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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 29, 2018

Newly-Discovered Provision in GOP Tax Reform Law Slaps Tax on Church Parking

by Tyler O’Neil: More than 1,500 organizations have signed a petition against a little-known provision in the Republican tax reform law that would levy a tax on parking and other fringe benefits provided to employees at tax-exempt organizations, like churches.

"The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a troubling provision that applies federal income tax to parking benefits provided by tax-exempt organizations to their employees," a position statement from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) declares. "The idea that tax-exempt organizations should be taxed on parking they provide to their employees is highly inappropriate and must be stopped."

As of Friday, 1,557 organizations had signed the petition backing the statement.

"What we're talking about is an income tax on the church for providing parking to its employees — that's what we're talking about," ECFA Chairman of the Board Mike Batts told Politico. "It's absurd."

The newly added Section 512(a)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code effectively levies an income tax on tax-exempt organizations that provide parking to their employees. According to the ECFA position statement, this would apply to organizations that merely allow employees to park in a parking lot or garage that is part of the organization's facilities.

Some churches disagreed. "If we have a parking lot and there is no cost associated with that for the employees then this wouldn't apply to us, Ted Voltmer, executive pastor of Jacksonville Chapel in New Jersey, told the Christian Post. "If we were an urban church and employees had to pay for parking on the street or in a parking lot or something then that would probably apply but there is no cost to park for the employees. That's my interpretation."

Busby shot down this interpretation. "I'm not surprised you find that churches don't understand this issue," the ECFA president told the Christian Post. "It's only been in recent weeks that even tax professionals have dug this provision out of the law and we've begun to understand the implications of it, and so today I doubt if one percent of the churches in America understand that this provision was even put in the law."

Whether or not churches understand, Busby insisted that the law would apply to all churches that provide parking to their employees regardless of whether an employee is charged for parking. "If they are providing a place for their employees to park it's a universal problem," he said.

Beyond the direct tax — a hefty 21 percent — the new provision will create an administrative headache. "There's going to be huge headaches," Galen Carey, vice president of government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals, told Politico. "The cost of compliance, especially for churches that have small staffs or maybe volunteer accountants and bookkeepers — we don't need this kind of hassle."

To help defray the cost to the government of widespread tax cuts, the new tax law applied this new levy, part of an effort to slash tax breaks for worker's fringe benefits. Companies have long taken deductions for entertaining clients and providing meals for employees. Most of the trimmed deductions involve this kind of costs.

Republicans also wanted to treat non-profits equally, however. Since those organizations do not pay income taxes, lawmakers could not take away fringe-benefit deductions, so instead they created a 21 percent tax on the value of some non-profit employee benefits.

According to Politico's Brian Faler, the main benefits are transportation-related, such as free parking in a lot or garage and subway and bus passes. The tax also targets meals provided to workers and, in some circumstances, gym memberships.

Earlier this month, Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) introduced a bill to kill the tax. But House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has defended the provision.

"The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included provisions that provided greater parity in the tax treatment of different types of employee compensation," Brady spokesman Rob Damschen told Politico. "These provisions apply to both employers that are taxable entities and those that are tax-exempt entities."

"Providing this greater parity helps to reduce the extent to which decisions about the elements included win the employee compensation package are driven by tax considerations," he added.

Many organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Goodwill Industries, the YMCA and the National Council of Nonprofits, are demanding the tax be delayed, arguing it is unfair to ask them to pay a levy they do not understand.

This tax may have been an effort to defray tax reform costs, but it seems particularly tough on churches and other small non-profits. "Working in the church world most of my career, by guess is that prior to this provision, there's probably only one or two percent of churches in America that file form 990-T," ECFA President Busby told the Christian Post.

"Small churches across America have to file a form 990-T that they've never even hear of," he explained. "And probably they're gonna need to secure professional advice and pay a professional to file the return, even though the money may not be a significant amount, it's just a ridiculous provision that was put in the law."

Whether or not the provision fulfills a good purpose, it threatens to undermine the large benefits Americans have already started accruing thanks to the tax bill. It also looks particularly bad for the Republican tax bill to levy a new duty on churches. Whatever Brady's defenses, Conaway may be spot on here — the measure likely needs to be repealed.
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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: IPj Media, Tyler O'Neil, GOP Tax Reform Law,  employees, Tax on Church Parking To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Delaware Governor Sign Bill To Temporarily Deprive People of 2A Rights

by Tom Knighton: Ever since Parkland, people have tripped all over themselves to try and stop the next mass shooting. Part of the favored set of solutions to this was the Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also called “red flag laws” that allow family, police, or even teachers in some cases, to petition the courts to remove guns from people who haven’t actually done anything wrong, but who might.

While ERPOs have allegedly been successful in curbing suicides–taking away a quick means to take one’s own life, thus making it more complicated to commit suicide–they haven’t seemed to do much for homicides. But that didn’t stop Delaware from embracing them.
Gov. John Carney

Democratic Gov. John Carney on Wednesday signed legislation to set up a framework to temporarily void the gun rights of those thought to be dangerous in The First State.

The bill, HB 222, enables a family member or law enforcement to seek an emergency “Lethal Violence Protection Order” to temporarily seize the guns from someone thought to be a threat to themselves or others. The measure, termed a “red flag” law by supports, passed the legislature earlier this month without a single opposing vote.

“This new legislation is another tool to help law enforcement and our community confront gun violence,” said Carney, who has already signed a bump stock ban and other gun control bills into law so far this year. “One piece of legislation alone will not solve the problem of gun violence, but with a comprehensive approach, along with efforts to strengthen security in our schools, we can make a difference.”

Under the bill, a court may authorize an LVPO for a period of up to one year but must allow the subject of such an order to petition for a hearing to have their guns returned. While those faced with an order can voluntarily hand over their firearms to law enforcement or a gun dealer to hold, the bill also enables police to conduct a search and seizure and guarantees the agency’s immunity from civil or criminal liability for any damage to guns stored or transported, barring intentional misconduct. Those making false reports could face perjury charges.
It’s good there are at least some penalties in place for false reporting, but I suspect that’s going to be difficult to prove. At least, it will be unless the person is a complete idiot. So, based on what I’ve seen on humanity, I retract my statement about it being difficult to prove.

