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News Blog for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. Content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this "Blog" - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use Doctrine is posted & used.
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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 15, 2017

Fake News and Republican Tax Cuts

by Newt Gingrich: Republicans are wrapping up the biggest tax cut bill since 1986.

Think of it – the biggest tax cut in 31 years.

The elite media has spent weeks attacking, distorting, and undermining the GOP tax cuts. Every Democratic attack, no matter how false or distorted, has been covered extensively. Liberal columnists and analysts have laboriously written and opined on television against the bill.

If a provision cuts taxes for millions of Americans but raises taxes for a few thousand, the elite media skips the winners to focus on the small number of losers.

At the same time, the eight-year underperformance of the Obama Administration in jobs, take-home pay, and economic growth is ignored by the elite media, while the already accelerating economic growth during the first year of the Trump presidency is under-reported or downplayed.

Similarly, there is little coverage of the remarkable jump in small business owner confidence or the equally impressive improvement in corporate CEO optimism.

The fake news game being played against the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is designed to take away all of the political advantages Republicans ought to be gaining.

Consider the facts:
  • The Republican tax cut takes a big step toward the Trump campaign goal of implementing a 15 percent corporate tax rate. The corporate rate’s reduction from 35 percent to 21 percent would have been unthinkable two years ago.
  • The pass-through provision to enable small businesses to also get a strong tax cut has won enthusiastic support from the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Job Creators Network (two of the leading small business associations). Note also that the media completely distorted NFIB’s questions about early versions of the bill and presented the group’s honest concerns as total opposition.
  • The Republican tax cut bill will boost job creation and includes strong middle class and pro-family provisions. Increasing the Child Tax Credit to up to $2,000 and doubling the standard deduction will have an incredibly positive impact on middle class families.
  • The simplification and increased deduction will allow nine out of 10 Americans to file their taxes on a form the size of a postcard. The savings in time and money that used to be spent on tax preparers will be a further advantage for most Americans.
Republicans are close to the end, but the fight isn’t over.

Republicans need to be prepared to win the argument. They have to assume the liberal media will continue to push fake stories about this legislation, and they need to be ready to counter these distorted, false claims.

In every interview, Republicans must be prepared to correct reporters and anchors when they start using phony examples and false "facts."

Republicans should use social media to reach every big winner in the tax cut bill – starting with small business owners.

Writing a good bill is only step one.

Communicating the bill effectively, despite falsehoods and distortions in fake news, is the vital second step – and it requires serious commitment.

If Republicans reach every person who is helped by this bill, they will win decisively in 2018.

The Democrats who do not vote for this bill will have to explain why they are against reduced taxes, lower unemployment, a simpler tax code, and more American job creation.

Winning the argument over the tax bill may be the most crucial step toward victory in 2018.
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, Fake News, Republican, Tax Cuts 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 Clear And Present Danger

SEN. MCCAIN: ‘The Lack Of Stable, Sufficient, And Predictable Funding Has Had A Devastating Impact On Our Armed Forces’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Our nation faces myriad threats from around the globe, and it is the Senate’s responsibility to provide the service chiefs with the resources to train and equip our warfighters—and provide them with the resources they need to keep us safe. The diverse challenges posed by Iran, China, Russia, North Korea, ISIL, al-Qaeda, and its affiliates span the spectrum of war fighting, and our force must be trained and prepared to operate on sea, air, land and in cyberspace. … In our ongoing discussions surrounding government funding, we must continue to prioritize our nation’s men and women in uniform. It is illogical for this Senate to repeatedly vote to pass National Defense Authorization Acts at one level of authority and not meet that commitment with the necessary Appropriations Act. And this funding cannot be held hostage to the Obama-era demand that increases in defense funding be matched by equal increases in non-defense spending. Congress ignored that demand earlier this year, and we must do it again now.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 12/14/2017)

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ), Armed Services Committee Chairman: “To give our men and women in uniform a budget that will allow them to rise to meet the challenges of the 21st century, Congress must change the Budget Control Act, and the only way to do that is with a bipartisan budget agreement…. The next four years cannot be like the last four years. We must find a way to provide the military with the resources they need and deserve to perform the missions that we have assigned them. We must provide them with timely authorization and appropriations bills. We must provide them something they haven’t had for years—certainty—so they can properly plan and efficiently use taxpayer dollars to defend the nation.” (Sen. McCain, Press Release, 5/04/2017)

GEN. DUNFORD, Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff: ‘The U.S. Military’s Competitive Advantage Against Potential Adversaries Is Eroding’

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): “For nearly a decade, the lack of stable, sufficient, and predictable funding has had a devastating impact on our Armed Forces. More of our troops are now being killed and wounded in training and routine operations than in combat against our enemies…. We need real, predictable growth in order to rebuild our military—as the President has repeatedly called for, our military leaders have consistently asked for, and an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of both sides of Congress has voted to authorize—and we need that growth both this year and next year.” (Sen. McCain, Press Release, 12/05/2017)

JAMES MATTIS, Secretary of Defense: “I retired from military service three months after sequestration took effect. Four years later, I returned to the Department and I have been shocked by what I’ve seen with our readiness to fight. For all the heartache caused by the loss of our troops during these wars, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration. We have only sustained our ability to meet America’s commitments abroad because our troops have stoically shouldered a much greater burden.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 6/13/2017)
  • SEC. MATTIS: “Each of these four forces – 16 years of war, the worsening security environment, contested operations in multiple domains, and the rapid pace of technological change – require stable budgets and increased funding to provide for the protection of our citizens and for the survival of our freedoms. Because as expensive as it is for the American people to fund the military, it is far less costly in lives and treasure than a conventional war that we are unable to deter because we are seen as weak.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 6/13/2017)
GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “The U.S. military’s competitive advantage against potential adversaries is eroding. Over the last decade, sustained operational commitments, budgetary instability, and advances by our adversaries have threatened our ability to project power and we have lost our advantage in key warfighting areas…. [W]ithout sustained, sufficient, and predictable funding, I assess that within 5 years we will lose our ability to project power; the basis of how we defend the homeland, advance U.S. interests, and meet our alliance commitments.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 6/13/2017)

ARMY: ‘An Army Potentially Outgunned, Outranged, And Outdated On A Future Battlefield’

CSIS: “[F]rom FY 2008 through the FY 2018 request, the Army’s budget has been cut relatively more than the other Services, falling by 43 percent in real terms … [F]rom FY 2010 through the FY 2018 request, the size of the total force has fallen by approximately 11 percent (or 16 percent for active duty forces) … In FY 2015, the Army’s active duty end strength reached the lowest level since the end of World War II.” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)

