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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Protecting Our Children: A Practical Proposal

by Newt Gingrich: This week’s tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is a deeply painful reminder of how much we have failed to honestly confront the problem of school shootings in America.

Putting up “Gun-Free Zone” signs is not a solution. It is an act of self-deception. By definition, the determined killers carry their guns past the signs. They are not slowed down for one second by community sentiment.

The current strategies of responding to a violent threat by either freezing students in place or accelerating student evacuation both carry seeds of disaster. Freezing the students in place simply sets them up to be killed methodically by a brutal, evil, or mentally ill person. Having them flee may lead them to run right into the path of the killer.

In Day of Wrath, a novel by Bill Forstchen, there is a vivid description of how dangerous our current school policies are in setting up the innocent to be killed. In this stunning depiction of a methodical radical Islamist assault targeting American schools, the moral and intellectual dead-end of the current policies is made clear.

America is not going to become gun-free. Firearm specific bans, such as bans on semi-automatic rifles, won’t have an impact because the majority of mass shootings in the United States are committed with semi-automatic handguns. In fact, the deadliest school shooting in our history, in April 2007 at Virginia Tech, was committed with handguns. Therefore, the danger of evil, insane, or politically-religiously motivated people killing the innocent will remain.

Mental health-focused “solutions” are incompatible with civil liberties. America is not going to adopt laws to apprehend or restrict every person who might become dangerous. That would trap hundreds or even thousands of innocent people to try to stop the few truly deranged, dangerous people. Each killer’s threat is much more obvious after the killings.

After each wave of killings, we wring our hands, say strong words and do little.

The fact is, evil people with guns must be stopped by good people with guns.

Furthermore, the faster good people can respond, the fewer innocent people will be killed.

Every school in America should have several teachers and administrators trained in firearms who are permitted to carry concealed weapons. The number of these “protectors of the innocent” in each school should be determined by the number of students. Agreeing to serve in this role might be encouraged with an appropriate monthly stipend. After all, in Georgia, teachers who agree to serve as coaches are paid stipends ranging from $150 to as much as $400 (and sometimes more for large football programs). Surely, we can afford to provide this type of incentive to people who want to help protect our children.

Because these protectors would have concealed weapons and not be in uniform, would-be killers would have no idea who might be capable of ending their threat by ending them.

This idea is the same principle behind the Federal Air Marshal Service, which was rapidly expanded after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. We don’t rely on gun-free zone propaganda to protect our airports and airplanes; we rely on countervailing force. Furthermore, because air marshals are unidentifiable (they wear plain clothes and their weapons are concealed), would-be terrorists don’t have a target to attack first.

If we are really serious about protecting our children, we must have trained and equipped protectors prepared to handle this type of situation whenever there are school activities. The Parkland school had an armed officer assigned to the campus, but the officer never encountered the shooter and was not able to respond in time. Dramatically increasing the presence of uniformed, visibly-armed security guards, however, might create an environment ill-suited for learning.

Instead, teachers and administrators serving as protectors could complement and support the dedicated officer or security personnel who are already serving in many schools. This combination of using uniformed police officers to handle standard school security challenges, while also having responsible adult protectors who are already going to be working in the school prepared to provide additional force in the case of a catastrophic emergency, like a mass shooting, is the most effective and practical way to protect our children.
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Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, Protecting Our Children, Practical Proposal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

How The Dow Went From 814 to 26,000 . . .

. . . And How Jeff Bell's Populist Postulate Could Top That
Jeff Bell (1943-2018)

by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Have you checked your stock portfolio lately? You’re probably checking it hourly, watching the Dow climb, since November 1, 2016, from a bit over 19,000 up to 26,616, then, recently, roller-coastering around the 24,000 range.

A thousand-point drop in a day, which we’ve experienced recently, sure is dramatic. It is also, assuredly, distressing to those who have not parked their assets in cash. But, hey, let’s add some context.

On November 13, 1979, the day Ronald Reagan declared his candidacy for the presidency, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 814.

814. Eight hundred fourteen.

Three digits. Not five digits.

There was, way back when, if memory serves, a whimsical “Pepper and Salt” cartoon in the Wall Street Journal captioned along the lines of 'the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to zero today, then recovered, closing unchanged.’

Wry! Yet, in fact, a 1000-point drop, back then, would have reduced the DJIA well below, well, the “zero bound,” were such a thing not mathematically impossible.

The transformation in the world economy over the past 40 years is not limited to the stock markets. It’s the real economy, stupid! As I wrote in 2010 in a column entitled The $100 trillion man about meeting leading supply-side economist Robert Mundell:
It was an honor to meet the man who (along with Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and a few others) created the policies that created $100- trillion-plus of world wealth.

Yes, that is “trillion,” with a t.

Mundell, Kemp, Art Laffer, Jeffrey Bell … and a few others were the fountainhead of “low tax rates, stable money, and free trade” as the foundation for prosperity. Few now remember how ridiculed (“Voodoo economics,” is what candidate George H.W. Bush called it while running against Reagan in the 1980 Republican presidential primaries) was this prescription.

When Reagan campaigned against Carter, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was well below 900. Applying what Jude Wanniski ... called “the Mundell-Laffer Hypothesis,” America rode the wave to a Dow now still well over 10,000.

… According to the World Bank, the world’s GDP in 1980 was around $11 trillion. Today it is around $60 trillion. The added $50 trillion-per-year capitalizes to over $100 trillion in new wealth… even when adjusted for inflation.
Nearly a decade after publishing that column the Dow is over 20,000 and world GDP is now almost $76 trillion, per the World Bank Group. Mind boggling, isn't it?

The near-7X increase (admittedly not adjusted for inflation or population, but take the point) in world GDP -- and the nominal increase in the Dow of something like 30X -- did not happen by accident. It was the result of a heroic, against-the-odds achievement by a small band of Equitable Prosperity Warriors.

Captained by Rep. Jack Kemp, these became known as the Supply Side.

Last Saturday, an important member of this warrior band, Jeffrey Bell, joined Kemp, Wanniski, and Bob Novak in Paradiso. So, let’s take this moment to celebrate their contribution to the epic achievement of largely replacing world poverty with world prosperity ... and to imagine the Golden Age of peace and prosperity that it might portend.

A phalanx of professional economists today will tell you that, and why, the world is consigned to economic stagnation forever. They call it “the new normal.” This claim is less persuasive, and far less intimidating, to those of us who had the first-hand experience, back in the 1970s, of facing a phalanx of professional economists confident that the economy just could not possibly grow at the rates propounded by the Supply Siders.