Regardless, though, these are still concerning. Anything that takes away a civil right is concerning, and contrary to what the gun grabbers may feel in their heart of hearts, that’s precisely what these do. They take away someone’s right to keep and bear arms…and they don’t do much else.

The vast majority of homicides are committed by people who would not be caught up in an ERPO’s snare. They’re either criminals engaging in other illegal activities or they’re cold-blooded homicides committed by people who don’t trip up any signals that would warrant an ERPO. In other words, these do little to stop the majority of firearm-related homicides.

Further, those who may get ensnared by these–people like angry estranged spouses–may also simply elect to use a different weapon, thus negating the effectiveness of these orders.

But hey, what should anyone care? It’s just people’s rights we’re talking about here. Not anything important.
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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 also contributes to PJ Media.

Tags: om Knighton, Bearing Arms, Delaware Governor, Sign Bill, Temporarily Deprive, People of 2A Rights To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Lies, Damned Lies, And Immigration Policy

. . . The falsehoods that protect a political interest.
by Bruce Thornton: No policy debate is more filled with dishonesty and duplicity than immigration. The whine of political axes being ground is continually drowned out by Emma Lazarus sentimentalism, “we’re a nation of immigrants” clichés, promiscuous virtue-signaling, and the current weepy melodramas of children “ripped from their mother’s arms.” The whole sordid business exists, of course, to perfume some simple truths: Leviathan Dems want more voters and more dependents of the entitlement-industrial complex; Wall Street Republicans want plentiful cheap labor. The only thing missing are the facts about the reality of immigration both illegal and legal.

Start with imprecise numbers. We are told that there are currently 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. Others say it’s closer to 20 to 25 million. The point is, nobody knows. We do know that close to a third of federal inmates are illegals. But we don’t know much about the rest, except for those illegal alien “dreamers” on television lamenting how they have to “live in the shadows.” We don’t know the extent of the costs to taxpayers of illegal immigration, even as we are told by amnesty supporters that they are net contributors to the economy through payroll and sales taxes. But they don’t tell us if that sum subtracts the $26 billion sent back to Mexico. We do know that taxpayers spend $2 billion a year to provide medical services to illegal aliens just in emergency room visits. According to Christopher Conover, state and local circumventions of federal prohibitions against health care for illegals are indirectly costing taxpayers $17 billion a year in care for illegal aliens. And that’s just health care. Some estimates put the total cost of illegal aliens at $89 billion, while others go as high $135 billion.

People who do not live among concentrations of illegal aliens can easily dispute these estimates, even though they’re based on government data bases. Nor do they recognize the damage to the quality of life in communities filled with large numbers of people from different cultures, values, and mores. They don’t get that the “broken windows” theory of policing applies to immigration as well. Violent crimes reflect a larger disregard for the law seen in violations of housing, animal, garbage, and sanitation regulations, or violations of traffic laws on DUIs, driving without a license, and hit-and-runs. Only a fraction of these violations leads to arrests or fines. Law enforcement often do not even bother to cite offenders or search for them, since they know the system will spit them back out, given the lack of resources to prosecute and incarcerate offendeers. Then there’s the impact on public services like schools and hospitals and emergency rooms, where staff consume time tending to people who can’t speak English and who use the emergency room as their primary care physician. This degradation of a community that follows such daily disorder cannot always be quantified, but it has serious consequences. You have to live with it to really grasp the extent of this problem.

But few of the people who agitate for open borders or blanket amnesties have had that experience. That makes it easier for them to rely on dishonest generalizations laced with sentiment and emotion in order to support their policy prescriptions. The same evasion of fact applies to the practical details of legalizing tens of millions of people about whom we know very little. In most proposals, the bar is pretty low for letting serial law-breakers stay. In some plans, two or three misdemeanors will not lead to deportation, or stand in the way of getting the gift of American citizenship. These apologists think that breaking the law by sneaking over the border, driving drunk or without insurance, and using a false IDs to get government benefits are no big deal, nor are a warning sign about the character and values of the people who break these laws.

The worse distortions, however, come not just from a lack of reliable information or data, but from the fairy tales and pleasing myths proponents of lax immigration peddle. “We are all immigrants” is a half-truth at best, and a banal historical fact that doesn’t distinguish between legal and illegal immigration, a bipartisan bad habit meant to distract voters from the failures of our indiscriminate immigration laws and policies. Correcting these dysfunctions caused by our porous border is a separate issue from how we decide whom we should allow in through a legal process.

Then there are the ridiculously false categories we trade in that ignore the great diversity of cultures, languages, religions, mores, and social habits––some compatible with ours, some not–– lying behind a meaningless word like, say, “Hispanic.” Some of the Bush clan’s experience with mostly Caucasian Cubans teaches them very little about immigrants from southern Mexico or Guatemala or Honduras. Even people from the same nation are not all the same. Mexico, for example, is divided by social class and race. A Mexican national can be a Caucasian, a mestizo, or an Indian, differences that in Mexico and the Mexican diaspora carry different social connotations and status. An immigrant from the Mexican state of Sonora or Monterrey will not necessarily speak the same language as an Indian from Oaxaca.

Finally, differences of culture are seldom acknowledged by proponents of unfettered immigration. And when people do try to discuss them, they are dismissed as “racists” or “xenophobes,” wicked people who hate “diversity” and want to cling to their threatened “white privilege.” We should not allow this duplicitous and simplistic argument to stand. Cultural differences are real, and include everything from the treatment of women to attitudes towards the law. Moreover, these traditions and conventions are often incompatible with the host countries’. But rather than acknowledge those differences and take them into account when deciding whom we think can assimilate to our culture and benefit it, we pretend that they’re all the same, their different languages and complexions providing a pleasing “diversity” donned by people who think and believe and act just like us. All they need to be an American is a citizenship and access to government services.

And that’s the biggest lie of all. Before the Sixties, immigration worked in this country because the price of admission was to assimilate to American culture, and to discard, at least in public life, those traditions or values that contradicted American political and social habits and beliefs. One could opt out of that process, out of loyalty to or nostalgia for the old country, but that meant accepting that one would be handicapped to a certain degree in taking full advantage of the opportunities of America.