ROBERT SPEER, Acting Secretary of the Army and GEN. MARK MILLEY, Army Chief of Staff: “For the past five years, the Army has been working to build and sustain a ready force. However, this has been a significant challenge due to the Budget Control Act of 2011, Continuing Resolutions, and unforeseen changes in the strategic environment that include an assertive Russia, an increasingly threatening North Korea, and ISIS controlling territory across Iraq and Syria.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 5/25/2017)
  • SEC. SPEER and GEN. MILLEY: “… the negative impacts of the Budget Control Act of 2011 have been significant. … Continuing Resolutions and constrained funding under the Budget Control Act of 2011 forced us to pay short-term bills at the expense of long-term investments.  A consequence of underfunding modernization for over a decade is an Army potentially outgunned, outranged, and outdated on a future battlefield with near-peer competitors…. In short, the Army’s lack of investment in modernization is eroding our competitive advantage in ground combat operations. “ (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 5/25/2017)
  • SEC. SPEER and GEN. MILLEY: “Over the last eight years, the Army reduced end strength by over 100,000 Soldiers. This reduction included removing 17 brigade combat teams from the Army. To meet the end strength reduction targets, the Army reduced forward stationed forces in Europe and Korea, replacing them with rotational forces from the United States. The impact of this reliance on rotational forces is a deployment tempo that rivals the surge periods in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 5/25/2017)

NAVY & MARINE CORPS: ‘A Decline In The Material Condition Of Our Ships And Aircraft And Training Of Our Sailors And Marines’

SEAN STACKLEY, Acting Secretary of the Navy: “Since passage of the Budget Control Act, in particular, our increased operational tempo has been met with a decreasing budget, when measured in constant dollars. The net impact of this increased operational tempo under the pressures of a reduced budget has been a decline in the material condition of our ships and aircraft and training of our Sailors and Marines.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/15/2017)
  • SEC. STACKLEY: “Budget constraints, budget uncertainty, and Continuing Resolutions have exacerbated these issues that stretch from the flight line to the gun line to our depots. Each of these factors has placed added strain on our ships, aircraft, tactical vehicles, and the Sailors and Marines who deploy with them.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/15/2017)
CSIS: “… the current size of the Navy’s fleet is relatively small by historical standards. From its peak in FY 1987 to the trough in FY 2015, the Navy’s ship count fell by more than half.” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)</>
  • CSIS: “The Navy’s readiness has come into question over the past year, with several deadly accidents in the 7th fleet…. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that readiness shortfalls are the result of a high operational tempo for naval forces, which limits availability for training and maintenance…. a larger fleet would help bring supply and demand back into balance …” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)
SEC. STACKLEY: “The Naval Force is confronting new challenges in the 21st Century. The United States is facing a return to great power competition, as Russia and China demonstrate both the advanced capabilities and the desire to act as global powers in their own discrete self-interest. The Russian Navy is operating at a pace and in areas not seen since the mid-1990s. The Chinese Navy is continuing to extend its reach around the world…. Our adversaries are pursuing advanced weapon systems at a level and pace of development not seen since the mid-1980s and both near-peer nations and non-state actors pose credible threats to our security.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/15/2017)

GEN. ROBERT NELLER, Commandant U.S. Marine Corps.: GEN. NELLER: “Collectively, fiscal inconsistency, spending cuts, and accumulating wear and tear after years of combat operations have depleted our readiness and delayed planned recapitalization and modernization efforts. Though our forward deployed forces are ‘full up’ and ready for whatever comes their way, our ‘bench’ has become shallow…” (U.S. Senate, Armed Services Committee, Hearing, 6/15/2017)
  • GEN. NELLER: “Fiscal reductions and budget instability has been the norm for the past eight years and has consequently eroded our readiness.... More reliable funding and support of the annual budget request must be there if we are to improve our readiness and our ability to respond to crises.” (U.S. Senate, Armed Services Committee, Hearing, 6/15/2017)
  • LT. GEN. ROBERT WALSH, BRIG. GEN. JOSEPH SHRADER, and JOHN GARNER: “The Marine Corps is the Nation’s expeditionary force-in-readiness…. Today we are at an inflection point. Our priority of effort over the 15 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has been meeting the immediate requirements of combat operations. During this period, we risked modernization to ensure the combat readiness of deploying Marines. While our focus was elsewhere, our potential enemies modernized, reducing the technological advantages American forces once took for granted.  In many theaters we can no longer assume superiority in any domain; sea, air, land, space or the electromagnetic spectrum.  In short, the Marine Corps is not organized, trained, or equipped to meet the demands of the future operating environment.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Seapower Hearing, 6/06/2017)

AIR FORCE: ‘Sequestration Puts At Risk Our Ability To Successfully Accomplish What Our Nation Asks Of Us’

HEATHER WILSON, Secretary of the Air Force and GEN. DAVID GOLDFEIN, Air Force Chief of Staff: “Any objective evaluation of today’s U.S. Air Force reaches stark conclusions. First, the Air Force is too small for the missions demanded of it and it is unlikely that the need for air and space power will diminish significantly in the coming decade. Second, adversaries are modernizing and innovating faster than we are, putting at risk America’s technological advantage in air and space.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/06/2017)
  • SEC. WILSON and GEN. GOLDFEIN: “We must have stable, predictable budgets that include strategy-driven funding.  We also add our voice to the chorus of concern that budget instability is itself a significant problem. Continuing resolutions, or worse, sequestration, puts at risk our ability to successfully accomplish what our nation asks of us.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/06/2017)
CSIS: “… the total aircraft inventory of the Air Force declined by 44 percent from its peak in FY 1986 to FY 2016. This reduction was largely driven by a decrease in the number of fighter/attack aircraft and bombers, which fell by 55 percent and 54 percent, respectively, over the same period.” (“Analysis of the FY 2018 Defense Budget,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12/2017)
  • SEC. WILSON and GEN. GOLDFEIN: “Currently, the Air Force includes 660,000 active, guard, reserve and civilian Airmen, compared to 946,000 just 26 years ago when we fought in Operation Desert Storm -- a 30% reduction. The Air Force also reduced its aircraft inventory over this same period from 8,600 to 5,500 aircraft.  We have 55 combat-coded fighter squadrons across the active duty, guard, and reserve, compared to 134 squadrons during Desert Storm.  Before 1991, the Air Force bought approximately 510 aircraft per year. In the past 20 years, we have averaged only 96 per year.  Today, the average age of our aircraft is over 27 years. And, unlike during the Cold War, Air Force aircraft have been flying in combat for 26 straight years.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing 6/06/2017)

Tags: A Clear And Present Danger, Lack Of Stable, Sufficient, And Predictable Funding, Devastating Impact On, Our Armed Forces To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

ISIS Threatens Christmas, Rigged System, Trump Praises Law Enforcement

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: ISIS Threatens Christmas - The Islamic State issued a series of online threats in recent days, once again warning of possible attacks during the Christmas holiday.  One image featured a photo of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in flames.

