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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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, November 09, 2018

The Party of Illegal Immigrants, Fake Votes, and Stolen Elections

by Newt Gingrich: Watch the Democrats try to steal elections.

Think about how Democratic dishonesty is a lot greater threat to freedom than some unproven Russian conspiracy.

As you watch the long, long, long counts in Florida, Arizona, and California, remember the long count which stole Senator Norm Coleman’s Senate seat for Al Franken in Minnesota.

Remember Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia Stacey Abrams’s assertion that her blue wave was made up of both legal and illegal residents. Remember that 22,000 of the applications her voter registration group filed in Georgia were either canceled, duplicative, or couldn’t be reconciled (probably because the voters did not exist).

The Democratic supervisor of elections for Broward County, Florida has a consistent record of breaking the law and trying to steal elections.

When you have the state’s sitting governor and Senate candidate, Governor Rick Scott, filing a lawsuit against “rampant fraud” and saying, “I will not stand idly by while unethical liberals try to steal an election.” Things have gotten very serious.

As Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has said, “what’s happening in Broward County should concern every American.”

In Arizona, you can bet many of the 400,000 mail-in ballots still outstanding will likely turn out to be non-existent or votes cast by illegal immigrants – or simply made up by the election officials in two of the state’s most liberal counties. Already, the state Republican party has alleged that left-wing election officials in one county destroyed evidence related to early voting irregularities.

The fact is, that after all their feigned worries about Russia influencing the election, Democrats will end up stealing a lot more votes than Putin ever dreamed of taking.

Watch the next few days, remember the lies, smears, and character assassination Democrats threw at Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

And worry for the very fabric of our country.
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Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, Party of Illegal Immigrants, Fake Votes, Stolen Elections To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Marco Rubio Demands Investigation into Video of Poll Workers Loading Ballots into Rental Truck

Loading ballots into rental truck (story follows)
by Paula Bolyard: A video surfaced on Thursday that appears to show poll workers transporting ballots from their private vehicles to rental trucks. Tim Canova, an independent candidate who ran against Democrat Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in 2016 and again this year, posted the video on Twitter.

"Caught On Video: Concerned citizen sees ballots being transported in private vehicles & transferred to rented truck on Election night," he tweeted about a video that came to him from Joann Knox. "This violates all chain of custody requirements for paper ballots. Were the ballots destroyed & replaced by set of fake ballots? Investigate now!"
Florida Senator Marco Rubio quickly jumped on the bandwagon, tweeting, "This video, posted by an Independent Cong candidate in 18 (who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders in 16) purports to show Broward County ballots being transported from polling places in private cars. Has anyone in local media looked into this claim or asked elections dept about it?"
While the video has the appearance of some kind of malfeasance, I can assure you that this is standard operating procedure in Florida and a number of other states. Obviously, ballots have to be transported to the board of elections somehow, so poll workers drive them there in their private vehicles.

It's often the case that poll workers are instructed to take the ballots and election equipment to a drop-off point, where they are loaded into rental trucks for transport to the board of elections. In some states, like Ohio, a poll worker from both major parties is required to be in the vehicle, but that's not the case in Florida. The ballots are usually secured at the polling place with a lock of some sort and the chain of custody is documented.

Although the video is dark and it's difficult to see exactly what's going on, it appears that election officials are following proper procedures. Whether or not this is the best way to transport ballots is a subject for another day. For now, it's the law of the land in Florida and most other states. There's plenty to criticize in Florida as it relates to elections, but this isn't one of them. Conspiracy theories about grainy video footage aren't particularly helpful to the process.
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Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) is the supervising editor at PJ Media. In addition, her work has been published in several other publications.

Tags: PJMedia, Paula Bolyard, Marco Rubio, Demands Investigation, Video of Poll Workers, Loading Ballots, into Rental Truck To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

UN Committee Says, Right-to-Life Means Right-to-Abortion

Yuval Shany, Jerusalem law professor
by Stefano Gennarini: The “right-to-life” clause in an important UN human rights treaty must now include a right to abortion. So says a committee of experts charged with monitoring compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which most states have ratified.

The committee says governments must decriminalize abortion in all circumstances and “remove existing barriers that deny effective access by women and girls to safe and legal abortion including barriers caused as a result of the exercise of conscientious objection by individual medical providers,” according to the committee which monitors the implementation of the UN treaty on civil and political rights, ratified by the United States in 1991.

“History will judge to what extent we have succeeded in rendering a normative statement for generations to come,” said Jerusalem-based law professor Yuval Shany as the committee adopted the legal commentary last week in Geneva.

Shany, who steered the drafting of the commentary described the general comment, as the document is known, as possessing a “deep humanitarian sensibility.”

In addition to decriminalizing abortion, the committee tries to impose an obligation on states to “provide safe, legal and effective access to abortion” any time a pregnancy might lead to “substantial pain or suffering.” The committee also promotes the notion that “termination of life” is a way to allow persons to “die with dignity” and an abolitionist approach to the death penalty.

All of the experts on the committee who took the floor praised Shany, describing the general comment as a watershed moment. Of the eighteen members of the committee, only one sounded a note of discord, and he was swiftly and harshly reprimanded by other members.

“This language will imply legalization of abortion without restriction which in itself will deny the right to life of the unborn baby,” said Ambassador Ahmed Amin Fathalla somberly, the Chair of the committee.

He added, permitting abortion “with no criteria or restrictions or conditions” under the pretext of free choice and privacy would result in giving higher status to the right to personal autonomy than the right to life and that the committee’s approach “ignores all medical evidence” of when the life of a child might begin.

Fathalla’s intervention was made after he thought all other members of the committee who wanted to speak had an opportunity to do so. But as soon as Fathalla mentioned abortion other members angrily raised points of order to interrupt him.

“I don’t feel this is the time or place to give our subjective views and to criticize,” complained Tunisian professor Yadh Ben Achour.

“Perhaps this is not the right time,” said French legal scholar Olivier De Frouville.

Harshest of all, Sarah Cleveland, a U.S. law professor elevated to the committee by U.S. President Barak Obama, accused Fathalla and said he had “egregiously abused the spirit of this conversation and the position of chair.”

“I have the right to make a statement as a member of the committee,” Fathalla retorted, explaining that he expected his statement to be on the record of the general comment alongside all other opinions.

