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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, March 02, 2018

Still Saddled With the Politics of the Seventies

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: Not since James Monroe left the presidency in 1825, 48 years after he fought in the Battle of Princeton, has America had political leadership with careers running so far back in the past. Our current government leaders have political pedigrees going back to the 1970s.

Consider the Senate. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer was first elected to the New York Assembly in 1974. Republican leader Mitch McConnell was elected Jefferson County judge -- the county administrator for Louisville, Ky. -- in 1977.

Consider the House. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was elected Northern California Democratic Chairman in 1977. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer was elected to the Maryland Senate in 1966 and was elected state Senate president in 1975.

And what about California's leading Democrats? Senator Dianne Feinstein was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1970 and became mayor in 1978. Governor Jerry Brown was elected California secretary of state in 1970 and to his first term as governor in 1974.

Technically, President Trump is an exception, never having held public office until 2017. But his public career began in the 1970s, a terrible decade during which New York City's population fell by 823,000. That's when Trump refocused his father's business from the outer boroughs, whose white ethnics were fleeing into Manhattan, where low real estate prices, other people's money and political pull enabled him to flourish in anticipation of an eventual upturn.

When Trump developed his disdain for establishment liberal opinion and penchant for outrageous tabloid-style disparagement thereof he was left as the odd man out in the Reagan/Bush/Clinton high contentment years and a natural fit for post-2007 discontent.

Democrats with political roots in the 1970s have a different perspective. They have persevered in office even as political times changed. During the Reagan governorship and presidency, they pursued incremental leftward initiatives, like Henry Waxman's behind-the-scenes Medicaid expansion in the 1980s.

During the Obama presidency, they charged ahead. Even after Republican Scott Brown's special election, victory deprived Democrats of their Senate supermajority and Pelosi pushed for enactment of a necessarily flawed version of Obamacare. She was willing to sacrifice some of her majority to achieve an important policy goal.

In California these days, and nationally, these veteran Democrats have to fend off extremists in their own party. Jerry Brown has been resisting legislative Democrats' extravagant proposals like single payer healthcare. Pelosi has been cautioning Democratic candidates to stop talking about impeachment.

Nonetheless, the impeachment of former President Richard Nixon remains a central memory of these Democrats' formative political years. It has inclined them to believe that the "Russian collusion" issue will result in Trump's removal some time soon. And to hope that it would be followed by Democratic victories as decisive as those of 1974 and 1976.

Donald Trump's experiences give him a different perspective, one firmly anchored in New York City. For him, the 1970s were a time of increasing crime and disorder, of manipulation of rules and regulations by political insiders -- a time when modest-income white ethnics were disparaged and driven by the hundreds of thousands from the city.

In the 1990s, elite opinion was encapsulated when the editorial page of the New York Times relentlessly attacked Mayor Rudy Giuliani's crime-fighting policies and welfare reforms. Liberals dismissed them as fascist and authoritarian, heading toward Hitlerism. Trump, who could see that Giuliani cut violent crime and welfare dependency by more than half, naturally dismissed such criticism, as he does similar statements about his own actions and policies today.

The 1970s saw the emergence of what Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg calls the coalition of the ascendant -- blacks, Hispanics, feminists, gays, public employee union members. That coalition, much larger today, was enough to give presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a plurality of the popular vote in 2016.

The 1970s also saw the demotion of white working class and ethnic voters as what they had been since the 1930s, the central mainstays and honored heroes of the Democratic party. Increasingly, Democratic politicians scorn them as racist, sexist and deplorable. Trump identified with them and opposed establishment free trade and immigration policies that he thought were hurting them.

Those voters have largely disappeared from New York City and coastal California. But they were numerous enough in Florida, Pennsylvania, the Midwest and northern Maine to switch 100 electoral votes and elect Trump in 2016.

The result? We're still saddled with the politics and politicians of that slum of a decade, the 1970s.
-----------------
Michael Barone is a Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel and Townhall contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Tags: Michael Barone, editorial, Still Saddled With, Politics of the Seventies To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Mr. President, You Don’t Win Midterm Elections Without Keeping Your Political Base Intact

by Robert Romano: “To go to court would have taken a long time. So you could do exactly what you’re saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.”

That was President Donald Trump at the White House on Feb. 28, outlining a proposal to skip going to court when determining if an individual, deemed mentally ill in some other capacity, is denied access to firearms purchases.

Let’s leave aside the politics for a moment, which are perilous for the President’s party, the Republicans, in November.

For those left scratching their heads wondering who would deem a person, legally, mentally ill such that that person would then be added to the FBI’s federal gun database barring gun purchases, without due process and court involvement, you’re not the only one.

Not only does the Fifth Amendment state that no person can be denied liberty without due process of law, including all of the rights stipulated in the Bill of Rights, which includes the Second Amendment individual right to keep and bear arms, if a court is not to be the venue to adjudicate some form of mental incapacity, what other would there be?

Local police perhaps? Certainly there are sheriffs across the country responsible for blocking gun licenses on far more arbitrary grounds. But even there, they’d hardly be qualified to issue a mental health diagnosis.

Doctors, then? If medical records, particularly mental health records, were no longer legally confidential, and subjected to federal databases — which might not be secure — there would be a perverse incentive for those mentally ill to not seek treatment, for fear of being discriminated against, not only on gun purchases, but also professionally and personally if the information were to get out into the open. The doctors themselves might not wish to divulge the information to keep their patients’ confidence — and business.

The fact is, without a violent or felonious criminal background, a mere trip the psychiatrist’s office or even an anti-depressant prescription will most likely never be a disqualifying criterium for purchasing a firearm. In the case of Nikolas Cruz in Broward County, Florida, if he had been arrested and convicted all the times the cops were called on him, he might have been disqualified from firearms purchases under existing law and received necessary interventions that could have prevented his bloody rampage.

So, it is hard to see how practical the President’s proposal really is. Compelling doctors to furnish medical records of individuals who have not committed a crime to federal authorities is going to be a really tough sell, not just in Congress, but in the courts.

And then there’s the politics. Trump ran on a platform where he promised to protect law-abiding gun owners from just this sort of end-run around the Fifth Amendment and due process protections. He signed a law that repealed an Obama era regulation that did much the same for individuals with certain mental disorders who had collected disability and required assistance in applying for it.

