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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)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sen. Ted Cruz Warns Tax Dollars Going to ‘Anti-American Dictator’ in Nicaragua

Sen. Ted Cruz
by Rachel del Guidice Se:n. Ted Cruz says a bill he introduced with colleagues will help put the corrupt government of Nicaragua on notice and give aid to the Nicaraguan citizens participating in protests around the country.

“This bipartisan legislation directs U.S. officials to oppose international loans to the government of Nicaragua until the Ortega regime is held accountable for its oppressive, anti-democratic actions and the secretary of state certifies that Nicaragua is taking effective steps to hold free and fair elections,” Cruz, R-Texas, said Wednesday, speaking about the Nicaraguan Investment Conditional Act.

Since April 18, Nicaragua has seen the most massive protests in decades to resist its authoritarian government led by former communist revolutionary Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, his vice president who is also his wife.

The protests of the government have resulted in dozens of deaths, BBC reported.

Cruz said American taxpayers are fueling Ortega’s corrupt leadership.
“We are paying for this communist oppression,” Cruz said. “Any such money should be directly tied to basic democratic reforms. Otherwise these loans are just benevolent charity for a dictator, and not just any dictator.”

He has sporadically ruled Nicaragua since 1979 and lawfully won his election in 2006, “but since then has manufactured ‘wins’ in each election cycle.”

“We are taking the American taxpayer dollars and giving them to an anti-American dictator, who oppresses his own people and seeks to undermine the national security interest of our own country,” he added.

Nicaragua receives money from international financial institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and and the Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. has been the largest contributor to these organizations.

According to a recent commentary from Ana Quintana, a policy analyst for Latin America at The Heritage Foundation, Ortega is set on ending Nicaragua’s democracy.

The Texas senator said the bill, currently in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would counter Ortega’s regime by promoting democracy.

“What this bill does is to prioritize loans for the promotion of democracy and basic human needs,” Cruz said. “In order to gain U.S. approval, they would need to show marked improvement in human rights, hold free and fair elections and strengthen the rule of law, and protect the right of political opposition parties, journalists, and human rights defenders.”

Cruz said the country has no choice but to act to address the situation in Nicaragua.

“It is past time that the United States took swift action to sanction those who systematically undermine democratic order and human rights and to demonstrate our commitment to the Nicaraguan people,” Cruz said.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Quintana said the U.S. should remember the lesson of Venezuela, which is seeing a severe economic crisis, prompting at least 1 million people to enter Colombia from Venezuela since last year as a result of its socialist government.

“Hugo Chavez was democratically elected and Hugo Chavez little by little started chipping away at the institutions of Venezuela and everybody stayed quiet because they didn’t think it could get as bad,” Quintana said. “Now look at the situation Venezuela is in 20 years later, they are in a place where it took Cuba over 50 years to get to, Venezuela is there in about 20 years.”
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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: Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal, Sen. Ted Cruz, Warns, Tax Dollars, Going to Anti-American Dictator, Nicaragua To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Friday, May 11, 2018

‘Good News For Middle-Class Workers and Families’

‘Good News For Middle-Class Workers and Families’

Unemployment Rate At 17-Year Low, Small Business Optimism On The Rise

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “It seems that every day brings another piece of good news for middle-class workers and families … For eight years, Democrats operated from the left-wing premise that businesses need to lose in order for workers to win…. Fortunately, Republicans have taken a different approach -- one that doesn’t assume that Washington bureaucrats know best. We know that American workers can only thrive if thriving American businesses are creating jobs and raising wages. So we’ve worked to enact an inclusive opportunity agenda to bring greater prosperity to everyone. And that is exactly what’s beginning to happen.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/08/2018)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): “The unemployment rate is now down to 3.9 percent. It’s the lowest rate in more than 17 years…. The American economy has created three million jobs since President Trump took office. That’s three million Americans who are now earning a paycheck instead of waiting for a government check…. Millions of people have gotten new jobs that didn’t exist before. Millions of other people have been able to switch jobs, move up in their careers, and make more money…. That’s the kind of change that’s possible under Republican, pro-growth policies. It’s things like a national economy that’s growing larger – and growing faster that the American people are seeing today.” (Sen. Barrasso, Press Release, 5/09/2018)

Unemployment Drops To The Lowest Level In 17 Years While Job Openings ‘Hit A Record’

“Unemployment in the U.S. fell in April to one of the lowest levels of the post-World War II era, the result of a historically long jobs expansion that shows little evidence of slowing. The jobless rate fell to 3.9% from 4.1% a month earlier, hitting the lowest level since December 2000, the Labor Department said …” (U.S. Jobless Rate Falls Below 4% For First Time Since Late 2000,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/04/2018)
“Job openings in the United States just hit a record … American businesses can't hire workers fast enough. The United States had a record 6.6 million job openings at the end of March. That's the most since the Labor Department started keeping track in 2000…. There are now about as many openings as there are unemployed workers.” (“Job Openings In The United States Just Hit A Record,” CNN Money, 5/08/2018)
“An improved national economy is easing pressure on state budgets. Budget officials from Utah to Connecticut are reporting better tax revenues and say their fiscal outlook has brightened, thanks to an expanding economy and job growth. The effects of the new federal tax law also increased revenue figures …” (“State Budgets Get Lift From Economy, Tax Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/09/2018)

Small Businesses Optimistic As Profits And Wages Grow

“Small business employees saw their wages grow last month at the strongest rate in more than two years, according to a report from human resources firm Paychex. Hourly earnings in April increased at an annual rate of 3.25 percent, the best showing since 2016. Wages of $26.56 per hour last month were up 2.69 percent, or 70 cents, from a year ago.” (“Small Business Workers Saw Their Wages Grow At The Strongest Rate In 2 Years: Survey,” CNBC, 5/01/2018)

“The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), America's leading small business association, said small business profits in April hit the highest level in the Small Business Economic Trends Survey’s 45-year history…. The positive profit trend is driven by gains in operating productivity and stronger sales. Small business owners are seeing an upward trend in hiring or trying to hire at 57%, and new job creation continues at historically strong levels.” (“Small Business Optimism Surges As Profits Hit Record High,” Fox Business, 5/08/2018)

“Confidence among America's small-business owners remains near an all-time high … a majority of small-business owners across the country say business conditions are ‘good.’” (“Small-Business Optimism Stays Near Record High Despite Threat Of Trade Tariffs: CNBC/Surveymonkey,” CNBC, 5/01/2018)

Tags: Good News, Middle-Class Workers and Families, Unemployment Rate At 17-Year Low, Small Business Optimism On The Rise 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 If? History That Could’ve Been

by Newt Gingrich: What if Hillary Clinton had defeated President Trump in 2016?

