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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, April 20, 2018

President Trump Can Counter OPEC and Achieve Energy Dominance

by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: President Trump, in a recent tweet, has drawn attention to a pernicious threat against American interests that has persisted for decades: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its alliance with other petrostates as they seek to control the price and supply of oil.
With its stated goal of reducing the world’s oil glut in sight, the cartel and its unofficial members should have spent their meeting in Jeddah discussing an exit plan for this pact. However, with oil at three-year highs and rising, the group has moved the goalpost yet again, with discussions on extending the cuts even further as well as indefinite coordination on oil production with Russia.

Let’s be clear: OPEC has wrapped its actions in rhetoric about stabilizing oil prices to help the global economy. Now that they’ve institutionalized their cooperation with Russia and other states—expanding the group’s market share to include countries that represent 55 percent of daily supply—and whittled down excess oil inventories, they can go about their real agenda: Juicing the books for Saudi Aramco’s pending IPO, and inflating government revenues to support everything from military spending to lavish lifestyles for their ruling elites. Is this how American motorists want to spend their money?

President Trump is right to say this market manipulation is unacceptable. Gasoline prices are also now at their highest in three years, and analysts see them wiping out the benefits of the president’s historic tax cuts as U.S. households will spend $400 more on average at the pump in 2018 alone. Endemic instability in key oil-producing regions—particularly the Middle East and Venezuela—combined with the reduction of global crude oil inventories from 400 to 43 million barrels mean that there is little to insulate Americans from an oil price spike.

Oil dependence is a global problem, but Americans are disproportionately affected. Every year, the United States spends $67.5 billion to ensure the worldwide free flow of oil, as we assume the burden of patrolling oil supply lines and engaging in unstable oil producing regions. Even though this commodity is the lifeblood of the world economy, it is priced on an unfree global market subject to OPEC’s collusion. No matter how much oil we drill at home, we will always be vulnerable to the price spikes and slumps brought about through the actions of countries that don’t share our democratic or free-market principles. As we know, an oil supply disruption anywhere impacts prices everywhere.

In addition to these geopolitical challenges, OPEC’s actions have a very real impact on household budgets. The last time Americans received tax cuts, the benefits were wiped out by oil price spikes. The cumulative impact of the Bush-era tax cuts from 2001 to 2008 increased household income by $1,900, yet household spending on gasoline increased by $2,000 in the same period. Similarly, in 2011, record gasoline prices cost American households an additional $104 billion compared to 2010, offsetting the $108 billion in additional take-home pay from the Obama-era payroll tax cut.

Will we let this happen again? Policy solutions are available, and President Trump can take clear and concrete steps to achieve his goal of energy dominance and mitigate our exposure to OPEC’s behavior.
  • First, we must continue to develop more of our oil resources here at home—the President has already taken steps to achieve this objective.
  • Second, Trump’s EPA must maintain strong fuel economy standards, and use the current rulemaking period to strengthen and modernize fuel efficiency rules that have been effective in saving consumers money for decades.
  • Third, we must encourage the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles running on diverse sources of domestic energy, including electricity, natural gas, and hydrogen.
  • Finally, we must have an honest assessment of our ability to respond to OPEC’s actions to influence oil prices.
President Trump can establish an OPEC commission that will investigate how the cartel’s actions undermine American interests and propose solutions to counter their influence.

Following these steps lays a clear path towards the energy dominance that Americans deserve.
Ken Blackwell (@kenblackwell) is a former ambassador to the U.N., a former Domestic Policy Advisor to the Trump Presidential Transition Team, a Senior Advisor to Securing America's Future Energy, and former Ohio State Treasurer and mayor of Cincinnati who currently serves on the board of numerous conservative policy organizations. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service

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America in Space 2024

by Newt Gingrich: Two historic events happened this week that will lay the groundwork for the future of space exploration in America. First, after a close vote in the Senate, Oklahoma Congressman and former Navy aviator Jim Bridenstine was confirmed as the new head of NASA. I am confident he will be a strong leader in the space industry as we foster in a new era of innovation, technological advancement, and limitless exploration.

Second, in Colorado, Vice President Mike Pence laid out a bold vision for America’s future in space exploration during his opening remarks at the Space Foundation’s 34th Annual Space Symposium in Colorado. The Vice President showed the Trump Administration’s commitment to restoring American leadership in space, rightly pointing out that, “we stand at the dawn of a new era of human activity in space; a turning point that will bring new opportunities and new challenges.”

This renewed interest in space has the potential to dramatically change our space program over the next several years, but in order to achieve this, we must be able to think big and set bold goals.

By the end of 2024, a very large American spacecraft should be on its way to Mars. We should have a working base on the Moon that’s producing rocket fuel from ice. The first asteroid mining project should be returning valuable minerals to the United States (thus rendering obsolete the Chinese effort to corner the supply of rare minerals on Earth). Between Earth and the Moon, there should be multiple low orbit systems assembling enormous structures and supporting commercial manufacturing, tourism, and other industries in space. If we acheive this before any other country, the United States will have undisputed economic superiority for decades.

At the same time, execution of this seemingly fantastic concept would leapfrog our national defense capabilities far into the 21st century. Having a squadron of reusable rockets (effectively a Mach 25 Air Force) would allow U.S. forces to overfly and outfly the myriad of foreign air and space weapons proliferating today. It would also allow us to have “eyes, ears, and presence” anywhere in the world in under an hour, while also protecting the peace in the global commons of space.

This vision could be made possible by three technological and entrepreneurial revolutions.

First, the advent of reusable rockets is going to lead to a crash in costs and a dramatic increase in frequency of launches. Ranges and regulatory procedures must be modernized as we move from a paradigm of ten heavy launches per year to a paradigm of 70 to 100 heavy launches per year. If the Trump-Pence team pushed it, Falcon Heavy rockets could have more than 100 launches through 2024. The New Glenn, which will lift almost as much as the Falcon Heavy and will be rated to carry humans from day one, could add another 20 flights between 2020 and 2024.

Together, these approximately 120 heavy commercial flights would lift as much payload as 60 of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) flights – however there will be at most four SLS flights by end of 2024, according to current plans. Each reusable commercial flight will also cost less than $100 million, while SLS flights will cost $700 million to $1 billion per launch.