Gun-owners were a significant part of the coalition that elected Trump in the first place. And in 2018, if they stay home — as they are most likely to do if anything resembling what he spoke of passes — Republicans run a significant risk of being politically devastated in the midterms. Why?

These proposals dispirit the President’s Republican base. They are a form of voter suppression. Midterms are already fraught with peril for presidents. Incumbent parties rarely win them. One thing’s for certain, though, you don’t win midterm elections by suppressing your own vote. Which is potentially what Trump is doing here.

Adding fuel to the fire, Trump has just signed a budget deal that significantly increases both defense and non-defense spending by $296 billion over the next two years. This could result in a $1 trillion deficit being reported when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, right in time for the midterm elections.

Fiscal conservatives, already disappointed with the $20 trillion deficit, have little to support with the debt once again exploding, with Republicans in charge. Again, all that is needed for Democrats to do extremely well in November is for their turnout to be up and Republican turnout to be depressed.

Then there is President Trump’s call to increase the federal gasoline tax from 18.4 cents a gallon to reportedly 43.4 cents a gallon, the largest gas tax increase in American history since 1983. This is said to almost completely offset the tax cuts for average Americans that just got enacted into law and come at a time when fuel prices are once again starting to rise.

Trump ran on tax cuts, and so supporters will rightly be disappointed and maybe even dismayed by this new development.

Finally, there is the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, which Trump is now embracing via legislation and is even willing to grant citizenship to not only the 800,000 who were part of the program, but another million who were eligible but did not participate. He spoke about it prominently in the State of the Union Address. Trump ran against DACA, and while he has supported such a deal in exchange for an end to chain migration, the visa lottery and building the wall, no such proposal has passed Congress.

Put together, this could be a recipe for electoral disaster in November. This could be a wave election.

To offset losses among conservatives in the coalition, Republicans will have to pick up votes elsewhere, but that will be difficult, since Democrats are already all fired up to vote in November after losing the House, Senate and White House in 2016. It is possible that less conservative Republicans will turn out to vote in exchange for conservatives who stay home, but to win Trump and the GOP Congress really need both to turn out. Or that by going to the left, somehow Republicans pick up Democrats. But that is far less likely.

Acrimonious losses politically in midterms also can portend badly for presidential reelections should they engender a significant primary challenge. By exposing his flank, President Trump could face a primary challenge from the right in 2020, weakening his chances of being reelected, and endangering the entire enterprise.

That is why Trump needs to reverse course. You don’t win midterms by ceding ground to the other side. Historically, you win them by getting the other side to cede ground to you.

That’s what Republicans did in 2002 when they picked up seats with Democrats supporting the Iraq War.

That’s how Franklin Roosevelt did it in 1934. Republicans voted for New Deal programs to “save” themselves — more Republicans voted for the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 than against — and were nearly brought to political extinction in 1934.

Presidents, few and far in between, who overcome the midterm jinx — where the White House incumbent party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections 89 percent of the time dating back a century, with losses averaging 35 seats, and tend to lose Senate seats about 71 percent of the time, with losses averaging about 6 seats — do so by making serious inroads and changing public opinion on an issue or issues, compelling the other side to cave. Trump, so far, appears to be doing the opposite. His approach has helped unify Democrats, and splinter Republicans.

Not all is doom and gloom, of course. The President’s tax cut plan is popular. And conservatives do have a lot to cheer in the areas of deregulation. Trump left the economy-killing Paris Climate accord. Trump got Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and other constitutionalists onto lower federal courts. More broadly, the President’s electoral coalition in the rust belt that supported his trade policies, Republican and Democrat alike, should be cheered by the scrapping of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the renegotiation of NAFTA. On balance, the President has a pretty conservative record in terms of the things he has actually done.

But that could change.

In other words, although there is cause for concern, it is not too late for Trump to flip the script on the midterms. But the way he will do that is by keeping his side united, and forcing the other side to move in his direction. With the House, Senate and White House, he has the advantage to set the agenda in Congress. He needs to do that this year.

Considering the longer odds against picking up seats in the midterms, he could benefit by being more aggressive to get more conservative policy wins out of Congress. The upcoming omnibus spending bill could provide such an opportunity to achieve major policy objectives like the southern border wall he ran on. Force the other side to defund Planned Parenthood. Make them take a tough vote on trade policy. Stuff like that.

In the meantime, the President needs to assure his supporters concerned about his stances on guns and immigration that he is not capitulating. At the end of the day, they will remember what he did more so than what he has said. But once he has a record and signs bills into law, those are set in stone.

To succeed this year and moving forward, President Trump needs to keep his political base intact — and add to it. Trump needs to persuade the American people that his side is right, and his coalition will grow. He will not accomplish that by telling his side that they are wrong.
-----------------
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Mr. President, You Don’t Win Midterm Elections, Without Keeping, Political Base, Intact To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Arkansas Organizations Support Boozman’s Efforts to Reform Water Infrastructure Financing

ARRA News Service: U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is leading bipartisan efforts to modernize water infrastructure investment. In early February, Boozman introduced the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, legislation that would make the funding process easier and more affordable for states to meet their underserved or unmet water infrastructure needs.

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and the Arkansas Water Association support Boozman’s bill to modernize water infrastructure investment.

“…it will be a significant addition to the “SRF tool box” of financing options for water and waste water infrastructure.” – Bruce Holland, Executive Director Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

“With this additional funding avenue the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and other States Finance programs will be able to fund the many vetted infrastructure project proposals submitted by large and small communities in every state…” – Dennis Sternberg, CEO Arkansas Rural Water Association