What if Steve Jobs had given up and the iPhone had never been marketed?

What if President John F. Kennedy had decided racing Russia to the Moon was too risky or too expensive?

In each case, the world today would be dramatically different.

In my Facebook series, “What If? History That Could’ve Been,” which is currently in its second season, I explore ideas like these.

While it is creative and fun to describe alternative histories, it also serves a useful purpose. It moves us from simply memorizing facts to really thinking about them.

It is a way to study history dynamically, rather than statically.

Many people grow to dislike studying history because they are taught a dry, boring, fact memorization system that feels dead and sterile – and provides no meaning or context for our lives.

Yet, when history is studied actively, it is dynamic, alive, and teaches a lot about our decisions, our own lives, and today’s challenges.
For instance, Arthur Wellesley, better known as the Duke of Wellington, said the Battle of Waterloo was “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. … By God! I don’t think it would have done if I had not been there!”

If Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon (a decisive moment for modern Europe) was that close of a battle, it could have gone the other way. Therefore, it is totally appropriate to ask what would have happened if Napoleon had been triumphant and the British and Prussian armies had been defeated? What would Europe look like today?

Similarly, the Battle of New Orleans made Major General Andrew Jackson a hero and set the stage for his ultimate election to the presidency. Yet, this decisive battle was fought on January 8, 1815 – two weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve in 1814. However, because intercontinental communication required sailing ships, word had not yet reached New Orleans when the British attacked and Jackson’s American soldiers defeated them. What might have happened to Jackson’s national fame if word of the peace treaty had reached the British by January 7?

This pattern of actively exploring alternative outcomes leads to a much deeper understanding of the moving parts in history. It leads to a better sense of what we should be thinking about when we make decisions. It teaches us to look for the linkage points between different patterns.

For some reason, I have always thought dynamically about historic experiences. It may have come from growing up as an Army brat and living in then-war-torn places like Orléans, France and Stuttgart, Germany. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, in both cities, you could still see the bombing damage caused during World War II, which served as a vivid reminder of the consequences of history.

Orléans also has a huge statue of Joan of Arc. It is easy, almost inevitable, to marvel at this young woman who emerged at age 17 to save the French monarchy, only to be burned at the stake at 19 by her English enemies. For over a year, I went to school near this remarkable statue and was reminded again and again how improbable events and extraordinary people can change the direction of history.

Another event which got me thinking about how history can shift suddenly was the fall of the Fourth Republic in France and the return of General Charles de Gaulle from retirement.

De Gaulle was a great example of how a unique personality can shape history. He had played a role in developing armored warfare in the 1930s, then had led the Free French movement from London after the fall of France in 1940. Then, he organized the post-war government and served briefly as provisional president before resigning in disgust at the politicians he despised. For years, before he (briefly) retired to his home at Colombey-les-deux-Églises to write his memoirs, he worked on sustaining a nationalist movement that seemed doomed to irrelevancy as the traditional politicians ignored de Gaulle and played musical chairs with various government positions. But all of this changed very quickly.

When I was a teenager, we were living in France as the Fourth Republic was toppled, de Gaulle was brought out of retirement and back to power, and the Fifth Republic was invented. Watching de Gaulle maneuver, educate the public, undertake bold reforms, and take on bitter opponents was an amazing experience. Today, due to de Gaulle’s work, President Emmanuel Macron is leading one of the longest surviving non-monarchy governments in French history.

My years in Europe where my father was serving in the Army convinced me that history has an impact on all of us. It also convinced me that strong, determined people can have a remarkable impact on history.

I started my Facebook series because I believe in the power of asking “What If?” If you start exploring what could have been, you will find yourself much more deeply engaged in studying and learning from history. Your own imagination will be enriched and your ability to solve problems will be expanded.

In the first few months of the “What If?” series, more than 58,000 people have subscribed to the show on Facebook and hundreds have sent in their own wish lists for topics for us to explore in future episodes. So far, our most-watched episode, “What if Hillary had won?,” has had more than 2 million views and 27,000 shares.

Doing this show has also given me the opportunity to expand my own understanding of history. After posting an episode on what might have happened if Senator Robert F. Kennedy had not been assassinated in 1968, Judge James Rogan, who I worked with in Congress and is now a judge in the Superior Court of California, emailed me to inform me that I was “about 95 percent correct” in my assessment.

Rogan has just finished a historical novel on this very topic called
On To Chicago: Rediscovering Robert F. Kennedy and the Lost Campaign of 1968. Rogan’s take during our conversation was educational for me, and I look forward to reading his book when it comes out on May 15.

This has been very encouraging for me because understanding our history is critical to creating a strong, successful future.

I hope you enjoy the “What If?” episodes as much as I enjoy sharing them. You can follow the show on Facebook and submit your episode ideas here.
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Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, What If? History That Could’ve Been To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Report: FBI Had Mole Spying on 2016 Trump Campaign

by Debra Heine: There may have been an FBI spy interacting with the Trump campaign in 2016, Kimberly Strassel reported in the Wall Street Journal Thursday evening, adding fuel to long-held suspicions that an FBI/DOJ mole had attempted to ensnare Trump campaign advisers in some sort of Russian collusion trap.

This revelation comes after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein again backed down after a protracted fight with Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, allowing members to view classified documents about "a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign."

