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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, June 01, 2018

Karl Marx’s Legacy: More Than 100 Million Dead

by Newt Gingrich: Karl Marx is being celebrated by Chinese president Xi Jinping as the “greatest thinker of modern times.” Western academics are celebrating Marx as a historic critic of the modern world.

Yet what all the pro-Marxist, pro-socialist speakers ignore is the human cost of Marxism.

In the name of Marx, Lenin established a police state which killed millions. Stalin succeeded Lenin and proved even more ruthless and committed to killing. Hitler led the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party and socialism was central to his taking over the German economy and the German state – a fact the Left makes every effort to avoid. Mao was the deadliest Marxist of all and killed an uncounted number of millions to impose his will on China. Castro turned a prosperous Cuba into a tragic police state in the name of Marxism-Leninism. Venezuela has been shattered by socialism.

The academic Left and its news media and Hollywood acolytes cannot confront the horrifying record of Marxism’s endless inhumanity.

This would be a good year to begin educating all those who have been lied to by the American academic infatuation with Marxism.

We need a TV series on Marxism (and its evolution through Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Castroism, etc.) so that Americans can come to grips with the horrors of centralized government and the cost of tyranny.

The desire of those with power to get more and more power seems insatiable.

Our Founding Fathers understood this and designed the Constitution to distribute power so no one person could establish a dictatorship. American exceptionalism is the opposite of Leninism.

Lenin used Marx analysis and rhetoric to justify establishing a secret police-controlled totalitarian system. Within a remarkably few years, he had centralized authority and begun to lock up, torture, and kill his critics. When Lenin died, Stalin took his system of centralized power and refined it with even more brutality. Literally millions were starved to death as a matter of policy to break the middle class farmers. As an example of the grip Marxism had on the American news media and intellectuals at the time, the New York Times reporter in Moscow conspired with other reporters to avoid covering the famine and the mass deaths. Diana West’s American Betrayal cites the evidence of this deliberate coverup.

Left-wing American academics have always had a soft spot for Marxist regimes. One of the most widely read economic textbook writers and the first American to win a Nobel Prize in economics, Paul Samuelson, told college students in the 1961 edition of his best selling Economics: An Introductory Analysis textbook, that the Soviet Union’s economy was growing faster than the United States’ economy (never true). This incorrect information continued to appear in subsequent editions of the book for more than two decades. Today the Left argues that Marxism didn’t fail in the Soviet Union, only the way the Russians tried to implement it failed.

In fact, I was told by someone who was at a dinner with Mikhail Gorbachev and a group of academics that when one of them made that argument Gorbachev responded, “you would have to be an American professor to believe that.”

Hitler studied the Lenin-Stalin police state and modeled much of his own totalitarianism on their design. There was a lot of the KGB in the design of the Gestapo. The central power of the state and its authority over people was central to Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. The individual human disappeared in the search for historic power and control.

We are about to witness a fascinating experiment in whether Marxism with big data can work. Xi Jinping is implementing a system by which Chinese people are heavily surveilled and assigned citizenship ratings based on their social media activity, patriotism, productivity, fitness routines, and other behaviors. Those with low scores can be barred from commercial flights, some trains, or from having their children enrolled in some schools.

Deng Xiaoping saved the Chinese communists from popular rejection by advocating a system of free enterprise within the communist structure after Mao’s death. He argued that unless the Chinese economy was dramatically improved, China would not prosper. Further, he understood that if the system didn’t reward the Chinese people, there would be a widespread rejection of the Communist Party.

In his famous Southern Tour of China in January and February of 1992, Deng made the case for free markets in which productivity – not politics – decided winners and losers.

Now Xi Jinping is reversing the market-oriented decentralization of Deng. As he made clear in his recent speech on Marx (have your web browser translate it), he regards Marx – not Adam Smith – as the central guide for China’s future.

If indeed Marxism has defeated Deng Xiaoping in the corridors of Chinese power, we are in for a terrible experiment in tyranny. I wrote about President Xi Jinping’s aggressive power gathering in China, in my new book, Trump’s America: The Truth About Our Nation’s Great Comeback. I will doubtlessly write more on this in future columns, but for the moment, simply note that no experiment in Marxism has come out well.

Centralized control leads people to lie and cheat. Lying and cheating leads to the leadership demanding more secret police with more rules and more punishment. The system becomes a downward spiral in which humans are sacrificed to the power of the few.

This is Marx’s legacy, and President Xi should study it carefully before taking China off the path of economic growth and onto the path of tyrannical growth.
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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, Karl Marx, legacy, more than 100 Million dead To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

NRA's Powerful Response to the Hillary Clinton-Backed Gun Control 'Wear Orange' Campaign

by Tyler O'Neil: On Friday, gun control activists launched a campaign to "wear orange" during the weekend around the third annual Gun Violence Awareness Day, sponsored by the group Everytown for Gun Safety. The National Rifle Association (NRA) responded with its own gun safety declaration, perfectly subverting the campaign.

Everytown for Gun Safety asked supporters to wear orange on Friday, which it designated National Gun Violence Awareness Day. "Tomorrow is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and millions of Americans will Wear Orange — a color so loud it can't be ignored," the group tweeted.
According to the campaign's website, WearOrange.com, Hadiya Pendleton's friends wore orange in her honor after she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15. Pendleton lost her life only one week after performing at President Barack Obama's 2nd inaugural parade in 2013.

Two suspects, 18-year-old Michael Ward and 20-year-old Kenneth Williams, were arrested an indicted with first degree murder and other charges. They told police Pendleton was not the intended target, but her group was mistaken for members of a rival gang. Like so many brutally murdered by MS-13, Pendleton was a tragic victim of gang violence.

President Obama mentioned Pendleton's death in his 2013 State of the Union Address, and invited Pendleton's parents as guests. Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, the girl's mother, went onstage but did not speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Everytown for Gun Safety designated June 2, Pendleton's birthday, as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in 2015. This year, however, the day has extended into "Wear Orange Weekend," starting Friday.

Kim Kardashian West has partnered with Everytown during past events and blogged about her stance in 2017. She insisted "I'm not against guns and I'm not against people owning guns," but she did push for "stricter gun control laws." She explained her stance was influenced by her being robbed at gunpoint in Paris in October 2016.

