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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, October 27, 2017

Witnessing Real Corruption

by Newt Gingrich: The Left has been desperately working for months to find any shred of evidence that Donald Trump had even the slightest connection to Russia during the presidential campaign. Despite having the full support of their friends in the media, they have consistently failed to find anything substantive.

At first, I assumed the liberal elites were simply driven by their inability to accept that the American people elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. Now, I have another theory: The Trump-Russia story is meant to serve as a pure distraction aimed at masking real corruption by the Clinton political machine.

As The Hill reported on Sunday, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, a Kremlin-linked bank paid her husband, former President Bill Clinton, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also during her tenure as top diplomat, earlier reports indicate Canadian and Russian business executives directed many millions more to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, citing recently unsealed Federal Bureau of Investigation reports, The Hill described a thorough Russian campaign aimed at gaining access to the Clintons and capitalizing on their influence, while also spying on them to advance a pro-Russia agenda. In 2010, the FBI arrested 10 so-called “sleeper cell” Russian spies who had reportedly become too close to Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, while serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was also overseeing a laundry list of U.S.-Russian initiatives and dealings.

Among other things, she served on the Committee on Foreign Investment, where she voted in favor of President Obama’s approval of the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian business, to a state-owned Russian nuclear energy outfit. At the time, the Canadian company controlled 20 percent of the U.S. uranium reserves.

Before the sale was approved, a Kremlin-linked bank that supported the deal paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a 90-minute speech in Moscow to promote the Uranium One’s stock. Bill then met personally with Vladimir Putin. All the while, people linked with Uranium One – and its previous incarnation UrAsia – reportedly paid the Clinton Foundation $145 million in donations.

You can’t make this stuff up, and while the news media continues to acknowledge the facts, they still claim there is no foul play on behalf of the Clintons in terms of the uranium deal. The Media Research Center found that the ABC, NBC, and CBS evening shows have “spent only 3 minutes and 1 second on the Clinton Foundation scandal in more than two years.”

In comparison, another Media Research Center report found that since Inauguration Day evening shows on these three networks have aired “1,000 minutes of coverage discussing Russia’s attempt to boost Trump in 2016, and speculation that Trump’s campaign may have colluded with the Russians in this project.”

And remember: The so-called collusion story came out of supposed opposition research we now know was funded by Clinton and her Democrat allies.

Thankfully, House and Senate Republicans have now launched new investigations into the Clintons’ ties to Russia – as well as Hillary’s illegal use of a private email server as Secretary of State. The email scandal is now even more significant given that we know that she continued to use a private, insecure email server despite the FBI arresting a ring of Russian agents who were specifically targeting her.

As I told Sean Hannity on Monday, I think we are on the edge of the greatest corruption scandal in American history.

The first thing Congress should do is demand that every single dollar donated to the Clinton Foundation and its charity initiatives be made public to show exactly where the Clintons derived their money. I suspect there are millions of foreign dollars hidden away in foreign subsidiaries that were never reported in financial disclosures.

The truth about the level of foreign donation, influence peddling, and outright corruption involved in the Clinton world could change American politics forever.

The great irony of all this though, is that the Clintons started the so-called Russian collusion scandal, and in the end, they may be the ones destroyed by it.
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, Witnessing, Real Corruption, Hllary Clinton, Bill Clinton, 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 John Adams Quote Phil Robertson Thinks You Should Pay Attention To

by Genevieve Wood: Phil Robertson, or “The Duck Commander, joins us in “the swamp” to give his take on faith, freedom, and President Donald Trump. 

Watch our full interview below.

Genevieve Wood (@genevievewood) advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal.

Tags: Genevieve Wood, The Daily Signal, Phil Robertson, The Duck Commander To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Liberals More Committed Than Conservatives

by George Barna: There is good news and bad news for conservatives.

The good news is that conservatives are more likely than liberals to believe there is a culture war underway. The even better news for the Right is that SAGE Cons are the single most attentive and active group when it comes to engaging in that culture war.

The bad news is that liberals, overall, are more likely than conservatives to believe that there is a need for significant cultural change in the U.S. these days; they are more likely to describe the need for such change as “urgent;” and they are more likely to participate in a variety of forms of social action.

A new nationwide survey conducted by the American Culture & Faith Institute discovered that conservatives are twice as likely to give money to the causes they care about, but liberals are more likely to offer their time and energy.

Is There a Culture War?
Seven out of ten Americans (71%) believe there is a culture war taking place in the United States today. That view is especially common among SAGE Cons – the Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservative Christians, a segment recently profiled by pollster George Barna in his book explaining the 2016 election results, The Day Christians Changed America. Overall, 93% of SAGE Cons believe there is a culture war raging today. Conservatives (78%) are more likely than both liberals (71%) and moderates (68%) to believe that such a clash of values and beliefs is underway.

Do We Need Substantial Change?
Surprisingly, though, just three out of every five adults (62%) contend that America needs substantial cultural change. That sense of necessity was most common among SAGE Cons (73%). It was also more likely among born again Christians (67%) than among other adults (60%). Adults with a biblical worldview more frequently identified the need for substantial change (83%) than did the huge majority of adults who do not possess a biblical worldview (among whom just 61% perceived a need for substantial change). Liberals (76%) and conservatives (70%) were far more likely than moderates (53%) to express a need for serious cultural transformation. There were no significant differences by age.

Among the six out of ten who identified a need for significant change, two-thirds of them (68%) said that need represents an “urgent priority.” That urgency was most often identified by SAGE Cons (83%) and people with a biblical worldview (77%). The sense of urgency was more common to both liberals (79%) and conservatives (73%) than to moderates (60%).

Taking Action
When ten forms of social action were gauged by the national survey, additional patterns emerged, showcasing the heightened commitment to cultural transformation of two competing groups, in particular: SAGE Cons and liberals. Conservatives, in general, were typically no more engaged in transformational activities than were moderates.

The most common forms of action, undertaken by half of the adult population, was to speak to other people about social or political issues. Liberals were substantially more likely to engage in such conversations than were either conservatives or moderates. Unexpectedly, SAGE Cons were no more likely than other people to have engaged in such dialogue. A previous survey by ACFI revealed that their reticence was based on the fact that their churches had failed to teach them how to think biblically about current issues, so they avoided related conversations.
About one-third of all adults had signed a petition in the past six months. SAGE Cons (57%) and liberals (52%) were the two segments most likely to have done so. Conservatives outside the SAGE Cons segment were notably less likely than either liberals or even moderates to sign social change petitions.