The general comment is the culmination of a four-year process. Over one hundred states and non-governmental organizations urged the committee not to interpret the UN civil and political rights treaty as requiring any changes to abortion laws, among these, the United States, Japan, Egypt, and Russia. It is not binding, though committee members like to describe their opinions as “authoritative.”

According to international experts who undersigned the San Jose Articles, there is no international right to abortion under any UN treaty, and when treaty bodies promote abortion as a right they do so illegally, and their actions cannot give rise to any new obligations.

One of the co-drafters and signers of the San Jose Articles, Director General of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) Gregor Puppinck told the Friday Fax, “The Committee has clearly exceeded its mandate and violated the rules governing the fair interpretation of treaties in affirming that States parties should legalize abortion, and may permit assisted suicide. To infer rights to euthanasia and abortion from the right to life is contradictory and contradicts the intent of the Convention.”
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Stefano Gennarini, JD, is the Vice President for the Center of Legal Studies at the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam).

Tags: tefano Gennarini, C-FAM, United nations, says, right-to-life, means, right-to-abortion To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Voters Recoil at House Gun Agenda

by Tony Perkins: California's Nancy Pelosi (D) has been waiting to get her hands back on the House speaker's gavel for nearly a decade. Now that she might, it's obvious how she plans to use it: as a hammer on the values of everyday Americans.

Democrats have to know how voters feel about their radical social agenda. (If they didn't, this week's polling ought to make it quite clear.) Everyone from party bosses to the mainstream media blamed it for Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016. But with the keys of half of Congress within reach, liberal leaders just can't seem to help themselves.

Pelosi was already quite clear about one of her first priorities: ending religious freedom and privacy as we know it. "It isn't in our 'For the People' agenda," she explained, "because it doesn't get that specific, but there's one more because it's personal for me that I really want to do, and it's called the Equality Act."

Considered the most radical piece of pro-LGBT legislation ever introduced in Congress, this bill would force Americans' conformity on everything from sexuality to transgenderism. It would make what's been unfolding in Target bathrooms look like a Sunday school picnic. Under this bill, anyone who objects to same-sex marriage or gender-specific policies would be severely punished by the government. That includes schools, businesses, food banks, adoption agencies, homeless shelters, faith-based ministries, and government offices.

As if that weren't offensive enough, the prospective speaker wants to give voters a hefty dose of gun control. On CNN Thursday, Pelosi confirmed what most Americans fear. "I do believe, because in this Congress...there is bipartisan legislation to have common sense background checks to prevent guns going into the wrong hands. It doesn't cover everything, but it will save many lives." This, she said clearly, "will be a priority for us going into the next Congress."

In a party that doesn't know the meaning of the word "moderation," this kind of ideological whiplash might backfire. It certainly did in 2010 and 2016. When voters entrusted the House to Democrats, it wasn't an endorsement of their radical social agenda. If you don't believe me, read the exit polling. Tuesday's election was as much about the GOP's inability to get values bills passed as anything else. This is where you will play a critical role in educating your senators, especially Republican senators, that they're now the firewall between Nancy Pelosi and common sense American values.
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Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, Voters Recoil, nancy Pelosi, pro-LGBT legislation, House Gun Agenda 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 Gloomy American Left

David Limbaugh
by David Limbaugh: The fury of leftists is a constant today, and it’s not just because they hate President Donald Trump. Despite all their dreamy talk of compassion and love, they seem to be a miserable lot.

Democrats recaptured control of the House of Representatives this week, and leftists are already grinding their teeth over Trump and salivating at the prospect of putting him and Justice Brett Kavanaugh through investigatory and impeachment hell for the next two years.

You can’t help but see it. Throughout America, leftists are perpetually agitated. They’re not happy unless they’re unhappy. They populate protests with their crude gender caps and scream about perceived slights, discrimination and inequality. They usurp law enforcement authority to stop traffic in Portland, Oregon. They threateningly protest at conservative celebrities’ homes.

They are not pleased that the economy is growing and people are prospering under President Trump but choose instead to mire in angst over alleged income inequality among Americans. With a Republican president in office, it wouldn’t matter if every American family were earning at least $250,000 a year. As long as some people were making substantially more, they’d demand remedial government action.

It’s true not just of the economy but also of the environment, abortion, health care, public education and immigration. Pick any of those issues, among others, and consider what would happen if Republicans caved on it. Do you think leftists would be satisfied if the government outlawed the coal industry, mandated prohibitive automobile emission standards, funded abortion on demand, fully socialized medicine, doubled the already obscenely bloated federal education budget and removed all restrictions on our borders? As for the latter, I remind you that many of them actually advocate the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — like the sovereignty-shattering anarchists they are.

It’s not just that most of them are implacable malcontents. It’s also that they can’t afford for their constituencies to be satisfied, because their political power hinges on perpetuating categories of victimhood and assuming de facto guardianship over them. To us, they preach bipartisanship and collegiality; to their wards, they proclaim that they are with them and that conservatives are against them.

Consider their uniformly negative and irrational reaction to the objectively improved economy under President Trump. It seems that it is not improvement in the lives of minorities they seek but minorities’ permanent dependence on them. They are utterly unmoved by minority unemployment’s being at historic lows and minorities’ wages being at historic highs. Real-world, empirical evidence means nothing. All that matters is that leftists claim to care more than conservatives about minorities; minorities must ignore their lying eyes.

Leftists, who now dominate the Democratic Party, no longer have a vision for the country, other than to fundamentally transform it — to divest it of its founding principles. They profess to be offended by President Trump’s goal of making America great again, but many of them don’t believe it was ever that great in the first place, and they’re on a mission to remake it in their image.

Most of them are outright socialists who don’t believe enough in America’s uniqueness to care about protecting its borders. They support ever increasing taxes, but not because they want to balance the budget or improve people’s lives. Rather, they prefer that the government — as opposed to individuals — control the expenditures of money.

But in the past few years, the left doesn’t spend much time even on these issues. Leftists’ singular focus is on Trump — getting rid of this monster whose very presence is destroying their lives. Opposing Trump, his agenda and his appointments and deriding him around the clock is their be-all and end-all. It is their negative life force — the energy that drives and sustains them.

The silver lining to all this negativity is that they will continue to overplay their hand into the 2020 election, losing credibility and faith with the majority of Americans by exchanging whatever semblance of optimism they had for the perverse privilege of obsessing over Trump.