The better choice was to learn English, American history, American historical and civic heroes, and most importantly, the American creed embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And in word and deed you had to make them your first loyalty. The space for honoring your home country was civil society: churches, ethnic associations, festivals, recipes, dances, and other traditions and mores some of which may be incompatible with America’s. But in the political square, those traditions and the beliefs had to be set aside, and certainly couldn’t be allowed to colonize and weaken the unum that is necessary for making a political community out of so many pluribus.

That model, of course, was rejected by the rise of identity grievance politics predicated on the belief that America was an oppressor. Increasing indiscriminate immigration, as the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act did by implementing policies such as chain migration, was one way to atone for America’s geopolitical sins by transforming its traditional character. In the process, it also increased the rolls of Democrats and enlarged the pool of cheap labor. Multiculturalism and “diversity” were the ideologies masking these political goals to transform America by changing what it means to be an American. Assimilation now became a wicked degradation of these vibrant, more authentic cultures by inflicting upon them a dehumanizing capitalism and pernicious American exceptionalism. And assimilation deprived the left of the future cadres of the revolution.

It hasn’t quite work out that way, of course. The power of American freedom, opportunity, and prosperity has still inspired immigrants to assimilate, most by the third generation. But the role of assimilation in inculcating the American ideal has been weakened in the university and popular culture, which has created a hypocritical cohort of those who have benefited materially from the American dream, yet endorse an artificial ethnic identity founded on grievance against America’s sins, and demands for various forms of reparations. Thus the monstrous hypocrisy and ingratitude of people who wave the flag of a country many of them or their parents risked their lives to leave, and to which most never, ever want to return.

Though weakened, assimilation works today in spite of the fashionable rejection of the traditional narratives of what comprises American identity. That’s why the progressives are so eager to keep the floodgates open, and are angry over Trump’s reforms. They sense that over time the persistence of assimilation will produce voters whose politics resemble that of most American voters: roughly divided between Democrat and Republican, progressive and conservative.

Ignorance of the facts and costs, along with the duplicitous narratives of immigration, are just a few of the impediments to reforming our immigration policies. But most of the time all we hear are lies told to protect a political interest. This political alliance between vote-mongers and cheap-labor-mongers makes sealing the border, and rejecting the serially failing “comprehensive” immigration reform, the necessary first steps to returning to the old model of legal immigration and vigorous assimilation that helped make America great.
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Bruce Thornton is Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase. David Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service 

Tags: Bruce Thornton, FrontPage Mag, Lies, Damned Lies, Immigration Policy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Face Of The Future, Conservatism Wins, Harris Poll, The Blessing of Another Fourth

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:  Face Of The Future? Political observers are still dissecting the results of Tuesday's startling upset victory by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary for New York's 14th Congressional District against incumbent Joe Crowley.

The media have showered her with glowing coverage.  The New York Times editorial board declared, "Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's victory is a vivid sign of the changing of the guard."

But what they aren't telling you is that some disturbing trends were key to her success. For example, there were not so-subtle racial undertones to her campaign.

Even the Washington Post picked up on the fact her campaign slogan -- "It's time for one of us" -- was "an appeal to the tribal identities of class, age, gender and ethnicity."  In other words, white men like Joe Crowley shouldn't be representing "us."

As we noted before, Ocasio-Cortez is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America.  Not that long ago, she would have been mocked as a communist.

She ran on a platform of "cleaning up the mess in Washington."  But that doesn't mean what you and I think it means.  She's an avowed socialist.  She wants to make Washington even more powerful.  She wants big government to be even bigger.  That will make the mess even worse!

Moreover, the Democratic Socialists of America is a fringe group that has formally embraced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

When Hamas launched attacks against Israel along the Gaza border, Ocasio-Cortez accused Israel of mass murder.  She tweeted a story from Al Jazeera, writing:

"This is a massacre. . .  There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can't be silent about this anymore."

In an interview, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that her Puerto Rican heritage led her to sympathize with the Palestinians.  That's strange since Israel was among the first nations to send aid to the island after Hurricane Maria.

Sadly, it seems that opposition to Israel is becoming a dog whistle for progressive candidates to signal their bona fides to far-left activists.

For some time now, political observers have nervously watched as anti-Semitism has spread within the progressive movement -- at gay pride events, in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Women's March.

And it was evident in Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's campaign.  Thomas Lopez-Pierre was one of her biggest cheerleaders.  He volunteered for her campaign and passed out a thousand fliers.  But he is also known for a previous city council campaign in which he denounced "greedy Jewish landlords."

Democrats often say that the Republican Party has become so extreme that Ronald Reagan could not win a primary today.  Well, as usual, they are completely wrong.

The Democrat Party has become so extreme that Bill Clinton could not win his party's nomination today.  If Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is the face of the Democrat Party's future, then the party of Harry Truman and JFK is dead.

Conservatism Wins - What a week it’s been for the conservative movement! As the Fourth of July approaches and Americans look forward to celebrating our freedom under God, we have more reason than ever to celebrate and to hope.

Once again Americans feel free to assert a confident patriotism. The world isn’t free of conflict, but the level of violence in many parts of the world is down and talks are underway between global powers and regional rivals. Our nation is once again standing up for American workers and challenging trade barriers. Reports are surfacing that U.S. growth may exceed 4 percent for the second quarter and 3 percent for the year. A level of growth they said we’d never see again.

Now, we know there are plenty of people who see nothing but doom in these developments. Ronald Reagan called these folks “doomsayers,” by which he generally meant “liberals.” As harsh as his critics were then, I have to say today’s brand is worse. Not only do they see disaster around every corner, but they offer intimidation and threats, the whiff of violence, to get their way. Last night, Michael Moore, the paunchy video maker, went on the Stephen Colbert show to urge his fellow liberals to “put our bodies on the line to stop Trump.”

Rhetoric like this does no one any good. It’s radically out of tune with reality. But this is a good time for some other critics of the current Administration to pause and reflect. Two years ago at this time, after Donald Trump had won the most hotly contested GOP presidential primary ever, including many people I respect, the NeverTrump crowd, dug in to oppose him.