One-fifth of adults had corresponded with public officials regarding public policy matters. Again, SAGE Cons and liberals led the way in this activity, with other conservatives and moderates less commonly involved.

Similarly, one-fifth of the public had donated money during the prior six months to political candidates or organizations seeking political or social change. Conservatives, in general, and SAGE Cons in particular, were likely to provide funding to such entities.

Physical resistance – such as marches, boycotts, and demonstrations – were engaged in by about one out of ten adults. Liberals were at least twice as likely as any other segment to participate in such grassroots endeavors.

Running for an elected position was relatively uncommon, with only 4% of the public claiming to have done so recently. Again, liberals were much more likely to jump into elective politics than were conservatives. Even SAGE Cons appear to typically avoid putting their name on a ballot.

Action at the Cash Register
Another series of questions in the survey found that millions of adults express their views toward retailers and service companies that have taken a stand on a social or political issue by changing their shopping patterns accordingly. Conservatives and liberals alike have changed their shopping patterns to no longer buy products from companies that have taken an unacceptable stand on social or political issues. Survey respondents identified more than 70 different organizations whose products and services they are currently boycotting.

Among conservatives, about one-third indicated that they avoid the products and services of certain organizations. Among those who take such action, the leading entities that are no longer patronized included the following:
The list was quite different among the one-third of liberals who are boycotting the products and services of organizations with whom they disagree on social or political issues. Among the liberals who take such action, the leading entities that are no longer patronized included the following:
On the other hand, ideologues often show their appreciation to an organization for taking a stand by going out of their way to patronize an organization because of its stand on an issue. Interestingly, Americans are more likely to boycott an organization than they are to purposefully patronize an organization for its stands. While about one-quarter of all adults (27%) said they have stopped buying products or services from particular organizations because of a social or political stand taken, just half as many adults (13%) said they intentionally support an organization economically because of its sociopolitical stands. Again, the lists of organizations supported differ almost entirely between conservatives and liberals.

Conservatives who alter their shopping patterns to reflect their appreciation for a company’s public stands were most likely to intentionally patronize the following organizations:
Similarly, liberals whose shopping choices reflect their support for a company’s public stands are most likely to get behind the following organizations:
Putting all of these behaviors together reveals the ultimate effect on organizations from taking stands on social and political issues. When all of the public’s choices are combined, the net impact of taking a social or political stand is more likely to be negative than positive. All things considered, the biggest losers appear to be Starbucks, Target, NFL, and Bank of America. The biggest winner is amazon.
A final observation from the survey is that those on the ends of the ideological continuum were not the only people to engage in rewarding or punishing companies for taking social and political stands. Moderates also engage in such action, though not as widely as do conservatives and liberals. Most interesting was the fact that moderates were more likely than either conservatives or liberals to support organizations for taking a stand. While both conservatives and liberals were twice as likely to boycott an organization as to support it for taking a stand, moderates were equally likely to boycott an organization as to purposefully support one for taking a stand.

Thoughts on the Culture War
George Barna, who serves as Executive Director of the American Culture & Faith Institute, and who led the research project, noted that conservatives are being outworked and outspent in the culture war. “Our surveys consistently show that conservatives are usually more likely to vote, but liberals are more likely to engage in most other forms of public persuasion and political activity. When conservatives do get behind specific action campaigns, such as boycotting organizations, the impact is obvious and significant. SAGE Cons are the exception to the rule among conservatives: they are more consistently engaged in social action, but even they are often outworked by liberals.

“We have found that most Americans are not ideologically inclined,” Barna continued. “That has allowed the consistent and strategic efforts of liberals to facilitate the leftward trajectory of America in recent years while conservatives have generally watched from the sidelines. To even the playing field, conservative Americans – especially those who are driven by their Christian faith – will have to become more consistently engaged or risk seeing the nation continue to move toward a more socialist bent.”

About the Research
The research described in this report is drawn from FullView™, a nationwide survey with a randomly-selected sample size of 1,003 adults, age 18 or older, whose demographic profile reflects that of the adult population. The online study was conducted by the American Culture & Faith Institute during October of 2017.

The American Culture & Faith Institute is a division of United in Purpose, a non-partisan, non-profit organization. The mission of United in Purpose is to educate, motivate and activate conservative Christians to engage in cultural transformation in ways that are consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization does not support or promote individual political candidates or parties.

Additional information about this study and related research is accessible on the American Culture & Faith Institute.
George Barna, Executive Director of the American Culture & Faith Institute provided the ARRA News Service the above research summary.

Tags: American Culture & Faith Institute, George Barna, Liberals, Than Conservatives To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Senate Seeks No Vacancy for Courts

by Tony Perkins: President Donald Trump is determined that judicial confirmations will be one of the hallmarks of his presidency, as evidenced by the successful replacement of Justice Antonin Scalia with a strong constitutionalist in Justice Neil Gorsuch. But the effort to fill vacancies at the Circuit Court and District court level continues despite the continued obstructionism from Senate Democrats. In a press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week, the president referred to the number of nominations his administration has made -- a number totaling over 65 -- as one of his administration's "unsung victories."

The most notable judicial victory in the Trump administration to date is undoubtedly the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, whose installation to the highest court of the land was the fulfillment of one of the president's critical campaign promises to fill the vacancy on the Court left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

However, in the months since Gorsuch's confirmation, there remains a massive backlog of judicial nominees still languishing in the Senate's confirmation process. There are currently 149 judicial vacancies, 120 district court, 21 circuit court, and eight other court vacancies. The Judicial Crisis Network points out that if the Senate were to continue to confirm judges at the snails' pace with which they have been moving, then it will take ten years to fill those seats.

The painfully slow creep of confirmations is due in large part to the convoluted Senate process, which is vulnerable at all stages to partisan opposition. Democrats have thus far used these procedural hurdles to effectively run the clock and waste floor time on up to thirty hours of debate for the confirmation of even the most uncontroversial district judges, even when they have overwhelming bi-partisan support.

As of yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, successfully reported out eight more judicial nominees, two for circuit courts and six for district courts, and they now await votes on the Senate floor. Senator McConnell has vowed that the Senate will confirm these nominees despite minority opposition. "We're not going to let these mindless attempts to slow progress stop us from confirming the president's nominees to the judiciary...You can count on it" the majority leader said in a press release.