As jarring as these threats are, they should serve as a reality check for Western elites.  While we are in the middle of the season of peace, worshipping a God who said "Choose Life," death worshipping jihadists are making it very clear that they intend to bring more destruction and sorrow to our homeland.

Thankfully, we have a president in office today who fully appreciates the danger we face.  Barack Obama often downplayed the threat from radical Islamic terrorism.

Unfortunately, our intelligence and law enforcement personnel have to be right 100% of the time, while jihadis only have to get it right once to inflict tremendous pain.

Speaking Of Christmas - Several Hollywood celebrities and comedians are putting on a special Christmas performance next week benefitting Christian orphanages.  No, wait, that's not it.  They are helping to raise funds for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.  Oh, sorry, wrong again.

Unbelievably, their Christmas celebration is being used to raise money for the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

If King Herod were alive today, he'd have a photo on his wall signed by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.  In an attempt to kill Jesus, Herod ordered all babies two and under to be murdered.  Richards does him one better.  She promotes destroying innocent babies before they can take their first breath out of the womb.

By the way, during a recent interview, Richards exploited the "#MeToo" movement against sexual harassment to promote abortion.  She said:

"For years women have been ashamed of sharing their own stories, including about abortion -- abortion stories -- and it is only now that women are sharing them on social media and that they're being covered in the news as actually part of women's healthcare."

Sorry, Cecile, but abortion is not healthcare!

As Christians prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ, it is my hope and prayer that this reflection on the babe in the manger will renew our respect for the sanctity of life.

"Rigged System" - It's a new day and there are new indications that the fix was in to exonerate Hillary Clinton.  At the same time, there are indications that a fix was being crafted to destroy Donald Trump in the "unlikely event" that he actually won.

Speaking to reporters at the White House this morning, President Trump blasted the investigation of Hillary Clinton as a "rigged system," and said, "It's a shame what's happened with the FBI.  But we're going to rebuild the FBI."

My personal opinion is that Attorney General Sessions must do more to get to the bottom of this if we are going to restore confidence in our institutions.  Some people feel there is more going on that we don't know.  The inspector general at the Department of Justice has a large staff and there are rumors going around town that he is seriously following through on these investigations.

Meanwhile, the Mueller investigation of President Trump, which seems to have started because of a conspiracy at the Justice Department to get him before the votes were counted, continues to grind on.

By the way, there are reports breaking today that Gloria Allred's daughter "worked with [Clinton] campaign donors and tabloid media outlets" to pay women (as well as herself!) who were willing to publicly smear Donald Trump during last year's campaign.  Is anyone really surprised?

Trump Praises Law Enforcement -

Ever since he fired James Comey, the left-wing media have been trying to convince people that Trump despises the FBI.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He despises the people who are using the FBI to promote their own agenda.

Donald Trump ran on a law and order platform.  He loves the men and women of law enforcement.

Today, President Trump addressed the FBI's National Academy graduation ceremony.  His remarks was interrupted repeatedly with applause.  Here are a few excerpts: [Full video os speech below.]

"You are always there for us, the men and women in blue, in the dark of night, in the rush of danger, you break down doors, race down alleys, chase down suspects and bring down criminals.  And you do it with strength, and skill and pride.

"There's a reason that your children look up to you with their eyes full of awe and full of wonder. . . Because to them and to all of us, and to me, you are the guardians who keep us safe, who ward off danger and who confront evil so that the good will always prevail.  You represent the best of America and you leave us with a debt we can never hope to repay.

"Today, we honor you.  We thank you. And we know that by your example some of the children here today and watching at home will be inspired to fill your shoes, to continue your service, to follow in your footsteps and to take the oath, to carry the badge, to wear the shield and to join the ranks of heroes.

"Thank you to our police.  Thank you to our sheriffs.  Thank you to the FBI.  And thank you to our law enforcement families.  God bless you all."

Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, ISIS Threatens Christmas, Rigged System, Trump Praises Law Enforcement To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Bernie Sanders and The Resurgence of Socialist Sentiment In America

by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author:  Quite a few articles have been written lately on the receptivity of Millennials to socialism and even (7% of them) communism.  What’s up with that? U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, that’s what. In a speech delivered at Georgetown University, “Democratic Socialism in the United States“ he said:
So let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what democratic socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans. And it builds on what Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1968 when he stated that; “This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.” It builds on the success of many other countries around the world that have done a far better job than we have in protecting the needs of their working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.

Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.

Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt.

... In my view, it’s time we had democratic socialism for working families, not just Wall Street, billionaires and large corporations. It means that we should not be providing welfare for corporations, huge tax breaks for the very rich, or trade policies which boost corporate profits as workers lose their jobs. It means that we create a government that works for works for all of us, not just powerful special interests. It means that economic rights must be an essential part of what America stands for.

It means that health care should be a right of all people, not a privilege. This is not a radical idea. It exists in every other major country on earth. Not just Denmark, Sweden or Finland. It exists in Canada, France, Germany and Taiwan.
He goes on.

Sound good? Sounds wonderful!

Pity it doesn’t work.

Yet it resonates. As reported by
For starters, as of this year, more Millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country (44%) than in a capitalist one (42%). Some even said they would prefer to live in a communist country (7%). The percentage of Millennials who would prefer socialism to capitalism is a full ten points higher than that of the general population.I find the rising tide of socialist sentiment more quaint than alarming.

What the Millennials are expressing is a dissatisfaction with how so-called capitalism has been, and is, failing them. “Free markets” are not a dogma. They are a law of nature. They should never be, although often are, used as a beard for oligarchy.

We will know if free markets are at work, rather than merely being invoked, by whether there is, to quote JFK, a “rising tide that lifts all boats” for the economy and the ecology.
No rising tide? No free markets.

For a full generation -- the Millennials’ generation -- the American economy has been somewhere between sluggish and stagnant. It has been this way under both Republican and Democratic administrations. That is a sure sign that, whatever lip service may have been paid to them, free markets have been choked (by Democrats) or subverted (by Republicans).

No wonder the Millennials are disgruntled. They ask for bread. We give them a stone.
The kids are on to something. But as the Victims of Communism Foundation demurely points out, “despite Millennials’ enthusiasm for socialism and communism, they do not, in fact, know what those terms mean.”

Memo to the Millennials: Communism and socialism suffered repeated Epic Fails at creating a Socialist Workers Paradise.

