLA professor Keith Fink, but that should come as no surprise.

Janet Napolitano made her public debut in the 1991 smear campaign against Clarence Thomas, in an effort to keep the conservative African American off the Supreme Court. The lead smearer, Anita Hill, accused Thomas of sexually harassing her and Napolitano, then with a Phoenix law firm, represented Hill in the matter.

The false accusations of Napolitano’s client supplied ammo for white Democrats Howard Metzenbaum, a former Communist; Ted Kennedy, who sought support from the USSR against Reagan; and Robert Byrd, a former high-profile Ku-Klucker. Napolitano’s representation of Anita Hill came up in 1993 when president Clinton appointed her as a U.S. attorney.

In the confirmation proceedings, Napolitano interrupted Hill’s witness Susan Hoerchner, who after an off-the-record conversation, “suddenly developed amnesia,” about parts of her story that contradicted Hill. Napolitano refused to answer questions whether she had persuaded Hoerchner to change her testimony.

Napolitano’s great achievement as Arizona attorney general was to ban Christmas displays on public property. As Arizona governor, she inclined to cronyism, appointing to the state supreme court her campaign attorney Scott Bales, a liberal Democrat who also worked at her former law firm. Napolitano vetoed seven bills intended to fight illegal immigration but her anti-conservative zealotry came to the fore during her stint as Department of Homeland Security boss.

Like the 44th president, Napolitano believed that radical Islam was not the primary threat. She expunged the word “terrorism” from the DHS lexicon and purged experts showing the connection between terror and jihad. She put out the DHS report Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, a sweeping indictment of conservatives for preferring limited government and constitutional measures such as the Second Amendment

Napolitano’s DHS failed to track Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s bomb training and despite warnngs failed to keep him out of the country. In 2009 Farouk Abdulmutallab, a protégé of Anwar al-Awlaki on a terrorist watch list, managed to buy a one-way ticket with cash and board the plane with a bomb in his underwear. Napolitano claimed “the system worked” in this case.

Napolitano began releasing detainees from immigration jails and distorted the numbers. She claimed that the border was more secure than ever when it wasn’t, attacked state efforts to step up enforcement, and ridiculed the idea of a border wall. On her watch the number of those crossing the border illegally increased and her tenure at DHS, said Sen. Jeff Sessions, was “defined by a consistent disrespect for the rule of law.”

Napolitano’s JD is her only advanced degree and she has never been an educator. On the other hand, her record as a politically correct liberal Democrat made her the ideal choice to head the University of California. In that post Napolitano maintained the same disrespect for the rule of law she showed as DHS boss.

In 1996, California voters passed the California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209), barring racial and ethnic preferences in university admissions. Napolitano derided the measure as a “legal barrier,” to “diversity.” The UC system, like the state, has always been diverse but Napolitano means the politically correct orthodoxy that all groups must be represented according to their proportions in the population. That ignores factors such as personal differences, effort and choice, which is why such proportionality is nowhere evident.

Napolitano appears to believe she is president of the United States, hailing a “partnership” with Mexico and, in effect, acting as an agent of the Mexican government. She made the UC a sanctuary system, founding and funding the UC Center for Undocumented Student Legal Services. President Napolitano has ruled that UC campus police will not cooperate with federal authorities.

As a result of this sanctuary policy, the 4,000 or so illegals now in the UC system are the most protected and pampered in the country. They pay in-state tuition and Napolitano granted them a $25.2 million aid package running through 2019. On the other hand, Napolitano has made no cuts in the UC’s vast and bloated bureaucracy.

She beats the drum for tuition hikes but as the state auditor recently revealed, maintains a secret slush fund of $175 million. As Republican assemblyman Dante Acosta pointed out, Napolitano’s office spent the money “on things such as administrator bonuses and renovating the homes of campus chancellors.” Napolitano even interfered with the auditors and when this emerged she lamely claimed “we could have handled this better,” and so forth.

“President Napolitano is not worthy of the public’s trust,” explained Democratic assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. “It’s time she resigned.” The case is strong and the slush fund is hardly the only reason.

President Napolitano has done nothing to counter the Jew-hatred now raging across UC campuses. Violent thugs attacking conservative speakers and smashing up buildings have nothing to fear from the inept former Homeland Security boss. And when politically correct UC cadres smear free-speech champions such as Keith Fink, the president looks the other way.

