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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, May 10, 2019

Abolish the CBO Now

by Newt Gingrich: Imagine there is a group of people in Congress with more influence over whether laws are passed and rules are changed, than any official committee or subcommittee in the House and Senate.

Now, imagine the members of this powerful group are not even members of Congress – in fact, they’re not elected officials at all.

Finally, imagine this group operates in secret, refuses to explain its decisions in detail to anyone, and has shown a consistent bias against free market principles.

Unfortunately, you don’t have to imagine this scenario. It’s part of the sad reality of trying to govern in Washington under the influence of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO is tasked with providing budgetary and economic analysis about the impact of proposed legislation or rules issued by executive branch agencies. It is technically a nonpartisan agency, but it has historically shown a bias toward a left-wing economic worldview through its use of static scoring. This method assumes little to no behavior changes from market players due to changes in law.

Here’s a look at the CBO’s recent track record with scoring major legislation.

In 2003, the CBO released a wildly inaccurate analysis of the new, market-oriented Medicare Part D program. The office projected total costs from 2004-2013 to be almost double what bore out in reality. This $349 billion mistake was the result of CBO’s inability, or unwillingness, to anticipate the premium-lowering impact of robust competition between private sector plans.

In 2005, the CBO had to issue a $63 billion correction to its forecasts because it anticipated lost revenue from the 2003 Bush tax cut. The losses never materialized. The CBO ignored the growth the tax cuts generated in its analysis.

In 2010, the CBO was critical to the passage of Obamacare. It gave credence to White House claims that the law would lower the deficit and boost the economy. Then, in 2014, after the law was implemented, the CBO had to update its projections. The new analysis claimed the law would result in 2.5 million fewer jobs by 2024. Using these updated projections, Republican staff on the Senate Budget Committee estimated Obamacare would increase the deficit by $131 billion. (It later came out that CBO’s original projections were based on the same models that Obamacare’s chief architect Jonathan Gruber used to design the bill.)

Notice a pattern? The CBO consistently underestimates the positive impact from supply-side, market-oriented reforms while giving Keynesian, big government policies the benefit of the doubt.

Despite claims of reform and an attempt to incorporate more dynamic scoring, which anticipates the impact of policies in the marketplace, CBO projections are still sabotaging free market reforms.

The CBO arguably killed the Republicans attempt to replace Obamacare with better reforms of the individual marketplace. It estimated that the American Health Care Act would lead to 24 million fewer Americans with insurance coverage. This is totally at odds with what we have seen since the individual mandate was subsequently repealed in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – and many states have utilized section 1332 waivers to lower premiums with reinsurance systems similar to what would have been created in the Republican health care law.

And just last week, the CBO delivered another absurd estimate of a common-sense, market-oriented reform in health care. This time it was the Trump administration’s proposed rule to ban drug manufacturers from giving secret rebates to pharmacy benefit managers. Instead rebates would be passed to patients at the pharmacy counter.

I have written about this important reform before. In short, the rule would save patients money on out-of-pocket costs and remove a huge perverse incentive in the drug marketplace which incentives manufacturers to keep increasing the list price of drugs to offer bigger discounts to the middlemen in the supply chain.

When Health and Human Services released the proposed rule, it included an impact study of the change by Milliman, an actuarial and consulting firm which conducts analyses for players in the private health care sector.
Contrasting the reports by Milliman and the CBO is instructive.

The Milliman report notes that “it is critical to consider possible behavioral impacts” from the rule changes because “all stakeholders would likely change behavior as a result.” Then, instead of arrogantly trying to predict the exact combination of behavioral changes by each element of the drug supply chain, Milliman opted to present a range of scenarios which lawmakers could use to inform their decisions.

The CBO report, by contrast, posits almost no behavior changes from Part D plans or pharmacy benefit managers. It also assumes – without explaining its reasoning – that correcting the perverse incentives in Medicare Part D would not have spillover benefits to other markets. In other words, the CBO report assumes the least changes in behavior possible. This is static scoring in a nutshell.

The stark difference between the ideologically rigid and monopolistic approach of CBO and the professional private firm Milliman shows why it’s time for CBO to go.

I have long called for the elimination of the CBO and its replacement with 3-5 outside firms which would provide competing analyses. Over time, it would become apparent which firms are the best at projecting economic impact. The firms that perform the best would keep getting business while the worst performers would get replaced.

This vigorous competition between outside firms being held accountable for their accuracy would produce better information and projections for lawmakers than the current CBO monopoly.

The bureaucrats at the CBO and the defenders of the status quo will no doubt disagree, but that makes sense. They’ve already shown they don’t understand market-oriented reforms.
Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) 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. This commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, Abolish, CBO Now To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Oregon Elementary School Teacher Tried to Convince 8-Year-Old Student He's Transgender

by Michael Van Der Galien: It doesn't get much crazier than this. According to KPTV-TV, an Oregon elementary school teacher tried to convince an 8-year-old student that he was transgender. The schoolteacher did this without involving the parents. The result? The boy is now aggressive, depressed, and confused.

The teacher at Nellie Muir Elementary School in Woodburn targeted the boy for transgender indoctrination when he started using the staff restroom after a stomach issue made him feel uncomfortable about using the boys' toilet. The teacher took the 8-year-old aside, spoke shortly to him, and then proceeded to share all kinds of transgender literature and videos with him. The teacher asked the boy several times whether he thought he was a girl and even held him out of recess in order to read transgender books and watch transgender videos. Oh, and to top it off, there were one-on-one conversations about transgenderism.

All this was done without the parents' consent or even their knowledge. It only came out when the boy came home with a book about transgenderism and when he talked to a therapist (while crying his eyes out).

As The Blaze reports, the effects of the transgender propaganda on the boy have been significant:
"He feels different now, he feels confused," the mother told the station, which didn't reveal her identity or the father's identity...
"Still today, a year later, if he plays with my niece, he's a girl in that moment … if he plays with my nephew, he's a boy," the mother added to the station.

Also, the boy now shies away from playing with "girl" toys or playing "girl-related" games and underwent personality changes, becoming more depressed, aggressive, and isolated.
Logically, the parents are suing the school. They want nearly $1 million in damages, which is way too little if you ask me. Their son will have to deal with this trauma for years and years to come. Imagine how difficult puberty will be for him if he doesn't get this out of the way beforehand.