The past week shows the price we would have paid had their campaign succeeded.  In one short week, the Supreme Court upheld the Constitution and handed down three rulings, touching all three segments of conservatism. The Court, by single votes, affirmed the President’s power to protect our borders from terrorist incursions, the right of government employees not to beforced to join unions, and the free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers.

On national security, economic liberty, and social policy, the court stood with American values.  Now imagine how radically different this week would have been if Hillary Rodham Clinton had won.  No Neil Gorsuch. Each ruling going the other way.

This dramatic week would have ended with Anthony Kennedy stepping down. The Supreme Court would have been lost for the next 25 years. But it’s worse than that. The vision of life, liberty, and family we love would have been lost, likely irretrievably. It’s time for the President’s “house critics” to offer some mea culpas and give Donald Trump his due.

Harris Poll - Meanwhile, the evidence keeps piling up that millions of Americans – including some who weren’t originally impressed – are giving the President credit. Take the Harris Poll that came out yesterday.

It showed President Trump’s overall approval rating up two points.  Included in the rise was a 6-point increase in his approval among Republicans and a 4-point rise among Democrats. Among Hispanics the increase in approval was an astonishing 10 points! This despite a hurricane of media reports stating that the Trump Administration hates Hispanics (lies), kidnaps kids (darn lies), and locks them in cages never to see their parents again (more lies).

How can this be? Well, polls do vary a lot, so this could be a one-time statistical aberration. But maybe there’s a simpler explanation. Could it be that Hispanics are people, too, who want to live in a nation with secure borders? That they are workers who don’t want their jobs taken or their wages reduced by Illegal immigrants who cross the border and work off the books? That they are family men and women who have no stomach for the brutal thugs of MS-13 whose violence largely targets other Hispanics?

Finally, might it be the case that Hispanics and blacks, like most Americans, like a President who will fight for them and for their values?  Polls can change, but this one – by a liberal pollster – shows once again how Donald Trump’s critics aren’t seeing either the forest or the trees.

The Blessing of Another Fourth - As the 242nd anniversary of our Declaration of Independence approaches, we have evermore reason to give thanks for God’s blessings on our nation. Thirty-five years ago, Ronald Reagan reminded us of the special character of our inheritance as a people. If you have two minutes to spare this weekend around the fireworks, cookouts, and time with family, you might give his weekly radio address a listen.
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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, Face Of The Future, Conservatism Wins, Harris Poll, The Blessing of Another Fourth To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

‘It Doesn’t Matter Who’

On Yet-To-Be Named Supreme Court Nominee, Dems ‘Model [Their] Resistance’ On Their Shameful 1987 Assault On Robert Bork

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “It’s pretty obvious they’re ready to fight no matter who the nominee is.” (Fox News, 6/28/2018)

Dem Senators: ‘It Doesn’t Matter Who He Is Putting Forward,’ ‘We Cannot And Will Not Accept Them’

“Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) took turns at the microphone to demand unwavering opposition to Trump’s nominee. ‘The battle lines have been drawn,’ Gillibrand said , shouting at the top of her lungs at the rally. ‘Which side are you on?’” (“‘Which Side Are You On?’: Liberals Pressure Centrist Democrats On Trump’s Court Pick,” The Washington Post, 6/28/2018)
  • SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “The President’s list of potential SCOTUS nominees are complete non-starters…. We cannot and will not accept them to serve on the highest court in the land.” (Sen. Harris, @SenKamalaHarris, Twitter, 6/27/2018)
  • SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): “No, it doesn't matter who he is putting forward.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 6/27/2018)
Democrat Leaders Reach Back To 1987 Bork Playbook To Oppose A Nominee

“Democratic strategists say the party needs to model its resistance to the successful fight Democratic senators waged in 1987 against Judge Robert H. Bork, President Ronald Reagan’s pick for the Supreme Court.” (“Political War Over Replacing Kennedy on Supreme Court Is Underway,” The New York Times, 6/28/2018)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “We don’t know whom President Trump will nominate just yet or when he will make that nomination, but I want to go back to something my dear friend and colleague Senator Kennedy said because it highlights the stakes right now. He was talking about an extreme nominee, Robert Bork.... Robert Bork was rejected … Today, we face similar stakes right now, in this moment.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S. 4486, 6/28/2018)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “We are looking at a destruction of the Constitution of the United States as far as I can tell …” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 6/27/2018)

‘Robert Bork Was Treated Shamefully,’
‘[I]t’s Bad For The Country That Bork Was Borked In The Way He Was’

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY:
“Borked or borked; Borking or borking; Borks or borks
US politics, slang: to attack or defeat (a nominee or candidate for public office) unfairly through an organized campaign of harsh public criticism or vilification ("Bork," Merriam-Webster.com, Accessed 6/29/2018)
THE NEW REPUBLIC’S JEFFREY ROSEN: “But even from the sidelines, as I celebrated Bork’s defeat, I remember feeling that the nominee was being treated unfairly. Senator Edward Kennedy set the tone with a demagogic attack…. Bork’s record was distorted beyond recognition, and his name was transformed from a noun into a verb. The Borking of Bork was the beginning of the polarization of the confirmation process that has turned our courts into partisan war zones, resulting in more ideologically divided opinions and less intellectually adventurous nominees on the left and the right.” (Jeffrey Rosen, “We're Still Paying The Price For The Borking Of Robert Bork,” The New Republic, 12/19/2012)
JAMES ROBERTSON, Former lawyer working in opposition to Bork nomination: “In the summer of 1987, I led a team of young lawyers to oppose President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court…. As distasteful as the battle was, the end … seemed to justify the means. Nevertheless, I regret my part in what I now regard as a terrible political mistake. While the nation did wind up with a much more acceptable choice, the treatment of Bork touched off a Thirty Years’ War on judicial appointments. We have politicized the judicial confirmation process far beyond historical norms and undermined public confidence in the judiciary.” (James Robertson, Op-Ed, “The Judicial Nomination War Started With Bork. Let’s End It With Gorsuch.,” The Washington Post, 3/15/2017)

NATIONAL REVIEW’S CHARLES C.W. COOKE: “In the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus has penned an unhinged column in which she insists that Anthony Kennedy’s retirement must provoke ‘another Bork moment.’ There is much that is ugly about this sentiment — not the least of which is that Robert Bork was treated shamefully, and was hideously slandered to boot …” (Charles C.W. Cooke, “No, Ruth Marcus, It’s Not Time for a ‘Bork Moment,’” National Review Online’s The Corner, 6/29/2018)

Tags: Senate, democrats, attack, nominees, Supreme Court To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Justice Kennedy's First Priority: The First Amendment

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: It became official just after lunchtime on Wednesday, just after the Supreme Court announced its final decisions of the term and went into recess. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the 104th person to serve on the court, is retiring, effective just after his 82nd birthday next month, after 30 years of service.