Here are some other reasons why nationwide water and industry leaders support the SRF WIN Act:
  • “We believe the SRF programs remain the most effective means of providing municipalities the necessary support to build and improve water systems. We are heartened that your legislation recognizes the primary role of the SRFs in addressing this nation’s water infrastructure challenges.” Jeff Freeman, President Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities
  • “The SRF WIN Act blends the most successful parts of SRFs and WIFIA to create a program that gives State Finance Authorities access to WIFIA loans for drinking and wastewater infrastructure projects. This program would offer a new and efficient tool to leverage limited federal resources and stimulate additional investment in our nation’s infrastructure while safeguard against any cuts to the existing SRFs and WIFIA programs.” – Kristina Swallow, 2018 President of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • “With the availability of economical alternatives like water well systems and an affordable funding solution provided by the SRF Win Act, there should be no reason that every American should not have access to safe drinking water.” – Richard Mest, President Water Systems Council
  • “Providing State Finance Authorities with these WIFIA loans is the most effective and efficient means for the federal government to support water and wastewater construction projects in communities across the nation. Your legislation could not come at a more critical time for these communities.” – James Callhan, General President International Union of Operating Engineers
  • “This significant legislation will help communities across our nation maintain and enhance their drinking water infrastructure by providing much needed financial support.” William Mills, President American Public Works Association
  • “The SRF WIN Act advances significant, fiscally responsible, investments in our nation’s water infrastructure and the Water Infrastructure Network urges all Members of the United States Senate to cosponsor and support the passage of this landmark legislation.” -Water Infrastructure Network
  • “…we believe that the innovative loan program in SRF WIN, which has already proven its potential through a pilot program, is critical to strengthening our water infrastructure.” – Jim Creevy, Vice President Government Relations, ABB
  • “The SRF WIN Act provides for fiscally responsible investments in our nation’s critical water infrastructure that will improve US competitiveness in the long-term and support US manufacturing jobs in the near-term.” Karl Lobry, Director of Operations Danfoss
  • “…this legislation that will help small communities access additional WIFIA and SRF funding for much-needed water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades integral to economic growth in rural America.” Nathan Ohle, Executive Director Rural Community Assistance Partnership
  • “….we look forward to working with you to advance the SRF WIN Act to address the substantial backlog of water projects and preserve the existing role that the SRF serves.” Denis Bilodeau, President Orange County Water District
  • “The SRF WIN Act offers a useful complement to the existing SRF and WIFIA programs by providing states with an additional low-cost financing tool for recycled water systems that otherwise find it difficult to access necessary funds for investments.” – Patricia Sinicropi, Executive Director WateRuse Association
Read about the SRF WIN Act.

Tags: Arkansas Organizations, support, Senator John Boozman, Reform Water Infrastructure Financing, SRF WIN Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

3 Reasons Why Trump’s Tariffs Would Hurt American Workers

Steel Furnace in Germany
by Tori Whiting: President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would announce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in the coming week. This move follows reports from the Commerce Department that investigated the impact of these imports.

The president is expected to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. This will lead to increased prices for these commodities in the U.S.

Here are three reasons why tariffs on steel and aluminum would be bad for American workers:
  1. Steel-using industries employ 17 million Americans in sectors ranging from automotive manufacturing to construction. An increase in the price of imported steel and aluminum would put these jobs at risk. This already happened in the recent past. Steel tariffs imposed in 2002 cost 200,000 hardworking Americans their jobs.
  2. Trade restrictions, by their nature, result in price increases for the goods in question. If the price of steel and aluminum goes up, manufacturers will be forced to pass those costs onto American consumers.
  3. In 2002, the United States faced threats of retaliatory tariffs from major trading partners. Oftentimes, agriculture products are the first target, and in the past, the European Union targeted Florida orange juice. Canada has already threatened retaliation should the U.S. move forward. Tariffs on U.S. exports in retaliation, in the agriculture sector for example, could lead to lower sales abroad for U.S. businesses, putting the jobs of additional American workers at risk.
These potential tariffs may put small groups of manufacturers on life support, but they will jeopardize the jobs of millions. The president has a responsibility to protect all American workers rather than a select few, and he should refrain from imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum.
-------------------
Tori Whiting is research associate in the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation. She shared this article on The Daily Signal.

Tags: 3 Reasons, President Trump’s Tariffs, Would Hurt, American Workers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

DHS Ordered To 'Stand Down' Over Immigration Concerns With NAFTA Renegotiations

Chris Chmielenski
by Chris Chmielenski: As U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer renegotiates NAFTA, officials at the Department of Homeland Security are trying to shed light on the devastating impacts that a special NAFTA visa program has on American workers. But they are being told to "stand down", according to a recent story from Breitbart.

In 2016, the feds issued nearly 15,000 new temporary work permits to professional workers from Canada and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

According to Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) office, the number of NAFTA foreign workers currently working in the U.S. is approaching 100,000.

These foreign workers receive authorization to work in the United States through the TN (Treaty National) visa program. TN visa holders can work in the United States for up to three years (which can be renewed indefinitely), reside in the U.S., and bring their spouses and minor children with them.

Pres. Trump's tough talk on trade and its impact on American workers throughout the 2016 election was a major reason for his wins in key swing border states like Michigan and Wisconsin, propelling him to the White House.

NO protections for American workers
Unlike other temporary foreign worker programs (H-1B and H-2B) that provide a few, albeit weak, protections for American workers, there are no such requirements under the TN visa program. U.S. employers who wish to employ Mexican or Canadian nationals can do so without satisfying wage requirements or attempting to first recruit American workers for the same job.

While the TN visa is limited to three years, it can be renewed indefinitely. TN visa holders can bring their spouses and minor children, should they choose to live in the United States, but the spouses and minor children are not authorized to work. (Of course, without an E-Verify requirement for all employers, they can still manage to obtain jobs.)

There are 63 different job titles in the fields of general management, medical, science, and education for TN foreign workers. These include accountant, architect, hotel manager, engineer, lawyer, dentist, physician, pharmacist, chemist, geologist, physicist, college or university professor.

Big business protecting TN visas
The business community, for obvious reasons, loves the TN visa program because it expands the pool of eligible professional workers that it can hire from, which helps keep wages down. So, high-ranking career officials at both DHS and the USTR, under pressure from big business, issued the "stand down" order to DHS officials out of fear that if Pres. Trump learns more about the TN visa program, he'll order USTR Lighthizer to renegotiate that part of NAFTA as well.

We need to make sure that both Pres. Trump and our elected officials in Washington are aware of the TN visa program and its harmful effects on American workers. Visit NumbersUSA to take action.
---------------------
Chris Chmielenski is the Director, Content & Activism for NumbersUSA

Tags: Chris Chmielenski, NumbersUSA, DHS, ordered to stand down, immigration concerns, NAFTA Renegotiations To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Back to School . . .

. . . Another thing Trump has done in one year what Obama couldn’t do in 8 years, and that is defeat ISIS.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: AF Branco, editorial cartoon, back to school, defeat ISIS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Surveillance

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author : The news over the last year has been about the surveillance of the Trump campaign and administration. But there is another more personal issue. How much surveillance has the federal government done of your life?