The worst part of the story? The teacher hasn't been fired (yet).
Michael van der Galien is Editor-in-Chief of Dutch news and opinion website De Dagelijkse Standard, a freelance journalist and columnist, and a regular contributor to several American websites including PJ Media.

Tags: Michael Van Der Galien, PJMedia, Oregon, Elementary School Teacher, Tried to Convince, 8-Year-Old Student, He's Transgender To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Former Rap Star to Be Charged With Accepting Foreign Donations for Obama Super PAC

by Matt Margolis: Bloomberg is reporting today that former rap star Pras Michel, one of the founding members of the hip-hop group The Fugees, will be charged with campaign finance violations over foreign donations to an Obama super PAC in the 2012 election cycle.Michel will be accused in Washington of contributing funds to pro-Obama organizations without disclosing their foreign origin -- specifically Jho Low, who is accused of masterminding a massive diversion of cash from Malaysia’s 1MDB wealth fund -- one of the people said. At least one other individual could be charged in connection to the matter, that person said.

Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Michel, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A Justice Department representative declined to comment.

The charges, as described, are an outgrowth of a sprawling Justice Department investigation into fraud and corruption at 1MDB, a wealth fund that was intended to promote economic development in Malaysia. It was instead treated like a massive slush fund by Jho Low, an adviser to Malaysia’s then-prime minister, Najib Razak, U.S. prosecutors have said.
Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns have previously come under fire for accepting untraceable donations. In 2013, they paid the largest FEC fine in history as a result. It’s hardly surprising that organizations that supported Obama were also accepting foreign donations to support his campaign.

Pras Michel was a founding member of Obama’s Organizing For Action group, and visited the White House multiple times during Obama’s presidency.
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 boo The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama.

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House Democrats Are Shortchanging the Military

by Frederico Bartels: House appropriators have now released their budget top lines for every government agency, and their number for the Department of Defense shows they acknowledge the defense budget needs an increase.

But that increase still isn’t enough, as it falls short of the president’s budget request and of what the military needs to continue its rebuild.

The numbers released by Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, shows $622 billion for the base defense discretionary budget. That would be a 2.3% increase over the 2019 enacted budget.

It’s a good initial step that highlights a bipartisan understanding on the need to properly fund our national defense and make sure that our military has the necessary tools to engage in the great power competition outlined by the National Defense Strategy.

It is directionally correct, but Congress and the nation need to be more ambitious.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, have expressed multiple times that the Department of Defense requires between 3% and 5% real growth in the coming years in order to keep pace with the current threats facing our nation.

Meanwhile, the president’s budget request asks Congress for an increase of 4.8%. The president’s budget could still improve, but his defense budget top line is more in line with the challenges that our military faces.

As the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength shows, the military has seen improvement in its readiness, capacity, and capabilities because of the extra resources dedicated to it over the past two budget cycles.

Nonetheless, these gains need to be consolidated over time with continuous investments and improvement. The current emphasis on readiness recovery is especially fragile, because we’re dealing with human beings that need constant practice to keep their skills updated and sharp.

Furthermore, many of the investments in new platforms will take years to come to fruition.

For instance, an aircraft carrier contracted in January 2019 has a delivery date of March 2028. Or take the controversial F-15X. The Air Force wants to purchase eight of them in 2020, and the first two have a delivery date of June 2022. Even the Army is aiming to reach its readiness goals by 2022 and then focus on actualizing its modernization efforts.

These efforts will take time and persistent attention.

The military will not be fully ready in a couple of years and then everyone can go to Florida to relax on the beach. It requires a long-term vision and perspective.

One only needs to look at China, our pacing military threat, to get a better understanding of the time horizon of the challenge. The goal of the Chinese Communist Party is to have a modern military force capable of operating jointly in every domain of warfare by 2049. Talk about a long game.

If the United States wants to be able to counter Chinese ambitions, it needs to make sure we’re doing today what will help make us ready in the future.

That starts with recognizing the need to properly fund our military—and to do it.
Frederico Bartels (@FredericoBF)is a policy analyst for defense budgeting at The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and reported in The Daily Signal.

Tags: House Democrats, Are Shortchanging the Military 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 Most Unequal of Them All

by Travis Weber: The Equality Act, by now quite familiar to all of us, will finally be voted on in the House next week. Its title sounds smooth and is designed to be attractive. But beneath the veneer, the faulty premises upon which it rests have poisoned the entire bill, which is irreparably tainted. If passed, its impact upon American life and culture can be summed up in one word: devastation.

It starts by being built upon a lie—that one's sexual conduct is substantially the same as an immutable characteristic like one's skin color. Once cemented into law, this lie is ready to be forced into educational curricula around the country as activists use the courts in their shameless attempt to piggyback on the legacy of the civil rights movement. As women are steamrolled by the LGBT ideology enshrined in the Equality Act, feminists realize who their true friends are: conservatives.

This emerging alliance is built on truth: biology, not ideology, dictates that we are men and women. Though physically different, we are equal in worth, and deserving of protection. Indeed, the very sex discrimination protections for men and women which we have had for decades are being steamrolled by the Equality Act's notion of "gender identity," which dismisses the concerns of women being forced to violate their privacy or compete against biological men in sporting competitions.

Women powerlifters competing with one another understand this. Why is it so hard for everyone else? Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing many years ago about sex distinctions in the context of the Equal Rights Amendment, defended privacy for men and women in the context of bathrooms. Yet now all this is being willfully ignored.

I actually do think there is a silent majority out there; many Americans agree that women shouldn't be forced to violate their privacy or compete against men -- but they need to find their voice; many are just too cowed and scared of those pushing the LGBT ideology right now to say anything. For the good of our children and our families, we need our fellow Americans know the truth and agree with us to find their voice and speak up.

As if this embedded inequality for women was not enough, the Equality Act would expand abortion throughout our healthcare system, and put in jeopardy the long-standing conscience laws protecting those opposed to abortion, and even the Hyde Amendment which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. There are no protections for those that object to abortion under the Equality Act—just a right to abortion.