Kardashian West has not yet tweeted about "Wear Orange Weekend," but former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has. "Too many American children will never have the opportunity to realize their dreams because their lives were cut short by a bullet," Clinton tweeted. "Our kids deserve to live free from the threat of gun violence."
The "Wear Orange" campaign aimed to subvert the hunter safety protocol (dating back to 1960 to Frank Woolner, who advised wearing orange in an article for Field & Stream Magazine), but the history of wearing blaze orange emphatically began with hunters, those who use firearms for food and recreation.

The NRA rightly pointed out that gun control activists are trying to subvert orange, a color long associated with proper gun use and gun safety.

Americans should remember and lament the tragic death of Hadiya Pendleton, and support responses to gang violence. They should push back against the idea that gun control is the one proper and effective response to such tragedies, however. The NRA presents an alternate way — educating gun owners about safety, and training them to defend their fellow citizens from shooters.
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Tyler O'Neil is Assistant Editor of PJ Media, Tyler O'Neil is a conservative fundraiser and commentator. He has written for numerous publications.

Tags: 2018, activism, GUNS, NRA, social media, PJmedia, Tyler O'Neil To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Summit On, Our "Cartoon President," Presidential Pardons, Left-wing Extremism, Good News

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: BREAKING NEWS: Singapore Summit On - After meeting with a top North Korean official in the Oval Office for more than an hour, President Trump announced this afternoon that the summit with Kim Jong Un will take place on June 12th in Singapore as originally planned.

Our "Cartoon President" - Former Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has just written a new book. Rhodes was one of the major architects of Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. He later bragged about lying to the media in order to sell the deal to the American people.

In his book, Rhodes tells us that Barack Obama didn't take Trump's election very well. "Maybe this is what people want," Obama reportedly said. "No facts. No consequences. They can just have a cartoon."

The obvious implication is that Obama thinks Donald Trump is a cartoonish caricature of a president, not a serious leader.

Well, this "cartoon president" is smart enough to know that life begins at conception. Barack Obama said that was "above my paygrade."

This "cartoon president" instinctively knows why Israel and the U.S. are natural allies. This "cartoon president" has never confused enemies like Iran with friends like Israel.

Obama said he believed in American exceptionalism just like he believed in Greek exceptionalism. Translation: No nation is exceptional. This "cartoon president" is determined to make America great.

This "cartoon president" delivered the greatest defense of Western Civilization since Ronald Reagan. During his eight years, Obama defended Islam more aggressively than any president we have ever had and hopefully ever will have.
This "cartoon president" defeated two political dynasties in one election -- the Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty. He's also done a good job of crushing the Islamic State caliphate, something Obama did not do.

If we're making entertainment analogies, what we had for eight years, and what Hillary Clinton would have continued, was a horror story staring the monsters of socialism, progressivism, identity politics, etc.

I won't waste my money on Rhodes' book. I'm not that interested in what this lying Obama sycophant has to say. Frankly, I prefer his remarks on Election Night.

Presidential Pardons - The pardon of my old White House colleague Dinesh D'Souza is being lambasted today by the left-wing media as "political." But Trump is simply correcting what was a political prosecution.

Making excessive campaign donations historically results in fines. It rarely results in a criminal prosecution and jail time. We recently wrote about Rosie O'Donnell dodging legal donation limits, and yet there is no talk of prosecuting her.

D'Souza was a well-known outspoken critic of the Obama Administration. His prosecution was a prime example of "lawfare," using the law to target political opponents, which the left has been doing for decades.

The left is also howling over rumors that Trump may pardon Martha Stewart. It turns out that she was prosecuted by James Comey.

The power of a president to pardon individuals is extraordinarily broad. We were sadly reminded of that fact when Barack Obama pardoned a terrorist and Chelsea Manning, a traitor who leaked tremendous amounts of national security information.

The sudden interest in the president's pardon powers comes as he has bemoaned the lives ruined by the Mueller investigation. They have not been ruined because of collusion with Russia. They have been ruined by an overzealous prosecutor hoping to coerce them into making statements that can be used to bring down the administration.

The most notable example is Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. It is not at all clear why he was indicted. The FBI agents who interviewed him did not think he lied. But his family has been crushed by legal expenses. Unlike Manning, Flynn is a hero who devoted his life to serving our country.

I have no inside information. But if this "witch hunt," as the president has called it, by Mueller and his team of Hillary Clinton donors continues, it would not be surprising to see the president exercise his pardon power again.

Left-wing Extremism - I want to revisit an issue that has made headlines lately -- the left's devotion to the radical open borders agenda.

As you know, President Trump made news when he called MS-13 gang members "animals." The left and media erupted in fits of rage, even though they took his statement grossly out of context so they could smear him.

When Trump counterattacked and accused Democrats of defending gang members, suddenly the media was insisting on 100% accuracy. The New York Times labeled Trump's charge as "false."

But I was recently reminded of something that strongly reinforces the president's point.

Last year the House of Representatives passed a bill called the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act. As the name implies, the legislation is intended to speed up the deportation of MS-13 gang members.

Every Republican but one (99.5%) voted for the bill. Every Democrat but 11 (94%) voted against it. That's a pretty clear distinction between the values of the two parties.

It is one thing to be pro-immigration. But it is unconscionable to not care if the people coming into the country are violent gang members.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell should immediately bring this bill to the Senate floor for a vote. Dare Chuck Schumer to filibuster it or let it pass and watch President Trump sign it into law.

Good News -
May job growth exceeded expectations and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%.

Paychecks are getting bigger.

U.S. oil production hit a record of nearly 10.5 million barrels a day.

President Trump is cutting the federal workforce and making it easier to fire bad bureaucrats, which 58% of Americans think is too hard to do.

Do you remember the confirmation hearing for CIA Director Gina Haspel? Liberal Democrats scolded her for being mean to terrorists. They actually thought that was a winning issue. It backfired. Polling discovered that public support for Haspel "jumped dramatically" to a 21-point margin after her contentious hearing.

54% of Americans and 59% of "big NFL fans" agree with the new policy that fines football teams if players protest the national anthem. Trump wins again!