Janet Napolitano got her start smearing Clarence Thomas, so she doubtless approves of the current smear campaign and all the oppressive measures on her watch. Call it Napolitarianism. This is what happens when you hire a corrupt political hack to run a once-great university.
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Lloyd Billingsley is an author at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's FronPage Mag and author of Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation.

Tags: Lloyd Billingsley, FrontPage Mag, Napolitarianism Under Fire, Janet Napolitano, University of California, corrupt, anti-conservative zealot To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Arkansans Want More Than Tax Shifting. We Want Tax Relief!

by Conduit For Action: The Arkansas Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force was created by the 2017 Arkansas General Assembly. There has been much buzz about the new task force. The membership of the task force has been appointed and work should begin soon. There is no doubt the legislators on the task force will work hard for positive change.

But, if you are hoping the task force will be focused on recommending the lowering of Arkansas’ high tax burden, you are in for disappointment. The task force name includes the word “Relief,” but don’t expect the overall tax burden on Arkansans to go down.

Instead of being about lowering the tax burden the task force is about tax shifting and hopefully some fairness within the overall tax system. Some members of the task force will want to lower the tax burden, but they do not have the essential tool necessary to do that. (The missing tool is limiting state spending.)

Here is why you shouldn’t expect the task force to have an impact on Arkansas’ overall tax burden.
  1. All the goals listed for the task force are all about tax shifting, other than the goal of modernizing (whatever that is) and simplifying the tax code.
  2. This year Governor Asa Hutchinson opposed tax cuts that would require budget cuts.
  3. The Governor and many legislators still want to raise more tax money.
  4. The Governor wants to use even more taxpayer money for bonds to give incentives to big businesses.
  5. The state budget process is not about holding down costs by eliminating wasteful or low-priority spending. Instead the budget process is geared to giving agencies an across the board increase.
We expect there to be some tax “relief” in 2019 but not because of a task force recommendation. Instead tax “relief” will be based on the same plan used year after year. Every two years Arkansas politicians fund some small tax cut by essentially tithing back a small percentage of revenue growth, while keeping most of the new money to grow government. In addition, in some years, such as 2017, tax cuts for a select group are made by raising other taxes.

Task force legislation
The legislation establishing the task force lists its goals. Except for the goal of modernizing and simplifying the tax code, every goal has to do with tax shifting. Here is what the legislation says:

(d)(1) The purpose of the task force is to examine and identify areas of potential reform within the tax laws of the State of Arkansas and to recommend legislation to the General Assembly for consideration during the 2019 regular session in order to:
(A) Modernize and simplify the Arkansas tax code;

(B) Make the Arkansas tax laws competitive with other states in order to attract businesses to the state;

(C) Create jobs for Arkansans; and

D) Ensure fairness to all individuals and entities impacted by the tax laws of the State of Arkansas.
Did they need to create an Arkansas Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force? No, the legislature already has a committee with the duty to study Arkansas taxes. The House and Senate Committees on Revenue and Tax meet jointly between legislative sessions and they have the responsibility to study and recommend changes to our taxes. Is the legislature saying the Revenue and Tax Committee is incapable of handling its duties?

The study to be done by the task force is not some novel idea. In the past, plenty of studies have been done by or for the legislature, and consultants make money. So what about all those recommendations? Most recommendations just end up on a shelf.

The creation of legislative task forces tend to be more for public relations. But, public relations or not, we hope good comes out of the task force hearings.

The state focus is still on raising taxes.
Governor Asa Hutchinson told the public, it is not “conservative” to give a tax break and fund it with a budget cut! Sounds like limiting the budget is off the table.

When the Governor made that statement, he was referring to legislation to give a tax break for military retirement income and for the soft drink industry. The legislation included several taxes to offset the tax breaks. Some legislators refused to vote for new taxes. He claimed their position was not “conservative” because it would require a budget cut. (And, you thought being “conservative” meant limiting government.)

The Governor continues to express support for increasing the tax burden on Arkansans through: 1. A proposed sales tax on your online purchases from out-of-state sellers; and 2. An increase in the taxes on gasoline to be used for highways. Plus, he wants more of your tax money for bonds to give incentives to big corporations. The Governor’s focus appears to be on increasing the overall tax burden not reducing it.