John Whitehead (Rutherford Institute) was on my radio program recently to talk about the threat we all face from government and business surveillance. We began by quoting from Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. In a case back in 1966, he warned, “We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government.” How right he was.

The government has become expert in finding ways to sidestep what it considers “inconvenient laws” aimed at ensuring accountability. For example, the National Security Agency has been diverting Internet traffic overseas. This helps them bypass Fourth Amendment and other constitutional protections and allows them to conduct unrestrained data collection on each of us.

I asked John Whitehead about stories of the government hacking into Google and Yahoo data centers. He responded that they really don’t have to do that since these entities and others willingly turn over such data. He estimates that on any given day, the average American is monitored, surveilled, tracked, and spied upon in more than 20 different ways.

We also talked about the recent column by John Kass who wondered whatever happened to liberals concerned about civil liberties and government surveillance of American citizens. He concluded that since it was happening to Trump officials, those who used to be concerned about such issues now turn a blind eye to it all.

We shouldn’t ignore what is happening. And, that’s why I have written a Point of View booklet on Surveillance and Privacy to warn citizens about what is happening.
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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, surveillance, government surveillance To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Fatal Delusions of Western Man

by Patrick Buchanan: “We got China wrong. Now what?” ran the headline over the column in The Washington Post.

“Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?” asked Charles Lane in his opening sentence.

America’s elites believed that economic engagement and the opening of U.S. markets would cause the People’s Republic to coexist benignly with its neighbors and the West.

We deluded ourselves. It did not happen.

Xi Jinping just changed China’s constitution to allow him to be dictator for life. He continues to thieve intellectual property from U.S. companies and to occupy and fortify islets in the South China Sea, which Beijing now claims as entirely its own.

Meanwhile, China sustains North Korea as Chinese warplanes and warships circumnavigate Taiwan threatening its independence.

We today confront a Chinese Communist dictatorship and superpower that seeks to displace America as first power on earth, and to drive the U.S. military back across the Pacific.

Who is responsible for this epochal blunder?

The elites of both parties. Bush Republicans from the 1990s granted China most-favored-nation status and threw open America’s market.

Result: China has run up $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States. Her $375 billion trade surplus with us in 2017 far exceeded the entire Chinese defense budget.

We fed the tiger, and created a monster.

Why? What is in the mind of Western man that our leaders continue to adopt policies rooted in hopes unjustified by reality?

Recall. Stalin was a murderous tyrant unrivaled in history whose victims in 1939 were 1,000 times those of Adolf Hitler, with whom he eagerly partnered in return for the freedom to rape the Baltic States and bite off half of Poland.

When Hitler turned on Stalin, the Bolshevik butcher rushed to the West for aid. Churchill and FDR hailed him in encomiums that would have made Pericles blush. At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

“I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. … We regard Marshal Stalin’s life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us.”

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, “I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of “ending tyranny in our world.”

What is the root of these astounding beliefs — that Stalin would be a partner for peace, that if we built up Mao’s China she would become benign and benevolent, that we could reshape Islamic nations into replicas of Western democracies, that we could eradicate tyranny?

Today, we are replicating these historic follies.

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia.

If Putin’s Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down — or face a nuclear confrontation.

Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation.

Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers’ wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?
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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, Fatal Delusions, Western Man To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Fear of Voters

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: You are a state legislator, say. And an issue could be placed on the ballot on which a majority of your state's citizens might not vote according to your preference. What would you do?
  1. Educate your fellow citizens on the merits of your position; or
  2. Dawdle while calling a lobbyist for advice; or
  3. Change the constitution to make it impossible for such a vote to ever be held?
State Rep. John Ennschose option 3 -- perhaps after exhausting 2. Stamping out Oklahoma's ballot initiative process, freeing Enns and other legislators from this citizen check at the ballot box, is the essence of his House Bill 1603.

The Sooner State already possessed the toughest petition requirements in the country. Supporters must gain the country's highest percentage of voter support (15 percent) while limited to the second shortest time period (90 days) to circulate petitions.

On top of this current statewide slog, Enns' constitutional amendment would require also qualifying in every single county. Oklahoma has 77 counties.

As the Tulsa World editorialized, "he wants to make it impossible."

What lousy rationale lies behind Enns' desire to destroy democratic governance?

In response to another legislator's query about his "fear that some marijuana bill will . . . become a state [ballot] question," Enns claimed his effort was "not pre-emptive." But he acknowledged his strong opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana, which he pointed out "had been done through initiative petition" in other states.

Enns is afraid of Oklahoma voters having their say. He should be.*

This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.

* I mean, of course, that Rep. Enns should fear being booted out of office on his keister. He should not have to fear physical reprisal. The Tulsa World reports that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is now providing security to Enns, after a death threat was received related to his HB 1603.
------------------ 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, Fear of Voters To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Is Congress Really Concerned About Foreign Involvement In U.S. Elections?

. . . Then Get Illegal Immigrants Off The Voter Rolls.
Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Printus LeBlanc: Multiple congressional committees and a Special Counsel have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 election and have come up with some memes from Russia. Meanwhile, recent reports from several states indicate there is real foreign influence in U.S. elections being ignored by Congress and the Special Counsel. Voter fraud is a far more significant threat to our democracy than $300 in Facebook ads for Pennsylvania, and it is time for Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Special Counsel to go after the real foreign influence.

On Monday, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PLIF) filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania officials for failing to comply with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The PLIF is seeking records related to registered voters for inspection, which the NVRA makes legal. The foundation is seeking the information to ensure the Pennsylvania voter rolls are clean and have good reason to think otherwise.

In December, Philadelphia Election Commissioner Al Schmidt told state lawmakers there was a glitch in the state’s motor voter system. Schmidt also told the lawmakers that after the Pennsylvania Department of State completed the Noncitizen Matching Analysis more than 100,000 driver’s license numbers associated with noncitizens match voter registration records.

The lawsuit identified eight examples of noncitizens voting. One of the more rampant instances of voter fraud was Othman Alamoudi. He registered to vote in Allegheny County and 2005 and was taken off the rolls in 2012 after it was discovered he was a noncitizen. Alamoudi registered again in 2014 and 2016, voting in both elections. He is still on the voter rolls despite being a noncitizen and illegally voting in elections.

