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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, August 03, 2018

Six Times the Obama Administration Should Have Appointed Special Counsel

President Obama laughs with aides aboard Air Force One
en route  to Singapore, Nov. 14, 2009.
 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
by Matt Margolis: What is a special counsel, and why do we have them? According to Wikipedia, “a special prosecutor (or special counsel or independent counsel or independent prosecutor) is a lawyer appointed to investigate, and potentially prosecute, a particular case of suspected wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority” -- i.e., the perceived conflict of interest of Jeff Sessions to investigate alleged collusion of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Anyway, while liberals are holding out hope for Robert Mueller to find evidence of collusion and force Trump to resign or be impeached, it occurs to me that despite the rampant corruption and scandals-a-plenty of the Obama years that there was never a single special counsel appointed. Not one. Obama supporters point to this as evidence that his administration was above board, but in reality, it was just proof of just how corrupt things were. By limiting investigations to their own sham investigations that saw no one held accountable, or to congressional Republicans whose investigations they could simply stonewall and accuse of being partisan, the Obama administration felt they could keep up the ruse that they were scandal-free. Here are six times the Obama administration should have appointed a special counsel to investigate a scandal but didn’t.

6. The Walpin firing scandal
It’s a pretty big deal when the president of the United States breaks the law in order to protect his friend and donor who was being investigated for misusing federal grant money… but Barack Obama did just that for his friend, former NBA star and mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson. Johnson had taken nearly a million dollars in AmeriCorps grant money to his own nonprofit organization to pay volunteers for political activity. While investigating this, Gerald Walpin, the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), discovered a cover-up of sexual abuse allegations made by three students against Johnson who were offered some of this grant money as hush money. Walpin recommended criminal charges against Johnson and was quickly told to resign. Walpin refused, and Obama fired him. The firing itself violated a law that Obama co-sponsored as a U.S. senator. Congressional Republicans launched their own investigation, and the Obama White House responded with a smear campaign against Walpin and withheld documents from Congress.

5. Benghazi
On September 11, 2012, a group with connections to al Qaeda attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, died. This was just awful timing for Obama. The 2012 presidential election was just weeks away. The cover-up began instantly. An obscure YouTube video was blamed for inciting a “spontaneous” protest even though all the key players knew it was a pre-planned terror attack almost immediately. That didn’t stop Obama and Hillary publicly claiming to the contrary. UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on the weekend talk shows to repeat the lie over and over and over again. Obama was trying to save his reelection, and Hillary her political future as well. Republicans investigated, but the Obama administration stonewalled those investigations, which they branded as partisan witch hunts. An independent special counsel would have made it difficult for the Obama administration to claim the investigation was tainted, so one was not appointed.

4. The IRS scandal
Using the IRS to target Obama’s political enemies during an election year? Obama did try to distance himself from the scandal but according to a report, IRS employees were “acutely” aware that Obama wanted a crackdown on conservative and Tea Party groups, and Douglas Shulman, the IRS commissioner, visited the White House a whopping 157 times (more than anyone in Obama’s cabinet) while the IRS abuses occurred. Gee, do you think there’s a potential conflict of interest here? Unlike other scandals where investigations were left to Republicans in Congress, the Obama administration did investigate the IRS scandal… did you know about this? Yep, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a DOJ lawyer to run the investigation. Her main qualification was that she was an Obama donor, and within a few short days of her appointment, it was announced the FBI was not planning to file any criminal charges connected to the scandal. Of course not.

3. Uranium One
In 2010, the Obama administration approved a deal allowing the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium to be sold to Russia over Republicans' expressed national security concerns. The deal was tainted by donations to the Clinton Foundation and an administration cover-up of bribery and racketeering before being approved. The Obama administration threatened an FBI informant to keep him from talking about what he knew. There is currently a congressional investigation underway, but why wasn’t this investigated when it happened? Who was in charge of the FBI when the deal went down? Mr. Robert Mueller. That name should ring a bell with you.

2. Fast & Furious
Two thousand firearms sent across the border... hundreds lost… a border agent killed with one of those guns. The Obama administration did everything in their power to stonewall the investigation. Attorney General Eric Holder even claimed to have no knowledge of the operation (an outright lie) and Obama asserted executive privilege to withhold documents from congressional investigators. Conflict of interest, maybe? Absolutely there should have been a special counsel appointed. But if there’s anything I know from researching Obama’s scandalous administration it's that Obama picked people to run his Department of Justice who were willing to protect him and whom he, in turn, would protect as well.

1. The Hillary Clinton email scandal
What about this scandal wasn’t tainted? Obama’s former secretary of state and heir apparent to the Oval Office is caught violating federal transparency laws by hosting a private email server—which was only discovered as a result of the Benghazi investigation (which they were also stonewalling). Over 30,000 emails were discovered to have been deleted. Phones were smashed with hammers… Obama personally communicated with Hillary via this private email, with a pseudonym of his own... FBI Director James Comey had drafted Hillary’s exoneration letter before even interviewing her. We now know that FBI investigator Peter Strzok, who was investigating both Hillary and Trump, had personally softened the language on the exoneration statement. Right around the same time, he was telling fellow investigator and lover Lisa Page that he would stop Trump from getting elected president. What difference at this point does it make, right? Everything about that investigation was tainted. A special counsel was needed as soon as the private server was discovered. But, Obama had to protect his heir apparent, and therefore his legacy, and so the investigation was run by pro-Hillary/anti-Trump partisans who had no business doing so.

The common thread between these examples is the stonewalling and cover-ups committed by the Obama administration in order to protect itself. Corruption begat more corruption and there was no way they were going to allow an investigation it couldn’t control (or dismiss as partisan) happen.
-----------------------
Matt Margolis writes for PJMedia. He the co-author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama and the author of the forthcoming book The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama

Tags: Matt Margolis, PJ Media, Six Times, Obama Administration, Should Have Appointed, Special Counsel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Health Care is the Economy

by Newt Gingrich: The U.S. economy has been growing and breaking records ever since President Trump first took office and Republicans took control of Congress.

Many in the GOP are hoping this success will help them get re-elected in November. Some consultants I’ve spoken with seem to think it will inoculate Republican candidates against most all Democratic attacks.

They are mostly right, except for one area – health care.

No doubt, Republicans should be proud of the enormous success of the economy. But the economy won’t reach its full potential and the GOP will not win big in the 2018 elections unless Republicans deal with the cost of health care in America.