The latest Rasmussen poll finds the generic ballot question for control of Congress is essentially tied. At the beginning of the year, Democrats had an eight-point advantage.
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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: Summit On, Our "Cartoon President," Presidential Pardons, Left-wing Extremism, Good News, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

New Work Requirement for Arkansas Works

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson
ARRA News Service: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced via his weekly radio address new work requirement for Arkansans on Arkansas Works:As many of you know, we’ve wanted to establish a work requirement in Arkansas Works for a long time. We were unable to garner support for this reform under the previous administration in Washington, but the Trump Administration is encouraging states to pursue this important innovation. As a result, we secured federal approval in March, and today, Arkansas has become the first state in the nation to implement a Medicaid work requirement.

Under this new requirement, certain able-bodied working-age adults in Arkansas Works will be required to work, train, volunteer, or go to school at least 80 hours a month in exchange for Medicaid benefits. To put it another way, Arkansas is requiring participants in its Medicaid program to engage in their communities and enjoy the satisfaction of self-sufficiency, while linking them to the work that will help them pursue their independence.

Those who fail to meet the minimum 80 hours per month for three months in a calendar year will lose Medicaid coverage for the rest of that year. We hope affected individuals will take the steps necessary to keep their coverage, and the Department of Human Services and the Department of Workforce Services are working hard to inform enrollees of the new requirement.

I have often said that Arkansans understand the dignity of work, and I believe that. One of the core objectives of the Medicaid program is to help individuals achieve independence. The ability to work full-time is fundamental to self-sufficiency. A healthy, well-trained workforce will attract greater investment in Arkansas and help sustain long-term growth. With our historically strong state economy, now is the right time to prepare these individuals for full-time, year-round work.

A fundamental goal of the work requirement is to help people escape from poverty. Even at minimum wage, a person who works full-time for a full year will earn his way above the federally established poverty level.

With this development, Arkansas has become a national leader in rethinking the delivery of public assistance. Although Arkansas’ work requirement is one of the most stringent in the nation, it is not designed to be punitive, but to better serve the needs of Arkansans by creating incentives for individuals to take steps toward financial independence.

The requirement to work presents an opportunity to learn new skills, broaden horizons, overcome current challenges, experience the dignity of work, build for the future, and give back to the community. The benefit of work is far greater than earning a paycheck. Work has a positive influence on an individual’s physical health, mental health, and general well-being. People who work are healthier and live longer.

People in Arkansas want to work, but they may be hampered by inadequate training and opportunities. A work requirement is designed to increase opportunity, and as I said, the purpose is not punitive.

With the new waiver, Medicaid coverage for adults in Arkansas is more than just access to medical services. It offers a path out of poverty and a path to the dignity of self-sufficiency and achievement.

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Louisiana Governor Signs Bill To Boost Church Security

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards
by Tom Knighton: We all remember the absolute horror as we received news of Sutherland Springs last year. It was awful, and so many of us wondered just how this could happen in Texas. However, no one had a gun on them in the church, and thus the massacre could go on uncontested. That is until the shooter stepped outside the church and faced an armed neighbor.

Unfortunately, it was too late then.

However, many states have sought to do what they could to prevent a repeat of that event. They’ve done whatever they can to beef up church security legislatively.

Now, Louisiana has joined that number.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards last week approved legislation to allow more people to carry a concealed handgun in places of worship across the state.

The proposal, SB 402, changes state regulations on security guards in places like churches and synagogues while dropping the current eight-hour annual training requirement for approved concealed handgun permittees to carry firearms while attending services. The bill was popular with lawmakers, passing the House 81-10 and the Senate 34-3, veto-proof margins that all but ensured a signature from the Democrat Edwards — who approved the bill without comment.

The new law makes it possible for volunteers who are law enforcement or have a valid concealed handgun permit to serve houses of worship as armed security, either in a paid or unpaid capacity. Prior law did not allow concealed carry unless the permit holder had eight hours of tactical training each year, a requirement the modification signed this month leaves behind except in cases where it is required by the church’s insurance underwriter. Neighboring Mississippi adopted a similar law granting allowances for concealed carry by members of designated church programs in 2016.
These are all good steps, but they often tend not to go far enough.

Here in the South, especially, the church is kind of a weird place. While we tend to embrace both religion and guns (some have said we even “cling” to them), there are a lot of people who separate the two and would never carry in a church. A church is a sacred place where you would never soil by carrying. Many state laws have reflected this. It was only fairly recently that Georgia allowed the carrying of guns in churches at all, and then only with the permission of the church.

And this is a part of the country that tends to buy into the whole “cold, dead hands” line of thinking.

Despite being a lifelong Southerner, I’ve never understood it.

Yet there’s one hurdle that needs to be dealt with following Sutherland Springs. If you believe that more guns mean less crime, and that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns, one must recognize that the church door isn’t proof against evil. Maniacs don’t respect houses of worship and never will.

That means you need guns there.

Luckily, many states are grasping that and making changes. However, there are still hurdles to be addressed, but hopefully, they will be. In Louisiana, they made it easier, and that’s always a good thing.
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Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger at Bearing Arms. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia and contributes to PJ Media.

Tags: Tom Knighton, Bearing Arms, Louisiana, Governor, John Bel Edwards, Signs Bill, Boost Church Security To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Secret Courts Guarantee Abuse

. . . And boy, do we have abuse.
by Michael Ledeen: I testified against the Patriot Act because I feared the abuse of secret tribunals. I’m usually far off in my predictions, but it was obvious from the get-go that the FISA courts would be abused by the Intelligence Community, and indeed those secret courts have almost always done what the FBI and CIA asked, even when—as in the case of General Michael Flynn—the IC had to ask several times, and even when the “evidence” consisted of an unverified “dossier” produced by a political campaign.

The Intelligence Community has long considered itself a state within the American state, dating from its creation just after World War II. Most of the time, the IC has used its power to support presidential policies—the CIA snooped on the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2014, and on the McGovern campaign, and the FBI spied on the Goldwater campaign-- but when a president acted against the IC’s convictions, the spooks advanced their own interests and beliefs.

No sooner had President Truman recognized the state of Israel, than the CIA swung into (illegal) action, secretly creating the American Friends of the Middle East, which brought Middle Easterners to America, published their views, and lobbied Congress, all against Israel. In the words of Hudson’s Michael Doran,
AFME was a remarkable instance of a CIA-confected front organization designed to counter official government policy, in this case by seeking to delegitimize Zionism in domestic American politics.Truman quickly understood what was at stake. “It's become a government all of its own and all secret. They don't have to account to anybody.”.