Putting actions behind his announcement Senator McConnell filed cloture yesterday on four Circuit Court nominees, whose confirmations will be voted on next week. Among them is Notre Dame law professor Amy Barrett, a nominee for the 7th Circuit Court, whose recent committee hearing made headlines last month when Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) unleashed an unconstitutional religious litmus test against Barrett saying the "dogma lives loudly within [her]."

Ms. Barrett and others deserve fair consideration on the Senate floor. We will score in favor of the vote to proceed to Ms. Barrett's confirmation, as no senator should target a judicial nomination for her faith. As a country based on the rule of law, we need judges who will impartially and fairly apply the law, not craft it according to their ideology or political views. Indeed, the very writings Feinstein used to criticize Ms. Barrett clearly demonstrate that she will adhere to the rule of law, and fairly and neutrally decide the cases before her. The president is doing his job nominating sound judges who will do their job and not engage in activism, and the Senate must, despite Democrat obstructionism, continue to do one of its most important jobs and confirm these judges.
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.

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Why the Left and Right Clash Over National Identity

Dennis Prager
by Dennis Prager: In 2011, after 899 issues and 73 years of publication, Superman, the most famous American comic book character, announced that he was renouncing his American citizenship.

“I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship,” Superman announces. He then adds, in reference to his famous motto: “Truth, justice, and the American way—it’s not enough anymore.”

After a national uproar, the comic publisher announced that this theme would not be revisited in any future edition of the comic. But an important point was made. To the liberal publishers of Superman, the hero’s American identity just didn’t feel right.

Maybe that was what people wanted from 1938 to the late 20th century. But this national identity stuff has got to go. We should all be world citizens.

This example illustrates a primary difference between left and right: their respective views of nationalism and national identity.

The rejection of national identities began with the founder of leftism, Karl Marx. He ends his major work, “Das Kapital,” with the famous left-wing motto, “Proletariat of the world, unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.”

Marx regarded national identities as backward and useless. In his view, the only identities that mattered were class identities—the working class and the ruling class. If a worker thought of himself first as a German or Englishman, rather than as a worker, communism would never be achieved.

The rejection of nationalism in Europe became mainstream after World War I. Many Europeans, especially among the intellectuals, concluded that the unprecedented loss of life caused by the Great War was a result, first and foremost, of nationalism.

They concluded that Europeans slaughtered each other for nothing more than a flag and a national identity. Therefore, the argument went, by abolishing nationalism, war could be abolished.

That is the belief that led to the creation of the European Union: The more Europeans identified with Europe rather than with a particular country, the less likely were the chances of war between European countries.

In the United States, however, a national American identity has always been a major part of what it means to be an American.

The three pillars of Americanism, constituting what I have called the “American Trinity,” are found on every American coin and banknote: “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and “e pluribus unum.” The latter is Latin for “out of many, one.”

Because America has always been a nation of immigrants, it has no ethnic identity. Therefore, unlike almost all other nations, America could not depend on an ethnic identity to keep its people together.

In fact, if all Americans retained their ethnic identities, America would simply splinter. So a nonethnic American national identity had to be forged and preserved.

To this day, foreigners in the United States are struck by how patriotic Americans are in comparison to whatever country they come from.

They marvel, for example, at the fact that before almost every sporting event—from professional down to high school—the American national anthem is played and/or sung.

Conservatives wish to conserve all these manifestations of American patriotism and nationalism because they believe a sense of national unity is essential to the political and social health of the country.

On the other hand, the American left, like the left in Europe, is opposed to nationalism, and it generally finds patriotic expressions corny at best and dangerous at worst.

This is easily seen. Just visit conservative and liberal areas on July Fourth, America’s Independence Day. You will see American flags displayed throughout conservative areas and virtually none displayed in liberal areas such as Manhattan, or Santa Monica or Berkeley, California.

Left-wing opposition to American nationalism is exemplified by the left’s embrace of “multiculturalism”—the cultivation of all ethnic and racial identities except American. It has even reached the point wherein some American colleges no longer display the American flag.

In lieu of an American national identity, the left prefers an international identity. Thus, ideally, United Nations authority would supersede American authority, and the World Court would supersede American courts.

To conservatives, such ideas are anathema because, in addition to subverting American sovereignty, the United Nations has not done nearly the amount of good in the world that the United States has.

That’s why the liberals at DC Comics had Superman renounce his American citizenship (at the United Nations, no less). In their view, Superman is now even more super. In conservatives’ view, the renunciation is kryptonite.
Dennis Prager is a conservative best-selling author, radio talk show host, columnist and public speaker. He appears regularly on conservative TV shows. He is President of Prager University offers on-line free five-minute videos on various subjects addressed by noted conservatives.

Tags: Dennis Prager, Left, Right, Clash Over, National Identity To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Justice From Justice, Collusion Confusion, Bible Museum

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:  Justice From Justice - It is often said that elections have consequences. And every day the Trump Administration is proving that axiom to be true. One of the great frustrations of the Obama era was that when there was obvious corruption, as during the IRS targeting scandal, nobody got punished.

You will recall that in 2013 conservative tea party groups were harassed and denied important tax status by a politicized IRS. They were denied solely because they were conservative. The tea party groups that were wronged were never compensated.

There’s a new president and a new justice department. And, after years of litigation, DOJ has offered a settlement to tea party and other conservative groups that were targeted by the IRS under the Obama administration. In the settlement, the IRS acknowledges that it violated their rights by applying extra scrutiny and criteria to conservative groups when they applied for nonprofit status.

“The IRS’s use of these criteria as a basis for heightened scrutiny was wrong and should never have occurred,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement yesterday. “It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions.”

I would still like to see someone go to jail for the egregious politicization of a government agency, and perhaps that may still happen. But at least these grassroots organizations are going to be compensated and perhaps made whole again.

Collusion Confusion - Billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer has launched a multi-million-dollar campaign demanding that Congress impeach President Trump. I saw their first ad on Fox News last night, and found it ironic. Many of the things the ad mentions as impeachable offenses apply not to President Trump but to President Obama.

One allegation made in the ad, and by just about every liberal group over the last 10 months, is that Trump colluded with a foreign power, namely Russia. But as we are finding out, it’s looking more and more like Trump was just about the only person in the 2016 election not to collude with Russia.