Does this mean there won’t be any tax relief
Some tax relief is likely with or without the task force because it happens every two years. Even while state government continues to grow, some tax relief is passed every regular session of the legislature. The tax relief over the past several years has followed the same old long-standing mechanisms:
  1. Tax shifting creates some WINNERS and some LOSERS. For example, Governor Hutchinson’s big tax shifting legislation of 2017 saw several tax increases to offset tax relief to military retirees and soft drink manufacturers.
  2. Take a small percentage of the state’s revenue growth and essentially tithe it back to the people in the form of small tax relief. This method lets politicians claim a policy of tax relief while using most new revenue to fund government growth. Former Governor Mike Beebe used this method several times for tax cuts, including incremental cuts in the sales tax on groceries that over a period of years amounted to major tax relief at the grocery store. Governor Hutchinson also used a small percentage of government growth in 2017 to fund some income tax relief for low income taxpayers.
  3. Sometimes both revenue shifting and a tithe from revenue growth are used. Governor Hutchinson used the combined techniques to fund a small middle class income tax cut in 2015. His tax shifting took away capital gains tax relief promised by the 2013 legislature. Later, during the session the promised capital gains tax treatment was restored because of a loud and continuous outcry from business owners. To make up part of the revenue loss, the Governor reduced some budget items, and to make it hurt, some of the items included cuts for libraries and senior citizen centers.
With or without the task force, the future item of tax relief that seems to be on everyone’s agenda is some reduction in the income tax rates for middle class taxpayers. Whether this will be funded from a tithe of government’s revenue growth or whether some tax shifting will be included is yet to be seen. Budget cuts don’t appear to be on the radar for funding tax cuts.

Using tax shifting and a portion of revenue growth has not resulted in a lowering of the overall tax burden on Arkansans.

Lowering the overall tax burden
The goals of the task force legislation are to simplify tax laws, attract business, and provide more fairness. All are noble goals that should be supported by the public, but, what does it have to do with lowering the state tax burden? We suppose one could argue, if you change the tax laws in a way to attract more businesses then new businesses means more taxpayers to pay taxes and if salaries go up there would be more income to tax. Then somewhere down the road the increase in taxpayers and incomes might be enough new revenue to allow the state to reduce the overall tax burden.

Will this work? Probably not. Consider that Arkansas has been giving away money to attract new big business and so far, bringing in new business has not served to reduce the tax burden on Arkansas taxpayers. In addition, the latest tax report shows a significant drop in tax collections from corporations. It could be argued that tax incentives given to big business has contributed to the drop in corporate tax collections. Some legislators even point to the drop in corporate tax collections to argue tax increases are necessary.

The only other way to lower the tax burden on Arkansans is to limit government growth and cut wasteful spending. Eliminating waste and cutting budgets are no fun for politicians, but how can you reduce the tax burden as government expands to use up everything collected?

Although the task force has nothing to do with limiting government growth or cutting wasteful spending, nearly every legislative committee has a role in holding down the cost of government. They just don’t do it.

The committee that should be at the forefront of holding down costs is the Joint Budget Committee. The Joint Budget Committee holds budget hearings every year and the major budget hearings are held jointly with the Legislative Council every two years.

The hearings are not about the merits of the agency or the agency’s performance. Instead it is about making some tweaks and figuring out how much of an increase the state can give based on revenue projections.

The starting point for the budget hearings is the agency’s current budget. Then the committee deals with budget requests made by state agencies and the Governor. Once the requested modifications are considered the committee then applies an across the board percentage increase for state agencies. The percentage increase is based on revenue projections for the next fiscal year. For many state agencies, the budget process is merely – how much the agency spent, multiplied by a general percentage increase.

When waste is found, state agencies are not penalized. Some legislators chew out the agency heads and then the legislature continues to budget as if the waste never happened. Sometimes it even looks like an agency is rewarded for waste. For example, the Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor was found by the Division of Legislative Audit to have spent thousands of dollars on travel expenses that could not be justified. Instead of penalizing the agency, the 2017 legislature rewarded the waste by almost doubling the department’s travel budget.

The Speaker of the House says the Arkansas General Assembly is a full time legislative body and that is why their salaries needed to be increased dramatically in 2015. Yet this full time legislative body never gets around to a systematic evaluation of state government programs that the legislature created and funded. No one looks to see what programs are unnecessary or wasteful, what programs are the least important, or what programs should be cut or eliminated.

What are our legislators and the legislative committees waiting for? Someone to create a budget “task force”? The creation of a task force to direct the work of all committees and task forces?