It was, Truman recognized, part of a broader problem: bureaucrats who saw themselves, not mere elected officials, as the only legitimate policy makers. “The civil servant, the general or admiral, the foreign service officer,” Truman insisted, “has no authority to make policy. They act only as servants of the government, and therefore they must remain in line with the government policy that is established by those who have been chosen by the people to set that policy.”

This enraged the president, who was also furious at the State Department’s opposition to his Middle East policies. Yet bureaucratic action against presidential policies remained common. As Truman discovered, the IC used “intelligence” to undermine presidential policies and advance its own. This was demonstrated in the 1970s, when a private-sector group of analysts known as “Team B”—led by the recently-departed Professor Richard Pipes of Harvard--successfully challenged the CIA’s view of Soviet military strength, and the CIA’s conviction that we had very little to fear from the Kremlin.

Back in the Truman years, the president was able to appreciate Soviet intentions better than the IC, ironically thanks in no small part to his own intelligence operation in cahoots with Israel. Ironically, Truman opened a secret back channel to Tel Aviv at the same time the CIA was sabotaging American cooperation with the Jewish state, via the legendary spook James Jesus Angleton, whose point of contact in Israel was Ben-Gurion’s personal secretary, Teddy Kolleck. The two worked closely with Israel’s domestic security service, the Shin Bet, debriefing Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Empire. Angleton, like most CIA officials, suspected the Israelis of collusion with the Soviet Union, but in time he realized this was not true. Angleton subsequently received the text of Khrushchev’s speech about Stalin’s crimes…from the Israelis. He was subsequently outed by CIA chief William Colby, with whom he had had many disagreements.

Bureaucratic arrogance is an ongoing problem, nowhere more than the Intelligence Community. The problem is more grave today, with the advances in electronic snooping, the courts’ willingness to let the intelligence agencies pry into all manner of communications, and the zeal with which the media report improper leaks. As Lee Smith recently tweeted:
They (the IC) ran a counterintelligence investigation of a former rival spy chief, Mike Flynn, a retired 3-star General. Abuse. Then they leaked intercept of his conversation with Russian ambassador. Crime. Now our 3d world press hires our 3d world spy chiefs.Secret tribunals guarantee this sort of corruption. Yes, there are cases where decisions on spying on Americans must be secret, but we pay a terrible price for them. And as things stand, the snoopers have all the cards. The game is totally rigged.
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Michael Ledeen is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and he shared this article in FrontPage Mag.

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Danger of Authoritarianism May Come From the Center, Not the Right

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: "Across Europe and North America, centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism." So wrote political researcher David Adler in The New York Times after analyzing responses to two multi-country surveys on values.

Adler found that centrists are less likely to regard democracy as "very good" and to consider free elections and protecting liberties from state oppression "essential" features of democracy. His study is subject to criticism, notably that his classification of centrists is overbroad, but it contains at least a kernel of truth.

The most vitriolic critics of electoral decisions in recent years around the world have been long identified -- and celebrated -- as centrists. They have been arguing that extremists, mostly on the right, are undermining the foundations of democracy. Democracy, in their view, is becoming dangerously undemocratic.

That is the essence of much of the "Resistance" in this country to Donald Trump. His election was the result of a handful of Russian-sponsored Facebook ads. His complaints about the press are seen as a prelude to shutting it down. Hillary Clinton's election-season denunciation of those unwilling to accept an election result has given way to nonstop whining from someone who bridles at accepting an election result.

Similarly, in Britain, Tony Blair has refused to accept the June 2016 Brexit referendum, in which more voters supported leaving the European Union than have ever voted for any party. Blair is looking to the House of Lords and the courts to force a revote.

In Colombia, voters in October 2016 rejected President Juan Manuel Santos' peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas. Centrists disapproved of the vote; four days later, Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But voters have persisted, and in last Sunday's election, Santos' handpicked successor got only 25 percent of the vote.

In Italy, the normally ceremonial role of president has just changed. The current president is about to force another election because he refused to approve the new euroskeptic government's nominee for finance secretary based on his threats to leave the eurozone.

Blair, the Nobel committee and the Italian president -- and the would-be Trump impeachers -- evoke the oft-cited attitude of one American military officer in Vietnam: They believe they have to kill democracy to save it.

Of course, they could argue -- and sometimes do -- that the policies advocated by the winners in the democratic process would be harmful and that they would undermine democracy. But that's a stretch, particularly coming from leaders whose centrist policies have proved to be far less successful than people used to think.

Take Blair, whose decisions were seldom challenged in his 10 years as British prime minister. He surreptitiously changed policy to admit hundreds of thousands of low-skilled immigrants and led a government that refused to prosecute Muslim gangs that preyed on young working-class girls. If it hadn't been for the opposition of his colleague and rival Gordon Brown, who would become prime minister, Blair would have ditched the pound and put Britain on the euro.

The euro was the work of political centrists -- and was clearly an enormous policy blunder. The decision to admit a million mostly Muslim young men to Germany, made without consultation by the most praised current centrist politician, Chancellor Angela Merkel, was another obvious blunder.

Another centrist policy, eased mortgage standards for minority homebuyers, got staunch support from both George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- and was a major cause of the Great Recession.

Given this record, it's not surprising that centrist leaders are increasingly the objects of voters' scorn. "The chief accomplishment of the current educated elite," wrote centrist David Brooks in The New York Times this week, "is that it has produced a bipartisan revolt against itself."

Meanwhile, the centrists' warnings against the authoritarianism of the extremes look like a case of projection -- attributing your own shortcomings to others.

It's slightly absurd for unelected and unaccountable European Union officials to criticize decisions of national electorates as undemocratic and to refuse to accept the results of national referendums and force revotes until the people get it right.

As for freedom of speech, centrist governments in Britain, Sweden and Germany aggressively suppress reports of violence and crime by Muslim immigrants. Supposedly centrist colleges in the United States routinely suppress free speech, and their recent graduates hired by Silicon Valley firms -- Google, Facebook, Twitter -- are busy suppressing speech in the larger society.