But if that is grounds for impeachment, then how does one describe the two years of secret negotiations Obama and Hillary Clinton conducted with America’s avowed enemy Iran? Those negotiations culminated in a deal that resulted in billions of dollars of cash and gold being loaded onto planes and sent under the cover of darkness to Tehran.

That money is currently being used by the Iranian regime to threaten American soldiers and kill U.S. allies.

The terrible deal was submitted to the United Nations and to the Iranian Parliament. But the Obama Administration used every ounce of its political power to prevent it from ever getting an up or down vote in the U.S. Senate.

That’s about as clear a case of collusion with an enemy that you can find. And when it was happening, Republicans in Congress should have not only opposed the deal but labeled it what it was: collusion with an enemy of the United States.

​Bible Museum - A first-of-its-kind Museum of the Bible will open in Washington, D.C. next month. Located just a few blocks from the National Mall and the U.S. Capitol, I believe the museum will literally attract millions of visitors each year.

Financed in part by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, the Museum of the Bible reflects their commitment to excellence in every way. Carol and I were privileged to have a late night private tour of the facility yesterday. It is magnificent.

Of course our country, including Washington, D.C., desperately needs to open the Bible. In it they will find not only salvation but the answers to corruption and sin of all kinds. From racism to greed, the Bible has the answers. The museum is opening at exactly the right time in our history.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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Roots Of The Dem’s Russia Obsession: From Russia With Excuses

by Daniel Greenfield: Five years ago, Mitt Romney was hammering Barack Obama for being soft on Russia. And Obama was ridiculing him as a Cold War fossil. The Russia exchanges may seem confusing today, but back then they were a natural outgrowth of the respective Democrat and Republican foreign policy positions.

The Dems had accused President Bush of alienating Russia with the Iraq War. The McCain-Obama debates echoed the Romney-Obama debates with McCain taking a harder line on Russia. In ’08, Vladimir Putin even suggested that relations would improve once Obama took office. By ’12, Obama was caught on a hot mic promising more flexibility for Russia after the election was over.

Until the end of the Obama era, foreign policy fell along these predictable lines. Republicans focused on the old Cold War need to maintain NATO against Russian expansionism. Democrats had their own Cold War reflex. Whenever they heard Russia, they began to talk about nuclear disarmament.

And that was exactly what Obama did.

It’s hard to overestimate how much of our foreign policy consisted of unthinking virtue signaling.

For example, no one is quite sure why Obama decided to launch his disastrous Afghanistan surge with its accompanying horrifying death toll. But a debate exchange with Mitt Romney offers one possibility.

"Governor Romney,” Obama said. “I'm glad that you recognize that Al-Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al-Qaeda.”

Obama’s obsession with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, long after the group had ceased to matter there, was initially based on a claim that his administration knew was a lie. But the simplest explanation may be that the Dems had spent so much time accusing President Bush of neglecting Osama bin Laden to fight Saddam Hussein that pulling out of Iraq and going to Afghanistan became another reflexive response.

Even as ISIS took over a sizable piece of the Middle East, Obama didn’t want to hear about Iraq.

Thousands of Americans died and were maimed in Afghanistan while Iraq nearly became the center of a new terror state because some Dem strategist had decided that his party should counter Bush by emphasizing Afghanistan over Iraq. And so a cynical slogan eventually became a disastrous policy.

Similarly, Obama’s relationship to Russia was based around nuclear arms reduction because that had been the Dem line for generations. Obama and Hillary’s appeasement of Putin was a legacy of the Cold War. The major reset that turned the Dems from appeasers into antagonists also remains a mystery.

And the explanation for it may be every bit as disastrous as Obama’s pivot to Afghanistan. The origins of the Trump-Russia narrative appear to have come from the infamous Fusion GPS dossier. And that dossier was funded in part by a Clintonworld figure. But Fusion GPS had also been doing work for the Russians. Why did Fusion GPS choose to link Trump to Russia? It might have been a stray mouse click.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research on President Trump. Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele whose specialty was Russia. Why was Fusion GPS interested in Russia?

The answer appeared to be a Washington Post hit piece titled, "Inside Trump's financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Putin."

The article was one of a flurry of disposable hit pieces aimed at Trump. But the timing was crucial. It was June 2016. A month earlier, Trump had become the presumptive nominee. Fusion GPS’ old GOP client was no longer paying for anti-Trump material and the smear firm was casting around for Dem clients. It needed something juicy to offer them. And Russia just happened to be the flavor of the week.

After generations, the Dem position on Russia flipped drastically due to a smear firm’s need for money.

If Hillary had won, the Russia-Trump narrative would have been quickly disposed of. Even most Dems had trouble taking the allegations seriously. And they weren’t aimed at Russia, so much as at Trump.

But once Hillary lost, everything changed.

The narrative was no longer about tying Trump to a corrupt foreign government. It was about a vast conspiracy that had hijacked the election. Trump had been reinvented as the Manchurian Candidate.

But the Russian influence operation that was uncovered looked like an update of the Cold War with social media thrown into the mix. The initial rush to find connections to Russia on the right exposed troll farms that just as eagerly posed as Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock and militant feminists.

The old KGB had built networks of leftist front groups in the same way. The only difference was that with the internet and social media, Russian troll farms could recruit black nationalists online. Or pretend to be them on Twitter and Facebook. The best way to put forward their own agenda on issues like Crimea or Syria that most Americans didn’t care about was to set up fake identity politics front groups.

The Russians were trying to influence American politics for their own benefit. And they were frankly apolitical about it. The Russia trail has led to the Clintons and Uranium One, to Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary’s campaign chair, and, ironically enough, to Fusion GPS.

The very organization that helped birth the Trump-Russia meme was in bed with the Russians.

Did the Russians help create the Trump-Russia meme? The now infamous meeting in Trump Tower took place the same month as Fusion GPS’ pivot to the Russian narrative. When Trump Jr. shot down the Russians, the dossier may have been payback. The fatally flawed material in the dossier would hurt Trump, discredit anyone who used it and build the illusion of Russian influence. Just as Fusion GPS handfed stories to reporters, the Russians may have handfed the story to their pet researcher.

But they wouldn’t have anticipated the avalanche that it would set off.