Why have charges not been brought against Alamoudi? Why have deportation proceedings not begun against Alamoudi? In Matter of Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick it was ruled, “An alien who has voted in an election involving candidates for Federal office in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 611(a) (2012) is removable under section 237(a)(6)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(6)(A) (2012), regardless of whether the alien knew that he or she was committing an unlawful act by voting.” It seems like the law is pretty straightforward on the matter.

As if Pennsylvania not wanting to investigate the possible 100,000 noncitizen voters on its rolls wasn’t asinine enough, the city of Chicago is moving to register noncitizens to vote. The crime-ridden city unveiled a new ID card called “CityKey.” Everyone in Chicago is eligible for the new ID, including illegal immigrants.

The troubling issue is the ID does not indicate citizenship. This will give noncitizens in Chicago the ability to register to vote, because under Illinois law a person doesn’t need to prove citizenship to vote, only provide an ID card, and check a box stating “Yes, I am a citizen.” Anyone with knowledge of Illinois voter history has every right to be frightened by this recent action. The state has a long history of dead people voting, now it appears it is trying to get noncitizens to vote next to zombies.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning stated, “Voter integrity is important to ensure that people accept election results. The willful inclusion of illegal votes undermines the democratic system and needs to be prevented by the federal government.”

If the leaders of these lawless communities are encouraging and allowing noncitizens to vote, why should the votes of those communities pollute the votes of the rest of the U.S.? Furthermore, if the mainstream media, Congress, and Robert Mueller are looking for foreign influence in U.S. elections, they should start at the place where noncitizens actually influence elections, the ballot box.
------------------
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Printus LeBlanc, Americans for Limited Government, Congress, Concerned About Foreign Involvement, U.S. Elections, Get Illegal Immigrants, Off The Voter Rolls To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Russia Uses Facebook to Undermine Dakota Access Pipeline, Other US Energy Projects

Russian President Vladimir Putin 
by Kevin Mooney: Russian agents working to undermine America’s fossil fuel industry use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools to spread propaganda and try to turn U.S. public opinion against domestic energy production, according to a new congressional report.

The report found that between 2015 and 2017, “an estimated 9,097 Russian posts or tweets regarding U.S. energy policy or a current energy event,” such as approval of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, appeared on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

In addition, 4,334 social media accounts connected to a Russian agency that manipulates media platforms spread across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the report from the committee’s majority staff says.

After reviewing documents sought last fall from the American social media companies, investigators with the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology found that Russian agents made a concerted effort to exploit social media platforms with messaging aimed at disrupting U.S. energy markets, the report released Thursday says.

“This report reveals that Russian agents created and spread propaganda on U.S. social media platforms in an obvious attempt to influence the U.S. energy market,” committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said in a written statement on Russia President Vladimir Putin’s motives.

‘Exploiting’ Social Media
In September, Smith sent letters requesting information from Facebook and Twitter. The committee chairman was building on a previous investigation into allegations of surreptitious Russian government funding of U.S. environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club Foundation, and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund to spread propaganda against drilling techniques used to extract natural gas.

Smith followed up with letters to Twitter and Facebook the next month, supplying more information about his committee’s findings and thanking them for being responsive.

“The information received from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram shows that Russian agents indeed sought to disrupt U.S. energy markets and influence domestic energy policy by exploiting American social media platforms,” the report says.

These same social media companies were able to link Russian accounts with the Internet Research Agency, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Moscow created the agency “for the purpose of deceptively using various social and traditional media platforms to advance Russian propaganda,” the new report says.

“Despite the tag-team efforts of Russian trolls and ‘keep it in the ground’ activists, the reality is American energy dominance is here to stay,” Nick Loris, an economist who specializes in energy issues as a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said in an email. “For six straight years, the U.S. has been the largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons.”

Targeting Pipelines
Congressional investigators found that Russian agents concentrated their social media messaging against U.S. pipeline projects and other forms of energy infrastructure. Numerous posts, for example, targeted the Dakota Access oil pipeline with messages that attempted to galvanize anti-pipeline protesters, the report says.

The report reproduces 17 of the Russian posts on social media, including a Facebook post from Nov. 25, 2016, that was shared 497 times, liked 378 times, and drew 293 reactions.

It includes a dark, ominous photo and reads, verbatim: “We’re about to celebrate thanksgiving and tell schoolchildren we made peace w Native Americans while DAPL protestors are being tear gassed.” DAPL apparently stands for Dakota Access Pipeline.

At the same time, the Russian posts “focused on the counternarrative and sought to exploit anti-activist sentiment by propagating content supportive of pipeline construction efforts, illustrating once again the Kremlin’s indiscriminate efforts to cause discord and disruption,” the report says.

Russian posts targeted other pipeline projects, including Sabal Trail, Keystone XL, Colonial, Bayou Bridge, and Enbridge Line 5, according to the House committee’s report.

Other posts cited in the report focused on the debate over climate change. Some connected catastrophic weather conditions with climate change, others said Americans were ignoring signs of climate change.

“Russia benefits from stirring up controversy about U.S. energy production,” Smith said, adding:

U.S. energy exports to European countries are increasing, which means they will have less reason to rely upon Russia for their energy needs. This, in turn, will reduce Russia’s influence on Europe to Russia’s detriment and Europe’s benefit.

That’s why Russian agents attempted to manipulate Americans’ opinions about pipelines, fossil fuels, fracking, and climate change. The American people deserve to know if what they see on social media is the creation of a foreign power seeking to undermine our domestic energy policy.
Energy Dominance

A spokesman for Twitter said the company had “fully cooperated” with Smith’s committee, including by searching for energy-related tweets from accounts that appeared affiliated with Russia’s Internet Research Agency. In an email to The Daily Signal, the spokesman said:
In our report to Chairman Smith we noted that a small subset (413) of these accounts participated in conversations related to energy, that their total volume of tweets was relatively small (5,594 original tweets, 2,223 retweets), and that these tweets represented an extremely small portion of the broader discussion of energy issues on Twitter.

For example, on one of the most active days, the IRA tweeted about energy issues 81 times total, compared to a total volume of 173,349 energy-related tweets and retweets overall on that day, or approximately five one-hundredths of 1 percent (0.046 percent) of the total conversation.
The Daily Signal also sought comment from Facebook and Instagram, but they did not respond by publication deadline.

Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that Putin and other Russian leaders see U.S. development of fossil fuels as “a threat” and “is acting accordingly.”