How could a majority of Americans, even in the modern era, be attracted to a party whose rallying cry is not a better economy, a stronger America, enhanced freedom and prosperity, or a more wholesome culture but purging the nation of a president it abhors?
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David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus is Risen: Paul and the Early Church." Follow him on Twitter  @davidlimbaugh and his website at davidlimbaugh.com.

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Trump Fights On, Wake Up GOP, Left-wing Fascism

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Trump Fights On - President Trump is doing everything he can to secure our borders. In response to the migrant army that is marching north through Mexico, the president issued an executive order today declaring that any migrant who enters the country illegally will be ineligible to claim asylum or refugee status.

The goal of the president's order is to prevent illegal aliens from scamming our immigration system. We know that the vast majority of the migrants are not legitimate refugees. If they were, Mexico is the appropriate place for them to make that claim.

Yet by using a few magic words when they are apprehended at the border, we are forced to treat illegal aliens as refugees, which involves years of legal proceedings to vet their claims. But as Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies explained to Fox News:

"Half of those let in after [claiming refugee status] . . . do not even submit the formal asylum application, and half of those who do end up skipping out on the hearings. Of those Central Americans who complete the process, only 20 percent are approved."

To ensure that legitimate asylum claims can be heard, the president's order requires the migrants to make asylum claims at an official port of entry where they can be handled more efficiently.

Of course, the left is going nuts and running to the courts to try and block the president's order. But it is based on the same authority that the Supreme Court upheld when the president imposed travel limits on certain high-risk nations.

Wake Up, GOP - As early voting has gained popularity, Republicans have done a good job at turning out their voters prior to Election Day. And they continue to do well when it comes to voting on Election Day.

But for some reason, the Democrats always seems to clean our clocks when it comes to turning out votes AFTER Election Day. Of course, I am being sarcastic. But once again, it looks like the left is stealing elections.

Just how bad is it? The normally mild-mannered Sen. Marco Rubio is fit to be tied.

Speaking on Fox News, Rubio noted that Bay County, Florida, was hit by a Category 4 hurricane a month ago, yet election officials there managed to count all the ballots on time. In contrast, Rubio said:

"Broward County, 48 hours later, is still counting and they didn't have a Category 4 hurricane. . . We don't know how many votes they have and neither do they. Either they don't know or they won't tell anybody how many ballots they have to count."

Rubio is right to be concerned about what is happening in Broward County. There is a very disturbing history here. Brenda Snipes, the Broward County Board of Elections Supervisor, illegally destroyed ballots during the 2016 election.

In addition, officials in Palm Beach County have illegally prevented GOP officials from observing the canvassing process there.

Now Democrats have brought in Hillary Clinton's lawyer, Marc Elias, of Fusion GPS/Russian dossier fame, to oversee their legal efforts to overturn the election results.

Governor Rick Scott, who won the Senate race on Election Night, is fighting back. He has filed a lawsuit and ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to launch an immediate investigation.

During a press conference last night, Scott noted how his lead on Election Night was 57,000 votes. But it has since fallen to just 15,000 as new ballots are mysteriously discovered. Scott added:

"Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. . . I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the people of Florida. . .

"Every day since the election, the leftwing activists in Broward County have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere. We all know what is going on. . . Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding more votes until the elections turn out the way they want.

"No rag tag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in the state of Florida."


I suggest Scott immediately order state troopers to secure all ballots in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

From demonstrating outside of Tucker Carlson's home to sabotaging elections, the left is on a war footing to win control of the country.

By the way, Florida's Senate race isn't the only one up for grabs right now. Defeated gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has rescinded his concession.

In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams is refusing to concede even though she trails by more than 60,000 votes. What she couldn't win on Election Day, she intends to win by other means.

And in Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has now taken the lead as the state struggles to process 500,000 mail-in ballots. The GOP has filed a lawsuit to ensure that there is a uniform standard applied to the processing of all the remaining ballots.

As a result of these ongoing controversies, there is a chance that Democrats could steal two Senate seats, shrinking the GOP majority from 54 to 52 seats. If they succeed, it could once again put Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins in control of a future Supreme Court confirmation battle.

Left-wing Fascism - Tucker Carlson called into his show last night and made the point that the "demonstration" at his home wasn't a legitimate protest, but an effort to intimidate him and silence speech.

Every night, Tucker usually begins his show by debating a liberal activist. He gives the left a chance to defend its position on his show. But that's not enough for them.

They don't want both sides presented. They believe conservative opinions and values are beyond the pale and unacceptable to be shared on the airwaves, if at all.

One of their chants at Tucker's house was "Racist scumbag, leave town!" This is the left's theme.

Tucker Carlson does not have a racist bone in his body. But if you don't accept kneeling football players and open borders, if you speak out against vandalizing statues of America's founders, many people today believe you are racist.

After all, this is what they are being taught in our colleges and increasingly in our public high schools. America is racist because the founders were racists and because some people today won't let anyone and everyone walk into the country.

The conventional wisdom among conservatives has been that the left is so overreaching that this will backfire. I think that is dead wrong.

Many Americans are increasingly afraid to say what they think and are self-censoring their views. Conservative students on college campuses are afraid to speak up in class.

The massive wave of death threats (and the Alexandria assassination attempt) caused a significant number of Republicans to retire from Congress this year. We lost many of those seats.

There are conservatives who support Donald Trump but will not join the administration because they do not want to put their families through the harassment that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has experienced.

There are people who will not put up signs in their yard or put a bumper sticker on their car because they don't want their home or vehicle vandalized.

Left-wing thugs use fascist tactics because most people won't push back. Sadly, it does work. We must fight back!
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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

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Why We Celebrate Veterans Day - Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sharing a prior ARRA News Service article from Nov. 11, 2016 as Veterans Day is on Sunday - Nov. 11, 2018!
Thomas Spoehr, Lt. Gen., U.S. Army (Ret.): Today is Veterans Day. We celebrate Veterans Day on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, the day the guns fell silent in Europe following the armistice that ended World War I. For some, it’s a day off from school or work, but for the majority of Americans, it means so much more.

Veterans Day is the chance to thank and honor those who have selflessly served their country. Support for veterans has been mixed through our nation’s history. But today, through the efforts of great Americans, respect and assistance for veterans has never been stronger.

In increasing numbers, veterans are returning that support by continuing their service to their communities and country.

The term “veteran” comes from the Latin, vetus meaning “old.” In America and elsewhere, we use the word to describe those who have served in the military. But you don’t need to be old to be considered a veteran.