Finally, the Equality Act would gut religious freedom. Even some houses of worship would be barred from ensuring their leaders and other employees abide by their own beliefs. Under the Equality Act, women who identify as men would have to be accepted as men and therefore potentially eligible to serve in positions reserved for men (such as a Catholic Priest or Jewish Rabbi). Under such restrictions, the gospel would slowly be choked off in American life.

The vote in the House next week on this anti-family, anti-faith, anti-freedom, and pro-abortion legislation is a moment in our national life. It will not measure just who favors the ideology in the Equality Act, but who is in favor of forcing it on the neighbors, friends, co-workers, and fellow citizens. It is that coercive. It must be stopped.
Travis S. Weber, J.D. (@tsurenweber) is Vice President for Policy and Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council. Travis previously served as a Navy pilot after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was captain of the Intercollegiate Sailing Team and a two-time College Sailing All-American. Before joining FRC, Travis practiced law in the areas of civil rights, criminal defense, and military law. Travis also graduated with an LL.M. in International Law (with distinction) and a Certificate in International Human Rights Law from Georgetown University Law Center. This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Travis Weber, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, The Equality Act, Most Unequal of Them All 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 Farce, Confronting Judicial Supremacy, Kudos To Santorum, Values Voter Summit

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: UN Farce
The UN was up to its old tricks this week – bashing Israel. At an “informal” Security Council meeting called by Kuwait, Indonesia and South Africa the Council gathered to condemn the building of homes for Israeli Jews in Judea and Samaria. Israel was not invited to speak. We join Jason Greenblatt, U.S. Envoy for International Negotiations, in condemning this latest blatant example of anti-Israel bias. Just a few days ago Israel was the target of an unprovoked attack by Hamas and Islamic Jihad operating in Gaza. The attack has yet to be condemned by the UN.

God Out; Islam In
Here are two recent stories from the frontlines of America's culture war.

The Dieringer School District in Seattle, Washington, is facing a potential lawsuit after school officials were instructed to make Muslim students feel welcome during Ramadan. They were encouraged to greet students with the Arabic phrases, "Ramadan Mubarak" or "Ramadan Kareem," meaning "Blessed Ramadan" or "Generous Ramadan."

The district superintendent took this action after receiving an "Informative Letter on Religious Accommodations" from CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

But as Daniel Piedra of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund notes, "A school district would never order teachers to 'welcome' Catholic students during Easter with 'He is risen, alleluia!'"

Meanwhile, across the country in Springfield, Pennsylvania, Sabold Elementary School Principal Peter Brigg has been ordered by educational bureaucrats to stop saying "God Bless America" after the Pledge of Allegiance.

It seems that one individual whined to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a militant secularist organization. The atheist group warned the Springfield school district that "God Bless America" was an impermissible prayer that "does not pass constitutional muster."


"In God We Trust" is on our currency. The Supreme Court, Congress, state legislatures and town councils routinely open their sessions with prayers.

I'd like to see this case taken to court. I could be wrong, but I doubt there are five votes on the Supreme Court today to declare "God Bless America" unconstitutional.

Confronting Judicial Supremacy
Once again, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are showing why this administration may well be the most conservative administration in modern memory. Speaking to the Federalist Society this week, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Trump Administration would take steps to reign in our rogue judiciary.

Specifically, Pence denounced left-wing district judges who have been handing out nationwide injunctions like they were candy, and he vowed that the administration would aggressively fight to end this practice.

Now I realize that for most Americans "nationwide injunctions" aren't exactly hot topics of discussion around the dinner table. But this is a big deal. Left-wing judges have been blocking the president's agenda every step of the way from the moment he first took office.

Here's some of what Pence said:

"These orders are issued by federal district court judges on a broad range of issues — from national security to immigration, from border security to healthcare reform. And these orders prevent the entire Executive Branch from enforcing a statute, a regulation, or a policy on a nationwide basis. And they apply everywhere, to everyone. . .

"It's remarkable to think a Supreme Court justice has to convince four of their colleagues to uphold a nationwide injunction, but a single district court judge can issue one, effectively preventing the duly elected president of the United States from fulfilling what he believes is a constitutional duty.

"This obstruction at the district level is unprecedented. Studies show that there's not a single example of a nationwide injunction in the first 175 years of our nation's history. . . [But] our administration has been unfairly hit with more nationwide injunctions than the first 40 American presidents combined. . .

"This era of judicial activism must come to an end. . . In the days ahead, our administration will seek opportunities to put this very question before the Supreme Court."

Pence went on to reiterate that decisions impacting every American should be made only by our elected representatives, either the president or the Congress, or the Supreme Court – not by one left-wing judge in some liberal enclave.

I sincerely hope the administration succeeds in this effort. Just imagine how much more could have been done in the past two years if the president hadn't faced such resistance in the courts. Imagine how much more he could do in a second term.

Kudos To Santorum
God bless Rick Santorum! He was on CNN this week debating abortion with Chris Cuomo and Christine Quinn, the former speaker of the New York City Council. Even with those 2:1 odds, it wasn't a fair fight. Rick ran rings around them both!

Santorum repeatedly pressed Cuomo and Quinn to admit that abortion is about more than just "choice," that it also involves the destruction of an innocent human life. While Cuomo got hung up on "viability," Quinn incredibly denied that a baby inside the womb was even human at all!

"When a woman is pregnant, that is not a human being inside of her. It is part of her body," Quinn declared.

"So the baby is property, chattle," Santorum responded rhetorically.

And that's precisely the problem with Roe v. Wade.

Just like the infamous Dred Scott decision that legalized slavery, Roe is based on the fundamentally flawed idea that some humans have no rights we are bound to respect. The left views unborn babies as inconvenient "trash" to be disposed of.

I know America isn't perfect. No nation is. It took us too long to end the scourge of slavery, but we did. And I know that someday we will end abortion on demand too.

Values Voter Summit
Join me in our nation's capital, October 11th - 13th, for the 2019 Values Voter Summit!

Vice President Mike Pence said, "The Values Voter Summit [is] the greatest gathering of conservative pro-family Americans in the nation." And he is absolutely right!