The FBI and DOJ had apparently been hiding the critical information from congressional investigators for months in order to protect the top-secret intelligence source.
In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.
Nunes doggedly pursued the matter, last week issuing a letter and a subpoena demanding more details, but Rosenstein’s response was to accuse the House of “extortion” and claim that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” was a constitutional “duty.”
The FBI and DOJ had apparently been hiding the critical information from congressional investigators for months in order to protect the top-secret intelligence source.

"Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall," Strassel notes. "And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in 'loss of human lives.'”

The FBI and CIA's “top-secret intelligence source," according to the Washington Post’s anonymous law-enforcement leakers, is a U.S. citizen who was involved in the Russia counterintelligence investigation.

Explains Strassel: "When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign."
This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.Also potentially problematic is the timing of the spy operation, because it could indicate that the FBI has not been straight with congressional investigators about when their counterintelligence investigation started. The bureau insists that the basis for their probe was George Papadopoulos' drunken ramblings in July of 2016. But if the spy was put in place prior to that, the FBI has some explaining to do.

Strassel thinks she knows who it is, but didn't publish the name as her intelligence sources refuse to confirm it.

The Federalist's Sean Davis has a hunch, too, and points to a Daily Caller report from March for clues:

Apropos of nothing, I highly recommend this @ChuckRossDC from March on a U.S. citizen with CIA and MI6 ties who for some weird reason started asking to meet with Trump affiliates about hacked Russian e-mails. — Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 9, 2018

Oh, and this person who might fit the definition of a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI just so happens to be a close associate of the former MI6 chief who personally met in 2016 with Christopher Steele about his dossier. — Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 9, 2018
The article by the DCNF's Chuck Ross details an odd interaction between Papadopoulos and Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.

Two months before the 2016 election, Halper requested a meeting with Papadopoulos and asked him a number of questions about Russia that made the junior campaign adviser suspicious. According to the Daily Caller, Halper met with two other campaign advisers, as well.

Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton commented on this latest shoe to drop in the Russia probe on Fox News' The Ingraham Angle Thursday night.

"This Justice Department takes the approach of the 'modified, limited hangout,' in terms of information it releases," Fitton noted. He added, "I don't believe that there's classified information at issue here, there's embarrassing information at issue here."
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Debra Heine is a Catholic, mom of six and long time political pundit. She has written for PJ Media and several blogs including her own, Nice Deb!

Tags: Debra Heine, PJMedia, Report, FBI Had Mole, Spying on 2016 Trump Campaign To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Vintage Trump, Filled With Joy, From Surveillance To Spies, Toppling Tehran

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Vintage Trump - Watching the president's rally in Indiana last night reminded me of just how counter cultural Donald Trump is.
The drift of the popular culture is rooted in the lie that America is nothing special.

The far left actually thinks our country is evil. On the libertarian right, they think all life boils down to economic transactions, and that borders impede the free flow of cheap labor.

Donald Trump loves America, and he charges up that hill every time he gets a chance! Let me share this excerpt from his remarks last night:

"We believe that a strong nation must have strong borders. We have pride in our history and respect for our great American flag. And we put our large, beautiful hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance. And we proudly stand, all the time we stand because we love that sound, we stand for our national anthem at all times!"

My father was an undereducated, hard-drinking, blue-collar Middle American. At the dinner table, he would say exactly the kind of things that this well-educated, never-had-a-drink, billionaire says at his rallies.

Political experts on the left and the right are still struggling to figure out how this Manhattan billionaire connected with blue-collar America in ways that previous Republican nominees since Ronald Reagan could not.

Two things jumped out at me in Trump's remarks:

First, he accused Senator Joe Donnelly of voting with the radical left. When was the last time you heard Republican leaders talk about the "radical left"? Usually, they are too busy trying to convince people that they are not part of the "radical right."

Second, Trump has an instinct for calling out the left when they show who they really are. For example, referring to the number two leader of the Democrat Party, Trump said this:

"Last week, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, Congressman Keith Ellison, marched in a parade wearing a t-shirt that read, he was very proud of it, 'I do not believe in borders.'"

By the way, the slogan on the shirt was in Spanish. Ellison is also a supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, America's leading anti-Semite.

Our side leaves too many values issues out of the fight, and fails to draw distinctions on issues where the left is vulnerable. Republican candidates could learn a lot from Donald Trump, who doesn't leave anything out of the fight.

By the way, President Trump is making America feel great again. According to the latest CNN poll, optimism about the direction of the country has surged to its highest level in more than a decade!

Trump Derangement Syndrome - Here are some of the latest examples of Trump Derangement Syndrome in the media:
  • An MSNBC panel debated whether the release of the North Korean hostages was a staged event. Right. Like the president of the United States is going to stage events at three o'clock in the morning. (See next item.)
  • The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg suggested that Donald Trump should be water boarded.
  • Yesterday it was announced that we caught five of the most wanted ISIS leaders. Big news, right? Well, most of the networks ignored it.
Filled With Joy - Vice President Mike Pence tweeted about an incredible experience he had when the three freed Korean-American hostages stepped off the plane and met him yesterday morning at Andrews Air Force Base.

They handed him a handwritten note with Psalm 126:1-3 on the back. Here are the verses:

"When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."

From Surveillance To Spies - Earlier this week, we reported that Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt unless the Justice Department responded to a subpoena for information.

Initial reports were unclear about exactly what Nunes might be after. But Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel suggests that he may have uncovered evidence that the FBI had a covert operative inside the Trump campaign. Strassel writes:

"This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. . . Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence . . . to infiltrate the Trump campaign."

Again, my friends, we are in Watergate territory here. More and more it seems the real 2016 collusion story is how much the Obama FBI was colluding with the Clinton campaign to defeat Donald Trump.

Toppling Tehran - What do the American people think about Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran? A recent poll by Investor's Business Daily found that only 15% of Americans wanted President Trump to stay in it or "do nothing."

No, that's not a typo. I did not get those numbers reversed. Just 15% supported Obama's deal with the ayatollah "as is."

In contrast, 73% wanted Trump to either renegotiate a stronger deal, which he tried to do, or get out of it. Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi -- better call your offices.