How to enhance the work of the task force
If you want the Arkansas Tax Reform and Tax Relief Legislative Task Force to have a free hand to make major changes to our tax laws, the legislature MUST start by scrutinizing state agency programs and state agency budgets.

No legislation is necessary for legislative committees to begin to systematically review state agency programs and expenditures. Every legislative committee should have already been doing that.

Ask your legislators “When are the committees you serve on going to start a real evaluation of state agency programs and expenditures with the purpose of ending unnecessary spending of taxpayer money?”
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Conduit for Action was established to take effective action which promotes economic freedoms for business as well as individuals. Conduit For Action is governed by an independent Board of Directors and is considered a 501c4 status to promote pro business environment legislation.

Tags: Arkansans, Want More, Than Tax Shifting, We Want Tax Relief, Conduit for Action, 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 Is America’s Goal in the World?

by Patrick Buchanan: For the World War II generation there was clarity.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been before — in the conviction that Japan must be smashed, no matter how long it took or how many lives it cost.

After the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, however, Americans divided.

Only with the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the fall of China to Mao and Russia’s explosion of an atom bomb in 1949, and North Korea’s invasion of the South in 1950, did we unite around the proposition that, for our own security, we had to go back to Europe and Asia.

What was called the Cold War consensus — that only America could “contain” Stalin’s empire — led to NATO and new U.S. alliances from the Elbe to the East China Sea.

Vietnam, however, shattered that Cold War consensus.

The far left of the Democratic Party that had taken us into Vietnam had repudiated the war by 1968, and switched sides to sympathize with such Third World communists as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh and the Sandinistas.

Center-right presidents — JFK, Nixon, Reagan — accepted the need to cooperate with dictators who would side with us in fighting Communism.

And we did. Park Chung-Hee in Korea. The Shah in Iran. President Diem in Saigon. Gen. Franco in Spain. Somoza in Nicaragua. Gen. Mobuto in the Congo. Gen. Pinochet in Chile. Ferdinand Marcos in Manila. The list goes on.

Under Reagan, the Soviet Empire finally fell apart and the USSR then disintegrated in one of the epochal events of history.

The American Century had ended in America’s triumph.

Yet, after 1989, no new national consensus emerged over what ought to be our role in the World. What should we stand for? What should we fight for?

What Dean Acheson had said of our cousins in 1962: “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role,” was true of us.

What was our role in the world, now that the Cold War was history?

George H.W. Bush took us to war to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. Soaring to 90 percent approval, he declared America’s new role was to construct a New World Order.

Those who opposed him, Bush acidly dismissed in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1991, the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor:

“We stand here today on the site of a tragedy spawned by isolationism. … And it is here we must learn — and this time avoid — the dangers of today’s isolationism and its … accomplice, protectionism.”

Neither Bush nor his New World Order survived the next November.

Then came payback for our sanctions that had brought death to thousands of Iraqis, and for the U.S. bases we had foolishly planted on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia — Sept. 11, 2001.

George W. Bush reacted by launching the two longest wars in our history, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and announced that our new role was to “end tyranny in our world.”

The Bush II crusade for global democracy also fizzled out.

Barack Obama tried to extricate us from Afghanistan and Iraq. But he, too, failed, and got us into wars in Yemen and Syria, and then started his own war in Libya, producing yet another failed state.

What does the balance sheet of post-Cold War interventions look like?

Since 1991, we have lost our global preeminence, quadrupled our national debt, and gotten ourselves mired in five Mideast wars, with the neocons clamoring for a sixth, with Iran.

With the New World Order and global democracy having been abandoned as America’s great goals, what is the new goal of U.S. foreign policy? What is the strategy to achieve it? Does anyone know?

Globalists say we should stand for a “rules-based world order.” Not exactly “Remember the Alamo!” or “Remember Pearl Harbor!”

A quarter century after the Cold War, we remain committed to 60-year-old Cold War alliances to defend scores of nations on the other side of the world. Consider some of the places where America collides today with nuclear powers: the DMZ, the Senkakus, Scarborough Shoal, Crimea, the Donbass.

What is vital to us in any of these venues to justify sending an American army to fight, or risking a nuclear war?

We have lost control of our destiny. We have lost the freedom our Founding Fathers implored us to maintain — the freedom to stay out of wars of foreign counties on faraway continents.

Like the British and French empires, the American imperium is not sustainable. We have issued so many war guarantees it is almost assured that we will be dragged into every future great crisis and conflict on the planet.

