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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, December 08, 2017

Why America Must Be Great

by Newt Gingrich: Watching the world from Rome, Italy, I have been struck by how many things are happening across the globe which are radically different from our previous expectations and past analyses. In fact, they are so different, none of the patterns and models I have learned in the past can accommodate them.

The more I have thought about the current period of rapid change, uncertainty, and reaction our world is living through, the more I am convinced we are closer to Alvin Toffler’s concept of future shock than any traditional pattern we have commonly understood and accepted.

Human history is an ever-changing ecosystem that is constantly evolving, reacting, and adapting with the passage of time. Toffler argues in his book, Future Shock, that the world has an adaptive range – a particular amount of change it is capable of implementing within a certain time frame.

There are times throughout history when worldly change is collectively methodical and slow – below the adaptive range threshold – leading to a period of boredom and stagnation. When the acceleration of change is above the adaptive range threshold, the world experiences what Toffler calls, future shock.

The world is currently overwhelmed with the pace of social, technological, and political change that is occurring, and is ultimately stunned and essentially paralyzed. Everything from our established institutions and societal structures, to our foundational American beliefs and values, are being challenged and forced to react to this exponentially rapid rate of global transformation.

Consider the following eight items:
  • At one point Thursday, the digital currency Bitcoin was valued at more than $19,000. On Dec. 31, 2016, it was trading at $968. This represents a more than 1,800 percent increase.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has gained power that rivals Mao Zedong and is initiating a fully totalitarian regime in China (complete with a citizen loyalty scoring system). China may soon pose an existential challenge to the United States, unlike any we have faced.
  • The collapse of Puerto Rico stands to completely transform Central Florida.
  • Catalonia is seeking to secede from Spain, and two Italian provinces desire more independence from Italy.
  • North Korea has developed intercontinental ballistic missile technology that could potentially hit any target in the United States.
  • Germany’s open-door refugee policy has led to record attacks on German police by migrants, and there’s little the police can do to contain the situation.
  • Personal privacy has been completely redefined by data collection technology through smart phones and web browsing, while the threat of hacking puts all of our information at risk of exploitation by criminals and foreign governments.
  • Uber is planning to buy approximately 24,000 driverless cars from Volvo (now owned by Geely Global, a Chinese multinational company). The data collection implications are staggering.
This realization that the entire world may actually be in shock over these rapid changes has helped to clarify a few things for me about American politics and culture – specifically the importance and staying power of the make America great again movement.

Americans have been watching these rapid global changes, and they have intuited that their futures will be more secure if America is boldly standing on the global stage with maximum strength. I am convinced this is one of the principle feelings driving the nationalist desire for greater sovereignty that we have seen in America and other Western countries.

The news media has continued to miss this, because capturing the turmoil of America and the world requires a much broader cultural sweep – a wider view of developments – than focusing narrowly on the White House, politics, or supposedly relevant distractions.

President Xi Jinping’s rise to power in China is a perfect example. The changes in China could have a significant impact on the world for the next century. Yet the American news media barely spent any time on Xi’s three-hour speech laying out his plan to make China the dominant world power.

What has become clear to me is that “Make America great again” is not a simple campaign slogan – it is an imperative.

America must be great if it is going to break out of the chaotic state of future shock and lead the world through these massive transitions to adopt fundamental and lasting innovative change.

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.

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You Make It Happen, Lindsey V. Mickey

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Lindsey v. Mickey - This week saw two episodes that neatly capture the decline of our nation. U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn told a reporter that if she wins a medal in the upcoming Olympics set to start in February, she won’t visit the White House, as medal winners traditionally do. She said she hopes to represent “the people of the United States” in the Olympics, not “the president.”

I understand that when Olympians don the red, white and blue or visit the White House, they’re representing and honoring America, not the president. Still, this was a gratuitous shot at President Trump. We’ve seen numerous other athletes and championship teams refuse to attend White House ceremonies under President Trump. And many NFL players have clashed with Trump over their refusal to stand for the National Anthem.

Vonn, who is in her early 30s, is a perfect representative of the Millennial Generation that seems to believe history started yesterday and has a hard time separating their personal views of the president with the love and respect they should feel for their country. Vonn is hardly alone among her contemporaries. As I recently wrote in a Thanksgiving op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Patriotism is on the wane with more than one-third of millennials saying they are “not very” patriotic.

Meanwhile, yesterday on the 76th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, President Trump signed a proclamation honoring National Pearl Harbor Day. Trump welcomed to the White house six survivors of the attack.

One of Trump’s guests was Navy veteran Mickey Ganitch, who had football on his mind the morning of the attack. Ganitch had been assigned to the USS Pennsylvania at Pearl Harbor and was preparing to play the USS Arizona for the fleet championship that day.

He had his football uniform on and was about to leave for practice when “General Quarters” sounded throughout the ship. Instead of kneeling, Ganitch rushed to his battle station, the crow’s nest of the main mast of the ship. His ship got pummeled by Japanese torpedoes, and one bomb missed Granitch by a mere 45 feet.

During the White House ceremony, Ganitch broke out into an impromptu rendition of “Remember Pearl Harbor!” The song is a tribute to the service members who lost their lives during the attack. Their sacrifice, and that of millions of other members of the military, is what Vonn and other athletes should be focused on when they consider whether or not to visit the White House.

Gratitude - Recently Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, a day Abraham Lincoln proclaimed would be dedicated to giving thanks and "praise to our Father who dwells in the Heavens."

Gratitude doesn't seem to come easily these days. Opinions polls show Americans are unhappy with our core institutions, our politicians, and the direction of our country. say they are "not very" patriotic. How sad.

Football used to be a welcome Thanksgiving Day ritual and a break from the stresses of everyday life. But now fans are forced to witness the spectacle of millionaire athletes demonstrating against national anthem, the flag, the police and the very meaning of America.

Are they grateful for anything this country has given them?

I know America isn't perfect. Our Founders knew that. In fact, the preamble to the Constitution refers to the people and the government striving to form "a more perfect Union." But we do have much to be thankful for.

We are safer and more stable than most countries. Nobody starves from lack of resources in America, and fewer do worldwide than ever before, thanks in part to American charity and generosity. Many of our most prominent diseases are those of plenty, not of poverty.