A veteran is a person who has served honorably in the U.S. military. He or she can be a citizen who served for four years and leaves the service at the ripe old age of 24.

U.S. veterans today enjoy a much different relationship with the populace—their government and the American people—than veterans have over the span of our history.

Revolutionary Beginnings
In the Revolutionary War, America relied on volunteers, although some state militias used conscription. Pay was the responsibility of the states and was sporadic or nonexistent. Many soldiers were promised cattle when their term of service ended. There was no system for pensions, death benefits, or disability payments. This led to unrest and dissatisfaction among those who had served so faithfully.

In 1830, years after the end of the war, Sgt. Joseph Plumb Martin, a Connecticut soldier who served for seven years in the Continental Army, summed up these feelings when wondered in his memoirs why he and his fellow soldiers were “turned adrift like worn-out horses.”

The number of people who served in the Revolutionary War never exceeded 30,000, and they were relatively ineffective in mustering any public opinion to better support veterans.

This national disinterest toward veterans continued with relatively minor reforms until the Civil War, where heretofore unprecedented numbers of Americans were killed or wounded.

Sensing a growing national obligation toward veterans, President Abraham Lincoln explicitly mentioned supporting them after the war. Post-Civil War reforms resulted in the establishment of a better system of pensions and payments, but most still remained meager.

Fast forward to World War I. Large groups of veterans returned from overseas; some with major needs. But the largest change in America’s treatment of its veterans came after World War II, which was pivotal in improving the relationship between veterans and their government.

The G.I. Bill of Rights
Congress passed the G.I. Bill of Rights, which included easy access to education, mortgages, and provisions for health care. Many have said that the World War II G.I. bill, which is estimated to have cost around $70 billion dollars, was the best investment America ever made.

It’s one thing for the government to provide for veterans returning from war. The G.I. bill and today’s 9/11 G.I. bill are tangible signs of that support.

But there is another dynamic, and one that has a psychological impact on veterans and the country as a whole. This is the phenomenon we experienced with Vietnam and Korea—two unpopular wars with the American people.

Veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars were largely ignored or worse by average Americans and they struggled immensely upon their discharge.

That was an unfortunate period in our nation’s history, because those men and women had served their country during a time of war and deserved to be treated with respect when they returned home.

Fortunately, today things are markedly different. Veterans, no matter when and where their service took place, are deeply appreciated by the American people.

You can witness this appreciation with standing ovations when “honor flights” of veterans arrive at airports, to the presence of over 180 United Service Organization centers manned by patriotic volunteers across the country.

I was at Ronald Reagan airport recently when an Honor Flight arrived from St. Louis. There wasn’t a dry eye in the terminal as the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans came off the plane, most in wheelchairs, to thunderous clapping.

Over 40,000 nonprofit organizations now exist to support the military or veterans.

Make no mistake, America’s support to its veterans and those serving, both tangible and intangible, is absolutely crucial to our ability to field a strong fighting force now and in the future. The value of this support manifests itself not just in successful recruiting, but in unmatched performance on the battlefield.

American service members go into combat today secure in the knowledge that if they are killed or wounded, they and their families will be taken care of. And so they willingly put their lives on the line.

Contrast that with service members of other nations where they must live with the knowledge that if they are hurt or killed, their families may become destitute. That weighs on them, and undoubtedly colors their battlefield behavior.

So although America has had a mixed history in the support to its veterans, today it seems that we have arrived at about the right place. The programs, systems, and appreciation that veterans deserve and need are generally in place.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely, but the American people and Congress will continue to strive to achieve the best solutions for our veterans. And where the Congress and the administration don’t act, civil society does. Dedicated nonprofit organizations have moved in to provide crucial services that the government either cannot, or should not, provide.

Veterans Return to the Community
Thankfully, after having served their nation in uniform, many veterans continue serving their nation in other ways.

They bring a myriad of talents and perspectives to that service; most have traveled to other parts of the world, have had the advantage of seeing other governments, witnessed oppression, poverty, and authoritarianism, and have received intensive training in leadership and organizational skills. They know both discipline and self-sacrifice.

One of the best examples of post-military continued service can be found in the life of Gen. George C. Marshall. Marshall retired from the Army in 1945, having served 43 years in uniform, his entire adult life.

The last six years had been grueling and unrelenting as he guided the nation’s immense war efforts. He and his wife had earned a welcome rest. But President Harry Truman asked Marshall to continue to serve and sent him to China in an unsuccessful effort to negotiate a coalition government between the Nationalists and Communists. He was unsuccessful but spent two years trying.

America wasn’t close to being done with Marshall. Truman asked Marshall to serve as secretary of state. In that capacity, Marshall received credit for Europe’s post-war rebuilding, for which he received the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize.

After resigning as secretary of state, Marshall served as secretary of defense for a year at the start of the Korean War, and then chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission and president of the American National Red Cross. His career remains one of the greatest examples of post-military service in our history.

And research suggests that veterans today continue to follow Marshall’s path. Today’s veterans are among our most community-oriented citizens. Studies show that they volunteer an average of 160 hours annually, 25 percent more than nonveterans.

Veterans belong to civic groups and attend neighborhood meetings, often assuming leadership roles. Furthermore, 48 percent of them vote in elections regularly, 16 percent more than nonveterans.

Veterans are now more than four times as likely as nonveterans to work for the federal government and 10 percent more likely than nonveterans to work for state and local governments. Although preferential treatment for veterans is certainly a factor, many former military members see government employment as a means of continuing to serve the nation.

And to support them, numerous nonprofit organizations help veterans to apply their energy to community and societal issues—The Mission Continues, Teach For America, Got Your Six, and others.

So while America certainly has obligations to its veterans, it seems as though veterans—without anyone telling or ordering them to do so—have gravitated toward continued service to their country, or community.

I’d like to mention in particular one type of community service that veterans are happy to provide to their country, and that’s the outreach and support to fellow veterans. Veterans have a special place in their heart for fellow vets and are also usually more effective in veteran support since they have walked in those boots. Nothing could be more important.

Veterans Day is a special day where we pause to celebrate those who have served, and in many cases continue to serve, our great country. For me, I’ll be thinking about those who raised their right hands and took the oath of allegiance to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” with oftentimes little knowledge of what that entailed.
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Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Spoehr, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a director for the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.