That's why American Values, my non-profit public policy organization, has been a proud sponsor of the Summit every year.

As always, this year's Summit will feature an incredible lineup of top government officials, opinion makers and faith leaders. There will be educational and informative breakout sessions, as well as events honoring those who have made significant contributions to the conservative movement.

American Values will be hosting a special luncheon Saturday, October 12th.

Register now to lock in the lowest rates! Prices go up May 31st.

I look forward to seeing you there!
Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  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, UN Farce, Confronting Judicial Supremacy, Kudos To Santorum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Whoopi Goldberg: Anti-Gun Rally Masquerading As Vigil Was ‘Too Soon’

by Tom Knighton: One doesn’t watch “The View” for a balanced discussion of events. Oh, sure, they have a conservative on the show, but Meghan McCain is outnumbered by design. She may not be restrained from articulating her positions, but the number of women on that panel means the liberal point of view gets far more attention, which is why it’s surprising to see one of the liberals agree that politicians should have stayed away from the so-called “vigil” in Highlands Ranch earlier this week.

That’s the same “vigil” that turned out to be an anti-gun rally, prompting pushback by students who had no interest in being pawns in political games.

Considering how vocal she’s been, it’s really surprising that the liberal in question was Whoopi Goldberg.Liberal “The View” host Whoopi Goldberg criticized Democratic politicians who spoke at a vigil in the wake of the Colorado school shooting on Tuesday, prompting a massive student walkout.

“I think the politicians went too soon. I don’t think they should have been there yesterday,” she said. “I think the kids should have had the time to be with each other.”

She appeared to refer to Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Co., who is also running for the 2020 Democratic nomination, and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Co., both of whom spoke at a school vigil organized by prominent gun control advocacy groups.
For once, I agree with Goldberg on something political.

However, I’ve maintained this position for quite some time. This is new for Goldberg, though I’ll admit that it’s also possible that she’s just been completely clueless that this is how things are done. This isn’t new. Vigils for the victims of gun violence almost invariably turn into anti-gun rallies, unsurprisingly since anti-gun groups are typically behind them.

But Goldberg is right; the politicians shouldn’t have been there.

Then again, maybe Goldberg’s co-host should stop her yapping about anti-gun politics in the aftermath of a mass shooting, too.“View” co-host Joy Behar reacted to the shooting by decrying the United States’ lack of gun control and the “shame[ful]” reality that children had to protect each other at schools.

“It is the shame of this country that the children have to protect other children,” she said before blasting “feckless leaders” for not acting to prevent gun violence.

… Behar also asked the question that many Democrats have asked after mass shootings. “How many children have to die before somebody does something?” she asked, referring to politicians’ inaction on gun control.

She went on to compare the United States to other countries with gun control. “I have a question. I mean, every country has mentally ill people and yet they’re not having these mass shootings,” she said.
Except, they are. They’re just not as publicized as they are in the United States. Let’s not forget New Zealand. However, around that same time, there was a shooting in Brazil and one in the Netherlands.

Yes, other countries have mass shootings. They have mass shootings despite, or perhaps because of, their strict gun laws.

Perhaps Goldberg should place the same moratorium of not speaking immediately after a tragedy on her colleague. It would be a favor to Behar, that’s for sure.
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.

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Contemptible Nadler Leads Dishonest Partisan Vote to Hold Barr in Contempt

by Joseph Klein: Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat who is the House Judiciary Committee chairman, proclaimed, “We are now in a constitutional crisis. Now is the time of testing whether we can keep a republic, or whether this republic is destined to change into a different, more tyrannical form of government. We must resist this." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed with Nadler’s hyperbole, which followed his committee’s partisan vote on Wednesday to recommend that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress. Democrats are livid that Attorney General Barr would not break the law by acceding to their demands. They want to hold him in contempt for not complying with the committee’s subpoena and turning over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report as well as the underlying materials that include secret grand jury information protected by law. President Trump had also asserted executive privilege to prevent disclosure of the full report and underlying materials to Congress.

Assuming that the full House proceeds to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt, it will have to go to court to enforce the subpoena. Any ensuing litigation can be tied up in the courts for months, if not longer.

Contrary to Nadler’s fear-mongering, shared by Pelosi, the country is not facing a constitutional crisis. Nadler and his fellow Democrats have manufactured their own crisis. More than 90 percent of the Mueller report was released to the public without redactions. The majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate, and chairs and ranking members of select House and Senate committees, including Chairman Nadler and Republican Ranking Member Doug Collins, along with a single staff member each, were offered the opportunity to view even more of an unredacted version of the report, except for grand jury materials. The Democrats declined to do so.

The redacted portions involving grand jury information must remain secret as a matter of law, with few exceptions that would not appear to apply here. Rule 6 (e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure specifically provides that “an attorney for the government,” among other individuals, “must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury.” Congress does not have any special constitutional entitlement to require the Justice Department to hand over otherwise-secret grand jury materials without court approval. The Justice Department has long expressed concern – going back more than 30 years prior to Nadler’s spat with Attorney General Barr – regarding separation of powers implications when Congress demands grand jury material. “Independent access by Congress to grand jury materials without the consent of the Department of Justice would seriously endanger grand jury secrecy and thereby weaken the grand jury as an institution,” wrote the then-Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel in a 1985 opinion.

First, Chairman Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee sought to shift the burden to the Justice Department to seek permission from the district court to produce the grand jury materials to the committee. Then Nadler suggested that his committee and the Justice Department work together to obtain such permission. Frustrated that the Justice Department would not do his bidding, he complained in a letter dated May 3, 2019 to Stephen Boyd, Assistant Attorney General, that the Justice Department “remains unwilling to work with the Committee to seek a court order permitting disclosure of materials in the report that are subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e).” The Justice Department has no such legal obligation.

Instead of going to court itself immediately to seek such permission, Nadler’s committee decided to go the purely partisan route and recommend holding Attorney General Barr in contempt for protecting the secrecy of grand jury materials as required by law. House Republicans waited hundreds of days before ultimately deciding to hold former Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in 2012 for not handing over materials relevant to the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking congressional investigation. Nadler at that time boasted in a tweet: “Just joined the #walkout of the House chamber to protest the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding AG Holder in contempt.” Now Nadler has hypocritically led his committee to recommend a finding of contempt against Attorney General Barr in far less time than the Republicans took in 2012, while refusing to negotiate in good faith to reach an accommodation with the Justice Department.