If you are like most Americans, you are already in hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, which, sadly, has become overly commercialized. Many of us are guilty of thinking about what we are going to get.

Instead, we should delight in our blessings, and we can do so by stopping and reflecting on them. Science suggests that simply by recalling all that we have to be thankful for we can feel more grateful and grow emotionally and physically healthier.

In the days and weeks ahead, instead of focusing on the presents we might get, I hope we can focus on the presence of God and the great gift He gave to us. That is something for which I am eternally grateful.

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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Ready To Finalize Tax Reform Legislation

Senate Conference Committee Members Work To ‘Send A Final Bill To The President’s Desk’ And ‘Provide Relief To Families And Small Businesses’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Last week, Senators answered the calls of our constituents by voting to overhaul our complex and outdated federal tax code. We seized the opportunity to spur economic growth, to help create jobs right here at home, and to take more money out of Washington’s pocket and put more money into the pockets of hardworking American families. Now that the Senate has voted to join our House colleagues in a conference committee, I’m confident that this distinguished group of Senators will work to get the job done for the American people. I know everyone is ready to finalize our tax reform legislation and send it to the president so he can sign it into law.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 12/06/2017)
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS: ‘The House And Senate Are On The Same Team,’ ‘Solemn Commitment To Keep Working And Get This Done’

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee: “[The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act] spent years in the making.  As my chief legislative focus for many years, tax reform was not some off-the-cuff effort. No, we have been researching, holding dozens of hearings, commissioning bipartisan working groups, and working with our friends on the other side of the Capitol and down the street at the White House for some time now…. I know that I will not rest, and that I can count on the rest of you to keep going until we’ve got this over the finish line. We are so close to finally giving the American people the tax code and, in turn, the economic growth not only they, but their children and grandchildren deserve. It is my solemn commitment to keep working and get this done.” (Senate Finance Committee, Press Release, 12/06/2017)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: “I’m very confident that we will quickly reach agreement to provide tax relief to families and job creators while strengthening the long-term energy security of our nation. With Congressman Young representing the House of Representatives on our energy provisions, Alaskans will have a very strong voice at the table to ensure this bill crosses the finish line.” (Sen. Murkowski, Press Release, 12/7/2017)

SEN. MIKE ENZI (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee: “This tax reform bill has been years in the making. After more than 70 hearings on taxes and an open legislative process, we have a bill before us that will bring relief to millions of Americans. This important pro-growth tax reform bill will put money back in the pockets of middle-class families and make our country globally competitive. This legislation is truly about making a better future for our country. It is rooted in the ideal that Americans, not the federal government, know best how to spend their hard-earned money.” (Sen. Enzi, Press Release, 12/02/2017)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “…we still have a lot to do, but I think you'll see more fine-tuning rather than major changes. The point is we want to get the tax code in a pro-growth mode, we want to become more competitive and not see businesses and investment and jobs go overseas but come back home, and we do want to lower taxes for the median family of four. We want to get this done and get it on the President's desk before Christmas.” (Sen. Cornyn, Press Release, 12/7/2017)

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “The House and Senate are on the same team, we’re headed toward the same end zone, and we have the same goal in mind – putting a pro-growth tax reform bill that helps middle-income Americans on the president’s desk as soon as possible…. Delivering on this promise that we made to the American people will lead to an environment that will foster greater economic growth and create additional opportunities for families to get ahead. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, and I am committed to ensuring that our final product delivers on the goals we’ve set out to achieve.” (Sen. Thune, Press Release, 12/06/2017)

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): “We’ve made important strides toward providing middle-class tax relief and reforming our tax code, and I will continue to work to improve this bill as the House and Senate complete our work. In 2010, I made a commitment to the people of Ohio that I would help lead an effort to reform our broken tax code and provide relief to families and small businesses, and I intend to keep that commitment. This effort is about giving Ohio families a better future with more jobs and higher wages, and I’m optimistic that the House and Senate will send a final bill to the president’s desk before Christmas.” (Sen. Portman, Press Release, 12/06/2017)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): “I have said from the beginning that my goal is to help families keep more of their paychecks at home, and to ensure that the jobs of the 21st century are created right here in America. I am confident we will accomplish these goals, and let those Americans who feel left behind know that we see and hear them. The American people haven’t seen true tax reform in more than 30 years, and I look forward to getting this once in a generation opportunity over the finish line and to the President’s desk before Christmas.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 12/07/2017)

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): “Our bill directly lowers the tax burden for middle income families and fundamentally restructures the business tax code so American workers and businesses can compete globally…. I am confident these reforms will unleash a surge in economic growth and job creation. I hope the House and Senate soon come together to finish our work on this bill, and deliver on our promise of a better and brighter economic future for all Americans.” (Sen. Toomey, Press Release, 12/01/2017)

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Mueller's 'Right-Hand Man' on Russia Probe Represented Clinton IT Aide Who Set Up Unsecure Server

Attorney Aaron Zebley
by Debra Heine: Yet another key member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe appears to have deep ties to the Democratic Party.

Aaron Zebley served previously as Mueller’s chief of staff at the FBI and as a senior counselor in the National Security Division at the Department of Justice. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the National Security and Terrorism Unit in Alexandria, Virginia.

He is often referred to in the media as Mueller's "right-hand man."

Also, in 2015 when he was a lawyer, he represented Justin Cooper, the IT staffer who personally set up Hillary Clinton's unsecure server in her Chappaqua home, Fox News' Tucker Carlson revealed on his show Thursday.

Cooper, it so happens, is also the aide who destroyed Clinton's old BlackBerries with a hammer.

Documents obtained by Fox News show that Senate investigators grew frustrated with Zebley after being repeatedly stonewalled when they were trying to set up a meeting with Cooper.

"Mr. Zebley telephoned Homeland Security [Committee] staff to inform them that Cooper had chosen to cancel the interview," the documents said.

In a letter to Cooper, congressional investigators complained: "We are troubled by your attorney's [referring to Zebley] complete refusal to engage the committee in a discussion about how to further assuage your concerns."

Let this sink in. The same attorney who played a defensive role for Hillary Clinton was tapped by Mueller in June to play an offensive role against Clinton opponent Trump.

But Zebley isn't the only questionable hire. Out of a team of fifteen lawyers, nine of them have donated to Democratic candidates. None of them seem to have Republican leanings.