Note, in passing, that the Scandinavian versions, Social Democrats and Christian Democrats (among those who Sen. Sanders extolled, in his speech, for universal health coverage, a Hayekian principle) have been far more successful and consistently show up as the happiest countries in the world. As I wrote here:
The erennially happiest countries in the world, after all, such as Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden all were, last time this columnist looked, social democracies.One might infer, however, that they are socialist because they are happy rather than happy because they are socialist. And their socialism, argues Corey Iacono, at turns out to be more mythic than real.In response to Americans frequently referring to his country as socialist, the prime minister of Denmark recently remarked in a lecture at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government,

"I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."
Sorry, Sen. Sanders.

Let me confess to some bias here. During the Cold War I was passionately, if lyrically, anti-communist. Yes, my old anticommunist slip is showing. That said, my opposition to the Soviet Union did not include a hostility to Russia, or the Russians, who were themselves victims of Communism.

During the waning days of the Cold War, when President Gorbachev was liberalizing things via Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (economic liberalization) I assembled the Prosperity Caucus -- a group of free market economists which I founded around 30 years ago which meets monthly to this day -- at the Soviet Embassy. We were hospitably, if a bit warily, received.

To break the ice I opened the gathering with a joke.

“I have discovered that communism and capitalism might be closer than it superficially appears. I prove it thusly:

How many Marxist economists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  None! The light bulb contains within itself the seeds of its own revolution!

How many Austrian economists does it take to screw in a light bulb?  None! If the government would just leave it alone, the lightbulb would unscrew itself!
This witty foray, such as it was, elicited gazes of incomprehension from our host, an official of the Soviet foreign service, and the entire assembly of supply-side economists. In short, I bombed. (Fortunately, only metaphorically.) When an FBI agent phoned me up some months later to politely inquire what the heck I was doing in there, she too didn’t find my recounting of the joke hilarious. This cut short my already unpromising career in Stand-Up Comedy.

There is very likely a recording somewhere in the archives of the KGB -- and the FBI -- if you wish to audit my failed attempt at humor. There is a reason why Carlyle, shamefully arguing for the reintroduction of slavery into the West Indies and referencing that great (and discredited) pessimist Thomas Malthus, called economics “the dismal science.” There is a reason why that epithet stuck.  Lesson learned!

What many Millennials may not quite grasp is that the heart of the Communist Manifesto was not about fighting Big Business. It was pitting the workers (called the Proletarians) against the Middle Class (called the “Bourgeois”):
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
Attacking the Middle Class-based social order did not end well. Nor, one infers, is it what the Millennials really are yearning for.

What was the Communist Manifesto’s stated agenda to bring about the Socialist Workers’ Paradise?
These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.
  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, ...

More significant than the Millennial’s sentimental receptivity to the socialist, and even Communist, brand is the Democratic Party’s embrace of significant portions of the core agenda of the Communist Manifesto, albeit in somewhat modified form.

The Democrats remain largely invested in #2, steeply rising tax rates on the affluent; #3, fighting to preserve the Estate Tax’s confiscatory rate on substantial estates; #5, the Federal Reserve System; #6, formerly somewhat doing business as “net neutrality;” and #10, staunch opposition to School Choice. Many of the Manifesto’s other elements, such as the abolition of property in land, the cultivation of waste-lands, and the combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries (whatever that could have meant, maybe tractors?) have become obsolete as we have moved from an agrarian to an industrial to a post-industrial economy.

Otherwise, one supposes, we would have found these propositions too in the National Democratic Party platform.

Democratic Party doctrine peculiarly embraces, or at least clearly echoes, Marx and Engels’ core platform. This observation is not “Red Baiting.” I do not suggest that the Democrats have directly quarried from the Communist Manifesto in devising their platforms and policies or that they should be persecuted. It is merely that progressives, to whom these splendid doctrines of yore remain beloved, have disproportionate influence on the Democratic Party.

I urge the Democratic Party, and progressives, to openly celebrate, rather than hide, their ideological roots. I do not begrudge the progressives, or the Democrats, their privilege of bitterly clinging to old Communist dogma. Nor do I begrudge the Millennials' rhetorical sympathies for it.

I am merely incredulous. It seems that the Millennials and the Democrats -- unlike, say, the Russians and the Chinese -- somehow have failed to grasp what a colossal failure socialism and Communism proved in practice. Both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China scrapped that system as soon as the Cold War ended. And prospered!

That said, the Millennials’ grievances are well founded. I consider these grievances rooted in our government’s drift from, rather than embrace of, free markets. To quote Jack Kemp -- who called himself a Democratic Capitalist -- quoting from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar on the floor of the House:

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.The Millennials have indeed found their lives, after almost twenty years of economic stagnation, “bound in shallows and in miseries.” Free markets have not failed. Both national political parties have, for a generation, failed free markets.What to do? To complete Kemp’s quote from Shakespeare, “On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves. Or lose our ventures.”

Millennials! I feel you and take your disgruntlement seriously. Your mission, in support of your own interests, is to restore the American Dream rather than conniving at state control of the means of production, which is what Socialism is, was, and ever will mean.

Socialism offers a very pretty story. Yet it has always led, and would only lead, to more shallows and miseries to bind our lives. Don't fall for it.

Let us give thanks to Sen. Sanders for his wonderful diagnosis of the pathetic state of the economy and the society. And then let us politely decline his patent medicine prescription for its cure.

The American Dream is one of "prosperity and justice for all." Bringing that about for the future cannot be done by reference to an antique dogma. The project to create a new rising tide that lifts all boats now is, as it should be, in the hands of the Millennials.
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 Forbes.

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Huma Abedin Took "Muslim Engagement" Files Out Of State Dept

by Daniel Greenfield: The Clintons and their associates, whether it's Sandy Berger or Cheryl Mills, certainly have a gift for making paperwork disappear.
Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser, stole classified documents about the terror failures of the Clinton administration, hid documents under a construction trailer, lied about taking them and destroyed some of them.

Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

“When Cheryl saw me, she snapped, ‘Who are you?’” Maxwell says. “Jake explained, ‘That’s Ray Maxwell, an NEA deputy assistant secretary.’ She conceded, ‘Well, OK.'”

Maxwell says the two officials, close confidants of Clinton, appeared to check in on the operation and soon left.
Huma Abedin was allowed to remove quite a few State Department files, as Judicial Watch reveals.The new records also show that Huma Abedin was allowed to take five boxes of “physical files” out of the State Department that include records described as “Muslim Engagement Documents.”The focus of the Muslim engagement under Obama was the Muslim Brotherhood. I can't imagine why Huma might have wanted to remove those. Not a single thought comes to mind as to why a woman accused of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood would want to do such a thing.
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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Is the CFPB run like the Mafia?

by Printus LeBlanc: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been in the news a lot lately, mostly because the former head of the agency Richard Cordray stepped down. However, before stepping down, Cordray believed he had the right to pick his own successor and chose Leandra English. The President disagreed and has appointed Mick Mulvaney to rein in the out of control agency. There is currently a legal battle brewing over who is in charge with a federal judge ruling Mulvaney is acting director.