Hillary’s campaign funded a dossier accusing Trump of Russian ties that might itself have been a Russian influence operation. But the Clintons and their associates, not to mention Fusion GPS, were no strangers to those. And as the Russian narrative stings the Dems, it will be as quickly forgotten as Obama’s mockery of Mitt Romney. The Reset Button will be pushed one more time.

The Dems loved Russia before they hated it. And they will learn to love it again.

Beyond the breaking news and the trending headlines, the real story is the unseriousness of Dem foreign policy. After two terms in the White House, the world is a mess. And the decisions responsible for that mess have haphazard ideological roots. ObamaCare was born because Obama needed a selling point. It was poorly thought out, poorly implemented and yet the Dems will die to defend it.

The Afghanistan surge remains one of the great scandals that no one will discuss. And even fewer will discuss the illegal Libyan invasion which emails revealed had a good deal to do with Hillary’s election bid. The Dems had spent generations appeasing Russia, before deciding that they really needed a good anti-Trump hit piece. And so they did what they weren’t willing to do in the face of nuclear annihilation, mass murder, assorted acts of terrorism and, more recently, an invasion or two, because Hillary lost.

Hillary and the Dems have argued that they are the responsible adults in the room. This is their idea of responsibility and what they are responsible for.
Daniel Greenfield is Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. David Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service

Tags: Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Mag, Hillary Clinton, Roots, Dem’s Russia Obsession, Russia, Excuses To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Gov't Settles With Tea Party Groups for IRS Targeting

There will be payouts to conservative groups abused by the IRS, but still little real accountability for the guilty.
by Thomas Gallatin: On Thursday, the U.S. government apologized for the IRS scandal of illegally targeting Tea Party groups during the Obama administration. Barack Obama’s enemies list sidelined literally hundreds of conservative organizations looking to exercise their free speech rights during the 2012 election. Attorney General Jeff Session slammed “the last administration,” saying that the targeting “was wrong and should never have occurred.” Sessions continued, “There is no excuse for this conduct. Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS.” Indeed, though if Obama won re-election because of this weaponization of government, an apology is woefully inadequate.

The government reached a “very substantial” settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit that had been brought by more than 400 conservative groups illegally targeted by the IRS. Edward Greim, the lawyer representing the targeted groups, said, “A true reckoning is finally up to the agency itself. Until the IRS itself steps forward to admit what really happened, we cannot have faith that the same abuse won’t be repeated again.”

While this settlement is indeed a win for those who suffered under Obama’s politicized IRS, it does not close the book on the issue. Several new filings have been raised that specifically single out the former IRS director of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, for her role in “failing” to stop the targeting by IRS employees. Recall that in 2015 a joint Justice Department and FBI investigation found “substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia,” and yet dubiously “found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.”

Tom Zawistowski, head of the Portage County Tea Party in Ohio, believes that Lerner should have faced criminal charges for her role in attempting to hide the agency’s activity by changing names while still approving of the targeting tactics. To date no evidence has come to light directly linking the IRS targeting scandal with the Obama White House — nor will it, thanks to a deft use of cutouts and other tactics to avoid leaving fingerprints.

And this is what so frustrates many Americans. When laws have been clearly violated, those in Washington who are guilty of having violated the law are seemingly immune to having to face any criminal liability or accountability. Lerner is enjoying a lucrative retirement. The scandal is simply swept under the rug and business continues as usual. This is why the swamp must be drained, as more and more Americans have lost their faith in government.
Thomas Gallatin wites for The Patriot Post.

Tags: Lois Lerner, Justice Department, FBI, Jeff Sessions, Barack Obama, Tea Party, IRS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

A Hot Mess . . .

. . . The Russian Trump Dossier of fabricated salacious material designed to destroy Donald Trump has blown up in Hillary Clinton’s Face.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Hillary Clinton, hot mess, Russian Trump Dossier, fabricated, salacious material, destroy, 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!

It’s Trump’s Party Now #2

Pat Buchanan
by Patrick Buchanan: “More is now required of us than to put down our thoughts in writing,” declaimed Jeff Flake in his oration against President Trump, just before he announced he will be quitting the Senate.

Though he had lifted the title of his August anti-Trump polemic, “Conscience of a Conservative,” from Barry Goldwater, Jeff Flake is no Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater took on the GOP establishment in the primaries, voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, defiantly declared, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” and then went down to defeat battling to the end after the assassination of JFK made LBJ invincible.

The real “Mr. Conservative” was a true profile in courage.

Flake, with only 18 percent approval in Arizona, decided to pack it in rather than get waxed in his own primary. With Falstaff, Flake appears to believe that “discretion is the better part of valor.”

Sen. Bob Corker is another summertime soldier calling on colleagues to stand and fight Trump while he retires to Tennessee.

It’s no wonder the establishment is viewed with such derision.

Flake calls Trump “dangerous to our democracy.” But the real threat Trump represents is to the GOP establishment’s control of the party’s agenda and the party’s destiny.

U.S. politics have indeed been coarsened, with Trump playing a lead role. Yet, beneath the savagery of the uncivil war in the party lies more than personal insults and personality clashes.

This is a struggle about policy, about the future. And Trump is president because he read the party and the country right, while the Bush-McCain Republican establishment had lost touch with both.

How could the Beltway GOP not see that its defining policies — open borders, amnesty, free trade globalism, compulsive military intervention in foreign lands for ideological ends — were alienating its coalition?

What had a quarter century of Bushite free trade produced?

About $12 trillion in trade deficits, $4 trillion with China alone, a loss of 55,000 plants and 6 million manufacturing jobs.

We imported goods “Made in China,” while exporting our future.

U.S. elites made China great again, to where Beijing is now challenging our strategic position and presence in Asia.

Could Republicans not see the factories shutting down, or not understand why workers’ wages had failed to rise for decades?

What did the democracy crusades “to end tyranny in our world” accomplish?

Thousands of U.S. dead, tens of thousands of wounded, trillions of dollars sunk, and a Mideast awash in blood from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, with millions uprooted and homeless. Yet, still, the GOP establishment has not repudiated the mindset that produced this.

With the Cold War over for a quarter of a century, what is the case now for America, $20 trillion in debt, going abroad in search of monsters to destroy?

Consider. Bush-Obama “open borders” brought in tens of millions of Third World peoples, legally and illegally, to rising resistance from Americans forced to bear the economic and social costs.

What was the GOP establishment’s reply to the opposition to amnesty for illegals and calls for a moratorium on legal immigration, to assimilate the tens of millions already here?