Jeannie Rhee, who was hired by Mueller last summer to work on the probe, was the personal attorney of Ben Rhodes and also represented the Clinton Foundation, Fox News' Laura Ingraham reported on Wednesday.

Two other members of the team have been revealed as blatantly partisan in recent days as well — Peter Strzok, an anti-Trumper who helped exonerate Hillary Clinton, and Andrew Weissmann, an unscrupulous prosecutor who told outgoing acting Attorney General Sally Yates in an email that he was "proud" of her for defying President Trump's travel ban.

"Why would Mueller hire an obvious Democratic partisan for a politically sensitive job like this?" Tucker Carson asked Rep Steve King, (R-IA) on his show Thursday night.

"This whole thing screams of conflict of interest," King replied. He told Carlson that a congressmen asked FBI Director Christopher Wray during the judiciary committee hearing Thursday whether being pro-Clinton was a prerequisite for getting on his team. "It looks like every single one of them's a Clinton partisan," he said.

"What's so grotesque and ironic about it is the whole point of the independent counsel statute is to reassure the public that the investigation is above politics. That's why it's taken out of the hands of the DOJ leadership!" Tucker exclaimed. "So you'd think Mueller would go out of his way to make certain that no one on his team could be accused of partisanship, and yet almost all of them seem to have ties to the Democrat Party," he lamented.

On top of all this, Fox News' James Rosen reported on Thursday that a senior Justice Department official was demoted this week amid an investigation into his contacts with the shady opposition research firm Fusion GPS.

It will probably take years for President Trump to drain this cesspool.
Debra Heine is a Catholic, mom of six and long time political pundit. She has written for PJ Media and several blogs including her own, Nice Deb!

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Dr. John Boozman Leads Call for Nationwide Review of VA Providers

ARRA News Service: A bipartisan group of U.S. senators are calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct a nationwide review of its providers after a USA Today investigation found multiple providers hired by the Department had at least one state medical license revoked due to malpractice.
In a letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin authored by Sen. (Dr.) John Boozman (R-AR), the senators presented a series of questions.“For years, states have experienced provider shortages across many different medical specialties, and like the private sector healthcare industry, the VA has faced similar provider shortages,” the senators wrote to Shulkin. “As such, we request information about the VA’s oversight of provider hiring guidelines to ensure that the pressure to fill shortages has not led to insufficient health care quality controls.”In addition to Dr. John Boozman, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:December 8, 2017

The Honorable David Shulkin
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20420-0001

Dear Secretary Shulkin:

We write to express our serious concerns regarding recent media reports suggesting that the Department of Veterans Affairs offers employment to medical practitioners with a known history of licensure revocation by a state medical licensing board. The national reporting also highlighted cases of the VA hiring providers with known conduct and performance deficiencies that resulted in sanctions and criminal charges of the individuals.

For years, states have experienced provider shortages across many different medical specialties, and like the private sector healthcare industry, the VA has faced similar provider shortages. For states, such as Arkansas, in which many veterans eligible for VA care are rural, the provider shortage is even more pronounced. As such, we request information about the VA’s oversight of provider hiring guidelines to ensure that the pressure to fill shortages has not led to insufficient health care quality controls.

We request that the Department of Veterans Affairs conduct a nationwide review to identify all providers by state and specialty, who were known to have had adverse actions taken against their clinical privileges, to include the revocation of state medical licensure, and were subsequently hired by the Department. Of the individuals identified by the aforementioned report, what is the employment status of each individual identified? What additional oversight measures are required for providers identified through this review who remain employed by and practicing within the VA?

In addition to a review to determine the current status of providers within the VA, we would also like information relevant to oversight of VA policies regarding hiring of individuals who have disciplinary or performance deficiencies that resulted in sanctions, claims, or charges. At what level is a final personnel decision approved? Does the VA have regular reporting and review of any providers hired under these circumstances? How is the performance and conduct of such individuals tracked, including the healthcare outcomes they deliver for veterans? When the VA intends to hire a provider with known medical malpractice claims, what additional scrutiny or consideration are such applicants subjected to?

Does the VA have authority to hire a provider whose license has been revoked? When the VA considers hiring these providers, at what level does the VA approve a final offer of employment? Are such hiring decisions subject to reporting requirements to the Department? If so, to what level? Following the employment of such a provider, does the VA require any probationary periods of review or mandatory consultation prior to authorizing the direct provision of care to patients? Do these positions include any responsibility for the direct provision of medical care?

Please confirm the status of this request and provide a timeline for completion of the requested review. We ask that you please keep our offices updated on this issue. Thank you for your consideration of this request.


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Freshly Empowered Democrats Likely To Take Aim At Guns

by Tom Knighton: It’s inevitable. Any time Democrats gain power in a state, it seems like the first thing they do is go after the guns. They can’t stand the idea of anyone not having to trust in the state to take care of their every need, especially personal protection.

This is exactly what gun rights advocates and officials in Virginia are gearing up for after last month’s big wins in that state.
Jeff Ryer, a spokesman for Virginia’s Senate Republican caucus, said he expects lots of gun-control legislation to be filed. But he doubts much would pass.

David Hancock, manager of gun seller Bob Moates Sport Shop in Midlothian, echoed that sentiment.

“We’re not expecting any major changes right away,” he said.

But Democrats say the sea change means they’ll have more committee representation, more sway in general and in some cases might need just one Republican vote to secure a gun measure’s passage.

For Del. Kathleen Murphy, who represents parts of two northern Virginia counties, gun control is personal.

Her brother was shot to death during a robbery and she doesn’t want another family to go through what hers did. She plans to reintroduce a bill that would make a second conviction for domestic abuse a felony, making those convicted unable to own guns. It’s the type of commonsense measure that has failed before but might have a chance this year, she said.
“I don’t understand the refusal of people on the other side to recognize that we can do something in a bipartisan way to make guns safer and to make our children and families safer from gun violence without harming peoples’ right to carry arms,” she said.

Make no mistake, when Murphy says “bipartisan,” what she means is for Republicans to shut up about stupid things like Second Amendment rights and just do what she says.

Which is the same for Democrats everywhere.