On the other end of the payload spectrum, a single squadron of reusable military rockets – “space planes” – using these same technologies and updated with reusable upper stages could easily sort daily long-range flights akin to the SR-71 flight rates before it was retired. Moreover, at five miles per second, such vehicles are more survivable than stealth aircraft and far cheaper. Military space planes with their high flight rates could help to drive costs of operation down into the million-dollar range, potentially cheaper than the SR-71 in its era.

None of this takes into account SpaceX’s planned Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which may or may not be available for crew and cargo missions by 2024. If it starts flying by then, it will be so cheap the cost compared to SLS will become absurd.

Additionally, there will probably be a new generation of innovators like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos inventing even better ways to lower the cost of getting into space through dramatically simpler and less expensive manufacturing and new approaches to reusability.

No one in government today is really planning for the scale of change implicit in the rise of reusable rockets and the likelihood that the second generation will be even cheaper.

The second technological revolution underway is in 3D printing, robotics, and autonomous assembly. There are multiple small startups producing full size rocket engines made with 3D printing (e.g., Relativity Space in Los Angeles, Ursa Major Technologies in Berthoud, Colorado, and Additive Rocket Corporation in San Diego).

There are startups working on assembly in space through autonomous systems, such as Made In Space. If the collapse in cost of the reusable rockets is combined with the development of these autonomous distance capabilities, the potential exists for a totally new approach to space.

Instead of of designing very small capsules modeled on the Apollo program, we can begin to imagine robotically printing and assembling very large facilities in space. We can combine that with a refueling capability from launching specialized tanker ships and by mining the Moon for water and turning it into fuel at one-sixth Earth’s gravity. (This could help the next generation of innovators to create the first space elevator on the Moon, but that is still probably 30 years away). Now we begin to create real capabilities for exploring space.

We will be able to autonomously mine an asteroid by 2024 as part of this general wave of development. We will also be able to build the first Mars-bound ship on a scale that will be much safer for human passengers (big ships shield from solar radiation much more effectively than small ships). This large vessel would also provide far more exploration and science capabilities once the ship reaches Mars.

Third, beyond the immediate capabilities, there are breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and nanoscale science and technology, which will be coming into practical use long before 2024.
One of our great challenges is stepping away from the current static planning model, which assumes the currently available systems are the state of the art. If we want to plan for 2024, we have to ask what will be available six years from now. Given the rate of new innovations we are seeing, the pattern of greater capability at lower cost will continue to accelerate.

This enormous opportunity requires three things:

1. Planning must start now within this breakout framework, and every existing program must be assessed against the scale of change. We cannot keep building stagecoaches when the railroad is being built at the same time. Several long-existing bureaucratic programs should be cannibalized, so their money can be transferred to new, higher-value projects.

2. NASA and the Department of Defense must accept that most of the breakthroughs will come from small entrepreneurial companies that are not part of the traditional lobbyist-heavy, technologically slow, big company model we’ve relied on for the past few decades. Every time I turn around, I run into smart people (some still students) who are creating a better, cheaper, more capable future. Today, they are outside the planning and procurement systems of NASA and DoD. That must change immediately.

3. Laws must be created to empower lunar and asteroid developers. For example, a 30-year tax holiday for profits from space should be enacted to create a real incentive for investment and a real competitive alliance between billionaires willing to invest in space. The potential for an American breakout into the solar system has to be developed. There will not be enough tax-paid money to get all this done, but there will be plenty of private capital, if it is encouraged and rewarded.

President Trump must approach space the same way he approached the Wollman Rink in Central Park and the golf course on Ferry Point. In both cases, government had failed. In both cases, Citizen Trump got the job done in record time and for a very low cost by applying common sense and cutting through the bureaucracy.

NASA and DoD need the same direct reform approach that Citizen Trump brought to the New York City bureaucracy.

If President Trump and Vice President Pence take on an American breakout in space as a project to be managed and demand a review every month of the changes in the large bureaucracies, they will be astounded by how fast things develop – and how far we will have come by the end of Trump’s second term.

As a last observation, we cannot forget that this is a national security race with China for the industrialization of space. The winner will secure economic and military might for the next 100 years.

The British largely wrote maritime law because England controlled the sea trade. America wrote the rules of air travel because we had the largest commercial air sector. China intends to win the new space race, so it can write the rules of the road for space and make up for its bad decision in the late 1300s to ban sea trade (which led to China’s century of humiliation).

As Vice President Pence said at the Space Symposium, those brave Americans who helped us win the first space race “chose to lead in space, not just to propel our economy and ensure our national security, but above all because they knew that the rules and the values of space –- like every great frontier –- will be written by those who have the courage to get there first and the commitment to stay.”

It is vital that Americans – as a free people – focus our energy and resources toward leading the human race into space within the framework of freedom and the rule of law.

If America fails to capitalize on this opportunity and concedes space to other countries, we will likely see our own century of humiliation.

Instead, we should follow the Vice President’s words and have “the courage to dream bigger, the determination to work harder, the confidence to push farther than the trailblazers who showed us the way, [and] meet the future that awaits.”

This is how America will lead the world in the centuries to come.
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, America in Space, 2024 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

DNC Delusions, Winning, Officers Down

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: DNC Delusions - In spite of all the evidence that the "Russia collusion" narrative is collapsing around them (see below), Democrats are doubling down on their delusions. The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the president, his campaign, members of his family and Russia.

The lawsuit claims that Russia hacked the DNC's server in order to harm Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump, "whose policies would benefit the Kremlin."

The idea that Trump's policies would benefit Russia is laughable. He is rebuilding our military and pushing our allies to rebuild their militaries. He has been far tougher on Putin than Obama and Clinton ever were.

The left has never been tough on Russia. If anything, Putin would have preferred another liberal Democrat in the White House.

Remember, my friends, Robert Mueller has already issued indictments against several Russians and Russian entities for their election-related meddling. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made it clear that no American "was a knowing participant in this illegal activity" and nothing the Russians did affected the result of the election.

What could the DNC possibly know that Mueller and Rosenstein don't know?

Speaking of things we don't know, the Trump campaign should countersue and demand access to the DNC's server. Perhaps then we could find out what the DNC was hiding from the FBI!

This lawsuit is an act of utter desperation. It seems to me that Democrats have concluded that Mueller and his team of liberal lawyers are likely to exonerate the president, so they are launching some kind of preemptive publicity stunt to keep their radical base fired up for the elections.