The Supply Siders? Who were those Masked Men who left these silver bullets? Jack Kemp, Jeff Bell, Robert Mundell, Arthur Laffer, Robert Bartley, Steve Forbes, Lewis E. Lehrman, Dave Hoppe, John Mueller, Jude Wanniski, George Gilder, Larry Kudlow, Warren Brookes, Bob Novak, Alan Reynolds, Charles Kadlec, Frank Cannon, Steve Moore and a handful of others including, in a very junior capacity, just the little drummer boy in The Spirit of ’76, me, the founder of the Prosperity Caucus. (I later had intermittent professional relationships with Lehrman, Bell, Mueller, Cannon, Moore, and the Jack Kemp Foundation.)

The conventional wisdom – then as now -- ruled out the possibility of sustained real 4% economic growth. Until, of course, with the “riverboat gamble” of the Kemp-Roth tax rate cut phased in, and, courtesy of Paul Volcker, the integrity of the dollar as a unit of account was restored, sizzling equitable prosperity ensued. Just as the Supply Side predicted.

Jeff Bell ran for the United States Senate in 1978 on a supply-side platform. This turned out to be a very big deal. He knocked off the presumed-unbeatable Republican incumbent Clifford Case in the primary. His doing so took supply-side economics out of the realm of theory where it had previously floated, as if in a parallel universe, on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

Suddenly, supply-side economics was seen as politically viable. It went, as if overnight, from a ridiculous heresy to conservative doctrine and was adopted, most significantly, by presidential aspirant Ronald Reagan. Reagan campaigned on it and, when elected, implemented it. The rest is history.

Bell’s Senate race was instrumental in making that happen. Otherwise, we might still be looking up for Dow 1000.

But wait. There’s more.

The supply-side economic formula – low marginal tax rates coupled with high integrity money (optimally the classical gold standard, then and still supply-side orthodoxy) along with free trade has never been particularly well understood by the political elites. The conventional elite policy makers and academics trend toward conflating tax cuts with tax rate cuts. They trend confused on monetary policy, preferring the academically respectable and well-intended, but ultimately misguided, monetarism.

Nevertheless, whenever the supply-side policy mix is tried it works, as elegantly demonstrated by Larry Kudlow and Brian Domitrovic’s JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity. Looks like it is working again. That said, good monetary policy has been ad hoc and its sustainability is by no means a given. To shiver your timbers, check out Prof. Domitrovic's recent Forbes.com piece on the importance of the Dollar-Euro exchange rate ... highlighting certain ominous implications.

So much for history. As Peggy Noonan cleverly noted science has proven that the fastest drying substance in the Universe is tears of gratitude. So, let’s put Bell’s instrumental role in generating all that prosperity aside.

Bell has not one but two claims to fame. His economic policy legacy, supply-side economics, has been, at least somewhat, assimilated. His political legacy has yet to peak. If it does it may end up making you much richer than before.

Jeff Bell’s political legacy is that of the definer of modern populism: Bell's Populist Postulate.

Put another dime in the juke box, baby.

In 1992, Bell wrote a book entitled Populism and Elitism: politics in the age of equality. This book, which the iconic political journalist Fred Barnes termed the most important political book of its year, redefined populism. As Bell opened his interview with Brian Lamb, the host of Booknotes:
Populism I see as optimism about people’s competence to handle their own affairs. Elitism as optimism about an elite’s ability to handle the affairs of the people, always in comparison. In other words, you might not be that optimistic about the people at a given time, but you’d be more optimistic if you were a populist than you would be about the elite’s ability to handle their problems for them. … I think the end of ruling monarchy in World War I was a greatly underrated event in its importance. I think in 1918, 1920, around that time, when the last big ruling monarchies vanished from the face of the globe – Turkey, Austria, Germany, Russia, all those monarchies disappeared at once – the world was plunged fully into the age that de Tocqueville foresaw a century earlier, and we started working out the implications of what politically equality – that nobody owns anybody else in a country – was really all about.Bell’s book propelled a national debate. In important ways, he anticipated politically important movements like the Tea Party. That said, the Tea Party – of which I was a member – and Occupy Wall Street, of which I was a sympathizer, even more so -- projected a grotesque caricature of Bell’s shrewd insight. Both proto-movements ended up defeating themselves by focusing their rhetorical fire on elites rather than on elitism. Big mistake.

Bell forthrightly observed, in Populism and Elitism, that a healthy society generates lots of elites. That’s a sign of success and a desirable thing. Equality implies equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcomes. A Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution designed to punish the successful is mere demagoguery masquerading as populism.

Bell was unashamedly elite, and deservedly so. He, rather, was a genial but trenchant critic of elitism -- the attitude that the elites would be better capable of managing our lives for us than we ourselves are. Many failed to recognize the distinction Bell made between being anti-elitist and anti-elite. It’s a crucial one. And in passing let it not pass unnoticed that elitism is the poison pill at the core of fascism, communism, socialism (democratic or otherwise), most progressivism, and much snobbish Country Club Republicanism.

Why does this matter and why do I suggest that Bell’s political legacy might prove more significant – and more valuable – than his stellar economic legacy? Two words:

President Trump.

Let me stipulate to President Trump’s propensity to venture into galootish and sometimes even overbearing conduct. It’s a propensity which I, another kid from Queens, share with him. We share it with Archie Bunker, Doug Heffernan, and Arthur Spooner. Departing from the theatrical, we share this propensity with Andrew Cuomo, Fran Drescher, Art Garfunkel, Cyndi Lauper, and Howard Stern. Still, to know us is to love us! (Cyndi? Call me?)

Against that galootishness, we must weigh the fact that Trump comes the closest to exemplifying the quality of Bell’s Populist Postulate -- Optimistic Populism -- optimism about people’s competence to handle their own affairs -- of any of his rivals in the Republican presidential primary and the 2016 general election.

Optimistic Populist? Let’s get funky and coin a word for it:

Opulist.

Jeff Bell first coined the taxonomic category of Optimistic Populist. Thus, he might well be considered the Aladdin that unleashed this djinn of President Trump from the Reality TV lamp. If Bell was not quite the causative agent in conjuring President Trump he was, at minimum, its Prophet.

