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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]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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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, June 09, 2017

Trump Tweets Under Fire

Ken Blackwell, ARRA News Service, Contributing Author and former Cincinatti Mayor and Ohio Secretary of State was on Fox News Neil Cavuto show discussing President Donald Trump's Tweeting.

Video via the Great American Movement

Tags: Ken Blackwell, ARRA News Service, Fox News, Neil Cavuto, President Donald Trump, tweeting, video, Great American Movement To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Comey Invalidates Special Counsel

Fired FBI Director James Comey
by Newt Gingrich: The most startling revelation from fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony this week was his barefaced admission that he intentionally leaked details of his private conversations with the President to the press in an effort to prompt the appointment a special counsel.

When asked Thursday by Senator Susan Collins of Maine whether he shared the memos he wrote about his conversations with President Trump with anyone outside the Department of Justice, Comey answered:

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter – didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons – but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

This statement is tremendously important because it completely delegitimizes Robert Mueller’s so-called independent investigation and reveals it as poisoned fruit.

Think about it: Comey was the top law enforcement officer in the nation before he was fired on May 9. Had he felt a special counsel was necessary to investigate possible Russian influence in the 2016 election, he could have requested one from Congress at any time. If he felt his conversations with President Trump warranted additional attention, he could have approached Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about it.

But instead he decided to do nothing. Comey apparently didn’t think there was need for a special counsel until the Monday after he was fired, according to his testimony. In a clear act of retaliation, Comey went outside the system and shared secret information with the media via a college professor-friend, in a calculated attempt to inflict pain on the Trump Administration. Further, he said he turned all his memos about his conversations over to the special counsel upon his termination – so Mueller’s investigators already had all they needed to make their own decisions.

But Comey knows that the press feed off attacking Trump. He also knows that they have an incomplete, false understanding of the Russia investigation and would therefore gladly perpetuate the false narrative that Trump was somehow under investigation. He saw a chance to cause drama, and he took it.

Yet this is the same person who on Thursday, under oath, exonerated Trump on the Russia question. Collins asked Comey two very direct, simple questions. She asked, “whether there was any kind of investigation about the President underway” and “was the President under investigation at the time of [Comey’s] dismissal on May 9?”

For both questions – under oath – Comey answered “no.”

This kind of petty vindictiveness is so unbelievable, I wouldn’t even write this type of stuff in one of my novels. The truth is, Comey behaved exactly like a bitter employee who had just been fired. He said nasty things about everyone from President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who served the Obama administration. The common thread in his testimony was that his firing was everyone’s fault but his own.

But there’s another wrinkle in this story: Comey and Mueller are very close.

Throughout his testimony, Comey described Mueller as “one of this country’s great, great pros,” called him “the right person” to lead the Russia investigation, and said “Bob Mueller is one of the finest people and public servants this country’s ever produced. He will do it well. He is a dogged, tough person, and you can have high confidence that, when it’s done, he’s turned over all the rocks.”

When Senator John Cornyn asked whether anything Comey had testified would “impede the investigation of the FBI or Director Mueller’s commitment to get to the bottom of this,” Comey stressed that the appointment of Mueller was “a critical part of that equation.”

Let’s also not forget that 97 percent of campaign donations from Department of Justice employees went to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The culture and people at DOJ are predisposed to be hostile to President Trump.

So, what we have here is a fired FBI director, who leaked private material to the press, so he could get his friend appointed as a special counsel in order to take retribution on the President – with the aid of a department full of federal lawyers who would have rather seen Hillary in the White House. And we are supposed to believe this will be an objective, unbiased investigation?

Comey’s testimony – and the situation he orchestrated around it – really show the depths to which the deep state will go – working around Congress, outside of even the federal process – to damage and undermine President Trump. And it perfectly illustrates how sick the system has become.

In my new book, Understanding Trump, which will be released Tuesday, I describe deep state operatives like Comey as the permanent opposition. They will stop at nothing to mar the Trump presidency in order to keep their influence.

Make no mistake: This is not about law and order, it is not about justice, it is not even about any investigation. This is about influence peddling, this is about the search for vengeance, and this is about stopping the revolution President Trump was elected to implement.

This is everything that sickens normal Americans about the swamp.

America is on a knife’s edge. The question is now whether Republicans in Congress will have the courage to stand with President Trump and fight the deep state that was personified in Comey’s testimony Thursday.
----------------------
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, Comey, invalidates, Special Counsel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Conservatism's Three Ills

We're proud to publish the winner of the 2017
ISI Essay Contest. Congratulations, Evan Holguin! 
by Evan Holguin: The forty-fifth president of the United States and his administration mark a turning point for American conservatism. On the face of it, the federal government is all but dominated by conservative leaders, Congress and the White House have Republican majorities, and the Supreme Court is but one justice away from a consistent conservative bent. This federal supermajority coincides with a tumultuous cultural trajectory away from such a movement, with political protests held with increased frequency and news stories constantly recounting how conservative speakers have been forcibly kept from expressing their message on college campuses. In response to this turmoil, many politicians, pundits, and everyday Americans have expressed concerns that the standards of American liberty are being eroded, and are calling for a remedy to our current sociological ills. Greg Weiner, assistant professor of political science at Assumption College, offers constitutionalism as the means to protect American liberty.

Though correct that a return to foundational constitutionalism is necessary for the rejuvenation of American liberties, a complete remedy cannot be made without reference to issues of philosophy and identity politics.

Weiner begins his essay “Conservatism’s Constitutional Moment” with what he believes is “the essential question confronting American conservatism,” namely, “what, precisely, it aspires to conserve.” Weiner, of course, offers his reader a clear answer in constitutionalism, particularly of the Madisonian stripe. He argues that conservatism is designed to protect the powers bestowed upon each branch of government, regardless of party desires, and for the preservation of each branch’s unique authority.

Weiner also articulates that it is to the benefit of Republicans in Congress to act according to constitutionalist thought. Simply put, a member of Congress would be wise to cling to the power to legislate because it is the “aura of power” that attracts one to Congress in the first place. A good-hearted citizen runs for Congress because she sees the office as the source of authority by which she can exercise her conception of goodness and justice. A greedy citizen, in turn, runs for Congress because she is attracted to the attention others give to one in a seat of power. Regardless of the motive, good or ill, Congress relies on its image as a seat of power to attract members into its company. It is highly illogical, therefore, for those who once campaigned for power to turn heel and abdicate that power to some other entity. Yet Weiner depicts the Republican majority in Congress as doing just that, fighting against executive and judicial policy not with their legislative fist but through strongly worded amicus briefs and press conferences.