The CFPB was authorized in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It was created as a result of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The unconstitutional agency has jurisdiction over banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, and other financial companies in the U.S. The agency is considered “off-budget” and therefore does not answer to Congress. The agency gets its funding directly from the Federal Reserve System. The only requirement of the CFPB is to appear and report twice annually before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees.

Why is this agency so important to liberal progressives? English went judge shopping across the country to stop Mulvaney from being appointed to head the agency. Seems like a stretch to keep power over a small government agency. Why is this the end of the world according to many progressives?

It looks like we found the answer earlier this week.

Cassandra Jackson was a former examiner in the southeast division for the CFPB. Jackson sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions detailing criminal actions by managers in the CFPB.

Jackson was assigned to audit Ace Cash Express, an Irving Texas-based business that offers installment loans, title loans, prepaid cards, and check cashing. She was asked to “change, remove, and otherwise falsify documents,” connected with the examination by people in management positions above her.

Jackson also stated management asked her to remove document evidence proving the subject of the investigation, Ace Cash Express, was complying with the rules and to write a report including findings she knew to be “false and fabricated.”

“I was specifically told to cite Ace Cash Express for a violation for which I had verified the company was in compliance and to state that Ace Cash Express did not provide, and that the CFPB did not receive, documents that would have satisfied the CFPB’s guidelines, despite having received that information from Ace Cash Express.”

After Jackson refused to commit multiple felonies at the behest of CFPB management, she was disciplined for failure to perform at her grade level. Apparently, once you rise to a position of power within the CFPB, you are expected to commit certain felonies to keep your job.

And now we find out why Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is so dead set against Mulvaney taking over at the agency.

The conclusion of the investigation into Ace Cash Express led to a total of $10 million in penalties and customer restitution being extorted.

The fines and penalties do not go into the general treasury; they go into the Civil Penalty Fund. This fund is intended to help the victims of fraud and predatory lending, but tens of millions of dollars are sent to organizations that have “consumer education and financial literacy” programs. The groups allowed to receive the free money were approved by Cordray and then Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. Investors Business Daily lists just a few of the organizations benefiting from the CFPB extortion racket:
  • The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, whose directors include senior Democratic National Committee officials.
  • The Mississippi Center for Justice, President Obama tapped MCJ Chair Debra M. Brown to serve as U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi.
  • People’s Community Action Corp. of St. Louis, which has seated Obama appointees and Democrat lawmakers on its board.
This follows an all to familiar pattern, as the DOJ and Labor Department had similar funds worth billions of dollars dolling out tens of millions to politically aligned groups.

Two things need to happen. First, AG Sessions needs to immediately launch an investigation into what can only be described as a government-run extortion racket the mafia would be jealous of. Multiple felonies being committed by numerous management figures screams for a RICO investigation. Two people that should immediately be questioned are former Director Cordray and Sen. Warren, both intimately involved with the functioning of the agency.

The second thing that needs to happen is Mick Mulvaney needs to settle the lawsuits against the constitutionality of the agency. No, the agency is not constitutional and therefore should be shut down.

It seems like every single day we learn of another agency poisoned by the previous administration, and the CFPB is no different. Americans are losing faith in government institutions, for a good reason, and we cannot afford any more unaccountable government overlords to run rough shot over the people. The CFPB must be investigated and shut down.
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor for Americans for Limited Government.

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Moral Values and Customs vs. Laws

Dr. Walter E. Williams
by Dr. Walter E. Williams: I’m approaching my 82nd birthday, and my daughter will occasionally suggest that modernity is perplexing to me because I’m from prehistoric times. As such, it points to one of the unavoidable problems of youth — namely, the temptation to think that today’s behavioral standards have always been. Let’s look at a few of the differences between yesteryear and today.

One of those differences is the treatment of women. There are awesome physical strength differences between men and women. To create and maintain civil relationships between the sexes is to drum into boys, starting from very young ages, that they are not to use violence against a woman for any reason. Special respect is given women. Yesteryear even the lowest of lowdown men would not curse or use foul language to or in the presence of women. To see a man sitting on a crowded bus or trolley car while a woman is standing used to be unthinkable. It was deemed common decency for a man to give up his seat for a woman or elderly person.

Today young people use foul language in front of — and often to — adults and teachers. It’s not just foul language. Many youngsters feel that it’s acceptable to assault teachers. Just recently, 45 Pennsylvania teachers resigned because of student violence.

Back in what my daughter calls prehistoric times, the use of foul language to an adult or teacher would have meant a smack across the face. Of course, today a parent taking such corrective action risks being reported to a local child protective service and even being arrested. The modern parental or teacher response to misbehavior is to call for “time out.” In other words, what we’ve taught miscreants of all ages is that they can impose physical pain on others and not suffer physical pain themselves. That’s an open invitation to bad behavior.

It has always been considered a good idea to refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage or at least adulthood. During the sexual revolution of the 1960s, lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passe and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills and abortion. Out-of-wedlock childbirths are no longer seen as shameful and a disgrace. As a result, the rate of illegitimate births among whites is over 30 percent, and among blacks, it’s over 70 percent.

For over a half-century, the nation’s liberals — along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals and the courts — have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. Many in today’s generation have been counseled to believe that there are no moral absolutes. Instead, what’s moral or immoral, right or wrong, is a matter of convenience, personal opinion or what is or is not criminal.

Society’s first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values. Customs, traditions and moral values are those important thou-shalt-nots, such as thou shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and shalt not cheat. They also include respect for parents, teachers and others in authority, plus those courtesies one might read in Emily Post’s rules of etiquette. These behavioral norms — mostly transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings — represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience, trial and error, and looking at what works and what doesn’t.

The importance of customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody’s watching. There are not enough cops. Laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct in producing a civilized society. At best, the police and the criminal justice system are the last desperate lines of defense for a civilized society.

Unfortunately, customs, traditions and moral values have been discarded without an appreciation for the role they played in creating a civilized society, and now we’re paying the price — and that includes the recent revelations regarding the treatment of women.
Walter Williams  is an American economist, social commentator, and author of over 150 publications. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from the UCLA and B.A. in economics from California State University. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College. He has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980. Visit his website: and view a list of other articles and works.