Politicians do not learn from words. As Jeff Bell himself demonstrated with his epic 1978 primary victory, politicians learn by example. Whether or not you consider Donald Trump worthy of the presidency there is no question that Trump is fully an Opulist. Trump’s adversaries, of both parties, will impugn him for real violations of etiquette or with unhinged allegations of Russian collusion or for support from a microscopic Alt-Right.

These only strengthen the case that Trump's victory was rooted, above all else, in the Opulism which Jeff Bell originally invented or discovered.

So, I contend that Bell’s most important contribution to the political discourse is his discovery, Bell's Populist Postulate: successful political campaigns revolve around optimistic populism. This discovery makes Bell the Copernicus of our upcoming Opulist political era.

The election of Donald Trump – who Bell enthusiastically supported and on whose transition team he served – is both a portent of Bell’s prophecy and an instrument in shifting the American political discourse in a decisively Opulistic direction.

Moreover policy derives from political axioms. Irrespective of an administration's policy rigor, or lack thereof, if Bell’s Populist Postulate – that people are more competent to manage their own affairs – is true then federal policies under whoever holds this truth to be self-evident tend to produce political outcomes more beneficial than the elitist alternatives.

I had the privilege of being with Jeff Bell at a baby shower for incoming Baby Boy Schweppe just a few hours before Jeff was beamed up to Paradiso. Jeff was an unapologetic political junky to the very end and in fine spirits. We discussed what he saw to be Steve Lonegan’s excellent electoral prospects for election to Congress in NJ 6; he complained about how the GOP Establishment had allowed itself to get intimidated out of fielding a potent Congressional contender in the eminently winnable NJ 2; and warmly praised Rich Pezzullo, a candidate for US Senate from New Jersey (who Bell had defeated for the nomination in 2014) for Pezzullo's depth of character, intelligence, and personal grace.

As I was preparing to depart, Jeff -- famous for his impish humor -- came over to tease me good-naturedly about my winter jacket, emblazoned with the word HYPNOSIS. I reminded Jeff of my avocation and that I am recognized as one of the preeminent nonclinical hypnotists in the world by that profession's oldest, largest, and most respected professional association, the National Guild of Hypnotists.

Adopting my best Svengali voice I told him to gaze deeply into my eyes. This he refused to do, declaring how my status as a hypnotist “explained a lot.”

I waved my hands gently before Jeff's eyes and winked at him as we parted ways.

Let me tip my professional hat to Jeff Bell for his own virtuosic powers of suggestion. Benjamin Franklin, as a member of a French Royal Commission scientifically investigating Mesmerism participated in the report stating that "the practice of all magnetism [hypnosis] consists of increasing the imagination by degrees...." Napoleon himself once observed, "Yes, imagination rules the world. The defect of our modern institutions is that they do not speak to the imagination. By that alone can man be governed; without it he is but a brute." The Supply Side imagination, very much including that of Jeff Bell, confronted and defeated the failure of imagination that was the underlying cause of the stagnation of that era.

As it turned out, Jeff and I were parting for the last time.
Farewell, Jeff L. Bell.

I can't believe your song is gone so soon....
But only physically. Politically and spiritually we remain forever connected by a commitment to equitable prosperity, the conviction that the classical gold standard is essential to bringing that about, and to traditional values as the fountainhead of happiness. We, especially, forever are conjoined inside the rising political category of Optimistic Populism.

Discover Bell’s Populist Postulate: optimism about people’s competence to handle their own affairs.
-----------------
Ralph Benko is an advisor to nonprofit and advocacy organizations, is a member of the Conservative Action Project, a 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.

Tags: Ralph Benko, Dow. From 814 to 26,000, Jeff Bell  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Who You Gonna Call? . . .

. . . The FBI should be paying more attention to stopping school shootings than they are on the Russia/Trump Collusion investigation.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Who You Gonna Call, FBI, should be, paying more attention, ,stopping school shootings, Russia/Trump Collusion investigation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Russians Indicted, Democrats Fail Dreamers, Heroes & Leaders, FBI Fails Again

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: BREAKING NEWS: Russians Indicted - Special Counsel Robert Mueller today indicted 16 Russian individuals and entities for meddling in the 2016 elections.

According to various reports, the conspiracy began in 2014. The indictment states that the Russians posed as Americans from U.S. grassroots groups and had some contact with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign."

During a press conference, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the Russians were simply promoting discord. In one case, they sponsored events on the same day that supported Trump AND opposed Trump.

Rosenstein added that there is "No allegation in the indictment that any American knowingly participated in the conspiracy" or that it impacted the result of the election.

Everything I heard from Rosenstein and everything I have read so far appears to completely exonerate President Trump from the left's absurd allegations of collusion with the Russians.

Democrats Fail "Dreamers" - After shutting down the government and demanding a fair deal for the so-called "Dreamers," Senate Democrats got their chance this week. And they botched it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised an open debate this week, but for days Democrats repeatedly objected to holding any votes, even though nearly 100 ideas could have been considered.

In the end, it came down to just four bills on various proposals, but none received the necessary 60 votes needed to pass.

Of course, the left and its media allies are trying to make it sound as if this is the Republicans' fault, and just more evidence that the GOP can't get anything done.

But it was the Democrats who demanded this debate. They insisted that protecting the "Dreamers" was their biggest priority -- so much so that they shut down the government to demonstrate their commitment to illegal immigrants.

Let's be clear about this: President Trump offered a very generous deal -- a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young illegal immigrants (which some Senate conservatives and I opposed), even though only 800,000 were part of Obama's DACA program.

The president also rightly insisted that we address fundamental problems at the same time.

He wanted border security measures to end illegal immigration and these idiotic amnesty debates. He also demanded commonsense reforms to our legal immigration system to address security concerns in an age of global terrorism and rapidly changing economic conditions.

The president's immigration policies have overwhelming public support. A recent Harvard poll found that Americans supported Trump's approach by a margin of 65% to 35%.

But Democrats sided with the 35%. They would rather see the "Dreamers" face deportation than compromise on their radical open borders agenda.

Heroes & Leaders - The deranged, evil acts of one individual Wednesday shocked the nation and took the lives of 17 innocent people. But there were also acts of kindness, heroism and self-sacrifice that saved an untold number of lives.

Football coach Aaron Feis died shielding students from gun fire. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters yesterday:

"I knew Aaron personally. . . I don't know when Aaron's funeral is, I don't know how many adults will go, but you'll get 2,000 kids there. The kids in this community loved him. They adored him. He was one of the greatest people I knew. He was a phenomenal man."