Justice Kennedy's decision, announced in a two-paragraph letter to President Donald Trump, has been predicted -- and eagerly anticipated and dreaded -- for years now. He has been the swing vote in several noteworthy -- for some, notorious -- cases going back to the early 1990s, as well as the author of the opinion of the court in many.

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan after two nominees failed to be confirmed, Kennedy has long been feted by many liberals for these stands. Since the early 1990s, he has stood against repealing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Starting with his decision to overturn two sodomy convictions in 2003, he has opposed discrimination against gays and was the author of Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

Kennedy joined mostly Democratic-appointed colleagues in taking what were considered liberal stands on other issues as well, including the death penalty for young offenders, judicial review for Guantanamo detainees and state laws attempting to strengthen or supplement federal enforcement of immigration laws.

On these, conservative legal scholars looked askance. Some ridiculed Kennedy's flowery language in decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges. Some classed him with other Republican-appointed justices who sided regularly with liberals.

But that's an overstatement. Justice Kennedy came out on the same side as Republican-appointed colleagues on the Second Amendment, on partial-birth abortion bans, on the unconstitutionality of bans on political speech, and on subjecting states to special voting-rights scrutiny based on evidence from 1964 and 1972. In every one of the past year's 19 cases decided by 5-4 votes, he came out against the four Democratic-appointed justices.

In my view, it makes sense to see Justice Kennedy not so much as a liberal warrior in our culture wars but as a judge who placed an especially high value on the First Amendment freedom of speech. People should be free to engage in gay sex, and organizations should be free to engage in political speech.

That concern about freedoms of expression characterized his most recent decisions. He applied sharp scrutiny on government efforts to force public employees to pay for political speech they opposed (Janus v. AFSCME) and to force a Christian baker to custom-design a cake for a same-sex couple (Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission).

Even where he saw First Amendment rights as at stake in legislative redistricting cases, he ruled in 2004 and again this year that he professed to see no neutral principle distinguishing plans that were unconstitutionally partisan from those that weren't. Any verbal formula, he apparently believed, would just leave judges free to rule for their partisan friends.

This led legal scholar Rick Hasen to predict -- accurately -- his decision to retire and then call his decision "final abdications" that indicate "a depressing kind of defeatism." He evidently sees Justice Kennedy as a committed culture warrior for the left.

But language in some of his most controversial opinions shows not a desire for one side's total victory but for both sides' friendly accommodation of the other.

In Obergefell, Justice Kennedy took care to recognize that "religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned."

In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Justice Kennedy wrote, "To describe a man's faith as 'one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use' is to disparage his religion in at least two distinct ways: by describing it as despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetorical -- something insubstantial and even insincere."

This is not so much legal argumentation as it is a plea for combatants in the culture war to show respect -- even friendly respect -- for one another.

The Senate will probably "confirm Justice Kennedy's successor this fall," as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly promised, despite hysterical predictions that abortion will be criminalized and same-sex marriage abolished.

But Justice Kennedy's central legacy is his firm defense of the First Amendment. Against California's claim that its law requiring pro-life pregnancy counselors to promote abortions is "forward-looking," Kennedy wrote, "It is forward thinking to begin by reading the First Amendment as ratified in 1791; to understand the history of authoritarian government as the Founders then knew it." First things first.
-----------------
Michael Barone is a Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and senior political analyst for Washington Examiner contributor, and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Tags: Justice Kennedy, First Priority, The First Amendment, Michael Barone, Washington Examiner To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Criminal Justice

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: The president and some members of Congress have started an important conversation about criminal justice reform. But while we are having that conversation, it is crucial that we get some of the facts straight.

At a recent conference, Senator Elizabeth Warren lamented this country criminalizes low-level drug offenses. She said, “More people [are] locked up for low-level offenses on marijuana than for all violent crimes in this country. That makes no sense at all.”

She is certainly correct. It doesn’t make any sense. That’s because it isn’t true. Rafael Mangual in a recent op-ed looks at the numbers. The total incarcerated population in the US is just over 2.1 million. In the federal prisons, there is a high percentage serving time for drug offenses, but they are not pot smokers. Most are federal drug traffickers. In the state prisons, only about 15 percent are serving time for a drug offense. Again, the vast majority are in for trafficking. And it is worth mentioning that even the small percentage in for drug possession may have settled on that charge after a plea bargain.

In addition to the argument that we are putting people in prison for minor drug offenses is the argument that we are also putting too many black men behind bars. Let’s begin by stating the obvious. There is a racial disparity. African-Americans make up about 13 percent of the population, meaning that black men make up about 6.5 percent of the American population. Nevertheless, they make up approximately one-third of state prison populations.

The latest figures from the Bureau of Justice show that blacks constitute 35 percent of violent offenders, 45 percent of weapons offenders, 27 percent of property offenders, and 31 percent of drug offenders. Those figures explain why more black men are behind bars and illustrate why we need to get some of these facts straight. I’m Kerby Anderson, and that’s my point of view.
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Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

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No Party for Old White Men

by Patrick Buchanan: For Nancy Pelosi, 78, Steny Hoyer, 79, and Joe Biden, 75, the primary results from New York’s 14th congressional district are a fire bell in the night.

All may be swept away in the coming revolution. That is the message of the crushing defeat of 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, who had aspired to succeed Pelosi and become speaker of the House.

The No. 4 House Democrat, Crowley, 56, had not faced primary opposition since 2004. He outspent his opponent, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was tending bar a year ago, by 10 to one.

The son of an Irish immigrant, Crowley was leader of the Queens Democratic Club. He had the unions’ support. So confident was he that he skipped a debate and sent a Latina politician to stand in for him.