The reason is simple:

Health care represents nearly one-fifth of our country’s economy and is the largest driver of government spending. It is also such a huge slice of household budgets that many Americans don’t end up feeling the benefits of the 4.1 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP). In 2016, individual health care costs amounted to $10,328 per person (in 1960, that figure was $146).

As Dave Winston and Myra Miller at The Winston Group have noted, with nearly half of Americans saying they are living paycheck-to-paycheck (with no reserves for emergencies) it is hard for people to “feel the prosperity” implicit in a remarkably strong macroeconomy. Their individual micro-economies are too deeply impacted by the cost of health care.

Additionally, health care costs are out-pacing income growth because businesses have had to eschew raises and promotions to afford more and more health care costs. According to a 2017 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Education Trust and federal income data, “premiums for an employer-provided family insurance plan have climbed 19 percent, while worker pay increased 12 percent.” The additional money Americans are receiving in their paycheck from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act helps, but lowering health care costs still needs to be a priority.

Fortunately for Republicans – and for the country – we now have leadership capable of developing a serious strategy for a dramatically improved health care system. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has the knowledge and the experience to help shape a new, profoundly better health system for all Americans.

Secretary Azar’s move this week to widen access to less expensive, short-duration health insurance plans was a step in the right direction. These plans will give Americans more options to buy the level of insurance they need for themselves – rather than being forced to buy more expensive coverage they don’t necessarily need.

President Trump’s earlier announced a plan for reducing prescription drug prices will also be a huge help for families, and the Administration’s support for the expansion of association health plans will provide more options for small businesses and self-employed individuals.

So, while there is still more work to be done, Republicans can point to positive steps that have been taken and progress that has been made — but they can’t shy away from talking about health care.

This reality of half the nation operating on the margin is what drives support for government-run health care, which is now sweeping large parts of the Democratic Party. If Republicans refuse to articulate a better solution, a large portion of the American people will decide that government bureaucracy is better than constant economic anxiety about unknowable, increasing health costs.

As I have written before, if the Left wins on health care and puts in place a single-payer system, it would be a disaster.

So, to truly win the economic argument, Republicans must think through and win the health care argument. The dynamics of the fall campaign give them no choice. The Democrats’ government-run health care system will fill the gap left by the absence of a serious Republican alternative.

There is a long tradition of Republicans trying to avoid health issues. Consultants assert “it isn’t our topic.” Incumbents find it hard to communicate a clear policy or plan for improving the health system. “Repeal and Replace” was largely about repeal because Republicans lacked a coherent plan to replace Obamacare. This is why it failed.

A Republican Party that hides from the challenge of modernizing the health system is a party which has conceded a huge part of the political playing field to the Left.

Conversely, a Republican Party that can explain common sense improvements that will empower Americans to have longer lives, better health, greater convenience, more choices, and lower costs in health care is a party that can easily demolish the Left’s arguments.

This is the moral and economic necessity of 2018.
----------------------
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, Health Care, the Economy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Media Bias Blowout, The Double Standard, Threats & Retirements, Prosecute ICE

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Media Bias Blowout

In yesterday's report I wrote about the left-wing media's role in dividing the country. Contrary to Jim Acosta's pontificating, many reporters these days are not true journalists in the sense that they do not impartially report facts.

And with the rise of Donald Trump, many reporters gleefully dropped the charade of objectivity. The New York Times acknowledged the media's anti-Trump resistance with an August 2016 column entitled, "Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity In Journalism."

Well, with its latest hire of Sarah Jeong as a member of its editorial board, it seems the Times has abandoned common decency too.

Jeong's Twitter feed is littered with bigoted rants against white people. [WARNING: Graphic Language.] I'll share just one from November 2014:

"Dumba** f***ing white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs p*ssing on fire hydrants."

It would have been amazing if the New York Times had not done its due diligence before it hired Jeong. But it quickly issued a statement defending her.

In fact, the Times admits that it was well aware of her social media history. And they hired her anyway because she was just defending herself from online "harassment" and criticism.

That excuse doesn't pass the straight face test. Jeong has also tweeted lots of disgusting anti-police rants too. (I seriously doubt cops were trolling her.) And still the New York Times hired her.

Martin Luther King, Jr., must be rolling over in his grave!

Why are forces on the left trying so desperately to divide us over what matters the least -- the pigment of our skin? It was Dr. King's dream, and one I believe most Americans share, that we judge one another not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.

Every civil rights group should denounce the hiring of Jeong. Racism of any kind is wrong, and it should be rejected by all people of goodwill.

Here's the good news. The left's race-baiting may no longer be working.

The latest Rasmussen poll finds that Trump's support among black Americans has risen from 15% last year to 29% now. His support among Hispanics is rising too.

The Double Standard - How does one square the circle of Roseanne Barr losing her sitcom over a racist tweet and the hiring an editorial writer who demeans an entire race and law enforcement?

Take any of Jeong's offensive tweets and substitute another race -- Hispanics, blacks, Asians. I presume Twitter would have banned them immediately.

Donald Trump has been lambasted for suggesting that some illegal immigrants are criminals. He's absolutely right. Yet, he's been called a racist for saying it.

Over and over again, the left has demonized Middle America and increasingly attacked white working class Americans -- whether it's Obama's "bitter clingers" or Hillary's "basket of deplorables" or the new Harvard-educated editorialist at the New York Times.

Throughout history, the smearing of entire ethnic groups has always ended in a human rights disaster.

It is this kind of rhetoric that causes Republican congressmen to be shot at baseball games.

Or causes a teenager to have his hat ripped off his head by an "adult" man.

Or causes a deranged liberal to ram a car with a Trump sticker.

Or results in Sarah Huckabee Sanders not being able to enjoy dinner in a restaurant.

Or any of the 500+ other acts of violence and intimidation against conservatives.

Progressive leaders must denounce the hate-filled rhetoric against hard working, patriotic, tax-paying Americans. But I am not holding my breath.

Rising Threats & Retirements - Is this non-stop rhetoric dehumanizing conservatives, Christians, white Americans, pro-life activists, etc., already reaping results?

As you know, a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter last year tried to assassinate House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. A New York man was arrested yesterday for threatening to shoot Scalise's children. But that's not all.

A man was arrested last month for "making terroristic threats" against New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith. Rep. Smith told reporters that the tires on his car have been slashed seven times this year. Seven times!

Smith also said that he believes there is an orchestrated effort underway to intimidate conservative members of Congress and force them into retiring. "I know it's worked on some," Smith said. "They just got tired of being threatened.

Smith isn't the only one saying that, and danger is real. Threats against members of Congress have doubled since 2016.