This, then, is the precipice at which we stand, a majority party appearing to concede congressional power to the executive. Thus we run into the first cultural component that has sidelined conservative constitutionalism. Modern politics has developed in an era when legislative authority has been increasingly dispensed to the two nonlegislative branches of government. Thankfully for constitutional conservatives, such a process is by no means irreversible.

In fact, conservatives in government today are in an exceptionally strong place to return the powers of the branches to their rightful, constitutional place. The cause for this is that Republicans are, for the time being, not alone in their constitutional ideology—Democrats have joined in too. In his article “Fair-Weather Originalists,” Josh Blackman highlights the trend of Democratic leaders seizing the tenets of constitutionalism to cope with their being shut out of governmental authority. In response to the election of President Trump and a Republican-majority Congress, Democrats have taken to clinging to the division of power offered by constitutionalism, calling for the courts to counter President Trump’s executive orders, and exerting state authority in places like California to challenge federal immigration projects. In other words, Democrats are becoming champions, at least temporarily, of the same constitutionalist arguments that conservatives have clung to in response to federal growth. For the first time in recent history, we are on the same team.

Should conservative constitutionalists take the current opportunity to join with their now-constitutionalist liberal counterparts, they have the potential to reset the balance between the powers of the three branches of government. Should they do so, it is, to my mind, unquestionable that the nation will work more effectively—an engine runs best when its components are appropriately aligned—and when the nation works effectively, voter satisfaction will soar. A Congress stripped of its full legislative authority entered the 2016 elections with a mere 18 percent approval rating; allowed its fullest governing potential, Congress could raise its own approval profile, thus encouraging voters to elect representatives and senators who will exercise their constitutional right to legislate. It’s a long game, but one that begins by seizing on contemporary willingness to return to our traditional, constitutional state, and rewards the nation with a restoration of its original and intended republican structure.

There is still a question that needs answering: If Congress would not logically distance itself from its constitutional right to power, what caused this abdication? One such cause is a cultural one, found in our people’s philosophy and hinted at through Weiner’s discussion of “Presentism.” Presentism, according to Weiner, is a movement that leads to greater executive power because executive power is wielded more swiftly than is legislative power (that one decides faster than many is a governmental truth expounded upon by Thomas Hobbes). The use of the executive order to legislate (the “pen and phone” of former President Obama) allows for immediate change, a governing trend Americans have come to demand but one without the authority or stability of the legislative process. (As proof of this point, we need only look at the overturning of Obama-era executive orders and legislation. President Trump, in his first few days of office, was able to reverse a myriad of President Obama’s executive orders, while the replacement of the Affordable Care Act has bested Republicans up to this point.) The cause of citizens rejecting the traditional governing style of the legislature for Presentism’s hastened form finds its roots in a shift in philosophy in this modern era: the philosophy of contemporary culture equates change with “progress.”

Progress is desired as immediately as we can get it (anecdotally, this is supported by every supposed resistance to progress being countered by the charge that “This is [year]!”). As a result, resistance to change is diabolical and an affront to our mission of continual evolution. Such radicalism—that the new is necessarily good and the old bad—finds itself at odds with conservatism. As explained by Weiner, a conservative has a duty to his predecessors and his posterity—to uphold the benefits of the traditions passed on to us for the advantage of those to whom we shall pass it. To be a conservative is to be a steward of “the will of the dead,” as Madison put it. Such a philosophy, to uphold the “democracy of the dead” as Chesterton described tradition, spits in the face of contemporary philosophic sentiments of change. Not only does conservatism call for the preservation of the old; it also implies that the “old” can hold benefit. And so the conservative movement is faced with a public relations challenge that cannot be rectified solely by a return to constitutionalist practices. Rather, a stronger rhetoric championing respect for governmental traditions must be crafted, one that satiates the contemporary need for “progress” while also honoring the Founders’ desire for ancestral esteem.

Though a return to constitutionalism and conservative philosophy are important for the betterment of the nation, their absences are not the most pernicious problem at hand. That would be identity politics. For a true return to a free and traditional society, the proponents of constitutionalism need to defend their ideals from the identity politics perpetrated by their own party.

Identity politics in the United States is generally associate with the left and such issues as race, gender, and sexual orientation. The right, however, promotes its own identity politics, masking it as a matter of “virtue.” Rather than focusing on fundamentally important themes of government, like constitutionalism, many politicians base their platform on traditional Christian values and identity. Ted Cruz is an Evangelical; Jed Bush, Catholic; Mitt Romney, Mormon. Or course, it is our American right to subscribe freely and boast of our religious beliefs, and such an intimate aspect of our person is a valid concern to the electorate. In other words, we can learn much by the faith and practice of a politician; however, when conservative politicians run on a platform of personal righteousness, he acts just as a left-wing politician who champions the liberal virtues. Such a politician stokes up the politic of Evangelical identification, just as left-wing politicians stoke up racial and sexual orientation identification through connection with Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ communities.

Such identity politicking on the part of conservative politicians wounds the cause to balance American liberal society in a profound way. In an article for National Review, Fred Bauer reminds his readers of the signs of a healthy republic: “Americans of all types—of all creeds, incomes, and national origins—can come together to forge a body politic that, while diverse, has common civic and cultural touchstones.” In contrast, identity politics focuses on individual classifications and sets them against each other, creating a nation of persons fighting for their interests as a part of a subgroup without concern for the members of other subgroups and with no regard to a shared identity as American citizens. Though many conservatives call out the divisive power of identity politics on the left, it is generally the case that their own use of the traditional Judeo-Christian identity goes without internal criticism. As a result, even if Republicans establish a full return to constitutionalist practices, the ills of the nation would not be fully mended, and its citizens not truly free, because of the continued self-shackling to the divisive discourse of identity politics, left and right.

In conclusion, the question remains whether constitutionalism will be compelling politically.

Should conservatives in Congress capitalize on current Democratic support, should conservatives in cultural institutions combat the philosophical impasse between progressivism and constitutionalism, and should conservative pundits and politicians cease playing into identity politics, then the prospect of attractive conservatism is highly probable, and a return to American liberalism more than likely.
-------------------------
Evan Holguin studies literature and philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Intercollegiate Review (IR) shared this article with the editor. IR is published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and is dedicated to advancing the principles that make America free, virtuous, and prosperous.