So if you're worried about extremists' authoritarianism, keep an eye on the centrists, too.
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Michael Barone is a Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel and Townhall contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Tags: Michael Barone, Danger of Authoritarianism, May Come From the Center, Not the Right To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Capitalism vs. Socialism

Dr Walter E. Williams
by Dr. Walter E. Williams: Several recent polls, plus the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders, demonstrate that young people prefer socialism to free market capitalism. That, I believe, is a result of their ignorance and indoctrination during their school years, from kindergarten through college. For the most part, neither they nor many of their teachers and professors know what free market capitalism is.

Free market capitalism, wherein there is peaceful voluntary exchange, is morally superior to any other economic system. Why? Let’s start with my initial premise. All of us own ourselves. I am my private property, and you are yours. Murder, rape, theft and the initiation of violence are immoral because they violate self-ownership. Similarly, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another person, for any reason, is immoral because it violates self-ownership.

Tragically, two-thirds to three-quarters of the federal budget can be described as Congress taking the rightful earnings of one American to give to another American — using one American to serve another. Such acts include farm subsidies, business bailouts, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and many other programs.

Free market capitalism is disfavored by many Americans — and threatened — not because of its failure but, ironically, because of its success. Free market capitalism in America has been so successful in eliminating the traditional problems of mankind — such as disease, pestilence, hunger and gross poverty — that all other human problems appear both unbearable and inexcusable. The desire by many Americans to eliminate these so-called unbearable and inexcusable problems has led to the call for socialism. That call includes equality of income, sex and race balance, affordable housing and medical care, orderly markets, and many other socialistic ideas.

Let’s compare capitalism with socialism by answering the following questions: In which areas of our lives do we find the greatest satisfaction, and in which do we find the greatest dissatisfaction? It turns out that we seldom find people upset with and in conflict with computer and clothing stores, supermarkets, and hardware stores. We do see people highly dissatisfied with and often in conflict with boards of education, motor vehicles departments, police and city sanitation services.

What are the differences? For one, the motivation for the provision of services of computer and clothing stores, supermarkets, and hardware stores is profit. Also, if you’re dissatisfied with their services, you can instantaneously fire them by taking your business elsewhere. It’s a different matter with public education, motor vehicles departments, police and city sanitation services. They are not motivated by profit at all. Plus, if you’re dissatisfied with their service, it is costly and in many cases even impossible to fire them.

A much larger and totally ignored question has to do with the brutality of socialism. In the 20th century, the one-party socialist states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Germany under the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and the People’s Republic of China were responsible for the murder of 118 million citizens, mostly their own. The tallies were: USSR 62 million, Nazi Germany 21 million and PRC 35 million. No such record of brutality can be found in countries that tend toward free market capitalism.

Here’s an experiment for you. List countries according to whether they are closer to the free market capitalist or to the socialist/communist end of the economic spectrum. Then rank the countries according to per capita gross domestic product. Finally, rank the countries according to Freedom House’s “Freedom in the World” report. You will find that people who live in countries closer to the free market capitalist end of the economic spectrum not only have far greater wealth than people who live in countries toward the socialistic/communist end but also enjoy far greater human rights protections.

As Dr. Thomas Sowell says, “socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.”
--------------
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, Capitalism, Socialism To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Is America’s Racial Divide Permanent?

Patrick Buchanan
by Patrick Buchanan: For Roseanne Barr, star of ABC’s hit show “Roseanne,” there would be no appeal. When her tweet hit, she was gone.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement, is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” declaimed Channing Dungey, the black president of ABC Entertainment.

Targeting Valerie Jarrett, a confidante and aide of President Barack Obama, Roseanne had tweeted: If the “muslim brotherhood & the planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Offensive, juvenile, crude, but was that not pretty much the job description ABC had in mind for the role of Roseanne in the show?

Roseanne also tweeted that George Soros, 87-year-old radical-liberal billionaire, had been a Nazi “who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps and stole their wealth.”

The Soros slur seems far more savage than the dumb racial joke about Jarrett, but it was the latter that got Roseanne canned.

Her firing came the same day that 175,000 employees of 8,000 Starbucks’s stores were undergoing four hours of instruction to heighten their racial sensitivities.

These training sessions, said The Washington Post, “marked the start of Starbucks’ years-long commitment to new diversity and sensitivity programs after two African-Americans were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks on April 12.”

The Philly Starbucks manager, a woman, had called the cops when the two black men she took to be loiterers refused to leave.

Rachel Siegel of the Post describes the four-hour session:

“At first the employees are prompted to find differences. They watched a video in which (Starbucks head) Howard Schultz talks about his vision for a more inclusive company and country. They reflected what a place of belonging means to them. And they examine their own biases.

“Each group viewed a documentary underwritten by Starbucks and directed by Stanley Nelson. In the film people of color talk about experiences of being followed in stores. Footage from the civil rights movement quickly progresses to 21st-century cellphone videos capturing people being dragged off a plane, threatened in a New York deli and choked at a North Carolina Waffle House.”

On reading this, the terms “Orwellian” and “re-education camp” come to mind.

Earlier in May, the NFL issued a rule saying players who refuse to stand for the national anthem must remain in the locker room. If they take a knee on the field this coming season, they can be punished and the team fined.

Great was the outrage when this ruling came. The First Amendment rights of black players were being brutally trampled upon.

Yet the NFL has always had restrictions on behavior, from evicting players from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct to curtailing end-zone dances.

What is the common thread that runs through these social clashes from just this last month?

It is race. Each episode fits neatly into the great media narrative of an irredeemably racist America of white oppressors and black victims.

Had it been two white guys hanging out in that Philly Starbucks, who were told by the manager to buy a cup of coffee or get out, the spat would never have become a national story.

These incidents, coming as they do 50 years after the historic advances in civil rights, induce a deep pessimism that this country will ever escape from the endlessly boiling cauldron of racial conflict.

Today, because of cellphone videos, social media, 24-hour cable and the subsequent nationalization of even the most trivial incidents, our national conversation is more suffused than ever with matters of race.

For many, race has become a constant preoccupation.

And in each of these incidents and disputes, the country divides along the familiar fault lines, and the accusations and arguments go on and on until a new incident engenders a new argument.

The America of the 1960s, with its civil rights clashes and “long hot summers,” was a far more segregated society than today. Yet the toxic charge of “racist” is far more common now.