Is there an organized effort to intimidate conservative congressmen? I don't know. But we do know that there was an organized left-wing effort to stoke violence at Trump rallies during the 2016 campaign.

Update -Prosecute ICE?! - New York Democrat Zephyr Teachout, a candidate for state attorney general, is upping the ante in the left's war against the brave men and women of ICE.

Teachout doesn't want to just abolish ICE, she wants to prosecute ICE agents.

In a campaign video, she declares: "ICE was born in xenophobia, in a time after 9/11 and has grown up to become a tool of fear and illegality. And as Attorney General . . . I will prosecute ICE for their criminal acts."

Extremists like Teachout have it exactly backwards.

ICE agents are not committing "criminal acts." They are enforcing the law and locking up the very people who are committing criminal acts!

The left's war against ICE and the enforcement of our immigration laws isn't a fringe position, my friends.

One of Barack Obama's newly-endorsed congressional candidates, Debra Haaland, is also on the ban ICE bandwagon.

My friends, there is nothing "moderate" about today's Democrat Party.

We MUST NOT allow these radical socialists to gain power this November.
-------------------
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, Media Bias Blowout, The Double Standard, Threats & Retirements To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Minnesota Gubernatorial Candidate Calls For Assault Weapon Ban, Universal Background Checks

Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus: "DFL-endorsed Governor candidate Erin Murphy, an anti-gun State Representative who is proud of her “F” rating from the NRA and the Caucus. She’s been hostile to gun owners from her very first term."

by Tom Knighton: Rep. Erin Murphy wants to be Minnesota’s next governor. To reach that goal, she thinks that curtailing the rights of law-abiding Americans is a winner.

In particular, Murphy wants to follow the typical anti-gun playbook.
Representative Erin Murphy says it’s time to study gun violence like a public health crisis.

On Thursday, she announced the steps she would take to curb gun violence if she’s elected Minnesota’s next governor.

It includes universal background checks on all gun sales. And banning the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The DFL-endorsed candidate says Minnesotans support common sense solutions.

“And frankly they are frustrated that their powerful voices are being ignored by a kind of politics inside that Capitol building that is more interested in protecting their status quo interests. More interested in the appeasing and doing the bidding of the NRA for advancing solutions that will protect our kids in school and protest people by the violence of suicide by gun,” Murphy said.
Murphy’s not alone in wanting universal background checks and a so-called “assault weapon” ban by any stretch.

However, all of these are predicated on fear and emotion rather than any real understanding of the issues when it comes to violence and crime.

For one thing, “assault rifles” aren’t used in crimes that often. The FBI has found rifles–a general term that includes firearms ranging from AR-15s to single-shot long guns–are only used in a few hundred crimes nationally each year. While they’ve been used in several high profile crimes such as Las Vegas and Parkland, they’re not the only weapon chosen by such killers.

Instead, they’re used by sportsmen, competition shooters, and armed citizens to defend their homes and families. By banning such weapons as Murphy says she intends to do, she won’t be making anyone safer. Instead, she’ll make it more difficult for the law-abiding citizen to have an effective tool of self-defense.

As for universal background checks, proponents have yet to illustrate some significant problem with criminals purchasing firearms through face-to-face transfers in what would otherwise be legal sales. With my coverage of guns over the last year or so, what I tend to see is that criminals either make straw purchases from gun stores–something that wouldn’t end with universal background checks–or they obtain stolen weapons by either stealing them themselves or via the black market.

I’m pretty damn sure that criminals won’t be taking their black market guns to an FFL for a background check. Let’s call it a hunch.

Murphy and those like her are slinging around policy ideas that sound good to anti-gunners yet accomplish nothing. The reality is that no one is made safer by any of these ideas, and the people of Minnesota would do well to reject any and all candidate who claim they will. These aren’t serious people. These are candidates who spew what sounds good to their tribe rather than try and figure out a real solution to whatever the problem is.

If Murphy and candidates like her get their way, watch how nothing will happen because of it. These laws are ineffective, unconstitutional, and outright stupid.

Voters need to reject these candidates so we can get people with real solutions.
---------------
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.

Tags: Tom Knighton, Bearing Arms, Anti-Gun Candidates, Assault Weapon Bans, Erin Murphy, Minnesota, Universal Background Checks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

When The Mueller Gang Met Judge Ellis . . .

. . . The Manafort trial isn’t going to give Mueller what he wants.
by Daniel Greenfield: Paul Manafort. Tony Podesta. Tad Devine. Greg Craig.

Manafort worked for Trump. Tony Podesta is the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. Tad Devine was Bernie Sanders’ chief strategist. Greg Craig was Obama’s White House Counsel.

All four men also, directly or indirectly, allegedly did work for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. And the ECFMU was allegedly a front for Yanukovich's Ukrainian pro-Russian faction. Manafort and the Podesta Group had failed to register as foreign agents. Tad Devine had worked for Manafort on the Ukraine project. Craig had written a report on Ukraine for one of Manafort’s lobbying efforts.

But only Manafort had the predawn raid, the solitary confinement and the high profile show trial. Mueller referred Podesta’s case to the Southern District of New York, which has been doing some of his dirty work, even though the Podesta Group was based out of Washington D.C. Tad Devine was called as the first witness at Manafort’s trial. (Next up was Daniel Rabin, a Democrat ad man who had worked with Manafort on Ukraine and who had worked on Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign. O’Malley’s partner had been O’Malley’s campaign manager and was a former Obama senior advisor.)

Podesta, Devine and Craig are getting a pass because it’s not really about Manafort. It’s about Trump.

The Federal courthouse in Alexandria where the trial is taking place may be the final stop of a political hit job that makes the ECFMU look like amateurs. Its tentacles bind together the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, national security agencies, a former British intel agent, a firm of former journalists and a scandal bigger than Watergate. But in Alexandria, the hit job may have met its match.

Until now, the Mueller coup had gotten exactly the judges that it wanted.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee and Clinton donor, had been shepherding the Manafort case while giving the Mueller gang everything they wanted. And then there was Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama nominee and Dem donor who was friends with Andrew Weissmann, the most aggressive figure on Mueller's team, who tore up Manafort's attorney-client privilege.

But now Judge T. Ellis is presiding over the Manafort trial and the free ride is over. Ellis, as the media is fond of reminding us in every one of its feverish stories about the trial, is a Reagan appointee. But due to a Democrat congress, Reagan appointees were a mixed bag. Unlike Judge Jackson and Judge Howell, Judge Ellis hasn’t favored a side. Instead he’s refused to put up with any nonsense from either side.