While some may claim they don’t want to disarm the population, they just want to make things safer, we’ve seen far too many times how this works. They’ll pressure us and demand we compromise, and if we do it’ll be good enough…for a short time, then it will keep repeating over and over and over until we’re permitted nothing more than a single shot .22 rifle, and they’ll be kvetching about how we won’t compromise on people owning more than two rounds of ammunition.

But they’ll certainly try, though, and they’ll definitely try in Virginia. I expect gun control measures to be filed right from the get-go and I expect them to push for more and more as the year goes on.

What will be conspicuous by its absence will be any legislation that attempts to deal with the root causes of violence rather than the tools. Democrats hate guns, but they also seem to hate acknowledging that guns don’t just get up and shoot people on their own, the problem is that people use them for bad things. Democrats want to focus on the guns and nothing else, and that’s not going to endear them to gun owners any times soon.

If they push Virginians too hard, don’t be surprised if that blue wave turns red quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger at Bearing Arms. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia and contributes to PJ Media.  

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President Trump’s Jerusalem Move Deals A Blow To Terror

. . . We won’t let Islamic terrorists decide where we put our embassies.
by Daniel Greenfield: Hamas has announced that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has opened the “gates of hell.” Its Muslim Brotherhood parent has declared America an “enemy state.”

The Arab League boss warned that the Jerusalem move “will fuel extremism and result in violence.” The Jordanian Foreign Minister claimed that it would “trigger anger” and “fuel tension.”

“Moderate” Muslim leaders excel at threatening violence on behalf of the “extremists”.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned that recognizing Jerusalem will trigger an Islamic summit and be considered a "blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations."

The last time the OIC was this mad, someone drew Mohammed. And wasn’t stoned to death for it.

According to the Saudi ambassador, it will “heighten tensions”. The Deputy Prime Minister of Islamist Turkey called it a “major catastrophe”. And the leader of the largest Muslim country in Europe, France's Emmanuel Macron "expressed concern" that America will “unilaterally recognize Jerusalem."

PLO leaders and minions meanwhile made it quite clear that now the dead peace process is truly dead.

The Palestinian Authority’s boss warned that recognizing Jerusalem will “destroy the peace process”. The PLO’s envoy in D.C. threatened that it would be the “final lethal blow” and “the kiss of death to the two-state solution”. A top PA advisor claimed it “will end any chance of a peace process.”

A day later, the peace process is still as alive and as dead as it ever was.

Since the chance of a peace process is about the same as being hit by lightning while scoring a Royal Flush, that “chance” doesn’t amount to anything. The peace process has been deader than Dracula for ages. And even a PLO terrorist should know that you can’t threaten to kill a dead hostage.

The only kiss of death here came from Arafat.

Peace wasn’t killed though. It was never alive. Because a permanent peace is Islamically impossible.

"The world will pay the price," warned Mahmoud Habash, the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Sharia judge.

Habash isn’t just the bigwig of Islamic law, he’s also the Islamic adviser to the leader of the Palestinian Authority. And Abbas, the terror organization’s leader, was there when Habash made his remarks.

Previously Habash had declared that the Kotel, the Western Wall of the fallen Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, “can never be for non-Muslims. It cannot be under the sovereignty of non-Muslims.”

While the official warnings from the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League and assorted other Islamic organizations have claimed that recognizing Jerusalem threatens the non-existent peace process, Habash had in the past had made it quite clear that the issue wasn’t land, it was Jihad.

“The struggle over this land is not merely a struggle over a piece of land here or there. Not at all. The struggle has the symbolism of holiness, or blessing. It is a struggle between those whom Allah has chosen for Ribat and those who are trying to mutilate the land of Ribat," Habash had declared.

Ribat means that Israel is a frontier outpost between the territories of Islam and the free world. The Muslim terrorists who call themselves “Palestinians” have, according to the Abbas adviser, been chosen for “Ribat” to stand guard on the Islamic frontier and expand the territories of Islam.

The sense of Ribat is that the Jihadists may not yet be able to win a definitive victory, but must maintain their vigilance for the ultimate goal, which a Hadith defines as performing Ribat “against my enemy and your enemy until he abandons his religion for your religion."

That is what’s at stake here.

It’s not about a “piece of land here or there”, as the PA’s top Sharia judge clarifies, it’s a religious war. And Israel is not just a religious war between Muslims and Jews, but a shifting frontier in the larger war between Islam and the rest of the world. It’s another territory to be conquered on the way to Europe. And Europe is another territory to be conquered on the way to America.

There can be no peace in a religious war. Nor is there anything to negotiate.

“It isn't possible to compromise on or negotiate over Jerusalem,” Habash had said. “In politics there can be compromises here and there... In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises.”

There’s an extremely thin line in Islamic theocracy between politics and religion. But what Habash is really saying is that there might be room to negotiate how many times a week the garbage truck comes to pick up the trash, but not who gives him the orders. Islamic supremacism is non-negotiable.

The Supreme Sharia judge warned Trump that moving the embassy is “a declaration of war on all Muslims.” Why all Muslims? Because the “Palestinians” are a myth. Islamic conquests are collective.

And it’s not as if any of the Muslim leaders disagree.

Why is Jerusalem their business? It’s not empathy for the “Palestinians”. Kuwait ethnically cleansed huge numbers of them. They aren’t treated all that much better in other Arab Muslim countries.

It’s not about them. The Muslim settlers in Israel are just there as “Ribat”. They’re the frontier guard of the Islamic conquest. Much like the Sharia patrols in the No-Go Zones of Europe or the Jihadists in Kashmir, the Rohingya in Burma and all the other Islamic Volksdeutsche variants of occupying colonists.

Sunni may fight Shiite. Muslim countries, tribes and clans may war with each other. But the land they’re fighting over belongs to all of them collectively.

It can never belong to non-Muslims. That is the essence of Islam where conquest is religion.

That’s true of Jerusalem. And of the entire world.

That is what is truly at stake in the war over Jerusalem. When countries refuse to move their embassies to Jerusalem, they are submitting to Sharia law and Islamic supremacism. The issue at stake is the same one as drawing Mohammed. It’s not about a “piece of land”. It’s about the supremacy of Islam.