Student David Hogg said he and other students were running down a hallway toward the shooter when a janitor stopped them and turned them around. "Thank God he was there yesterday," Hogg said.

Colton Haab and Zackary Walls are members of the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Their training served them well as they took on the role of being first responders before the real first responders could get to the scene.

When the chaos erupted, they essentially became leaders and defenders of 60 students. Haab and Walls found Kevlar curtains and erected a shield. They barricaded the door, and were prepared to fight back with anything they could get their hands on.

As the debate continues over what caused Nikolas Cruz to crack and how we should respond, we also should be asking what we can do to ensure that more of our children are like Colton Haab and Zackary Walls.

Fake News - Predictably, the left and its media allies immediately resorted to savaging the Second Amendment after Wednesday's shooting. Not only were they trotting out false talking points about "gun violence," but this time it was fake news with an agenda.

The media are trying to spread the lie that school shootings have gone through the roof since Donald Trump took office.

For example, if you were watching any mainstream media outlet in the past 48 hours, you could not escape hearing this "fact" repeated ad nauseam: "The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in South Florida is the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018."

18 in 2018 might have a nice ring to it, but it is false. According to the Washington Post, the statistic, from a far-left anti-Second Amendment group, includes seven shootings that occurred after school hours (meaning students were not present), one suicide (involving a 31 year-old man after school hours), and two accidental gun discharges with no injuries.

FBI Fails Again - One of the most disturbing questions emerging from the Florida shooting is why the FBI was unable to track down a disturbing social media post. In September, Ben Bennight contacted the FBI after reading the following message on his YouTube page: "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."

The post was signed "Nikolas Cruz." Agents quickly interviewed Mr. Bennight, but nothing else was done.

Today, we are learning that someone close to Cruz contacted authorities last month, concerned he might attack a school. The Bureau now concedes that "protocols were not followed." Once again, the FBI has dropped the ball on another "known wolf."

Perhaps the FBI should spend less time spying on perceived political enemies and get serious about targeting America's real enemies.
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Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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Were Red Flags Ignored In Parkland Shooting?

Nikolas Jacob Cruz
by Tom Knighton: For all the talk about gun control following something like the Parkland shooting, there’s also a lot of thinking about whether there was any way to know something like this would happen. Were there red flags that should have been noticed?

It seems that this time, there may well have been.

From Townhall:We don’t know his motives, but what we do know is that [the shooter], a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida ventured back onto campus and started shooting killing 17 people. At least a dozen more were wounded. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel described the scene as “catastrophic” and it’s been classified as a mass casualty event. [He] was taken into custody earlier this afternoon.

One student interviewed said, “everyone predicted this,” noting that the student body used to joke that [he] would be someone to attack the school.

“He knows the school layout; he knows where everyone would be at,” said the student.

Now, the Miami Herald is reporting that a teacher flagged [the shooter] as a potential threat, but this has yet to be confirmed:A teacher at the school told the Miami Herald that [the shooter], 19, had been identified as a potential threat to fellow students in the past. Gard says he believes the school administration had sent out an email warning teachers that the student had made threats against other in the past and that he should not be allowed on the campus with a backpack. Another student interviewed on the scene by Channel 7 said the student had guns at home.

“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” said math teacher Jim Gard, who said the former student suspected in the shootings had been in his class last year. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

A Broward schools spokesperson could not confirm any information about the shooter, and said Runcie [Robert Runcie, superintendent of Broward Schools] was currently meeting with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting began just before dismissal, after someone pulled the fire alarm. Students and teachers were puzzled because the school had already held a fire drill that day.
This is rather troubling, if accurate. The claim that such an email was sent out isn’t unique to the Miami Herald either, which lends credence to the claim.

In other words, officials knew this kid was a problem. They saw the red flags. They even tried doing something about it by warning teachers.

Yet it still happened.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how this needs to be handled. We know that more gun restrictions won’t cut it. We know that the school had at least one armed school resource officer on hand, though what role the officer played in this remains unclear. While I feel armed teachers and staff would have made a massive difference, that would still only work at responding to the threat after things have already kicked off.

This is a case where we need some kind of preventative efforts in place, but what?

Maybe that’s the debate we should be having, not the one about what new restrictions we can place on law-abiding gun owners.
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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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Lying About Gun Violence With Statistics . . .

. . . Fake numbers for fake news.
by Daniel Greenfield: Every time a Muslim terrorist shoots, stabs, bombs or runs over Americans, the default response is, “Let’s not jump to any conclusions”. That’s swiftly followed by media spin pieces claiming that the majority of terrorist attacks are really committed by white male Republicans and the Amish based on math so bad that even the world’s crookedest bookie wouldn’t go near it. And anyone who argues that the pattern of Islamic terror attacks is a call for common sense migration reform is regarded as a racist and a coward who wants to destroy the Constitution by blowing a handful of attacks out of proportion.

(And do you know how many people are hit by lightning or stung by killer bees every year.)

And whenever a suburban shooting happens, especially in a school, it becomes a clarion call to dismantle the 2nd Amendment. And that’s also backed by some of the world’s worst statistics.

The worst gun violence statistics trolls work for Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. Bloomberg had bought Gracie Mansion out of the pocket change in his sofa cushion. But buying the office of mayor of New York City was a lot easier than his plans to buy the White House. Everytown was supposed to be a match for the NRA. But while the NRA represents gun owners, Everytown represents a lefty billionaire. And Bloomberg’s gun control trolls spent years dressing in drag to hide that simple fact.

There was Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but the group quickly began falling apart. Some members had to leave when they were caught misusing guns. Like Mayor James Schiliro who was arrested for waving guns around and demanding sexual favors from a young man. Then there was Ma Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action. None of it worked. And Everytown for Gun Safety isn’t working either.

What does a fake group like Everytown do? It spreads fake statistics.

Everytown jumped on the Parkland, Florida school shooting to claim that there were “18 shootings at schools in the first 45 days of 2018.” If that sounds like a lot, you’re right.

But Everytown was being literally true, and false in every other way. There were 18 shootings at schools: counting suicides, accidental firearms discharges and shootings in the general vicinity of a school even when the building is completely empty. In around half of the shootings, no one was injured.

But the media initially fell for the Everytown hoax because it fit the narrative.