And while Iranian politicians are burning American flags and chanting "Death to America!" in response to Trump's decision to abandon the deal, there has been an outburst of pro-Trump social media posts from Iranians opposed to the radical Islamic regime.

Thankfully, this administration understands that the tyrants in Tehran, with or without a nuclear deal, cannot be trusted. They proved that yet again when they fired 20 rockets at Israeli positions along the Golan Heights this week.

By the way, did you notice that virtually no world leaders condemned Israel for striking back? Iran is becoming isolated.

Now there is news that the White House is considering plans to promote regime change in Iran by aggressively backing pro-democracy forces.

To be clear, no one is talking about "boots on the ground." But, unlike the Obama White House, there is a clear understanding among the Trump/Pence team that outreach and diplomacy will not moderate the ayatollah's regime.

The best way to achieve peace in the Middle East is for the Iranian people to take back their country from the Islamic extremists who hijacked it in 1979.
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Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Vintage Trump, Filled With Joy, From Surveillance To Spies, Toppling Tehran 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 Lottery Scholarships Get Only 16-17 Cents of Every Dollar

Jerry Cox, Contributing Author: The Arkansas Lottery was established to fund college scholarships, but only 16-17 cents of every dollar the Lottery makes actually goes to students.

Watch this video to find out more.

Related posts:
Updated: Lottery Official Says Machines Could Clean Her House
10 Lottery Predictions That Came True
Lottery Lowers Scholarship Goal, Shows Evidence of Poor Management
Lottery Consistently 8% – 9% Below National Average on Education
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Jerry Cox is the founder and president of Family Council and the Education Alliance and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Jerry Cox, Family Council, Arkansas Lottery Scholarships, Get Only, 16-17 Cents of Every Dollar To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Congressional Hearing: Iranian Sleeper Cells Threaten U.S.

. . . So many hearings, so little action.
by Michael Cutler: It has been said that the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge the existence of the problem. It has also been said that where there is a will, there is a way.

The nexus between immigration and terrorism is well established, however, the currently fashionable denial of that nexus by globalists from both parties has prevented the application of remedies to address the vulnerabilities in the immigration system that terror sleeper cells are known to exploit -- particularly the lack of resources for the interior enforcement of our immigration laws.

On April 17, 2018 the House Committee on Homeland Security, Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Peter King of New York, conducted a hearing on the topic, "State Sponsors Of Terrorism: An Examination Of Iran’s Global Terrorism Network."

The Subcommittee’s website posted this paragraph in announcing the hearing:Iran, a State Sponsor of Terrorism, continues to invest in proxy terrorist and militant organizations that threaten the Homeland and US interests and engage in activities that impede US counterterrorism goals. This hearing will examine trends in Iran’s external operations and capabilities and consider the near-term and long-term security implications of Iranian support for Shia militants and terrorist groups operating in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Latin America.The prepared testimony of one of the witnesses, Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, included this excerpt:In recent years, Hezbollah’s Latin American networks have also increasingly cooperated with violent drug cartels and criminal syndicates, often with the assistance of local corrupt political elites. Cooperation includes laundering of drug money; arranging multi-ton shipments of cocaine to the United States and Europe; and directly distributing and selling illicit substances to distant markets. Proceeds from these activities finance Hezbollah’s arms procurement; its terror activities overseas; its hold on Lebanon’s political system; and its efforts, both in Lebanon and overseas, to keep Shi’a communities loyal to its cause and complicit in its endeavors.

This toxic crime-terror nexus is fueling both the rising threat of global jihadism and the collapse of law and order across Latin America that is helping drive drugs and people northward into the United States. It is sustaining Hezbollah’s growing financial needs. It is helping Iran and Hezbollah consolidate a local constituency in multiple countries across Latin America. It is thus facilitating their efforts to build safe havens for terrorists and a continent-wide terror infrastructure that they could use to strike U.S. targets.
I urge you to watch the video of the hearing and read the prepared statements of all four expert witnesses, although you should not do this before bedtime, if you value a good night’s sleep.

The Washington Free Beacon published a report about the hearing with the unambiguous and disconcerting headline, Iranian-Backed ‘Sleeper Cell’ Militants Hibernating in U.S., Positioned for Attack.

Generally “sleeper cells” are comprised of “sleeper agents,” that is to say, foreign nationals (aliens) who enter the United States either legally or illegally maintain a very low profile while they go about their deadly preparations and await instructions to carry out deadly terror attacks inside the United States.

While the four expert witnesses at this hearing were not in complete agreement about all of the issues discussed, particularly expressing somewhat divergent perspectives on U.S. participation in the Iranian nuclear agreement, they all agreed about the threats posed to U.S national security by Iranian sleeper agents and the ability for additional enemy combatants to easily infiltrate into the U.S. to carry out deadly terror attacks.

Now that President Trump has, understandably, withdrawn from the Iran agreement we can’t ignore the possibility that at some point, Iran may activate its sleeper cells in the United States.

However, concerns about terror sleeper cells poised to strike in the United States are anything but new.

Shortly after the terror attacks of 9/11 politicians and journalists frequently made reference to the threat posed by sleeper agents. However, as efforts mounted by various globalist organizations and immigration anarchists ramped up, the term “sleeper” disappeared almost as quickly as the term “alien” had been expunged from the vernacular in the immigration debate, along with any reference to the 9/11 Report. The obvious goal has been to obfuscate the nexus between immigration and terrorism. Hence, the disingenuous term “homegrown” frequently describes alien terrorists who, since entry into the United States, acquired lawful immigration status, including United States citizenship.

Page 263 of the 9/11 Commission Report contained references to concerns that al-Qaeda sleeper cells were likely embedded in the United States.

Here is the relevant paragraph:Clarke mentioned to National Security Advisor Rice at least twice that al Qaeda sleeper cells were likely in the United States. In January 2001, Clarke forwarded a strategy paper to Rice warning that al Qaeda had a presence in the United States. He noted that two key al Qaeda members in the Jordanian cell involved in the millennium plot were naturalized U.S. citizens and that one jihadist suspected in the East Africa bombings had “informed the FBI that an extensive network of al Qida ‘sleeper agents’ currently exists in the US.” He added that Ressam’s abortive December 1999 attack revealed al Qaeda sup- porters in the United States. His analysis, however, was based not on new threat reporting but on past experience.Not only did Richard Clarke make note of the presence of "sleeper agents" agents in the United States, but also that "two key al Qaeda members in the Jordanian cell involved in the millennium plot were naturalized U.S. citizens[.]"