Refusing to move the embassy doesn’t prevent violence. Islamic terrorism continues to claim lives in Jerusalem. And Islamic violence has been a constant before Israel liberated Jerusalem or before there was even a free Israel. The Arab League, the Jordanians, the Saudis and the rest of the gang aren’t promising an end to the violence. Instead they warn that if we don’t obey, it will grow worse.

That’s not diplomacy. It’s a hostage crisis.

President Trump made the right decision by refusing to let our foreign policy be held hostage. We don’t win by giving in to terrorists.

We win by resisting them. Or else we’ll have to live our lives as hostages of Islamic terror.

Jerusalem is a metaphor. Every free country has its own Jerusalem. In America, it’s the First Amendment. Our Jerusalem is not just a piece of land, it’s a value. And the Islamic Jihad seeks to intimidate us into giving it up until, as the Hadith states, we abandon our religion for Islam.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will do much more for America than it will for Israel.

The Israelis already know where their capital is. We need to remember where we left our freedom. Islamic terrorists win when they terrorize us into being too afraid to do the right thing.

President Trump sent a message to the terrorists that America will not be terrorized.

Previous administrations allowed the terrorists to decide where we put our embassy. But Trump has made it clear that we won’t let Islamic terrorists decide where we put our embassies, what cartoons we will draw or how we live our lives. That is what real freedom means.
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

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Sexual Anarchy in the U.S.

A return to the core issues too long ignored or finessed about an ongoing, longstanding Cultural Revolution.
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author:  Two progressive icons in the Capitol have recently announced their resignations. Sen. Al Franken, under pressure from the Senate Democratic conference, announces his resignation in the wake of the resignation of Rep. John Conyers under pressure from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The consequences of sexual misconduct are taking a big toll beyond the progressive bastions of entertainment and media.

Scandalous revelations about sexual harassment (and worse) proliferate. What might this mean, both for society and politics? As Elizabeth Drew recently wrote in the New Republic, in an extraordinarily trenchant essay entitled “Sex and Power in Washington”:It doesn’t look as if the current upheaval about sexual predation will wind down anytime soon. More targets are being examined by reporters, and Capitol Hill is like a volcano about to explode. The problem has been rife there as long as anyone can remember (and probably before then, as well). Congress clearly has to change its rules for dealing with charges of sexual aggression, which make it nearly impossible for a female plaintiff to win and which pays some of them off secretly with taxpayers’ money. Media and other corporations have to reconsider their guidelines. And the punishment should fit the crime—which in the current frenzy may not always be the case.

But anyone who thinks that the matter of sexual aggression, in the arena of politics and the press that cover it, will go away doesn’t understand the male libido and the temptations provided in these particular professions. One possible positive sign is that, for the younger generations in the workplace, the presence of females isn’t novel, which leads to more respect for them. Latter-day Savonarolas pronouncing “zero tolerance” in Washington aren’t living in the real world.
It used to be that two of the three items one simply did not discuss in polite company were sex and politics. (The third was religion. It’s the only remaining taboo.) Sex and politics — often conjoined — now dominate the conversations, both national and personal. What’s up with that?

Slightly over a quarter century ago, Prof. Elaine Showalter, then chairperson of the Princeton English department, wrote a prophetic, in fact what may be the defining, book pertinent to this very topic: Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. Showalter is a rara avis, an academic populist. Showalter: “I’ve always really loved popular culture, but it wasn’t something serious intellectuals were supposed to be concerned about.… I would like to be able to bring my background and my skills to subjects that do reach a wide audience.”

As it happens, Showalter, with Sexual Anarchy, was well ahead of her time. She wrote well before the crescendo of the sexual anarchy now besetting us. She remains to this day a vital and unique voice in the culture. But for my money, her magnum opus is Sexual Anarchy. It is essential to understanding, and perhaps even resolving, our current predicament. Follow along.

Sexual Anarchy is a study of the changing of the mores and the culture at the end of the 19th century. It is not, however, a backward-looking work. It delves into the roots of what I have here previously called a Cultural Revolution that is not just ongoing but intensifying. It does so more discerningly than any other work I have encountered. I hold it as a prophetic work, one that is urgent to consult at this historical, and possibly historic, juncture. Showalter:The 1880s and 1890s, in the words of the novelist George Gissing, were decades of “sexual anarchy,” when all the laws that governed sexual identity and behavior seemed to be breaking down. As Karl Miller notes, “Men became women. Women became men. Gender and country were put in doubt. The single life was found to harbor two sexes and two nations.” During this period both the words “feminism” and “homosexuality” first came into use, as New Women and male aesthetes redefined the meanings of femininity and masculinity. There were fears that emancipated women would bear children outside of marriage in the free union, or worse, that they would not have children at all. In the wake of Ibsen, women’s oppression became the theme of successful plays by Arthur Pinero, Oscar Wilde, Harley Granville-Barker, and George Bernard Shaw, and novels by Thomas Hardy, George Meredith, and George Moore.With the rise of matters surrounding “T” — “Transgender” — to the top of the charts, what could be more relevant than reflecting on the era where “Men became women. Women became men. Gender and country were put in doubt” first arose?The fin de siècle was also a period of sexual scandals. In England, they ranged from the trial and acquittal of the notorious brothel-keeper Jeffries in 1884, and the sensational journalistic series on child prostitution of W.T. Stead, “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon,” in 1885, to the exposé of the Cleveland Street male brothel in 1889. All of these scandals changed the level of public awareness about sexuality and engendered a fierce response in social purity campaigns, a renewed sense of public moral concern, and demands, often successful, for restrictive legislation and censorship. They were occasions when gender roles were “publicly, even spectacularly, encoded and enforced.” Especially there was a call to reaffirm the importance of the family as the bulwark against sexual decadence.2017 has become — and almost certainly 2018 will be — “a period of sexual scandals.” Will there be a comparable reaction? Or will we see something along the counsel of William Butler Yeats, in The Second Coming,Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.…
Is there a chthonic psychic driver?As the political historian Carole Pateman has observed, women have traditionally been perceived as figures of disorder, “potential disrupters of masculine boundary systems of all sorts.” Women’s social or cultural marginality seems to place them on the borderlines of the symbolic order, both the “frontiers between men and chaos,” and dangerously part of chaos itself, inhabitants of a mysterious and frightening wild zone outside of patriarchal culture.”What is the social impact?[M]any men found their part of the equation as difficult to sustain as women did theirs, and the source of much anxiety. Opportunities to succeed at home and in the Empire were not always abundant; the stresses of maintaining an external mask of confidence and strength led to nervous disorders, such as neurasthenia; suppressing “feminine” feelings of nurturance and affection created problems for many men as well. What was most alarming to the fin de siècle was that sexuality and sex roles might no longer be contained within the neat and permanent borderlines of gender categories.What was the social order that gave rise to the sexual anarchy of the late 19th century, and what elements of it echo down to the 21st century?Clubland operated as a lifetime training ground for men wishing to exclude women. Aggressively and urbanely heterosexual, even rakish, in their discourse, the clubs were the stronghold and headquarters of opposition to women’s suffrage and practiced an “intermittent and localized misogyny.” A boy accustomed to intense male friendships and anti-feminist assumptions in the atmosphere of public schools was “fully equipped to play his part in keeping women out” when he reached the university; and “the Oxford college was itself a small club” where the social and intellectual habits of public school could be continued. The London gentlemen could spend his entire life moving through “a maze of clubs,” athletic, political, and social; and professions from medicine and the law to “the best club of all — the House of Commons,” also imitated the structure of Clubland. Finally, the exclusion of women was not restricted to the upper and middle classes. Women were generally not permitted in public houses, and in 1897 only one of the 512 groups in the Working Men’s Clubs and Institute Union admitted women as members.How men there were “even rakish, in their discourse” foreshadows the Access Hollywood tape which, as it happens, recounts an unsuccessful attempted seduction. Yet “rakish” indeed was that discourse.