The Mueller gang realized that the free ride was over when back in May when Judge Ellis directly called out the prosecution over its real motives in bringing the case.

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” he snapped. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead to Mr. Trump.”

Judge Ellis wasn’t happy at being used as a prop in a fake trial whose only purpose was to pressure Manafort into turning on Trump. Unlike the previous rubber stamp judges, Ellis showed little patience with Mueller’s nasty habit of treating everything involving the case as top secret. He demanded to know the limits of Mueller’s authority and a copy of the unredacted DOJ memo on which it was based.

And he got it.

The Manafort trial was not to mention Russian collusion, oligarchs and most of the staples of the media’s obsessive coverage of the case. While the media and the protesters howled outside, Judge Ellis kept order inside the courtroom. Even the reporters covering the case were not allowed to speak those words to each other. As the trial proceeded, the media wasn’t getting its money’s worth.

And Judge Ellis had his share of fun at their expense, at one point referring to reporters as having "scurried out of here like rats out of a sinking ship" after a particularly troubling development.

While Mueller and the media want to drag out their show trial for as long as possible, Judge Ellis has made it very clear that he wants to get the trial over and done with as quickly as possible. His favorite phrase in the case has been, “move along.” The Mueller gang had built much of its case around showcasing Manafort’s lavish lifestyle. And Ellis has been disdainful of the prosecution’s theatrics.

He’s refused to allow the prosecution to parade photos of Manafort’s expensive clothing before the jury and he dismissed efforts by the prosecution to play the class warfare card in the Alexandria courtroom.

The pointless tour of luxury clothing vendors through the courtroom was deflated by Ellis’ impatience and the only thing it established is that Manafort had bought expensive suits with international wire transfers. And that could have easily been established in a fraction of the time without dragging in witnesses to testify to Manafort’s shopping habits.

After wasting two days on showcasing luxury clothing store vendors and Democrat political pros like Tad Devine and Daniel Rabin, the prosecution went right back to talking up the size of Manafort’s pond and the price of his karaoke machine before shifting over to more serious testimony from financial pros. Some of these witnesses had received immunity in exchange for their testimony against Manafort.

And yet the obsession with Manafort’s suits, karaoke machine and pond reveal the hollowness of the case. If the prosecution really had Manafort down cold, it wouldn’t need to talk about his ostrich jacket. There are only two purposes to such theatrics, to bias the jury or to play to the cheap seats in the media.

As Judge Ellis had already pointed out, the trial really isn’t about Manafort. It’s about Trump. And Manafort is Mueller’s last and only hope. After all the pressure, Manafort still hasn’t given Mueller what he wants. And so the Mueller gang needs to score as hard as it can in either this trial or the next one. If Manafort walks or gets off with a slap on the wrist, the Mueller investigation is effectively over. It may drag on for another five years, as special counsel circuses have been known to do, but it will be over.

And everyone knows it.

Democrat judges had lent Mueller a hand until now. But the actual case is now in the hands of a judge who doesn’t like Mueller, doesn’t like his people’s tactics and doesn’t like being used as a pawn.

Unlike the Democrat judges with an axe to grind, Judge Ellis is following the law. And he hasn’t gone outside it to favor either side. Nor is there any reason to believe that he will. He has questioned and challenged the agenda behind the trial, but he will leave it up to a jury to come up with a verdict.

And yet the wind has gone out of the prosecution’s sails.

The friendly relationship that the gang enjoyed with its fellow Democrat collaborators on the bench has been replaced by an impatient judge who isn’t treating the show trial like a vital institution, but with the skeptical impatience that veterans of the system reserve for the table pounders wasting their time.

Judge Ellis isn’t interested in a show trial. He’s asked the prosecution whether it thinks George Soros is also an oligarch. He’s made it clear that while he knows the agenda behind the case, there won’t be a Russiagate circus in his courtroom, no paranoid hysteria or sinister speculation. Nor will the case be allowed to linger on endlessly attracting swarms of reporters, activists and deep staters.

Manafort may well be convicted, but it won’t be on the terms that Mueller wanted. Mueller may get Manafort, but lose Trump.

He may win the battle in Alexandria, but lose the war.
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Daniel Greenfield is Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a New York writer focuses on Islamic terrorism and the radical left. David Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service

Tags: Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Mag, Mueller Gang, Judge Ellis, Paul Manafort, Tony Podesta, Tad Devine, Greg Craig 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 Is Right To End Obama/California Fuel Economy Scheme

Phil Kerpen
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: Obama's astonishing takeover of the automobile industry was accomplished through a process even more corrupt than his takeover of the health care sector. While both involved backroom deals, the auto takeover was sealed in a backroom from which both the American people and our elected officials were completely shut out.

Worse, it transferred power over a huge swath of our economy – and the basic choice of what cars and trucks Americans can buy – not to Washington, DC but to Sacramento, California. Sacramento was empowered, contrary to federal law, to set fuel economy standards and to implement a credit scheme that raises the prices of vehicles all over the country to lavish subsidies on rich buyers of electric hobby cars in California.

Obama climate czar Carol Browner oversaw the secret negotiations in 2010. Mary Nichols, the chair of the California Air Resources Board, was the other key player in a game of bad cop and really bad cop; basically, industry was told that if they didn’t acquiesce to the new rules, California – waiver in hand – would even more severely kneecap them.

Nichols told the New York Times that Browner "quietly orchestrated" the secret negotiations between the White House, regulators, and auto industry officials. "We put nothing in writing, ever," Nichols bragged.

In 2012 – with Sacramento firmly in control – they reprised the same tactics to ratchet up the mandate to 54.5 miles per gallon, which of course guarantees cars will be smaller, lighter, less crash-worthy, less powerful, and less comfortable than you can even imagine. A nice-sized family-vehicle? Good luck.

The political calculation by Obama was that putting Sacramento in the driver's seat would lock in place the scheme because the regulatory, legal, public relations, and political effort required to unwind it would be too daunting for a future Republican administration.

They did not count on President Donald Trump or his intrepid lead on this issue, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Secretary Chao, jointly with EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, have issued a brilliantly crafted proposed rulemaking that revises the core of the Obama fuel economy rules to reach a sweet spot that balances environmental, safety, and cost considerations – backed by thousands of pages of detailed legal, scientific, and economic analysis.

Their proposal would keep the model year 2020 standards in place through model year 2026, rather than allow a sharp increase in fuel economy requirements that would occur under the Obama/California plan. The Trump plan would save more than $500 billion in societal costs and reduce highway fatalities by 12,700 lives – because more expensive new cars price people out on the margin, forcing them to drive older, less safe cars longer.