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Unlike Nixon, Trump Will Not Go Quietly

by Patrick Buchanan: On Aug. 9, 1974, Richard Nixon bowed to the inevitability of impeachment and conviction by a Democratic Senate and resigned.

The prospect of such an end for Donald Trump has this city drooling. Yet, comparing Russiagate and Watergate, history is not likely to repeat itself.

First, the underlying crime in Watergate, a break-in to wiretap offices of the DNC, had been traced, within 48 hours, to the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

In Russiagate, the underlying crime — the “collusion” of Trump’s campaign with the Kremlin to hack into the emails of the DNC — has, after 18 months of investigating, still not been established.

Campaign manager Paul Manafort has been indicted, but for financial crimes committed long before he enlisted with Trump.

Gen. Michael Flynn has pled guilty to lying about phone calls he made to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but only after Trump had been elected and Flynn had been named national security adviser.

Flynn asked Kislyak for help in blocking or postponing a Security Council resolution denouncing Israel, and to tell Vladimir Putin not to go ballistic over President Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.

This is what security advisers do.

Why Flynn let himself be ensnared in a perjury trap, when he had to know his calls were recorded, is puzzling.

Second, it is said Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to cut slack for Flynn.

But even Comey admits Trump acted within his authority.

And Comey had usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors when he announced in July 2016 that Hillary Clinton ought not to be prosecuted for having been “extremely careless” in transmitting security secrets over her private email server.

We now know that the first draft of Comey’s statement described Clinton as “grossly negligent,” the precise statute language for an indictment.

We also now know that helping to edit Comey’s first draft to soften its impact was Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. His wife, Jill McCabe, a candidate for state senate in Virginia, received $467,000 in campaign contributions from the PAC of Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe.

Comey has also admitted he leaked to The New York Times details of a one-on-one with Trump to trigger the naming of a special counsel — to go after Trump. And that assignment somehow fell to Comey’s predecessor, friend, and confidant Robert Mueller.

Mueller swiftly hired half a dozen prosecutorial bulldogs who had been Clinton contributors, and Andrew Weinstein, a Trump hater who had congratulated Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to carry out Trump’s travel ban.

FBI official Peter Strzok had to be been removed from the Mueller probe for hatred of Trump manifest in emails to his FBI lady friend.

Strzok was also involved in the investigation of Clinton’s email server and is said to have been the one who persuaded Comey to tone down his language about her misconduct, and let Hillary walk.

In Mueller’s tenure, still no Trump tie to the hacking of the DNC has been found. But a connection between Hillary’s campaign and Russian spies — to find dirt to smear and destroy Trump and his campaign — has been fairly well established.

By June 2016, the Clinton campaign and DNC had begun shoveling millions of dollars to the Perkins Coie law firm, which had hired the oppo research firm Fusion GPS, to go dirt-diving on Trump.

Fusion contacted ex-British MI6 spy Christopher Steele, who had ties to former KGB and FSB intelligence agents in Russia. They began to feed Steele, who fed Fusion, which fed the U.S. anti-Trump media with the alleged dirty deeds of Trump in Moscow hotels.

While the truth of the dirty dossier has never been established, Comey’s FBI rose like a hungry trout on learning of its contents.

There are credible allegations Comey’s FBI sought to hire Steele and used the dirt in his dossier to broaden the investigation of Trump — and that its contents were also used to justify FISA warrants on Trump and his people.

This week, we learned that the Justice Department’s Bruce Ohr had contacts with Fusion during the campaign, while his wife actually worked at Fusion investigating Trump. This thing is starting to stink.

Is the Trump investigation the rotten fruit of a poisoned tree?

Is Mueller’s Dump Trump team investigating the wrong campaign?

There are other reasons to believe Trump may survive the deep state-media conspiracy to break his presidency, overturn his mandate, and reinstate a discredited establishment.

Trump has Fox News and fighting congressmen behind him and the mainstream media is deeply distrusted and widely detested. And there is no Democratic House to impeach him or Democratic Senate to convict him.

Moreover, Trump is not Nixon, who, like Charles I, accepted his fate and let the executioner’s sword fall with dignity.

If Trump goes, one imagines, he will not go quietly.

In the words of the great Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s gonna be a “whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.”
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.

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Male Privilege . . .

. . . Due Process is absent in most all the sexual misconduct cases coming out in the media.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Joy to the World

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Although we usually sing the carol “Joy to the World” during the Christmas season, the hymn isn’t really about the incarnation of Jesus. Isaac Watts wrote it and has often been known as the “Father of English Hymnology.” He composed “Joy to the World” in 1719. It was originally titled “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.” The original title illustrates why there is no reference to angels, shepherds, or wise men. It is really about Christ’s second coming. That doesn’t mean we can’t sing about the coming of Christ as King during the Christmas season since His first coming foretells His second coming.

The hymn is actually a paraphrase of Psalm 98: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praise.” It then answers why: “for He [the Lord] comes to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with equity.”

Psalm 98 was originally a song of rejoicing for the Lord’s protection of His chosen people. Isaac Watts used it as a New Testament expression of praise. Remember what the angel said to the shepherds: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy.”

The hymn proclaims that the earth should “receive her King” and every heart should “prepare Him room.” That has not happened yet, but there will be a time when, as the hymn says, “the Savior reigns.”

“No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” Because of the Fall, we now have thorns and thistles. But in the New Heaven and Earth, the curse will be gone.

Christ will also come as Judge and Ruler. The hymn proclaims that, “He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.”
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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Hallmark Christmas Movies Under Fire for Spreading “Caucasian Cheer”

by Todd Starnes: The Hallmark Channel is a throwback to an age when Hollywood produced family-friendly films and love stories that did not involve leather and whips.

The network has earned millions of loyal fans for broadcasting movies that promote the virtues of faith and family — stories that tug at your heartstrings.

“We are a place you can go and feel good,” Bill Abbott, the chief executive of Crown Media, told the Washington Post.

“We intentionally branded ourselves as the happy place. Abbott said. “Hallmark’s tagline is ‘the heart of TV.’”

And viewership has skyrocketed since President Trump promised to make America great again – making Hallmark one of the most-watched cable television networks in the nation.

For the sake of full disclosure, I’m a fan of “When Calls The Heart,” produced by my good friend, Brian Bird. It’s a great place to escape from the unhinged rantings of Rachel Maddow and Don Lemon.

But it turns out not everyone is a fan of Hallmark.

Slate published a scathing review of the network — complaining about its around-the-clock Christmas movies.

“They brim with white heterosexuals who exclusively, emphatically, and endlessly bellow “Merry Christmas” to every lumberjack and labradoodle they pass. They’re centered on beauty-pageant heroines and strong-jawed heroes with white-nationalist haircuts,” the Slate writer declared.