Did the mainstream reaction of the late 19th century serve to defuse the challenge to conventional mores? Or to intensify it?Following the pioneering work of Michael Foucalt, many historians of sexuality now argue that male homosexuality and the male homosexual role are “inventions” of the late nineteenth century.

[F]in-de-siècle efforts to define and control homosexuality, and to bound it off from masculinity in general, were not successful, and may have had the effect of strengthening homosexual bonds. As Jeffrey Weeks explained, “it seems likely that new forms of legal regulation, whatever the vagaries in application, had the effect of bringing home to many the fact of their difference and thus creating a new community of knowledge, if not of life and feeling, among many men with homosexual leanings. Foucalt maintained that this paradoxical effect is inevitable because the official definition, marginalization, and control of a particular group such as homosexuals always creates a “reverse discourse.”
Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” These extracts give the gist of Showalter’s analysis, and offers the possibility of a transformational grammar with which to discuss — and even think about — the situation and the scandals that now beset us.
What might this all this mean for the political future? Two of my friends and sometime colleagues, Frank Cannon and Maggie Gallagher, recently published a magisterial essay in First Things headlined “Culture Is Downstream of Politics:Walk into any room full of Christian conservative donors, and someone will say, “Politics is downstream of culture.” Every head in the room will nod. Nothing is more entrenched as conventional wisdom among Christian conservatives. Like most truisms, this one is only partly true. As people change their beliefs about what is true and good, politics changes as well. But putting culture above politics as a distinct sphere is profoundly mistaken, for politics is part of culture.

Politics allows the American people to give public form to what they believe to be true, good, and important; it is also the main way Americans decide which views are “within the pale” and which are beyond it. Elites of the left dominate most other domains: the mainstream media, the academy, the arts, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and increasingly the Chamber of Commerce and corporate suites. When an idea or issue drops out of politics, therefore, progressives can easily stigmatize it as outside the mainstream, extremist, and intolerable, effectively ending conversation. But election results feed back into culture.
What comes next? The authors observe:Our research shows that between 2007 and 2014, conservative organizations dedicated to changing public policy on life, marriage, and religious liberty spent just under $75 million in direct political spending. By contrast, the leading gay-rights political organization, Human Rights Campaign, recently pledged to spend $26 million in 2018 on direct political action. Emily’s List, one of the largest pro-abortion PACs, spent $36 million in 2016 and is likely to spend as much or more in the upcoming electoral cycle. In other words, only two organizations on the left will spend in one year almost as much on direct political action as all socially conservative organizations combined spent between 2007 and 2014. Comprehensive data for 2015 and 2016 are not yet available. But the preliminary data suggest political spending by social conservatives is falling, not rising.The authors demand that “This must change.” It is not at all clear those who have the power to change it are listening to them. That said, Foucalt’s observation about “reverse discourse” and Showalter’s about “paradoxical effect” may come to their rescue. Indeed, the electorate’s conjuring of Donald Trump might be a manifestation of just these phenomena.

Confrontation with sexual harassment (and worse) is awkward and, often, painful. That said, culture, as Gallagher and Cannon point out, being downstream from politics such confrontation is both inevitable and necessary.

By that confrontation, we may develop the vocabulary to address directly, rather than obliquely, by proxy, or by the Jabberwocky that too often passes for political discourse, the core issues too long ignored or finessed. By just such a confrontation we yet may emerge from anarchy into an organic and humane — which is to say, conservative — social and political order.

Ignoring the warning of the prophet Hosea, the elite culture has sown the wind. It is now reaping the whirlwind. Franken and Conyers are leaving. They have been, to steal a phrase from Rhiannon, by Fleetwood Mac (perhaps not immaterially, Bill Clinton’s signature band), taken by the wind. Their departures help set the stage to address the deep forces of the Cultural Revolution of which elite sexual misconduct is but one symptom.
Ralph Benko is an advisor to nonprofit and advocacy organizations, is a member of the Conservative Action Project, a contributor to the contributor to the ARRA News Service. Founder of The Prosperity Caucus, he was a member of the Jack Kemp supply-side team, served in an unrelated area as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House. The article which first appeared in The American Spectator.

Tags: Ralph Benko, Sexual Anarchy, in the U.S. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Der Fuhrer Card . . .

. . . Obama warns against genocide and calls Israel’s best friend on the world world stage, Donald Trump, “Hitler.”
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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We Are Special​​

by Kerby Anderson: Many members of the millennial generation think they are special. At least that is the conclusion of a recent study of college students. One newspaper report on the study put it this way: “If you asked a college freshman today who the Greatest Generation is, they might respond by pointing in a mirror.” The study of college students documented young people’s unprecedented level of self-infatuation.