“The committee’s report comes just as it was announced that U.S. oil production has hit an all-time high,” Cohen said. “Note that the Kremlin is targeting American oil and gas production, not wind or solar power, which the Russians correctly see as posing no threat to their geopolitical designs.”

In November, American production reached 10.06 million barrels per day, breaking a 47-year record, Heritage’s Loris noted, adding:
By 2019, we will likely surpass Russia as the world’s largest oil producer. The economic and geopolitical benefits are nothing to scoff at. American households and businesses are benefiting from affordable, reliable power.

We’re using our energy dominance as soft power to reduce the ability for Russia to manipulate energy markets for political gain. A few tweets and some posters aren’t going to stop the energy revolution that’s occurring before us.
--------------
Kevin Mooney (@KevinMooneyDC) is an investigative reporter for Heritage Foundation's The Daily Signal.

Tags: Kevin Mooney, The Daily Signal, Russia Uses Facebook, to undermine, Dakota Access Pipeline, Other US Energy Projects To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Oil Market Fears: War, Default And Nuclear Weapons

by Nick Cunningham: The U.S. is one of the few areas of the world in which there is an energy investment boom underway, a development that could smooth out the uncertainties of geopolitical events around the world. At the same time, outside of the U.S., there is a deterioration of stability in many oil-producing regions, aggravating risks for both oil companies and the oil market, according to a new report.

Financial risk firm Verisk Maplecroft explores these two trends as they play out simultaneously. The U.S. shale sector has emerged from years of low oil prices, damaged but still intact. Importantly, the shale industry "can ride out price dips and respond quickly to upticks, weakening OPEC in the process," James Lockhart-Smith, director of financial sector risk at Verisk Maplecroft, wrote in the report. Combined with deregulation at the federal level, the oil industry is in the midst of an investment boom in the U.S.

Meanwhile, things are not so rosy elsewhere. Verisk Maplecroft surveyed a long list of countries, and produced its Government Stability Index (GSI), which uses some predictive data and analysts forecasts to take stock of geopolitical risk in various countries over the next few years.

The results are not encouraging. The number of countries expected to see a deterioration of stability "significantly outnumber those we see becoming more stable," the firm said. The reasons are multiple, including low oil prices, but also the erosion of democratic institutions.

"We don't see increasing instability necessarily ending in coups or significant political upheaval, but a less predictable above-ground-risk environment is likely to emerge," Verisk Maplecroft’s Lockhart-Smith said. "Arbitrary decision making, possible measures to buy off key stakeholders or an inability to pass regulatory reforms will be the main risks to projects in these countries, as their governments seek to stabilize and maintain their influence."

Not all of the countries expected to suffer from a decline in stability are that important for the oil market, such as Romania or Kenya. Also, some countries might be on an improving path, but at the same time present a downside risk that, while unlikely, could be huge.

In this case, Iraq stands out. Verisk Maplecroft says that Iraq "has a business-friendly upstream environment" and the forecast is for stability to improve. However, even if it seems somewhat reasonable that things could trend in the right direction, the downside risk is massive. And there are is no shortage of potential catalysts: The report points to elections in May, plus the "deep ethno-sectarian divisions and weak institutions."

Venezuela is another obvious flashpoint. The deterioration of the country’s economy and oil sector have been profound. But Venezuela also illustrates a different problem – that disruption need not come from a coup, a civil war or some other obvious geopolitical development. Verisk Maplecroft points to the purge of state-owned PDVSA following the unsuccessful coup in 2002 as a poignant example. The country’s oil production has steadily eroded over the past decade and a half since the Venezuelan state sacked experienced professionals at PDVSA and used revenues for other purposes while failing to invest in existing oil assets.

Verisk Maplecroft argues that Egypt is a potential contemporary example of that phenomenon. The increasingly authoritarian government in Cairo could roll back the policies that attracted investment from oil and gas companies in the first place over fears of a popular uprising.

Finally, one of the more intriguing cases is that of Russia, the largest oil producer in the world. Verisk Maplecroft sees little risk of political upheaval as Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks another six-year term in March, but a battle could ensue in the upcoming years over his succession when his term is up in 2024, and "factional struggles between liberals and statist former security officials are already ramping up in anticipation of his exit," the report says.

Verisk Maplecroft puts the odds of a general deterioration of political stability in Russia through 2021 at 90 percent, and the "oil sector will be a strategic prize in this battle, not least because Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin is a central protagonist."

In the near-term, there are two huge geopolitical threats to the oil market, but neither seem all that likely. Verisk Maplecroft says a potential war on the Korean Peninsula or a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia are the largest threats to the oil market, but both situations, while tense, will probably stop short of outright military conflict. Still, the mere threat of conflict, could add to the risk premium for crude oil prices.
-----------------
Nick Cunningham authored this article contributed by James Stafford the editor of OilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site, to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Oil Market Fears, War, Default And Nuclear Weapons, Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Embattled Vought Wins Embattled Vote

Vice President Mike Pence
by Tony Perkins: Vice President Mike Pence never served in the Senate, but he's serving it now! With Senator John McCain's (R-Ariz.) health in question and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) out of town, America's second-in-command is becoming a permanent fixture in the chamber he oversees. On Wednesday, fresh off his trip to Nashville, the vice president made the mile and a half trek down Constitution Avenue to cast another tie-breaking vote -- this time on the Office of Management and Budget's new deputy, Russell Vought.

Over the past 14 months, the Trump administration has nominated a lot of Christians. But not many got the attention that Vought did. That was thanks, almost entirely, to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who took the opportunity in Vought's hearing to drop the mask on the Left's open disgust for believers. After a faith-based grilling that left Sanders enraged and Americans in shock, Russell's nomination became the rallying cry for religious tolerance. From the pages of newspapers to the floor of Congress, people like Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) fired back at the far-Left's idea that Christians are unqualified for public service.
"There was some dispute in a... hearing about Russell Vought and his faith... about is he too much of a Christian to be able to serve. I just want to make a public statement that that's appalling to me... Article XI of the Constitution says there no religious test for any officer of the United States and that shouldn't even have been a discussion in that committee hearing."Unfortunately, some extremists have no problem hauling someone's personal views into the limelight and judging them on those beliefs -- whether they impact a person's public policies or not. Yesterday's vote was a powerful rejection of that logic. And while The Hill and others called Vought "controversial," his experience and qualifications suggest otherwise. Senate Democrats created that illusion to cover up their own anti-faith prejudice.