And how much do these conversations correspond to the real crisis of black America? Here is a sentence culled from another Post story this week: “Three fatal shootings …over the Memorial Day weekend brought the (Ward 8 total) to 30 homicides so far this year.”

Are white cops really the problem in Ward 8, Anacostia, when 30 people in that black community have been shot or stabbed to death in the first five months of 2018?

Washington, D.C., spends more per student than almost any other school district. Yet the test scores of vast numbers of black kids have already fallen below “proficiency” levels by the time they reach fourth and eighth grade, and the high school truancies have reached scandalous levels.

How does ABC’s cashiering of “Roseanne,” or apologies to the two guys at Starbucks, or restrictions on the rights of millionaire NFL players to kneel during our national anthem address the real crisis?

Is white America really black America’s biggest problem?
--------------------
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, Is America’s Racial Divide Permanent, America, racial divide To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Franklin Graham Urges Pastors, Christians to Become Political Activists

Rev. Franlin Graham speaking in California
by Todd Starnes: Franklin Graham is a man on a mission.

“I’m encouraging pastors to become political activists,” the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse said on the Todd Starnes Radio Show.

“I’m not telling them how to vote. I’m not telling them what party to belong to,” Graham said. “Get out there and vote and be a spokesperson for God’s standards and moral issues that we face every day politically.”

Graham has been on a 10-day bus tour across the state of California, holding massive evangelistic rallies from Pasadena to Redding to Berkeley. He’s going from city to city sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

But Graham is also delivering another message – one meant for the faithful: vote.

“It’s important that Christians vote,” he said on my nationally-syndicated radio show.

“I’m not working with the Republican Party or the Democrat Party. I haven’t talked to anybody in the parties. We are staying out of the politics part of it. But I do want Christians to vote.”

That message has drawn concern from the Mainstream Media and the Fake News crowd. The New York Times published a lengthy report titled, “The Evangelical Fight to Win Back California.” They framed the “Decision America California Tour” as a political crusade.

Graham said he is not ashamed of his message – a call to spiritual arms for believers across the Golden State.

“California is sinking. People are leaving this state. The tax base is eroding. They are turning their once beautiful cities into these sanctuary cities which are just a little picture of hell,” he said. “Just go to San Francisco and take a look at this once beautiful city and see what’s happened to it.”

There’s no doubt that Conservatives and Christians have suffered under the oppressive leadership of California Democrats. A super-majority controls the state house and people of faith have been under a relentless assault.

“I want the churches to realize they don’t have to take this,” Graham said. “The churches can be the voice. They can be the ones who can turn this state back to God and turn it back into a beautiful state.”

It’s a message that Graham is taking to the national stage – to a country that he says is in trouble.

“The political swamp in Washington is a real swamp. That swam is not created just by Democrats. It’s Republicans and Democrats responsible for the swamp,” Graham said. “The only way we are going to get God’s voice in politics is if God’s people – who are called by His name – are willing to take a stand and let their voices be heard.”

So here is Franklin Graham’s call to arms for the American church: vote and run for office.

“We need Christian legislators, we need Christian mayors, we need Christians on the city council,” he said. “I’m talking about Christians who are willing to take a stand for biblical truth.”
------------------
Todd Starnes (@toddstarnes) is A Christian Conservative, the host of Fox News & Commentary and heard daily on 250+ radio stations and on his iTune podcasts.

Tags: Todd Starnes, Franklin Graham, Urges Pastors, Christians, to become political activists To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sur-Real Time With Bill Maher . . .

. . . White liberal privilege is exercised abundantly by such people as Bill Maher, Wonda Sikes, and Samantha for off colored and racist comments, while Roseanne Barr is fired for her’s.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Bill Maher, White liberal privilege, Bill Maher, Wonda Sikes, Samantha, off colored, racist comments, Roseanne Barr, fired To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Dismantling the Electoral College

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: A recent vote in the state of Connecticut brought the country one step closer to the dismantling of the Electoral College. Ten years ago, I first wrote about states that passed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Back then there were two states that passed it. Now there are eleven states and the District of Columbia.

These states have entered into a compact in which they agree to allocate their electors to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of how their citizens voted. The compact goes into effect when states holding 270 electoral votes have agreed to the plan. So far states with a total of 172 electors have approved the measure.

Tara Ross, in a recent article, reminds us that the vote in Connecticut against the Electoral College is so ironic. One of the major founders of this country is Roger Sherman. That Connecticut statesman was an influential delegate to the Constitutional Convention and responsible for what has been called “The Great Compromise” that gave Congress a bicameral structure. He didn’t want the large states to always dominate small states like Connecticut and Rhode Island.

That is also the reason he opposed the direct popular vote for the presidency. He knew that his small state (and other small states) would also be outvoted. He feared that the people “will generally vote for some man in their own state, and the largest state will have the best chance for the appointment.”

We can see this in the last election. Hillary Clinton received more than 65 million votes from just two states: California and New York. If we had a direct popular vote she might have merely focused all her attention on places like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Roger Sherman understood what could happen without the Electoral College. Unfortunately, the legislators in Connecticut today don’t understand this.
--------------
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, Dismantling, Electoral College To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Missouri Shows Article V Action

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: There’s good news and there’s good news from the Show Me State.

First the good news. The Missouri House declined to follow the lead of the Missouri Senate during its recent legislative session in advancing a ballot measure to make a travesty, mockery and sham of state legislative term limits.

The proposed weakening of the limits would have doubled maximum legislative tenure from eight years to 16 years. Further, it would also have excluded terms already served from counting toward the new limit.

Had the measure ultimately been enacted, some incumbents would have been able to sit in a single seat for up to 24 years. This assault on term limits is dead . . . at least until next year.

Now the good news. The lawmakers deserve high praise for issuing a formal call for an amendment convention to consider the single subject of congressional term limits, making Missouri the third state to do so (after Florida and Alabama). In mid-May, the resolution for a Term Limits Convention easily passed in both chambers.

Thanks to a provision in Article V of the Constitution, if two thirds of the states (34 states) submit a similar application to convene a term limits amendment convention, the convention must be convened. The amendment that the convention produces would then be submitted to the states for ratification. Three fourths (38) are required to ratify.

We’re only in the first-steps stage here, but first steps are crucial.