First comes Hubris, the god of arrogance. Then comes Nemesis, the goddess of retribution.

Tossing Crowley’s credentials back in his face, Ocasio-Cortez ran as a Latina, a person of color, a millennial and militant socialist who lived in her district, and painted Crowley as a white male with lots of PAC money who had moved to D.C. and sent his kids to school in Virginia.

“The Democratic Party takes working-class communities for granted; they take people of color for granted,” railed Ocasio-Cortez. The party assumes “that we’re going to turn out no matter how bland or half-stepping (their) proposals are.”

“Bland or half-stepping” are not words her agenda calls to mind.

A Democratic Socialist, endorsed by MoveOn, Black Lives Matter and People for Bernie, Ocasio-Cortez favors Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, free tuition at public colleges, federal jobs for all who want them, and abolishing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that runs “black sites” on the Mexican border where “human rights abuses are happening.”

When tear gas was used in Puerto Rico, whence her family came, Ocasio-Cortez laid it at Crowley’s feet: “You are responsible for this.”

Crowley tried gamely to keep up, declaring that ICE, for which thousands of Americans work to protect our borders, is a “fascist” organization, presumably something like Ernst Rohm’s Brown Shirts.

While the victory of Ocasio-Cortez is bad news for Pelosi and Hoyer, it may also be a harbinger of what is to come. For the Democratic Party appears about to unleash its radical left, its Maxine Waters wing, and give its ideology another run in the yard.

When the party has done this before, however, it did not end well.

After Hubert Humphrey lost narrowly in 1968, an enraged left seized the nomination for George McGovern, who went on to lose 49 states to Richard Nixon.

After Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the left, whose champion, Bernie Sanders, they believe, was robbed by the establishment, seems to be looking to settle scores and seize the nomination for one of its own.

But if an apertura a sinistra, an opening to the left, is what lies ahead for the Democratic Party, then that is better news for the party of Trump than for the party of Pelosi.

Just as Crowley’s congressional district had changed, so, too, has his party in Congress. Columnist Dana Milbank, who sees it as progress, writes, “A majority of House Democrats are … women, people of color or gay.”

These rising forces in the Democratic coalition are looking to bury the Democratic Party of yesterday, where white males and older ethnic groups — Irish, Italians, Poles and Jews — were dominant.

It seems certain now that the summer of 2020 will see a woman, a person of color, or both, on the Democratic ticket. Two whites would likely offend the rising base. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine may have been the last of the all-white Democratic tickets.

However, inside this emerging Democratic majority of peoples of color, fractures and fissures are already visible.

In New York City, the Asian community, which votes Democratic in presidential elections, is in an uproar over efforts by leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio to eliminate the entrance exams that have enabled Asian kids to capture most of the seats in the city’s elite public schools.

De Blasio and his allies want the Asian numbers in these select schools reduced, so the schools mirror the city’s demography, no matter how well the Asian kids are doing on the competitive admissions tests.

Also, the hard left in the Democratic Party, oriented more toward the Third World than the West, is increasingly anti-Israel. And while the Jewish vote is small and largely concentrated in blue states, among donors to the Democratic Party the Jewish contingent looms large.

The new demography of the Democratic Party brought about the defeat of Crowley. A majority white district when he first ran, the Bronx-Queens district he now represents is only one-sixth white.

The Irish and Italians have moved out or passed on. And Archie Bunker? He rests in peace in Calvary Cemetery. Like his party.
--------------------
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, No Party, for Old White Men
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Rep. Bennie Thompson June 2018 Porker of the Month

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)
Porker of the Month
June 2017
(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) its June 2018 Porker of the month for attempting to create taxpayer-funded dorms for well-paid members of Congress.

On May 16, 2018, Rep. Thompson introduced H.R. 5845, the “No Couches for Congress Act,” which would ban members of Congress from sleeping in their offices. He also proposed converting vacant residence halls near the Capitol into “affordable” housing for members of Congress, who make $174,000 per year. He claimed that it would be available for members who found housing costs to be “prohibitive.”

However, the claim that housing is unaffordable is belied by the average monthly cost of a studio apartment in Washington, D.C., which is $1,602, or less than 10 percent of members’ annual salary. The average American spends 33 percent of his or her annual income on housing.

The congressional dorm idea has been roundly panned by Rep. Thompson’s colleagues. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) said, “The more I think about it, the less likely I would be to support it. It might be a breeding house for something bad.” Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) said, “I’m here to work, not relive my college days in a taxpayer-funded dorm.”

Based on performance and income, Congress does not deserve additional benefits. Congressional job approval is an abysmal 17 percent. The annual spending bills have not passed on time in 20 years and the budget has not been balanced in a generation, which has exacerbated the $21 trillion national debt.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “Public service is not supposed to be comfortable or luxurious. Taxpayers send these men and women to Washington to work and pay them a salary that is more than three times that of an average American. Congress should focus on getting America’s fiscal house in order and spend less time trying to create a Congressional Animal House.”

For trying to create a taxpayer-funded dorm for members of Congress, CAGW names Rep. Bennie Thompson its June 2018 Porker of the Month.
------------------
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. 

Tags: Citizens Against Government Waste, CAGW, Rep. Bernie Thompson, June 2018, Porker of the Month, attempting to create, taxpayer-funded dorms, for well-paid, members of Congress 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 Saudis Won't Prevent The Next Oil Shock

by Nick Cunningham: Saudi Arabia is starting to panic, and is growing concerned that the growing number of supply disruptions around the world could cause oil prices to spike. Saudi Arabia is moving quickly to head off a supply crunch, aiming to dramatically ramp up production to a record high 11 million barrels per day in July, according to Reuters.

The increase, if it can be pulled off, would be an incredibly rapid ramp up in output, up more than 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) from May levels.

How this plan fits into the latest OPEC+ deal remains to be seen. It was only a few days ago that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners said that they would add 1 mb/d of supply back onto the market, with many of them acknowledging that, in reality, the figures would be closer to 600,000 bpd because of the inability of so many producers to ratchet up output.

As such, the addition of 1 mb/d from Saudi Arabia alone would lead to the OPEC+ group exceeding the production levels they just committed to, after factoring in additions from Russia and other Gulf States.