Tags: Evan Holguin, Conservatism's Three Ills, Intercollegiate Review, Intercollegiate, Studies Institute To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sanders Slander, The Washington Leaker, The Georgia Leaker, Jihad In America, Good News

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:   Sanders Slander -  Earlier this week, the Senate Budget Committee convened to consider the nomination of Russell Vought to be Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. What happened next was an astonishing display of left-wing religious bigotry.

Led by Vermont Grand Inquisitor Bernie Sanders, Vought quickly found that his budget skills were not the main issue of his confirmation hearing. Rather his Christian faith was on trial.
Sanders, as well as Maryland's Chris Van Hollen, railed against Vought for daring to defend the orthodox Christian beliefs of Wheaton College. Read the exchange here.

Sanders concluded his absurd and unconstitutional inquisition by stating, "This nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about." All Sanders proved was that he is a bigot for opposing a nominee solely on the basis of his faith!

I wonder if Sen. Sanders intends to question future Muslim nominees about the tenets of Islam, the meaning of jihad, and whether they consider Christians to be infidels. Somehow I suspect it would never occur to him.

The "tyrants of tolerance" celebrate men who think they are women while doing everything they can to drive traditional Christian beliefs out of the public square and into the closet.

We must fight back!

The Washington Leaker - Fired FBI Director James Comey made a stunning admission during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee: He had given a memo he wrote while he was FBI Director (thus the memo was the property of the United States government) to a Columbia professor. Comey asked his friend to leak it to the media.

What a shocker!

James Comey, clearly a deep state resister against the Trump presidency, cooperated with a left-wing academic to plant a story in the left's flagship newspaper, the New York Times, hoping to hurt the president by forcing the appointment of a special counsel.

Jim Comey may not have been able to bring Hillary Clinton to Justice, but he sure knows how to damage the duly elected president of the United States!

Republican senators did a reasonably good job of cross-examining Comey during yesterday's hearing. They did get Comey to say on the record that President Trump was not under investigation, that no one asked him to back off on the Russia investigation and that Russia did not manipulate votes in last year's election.

That's good, but I think they missed a chance to really drive the point home. For example, just imagine if a senator had said the following:
"Excuse me, Mr. Comey, but did I just hear you correctly? You were the director of the FBI. You were supposed to be prosecuting leaks. How would you have reacted if one of your subordinates disagreed with one of your decisions and leaked it to the press? Last month, sir, you told the Senate Judiciary Committee, 'Leaks are always a problem, but especially in the last three to six months.' Now you tell us that you were part of the problem!"If just one GOP senator had seized the opportunity to justifiably rebuke Comey as the "leaker-in-chief," that person would be a hero to conservatives today.

The Georgia Leaker - NSA leaker Reality Winner was arraigned in a Georgia court yesterday. Recorded phone calls show she is a master manipulator.

Winner told her mother to transfer $30,000 from her checking account so she would appear poor enough to qualify for a public defender. She also told her sister that she had an advantage in court because she was "pretty, white and cute." Clearly, she had bought into the left's delusional nonsense about "white privilege" if she thought that was enough to get her out of jail.

It did not work.

Prosecutors also revealed that Winner had "plans to burn down the White House and travel to Afghanistan, pledging her allegiance to the Taliban." That certainly adds some additional context to her support for the Islamic regime in Iran. Thankfully, the judge denied bail, declaring Winner a flight risk if released.

I have complained about Muslims who have not cooperated with authorities and refused to report radical family members to law enforcement. Just to be fair, what was this Georgia family thinking?

By the way, fired FBI Director James Comey would undoubtedly have condemned Winner's action. She probably thought that Comey was part of the corrupt government establishment. But they are both engaged in trying to bring down President Trump, whose mantra is America first.

Jihad In America - Authorities in Washington, D.C., have charged two men -- Dwayne Nicholas Taylor and Brandon Figures-Mormon -- after the pickup truck they were driving last night plowed into two D.C. police officers and a traffic control aide at a high rate of speed. Both men are facing charges for weapons found in the truck, while Figures-Mormon is charged with assault with intent to kill.

Washington authorities are not commenting on a motive yet, but they would not rule out terrorism.
  • Ali Kourani of New York and Samer el-Debek of Dearborn, Michigan, were arrested last week and charged with being agents of the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.

    According to the federal indictment both men had received terrorist training in Lebanon and were recruited to spy on Israeli targets in New York City and Panama. Both Kourani and el-Debek are naturalized U.S. citizens.
  • Reuters reports today that federal officials are investigating Imam Ahmad Musa Jebril as a possible source of inspiration for the recent London terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, Jebril is a known Islamic extremist based in Dearborn, Michigan, who disappeared after last week's attack.
Good News -
  • President Trump spoke to Christian conservatives at the Road to Majority conference this week. He told the audience, "We will always support our evangelical community and defend your right . . . to follow and to live by the teachings of [your] faith. . . You fought hard for me and now I'm fighting hard for all of you."
  • President Trump nominated another slate of conservative judicial nominees. Conservative legal scholars have hailed the president's picks as "superlative judicial nominees with sterling credentials and impressive intellects."
  • U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley blasted the United Nations Human Rights Council (which counts China, Cuba and Venezuela as members) for its anti-Israel bias and warned that the council was not "a good investment of [America's] time, money and national prestige."
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions shut down a major stream of funding to left-wing groups. The Obama-era slush fund was created when Obama's Justice Department started forcing companies to pay third-party organizations, always left-wing groups, as a condition of legal settlements.
  • The House of Representatives passed legislation last night repealing most of the burdensome Dodd-Frank regulations. As Rep. Jeb Hensarling put it, Dodd-Frank "was not a response to the financial crisis, but a grab bag of leftist ideas that were waiting on the shelf for quite some time."
  • A recent law enforcement operation resulted in scores of criminal illegal aliens in Texas and Oklahoma being taken off the streets.
  • A coalition of 16 states filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting President Trump's national security executive order limiting immigration from six countries where Islamic supremacism runs rampant.

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Sanders Slander, The Washington Leaker, James Comey, The Georgia Leaker, Jihad In America, Good News To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Hillary Clinton Admitted Blackberry Use Was ‘Against the Advice of the Security Hawks’

Judicial Watch yesterday submitted new evidence to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan showing that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knowingly used an unsecure BlackBerry device despite being warned by “security hawks” against doing so.