We cannot allow the extreme left to control Congress.

Winning! There were multiple breaking stories last night regarding the Mueller investigation, and virtually everything was breaking our away. Here's my analysis.

McCabe's Firing - When former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired, Big Media, the NeverTrumpers and the Schumer/Pelosi gang insisted that McCabe was purged due to the White House's meddling in the Russia investigation.

Some insisted that McCabe's firing was "evidence of obstruction of justice." Democrats felt so strongly that McCabe was a victim they even offered to hire him.

But yesterday's criminal referral against McCabe, by an Obama-appointed inspector general, is a big win for the White House.

It completely destroys the narrative that McCabe was fired because of pressure from the president. He was fired because he is a leaker and a liar -- not exactly the qualities we need at the FBI. (More on that below.)

McCabe now faces the same charge that Michael Flynn was accused of. It cannot be that Flynn committed a crime and McCabe did not. McCabe must be prosecuted.

Rosenstein's Visit - The second win last night was the news that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered to the president last week. When Rosenstein unexpectedly showed up at the White House last Thursday, it triggered a wave of reports that he was about to be fired. Again, fake news.

We now know Rosenstein told President Trump that he was not a target in the Cohen raid. This appears to be a win for the president too.

But something seems odd here. The amount of material seized from Cohen was enormous. It is doubtful investigators have been able to go through it all. So how could Rosenstein possibly know whether or not the president is or could become a target of the Cohen investigation?

I worry this may be another effort to tempt the president to sit down with Robert Mueller to "clear all this up." I still think that would be extremely ill-advised.

The Memos - The third win was the release of the memos James Comey wrote in order to memorialize his early conversations with President Trump. Two things jumped out at me.

In a March memo, Comey wrote, "I reminded [Trump] that I had told him we weren't investigating him and that I had told the Congressional leadership the same thing." Comey added that the president was pleased and said it would be "great if that could get out."

It is easy to understand the president's frustration. The director of the FBI says Trump is not under investigation, but he wouldn't tell the public that. Meanwhile, the media and the left were smearing Trump day after day.

In the same exchange, Comey wrote that Trump said, "if there was some satellite [a campaign staffer or other associate] that did something, it would be good to find that out."

Right there it is clear that President Trump was not trying to shut down the investigation. He simply wanted to get the truth out -- that he wasn't being investigated -- in order to end the left's non-stop lies and innuendo -- that Trump colluded with Russia and is an illegitimate president.

In another memo recounting a White House dinner Comey had with the president, Trump asked Comey if he wanted to stay on as director of the FBI. Comey replied that he did. "I don't do sneaky things," Comey assured the president. "I don't leak. I don't do weasel moves."

For a guy who presents himself as so honorable, this was breathtaking! We know now that he did sneaky things. He did leak. He did a lot of weasel moves.

And I am pleased to report that James Comey is now under investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general for leaking classified information.

Comey's memos prove Trump did not try to obstruct the investigation, that he was not under investigation and that Comey is a sneaky, leaking, lying weasel. That is a big win for the White House.

Rudy To The Rescue - Lastly, it was announced yesterday evening that former federal prosecutor and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was joining the president's legal team. Giuliani's appointment is being presented as a short-term assignment to wind down the Mueller investigation. For the good of the country, I certainly hope that is possible.

Meanwhile, the Huber investigation into the Deep State needs to massively ramp up. As political analyst Michael Barone observed:

"As the likelihood of the charges of Trump campaign 'collusion' with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of 'collusion' seems headed upward toward certainty."

Officers Down - While all of us were enjoying our lunches yesterday, two sheriff's deputies in Florida went into a restaurant to enjoy theirs. As they were sitting down, a man walked up to the window and assassinated them.

Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz described Deputies Noel Ramirez, 30, and Taylor Lindsay, 25, as "the best of the best." Schultz added, "What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent that it's been demonized?"

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials in New York are on high alert following a credible threat that MS-13 gang members are plotting to assassinate police officers in retaliation for "making too many arrests."

The gang wants to "take the streets back and take out a cop." Just one more reason why President Trump's tough border security policies are so needed.

Please keep the men and women serving and protecting us on the thin Blue Line in your prayers.
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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New Bill Seeks To Push States To Require License To Buy Handgun

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.)
by Tom Knighton: It’s not enough that the anti-gunners are trying to take away our so-called assault rifles. No, that’s not nearly enough for them. Not that anyone thought it would be, mind you, but I didn’t expect them to ramp it up quite this soon.

The latest effort seeks to push states to establish handgun purchasing licenses in all 50 states. While it won’t require it, at least not yet, it’s still an effort to undermine our Second Amendment rights (emphasis mine).

Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), HR 5490 — otherwise known as the “Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act”—is framed as a means of reducing firearm homicide rates nationally.

...  HR 5490 calls for federal grants to be given to state, local and tribal governments. The governments would then develop and implement a handgun license scheme. To qualify, a state must have a law requiring that a handgun license applicant be at least 21. Furthermore, applicants would have to apply through enforcement agency. In addition, all applicants would be required to supply fingerprints and photographs, as well as pass a “background investigation” and a “criminal history check.”

Under HR 5490, a handgun license would be good for five years. After that, a person would have to go through the process all over again.

In addition, the measure is backed by numerous gun control organizations. The groups include the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; CT Against Gun Violence and the Newtown Action Alliance.
Time and time again, Etsy seems convinced that laws like this will actually work, and she presents supposed data that proves it.

But I don’t buy it.

The reason I don’t buy it is that we already know that criminals don’t buy their guns from gun stores. They simply don’t. Further, handgun purchasers–and every other kind of firearm purchaser–already go through a criminal history check and background check. They’re the same damn thing. And it’s because of these existing background checks that criminals tend to get guns through some other means.

Now, as bad as this bill is, it could be worse. It’s trying to provide a carrot rather than a stick to urge states to adopt this nonsense. I seriously doubt many states that don’t already use some kind of licensing scheme will adopt it just because the feds are offering money for it.

Then there’s the fact that the bill was first introduced a week ago and has a whopping two co-sponsors.

In the world of politics, the number of co-sponsors a bill has is a useful gauge as to how much support the bill has. Even in this rabidly anti-gun environment, liberal politicians don’t want any part of a bill like this.