If we do not review and discard some of these war guarantees, we shall never know peace. Donald Trump once seemed to understand this. Does he still?
--------------------
Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

Tags: Patrick Buchanan, conservative, commentary, What Is, America’s Goal, in the World To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Law and Odor . . .

. . . Speaking of timing, What does the firing of James Comey mean for Hillary Clinton and all her scandals in the near future?
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon. AF Branco, Law, Odor, firing, James Comey, Hillary Clinton, scandals To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Not a Joke

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Yesterday, the chief sponsor of a Washington State legislative bill withdrew it. He said it was “a joke.” His co-sponsor wasn’t laughing, however . . . even proclaimed an intent to introduce the bill again next year.

The legislation’s purpose? Split the state into two.

The eastern, drier half of the State is much less populated, and the wet, western half gets its way almost all the time. The bill’s sponsor mentioned his intent: to call attention to the persistent lack of effective representation.

It was not a funny* joke. What he meant, surely, was “a stunt.”

This is just one of many ongoing secessionist movements in the United States. Most represent the eternal struggle between more self-reliant, community-centered and less statist country folk and the more atomized, fearful statists of the cities. But also present is the problem of representation. There is not enough of it. Many people do not have a voice. Hence the desire for exit.

“Voice” vs. “exit” are two crucial aspects of constitutional politics, particularly relating to different kinds of “freedom.”

Many states could use splitting, California, especially.

But exit is not the only option. Representation itself could increase in sheer numbers; California, anyway, has (astoundingly!) too few politicians, er, representatives . . . per residents.

Another key constitutional change would be to set the bar higher to passing new legislation, especially regarding adding tax burdens.

But not for the people. We are best represented by our own votes, which means initiative and referendum rights extended to all states. Citizens of Washington State (still intact) lack the ability to change their constitution by initiative — an important process for future state shape shifts.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* Originally, the new state’s name was to be Liberty, much better than the states of Tyranny, Servitude and Denial. Now I read that the proposed name is Lincoln, awkwardly tied to our union’s most determined anti-secessionist. That is a bit funny.
------------------
Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Not a Joke, Washington State, bill, split the state To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Second Civil War

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author:  Dennis Prager has been making the case that the chasm between the left and the rest of the country is so unbridgeable that it should be described as a Second Civil War. He usually adds that, “unlike the First Civil War, this war is not violent.” Now he is even removing that disclaimer. He now believes violence is coming.

In once sense you could say that violence is already here. He reminds us that, “Left-wing thugs engage in violence and threats of violence with utter impunity. They shut down speakers at colleges; block highways, bridges and airport terminals; take over college buildings and offices; occupy state capitals; and terrorize individuals at their homes.”

He also explains that, “It’s beginning to dawn on many Americans that mayors, police chiefs and college presidents have no interest in stopping this violence. Left-wing officials sympathize with the lawbreakers, and the police, who rarely sympathize with thugs of any ideology, are ordered to do nothing by emasculated police chiefs.”

Now, you might think that a few of these leaders would change their minds and realize that they must do SOMETHING to protect citizens in society and students on campus. That is unlikely because, “they have made peace with left-wing violence. What they fear is the left-wing media.”

Just imagine the media backlash that would rain down on their heads if in protecting citizens and students, anyone in a liberal activist group was injured. They would be pilloried in the press.

This leads to an important question. If these mayors, police chiefs, and college presidents will do little to stop the violence, who will? Left-wing mobs will only be allowed to own the streets for so long before other Americans decide to take matters into their own hands.

We can hope that does not happen and plead for restraint. But I think Dennis Prager is right. The Second Civil War could become violent.
------------------
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

Tags: Kerby Anderson, Viewpoints, Point of View, Second Civil War To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

North Korea Threatens China; CIA Increases Monitoring

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Alice Greene: China is inarguably North Korea’s most important trade partner and most powerful ally.

Earlier this year, China suspended coal imports from North Korea in response to growing pressure from President Trump to help the US quell Kim Jong-un’s aggression and resolve the nuclear standoff. China has also used state media to increase the pressure on Pyongyang to halt its missile tests.

“China will not allow its northeastern region to be contaminated by North Korea’s nuclear activities,” announced the nationalist tabloid Global Times. In recent days, the publication has also warned that China would strike back “at any side that crosses the red line” and would enact an oil embargo if North Korea conducts another missile test.

In response, North Korea has warned that China’s “reckless remarks” about its nuclear program could trigger “grave” consequences.