The email record was obtained in response to a court order from a May 5, 2015, lawsuit filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)) after it failed to respond to a March 18, 2015, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking: “All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-‘state.gov’ email address.”

The new document brings the known total to date to at least 433 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department. These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.

The email was sent to Susan Kennedy, presumably former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff.  Kennedy wrote Clinton on March 7 2009 that “Just in case you are still allowed to carry your blackberry, your friends are watching with great pride.” Clinton responded on March 8, 2009:

Against the advice of the security hawks, I still do carry my berry but am prohibited from using it in my office, where I spend most of my time when I’m not on a plane or in a “no coverage” country.The email, uncovered by Judicial Watch and written by Clinton, demonstrates that she reviewed or was at least informed about a March 6, 2009, Information Memo from Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell to Ms. Mills in which he wrote that he “cannot stress too strongly, however, that any unclassified BlackBerry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving email, and exploiting calendars” [Emphasis added]

In a recent court filing pertaining to the currently pending motion to compel Clinton to answer interrogatory questions she refused to answer under oath Judicial Watch argues that interrogatory 14 is particularly important:

Interrogatory 14 seeks to uncover why Secretary Clinton continued using a personal BlackBerry to conduct State Department business after being advised of the risks in doing so.  This interrogatory is pertinent because Secretary Clinton’s personal BlackBerry was an integral part of the operation of the clintonemail.com system, a subject squarely within the scope of discovery.  It was how she accessed her email.  Without her personal BlackBerry, there likely would have been no clintonemail.com system because the Secretary did not use a desktop or laptop and a State Department BlackBerry would have linked to an official “state.gov” email account.The questions were submitted to her by Judicial Watch under a court order on August 19, 2016, in a separate lawsuit.

“Mrs. Clinton seemingly ignored the advice of ‘security hawks’ and violated numerous laws related to the handling of classified material and government documents,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The State Department sat on this document for 18 months.  It is a smoking gun that shows why she must held accountable under criminal and civil law.”

Clinton refused outright to answer questions about the creation of her email system; her decision to use the system despite warning from State Department officials; and the basis for her claim that the State Department had “90-95%” of her emails.

In her responses sent to Judicial Watch and the court on October 13, 2016, Clinton refused to answer three questions and responded that she “does not recall” 20 times concerning her non-government clintonemail.com email system.  She preceded her responses by eight “general objections” and two “objections to definitions.”  The words “object” or “objection” appear 84 times throughout the 23-page document submitted to the court and Judicial Watch.

The Clinton responses to interrogatives were received in the Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which was first filed in September 2013 seeking records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former deputy chief of staff to Clinton (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).  The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about the clintonemail.com system.

For the full history of this case, click here.

Tags: Judicial Watch, Hillary Clinton email, admitted, Blackberry use, was against, Security Hawks, advice 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 Lawyer Opens Up On Comey With Both Barrels

Marc Kasowitz
by GOPUSA: President Donald Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz took a victory lap Thursday following the blockbuster testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey, saying the much-anticipated Senate hearing proved what the White House has been saying for months.

And he hammered Comey for releasing information about his conversations with the president to reporters in an attempt to force the appointment of a special-counsel inquest into Russian election interference.

‘Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President,’ Kasowitz said in a statement.

And ‘contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing,’ he added, ‘Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the President privately: The President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference.’

'Mr Comey's testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election,' Kasowitz claimed.

Kasowitz, the president's outside counsel who is responsible for looking after his personal interests – not those of the presidency – delivered his statement in writing and orally following the former FBI director's testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The smallish gathering at the National Press Club who heard him speak in person was an unconventional coda to an unprecedented day that saw the White House forced to deny Trump is a liar.

Kasowitz instead called Comey a liar, calling into question the memos that comprised the bulk of his testimony.
Trump 'never pressured Mr. Comey,' he insisted.

And 'the President also never told Mr. Comey, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty" in form or substance.'

Both claims were part of Comey's written and oral presentations.

Kasowitz read his statement and left the podium without taking questions.


Tags: Trump Lawyer, Marc Kasowit, Opens Up On, James Comey To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

McConnell Defends Free Speech in Address to Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference

ARRA News Service: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered remarks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference today.

It’s great to see everyone again. What a difference a year makes. When I spoke to you last year, it was about the things we were working to get done under a president of a different political party. I’m proud of what we accomplished then, but I’m even more excited about what we can achieve now. We’re working hard to repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re moving forward on tax reform. We recently secured important new resources to protect the border and begin rebuilding the military, we just passed important new accountability measures to help veterans, and we’ll soon pass important new sanctions on Iran and Russia.

“We’ve also started turning the page on eight years of failed Obama economic policies. Over the last few months, Republicans have embarked on what The Washington Post calls ‘the most ambitious regulatory rollback since Reagan.’ We’ve successfully overturned a number of Obama Administration regulations that, combined with key administrative actions, are estimated to result in tens of billions in regulatory cost-savings and tens of millions of hours’ worth of paperwork reductions. It’s a welcome change after eight years of regulatory onslaught. It’s a better direction after eight years of an Obama economy that failed to reach its potential. It’s a new day for millions of Americans who deserved better.

“Of course, regulations don’t just have an impact on the economy. The now-overturned Obama-era regulations threatened everything from Americans’ retirement savings to the education of our kids. One even tried to force states to fund Planned Parenthood whether they liked it or not. Thanks to the action we took, states now have more freedom to fund women’s health in the way that works best for their communities — not Planned Parenthood’s Washington lobbyists. Democrats weren’t too happy about that. They haven’t been happy about much these days. They’ve got a rabid left-wing base that still just cannot get over the results of the election, and it continues to push them in all sorts of wild directions. Remember when Democrats used to complain about ‘obstruction’? Doesn’t seem that long ago. That’s because it wasn’t.

“These days, though, Democrats are bowing to the Far Left’s demands for complete and total opposition. They’re doing everything they can to tie the Senate in knots. They’re forcing procedural hurdles on just about everything. They’re even gumming up the works for noncontroversial nominees — for no reason other than to delay for its own sake. It’s blind obstruction. I doubt it’s going to let up anytime soon. But neither are we.