Mass shootings haven’t actually increased. But the perception of them has. Criminologist James Alan Fox has repeatedly demonstrated that >the hard numbers aren’t going anywhere. But real statistics are boring. And so fake statistics, whether from Everytown, Vox or Mother Jones, have proliferated instead.

Fake statistics like Everytown’s 18 school shootings create a sense of urgency. Nothing manufactures a crisis like statistics showing that the problem is getting worse when what is actually getting worse is the media coverage. The media’s obsession with mass shootings not only creates the perception that they are getting worse, but it also inspires a special class of mass shooters to aim for a new high score.

Guns don’t cause mass shootings, but media coverage does.

“The copycat phenomenon is real,” Andre Simons, of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, asserted. Even Mother Jones noted the Columbine Effect in which the infamous school shootings inspired 74 others. One group of researchers found that up to 20 or 30 percent of attacks can be influenced by previous attacks. Statements and writings by mass shooters serve as anecdotal evidence that the copycat effect is real. The media’s obsession with mass shooters creates more of them.

There is statistical evidence that teenage suicides spread. That’s why the media doesn’t cover them. The exception is when that teenager brings a gun to school and opens fire. Mass shooters want publicity and the media wants to dismantle the right to private gun ownership. Don’t blame the NRA, blame NBC.

Guns don’t kill people, but sometimes cameras do. It would be foolish to treat the 1st Amendment the way that the media would like us to treat the 2nd Amendment. There is a constitutional right to media bias. Just as there is a right to own a rifle. And as long as madmen kill, the media will lie about them.

The bigger statistical hoax isn’t Everytown’s 18 school shootings. It’s the media’s unspoken equivalence of gun violence with mass shootings. Like serial killers, mass shooters are an aberration. Everytown’s hoax unintentionally reveals what gun violence really looks like. It isn’t Parkland: it’s suicides, accidental discharges and gang violence. Most gun violence isn’t the work of mass shooters, but gang members.

The suburban kid who goes to a school and opens fire will be on the news for weeks while the kid in the ghetto who shoots up a housing project in Chicago or St. Louis will never be more than a local crime story. But those local crime stories are what make Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis uniquely dangerous.

The firearm crime rate has been steadily falling. Even as the population has grown, the number of incidents and victims have dropped sharply. Gun control conspiracy theorists obsess over the 2004 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. But the number of firearms incidents has been higher before it expired and has often been lower since it expired. Gun bans have very little to do with violent crime.

Violent crime is carried out by criminals. Banning guns doesn’t stop people who already operate outside the law. The French authorities seize some 1,200 “assault rifles” every year. Meanwhile in the capital of the European Union, you can get a “military weapon” for $500 in half an hour.

The “If we were more like Europe” argument is elitist posturing by wannabe expats who have never visited the seedier and grimier parts of Sweden, France or the United Kingdom after sunset. Most gun violence in America and Europe isn’t committed by legal gun owners, but by known criminals.

The media loves crazed lone wolf shooters, but they’re the exception, not the rule.

Most shootings are carried out by gang members against other gang members. Innocent bystanders can and do get hit in these battles. But they’re wars between rival organizations and soldiers. Gun control won’t stop them from obtaining firearms or settling their scores in the streets of Chicago.

Chicago, like most of the country’s bloodiest war zones, has tough gun control laws. The parts of the country where a weekend wraps up with six shootings are usually not the places with high percentages of legal gun ownership where you can browse through a selection of rifles at the local mall.

The media’s greatest statistical trick is mixing everything together.

Gang members shooting each other by the dozen over a Chicago weekend are added to the pot. But the meatloaf that comes out has the face of the latest suburban school shooter. The huge suicide rate is tossed in to inflate gun violence statistics. And audiences are left with the impression that huge numbers of people are being shot in schools across the country. Just look at those 18 school shootings.

We don’t have a gun violence problem. Parts of Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis do. Parkland is an aberration. As was Sandy Hook. But the media would like to let Adam Lanza be the face of gun violence instead of the inner city kid from a permanent Dem district with a record longer than the Sears Tower.

The media wants to have a conversation about gun violence, good idea. We can start by asking why it’s more prevalent in Democrat areas, and why they would rather talk about the inanimate objects than the perpetrators pulling the trigger. We can ask Jimmy Kimmel how many guns his security detail carries and find out how willing Michael Bloomberg would be to walk through Baltimore without any armed guards.

But honest conversations aren’t on the table. Everytown is just doing its part to keep it dishonest.
--------------
Daniel Greenfield is Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a New York writer  focuses on Islamic terrorism and the radical left. David Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service

Tags: Lying About, Gun Violence, With Statistics, Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Mag To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

AFA Launches Petition Urging Walgreens to Reconsider Policies

Jerry Cox, Contributing Author: Recently we learned Walgreens has decided to follow in Target’s misguided footsteps by letting men enter the women’s restrooms in its stores.

Last week the American Family Association unveiled a petition urging Walgreens to reconsider. So far more than 84,300 people have signed it.

AFA writes,
Walgreens’ new policy welcomes men into women’s restrooms,

In a shocking policy announcement, Walgreens has now directed its stores to allow men full and unrestricted access to women’s restrooms in all of its 8,100 stores.

On Nov. 17, 2017, Walgreens distributed this memo stating, “All individuals have a right to use restroom facilities that correspond to the individual’s gender identity, regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth.”

The policy came as the result of being pressured by the ACLU of Southern California.

Since a similar public policy was announced by Target Stores, Inc. two years ago, dozens of women and children have been victimized by male predators inside Target stores.

Walgreens’ new policy could potentially result in female customers becoming victims of voyeurism, sexual assault and physical attack.

1. Sign our petition urging Walgreens to immediately reverse its dangerous policy that allows men unrestricted access into women’s restrooms.

2. To make your voice heard even more, please call Walgreens’ corporate office at 1-800-925-4733 and share your concerns.

3. If you are a Walgreens’ customer, let your local store manager hear from you. You can find the local store number here.
You can sign AFA’s petition here.
--------------
Jerry Cox is the founder and president of Family Council and the Education Alliance and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: IFA, launches petition, urging, Walgreens, reconsider, bathroom, policies, Jerry Cox, Family Council To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Presidential Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Parkland, Florida

February 15, 2018

Our Nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones in the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on February 14, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, February 19, 2018. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP

The White House

Tags: Presidential Proclamation, Honoring the Victims, Tragedy, Parkland, Florida To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Motives Behind the Massacre

by Patrick Buchanan: “Enough is enough!” “This can’t go on!” “This has to stop!”