“Why this rush?” asked Representative Collins. “Without any valid legislative or administrative reason, we can only assume Democrats, led by the chairman, have resolved to sully Bill Barr’s good name and reputation.”

There are some on the left suggesting that the House of Representatives consider using what has been called its “power of inherent contempt” to order its sergeant at arms to arrest Attorney General Barr for disobeying a lawful order of Congress and detain him if necessary for trial. Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, for example, told a writer for The Atlantic that “we should be aware that Congress has inherent powers of contempt that can relate to fines, orders, as well as arrests.”

Representative Raskin cited a Supreme Court case nearly 200 years old for the proposition that Congress can constitutionally enforce its own orders, including by having its sergeant at arms detain the alleged offender, even if not expressly authorized in the Constitution. The case he cited involved an attempt by an individual to bribe a member of Congress. The Court concluded that if the House of Representatives did not possess the implied power of contempt it would “be exposed to every indignity and interruption, that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may meditate against it.”

Whether the Supreme Court today would continue to uphold the constitutional validity of Congress’s sweeping assertion of the power of inherent contempt is highly questionable. There is virtually no chance that it would allow Congress to exercise such asserted power against a senior member of the co-equal executive branch of government, who is abiding by the president’s claim of executive privilege and seeking to comply with existing law protecting grand jury secrecy. Just imagine a stand-off between the sergeant at arms and executive branch law enforcement officials if the sergeant at arms attempts to take Attorney General Barr into custody and detain him. Talk about precipitating a constitutional crisis!

Nadler and his cronies have contemptuously sought to paint Attorney General Barr as the archenemy of the rule of law when the attorney general has done all he can to make as much of the Mueller report public as possible without violating the law. They are trying to discredit the attorney general to get at the president and to cast doubt on the results of any Justice Department investigation into how the Russian collusion hoax got started in the first place. It’s time for the Republicans to walk out when Nadler’s contemptible contempt resolution against Attorney General Barr comes to the floor of the House.
Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.

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For Joe Biden, on China It's Still the 1990s

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: Once upon a time, May 1 -- May Day -- was a day for working-class parades in factory towns. This year, it was a day for Joe Biden, to set off on his third presidential campaign in 32 years, to make news on the stump, not in a working-class venue but in the university town of Iowa City, now the state's Democratic stronghold.

Biden's claims for the presidency rest heavily on foreign policy expertise gained in eight years as vice president and 34 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And, unusually for a Democratic candidate this cycle, he chose to speak about China. "China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man," he orated. "They can't even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the ... west. They can't figure out how they're going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. ... They're not bad folks, folks, but guess what. They're not competition for us."

"This will not age well," tweeted Sen. Mitt Romney, who surely remembers how then-President Barack Obama ridiculed him in the final 2012 presidential debate for bringing back the foreign policy of the 1980s by characterizing Russia as our "number one geopolitical foe."

It turns out Romney had a point then, and he has one now. Biden's foreign policy views seem stuck in the 1990s. Those were optimistic times, with the Cold War won and no geopolitical foe in sight, with a surging U.S. economy complete with budget surpluses. It was "the end of history," in scholar Francis Fukuyama's phrase, when it seemed that something like the American-style democracy, human rights and dynamic capitalism would sweep the globe.

Including China. The mechanism to make it so was to bring China into the world trade system, a proposal supported by the Clinton administration, George W. Bush and most congressional Republicans. In 2000, permanent, normal trade relations with China passed the House 237-197 in May and the Senate 83-15 in September. Opposition came largely from labor Democrats and members like Reps. Chris Smith, Frank Wolf and Nancy Pelosi concerned about China's human rights abuses.

The widespread assumptions were that the international trade framework would lead China to respect international norms, and encourage the Chinese people to demand -- and the Chinese government to advance -- democracy and human rights. Increased trade, it was hoped, would produce economic growth here, as opening trade with Japan and Mexico had seemingly done.

These assumptions weren't crazy or irrational. Unfortunately, they turned out to be wrong. The respected bipartisan experts of 20 years ago turned out to be wrong. Armchair critics like Donald Trump, then dismissed as cranks, turned out to be right.

China has consistently cheated on trade rules and intellectual property rights. And while increased trade with China has contributed to American economic growth, it has also cost far more American jobs than respected experts predicted.

Chinese imports as a percentage of U.S. economic output doubled within four years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist David Autor reported in 2016. "We would conservatively estimate that more than a million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. were directly eliminated between 2000 and 2007 as a result of China's accelerating trade penetration in the United States," in markets ranging from clothing to jewelry, toys to furniture, he wrote.

Hopes for democratization and human rights have also been dashed. When Congress voted on China trade, Russia had been holding free elections, and Vladimir Putin was serving his first year as president. Now his reign is scheduled to extend to the 2020s, and maybe beyond. China has become ever bolder in its suppression of human rights and any demand for anything like free elections. Chinese President Xi Jinping has even discarded the term limits imposed on his predecessors.

With economic growth slowing down, China's leaders are evidently relying on expansionist nationalism to rally popular support. They have built and fortified islands in the South China Sea to claim sovereignty over its sea lanes and have expanded their capacity to nullify U.S. weapons systems. As former Trump Pentagon aide Elbridge Colby writes in Foreign Policy, "If the United States delays implementing a new approach, it risks losing a war to China or Russia -- or backing down in a crisis because it fears it would."

The hopes for a cooperative and peaceful China have unfortunately been dashed. But for Joe Biden, it's evidently still the 1990s. Is this the best the Democrats can do?
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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Are All the World’s Problems Ours?

by Patrick Buchanan: After an exhausting two weeks, one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time?

In 2003, George W. Bush took us to war to liberate Iraq from the despotism of Saddam Hussein and convert that nation into a beacon of freedom and prosperity in the Middle East.

Tuesday, Mike Pompeo flew clandestinely into Baghdad, met with the prime minister and flew out in four hours. The visit was kept secret, to prevent an attack on the Americans or the secretary of state.