“We didn’t give up when Democrats launched more filibusters against this president’s Cabinet than any in history. We worked hard, and we ultimately got the Cabinet confirmed. We didn’t give up when Democrats waged the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court Justice in American history either. No, we certainly did not. That’s why Neil Gorsuch is sitting on the Supreme Court today! I told you last year that I was not going to allow Obama to airdrop in another Supreme Court justice on his way out the door. I meant what I said.

“Justice Antonin Scalia was a towering figure on the court. His passing was a great loss to our country. It also came as Americans were in the midst of a contentious presidential election process. So, in keeping with the Biden Rule, I said that the next president would fill the vacancy — regardless of party. The criticism was immediate and relentless. Many advised giving up. Nearly everyone thought the next president would be Hillary Clinton. But we didn’t waver — and neither did you.

“When the election produced a different result, President Trump put forward a truly outstanding nominee. Sterling resume, impeccable credentials, impossible to oppose on the merits. Not that any of it mattered to the Left. Before Gorsuch was even nominated, Democrats plotted to hold the seat open indefinitely. Chuck Schumer promised to fight whoever was chosen ‘tooth-and-nail.’ Democratic Senators worked overtime to paint the nominee as some ‘extremist’ before the ink even dried on his nomination. They also tried to invent special hurdles for him to surmount. But we pressed on — and you made your voices heard.

“In his hearings, Gorsuch proved to be thoughtful, even-tempered, and full of integrity. Across the nation, Gorsuch’s impressive credentials and record won him support from Americans across the political spectrum. When Democrats chose to ignore all this and launch the first successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in American history, we overcame their attack. We stood firm — and so did you. Together, we accomplished something significant for our country. Together, we secured Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court! Still sounds good to say, doesn’t it? Thanks again to everyone who offered their support. We couldn’t have done it without you. Of course, it wasn’t easy. Things aren’t likely to get easier from here either.

“The Left’s total opposition to Neil Gorsuch shows just how determined it is to oppose any Supreme Court nominee of a Republican president. No matter the nominee’s credentials or temperament. No matter the cost to our country. The Left is on war footing for just about everything these days. That includes the lower courts. So we have to be ready. Just this week, the president announced a slate of federal judicial nominees. It’s an impressive group. We intend to give each a fair hearing and a vote, just as we did with the stellar Sixth Circuit nominee we confirmed last month, Kentucky’s own Judge Amul Thapar. I hope the president will continue to send us more qualified nominees. I hope we can continue to count on your support too. Because this battle is going to be tough and there’s a lot at stake. The courts are critically important when it comes to protecting our fundamental constitutional rights, like the Second Amendment.

“The First Amendment too. I don’t have to tell you how important the First Amendment is. It’s critical to the functioning of our democracy. It’s the foundation of the actions you take as a political activist. It’s what allows every American to have their voices heard, no matter what they believe. And yet, it now seems under threat. We’ve all seen the explosion of threats to free speech in recent months. We’ve all witnessed the growing trend of intolerance, even violence, from the Left. Much has been made of what’s occurring on college campuses, and it is worrying. But let’s not allow ourselves to believe that this problem is simply isolated to college campuses. Nor should we think the underlying threat is a new one.

The actors and the tactics may be different, but the goal — to shut up those the Left disagrees with — is something I’ve been fighting for years.

“We remember the multiple government attempts to suppress speech during the Obama years. Perhaps you experienced it firsthand. Perhaps you know someone who did. There was, of course, the Obama Administration’s IRS targeting scandal that went after hundreds of different conservative groups. There were other efforts across the government, from the SEC to the FCC. These efforts weren’t identical but they had similar goals: Shut up or scare off the stage those with the audacity to think differently. The Obama Administration, of course, left office earlier this year. But as we now see clearly, just because the Left no longer controls the levers of federal power does not mean it has given up its hostility to views different from its own. In some ways the threat seems to have grown even more dangerous, the tactics even more extreme.

“I’ve always believed that if you can’t convince people of the wisdom of your cause then it’s time to come up with better arguments. But too many on the Left seem to have concluded that they can’t win on the merits, so they’re resorting to bullying — even violence — instead. The consequences of this should worry everyone. Americans should not have to face harassment or incur crippling expenses defending against a government that doesn’t like what they stand for. Americans should not have to live in fear because they supported the quote-unquote ‘wrong’ candidate or donated to the quote-unquote ‘wrong’ cause. American’s should not be shouted down or disinvited simply for having a different view, and they should not live in the shadow of violence for speaking up.

“It doesn’t matter who you are. These rights do not exist to protect what’s popular, they exist precisely to protect what isn’t, and the moment we allow ourselves to believe that some people stand outside the protections of the First Amendment we’re all in trouble. This is a fact that many on the Left seem to be forgetting. So, let me say this. There are a lot of problems facing us in the modern world: foreign adversaries to confront, domestic challenges to solve. Despite everything that’s before us though, I have faith that — working together — we can eventually overcome what faces us.

“But what happens when we lose the ability to debate our differences openly? What happens when we can no longer talk to those with whom we disagree? How can we hope to move forward on anything at all? That’s why growing threats to free speech represent such a fundamental challenge to the future of our country. We have to do something, but what can we do? I wish I could tell you that the solution here were as simple as a piece of legislation. But the power of our constitutional freedoms lies with an empowered citizenry.

“‘Freedom,’ as Reagan famously put it, ‘is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.’ I believe the time is now to fight for freedom of speech, to defend it for future generations. I believe the time is now to remind every American of its value, to shine a light on the threats facing it, and to underline the consequences for everyone if we fail.

“Thankfully, I have a public platform to do just that. Starting next week, I intend to start a dialogue on the Senate floor with a series of speeches in defense of the First Amendment. This conversation will focus on both the contemporary and historical importance of free speech, it will outline the threats it faces, and it will encourage Americans to rally in its defense. I hope others join me in this effort. I hope you will too. Because if we lose our ability to speak, and associate, and believe freely, then what do we have left? Our First Amendment freedoms are key to who we are in this country. They are precious. They face threats. Every future generation is counting on us to stand up and defend them. So let us rise to meet the moment.”
---------------
Tags: Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, defends free speech To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Bernie Sanders Attacks Christian Trump Nominee, Imposes Religious Test

by Todd Starnes: First they came for the wedding planners and the bakers. Then they came for the Catholic farmers and the Baptist high school valedictorians. And now, the secularists are coming after the evangelical public servants.

On Wednesday, Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee to be deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, was viciously attacked by Sen. Bernie Sanders over his Christian faith.