Psychologist Jean Twenge found that over the last four decades of research on college freshman, there has been a dramatic rise in self-confidence. For example, they describe themselves as “above average” in academic ability and in their personal lives. The problem is that there is a stark disconnect between their opinions of themselves and their actual ability.

She has found that students suffer from what she calls “ambition inflation.” As their ambition increases, it reaches levels of unrealistic expectations. She has also found in another study that there has been a 30 percent increase toward narcissism in students since 1979.

The changing culture is part of the reason for this dramatic change. She explains: “Our culture used to encourage modesty and humility and not bragging about yourself.” If someone did that in the past, we called that person “stuck-up” or conceited. Today the culture often rewards such attitudes and behavior.

I would also argue that social media encourages and accentuates this trend. Students posting pictures of themselves on Facebook and Instagram, uploading videos on YouTube, and leaving numerous comments on Twitter receive positive feedback for such behavior. These technologies provide additional vehicles to feed their narcissism.

These studies remind us that this generation needs guidance from pastors and parents so they can apply biblical principles on success, humility, and self-image.
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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The Great Dood Drain of '17

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)
by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: How can we expect the federal government to continue to function at its usual peak efficiency without the awesome 52 years of experience and institutional knowledge supplied by Michigan Congressman John Conyers?

American government faces a congressional brain drain, Conyers's resignation in the wake of accusations of sexual harassment not being anything like unique. Yesterday, Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced his impending resignation, as did Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) -- before allegations against him had even hit the news.

Also imperiled? The talents of an unknown number of other eminent gropers and experienced molesters, a treasury of firsthand knowledge of how government really works.

Sure, the nation survived back when George Washington stepped down after two terms as president; when Congress lost Daniel Webster and Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, the institution carried on.

But just think of the complexity of modern governance, and the great expertise and finely crafted statesmanship exhibited by someone like Congressman Conyers. Are we being sent up the proverbial Detroit River sans oar?

If only someone could step forward with the same skill-set as the iconic Conyers! Well, in announcing his resignation, and that his "legacy can't be compromised or diminished in any way by what we're going through now," the congressman endorsed his son, John Conyers III, as his replacement.

Qualifications? you dare ask.

Back in 2010, the III tweeted, "My dad's a f*cking player and reckless as hell! He just got at this doods wife super low-key." Earlier this year, the young Conyers was arrested (but not prosecuted) on a domestic abuse charge.

Indeed, the "dood" appears more than able to carry on.

This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
Paul Jacob is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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Most Retirees Would Save Money Because of Tax Reform . . .

. . . Here Are Some Key Examples.

by Rachel Greszler: The proposed House and Senate tax reform bills that lawmakers are currently merging into one would mean tax cuts for most Americans. Nevertheless, change—even good change—can bring about uncertainty.

Retirees may be the most concerned about what tax reform will mean for them, as most rely on relatively fixed incomes.

But in fact, the proposed reforms are mostly good news for retirees. For the most part, they would be less affected than other Americans, as the proposed reforms would not change the way Social Security and investment income are taxed.

Many retirees would in fact benefit from the tax bills’ doubling the size of the standard deduction.

While seniors’ earnings and pension income would be subject to new individual income tax brackets and rates, those changes would actually mean tax cuts—not increases—for an overwhelming majority of seniors and retirees.

There are three provisions in the tax reform bills that could particularly affect retirees:

1. Medical Expenses Deduction
Currently, anyone who has high medical expenses can deduct the portion of those expenses that exceeds 10 percent of their income. So a couple who earns $40,000 in income and has $10,000 in medical expenses can deduct $6,000 of those expenses.

The House bill eliminates this deduction, but the Senate bill maintains it and increases the deductible amount to over 7.5 percent of income for 2017 and 2018. In the above example, this would mean a $7,000 deduction.

2. Personal and Elderly Deductions
Currently, in addition to claiming a $4,050 personal exemption, people over 65 can also claim a $1,250 blind or elderly deduction. Both bills eliminate the personal exemption and replace it with a roughly doubled standard deduction.

The House proposal eliminates the elderly deduction, while the Senate bill maintains it.

3. Other Itemized Deductions
Two of the deductions that have received the most attention are changes to state and local taxes and mortgage interest. Both the House and Senate bills eliminate the state and local tax deduction and cap the property tax deduction at $10,000.

For mortgage interest, the Senate bill maintains current policy while the House bill caps the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000, but only for new home purchases. These deductions tend to have less impact on retirees who often have no mortgage or are far enough along in their mortgage payments that they have little mortgage interest.

Retirees typically also have lower state and local income taxes because not all of their income is subject to taxation.

To illustrate just how the House and Senate tax reform packages would affect different retirees, consider these five examples.

Evelyn Thompson
Evelyn is a retired waitress and a widow. She receives an average-level Social Security benefit of $16,000 per year, as well as $11,000 from her husband’s 401(k). She has $10,000 in medical expenses.

Evelyn’s tax bill will not change under the proposed reforms. She does not pay anything under the current tax system, and she wouldn’t pay anything under the reform proposals because they do not change the taxation of Social Security benefits or investment income.

Moreover, the proposed increases in the standard deduction, coupled with lower tax rates, make up for her loss of the medical expense deduction in the House proposal.

Phillip Olson
Phillip is a retired utility worker. He earned an average income throughout his career, but now receives a significant pension and even saved a little on his own through a 401(k).

His combined retirement income is $50,000 a year, consisting of $16,000 in Social Security benefits, a $28,000 pension, and $4,000 in 401(k) income. Phil has $7,500 in medical expenses, and he currently pays $3,988 in federal taxes.

Phil’s tax bill would go down by $232 under the House’s proposal (to $3,756) and by $572 under the Senate proposal (to $3,416). This would mean a 5.8 percent tax cut under the House proposal and a 14.4 percent tax cut under the Senate proposal.

These tax cuts would come from lower marginal tax rates on his $28,000 in pension income. In addition, no changes would be made to the taxation of Phil’s $18,000 in Social Security benefits, or his $4,000 in 401(k) income.

Although Phil has $7,500 in medical expenses, the higher standard deductions under the House and Senate bills make it not worthwhile for him to deduct these expenses, meaning he would face less paperwork and a simpler tax-filing process. Phil would also benefit from lower tax rates on his income.