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Executive Order: Part Deux

. . . How Trump can curb document fraud, voter fraud, and illegal immigration.
by Lloyd Billingsley: Before the election, with the caravan of Central Americans still marching toward the U.S. border, President Trump announced that he would issue an executive order to end “birthright citizenship,” a magnet for illegals from around the world, particularly Mexico.

It’s ridiculous, and it has to end,” the president said. “It will happen, with an executive order.”

The statement drew immediate fire from the open-border precincts, and even from Republicans such as Paul Ryan. While the president ponders action, he might consider another executive order that could help halt document fraud, voter fraud, and illegal immigration. As a recent case confirms, these all go together.

Last year, an investigation by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service found that Mexican national Gustavo Araujo Lerma applied for U.S passports under the assumed identity of Hiram Enrique Velez, a deceased U.S. citizen. The assassin in The Day of the Jackal used the same trick, simply find records of someone who passed away, then steal the identity of the deceased. Frederick Forsythe’s novel was published in 1971 but American officials were slow to catch on.

Gustavo Araujo Lerma used the fraudulent identity for more than 25 years. During that time, the Mexican national obtained legal permanent resident status and ultimately U.S. citizenship for Maria Eva Velez, his wife. The couple had previously married in Mexico but did so again in Los Angeles in 1992 under the fake identity. This allowed Maria Velez illegally to obtain status as the purported wife of a U.S. citizen, but there was more to it.

The courts charge that Araujo “committed illegal alien voting” by using the identity of Hiram Velez in numerous federal, state and local elections. The Mexican national wound up charged with aggravated identity theft, passport fraud, conspiracy to commit unlawful procurement of naturalization and citizenship, and five counts of voting by an alien.

How many others have committed similar passport fraud, identity theft and voted illegally is unknown but the ballpark figure is doubtless quite high, since an MIT study estimates that 22 million illegals now live in the United States. In a nation based on the rule of law, this cannot be allowed to stand.

President Trump should issue an executive order mandating that the U.S. Department of State cross-check every passport application with birth and death records. This is the computer age, so a check can be accomplished swiftly and accurately. Those government officials who fail to comply with the order should be exposed, fired, and charged with obstruction of justice.

Those foreign nationals who rip off the identity of the dead, in the style of Mexican fraudster Gustavo Araujo Lerma, should be immediately referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution, then deported. As a matter of course, citizenship should be stripped from anyone who used fraudulent means to obtain it. For legitimate citizens and legal immigrants, a lot is at stake.

In 2016, Donald Trump estimated that three to five million illegals had caused him to lose the popular vote, which Democrat Hillary Clinton carried by 2.8 million votes, most of them in California. Trump launched a commission on voter fraud headed by Mike Pence and Kris Kobach but California Secretary of State Alex Padilla refused to participate and wouldn’t let anyone see the data. Padilla clearly has something to hide and that raises questions about the 2018 mid-term election.

Republicans did well in the governor’s races but California Democrat Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco, has appointed himself head of the anti-Trump vanguard. “It’s time to roll the credits on the politics of chaos and the politics of cruelty,” Newsom told his followers. “Now is time for going far and going together. Now is the time for decency, for facts, for trust, and now is the time for truth.”

Newsom didn’t mention the fact that San Francisco is openly registering illegals to vote, a clear violation of the law. Neither did Newsom reveal any truth about illegal voting statewide, which California Democrats have been actively promoting.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles “motor voter” program automatically registers to vote those who get driver’s licenses, and since 2015 the DMV has issued licenses to more than one million illegals. The DMV isn’t saying how many illegals actually showed up to vote, and leading Democrats have been blocking any revelations.

In September, the DMV announced 23,000 “erroneous” registrations, which prompted some legislators to call for an audit. Best suited for that task is nonpartisan state auditor Elaine Howle, a tireless sleuth who uncovered the secret $175 million slush fund of University of California president Janet Napolitano, despite her efforts to deceive the auditors.

Instead of Howle, outgoing governor Jerry Brown tapped his own Department of Finance and the result of its sham audit, better described as a cover-up, would not be revealed until March, 2019. By then, sanctuary state supporter Jerry Brown, who failed in three runs for president, would be out of office.

Legitimate citizens and legal immigrants could be forgiven for believing that voter fraud made the difference for Democrats in many 2016 and 2018 races. Executive orders to end birthright citizenship and prevent identity thieves from getting passports would surely make a difference in 2020. President Trump should issue both orders and see what happens.
--------------------------
Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and contributor to the David Horowitz Freedom Center's FrontPage Mag and author of Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield and Hollywood Party: Stalinist Adventures in the American Film Industry.

Tags: Lloyd Billingsley, FrontPag Mag, executive order, part deux, executive order, curb document fraud, voter fraud, illegal immigration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Texas Man Confesses To Stealing 650 Guns From UPS

Tom Knighton: If there’s one thing about guns that the right and left can agree on, it should be that anyone who steals guns deserves a harsh punishment. People who steal guns rarely want them just for shooting, after all. The average collector or gun nut will buy guns for days, but stealing one just isn’t in their nature. You know, the whole “law-abiding” thing in the phrase “law-abiding gun owner” and whatnot.

But some people do steal guns, and sometimes they steal a whole lot of them.
Quinton Haywood, 27, faces 20 years in prison without parole after pleading guilty Tuesday in federal court to taking a shipment of Beretta firearms — including 600 .380-caliber handguns and 54 12-gauge shotguns — bound for a Bass Pro Shop back in October 2017.

Haywood’s co-defendants — Frank McChriston, 33; Keith Lowe, 28; Eric White, 26; and Derrick White, 32 — have not yet entered any pleas, according to court filings.

Federal investigators allege Haywood and the four other men broke into the UPS facility in Springfield, hot-wired two truck-tractors and used the vehicles to move trailers around the lot, thwarting security measures taken by staff. The men then gained access to two trailers containing the guns, a pallet of Justin Brand boots, a dozen cases of soda and “numerous power tools.”

The day after the heist, the men stole a moving truck from Best Way Moving & Storage. The truck was found a week later more than 430 miles away in Seagoville, Texas.
Investigators used cell phone tower records to crack the case.

Now, part of me wants to make a crack about the .380s not being real guns–I admit, I’m not a fan of the round in general–but I’m not. While I may feel it’s too small to trust my life to, I’m not about to argue that it can’t kill someone or be used for all kinds of other crimes, and what else do you do with 650 firearms? You’re not generally selling them to law-abiding gun owners, now are you?