However, the surge in output does not need to exported, at least not right away. Saudi Arabia could divert extra barrels into storage. Moreover, higher output is needed during summer months anyway because the country burns oil for electricity, which spikes amid hot summer temperatures. So some of the extra production will be consumed domestically.

Still, an industry source told Reuters that the increase in output "will go to the market," although the details are unclear. Bloomberg reports that shipments from Saudi Arabia to Aramco's overseas storage facility in Egypt have already been on the rise this month.

"We already mobilized the Aramco machinery, before coming to Vienna," Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said over the weekend.

The dramatic ramp up in production suggests that Riyadh wants to prevent prices from rising too much. Producing at 11 mb/d will help offset the outages in Libya, Venezuela, Nigeria, Canada and Iran, but it might not be enough. The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that Washington would take a hardline towards countries importing Iranian oil. The Trump administration expects countries to zero out Iranian oil imports by November 4, and the State Department said it would be unlikely that anyone would be granted a waiver.

That raises the odds of a much more serious outage from Iran than previously expected. Some analysts put the potential outage at 1 mb/d or more. If the U.S. is successful at convincing most countries to stop buying oil from Iran, the outages could rise to as high as 2 mb/d, although that remains speculation.

In another sign of how unpredictable the oil market has become, Kazakhstan lost 240,000 bpd this week, due to an unknown cause.

In this context, Saudi Arabia producing at 11 mb/d is probably needed, and it still might not be enough.

Worse, ramping up to 11 mb/d significantly cuts into available spare capacity. Estimates vary, but Saudi Arabia may have the ability to produce as much as 12.5 mb/d, although perhaps less. That means producing at 11 mb/d leaves only up to 1.5 mb/d of spare capacity. Add in smaller contributions from elsewhere and global spare capacity might only amount to 2 mb/d of supply as of July, or only about 2 percent of total global production. That would be down from about 3.0 to 3.5 mb/d up until recently.

"It basically leaves us with no spare capacity, at a time when Iran isn't the only issue," Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd., said in a Bloomberg television interview. "Venezuelan production's falling, Angola, Libya, Nigeria --there are lots and lots of issues everywhere in the world."

Unless demand falls back, or some of these outages dissipate, oil prices could be heading much higher.
---------------
Nick Cunningham is a Vermont-based writer on energy and environmental issues and author of this article which was contributed by OilPrice.com, the leading online energy news site, to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Nick Cunningham, James Stafford, Oilprice.com, Saudis, Won't Prevent, Next Oil Shock To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

After A String Of Huge Supreme Court Wins, Will Never-Trumpers Admit They Were Wrong?

Follow Ben Garrison @GrrrGrphics
by Investor's Business Daily: Governance: Conservatives are celebrating a number of important victories at the Supreme Court, as well as the chance to replace moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy. But none of these wins would have been possible if the Never-Trump crowd had its way. How about a mea culpa?

Over the past few days, the Court ruled against forced union dues that fatten public sector unions and provide a gravy train of campaign cash to Democrats. It ruled that President Trump's restrictions on travel from terror-prone countries was constitutional. The court upheld Ohio's right to clean up its voter registration rolls. It said that states can't force pro-life organizations to advertise abortion services.

All were landmark decisions that upheld core conservative principles. And each came down to a 5-4 vote, with Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch casting the deciding vote.

In fact, of the 13 cases decided by a 5-4 margin this term, Gorsuch himself wrote five of the opinions.

Liberals currently freaking out about these cases understand the importance of Gorsuch's appointment, as well as Trump's role in getting him there.

Recall that when Justice Scalia died suddenly in 2016, President Obama named liberal Judge Merrick Garland as his replacement. Senate Republicans blocked Garland from getting a hearing, arguing that voters should have the chance to weigh in when they voted in the presidential elections.

So, everyone knew the stakes in the November election. A vote for Hillary Clinton meant a liberal majority on the court. A vote for Trump at least provided the hope that conservatives would retain their tentative majority.

High-Stakes Election: Yet despite the importance of replacing Scalia with another conservative, the Never-Trump crowd refused to support his presidential campaign. The list, by the way, is surprisingly long (Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to it) and includes hundreds of governors, senators, congressmen, state and local officials, and conservative pundits. Many of them outright backed Hillary Clinton.

What's more, just after the court ended its session, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his plans to retire. That means Trump can replace moderate Kennedy with a more reliably conservative justice. Before his first term is up, Trump may also be able to replace the ailing liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In other words, Trump has the chance to decisively shift the balance of the court — something most Never-Trump Republicans have been dreaming about for decades.

We admit that we, too, had our doubts about Trump during the primaries. Our concern was that, given his past positions and writings, Trump was one of the least reliably conservative candidates among the huge field of contenders.

Once he won the nomination, however, it became clear that, for all his faults, he'd be far preferable to Hillary Clinton.

Other Conservative Victories
Then, to our surprise — and many on the right — Trump went on to achieve more for conservatives in just over a year than President Reagan did in his first term, or George W. Bush in eight years.

Trump secured huge pro-growth tax cuts, embarked on an aggressive regulatory rollback, neutered the out-of-control EPA, achieved a swift victory over ISIS, named a huge number of conservative judges, tried to gain some measure of control over the country's borders, chipped away at ObamaCare, and partially rolled back the disastrous Dodd-Frank act.

He's been unwavering in his willingness to stand up to partisan hacks in the media — another huge win for conservatives. And, free trade aside, Trump continues to aggressively push a free-market conservative agenda against increasingly fierce and violent liberal attacks.

Despite all this, legions of Never-Trumpers still wish he weren't in office. George Will even penned a column last week urging Republicans to hand control of Congress over to Democrats, to "protect" the country until Trump is out of office.

This is madness. You don't have to like Trump — or agree with everything he does — to be glad that he's calling the shots in the White House today, and not Hillary Clinton.
-----------------
Investor's Business Daily is source for Investors, however, it is also an excellent source for conservative editorials.

Tags: Investor's Business Daily, editorial, string of Supreme Court wins, will never-trumpers, admit they were wrong To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Trump-Putin Summit Shows Why The President Is Ahead Of The Curve

by Robert Romano: President Donald Trump will be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland on July 16. There the two will discuss nuclear weapons and U.S.-Russian relations.