Against the half-trillion in benefits you can weigh the global warming impact – or non-impact. Model runs based on mainstream, consensus climate models show the Trump proposal would impact the global climate by 3/1000th of one degree Celsius by 2100. You can round that to zero.

Most importantly, the proposed rule treats California like the other 49 states, withdrawing its special waiver and setting up litigation that will almost certainly result in a Supreme Court victory finding that Congress meant what it said when it passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975: "a State or a political subdivision of a State may not adopt or enforce a law or regulation related to fuel economy standards or for automobiles covered by an average fuel economy standard under this chapter."

Like so much of his legacy, Obama's fuel economy scheme was built on regulatory and legal quicksand because he was unable or unwilling to convince the American people and our elected representatives to implement his policies through the legislative process.

President Trump is absolutely right to stand up to the shrieks of protest from the environmental groups and the media and to let Americans buy the cars and trucks we want.
------------------
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Follow him at (@kerpen) and on Facebook. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, President Trump, Right To End, Obama, California Fuel Economy Scheme To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

3D-Printed Hype

... Why the sudden uproar from Second Amendment opponents over 3D-printed guns?
by Brian Mark Weber: Just this week, the U.S. State Department settled a lawsuit filed under the Obama administration that would have forbid the company Defense Distributed from posting blueprints on its website that could be downloaded by anyone wanting to build a 3D gun at home. The settlement allowed the company to begin posting the information as of Aug. 1. But after pleas by attorneys general from seven states and the District of Columbia, a federal judge in Seattle stepped in and put a temporary halt to the agreement due to supposed concerns about the threat to public safety posed by 3D guns.

Even President Donald Trump, a reliable supporter of gun rights, expressed doubt about the safety of 3D guns. The day before the State Department agreement was to go into effect, the president tweeted, “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

Is the outcry over 3D guns overblown? After all, as National Review’s David French correctly asserts, “People have been making homemade guns since before the founding of the Republic. You don’t need a license to make a gun for personal use; you need one only if you make a gun for sale or distribution. Guns can be made at home easily and cheaply. Home manufacture is common.”

And the fact that the Undetectable Firearms Act was passed into law in 1988, long before 3D printers were invented, highlights the fact that there’s nothing new going on here.

So why the sudden uproar from Second Amendment opponents?

One of the reasons might be that the anti-gun crowd is getting desperate. Unable to chip away any further at Second Amendment rights, and with the future of gun control looking bleaker due to the potential of an expanding conservative bloc on the Supreme Court, gun grabbers are taking a final stand. They’re even going to the extreme of claiming that the Tenth Amendment grants states the right to regulate firearms — even while attacking the First Amendment just to get to the Second.

Of course, no one ever accused leftists of being faithful to the Constitution.

Columnist David Harsanyi asks an important question: “How can the state ban the transfer of knowledge used to help someone engage in an activity that is completely legal? Scratch that — to engage in an activity that is constitutionally protected?”

The proverbial cat is out of the bag, and no court ruling is going to stop 3D gun information from spreading online. In fact, it already has. When the government ordered Wilson to take his designs down from the Internet in 2013, it soon discovered that the information had popped up on so many other sites that it was too late to stop it.

Much to the chagrin of gun-control proponents, it’s happening again.

The Washington Times reports, “A judge’s attempt to halt the spread of blueprints for 3D-printed guns backfired Wednesday as the plans spread across the internet, posted and shared by people who said they were determined to strike a blow for free speech, to protect gun rights, or just to thumb their nose at the government.”

In other words, those who tried to stop the spread of 3D gun information this week may have done more to spark interest in the technology than existed before. Now it’s all about spreading misinformation, such as the argument that 3D weapons will easily elude metal detectors.

Gun opponents conveniently leave out the fact that the possession of totally undetectable firearms remains a violation of federal law, but even 3D guns will have a hard time making it past security.

The Liberator — the gun designed by Defense Distributed, contains a metal part specifically designed to be picked up by metal detectors. For those concerned about people making guns without the piece of metal, Popular Mechanics recentlydiscovered that a magazine containing multiple cartridges would still set off most metal detectors.

Surprisingly, even April Glaser of the leftist rag Slate agrees. She reminds us, “Despite what lawmakers were saying this week, it’s not clear that 3D-printed guns pose a serious threat. Plans for printing 3D weaponry never disappeared from the internet as a result of Wilson’s legal challenges, and it seems that 3D-printed guns don’t even work very well — when they do work.”

Let’s not forget that in a country where just about anyone can own affordable and more traditional guns, there isn’t likely to be an explosion of plastic guns.

Despite the fact that the State Department has admitted it has no jurisdiction over controlling domestic gun policies, the fight to ban accessibility to 3D gun schematics is just beginning. But in the end, there’s no stopping the technology unless the government intends to take away our right to free speech on the Internet along with our right to keep and bear arms.
------------------
Brian Mark Weber contributes to The Patriot Post.

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Would War With Iran Doom Trump?

by Patrick Buchanan: A war with Iran would define, consume and potentially destroy the Trump presidency, but exhilarate the neocon never-Trumpers who most despise the man.

Why, then, is President Donald Trump toying with such an idea?

Looking back at Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, wars we began or plunged into, what was gained to justify the cost in American blood and treasure, and the death and destruction we visited upon that region? How has our great rival China suffered by not getting involved?

Oil is the vital strategic Western interest in the Persian Gulf. Yet a war with Iran would imperil, not secure, that interest.

Mass migration from the Islamic world, seeded with terrorist cells, is the greatest threat to Europe from the Middle East. But would not a U.S. war with Iran increase rather than diminish that threat?

Would the millions of Iranians who oppose the mullahs’ rule welcome U.S. air and naval attacks on their country? Or would they rally behind the regime and the armed forces dying to defend their country?

“Mr Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail,” warned President Hassan Rouhani in July: “War with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

But he added, “Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace.”

Rouhani left wide open the possibility of peaceful settlement.

Trump’s all-caps retort virtually invoked Hiroshima: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the like of which few throughout history have suffered before.”

When Trump shifted and blurted out that he was open to talks — “No preconditions. They want to meet? I’ll meet.” — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo contradicted him: Before any meeting, Iran must change the way they treat their people and “reduce their malign behavior.”

We thus appear to be steering into a head-on collision.

For now that Trump has trashed the nuclear deal and is reimposing sanctions, Iran’s economy has taken a marked turn for the worse.