To call them nativists and parade their moral superiority.

Flake and Corker are being beatified by the Beltway elites, and George W. Bush and John McCain celebrated for their denunciations of Trumpism.

Yet no two people are more responsible for the blunders of the post-Cold War era than McCain and Bush.

About which of half a dozen wars were they right?

Yesterday’s New York Times recognized Trump’s triumph:

“Despite the fervor of President Trump’s Republican opponents, the president’s brand of hard-edged nationalism — with its gut-level cultural appeals and hard lines on trade and immigration — is taking root within his adopted party.”

Moreover, a new question arises:

Can the GOP establishment believe that if Trump falls, or they bring him down, they will inherit the estate and be welcomed home like the Prodigal Son? Do they believe their old agenda of open borders, amnesty, free trade globalism and democracy-crusading can become America’s agenda again?

Trumpism is not a detour, after which we can all get back on the interstate to the New World Order.

For though unpleasant, it is not unfair to say that if there was one desire common to Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump voters, it was be rid of the regime resting on top of all of us.

Should Trump fall, and a restored establishment attempt to reimpose the old policies, there will be a truly uncivil war in this country.

After the Trumpian revolt, there is no going back. As that most American of writers, Thomas Wolfe, put it, “You can’t go home again.”

Traditionalists have been told that for years. Now it’s the turn of the GOP establishment to learn the truth as well.

Goldwater lost badly, but the establishment that abandoned him never had its patrimony restored. It was the leaders they abhorred, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, to whom the future belonged.
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. Previous article: It’s Trump’s Party Now

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President Trump Remove FHFA Director Mel Watt‘ For Cause’ . . .

. . . He has no idea how to reform the housing market.
by Robert Romano: Among the zombie regulators held over from the Obama administration, including Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray and now outgoing Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, another holdover still in place is Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt.

Watt was appointed by former President Barack Obama, took office in Jan. 2014, and is presently serving a five-year term in office.

But according to 12 U.S. Code § 4512(b)(2), an FHFA director can only be “removed before the end of such term for cause by the President.” The clause “for cause” means that, presumably, some form of malfeasance would have to occur to get rid of Watt.

A similar clause in Dodd-Frank protects Cordray as well from outright removal. But a federal court recently found that to be unconstitutional, as it abrogates the President’s constitutional authority under Article II to staff the executive branch.

But how about urging lenders to make home loans to borrowers who may not be able to afford it, said to be one of the underlying causes of the financial crisis ten years ago?

That surely sounds like “cause” for removal to me.

As highlighted by the Paul Sperry in the New York Post, Watt is having Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, under government conservatorship since 2008, continue to use weak underwriting guidelines. Per Sperry, “[B]orrowers need only put 3 percent down to get a Fannie-backed loan — even if the down payment is a gift. Fannie also has started up a new subprime lending program.”

To be fair, Fannie, Freddie and the FHA for that matter never really stopped providing low down payment loans since the financial crisis (disclosure: this author got one in 2011 prior to refinancing at a private bank a few years later), and one can argue about how impactful such policies were to causing the crisis. But they were a vital feature of the system leading up to the previous housing crash, and remain so, enabling the maximum number of borrowers to get mortgages — by design. But, by definition that does increase risk, especially for higher valued homes when borrowers might be right on the margins of qualifying.

The idea is to sell houses fast with a liquid lending market. The downside is when a big recession and unemployment wave hits, as in 2007 through 2009, followed by the foreclosures. While the lending conditions may or may not play a role in such a crash, they can enable the concentration of the risk, which banks like Fannie and Freddie are supposed to be prepared to manage.

Sounder guidelines might find realtors and lenders steering potential homebuyers into smaller, more affordable homes, instead of trying to make the biggest possible sale. Commissions might suffer, but the upside would be a more sustainable market. It shouldn’t be a game of musical chairs every time the economy takes a downturn.

Other things to look would also include overall debt to income ratios allowed by federally backed lenders when making loans, the concentration of high-risk stock on agency-issued mortgage-backed securities and perverse incentives under Graham-Leach-Bliley for lenders to engage in riskier, “affordable” housing lending in return for mega bank mergers.

Overall, government guarantees of home loans, considering the portion of the mortgage market it controls, undoubtedly played a role in driving up prices during the housing boom. It led to overproduction. More homes were built than could be filled.

Ultimately, a stable economy with good-paying jobs that is growing solves most of these problems. There is much less of a call for government-backed lending programs when hard-working Americans can afford to go to a private lender.

But don’t expect Watt to look into any of that. Nor does he have any plan to unwind Fannie and Freddie. Watt, a former member of Congress, in Oct. 3 testimony to the House Financial Services Committee stated, “it is the role of Congress, not FHFA, to decide on housing finance reform.” Thanks for the helpful advice there, director. Now, do you have any real ideas for how to get the government out of the lending game? While surely Congress must enact a new law to take Fannie and Freddie out from under conservatorship, this type of punt by a bureaucrat who manages trillions of dollars of debt is inexcusable.

Government agencies including the GSEs own or guarantee $6.3 trillion of mortgages nationwide. This could be privatized, by selling those assets to private financial institutions, including locally to community banks. Unwinding Fannie and Freddie in an orderly fashion could take some time, but after a decade it’s about time the nation had a serious discussion about the financial crisis and how we can prevent another one.

A strong leader at the FHFA will be needed to prepare and evaluate that proposal, and to make recommendations. That is not Watt.

It’s not a question of whether anything can be done to reform housing finance. Lots can be done. But with politicians like Watt in charge of the nation’s leading mortgage lenders, that’s never going to happen. President Trump should do the entire industry and the nation a favor and find a new director of the FHFA before 2019. No need to wait for federal courts to adjudicate. He has the constitutional and legal authority, and there is “cause,” seeing as Watt has no idea how to reform the nation’s housing markets.
Paul Jacob is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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

Daughter Draft

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

For years, the Selective Service System — the friendly folks who bring us the military draft — used the above slogan to portray registering for the draft as a rite of manhood.

If macho draft registration is now expanded to women, perhaps the slogan will change to: “Men and women have to do what they’re told — equally.” That’s where the issue is headed: to equality. Equality before the law is important, sure — but we don’t want equal servitude. Equal freedom is better.

“It appears that, for the most part, expanding registration for the draft to include women would enhance further the benefits presently associated with the Selective Service System,” stated a Pentagon report to Congress recommending the mandatory registration of women.