There were complaints about the lack of gay people and feminists and Muslims in Hallmark Channel’s movies.

Slate also whined about what it called the network’s “42 hours of sugary, sexist, preposterously plotted, plot hole–festooned, belligerently traditional, ecstatically Caucasian cheer.”

It’s true that most of the stars in Hallmark’s Christmas movies have a fair complexion – but to say it’s a holiday white-out would be inaccurate.

Would Slate be just as indignant about the ethnic casting habits of BET or Univision or the LGBT-friendly Bravo television network?

“The Christmas-down-your-throat bombast, holly-jolly sexism, the characters’ zaniness and unyielding impulsiveness—it’s all very Trumpian behavior,” the Slate writer said.

I say better that than the run-of-the mill pornographic debauchery that normally spews out of Hollywood.

Fortunately, for the folks over at Slate there is a perfect solution to their television viewing dilemma – just change the channel.

As for me and my house, we’re going to put an extra log on the fire, pour a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy a very Hallmark Christmas.
Todd Starnes (@toddstarnes) is A Christian Conservative, the host of Fox News & Commentary and heard daily on 250+ radio stations and on his iTune podcasts.

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No Joking Matter

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: He thought he was just horsing around.

Using the popular app WeChat, a Chinese construction worker supervisor Chen Sho Uli made a gossipy joke about government officials while chatting in a chat group. But being too casual about what you say — and where — can be dangerous in China. For his sin Chen was incarcerated for several days.

Picking quarrels” is another no-no in the country.

In lieu of Orwell’s telescreen in every room, modern Internet technology enables repressive governments to punish citizens for thoughtcrime that becomes app-speech crime. If the Chinese government can spy on you, it will. And penalize you for remarks it deems offensive to the dignity of the state.

Because of such repression, blogger Stephen Green observes that “strong encryption is everybody’s friend — except the tyrant’s.”

Agreed. Encryption is an important line of defense.

But some societies require this more than others, because harmless, incidental communications are not equally attacked by government, from country to country. Which means that encryption is actually a second line of defense.

The first is a cultural and political tradition respecting individual rights.

For one thing, robust encryption helps only those who engage in hyper-careful private discourse, or hyper-careful anonymous public discourse. Encryption won’t help thinkers of controversial thoughts who wish to express those thoughts publicly and under their own name. Everywhere we can, then, we must strengthen both the technological and cultural defenses of open discourse — recognizing that the latter is the more crucial and fundamental.

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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FCC votes to Restore Internet Freedom

by Grover Norquist: Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission, under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai voted on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

Despite the death threats, the bomb threats, and the racist rants, Ajit Pai led the fight to end Obama’s bid to turn the Internet into a government regulated utility like an electric power plant. Ajit Pai and the Commission voted to restore independence and freedom to the Internet.

An open Internet worked well through the 80s and 90s and 2000s. Title II, the Obama power grab in 2015 was a very real threat to a free Internet has now been pushed into the dustbin of history.

It was not the FCC's place to give itself jurisdiction over the internet. That is a decision for Congress.

Grover Norquist shared additional comments in the Washington Examiner - As the Federal Communications Commission approached a vote on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order at its December open meeting, the Left got frantic, claiming it would bring about the end of the internet as we know it and even the end of democracy.

Reality check: The Title II regulations that are now being eliminated were imposed just two years ago. Before the imposition of Title II regulations, the internet was largely kept free of government regulation. What is being restored is precisely the open internet everyone says they want.

Those frantic calls from the Left look as foolish as Y2K mania.

The Obama FCC majority, taking orders from the White House, ignored decades of successfully keeping government away from overregulating the internet. The Obama FCC actually used a law designed to regulate public monopolies like taxi medallions and power plants to end the open internet consensus that goes back to the 1990s.

With the Restoring Internet Freedom vote, the FCC reclassified internet service providers as a Title I information service, not a Title II public utility. This will allow ISPs to try new business models – which they will have to be incredibly transparent about – that could better connect customers to the online services they want.

Now ISPs will have to answer to customers in the market and not to the whims of government bureaucrats. Opponents of restoring internet freedom are calling this a vote to create internet gatekeepers. Nonsense. By removing government regulation, it is less likely these sorts of gatekeepers will be able to exist. Business can create cartels in an industry only when the government enters with rules that limit the entry of new competitors and restricts consumer choice.

The average corporation exists for less than 20 years. As tech innovation creates new and better ways of doing business, companies become obsolete much faster.

This innovation is great for consumers, and is why our online networks have progressed so far in the 10 years since the invention of the smartphone. Changing course from this light touch framework to a utility-style regulatory system was not wise, but it was cheered at the time by existing internet companies for many of the same reasons some workers cheer occupational licensing and unions: They cut down on their competition.

Regulatory compliance – administrative oversight, employee training, etc. – hikes the cost of running the business. Excessive administrative costs divert resources away from the purpose of these businesses: to provide services to paying customers. This makes it tougher for these companies to stay afloat, especially new entrants to the market, because new entrants have higher initial fixed costs from the extra administrative hoops that their established competitors do not have to jump through.

Higher fixed costs mean fewer companies can even afford to dive into the market, which means continually diminishing competition for firms already in the market. Then, if the company is fortunate enough to survive, they have less capital with which to take creative risks.

Most new business ventures are not successful. Eliminating new companies by lobbying government to artificially raise the cost of doing business through regulation is a cheaper and safer business plan for established firms than actually continuing to take risks in the market, but the stagnation excessive regulation creates undermines the long-term health of the market in the process.

Less competition is not what brought the internet to its current state, and in order for future advancements to be just as life-changing as those in the past, continued deregulation will be needed. Despite the gnashing of teeth on the Left, there are still suitable government oversight regulations in place to stop anti-competitive business practices. But rather than preemptively throttling the growth the industry, the FCC and Federal Trade Commission are instead policing specific harms that arise in the market.

Fearmongering about anti-competitive behavior by ISPs after this vote is wrong because the greater fear should be for anti-competitive behavior that is government-backed. Government legitimizing one business model and regulating other models out of existence is the actual way the dystopian horror stories being peddled by the Left come to be.

The freedom of businesses to be dynamic in order to better meet consumer needs in the market makes old companies’ business models obsolete. That’s why when it comes to gatekeepers, your real fear should be of government power creating monopolies that can only exist backed by government power.
Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) is president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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5 Myths About Tax Reform, and Why They’re Wrong

by Adam Michel & Rachel Greszler: Next week, the House and Senate will take their final votes on tax reform. The president’s goal is to sign the legislation into law before Christmas.

Although there are still some unknown details, the important parts of the bill for most Americans are already known and would greatly improve our current, woefully out-of-date tax code.