That naturalized citizens had been involved in terror plots illustrates failures of the vetting process and background investigations that, by law, are supposed to demonstrate that applicants for U.S. Citizenship possess “Good Moral Character.”

In the years after the attacks of 9/11 we have seen other naturalized citizens participate in terror attacks, including one of the Tsarnaev brothers who committed the savage attacks at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. They had all likely committed fraud in their applications for visas and various immigration benefits that went undetected.

The 9/11 Commission Report and the companion report, 9/11 and Terrorist Travel warned about how international terrorists used immigration and visa fraud as primary methods of entry and embedding into the United States.

A succession of hearings conducted in both the Senate and House of Representatives have also focused on the threats posed to America and Americans by international terrorists. I have testified before a number of those hearings and I have raised concerns about sleeper agents and how they have exploited vulnerabilities in the immigration system.

My recently published booklet, Immigration Fraud, Lies That Kill explores the issue of immigration fraud in great detail, particularly where such fraud undermines national security and public safety, facilitating the entry and embedding of sleeper agents.

>My recent article, Jihadis and Drug Cartels At Our Border focused on the threats posed to American national security by the presence of terrorists in Latin America primarily in terror training camps in the Tri-Border Region of Brazil operated by Hamas and Hezbollah and likely includes members of al-Qaeda and perhaps ISIS and by the constant flow of Iranian Quds Forces into Caracas, Venezuela from Tehran.

According to information provided by expert witnesses at the hearing, globally, Hezbollah and Iranian Quds Forces are comprised of more than an astounding 200,000 well-trained, well-equipped and “battle-hardened” members.

Yet, inexplicably, America’s borders still serve as little more than “speed bumps” to human traffickers and drug smugglers (often these criminals are one and the same). We continue to have an ever-expanding Visa Waiver Program that should have been terminated the afternoon of September 11, 2001 and an abject lack of resources to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States, while Sanctuary Cities Endanger - National Security and Public Safety.

Even after the publication of the 9/11 Commission Report and other such reports, even after a seemingly endless succession of hearings about the sleeper agents and an extensive list of failures of the immigration system, and even after deadly terror attacks around the United States, nothing of consequence has been done to fix the dysfunctional immigration system.

America still has yet to hire more ICE agents and other personnel to conduct investigations and field operations from within the interior of the U.S. even though the 9/11 Commission identified a lack of effective interior enforcement of the immigration laws as vital to combat terrorism.

Congress has yet to provide funding for construction of a wall to secure our southern border to stop the flow of drugs and international transnational criminals and gang members into the United States.

The only conclusion that can today be reached, is not that our “leaders” are not aware of the threats- but they obviously don’t give a damn!

Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 I have testified before more than 15 Congressional hearings on immigration and have often thought that Congress should stop holding “hearings” and begin holding “listenings!”

My mom used to say, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Election Day is coming and with it, the opportunity for us to act, in our own best interests and those of our nation.
------------------
Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent with half of his career in the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission. His website is michaelcutler.net. He also writes for FrontPage Mag a publication of theDavid Horowitz Freedom CenterDavid Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Michael Cutler, FrontPage Mag, Congressional Hearing, Iranian Sleeper Cells, Threaten U.S. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Before and After Welfare Handouts

Dr. Walter Williams
by Dr. Walter E. Williams: Before the massive growth of our welfare state, private charity was the sole option for an individual or family facing insurmountable financial difficulties or other challenges. How do we know that? There is no history of Americans dying on the streets because they could not find food or basic medical assistance. Respecting the biblical commandment to honor thy father and mother, children took care of their elderly or infirm parents. Family members and the local church also helped those who had fallen on hard times.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, charities started playing a major role. In 1887, religious leaders founded the Charity Organization Society, which became the first United Way organization. In 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America started helping at-risk youths reach their full potential. In 1913, the American Cancer Society, dedicated to curing and eliminating cancer, was formed. With their millions of dollars, industrial giants such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller created our nation’s first philanthropic organizations.

Generosity has always been a part of the American genome. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French civil servant, made a nine-month visit to our country in 1831 and 1832, ostensibly to study our prisons. Instead, his visit resulted in his writing “Democracy in America,” one of the most influential books about our nation. Tocqueville didn’t use the term “philanthropy,” but he wrote extensively about how Americans love to form all kinds of nongovernmental associations to help one another. These associations include professional, social, civic and other volunteer organizations seeking to serve the public good and improve the quality of human lives. The bottom line is that we Americans are the most generous people in the world, according to the new Almanac of American Philanthropy — something we should be proud of.

Before the welfare state, charity embodied both a sense of gratitude on the behalf of the recipient and magnanimity on the behalves of donors. There was a sense of civility by the recipients. They did not feel that they were owed, were entitled to or had a right to the largesse of the donor. Recipients probably felt that if they weren’t civil and didn’t express their gratitude, more assistance wouldn’t be forthcoming. In other words, they were reluctant to bite the hand that helped them. With churches and other private agencies helping, people were much likelier to help themselves and less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior. Part of the message of charitable groups was: “We’ll help you if you help yourself.”

Enter the federal government. Civility and gratitude toward one’s benefactors are no longer required in the welfare state. In fact, one can be arrogant and hostile toward the “donors” (taxpayers), as well as the civil servants who dish out the benefits. The handouts that recipients get are no longer called charity; they’re called entitlements — as if what is received were earned.

There is virtually no material poverty in the U.S. Eighty percent of households the Census Bureau labels as poor have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have at least one computer. Forty-two percent own their homes.

What we have in our nation is not material poverty but dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives, aided and abetted by the welfare state. Part of this pathological lifestyle is reflected in family structure. According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children and 3 percent of white children were born to unwed mothers. Today it’s respectively 75 percent and 30 percent.