These were among the comments that came through the blizzard of commentary after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. We have heard these words before.

Unfortunately, such atrocities are not going to stop. For the ingredients that produce such slaughters are present and abundant in American society.

And what can stop a man full of hate, who has ceased to care about his life and is willing to end it, from getting a weapon in a country of 300 million guns and killing as many as he can in a public place before the police arrive?

An act of “absolute pure evil,” said Gov. Rick Scott, of the atrocity that took 17 lives and left a dozen more wounded. And evil is the right word.

While this massacre may be a product of mental illness, it is surely a product of moral depravity. For this was premeditated and plotted, done in copycat style to the mass killings to which this country has become all too accustomed.

Nikolas Cruz thought this through. He knew it was Valentine’s Day. He brought his fully loaded AR-15 with extra magazines and smoke grenades to the school that had expelled him. He set off a fire alarm, knowing it would bring students rushing into crowded halls where they would be easy to kill. He then escaped by mixing in with fleeing students.

The first ingredient then was an icy indifference toward human life and a willingness to slaughter former fellow students to deliver payback for whatever it was Cruz believed had been done to him at Douglas High.

In his case, the conscience was dead, or was buried beneath hatred, rage or resentment at those succeeding where he had failed. He had been rejected, cast aside, expelled. This would be his revenge, and it would be something for Douglas High and the nation to see — and never forget.

Indeed, it seems a common denominator of the atrocities to which we have been witness in recent years is that the perpetrators are nobodies who wish to die as somebodies.

If a sense of grievance against those perceived to have injured them is the goad that drives misfits like Cruz to mass murder, the magnet that draws them to it is infamy. Infamy is their shortcut to immortality.

From the killings in Columbine to Dylann Roof’s murder of black parishioners at the Charleston Church, from the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando to the slaughter of first-graders in Newtown, to Las Vegas last October where Stephen Paddock, firing from an upper floor of the Mandalay Bay, shot dead 58 people and wounded hundreds at a country music festival — these atrocities enter the social and cultural history of the nation. And those who carry them out achieve a recognition few Americans ever know. Charles Whitman, shooting 47 people from that Texas tower in 1966, is the original model.

Evil has its own hierarchy of rewards. Perhaps the most famous man of the 20th century was Hitler, with Stalin and Mao among his leading rivals.

Some of these individuals who seek to “go out” this way take their own lives when the responders arrive, or they commit “suicide by cop” and end their lives in a shootout. Others, Cruz among them, prefer to star in court, so the world can see who they are. And the commentators and TV cameras will again give them what they crave: massive publicity.

And we can’t change this. As soon as the story broke, the cameras came running, and we watched another staging of the familiar drama — the patrol cars, cops in body armor, ambulances, students running in panic or walking in line, talking TV heads demanding to know why the cowards in Congress won’t vote to outlaw AR-15s.

Yet, among the reasons gun-owners prize the AR-15 is that, not only in movies and TV shows is it the hero’s — and the villain’s — weapon of choice, but in real life, these are the kinds of rifles carried by the America’s most-admired warriors.

They are the modern version of muskets over the fireplace.

Another factor helps to explain what happened Wednesday: We are a formerly Christian society in an advanced state of decomposition.

Nikolas Cruz was a product of broken families. He was adopted. Both adoptive parents had died. Where did he get his ideas of right and wrong, good and evil? Before the Death of God and repeal of the Ten Commandments, in those dark old days, the 1950s, atrocities common now were almost nonexistent.

One imagines Nikolas sitting alone, watching coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, and thinking, “Why not? What have I got to lose? If this life is so miserable and unlikely to get better, why not go out, spectacularly, like that? If I did, they would remember who I was and what I did for the rest of their lives.”

And, so, regrettably, we shall.
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Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

Tags: Patrick Buchanan, conservative, commentary, Motives, Behind the Massacre, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward County, Florida To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Doomsday Prepper . . .

. . . If the Russians are really coming where would Adam Schiff want to hide?
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Doomsday Prepper, Adam Schiff To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Social Fabric

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: There are just a few things that hold America together. One is our common interests and ideals. The other is our social fabric. But you have probably noticed that the social fabric has been fraying.

Ben Shapiro wrote about this after attending the recent Super Bowl. People were wildly cheering for their team but weren’t attacking other people who were cheering for the opposite team. It was a perfect example of a “great American cultural celebration.” Unfortunately, such experiences are becoming rarer and rarer.

He then goes on to share his own experience, which is typical of the younger generation. News, information, and entertainment in his life (and the lives of most millennials) are personalized. What young people watch on their computers and smartphones is tailored to their tastes and interests. That means we no longer have the same cultural ground anymore.

The Winter Olympics may be one more common experience. But soon the events will be over, and Americans will retreat into their private spaces once again. The social fabric will once again fray since we don’t spend much time with each other and don’t have very many common cultural experiences. And when we don’t know each other and don’t interact with each other, it is easy to dismiss one another.

Arthur Brooks (American Enterprise Institute) talks about a study about discrimination against Chinese-Americans from the 1930s that illustrates this point. The study followed a Chinese couple as they visited hotels and restaurants across the country. They were only denied service once. The researcher then sent questionnaires to the various establishments asking whether they would serve a Chinese couple. All but one said they would not. Brooks concludes that, “People are more hostile to others in the abstract than they are when they meet them in person.”

There’s a lesson here. More communal events and shared cultural experiences are ways to re-stitch the social fabric.
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Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

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

Killer Inlaudibilis

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: On the day that Alexander the Great was born, or so the ancients tell us, a man named Herostratus burned down one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

Why? Just for the infamy.

Which is why the Ephesians proscribed mention of the man’s name. That is called a damnatio.* Obviously, that damnatio didn’t stick, for we know his name now. How? Historian Theopompus recorded it for our . . . edification? Vilification?

I say we should follow Ephesian example and not mention by name the recent Florida school shooter/murderer of students. There should be a widespread damnatio in the press and blogosphere against the young man. Let’s not to give him his infamy, and not encourage copycats — nor in any way normalize his horrible act.

Is this a “solution” to the problem of school shootings? Probably not. But there may be none — at least nothing sure-fire.

Yes, a non-blundering FBI might’ve helped.** But virtue-signaling/grandstanding calls for unnamed gun control measures won’t. And treating “mental health” issues more “professionally,” particularly by easing up involuntary commitment law, is probably a recipe for putting away innocent and unpopular people.