The bottom line is that taxpayers across America can expect a tax cut. The bill would lower tax rates for individuals and businesses, double the standard deduction, and significantly increase the child tax credit.

The bill is also pro-growth and pro-American worker. The economy could grow to be almost 3 percent larger at the end of 10 years. That translates to more than $4,000 dollars per household, per year. American families could finally get a real raise.

Americans deserve to know the truth about the proposed tax reform packages. There are several myths going around about what the proposed plan would do.

Here are a few of them, and why they’re wrong.

Myth 1: This is just a tax cut for the rich, and it will actually raise taxes for everyone else.
The truth is in fact the opposite. The Senate tax bill increases the amount of taxes paid by the rich and, according to the liberal Tax Policy Center, 93 percent of taxpayers would see a tax cut or no change in 2019. It found similar results for the House bill.

Both tax bills would actually increase the progressivity of the U.S. tax code. That means fewer people at the bottom will pay income taxes, and people at the top will see their share of taxes paid increase.

The Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards notes that the Senate tax bill cuts income taxes for people making $40,000 to $75,000 a year by about 37 percent. People making over $1 million see a cut of only 6 percent.

In two recent Daily Signal pieces, we calculated how 12 different taxpayers would fare under each of the tax plans. The results show that almost everyone will see a tax cut, and only the wealthiest families are at risk of their taxes going up.

Under the current tax code, the top 10 percent of income earners earn about 45 percent of all income and pay 70 percent of all federal income taxes. The U.S. tax code is already highly progressive, and these tax reforms will only increase the trend of the wealthy paying more than their share of income earned.

Myth 2: Repealing the individual mandate will raise taxes on the poor, raise insurance premiums, and kill 10,000 people a year.
Only in Washington can removing a tax penalty be considered a tax increase.

Tax reform will likely repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, which imposes a tax penalty anywhere from $695 to upward of $10,000 for not purchasing the type of health insurance mandated by the federal government.

Depending on income and available health insurance options, the federally mandated health insurance comes with subsidies paid to the insurance company that can range from no more than a few dollars to over $12,000 a year per individual, and upward of $20,000 per year for families.

Repealing the mandate would not force anyone to give up their coverage or forego their current tax credits. It would just make the Obamacare insurance optional, and thus increase health care choices.

Eliminating the Obamacare individual mandate will not reduce any taxpayer’s income by a single cent. It will, however, reduce the tax bills of many individuals and families—based on their own choices—by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

The individual mandate with its penalties is also not the “glue” that holds Obamacare together, as some have claimed. It never was.

“The lifeblood of the law is the generous taxpayer insurance subsidies, which attract and maintain the historically sluggish enrollment,” explains senior Heritage Foundation senior fellow Robert Moffit. Repealing the mandate will not precipitate doomsday for insurance premiums.

While it is extremely difficult to predict how insurance premiums would change without the individual mandate penalty, we do know that eliminating the penalty will prevent low- and middle-income individuals and families from having to subsidize the high medical costs of others.

One particularly outrageous claim is that due to people voluntarily choosing alternative health care solutions, 10,000 people will die each year because the government is no longer forcing Americans to buy health insurance.

Two economists reviewed these claims and found the exact opposite. They found that there is “poor evidence linking insurance coverage to mortality” and that “the mandate may in fact be elevating death rates in some populations.”

When you factor in the economic growth and higher wages from tax reform, the tax bill could actually save lives.

Myth 3: Corporations and their rich owners will receive a huge windfall.
Politicians who don’t want tax reform claim that cutting taxes for business will only help the rich.

Despite the name—“corporate” tax reform—the burden of the corporate income tax falls almost entirely on workers in the form of lower wages. Americans are undoubtedly skeptical about this claim, but the realities on the ground are actually quite simple.

When business taxes go down, workers’ wages go up.

That’s not just the result of corporate benevolence. Rather, wages rise because higher profits translate to additional investments that make workers more productive, and businesses that don’t pay workers what they are worth will lose them to competitors who do.

American corporations pay a federal income tax rate of 35 percent—one of the highest in the world. If tax reform can lower that rate to 21 percent, American businesses and the workers they employ will be globally competitive again. Businesses will invest more, hire more workers, and be forced by the laws of supply and demand to raise wages.

This is exactly what happened over the past decade and a half in neighboring Canada. In 2007, Canada began lowering its corporate tax rate. And guess what? Wages grew significantly faster in Canada than other comparable countries.

Most economic researchers agree. A recent review of 10 separate studies published between 2007 and 2015 concluded that when governments cut corporate taxes, workers receive almost all of the benefit through higher wages.

Myth 4: Tax reform will be bad for seniors.
Retirees may be the most concerned about what tax reform will mean for them, as most rely on relatively fixed incomes.

But, the proposed reforms are 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.

Myth 5: Tax reform won’t grow the economy, it will only add to the debt.
Congress rightly allowed the tax reform bill to decrease revenues over 10 years by $1.5 trillion—about 3.5 percent of projected revenue. But such “static” budget scores provide zero useful information about how the reform will actually affect the deficit.

Properly designed tax reform will lead to a larger economy and higher wages. Each of these economic benefits can result in more tax revenue.

A recent Heritage Foundation analysis shows that the Senate tax reform bill could boost the size of the U.S. economy by almost 3 percent over the long run.

Other estimates are even more optimistic. Nine leading economists recently described how the economy could see a boost of up to 4 percent due to tax reform. The President’s Council of Economic Advisers believes the economy could grow between 3 and 5 percent, a range that was independently verified by three economists from Boston University.

Tax reform that grows the economy could result in more than $130 billion of new federal revenue in every year outside the current budget window. And that’s using the most conservative of the estimates above.

More optimistic estimates would bring in well north of $200 billion, making up most—if not all—of the static tax cut once the economy reaches its new larger potential.

Congress’ spending addiction shouldn’t stop tax reform, but the tax cuts will be short lived if Congress continues to increase spending every year.

The fact remains that our deficit cannot be eliminated with tax increases. Believing it can denies the fundamental problem: The deficit is driven by out-of-control spending. Spending is where congressional deficit hawks should turn their attention.

It is true that the proposed tax reform packages would mean big changes for individuals, families, and businesses across the United States. Overwhelmingly, however, these changes would be resoundingly positive.

Lower-and middle-income families would receive the largest tax cuts, and they would be the primary beneficiaries of business tax reforms that would generate higher wages and more job opportunities across America.
Adam Michel (@adamnmichel) focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Rachel Greszler is a senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation and shared article on The Daily Signal.

Tags: Adam Michel, Rachel Greszler, The Daily Signal, 5 Myths, About Tax Reform, Why They’re Wrong 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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