While gun control activists love it, the average person doesn’t want their right to buy a handgun inhibited by this. Handguns are the preferred choice for self-defense weapons for most people, after all, and if they need a gun right away, licenses get in the way of them getting one.

“But why would anyone need to buy a gun in a hurry unless they have something bad planned?” an anti-gunner may ask.

To that, I simply point out that the moment you start getting death threats or you realize you have a stalker, you have a good reason to want a gun. The last thing you need to do is jump through hoops to get a license just so you can exercise your Second Amendment right to buy a pistol.

Luckily, I think this has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but it warrants keeping an eye on just in case.
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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Bang Your Head With the Left

by Tom Balek, Contributing Author: My conservative friends and I become more and more baffled every day at the logic-defying behavior and attitudes of our leftist brethren.

Today’s news features Image result for NRA blood on your handsyet another protest march – ostensibly inspired by school kids, but in reality organized, funded and scripted by hard left political organizations, and super-hyped by their allies in the news media.

It is just one more of the many provocations by today’s Democrats we endure day-by-day, hour-by-hour, demanding that we all must do something that doesn’t make any sense. When confronted with one of these absurdly irrational arguments I go through a head-shaking mental check-down. In this case:
  • How do we responsible, licensed gun owners have “blood on our hands” whenever a criminal perpetrates a crime?
  • Assault is already illegal. Does adding more laws make it even more illegal?
  • Criminals, by definition, break laws. Does limiting gun rights for everybody make criminals less likely to break the law?
    The left seizes every opportunity to protect criminals and to hamstring and disrespect law enforcement. How can they be surprised when more crimes happen?
  • The students who shoot up their classmates are almost always from fatherless homes. Why is the left so hell-bent on destroying the nuclear family and lauding single-motherhood?
  • And why aren’t these protester kids in school? Do their school boards sanction political indoctrination without the participation or consent of parents? Is this just the tip of the indoctrination iceberg?
I recently had an extended conversation on gun rights and school safety with an anti-gun group called “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America“. Well, it wasn’t really a conversation – a thinking person’s concept of conversation is that it requires listening as well as speaking. Leftists never listen. My logical challenges to their lengthy list of vapid talking points went completely unanswered.One of the “Moms” told me directly that I should not be trusted to carry a concealed weapon. She said if a terrorist or mentally ill person came in shooting the place up, she would try to talk him out of hurting anybody. She absolutely did not want me to protect her with my gun under any circumstances.
My head physically shakes again just remembering it. You see, I grew up in a world where some truths are just obvious. If you bang yourself in the head with a rock, it will hurt. Nothing can convince me otherwise. But somehow, today’s Democrats have convinced a large number of Americans that a rock on the head is a good thing.

Pick your rock. Should we invite everybody in the world to come and live here, no questions asked? Ouch, not good. Should we encourage our young children to choose the gender they want to be? Dang, that’s gonna hurt. Should we categorize and make assumptions about people based on their skin pigmentation? Ooh, that’s gonna leave a mark. Should we let anybody vote, any time and anywhere, without even asking for identification? Oww!

No wonder my head hurts every time I turn on the news.
Tom Balek is a fellow conservative activist, blogger, musician and contributes to the ARRA News Service. Tom resides in South Carolina and seeks to educate those too busy with their work and families to notice how close to the precipice our economy has come. He blogs at Rockin' On the Right Side

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Counter-Revolution In The Sanctuary State?

. . . Resistance to California’s unconstitutional laws shielding illegals is growing.
by Matthew Vadum: California’s grossly unconstitutional obstruction of federal immigration laws is feeding a growing backlash by local governments against the state’s unprecedented sanctuary laws that shield its 2.4 million illegal aliens from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).

There is a "little bit of a revolution going on in California" over "sanctuary cities," President Trump told reporters yesterday in Key West, Fla.

"Drugs are flowing into our country," he said. "We need border protection. We need the wall. We have to have the wall. The Democrats don't want to approve the wall because they think [opposing it is] good politically, but it's not." He added that human trafficking is "worse than it's ever been in the history of the world."

"If you look at what's happening in California with sanctuary cities — people are really going the opposite way," Trump continued. "They don't want sanctuary cities. There's a little bit of a revolution going on in California."

This righteous, patriotic blowback is taking the form of Golden State localities opting out of the state laws, and in some cases, joining the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California’s months-old “sanctuary state” laws that punish compliance with federal immigration laws and provide legal cover for corrupt officials to continue brazenly flouting immigration laws and interfering with federal agents trying to enforce them.

In a big symbolic win for the rule of law, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 1 this week to support the lawsuit. With 3.3 million residents, the county is the largest locality to back the pro-immigration law enforcement push. Within the county, Escondido’s city council voted 4 to 1 on April 4 to join the lawsuit.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously March 27 to join the lawsuit. The county has a population of around 3.2 million people.

Other local governments have taken action, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Los Alamitos (population 11,600) was the first to speak out on March 19 by opting out of the sanctuary laws. It was later joined in showing support for the Trump administration in one fashion or another by Dana Point (34,012), Aliso Viejo (51,424), Fountain Valley (56,529), Huntington Beach (200,652), Mission Viejo (200,652), Newport Beach (86,688), Orange (140,504), San Juan Capistrano (36,276), Westminster (91,565) and Yorba Linda (68,235).In a move orchestrated by the American Civil Liberties Union and other illegal alien lobbies, residents in Los Alamitos filed a new lawsuit against their city for opting out of the sanctuary state legal regime.

"You can't hurt people in your community so you get airtime on Fox News," Jessica Karp Bansal, litigation director for the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) and an attorney for the plaintiffs was quoted saying.

Antsy Democrats have been slinging invective and abuse at Los Alamitos officials for weeks. California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon (D) said the move by Los Alamitos to support federal law was "a symbolic vote in favor of President Trump's racist immigration enforcement policies."

The deadline for participating in the federal lawsuit has now passed but localities are likely to find other ways to back the legal proceedings such as by passing resolutions endorsing it.

Paso Robles is considering becoming the first city in San Luis Obispo County to officially oppose sanctuary state laws after residents complained they were "under attack" and facing an "illegal alien invasion," reports the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

"We live in a beautiful town, a beautiful place, and we want to keep it that way," local resident Linda Becker told city council. "Sanctuary cities are disrespectful to the rule of law."