We applaud Republicans for sending radicals like Sanders a message that his anti-faith hostility has no place in the U.S. Senate. Thanks, too, to Vice President Pence, who is nowhere near the tie-breaking record of 31 that John Calhoun set in 1825, but I suppose anything's possible if Democrats keep stonewalling solid nominees. As for Vought, he's arriving at OMB just in time for the next omnibus spending debates. And given his history of belt-tightening, we can all be grateful for that!
--------------
Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research 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!

What Every Conservative Should Know about the Phrase "Ideas Have Consequences"

by Samuel Goldman: “Ideas have consequences” is among the most enduring slogans of the conservative movement.

Introduced by the title of , the phrase became a synecdoche for conservatives’ belief that the catastrophes of the twentieth century—including the world wars, the rise of communism, and the Holocaust—had been permitted, or even caused, by the corruption of aesthetics, epistemology, theology, and political theory. According to historian George Nash, “this was the message of the proliferating critiques of liberalism in the early postwar years. Liberalism, with its cult of the suspended judgment, was flabby and confused; it had too long allowed itself to be seduced, even raped, by totalitarian ideologies. In its relativistic, bend-over-backward, secular, scientistic, pragmatic way, it was…undermining a civilization in which it no longer believed.”

Some so-called New Conservatives traced the rot to the critique of natural rights by Victorian-era intellectuals. Weaver’s diagnosis was distinctive in locating the crucial mistake much earlier. Weaver contended that “Western man made an evil decision, which has become the efficient cause of other evil decisions” all the way back in the fourteenth century. In his judgment, “the defeat of logical realism in the great medieval debate was the crucial event in the history of Western culture; from this flowed those acts which issue now in modern decadence.”

Russell Kirk recalled that Weaver wanted to call the book in which he developed this argument “The Fearful Descent.” Sensing that this title would not exactly thrill the public, the director of the University of Chicago Press insisted on Ideas Have Consequences. Biographer Joseph Scotchie reports that Weaver hated the change and threatened to cancel the book’s publication. But Weaver’s editor had good marketing instincts. “Ideas have consequences” so perfectly encapsulated Weaver’s contention that philosophical argument is the motor of history that it remains familiar even as Weaver himself has sunk into obscurity.

Perhaps Weaver was wise to prefer the less catchy formulation, though. The degeneration of “ideas have consequences” into a cliché reflects, and may even encourage, a dangerously reductive tendency in conservative thought.

Arguments by philosophers do influence the course of human events. But they are not the only things that matter—and not always the most important.

Ideas Influence, Not Determine
Weaver was aware of the limitations of his own claim. He explicitly acknowledged that Ideas Have Consequences could be criticized for deriving vast and complicated effects from a single and rather abstruse cause. But he thought the criticism worth accepting in order to defend human freedom against deterministic philosophies of history, especially Marxism. It was with such philosophies in mind that Weaver insisted “that the conscious policies of men and governments are not mere rationalizations of what has been brought about by unaccountable forces. They are rather deductions from our most basic ideas of human destiny, and they have a great, though not unobstructed, power to determine our course.”

Note the qualifications that Weaver, a most careful writer, packs into these sentences. He asserts that conscious policies are not mere rationalizations of unperceived influences and that conceptions of human destiny have large but not unobstructed power. He does not claim that “unaccountable forces” have no influence on politics or that “basic ideas” are the source of all human actions . In Ideas Have Consequences, Weaver aimed to show that we are not subjects of an historical process over which we have no control. The unforgettable title, however, implies a pessimistic alternative to the linear, unitary, and ultimately freedom-denying ways of thinking that Weaver opposed.

Despite Weaver’s stipulations, the idea that modern history is an inexorable movement toward collapse derived from a specific intellectual error that acquired a powerful role in conservative thought.

In the decade that followed the appearance of Ideas Have Consequences, Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin (with whom Weaver studied at Louisiana State University) published even more influential accounts of the decline of the West. Weaver had presented the “nominalist” critique of universals as the original sin of modernity. For Strauss, the fatal turn occurred nearly two centuries later, with Machiavelli’s encouragement to pursue the “effectual truth” rather than the Greek ideal of theoretical wisdom. For his part, Voegelin contended that the problem emerged more than a millennium before the nominalists, with the “gnostic” pursuit of perfect understanding.

As their correspondence indicates, Strauss and Voegelin differed on many issues, including the role of Christianity in these developments. Both, however, offered readers a similar message: that the horrors of the modern age were, if not inevitable, then predictable consequences of bad ideas introduced long ago.

Theories of Decline
Writing as a critic of historical reductionism, I do not want to be reductive in my interpretations of important books. Read carefully and with due attention to the milieus in which they appeared, books like Ideas Have Consequences, Natural Right and History, and The New Science of Politics do not substitute intellectual determinism for economic determinism. Nevertheless, the sweeping rhetoric and extraordinary learning that these works display makes their limitations difficult to perceive. Combined with the psychological appeal of “secret histories” that place readers among a small elite who perceive the real sources of otherwise bewildering events—essentially, the gnostic temptation that Voegelin feared they helped propagate a version of the distortion that they were written to oppose.

The temptation to combat theories of progress with deterministic theories of decline survives in recent conservative polemics against liberalism. Although some of their challenges are well-founded, many critics suggest that the last several hundred years have been an ever-faster plunge down a slippery slope that begins with Francis Bacon and concludes with Justice Anthony Kennedy. According to Patrick Deneen, the dysfunction of our political institutions and corruption of civic and family life are the result of a “political philosophy conceived some 500 years ago, and put into effect at the birth of the United States nearly 250 years later.”

As I argued in a review of Deneen’s important book Why Liberalism Failed, this claim gives too much importance to ideas. A constitutional government—let alone a whole society—is more than the plaything of its philosophers and writers. If historiography that ignores intellectual influences is deaf to the theories that inspire and justify our actions, then one that emphasizes them to the exclusion of other causes is blind.

Ideas do have consequences, but modern history is more than a fearful descent.
------------------------
Samuel Goldman is an assistant professor of political science at the George Washington University, where he is executive director of the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom. He is also literary editor of ISI's Modern Age. IR is published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and is dedicated to advancing the principles that make America free, virtuous, and prosperous. 