There are very little guts in the political arena to address the downside of the welfare state. To do so risks a politician’s being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive. That means today’s dependency is likely to become permanent.
--------------
Walter Williams  is an American economist, social commentator, and author of over 150 publications. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from the UCLA and B.A. in economics from California State University. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College. He has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980. Visit his website: WaltereWilliams.com and view a list of other articles and works.

Tags: Walter Williams, commentary, Before and After, Welfare Handouts, charities To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Are Bibi and Bolton in the Wheel House Now?

by Patrick Buchanan: Brushing aside the anguished pleas of our NATO allies, President Trump Tuesday contemptuously trashed the Iranian nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions.

Prime Minister Theresa May of Great Britain, President Emmanuel Macron of France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were put on notice that their ties to Iran are to be severed, or secondary sanctions will be imposed on them.

Driving the point home, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin ordered Airbus to cancel its $19 billion contract to sell 100 commercial planes to Iran.

Who is cheering Trump’s trashing of the treaty?

The neocons who sought his political extinction in 2016, the royals of the Gulf, Bibi Netanyahu, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC had warned Iranians that the Americans were duplicitous.

When Trump finished speaking, Bibi launched strikes on Iranian bases in Syria, and flew to Moscow to persuade Vladimir Putin not to give the Iranians any air defense against Israeli attacks.

Iranian forces responded with 20 missiles fired at the Golan, which ignited a massive Israeli counterstrike Thursday night, a 70-missile attack on Iranian bases in Syria.

We appear to be at the beginning of a new war, and how it ends we know not. But for Bibi and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the end has always been clear — the smashing of Iran and regime change.

Tuesday, Trump warned that Iran is on “a quest for nuclear weapons,” and “if we do nothing … in just a short period of time, the world’s worst sponsor of state terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapon.”

And where is the evidence for this Bush-like assertion?

If Iran is on a “quest” for nukes, why did 17 U.S. intel agencies, “with high confidence,” in 2007 and 2011, say Iran did not even have a nuclear weapons program?

Saddam Hussein could not convince us he had no WMD, because the nonexistent WMD were the pretext, the casus belli, for doing what the War Party had already decided to do: invade Iraq.

We were lied into that war. And how did it turn out?

Why has the Foreign Relations committee not called in the heads of the U.S. intelligence agencies and asked them flat out: Does Iran have an active nuclear bomb program, or is this a pack of lies to stampede us into another war?

If Iran is on a quest for nukes, let the intel agencies tell us where the work is being done, so we can send inspectors and show the world.

Efforts to pull us back from being dragged into a new war have begun.

The Europeans are begging Iran to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal, even if the Americans do not. But the regime of Hassan Rouhani, who twice defeated Ayatollah-backed candidates, is in trouble.

The nuclear deal and opening to the West were the reasons the children of the Green Movement of 2009 voted for Rouhani. If his difficulties deepen because of reimposed U.S. and Western sanctions, his great achievement, the nuclear deal, will be seen by his people as the failed gamble of a fool who trusted the Americans.

Should Rouhani’s regime fall, we may get a Revolutionary Guard regime rather less to the liking of everyone, except for the War Party, which could seize upon that as a pretext for war.

What happens next is difficult to see.

Iran does not want a war with Israel in Syria that it cannot win.

Iran’s ally, Hezbollah, which just swept democratic elections in Lebanon, does not want a war with Israel that would bring devastation upon the nation it now leads.

The Russians don’t want a war with Israel or the Americans.

But as Putin came to the rescue of a Syria imperiled by ISIS and al-Qaida, to save his ally from a broad insurgency, he is not likely to sit impotently and watch endless air and missile strikes on Syria.

Trump has said U.S. troops will be getting out of Syria. But Bolton and the generals appear to have walked him back.

There are reports we are reinforcing the Kurds in Manbij on the west bank of the Euphrates, though President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that the Kurds vacate all Syrian border towns with Turkey.

Americans are also reportedly on the border of Yemen, assisting Saudi Arabia in locating the launch sites of the rockets being fired at Riyadh by Houthi rebels in retaliation for the three years of savage Saudi assault on their country.

Meanwhile, the news out of Afghanistan, our point of entry into the Near East wars almost a generation ago, is almost all bad — most of it about terrorist bombings of Afghan troops and civilians.

Is the foreign policy that America Firsters voted for being replaced by the Middle East agenda of Bibi and the neoconservatives? So it would appear.
--------------------
Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

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Housing Allowance

by Kerby Anderson: The Internal Revenue Code allows ministers and other religious leaders to take a housing allowance exemption, but that has now been threatened by a ruling by a federal district court judge. Her decision is currently on hold and has been appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Alliance Defending Freedom brief argues that the housing allowance provided to ministers “does not transfer public monies to ministers or houses of worship, nor does it result in any administrative or financial relationship between the government and religion.” Therefore, it is a permissible accommodation of religion and is consistent with this country’s “practice of exempting churches and other religious organizations from government-imposed tax burdens.”

It is worth noting that the housing allowance exemption actually predates the IRS code. Originally, it was provided for employees who had to live in a particular location in order to do their jobs (ranch hands, innkeepers, and military personnel).

Hiram Sasser (First Liberty Institute) asks, “Why would anyone ban rabbis, imams, pastors, and other religious leaders from a decades-old housing exemption simply because they are religious?” Ken Klukowski (also of First Liberty) reminds us “The parsonage exemption mirrors other housing allowances for teachers, first responders, and military personnel who must live in the community they serve.”

Many pastors already pay both the employee and employer taxes on Social Security and Medicare on their housing allowance. Removing the housing allowance without considering the self-employment tax issue would put ministers at a disadvantage in their tax burden. The IRS code, therefore, is a permissible accommodation of religion because it lifts the governmentally imposed tax burdens on ministers and other religious leaders.
--------------
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

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How Congress Cheats with Our Money — and How We Can Stop It

by Marc Goldwein & Zach Moller: The U.S. is on course to top its record debt levels set after World War II, and permanent trillion-dollar deficits — meaning, forever — are likely to return within two years. And unlike after World War II, our debt is projected to keep rising after it hits a new record; meanwhile, we may see deficits in excess of $2 trillion in just 10 years.