The federal lawsuit specifically targets three statutes curbing the power of California’s state and local law enforcement to hold, question, and transfer detainees at the request of immigration authorities, and punish employers for cooperating with those authorities. The laws also impose draconian restrictions on communication between local police and federal immigration enforcement, including information regarding when criminal aliens are scheduled to be released from local jails.

Under the longstanding doctrine in American constitutional law known as “dual sovereignty,” states cannot be compelled to enforce federal immigration laws, but they are obliged not to hinder their enforcement. The so-called sanctuary cities that form the bulk of the sanctuary movement really ought to be called traitor cities because they are in open rebellion against the United States, just like the slave states that seceded from the Union before the Civil War.

The sanctuary movement gave illegal aliens permission to rob, rape, and murder Americans by, among other things, stigmatizing immigration enforcement and characterizing it as somehow racist. Some left-wingers use the dreadful euphemism "civil liberties safe zones" to describe sanctuary jurisdictions. The phrase deliberately blurs the distinction between citizens and non-citizens by implying illegal aliens somehow possess a civil right to be present in the U.S.

The U.S. Border Patrol is reportedly fighting back against California’s openly seditious statewide sanctuary laws by refusing to hand over illegal aliens with felony warrants to police in California, as previously reported.

Federal prosecutors are considering filing criminal charges against elected officials harboring illegal aliens in sanctuary jurisdictions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-January.

With luck, federal prosecutors will soon do less considering, and more charging and indicting.
Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers." He writes for FrontPage Mag

Tags: >Matthew Vadum, FrontPage Mag, Counter-Revolution, The Sanctuary State, California, resistance, unconstitutional laws, shielding illegals To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Judicial Watch Sues DOJ for Comey-Mueller Communications

Fired FBI Director Comey stated that he provided memos of his conversations with President Trump to Special Counsel Mueller and his team.
Judicial Watch; announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for all records of communications relating to former FBI Director James Comey’s providing memoranda of his conversations with President Trump to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00932)).

The suit was filed after the FBI informed Judicial Watch that it would neither “confirm nor deny” the existence of the materials for an August 4, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
  • All records of communications between former FBI Director James Comey and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or members of SC Mueller’s investigative committee, relating to the return of memoranda of conversations, memoranda to the file or notes regarding same generated by Comey following conversations with government officials during his tenure as FBI Director.
On January 19, 2018, the FBI provided Judicial Watch a “Glomar” response, stating that it could, “neither confirm nor deny that the specific items you seek exist or do not exist as mere acknowledgment of these items would require the FBI to confirm or refute these assumptions,” which it claims could possibly interfere with law enforcement proceedings.

Comey’s involvement with the special counsel was first revealed on June 8, 2017, when the former FBI director testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he leaked memos of his conversations with President Trump “because (he) thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

On January 23, 2018, The New York Times reported that, “Mr. Comey met last year with Mr. Mueller’s investigators to answer questions about memos he wrote detailing interactions with the president that had unnerved him.”

On June 13, 2017, Politico reported that Columbia University Law professor Daniel Richmond, a friend of James Comey, “turned over copies of the former FBI director’s explosive memos… to the FBI, sidestepping a request by congressional committees to deliver the materials to Capitol Hill.”

Judicial Watch currently has several other lawsuits pending that seek information regarding the “Comey memos:”
  • In June 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking the memorandum written by former Director James Comey memorializing his meeting and conversation with President Trump regarding the FBI’s investigation of potential Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01189)).
  • In July 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking metadata of the “Comey memos” and related records-management information (Judicial Watch, Inc., v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 17-cv-01520));
  • In August 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking the handling, storage, protection, dissemination, and/or return of classified information signed by Comey (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01624)).
  • In September 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation against the U.S. Department of Justice seeking memoranda allegedly written by former FBI Director James Comey regarding his discussions with President Donald Trump and Trump’s aides (Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01830)).
  • In January 2018, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the FBI to turn over the “Comey memos” for in camera review by the court. In doing so, the court rejected arguments by the Sessions Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuits seeking the Comey information. On February 2, Boasberg ruled that the “Comey memos” would not be made public. Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation are appealing the ruling.
  • In January 2018, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Justice Department for FBI records about Comey’s book, as well as records of communications between Comey and the FBI prior to and regarding Comey’s controversial June 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00220)).
“Did Comey improperly funnel his dishonest memos and collude with the Mueller special counsel operation as part of a vendetta against President Trump?” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Why is the DOJ still protecting James Comey and the out-of-control Mueller operation?”

Tags: Judicial Watch, sues DOJ, Comey-Mueller, communications 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 Governor Seeks Increase the Homestead Property Tax Credit

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson: In Arkansas, we keep looking for ways to put money back in taxpayers’ pockets. Just this week, I announced my support for legislation next year that will increase the state’s Homestead Property Tax Credit from $350 to $375. Arkansas homeowners deserve a break, and with our state’s growing economy and conservative budget, we can afford to make this change.

The Homestead Property Tax Credit came into being in 2001 after Arkansas voters approved Amendment 79 to the state constitution. The original tax credit was $300, and in the years since, it has risen to $350. The extra $25 credit will be a relief for homeowners without any extra cost to counties.

In granting the tax break, the proponents wanted to protect counties from economic harm through the loss of tax revenue. So the General Assembly passed enabling legislation to levy a statewide 1/2-cent sales tax. That money goes to the Property Tax Relief Trust Fund. The money from that fund, in turn, goes to counties to reimburse them for the loss created by the credit.

In a meeting in February, the executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties asked me to support the idea of the $25 increase, and he followed up with a letter explaining why this was a good time for the change.

I asked the Department of Finance and Administration to analyze the impact of the increase. The department’s analysis demonstrates that this plan is the right thing to do.

The new credit will reduce taxes to counties by almost $18 million. At the end of the Fiscal Year 2017, the balance of the tax relief fund was $78 million, which is more than sufficient to cover the increased tax credit.

So I offer my enthusiastic support for increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit.

Any idea that allows us to put money back in the hands of Arkansas taxpayers can be a good idea.

I am confident the General Assembly will approve this change so it will become a reality next year.

Tags: Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson, seeks increase, Homestead Property Tax Credit To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Why the Authoritarian Right Is Rising

by Patrick Buchanan: A fortnight ago, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party won enough seats in the Hungarian parliament to rewrite his country’s constitution.

To progressives across the West, this was disturbing news.