This is not only the right time to cool tensions between the two foremost nuclear powers — who have clashed over Syria, Ukraine and other potential hotspots — but also the right time politically for Trump to take to the international stage.

Coming off a successful summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, achieving an agreement in principle to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, President Trump’s popularity is soaring. He has the political capital to meet with Putin.

Trump’s surge, simultaneously stunning and perplexing to D.C. elites — but not to his supporters — comes as he does not appear to be hampered even in the slightest by the ongoing Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Probably because there was no collusion.

But not only does Trump have the political capital to meet with Putin from a position of strength, it is politically smart for him to do it.

Peace is popular.

Not only is this what Trump ran on in 2016 — achieving a better relationship with American adversaries like Russia — there is a long history of presidents who have benefitted greatly through the politics of summits.

Richard Nixon went to China, famously, in 1972. He also got the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that year with the Soviet Union.

He also happened to be running for reelection that year. It was one of the greatest landslides in modern electoral history, as Nixon carried 49 states.

Fast forward a decade or so, and Ronald Reagan was in his second term. He pursued the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (which eventually got signed in 1991), had his summits with Mikhail Gorbachev starting in 1985, culminating in the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which was signed in 1987. That was the first ever reduction of nuclear arms.

Peace with the Soviet Union proved a political boon for the President’s party in 1988, as George H. W. Bush went on to carry 40 states.

So, while the short-term political wisdom is that Trump is crazy, he cannot meet with Putin because of the Russia investigation, Trump is meeting with Putin in spite of the Russia investigation.

Which is what presidents are supposed to do. Trump has so far been quite successful in these foreign policy events. His trip to Asia last year was well-received. The Arab summit was a masterstroke — raising the possibility of peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

The substance of the Trump-Putin summit itself should make it worthwhile. Cooling tensions in Syria and Ukraine, while addressing the new nuclear arms race, is not only in U.S. interests, but everyone’s interests. Nobody wants to see war between U.S. and Russia, and these are issues that can be settled as there has been a great history of doing so in the past to draw upon.

To the extent they have made war between the nuclear powers less likely, they have made the world a safer place to live.

Ultimately, this is one of the reasons why Trump won in 2016. By promising to bring peace and not the sword — but on America’s terms. Trump’s opponents still do not get him — they still cannot even fathom that he won let alone how. They should sit back and take notes. Class is in session.

Correction: Reagan was negotiating the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in the 1980s.
-----------------
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Robert Romano, Americans for Limited Government, Trump-Putin Summit, Shows Why, President Trump, Ahead Of The Curve To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Criminal Behavior, Not Racism, Explains ‘Racial Disparities’ in Crime Stats

Larry Elder
by Larry Elder: A new study on racial disparities in police conduct found that differences in offending by suspects, not racism, explains officers’ responses.

In the study “Is There Evidence of Racial Disparity in Police Use of Deadly Force?” professors from Michigan State and Arizona State universities analyzed officer-involved fatal shootings in 2015 and 2016. The report’s abstract says: “We benchmark two years of fatal shooting data on 2016 crime rate estimates. When adjusting for crime, we find no systematic evidence of anti-black disparities in fatal shootings, fatal shootings of unarmed citizens, or fatal shootings involving misidentification of harmless objects… Exposure to police given crime rate differences likely accounts for the higher per capita rate of fatal police shootings for blacks, at least when analyzing all shootings. For unarmed shootings or misidentification shootings, data are too uncertain to be conclusive.”

Two recent studies found cops more reluctant to use deadly force against blacks, including one by a black Harvard economist. Professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. concluded: “On the most extreme use of force — officer-involved shootings — we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account.”

But aren’t blacks routinely “racially profiled” by cops? Not according to the Police-Public Contact Survey. Produced every three years by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the survey asks more than 60,000 people about their interactions with the police. It asks respondents’ to provide age, race and gender. It asks them whether they had any contact with the police in the last year; what was the experience like; how were your treated; was there a use of force and so on. Turns out, according to a September 2017 National Review article, black men and white men are about equally likely to have a contact with a cop in a given year. As to multiple contacts, defined as three or more with the police in a given year, 1.5 percent of blacks vs. 1.2 percent of whites fall in that category. Not much difference.

There’s also the National Crime Victimization Survey, which questions victims of crimes, whether or not the criminal was captured, as to the race and ethnicity of the suspect. It turns out that the race of the arrested matches the percentage given by victims. So unless victims are lying about the race of their assailant, unconcerned about whether he gets caught, blacks are not being “overarrested.”

A reasonable discussion about blacks and police practices cannot take place without acknowledging the disproportion amount of crime committed by blacks. According to the Department of Justice’s “Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 2009,” in the country’s 75 largest counties, blacks committed 62 percent of robberies, 45 percent of assaults and accounted for 57 percent of murder defendants.

The No. 1 cause of preventable death for young white men is accidents, such as car accidents. The No. 1 cause of preventable death for young black men is homicide, usually committed by another young black man, not a cop. In 2016, according to the latest data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 7,881 blacks were killed.

The courageous Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, who writes extensively about police practice, asked: “Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks. In 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority armed and dangerous. … Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer.”

In 2012 in the city of Rialto, California, population approximately 100,000, cops were randomly assigned body cameras based on their shifts. Over the next year, use-of-force incidents on the shifts that had cameras were half the rate of those without cameras. But something rather extraordinary also happened. Complaints against all Rialto police officers with were down almost 90 percent from the prior year.

It turns out when civilians knew they were being recorded, they — not the cops — behaved better and stop making false accusations. The use of force by cops also declined, but, again, not because the police changed their conduct. No, the cops continued performing as they’d been trained. Civilians, aware that they were being taped, were less confrontational and were more likely to cooperate and follow instructions. As a result, cops needed to use force less frequently.

Still, when actor Jesse Williams gave a four-minute rant at the 2016 BET Awards about what he considered racist police practices, he claimed, “What we’ve been doing is looking at the data, and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day.”
---------------
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, Criminal Behavior, Not Racism, Explains Racial Disparities, in Crime Stats 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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  • 12/20/15 - 12/27/15
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  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
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  • 12/24/17 - 12/31/17
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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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