Sen. Sanders deemed Vought unsuitable for office because he believes that salvation is found alone through Jesus Christ. He said someone with that kind of a religious belief system is “really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”

Sen. James Lankford called Sander’s comments “dangerously close to crossing a clear constitutional line for how we evaluate qualifications for public service.”

“The First Amendment is crystal clear that the federal government must protect every American’s right to the peaceful and free exercise of religion,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “We cannot say we have the free exercise of religion and also require people to practice their faith only in a way that government officials prefer.”

The Vermont senator’s comments brought strong condemnation from Christians across the nation – including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

“Senator Sanders is taking the Obama era’s religious hostility and putting it on steroids,” Perkins said.

Thousands have signed a Family Research Council petition demanding Sanders apologize for his outburst of religious bigotry.

Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said there are only two choices for the senator: "Apologize to the country for his foolhardy attempt to introduce an unconstitutional litmus test that would exclude 41 percent of the country, or resign."

The controversy stems from an article Vought wrote in 2016 defending his alma mater, Wheaton College. In that article, he described Islam as a “deficient theology.”

“This is a fundamental problem,” he wrote in The Resurgent. “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Sanders confronted Vought during the congressional hearing. The following is a transcript provided by FRC:
Sanders: "'Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.' Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?"

Vought: "Absolutely not, Senator. I'm a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith...

Sanders: "...Forgive me, we just don't have a lot of time. Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?"

Vought"Again, Senator, I'm a Christian, and I wrote that piece in accordance with the statement of faith at Wheaton College..."

Sanders: "I understand that. I don't know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that these people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?"

Vought: "Senator, I'm a Christian..."

Sanders (shouting): "I understand you are a Christian, but this country [is] made of people who are not just -- I understand that Christianity is the majority religion, but there are other people of different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?"

Vought: "Thank you for probing on that question. As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs. I believe that as a Christian that's how I should treat all individuals..."

Sanders: "...Do you think that's respectful of other religions?... I would simply say, Mr. Chairman that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about."
As Perkins pointed out, salvation through Jesus Christ is a core biblical tenet held by Christians for millennia.

“Yet Senator Sanders is making it clear that he believes the U.S. Senate should disqualify nominees who express this most basic biblical belief,” Perkins said. “Americans should never be forced to choose between their faith and public service. Nor should the U.S. Senate try to impose a stealth litmus test that says ‘you can be religious as long as you don’t actually believe or talk about what the Bible teaches.”

David French wrote a powerful rebuke of Sanders for National Review.

“There is nothing ‘extreme’ about his statements, and they mirror the statements of faith of countless Christian churches and schools across the land,” French wrote. “Are these believers also not fit for public office?”

It’s a fair question and one that I posed to Sen. Sanders’ office. Does he believe Christians are unfit to hold public office?

The senator’s press office did not answer that question directly.

“The question at hand is not about Mr. Vought’s freedom to hold certain religious beliefs,” the senator’s spokesman told me. “The question that concerns Sen. Sanders is whether Mr. Vought will carry out the duties of his office in a way that treats all Americans equally, even those whose beliefs he has criticized.”

It was an ugly moment in American politics, but it was also an instructional moment for American Christians.

Progressives and secularists are waging a brutal assault on people of faith – and it’s only gotten worse since President Trump took office. I predicted that would happen in my latest book, “The Deplorables Guide to Making America Great Again.”

Let's hope Sen. Sanders will heed the wise words of Gentleman from Oklahoma.

“The freedom to be Christian, Yezidi, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or another religion, or practice no religion, is an American right, and the United States Senate must not waver in our protection of that diversity and freedom. If we waver on the First Amendment, all of our constitutional rights, like free speech, freedom of assembly, and many others, become at risk," Lankford said.

People of faith must stand together and renounce anti-Christian bigots and bigotry – especially when those bigots walk the halls of Congress.
------------------
Todd Starnes (@toddstarnes) is A Christian Conservative, the host of Fox News & Commentary and heard daily on 250+ radio stations and on his iTune podcasts.

Tags: Bernie Sanders, imposes religious test, attacks, Christian, Russell Vought, President Trump, nominee, Todd Starnes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Impeach-Trump Conspiracy

by Patrick Buchanan: Pressed by Megyn Kelly on his ties to President Trump, an exasperated Vladimir Putin blurted out, “We had no relationship at all. … I never met him. … Have you all lost your senses over there?”

Yes, Vlad, we have.

Consider the questions that have convulsed this city since the Trump triumph, and raised talk of impeachment.

Did Trump collude with Russians to hack the DNC emails and move the goods to WikiLeaks, thus revealing the state secret that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was putting the screws to poor Bernie Sanders?

If not Trump himself, did campaign aides collude with the KGB?

Now, given that our NSA and CIA seemingly intercept everything Russians say to Americans, why is our fabled FBI, having investigated for a year, unable to give us a definitive yes or no?

The snail’s pace of the FBI investigation explains Trump’s frustration. What explains the FBI’s torpor? If J. Edgar Hoover had moved at this pace, John Dillinger would have died of old age.

We hear daily on cable TV of the “Trump-Russia” scandal. Yet, no one has been charged with collusion, and every intelligence official, past or prevent, who has spoken out has echoed ex-acting CIA Director Mike Morrell:

“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark.”

Where are the criminals? Where is the crime?

As for the meetings between Gen. Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner, Sen. Jeff Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, it appears that Trump wanted a “back channel” to Putin so he could honor his commitment to seek better relations with Russia.

Given the Russophobia rampant here, that makes sense. And while it appears amateurish that Flynn would use Russian channels of communication, what is criminal about this?

Putin is not Stalin. Soviet divisions are not sitting on the Elbe. The Cold War is over. And many presidents have used back channels. Woodrow Wilson sent Col. Edward House to talk to the Kaiser and the Brits. FDR ran messages to Churchill through Harry Hopkins.

As for Trump asking Director James Comey to cut some slack for Flynn, it is understandable in human terms. Flynn had been a loyal aide and friend and Trump had to feel rotten about having to fire the man.

So, what is really going on here?

All the synthetic shock over what Kushner or Sessions said to Kislyak aside, this city’s hatred for President Trump, and its fanatic determination to bring him down in disgrace, predates his presidency.

For Trump ran in 2016 not simply as the Republican alternative. He presented his candidacy as a rejection, a repudiation of the failed elites, political and media, of both parties. Americans voted in 2016 not just for a change in leaders but for a revolution to overthrow a ruling regime.