For the bete noire of Orban’s campaign was uber-globalist George Soros. And Orban’s commitments were to halt any further surrenders of Hungarian sovereignty and independence to the European Union, and to fight any immigrant invasion of Hungary from Africa or the Islamic world.

Why are autocrats like Orban rising and liberal democrats failing in Europe? The autocrats are addressing the primary and existential fear of peoples across the West — the death of the separate and unique tribes into which they were born and to which they belong.

Modern liberals and progressives see nations as transitory — here today, gone tomorrow. The autocrats, however, have plugged into the most powerful currents running in this new century: tribalism and nationalism.

The democracy worshippers of the West cannot compete with the authoritarians in meeting the crisis of our time because they do not see what is happening to the West as a crisis.

They see us as on a steady march into a brave new world, where democracy, diversity and equality will be everywhere celebrated.

To understand the rise of Orban, we need to start seeing Europe and ourselves as so many of these people see us.

Hungary is a thousand years old. Its people have a DNA all their own. They belong to a unique and storied nation of 10 million with its own language, religion, history, heroes, culture and identity.

Though a small nation, two-thirds of whose lands were torn away after World War I, Hungarians wish to remain and endure as who they are.

They don’t want open borders. They don’t want mass migrations to change Hungary into something new. They don’t want to become a minority in their own country. And they have used democratic means to elect autocratic men who will put the Hungarian nation first.

U.S. elites may babble on about “diversity,” about how much better a country we will be in 2042 when white European Christians are just another minority and we have become a “gorgeous mosaic” of every race, tribe, creed and culture on earth.

To Hungarians, such a future entails the death of the nation. To Hungarians, millions of African, Arab and Islamic peoples settling in their lands means the annihilation of the historic nation they love, the nation that came into being to preserve the Hungarian people.

President Emmanuel Macron of France says the Hungarian and other European elections where autocrats are advancing are manifestations of “national selfishness.”

Well, yes, national survival can be considered national selfishness.

But let Monsieur Macron bring in another 5 million former subject peoples of the French Empire and he will discover that the magnanimity and altruism of the French has its limits, and a Le Pen will soon replace him in the Elysee Palace.

Consider what else the “world’s oldest democracy” has lately had on offer to the indigenous peoples of Europe resisting an invasion of Third World settlers coming to occupy and repopulate their lands.

Our democracy boasts of a First Amendment freedom of speech and press that protects blasphemy, pornography, filthy language and the burning of the American flag. We stand for a guaranteed right of women to abort their children and of homosexuals to marry.

We offer the world a freedom of religion that prohibits the teaching of our cradle faith and its moral code in our public schools.

Our elites view this as social progress upward from a dark past.

To much of the world, however, America has become the most secularized and decadent society on earth, and the title the ayatollah bestowed upon us, “The Great Satan,” is not altogether undeserved.

And if what “our democracy” has delivered here has caused tens of millions of Americans to be repulsed and to secede into social isolation, why would other nations embrace a system that produced so poisoned a politics and so polluted a culture?

“Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the march,” writes The Washington Post: “Democracy as an ideal and in practice seems under siege.” Yes, and there are reasons for this.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,” said John Adams. And as we have ceased to be a moral and religious people, the poet T. S. Eliot warned us what would happen:

“The term ‘democracy’ … does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces you dislike — it can be easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and he is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler and Stalin.” Recall: Hitler rose to power through a democratic election.

Democracy lacks content. As a political system, it does not engage the heart. And if Europe’s peoples see their leaders as accommodating a transnational EU, while failing to secure national borders, they will use democracy to replace them with men of action.
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, Authoritarian Right, Rising To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Communism and a Grocery Store

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Dr. Anne Bradley has been on my radio program and in one of her articles, she talks about her first trip to the Soviet Union. Even as a teenager she could see through the attempt to make Russia look more prosperous than it was. In fact, her visit was one of the reasons she became an economist. She ends her article by telling the true story of what happened when Boris Yeltsin visited the United States.

He was newly elected to the Soviet Parliament and the Supreme Soviet. After he visited the Johnson Space Center, he made an unscheduled stop at Randall’s Grocery Store in Houston. This trip to a simple grocery store changed him forever.

Yeltsin roamed the aisles to see the number of products available to every customer. They were offering free cheese samples. He was overwhelmed. He could not believe the bounty before him. Even members of the elite Politburo did not have the choices available to every person who walked into the store.

A reporter captured his comments in an article in the Houston Chronicle. “When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons, and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people.” He went on to say, “That such a potentially, super-rich country as ours had been brought to a state of such poverty! It is terrible to think of it.”

What a statement from a man who was powerful and well connected politically. He may have had great political power in Russia, but he was powerless to provide to the Russian people what was typical for all Americans. The communist government failed to provide the basic necessities for their people. This is what happens in a centrally controlled economy.

This is a lesson we need to pass on to our children and grandchildren. The abundance of goods on the shelves of that Houston grocery store weren’t provided by the government. They were provided by a free market.
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, Communism, Grocery Store To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Black Coffee Matters . . .

. . . Starbucks Coffee, accused of racism, is shutting down 8000 stores for employee bias training. Can you say overreaction?
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Arkansas Proposed Amendment Puts a Price Tag on Life

“We oppose Issue One (in Arkansas) because it puts a price tag on human life. Most people would agree that we should never put a value on human life unless the word ‘priceless’ is involved. Issue One not only puts a dollar value on human life, but a pretty low value at that—just $500,000.” ~ Jerry Cox, Family Council, Arkansas

Rose Mimms
by Rose Mimms: For the last 30 years of my life, I’ve been devoted to making a difference for life. I am on a mission from God. It’s really rather simple. My faith taught me that every single human life is created in the image of Almighty God and is immeasurably valuable, assigned intrinsic worth and precious in His sight. As members of the human family our individual lives are unique yet the sanctity and dignity of each person is equal. Life matters. Life is priceless and that’s why in November, I am voting against Issue One in Arkansas.

We live in a culture that for the last 45 years has eroded the value of human life by waging war on the unborn child. It is not hard to believe that every step since further lessens the value of each and every other single human life and contributes to the breakdown of all that has ever been good, noble and desirable about America. Doing everything possible to build, enhance and protect a true culture of life is crucial. Culture matters and a culture that values life more, instead of valuing it less is imperative in a day when little seems sacred anymore; where right and wrong are no longer taught as absolutes.