Its currency has lost half its value. Inflation is surging toward Venezuelan levels. New U.S. sanctions will be imposed this week and again in November. Major foreign investments are being canceled. U.S. allies are looking at secondary sanctions if they do not join the strangulation of Iran.

Tehran’s oil exports are plummeting along with national revenue.

Demonstrations and riots are increasingly common.

Rouhani and his allies who bet their futures on a deal to forego nuclear weapons in return for an opening to the West look like fools to their people. And the Revolutionary Guard Corps that warned against trusting the Americans appears vindicated.

Iran’s leaders have now threatened that when their oil is no longer flowing freely and abundantly, Arab oil may be blocked from passing through the Strait of Hormuz out to Asia and the West.

Any such action would ignite an explosion in oil prices worldwide and force a U.S. naval response to reopen the strait. A war would be on.

Yet the correlation of political forces is heavily weighted in favor of driving Tehran to the wall. In the U.S., Iran has countless adversaries and almost no advocates. In the Middle East, Israelis, Saudis and the UAE would relish having us smash Iran.

Among the four who will decide on war, Trump, Pompeo and John Bolton have spoken of regime change, while Defense Secretary James Mattis has lately renounced any such strategic goal.

With Israel launching attacks against Iranian-backed militia in Syria, U.S. ships and Iranian speedboats constantly at close quarters in the Gulf, and Houthi rebels in Yemen firing at Saudi tankers in the Bab el-Mandeb entrance to the Red Sea, a military clash seems inevitable.

While America no longer has the ground forces to invade and occupy an Iran four times the size of Iraq, in any such war, the U.S., with its vastly superior air, naval and missile forces, would swiftly prevail.

But if Iran called into play Hezbollah, the Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq, and sectarian allies inside the Arab states, U.S. casualties would mount and the Middle East could descend into the kind of civil-sectarian war we have seen in Syria these last six years.

Any shooting war in the Persian Gulf could see insurance rates for tankers soar, a constriction of oil exports, and surging prices, plunging us into a worldwide recession for which one man would be held responsible: Donald Trump.

How good would that be for the GOP or President Trump in 2020?

And when the shooting stopped, would there be installed in Iran a liberal democracy, or would it be as it was in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, with first the religious zealots taking power, and then the men with guns.

If we start a war with Iran, on top of the five in which we are engaged still, then the party that offers to extricate us will be listened to, as Trump was listened to, when he promised to extricate us from the forever wars of the Middle East.
--------------------
Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

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Liberals Against Freedom of Conscience

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: Why is it considered "liberal" to compel others to say or fund things they don't believe? That's a question raised by three Supreme Court decisions this year. And it's a puzzling development for those of us old enough to remember when liberals championed free speech -- even advocacy of sedition or sodomy -- and conservatives wanted government to restrain or limit it.

The three cases dealt with quite different issues.

In National Institute of Family Life Advocates v. Becerra, a 5-4 majority of the court overturned a California statute that required anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to inform clients where they could obtain free or inexpensive abortions -- something the centers regard as homicide.

The same 5-4 majority in a second case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, reversed a 41-year-old precedent and ruled that public employees don't have to pay unions fees that cover the cost of collective bargaining. Echoing a position taken by then-President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, the court reasoned that collective bargaining with a public employer is inevitably a political matter, and that forcing employees to finance it is compelling them to subsidize political speech with which they disagree.

In the third case, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court avoided a direct decision on whether a baker, whose Christian belief opposed same-sex marriage, could refuse to design a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple, contrary to a state law that bars discrimination against gays. Seven justices ruled that the commission showed an impermissible animus against religion, but the four liberal justices endorsed a separate opinion indicating they'd rule against the baker otherwise.

Rational arguments can now be made for the dissenters' positions. In Becerra, they argued that the law simply prevented misleading advertising; in Janus, they argued that union members should pay for services rendered; in Masterpiece Bakery, they argued that selling a cake is a routine service, not a form of expression. You may not agree, but you can see why others might make these arguments.

But are they "liberal"? That word comes from a Latin root that means "free."

And "free" is the keyword in the First Amendment to the Constitution, which bars Congress from passing laws "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion or "abridging the freedom of speech or of the press."

The Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence got its start almost exactly 100 years ago, in cases challenging laws passed by a Democratic Congress and endorsed by a Democratic administration, prohibiting opposition to the government and, specifically, American participation in World War I.

The justices hesitated to block such prosecutions, but those considered "liberal" -- Republican appointee Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Democratic appointee Justice Louis Brandeis -- were most likely to look askance. The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 to defend the free speech rights of everyone, even vile extremists.

Unhappily, the ACLU today subordinates free speech to other values, like defending the sensibilities of certain students on campuses. And other liberals have been moving in the same direction. It's less important for them that people say what they think and more important that they say what the government requires.

In his Bagehot blog, the Economist's Adrian Wooldridge describes the process. Historically, he says, liberals understood that conflict was inevitable and tried to foster freedom based on their distrust of power, faith in progress and belief in civic respect. But today, Wooldridge writes, "liberalism as a philosophy has been captured by a technocratic-managerial-cosmopolitan elite." They have moved from making "a critique of the existing power structure" to becoming "one of the most powerful elites in history." In response, we see "a revolt of the provinces against the city": Brexit, Donald Trump. In counter-response, as Niall Ferguson puts it in a column for The Times of London, "'liberals' are increasingly authoritarian."

Like the "liberal" Supreme Court justices, who don't see a constitutional problem with compelling crisis pregnancy centers to send messages they find repugnant, or requiring union members to subsidize political speech they disagree with, or forcing people to participate in ceremonies prohibited by their religion.

In the process, they are providing support for Friedrich Hayek's argument in "The Road to Serfdom" that moving toward socialism means moving toward authoritarianism. And they seem to not have noticed Yale Law Professor Stephen Carter's observation, as quoted in The Atlantic, that "every law is violent" because "Behind every exercise of law stands the sheriff."

Carter calls for "a degree of humility" in passing and enforcing laws that compel speech against conscience -- something today's "liberals" seem to have forgotten.
--------------
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 co-author of The Almanac of American Politics Shared by Rasmussen Reports.

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Government Jobs Down 13,000 in July

by Terence P. Jeffrey: Government jobs in the United States dropped by 13,000 in July, according to new employment numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In June, there were 22,347,000 people employed in government across the United States, according to BLS. In July, that dropped to 22,334,000.

All of the decline in government jobs came on the local level, according to the BLS.

The number of people employed at the federal level climbed from 2,794,000 to 2,796,000—a one-month increase of 2,000.