Thanks for showing us how to do it, Missouri.

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.

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

President Trump Follow Through On Steel & Aluminum Tariff

Editorial Cartoon by AF  Branco
by Robert Romano: He did it. In his continued push for “fair and reciprocal” trade, President Donald Trump has followed through on his promise to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

The three had been temporarily excluded from the tariffs when Trump issued his proclamation in March, pending further negotiations, but having not made progress, on May 31, Trump followed through on his threat.

Now, to get the tariffs lifted, Canada and Mexico will have to make it a part of the renegotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As for Europe, the countries there will need to come up with similar concessions in order to get out from under the tariffs.

Similar deals were worked out with Australia, Argentina, South Korea and Brazil for certain exemptions to the tariffs. So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but there has to be concessions to the U.S. in order to get them.

The U.S. received, in 2017, 17 percent of its steel imports from Canada, 9 percent from Canada and 4 percent from Germany, according data compiled by the International Trade Administration.

The tariffs came on the heels of a 16 percent increase in steel imports in 2017 to 34.5 million metric tons from 2016 when it was 30 million metric tons.

In the meantime, U.S. production of steel only increased 3.4 percent in 2017 according to the International Trade Administration to 81.6 million metric tons from 78.5 million metric tons.

This flooding of U.S. markets by dumping subsidized steel products is supposed to drive down prices, making it harder for domestic producers to maintain market share. The imported steel is tends to be much cheaper.

The excess supply problem is compounded by China’s own flooding of global markets. China currently has a 50 percent global market share in steel. This absolutely impacts trade flows into the U.S., even indirectly, by affecting global prices and trade volumes.

The Commerce Department justified its recommendation for instituting the tariffs in March, writing: “Domestic steel production is essential for national security applications. Statutory provisions illustrate that Congress believes domestic production capability is essential for defense requirements and critical infrastructure needs, and ultimately to the national security of the United States.”

The Department recommended that the U.S. use at least 80 percent of its annual capacity including imports, but as of now, only 72.3 percent is utilized because of this continued flooding of global and domestic markets. The report found “Utilization rates of 80 percent or greater are necessary to sustain adequate profitability and continued capital investment, research and development, and workforce enhancement in the steel sector.”

By capping how much steel will be imported into the U.S., the Trump administration is exercising its constitutional authority to implement the laws Congress has put in place to stop such dumping practices, and to regulate trade with foreign nations.

This is what Trump ran on in 2016, to put America first in trade, and he owes his Electoral College victory because he picked up the Rust Belt states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with union and conservative households alike putting him over the top.

Now, for alarmists who see a trade war behind every corner, this is by no means the end of the story. President Trump in his proclamation has held out the prospect that concessions could be had with our Canadian, Mexican and European trade partners. It’s all a part of his art of the deal.

That’s what fair and reciprocal means. If they give, we can give, too, and the tariffs can be reduced, just as they were with Australia, Argentina, South Korea and Brazil, to varying degrees. But no more freebies.
----------------
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Iobert Romano, Americans for Limited Government, President Trump, Steel, aluminum, tarriff, AF Branco, editorial cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Roseanne Is Out? Explain Maher, Sharpton and Olbermann

Larry Elder
by Larry Elder: Roseanne Barr lost her new television show.

Barr, in a tweet about Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, said of Jarrett: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” The comedian deleted the offensive tweet, but the damage was irreversible. The reaction was swift.

The Rev. Al Sharpton tweeted: “The comparison … of … Valerie Jarrett to an APE is racist and inexcusable. ABC must take action NOW!” The Disney-owned ABC issued the following statement: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” Barr left Disney little choice. Standing by her would have meant advertiser boycotts, forcing any company that advertises on her show to explain their association with a “racist.”

But what are the rules?

Disney also owns ESPN, the sports cable channel that employs Keith Olbermann, whose angry, unhinged tweets about President Donald Trump make Barr’s anti-Jarrett tweet look like a love note. Here’s one Olbermann tweeted at Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter: “Then tell your racist, white supremacist, neo-nazi father to get the f— out of our society.” One would think that Disney would find Olbermann’s tweets “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with (their) values.”

As for MSNBC’s Sharpton, he also said that Barr’s tweet shows that Trump is “normalizing” racism. Remember Sharpton became famous by falsely accusing a white man of raping a black teen. A New York grand jury called the accusation a hoax, and Sharpton was successfully sued for defamation. But to this day, Sharpton refuses to apologize. Sharpton helped fan the flames during the deadly 1991 Crown Heights, New York, riots by leading some 400 protesters through the predominately Jewish section of Brooklyn. Days before the deadly riots, Sharpton said at a rally in Harlem, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.” Sharpton once called David Dinkins, the first and only black New York City mayor, a “n—– whore.” Sharpton described Jews as “diamond merchants” and whites moving into Harlem as “interlopers.” Unwilling to wait for the Ferguson grand jury to finish its investigation of the police shooting death of Michael Brown, Sharpton took to the streets of Ferguson yelling, “No justice, no peace.” The grand jury exonerated the officer. No remorse by Sharpton. No apology. No cancellation of his show.

Bill Maher has long hosted a show on HBO and gets top pundits to appear. No guest seems bothered by Maher’s sexist, vicious put-downs of Republican women. In his stand-up, Maher called Sarah Palin a “c—” and a “dumb t—” — both offensive and derisive slang words for female genitalia. Maher defended himself by insisting that in his stand-up act, political correctness is off-limits. Michael Richards committed career suicide when, during a comedy stand-up, he shouted down black hecklers by repeatedly using the N-word. That this occurred in a stand-up act was no defense for him. Richards has barely been heard from since.

Maher also called Palin and Michele Bachmann “two bimbos.” Maher referred to Palin’s son with Down syndrome as “retarded.” In January 2013, Maher said that Donald Trump should prove he wasn’t “the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.” Isn’t this pretty much what Barr said?

Meanwhile at CNN, Erin Burnett hosts a daily show. When Burnett worked for MSNBC, she referred to then-President George Bush, standing in a group of politicians, as “the monkey in the middle.” CNN’s Van Jones called Trump’s election a “whitelash,” and fellow host Don Lemon, who calls himself a “journalist,” recently pronounced President Trump “a racist.” Well, that settles that.