Thus this city has never reconciled itself to Trump’s victory, and the president daily rubs their noses in their defeat with his tweets.

Seeking a rationale for its rejection, this city has seized upon that old standby. We didn’t lose! The election was stolen in a vast conspiracy, an “act of war” against America, an assault upon “our democracy,” criminal collusion between the Kremlin and the Trumpites.

Hence, Trump is an illegitimate president, and it is the duty of brave citizens of both parties to work to remove the usurper.

The city seized upon a similar argument in 1968, when Richard Nixon won, because it was said he had colluded to have South Vietnam’s president abort Lyndon Johnson’s new plan to bring peace to Southeast Asia in the final hours of that election.

Then, as now, the “t” word, treason, was trotted out.

Attempts to overturn elections where elites are repudiated are not uncommon in U.S. history. Both Nixon and Reagan, after 49-state landslides, were faced with attempts to overturn the election results.

With Nixon in Watergate, the elites succeeded. With Reagan in Iran-Contra, they almost succeeded in destroying that great president as he was ending the Cold War in a bloodless victory for the West.

After Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson sought to prevent Radical Republicans from imposing a ruthless Reconstruction on a defeated and devastated South.

The Radicals enacted the Tenure of Office Act, stripping Johnson of his authority to remove any member of the Cabinet without Senate permission. Johnson defied the Radicals and fired their agent in the Cabinet, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

“Tennessee” Johnson was impeached, and missed conviction by one vote. John F. Kennedy, in his 1956 book, called the senator who had voted to save Johnson a “Profile in Courage.”

If Trump is brought down on the basis of what Putin correctly labels “nonsense,” this city will have executed a nonviolent coup against a constitutionally elected president. Such an act would drop us into the company of those Third World nations where such means are the customary ways that corrupt elites retain their hold on power.
--------------------
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, Impeach-Trump, Conspiracy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Disgruntled . . .

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate in an effort to dish out revenge against President Trump for firing him.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Disgruntled, former, FBI Director, James Comey, Senate testimony, revenge, against, Donald 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!

Housing Horror

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Housing in Oregon’s north-central urban region is becoming more and more like San Francisco’s — out of the budgetary reach of huge swaths of average workers.

“The median rental household can’t comfortably afford a two-bedroom apartment in 28 of Oregon’s 36 counties,” Elliot Njus writes for The Oregonian. But it is worst in Portland and the three counties in the region: Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas.

The findings come from a group called the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Njus quotes Alison McIntosh, of another group, the Neighborhood Partnerships, who not unreasonably concludes that “folks are really struggling to make ends meet.”

Well, yeah. This was predicted, long ago.

The state of Oregon began a comprehensive land-use planning system, decades ago, to prevent urban sprawl. At about the same time the Portland-region’s three major counties began a concentrated effort to . . . concentrate populations within the area. Confine them. Regulate them. Economists and other critics* from the very beginning predicted rising housing costs. And other problems.

Now, of course, the usual groups react in precisely the wrong ways: rent control. The State House in Salem recently passed legislation to uncork rent control. Thankfully for renters, the Senate nixed the idea.

But we can be sure this proven housing killer (a disaster where tried) will resurface. Common sense (as well as reams of economic research) tells folks how bad an idea this would be, exacerbating the problem it aims to solve.

Alas, some folks look at government more as magic than as just another flawed, human institution.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* One set of critics can be found at the Cascade Policy Institute, which describes Oregon’s land-use regulatory system as “the nation’s most restrictive” — adding that “every square inch of Oregon has been zoned by government planners, with the result that development of any type is prohibited on most private land.”
------------------
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, Housing Horror To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Congress Cancel The August Recess! Get Back To Work

by Peter Hong: As Washington obsesses about its latest parlor game (“What Will James Comey Say Next?”), Republican voters are searching far and wide for any hint of the Republican majority agenda they voted for in November 2016. While Capitol Hill, the media, and all of their “unnamed sources” planted throughout the Republican establishment and administrative state have their eyes and ears peeled in hopes of another Watergate, Republican voters are wondering, “What does any of this have to do with me?”

It’s a good question and sadly, the answer is “Nothing.” The Comey hearing, the Mueller investigation, all of the so-called “Russia-gate” only seems to add more hot air to the Washington, D.C. summer — a distraction from the real problems Americans are facing at home. Foolishly, Republicans have taken the bait and fallen into the trap of self-immobilization — a trap that will lead to electoral repercussions next year.

The Washington Examiner found evidence for this sentiment, while canvassing Republican voters in Georgia for the upcoming special election between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff on June 20. A 79-year old, suburban, Republican woman summed up the consensus opinionby saying:

“President Trump is doing OK. He’s doing, as a matter of fact, very well. He’s getting a lot of things done that are good for the country — good for us. The Congress — not so much. I’m very disappointed.”

It should come as no surprise to anyone that while President Trump’s approval rating have dropped, largely due to the barrage of assaults he has taken from the national mainstream media, his favorables consistently remain at least three times higher than that of Congress.

As we enter the sixth month of Republican control of Congress and the White House, what can officeholders and candidates — like Karen Handel — brag about? Once you get past confirming the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and revoking a few Obama-era regulations through the Congressional Review Act, not a whole lot.

Border Wall: Crickets.

Health Care: After a successful mutiny by the House Freedom Caucus, the House fixed the “American Health Care Act,” using federalism to address key cost inflators, such as “essential health benefits. While not fully repealing Obamacare, the measure marked a drastic improvement over the disastrous, original Ryancare bill cobbled together behind closed doors. The Senate has not acted.

Financial Reform: The House has just passed the “Choice Act,” which would overhaul the disastrous Dodd-Frank Act and its legacy of killing off community banks and squelching economic growth. Unfortunately, the Choice Act is not expected to survive the Senate in its current form.

Government Spending: Fearful of a government shutdown, Congress passed a trillion dollar bill funding the government through the end of September. Largely seen as a sop to the Democrats, the measure did not fund a border wall or a crackdown on sanctuary cities — but did include funding for Democratic priorities like Planned Parenthood. It tilted so far left that even Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer praised it.

Tax Reform: Some talk, no action by either the House or the Senate.

As of June 12, the House of Representatives will have been in session for 70 days, broken up by week-long recesses for MLK Day, Presidents Day, Passover/Easter, Memorial Day – and for some unknown reason, the week of May 8-12. It is scheduled for another week off for Independence Day and then five weeks for the cherished August recess.