Pre-crime” is itself criminal.

So, what to do? Maybe it is this: “Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them,” as Robert Myers advises. It is loneliness, he argues, that “causes these shooters to lash out. People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.”

But that’s not an after-the-fact solution.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* FYI, the arsonist’s status as an unspeakable person was called inlaudabilis.

** As if to fit an established pattern, the FBI failed to take seriously enough an early citizen-initiated alert regarding the young man who went on to commit the mass shooting. Prophecy is a tough biz; it is no doubt easier to connect the dots looking back after the fact.

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

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

Let’s Make Washington Work Like We Do

Kay Cole James
President, The Heritage Foundation
by Kay Coles James: Last week, Washington, D.C., reminded us it lives by a different set of rules.

That’s when Congress passed a spending bill that provided much-needed military funding—but also busted the budget caps that had previously held the line on federal spending.

The result? An estimated $1.5 trillion will be added to the national debt, which is already so large it endangers America’s future.

Now, if you or I spent beyond our means, we’d be in big trouble—fast. First would come the warning letters and calls from our creditors. Then our paychecks would be garnished. A rather lethal-looking gentleman would appear on our doorstep to repossess our car. And the bank would take our house.

But in Washington, none of those are going to happen. Because the debt it has just incurred will be shifted to us, our children, and our grandchildren.

In response, concerned Americans are calling for reform. As The Heritage Foundation tweeted last week, “Congress is bankrupting the country and robbing future generations of Americans to pay for it.” That’s why Heritage’s “Blueprint for Balance” offers detailed solutions that would reduce federal spending by more than $10 trillion over 10 years.

And yet, little may change unless Washington itself is changed.

You see, our government is run by rational men and women who have to operate in a very irrational environment. And their leaders, who are champions of fiscal responsibility, manage legislative bodies that are not conducive to it.

Here’s what I mean: Members of Congress want to please their voters so we’ll keep re-electing them. They know we’re worried about the government’s debt and the economic collapse it could cause, but every time they try to cut spending, they get an earful from angry folks back home.

So they’re stuck—do they cut spending and pay down the government’s debt even if it means losing their jobs? Or do they keep on spending, try to ignore the mounting fiscal crisis, and get re-elected? One look at the spinning U.S. Debt Clock is all that’s needed to see how they’re answering these questions.

With so much more red ink suddenly splashed on the federal government’s already staggering $20.6 trillion debt, the time for action is now.

That’s why I think we should make Washington work like the rest of us do.

Just imagine the impact of a very different dynamic: What if the total amount the federal government could spend in a given year was directly linked to how well our economy was doing?

If the government’s total budget (including all spending and special-interest tax loopholes) was limited to a fixed percentage of the nation’s wealth (defined as gross domestic product, or GDP), this is exactly the connection that would be forged.

Structured with economic fluctuations in mind, this model would allow for greater safety net spending during downturns while requiring cutbacks during economic booms. Meanwhile, the only way the government could spend more money is if the economy grew. And if the economy didn’t, the government would have to cut back on its spending.

That’s the way my family operates, and I bet it’s how yours does too. When our income goes up, our spending can too. And when our income shrinks, we have to make do with less. Millions of Americans live this way every day, but in Washington it’s unheard of.

Now, also imagine that if the government ever spent more than was allowed (except in cases of declared economic or military emergency), across-the-board cuts would be imposed—with one difference: instead of starting with cuts to the programs we as citizens use, the cuts would begin with the salaries of the president, the vice president, and every member of Congress.

That too is just how the rest of America lives, since who among us gets paid if they don’t get their job done? It would also achieve a lot of good. First, our elected representatives would face the same workplace pressures those of us with a job do now—perform or get no pay. Just as important, Washington would make economic growth job No. 1, if only to avoid the career-ending embarrassment of forced salary cuts.

In such an environment, priority action would be taken to grow the economy and enable businesses to create more jobs. Infrastructure repairs and energy dominance would move to the top of the list. So, too, would much-needed fixes to the problems keeping so many people from being able to work, like failing schools, stifling regulations, and anticompetitive licensure laws.

These procedural reforms may seem like a stretch, but think back to what I said a moment ago. Our representatives are very rational individuals who depend on their constituents’ support. So if Americans were to demand changes like these, they would happen.

It’s not too late to save the incredible promise that is America. But, first, we have to get our government to make economic growth, job creation, and an end to runaway debt its highest priorities. And making Washington work like we do seems a logical—and long-overdue—place to start.
-----------------
Kay Coles James (@KayColesJames) is president of The Heritage Foundation. James formerly served as director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and as Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources. She is also the founder and president of The Gloucester Institute.

Tags: Kay Coles James, president, The Heritage Foundation, Make Washington, Work Like We Do To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Anatomy of a Coup

by Ann Coulter: Every place you look in Robert Mueller's investigation, the same names keep popping up: FBI agent Peter Strzok and sleazy, foreign private eye -- or "British intelligence agent" -- Christopher Steele.

So it's rather important that they both are Trump-hating fanatics, and one was being paid by Trump's political opponent in a presidential campaign.

Steele is the author of the preposterous dossier that sparked the special counsel investigation, and Strzok is the FBI agent involved at every crucial turn of both the Trump and Hillary investigations.

As we found out from the House Intelligence memo, Steele told Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr that he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." (Ohr's wife worked for Fusion GPS, and, like Steele, was being paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.)

In the hands of Trump-obsessive Peter Strzok -- he of the estrogen-dripping texts to his Trump-hating FBI lawyer mistress -- the dossier was used to obtain a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against Trump's alleged "foreign policy adviser," Carter Page.

The FISA warrant against Page constitutes the last crumbling piece of the "Russia collusion" story.

Strzok was the person who instigated the Russia investigation against Trump back in July 2016. He was the lead agent on the investigation into whether Hillary, as secretary of state, sent classified information on her private email account. (Conclusion: She had -- but it wasn't any of the FBI's business!) He volunteered for the Mueller investigation and remained there, right up until his Trump-hating texts were discovered by the inspector general of the FBI. (He was also, one surmises, the authority for many of the media's lurid, anonymously sourced claims about how the investigation was proceeding.)

Most strangely, Strzok was the FBI agent who asked Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, about his phone call with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

There was nothing wrong with Flynn's conversation with Kislyak, but Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about it, based on a secretly recorded intercept of the phone call. The question remains: Why was any FBI agent even asking about a perfectly legitimate conversation? No one seems to know. But we do know the name of the FBI agent who asked: Peter Strzok.