The number of people employed by state governments climbed from 5,121,000 in June to 5,126,000 in July—a one-month increase of 5,000.

But on the local government level, the number of people declined from 14,432,000 in June to 14,412,000 in July—a drop of 20,000.

The combined 7,000 increase in federal and state government jobs brought the overall decrease in government employment down to 13,000.

Even with this month’s 2,000 increase in federal employees, federal employment is still down 14,000 under President Donald Trump. In December 2016, the last month before Trump took office, the federal government employed 2,810,000—14,000 more than the 2,796,000 it employed in July.

During that same period (December 2016 to July 2018) state government employment has dropped by 19,000—declining from 5,145,000 to 5,126,000.

However, since December 2016, local government employment has increased by 61,000, climbing from 14,351,000 to 14,412,000
----------------------
Terence P. Jeffrey is editor-in-chief of the conservative CNSNews.com. Previously, he served for more than a decade as editor of Human Events where he is now an editor at large.

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Two-Faced . . .

. . . Media hates or loves U.S. Intelligence depending on the narrative they want to propagate in this case it’s about destroying President Trump.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, media, Two-Faced, hates or loves, U.S. Intelligence, depending on the narrative, want to propagate, destroying president Trump To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Plastic Straw Ban

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Perhaps you have heard of the latest environmental movement to ban plastic straws. Even though they are small, they are large in number. The activists claim that we use millions of straws every day. That number seems high, at least to me, since I avoid using plastic straws. I figure that I don’t need a straw when I drink water or a beverage at home. Why do I need one in a restaurant? If I go to a Starbucks, I have a personal cup with a straw that I rinse out when I am done.

As Christians, we should practice sound stewardship of the environment, but we also need to think carefully about the impact of a plastic straw ban. On the one hand, all these straws end up as litter, in landfills or in the ocean. On the other hand, there are some people (those with disabilities and small children, for example) that actually need a straw to drink.

At the moment, the biggest plastic pollution challenge is in our oceans, and plastic straws aren’t the problem. Large plastic floating “islands” in the ocean are a major environmental issue. Perhaps the best known is the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” that floats between California and Japan.

The nonprofit Ocean Cleanup has discovered that the Pacific patch is much larger than originally estimated. But plastic straws and plastic bags aren’t the reason. Nearly half (46%) of it was fishing nets. When combined with ropes and lines it accounted for a majority (52%) of the trash. The rest included hard plastics (crates, bottle caps, etc.). When Ocean Cleanup looked at food packaging, they found that nearly a third (30%) was written in Japanese, and nearly a third (30.8%) was written in Chinese.

None of this is to argue against reducing our use of plastic straws. But it does remind us that if we want to address the problem of plastic pollution we should focus more attention on things other than plastic straws.
------------
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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Another Productive Week In The Senate

The Senate Sent The Defense Authorization Bill To The President, Passed 4 Appropriations Bills, Went To Conference On The Farm Bill, Confirmed The 24th Circuit Court Judge And 6 More District Court Judges

Defense Authorization Bill ‘Aimed At Building Up The Military’ Completed

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ), Armed Services Committee Chairman: “I’m deeply proud that the Senate voted overwhelmingly today to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019…. Through the NDAA, Congress is fulfilling its duty to provide America’s service members the resources and tools they need to succeed.” (Sen. McCain, Press Release, 8/01/2018)

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): “Our greatest responsibility–what we are supposed to be doing here—is defending America. It is also our duty to ensure that this legislation takes care of our men and women in uniform…. I am pleased that this year’s NDAA passed in record time, the earliest since 1996, and well in advance of the start of the next fiscal year.” (Sen. Inhofe, Press Release, 8/01/2018)

The Senate on Wednesday easily cleared and sent to President Donald Trump a compromise $717 billion defense policy bill aimed at building up the military and blunting Chinese foreign investment and telecommunications technology.” (“Senate Sends $717B Defense Bill To Trump,” Politico, 8/01/2018)
  • “If the NDAA is signed soon, as expected, it would be the first time in more than two decades a defense policy bill has become law before the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year.” (“Senate Sends $717B Defense Bill To Trump,” Politico, 8/01/2018)
  • “The bill continues Republican defense hawks’ efforts to build up the military, which they contend has degraded under years of budget caps and a lack of emphasis during the Obama administration. ‘It is what we have to do to defend America,’ said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has managed the bill for Senate Republicans. ‘After all, the No. 1 thing we should be doing around here is defending America. We’re going to restore what we have lost, and it’s all happening in this bill,’ he added.” (“Senate Sends $717B Defense Bill To Trump,” Politico, 8/01/2018)
“Congress passed a defense-policy bill that some lawmakers say is tougher on China than any in history, as a bipartisan movement to confront Beijing gathers steam. The measure, an annual policy bill that authorizes $716 billion in total defense spending for the coming fiscal year, seeks to counter a range of Chinese government policies, including increased military activity in the South China Sea, the pursuit of cutting-edge U.S. technology and the spread of Communist Party propaganda at American institutions.” (“Congress Passes Defense Bill That’s Tough on China,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/01/2018)

Four More Appropriations Bills Passed, ‘The Most Productive Burst Of Appropriations Activity On The Senate Floor’ Since 2000

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), Appropriations Committee Chairman: “I am proud that the Senate is taking another step toward regular order in the appropriations process.” (Sen. Shelby, Press Release, 7/24/2018)
  • SEN. SHELBY: “Together we committed to do what’s good for the process because we want to do what’s right by the American people.  This approach has yielded meaningful results thus far…. This support was facilitated by an open amendment process and a willingness to work together …” (Sen. Shelby, Remarks, 7/24/2018)
“The Senate cleared a second appropriations measure funding four federal departments … In a 92-6 vote, the Senate approved a ‘minibus’ funding the Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Interior Departments. The $154.2 billion measure also provides funding for financial services and general government.” (“Senate Clears $154B ‘Minibus’ Spending Measure,” The Hill, 8/01/2018)
“The Senate passed a batch of government funding bills with bipartisan support … The annual appropriations process has been moving along at a rapid clip …” (The Washington Post, 8/01/2018)
Senate Voted To Go To Conference ‘To Get The Farm Bill Across The Finish Line’

SENS. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS) and DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman and Ranking Member: “This strong group of Senate conferees knows how to work together on a bipartisan basis to get the Farm Bill across the finish line. We look forward to beginning the conference process so we can provide certainty to our farmers, families, and rural communities.” (U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Committee, Press Release, 8/01/2018)