This threat, issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KNCA), comes alongside a shift in Chinese public opinion as businessmen and politicians start to view Pyongyang as a liability – especially if its behavior leads to unwelcome US interference in northeast Asia.

“China should no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s patience,” reads the KNCA commentary. “China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations.”

Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at South Korea’s Sejong Institute, says Pyongyang’s discontent with China seems to be on the “verge of exploding.” He predicts the North will ignore China for the time being, instead focusing on its relationship with Russia and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was sworn in this Wednesday.

Moon seeks to find peace with his northern neighbor, and has vowed that he will fly to Washingotn, Beijing, Tokyo, and - “under the right conditions" - to Pyongyang in order to do so.

Meanwhie, the CIA has responded to North Korae's threat by opening a new mission center that will be tasked solely with monitoring the peninsula.

“Creating the Korea Mission Center allows us to more purposefully integrate and direct CIA efforts against the serious threats to the United States and its allies emanating from North Korea,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Despite the Chinese media's increased criticisms and threats against North Korea, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says that China’s position on “developing good neighborly and friendly cooperation with North Korea is also consistent and clear.”

Others have dismissed the media's activity as irrelevant. “Currently, we’ve seen more cooperation between China and US to put pressure on North Korea,” explains nuclear policy expert Zhao Tong. “But drama between the two countries’ state media does not mean changes of policies on the government level.”
-----------------
Alice Greene is staff writer for Punching Bag Media which provided this article.

Tags: North Korea, Threatens, China, CIA, monitoring, Alice Greene, Punching Bag Media, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Trump Has Vowed to Eradicate MS-13. What You Need to Know About the Gang.

by Josh Siegel: In describing its effort to enforce immigration laws aggressively, the Trump administration repeatedly has invoked the threat of MS-13, a violent international gang with ties to Central America.

Responding to a recent surge of violence linked to MS-13 on Long Island, New York—punctuated by the April 13 discovery of four men killed near a public park—U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited with local law enforcement late last month, and vowed to eradicate the gang by cracking down on illegal immigration.

“The MS-13 motto is kill, rape, and control,” Sessions said at the U.S. Courthouse on Long Island. “Our motto is justice for victims and consequences for criminals. That’s how simple it is. Prosecute them, and after they’ve been convicted, if they’re not here lawfully, they’re going to be deported.”

In interviews with The Daily Signal, law enforcement experts who study MS-13—and have been working to help combat it—welcomed President Donald Trump’s tough approach to the gang, but cautioned that the federal government should not lose sight of other violent gangs with footprints in the U.S.

According to the FBI’s most recent statistics, there are about 33,000 active gangs in the U.S., with about 1.4 million members.

“The threat of MS-13 and their violence is real enough, but they are not the only gang in town,” said Wes McBride, the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association, in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Experts such as McBride, who served 28 years in the gang unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office, say that immigration enforcement is only one element of a strategy that the U.S. has waged for decades against MS-13.

“People tend to talk about MS-13 as a gang of illegals, and it sort of is, but a lot of them now were born here, so they are second generation,” McBride said. “This is a long-term problem without a simple solution.”

‘Fertile for Gang Proliferation’
Mara Salvatrucha, known as MS-13, originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s, when thousands of people from El Salvador, a country of Central America’s northern triangle, fled civil war.

A 2008 Congressional Research Service report describes MS-13’s early membership as consisting of former guerillas and El Salvadoran government soldiers with combat experience. Those initial members helped the gang develop a reputation of using unusual methods of violence—most prominently, its choice of machetes as a murder weapon.

Eric Olson, the associate director of the Latin America program at the Wilson Center, said the new arrivals from El Salvador formed MS-13 as a form of self-preservation to compete with other Los Angeles-based gangs.

“The Salvadorans were suddenly confronted with Mexican gangs in the high schools, and African-American gangs, so almost as a self-protection thing, they formed cliques and gangs,” Olson told The Daily Signal.

Olson and other experts say MS-13 expanded when, in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government changed immigration law to hasten deportation of the gang’s members back to El Salvador.

MS-13 became the first street gang to be labeled a “transnational criminal organization”—one that operates internationally—by the U.S. government.

“While many of the gang members eventually got deported, they had to reconfigure themselves in El Salvador, and so you had a very vulnerable population fall back on their larger gang family [there] as a protection mechanism,” Olson said. “MS-13 became bigger and more powerful in El Salvador.”