How did we get here? Decades of gimmicks and tricks used by budget-writing wizards have allowed politicians to disguise unrestrained deficit spending. They have duped the American public and disadvantaged American children, who will pick up the tab.

Hope for reversing our current fiscal fate may rest with a special joint select committee on budget process reform that just began to meet. This congressional committee has received very little attention but has a very large task: to reform the budget and appropriations process in a bipartisan way so that it is orderly, disciplined, transparent, responsible and focused on setting national priorities. To meet these goals, the committee should make changes to prevent and limit the use of budget gimmicks.

Budget gimmicks are simply cheats — they allow lawmakers to take credit for mythical savings that will not materialize and to circumvent important rules requiring new spending or tax cuts to be paid for.

Recently, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget published a report on 20 of the most prevalent and egregious budget gimmicks.

Some of these involve making unrealistic assumptions. For example, President Trump’s most recent budget assumes the U.S. economy will grow at 3 percent a year for the next decade, even though there is near-universal agreement that the actual growth rate will be closer to 2 percent. Yet this extra point of growth allows the president to claim more revenue and to tout a budget where debt appears to be declining when it is actually rising rapidly.

As another example, President Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget assumed almost $650 billion of deficit reduction from unspecified “magic asterisks” — where budget savings are claimed seemingly in whatever amount is needed despite no supporting policy behind them.

Other types of gimmicks focus on manipulating the 10-year scoring window. To make legislation seem cheaper, policymakers will often use some sleight of hand to move costs and savings around like a shell game. Future savings can be moved to the present; costs can be hidden just beyond the budget window; and a meaningless expiration can solve any deficit. A prime example appeared in the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which proposed a number of its tax cuts would end abruptly after eight years in order to keep the bill’s on-paper 10-year cost under the agreed-upon $1.5 trillion.

A third type of gimmick involves breaching or circumventing current caps on the amount of money appropriators can spend each year. Policymakers will often count ordinary spending as emergency war spending, use phantom cuts in mandatory spending to finance real increases in discretionary spending or manipulate future caps in order to paint a misleading picture of the nation’s fiscal outlook. For example, last month’s omnibus appropriations bill actually spent $17 billion more on non-defense agencies than the law intended to allow. To cover up this difference, lawmakers used an arcane process known as CHIMPs — changes in mandatory programs — to create the illusion of $17.5 billion in mandatory spending cuts, even though only $500 million of those cuts will actually materialize (read more on that here).

Taken together, these gimmicks blow up the deficit, undermine the budget process and mislead the American public. If a corporation budgeted like Congress does, it would be out of business and its executives and accountants would be in jail. It’s time to put a stop to these dishonest budget practices.

Luckily, there are many changes Congress can make to prevent budget gimmicks. By empowering scorekeepers, improving transparency, tightening enforcement and expanding focus on the long term, the budget process reform committee can make it harder for lawmakers to evade fiscal responsibility.

Of course, what really matters in the end is political will. Gimmicks are attractive because they offer lawmakers an easy way out — an opportunity to create the appearance that they are paying for their priorities and keeping the budget on track, without actually having to make the hard choices necessary to do so.

As long as lawmakers care more about political scores than CBO scores, they will find workarounds to whatever rules we give them. But in an era of historic debt, we should bring more transparency to the process and make this cheating harder, and it might nudge lawmakers to do the right thing.
----------------
Marc Goldwein is senior vice president and director of policy at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB). Zach Moller is a senior policy analyst at CRFB. Article via The Fiscal Times.

Tags: How Congress Cheats, with Our Money, How We Can Stop It 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 Trump Administration Shouldn’t Emulate The Obama Administration’s Crony Energy Style

Let’s Finally End This Cycle, Shall We?
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: We here at Less Government acknowledge and appreciate Reality.

And we are unfortunately forced to spend a lot of time positively asserting Reality – because so many people steadfastly refuse to accept it.

One of these Reality facets – is that “green energy”…is neither green nor energy. It is fake energy – and fake friendly to the environment.

Solar, wind and the like are awful returns on your energy investment dollar. On their own – and even more so when compared to real energy sources like coal and oil.

And fake energy sources – claiming to be “green” – are absolutely awful for the environment.

Spent solar panels – must be handled as if they are nuclear waste. Wind turbines – also must be made of toxic materials. And wind turbine farms – are giant bird blenders. They mow down hundreds of thousands of fowl per annum.

And of course – these fake energy sources >can not exist without massive infusions of government cash. When the subsidies go away – so too do the fake energy companies.

If you are so awful at whatever it is you do that you need government money to continue to exist – you shouldn’t continue to exist.

As we have always said: Government doesn’t pick winners and losers – it picks losers at the expense of winners.

Government takes money from winners – people who have succeeded, and thus pay taxes – and hand it to losers who have proven they can not succeed, and thus need government money.

Good ideas are…good ideas. And require no government money. No one needs to subsidize ice cream.

Fake energy…is an awful idea. And thus requires tons of government money.

The Barack Obama Administration loved bad ideas. And LOVED spending tons of government money on them. Fake energy – was a particular love thereof.

And why did the Obama Administration engage in this inanity – aside from ideological idiocy? Why, crony idiocy of course.

80% of DOE Green Energy Loans Went to Obama Backers

Thankfully, finally – the Barack Obama Administration is in the rearview mirror. We now have the Donald Trump Administration – which has thankfully spent a great deal of its time undoing what its predecessor did.

But unfortunately – some habits die hard. Like heaping government money upon people who aren’t hacking it on their own.

The Trump Administration’s Energy Department – is poised to continue this awful Obama Administration Energy Department practice. Only with different government-money crony-recipients:

“In January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously rejected a profoundly anti-competitive proposal by the Energy Department to provide billions in subsidies to old, unprofitable power plants. After the exceptional political blowback from its attempt to pick winners (or more aptly, subsidize losers), Energy Department officials are back to the drawing board. But have they learned?