What benefits are those?

Spending $25 million each year on a Washington bureaucracy to keep a woefully inaccurate and incomplete list of young people between 18 and 25 years of age for a possible future military draft doesn’t hold any benefit for me.

If a draft were conducted, many observers believe the Selective Service would throw away its coerced list of young people (gathered by threatening and punishing and imprisoning young people*) and simply purchase a list or lists on the open list market.

But there is no need for conscription. Never has been. Citizens in these United States have always stepped forward. Today, the All Volunteer Force is the best military in the world.

Most of all, conscription is anathema to the idea of individual liberty. We can and will defend ourselves, but without registering or forcing our daughters into the military.

Or our sons.

Ending registration, forswearing conscription, that’s equal freedom.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* I know, I was one of those prosecuted back in the 1980s.
Paul Jacob is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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Robots and Artificial Intelligence

by Kerby Anderson: Two recent articles illustrate our uncertainty about the future of technology. One proclaims that, “More than 70% of US fear robots taking over our lives.” Another is the special edition of Time that states, “Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Humankind.”

A recent Pew Research poll found more than two-thirds of Americans “express wariness or concern about a world where machines perform any of the tasks done by humans.” That is more than double the number (about one-third) who were enthusiastic about the prospect.

Perhaps the best example of the discontinuity between experts and the general public is the possibility of driverless cars. There is broad agreement among proponents of the technology that it would be safer than cars driven by distracted, drunk, or sleepy drivers. The American public disagrees. The author of the report says that, “People are not buying the safety argument about driverless vehicles.”

By contrast, the latest Time magazine special edition on artificial intelligence is quite sanguine about the possibilities of the robots, computers, and machine intelligence. Each article explains the benefits to business, government, and the military. It explains how self-driving cars are safer and how we will enjoy various high-tech toys.

Near the end, it does provide a range of reactions to artificial intelligence. Ray Kurzweil believes A.I. will be achieved by 2029 and will be a great benefit to humans. By contrast, Stephen Hawking believes that A.I. could be the “biggest event in human history” but also warns it could be “the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.”

Those are wise words and a good reason to be asking important questions about the impact of the new technologies.
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

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Sessions Highlights 2 Most Vital Liberties Justice Department Will Aim to Protect

“Our freedom to worship and speak our minds
 [is] at the core of what it means to be free,”
 AG Jeff Sessions says at The Heritage Foundation
by Jarrett Stepman: Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke about the accomplishments of the Justice Department and its new direction in a speech at The Heritage Foundation on Thursday.

Sessions discussed the long tradition of the rule of law in America and how it has been so critical to our success as a nation. He called this tradition “unique and blessed,” and said if people don’t understand it, they are really missing something.

But there are challenges to the rule of law and our freedoms today that must be addressed, according to Sessions.

In particular, Sessions focused on two fundamental liberties—“religious liberty and the freedom of speech”—that need to be protected. He called these the “very first freedoms the Founders put in the Bill of Rights, not by accident.”

“They are first because our freedom to worship and speak our minds [is] at the core of what it means to be free,” Sessions said.

In quoting Founding Father James Madison, Sessions said, “the freedom of speech is the only effectual guardian of every other right.”
And though some people say that “certain speech is not deserving of protection,” according to Sessions, this idea is misguided.

Citing historic public debates, such as the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas over slavery before the Civil War, Sessions said protecting speech ultimately makes us better as a country.

“Speech led to better decisions in a more just society,” Sessions said. “Under President [Donald] Trump’s leadership, this department is doing its part to protect that right.”

Sessions pointed out that the Justice Department is working on a couple of cases involving free speech on college campuses and that more will come in upcoming months.

“One of those cases rose when a college student was prevented from proclaiming his Christian faith,” Sessions said. “This is doubly important because this impacts speech and free exercise of religion.”

The Justice Department recently filed a brief on behalf of a student at Georgia Gwinnett College who says the school won’t let him evangelize on campus. The student is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty advocacy group, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In another lawsuit, the Justice Department filed a statement of interest in a case where a Los Angeles Pierce College student was not allowed to distribute copies of the Constitution outside a “free speech area” on campus.

In addition to explaining the top priorities of the Justice Department, Sessions pointed to what he sees as the major accomplishments of the department so far.

First, it ended the practice of third-party settlements that had become a “bankroll to third-party, special-interest groups, or the political friends of whoever is in power.”

The second big issue was ending what Sessions called illegal subsidies to insurance companies under the Obamacare program that had not been appropriated by Congress.

Finally, Sessions mentioned that the Trump administration put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Sessions said regardless of its policy merit was a violation of our constitutional order. DACA was designed to give legal status to those who came to the country illegally as children.

“A Cabinet secretary is not allowed to effectively wipe off the books whole sections of immigration law duly passed by Congress, especially when Congress considered it and refused to change the law,” Sessions said.

Sessions also spoke about a settlement with tea party groups that were allegedly targeted by the IRS, which was announced on Thursday.

“It should also be without question that our First Amendment prohibits the federal government from treating taxpayers differently based solely on their viewpoint or ideology,” Sessions said. “There is no excuse for this conduct.”

He said the hundreds of organizations affected by these policies “deserve an apology” from the IRS.
Jarrett Stepman (@JarrettStepman) is an editor of The Daily Signal.

Tags: Jarrett Stepman, Inez Stepman, The Daily Signal, AG Sessions, highlights, 2 Most Vital Liberties, Justice Department' Aim to Protect To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Cast Your Obamacares, Says Hill GOP

by Tony Perkins: House and Senate leaders may disagree on how to fix Obamacare, but they certainly don't dispute why. After seven years, the only thing higher than the costs of the Left's health care law may be the mounds of evidence about its failures. Already, families are bracing themselves for January 1, when experts warn that most Americans will wake up with a headache -- and not from a lack of sleep from the night before.

When the Times Square ball drops, premiums won't. In fact, the first day of 2018 may trigger one of the steepest rises in health care premiums the country has faced. For the 39 states that have stuck it out on the Obamacare exchange, they'll ring in the New Year by wringing out their wallets -- most facing a 34-percent spike in premiums, and climbing. Although the pain will be passed on to almost every customer, analysts say the middle class will be squeezed the most. Like most people, insurers understand that Obamacare is a sinking ship, and they're doing everything they can, the Wall Street Journal points out, to "hedg[e] against broader uncertainty around other aspects of the Affordable Care Act, and my market conditions."