I’ve been untiring in my efforts to protect and defend unborn children from the horrors of abortion. Arkansas was recently named the second most pro-life state in the nation because of the laws that we have passed to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from the tragic decision of abortion. When I first began my involvement in 1988 there were four independent abortion providers within five miles of each other in Little Rock. Today there is one independent surgical abortion provider in Little Rock; and two Planned Parenthoods one in Little Rock and one in Fayetteville that provide chemical abortion.

Issue One presents itself as a “tort reform” bill designed to limit greedy lawyer fees and stop out of control lawsuits. However, this is not their end game. In reality, this proposed amendment puts a one size fits all, arbitrary value of human life in our state constitution. After all our great work to create a culture of life in Arkansas and our efforts to protect and defend vulnerable human life, putting a dollar amount of the value of a human life in our Constitution at a maximum of $500,000 violates all we hold dear and erodes our own pro-life efforts and create a climate that could attract more abortion providers to our state.

When someone is killed by a drunk driver, harmed by a bad medical procedure, abused by a daycare worker, neglected in a nursing home or injured by greedy foreign manufacturer or abortion provider then their best hope of some measure of justice is in court with a jury of their peers--every day, common sense Arkansans. Each case, each circumstance and each life is given the respect of a trial, consideration of all the facts and the ability to make a judgment or award that appropriately fits that unique situation. If Issue One passes juries will not be able to award more than $500,000 in non-economic damages no matter the circumstance or situation.

The way these judgments work is by awarding damages in three categories: 1. economic damages--these are losses you can easily add up on a calculator such as lost wages, or damages to your property; 2. non-economic--these are damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, trauma and loss of life and require case by case evaluation. These are real damages that cannot be easily measured in dollars such as losing a limb, living with a brain injury, rape, being permanently disfigured or being paralyzed; and lastly, 3. punitive damages--damages awarded strictly as punishment or to deter wrong conduct. These are more difficult to secure and are rarely awarded.

Issue One would put an arbitrary cap of $500,000 on non-economic and caps punitive damages. In real life this means that if a 40 year old successful business man is killed negligently then his life could be worth millions because you could calculate his current earnings and multiply them out for the future. If a stay at home mom, a child or infant, a retired veteran, an individual with Down Syndrome or other genetic disorder who isn’t employed or a nursing home resident who dies as a result of abuse or someone else’s error or negligence then those lives are all capped at a value never to exceed $500,000. The jury simply can’t award a family more, even if it wanted to do so. Think of your loved ones, would you ever put a price tag on their lives?

Ultimately, Issue One says that some lives are more valuable than others. It says that your life’s value is determined by your what you earn at the time of a tragedy. It says that Arkansans on juries can’t hear the facts and award a family $1 million dollars for the abuse of their child who was left brain damaged or the neglect of their elderly mother in a nursing home. Issue One is one more step in devaluing life in a culture where we simply can’t afford any more slips down that slope.

I grew up knowing that the threat of strong punishment is an important deterrent for wrong behavior and practices. The threat of a huge settlement should always be in the back of the minds of nursing homes, car manufacturers, bridge and building builders and others. If your college age daughter dies in a car crash because of a faulty brake line, does it really seem fair that her life is only worth $500,000? Do you think that amount deters a $1 billion dollar automobile company? Do we think long term care facilities and nursing homes will improve their care if Issue One passes? Unlikely. Good nursing homes will continue to do a great job, while bad actors will take advantage of the new caps to cut more corners.

I have personal experience with the nursing home industry in the care of my mother. Over the course of her illness, rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s and death she was a resident at a number of different facilities in Little Rock. Our nursing homes are filled with people from the greatest generation. Heroes who defended our freedoms, built our country, raised us to love our faith, our families and our country. If Issue One passes we put their lives at greater peril. We risk decline in the care they receive and an increase in neglect. It’s a risk we cannot and must not take.

Momma never wanted to live in a nursing home and told me once that if a mother can take care of seven children, seven children should be able to take care of one mother. Sadly, we couldn’t and a nursing home was where she lived the last six months of her life and where she died.The Alzheimer’s killed her but I know from witnessing it myself that the nursing homes were all understaffed, overworked and most likely underpaid for the care that was expected. My mother had a family that visited often and was vigilant in her care, but so many residents don’t have that support. If a resident is injured, neglected or the victim of a crime the nursing home should be held responsible and liable for any damages. A cap of $500,000 does nothing to deter future bad behavior and could only encourage it in my opinion.

Creating a culture of life means valuing every single life. It means that public policy must always err on the side of safeguarding the value of life and creating a culture of life. Lawsuit caps proposed by Issue One may please the nursing home industry and even abortion clinics who often harm vulnerable women but it’s wrong for Arkansas. Every life: the businessman, the mom at home, the child in school, the infirmed, the disabled, elderly, and the unborn are equally valuable. Each has been created in the image of a loving God. Life is priceless and we can’t let special interest and politicians place a price tag on life here in Arkansas. I hope you’ll join me in November by voting against Issue One.
Rose Mimms is a respected and recognized pro-life advocate who has served as the Executive Director of the Arkansas Right to Life for over twenty years. This op-ed represents her own personal views as a passionate advocate for life, and does not reflect an official position on Issue One by Arkansas Right to Life. Her Article was also shared on Townhall.

Tags: Arkansas, Issue One, Constitutional Amendment, puts price tag on life, Rose Mimms, Arkansas Right to Life 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 Yellow and White Lines

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: If I’ve heard it one million times, I’ve heard it ten: “We already have term limits; they’re called elections.” A statement usually offered as the beginning and end of wisdom regarding the problems term limits are designed to tackle.

Equally “profound” is the collateral claim that “the only term limits we need are an informed electorate.”

Such generalities “prove” too much. Any formal restraint of government could be thus airily dismissed.
  • “The only Bill of Rights we need is an informed electorate.”
  • “The only checks and balances we need are an informed electorate.”
  • “The only prerequisites for running for office we need are an informed electorate.”
If formal rules don’t matter, why write these things down or try to enforce them in light of principle and precedent? Just get your informed electorate and let the informed electorate handle it.

To preserve and strengthen our republic and our liberties, we do need an informed electorate. We also need many other things, including well-known, widely accepted, consultable, objective limits on government power.

One such limit limits terms.