“The early signs indicate a clear ‘no.’ Key political appointees at the Energy Department (DOE) are ignoring evidence and bypassing their own in-house experts to funnel financial aid to unprofitable power plants. The motives couldn’t be more obvious – the same politically-tied companies that drove the last proposal are back at it again because they can’t compete in the marketplace.”

Fantastic. More government money – for more political cronies. How very Obama Administration of the Trump Administration.

Everyone involved in the process of generating and delivering real energy – and not on the government money recipient list – are vociferously opposed. The opposition – is bipartisan and nigh universal:

“Democrats and former George W. Bush administration energy officials decried the proposal while consumer and environmental groups joined free-market think tanks, including the R Street Institute and The Heritage Foundation, in opposition….

“Broad coalitions – such as the Affordable Energy Coalition – have formed in defense of markets….

“Grid operators strongly opposed the department’s proposal, citing deep anti-competitive concerns and saying it was not necessary to preserve grid reliability. FERC’s decision echoed this sentiment….

“Heavy industry, dismayed by the Energy Department proposal, told Congress that ‘DOE is saying manufacturing jobs are not as important as the jobs at economically obsolete…power plants.’ It’s not the role of the federal government to determine whose job is more important.”

Indeed “it’s not the role of the federal government to determine whose job is more important.”

The Trump Energy Department’s response – was very Obama-esque:

“Almost comically, Energy Department officials responded by suggesting that they needed to ‘help FERC members understand the importance of coal’ to electric reliability and resiliency.”

This DOE proposal – is unadulterated cronyism. No more – no less:

“At the nexus of incompetence and cronyism lies the pinnacle of bad governance. For an administration that promised to drain the swap, energy subsidies do precisely the opposite. Subsidizing unprofitable power plants puts cronies, not America, first….

“Economic fundamentals, not cronyism, should drive electricity investment decisions. Competitive electricity markets align economic incentives and put customers, not well-connected companies, first. Putting private capital at risk, rather than socializing risk through taxpayer or ratepayer-funded subsidies and regulated monopolies, ensures that companies properly assess their investments. This is why competitive markets have outperformed monopoly investments, resulting in cost-efficient investments, increased innovation and more choice for American families and businesses….

“If power plants are profitable, subsidies only serve to pad a company’s bottom line. If they’re not profitable, taxpayers should not prop them up. Rather than keeping them on life support, government should allow economic failures to fail so that those resources are free to flow to more useful purposes elsewhere in the economy.”

Here’s hoping this massive, bipartisan opposition – and their massive assertion of Reality – will lead to a change of heart…and minds:

“In an April 2017 memo, (Energy) Secretary (Rick) Perry requested a study examining the country’s electricity markets and reliability. The Energy Department should seek to enhance competitive markets by following through on technical recommendations from the resulting staff report.

“Furthermore, the department should offer its modeling and other in-house technical capabilities to grid operators and FERC officials as they continue to examine grid resilience. This would complement a broader conservative energy reset, anchored by a commitment to competition, customer choice and good governance.”

We need a change of Obama pace. And, actually, a change from decades of bipartisan DC awful:

“For decades, the federal government has implemented distortionary energy subsidies and regulations. Further undermining competitive markets and pouring billions in subsidies to cronies is a surefire way to harm all energy customers, stifle innovation and promote energy dependence on handouts. Congress should press the administration for a course correction – or else members will face the wrath of dismayed voters with higher energy bills this fall.”

Let us, finally, return to an actual free market energy system – and thereby reassert just a little bit of Reality in DC.

If you all would, please.
----------------
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.

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Grading Democracy on the Curve

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Voters, we are told, are amazingly ignorant. So, what to do?

“Ultimately, the ideal democracy is one in which as many citizens as possible vote,” writes Dambisa Moyo at The Guardian, “and the voters are armed with the most objective information. Yet today only a fraction of the electorate are voting, and many are armed with a diet of hyped-up statistics and social media propaganda.” Among her proposals is a voting booth access test: “why not give all voters a test of their knowledge?”

I can think of a whole bunch of reasons, as can Ilya Somin, over at Volokh Conspiracy, who considers just a few. One of the more interesting is this: whereas Moyo has no wish to shove poor people out of the voting booth, and so envisions public schools to teach to the test — “the knowledge needed should be part of the core curriculum” — Somin quotes John Stuart Mill about the very political dangers of the very idea of public schooling: “A general State education,” wrote Mill in On Liberty, would inevitably be devised to please and serve “the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation” and must constitute “a despotism over the mind.”

Though Moyo does observe incumbency and political careerism as big problems, she is innocent of the more fundamental issues.

Indeed, she does not consider the obvious: today’s voter ignorance of politics and government is in no small part the result of government schools.

For politicians, general ignorance is not a bug, it’s a feature.

Let’s look for solutions to political problems that do not give politicians more power.

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. Jacob is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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  • 8/21/16 - 8/28/16
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  • 9/18/16 - 9/25/16
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  • 10/16/16 - 10/23/16
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  • 10/30/16 - 11/6/16
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  • 11/13/16 - 11/20/16
  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
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  • 12/11/16 - 12/18/16
  • 12/18/16 - 12/25/16
  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
  • 1/1/17 - 1/8/17
  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
  • 2/5/17 - 2/12/17
  • 2/12/17 - 2/19/17
  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
  • 2/26/17 - 3/5/17
  • 3/5/17 - 3/12/17
  • 3/12/17 - 3/19/17
  • 3/19/17 - 3/26/17
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  • 4/2/17 - 4/9/17
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  • 11/19/17 - 11/26/17
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  • 12/17/17 - 12/24/17
  • 12/24/17 - 12/31/17
  • 12/31/17 - 1/7/18
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  • 1/14/18 - 1/21/18
  • 1/21/18 - 1/28/18
  • 1/28/18 - 2/4/18
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  • 2/18/18 - 2/25/18
  • 2/25/18 - 3/4/18
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  • 4/22/18 - 4/29/18
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  • 10/21/18 - 10/28/18
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