Others have outright left the exchange, blowing a big hole in the number of plans consumers could pick from. "The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has estimated that 46 percent of Americans live in counties that will lose at least one exchange insurer next year." Others are losing their plans entirely, news many of them are just getting in the mail. "Time to shop for new coverage," their letters read. In some pockets of the country, like Virginia, people who had as many as 14 policy options last year are down to two (which also happen to cost $150 more a month).

So, while some may want to steer Congress away from the failed Obamacare debate into the greener pastures of tax reform, there are still Republicans who are trying to solve the looming crisis and give Americans some relief. Two of Congress's key moneymen, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), are the latest to offer up a proposal that deals with some of the worst aspects of Obamacare -- and, unlike the Lamar Alexander-Patty Murray deal, leaves no doubt about one of the biggest concerns: abortion. From its very first bullet point, Hatch and Brady explain that their "bicameral agreement" would fund cost savings reductions (CSRs) through 2019 "with pro-life protections." That was a problem many of us had with the Alexander-Murray idea, since nothing in the plan addressed one of voters' key priorities -- ending the forced partnership between taxpayers and the abortion industry.

"What we're proposing not only helps treat some of Obamacare's symptoms: rising premiums, fewer choices, and uncertainty and instability," Rep. Brady explained. "It takes steps to cure Obamacare's underlying illness through patient-centered reforms that deliver relief from federal mandates, protect life, and increase choices in health care." Like other bills, it would eliminate Obamacare's individual and employer mandates, expand health savings accounts, and fund the cost-sharing program for two years, a move, Politico explains, "designed to appeal to Republicans who want to fund the Obamacare program but feel that Alexander didn't get enough conservative concessions in his negotiations with Murray."

Its biggest obstacle, apart from getting time on a busy congressional calendar, is that the duo will be introducing it as a standalone bill, meaning that it would need help from Democrats to pass. But if the Obamacare implosion continues, even they'll have to concede that something needs to be done. And soon.
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, Cast Your Obamacares, Says Hill GOP To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

REWIND: FBI Used Clinton Campaign's Steele Dossier to Get FISA Warrant on Trump Campaign

by Patrick Poole: The implications from this week's revelation -- that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign financed former British spy Christopher Steele's unverified dossier of alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia -- continue to expand.

But given this revelation, it's important to revisit what we already know.

The FBI used the DNC/Clinton-funded dossier to obtain surveillance warrants targeting the Trump campaign from the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. At the time, the FBI was led by then-director James Comey:
CNN reported back in April that Steele's dossier was used to secure a FISA warrant against former Trump adviser Carter Page:
The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks, as one of the sources of information the bureau has used to bolster its investigation, according to US officials briefed on the probe.

This includes approval from the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor the communications of Carter Page, two of the officials said. Last year, Page was identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser on national security.
But it wasn't just Carter Page who was targeted by the FBI/DOJ warrants obtained from the FISA Court.

CNN reported last month that Paul Manafort was also the subject of a FISA warrant both before and after last year's election:
A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party, the sources told CNN.

The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources.

The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.

Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI's efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.
The extent to which the DNC-Clinton dossier was used to obtain the FISA surveillance on Manafort is still unknown, but given the timing and the fact that the dossier was used to target Carter Page, it seems likely.

The FBI's involvement in the dossier itself was explained by none other than Christopher Steele himself.

Just days before last year's election, he gave an interview to David Corn of Mother Jones trying to push out the allegations made in his dossier before Election Day.

Steele was only identified in the Mother Jones article as "a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence."

According to Steele, he provided his dossier and other memos to the FBI in August of last year:
The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos—some of which referred to members of Trump’s inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. “It’s quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on,” he says.There is no mention in Corn's article that Steele's work was funded as part of a contract with the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

The extent of the relationship between Steele and the FBI is still murky.

What we do know is that the FBI paid at least some of Steele's expenses.

CNN reported last March about the payments made by the FBI to Steele:
The FBI reimbursed some expenses of the former British intelligence operative who produced a dossier containing allegations of President Donald Trump's ties to Russia, people familiar with the matter said.

The short-lived arrangement before the US election ended abruptly in part because of the frustration of Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy, that the FBI wasn't doing enough to investigate the Trump-Russia ties.

The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that the FBI and Steele had sought to reach a payment arrangement.

An official familiar with the discussions said the FBI didn't hire Steele as an informant, but that the arrangement instead allowed for expenses to be paid. It couldn't be learned how much he was paid and for how long.
We know from the Washington Post story this week that what ended the relationship with Steele and the FBI was Steele's identity being made public:Some of Steele’s allegations began circulating in Washington in the summer of 2016 as the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into possible connections between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Around that time, Steele shared some of his findings with the FBI.

After the election, the FBI agreed to pay Steele to continue gathering intelligence about Trump and Russia, but the bureau pulled out of the arrangement after Steele was publicly identified in news reports.
Steele was first publicly identified for his involvement in the dossier by the Wall Street Journal on January 11, 2017: the day after BuzzFeed published the dossier online.

One could understand the FBI's reasoning for cutting ties with Steele: the Bureau was actively cooperating with a former foreign spy who had been commissioned by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC to investigate and undermine the next president of the United States.

But nearly a year after the presidential election, there remain a number of unanswered questions about the relationship between Steele and the FBI:
To what extent was the Steele dossier used by the FBI/DOJ to obtain the FISA warrants targeting Trump campaign officials?
Was the FBI aware of the extent to which Steele relied on information from Russian intelligence for the dossier's claims?

Did the FBI recognize that the use of attorney's to conceal the relationship between Steele and the Clinton campaign and the DNC might have violated federal election laws?

Was Steele's dossier used as justification to unmask communications of Trump campaign associates?
Just yesterday we reported here at PJ Media that Rep. Trey Gowdy -- the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence -- wants to know how much the FBI relied on Steele's work for its investigation on the Trump campaign:
And in terms of public disclosure about the relationship between Steele, the FBI, and FISA warrants targeting Trump, our friend and colleague Andy McCarthy has at least one suggestion:
Patrick Poole (@pspoole) is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia.

Tags: FBI, Clinton Campaign, Steele Dossier, FISA Warrant, Trump Campaign 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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