No, you’re selling to criminals. You’re arming the dregs of society, the people who are going to use these guns to rob, rape, and steal from average men and women just trying to live their lives.

Thankfully, this bunch was caught, and they’re looking at a good, long time in prison for their troubles. The fact that Haywood has confessed probably means he won’t serve as long as the others, but only if he testifies against the other three, which is fine with me. As long as they’re locked up for a while, that’s a good start.

Ideally, people who do this wouldn’t see free daylight for decades. After all, if the punishment isn’t harsh enough, there’s no deterrent to trying stuff like this. Even if they didn’t know guns were in the truck, it doesn’t matter in my mind.

Still, at least these guys were caught. It’s too bad they didn’t recover more of the firearms. It’s doubtful they’ll all be recovered at this point, but at least the people who (allegedly) put them on the streets aren’t going to be doing it again for a while.
---------------
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, Texas Man Confesses, To Stealing, 650 Guns From UPS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Radical Press . . .

. . . Radical left winger Jim Acosta of CNN loses his press hard pass to the White House over his abrasive unruly behavior at President Trumps press Conference.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Tony Branco, Radical Press, left winger, Jim Acosta, CNN, loses, White House, press hard pass, abrasive, unruly, behavior To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Senate Representation

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Progressive partisans want to reform the US Senate because of its unequal representation. Frustrated after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an Associate Justice, they point out that Democrat senators represent a much larger percentage of the American populace than Republican senators.

That is certainly true. The votes of two senators from California (with a population of 39 million) are equal to the votes of two senators from Wyoming (with a population around 590,000). But it is also worth mentioning the Democrats dominate in a number of small states (Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii).

Demographers even predict that two decades from now, half the population of the US will live in just eight states. That to me makes the case for the Senate. Otherwise we would have just a handful of states deciding everything for the rest of the nation.

As we know from our history, the bicameral Congress was a compromise that made it possible for both large states and small states to ratify the Constitution. If any other proposal were seen as too advantageous to big or small states, it would have failed. We are the beneficiaries of a compromise that forces diverse sectors of the country to work together to craft legislation fair to everyone.

I might also add that all of this talk of reforming the US Senate is just that: talk. First, you would need an amendment to the Constitution. That requires two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states.

Second, even if you could get an amendment, it could be vetoed by one state. Article V of the Constitution also dictates that a state cannot be deprived of its equal suffrage “without its consent.” The small states would never agree to any amendment reducing their representation. Progressives can complain all they want about the US Senate, but nothing is going to change.
------------
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service.

Tags: Kerby Anderson, Viewpoints, Point of View, Senate Representation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Normal & Not

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: “Most people are not lunatics,” Tucker Carlson reminded viewers last night on his Fox News program, adding that “normal people don’t like this.”

By “this,” the conservative television host meant what can only be described as an attack on his home by Smash Racism DC, an Antifa-like group comprised of people who are not normal.

Carlson wasn’t home Wednesday night, nor were his four young children, thank goodness, but his poor wife was. After hearing shouting and a man throwing himself into their front door so hard that he cracked it, she locked herself in a pantry and called 911.

“But it wasn’t a home invasion,” The Washington Post reported. “It was a protest.”

“What are they protesting?” asked Mr. Carlson. “They’re not trying to change my mind. They’re trying to threaten my family to get me to stop talking.”

The Carlson’s home and cars were vandalized by the mob of about 20 hoodlums. There were also chants of “Racist scumbag, leave town!” and “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!”

“Mail bomb,” one man shouted. And, of course, they doxxed Tucker Carlson by publishing his home address for the possible benefit of the next James Hodgkinson or any mail-bomber.

Instead of focusing on the political divide or the fear of further violence, a vacationing Tucker Carlson called in to his show last night to express gratitude . . . for an outpouring of concern, support, solidarity from across the political and media spectrum, expressing that it has “actually been really nice and affirming.”

Enough normal goodness remains in America, spread throughout the political spectrum, to unite us . . . at least against such behavior.

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

Tags: Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Normal & Not  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Make the Department of Labor Work Again . . .

. . . Congress Must Increase Funding for OLMS and Allow Recess Appointments
by Richard McCarty: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has done some good work rolling back harmful Obama Era regulations, but much work remains to be done at the Department. To enable DOL to do its job, Congress must address the inadequate levels of staffing and funding at the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), which fights union corruption and helps ensure that union elections are free and fair. In addition, because far too many senior DOL positions are either vacant or filled with an acting official, the Senate must immediately end the filibuster of adjournment resolutions and take a ten day recess to allow President Trump to make recess appointments before the new Congress is sworn in. Currently, Democrats can filibuster such resolutions forcing the Senate to hold pro forma sessions every three days to prevent the President from making recess appointments.

The Office of Labor Management Standards, an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor, has oversight of more than 20,000 unions. One of the major tasks of OLMS is conducting union compliance audits. Yet its meager funding does not even allow it to audit 300 unions a year. If these audits rarely found criminal wrongdoing, auditing such a tiny fraction of unions might be acceptable, but that is not the case at all. In fact, nearly 20% of audits result in criminal charges.

The Trump Administration requested over $46 million for OLMS for FY 2019, but even that is short of the funding necessary to enable the agency to conduct as many audits as the agency did during the latter part of the George W. Bush Administration. Instead of appropriating more funding for OLMS than was requested, Congress appropriated less – only a little more than $41 million. But while Congress appropriated less than requested for OLMS, it appropriated more than a billion dollars more for the entire Labor Department than the Administration requested.

During the Obama Administration, trained OLMS auditors were transferred to the Wage and Hour Division. To save time and training costs, DOL could shift those employees back to OLMS. Doing so would allow the agency to ramp up its audit program more rapidly.

It is understandable why union-backed Democrats would want to sabotage a law enforcement agency that polices unions; but it makes no sense for a Republican Congress not to appropriate sufficient funds for OLMS to carry out its important mission. Disappointingly, Congressional Republicans seem not to realize the importance of this vital agency; and, perhaps, that is why they do not fight hard enough to ensure that it is adequately funded. Of course, if Congressional Democrats cared about union members, they, too, would support increased efforts to find and prosecute those who embezzle union funds.

In June, the Americans for Limited Government Foundation (ALGF) released a report calling on Congress to increase funding for OLMS and calling for DOL to reinstate union transparency rules that were rescinded during the Obama years. Now that the elections are over and Congress has passed an appropriations bill that inadequately funds OLMS, ALGF is releasing this follow-up report with updated recommendations.