While some Republican voters might generously hold off judgment – scoring the first six months of the Republican majority as “incomplete” – others would be justified giving the GOP an “F.” Whatever the grade, it cannot merit a month-long summer vacation while Americans outside the Beltway wait for an economic recovery, sweat out the soaring costs of health care, and toil under the costly burdens of high taxation and overregulation.

With that in mind, the House Freedom Caucus called for Speaker Paul Ryan to cancel the August recess to focus on tax reform efforts. Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, endorsed this idea, saying:

“At a time when President Trump’s agenda is being stalled in Congress based on the calendar, it is time for Speaker Paul Ryan to cancel Congress’ paid vacation.”

Canceling the recess would actually improve the quality of life for members of Congress. Most members use the August recess to visit their districts and hold town hall meetings, travel the globe on taxpayer-paid Congressional delegation (or CODEL) trips, or go on personal vacation. Because Congressional recesses this year have been filled with nothing but staged protests of town hall meetings by the organized Left, none of the standard options (protests, foreign junkets, paid vacations) make for particularly good visuals. And this time they might also be filled with angry Republican voters demanding to know why Congress has been wasting so much time.

Congress should cancel the August recess, stay in Washington, and get the people’s work done. With health care, tax reform, financial reform, a border wall, twelve appropriations spending bills (remember “regular order”?) — and possibly a Supreme Court vacancy — on the stove, there’s plenty to do.

And if they still can’t get anything done? Turn up the heat and turn off the air conditioning at the Capitol.
----------------
Peter Hong is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's NetRight Daily blog.

Tags: Peter Hong, Americans for Limited Government, Congress, Cancel, August Recess, Get Back To Work To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

How Jeff Sessions Just Stopped the Justice Department From Robbing the Public

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on
 June 5 ending the practice of third-party settlements. 
by Paul J. Larkin Jr.: It might seem strange to see a headline stating that the U.S. attorney general has stopped the Justice Department from robbing the public, but that is exactly what Attorney General Jeff Sessions just did.

In a memorandum dated June 5 that was directed to the head of each component of the Department of Justice and to every U.S. attorney, Sessions revised the department’s settlement policy.

During the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, senior Justice Department officials approved settlement agreements involving defendants such as Volkswagen and the Bank of America in which the defendants agreed to pay beaucoup bucks to end litigation over the government’s claims that the defendant had acted illegally.

A novel feature of those agreements, however, was that the government allowed the defendants to pay some of that money over to third parties approved by the government who were not victims of any wrongdoing, but who were often political allies of the administration.

This third-party payment practice flew beneath the radar for most of the last decade, but it recently came to light as The Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society Review, Kimberley Strassel, George Will, and the House of Representatives strongly criticized it.

Strassel, for example, labeled the practice tantamount to creating “a slush fund.” As Will wrote, “Base motives of self-aggrandizement have impelled many presidents to disregard the separation of powers. Progressive presidents do this as a matter of principle, which is worse.”

As I have previously written (here, here, here, and here) and testified, the department’s former practice was tantamount to the theft of money that belonged to the public and should have been deposited into the U.S. Treasury.

Federal law requires Justice Department lawyers to deposit funds they receive from a settlement into the U.S. Treasury so that Congress, not the president or the Justice Department, can decide how those funds should be spent.

No lawyer in private practice could tell a defendant, “My client doesn’t need all of the money he’s entitled to receive in this settlement. Give a portion of it to somebody else.”

Now, Justice Department lawyers take funds that belong to taxpayers and give them to someone who is not the victim of wrongdoing.

We’re not talking chump change, either. In March of this year, the House Judiciary Committee concluded that “[t]he Justice Department funneled third-party groups over a billion dollars in just the last 30 months of the previous administration.”

Making that even worse, the committee concluded, is that those Justice Department-approved donations defied Congress’ wishes because it had specifically cut funding for the very purposes to which the money now could be put.

Ask yourself this question: Could a lawyer in private practice do what the Justice Department did?

That is, could a lawyer say to a defendant, “I know that my client is entitled to receive $1 million in this settlement. But, in my opinion, he doesn’t need that much money. So why don’t you give $250,000 to someone else whom I approve and whom I like.”

Not if the lawyer wanted to continue practicing law.

Accepted principles of legal ethics direct a lawyer to represent his client to the best of his abilities. It goes without saying that the lawyer described above failed in that regard.

The same principle applies to Justice Department lawyers. They represent the public, and Congress, representing the public, has decided that all funds due to the United States must be paid into the treasury—which means that the public’s lawyers are not free to give that money away to anyone else.

This now-ended Justice Department practice was tawdry, unlawful, and unethical. To quote Spike Lee, the attorney general did the right thing by scotching that practice. Kudos for Sessions.
--------------
Paul J. Larkin Jr is a senior legal research fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and directs The Heritage Foundation’s project to counter abuse of the criminal law, particularly at the federal level.

Tags: Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, stopped, Justice Department, robbing the Public To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Government Land

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Brian Thomas points out that the eastern two-thirds of the country have little federally owned land. By contrast, the federal government owns most of the land in the western states. Henry Lamb asks why the federal government owns 65 percent of the land west of Denver and only 2 percent of the land east of Denver.

These questions are beginning to be asked by various commentators especially as citizens in western areas of America would like to develop property in their states. Originally the government only needed land to fulfill its basic duties. Land was needed for federal buildings, roads, and parks. The rest of the land was available for private ownership.

When the western regions of America became states, government philosophy was changing. Progressive reformers wanted to expand the size and scope of government. And they were also convinced that the government could do a better job of managing the land than individual private landowners.

Brain Thomas writes about the contempt progressives had for what they called “individualism” and their desire for an expansive government based upon the “living and evolving” Constitution. Add to that an ecological mentality that argues that developing land is bad for the environment, and you have the situation we find today.

Henry Lamb reminds us that the Constitution originally delegated certain powers to the federal government. This would include acquiring land for specific governmental needs (e.g., building post offices). The Tenth Amendment declared that powers not granted to the federal government were reserved for the states and the people.

Unfortunately, the states are no longer on an equal footing with the federal government. That is one reason why the federal government owns 98 percent of the land in Alaska and 86 percent of Nevada land. It also illustrates why the federal government is still working to confiscate the private property of ranchers and other private citizens.
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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, Government Land 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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