“The Senate agreed by voice vote Tuesday to go conference with the House to negotiate a new version of the farm bill before the current legislation expires, even if that means working through the summer recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he was hopeful the farm bill conference report would be ready for a vote after Labor Day…. Both chambers’ bill versions would authorize and set policies for agricultural research, conservation, nutrition, trade promotion, crop insurance and other programs.” (“McConnell Hopeful Farm Bill Conference Report Ready for Vote After Labor Day,” Roll Call, 7/31/2018)

Senate Confirmed The 24th Court Of Appeals Judge Nominated By President Trump And 6 More District Court Judges

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “I think it’s the longest-term sort of impact we can have on the future of the country.” (“Trump Is Putting Indelible Conservative Stamp On Judiciary,” The New York Times, 7/31/2018)

“With another judge confirmed Tuesday by the Senate, President Trump and Senate Republicans are leaving an ever-expanding imprint on the judiciary … The … appeals court confirmation on Tuesday of Britt C. Grant … was Mr. Trump’s 24th circuit court appointment …” (“Trump Is Putting Indelible Conservative Stamp On Judiciary,” The New York Times, 7/31/2018)

“… the Senate unanimously cleared *SIX* of Trump’s district court nominees tonight.” (The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim, @seungminkim, Twitter, 8/01/2018)

Tags: Another Productive Week, The Senate, Defense Authorization Bill To The President, Passed 4 Appropriations Bills, Went To Conference On The Farm Bill, Confirmed 24th Circuit Court Judge, 6 More District Court Judges To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Transcendent Gray Lady

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: How far are we away from a completely vindictive, murderous madness like The Terror of revolutionary France?

I know, almost no one is talking of guillotines.

But a lot of people seem determined to destroy others’ lives publicly. We are all too familiar with Twitterstorms where worked-up outrage forces someone out of a job or a deal — usually for making jokes.

But it’s not just jokes. Not long ago an actor got in trouble for Tweeting that commentator and Daily Wire host Ben Shapiro seems a nice, honest person on the right that a leftist might listen to. The actor was forced to recant, and then Shapiro himself publicly recanted from some past putatively “dumb” things he “did” or “said.” Or something.

Since we’re talking about Mr. Shapiro, his commentary on the Sarah Jeong case is not irrelevant. The New York Times hired Ms. Jeong despite her past racist tweets.

Well, racist-against-whites.

“By the rules of the left,” says Shapiro, “this person should now be excised from polite society.”

But the Times is keeping her.

Shapiro finds this “indicative” of more than just the Times. The left at large seems OK with anti-white racism but not anti-any-other-race.

It’s indicative of a lot more, though, not just racism and anti-racism and anti-anti-racism.

Outrage and the Twittermob may be fun. But it’s time to stop.

Is the Times leading the way?

Only when the decrepit old rag defends someone not on its own ideological side. Transcending partisan mob mania means first transcending partisanship.

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

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More Government Employee Misconduct; Time To Pass The MERIT Act

by Natalia Castro: As scandals spill out, more and more members of Congress are realizing the importance of civil service reform. In the last two weeks, three more representatives have come out in support for the Modern, Employment, Reform, Improvement, and Transformation Act (MERIT Act) which will fundamentally transform how federal employees within the civil service are removed for poor performance. By increasing accountability standards and introducing whistleblower protections, the MERIT Act protects workers who are placed in toxic environments in order to allow our government to function effectively.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is dedicated to helping Americans who have experienced tragic circumstances. Ideally, the workers within FEMA should also be dedicated to bettering the lives of Americans in vulnerable positions. Instead, reports have just been released of a top FEMA official committing acts of sexual misconduct for years on end.

FEMA’s Chief Component Human Capital Officer Corey J. Coleman resigned last week following an internal investigation. According to a summary statement released to the New York Times, investigators contacted 73 witnesses and took 98 statements following allegations of misconduct.

Matt Stevens of the New York Times explains Coleman’s abuse with these two stories; “The summary found that Mr. Coleman had sexual intercourse with one woman in 2015, while the woman was his subordinate. Mr. Coleman also made sure the woman was assigned to work directly with him; pressured her to go on dates; and the woman was at one point denied a promotion after she refused Mr. Coleman’s advances, the summary said. The woman told the investigator that she kept her job by telling Mr. Coleman that she might be willing to go on dates with him again, the summary said.”

Stevens added, “The investigation also found that Mr. Coleman had a second inappropriate relationship with a separate female subordinate in 2017 and 2018. He allowed the woman to work from his home and made her accompany him on official travel even though she was given few responsibilities. When the woman said she wanted to leave FEMA, he created a job for her — even though she was not qualified for it — and paid for it with disaster funding, the summary said.”

The investigation also found that Coleman granted preferential treatment to fraternity brothers for positions they were not qualified for. Other reports found that Coleman intimidated staff and created a management structure which made it impossible for subordinates to circumvent his authority. Coleman has also been accused of hiring women he met at bars and online dating sites. Coleman is also reported to have transferred women in and out of departments and regional offices, so his friends could attempt sexual relationships with them, according to employee statements released in the Washington Post.

Coleman has been creating a hostile work environment for years, and it has not gone unreported.

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office first received complaints about Coleman in 2015 and directed the agency to investigate. It is unclear if actions were taken under the previous administration.

It was not until January of 2018 when an internal investigation at FEMA began. Four months later, in April, Coleman was placed on administrative leave. In June, Coleman was asked to testify before investigators and chose to resign from office instead. The investigation concluded July 27, nearly eight months after it began.

Fortunately for FEMA workers, this was a relatively “quick” investigation in contrast to most federal government removal investigations. The average removal process for a poor performing employee within the federal workforce takes nearly a year. And it is important to note, Coleman did not even get fired, he chose to resign.

It is an unaccountable civil service industry that protects poor performers and prevents whistleblowers from speaking up.

As this scandal comes to light, more and more representatives are jumping on board with civil service reform.

Last week, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Representative Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), and Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) all signed onto the MERIT Act which expedites removal timelines and upholds whistleblower protections.

Legislation like the MERIT Act takes a step in preventing employees like Coleman from spending years abusing their power and wasting taxpayer funds. Now more than ever it is imperative that Senators and Representatives band together to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse from plaguing our civil service. This should be taken as a lesson from Coleman and enact real legislative change to prevent this from ever happening again.
---------------
Natalia Castro is the Public Outreach Coordinator for Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Natalia Castro, Americans for Limited Government, More Government Employee Misconduct, Time To Pass, The MERIT Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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