Query: How successful was Operation Iraqi Freedom, which cost 4,500 U.S. lives, 40,000 wounded and $1 trillion, if, 15 years after our victory, our secretary of state must, for his own security, sneak into the Iraqi capital?

Topic of discussion between Pompeo and the prime minister:

In the event of a U.S. war with Iran, Iraqis would ensure the protection of the 5,000 U.S. troops in country, from the scores of thousands of Iranian-trained and Iranian-armed Shiite militia.

That prospect, of war between the U.S. and Iran, had been raised by Pompeo and John Bolton on Sunday, when the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier task force and a squadron of U.S. bombers were ordered into the Middle East after we received reports Iran was about to attack U.S. forces.

The attack did not happen. But on Thursday, Tehran gave 60 days’ notice that if it does not get relief from severe U.S. sanctions, it may walk out of the nuclear deal it signed in 2015 and start enriching uranium again to a level closer to weapons grade.

The countdown to a June confrontation with Iran has begun.

Wednesday, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, for the second time in a week, test-fired two missiles, 260 miles, into the Sea of Japan. Purpose: To signal Washington that Kim’s patience is running out.

Kim rejects the U.S. demand that he surrender all nuclear weapons and dismantle the facilities that produce them before any sanctions are lifted. He wants sanctions relief to go hand in hand with disposal of his arsenal. Few believe Kim will surrender all of his nukes or his ability to replicate them.

The clash with Kim comes days after the failed U.S.-backed coup in Caracas, which was followed by Pompeo-Bolton threats of military intervention in Venezuela, a country 100 times the size of Puerto Rico with 10 times the population and a large well-equipped army.

This week also, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford told Congress that the U.S. will have to keep counter-terrorism forces in Afghanistan “until there is no insurgency left in the country.”

Which sounds like forever, as in “forever war.”

Before flying to Baghdad, Pompeo was in Finland. There, he warned the eight-nation Arctic Council about Russian aggression in the region, suggested China’s claim to be a “near-Arctic” nation was absurd, and told Canada’s its claim to the Northwest Passage was “illegitimate.”

Our Canadian friends were stunned. “Those waterways are part of the internal waters of Canada,” said the government in Ottawa.

After an exhausting two weeks, one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, “Why is this our problem?”

Perhaps the most serious issue is North Korea’s quest for nuclear-armed missiles that can reach the United States. But the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea, committed to attack the North should war break out. That treaty commitment dates to a Korean War that ended in an armed truce 66 years ago.

If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Iran has no nukes or ICBMs. It wants no war with us. It does not threaten us. Why is Iran then our problem to solve rather than a problem for Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and the Sunni Arabs?

Nor does Russia’s annexation of Crimea threaten us. When Ronald Reagan strolled through Red Square with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988, all of Ukraine was ruled by Moscow.

The Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro was established decades ago by his mentor, Hugo Chavez. When did that regime become so grave a threat that the U.S. should consider an invasion to remove it?

During the uprising in Caracas, Bolton cited the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. But according to President James Monroe, and Mike Pompeo’s predecessor John Quincy Adams, who wrote the message to Congress, under the Doctrine, while European powers were to keep their hands off our hemisphere — we would reciprocate and stay out of Europe’s quarrels and wars.

Wise folks, those Founding Fathers.
Patrick Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) is currently a blogger, conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior adviser to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

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Sharks and Climate

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: One of the criticisms of the claims of human-caused climate change is that the theory predicts everything. Now, you might think that makes it a good theory. Actually, when you have a theory that predicts everything and cannot be falsified, that makes it a bad theory.

In fact, it is easy to find examples of contradictory claims all being attributed to climate change. But let me give you one example. Sharks fascinate us, probably going back decades to the movie “Jaws.” We still seem fascinated by them as illustrated by the popularity of “Shark Week” on television. What do scientists predict about sharks and climate change?

One article from a few years ago in “The Guardian” explains that the surge in fatal shark attacks is “blamed on global warming.” The article does acknowledge that some of the increase may also be due to more human activity and the abundance of seals. But the primary reason for the surge in attacks is climate change.

A more recent article in “The Independent” predicts that global warming could actually make sharks “smaller and less aggressive.” The argument is that warmer waters and increased CO2 could make it more difficult for sharks to catch prey.

A third article comes from scientists in Australia who believe that a new hybrid shark just discovered is a sign of global warming. They argue the two species mating is due to climate change.

Just about every phenomenon in nature is now being explained by climate change. More snow is due to climate change. Less snow is due to climate change. More wildfires are due to climate change. Fewer fires are due to climate change. You will find lots of contradictory examples all attributed to climate change.

When it comes to sharks, many of these claims sound less like science and more like science fiction. Sometimes the claims sound more like science fiction disaster movies like “Sharknado.”
Kerby Anderson (@kerbyanderson) 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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Raising the Barr . . .

. . . Because Barr won’t release the unredacted Mueller report, that would be illegal to release, Nadler is charging him with contempt for upholding the rule of law.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Oh Look – Even More Amazon-Defense Department Cronyism

Amazon and the Pentagon -
Joined at Our Wallet
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: One would have to be deaf, blind…and living in a cave in a cliff on a remote Pacific atoll – to miss the obnoxious amounts of incestuous cronyism that exists between monstrously huge tech company Amazon and the Department of Defense (DoD).

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is looking to crony its way into a $10 billion DoD cloud computing contract.

The now-thankfully-former Barack Obama Administration – appears to have gone above and beyond to ensure Amazon got the deal.

Uber-Crony Amazon – Is About to Get the Biggest Crony Deal in DC’s Awful History

Most influentially, the Obama DoD hired an AWS employee – a huge Obama fan by the name of Deap Ubhi. Who oversaw – and rigged for AWS – the DoD contract process.

Cronyism: Having Your Ex-Employees Award Government Contracts…:

“…makes it much more likely you’ll get government contracts.”

Then when caught…

Amazon’s Defense Dept Cronyism Comes Under Trump Administration Review

…the once-AWS employee quits the DoD – and goes back to AWS.

But we’ve just discovered – crony staffing turnabout was foul play.