One can’t even keep track of the many offensive things said on the Disney-owned ABC show “The View.” Panelist Sunny Hostin attributed Trump’s victory to racism: “Twenty percent of people voted because of racism, and I think after eight years of a black president there was no way that (Clinton) was going to win.”

The outrage over Barr’s offensive tweet is understandable. But why is there a no-fly zone over Maher, Olbermann and Sharpton? Laura Ingraham took a relatively mild swipe at Parkland gun control activist David Hogg, apologized, but had to weather an advertiser boycott.

The swift cancellation of Barr’s show demonstrates yet again that the National Review editor John O’Sullivan was right. “White racism,” Sullivan said, “does exist, but its social power is weak and the social power arrayed against it is overwhelming.”
---------------
Larry Elder (@larryelder) is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host, an American lawyer, writer and radio and television personality who is also known as the "Sage From South Central." To find out more about Larry Elder. Visit his website at LarryElder.com for list of other articles.

Tags: Larry Elder, commentary, Roseanne Is Out? Explain Maher, Sharpton and Olbermann To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Debunking 3 Myths About Trump’s Moves to Make Bureaucrats More Accountable

President Donald Trump's three executive orders
streamlining civil service rules should make
it easier to get rid of bad federal employees.
 
by Jarrett Stepman: In an under-the-radar move before Memorial Day weekend, President Donald Trump signed a series of important executive orders that could speed up “draining the swamp” in Washington.

The executive orders adjust rules pertaining to federal workers so that it now will be easier to get rid of bad employees in a shorter amount of time.

The orders also limit the time federal employees may devote to union organizing during work hours. And they set up a shorter time for negotiating contracts in the collective bargaining process.

Over the last century, civil service rules have made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to fire bad bureaucrats.

While the original civil service reforms in the late 19th century were meant to increase merit hiring and move away from the politicized “spoils system” of earlier eras, the current system locks workers into government jobs for life, regardless of merit.

At one time, the federal government left a tiny footprint. Now the federal bureaucracy—the so-called fourth branch of government—employs nearly 3 million people and creates myriad rules that apply to everyday life.

Unaccountable agencies guided by a permanent class of federal workers have been given free rein in this country.

These tweaked rules, following changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs—which has been wracked by scandal in recent years—represent a positive step in the right direction of making that vast apparatus more answerable to the American people.

However, civil service reform has its vociferous detractors.

One critic, American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. called it “a classic example of this administration’s attack and assault on women, attack and assault on minorities.”

Wednesday, Cox’s union sued Trump over the limits on doing union business on the taxpayers’ dime.

Here are three frequent but mistaken claims made by critics of civil service reform.

1. Making It Easier to Fire Bad Workers Is an Attack on Democracy
“This is more than union busting—it’s democracy busting,” said Cox, who heads the largest federal employee union. “This administration seems hellbent on replacing a civil service that works for all taxpayers with a political service that serves at its whim.”

One of the most pernicious aspects of current civil service laws is that they make it virtually impossible to fire bad employees for any reason.

Civil service rules virtually guarantee jobs for life without even an expectation of competence. Career advancement is based strictly on seniority. This creates a system in which those who fail continue to fail unimpeded, and those who strive to succeed receive no reward.

The idea that taxpayers owe one a job in government, with no accountability to either our constitutionally elected leaders or the voters, is much more of an attack on democracy.

In President Andrew Jackson’s first message to Congress, he explained the concept of “rotation in office” and why it is dangerous to democracy for civil servants to believe that the American people owe them a government job.

Jackson warned that without the ability to remove government officers from time to time, a government job may become “considered as a species of property, and government rather as a means of promoting individual interests than as an instrument created solely for the service of the people.”

Rules allowing citizens to secure government jobs for life is the very antithesis of democracy.

2. Federal Employees Are ‘Nonpartisan’
One of the primary drivers behind the original civil service reform in the late 19th century was to end partisanship in the hiring process for federal workers. However, over a century later, it’s clear that the fourth branch is hardly nonpartisan.

In the 2016 presidential race, 95 percent of donations from federal workers went to Democrat Hillary Clinton. That pattern of support for Democrats persisted after the election too.

On a book tour after losing the election, Clinton advised federal workers to “stick it out, stick it out, because the tide has to turn.”

“If [Democrats] can take back one or both houses of Congress in 2018, you will have people you can talk to again,” she said.

Just after Trump was sworn into office, The Washington Post reported on how so-called nonpartisan civil servants were working with former Obama staffers to thwart the new president’s agenda:


Less than two weeks into Trump’s administration, federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives.

Some federal employees have set up social media accounts to anonymously leak word of changes that Trump appointees are trying to make.
According to Politico, many of those working for the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department’s foreign service, and the Labor Department turned to encrypted messaging apps to hide their activities from the administration.

These actions demonstrate why the fourth branch has become so problematic. Are the administration’s policies to be determined by the president and his staff, who are democratically accountable to the American people, or a low-level bureaucrat who is accountable to virtually no one?

3. Federal Employees Acting Badly Is Uncommon
Some opponents of civil service reform say that stories of bureaucrats behaving badly are overblown. But this isn’t the case at all. The outrageous behavior of some federal workers demonstrates how important it is to make adjustments to the calcified system.

Many clearly criminal acts go unpunished. Federal workers who likely would have lost their job in almost any other workplace end up getting at best a slap on the wrist for terrible behavior, mostly because they are protected by rules for removal that rise to the scope and standard of proof in a civil trial.

For example, an NBC News report in 2017 found that hundreds of federal employees were caught watching porn for hours a day while on the job, but few paid serious consequences.

A post office employee was convicted of using cocaine during a lunch break. Prosecutors proved in a criminal court that she was getting high on the job.

However, the Merit Systems Protection Board, which acts as the judicial power within the federal bureaucracy, overturned the postal employee’s initial firing, and she ended up with just a 90-day suspension.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of bad behavior that has gone unpunished because of civil service rules.

The truth is, civil service rules were ripe for change, and, following reforms in several states, the Trump administration has taken some critical first moves toward making the vast federal bureaucracy more accountable to the American people.
-------------------------
Jarrett Stepman (@JarrettStepman) is an editor of The Daily Signal.

Tags: President Donald Trump, executive orders, Debunking 3 Myths, Bureaucrats, More Accountable 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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