Explanation
While some might question why a limited government organization would support increasing the size of the government, there are several reasons for this. First of all, law enforcement is a core function of government. ALGF believes that union transparency rules should be enforced, along with laws against embezzlement, fraud, and racketeering. Individual union members typically lack the time and resources necessary to force corrupt union leadership to follow the law.

Secondly, under President Obama, OLMS was deprioritized, and the agency’s budget was cut. Big Labor was very generous to Obama, and he repaid his labor allies by defanging the union watchdog. Now is the time to reverse those budget cuts and boost funding to offset the years of lax enforcement. According to Don Todd, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Labor-Management Standards, “When agency resources are cut too deeply, it’s not possible for the agency to accomplish much of its mission. That’s a serious problem for a law-enforcement agency like OLMS. If there’s no cop on the beat, dishonest union officials will be more likely to steal from their members knowing that their chances of getting caught are low.”

Thirdly, with decades of experience, OLMS is uniquely qualified to audit unions. Some unions are so powerful that they might be able to keep a state or local prosecutor from examining their books too closely. Even if they wanted to do so, local or state authorities might lack the resources or authority to properly investigate corruption in a union, especially a large one spanning multiple states. Of course, only the federal government can enforce federal law; and if the federal government does not aggressively search for union corruption, it may never be discovered.

Fourthly, the OLMS budget is a miniscule portion of the $12.1 billion DOL budget, and the needed increase in funding could easily be offset by reducing the amount of grants awarded by the Department.

Broad Mandate
OLMS oversees tens of thousands of unions that collectively have millions of members and collect billions of dollars in dues each year. In fact, OLMS received annual reports from over 23,000 unions in FY 2017; and several years ago, it was reported that unions disclosed to DOL that they had received more than $9.3 billion in dues, agency fees, and assessments.

With less funding, less staffing, and lowered goals, the number of audits, investigations, indictments, and convictions declined during the Obama years.

OLMS Funding
In 2007, OLMS had a budget of over $47.7 million; in today’s money, that is over $59.7 million. Last month, Congress approved a pathetic $41.2 million budget for OLMS$5.4 million less than requested. By so doing, Congress ensured the agency would be unable to do much more than tread water for yet another year.

While Congress skimped on funding for OLMS, it appropriated over $1.7 billion for Job Corps, a residential educational and training program for young people. This appropriation exceeds the Administration’s request by over $400 million. Congress also appropriated over $3.5 billion for training and employment services. This amount is over $280 million more than the Administration requested. In addition, Congress appropriated over $337 million for Departmental Management, which is over $77 million above the Administration’s request. With such generous sums being appropriated for training programs and management, there is no reason for OLMS to be underfunded.

Figure 1. The FY 2019 Congressional appropriation for
the Jobs Corps was considerably more than requested.
Figure 2. The FY 2019 Congressional appropriation for training
and employment services was significantly more than requested.
Figure 3. The FY 2019 Congressional appropriation for OLMS
was less than requested and a dramatic reduction from
the FY 2007 appropriation when adjusted for inflation.
OLMS Staffing
During the Obama Administration, OLMS was hollowed out with a significant number of its employees diverted to the Wage and Hour Division, and OLMS still has not recovered. Those OLMS-trained employees who were sent to the Wage and Hour Division should be transferred back to OLMS as soon as possible.

In the 1980s, OLMS had over 400 employees. As recently as 2008, the agency had over 300 full-time equivalents (FTEs); but earlier this year, the agency had only 189 employees.

OLMS Compliance Audits
Under Obama, union audits declined dramatically. Fewer audits resulted in fewer crimes being prosecuted. This dereliction is part of the reason why it is so important for the Trump Administration to quickly increase the number of audits it conducts.

OLMS had planned to conduct 360 compliance audits of local and intermediate unions and 10 ICAP audits in FY 2019. Of course, since the requested level of funding was not approved, that goal may be lowered. But even if it were not lowered, the total number of audited unions would amount to less than 1.6% of the unions filing annual reports with the agency. At that glacial pace, it would take over 60 years for the agency to audit each union just once, and generations of embezzlers could go undiscovered.

While 360 audits would be a major increase over the numbers of audits conducted in that latter years of the Obama Administration, it would still be far short of the 798 audits conducted in FY 2008. As impressive as that FY 2008 figure might seem, it is dwarfed by the 1,583 audits that Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) noted the agency conducted in 1984. Of course, the agency was much larger at that time.

I-CAP Audits
International Union Compliance Audit Program (I-CAP) audits are compliance audits of the national and international unions headquartered in the country. I-CAP audits were ended under Obama so not a single one of the 150 or so unions in this category has been audited since 2010. It should be noted that this group of unions has annual revenues of $8 billion and assets of $10 billion. Even the Clinton Administration, which was also friendly to unions, went to the trouble of auditing these unions.

I-CAP audits are costly and time-consuming so only a few were conducted each year even before the Obama Administration shut down the program. In other words, it is completely possible for a national or international union to have gone decades without an audit. This is completely unacceptable.

Human nature being what it is, it is important for even entrenched union bosses and long-time union staffers to know that an audit could be just around the corner thereby helping to dissuade them from misusing their members’ funds. Instead, it has been the case that insiders have known for several years that no I-CAP audit was about to be conducted.

OLMS Investigations
OLMS also wanted to conduct 300 criminal investigations in FY 2019. But even if the agency had sufficient resources and met this goal, it would still fall far short of the more than 400 criminal investigations it conducted during several of the George W. Bush years.

Expected Regulatory Action
DOL is expected to soon reinstate a transparency rule that the Obama Administration rescinded. The rule required public-sector intermediate bodies, such as district, state or regional union organizations, to file financial reports with OLMS if the parent union organization had any private-sector members. Without this rule, many union members may be kept in the dark about how their dues money is being spent. But how will OLMS enforce this rule if it lacks sufficient resources to enforce the rules as they stand now?

Budget and Staffing Comparisons
To see how ridiculously small the OLMS budget is, consider the fact that the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General has a budget more than twice the size of OLMS – over $80 million. The IG’s office also had nearly 350 employees earlier this year, which is 83% more than OLMS had. Of course, the DOL IG has an important role to play helping to ensure that the Department, its contractors, and its grantees follow the rules, but so does OLMS.