Aside from Strzok's girl-power text to his mistress upon Hillary becoming the first female presidential nominee -- "About damn time!" -- his most embarrassing message to her was about the Russia investigation:

"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office (FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe) -- that there's no way (Trump) gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40 ..."

The media have tied themselves in knots trying to explain this text as meaning anything other than its obvious, natural meaning. To wit: "Although the worst is unlikely (Trump wins/you die before age 40), you still prepare by taking out 'insurance' (we take Trump down with the Russia investigation/your family gets a payout)."

I keep looking for a plausible alternative interpretation, but they're all absurd; e.g., The Washington Post points out that even with an insurance policy, YOU STILL DIE! (Yes, and even with the Russian investigation, TRUMP IS STILL PRESIDENT.) Everyone except American journalists understands that Strzok's "insurance" was their plan to tie Trump up with an endless investigation.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what they've done.

Contrary to every single person talking on MSNBC, the issue is not whether FBI agents are allowed to have political opinions. In a probe of the president, FBI agents shouldn't be dying to take him down for political reasons.

You want drug enforcement agents to be hungry to shut down drug cartels. You want organized crime prosecutors to be hungry to dismantle the mob. You want your maid to be hungry to clean your house. But the staff on a special counsel's open-ended investigation of the president aren't supposed to be hungry. They're supposed to be fair.

This is an investigation with no evidence of a crime, apart from politically motivated, anti-Trump investigators relying on a Hillary-funded dossier.

Also contrary to every single person talking on MSNBC, Steele's dossier is not like a neighbor who hates you telling the police you're cooking meth in your basement. The police still have to investigate, don't they?

First of all, if after 18 months of police work, the only evidence that you're cooking meth in your basement is STILL your neighbor's bald accusation, reasonable people will conclude that your neighbor is a liar. That's what the Steele dossier is. It was the only evidence of Trump's collusion with Russia 18 months ago, and it's the only evidence of Trump's collusion with Russia today.

Moreover, it's not just the informant who hates the target. The investigators do, too. This is more like a police officer calling the police on his wife, sending himself on the call, shooting her, then writing up the police report concluding it was a justified shooting.

When your entire investigation turns on a handful of people with corrupt motives, maybe it's time to call off the investigation.
-----------------
Ann Coulter is a conservative author of ten New York Times bestsellers, writes numerous columns and is a frequent guest on numerous radio and TV shows. Her web site is AnnCoulter.com. She is the author of twelve New York Times bestsellers including Adios America which she signed and gave to the ARRA News Service editor.

Tags: Ann Coulter, Anatomy of a Coup,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tax Reform: Good News For American Families

‘Tax Credit To Encourage Employers To Offer Workers Up To 12 Weeks Of Paid Family Leave’ Included In Landmark Tax Reform Bill

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[T]hanks to the tireless work of my colleague from Nebraska, Senator Fischer, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act encourages more employers to provide paid family leave. That's good news for the millions of American families that will welcome a child this year. My Democratic colleagues like to speak about the importance of paid leave. But not a single one of them voted with us. Every Democrat in the House and the Senate voted against the bill that included Sen. Fischer’s paid family leave incentives.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/15/2018)

SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NE): “I was very pleased to be able to get passed the nation’s first paid family leave proposal.”
(“Nebraska Senator Hopes New Law Will Encourage Employers To Offer Paid Family Leave,” GrayDC, 2/4/2018)

An Improved Nationwide Family Leave Policy

SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NE): “I’ve been working on the Strong Families Act, which is a voluntary paid family leave, for about four years, and we just got it included in the tax bill that was passed in December… So it is in law right now.” (“Deb Fischer Talks Implementation Of The Strong Families Act,” Fremont Tribune, 2/7/2018)
  • SEN. FISCHER (R-NE): “For four years in the Senate, I’ve been working on the plan to address this challenge that was included in our tax bill. My proposal aims to increase Americans’ access to paid family leave while remaining cognizant of the realities of running a business — especially a small one. This plan uses a tax credit to encourage employers to offer workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Using what I call the ‘carrot approach,’ the policy gives businesses an incentive to give employees more flexibility when they face family worries… Employers who take advantage of the program are entitled to a tax credit of up to 25 percent of wages replaced — a significant incentive. There are no government mandates or new federal programs...” (Sen. Fischer, Op-Ed, “The Senate Tax Bill Should Give Families The Paid Leave They Deserve,” The Washington Post, 12/6/2017)
Major Companies Which Have Announced Expanded Parental Leave Policies Include

WALMART: “…broadly, associates in the U.S. will share in tax savings through: … An expanded parental and maternity leave policy, providing full-time hourly associates in the U.S. with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried associates will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave.” (Walmart, Press Release, 1/11/2018)

CVS: “CVS Health today announced three major programs that will enable employees to share in the tax savings created by the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. … The company is also creating a new paid parental leave program. Effective April 1, 2018, full-time employees who welcome a new child into their home can take up to four weeks away from work at 100% of their pay to ensure the newest addition to their family gets off to a strong start in life.” (CVS Health, Press Release, 2/8/2018)

LOWE’S: “Due to tax reform… Effective May 1, Lowe's will also be expanding its benefits package for full-time workers to include paid maternity leave for 10 weeks, paid parental leave for two weeks, adoption assistance of up to $5,000, and faster eligibility for health benefits…” (“Lowe's To Give Some Employees Bonuses Of Up To $1,000 And Expand Benefits Due To Tax Reform,” CNBC, 2/1/2018)

SCHWAB: “…anticipating the tax law change and in response to the company’s strong financial performance and our employees’ unwavering commitment to clients, Schwab …expanded parental leave benefits for all Schwab employees…” (Schwab, Press Release, 1/25/2018)

STARBUCKS: “The world's largest coffee chain is adding perks for its employees in the wake of the U.S. tax cuts… Starbucks also announced Wednesday that it would add six weeks of paid parental leave for its hourly employees who become new dads, a benefit that had been offered only to new mothers and adoptive or foster parents.” (“Starbucks Expands Its Paid Sick Leave And Parental Leave After Tax Cuts…” The Washington Post, 1/24/2018)

Tags: Tax Reform, Good News, For American Families, Tax Credit, Paid Family Leave, Expanded Parental Leave 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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