Craig and Grace Graham
The Grahams are a middle-income retired couple with very high medical expenses. Craig was an electrician and Grace was a secretary.

Together, they receive $25,000 a month from Social Security and $50,000 from their 401(k) savings, making for a total income of $75,000. However, Craig’s health has deteriorated significantly and he had to enter a nursing home this year, which resulted in $50,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs.

Because all of their income comes from Social Security and investments—which the proposed reforms do not change—the Grahams’ tax bill would not change under either the House or Senate proposals. In each case, they would owe nothing in federal income taxes.

Michael and Sarah Lee
The Lees are a semi-retired, upper-income couple. Michael was a writer and Sarah was an attorney, but both still do some contract work on the side.

The Lees have a combined income of $150,000 a year, consisting of $50,000 in earnings, $50,000 in Social Security benefits, and $50,000 in investment income from their 401(k)s. They have $15,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses, and currently pay $15,613 in federal income taxes.

Under the House proposal, they would pay $1,003 less (their federal income tax bill would be $14,610), and under the Senate proposal they would pay $2,059 less (their federal income tax bill would be $13,554). This would mean a 6.4 percent tax cut under the House proposal and a 13.2 percent tax cut under the Senate proposal.

Although the Lees’ taxable income would go relatively unchanged under both proposals, they would receive significant tax cuts under both the House and Senate bills due to lower tax rates on their earned income.

Hector and Carmen Garcia
The Garcias’ are a wealthy retired couple. At one time, they jointly operated their own real estate development company, which they have since passed on to their children.

The Garcias have accumulated significant savings, and they receive $950,000 in investment income each year along with $50,000 in Social Security benefits. The Garcias make generous charitable donations of $100,000 a year, they have $25,000 in medical expenses, and they pay about $79,000 in state and local taxes.

Although the Garcias do not need all of their income to cover their own expenses, they enjoy using their wealth to help their children with their business ventures, to support some family members who live outside the U.S., and to contribute to each of their 10 grandchildren’s college accounts.

Under the current tax system, the Garcias pay $151,768 in federal income taxes. Under the proposed House bill, their taxes would increase by $12,744 (to $164,512) and under the Senate bill, their taxes would rise by $12,149 (to $163,917).

This would mean an 8.4 percent tax increase under the House proposal and an 8 percent tax increase under the Senate proposal. These increases would come from a loss of their state and local income tax deduction and the $10,000 cap on the property tax deduction.

While the Garcias would lose these deductions, they would keep other deductions—such as for charitable donations—that are worth more under the proposed reform packages because both House and Senate bills would eliminate the phaseout of itemized deductions, which exists in the current tax code.

Good Changes for Most Retirees
Understandably, many retirees may be concerned about how tax reform will affect them. But the bare facts of these two tax reform bills should be reassuring: Tax reform, for the vast majority of American seniors, is great news.

Moreover, although not represented in seniors’ individual income tax bills, the corporate and small business tax provisions contained in the proposed reforms would benefit seniors both through their investment incomes and their purchases.

That’s because the benefits of lower corporate taxes flow to individuals who own stock in those corporations, workers who are employed by those corporations, and consumers who purchase goods and services from those corporations.

As the House and Senate move toward reconciling their two similar tax bills, American seniors can rest assured that this bill is a win for them.
Rachel Greszler is a Research Fellow in Economics, Budget and Entitlements t The Heritage Foundation.

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Sen. Boozman Presses for Extension of Secure Rural Schools Program

ARRA News Service: U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined a group of senators in sending a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), urging them to include a reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program in any end-of-year legislation. SRS supports public schools, public roads, forest health projects, emergency services and many other essential county services for more than 775 counties across the country including 27 in Arkansas.

The SRS program expired on September 30, 2015, and has not been reauthorized. Forest counties and schools received their last authorized SRS payment in 2016. Without the SRS program, existing revenue-sharing payments are not sufficient to support the critical services that these counties must provide.

The Senators wrote:
“The SRS program continues to be a critical safety-net for forest counties as we work to diversify rural economies, improve forest management and forest health, strengthen historic forest revenue sharing with local governments, and ensure that our forests provide a range of values such as clean water, jobs, and wood fiber for local economies.

“In the interest of working together in a bipartisan way to support local rural communities, we ask that you include a reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools in any end-of-the-year legislation. We appreciate your assistance with this matter.”

The letter iead as follows:
Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

We write to strongly urge the inclusion of at least a two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, which enjoys tremendous bipartisan support, in any end-of-the-year legislation.

On U.S. Forest Service land, the federal government has historically shared 25 percent of timber harvest revenues with counties to compensate for federal ownership. On certain land managed by the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management shares 50 percent of the revenue from federal timber sales with counties. Due to declining timber harvests, a critical source of funding for rural counties, sometimes referred to as “forest counties,” has seen significant decreases, often decimating impacted county budgets.

In 2000, Congress passed SRS with broad bipartisan support as a fiscal solution to help fund essential services resulting from the reduced revenue-sharing receipts. Since then, SRS has been a critical lifeline for over 775 counties in over 40 states across the country by helping fund more than 4,400 schools, road maintenance, law enforcement, and search and rescue operations. However, SRS authorization lapsed last year and rural counties are now back to simply receiving the timber revenue-sharing receipts. These receipts are up to 80 percent less than what forest counties received under SRS.

We are now witnessing firsthand the hardships rural counties face as a result of SRS authorization lapsing. Without the certainty of SRS payments, schools, libraries, and jails are closing. Schools that remain open will see a reduction of teachers. Roads go unpaved and become unsafe. Mental and physical health services are scaled back or even ended. Fewer and fewer law enforcement officers are forced to patrol larger and larger areas.

The SRS program continues to be a critical safety-net for forest counties as we work to diversify rural economies, improve forest management and forest health, strengthen historic forest revenue sharing with local governments, and ensure that our forests provide a range of values such as clean water, jobs, and wood fiber for local economies.

In the interest of working together in a bipartisan way to support local rural communities, we ask that you include a reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools in any end-of-the-year legislation. We appreciate your assistance with this matter.

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) led the bipartisan letter that in addition to Boozman was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Dean Heller (R-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeffery A. Merkley (D-OR), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), James E. Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

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