Nelson Arriaga, president of the International Latino Gang Investigators Association, which provides training to law enforcement conducting anti-gang operations, says the U.S. government did not give proper support to Salvadoran authorities who were ill-equipped to handle the return of their troubled nationals.

“Law enforcement in Central America were completely oblivious to the criminal element being exported from the U.S. to those countries, and to the level of sophistication gang members were bringing with them,” Arriaga told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“Those countries were fertile for gang proliferation.”

As MS-13 grew its ranks from deportees returning from the U.S. to El Salvador, members also migrated back to the U.S.

“When we started deporting them, some would turn around and come right back,” McBride said. “It became a circular problem.”

Enforcement Crackdown
Today, the Justice Department estimates that MS-13 has roughly 30,000 members worldwide and more than 10,000 in the U.S. MS-13 is active in 40 states plus the District of Columbia, the department estimates, with an especially significant presence on the East Coast, in New York, Virginia, and Maryland.

While Trump has blamed the Obama administration’s less strict immigration policies for MS-13’s growth, a Justice Department fact sheet, dated April 18, credits “great progress made” by federal, state, and local law enforcement in “diminishing” and disrupting the gang’s impact during 2009 and 2010.

Indeed, McBride says he does not blame the Obama administration for the spread of MS-13. The California gang expert notes that President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department in 2012 sanctioned the gang as a transnational criminal organization.

In January 2016, the Justice Department indicted 56 MS-13 members in the Boston area on federal racketeering conspiracy charges, some related to murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and drug trafficking. In March of this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York indicted more than a dozen MS-13 members in seven killings on Long Island spanning three years, including the deaths of several high school students last year.

The FBI started an MS-13 National Gang Task Force in 2004 to coordinate the investigative efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against the gang.

Arriaga, a retired sergeant in the Inglewood Police Department who focused on gangs, says the FBI and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents today are embedded in Central America to help local police in those countries deal with the MS-13 threat.

“The MS-13 threat in Central America is on steroids compared to the threat here,” Arriaga said. “It’s good to see the Trump administration making greater emphasis of MS-13, but the enforcement aspect of this has already been there.”

Threat ‘Stays Here’
Despite these efforts, law enforcement experts acknowledge that MS-13 remains strong.

Gang members in the U.S. have preyed on recent arrivals from Central America, many of them teenagers who traveled here alone in a surge of illegal immigration from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala over the past few years.

“The best way to tackle the problem is to convince young people to stay away from the gangs,” Sessions said during his April 28 speech in Long Island.

While MS-13, which has a decentralized structure with little coordination, is not considered a major player in international drug smuggling, Olson said, the gang uses extortion to control local drug markets.

“Extortion is really their bread and butter, so if you are in a poor neighborhood and your job isn’t paying enough, or you don’t have a job and sell tortillas on the corner, [MS-13] force you to pay a tax,” Olson said. “They are extorting all economic activity. Their control of legal markets and extortion is absolute. And when they are in conflict with one another and the police, they become extraordinarily violent.”

Olson called for a multipronged strategy to defeat MS-13:It’s not like removing a tumor, where you can cut it out and it’s gone. It stays here. Anti-gang work in the U.S. and in Central America needs to go way beyond simply trying to deport and incarcerate people. I wouldn’t say border security won’t have any impact. It’s already had a big impact. It’s one element of an overall challenge.-------------
Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe) is the news editor for The Daily Signal

Tags: Josh Siegel, The Daily Signal, President Trump, Eradicate MS-13, What You Need to Know, About the Gang 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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  • 10/18/15 - 10/25/15
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  • 11/15/15 - 11/22/15
  • 11/22/15 - 11/29/15
  • 11/29/15 - 12/6/15
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  • 12/13/15 - 12/20/15
  • 12/20/15 - 12/27/15
  • 12/27/15 - 1/3/16
  • 1/3/16 - 1/10/16
  • 1/10/16 - 1/17/16
  • 1/17/16 - 1/24/16
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  • 2/21/16 - 2/28/16
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  • 5/22/16 - 5/29/16
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  • 10/30/16 - 11/6/16
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  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
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  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
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  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
  • 2/5/17 - 2/12/17
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  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
  • 2/26/17 - 3/5/17
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  • 5/21/17 - 5/28/17
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  • 10/1/17 - 10/8/17
  • 10/8/17 - 10/15/17
  • 10/15/17 - 10/22/17