Term limits on legislators, executives and even judges combat political corruption, empower informed voters, and give informed and capable electoral challengers more opportunities to effectively present their ideas.

The fact that a given political or cultural factor is crucial to the commonweal doesn’t mean that no other factors are also crucial.

Don’t tell drivers of cars that all they need are skills and gas. You also need lines on the road — limits to keep us out of the ditch, and from head-on collisions.

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

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Charter Schools Continue To Show The Need For School Choice

by Natalia Castro: Charter schools are transforming American education. For the country’s most at risk students, charter schools are playing a critical role in building educational opportunities for students. As the Department of Education expands charter school use, studies proving their effectiveness have begun pouring into academia, proving that school choice is the best path toward educational advancement.

The biannual National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) has released their 2017 National Report Cards assessing achievement across American schools through controlled variables. On a national level, charter schools appear to be even with non-charter schools, but John Valant of the Brookings Institute explains there is a clear reason why. In his March 2016 article, Valant explains charter schools are often clustered in urban areas and use a lottery system to take on a district’s most poor and underserved students. This allows them to show particular growth in America’s most needed areas.

This is further illustrated by the NAEP report, which showed on the district level, charter schools far outperform traditional schools. In America’s most diverse cities, charter schools are leading the way.

In Atlanta, with 19 percent of schools now being charter schools, charter school students produce average math test scores that are 17 points higher than their non-charter school counterparts. Similarly, in Los Angeles, charter school students score on average 28 points higher on math test scores.

In Cleveland, Ohio’s most diverse county, charter school students score on average 18 points higher than their non-charter counterparts on reading exams. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s most diverse county, charter school students outperform non-charter school students on reading test scores by 14 points.

The Center for Public Education fact sheet on charter schools attests this is due to diverse teaching staffs that can teach free from excessive state and federal regulations. With the ability to craft entire curriculums around student success, charter schools are able to experiment different methods of success.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has seen these positive impacts first hand in her home state of Michigan.

Findings from a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan compared students who received admittance into a charter school system through a lottery with those who also applied for the lottery but got denied in order to measure school success. While transitioning students showed the smallest progress, by the time charter school students graduated they displayed higher scores in both math and reading.

But this was by far the greatest impact.

In these Michigan charter schools, teachers are 47 percent more likely to be viewed as mentors than administrators. Principles observe teaching roughly 9 hours per day versus roughly 2 hours in traditional schools, due to administrative tasks. While teachers are paid less in charter schools, they are 20 percent more likely to receive performance bonuses.

Charter schools encourage the entire administrative staff to work for and with students, thus creating a holistically stronger learning environment. Last September, Secretary DeVos decided to allocate significant funds toward charter school development. Across the country, for our most at-risk students, those funds are paying off. But states do not have to wait federal intervention, they are already proving that once broken free from centralized control, particularly in urban areas, charter schools are providing better opportunities for the nation’s most at risk students.
Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Charter Schools, School Choice, Natalia Castro, Americans for Limited Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Budget Director Mulvaney To Ask Congress to Cut Spending in ‘Coming Weeks’

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney
by Rachel del Guidice: Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says his staff will soon be sending a package to Congress to rescind some of the planned spending in the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill signed last month by President Donald Trump.

“[We] hope to have something here in the next couple weeks,” Mulvaney said Wednesday during a House appropriations subcommittee meeting, reports The Washington Times.

Conservative lawmakers, such as Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., want Trump to send a rescission request to Congress to cancel nondefense spending that the legislators previously approved in the 2,000-plus-page omnibus bill.

“We need a plan right now, where the White House and then the House leadership both say, ‘Look Mitch, there’s plenty of money just sitting around in pots, where we can buy significant savings for the American people after that omni[bus], and we want to show them we are serious about fiscal responsibility,’ and so that’s what it is going to take,” Brat told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that he does not favor such an effort.

“You can’t make an agreement one month and say, ‘OK, we really didn’t mean it,'” McConnell said on Fox News. “[Trump] agreed to it. He was involved in the negotiation and signed the bill … We had a deal with the Democrats.”

But Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, disagrees.

“Once again, Mitch McConnell is making excuses for why Republicans cannot do what we all promised in the past,” Walker said Tuesday in a statement. “His latest rejection of President Trump’s spending cuts shows that McConnell prioritizes his backroom deal with Democrats over Republicans’ promise to rein in government excess.”

To start the rescission process, the president must send a request or requests to Congress. Once he does so, Congress has 45 in-session days to act.

Rescissions are introduced as legislation in both the House and Senate and referred to a committee; they may be thrown out if the committee does not act in 25 days.

Rescissions used to be commonplace, as presidents in between Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton “sent up tons of the rescission requests,” according to Paul Winfree, director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

In an op-ed published April 12 by The Washington Times, Brat wrote the first item on the chopping block should be an item from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Let’s start with cutting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Gateway Project, a pork project that would build a new tunnel to connect New Jersey and New York,” Brat wrote. “The estimated cost of the project has doubled in the last decade and a single shovel hasn’t even pierced the ground. Why should taxpayers from my state have to pay for this?”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., appeared to signal initial support for the resissions push on Tuesday.

“Rescissions are not about the [omnibus] — it’s about saving money,” McCarthy said. “You could have some unencumbered funds that are still out there from past times … If you look under Clinton, during Clinton’s administration they did it 111 times. Reagan proposed 600 times to do this. It’s a way to save money.”

Trump signed the omnibus bill March 23, after tweeting that he might veto it, and Brat said he is hopeful a rescission package will pass if the White House supports the push.
“I think it’s got a chance if the White House and House leadership together try to team up and tell the Senate, ‘Hey, it’s about time you guys got to look out for the American people here, and it should be made in public if it needs to be,” Brat said.

Jason Pye, vice president of legislative affairs at FreedomWorks, told The Daily Signal in an email that there is no reason why Congress shouldn’t pass a rescissions package.

“Presidents from [Richard] Nixon to Clinton used this valuable tool, with Congress working to meet their requests,” Pye said. “It hasn’t been used for several years, but Congress should use it now to right the wrongs of the budget and the omnibus and work with President Trump to pass rescissions. There is no portion of this spending bill that could not stand to see very significant spending cuts.”
Rachel del Guidice (@LRacheldG)is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program.

Tags: Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, To Ask Congress, Cut Spending, Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal 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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