Looking beyond DOL, consider the similarities and differences between the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and OLMS. Like OLMS, the FEC enforces transparency rules and oversees billions of dollars in assets. The FEC receives reports from over 12,000 filers in an average fiscal year; and for the 2015-2016 election cycle, the FEC reported that presidential candidates, Congressional candidates, political parties, and PACs collected less than $9 billion.

For some unknown reason, however, the FEC has a much larger budget and staff than OLMS has. In fact, the FEC has a budget of over $71 million and had 315 staffers earlier this year. These numbers translate into over 70% more funding and over 65% more staff than OLMS.

Fallout Rate
Nearly 19% of OLMS audits result in criminal charges; OLMS calls this rate the fallout rate. With such a high rate, should there not be more audits conducted? While it is true that the fallout rate might drop a bit with more audits, it is also likely that more audits would uncover more criminal activity. For the sake of comparison, the IRS examined over 1 million tax returns in FY 2017, but criminal charges were filed in fewer than 2300 cases.

OLMS Enforcement Cases
Here are a few recent examples of the malfeasance that OLMS has investigated. As one can see from this short list, the agency investigates serious crimes that span the country; and most of those charged, convicted, and sentenced are union officers or union staffers – people in positions of trust.

“On January 9, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, five individuals were indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 1962): Frank Cognetta, Secretary-Treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1D (located in Brooklyn, N.Y.), Vincent D’Acunto, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW Local 2D (located in Brooklyn, N.Y.), as well as Vincent Esposito, Steven Arena, and Frank Giovinco. Cognetta was also charged with Bribery in Connection with Employee Benefit Plans (18 U.S.C. 1954) and Honest Services Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1346). D’Acunto, Jr., Esposito, and Arena were also charged with Extortion Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 1951)….

“On January 22, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Matthew Smith, former Treasurer of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 576 (located in Hurst, Tex.), was sentenced to 10 months in prison and one year of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $300,848 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On October 4, 2017, Smith pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds from Local 576, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c)….

“On February 12, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Raymond C. Ventrone, former Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 154 (located in Pittsburgh, Pa.) was sentenced to 41 months incarceration followed by 3 years of supervised released and ordered to pay $2,391,183 in restitution to Boilermakers Local 154 and $500,000 restitution to Zurich Surety for embezzlement of union funds. Additionally, he was ordered to pay $223,881 to the Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion. On September 14, 2017, Ventrone pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) and one count of tax evasion in violation of 26 U.S.C. 7201….

“On March 26, 2018, in the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, Paul Moe Sr., a former general foreman and member of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), Local 1804-1 (located in North Bergen, N.J.) was sentenced to 24-months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Moe was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $749,000. On October 31, 2017, after a seven-day trial, a jury found Moe guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 13 substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 1343, stemming from his no-show job at the Port of Elizabeth terminal in New Jersey, with an annual salary of $500,000….

“On April 12, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Mervin Hawk, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1640 (located in Detroit, Mich.), was charged in a one-count information with embezzling over $600,000 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c)….

“On July 13, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Gregory Normand, former Secretary-Treasurer of International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 324 (located in Everett, Wash.), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling over $248,000 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c), and two (2) counts of making false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001….”

Recess Appointments
Senate Democrats have obstructed and even thwarted the confirmation of senior DOL nominees. Due, in part, to this obstruction, DOL still lacks a full complement of political officials to direct the Department. Incredibly, nearly two years into the Administration, more than a dozen senior positions at DOL are either vacant or filled with an acting official. Consequently, too many DOL decisions are still being made by career bureaucrats who may well oppose President Trump’s agenda. To address this situation, the President must be enabled to make recess appointments.

In the 2014 Noel Canning case, the Supreme Court restricted the ability of presidents to make recess appointments; for a recess appointment to be valid, the general rule is that the Senate must be in recess for at least ten days. For Congress to take a long recess, an adjournment resolution must be passed by both chambers of Congress. Unfortunately, current Senate rules allow Democrats to filibuster such resolutions, and getting 60 votes to end a filibuster in the current toxic political environment would be difficult or impossible.

Previous presidents have made numerous recess appointments, but the Senate has not taken a single recess of ten days or more since President Trump was inaugurated. Furthermore, when Democrats take over the House, they will, no doubt, refuse to allow the Senate to adjourn for more than three days, thereby blocking recess appointments. That is why Senate Republicans must nuke the filibuster of adjournment resolutions during the lame-duck session of Congress. The Senate, along with the House, should then vote to take a ten-day recess.

Once the Senate adjourns for ten days, the President should seize the opportunity to fill his Administration with his appointees. Although the recess appointments would expire at the end of the next session of the Senate late next year, they would make it easier for the President to implement his policies in the meantime. Furthermore, the Senate might be able to confirm the appointees before the end of the session allowing them to remain in office.

Emergency Funding
To address the funding problem at OLMS, Congress should attach an additional $20 million to the next piece of must-pass legislation. To offset the increase, Congress should slash the wasteful DOL grant programs. (With more than full employment and businesses willing to train unskilled employees, it is very difficult to justify continuing to dump endless amounts of taxpayer funds into training programs.)

Conclusion
Union members should not have to worry about their own union officials stealing from them; and union members – and union bosses and staffers — should know that the federal government has an effective law enforcement agency working hard to wring the corruption out of the labor movement. Such knowledge should discourage bad behavior while encouraging law-abiding union members and officials to report suspicious behavior. While there will always be corrupt individuals in the labor movement looking to enrich themselves illegally, they should know that there is a real risk of jail time as a result. Furthermore, those union officials who would not normally misuse funds but suddenly find themselves in a financial bind might be discouraged from embezzling money by the knowledge that an audit could be just around the corner.

Former President Obama presided over the decline of OLMS, and Senate Democrats have obstructed the confirmation of DOL nominees making it more difficult for the Trump Administration to reverse the labor policies of the previous administration. Senate Republicans must end the ability of Democrats to filibuster adjournment resolutions and take a recess of at least ten days, which would allow the President to make recess appointments to fill the disturbing number of vacancies at DOL. Finally, Congress must vote to restore funding and staffing as soon as possible so OLMS can properly do its job. With nearly 1 in 5 union audits leading to criminal charges, the number of audits conducted simply must be substantially increased.
---------------
Richard McCarty is the Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Richard McCarty, Americans for Limited Government, ALG Research Foundation, Department of Labor, Congress, Increase Funding, OLMS, Allow Recess Appointments 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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