Amazon Gave Jobs to DOD Staff Working on Cloud Bid:

“At least two Pentagon employees were offered jobs at Inc. while working on the Defense Department’s $10 billion cloud contract, a lawsuit filed by Oracle Corp. alleges.”

One was the aforementioned Ubhi:

“(O)ne of the employees, Deap Ubhi, received ‘significant’ job and bonus offers from AWS for shaping the JEDI procurement in a fashion favorable to the cloud giant.”

The other(s)?:

“The name of the other person who allegedly received an offer from AWS is redacted in the filing.”

That’s just how it goes with lawsuits filed about cronyism-infested $10 billion government contracts.

Ubhi – and other(s)’ – two greatest crony contributions? They transmogrified the DoD cloud computing deal from one for multiple backup providers – to but one provider. And then crafting the deal in such a way – that only Amazon could get it.

And just to remind how dumb and dangerous the DoD’s looming crony decision to hire Amazon – and only Amazon – is.

Our Nation’s Defense Is Too Important to Hire but One Cloud Storage Company:

“One would think when a government agency like the Department of Defense (DoD) looks to get into the cloud storage business – they would absolutely look to have multiple redundancies for the things they are looking to store.

“This is our nation’s defense, after all….

“We have hundreds of thousands of men and women deployed all over the planet – oh-so-many of them in harm’s way. And they are counting on getting access to the data the DoD is storing – in many instances to survive.

“So it would be a very good idea for the DoD to hire multiple companies – each with overlapping responsibilities for different portions of the DoDs backup needs….

“Unfortunately, that is not at all what the DoD is currently considering doing….

“‘(B)ehind the scenes, some Department of Defense agencies are so sure that Amazon will be awarded the contract that they are preparing for a transition to GovCloud, which is Amazon’s cloud infrastructure designed specifically for government use, according to this source.

“‘“I can’t imagine any possible way that the deal could be stopped,” (a source with knowledge of the deal) said, adding that it was only a matter of “waiting for the contract start date to be officially announced.”’”

“Go back and read that brief excerpt – and count the number of companies receiving the DoD deal.

“The correct answer is: one. The DoD is going to give a ten-year-$10 billion contract to Amazon – and only Amazon.

“Which means the entirety of the Defense Department – will have one less backup of everything they produce…than I do of this document I am writing about the Defense Department and its backup plans.

“This seems to me to be…highly insufficient. And not very intelligent at all.”

Indeed it is – highly insufficient…and really quite stupid.

Which are just the sort of awful results you expect – when a government deal is this corrupted by cronyism.
Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter   /   Facebook.

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Pick a Number

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Is the number 15 “magical”?

The “democratic socialists” now dominating the Democratic Party first went for the $15 national minimum wage notion. Now it’s a cap on consumer credit interest rates, at 15 percent.

What’s next, 15 mph speed limits? Age 15 allowed to vote?

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest?

At Reason, Peter Suderman explains why “Bernie Sanders’ New Plan Will Make It Tougher for Poor People to Get Credit Cards.” The arguments proffered by Senator Sanders and his House co-sponsor, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, more than “suggest that people who choose to use payday loans don’t, and perhaps can’t, understand the choices they are making. . . . It is a form of benevolent condescension built on the belief that poor people can’t count.”

Now, it may be that, generally, poor people do not figure their finances as well as better-off people. In fact, that’s demonstrated in the literature. But is that really the point?

The problem is, the methods they choose to help the poor make the poor less well-off. Because they take away options: “What Sanders is actually bragging about is eliminating choices,” Suderman explains. “In essence, Sanders is proud of having eliminated useful financial tools for the poor.”

What’s really going on here is the magic of persuasion. Fifteen is a “sticky number.” It will be used again and again as self-described socialists push for more and more unworkable government.

A bit of enchantment that just so happens to make one persuader a three-house millionaire . . . and a bartender from the Bronx the talk of the nation.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Paul Jacob (@Common_Sense_PJ ) 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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Et Tu, Sen. Burr?

David Limbaugh
by David Limbaugh: How nauseating that RINO Sen. Richard Burr, as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is doing the bidding of vindictive Democrats in issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr.

Burr has joined the Democrats’ investigatory vendetta against President Trump, most recently exemplified in the House Judiciary Committee’s vote to hold Attorney General Will Barr in contempt of Congress. Democrats claim Barr is in contempt for failing to release an unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller, allegedly lying twice to Congress and refusing to appear before the committee. All three claims are absurd on their face and, if heard by an impartial tribunal, will be rejected.

Democrats are pounding their chests in fake indignation that Barr lied in his summary of Mueller’s report, but in all particulars, his summary tracked with the report, which Mueller affirmed. You can’t quite make a case of contempt for lying when the witness told the truth.

As for his refusal to appear, Barr sat through hours of grilling and abuse by grandstanding senators and only decided to cancel his appearance before the House when Democrats announced that professional staffers would aid them in the questioning. Enough is enough.

Concerning the charge that Barr refused to turn over the unredacted report, he has already released to Congress a version that is 98 percent unredacted. “Democrats are therefore seeking a contempt sanction on a report that is 98 percent disclosed and only lacks grand jury material,” wrote law professor Jonathan Turley, who pointed out that the key obstruction portion of the report is “virtually unredacted.”

The Democrats are acting in bad faith, ignoring the bulk of the report and its conclusions in trying to create a smoke screen of confusion to dupe their base and other parts of the credulous public who might be susceptible to believing they really have the goods on Trump at last.

Now Sen. Burr has climbed aboard the Democrats’ Witch Hunt Train, where he’ll be consigned to the caboose as long as Conductor Jerrold Nadler, House Judiciary Committee chairman, insists on chugging his locomotive down this partisan track.

It’s easy to understand what Nadler and his Democrat colleagues are up to — they’ve been telegraphing their plan to impede Trump’s agenda through endless investigations over matters on which Trump has already been cleared. They have no intention of allowing him to be president — ever. I would say, “Shame on them,” except they’re shameless. They know exactly what they’re doing. They know it’s wrong. But it serves their lower purposes, and that’s all that matters.