Tags: Samuel Goldman, Intercollegiate Review, Intercollegiate, Studies Institute, conservatives, Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences 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, March 01, 2018

Federal Judge Warns Ruling Could Jeopardize War Memorials at Arlington Cemetery

by Todd Starnes: For the past 90 years, the good people of Bladensburg, Maryland have remembered 49 local veterans who lost their lives during World War I with a 40-foot cross.

But that beloved cross could be torn down thanks to a shocking ruling from the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The court denied an “en blanc rehearing” of the Bladensburg cross case. That means an October decision by a three-judge Fourth Circuit panel declaring the cross-shaped memorial unconstitutional will stand.

Lawyers from First Liberty Institute and Jones Day warned the court’s decision could jeopardize other memorials in military cemeteries.

“The decision of the three-judge panel sets dangerous precedent for veterans memorials and cemeteries across American, and we cannot allow it to be the final word,” First Liberty’s Hiram Sasser said.

The monument was erected in 1925 with funding from the American Legion, but the state obtained control of the cross and the land in the 1960s. Sasser said the American Legion will take their fight to save the cross to the Supreme Court.

“If this decision stands, other memorials, including those in nearby Arlington Cemetery will be targeted for destruction as well,” Sasser warned.

Judge Paul Niemeyer, echoed First Liberty Institute’s concerns in his dissenting opinion — warning that “it also needlessly puts at risk hundreds of other monuments with similar symbols standing on public grounds across the country.”

Judge Niemeyer specifically cited Arlington National Cemetery, “where crosses of comparable size stand in commemoration of fallen soldiers.”

Judge James Wilkinson issued a blistering dissent accusing those opposing the monument of attacking the dead.

“The dead cannot speak for themselves. But may the living hear their silence. We should take care not to traverse too casually the line that separates us from our ancestors and that will soon enough separate us from our descendants. The present has many good ways of imprinting its values and sensibilities upon society. But to roil needlessly the dead with the controversies of the living does not pay their deeds or their time respect,” he wrote.
------------------
Todd Starnes (@toddstarnes) is A Christian Conservative, the host of Fox News & Commentary and heard daily on 250+ radio stations and on his iTune podcasts.

Tags: Todd Starnes, WW1 Cross, Bladensburg, Maryland, court rules, must be removed, decision, may affect, Arlintion, Military Cemetary, jeopardize other memorials, military cemeteriesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

We Believe The Constitution Applies Exclusively To Americans – And America

Applicable Here -  and Only Here
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: We have a gi-normous problem with Big Government proponents trying to take away the Constitutional rights of United States citizens – while simultaneously trying to bestow them upon non-citizens.

To wit: We currently are suffering a refreshed attempt by the Left (this time apparently, unfortunately backed by President Donald Trump) to substantially damage our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

All the while, the Left continues pretending twenty-plus million illegal aliens have the full panoply of Constitutional protections – that are the exclusive purview of citizens. And in too many instances to count – extra-Constitutional privileges even we citizens do not enjoy.

All of this is warped and ruinous thinking.

So too is any attempt by the federal government to employ the few powers the Constitution expressly grants it – beyond our nation’s borders.

To wit: The last seventeen-plus years we’ve spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a fifty-first state. We can not and should not invade a country, topple a government and attempt to install a new one – because the existing regime does not live up to our founding document. There are hundreds of such countries – and that would be all we do.

Our rights – are our rights. Not theirs.

And conversely, our government’s expressly delineated powers – apply only to us. And only to our national territory.

To wit: The Feds trying to subpoena data on computer servers – in Ireland. A case the Supreme Court is currently hearing – in United States v. Microsoft Corporation. What the Justice Department wants from Microsoft – is no bueno:
“In 2013 U.S. law enforcement served on Microsoft a search warrant for customer data stored in our datacenter in Ireland. While we don’t believe that U.S. law grants the Government the right to reach across borders to obtain private information, we do believe that the U.S. should work with the Irish government to obtain the data they want. Unilateral actions like this will undermine privacy protections of customers everywhere, and are a recipe for international tensions, conflict and chaos.”It is more than a mite obnoxious for the Feds to abjectly ignore Irish sovereignty – and unilaterally demand information (or anything else). We would be more than a mite perturbed were Ireland to do any such thing to us.

When we want to extradite a person from another country – we negotiate with that country to get him.

Data should be treated no differently. If we want what’s there – we should ask the national hosts.

You know who else thinks so? A lot of the rest of the planet. Twenty-three amicus briefs with an aggregate of 288 signatories from across 37 countries were submitted to the Supreme Court in support of Microsoft and against the Department of Justice.

This case is yet another example of the Trump Administration inheriting terrible policy from the Barack Obama Administration. This is a stupid lawsuit begun by Obama, Inc. – and continued under Trump largely by bureaucratic inertia.

I wish Trump, Inc. would simply stop all of these instances of bequeathed nonsense – but that’s an entirely different discussion.

Many of our Supreme Court Justices think this is a job for Congress – and legislation clarifying the problem. Even the Leftist of the Left:
“‘Wouldn’t it be wiser just to say let’s leave things as they are, and if Congress wants to regulate in this brave new world, it can do it?’ (Justice Ruth Bader) Ginsburg said.

“Several times the justices mentioned pending legislation to address some of these issues. Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, a sponsor of the Senate bill, sat near the front of the courtroom for the arguments.”
You know who else wants Hatch and Congress to solve this?:“The legislation known as the Cloud Act has the support of both the Trump administration and Microsoft….”

Which yet again begs the question – why are we before the Supreme Court if the Trump-Administration-plaintiff – thinks this should be solved by the Legislative Branch? But I again digress….

Even still: “(L)awyers on both sides said the court should decide the case before it, not wait for Congress to act.”
That may be largely a function of a cumulative, complete lack of faith in Congress doing anything of the sort in anything like a timely manner. Which is not at all an unfounded notion.

That being said, the Supreme Court should rule for Microsoft – and against an internationally-overreaching U.S. federal government.

And then Congress should pass a Constitutional-muster law – that clarifies how the U.S. government should go about getting overseas data.

Hint: It ain’t by unilaterally barging into other countries and demanding what we want.
----------------
Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter   /   Facebook.

Tags: Seton Motley, Less Government, Constitution, Applies Exclusively, To Americans, And America 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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