It would be too charitable to accuse the Democrats and Burr of going on a fishing expedition because they know there’s only dead fish in their toxic lake. They don’t stand a snowball’s chance of impeaching Trump or laying a glove on Don Jr. But they think they have plenty to gain in harassing the president, his family and anyone in his administration or wider orbit. If a team of highly skilled, Trump-hating prosecutors was unable to find anything actionable against Trump, these lightweight clowns in Congress are going nowhere. We are witnessing an ongoing abuse of power in its purest form, which is sure to backfire on its perpetrators.

Sen. Burr is probably shell-shocked to have stuck his finger in this hellhole thinking he would be drenched with praise, only to draw back a bloody stump. He is being uniformly condemned as the sanctimonious opportunist he is.

Sen. John Cornyn, a fellow member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he’d discuss the subpoena with Burr but warned that the panel needs to stay out of politics, and that this move against Donald Trump Jr. “smacks of politics.” In a shot across the bow at Burr, Cornyn said that the Intelligence Committee needs to focus on its mission, “which is oversight of the intelligence community.” Let’s not lightly pass over that. Just what business does Burr think his committee has in further investigating a matter that has nothing remotely to do with intelligence, especially since Mueller concluded there was no collusion or coordination with Russia?

Sen. Mitch McConnell said the case was closed. Sen. Thom Tillis also criticized Burr’s subpoena, affirming that the Mueller report cleared Donald Trump Jr. and that “he’s already spent 27 hours testifying before Congress.” Sen. Rand Paul tweeted that Burr apparently didn’t get McConnell’s memo that the case was closed. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy likewise tweeted that “Endless investigations — by either party – won’t change the fact that there was NO collusion.” Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that failing to notify the White House before issuing the subpoena was “bad form.”

It would be one thing for Burr to walk out on this brittle limb if he were pursuing a noble cause, but self-aggrandizement has never been considered virtuous. He is just going to be one more Republican who falls flat on his face while trying to ingratiate himself to the Trump-loathing mafia.

In an effort to divert the public’s gaze from his endless sexcapades and perjuries, then-President Bill Clinton pleaded that he just wanted the investigations against him to end because he needed to get back to work for the American people. Well, how about it, Democrats and enabling Republicans? Don’t you think it’s about time you showed a little respect for the will of the people and allowed President Trump to devote the full measure of his time and attention to the work of the American people?
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

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Why China left Trump with little choice but to slap on the 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion of goods

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Robert Romano: Just when it appeared that a new trade agreement with China was being finalized last week, Beijing abruptly attempted to change all the terms of the deal and walk back prior concessions that had been made to head off President Donald Trump’s threat to increase tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of goods.

The changes had arrived on May 3 late in the evening and blew up months’ worth of negotiations.

According to Reuters’ David Lawder, Jeff Mason and Michael Martina, “In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.”

It was an unacceptable situation. China was reneging on the deal. Trump had already delayed the 25 percent tariffs in January to give negotiations a chance to make a breakthrough. Then, on the eve of concluding the agreement, Beijing wanted to do a complete 180 on everything that had already been discussed.

Instantaneously, and in response, on May 5, President Trump said that the new tariffs were going into effect, giving May 10 as a hard deadline, which has now passed. The tariffs went up at midnight.

China’s erratic behavior in the past week necessitated Trump’s tariff threat, if for no other reason than to get the negotiations back on track. It could be argued that the only reason for the negotiations in the first place was because of the imminent tariffs.

Now, we can only surmise the apparent concessions by China were merely a delaying tactic, intended to test out how committed Trump was to the tariffs. And now China knows President Trump means business.

Which, it’s time to get tough. Since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, U.S. manufacturing market share has dropped from 13.4 percent to 7.5 percent in 2017, according to World Bank data. China has risen from 5.3 percent to 16.6 percent in 2017, although their percent of global manufacturing market share has peaked in 2015 at 18.8 percent.

During that time, the U.S. economy has not grown above 4 percent since 2000, and not above 3 percent since 2005 on an annual basis.

The trade in goods deficit with China hit a record high in 2018 at $419.1 billion according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And that was with President Trump’s 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods that came atop a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of hi-tech goods.

Fueling the shift in production has been a competitive devaluation of China’s currency, the yuan. From 2014 alone, after a period of revaluation that could be accomplished as its global market share was still increasing, Beijing shifted from being worth 6.05 per dollar to about 6.8 per dollar today, a 12.6 percent devaluation.
China has a lot more to lose in a trade war than the U.S., too, according to data by the U.S. Trade Representative. China’s $539.5 billion of goods exports to the U.S. comprised almost 4.1 percent of its $13.28 trillion Gross Domestic Product in 2018 and about 22.5 percent of its $2.4 trillion of goods exports. In contrast, American goods exports to China were $120.3 billion, comprising 0.58 percent of the 2018 annual GDP of $20.5 trillion, and comparatively 7.2 percent of its $1.66 trillion of goods exports.

From 2000 to 2016, the U.S. lost nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs. There was some recovery after the financial crisis, and in addition, 470,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since President Trump came into office in 2017.

Labor participation among working age adults has dropped significantly through 2016, accounting for about 9 million people who would have been participating in the economy had labor participation remained the same. Since President Trump took office, that number is down to about 6.9 million or so as working age labor participation has increased, thanks in part to Trump’s new trade policies but also tax cuts and deregulation to make the U.S. more competitive globally.

None of the bad things that were supposed to happen because of the tariffs have come to pass. The economy grew at 2.9 percent in 2018. It has accelerated to 3.2 percent in the first quarter.

Unemployment is at a 49-year low at 3.6 in April.

Inflation is normal at about 2.0 percent the past 12 months.

The negotiations are still ongoing, and a deal may still be had, but even if that does not happen, the world is not ending. The sun still rose today.

The point is, there is most certainly a case to be made for the President’s tariff stance. If anything, the question about the new tariff is not whether it is justified, but whether it is big enough?

Correction: The Bureau of Labor Statistics updated the consumer price index this morning, bringing inflation for the past 12 months at 2 percent. Also, if labor participation had remained what it was in 2000, there would be 6.9 million more people in the labor force today.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Robert Romano, Americans for Limited Government, China, Trump, 25 percent tariffs, $200 billion To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
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